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Rewrite – 12

「滅びの歌」 (Horobi no Uta)
“Song of Ruin”

Once in a while a much beloved piece of media will get an anime adaptation, for whatever reason. Perhaps they need to sell more copies of manga. Perhaps there’s tie-in potential for other merchandise. Perhaps some producer thought it’d just make a good TV show. No matter the reason and no matter the source, though, there’s usually already an established fanbase of the original material that will already be supporting it. They’ll spread word of mouth about how much they enjoyed the source. They’ll get hyped about seeing one of their favourite stories portrayed on screen. They’ll remember how the source moved them oh so long ago, and want the anime adaptation to make them feel once again.

Properly jaded anime watchers like you and I know that it’s never going to happen. Few adaptations end up equal or superior to the source (though it’s not impossible), and even for those they are it’s hard to inspire the old emotion emotion in a fan. The experience is always better the first time around, when it is new and can wow. Still, even if fans dream of perfection there is such a thing as ‘good enough’. There is such a thing as objective standards, and even if an anime doesn’t please everyone it can still be a great show. Why, then, the hate from the more vocal fan? Sometimes, fans will disown an adaptation entirely. A show is so bad, that they refuse to even recognise it as a representation of the source. There is no Tsukihime anime.

It’s a matter of opportunity cost, I think. Usually for an anime adaptation, there’s one chance to get it right because who’s going to remake this stuff, at least in the immediate future? And there’s also the matter of an experience being best the first time around. There the feeling that if newcomers are exposed to the inferior anime first, their experience is essentially spoilt. Forever. And they’ll never know any better. And that is a horrible tragedy. So the anime is worse than bad. It is poisonous. It would be better if it was never made in the first place.

Now, I’m not trying to insinuate that the Rewrite anime is so bad that it taints the entire franchise, or that we should start pretending it never existed, though I’m sure there are arguments to be made for that. But I do recognise that there are real frustrations with this show, some of which I’d even agree with, and wanted to make a case for where they come from, for some time the complaints of an established fan may sound awfully hyperbolic. Whether they are in any specific case I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader, but I think we can all agree that the Rewrite anime doesn’t really have enough time to tell the whole story, that it has to make judicial cuts, and that when an anime does so often it leaves some of the quality of the original source lost in translation. Take for example, how in this episode Rewrite tries to run through a lot of its characters’ backstories, knowing that it’s about to end. See this Midou guy? The one who suddenly gets a lightsaber? He’s supposed to come from a bad place, and it supposed to be an angry nihilist because he’s had a hard life. But when he rants about how content civilians his foes don’t know what real war is like, but brings out a dinosaur… well, that’s almost comical. He’s certainly not done enough to earn my sympathy. How about Kotori, the bigger star of this episode? She’s nothing but unfortunate. Sure, her sob story is still there, and Saito Chiwa still gave a damn good performance. But it’s undeveloped and heavy handed. In the visual novel, we got to interact more with her mother, saw more of her act as the happy-go-lucky childhood friend, experienced how she was supposed to be a source of normalcy and stability for Kotarou. But, of course, no time for that in the anime.

I know how I said before that it’d be a shame if the anime skipped over the events of the Kotori route, and how they really shouldn’t because it’d be important development for later. This is all still true. But after watching this episode, part of me wished they really had skipped it. Am I being a over-demanding fan? Perhaps. I think though, that I’m afraid that there will be those who watch Kotori’s story and, because of mediocre execution, find that they don’t care. This is an important part of the Rewrite experience though; I care, and I want others to care as well. It’s what being a shameless nerd is all about. So is it better, instead, if viewers didn’t get exposed to this anime, and instead experience Rewrite in a ‘proper’ way? Elitist wishful thinking, perhaps. But it’s a hard mindset to get out of once you’re in it.

Due to personal circumstances, next week’s Rewrite post will be late. Apologies for the inconvenience in advance.

