So this is it, huh? The end of Charlotte.I was still holding out a bit of hope that they would do something amazing with this final episode, but honestly, this was more in line with my expectations.
It had the same issue as pretty much every other episode: on its own, it made for a solid 24 minutes of entertainment. There were some genuinely good scenes in here, particularly the Arizona scene (side note: of all the places in the US he could go, why those two? I understand New York, but why Arizona?), the scene with that girl after he gets shot, and the moment where he takes the healing power from a girl that was using it for good. They were all powerful moments in their own right, and I feel like in any other show, those would have been memorable scenes.
The problem is trying to look at this show as a whole. As many before me have pointed out, it never quite found its sense of what it wanted to accomplish, and as a result it didn’t really deliver on most of the fronts it attempted to cover. It’s like they tried to cram so many things into such a short runtime that nothing was fleshed out for me to care much about any of it.
The romance between Yuu and Nao started off nicely, but suffered from some crucial scenes (the confession, the moment in Yuu’s hospital room with the ~surprise amnesia~, etc.) being out of character, somehow. I’m sure they were trying to go for an “absence makes the heart grow fonder”-type deal with Nao, but the difference between “yeah, I guess we could maybe date eventually” and “You’re my lover, even if you don’t remember it” is just too big a stretch to have it happen offscreen.
One mistake from Angel Beats they don’t seem to have learned from is the amount of side characters they added in. Everyone who got a backstory (mainly Yusa and- for the ONE episode they had her- Sala) gave just enough details that you got the feeling that you were SUPPOSED to care, but didn’t give you enough time to actually develop any emotions towards them. So it ended up being like, “Oh, her sister died, that sucks” and “Oh, she’s blind, that sucks”. And that’s not even getting into characters like Ayumi and Takajou, who were just kind of… there. Well, Ayumi did a decent job as a plot device, but seriously. Unless I’m forgetting something, I want someone to name one important thing Takajou did this entire series besides questionable comic relief.
I think the issue I have with this show can be summed up like this: too many amazing, Key-trademarked moments crammed into one show. Everyone remembers scenes like the goodbye in Little Busters, “Goal” in Air, and The sunflower field in Clannad. These emotional climaxes were memorable because there was nothing quite like them anywhere else in the story. Things had to build up to them, so that when they happened, we felt the same amount of emotion as the characters in the story. But here, there were SO MANY moments that wanted to be that “most memorable scene” that none of them really were. Misa’s goodbye last episode, Nao’s “You’re my lover,” Ayumi’s first death, and Yuu being pulled out of his depression in episode 7 would all have been so much better with the right amount of buildup. Instead they just kind of… happened, I guess?
I’ve probably gone on way too long already. I haven’t actually posted in one of these threads in weeks (despite lurking pretty consistently), so I guess I just had a lot to get out now that it’s over. For the record, despite my ranting here, I don’t regret watching Charlotte. It had its good points that kept me coming back every week, just to see what it would do next. The music was, of course, incredible. The tense moments did have me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. It was a nice “sit back and enjoy the ride”-type-show as long as you didn’t look too much into anything that was happening. I would probably put it at the bottom of my list when it comes to everything Key has done, but it’s competing with some of my top pieces of entertainment of all time, so that may not be an entirely fair comparison. Still, I can’t help but wish we had gotten something more out of this final episode, because it just sort of fizzled out. “Everything is fine again! We’re going to make HAPPY memories!” Even if they earned it, it felt too abrupt.
Seriously now, end rant.