Posts Tagged ‘angel beats’
Angel Beats Complete Collection
When Suzuru Otanashi wakes up he finds himself in a strange new world. Apparently he has died and is now living in an eternal high school setting made up of others like himself; without a sense of peace in the way that they died or how they lived. Living the normal high school lives they never got to have on their own, this is where people go to come to peace with what they lived before being reborn into their new lives. All of which happens under the watchful eye of the student body president.
Right away, Otanashi meets the leader of a group that is taking a slightly different approach to the whole situation. Led by a girl named Yuri, the battlefront is a group of students who are taking the fight to the afterlife. In their new lives, they are heavily armed and do battle against the student council president, Angel, in an attempt to get a message to god: we’re pissed with how you screwed with our lives. The students will draw blood and die many times each in order to take over the school and get revenge for their tragic lives which were cut short.
Good and the Bad
Forgive the past and look forward to the future. That is the overall theme and lesson that I took away from Angel Beats as I watched every episode and thought about the harsh realities that each of these characters dealt with. It’s a hard theme to do well but this is a series that does.
Written by Jun Maeda, directed by Seiji Kishi and produced by visual novel studio Key, Angel Beats is a series that is flawed but forgivable. The animation quality from PA Works is never quite perfect and is dogged by Yuri’s character design being another Haruhi Suzumiya rip off but you look past this because of the fluid battle sequences and the touching moments that such as during a late embrace in the final episode that do look good.
Then there’s the constant location labeling with every scene telling the audience exactly where each scene was taking place. If the series were any more detailed about this you could use them to draw a map of the school. It made the series feel more like a visual novel than it needed to and were even downright distracting at times.
However, Angel Beats manages to tell a soft heartfelt series of adventures all about the members of the battlefront, teenagers who now inhabit an endless high school setting as they wait to come to peace with the lives they once led. The group is composed of a large variety of characters that never seen to overlap with each other. While not everyone will be able to serve a real purpose to the series (Sorry TK), the ones that do serve a real purpose though stand out against each other quite well. The cast of characters even does it’s best to avoid being overly moe (naturally there are exceptions like Yui and Kanade but for the record my favorite was the ever cynical Shiina).
As the group does battle, where the series truly shines is in the introduction of the character’s histories. While not everyone’s past is revealed, there are still a number of them which will tug at your heartstrings. Slowly revealing these stories, the series does it’s best work when it is trying to make you sympathize with a character. Where the series falls apart however is in the overall narrative which never really finds a complete feeling.
Relying more on episodic stories, the series never feels very well put together with its story telling. Once the series breaks away from the characters, the rest of the series generally relies on the missions of the battlefront which mostly follow similar veins for most of the series: an endless arsenal of weapons made from dirt, an endless stream of jokes based on characters getting ‘killed’ (they’re already dead so it’s not like they can truly die again in this world) and storytelling that feels forced for most it’s run time. Fortunately things come together reasonably well in the final act.
Mostly made up of piano scores, the background music in Angel Beats is another strong selling point that makes this series worth picking up. What really sells the music in this series however are the powerful pop songs sung by the band within the series, Girls Dead Monster. Made up of a quartet of characters, the powerful songs contain strong melodies and lyrics which make them a treat to listen to whenever they appear and even play well out of context away from the series.
Dub vs. Sub
Listening to this series entirely in English, I was pleased to hear a strong variety in voices that matched the characters well. No one felt out of place in this cast and the performances matched the emotion well. What killed me constantly throughout this release however were so many bizarre or inconsistent pronunciations. At some points the accent on Yui’s name would be changed from scene to scene and at one point characters can be heard practicing a SUPlex instead of a SUplex.
Once upon a time, I wrote this series off because it didn’t grab me right away. Now that I’ve seen the entire series, I regret writing it off so quickly. It takes awhile for this series to get going but once you get to the ending, you’re going to be glad that you made the trip. Sentimental and bloody, Angel Beats does the job despite it’s flaws. The overall message of this series is one of the things that makes it something worth watching. This is a series that tells us all that it’s ok to forgive the past and look towards the future. We all need that reminder once in awhile and this series hits that message out of the park. Very recommended!
