Charlotte – 08

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Charlotte follows its best episode (and one of the best episodes of the Summer) with another powerful outing, though not quite packing the same punch. It has Yuu returning to school and to the routines he had abandoned after Ayumi’s death. It’s all here, from Joujirou’s fanboying and bleeding, Yusarin’s spells and music videos, Tomori’s standoffishness and drop-kicking.

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But just when Yuu (and I) think the wet guy is going to show up with the next ability user, Tomori says he’s not coming. Instead, she has a second ticket to a ZHIEND show tomorrow, and wants one of them to go with her. Citing their honest ignorance of and disinterest in post-rock (look it up on Wikipedia), the process of elimination makes Yuu Nao’s “date,” and when she says it’s nice to have a breather now and then, he agrees and accepts.

Later that day while walking home, he bumps into a fuchsia-haired blind woman who mixes English in with her bizarre accent and is on a quest for “modern-yaki.”

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Yuu takes her to a okonomiyaki joint for some hiroshima-yaki instead, and learns that she’s none other than Sala Shane, the lead vocalist for ZHIEND. Not only that, Sala is a remarkably down-to-earth person who picks up instantly on Yuu’s still-raw wounds of grief, and decides to spend the whole day with him.

Yuu calls Nao to join them, but she seems utterly disinterested, which I took to mean she might have somehow arranged this, because the fact of the matter is Yuu benefits from hanging out with Sala, even as he still reflexively pulls out his phone to tell Ayumi he won’t be home for dinner.

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Sala once had the use of her eyes, and was once far bigger and more popular than she is now with her “dull” little post-rock band. But when things got out of hand with the fame and the money and the way the people around her changed, she gave it all up, making a deal with God to take her sight in exchange for a smaller, more peaceful life.

I couldn’t help but notice the similarity of her sitting in a dark, trash-filled house with nothing but the light of the TV to similar sights of Yuu in the same position. She remarks that the day may come when he too has to make a deal with God, and tells him to “handle it well” when it does.

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We learn where Yuu is taking Sala when we see the rest of his phone call with Nao, in which he tells her he’s bringing Sala to her brother’s hospital, betting she might be able to help bring part of him back from the fog. Where Nao almost seemed annoyed earlier in the call that she’d jump at the chance to see her heroine (in stark contrast to Joujirou, who worships the dirt beneath Yusa’s feet), here she expresses gratitude as the sun sets before her.

The highlight of the episode is Sala’s stirring solo a capella performance to an audience of Yuu and Kazuki. Sala is old enough that she would no longer have a power, and yet there she is, soothing the soul of a fellow adult, as someone who still has their power listens intently.

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Kazuki does come back; Yuu wins his bet, at least for now. Nao rushes to her brother’s side, then calls Yuu back to thank him from the bottom of her heart. Yuu doesn’t need Sala’s other heightened senses to detect Nao’s sincerity.

As for Yuu, he takes what Sala said to heart about him knowing good people, which have changed him without him knowing it. Last week, Nao straight-up saved him from falling off a cliff of despair. This week, without even thinking about it, Yuu repaid Nao’s kindness by helping her brother. Thanks to his experiences in these first days back in the post-Ayumi world, Yuu can see the light, and himself, and is happy with what he sees.

But he still gets nostalgic when he hears ZHIEND. Will he reach another breakthrough at the concert with Nao?

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Author: magicalchurlsukui

Preston Yamazuka is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

3 thoughts on “Charlotte – 08”

  1. thanks for speedy post. helps me live in anime fantasy world a little longer. the ep just came out too^^ :O hadn’t thought of the fact that tomori may have organized for sala and yuu to meet. is highly unlikely imo, but interesting. can’t wait for yuu and tomori’s date >:] and idc how many times they show joujirou’s crazy power… whenever i see him suddenly get serious and then “teleport” (run like sanic head first into something) i nearly die laughing xD

  2. While it had really nice moments, the first third kinda felt a bit clumsy in its attempt at the “returning back to normal life” theme. Am still not fond of the humor surrounding Jou’s obsession with Yusa (it just feels like they are trying too hard here).

    But the parts with Sala/Sara is definitely the best one here. Though it did came out of nowhere and does have its clumsy bits, it definitely connected well with the previous themes.

    Still, the issue remains that there isn’t any big plot progression here and we are still in the dark as to what the series want to say. At this rate, it feels like this one should be longer than 13 episodes.

  3. Another great episode I thought that moved the story and character progression forward. Yuu path of self awareness and maturation is the point here I think. I enjoyed how Yusarin has the whole class except for Tomori in her thrall, and I found Tomori’s ambivalence to Yusa’s god awful new single to be really funny too. Sala seems to be a signpost character also – Yuu has some momentous decisions coming his way I think. Will it involve Ayami? or Tomori perhaps? – Either way the last quarter of Charlotte is looking very promising.

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