Visual Novel Adaptation by 8-bit
Streaming on Crunchyroll
Regular high school dude keeps getting bitten and maybe murdered by a ghost girl every night for some reason? There are probably several parallel worlds and/or timelines that he’s in? Some fairies show up????? I have no idea what is going on.
Jel’s verdict: Please Rewrite This
Do you like heavy doses of the supernatural in your school rom coms? Mysterious parallel fantasy worlds? Little girls that look 10 years younger than they really are and act like they’re mentally handicapped and are probably terminally ill? These have been the calling cards for visual novel company Key for nearly 20 years and if the first episode of Rewrite is any indication, they will not be changing any time soon. It’s all presented in a style that embraces its visual novel roots, making meta references and implications that only fans are really going to appreciate. I might be able to take it for one episode at a time, but this double length premiere felt incredibly draining, and this is from the guy that will defend Clannad to the death.
The worst part though is despite the fact that we had two episode lengths to give us some foothold in the plot, I have no idea what is going on or why I should care. We love to say “show don’t tell” around here but there was not much showing OR telling. For example at one point the main character reasons that if people have super powers, then all the weird supernatural things he’s witnessing aren’t that far fetched. My response at the time: “Wait, people have super powers???” It was kind of sort of maybe implied but never established, and he said it casually enough to imply that we should have known that for a fact already. Maybe they are aiming strictly for the fans of the VN who will know the deal, but if so that makes for a very bad anime.
The final nail in the coffin is the presentation, which is not very good. I will be kind and say the art sacrifices fidelity for increased animation frames, but in this case it just makes things look sub par most of the time. That’s before even touching the hilariously bad CG monsters in the final third of the episode, but I’ll will let that slide too. It’s the directing that is particularly obnoxious, often sticking to a literal interpretation of the VN with straight on shots of the characters and dialogue that goes on uncomfortably too long when you are reading it out loud. I was screaming SHUT UP AND MOVE ON during the bits with the argument with Delinquent Guy and when Childhood Friend is trying to hook up the main dude with Wing Hair Girl (Sorry I don’t care enough to remember their names).
If you’re wondering why I’m sounding particularly salty, I had at least a sliver of hope for this since it is written in part by Romeo Tanaka. I personally know him best as the writer of Humanity Has Declined, but he is probably best known for writing the visual novel Kana: Little Sister. So I was kind of hoping for some kind of deliciously dark commentary on the human condition and a little less checking off the list of Key’s greatest hits. Maybe that will be the case further down the road, but this first double episode was such a mess that I can’t even make a prediction.
Quick Side Note: Before anyone goes blaming Jun Maeda (Clannad, Angel Beats, most recently Charlotte) for this, he no longer writes the Key visual novels and is fortunately still alive after a recent serious illness. Like the guy’s work or not, you have to agree we are losing too many people too young these days and hopefully he fully recovers.