「オカ研活動記録」 (Oka-ken Katsudō Kiroku)
“Occult Club Activity Log”
Aaand after a bout of serious development we’re back to the comedy hijinks, by which I mean that Lucia, having expended her dramatic purpose and freshly out of stable soap opera work, has to fall back on providing fanservice. There’s never a lack of demand there, that’s for sure; does the demographic have any greater love than maids, blushing tsundere, and bondage? Unfortunately it’s not all as sexy as it sounds, and Lucia doesn’t last. She is added to the quasi-harem, and her brief stint as Person of Immediate Plot Relevance ends without much fanfare.
Rewrite doesn’t move straight away onto milking the next heroine for narrative potential, though, instead going for even more comedy hijinks, returning those Occult-Club-mischief sketches that sort of looked like they’d be recurring segments back in Episode 03 but turned out to be not really. Rewrite the anime breezes through a bunch of them montage style this week, but in the visual novel, they were actually the bread and butter of the common route, sandwiching the more meaty character-centric filling as we had for Shizuru and Lucia. These sketches were not just for comic relief however. You may recall me talking about how Rewrite liked to play with our perception of what was real and what was not. The Occult Club going out of searching for proof of the supernatural was the main way it did it. While for the most part Rewrite lampoons popular urban legends (and the Japanese love them and have many) and in the end Akane would always debunk whatever supernatural phenomenon or cryptid they’re investigating in the name of Rationalism and protection of her chastity, there was always a bit of room left for doubt. Twilight Zone twist: what’s to say that Yoshino is not actually a ghost? Spooky!
All the fun and games, though, comes screeching to a halt with the introduction of the mystery goop. That was actually a pretty big dynamic change in the VN, as suddenly all those strange creatures that we may or may not have seen can all be explained away as pollution mutants (noting, of course, that the Godzilla story is not exactly hard science either). The effect is somewhat lessened in the anime, I’m guessing mostly because it’s moving so fast, but it still signals a significant development in Rewrite. After all, suddenly everything is serious business and our cast needs to start debating philosophy. This is also where Rewrite gets hijacked by James Cameron and its heavy-handed environmental message rears its ugly head. That’s not to say that Akane speaks for the entire show with her depressing rating of humanity, but the overall point is hardly a subtle one.
This is the serious side of Rewrite, about humanity relationship with nature. Though it may be lacking in subtlety, it does at least beat us over the head with its point in a different way than the usual university campus rally. Rewrite takes all this chuuni-shounen stuff, about superpowers and whatnot, and tries to tie it all into some story about the relationship between humanity and nature. And it does put some thought into it, for what that’s worth. To demonstrate, first at the bar to make their case is Akane, proposing a logical extreme: hypothetically expunging the human race. Hmm. How ominous.