Day three of my summer anime first impressions (covering episodes 1-3) will focus on Charlotte. This series reminds me very much of Angel Beats–but that should perhaps come as no surprise since they’re made by the same studio (P.A. Works) and the stories and music for both stem from the mind of Jun Maeda (also well-known for the likes of Clannad, Little Busters, and other Key productions). The theme songs for all these things are also performed by the same person (Lia). How’s that for a fun fact?
At any rate, Charlotte especially reminds me of Angel Beats; they seem very comparable in tone, pacing, and characters. Luckily for me, I really enjoyed Angel Beats–and so far I’m really liking Charlotte as well. Can this first impressions post get any more monotonous? Let’s move on.
The premise is pretty basic: teens with special abilities–albeit ones that are limited in various ways. The protagonist is a boy who really thinks he’s top of the block: Yuu Otosaka, who has the power to possess another person’s body… for five seconds. But instead of using this power in any kind of selfless manner, he simply messes with people he doesn’t like, cheats on tests, and sets up situations to get a girl he likes to fall for him. It’s a unique instance where the protagonist is truly not a good person, but the series of events that plays out is highly entertaining–and as you might expect, his schemes come crashing down pretty dramatically upon the arrival of two other similarly “gifted” students.
These two come from a school designed to protect these kinds of students, and they are tasked to seek out others in order to bring them into their fold–and in this case of Yuu, quite forcefully so. These two students are Nao–a girl with invisibility (but only in the eyes of one person at a time), and Joujirou–a boy who claims to wield teleportation (but it’s really just… rocket-launching himself from point A to point B, and with hilariously destructive results). All of these characters are memorable and amusing in their own ways, though it’s also interesting to compare their styles of “chuunibyou,” the dramatic and goofy acting reminiscent of characters from the likes of When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace (a title rather similar in tone and concept, but fairly different in execution).
As can be expected of P.A. Works, the production values are fantastic. Excellent animation and great music. The first three episodes have also managed to get across a lot of information very quickly, and in a manner that manages to both entertain and pique one’s interest regarding what’s to come. So far the story has been episodic in having the characters continue to find other students like them to bring to their school, but there are plenty of plot elements being introduced that I imagine will piece together to form a more serious and dramatic overarching narrative. Charlotte has already pulled off this sort of shift in tones well though; the reveal of some of Nao’s backstory involving her brother being a good example. I’ll be sticking with this series to learn more, and will recommend it for now to anyone who finds the premise intriguing.