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Rewrite – 05

「アサヒハルカ」
“Asahi Haruka”

I must have noted before that I thought of Lucia’s route in the Rewrite VN as one of the better stories of the game. Sure, it was a bit repetitive for what was actually a rather straightforward narrative, but it was entertaining enough and did a lot to elevate Lucia from your typical tsundere heroine. Perhaps it was because the Lucia route was so relatively disconnected from the central narrative of Rewrite and was allowed to do whatever weird thing it wanted. It was actually written by Ryukishi07—yeah, the Higurashi guy—and so, as those familiar with his work may expect, Lucia’s route was something of a horror story. It was also something of a star-crossed love story, but the horror-thriller definitely stood out more as a rather interesting change of pace.

Of course, the anime adaptation can’t really use the love story since, per standard VN adaptation rules set down since the age of Air, all relationships save the central one must be platonic. As for the horror, well…. eh. Japanese horror tends to be of the psychological variety, less focused on the surprise scares and more on wearing away at one’s sanity. The slow grind obviously doesn’t work very well when there’s only a single episode to do it in. There simply is not enough time to really let the atmosphere soak into your bones and start playing tricks with your mind. And I think it also doesn’t have same kind of setup it enjoys in the visual novel. I may have mentioned that the VN plays up the surrealism a deal more than in the anime. Kotarou and the Occult Club investigate a lot of alleged supernatural phenomena in the common route, and while they are usually played for laughs one is never exactly sure what is legit and what is not. This doubt carries over when the occult stuff gets suddenly serious. One was never sure was what exactly of the Asahi Haruka urban legend was true, what was paranormal and what was smoke and mirrors, what was ghostly possession and what was actually Lucia. The doubt, the questioning, is what makes the psychological thriller. And it also plays well thematically because Lucia is fundamentally very insecure. She doubts you. You doubt her. Suffering! Mmm, tasty. But the anime skips past a lot of that juicy drama very quickly, which is a bit of shame.

I suppose by now we shouldn’t really be expecting a full adaptation of any of the character routes form the Rewrite anime, especially not Lucia’s route, which has a tendency to veer off and do its own thing. Of course, the anime might still come back to expand on these character arcs, in a later season, perhaps, but I doubt that it intends to, at least, cover the full scope of the Lucia story.

VN spoiler: Show Spoiler ▼

I’ve come to consider these arcs as functional more than anything else, meant to just give a basic impression of what these characters are about. It’s unfortunate that Rewrite is never going to be a full and definitive adaptation, but at the same time perhaps that’s unreasonable to expect. Consider CLANNAD, which was about as definite a VN adaptation as there ever was, and while not be exactly ‘full’ still altogether took an entire year’s worth of anime. And Rewrite, compared to even CLANNAD, is a monster. No, I don’t think the industry as it is today can support the episodes required to do Rewrite justice in entirety. So I think I will make a conscious effort to tone down my expectations and grit my teeth through the mediocrity. This is because I think Rewrite, despite its flaws in both VN and anime, has some really big ideas that I really do want to talk about, and I think it’s worth watching through if you want something that makes you think—particularly about things worth thinking about. I’ll make a fuller and better case for that when Rewrite shows more of itself, so for now… just take my word for it?

Actually, for now it’s Plot! A lot of plot, actually, all of a sudden, dropping proper nouns like ‘Guardian’ and ‘the Key’ (no pun intended?) everywhere. It certainly does seem Rewrite is getting edgy all of a sudden. Maybe I shouldn’t be such a downer? Maybe Rewrite does have ambitions to wow us? I have no idea how the anime is structuring itself. We’ll have to see.

 

ED2 Sequence

ED2: 「サンブライト」 (Sunbright, the version from circle of fifth) by 北沢綾香 (Kitazawa Ayaka)

July 31, 2016 at 1:05 pm
14 comments »
  • July 31, 2016 at 4:48 pmJuan

    As a non VN viewer I don’t think the adaptation itself is bad. If anything it’s the sudden “jumps” in the story line that give it a bit of incoherence but as anyone who has played/read this kind of VN and seen an adaptation where they try to put together a “Super Route”, I think that’s to be expected anyway.

