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Rewrite – 03

「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.

July 17, 2016 at 9:59 am
21 comments »
  • July 17, 2016 at 10:11 amPega

    Key VN anime adaptions have always been a win or loose for me – nothing in between.

    After three episodes I’m still not sure what to think of Rewrite. I sense something bigger and more interesting behind all the SoL and comedy we mostly got until now, but it’s really dragging it out. I’ll give it one more episode…

  • July 17, 2016 at 11:48 amsealouse

    This was all over the place. Kind of hard to follow. Was that snake thing real or was it just some toy on the end of that fishing pole? That entire scene was very confusing.

    • July 18, 2016 at 1:16 amAnonymous

      It is a fake. Tsukuno explains in the VN that she was trying to lure out a real tsuchinoko by using a toy as bait for any tsuchinoko seeking mates.

  • July 17, 2016 at 1:31 pmreader30891

    This episode is just setting up things.
    In fact I think there will even be more setting up episodes, up to episode 6 or 7 in which the whole thing explode.

    The pace and set up feel like there will be s2 with Moon & Terra otherwise some of the conversations in this episode won’t make sense.

    >there’s something of an environmental message in Rewrite
    Rewrite isn’t about that.

  • July 17, 2016 at 3:45 pmdaikama

    Not the best episode or the most coherent presentation at times. Was the tsuchinoko (fat snake) fake or not? I mean, it looked real most of the time, but everyone plays it straight rather than anything “supernatural”. O.o Frankly, I’m not sure if the “shikigami army” working is a joke or not. I also got more of a “is from a VN” vibe than previous episodes. That and a greater sense of story compression than previous episodes which is a bit odd given the light SOL first half.

    Some plot convenience also wormed its way in. ML got saved at the last second from the monster dog by random mysterious dude. Maybe that guy was tracking the “dog” or its master or something. IDK. Can’t have the ML die here so I’ll roll with it. However, then he gets picked up by the older “gamer” guys who, rather than take him to a hospital like responsible adults, take him to the outdoor bar/restaurant so they can have a chat… and discover the one guy just so happens to be interested in the occult and have a bunch of stories/legends for the gang to investigate.

    As an anime-only viewer, the ML using his powers felt like ass-pull. “Felt” because maybe not technically ass-pull (the story is named after his power), but that one flashback didn’t fix the problem for me. OK, “I believe in superpowers”. Well, for one thing, you’ve just experienced a bunch of supernatural stuff so expanding to “superpowers exist” isn’t a huge leap. Frankly, if you know you have superpowers, then I would think the supernatural stuff wouldn’t be quite so surprising.

    I checked back with Ep. 01. In retrospect he did try to use them once (when he met the “fairies”) = a quick, small hint I suppose, but also quite a vague one. Besides, why didn’t he try to use his powers before then when running in fear from “Ribbon Girl” (sorry, don’t have names down yet) not to mention later with the giant CGI monster? In the grand scheme of things, not a huge deal, but I do think this could have been done better from an anime-only perspective. Probably worked fine for VN players (readers?).

    I did like the chase scene with the monster dog. Good execution/presentation, including switching the “camera” from overhead view to his POV. Enjoyed that. Also glad that the supernatural part of the story is ramping up since I like that the most. It’s the primary reason I’m still with the show.

    All in all, I’m in but with some reservations. Comedy is indeed subjective, and apart from a chuckle or two, it has not worked for me (this episode for sure). The characters are OK, but I don’t have any significant affinity with any of them which is surprising because normally I would at least gravitate towards one of the girls in this type of story by now. Maybe that will change. I will say that I’m not a fan of “butler dude”, and I don’t have a firm understanding of why he’s in that position? He’s not an actual butler (i.e. his job) – right?

    • July 17, 2016 at 6:22 pmSK

      The reason Kotarou doesn’t like to use his power much is because it’s a one-way road; once he rewrites a part of himself (in this episode, his legs), he can’t reverse the process. If he decided to go super-strength to defeat the giant monster in Ep.1, then he’s stuck with super-strength, and he doesn’t conveniently gain the ability to regulate his strength with it. He would have to retrain himself to account for the strength, so that he doesn’t crush anything he holds or blow a door off its hinges when he opens it. The greater the change he makes, the harder it is to retrain his body, so he prefers to use it sparingly and with as little change as he needs.

