Rewatching your favourite shows is without doubt, for me, one of the best things as a fan of anime, it is also however, for a while, a moment of fear. Not including anime I watched as a child, Angel Beats was the second show I ever watched (after the original adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist). It was the show that really encouraged me to watch anime – it’s humour and action grabbed me and the emotion didn’t let me go. After watching almost an excess of over 90 shows since then the fear set in: what if the show that encouraged me to watch anime was in fact rubbish? This is a point that has grown increasingly closer to the foreground as I’ve tried to become ever more critical with my reviews and scores. After picking up the Blu-Ray at EGX at Birmingham back in October, this month I finally got around to rewatching the show – which I may now slightly SPOIL. You have been warned.
Angel Beats is the story of Otonashi, Yuri and class SSS, a group of adolescents who led unfulfilling lives and thus find themselves in an afterlife in which they can ‘rebel against God’. The premise is undeniably a good one with a degree of originality that puts it in a strong starting position. The plot is driven by the main character, Otonashi’s, understanding of both his past life and the world he now finds himself in. While for the most parts the story is indeed quite dark the show is filled with largely pointless, but generally funny comedy. I can’t help but feel a show like Angel Beats was always going to need a degree of humour for it to stay afloat, the characters couldn’t have maintained a serious nature and remained likeable without it.
After initially watching the show I gave it a score on MAL of 9 (this was back before the blog) and there has been no backing out of anime since. At the time the only real problem I had with the show was the main romance of the show. I felt the build was slow and as a viewer I never became properly invested in – it also felt like another way in which Jun Maeda tried to make me sad after he had done that enough already.
So naturally, when I started watching again this was the issue I was most worried about. Had I been paying enough attention to the relationship? Was it really a problem at all? Were there other problems that I hadn’t noticed in the first place? I needed answers.
It’s worth saying before the end that while rewatching the show, I enjoyed it a lot – at least as much as I did first time around. So much so that I decided not to reassess my original 9/10 score. I did however realise the real problem that stopped it reaching the top marks: one of the two lead females (you all know which one I’m talking about) has absolutely no personality. Damn, until the very final scene where the world over breaks into sobs she doesn’t really string a whole sentence together. I won’t ship a character like that in any relationship if the male is a great guy.
Please don’t misunderstand me, though. Angel Beats is a great show for newcomers and experienced anime watchers alike. It’s got a good concept, a solid plot, generally strong characters and some great comedy throughout and despite what I’ve said there was an attempt at building a romance.
The other thing that’s worth saying in one of these positive reviews is that, though you can search the internet and find people that didn’t like Angel Beats!, every person I’ve spoken to in ‘the real world that has seen the show loves it. And that speak volume for it’s quality.