Rewrite VN – Terra route (spoilers!)
With Terra, I can finally wrap up the Rewrite visual novel. It was a thrilling playthrough and I enjoyed most of it. Especially the final true route – Terra.
It has actually been about 3 weeks since I completed the game. I’d love to say that I am writing this article only now because it took me so long to gather my thoughts and sort my feelings, but that wouldn’t be true. The main reason was a lack of motivation for writing. When I remembered what happened to the Little Busters!, though, I decided to make the final push and write this review. After all – Rewrite is worthy of that.
I don’t know how I managed to do it, but I went into Terra with no idea what it would be about. Somehow, I managed to overcome my tendency to spoil every single story. Not a single spoiler reached my eyes (or at least I forgot them all), and that made Terra so much more enjoyable.
When the game began, I thought it continued from where Moon left off. A kind of sequel after a happy end was achieved. At least the ending of Moon left an impression that everything was fine and solved. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Terra is actually all about creating that one timeline where life has a possibility of prospering. The one who creates that possibility is of course Tennouji Kotarou.
We start off in the past – the story that precedes every other route of the game. Kotarou is just a child. Not quite normal, though – he actually has a super-power. He can freely control his bodily fluids like blood, turning them into lethal weapons. He can also rewrite himself, which I thought was the side effect of having a part of Kagari.
Unlike his previous personality, Kotarou is actually unsociable and often gets bullied. His conflict with his parents isn’t just about the “rebellious age”. They are fanatics of the Martel Group and force their son to participate in every lecture. Even against his will. If he refuses to do as he’s told, Kotarou gets yelled at or even hit. Made me feel bad for him.
As he gets older his personality turns worse. As a teenager he is rather bitter and searches for things to lash out on. That’s why he can’t get along with a girl who moved to the neighbourhood with her parents (Kotori), and runs around at night killing UMAs. Cold-heartedly. One day he chases one into the forest and gets attacked by a real combat-type familiar, only to be saved by the Bayern Knights (Esaka’s group in Guardian). He befriends Esaka later, and hangs out with the old man. On the day when Esaka must leave him, Kotarou agrees to join Guardian.
Now it is revealed that Kotarou was already part of Guardian as a teenager. Together with Touka and Imamiya, they were recruits with some of the worst scores – thus were put into the same team, consisting of the weakest super-humans. Teenage Touka is so cute! She really deserves a separate route. Anyway, they graduate after a while and get an assignment to capture the Key. As the weakest team, though, they are assigned a remote area where the Key would most likely not appear. When things go wrong, Imamiya and Touka leave their positions to assist another team – forcing Kotarou to follow. He sees even the strongest Guardian members getting slaughtered by the Earth Dragon, who can actually speak. Then…
Kotarou meets the Key. As he is saving Akane, who climbed a tree to escape a black dog familiar, Kotarou kills it and catches the falling girl. Kagari sees it all, and Kotarou sees her. A choice appears – to attack the Key or to refrain. This is the part that makes Terra route timeline different from every other timeline. If Kotarou decides to capture Kagari, she will injure his head, putting him into a coma for many years, after which the Guardian members will cause him to forget everything. He will wake up thinking he is a normal teenager, despite being around 10 years older than his apparent age. In short – it throws you out of Terra.
Instead, Kotarou lets the Key go and doesn’t report seeing her. He goes abroad to gain combat experience and there he learns of the Guardian ways. It’s far from being a good organization. They kill summoners indiscriminately and most members are arrogant. After saving a few kids who were forced to summon a familiar, Kotarou makes up his mind. He will now work to destroy Guardian from within. And not just Guardian. In time, Gaia will also succumb. In a way, Kotarou becomes the leader of a third faction, stationed in the war-torn country, with the kids he saved gathering even more people. Why does Kotarou want to destroy both Guardian and Gaia? To give Kagari a good memory. A memory of him being able to stop a global fight between humans.
Everything takes time, and before long, that time is running out. Kagari, who gradually learned to talk and even feel emotions, is now losing her intelligence. The end is near. No amount of environmentalism is going to stop salvation. The Earth does not even care about being saved. It just wants to see humans achieve something big again. A good memory before life disappears. Like a parent that wants their child to achieve something, instead of spending all time on caring for the parent. The only idea Kotarou has is to release the secrets of Gaia – the ability to create and use familiars in return for lifespan. This way life will become easier, and the price will be a shorter life, instead of fossil fuels and other resources. Hence life will be able to strive for much longer.
