Sunday, January 27, 2013

Anime Review: Angel Beats

Another week, another review. Since my first look on Fire Emblem Awakening (Goddammit, why does it feel like it should be out already) didn't really count as a review, I'm declaring that a breach of my Game Review- Anime Review pattern. As such here is today's Anime Review: Angel Beats. Although, how the hell am I going to review such a strange series?

Well, this doesn't usually happen.
Otonashi wakes up one night to realize he is outside a school with absolutely no memories talking to a girl holding a Sniper Rifle telling him he is dead. The girl, Yuri, tells Otonashi that this school is some kind of afterlife where people who have died come to and that her Sniper Rifle is pointing at a girl she refers to as "Angel." Why is she doing this? Because Yuri, and other dead students at this school, have a grudge against God and want to go through Angel to get to him, but they dare not attend school or follow the rules, because while getting "Kill" in this world is only a minor inconvenience (since you are already dead, you get revived some time afterwards) actually attending class and enjoying your school life will get you "Obliterated," you just disappear never to return. What is Otonashi going to do? Will he help Yuri and try to punch out God? Will he side with Angel? What is the deal with this world, and why was he sent to it? Well, I'm not going to spoiler all that here, you are just going to have to watch the series yourself to find out.

You greatly displeased the undead Haruhi.
The best way I can describe Angel Beats is if you combine The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya with Haibane Renmei. Yes, it is a very bizarre combination, but it is oddly accurate. On the Melancholy side, not only does Yuri look and act exactly like Haruhi, but the comedy in the series is largely in the same vein. There is a lot of ridiculous over-the-top moments that come completely out of left field, and other scenarios that only really work because of the establishment that no one can die in this universe. Normally serious moments of people sacrificing their lives for the good of the group is played for laughs at the how overly melodramatic the scene is and how anti-climatic the death actually is (It also helps that because of the impermanence of death, we all know the character is going to be fine afterwards). On the other side you have Haibane Renmei, another series about the Afterlife, where when things really get serious it is usually about the contemplation of life and what death actually means in regards to it. There is a lot of deep material here as you learn about each character's life before they died, what their biggest regret is, and how that relates to their "life" in this world. Angel Beats runs the entire emotional gambit from laugh-out-loud hilarity to "Goddammit I'm about to cry."

No Homo.
Of course it is this emotional roller-coaster that makes it kind of hard to figure out what you are suppose to feel at any given moment. There are just as many times where the series maintains a dramatic moment until its emotional climax, as there are dramatic moments that are cut short anti-climatically in order to create a joke. Fortunately, the series keeps in mind when is a good moment for a gag or for a serious event, but it does make it kind of disorientating when the series is transitioning from the funny moments to the serious moments. Lastly, the series has a weird pace. Being only 13 episodes, there isn't a whole lot of time they have to develop the story, but after the halfway point events start happening rapidly. Almost as soon as a new standard formula is established it is thrown to the wayside as more crap hits the fan. Also, because of the fact that there are only 13 episodes, several members of the rather large cast get absolutely no development. Although, they are mostly just the comic relief guys who only have one character trait among them, but it would have been nice to know why they are in this afterlife.

Angel Beats is a fun, very surreal, and deeply emotional series. If you enjoy these kinds of high-energy comedy series, check this one out. If you like series that contemplates deeply on the heavy topics of life and death, then also check out Angel Beats. If you like both, then it should be a no-brainer. If you don't like either, then what the hell do you like? This series is Highly Recommended.

Until next time.

-Crescent, Crap, here comes the walking dead!

No comments:

Post a Comment