「世界か、自分か」 (Sekai ka, Jibun ka)
“The World, or Myself?”

It’s not every anime adaptation that asks, ‘Where should we start?’ and decides, ‘At the very beginning!’ and means that literally. Fewer even are those that, in the next scene, kill the protagonist. Sure, ’twas all a dream, it turns out, but it certainly goes a way to distinguish Rewrite from a typical adaptation of a visual novel set in some high school. Sure, the high school hijinks refuse to go out without a fight, but they’re certainly outclassed by the mass of imagery act they had to follow. If nothing else, we can probably conclude that Rewrite has a higher ambition.

At this point perhaps it’s best for me to take a step back and introduce Rewrite the visual novel, for those who didn’t read about it in the preview (you should though. We work pretty hard on those things). Even those who have may benefit from a bit of an elaboration. Rewrite is a visual novel developed by Key, the people who brought you Little Busters!, CLANNAD and Kanon. Unlike those three titles, though, the lead writer of Rewrite was not Maeda Jun but Tanaka Romeo, and a rather different product came out of that. So while Rewrite may have the veneer of a usual Key adaptation, featuring sob stories, a quirky mascot blob (no, not her) and the now anime-staple caffeine supplement, Key coffee, those who loved, say, CLANNAD should expect a different viewing experience. While magical realism has always been an element of previous Key works, Rewrite pushes all the way to fantasy. While CLANNAD and Little Busters! were about certain kinds of interpersonal relationships (within families, within a group of close friends) Rewrite has a much wider scope. And while Maeda always ultimately ended on optimism even in the face of tragedy, Tanaka brought with him arguably a pessimistic undertone. So, due warning: Rewrite is ambitious, but also different, and different is not always better. I mentioned that I consider Rewrite to be a flawed work, and perhaps the anime will address those flaws, but I can’t really discuss that without wandering into spoiler territory so I’ll leave the topic hanging for now.

What I can say, though, is that translating Rewrite from a visual novel to the anime medium is going to take all the ambition it can get. I consider Rewrite impossible to adapt straight, so perhaps it should be heartening that the team at 8bit does not seem to be exactly doing it straight. Readers of the VN can no doubt tell that this pilot’s gone differently to how the VN started, but anime-only viewers (hi!) may notice it going… weird? Episode 01 was a double-length premiere, but even then Rewrite seemed to be cramming a lot into limited time. Sure, Rewrite is very long and some cramming is definitely necessary, but it’s the way they do it, too. There’s essentially two different anime going on at the same time. One is your typical high school slice-of-life/harem comedy, with all the usual archetypes getting introduced one by one. There’s the unassuming male protagonist who narrates his life too much (Morita Masakazu). There’s that one male friend (Yanagita Junichi). There’s the childhood friend (Saito Chiwa), the tsundere (Asaki Risa), the mysterious transfer student and backup tsundere (Shinomiya Saya), the kouhai (Suzuki Keiko), and the senpai (Kitamura Eri). All very standard. At the same time, there’s all the strangeness that goes on. The two are mixed, but not exactly soluble. They come together as a collection of disjointed scenes that do not fully link into a cohesive narrative, more a run-on sentence than a structured paragraph. Non-sequitor things just kinda happen, and if I was being positive I would call it a surreal stream of consciousness. That could be appropriate, if the intent was to erode the sense of reality, to make the viewer question what what is real and what is a dream. Or is it just confusing and born of bad pacing? I think it can go either way; the line between the two is very thin.

Perhaps it will be easier to pass judgment next episode, as it seems that the two halves of the show are colliding with the meeting of ‘the witch’. For now, I remain cautious. Still, the animation was not as bad as I was expecting (keeping in mind the first episode budget, though), by which I mean that, giant CGI octo-spider (and others) aside the fight was pretty cool (by which I mean whee, explosions!). The music will always be good, since they’re drawing from the excellent Rewrite soundtrack (and some Harvest Festa too, it seems). And at the very least they tried to do this pilot in an interesting way. There is potential here, potential enough to keep watching, for now. For Rewrite, though, I never feared for lack of potential, I feared that it will implode under its weight. We shall have to see.

As is our custom now, Random Curiosity won’t be settling on which shows its writers will be picking up full time until the waters have been tested a few weeks into the season. If you have any particular views about coverage of Rewrite, please be sure to let us know in the comments.

One more piece of housekeeping: spoiler potential is incredibly high with Rewrite. Please mark all your spoilers, and even your speculation, to keep the comments clean and welcoming to read for all viewers. Thanks.


