Charlotte, Volume 1 (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 7-Jun-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Featurette-Beginning of a New Destiny (24:07)
Trailer-Web Trailers for each episode (2:22)
More…-Textless Ending: Ep. 3 (1:33)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 169:44 (Case: 175)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yoshiyuki Asai
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Kouki Uchiyama / Ray Chase
Ayane Sakura / Lauren Landa
Takahiro Mizushima / Lucien Dodge
Maaya Uchida / Ryan Bartley
Momo Asakura / Kira Buckland
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music ANANT-GARDE EYES
Hikarisyuyo
Jun Maeda


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, in one episode
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     A small number of children develop a special ability when they become adolescents, although they grow out of it before becoming adults; for Yu Otosaka (voiced by Kouki Uchiyama / Ray Chase) it is the ability to become another person for 5 seconds while his own body is unconscious nearby. Yu utilises his special ability to cheat at exams to obtain top marks and also to attract the girl of his dreams, but otherwise he lives an almost normal life with his younger sister Ayumi (Momo Asakura / Kira Buckland). This changes when Nao Tomori (Ayane Sakura / Lauren Landa), who can become invisible to one person, and Jojiro Takajo (Takahiro Mizushima / Lucien Dodge), who can teleport himself (after a fashion), come into Yu’s life.

     Nao is Student President of the School Council of the Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for teens with special abilities; they tell Yu that teens with special powers if located by the authorities become test subjects, guinea pigs for neuroscientists, the results of the experiments dire. The Hoshinoumi Academy offers these adolescents a place of safety; the role of Nao and Jojiro is to identify anyone with a special ability before the police find them and either bring that person to the academy, protect them from the authorities or threaten them so that they never to use their powers. Yu is to transfer to the academy; in fact they want him to join the Student Council so that he can use his powers to help them. The rest of the episodes in this Volume 1 of Charlotte mostly consist of the team interacting in some way with a person with a special ability; one person, popular starlet and pop diva Yusa, who can become her deceased sister, the fiery Misa (both Maaya Uchida / Ryan Bartley) as her power, joins the team, much to the excitement of her big fan Jojiro. As the episodes continue the inter-relationship between Nao and Yu develops but there is tragedy lurking.

     Charlotte is an original anime written by Jun Maeda. He is better known as a manga author and a game scenario and music writer for titles such as Clannad; Charlotte is his second anime after Angel Beats! (2010).

     Charlotte is another story about being different and growing up. It is, for the most part, sweet, inoffensive and funny, with some nice running gags including Ayumi’s cooking and the fact that the special abilities of characters are not necessarily fully functional; Jojiro can teleport himself but not really stop where he wants to. The characters are delightful if a bit stereotyped; Yu is a bit of a rogue, Nao a mystery, although we do get to know more of her backstory than anyone else, Yusa the diva queen, and Jojiro, who tries and fails to be the cool, is the one in glasses who is frequently injured due to issues with this special ability. There are messages along the way, and although some of these homilies border on the soppy it is all done with such good humour the anime mostly gets away with it. There is a darker side, however, such as what happened to Nao’s elder brother as a result of the scientists’ experiments, but the threat level to the special adolescents from these scientists is low key, and never really seen. However, in the last couple of episodes there is a very abrupt shift into a very dark tone as tragedy strikes.

     The thirteen episodes of the anime were shown on Japanese TV between July and September 2015. Charlotte, Volume 1 contains the first seven episodes.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Charlotte is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a nice looking anime. Line detail is strong and clean. Background colours have a pastel look; the greens, yellows and blues are quite beautiful. Blacks and shadow detail are fine.

     I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     It is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

    There are white English subtitles available for the dialogue only or subtitles which cover both dialogue and signs. They are removable and may be changed on the go with the remote. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is a choice of Japanese or English, both LPCM 2.0 at 1536 Kbps. The audio can also be changed on the go via the remote.

     This anime is not action heavy but the audio is surround encoded and packs a fair punch. Dialogue is clear and the effects quite loud and crisp, providing a nice enveloping feel in the surrounds and rears with music and some ambient effects. Some redirection to the subwoofer added bass to the music and effects. The effects in the English dub were similar. I prefer the original Japanese dialogue as the English voice cast seemed more generic and lacking in intensity compared to the Japanese.

     The score is credited to Jun Maeda, Hikarisyuyo and ANANT-GARDE EYES; given that Maeda is known for his music the score for Charlotte is acceptable but surprisingly bland.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Beginning of a New Destiny (24:07)

     This is a promotional special which aired before Charlotte started on Japanese TV. There is a lot of quite breathless spruiking of the series but it is still an interesting featurette with sections on Maeda, the characters, character design, the story, the music, the animation studio and the voice recording session. Included are comments by Maeda, director Yoshiyuki Asai, producer Kenji Horikawa (P.A. Works), character designer Kanami Sekiguchi, three singers and Japanese voice cast Kouki Uchiyama and Ayane Sakura.

Web Trailers (2:22)

     The web promos for each of the seven episodes. They can be selected individually or they do play automatically after each other.

Textless Ending: Ep. 3 (1:33)

     The closing song for episode 3 without the credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our local release of Charlotte, Volume 1 is the same as the Region A US release. In Japan the anime has been split and released in small bites of individual episodes. There are extras but each is quite expensive and not English friendly.

Summary

     Charlotte is sweet and funny. It treats the themes of being different, growing up and teen romance in an unusual way and is generally a light, inoffensive and entertaining anime.

     The video and audio are good. The extras are reasonable and the same as available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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