Angel Beats!

Reviews

vivafruit's avatar By on Apr 7, 2011

Story

Angel Beats borrows ingredients that are achingly familiar and mashes them into something miraculously entertaining. The series cheerfully rips off Suzumiya Haruhi's titular character, adds her to a Sunrise-inspired ensemble cast, and plunks them into a rehash of Haibane Renmei's basic premise. There's an all-girl rockband, a shy warrior angel, and even a dude who hypnotizes people with his creepy eyes, Code Geass style.

And somehow, this messy mismatch of borderline cliche isn't horrible. Part of this inexplicable success can be attributed to smart storytelling. The pacing is brisk but coherent. More importantly, even though Angel Beats varies wildly in tone (hard not to, when you are ripping off so many different works!), these disparate scenes tend to work in the way the writers intend. While there's an unmistakeable cynicism on the writers' part when it comes to combining manipulative angst with school comedy, the show's execution is executed well enough to overcome it.

Only the atrocious final two episodes prevent a full recommendation, which ensure that every plot thread is wrapped up in the most predictable and ordinary way possible. Watching Angel Beats' ending made me long for the open-ended finales of low-budget shows like Haibane Renmei. Rather than risk leaving anything open to interpretation, Angel Beats blugeons the audience with explanation after explanation, with mind-numbing results. There is also a lengthy and unnecessary sequence in the final episode that could have been removed from the show entirely.

After the dust has cleared, we're left with a reasonable narrative that could have been called ambitious were it not for its awkward plot holes, borrowed everything and unsatisfying conclusion. Ironically, the undeniable savviness in pacing and development only widen the disappointment, suggesting that a superior storyline could have been crafted if the writers had just lived a little.


Animation

The overwhelming quality of the animation represents a shift in priority for studios. Thirteen episode series used to be seen as a low-budget alternative to the "real" 26 episode works. Haruhi has done a lot to change that, showing that there is serious money in high budget one season shows. Put bluntly, this is among the best conventional animation released this year.

Everything is flawless, from the appealing character designs to the masterfully frenetic action scenes. By the time you get to the orgasmic rock band sequences, which sparkle with all manner of lighting and particle effects, it feels like the animators are just throwing money at you. Indeed, the superiority of the animation seems to explain the derivative plot - this is a series too big for the creators to risk an original storyline.


Sound

Well-produced (albeit generic) J-Pop mixes with a deep library of high quality background music. The voice acting is stellar, with high-profile seiyuu in even the minor roles. These seiyuu add a surprising level of depth to the otherwise cookie-cutter characters. It is to Kana Hanazawa's credit, not the writers, that I eventually cared for the hackneyed trope that is the "Tenshi" character. The natural charm of the seiyuu's delivery does wonders for the character's limited dialogue.


Characters

While the characters lack originality, they tend to be better executed than most mainstream shows. I expected the massive cast to prevent any real characterization, but this is not the case here. Instead, the show carefully separates the myriad of characters into those who develop and those who do not. For the "developed" characters, the series takes plenty of time (indeed, maybe *too* much time) to trace back several characters' backstories. While these flashbacks tend to be a little heavy-handed, they at the very least make the characters distinguishable from each other, and in some cases make them sympathetic. Because of this, the developed characters are unoriginal, but not overbearingly so. The remaining undeveloped characters remain purely as comic relief, which is perfectly reasonable treatment; all things told, these side-characters inhabit the story without cluttering it.


Overall

The technical elements of the show are nearly flawless, but ultimately, this series is better suited for relative neophytes of anime than experienced viewers. A newbie won't notice all the tiny instances of plagiarism sprinkled into the series, and will more readily forgive the botched ending. For the rest, there is less derivative fare that you could be watching instead.

6.5/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
roriconfan's avatar By on Mar 27, 2012

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Angel Beats is an original *cough* work regarding teenagers (ooh really?) in a school setting (you don’t say!) doing comical stuff (never heard that one before) with the pretext of staying alive in a bizarre afterlife inside a videogame-like world (although Gantz does not give them kill points after battles).

Animation done by P.A. Works, a studio which is mostly trying to pamper the fans with moe fan service and completely neglects the storyboard. Directing is done by Kishi Siji, whose roster includes both very good and very bad shows. I guess he has his ups and downs.



SPECIFICS


ART SECTION: 9/10 [ Haibane Renmei meets Suzumiya Haruhi ]

General Artwork 2/2:
The series yells high budget all the way and that means a viewing pleasure of delight. The backgrounds are very detailed and have a gazillion filters to make them look shinny, gradient, and generally like gorgeous sceneries in Key visual novel date sims. Yeah, they made it look like that even if it AIN’T a game adaptation. Yet, the intro video has all the characters posing at you with their names attached on them. This can only mean two things. Either the producers think we are too stupid to remember their names or we are suppose to think this is indeed a Key date sim. Which ends up being retarded after awhile, since it isn’t and there are characters with names in the intro who don’t even speak more than twice in the whole series. Trolled or what?

I could argue how silly everything looks during comical moments with the SD and low frame rate during those moments, but it’s perfectly acceptable since it’s supposed to make you laugh and not criticize a Da Vinci sculpture. So overall; great artwork.

Character Figures 2/2:
They went for bijin looks and silly gimmicks and I must say it worked great. All characters are drawn with smooth outlines that hardly look weird. Plus they look like they are fashion models doing a parade, trying to look as cool as possible. Yup, easy way to attract the fans of moe and kawaii. It goes overboard of course but, hey, the setting is supposed to be a virtual afterlife and thus it is excused in-series to be so hunk/hot/drooling (after all, if it sells, why change it?). No worries here; they look great and don’t deform outside of excused comical moments.

Backgrounds 2/2:
Mostly a typical school setting with a few extras like underground passages full of traps, and military facilities full of weapons of mass destruction. I can’t say there is much variety in here and I usually yearn for much more but the type of the story excuses it nicely. For all I know nothing else exists in this world other than an endless schoolyard, where teenagers do endless studying and take part in endless tests. My God, this is Purgatory!

Animation & Visual Effects 3/4:
Good but not great. A lot of time is spent on gags with low frame movements and superflat looks, while the use of 3D is not always that successful. Also, fighting scenes are just random magic gizmos appearing out of nowhere while explosions and bullets don’t really seem to damage the backgrounds most of the times. As for battle choreography, having people turning their heads to chat instead of aiming at their enemy is plain stupid. Not to mention all major action scenes don’t last more than a minute. Some are even resolved off screen. None of all these are done terribly, like in a title such as 07 Ghost for example, and the series is not action oriented anyway. Heck, you could remove the guns and the shootings and it still wouldn’t matter as a bullet in this series is equally powerful as a slap. But it still feels cheap at times and ruins a part of the fun.

Still, all these can be countered by the few school band festivals. They are as great as in “that other known series” which by the way has nothing to do with this “original” work. In all, the characters have vividness and move really lively most of the times. It’s just that they overdone it with the comedy SD and stupid action scenes, resulting to taking out a point.

SOUND SECTION: 10/10 [So what is the name of our team today?]

Voice Acting 3/3: This is another one of those series where the characters make a lot of jokes and gags based on stereotypes. That is, they speak in a totally clichéd way, just so another one can pull out a comeback one-liner and create a joke out of it. Not a new approach to anime as it has been done better in older series such as Sayonara Zetsubo or Bakemonogatari … which have nothing to do with this “original” work despite the odd coincidence of the main lead having the same voice actor as in those older shows. But it’s ok, it was still funny and witty to the most part and I did enjoy it a lot. Even during serious moments, the quality of the dialogue is well done and the voices never feel ridiculous at those times.

Music Themes & Sound Effects 7/7: I didn’t lose my mind over the songs. They range somewhere between elegiac and average pop and they are definitely well made but I am not fond of such types to know if they are really good to the ear. I sure have no qualms about them. The thing I liked most is how they used said music themes in slapstick moments (slow motion jokes) and even in-story (a school band playing music to distract the students from the battle raging outside). The rest of the battle or comical sounds are nothing much but thanks to the uniform of music and story, they feel far more relevant and good. Also, it appears that they use a different song in each episode instead of just repeating the same one every time. All these show creativity and variety and for that I give them a perfect score, even if I’m not head over heels about them.

