Angel Beats 01 [Orange Farm Archive]

Spring 2010 kicks off with a new Key-backed production.

So, Key is doing the Type Moon thing and PA Works is doing the Canaan thing and now we get an all new anime backed by an awesome writer with decent production.  My first impression of Angel Beats was “things can either go really good or really bad”, which means it has some serious potential.

Sexy Beret.  Gotta love Key.

The Ace-Combat-5 style briefing scene basically made me cream myself.  I’m a huge fan of military styles (if you couldn’t already tell) and anything with a war front usually has my attention pretty easily.

So lets look at the setting.  We have Otonashi, who, recently and suddenly died.  He awakes in a world with a lot of people who have nearly died in a realm where they can be constantly killed but recover into the world very quickly.  Okazaki Otonashi is assuming based on what Yuri told him if he tries to associate with any of the “NPC” characters in the realm he will disappear and be reincarnated.  So we’re in a world where the players have access to things like guns and can hold off the “offense” of the Angel in order to get resources to survive.  The Angel’s intention is not currently known, nor does Tohno Otonashi maintain any of his previous memories.

I think it works.

So why can’t PA Works inspire a rabid-fandom?

While my first impression is certainly positive, the problem is, it’s all been done before.  They’re not drawing off the orignality of their setting and going with a very KyoAni-ish execution (specifically, Haruhi-ish execution).  I’m sure other people have compared it to Haruhi already, and it’s hard not to.  It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Key anime (circa Kanon 2002?) without KyoAni backing.  PA Works probably doesn’t want to mess up their catch with sub-par animation or effects.

Yuki-ish weapon loadup.

So they give the fans more of what they want.  It works and it doesn’t work.  You’ll probably get enough ratings to keep people watching, and make back the money you spent, but I don’t think it’s going to score any incredible points with anyone.  Given, we all know episode ones of anime tend to suck, so this could be judged as very good – but given a concert, 3D effects circa 2006, and recycled main character archetypes, I, as any otaku would, stay skeptical about following it the whole season.

I don’t think PA Works is trying to pull an A-1.  It’s not like Sora no Oto where they took the K-ON character archetypes and changed the setting.  Sora no Oto had a completely different time, setting, world, and to an extent – genre, for that to work.  PA (or possibly Maeda, or both) seems to be clutching onto the highschool setting and sticking with what works.


I hate it when production studios do that.  Try something with a twist, try something new.  If you want to be solid you need something original or old fans are going to call you generic and cliche.

“People die when they are killed…”

I think the setting is strong enough to carry the anime, but I do see one potential problem with it.  Anytime you create an anime where people can just “die” (like in Bokusatsu Dokuro-chan), it’s hard to create a situation that’s serious (for lack of important in life), or comedic (at the risk of it being gutter-humor).

“I’m not as gutless as Shinji or Shirou, you damn Angel…my family line is from Key!”

I think the hook for a lot of Haruhi fans was that Kyon, for a long time, never actually knew if he was in “fake world” or not, while here it is very obvious.  I don’t know how the whole “I don’t have my memories”-effect will last, but it’d probably be best if they were brief with it.  I know it’s trademark Key, and Maeda doesn’t want to overextend his hand on his first anime screenplay (which is largely different from a visual novel story), but I hope they take some risks to develop the main character a lot.  Put him in hard-to-choose situations.  Given him some development with the cast.  If he spends the next 8 episodes a worthless, clueless, sack of pixels I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with the series.  Luckily, there are some good signs it’s not going into that direction.  I like how he chose to actually shoot Angel, rather than having some odd complex morality.

The Like-Hell-I’m-Dead Battalion Leader!

People are comparing Yuri to Haruhi a bit too much.  I think she’s if anything, the exact opposite.  Haruhi always wanted to change the world and move on with things, whereas Yuri is fighting to keep things the same.  I’m sure we’ll find out how she became the leader at one point, but it doesn’t seem like outside of wearing the outfit and telling people what to do she’s all that different from the rest of her battalion.  Though a bitch pushy/forceful like Haruhi, you sort of need to be if you’re going to lead anything, and it’s not like she’s shoving them around.  If you’ve ever tried to make a completely-original character, it’s extremely difficult to not have them compared to something or look to other resources you’ve seen before.  I’m sure you can think of just about anyone you know and be able to compare them to someone else you know in some way shape or form.  I’m looking forward to see some dynamic change in this character as well, so lets give her some time to see how she develops.  I also like her Saigusa (Little Buster’s) random sorta-talk about random-stuff-attitude, also.  For me it’s the more entertaining than the “kill 100 times” ripoff, over done, generic jokes.

Interesting Antagonist

Rare is it that we have a silent-character antagonist.  If she stays an antagonist that is (she’s far too moe to stay a baddie the whole series).  Anyway, I never had an appreciation for silent characters until actually quite recently (Noel), but I guess that’s just a trademark of her race.  It’s hard to hate something that doesn’t really do anything wrong to you, so, like all grand Japanese RPG’s, I’m sure Angel Beats! final goal will be to kill God in the end.  Too bad Maeda is far too crafty to let us have such a grand/simple story like that.

I’m looking forward to what Maeda can do on the anime front, like I did with Nasu, and to see if PA Works can rise up like A-1 did last season and be the “main anime” just about everyone has seen.  Maeda said in an interview the story picks up at episode 2, so I’ll take his word for it.

I wonder why it’s called “Angel Beats!”, though.

5 Responses to “Angel Beats 01 [Orange Farm Archive]”

  1. April 5, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    For the record: Engrish guy is lulz if you pay attention to his Engrish in every scene.

    I, personally, am intrigued. I haven’t seen ANYTHING by Key yet and this looks to be interesting. The concert scene alone gets me a “wait-and-see”, but whatevs. These other series are just filling the portions of the week when I won’t be watching K-On!!.

  2. April 6, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    Patches, you haven’t seen Clannad, Kanon, or Air? (Or played One or Little Busters?)

  3. April 6, 2010 at 5:31 AM

    No, I haven’t. VNs are a luxury I do not have time for (and my main computer is a Mac, so…), which means Little Busters is unlikely. I have been meaning to get to Clannad, Kanon, and Air, but other things have gotten in the way (life, climbing, Kino no Tabi). Have I shamed you? Can I still hang with you guys?

  4. 4 Ssuusshii
    April 6, 2010 at 7:31 AM

    You can go join the Anti-Moe club and spite Komidol with me!

  5. April 9, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Well, the VN’s are pretty good but in the case of Key the animes are perfectly acceptable. I think in general (though this is a first impression), the KyoAni-backed Key series will be of a higher quality than Angel Beats.

    Clannad is the longest, at 50+ episodes, and Air is an old classic at 12-14ish episodes, but I highly recommend you watch the 2006 rendition of Kanon. It’s both my personal favorite and a nice middle-man as far as air time. It’s my favorite Key production.

    You should definitely watch it all costs. Watching anime is important too…people are so quick to put it off :3.

    It’s a solid production. I enjoyed it more than *almost* everything that I blogged about to date.

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