Welcome again to our newest review! Today we will be covering the anime Charlotte, who comes from the creators of Angel Beats. As a result, it will be a little difficult to avoid comparing it to its cousin series, but we will remain as objective as possible. Please beware of minor SPOILERS that may be present in the review.
Now, without further ado, let us begin the review!
Summary: Special abilities occur among a small percentage of boys and girls in puberty. Yu Otosaka uses his power without others knowing, and lives a fairly normal, average school life. Before him suddenly appears a girl, Nao Tomori. Due to his meeting with her, the fate of special power-users will be exposed.
Charlotte offers a slightly atypical look at the common superpower and high school combination genre of anime. Instead of focusing on how these superpowers are harnessed or other common themes, it instead focuses more on the people themselves and how the superpowers afflict multiple aspects of their lives. The plot, however, suffers from poor pacing and disjointed development, all of which can be summed up as convenient. The story moves fairly well for the first couple episodes, but starts getting off mid-series. A major plot point is undone at this point, which just ruins the plot for the rest of show. The ending is rushed at best and leaves the viewer with minimal satisfaction, even if all loose ends were tied up. Several plot points are also inconsistent throughout the series, such as the power supposedly being all imperfect but these imperfections only seem to inflict main characters and even then this ends up not being the truth, and things of significance are glanced over, with incomplete or unsatisfying answers to the anime’s biggest questions.
The characters of Charlotte were generally well developed, with their relationships, past, and feelings being covered extensively. They were all also generally likable, and easy enough to relate to. However, unless you got attached to Yu the most, a lot of the characters end up feeling tossed by the wayside, as they were merely filler or had served their purpose and were no longer needed. This to me was extremely frustrating, as the viewer is almost tricked in a way into thinking characters in the beginning with so much build up will have a dominant presence until the end, but this is not so. The main character Yu is also overpowered in a way, but going into that would cause major spoilers. The undoing of one of the plot points also ruins a lot of development, as it is essentially erased. This leaves some later character interactions feeling forced or artificial, stealing emotion from what are suppose to be tender moments.
As to be expected from Key, the animation in Charlotte is absolutely stunning. With well done character designs and beautiful backdrops, the series definitely keeps things afloat with the gorgeous artwork.
Similar to animation, the soundtrack is well done. It helps make up for some of the lost tense or tenderness, due to flaws in plot or characters, in some scenes. The soundtrack makes an excellent effort, and it definitely pays off.
Salvation and redemption are two of the most major themes within Charlotte, and both manifest themselves through Yu. The beginning of the series shows that redemption is being sought from the powers by some people, but this becomes more explicit how much of a burden the powers are. The redemption is not just from the powers, but also from emotional turmoil, which happens at a couple points in the series in a variety of ways. Yu is the primary receiver of the emotional redemption. Salvation also comes due to Yu, who saves a lot of power users, though other character offer a role as savior, though more subtly, such as Nao and Shun. Other good themes are present, such as family relations and dealing with a burden. However, the show loses the impact of these themes to a high degree through primarily the plot reversal and the rushed ending, and this is another momentum killer for the anime.
Final Score: 8.6/10
Final Grade: B
Charlotte was an anime that I really enjoyed, but sadly it did not really too much going for it. It had a lot of problems with the plot. The biggest problem was that it changed one of the biggest plot points on us. Not only did it change a big plot point, but that point was what did most of the character development for some of the main characters. For me this is a huge problem and I hate when an anime does something like this. I also did not like how a couple in the show ended up together, it felt a bit forced and could have been handled a lot better. That said I did really like all of the characters, they all had really fun personalities. That being said there was really no point for most of the characters being there because they played little to no part in the long run. The one other thing that was really good about the anime was the animation. If I was to rate this anime out of 10 I would give it a 7. I would recommend this anime to people who want an interesting anime and are ok with major plot jumps. – B-Ro
I was really looking forward to this anime. The second I saw that Jun Maeda (who also wrote Angel Beats) was behind Charlotte, I was in extreme excitement. I loved his writing in AB, and knew i was in for a treat with Charlotte. Though you can tell that the same writer from AB is behind this show (there are definite similarities in the brand of humor, some of the themes, and the emotional segments, and I mean that all in a good way), Charlotte is definitely its own unique series, and deserves to be treated as such. I love the X Men like concept of people having powers and having to deal with people not understanding them or wanting to exploit or destroy them. I also loved the imperfections of each power. The plot really evolves and goes to very unexpected places. Some of those places got a little weird for me, but the sum of the parts make an all around amazing story, though not everyone will love some of the twists(I won’t spoil anything). I also looooved the characters. I really enjoyed watching Yuu develop, Joujrou was absolutely hilarious, and Nao was very unique and took some getting used to, but i ended up loving her as well. I have to commend the animation in this show. This anime has some of the most beautiful animation I have ever seen. This is not just from a technical standpoint. You can tell they not only had the tools to make beautiful animation, but also the proper direction. There are so many stunning and well directed shots in this show, especially the night shots in the closing and the entire opening. Let me talk about the opening for a bit. Here we see Lia performing the opener as she did in Angel Beats. The Angel Beats opening is absolutely mind blowing, so I was excited to hear Lia again. When it first played, I thought it was okay. But at episode 4, when the prechorus played, it finally hit me. This opening is truly beautiful! The music and animation mix in such a perfect way to make something really special. For the rest of the series, I always had goosebumps when the opening played. Aoi Tada also came back for the main closer, which again excited me, and she delivers as well. I really loved this closer!!! In my eyes, this entire soundtrack is near perfect. The diverse instrumentation (with a beautiful backbone of piano compositions), the way it enhances the show’s emotions, the effort (especially after watching Mars of Destruction which had zero effort) are all top of the line. I will absolutely be purchasing this soundtrack. The show as a whole had a surprisingly large emphasis on music, which I absolutely welcomed. My main problem in the show was the same problem I had with AB. It was too short!! It definitely has a full, cohesive story, I just wanted to see more of it, because everything else is quite good. So in summary, Charlotte is a must watch! The humor is there, the emotions are there, the interesting story is there, the beautiful animation is there, and the soundtrack is stellar. I can’t wait to see what Jun Maeda does next.
Final Comments: While there is plenty of high emotion coupled with excellent animation and soundtrack in Charlotte, it flounders with numerous plot and characters flaws. The anime is by no means a drag, however, and easy to enjoy.
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