STORY SECTION: 4/10 [ Gantzers meet the SOS Brigade ]

Premise 2/2:
Well, the main idea is sure interesting. It’s about people with harsh lives who are killed being sent to an in-between stage of afterlife, where they are students in a school full of NPC people as well as an Angel who is sent by God to kill them. And by “kill” means to just stop them from being rebellious towards the system of this virtual reality. For you see, they are already dead and no matter what happens to them, they come back to life a few minutes later. But if they comply with the school regulations for too long, they disappear entirely. So the main team of high-schoolers has this arsenal of weapons and fights the Angel all the time, while causing chaos in the school in order to make sure they stay alive... or dead… or whatever.
But it turns out all that is just smoke screen. In reality
there is no Angel or God; it’s just them assuming God punishes them for no reason. The Angel is just another dead human like themselves who just wants to make them move on but has terrible communication skills. Thus it is catchy how they refuse by themselves to move on and thus become themselves the very problem that prevents them from being reincarnated, or go to Heaven or something like that. Nice twist I must say.

Plausibility 0/2:
It’s still a mostly fantasy series and all of the above happen in a very light manner. For example, some can create weapons with dirt or mind-wash others at will. Yet all that are not important, as neither the weaponry nor the hypnosis add anything to the story. They are just flashy extras. It is never shown if the world has boundaries or why the so-called Angel never recognizes in class the people she fights every night. The story ain’t taking itself seriously. Neither did Suzumiya Haruhi’s story but then again it did not prevent that one from becoming a smash hit. The whole presentation is much closer to a school comedy or an anime parody that is easy going to the mind and simply has a semi-serious premise hanging around in the font. Part of catering all tastes; remember?

It also feels like they ripped off made a tribute to many other famous works. In the second episode for example, you get a Resident Evil scene, in the third a Howl’s Moving Castle reference, in the twelfth a Matrix Reload scene. The lead girl looks like Haruhi and even has an armband with a similar name for a brigade, while her headquarters are almost identical to those in Persona 3 and 4. So imagine taking a hundred ideas from a hundred titles and using most of them as an excuse for a joke and the result is the Gintama counterpart of soft sci-fi. And I don’t know how much you liked Gintama ; I for once found it sub-par to the most part. Based on tastes, you may like the whole insanity and Easter egg hunting, or you may not. All that are after all peanuts next to how it’s…

Pacing 0/2:
…rushed as hell. With such an engrossing story and a large number of characters, it would take far more episodes to unfold properly. Thus when a new development comes along, it happens so fast that the emotional impact on you is ruined to the most part. One moment they are making jokes, the other drama falls from the sky and crashes them. One day someone disappears, the next day they go make fun at each other like it didn’t matter at all. Mystery exposition happens in long monologues, development is mostly flashbacks, and battles are resolved in seconds. But jokes? Nope, those can last for entire episodes. That alone shows how much they cared about the actual story; doesn’t it? So although the series has a developing story that changes from comedy, to drama, to mystery, to something else in a span of only 13 episodes, it happens so fast and rushed that most of the emotional binding and great story ideas are lost. Which in turn…

Complexity 1/2:
…ruins all the importance of side stories and throws to the side most characters. Each one of them is there for a reason but the story focuses on only a small part of them. Heck, most of the times you think there are only 5 people in the entire world. Makes things feel autistic and barren at times. One could of course argue that it was never about all the characters and only about 3 or 4, leaving the rest as minor support. Sure, ok, I agree. They are still useless as characters and exist only to make jokes. I have seen series where all characters take part in the progress of the story and this is not one of them. And for that matter, it ain’t no surprise how most of them…

Conclusion 1/2:
… were left flat and semi-developed in the end. There is an ending and it could be a great one if it was given at least 5 more episodes to unfold properly. But it didn’t and it felt dried up and almost boring.

CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10 [ Itoshiki Nozomu meets Suzumiya Haruhi ]

Presence 2/2:
It’s all about the looks with this sort of series. Nothing surprising in this “original” work. Yes, they are all attractive, cute, perky, Haruhi rip-offs , and many more. The high budget animation helps to infuse them with great liveliness and thus they feel far better than the average “frozen caricature with a flapping mouth anime character” out there. Of course, all these count as external or superficial attributes, which are very well done, following the recommended pre-constructed package in the field. This does not apply very well to their…

Personality 1/2:
… personalities, which are pretty simplistic and almost uninspiring for most of them. Most of the cast consists of generic archetypes, whose "character" can be described in just 2 sentences. The hypno-guy, the karate-guy, the ninja girl, all these are characters who are just what they appear to be, plus a quirk at best. You can’t add anything to their characterization thus they may be funny but also shallow and forgettable who add nothing to the plot in the long-run (Although TK is extremely memorable for his English one-liners). Still, whatever they do is overall eye-catchy and backed up by their lively voices and witty dialogues. They are imposing to the most part even without actual…

Backdrop & Development 2/4:
… immersion for more than 5 of them. Most don’t have a story or development. Even for the major five, development is nothing else but characters talking to each other about their pasts through mostly rushed flashbacks. AniPlex tried to copy the successful Kyoto Animation formula and that all made it a breath of fresh Air-tv , by following the established Kanon to the letter. They may as well do a Clan Add so the tribe will thrive.

(Angel) Beats me why this superficial form of character exposition is so successful. It probably has to do with anime being notorious for spending a hundred episodes for the most obvious exposition to come along and thus this series creates a huge contrast that hits you with a 2 ton hammer. It is sudden and has such a high shock value on you that (Angel) beats the alternative. I still find it terribly rushed and cheap but then again that is just me.

The main three characters are ok all things considered and they save some face.
Yurippe gets a fair amount of attention and development and she keeps learning about the world around her. But it’s not like anyone else couldn’t be used in her place for that. She had already a lot of things to show and sharing some of those feature with other characters wouldn’t hurt at all.
Otonashi moves the plot forward and has a very strong presence. He began as a generic high school teenager we have seen a million times already, with the amnesia routine we have seen a billion more. But he actually feel better as he goes on. He has some guts (unlike most of his brood) , and his flashbacks flesh him out nicely later on, without the revelation of his lost memory being the key to the solution of everybody’s problem, as it usually is. In fact, he changes things so much than in the last episode he is the exactly opposide of what his archetype suggested at first. Too bad it was all so rushed and ended being silly.
And then there is also Kanade the Angel. Starts as an average cooldere but later on becomes a lot more. Her personality is excused and affects the story beyond her original role as the messenger of God.

There also running jokes about some gimmicks that colorize some of the secondary characters’ personalities (like the glass-guy having a well-built body) but in all that don’t really move them forward. The only thing that actually does…

Catharsis 2/2:
…is them getting catharsis and disappearing entirely. Weird huh? Shooting a million bullets at you does nothing, yet admitting your fears and hopes leads to your removal from the series. Feels almost like if you like someone, you wish he/she never comes to terms with him/herself or it’s game over. How original… Unless you have watched Haibane Renmei.

Anyways, as weird as it feels having development as synonym to perm-ban, it is excused and rather gutsy to actually see characters being removed. They sure don’t resurrect with Dragonballs or any of that shounen crap. They stay dead… or better say, they come back to life as reincarnated. Or go to Heaven; I don’t know, the series never shows what comes next. In all, this is a far better variant to the usual Key trope, where a person mentions his/her problems and then becomes background decoration. It is also relevant to the purpose of the world and the core story (and overall thematic). It still happens so fast you feel nothing about most of them but it is still an absolute form of catharsis.

It still happens too fast for most and the truth is none of them “really” ever die, but that is an issue of story and not character.
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FINAL THOUGHTS


ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10 [There are all Kagebushin no Jutsu; they go poof when you touch them]

Like most titles of its era, Angel Beats tries to cater all tastes by combining the serious with the silly, the humorous with the dramatic, the cute with the gore. It’s not a bad thing if done right as we live in an era where a series which tries to focus too much on only one genre, ends up being ignored by everyone who is not a fan of said genre. In turn, that translates to low sales, cancellation of further projects, firing staff and making people jump off windows to their untimely deaths. So the anime producers thought right while in the making. They threw in as much as they could and tried to cater as many different tastes as possible. They even went mostly for laughs, as we indeed live in cynical times and trying to pull a successful serious series is not easy at all. Not a bad move; most of the best anime of all times are multi-genre and easy-going. Sadly, most of the times instead of a full course dinner, we end up with a soup where all flavors are thrown in the blender and the end result is this gross pulp with a boring taste that drives you to the nearest sink. Unfortunately, Angel Beats is with one foot in this category.

