While on the surface Yuu Otosaka appears to be just another charming and intelligent teenager, he has a secret—he has the ability to slip into people's minds and fully control their body for five seconds at a time. Yuu has been using this skill for years to gain the highest grades, which allowed him to enter a prestigious high school.
When the enigmatic Nao Tomori catches Yuu using his power, she coerces him and his sister Ayumi into transferring to Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for students with supernatural abilities. The student council of the school, led by Nao, is tasked with secretly tracking down adolescents who abuse their powers. Yuu is forced to join the student council and together, they face formidable challenges that bring him closer to the shocking truth that his own, seemingly incomplete ability, might be more powerful than he could have ever imagined.
An original story from Jun Maeda, creator of Angel Beats and Clannad, Charlotte explores the supernatural lives of these teenagers and the price they must pay for being special.
Tell me if this description sounds familiar: “A group of ‘special’ highschoolers defined almost exclusively by archetypes and/or tragic pasts form an organization together. They don’t really get along at first, but they get to know each other extremely intimately over time, eventually culminating in a romance. Many tragic events take place as the innocent and sympathizable highschoolers are victimized by the cruel, cruel world. Eventually, they must accept sacrifice to fulfill their lives and destinies.” Some of you are probably thinking “That’s Angel Beats!”, while the rest of you are probably thinking “That’s Charlotte!” Well, good news: You’re both right, because for all intents and purposes, they are exactly the same show.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to criticize this anime on the sole basis that it isn’t even pretending to differentiate itself from another show; I’m going to criticize this show because not only does it contain all the same errors that the show it plagiarized (yes, I know they had the same writer, so it’s not technically stealing) also contained, but it managed to magnify those errors significantly. Horrible plotholes, absurd amounts of over-convenience, awful world-building, identity confused characters, my god; Charlotte is nothing but a fucking mess.
Let’s start with what is, in my opinion, the biggest problem the show has, the characters. They are completely shallow, completely one-dimensional, and more often than not, completely devoid of personality. Let’s take our protagonist, Yuu, for example: The first episode introduces him as a character brimming with personality. He’s intelligent, arrogant, devilish, etc. These are traits that at the very least gave him a personality and the potential for development. However, as soon as the ED played at the end of episode one, everything about him that was established in that first episode is COMPLETELY forgotten. Never again does he exhibit any of traits that supposedly define him. He instantaneously turns into literally Otanashi; A boring bland, personality-less nobody which is pretty much the worst thing a character can be. Did they really think that we wouldn’t notice if they stopped giving him individuality after a single episode? It’s either a laughable oversight or an attempt to trick the audience.
There really isn’t much to say about the rest of the cast; they are either completely indistinguishable or defined entirely by traits/quirks. There is one in particular I will go over though just so I can talk about how terrible the romance in this anime is: Nao. Nao is Yuu’s love interest which is a big problem for one simple reason: They fail to demonstrate so much as a single iota of chemistry or personal connection with each other at all. Rather than gradually growing together, we are instantaneously told that they are in love! No no no writers: that’s cheating. You can’t just skip all the necessary steps of a good romance and expect us to buy it. Seriously, what intimate moments did they ever share together? I can even recall a scene where Yuu watched Nao get brutally beaten by a mob with complete indifference, as he did nothing to even attempt to assist her. What a pair. This romance is so laughable that when a love confession is finally made, the other character remarks in a surprised/confused fashion “I don’t think there was ever a time for you to think favorably of me.” I mean… That pretty much hits the nail on the head. I don’t think there was either.
I haven’t even gotten to how shitty the plot of this show is and the reasons why it didn’t even remotely work. First of all, it doesn’t make sense. Being a show about superpowers, it’s obvious that plotholes are going to emerge from characters not using certain powers at certain times or in certain ways, but to THIS extent? You will pull your hair out trying to count how many times a situation that could have been easily resolved through superpowers is treated as a legitimate conflict. Every cardinal sin of story telling is present in Charlotte: Dues ex machine, plotholes, asspulls, you name it. It’s some of the worst melodrama to ever be animated.
