“If we’re gonna walk together, I’ll walk with you forever. If we have to run, I’ll run with you forever. I’ll never stop fighting.”
Title: Rewrite (Chihaya)
Developer: Key, Visual Arts, Amaterasu Translations
Release Date: June 24, 2011
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Tragedy
Rating: All Ages
I must admit, I initially saw Chihaya’s route purely as a means to get to Akane’s route, hoping for a bit more world-building along the way. But by the end, I was actually really impressed with the sort of stuff they came up with – alongside a vastly increased focus on fighting familiars and other opponents, there were a couple of philosophical and moral questions raised that remained a strong theme throughout the arc. I found it really similar to Fate/stay night in that respect, and I’m hoping it wasn’t just me – the parallels are quite uncanny. While Shirou aims to always maintain his ideal as a hero of justice, Archer is heavily critical of it, believing that one day, he will inevitably give in to the despair and accept the fact that not everyone can be saved – essentially, learning the notion that killing and murder becomes an unavoidable part of being a hero of justice. Similarly, Kotarou’s refusing to kill or be killed, and is instead trying to live his life and protect the people he cares about without taking other lives – even perhaps at the cost of his own. And like how Archer is Shirou’s future twisted self, Kotarou finds his own similarities with Midou and Sakuya, with the former accepting the need to kill and the latter wholeheartedly devoting himself to sacrifice. Funnily enough, Shirou and Kotarou both share a strengthening ability too – though Kotarou does it to himself while Shirou uses it on objects, and later doesn’t really depend on it any longer. But yeah, I didn’t feel like the other routes touched upon themes like this even though Kotarou retained a shared objective of protecting the girl he loves throughout all of them – and it was tied in with how the current state of the world maintains this sort of status quo. Akane’s route now almost seems like a natural progression from Chihaya’s – if there’s anything to change, it’ll be the world this time.
Chihaya and Akane tried to conduct this sales pitch for Gaia early on in the route, which I didn’t really buy – mostly Akane actually, since Chihaya didn’t know anything. Akane claimed that by restoring the world to its original form, they at least get to keep the world itself – as the continued existence of humanity would eventually lead to the world dying too. So by wiping out humanity in its current form, the planet ends up surviving. It’s dodgy and flimsy at best, and I didn’t like the feeling that Kotarou was essentially helping the bad guys – but hey, it’s practically a religious cult, right? Chihaya’s route also seemed to have a little trouble deciding on who the last boss would be – the gradual build-up of the conflict with the lunch lady made me think that Midou and Fuego was the final stand-off, and after they revealed Guardian’s movements I thought it was going to be Nishikujou and Shizuru. I suppose technically it was Sakuya, but it was mostly Akane really. In the end, she managed to indirectly kill off Pani, Gil, Sakuya and Kagari while trying to destroy the world after all. She’s so sexy even when she’s crazy.
Speaking of last bosses, I loved how there was a great deal of fighting in this route. Kotarou’s powers weren’t really fully exploited in any of the routes so far, especially for the purposes of combat – his aurora two-handed sword and aurora whip were wonderful developments to his abilities. And it was nice to see him continually get stronger throughout the route, from someone who struggled against Krivoy Rog and Midou to someone able to fight on par with the strongest familiar, thus standing amongst the strongest superhumans. It was very depressing watching Kotarou fight Nishikujou and Shizuru – I was actually so pleased to see them eventually truce with Gaia and help him out with his final stand. They were torn between duty and not wanting to fight someone they didn’t want to, which was made worse by the fact that, despite Guardian’s internal corruption they’re probably the good guys in all this. All that power wasn’t without its own costs, though – the other possible end result other than becoming a tree is becoming a familiar, although it was nice to know that the tree process is in fact reversible.
Chihaya is… admittedly not very high on my list of favourite Rewrite girls, but that’s not cause she’s a bad character – she does great tsukkomis. Rather, everyone else just happened to be better. I’m including Yoshino in that list of girls, by the way. Heh. I did enjoy Kotarou’s romance with Chihaya nevertheless, and I was surprised to see it develop at a steady pace even with Sakuya around. Honestly though, I sometimes felt that there wasn’t actually much development for Chihaya going on – instead, it felt more like Kotarou’s route or even Sakuya’s route. There were feels when she decided to repeatedly stab herself and heal over and over to drain Sakuya of his power, though. While I did find him a bit of a prick at first, I warmed up to him just like Kotarou did – and he’s lived through his own fair share of tragedies too, having been an old human who survived the Key’s previous round of salvation. It must have been unnerving to see the similarities between himself and Kotarou, who was none the wiser for a lot of the route – and in fact, Shizuru’s route had Kotarou go through the exact same process. Of course, it’s not Rewrite without a bit of tragedy, and Sakuya ended up bearing the brunt of it this route – which, while sad in its own right, is actually the happiest ending for this visual novel’s standards. In Lucia’s, practically everyone died. In Shizuru’s, literally everyone died. Wow, that’s sort of depressing. Four out of five routes so far, and only in one of them has there been no salvation with everyone returning to school and a truce agreed.
As for Kagari, I don’t even know. She makes these appearances every so often, says something in a cute HanaKana voice and either emits salvation or dies – the latter happened this time, after she ostensibly received some nice memories and decided not to activate. It’s all shrouded in mystery to me at the moment to be honest – what were the good memories she saw? And how could it possibly have mitigated all the horrible, dark memories accumulated in her that made her want to destroy humanity in another route? They were so bad to the point that they mindbroke Akane and made her want to destroy the world in Kagari’s place. We should be okay if Moon and Terra are completely devoted just to her though. It won’t be long now!
Whew, that was a long review. I’m pretty busy for the rest of this week, so I probably won’t be able to smash out a post for Akane’s route until this time next week – with the free time I’ve got (and the anime blogging I’ve got to do in that time as well) I doubt I’ll even finish reading the route itself until about Friday or so. Rest assured I’ll enjoy it – it’s the last of the five standard heroine routes after all. Loving Akane will be hard work, but I’m sure it’ll be lots of fun! And filled with feels. And tragedy. And salvation. Hopefully not that last one, but I don’t think it’ll end that well.