Angel Beats!

Title:Angel Beats!
エンジェルビーツ (Japanese)
Overall:Rent
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - P.A. Works
Music - MAEDA Jun
Original Concept - KEY
In a world after death, teenagers fight for their fate and their future. Tenshi (Angel), the white-haired chairperson of the student council for the world after death, tries to enforce the school rules; Yuri, the red-haired leader of the Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife Battlefront), rebels against the god who destined her to have an unreasonable life, and the members of her SSS organization utilize armed weaponry to battle it out against Tenshi's supernatural powers.

A new series from Visual Art's/KEY, the team that brought us Air TV, Clannad, and Kanon (2006).

[TV series, 2010, 13 episodes, 24 min; plus 2 additional OVA episodes to be inserted as episodes 4.5 and 13.5, the latter being just a 2:30 min long alternate closing scene.]

Animation by Aniplex & Visual Art's/Key

Official link with several available promo videos: Official Videos
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 9 7 7 7 8 Devil Doll [series:2133#752]
[Score: 74% = "Rent-"; recommended afterlife scenario: Haibane Renmei]
A fantasy drama about teenagers in the afterlife with occasional tragic interludes whose effect is drowning in a muddle of slapstick comedy, exciting rock concert interludes, excessive gun-action and splatter elements (without any consequence to the victims), technobabble about afterlife's software running on Microsoft Windows PCs, and way too many parallels to Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu. The combination results in an epic fail, with 70% of unnecessary overhead and 30% of Haibane Renmei quality in the final few episodes.
I didn't expect KEY to produce such a weird combination of slapstick and splatter, the latter being completely ridiculous because of nobody is able to die, much like a shoot'em up game. My hopes for story and character development have sunk to a very low level after episode 1 already: Is this going to be a "Gantz lite" with moe girls? (Shudder...) All the high drama interludes go to waste when the dominating mood is silly-funny; this is exactly what made me dislike Full Metal Panic so much. The main idea isn't that different from Haibane Renmei, it just doesn't work because all this distracting overhead, occasionally going as much overboard as Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan. Why would you care about the dreadful fate of these characters when they're permanently acting as a bunch of dumb-asses?

As for the lead characters, I automatically sympathized with Tenshi, the Nagato Yuki of this scenario, whereas Yurippe is hyperactive and domineering, much like Suzumiya Haruhi. Just getting to hear Tenshi's version of the story made this show worth watching for me, even though it took 10 long episodes to happen.

