Charlotte | Worth Watchin’?
The ability to possess others can really have a dominating effect especially for someone like Yuu. Early episodes establish him using this ability with some dangerous risks. That is until we have a girl named Nao Tomori who catches Yuu using his ability and forces him to join the student council in order to help others with these unique abilities. Like Yuu though, Nao also shows a narcissistic side of herself and for some reason lacks female friends. A good portion of Charlotte shows her using a camera filming events around her life.
Joining them includes Jojiro Takajo, a boy who can apparently move at supersonic speed, and Yusa Nishimori, a popular idol singer who can channel the dead. As part of the early phases, the show takes on a slice of life focus. Every episode essentially shows the members of the student council use their ability to help others and prevent troublemakers from causing chaos. This sometimes comes at high risk as some abilities can be quite dangerous. And as such, the show maintains a somewhat dark side with some minor foreshadowing. Furthermore, we are also introduced to Yuu’s little sister Ayumi, who is like an energetic light bulb that can brighten anyone’s day; figuratively of course.
With a small cast of main characters such as this, Charlotte essentially had a good story going. Yes, some of the episodes feels like distractions that incorporate generic school life activities such as baseball or outdoor camping trips. However, the show originally maintained a cool level of comedy. It can make the viewer laugh such as with Joiro’s over-exaggerated expressions of his obsession towards Yusa. Ayumi can also be likable at times with her bright personality that seemingly has some influences towards others. Everything originally was standard and then, trouble hits.
I guess it shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Jun Maeda is known for his involvement in Key related works. These include Kanon, Air, and Clannad. Some recurring themes include family values, magical realism, and his intention to draw tears from the viewers with emotional scenarios. So here for Charlotte, it really isn’t much of a surprise that there’s a familiar trend. The first few episodes sets up a lot of fun and actually works hand in hand. Then, the second half of the show kicks into a darker tone with the story. And to be quite frank honest, it feels like the show got possessed. It turns into a series that forcefully tries to draw out emotional impact starting with Yuu’s depression.
There is a good reason for this but the transitional direction of his character really is an oddball. Furthermore, Yuu’s role becomes somewhat like a savior to protect a certain someone. It’s like Yuu almost became another person as the story progresses. The turning point of the series makes Yuu look like a hero but is really one? Honestly no. In fact, Yuu is more of the anti-hero and without a certain person’s help, I fear what he really may become. The recurring themes written by Jun Maeda comes into full hold as we get alternate worlds, timelines, and loops. And in general, the show changes way too much for its own good. A major problem I found throughout the latter half of the story is the numerous plot holes that appears out of nowhere. Furthermore, there are the continuous jokes that becomes apparently blend after seeing it so many times. The mood of the story constantly changes from one point to another that eventually becomes almost intolerable.
It’s also fairly predictable and has some fairly anti-climactic resolutions to problems. Despite this, I do give Charlotte some credit for taking the risk. I think the show is more suited for certain audiences that appreciates the writing style of Jun Maeda. Otherwise, Charlotte will take some enormous patience especially to get answers to wanted questions. These include the meaning of Charlotte, how Yuu’s relationship with others changes, and what true essence of some of the characters’ powers are. As with I mentioned earlier on, there’s a strong uphold about family values that is easily carved out with Yuu and Ayumi’s relationship.
Some of the characters establishes their presence such as Zhiend’s singer but are later seemingly forgotten. There could have been a more meaningful relationship that they can forge and leave viewers to remember for. Instead, too many things happen at once and the final few episodes really seems like it’s trying to fit everything into a box. Yuu’s attempt to become some sort of savior makes me feel like he really isn’t suitable for the job. And lastly, I think the glasses guy (Tokajo) and Yusa’s relevance in the series slipped like sands of an hourglass. Of course, their relationship hardly moved an inch.
When a show mixes in comedy and tragedy, you’ll need to transit both with a fitting way to match the presentation. While not as strong as its artwork, Charlotte’s soundtrack works well on most parts. Dialogues matches with character voice mannerisms and the OST in general is easy to keep up with depending on the shift of the tone.
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