Angel Beats! – 01

エンジェルビーツ Episode 01 Review
Angel Beats! – 01

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Angel Beats! - 01A teenage boy named Otonashi awakes to find himself near a high school girl named Yuri, who has a sniper rifle and is about to take out what she calls an angel (Tenshi). Seeing only a high school girl Otonashi rejects Yuri’s explanation that he’s dead, this is the afterlife, they are in a fight and refuses her invitation to join her cause. He tries to warn the girl of the danger, but she denies being an angel, calling Angel Beats! - 01herself the student council president. She shows him he can’t die by killing him, after which he awakes in the school infirmary with a bloody shirt as evidence. A guy comes in and kills Otonashi again for disrespecting “Yuri-pe.” Otonashi awakes the third time to hear an argument amongst a bunch of students over what to call their group. After hearing the talk, he eventually decides to join up.

Angel Beats! - 01That evening, Otonashi observes what appears to be normal after school sports club activities with Yuri explaining that these are NPC’s — non-player characters, like in an RPG game. If Otonashi decides to participate, he could end up disappearing and being reborn as something else. That night, Yuri sets up “Operation Tornado” to steal meal tickets. Giving Otonashi a hand gun, the plan starts with a concert Angel Beats! - 01keeping the students occupied and Tenshi going to Otonashi’s position. He shoots her but she advances. Additional shots are deflected by her. More of the SSS students show up to attack, but Tenshi deflects all of the bullets. They retreat as other SSS persons turn on giant fans, causing the meal tickets from the students caught up in the concert to fly away for the SSS to pick up. They do so and the following day, they eat udon in the cafeteria as if nothing happened, but Otonashi just wants his memories back.

Angel Beats! - 01

Thoughts/Review:

Hmmmm. The ONLY reason I started watching this anime is because it is Angel Beats! - 01from Key, famous for its funny and tear jerking anime adaptations of ero dating sim visual novels like Kanon, Air, and the biggie Clannad. This isn’t based on such a visual novel, but it is still a Key production, thus my interest.

As I watched this, I immediately found myself going, “Um. Hmmmm.” The premise of someone waking up in the afterlife isn’t new. I immediately thought of the excellent “afterlife transition” Angel Beats! - 01anime Haibane Renmei. Yuri’s rapid fire manner of speech about what they are going to call themselves came across as supposedly being a joke, but I didn’t laugh. I didn’t laugh later on in the episode when the same “joke” came up again with the a whole bunch of SSS members.

Unlike previous Key animation titles, I didn’t laugh at all. In Clannad when Tomoyo would beat Angel Beats! - 01Youhei and kick him multiple times with a counter keeping score, it did come across as funny to me as Youhei was set up to be the comic relief character. Someone with a poleaxe butchering someone 100 times with a counter did not come off as funny to me. It was just a bloody mess (no pun intended) but I had the feeling that Key thought it would be funny if they just added a counter.

Angel Beats! - 01As long time readers of this blog know, I’m not a Kool-Aid drinker when it comes to the Haruhi franchise. I did watch the first series and it does seem to me that Yuri is set up to be a Haruhi-type character, only not as annoying to me. Haruhi aside, the character of Yuri felt like a cookie cutter character of things already done. I don’t chalk that up as a negative now, but merely a feeling I have.

Angel Beats! - 01As to Otonash, I don’t really have a feeling about him. There’s nothing really remarkable about him thus far but his actions make me think that the anime writers have some sort of surprise in mind by the time the series ends.

None of the other characters stand out to me either. Even Tenshi, with her massive super powers, doesn’t really stand out to me for some reason.
Angel Beats! - 01
I think that ultimately, this anime feels like it is just going by the numbers and what they think will be popular or funny. The whole concert seemed out of place. This plan to just steal meal tickets seemed out of place. The fact that they pay no price for fighting Tenshi the following day and cash in on their “acquired” meal tickets seemed out of place. Angel Beats! - 01Nothing feels right to me from characters to story to humor and that’s ultimately the problem with this first episode.

Because I’m a believer in being fair, I’m going to keep blogging this series. I remember not being that impressed with the first couple of episodes of the originalKanonanime and then that one got really good. The same thing could happen with Angel Beats! We’ll see.

