Rewrite Part 4: The Meaning of Salvation

After several years, the Earth has become survivable again, and Kotarou and Kagari have grown into an enormous tree in the short time, very reminiscent of Sakuya’s end. The...

After several years, the Earth has become survivable again, and Kotarou and Kagari have grown into an enormous tree in the short time, very reminiscent of Sakuya’s end. The five heroines come together again, this time as people who are no longer carrying the emotional baggage that resulted from the war 10 years prior to the start of the common route.  This is a factor in the difference between Terra and the other routes that hits far closer to home than the near abstract idea of humanity’s survival. When Kotarou follows the true route, much like when we walk the path that God lays before us, the emotional baggage that ties down the heroines is gone. It does not leave them; it is never there to begin with. This is very much like how God’s forgiveness of our sins, our burdensome weight of guilt, is forgiven. Jesus died for us in the past but his sacrifice then was enough to wipe all sins of the past, present, and in our case, future. It is like we never sinned in the first place. Unfortunately, we did sin, and we continue to sin. As sinful people, we continue to jump back and forth between following God and following our own desires. However, at the end of the path of detours and sin, when we reach heaven to be with God, that is when our sin will be permanently gone, because God cannot coexist with sin. Thus, we will be like the Rewrite heroines, who are completely free of the emotional baggage that they are not even aware of exists; our sin will be gone because Jesus’ sacrifice (Kotarou’s sacrifice) wiped them away before we even knew about it.

Rewrite-menu

The heroines summon Kotarou from the tree, and he appears before them much like he normally did. Note that this is largely Kotori’s influence as her selfishness (and love) causes him to take the form of how she imagines him to be. They demand he obeys him, expecting him to be their familiar much like Sakuya was to Chihaya (in this timeline, Chihaya never made a contract with Sakuya); however, he does not listen to them and instead takes them to the Moon, where they find a small sapling growing amongst the regolith, which is the slow but sure rebirth of Moon Kagari, completing Kotarou’s wish to see her again. Kotarou’s refusal to listen to the heroines is much like a common relationship with God. Christians sometimes expect God to grant them their desires or only turn to Him when they are in trouble. However, God has His own plans for us, and drags us along for the ride – it is only at the end of the ride that we realize just how superior it was to our own plans.

The image of a small sapling basically parallels two things about the Kingdom of God. The first is that the heroines can only achieve this post-Terra, that is after humanity has finally chosen a path that does not lead to destruction (or in other words, salvation through Jesus Christ). Remember that the Moon is actually a plane of existence outside of time. Previously, only the “spirits” of the heroines fought, but this time, their physical bodies were transported. This is very similar to the idea of being brought to heaven, and as just mentioned, they are also burdenless, much like we will be sinless when it is our turn. The second is the image of a small sapling. This is an amazing representation of the idea that Jesus does not come as a huge god who destroys our enemies. It is the small and weak who God uses to build the Kingdom. Who was it that brought about the path to salvation in Rewrite? Kotarou, one of the people who was ranked in the bottom of his class. He had no lofty goals or desires; he only wanted to help Kagari and subconsciously be reunited with Moon Kagari. As a reminder from Moon, Kagari does parallel our Father (except she is more like a Mother), as she was someone outside time who watched over us, and used all her power to guide us toward a path of happiness and survival. While she was hardly omnipotent, she did have the ability to manipulate time and the evolution of life. Simultaneously, her Earth counterpart Terra Kagari was even more of a Mother as someone who desired for the humans raised on her resources to continue living a prosperous life. Although she was disappointed in all the hatred and war her children waged, she was gladly willing to sacrifice herself for them if it meant living for the future. Even so, it is up to the people of Earth to continue down the path which Kotarou and Kagari opened up for them. Just like them, Christians must continue to strive toward a better future even after Jesus’ sacrifice. The salvation brought about is not one which allows free roam of the saved; it is instead one which brought about a possibility of a better future in a situation where there was no other hope.