The second big issue with the plot is the remarkably inconsistent tone and its total inability to incorporate elements of both comedy and tragedy without being clumsy and awkward. This is a problem that is seriously pervasive in anime as a whole; if you want your dramatic scene to be taken seriously, DON’T IMMEDIATELY PRECEED IT WITH CHILDISH COMEDY! Every time something that is supposed to be taken seriously happens, you better believe a heaping dosage of comic relief is right around the corner. Even scenes involving death can’t keep comedy out of the picture. This form of writing demonstrates an inherent immaturity and lack of understanding of said medium; it’s completely embarrassing and there is no excuse for it. This disturbing pattern NEEDS to disappear from anime.
The last thing I feel the need to especially stress is the god-awful pacing and stupendously rushed nature of Charlotte. If you want an example of how to rush your show so badly that even the most naïve audience members become alienated, watch episode 13 of Charlotte. Seriously; the world needs to see that miserable atrocity and learn from it so that history does not repeat itself. When you could literally turn the events of single episode into a series of its own, maybe spread your material out a little better? I’ve somehow gone multiple paragraphs without mentioning Angel Beats yet again, but this anime has the exact same issue with pacing; it’s very evident that these two shows had the same writer.
In conclusion, Charlotte is one of the worst anime dramas you will ever see. Even Angel Beats with all its flaws is noticeably superior. This rushed, childish, shallow emotion porn cannot be believed by a thinking person; you will literally be taken aback by how many obvious mistakes have been made. The animation and music may be nice, but I do not recommend this anime to anybody unless you want to see how NOT to write a good anime drama.read more
It all starts with a meteor which gives special powers to childs till their teen years strike which then they forget about their powers and completely loses them.And ofcourse Jun Maeda( famous for making clannad and angel beats ) writes this anime and forcing some melodrama in the middle of the anime.
While a mere teen "Otosaka Yuu" has to cure them all from their " disease" so that they won't be experimentated by the government.
At the start of the anime Yuu has the power to plunder other abilities but he doesnt know that and he has the power to control someone for a certain amount of time. And he gets busted, but not by the government but by some students who force him not to abuse his power and enroll their school where people with supernatural abilities like them are. And they need to enroll more students.
Yuu needs to remove every ability from all ability users and to do that he must overcome alot of obstacles
The ending was a little rushed though ;/
hope i've informed you guys enough
you should check it out and give it a try ;)
Hope you guys have a nice day read more
Charlotte can be described like a Golden Corral buffet table: you come in the hungry and with high expectation, and its packed to the brim with all sorts of things you love and recognize, such as selfish Lelouch esque protagonist, the reality of Chuunibyou, the (attempted) feels and moe of Clannad, the humor of Angel Beats!, a Kokoro Connecty set-up, siscom, time-travel, tsundere, yandere, super powers, Slice of Life, light-gore, pop idol songs, love confessions, etc. You read right; this show has yandere characters. This show is packed to the brim with cool motifs, but you're only able to leave with a sick feeling of regret post-binge. As you’ve probably heard countless times, Charlotte has a wicked concept, stellar OP, and is headed by the people who brought you Angel Beats! and Clannad. If you were like me and didnt know that before picking up Charlotte but instead only thought 'Hey that sysnopsis seems super cool, lets do this', well needless to say you will know by the end where Charlotte is coming from and whats its going for.
