Key’s Rewrite – Review

At a certain point in my life, I realized I possessed nothing.

The pouch I thought that had been stuffed with happiness turned out to be empty.

 It was a matter of course, I had spent no amount of effort to fill it.

But, I did not understand even that.

Because I had lead an aimless life without substance.

And so on a day like any other, the feeling of just how much time I had really lost suddenly sunk in.

I could strike up a conversation with anyone. Be it any ol’ bastard.

But there was not one person on Earth with whom I could say I was intimate.

No deep self-reflection was required to understand  just how shallow my life was.

Kotori Kanbe, an old acquaintance, was the only friend I could talk to without reserve.

That’s right.

She was… a friend.

(I’ll do it over.)

(Next time, I’ll do it right.)

It was an earnest wish.

But, probably one that was almost impossible to fulfill.

There walks not a single soul without his own personal hardships.

Happiness cannot be obtained automatically.

It is something that can only be caught with one’s own hands.

Just what is happiness?

Is it something like youth? Then what is youth?

“It’s like, something dazzling. Something brilliant,” explained Kotori.

“Fuck if I know. It’s not somethin’ you figure out by tryin’,” spat Yoshino.

Long ago, someone spoke of traversing the “tight rope of life.”

I felt our three different views were all correct.

It was something dazzling, something unknowable, and also something terrifyingly dreadful.

It was a difficult thing to grasp. There was no hard answer.

Still, I decided to embark on a journey in search of it.

However, the cruel flow of time that waits for no one.

In the twinkling of an eye, summer came, and with another, autumn.

Before I knew it, I was already in my second year of high school.

I was impatient.

Even now, I held nothing.

I could not even figure out what I should have been doing.

So everything I did, I ended up doing for naught.

A visual novel produced by Al Gore

I’ve been chipping away at Rewrite since its release about a month ago and it’s been quite the rough ride. For those that don’t know, Rewrite is Key’s latest visual novel (other works include Kanon, Air, Clannad) to be released, this time with Romeo Tanaka (Cross Channel, A Drug That Makes You Dream) taking the helm as the lead writer with Ryukishi07 (Higurashi and Umineko) and Yuuto Tonokawa (Little Busters!) contributing several of the main heroine’s routes. From when it was announced years ago expectations were high as it seemed a visual novel making dream team had just been assembled. I bought into the hype, and thus this review.

This review is going to be laden with SPOILERS since it’ll be impossible to talk about the main game without them. You’ve been warned. That being said, I’ll still try to avoid spoiling the best surprises.

Main Cast

Kotarou Tennouji

Main character you control. Bright, cheerful, not very serious and enjoys screwing around with other people. His jokes and antics with the Occult Club take up the majority of the plot of the main route. For no reason in particular, they start showing this sprite of his on screen near the end of Akane’s route.

Kotori Kanbe

Kotarou’s classmate and childhood friend. Despite her appearances, she’s not your moe blob. She possesses a quirky sense of humor where both the majority of her jokes and charm come from her flexible use of puns, word play, and styles of speaking. Chiwa Saitou (Bakemonogatari’s Hitagi, Madoka’s Homura) does a fantastic job voicing her, especially in Terra.

Chihaya Ootori

Girl who transfers to Kotarou’s class. She’s a klutz when it comes to anything, not too bright, and claims to hate the Kotarou due to an unfortunate first meeting. Basically, she’s half tsundere, half retard.

Shizuru Nakatsu

Underclassman. She is cute as a bloody button. Naive in certain ways. Reticent, where instead of speaking, she uses non verbal cues to communicate with Kotarou where he in turn interprets into dialog. These non verbal cues include general facial expressions, nodding, head tilting, and some hand signaling. Cute.

Lucia Konohana

Kotarou’s class’s class rep. When she’s mad, she blushes, and she’s mad a lot due to Kotarou’s antics. She’s a tsundere in the classical sense of the word where she’s tsuntsun in the beginning of the game and deredere after Kotarou redeems himself and show’s her he’s not JUST a pervert by the end of her route.

Akane Senri

Senior, one grade above the other characters. Haughty, appears to be full of herself, and enjoys lecturing Kotarou about all things in general.

Kagari (The Key)

She’s a robot for the entire game save Moon and Terra where she eventually gets a personality. Haughty due to her being a powerful demon born from the Earth, naive since she hasn’t had too much time to learn about humans. Since Terra is the true route, I guess she can be considered the main heroine of Rewrite.

Haruhiko Yoshino

Acts like a delinquent. He’s kind of like a Sunohara to Kotarou’s Tomoya, where he ends up being the butt of a lot of Kotarou’s antics.

Sakuya Ootori

Chihaya’s skilled and dependable butler and bishounen. Adores Chihaya and enjoys making fun of Kotarou.

Touka Nishikujou

Teacher in Kotarou’s school. Cheerful and sunny. You don’t want her to open her eyes.


