It’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.
Many 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.
As 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.
On 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.