Angel Beats!

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HasseRovdjur's avatar By on Dec 23, 2014

SECRET SANTA 2014 REVIEW

 

Angel Beats is one of those shows that seem to be almost revered that I rarely get around to watching, but Anime-Planet's Secret Santa 2014 even provided an excellent opportunity.

 

Like many other reviewers have noticed before me, Angel Beats is a Key-ified Haibane Renmei, with almost the entire cast consisting of high school students in a mysterious world that's very much an idyllic version of a Japanese high school campus. People get sent there after death, but the reason why is at first a mystery. It's an okay enough idea, but it feels far too much like your regular high school anime to be truly fresh.

 

At first glance, Otonashi, the main protagonist, seems like your bog-standard anime nice guy, except he actually feels far more altruistic than others of his ilk, which was nice to see. He's also far less paternalistic and never spouts much of the “I WILL PROTECT YOU HERP DERP” gobbledygook that so many male leads are wont to do, probably because this anime has very little romance, despite being a Key work. Given how I tend to view most anime romances, it was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

 

Yuri, the intrepid leader of the faction, is more than a little “inspired by” Haruhi, except that she is more violent and less prone to making oddball decisions. Her actions are mostly to defy God, in case such a being exists, for all the injustice in the world. In practice, this mostly means silly pranks coupled with terrorist attacks, mainly against Tenshi, the stoic student council president.

 

I didn't particularly care for none of these three, but I have certainly seen far worse lead characters in my days. The rest of the cast have their dominating personality trait down pat, but it rarely takes off from there. It doesn't really matter, though, since most of them are used for comedy and spouting catchphrases. Only a select few get any backstory or character development, and even then, it's usually pretty basic.

 

The casting for this is nearly flawless, and the voice actors generally do a stellar job. The voice directing is great, and it really nailed the timing in the delivery, especially in the more comedic lines. I found some of the voices to be rather grating, especially Yui's, but it's nothing compared to most moe-moe anime. And besides, her entire character is supposed to be grating, so it certainly fits.

 

The animation was most excellent, with very little wonky movement or anything detrimental like that. The backgrounds were at times a bit too obviously computer-generated for me, and subsequent P.A. Work titles have gotten much better at this, but they were still nothing to scoff at. Just don't expect them to reach the level of contemporary Kyoto Animation works all the time.

 

However, the rather wonky Key character designs (especially some of the eyes) aren't nearly as good-looking, and they feel wasted on a work with this much technical proficiency. It's still an improvement over how visual novel characters usually look, though. The boring school uniforms and a few guys looking very similar in build and hairstyle just compounded the problems.

 

The music is done by the same guy that scored Clannad – and not to mention other Key visual novels and their adaptations – and it's very much in the same style. Lush synthesizers, moody melodies and an overall soft sound is the name of the game for the in-show music, which usually, but far from always, fit the mood. However, I found it lacking compared to Clannad's soundtrack. The opening and ending songs are pretty much your standard fare, and are very forgettable. They certainly fit the show, though.

 

There's also a rock band comprised of female students, whose popular concerts are used to distract from the anti-Tenshi operations, and their songs are pretty okayish rock, but I'll be damned if I can remember them now, a few days after watching.

 

The comedy is really not my cup of tea, but I can see why people would find it amusing. It's just that it relies too much on the manzai duo set-up, which I have rarely found amusing. The slapstick gags were mostly miss to me as well. It's not wholly original either, since at least one early joke was lifted straight from Clannad.

 

The many action scenes weren't exactly to write home about either. Since there rarely is never any real tension due to the characters' immortality most of them felt like flashy padding, and some of them were ruined because the showmakers saw it fit to insert comedic sequences right in the thick of it. This didn't clash as much as I first thought, but since I did not care for the comedy at all, it only ended up being a mood-killer.

 

The dramatic stuff's better, but in general, this show is way too twee when it comes to things like character interactions and story. Sometimes, it even borders on the tacky, with the backstories feeling especially laboured. It certainly has that Key feel to it, but I've never really cared for it. If you do, well, then more power to you, since you will certainly like this anime way more than I do.

 

The pacing is overall very good, but the show has a tendency to grind to a halt whenever something has to be explained to the viewers in remarkable detail, which happens every other episode or so. The writers really want to make sure that everyone understands exactly what they were going for, which I guess is an admirable goal in and of itself, but the pacing really suffers for it.