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23 Responses to “Angel Beats! – 01”

  1. Kirbstar says:

    Reading the information about Angel Beats! somewhere else, there are a few things to consider.
    First, Angel Beats! isn’t techinically from Key Visual Arts (not “Key Animation”, as they only do visual novels, although they get animated adaptations from Toei and Kyoto later), because it is derived from a light novel. The two original creators, Jun Maeda and Na-Ga, were from Key (the latter did the character designs for Little Busters!, the latest true Key work), and they presented the afterlife concept to Aniplex (the animation studio) for animation.
    It seems that Angel Beats! was originally supposed to be following the same vein as the other Key works, but following the success of Little Busters! and the “funny factor” it provides, Maeda and Na-Ga probably wanted to go for something different. However, this being a “bloody mess”, as you said in the review, is pretty shocking indeed, because of all the gore–it almost looked like a gag series when it first began (and for some reason I thought SHAFT did this at first). Well, let’s hope the next few episodes make the storytelling more clear and that these characters get some development–I’m not liking the looks of this right now.
    I believe that the consensus of Key and Kyoto Animation fans (myself included) seem to want Little Busters! to be the next work done by Kyoto Animation (which is rumored to happen after the current project, K-On!!, concludes).

  2. Anonymous says:

    The problem is you missed the point of a number of things that happened. Right from the top: if Yuri had wanted to take out Tenshi, she had plenty of time and opportunity to fire at her. Instead she conversed with Otonashi and didn’t shoot Tenshi even when Otonashi went down the stairs and approached her. That’s because she was merely observing Tenshi from a defensive position, so that she could keep Tenshi away from Otonashi while she tried to recruit him. It would be much harder for her to recruit if Tenshi got the newcomer orientated first.

    There are many other things like that, I don’t have time to write up everything. You should read what other bloggers are saying about this anime to get a better perspective on things, because this is a mixed media presentation that has a canonical prequel novel and other non-anime stuff that make up the whole story package. Instead of writing a long piece to diss this anime just because you didn’t get it, you should have spent the time to educate yourself about it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m the same Anonymous from 4:35 PM. I just wanted to make it clear that I’m not a know-it-all blowhard. Just like you I also didn’t understand everything when I watched the first episode. The difference is, before I started complaining about that, I went around and found some good information that clarified many of the things I’d misunderstood. You should have done that too because it’s unfair to write an underinformed review. That’s why I was hard on you.

  4. heh says:

    I find it ironic that ANB has been chiding people for years that they should be well acquainted with the Tenchi novels before criticizing the new Tenchi OVA, only to get schooled in exactly the same thing when it comes to another franchise. ^_^

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @kirbstar — thanks for the additional info.

    @Anon — The problem is you missed the point of a number of things that happened. Right from the top: if Yuri had wanted to take out Tenshi, she had plenty of time and opportunity to fire at her.

    I only mentioned the sniper stuff in the synopsis because that’s what it appears she’s doing. Certainly, Otonashi thought Yuri was going to take out Tenshi.

    You should read what other bloggers are saying about this anime to get a better perspective on things, because this is a mixed media presentation that has a canonical prequel novel and other non-anime stuff that make up the whole story package.

    I don’t base my blog entries on what other bloggers say. They have their opinion and I have mine. I will admit that someone who knew I was planning to watch this sent me to Jinx to see what JTFish had to say about the series. I might have been MORE negative if I hadn’t read that. ^_~

    That said, I did not know that this was a multi-media series so that’s nice to know. Generally speaking, I don’t do massive investigations on a new anime series beyond a few basics, in this case the Key connection.

    Instead of writing a long piece to diss this anime just because you didn’t get it, you should have spent the time to educate yourself about it.

    There wasn’t anything I didn’t “get.” I merely pointed out that for me, this anime didn’t stand out. It attempted to be funny but wasn’t, at least not to me. Your mileage may vary. I simply reflected my own thoughts, not those of anyone else on the net.

    I just wanted to make it clear that I’m not a know-it-all blowhard. Just like you I also didn’t understand everything when I watched the first episode. The difference is, before I started complaining about that, I went around and found some good information that clarified many of the things I’d misunderstood.

    I’m still at a loss to understand how you think I complained about not understanding things. What were my complaints?

    1) The writers wrote jokes that I didn’t laugh at.
    2) Yuri did seem a bit like Haruhi, only less annoying. So I gave a compliment here, not a complaint.
    3) I didn’t feel anything for the characters.
    4) Some things felt out of place. Maybe these things are explained in the other media. I only went on what I saw. ^_^;

    However, you chastisement of me seems to miss this key paragraph.

    Because I’m a believer in being fair, I’m going to keep blogging this series. I remember not being that impressed with the first couple of episodes of the original Kanon anime and then that one got really good. The same thing could happen with Angel Beats! We’ll see.

