I sometimes have a problem with shows involving people with ‘special abilities’, as it seems to be a free license for them to either be major league perverts or major league megalomaniacs. Although this one does suffer from that conjecture, it is reined in to make for an involving show with some unforeseen consequences. Welcome to the world of “Charlotte” (“Shārotto”).
We are in an alternative universe (although that explanation is not all that necessary, as you will soon see). We focus in on Yuu Otosaka (far left). He has an ‘ability’, which allows him to possess people for about 10 or so seconds. He uses this power to cheat on his exams and it gives the impression that he is Wile E. Coyote (“Super genius”). He transfers into Hinomori High School, where he does well, but falls under the suspicion of Nao Tomori (camera at right) and is forced to take a spot test in the office or risk expulsion. Upon discovering his talent, he is compelled to transfer into a new school (and just when he was putting the moves on Yumi Shirayanagi. the best girl in THIS school! Dangski!) However, Hoshinoumi Academy is no ordinary institute of education; it has gathered numerous ‘ability wielders’ to give them a shot at life.
We learn that there is a short-term comet, Comet Charlotte, that comes around every 75 years and it creates these special people (so why do we have to present it as an alternative world? It can be something that ‘just happens’). The power manifests itself during puberty but is eventually grown out of and you lose it before you turn 20. But the government, being the government, wants to capture and experiment and enslave these individuals and do all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things, in an attempt to turn these folks into weapons. But the powers, for the most part, are limited in scope and reach. The series starts out as this group of four on the Student Council (the other two are Jōjirō Takajō, a boy who can move at uncontrollably high speeds and Yusa Nishimori, a girl who has the ability to channel the dead). Jojiro and Yusa are the comic relief, as he, owing to his speed, injures himself with common regularity (he always has a bloody forehead) and Yusa channels her dead sister, who can generate fireballs.
The front of the show contents itself with the council trying to find these people before the government does and protect them until the ability disappears, as we see the plethora of talents they run in to. The middle portion showcases a hitherto unknown factor involving Yuu’s sister, that directs us to the conclusion that came a bit too fast, wrapped up, seriously, in one episode.
I was pulled into the show, as we see the emotional growth of Yuu from a callous cheater to a concerned adult and that he now can have friends (well, that is a bit flexible, as these folks are hard to read). A lot of the time, the character in shows like this goes from pillar to post with nothing more to show for it than some fan service, but here we see those difficult steps to take towards maturity. Yeah, it ain’t easy. I felt the segments with the rock band Zhiend and Nao’s brother were a bit underplayed and no conclusion was reached with them. Sometimes you want those side stories to conclude as well and not drift off into the ozone.
It is a slow and deliberate show, as we experience what it is to change a person life and help a generation lost in space, so to think. As I mentioned, I felt the last episode rushed to its conclusion, especially since the show is over. The ending indicates they can go no further, but there could be some OVAs in its future. I believe it could have used a tighter send-off, but that may have been intentional, about the vagaries of life overall.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard approach)
Plot 8 (Intriguing approach to abilities)
Pacing 7 (The slow parts were sometimes too slow)
Effectiveness 8 (Good balance of events and emotions)
Conclusion 7 (It concludes, but good have been more solid)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 8 (Something you don’t see too often)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I am here for you.