When a single person is responsible for creating one of your favorite anime, then it is inevitable that you will compare that anime with any other he will create thereafter.
I’m Satoshi Furude from Anime Monogatari and we have something special for today’s review, the anime “Charlotte”.
The person I am referring to is Jun Maeda, who is responsible for creating 2 of my favorite anime, Clannad and Angel Beats!. Jun Maeda is co-founder of the visual novel brand Key and he has personally wrote: Kanon, Air, Clannad, Little Busters!, Angel Beats! and his last work, Charlotte, was adapted into an anime series in July of 2015.
I’ve already seen Clannad and Angel Beats!. While I was watching Charlotte, I subconsciously compared it with the other two series. I can only find Jun Maeda responsible for this, because his writing style in all his works is very similar.
Yuu Otosaka, a high-school student, has a supernatural ability that allows him to possess and control other people’s bodies for 5 seconds. He thought he was the only one with supernatural powers, until he is discovered by the school council of Hoshinoumi Academy, a special school that houses students with all sorts of supernatural abilities so they don’t get discovered by scientists and end up in experimental tests. As the school looks like the only safe place for him, he transfers there.
The plot in the first episodes doesn’t go beyond that point, but from episode 7 it starts to get its turn. Whoever has seen Clannad or Angel Beats! will see the similarities in the style immediately, particularly regarding humor and melancholic elements. It has better character development compared to Angel Beats! (the main reason is because it has less major characters), the characters are interesting and the supernatural powers each of them have are also interesting. The big problem with the plot is also very similar to Angel Beats!, that 13 episodes don’t seem enough to develop all the characters and the events. As a result, the pace is very fast and the story ends in a very rushed, but still good way.
This series don’t have a GirlDeMo band, but it has a ZHIEND bend (pronounced “THE END” with a Japanese accent). And in episode 8, the band’s singer makes her appearance, along with a magnificent performance. Also, one of the characters is the pop-idol Yusa Nishimori and her own performance, so as you will understand there is a variety of good music throughout the series.
The OP is called “Bravely You”. It is a beautiful song with piano (reminded of the Angel Beats! opening) performed by Lia (who sang the Angel Beats! opening). The series has 3 ED songs, an unusual number considering the length of the series, and they are all beautiful, atmospheric songs.
The voice acting is also very good, with the voices of the main characters Yuu Otosaka (Kōki Uchiyama) and Nao Tomori (Ayane Sakura) standing out, especially when it comes to funny comments or disagreements between them.
I can’t say much about the animation because it can be described with only one word: AMAZING!
The design and the colors are wonderful with a lot of details. The characters are perfectly designed and detailed, even when it comes to hair movements. The background sceneries are impressive and the character movements are very smooth and realistic. Even the 3D animation, although not perfect, is still pretty good.
On the same level is the animation regarding the OP and ED’s.
If you have seen Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Bladeworks, aired on October of 2014, you will find that the animation similar.
The creativity and mastery of Jun Maeda in writing original stories is obvious. In this anime, those elements are key factors in enjoying this story. It is a story with a lot of fantasy, but in any case it isn’t as sad and emotional as Angel Beats!, although it still is quite emotional and with a lot of tension in many parts.
The problem I have with the plot is related to how predictable it is in many parts and, as I already mentioned above, the way the story ends. The ending is quite original and different compared to the style the rest of the show (it was pretty dark I could say), but everything happens so fast. It feels summarized in a lot of ways. As a result, the series doesn’t reach the climax as I expected.
In general, it is quite enjoyable. I would highly recommend it to any fans of Jun Maeda’s works and to anyone who likes emotional stories with fantasy elements. Also, anyone who is looking for a short and entertaining series will find it enjoyable.
Have you seen any other work from Key Productions or Jun Maeda? What do you think of his latest original work Charlotte?
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