Charlotte is a new series by P.A. Works this summer season that focuses on a group of characters who possess supernatural powers. During their teenage years, a few teenagers apparently exude some sort of superhuman ability. Sometimes they fade as a phase during adolescence, other times they stay. As a result, students are recruited into Hoshinoumi Academy to monitor and manage these abilities. Enter Yuu Otosaka, a high school student who has the ability to possess other people for a maximum of five seconds. As a result, he uses his power to play tricks on people, get revenge on idiots and cheat his way through the education system.
Interestingly enough, Yuu isn’t a hikikomori or socially average like other anime protagonists. Rather, he’s quite good looking and VERY good at tricking people with lies and false smiles. Yu uses his ability to orchestrate a car crash so he can meet the most beautiful girl in school. Things go well but Yu is quickly chewed out by two student council members from Hoshinoumi Academy who have spied on him for months, picking out the moments where he uses his supernatural powers. Yu is quickly chased down by Nao Tomori, a girl who has the ability to appear invisible to a specified target and Joujirou Takajou who has the ability to teleport and land in unpredictable places. Seems like everyone’s super powers contain a little catch. It was quite amusing to see Nao beat up Yu though. He really deserves the punches after taking advantage of his powers.
Back home, Yu’s cutesy younger sister, Ayumi Otosaka is thrilled that she’s transferring schools with her brother on account of his scholarship. When the two move into the new apartment, Nao and Joujirou appear again to help unpack. While Yu is content with using people as a means to an end and deceiving them when convenient, he really doesn’t take well to outsiders pandering nicely to him or his sister. Clearly he has huge trust issues and that’s naturally tied to his back story conflict regarding his family. Offhand, Ayumi mentions that she dreamt there was one more person in their family and Yu ends up dreaming a similar vague memory. No doubt Ayumi will also begin to display supernatural powers soon. How apprehensively or happily Yu will welcome this is a different story.
The first episode runs quite long because we don’t get any opening or closing sentence. In one episode we’ve manager to introduce Yu’s superpowers, display the huge flaws in his personality, look a bit into his family life and set up the premise at Hoshinoumi Academy. Right off the get-go, the series made a huge endeavour to present introductions as concisely as possible to get them out of the way. Episode two should immediately thrust us into the new high school world.
As for me, I’m really looking forward to seeing Yu change from being a punk-ass cheater to someone who can genuinely care for another human being without using them. Nao mentioned she wants to recruit Yu into the student council to weed out other students that might use their powers to harm others. I’m really curious as to how the series is going to delve into more emotional themes because the superpower element just seems really great for comedy and slice of life action gags. Also, I’m really happy with Kouki Uchiyama as Yu and Ayane Sakura as Nao. My biggest issue right now is with Ayumi’s voice actress, Momo Asakura who is an immensely new voice actor who brings out the ditziest and bubbliest sides of her character in such a high pitch squeal; not to mention the fact that Ayumi already speaks in annoying nuanced Japanese endings and refers to herself in the third person. I’m cringing every time Ayumi has to speak more than five seconds but I hope she’ll dole it down in the episodes to come. I’m interested to see the last main character introduced. Yusa Nishimori (voiced by Maaya Uchida), mentioned offhandedly in the series dialogue happens to be a famous singer in the band Haro Haro. Judging from the poster and the cast list, she’ll have an important role in the story.
Overall though this was a really strong beginning to Charlotte and as a new anime viewer to the shower, I feel like I’m already caught up on most of the details of the main protagonist. Charlotte can either turn into a really well-rounded supernatural slice of life or come short like Glasslip or utterly fail like Mahou Sensou. We can only anticipate.
What are you pondering today?