Oh, man. I swear, in the animé community, who HASN'T heard of Angel Beats!? I've just finished it, and a blogging is in order!
Since I first watched CLANNAD and CLANNAD ~After Story~, I've loved Jun Maeda's storytelling, and the cast of characters he creates. Although I still haven't seen Air nor Kanon, I jumped ahead to Jun-sama's latest work, Angel Beats!
As a summary, this animé's intricate themes are nicely played. Jun Maeda may be my new favorite writer, screenplay and music composer. This animé plays on the concepts of Life, Death, Fate, Reason, and, unsurprisingly, Love.
Here's a play-by-play of all 13 eps, cause I don't feel like creating 13 entries in the span of a day.
Episode 1: Departure
(Looks of) Shiro Emiya + (Personality of) Tomoya Okazaki = Yuzuru Otonashi
(Looks of) Haruhi Suzumiya + (Personality of) Haruhi Suzumiya = Yuri Nakamura aka Yurippe
(Looks of) Aono Morimiya + (Personality of) Yuki Nagato = Angel
The first thing Otonashi's notices when he regains consciousness is his amnesia. The second thing he notices is a girl pointing a sniper rifle at another girl.
When asked what the hell is going on, he's told that he was dead, but can't die now. And he has o join a renegade group and kill angels, or you will disappear. Obviously, he thinks they're all crazy, and proceeds to walk right up to Angel, and says, "Then prove it! If I'm already dead, I can't die agai..."
"...Yabai...me and my big mou--"
And hilarity ensues, all while Otonashi's trying to figure what the dragon's balls is going on! Trying to get to the principal's office, suddenly:
You've activated my trap!
So, Otonashi's now mingling with a group called the Afterlife Battle Front, who just skip class, don't listen to anyone, as doesn't afraid of anything.
Turns out, the gang are the only real humans, while everyone else are NPCs for the most part. Even trying to blend with them will get you erased, as well as taking classes seriously.
SSS: Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife Battle Front)
Question: What's the laziest way to introduce a cast of characters?
Answer: This way.
Blatant marketing ploy. I want Key coffee now.
Anyways, he's now enrolled as the rookie recruit, and his first assignment is to help out in Operation: Tornado. And who to divert the attention of the NPCs whilst the gang steals their meal tickets? Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for:
Girls Dead Monster, aka GirlDeMo!
Iwasawa: The lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of SSS's diversionary squad. The cool beauty, if you will. She composes the music for the band as well. She sports a Sienna Sunburst/Maple Fender Stratocaster electric guitar.
Hisako: Lead guitarist, and second-in-command. Holding a Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar.
Sekine: The bassist, carrying a G&L L-2000 bass guitar.
Irie: The drummer. Cute. Anyone know the model make of the drum set? lol
So yes, Operation: Tornado consists of hyping the NPCs with music, and turning on (electronic) fans to literally 'lift' the meal tickets away from them. The only problem?
Angel doesn't like thieves.
So, pardon the pun, sparks fly and the fist episode comes to a close. A great way to open up a story! Especially throwing in the song, Crow Song!
So, this school is actually an afterlife, or a Purgatory, if you will. I can take that. The non-NPCs are afraid of disappearing, because they don't know where they'll go. Understandable. But possible reincarnation as a barnacle? lol
And for every time TK speaks, here is TK's quotes of the episode:
-"Come on, let's dance!"
-"Oh, yeah, don't be afraid."
-"Feel the beat!"
Episode 2: Guild
So, there's finally an opening theme for the series, and so I went ahead and took the liberty of taking a screen shot of Girls Dead Monster! Enjoy!
Basically, in this episode, the gang must go into their Guild, a weapon's manufacturing branch of SSS, because they're low on weapons. But Angel's headed there as well, so they can't deactivate the Anti-Angel traps. Thus, the comedy.
Woah, listen to TK!
Woah, Otonashi listened to TK!
Really, the only movement of the story is from revealing Yurippe's past, and how she started the SSS brigade. A VERY tragic part of her life, and a core reason for her drive and rebellion against God.
Aside from the Yurippe past, this episode's just really introducing the cast of characters, and building the relationships of one another. In other words, a filler. But as long as a filler's funny and enjoyable, why not, eh? Overall, the episode was predictable. And I don't like predictability. But one thing you can never predict is Yurippe's combat skills, going toe-to-toe with a superhuman!
