April 17, 2016
With great powers comes great responsibility… Argh. Are we done with that overused superhero cliché line? But from the way super powers are being used in this film, it won’t so easily die off yet. What I am saying or being reminded of this quote is because of the Charlotte anime series. There was this little hype when this series was announced and produced because it was made by the same people from the kings of visual novel game and storytelling, Key. Yes, this original anime even has music and character design from people from Key. With their critically acclaimed past works like Air, Kanon, Little Busters, Clannad and including the critically acclaimed Angel Beats, it was hard to see why many anime fans were quite excited over this project. Our main protagonist discovers he has quite a special power. He misuses it and is caught by another fellow power user to put it to good use. He learns more about his power and of course the inconvenient truth and conspiracy behind it all. Even people with special powers have to take responsibility and pay the price for having it.
Yuu Otosaka narrates he has this strange power to switch bodies of a person he sees. Albeit it only lasts for 5 seconds and this leaves his own body slumped like a dead corpse. Despite this shortcoming he abuses it for his own benefit like starting petty fights to get revenge and also copy answers during tests. Therefore via this vile method he is able to enrol in a prestigious high school and becomes the top scoring student. Thanks to his good looks, he has got lots of girls confessing to him but he always rejects them down. No, not because he is gay. Maybe there is some sort of fun in saying no. Because the only girl he has his eyes on is the school’s belle, Yumi Shirayanagi. His plan to win her heart begins when she is about to cross the road, he possesses a truck driver to steer towards her. Yuu then pushes her to safety. He further acts like a gentleman by bringing her to the infirmary. Based on Yumi’s body language, he can tell that she has fallen for him. All as planned… And so begins his swell time hanging out with her. But one day the student council president calls Yuu to his office. He wants him to retake an exam because there are suspicions of him cheating. If he gets lower than 90%, he will be considered guilty. Yuu starts panicking. Thinking the answer is in his hands, Yuu uses his power only to find that guy looking at porn! Suddenly this strange girl, Nao Tomori pops up with a camera. She has recorded what he has done. Yuu lies his way about his medical condition but apparently she has his records. All clean. Now Yuu has pressed the panic button. He runs away. He is supposed to meet Yumi so she doesn’t understand why he is in such a rush. He tries to take her and run but she slips. Guess what? He abandons her and continues his run.
Yuu is baffled that some sort of missile may be high on his tail because the buildings behind him keep ‘exploding’. Turns out to be Joujirou Takajou. His special power is to move at breakneck speed. Only flaw is that he cannot stop. Nao wants Yuu to transfer to their school, Hoshi No Umi Academy. There are many people like him with powers in this world. Although many would lose their powers when they hit puberty, she wants him to stay at their school till then. They have already done all the necessary paperwork. Not convincing enough for Yuu? After Nao mentions all the things he has done with his power abuse, she turns invisible and beats him up. This is Nao’s power although she can only be invisible to 1 person at a time. When Yuu returns home, his little sister, Ayumi is excited that she got word from their uncle that they will be transferring to Hoshi No Umi. She celebrates by making their favourite rice omelette. She even used the secret ingredient of pizza sauce. It was Yuu’s childhood favourite dish but he is now sick of it. He can’t say that to Ayumi, right? When Ayumi talks about their mom, Yuu doesn’t want her to mention her name. She abandoned them at their uncle after her divorce. Their family is only the 2 of them. Ayumi can’t help feel sometimes they have another sibling but Yuu thinks she is just hallucinating. Ayumi is excited about her transfer that she couldn’t sleep that night and does her favourite stargazing hobby. Yuu eventually tells Yumi about his inevitable transfer and hopes she could come visit him sometimes. However since she says they are not officially dating and doing so would only make her look like a stalker, I guess they’ll have to go their separate ways. Thank you and goodbye. This guy just got dumped. I wonder if he is going to put that shell shock face the entire day. Till Nao and Takajou show up to help him move his stuffs to the new place. That night, Yuu also has a strange dream whereby there was another person believed to be their sibling walking beside them.
Yuu makes his debut at Hoshi No Umi. Nao further explains that not every kid here has powers although they show symptoms of it. The reason for this school is to safeguard them. In the past, such people with power till be sent to labs and become guinea pigs. Her brother was a victim of it before this system was implemented. Nao also has Yuu join the student council that she and Takajou are part of. They want to use his power to help stop others abusing theirs. Yuu hangs out with Takajou during lunch. He uses his speed to grab rare and limited food. Each time he always caused damage and injuries to himself so he is somewhat ‘immune’ to all the crashing. Nao then mentions their collaborator is coming and she wants them to be at the student council office. So who is this collaborator? Some dude who comes in dripping wet to pinpoint on the map where the next super power person is and what that power is. They make a move to some high school where Yuu is forced to use his power to stop some suspicious guy linked to the power person. Not that he likes it anyway but he has to do it. This leads them to the president of the archery club whereby Nao uses her innocent yet devilish wiles to reveal about his psychic photography. Photos he took have the subject in the nude and he is selling it for the money. He threatens one on Nao but her team uses their power to confiscate the photo. When Nao chides him for being disgraceful, he shoots his arrow at her! Takajou barely saved her. After a few more lectures from Nao for him to turn over a new leaf and lead an honest life, I guess he finally relents.
As Yuu is wondering about Nao’s brother, she agrees to take him to go visit him. Along the way, she tells him about their past. Kazuki is a budding music artist and Nao was about to get into a prestigious middle school. But all that came crashing down when mom wanted and begged them to go to some boarding school. While Nao made new friends at her new school and underwent some normal medical examination, it was different for Kazuki. He underwent a torrid experiment as the scientists wanted to see if his powers to vibrate air at will can be used for hijacking broadcast and telecommunication signals. The horrifying torture turned Kazuki into a vegetable. He was no longer the brother Nao recognized. He couldn’t even recognize her. After she learnt her friends were jut actors hired to keep her distracted, that is when she ran away. She never trusted anyone again except for that 1 person, the reason she is here today. Nao brings Yuu into Kazuki’s room. Chaos. That guy is screaming and tearing up the sheets. The sedatives ran out. So that is him composing and strumming his guitar? Sad… After he calms down, Nao continues thanks to that person she trusted, Kazuki was admitted here free of charge. Nao seems to have accepted fate. Nobody cares enough to find a cure for him. People with super powers are like batteries. Once they run out of power, the scientists will just find a new one and toss the old ones aside. Yuu feels a little sympathetic. But Ayumi isn’t because he came back late and missed dinner. She forgives him learning that it is because of his student council job. Oh no… It’s that secret ingredient in the food again… Late that night, Ayumi continues her stargazing and she is excited about a comet that will fly by Earth once every several hundred years.
