「これからの記録」 (Korekara no Kiroku)
“Memories to Come”
The finale is here, and so is Otosaka Yuu’s version of Around the World in 80 Days. For the most part it ends up pretty straight forward, and I’m honestly at a loss as to what to say here. Contrary to expectations, there weren’t any major twists—we all knew something was going to happen to Yuu as a result of this—and aside from the occasional gun-play, no real hitch in his plans either. Everything goes pretty smoothly, and a little too smoothly at that.
Considering the sheer scope of his goal and the things needed to ensure his success, Yuu manages to accomplish his objective in doing so in a mere 15 minutes of screen time, and he’s helped in part by some rather amazing coincidences in regards to the ability users he runs into. Not only does he meet someone with the ability to read minds off the bat, he immediately runs into another user who can locate ability users just by looking at a map, and he follows it up with the acquisition of the ability to translate languages, force awaken latent abilities from carriers to plunder, and even go without sleep. The fact that such powers exist aren’t beyond the realm of possibility given what we’ve seen, but the fact he’s seemingly able to find them just when he needs to highlights how much they tried to fit into this one episode.
What this leads us back to are the pacing issues that have plagued this series since the beginning, and needless to say, there’s no time to really digest what’s happening here. What could’ve been an interesting journey around the world (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures: Stardust Crusaders did this right) is instead reduced to a series of uncharacteristically boring anecdotes for someone like Maeda Jun, and it ultimately boiled down to a guy slowly going crazy and crying in the middle of a desert while obsessing over a stack of paper.
Yuu’s slow decent into madness ends up eliciting little to no emotional reaction due to its rapid and awkward resolution, and the happy ending bit comes in as yet another resolution in the same category. The fact that Tomori never really got the phasing out we wanted only hurts the connection we were supposed to have with her, Yuu, and the rest of the cast, and it’s also a bit odd that Tomori’s brother ends up receiving the same resolution as the other timeline despite what happened to Yuu this time around. It’s nice that they addressed him, but it doesn’t change the fact that his plot line was just one of many that could’ve benefited from more episodes.
Final Impressions Below.
And so, 13 episodes later, where does Charlotte leave us? Expectations-wise, it’s officially safe to say that the series was a disappointment. The presence of a large budget, great animation backing, and the writing prowess of Maeda Jun was something to be excited about, and although it may not have been his choice to have only one-cour, it doesn’t change the fact that the story as a whole was uncharacteristically sloppy for one of his works. Poor pacing was by far the worst issue to plague the series, with it’s negative effects felt on the characters (whom we rarely connected with or felt for), and on the plot’s execution in general. Situations were frequently resolved improperly or in a rushed fashion, which only exasperated the issues at hand.
That said, there were some glimpses of potential, however few and far between they were. Episodes 7 to 9 in particular were probably the best moments for this series, and it was between those few episodes where one realized how much they could’ve done with this show and the relationship between Tomori and Yuu. With that in mind, Charlotte comes in as a reminder to keep one’s expectations in check. The latter certainly played a part in the disappointment felt by myself and many others, and it’s important to note that despite all the issues people have had with this show, it’s still a series that I feel averages out as equivalent to the typical seasonal offering. There were many series this season and this year that were ultimately worse than Charlotte by far, and I suppose at this point it’s all about looking forward, and as a relevant link, it should be noted that Key’s Rewrite Visual Novel has been green-lit for an adaptation.
Finally, let me end things here by once again thanking everyone who’s taken their time to read/comment on this blog week in and week out, and I hope you will continue to do so. As for myself, I will be taking a hiatus from weekly coverage starting next season to focus again on work, with the intent of returning in the spring or summer. Until then, I’d like to take this time to thank those who have followed me in particular over the past few years, and I hope you guys look forward to the other posts I will contribute to or create in the meanwhile, with the winter preview and the Best of Anime posts being two of those. Thanks!