OP: 「旅」 (Tabi)
「三杯のコーヒー」 (San Hai no Kōhī)
“Three Cups of Coffee”
I must admit, I wasn’t too positive about Rewrite when I was writing the preview and in my final impressions for the previous season. And, I was thinking, perhaps I was overly harsh. After all, it’s not like the crew over at 8bit didn’t ‘try’, it’s just that they lacked both the resources and the ability to deliver on such a big project. That’s sort of tragic in its own way, but at least we can’t fault them for lack of effort; more responsibility perhaps lies with Visual Arts for not caring enough about their anime properties. And even if the Rewrite adaptation had received more money and talent, the more time I spend on this subject the more I am convinced that it is perfectly impossible to do make an adaptation of that properly captures the experience of the visual novel. Yes, more time would, without a doubt, have helped the first season. If Rewrite had three cours of anime then, perhaps, it could have afforded to let us soak in the common route and actually properly flesh out the character routes. If it had looked better, and had better cinematography, perhaps we would have been more engaged with the narrative. In the end, though, Rewrite is a game. Well, a visual novel with questionable amounts of actual gameplay, but since we have no better general word for interactive media, let’s call it a game. Point is, playing the game and working through each of the routes is an innately different experience to just passively watching the anime. Making choices and exploring the different branches of possibility is part of the narrative. There’s no way for an anime to communicate that.
That’s not to say that there’s no way that anime adaptation could have been ‘good’ (CLANNAD did fine with basically the same issue, and so did Little Busters!, to a lesser extent), but that, for one who read the VN first, the anime adaptation will never feel exactly right. It doesn’t entirely excuse all the adaptation’s faults, especially since it didn’t really get to do any exploration at all. Here, this second season, Moon tries to correct that by throwing in some snippets of, er, [spoilers], it’s hardly enough, is it? While it’s neat to see whichever your favourite heroine is be tragic or act cute or get the CLANNAD end (or be stuck playing the cheesecake forever), it’s hardly the same experience as the full thing, is it? One can’t really just jump straight to the musical number and the catharsis and call it a day. Acts I and II are there for a reason. The way Rewrite did it, it’s basically saying: ‘Hey, wouldn’t this story be cool? Well, we’re not going to tell it.’. When the stories you hint at look a lot more interesting than the one you actually told, I think you have a problem.
Now that we have got Acts I and II out of the way, though, even if by skimming, we should be good to go. As I have mentioned before, Moon and Terra are completely linear and should make for an easy and straightforward adaptation. And, being Act III, they’re where Rewrite finally pays off. Just as how we wouldn’t make such a fuss about the CLANNAD anime without AFTER STORY and Little Busters! would have been nothing without Refrain, the last two routes of Rewrite tie the entire story together and makes everything worthwhile with the highest drama it can deliver. Is it actually as good as AFTER STORY or Refrain? Probably not, but that’s a discussion we can have after we’ve all watched it. There will be VN readers, like myself, who will still grumble that it’s not the ‘full’ experience, but since that’s impossible, let’s make the most of what we have. The temporary OP (featuring Maeda Jun’s Journey, just to remind us who the master is) is already better than basically anything we got in the first season, so I think my optimism should hold. If you’ve managed to make it this far, enjoy Moon and Terra. You’ve earned it.