Image source: TVアニメ「Rewrite」 on Twitter

If you’ve been following along with the anime adaptation of Rewrite during its second season, you no doubt have a few questions. If you had questions before now, you might have checked out the guide I put together to attempt to explain some of the finer points about the franchise in general.

You may have heard by now that this second season is actually combining routes from the visual novel, or you learned that from the same explainer. I’m here to explain this phenomenon further, just in case you’ve heard conflicting information.

[This article contains major spoilers for Rewrite.]

First off, if you’re wholly unfamiliar with Rewrite, please check out the aforementioned explainer I wrote up for the sake of convenience. Once you’ve done that, feel free to read on.

An Introduction to the Confusing World of Rewrite

Rewrite, as you’re no doubt already aware, is an anime series based on a popular visual novel of the same name. The anime, however, is a lot different than the visual novel in that the entirety of the first season’s first seven episodes are meant to follow the visual novel’s Common Route, or the very first route the player will be able to see in-game. From there, it branches out into several different stories based on the player’s choices. Depending on your choices you’ll be routed into a Heroine Route or see an ending to the game. The Common Route must be played over and over to experience everything the game has to offer as well as unlock the later Moon Route that’s available as well.

Image source: TVアニメ「Rewrite」 on Twitter

After the first seven episodes that show the aforementioned Common Route, the show branches off into the Heroine Route that follows Kagari—which makes sense considering she’s the main heroine of Rewrite. The second season (which begins at episode fourteen for those of you counting episodes) continues on from there in the Moon Route—an additional ending to the Heroine Routes that you unlock by completing all of the Heroines’ Routes in the visual novel.

Specifically, it follows main character Kotaro and his interactions with a greatly changed Kagari, who became a much different person as of episode thirteen. Episode fourteen finds Kotaro having bizarre dream sequences about Kagari, who’s scribbling out research plans while Kotaro tries to go over to her and talk to her. However, each time, he ends up collapsing or not reaching her—and falling victim to some sort of gruesome death each time at Kagari’s hands.

Eventually after dying so many times trying to reach Kagari, he begs Kagari to kill him. She relents and even shares her name with him as he tries to make his way closer and closer to her each day. Eventually Kotaro gets it in his mind to try another path, involving all the girls in what would be called the Heroine Routes prior. It’s extremely confusing if you haven’t seen the rest of the episodes, but it culminates eventually in Kotaro bringing this bizarre Kagari around with a cup of coffee as he realizes he loves her and he’s happy that she’s finally accepted him despite having lost all her memories.

The episodes end with Kotaro’s death and the wish that someone might find “the girl on the moon” and take away her loneliness. It could be seen as an ending to the show, and it would otherwise be—but the Rewrite anime is all about giving a sampler of everything it has in the game proper.

Image source: TVアニメ「Rewrite」 on Twitter

That’s why, starting at episode seventeen, what’s known as the Terra Route begins. The Terra Route can only be explored after the Moon Route has been completed in the visual novel, so it makes sense that, episode-wise, it comes next in the anime adaptation. The first half of the Terra Route is a prequel of sorts to what is shown on the Common Route. The rest of it is an alternate reality, showing a different way things could have turned out—but as that hasn’t finished airing I’ll forgo specific spoilers.

To break it all down simply once more, episodes 1-7 are the Common Route introducing all the girls. Episodes 8-13 are the Kagari Route focusing on her and her role in the world. Episodes 14-16 are the Moon Route, which take place the latest chronologically. And finally, episodes 17-24 make up the Terra Route, which serves as a prequel to the story and shows a bit of an alternate reality.

If you’re still confused, I honestly recommend that you play the game. You’re going to be really thankful that you did, especially considering everything the anime has had to cram in to its limited runtime. You’ll probably also like Kagari a little more by the end—who’s a little hard to swallow at times.

Hooray for the confusing, winding maze that Rewrite can be!

Rewrite can be viewed on Crunchyroll (US), Daisuki (EU/Asia), and Wakanim (EU).

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