If you couldn’t tell by every blogger and their uncle posting summer previews this week (mine is… on its way), the new anime season is just about ready to begin. Every quarter, Dengeki Magazine polls its readers to find out which shows for the upcoming season they are expecting to be the best. Keeping in mind how moe friendly readers of this magazine tend to be, it should be no surprise that taking the top two spots are AIC produced Strike Witches 2 and Ookami-san to Shichinin no Makamatchi (Mr. Wolf and His Seven Friends) from J.C. Staff. The rest of the list rounds out like this:
1. Strike Witches 2
2. Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi
3. Sengoku Basara Ni
4. Nurarihyon no Mago
5. Amagami SS
6. Digimon Xros Wars
7. Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~
8. Kuroshitsuji II
9. Seitokai Yakuindomo
12. Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu
13. High School of the Dead
14. Asobi ni Iku yo!
15. Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin
16. Shukufuku no Campanella
I’m actually kind of surprised that viewers are expecting so little from titles like High School of the Dead (Madhouse) and Shukufuku no Campanella (the debut production for animation studio Bridge… which may explain things a bit) and yet so much from the romance title from people with no romance experience, Amagami SS (ZEXCS).
Simultaneously to this poll, readers were also asked to name which spring series they liked the most. As opposed to the summer list, this list contained a few surprises (numbers in parenthesis represent previous expectation rank) beyond the battle of the exclamation marks in the top 3:
1. (2) Angel Beats!
2. (1) K-ON!!
3. (3) Working!!
4. (6) Ookiku Furikabutte ~Natsu no Taikai Hen~
5. (3) Durarara!!
6. (4) Arakawa Under the Bridge
7. (18) Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy)
8. (17) Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou
9. (5) Mayoi Neko Overrun!
10.(20) Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
Three series ended up over performing jumping up as many as 11 ranks while Kaichou wa Maid sama (which is still criminally underrated in my opinion) managed to dark horse their way in jumping up to rank 10. Not quite as surprising is the dominance of Angel Beats and K-ON!! (though does the switching of positions indicate a slow evolution in viewer preferences?) and the disappointment of Mayoi Neko Overrun. Because it was TERRIBLE.
This is going to be a quick one but according to a new store listing, Angel Beats Vol. 7 will contain a brand new unaired episode when it is released on DVD and Blu ray December 22nd. All they had to do was announce this 3 hours earlier and I could’ve included this in my Catch Up post along with all the others but I’m sure no one is complaining about me being brief for a change.
I admit it, I’m one of the few who watched Angel Beats and failed to see what was so amazing about it (which I know, I’m in the minority here). There were just a lot of little things that bugged me but even I admit that there was one thing that I did enjoy: the music. Inside the anime is a band called Girls Dead Monster that just had an incredibly catchy pop rock sound. It doesn’t hurt that the moments that the band is on screen are arguably some of the best looking of the series.
Apparently I’m not alone in enjoying them because after two singles, the band will be getting a full album called Keep the Beats on June 30th and a third single, Little Braver, to be released on June 9th. I couldn’t find any information regarding how many tracks the full album will have but all of the songs are being written by Jun Maeda. You’ll recognize him as the one responsible for most of Angel Beats (writing, music, composition, story).
Every season I attempt to do a season wrap up and every season I find myself sprinting towards the finish line after an exhausting month. There were over 30 shows premiering this season and as always, I spent the last month previewing as many of them as I could. In the end, I previewed 15 series from the new season and have compiled those into a list of highlights and things that I absolutely couldn’t wait to be done with. If you look past the subtly in many of the entries, I think you’ll figure out which ones belong where.
Trying to sample as many different genres as I could, the thing that I seemed to notice the most was a change in mood and presentation. Series set in earlier eras and retellings of classics were popular this season as well as series with a notably higher level of artistic merit (House of Five Leaves, Arakawa Under the Bridge). There was still plenty of moe (K-ON!!, Mayoi Neko Overrun, Shin Koihime Musou) and ecchi shows (B Gata H Kei, KissxSis) to go around but more chances were being taken which was a nice change of pace.
However the summer season is only a couple of months away and there have already been almost a half dozen moe or eroge adaptations announced. Would things be better if the industry as a whole could find a direction and stuck with it for more than one season? Possibly but I’m not here to throw out random solutions that I haven’t actually thought out. I leave that to people who know what they’re talking about while sitting in the peanut gallery making sarcastic comments.
