Rewrite Part 3: Terra, the Path of Salvation

At the start of Terra, a teenage Kotarou and his family have recently moved to Kazamatsuri. His parents work at Martel, a part of Gaia. His neighbor’s family has...

At the start of Terra, a teenage Kotarou and his family have recently moved to Kazamatsuri. His parents work at Martel, a part of Gaia. His neighbor’s family has a very young girl by the name of Kotori (!?). His parents attended Gaia’s meetings, but Kotarou spent his time hunting UMAs, which were actually familiars. However, one day, he encounters a much stronger familiar. Just as it attacks him, he is saved by Esaka and his knights. Kotarou falls unconscious but looks for Esaka and the two become friendly. Meanwhile, Kotarou is asked to take care of a young girl named Akane (!?). Akane seems to be affiliated with Gaia while Kotori notes that she wants nothing to do with Gaia and its meetings. As Kotarou’s teenage life unfolds, he ends up running away from home and joins Esaka and Guardian. He is put in a trainee team consisting of himself, Imamiya, Touka, and Nagai. However, this is a team of “unskilled” people, the ones who ranked lowest on the initial exam. Nagai eventually quits, but Kotarou gets stronger.

Eventually, the battle of Guardian and Gaia is about to start. Although the team is ordered on stand-by, Imamiya rushes in, followed by Touka and Kotarou. On the way, he encounters Akane who is cowering in the trees. Although he saves her and attempts to help her escape, he runs into another girl…Kagari, the Key, being born into the world. It is here that Kotarou is given a very important choice: try to attack her or run away. If the reader chooses to attack her, he will nearly be killed, end up in a coma, awaken to find the beginning of the common route, and another inevitable route to humanity’s destruction. In other words, from the very beginning, this part of Terra had already happened before the common route began, which explains a number of questions the readers may have had. However, in Terra route, there is another option Kotarou can take: run away and let Kagari escape.

Kotarou does not tell anyone what he witnessed, and instead asks to be sent away on a mission far away in a third world country. One of his partners is a man named Louis. As they fight in the war-torn nation, they eventually are ordered to kill a group of Gaia summoners. However, upon reaching the targets, Kotarou finds that they are only children. Instead of following his orders, he takes the children with him, and Louis agrees. However, while trying to escape, missiles come to finish the job, and they cannot escape safely with the children. Instead, Louis sacrifices himself to allow Kotarou to escape with them. Kotarou leaves them in a safe country before returning to Kazamatsuri. He does, however, keep in contact with the girl Jasmine, and it is heavily hinted that the other two are the antagonist summoners from Chihaya’s route.

Depending on how keen the reader is, at some point something will dawn upon you as you play through Terra. In VNs, it is common to have to make a choice which affects the ending (such as the previously mentioned choice with letting Kagari go). However, in Terra, although all the choices are visible, they are never selectable except for a single one. What Terra is doing is showing you all the options you can make but only allowing you choose one of them. Why? Because any other option will lead to humanity’s destruction. Terra route is the route which Moon Kagari finally discovered and will lead to humanity’s survival. This is not just to emphasize the idea that there is only one path to survival; this is also revealing the nature of Kotarou’s instincts. When the Aurora flowed from the Moon to Terra route, it took Moon Kotarou with it who then entered Terra Kotarou. Thus, Terra Kotarou has knowledge of the true route and makes that choice based on instinct which originates from Moon Kotarou.

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This is very much what it is like living as a Christian with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we know the correct choices, what will lead to God and what are sinful actions. When we are given choices, it is common to feel deep down the Holy Spirit directing us toward the “true route,” or the righteous path. It is because we have Jesus in our hearts that we can hear him speak to us and even recognize its veracity. Unfortunately, we do not always follow it. However, this is a result of God giving us free will. In Terra, it is not that Kotarou does not have free will but only that the story restricts the depiction to a Kotarou who does everything necessary to achieve the true end. For Christians, we do repeat our own failures, falling into sin over and over again. But by God’s grace, our sins are also forgiven repeatedly. Either way, we know the correct choice because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, much like Moon Kotarou dwells in Terra Kotarou. Only certain actions can lead us closer to God, and we are constantly being reminded, but will we actually choose it? Ideally, our minds should already be made up, just like the mechanics of Terra, but the reality is unfortunately not the same. Like Kotarou, we have so many other, more tempting options to choose, and although we often are aware we are making a wrong, sinful decision, we do so anyway. Even though we know God’s will, He still grants us the free will to obey or not.

After Kotarou returns to Kazamatsuri, he stumbles upon Kagari the Key. She explains that she is looking for “good memories,” and he decides to help her. Although he is not sure what these good memories entails, he decides that a good way would be to work to dismantle the two organizations of Guardian and Gaia from the inside. Since he is already a part of Guardian, he infiltrates Gaia and works kind of like a double agent – except he is on neither side but on Kagari’s. Being a part of Gaia allows him to learn how to use familiars in addition to his rewrite powers; however, the extra usage of Aurora is quickly draining his life force. While he secretly tries to keep both of them in a state of balance, he finds that Kotori has become involved and is helping to protect Kagari, and he reluctantly allows her to continue. He eventually manages to earn Suzuki’s trust who reveals to Kotarou his plan to move humans into the alternate dimension where the end of Akane’s route took place. Kotarou feels that his own plans are moving forward as he is in a position to influence both organizations.