  • July 31, 2016 at 5:08 pmJeffers

    I knew it… Kotarou is really planning to make a harem at the end… He already won shizuru so he is now making a move to win lucia.

    Anyway, looks like we are getting an “1 episode per girl” format. Guardian faction have been introduced so I think next is Gaia faction Show Spoiler ▼

    then last is kotori, then return to to the “Key”

  • July 31, 2016 at 7:56 pmsealouse

    That edginess was quite unexpected. Do you think we’ll get to see them use those weapons?

    It’s kind of reminding me of Charlotte, but without all the ridiculous experiments.

  • July 31, 2016 at 9:03 pmdaikama

    Overall my impression is quite similar to last episode though perhaps this one was a bit better. Again, anime-only viewer so can’t say as to what should have been kept or not, but these episodic “arcs” giving some depth/background to the characters do help. As it comprised pretty much the entire episode, there was more to Lucia’s “arc” than say Shizuru’s which gave it a bit more substance even if parts are still left out.

    Also more of a mystery element (some at least) vs. “here’s the deal”. That’s not necessarily a criticism of Shizuru’s character background, but Lucia’s did have more it. I will say this, the ordering of the two helped when Shizuru exposed Lucia’s secret to Kotarou (ML). BTW, did Kotarou tell Shizuru about his secret powers last episode? I don’t recall him doing so (not much quid pro quo there if he didn’t), but perhaps memory fails me. Anyway, the fact that Shizuru told Kotarou her secret – a strong sign of trust, made her telling him about Lucia’s secret more palatable. Granted, still not really her place to disclose others secrets, but better IMO than if she had not told Kotarou her story yet felt fine about spilling the beans on Lucia. Sensei’s role last episode also helped set up her entrance in this episode as well.

    Still, even if you didn’t read/play the VN, I think one can see signs of compression. It wasn’t bad IMO, but it did get from A->B in a noticeably succinct fashion. That Lucia was the “cursed girl” was more “as expected” than surprise. Her poison touch (assume that’s correct) fits with wearing gloves, but I’m not sure if it’s just her hands or anywhere on her body (e.g. what if her hair brushes up against someone?). Have to admit, I liked the opening scene. The lady bug and maybe that one sunflower disintegrating (rotting away?) is one thing, but then we see this massive field of sunflowers get wiped out. OK, that’s stepping things up a bit!

    I do have some quibbles. First, Lucia’s powers. I don’t get how the other side of the sunflower field is wiped out since she didn’t touch that AFAIK. Area of Effect (“AOE”) type ability? Maybe given how the orphanage is an off-limits toxic site now, but uh, what about the HS school she’s at now? Also, she pulls a leaf off of Kotarou’s plant, the leaf crumbles, but the rest of plant seems to be just fine. So… IDK. Did she learn to control her powers a little? That’s my guess, but surely the anime could have thrown in 1-2 lines of dialog to that effect. There was one line I think about the origin of her powers, but not sure if the anime will have any time to expand on that or not.

    I thought Kotarou waiting until the last second to rewrite was a bit much. IMO could have had the same result if he rewrote against poison after she left his room (surely he knew he was touched/poisoned). Way it played out felt a bit too scripted/cliche’. Lastly, JMO and all, but couldn’t help but get that “Lucia route unlocked” feeling when Kotarou asked for a bento as “payment” for his cooperation. I guess they wanted to lighten things up at the end.

    Not an issue for me, but certainly a number of pantsu shots this episode. While not that much compared to many ecchi shows, the fanservice did noticeably pick up this episode. Even Shizuru was shown wearing a racy little black panty… as she goes off to battle with a sub-machine gun.

    I’m not suggesting this is an ideal adaptation, but personally the last two episodes have been better and more entertaining. Still, with the revelation of “Guardians”, the “Key”, “Gaia” and just the whole go save the world plot line on top of, IDK, 2? 3? more? characters to flesh out and the Ribbon Girl still out there, somewhere, I have a greater appreciation of the concern VN players/readers may have about how is the anime going to fit all of this in one cour. 8 episodes left so a good chunk of time remains, but things are getting kind of busy story-wise.