ED0.01 Sequence

ED: 「Philosophyz」 by 水谷瑠奈 (Mizutani Runa)


  1. So this is a thing. I’m definitely getting that Key vibe and that’s what counts. One thing that bothers me is that towards the end it seems like the protagonist already has a superpower (accelerator?) and even said superpowers exist in this world, but I feel like that should have been explained in the beginning. Did I miss something?

    1. No, you didn’t miss anything and it is one of the bigger flaws of the anime.

      In the VN, when Kotarou’s power is first brought up, it is explained to a certain degree and he says that knows neither where his power came from, nor whether there are others with superpowers.

      Overall the VN is also a lot more subtle about the supernatural occurances during the common route. For example

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Not sure how much of this actually qualifies as a spoiler, especially with the anime going into a different direction.

  2. Rewrite’s original visual novel was a pretty mixed bag; plenty to like, but a lot to hate too. Ultimately, there was one thing that pissed me off more than anything else…

    Show Spoiler ▼

    That’s my greatest fear with this anime, that they’re going to try and steamroll getting to know Kotarou and co. and go straight to this, especially considering that we only have thirteen episodes.

    My hope is that they try and bring that girl into a more interwoven and intimate knowing with everyone else, because we never really got that, even in the visual novel. If they do that and don’t try to overexert themselves into telling the whole story in the short time they’ve got, then I can see this working.

    Ryan Ashfyre
    1. That is an interesting perspective. I happened to think almost the exact opposite, lol.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Some people genuinely like how Rewrite handled itself in that respect and that’s fine. Couple of caveats to go with that though:

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Ryan Ashfyre
    1. I go into this a bit in reply to Wanderer further down the comments, but I think it will be best to expect a different experience to CLANNAD. That was a very personal story, ultimately, while Rewrite is arguably less so. Certainly, Rewrite will pull at the heartstrings at times, but ultimately, I don’t think it will be the same kind of catharsis as CLANNAD. They’re probably going to change a few things for this adaptation, though, so I can only give you my VN impressions.

  3. First thanks for always doing a season preview everyone. Will always watch any adaptation from a Key VN even if the 2 reasons why I really love Key adaptations are absent. I’ve heard of rewrite but haven’t delve to much into the characters or plot and Im opening minded to it being different from the other Key VN. I hope this turns into a enjoyable watch.

  4. Tanaka brought with him arguably a pessimistic undertone.

    Noted. He’s fired. :p

    Also, I’m out. No pessimistic stories for me. I get enough of that from reality.

    1. I think you are misunderstanding. The tone is more optimistic and fun than other Key titles and most anime in general due to the energetic charming characters. Its simply the far larger scope of the story that can lead towards facing some extremes the lead has to overcome near it’s various end points. Rewrite is easily among the best visual novels translated so it’s purely down to how they choose to adapt elements of the story.

      Romeo Tanka is also one of the best authors when it comes to visual novels. The weaker scenarios were written by Tonokawa Yuuto.

    2. While Alexis is not wrong in some ways, the routes Tanaka wrote (i.e. the main chunk of Rewrite) do feel like they are sourced from pessimism. Not despair or anything like that, just pessimism. It’s hard to elaborate without spoilerage, but Rewrite is, on some level, about humanity’s place in the world, and not all of it is positive. It’d be a shame if you’re dropping a potentially good show so early, but I understand that you have a personal aversion, so I guess it can’t be helped.

      1. From what I heard it’s not strictly an anime original route, but rather an adaption of a new route added in the upcoming Rewrite+ (which is also getting an official release in the west).

      1. Very late comment. I only got around to watching the episode yesterday, so you might not even see this comment, but is Lucia’s arc bad? I was very curious about her particular route, since after doing some research on Rewrite I found out that Ryukishi wrote her route. I’m generally a fan of his, so that got me interested in this series.

      2. Oh no, it was hardly ‘bad’. In fact, I considered it one of the better routes, a bit repetitive, but good overall. It is, however, the most tangential route to the central story line, and so is the cleanest to excise if necessary.

  5. This episode started strong but got weaker and weaker. Everything has something surreal starting with Childhood friend’s mom being rude by not thanking him for his help and ending with the out-of-place boss fight in the end of the episode, but I’m not sure if this was intentional. Some scenes are very beautiful. Unfortunately this becomes rare in the second halve of the episode.
    I can still see the potential and on the plus side the humour really catches me. So all in all I hope for the best and keep watching.

  6. The Rewrite anime’s release coincides with the release of Rewrite+ in Japan, an enhanced port of the original with extra content – coincidence or marketing ploy?

