Angel Beats! – 13 (finale)

エンジェルビーツ Episode 13 (final episode)
Angel Beats! – 13 (finale)

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Angel Beats! - 13It has been three days since Yuri learned the truth of this world and awakes to find Kanade, Otonashi, Naoi, and Hinata looking at her. They’ve been waiting on her and know she’s made peace with her past. There are no others in the world and they are there to make sure Yuri gets free. To that end, Kanade wants to have a graduation ceremony and they do, after which Naoi, Yuri, then Hinata say their goodbyes and vanish. Otonashi confesses to Kanade, who lets him know she has his donated heart. She will vanish if he says he loves her again and though he doesn’t want to lose her, he gives her release by confessing a second time. Apparently, both are reincarnated and encounter each other outside a Japanese store.

Angel Beats! - 13

Thoughts/Review: I plan on eventually reading what other bloggers end up saying about this episode and series because frankly, it defied any sense of predictability. For now, I’ll stick to the episode.

Angel Beats! - 13To be honest, the whole graduation stuff bored the crap out of me. Maybe if I had been younger, it might have had an impact on me, but high school graduation was ages ago and while I’m still in contact with many of my former compadres, high school is not something I’d ever want to go through again. When I left high school for the last time, there was a sense of sadness because that thing which had played such a large role in my life was over but there was also a sense of relief at never having to come back to high school again.

Angel Beats! - 13Moving on to the “moving on” bit, the flippant, “everyone but us have moved on” was rather “meh” (I’ll talk more of this in my final review). Granted, there was no time to have the main members of SSS there beyond Hinata, Otonashi, and Yuri there (with Kanade and Naoi along for the ride), but things were just not there impact-wise So after being bored, the goodbyes to see Yuri, Hinata, and Naoi off didn’t affect me and all seemed anti-climactic, especially Yuri’s.

Angel Beats! - 13Then there was the final bit between Otonashi and Kanade, whereby he confesses his love for her (man, those early predictions of Yuri and Otonashi being the couple are such a laugh now). Then we find out that she’s there because she had received his heart and even though she apparently died, she wanted to thank the person who’d given her the chance to live.

What?

Angel Beats! - 13OK, so he dies but before he kicks the bucket, he signs an organ donor card. Then, his soul somehow wonders into this afterlife way station, set in some Japanese town and centering around a large high school. After he dies but before his soul arrives, his heart is transplanted to Kanade, who apparently lives for a bit then dies? Because she wanted to thank the donor for her additional life, she got sent to this way station and then for quite some time, she worked on becoming a perfect student, developed defensive weapons to fight the SSS, and then when Angel Beats! - 13Otonashi arrived, she discovered the person whom she wanted to thank, but couldn’t bring herself to do it for a long time, even after Otonashi regained his memories.

Sorry, this is plot hole city. For starters, how does Kanade die and have her soul arrive before Otonashi’s when she had Otonashi’s heart? It makes no sense.

Angel Beats! - 13Another thing that made no sense is the sudden emptiness of the school. Seriously, where were all the NPC’s? I know that Takamatsu supposedly turned from being an NPC back to being a person and moving on (how convenient), but where were all the other NPC’s? Oh, they must of time-shifted to the end of the episode so that Otonashi could have them as a reference when he had his last conversation with Kanade.

Finally, there’s the ending whereby we are apparently shown a reincarnated Kanade and a Angel Beats! - 13reincarnated Otonashi encountering each other. I remember that this idea of Yui having a life with Hinata despite her injuries had great impact. I found that Kanade and Otonashi finding each other in a new life didn’t even though it was clearly supposed to impact me. Oh well.

I’m told that there will be a DVD-only episode (OVA) released with the final disc in Japan. If I get a chance, I’ll watch that but for now, I’ll work on a final review of the series.

