Why Charlotte lacks the appeal that previous Key titles have; a Charlotte first impression

So Charlotte has aired yesterday, promising all the elements that we’ve come to expect from previous Key works; Maeda composing the music/writing the script, a likeable cast of characters, hit-or-miss drama and gorgeous animation quality (though it’s PA Works this time round instead of KyoAni).

I set my expectations low enough, hoping for something not necessarily Clannad level but still something I’d enjoy.

Well, my expectations weren’t met to put it politely, and I walked out completely disappointed to put it into harsher words.

Charlotte - 01 - Large 05

Why? It’s simple; it lacks the appeal that made Key so popular back in the day in the first place.

Let’s take a look at Clannad’s first episode, since that is the show that best shows why so many people like Key in the first place (flawed as that may be).

Here’s a link where you can watch the first episode of Clannad.

Here’s a link where you can watch the first episode of Charlotte.

Did you notice something terribly wrong from the get go?

Pay attention to the monologue in the first episode of Clannad.

The monologue says something about Okazaki’s character, that directly connects into the rest of the episode and something that succeeds in giving us a decent idea of what his character is like. It delivers something simple and appealing to the audience that we can relate to and sympathize with, which does wonders in giving us the best first impression possible.

Charlotte - 01 - Large 07

With something as simple as “I hate this town” and something as basic as “bad memories in this town”, we, the viewers, already are interested in knowing more about this character and curious as to what made him reach this line of thinking, which is a sign that the people responsible care enough to make us like the show.

In Charlotte’s case, our main character speaks about why he was born as himself and not someone else, implying an identity conflict and regrets he may have in life. The monologue isn’t straightforward and can mean just about anything, which isn’t a problem in itself. The problem lies when we proceed further, we get nothing but comedy antics (which aren’t a bad thing, mind you, just not what someone would look for when we want a reason to care for this character and may want something to latch onto).

Hell, the entire first episode is devoid of anything to catch our interest. Clannad had a great sense of humor in its first episode, but didn’t make the humor everything and the pacing between the comedy and the more quiet scenes flew more naturally overall (we get a glimpse of Nagisa’s worries, introduced to her parents, see the contrast between Nagisa’s family and Okazaki’s family and so on); this feels rushed, we don’t see any hints of anything interesting (the scenes with the stars don’t feel as appealing as the scenes in the other world in Clannad) and the characters are just comedic rather than feel like actual people.

Charlotte - 01 - Large 23

Of course, it’s way too early to know if Charlotte will disappoint completely yet (for all I know, it could be amazing), but this show is 13 episodes while Clannad was a total of 47 (49 including the OVAs). Clannad had a much better excuse for screwing around than this, simply because it was longer, yet the first episode was more interesting and engaging than Charlotte, a show that is 13 episodes long and has much less room to mess around.

That kick...
That being said, Nao is easily my favorite character in this show so far.

So, how did you find the first episode of Charlotte?

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2 thoughts on “Why Charlotte lacks the appeal that previous Key titles have; a Charlotte first impression

  1. Good points; I personally loved the opening of Charlotte, but I can see why a fan of Key looking for the elements you mention would e disappointed. My mainstay for enjoying Key anime is the strong and self-aware writing, which Charlotte already has in bucketloads. There were a lot of things that interested me about the first episode, though – Yuu’s family situation, the relationship between the powers and puberty – so I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s all comedy. I’m also sure things that may appear insignificant now will become important later on.

    I think part of the whole point of the first episode is that our protagonist is, for better or worse, being rejected from the usual Key fare, since he’s very unusual for a Key protagonist, being such a jerk. The link between the characters and the show’s overall feel, for me, was nice to experience. Longtime Key fans might dislike it, but newcomers to their work might find the episode a lot more accessible than the openings of some of their past shows.

    Like

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