「シャーロット」 (Sha rotto)
And so, there you have it. The revelation regarding the series’ name sake is here, and Charlotte turns out to be the cosmic reference we suspected it could be following the first few episodes. As the name of a long-distance comet that orbits the Earth every 75 years, it’s the source of particles that grant people special abilities by awakening a dormant part of the human brain. Being an actual disease causing agent, Shunsuke and the good doctor Tsutsumiuchi have been trying to create a vaccine to ensure such powers won’t develop in the future, and it’s a revelation that makes you wonder a little bit.
After all, if taken at face value, this means is that every human is capable of wielding an ability of some sort as long as that dormant section is activated. As such, it reasons that one’s abilities can awaken even without its presence given the right conditions, and it’s intriguing in the sense that depending how things work out in the future, Shunsuke’s goal of preventing Charlotte‘s future after effects could actually do more harm than good—both from an evolutionary perspective for the human race and in the sense that if he’s only able to vaccinate Japan, then the other nations will continue to have ability users every 75 years. Depending on the growth and power of those users, it’s certainly a possibility that other nations will catch on and use them for nefarious purposes, and Japan alone would powerless to counter it without ability users of its own. The fact that he’s even researching these powers means that there’s always a chance someone will leak the information somewhere or betrays the organization, and it’s not a stretch to say that things could easily go down from there.
And while the part about evolution and the future end up more amusing thoughts than anything, the betrayal does actually end up happening, and the big bad guys (one of them actually speaks proper English!) finally make their triumphant appearance in the present timeline, having bided their time since as far back as the academy’s founding. What results is the capture and physical abuse of both Kumagami and Tomori, and the hatching of a reckless plan to send Yuu on yet another rescue mission, which succeeds—albeit not in the ideal fashion.
Episode 11 leaves us with what should be its first permanent death in Kumagami (your hair will be missed), and while it’s a powerful development in and of itself—highlighting the importance of his role in everything Shunsuke’s done so far—it also highlights what seems to be a weak attempt to introduce an antagonistic element to round out the rest of the series.
When one considers the preparation our shadowy group has been doing for an innumerable amount of years, the fact that they pinned their hopes on Yuu not being able to use his abilities with one eye was rather sloppy, and there’s a laundry list of things that would’ve wasted their years of preparations—ranging from the failure of their knife-wielder to take out his eye to Yuu actually being capable of time-leaping with just one eye. Any of these, along with Yuu being more powerful and/or more skilled than anticipated would’ve spelled failure, and the fact that this failure does happen is yet another quick resolution in a series filled with them.
It could very well be that the members here aren’t the whole story and there are more enemies waiting along the horizon, but that doesn’t change the fact that things end up as expected here for the most part, and it’s something that was also true with the previous episode. It also doesn’t help that they basically glance over the explanation behind why Yuu’s the only one to retain his memory—”I don’t know why” is probably my most hated line ever since Sword Art Online used it twice in 5 minutes for its two biggest plot points—even if it’s nice that they at least mentioned the incongruity.
That said, for all the things I disliked, this week’s episode does still end up a solid one overall. The revelations and the final pieces of the puzzle do come together rather well, and Kumagami’s death ends up perhaps the only major twist I didn’t see coming before this episode started—though there was the suspicion that something was going to happen to someone eventually. The link of Charlotte to the witch hunts of years past was also a nice touch—I have a soft spot for hilarious reinterpretations of historical events—and I did like seeing Yuu’s moment of indecision as he realized how the false facade he’s been putting up could bite him in the ass when push comes to shove.
Looking forward, I can only hope that we have more of the latter than the many negatives we’ve talked about. With only two episodes left though, time’s certainly running out for the series to turn out anything but underwhelming…