“Under a multi-coloured sky, with the song of destruction in my ears, I swing a fluttering sword.”
Title: Rewrite (Akane)
Developer: Key, Visual Arts, Amaterasu Translations
Release Date: June 24, 2011
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Tragedy
Rating: All Ages
Without a doubt, this is the best heroine route in the game.
Given that I’ve literally just finished the route, it might just be my emotions talking but I do think it had both the best girl and the best plot. It was very morally divisive, featured global-scale events and ended with a tragic salvation that completely rewrote and purged all civilization. Like the others, it was also very sad – but unlike Kotori’s or Shizuru’s for example, it didn’t all burst forth in a torrent of feels at the end. Rather, it was sort of like an ebbing melancholy that continued throughout the route – thinking back, I don’t think I could recall a single genuinely happy moment, which is saying quite a lot. There was always some sort of stress or conflict hovering nearby, whether it was caused by Suzaki’s faction, the mass media, Guardian or even Kagari. You know, I think she died too early in this route. I missed having her around.
A lot of this sadness seemed to stem from Akane herself, and by extension Kotarou’s relationship with her. In the past I’ve not-so-subtly hinted that, of the five main heroines, Akane is my best girl. She’s a great senpai character, and it’s lots of fun making her flustered and watching her sadistically destroy Kotarou in many of their arguments. Also, Kitamura Eri somehow makes each sentence she says sound very sexy. I could listen to her all day. It’s oddly erotic… I suppose it’s at times like this that I wish Rewrite had a couple of H-scenes, although they probably wouldn’t be any good. Bet Akane’s into some kinky stuff. Okay, I’m getting a bit sidetracked now. So yeah, I was hoping to get closer to her in this route, but in some ways I felt that Kotarou was even more distant from her than when he wanted senpai to notice him – Akane’s personality actually seemed more vibrant in the common route. Part of it might have been because of her role within Gaia’s inner circle, and Kotarou’s corresponding role as her bodyguard – in the other routes, there weren’t any of these sorts of responsibilities keeping apart Kotarou and his chosen heroine. And even when there were, Guardian were supportive of Kotarou’s relationship with Lucia or Shizuru – they were a friendly group in general, and it hurt to drive away Imamiya or Nishikujou, because they were all nice people. I didn’t feel that within Gaia. Everyone was keeping secrets or playing politics, and in the end it was revealed that Akane had kept a lot of information from Kotarou – to protect him, perhaps, but she kept it from him nonetheless. And then there was this whole thing about initiating the song of destruction by herself and destroying the world – it was because of the holy woman’s influence, but it put her at terrible odds with Kotarou, who was trying his absolute best to mitigate the damage and get everyone evacuated. When I saw her again after all that time, I actually thought she was a grown-up Kagari for a moment. There was romance, but… I don’t know. The only person within Gaia that seemed truly amiable was Shimako, and that was mostly because she was a cute thing who was too young to be plotting anything.
Admittedly, Akane has not led a nice life. I don’t know if her time at the orphanage was better than the stuff she’s had to endure just before and during the route, but it was painful for her as a successor to the holy woman – brain cells are turned into familiars, and each new girl receives this weird mix of memories and emotions that they have to contend with. And each one has salvation imprinted as the final goal – that was the very core of what Gaia was. It was different to Guardian in that sense, which had a broad aim of protecting humanity continuously. Perhaps Akane was insane from the very start, but that responsibility was just placed onto Kashima Sakura instead of her – actually, coming to think of it, many of these problems were initiated by Takasago. Wow, what a fucking retard. And even after Akane triggered salvation, it was horrible to even watch the guilt that was eating away at her – she kept talking about dying and sleeping in the forest, and it was all so pitiful.
