Since I'm a Roman Catholic (Christian), I believe in a place where the dead stays in pursuit of peace and solemnity. A place where they are not yet ready to accept heaven for the belief for God. A place called Purgatory.
Purgatory isn't a place of paradise nor despair. It's a place where people who in the afterlife feels the answers that they needed to know about God. On why they receive such kind of fate in themselves that they know that they deserve better in their life. On why they have suffered and God was nowhere to be found. On why God made them suffer.
In this anime, titled 'Angel Beats!', it is based on the Purgatory. The anime starts out with a boy waking up and found a girl in a school uniform holding a .50 Cal Sniper, pin-pointing a normal girl who she said to be the enemy "Tenshii" or Angel. She stated that he was dead and now that he is in the afterlife. The girl holding the rifle introduced herself as Yuri Nakamura (also known as Yurippe) and while staggering, he confronts Angel and the result was he was stabbed instead.
Later, he woke up lying in bed and admits the fact that his dead but doesn't remember how he died. Then was introduce by SSS (Shinda Sekei Sensen or in English, Afterlife Battlefront) that same day who was led by Yurippe. He then met the other members such as Hideki Hinata (a former baseball player) in which his closest friend. Otonashi was later then recruited and his weapon of choice was a simple Glock pistol and their mission is to defeat Angel, who's real name is Kanade Tachibana - the student council president - cause they believe that Kanade is a chosen warrior by God and thus, making her a real Angel. If they manage to defeat her, then they can challenge God and make revenge on him.
So, an anime about rebelling God...
'Angel Beats!', for starters, has a setting of a simple highschool, where they believe that there are two kinds of people living in their state: The NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) that aren't human but they project that they are and the humans itself, which includes the SSS members. The members of the SSS are, well, dead. Some of them possesses some different kind of abilities like mass intelligience or ninja-art skills, some of them just play in a girl rock band which they believe was part of the mission. They use guns and melee weapons in fierce battles which is basically ineffective. Yes, they can still feel pain but they cannot actually die or kill cause they are in the afterlife. Even though it's useless to equip mortal weapons on the spirit world, I still hardly have a reason not to. They can shoot Angel and even shoot themselves but they know that they can't actually defeat one another. Basically, that's 'Angel Beats!' for you.
'Angel Beats!' 's plot to begin was very clear, destroy Angel Kanade - even they don't have full information on her and they engage on missions made by Yuri to eliminate Angel. The missions on the other hand are quite a joybuster. For example was when they were trying to infiltrate Kanade's base, only to know that it was just a room in a girl's dormitory. Another is when they were suffering from hunger and lack of supplies and they need to find food, which in the end turns out to be a fishing trip. And moments of a serious mission becomes a match in baseball. This kind of missions that look kinda serious at first, then becomes a killjoy moment was quite a good comedy. The essence on divine comedy was really fun to spectate.
A bad thing about 'Angel Beats!' was the plot itself. Defeating Kanade was the only priority and that was the main line, and you wouldn't believe what happens to Kanade. Yes, she was defeated and then what? What happens next? That's basically it. Period.
The flow of 'Angel Beats!' however was kinda, well, late. It has a slow start and when the series was about to end, then the whole show starts to get good. The time that everything makes sense and said the word "eureka" was when the show's finally over. A depressing situation win. I guess twelve episodes weren't enough.
The anime also has a good sense of humor and an amazing drama sequence at the same time. The drama on 'Angel Beats!' was very amazing. In fact, it made me a tear from watching this, especially the origins of most characters which was very emotional and all tragedic that makes me feel pity. It was enjoyable and clear even though it was a flashback. The climax becomes a warzone with a word 'epic' on it and the ending was one of the best that I've watch so far, for the members have found peace and answers in their minds - even Yuri.
But not all characters get a chance to know their origins. The anime never reveal the other members' origins. They have become static. No records were actually said nor found on how the other characters died. A weakness that I have found.
Let's talk about animation, it was spectacular. Everything was made with pure epicness. Characters were madely unique and the setting was great and outstanding. From the dark tunnels, to the shining river, all were a massive impact. The textural designs were one of the best I have ever seen so far. Another thing, the thing that intrigues me most was the precised detail on the most weapons used. The pistols, the automatics, the rifles, even the melee weapons were amazing to making it look like stainless steel. Fine detail and not just rubbish, they're well done like the actual models. The shadows and hues were actually good and the movement of every episode was clear, even for a intricate flow.
Sound was also spectacular and what really excels in all was the OST of the series. Soundtracks on 'Angel Beats!' was the best songs I've heard. They mixed the playlist with a pure punk-rock and then saute it with a soft-hearted track. I like it when 'Angel Beats!' executed a concert in which the songs were played. It tenses the viewers and makes them feel like on a rock concert - on anime. Even the ending songs was a heck of pure emotion that I can't just ignore, filled with somewhat melancholy. A perfect fit. In summary: One anime with a great soundtrack.
Characters, like I said, have some different abilities - even Angel. Angel has her own program in which she modify her powers and basically her powers were conjuring blades. Yuri has skills in melee combats and in firefights even if she wasn't a military artist. Two badass chicks I comment. The characters were very unique and have different goals in their lifetime. Very relatable. Each members have different styles and talents which was very entertaining, at the same time, feeling quite amazed. For the main character Otonashi, its obvious that his actions were predictable and so were his emotions, like most characters are like that. His origins at one point was the best the I have seen so far and the only thing that I like about him. Pure heart is what I can say and most likely relatable to others. Only a downfall was with her relationship with Kanade - for he befriended her midway in the series - which was actually obvious on what will happen next.
'Angel Beats!' was heck of an entertainment. Aside from its slow start, it is surely one to the fans...
+ Emotional flashbacks
+ Best endings and best soundtracks so far
- Slow start anime
- Not for people who uses common sense so much
One on the books. Very recommended.
Overall: 8.9 out of 10.