Here it is, guys. The TRUE ROUTE. Terra is unlocked after Moon, and is centered on our protagonist, Tennouji Kotarou, and Kagari. The other heroines go out of focus until the very end, and Lucia and Chihaya don’t even appear before then. Terra takes us back to when Kotarou was in middle school, where he was a cold, lonely teenager that has no friends and doesn’t like anything around him. Terra is also presented in novel format where text covers the entire screen and Kotarou is fully voiced.
Caution: This will be LONG. I should have put this warning on every post of mine, but even so this will be longer than my usual wall-of-text summary.
Kotarou is actually around 10 years older than Kotori. He was an angsty teenager with chuunibyou who has no friends. He had his rewriting ability sicne he was little and uses it at night to fight demons and pretend he’s the defender of Earth to relief stress. He gets forced to go to Martel preachings since his parents are in it, but he clearly wants out.
During break time, a woman named Iko makes him take care of loli Akane, who can’t speak (like Shimako in her own route). Kotarou eventually stops going to Martel and his parents are disappoint but they stop caring. One night when hunting demons in the forest, he runs into a demon dinosaur that he obviously cannot defeat and gets saved by people from Guardian. They tell him not to come back to the forest and put him to sleep.
Since then, Kotarou never stepped into the forest again and became a delinquent picking fights with gangsters in the city. It’s really boring because they’re weak and no fun though. He realizes that dropped his cellphone in the forest and calls it to find that Esaka from the antique shop has it. Esaka asks him to keep the demon dinosaur a secret and becomes Kotarou’s first friend. They exchange phone numbers and go eat at random places.
When Kotarou gets home, Kotori’s family is visiting and they leave loli Kotori with him as they go out. Loli Kotori is very mature and immediately calls Kotarou out for his angst and chuunibyou. However, she is like him and has no friends either and thinks the Martel meetings are a bunch of bs that just likes to point out humanity’s flaws without doing anything.
Kotarou and Kotori become sort-of friends and she gets her dog Pero, who has been abused before. Pero is scared of humans and not friendly, and even ran away from home on night. Kotarou brings it back and Kotori becomes more dere towards him. Kashima Sakura has Kotarou marked because she knows he’s been otu in the forest, so Esaka offers Kotarou to join Guardian. Kotarou decides to make himself missing so he goes without telling anyone, and bumps into Kotori’s family who are off on a trip. Kotori makes him promise to take her to the harvest festival.
Kotarou joins Guardian, is told to forget about Kazamatsuri and the people he knows, and is sent to training camp for noobs. Kotarou is the weakest person in the camp, and he gets grouped up with Imamiya (who is actually his old classmate), Nishikujou, and Nagai (no portrait). They finish training camp and prepare for battle in Kazamatsuri becasue it’s almost the harvest festival and they hay to search for and kill the Key. Nagai quit Guardian and lost her powers due to low confidence.
At Kazamatsuri, Kotarou is given an ID that says he’s 20. He has loads of cash and buys brand-name suits and glasses lol. He finds loli Akane at the park and brings her back to Iko. 3 days later their mission begins. The Kotarou, Imamiya and Nishikujou group are supposed to guard a remote area while the people who don’t suck join in on the real action in the forest, but the latter two ditch Kotarou to go to the forest anyways and Kotarou joins them soon after. The forest is unusually quiet and there’s lots of corpses on the ground. He finds loli Akane on a tree and tries to get her down but gets attacked by a black dog. Kotarou right now is so fail he can’t defeat a dog, so he grabs Akane and runs. After sending Akane back, Kotarou decides that it’s a good idea to GO BACK INTO THE FOREST WHERE PEOPLE ARE DYING TO A DEMON DRAGON. He sees the Gaia Earth Dragon kill lots of people and then runs into Kagari who he immediately knows is the Key.
At this point, you are given a choice to either kill Kagari or not. Choosing to kill Kagari will lead to Kotarou getting owned by her, and then Kotori finds him and turns him into a half-demon. He will be in a coma for many years until Kotori and him are the same age, and he will wake up not remembering about Guardian and Gaia. Kotarou graduates middle school with Kotori as his bright and happy self found in the main game, and goes on to high school where he will eventually join the occult club. This is obviously a bad end, so the correct choice is to leave Kagari be and Terra continues. After leaving Kagari be, Kotarou leaves the forest and speaks to no one about her or Akane.
After the harvest festival ends, Kotarou goes on a Guardian job to a war-torn third-world country to act in the peacekeeping army. He makes friends with a Brazilian superhuman there named Louis and some kids, and they go on a mission to fight demon users. He finds out that the demon users are actually the kids, but his commander shoots them anyways because they use demons so Kotarou decides he’s had enough of this shit and escapes with 3 kids and Louis. On the escape route a missle attack happens and Louis sacrifices himself in order for Kotarou to bring the kids to a safe place. He drops them off at a safe place and sends them cash and keeps contact with one of the kids named Jasmine, and he goes back to his group’s base to see it completely annihilated. Esaka calls him back to Kazamatsuri afterwards.
