Meido Mikoto Waifu Deluxe!
Shizuru’s route is about the overwhelming force of Shizuru’s pain-inducing imagination as Runstar, Sauryman, Pokerface and Gaffe Giraffe-san all combine efforts to take over the known world. Runstar shoves Kotarou’s face into the dirt, proving that everything does, indeed, smell like the sea. We’re all forced to bow as hulkamania runs wild on us, Guardian and Gaia join forces to take on the real threat of the world while the entire world blows up in a gigantic nuclear strike via the latter, proving that humanity are all assholes and the Key was right in the first place. Oh, and somewhere along the lines, I commit ritual seppuku after the absurdity that was this route’s ending.
We’ll get to that later.
Servant Class: Berserker
Shizuru, my personal favorite character concerning hilarity! As everyone knows by now, the thing that seems to me my favorite character trait or archetype is the eccentric, lack-of-common-sense (deadpan voice is a +) and downright strange types that appear. Shizuru not only fits all that, but her facial-expression language and her rather vivid imagination makes her fairly hilarious and colorful as a character.
She’s pretty strong-willed, too. Surprisingly so. I initially thought they were going to go for another pity-trip with Shizuru, but… not really. There’s one scene that takes place near (or during, can’t remember) the common route where she explains her past, but besides that small moment of weakness, you don’t get much room to actually feel sorry for her. It’s good to see a character genuinely strong without focus on some sort of painful and dark past that lead her to become super tough and 2deep.
Anyways, I was fairly invested into Shizuru before her route even began, which makes it a bit hard to review properly, since I cared from the start. And it might be because of my own little niche for the odd-ball characters, so, take it as you will. I think, at the very least, she doesn’t really do anything worth disliking her for and I’d kind of expect most people would get a few laughs out of her even if you don’t get invested all the way. She also created Runstar and is the deity that Mikoto’s samurai worships in Pathfinder. She’s no joke, yo.
High Overlord Gaffe Giraffe-san!
Right, so! Shizuru’s story is about one of the sides in that giant holy shit conflict we saw in Kotori’s route, rather than being some random middle man! Kotarou has clearly chosen a side this time. He seems to be dramatically less useful (bordering on hindrance) this run around, but it’s not totally his fault. There’s not much the poor guy can do in this situation, really, except sit there and support Shizuru all the way through.
Speaking of which, one thing that’s changed from Kotori’s route is that the story-telling for romance AND story isn’t as in the air as life in outer-space. Even if it’s not said, it’s clear as hell where Shizuru and Kotarou stand the entire way through. Once again, it isn’t the focus and does play second fiddle to the plot (which it should), but it didn’t feel forced or awkward in… well, any way, honestly. Shizuru as a love interest felt genuine enough to benefit the slice of life. I do like to pretend that Guardian actually is using him to keep her mind occupied to prevent Gaffe Giraffe-san and co. from taking over the world, but that’s a seperate issue.
Kotarou gets the “you know too much” spiel during this route. However, instead of attempting to kill him like in cliche action movies, Guardian has decided that they could probably keep him around, if only because god of evil and darkness Shizuru said so. So, Shizuru gets put on watch-dog duty for everyone’s favorite moron Kotarou. So, this results in Shizuru moving in with him, which thanks to Shizuru’s rather hilarious character leads to predictable results and frankly the slice of life was probably the most enjoyable part of the route. Not that the story building was bad, but there isn’t a real tension or fear until I’d say the 80% mark.
Around said 80% mark is when all the insane stuff starts happening. I think they may have slammed the hammer down too hard on this one, to be honest. The initial problem at the beginning of the route is quite obviously going to be solved unless they stretched the entire flashback the whole span of the route, so while I was rather relieved when it was solved, I can’t say I was worried about it taking a dark turn for the worst. This is a complete turn-around from what happens near the end, which is the equivalent of someone kicking down your door and throwing every plate, glass, cat, person and kitchen sink it can wrap its fingers around towards your general direction.
It might be because that the whole “enjoy your time together while it lasts” sort of message seems to be the thing that’s said a lot during the route, but I feel like I might be looking to far into it. It could very well be just awkward pacing, but I’m a little hesitant to call it a fault, so I’ll have to leave that one in the air for awhile.
Anyways, this route probably sounds pretty good right now. An enjoyable heroine, a lot of information and story being given to the reader (which is damn good so far. Rewrite‘s story is intriguing as hell) with some drama, happiness and sadness all rolled into a side-route. Of course, it’s still a side-route, so you can’t expect anything too hardcore, and the intrigue of the story behind Rewrite definitely carries it a bit, I wouldn’t say anything is overly bad.
My reaction exactly.
