Angel Beats! – REVIEW – The title is one gigantic spoiler after all. Angel Beats.

I would have loved to say Angel Beats! was one of the best things I watched this season. It is. I would also have loved to say that it was one of the best things I ever watched. I might be able to say so , but with little backing other than my obnoxious worship for a particular 2D character in the show.

But anyway. Angel Beats just ended and now I am speechless.

Speechless from tears, as expected from KEY and Jun Maeda? No, speechless in pitiful sadness ; sadness at the show and at what could have been. Normally Jun Maeda manages to pull tears out of my stone face but today he has failed me. Although I admit that watching the show episodically was a bad experience ; it ruined the synergy , the plot, or the emotion in the show. I marathoned Clannad, and I was able to keep in the mood for the whole series, so I admit it: I cried on Clannad. But really, Angel Beats! just made me feel sad. In a good way, like reading unfortunate news that hurts my heart. I just feel emo now.

But I digress.

I guess why Angel Beats wasn’t as tearjerking as it could have been was because of what many other watchers complain about : its short lifespan. 13-episode series for Angel Beats! -wasn’t such a good idea. Jun Maeda’s work usually spans 24 episodes ; the 13 episode run for AB caused a huge quickening of pacing after episode 3. It just went bad from there. We are left with many questions: why did Otonashi love Kanade? Why did he want to make them all disappear? Who was the guy who keeps reminding me of the Matrix? And why does the ending remind me of Neon Genesis Evangelion? And stuff like that.

Jun Maeda achieves his signature tear-jerker effect by character and plot development. Without these , his work is incredibly mediocre : Angel Beats being one shining example. Not to say Angel Beats is mediocre : but rather, to say that it could have done better.

Towards the end, the characters break down. Yuri especially : she turns from this badass, militant-kind leader of a girl into this tsundere-like character who strangely reminds me of Haruhi, only nuttier – which is incredibly unrealistic. Not to mention that moment where she goes batshit insane and screams about becoming God or something.

Another reason I didn’t cry was that I laughed too much at this scene – in fact, I think I cried at this scene. That set the wrong mood to watch the rest of the episode. I just felt like laughing at everything they did. I was planning on skipping this scene and rewatching it, but it’s stuck in my head. Although I admit, I liked this part, it ruined the whole setting for the tear-jerker ending.

Also, the incredibly cheesy and ambiguous ending.

Has anyone ever wondered: why the show is called ‘Angel Beats!’? Brings to mind music of the heavens, but no.

Angel : Kanade. Beats: Heartbeats. Angel Beats: Kanade’s Heartbeats.

Holy crud.

…but seriously, this was a horrible ending. I was already sad when Otonashi announces his plans and confesses his love, but this revelation just brought my mood back from omg-i’m-gonna-cry-if-they-keep-doing-this to what-the-hell.

So she got a crucial heart transplant -and died- before Otonashi – who donated his heart to her – arrived in this world? Woah, that’s kinda trippy.  Oh right- that NPC in episode 12 said it was possible. Right. Of course, multiple dimensions and whatnot.

So we end with those cliff-hanger endings, where they all get reincarnated and then Otonashi seems to recognise Kanade (the shadowing of their faces didn’t help in hiding this much.). The end.

So let’s review:

Story

Characters

Art

Music

Overall

Story: 7.5 ~ 8 /10

Why? Well, this was quite generous for a 13-episode series, to have sufficient plot to have kept me interested in watching every episode on a weekly basis. In fact, I think it’s the only series I have managed to keep up consistently with. But the story concept was original , it was nice to watch. I liked the idea of Purgatory, where troubled souls come to find peace, like Buddhism. I liked the concept. I liked the fact they had no idea where they were ; that they had to fight to survive and that they had to ‘rebel against god’.

Although I admit : the pacing screwed it up. Points gone there. If it had been 24-episodes, it would have made me bawl my eyes out at the end. If only…..

Characters: 8/10

I would have gave it 9001/10 simply because of Kanade but I’m not that superficial.

I liked how they mesh with each other. I liked their backstories : how they all died in vain. I liked their traits.

