The protagonist of Charlotte, Yu Otosaka, has an interesting ability. Right from the beginning of episode one, we find that he’s able to transfer his consciousness into other human beings for about five seconds at a time. From middle school into high school, Yu uses this supernatural talent to his advantage as he cheats his way into becoming the top ranked person in his class. But for many of us, we didn’t need to have some special gift to accomplish the same, amirite?
When I was a teen, I enrolled in a competitive high where I figured I would never finish near the top of my class. I did, however, find out that moving toward the top was possible, so I studied harder than I planned and, eventually, started scoring highly in my weakest classes through less achieving means – by cheating. I stopped cheating once I began college – not because of my integrity, but because the consequences of getting caught were no longer worth the edge I would gain.
My pride told me that what I was doing was perfectly fine. Yu is much the same – he doesn’t feel at all bad about how he uses others for his own means, even putting people in danger and manipulating girls’ feelings. But, he does change – he has to because he’s confronted with the truth. Tomoro and Takajo have found him out and force him to change his life, and Yu can only respond by doing what they say, or else be revealed as a fraud. His change isn’t internal, therefore, and neither would mine have been if someone had caught me cheating – I would only act differently on the surface. The me on the inside would remain quite rotten.
It isn’t until there’s a truth worth changing for that our hearts might turn. All indications are that in Charlotte, something of that sort will reveal itself in time, and we’ll see Yu become someone better than he is.
For me, the realization of just what kind of terrible person I am, and then the comprehension of how God loves me despite all that, was what shook me to the core. And though my growth has been imperfect (and is still on-going), I can no doubt say I’m not that same person I once was. And it was more than because of maturation – it was because I was confronted by a truth to which I could only respond with my heart – a change on the inside as well as on the outside.
I wonder what will be that catalyst for Yu to change – I think we’ll see as Charlotte moves forward.