Angel Beats!

Angel Beats is an anime that I really expected to be the best of this season. Upon seeing the first episode, I was introduced to writing that was humorous and fast paced, characters that were very interesting, an interesting concept, and superb artwork and animation. It had potential and seemed to be a show destined for perfection. It was until the fourth episode that the first signs of trouble began to show.
The story to Angel Beats follows the adventures of a group of dead students in the afterlife called the SSS, an organization rebelling against god due to unsatisfactory lives they had previously. The story centers around Otonashi, an amnesiac who is the newest member of the group. Due to his status as a recruit, we learn information about the characters and the afterlife through his experiences, something that is pretty standard in terms of storytelling. Thankfully, the main story is pretty interesting, as the plot constantly leaves the viewer invested with very interesting scenarios and a few plot twists along the way. While the ending is a bit unsatisfying, it's still worth watching due to the surprise you'll get from watching it.
Thankfully, the beginning of Angel Beats is phenomenal, as it introduces fresh dialogue, interesting main characters, an art style that is probably the best Key has ever done, and incredibly smooth and fluid animation. Unfortunately, the first signs of trouble come in the form of humor. A problem that Angel Beats faces is that the humor can get repetitive VERY quickly. That doesn't mean that new and fresh jokes aren't funny, but continuing gags become very old quickly, due to characters using these gags way to frequently. For example: a recurring gag is that all of the people in the SSS are called idiots by a girl named Yui. The problem with this joke is that it's used frequently despite the fact that it's not funny. That's not to say that their isn't some really funny jokes though, as the majority of the jokes are hilarious, the only problem being that a noticeable, if still small, percentage of these jokes are recurring gags.
The characters in Angel Beats are both a great plus and minus of the show. On one hand, you are given interesting characters, such as Yurrippe, Otonashi, Yui, Hinata and Kanade who are given plenty of depth and are also well developed. Some characters, a great example being TK, don't need depth, as their coolness and unique behavior make them already interesting. On the other hand though, a HUGE majority of the SSS members are not that interesting, as some of them are just bland stereotypes, despite some of them delivering some clever dialogue and jokes. An example of this would be Takamatsu, a guy who is mysterious... and that's it! While he does deliver one hilarious joke, he is given no back story, no development, and is an all around uninteresting character in general. If Angel Beats had spent more time developing the backgrounds of all these characters, then it would make for very enthralling characters, but unfortunately, it chooses too give them stereotypical personalities instead.
The biggest flaw of Angel Beats would be the execution of the story. While it is by no means bad, the amount of pointless fillers moments (as each episode is comprised of moments that seem to just be filler) is overwhelming at times. While they are amusing, if more time was spent on developing the plot and characters, then everything could possibly be developed in the thirteen episodes that are its run time. Unfortunately, the series seems to spend too much time on these pointless, albeit entertaining, baseball games, fishing activities and pointless missions that results in an experience that while good, can be so much better. Angel Beats really shines when it's delivering a serious story, not when it's trying to be lighthearted and comedic.
The animation in Angel Beats is amazing, as everything is colorful, vibrant and seems to shine with creativity. The character models also look very nice, as they are expressive, creative and very fluent with their body motions. The best part also has to be the action scenes though, as their is some really great fight scenes for a school-life anime. The gun affects also look nice, as a massive fire fight in the first episode gives viewers an idea how nice the series is. While the gun effects are VERY unrealistic (As I'm pretty sure they don't look this colorful or pretty.) they still look visually appealing.
Overall, Angel Beats is a show worth experiencing despite its numerous flaws. While definitely lacking behind Key's other works (Kanon, Clannad, etc...), it's still a great show that won't be forgotten anytime soon. It's by no means a masterpiece that some claim it to be, but it's still a great series due to its creativity, a few memorable characters (TK is awesome!), beautiful art and animation (Which is probably the best I've seen out of all of Key's creations.), and a story that isn't exceptional, but still entertaining with a very melancholy ending (Which is typical of Key.).

Opening: Beautiful! Well animated with great music by Lia. My Soul, Your Beats! is an excellent tune! (Actually own the My Soul, Your Beats! Album.)
Ending: While by no means a visual spectacle, the music is nice enough to warrant it a mention.
Rating: Great

2 comments: (+add yours?)

Janai said...

Great post! I agree almost completely. The show could have been much better if they got rid of the filler stuff and instead used that time to develop the story more. The story felt like it was very rushed, but it didn't need to be.

Veronika said...

Hey your writings gotten better! Congrats on not contradicting yourself. ok good job!