Talkative and a douche bag. Mainly appears in Terra. Incidentally, I don’t remember his first name.

Sougen Esaka

Sort of a father figure and authority type character, especially in Terra route. Mature and composed.


A mute loli under Akane’s care. Gifted and acts like a younger version of Akane.


Take a generic bad guy of a bad shounen anime and you’d get close to what this guy is. He only appears in Chihaya’s route.

Pani & Gil

Whoever thought it was a good idea to include these two annoying little buggers needs to get sacked.


Main route (Romeo Tanaka)

I think everyone who’s played this game agrees, the main route is terribly, horribly boring, the problem only magnified by the fact that it’s also too long for its own good. I’d like to think I’m not a ADHD kiddie who needs an explosion every five minutes but several lengthy segments in this route I’d rate slightly more entertaining than watching paint dry on the wall but not as entertaining as looking at leaves rustling in the wind. At most, I could go about an hour before my mind would start wandering and I’d end up browsing Reddit or playing some Vindictus before I could get back in. If you ever want to read this, don’t be afraid to skip around.

Are there any real cities that are so neatly laid out like this?

You play the role of Kotarou Tennouji (KT) who’s having a bit of a teenage life crisis at the start of the game (see the translated prologue at the top). A resident of Kazamatsuri, a model environmentally focused city of the future undergoing a vast forestation movement, he spends his days screwing around not doing much of anything. The general gist of the main route is him meeting the various girls, establishing the Occult Club, getting all the girls to join the Occult Club, and doing occult “investigations.” Basically, it’s slice of life school life comedy, except the comedy is a complete hit or miss. There are several good laughs few and far between but most of the jokes produce some giggles at best. The slice of life doesn’t work that great either, and if I had to point a finger as to why, I think it’s two things: the comedy and the supernatural/action stuff. Good slice of life really puts you in the shoes of the character and the world he’s living in but there were several wall breaking slap stick gags that completely takes you out of the story. There were several segments with supernatural phenomenon that the writers use to foreshadow KT’s power and some of the upcoming events,  but it really just broke the reader out of the world again. Super hero action and slice of life don’t go together.

An example of some of the bad art. What the hell is up with Kotori’s face?

It’s all fine and dandy except KT’s classmate Inoue goes missing when investigating a polluted river in the forests surrounding the city. This is where the game finally gets interesting. The school decides to blame the Occult club and have them shut down. Kotarou, who finally manages to make some friends, won’t have it so he decides to have the Occult club find Inoue themselves.

Shit hits the fan when monsters start appearing. I think it’s around here where you fully realize that Kotarou is an esper with two powers. One is the power to upgrade himself called “Rewriting” and the other is the power to use his life force (or something like that) as a physical weapon he dubs “Aurora.” The group manages to fend them off, but more shit hits the fan when everyone realizes that they’ve been mingling with the enemy with Shizuru and Lucia on one side and Chihaya and Akane on the other. This is where all the routes diverge (except Lucia’s).

Kotori’s route (Romeo Tanaka)

If you play this game, this is the first route to go as it’s the introduction route kind of like Raine’s in Baldr Sky.

Romeo for some reason decided to use a weird memory fudging plot device where KT after waking up thinks everything is fine and dandy even though all the Occult Club members are missing. It’s only until Yoshino punches him in the face does he snap back and decides to look for Kotori. This plot device never gets explicitly explained though I suspect it had something to do with Shizuru’s power, and her trying to protect him. However, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when Shizuru doesn’t fudge KT’s memory in her own route… So why have it in?

Enjoying watching girls sleeping… is not creepy at all… right guys? Guys?

I think the game did a great job of building the suspense around the mystery of the monsters in the forest when KT happens to meet Inoue who had been rescued and gives him her diary on her investigation, detailing the monsters she ran into. But the suspense doesn’t last very long. KT can’t sit twiddling his thumbs so he goes running around in the forest and eventually finds Kotori’s hiding spot.

The game changes somewhat into an utsuge at this point, which I felt Romeo did a decent job at doing. KT learns that the monsters are actually demons manipulated by demon summoners from a group that calls themselves Gaia. Turns out Kotori is also a demon summoner but separate from Gaia, a druid, given the task of protecting the Key. When she was still in elementary school, she got into a car accident that killed both her parents. Luckily (or unluckily) she made contact with a druid’s mistletoe that promised to grant her the power to revive her parents if she fulfilled her duty of seeing to the Key’s ends. Kotori had been working trying to protect the Key ever since then by herself, however she eventually realizes that her revived parents are only demons like the other monsters.

This is about the only ecchi CG in the game. Did Key really think they were good enough to sell a game without any sex without Maeda? That’s not to say that Key’s h-scenes were any good but still.

