Angel Beats!

Reviews

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
FadeToBlack91's avatar By on Jul 5, 2012

ANGEL BEATS (Drama/Action/Comedy)

STORY 10/10

I think that angel beats's story is one of the most original, contorted and psychological I have ever seen. It has perfect mix of deep, sad and funny moments, in which the spectator can live a lot of various emotions...It's immersive and well structured, and it developes in a costant way during all the episodes, without useless breaks or stalls...The ending, that is the 13rd episoded is an epical spannung of emotions and tears...yes, I admit it, watching the last episodes and the last scene between Yuzuru and Kanade I cried like a child. So, i totally loved this story, probably the main great feaures of this beautiful Anime.

ANIMATION 9/10

Animation are really good, characters's style is beautiful to see, and the animations are fluid and well colored. It's a very good product even in this features, perfectly harmonized with the years of production

SOUND 9.5/10

This Anime's Soundtrack is almost a masterpiece, the opening theme is beautiful and sweet as the character of Kanade (even her name "kanade" means "sing a song" or "beautiful melody") and even the soundtracks during the scenes are very good.

CHARACTERS 9.5/10

In this Anime I could find almost all the kind of characters I have found in all the anime I saw until now. Thanks to this beautiful story this anime was able to develope a lot of interesting kind of characters, starting from Otonashi and Kanade, the strong but sensitive leader Yurippe, the loyal Hinata, the exuberant but sad Yui...etc...

OVERALL 9.5/10

Yes, i can admit that Angel Beats is a masterpiece, the story is deep and full of emotions, the animation's and soundtrack's quality is very high, and I really loved almost all the characters presented...without forget that the final made me cry like a child, so...yes, I really loved this Anime, and it has all the right numbers to become one of my top10 favourite Anime of ever!

10/10 story
9/10 animation
9.5/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
thor123's avatar By on May 21, 2015

For me, this was an enjoyable anime. It brings sadness and laughs, and in combination with some action this was a good mix imo. There are some people who say they didn't like this "mixing of genres", because "the show doesn't know what it wants to be", but i disagree. It's a show about life (and death) itself, so I find it quite logical that there are happy/funny moments as well as sad moments.

Story: The plot is definitely not the strongest point of the show. The premise is quite interesting (i like stories about the afterlife) and the idea of fighting an angel to meet God is good too. However, the characters often do some quite random things that don't seem to fit their "ultimate goal"; aka opposing God himself. It also feels quite rushed at times, because it's only 13 episodes (a little more might have been nice). Aside from that, there are some major plot holes: (spoilers) where does Naoi's hypnotism come from? How can they just reprogram earth to become weapons? How can Tenshi (the angel) use software to create weapons? Is there something beyond the boundaries of the schoo?(end of spoilers).

The show sometimes creates more questions than it answers, and thus it might be best to just go with the flow and not think about it too much.

Animation: very good, everything looks pretty. The quality has been taken down a bit for comedy purposes at some times, but that didn't really disturb me. 

Sound: I really liked the songs (OP,ED, and the songs in the episodes). The voice acting and other sound effect were good too.

Characters: The cast is relatively small, because most people in their world are NPCs.  Some characters were fleshed out really well, making them very interesting. However, half the cast got barely any attention and thus it felt like the world was even more empty.

Overall: it was a good watch, watch it if you like both comedy and drama.

7.5/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
ChefSwifty's avatar By on Feb 18, 2015

This will be short. I personally thought the ending was a little bit rushed. Maybe if this was a 24 episode series it would work out better. There needed to be a little bit more character development between Tachibana and Otonashi. 

8/10 story
9.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
9.3/10 overall
Aureolux's avatar By on Mar 6, 2011

Story:

It'd be hard to find another title in recent memory that tries to do quite as much as Angel Beats!. Creator Jun Maeda of Clannad and Air fame put in great effort to make the show function on multiple levels, and it really broadens the appeal far beyond that of the other Key IPs. In doing so, however, he spread himself too thin, and the show struggles to find its voice by the end of the series' diminutive 13 episode length.

The concept is suitably interesting - the entirety of the show takes place in purgatory, which functions as an extremely useful device for running gags involving the characters' inability to die. Otonashi, our amnesiac protagonist, wakes in the middle of a showdown between the organization SSS and a stoic young girl codenamed Angel. After being skewered, discovering his effective immortality, and being coerced into joining SSS, Otonashi embarks on the show's main journey - to discover why he has been born into this world, and to decipher the mysteries behind Angel, the supposed right hand of God.

Unfortunately, the journey is a bit rocky. While the series' heart is in the right place, it never really hits its stride because of constant shifts in focus. Especially towards the end, every episode seems to introduce some kind of new plot device before the previous one has reached any kind of closure. The most frustrating part is that literally any one of these devices could have been fleshed out into an interesting show. At first there's the rebellion and discovery theme, then there's a focus on learning each of the characters' stories and resolving their dilemmas, then suddenly there are a bunch of shadow creatures attacking... it's not that these ideas are poorly explained, because they're not. It's just that by the time you start to understand the intricacies of the situation, the focus immediately shifts to another idea entirely. The ending was also relatively unfulfilling, as it simply tosses aside most of the cast and wraps up sob-story style with a plot-hole-filled finale.

There are a lot of things that Angel Beats! does right, however. The comedy is particularly well done, striking enough diverse notes that almost any viewer should find something at which to laugh. The insert song performances, although not to my tastes, certainly add variety to the show. At its best, the drama is very compelling, and what few actions scenes do appear are exciting to watch. With this level of quality in so many areas, it's no wonder that this show became popular with such a wide audience; it's just a shame that the core plot, which should have been the string stitching these pieces together, was a little too weak.

Animation:

Finally, a new show which actually shows off the capabilities of modern technology! The characters are beautifully designed, and the backdrops are bursting with detail. Action scenes look fantastic, and there's a lot of subtle flourish in even the most mundane of moments. It's not drop-dead beautiful, but there is very little to be desired in the smooth and detailed animation of Angel Beats!.

Sound:

Lia's OP actually flows quite well and is one of the better themes I've heard in recent memory. The voice actors match their characters and pull off a convincing performance, and the sound effects and background music are suitable, if somewhat forgettable. Also of note in Angel Beats! are the performances by the in-show band Girls Dead Monster, which don't reach the level of such famous inserts as Haruhi 's "God Knows..." but are still an enjoyable listen.

Characters:

Angel Beats! has a huge cast of characters, spanning a gamut of traits far beyond the normal clichés which frequently populate anime casts. From T.K., speaker of cryptic English phrases, to shirtless sensation Takamatsu, each of the characters actually feels different, which is a feat considering their number and how short the show is. Unfortunately, not all of the characters see the development they deserve. While the core cast is smothered in backstory and a hint of character development (if anything, I'd argue some characters like Yui see too much development), much of the cast remains shrouded in mystery to the very end, whereupon they vanish without a trace after some hand waving. What's the deal with Noda? Why is T.K. so awesome? You sure won't know by the end of this. It's certainly no deal breaker, and it'd be naïve to expect every side character to be fleshed out, but the show lost a lot of taste by trimming the fat off of the meat.

Overall:

Considering the broad appeal, it goes without saying that almost any anime fan can enjoy this show. The comedy by itself is enough for me to recommend it, but I urge prospective viewers to be cautious not to overanalyze it. This is a show that is much better when you watch it with your brain turned off.

6/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall