Episode 08 – “Encounter”
In a surprising display of narrative coherence, Charlotte introduces the blind singer and songwriter Sala Shane of ZHIEND fame. Too bad her appearance couldn’t be more contrived, as Yuu simply meets her strolling down the street and takes her out to lunch. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but surely there could have been a more meaningful way for these two to meet, especially considering this is the most progressive thing that has happened in the series so far.
Gripes aside, it’s honestly refreshing to have a new character in the mix, and Sala plays the wise old blind character well enough, even pulling off the casual drunk trope too. Those with have astute observations may recognize her seiyuu to be Miyuki Sawashiro, who also played the lead singer of Girls Dead Monster, Masami Iwasawa, from Angel Beats! It’s definitely a deliberate callback since both works are created by Jun Maeda and both characters are rock band leaders with troubled pasts. While Masami’s past is incredibly tragic, Sala’s backstory is shrouded in mystery. She claims that she gave up her sight to God as punishment, and hopefully we’ll see this plot element return, as it no doubt will revolve around Yuu as well.
As far as I’m concerned, there haven’t really been any bad ideas in Charlotte. They’ve just been poorly executed or explained. There have been interesting aspects like the incomplete superpowers and almost profound themes like being unsure of your place in the world. However, Charlotte has struggled to aptly string these elements together into a cohesive narrative. Rather than having a story where each part works together to tell something meaningful, it feels like a bunch of random ideas tossed together with the focus of each episode dedicated to the most uninteresting parts of the plot. There is the honest possibility that I’m simply watching this series with the wrong mindset, but at this point I don’t really know how to approach this series anymore.
“Looking up high, found a steel tower, wondering how I would feel if I fall down.” ~ Sala Shane