by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Charlotte (TV 2015) ?
Poop, meet fan. Word had it that the plot would start today, and boy it sure did. There wasn't even time for slice-of-life antics before Drenched-kun arrived at the student council room to announce the next ability. It's “collapse,” and everyone agrees that it sounds like major bad news. At least it's at a nearby apartment complex run by Hoshinoumi Academy. Specifically, it's the one where Yuu lives. Since the location is revealed during school hours, the suspect must be a student who skipped school that day – like Yuu's sister Ayumi, who came down with a sudden fever and had to stay home bedridden. So Ayumi is getting her power, and it sounds like a biggie. Yuu gives her specific instructions to stay home for her own safety while her power develops, she obeys, and everything turns out alright. What a relief!
No, wait, that doesn't happen at all. Instead, Yuu doesn't tell her that she's developing a power, so Ayumi doesn't understand why she has to miss school again. Being a freak child who hates missing class, she sneaks over at midday, only to be greeted by some high octane melodrama. Remember that dude who was crushing on her a few episodes ago? The one that she turned down? Well, he has his own admirer, and she resents the hell out of Ayumi for “stealing” her douchebag love. She resents Ayumi so much that she assaults her with a box cutter. Like you do. Trapped between a wall and knife-wielding crazy, Ayumi unleashes her power for the first time and demolishes the building. Lots of people get hurt, possibly including her and Yuu, who is last seen in the shadow of a falling boulder. The post-credits scene shows only Drenched-kun staring cryptically at a bloodstain on the rubble. Damn.
Well, hopefully our protagonist and Ayumi are still alive. A strange orange-haired girl with some sort of authority over Hoshinoumi Academy caught up to her at the last second, so something might have gone down after that off-camera. Could she be the mysterious benefactor? Or is she someone working against Hoshinoumi to round up mutants? Either way, I suspect that we'll see more of her (and her distinctively-designed adult male driver) in the future.
Honestly, this episode is such a game changer that it's difficult to talk about. A lot happened, but there's no certainty as to how it will change the status quo. While Yuu must still be around in some form, any number of things could have happened to him. He could be perfectly fine (which would ring cheap to me, considering the severity of that cliffhanger), injured (Maeda does like comatose spiritual projection), or something else entirely. It might have something to do with his as-of-yet undisclosed sub-power. Something happens when he possesses other mutants, but it's unclear what. Maybe Yuu possessed Drenched-kun right before getting crushed and will now permanently inhabit the other student's body? Or maybe Drenchie's power isn't water-based divination but something more complex? How could he have saved Yuu, and why him specifically? There are just too many possibilities for this story to take. We know that Ayumi's power is leveling structures to the ground, which has already caused a major problem. I wonder what her weakness could be? Knocking herself down alongside any surface?
I also hope that the narrative does something to contextualize box-cutter-girl in the future. It wasn't badly foreshadowed or anything – there were enough harsh glances to make her seem sketchy, and Mr. Friendzone has been around for a few episodes. Going from normal schoolgirl to slasher villain is just an unnatural transition and requires some explanation beyond romantic jealousy. This isn't School Days. Could someone have brain washing powers? How about Ayumi's blue-haired friend, Nomura? Her character design is too distinct to just be an extra, and her interference in Douchey's flirtation did push Ayumi towards box cutter girl.
Overall, Charlotte continues to be excellent. This episode addressed my number one wish that it would just get along with the story. I'm also still loving the humor. It's sitcommy stuff that works due to charming characters and a great sense of comedic timing. It can also be startlingly brutal – the episode's biggest laugh comes when Nao chucks Takajou out of a window to Yuu's joy and Yusa's horror. Major props to Yuu's voice actor Koki Uchiyama as well. His performance's shift between sincerity and ham makes the character. Ayane Sakura also delivers an excellent deadpan as Nao. Character-wise, there are more hints of a romance brewing between Yuu and Nao, as well as deep self-loathing hiding beneath Nao's tough exterior. P.A. Works' direction and production also continue to be fantastic, nailing the tonal gamut from comedy to drama to suspense.
I don't know what's going to happen next, but there's no going back on this.
Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.
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