The collaborator appears again. I suppose now Yuu has to ask why he is always wet. It’s the only way he could use his power. This time the target is a little different. Can a person wield 2 different sets of powers at the same time? Spirit channelling and pyrokinesis? As they head to the area, they can tell their target is being chased around. Asking the locals reveal that their target could be the popular idol from How Low Hello, Yusa Nishimori. Guess what? Takajou is a big fan of her. So is Ayumi. Then they chase and corner a shady guy and make him spill the beans. Seems someone from the TV broadcast has ordered him to get Yusa. Later they are approached by this guy, Shou asking about their intention to target Yusa. He believes they did him a favour and after Nao shows her power, he takes them to his hideout where his buddy, Kouta is accompanying Yusa. Yes, the idol in person. Takajou, please control yourself. Yusa explains her narcolepsy that she tends to fall asleep and finds herself in a completely different place. Nao believes it is not split personality but rather her power of channelling spirits. She thinks she has been communicating with a ghost name Misa. She is actually Yusa’s older sister who died in an accident 6 months ago. These guys are her street friends. Suddenly Misa possesses Yusa and displays her uncouth and rude behaviour. The 180 degrees turn must be shocking for Takajou, eh? How can his idol act like this? No way! Misa burns down the place but soon puts the fire out. Nao deduces Yusa cannot summon her and can only be possessed. They explain why Yusa is targeted. She accidentally took home the handphone of some TV corporate bigshot. Some of his texts contain pretty shady dealings. Of course it is too late to turn it back because either way, tell the police or not, Yusa’s future in the industry is sealed. They need to do something about this and it is not burning down the TV station. You don’t want Yusa to get arrested, right? Don’t worry. Nao has a plan.
When Yusa agrees to meet the bigshot and his goons, as usual he tells her to give back his handphone. Even so, her future is dead. Actually this is Misa he is talking to. She instils fear in him by burning a couple of his goons (Shou and Kouta abduct and trade places with them to get burnt. Don’t worry, they’re wearing fire proof vests). Misa then make it looks like she has some sort of telekinesis power to beat up the rest and the bigshot from afar (Nao and co in action of course) to make that guy genuinely believe her power is not to be messed with. With this episode over, Nao wants Yusa to transfer to Hoshi No Umi. It would be the safest place for her. The guys are sad because this means they won’t get to see Misa anymore. Therefore Shou wants to say his last goodbyes to her. Actually it is his confession to her. Misa sets him free to live his new life without her. She belongs in the past. And in the ground where corpses should be. Yuu returns home and again gets reprimanded for being late for dinner. It is their family’s policy to eat dinner together. We all know what Yuu is going to have for dinner… When Ayumi gets excited seeing How Low Hello on TV, this reminds Yuu to inform her that he met her in person and will be transferring to Hoshi No Umi. Since Yuu might do her a favour and make special arrangements to meet her, she can’t contain her excitement and starts nose bleeding.
You know Yuu’s day is going to start off badly when Ayumi serves him bread with pizza sauce… The class is abuzz when Yusa transfers in. She holds more power than the teacher, so to speak… Nao brings her to the student council office for the first time since the collaborator is coming. This time the place will be Kannai Academy and the power is telekinesis. Nao knows something about that place. That school houses a baseball prodigy, Arifumi Fukuyama and Nao has done some research from the video, the way he throws his ball. Based on his finger griping, his pitches are no way could be incredible unless he used telekinesis to change the ball’s direction. So they go to see him during his practice about using his power to cheat. Of course he feigns ignorance but Nao demonstrates her power and Misa taking over Yusa to do a little fire threatening. Nao suggests they settle it this way. Their schools will compete in a match. If Hoshi No Umi wins, he must do as Nao says or else they have to butt out of his business forever. So does Hoshi No Umi have a baseball team that can best this prodigy? Well, the only way is to be part of the team and use their power. Yuu doesn’t look too happy. Hoshi No Umi’s baseball players are perhaps feeling scared facing Arifumi. I guess that is why Yusa is here. To give them some motivation and clear up any bust up. The baseball match begins. I’m going to skip the details since there is lots of baseball play here I don’t really get. Nao’s team of course use some power but a miscalculation puts her team at a disadvantage. Then with more play and on the last match she tells Yuu to just play fairly, they manage to win by a whisker. Arifumi reveals his reason for doing this is because of his friend. Arifumi considers himself average but his friend is the better pitcher and deserves to be noticed. That is why he is using his power to bring him to the Koshien where he will be scouted. Nao admits her side did use some tricks to win. But she says there is someone he doesn’t need trick to impress and can always cheer him from the sidelines as a friend. Then one day he can proudly say that guy is his best friend. Nao then has Yuu possess Arifumi for a while for some experiment but nothing comes out of it. Yuu’s day doesn’t end well too. After all that praying that dinner won’t have that pizza sauce, Ayumi already made stew with it.
