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Angel Beats
Angel Beats
Angel Beats
Anime Review

The afterlife is a subject of great debate by philosophers, scholars, and... animators? Okay, well, pretty much every medium has espoused stories of the afterlife, but Angel Beats at least gets points for putting it in a different setting, school.

Set in a school-like afterlife, where main protagonist Otonashi has woken up with no memories of his life prior to death. Not only does he learn that he is dead, but that there are rules he must abide by in order to keep existing. Actually, the major guideline to merely oppose the natural way of things.

Angel BeatsAs a purgatory setting, the school is seen as a place in-between life and death, a place of purification. The majority of the school is staffed with NPCs (Non-player characters) and the general belief is that by going with the flow of things, you disappear and pass on. The thinking, feeling characters in this narrative band together, and oppose the school, in order to validate their existence, and continue on.

Drafted in to the SSS (Shinda Sekai Sensen - Afterlife War Front) by the charismatic Yuri, Otonashi engages in a series of disruptive, but otherwise prank-like mischief, and ironically, seems to help people pass on regardless.

Beyond the concept, the work comes off as incredibly derivative. While the character designs are enjoyable, there are incredibly notable parallels (design and personality) between characters in this and characters in the more prominent Haruhi Suzumiya series. Possessing the gloss, polish, and soundtrack a high budget brings, the show should be enjoyable, but opening it up for such scrutiny does not end up well for Angel beats.

Though, a note for the sake of Key fans, the concept and character designs were done by Key staffers Jun Maeda and Na-Ga, known for their work on titles like Kanon, Air, and Clannad.

The entire show is available streaming at the Anime Network, with the first two episodes free to non-registered users.

Reviewed by John Martone , July 2011

Below: Scenes from Angel Beats

a screen capture of Angel Beats

a screen capture of Angel Beats

a screen capture of Angel Beats

a screen capture of Angel Beats

a screen capture of Angel Beats

a screen capture of Angel Beats

a screen capture of Angel Beats

a screen capture of Angel Beats



Angel Beats

Angel Beats Website Links:


Angel Beats! official website (Japanese)

Angel Beats! at Key (Japanese)

Angel Beats! at the Internet Movie Database

Angel Beats! (TV) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Wikipedia entry for Angel Beats!


Below: Promotional illustrations of Angel Beats


Angel Beats

Angel Beats

Angel Beats

Angel Beats

Angel Beats






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