Excellent visuals with great 3D camera movements; a significantly disharmonious OP song, much like in Clannad (TV), and a beautiful silent ED song ballad. But playing the concert song during the battle of episode 1 takes away the focus from the story.
  • Episode 01: (0-) Information overload. Too many named characters, not enough reliable data, a song at the wrong moment during the battle. Everything's going too fast. Otonashi-kun not mindlessly siding with Yurippe is a ray of hope though.
  • Episode 02: (0) Dungeon Traps. Yurippe's past story could have made quite some impact had it not been told amidst this unreal scenario with any number of protagonists being killed without any lasting effect. Slapstick and melodrama don't go together here.
  • Episode 03: (0+) In Tenshi's domain. This one was slightly better, not in terms of another dreadful fate but due to delivering the first valuable information, which is that the SSS doesn't actually know why people vanish from this place (while the audience got a good clue). The whole computer part was a bit silly though, using 128-bit ↗DES for the password encryption, breaking it within seconds, and then still not having the time to copy the data.
  • Episode 04: (0-) Baseball. One short moment of drama, again killed by slapstick. It's funny how many times they repeated "They're all dumb-asses", as if to rub this line into the audience's memory once and for all. Otonashi appears to have understood why people vanish, but where did he get the idea from, not having been at the location when it happened? This would have been interesting!
  • Episode 04.5: (0-) High Tension. A parody side story with all characters acting hysterically, but pure slapstick and no wasted melodrama this time, even jokingly questioning who's the actual villain here. Tenshi earned her first brownie points.
  • Episode 05: (+) Favorite Flavor. Right when I wrote off this show as senseless slapstick orgy, something significant happens for the first time. The turnaround after another baka festival came out of nowhere, and the cliffhanger on top of it. Can there still be hope for a "Rent" rating?
  • Episode 06: (0) Out of the frying pan into the fire. The fate of the new enemy was probably meant to have some impact on the audience but as he took it as excuse for being an asshole it failed to impress me. Fortunately Kanade begins to develop a character which almost saved this episode for me.
  • Episode 07: (0) River Fishing. Another dreadful fate that didn't touch me because the character was so different back then from what he's now. More slapstick as the battlefront continues to recruit the most unlikely people. The best part was Kanade and Yuzuru getting closer but the cliffhanger out of nowhere means there's trouble ahead.
  • Episode 08: (--) Clones, of all things. As if there hadn't been enough nonsense in this story already. And returning to the happy splatter orgy of previous episodes.
  • Episode 09: (+) Train in the tunnel. For a while it looked like an unnecessary flashback as the current Yuzuru's character wasn't aware of it so far. But this episode turned out to deliver key information about what all of this is actually about, without offering an easy solution for everyone.
  • Episode 10: (+) Yui's dreams. Finally we get what this series was lacking so long: A strategy, and several people working together as a team (with a surprising contribution of one of the slapstick guys), resulting in a well-deserved sense of achievement.
  • Episode 11: (0+) Shadow programs. Right when everything was set for a happy ending, a new enemy appears out of nowhere. And Yurippe plays the lone wolf, making the audience question her true quality as a leader.
  • Episode 12: (0) Onee-san's battle. The main character clears her ordeal; unfortunately the "explanation" about everyone being able to rewrite the afterlife software so easily doesn't sound convincing to me.
  • Episode 13: (++) Graduation. A super emotional ending (until the very last second of this episode), finally explaining why Yuzuru was special in this world and why Kanade was there in the first place, thus lifting this series into low "Rent" territory for at least credibly answering all important questions.
  • Episode 13.5: (0) Another epilogue. A mere 150 seconds showing an alternate ending.


Last updated Tuesday, June 25 2013. Created Wednesday, June 12 2013.
Buy 8 9 10 10 8 9 Anime of dream [series:2133#3384]
Angel Beats is the best drama genre anime

Romance : High Drama : Above High Comedy : High Action : Aver Opinion : Above High

Angel Beats is really a worth watching anime , it was quite rare and reflect real's life reaction .the comedy part was very amusing especially , the guy with round glasses said " yes bla bla bla , and one more call me Christ " and everyone ignore him .The guy with glasses is the funniest , at mission of in order to attract students' attention , He ! "Sensei" " Actually " " I look thinner watching clothes " HAHAHAAHA , i kept replaying it and it has took of few years of my life. Well , this anime is about the story of the dead where they regret every of their action in their life . Here , the story line is pretty good and sad .This story is reflecting afterlife people , it looks really real .I have a very high expectation of this anime .I have never thought that anime can make reality happens .

Purpose of this anime "you will never think this better than anything , stop regretting "

Rating :: 96% You can tell that this is a good anime !

P'S :: whoever watched this , they will never become NPC of this world

Last updated Wednesday, January 04 2012. Created Wednesday, January 04 2012.
Watch 10 9 9 6 5 6 Ggultra2764 [series:2133#1552]
(Watched one and a quarter episodes, 2 years ago)

Meh. I think I'm still gonna pass on this series. I had watched it last year yet didn't watch beyond the first half of the first episode and I chose to resume watch of Angel Beats on Netflix. While it does offer a different setup in premise compared to the harem-like dating sim situations found in earlier Key titles, Angel Beats got in the "put you in the middle of the series without explaining what is going on" situation I seen used for titles like Berserk and Gungrave. But whereas the two mentioned titles did this seemingly to get one latched on the show before explaining how the craziness started, Angel Beats makes the mistake of throwing you into things without explaining how said situations take place. In addition, the pacing looked like it was going fairly fast thus it looks to be rushing through plot developments without much breathing room for the audience and I happened to hear pacing was a major issue for this series when I read up on reviews for it.

I'll admit this was a great-looking series visually with clean details and bright colors used in creating scenery and character designs, as well as great use of CG animation in the rendering of camera angles to give the impression of depth during certain scenes. Battle scenes were also decently animated as the team of guerrilla students took on Angel at a couple points in the first episode.

