(Spoilers for Rewrite, particularly for the Moon route. If you have not completely read Rewrite, please do yourself a favor and get to reading.)
By no means would I call Rewrite “perfect”. One of the Rewrite’s greatest flaws is its lack of coherence between its routes. It’s bound to happen when a work has multiple authors: throughout its routes there are contradictory scenes, plot devices and characters left unused, thrown away, or just rendered unimportant in the grand scheme of the work. Rewrite, as a whole, is a chimeric mammoth of ideas which don’t quite work together.
So what is it that keeps Rewrite from being a complete mess?
Let me talk about romance. Romance is deeply rooted in concept of visual novels, and Rewrite is not an exception. Each of Rewrite‘s authors wrote their respective routes with a different idea of “romance” in mind. Kotori’s and Chihaya’s routes lack any sense of traditional romance – particularly Chihaya’s route, which is one long homage to Fate/stay night‘s Unlimited Blade Works route. It is not the story of Kotarou and Chihaya, but rather that of Kotarou and Sakuya – mirroring the relationships between Shirou, Rin, and Archer in F/SN. Lucia’s and Shizuru’s routes go for the more cheesy, teenage kind of love – the kind of love story you’re likely to find in many light novels and manga. Akane’s route goes for a more “adult” approach to its romance – it goes much deeper into the implications and consequences of falling in love with a person like Akane.
Rewrite‘s Moon Route goes for a different, more creative approach. Kotarou’s relationship with Kagari is different by virtue of being the simplest – and purest – relationship throughout the VN. Kotarou himself points this out in the route:
This is what sets apart the Moon route from the rest of Rewrite. The Moon route is dedicated to developing this simple romance. Kotarou does this by attempting to climb higher and higher up the ladder of intelligence to get closer to Kagari. This, by itself, is already a brilliant application of Kotarou’s rewriting power.
A great instance of parallelism also occurs in the Moon route. Throughout the route, Kotarou works to “humanize” Kagari. From an incomprehensible being, Kagari develops into a more relatable girl to Kotarou. In this sequence, Kotarou encounters many abstract concepts, which Romeo Tanaka renders into concrete imagery – for example, he renders the growth of life on the Earth and all of its possibilities as a continually-growing tree. With each number Kagari writes into the program of the Earth, the tree of life grows and grows. If you’re familiar with xkcd, the result is something like this.
To anyone with a passing interest in science, this sequence is a brilliant way of describing how life proceeds with its infinite possibilities. This is Romeo Tanaka’s romance with the reader: while Kotarou works to humanize Kagari, the author works to humanize many grand and incomprehensible concepts to the reader.
And the best thing about all this is that Moon’s romance ties directly into how the world is ultimately saved. Kotarou and Kagari are separated, but the Terra route comes as a result of Kotarou’s desire to see Kagari again. He helps humanity achieve space travel for the sake of Kagari, so that she would no longer be alone on the Moon.
The Moon route, at its core, is a very romantic piece. Just as the Moon route claims that love is a valuable piece in the grand scheme of the universe – the piece that allows life to spring forth, I would say that the Moon route is the core of Rewrite – without it, the work would have remained a complete mess of ideas without any coherence.
It is this romance that made me fall in love with Rewrite.