VALUE SECTION: 3/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 2/3, Memorability 1/4

It is NOT a masterpiece or even something people will discuss in 5 years from now. It is a high budget pop-corn work that rehashes other scenarios, like what the Avatar film did with Pocahontas . It is just another easily digestible piece of fiction, poorly made and aimed as fast food. Well; easy come, easier go.

The aesthetics are done great and the tested formula of success is played along nicely. I am almost certain all Key fans will like it… for being a tribute to Key (poor Aniplex; can’t even get a credit). It may end up being entertaining and a commercial success since most are suckers for cool animation and cute girls and the recent moe/ecchi plague makes it look great by comparison. But future generations of fans will almost certainly won’t give a damn about it. Because it was made way too rushed and has less to offer than others that were made fairly close to it. Thus it has less than average value next to the titles it plagiarizes and to the people it targets.

By the way, this won’t become apparent for the next one or two years as the series is still fresh and hyped to the moon by zealots. Which is also nothing “original” in the field.

VERDICT: 6/10
See you next time on yet another “original” take on some “original” anime that for some silly reason a lot of people will think it’s great. 



SUGGESTION LIST
The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi
Persona games
Gantz
Haibane Renmei 

4/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
7/10 characters
6/10 overall
Juhiro7788's avatar By on May 11, 2011

Every time i watch animes or TV shows or movies or even when i read books, when it gets sad the most i ever do is shed a tear or two, but in Angel Beats i brawled my eyes out, complete with sobbing. it was a very, very emotional show with an in depth storyline and an array of beautiful, detailed characters, each with his/her own story.

At first it may not seem like much, it was very vague and not very straight forward, but you don't have to wait very long to understand it. Basically it's about a bunch of teens who are dead, and stubborn to fight against god who gave them an unfair death and don't want to "move on" and reincarnate. What i love about this show is that you can see somebody's background just by the way they act, they're facial expression and all the little things they do make up and relate to their overall character. There is Yuri, who is the smart and decisive, but stubborn leader of the Battlefront of teens that don't want to move on, Hinata, who is the mellow, reliable baseball nut, Noda, who listens to no other than Yuri and is brash and loud, Shiina (who is so funny by the way) who is serious and mysterious and of course TK the dancing senseless, english muttering gunner.

Even though it seems serious it is in fact a light-hearted show, with humour and well placed romance the episodes mostly show the daily lives of how they rebel against life itself. During the Yui episode, where Hinata helped her move on was the episode i brawled out at when he said he'd marry her, i was so touched by how he so cornily monologued why and how exactly it would happen that i was basically crying throughout the whole thing, it was hands down my most emotional anime experiance.

Another character i wanted to talk about was Iawsawa, the leader of the band Girls DeMo in the show, i liked how on the surface she just seems like a girl who plays the guitar but if you look closely something about her expression or the way they draw her standing or talking that to her, music is something more than free meal tickets.

Music wise i have almost all of the Girls DeMo songs, which gives you a hint about how much i love the music of the show, the band's songs are usually used to symbolize happiness or how much music means to the person singing. Besides that the soundtrack is somewhat sad, somewhat hopeful, the piano in the back of both the opening and the ending was a good idea.

This show is one i would remember for a long time and taught me many life lessons about giving in, loving and appreciating life, but mainly the show is about admitting to yourself your faults, your past, and telling yourself you can live with it, after all, that's the secret of moving on.

10/10 story
8/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
10/10 overall
Gzerble's avatar By on Feb 26, 2015

Angel Beats! has been hyped up endlessly, but the premise just didn’t seem that interesting. The “afterlife school” thing has been done since Haibane Renmei, which I first saw plenty of time ago. I was practically screaming expletives at the monitor when Amazon asked if I’d like to share on twitter the fact that I bought this. Still, so many people said that it is surprisingly awesome.

I’ll be the first to say that this show has so many things I hate. Teens, a teen band, plenty of school life moments, a teen band playing in concerts, silly humor, crowds cheering a teen band, angsty backstories, and a teen band. Good heavens above, are teen bands annoying, and doubly so when in anime. So when I found myself enjoying the hell out of Angel Beats!, I was the first to be surprised.

