Review: Charlotte, Episode 11: Charlotte

Review:

Ayumi is alive, the Otosaka family is reunited, and Yu is fully aware of his powers. By all appearances, this should be a happy ending, although it leads to Yu having to spend his life in Shun’s underground facility. Still, he has his sister back, and Shun’s connection to Nao and the rest of the student council would suggest that Yu isn’t completely isolated from them. Unfortunately, such is not the case. A group of strangers manage to threaten one of Shun’s workers, forcing him to kidnap one of Shun’s closest friends. This ultimately leads to Yu’s identity being revealed, Nao’s kidnapping, and the group demanding to see Yu. Although Shun and company formulate a plan, everything goes very wrong very fast before ending in tragedy.

At first glance, this seems like a powerful episode with a great plot, but a lot of what happens ultimately seems forced. For instance, the story is technically in the “past” now, in terms of what we have seen, and the fact that the antagonists have had their plan in place since Shun was planning the foundation of his establishment means that this isn’t something that just came about, yet their plan was never executed in the original time line. This alone brings up a point of inconsistency, because it raises the question of why these people didn’t make a move or pose a threat initially, but now that Yu has traveled back in time things are different. Is it possible that an explanation will be given later? Sure, but that raises another criticism: the show is almost over, and yet the writers are trying to introduce a whole new plot line that could have easily provided more conflict throughout the series and are instead trying to resolve it in only a few episodes.

In short, the majority of the episode feels like something that was put in place for the sake of trying to stir some kind of emotion in the viewers. Rather than try to wind the series down, which is where the plot should be right now, the creators have tried to shoe horn something in and have killed off a character for little more purpose than to try and get an emotional reaction out of the viewers. While this may work at first, it quickly falls apart (and loses its emotional impact) upon a bit of careful scrutiny. These reviews have expressed a disappointment with Charlotte for most of the season, and this is little different. While this episode would have been good had it been worked into the earlier part of the series or if this were a 24-26 episode series, it just doesn’t seem to fit with what remains. Well, at least we now know why the series is called, “Charlotte”.

A Christian Perspective:

Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

This episode shows how a seemingly well thought-out plan can quickly fall apart. Rather than have Yu travel back in time from the get-go (for fear of the enemy syndicate taking innocent lives), Shun decides to have him confront the syndicate, with the plan to time jump if things go south. Unfortunately, the situation quickly deteriorates when a previously unseen member blinds Yu in one eye, preventing his use of the time leap ability. As Yu panics and becomes more injured, he begins to act more irrationally, ultimately activating the ability that he looted from Ayumi. This causes the whole warehouse to collapse, and ultimately results in Kumagami’s dying to protect Nao. The ending of this scenario reflects the latter half of Proverbs 14:12 quite literally, as the plan did lead to death.

While the intent of the verse is probably more spiritual—we think we know what is good and right for us, but in the end it is actually sin, which leads to death—I think there is definitely a physical lesson to be learned by it, as illustrated in my relating it to this episode. How many times have we shunned good advice from our parents, church elders, friends, spouses, etc because we thought we knew better than them, only to find out that our way was harder, less fruitful, or even damaging? Sometimes we even had a plan. Shun and Yu did, but that plan quickly fell apart when their failsafe was rendered useless. The answer in all of these situations, I think, is humility. We need to recognize that we are not infallible and are prone to error. We need to be willing to accept the correction of those around us, and we need to at least consider what they are saying, as it may be more logical or sound than our current course of action. More importantly, we need to realize that we are sinful creatures who, when left to our own devices, will always make the wrong choice, and we need to yield to God and be willing to do things His way, lest we willingly walk into death.

Content Guide:

Language: 3 “d*mmit”, 1 “h*ll”, 1 “sh*t”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Nao is shown being hung by her wrists in nothing but her undergarments—she is later shown lying unconscious, still in her underwear

Violence: A man beats up Kumagami and Nao; Nao kicks a man; Yu is cut and stabbed

Blood/Gore: A flashback shows an old man with blood on his face and lab coat; a character has several of his teeth knocked out, blood coming from his mouth, and blood on other parts of his body; Yu is shown with a bloody hand, eye, and shoulder; Shun puts his hand in a pool of blood; a character is shown impaled by multiple steel rods with blood covering much of his body; blood drips onto Nao

Other: Use of special powers

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