Back at Kazamatsuri, Kotarou goes into the forest and meets Kagari at the hill of daisies. She tells him that Earth is ruined so she must destroy it and then make life be reborn, but the planet currently doesn’t have enough energy for life to be reborn so at this rate it will become dead and empty. In order to stop destruction, she must find good memories and Kotarou agrees to help her. Since war is bad, he decides to stop the Gaia vs. Guardian war by joining both and destroying them from inside. He joins Gaia (which only accepts angsty emos and he has no problem pretending to be one) and learns how to contract demons. Since Kotarou is in both Guardian and Gaia now, he’s sleeping like 3 hours a day. Rewriting and using demons drain life so Kotarou’s obviously gonna die early. He meets Suzaki and finds out that Gaia/Martel has an internal conflict between Suzaki’s group and Kashima’s group. Suzaki wants moar science and Kashima wants moar traditional church elements.
Kotarou tries to find Kagari in the forest but she’s missing and he bumps into Kotori instead. At this point, Kotori has become a druid and her parents are demons. She’s protecting Kagari within a barrier because the giant tree told her to do so. Kotarou tells her to GTFO of an adult’s business and makes her cry lol. He then goes to cause some trouble in Gaia by telling Kashima of Suzaki’s plans, but the latter found out. Kotarou manages to convince Suzaki to trust him again because he recorded his conversation with Kashima and made it sound like it was for Suzaki’s sake. He takes him to the Kazamatsuri in the alternate dimension with grey skies and no water. His plan is to let the Key destroy the world but bring a small population into the alternate dimension to live on.
Kotarou finds Akane who wandered into the forest again. Loli Akane can see Kagari so the latter tries to kill her but Kotarou stops her and yells at her for trying to kill a loli. Kagari doesn’t understand humans so she has no idea why lolis are awesome. After raging at her, Kotarou brings Akane back and meets her new caretaker, Tsukuno. Tsukuno is actually Nagai with a changed name, now working for Martel instead of Guardian because she lost her powers. For this year’s harvest festival Guardian doesn’t have anything big planned and Esaka is going overseas for half a year and leaves his antique shop to Kotarou. This frees up his time and he can concentrate on Gaia and sleep more than 3 hours a day.
Suzaki found out that Tsukuno used to be in Guardian and tells Kotarou to kill her and the next-in-line to be the holy maiden. The plan is to reveal Tsukuno’s past, brand her as a traitor, and then kill them to get a reaction out of Kashima. Kotarou doesn’t want to kill a loli so he sends a leafbird to tell Kashima, and she announces the next holy maiden to be Akane. She reveals that she knew Tsukuno’s past all along to Suzaki so his plans are foiled. She also finds out that Kotarou isn’t loyal to Gaia and tells him that she knows his every action. Kotarou reports his failure to Kagari, who rages at him for screwing up just to protect people who aren’t even his friends. She starts raging about how people don’t care about the Earth and are willing to sacrifice the planet for their own small happiness. Kotarou says he gives up and Kagari rages at him and cries. Kotarou’s like “omg she has emotions!” and she goes insane and whips up a storm. Kotarou stops the storm with THE KISS and tells her that he’s not doing all this shit to save the world. He just fell in love with her at first sight and wants to help her. She’s like WTH and runs away, telling him not to see her again.
Kotarou decides that no matter what he wants to help her, so he takes action and borrows Kotori’s demons to kill people. First he kills a bunch of people from Gaia, and makes it look like Kagari did it so they don’t suspect him. Then one day Guardian sent some guy who can see the Key to look for her, so Kotarou goes after him. He runs into EARTH DRAGON but gets away and sees the guy about to kill Kotori ‘cuz she’s a demon user so he kills him. The Kotarou yells at her to go home and makes her cry. He finds Kagari at the daisy hill and brings her to the apartment he’s renting because Gaia and Guardian’s attention is on the forest right now. The fight continues and two weeks before the harvest festival, Esaka comes back and duels Kotarou to test his skills. Esaka praises him for his improvement and Nishikujou and Imamiya comment on how far the three of them have come since the training days where they were the 3 worst members. Imamiya even apologizes for being annoying and they have a friendship moment. Kotarou is mad that they finally become a trio of friends at this point where he’s a traitor, and secretly rejects the power of friendship. Also, we briefly see loli Shizuru.
Back at home Kagari is weakening and looking out the window all day saying that there’s not enough time. Esaka and Kotarou kills Suzaki so Martel/Gaia is now completely under Kashima’s control, and people around the city start hearing the song of destruction. The holy maiden group is singing it and it weakens Kagari and is supposed to force her to bring destruction. Kotarou decides that tomorrow will be the final battle and asks Jasmine, the loli he saved back in the foreign country, to reveal info about demons and Gaia and Guardian to the entire world through the Internet.