Yuu notices a group of girls calling out to Nao. Then they beat her up and she just stood there and did not fight back. No time to sympathize because the collaborator is coming. This time a person with levitation power. Nao believes it is this person in this article. It writes about a mysterious figure flying in the air. Because they are going to camp at that area for a few days, they go get food and camping supplies. Seems like a group of kids having fun on a camping trip. Eating BBQ corn, eating BBQ meat (I guess Yuu is the only one eating his vegetables), fishing by the river, bathing in the barrel (the guys only get to bathe in the river), etc. That night, Yuu notices Nao sitting by herself and listening to her music. The band she is listening to is ZHIEND, her brother’s favourite group. When Yuu listens to it, he felt calmness and like as though he is in a big open plain. Nao reveals her goal is to shoot a PV for ZHIEND although it seems she is shooting pathetic videos of cheaters. She gives him the player. That night, he has another strange dream of a third person in his family. This camp routine goes on for few days and Yuu would like to go home. Nao rejects that idea and believes the end will come tomorrow. Next morning, a guy approaches them so Nao lies about them being runaways and staying here forever. He knows they are not leaving and threatens to call the police. That is when Nao shows him the article. He is that flying guy. She deduces he was practising his flying here instead of risking being caught in public. But do you know this is private property? Yeah, even her own team doesn’t know. Nao and co have been camping here so he got tired of waiting for them to leave and showed up to get rid of them. Nao dares him and starts filming. He fell into a trap hole she made and she got it all on camera when he flies out. He snatches the camera and flies away so Yuu is forced to switch bodies. When he crash lands, Nao tells about the experiments and salvations. He believes after Misa demonstrates her power. He always thought he was the only one with power and agrees to stop using them. When Yuu gets home, Ayumi is not happy. I guess if it is work, it’s alright. She makes him vegetable noodles and he couldn’t be happier it doesn’t have pizza sauce! Freaking delicious! Thank goodness she ran out of sauce and the officer at the supermarket stopped her when she wanted to buy some. Yuu must be so happy. Reward comes to those who wait. He learns a guy asked Ayumi out. Worried? Don’t worry. She turned him down. She then starts coughing so Yuu takes her temperature and confirms she is having a cold and puts her to bed.
Ayumi is sick. The collaborator points out collapse as the next power. But the location is the dorms. Well, there are many power users there, right? But how many will be in at this time of the day? So it hit Yuu that it could be Ayumi. So far she has not show any signs but the probability is higher if the sibling has it. It is suggested to go check on her but so as not for everybody to go, Yuu thinks of cheering her up by sending Yusa. The only problem is to get the annoying fan boy out of the way. Don’t worry. Nao has already thought of that. After distracting him, she kicks him out of the window!!! OMFG!!! The trio make their way there. Yuu goes in first and seems they have visitors. Ayumi’s classmates, Nomura (the class rep), Oikawa (the guy who confessed and got rejected) and Konishi (extremely quiet girl with yandere eyes). After they leave, the rest comes in. Ayumi instantly recognizes Yusa under that poor disguise. Her nose bleed is gushing out like a fountain! I think her fever is going to get worse. But it made her a little better. After Yusa leaves, Ayumi tries to play match make with Yuu and Nao but they quickly deny it. They’re so in sync in that too. When Nao tries to ask Ayumi if she had any nightmares, Yuu thinks it is in bad taste. Nao agrees that they don’t have proof Ayumi has powers and could be somebody else in this complex. But you can never be too sure. They lack information and she leaves him to ask her. So when he does, Ayumi faintly remembers about things breaking and the ground splitting. Just to be safe, Ayumi is told to stay home even if she is feeling a little better the next day. But she is stubborn and sneaks out to school. When reports that Nao was sighted in school, they have a bad feeling and rush over. After Ayumi barely escapes from another of Oikawa’s flirting, she bumps into Konishi. She blames her ever since she came, Oikawa only had eyes for her. if she was not here, they would have been dating. It’s like Oikawa has forgotten about her. So this is her problem? True to her yandere character, she takes out a cutter. Run Ayumi, run! When she is cornered and at the pinnacle of her fear, her power starts to activate. The walls break and the ground collapses. Yuu and co arrive too late. Big brother panics in seeing the mess as he disregards his safety to dig through the rubble. Now the wall is going to fall on him.
Yuu wakes up in hospital. But here’s the bad news: Ayumi died! OMG!!! He falls into depression and just like any others who take their little sister for granted, he realizes he never told her how much he appreciated her. Well, it’s too late. At least he doesn’t have to put up with that pizza sauce anymore. Holy sh*t! Truly sorry. Not the time for jokes! Yuu is now holing up in his room and eating nothing but cup noodles and watching TV. Even Yumi comes to talk him out of it but if she isn’t going to buy him more cup noodles, then she better go home. Since she is persistent, he throws his tantrum and she leaves. Eventually his cup noodles run out so he needs to go get them. Realizing agents knocking on his door and they might have put Yumi up to this, he uses his power on them for a clean escape. He thinks of running away far enough so the collaborator won’t track him down. In some rented space, now his diet changes to pizza. After being bored, he takes a walk and changes his died to dango. Then he gets addicted to playing a video game shooting monsters. One day when his favourite game is being hogged by others, he blows his top. Of course they take it outside and he uses his power to best them. Yuu even resorts to injuring them. Even when the big boss and his gang confront him, Yuu continues to act tough and with his power beats them all up till the boss has to admit defeat! He goes around beating gangs and finds this even more fun. Then he discovers drugs. He is about to take his first sniff when Nao suddenly kicks it away. If he takes that, he will be at the point of no return. Seems Nao was with him the entire time. Only invisible. She felt responsible for everything and vowed to stay with him till he recovers. What will they do now? She suggests returning to a healthy diet. She promises that they’ll stay away from each other’s business after he takes one bite. Back at Takajou’s home, she cooks a nostalgic rice omelette dish. It tastes like how it used to be. Apparently Nao borrowed the recipe book from his mom and believes Ayumi was trying to replicate it. Now he chows down everything. Pizza sauce never tasted so good, huh? She asks him to come back to the student council. But didn’t she say they would stay out of each other’s business after this? Well, that was if he took one bite. He ate the whole damn thing. I guess she’s right. He agrees to come back.
With Yuu back in school, Nao calls everyone since the collaborator is coming. But since they have time, they watch Yusa’s newly released music video promo. I’m sure Takajou loves it to the max. Nao gives a decent score but minus points each time Yusa acts ‘stupid’. Hey, she isn’t a fan of idol music. Since they have more time, why not watch it again? So when is this collaborator guy coming? He isn’t. So why did Nao call them? It’s to hand them tickets for ZHIEND’s concert tomorrow. I guess she is a big fan of this rock group’s music. Oh sorry. Post rock. Whatever. Since Yusa and Takajou aren’t fans of this kind of genre, I guess by deduction Yuu has to go. When Yuu is walking home, a blind woman passes by him. When he thinks how familiar she is, she starts ranting about okonomiyaki so he is forced to bring her to a shop. Turns out this blind lady is Sala Shane, the lead vocalist for ZHIEND. Her good hearing makes her tell Yuu has some sort of grief. Like he has lost someone close. Care to talk about it? Upon hearing his story, she is so touched that she wants to offer her respects. He then tells her about Nao and her brother who loves her band so much. Yuu gets an idea to surprise Nao that he is with Sala but to his surprise, she isn’t, well, surprised. Sure, she loves their music and all but isn’t that obsessed that she’ll go out of her way just to meet them. Yuu then gets permission to meet Kazuki as he hopes this might change something. Sala agrees to let him take her there since he sounds like he cares a lot about this. Although her concert is tomorrow, her producer will take care of it somehow. Somehow.