Kagari, on the other hand, expresses great annoyance and contempt for humans. They are such an evolved species with intelligence yet they spend all their time bickering and fighting. She cannot comprehend why Gaia and Guardian fight each other when it would be so much simpler to work together toward survival. All of the fighting that the two organizations do, and human’s tendency to wage war, leave nothing but bad memories in their wake. There are no good memories for Kagari to see. It is even worse because Gaia and Guardian are both people with supernatural abilities, be it the summoning of familiars or the powers of a superhuman. Gifted with such abilities, why must they wage war instead of building peace? The two organizations depict two types of extremes. On one hand, there is Guardian, which considers human life more important than the environment and consequently aims to kill the Key to avoid re-evolution. On the other hand is Gaia, an organization composed of people who are sick of the world. As a result, they want to control the world and bend it to their will. Simultaneously, Gaia is split into two factions: Sakura Kashima who wants to use the Key to destroy the world due to her hatred and a faction centered on her former lover, who wants to obtain the Key and use it to as leverage to influence the world as they please. If you recall the question from the common route – would you rather change yourself or the world – this is really a question of are you in agreement with Guardian or Gaia.

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Both Gaia and Guardian take things too extremely. Gaia is too content with humanity’s current state, believing they will be fine despite the Key appearing, which only appears when humanity will inevitable die off, taking all life with it. Conversely, Guardian is too aggressive for change, forcing their beliefs on others, losing sight of why they felt the need to change the world in the first place. These organizations can parallel two extreme types of people – those who believe there is no need for religion but go as far as trying to put an end to religious practices and Christians who try to force their beliefs on others. Rather than trying to discuss their difference in opinions, they resort to fighting and defamation. Guardian is made of superhumans who focus on improving themselves; likewise, there are athiests who believe that humanity need only worry about improving the self. As Guardian tries to kill they Key, so do atheist extremists believe the world is better off without religion at all without compromise. On the other hand, Gaia is painfully similar to Christians who act more like a cult that tries to manipulate people with fear and denounces all who go against what they believe. Even so, this parallel is less about Christian beliefs and more about simple practicality: these extremists need to put aside their differences and work together for the benefit of humanity. Neither side is spreading love but hate, and they continue to raise the next generation on this notion, continuing the cycle.

It turns out that Akane’s caretaker is none other than Nagai who dropped out of Guardian. Suzuki plans to reveal her past as a political attack on Kashima. Kotarou leaks the information to Kashima who takes the initiative by announcing such facts herself and naming Akane her successor. However, she then reveals to Kotarou that she was already aware of not only Suzuki’s plan but even Kotarou’s plans involving Gaia and Guardian. When he reveals this to Kagari, she becomes incredibly upset. She had always been against Kotarou’s infiltration plans and wanted to simply destroy the two organizations by force in hopes that this would stop the bad memories. Kagari’s point is a meaningful one – she argues that humans are “sacrificing the planet for their own happiness.” Spiritually, we sacrifice our own spiritual lives for temporary pleasure and hollow happiness. It is common for people to ignore God’s instructions for their own selfishness. However, Kotarou chooses to believe in humanity.

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Unfortunately, while Kagari and Kotarou get in a lovers’ fight, Kashima continues her own plans. She uses her priestesses to begin the Song of Destruction. This song is in part designed to forcibly cause Kagari to start re-evolution. Although the Song of Destruction has begun, Kotarou does not give up. Until now, he has been in contact with Jasmine to enact a certain plan. This plan is how Kotarou has decided to create “good memories.” Although neither she nor Kotarou know how to find these memories, he decided to create this plan by his own beliefs. With Jasmine’s help, Kotarou leaks information across the world regarding Aurora and its potentials. Although he has no basis to believe that the world will respond in any positive way, he chooses to believe in humanity and what they will do with the information.

Kagari constantly refers to the wish to see “good memories.” What exactly these good memories are is not specified exactly. However, it can be guessed based on Kotarou’s plan in revealing to the world how to use the Aurora which Gaia and Guardian had been using. When this happens, the world diverges to a path of hope and prosperity rather than its recurring destruction. In other words, the “good memories” parallel the good news of Jesus Christ, and to a lesser extent, the explanation of the supernatural as Aurora is the source of the supernatural in Rewrite. By sharing the Gospel with the world, we as Christians save humanity from its own sinful nature. Kotarou does not tell the world what to do with their powers; he merely helps explain how to use them. Likewise, we cannot force people to accept Jesus. We can only offer the message of Christ’s sacrifice and love and pray that they choose to follow the path of salvation by their own volition.

