Angel Beats! – review
“Kanade… Please don’t disappear… KANADEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!11489349one”
Before someone flames: [spoiler alert]. Damn straight. Angel Beats! was a decent watch in the little time that it lasted, but if there was any moral we learnt from Maeda’s latest outing, it’s how budget and timing can certainly screw around with what could have been a timeless series.
First and foremost, a synopsis: our lead Yuzuru Otonashi (voiced by the ever-so-excellent Kamiya Hiroishi) wakes up in a high school without his memories. Turns out this is some sort of afterlife for people who’ve died young and unsatisfied by their circumstances. He quickly enlists into Class 3S, a rag-tag band of weird and colourful personalities whose sole purpose is to defeat Tenshi, the school president…
Probably what kept everyone watching were the great assortment of characters in this afterlife. Of course, everyone’s favourite is Tenshi. Seriously, if you hate Tenshi, you must seriously hate the world. I personally enjoyed TK. He’s so badass, and anyone who can dance Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal in an anime series seriously gets my thumbs up.
However, the characterisation here is ironically one of the major weaknesses that pretty much eat away at Angel Beats!. We have SUCH an assortment of characters, and yet, we only get development in six, namely Yui, Otonashi, Yuri, Hinata, Naoi and Tenshi. What happened to the other characters?!
While I felt Otonashi and Tenshi’s developements were expertly done and paced, Yuri’s past seemed really off-putting and angsty. Also, the way she’s suddenly pals and bff’s with Tenshi is equally wanktarded. Ideally ALL the characters should have had at least one episode. The series just BEGS for 24 episodes at least. 13 episodes simply did NOT deliver.
Onto animation. Overall, this series is a very pretty one at that. Animation is especially great whenever we see Tenshi’s sweet moves, and the character models are definitely appealling. The concerts (yes, CONCERTS) were a surprising, yet awesome addition. Thankyou P.A. Works.
Comedy is often what gets a lot of rewatchability in many anime series, and Angel Beats! had a pretty decent sense of slapstick. Heck, almost half of it is comedy. There’s no other series that makes fun of death like Angel Beats! does. However, many of the jokes you’ll find end up repeating each other. No Takeyama. We will not fucking call you Christ. In addition, there are some points in the series which are just plain stupid, such as when Otonashi discovers Tenshi is just like the other members of Class 3S near the end. Just stupid really.
Sound was probably the crowning glory of this series. GirlsDeMo was a hit and while I never really caught on with their songs, I knew a serious amount of effort had been put to compose the various singles that appeared in Angel Beats!. For that, I must pay serious respect to Maeda. While I also initially didn’t like the ED (retardedly named The Brave Song) I ended up really loving it’s tranquility.
If you haven’t got the point yet, I will reiterate again: Angel Beats! was TOO DAMN SHORT. This lead to really stupid pacing in the series, which flimmed and flammed through semi-fillers and proper plot. There were some pretty lame and stupid moments, like when Naoi, after butchering all of Class 3S, becomes ‘good’ after Otonashi’s sloppy manhug necessarily accompanied by mantears and mancrying. Seriously. Get some balls. Big events in this series end up finishing pretty damn quickly, and I was left wanting a little more development.
However, I must admit, there were some very poignant moments in the series. My favourite is BY FAR when Hinata is about to catch the ball and disappear. The tension and emotion in those seconds were what we were expecting from Maeda. Contrary to many viewers out there, I actually enjoyed the ending a lot. I really wanted Otonashi and Kanade to be together, and well, what do you expect: the usual miracle from Maeda. Also the way the weaved the power of love into this series, namely the shades arc, was fantastically and credibly done. It wasn’t soppy!
Overall, while I can bitch and whine all I want regarding how short Angel Beats! was, I still end up liking the series a lot. It saddens me when I realise that I won’t be tuning in every Friday/Saturday to my weekly TK fix. Let’s hope Maeda’s next work is bigger and better than this one~
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