Along the way, he asks if she is really blind as she can sign autographs so she isn’t blind to begin with. The blindness is penance for her sins. Her dream was to be a big rock star but never achieved it. She ended up wasting her life idling while watching other musicians zoom to the top as she cursed God. The reason she ended up big right now is because she ‘cheated’. She was once a huge phenomenal star. Of course some people looked at her differently and this caused her family endless grief. There was once her brother was kidnapped for ransom. She stopped all that to become a lead vocalist of a small time band by trading her eye sights with God. He might not understand now but when the time comes, she hopes he will make the right decision. Arriving at the hospital, Sala notes he is quite a nice person. It must be someone he met. All he could think of is Nao. Remembering his permission for Sala to meet Kazuki, she wondered why he is going so far for her brother even though the chances are close to impossible. It made him realized all he ever did was trample on others and now he is doing such good deeds. Why? Because he felt like it. Upon entering Kazuki’s room, the usual screaming and pillow tearing. Damn those sedatives ran out again. Sala can feel the ‘deepness’ in his ‘composing’. She starts singing and slowly Kazuki calms down. When Yuu mentions about Nao, he somewhat recognizes her. In the end, both leave with very feel good feelings and a very meaningful day. Learning Yuu has a ticket to her concert, she will sing for him and also the person he cares about whom she feels will also be there. Yuu cannot be more thankful to Nao for changing him. After Sala gets dragged back by her agent, Yuu gets a call from Nao. After the nurse called her, she is at the hospital and saw this amazing miracle. Kazuki does recognize her. She thanks him for doing this. Back home, Yuu can’t help shake off this familiar feeling of ZHIEND’s song.
Trying to choose a great outfit for the concert, eh Yuu? It could have been a great time at the concert till Sala starts singing Trigger. This song suddenly causes Yuu to feel pain. And I’m sure the fans are pretty sure he isn’t screaming because he is into the flow of the concert. We are brought to another reality whereby Yuu and Ayumi are in a research facility like many other power users. Yuu is just fresh off hearing ZHIEND’s song and felt quite deep. He noticed an old researcher listening to his classical music and when he asks why he is always in this place, he replies about being scorned by his fellow researchers for having a different thinking. Just like when the heliocentric theory in the past. This place is like his sanctuary. Yuu and Ayumi talk about their big brother, Shunsuke’s ability to change time and space. It is so dangerous that the researchers have locked him up differently. Kumagami briefly talks to Yuu that he has found a guy with telepathy. He passes a small piece of paper and the rest is up to him when to execute it. That very same night, Yuu is shocked to learn Ayumi has been called in for further study. His pleas that she has no powers fall on deaf ears. Deep into the night, a short earthquake rocks the place. When Yuu is freed from his quarters, the old researcher soaked in his own blood tells Yuu how his colleagues have discovered Ayumi’s collapse power. The entire block is now in lockdown mode and they are going to dissect and then dispose of her. He wants him to use his true plunder power to save her.
Yuu makes a mad dash around the facility to find the telepathic person. Once he finds his quarters, he possesses his body for a short while. Yuu’s true power seems to be copying the power of the other power user he possessed. Now with telepathic abilities, he tries to locate Shunsuke and tells her what is going to happen to Ayumi. Other of his friends help obstruct the guards as Yuu uses his power to absorb it and inch closer to Shunsuke. Once he frees big brother, he uses his time and space changing ability to change the world. Yuu wakes up in hospital screaming. Nao wonders if he has something wrong since he collapsed during the concert. Yuu believes what he saw wasn’t a dream. Realizing he did have an older brother, Kumagami makes his appearance. He is the collaborator and because he wasn’t dripping wet, Nao couldn’t recognize him. Kumagami will answer all his questions and bring him to see Shunsuke in hope they can save Ayumi again. Can they? She’s dead, right? Well, if you remember what Shunsuke’s power is. Nao is excited to meet Shunsuke because he is the person who helped her brother and the only person she trusted. Kumagami brings them to a remote area. Their high tech secret research facility is hidden deep well inside a cave. They see Shunsuke and Nao is quite ecstatic to meet her saviour although the former is completely blind. But the same sentiments can’t be said for Yuu. He isn’t going to jump teary eyed into the arms of his big brother he missed. Yeah, he is a bit confused by everything. So buckle up and hold on to your seat because Shunsuke will begin his time travelling story now.
When Shunsuke travelled back in time, it was 3 years before they got captured. In his bid to solve this mess, he meets up with Kumagami who brings him to a place where he has gathered a few fellow power users, Shichino (going through walls), Medoki (hypnosis) and Maedomari (memory erasing). Soon they gathered more power users but the end is always the same. They get captured and try to mount an escape but chaos ensued. Each time Shunsuke jumped back, he realized he gradually loses his vision. So once the idea of collecting funds to establish a school to protect their kind is in the cards, the next time Shunsuke jumps, he will be completely blind (and thus unable to use his power anymore). He doesn’t mind since it will protect his siblings and give them a future. After securing the school, Shunsuke wants Kumagami to erase memories of him from his siblings so that he can move freely. Second, he wants similar schools to be established across the country but since Kumagami fears he would be recognized, he suggests covering his face with his long hair and making it wet. Shunsuke says goodbye to his siblings one last time before having his pals erase their memories. The rest is history. So now Shunsuke wants Yuu to steal his power so he can leap back and save Ayumi and then steal her collapse power. Shunsuke explains Yuu’s true plunder power and even Nao knows about it from the start thanks to the collaborator. They thought he would be dangerous but realized he misunderstood the extent of his power. Yuu not only can steal people’s power but that person would lose his power forever. Because Yuu never realized this himself, they have got lucky so far. Yuu wonders why they didn’t use him to just steal other people’s power to make things easier. That would be inhumane and it would be a good lesson to teach others why they shouldn’t misuse it. Plus, they don’t know what kind of power Yuu will have if he accumulates them all.