September 18, 2016 at 7:44 am
33 comments »
  • September 18, 2016 at 8:37 amJaguar

    90% of Key stuff becomes an unfollowable trainwreck when condensed in 1-cour . I totally lovel little busters, it was a total of 39 eps, and you could have time to fall in love with all those characters. Here in Rewrite like in Charlotte, last episodes become a ball of madness and crazy people, you have literally no idea of what is going on, things just keep happening and you say “ok” but really you have no way to stop it.
    Not enough money, not enough time, I can think about tons of shows that could be lovely in 26 eps, and become unbearable in 12/13…

    • September 18, 2016 at 11:32 amdanes256

      Angel Beats is an aberration in that regard.

      • September 18, 2016 at 12:58 pmLyfe

        Angel Beats was a great adaption, but it left a lot of unanswered questions. I wanted to know more about the world they were in. I wanted to know who created it(Like actually see the person and have some backstory). I also wanted to see more depth to some of the characters. It also would have been great to see some stories about the people who came before the cast, and some explanation as to how much time had passed with that final scene.

        I think Angel Beats could have worked as a 24/26 episode series if it expanded the world, the characters and added some more depth.

      • September 18, 2016 at 7:18 pmPasserby

        I personally found Angel Beats flawed as well, though of course there’s the matter of degree. No matter what you thought of it, though, Angel Beats would have certainly been better with more episodes. It goes to show what a time-limited medium anime is.

      • September 18, 2016 at 8:13 pmGoodwill Wright

        Wait, are we talking about the anime Angel Beats!? That’s not exactly an adaptation.

        Disregarding that, I though it was a solid anime. All of the cut stuff would’ve been character episodes so it’s not like there was any important information missed. It’s unfortunate that there wasn’t more, but I don’t think that made the anime bad. Sure, it would’ve been nice if it was longer, but they pretty much got all of the important parts in.

    • September 18, 2016 at 1:02 pmLyfe

      I agree that Charlotte felt condensed. I also agree about the crazy part, it was like woah, the anime just hits you with all this super important/crazy stuff all at once and expects you to just roll with it. The way they started with this somewhat light story then made it super serious was kinda jarring.

    • September 18, 2016 at 6:31 pmNoSicko

      Totally agree!

  • September 18, 2016 at 9:00 amBear

    YMMV, but the only one that I can think of that got a remake is Kanon (2002, 2006).

    • September 18, 2016 at 2:18 pmDylan21

      Although KyoAni was the one who made the 2002 version and still had rights to it, so they were able to. Plus it’s KyoAni, one of the major/big studios. 8Bit is probably regarded as small/medium sized. Plus the remake would have to done by 8Bit unless they sell the rights or something like that and we certainly do not want a remake by 8Bit (as will probably turn out to be just as bad).

      • September 18, 2016 at 7:14 pmPasserby

        I didn’t think KyoAni was involved with the Kanon (2002)? I thought it was animated by Toei. I don’t have time to look into the production companies behind the two versions, but I would assume they were separate licenses.

    • September 19, 2016 at 2:02 amPerlaNemesis

      TOEI also made CLANNAD movie before KyoAni made their own TV adaptation (although the movie aired justa month before TV series) and then there’s AIR movie (also by TOEI) which aired a month after KyoAni’s TV series began. Basically in both cases it was two adaptations at the same time.

  • September 18, 2016 at 9:47 amAex

    In a perfect world shows with source material would never get 1-cour forced on them. If they need 2-cour to get to a good stopping point, they get 2-cour, or at least a guaranteed split-cour. I will always view this as the biggest cause of source-degredation, and it’s so obvious it’s baffling that it’s just getting more common(the obvious answer is money but… Yeah @.@). It Isn’t true for every show, but I still can’t even count how many would have been so much better if they’d just had the extra time.

    • September 18, 2016 at 1:08 pmLyfe

      How could they also expect fans to support their show if they don’t do a great job doing it? As you’ve mentioned, for a show with a story that needs 24/26 episodes to be complete, they should find a way to get the funding to produce it or not bother at all. Sure, it’s risky because it may sell poorly, but producing the best possible adaption is the best way to endear a studio to people.