But beyond that, I'm not really finding myself getting too attached to this series as it seems to place you into the middle of things without much explanation or foreshadowing as to why and the pacing seeming a bit on the fast side. Guess I'm halting watch of Angel Beats without a final review.

(Watched all episodes, as of now)

Having seen all of the episodes to Angel Beats, my thoughts on the series aren't much different from my single episode exposure to it from 2011. The series attempts to tackle too much plot in its 13 episode run, which greatly limits any meaningful depth or buildup that could be focused on with its rather large cast that make up the Afterlife Battlefront and major elements to the world of the series. The show's attempts at comedy are mostly subpar, with me only getting a few chuckles from some gags involving the group being killed and coming back to life thanks to their immortality. As expected of PA Works, this is a nicely animated title with gorgeous scenery shots and fluid movements depicted in many instances throughout the series, including battle scenes when the Battlefront confront Angel or other enemy threats. Otherwise, this is one of the weaker adaptations of a Key work I've seen thanks to this adaptation's efforts at squashing too much into a 13-episode series.

Last updated Friday, September 27 2013. Created Wednesday, September 14 2011.
Buy 9 9 9 8 9 9 Dreamer [series:2133#2279]
I've marked this one as one of my favorite series of all time. Nearly everything about this series was near perfect! I haven't come across a series this good in a long time.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork was excellent. Details were high and the colors were just rich and vibrant. Animation was just smoother than silk. Each movement was captured flawlessly and in full motion. Lighting was another fine point of this series.... very realistic and was showcased quite a bit in various scenes throughout the series. Characters were equally as good. Again, well detailed, vibrant colors and just excellent overall.

Music
The OP was a cool alternative-rock piece with female vocals. This is one that I really found enjoyable as it wasn't sung by chipmunks or kiddy voices... and it wasn't "cute" or "silly". It was.... just right! The soundtrack had some pretty good to awesome beats.... upbeat, and sometimes dramatic pieces. A lot of pieces were suspenseful, giving the scene at hand far more credibilty in presentation. For example, the dramatic piano piece episode one during the bantor between Yuzuru and Kanade (angel). The ED was a nice lullaby type of piece with a beautiful scene of our main characters and amazing pianos. Loved it.

Series and Episode Story
This series had an awesome premise and setting. Two things that caught my interest instantly was the fact that our group (SSS members) are all "dead", and battling the "angels". The whole concept of having "free will" even in the after life fascinated me. This series was well-rounded. We had elements of humour, action, religous or spiritual concepts, good characters and nice well done plot. Speaking of the characters, we had a variety of character types and all unique. The only bad part is, we didn't get to explore their backgrounds (aside from some explanations of how some of them died). But then, this might actually have been beneficial to the pace of the series... which for the most part, was a moderately fast pace series.

The fight scene in episode 1 was just kick-assed. The presentation was nearly breathtakingly impressive. How the rock band was rocking out, the light effects, the tremendous gunfire and the angle of the camera (above and slightly skewed) as the bullets bounced around and off of "angel". The music is what really enhanced the scenes.... dramatic!

The revelation(s) at the end was surprising. At least, they surprised me, and it made this series tremendously more impressive! I nearly had tears... which was kinda embarassing as a guy. The scene with Yuzuru desperately grasping the air, trying to grab for Kanade as she faded away really left a profound impact on me. The fact that this series has a religious or spiritual undertone, no, not undertone, but rather, "setting", reminded me just how "human" we are. How we desperately try to hold onto the happiness, the things that define us and comfort us. But in the end, we realize that it will all fade away.... like Kanade did. The ending was just amazing, profound and one of the better endings I've seen in a long time. But then, after the credits, if it wasn't already near perfect enough, we get a.... well I won't ruin it. You can see for yourself.

Overall, this series is top notch. As mentioned, I've marked this as one of my all time favorites. Nearly everything about this series was perfectly done... the art, the animation, the characters, the music, and the plot. Just.... wow!

Last updated Friday, November 12 2010. Created Thursday, November 11 2010.
Buy 8 9 9 8 8 8 21 [series:2133#3223]
Beautiful. Great comedy, especially early on (episode 5 in particular was hilarious), and then drama. Perhaps the last episode could have been a bit more dramatic. But that's my only complaint. Even the flashbacks, which annoy me in most shows, were well executed in Angel Beats! Definitely watch this.

