First Impressions: Angel Beats

By Ishaan . April 10, 2010 . 1:00pm


When the previews for the shows airing in Spring 2010 hit, it was a little surprising to see the usual overabundance of worthless moe replaced with numerous shows that promised good art and an interesting premise. The show that would eventually define this season would have its work cut out for it.


A single episode in, I’m not quite ready to hand that mantle to Angel Beats just yet, but I will say it’s getting off to a strong start. You see, Angel Beats already has a fair bit of anticipation surrounding it as the story / screenplay and character designs were conceived by visual novel developer Key’s Jun Maeda and Na-Ga respectively. Given that both previously worked on Clannad, Kanon and Air, there was reason to be excited.


Like several of the past year’s best shows, Angel Beats is associated with a light novel — which is a prequel in this case — and is a little confusing when you begin to watch the first episode; but really, that’s part of its appeal. Unlike a lot of other shows, this one actually remembers to keep you entertained while it’s making you scratch your head, which I appreciated immensely. I’ll try to keep my impressions short and leave out the finer details for those that want to watch this for themselves.



Highschooler Otonashi wakes up flat on his back in the middle of a school courtyard one fine evening. In front of him is a schoolgirl with a sniper rifle. She welcomes him to to the “To Hell With Dying Warfront,” which is the name of a group of students in the afterlife, trying to keep their souls alive…or something to that effect. The “afterlife” world they inhabit following their deaths is a school, which operates sort of like a videogame. The Warfront — previously named Afterlife Warfront, You’re Going to Die Warfront, and a bunch of other names the members didn’t like — are its “protagonists.”


Everyone else is an NPC. They — at least so far — appear to follow set rules and patterns and go about their daily lives. The protagonists aren’t supposed to exist in this world, so they have to go about activities like acquiring food in illegal or inconspicuous ways. However, there also exists a student council of law enforcers — the Angels — who are essentially this world’s “bad guys” or “boss characters.” The enforcers will seemingly only trouble you if you’re doing something wrong, but will leave you alone otherwise, regardless of if you belong in this world or not. Oh, and they’re supernatural with special moves like “Hand Sonic” and “Distortion.”


The Afterlife Warfront try to sustain their existence and hold off the Angels at the same time in an attempt to make this world their own keep themselves from being reincarnated or…whatever happens when your soul “moves on.” It’s an interesting premise and I love the idea of a world that appears to operate like a game. People have compared the character design and archetypes to Haruhi and Ouran — and while, admittedly, there is some truth to this — Angel Beats appears to have a solid enough mix of laugh-out-loud humour, action sequences and premise to stand by itself.


I also want to point out that while I’m usually not a fan of the caught-between-moe-and-grown-up art style, Angel Beats walks that line well, and I like the characters enough so far to stick with it. You have your stereotypes — violent girl; silent, mysterious girl; smart guy with glasses; older, responsible guy; knee-jerk reactionist idiot etc. — but they’re presented rather entertainingly within the context of the story. Even the girl band performance. We’re off to a good start!

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  • The light novel is a prequel, so I wouldn’t say it’s “based” on it :P

    • Noted and fixed. Thanks. :)

  • zhemos

    I wasn’t that impressed with the first episode, but the 2nd hooked me.

    My favorites so far this season are kaichou maidsama, mayoi neko overrun and of course the 2nd season of K-ON. ^^

  • doubleO7

    Does anyone know where I can watch this? Its not on Crunchyroll or any other legal streaming sites that I know of. Does that mean fansubs are my only option? :(

    • I rather prefer to download the anime than to watch it on crunchyroll, why? because the quality of the video and subtitle are rubbish.

      • MisterNiwa

        True dat, bro.

      • doubleO7

        Um…ok. So, you like downloads? Good for you. But that still doesnt answer my question of whether Angel Beats is available on any legal streaming sites, or if fansubs are the only way to watch it.

        • zhemos

          To answer your question, no Angel Beats isn’t currently streaming legally on any websites atm. But I believe it’s airing on TV-Tokyo so crunchyroll still may get it.

          • TV-Tokyo isn’t broadcasting this. So I believe theres no chance for a legal streaming unless the other broadcasting invested in crunchyroll.

        • Sorry double07 for not anwering your question properly but the only legal stream where you can watch official subbed anime is from crunchyroll and if they don’t have it then you have to resort fansub and beside other streaming site have fansubbed anime so just search for the anime on youtube or megaupload.

  • Kris

    Quick question, when did Siliconera make the choice to start covering anime? Not that I’m complaining at all, but I’m curious if I missed an announcement or something.
    Regardless: I fucking called it.

    • Haha, that post was what actually sparked off the discussion internally. We talked about it and how we want to push niche games and content as hard as we can, and make people more aware, bring more people to the site by covering more popular things and having them chance upon other, more niche stuff. The more we cover, the more people in the industry will be willing to talk to us about different subjects.

      Plus, anime and games are getting closer and closer. Look at the Amano story and all the different studios doing cutscenes for games. It’s just a natural extension of what we want to do — raise awareness about otaku-esque stuff. :P

      (sorry if I sound braindead in my reply…it’s 5 am…)

      • Slashlen

        I thought of that post when I started seeing anime here. I like it.

        I really need to get caught up on the new stuff this season, but I must finish FFXIII soon if I’m to keep my sanity, or possibly reaquire it.

    • BrotherCavil

      Siliconera’s been covering anime since its inception. As well as gadgets, and movies as well.

      It’s not so much as they “started” to cover it. More like they “started again” to cover it.

  • Hraesvelgr

    Um… personally, I tried to watch this, but I could only get about 65% through the first episode. It just seemed too stupid to me.

  • BrotherCavil

    Blegh. When you compare this to to what’s playing this season….including the illegally creepy shitfests like KissXSis, and five different adaptation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms simultaneously….Angel Beats seems like a godsend.

    But when looked at in it’s own right…it’s really less than mediocre. :(

    Anime’s dying. T_T

  • quite sad that it have only 3 episodes, I hope they don’t rush the ending cause of the number of the episodes.

  • This show seems to be the “cool one to hate” this season, aside from the obvious crap-traps like kissxsis. I’ve seen a lot of bashing of this show, but it’s mostly unwarranted whiners whining to be whiny on teh anonymous interwebs.

    *shrug* I haven’t seen it yet, so I dunno, but this season and the Fall season seem to be moving away from moe and into more of the pre-moeblob explosion stuff.

    • BrotherCavil

      I’m bashing the show simply because it’s just flat-out NOT GOOD.

      If there’s a show to watch this season, it’s Senkou no Night Raid.

    • zhemos

      The first episode sucks IMO, probably why a lot of people are hating on it, Angel Beats has been hyped for awhile because It’s from Key who is widely known for their visual novels.

      The second episode shows a short glimpse into the heroines life before death, and I have to say it was quite disturbing, yet also very intriguing. How many episodes they have to wade through before they get to the good stuff is what will make or break this anime.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Personally, I have only really seen good comments on the show so far, which is why I watched it. A few “not that great” comments, but overall, it seemed to be received fairly well. Who’s hating on it?

  • vrakanox

    I decided to watch it just because I keep hearing about it but I didn’t really like it at all it seemed too silly and random for my taste. Honestly this season has really disapointed me. I’ve been able to find at least one show I liked out of every season for the last 3 years. This season not so much.

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