Anime Review: Charlotte Part 2 (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 20.09.2017

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Charlotte Part 2 (UK Rating: 15)

The first part of this fantastic story arrived back in May and viewers have been desperate to see the finale to that story. Now, thankfully, it's finally here. What originally seemed a run of the mill comedy about teenagers with special abilities delivered a deeper and darker story than could ever have been expected. This second part opens into a world where other power users are starting to move and suddenly there is a power struggle to capture and use children. This has become a life and death struggle and the whole world is at stake. This second part contains the finale to the show, containing episodes 8-13 and is out now, courtesy of Anime Limited.

The first half of this series was tonally familiar to Angel Beats, a series that seemed filled with comedy and slapstick moments, but with dark and dramatic themes running underneath. Set in a world where children reaching puberty awaken special powers, the series, thus far, spent seven episodes with mostly light-hearted fun, but then suddenly escalated into a chilling finale. Protagonist Yuu abused his newfound powers for his own gain, using his ability to jump into others' bodies to make himself the most popular kid in school, until he was captured by a group of likewise teenage power users. This group was made up of Nao Tomori, a girl who could become invisible to one person at a time, Jojiro Tokajo, a man with super speed, but usually ended up sprinting into walls, and, finally, Kumagami, a boy able to track down those who have awoken to powers. This group was dedicated to finding children with powers and keeping them safe at their school; Yuu was conscripted into their mission and the story was mostly made up of them tracking down these other kids.

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The abilities only last from puberty through to adulthood, so the school makes sense - a sanctuary they can enter with the powers and stay until they are out of danger, but the danger is left mostly unexplained. There's the risk of using the powers in the wrong way, injuring themselves, but the real threat is some shadowy syndicate collecting the children and experimenting on them. As the first season reached its conclusion, there was a twist worthy of George R. R. Martin: Yuu's sister, Ayumi, developed her own power, known as "Collapse," and managed to kill not only herself but numerous others in the devastation of her powers coming to the forefront.

Yuu had a mental breakdown from the loss of his sister, and as the series progressed, numerous glimpses and strange memories hinted to much more going on beneath the surface, and this conclusion to the series really pays off on the promise built up over the first season. This second season immediately ups the stakes by developing the story into a time-travelling tale; Yuu finds he has actually lived through his adolescence before, many times in fact, and each time he has lost his family. Yuu and his family went through a horrific experience at the hands of the syndicate and some surprising developments mean that Yuu gets another chance to make the world a better place.

The story goes to some completely unpredictable places this season, becoming a much more serious and dark story, a story none could have predicted based on the first season. These plot twists and developments really need to experienced first-hand to be fully appreciated and even hinting at them could ruin some major story elements.

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Since this is the second part of a single season, there are no changes here compared to the review of Charlotte Part 1 in regards to the sheen of the presentation, with impressive quality in both the English and Japanese dubs (although considerably more impressive in Japanese). The bonus features this time once again include the usual contents but also some special additions, a video of English bloopers, along with a special bonus episode entitled The Strong Ones, which sees a new girl with the duo track down a girl with a strange power. Anyone within a nearby radius of her has their thoughts projected out loud for everyone to hear.

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
The sudden dark moments at the end of the first season are nothing compared to what comes here. Charlotte may open with a generic and common premise, but it transforms into something truly unexpected, developing through so many twists and turns that it becomes a truly original and superb story. It also feels complete, delivering a self-contained story that leaves no loose threads and instead feels completely satisfying.

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