Last updated Saturday, August 14 2010. Created Saturday, August 14 2010.
Buy 9 10 8 10 9 Shippu7 [series:2133#3224]
Have you ever noticed how some animes just fit your desires perfectly, but not to anyone else? It's a rare phenomena that almost never happens, although once you look at the sheer mass amounts of anime out there, at least 1 anime must fit your personality and your desires in anime like a finishing puzzle piece. This happened to me with Angel Beats!, and I hope I'll be able to clarify why.

When I started to watch Angel Beats!, it was at around 11:00pm, which in my opinion is very early. To be honest, I expected an anime with magic girls and the like, so I wasn't expecting anything to grab my attention. I started to watch the first anime with some pringles and a Code Red Mountain Dew in my arsenal, so I wasn't very concentrated. The first thing that I noticed when the video began was that it was going to be a closed space anime (a term I made that means that the anime is just going to take place in that area, theyre never going to leave there) The second thing I noticed was that there was a girl with purple hair holding a sniper rifle. By the time the episode ended, 4/5 of my desires in anime were complete: (in no particular order)
1. Action
2. Weapons(preferably guns)
3. A good set-up for the storyline
4. A competent main character
The only thing missing was humor, and up to episode 5 there were some jokes, but episode 5 sealed my fifth need, humor.

Now I had enough screwing around about why I liked it, now I'll get to the point (sorry if I took to long.)
PROS:
The anime had an excellent art style, they had a budget large enough for great 3D fight scenes and music. The anime had ideas that could be compared to the creativeness of pale cocoon (which was very creative INHO). The missions were great (except for one, I'll give more info. in the con section). There was great humor that left me crying. And lastly, the action was godlike, this anime and Shingetsutan Tsukihime are the only anime with epic dagger fights, although it also has good gun fights. Also the end was great!! ^.^

CONS:
The anime didn't have any creative character. Episode 4 annoyed me, alot (just skip the episode for the love of the anime). It went off track, changed the animes approach to angel to innocent, and directed the audience to a whole different direction. I wanted to know more about TK. And lastly, Operation Tornado was a good idea, but all it got was meal tickets.

Last updated Sunday, September 12 2010. Created Wednesday, August 04 2010.
Watch Forbin [series:2133#1573]
Analysis : All episodes watched.

Full Review.

Ok I went into this thinking it's another Clannad.
UNFORTUNATELY Otonashi is no Tomoya. This is probably the first KEY series that doesn't really involve a lot of girls revolving around a real or pseudo harem. It's just a bunch of people trying to fight off fear of the unknown. The main girl didn't turn out to be the main girl. The main boy turned out to be an 'after thought'. Computers and thoughts rule the world but very few people take advantage of it.

The last episode is an EXPLOSION of emotion. Too bad the other episodes weren't.

I rate this a watch.

Last updated Sunday, August 15 2010. Created Wednesday, June 09 2010.
Watch 9 10 9 8 7 6 Xenoknight [series:2133#2967]
One girl's fight in the spirit world against "God" becomes the pillar of strength for many others who believe in her cause. That is, until a destined youth steadily begins to change their fates...

Angel Beats! - legendary results or a cataclysmic failure? As with any popular anime, such is the choices viewers must make depending on the individual's satisfaction levels. If one person will say this title has a better-than-average story line, interesting characters, funny moments, fair amounts of action, and a satisfying overall presence as a series; another person will just as easily say it has moments of sheer boredom, a misguided comedic approach, and a plethora of wasted episodes. If I were to share my feelings on the matter, I would resort to the eternal cycle of Yin and Yang. Angel Beats! featured an "acceptable" balance of both sides of the coin, but ultimately, I would favor Yang's response over Yin's in the end if you follow my drift. There are many reasons behind these words, however. Discounting the fact that a majority of viewers (myself included) wished this title to be a true heir to the "quality thrown" (if you will), Angel Beats! stands firmly as a "stand alone" title not to be compared with the prior masterpieces the powers that be were responsible for (namely Visual Art's/Key). This is the main notion I walked away from this series with in mind.

