I think if it wasn’t for Fantasy Girls subject #1 in Rikku being my first fantasy character crush and someone I’ve had many more years of exposure to, Charlotte may be at the top of my list.
At the very least, she’s the longest reigning champion in this decade. Kuon from Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen finally just recently took the throne from Charlotte, but this lovely blonde has had the crown since I first got exposed to her character when Infinite Stratos was released in English in 2012.
I’ve already mentioned it before, but Infinite Stratos is one of my favourite, if not my favourite anime of all-time, which to some might be weird because it’s a harem anime. But the show has had some of my most favourite characters ever in anime on its roster, girls like Laura Bodewig and Houki Shinonono. But Charlotte stands in a class all on her own, she truly is a girl that at no point during the series have I ever looked at her with any disdain.
I knew she wasn’t a boy from the get go. Hair was too pretty. It’s also a harem anime, do the math, they’re not gonna have a pretty gay boy added into the mix, the show isn’t a giant comedic parody of harems. Once you saw Charles in his IS pilot gear, you know he was actually a she almost instantly. The way her skin’s drawn and the shape of her hips (not to mention her crotch area makes it real obvious too) really give it away. Basically the only thing they did to try and hide it was to not have any butt shots of her while still pretending to be male. I don’t know if they actually put in an effort to disguise her as a male or if it really was supposed to be that obvious. All I know for sure is that I’ve become really good at pointing out girls dressing as guys and vice-versa in anime.
The moment itself where Ichika discovers that ‘Charles’ is actually a ‘Charlotte’ is a pretty sudden moment, he basically goes to shower and discovers there’s a familiar blonde-haired figure naked in there already and forgot to lock the door. Also, why does Charles suddenly have C-cups? And also doesn’t have a pen-! Ohhhhhhhhhh! Since harem protagonists are usually dumb and/or clueless, Ichika’s the only one of us staring at the current situation with any surprise whatsoever. It doesn’t help that not long after she trips while dressing for bed and Ichika gets a good look at her panty-covered ass. Trying to keep her from shrieking and blowing everyone’s cover, he tries to stop her but trips and in the most unlikely scenario, pulls her panties right off (cause that’s possible). So Charlotte’s first day on our screens was…eventful to say the least.
I did really enjoy her male character as well, she doesn’t change too much from when she finally reveals herself to everyone as female. She is extremely polite, sweet and adorable (yes that includes when she was disguised as a male and NO ONE had any idea *sarcasm*) and that doesn’t change when she’s a girl full-time again. She just gets more girly and emotional (and calls Ichika a pervert, because it’s his fault she wanted to ride a couples slide with him and the force of the slide caused his hands to bounce up and onto her chest) at times where she was clearly holding herself back as a male in disguise.
In terms of her looks, I put her at the top of the list, barely ahead of Houki (who’s smoking hot in Season 2), Cecilia and Chifuyu who are all built to be more sexy than beautiful. The thing with Charlotte though, is she’s the best of both worlds, in her swimsuit (especially the blue bikini in Season 2, not that big a fan of her orange/black getup in Season 1) she shows she can be sexy, but while she has those sexy moments, her default look is pure beauty. She’s pretty, cute, adorable, whatever term you’d like to use. She’s the pretty girl that when you’re close enough to her shows off that sexy side, which is just incredible as well.
The thing that really separates Charlotte from the other girls as well is how even when dressed more masculine, she still exerts the same amount of beauty. I think she’s actually hotter in her male version of the IS suit than the female and that one shows off her ass more. But the male version instead of giving you easy access to butt shots, it’s cut above the stomach, so you get that bit of skin with her belly button and all. For me, it’s surprisingly sexier to me, not 100% sure how to explain it though. The other part that also adds onto her sexiness is the French accent she has (in the English dubbed version). Some may look at it as a little over the top, I think it adds so much more to her, I think it’s sexy as hell.
Probably my favourite part of Charlotte outside of just her looks and personality, is her relationship with my second favourite character of the series, Laura. Initially enemies when Laura was still in bad German girl mode, in the second season especially we see the two of them more like sisters than anything else. Obviously they’re still rivals for Ichika’s affection, but when it’s just the two of them, they’re probably my favourite non-lesbian and non-related pairing of two female characters. Scenes like the cat pajamas where she absolutely has Laura embarrassed to the nth degree and the mixed berry crepe escapade are two great examples of how even the biggest of rivals can find a way to create such an adorable relationship.
Last but not least for the feminists out there who want to pull out the sexist card and whatnot, Charlotte out of all the girls vying for his attention shows the most level head. She’s the least likely to get angry, is able to stay calm most of the series and has a huge hand in training Ichika as an IS pilot in the early going of the series. Rin and Cecilia fought to no end and Houki couldn’t get her head straight, clearly way too busy thinking about what was (somehow not throbbing) underneath those tight IS pilot pants. Charlotte is the best teacher Ichika has who isn’t an actual staff member of the IS Academy, without her he’d never be able to handle a gun, something that comes in handy later on in the series. So yes she’s in various states of undress (cause girls do have to change their clothes once in a while and actually wear somewhat revealing swimwear!) and often exerts a little bit of girly expressions (because she’s a girl!), but she’s far more than just the pretty face who has a camera following her ass the entire series. She’s much more important than that.
Personally, I think she’s the best choice out of all the girls for Ichika as well. Clearly during their time together they develop a bit of a relationship that never really materializes due to various interruptions by the other girls. And honestly, I think Ichika has no interest in a loving relationship with Houki, I watch the series and still to this day feel like he looks at her like a sister, or at the very least a really close friend, but I don’t see attraction when he looks at Houki. Whereas with Charlotte, I can name a few times, certainly more than with Houki.
Minus the poodle outfit she wears in Season 2 (slightly stereotypical), pretty much everything she’s a part of in the series is fantastic. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, she’s funny, she’s dependable and most of all, she comes off like a best friend, someone you could easily get close to right away. I know I have Kuon currently in the #1 waifu spot, but man, Charlotte’s had that spot for almost four whole years. That definitely accounts for something.
I’d love to have a mixed berry crepe with her one day. Though I’ll be far too old before that technology comes out.