「逃避行の果てに」 (Tohiko no Hate Ni)
“The End of the Exodus”
And just like that, the hand of Maeda Jun strikes. Charlotte’s seventh episode starts off with the immediate confirmation that Ayumi’s no longer alive, and things spiral rapidly downward as Yuu struggles to find meaning in his continued survival. A lot of things end up happening worth talking about as a result, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t first mention how most of this episode’s impact isn’t so much from the death of Ayumi itself, but the circumstances that result directly from it.
The nature of Yuu’s change ends up being the centerpiece here, and I’ll be darned if I wasn’t shocked at how quickly he changed and the things he did before it was all said and done. Not only did he just sit there eating cup noodles for a period, he followed it up with an uncharacteristic outburst to Shirayanagi of all people (was I the only one who forgot who she was for a moment?), ignored his classmates, and topped it off with a blatant abuse of his powers. The latter ends up leaving an innumerable amount of people with actual, physical injuries—some more brutal than others—and the fact that he almost indulges in drugs marks a drastic change from the Yuu we’ve come to know. The fall ends up understandable to a degree, but even grief ridden anger has its limits, and Yuu certainly walked a fine line this week—falling just short of flat out killing someone.
As such, the Tomori’s intervention ends up timely—both for Yuu himself and his potential victims—and even touching to a degree. Considering how Tomori tends to speak as if she doesn’t have much of an interest in many things, it’s a big step being able to see that she actually cares about something, even if it is questionable whether it’s actually compassion or just guilt. Make no mistake about it. There’s definitely something “broken” about her—for good reason—and it’s a potent reminder of the person she’s become when you consider how she was there the whole time, yet waited until the very end to make an appearance. The fact that she just barges into Yuu’s house and just watches him also shows a clear departure from way normal people interact with one another, even if it might have actually been the best way to observe and approach Yuu.
All in all, this was an extremely powerful episode—one that built off Ayumi’s death and illustrated the raw power of emotional grief and anger. It’s easily the best Charlotte’s had to offer to date, and it goes a long way towards fulfilling the expectations many of us have had on this show. The one episode resolution has me fearing that things might suddenly revert to the way they were before however, so I hope that doesn’t end up being the case. There’s a lot that can be done with the growth our characters showed here this week and with an obvious link being set up between Tomori and Otosaka—the fact that Takajou and Yusa don’t play any major parts is significant—it’ll be interesting to see how/if their relationship develops further, and the obstacles they’ll undoubtedly face. The fact that the original premise mentioned bits about “separation” and a “sacrifice following a fated encounter” only makes me more fearful of the potential outcomes here, and it could very well be that Ayumi may not be the only one who ends up losing her life…