      • September 18, 2016 at 1:17 pmzrnzle500

        In a world where most anime only gets 12-13 episodes, I don’t think their failure to get more is due to lack of effort. I won’t say it is the best possible adaptation, but making something at the level fans of the source want and getting the amount of time necessary to do so is not as easy as fans of the source think, especially when it comes to begging their sponsors for more money, essentially.

      • September 18, 2016 at 1:55 pmLyfe

        I think if 8-bit couldn’t commit to a split cour, they should have left it alone. I get that the studio has had a few bombs at retail with Absolute Duo and Comet Lucifer, but there are plenty of studios that somehow make 2 x 12/13 episodes work. They should have left it for one of those.

      • September 18, 2016 at 2:15 pmzrnzle500

        There’s no guarantee that any other studio would want to do it or would have room in their schedule to do it. The production committee probably tried to get the best one they could to do it with the budget that had. Plus, would having an extra cours actually help the adaptation beyond for fans of the franchise. The added material would almost certainly be the slice of life stuff at the beginning, which would flesh out the characters more but it could bore the anime only viewers before they bothered to even get to where it would help most. And I saw elsewhere that that is no small possibility as even the part that was included was not all that interesting to some anime only viewers.

      • September 18, 2016 at 2:17 pmzrnzle500

        Plus by nature two cours will cost about twice as much as one, so I don’t think twice as much budget as they got was in the offing

      • September 18, 2016 at 2:24 pmDylan21

        I heard somewhere (can’t remember where) that WHITE FOX were approached to adapt it but could only adapt it in a year or 2 or something like that due to already having series planned. And Tensho, Romeo or Aniplex (or whoever was in charge) decided to give it to 8Bit. Think they wanted it adapted this season due to the release of Rewrite+. Not sure how legit that is but would’ve loved it if it was WHITE FOX as there would’ve been a 100% chance of it being 2-cour or more then (plus it would look a 100x better).

      • September 18, 2016 at 2:31 pmLyfe

        I don’t think people should accept an inadequate adaption because there’s no guarantee that another studio would take on the series. Studios should be held to account for a poor adaption by people not supporting the DVD/BD releases. It works for quite a lot of poor shows.

      • September 18, 2016 at 2:34 pmLyfe

        @Dylan21

        Really? White Fox would have been an amazing choice to do this series. What a shame.. :(

      • September 18, 2016 at 2:50 pmzrnzle500

        Like I said further down, it doesn’t seem that bad of an adaptation, certainly not to the point that it is truly unacceptable.

      • September 18, 2016 at 2:57 pmLyfe

        I think you’re right. Though I do think it comes down to perspective. Some of the more devoted fans who are familiar with the LN etc may take issue with it. While you may find that anime only viewers are happy enough with what they’re watching. It’s often the more ‘hardcore’ fan that buys the merchandise/releases, and are more vocal about their support/dislike for a show. So I think they need to take them into consideration too.

      • September 18, 2016 at 7:04 pmLyfe

        Ah totally saw that error. I meant to say VN(Visual novel) sorry!

    • September 18, 2016 at 7:09 pmPasserby

      My suspicion is that there will be a second cour of this anime anyway, since there’s actually a fair bit of Rewrite left to go. Rewrite is longer than CLANNAD though, and would really like at least the same amount of anime time. So three cours, at least, but that may be a bit too much to ask these days.

      • September 18, 2016 at 8:17 pmAex

        For 3-cour nowadays you either have to swim in money, have an extremely loud fanbase(not always helpful, either), or do truly unspeakable things behind closed doors…

      • September 19, 2016 at 4:31 pmDanpmss

        @Aex
        Cof Cof What about Ushio to Tora? It was none of these.

  • September 18, 2016 at 1:10 pmzrnzle500

    As someone who watched the recent adaptation of Berserk and saw the reaction of some fans of the manga, such a reaction to this show does seem hyperbolic if not petulant, though not wholly unfounded. Fans of the original source of Berserk have far more to rightly complain about, even if I find their disavowal of the show excessive and shrill nonetheless. My point is that I can see where they are coming from whereas, aside from this episode I’ll admit, I very much do not see why this adaptation is so awful that it rises to the level that any true fan ought disown it. If fans of the source don’t want it, the anime only fans will appreciate what merits it does have in their stead. I for one will keep the Tsukihime anime if you won’t take it. Sheesh, such a reaction makes me more steadfast in my belief of sticking with one medium. Not that I think others should do so, but rather if seeing the source will ruin the anime for me, personally I’ll stick with the anime.

