Review: Charlotte, Episode 12: Promise

Screenshot taken from: http://www.crunchyroll.com/charlotte/episode-12-promise-682187

Screenshot taken from: http://www.crunchyroll.com/charlotte/episode-12-promise-682187

Review:

Yu awakens in the hospital some time after the previous episode’s events to find that he is now blind in one eye and is strapped to a hospital bed. Emotions run high as he is informed of the devastation caused by the failed operation, and he seems to be simultaneously relieved and devastated to find that one of his friends has survived while the other has perished. As he deals with these issues, he also manages to encourage some of his other friends, including his brother, and with Nao’s help he manages to work out a plan to save all of the children with abilities throughout the world. In the midst of this, he also confronts his own feelings and admits them. Starting with his friends, he sets out on his quest to save all of the ability children.
In general, this isn’t a terrible episode. As a tool for winding the series down, it actually serves its purpose very well: it ties up certain plot lines, finally confronts a particular elephant in the room, and develops an ultimate solution to the problem at hand. What the episode ultimately confirms is that this is a show about Yu. While it definitely contains a unique world, a diverse cast, and a conflict that encompasses the entirety of said cast, a careful reflection on this episode serves to reveal that Yu’s transformation is its purpose. This, of course, serves to make the events of episode 11 feel even more pointless—little more than an excuse to create drama and emotional reactions from the viewers. What we have here is a character who started out as little more than a self-serving jerk, who sought to improve himself at the expense of others. Now, in the current episode, we have a character who wants to help those who are in the same situation as himself, and who is willing to now risk his very life for that goal. That is admirable, and a great outcome to the story! Too bad the writers didn’t do a better job of bringing that to the forefront.
A lot of this really comes back to the previous episode. Much of a successfully executed plot can be hinged on the preceding events, and unfortunately Charlotte doesn’t achieve this. The events of episode 11 are brought in and dismissed in the same episode, serving as little more than background noise to this episode’s events. As a whole, this makes the events of episode 12 feel unearned. It is only when we pull away from focusing on the show as a whole and focus on Yu that the events begin to feel as though they belong.
All of that, of course, is more of a critique of the show as a whole, rather than this particular episode. On that note, this really could have served as the final episode for the series, as it does put a nice bow around everything. Yu is able to use his experience to advise Misa and to comfort Shun, while also bringing about a final sense of peace between Yusa and Misa. The (very obvious) feelings that Yu has towards Nao finally come to light, and the fact that the two of them manage to devise a plan for saving all of the ability children just feels right. Even the pain shown by the characters closest to Kumagami (even though his death was unnecessary) deserves recognition. The whole thing would have simply felt much more appropriate had a better lead-in been provided the week before. Regardless, this is a worthwhile episode in its own right, and it has laid a strong foundation for whatever happens in the finale.

A Christian Perspective:

Let’s just go for the obvious here: Yu is a great example of a changed life. True, he doesn’t encounter Jesus or any kind of Christ-figure in the show, but the fact that he has transformed from the self-serving person that he was in episode one into a young man willing to strike out into unknown lands and face unknown enemies in order to save others, serves as a good example of what happens to someone who encounters Christ.
We all know that when we first encounter Jesus, we are wretched, sin-stained individuals, filled with whatever sins we may have committed. Jesus cleans us up and makes us new individuals who are capable, by His power, of putting others before ourselves, even “dying” to ourselves. Like Yu, this is very often a process. We may immediately notice some things that are different about ourselves and others, but other changes may occur over time. This is certainly true for Yu. While we notice his character changing early into the series, it’s hard to imagine Yu putting his life on the line for anyone else at that point. The culmination of his various experiences make it possible for him to reach that point. In Christianity, we call this process “sanctification,” and it may look different for each of us.
Furthermore, Yu’s decision to go out into the world for the sake of others can also be seen as a representation of how it is necessary for Christians to go out into the world to share the Gospel, minister to others, or do whatever else we may have to do. It’s not always fun or comfortable, but somebody has to do it, so if we’re called to it then we must do it for the sake of those we are to help.
I am the least qualified to talk about this, of course, as I am typing this while sitting cross-legged in my comfortable chair in my air-conditioned living room in my small suburban row-home in America, with no real desire to leave. Many times we can realize the ideal while also realizing that we fall short of the ideal (isn’t that part of the reason why Jesus had to die for us—we couldn’t reach the ideal standard that God requires of us?). I think the important part is to be willing to do something that God calls you to, even if you don’t want to do it. Am I ready to do that? I’d like to think so, but I’ve also learned not to give myself too much credit. All I can really do is hope and pray that if God calls me to do something I don’t really want to do or go somewhere I don’t really want to go, I’ll still do it out of obedience to—and love for—Him.

Content Guide:

Language: 2 “d*mmit”
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None
Violence: A flashback to Yu’s fight in the previous episode
Blood/Gore: Blood from the previous episode’s flashback; Yu bleeds from getting a needle
Other: Use of special powers
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Rob M.

Christian, anime fan, and gamer are a few words you could use to describe me. I've been a Christian since 2012 (and thought I was one prior to that), although I'm far from having the Christian walk down pat. At one point I started thinking about how I could use various things for Christ, and eventually put my thoughts to action, resulting in Cosplay for Christ (my attempt at a cosplay ministry) and Christian Anime Review (my review blog). As you can imagine, I enjoy playing games, watching anime, and going to anime conventions. I also like to build Gundam models, fiddle with the guitar (occasionally), and listen to music (mostly Christian rock and metal).

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