A large number of new anime shows have started, and as with every new anime season, I have started to sort the wheat from the chaff. This weekend I took a quick look at Charlotte, Gangsta, and Rokka.
Charlotte is the story of Yu Otosaka, a young man who discovers that after he hit puberty, he gained the power to take over other people’s bodies. However, he can only do it for five seconds, and his body is unconscious while he does the body swap. He uses this to whatever advantage he can, whether to get revenge on people who upset him, or to cheat his way to the top of the class. Unfortunately, Yu is so busy revelling in his power that he fails to realise that someone has taken notice of his abilities.
I’d taken a brief look at a synopsis online at some point, and thought that Charlotte would actually be more of a comedy than anything else. It starts off fairly light-hearted but starts to lean more towards the action/drama side of things by the end of the first episode. Without ruining any major plot points of the first episode, it actually seems to moving more towards an anime version of X-Men.
Overall, the animation is pretty good, the setup was intriguing, and I found the main character to be fairly interesting thanks to his complexity and manipulative side. The only thing I didn’t like about the first episode was Yu’s annoying sister. When she was introduced towards the end of the episode I almost wanted to strangle something!
Gangsta is the story of two “handymen”, or killers for hire, Worick and Nicholas, who live in the city of Ergastulum. They’re not too fussed about who they work for, as long as they’re willing to pay. Things get a bit complicated for our two anti-heroes when a cop hires them to take out a new gang leader who is increasing in power.
Let me just say that Gangsta is R-rated, just in case you don’t like violence and sexual references. If you’re still not sure if you’ll like it or not, you’ll know in the first five minutes. The city of Ergastulum is a nasty place, filled with thugs, drug dealers, prostitutes, and killers, and the show never sugar coats the city’s darker side.
I went into Gangsta knowing nothing about the show, and was pleasantly surprised when I discovered our two main characters are really, really, dodgy. They’re not completely evil, but they’re the sort of people that if you get in their way, they’ll probably kill you. These two really stretch the boundaries of what it means to be an anti-hero in the first episode, and if you are someone with a very traditional moral compass, this alone will probably put you off. If you think life is a bit more complicated than just right and wrong, I’d recommend checking this out. The story looks like it could get really complex, and probably very dark.
Overall, the animation was reasonable, the action sequences were quite cool, and the story hinted at some intriguing ideas that will probably be properly explained in the future. The two main characters were very interesting, which was almost undoubtedly due to how they reflected the violent and intense world they live in. The only negative aspect of the first episode had to do with one of the main supporting characters. I was a little bit confused by her because she has lived in the city for a while but seemed to know next to nothing about it or the people who live in it. I know she’s supposed to be the lense that the audience sees the world through so I’m not going to criticise this too much (for now), but it was a bit annoying.
Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers
Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers is a story of a dark power that rises to engulf the land every few hundred years. When this evil force awakens, six warriors, the Braves of the Six Flowers, are chosen, and ride out to return the demonic forces to their slumber.
Rokka was the least interesting anime that I watched this weekend. It’s fairly traditional anime fantasy, and that’s a genre I’m not a huge fan of. It’s been done before and most of the time it’s really mediocre, and relies to heavily on genre tropes. Rokka doesn’t do anything to change my mind about this.
It doesn’t help that I will always compare Rokka to a show that is almost undoubtedly one of the best animated fantasy shows ever: Wakfu. Wakfu, despite being based on a video game, is an incredibly well put together fantasy story. It never gets bogged down in exposition, and gives you just enough in each episode to keep you wanting more. Combine this with some fantastic animation, a great ensemble cast, a unique world, and a story that builds up to a truly epic ending, and it’s not surprising I’m not impressed by Rokka’s first episode. Rokka might get better, but everything I’ve seen so far is just horribly generic.
Overall, I will say that Rokka has a very nice art style, and some pretty sweet animation which they show off in the first fight. However, Rokka didn’t blow me away in the story department. There was too much exposition in the first episode, the characters seem quite stereotypical, and there wasn’t anything that really intrigued me. It could improve, but I doubt I’ll make it to episode two.