TK's quotes of the episode:
-"Alright, let's go."
-"Just wild then."
-"You can make it!"*
-"Oh! Run to her and hug her tight!"*
*= Says it in Japanese, surprisingly!
Episode 3: My Song
Episode begins with Yurippe shooting down Iwasawa's newest piece, My Song. I'm not one or ballads either, so, sorry Iwasawa.
So now, Yurippe recruits another character, due to the one major weakness of the gang: group stupidity. Here comes a rather mundane character to pave the way for Operation: Angel Area Invasion Plan.
His name: Takeyama, aka Christ.
His weapon: Pi.
And so begins the operation, invading Angel's room, using GirlDeMo to distract her. And the introduction of a new song, Alchemy!
More screentime for Yusa, please.
Iwasawa reveals her tragic past as well, though as she says isn't as horrific as Yurippe's is still sad nonetheless. And during the infiltration, GirlDeMo isn't doing too well attracting everyone's attention, and is ultimately stopped by NPC teachers. That sucks. It's bad enough getting stopped by real teachers. Iwasawa retaliates with the last song she'll ever sing in this world, My Song.
And so, Realizing that music is her life, finally content with what she's accomplished, she disappears.
R.I.P. Iwasawa, the creator of Girls Dead Monster.
And so, besides the story of Iwasawa, you find out a little more about Angel. Her superhuman abilities weren't a 'gift from God', if you will, but defensive reality-altering programs to, well, defend herself. Probably from gunfire. Oi, oi, Yurippe...
A very sad episode. I didn't expect a character introduced so well to leave so soon. And it hits harder knowing the character was an important part of the SSS brigade.
TK's quotes of the episode:
-"Get chance and luck!"
Episode 4: Day Game
This episode focuses on 2 characters, the pseudo-homo Hinata, and the new recruit, Yui. Hinata, at this point, I really didn't care for, since he's been giving viewers that 'vibe', but Yui. Well, Yui can have an entire series to herself, yo!
The new voice of GirlDeMo?
I love how annoying--er, loud--um, cute Yui is. She's like Azumanga Daioh's Tomo, always doing dangerously hyperactive things, while thinking she's top dog.
So, enter baseball, and the SSS brigade's trying to beat Angel's team fair and square.
"Is that all you've got?!"
"What did you say?"
That's more like it!"
The team just can't be a team, let alone friends. I mean, Otonashi vs Noda is bad enough, but Hinata and Yui are a horrible team as well!
Well, you find out about Hinata's past, letting the team down by not catching that fly ball to second. Whatever happens to him after that game, I dunno.
Of course, if he happens to catch that in this last game against Angel's team, then, well.
But remember what I said...
...About Hinata and Yui...
...Not making a good team?
Well, Hinata's still in the game, so to speak, and Yui's just as kawaii as ever.
TK's quote of the episode:
Episode 5: Favorite Flavor
Now the SSS brigade's newest plan is to remove Angel's position of power, aka the acting Student Council President, by framing her by fixing her exams. I had no idea how funny the entire situation would turn out. "Attract attention so we can switch her tests, or I'm make you an attraction", is the gist of it. And the results are...ahahaha...
Ah, propulsion engines~
Now that Angel's seat of power is removed, the gang starts up Operation: Tornado to test out their new found waters.
With Yui as the new vocalist of GirlDeMo!
This episode forces you to pity Angel--I mean, Kanade Tachibana, and does a good job of that. You start to realize how human she really is, and how depressed anyone would be if a group of delinquents got you fired.
And her last comfort, Mapo Tofu, was taken away from her...
No TK quote this episode, which is kind of a downer, but hey! There was plenty of things to keep you occupied! And GirlDeMo's Thousand Enemies, the last song written by Iwasawa, performed by Yui is a match made in heaven!
Episode 6: Family Affair
Now that Kanade's in no position to interfere, this could be paradise for the gang, right? Doing what you want, no one to stop you, etc.
Well, NOT SO FAST. Cause you're now up against the new Student Council President!
Lelouch via Britannia. I mean--Ayato Naoi.
The new badass President not has jail-cells called Reflection Rooms. But that doesn't stop our gang from having fun!
Eheheh...Yui-chan~ And lol to Matsushita!
At least for a little while. Long story short, Otonashi and Kanade are taken prisoner, and the brigade is fighting a losing battle against Naoi and his Lelouch-like strategies.
Reintroducing Hand Sonic.
Hand Sonic version 2.
Hand Sonic version 3.
Hand Sonic version 4.
But now Otonashi realizes a bit more about Kanade. She's practically stuck in this world, unable to leave for some reason, and any friends she makes along the way will find peace and leave her. So sad!
That's just too sad. Too pitiful...
What kind of system is this?
So, they finally escape only to arrive a little too late. The SSS brigade is completely taken out, thanks to the conniving tactics of Lelouch.
And so begins Lelouch of the Rebellion.
And thus starts the Counterattack of Suzaku.
So, Naoi tries to erase Yurippe, and Otonashi punches(? Kicks?) Naoi away throws some big speech on why he shouldn't erase Yurippe. Bleh. Then he proceeds to *HUG* Naoi, and acknowledges his existence. *Cue screaming fangirls.* Man, it must suck to be Yurippe right now. This guy saves you, but hugs the male enemy. Wtf.
Yup. This episode was very homo. To be a man, you should NOT hug thy male enemies. I could've sworn that was some sort of unwritten rule!
TK's quotes of the episode:
-"Ouch! Are you serious?"
-"Just wild heaven."
-"I'll be back."
Episode 7: Alive
Now that BOTH Student Council Presidents are allies, Yurippe proceeds to awaken Otonashi's long lost memories. But not before Naoi and Hinata have a little chat.
ALL HAIL THE CLOTHESPIN!
They crack into Otonashi's past, and what do they find?
Otonashi's ill imouto. (Jun-sama, I think the sickly bed-ridden littel-sister-types are starting to get repetitive. Just a though.)
Otanashi was also Tomoya Okazaki-like in the past, not caring about much until his interactions with a certain bed-ridden girl changes his view on life. Suddenly he wants to help lives instead of ignore lives.
The heartfelt scene that was Otonashi's turning point.
So Otonashi starts going to school, working, and studying to become a doctor, and DAMN he does good! At least this far...
And yet his dream never came to be.
Now, this sucks, especially since Jun-sama hit us early in the episode, so he tries to cool the tension with fishing. Yay fishing. After completing the side-quest Operation: Monster Stream, the gang finds out Yurippe was attacked! By who? We've already befriended all the enemies thus far. Well, the answer is...
Kanade's bunshin. Like Terminator 2.
Now, at this point, I'm as confused as anyone else here. And other questions at this point:
How did everyone get their memories without the help of Naoi?
Why is Kanade's clone so hostile?
TK's quotes of the episode:
-"One, two, hey, yo, let's dance!"
-"Carnival of despair!"*
-"Crazy for you!"
-"Chop chop chop chop."
Episode 8: Dancer in the Dark
What a sick way to start an episode. The 2 Kanade's fight to the death, and now leaves the gang with this new puzzle: How many crazy Angels are after us now?
Yurippe gets everyone to play it cool in class while she tampers with Kanade's AngelPlayer, and what they do to kill time is subtle, yet hilarious!
So, the real Kanade gets kidnapped into the old Guild, and our heroes make their descent to rescue her. But more clones await, and the brigade sacrifices each individual to get the others to pass into the next level. Comedy ensues.
Yui, stop it or I'll develop a fetish...
Hahahaha!! Ah, Yui~
As Yurippe pwns another clone, Otanashi saves the real Kanade, and she activates her Harmonics, ridding the area of clones. Unfortunately, she also takes in whatever bad qualities the clones had and throws herself into a coma. Dang.
TK's quotes of the episode:
-"Hey, yo, check this out!"
-"It's a moonwalk, it's a moonwalk!"
-"It's my turn."
-"Get chance and luck!"
Episode 9: In Your Memory
Solo Otanashi episode, as the rest of his past is revealed. Making it even more tragic that before.
He survives, only to find out him and the survivors are trapped inside the tunnel.
And even on the brink of death, he still only ever thought of others. What a man.
R.I.P. Yuzuru Otonashi.
A hero til the end.
Episode 10: Goodbye Days
Finally! An episode dedicated to Yui!! And NOT a filler, too!
Hand Sonic version 5: Cruel Angel-mode.
Otonashi wants to help Yui move on first, since she's already become the star of GirlDeMo, but she's alot more scatterbrained than we thought.
...I like that about her. <3
So some of the things she's always wanted to do are:
Pro wrestling. Well, at least a German Suplex. And when she tries it, she throws everyone instead.
So it's Tyson training for her. Back to the basics! And viola! A perfect German Suplex!
But wait! There's more!
Soccer! And thanks to Kanade in the background, Yui takes on 5 guys at once, and pathetically beats them.
Then it's baseball...
Fortunately, she gives up on that. But her final request...
She was hit by a car, and was paralyzed for life, so her ultimate wish is to marry someone who's willing to love and take care of her. I admit, even I would think twice about it...But!
Hinata shows us this love/hate relationship still had enough love for them! Yui, blushing, says it's impossible for him to even find her again, but he mans up and tells her he WILL find her. Whatta guy! He even maps out how he meets her.
And the scenario plays out.
And Yui disappears, finally feeling satisfied. If you ask me, it's just the start of a new journey for her.
R.I.P. Yui, my dear!
This was my favorite episode, cause it was all about my favorite girl character! Too bad that would be it for GirlDeMo...at least in this world.
TK's quotes of the episode:
-"He can't dance in my world right now."*
-"Don't let me cry!"
-"Secluded mountain training."*
-"In the mountain."
-"I kiss you!"
-"Easy come, easy go!"
-"Woo! Here we--"
-"Scrambled it troubled down."
Episode 11: Change the World
Now that ALL the countable threats have been gone, and Otonashi's goal to 'relieve' people in effect, then comes ANOTHER villian! One that would throw anyone off.
No, nt him, but it's fun to watch him use his powers. It's like Lelouch if Sunrise ever put him in a harem romantic comedy. ...Ooh... I really want to see that happen!
But anyways, these new threats are Shadow Monsters, and they turn humans into NPCs. If you didn't know, once you become an NPC, you're doomed to forever attend this school and never graduate. Kind of like my dream. For everyone else, it's a fate worst than Kanade erasing people.
Well, I guess I don't wanna 'die' this way...
But it got Takamatsu... Goodbye, pseudo-nerd-who-secretly-works-out...
So, Yurippe warns the entire SSS brigade about this new invisible enemy, telling everyone to group into teams of 2 to avoid being 'eaten'. But she also finally asks people to consider finding peace and disappearing.
And while Yurippe was speaking about Kanade, the obvious truth comes out:
Even death can't cure idiocy, right Yui-chan?
So everyone splits up and struggles with the idea of moving on. Pretty heartfelt, if you ask me.
Note to self: Do NOT join Girls Dead Monster if you don't want to be erased.
So, I get there's a new enemy, and that the school's computers are being stolen, but with everything at peace, and no new souls appearing, who could be behind this?
So Yurippe first tells everyone to keep in groups as to not get ambushed,
then tells everyone to think about disappearing on their own? Plot hole much?
TK's quotes of the episode:
-"Woah! Dancing in the shadow!"
-"I kiss you."
-"It's a carnival and everyone's invited."*
Episode 12: Knockin' on heaven's door
And so comes everyone's decision to move on. Kind of obvious, since otherwise you'd eventually get eaten by the Shadow Monsters, but still not the easiest decision to make.
Ah, I'll be a fan of their band's reincarnation! As long as Yui's in it, kora!
After all the non-assault members move on, the core fighters take on the monsters while Yurippe infiltrates the base to find the cause of all this!
Matsushita comes back from his solo mountain training to help.
Tell me when you see Matsushita.
So, as Yurippe ventures onward towards the source of this chaos, she runs across a little help in the form of Chaa, and hands her more ammo to continue on. He also says Guild is disbanded, too.
Goodbye, Byron--I mean, Chaa...
And when Yurippe gets to the centre of this madness, she meets:
Akira Ishida, hikikomori-mode!
And so begins his explanational onslaught.