The forest surrounding Kotori’s base becomes a battlefield between Gaia and another group seemingly composed of people with super powers. A feeling of isolation sets in. Both sides are enemies. There’s no one to help Kotarou and Kotori as they get swallowed up in the conflict. The Key starts to sing, the first sign of the coming of the end of the world, an event called “the Salvation.” The base is breached and they run but there’s nowhere really that’s safe. KT and company manage to leave the city, the Key continues to sing as the apocalypse draws closer, and your powerless to do anything. Romeo did a great job of drilling in the feeling of hopelessness of the situation here.

The ending is a relatively happy one. Kotori, in certain terms, manages to man the fuck up and saves the day. Not a bad turn of events for and end of an ustuge.

Ultimately, you learn just enough about the big conflict that’s going on, but not too much, as an incentive to dive into the rest of the game. If only the rest of the game were better…

Chihaya’s route (Yuuto Tonokawa)

Rewrite turns into a shounen with an idiot plot and not a very good shounen with an idiot plot at that.

Interesting facts you learn from Akane: Gaia wants to protect the Key and see to it the Key’s judgement on whether to cause Salvation or not. On what conditions Salvation occur are vague, but it has something to do with what the condition of the world is in. If the world is on the brink of “dying” leaving no hope of life to continue living, like as a result of draining natural resources, global warming, and pollution, then the Salvation is likely to occur. The group of espers called Guardian want to destroy the Key no matter what to save mankind, whether it eventually destroys the planet in the process or not.


The game’s plot falls into what I call “The Breaker Syndrome.” If haven’t read the manhwa The Breaker it follows the story of a kid who gets the best martial artist in the world to teach him a few tricks, but he himself sucks at fighting. However, every martial artist and their grandmother wants a piece of him (even though he can barely fight!) so though it leads into some tense battles that leaves the reader dying to know just how the main character is going to get out of, it leaves you wondering why all these so called “master” martial artists are doing the equivalent of a grown man picking a fight with a toddler.

In this case, the master martial artists are Midou and company, a rogue group of demon summoners from Gaia who try to kill Kotarou for no good reason at all. The battle with the first guy in the group is at least somewhat interesting, but Midou just isn’t a very threatening baddie. He’s supposed to be this crazy anarchistic looking only for chaos but it seems he doesn’t have the brains enough to be able to drive you into a corner. Example: he threatens you by blowing up a building, but the building turns out to be empty and no one dies. The author wasn’t even willing to waste some cannon fodder to build up some tension.

The Key this round decides not to cause the Salvation. Why? You never really find out. This leads Kotarou to believe that the conflict between Gaia and Guardian can now stop so he decides to walk straight into a trap set up by Guardian’s Shizuru and Touka. Sakuya, who’s supposed to be the smart one, gets handed the idiot ball and tries to stop KT with all but two sentences before relenting into Kotarou’s stupidity. Fighting ensues, Kotarou rewrites himself too much and goes berserk but Sakuya miraculously manages to “snap” him out of it by punching him in the face. Right.

Nuthin’ like a bisshie forcibly pushing you down on the ground

In a way, this route kind of reminds of Fate/stay night’s Unlimited Blade Works. Sakuya who’s actually Chihaya’s demon can be considered KT’s predecessor; he was a Rewriter himself when he was human. But unlike UBW’s Shirou and Archer who create a convincing clash of different view points of life, there’s no conflict really between Kotarou and Sakuya who kind of agree on things from the get go. Kotarou, while fighting for his life against one of Midou’s buddy’s demons, refused to attack the demon summoner because he holds a no harm to human policy.

This could have a been good opportunity for a great story here (or at least a better one) where KT has to learn from Sakuya who failed to protect his love in his previous life, that sacrifices have to be made in order to accomplish one’s goals. Or they could have done it in like UBW where Shirou is relentless in his ideals and manages to surpass symbolically the underside of himself, the cynic Archer who keeps telling him that there’s no way he can accomplish his goals with the moral standards he set. But Sakuya, who seemed to have learned nothing from his previous failure, also has a no kill policy, is in full support of KT’s stupidity. So really, nothing interesting comes out of this relationship. KT neither learns anything new, nor does he ever prove himself in someway. He’s simply handed the power to literally become a demi-god for free. (Not the mention the fact that he never becomes this powerful in any of the other routes, not even in Terra where he gets actual training.)

Chihaya starts a dumb and ends an dumb. The only difference is she shifts her reliance from Sakuya to Kotarou. Not much to say here.

The ending is a little too happy. Most of the Occult Club members get back together, including Akane who was supposed to have turned bat shit insane. Well, at least it fits in with the pierce the heaves with my drill tone of the route that was filled with all too good to be true happenstances and plot devices.

Shizuru’s route (Yuuto Tonokawa)

I remember once seeing a parody movie poster of Shyamalan’s The Happening with the title replaced with Nothing Is Happening. That’s kind of like how this route goes. The game does a great set up for Shizuru’s story where before the search for Inoue occurs, Touka takes Kotarou and Shizuru to see Shizuru’s parents where her bad story is developed. It turns out that one of her powers is to make people forget which she accidentally used when she was trying to stop an argument between her parents. Now her parents don’t even remember who she is, though Shizzy’s still with Guardian trying to earn money so that she can eventually buy her parents a big house they had always dreamed about (daaaaawwww).

