Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rewrite Episode #13 Anime Review (Finale)

I wonder...if I had a little more time...could I have made everything better?

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)
So it's come to this -- the end of the world. When we last left off, Sakura and the other leading members of Gaia had begun the 'Song of Destruction', beckoning forth the apocalypse. As the song plays on, Kazamatsuri is swallowed up by vegetation. Monsters begin to run rampant through the streets, annihilating anyone they come across. Kagari, on the other hand, briefly comes back to reality -- albeit a little too late.

The episode kicks off after a short monologue from Kotarou. Shortly after the city spiraled into chaos last week, he and Kotori were able to escape to higher ground, carrying Kagari's body to the top of a skyscraper. As they stare off into the horizon, a colossal monster begins engulfing Kazamatsuri, turning everything in its wake into ash. In the midst of this, Kagari comes to her senses and causes Kotarou to have a mini-heart attack as he welcomes her back into the world. But this isn't the time to rejoice. There's still the matter of stopping the apocalypse before it's too late. The only way to do this, however, is to kill Kagari. And, of course, Kotarou isn't ready to let that happen.

As expected, good ole' Esaka shows up atop the rooftop Kotarou and his pals are taking shelter on. The main problem here is that Esaka's combat ability easily dwarfs Kotarou's, even factoring in the Rewrite ability. So Kotarou, in an effort to save Kagari's life, changes his DNA over and over again, but still can't manage to compete with the leader of Guardian. Eventually, Esaka is able to land what appears to be a decisive blow on our protagonist. But before he can finish the job, Shizuru shows up on a motorcycle and knocks him off the building. The two plunge into an empty space ridden with foliage and crumbling stone. Esaka asks Shizuru if she has any regrets, to which she replies with a predictable, "No" and the two become locked in battle as the camera brings us back to Kotarou -- now on the brink of death due to rewriting himself too much.

As mentioned earlier in the series, rewriting oneself can ultimately lead to a loss of humanity. But one thing that wasn't covered was why Kotarou was able to do this in the first place. As soon as this question is raised, we are taken back to the image of Kotarou's arm being severed by Kagari beneath the world tree. As it turns out, this is actually a memory of Kotarou's and that he was actually murdered by the Key back when he was just a child. Kotori, after finding him, begged Kagari to spare his life and she implanted one of her ribbons within him -- trading away a bit of his humanity for a second chance at existence. After this is established, Kagari decides to remove her ribbon from Kotarou in an effort to bring him back to life, now in present day. The only thing is, Gil and Pani are also bound to the ribbon and removing it would mean sacrificing them. Eventually, the fairies take one for the team and vanish away from the world as Kagari removes the ribbon and gives Kotarou the gift of consciousness yet again. When he comes to, Kotori lies to him and tells him that they've simply run away.

As things begin to look slightly more hopeful than they did five minutes ago, the Song of Destruction kicks off once again and sends not only Kagari into another screaming fit but Kotarou as well. Removing the ribbon didn't work. Kotarou has lost so much of his humanity that there is no plausible shot at him recovering. The song, now playing in full force, begins annihilating essentially everything in the entire world. People are fading away, buildings are being torn apart, and Kagari has started to transform into a tree. Yeah, you heard me. The imagery in this scene is actually rather terrifying as we see both Kagari and Kotarou's limbs morph into branches as they extend upward into the sky. Kotarou, still refusing to let her go, starts clinging to anything he can find -- hoping that he will eventually reach Kagari.

And then he does. It's time for some good, old-fashioned KEY brand sadness.

The world begins to break apart. And with it, so do all of our main characters. In just seconds, we're taken away from an utterly chaotic finale and thrust into an endless river of tears as the heroines we've grown to love over the last few months die and fade away right in front of us. The entire sequence is earth-shattering -- both literally and figuratively. After everyone has had their chance to say their goodbyes (To us, not each other), we're brought back to Kotarou and Kagari once again. After denying the chance to kill her himself and stop the end of the world, Kotarou has accepted that he, too, will perish. And he does. But not until after slowly transforming into a creature beyond recognition.

The credits roll.

In Summary:
This episode was both physically and emotionally taxing. It felt like KEY was working at max potential again. The only downset is that half of this damn series was worth literally nothing. And when you take those boring parts and compare it side-by-side to a finale like this, everything just seems so much more insignificant. It's common knowledge in the VN scene that Rewrite has one of the most intricate and endearing stories on the market, but taking that and trying to cram it into just thirteen episodes is nothing short of a travesty. I get that there are budget constraints and other factors the studio could not take full responsibility for (IE: Networking/Distribution/Etc.) but the fact of the matter is that the series did not receive the love it deserved. And honestly, if it had, it would have been remarkable. The themes of this episode come across so hard that they're basically tangible. And even if you couldn't find it in yourself to empathize with any of the show's characters, seeing them vanish still remains just as impactful as ever. Even the scriptwriting was top-tier in this episode as it pushed line after heartbreaking line at you. The end of the world is perhaps the biggest possible thing you can throw into the finale of a series, and episode thirteen of Rewrite was executed flawlessly. I just wish the rest of the series was as well.

A second season may or may not be happening. It would definitely make sense given the post-credits scene. I'm keeping my hopes up -- all thanks to this finale.

Episode Grade: A+
Series Grade: C+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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