    • September 18, 2016 at 7:04 pmPasserby

      When confronted with a disappointing adaptation, I don’t think, ‘Yeah, but that other one was worse!’ brings much comfort. And while your position is not at all wrong, I think it is part of what makes fans despair over a mediocre adaptation. I’m not the kind who will go so far as disown the Rewrite anime (the VN has plenty of problems itself), but I do find it lacking. My fear is that there are fans like yourself, who are ‘anime-only’ and will never experience Rewrite in any other way. At best they are missing out, at worst they are woefully misguided. And that’s a huge shame.

  • September 18, 2016 at 7:13 pmJeffers

    Seeing that the next is final episode, the only way to end the series in one episode is, kill the Key to stop the salvation or let the end of the world happen, annihilating everyone. It would be a major decision making for kotarou too. Dont kill Kagari or your friends are much more precious and let Guardian or you kill the Kagari.

  • September 18, 2016 at 8:27 pmJuan

    Very very few adaptations live up to the source. In recent memory, only uFotable’s UBW and apparently Tales of Zesteria, Satelight’s White Album 2 along with maybe Shokugeki no Souma Season 1 can be said to be very good adaptations which play to the strengths of the originals and at times adds a bit more given the new media. Most of the time adaptations will be ok or be a total train wreck. Aside from the “reliving old memories and emotions” that Passerby mentioned in the review, I think the thing about adaptations is more fundumental.

    Adaptations especially for those from VNs or Novels have an especially hard time when transitioning to Anime. First and foremost is the volume of the work. Writers have near unlimited space for providing details, thoughts of characters, expositions and the like when in the original source.

    This is probably best illustrated by the Mahouka adaptation. A large part of what made the Mahouka series interesting for me is 1) the diverse world and “science” of the world. The author took great pains to provide a framework for his magic dependent world and all characters, even the OP Tatsuya don’t break that framework and 2) the intrigue and politics of the characters and their families which was given almost no notice in the adaptation. I think it’s understandable because it makes little sense to keep going into internal monologue in a media which is characterized by movement.

    VNs are even harder. 10 people may say that they love the FSN series but they will disagree with one another as to which was the best route. Understandable as each route has its own story and its own points that appeals to different people. The common solution taken by adapters is to fuse routes together to form a “super route” taking elements from the various parts. The problem with this is that often it just leaves the story disjointed. I think one of the major reasons UBW was a success was that it focused only on the UBW route and ignored both Fate and Heaven’s Feel. White Album 2 is also the same since it focused only on Introductory Stage which is essentially only a common route. Even the original FSN anime is largely regarded as a failure.

    Also text to visual can hurt a series also. Which is probably why manga adaptations seem to fair a bit better since they essentially speak the same language with animation being the only real difference. Take the Shokugeki no Souma S1 as an example of keeping true to the source but playing up the strengths of the new media.

    But most importantly the thing about adaptations is that there will always be something left out. Its inevitable, there is just no way to cram all the content in given the limitations of episode length and budget. Sadly, we don’t all agree as to what’s important and often times what we consider most important is cut from the final product. For example, I thought that Kirito’s monologue at the end of the 2nd novel of SAO, after reuniting with Asuka IRL, fully encaptulated the story of the first 2 arcs and also did well to explain his feelings about the whole incident. However, they decided to cut it out even if they could have simply voiced it over. But that’s how it is and we just have to live with it.

    • September 19, 2016 at 8:06 amnyanlol

      i would venture to add oregairu of adaptions that really nail the source material, and possibly hunter x hunter’s more recent incarnation

  • September 21, 2016 at 8:45 amtheirs

    I almost cried for Kotori. A real emphasis on the almost. They actually managed to stop me, it was a strange sensation. Can’t say they’re doing a good job on this anime. Do note I didn’t say adaption. I am actually interested in the story, but it’s more to do with experience from previous Key titles and reviews like this. If I only watched this on TV and have no access to the internet, I’d have zero interest in this series.

