Oh PA Works… *swoon*
Well, we got through the first episode of Charlotte without something horrible happening, but it gets chancier every week. How did episode 2 go (everyone get out your Jun Maeda Bingo cards!)?
Protecting Those Who Can’t Protect Themselves
“Hey, Have you seen anything suspicious?” “You mean besides you?”
There is a point behind having kids with special abilities go to a different school, and it’s not the nifty red sailor uniforms. The school is a place set up by the frequently-referred-to-but-not-yet-named “sole person I can trust”, as Nao puts it, for teens with special abilities to avoid the dark underbelly of ‘science’. Not everyone has a power: some have the potential, and some are siblings of those who have powers. But I think it’s understandable that all of them need some protection, given what we find out later in the episode.
So where’d you get this suspicious panty shot?
This episode does a good job giving us the “how” and “why” in two segments. First, the how is taken care of by the search for another boy with powers at another school. Taking off in the middle of the day, Nao, Yuu, and Joujirou start a pretty intense search, and are actually able to track down the boy, who turns out to be the captain of the archery club. In what I’m sure is going to be a common theme among those they find with these powers, he has been using it to make himself some money, selling pictures of girls in the school in their underwear, imaged without their consent. I’m wondering if we’re also going to find that ‘in a poor family’ is also a common theme among those who we encounter with these powers. The interplay and coordination between Joujirou, Nao, and even the skeptical Yuu is pretty interesting, as they each use their singular power to first get a lead on the guy, and then to convince him that he should mend his ways.
Not above being a bit snarky
Getting By With A Little Help From My Comrades
Not your typical popular seitokaichou
I’m also guessing that they’re going to get help throughout the series from other students in the school, like the boy who pinpointed the location of their new ‘comrade’ by being dripping wet. I kind of like this division of responsibilities, between the Away Team of Nao, Joujirou and now Yuu, and the other people at the school, and hope we see more of the other students in this capability. We also learn ‘at what cost’, to a small extent, when it’s pointed out that Nao is pretty much ostracized at school for the way her power works. Given that she’s the enforcer of the school, in a way that Joujirou is not, it’s not surprising that she’d get a reputation as someone to be avoided, but because of her power, I think it also brands her as a bully, since everyone else can see her beat up someone else, and also know that she’s not giving them a fair fight.
Hey, how about some ice cream? I’m sure your brother is fine.
As I said, we also delve into the “why”. “Evil scientists” is always an easy plot device, but I think this one actually can hold up for a bit, even if it’s kind of much to think that they’d go for a whole Potemkin Village school to get their hands on Nao and her brother. You also wonder how much hush money they paid to Nao’s mother, who actually begged them to go to the fake school (of course, I’ll believe that she didn’t know about the fakeness of it). I think it was a bit of a translation problem that Nao says “A long time ago” about this happening, because if we’re talking about the time between Nao and her brother going to their previous ‘school’ and now, it’s been three years, if we’re assuming that she didn’t stay back for a year or two. Even then it would only be five years. But a year was enough to burn up her brother, and turn him into a raving lunatic.
Not all ends well
So we get some backstory, and we get some good exposition without it being overbearing. We also get more big hints that Ayumi is going to play a big role in this show, not least because she’s all over the OP, including pride of place in that key “right before the final character establishment” cut. Putting in the two different parts to show how and why, and weaving the price to be paid in throughout, worked really well for me. The idea of the ‘scientists’ having the ability to grab kids and essentially use them up, like batteries in Nao’s analogy, isn’t too far-fetched, and doesn’t require that there be some huge conspiracy. I don’t find it completely believable, but I don’t find it completely unbelievable either. What was also adding to the show this week was kind of a feeling of desperation that we got from the main characters. Joujirou tried to lighten things up, but Nao is not a particularly happy person. Intense and earnest, you definitely get a sense of what’s driving her. I’m just worried because one of my bingo spots is “betrayed by ‘the one person you can trust”…