    ^_^

    @heh — I find it ironic that ANB has been chiding people for years that they should be well acquainted with the Tenchi novels before criticizing the new Tenchi OVA, only to get schooled in exactly the same thing when it comes to another franchise. ^_^

    This is a popular misconception. I have never chided anyone because they were not well acquainted with the other TM!R media. Heck, even I don’t know everything and I wish I did. What I have said as a means of explaining OVA 3 is that it was written for Japanese fans who have read the novels, doujinshi, etc. Also, Kajishima-sensei appears to have expected people to have watched GXP, which many Tenchi fans skipped due to the lack of Tenchi.

    So I’ve never chided others, I’ve simply tried to explain why Kajishima-sensei felt as he did.

    We can debate this more later though as I expect to not only write reviews on the final seven episodes of OVA 3, but another piece as well. ^_^

  6. furei kinoko says:

    why Yuri want to kill Tenshi but Otonashi doesn’t stop Yuri?

  7. heh says:

    @ANB — There’s a good reason why that “misconception” is popular. Come on man, if you’re always telling people that they have no right to criticize OVA 3 because they aren’t as knowledgeable about the entire franchise as their Japanese counterparts, how is that not chiding? That’s exactly what Anon did to you here, and your response is curiously similar to that of those you’ve been chiding over Tenchi: “I don’t need to know all that to express my opinion on this part”. Your position is inconsistent if not hypocritical.

  8. heh says:

    On second thought, make that “I don’t need to know all that to pass judgement on this part”.

  9. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Come on man, if you’re always telling people that they have no right to criticize OVA 3 because they aren’t as knowledgeable about the entire franchise as their Japanese counterparts, how is that not chiding?

    Because I have NEVER said anything remotely like “you don’t have the right to criticize.” Good grief. I suppose when I do get the OVA 3 articles up, your head will either explode or you’ll just think I’m lying. Why? Because I have ALWAYS had criticism of OVA 3! However, I suppose it is just convenient for some to ignore all that. ^_~

    As I’ve said countless times, I’ve just pointed out that OVA 3 was done for Japanese fans and those saw the first 13 episodes as more than some sci-fi harem comedy, not casual American fans.

    Regardless, my criticisms of Angel Beats! has NOTHING to do with my not having seen other source materials. Therefore this whole comparison of my critique of this anime to OVA 3 is invalid but a nice diversion. ^_^

  10. suzu-sama says:

    “I only mentioned the sniper stuff in the synopsis because that’s what it appears she’s doing. Certainly, Otonashi thought Yuri was going to take out Tenshi.”

    and then he casually walked into the line of fire.
    lol
    u think he’s a fool?
    ur cracking me up.

  11. AstroNerdBoy says:

    After he gets onto Yuri about targeting Tenshi first? So what did he think Yuri was going to do initially? Shoot daisy’s? Paint balls? ^_~

    Yes, he walks into the line of fire AFTER all that because he wants to save Tenshi’s life. Otherwise, why warn her? ^_~

  12. Anonymous says:

    I’m the Anonymous from before. Look friend, your concluding point was to emphasize that nothing felt right for you and you listed several things you thought seemed out of place. I never said you should go by someone else’s opinion, I said you should learn what all that stuff was actually about before shooting off your mouth. Many bloggers and forum posters know more about the additional content and can explain what happened so it makes sense. Like that whole concert thing totally made sense after reading those explanations, and the ticket stealing and why there were no repercussions from it.

    Just because you said you’d keep watching for some reasons outside this anime doesn’t mean you didn’t write an unfairly negative review because you didn’t get some things you would have gotten if you knew more. You didn’t complain about not understanding things but you still complained because you didn’t understand. You have a right to your opinion but I don’t like that it’s based on ignorance. This anime poses deep philosophical questions but you completely missed that that because you were distracted by minor things.

    @heh Thanks for your support I guess but let’s talk about Angel Beats here. I don’t care about Tenchi and you’re derailing the discussion with your off-topic gripes.

  13. suzu-sama says:

    lol wut
    r u serious?
    if he thought that,
    y didn’t he try to disarm yuki?
    he’s a guy and stronger than her.
    y didn’t he shout a warning or at least run?
    only a fool would casually walk up to tenshi
    and get in the line of fire
    knowing someone is on the ready
    to put a bullet through her head.
    i ask u again
    u think he’s a fool?

  14. Many bloggers and forum posters know more about the additional content and can explain what happened so it makes sense.

    We are busy people here. Post some links to all this helpful information so ANB won’t shoot off his mouth next time.

  15. Todd says:

    I haven’t watched this yet but I’ve read a few blogs about this besides the one ANB mentioned.

