Whatever Otonashi thought of the afterlife, it probably didn't involve a school with a few rebellious students wielding fire arms in conflict with the class representative. The purpose of the school isn't clear, but what is known is that cooperating with the class rep will lead to obliteration. Most of the students at the school aren't real people. They act as place holders and are known as NPCs (non playing characters). Is this normally what happens when you die, or is it some kind of afterlife punishment for not doing homework?
Most of the real students don't seem like trouble makers, but they're not going to put up with afterlife obliteration. Especially when everyone had a pretty bad life. Fighting the system only seems to make sense, however Otonashi isn't convinced. The assumptions just don't seem to line up the way everyone says, and the more he digs into the clues behind the mysteries of the school, the more he becomes convinced that there is a purpose behind all this. And what exactly is the story behind the class rep?
Angel Beats joins the ranks of Angel Links, Beat Angel and probably hundreds of other titles which combine 'angel' with some unrelated word, but this time there's a reason behind it. You just won't know until the last few minutes. I became interested in Angel Beats after hearing so many conflicting opinions, so I wanted to see what the deal is for myself. I can see why some love and some hate it, and the reasons have a lot to do with the climate of anime in 2010 and what the viewer expects.
Angel Beats sports attractive designs, vibrant colors, good music and good animation. Taking all those things into consideration, it's not surprising that even if all the other aspects were bad, many people would still love this show. Some things are conspicuously added to gain appeal, such as the girl band and guns in general - neither of which are necessary. Personally I liked the guns, but didn't like the girl band so how effective this stuff is, varies. Angel Beats basically carpet bombs the viewer with popularity boosters to make it likable. What's scary is how well it works, especially with painting over some big issues.
Where it doesn't look so good is with the story. It's got a cool quirky environment that's a lot of fun, but Angel Beats jumps back and forth between comedy, drama and action. This stuff isn't bad, but it's not integrated well at all. Angel Beats really shines when it digs into character back stories, but it only bothers to uncover a few of them. By the end of 13 episodes most of the characters turned out to be plot fodder. This is only more annoying considering entire episodes are spent fighting the class rep instead of concentrating on the story. If this series had been 26 episodes it would have had far more breathing room to have fun with that kind of thing, as well as flesh out the story better. The final episode being an extended farewell would have made more sense too. It's also hard to predict if you'll like the ending or not. I can't give details on that.
This one fails to excel due to lack of effort, not lack of potential. I can see why Angel Beats is popular. It's flashy fun, and while it wasn't as funny as it wanted to be, it was still pretty amusing. If you're the kind to nitpick on details it's also easy to see why you might not like it. The sentiment isn't bad, but the way it's constructed is pretty shaky. It's certainly better than fluff, but still lacking substance. It's good enough to make it a fair watch.
TK: You can still make it dudes. Give my love to Jesus man.
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