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.
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!