Note: This review is written by a very biased person. Feel free to dissent.
Angel Beats! is a 2010 action/fantasy anime series made by the famous game producers:
Key(featured works: Clannad, Kanon, Air, Little Busters!…) and
Aniplex(featured works: Fullmetal Alchemist, Gintama, Guilty Crown, Puella Mgi Madoka Magica…).
The original story is by Jun Maeda, who made a ton of storyboards/scripts for sad anime and dating adventure games(or gal-games for short…).
The anime series consists of 13 episodes, see episode list for Angel Beats!.
Story surrounds where the protagonist Otonashi, an ordinary young man, wakes up in a strangely quite world with zero memory. In there he meets Yurippu, who tells him that this is the world where all the dead enters. Yurippu is the leader of SSS, a team composed of young people who strives to against “God”. They believe that, by fighting the “Angel”, they can take over that world and ultimately, change their own fates. Otonashi then decides to join the SSS, and he finds out what they are really fighting against…
Under this=Review+Comments, Spoilers Alert!
This anime is all about stories of young people who had regretful lives.
Yuri had all her siblings killed by robbers, losing all her happiness from the world in 30 minutes.
Iwasawa killed by her drunken father, unable to continue her dream of singing.
Hinata fell into drugs after a defeated baseball game, where his hope was lost…
Yui born with a body of vegetable state, lived her entire life on the bed and died on the bed…
Yuzuru(Otonashi) died on a train accident, on the way of his Doctors’ licensing exam…
All these flashbacks have created a huge stream of feelings, at the same time well-integrated with the action aspects of the story.
The misery of each character brought lots of tears in my ears while watching this show. After watching it twice, the characters’ individual journeys have made me felt sympathetic towards to…their stories are vigorously tragic and are, most importantly, full of REGRETS. Otonashi, however, have lived a fulfilled life in which he dedicated and brought salvation to others. He entered the “after world” simply by accident, therefore creating changes in there. Otonashi suggests that, maybe the purpose of the after world they are placed in, is for them to complete their dreams and goals that they were unable to fulfill during their original lives. He also recognizes that the “Angel” is not “Angel” at all: she is just an ordinary girl name Kanade, and is like everyone else. With her aid Otonashi began to help everyone in the world reaching their dreams and goals, so they could depart from the after world and “reincarnate” –to begin a completely new life on Earth. In other worlds, if you have no more regrets, you will disappear from the after world.
Though Angel Beats, being a Key produced anime work, is indeed amazing, there are still quite some improvements to be made. First of all, we look at the conflicts aspect: WHO IS THEIR ENEMY? This can be an open-ended question…In the beginning the tension of the story focuses on the battles between the SSS and the Angel, lots of gunfights/sword battles going on. But turned out that Angel is not their enemy? Now what? Oh crazy shadows appear and trying to consume their souls. No problem, the team works so hard to get rid of them, and then there’s Kanade(angel) slaughtering the enemies like…I don’t know how to describe that…
Anyway, no epic final boss, just by taking down a room full of computers and you call that an exposition? Definitely debatable. At least to me, that is not of satisfactory.
Secondly, the romance aspect. The story has, too much, highlighting the past events and the setting itself(the secret of the after world?). Romance was suddenly introduced on episode 10(which is almost the end of the story) between Hinata and Yui all in a rush. Hinata confessed to Yui, AND THEN YUI VANISHED AWAY. Are you trying to create tragedy there, Maeda? I feel that there can be a better elongation in that episode…anyway, that was heart felt, but sort of generated a sense of discontent for me.
The most surprising transition in AB is probably the relationship between Yuzuru and Kanade. So Yuzuru, you are actually in love with the Angel! And it turns out that the heart donated after his death actually went to Kanade after(wait, so how did Kanade enter this world? I thought your heart should make some differences…)! This all happen to be revealed in the last episode…rushing the romance again. With all the feeling of longing, Yuzuru just happened to fleet into the after world, which he wasn’t suppose to…There are many things to complain about(laugh), but this part where Yuzuri addresses his feelings towards Kanade is very touching. It is very sad, from Kanade’s quote: “No, Yururu…If I say my true feelings now, I will probably disappear–“
And so did they get their #happily_ever_after? You tell me! The ending is left ambiguous…
AB Trailer with English sub:
I will finally shut up after some rankings:
Overall: 24.5/25=98%(under my biased view!)
This anime is enlisted in my personal anime hall of fame Top 3 😛