Second Impressions Digest – Charlotte, DurararaX2 Ten

Charlotte - 02 -8 Charlotte - 02 -15 Durarara Ten - 02 -12 Durarara Ten - 02 -15

Which Maeda Jun or are going to get here, I wonder?

Charlotte – 02

Charlotte - 02 -1 Charlotte - 02 -2 Charlotte - 02 -3
Charlotte - 02 -4 Charlotte - 02 -5 Charlotte - 02 -6
Charlotte - 02 -7 Charlotte - 02 -9 Charlotte - 02 -10
Charlotte - 02 -11 Charlotte - 02 -12 Charlotte - 02 -13
Charlotte - 02 -14 Charlotte - 02 -16 Charlotte - 02 -17
Charlotte - 02 -18 Charlotte - 02 -19 Charlotte - 02 -20

For starters, I thought the second episode of Charlotte was clearly better than the first.  The humor was hit and miss and the A-part was a bit draggy, but when things ratcheted up a few levels of heft in the second half, things got genuinely interesting.

It seems safe to say that Maeda Jun is going to go for his normal blend of moe comedy and tragedy here, though I hope things don’t become as unhinged as most of Angel Beats.  I would say this episode was a bit schizophrenic, but that’s pretty much stock Maeda – I mean, how else can one reconcile the early episodes of Little Busters with Refrain?  These kids are most certainly not alright – the have abilities which without protection will lead to them being turned into disposable experiments, parents who sell them into that fate and no one to really look after them but themselves.  And possibly “one person to trust” – though just what that means still isn’t clear.

This is a pretty well-worn path both in anime and out, so it’ll be a surprise if Maeda gets anything really original out of it.  But is it a good one, full of dramatic potential.  Tomori’s backstory was surprisingly effective, especially the betrayal by her mother.  If she intended it to show Yuu just what the stakes in all this were, I can only think the state of her brother Kazuki (Ookitsu Kazuyuki) was a compelling argument.

Unfortunately, Maeda is a guy who just can’t resist his impulse to drag things down with the worst kind of pandering and cloying cuteness, and Charlotte is no exception.  Once in a blue moon Maeda can go to this well and not come up dry, but for every Kud there’s a passel of horror stories like Ayumi.  She’s barely in this episode and that’s surely one reason it works, but there are ominous signs she’s going to become more plot-central (she’ll be showing her own ability soon enough, most likely) and I’m not at all sure Charlotte is going to survive that.  But for now, it’s pretty good – a competent execution of a tried and true premise with some very pretty visuals.

Durarara X2 Ten – 02

Durarara Ten - 02 -1 Durarara Ten - 02 -2 Durarara Ten - 02 -3
Durarara Ten - 02 -4 Durarara Ten - 02 -5 Durarara Ten - 02 -6
Durarara Ten - 02 -7 Durarara Ten - 02 -8 Durarara Ten - 02 -9
Durarara Ten - 02 -10 Durarara Ten - 02 -11 Durarara Ten - 02 -13
Durarara Ten - 02 -14 Durarara Ten - 02 -16 Durarara Ten - 02 -17
Durarara Ten - 02 -18 Durarara Ten - 02 -19 Durarara Ten - 02 -20

I’m thinking this is probably going to be the last regular Durarara post for a while, not because the show has jumped the shark or anything, but more that I’m not finding myself as wrapped up in it as I used to be.  That’s ground I’ve covered before, so I won’t do so again here.  There’s been a certain sentimental reluctance to let it go, but I think it’s for the best.  I’ll still be watching and if the urge strikes me after an exceptional episode, I’ll be back with a post.

As things stand, what we got was mostly a staredown between Mika and Namie over who’s the biggest whack-job in Ikebukuro.  The brocon who tries to burn her “rivals” face off when the hack she wants to have do plastic surgery isn’t available, or the rival who wants to eat a faerie head in order to get her boyfriend to fall in love with her?  All in all, we’re spoiled for choice.

In addition to all the scandalous incestuous and yuri kissing (like those fingers make any difference) we got movie posters from Aldnoah, Digimon and Baccanno! (naturally) spaced-out Mikado, and the ripples from Izaya’s stabbing continuing to ripple the pond despite little from the man himself this week.  This is a fairly interesting arc, though not really compelling as of yet – hopefully we’re building to something that can approach the level of the first cour’s final episode.



  1. R

    Yep, Charlotte definitely caught my interest now, looks like Maeda does have something intriguing up his sleeve Still, the KyoAni-esque moe antics (Ayumi is a bit forgivable though) and the oftentimes misplaced humor really kills some of the mood here. But hey, at least, there is no sign (yet) that Yu is going to be another Kirito, Tatsuya, or Inaho. Hopefully he never does.

  2. J

    This has nothing to do with DRRR or Charlotte, but since your Baby Steps post won't be up until the Wimbledon final starts, go Federer. Just don't be too miffed when Novak inevitably calls his physio on when he realizes it won't be a straight sets pushover…

  3. C

    I'm still buttmad at Charlotte… Those first 10 minutes of the 1st episode were truly glorious. And now what do we have? Just your typical moe-pandering with his sister and Tomori. Right in the second episode they hit you with the drama and it just wasn't good. Angel Beats at least waited a little while until they wanted to make you cry. Here it's like wow that was so sad I feel so sorry for you… not really we barely know this chick, I don't really care.

    Just everything about the setting feels so forced and potentially littered with plot holes or coincidences. So she escaped from the fake school, why aren't they looking for her? Don't they know she regularly checks up on her onii-chan? Where are all these shady scientists that they don't realize there's a school more or less full with x-men? Who is this mysterious benefactor that conveniently solves all their problems?

  4. T

    I am very certain that Charlotte is just like Angel Beats, Little Busters and Clannad – the entire story takes place inside a dream world. Who is to say that Nao's Brother's apparent perceived reality, where he made it big as a Rock Star, isn't every bit as real as the world we the viewers see through Nao and Yu? At least, I think Nao's Brother is the first hint we get on how Maeda is going work his Dream World theme into Charlotte – because if there's another cliche associated with Maeda, it's all those dream worlds, or at least stories that make you question the true nature of reality. I doubt Charlotte would be any different.

    Nao's backstory has tons of possible plot holes and amazing coincidences. I won't be surprised if she is still in an experiment unknowingly, only given cause to use her powers. The other rule to watch from Maeda, other than DRAAMA! and pandering, is that things are rarely what they seem in a Maeda story. These plot holes and forced coincidences may all be deliberate – Little Busters huge holes in the Komari, Mio and Kud Arcs makes alot of sense if you realize the world is a dream.

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