Time runs out before it was supposed to. Suzaku was kidnapped and executed by Guardian and Kashima Sakura gained full control over Gaia. She immediately began singing the Song of Destruction with other followers, and salvation arrives earlier. Kotarou is forced to rewrite himself several times, and betray all his friends and colleagues. Once he kills Esaka, there’s no stopping him. He’s basically the strongest person in the world. After rewriting himself once again, and defeating the Earth Dragon, Kotarou finds Akane, who was dragged into the shelter by Gaia’s followers, and with his strength running out, he has trouble getting her back. However, he receives help he never expected. Three people. Tsukuno (aka Nagai, one of Kotarou’s teammates during Guardian training, who lost her super-powers and started working at Akane’s orphanage), and Kotarou’s parents. When I learned that his parents helped him out, I felt good – Kotarou wasn’t alone anymore. His parents were finally on his side.
Back in the real world, Kotarou tells Akane to search for help from the first person she meets. He sends her off with his own mammoth familiars. He doesn’t join her because his time has also ran out. That last time of rewriting his body left almost nothing of his lifespan. A few minutes at most. And yet, he wants to meet Kagari for the last time. He rewrites himself for the last time. Not before having a talk with a voice in his head (Sakuya) about there being no way back. If he proceeded, Tennouji Kotarou would succeed Sakuya as the immortal familiar, until he finds somebody else to pass the fate to. Kotarou agrees, and in exchange gains a whole new level of power. He can do anything he wants to now – even fly. That’s what he does, and reaches the girl he loves very quickly. But…
It is too late. The good memory didn’t reach Kagari in time. The salvation has begun. The only way to stop it is by killing the Key. Against his will and only after sharing a kiss, Kotarou kills Kagari. With that, it is all over for him too, and he turns into a tree. Kagari merges with him. In the city Touka finds five lonely girls to take care of. Of course we know who they are.
Many years pass, and a new ice age is in progress. Five girls hear rumours about a special tree on a hill. They decide to form a contract with that tree together. The result is a young man/boy. The only thing he says about himself is that he is able to do absolutely anything. To dispel the doubts, he takes Kotori, Chihaya, Akane, Lucia and Shizuru to the Moon, where his true love awaits. The end.
I loved Terra. It really is the best route of Rewrite. And it was probably the only one that felt too short, despite being the second longest one. I would have nothing against it being 1.5 or even 2 times longer. But it ended. The final part about Kotarou being reunited with teenage heroines was great, and didn’t leave him as a forgotten hero who saved the world. What confused me was Akane’s and Kotori’s reaction. They both knew Kotarou well in the past and should be able to recognize his appearance easily. Yet they said nothing and acted as if they didn’t know him. Even Shizuru had seen him once while she was young – and still she didn’t remember the boy. Why? No idea. Some people suggested that they simply decided not to say anything but still knew him. To me that sounds quite unbelievable.
Now about the other routes. After finishing the game, I believe my favourite route (except Terra, of course) was Akane’s. In it Kotarou was the closest to his Terra version. He wasn’t afraid to use his powers or fight people. He was the strongest person out there (or at least one of the strongest). Akane herself was my favourite girl with her constantly changing personality. Put in order of liking the route:
Terra > Akane > Shizuru > Lucia/Kotori > Moon > Chihaya
Shizuru’s had almost the perfect length. Maybe a bit too short. Can’t say which one I like more of Lucia and Kotori. Lucia had a nice horror story at the beginning, while Kotori’s route had the tear-jerkers. Moon was a bit too philosophical and confusing for me. There was too much technical stuff, but at least it was short. Chihaya… As a heroine, she was cute, but her route was worse than all others. It should have ended much earlier, but instead was dragged out more and more and more. And more. Sakuya was a nice part of the route, but everything else, especially the fights, was below average.
Coming back to Terra again, the younger versions of characters were interesting. As I mentioned before, Touka should have had her own route. The way she changes from someone with a lot of negativity into one of the most easygoing characters is just… hnnnnnng. Young Esaka is quite epic. He’s strong, smart and in his dying moments he accepted Kotarou’s way. Posthumous respect to him. Imamiya was much more annoying than he was before Terra. An arrogant brat who deserves no respect. Suzaku was quite annoying too. Kashima Sakura was chill – didn’t even care about Kotarou. Can’t forgive her, though, for being the cause of Kagari’s eventual death. Kagari herself was a great tsundere. I especially liked the comment about letting Kotarou do indecent things to her in exchange for saving the Earth. Kotarou’s parents were terrible, but redeemed themselves at the very end.
Since I chose Rewrite due to the developers (Key), I can’t help but compare it to Little Busters!, which I absolutely loved. Has Rewrite risen to the top of my favourite visual novels? No. It was good, but could have been better. It has excellent world-building, which surpasses anything I read before (even Fate/stay night), but it wasn’t very emotional. Emotions were the reason I chose it. Hence I’d put it quite high on the list of my favourite VNs, but still not in the first place. Tennouji Kotarou (his Terra version), however, definitely is my favourite visual novel protagonist. A real badass.
Posted on December 8, 2014, in Rewrite, Visual Novels and tagged environment, gaia, guardian, kagari, key, philosophical, rewrite, route, summoners, super-powers, tennouji kotarou, terra, true route, visual novel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.