Why no review?
Heck, reviews are summaries , if not ‘plot coverages’. It’s better for the watcher to decide him/herself. Or maybe I’m lazy.
What I want to write today, however, is how Angel Beats is magical.
To be frank, many have been calling Angel Beats melodramatic. Every episode has drama and tragedy ( standard Jun Maeda) and Episode 10 is not exempt.
The episode closes with a long , mushy promise from Hinata how he’ll always love Yui. He even goes to lengths to explain how he would meet her if they were still alive – Yui would be in bed, Hinata would break her window accidentally in a game of baseball. Since Yui was bed-ridden, he would talk to her mother a lot and soon he’d become a regular visitor. Eventually they would get married. How sweet and touching, yes?
Perhaps at first glance, but if you compare this to the other anime, or perhaps the previous episodes of Angel Beats, you’d find that it becomes lacklustre. All the girls who died in Angel Beats either died in some kind of tragic, horrific accident or were bed-ridden with illness. Same goes for the boys – all the characters died without accomplishing their last wishes, and thus were sent to this world , a world where youths without happy lives go to when they die. Coupled with Tenshi’s revelation of her intent all this while, it turns out that everything the SSS Battlefront has been doing was worthless- they were just running around in circles. Kanade wanted them to be happy, the SSS felt she wanted to erase them and attacked her as a result.
So after a while, that touching, teary ending becomes classically average. It seems the same as everything else ; it doesn’t stand out anymore, in fact it almost seems extremely predictable and cliche. A girl who is bedridden gets her wishes from the only thing she does most of the time – watching television. Wishing to be a baseball player, a band member, a soccer player and even a pro wrestler amongst others- standard TV entertainment.
However, what transforms this so-called melodrama into true and painful tragedy is that it’s easy to imagine, to comprehend, or even relate to. I’m sure we, as children, got many of our dreams from Television – me wanting to be a policeman since young , watching Crimewatch, reading police stories, even to the extent of joining the ‘National Police Cadet Corps’, – but only to realise, or to find that we cannot achieve our dreams. Which Asian parent would encourage their child, studying in one of the better schools out there, a future bright and shining to say myself, to be a police officer? Which dream is truly achievable? I also wanted to learn how to fly and for a short period of my life, deriving fantasies from endless seasons of Chinese-dubbed Digimon episodes. Who can’t feel the pain Yui feels when she can’t achieve her goals? Who can’t feel touched that she’s doing everything she can – for true happiness?
Since I’m male, I’ll probably not understand this – but for the girls: Can you comprehend Yui’s hope for marriage as the ultimate joy? Marriage has always been considered as one of the ultimate joys, something that brings meaning and purpose to people’s lives, something that fills them, fulfils them and grants them meaning. The classic, timeless love story – a girl looking for love, and the most unexpected Prince Charming appears, the one she makes fun of at school, the one she has secretly, unknowingly been in love with – who is also in love with her – promises and devotes his love to her?
You see, the ‘melodrama’ in Angel Beats isn’t true ‘melodrama’ after all. Their drama is real and touching, not exaggerated and ridiculous. True, perhaps they might be extreme, but you do feel the drama, don’t you? I don’t know anyone who hates Angel Beats for its drama, in fact I don’t think I know any anime watchers who hate Angel Beats at all. We appreciate its drama, we appreciate its humour, we appreciate its very existence. The characters – some call them ripoffs of other anime – are sadly endearing. Some call Yuri “Haruhi with a gun”, or Tenshi “Nagato with long hair.” If I wanted to, we could compare every single character in existence to be a ripoff of another character – it’s impossible to have a truly unique character.
. . . . everything will have something similar to it. It’s impossible nowadays to create a truly, 100% unique character that doesn’t suck. Kampfer? Unique but suck. I don’t mind Otonashi being like a particular other character from KEY , or something along those lines. As long as it’s watch-able, it’s enjoyable and it’s tear-jerking all the same – it works for me, it’ll work for you.
Yui’s disappearance also marks one thing : the anime is going to get more and more sombre towards the end, as with other KEY works. The whole feeling of “adventure in school life” is gone. Gone is the whole notion of friendship, or protecting one another. More and more people will disappear, more and more pasts will be revealed, more and more of joke characters given actual storyline. Heck, TK might get a storyline soon for all you know.
What I like the best about KEY’s and Jun Maeda’s works are its character development. No character exists simply for the sake of existing. Let’s use Clannad as an example. Aside from Botan and Mei, every character gets elaborated at length upon. Tomoya has a drunkard good-for-nothing father and his tragic past is revealed. Kotomi’s past and her parents’s absence are told at length, with emotional backstory. Nagisa’s backstory does not need me to elaborate upon, if you’ve watched Clannad. They even have extra ‘chapters’ in the story, how things might have turned out differently if Tomoya chose another girl. Keep in mind folks, that Clannad is essentially a harem after all, just that they don’t employ the likes of ecchi to their advantage – they rely solely on character development. Without character development , Clannad and its highly popular sequel, Clannad ~ After Story – are completely nothing. However, just because this ‘harem’ has character development doesn’t mean that everything with character development is good. It’s just that Clannad has extremely high levels of development, compared to other “harems which “developed (not) its characters”. ” Like Rosario + Vampire.
Tell me , straight in the face, that this has any true character development. What do they develop upon? How the character falls in love with Tsukune (was that his name? I don’t recall) in some awkward, slipshod anime way. They just do. You don’t need to know why, they just fall in love. At the right (or was it wrong?)moments they include some poorly made drama on how they love him forever, yada yada yada, ecchi scene, end episode. Was there ecchi in KEY’s works? Which has a bigger fanbase? Self-explanatory.
Do you feel any emotion from R+V- other than perverted laughter? If you do, well damn, you have more emotions than I do. Or is it less emotion – particularly anger. As with my own policy of never skipping through anything, I watch the whole episode – perhaps skipping the OP and ED, but never anything else. Imagine my rage when I had to watch them come up with particularly strange ways of proclaiming their love- by attempting to rape him. Yes. I was practically leaving it running in the background and doing homework instead. I felt like doing that so many times. I couldn’t stare, yes stare, at it for 20 minutes per episode. Worse still, I actually finished both seasons hoping for it to get better, but no. Not at all. As if Twilight had not ruined vampires enough.
I don’t mind having some situations similar to other shows, for example that fishing operation. It’s all about packaging. Let’s use a bad analogy.
I am selling coffee powder. Would you buy it if I pour it into your hands, or if I package it nicely, in sachets to boot? Both for the same price too. Of course, unless you have some powder fetish or something like that, you’d buy it in sachets. Easier to use, cleaner and more logical. Similarly, if it’s the same situation but packaged differently, I’m okay with it. It’s not just a “Hey everyone, let’s go fishing for some reason today” situation, it was actually funny how they packaged it as a “mission”, including that gigantic fish – I laughed, I smiled, I felt the humour.
What is an example of “not packaging it nicely” then? K-On suffers from using the same settings too many times- beach scenes and Mugi’s house. I couldn’t stand watching 20 minutes of what felt so like a ‘filler’ even though K-On is clearly Slice-Of-Life. I just couldn’t stand it. Something with overused jokes? Plenty. Who hasn’t seen the “random pleasure-filled moan in random situations” gag? Ladies V.S. Butlers , Rosario+Vampire, They Are My Noble Masters, to name a few.
- Original humour
- High development
- It has Kanade in it.
- Not as cliche as the others
- It has goddamned Kanade in it.
- Not a harem
- It has Kanade in it.
I’m looking forward to how it’ll progress. With 3 episodes left, I truly and sincerely hope that KEY doesn’t screw it up.