There are many things worth mentioning for this title (both good and bad), so I will focus on some of the more important negative factors here. One thing that caught me off guard primarily was the random (and misplaced) comedic elements. Is it funny you ask? Sure, in the general sense. The issue I have is the hit and miss precision. Sometimes it fits great and other times it just ruins the flow of events. I would laugh wholeheartedly one moment and come to a complete stop within the same instance with this "constant barrage"-type of comedy. It didn't need to be that strong in the first place if you ask me. This issue also ties into the pace of the series. The whole first half is of a boring nature with some truly wasted opportunities. Getting to know the characters is one thing, but after beating around the bush for 5 episodes straight, I was rightfully irate. Episode 4's baseball game with the enemy (?) was about the point where I started to lose all hope. It wasn't until ep 6 that things started to look up. That is nearly half the series wasted! The action element is more or less restricted. There was definitely some "Oh-crap" moments, but mostly guns fights and the lack of scenes overall is what dragged action more in the negative direction.

On the flip side, the positive notes are equally as reflective. When the laughs were rolling, I could always turn to TK, a hilarious supporting character that would continuously speak English during his scenes with rap-induced quotes. These moments would nearly always trigger a laugh fest for me and I couldn't even explain why. It was just funny as hell to me. Among other laugh-out-loud moments involved Takeyama always reminding the others to call him "Christ" and Naoi always referring to himself as Kami-sama (God). The character back-stories of their individual deaths were invaluable to me as well with the medal going to Yuri. Her story isn't one for the faint of heart as those sensitive to it will most likely burst into tears after viewing it. It had a rather profound effect on me as it is. The characters themselves were all of a higher quality as well. Kanade is one special case. Her innocence and super-kawaii power over the fans have brought with it an unprecedented tidal wave of a fan base that many (if not all) forums over the web are going crazy for. The developments after ep 9 were where things became awe-inspiring. It was all uphill from there. The ending was more or less bitter-sweet. Otonashi's organ donor decision paid him back 1000 fold and the resulting heartfelt moment is sure to move many to tears. I loved the experience towards the end of the series and enjoyed it as a whole.

The specs for this title are top-class. Among the most noticeable are the super detailed environments, ultra smooth backgrounds, and well-designed characters. The music is also world-class as Lia places her voice and soul down again for her multi-national fan base with a fantastic opening theme song - "My Soul, Your Beats!". As for being a former pianist myself, the key strokes for this song still sends sparks of excellence racing up my spine. Angel Beats! is no slouch in the presentation department.

In summation, I've always said that to be able to judge a title, it must be directly connected to being able to judge the journey. For those who can look past the Key name of excellence, (which for all intents and purposes - is now tarnished depending on your point of view) and see this title as a regular 2010 anime series, then you'll be fine and not overly disappointed (if at all). For those who can't see it that way (and I can agree to a certain extent), you'll just have to wait that much longer until there is a title that can match the quality that the prior titles set the bar for. My suggestions for this title are easy. Just stick with Air, Clannad, and Kanon (2006) if for some reason you haven't seen them already. For me, Angel Beats! was worth the journey and therefore gets a 7 out of 10.

Knowing what you know about yourself currently, what would you change in your next life cycle? The answers may not be as simple as one might think...

Check out my award list to see some of the best anime titles in the world!

Never forget Xenosaga.

Last updated Sunday, August 15 2010. Created Tuesday, April 20 2010.
Rent 8 8 8 8 6 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:2133#436]
I'm not one for hyped anime titles. Indeed, my interest in Angel Beats! lay not with the hype surrounding the start of it (I paid scant attention to that), but rather the fact that Maeda-sensei, creator of Key titles Air, Kanon, and Clannad, was the creator of Angel Beats! as well. While it is nice to have a Key anime title that isn't bound by the restrictions of the source visual novel, Angel Beats! suffers from other problems.

We in the West are not fond of multi-media releases. If we watch a TV series, then we expect the TV series to be self-contained. If we watch a movie series, we expect that to be self-contained. There are exceptions of course, such as the comic book used to bridge the aborted Firefly TV series with the Serenity movie, but even then, most folks prefer to skip the comic book portion and just stick to the TV series and movie. In Japan, the culture is a little different, no doubt due to the otaku collectors mentality that supports the overpriced products in Japan. As such, having an anime series that is covered in part in a video game, novel, manga, 4-koma (comic strip), or combination of those elements isn't seen negatively.