As I said, I didn't go into Charlotte knowing its creators, but I have seen and tend to like both Angel Beats! and Clannad. That being said, there were a number of times in which I felt treated to with a few nods to those shows. But then those 'slight nods' began to become outright recycling of Key's old content. Especially I'm talking about the baseball episode. What is their obsession of everything being settled by baseball in anime? Sure, it was cool and fresh in Angel Beats! and Clannad, but this is the third series of theirs (and like the fifth series total) I've seen in which the main characters have to join a baseball league in order to settle some sort of dispute. Would it really be that hard for them to play one of the hundreds of other sports related games so we would at least be treated to new content? And then there is the whole camping episode, which is again something reused from Angel Beats with the fishing scene. Or the dongos Yu eats. And the pop idol set up and music inclusion. Plus the whole getting locked in a bunker deal. Kidnappings. Etc. The argument here isn't that the entirety of Charlotte is just re-purposed Angel Beats!/Clannad material, but there's so much of Charlotte that doesn't come across as original that it starts to lose its own identity as a show.
But when Charlotte is establishing itself, it does so through sucker punches to your chest that knock the entire show off its feet. Episodes 1-6 are standard anime fare almost to the point of being episodic, very little happening that strengthens the characters relationships to each other but instead showcasing what the set-up is 'going to be', to the point that there were a couple times I sat there wondering exactly what the point of the show was if nothing was really progressing. That was until a certain twist delivered at the end of the sixth episode that changes the entire set-up, and making it at least moderately understandable what was being built into with the first half of the show. The issue with this though is that it's a double edged sword; as major of a shift as it is, it doesn't necessarily defend the wasted potential of the whole first half. Because, instead of capitalizing on said shift and making it important, Charlotte decides to resolve said conflict within a single episode just about.
And that's a major problem I have with this show; nearly every single conflict or problem that is brought up is resolved within the confines of the episode it is presented. Take the episodic nature of the first half: Yu gets up, has breakfast with his sister for bonding purposes, goes to school, stares at Nao, 'Such a turn off!', gets lunch with his boyfriend, gets called to the student council, they go off on a mission, does something Angel Beast! esque, they complete ‘ability of the week’ quest, Yu goes home, has more sister bonding time, role credits. Never is a conflict presented here that roles over into another episodes, besides maybe Nao’s older brother, and even an instance in which Nao is group tortured is never really explained or fleshed out, and merely serves to further bond Yuu and Nao, albeit poorly done. Even the major shift of episode 7 is resolved by its completion, with very few repercussions following, which was HUGE wasted potential, but more on that later. Then, the next beat down is delivered within episode nine, in which a SECOND major shift is made, though this one not an emotional but a physical change to the status of the world of Charlotte. Unfortunately, even this is resolved by episode 10, the ending of which left me literally wondering "Okay now what?" since there wasn't anything set up for them to worry about. Episode 11 brings around an entirely new foe right at the end of the series that literally has no name and is finished off by the episode’s end, while episode 12 takes place entirely in one single setting. None of this is truly spoilery information, as none of these situations are foreshadowed very well, if at all in the beginning segments of Charlotte. Instead, it comes across as if the creators simply made up whatever came to mind episode to episode to episode, choosing to throw in a little gore here and a little romance there whenever it felt like, and none of its singular pieces coming together to create a well unified whole.
And oh, speaking of holes; this show contains more plot holes than swiss cheese, and less originality than my jokes. Mid-season time travel is thrown in, of all things! But make no mistake; this is no Steins; Gate. So massive is this plot bumbling that an entire thread in the forum is dedicated to pointing such instances out. Even in casual watching, without committing to being overly critical, it was hard to stomach some instances in which the characters would present very thin reasoning as undeniable fact. Take, for instance, the episode in which they enlist a character named Yusarin. The reason this pop icon is being forced into hiding is because she someone got a hold of an executives phone and read some confidential texts on it. This is all that is said on the subject, and is largely accepted by the other characters in the show. Now: why on this heavenly earth did she pick up this guys phone, unlock it, read his messages, and then take his phone with herself (as she is still in possession of it until the episodes end)? How is that a normal thing to happen? But this level of Suspension of Disbelief is only a mere shadow as to what is expected. Without spoiling anything, I can still make the point that Yu having memories from a past, now no-existent self, goes both totally unexplained and is downright preposterous, besides just being impossible. Yet another instance that goes 100% unexplained, but instead is just waived as a ‘Mysterious coincidence’. I’m not going to spend the rest of this review listing every such unbelievable instance in Charlotte, but trust me when I say they exist in such blatant amounts that it’s hard to miss.
