Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Angel Beats - review
Angel Beats wasn't on my radar at all. I don't have the time to dedicated to anime that I'd like, which means I might miss out on a lot of shows and movies that might otherwise tickle my fancy. Angel Beats is one of those shows that I didn't even know existed until I saw a bunch of internet chatter about it.
I was reading some pretty strong reactions to the show, and almost all of them were positive. The thing is, I wasn't actually reading what the show was about. Looking at a few trailers may lead you to believe that this is just another high school drama, but that really couldn't be further from the case.
While Angel Beats may start out with a unique storyline, it also seems to follow typical action/fantasy anime fodder. You have a rather unusual main storyline that ends up playing second fiddle to the typical high school drama between students. While the first episode had me leaning in that direction, the subsequent episodes showed me how much the show really has to offer.
For those that don't know, here's the premise. A young man wakes up outside of a school where he finds a young woman aiming a sniper rifle. The man has no idea who he is or where he's come from, let alone who this girl is. Within the first 5 minutes of the show, we come to learn that the man is actually dead, and so are the other students at this school. The main character sets out to reclaim his memory and find out just why he and these other students are stranded at this school.
There's so much more too it than that, but I don't want to spoil the fun for you guys. A big part of Angel Beats is learning about the series' world as the episodes roll along. There will be a good stretch of episodes where you'll find yourself dying to learn more about just what in the hell is going on. More questions than answers will pop up at first, but the show does a good job at hinting towards what the future holds.
Eventually you'll have some major plot points revealed to you, but you never get the full explanation of events. I think that works for the show's vibe in this instance. Leaving things up to interpretation really makes you think, and with Angel Beats, it only enhances the experience.
A crucial part of that experience comes from the cast of characters. Again, in the beginning I didn't think much of the cast, but as I got deeper into the series, I was very happy to see characters get fleshed out in interesting ways. Everyone has an important story to tell and a reason why they're at this school. You may not find out the reason for all of them, but you'll get plenty of juicy information.
The series also dares to tread on some ground that most other TV series' and anime don't go. If you're not open to interpretations and various viewpoints on religion, Angel Beats might not be for you. No matter who you are, it will no doubt challenge your beliefs. I like a show that does that...I like a show that makes me think about who I am and what I believe.
While you're doing that, be prepared to shed a tear or two. While I didn't all-out cry during Angel Beats, there are plenty of moments where I did start to water up. This show has a handful of stories that are going to hit you hard and stay with you for a long time to come. Make sure you have some tissues for the ride, just incase.
Angel Beats really, really surprised me. What seemed like a shallow and systematic series in the early episodes turned out to be much more than that. Give yourself some time with the series and you'll start to see how things really grow. I promise that Angel Beats has a ton to offer for those that are willing to dive into your own thoughts, and aren't afraid of what you might come out with.
Posted by RawmeatCowboy at 1:10 PM