I heard about Angel Beats! as a show that could balance comedy, action and KEY’s penchant for using melodramatic and overly emotional scenes. For a series that is only 13 episodes, i found that a little hard to believe. But then again, Baccano! did something very similar with also 13 episodes, so it definitely wasn’t improbable.
So what is the final verdict: It’s too damn short. Really, if it was 24-26 episodes, it could have easily been a contender for Top 5 favorite of all time, but it fell a bit short due to the one-cour curse. KEY’s Jun Maeda had a clear goal in mind to create a wonderfully balanced series that could appeal broadly to casual and otaku anime viewers with the understanding that his series was going to be a full two-cour series. Of course, reality (budget?) has to butt in and have the last word, and that word was “one-cour”.
But don’t get me wrong: Angel Beats! was still a worthwhile watch, it definitely did balance the comedy (the test-switching episode = priceless) and drama (Yui..T__T) very well, and for such a short series, it ought to be praised for that. Is it a bit over-rated? Maybe, but that shouldn’t translate into horrible, because Angel Beats! was nothing of the sort.
Animation – 9/10: Gorgeous is one way to describe the animation, courtesy of P.A. Works. It can also be described as breathtaking, the scenes with Yuzuru and Yuri/Kanade were eye-opening to say the least.
Story – 7/10: It suffered from a rushed ending (sorry but i was dry-eyed at that ending), but the comedy and drama aspects were balanced very well for what it’s worth. Yui surprisingly had the best conclusion of the entire cast. I
Characters – 7/10: We did get quite a bit of depth to Yuzuru, Kanade, Yuri, Yui and Hinata, but for everyone else, they were just…there. Takamatsu, TK, Ooyama, Matsushita, Shiina, Noda — They didn’t get any real good development (laughs, on the other hand, plenty of those!) and their “graduation” wasn’t even seen at all, just a brief mention by Yuzuru.
Music – 8/10: Very solid OP song from LiA, and great music from Girls Dead Monster. What more could you ask for?
Enjoyment – 7/10: It had the best laughs that never got stale, it had the best animation i’ve seen in a while, but it didn’t bring the emotional impact that it should have brought (with the exception, oddly, of Yui’s graduation).
Overall – 7.6/10