|Original Manga||Jun Maeda|
|Made By||P.A. Works|
|# of Episodes||13|
Sum it up in a Sentence:
In the world after death, Yuri and the SSS rebel against the god that fated them with tragic lives and battle his enforcer, Angel.
Angel Beats! takes place at a high school acting as a Purgatory, where students learn to give up any lingering attachments they still have from life before continuing to an afterlife or reincarnation. While injury or death no longer exist, those in the afterlife school can still feel pain or other things as they did when they were alive. The story follows the main protagonist Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. Upon awakening in the afterlife, he meets a girl named Yuri who invites him to join the Shinda Sekai Sensen (SSS or lit. Afterlife War Front), an organization she founded and leads which fights against God for the cruel fates the SSS members experienced in life. Their only enemy in the world is the school's student council president Angel, a being with supernatural powers who fights against the SSS. Yuri believes that anyone who follows Angel's orders and behaves like a normal student at the school will eventually disappear and pass on. However, those who fulfill their dreams in the afterlife will pass on as well.
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Other series from Key:
Beautiful visuals from P.A Works and a tear-jerking story from Key form the foundation of this sometimes odd and often touching anime. The in-story band, Girls Dead Monster, rocks hard and compliments the fantastic soundtrack.
This is what happens when you give Key's writer the privilege to kill off any character at any time, with no consequences whatsoever. That said, this is a pretty damn good show. There's a fierce juxtaposition of comedy and drama, but it all manages to work itself out. The soundtrack is very good, especially the ED, and as mentioned above, Girls Dead Monster is an excellent addition. My only complaint is that the short length means that the plot and characters don't get all the time they need to flesh themselves out, but all of the main characters are satisfactorily developed by the end. If you can just sit back and roll with some odd changes in character interaction, you'll find this to be a show well worth watching. The extra episodes/specials are fantastic, as well.
To be honest I don't know what to say about this. One hand it handles character development and story telling really well, but on the other hand it utterly destroys the concept of good pacing. To be honest Angel Beats could be something really memorable and good if it got 26 episodes instead of 13, but instead the 13 episode length really made the show a lot worse than what it should be. When you think of something with good potential, but got wrecked by poor execution, this is probably it. However, I still enjoyed it quite a bit because the good parts in this series does outnumbers the bad.
I can count the number of times a story has brought me to tears on a single hand. This show did it twice.
From the very beginning, the production quality is blatantly apparent. The entire show is full of vibrant colors and absurdly good animation that the fantastic direction shows off really well. It also has a great soundtrack to match, and, as has already been mentioned, Girls Dead Monster rocks. It usually feels like its moving pretty fast, and at first that combined with the vibrant colors give the each episode a lot of energy that is then balanced by moments of deep drama that sit comfortably between amazing comedy segments. However, the negatives of that pace becomes apparent towards the end of the show which should definitely have been at least a few episodes longer or had an entire second season to truly round off the show.
But despite its rushed feel, there never any moments that feel cramped with plot or, on the other extreme, empty. In fact, there are many moments in this show that stand out well above almost anything else I've seen. This really is a special experience for both its hearty comedy and heart wrenching drama. When you're done with the main show, check out the utterly hilarious romp that episode 14.5, which was an OVA. Also recommended is the short Alternate Epilogue that showcases another equally plausible and equally beautiful possibility.
I didn't enjoy this series very much. I gave it a shot because it was supposedly Key's next big thing and I enjoyed Clannad and to some degree Kanon, as well as hearing it get a lot of praise from everyone. However, I was very much annoyed at how stereotypically "anime" everything was, and padded with uninspired design and lazy animation. The parts that I supposed made people emotional or cry just seemed okay because by the time it happened, I still didn't care about any of the characters, much less the nondescript main guy. Some people have told me that it probably didn't establish the characters well because the anime only had so many episodes to work with and they had to cram everything in there, but I'm not about to go play the game or read the visual novel. So if you were thinking about just watching this series, I'd say save yourself the trouble because it's very very boring unless you absolutely have a fetish for girls using guns for no reason and wacky-random violence comedy because they live in limbo and no one dies.
Honestly, look at that picture up there with the cast and you'll pretty much learn as much depth as there is about those characters. I am still baffled why this series got so much praise.