#1 Cause of brain damage in the Rewrite universe.
There’s tsundere – and then there’s this. If you’re walking out from a date in an ice cream parlour looking like you just got ran over by a bus, three cars and a stampede of angry rhinoceros, you have to wonder if ‘tsun‘ really does your girl justice. She beats you for watching her eat, she beats you for saying joking around, she beats you because your face is rather asymmetrical from all the swelling and could use some straightening out! And primarily, you get beat because you are Kotarou, and just freaking deserved it, you frivolous bastard you. Lucia’s particular type of tsundere is reminiscent of Tachibana from Nichijou, in the sense that whole persona is so over the top that you may have a feeling they’re making fun of the whole tsundere trope in itself.
We need a name that can capture the essence of these blatantly over-the-top kinds of archetypes. She’s like a tsundere, albeit madder…heh. Mad-dere. Infact, we might need to drop the dere portion of this all together. There’s only so much brain trauma one man can handle before dere becomes a word he can’t say without slobbering on himself. Anyone have any good ideas here?
Right. Let’s move along here. Konohana Lucia!
Violence and pain are the themes of this route and you are but a small, perverse heathen where Lucia is the right hand of justice. Kotarou spends such a staggering amount of time getting kicked around and air-combo’d by Lucia that he probably spends more time flying then most skydivers and some young birds. Lucia might also be the most audible character of the line-up as she prefers to communicate in often very strange noises and shrieks, which at its best can sound like some sort of adorably small animal and at its worst can be somewhere along the lines of a moefied version of a banshee.
Make no mistake about it though. I kept the ‘dere’ there for a reason, because this girl has a soft side that is to die for. I normally don’t like going out of my way to mention cute/sweet portions of a character since sometimes it just comes with the territory, but Lucia gets a very special mention because this is a tsundere done very right and anyone who really enjoys the character trope will probably feel incredibly rewarded and immediately melt up-on a certain portion of the route where Kotarou is in permanent nose-bleed territory. Of course, what Key considers fun is what most people consider cruel and usual punishment, so we don’t get much of it before we’re reminded we’re all a bunch of crying girls on the inside, but the small time we do see the the girl underneath the statue it’s great to see.
First, let me blow your damn mind by saying that Lucia might be one of my favorite side characters ever. Lucia deals with a ton of problems I personally connected with, especially during the common-lead up towards her route and I almost want to call foul on the Rewrite staff for cheating. I knew almost immediately that I was going to get attached and I did. And it’s frustrating, because now I know I’m going to sound like a biased twat for all the good I’m about to splurge out, but y’know what? Screw it. Bias exists for a reason. If I’m going to be biased, I’m going to do it right, damnit.
Lucia’s character is filled with ups and downs. She makes you happy, makes you sad, makes you genuinely frustrated and makes you feel helpless, especially when you start seeing the brittle shell underneath the justice-filled fists of pain. The route fleshes out every color and shade that Lucia can be. Seeing her character grow and be happy is amazingly gratifying and sincere, while seeing the rug pulled out from under her is painful and heartbreaking. Nothing ever really feels overly dramatic and out-of-character, and everything makes sense as far as her feelings are concerned. Some people might feel annoyed with the fragile-flower handling of Lucia, but I have to sincerely question if someone could manage to go the entire route without feeling a single shred of sympathy for her. Rewrite managed to do a damn good job at keeping Lucia both respectable and strong whilst still allowing us to see the human underneath it all, where we end up with an incredibly bright character.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Wahfuu!” you may cry. “You called out Kotori for being an overly 2deep4u character, but Lucia herself spends a large portion of her route doing exactly that! With a tragic ’2deep4u’ past to boot, she was clearly built to win the audience’s sympathy!” Well. Yes. Sort-of. Let me clarify though; I never said Kotori was bad for being 2deep4u and it’s only really coupled with the aforementioned highly ambiguous romance that it bothered me. Lucia is vastly different considering that this is a romance centric route where you’re desperately trying to chink away at her armor, where in Kotori’s route all the armor is immediately stripped off and drowned out by the plot trying to squeeze itself over it. Yes, though. Lucia does have a tragic past that the game wants you to feel sorry for. And I did feel bad for Kotori during her route, and I still stand by that sometimes the game is being unfair by trying to get a cheap rouse out of you with it, but Lucia’s feels a bit more central where as Kotori’s is more then just a little overshadowed.
…Okay. Right. Route. That was far too long. Let’s get going before I attempt to start a fundraiser.
Kotarou, genuine master of romance.
So, I’m fairly sure everyone moderately interested in Rewrite has been told about how much Lucia’s route differs from the others. I can safely say it is rather true! It’s apparent from the beginning, dealing with a whole new can of worms and even a new portion of the common route. Lucia is such a depressed and lonely person at times that many readers might have trouble empathizing or understanding how she feels. However, to an extent, anyone who has had to go through the pain of adapting to the environment of say a new school and the subsequent fallout of dealing with the local jackoffs could probably find something tangible in the whirlwind of Lucia’s heart that is actually relatable to. Not to worry, though! Shortly after, Lucia reclaims her place as record holder for most concussions inflicted upon Kotarou in ten seconds flat!