 

The ending tied up most of loose ends, but it was very predictable – and not to mention maudlin (but of course, it's a Key work) – that it left me feeling rather cold. Several segments could have done with plenty of trimming as well: it's clear that they had very little plot left, and instead of fleshing out the world, they chose to make do with what little they had left and let it drag out instead. I'm not too keen of how the world got explained, but that's a secondary concern.

 

Overall, this anime was certainly a technical achievement as far as TV budget anime go, and the animators can really put a feather in their caps, but I found the actual contents to be lacking, however much I wanted to like this. It's not a case of style over substance, but rather, my tastes and sensiblities being far too different from what this title has to offer.

5/10 story
8/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
4.5/10 characters
6/10 overall
DreadNaught1's avatar By on May 1, 2013

"One does not simply watch Angels Beats without crying", a fun quote from a meme thats all to true.

Angels Beats an anime that will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye, on more than one occassion. The reason for this has to be the great characters that fill this anime, because as you watch the anime you just begin to love each character as you learn about them and their story. Thus allowing the viewer to get attached to the characters and really draw you in, causing those great feel good moments that leave you with a big smile or someone trying so hard not to cry.

Angel Beats also has very nicely done animation, allong with music that many fans have come to enjoy hearing.

Simply put if your looking for an anime that will be a fun and emotional watch that will just suck you in, without a doubt you should give this one a try.

?/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Osiummaster's avatar By on Aug 8, 2012

One of my favorite animes, owns itsself a righteous place in my top 10!

Story:

Being a complete fantasy anime, It is actually funny how real it seemt. Everyone must fantasize about things from time to time, being locked up with a select group of awesome people, to fight against a single strong enemy is pretty nice. I loved the concept of the anime.It's like a zombie apocolypse, exept there is only one zombie, and there must be teamwork so people can prevent eternal suffering.I also LOVED the different persona's. There's people coming and going, each of them have their own problems, actually this anime is pretty comparable to the at the moment(pretty popular) airing show 'Kokoro connect'

animation:

I never really complain about animation, In this case I totally loved it. I am a huge fan of bright and relaxed scenario's, and for some reason a few of those in this anime really got to me. No problems with graphics here whatsoever!

sound:

This anime has one of the best, If not THE BEST openings i have ever heard! It fits the anime perfectly, I couldn't have thought about a better kind of theme!

Characters:

A very original cast. All of them are very different from each other, and I can't really say that any of these characters were ripped from anything. ESPECIALLY T.K.! HE'S THE MAN!

Overall:

one of my fav animes of all time. OF ALL TIME!, I have rewatched it three times (not after eachother ofcourse, with about a year's time in between each rewatch), the pacing which at the beginning was so fast that you could almost not keep track of what was happening is way easier to follow if you know what's going to happen,  also making it less fun.

But it'smostly very nice to see those beautifull scenery's and to hear that awesome music again.

9/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9/10 characters
9.5/10 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
Epimondas's avatar By on Jun 28, 2015

This one is a bit confusing to get into at least initially.  From the start, you and apparently the main character are lost in this new unreasonable setting that seems far more in line with some weird dream or even a nightmare than any sort of reality.  The very idea of who are good guys and bad guys and motivations for each are also almost as foggy.  Gradually this becomes a bit clearer but still feels murky at times.  It ends on a good note with a rather positive spin despite all the convuloted, misdirective, and muddled attempts to side track you and the lead character.  The story in general is a mix between tragedy, drama, spiritual, morality tales, and a side of music and video game elements thrown in.  After it is all over you might start to wonder about perspectives when considering who viewpoint is correct or incorrect.  If nothing else it might inspire viewers to understand things from other people's perspectives more rather than jumping to immediate and negative conclusions.  At the same time as all that there are aspects of extreme isolation and a lingering sense of control.  In other senses, somethings feel a bit incomplete as only the main characters seem to have an ending story.  Still it is a interesting and pleasant show to watch if you are willing to stay with the show long enough for all the fuzzy sensations to clarify and start to make sense.

Other points to note are that it has pretty strong yet appealing characters, a overall though difficult to comprehend main story at least until you get through a few episodes, and a fairly strong focus on sound and music many other animes do not even pay attention to.  

8/10 story
7.5/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall