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