This will be the very first review ever for RishRaff Anime Reviews! The first series we will be covering is one of my personal favorites, Angel Beats! Being a fairly popular anime, the review here will probably sound pretty similar to other reviews about the series. Beware, there be minor SPOILERS ahead.
Now without further a-do, let us begin the review!
Summary: Otonashi is a young boy living in the afterlife with no memories of his life before his death. He joins a school organization called the SSS whose mission is to fight against God. -Crunchyroll.com
Angel Beats! plot is somewhat intriguing, with multiple arcs crammed into its 13 episodes. The most prominent player is Otonashi as he learns about the purgatory type world he’s been thrust into. The series, while coming from a Buddhist view of the afterlife, still leaves the question of God open ended. There are two epilogues also to the series, one post credits of episode 13, and the alternate one that is view able separately, which allows for two totally different interpretation to the nature of life after death. I personally like the alternate epilogue, as it fits better with my Christian worldview. Regardless, be prepared to cry going into this series, but more on that under Themes. The plot is very quick paced, unlike some other Key anime *cough* Clannad *cough*, and certainly a different take on the generic school life anime. However, the plot is not without its flaws. There are several notable plot holes, such as Otonashi coming to the world after Kanade, despite he having died before her. The other is the considerably short run time, which can make the plot feel a bit rushed at points and severally affects character development. Despite this however, the plot is very solid and the anime is enjoyable for all ages and genders. It also serves as a good starting anime.
The characters are one of the most defining and definitely best aspect of the Angel Beats! series. The cast is huge and includes everyone from dancers (TK), musicians (Iwasawa), to even a ninja (Shiina)! Chances are you will find a character with which you can relate. The main characters also are extremely well developed, with sad and gripping backstories that makes you pity them almost immediately and adds a whole other depth to who they are. The glaring issue is that with so many characters that there are, and a short run time, there is not enough minutes to develop every character as fully as the viewer wants, especially some obvious favorites.
I am not extremely qualified to rate the animation, but overall it is really crisp and easy to follow the action sequences. Just good animation in general.
For an anime where music is one of the major themes, you’d better believe it has good music! The series does an excellent job of matching music to mood. The composition is well done, and you will most likely want to buy the soundtrack afterwards, cause I know I did. Warning though, the opening may get stuck inside your head.
The anime has many heavy themes that will easily resonate with the viewer. The themes of regret and acceptance (or salvation) are the two most easily recognized themes. The characters expressing their regrets and working through them, or hanging on to them desperately as part of their identity, are the biggest driving force in the story. Other themes include music, friendship, and so on. With everything together, if you remember from earlier, I warn you that there is a high chance of crying, or at least feeling bad for the characters. While some people find the lightheartedness that is common place in the early episodes conflicting with the heavy emotions of later episodes a turn off, the anime is not primarily a comedy, or even action story. I view it more as a healing story, of how people overcome struggles, some so big that we wonder if we could overcome it if we were faced with it. The melodrama is also criticized, but this generally more by American reviewers, where melodrama is generally not favored. I personally enjoy the melodrama, and being moved by the story makes me feel like I got more out of it. Overall, the themes will touch you and as we all feel regrets, it is easy to relate to the characters plights.
Final Score: 9/10
Final Grade: A
Angel Beats! was an anime that I did not expect much from. I thought that I would not get into because of the whole sob story thing, but I was very wrong. When it started I was quickly pulled into it by the story and the action, but I ended up staying with it for the characters. While the characters made the series, it also brought its biggest flaw. The story was rushed to the point where about half the characters are not even touched on. The ones that you do get backstory from are amazing though and it more than made up for not knowing the others. Their stories are all sad and even made me cry at one point. But if that is not your thing there is still something for everyone in this anime. If you like action, romance, tearjerkers, or music I highly recommend you check this out. Out of 10 I would give it a 9.5 and I would recommend this anime to people who are just getting into the community and people who have been in it for years alike. – B-Ro
Where do I even begin with this anime? This was my first series (along with the also amazing FLCL), and I didn’t know what to expect. But from that incredible opening sequence on, I knew I was in for something special. First of all, the characters are extremely memorable. Everyone finds their own favorites, and I seriously loved all of them, especially Iwasawa, Hinata, Yui, and Otonashi. The story and themes are great, and the animation is simply beautiful. It also adds in plenty of action and humor to compliment the story’s progression. It is definitely an emotional thrill ride in all of the best ways. There are a lot of sad moments, especially as you learn more about the backstories of the characters, and it all leads to an ending that is a tearjerker, but a truly beautiful one. The soundtrack is also incredible, from the Girls Dead Monster songs to the instrumental pieces that perfectly pair with the emotions of the show. It is unfortunately a little short, and isn’t able to fully develop all of the characters. However, it does so much in its 13 episode span, that I can live with them leaving a few things to my imagination. This show really spoke to me, especially with its themes and characters. I’m truly in awe at how beautiful this show is. It’ll always be my all time favorite anime, 10/10 if you need a ranking.
Final Comments: Angel Beats! is a pretty classic anime that covers a wide range of genre, tastes, and preferences. It is easy to get into, and will most likely having you both crying and laughing. It does suffer from plot inconsistency and underdevelopment of characters, though.
Thanks for reading! The next review will be Kill La Kill.