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Sep 26, 2015 9:55 PM
Anime Relations: Charlotte
Yesterday I finished watching charlotte. And I have to say, I was kind of disappointed, not because I expected more of it, but because it was every now and then really close to actually being better than I initially expected.
Of course, there will be spoilers ahead, continue reading at your own risk.

Now, as for the story, there's a lot of things I didn't like. First of all the main character; He is presented to the viewer as someone who has nothing better to do with his superpower than to use them to his own advantage, even endangering the life of other people by using his superpowers to get a date. At that point, no normal person should like this character, and that didn't changed until the next episode. And that is the next problem; it is OK to introduce a character and make them seem unlikeable, but they should get a chance to redeem themselves before the end of the next episode, at least if they are the only relevant character until now, or people might just decide to drop the anime, specially while it's airing and there is a week between each episodes release.

Then, after MCs personality does a 180 and he turns into generic main character number 3581, the story suddenly decides to do drama. But just for 10 minutes or so, then it goes back to comedy. Then it starts doing this "superpower of the week" thing, that would have made for an interesting anime if left that way, but that only lasted for 2 or 3 episodes until the show changes AGAIN, this time doing some more drama involving the more immediate surroundings of the main characters.
One last spoiler warning here, the sister of the main character dies. The story starts by hinting that she might have developed a superpower in such a way that makes it clear that that's how it is, only the characters aren't sure at that point. So, this superepower is called "collapse" (again, if I remember correctly) and the other characters start getting worried that it might be super dangerous and stuff, again, hinting that it probably IS, as there's no reason for the characters to be afraid of that ability of all things, after they have faced a lot of other highly dangerous abilities. So, again, we sit through some minutes of people doing stuff to develop a plot towards an end the writing had already hinted in a pretty obvious way.
And then it happens; stuff goes wrong, a building collapses (Who would have thought, right?) and I still think "Meh, the show is just trying to scare me and create a cliffhanger, first 5 minutes of the next episode and everything will probably be resolved", but no, the last thing we are told in the episode is that she is truly dead.
Now, if this wasn't key, I'd take this as a stunt meant to show the viewer that this is no fluffy slice of life anime where people don't die, no matter what happens; to clear a path for some more tension in the next episodes.

But no, this is key, key doesn't do bad endings, even if they have to bend the rules of physics to do so.
And so they did, a few episodes later, by introducing a time leap ability (At this point I paused the episode, got up, facepalmed and resumed watching).
The problem with this is that it takes a lot of credibility away, both from the anime and from keys works in general. I had watched clannad, I knew they'd bring her back some way, but this was worse than I expected. It rendered her death pointless in the first place, as it clearly showed that it was, in fact, a fluffy slice of life anime with superpowers where nobody died (well, it wasn't, as I later found out, but I'll come to that soon).

And then there was the time between MCs sisters death and the introduction of the time leap power. I really enjoyed that episode, actually. MC was really broken; he shut himself in his room and fed on instant ramen (He more or less lived my life for some time (that's a lie, I don't feed on instant ramen, and I do go out. Rarely. But I do.)) and kind of became how he was in the first episode; an egocentric kid with superpowers who didn't care about anybody else.
So, what does he do? He leaves. Yes, the anime gives some lazy explanation about his superpowers being found out, that makes absolutely no sense, as that would compromise the WHOLE DAMN SCHOOL OF SUPER POEWR USERS, but hey, it's an anime, who cares.
So, he starts to beat up "bad" people with his superpower, eventually one that carries drugs with him, and ends up taking them. At this point I had lost what little respect I had for this character, but okay, a key anime using drugs as a plot device, that is something new, so I was entertained while it lasted. Then, as he had the bright idea "Hey, I just found some drugs! I have never taken any and have NO IDEA AT ALL how much of this stuff would kill me, so I'll try it ouy ANYWAY! :)", and as he was about to do so, surprise surprise, that girl with the superpower to become invisiblewas following him the WHOLE TIME. This is absolutely impossible, as she can only become invisible to one person at a time, but again, don't question the plot. It probably made sense on the paper, but they didn't consider it while designing the scenes.
So, by the power of friendship and unicorns and rainbows she convinces him that fuck all and let's pretend this episode never happened. And so he did, at the start of the next episode he was back to normal. Yes, he still hadn't really gotten over his sisters death, but he was dealing with it in a completely normal way. Nice for him; in real life many people get this kind of second chance.

