Screen Daze: Angel Beats! Review
[ Article By: Liam Walters ]
[Originally posted: 09/10/2010]
‘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’. For those who do not know, Key have developed several other animes based off their visual novels, such as ‘Air’, ‘Kanon’ and ‘Clannad’
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 announce that not only did Angel Beats reach my expectations, but superbly passed it, within in the first few episodes of the series.
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.
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 existence 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 characters in the show are defiantly worth mentioning. With a great cast of both main, and secondary characters, this show can give a nice range of different personalities and can help make you feel emotionally tied to a lot of them. The main character, Otonashi, is a great example of this, as we see him start of, as new to this world as we are, with his memories disappeared. We struggle through with him as he makes new friends, and then when he is presented with the opportunity to regain his memories, we can feel his hesitance, worried over what he may learn about himself. Unfortunately, some characters fall short of their potential, and some significant character stories are pushed into one episode, when it would need multiple to really take an effect on the audience. This is not to do with the writing however, but more to do with the 13 episode length.
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 when it could have been so much more, with maybe 24 episodes instead….
With an special episode to come out with the final volume of the DVD in December, and talks of a second series, I feel that there is a lot more to come from Angel Beats, and I will be ready and watching all the way.
Do you agree with me, or think I am talking out my backside? Share you’re own opinions in the comments section, and get your voice heard!