Fifteen series were reviewed this season including every simulcast released by Crunchyroll, Funimation and The Anime Network. The wrap up will be divided into three parts with some highlights along the way. Be sure to chime in along the way with what you thought about the new shows this season!
More below the cut
Studio: P.A. Works
Premiere Date: 4/2
A war is being fought between those who have died and those who wish to make them disappear. Taking place in an afterlife which looks like a Japanese high school, a boy named Otonashi wakes up to find a girl training a high powered rifle on a seemingly normal girl. After being informed that he is actually dead (and proceeds to have that proven to him with a stab through the chest), Otonashi begins to learn the truth. The girl he met before is named Yuri and is leading a group of others in a fight against the world they’ve in and the angel who wants them to disappear and reincarnate back to Earth. Invited to join their ranks, the group wants him to help overthrow the angel and take over the world they’re in.
Good and the Bad
Ever since this series premiered early this month, it’s been hard to go more than a couple of days without hearing someone mention this series. After a few days finally I watched it for myself and was left with a sense of wondering what the huge fuss is about. That’s not an attempt at knocking Angel Beats, the first episode is actually pretty decent there were just a few things that I found… odd, I suppose.
To get this bit out of the way; yes, the lead female looks a lot like Haruhi Suzumiya. There’s nothing new I can say on that subject and I have no explanation for why they would do that other than to possibly generate buzz. Moving on… conceived and put together by Visual Arts/Key (Kanon, Air TV, Clannad), the animation and designs look nice enough from an aesthetic point of view. While there is a large cast of flatly designed characters there is still enough variety in the cast to give most people in the audience something to enjoy and connect with along the way (though I’ll admit that I was having trouble on that part).
For me, the biggest turn off of the episode was the visual novel feeling created by director Seiji Kishi and Jun Maeda, who is being credited with the composition of a series for the first time. Throughout the episode, Kishi and Maeda leave prints all over the episode. For those who aren’t fans of visual novels or have never played one, you may not even notice the little details. For anyone who has played even one, it will be impossible to not notice the little things along the way; constant location tags (especially in the second half), prolonged still shots, the laundry list that ends up being the character rundown, soundtracks that sound like they were composed on a Casio keyboard, etc.
This early into the series, it’s difficult to determine if these are going to be mainstay details throughout the series. Even if these little details do stick around, it’s still hard to judge on if they are going to be a distraction or if it will prove to be a unique charm point for Angel Beats. For my personal tastes, I would much rather the anime attempt to dial those elements down and feel more like a television series than a computer game.
After one episode however, the story is where I’m running into the biggest problems. I’m not going to complain about the concept of the series; a group made up of dead teens that want to fight back against the power that made them die without asking their opinions first. Perhaps a touch unreasonable but I’m willing to go with it. The part that I don’t really understand however is the current plan; fight back against the angel who patrols the grounds and eventually take over the afterlife world that they inhabit. But what happens after that? They’d still be dead and living a life in eternal limbo, so why? Hopefully this will be explained in the next episode because at the moment I’m failing to see the logic of anything in this series really happening.
I’m not saying that I disliked the first episode of Angel Beats. It had its clever moments which made me chuckle but many of these moments occurred during the same scenes which left me confused. While darker than previous Visual Arts/Key releases, there are enough elements here to make this worth checking out. Visual Arts and P.A. Works have at least created an intriguing beginning if nothing else. I make no guarantees that you’re going to completely fall in love with the characters but it’s hard to deny that there is a certain charm here.
And once again we’re back to another fun filled Monday. With only a couple of weeks left until the start of the new anime season, the new flood of anime trailers and promotional videos should be starting any time now but for now it’s unfortunately still at a slow trickle.
In case you were wondering, yes I do plan to do another season preview which hopefully will be up by the end of the month… which reminds me, I should probably get started on that in the near future. ^_^;; Oh look, a change of subject!
A new trailer lasting about two and a half minutes has gone up on the official Angel Beats website. Unlike most of the previous trailers, this one is actually almost entirely made up of new character scenes, story footage and a couple of short action sequences. It appears that the series is being sold as a dark action, moe series not unlike Higurashi – When They Cry (only I’m assuming less twisted) or Fate/Stay Night. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one when it premieres next month but it’s hard to say that I’ve actually been sold on the series yet.