Yuu jumps back in time somewhere when the collaborator pinpoints the collapse power. Nao is surprised that Yuu seems to know a lot and especially this collapse power coming from his sister. After visiting Ayumi, Yuu tells Nao that he is from the future to change the past. She believes him since he looks like the kind who would do anything for Ayumi. He thanks her for being his guiding light to the right path after falling into depression when he lost Ayumi. You’re welcome. When Yuu puts Ayumi to bed, he steals her power. Next day after sending her off to school, it seems the student council members are here to help. Too bad Takajou disguised as a teacher is caught because the faculty doesn’t recognize him. The students clamour around Yusa because they know who she is. Isn’t she supposed to be in high school? Who cares! It’s Yusa! And seeing how cute Nao is, they think she is a fellow idea. Failures… Yuu hides inside a locker until the moment Konishi threatens to kill Ayumi. When the time is right, Yuu leaps out to protect Ayumi and then demonstrates a little of his power to scare the sh*t out of Konishi. Don’t you dare hurt my sister again you little piece of sh*t! I think that’s enough for today. Ayumi couldn’t be more relieved collapsing into the arms of her heroic big brother. I’m sure Yuu doesn’t care if his reputation turns into siscon but he doesn’t want to lose her again. On the way home, Kumagami is here to pick him up and Yuu already knows it well that he will be brought to Shunsuke.
Now the siblings have met, Yuu wants them to live ordinarily like before. However that is not possible. Yuu now has accumulated many powers inside him and thus countless organizations will be after him. They must stay here in this research facility researching their power. Shunsuke brings them to see Dr Tsutsumiuchi, the head staff who is trying to develop a vaccine to prevent an outbreak before the dust falls again. The comet named Charlotte passes by every 75 years and its dust is what gave some people the strange powers. The last the comet passed was 12 years ago. The vaccine is effective on those whose powers have not sprouted. Even trying to create a vaccine for dad will take years. There is also the danger of people with super powers banding together to bring chaos in the future. Yuu wants Ayumi’s memories to return but that cannot be fixed. The reason Yuu’s memories return is purely coincidental. Ayumi seems to be getting used to her new place very well. It just makes Yuu a bit lonely now that Shunsuke is ‘hogging’ her. When Kumagami receives another notification of another power user, he is going to meet Nao but the driver, Furuki cannot comply with his wishes. As his family is threatened, he is forced to bring him to see the ringleaders. The big boss is a foreigner. Furuki doesn’t get his family’s release yet and must continue to do their bidding. Kumagami is beaten up and interrogated via lots of painful torturing measures to make him spill details of their secret organization. Nao is shortly kidnapped by them.
They then contact Shunsuke to exchange Yuu for Kumagami and Nao’s release. They have been planning this for a long time so if they suspect that any part of their plan fails, they will assume they have used time travel to leap back and change the future and will immediately kill Furuki’s family. Shunsuke tells his friends but they run out of card to play seeing it is too risky to let Yuu jump further back in time. They have to bet their hopes on Yuu. He then talks to Yuu about rescuing Kumagami and Nao by using his plunder to steal their power. This serves only to stress Yuu because he cannot handle something this big. His collapse power is in risk of activating so Shunsuke hugs him and just tells him to leap back in time if something goes wrong. Furuki brings Yuu to see them. This time they throw the details of Furuki’s family’s whereabouts. Yuu possesses the ringleaders to check if they are armed. They’re not. Seems they purposely let him do this. Then their henchman blinds one of Yuu’s eyes to prevent him from time travelling. He cannot use plunder or else he will kill Kumagami and Nao who are held in the basement. However he becomes enraged and his plunder activates. When Shunsuke and friends arrive, they fear the worst scenario has happened. They find Yuu’s unconscious body (he is still alive) and realize the reason he cannot time leap. Looking around for Kumagami and Nao, Shunsuke is devastated when he realizes Kumagami has used his body to protect Nao from being pierced by the steel beams. Sadly, he cannot hold on to his life any longer.
Yuu wakes up in hospital screaming. Shichino stabs a sedative into him. He is told the culprits have their memories erased and Nao is alright. But upon hearing Kumagami’s death, Shichino gets worked up because now Shunsuke is depressed. It makes Yuu think the possibility of how Ayumi would feel had he died back then. Takajou and Yusa visit him to feed him his favourite food. Yuu asks Misa about death since he came close to it. He also tells Yusa to go visit her parents because you don’t know when death will strike. So Yusa visits her parents and at the same time does a food interview with them. Although Misa didn’t like the taste, she cannot help but cry tasting the love of her parents. Ayumi also visits Yuu to feed him his favourite rice omelette. Now the secret recipe doesn’t taste bad and in fact very good. Yuu sees Shunsuke who has been spending most of his time on the hospital’s rooftop. His depressed state reminds him of himself. When he returns to his room, he is surprised Nao is doing fine. He tells her what Shunsuke said to him about foreign terrorists trying to make inroads in Japan. Because he is at a lost on what to do, she suggests absorbing every power in the world. This is a risky method as nobody knows what will happen to him. Will he stay sane then? Surprisingly, he agrees to do that despite she says she was just joking. Why? Because he loves her. You were hoping for her flustered reaction, eh? Nope. In fact, she’s just disgusted and not quite believing it. Because he is persistent despite all the rejection, she agrees to be his girlfriend after he returns from his mission. If he pulls off that greatest feat, she’ll hopelessly fall in love with him. It’s a promise. For a start, she has him take away her powers. Yuu then talks to Shunsuke about this plan but he is against it since he is still reeling about Kumagami whom he never once thanked for saving his ass many times. That is why Yuu will do it so Kumagami’s death won’t be in vain. Shunsuke recovers and tells his pals about Yuu’s plan. They will let Yuu go abroad to do his mission while the rest remain in Japan and do what they can. As Yuu is approaching adulthood, he must do it fast before his power fades. Takajou and Misa see him so he could take away their power. Misa left a heart warming note for Yusa. Nao gives him little notes to expand his foreign language vocabulary and in return he gives her the player as safekeeping.
