The story of Angel Beats! follows Yurippe, Otonashi and the rest of their brigade’s fight against the Powers That Be of the afterlife. After starting out the first episode and following the initial confusion in the establishment, one might almost be forgiven for thinking this show is some form of mystery show where the main character slowly tries to figure out how this whole afterlife functions and comes to a climax where he is able to break down the system and lead the whole brigade to some form of conclusive rebellion. The show gives some mild indications for this in the beginning, while easing into it all with a few establishing episodes of lighter fare. Using some drama non-related to the actual events of figuring out the afterlife and some comedy, the show seems poised to butter the viewer up for the big reveals and the actual ‘purpose’ behind the story.
I do belive that Key have to many ideas when he is making a show and trying to put all that into just thirteen episodes makes other areas of the series suffer, and i think what suffer the most is the characterization wich often looks like it is rushed. Still, the cast as a whole is impressive and enjoyable to watch, im justa little sad that there where only two character that had the time got get their storys told.
The mood swings in Key’s stories have always been extreme, and Angel Beats also get a shot of the massive swings in the form of comedy and drama several times in one single episode. do not get me wrong, As i can se the shows flaws i am still a fan of it. I just like mysteries more to really hook up. For a show that is cooked up of so many random elements from so many other anime, it really amazes med that Angel Beats can stand on it own feet. Almost every episode some kind of suprising plot twist to make you wanna start the next episode right away, and I daresay that the unexpected suprises will continue to come until the very end of the show, and it really works because we are told so little that it sometimes makes not sense. As the plot is driven by mystery, youre engaged because youre so desperate (at least i was) to se the next episode and find just what is going to happen next aswell as to get answer and explanations for the events that occur.
The overall animation quality is extremely high. This series probably had a movie-level animation budget per minute for action scenes. Some of the scenes were truly breathtaking. We’re talking about Shinkai Makoto-level landscape by Studio Easter and best gun/knife fight sequences ever in anime. CG is nearly flawless, and character motions smooth with exception to one cut where characters were climbing down the ladder in episode 1. On the other hand, there’s a lot of sloppiness in unimportant scenes. Some of the characters’ faces are noticeably wider and off proportion at times. Character design was very weak. Many characters had same faces with awkward hair gradients. It took me about 5 episodes to get used to it, compared to 2 at most for all previous KeyAni series. General animation by P.A. Works wasn’t bad, but lacks the consistency of major production agencies. Should’ve stuck with Kyoto Animation like all their past works.
I loved the music. I really did. It’s not amazingly different, but it’s still awesome. There is nothing wrong with mainstream if it’s properly done, and here it’s done properly. In fact, the opening sequence music has taken up a semi-permanent residence in my mp3 player. The voice acting was on the level. Constricted by heavily stereotyped character design, but as perfect as it can get within these limits. SFX are smooth, fluid and go well with the picture. No problems here either.
Enjoyment wise I enjoyed it. I liked quite a few of the characters and as I said above that I loved the music. The ending also makes up for what the rest of the series did not do, so if you have not yet done so, go watch Angel Beats.