So, we get to the ending. Shit is EVERYWHERE, sacrifices are made, people can’t find their breath mints and there is some seriously AMAZING as hell music playing in the background. All the shit the whole route has lampshaded, foreshadowed and all the information you’ve been given is finally coming to ahead. It’s pretty intense and you kind of think everything is screwed, but it’s okay! Hope is everywhere. Subtle, of course, but there. So there that it’s impossible to ignore. This payoff is going to be great.
See, there’s a scene involving a diary where it kind of hit its peak for me. It was obvious where it was all going. What was going to be on the other side of the doors when they decided to open. It’s clear as day, right? Well… sort of! You get what you wanted, all right. Oh do you EVER. I swear they did this to make fun of me, because that’s the only god damn logical conclusion I can come up with for this freaking nightmare.
Read at your own peril: Spoiler Ahead!
[spoiler]KOTAROU COMES BACK ALL RIGHT. OH DOES HE EVER. THAT HUGE PAYOFF.
He comes back as a mother fucking TREE. Yes, Kotarou the BRANCH. Hope in the face of destruction? All the happiness you enjoyed? It all leads up to Kotarou giving his life to Shizuru in order for him to become some sort of half-sentient god damn TREE. I actually laughed. I laughed hard when I saw the last CG because of the absolute absurdity and the sheer stupidity of it all And I must say, if the supposed heart warming ending cg makes me laugh, I have to start questioning it.
Edit: So, turns out, there’ is a reason, if barely one, which is partially revealed through Chihayas route. So, yes. I guess why Kotarou becomes Kotarou the future swingset is a bit more clear. The process is, anyways, but I still don’t see how it makes it any less redundant and stupid. I’ll admit, I was a bit wrong as to why the process didn’t make sense, you just had to go through Chihayas route to see how he became a tree, but I still don’t see how that makes it any less fucking pointless. I hate the symbolism this is supposed to have here because it all seems incredibly meaningless without any satisfaction towards the ending. And, for the record, just because they explain the process in Chihayas route doesn’t automatically relinquish this routes explanation from being utter shit.
So, yes. Unless Rewrite has more tricks up it sleeve to make me think becoming a tree in some sort of pointless, random and emotionally grating way, I’m still calling this ending a giant piss. [/spoiler]
Look, I understand message and bittersweet and whatever, but this was just… well, shit! Sure, the alternate version of the ending which I’m sure most people were expecting would probably be just as cheap and potentially trivialize a lot of what happened during the route too, don’t get me wrong, but I think it would have been far, far more satisfying to see it unfold. And the characters I think would have deserved it too. I don’t know, if they can randomly ass-pull some sort of deranged pointless symbolism, I think they could have found a way to ass-pull something that not only would have felt better emotionally, would have been far, far more satisfying.
Annnnnd rant over.
OVERALL THOUGHTS, REVIEW AND WHATNOT?!
I’m never one to say that an ending should decide the quality of an entire route, but everything really got laughed at. The pacing gives you whiplash, but even during the happy parts of the whole route you still get the feeling it’s all leading up to something. I honestly can’t remember the time a side-route’s ending got my jimmies so rustled. I’m having trouble seeing anything good about this ending. At all. It’s cheap, damn near cartoonish with some weird symbolism and very little information as to HOW, which makes the rest of the route’s lead-up to it seem entirely pointless and stupid. I just… I don’t know. Maybe if they didn’t do it at the VERY end and expanded it a bit more, it’d be a little more satisfying. It’s highly possible I’m a little more annoyed simply because I liked Shizuru’s character and kind of think it got shafted right before the credits. I’m not sure.
Besides that, only a couple things to say! I would have preferred if pre-flashback would have been a bit longer. You kind of got rushed into it a bit, but I don’t think most people will care while reading it. It’s a little disappointing they didn’t expand on it a bit more, I think it’d have added quite a bit. And as I’ve said before, it’s possible you won’t actually feel any reason to think the problem at the beginning won’t be fixed, which can result in a lack of tension until the VN throws its house at you.
As for good points, Shizuru is hard to hate and to me was the complete opposite, which means I actually enjoyed all the slice of life segments between her and Kotarou. Also, this route gives quite a lot of information on everything about the setting from the side of Guardian, which is pretty nice after going through the middle-man’s route. And the climax really does what it sets out to do. The hopelessness was pretty damn genuine. I just wish– Ugh. No. Nope. I said I was done ranting. No more.
Anyways, I’m not sure what I’ll do next. I’ve been hearing a lot about Akane’s route, so I’ll probably save that for last. I think I’ll go walk to Chi’s route and see what its like on the other side of this whole craziness.
Bye for now!
I’ll hopefully get to see Chihaya’s fireball!