The most international episode ever. If your country doesn’t appear here, feel free to file a complaint for being left out :-). So it begins, Yuu’s globetrotting adventure to steal powers from others. Seems pretty fine and convenient the way things are going. I mean, he got powers that allowed him to instantly translate and understand other languages, a power that lets him find other power users and one that even identifies potential carriers. So much so he earns enemies who try as hard to kill him but failed, as well as the dreadful nickname of One Eye Grim Reaper. When he plunders a healing power, he feels bad because this person has been using it for good. But a job is a job. He gets this idea of healing his eye so he can time travel and save Kumagami but decides against it since he must stay true to his original mission. His turning point came when after taking in so many powers, he starts to go crazy hearing voices in his head. He becomes agitated and attacks others although he is conscious enough to stop himself from harming or killing. His memories start to get hazy. He couldn’t even remember Nao since he doesn’t know who gave him these little notes. The more he carries on his mission, the more reckless and crazier he becomes. It’s like he just doesn’t care anymore and doing it just because he had to. Then at one point he can’t even remember why he is doing this and feels like taking over the world since he is so powerful. Despite mistreating Nao’s notes, he can’t bring himself to throw it away and feels an emotional attachment. Then in China, while he is already weakened, a bounty hunter shoots arrows in his back. Yuu is protected by a girl who is willing to die to save him. Yuu realizes she is the last power user on Earth and her power is foolhardy courage. He plunders her power and after having her run to safety, gets one more shot by the bounty hunter. Before he could claim his prize, conveniently the helicopter piloted by Shunsuke and co arrive to pick him up. How the hell do they know?! When Yuu wakes up in the hospital bed with Nao by his side, he cannot remember who she is. I guess this hurts her as much. She explains and admits she is his girlfriend and they promised to go out once he returns. Sorry. Can’t remember all that. She also says she made those little notes. She is reduced to tears after hearing how he treats it as a charm as always. In a way, it got him back ‘safely’. With no memories of his past, the only way is to make memories of the future. Nao records him with the rest. Aptly, Yuu is looking forward to the future.
This definitely takes place before that turning point of the series. The power user detected this time is a mind reader. They find Iori Sekiguchi sitting alone in an alley. When Nao goes to ask if she could read minds, suddenly everyone can hear her thoughts. Nao continues to test out by insulting Takajou. So he too gets back at her by insulting ZHIEND! They start fighting and this is when Iori blows her top blaming herself as the reason why everyone around her starts fighting. They also notice that everyone can read each other’s minds within a 2.5m radius. The plan now is to act friendly and thus convince her they won’t fight around her. This means Nao and Yuu are the only ones who will do the job because Nao can’t let Takajou be alone with Yusa and let his unspeakable fantasies go wild. Despite Nao punching Yuu many times, she convinces Iori they are playing boke and tsukkomi. Yeah… Poor guy. They head to the diner for food and even hang out at all the scary rides that Yuu is afraid of. Each time, Nao taking advantage and playing around with mind reading as well as that tsukkomi act of hers to cover up her violence on Yuu. Iori is a happy girl but in her haste to go to the next ride, she accidentally spills ice cream on a couple’s clothes. The girl is alright with it but the guy blames her. Because their thoughts could be read, the couple start arguing and break up. Iori descends into despair and runs away. Back to square one. They find her sitting alone again and this time she doesn’t want her to come close or they will be jinxed. But Nao won’t and uses her power to get up close with her. Although she admits she is also a power user like her, she lies about it that she can’t leave girls like her alone. Iori is willing to trust her again. She then tells her story. She had a childhood friend whom she is very close, Honoka. One day she stopped playing with her and because she didn’t want to tell her, Iori wished to hear her thoughts and her wish came true. Nao gives her hope that she can control this ability. Although she has no solution to it, she will help her solve this.
Iori is currently staying at Nao’s place. I guess when you spend a lot of time with a mind reader, Yuu must be glad Iori isn’t staying with her otherwise Ayumi could have heard his stinging comments on that sickening secret ingredient. Yup. That dinner again… He gets a call from Nao to go talk to Honoka. Outside her house, they try to ask her why she stopped being friends with Iori. As she won’t say, this prompts Nao to tell her about some classified information about Iori’s abilities and how she caused everyone around her to fight. They also demonstrate their powers to her. Because Iori is also a power user like her, they are going to take her away to the underworld. They will never see each other again and the purpose of this visit is to ask if she has any last words for her. That is when Honoka spills the beans about Iori having an incurable disease that would make her paralyze eventually. She feels it is worse to watch a best friend waste away and would rather have Iori hate her instead. That is why she severed ties with her. But this only proves to make Nao mad. She gets so angry that she gets rough with Honoka while screaming about her hypocrisy. Her best friend is dying and she continued to play with others and at the same time she could say how important Iori is to her. Some best friend she is. She wants Honoka to do something instead of running away herself. The confrontation ends when Honoka’s mother comes to stop this. Yuu is left shocked over Nao’s outburst. He had never seen her genuinely this mad. In the aftermath, Nao and Yuu continue to visit Iori in hospital. Honoka also resolved to stay by her side and Iori promised to fight her illness till the end. It makes Yuu feel how great girls are. That’s not in a perverted sense, right? Although Iori’s power issue is not solved, at least it is important her friendship with Honoka did.
The Future Lies In The Past
As I have read, this series wasn’t well received although it was praised for some of its elements, overall it didn’t fare as well compared to its predecessors. It was eventually a big let down due to high expectations. Personally, I am not sure if it is all the animes that I have watched over the years that have numbed me or that I’m just an idiot who doesn’t know how to tell a good anime anymore unless it is just freaking significantly awesome (like Shingeki No Kyojin). There were funny bits that made me laugh, there were dramatic moments and those usual times when I was trying to understand what is going on. Well, at least it isn’t so bad that I am confused like hell. But if you are talking about the emotional level that it is supposed to invoke, I didn’t really feel it. I remember that feeling of watching the tragedy in Air and Clannad ~After Story~ but here, I didn’t feel anything close not even when Ayumi died or Yusa’s tears after reading Misa’s letter. I believe the producers wanted to evoke some emotions and pull some heart strings but sorry, I just didn’t feel it. Blame it on my excuse of animes numbing my feelings.
