Angel Beats is about an afterlife in which a group of dead students refuses to ‘move on’ to the next life. This is usually 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 a comedy – most of it is well timed, and on several occasions, had me laughing out loud at my screen like a nutcase.
The other part would be the melodrama. Most of the important characters have a backstory to them, which are revealed piece by piece. And, as to be expected, many are depressing. Their common theme seems to be ‘regrets’ – especially those of teenagers struggling with family, society, and life in general.
Problems with Angel Beats
There is never a really good explanation for why they’re fighting Tenshi. They make her out to be evil incarnate at first, but quickly find out that she’s actually a normal girl. Yet rather than do their research, Yuri somehow convinced everyone to build an underground factory and stockpile weapons.
One of the first things Yuri tells Otonashi is that he should just go with it, and accept things as they are. I’d like to think this advice goes double for the viewer… Turn your brain off, because this story doesn’t make a lick of sense. Now, don’t get me wrong here, a fictional story doesn’t have to make sense to our universe. It has to make sense according to its own universe. With nearly every single story element, we get an explanation of what it is, an explanation of how it works, and a direct contradiction within three episodes time.
In an early episode, Yuri explains that they have to be careful and keep all conversations about their plans under wraps because they don’t know whether or not Angel can hear them. Well, in only a few episodes time, they’re nonchalantly discussing their plans right on the other side of the classroom from her.
Other smaller Issues with Angel Beats
The other students who weren’t brought here from another life are called NPC’s, and while they’re supposed to turn a blind eye to the Battlefront’s antics, they show up in droves to a GirlDeMo concert and line up for a monster fish meat give-away. The former of the two examples was pointed out by one of the characters. As a matter of fact, a lot of the inconsistencies in this show are pointed out by the characters, as if the writers thought that making the script self-aware of its own flaws would somehow make up for those flaws.
We’re introduced to important details that quickly become forgotten, plot points that are almost immediately made pointless. And the only explanations they ever stick to are the ones that sound like complete cop-outs.
A LESSON FOR EVERYONE
Angel Beats is truly a meaningful anime. Yes, it has issues but there’s more to it. It’s about moving on and accepting your fate. It’s about fulfilling your dream, even if it doesn’t happen the exact way you expect it to. There are times when your life may seem over figuratively, but there will always be a chance to follow your dream. The lesson is to not give up hope and to continue striving for what you want, even if it isn’t in front of you.
And do you want to know the absolute worst thing about it? The worst thing about this anime is that it is physically impossible to not enjoy it. It is relentlessly fun to watch. The overly complicated plot comes with a surprisingly simple, albeit poorly constructed, story. The humor isn’t as spot-on as it probably should be, but it’s inspired enough to keep you laughing just often enough.
Have you already seen this anime? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!