Welcome back for another week of anime show reviews! This time, we’re diving into an anime series that caught me by surprise. Unlike most shows I watch, this one came as a suggestion rather than something I discovered myself. Without even reading the description, I jumped right in, hoping for a light-hearted experience to recover from a particularly intense anime I had just finished. With only 12 (or 13?) episodes, I figured it would be a quick and enjoyable diversion. Little did I know, I was in for a rollercoaster of emotions!
The premise of “Charlotte” is deceptively simple, with the full depth of the plot only unfolding around halfway through the series. In this world, some adolescents develop mysterious powers—ranging from super speed and invisibility to flight. These powers follow no discernible pattern, and little information is available about them initially. All we know is that some kids have them, while others don’t. This is where our protagonist, Yuu Otosaka, enters the scene. Yuu possesses the unique ability to take over another person’s body for approximately five seconds. However, during this time, his own body lies unconscious.
Naturally, Yuu’s first experiences with this power involve what any young man might do: taking over girls’ bodies to sneak a peek, making guys fight each other, and causing accidents he can later “heroically” resolve. Everything seemed to be going according to plan for Yuu. He used his ability to periodically inhabit the bodies of smart classmates, copying their test scores and skyrocketing to the top of the class rankings. His good looks attracted admirers, and life was grand. That is, until he was summoned to a conference room and asked to take an intelligence test. Panicking, he tried to evade the situation, only agreeing to take the test when cornered. Desperate, he resorted to using his power to take over the “teacher” and search for answers. To his surprise, he found not answers but rather a girly magazine. And when he returned to his own body, he was greeted by a girl holding a camcorder.
It took some convincing—mostly in the form of a student with super speed chasing him down and a girl with invisibility kicking him around—but Yuu eventually comes around. These two students from a different high school, Takajo and Nao, are part of the student council at a special institution that houses students with special powers, or those deemed likely to develop them. Yuu is not only coerced into transferring schools but also into joining the student council because they find his power “useful.” Nao explains that their mission is to locate students using powers and persuade them to either cease using them or transfer elsewhere.
But why all the effort? It turns out that extraordinary powers don’t sit well with everyone. When children with such powers are discovered, they are often taken away by authorities and subjected to experiments aimed at harnessing those abilities. The student council’s role is to act as a buffer against such scenarios.
At this point, you might wonder if that’s all there is to it—finding students with powers. That’s exactly what I thought during the first half of the season. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a delightful romp filled with hilarious situations and a protagonist whose personality is a riot. However, there comes an episode where the plot takes an unexpected turn, leaving you bewildered in your seat, wondering what just happened.
To wrap up this review of “Charlotte,” I want to emphasize that I truly enjoyed this anime. The plot evolves into something far more emotionally charged than its lighthearted beginning suggests. You won’t see it coming, but this anime is a rollercoaster of emotions. It explores friendships, budding romances, and even tragic losses. By the series’ end, your heart will ache, and you’ll yearn to see two particular characters find their way to each other. Plus, “Charlotte” delivers one of the most unforgettable love confessions I’ve ever witnessed. It’s truly remarkable. With all this in mind, I highly recommend giving this show a watch and falling in love with it, just as I did!