Questions always come across our minds about what happens after death. Do we regret the lives that we lived? Do we go on to live in another life or do we simply except our fate and fade away into the vast flow of time? Angel Beats! attempts to show its viewers a completely different perspective on its take on what happens after death. What comes out is an anime that has an original yet similar theme.
========== Story ===========
The story follows the main character named Otonashi, who ends up in mysterious place after losing his memory. He soon finds out that he is dead and is in a place where souls go if they have any regrets from the life they’ve left. This place is pretty much like a high school where the souls of young adults learn to get over the unfairness of life and pass on. Otonashi then joins the Afterlife Battlefront (Shinda Sekai Sensen or SSS) who’s leader is Yuri and their cause. Yuri explains that the Afterlife Battlefront’s cause is simply to ask god why where their lives so unfair. However, this can’t happen until they defeat Angel* (one of god’s representatives).
Angel is supposed to help them pass on or get obliterated (as what the Afterlife Battlefront says) to the next life. The main operation of the Afterlife Battlefront is to cause disruptions with Angel in the hopes of getting them closer to god. They do this with an all girl rock band group called Girls Dead Monster (GLDEMO) and the Guild where they get their weapons from. This is where the rest of the anime goes on with as they fight the good fight against their unfair lives and Heaven.
The story is a very interesting take on the whole “life after death” scenario. However, this anime falls into the 13 episode trap meaning it is just way too short. There are many plot holes, and sometimes the series feels a bit rushed. Most of the plot holes stem from the characters themselves in that we don’t get enough background information on them. Also plot holes develop on the basis of whom actually created the world in which Otonashi and the others are in.
The story although interesting seems to consist mostly of a quarrel that later turns into a misunderstanding, which to me is just too inept for this kind of anime. It’s like it was just thrown together at the last moment.
Furthermore in Angel Beats! parts of the story feel out of place, while others naturally flow together. On the other hand what you do get is something that makes the viewer’s think about his or her own life, and what they should cherish, hold dear, and keep close to his or her heart.
But one thing is for sure that Angel Beats! Theme is boasting with originality at its seams especially on how it uses things in a very different manner. As episodes move onwards the series gets better and better.
========== Animation ===========
The animation for Angel Beast! is of great quality. The visuals are very crisp and clean. The color pallet is especially vibrant using very bright colors to paint a wonderful world that catches the eyes that it draws. Also there’s some CGI elements too that look pretty great too. It seems that this year’s Guilty Crown, Mirai Nikki, and Fate Zero took a page from Angel Beats! to show how great animes look now.
Showcasing the high quality of animation in Angel Beats! Scene is from Episode 3- My Song
Those three all use very a very similar artistic style that Angel Beats! also uses. I believe that the animation that Angel Beats! used set a pretty great bar to influence future anime, and it is pleasing to watch every detailed episode.
========== Sound ============
The sound is pretty good to. The opening “My Soul, Your Beats” by Lia compliments this anime very well. The piano solo at the beginning of the song just captivates hearts as you listen to the rest play out. “My Soul, Your Beats!” by LiSA is the rock version of the same song and is also well done. The Ending theme “Brave Song” by Aoi Tada is a somber piano melody that hints with a sad and strong being. When listening to it a viewer just can’t help getting taken away by it. The Ending theme “Ichiban no Takaramono" by LiSA, and Karuta is also a piano melody that is at the same pace as Brave song and does the same thing as with putting its viewers in a trance that make you fall in love with the song every time it’s heard.
Now the OST’s in this anime are done well too, but they are not very memorable (with the exceptions of the GLDEMO band songs). Most of the time instead of using an OST to get into the moment of Battle or an Emotional State, Angel Beats! just lets the scene play out on it’s on accord with setting the feeling on it’s own.
