If Chihaya’s route was comparable to Komari’s in how tightly-written and brilliant it was, then this route is comparable to Kurugaya’s in how subpar it seems to be.
Shizuru is easily my favorite character in Rewrite. If you took Michiru, dyed her hair blonde, gave her evil eye chuunibyou and some kuudere personality traits, you’d pretty much get Shizuru. She seems to have all of my favorite anime female traits and quirks rolled into one big ball of moe/loli sweetness. I thought her route would be a blast to read…
Let me start with what this route does right. First, the romance. Koutarou and Shizuru, without a doubt, feel great together. Shizuru is very sweet and seems to have very simple thoughts when it comes to romance, almost like when a child tries to understand what it’s like to fall in love. Koutarou’s thoughts are rather realistic and fit his character really well, and sometimes they’re very entertaining to watch. Who wouldn’t imagine their girlfriend being reduced to the lowest common denominator? XD
But I digress. Shizuru feels very much like a classic Key character in this route. She has an obsession over saury, likes cute animals (Komari-chan would be pleased), and has the ability to erase memories (this is a Tonokawa story, after all). In addition, references to classic Key games (such as a hairband and the stars) are also abound in this route.
Now for the things I didn’t like. I enjoyed the fact that many of the characters seen in Chihaya’s route make an appearance, but only just that. There’s one scene where Sakuya infiltrates the Guardian facility to complete an objective for Chihaya. When Chihaya appears to stop him, her dialogue can be summed up as thus:
“Hi, I’m in the route. I’m quitting Gaia. Bye.”
I facepalmed. It’s like Tonokawa had writer’s block during that particular part of the route and wrote in such a rushed and brain-dead scene because he couldn’t give them a focus. He probably had much more fun writing Chihaya’s route and just couldn’t let those characters go. Even Gil and Pani don’t do much in this route except provide some witty dialogue during the first half of the route. If Tonokawa decided to start from scratch instead of rehashing characters, he probably could have written something more intimate and given Shizuru some more things to do.
Speaking of which, Shizuru did a lot more in other peoples’ routes than in this route. Sure, there was the motorcycle scene, but this route otherwise lacked a lot of high-octane moments that Chihaya’s route was abundant with. Perhaps that was because Tonokawa wanted this route to focus more on the relationship than the action, but it feels like you are not doing Shizuru’s character justice when you don’t put her in enough fight scenes. Also, whoever designed Shizuru’s battle outfit should have included some tight leather pants, at least. It’s a small nitpick, though.
This route also bothers me because it presented more questions than answered them. Kotori’s route already established that Koutarou is, or at least has properties of, a familiar, and Chihaya’s route explained that Sakuya turned into a tree when Salvation occurred, which explained why the same thing happened to Koutarou at the end of this route. However, I have no clue as to who the voice Koutarou heard belongs to (I’m guessing it might be Kotori, but she didn’t acknowledge the possibility of him being her familiar outside of her route). Also, how come the Key didn’t die from being shot during the process of salvation in this route when it was indeed possible in Kotori’s route? Finally, why does Akane desire to die during salvation? Is she devoutly following Gaia’s teachings, or is there some other motive behind it?
Anyway, despite my complaints, I still really liked this route. It’s nowhere near as enjoyable or tightly-written as Chihaya’s route, but I’d say it’s slightly better than Lucia’s route, in my opinion.
Maid Shizuru FTW! <3