    A lot of the anime’s opening scenes refer to events that happen much later in the game’s storyline, leading some to believe this anime’s main target audience are existing fans of the game.
    The difficulty of mashing all the divergent character routes into 1 cour means the anime will be using an anime-original route, but written by Tanaka Romeo himself.

    1. Calling it a marketing ‘ploy’ and contrasting it to coincidence makes it sound underhanded when really it’s just good sense… Key aren’t a company to greenlight a poor anime adaption purely for sales but if they had an interest in releasing an enhanced edition of the game (and they’ve done this with nearly every game they’ve released as it’s common for popular visual novels), it would be silly not to take advantage of the timing of the anime. And fans have been asking for this for years.

      The only disappointment to me is that Kyoto Animation stopped taking on their adaptions after Clannad and every other studio is lacking in comparison. While I’m sure I’ll enjoy this adaption based on the first episode it will never live up to it’s full potential.

  7. Ho hooo~
    Ho ho hooooo~
    That was cute. 🙂
    I like Kotori’s antics so far though I usually prefer Chiwa Saito voicing older more adult characters (e.g. Senjougahara or Nureha). Her younger characters sound a bit too fake to me.
    While animation was fine, artwise this first episode looked inconsistent at times. And the plot….yeah, what the hell happened at the end?! Was that a dream or maybe some kind of parallel dimension? Very confusing.

  8. I’ve always loved the key adaptations and this is my first time watching one having already read the VN. I actually really liked the episode especially on rewatch.
    I also approved of more Kagari, her coffee scenes were adorable.

  9. Better than LB adaptation I would say. 😀
    Love the gags on this anime adapatation as well, specially Kotori’s language and speech.
    And who those who are in the studio making this sure know what how important the “KEY” world is.
    “KEY” always treasures the world and the character + the music of course, while hiding it with gags around it.

  10. As a Rewrite VN player, there are lots of scenes in episode one that shouldnt happen during the common route, and there are also some original scenes. Which makes me wonder whose route would this adaptation take? I really hope it would be Kotori arc for more Kotori goodness plus they can continue it to harvest festa (if they plan to adapt that also), but it seems the series will focus on Kagari and this series would seem to run only for 13 episode which is not enough for common route + Kotori or whoever girl’s route unless there would be a bit of rushing.

    Anyway the BGMS used are very nostalgic… And yes, IMHO this adaptation is way better than Little Buster’s season 1 and probably even the season 2 adaptation. Rewrite’s episode 1 has managed to successfully catch the attention and interests of the audiences and make them watch the next episodes. Episode 1 of LB is like meh, not interesting which is why when it was blogged here many expressed their point that it was boring.

    1. Didn’t care for Kotori’s route that much, tbh. Liked her character well enough, but she slipped a bit too much into the tragic heroine cliche for me to connect with her.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Ryan Ashfyre
      1. Well sorry mate… Kotori would later get those and better on harvest festa.

        Well the point of the Kotori’s tragic heroine cliché is for us Rewrite VN players to sympathize with Kotori and and understand her hardships despite her “always smiling” nature. This is why in the end of the Kotori route, Show Spoiler ▼

        and besides, Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Well thats kinda lame elior… Many will not understand Rewrite without walking through the girls’ routes. And Kagari’s route is so complex which is why the game ask us to finish all of the routes first before going to the Kagari route.

        Unless the adaptation would tweak the story so much, maybe it wouldnt be much of a problem.

      3. @Jeffers: With all due respect, Jeffers, take it easy. As I said, I don’t have anything against Kotori’s character herself. I rather like her actually, but it’s just that her route felt rather forced in that I didn’t get much emotional impact out of it. Show Spoiler ▼

        That being said, if we’d seen more of that, or at least inferences of it, beforehand, that would be different. That’s not the case though. In fact, her character only seems to get more and more broken along the way, hence why I felt the way I did at the very end. Kotori’s a nice girl and a charming character, but I never felt a genuine sense of strength from her.

        Ryan Ashfyre
  11. dk.. I am at this stage where I say: what the hell is this show lol maybe episode 2 will do justice, as a girl, I find those squeaky girly voices annoying =.=#

  12. As a VN reader, it was nice to see this episode, but it seemed to veer a little too close to absurdity with all the cramming going on. Trying to weave together aspects from each of the routes could turn ugly if not handled properly. Not sure how many of the characters’ various quirks will be explored, since they generally had a reason behind them in the VN. Guess we’ll just have to see how this goes.

    So much time spent on Mappie segments to unlock best end.

  13. Wow, this is quite wacky WTF 😛
    Didn’t read the VN but I guess the important thing in in the past and not revealed yet?
    (Tried Higurashi as my first VN but can’t get over the start as it was too boring :P)


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