Thus, we come to this 13-episode anime series which has story elements that cover not only the anime, but a novel, a manga, and a 4-koma series. In other words, the bane of the West.

The anime gets off to a rocky start by first appearing to have lead female character Yuri look similar to Haruhi from the famous Suzumiya Haruhi franchise. Then, the anime appeared to pick up elements that were deemed to be popular. It also started with a blood-fest for comedy that did not work for me. None of the characters really stood out to me and I found myself wondering, "What's the point?"

Fortunately, things did improve. Learning Yuri's horrible backstory (though not the cause of her death) gave some meaning to her desire to call out God and pursue the person she has deemed an angel and thus named her "Tenshi," the Japanese word for angel. Learning of Yui's life explain a lot of her actions in the afterlife and the resolution of her storyline was the one tearful moment for me, but in a happy sort of way.

The comedy aspects to improve as well as the bloody gore is dropped for more traditional "death" comedy akin to something that might have come out of the classic Looney Tunes. There are character comedy moments as well such as when Yui and Hinata pick on each other, almost like a brother and sister, thus showing how they actually do care for each other. The character of TK, who speaks clear but bizarre English and Japanese, is a fan favorite because of his sayings, which can be funny. He grew on me and should this anime be licensed, the U.S. company would do well to hire the same person to do the voice -- Michael Rivas (or use his voice track from the Japanese). If the U.S. dub doesn't do the same Japanese/English mix, his character won't be the same and Michael just has that nailed.

The overall plot is rather interesting for the most part, but the anime is completely unpredictable. So if you haven't yet watched this, don't bother trying to figure out anything because you almost certainly will be wrong. There's nothing wrong with an anime, manga, book, etc. being unpredictable. However, some of that unpredictability comes from the lack of proper setup due to only having thirteen episodes to work with.

Ultimately, that's what is wrong with this anime. Having only thirteen episodes to work with meant that some story elements, including important backstory of how Yuri and Tenshi met as well as how Hinata came into the story and how the so called "NPC's" weren't always what one would expect them to be. More episodes would have helped the overall plot greatly and allowed for more character development, something that was limited to a select few characters. I'm not sure that what I've seen of the prequel novel fills in enough of the gaps and I know nothing of what is in the manga or 4-koma strips.

Bottom line: There are a lot of good elements with this anime, but the limited number of episodes means the anime doesn't have time to focus on anything and so the anime as a whole suffers. However, because those good elements in certain episodes end up being quite good, it is enough to cause me to rank this as a "Rent."

Last updated Saturday, July 10 2010. Created Tuesday, April 13 2010.
Watch 9 9 8 9 7 7 Silence [series:2133#2939]
All episodes watched.

Angel Beats is about an afterworld where certain teens with regrets in life go to after they are dead. Otonashi wakes up in such a world without his memories, and right into the conflict between the Angel and the Battle Front led by Yuri. He is told that if he follows the life of an ordinary student in this world, he will eventually disappear.

This series is a mix of comedy and drama, starting off as a more lighthearted series, but gets progressively more serious, as the tragic lives of the teenagers are revealed, and the balance between the students and the Angel is broken. Initially, the pace was excellent; important information is revealed bit by bit, and we get to see developments in the characters. I especially liked how Kanade becomes less of a cold, machine-like program, and develops more character.

However, in the last stretch of the series, the pace quickens considerably, to the extent that many events feel rushed, and the resolution to the Shadow problem is a little incredible. Previously graduating was triggered by a certain powerful event, but towards the end, one can simply choose to do so. It seems like that everyone has the internal strength to overcome their own problems without help. Also, the revelation about Kanade's life seems too much of a plot device to my liking. This results in a loss of emotional impact.

Once again, this is a series that fails to live up to its potential. It is worth a watch, but not something I will strongly recommend to others.

Last updated Saturday, June 26 2010. Created Monday, April 05 2010.
Watch Stretch [series:2133#628]
(All episodes watched):

What was that all about? Those are the words that come to my mind after watching Angel Beats as a whole. Something about another dimension/purgatory/computer program/something else in which persons find themselves when they feel they've been shortchanged in their earthy lives. But the show was confusing and unfocused, and leaves me with a host of unanswered questions at the end.

