by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 8 of
The dramatic split and dissolution of the Occult Club featured in episode 7 is followed up by a substantially different direction from the story. Are we finally seeing the transition from established visual novel material and a move into the promised story arc for the sixth girl? It would seem so, as Ribbon Girl was not one of the original five routes from the VN and, from what I gather from summaries, the bonus arc featuring her in the VN had very different circumstances.
Actually, I shouldn't call her Ribbon Girl anymore, since she now has a name: Kagari-chan. She also talks for the first time and has a distinct personality, that of the sharp-tongued but largely naïve girl who's a fairly common feature of Key properties. She also seems to have forgotten why she was interested in Kotarou or what her important purpose was. (She cutely describes the memory loss as “looking for myself.”) That she ended up this way by being bonked on the head by a tiny meteorite – which initially looked much bigger and more threatening – is pretty amusing, but so are a lot of her interactions with Kotarou; in fact, this is some of the least forced humor in the series so far. In parallel to this are details on each of the other girls; Shizuru, Lucia, Akane, and Chihaya are absent from school because they've all returned full-time to their respective organizations (with Akane mysteriously being referred to as “the next saint”). Inoue turns up as an amnesiac who only knows that the memory stick she held onto was very important, and Kotori is residing somewhere that has a lot of the stonelike spirits from episode 1. The two sprites who interacted with Kotarou back then also finally pop up again, apparently as prisoners of Gaia. (And how they ended up as prisoners is also somewhat amusing.)
All this to establish that Kotori is indeed involved in all this supernatural business, though she also seems to be acting separately from either Gaia or Guardian. I'm now more curious than ever about how she fits into the overall picture. This episode may also provide at least some explanation as to why the seemingly-random elements seen in the first episode were there: they were setting up this episode's scene that will presumably factor into the upcoming episodes, since the story did not go in a direction that would allow for their true-to-the-VN inclusion. In fact, nearly everything that the series has done so far now looks like a set-up specifically for this episode. The writers were never trying to adapt the overall content in truncated form; they were just using the most relevant bits as the foundation for this anime content.
It's too bad the artistry is on the verge of falling apart in the process. Quality control definitely sags here, making this easily the worst-looking episode to date, and even Shizuru going badass or Kotarou experimenting with the claws that he can now manifest doesn't make up for it. This episode also introduces an entirely new opener, updated to be much more in line with recent revelations, and the closer is also new. Still, the writing finally seems to be coming together, which is something that this series has long needed.
Rewrite is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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