Charlotte: Angel Beats reincarnated and the revival of P.A. Works

charlotte animeIt’s been a while since I was this happy with a P.A. Works show.

Frequent readers will know P.A. Works is one of my favorite studios(along with Kyoto Animation). They delivered my two favorite shows off all time, namely Angels Beats and Hanasaku Iroha. Two series I’ve rewatched multiple times and still enjoy. With Charlotte, P.A. Works seems to have reinvented themselves once again.

charlotte animeMany of you will probably not agree that Charlotte is such a good production, but that’s beyond the point. P.A. Works had lesser moments with series such as Red Data Girl and Glasslip. Nagi no Asakura and Uchouten Kazoku were well received by the community, yet they didn’t convince me. With Charlotte I’m getting back my believe that P.A. Works is back on track again, I almost dare to say that Charlotte is the reincarnation of Angel Beats.

I know the above statement is bold, but when breaking down Charlotte the resemblance becomes clear. Charlotte revolves around a group of isolated teens that have to cope with their fair share of love and loss. Just like in Angel Beat they’re in a ‘different’ place, may it be less abstract in Charlotte. They have only each other and only they can understand the situation they are in. On top of that their time runs out, and just like in Angel Beats, they have to move on. Leaving their pasts behind and move back into the world of the normal folk. This is a heavy burden to carry and this element is very present, especially in the beginning episodes of Charlotte.

Charlotte AnimeAs usual with productions that involve Maeda Jun, who also worked on Clannad, Charlotte is full of emotional baggage to accompany its plot. He explores the backgrounds of the main characters and fuels their story with tragic events. In many anime this element is forced upon the audience, but with productions that involve Maede Jun, the events naturally flow through the episodes and shape the characters, changing him or her along the way, creating empathy with the viewer.

charlotte animeOn a more obvious level do the quirky sound effects and camera techniques remind of Angel Beats as well. The almost slapstick music when a low level gag is used, remind very much of the over the top humor we’ve seen in Angel Beats. The soundtrack has the distinctive Maede Jun touch, using a fictional band to guide through the plot. This is an interesting feature since most anime don’t really that heavily on the musical input, unless it is befitting for the particular genre.
The designs of the cast are very similar as well, but this is of course very straightforward since P.A. Works collaborated with Key for the character designs.

Charlotte is airing during the summer season 2015 and definitely a recommendation for those who’ve enjoyed Angel Beats. P.A. Works has found a sweet spot with working together with Key, creating a convincing and visually appealing story.

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5 thoughts on “Charlotte: Angel Beats reincarnated and the revival of P.A. Works

  1. Moonlitasteria says:

    I agree with some of the points you made about Charlotte, but for me, it just isn’t hitting the emotional cresendo I thought it would or making me care that much about the characters. Not being a fan of Maeda’s style and okay with how Angel Beats turned out, if anything, I think that the element of comedy stands out more than anything and tries to be the connective link to the viewer. It doesn’t override it, yet does make it more memorable than purely for comedic relief. I do like how Maeda explores the theme of reality and fantasy using some type of supernatural element connecting the two, but kinda falls sort of making any impact with it in a plaintive sense. Compared to P.A Works other offerings like NagiAsu, Uchouten, and even Hanasaku Iroha (also a favorite of mine and will have a review up tomorrow for it), I do feel that these rank among the best the studio has to offer.

    • ninetybeats says:

      I found the plots in NagiAsu and Uchouten to be too criptic. Uchouten was a very niche show and NagiAsu dragged along with characters that didn’t really connect with me. The worlds of Uchouten and NagiAsu were abstract and difficult to relate to or empathize with. I like how Angel Beats and Charlotte tend to have a heavy emotional plot, combined with comic relief to make it accessible. I think it’s more a complete package delivery that really makes these two shows stand out of for me.

      • Moonlitasteria says:

        Seems like all the stuff you disliked is actually what I liked, lol. I will admit that Uchouten was niche, however, do think that the message on family and bonds is something everyone can almost relate to. Some people might glean more than others, yet the show did strike a nice balance between moments of humor and poignancy. The idea and message is more universal in a sense. I will also agree that NagiAsu did kind of drag its feet when came to developing both the story and characters, but the second half, in my humble opinion was where the pay off started and relates to how difficult it can be for a person to sort out their feelings over time. Concepts, ideas, and theories can be hard to grasp, and think that visual mediums like anime do have a slight advantage of making it more accessible. Of course, that is also debatable whether it was the case here. Either way, I’m not writing Charlotte off just yet – it just isn’t touching me the same way it maybe you. To each their own I guess.

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