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Guardian is also closing in on Kagari, and Kotarou is forced to fight his way through them. Along the way, he encounters Esaka and they engage in a battle of teacher and student. Although he almost loses, Kotarou manages to etch out the victory. At the very end, Esaka asks whether he was a traitor or not. Kotarou tells him that he was not a member of Gaia but only following the path he believed in. Kotarou continues his rush toward the Gaia temple only to find everyone is already dead, a silly waste of time. At the cost of the lives of the priestesses, the Song of Destruction has forcibly caused Kagari to start re-evolution. Kotarou rushes back to her. He rewrites himself to be faster and faster, spending most of his lifeforce to get back to her.

Unfortunately, Kotarou’s actions are not in time. The Song of Destruction has already begun re-evolution. Kagari is nonetheless thankful to Kotarou. She has seen a glimpse of the good memories he was trying to create. The idea of humans helping each other through the power of Aurora was better than all of the years of war waged between Gaia and Guardian. However, because re-evolution has already started, Kagari asks Kotarou to kill her in order to stop the destruction midway. He reluctantly agrees, kisses her, and together they change into an orb of light inside of a tree. Because the destruction started, rather than life being destroyed, there is “only” the effect of an ice age. However, humans utilize the power Aurora which they learned from Kotarou and Jasmine to create a barrier around Kazamatsuri, ensuring the survival of humanity.

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The image of Kotarou killing Kagari to save humanity is a vividly similar parallel to the killing of Jesus on the cross to save ourselves from sin. While the circumstances are different, the action and results are the same. Both Jesus and Kagari understood and accepted the need for their deaths. They accepted it because they loved humans and desired for humans to prosper. Jesus had the power to stop it at any time, but He chose to die for us so that our sins may be forgiven. Just like Kagari, it was a death out of pure love. Simultaneously, although it was stopped midway, re-evolution was still invoked. Despite Terra being the one path to survival, it still entailed the birth of the Key, an indication of life heading toward a dead end. Humanity alone always headed toward their own destruction, and so do we, because it is a part of our sinful nature. There was and is no such thing as a path that did not involve humans nearly destroying themselves without supernatural aid. Kotarou was trying to stop re-evolution, but even though it still started, he succeeded in saving many people who Kagari herself suggested to be discarded for the greater good. The difference between Terra and the other timelines is the difference between hope and despair. The sacrifices of Jesus and Kagari do not stop bad things from occurring, but they do provide a hopeful way out.

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It is implied that the Earth’s resources will still eventually run out. However, humanity is now on the path to survival and can work toward space exploration and find new planets to live on. Previously, they were wasting the resources on war and selfishness, but with the power Aurora and a new acceptance of reality, the Earth’s resources will last much longer, providing the time humanity needs to achieve successful space colonies. In the same way, accepting Jesus and the gift of salvation is only the beginning of the path for a Christian. We must constantly be working towards the ideal that Jesus set for us (one that we can never truly achieve) and challenge the hardships that inevitably follow. After Terra, humanity may be on the path to survival, but they still must work together to achieve the necessary space colonization to continue life. Christians also must work together to prevent each other from falling back into sin and to continue spreading the love of Jesus to the world. Becoming a Christians puts us on the right path, but it is still a long path that requires hard work, dedication, and above all, love.

Kaze is graduate from the University of Tokyo. He currently works in the U.S. working on HIV drug testing and development. In contrast, he is a huge fan of the anime culture, including the visual novel medium. He is also a dedicated and loyal fan of the voice actress and singer Nana Mizuki.
3 Comments on this post.

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  • Paul
    8 April 2016 at 6:55 pm

    [i]Gaia[/i] is too content with humanity’s current state, believing they will be fine despite the Key appearing, which only appears when humanity will inevitable die off, taking all life with it. Conversely, [i]Guardian[/i] is too aggressive for change, forcing their beliefs on others, losing sight of why they felt the need to change the world in the first place.
    ____________________________________

    I may be wrong, but I believe the two organizations should be switched here in this part of the paragraph.

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    • Kaze
      8 April 2016 at 8:09 pm

      I can see why you would think that, and probably anyone who actually read Rewrite would find many issues with these posts. Even when writing this, I was frustrated at myself for things I simplified for the readers who haven’t read the VN. In retrospect, the quote is pretty poorly worded because of Gaia/Guardian using similar wording but with different meaning. Especially the last line, I should have written something more like “they felt the need to change how people think and act in the first place.” Sorry for the confusion; I did mean it as the original quote, but it was a poor choice in wording.

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      • Paul
        9 April 2016 at 12:47 pm

        No problem, I was reading too much into it. But this series of posts has got me very interested in the VN. Since I can’t get the game, I decided to see the walkthroughs on Youtube. And so far it’s been a blast! I really hope the Rewrite anime will be faithful to the VN, since it won’t be a direct adaptation.

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