    • July 31, 2016 at 10:07 pmGoXDS

      I’ll spoiler this just in case but in regards to Lucia’s powers (IIRC at least, since it’s been a while)
      Show Spoiler ▼

    • August 1, 2016 at 12:41 amSK

      Shizuru discussing Lucia’s secret with Kotarou is more a function of their respective personalities, along with how well they can control their own powers. Except for the incident involving her parents, Shizuru has her power under control, and the only risk for her getting close to someone is her involvement in Guardian. Lucia, on the other hand, refuses to really open herself up to anyone besides Shizuru. (Though it was kinda glossed over last episode, Shizuru’s power involves producing various drugs within her body, so she can counteract Lucia’s poison if necessary) Even if Lucia wants to get closer to someone, she won’t allow herself since she never knows when her power could go out of control and end up harming them. Drugs allow Lucia to control her power, but the poison continues to adapt, so the suppressants must continue to adapt as well.

      As far as the sunflower field goes, GoXDS has it right. If her power goes out of control, everything will be polluted, and spreading her power rapidly beyond just her touch.

      The mark on Kotarou’s arm was originally meant to be a symbol of the curse of Asahi Haruka. I believe it was a darkened handprint that appeared on his arm once he began to dig into the curse, but not something that was actively harming him for a while. The timeline is very compressed here compared to the VN, so it just seems like the mark is pretty quick to have an impact. If he thought it was a curse, then he would have to know a way rewrite himself to get rid of curses before actually doing so. Once he learned it was a poison, then he could actually do something about it.

    • August 1, 2016 at 6:32 amdaikama

      @GoXDS & SK: Thanks for clarifying. That helps. I guess time crunch and all, but would be nice if there were some more detail on individual powers/situation. :/

  • August 1, 2016 at 1:17 amSK

    As I expected, Lucia’s episode explored the curse of Asahi Haruka. Ryukishi07 does a good job of making the reader feel paranoid about what is and isn’t real, but compression really does cut out a lot of the suspense. Don’t know if we’ll ever get more into why she’s so obsessed over recycling, or else that earlier scene will remain kinda pointless.

    I’m a bit confused with the end scene, as it’s hard to see where they’re going with that. Are they being sent away to introduce the other members of the Occult Club? Or is it just to reinforce the idea that they’re agents in the secret organization Guardian, and they’ll still be in the club as if nothing happened?

    Re: Passerby’s spoiler
    Show Spoiler ▼

    http://randomc.net/image/Rewrite/Rewrite%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2036.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Rewrite/Rewrite%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2037.jpg
    I remember seeing the first Nishikujou-sensei sprite with open eyes, it had quite the impact.

    I’m guessing next episode is Chihaya’s? Sakuya’s (the butler/brother) role should probably get the spotlight
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • August 1, 2016 at 1:36 amPasserby

      Spoiler response: Show Spoiler ▼

  • August 1, 2016 at 2:04 amSeya-chan

    Looks like two primary school pupils trying to be cool:

    http://randomc.net/image/Rewrite/Rewrite%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2039.jpg

    • August 2, 2016 at 10:07 amiron2000

      Somehow I thought of Ga-rei and Kill Me Baby when I saw this scene.

      Anyway why use weapons when they have powers?
      Unless the weapons augments their powers.
      Its like they just want the scene to look cool :P

  • August 1, 2016 at 5:20 amSnooSnoo

    If there was a list of top 10 worst VN adaptations this would be somewhere in top 3. And I’m not even a huge Rewrite fan. I just noticed this is gonna be 13 episodes. Basically 8-bit studio Sachi-ing up all the routes in Rewrite just like they did Grisaia.

  • August 1, 2016 at 5:43 pmSetsuna

    The plot will really get ridiculous if next episode kotarou can hang out with chihaya and akane just like that…considering guardian already know kotarou power..

  • August 4, 2016 at 9:41 pmBreedo

    I got that feeling you spoke about, not sure which was the ghost and which was Lucia or was it all the same. I found this story riveting. I’m glad you elaborated on it’s VN counterpart because now it makes even more sense. I didn’t read the spoilers so thanks for the tag too! hehe, if this plays out like Charlotte did which seems like the feeling of it, it could be well worth the watch in the end. Damn I wish they’d take a risk and set up a longer run from the start. Beleive in your content Key!