Anime Expo is running me ragged and the season has exploded with new series, and a couple old ones too, so I’m going to have to machine-gun through a bunch of these or else I’ll fall hopeless behind. I happened to stumble into a screening of Rewrite, and having sat through it I have to blog it based on that screening rather that re-watch it – there’s simply no time. As it happens the Crunchyroll rep was trying to get the audience to choose between a series starting with “D” and on starting with “R” – obviously Days and Rewrite, though few in the crowd seemed to know that. Days was winning until she said it was a sports anime, when the crowd turned on it like a pack of mad dogs. Thus, we got Rewrite.
Please don’t mistake my brevity as a sign that I didn’t enjoy this double-episode, because I enjoyed it a whole lot. I wasn’t sure at the time that the audience was getting it, to be honest – and a quick reading of the fan reaction later seems to bear that out. This is Key like you’ve never seen it, and there’s a very good reason for that – it’s written by Tanaka Romeo. He was the scenario writer for the Rewrite VN and he’s adapting the anime as well – using what’s purported to be an original route, as it happens. And his sensibility is a long way from what we’re used to seeing from Maeda Jun.
Where I feel like some folks are going wrong here is that they simply don’t realize this is meant to be taken ironically. Tanaka is a serial satirist and a serial deconstructor, and he’s doing both to the Key formula with Rewrite. Maybe that’s more true in the anime than it was in the game, I don’t know – but there’s no way he intends this material to be taken at face value. The parade of girls representing harem tropes, the on-cue anime cliches, even the nod to Kanon (“Uguu!”) – this is a meta-Key if ever I’ve seen one. And when Tanaka is this engaged and interested as a writer, it’s a treat to witness.
Speaking of which, I know a lot of fans whined when 8bit was pegged to produce Rewrite, but I thought the premiere looked great, especially the animation. The pacing was relentless, the humor off the wall (the lube joke brought quite a reaction), and the nods to VN and even Key tropes never stopped. I really liked it – I liked the smartass male lead and most of the oddball girls (especially the dirty-minded one played by Saito Chiwa), and the two pixies who were born from a pile of garbage and The Colonel. I liked almost all of it, in fact – and I’m sincerely looking forward to more.