Angel Beats! Review & Characters – Fighting for Your Right to Live

  • Episodes :13
  • Genre : Action, Comedy, Drama, Supernatural
  • Airing Date : April 2010 - June 2010
  • Producers : Aniplex, Dentsu

Angel Beats! Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Did you ever wonder how life after death might look like? There might be heaven, there might be hell, or you could be stuck in a limbo stage where you cannot move on. In the case of Angel Beats!, life after death looks like a high school and all lost souls turn into students. Interested yet?

The story starts with teenager Otonashi waking up on the campus of a high school without any memories of his identity or his past. Only one thing is sure - he is dead and is now lost in limbo together with a group of other teenagers. He joins their organization called SSS that tries to fight God who forces them to be stuck in this living hell. Even worse, they are still able to die and to feel pain but they inevitably reappear in this world. Unable to move on, Otonashi teams up with his new friends in their fight against Angel - the only representative of God in this lonely place.

Angel Beats! focuses on the development of the different characters, especially in connection with their past lives. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot at this point but let me just say that all characters had to endure many problems and struggles during their lifetime and are now trapped inside limbo until they are able to move on.

Not only is the show entertaining and thought-provoking but it is a real tearjerker. Having to watch the characters suffer and realizing how cruel this world can be really plays around with the emotions of the viewers. So be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster and a story that you won’t forget. Once Angel Beats! has gotten a hold on you it won’t let you go.

Who does Angel Beats! cater to?

If you decide to watch Angel Beats! you should certainly be ready to appreciate deeper topics and moving storylines. It might start like a shallow comedy anime but Angel Beats! will make you think about life, death and the struggles of everyday life.

At the same time it is also one of the funniest shows I have ever watched with unforgettable characters like TK or Yui. So you should be able to enjoy a bunch of different elements in one show, ranging from comedy to high school stories or philosophical questions. If you are ready for a unique show that will certainly touch you and stay in your memory for a long time then you should give Angel Beats! a try.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

Even though there are a lot of different aspects to Angel Beats! the show never seems too overloaded or disorganized. In fact, it is one of the best shows I know when it comes to clean storylines. There are no badly added side stories or filler episodes so the anime keeps you on your toes from the first until the last episode.

Most importantly, the characters of Angel Beats! are amazing. I am not only talking about their design but rather about the effort that was put into creating unique characters with special backstories, new personalities and exclusive traits. Most of them don’t fit into the set stereotypes of a main cast and at least I truly appreciate this novelty of Angel Beats!.

Angel Beats! Trailer

Angel Beats! Main Characters List

Yuzuru Otonashi

Voice Actor :Kamiya Hiroshi

Otonashi is the main hero of Angel Beats! and the character that the viewers follow along as he discovers life after death. He wakes up in limbo without any memories of his previous life and has to start fighting alongside the members of the SSS. He doesn’t really understand what’s going on but he just follows the instructions given to him while trying to figure out the rules of this new world.

Still, since he’s new to the events of afterlife he is one of the only ones to really question what’s going on. He is a team player and truly cares about the people he meets. He’s trying to figure out what’s going on around him as well as finding a solution to all the problems he encounters.

Yuri Nakamura

Voice Actor :Sakurai Harumi

Yuri could be called the female lead of Angel Beats!. She is the leader of the SSS and also the first human that Otonashi encounters in his new world. She most likely got this powerful position due to her strong character and natural leading skills. Yuri manages to stay calm even during stressful moments and is generally able to keep a cool head.

Even though she respects every member of the SSS she’s not afraid of making sacrifices and letting them die occasionally since she’s fully aware that their deaths might be painful but never permanent. Her main aim is to fight Angel and ultimately God as revenge for the cruel life she had to lead before coming to the limbo.

Kanade Tachibana

Voice Actor :Hanazawa Kan

The white-haired girl is first introduced under her code name Angel. She certainly seems like a non-human being due to her cold facade, unknown intentions and superhuman fighting abilities. She’s the most mysterious one of the main characters since no one is sure who she is and whether she fights with or against the main cast. That’s why she’s secluded and travels through the afterlife alone.

Kanade is the student council president of the high school and constantly fights the activities of the SSS. That is why its members, especially Yuri, grow to hate her and accuse her of working for God who trapped them in this limbo. It’s not until later on in the story that her true character is revealed.

