Honestly, her route should be done first. It explains the terms thoroughly, doesn’t just throw a bunch of stuff at you, and doesn’t go that deep into the conflict so it’s like an “introductory route.” If you decide to play Rewrite, Kotori’s route is probably the least likely to confuse you.
Kanbe Kotori is Kotarou’s childhood friend who constantly skips school and doesn’t have friends other than Kotarou and Yoshino. She’s generally pretty fun and hilarious, and likes to go into the forest. She has a pet dog name Chibi-mosu that is extremely strong. Since joining the occult club, she has been attending school nearly every day. Compared to Chihaya’s and Akane’s routes, I guess Kotori’s route is more focused on emotions.
Spoilers, as usual.
After the incident with the leaf dragon on the 13th, none of the occult club members show up to school. Nobody replies to Kotarou’s texts, and he decides to break into the now-locked occult club room to look for clues. Inside, Kotarou finds a note from Akane saying that she went to study overseas in Antarctica and if everyone else disappears, don’t panic and continue life normally because things will go back to normal soon. Lol the Antarctica part is obviously a lie, but Kotarou decides to trust her. Unfortunately school without the occult club members is extremely boring. At home, Kotarou tests out his aurora and a few days later Kotori comes back. Kotarou hugs her because he was forever alone, and Kotori comes up with the explanation that her family had some emergency and her phone battery was dead. Kotarou confesses to her, but Kotori reacts indifferently because he already confessed to her before starting high school and got rejected.
They attend school like normal, and go back to being a trio with Yoshino. However, Kotori makes Kotarou promise that he won’t investigate occult things anymore because she’s scared he’ll disappear like the other club members too. Kotarou hears that Inoue was found, but got hospitalized and transferred to another school. At night, he gets haunted by “ghosts” again because he ran out of shikigami, and sees that the “ghost” is actually Kagari who crawled into his bed and bit his arm. He gets ready to fight but she knocks him out with her ribbons. In this route, the harvest festival is actually explained: it lasts a week, and students who are doing part-time for the festival don’t have to go to school (and there’s nothing to do at school even if you go, other than play cards and read manga). Also, there’s a “night-before festival” that happens the night before the actual harvest festival starts. The teacher warns the students that entry into the forest is prohibited during the festival due to sightings of dangerous beasts.
At the night-before festival, he and Kotori go on a date (but she refuses to call it that). The next day (Sunday), the festival starts and Kotarou sees Inoue who lost her memory and no longer acts like the old her. She came here because she has a feeling that there’s something important today, but whenever she gets close to remembering something she gets sick. She hands Kotarou a USB that she hid from everyone, saying that she probably came to give it to him and leaves. Kotarou goes home to check out the USB and found pictures of demons and Inoue’s journal where she said she saw demon users and a city with gray sky that only has robed dudes (the alternate dimension).
Kotarou tries to find Kotori but she’s not home, and he ended up in an alternate dimension. Inside, he runs into a robed guy and gets warped to the forest. Inside he sees Kagari, who shows him random memories and he remembers that he got injured real bad in the forest before, but someone saved him. He blacks out and wakes up at night in his own room. The next day, Kotarou goes to school and loses memories of the occult club members and his relationship with Kotori (he still remembers her, but only as a classmate). The day after, the teacher announces that Kotori transferred away, and Kotarou starts saying some pretty KY things and referring to her as if he doesn’t know her that well. Yoshino rages and beats him up, and when he wakes up the teacher tells him that he received brain damage when he got injured in the forest and randomly forgets stuff.
Kotarou breaks into Kotori’s house to look for clues and finds her dad’s hunting rifle missing, along with the fact that her room had a bunch of complicated scientific books and Celtic legends. He comes to the conclusion that her pet dog, Chibi-mosu, is a mammoth and Kotori is a demon user. He goes into the forest to find her, but runs into the leaf dragon. Kagari saves him and he wakes up with his wounds treated and Chibi-mosu nearby.
He also walks in on Kotori taking a bath and learns from her that they’re inside a barrier so nobody else can find them. She’s a demon user, but doesn’t belong to Gaia because she’s a druid. Druids pass on their knowledge through a giant tree that is a non-moving demon, and the tree told her to protect the Key, AKA Kagari. Since she’s a druid, she draws her power from a power spot and contracting + summoning demons doesn’t decrease her life. Chibi-mosu is actually a demon created from her dead dog (the concept of dead bodies being able to become demons was explained in Akane’s route, but it went into a bunch of scientific terms and I didn’t know how to word it properly so I left it out). She can’t really get close to people because of her duty, and the only reason she continued school was because she had fun with Kotarou and it let her forget about her mission.
