Charlotte – 05

A hunt for a power user becomes an extended camping trip, which in turn becomes a great way for Charlotte to get back on track with making its cast engaging.

Also, today’s maths question:

Character having a cold + Jun Maeda = _______?

It’s happening; the structure of the show has changed even more. No Ayumi at the start of the episode, and she ran out of pizza sauce at the end and, fittingly, fell ill. Takajou (okay, we can also call him Takamatsu) wasn’t up to his usual tricks either, with no comedy this week coming from his ability. Instead of Ayumi, the episode began with Nao’s beating – ramifications of her ‘saving’ people from the scientists, or just hatred of her antisocial behaviour? Takajou, aside from his Yusarin-loving comedy, was more of a source for contemplative thoughts for Yuu, the opposite of his usual crash-bang-wallop personality. We even had a power-user who was completely self-centred! It feels like the show itself is deteriorating, losing its normality the more Yuu works with Tomori and gets closer to her.

I like this change. I was expecting Maeda to keep a status quo for longer and then absolutely shatter it, but this kind of erosion is fantastically disconcerting. It works alongside the steady feeling of relationships developing – the moments Yuu has with Tomori have a natural quality to them, and his reaction to her music evokes the idea that their backstories are closely linked in some vital but mysterious way. As much as they’re destined to be ‘together’ in some way, the contrast between them being ‘not an unpleasant couple’ and Takajou’s frightening idolization of Yusarin set things in perspective; their’s will likely be a relationship where deeper connections are far more focused on that any romance on the surface.

And yes! I asked for hints about Yuu, and we got juicy hints about Yuu. The dream we saw for just a moment returned all the interest I have in that forgotten individual, and the story’s refusal to focus on the mystery further piques my curiosity. Could this be something Yuu wants to forget, a repressed memory of sorts? Or is it something he was made to forget? Either way, his amnesia is too unnatural to be a result of anything other than interference on his life. Something shady is in the shadows of this plot, and it may make for a shocking revelation later on.

Another hint came from his possession of this week’s quarry. Last week, Tomori asked him to possess a power user, but we didn’t see what happened. This week, Yuu possessed another, and we were right there with him. His ability to use another power user’s ability reeks of significance; I’m certain he was the one who slowed Skyhigh Saito (yes, that is a horrible name – but also a Key Easter Egg!) down before he hit the forest floor, and it makes me wonder why Yuu would have this talent in the first place, and of course what it has to do with the mysterious figure in the corners of his memory.

I also like Yusarin more now. Her comedy and transformations made more of an impact this episode, making last week’s baseball episode pretty insignificant; with all the group-bonding activities the Student Council did, this was the episode where she came to feel like part of our squad. How will Takajou’s adoration of Yusa struggle against Misa’s greater purposes? The possessing girl only ‘yields’ things to Yusa, making it sound like she wants – or has – more ownership over Yusa’s body than Yusa has herself.

Tomori, likewise, I understand even more. Her bluntness regarding her mob of attackers, accepting that she was beaten up and just moving on, avoids stemming from a character type and instead feels right at home with the fact that she had a normal upbringing taken from her. At least these girls’ punches were genuine; better to take them than have a fake friendship that never responds to you honestly. This also makes Yuu’s response to her – not retaliating like the girls do, when that’s exactly what we’d like to see episode 1 Yuu do (but what Yuu would do with someone he cared about, like his sister) – a delicately formed reason for them to be close.

Final Thoughts

Charlotte is back on form. Last week’s baseball match feels like filler in comparison to this episode’s exciting array of suggestions and character developments (not to mention Key showing off their artwork, as above). The power-user may have been dealt with quickly, but that was never the goal of the camping trip in the first place, was it?

And wow, Maeda sure knows how to make Yuu and Ayumi’s relationship feel extra special just before he starts waving a patented death flag. I’m more scared for Yuu than I am for Ayumi though; how will he react if he realises the end of the pizza sauce signified the end of his sister? Perhaps her great meals without it suggest a great and positive change stemming in Yuu from any tragedy that befalls his sister, a kind of plot Maeda is no stranger to.

I also wonder if Yuu has ever possessed his sister. Just because…

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