If all she eats is pacific saury, she’s gotta have one helluva time on the crapper… Why am I think about her poop? Am I developing a scat fetish? Why am I still thinking out loud?

Things go down hill from there. The convoluted story then goes as follows: After Inoue’s search, Shizuru comes to live with KT to “protect” him with lots of slice of life scenes following, which isn’t that bad if you like the character. Then out of freaking nowhere Kotarou runs into the T-Rex while searching for Kotori in the forest and gets chomped in half. On the brink of death, Shizuru comes and saves him, but she lapses into a coma. (This by the way, is told through a completely unnecessary amnesia plot device flash back.)  The mysterious power of a voice inside KT then brings Shizuru back. Right. Guardian HQ is attacked, KT and Shizzy then go hunt down the Key, but it turns out it’s too late. Even though they know fully well they can’t do anything, Touka then stupidly kills herself trying to take down the Key. Hm. Armageddon occurs, KT gives back Shizuru’s life force (or something, they never properly explain it) that he’s been borrowing. He sort of dies, Shizuru runs to a Guardian shelter.

And that’s it. There was no plot “development”  in this route per se but more of stuff just happening and then stopping.

The epilogue is Shizzy coming out of the shelter and meeting Kotarou who’s now turned into… a tree… Ya know, when the game had you answer “Yourself” (between “I can’t answer,” “Yourself,” and “The world”) on what you would change if you had the power to in order to get to this route, I was expecting something a little more metaphorical. Nothing about what was originally set up for Shizuru’s story gets resolved. Just tons of red herrings and loose threads and strange plot devices that go no where. There’s no build up, things kind of just happen and it all leads to the story coming to a grinding halt when the world just kind of ends. It feels like half the story got cut. Shizuru’s character also basically stays the same from start to finish.  There’s really no point in this route existing, other than to obligatorily fill one out for the heroine.

You know you’re not doing something right when you only have ONE good action CG in the entire game… and you use it in the worst route. Also, Shizuru definitely did NOT wear that costume enough… Mmm… Suit top with bare shoulders plus hot pants and high thighs… Oh God… I’ll be in my bunk. P.S. C80 better fuckin’ not disappoint. My only disappointment about this game being not good enough (well, other than having wasted my time playing it) to warrant an anime we won’t have enough 18+ doujins… dammit world! P.P.S. This image caption got out of hand.

Also, her eye patch has no significance whatsoever other than to hide her heterochromia. It was a great opportunity for them to make it a symbol of Shizzy’s weakness, or maybe awkwardness (kind of Lucia’s gloves), or something, but nothing comes out of it. It wouldn’t have mattered as much if it was just part of her costume, but the writer still decided to devote an entire scene and subplot to it explaining how she’s embarrassed about her different colored eye. Another loose thread that got no where. She’s still wearing it at the end of Terra (as opposed to Lucia who isn’t wearing her gloves).

Also to note, Pani and Gil appear at the beginning of the route, disappear for the remainder of the story, but come back in the end for a 4 second appearance. There’s really no point in them being in this route.

Lucia’s route (R07)

I skipped her route, partly because I wanted to jump to Moon and Terra, partly because Lucia barely appears elsewhere and what happens in her route isn’t important for understand the rest of the game. I’ll probably go back and play it when I have some more time as it doesn’t look too bad.

Awesome school uniform, love the frills. Love the frills on the high thighs. There needs to be more frilly costumes in anime. Also, Lucia didn’t get a suit costume… This is outrageous! I demand my money back!

Akane’s route (Romeo Tanaka)

Finally, a route with a fully fleshed out story and character development.

It turns out that the Gaian philosophy isn’t as whacked as it sounds. The world currently has been empirically established to be unsustainable in its current way thus life on Earth will inevitably end in the near future, unless a reset by the Key occurs. In other words, to save the world, you MUST let it be destroyed for life to flourish again. The world is screwed. Humans are sinful. This is the philosophy of Gaian believers, the ultimate pessimists. Incidentally, it’s this pessimism that brings about their power to manipulate demons. The idea that life as a human is dirty and not worth living is repeated throughout this route.

Akane is actually the successor to the Saint of Gaia, Sakura Kishima, and KT, as an esper, convinces her to take him in under her wing. The story thrusts you into an interesting political intrigue between the conservatives of Gaia who follow Saint Kishima and her doomsday philosophy and the liberals who follow a man named Suzaki who wants the dispel Gaia of its religious origins and change it into a full-on modern organization. (And being on Akane’s side, KT starts to eat into the negativity himself.) These are the kind of details that this story needed more than anything. Gaia and its demon summoners now becomes an actually believable existence.

