Rewrite Episode 5: Asahi Haruka
We unreliable narrator now.
I kind of liked this episode, actually. It’s exactly what I thought (and feared) it would be -a butchered, single-episode version of Lucia’s route containing only all the events relating to Asahi Haruka whilst ignoring both the romance and the actual plot- but I enjoyed it. Whether that’s because I preferred Lucia’s route to Shizuru’s when playing the VN, I don’t know. It could also be because I’m starting to see a reason and a purpose behind compressing so much of what is essentially forced and unnatural character development (at the pace it’s going at) into these last two episodes. Are we Guardian now? At the end of the iconic church scene, they could have easily just had Kotarou and Lucia go back to school without Nishikujou ever appearing – it wouldn’t be the first thing they’ve skipped over, nor will it be the last. But Nishikujou did turn up. And Kotarou learned about Guardian and Gaia (yet again) and was basically given their recruitment speech. On top of that, unlike last week there’s no indication that another girl will be next up – instead, it feels like Lucia and Shizuru are getting ready to hunt the Key (if you’re an anime-only, this is the bit where you marvel at how Key have managed to plaster their brand name not only over all the coffee cans in the series, but also within the very plot itself).
I could be wrong, of course. But what I’m hoping is that the anime has extracted bits from the Lucia and Shizuru routes only because the upcoming Kagari route will be very Guardian-centric, and therefore it would have been a good idea to reveal the full extent of both their abilities before the original plot begins. Hopefully this means that we also see more of Nishikujou, Esaka and Imamiya. A clear difference, however, between this episode and the previous one was that we delved into the actual Lucia route itself – which is kind of inevitable if we are to learn anything about Lucia as her route is probably the most character-driven one of them all. Kagari and the impending salvation is almost a mere afterthought in the midst of Lucia’s own ‘salvation’ that’s also mentally destroying her on the inside. You can easily tell that all the events that happened are slightly out of place, and that’s a necessary result of engaging in Grisaia-style butchering – for example, trying to cram in so much stuff meant that Chihaya and her fight with Lucia was forgotten completely.
And it’s strange that Kotarou would rewrite himself for Lucia if he doesn’t love her. The power of friendship is a pitifully weak explanation when the anime has shown him having very little interaction with Lucia thus far. It ties into how there seems to have been very little emphasis on the dangers of Kotarou’s rewriting abilities and the fact that there is a limit – I’m pretty sure rewriting his body to enable it to withstand Lucia’s poison (which I think he does more than once during her route, as the corrosion gets stronger and starts to leak) turns the dial in the game by quite a bit. In other words, it’s a significant change that brings him a lot closer to the extent of what he can do to his body. Of course it’s hard for Nishikujou to believe that he’s resistant to Lucia’s poison by nature – he wasn’t at all, before. To do that for her when she’s a mere acquaintance is weird.
Likewise, why would Lucia tell him literally everything about herself if she doesn’t love and trust Kotarou with all her heart? To her, he’s just a random civilian classmate who licks her used plates. From her surprise at him also knowing about Shizuru, it’s clear that Shizuru didn’t tell her a single thing. She should have no idea that he used to be with Guardian when he was still Bond, and he currently isn’t affiliated with them at all. It’s very unnatural for someone as guarded as her to just spill her deepest secrets to Kotarou. I know I’m just nitpicking here, I understand it’s impossible to include any romance (not least of all when the Kagari route implies horrible reproductive acts with Creamy Kagarin only) but this is yet another reason why a one-cour Rewrite anime is a bad idea. There’s so much good content to adapt! The church scene without a proper hug almost doesn’t feel like the church scene at all, because physical contact is such a big deal to Lucia. Hand-holding should be like the lewdest thing in the world for her.
It was fun seeing the Asahi Haruka stuff, even though it was very obvious that everything was actually Lucia’s fault. I wonder whether that’s just an anime thing – or is it because of hindsight? I remember being really surprised that Lucia was actually Haruka when playing through her route. It actually felt scary when Kotarou was investigating, and despite all my suspicions towards Lucia they vanished during the unreliable narrator scene. In anime format, being able to clearly see the ‘ghost’ of Haruka (and to know from the ED if nothing else that this is what Lucia looked like as a loli) made everything pretty obvious. Still, I thought it was good – I know Lucia’s route sometimes gets a lot of flak from fans, but I really liked the Asahi Haruka plot. Loli Lucia not so much – the indisputable best loli in Rewrite is loli Kotori. She’s a gift from God, and a young future wife!
I’m also slightly butthurt that we never saw Doki Doki Maid Party, if even for a few moments as Sunbright played as the ED. Would it have killed them to draw that? Teasing it and then not delivering is typical 8-bit behaviour – the way they started displaying a bunch of Lucia-related scenes in the ED before running out of them and replacing the ED with a GIF of Lucia in a sunflower field is classic 8-bit as well. I bet they play this sort of material at Kyoani staff inductions to demonstrate exactly what they should not be producing on the studio’s behalf. At least we got some other stuff, like Yoshino carrying an old lady on his back and more subtle age jokes aimed at Kotarou. And a distressed, worried Lucia wearing nothing but panties and a shirt soaked with her sweat was kind of lewd. Lewdcia a cute!