Saturday, May 28, 2011

MINI-REVIEW: Angel Beats!

Quick now before I forget what this show is about.

Angel Beats! is not a new title. It aired last year which should be around the time I first took over this blog. The title kind of went passed me so I never saw the 13-episode series until an acquaintance generously (and quite randomly) lent me a bootleg DVD. And even then, it took about two weeks before I finally decided (for lack of anything better to do) to pop it into my laptop's DVD-ROM and check it out.

Here's the story: Angel Beats! begins with the male lead, Otonashi, waking up with no memories at all of his life. He is greeted by an aggressive, gun-toting girl who wastes no time telling him that he is dead and that he is now in the afterlife. This girl, Yuri, is the de facto leader of an eccentric group of students who have all taken up arms (literally) against God and his servant, Angel. At first, Otonashi resists the idea of his being dead but after he is stabbed in the heart by Angel but wakes up later completely healed with only his torn and bloody clothes as proof that what happened was true, he starts working with Yuri and her SS Brigade, pulling all kinds of rebellious stunts just to show up the system and its strong-arm, Angel.

The premise isn't much, which explains why jute never picked up this title in the season Angel Beats! aired. But if there's anything worth learning about in this world, it's this: ordinary stories can become extraordinary, and more so in anime.

Visually, Angel Beats! is a pretty, pretty show. The character designs are excellent, not my usual cup of tea, but still very visual novel-esque and certainly very attractive. Animation is also great, especially when it comes to the well-executed action sequences and the concert scenes. I don't think I've ever watched "musical" anime so I can't compare but I loved what Angel Beats! did for Dead Girls Monster and isn't Iwasawa just the coolest vocalist ever? I adore her and I am grateful to P.A. Works for giving her an episode, when all the others barely got five minutes.

No doubt, the music is one of the best assets of the show. LiSA performs the OP theme "My Soul, Your Beats" while some other artist performs the ED theme. My favorites have got to be the songs performed by Dead Girls Monster with Iwasawa (singing voice by marina). I will confess: I am currently downloading the soundtracks and other related albums so expect future posts to be filled with them. :)

Angel Beats! is mostly comedy and I sure got genuine laughs out of the slapstick, but some of the jokes became too repetitive to be funny. There is also a little drama involved although I didn't feel too connected with some of the characters to come up with the appropriate response. The romance aspect is very narrow but it's satisfying, despite its rather unresolved ending. People complain about how short the series is but I don't think that's it. Angel Beats!s story is pretty contained in 13 episodes, sloppy writing in a few scenes aside.

My verdict: Good.