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23 Responses to “Angel Beats! – 13 (finale)”

  1. Kirbstar says:

    From the last two episodes alone, the plot just felt rushed. I think a 24-episode format would have been better here. However, I’m not aware of what the light novels or supplemental information have said here, so I’ll defer to someone else about this.

  2. Jayce says:

    If you would like my views you can check out my thoughts here:

    http://animeupdateaus.blogspot.com/

    I honestly loved the series, I love Jun Maeda’s works …. right up until now. I cant really say I hate Jun Maeda though he has done some brilliant projects (huge fan of Clannad). This episode let me down, I expected a lot more ….. a lot more.

  3. ANB

    I for the most part agree with you and though I probably found the episode more emotionally satisfying that you did I have to agree with you about the Otonashi-Kanade relationship coming out of nowhere and not making any sense given that there have been no hints that the order in which people die does not necesarily determine the order you get there.

    If you plan this type of revelation you really need to establish early on that this can happen OR have it so that Otonashi “transfers in” from another “school/waystation” having been in the afterlife with Amnesia for some time.

    I can understand time not working in the same way in the afterlife BUT I would at least like it established that arrival date does not equate with date of death

    The other thing which bugged me is given that Otanashi is dead and we know that physical condition when you die/originally alive does not carry over to the afterlife (unless dissapearance is actually a euphemism for being cremated in the real world), Otonashi having donated his heart should not have an impact on his “spiritual body”.

    On The positive side the revelation does explain the title “Angel Beats” and why the opening song is called “My soul, Your beats”

    It also provides a possible explanation for why Otonashi ended up at the “unfulfilled” waystation as he was required to allow another “glitch” (Kanade) to move on (or perhaps go back to life). It may also explain his amnesia as if he remembered dying fufilled he would move on before Kanade had a chance to thank him.

    Personally though I would have preferred it if it had been revealed that appearance in the waystation does not always match appearance in life and Kanade had been revealed to be Otonashi’s sister and had been waiting to thank him for caring for her allowing them to move on together.

    Moving onto the “reincarnation” scene, I am not so sure they have been reincarnated as all the evidence we have from Otonashi’s flashback is that he died in the modern era (his mobile phone looked relatively recent). The “reincarnation” scene also appears to be in the modern era as well which would mean there are 2 copies of Kanade and Otonashi’s soul in the world at some point.

    There is also the strange lack of clarity around both Otonashi and Kanade’s faces and that they are both wearing pendants. This makes me think that this meeting may be in the afterlife when they have both gone to the correct waystation. Or perhaps a vision Otonashi was having allowing him to move on given his despair when she leaves.

    One final comment regarding the lack of NPC’s. This may be due to them all being turned into Shadows and the world needing to repopulate and/or going into a “standby mode” as every unfulfilled soul has left or is able to leave.

  4. Ok, I was under the impression that Kanade hadn’t actually died herself – I took it that Kanade, while still unconscious after the surgery, had an astral projection experience, basically, and that her soul somehow got caught in that world, but that it then returned to her body. So she was never dead in the first place.

    And the consensus seems to be that the graduation scene was dead dull, if anything especially for recent grads.

  5. arimareiji says:

    “Anticlimactic” was an excellent choice of words. The old joke about driving through small towns might also be apt – “Blink and you’ll miss it.”

    The only thing the abrupt ending lacked was Ferris Bueller coming out in his bathrobe, looking strangely at the camera, and asking “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. *makes shooing motion* Go…” before wandering off.

    The only defense I can offer is that it might’ve been trying to convey the moral that life demands accepting what we can’t change and moving on, regardless of whether there’s a happy ending waiting ahead. But you’d think that if that were the case, they could have spent more time amplifying on that during the series – by showing either how we harm ourselves and others by refusing to move on, or how doing so lifts a needless burden.

    I can’t say I really understand the importance Maeda seems to place on ceremonies. But at least the “graduation” in this one didn’t seem nearly as hokey as the one in Clannad: After Story.

