Studio Key, my friend…you’ve done it again… Though I think you may actually be more of a frienemy.
The Basics of Angel Beats
|Aired||22 March 2010 – 25 June 2010|
|Directed by||Seiji Kishi|
|Opening Theme||My Soul, Your Beats! by Lia|
My Soul, Your Beats! ~Rock Version~ by Lisa
|Ending Theme||Brave Song by Aoi Tada|
Ichiban no Takaramono by Karuta
Genre: Action, Comedy, SupernaturalAired: March 22, 2010, to June 25, 2010Directed by Seiji KishiProducers: Aniplex, Kyoto Animation, P.A. Works, Visual Art’sOpening Theme: My Soul, Your Beats! by Lia / My Soul, Your Beats! ~Rock Version~ by LisaClosing Theme: Brave Song by Aoi Tada / Ichiban no Takaramono by Karuta
The Story of Angel Beats
In Angel Beats! Yuzuru Otonashi wakes up in another world—well, it turns out he’s dead. Not that he remembers his life, or even really realizes he’s dead. He meets a girl who tells him he’s now part of a battlefront and they’re allies. Of course, at the time, she’s also trying to shoot at another girl she says is their enemy. So he, being something of a disbelieving nincompoop (note: Part of my goal in blog posts is to work in words that I have no excuse to use elsewhere) decides to go down and speak with her. When she tells him he’s dead, he tells her to prove and well…she stabs him through the heart.
He wakes up later.
Pretty much, he ends up joining this group of people who are at a school where most of it’s really just AI, with programmed students. They, however, aim to avoid becoming just like the AI and remain themselves. Which is a pretty reasonable goal, considering the AI people are lame. Oh, and it’s probably also important to note that they’re stuck in this world because they aren’t at peace with their old lives, there are things they want to do…somewhat problematic when you can’t actually remember your life. Which some do, and some don’t.
The series revolves around the group fighting Tenshi (the girl who stabbed him), among other battles.
Characters of Angel Beats
To be perfectly honest, Angel Beats! didn’t really have what I would call the strongest cast from a Studio Key series. The characters were okay, and some really impressed me. I mean, anyone who saw my Top Ten Anime Females post should know Kanade made that list, and therefore it’s pretty easy to know I see her as a strong character.
What gets me about the cast of the series is that they’re kind of half and a half between weak and strong characters, flat ones and multi-faceted ones. Some of the group is simple—like, don’t get me wrong, I love TK, but he didn’t really have much to him and on the whole, was a bit dull in retrospect. Then there are the ones like Yuzuru or his best friend Hideki who have so much more to them. Or even Naoi, who at first seems to be a bit of an ass and then it turns out he’s just a little brat.
On the whole, this cast isn’t awful, it just isn’t wonderful, especially compared to the cast of say, Haruhi Suzumiya.
The one thing I will say was delightful about this cast was that it gave me the opportunity for this:
The Backstories of Angel Beats
Key. What. The. Hell!!!
All right, as I mentioned above, each person is stuck in that world because there’s something they want to do. Typically, it’s because their life sucked in some way and therefore well, they didn’t manage to do what they wanted.
Now I should have seen this coming. I knew walking into the series that it was from Key, but maybe I’d gotten my hopes up having to watch K-ON! just before, that maybe, maybe, maybe it would be slightly happier. Though I guess with a title like Angel Beats!, who was I kidding? It’s got the word ‘angel’ and it’s Key. That is just a straight shot down Depression Boulevard right there.
So yeah. Character #1’s (no names from me—no spoilers!) story is told and oh, there are tears in my eyes. Keep going. Another history, more tears. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
But then, those histories were probably the strongest part of the series.
Walking into Angel Beats! I was a bit…confused. Iffy? Not sure what I was getting into? This is because when I first entered the blogging scene, there were posts about the series, somewhere I was looking. And I’d read that it lost its steam partway through and sorta failed.
To be honest (maybe this is because I’m biased in the favor of Studio Key at all times) I disagree completely. I felt that the series maintained itself wonderfully the entire way through. It was multi-faceted, the plot changed a bit and got more interesting. So while the characters weren’t really always the best, the series, on the whole, was just as strong as the magic trio of Clannad, Kanon, and Air. Just not quite as tearful.
My rating of Angel Beats
9/10. No really, I mean it. It was at the level of Kanon. Which I loved less than Clannad and Air. But only by one point, and in this case, that point is lost because of the presence of some lame characters.
Reviewed by Arianna Sterling