And really, on a whole, so much of Charlotte goes unexplained that you just sort of have to fill in all the holes yourself, or watch purely for entertainment purposes, without connection to the charecters. You may think to yourself that situations presented early on will be addressed by the finale, but instead, most of what happens within each episode fails to get mentioned later, and the ending is, while mildly interesting, a full deus ex cop-out write in for the entire arc of the conflict. It literally poses the most bombastic solution possible to the overall issue to the show, and condenses a sequence of events that could have been an entire anime unto itself into a single episode. Actually, that may have been a more interesting story...
And all this wouldn’t be a problem if there was at least some sort of overall message to it all, some well-timed character development, or valiant theme, but instead, the entire series is just a rushed stream of consciousness by the creators, with a smorgasbord of characters who either serve only as comic-relief or canon-fodder, and no emotional depth outside of a few shocks here or there. When supposedly major characters are only introduced at the final quarter of the series, there really is no hope at delivering a cohesive whole.
The largest issue of the series comes from how they treat Ayumi’s death. Not the fact that she did die, but no, the fact that she was allowed to come BACK. Her death was, if anything, at least added much needed interest to the series, and I was ready for the next six or seven episodes to be Yuu’s struggle to come back from that grief, with the help of his friends and maybe other ability users, and a cleaner handle on character development. Instead, within three episodes, she’s just resurrected from the dead, and its all good. How is that even allowed? Where is the emotional depth of her sacrifice now? Because when someone dies in real life, they’re dead. The end. You don’t get a go-back and redo everything just because your mystery brother could go back in time. I wanted it to be a choice for him, either to save her, or not to, and leave reality like it was. Instead, the anime expects you to just accept that even death isn’t deep enough for this anime to overcome. Is there no respect to the dead? They could have at least made the second half like his failed attempts at trying to save her, eventually going blind from futility, and Nao being the one to bring him back to earth yet again, fully realizing their relationship. Instead, they squandered the entire second half for some terrorism plot and a confession less sturdy and emotionally moving than a pan of strawberry jello.
*END OF MAJOR SPOILERS*
My ending point is the fact that Charlotte is an anime of massive wasted potential. Though I do like Key works, romances, and all the things put into Charlotte (the fact they went with such a selfish protagonist was a strong introduction say the least), they just come out in a garbled mess that looks pretty but tastes confusing and awful.read more
Oh Charlotte, where did we go so wrong? You looked like you’d be an interesting story revolving around students coping with super powers but instead you offered up a story with about as much direction as a goldfish with Alzheimer’s. The anime packed a tonne of ideas and characters into too small a space and it started to burst at the seams. Charlotte, from the mind of writer Jun Maeda and put to screen by P.A. Works, promised a lot. Script writer Maeda looked to address the pacing problems prevalent in his earlier work Angel Beats and deliver a similar emotional ‘punch’ at the same time. By some phenomenal fluke he actually managed to make a bigger meal of it in both areas. I’m not even mad. I’m impressed.
It’s such a huge disappointment that not enough time is dedicated towards any of Charlotte’s characters to help hammer home its more emotional set pieces. Time that could have been spent towards developing the cast is instead wasted on repetitive unfunny gags, irrelevant side stories and ridiculous new elements thrown into the narrative like it was some afterthought. Charlotte sets off in first gear as it lays the groundwork for its story but then it tries to change into fourth gear by ballooning out its cast size with people I don’t even know or care about. It’s an uncomfortable ride. At a certain point the show tries to accelerate ahead with exciting new ideas but instead it stalls, bogged down by pacing which can be called nothing short of atrocious. Charlotte dawdled around and then flashed ahead so quickly I get whiplash thinking about it. With paper-thin characters and an utter mess of a script Charlotte’s journey is unfulfilling, with a destination to match.