    Finally, about the NPCs – they were there, just at a great distance (as if to convey that this is a world the characters no longer belong to). Look at the scene right after Kanade and Otonashi go outside, for example. I got the vague impression that the time of day shown was after school let out.

    @Mister_Random: I don’t think Otonashi/Kanade came out of nowhere – there were hints from the very first episode that they were already bound together somehow. But for a while, I also thought that she might be his sister. It would have flowed a lot more naturally and felt much more genuine, if not for the whole “Everyone looks exactly like they did in life”.

    And I agree wholeheartedly about how the exact nature of their relationship comes out of nowhere. Without prior justification, like talking about how souls wander for indefinite amounts of time and perhaps showing that some of the students are from incongruous time periods, it doesn’t make sense. And that’s a REALLY weak reason to regret dying… “Because I didn’t get to thank the (obviously already dead) person who donated their organs to me.”

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think the other world must be in a time loop, as in it just repeats itself, that would explain why Kanade got there before Otonashi, and was round so long before every one else arrived. Also the dude in the computer room mentioned that the software was created by a guy who’s girlfriend moved onto the other world. That could possibly be Otonashi.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Based on many things of each past, I ignored life to Battlefield time continuity. It always felt like real time had no direct impact. Time to get there, especially if Otanashi ‘wandered’ there, is also highly variable.

  8. junior says:

    This episode was mostly meh. The thing is, I got the impression that the writer didn’t really know where to take the whole thing. You’ve got two plot arcs – the thing between Otonashi and Kanade, and SSS – that don’t really fit together all that well. It feels more like the writer decided that he couldn’t figure out how to end the SSS story, so he tacked on the thing about Otonashi’s heart.

    At the very least he could have foreshadowed the bit about Otonashi’s heart (the donor card wasn’t enough, and getting back his memories while next to Kanade meant nothing to the viewers) and/or the fact that Kanade had received a heart.

    And now for a few other random comments –

    First, I view this as an explanation of why Otonashi was there to begin with. It was repeatedly stated that he had no reason to be there given his lack of regrets, and we were never given any reason to disbelieve that (other than the fact he was present, of course). Presumably somehow Kanade’s desire to thank him pulled him into the pocket afterlife.

    Second, during the confession scene between Otonashi and Kanade, I was surprised to see quite a few people on the athletic field behind them (you can see this in the second to last screen grab). Evidently there are still plenty of NPCs around, even though we don’t see any within the school buildings.

    Third, we learned at the end of the previous episode that the guy who created the shadows had the girl that he loved move on while leaving him behind. Does that sound like anyone we know? I’m just sayin’…

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think you guys are Overanalysing here this is Anime after all just enjoy it. Quickvenom

  10. arimareiji

    I phrased myself badly when talking about relationship I was referring to the heart connection rather than their personal relationship which I agree had been slowly built up, though I do think it felt more like a brother-sister one than romantic one.

    On the Graduation ceremony issue, I have mixed feelings since I actually quite liked it. However, given the time constraints and the ending think the time could have been spent in a better way or at least have each of them state when they died so the ending is foreshadowed better.

    My final thoughts on the series are that it was an enjoyable one whose ending while satisfying needed to have more background information given earlier on in the series, since as things stand it nearly comes out of nowhere

  11. arimareiji says:

    @Quickvenom: Well, I think you’re Overanalyzing here because this is a Blog after all just enjoy it. (^_~)

    But if you honestly don’t enjoy it, then maybe a board which reviews, discusses, and analyzes anime isn’t the best place to bring up this concern. (Sorry if this is just stating the obvious.)

  12. Kirbstar says:

    @Mister_Random:
    “My final thoughts on the series are that it was an enjoyable one whose ending while satisfying needed to have more background information given earlier on in the series, since as things stand it nearly comes out of nowhere.”

