The idea of “becoming a god” is a frequent trope in anime. A character gains some sort of power or ability and often maniacally uses it for evil and he becomes, in his own mind, a god. Sometimes, though, a character becomes godlike without falling into that madman mentality. There are a few abilities that remind me of God himself – not simply super strength or invisibility or flight, but something more insane, something that can change existence itself. In Charlotte, Shunsuke has such an ability – “time leap.” And in episode ten, Yuu plunders it and becomes godlike himself.
The results of the episode demonstrate exactly why this power is so immense – not that, as a viewer, I’m complaining. It was lovely to see Shunsuke’s sacrifice (one that was more easy for viewers to consume than, say, Okabe’s more fatalistic time leaping in Steins;gate), the comeuppance that Ayumi’s attacker received, and Ayumi herself being rescued by Yuu. But we also see how calculated everything was – how each time he leapt, Shunsuke was able to more easily bend people and experiences to his will because of his foreknowledge, and then later how Yuu did the same to rescue his sister. Instead of wielding some invisible strings, which is sometimes what people think of God, Yuu uses time and relationships to move toward the ending he desired.
All this use of time reminds me of a passage I once read by Philip Yancey concerning prayer. He mentioned how we as pray-ers might choose to pray about an event that has already occurred when we don’t already know the outcome. And we can pray with confidence, because even though it has already happened, God needn’t be restrained by something as as earthly as a event already having occurred.
Because God is outside of space and time, he is able to do as he wishes to create an unexpected result. In a way, Yuu’s time leap provides a good demonstration of such – he can align circumstances that lead to certain results.
But God is different, too, in a number of ways, not least of which is that he likely won’t pop out of a locker at the last possible second to save the day. I can imagine, though, that some other incident or conversation would have persuaded Konishi to stay her attack of Ayumi (a subtlety that Yuu didn’t have the option to do), or even that Ayumi might die, the result of living in a fallen world of fallen people. God’s view is infinitely larger than our own as he works in our lives and through the lives of so many; it’s difficult to comprehend how it all works (and perhaps that’s how it should be with a being far greater than ourselves).
But there’s a lot of encouragement to be found in knowing that God has “time leap” (ha!) among many other abilities of which we know (and so many that we do not know), but in all his glory, he still chooses to establish relationship with the comparably pitiful creature known as man. And in all corridors and dimensions of space and time, this remains true: like Shunsuke’s love for his siblings and Yuu’s for Ayumi, his affections are boundless and able to do the impossible to reach us, and to save us.