Hi I’m Simon and this is a review of Angel Beats!. Originally a light novel by Jun Maeda, it was adapted into multiple manga, games, an OVA and a Television Series in 2010. It was produced by P.A.Works and has 13 episodes.
This is not gonna be fun.
PLOT: Yuzuru Otonashi dies. He then finds himself in a wide space in front of a highschool (yes, a highschool, not, I don’t know, something less antclimactic, like.. Styx). Shortly after waking up there, he is picked up by Yuri, who explains the place he has come to. The highschool is kinda like a limbo, acting as a world for teenagers who died to have the possibility of doing what they didn’t get to do while alive and letting go of any lingering attachment to the world of the living, so they can… well, pass on I guess?
Characters: Urgh. There’s so much wasted potential in Angel Beats (character-wise) it makes me sick. If they had swapped every main with a supporting character the show would be much better. But, I decided to review it (partly because of that) so there’s no way around it. Otonashi is the classical (maybe that’s too optimistic, let’s make it cliché) shonen protagonist. He doesn’t want anyone getting hurt, whether it be friend or foe. The only thing that makes him stand out is the fact that they at least gave him a reason to be like that. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a perfectly understandable reason, but nothing too out there, and it fits well in the melodrama that is the show. But, like with many shonen protagonists, I have the feeling that he just goes along with whatever comes his way and when offered a choice, he chooses. There is nothing resembling initiative on his own. Next is Angel, or Tenshi (I prefer the original name). She is one of these stereotypical, emotionless girls I hate so much. You know, like Rei from NGE, Yuki from Haruhi and Shiina from Sakurasou. But at least those where characters. Tenshi is just flat (no pun intended). She has no reason at all for doing what she does and there is no explanation why she alone can go against an army of people armed with rifles by having some supernatural power. She seems to develop, but it’s the typical development triggered by the main who has a thing for her, for whatever reason. Last is Yuri, the female leader of the Afterlife Battlefront, which fights against Tenshi. What defines her character is, as with most others in the show, her tragic past. At this point, let me clarify something: A tragic past does not make a good character. There is no workaround where, when you have a character without personality, you give them a tragic past and that automatically justifies every action they take. Well, if you still have any questions, that’s her character.
Story: I have a hard time with this part, because there’s as many holes in the story as in emmenthaler cheese. Also, I think the setup and parts of the story are just so cruel, it’s not even fun to make fun about it. So at this point, this review will contain some semblance of spoilers, not that it matters with this story. The “rule” of the show is, you have something you regret or couldn’t do before you died, so you come tho this limbo-like highschool. Then, when you’re happy, you pass on, which looks for me like frickin dying again. So that one girl passes on after playing a concert, because that’s what she’s always wanted to do. How cruel is it to kill someone off right after becoming happy? So after that, people don’t want to become fullfilled, obviously, because that would mean they’ll be gone. At kinda the same time, Otonashi falls for Tenshi (for whatever reason) so then some shadow-like things surface and devour people, just so they are reborn as NPCs (people in the school like teachers, not human, just doing what they’re supposed to), because some computer is programmed to do that when love is detected, because the highschool isn’t supposed to be a paradise. Which is stupid, because the place is supposed to make people happy, meaning, becoming their personal paradise. And if that’s a different kind of happy, can I pass on when I’m happy about getting a chocolate bar? And what about those people whose happiness would’ve been falling in love? Screw those guys, I guess. Anyway, because of these shadow thingies, they want to make everyone pass on. So they basically talk everyone into dying. Well, they are nice people I guess. And now, be ready for the grand finale. Just before everyone’s gone, Yuri destroys the computer responsible for the shadow-thingies. How cool is that? Now they killed everyone except for, like, five kids off because the shadows were such a threat, and then they destroy the computer, consequently making the place a paradise. Any reason the show gives you that it was necessary to do this is utter bullshit and ultimately only for the sake of creating drama, which is responsible for people actually thinking this show is good. In short, this show is plain stupid, and makes you think it’s good by being full with tearjerking moments. But, compared with other sad shows like Clannad, the scenes feel empty and without backing. I did my best to emphasize with the characters, but I have a hard time feeling sympathy for idiots.
Ok so that was my rant. Let’s continue with the actual review.
Animation: If I had to say anything good about this show, I would credit it for the animation. It looks gorgeous. Action scenes are fluent and filled to the brim with vibrant colours, and big eyes on little girls will sparkle you to death. Overall, the show has a soft, colourful look which is exceptionally pleasant to look at.
No, I won’t say anything about the music. Piano doesn’t automatically make for a good opening.
My Recommendation: Pass it up, if you haven’t seen it already. If you absolutely must watch it, do it for the animation and the occasional comedy. If you want something similar, I won’t recommend anything to you. However, I’ll point you towards a show that’s actually good (jut because I made it a thing to recommend something at the end of my reviews): Ano Natsu de Matteru.
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Thank you for your time, and have a nice day 😀