    I must say, I enjoyed both the Tsukihime anime and the 2006 Fate/stay night anime. Those two animes actually got me into the VNs. It was a different experience for the former, but I can see why fans complained. Didn’t notice too many differences for the latter.

    With that in mind, is it safe to assume that after the thirteenth episode, the rewrite anime will cease to exist? If I ever get the Rewrite VN, KyoAni will have a bigger influence in my purchasing decision than whatever studio is doing this one.

  • September 21, 2016 at 8:44 pmSK

    The thing that annoys me most about subpar adaptations is that it makes discussion difficult if one side has only seen the anime and the other side has experienced the original source, whether that’s VN, LN, manga, game, or whatever else it may be. There’s nothing wrong if an anime-only viewer enjoys the experience, and I don’t think they should feel bad for doing so. I’ve certainly enjoyed a few adaptations that others who started with the source material had complaints about. I might recommend the source if I thought it was significantly better, but some people for whatever reason (time, money, preference for certain media) will only ever watch the anime, so that’s their choice.

    However, the issue that I have is when people point to a bad adaptation and use it as their main argument against fans of the franchise. In an adaptation, thing X is never explained, and Y is such a deus ex machina. Fans of the source say, well actually, the source says blah blah blah about X and Y. Maybe the critiques are true and the fans are being blinded by their love, or maybe the issues really are the result of a compressed adaptation, and the criticism isn’t valid for the original. It becomes difficult to say whether someone is just being a fanboy or a hater if one side only has a drastically reduced version of the story. People more often end up talking past each other rather than with each other, even devolving into flame wars.

    I tend to side on not settling for a shorter adaptation if the source requires a significant investment of episodes to tell its story. If they feel like they don’t have another option, I’d lean towards not adapting at all. It comes down to whether the expanded reach of any adaptation is worth the potential cost of a bad one; a bad anime may drive away people who might have been interested in the source if they had never seen it, or alienate those who were already fans. People have a tendency to be overly optimistic about their own abilities, so it feels like companies are saying that they’ll be able to make these one cour adaptations work. It seems like there’s been an increase in mediocre adaptations recently, and they also seem to be increasing how much content they try to cram in, making compressed adaptations worse by rushing through content. It’s a bigger issue with character-driven stories, since the first thing that’s usually cut are the scenes providing more depth to characters. They aren’t necessarily relevant to the larger plot, but if they get cut, the audience has no reason to care about the characters and don’t connect in the same way. Slice-of-life scenes may seem like easy areas to cut out, but they play an important role and the extent of their removal often reflects how fans of the source feel about the quality of the adaptation. To look at another VN franchise, this is why I won’t complain about no anime for the main Muv-Luv trilogy. While it could be great, it’d probably take at least 4, probably 5 or 6 cours to adapt properly. Compromising on the length would do a great disservice to the story, especially since Extra would likely be the biggest target. For all the praise that Alternative gets, it wouldn’t be the same without the development in Extra and Unlimited.

    To bring this back to Rewrite, one of my main issues with this adaptation has been that they seem to throw things in for VN readers, but never go about explaining or really doing anything with them. Pani and Gil (the plant fairy things) show up in the first episode, then disappear for most of the series. Granted, their appearance in the VN is dependent on who wrote the route, but they could have been cut without affecting the plot. Kotori’s parents, Midou’s backstory, Lucia’s obsession with recycling, the occult club investigation montage, there are plenty of things that just feel tacked on for the sake of inclusion, rather than being tied in to anything larger. The slice-of-life segments in the VN show that Kotarou has a lot of acquaintances, but no friends besides Kotori and maybe Yoshino, which is why he cared so much about the club and having a place where he felt he belonged. Cutting stuff is obviously necessary, especially if they only get one cour for everything before Moon and Terra, but the way they went about it just seems weird.

    If we do get a second season for Moon and Terra, then I’m assuming this season is going to end more like Kotori’s route than Akane’s. That just feels like a better lead-in to Moon.