Ohtori Sakuya, ladies and gents. If you couldn’t tell immediately, the man practically bleeds Shoujo swag. Butler to the human rocket Chihaya with the ability to turn Kotarous name into weird, rude and sometimes vile mutations of itself, Sakuya spends a huge portion of the common route and occasionally parts of other peoples route hating you for no real definable reason whilst at the same time trying to make sure Chihaya doesn’t end up on a mountain or the center of the earth since she has the brainpower of most rocks.
I’m not sure if Sakuya was written to be disliked or not, but if he was they didn’t do a very good job at it. Sakuya was a bit annoying to listen to at times during the common route but it becomes painfully clear very quickly that Sakuya is all talk and might rival Lucia in terms of tsundere. He even grows into a gigantic bro, especially getting to the end of the route where you learn his story almost to the point of nearly becoming–
I feel like I’m forgetting something.
I think there’s a brain in there somewhere.
The arsenal of destruction, Ohtori Chihaya! One of the more amusing dense characters I think I’ve seen in recent memory. With the IQ of your everyday stone but with the destructive power of godzilla mixed with a nuclear weapon, her existence is quite the mystery in and of itself as she rips telephone poles out of the cement like they’re straws and carries fridges over her head like they’re pillows, yet might barely just edge out over a spoon as far as brain power is concerned. It’s all (mostly) played for laughs, though. Chihaya is a loveable moron despite it all and isn’t really supposed to be some sort of super 2deep4u character that we just can’t understand. She’s pretty good at keeping it simple.
Anyways, this is where I’m actually starting to really like Rewrite’s characterization as I move through one character route to another. I’ve been a little harsh so far in some of the side-routes but despite any flaw I can point out most of the characters remain likeable regardless. It’s always nice to see characters that I can enjoy the slice-of-life and screentime they get without just sinking into toleration over enjoyment. Having said that, I can’t say Chihayas character grew from start to finish or anything of the sort. If anything I think we saw Sakuya grow more as a character more than she did, but as I said before, I think trying to force-feed some sort of lesson with such a simple character would have came across as too awkward, so that’ll remain a nitpick.
Speaking of nitpicking, before everyone starts to think that I’ve grown soft after enduring the heart-filled ‘gehs’ of our talking cataclysm Chihaya, I should probably start talking about some of the things that were a bit off the side of the road. Which leads me to possibly the most hilarious villain I’ve ever had to see.
I want to destroy stuff cause that’s what bad people do.
There is a phrase I tend to throw around alot which is ‘cartoonishly villainous’ and this guy practically defines it in a rather JRPG sense of it. This guy comes equipped with a hyena laugh, the power of fire, some sort of hoody, the works. Somewhere, Sephiroth and an antagonist from James Bond got together and did the nasty and out-came this diamond; Midou. They could have renamed this guy Skeletor and I would have bought it completely.
There’s some effort on the VN’s part to sort of draw some sort of comparison between him and Kotarou which I can’t say I ever really took seriously either because it didn’t make any freaking sense. Yes, sure. Kotarou is fighting for an albeit stupid reason (Chihaya the nuclear weapon!) but to say that Midou’s whole “I want to burn things cause burning things is all In can do” is in any way relatable to what Kotarou does and fights for as a person is a little unbelievable at its best. I think Midou was supposed to represent some sort of ‘easy-way out’ Kotarou was capable of doing, but did anyone seriously take this comparison seriously? Kotarou renames gangsters to lamesters in his free time while Midou acts like he would be devouring children. Well, if we’re comparing stuff, might as well go all out! Like.. Santa Clause and Freddy Krueger. Maybe even the Tooth Fairy and your residential crime lord.
Mind you I’ve never tried to destroy the world (except for that one time) so maybe I don’t know the thrills of being some sort of psychopath on a war-path for the sake of being on a war-path. At one point they even try to make Midou come off as sympathetic which falls flat on its face because the whole VN just shoved the fact that he’s some sort of total asshole without a conscious the entire freaking time. Without spoiling too much though, Midou gets a bit of a demotion, which is when the route finally get’s on track to the main plot of Rewrite, so forgetting that ever happened…
Prepare to fire the Chihaya Catapult!