And this is how Rewrite ends: not on a note of everlasting happiness but on the idea of a miraculous sign of hope. What brought about the miracle of Terra route was Kotarou writing “I hope to see you again someday,” to Moon Kagari, and it is with this wish’s inspiration and fulfillment that Moon Kagari created the single path of human’s survival in Terra. Without Moon, Terra could not come to fruition, but without Terra, Moon would simply be pointless.

In the end, it is love which saves humanity. In each of the heroine routes, Kotarou falls in love with them, and reacts to crises out of love for them. He proved to Kotori that his love was not a result of being a familiar, but the Key was killed. Through his love, he was accepted by Sakuya to overtake the role of protecting Chihaya. His love for Shizuru was so great, he repeated the tragedy of Sakuya, rewriting himself into a tree in order to be with her no matter how long he had to wait, and it is because of this intense love that Shizuru was able to continue living with hope. Lucia was perhaps the most broken heroine and in need of a reason to live, and Kotarou saved her from darkness, but even so, the world headed down a path of destruction. Finally, Akane nearly destroyed the world herself, but Kotarou forced her to live on, carrying the burden of guilt and sins, as she is able to look toward the future because he stood by her, in love. In each route, Kotarou saves the heroine but not the world. This is why none of the five heroines are the “true route,” because although Kotarou can save them with love, the world is not saved. It is when he acts out of love for Kagari, who is the embodiment of Earth, that he saves the world, and consequently, the girls no longer even have a need to be saved.  Furthermore, it is Moon Kagari’s love which she poured into the tree of possibilities that gave him the chance for salvation. It was Kotarou’s love for Moon Kagari that inspired her into finding the one true route to survival. It was the love Esaka showed him that allowed Kotarou to follow the path of Guardian, a necessity for his eventual actions. Kotarou showed love to his first meeting of the Key and allowed her to escape, the major turning point in the true route. It is because of the love he showed Jasmine when he saved her and the love she returned to him that his plan was able to be put into motion. It was the love he showed to both Gaia and Guardian that allowed so many lives in Kazamatsuri to be saved, despite Kagari’s complaints. It was the love that Kagari had for humanity that allowed her to accept her own death if it meant the prosperity of humans. It was the love that humans, deep down in their hearts, had for each other, that allowed them to respond to Kotarou, and protect the city of Kazamatsuri from the destruction brought about by the Key, establishing the survival of humanity. Rewrite is, at its very core, a story of saving humanity from destruction through love.

To clarify, the intended themes and message of Rewrite were already quite beautiful even without putting a Christian spin on it. While a commentary on environmentalism at first glance, it is really a commentary on humanity. Gaia and Guardian – two extreme takes on life which are both doing it wrong. Humanity – blessed with evolution yet wasting it away waging war. When it comes down to it, Rewrite is a story criticizing humanity for its selfishness, greed, malice, etc. and one which advocates sharing, love, and coming together toward the goal of continuing to survive, and continuing to evolve. Yet while such a theme is ever present in media today, anime included, Rewrite adds far more complex layers by utilizing the mechanics of a visual novel to enable countless timelines where humanity is overwhelmed with despair and is in fact destroyed as well as allowing the reader to repeat the same tragedy in Terra. As a result, Rewrite delivers arguably the same message but in a greater scope. It is not just about collectively heading toward a better future; it is also about the impending doom if we do not change our ways, and the amount of effort, sacrifice, and most of all, love that is needed to reach that future. This is why Rewrite can so beautifully connect to Christianity, because in a way, the messages are the same: humans are heading toward their own destruction, there is only one path to salvation, and that salvation is brought about by sacrificial love.

But the parallel does not end there. Throughout these last few days, we have seen countless ways Christianity can be seen reflected in Rewrite’s story. However, many of these examples were disconnected from each other, merely presenting individual possibilities of how we can choose to interpret the ideas. So what about the overarching narrative? Indeed, now that the entire story has concluded, the work can finally be looked at from a broader perspective to unveil a far more complete parallel to Christianity. Look forward to it tomorrow!

