While Ayu is home sick, Yu and company get word of another ability-user being located nearby. The proximity of the location leads Nao to suspect that Ayu may be the target, and the group plans a visit to the apartment. At the same time, three students from Ayu’s class also plan to visit, and the two groups intersect in Ayu’s room. While not a source of any contention, one classmate certainly presents as different from the others, but not to any point of suspicion. Things remain as lighthearted as ever until things go awry when Ayu chooses to disobey Yu’s orders and return to school. A normal day quickly turns confrontational, and the whole school is devastated.
While much of this episode follows the pattern we’ve come to expect from Charlotte—comedic events that unfold while the student council tries to track down a new target. There are some heartwarming scenes with Yu and Ayu, but generally speaking the episode is business as usual, until the end. In a flurry of activity we are somewhat-but-not-really introduced to a new character, shown an unexpected confrontation, and given a seemingly tragic conclusion. For those that have been waiting for the “feels” to kick in, it appears that this episode is the launching point. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold up very well under scrutiny.
For the sake of proper discussion, the rest of this review will not be spoiler free. Read at your own risk. That said, while Ayu is presented as the prime suspect for having an ability, the mysterious girl from her class also seems to serve as a potential candidate, at least from the viewer’s perspective. This is proven quite false when the good times—and the episode—begin to fall apart. Basically, everything is fine up to (and even including) the point that Ayu chooses to sneak out of the house and go to school. The student council is concerned given their suspicions about Ayu’s power, but the level of concern shown is probably a bit over dramatic, and that’s far from the worst of it.
One of Ayu’s classmates whom we are introduced to is the boy who asked her out, as mentioned in a previous episode. Near the end of this episode, he approaches Ayu and begins trying to win her interest. He ends up coming off as creepy and seemingly trying to force himself on her, which causes one of Ayu’s friends (Nomu) to come from… somewhere… and forcibly detain the boy (Oikawa). The issue here is that we know almost nothing about Oikawa, except that he has a crush on Ayu. Nothing is shown or stated to suggest that he is deranged, so having him come off as a total creep comes out of left field and just seems unnatural. Worse is the fact that, when Ayu runs from Oikawa (as though she were actually running from some danger that were chasing her, mind you), she encounters the other girl from her class who apparently had a crush o Oikawa and is now jealous that his attention is focused on Ayu. She pulls a box cutter. Now come on. This is just ridiculous.
First off, this is another character we know absolutely nothing about. She is introduced in this episode as some kind of dark and brooding personality, but that’s it. There is no tension built up to this moment, no series of disagreements between her and Ayu or anything to suggest a growing conflict. In one scene she is visiting Ayu at her home. The next time we see her, she is pulling a weapon and talking about causing Ayu pain. The whole thing feels completely forced to put Ayu in a situation that forces her to use her powers, so that there is an excuse for her to use her powers and create a sad, seemingly tragic scene. As these reviews have stressed in the past, the fact that this is a Key anime makes one expect sad and tragic scenes, but they are expected to be well-written, believable scenes. If you watch this episode and let yourself get caught up in the heat of the moment, it is easy to overlook these things, but after spending some time thinking about it, you begin to see how ludicrous and—quite frankly—poorly planned the whole series of events was. That was certainly the case for this review.
Does this mean Charlotte is a wreck? Well, not necessarily. The show still has several episodes to spend, and could very well end up leaving a much more positive impression as a whole. As of this review, though, the outlook isn’t very positive, although there is still enough curiosity to want to know whose blood was shown at the end, and if anybody actually died (among other things). At the very least, the writers have managed to leave enough elements to make the viewer want to come back for more, and that definitely counts for something.
A Christian Perspective:
Exodus 20:12 – Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Okay, so this verse doesn’t fit perfectly into this episode, seeing as Yu and Ayu don’t actually have their parents living with them; however, Yu is the authority figure over Ayu, and in this episode he exercises that authority by telling Ayu to not return to school. Since no father or mother is present, that would make Yu Ayu’s guardian, so I would imagine that the spirit of this verse would still apply. Well, as we know, Ayu disobeys Yu’s instructions and goes to school, only to end up in a poorly conceived chase scene that results in the school building collapsing around her. Simply put, had she honored Yu’s authority in her life, she would never have fallen into danger and (potentially) her own death.
Spiritual Content: None
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Violence: Nao kicks Jojiro out of a window; Nao grabs Yu by the front of his shirt; Nomu pushes Oikawa against the wall; a power causes part of a building to collapse
Blood/Gore: Ayu gets a nosebleed twice; blood is shown on a piece of concrete
Other: Ayu states that she doesn’t believe in spiritual stories; a character uses a special power