Charlotte: Volume 1 (a J !-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 21, 2016 by Dennis Amith
If you love high school anime series with a sci-fi flair and captivating storyline, definitely give “Charlotte” vol. 1 a try! You won’t be disappointed. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2016 ANIPLEX, INC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Charlotte: Volume 1
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2015
DURATION: Episode 1-7 (170 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese & English Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English and Spanish
COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.
RATED: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Director: Yoshiyuki Asai
Script by Jun Maeda
Music by ANANT-GARDE EYES, Hikarisyuyo, Jun Maeda
Original Character Design by Na-Ga
Character Design by Kanami Sekiguchi
Art Director: Kazuki Higashiji
Anime Production: P.A. Works
Featuring the following voice talent:
Ayane Sakura/Lauren Landa as Nao Tomori
Kouki Uchiyama/Ray Chase as Yū Otosaka
Daisuke Ono/Robbie Daymond as Shunsuke Otosaka
Eiji Takemoto/Ben Prinsky as Kumagami
Maaya Uchida/Ryan Bartley as Misa/Yusa Nishimori
Momo Asakura /Kira Bucklandas Ayumi Otosaka
Takahiro Mizushima/Lucien Dodge as Jōjirō Takajō
A small percentage of adolescents have onsets of special abilities. Yu Otosaka deftly uses an ability that takes over a target’s body for five seconds and gets accepted into a prestigious high school. Just when he is about to start a stable high school life as a popular honor student, a girl named Nao Tomori appears before him. Their encounter reveals the cruel destiny for wielders of special abilities.
In July-September 2015, the 13-episode anime series “Charlotte” aired on television.
Produced by P.A. Works, directed by Yoshiyuki Sakai (“Aria – The Natural”, “Captain Earth”, “Star Driver”) and written by musician Jun Maeda (“Angel Beats: Heaven’s Door”, “Angel Beats: Track Zero”), the series features character designs by Kanami Sekiguchi (“CANAAN”, “Shirobako”, “True Tears”) and art direction by Kazuki Higashiji (“Street Fighter Alpha”, “Tari Tari”, “Hanasaki Iroha – Blossoms for Tomorrow”).
And the series is now available on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex USA.
The anime series begins with an introduction to teenager Yuu Otosaka. He looks like a normal teenager and lives with his younger sister Ayumi.
But in truth, Yuu is far from normal. One day, when a comet called Charlotte passed over the Earth, it spreads dust onto the Earth which causes a small percentage of adolescent children who have inhaled the dust to have superhuman abilities when they reach puberty.
Yuu is one of those people who finds out that he can take over another person’s body for five seconds.
As a first year-student, he uses his ability to beat up bad people, cheats on his exams which enable him to become an honor student and because of his ability, he has become narcissistic and quite rude.
The only thing he cares about is his younger sister Ayumi, despite the fact that she keeps cooking food with pizza sauce (which grosses him out, but he eats to make his sister happy).
One day, Yuu is called into the office and learns he must retake a test because he perfected it and there has been reports he has been cheating. So, he is requested to retake the exam. When Yuu tries to take over the body of the examiner, he is caught by Nao Tomori and Jojiro Takajo.
Nao threatens Yuu to turn him in and get him into big trouble or he can attend Hoshinoumi Academy and become a member of the student council.
Yuu also learns that both Nao and Jojiro have special abilities like him and the the reason why it’s important for him to join them is because they will be responsible for convincing other people with special abilities and have them stop using it, or else, they will be taken by scientist and experimented on.
Because Yuu has no choice but to help, he and his sister Ayumu move to a new school and are provided a new home.
But as Yuu will now have to use his abilities in helping Nao and Jojiro confront others with superhuman abilities but will he be prepared for his new duties?
The main characters of “Charlotte″ are:
- Yuu Otosaka – Has the ability to possess people for five seconds. He lives with his younger sister Ayumu. After being caught for cheating by using his special ability, he is forced to join Nao and others of the Hoshinoumi Academy student council to stop other young people from using their power. He can be cold and narcissistic but he eventually starts to show compassion to his teammates.