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.
20 Comments on this post.

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  • Gaheret
    25 April 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I finished the visual novel just today: I bought it on your recommendation (from the VN recommendations page, and specifically, from your “the greatest piece of fiction which parallels Christianity” comment, but I didn´t read these articles until now) and it´s been by all means a memorable, fascinating and entertaining reading. Thank you very much!

    I will point firstly to some aspects I didn´t like. My biggest complaint is about the amount of vulgar jokes and comedy sequences; I think they did a great disservice to the work -I almost quit twice myself-, as they tend to the objetification of the heroines, which is a shame, specially due to their otherwise complex, well-constructed, attractive and different personalities. They also made me dislike Kotarou for a while, as he seemed unable to overcome his infatuation and see them as friends he cared about. There was also the crazy Vatican-superhuman connection plot, which I found hilarious when I heard about for the first time in Shizuru´s route but increasingly annoying in Lucia´s: the Machiavellian Cardinal and the “Santa Lucia Konohana” mental manipulation dialogue felt unnecesary, Danbrownesque and downright insulting.

    I must say too that I enjoyed a lot more the five heroine´s routes than the Moon and Terra routes, despite noticing (a number of) the connections you explained in these articles. I can´t agree with your conclussions, though. The Kotarou of the Terra route struck me as a selfish, gloomy and highly immoral individual devoted to an ellaborate plan involving lying to friends and masters, using other people´s trust, utilitarian killings, mutilation of corpses and false flag opperations, all for the girl and the greater good. He was the villain of that story. He regretted saving a child and her caretaker from assasination: “I wasn´t thinking”. He treacherously assesinated a comrade in the battlefield because of him being capable of seeing the Key. He even said at a point that outside the few ones he cared about, no one counted. That was worst to me that his dark moments during the Akane route and without the initial dependence from the latter, the atonement path and the ultimate redemption that enlighted the ending of that story. The way he treated child Kotori was also shameful: no matter how little do you care about a young girl, insulting her when she has losed his parents and is alone since, never caring for her feelings, breaching your promises to her, telling her you prefer another woman so she should just go and destroying physically the “fake parents” she made without thinking once in the psychological hurt is despicable and cruel. Doing that when in addition you are the only friendly figure she has left can easily destroy her (for me it just happened today, by the way, so I´m still shocked). That was specially hard to read since what made Kotarou stand in the different routes was precisely that, despite being clumsy and clueless sometimes, he was emphatic, loyal to his friends, sincere, moral -or he tried to be- and hopeful, always trying to unite the isolated, sacrifice himself when it came to it and find a better way, seeing throught hate with clean eyes regardless whether he was in Guardian, in Gaia or with Kotori. In my view, both Kotarou and the author decided to climb to the heights of unbereable knowledge or whatever and forgot about the individuals, as our God never does. From above, all that loves and concernings and sins and fights seem sad and insignificant, as they seemed for Gaia. There was, therefore, only one happy memory: the survival of a controlled population without fights and wars in the future. Therefore, the Terra storyline focused on making that happen, not in love.

    I found no love for Gaia or Guardian or hardly anyone else but Katari in Terra´s Kotarou. He avoided getting close to any of them so he wouldn´t feel too bad about killing them. He used them as means for an end: to put a final point at the conflict and bring that impressive triumph to Katari, who in turn would avoid Earth destruction. He didn´t know nor cared about any of the heroines, except for Akane -he cared enough to not abandoning a mute and helpless child and not reporting to his bosses so she was not killed, but that´s the bare minimum-. It seems he cared about Jasmine, but that´s it. He cared a bit about Esaka, but he still killed him, although that may be samurai´s morals and is not as ugly as the rest, though. He loved Katari, but the triumph was still reached through Kotarou wilingly killing her. So I found this last route very interesting for a Christian-parallel and philosophical perspective, but not redemptive. In any single route, Kotarou followed the respective heroine deep down to her personal solitude, her wounds, her sins and her rejection while the world was ending around them, refused to be drained by the logic of hate, fear or sorrow, became a symbol of hope for her and for others (as Yoshino) without abandoning his personality. He endured her respective sufferings and made the ultimate sacrifice one way or another. For me, here is the redemptive hero, and those are triumphs, accomplished missions, “Now and then” style where Terra is bittersweet at best. Even if you couldn´t stop the great disaster, you´re doing the highest thing a human can do. By your small sacrifice you´re collaborating with Christ despite the darkness and the sorrow and becoming an imperfect sign of His hope for someone.