The height of the series where it is most interesting is when Yuu had to deal with Ayumi’s death. It was pitiful to see this guy going into depression and interesting to see what he will do next once he bounce back. And then I felt it somewhat went downhill when they go back in time and brought Ayumi back. I know we hate to see cute little girls die but what is done, is done. I felt that bringing her back to live just to change the future felt a little cheap. I mean, we have already gone into the darker aspects of power abuse and misuse (which isn’t that dark at all), Nao getting bullied by others (what the heck was this scene for anyway? What was it supposed to imply) and how bad guys want to get all those super powers for whatever ulterior motive, but bringing back the dead just doesn’t quite cut it. I mean, you can’t call that ending a happy one too, right?
Although the final episode of Yuu’s international adventure seems interesting, it feels bogged down by several unrealistic stuffs. This is up for debate but I’m just going to say why those unrealistic stuffs also made the ending quite rushed and thus feel anti-climatic. Firstly, Yuu has been going everywhere. And I mean every nook and corner in this little world to pursue and hunt down every power user. The problem was, he randomly went from one country to another instead of going systematically. I mean, it is a long journey so it is going to take a while. So when he has finished with one country, why not go to the next neighbouring country instead of going to another continent? Then he finishes up and then returns to another country back in that continent. Isn’t this time and energy consuming? Of course, you might argue that the snippets of countries shown aren’t in chronological order. However seeing how Yuu slowly degenerates, I highly doubt that he was doing so. Another argument is that he might be giving his enemies the slip. You know, if you’re in America, the most likely you’ll go is to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean. So you stem that by heading to the other side of the world instead.
Then there is the case of Yuu taking in so many powers and basically at the end he is actually the embodiment of every darn power user in the world. Because of the various powers, Yuu has become stronger than any superhero you can think off and heck, he could even surpass God himself! Because of that, the irony is to see Yuu deteriorate. Well, at least he didn’t explode in the end. That would be even worse (not to mention comical no matter how you think about it) and earning even more wrath from viewers. I mean, this guy even told us something about a power that made him need not sleep! So what happened later on? I know every power has its quirks like how Yuu used to taunt the rest of their power’s defectiveness. But having so many powers and yet becomes such a vulnerable and deteriorated state just feels like a big irony. He doesn’t need to remember any power. Heck, he could just think what he wants and it will happen or do for him. Speaking of powers, I wonder if each power user has a unique power. Meaning, just like in One Piece, there could only be one type of power existing in the world. No duplicates. If there were, would it double enhance Yuu’s current power? Yeah, something I shouldn’t think too much or I’ll lose brain cells and end up worse than Yuu. Because had there been another same power user, what happens if there is another guy with the same plunder power? Epic battle showdown? Thank goodness it wasn’t so, right?
The next part in my long list of ‘complaints’ is the fact that when Yuu goes around the world and garnering his infamous reputation, I kinda noticed that every power user who got plundered by him reacts the same. It is not the fact that they got freaked out by seeing him or getting their power stolen. By the time he earned his nickname, shouldn’t all the power users be very cautious about this guy in the neighbourhood? And yet you see them casually around walking in broad daylight without any caution. Shouldn’t they have banded together and do something? Sure, you may argue that we do not see what happened when they come into contact with Yuu. They may have tried something but Yuu always got the upper hand because he is God. Then there is the argument that the power user may fear being ostracized if found out by other normal people. Other than that, it just makes Yuu’s mission looking pretty easy. Hey you. Found ‘ya. Say bye-bye to your power. Easy peasy. Piece of cake. Speaking of bad guys, what happened to them? I thought there was some international terrorist organization whatsoever? We can argue again we are not shown such scenes. It just makes them so tame and forgettable that there was even such a big bad group. But what the heck was Shunsuke and co doing holing up in Japan during that time? I don’t want to think they were just waiting and sitting around, praying Yuu would be successful. Because I think they get most of their information from international news as and when they report Yuu’s trail of plundering.
When they started putting in the going back in time element, that is where all the mind boggling questions start to surface. Especially with this time paradox thing that I am not good with, it just messes with my mind and thus took the fun and enjoyment in everything so far as I try to reconcile and understand what the heck is happening. Because the biggest headache for me about going back in time to change the future was going back to a point in time to redo the thing. History changed. It never happened. Like Ayumi’s death. If you think about it, if Yuu had came back to change the future, then don’t you think Ayumi’s death would have never happened in the first place? I know, I’m confusing myself now but bear with me for a little while. Because when this happens, I thought it would be more probable if they were talking about parallel worlds but come to think of it again, that would be even more complicated because there would be another Yuu. So let’s just assume there is just one world and one timeline. So, if like in Shunsuke’s case if went back in time so many times, don’t you think the past that we have all seen and they have experienced would never have happened? Thus, rendering this time trip a little redundant.
It is understandable that the one who leaps back in time is the only one retaining his memories but the way they show it is as though everyone knows about what is going on. I am assuming they were such close friends that they believe the time traveller’s reason that they came from the future to change it. I’m sure even if they say they are aliens from Mars trying to take over the world, they’ll believe it too. Conveniently, this is shown when Nao believed Yuu is from the future with that flimsy reason he would do anything for Ayumi. Given with all the super powers, time travelling isn’t hard to dismiss. Even making it more confusing is how like when the bad guys say they suspect their failed plan due to changes in time travelling. I mean, how the heck would they know if it is due to time travelling? Are they that freaking confident their plan will work? Oh sure. I know why I failed my grades. Because somebody time travelled back and changed it all. Man, I should have used this reason back in my school days.
Another mind boggling fact is how the school that Shunsuke established is supposed to keep all the students enrolled in it safe. It is like telling us that bad guys are immune from entering and setting foot in this special territory. If so, some bad guys they are. Heck, if they want to get a certain student with certain power, they could just barge in like how they did when they kidnapped Nao, right? Therefore it is strange for me just to think that if you are not under the protection of this school, you are more susceptible to be captured by scientists who will do all sorts of evil experiments on you till you become a useless shell. And I don’t even know what the scientists are trying to do such experiments for. They know such a precious sample is rare and yet they treat it like toys and zap them out all their energies and find the next thing. I mean, assuming Kazuki was the only one with air vibrating powers, the scientists carelessly experiment on him and now he is useless. So what? Aren’t they curious to find out more? Or are they just satisfied that his power is just that and since we can’t do anything more that gives us benefits, let’s toss him aside and find another new power to toy with. Yeah. That. Why haven’t these science terrorists been arrested yet? Where the heck are the police? Unless all adults are bad and are in cohorts to turn children into similar evil adults like them. Sighs. The problems of just having super powers. And it is all because of some comet’s dust. Curse you, Charlotte!
