Impression – Charlotte, Episode 04

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Episode 04 – “Moment of Earnest”

With each passing week, I find myself coming down hard on Charlotte, perhaps harder than it really deserves, but it hasn’t exactly done anything to rightfully stop me from doing so. We’re a third into the series, well on our way, and the pace thus far has been incredibly formulaic and unsurprising. I’ve praised Charlotte‘s contemporary of the season, GATE, for speeding exposition by having all the major players converge within the same episode and through the same plot device, in that case was a menacing fire dragon.

Regardless of whether that’s a product of the anime adaptation or the original light novel content, I feel that Charlotte could learn a thing or too about pacing from GATE. We’ve had four episodes already, and each episode has more or less played out identically to one other. I’m all for having these misfits using their misfit powers to outwit other misfits, but the end of the last episode, with the well-thought plan utilizing Misa’s pyrokinesis, should have been the culmination of the introductory saga.

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All that this baseball sidestory really accomplishes is provide another instance of the group’s teamwork, which we didn’t really need so soon and especially not in such a trivial manner. I understand that Jun Maeda must have an obsession with baseball considering it’s appeared in nearly everything he’s worked on, in various levels of significance, but surely there could have been a more compelling way to incorporate baseball into Charlotte.

If there was one to summarize my disappointment with Charlotte, it’s that the series appears to lack focus. We have these cool characters and a cool premise with how their incomplete powers make them targets for devious scientific experimentation, but the series never really goes beyond that initial set-up. There’s nothing that really unifies the characters other than their powers and the school that holds them. There’s no conflict, common interest, or real lore behind the powers. I’d actually be fine with a lot of this if there were more interesting scenarios for the characters to be in. At the moment, these episodes have had the depth of shounen filler episodes.

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“If you lose, I’m smacking all your asses with a baseball bat!” ~ Nao Tomori

B.W.

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