I’m back to doing episodic reviews now. Oh well.
So at the start of the episode, Naoi and Hinata somehow discover Otonashi and Kanade’s plan and offer their help.
Well, since the two are gay for Otonashi are really good friends of Otonashi, they fight each other over who gets to help him, Naoi’s shadow transforms into this gigantic humanoid figure and tries to ‘eat up’ Naoi – literally devouring by the shadow.
Yurippe suspects that these shadows are Kanade’s doing, which of course, we know it isn’t at all. Anyway, she drags Kanade into an investigation nevertheless.When Kanade is questioned on what program she installed recently, around the date of the shadow attacks, she informs them she had installed ‘Wings’, because she was told she would look more angel-like. Hng. So Naoi defends all of her characteristics with really, well, idiotic answers. Nothing much I can say here.
To get to the point : Takamatsu gets devoured by the shadow, forgets everything about the SSS and attends classes. Lalalala, Yuri suspects that the shadow eats souls and turns them into NPCS, Otonashi informs the SSS of his plan to make them all disappear, Yuri goes off looking for computers since they can program NPCS, finds a secret tunnel to Guild in the computer lab. There. Summarised in one paragraph.
…I can’t bring myself to write proper episode reviews anymore. But since they seem to be the only thing people read nowadays, I will persevere on.
So now : Time for editorialism, hell yeah.
So basically, Yuri discovers the existence of a possible ‘other god’ , one who is using computers to transform the programming of NPCS, turning them into shadows and attacking the SSS. Without any other clue or any other leads, Yuri discovers the route to Guild and plans her next path of action.
What this show excelled at, for me anyway, is bringing out the overall theme of life.
Life in the Afterlife – Angel Beats and its overall theme
According to Jun Maeda, the theme of Angel Beats is life.
And not just life, i.e. slice of life – life. No. Life as a value, life in its very entirety. From the first half we see how tragic the character’s lives are, how they died in vain, how they suffered on earth and were sent to this place. From the second half, we see how short life is – how the characters start to come to grips with the possibility of being erased and how they accept that disappearing was now acceptable. From the characters, we see the monotony and despair of life – how life is boring, meaningless. The NPCs do nothing but attend classes, and every day is a battle for the SSS. To quote Rorschach –
Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world. Was Rorschach. Does that answer your questions, Doctor?
Life is essentially meaningless – we are born, we struggle with others for the entirety of our lives and then we are cast into oblivion from which we came. How the characters make use of their new reality – to accept their new life – is what I admire. Yui becomes this happy, active girl to make up for her disabilities in her previous life – making use of the hell they enter to their advantage. Isn’t that what’s life about? Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. On the optimistic side, this tells us that life is like a canvas – we are free to do whatever we want with it. We live by our own values, our own morals, our own beliefs.
Now, the aspect of the shadows brings a new aspect to the show – the despair of choosing between death, or choosing to live forever. Both are equally hellish fates to choose – the choice of ending life there and then or the choice of living like hell on earth – for all eternity. The SSS are now struck with a decision – do they ,or do they not, knock on Heaven’s door?
Looking forward to the next episode. Two episodes will decide how Angel Beats ends up – will it be crap? Or will it be top-quality KEY work?