- Genre : Sci-fi, action, drama
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: P.A. Works
In a slightly alternate universe, a small percentage of people develop some form of superhuman abilities which last only through their adolescence, and are therefore considered a danger to society. MC is just such a teenager who suddenly finds himself in a fight for his freedom and survival in this action packed X-Men meets X-Files adventure. X-Men and X-Files are already pretty much the same thing you say? Well this one has teenagers at a school for kids with powers! Yeah, that’s kinda the exact plot of X-Men you say? Well, shushh you!
This was a great sci-fi action show. I hadn’t come across a good heart pounding, adrenaline fueled adventure of this type in a while and it made me realize how much I had been missing it. Too bad it starts at episode 9 and ends at episode 12 of 13….
I don’t know if I should keep mentioning technical aspects like art, animation, sound design, unless they are either unusually good or bad… I feel like if you hadn’t seen the series you would want to know but also like the pics I include do a much better job at getting the point across. They were all fine…
Personality wise, the cast of characters was generally fine as well. MC’s development is a little jagged as he goes from jerk to nice guy to violent criminal back to almost saint. The changes are justified and explained by the events of the story but they’re also quite sudden (probably due to time constraints rather than downright sloppy writing but I think it could have been done better.) The rest of the characters are only partially developed due to reasons I’ll go into later, but deep complex personalities aren’t really needed for this story and the action is where it shines.
From the very start I really liked how limited and seemingly useless the abilities were. For instance, Yuu’s ability is to possess others as long as he can picture their face clearly, for only 5 seconds and his body is unconscious during that time. The tricks he uses to get around these drawbacks are quite smart and it makes watching him use his skill so much more interesting that if he had some godly superpower. For the most part, the abilities are similarly limited, in fact MC is probably one of the most powerful, but unfortunately the show doesn’t go into much detail about how other characters learned to use and take full advantage of their skills.
As I said, the show proper (for me at least) starts around the halfway mark. Episodes 1 to 6 are complete filler/ x-man of the week fair. You can’t even argue that these serve to establish the characters since those introduced n the first few episodes, pretty much all become irrelevant past this point. I mean they are still around but they serve no active role in the story. I’m really not sure what the author was going for here. I would almost recommend that you watch the first episode for context and skip right to episode 7 if I could guarantee that you wouldn’t miss some info that comes into play later.
At about the midway point, the show suddenly takes a dramatic left turn. This is where things get serious but it serves more as a catalyst to the action which is why I maintain that the story proper starts two episodes later. This said, it’s an effectively visceral episode that shows some guts and drastically changes the tone of the show. The next episode continues to deal with the aftermath reasonably well, for filler. I find that shows rarely deal with grief effectively. It’s very difficult to convey something that is both very personal and completely internal, especially when you have an entire universe and complex storyline to keep track off on top of it. Most series tend to just have the people involved overact anguish for a beat then forget about it entirely. For example, I’m currently on my second play through of Persona 5 (great game – play it), and one of your companions (confidants), sees her father die a violent death before her eyes. She gets over this so quickly that I was convinced she was a double agent. It was quite jarring. Charlotte takes a much more realistic approach. Sure, it condenses the process, using a montage to show the character’s deterioration, and they do seem to bounce back pretty quick, but not instantly and the consequences are still felt for several episodes (in a way all of them but, spoilers…) This honestly impressed me and I think it bears mentioning.
Episode 9 finally gets the ball rolling on the action through a series of flashbacks which explain everything and make you wish this had been the show to begin with. As the story shifts to Shunsuke’s perspective, we are plunged into a classic misfit superhero action adventure that is both interesting and exciting. The flashback episodes are by far the best but even as we catch up to the present, the action remains heart pounding. Sadly, I got the impression that they ran out of time and that final confrontation seemed more like a set-up than a climax.
As superpowers get more and more powerful, there is always a risk of trivializing the consequences of anything that happens. Why should we care when someone dies if they can be brought back to life at any time, Goku? At one point, it really did seem like Charlotte was going for that annoyingly disneyfied happily ever after thing but they found a logical way to make some of the bitterness stick in spite of everything. Another impressive turn. The last episode is more of an extended end tag than an actually episode. It could have been a decent second season instead of a series of vignettes. I don’t hate this episode and I might have even liked it if the show hadn’t wasted so much time already. As is, I found it frustrating since it could have served to flesh out the more interesting parts of the story instead. Episodes 7 and 9-12 were great but rushed, they should have concentrated on that storyline exclusively and spared us the useless fluff at the beginning.
On a side note – Sala’s voice is very nice, or rather Marina Nakamura’s, too bad she’s yet another throw away character.
Favorite character: Kumagami
What this anime taught me about myself: I would probably immediately kill myself with any sort of super power
“You’re riding a horse full speed.. there’s a giraffe beside you.. and you’re being chased by a lion .. what do you do .. get your drunk ass off the carousel”
Suggested drink: Comet cocktail
- Every time we see a close up of Yuu’s smile – take a sip
- Every time Takajo injures himself/gets injured – take a sip
- Every time Ayumi gets blissed out – take a sip
- Every time Pizza sauce is mentioned – take a mint
- Every time Nao is unusually cute – take a sip
- Every time Takajo is a turn off – cheers
- Every time there are repressed memories – take a sip
- Every time Yusa does a magic spell – take a big sip
- Every time there is an obvious parody of a popular logo – take a sip
- Every time someone feeds Yuu – take a snack
- Every time there’s a flashback – hope it lasts
4 thoughts on “Charlotte”
Yay! I watched this anime as well, but I didn’t write a review because although it was a good anime, I didn’t feel it gave me much more than good entertainment. As for the whole ‘grief’ part of this anime, I cannot protest that I did not tear up… or softly cry… but it definitely wasn’t the most powerful grief I have seen in an anime. That spot goes to Clannad Afterstory.
Yeah – There’s a lot of wasted potential in Charlotte