With Charlotte coming to an end in two more weeks, there has been some discussion going around on whether or not Jun Maeda learned his lessons from the mistakes he made while creating the story for Angel Beats because he made a lot of questionable choices that impacted the overall quality of the show. Since five years has passed, it makes me wonder if he learned from his mistakes. (Warning: Spoilers!)
So, what is exactly wrong with Angel Beats? Sure, it had great animation, music and an interesting premise that involves a group of people in an after life trying to fight against god. Of course, it was plagued with problems such as the drama feeling out-of-place, comedy and the story coming to a rather abrupt end. Of course, the big cast did not help either, especially since most of them hardly get any development outside a few characters.
In short, Angel Beats is pretty much a mixed bag that felt somewhat incomplete. It would have been better if it had more episodes than just thirteen. It’s clear that Jun Maeda had a very difficult time trying to fit everything he wanted in the story. In other words, he literally says screw it and did a wing job, which pretty much left things left to be desired. People either hated the show by saying that it’s the worst show that PA Works has made (before Glasslip came along) or enjoyed it. To me, it’s probably the weakest of all the Key visual novels since it was so inconsistent and incomplete.
Aside from that, five years has passed and Jun Maeda said that Charlotte, his second attempt at making an original anime, would be better because he will not leave out too many details compared to Angel Beats. It is not surprising at all since the cast will not be nearly as big and unmanageable.
With that, is it an improvement over Angel Beats? In some areas, especially when it comes to sticking with the premise of the story along with having a smaller cast, which reduces the likelihood for lack of character development. Although the first half felt somewhat weak because it felt more like a super power of the week (aside from Yusa’s introduction) type of episode with some slap stick comedy thrown in, the show gets better in the second half (up until the eleventh episode).
In short, Charlotte definitely had an upper hand compared to Angel Beats since it was more focused. Sure, some may find Yusa annoying just like Yui from Angel Beats, but I find that the cast in Charlotte is a bit more likable than Angel Beats’s. To me, Nao is of course the best heroine not because she is cuter than Yuri, but she is very capable and has a better personality. It shows when she managed to snap Yuu out of his downward spiral after his little sister died in one of the timelines.
On the other hand, there are some aspects that make me feel that Jun Maeda still have not learned from his mistakes. Sure, his use of time traveling to correct a mistake has caused some controversy, but it seems that the sudden randomness and forced drama that makes the show less enjoyable. Sure, I can deal with the superpower of the week and the comedy, but the eleventh episode pretty much left a bad taste in most people’s mouths, including mine.
To me, I have a feeling that Jun Maeda fixed the mistakes that he found, but never addressed the ones that the viewers were complaining about. The eleventh episode is a good example of this with a foreigner mafia coming out of nowhere along with character being killed off and having Nao all beaten up, stripped of her clothes besides her underwear with no way to go back in time to correct it.
From this, it seems that Jun Maeda either does not know how to write a good action story or that he tends to make stories that will work better as a visual novel. To me, I have a feeling it is more of the latter and it is very evident with the pacing. The pacing for the most part is pretty slow up until the tenth episode. To me, the show would have done better if it had twelve more episodes to make the plot development less abrupt. Maybe he intended to make the drama in that episode that way. If that is the cause, it is just bad writing, especially when watching that said episode was painful at best.
At the end of the day, did Jun Maeda fixed his mistakes from making Charlotte? While we will finally know once the final two episodes airs, I have to say maybe. Sure some things have improved for the better, but at the same time, some of the same flaws are still there. Sure, people will think otherwise, but most of us have to agree that he is probably better off making visual novels or twenty-four episode productions instead of making ones with only thirteen. Then again, would it be an improvement if he made it longer? Who knows?
What are your thoughts? Do you think that Jun Maeda corrected some or all the mistakes while making Charlotte or not? Feel free to share them or any thoughts about his works.