With such an interesting story, why is it only a 9?
I was quite tempted to give Charlotte a 10. But it just wasn't all there for me. It had heartbreaking moments, and some pretty good plot devices. But I was just unable to give it a 10 due to personal preference, and some of the red herrings (at least to me) which made me question what was going to happen in the next episode a little too much.
With that being said, any story which deals with time travel creates its own plot holes, but Charlotte does a pretty good job of covering its tracks, and not making time travel all that powerful, and used to explain away any problem that the characters face.
Though, I am also potentially a little biased and judging the story negatively because of how Ayumi was treated, and how Yuu reacted to her. I try to keep reviews as spoiler free as possible, so I won't say much else, but the story arcs created by their interactions were great, but it definitely left some emotions which were uncalled for, and that's a huge turn-off!
The sound is impeccable, with just one small issue
From the wonderful OP and ED music, to the great sound effects and background music, the sounds that Charlotte has to offer are truly outstanding. There is nothing to fault, and there's much to praise.
In an anime which has nothing to do with sound, Charlotte was acoustically perfect, however, there were some parts of the sound-related elements that drove the story which don't really add up, and that's why this loses a point.
Nao is a fan of a band called Zhiend, and when Yuu listens to it for the first time, he feels like he's in an open space. This would lend one to assume that the band is quite chilled. When the band's lead singer visits Nao's brother, she sings in a calming and "chill" way. Yet when in concert, the band is a lot more rock-like, and it doesn't fit with the music that has shaped Nao and her brother to this point.
The artwork is just fantastic
Let's start with the OP. As with Angel Beats, the OP is pretty, and appears to have no meaning, but once you reach the end of the series the OP takes on a whole other light. I like this, and it makes watching the OP during the final episode have all the more impact, as you start to understand why certain angles were used, and why certain imagery is in there; and some of it isn't there for any form of symbolism, it is literally there as its primary purpose.
Moving on from the OP, and onto the character designs, and scenery, we have a quite generic looking cast, with a not-so-unique world in which they live. Because of these points, I was considering to drop the art score down to an 8, but then I thought more as to how the characters are designed, and how their designs change in certain situations. The bland and boring designs also lend themselves quite well to the story that any teenager can be infected with the powers, and you wouldn't know from just looking at them.
And finally, the special effects. Subtlety is key, and I quite liked the powers that most teenagers had, and how they were shown off. There weren't huge magical glyphs or maelstroms of fire, it was usually small, and simple. Small and simple is great, it's not loud, it's not audacious, it's not in your face, it's just the sort of power that someone who has no experience using powers would have. Sure, there's be those who can use their power better than others, but everyone's powers are quite low key, and that is just how I like it.
And to save the best for last, the characters are superb
Have I ever done a review where I praised a male character more than a female character? No? Good... 'cus that isn't about to change. However, I will praise the character development of Charlotte's protagonist; Yuu. Episode 1, he is a no-good cheat who you can't help but hate. By episode 6 you may like him, you may hate him, but you can't deny that you don't feel sorry for how he is feeling at that time. And by episode 12, you can't really hate him anymore; he has progressed so much as a character that you can't recognise him from his old self. He is a wonderful brother who would do anything for his sister, and that definition of "anything" definitely feels different between episode 1 and episode 12.
Episode 13, though it is an episode pretty much solely for Yuu, I personally didn't like this episode, and thought it would have better been cut into shorter clips, and extended a little more on the story at the end. However, the ending episode 13 gave did feel very much like the ending Angel Beats gave.
Looking past Yuu, we have his little sister Ayumi. What a cute little girl she is, she'll do anything for her brother, and is, in my opinion, one of the strongest characters of the series. A little sister who takes on a motherly role, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make her brother happy... It may not sound like much, but without spoiling an amazing story, it's the best description I can give of her.
The final character I am going to go into any real detail about is the best character, Nao Tomori. When Nao is first introduced, you are given the impression she's going to be a stereotypical tsundere character, and that's that. But no, very shortly after meeting her, even in a slightly tsun way, we learn more about her that develops her character in the space of a few minutes that some anime manage to do over an entire season. After two episodes, we have a lot of answers, but even more questions.
Although she is developed very well, she is also given many mysteries which get answered whilst creating more, and this air of mystery surrounding her makes her a very alluring character, along with also being extremely well rounded. She's definitely not a turn-off!
Along with these, we have 2.5 other main characters which, although have good interaction with the other 3 characters mentioned, personally weren't to my taste. Yusa, the idol, is a very generic girly-girl, and you could definitely imagine her in an idol anime instead of Charlotte. Joujirou has a unique power, but his obsession with Yusa is a huge turn-off, and kind of gets in the way of his character. Misa is an interesting character indeed, and I could elaborate more on her. However, I feel she is best left as a mystery... she'd probably like that anyway.
2 reviews in 2 days! I promise I don't spend all day watching anime... I just really liked Charlotte, okay!? I started watching it after writing the Chio-Chan no Tsuugakuro review yesterday, and I was only going to watch two or three episodes, then watch the rest over the week.. But I was hooked, I couldn't stop myself. I had to force myself to not watch the last 2 episodes, so I'd have something to watch this morning before going to work*. However, I am left in the predicament of what to watch next. I started watching Charlotte because I let random.org decide what I should watch next, and after such an amazing choice, I am tempted to leave it up to randomness once more. Anyway, probably won't have another review until Friday at the earliest... unless it's too good to stop watching, but until next time matte ne!* I wake up at 6am, watch anime for about an hour whilst eating breakfast to help me wake up... also occasionally to stop me thinking about some of the more painful projects I may be working on that day