After engineering the first-ever time machine, I figured I wouldn’t stress it too much and took it back just five years. A year of picking up girls in dungeons, and plastic memories. A year where dirty jokes didn’t exist and Overlord ruled the summer. In a nutshell, 2015 was a power year in terms of anime. But one above all had been on my watch list for a while, a show simply titled, Charlotte.
At the helm, director Yoshiyuki Asai first work in that position would continue on to direct shows such as Fate/Apocrypha and The Day I Became A God. What I am saying is he is fucking good at what he does and Charlotte is a masterful tale that stays true even five years later.
The story follows Yu Otosaka, a bit of a narcissist and delinquent he discovers that he develops an interesting power, the ability to high jack other people’s bodies for a limited amount of time. Because of this, he draws the attention of Nao Tomori, the head of the student council of the Hoshinoumi Academy, a school that’s sole purpose is to take young adults with these powers and protect them until they became of age, losing their abilities.
What follows is a fantastic tale of development between the council, Yu, and his younger sister Ayumi. This is without a doubt the strongest point of the series, all of the characters and how they interact is amazing to watch. Yu and Nao especially. Seeming polar opposite it shows very early on that they are much more alike than they would like to admit, and everyone around them notices, even mentioning once they bicker like an old married couple.
The last series I had watched that development hooked me this hard would have to be Rascal Doesn’t Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai and I don’t say that lightly. I adored that show and even though I don’t hold Charlotte in quite the same regard overall, the way the world flowed around the main and supporting characters was a work of art and was done on point. Mixed with sarcastic humor between the two narcissist Yu and Nao I felt the same I did about Mia and Sakuta, I didn’t just love their screen time I craved it, wanting more of. The difference being while Mia and Sakuta are sweet (and pervy) to one another, Nao and Yu was well, not so much.
The overall story of the show was fantastic as well. A world where countries and government bodies are doing shady shit to better understand where and why these powers exist, adding a real sense of danger at key points throughout the series. Add a complex and interesting back story with plenty of cute and heartfelt moments it really whips together a story that stays interesting from start to finish. It also helps its a complete series, episode 13 “Memories to Come” closing it out.
The sound of the show is also quite good as Nao happens to be a massive fan of the alt-rock group ZHIEND. With that, it sets up a world with well times rock sound and a perfect match intro and outro song based on the beauty and animation that matches. To be blunt, there isn’t a whole lot about this series I didn’t like. There is a ground-hogs day event but it was short and to the point so I can’t bitch too much.
P.A. Works did the show justice with their production, which isn’t that surprising as they are known to be rather high quality. Added with a fairly straightforward animation and angel style it didn’t extremely stand out but it was pretty enough to match the rest of the vibes the series had.
Overall Charlotte is a well-paced, well dialogued, interesting, and complex tragedy that tells a vibrant and sometimes painful story. It easily reeled in the 8/10 that I tagged it with and it left me with a sense of wonder a series hasn’t given me in a while. If he stays in the same vein I am thrilled to see Yoshiyuki Asai flesh out as a lead director and very much look forward to anything he will be heading in the near future.
As always, thanks for the read!