I don’t know Jun Maeda’s works intimately well – not like some of the writers on our site. But I do love many of the works he had a heavy hand in, and from what I know of him, I feel that he has a unique talent at creating scenarios and work that pull real emotion out of audiences, and that he can take a commonplace storyline and turn it into something quite unconventional. That’s why hitherto, it’s been surprising for me that Charlotte, though very enjoyable, has been conventional.
But with episode six, Charlotte seems to be taking a turn toward something totally different.
One of the interesting things about this episode is that like the rest of the series, it’s playing with the audience. While the student council believes that Ayumi is the latest adolescent that demonstrates powers, the audience is meant to think that her classmate, Konishi, is actually the one with the “collapse” ability. In the final five minutes though, this run-of-the-mill episode ends with an unexpected bang – Ayumi is the one who exhibits the powers, collapsing the school building and perhaps falling to her death; Yuu, going to help his little sister, is apparently crushed by concrete – perhaps he died as well.
Depending on how the next episode turns out, this could be one of those moments in anime that really shocks you – an unexpected moment that changes the game. But right now, at this moment of time, it makes perfect sense to me, because it all too often takes moments like these to move people to change – and that, I guarantee, you’ll see from one or more of the characters in Charlotte.
Many of us have had to deal with the shocking and unexpected in our lives. While seeing a sudden death or other events transpire on a screen does feel quite the same as with real life, it hits us in a way that says we can’t live the same anymore. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or even the reveal of some secret can jar us from our conventional lives, making us move to some place where we don’t want to be.
The thing is, that place we don’t want to be is oftentimes the place we most need to go.
Some people may live with total abandon and thorough honesty, but I suspect most of us do not. We want to hide certain things we’re ashamed of and, like Yuu, we want to control how our lives go. But we are not gods, and control is only something temporary or a facade that fronts a rotting house that cannot stand forever. God will strip all that away, because what he wants is our honest selves; and our honest selves, at both a most fundamental and at a highest level, need Him and need Him fully.
It’s actually amazing, don’t you think, that we need these crazy (and sometimes horrible) experiences to change our lives, and how we need to be moved from an apparently safe but wholly mundane path when something unconventional and exciting is within reach? But that has to happen – a complete change of the story so that our pages are written in a different manner. Thankfully, as it seems like it might be with Charlotte, that twist of the tale is worth it, because it creates a story worth telling.