I have nothing clever to say about this picture.

There are some battles that are reasonably well written, though it’s still kinda unbelievable that Kotarou, esper or not, can manage to pull some of the stuff he does off, especially if you take Terra into account.

Everything is goes just great for Kotarou and his waifu for about a year (time skip) before the Salvation occurs. However this time it’s spurred on by Akane herself and her (literally) chorus of doom. This time, instead of people just off and disappearing Uminkeo style like in Shizuru’s route, you actually get to see what the Salvation looks like: natural disasters spring out of nowhere, plant life running wild, explosions, and lots of people dieing.

KT of course can’t sit idly by so he has the remaining Gaians move survivors the stone city in another dimension (or something) Suzaki’s faction had been building (not very good twist for something that’s been a mystery from the start of the game). KT himself goes to stop Akane. She claims to hate life and doesn’t want to live, the culmination of KT and her have been building this entire route. But it’s not a very convincing argument; KT manages to convince her otherwise and they return to the new world being set up in the stone city. But, Akane only mopes around everyday; she mopes because she’s lost her raison d’etre; her whole life she believed that human life was a waste and now she was forced to live it. Kotarou knows this and snaps her back by giving her a reason: him.

Akane is such a n00b. Didn’t she read the reviews before buying the new graphics card? Also, if heating is such a problem, go liquid cooling! She certainly can afford it, plus she can just pay someone to do it for her. Also, now that I look at it, that bump on her leg that I think is supposed to be her ass does not look right.

Overall the route all around pretty average. The route hit the right beats at least but but the action is still pretty mediocre, there’s some nice character development and plot points but nothing too surprising, it doesn’t really bring in anything new we haven’t see before.

Couple of notes:

I found the entire subconscious implanting thing for the Saint of Gaia successorship thing kind of unnecessary. I think the author was trying to use it as a plot device to explain Akane’s madness but really it would of worked just as well if her ideal stemmed from herself personally. Actually, it might have been better that way as it would’ve given the growth of her character more impact.

I’m not exactly sure why Shimako is this game at all, or at least why they bothered to give her her own sprite. No subplot ever develops from her other than she’s Akane’s successor. At first I thought the author wanted to show what the early life of a Gaian Saint was like but loli Akane in Terra route does that just fine.

Moon (Romeo Tanaka)

If they were gonna call the next route Terra, they might as well called this one Luna, right? You get access to this route from the main menu after completing all the main heroine routes.

The culmination of your work gets paid off when now the entire Occult Club joins forces to protect Kagari who’s desperately search for that one thread of hope for life to continue being on Earth. But really it’s a cop out. This isn’t the real world with all its intricacies and boundaries that continued to spur endless conflict and prevent them from coming together. I wanted to see the Occult Club overcome THAT. The Moon route is fantasy land without all those pesky real world problems so there’s no conflict resolution. It’s a freebie that no reader wants.

There’s not much of a story per se as the route basically acts as Terra’s prologue, but it really does a great job of setting the expectations for something epic to occur pretty high (for better or worse). After all, you ARE destined to save the world.

Terra (Romeo Tanaka)

After completing Moon, you get access to Terra.

Playing Terra is like playing a completely different game. The first thing you’ll notice is the interface change– the text box is removed in favor of a whole screen text flow like Fate/stay night. This is done for two reasons. Terra itself is a much grittier and realistic story than much of the rest of the game. It’s like the polar opposite of Chihaya’s route. Giving the game a more literary flare helps add to seriousness.

Reason two: due to a very interesting twist you won’t be seeing the majority of heroines in this route at all. In fact, all the side characters in the previous routes now take center stage, meaning a lot of time now there won’t be any voicing or sprites on screen so screen real estate is better spent on words. While this is an interesting twist (what writer would have the balls to cut out all the heroines?) I have to wonder what exactly the point the rest of the game is in this context. Their stories essentially don’t matter anymore. I mean, they are after all the MAIN heroines. It’s like if in the final book of Harry Potter, Hermione and Ron are replaced with the janitor and his cat.

Another thing: I remember seeing only two new CGs in this route. So either Romeo really wanted this to be a book or they ran out of budget.

So, what is that one narrow path that will guarantee the future? I’m not exactly sure. Most of the choices in this route are not optional where though it presents you with more than one choice per time, only one choice is selectable and they make it very obvious by even highlighting the “right” path with some cute flame effects. It’s basically telling you you’re following the “right” path this time around.

Maybe I didn’t think this through enough but I honestly can’t see why Terra’s path is any more correct than any of the other paths in the game. Kotarou works with Kagari to prevent the Salvation from occurring (mainly because he wants to bone her, saving the world is secondary). Kagari explains that stop the Salvation, she must accumulate “good” memories where these good memories are proof that humanity is salvageable. What exactly these good memories consists of are not explicitly stated but its hinted at that they must show humanity’s possibility and hope for the future.