Phew! That is the longest essay I have written on mind boggling things that I don’t understand! Now with that out of the way, let’s move on to something else. The characters are a mixed baggage. I don’t know how to describe it but calling the main characters as okay may be inaccurate. For the first half of the series, it felt like Yuu took a back seat while we see Nao strutting her stuff. I was wondering if Yuu was going to be anything more than just a lackey who is just following the student council around and doing jobs to find and prevent other power users. Then the turning point came after Ayumi dies. Now it is Yuu’s turn to take the spotlight and Nao’s turn to take the backseat. And slowly how this guy who turns from a selfish narcissist cheater into one who takes on the greatest responsibility of a hero to save the world. Well, nothing wrong with that but hardly anything refreshing or different. I know, we’re partly to blame that we have seen this trope being used in so many films and series that it has hardly become exciting anymore. My only question is that now that Yuu is back safely but has forgotten his memories, are his powers still intact? Maybe he just forgotten on how to use them or doesn’t even know he has them. But that doesn’t mean it is gone. It’s still inside him and since he is the last standing power user in the world, don’t you think bad guys are going to come after his ass? You think the facility he is in can save him? Nao herself isn’t all that angelic. She has that bratty attitude that sometimes annoys you although she is quite a resourceful person. She should smile more often like how she did in the closing scenes of the final episode. She’s looks more likeable that way.
The other side characters are rather okay too although some I felt it was just lacking impact. For instance, Takajou and Yusa felt like deadweight and their main roles are to be as jus comical and moe character respectively. Because you have Takajou who is a big Yusa fan and thus you have this silly running joke of him gloating and going passionate about his favourite idol. Then you have Nao who is not very amused with this disgusting portrayal of behaviour as she beats him up to snap him out of it. Yes, it happens every time. For Yusa’s case, she is the cute airhead who is just there to look pretty and make our hearts go “Kyun~” if you are ever a fan of idols. And Misa’s there too to provide some little mean brute force so that we don’t see Yusa as 100% airhead all the time. If Yusa’s cuteness isn’t enough, there is Ayumi for the loli section. Yeah, I suppose her secret recipe is to be another running joke for Yuu to choke on. Others felt like they were tossed aside like Kazuki, we know he has been saved by he isn’t the point where I can consider him to be fully recovered. He has some sort of ‘happy ending’ because we see his very calm face listening to songs from ZHIEND. But he isn’t pretty much as he was, right? Even so, the big dilemma of having Kazuki returning to who he was would have probably diluted the value and made this series even cheaper. After all, this series is already dealing with some dark tones so not all is going to be a happy ending. But nobody said it should have been a crappy one…
I don’t know, with all that drama, sci-fi and bits of usual comedy, I’m sure they want to cram some romance in. Although I did see this coming about Yuu and Nao and expecting it somewhere in the series but when it came, it just feels forced. Yeah, we are running out of episodes so what a better way as an element of surprise by making Yuu suddenly confesses he likes Nao. Did they think of catching us by surprised there? Not amused. Just like her. And then it was a little too late for Nao when she somewhat confessed. What is the use when he has no more memories of you? Yeah, he is now officially a cool superhero who saved the world. So what?
Art and drawing feels okay. Nothing really to shout about. Animated by P.A. Works who also did Angel Beats, the character designs feel closer to this one instead of Air, Kanon or Clannad. I suppose they’re going with the moe factor here with lots of good looking people. Although I can’t help keep referring Ayumi to as the ‘forehead girl’ (odeko onna)… Seriously… Initially when I looked at Yuu, I thought how similar he was to Lelouch from Code Geass. First there is already his striking similarity in looks and then the way he uses his power that activates his eyes like as though using his Geass. I thought they copied this character…
Voice acting is okay with only Ayane Sakura as Nao, Daisuke Ono as Shunsuke and Miyuki Sawashiro as Sala as the recognizable ones. The rest includes Kouki Uchiyama as Yuu (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Momo Asakura as Ayumi (Yuyu in Hidan No Aria AA), Maaya Uchida as Yusa/Misa (Irina in High School DxD series), Takahiro Mizushima as Takajou (Taichi in Kokoro Connect), Eiji Takemoto as Kumagami (Bols in Akame Ga Kill), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Kazuki (Andre in Prison School) and Mai Nakahara as Yumi (how the heck did I miss Mai-HiME’s Mai? Not enough appearance?).
As I have said that this series is produced by the people behind Key, it is no surprise that their music also have that similar feel to Clannad, Air and Little Busters. Therefore hearing Bravely You by Lia invokes memories of nostalgia from those animes with its dramatic tune. The main ending theme is Yake Ochinai Tsubasa by Aoi Tada. Also very Key-like albeit the piece is a bit slower. Then there is Rakuen Made by How Low Hello lasting for a couple of episodes for Yusa/Misa’s arc. This one leans more towards anime rock. But I still prefer the former. There are also a number of insert sings mostly either by ZHIEND or How Low Hello but personally I don’t find them that appealing. Maybe because I am not quite into rock (sorry, post rock, is it?) or idol type songs. Idol songs maybe. Only if they are very catchy. Not this one.
Overall, many called this a waste of potential and how things started to get old and boring halfway. Well, I suppose they are comparing it to past Key’s works. Personally, I won’t go so far as to say that. Yes, I do agree that a lot of things could have been better and this series too doesn’t fare much higher than its predecessors. The overused clichés of super powers and teens saving the world thingy has been done to death. If I would have to put it, it would be just decent. I don’t know if some unsatisfied fans are willing to go as far as to go back in time never to watch this or make sure the producer never made this hideous production but I certainly wouldn’t. I don’t want to watch all my animes again! But just to think, if there was a power to take away making bad animes…