(As of this time, episode 6 of Rewrite has been released and is available to watch)
With every single visual novel-to-anime adaptation that comes out, I expect nothing but bad things, but then I remember that Clannad and Clannad ~After Story~ exist, so I end up giving these adaptations a watch anyways. This is the case with Rewrite, an anime that’s currently airing, based on the visual novel made by Key Studios. After watching the entirety of the 47-minute long first episode, my doubts in visual novel-to-anime adaptations grow ever so deeper.
Rewrite (リライト) takes place in a city that focuses on caring for the environment, foliage being grown throughout the entire setting. Our main character, Kotarou, lives in this city, along with some other girls that you know have routes in the visual novel. We have a tsundere (bonus: transfer student), a petite girl with an eyepatch, a perverted shy girl (bonus: childhood friend), and a violent class representative introduced within the first episode. Kotarou has recently been visited by a small girl that takes a liking to sucking on his arm then disappearing before he can do anything about it. For how freaked out he is when this happens, he pays it almost no heed during school, and doesn’t tell anyone anything specific other than “an encounter with the supernatural”. After that, we’re introduced to two fairies/sprites/nymphs/whatevers with the most piercing voices since Love Live! Sunshine!!. They serve as the “comic relief” as far as I can tell. After meeting them, they, plus the arm-sucking girl from earlier, fight some weird monster that doesn’t even have a name, after the arm-sucking girl was subdued by the delicious coffee that Kotarou threw at her. The 47-minute first episode ends with Kotarou meeting yet another heroine: the occult club president, completely ignoring the intense supernatural fight sequence he just witnessed.
I don’t know where to begin with this one. Everything about the first episode has all of the warning signs of an anime with nothing good to come: incredibly rushed pacing, lazy introductions, archetypes for characters, abandoning logic for comedy, bland main character surrounded by heroines of his choosing, and annoying comic relief. This has got to be some kind of record. To top it all off, the fact that the series opens with a 47 minute-long first episode proves to us, the audience, that a 13-episode runtime is not even close to cover the essentials of what the source material covers. The first episode is supposed to be the best foot forward. Completely failing to give something even remotely engaging or original within the first episode of something with tons of source material to work with shows only a descending path for what’s left to come. For reference: the Rewrite visual novel takes an average of 62 hours to complete. That’s crushed down into just 5½ hours of anime time (12 episodes * 24 minutes + 47 minutes) ! Clannad, on the other hand, takes an average of 74 hours to complete, and that’s crushed down into 18.8 hours of anime time (47 episodes * 24 minutes).
It appears that Rewrite wants to show us, the audience, everything wrong with it in only a 47-minute segment. It already has pacing problems, combined with the amount of content in the source material vs. the time contraints of the anime. None of the characters have any dosage of originality to them, including the main character. Of course, humor is subjective, but that too is nothing but recycled situations from previous works hasilty molded into the setting of this anime. I don’t know; maybe I’ll be wrong and this series will get better and better with each episode. Maybe the ending will be worth all of the trouble. As far as I can tell, however, that will not be the case.