Charlotte, Episode 3: Dragging the Dead

Don’t keep dragging the dead into your life.

In episode three of Charlotte, we’re introduced to a delinquent named Sho, who is unable to let go of Misa, a recently deceased girl who takes over the consciousness of her little sister’s body. At the end of the episode, after Nao and the rest of the student council help Misa get her idol sister out of a difficult situation, the deceased girl says goodbye to her former comrade with those words I quoted above.

The episode wasn’t particularly emotional to me. I can’t help but compare Charlotte to Angel Beats!, where it’s characters suffered through traumatizing experiences (Yuri and Iwasawa come to mind), and the situations we’ve seen in the last two episodes can’t compare. But then again, I haven’t experienced the death of anyone intimately close to me, and I wonder if the episode was more meaningful to people who have, and particularly when hearing those words – “don’t keep dragging the dead into your life.”

charlotte 3aOur loved ones can haunt our presents through the specter of what was, what could be, and what should have been. But surely for most that have experienced loss, they can at least believe that their loved one would want them to move forward, and Misa does with Sho. They would want to see their loved ones move on and thrive.

But our pasts – they often aren’t so kind. When one comes to Christ, saved and transformed through grace, it’s not always flowers and butterflies. The past sometimes protrudes into the present as we fight against the flesh and those things that can weigh us down – whether it’s guilt, habits, addictions, or people. And these items are not likely to let us go on their own – we have to be the ones, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to end this dragging of the dead into our lives.

Unfortunately, in our pride, we sometimes think we can go it alone. Our wisdom and actions are so important, but so, too, is all that which has been given to us by God. We avoid scripture because we find it boring; yet in it are the words of life. We don’t pray because we find it of little use; yet Christ himself came to his Father in prayer frequently. And we miss church because we can’t find the “right fit,” but Paul makes it abundantly clear that the Christian life is lived in community.

The dead aren’t always dead and gone; but they can and should be. And if for you they are not, even after turning to Christ, maybe it’s an issue of obedience and surrender. If you trust God with faith and obedience, the promise is clear – you will be transformed, even if bit by bit. And in doing so, you’ll finally stop bringing out the dead.

3 thoughts on “Charlotte, Episode 3: Dragging the Dead

  1. Unfortunately as much as i hate to do it I’m going to have to stop watching this show. Channeling is one of the few things (pentagrams are another) that will make me drop a show immediately no questions asked. as much as i wanted to watch this show i will have to bid it adieu.

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  2. One manga which totally pulled me into the medium was Rumiko Takahashi’s “Mezon Ikkoku”, which scans like a modern-day Jane Austen novel. Kyoko, the widow landlady of the requisite boarding-house full of wacky characters, falls for one of them (penniless college student Godai) but takes years to get over the sudden death of her husband. When Godai finally proposes after a seven-year courtship (which plays out in real time), she announces her intention to let go of the dead and get on with her life with these amazing words: “It may sound strange, but I want you to promise that you’ll outlive me, if only by one day, because I couldn’t stand to be alone again.” Sometimes, the manga says, we can’t help but drag the dead back into our lives, if we miss that life. But change is a constant, and sooner or later you have to let go.

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    1. Thanks for mentioning Maison Ikkoku – that series also played a role in my development as an anime fan. Such a wonderful show! And I definitely agree that it makes a wonderful example along the lines of this article – in fact, a stronger one. I may dive back into that series one day and see what I can mine out of it, as I watched the show long before I began this blog.

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