Kagari escapes form Kotarou’s apartment by blowing up his room and she goes off into the forest. He goes to the forest to find her, and sees Kotori instead. He shoots her demon parents and tells her to go home and live a normal life instead of having a crappy forever alone job as a druid. He acts like an ass to her and makes her cry (see a pattern?) so she runs away. He finds a very weak Kagari who is being affected by the song of destruction that just got louder, so he decides to go to the now heavily-guarded Gaia temple to stop it. On the way out of the forest he runs into Esaka and they fight. Kotarou wins and deals a fatal blow to him, and he says he is proud. Esaka knew that Guardian has been going downhill, and Kotarou tells him about what Kagari is making him do. People are wasting energy and not creating good memories by fighting, so the planet is going to die. Esaka says he believes in him and dies. The entire forest’s trees are actually demons and they start destroying the city. Kotarou gets arrested by Guardian who knows about his betrayal, but he uses his rewriting ability to run past them and into the underground passage into the Gaia temple. There’s demon users inside, and Imamiya and Nishikujou come to help him despite his betrayal.
He tells them that he will stop the song, and asks Nishikujou to take care of Kotori for him. He goes inside to find a single Earth Dragon. He defeats it in the least dragged-out fight scene in the entire visual novel, and goes to the rooftop to find Kashima and everyone in the holy maiden group dead except for Iko (how anticlimatic…). She tells him that the rest of Martel headed for the city in the alternate dimension because Kashima told them to. Kotarou figures out that it’s a trap laid by Kashima (because she’s definitely does not want surviviors left) and they won’t survive in there after the destruction so he goes there to tell them. The people there are all emos who don’t want to live anyways, so he grabs loli Akane and runs up to the surface. The streets are destroyed, and he gives Akane 4 demons to protect her and tells her to get help from anyone but pedobears.
Kotarou uses his rewriting ability so that he can run to Kagari faster, but Sakuya’s voice appears and tells him that if he does it, he can’t turn back and will be forever alone. Kotarou starts remembering the events with Kagari in Moon route and believes that he was tied to her even before he was born, and tells Sakuya that he must protect her no matter what.
He rewrites and makes it the the daisy hill where he sees a long-haired Kagari. Kotarou starts turning into a demon and she thanks him for showing her good memories and that she should’ve understood his feelings sooner. She tells him he did well and left hope and potential in this world, but he has to do one last job–kill her. They confess to each other and kiss, and they become the orb of light inside the tree on the title screen.
The world doesn’t end, and the demons attacking the city disappear. The loli versions of the 5 heroines all meet up with Nishikujou and get taken into her care. Jasmine sent a message through the internet revealing Gaia, Guardian, and demons. She also tells everyone to remember the man who carved the path to salvation and the message srpeads through the internet. The world goes through an ice age outside of Kazamatsuri, and a huge tree grows on the daisy hill. It grew 500 meters in 3 years and rumor has it that it’s trying to reach the moon. This is Kotarou and Kagari’s tree, and the 5 heroines, now high school age, investigate the tree as the occult club because it grew impossibly fast. They summon a demon Kotarou to be their familiar (like how the demon Sakuya was summoned from his cherry blossom tree) and name him Pochi lol. “Pochi” refuses the job and says he has more important things to do, like flying to the moon. The ending video shows that he does fly them to the moon (let’s ignore the question of how the fuck did they survive without spacesuits here), and they find a seedling (the moon Kagari) sprouting on the empty ground that’s not supposed to sustain life.
…Well, Terra was the best route hands down. The only complaint I’ve got is that it’s anticlimatic compared to Moon, which had Kashima Sakura send shitloads of demons for them to fight. Here, Kotarou fights a single dragon and Kashima died off-screen. I thought the ending was very satisfying, although I’d imagine it’s a love-it-or-hate-it thing (actually, I think that can be said about the entire game). At the end I loved Rewrite, even though I was on the verge of dropping it when I became bored out of my mind during the common route. After finishing it though, I’d say that the slice-of-life common route did its job to make me care about the characters a lot. It should have been many times shorter and less draggy, but by Terra I was already missing the days where the occult club just had fun investigating the supernatural and fooling around. At the end, I’m not disappointed, even if I didn’t cry a river. I got teary during some scenes in Terra, like when Esaka died and the scenes of friendship between Nishikujou, Imamiya and Kotarou. I’m just a sucker for friendship after all…I kinda wanted a route for Nishikujou Touka because she was such a badass, and after the reveal, she’s techninically the only one around Kotarou’s age.
Anyways, the major setbacks for Rewrite was probably the extremely varying qualities of the heroine routes (although this was a problem in Little Busters too, IMO. Just go compare Komari’s route with Haruka’s or Rin’s.), and the lack of Maeda Jun-level emotional ending. I like Romeo Tanaka (just please don’t let this guy write slice-of-life parts), but Maeda brings out the emotions the best for me. Also, Rewrite was ridiculously long. Despite that though, I still want more. The CG events are also badly spaced–there’s like no CGs for a majority of Terra and then at the end so many damn CGs start appearing.
I’m not sure if I feel like going back to do the quests and get the gag ending. I think I need a break from Japanese walls of text. Since Rewrite was supposed to be really disappointing according to everyone but I loved it anyways, I guess I’ll still be looking forward to Key’s next galge.