I mean what he has done for you guys lately, let alone me at all?
It’ll be a little while before I get to actually reviewing Rewrite properly, but it should be very clear at this point that I found the experience of watching that anime incredibly painful. The producers of the show would probably burst in tears at what I’ve got in store for it if it wasn’t for the fact that they don’t know I exist and nobody who matters has really been defending that show anyways (and yet we’re still getting a sequel for some reason). And no, I don’t want to hear about how Romeo Tanaka had his creative talent held back by Key or whatnot. That logic may be true for the original visual novel, but I’m pretty sure that company wasn’t supervising the anime adaptation – which had a lot of potential to improve on the source material ala Battle Royale and flat-out wasted it. Even if he wasn’t the main writer for the anime, he was still one of the main supervisors according to all the anime database sites and news I looked at. And in a world where Danganronpa 3 was allowed to be good despite having a shit director and a shit studio attached because the original writer was supervising the scripts, stuff like Rewrite just doesn’t fly.
Really, I fail to see why anime fans care about this dude in the first place. I’m not denying that he’s the god of visual novels or anything. But the key word you have to pay attention to in regards to that title is that he’s the god of “visual novels”. I don’t see the word “anime” in that title at all, and as the long troubled history of video game to movie adaptations has shown, writing for a visual novel is completely different from writing for an anime. With the exception of some of Gen Urobuchi’s stuff and Kazutaka Kodaka as of now (again, moreso Future Arc than Despair Arc), every single original show written by a visual novel writer from Angel Beats to Punchline has made it clear that these guys have never been able to leave their “interactive storytelling” roots behind when writing for a non-interactive medium, always filling their stories with so much brainless character interaction that don’t have any momentum as a way to make you care about the actual substance coming up later when a good story writer would have the substance happen at the very start and make us care about the characters through that. And considering how Jun Maeda refuses to listen to his critics when they call him out on Charlotte’s many MANY flaws, along with every other VN-to-anime writer who’s not him getting supported because somehow people can’t see they share the same problem due to them not being associated with Kanon, I don’t see improvement on that field anytime soon.
It really annoys me that people like Maeda only listen to their fans because I grew up with constructive criticism and negative reviewing as the most helpful thing to do to a creator, and that position has only solidified with time thanks to the community getting more and more sycophantic over the years. Not that his haters do a particularly good job of being critical most of the time (anyone who says being generic is better than being bad can fuck right off) and who can forget all the reactions to Fuller House? “Lots of people watched it. It was a good show,” said Bojack when confronted on how it’s the cool thing to hate his old sitcom. But when we allow people like the writer of Humanity Has Declined to just make even more of an embarrassment to Key’s reputation than a thousand Angel Beats visual novels could ever hope to achieve, I’m pretty sure that’s when you have to open an ear to the other side.
You don’t have to be Shinkai in terms of humbleness, but you need to stand by your product, admit you made mistakes, and then work to make your next product better. Again, look at Danganronpa 3. The first Danganronpa anime butchered the games and sold like shit, so they learned not to make any more adaptations (hence no anime version of Super Danganronpa 2) and when they had to do the animated format because they couldn’t translate their new story into a game, they made sure to realize that they were writing an anime. But no, ever since he made a splash with that fairy show, Romeo Tanaka has become this sort of untouchable figure where so much as picking your nose in his vicinity is grounds for legions of fanboys to pounce onyou. He’s gotten some criticism lately what with the anime series he was attached to this year being more boring than watching paint dry, but a lot of the negative reviews I’ve seen have blamed the industry more than him. Okay fine, maybe the fact that the animation in both Wasteland and Rewrite were utter garbage didn’t help, but it’s not like Aura and Humanity looked all that nice either. What exactly does it take to make you guys realize that he, Forest, Naotaka Hayashi, and whoever wrote Saekano have not and will never be suitable for anime so long as they go into this medium with the same mindset the Ghostbusters team did when they tried to move from film to video game and we don’t call them out on it?
And another thing, what’s with this obsession of wanting your favorite video game characters and stories to be animated anyways? Not only do I not see the point since anime video games are plenty animated by themselves and (these days) it’s pretty easy to play them in the States or Europe or whatever, in what way is an anime going to be better than the game, or even live up to it, assuming the game is good? I’d understand if the game sucked and the adaptation was a sort of reinterpretation that focused on the potential for good buried underneath the garbage like with the movie version of Air, but Super Danganronpa 2 was fun, with interesting (if unfair at times) puzzles and quirky dialogue that wouldn’t be nearly as engaging if you weren’t in control of the guy who’s receiving said dialogue. An anime adaptation could never match up to my personal bonding experiences with Sonia whilst casually ignoring Soda’s very existence. And it certainly isn’t going to capture all of Komaeda’s eccentricities, what with how many he has in the game and the fact that unlike video games, an anime has strict guidelines regarding how long or short it has to be.
Also, I find it very strange how despite the clear separation between anime video games and anime TV series that makes fans desire to see adaptations, they sure seem to treat them as inseparable when it’s convenient for them. There’s this kinda popular MAL reviewer named Veronin who basically talks up his favorite visual novel stories whenever he reviews a VN show and how much better they are by comparison despite the fact that the examples he listed have never been made into anime and would most likely suck if they ever were, given how I hate the “visual novel anime” that he seems to like. While I can understand the PA Works stuff since Maeda wrote those shows himself, a lot of people seem to see the Clannad TV series as more his thing than KyoAni’s considering how many fans of the studio seem to conveniently forget those shows (hell, there are people who are blaming him for Rewrite despite Maeda not having any involvement with that show at all). Unless someone can point me to an online contract or something, I don’t recall anyone ever saying that KyoAni had to follow the original visual novel down to the letter. Obviously it was the best business decision for them (especially when the show first came out), but so what? Most reasonable fans would have gotten over it as long as the adaptation was entertaining.