This type of show shouldn’t be one I like. On the contrary, with all the hype I should have been busy verbally eviscerating every tiny detail contained in Angel Beats!. But what it lacks it makes up for with some good humor, a lot of self awareness (the characters admitting they’re idiots, parody of shounen manga, etc), and an actual plot. This is backed up by some fantastic art, and a strong vision behind everything.

Perhaps the main problem with Angel Beats! is that it tries to do too much in such a short time. Well, that, and a cheesy last episode. On the other hand, the short length and not forcing character development on everyone is what allows the show to maintain a light feel, despite the dark backstories and premise. Still, it is overall one of the shows that is absolutely fun.

Writing (Story and Characters):

Take a dose of Haibane Renmei, mix in some school drama, load with humor, and voila, you get Angel Beats!. Yeah, it works. It works very well. Hell, it shouldn’t work this well. It has no frickin’ right to work well at all, let alone end up this much fun. Whatever the writing staff did, they did it right. And not only that, it doesn’t even come down to specifics.

A story has a premise, beginning, middle, and end. There are low points and high points. While the premise is tired, the beginning is not. It starts off funny, keeps up the humor, adds in some action, then starts filling in some character details, and starts changing around what the theme actually is. People say it is too short, but the fact that the show ends up both condensed and with blank spaces for the viewer to fill in adds a lot of depth to the story (in an FLCL-light kind of way). Still, the main strength is that the story doesn’t try to hide its faults behind cleverness, and openly keeps things light and with a wink towards the viewer at times.

What finally made me decide I love Angel Beats! is when the characters admitted that they’re all idiots. Instead of showing us the clever mastermind that so plagues a lot of supposedly deep anime, the characters are stupid teens and know it. We get backstories on some of them, and others are left as one dimensional… but the real beauty is that the premise hints that not a single character is simple, and leaves the viewer to fill in the blanks. There isn’t enough time to give development to such a big cast, and as such the character development suffers the most from the short length of the series, but still it does an admirable job within the constraints.

Gravitating more towards fun and less towards seriousness, Angel Beats! does not try to go all the way in one direction. This gives a lot of viewers plenty to enjoy, while frustrating some who would have liked the series to be more dedicated to one side or another. This is a brave choice, as an attempt for such breadth usually falls flat in thirteen episodes. Luckily, it pays off. While there are imperfections in both the story and characters due to this, the writing is solidly executed and edited with precision.

Art (Animation and Sound):

Whereas the writing was great, on the opposite side of the spectrum, the artwork was great. Angel Beats! does have some faults with the art in technical execution, but it easily makes up for it with everything fitting in with the vision behind the show. The choice is to keep things bright, with a lot of white in everything and an upbeat sound. This really adds to the light hearted tone of the writing.

Character designs are both distinct enough to make everyone easily and comfortably recognizable yet are well within the theme of the show. There are no hentai chicks and only one guy that’s super buff. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed, something that most shows where the fighting is a central theme fail to do. The backgrounds are diverse enough to be of interest and detailed enough to be realistic. Needless to say, I think the animation of Angel Beats! is top tier stuff, despite some annoying CG moments (gets rather terrible in a couple of the concert shots).

Here I get a bit annoyed. The soundtrack isn’t nearly as good as people say it is. We get to see a band performing, and that gives a lot of impact (video will always outshine audio), but doesn’t change the fact that while good, the songs are not great. The voice acting is usually great, but at times annoying. The choice to go a bit cartoonish fits with the feel of the show, but is not a stand out on its own. The effects are actually rather well done, though not at the top tier. Still, overall the audio department did some great work. 

The world of Angel Beats! comes to life very nicely. There are incomplete explanations as to why things happen, but them happening gets shown spectacularly. The writing comes to life and is pushed a couple of notches above where it should have been by the art. What can I say, there is some great work on the art section.

Overall

Angel Beats! is good, perhaps even great. I would recommend it to everyone and anyone that isn’t looking for something more than an enjoyable view with just enough hints of depth to keep the show intellectually satisfying enough. Really though, I personally enjoyed the hell out of it. Not all shows need to aim at being artistic and super deep, and this is one show that aims at being fun, and the art and depth just somehow wriggle themselves in there.