      As far as him and the supernatural goes, I think you have it backwards. Kotarou has known for a long time that (at least one) superpowers exist, because he has one. He has no evidence of other supernatural phenomena, including other people with superpowers, but he believes they also exist. He doesn’t really want to out himself as the first proof of the supernatural, so he’s looking for another solid source of any kind.

      Ribbon Girl’s name has not been revealed yet, and likely won’t for a while. We’ll learn more about butler/brother dude in time, though I’d give him a chance to grow on you.

      • July 17, 2016 at 7:18 pmdaikama

        @SK: Thanks for the explanations

        - Kotarou’s superpowers: So he can’t “rewrite” himself back to normal? Well, that does limit things. No time limit either I assume once you rewrite. It stays that way. I assume rewrite is not not additive. For example, he rewrites to super strength, then later rewrites to super speed – the super strength is gone, right, or does he get both? In theory you could rewrite more than one attribute. Adaptation time to new rewrite does make sense. I have to wonder about his previous attempts. Surely he’s rewritten a few times in the past to understand the ability and how to use it. A bit curious as to what he’s tried.

        That does explain why he’s reluctant to spam his ability. Still, when you compare running for his life (sure seemed he thought his life was in peril) and/or getting attacked by giant CGI monster, I would think those would take priority over curiosity about monster dogs. I get he’s wants to prove the supernatural (incl. I guess others have superpowers) exists, but can’t do that if you’re dead.

        Not only that, in Ep. 01 he seems to start rewriting to protect himself against the “fairies’ (not sure what those things are) which didn’t seem to be at the same threat level as the two above examples. He “doesn’t have time”, so he just punches one away. Maybe I’m missing something, but to me he doesn’t seem to be entirely consistent when he chooses to rewrite. Not a big deal.

        - As for him and supernatural in general, perhaps I didn’t phrase it well, but I don’t have the order backwards. I get that he knew about his superpower before experiencing this supernatural stuff. However, IMO just the fact that he knows about the existence of superpowers (first hand no less) would open his mind to the possibility of others with superpowers and/or supernatural stuff. I really do think such personal knowledge would change his outlook on such things vs. someone for whom superpowers are nothing but a child’s fantasy. So in retrospect I found the degree of his doubt more extreme than I would expect. Like the above, it’s really not a big deal – just something that crossed my mind after watching this episode. I suspect this all plays out better in the VN.

        - Re. “Ribbon Girl”: Got it.

        - Re. Butler guy (or dude): So he really is her brother? Granted he just showed up in the anime, but the relationship’s confusing right now. As you say, hopefully details/clarity will be forthcoming. As for giving him a chance, fair enough, but so far he seems like the type of character that usually annoys me. Not set in stone, but I remain doubtful.

      • July 18, 2016 at 12:52 amSK

        As GoXDS said below, rewrites are additive and permanent.

        Chihaya and Sakuya’s actual relationship is supposed to be unclear at this point. Based on what Akane said, the original cover story was that he is her brother, which Chihaya promptly blew by being an airhead. Whether he is actually her butler, or if that was another cover story, Kotarou does not know yet.

    • July 17, 2016 at 8:20 pmGoXDS

      to add on,
      him being unable to rewrite himself down is just something we have to take as is. but each and every rewrite is permanent and additive. as for the explanation for why he didn’t use it in the arguably more dire situation, he requires concentration for his ability. he has to focus on what he’s trying to rewrite and how much. so if he’s unable to concentrate for whatever reason, like running for dear life, he can’t use his ability. it does take a biit of time.

      • July 17, 2016 at 8:47 pmdaikama

        @GoXDS: Thanks that helps as well. I get the time & concentration requirements (he said “not enough” time in the Ep. 01 hint & concentration just makes sense). He had time during his coffee break on the steps to rewrite if not at other times, but perhaps he figured he was safe by then. It’s really not that big of a deal.

