Oh boy was I excited for Charlotte, a P.A.Works and Jun Maeda collaboration who both delivered the spectacular Angel Beats!, when it began airing. Charlotte had an interesting premise with some children developing superpowers once they hit puberty. With the pedigree behind it, how could Charlotte go wrong?
I’ll give it its dues. The first part, consisting of seven episodes, is engaging and had me in awe with some of its later episodes — episode seven in particular is masterful. Whilst I stand by the second half of the anime being incredibly poor, the first half is much stronger and teases a whole lot more than what is eventually delivered. It doesn’t live up to the calibre that I expected it to be and knowing how it ends makes it hard to recommend, but if you’re a big Jun Maeda fan then maybe you’ll be able to look past its many faults.
It doesn’t live up to the calibre that I expected it to be.
If you’ve watched Angel Beats! then you’ll be familiar with some of the story notes here. A serious story is portrayed in a funny way, but things ramp up fairly quickly. One of many things that Angel Beats! did better was making me care about the characters, as Charlotte forsakes character development in pretty much all characters bar protagonist Yuu. I like the cast, I do, but I was left with the overwhelming feeling that not many of them actually get elaborated one and thus feel flat. This becomes more apparent as the series goes on, which is a shame considering episode seven is bloody fantastic and could’ve been a great turning point for Charlotte — instead, these developments are thrown out of the window for some awful twists and turns which only shock due to how truly bad they are, but we’ll get into that more with Part Two later.
The team up of P.A.Works and Key make for a good one, and Charlotte is a gorgeous anime thanks to their combined efforts. Distinctive character designs (those eyes are a P.A.Works and Key staple, regular changes in clothing and environments, and flashy action scenes make for a good watch. Charlotte’s ending theme is beautiful wallpaper material! Its colourful and sharp, and it’s a shame that things didn’t come together the way they could have but regardless, I can’t take its spectacular visuals away from it.
If you go in with low expectations you may be pleasantly surprised.
English and Japanese voice-overs are available and its English dub is outstanding with the likes of Ray Chase voicing Yuu and Kira Buckland voicing his sister Ayumi — these are amongst some of the hottest voice talent right now, and their performances make it clear as to why this is. It’s a lively performance that matches the eccentric cast, and it’s certainly one aspect that didn’t disappoint. The soundtrack isn’t lacking either with the opening theme in particular being super catchy, but as a whole the tone of the show is met by its music.
The first seven episodes of Charlotte are a good watch and they tease much more than we ever get, and it’s hard to distance myself from its latter episodes when I know that they’re absolutely dire. I watched Charlotte with great anticipation when it was airing and remember the moments when it crushed my hopes for it, but those aren’t featured here. I wish that I could say that Charlotte is worth watching but it isn’t, but it does deliver episode seven which is arguably one of the best episodes in anime in general, and the first half is solid. If you go in with low expectations you may be pleasantly surprised, but Charlotte is a stain on Jun Maeda’s writing when he’s proved he can do far better.
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