Angel Beats! Review (Spoiler Free)

Another re-watch finished. I swear I’ll get back to Monogatari soon, but I’ve really enjoyed revisiting some of these anime. There’s something nice about watching something that’s a sure thing, because you’ve seen it before!

I think of it like going to a restaurant and ordering the same thing instead of trying something new. Sometimes it’s nice to try new things, but sometimes you just want to order something that you know you’ll enjoy.

Synopsis

Yuzuru Otonashi wakes up at a school, with no memories, accompanied by a girl who explains to him that he is in the afterlife. She then attempts to recruit him into the “Afterlife Battlefront”, a group that fights against a mysterious, powerful girl called “Angel”. Otonashi, not convinced, approaches Angel but ends up learning that he can’t die. Afterwards, he joins the Afterlife Battlefront and begins to learn more about this mysterious world as he gets to know his new comrades in arms.

Right Into the Action

Angel Beats! wastes no time getting going. While a lot of information is given to us in the beginning, it doesn’t feel like an info dump. We jump right into things with Otonashi waking up, and after a little slowdown where we are introduced to the Afterlife Battlefront members, we get right back into some action.

The last seven or so minutes of the first episode in particular are iconic in the beginning of Angel Beats!. The use of music during some of the best action of the entire series just works so well.

The first episode does an amazing job at setting the tone for the series. Some mystery, action, and a crew of interesting characters are all thrown at us.

Tugs on the Heart Strings

Angel Beats! isn’t just fun and games, it actually gives us some pretty hard hitting stories and situations. The cast is so loveable (in my opinion) that we end up witnessing some pretty heartfelt moments.

And I think without this emotional aspect, Angel Beats! would just be another solid slice of life anime. While we don’t experience them in every episode, the moments we do experience are powerful enough to make the anime something special.

I feel like it’s because of Angel Beats!’ emotional side that the anime is so memorable. And of course the anime’s soundtrack plays a role in this as well. I think that the emotional parts of the anime make the soundtrack more memorable, but the soundtrack also helps to make the emotional parts more impactful. It’s a real symbiotic relationship.

Soundtrack

I recently wrote about soundtracks in anime, and this is one that I could never forget. I occasionally listen to it just because I love it so much. I’d recognize pretty much every song, and there are some that really stand out as something amazing. This is one of those anime where the soundtrack adds a lot of value, and invokes a lot of emotion – but not just one emotion. All emotions. From excitement, to amusement, to sadness. It’s masterfully done, I think.

I could be wrong on this, but from what I’ve seen regarding the soundtrack of Angel Beats!, people either prefer My Soul, Your Beats! or Ichiban no Takaramono. Both feel like flagship songs for the anime. And both songs are excellent, but if you have to choose a favourite, you can only choose one!

I’m just going to bombard you with some YouTube embeds now.

I’m more of an Ichiban no Takaramono fan, myself.
But both songs are capable of giving me goosebumps.

Aside from those two though, there are so many excellent songs. The in-anime band, Girls Dead Monster, for which a full album was composed outside of the anime, is awesome. Crow Song is very memorable, for a reason I mentioned above regarding the first episode. If you’ve seen Angel Beats! before, you may be able to visualize the scene just from hearing this song.

Alternate version of My Soul, Your Beats! that’s awesome. I actually prefer it, although the piano in the original does have a lot of sentimental value.

Anyways, here’s the full album for Girls Dead Monster on YouTube if you’re interested. I thought about buying a physical copy for myself, but it’s pretty expensive and I already have so many CDs since moving to Japan, haha. But I might, we’ll see.

As you can see, the real purpose for me writing this review was to just share some Angel Beats! music…!

Rating

I could keep on gushing about Angel Beats!, but I’ll try to cut it short here. Now that I’ve shared the music, my purpose for this post has been accomplished.

I give Angel Beats! a 10 / 10.

It’s an excellent anime.

Now, I will say here that there ARE criticisms of the anime that people have, with one major criticism in particular, that’s very valid. But even with its issues, I still think Angel Beats! is a masterpiece.

Also, I’m going to write about said criticism in another post, one where I can talk more about the anime and toss in spoilers, something that I can’t do in good conscience in a review.

So yeah, I’d say if you haven’t seen Angel Beats!, you should give the first episode a try and see what you think. The first episode, in my opinion, is a very well done pilot for the series, and while the three episode rule is a thing for many, the first episode really should be enough here I think.

And if me playing up Angel Beats! makes you not want to watch it, because you don’t like watching things that are hyped up, well, I can understand that. I still haven’t watched Cowboy Bebop for that reason. But for those of you out there who may feel like Angel Beats! is too hyped, and don’t want to try it out as a result, I’d still say to just try the first episode. It should be enough for you to make a decision. But of course, that’s your choice.


That’s all for this review, but as I mentioned, I would like to write at least one more post on Angel Beats!. Maybe even two. I grabbed plenty of images that I’d like to use. And for the first time in a while, I’m actually enjoying writing about an anime here.

I guess I’ll end the post with this:

For those of you who’ve seen Angel Beats!, what’s your favourite song from the soundtrack?

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

17 thoughts on “Angel Beats! Review (Spoiler Free)

  1. “As you can see, the real purpose for me writing this review was to just share some Angel Beats! music…!”

    I have to admit, I smiled and chuckled a little. Because it’s a mighty fine reason to write a blog post.

    I’ve considered going back and re-watching… But it’s one of the anime I watched in my larval stage as an otaku, and rewatches of those have been a mixed bag. Not all of those have withstood the test of time and the way my tastes have shifted over time.

    I still think it’s a class though. And a must watch for anyone who wants to talk seriously about anime over the last decade or so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had similar experiences with some anime that I thought I loved only to discover that they weren’t as great as I’d remembered. And while I feel like I’m better at identifying where Angel Beats! goes wrong, I still really love the world and direction the anime takes. That, and nostalgia helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I was really worried about that when Nana started streaming a few months back… And honestly, having a much better trained palate, it’s just as enjoyable as it was when I was a newbie, only in a different way. (If that makes sense.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I get that completely. Better trained palate, and also I feel like you are more likely to notice things you didn’t before in a re-watch. Or maybe, because you already know the basics of what happens, you can devote more time thinking about different things while watching.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate to say it, but I watched Angel Beats recently and I didn’t like it at all >_< Mainly, I couldn’t get invested in the characters because they were too generic, and I’m not really into dramas in general. I liked the concept, but just wish they went in a different direction with it. The music is phenomenal though. Great review, even if it’s not my cup of tea I’m glad people are still shouting out anime from back in the day!

    Liked by 1 person

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