Rewrite – Preview
Original Air Dates: July 2nd, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Kotarou Tennouji lives in Kazamatsuri, a modern city known for its active efforts to save the world’s environment. Kotarou spends his days pestering the self-proclaimed delinquent of his class, Haruhiko, and indulging his childhood friend and oddball Kotori, the two outcasts of his class. However, Kotarou has a dream where a mysterious girl murders him. After that he discovers he’s visited nightly by a girl who bites his arm while he’s asleep. Seeking answers, Kotarou hunts down the Witch of his school, Akane Senri, a student who practices in the occult, in hopes of learning who this ghostly girl is that keeps attacking him at night. But there’s far more to Kotarou and the events plaguing him than he realizes.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Rewrite’s animation is basic, competent at times, and at others entirely boring to look at. The designs of the characters and their apparel is bland, uninspired or so fanciful it comes across as silly. If anything Rewrite’s animation only hints at the myriad of problems the premier episode suffers from. Starting things off our hero, Kotarou, is bland. He’s a borderline every man character allowing the viewers to see themselves in. It’s unsurprising as Rewrite is an adaptation of a visual novel, but unlike say, Steins;Gate which breaths plenty of life into its hero, Kotarou lacks a persona that feels engaging and entertaining. Through this overly long forty-seven minute episode we’re introduced to a host of girls, presumably all women you could’ve dated in game. The majority of these girls are much like Kotarou, bland, stereotypical, trope ridden fodder that lack enough originality to set them apart from all the other trope ridden female characters we’ve come across over the near two decades we’ve been watching anime.
Linny: Right from the start, our hero keeps addressing the women as princess or madam which reminds me of the dreaded m’lady memes, and then I started associating him with the kind of people who are associated with using that term unironically. Everything about this show screams visual novel with its characters being classic examples of the kind you’d expect in a generic visual novel. His airhead of a female childhood friend who’s so flaky that she keeps falling asleep under trees and needs to be led home by the sounds of coins clinking is Tee hee!! So adorable (NOT). Other characters burst onto the screen with such bombastic lines and hyperactivity that they feel like gimmick ridden caricatures, rather than actual people. They seem to be in there mainly as a joke, popping in and out so often and randomly that they come off as annoying rather than engaging.
Tom: Random is perhaps the best way to describe Rewrite and I might almost suggest it change its title to it. At first Rewrite bills itself as a rather pretentious series. We open with animation depicting the dawn of the Earth and gradual evolution of life on the planet up through to the dinosaurs. A speech plays over that footage, eventually shifting to Kotarou as he walks through a bustling city. The speech talks about how he sometimes feels he’s missing time or wishes he could undo or redo events. The speech rambles and is pretty forgettable. We gradually spin away from all that into a shocking sequence where Kotarou meets a violent end before we’re left to believe it was all a dream he had after falling asleep at his desk. It’s a decent enough opening, although it lacks any real personality to make it memorable. what comes next however is where Rewrite dives off the rails.
Linny: Rewrite comes off that opening by diving into the everyday life of Kotarou. Everything that happens is extremely bland, random and inconsequential. Characters and events are introduced in a manner and pace that makes it seem like they have barely any relation to each other because of how most of them never actually interact with anyone except our hero and for the randomest reasons. A majority of the dialogue is instantly forgettable. You get so many different interactions with so many different people that it all ends up feeling haphazard and you end up feeling lost more often than not as we jump locations quickly, without a good lead up or explanation.
Tom: This slice of life focus, as an introduction to the majority of our players, doesn’t have enough of a unique atmosphere to make rewrite feel at all engaging. It doesn’t help that the writing is very bland, often struggling to inject original personalities into its characters, content to give them one well-worn quirk or gimmick to define them. The series does try to keep the scifi/fantasy element going as Kotarou finds himself attacked nightly by a girl sucking on his arm. It takes him quite a while to decide that maybe, just maybe, this ghostly girl sucking on him is something he should be concerned about. But once focused on dealing with this problem, the whole show spirals out of control, switching genres to action/fantasy abruptly without any warning. The 47 minute opener ends with not one single element explained. It’s a terrible opener, leaving audiences confused rather than intrigued. It only works if you’re someone who is so squarely focused on mysteries and reveals that you can overlook all of its failings up till now, but that’s a tough task.
Linny: This first episode felt like one of the most boring slice of life shows I have ever seen that isn’t even actually labelled as one. Because of how under explained and randomly inserted the more sci fi and fantasy elements are, they instead leave you feeling baffled and confused. For example, with no prior set up or mention, Kotaru starts to repeatedly mention his accelerator…which he then never uses so we do not even know what this accelerator is or what it does or why or how he has it but never ever used it even in scary situations like when he’d wake up to find a girl sucking on his arm. Even the ‘jokes’ are random, such as a Colonel Sanders cut out just randomly planted in the middle of a school corridor for our hero to fall in front of.
Tom: Rewrite is based on a Visual Novel and it makes me wonder: does Rewrite require having played the Visual Novel to truly appreciate what it’s offering compared to Steins;Gate which was easily approachable without that knowledge? Or is this just how overwhelming and unenjoyable the Visual Novel always was? Either way I don’t recommend Rewrite, in fact I actually feel like my wife and I actively wasted our time watching this series. It left that bad a taste in our mouths and I have zero confidence things will improve.
Linny: I too feel that Rewrite is a show that can only be enjoyed by people who have played or are very familiar with the visual novel. For anyone like us, it’s so poorly executed that it’s hard to imagine anyone getting completely sucked in by an hour long introduction to generic visual novel females and poorly explained setup. Maybe if I had played and enjoyed the visual novel, I could have enjoyed being reunited with my favourite characters and seeing them in a new medium but unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
Rewrite is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com