What I’ve come to call the “key choice” had a bit more elaboration during this route, and the true implications of changing the world soon became very clear to me. While Kotarou is naturally aligned towards changing himself as a superhuman, he chose to change the world nonetheless, alongside those who summon familiars using their lifespan. And the world did indeed change drastically. It almost felt like a different sort of salvation was emitted, but then again it felt like a different Kagari – it always does. This time she didn’t even speak, but even so I thought it was a bit rude to knock her unconscious and stuff her into a sack. From what I remember of the salvation in Shizuru’s route, people just disappeared – or rather, they just ceased to exist. But this time, nature played a horribly active part – the song of destruction actually brought about literal destruction, with nature actively trying to wipe out humanity through a series of disasters and the rapid growth of vegetation. Once again, billions died. But I think they went through a lot more suffering – although I bitched at Kagari when she carried out salvation by herself, I must admit it’s a kinder way of rewriting the world.
I’ve come to realize the deeper implications of the game’s title, by the way – it doesn’t just refer to Kotarou’s power or Kagari’s salvation, although that’s a part of it too. Kotarou doesn’t just rewrite himself – the player rewrites the game each time a different heroine is picked, and in doing so, they rewrite Kotarou on a different level to strengthening his body. He becomes a completely different person with different values, ideals and beliefs, although they’re all linked to protecting the girl he loves. Kotarou absolutely refused to do any killing in Chihaya’s route, and yet this time he had no problem with killing in cold blood, easily crossing the line in hurting Imamiya or Takasago, although the latter deserved every bit of it. And that was reflected in his rewriting, too – I’ve noticed that a lot of “fuel” was poured into strengthening his aurora in particular, which turned from mere claws and blades into living beasts and eventually ribbons not unlike what Kagari has. Though I suppose that’s the true final form of aurora, given that it came from a piece of Kagari’s ribbon to begin with. There was a fair amount of fighting in this route too, though it wasn’t as organized as things were in Chihaya’s route, which had clearly defined mid-bosses and a last boss. The Earth Dragon did not feel as intimidating as it should have been, while Takasago was just a prick that needed to die quickly. The chase through the forest with Kagari was probably the conflict I found most exciting, although that didn’t end so well. I’m glad Chihaya and Sakuya weren’t involved with the fighting, presumably having quickly left Gaia early on – I have a feeling they’d have made some sort of noble sacrifice and added to the pile of growing bodies. As for the Guardian girls, given that Nishikujou was around, Lucia and Shizuru probably did okay. I don’t even want to think about what happened to Kotori.
All things considered, I think Kotarou and Akane had a happy ending. Things weren’t normalized like they were with Chihaya, nor was it heart-wrenchingly tragic like it was with Shizuru. But those are the two extremes, to be fair. Given all that’s happened, and the possibility that either of them might have ended up executed, it’s great that they’ve been placed in exile. I mean, they’ve had all these shackles, and now they can finally live together peacefully without any responsibility – Akane hadn’t sounded happier since the common route when they were getting ready to leave. It’s bittersweet, but it’s a wonderful sort of closure. I’d actually love to know what they get up to in Harvest Festa, because it’s a chance for them to get on with the sappy, light-hearted romance they could never have had in society.
I’m not done with this visual novel yet, but it feels like something significant has just come to a close, which is why I’ve rewarded this route with my longest review yet. In a sense, it has – I’ve arrived at the first of the true routes. The girls in the title screen have been replaced with Kotarou sitting by himself, while an option to begin the Moon route has opened up. It feels like I’m treading on unfamiliar territory here, and presumably there won’t be a common route to go through this time. Part of me doesn’t want to leave the “comfort” of the heroine routes, and yet I’m also really interested in learning more about Kagari, and finding out exactly who or what she is. I’m wondering if Moon and Terra are as vastly different to the rest of the game as I’m imagining it to be. There also remain many questions, some of which were raised in Akane’s route – Kotarou has lost his memories in the past, presumably when his skull split open and Kotori treated him. He has also met Akane when he was younger, which sounds odd. And I never found out what that strange voice talking to him in Gaia’s headquarters was. I’m trusting they’ll all be addressed in due course though, so I’ll be content with basking in the aftermath of this route – it was impressive, and Akane is a wonderful girl. Actually, all the girls are wonderful, it’s just that Akane is more wonderful than the rest of them.