「ウェルカム、超常現象」 (Werukamu, Chōtsune Genshō)
“Welcome, Supernatural Phenomena”
More of those slice-of-life/comedy hijinks, as last week, for this episode of Rewrite. This should mostly be expected, since these can go on for a fairly long time in a visual novel. What you may think of them, though, may be another matter. Comedy is subjective, after all, and there’s a lot to be said for execution, even if you’re on board with the subject matter. And the subject matter are sometimes of questionable appeal. Basing a sketch around sorting metal cans seems fairly bold for episode 03, with the understanding that anime generally have one episode to hook and three to impress. Yes, I’m aware that the Japanese are sticklers for sorting their garbage, and that there’s something of an environmental message in Rewrite, but as far as I’m concerned a tirade about recycling is about an interesting as listening to a vegan show off their stamp collection. Make no mistake, I’m all for renewable resources and preserving the earth for future generations and all that good jazz, but I’m still going to suddenly have somewhere else to be in a hurry when the impassioned speech about crushing aluminium cans begins.
It’s not that Rewrite is completely done with exposition though, which gives some extra purpose to these sketches. In particular, a gaggle of minor characters (some less minor than others, I’m sure) are introduced this week, including backup tsundere #2 Sakuya, an impossibly dapper net gamer, and some crazy woman. It’s good that Rewrite is adding more of the pieces of its puzzle, but is it perhaps too many pieces right now? On one hand, we have this school-life stuff and the usual cast of students, some silly club activities, some name dropping of the ‘Harvest Festa’, but none of that seem very related to the central plot, or at least what looks like the central plot. The monster dogs, the ghost girl, Kotarou’s titular superpower, even more crazy people; how does all that connect to everything else?
It may sound like I’m being coy here, since I’ve read the VN, but with all the changes for this adaptation there’s not much I can say for sure any more. For instance, Rewrite is still trying to do some general character development, like Shizuru’s hidden eye or the issue of Lucia’s gloves. But, I will say it now: unless Rewrite decides to wander down their individual character arcs, those details are not actually too relevant to the central storyline. And I was under the impression that Rewrite was not going to have time to tread all the alternate paths. So, what is it exactly trying to do here? Is it doing routes after all? Or is it going to work different parts of of the VN into a single overarching storyline? Or is it going to just do a lot of development with no actual payoff?
Basically, I’m getting a lot of mixed signals, and I’m sure anime-only viewers have different sets of questions, too. The farcical slice-of-life sketches seem to pull Rewrite in one direction, but then the ‘serious’ supernatural stuff pull it in another, all in one episode without much in the way of clean transitions from one to the other. In the VN, the writing is first-person from Kotarou’s point of view, and we’re never sure if he’s completely reliable narrator, so perhaps mixed signals are par for the course there, but we have both a third-person camera and a much muddier series of events in the anime, so I don’t know exactly what to make of it. It will almost definitely become clearer as the pieces of Rewrite start coming together, but for now it seems to want to stick to its unusual pacing. I suppose that’s better than being boring.