First Impressions – Rewrite

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.

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7 comments

  1. s

    there’s always something about hour long eps of anime that puts a smile on my face whether i personally like the series or not; idk why. I guess it sort of makes me hopeful that a time will come where the industry will adopt that time format for seasonal airing anime for the shows that may arguably benefit from having that hour long run time on a weekly basis. By the way, rumor has it that Bones will be having a panel this sunday at anime expo and that they will be showing an advanced screening of the first ep of mob psycho 100. If that happens to be the case, will you blog the first ep or will you wait till it officially airs like you did with one punch man?

  2. Yes those are indeed happening. As yet I don’t know which or either I’ll hit – tomorrow has a lot of scheduling conflicts.

  3. g

    At first I was confused with how quickly changed places of action and how many different threads were tackled at the same time. But I’m quite patient and will give a time to puzzles to fall in their places, anime doesn’t have to explain everything in the first episode.

    For now we have standard plot points, which seem predictable and couple mysterious ones so I can’t say anything about plot but I quite like MC, he behaves… how to say it… ordinary around people, especially girls (important – because the genre), which is, funnily enough, refreshing in anime and has a perfectly normal social life (for now at least). There were couple tropes and scenes, which I didn’t like but for now I let them slid.

    Funny thing I didn’t have in my plans to watch it because I was afraid it wouldn’t be for me (being harem and all that) but I’m really trying to expand my tastes so, if won’t go ecchi, I’m going to watch it. It won’t, right?

  4. r

    Just to nitpick, that nod to Kanon was “~auuu” (Makoto) and not “~uguu” (Ayu).
    I had heard before that people thought Koutarou was maybe the best Key Protagonist, and after that first episode I’m inclined to believe so. That scene in the classroom where he annoys the heck out of the tough guy, going so far as to back up his childhood friend when she started yaoi-shipping the two of them…. comedy gold.

  5. I despise Harems, with that out of he way I like everything about this episode except the character art and its animation. Whoever did the characters designs needs to go back to study how to draw. It is the almost famished designs a feature of the VN too? am I blaming the wrong person? I don’t know anything about Rewrite.

    I will stick around because the jokes were funny and I kinda liked the main character.

  6. Whenever there’s an anime adaptation of a VN I really enjoyed, I’m always apprehensive and nervous for its outcome. With the animation medium, there’s so much potential for it go either right or wrong, so many things to manage. As a fan, I’d want to see justice done to the source material, but at the same time, evenly paced within the time constraints. As a fan, I’d want the show to reflect the nostalgia of the feelings I had when I played the game, but at the same time, offer something new to enhance the experience so it’s not a rehash.

    In these regards, the first episode was very good for me. The feel and the ambiance of the ‘green’ city, the music and the sequence of character introductions all faithfully mirrored the experience from the game, but at the same time, watching koutarou from a 3rd person perspective was a treat. They really managed to make him funny, engaging, charismatic, mysterious and likeable as a main character. The animations and the background art were really as breathtaking as some of the shots from the game and better yet, made the whole city/setting come alive in a way that the VN unable to accomplish. Another great part about this longer ep was they kind of were able succinctly introduced all the major players in one (okay maybe 2) episodes without skimping too much on the funny bits and scenes, when I was wondering how they were logistically going to accomplish this, given that I spent about a week on common route. the pacing did feel a little rushed a times with a lot going on simultaneously, but it was to be expected given how much territory they covered.

    After playing through Phoenix Wright, and Little Busters and then being disappointed by the anime counterparts, I’m less apprehensive about Rewrite and even hopeful that the anime could elaborate and improve certain parts of the VN that were lacking. Hopefully, this can kinda follow the higurashi route which I thought was an adaptation that was really well done without about the same material as Rewrite.

  7. sorry, I meant to say ‘…….WITH about the same [VOLUME] of material as Rewrite’ in the last line

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