So, the quality of the route starts firing on more cylinders when we hit the later half of the route. We start seeing alot more drama from Guardian and Sakuya’s character swerves start coming from left and right. We also get even more information in the grand scope of things. Kotarou’s ability even gets alot of light shed on it while the romance even gets the spotlight a few more times before the ending. I’m a little sad that we didn’t get this right from the beginning and instead had to deal with the deranged cousin of the actual problem, but whatever. Everything does eventually fall into place. Predictably, but I’d say neatly, if that makes any sense.
Yes, yes. Finally. All the questions come down to the thrilling climax, the epic speeches, the development and character payoff with lethal doses of shounen tropes about thirty god damn times.
I like climactic and huge scoped endings as much as the next guy, really, but you can’t keep throwing conclusions at what looks to be ending scenarios only to either have it come back or have another absurdly bigger problem come into scope the second after without devaluing it. This route could have used quite a bit of a trim on the edges, really. The spotlight really didn’t want to make up it’s mind on what it wanted to focus on and instead chose to stretch everything out to the limit which can make the whole thing seemingly drag on forever. And this is where I express more gratitude at keeping Chihaya the right hand of armageddon simple and likeable, because I think the floor would have given out if she had started stealing spotlight time for some sort of character growth.
Now, I don’t really want to harp on the shounen tropes that much. I haven’t knee-jerked that much to them and I think I’ll probably be seeing more later, but this route was really stuffed with them to the point where I think they ran out and needed to start using ending tropes for all the climaxes because they hadn’t met quota. Now, I think everyones probably going to react differently to the amount of tropes being played straight here so I don’t think I can actually say how good it is or not. It’ll all depend on you. Personally, it didn’t really bother me for the most part until near the end when they are fired at you with deadly velocity. And honestly I can’t really say they bothered me to the point of disliking them, but I can’t say a voice in my head wasn’t telling me how cliche’ this all seemed. So, this’ll be a bit up in the air.
And for my final nitpick, Rewrite’s fight scenes so far have been incredibly average at best. I’ve thrown water-bottles that felt more satisfying then some of the animations so far and I’m not blaming the shounen tropes for this one. The animations and lights can sometimes feel and look incredibly sluggish which can systematically murder any attempt at flow from the start. I haven’t complained about it yet but Chihaya the supreme destroyers route it feels like everyone is out to pull you inside out which means the fights we get also get wheeled out in incredible frequency.
Sorry, gotta keep something in the air for the fandisc!
OVERALL THOUGHTS, REVIEW AND WHATNOT?!
Well, for not giving me too bad of an ending that only slightly kept itself open for the fandisc to come way and make a mess of the place, Chihaya the fifth horsemen’s route was a rather fun read to me. Sakuya despite himself turned out to be really likeable and ended up being the heart of the story, really. The romance while sidelined feels probably the most legit so far among the three I’ve done so far despite it’s moderation. The information it gives is pretty good too. And I can’t forget that Chihaya, despite being the human made form of a natural disaster, remained pretty consistent and will probably remain enjoyable to most people who liked her during the common route.
However, this route probably has the most flaws compared to the others I’ve done. This route will probably be forgettable to most people, lacking quite a bit of ‘wow’ moments that aren’t immediately devalued by the next ‘wow’ moment that comes directly after. With all the spotlight switching the route can feel stretched far too thin, especially concerning the ending. I’m not ready to call the amount of shounen tropes in it a flaw yet, but I think most people will think it’s rather cliche at times and very predictable when it reaches its (actual) climax. And I can’t forget the first half of the route, which tries to make us believe that Midou is actually supposed to be taken seriously, which to me, fell completely on its face when the only thing I could think of was Dr. Claw with a fetish for fire.
Despite my obsessive need to pick nits, i’d probably be not only repeating myself but coming off as a bit dishonest. The route gave fairly good information, an interesting character in Sakuya, more screen-time and back-story to the rather odd Gil and Pani, a fairly believable romance even in low amounts and it ended in slightly predictable but satisfying fashion. So, yes. Chihayas route isn’t anything new, but if you don’t dislike the tropes, you’ll probably find this fairly fun as well.
One small tidbit: This route actually gives a little bit more to what I understand about Shizurus ending. My opinion hasn’t changed though, even with more context. I still find it stupid on Shizurus end, especially in comparison.
So. Next will be Lucia which I’ve heard quite a deal of positive about. I’m looking forward to it. I’m normally not one for the excessively tsun types, but Lucia has grown on me a bit.
Ciao for now!