You know,I was this close to becoming one of those maniacal otaku freaks, like those obsessed with K-On, over Kanade. I’d imagine buying lots of stuff with her face on it, just because it’s an obsession. Every time I turn on my phone I see her. I swear, if Angel Beats was more mainstream, I’d build a mini-shrine to it. But I didn’t, because there was something I didn’t like.

What I did not like, however, was due to the pacing.

Pacing left out proper stories for most of the characters, especially Kanade and Yuri. Nothing much is revealed. We’re still scratching our heads after each episode. What’s up with that last moment? Who were the people in Guild who clearly don’t look like youth? WHO THE FUCK IS TK?

Art: 8.5/10

This was in fact, a weak point which the production crew quickly fixed. Up till episode 3, the art was crud : quality was everywhere. But after episode 3, the art quality improved drastically. It’s like the whole crew took drugs or something.

Music: 9/10

Clearly, something which produces better music than that Music Anime this season deserves some praise.

Overall: 8- 8.5 /10

A great story, a wonderful cast, lots of potential  – but ruined by its short episode run and its pacing. The ending made me sad ; although more closure would have been nice.

So I admit it : Angel Beats is a hit-or-miss anime. Either you hate it, or you love it. Personally I liked it -although I admit, it isn’t the best out there, but I liked it through and through. Hoping for an OVA now, something that sums up the series, or something that brings more closure.

I won't change my religion that quickly ; I'm keeping you on this site

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About Valence

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19 Responses to Angel Beats! – REVIEW – The title is one gigantic spoiler after all. Angel Beats.

  1. Guy says:

    Yes, it could’ve been great. It also managed to always make you think the next episode would be great :-/

    • Valence says:

      ‘spose so. The pacing killed the series. Much more could have been better : the last episode was just like NGE – a completely confusing letdown.

  2. Alx2oy says:

    ahhh..this was the 3rd anime that made me cry..1st Ef, 2nd True Tears..i think i’ll probably cry again after watching Clannad ><

  3. scorchnroses says:

    Er well, Otonashi said he was probably wandering around before arriving in that world so, maybe he wandered so long that Kanade died and arrived in that world before him o.O?
    Anyway, I just want more TK -_-

    • Guy says:

      You know what the end of the episode made me think, before they showed us their next life? That this is how Otonashi, or the programmer, became the programmer.

      He got there, he planned to stay forever to help people, his love left, but now he couldn’t.

  4. biotoxic says:

    I am disappoint.

    The whole last episode I sat with a face of stone much similar to this: 😡

    I agree with you, it could have been so much better than it was. The pacing was totally off; too many untouched characters; too many random events happening without explanation.

    I don’t hate Angel Beats, and it’s by no means “bad” – it just could have been so much better. It had it’s good moments spaced between the mediocre. What I think the ultimate problem with this series is it had no obvious direction.

    I didn’t quite get the whole “your heart” thing, but you cleared that up for me. Maybe if I’d clicked to that I might have felt something at the end.

    Overall that final episode felt unnecessary and didn’t really conclude anything. The characters personalities totally changed (Yuri, wtf) and the “we could have been friends” felt cheap. And what was up with the “3 days later” at the start – random.

    • Valence says:

      Like I said, or what my friends told me before, the last two episodes were like the last two episodes of NGE, where it makes no freaking sense. The 3 days later was to skip removing all the other characters ; who, as you can see, are completely missing in the last episode.

      Agreed : it could have been way better, but I gave it a 7.5- 8/10 anyway.

  5. Fabrice says:

    Here is my long ass review for it 😄

    The story, however, is rather confusing and keeps shifting gears. We start out in a mysterious world of the afterlife and in a place where not even the characters know what’s going on. Naturally, a state of confusion would make sense– except that most of the world is never really explored or explained. And the explanations we do get are often out of left field, and usually shoved in at the end of the episode.

    However, the overall idea isn’t bad at all; it’s just that the accelerated pacing due to the 13 episodes and the fact that the anime seems to not be sure on where it’s going. It just started too much threads.