Yu Otosaka is our main man. We follow him as he starts to abuse his power to briefly take over others’ bodies, both for his own pleasure and his own gain. A boy who acts cocky and lacking in morals, he starts out as a nice change of pace from your standard high-school male lead. His personality came into conflict with a lot of people around him and for a brief period it led to some amusing results. However, Yu’s rebellious nature was at first refreshing but then it became non-existent. It was like a cheap drawcard to the show to have this cocksure lead, only to have him start to behave like ‘generic high-school lead guy’ within a short space of time. When this darker side of him emerges again later on in the series it actually feels out of character. The story does at least go out of the way to create ambitions and meaningful motivation for him but very little about Yu himself will stick for long in my mind. Nao Tomori is our other major player. A girl with a sharp tongue and unafraid to call things as she sees them, Nao is also an interesting character in the show’s early stages. She catches out Yu abusing his power and shows him a side of the world he didn’t know about. But like Yu she doesn’t go anywhere as our story plays out. Her ‘cold and disinterested’ shtick gets boring.
The dynamic between the two lead characters is almost non-existent yet the show tries its hardest to use their relationship as a means to drive many parts of the story. Because of that, many of the scenes I watch containing the pair of them feel static. One episode which tries to show a new side of both Yu and Nao actually turned out to have virtually no bearing on the rest of the show. Still, they at least have their role to play in the overarching story and that’s more than what can be said for their classmates Yusa and Joujirou. Yusa is a blonde-haired idol, an occupation that has zero importance to the story other than trying to justify having a cute girl as part of the show. Her power in the show actually had the most potential in terms of leaving an emotional impact on the viewer. But why do that when she can act cutesy and sing songs? In a series where so many characters are trying their hardest to claim the gold medal for wasted potential she might just come out on top. Joujirou spends most of his time on screen being obnoxious and completely useless in the grand scheme of the story. His purpose in Charlotte appears to worshipping the ground Yusa stands on before drowning everyone in the vicinity in his blood that explodes from his nostrils. His moments of ‘comic relief’ – please note the inverted commas – also come at horribly timed moments. These two cast members are just the tip of the iceberg. Not a single supporting character in this show feels valuable.
The show doesn’t explore Yu or those closest to him well enough at all.
There are moments you can almost feel the show begging you “This is the part where you cry now” and I’m sitting there throwing my hands in the air screaming “Why should I? I hardly know them”. Heck, there’s even times where it begs you to empathise with someone whose minutes of screen time you could count on one hand. Emotional moments have impact if characters have depth, and depth is something I can find more of in a petri dish than the cast of Charlotte. I couldn’t help but laugh when I was being assured by other viewers during the early episodes that there was nothing wrong with the slow pace because Maeda was clearly ‘saving up for something’ and taking his time to develop the cast. Once our lead quartet was introduced, not only were the initial episodes repetitive in their structure but they weren’t even entertaining. A lot of them revolve around the exploration of these super powers, such as their limits and the way others use them. That’s absolutely fair as a form of short exposition but I was at my wits end by the time this phase of the show finally drew to a close. You ended up viewing episodes whose entire purpose it was to later on have some cheap moment of meaning at the series’ end, not actually help maintain your interest in the story at its current point. Then, at a point later on, it just explodes with more characters who steal more screen time from our original bunch. It’s a mess.
When all is said and done Charlotte is hampered in many areas. The start is repetitive, the middle feels redundant and the ending is packed with conveniences. Maeda is definitely a man of ambition and cool ideas but I’d really like to see him make something minus the comic relief, better build up and a story that involves more of its cast. The story of Charlotte itself is interesting on paper but the way is what put to screen is incredibly underwhelming. read more
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