Is it really a wonder that I don’t bother to read the original source material or even look up who makes an anime these days? With all the big-name nerds promoting the latest talents and masturbating over their works before they’re even out because they really impressed before, whilst flat-out ignoring those who wronged them in the past despite anime as a medium always going to be hit-and-miss even when Tetsuro Araki is more credible as a director than most, it’s like people prematurely set tolerance levels for how much shit they’re willing to tolerate and how much they’re willing to blame certain names when things go wrong. It’s pretty much the only explanation I can think of for how people could have stuck with Durarara so long even though they’ve set lots of anime on fire when their first episodes had way less problems than that shit. Don’t have an explanation for why Durarara is still ranked relatively high on certain anime sites despite it being so bad that Japan gave up on the show, but what the hell do I know about anime fans anyways?
And of course, there’s the opposite end to when people pay too much attention to what goes on behind-the-scenes in regards to anime. Danganronpa 3 is one thing since it’s a sequel to a bunch of video games the big anime community probably hasn’t played, but I notice that Planetarian never seemed to get much attention when it aired, even when compared to fucking Rewrite. As of right now, its MAL ranking is in the thousands, which is fucking lower than Plastic Memories for god’s sake (don’t even get me started on the difference in popularity) despite both anime being visual novel anime from well-known names dealing with AI and their feelings and whatnot. None of the big-name bloggers seem to acknowledge its existence (yet still paying attention to Thunderbolt Fantasy for some reason, even though it has nothing to it besides the puppet effects that got old after five minutes) and the few people I know that have checked it out thought the first episode or so was boring despite the fact that unlike most VN anime, it started its story at the very beginning. But I happen to like it. I liked how its net format allowed it to overcome the usual VN pitfalls and despite the mawkish nature of its ending, I thought it had some cool things to say about the inevitable despair that comes from living in a post-apocalyptic world and how technology can survive in it. And yet even putting the guys who made Jojo behind the project couldn’t drum up much interest. What, was the net format itself a problem? Is it the same kind of hive mind that caused people to dismiss Concrete Revolutio whilst being enamored by One-Punch Man?
Yeah yeah, I know. It’s all subjective. People have different approaches to how they watch anime. Blablabla. But I’m not going to just sit back and say nothing when the general fandom goes in directions that are both too loose and too unfair towards all these artists that work hard to entertain us. Even if they are hacks or whatever (I fucking hate that term), they’re still artists and anything they make will always be art no matter how much people try to deny it. And it’s our job as fans of said art to rein them in when they can’t seem to find the way and just do things for the sake of it even though we don’t like it. This includes the existence of visual novel anime in general, as well as telling guys like Tanaka to stay in the interactive medium (in fact, I think Maeda is the only guy we ever say “no” to). Why exactly do we keep allowing them to exist when it’s clear that interactive and non-interactive don’t mix, and the ones that do understand this dish out products that people flat-out ignore? And if these VN anime are just glorified commercials, all they seem to do is turn us off from the games. I’d be surprised if people wanted to play Rewrite after this insipid abomination.
Besides, what’s so special about visual novel storytelling to begin with? Aside from the non-linear nature (which I don’t see as a positive in any conceivable fashion) and the text-based gameplay that Japan really enjoys for some reason, what makes them so high-art? Not denying there are a few gems in that medium, but are they really worth praising the genre as a whole, or are they just good in spite of being a visual novel, like how I personally feel with those Danganronpa games at times? And is it really worth making us anime fans learn of their existence through these shows so that we can share in the love like you VN fans do? Surely all we’d do is get repulsed by this strange medium if the studios continue to showcase that the only thing that seems to exist in it are shitty “kids want to make their own visual novels whilst acting out those dumb cliches” shows, cut-and-paste time travel stories, increasingly forgettable Fate spinoffs, and retarded angsty dramas that use a high-concept as a crutch for go-nowhere character development. If there’s a visual novel that doesn’t fall under those four categories, please enlighten me. And keep in mind that there have been several critically acclaimed manga that have absolutely failed to impress when they became animated despite mostly staying faithful to the source material’s plot, so your special visual novel has a good chance of not shining in the one-in-million chance Madhouse or whoever decides to bring it to our attention.
So in case you need me to summarize this post: fuck Rewrite, fuck Romeo Tanaka, fuck visual novel anime in general (shhhhhh, don’t worry Planetarian and Danganronpa 3. I still think you’re the best anime of the season), and fuck the fans who can’t seem to understand the difference between an anime and a video game and allow this shit to happen! My god this show sucked harder than an elephant that won first prize at a lake-drinking competition!
- Incidentally, I hope Maeda never writes an anime or anything not-music related ever again.
- It is of questionable necessity whether I really need to write an actual Rewrite review after this post, but I didn’t stick with that horrible show only to not talk about what actually happened in it.
- So how well were Planetarian and Danganronpa 3 received in Japan, anyways?