=========== Characters ============
There are many characters in this anime that have all sorts of personalities. Nevertheless, most don’t have any development or have any background information whatsoever, such as in this series we only find out how three characters died and that’s Otonashi himself, Iwasaw and Hinata. So out of the 18 members of the Afterlife Battlefront we only find out information on 7 of them that is actually relevant to how the story progresses. So here’s a bit of information of them
From Right to left- GLDEMO (Irie, Sekine,) SSS Members (Takamatsu, Matsushita, TK, Naoi, Otonashi, Yuri) Angel (Kanade) SSS Members (Noda, Hinata) GLDEMO new lead guitarist -Yui, SSS members (Ōyama, Fujimaki) GLDEMO old lead guitarist (Iwasawa,) GLDEMO- Hisako, SSS member (Takeyama, Shiina) and GLDEMO Yusa.
Otonashi- Lost his memories, and is the main protagonist. His regret will probably relate to the most people, and finding out how he died also tugs at a person's heart. His personality is that of a very cautious person, but also he is particularly smart as well.
Yuri (Yurippe)- Is the Leader of the Afterlife BattleFront. Her personality is of that of a Leader who is very brave and keeps calm even while fighting. She wants to confront god and how unfair her life was. We only find out why her life is so unfair, but not how she died.
Kanade(Angel)- Is supposedly the antagonist of the series, and fights with the SSS members to get them to pass on. Her personality is somewhat emotionless, as that she doesn’t really show any outward indication of it. She’s here because she is looking for someone to tell them something important. We also never find out how she died either
Iwasaw- Is the original lead guitarist/ lyrics composer of GLDEMO. She is a bit on the less emotional side of things, and Her regret is probably . We do find out how she died, and find out way more about her past just like Otonashi. Her regret is actually pretty influential throughtout the storyline in that most characters tend to feel just like her.
Yui- The second leader guitarist/lyrics composer of GLDEMO. She is the complete opposite of Iwasaw where she is tons more energetic and emotional. Also she is very playful and a klutz. Yui's regret is something that is actually pretty sad and that most people will find to be very terrible and relate to the most just like Otonashi's .
Naoi- Is the Vice President of this world. He at first is a very angry person inside, then turns out to be pretty nice and resourceful. Also he for some reason likes to be called “god”. We find out more on his past, and why he acts the way he does. His regret is something that probably most people can relate too as well.
Hinata- Is the co founder of SSS with Yuri, and is also one of the main protagonist in the series. He goes on and helps Otonashi out a lot during the series. His personality is somewhat of a loving and caring person, with a bit of comedy. As in the dub he goes “Are you gay” a lot to Otonashi, and get’s into a lot of fights with Yui. His regret is probably one of the least influential throughout the series and isn't as terrible as the others. We also find out how he dies.
These characters are pretty much who we get a lot of information on. That’s a bit too unacceptable because most characters honestly went to waste, disappearing at the end without an ounce of how they died, what they regretted, and how they were able to cope with it and pass on.
Angel Beats! is actually quite enjoyable. The first 3 or 4 episodes started out pretty confusing but it does make up for it in later episodes by explaining a lot of the events so that viewers can understand what is going on. Angel Beats! utilizes very awkward and funny gags to make people laugh. It also has a lot of funny dialogue too, which is a plus. What is also great is that there' are tons of action sequences, such as shooting scenes, and fighting scenes, so people who are into that should find this should find Angel Beats! to be quite entertaining. Angel Beats! also uses emotions to tug at people’s heart strings to win them over as well. For the most part this anime is not as serious because of as I said before the very awkward funny moments are usually placed in very serious situations.
Yurippe- she wears a beret when conducting her many SSS operations against Angel.
Although, its storyline is a bit jumble and weird and most of the characters don’t really have anything to do with the plot, causing big giant plot holes. Its theme makes up a bit for these blunders, but they are just many and too huge to ignore fully. The artistic style is great, and the sound is also great too. If you’re looking for something with a very good and memorable ending that will cause you to reflect somewhat on your own life than Angel Beats! is just for you.