Let’s talk about Konohana Lucia and the idea of morality and responsibility. I consider Lucia route Lucia to be not only the weakest link in Rewrite but additionally the worst part of a Key game. I should explain and preface that Konohana Lucia in all parts of the story outside of her own route is one of my favorite characters. Specifically in Shizuru and Chihaya the character represents the story’s themes beautifully. The “graduation” in Shizuru is one of my favorite parts of said routes and her small roll in Chihaya’s route goes far to solidify the ideas of friendship and belonging that Rewrite excels at preaching at its best. Even in the Rewrite anime, Lucia is fantastic, going so far as to sacrifice herself and her roll in Guardian for the occult club in a death match against Tenma, Tenji, and Midou.
All of this goes to say that Lucia is a good character in concept. Rewrite suffers from a lack of thematic focus, but in terms of friendship which is its core tenant Lucia excels as a person. This all falls apart when placed in the context of her own route, however.
Luica is a weakling. her character in Route Lucia demonstrates an unwillingness to change and a fear to trust others. Ryukishi makes some confounding choices in how he delivers the story’s message and expounds upon the conflict. The route starts with a seemingly well paced romance between Lucia and Kotarou, invoking similar themes of being outcasted and the desire for closeness as seen in characters like Misuzu. This romance, unfortunately, is ultimately undermined later in the route. The problem with Lucia manifests in how her development, when put to the test, is ineffective. Lucia does not grow as a result of coming to know Kotarou, but rather shows regression in the face of conflict. When Brenda returns, Lucia’s old weaknesses return, she does not face her problems with the newfound strength of the present, but rather the weakness of her past.
Lucia is weak. She is a character who has suffered tremendously in her short time on this earth, but she does not rise above this weakness; she gives into it. What results is that Lucia does not show how being with the occult club and Kotarou in particular helped her grow, but show that she is still weak and feeble, inevitably killing hundreds of thousands of people.
This alone is not enough to condemn the character. Sin and fault are a good part of character writing. Some of my favorite characters are those wracked with sin, see Beatrice or Sayuri. These are characters who suffer from great weakness, but that weakness is in service of their arc. These two grow past their flaws and it is in that that the characters are able to show their strength. Lucia does not have any of this. She is a weak character, but one who does not grow out of her weakness or face responsibility for the weight of her sins.
After committing the massacre Lucia is not held at fault. She is considered by those around her a victim of a difficult scenario and a tragedy–no one looking at her flaws or attributing responsibility. Kotarou and crew are quick to look at the world around Lucia and forget that, regardless of circumstances, it is her who pulled the trigger. Never once does anyone try and see just where the cross of responsibility falls.
And this is where the route falls apart for me. Lucia is responsible for her actions. Lucia is responsible for her weakness. The cross of responsibility is one that we all must carry. But this does not happen. Lucia is tragic, yes, she is a character that I can empathize with. But that is where the line is drawn. I do not sympathize with this killer who will not live up to her weakness. Lucia is a character who cries and pleads for a lighter load instead of asking for broader shoulders to bear the pain. Life is not fair. We live in a world in which some people suffer with social pressures or anxieties that make their function more difficult. But even so it is the responsibility of the weak to rise above their weakness. It is the duty of the broken to work harder and overcome. Is it easy? Is it fair? No it is not, but that’s life.
Lucia is the victim of abuse, a character who has major traumas and a desire for meaning and closeness that she never got to have. But when that which she yearned for is dangled in front of her Lucia does not grow. She simply falls back on her weakness and does something she can never take back. There is no reasonable guilt, no reasonable responsibility, and no reasonable punishment, Lucia, the girl who longed for friendship more than anything, destroys the home she found and tries to kill the people who carved that home out for her.
This is not the Lucia I am friends with. This is not the girl who called Kotarou her friend in Shizuru’s route, the girl who longed for the simple days of the occult club in Chihaya’s route, the girl who would give her very life so that her friends might live on for another day.
“What did you expect Bread?”
I hear you ask. Did I want Lucia to die for taking the lives of thousands? Well, sure. But more than anything I wanted responsibility. I wanted Lucia to suffer the due for her actions. Everyone’s actions are their own. I am responsible for the person I have become, just as you are and just as Lucia has. Even if we suffer from an unfair world around us, what we choose to do with our lives is always and only our own fault.
I love Rewrite. It’s unfocused and sometimes is directed a little stilted. I would never say that it’s my favorite of the key works, but routes like Chihaya are some of the best even so. But on this route Ryukishi dropped the ball. The messages are told contrary to themselves and the lack of responsibility kills me.
I love Lucia. I love the girl who loves her friends and longs for a place in this world. This spoiled child is not Lucia. This girl is not my friend.