8.5/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
8.8/10 overall
StevenSAKUJO's avatar By on Jun 15, 2011

Story [5.5/10]

The unfair and cruel hardships that children had to experience in our world caused them to live unfulfilled lives. The world in which the anime is set exists to provide the carefree childhood experience that they never got, to strive for the dreams they never were able to before. However one girl named Yuri is unable to forgive the life she lived before and rather than seeking to come to terms with what she experienced and moving past it, she instead aims to take revenge against "god". Angel Beats! follows the large band of kids who follow Yuri's feelings and aim to destroy a girl that they call "Angel", who reigns over the world in a mission to pass on the kids into the next world (reincarnation into Earth).

There were some hilarious comedy scenes but it's real virtue was the ability to switch from those scenes to something semi-serious and yet create a totally different atmosphere in a few seconds. Unfortunately it begins to take itself way too seriously towards the later half of the anime. This anime is pretentious and self-important for a message that is so commonly delivered for it to be the main and only theme in a story of any kind is annoying. Life sucks but don't dwell, fight on? I knew that would be the premise of the story to begin with but it took it way too far. They just cry and bitch without any forewarning for 10 mins then recieve a pat on the back and thank everyone for 20 mins and it's done.... how many years have they been in this world anyway? If it had been well done or perhaps toned down a bit then i'd have been happy but this anime goes around bragging about how philosophical it is. Very predictable, completely meaningless and the whole anime undermines itself by being too serious.

Animation [7/10]

It was pretty good but it started to annoy me during the end, the animation is supposed to support the main themes and during the beggining it really did. However towards the end how am I meant to sympathise with these super cute, cool big eyed kids, even if they cry enough tears to fill a sink. It supported the idea that in all honesty, their lives seemed pretty kick ass... they continue to dwell on the past despite the fact that they're dead but really, is it that bad? Hanging out with all ur super cute, cool and interesting friends? The animation was good enough to earn an 9 or so if it had not taken itself seriously. The animation really did a good job in undermining it's already weak premise.

Sound [9/10]

The OP and ED were pretty good, the OST was pretty good too, they carried the anime pretty hard in terms of creating emotional responses. The voice actors had a lot to make up for, to make the non-idiots sympathise with them and believe their story line. Some did an amazing job and others failed but all in all it was acceptable. It did a really good job at the start and at the end well.. it would take quite an ost to save it. It wasn't given much room to work with but nonetheless 9/10 is very good. I don't really know much more to say about it so just decide for yourself.

Characters [3/10]

Some of the worst characters i've seen, I have really high standard of anime so that's not totally bad but all in all, the characters failed the anime. Naoi Ayato and Christ while not at all beliveable were very enjoyable to watch, the rest were disgusting. The only character who achieved any kind of realism or provoked my sympathy was Iwasawa (first singer of girldemo). It's difficult to fathom that I have to critique these characters seriously after how the anime introduced them but by being so self-important, i've been left with no choice. Whether you felt sympathy for their situations or not, despite if you are able to take these characters seriously or not, at the end of the day they are what they are without any reason. If they wanted to show us some horrible nature of the world through this anime, they sure as hell fucked it up cause this doesn't even cover the tip of the ice berg of humanity's crimes and tragedies. If they wanted to inspire us then they fucked it up, regardless of whether their situations were sad or not, if the answer is to accept the current of life and just deal with it then what the hell?... "Yoo don't worry about ur shitty, unavoidable circumstances, all you need to do is wait until you're reborn and then move foward" -_- -_- -_-

Maybe the answer is "Just smile?" I don't know exactly what the message was so perhaps it's safer to assume there was none and it was just a terrible, over-the-top drama? It was just frustrating and annoying to be honest, like a typical psychology uni student trying to explain the meaning and purpose of life to you and in doing so only continously prove their naivety and immaturity. That's about it, I would have prefered not to take them seriously but perhaps this is for the better.

Overall [6.5/10]

When all is said and done I really enjoyed watching the many episodes prior to when they began to act pretentiously and so I recommend that you watch up to about episode 10 or so (can't really remeber just use ur instincts). If you really like those corny type of stories then go for it but seriously I breezed through the last episode because I literally could not watch anymore.

Thanks for reading this review, comment your opinion if you feel so inclined and byebye

5.5/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
3/10 characters
6.5/10 overall