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    • Kaze
      25 April 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks for your comment! I’m always happy to discuss Rewrite. For the most part, I understand where you’re coming from and think the disagreement lies in how we view the literal vs metaphorical way the story is told. I could defend the comedy of the common route in various ways, but I think it comes down to relating the Japanese audience to the protagonist. Personally, I think this makes Rewrite a more powerful Christian parallel because it depicts a very real, faulty character who relates very closely to the average Japanese person.

      If we were to look at what Kotarou literally does in Terra, then I would have to agree with many of your points. However, I can’t help but feel you missed a big portion of how much Kotarou hated himself for doing everything he did in the route. How much he had to force himself to resist making the sympathetic choices for the “greater good.” This takes a huge toll on him mentally throughout the entire route as we watch him struggle with bearing the weight of his sins and how close he comes to just giving up. The scene with Kotori is doubly painful not just because of Kotori’s feelings but also because we know Kotarou is right. We already saw the painful future Kotori would have if she continued to live in the soothing lie regarding her parents. You can argue whether or not he made the “wrong” choice of words, but I think you are discounting just how painful it was for him to make that and other decisions.

      I’m really confused what you mean about the ending though, as there is nothing about a controlled population without fights or wars. If anything, it is heavily implied that war and chaos may very well occur again and destroy humanity. However, they have been granted a second chance, and it is up to humanity to decide what to do with it. Moon route also makes a pretty clear distinction that nothing can be achieved without love. It is the fragment of love that poured out from a higher dimension that allows humanity to flourish. That was a key revelation in how Moon allows for Terra’s end.

      I understand your issues that Kotarou’s actions appear very cruel and lack love for anyone other than Kagari. But again, a big part of it is the literal vs metaphorical interpretation of the story. I agree with the way you describe Kotarou in the heroine routes as a redemptive hero. To me, that is an excellent example of how easy it is to judge ourselves based on our works; yet it is by faith, not by works, that we are saved. Does that mean the Kotarou who killed and betrayed is the one who deserves our praise? No, but the Kotarou who loved Kagari (or Jesus) above everyone else does. It is outright stated that Kotarou was always looking for something to fill the gap in his heart and only Kagari could fill that hole while the other heroines could not. If you don’t love Jesus, it does not matter how good of a person you are, much like Kotarou in the heroine routes. Indeed, this has always been a big criticism of Christianity. The Christian life is hard and full of making decisions we don’t want to make, much like Kotarou’s in Terra. It is so easy to stumble and make mistakes and have regrets, but even so, we have to continue pushing forward for what we believe to be right and not waver in our love for Jesus no matter how painful it is or alone we feel. Killing Kagari was the biggest reminder of how Christ’s death was necessary for our redemption, no matter how ugly it was. That’s the kind of reaction I got out of Terra route.

      I totally understand why you take issue with Kotarou’s actual actions and won’t try to persuade you out of that, and maybe I sound way overly generous by glossing over his exact actions. But I also think many, or even all, of your criticisms can be seen in the opposition of Christianity, especially in regards to the Old Testament. As Christians, we defend things like “but those sinners deserved to die,” or “but that part can’t be interpreted literally.” In the end, my defense of Rewrite is kind of like that – unsatisfactory to many but I’m still sticking to it haha.