    Again, I’ll need to defer to someone who does have supplemental information (if there is any), but I think it’s already been known that some events in Angel Beats! relies on some information not in the anime (the “All There in the Manual” trope, in other words). Some of the beginning scenes, including how we the viewers were thrown into this world, had made more sense if one read the supplementary material (I think this was off a light novel? Not sure about that).

    But yeah, the relationship between Otonashi and Kanade seems out of nowhere for the viewer had the other information not been known, like how most of us are watching it.

    A little off-topic, but it seems like for pure viewers of the anime, a bell curve seems to take place in terms of enjoyability, right? Between episode 1’s vagueness of events and the rushed final two episodes, there are plenty of funny, heartwarming, and emotional events within. I personally think Yui’s departure was the climax. What do you guys think?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Kirbstar about Yui’s departure being the climax, but I also still feel like the last episode should have been.

    It felt a bit anticlimactic to me as well, although I enjoyed the Mapo Tofu bit.

    I really would have enjoyed a bit of foreshadowing because I was really trying to get in to the episode but the whole time differential between Otonashi and Kanade’s deaths really took me out of the moment.

    Hopefully the OVA will provide a more meaningful closure because I feel let down by this episode. I do want to thank Astronerdboy for blogging about this anime though, without you I would never have found and enjoyed it. –Pillslanger

  14. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Kirbstar — Yeah, 24 to 26 episodes would have worked best.

    @Jayce — I’ll check that out.

    @Mister Random — Yes, now the cardiograph mark makes sense in the title.

    One final comment regarding the lack of NPC’s. This may be due to them all being turned into Shadows and the world needing to repopulate and/or going into a “standby mode” as every unfulfilled soul has left or is able to leave.

    Possibly. However, there were lots of NPC’s in the distance in the one scene.

    @Day — Well, there were a lot of people theorizing that no one in this world was dead but rather unconscious. I think that the anime was pretty straight forward in that what we were told was in fact the truth.

    @arimareiji — The only thing the abrupt ending lacked was Ferris Bueller coming out in his bathrobe, looking strangely at the camera, and asking “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. *makes shooing motion* Go…” before wandering off.

    *LOL* Score one to you! ^_^

    I can’t say I really understand the importance Maeda seems to place on ceremonies. But at least the “graduation” in this one didn’t seem nearly as hokey as the one in Clannad: After Story.

    The one in Clannad I had no problem with seeing as how Nagisa was never going to graduate despite two attempts to do so. Now, had we seen Kanade and knew her desire was to graduate, then I would have accepted it more. However, her only desire was to thank the person who gave her a heart and well the graduation felt kinda dumb since we don’t know how long she’d been trapped in this world.

  15. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Anon — I think the other world must be in a time loop, as in it just repeats itself, that would explain why Kanade got there before Otonashi, and was round so long before every one else arrived. Also the dude in the computer room mentioned that the software was created by a guy who’s girlfriend moved onto the other world. That could possibly be Otonashi.

    I suppose that works as well as any other theory.

    @Junior — You’ve got two plot arcs – the thing between Otonashi and Kanade, and SSS – that don’t really fit together all that well. It feels more like the writer decided that he couldn’t figure out how to end the SSS story, so he tacked on the thing about Otonashi’s heart.

    Yep. Actually, the whole SSS story was rather…weak. Outside of Yuri, there was no sense of rage against “God” to hang around and fight.

    At the very least he could have foreshadowed the bit about Otonashi’s heart (the donor card wasn’t enough, and getting back his memories while next to Kanade meant nothing to the viewers) and/or the fact that Kanade had received a heart.

    Yep.

    I wonder how much of this will be covered in the other media.

    Second, during the confession scene between Otonashi and Kanade, I was surprised to see quite a few people on the athletic field behind them (you can see this in the second to last screen grab). Evidently there are still plenty of NPCs around, even though we don’t see any within the school buildings.

    Yes. After making a HUGE point of showing the world empty, suddenly, there are NPC’s around.

