Review: Angel Beats!
[ Review By: Liam Walters ]
[ Originally posted: 17/09/2010 ]
[ Contains Minor Spoilers ]
‘Angel Beats’ is a 13 episode anime series, created by ‘Jun Maeda’, and produced by ‘P.A Works’ and ‘Aniplex’. Jun Maeda, along with the character designer ‘Na-Ga’ are both from the visual novel company ‘Key’. You may have heard me talk about Key in the past. For those who do not know, Key have developed several animes based off their visual novels, such as ‘Air’, ‘Kanon’ and ‘Clannad’ (All of which are my part of my top favourite animes).
There’s something special in the writing of these animes. Something that just strikes an emotional chord, and with Key being part of the development process, I had high expectations when I first heard of Angel Beats. I am happy to sit here, and announce that not only did Angel Beats reach my expectations, but clearly passed it even in the first few episodes.
Here is a short promo video for Angel Beats:
Angel Beats takes place in a highschool, in the realm between the living and the dead (a somewhat purgatory). The students end up there when they have any lingering attachments from when they were alive, which they must learn to overcome before passing into the afterlife or reincarnation. The protagonist on this story is a young boy named Otonashi, who wakes up in this strange place, finding out he has no memories of who he is, or even where he is.
He quickly meets Yuri, who explains to him that he is dead, and asks him to join the ‘Like Hell I’m Dead’ Battlefront, although she adds that the name tends to change a lot. He see that she had a gun pointed towards another young girl with white hair, as Yuri explains that the girl is an angel, sent by god to erase those who appear at the high school.
Otonashi doesn’t believe Yuri, and decides to go down to the girl and ask her questions. She explains that she is not an angel, but the Student Body President. She also brings up that they are actually dead, although Otonashi is still sceptical of the idea, and asks for her to prove it. She does this by stabbing him through the chest. Yeahh, when an angel stabs someone through the chest, nobody says a thing, but when I do it, suddenly I’m a ‘danger to the community’.
Otonashi wakes up some moments later in the infirmary, shocked to see that there isn’t even a scar. In this world, no one is able to die, because they are already dead, although they can still feel the pain of death. Otonashi once again finds Yuri, and decides to join her battlefront, now named ‘The Afterlife Battlefront’, as he begins to meet all other members of the battlefront.
Throughout the series, they go on many different missions, fighting against angel, among some other enemy’s, and even turning some of those enemies into friends. About half way through the series, Otonashi begins to remember his past and the life he had led, as well as finding out about the lives of some of the other members of the battlefront.
Near the end of the series, the battlefront face a new enemy, one that is more dangerous than anything they have faced, and one that can even affect their entire existance in their world. The anime ends with some goodbyes, some feelings shared, and a lot of tears, although also gives us a glimmer of hope in the short epilogue.
The Main Characters of Angel Beats
My Top 5 Favourite Characters
So it may seem weird to have the main series protagonist as far down as number 5, but I have my own personal reasons for liking the others more than him. Still, he is a great and interesting character, kind hearted and you really feel for him when you learn about his past. I think he does very well as a series protagonist, and is a very well made character.
Yuri is the leader of the Battlefront, and a very strong and capable leader at that. I was always two ways about her through most of the series. She seemed like a good character, but she didn’t seem anything special. But that changed in episode 11 for me, when I saw something that made me very happy. I can’t say what because I’m keeping spoilers to a minimum, but if you watch it, you’ll probably find out.
Shiina is a female ninja, who rarely speaks, and when she does, it is normally her signature phrase ‘How shallow minded’. I think the reason why I like this character so much is because of her abnormalities, as well as her eccentricities, such as her weakness for anything cute, or deciding to try to balance a broom on her finger for the entirety of episode 4, because she is mad at herself because Otonashi did better than her during one of the previous missions.
Angel is actually a hard one for me to describe why I like. She just has some… aspects about her personality that seem to resonate within me. Unfortunatly, since I’m keeping spoilers to a minimum, I can’t go deeply into why she is one of my favourite characters throughout the series, but alas she still is.
TK is… Well… He is more or less a comic relief character. He is a member of Yuri’s battlefront, although no one knows much about him, not even his real name. I think I like him for the same reasons as Shiina, just his weird eccentricities, like the way he speaks broken English for most of the series, or the way he breaks into dance every so often. He rarely speaks Japanese, although does seem to understand what other people are saying, and will willingly sacrifice himself to help his team along.
This is one of the only times when I have chosen a comic relief character as a favourite from the series, although this just helps my point that this series is extremely well written, with fantastic characters, which are both well designed and well developed.
I also have to take a moment to talk about the music within the anime. Like Key’s animes and games, the music choices are excellent and well composed. I personally have the Clannad OST and the Air OST, and I would hope to get the Angel Beats OST as well. The ending theme I especially like, and I cant really say why, I just really love it, so much so that I’ve been listening to it whilst writing this review.
This anime is one of the reasons why I love the works of Key so much. There is just the right amount of laughter, but also the right amount of drama and sadness as well. It makes me upset that I have watched the entire series, because I just loved watching the episodes so much, it’s just a shame to let it end so soon, after only 13 episodes.
If you have watched the series yourself, then I urge you to comment and share your experiances with the story and the characters. If you have not seen the series, then I urge you to do so, then come and discuss what you think of it.