Okay, that’s all fine and good but whether Kagari sees these good memories or not has nothing to do with whether humanity contains the potential in the first place. Kagari ultimately says she received some good memories but why does it matter? Humanity either is or is not salvageable and Kotarou who’s basically a complete loner in this route could not have possibly made any difference for the whole of humanity in his several months or so of activity with Kagari. His actions mean nothing and really Guardian could of offed them both and it would’ve been the same result.

One big thing that does change is KT having one his lolis reveal to the world the existence of demons and espers so that the world at large can put them to use. This may or may not be the saving grace for humanity but this is all after the fact. If this is in fact that one string of hope that Kagari found, it’s not a very convincing one it could have very well been done in any other situation. I mean, WikiLeaks is there for all to use after all. Why did it have to be KT under such strict circumstances? As I’ve said before, the set up in Moon was great. It made you expect something epic, but the end result in Terra is just confusing and disappointing.

(One good memory Kagari found was when watching a TV special on the space exploration. If Romeo had taken even a bigger twist to the story by making Terra about making space program succeed where all the girls are now rocket scientists and the ending being a colonization rocket launching off into space… now that would have been epic… and made more sense on the whole human potential thing.)

Touka mentioned at the end of Chihaya’s route that Kotarou Rewrite power had probably (metaphorically) rewritten “their hearts.” Extremely disappointed that that the writers never really went anywhere with Rewriting besides that it just strengthens the user. I was fully expecting it to be some kind of greater power where augmentation was just a by product, like altering reality or something, akin to how Fate/stay night’s Shirou’s power wasn’t actually strengthening but the projection of swords. But nope, nothing better comes out of it.

The true ending is a great surprise (I won’t spoil it here. One thing though: They were in their school uniforms! which consists of boots as footwear. They’d have to be in casual clothing for those shoes!); it’s emotional because it brings everyone back together again after you think you had just lost about everything. It was here I realized that although most of the plot was terrible, the writers still managed to push through an endearing cast of heroines. It really feels like a a great ending to a different game, one where they managed to flesh out each of girls more, had them grow and change and finally become strong enough to overcome each of their personal battles and to come back together, and together to change the world. That’s what it felt like what the writers was going for— change, be it oneself, or destiny. Heck, it’s even the title of this visual novel. It’s just unfortunate I didn’t see enough of it.



The music in this game is very good. Every piece sets the mood perfectly to a tee, especially for the climatic emotional scenes. You don’t have to take my word for it. Here are a few samples.


Anemone (Kotori’s theme)

Journey (Title theme)

Crossing Song (Moon’s ending theme)

The ending song CDs can’t come out fast enough. Rest assured, I’ll translate the shit out of them when they do.


Skip (Or possibly try Kotori’s route, followed by Akane’s, Moon, and Terra with lots of skipping in the main route)

(Rather than rating games on an arbitrary and meaningless numerical scale, games are either recommended to be skipped, tried, or bought. Skip: I think the game is on an overall scale bad enough enough that only a fringe group of people may come out liking it. Try: There will be some who really like the game, and some who don’t. The only way to find is is try! Buy: The game is good enough to warrant the creators and/or local distributors your money. I think at least 7 out of 10 people will like this game, regardless of tastes.)

There’s a great visual novel in there somewhere, but I can’t honestly recommend this game. Rewrite is a terribly hard time deciding what it wants to be. The action, the slice of life, the comedy, the grittiness aren’t good enough to stand on their own and when combined together just makes a gobbidygook mess. I think the need to protect the environment was a running theme but I honestly can’t tell what exactly the author is trying to say here… combat with a T-Rex, while cool, doesn’t make for a very good campaign for green.

I think Loss is still at it translating this game. But really, to translate the jokes and especially the speaking styles properly (the operative word here is “properly”) would take way too much effort relative to the amount of enjoyability this thing can ultimately output. Efforts would be better spent else where (like Baldr Sky).


13 Comments to “Key’s Rewrite – Review”

  1. To be honest, I hold blind hatred towards spoilers on both ends. Why I read this can be explained in several ways, but you could say I did it mostly because I wanted to have an opinion. That was stupid of me. I can’t give an opinion of something I haven’t played myself. I should’ve known that. All I got from this was about 30 minutes of leisure reading, a better hold of your tastes in general, and what may or may not be a spoiler from that last Umineko episode that I have yet to read because of the lack of a translation.

    Don’t get me wrong– it was an interesting read, and from what I can gather, I’m not missing much. I’m just trying to illustrate the fact that had this been a good game, I would’ve seriously regretted reading this. If you ever end up reviewing something I hold interest in, and which I have no easy way of trying myself, do forgive me if I end up not looking at it.


