Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Drama
Studio: P.A. Works
Available On: Crunchyroll, Funimation
The first CR Challenge anime of the year goes to Angel Beats! A show that has remained, loyally, on my watchlist for well over 5 years. It took a scratch-off poster to get me to watch. I remember starting the first episode midway and then just stopping. This time I actually finished. It felt familiar since I remembered the opening scene where there’s this cute girl with a sniper rifle on the rooftop. It’s hard to forget that!
To my knowledge, this is the first work I’ve reviewed from this studio on my blog. P.A. Works, upon further investigation, has actually created some of my favorite shows; Charlotte, Kuromukuro, A3, Ya Boy Kongming, Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, and the newly released Buddy Daddies. Clearly, they won’t let me down.
Angel Beats! is a story about teens fighting against an angel. It follows Yuzuru Otonashi, a recently deceased teen who has lost his memories. He finds himself in the afterlife, which looks a lot like high school. Basically, all of the teens who have died but have some sort of trauma or experienced hardships in their life, aren’t able to move on and instead live in this type of limbo. Otonashi meets Nakamura who is the head of the Afterlife Battlefront or SSS (Shinda Sekai Sensen).
Their primary goal is to take down their enemy, ‘Angel.’ Her actual name is Kanade Tachibana and is the student council president. She has this ability to wield blades from her arms that can change forms. It’s really a story of everyone being able to come to terms with their lives and moving on peacefully. Another example of a show with a ‘cute’ face but dark and mindful premise.
There are a total of five main characters for the show and for the purpose of my sanity (and time) I’ll focus on them. If you’re interested in the others, I highly suggest watching the show!
He’s the main protagonist of the series. At first I thought he’d be hit with the ‘Isekai Male Syndrome’ where he was attracting all the female gazes for no reason. Luckily, the show didn’t focus on a harem but instead added some actual depth to his character. Towards the end of the show, almost everyone’s past lives were revealed and their reasons for not being able to pass on. Otonashi had a little sister that had died from a disease. This caused him to want to become a doctor. On his way to take the entrance exam, he was involved in a train crash and died. Another interesting aspect was finding out that Tachibana was the one his heart had been donated to after he died.
Okay, I couldn’t have been the only person who was lowkey shipping Otonashi and Nakamura. I know Otonashia and Tachibana were the canon couple but I felt waaaaay more chemistry between Nakamura and Otonashi. Maybe it was just me. Anyhow, Nakamura is the leader of the SSS and wants to defy God and take down Angel. Her backstory was really tragic. Her younger siblings were murdered by robbers and she always carried the guilt around from not being able to save them. I’m way more into Yuki than Kanade. My tastes usually gravitate towards more outgoing, balls-y women in anime. Like I said, I thought her and Otonashi’s friendship was cute and secretly wished for a romantic route between them.
In the beginning, she is seen as the main antagonist which we later find out that she is just the student council president with powers. Naturally, she goes out of her way to suppress the SSS and their tomfoolery. She has a very blunt personality where she doesn’t show her feelings outwardly which of course causes misunderstandings. In theory, most of my own interactions are a lot like hers but for some reason I’m not too keen on her as an actual character. I’m just pro Nakamura like, NAKAMURA SUPREMACY!
Let’s be honest, Hinata outshined Otonashi. I’m sure some people were annoyed with his constant yelling and humor but I enjoy it. The show itself was already dreary if you think about it. The comedic relief was very much needed. He’s a very reliable character and his constant spats with Yui, you could feel the love between them.
Originally an NPC character, Naoi revealed himself as being fully capable of understanding what was going on around him. He also has the power to hypnotize people and control them, so points for that. What I enjoyed the most was his complete 360 turn and devoting himself to Otonashi. It’s a little past admiration but borderline yandere.
At first, I was convinced I wouldn’t like her but by the end of the show, I was a fan! I also shipped her and Hinata together, like it just makes sense. Plus, she plays in a band. Her life when she was alive was also pretty tragic. She was hit a by a car (probably a white truck) and ended up paralyzed. Most of her life was spent in the hospital so in the “afterlife” she spent her time doing all the things she couldn’t. Her dream was to also get married which spanned from watching tv.
- ‘My Soul, Your Beats’ is a hood classic!
- Comedy really helped with the darker undertones
- If you’re a fan of CLANNAD, you’ll probably enjoy this too
- Ending felt too quick
- Some of the characters were never expanded on
- Plot was a little confusing to follow
It took a few episodes to really pull me in but I enjoyed the journey. I don’t see it talked about much on social media but regardless, I think it’s one of the few anime that can hold its own without tons of recommendations or always being praised. It’s in the same league as ‘Charlotte,’ another great show that I love that rarely gets big praise. What I’m saying is, I would like for this show to be included in the conversations more often! The show is great and if I look at my checklist, it doesn’t lack anything.
I am just peeved about the ending because it was very open ended, like did they reincarnate or something? Is this another lifetime? Did they come back to earth? I was very confused. Also, as I said before a lot of characters were just there with no background explanation. It was kind of like ‘oh they’re there but they’re so mysterious so we don’t question anything about them.’ Not to be harsh but kind of lazy writing on their part. All that being said, I could probably rewatch it in the future. There were some tears at the end but it was an enjoyable show to watch.
This is why I’m giving it a solid 3/5 Onigiri. Mainly for the ending or else it might’ve gotten a point higher.
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