    The most jarring thing about the show is its inability to separate the comedy from the melodrama. It’s often mixed together at the worst moments and becomes very cheesy. The worst case of this is probably the character of Naoi, someone who should be interesting, but I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Also, frequently the melodrama feels very forced and manipulative because it’s just shoved in there– you’ve gotta develop a conflict or issue for it to have any real impact. This was especially true near the end. But Key fans don’t worry, there’s still some very sweet moments even if it is very messy.

    Despite this, Angel Beats is still a very funny show. At first,the humor didn’t click with me, but two words: Rocket Chairs. The silly antics of the protagonists group– the SSS is fun and its enjoyable to see them do silly stuff like that in this world. And of course the character TK himself seems to steal the show every time he utters a line.

    The characters are all a fun and likable bunch– typical for Key. Sadly, a lot of them remained underdeveloped due to time constraints. The ones that they do focus on are very well done– the amnesiac Otonashi, the competent commander Yuri who’s not just another Haruhi, the reliable bro Hinata. The enigmatic Angel is also a decent character who explodes the cuteness meter.

    Overall, Angel Beats is not a bad show, but it just feels underwhelming that with all the ingredients for success, the show couldn’t make up its mind on what to do.

    • Valence says:

      The humor was great, although I had issues with how the main character, Yuri (or one of the main characters) got sidelined in the last episode as some kind of minor character who can just disappear without anything actually happening. Kanade is great: I never felt this burning passion for a 2D character. I was intrigued; then I was attacked by her moe. I’m still in shackles over her Mapo Tofu anthem.

      But the problem is, Jun Maeda was too ambitious. The story was original ; supposedly planned week-by-week , thus the sudden boost from episode 3. if it had been 26 episodes…sigh.

      What I can’t comprehend, however, is how TK is so darn popular – all he does is spout random English phrases, right? The sad thing is I LIKE HIM TOO, which I don’t really understand, but yeah.

      Key likes to fuck with time a lot too. Kanade got the heart she needed to survive when Otonashi died…but appeared in the Purgatory years before he did, which , until now, I fail to explain or comprehend.

      Overall, I’d feel an obligation to rate it as 8/10, although I know that if I were to be critical I’d have to give it 6/10. But I didn’t. Kanade FTW.

    • Guy says:

      T.K. robbed the show each time he appeared, rather than stole the show 😀 (OK, that was a bad pun).

      The rocket chairs were hilarious. I agree whole-heartedly.

      Also, long-ass review? Try this 😉 (shameless plug!)

      But this is an interesting question, would we have treated it differently if it had been an average show that hadn’t tried for too much? Probably. The score in my case is identical, but the discussion is very different.

  6. Cybaria says:

    Hey. I liked your review. I’ve just posted one of my own today, although I seemed to have a different look on it than you, because I loved alot of it. Although I do agree it would have been nice with some more episodes to it.

    I do believe there is an OVA coming out at some point, not sure when though.

    Anyway, if ya want, check my review out: http://cybaria.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/angel-beats/

    =]

    • Valence says:

      Hey I loved a lot of it too okay D: But yeah, from a critical perspective it would have been longer had it been longer.

      TK gets his Crowning Moment of Awesome with that 10 second long clip of him dancing furiously in the nighttime before his eventual death. Completely made him twice as awesome, I tell you.

      The only thing I’m still bitter about is the ending, for it changed too many things. Their characters for example.

      …and if there is an OVA coming out at some point, I’m sure looking forward to it.

      • Cybaria says:

        TK is just awesome all together. As I said in my review, he’s my fravourite.

        And yeah, even Jun Maeda himself said there was more he wanted to do and show, but just didnt have enough time.

        Theres been 2 Manga’s released which contain seperate stories.

        Oh, and

        “The seventh and final BD/DVD volume will be released on December 22, 2010 and will come bundled with an unaired anime special.”

    • Valence says:

      Oh , you mean that OVA. I hope it isn’t some follow-up to the part where they get ‘reincarnated’ or some cutesy shot of Kanade eating Mapo Tofu though.

      There was controversy that each episode was rushed out in the very week it was supposed to air, thus the fiasco.

  7. Pingback: Twelve Days of Anime: Day Two – Angel Beats! | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

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