Review : Angel Beats!

Angel Beats borrows ingredients that are achingly familiar and mashes them into something miraculously entertaining. The series cheerfully rips off Suzumiya Haruhi's titular character, adds her to a Sunrise-inspired ensemble cast, and plunks them into a rehash of Haibane Renmei's basic premise and somehow, even this messy mismatch of borderline cliche isn't horrible!


The story itself is somewhat simple, but each character's back story and attempt to find peace is incredibly well-written. The character's stories should make even the most hardened individual think about their life twice. This anime really shines in making you think about life and death and what makes life worth living in a way I had never seen before watching it. Now for the actual story-line, Otonashi awakens only to learn that he is dead. A rifle-toting girl named Yuri explains that they are in the afterlife, and Otonashi realizes the only thing he can remember about himself is his name. Yuri tells him that she leads the Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife Battlefront) and wages war against a girl named Tenshi. Unable to believe Yuri's claims that Tenshi is evil, Otonashi attempts to speak with her, but the encounter doesn't go as he intended. Otonashi decides to join the SSS and battle Tenshi, but he finds himself oddly drawn to her. While trying to regain his memories and understand Tenshi, he gradually unravels the mysteries of the afterlife.


One common issue with all anime where there are too many characters like Angel Beats is that you get lost within. It really becomes confusing to tell who did what, whose name is that, etc. But, This is something you won't experience with this anime. The characters - I mean, the PEOPLE - of the anime, each had their personalities incredibly well-written and had their own importance in the story, be it a main or a supportive character, they all had a carefully written background story that made you feel like you were watching real people with real problems even when it was something as unrealistic as being dead! So, let's go into specific details. Otonashi, who is the supposed main character of the series. Although everything is seen through his eyes as he is put into this high school purgatory, he does little to really influence the direction of the plot. He mainly just stands around and does nothing, spectating what the other characters are trying to accomplish. But honestly, I can't really fault him because that's exactly who he is supposed to be, a completely bland character. It is learned that he has amnesia from the transition of living to dead, so having no previous knowledge of the life he lived. This means not just us, but Otonashi himself doesn't even know who he is, and is basically just a blank slate though we learn about his back-story sometime throughout the series. Next, we have Yuri, the leader of the Battlefront Otonashi who is more or less pushed into joining. She is a very eccentric woman who wants to fight God because she thinks that the life she got was completely unfair. She had been given a decent amount of character motivation, as well as a great personality. But, The direction she was inevitably led to was less than desirable. Rounding off the main character trio, we have Angel, the person everybody seems to hate for one reason or another (don't need to spoil anything). She falls into the Rei Ayanami archetype, saying around 100 words throughout the whole series. For a lot of the time, she just seems more of a plot point than an actual character. She does get more interesting later on in the series, though. Lastly, we have the supporting cast of characters. These guys pick up any of the slack the main cast may have left behind. Each and every one of them have interesting personalities, and were responsible for the great comedy this series had to offer. A few of them are also the focus of the aforementioned side stories, which were better than I could've imagined.

Animation and Sound

The animation and artwork was great as P.A Works is one of my favourite studios to date, and they do not disappoint me with this anime. From the lighting to the artwork to the actual fluid animation, everything was solid throughout the board. Something I really thought was a nice and welcome touch was the changes they kept making to the opening and ending. In the opening and ending, they would show off every main and supporting character in the Battlefront, and whenever a new character was introduced, or a character left the Battlefront for whatever reason, they would either add or remove that person from the opening and ending in the next episode. I found that this addition had a refreshing effect when changing to a new episode. 

For the sound, it was one of the main reasons this show stands out so much. The OP's and ED's are fantastic pieces that fitted the tone of the show perfectly. To add on to that, the characters in the show actually had a band named GDM that played fantastic pieces on their own. Really. the songs could even make scenes feel very emotional even though they were actually more contradictory and unnecessary than emotional (particularly the ending). Like the art, this anime is on another level with its music production.


Angel Beats deals with themes surrounding life and death. This was inevitable since it is a series taking place entirely in purgatory. Essentially, the series tackles what happens when we still have lingering regrets and desires in our hearts when we pass on. The series handles them with a lot of tact and explores how one should go about overcoming them. So, I really enjoyed this series it was a huge tear jerker. Yes, It was. You'll be doubting me after watching the first episode, but it's true. It is extremely poignant and heartwarming.

Overall, Angel Beats is another 13-episode series that is hard to pass up. It's a giant tear jerker, has a fun cast of characters, and deals with themes of regret. It may seem a bit weird and out there during the first few episodes, but it manages to build itself up significantly in the penultimate episodes until it reaches tear jerk levels that I haven't seen in years. It isn't without flaws though. It seems like most of the cast didn't get a chance to share the development limelight. There were just too many of them here and there was not enough time to give everyone a chance for major exploration. So finally, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good, short series that would invoke some powerful feelings!



  1. Angel Beats certainly did have some issues but i'm definitely looking forward to the visual novel release. Do you plan on checking it out?

    1. Yeah, I definitely plan on checking it out.