Contains Spoilers

Angel Beats! Review

It was hard writing about Angel Beats! up to this point and trying to convey how amazing it is without spoiler-ing its content. After all, its unpredictability is one of Angel Beats! main strengths.

To be honest, even I didn’t expect much from it when I started watching the first episode. I only knew that Angel Beats! received great reviews and many people fell in love with it. So I thought I might as well give it a try. Who would have known that Angel Beats! turned out to become one of my all-time favorite anime?

Let me start at the beginning: The story of Angel Beats! already sounds interesting and entertaining enough but it really struck me as different when a few of the main characters first started dying. Up to that point I was sure it was just a humorous show and the weapons showed at the beginning wouldn’t lead to any major accidents or deaths. But suddenly seeing all these lovable characters die while there was still a lot of comedy going on somehow got to me. Looking back I now realize that these first scenes were already foreshadowing how cruel and moving this show was actually going to be.

But Angel Beats! really got me when it started introducing the backstories of the main characters. I still remember listening to Otonashi’s life story while constantly pressing tissues against my watering eyes. Seeing his beloved sister die of cancer, him moving on and finding a purpose in life only to finally die while saving the lives of numerous other people - his story felt like a punch into my guts.

And that’s the beauty of Angel Beats!. Of course it is only a fictive story. And of course the stories presented were a little bit exaggerated when it comes to their amount of drama and sadness. But still, the storytelling of Angel Beats! is outstanding and I knew that even though these stories were not real they could still be real for someone out there.

Don’t even get me started on the final episodes. Tears almost became part of my face during the graduation ceremony scene. Combining the extraordinary lives of these teenagers with a simple high school setting was a great idea in my eyes. Also, having a graduation as a symbol for coming to terms with one's previous life and being able to leave limbo behind was just beautiful.

Some people might comment that Angel Beats! is too dramatic and the backstories are full of stereotypes and bad tragedies. I cannot say that’s not true, but in my eyes it really comes down to the viewer. If you are not a fan of drama to begin with you certainly cannot enjoy Angel Beats!. Also, if you expect a comedy anime or something uplifting after a long day at the office, then I have to disappoint you.

Angel Beats! might be a short show with only 13 episodes but it certainly gets to you. It has a great message that is beautifully wrapped in one clear storyline and told by charming characters. So all in all I have to give Angel Beats! two big thumbs up. It is a great show that I wasn’t able to forget and that I still love to this day - even though it made me cry like a little girl.

1. SSS

SSS is the abbreviation for Shinda Sekai Sensen or Afterlife Battlefront in English. Its members are the main cast of Angel Beats! and are all unable to move on from limbo. It is an organization that was started by Yuri and has one clear mission - fighting God and getting revenge for their miserable lives. SSS even has several sub-organizations like the rock band Girls Dead Monster or a Guild that produces weapons for their continuous fight.

2. The High School

The high school is the heart of the afterlife that Otonashi and his friends are trapped inside. It looks like a normal high school and has facilities like classrooms and cafeterias as well as a huge number of students and teachers. The students that are not associated with the SSS are treated as brainless shadows or NPCs as Yuri calls them. They do not have souls and are unaware of their surroundings. No one knows who built this school or for how long it has already been in existence.

3. Girls Dead Monster

Girls Dead Monster is a rock band formed by four female SSS members. Their occasional concerts are mostly used as a distraction from other activities of the organization. Most NPC students seem to appreciate them and their unplanned gigs. The leader of the all-girls band is Iwasawa who was a musician in her former life and can finally experience her dream of becoming a rock star.

I have already arrived at the end of this article and still have the feeling that there is so much more that needs to be said about Angel Beats!. The soundtrack for example is outstanding and was composed by Jun Maeda who also wrote the ending theme for Clannad. The opening song “My Soul, Your Beats” really stays inside your head and perfectly fits the feeling of this show.

Angel Beats! made me laugh, contemplate about life and cry - sometimes all at the same time. You might already be a fan of this show or you might hate it. No matter what, you at least have to admit that Angel Beats! is able to play around with your emotions like no other show.

If you’re ready to cry your eyes out, Angel Beats! will reward you with a moving story and lovely characters. So get your tissues ready and give Angel Beats! a try. I am sure you won’t regret it.

Angel-Beats-dvd-300x353 Angel Beats! Review & Characters – Fighting for Your Right to Live


Author: Cornelia Wagner

Coffee enthusiast, world traveler and writer at heart. Left Europe to live and study in the insanity called Tokyo.

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