As I did when I began reviewing manga, I decided to put a brief section explaining what anime exactly is, for those rare few who don’t actually know. As usual, if you already know, then by all means skip to the next section. Anyway, anime is just simply Japanese animations and most anime today are based on manga, however some are not. Instead they are based on visual novels, which are just basically manga made into interactive games. Others are based on novels or “light” novels (novels that don’t exceed 200 pages). Since they are based on manga or something similar, they have the same genres (shōnen, etc.) so there is nothing really different between the two forms, except that one is animated and the other is in a comic book form. Now that’s done, onto the first anime review!
- Title: Angel Beats!
- Produced by : Key Animations
- Rating: M – Violence
- Genre: Action, comedy
- Number of Episodes: 13
- Review Rating: 6.5/10 – A solid title that will entertain but its flaws drag it down.
Speaking of light novels, Angel Beats is based on the light novel and manga of the same name and was produced by the gods over at “Key Animation”, known for doing other anime such as “Clannad” and “Air”, with the English dub being produced by Funimation Entertainment. This is a company with a history of either screwing up the dub so bad it’s not worth listening to or having the opposite effect, blasting the original Japanese dub out of the water.
Story: Directed by Seiji Kishi, Angel Beats is set in the afterlife, which strangely is a high school setting, but never mind that, and it follows the trials of Otonashi, who can hardly remember anything about his time alive. The first person Otonashi meets in the afterlife is a girl named Yuri who also happens to be the head of the “Not Yet Dead Battlefront”, a squad determined in stopping “Angel” and proving that God doesn’t exist. Joining the “Not Yet Dead Battlefront”, Angel Beats follows the squad and Otonashi in their mission against Angel and God…
From first look, you think might think, “Hey, not a bad story”, and it isn’t a bad idea for a storyline, which is what is good about Angel Beats, however the way that this anime attempts to tell that story is rather disappointing. Out of the 13 episodes, the first 5 hardly do anything to progress the story and are just filled with random events, albeit, hilarious and entertaining ones. After that, this hilarious tone is almost non present and the story feels rushed from then on. I mean, it was interesting but if it was actually given some dedication, who knows?
Otonashi – Upon arriving in the afterlife, Otonashi suffers amnesia and can hardly remember about anything that happened while he was alive. Even though he has amnesia, Otonashi is shown to be very smart and is kind to everyone, no matter if they are a friend or foe. However, he does have a tendency to complain or question battle plans and strategies to Yuri.
Yuri – The founder and leader of the “Not Dead Yet Battlefront”, Yuri possesses the abilities of a great leader, good intelligence and can make snap decisions on the battlefield when needed and respects all the members of the “Not Dead Yet Battlefront”. However, she still has the personality of a young child, seen in her random compulsions to do…well, random things. I’ll leave it at that.
One thing I have to say about the characters is that out of the ten characters that are actually important to the story, only four actually get proper development, which can be viewed as both a good and bad thing, but I just find it disappointing.
Sound: Musically, Angel Beats is good. The compositions by Jun Maeda reflect the type of atmosphere perfectly, whether it be emotional, laid back or action packed, which I believe is key to a good viewing experience. But I think the best part about the music is the opening to Angel Beats, “My Soul, Your Beats!” by Lia, and having a good opening is always a step in the right direction for an anime.
Now onto the dubs! Simply put, I rate both the English and Japanese both mediocre at best, which many people will probably grill me over. My reasoning is that in both the dubs, some voices just don’t match with their character which is REALLY annoying. But if I had to choose one, English dub. Just.
Animation/Art Style: Just like manga, the character designs of Angel Beats are your typical manga/anime designs, with the large eyes and all. The background designs for the most part are your clichéd high school designs which are uninteresting and in the event that they actually aren’t in the high school, the setting is just bland and simple. To sum it up, nothing spectacular about the art and animation, which is very unusual for a Key animation production.
The Verdict: Despite its flaws, Angel Beats does make for enjoyable viewing for the most part. It is humorous when it wants to be and the story is interesting for the most part. And the opening. Love it. However, the fact that the story felt rushed and was inconsistent with balancing its humour and just progressing the story was a letdown. Also the fact that many of the characters didn’t get a backstory or any development was also disappointing. Average visuals but at least the sound made up for that musically. Overall Angel Beats is not bad, nor is it great, but a solid title that will entertain most who watch it
Out of 10, I rate Angel Beats: 6.5/10 – A solid title that will entertain but its flaws drag it down