- Nao Tamori – She is smart but also short-tempered and narcissistic. She is the student council president of Hoshinoumi Academy and has the special ability to make herself invisible but it is limited to one person that she chooses at a time.
- Jojiro Takajo – A fanboy of idol Yusa Nishimori, he is a member of Hoshinoumi Academy and has the ability to travel at very fast speeds. Problem is that he can’t control his ability and often gets in injuries, despite wearing protective gear.
- Yusa Nishimori – A popular idol singer of the band How-Low-Hello. Her real name is Yusa Kurobane and has the ability to channel the dead but is unaware when she is possessed.
- Misa Kurobane – Misa’s older sister who died in an accident six months prior to the storyline. She can possess Yusa anytime and can easily change Yusa’s appearance. She has the power of telekenesis and unlike Yusa who is sweet and good-natured, Misa is a tomboy and has a bad temper.
- Ayumi Otosaka – Yuu’s sweet younger sister who goes to junior high school. She always cooks for her older brother but almost all the food she cooks for him is with pizza sauce, which makes the food to sweet (and her brother can’t stand). She is a huge fan of How-Low-Hello and loves idol singer Yusa Nishimori.
“Charlotte” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is absolutely vibrant and colorful. The background, especially the foreground artwork are beautifully painted and well-detailed, while the character designs are well-done and well-shaded. This is a gorgeous looking anime series and definitely a series a television series that caught my attention because it’s not soft, if features amazing detail and is full of colors!
P.A. Works did a wonderful job on the animation!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Charlotte” is presented in Japanese and English linear PCM stereo. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels and I heard no distortion while watching this anime series.
Subtitles are in English and Spanish.
“Charlotte” vol. 1 comes with the following special features:
- Beginning of a New “Destiny” – (24:07) A Japanese featurette with staff interviews and main cast interviews.
- Textless Ending Ep. 3-4
- Web previews for Episodes 2-7
“Charlotte” vol. 1 comes with a slipcase and four collectable cards.
When it comes to anime series with special abilities, high school settings at student councils, I often think about the anime series “Irregular Magic High School” and wondered if a series like “Charlotte” would distinguish itself.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to see the concept of “Charlotte” about a teenager who has special abilities and joining with other students with special abilities to use their powers to stop other young people from using them.
This is not a story about good vs. bad but pretty much people with super abilities trying to help and warn others by telling them not to use their powers or else they risk the chance of being kidnapped and experimented on by scientists.
At first the series starts out as humorous and fun, as we see Yuu, Nao and Jojiro teaming up to stop others with abilities but as the series progresses, it quickly goes from an anime series with a lot of humor and fun, to something much more darker with something tragic happens to one of the primary characters.
The first six episodes pretty much are character building and getting us to know the mission of the student council members but why it’s important for them to help others with special abilities but also learning from Nao of how her musician brother, who was full of life, suddenly turned to someone that is no longer himself and is in terrible mental shape. And she never wants to see anyone go through that ever again.
So, using their abilities, they hope to warn others.
While I definitely don’t want to spoil any episodes, I will say that I found this anime series to be wonderfully animated. The character designs are really well-done, background art is gorgeous and this is one of the better looking anime TV series that I have seen released on Blu-ray for 2016 so far. P.A. Works did a wonderful job with the animation!
As the Blu-ray release is vibrant and colorful, I was also pleased with the lossless soundtrack to find that an English dub track was included. Typically, this doesn’t happen much with Aniplex releases, but “Charlotte” does include an English dub soundtrack. And both the Japanese and English soundtrack feature wonderful voice acting.
The Blu-ray release also comes with an entertaining featurette with cast and staff interviews and you also get the Aniplex swag of collectable pinup cards and a slipcase.
Overall, if you love high school anime series with a sci-fi flair and captivating storyline, definitely give “Charlotte” vol. 1 a try! You won’t be disappointed.
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