Anime Review: Angel Beats!

Angel Beats!Set in a world where those who regret, or did not do all that they wanted before they died, are stuck in the afterlife, unable to move on to their next life. Otonashi, the main character, wakes up in this afterlife, remembering only his name. It is a rifle-wielding girl named Yuri that tells him that he is dead and that she is the leader of the SSS (Afterlife Battlefront) that wages a war against the “angel” named Kanade. Unable to believe Yuri, Otonashi faces Kanade but the encounter does not go as planned. As a result, Otonashi joins the SSS to battle the “angel”, while trying to regain his memories and decipher the mysteries of the afterlife.

Episodes: 13
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, School, Supernatural

three star

I started watching Angel Beats! because I had heard so many good things about it and it was only 13 episodes long. Why not? While this anime was not bad at all, I do think that it is sometimes overrated. I came in with very high expectations and was a little bit disappointed, but I still very much enjoyed watching it, despite its flaws.

I had mixed feelings about the story. Don’t get me wrong the idea was great and the concept of the afterlife, though not unheard of, still managed to be quite original in its own way, and there was still plot for most of the episodes it’s just that… well as one would expect from a 13 episodes-long series, it was really rushed. I would get really confused sometimes because the pacing was much slower at the beginning and then it just go quicker and quicker until it felt like everything was being crammed into one episode, which I really disliked. The story itself wasn’t bad, apart from the occasional unnecessary comic-relief, and the show kept me going until the end. Of course that’s not saying much because it was so short, but I was never bored with Angel Beats!

I’ll admit that the characters weren’t Angel Beats’ strong point. Yes they all had their own special personalities and many of them were very funny and likeable to watch, but it felt like there was something missing. While Angel Beats! had many characters to work with, we only ever saw the backstory of maybe 6 of them. For the most part, I found it hard to get attached to some characters because I was given very little explanation on why they were there, which is some pretty important information considering they are in the afterlife and unable to move on… However, for those main characters that I saw the backstory, I became really attached to them. They seemed much more human that way and their personalities just made so much more sense! If all the characters of Angel Beats had had that explanation, then I feel that it would have been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the show.

I found Angel Beats’ art quite pleasant and eye-catching. The characters (for the most part) all wore the same uniform, yet they were easy to recognize (definitely a plus). The backgrounds were beautiful and detailed, and the show was often drawn in many bright colours that gave off a very pleasant, light-hearted feeling to the series.

The music in Angel Beats was definitely my absolute favourite part. The songs were beautiful and the opening and ending themes fit the anime perfectly. I have nothing wrong to say about this, it was wonderful. My favourite track is undeniably “Ichiban No Takaramono”, meaning “My Most Precious Treasure”, used only twice in the anime but it is a completely unforgettable song that made the scenes it was used in even more memorable.

I watched Angel Beats! in English dubbed and found that it was quite decent. The voices seemed to fit the characters nicely and there wasn’t anything that bothered me overly much. I have watched only a few scenes in subbed but, having gotten used to the character’s English voices, I enjoyed it a lot less.

As a whole I found Angel Beats! to be a good anime with an original story and wonderful art and music. While sometimes the pacing was too fast or the comic-relief was a little bit overdone, I still found myself laughing and then crying with the characters, despite not liking it as much as I thought. I recommend this series to anyone who likes an emotional rollercoaster, is interested in the afterlife, or simply wants to watch a short, heart-warming anime.

Until next time, Otakus!

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