    I think the first time I seriously regretted spending hours and hours reading a VN was through Umineko. And even then, there was still that utterly awesome final Tea Party at the end of episode 4 which prompted me to follow the upcoming episodes out of sheer curiosity. Something similar happened with G-Senjou no Maou where the heroines were dull and completely accessory, while betting everything in the main story. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that, despite the fact that an eroge can go horribly wrong in many, many ways, I think there is quite a lot of value in it as long as it delivers a feeling of satisfaction at the very end, which, from what I understand, Rewrite does have.

    I think by the time it actually gets translated, I’ll have already forgotten all about this review, so I’ll probably go ahead and give it a read. If anything, it’ll give me something to talk about the day after, which is essentially why I read/watch stuff in the first place. I guess I just like to talk.

  2. well i think its a nice review… i think you may as well make a walkthough of the game

    [I originally wanted to, but the game sucked. – rsy]

  3. Ignoring the contradictory interpretation in Chihaya’s route, it is indeed stated explicitly that Kagari’s (and thus presumably the Earth’s) interpretation of 良い記憶 is the human race’s drive to expand forth, even further beyond the planet itself in this instance. Kotarou provided them with the means necessary to do this by providing them with the technology that Gaia and Guardian had been withholding from the rest of the world, thus allowing life itself to be converted into a resource. My personal interpretation is that the exact sequence of events depicted in Terra needed to take place for this knowledge to actually have an effect, though – including the failed 救済 and Kotarou killing Kagari at the end.

    Personally, I thought the game was worth what I paid for it at the dance scene in Moon. It might not have a great deal to do with the plot itself, but that scene – and the first half of Moon in general, really – has amazing atmosphere and is beautifully written. Romeo is an excellent, excellent writer and it’s kind of a shame that he’s only really trying during Moon and Terra. I place rather more stock in the sheer quality of the text itself than most people, though.

    As for what I thought of the rest of the game… the common route is pretty funny but goes on for too long, Kotori’s route is godawful, Chihaya and Shizuru’s routes don’t exist, Akane’s route is decent, Lucia’s route is pretty good.

    I think Moon and Terra are strong enough on their own to carry the rest of the game, but Rewrite could have been much better if it were half as long and Romeo had written the entire thing. There are too many uniquely Romeo thematic elements that end up going to waste because it’s simply too long and feels like a bunch of different games jammed together at points. There are some pretty interesting reviews floating around on EGS that can point out the Romeo elements better than I can so I’ll leave it at that.

    By the way, LoSs was very disappointed with the non-Moon/Terra parts of the game, so his translation project is dropped. Strato from a.f.k. is translating Baldr Sky and wants no help, so I don’t know why you would say that his efforts are better spent on that game, though…

    Also why was Chihaya still wearing her old uniform during the ending? lol

    [Sup Moogy.

    My personal interpretation is that the exact sequence of events depicted in Terra needed to take place for this knowledge to actually have an effect, though – including the failed 救済 and Kotarou killing Kagari at the end.

    This is definitely what Romeo was going for when they made those non-selectable choices in the game. My gripe with it though is that, unless I missed something spectacularly, they never provide a reason for why it HAS to be that way. My suspension of disbelief stopped at having to take for granted that two humungous international organizations are able to keep themselves from being exposed to the rest of the world for so long. Also, since the story never focused on it, it felt like Jasmine’s leak was a complete afterthought. It just doesn’t feel right when the saving grace for humanity was almost an accident, especially after the hooplah about the “one right path” in Moon. It also feels like a joke when humanity had the power to survive all along since the dawn of mankind, and all it took was one loli and Wikileaks.

    Now that I think about it, I think this is why I was disappointed in Terra. When Takeru woke up in Muv Luv Alternative, he had a goal in mind. He knew what must be done, and he did, though faltering plenty on the way there. Terra was about a guy who couldn’t make friends wanting some poon, fumbling around, failing to get poon (and not making any friends either), but his actions just happen to lead him to save the world.

    Personally, I thought the game was worth what I paid for it at the dance scene in Moon. It might not have a great deal to do with the plot itself, but that scene – and the first half of Moon in general, really – has amazing atmosphere and is beautifully written.

    Yeah, I completely forgot to mention the great atmosphere in Moon. While great as it is, I still can’t say the toll needed to get there was worth it. And if you just jump straight to Moon, it won’t really make any sense.

    I think Moon and Terra are strong enough on their own to carry the rest of the game, but Rewrite could have been much better if it were half as long and Romeo had written the entire thing.

    There were some pretty obvious bad planning issues involved. It seemed like everyone wanted to do their own damn thing without anyone to reign them in, slap them in the face, and dictate exactly how everything was going to work out so there’d be at least some coherent flow to the game. Or maybe that’s exactly what they were going for when they got three famous but completely different writers together for one game, where they hoped slapping their works together would work well enough.

