Anime Studio Challenge: 8bit's Rewrite (Review)

Funny story, I was actually planning on re-watching Rewrite, and then I didn’t have to thanks to this anime studio challenge.

And.. that’s the story.

So the studio / producer this time is 8bit, who actually has worked on plenty of other anime such as Infinite Stratos, that slime anime, The Fruit of Grisaia + sequel and more.

Anyways, from what I’m seeing, Rewrite looks like 8bit’s best work.

Story

Rewrite is a story about a boy, Kotarou Tennouji, who lives in a modern city built around a giant corporation that seeks to protect the environment. He has the ability to rewrite his own DNA in order to irreversibly make himself stronger, faster, smarter, et cetera. And Kotarou is just a regular school boy, until some things happen and he gets caught up in a much larger predicament with the world itself at stake.

Visual Novel Basis

Now, to my knowledge, Rewrite is actually based on a visual novel of the same name.

And because of this VN basis, you can expect the anime to try and wrestle with the fact that VN’s generally are made up of many branching story paths. Which is exactly what the Rewrite anime tackles.

It’s not inherently a bad thing, although some might consider it to be I guess. Having not played the game, I can’t comment on how well the anime “captured the source material”, something that I think is irrelevant anyways. The moment Rewrite became an anime, it became a standalone piece of media that merits it’s own critique free from the source material.

Oftentimes I feel like anime adaptations of a visual novel either nail it, or don’t. Especially when it involves stories that have so many different paths that one can choose. It’s clear that anime based on a visual novel tend to have a much different feel, and different qualities from those based on manga / light novels.

VN Soundtrack

Continuing on, I wanted to point out that because Rewrite is based off a visual novel, it benefits from the visual novel’s amazing soundtrack. I’m listening to it now on YouTube, and I think the game’s soundtrack is actually more extensive than what we hear in the anime. But even then, the songs that are used in the anime are excellent.

The first time I watched Rewrite was when it originally aired, with S1 in 2016 and S2 in 2017. After re-watching it now, I can tell you that many of the songs sparked up some nostalgia.

And so, if you’ve seen Rewrite before, why not share in that nostalgia with this amazing track? You should recognize it immediately.

Also, there’s this song from the game that’s awesome. I don’t think it’s in the anime though, and was just a part of the visual novel. I don’t remember hearing it in the anime, but then I also don’t watch OPs very often let alone EDs.

One 24 Episode Season

While Rewrite was released in two parts, two seasons, the way the anime flows really lends itself to be watched in one go. Something that I remember happening back when Rewrite first came out was that the ending of the first season felt so abrupt that people were disappointed – myself included.

But then the second season came out and blew my mind. It was such an amazing change of pace, and everything really came together in this season. I used to regard Rewrite Second Season as one of the few cases where the second season of an anime “saves” the anime.

However, I’ve changed my mind on that now, because I believe that Rewrite is meant to be watched as one 24 episode season. Last time I watched the two seasons many months apart, this time I didn’t. The anime simply flows perfectly from one season to the next, and while the seasons are very different, they work very well together. A sort of yin and yang deal.

Two Seasons Coming Together

As I said before, the two seasons are very different, each serving it’s own purpose, but when combined I feel like everything just clicks.

The first season serves to create a bedrock for the story. We learn about all of the characters, and experience the Rewrite story in a singular timeline. In these first 13 episodes, the Rewrite world becomes something that we learn very much about, and so we finish the 13th episode with a good foundation. Overall, this season feels very ordinary in comparison to other anime of this genre, although the “ending” of this first half is an interesting one.

The second season then seizes that foundation, and takes flight. It gets crazy, giving us glimpses into the various routes of the Rewrite game, before moving into what I imagine is the “true end” route. Things get convoluted at first though, before settling into that route and ultimately delivering a very powerful finale to the story.

The second season also incorporates many situations of what I imagine are the in-game choices. Situations where Kotarou has to make a decision, and then multiple options flash on screen before he chooses one and goes with it. I’m going to assume that these options are taken directly from the game, and that choosing them in the game leads the player to the true end. I’m assuming this, but only because I think that’d be really cool if it is the case.

In the end though what we get is two very different seasons coming together to make one great story. The first season creates the foundation, and the second season builds something wonderful. The second season would not work without the first, and on it’s own, the first season is a tad underwhelming. But together, they manage to tell an amazing story.

Best Girl

May as well throw this out there, because there is indeed one girl who is a cut above the rest. A best girl, if I may use that term.