This show leaves me confused--that was my first impression. Is it trying to be frightening, or funny, or both? If there's going to be a supernatural battleground, why make it virtually identical to the mortal one? If people can't die, why are they shot or stabbed? Is this some sort of hell-on-earth scenario which repeats until you agree to be reincarnated as a barnacle? If Tenshi catches you, are you forced to reincarnate? But if that's so, why did she let Otonashi go when she had him at her mercy? I wish the basic premise had been explained better; since it wasn't I couldn't really get into the spirit of danger and excitement--it seemed kind of corny instead. I guess I was supposed to be startled by the hospital comment, but I wasn't. And the humor aspect didn't work all that well either. The theory I ascribe to is that things are funny when they are unexpected yet actually make sense. But not a whole lot made sense here. I did get a couple good laughs, but was largely bewildered by this episode. Thus, I'm really not seeing all that much of interest here. Still, this show seemed to have potential, and my feeling was that I must watch some more to see if all the strange elements would come together or if it would be as nonsensical as episode one all the way to the end.

Episode two likewise gave me a host of mixed signals. It seemed that the one genre this show would work best in would be comedy, since I was getting more laughs than thrills and the story didn't make much sense. And then a terrifying flashback to Yuri's past comes along, and the two elements mixed about like oil and water. I think Forbin was right, the idea behind this show really must have been a sort of unauthorized Haruhi Suzumiya spinoff. I didn't know what to do; the good parts made me want to continue watching while the sum of everything made me want to quit.

Episode three was better as some questions are raised about what exactly Angel is, and whether the beliefs which had been taken for granted about the characters' present situation are really true. The preliminary explanation of the premise didn't interest me all that much, so I was glad to see that a more detailed and intriguing one might be in the works. On the other hand I wasn't all that moved by the character who came and went in the space of one episode, probably for that very reason. But in general this episode was more enjoyable than I had expected based on the first two, and I became convinced that I should continue watching.

...and I remained confused. Sometimes I get the message that this is a next world/religious situation, and sometimes I get the feeling that this is taking place in a super-sophisticated computer program, sort of like Tron. So Tenshi wasn't what we thought she was, nor was her apparent replacement--what's going on? For awhile it looked like Yuri was figuring it out, but either she's given up or whatever she has realized is being kept from us. The jokes are OK, but the plot as a whole doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast.

I can't help feeling that the main problem with this show is that the basic premise wasn't all that intriguing to begin with; or perhaps not enough has been done to expand on it, since the show can't decide whether drama or comedy should have priority. I just don't see why I should care all that much whether the characters are forcibly reincarnated or not. If they came back as barnacles that would just be because they've built up a major store of 'bad karma' and are getting what they deserve. The main bad thing about that happening seems to be that you would have lost your battle to be a troublemaker and nonconformist. It's not like you would be going to hell or ceasing to exist, or anything like that. And most of them still have very vague personalities and haven't become people that I care for all that much. So, I'm kind of ambivalent about Angel Beats as a whole.

Episode nine sort of turned things upside-down, but since I had abandoned hope of making sense of this show long ago (and what exactly had happened here is, as usual, unclear), I wasn't particularly thrilled. I do think that Angel herself is one of the most intriguing characters, so I'm glad to see her developing a little and playing a major role. But whatever this plot twist was supposed to do, the plot made about as much sense afterwards as before it happened.

It just seems to me that whatever the crucial information of this show was--questions like 'what will happen to the characters if they fail to defeat Angel?' and 'why would that be bad?' were buried beneath all sorts of absurd jokes and poorly thought out scriptwriting. There was so much nonsense that I couldn't keep track of what really mattered. So, I became frustrated and apathetic, and didn't make much effort to follow the story. It's kind of sad, because I also have the feeling that the crew of this show really was trying to produce a notable series. It just wasn't as easy as they had thought it would be.

My favorite line: "Wow, everyone seems smarter than usual today. Did you guys eat something strange?"

Last updated Sunday, July 18 2010. Created Sunday, April 04 2010.

Other Sites
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Official website http://www.angelbeats.jp/
Angel Beats! 公式サイト - アニプレックス (Japanese)

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