    Third, we learned at the end of the previous episode that the guy who created the shadows had the girl that he loved move on while leaving him behind. Does that sound like anyone we know? I’m just sayin’…

    *lol* Yeah, it does. ^_^;

    @Quickvenom — I think you guys are Overanalysing here this is Anime after all just enjoy it.

    This is just part of the process. Besides, things were implied to have more meaning than they did and I’m sure we fans took an inch a mile.

  16. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Kirbstar — I know that in the prequel novel (which I’ve not read, but I have read some summaries of parts of it), Yuri is a much darker character and the book documents Hinata’s arrival and joining of SSS. It also marks how a person assumed to be an NPC (Ooyama) was in fact human. It also introduces Yuri to Tenshi (Kanade) and to Chaa (who unlike some reports, was the only adult in SSS).

    A little off-topic, but it seems like for pure viewers of the anime, a bell curve seems to take place in terms of enjoyability, right? Between episode 1’s vagueness of events and the rushed final two episodes, there are plenty of funny, heartwarming, and emotional events within. I personally think Yui’s departure was the climax. What do you guys think?

    The problem with all multi-media titles from Japan is that we anime-only viewers are left in the dark. I’ve seen anime titles based on games where one needed to have played the game to fill in certain back stories and other blocks.

    And yeah, Yui’s episode was the climax.

  17. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Hopefully the OVA will provide a more meaningful closure because I feel let down by this episode.

    I wouldn’t count on that. Instead, based on other OVA’s of this type, expect a filler story that makes sure to cameo everyone but does nothing to advance any story. As such, I’d expect a comedy tale.

  18. junior says:

    Quickvenom –

    I think that you’ll find that’s simply not the case. The analysis merely explains why the analyzer did or did not enjoy the story. It isn’t the analysis itself that causes the enjoyment of the story – or lack thereof.

    Angel Beats had an interesting and fun setup. But in the end, it failed to follow through. The analysis is an attempt to explain why the last few episodes weren’t as good as the first few. None of the reasons provided here in and of themselves automatically mean that a series is bad. In fact, a series can take an element listed here and use it well provided that the writer knows what they’re doing.

    For instance, I cited the fact that there are multiple plot lines that don’t really tie into each other. Another series that concluded recently (the last episode just recently appeared on the series’s website within the last few days, actually…) is Bakemonogatari. That series consists of 15 episodes with five distinct plot arcs, each of which is wrapped in its own distinct self-contained set of episodes (with one additional episode – the date episode – not a part of any of them). But it works for that series, whereas multiple seemingly unrelated plot arcs don’t work here.

    A number of us here have decided that Angel Beats doesn’t work for us. That leaves the question, “Why?” Given the fact that we enjoyed the early portion of the series, it then becomes important to figure out at what point did the series start to turn sour? And more importantly, why did that happen?

  19. Xion says:

    the OVA is the random episode. it has nothing to do with the story. i love it!!!

  20. I think you have some reasonable points. But maybe let me offer a possible explanation to some of your problems.

    I think the world is designed to allow souls to move on, so unlikely situations, such as Hinata’s fly ball to second, or how other members managed to move on, aren’t so unreasonable.
    For the same reason I believe his soul had to arrive in this afterlife (so her wish could be fulfilled) and after hers for the general setup.

    As for the empty school, maybe this happened after school was over? Maybe on a weekend? Maybe before? (probably not). Maybe the students were being regenerated after the whole shadow incident?

    I do agree with you that the OtonashixKanade thing in the afterlife is kind of silly. But also the Hinata x Yui thing. Why would she be injured in the next life. I know you’re not saying it’s a plot hole but I thought it was once, and then I realized that nobody in the series is necessarily right about anything. So it’s not true at it’s not a plothole, it’s a mistake.
    Maybe you have some counterarguements or something and I’d like to hear what you think of my suggestions. If you care to tell me my email is haec.meus.oculus@gmail.com

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