Also premiering next month, another trailer has also been posted for the third season of the ecchi fighting series Ikkitousen: Xtreme Xecutor. The video is almost two minutes long though the trailer itself is only about 90 seconds. If you’re a fan of the series and want to make sure that it’s going to keep the deep philosophical tones that made the first two seasons so popular you can be rest assured: there is a panty shot within 23 seconds of the trailer beginning and a second one less than 6 seconds later.
You know, sometimes you just need good music to help you get through the work that needs to be accomplished. Tonight I tuned my iPod to my anime playlist and here I am a couple of hours later ready to dig my cleats in for another game of catch up!
Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls Gets Anime: An initial announcement has been made confirming that the novel series will be getting anime series. Set in a world where Japan has remained under the control of the Tokugawa Shogunate and secluded from the rest of the world, the story takes place in what is essentially a samurai military school for teens. On the campus, battles are constantly breaking out between students who wish to rebel against the shogunate and the ruling student council when a male student named Yagyu gets caught in the middle.
As it’s already got a popular figure line from Alter along with other merchandise, I’ll be curious to see what sorts of new items we’ll be seeing these characters on later this year.
K-ON Wins DVD of the Year Award… So Yeah, Suck on That! Guess what moe haters? The first six volumes of K-ON were awarded the ‘DVD of the Year’ Award in a contest that no one here could vote on, most of us have never heard of and ultimately means absolutely nothing! So yeah… take that!
Behind the Scenes of Angel Beats: The official Angel Beats website has posted a new three minute video giving fans a look into the making of the upcoming series from Key/Visual Arts and P.A. Works. Naturally the first observation I made in the video was ‘Wow, they get to smoke during their meetings? How convenient!’
Asobi ni Ikuyo Finally Confirmed for Anime: It was rumored an entire year ago but with the launch of an official website, it’s been confirmed that the light novel series Asobi ni Ikuyo will be getting an anime series from AIC Plus. The series follows a boy named Kio who has a cat girl appear before him after a family member’s memorial service. Claiming to be an alien, Kio must then spend his time protecting the cat girl named Eris from alien fanatics, the press and his childhood best friend who wants to capture her and turn her into the government. So those of you who are tired of having to watch two separate series to get your fix of cat girls and aliens have now had their prayers answered.
That’s it for tonight everyone! I’ve got another full day tomorrow so be sure to check back tomorrow night when I sit down to play catch up again.
So another long week has come to a close just in time for another long one to begin. The new anime season is upon us which means I’m going to be scrambling for the next week or so. I’m not going to be covering every new series coming out this season but I will do my best to get my initial episode 1 thoughts down for as many as possible despite not even having the season preview finished. For those who haven’t been keeping track, my thoughts for Asura Cryin 2 and Letter Bee have already been posted. Book of Bantorra, Kampfer, Sora no Otoshimono will be coming in the near future as well. But enough about the new season, time to catch up on what I missed this week!
revealed new information for the upcoming Angel Beats. Originally created by Visual Arts/Key (who you might remember from the ultra moe series Air, Kanon and Clannad), the animation for the series is going to be put together by PA Works (CANAAN, true tears) with Kishi Seiji sitting in the director chair. In the interview, producer Toba Hirofumi talks about how the comedy in the series is going to be a big emphasis which is why Seiji was chosen. The most interesting part of the interview was when Hirofumi talks about Hirata Katsuzou as art director because he was able to do intense action and moe. No word so far on when the series will actually premiere but it sounds like it’s going to be ready for the spring 2010 season or maybe earlier.
Full NYAF Keynote Speech: Just in case some of you have already forgotten, last weekend was New York Anime Festival. The big special guest for the event was the original creator of Gundam who gave a big speech and answered questions from fans. Anime Vice has the entire thing on their site split into two parts.
Last update for me tonight, I still have a large stack of review anime waiting for me but I wanted to get a better late than never Trailer Roundup posted for everyone. Two new trailers have gone up on the official Angel Beats website which features two of the lead characters. Neither one of the trailers shows anything particularly special beyond some line art and designs. Neither one is very long though with the first one being 15 seconds and the second a little over 70 seconds.
By the way, if you’re still wondering about the resemblance between the lead character and a certain leader of the SOS Brigade, you’re not alone. Apparently Angel Beats is going to be a thirteen episode series filled with inside jokes and parody references sprinkled throughout including (but not limited to) the lead characters belonging to the SSS Brigade. Yeah, this is going to be interesting.