Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Psychological, Romance, School Life, Tragedy
Offical Homepage: http://www.angelbeats.jp/
Recommended for those who enjoyed:
Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), CLANNAD, Kanon, Air
Angel Beats! begins with Otonashi, a high school male, waking up in a world without any memories of his past. His thoughts are quickly interrupted as a girl of the same age, Yuri, notifies him that he is in a ‘afterlife’ and that she is a member of the Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife War Front). Wielding a large sniper, Yuri aims and fires at a girl who appears to be a regular high school student. The members of the Shinda Sekai Sensen, or SSS, refer to this girl as ‘Tenshi (Angel)’ and believe that it is their mission to defeat ‘Tenshi’ and rebel against God for unfairly ending their lives and bringing them to the afterlife. Otonashi joins the SSS and fights alongside its members, slowly uncovering the truths about this ‘afterlife’, who Tenshi really is, and about his own past.
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Angel Beats! tells a touching tale of students who led tragic lives but still hold hope. The ‘afterlife’ they are sent represents Purgatory, where the students can fulfill their dreams and proceed onto the true afterlife or effuse into the world of NPCs and ‘die’ for good. Although the students all have hope of gaining another chance at life, Otonashi’s arrival into the world is what really initiates their progression towards their goal. Yuri unintentionally misguided the rest of the SSS into focusing all their energy on attacking Tenshi and fighting against ‘death’ or ‘disappearance’.
Otonashi, however, quickly understands that perhaps the world is already where the unfortunate youth can fulfill their purposes in life, that they do not have to fight for it with pointless violence and suffering. When the unorthodox concept is revealed to the rest of the students in the world, almost all reject the idea firsthand and are lost at what to do.
The idea of ‘maybe dying isn’t such a bad thing’ is too difficult to accept for the students that led painful lives and experienced tragic deaths. They cannot see how anything good can come out of something as terrible and final as death. However, only by dying were these teenagers able to meet each other and share their experiences. ‘Dying’ gave them all another chance at life and allowed them to fulfill their goals and dreams. At the end of the series, all characters are able to accept this fact and fulfill their lives without hesitance, peacefully moving on into the next life.
Although Angel Beats! was a great anime and one of my personal favorites, there were still many flaws that if fixed, could have made the series so much better. One of the main issues is the lack of character development for the majority of the characters in the series. Loveable characters such as TK, Noda, and Takeyama all seemed to play a very minor role in the series, despite having lots of screentime and being members of the SSS. Yuri wakes up in the infirmary at the end of Episode 12 and is told that all the other characters fulfilled their dreams and passed on. What? Really? While Iwasara, Naoi (whose arc seemed to start and end in the same episode) and Yui (who arrived some episodes after the start of the series) all had their own developed arc, none of the others had their pasts or backgrounds revealed. Had the series been longer with more character development, it definitely would have been a better watch.
One of the other main parts that needs work is the ending. Although Kanade (Tenshi) had Otonashi’s heart (both literally and figuratively), there were no other signs that Otonashi loved Kanade. I’m sure the majority of the audience who haven’t read the manga for Angel Beats! were sure that Otonashi would be paired up with Yuri, if anyone at all. Otonashi’s dramatic confession killed the peaceful and bittersweet flow the last episode had going.
Nonetheless, Angel Beats! is still an anime worth watching and one of the better ones of the spring anime season. Some of the plot is inconsistent, but overall, those who watch it will enjoy the series for its tear-jerking arcs, hilarious comic relief situations, loveable characters, great animation and action scenes, and amazing soundtrack.
Angel Beats PV6 Trailer:
The 5th episode of Angel Beats: