Music – The use of sound and music at the most appropriate times truly enhances the viewing experience and pulls the viewer into the world within this anime. It forces you to empathise with each character’s personal story and journey; you laugh with them, cry with them and experience their world with them. Not to mention, the soundtrack is absolutely beautiful. Check it out here.
Comedy – Angel Beats! isn’t a comedy by any means but it certainly has moments that either have you chuckling silently or rolling on the floor laughing, tears streaming down your eyes. The light hearted moments lure you into a state of security as you briefly forget the dire situation the characters are presently in. It certainly gives you a breather from all those emotional ‘feels’.
Character back story – Throughout the 13 episodes, regular flashbacks depict the characters’ lives back when they were alive. This gives viewers insight into what life was like for each character and provides an explanation as to why they rebel and provoke God, whom they believe dealt them a crappy hand in life. Each characters’ back story only makes you empathise with them more. Be warned that these flashback scenes, coupled with each characters’ dreams of what they wished to achieve in life, may leave you sobbing uncontrollably (this, of course, varies between individuals).
Moral of the story – After unpacking and stripping the plot of Angel Beats! right down to its core, viewers will find that the moral of the story is essentially a really good piece of advice; live life as best you can, enjoy your youth, let go of trivial things, take ownership of your predicaments instead of blaming others and be at peace with yourself. With the target audience of Angel Beats! being those aged between 16 – 25 years, this underlying piece of advice is certainly apt as young adults are most often concerned about their futures and take life too seriously.
The revelation that Kanade Tachibana is human – How and why did she become the enemy? This was never truly explained and would leave some viewers, like me, confused at the end. Furthermore, how did she transform from a human soul stuck in limbo to a superhuman being with the ability to create weapons out of her arms and shield herself from attacks? This made me question the premise of the story and with the anime ending the way it did, it will certainly leave others scratching their heads too.
Overtly melodramatic – The anime begins by depicting an incredible premise and plot that builds up toward a potentially amazing revelation or crucial climax. However, it was rather disappointing that the tone of the anime, towards the last few episodes, quickly shifted to becoming overtly melodramatic. Important questions and loose ends should have been answered and tied up neatly prior to the ending to allow viewers some sense of closure rather than leaving them feeling raw and saddened.
Otonashi, one of the lead charactes, regains his memories and is quick to accept his fate – Personally, I don’t have issues with this, however, it would have made for a more enjoyable story if Otonashi had experienced an internal struggle. It would have been far more fulfilling to watch the character grow from being unable to accept his death and let go of his reason to live, to then accepting his fate and resigning himself to help those stuck in limbo. Instead, his memories eventually return, whereby he had a brief moment to himself to process, and then carried on as if nothing happened. He’s meant to be human right? Where’s the emotion? Would you accept it so easily if your life was cut short and you didn’t have enough time to achieve your dreams? I’d definitely freak out initially.
Right and wrong – Yuri, another lead character, behaves as if the battlefront group does noble work by fighting Angel and therefore defying God for dealing them the short hand of the stick at life. Yet, she has no qualms about stealing meal tickets from the NPCs (‘non player characters’), who are typically like extras in a movie. They don’t really have much purpose other than to ‘fill’ the anime with bystanders.
Give Angel Beats! a go for your own list of likes and dislikes.