Charlotte, Part One – Review

So yeah, it seems I’ve found myself reviewing Jun Maeda’s latest production. And so far, Charlotte has proven to be… well, Jun Maeda’s latest production. The same broad character roles, the same hysterical dramatic peaks, the same fundamental lack of narrative foundation. Charlotte is far from the worst show, but it certainly isn’t a good one, and Maeda really does seem to be one of the least talented superstar writers out there. That said, Charlotte actually seemed to be getting more entertaining as it fell off the rails, so here’s hoping the second half is a beautiful disaster.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode notes below!


Episode 1

Very crisp art design

Opening with very silly empty philosophy, some good Maeda stuff

His power is to take over the body of others for five seconds

Really expressive character acting

And the MC is an unrepentant asshole, which is pretty compelling

He researches how to cheat with as much dedication as you’d need to actually succeed

Strong direction, too. Lots of dynamic camera angles

The side characters all seem pretty Anime

And he actually sets up a traffic accident just so he can hook up with a cute girl. That’s some dedicated evil

Really vibrant colors

He just can’t help making an evil laugh in class. Good stuff

The music’s pretty interesting. It’s all synth stuff, but the “instrumentation” is pretty diverse

This episode’s visual execution really is terrific

Superpowers go away after a while in this world, and they’re all very imperfect

There’s a nice comic tension between this beautiful framing and their silly conversation

She can become invisible to one person

Yu’s relationship with his sister definitely helps humanize him. But he’s already an entertaining lead

“Our whole family is just me and you”

She gets the feeling they somehow have a third sibling. Gonna get Maeda up in this family

The second half of this episode is paced pretty weirdly

Wow, the prez is already abusing her power like it’s a magic trick

Ayumi is the sister

Yu imagines an older brother in his dream. This story kinda still feels like a VN adaptation, like we’re fast-forwarding through material

Episode 2

These soft bloom filters can get a little overbearing

Kinda funny how closely this guy matches the Lelouch archetype

They have to hunt down other people with special abilities

They really go all-in on this “teleportation” gag

The president is the classic isolated, lonely tsundere

This show works hard with CG to create some interesting angled shots

So the police are actually bad guys, and they’re an extra-governmental organization?

This show actually has a mini-VN style structure, where they go around putting people on the right path

The president definitely has a personality

Nao Tomori is the president

Glad they don’t drag out her dark past

Some gorgeous backgrounds

“It’s all thanks to the one person I can trust.” These sure are some big red warning lights

Episode 3

Kinda impressed this show has managed to make his sister actually charming, and not cloying

A person with two abilities – spiritualism and pyrokinesis

This show’s worldbuilding is really, really loose. Like, I normally don’t even care, but there are a million holes here, from how their target pickup system ever works to their relationship with the police and government

Yusa Nishimori, the idol girl, is their next target

More of these CG camera spins. They’re pretty clumsy at times

The actual story here is just incoherent. Even this in-episode narrative is a total mess. People just popping up and disappearing, no sense of a larger world, nobody’s explanations of anything make any sense

Tons of slapstick in this show, as expected

Oh my god, her power gets her possessed by the ghost of her dead sister. You could not make this shit up

The dead sister is the one with pyrokinesis, of course

Count on Maeda to frame an idol’s “two sides” in such a ridiculous and fantasy-incoherent way

This ending… still makes no sense. And doesn’t really solve anything. Well, whatever

“The scientists” are just this nebulous group. The government? If so, why is their school safe???

“And it was an accident while we were riding a motorcycle together” my god, this dialogue is so good-bad

Again, really weird structure to this episode. It just kind of ends

Episode 4

Do the kids of this school not know the purpose of their own school? It seems that way, and no one else talks about their powers

More shots using the CG sets to pan forward or backward with a character

“Right after pitching, he uses telekinesis to move the ball.” I do like seeing the various ways different kids exploit their very specific powers

“How about we settle this with baseball?” Of course. Why not

Them applying their powers to baseball is pretty great

And this story’s drama is a much more appropriate scale for its size. The pitcher just wanted to help his brilliant catcher friend get noticed

Episode 5

The president dreams of shooting a music video for the band her brother liked. This is a good scene

More hints about Yu’s missing older brother

This show really does have some lovely backgrounds

I like the running gag of Yusa just waking up and being presented with food


Episode 6

They don’t want the teleportation guy to come, so they… kick him out the window? Maeda’s plotting is just totally incoherent on the most basic level

Suddenly Ayumi’s going to get murdered by a girl with a box cutter. This is fine horror framing, but man this is shitty storytelling



Episode 7

Nice how the color fades from the world after this stupid, stupid plot turn

This episode’s execution is quite nice!

So he runs away and becomes a fugitive? …why???

This episode’s portrait of depression is actually pretty great, but it’s just so disjointed and random

And then he gets obsessed with an FPS?


Oh no, Yu almost does A Drug. THE POINT OF NO RETURN

2 thoughts on “Charlotte, Part One – Review

  1. Ah the infamous Episode 7 !

    Jun Maeda lacks so many narrative skills that his shows always ends up bad in interresting ways.
    I think it’s why always drive me towards his works actually.

    The second half is a disaster indeed. And it’s a delightful one.

  2. “That said, Charlotte actually seemed to be getting more entertaining as it fell off the rails, so here’s hoping the second half is a beautiful disaster.”

    Oh boy, B0bduh, are you ever in luck.

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