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      • Gaheret
        25 April 2017 at 9:04 pm

        Faith and works… well, I pretty much agree with your point. But I would say that refusal to evil means is still necessary: faith leads naturally to works. After all, “If anyone should say, “I love God,” and should hate his brother, he is a liar. For the one not loving his brother, whom he has seen, is not able to love God”. The criticism of Christians, I think, has usually less to do with that they could resort to supposedly evil means if they thought God asked that for them and more with they refusing to compromise when the world has set a matter against their faith and morals, as the Baptist before Herod. I think that never stopping pushing forward is important, but that as God does not contradict Himself, finding coherence between the Law of the God, written in the heart of man is important too..

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      • Gaheret
        26 April 2017 at 7:37 am

        I´m having problems with my computer, so I will try with short comments instead. I understand the metaphorical vs. literal approach in fiction (after all, the Parable of the one who finds the Treasure would constitute fraud under Spanish law), but I still like to put myself in the protagonist shoes and think about what would happen if that situation was real in addition to what does it mean as a symbol.

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      • Gaheret
        26 April 2017 at 7:41 am

        I actually liked the comedy -Kotarou/Yoshino interactions were hilarous-, but I disliked the sexual jokes about Akane´s chest, Kotori´s odor, Shizuru´s underwear, Lucia´s maiden outfit, “fetishes” and so, more because they are all very young. If any of them was my sister, I would slap the guy.

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  • Gaheret
    25 April 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Which brings me to the part I loved. The slice-of-life high school plot was entertaining and funny, and the building of both the characters and the environmentally friendly city of Kamatsuri was immersing and entertaining. The mistery plot was great, too: complex but clear, it came bit by bit, every storyline deepened in a new and different way and the discussion of the major themes -ecology, the sinfulness of man, magical thinking vs skepticism, being true to yourself vs having a place in society, sacrificial love, friendship, relationships, violence and factions, changing yourseld and/or the world- was deep, subtle and well related to high school problems, and they all have a great impact in the further plot. The hunter/monster approach to the conflict is great, and when there are villains -Midou, Sakura Karishimi, Takasago, Suzaki-, they are ominous and scary. I agree that solely changing only yourself to fit the world -stoic ethics- and transforming the world to fit yourself -subjectivism, utopism- are both extremes, and the true answer is in the middle. As you are created and loved, you can stay true to yourself while fighting hopefully for something better, both for you and the world around you.

    Kotori´s “osananajimi” route took the reader to the world of a traumatyzed girl who had been alone since her parents died in an accident, and doubted of love itself while having to fight into an impossible, obervearing mission/vocation. She had a connection with flowers, nature and the forest. She had an antisocial personality, was unnaturaly clever and feared -with some reason- that all the love she sensed were reflections of her own needs and desires. Particularly, she feared that about Kotarou´s attraction, so she keeped her distance during all their friendship. This is a fear I have found sometimes among people who wish to pursue God, but are afraid of chasing their own dreams instead, or of projecting into Him their wounds (maybe because they did in the past), and therefore suffer. The Club was the first breach in her solitude, but the war brought it again. Kotori had to be strong, had no one to rest in and was fighting in her heart against the painful hope that there was something left of her dog, her parents or Kotarou. Kotarou brought her the miracle: he showed her little by little that she was loved, gave her a place to cry and rest, tried to help with all his strenght and showed her that, hope against hope, her loved ones have been with her all the way, and then he sacrifized his familiar part (which served both as a cure for her fear and as mean for saving her life) and let him be saved by her throught a painful final travel to the hospital.

