Angel Beats! (エンジェルビーツ!) is a 13-episode Japanese anime television series produced by P.A.Works and Aniplex and directed by Seiji Kishi. The story was originally conceived by Jun Maeda, who also wrote the screenplay and composed the music with the group Anant-Garde Eyes, with original character design by Na-Ga; both Maeda and Na-Ga are from the visual novel brand Key, who produced such titles as Kanon, Air, and Clannad. The anime aired in Japan between April 3 and June 26, 2010. An original video animation (OVA) episode was released in December 2010, and a second OVA was released in June 2015. The story takes place in the afterlife and focuses on Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. He is enrolled into the afterlife school and meets a girl named Yuri who invites him to join the Afterlife Battlefront, an organization she leads which fights against the student council president Angel, a girl with supernatural powers.
Angel Beats! received generally positive reviews by critics. The integration of various individual elements together, such as musical performances, humor and action, was commended in one review but panned in another, saying that the story was overloaded with too many elements. P.A.Works was praised for the animation of the action sequences and attention to detail with the weapons used. A major flaw noted by critics, however, is that the anime is too short, which leaves many of the characters with untold back-stories. The anime was selected as a recommended work by the awards jury of the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2010.
Basically, Angel Beats is about an afterlife in which a group of dead students refuse to ‘move on’ to the next life, because they have some sort of peace to make with the world and themselves. There’s a unique mix of common school life against the supernatural. It’s a setting that I found to be original enough; I also expected it to be a simple tear-jerker, but that isn’t the case. Angel Beats has a duality about it. One part of it is comedy – most of it is well timed, and on several occasions, had me laughing out loud at my screen like a nutcase. The English-speaking, nonsensical TK doesn’t even need an introduction anymore. Even the slapstick comedy is quite well done, and usually timed with unfitting music which (for the most part) heightens the comedy. The other part would be the melodrama. Most of the important characters have a back story to them, which are revealed piece by piece. And, as to be expected, many are torturous, depressing tales. These stories aren’t your stereotypical ‘my puppy died’ stories; in fact, I’ve found that most of the stories that have been revealed are all original in some way or another, and interesting as well. Their common theme seems to be ‘regrets’ – especially those of teenagers struggling with family, society and life in general.
Last Modified: Oct 11, 2017
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