So, the reasons for the shadow bugs is because 'love' was triggered in this world, which wasn't allowed in the first place, or it would become an eternal paradise. From the creator of AngelPlayer, who, a long time ago, loved someone who disappeared from this world. He waited so long he lost his mind, and forced himself to become an NPC, and had Akira Ishida guard his 2nd Computer Room. I see...it makes sense.
Aw, such a waste of technology.
After completing her mission to save everyone, she's visited by some unexpected people...
...pretty much thanking her for always thinking about them, and that it's okay to relax now.
TK's quotes of the episode:
-"Come on come on come on come on come on!!"
-"Knockin' on heaven's door."
-"Goodbye wild heaven."
Episode 13: Graduation
Or so you'd think. Yurippe still has some business to do, and that's finally graduating like a normal girl.
Otonashi, Hinata, Naoi, Yurippe, and Kanade are the last members of SSS, and hold a graduation ceremony for only themselves.
And so begins the graduation!
Just the five of them.
And even a fake principal to give them their diplomas! Hahaha...
Finally, everyone left is 'graduating' into the next world, wherever or whatever it may be.
Goodbye, Naoi. We will surely miss your Geass comedy moments. We just won't miss your yaoi moments.
Goodbye, leader Yuri. And thanks for guiding everyone for so long. Relax, and have a happy life.
It was a good run, Hinata, and also say hi to Yui for me as well.
But after, you find out that Otonashi had apparently not died in regret, since helping people until his dying momeny lead to a fullfilled life regardless, but since he had lost his memories, Otonashi had wandered into this world. So more or less, he's stuck here.
And so Otonashi asks Kanade the big question:
Kanade's actually the person who had received Otonashi's organ, and that had saved her life. It was such a selfless method that Otonashi had done, Kanade wanted to thank him for his thoughtless deed.
It turns out that Kanade's one regret in life was not being able to tell
her heart donor 'thank you for saving me life', and regretted it so badly, she
wandered into this place. Uh oh.
Question: How did she know Otonashi was the one?
Short answer: When she stabbed him in episode 1, she found out then he didn't have a heart.
Long answer: He regained the rest of his memories when he was sleeping on her chest. Proof that it's his heart. I think.
But here's where the catch comes into play! If Kanade tells Otonashi her
feelings, she KNOWS she'll disappear!! *Gasp*
So now comes the dilemma:
-Otonashi wants Kanade to stay with him. He loves her and doesn't want to be away from her.
-Kanade's been in this world for SUCH a long time, endured everything this world has thrown at her, all to hear him say, "I love you. Let's be together forever. Stay with me forever. I love you, Kanade."
Wait. She's been living this endless world just to hear a guy she's never met and had always wanted to thank for helping her live, to say I love you?
And knowing she'll find peace with that and leave him possibly forever, still wanted him to say those words?
If it's so stupid, why can't I stop crying?
This is giving me a heavy dose of Lunar 2 nostalgia.
I know, everyone's big question is, "If Otonashi died before Kanade, why was she in this world before him?" Now, hear my thoughts.
Has anyone heard of the law of Cause and Effect?
Basically, people assume that because the something happens, the second thing that happens MUST be in direct correlation to the first. Like an earthquake that happens miles away, and then a chair falls over. People would assume it's due to an earthquake's aftershock, but what if it was due to some other cause? Like, someone tipped it over deliberately?
The same thing takes place in this Purgatory world. You assume just because one person dies first, they will arrive in this world first. Since this world has obscure laws as it is (ie, not dying), I think obscure time-travel arrival is VERY possible.
But something possibly even more twisted than that thought:
In episode 12, Akira said the creator of this world's program was "someone who wandered into this world. This person "loved someone who disappeared from this world." He "waited so long he lost his mind, and forced himself to become an NPC". Hmm...Otonashi wandered into this world. He loved Kanade, who disappeared. He was left waiting, more or less. And now that the time restraints are gone, this could very well be an eternal loop. Probably a bit vague, but a thought nonetheless.
And so ends a very rich series, with both endless possibilities, and an abundance of resources we'll never fully realize. Where do you go after Purgatory High? Will everyone keep their promises and meet up with one another ever again? Time won't tell. Jun Maeda-sama has a better chance of explaining, and he'll keep his lips sealed. Project over. But then again...
You never know.