While on the surface, Yuu Otosaka appears to be just another charming and intelligent teenager, he has a secret—he has the ability to slip into people’s minds and fully control their body for five seconds at a time. Yuu has been using this skill for years to gain the highest grades, which allowed him to enter a prestigious high school.
When the enigmatic Nao Tomori catches Yuu using his power, she coerces him and his sister Ayumi into transferring to Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for students with supernatural abilities. The student council of the school, led by Nao, is tasked with secretly tracking down adolescents who abuse their powers. Yuu is forced to join the student council and together, they face formidable challenges that bring him closer to the shocking truth that his own, seemingly incomplete ability, might be more powerful than he could have ever imagined. (Source: MyAnimeList)
Overall Rating: 3 /5 moons
The story starts with a very interesting concept that borderlines genre deconstruction. The story explores the possibility that, in the case of a world with superhuman teenagers, they would be exploited for science and will not become heroes fighting for good.
While that is an underlying theme and concept, it wasn’t explored deep enough. Instead of showing us the nitty gritty psychological stuff that could be explored, we get a toned down happy go lucky world. That in of itself is not a bad thing, because sometimes a heavy concept can be explored through a optimistic lens and this may be the director’s wish to do so. What ticked me off with the story is how they tried to squeeze too many concepts into a single story.
It started out with an episodic adventure that tries to slowly build the character up through interactions between each other during their missions. Then it shifts into high gear when [tragic spoiler] happens, pushing the main character into a downward spiral of emotion. After some time, the main character finally accepts the reality after some beautifully constructed scenes. [Spoiler alert!] But when the main character obtains the ability to time travel through a rather ‘deus ex machina’ circumstances, he then travels back in time to prevent the death of his sister. [Spoiler End]
Through that very action, it defeats the whole point of the episodes before it. It even destroys the very character growth he develops for the past few episodes. He quite literally went from the “acceptance” part of the five stages of grief back to the “bargaining” part as he tries and bargains for the return of something lost. Not only does it nullify the impact of some of the best parts of the story, it also feels like a cheap attempt to squeeze in a convoluted plot line.
The worst part of this whole thing? The character they are trying to save doesn’t even play a major role in the subsequent episodes. The victim wasn’t even that big of a deal in terms of the story. It’s as if they decided to destroy the value of some of the most important character developments in the story just to save a minor character.
Finally, the ending of the story feels very rushed and incomplete. It boils down to “the protagonist is a badass and he is able to save the world because he is the protagonist.” Even so, as bad as the whole story sounds, I still managed to enjoy myself for the most part of the series.
All of the characters aren’t too unique and they fit some form of cliche one way or another. By the end of the series, most of the side characters feels under-developed and no more different than how they started out in the first episode. The protagonist being the exception in this case, as he is the only character which greatly grows throughout the story.
In fact, I quite enjoy the development of the protagonist, he feels very relatable. He starts off as a guy who misuses his special ability for his own selfish desire, like any of us would, then he slowly grows into someone who doesn’t only think about himself. However, I feel like his character development suffered a great blow when they decided to unnecessarily complicate the story, just to increase its run time or the scale of it.
Having said that, however, most of the characters are understandably under-developed as this series takes a relatively episodic approach to its story telling and there are always new characters every episodes. However, the characters are still very well defined, and act consistently to their character traits.
Visuals + Audio – 7 /10
The visuals aren’t too awesome or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great. It’s just that it isn’t breaking any walls or boundaries. The one thing I can give praise for its visuals is that it is extremely consistent throughout the entire series and I appreciate that.
The audio is great, that includes the background music and its voice acting. Generally speaking, its quality for both the visual and audio is very similar to that of Angel Beats, and that makes perfect sense since most of the people who are greatly involved in the production of Angel Beats worked on Charlotte as well.