Rewrite sure has a loooooong common route. It doesn’t help that it follows the Key format of having the common route consist entirely of slice-of-life (until the last few days) and the story only kicks in when you get into a character route. It was alright in Little Busters where there was 2 weeks of baseball that stayed pretty much the same no matter who you go for and then branches off into the different routes, but Rewrite’s common route is ONE MONTH LONG. A whole month of the rest of the main cast joining the occult club and talking about various slife-of-lifey topics for extended amounts of time. Anyways, spoilers to what happened in the common route when I was going for Chihaya:
Kotaro pulls the other heroines into the occult club and they search for supernatural stuff in their local forest. Through the course of the common route, there are several times where Kotaro is attacked by some black dogs and a guy in a robe. He also finds these two fairy-like creatures who were apparently born from trash and keeps them at his house. Like a month after the game begins, They all go to Chihaya’s house for some gardening work when something falls and Sakuya (Chihaya’s bodyguard posing as her brother) protects Kotaro from it. Sakuya gets hit and his head starts to bleed, but he says he is completely fine even though the hit should’ve hospitalized him. One day, the occult club goes deep into the forest, but Akane tells Kotaro that any deeper and they’ll be in private property that prohibits trespassers. Kotaro decides to stop investigating because he doesn’t want to get involved with the government, but Shizuru senses a beast and runs off. Lucia follows suit, and the rest try to run after them but they’re insanely fast and ran out of sight. Kotaro gets help from Chibimosu (Kotori’s pet dog that has the strength of 10 Yoshinos and took down a gang by itself) and tracks down Shizuru and Lucia by their scent.
However, when they arrived they notived that there was a stream where the water is highly contaminated with chemicals and toxic enough to instantly kill animals. Shizuru is holding a dead rat, but she claims that it is Orthos (a two-headed dog from Greek mythology; you can summon it in Persona). They bury it and return to the city, where Kotaro decides to stop investigation because getting involved with the government doesn’t fit with his goal of having a fun high school life. The next day, he gets a call from Inoue, an acquaintance from the newspaper club who is interested in what Kotaro found. Kotaro tells her about the contaminated water, and she lets slip that there used to be a factory making pesticides there, but it is long gone and everyone died. Inoue decides to go investigate by herself since Kotaro doesn’t want to pursue the matter, but she ends up missing.
Since Inoue went missing as a result of the occult club’s information, the school decides to close down the occult club. Kotaro doesn’t want his fun school days with everyone to end, so they decide to set out into the forest to find Inoue in hopes of saving the club. Before the mission, Sakuya warns Kotaro that if he proceeds, he won’t be able to return to a normal life. Regardless, they go into the forest to follow Inoue’s tracks. At one point they take a break, and the four girls walk off to go to the washroom. Kotaro waits for 30 minutes but they haven’t come back, and there is no sign of anyone around, so he concludes that they got lost and continues on to search for them. He searched until nightfall, when he heard the footsteps of someone following him. That person happens to be the guy in a robe he met before. Black dogs appear and attack Kotaro, but his power awakens and glowing stuff starts coming out of his hand. He takes down all the dogs and eventually reunites with Shizuru and Lucia, both of which haven’t seen any black dogs. Then the find Kotori, who has seen the black dogs, and then find Chihaya and Akane.
The occult club decides to walk back because it’s dangerous, but then Kotaro gets attacked by a dragon. He isn’t strong enough to fight it, and it heads towards Kotori, Lucia, and Shizuru. Just as he thinks it’s over, Lucia and Shizuru pull out their knives and fight the dragon. It retreats and Kotaro sees some kind of red ribbon, along with the silhouette of a girl in the moon, but they disappear. Then, Shizuru and Lucia say that Chihaya and Akane are their enemies and the occult club is destroyed. They separate and head home, with Kotaro basically wondering WTF just happened.
After this, Chihaya’s route begins. I’m not sure how different the common route will be when I go after other heroines, but I’m guessing that it will mostly be the same other than the scene where the occult club breaks up. Rewrite lacks the feel of previous Key visual novels so far, and the beginning was waaaaay too draggy. It took a whole freaking month to get the plot moving, but once I hit the plot I’m actually finding this interesting. I’m hoping that no visual novel will ever try to have a one month slice-of-life common route (unless it’s a slice-of-life eroge, but the month-long common route part of the statement still stands) again, because it is seriously draggy no matter how interesting the cast is. It’ll take me a while to get through Rewrite, but now that I’ve got the common route out of the way (and there’s a handy “skip previously read text” option for future plays) the rest seems pretty interesting. I’m not expecting a Key feel, so I’ll take it as what it is–a supernatural mystery type of visual novel.