Kotarou starts living with Kotori inside the barrier and Kagari is also with them. A battle breaks out (presumably between Gaia and Guardian), and the barrier is broken so Kagari is gone. Kotarou goes to take Kagari back with Chibi-mosu, but the latter gets injured by Imamiya (camera guy, also appeared briefly in Akane route so I didn’t mention him, but he has a portrait so he’ll turn out important somewhere else) on the way back and dies. Kotori doesn’t get emotional because she sees demons as simply tools without hearts and her old dog never loved her anyways. Chibi-mosu’s final sounds were the barking of a dog, just like her old one. After it dies, Kagari starts singing.
On the last day of the harvest festival, a battle breaks out again and the barrier breaks. The two decide to return to the city with Kagari because it’s safer with more people, but they get attacked and Kotori summons her parents to the fight. They’re demons created from dead bodies too, since her real parents died right before she became a druid 10 years ago. They get back to the city, Kotarou fights and gets the approval from Yoshino, and he walks off with Kotori through the wheat field at the edge of town. They rest at a wooden shelter and Kotori tells him that her parents were driving up a mountain but slipped off and their corpses fell into the forest. She turned them into demons but they had no hearts and could only speak basic phrases. Kotarou asks her if he is a demon too, and she says she doesn’t know. When she went to look for her parents, she touched the tree, became a druid, and saw Kotarou climb up a tree because Kagari was up there. He fell off and got injured, and Kotori “healed” him, but that may just have been her turning him into a demon.
The wooden shelter gets surrounded by black demon dogs and Kotori sends her demon “parents” 0ut to fight them, saying that she doesn’t feel anything for them because they’re demons without hearts. Their last words were “we’ll fight for the sake of our family” and Kotori cries as they escape amist the fighting. Kagari starts signing, and Kotori decides to kill her to end it all, but then hesitates because the power spots are the Earth’s energy and they’ll stop flowing if the Key dies. Since druids draw their power from the power spots, if they disappear theire demons will start using their life instead, and then disappear. Kotarou says he is not a demon, but she insists that he is because after being healed his personality did a 180 and he became all cheerful. She thinks that he stopped being cold because that was the Kotarou she wished for and she is unconciously controlling him because he is a demon. She doesn’t want Kotarou to disappear, and Gaia and Guardian surround them. Kotarou asks Kagari what the “salvation” she’ll bring is, and Shizuru appears saying that it is destruction and shoots Kagari. Gaia and Guardian leave, and Kotori starts having her life sucked out so Kotarou makes her break their contract. She does, and Kotarou’s wounds reappear since only the healed parts of him became demonized.
They’re outside of the city and the ambulance can’t come due to all traffic being stopped during the harvest festival, Kotori tries to carry Kotarou to the hospital. She gets help on the way, and Kotarou wakes up in the hospital. His parents, classmates, and teacher visit him, and the guy in the same room as him lends him porn lol. He spends a few months recovering and was never visited by Kotori. In spring, he finally gets out of the hospital and sets out to see her. The credits roll here and I thought we’d get an epilogue, but it just goes back to the title screen so we never see them reuniting again.
Well, Kotori’s route had the emotions handled better (not like my summary did it any justice), but it wasn’t as satisfying because you don’t see the two of them together at the end. RAAAAAAGE. Since Kotarou takes a neutral stance here, the conflict doesn’t go into detail. Heck, Guardian is technically never mentioned, and the people were just called humans with supernatural powers. Kotori was the childhood friend, was used the most in promotional arts and had a detailed design, so you’d think she was the main heroine and would have a much bigger part in the story. Nope, her role in the big picture is pretty small, and I’m still raging at how we never see the two together at the end, and the two never technically went out. The closest they got was Kotori crying on Kotarou’s back and her carrying him to the hospital. This is supposed to be a galge, dude. Fans of childhood friends are probably raging like hell. The death of Chibi-mosu and Kotori’s parents were sad and emotional (I cried a little), but damn they could’ve given Kotori more romantic scenes if she was gonna be the childhood friend. Give us an epilogue at least, dammit. If the emotional level of the scenes from Kotori’s route combined with the interest and impact level of Akane’s route, then it’s be great.
3 down, 2 more to go before getting into the true routes. I’ve only got Guardian-side routes left.