The best girl for the Rewrite anime is Kotori.

Not only do I really like her character, especially in the second season, but I love her voice actress, Chiwa Saito, who also voices Hitagi Senjougahara in the Monogatari Series. I can’t really describe it, but I really like how she voices Kotori in Rewrite.

Rating

I’m really happy that I rewatched Rewrite, because I feel that my memory of this anime didn’t do it justice. It really is best watched all in one go, one complete package.

I’m going to give the complete Rewrite a 9 / 10.
I’ve just finished it and part of me is already planning to rewatch it again sometime in the future. Or perhaps I should take a crack at the visual novel.

It’s just a great anime, and I really love how the two seasons work in tandem. I always appreciate when anime go out on a limb like this. The second season of Rewrite is such a wild ride, and it was only possible thanks to the first season being what it was.

This dynamic is just something you don’t see that often.

Another “thumbs up” screencap for the collection!

Anyways, that’ll do it for 8bit’s Rewrite.

The hard part now is saying goodbye to another great anime done and over with. But I’m sure I’ll come across other great anime as we go through every studio / producer on MyAnimeList’s list.

And with this, we’re officially out of the #’s on the studio list, and moving onto the letter “A”. Where we will be for the rest of 2020.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Anime Studio Challenge: 8bit's Rewrite (Review)

  1. Nah, 8bit’s best anime is Encouragement of Climb, although that one might be too slice-of-lifey for you.

    I dropped Rewrite after 10 episodes, which is about as deep as I’ve gone into a streaming series without just finishing it off. I really wanted and tried to like it because I’m usually a big Key fan, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I can’t even remember any of the characters anymore besides that one girl whose body is poisonous, which says something about how little of an impression it made on me, I suppose. I’m still happy that someone out there enjoyed it, though. Seems like every review and discussion I ever saw about it was always comparing it to the visual novel, which is unfortunately probably inevitable but also seems a tad unfair (I agree with you that an anime adaptation should be evaluated by how it stands up as its own work).

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    1. Looks like I’d definitely disagree with you. Doesn’t look too slice of lifey, looks too CGDCT which to me is never funny, just boring and always feels like a waste of time afterwards to me. Slice of life without comedy is tricky (in CGDCT’s case, the comedy just doesnt work for me at all), I can only think of a few examples that do it right.

      The second season of Rewrite makes many references to the visual novel both in the way the story is told, and by actually showing “options” on screen for a flash at times. Too bad you never got to the second season, it’s a different beast.

      I originally thought the first season was underwhelming when it first aired, but eventually I ended up watching the second one out of curiosity and was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. And then with a rewatch I could appreciate the first season much more.

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      1. EoC is kinda CGDCT and kinda not. The lighter episodes definitely lean more on that mold, but there are also story arcs with legit dramatic weight, and the main character, especially, gets a ton of growth and development. I tend to think of it as a coming-of-age story myself, and I’ve seen reviewers describe it as being about the joys and struggles of learning a new hobby, which is also a valid angle. But I don’t think it’s your type of show, regardless – at best it might be like a Miss Kobayashi where you’re bored with the comedy but okay with the rest.

        As for Rewrite, even if I did pick it up again I’d have to go back and start over from the beginning at this point since I remember so little of it, and just the thought of that is making me cringe. If I ever want to go back to it someday I’ll probably just try to read the VN instead. I know it got licensed, so maybe someday in the far distant future an English release will actually come out.

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      2. I feel like it’d be like A Place Further than the Universe, where any drama / emotional content has no effect on me at all because of how dissatisfied and bored I of with just watching girls mess around all the time, something that just isn’t comedic to me. The genre just doesn’t work for me. I spend the entire anime wondering “is this supposed to be funny?”, and then after the anime is over, realize that I wasted my time.

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  2. Pingback: Let’s Ruin the Titles : Give it a Light Novel Title – animegoodreads

  3. I have always regretted not ever finishing Rewrite visual novel.

    In fact, I faced the same problem as you where I simply thought that the initial part was pretty ‘meh’. Because nothing actually happened. Which caused me to simply drop the visual novel altogether.

    I haven’t actually watched the anime at all, but I might just pick up the visual novel once again and see for myself the thrilling 2nd part of the story!!

    Awesome review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s one of the very few situations where I think the second season of an anime “saved” the first. I originally thought the first season was maybe a 6 /10. But now I think that the two seasons are inseparable, and they really should have aired the show that way.

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