        So rewrites are additive and permanent!. The additive part I did not expect (did figure permanent – well until next “rewrite”). That does change my view on things again. I now really do wonder about any previous rewrites (again, I’m assuming there were some). Hopefully the anime will give better explanation/history about his powers. However, it may not do that. Depends upon how much the anime is tailored towards established fan base (i.e. VN players) vs. wider audience.

  • July 17, 2016 at 4:06 pmjhpace1

    Every time I see a Tsundere plummeting the male protagonist, I wish they would make an anime with a truly invulnerable person who couldn’t be launched into the air with a single hit from a girl. And who would hurt her hand if she tried to slap his face.

  • July 17, 2016 at 5:57 pmSK

    For those unsure of whether the tsuchinoko is real or not: the Occult Club will encounter various strange things in the course of their investigations. Some may be fake, some may be real, but whatever the truth is, Kotarou can only win his bet with Akane by showing incontrovertible evidence of the supernatural. The truth of the tsuchinoko is like real life occult events; it’s really up to you whether you choose to believe or not. Some of the other events they will encounter will have stronger evidence one way or another, but finding solid proof is Kotarou’s goal.

    • July 17, 2016 at 6:25 pmdaikama

      @SK: Appreciate the explanation. I guess the tsuchinoko could be spun as “just some new species” of snake and not anything “supernatural” even if it physically fits the myth description to the letter. Kotarou needs to use sake as a bribe to get it to talk. ;)

      Not sure how well that standard will work going forward. Seems like Akane can just go “nah, ain’t buying it” or “not really ‘supernatural’”. :/ I think someone mentioned there’s an “oppai route” so there must be something which satisfies her criteria.

      • July 18, 2016 at 12:33 amSK

        Just a little more clarification on this particular investigation. It’s been a while since I’ve read the VN, but as far as I remember Re:tsuchinoko:
        Show Spoiler ▼

        As far as the oppai route goes, it’s a joke best ending for being a completionist, then making specific choices. Don’t watch it now, since it has some major spoilers, but I’d recommend a youtube search after the series.

  • July 18, 2016 at 3:45 amsama

    In fact, the environmental issue is the core message of ‘Rewrite’ story.
    Although the game has failed to pinpoint it, but player can feel it (more or less).

    Hence, Lucia’s lecture on recycle is in fact the core of the episode.
    Sadly, the anime has failed in conveying the message as well.

    • July 18, 2016 at 3:54 amsetsuna

      Well in the surface…the message was enviromental issue, but after playing the vn the other conclusion was getting rid of “trash” hahaha

  • July 18, 2016 at 10:30 amomeganx

    Gosh this violent tsundere nonsense happened t least 5 times in this one episode. There so many unasnwered questions why are wasting time on these cliches. ANd why cant the MC rewrite is strentgh to that of a normal person? Was that ever explained in the VN?

    • July 19, 2016 at 10:56 pmPasserby

      I don’t know if they’ll got further into his ‘power’ in the anime, but in the VN he described it as switching gears, and can only go up, not down.

  • July 19, 2016 at 8:27 amtheirs

    Utterly confused with this episode. Never felt that way with the other key animes that I’ve watched. So here’s a question, is the VN also like that, or is it a lot more, uh… coherent?

    I’ve only played Clannad and that translated well to animation. Since it seems a lot of people are confused as well, I’m wondering if that was actually the intended effect.

    • July 19, 2016 at 10:54 pmPasserby

      The VN did make one question what was real and what was not at times, but it also had a steadier pacing so I wouldn’t call it confusing, per se. The anime is certainly doing things differently, though.

      • July 19, 2016 at 11:59 pmtheirs

        Hmm, interesting. I think that scene at the food stall was something like that. I guess it’s time constraints then. Seems like they’re cramming a lot of things in. Alas, that is the art of adaption. VNs do have the benefit of letting things sink in though. Even in autoplay mode.

        Starting to think I’m better of finding time for the VN. Hopefully they get their pacing sorted out.