Now, with that part of the story concluded, and the "superpower of the week" formula clearly thrown out of the window, the show needed to do something new.
At this point I was asking myself "Hey, why not just leave it at that?" had they just thrown in some more "superpower of the week" episodes to stretch it and have thee sister die at episode 10, MC beating up people and becoming almost becoming addicted to cocaine in episode 11 and use episode 12 to clean up the mess and tie up some loose ends of the plot, and it would have been a fairly good anime.

But no, again, this is key. They had to do more stuff, even if they themselves didn't know why. So, they did what every normal person who wants to sell a 13 episode anime but only has plot for about 6 would do; they forced MORE plot into it.

So, they introduced some forgettable side character voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki, which made that the best episode in the show (She actually had some importance, but a few episodes later this would be completely UNDONE by the time leap, but the anime never really cared about that). Then they introduce the time leap ability, some random time travel bullshit with memories of an alternative timeline that never happened, a secret organization run by kids with superpowers, among them the older brother of MC and his sister nobody knew about... Long story short, they had no idea what to do with the plot and threw in as many concepts that sounded cool on the paper as they could.

Then they also throw in some conspiracy, explain the super powers by magic meteor dust, add some "bad guys" who only last one episode and are then kind of forgotten, turns out MCs power is actually to steal superpowers from other people, so he is special, more special than neo and dovahkiin combined, so he has to save the world. From what? We don't know, but hell, viewers like main characters saving the world, don't they? I don't know, maybe they don't, but let's do it ANYWAY!
Yeah, I doubt anybody knew what they were doing at this point.

So, it all ends with the main character losing an eye (maybe to add "drama", maybe because one-eyed characters seem more badass, who knows) and with that his time leap ability, because for plot convenience that was the only ability that depended on eyesight for NO REASON AT ALL. They also scrap the concept that each superpower is flawed somewhere between these plot screwups and never again care about that pretty fundamental part of the first episodes.
Then MC has to save the world. Why? for a stupid reason, but hey, at least they came up with a reason at all, and at least it's not a meteor this time. So, long story short, he has to travel the world and steal ALL superpowers. This is the end of episode 12, and I even thought that was supposed to be an open end or something, but no, there was supposed to be a 13th episode. So, again, this was a very good episode that could have been way better.
Turns out, by absorbing so many superpowers, MC loses his memories and partly his sanity, cannot sleep because he starts to kill people while sleepwalking, and a lot of randomstuff.
He also gets the title one-eyed reaper, though I think it would have sounded better had they only half translated it as "one-eyed shinigami" (I think most anime fans know the word shinigami by now).
This was a perfect situation for an ending where the main character dies. He was completely messed up; he had no memories of himself, only of his mission to take all the superpowers in the world, and he had become the most overpowered being on the planet.
It would have been a nice way to end things to have MC just finish his mission and then be confronted with what he had become, and maybe even returning to japan just to realize that he was to dangerous for the world and end of either killing himself or being killed by some of the other characters (hey, why not have his brother kill him, if they wanted to go for drama anyway? That could have been the saddest scene this season).
But that's not how key works. They ended up having MC return and everything was okay after that, though he never got his memories back, but they didn't really care that much about that either.


And there's another problem with this anime, but it didn't fit in any particular point of the story, so I am adding it here:
It was too obvious. The tricks they used to get the viewer immersed were just too simple. First of all, superpowers. Everybody wants superpowers, so that's a nice way to have the viewer want to be the main character. Then we throw in some female characters, covering all stereotypes we think the viewer might like, and some best friend side character who behaves in a silly way to make some contrast and have MC look even cooler. Next, everything that happens will get the main character into the centre of whatever is happening at the moment; he is important; he is dovahkiin.
Then we add some drama. Nobody knows why, nobody cares anyway, they just know it will probably sell better. So, they open the dictionery, maybe the wikipedia article, and find out that killing characters is a good coice, because watching people die makes most human beings sad. Probably after googling for an online random numbers generator it is decided who dies: the sister of the main character. A good choice little sisters make for specially sad death scenes, that will probably get the viewer to cry. Then they realize they want a happy end. And the sister of the main character being dead doesn't fit into that end. So they decide to plotdevice some way to save her. It ended up being time travel, but it might as well have been a nutella-powered, unicorn-shaped Goa'uld sarcophagus. I really don't like it when shows do that kind of thing; it just makes me take it less serious, and care less about the characters, as their world heavily inconsistent anyway.
Posted by DarkWiiPlayer | Sep 26, 2015 9:55 PM | Add a comment