    Strato from a.f.k. is translating Baldr Sky and wants no help, so I don’t know why you would say that his efforts are better spent on that game, though…

    Ixrec said that Strato’s project is moving at a the pace of a couple tenths of a percentage every couple of months. I don’t know the situation in detail, but it might be faster for a team to start scratch than to wait for his release. If I remember correctly, the writing itself was relatively straight forward and the prose wasn’t what sold the game anyway. Strato is a good translator but it might be better for someone (or more than one person) who’s faster but who’s writing is slightly worse to do it.

    That being said, I think if there’s one game that can sell the VN genre, it’s this one. Others may have gripping stories as well, but BS has the addition of addicting game play too. Get this game on Steam (without the pr0n of course) and it could really take off. I heard Aselia is getting on Steam but Aselia has both bad game play and story. Jast and Mangagamer really need to push for better games.

    Also why was Chihaya still wearing her old uniform during the ending? lol

    Would’ve been a great bonus to see Chihaya in the frilly dress. Also, did you notice the shoes? They should not be wearing those!

    – rsy]

  4. What I hated about this is that they have gone fucked Kotori up. She was supposed to the main heroine but what the hell is this…? They gave her a damned route and that was it.
    The game was shitting as well so I guess it’s normal. This game was such a landmine that I won’t be able to forget about it for a long while…

    What the hell with 青春ってなんやああああああああああああ shit…
    what a waste of time…

  5. Finally finished the moon terra routes, having left off at the akane end a month back. I… had higher hopes that they would bring it all together for some beautiful ending. I think you mirrored my thoughts exactly. The combined scenarios were a mess and largely pointless. The last routes satisfied but I honestly can’t recommend this.

    And, why is baldr sky constantly held in such regard? I honestly found baldrsky to be unbelievable and pretentious, with pointless routes being pointless. Unless 2 fixed this somehow.

    [Now that’s the first I’ve heard of Baldr Sky being “pretentious.” The writing is terse and lean, there’s no mishmash of random symbolism and motifs making it some kinda DEEP story, everything is pretty straightforward. Of course, if you really didn’t like the first game, I can’t recommend spending the time to play the second one, but from the way the memory gimmick works, the routes, in my opinion, get progressively better culminating into a fantastic last route and one of the most satisfying endings in any story I’ve read. – rsy]

  6. This review really make me worried to play this VN, but after reading till the end of the moon chapter I did not think it is as bad as this review makes it out to be, it is certainly not a landmine , the slice of life gags is funny, all the girls is likeable and interesting and most importantly it manages to hold my interest to the end (to the end of Moon that is, will proceed to Terra after this). The high point of this VN for me is Lucia and Akane route and the weak part is Shizuru route. Overall for me I consider this a great VN and highly recommended, but certainly not the same tier as Clannad and Ever17.

    And about Baldr Sky, I dare say the scenario is one of the best scenario ever written in VNs full of jaw dropping plot twists up till the very end , foreshadowing, complex but straightforward and epic plot. This is what top-tier VN is all about.

  7. This reviews pretty shit.

    Kinda seems like the guy who wrote it was too stupid to get the message.

    • Due to the timing of this comment, I’m assuming you read the translation. The problem with being able to read only translated VNs is that if all you have shit on your plate, even shit begins to look like gourmet steak. Rewrite is just bad (for such a high profile game, that is; otherwise it’s kind of average). 2ch agrees, Erogamescape agrees, hell, even VN general on /jp/ agrees. The only people I see circlejerking over this game is /a/. /a/ for god sakes!

  8. I’ve come to a very similar conclusion to you on the matter of this VN.

    I really wanted to like it, the heroines are exquisite (especially kotori) and it really had the potential to be something more.

    Which brings me to what I consider the real flaw in this visual novel, which is that it ignores its only strength – the heroines and instead tries to deliver an ultimately silly and unsatisfying story about “saving the world”.

    The opening routes are essentially irrelevant in the context of the overall story. Most of the routes, such as Lucia’s, add literally nothing to the story and serve only to develop characters that are abandoned as soon as the route ends.

    The terra route had potential, but it is forced to stand alone; a lifeless, tacked-on addition to a visual novel that discards every character it develops.

    The ending was, frankly, awful and makes no sense when given even a few moments of thought. KT succedes in creating “good memories” by slaughtering his friends, but he does it too late so salvation happens anyway and everything was pointless.

    Aparently the “secret” deus ex machina that kagari spend millenia trying to unravel is just that you need to tell people about magic and everyone continues to survive after salvation. How that differs from any of the other routes is beyond me (Couldn’t they just have gone outside in akanes route?).

    I guess I’m just mad that they had so many good things but threw it all away for their nonsensical garbage.

  9. VNDB: 8,73/10
    Erogamescape: 81/100

    Are 8,73/100 and 81/100 bad ratings to You?

    • Gotta love all the butthurt people that’s distinctively idiotic compared to those who criticised the game but gave proper reasons for it.

  10. Man, if Rewrite is bad, what about all other key games ? Especially Little Busters meh.

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