Something also worth mentioning is that the beginning starts off as a rather odd yet fairly rattling horror-mystery section. Now, I’m not sure why this was so unsettling to me if I’m going to be perfectly honest. The answer to the mystery is fairly obvious even when the VN did put in a good effort to convince me otherwise. It’s a bit too short of a section to be truly mind-blowing but for some reason it really freaking got to me. Maybe it’s because I was invested into Lucia so early on, so the left-turn into One Missed Call territory was a bit random, especially considering the other routes I had played before this. Maybe it’s because I am secretly a little girl and horror scares me. I don’t know. Either way, for the short time the horror section was shown and the mystery wasn’t immediately guess-worthy, I will admit, It got to me. I’ll leave my man card on the desk at the front.
Damnit Rewrite, I came in here expecting some crazy otherworldly nonsense and some tsundere moe’ on the side, not a damn constipation aid. Having said that though, I can’t exactly say I know what the whole creepy suspense atmosphere was for in the first place. Sure, you could probably say that the whole thing was foreshadowing and for some rather interesting character insight into Lucia, and I’d probably agree. You could also say that the whole purpose was to establish the depression and anxiety with Lucia’s backstory and I could say that’s true too. Yet, I don’t really get why it had to feel like a section from The Ring. All tension gets tossed out the window fairly quickly and it’s not like any other parts of the route ever take on the same atmosphere, but this sounds like nitpicking, even to me. And like I said before, the route STILL managed to creep me out quite a bit for some reason, so maybe we’ll just chalk it up to a creative difference.
Of course, this wasn’t the highlight for me, as I made it perfectly clear earlier that Lucia’s rather incredible character development that starts near the end of the common route and doesn’t ever freaking stop was the runner of the show for me, and this portion certainly helped that. And while the atmosphere could be arguably a bit redundant, it was a rather interesting spin on things I had seen so far in Rewrite and I can’t say I can think of a better way of establishing Lucia’s backstory, so that point will probably remain pointless. Yes, that was an oxymoron. I’m a creative butterfly. Sue me.
I feel a little less safe than before.
You’re probably thinking, “Wow! This character sounds great! Too bad I’ll never get to see her moe’d out since Rewrite puts romance on the backburner!” Well, my overly cynical friend, not to worry! Lucia’s route breaks this almost entirely and throws.. well, I wouldn’t say all the eggs into the romance basket. About eight of them. And you get to dress them up! In dress clothes, make up and maid outfits. That’s kind of a weird thing to do to your eggs but god speed you crazy nutter.
I don’t like repeating myself, which is exactly why I’m about to repeat myself here; Lucia’s dere side is great, and I’m really glad they managed to fit this in so naturally without coming off as awkward or forced in the slightest. See, you don’t really see much of Lucia’s soft side at all really, but it teases you with emotional flashes and very slight hints to make sure you know that the soft side is there underneath all the screaming and elbows to the face. You end up with something that doesn’t feel random like the girl suddenly swapped places with her estranged twin sister, but feels natural enough that you don’t have to question it to the point of unbelievability, which is something I feel like I do way too much when it comes to the tsundere character trope.
See, I’m not too fond of the tsundere trope, because a lot of the time you end up with a girl that seems to be outright dislikeable only to have her turn into an entirely different person like she had developed some sort of damn mental disorder. Writers of these characters seem to forget that it’s supposed to be a gradual change to see the fluffy underside of an otherwise pissed off lion that’s been kicking you around the entire time. She’s not a character that flips on the tsun and dere portions of her brain out of convenience. It’s a character that starts out harsh and gradually becomes warm and fuzzy. And there really are only a handful of these characters that really fit and manage to grab me, because sometimes they really make no sense.
You could probably say Lucia borrows the ‘perverse misunderstanding’ incident a bit too much during the common route, and you might be right, but Lucia mostly unleashes her tsundere wrath on an incident-by-incident basis and doesn’t really hold a grudge as much as she devalues Kotarou’s worth every time he decides to forget his brain at home. Sometimes the tsundere characters hold a grudge to the point where you would have to seriously start questioning if you accidentally kicked their dog on the way home, but Lucia mostly just smacks Kotarou around until he hasn’t met the dumbass deadline of the day and has to go see Lucia to make that goal happen.
It doesn’t really feel like there are two sides of her personality, but rather one side of her personality that she sadly hasn’t had a reason to show anyone else and hasn’t really been given a chance to. It feels like a reward in itself without being forced into any sort of awkward split personality, which is something I don’t feel like I see enough without it being either fetishized or extremely random and unlikeable. It got to the point where I actually wish I saw it more, not because there wasn’t enough of it, but just because I feel like being greedy, damnit.
