by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Charlotte (TV 2015) ?
Shunsuke tells his story. After Yuu's rescue, he embarked on a series of time loops that culminate in the current time line. First he just tried to fight off the scientists, but that didn't work out so well. Then, he pulled a Biff Tannen and used his powers to make a ton of money gambling. When that didn't work all by itself, Shunsuke got the idea to set up a protective school for ability-wielders. This takes us to the current timeline. Since each time loop lasts three years, Shunsuke has been omniscient for a few decades at this point. Just like everyone else, his ability has a cost. The more he uses it, the worse his vision gets, and when he goes fully blind he can no longer travel through time. The timeline where he set up Hoshinoumi Academy was his last shot, and he succeeded. In order to dedicate himself to running the academy, he had one of his followers erase Yuu and Ayumi's memories. This takes us to how the show began.
Back in the present, Yuu agrees to use Shunsuke's ability to go back in time and rescue Ayumi. It turns out that his “looting” power erases the ability of its original owner, so if he possesses her, she won't be able to knock down the building and kill herself. Yuu arrives back on the day before Ayumi originally died, does this, and then schemes to rescue her from her future assailant. Nao, Yusa, and Takajou try to assist, but they fail at their roles pretty much immediately. (This does result in a hilarious gag where Misa tries to discourage Yusarin's admirers by spitting on the floor, but they just end up falling on their knees in praise of her saliva. It's good to know that Charlotte can sneak in lightheartedness, even as the situation grows serious.) Yuu still succeeds at saving Ayumi, using a combination of his powers to intimidate box cutter girl into submission. Shunsuke's lackeys catch wind of this and confront Yuu, who reveals that he knows everything. With Ayumi in tow, they head off to meet this timeline's version of their brother.
As it stands right now, Charlotte is pretty much on track to a perfect happy ending. Ayumi is alive and the ability-wielders are all safe. The main difference in this timeline is that Yuu hasn't introduced Sara Shane to Nao's brother. That doesn't seem too difficult – they can just have their meeting all over again – but it may be where the problem lies. Despite how idyllic the situation may seem, there are three more episodes left, so trouble has to be brewing in paradise. The current status quo, while reassuring, is also emotionally disingenuous. It undermines the depth of Yuu's grief in episode seven for Ayumi to come back, at least without a great cost. While I'd describe Charlotte as optimistic and hyperbolic, it hasn't yet been flat-out untrue to the emotional reality of living. With this in mind, I suspect that Yuu will soon be put in a position where he has to choose between Ayumi, his sister, and Nao, his beloved. (Or maybe he'll sacrifice himself to save them both.) Either way, to be the best show it possibly can be, Charlotte will need to acknowledge the permanence of loss.
I wonder what payoff Yuu's “looting” power will have? By my count, Yuu now has flight, telekinesis, spirit photography, earthquakes, and time travel alongside his original, limited possession. He's ludicrously powerful. If every ability has a downside, what's his? What if he loses control? Where do these powers come from in the first place, and who is Charlotte? I sense another shoe on the horizon, perched to drop, and its fallout will decide whether I can call Charlotte a great show or just a good one.
Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.
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