    Chihaya´s “clumsy rich girl” route was marked by the paternal presence of the powerful Sakuya, one of the best characters of all the Visual Novel. At first he served as a comedic relief, but he was soon revealed as the most powerful of all the familiars who, instead of being a living weapon, lived to protect a young girl-daughter. In this route, Kotarou approached Chihaya by messing with her, and in turn Sakuya messed with him. During the visit to the garden, the butler asked Kotarou if he could sacrifice himself for another person -for Chihaya-. That was the beggining of a vocation, a road to manhood which since then informed all the relationship among them: Kotarou streghtened and turned from a boy into someone who can be a father in the Father, trustworthy as a rock for Chihaya and other people, generous and capable of sacrificial love. Sakuya revealed himself to have been similar to Kotarou in the past. I think this is a common vocation among male: God often brings us nearer to Him and to others by showing us the beauty of being a custodian like saint Joseph, so we put our energies at the service of those who need us. This way, Kotarou could join Chihaya´s travel to her own painful past and bring down a mad Sakuya. I think it´s important that he was also brought down by Sakuya and Chihaya: the people he is helping are also saving him, because without them he would be force without purpose. And the ending, the passing of the torch, that scene was just beautiful. Very human, too. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife…” which, in the end, is Chihaya. I also enjoyed when she asked about him liking Kotori and he just said “I choose you”. Kotori and Chihaya struck me as the happier endings.

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    • Kaze
      25 April 2017 at 5:57 pm

      Since this is full of positive remarks, I’ll just say I’m glad it sounds like you had an overall positive experience. I definitely have my share of complaints about Rewrite and don’t think it’s a masterpiece or anything, but it did make me completely rethink about my faith in ways I never have before, especially stuff like how God actually exists outside time and how he interacts with us individually. Rewrite is one of my favorites, and I’m always happy to hear others enjoying it, even if you disliked some parts (but hey, we can’t all agree on everything).

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  • Gaheret
    25 April 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Shizuru´s “childlike powerful girl” route felt strange and abrupt to me while reading, probably because of the flashback structure and the silent nature of Shizuru. Shizuru seemed a younger girl with a crush in Kotarou, but turned to be a selfless, singleminded ellite warrior with a pure heart and of few words. She had an infancy trauma due to the lack of control of her powers, but also a loving mother figure -Touka Nishikujou- and a sense of purpose and meaning: she was the most stable and balanced of the five girls (although I think she shines more in Lucia´s route that in her own). I didn´t like so much her naive-romantic interactions with Kotarou, which seemed somewhat unrealistic. Once the war was revealed, the plot revolved, for a change, around Shizuru protecting Kotarou, sacrificing selflessly for him and needing so little in return, and how that was hard for him, because he felt useless. That´s another parallel: we can´t really repay love, we can´t really repay sacrifice and specially we can´t repay God´s infinite love and sacrifice. We can -we should- be inspired to love, but love is not a payment… We must learn to accept what we not deserve by ourselves, to be healed by it: the somewhat lukewarm way Kotarou loved Shizuru at first was transformed by her inspiration and love. This time the sacrificial hero was Shizuru until the apocalyptic disaster: then Kotarou saved her. She had also the difficult task of waiting for him for a long time without knowing for sure if he was alive, which I found parallel to our own wait for Christ´s second coming.

    Lucia´s “cursed girl/tsundere” route was very different from the rest, and also very inspiring. Due to her childhood, Lucia felt she was dirty, poisonous and a monster, cursed, sinful, something that should not exist and tried to drive everyone except from Shizuru far away from her. She couln´t touch anyone, anything alive, even a flower, despite her love for them. They would die instantly. She was also embarrased and disguised her feelings with anger and disgust. It was amazing seeing her open up to Kotarou´s love, his refusal to being driven out and the scene he changes himself to be able to embrace her after a whole life of isolation and promises he won´t ever let her is easily the most moving of the entire Visual Novel. With the Cross at the back -as they are in a Church- he is a marvelous Christ figure embracing the one who had given up all hope. But the fight is far from over. Kotarou and Lucia engange and become closer, but her desire to suffer and die and feeling of being harmful eventually rise -it doesn´t help she is being manipulated by her mother figure and that random Cardinal- and finally falls into despair, rejects herself and Kotarou and fights her friends -“stupid Lucia!” Chihaya and Shizuru behave in turn as true friends and true heroes here, noble, single-minded and loving through everything-. She wants Kotarou to give her a reason to live and asks him repeatedly, but he can´t find an answer. He ultimately finds it, though. “Because I love you, that´s why”. Because I want you to live and be saved no matter what, even if I must fight your desperation. That fierce, corageous, ever-fighting love who won´t stop trying to save us even if we don´t feel worth, even if we want to die, even if we fight it and harm it, is also a thrilling reflection of God´s love. We are loved by God from eternity, created good, a gift for the world and those around us, waited for like the Prodigal Son, unique, valued, and He won´t give up on us no matter what. For me, Lucia was one of the most hopeful, dark, deep and moving routes. In the end, the two of them must learn to live isolated underground. But I would never regret living like that.