Of course, this is Rewrite though, and we can’t have happiness without someone across the backyard attempting to toss shit in the fan the entire time, so of course we have to be ruthlessly slapped for getting comfortable before being pushed outside our house into the oncoming tornado.
NO. FUN. ALLOWED.
Well, that couldn’t last too long! Remember that this is still a Key game when it wants to be, which means that during the development they decided that the player experiencing any sort of happy feelings during the story was considered a design flaw. To counter-act this problem, they have to slap every semblance of happiness out of your hands before you start getting hope or happiness on its new, polished floor they spent all day soaking in sacrificed goat carcass. So, the plot quickly takes a turn on 4th and Shitstorm, where the rug is pulled out from under you so fast and so roughly you’ll probably be mad at Rewrite for not at least taking you to dinner first.
ANALOGY TRAIN AHOY!
So the route goes the Shizuru way of things here where it tricks you and just when you’re not looking decides to dump the house on you. And I must say, it’s pretty damn jarring at times as the plot seemingly gets darker every extra second you spend reading it. Everything just seems really bleak and even the lapses in darkness during this segment of the route seem like outright lies and attempts to steer you away from the next slap in the face Rewrite is about to deliver. I don’t want to give this part too many compliments though. The spot on my face where the route picked up the kitchen sink and hit me with it still hurts.
I must say though, the Rewrite universe is filled with some real assholes. Even after Chihaya’s route I had been struggiling to really find anything good to say about Gaia. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to think they have a point but disagree with their methods or if I’m supposed to view them as outright douchebags. Honestly, it didn’t really feel like there was much reason to side with them over Guardian, but holy shit was I wrong! Not because Gaia is any better, but turns out, Guardian isn’t all that much better either! Turns out they too are filled with hyper extremist dipshits that seem convinced that giving the world a hefty offering of bleach would be the best way to solve all the planets problems! Well, seems like the world is determined to wipe itself out. We should gather all the people that don’t want the world to end and go hang out with those great bamboo aliens over on the moon.
I would say they are cartoonishly villainous like Midou over on Chihaya’s route, but it’s not totally true, and these people have some merit. It lets you see both sides of the coin here. Until now I had always thought Guardian made way more sense then Gaia, but now I realize that ‘protecting’ something can mean a lot of things, really, and what people want to protect differs greatly from person to person. It was a bit borderline insane, though, and you would wonder how someone would get such high-ranking authority while being completely off there rocker, but at least it let me see the darker side of Guardian, which I’m thankful for, because I’m quite a deal less biased against Gaia now.
And finally, to get to the end of his monstrous biased as shit post, Lucia’s route climaxed properly. It was a little dark, but it did everything I could have asked for given the circumstances. It’s hopeful, a bit sad, a bit tragic but uplifting, satisfying AND leaves stuff open for the fandisc. I can’t really ask for more, here. So, to cut this short because this is getting far too long, I’ll just say that apart from Kotarou’s incredibly frustrating and borderline complete fucking idiocy at the end, I really liked this climax and it topped off the route nicely.
Don’t worry, just a little more splurge to go!
OVERALL THOUGHTS, REVIEW AND WHATNOT?!
I don’t really think I need to put anything here, but for a TL;DR, I’ll sum it up. Lucia’s route may not have been the best story-wise and it does go quite a huge deal left from the rest of Rewrite, and sometimes the sympathetic pain does feel pulled straight out of a hat. Lucia, though, really struck home with me and connected on almost everything I could have asked for. It was relatable in quite a few ways, the character developed in both positive and negative ways leading to a rather violent roller coaster of ups and downs, remained consistent and was just as lively and vibrant as any side-character slot would ever allow, perhaps even more so. Nothing ever felt like status quo. When she was happy, it really meant something and felt real, and when she was sad you knew why and it could make you feel sad or helpless. Lucia has to go down for me as one of my favorite side characters and maybe even characters in general.
For you, though, it’ll vary. This is all coming from a guy who was instantly connected with isolation and depression, along with other things. I found a ton of things to take away from it, but you might not. Especially if you don’t connect with Lucia, don’t like her stereotypical mad-dere persona during the common route or just don’t like how dark and sympathetic the game tries to make her come off as. The route, also, is quite disconnected from the rest of the story, but to me that’s what made it so interesting. It might not be that way to you. I’ll leave that to you to decide.
If you’re a fan of tsundere, she’ll probably come off as a treat, too! Albeit on the more violent side (I still want to find a new name for these types) of things and a bit more extreme, but it’s really nice to see the tsundere character treated with a bit of respect and not have her dipping into her other personality every half a second. Something not seen enough for the archetype, sadly.
So, I’ll lay this monster to rest, I think. It’s the long haul now, where all the emotions start pounding on me and I’m pretty worried if I’ll make it out alive. Akane’s route has a pretty intense reputation, so I’m a little freaked out, but I gotta brave the storm! So, see you whenever I decide to pick up my man-card again and get on Akanes route.
I’ll be okay, right?
I’m so screwed.