I have a terrible confession to make: I like Rewrite.
I need to find a good excuse for this, don’t I? After all, anime fans of Taste aren’t supposed to like this Key stuff anymore! Sure, we swarmed all over that shit back in the heady days of 2005-2009 or so, but we were young then, and foolish! That was ages ago! We’re older and wiser now!
Well, or not. Admittedly, I think part of why Rewrite may work for me is the nostalgia factor. I watched the KeyAni trifecta back when I was in college, and at that time I did honestly enjoy them all quite a bit (well, mostly – the whole thing in Clannad~After Story~ about concealing medical risks from Nagisa pissed me off immensely and still really, really does). Even now there are things about Clannad and Air which I can appreciate although I have some qualms about the shows overall. Watching Rewrite, there are things about it that feel so archaic – anime has largely moved on from from the Key sorts of tales – but in feeling that way, its nearly charming.
At the same time, this isn’t quite the same beast as the KeyAni shows, nor, from what I saw of Little Busters (…not much), is it entirely like that. It’s worth noting that Jun Maeda didn’t do the writing for the original game; Romeo Tanaka (the Humanity Has Declined writer/creator), Yuuto Tonokawa (worked on Little Busters), and Ryukishi07 (yes, THAT Ryukishi07) did the writing, Tanaka providing the bulk of it. Granted, this show is supposed to be the “sixth route” that didn’t exist in the game, and the scriptwriters are different (although Tanaka’s doing series composition). Anyway, it does make for something that feels a little bit different to what I expected given the original source, and the biggest signs of this seem to be that so far there’s only one terribly dim young lady and they apparently discovered the financial possibilities of the pockets of yaoi fans… the latter of which I’m guessing we can thank Tanaka for. Rewrite also, mercifully, steers clear of the sarcastic-but-good-hearted male lead which marked the KeyAni shows and has semi-plagued us for years now. If anything, Kotarou comes off as a less stupid Sunohara, which also liberates us from the tyranny of the obnoxious male best friend character.
I realize I’m not really getting to the “point”, and that would be a reflection of the fact that even after the equivalent of three episodes of material (episode one is double-length), I have no idea what this show is ultimately about. There’s a hint of there being an environmental message underlying things, and I would assume this would have something to do with what the show is about, but at the moment its just sort of… there. There’s the whole magical realism thing which is Key’s regular wheelhouse, and some mystery therein (such as – why is a “normal” guy so initially nonplussed about being fed on by a vampire nightly?), and there are even a couple of fairies who state that they were born from trash. What does it all mean together? Who knoooows. I certainly don’t yet.
So, is this something I would recommend? Well! If your main issue with the last Key adaptation was that the visuals were pretty poor, this is a big step up from that, excepting the truly horrifying crowd shots which involve CG skirts. If you feel nostalgic for older Key shows, but don’t want to risk shattering that feeling by revisiting Kanon, yes, try this one. If you’ve got a Crunchyroll or Daisuki account and live in the U.S. or Canada AND have forty-five minutes free, sure! Give it a try!
This is hardly a ringing endorsement, but even if I enjoyed it (and did I mention I skipped all the scenes involving one of the girls who was just too moé for me to bear?), I myself am a bit bemused by that.
Anyway, in closing, this is the truest shit ever in a Key anime: