Charlotte: Exposed Yet Embraced

There might have been times when we sneaked into our parents’ room to get loose coins from the pockets of their worn pants, when we secretly wore our sister’s top and return it without her noticing that it’s been gone, when we kicked our neighbor’s dog because it pissed us off just by standing in our way or when we spread rumors about a guy from the next class that he’s bipolar just because we couldn’t stand how popular he was. There might have been times when we did one or two of those things thinking that nobody else knew but us. But no. Someone on a much higher ground than us has been watching us all those time. Someone whose perspective covers the whole picture.

Yuu Otosaka, a teenager with a special ability that allows him to take over somebody else’s body for five seconds, is one to boot when in comes to sneaking around. He uses this ability to (mainly) cheat on a quiz/exam making him the top student among the schools he’s attended so far. He also uses this ability to have a fight with somebody using another body. He has been successful in maximizing the ability. Little did he know that he’s being observed. All of his activities are being carefully noted – including of course the time when he cheated on the entrance exam of a prestigious high school by taking over the bodies of the smart students. You could say that the moment he was found out, he was filled with terror and embarrassment all at once. These emotions riled up to his throat causing him to run for his life – thinking of every worst possible punishment.

But to his surprise, the opposite of all his fears happened. Instead of being shunned to death, he was offered of a more comfortable living together with his younger sister, a scholarship to a school with an insurance to keep them away from the people who want his ability and an automatic sign up to the highly-regarded student council.

In his previous lifestyle, he didn’t have much to do with his ability but take advantage of people. Now that he is under the care of Nao Tomori along with Jojiro Takajo, he can’t just freely use his ability whenever he pleases. He knows pretty well that he’s being watched more than he’s already been. He then realizes that these people took him (and his sister) in with the goal of protecting them. So (maybe), he has thought of repaying them by joining the student council in the quest of gathering all teenagers that have obtained other special abilities like him so they won’t be caught and become guinea pigs of research facilities. At first, of course, he was skeptical of the idea. He just wants to live as he usually did. But he’s aware that he can’t do that anymore. He now has a task to do. Together with their ability-wielder locator, Kumagami, they continue to meet and warn these special teens to stop using their abilities for their own protection. That’s how Yusa Nishimoto slash Misa Kurobane is added to their group.

On a Biblical context, Yuu’s story, although not very similar, can be compared to Paul the Apostle’s conversion. Paul used to be someone who was so against the teachings about God. He persecuted every single person he came across with who, by all means, believed in Jesus. Paul had the skills to convict people through his words. He also has the ability to hurt people through both of his tongue and his hands. But when God called him and exposed him of his wrong doings, it hit him real hard that he became a completely different person. He became the very opposite of who he used to be.

(Note that Paul was named Saul before his conversion.)

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4)

When asked this question, in a moment of fear, enlightenment, and regret, Saul understood that Jesus was indeed the true Messiah and that he (Saul) had helped murder and imprison innocent people. He so thought that he’s going to be punished. Getting busted by the Object (Jesus) of his hate sent a sense of terror into his spine. But Jesus knew better. He knew that Saul possessed perfect qualifications to be an evangelist. He was accustomed to both Jewish culture and language, his upbringing in Tarsus made him familiar with the Greek language and culture as well, his training in Jewish theology helped him connect the Old Testament with the gospel, and as a skilled tentmaker, he could support himself with that trade. (Ref. Instead of condemning him, Jesus embraced Saul and entrusted him a task only he could do.

Saul realized that despite his previous beliefs as a pharisee, he now knew the truth about God and was obligated to obey him. So he traveled places after places (now Paul) to preach and teach the Gospel and save souls. He became the most determined of the apostles, suffering brutal physical pain, persecution, and finally martyrdom. But none of those had stopped him. He revealed his secret of enduring a lifetime of hardship for the gospel:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:13)

On the same note, Yuu discovers that his true ability is to copy the ability of every person he takes over and make it his own. And by taking over, he completely frees the wielder from the fear that anytime a research institute would come. With this task in mind, he then flew all over the world to gather every ability there is –  to save every single wielder. However, this hadn’t been easy, not even once. He was bound to suffer. The more abilities he gained, the less sane he became. There were times that he completely flipped and forgot of his assignment. But there’s that one thing that’s pulling him back to his rational self at the very least – the promise that he had made with Nao (who became his lover before he left for the expedition) embodied in a small memo pad full of handwritten translations of basic communication speeches. Successfully, he accomplished the work that only he, had been entrusted to. In his return, he was able to be reunited with everyone with the knowledge that he was able to help preserve his generation. Moreover, Yuu admitted that it was the one who was closely watching him that changed him – Nao Tomori. If not because of Nao, he might have been the same as he always was – the bad guy with no purpose. Like him, Paul was more than thankful that he met Jesus when he was on his way to persecute more of His people.

So you see. God doesn’t expose our secrets so He can condemn and punish us. Yuu may have been selfishly acting at first, gaining every favor he could gain from using his ability. Paul may have been a murderer at the start, killing believer after believer and persecuting every last one of them. But neither of them was severely punished. Instead, they were denounced of their mistakes, made to meditate and repent of them. God knows better than all of us. He knows that the enemy is not His beloved creation but satan. He exposes us so that we can be freed from all of the enemy’s schemes. After learning of their shortcomings, both Yuu and Paul were compelled respectively to help out the others in a mission they’re pursuing. Yuu became so engrossed in reaching out and saving ability-wielders from around the globe just as Paul became so absorbed in evangelizing and converting people. God exposes us so we can maximize our very being the right way. He exposes us because He knows that we can become somebody who can stand up for the greater good.

However, you might say that I’m giving Yuu too much credit in this post. After watching Charlotte, I believe that it’d be common knowledge that in a much critical view, Yuu would probably receive negative reviews regarding his character. If you inspect the story closely, you might have questions like “why did he do this and didn’t do that”, “why was he specifically chosen when in fact they could have instead maximized their abilities to save other wielders”, “how did he even get so much attention when all he did was accept orders and suggestions” or “why couldn’t he make a decision on his own”. Well, it’s true that he has this indecisiveness and impulsiveness, but that’s where the others come in. The things he lacks as the main protagonist are being counter-supported by the other characters, hence giving balance to the overall characterization. Yes, there’s this and that. But these are flaws I intentionally overlooked. I did that because the very purpose of this writing is to give Yuu’s character a new light when it comes to a bigger role-playing. And, I hope I’m able to get across the message I’m trying to relay.

How about you? Have you watched Charlotte? Were you able to reflect on something too? Feel free to drop your thoughts below.


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