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    • Gaheret
      25 April 2017 at 6:52 pm

      Ups, I didn´t see your replies! I´m sorry: I wasn´t ignoring you. I will read them, then answer, then comment about Akane´s route.

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  • Gaheret
    25 April 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Final comment! Akane “powerful, older girl” route started with Kotarou in a very weak position: he was somewhat broken and she was his only refuge. He also started to work to end the world for Akane´s sake, even if he didn´t understand the details. Kotarou grows during this arc, though, as Akane became more and more lost in her darkness and suffering and he learned to protect her little by little. Akane was increasingly dominated by her dreadful mission of wiping out humanity and making death prevail over all life no matter how long she resisted, waited and tried to forget and be happy with Kotarou. Kotarou recovered his moral compass in time to ally with a past enemy and helped the victims of the end of the world. He made the evacuation possible and he rescued Akane in a Lucia-like way, against herself, her guilt and her desire to die. They went to the new world, but the guilt of her past sins and the lack of purpose caused her a depression. Kotarou, who had turned somber and serious, felt he had to pay for his sins too. I found amazing, moving and very meaningful from a Christian point of view how they were unable to just live in lies and needed forgiving and atonement, and how they arranged a penance who wouldn´t destroy them, but would help them live. It was parallel to the way Christ delivers us from our sins as long as we don´t deny them and ask Him for it. Another parallel was the way Kotarou, loving Akane and thinking in her good, arranged a punishment for her, shared it and guided her through it. And in the end, when they smiled again for the first time since the disaster, joked with one another and sung together, walking to the exile, the harmony they had reached was a true sign of hope.

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  • Gaheret
    26 April 2017 at 7:55 am

    Yes, Kotarou suffered, as Akane and Lucia, and I would never judge any of them as a person. In this timeline he was, after all, the rejected son of unloving and obsessed parents who couldn´t fit anywhere. His only friend died after assasinating a bunch of kids by accident. His only human connections were Esaka -and the choice was betraying him or helping child killers- and Kotori, who despised humans. He feared the end of the world. No wonder he turned out obsessed and machiavellian.

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    • Gaheret
      26 April 2017 at 10:01 am

      That was meant as a reply to your comments above, but it somehow ended up here. I’ll just say I could understand him, but not admire him. The peaceful controlled population thing was not part of the ending (I didn’t explain myself) but thoughts of Kotarou in the Moon after learning about the Universe.

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      • Kaze
        26 April 2017 at 2:57 pm

        Oh yeah I remember that part in Moon, but even then, it’s implied how the controlled population will still lead to humanity’s destruction if there is no love. Love was absolutely a necessary component for humans to develop good memories.

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    • Gaheret
      26 April 2017 at 10:07 am

      I enjoyed Rewrite, but I would have loved to see Kotarou coming up with an Ashitaka way of reconciling Gaia and Guardian and saving everyone. So thanks. It’s the anime series good?

