Angel Beats! Review
While in the Purgatory, a group of students rebel against God for their unreasonable cruel fates despite having done nothing wrong. Will they be able to change their destiny or accept what’s already on their plates?
Time for Angel Beats! I just finished all 14 episodes awhile ago in one sitting, and yes – it’s that awesome. This may yet be the best anime I’ve watched this year, and it’s from 2010 to boot! I missed this kind of intense anime that after you get to watch it, you sort of sympathize with their sorrows, then you turn around and look at your own life, and try to make it a better one for the sake of the life lessons the anime has shared with you.
Quite a lot of manly and lady tears have been shed for Angel Beats!, that’s for sure. It’s a well-rounded anime instigating surreal themes of action, comedy, gore, unhappiness, regrets, the afterlife and finding purpose. Don’t expect some moe, fanservice or lovey-dovey crap in this one.
Plot: Otonashi wakes up out of nowhere, not remembering anything about himself nor what previously happened. He is greeted by Yuri Nakamura, who is wielding a sniper rifle pointed towards a seemingly ordinary high school girl that’s considered to be the enemy. She explains that they are in the afterlife, and that everyone in that world has already died.
Taking advantage of the confusion, Yuri invites him to join her Afterlife Battlefront or SSS (Shinda Sekai Sensen) – a group organized to rebel against God because of the cruel fates the members experienced in their lives. Otonashi refuses, and decides to talk to the girl being targeted instead.
Otonashi walks up to the one called Tenshi or Angel, and had her explain to him what’s going on. He insisted to go to a hospital because his memory if fuzzy, but Tenshi tells him that there are no hospitals there since no one can die. Well, they’re already dead to begin with. Otonashi gets stabbed to his heart after daring Tenshi to prove that he can’t die.
He wakes up in the school infirmary, and finally gets a grasp of the situation. Otonashi heads to the school’s Headmaster Room and discovers that it’s actually the secret base of Yuri’s group. To pass time until his memories return, he decided to join them for the meantime and participate in the Afterlife Battlefront’s daily operations.
More things have been explained to him from that point on: that they rebel because Tenshi will ‘erase’ them if they try to live a normal life in that world, and that they don’t want to just disappear because they might be reborn as a water flea in the next life, as based from Buddhism belief.
There are a bunch of interesting characters around, including the all-girl band Girls Dead Monster or Girls DeMo, who usually perform illegally in the school gym to divert attention from Tenshi and the school NPCs (non-human people in that world without self-awareness dubbed non-playable characters) when the Battlefront is on a sortie. Tenshi is also the Student Council President, by the way. This is one of the reasons she strictly implements peace and order.
The first thing everyone would ask would be: who is Tenshi/Angel? And what is she, really? An angel of God? Or God himself? Well, you’ll find out soon enough.
Nothing is probably making sense to you right now, so let me spoil you a bit and get to the juicy part.
Everyone there is already dead and are now wandering in that Purgatory called school. Deep in their hearts, they don’t want to move on yet because they either have regrets and couldn’t accept their cruel fates, or that they haven’t fulfilled something they wanted to in life. Mostly it’s the former, and this is where their heartbreaking stories come.
They are infuriated at God because they’ve lived their lives the best they can, yet incredibly terrible fates kept befalling them – very depressing ones. The very wonder of Angel Beats! is that you get to be with the characters from their moment of breaking when they were still alive, until they find that miraculous enlightenment in that afterlife set for them.
Disappearing in that world would also mean accepting that they have already passed on, and that they no longer have any regrets in their lives. Remembering the stories now still give me goosebumps.
Here are some:
Yuri regrets having failed to save her 3 younger siblings’ lives in the hands of deranged thieves
Girls DeMo vocalist Iwasawa used music as an escape from her always fighting parents, and when she was able to support and live by herself while pursuing music, she later died from a brain injury due to her father hitting her head once
Paralyzed since childhood, Yui regrets to have not done anything with her body, and to have taken her mum’s time by being dependent on her day-in and day-out
As for Otonashi’s story, I’ll leave that for you to watch. Anyway, I hope you found this review useful! Angel Beats! is a must-watch so try not to miss it before it’s too late. Also, watch out for the awesome soundtrack of this anime. Girls Dead Monster tracks and the background music are awesome!
I now end with this really awesome trailer of Angel Beats!: