Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Rewrite Episode #01 Anime Review

One day, I realized I had nothing.

What They Say:
Kazamatsuri, a modern, well-developed city renowned for its burgeoning greenery and rich Japanese culture, is home to Kotarou Tennouji, a high schooler least privy to the place's shared values. Content to fill his pockets with frivolity, the proud and nosy boy whiles away his time pestering the self-proclaimed delinquent Haruhiko, and indulging in his amorous feelings toward the oddball Kotori.

Equipped with the superhuman ability to permanently rewrite any part of his body to multiply his strength or speed, Kotarou is naturally drawn to the supernatural. One special meeting with the lone member and president of the Occult Research Club, the "Witch" Akane Senri, leads to Kotarou reviving the Occult Club by recruiting Kotori and three other members: the clumsy transfer student Chihaya, the strict class representative Lucia, and the unassuming Shizuru. As Kotarou unveils hidden secrets of each member of the Occult Club through their shared adventures, he will inevitably encounter a fate that only he might be able to rewrite.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
I feel like I've been waiting years for this. After first being introduced to KEY many years back with shows like Air, Kanon, and Clannad (Which, to this day, is still my absolute favorite anime series) I've been following nearly every step the company has taken up until now. As many of you may know, Rewrite is the animated adaptation of the company's 2011 visual novel of the same name. And while I haven't been able to play the VN (Due to my inability to read Japanese), I've been keeping my eye on the reception of the series for years. With the original game totaling over 101,000 lines of text, it's safe to say that the story is nothing short of an epic. That being said, I'm a bit skeptical of the decision to only have 13 adapted episodes of Rewrite, even with the first one being nearly an hour in length. However, I am still hopeful for a second cours, but we'll have to wait and see.

Anyway, Rewrite follows the life of Kotarou Tennouji, a high-schooler with the ability to slow down time and accelerate his senses. Taking place in a semi-fantasy world overflowing with greenery, Rewrite's landscapes and visuals have the ability to leave long lasting impressions on viewers right off the bat. With an opening sequence highlighted by the formation of the universe, the show's scale becomes colossal immediately before tailing off into Kotarou's perspective. Immediately, he ventures outside into a remarkably beautiful dystopian setting laden with crumbling buildings and immense forestation amplified ten times more by the mystical and seemingly tragic background music. This upsettingly brief scene gives us a glimpse into what may, perhaps, be the future of the Rewrite series and it's nothing short of glorious.

When the scene ends, we're thrust into Kotarou's present life as he ventures out to find a friend (Kotori Kanbe) of his at the behest of her mother. From this point on, the series begins to introduce each of its heroines one by one, giving each of them a scene or two to showcase their personality. There's Kotori (The aloof, playful childhood friend), Lucia (The uptight class rep with an adorable soft side), Chihaya (The rambunctious transfer student), and Shizuru (The kohai with an eyepatch). Apart from these four, there are several other heroines/semi-heroines who make an appearance. The one who winds up appearing the most, though, is someone we're never formally introduced to.

Flashing back to the nightmare (Or future, knowing KEY) sequence, the girl who pierces Kotarou's heart continues to somewhat haunt him throughout the first episode, appearing in his room each and every night and leading him to believe he's been cursed. Each appearance she makes reveals more and more about her true nature. Eventually, she helps lead our protagonist on a sort of scavenger hunt as she lays clues out for him all over the school building. Terrified, once again, Kotarou begins running away from the unknown girl and ultimately stumbles upon a hidden passageway leading to god-knows-where. In the midst of his confusion, he comes across two fairies (Gil and Pani) who wind up trying to help him escape. Unfortunately for all of them, they wander into the nest of some giant mystical creature and wind up waking it from its slumber. Just when things begin to bleak, the mysterious ribbon-girl shows up once more and fends off the monster, showcasing that she is not one to be reckoned with and that she isn't actually out to kill our main character.

After the monster is fought off, Kotarou is transported back into the real world, making it safe to assume that wherever he wandered off to was a sort of alternate dimension or something along those lines. Of course, as soon as he wakes up, the fairies are gone and he is instead greeted by a Colonel Sanders mannequin, beckoning him back to a club-room he came across with Kotori the day before. Having visited this room several times up until now, we're well aware that there is something amiss about it. In fact, one of his last trips to this club-room ended up with him filling out a questionnaire left there by someone we're not entirely sure of at this point in time. But, the more important thing about this questionnaire is the last question on the sheet, which asked Kotarou, "If you were given the choice to change the world or yourself, which would it be?"

On his final trip back to the room, we're introduced to our final heroine -- Akane Senri, the academy witch.

In Summary:
Rewrite comes across as equal parts mysterious and stunningly beautiful in just the first episode alone. With a likable protagonist and a roster of heroines that are already endearing and intimate, it's safe to say that many viewers will become attached to some of the characters before even learning everything about them. KEY once again exemplifies next-level storytelling and world-building techniques in a faithful adaptation of one of their most popular games to-date. I've waited years for this anime and I'm not even close to being let down. This is going to be powerful; I can feel it.

Grade: A

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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