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    • Kaze
      26 April 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Well, remember there are billions of other timelines where he could have turned out differently, such as the heroine routes. At any moment, he could have (and in the other timelines, he did) given up and stopped what he was doing and choose to live a more reserved life. It’s just that doing so would have led to humanity’s extinction in every timeline. Terra route only shows us the timeline he succeeds. Kotarou was the villain who saved humanity and gave the hope for billions of people to continue living. It may be a very end justifies the means approach, but it is similar to something like Judas’ betrayal which led to Christ’s crucifixion and thus our salvation. We may not praise the people who killed Jesus, but in some twisted way, it is a good thing they did. In Kotarou’s case, he willingly accepted the title of villain and traitor for the greater good. He didn’t fear the end of the world; he believed in it but wanted humanity to keep living.

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      • TWWK
        26 April 2017 at 4:29 pm
      • Paul Dang
        26 April 2017 at 6:21 pm

        Just to remind, though, that the only thing twisted are the instruments. God himself always uses twisted instruments, even though what they do is wrong, to bring about good. He always has done so if a greater good comes out of that evil. So the greatest good came out of Judas’ betrayal and Christ willingly accepted it, even though he could have definitely stopped it any time; love moves the world ultimately.

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        • Kaze
          26 April 2017 at 6:43 pm

          Sure but Kotarou knew what he was doing was “wrong,” but also that it was necessary for the greater good. He didn’t want to do the things he did, but if he didn’t, a greater evil would have occurred (and again, this does happen in the other timelines). Does that really make him a twisted instrument? I mean, maybe it does, but that seems to be pretty unfair outside of the idea that we are all twisted, sinful people, in which case, it’s also unfair to single him out.

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          • Paul Dang
            26 April 2017 at 10:53 pm

            Oh, no. I wasn’t singling him out. I was just making a point that God chooses whom He wills. Nothing else. Just like Kagari chose Kotarou. And anyways, Kotarou was much better than many so-called “heroes” of many ages, who actually enjoyed evil as their good.

      • Gaheret
        27 April 2017 at 7:07 am

        Wow. This is a deep, Occam-style or Endo´s Silence-style problem: can your role in life include a sin? Can your calling or vocation include a sin? Is it a sin then? Was Terra Kotarou in that situation? Tricky. I would distinguish between:

        1) “Felix Culpa”, which is the providential approach loking to the past. I find it valid, necessary. From the future, we can say all leaded us to Christ, that as He has forgiven, we are happy being repented sinners, that we wouldn´t change anything even if we could. God has bring us good even from our wrongs. That´s amazing. Some time travel or parallel dimension stories have this point: to show how it all had a wise purpose and shouldn´t be changed. Steins;Gate has sometimes this approach.

        2) From the past and looking to the future, though, you enter the difficult world of what I call time-travel Ethics or prophet Ethics: it is mainly an issue in fiction, thankfully. Here things start to blurry. You know something the rest of the people don´t. When killing someone, you could say “he was going to be killed anyway in the final disaster, I´m just minimizing the damage”. These are usually “vocation” stories: you are called to fight and change something wrong that will better the world, and your memories of the future can help you with that. If I understand you right, you´re saying: what if you were a well-intended Herod/Judas/Pilato/Kotarou from the future and knew for sure that the consequences of an apparently nefarious act were needed for salvation?

        Confronted with that… I would take the “Erased” mindset and think that whenever and wherever you are, you´re “in God´s good time”, regardless of the past and future, this is your here and now. You must love now, choose now, save everyone you can now, do right, try not to gain the future at the expense of the present, as your hope is in God… I´m not judging Terra Kotarou here. As I said, he has a sorrowful background, bleak perspectives and deep wounds. But if I were to walk in his shoes, I´m convinced that any single sin, as it hurts God´s infinite love, it´s worst that suffering, darkness, death and even physical destruction of all humanity -every sin is like the Original Sin against love- and I therefore I would never do some of the things he did. If not, where would I stop? What if the Key´s path had involved assasinating child Akane, for example? I think God will never call you to sin against His Commandments (fully understood) because as a human being, that would ment self-destruction of your love…

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