    Sea Slugs
    Japinator
    Bokutachi no Blog

    One thing I read is that Maeda Jun says to watch the second episode to fully understand the main plot. I guess that means that there are people even in Japan who didn’t understand this episode.

  16. Anonymous says:

    @Frank Ostrike “We are busy people here. Post some links to all this helpful information so ANB won’t shoot off his mouth next time.”

    Who is “we”? As far as I know, AstroNerdBoy wrote the review, so I’ve been talking to him. I was thinking about going back to find some links for him when I had more time, because believe it or not I don’t save everything I browse nor do I remember the exact places now that more than a week has passed since the episode aired. But you know what? After this uppity comment from you, I don’t think I will. Do your own legwork, my time is just as important as yours.

  17. I am one of the gatekeepers.

    It is funny that you accuse me of being uppity while coming in here all uppity to “spank” ANB for shooting off his mouth. You imply that had ANB bothered to read other blogs, he’d understand that he alone is the single idiot who didn’t understand this superior anime because everyone else in the blogosphere got it and provided valuable information. Despite your claims, you didn’t cite any sites to back up your claims or to educate those of us who haven’t seen this information.

    I find four other blogs mentioned that support ANB’s position. I wonder if you’ll spank them too? 😉

    For the record, I don’t mean to get into a row with you. I asked for you to provide information and I teased ANB at the same time as he is a personal friend of mine.

  18. Anonymous says:

    @Frank Ostrike “It is funny that you accuse me of being uppity while coming in here all uppity to “spank” ANB for shooting off his mouth. You imply that had ANB bothered to read other blogs, he’d understand that he alone is the single idiot who didn’t understand this superior anime because everyone else in the blogosphere got it and provided valuable information. Despite your claims, you didn’t cite any sites to back up your claims or to educate those of us who haven’t seen this information. “

    ?????

    That is complete bullshit. I only used language like “shooting off his mouth” after he claimed there was nothing he didn’t get when there obviously was quite a lot and it became apparent that he had no real interest in finding out more. I never said or implied he was the only idiot or an idiot at all or that this anime was superior or that everyone else got it. I said there was extra information out there that would help understand this anime better and a fair reviewer should have investigated a little more. It’s not my job to go out of my way to “educate” you. Even so I was going to look up some links like I just said.

    “I find four other blogs mentioned that support ANB’s position. I wonder if you’ll spank them too? ;-)”

    Well I must be wrong then, huh? I get that you want to support your friend but what’s with all these implications? I don’t go around randomly spanking people. I got on AstroNerdBoy’s case because I’m a fairly regular reader here and I’ve grown accustomed to higher standards from him based on his other reviews. Is it so hard to understand that I’m not bothered by AstroNerdBoy having a low opinion of this anime? What I don’t like is his forming that opinion in a very superficial manner and potentially biasing his many readers against this anime unfairly.

    “For the record, I don’t mean to get into a row with you.”

    Then how about not putting complete bullshit into my mouth?

    “I asked for you to provide information and I teased ANB at the same time as he is a personal friend of mine.”

    You didn’t ask. You told me to provide it like I owed you and implied that my time was less valuable than yours.

  19. AstroNerdBoy says:

    OK, things are getting a bit ugly here, so I’m just going to stop the “fun” and ask us all to move on here.

  20. Al Hudson says:

    Sorry AstroNerdBoy, you know I was with you all the way in the Dance in the Vampire Bund debate, but here I’m going to have to side with Anonymous in that you didn’t catch some key points and didn’t get into the deeper philosophical side of the show in your review. That doesn’t mean I endorse the tone he took with you.

    I agree with you though in that the characters didn’t create much of an impression and the humor fell flat for the most part. The Haruhi connection didn’t change anything for me either way as I never watched that show – all the overhype turned me off.

    Hopefully you’ll like the second episode better. This show has potential and I hope it’ll achieve it.

  21. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Hopefully you’ll like the second episode better. This show has potential and I hope it’ll achieve it.

    I’ve seen the second episode (it will show up down the road a bit) and the series does have potential.

  22. O-chan says:

    Even though you blogged this close to two years ago I just started watching this series. The main girl definitely gives off Haruhi-vibes. In fact the whole anime seems to be an odd combination of Haruhi/Baka and Test/Haibane Renmei. Despite a LOT of jokes being “stereotypical anime” jokes, the whole defiance against god angle I find interesting. I would comment more on that but I don’t want to offend anyone who reads your blogs that may have conservative religious views. But that was one of the things about this show that stuck out for me.

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