This episode was probably the saddest episode in the whole entire series. After Yurripe kills "God", she awakens three days later in the infirmary with Otonashi, Kanade, Hinata and Ayato at her bedside. We then discover that in the course of those three days, most of the members of the SSS finally passed on, making them the only members remaining in the afterlife. They all decide to hold a graduation ceremony, an event that is used as a means for characters to say their last goodbyes to each other.
Unfortunately, this scene is very slow and doesn't really have that much emotional impact. While it is nice to see Kanade and Yurripe reconcile, the reconciliation seems out of nowhere, as there wasn't that much conflict between the two after Kanade joined the SSS. Another problem is that Kanade suddenly has an upbeat mood, something that seems pretty out of character for someone who spent most of the series with an emotionless expression on her face. Other than those gripes, the scene was at least watchable, even if it was a bit long and tedious.
All that changes when everyone except Kanade and Otonashi disappears. Otonashi begins discussing the possibility that both should stay in the afterlife in order to help others who weren't satisfied with their lives pass on. In the process of saying this, he ends up actually confessing his love to her. Kanade then informs Otonashi that if she tells him her feelings, she will disappear. We then discover that Kanade's one regret was not being able to say thank you to Otonashi for saving her life. She then begs Otonashi to confess his love once more, giving the viewer the clear indication that she wants to disappear. This absolutely terrifies Otonashi, as he doesn't want to make Kanade to disappear despite the fact that she wants to pass on herself. Eventually he gives in, resulting in Kanade's vanishment.
This plot twist was ridiculous, out of nowhere and was absolutely means of manipulating the viewers emotions by all means. However, the execution of this scene was so well done, that I have to give them credit besides the fact that Otonashi's confession was completely out of nowhere. The scene was proof that Key is the master at making any light hearted show depressing, as they also successfully did this with Kanon and Clannad. This singular scene is probably the best part of the Angel Beats series, as the sadness this scene brought to me was incredible! To top it off, not only does Kanade disappear, but Otonashi completely loses it and starts screaming at his loss. If this scene doesn't make you shed a tear, then you have no soul!
However, I have to still say that the ending to the series wasn't that great despite that fantastic scene. Not only did it neglect to give information about any of the other characters, but it gave very little closure to the relationship between Kanade and Otonashi. Plus, it doesn't really help that the ending leaves huge gaping plot holes such as:
Where the hell did this romance between Kanade and Otonashi come from? It's an interesting romance, but it's completely out of nowhere!
If Kanade wanted to say thank you, why didn't she say so earlier? What were her reasons for doing so?
How in the hell did Takamatsu pass on? Wasn't his soul destroyed?
How did all the other characters pass on in the course of three days? Isn't it a little convenient that their problems were simple enough to be resolved in three days?
Didn't Hinata want to catch a baseball in order to pass on?
While it was unique and unexpected, the creators should of spent more time adding closure to the series. It's not a bad ending, just one that needed a bit of tweaking before it was released. Rating: Fair