Plot: What’s it about?
Otanashi has just woke up in a strange place, with no idea how he got there and on top of that, the first thing he sees is a girl holding an automatic rifle. The girl’s name is Yuki and in her sights is another girl, this one known as Angel. As soon as Yuri sees him, she tries to win him over and get him to help her eliminate Angel. Otanashi is of course quite confused, especially when Yuri tells him that he is dead and this place is purgatory. He is shaken up, but Otanashi doesn’t believe her, so he goes to talk with Angel, in search of answers. But Angel confirms that Yuri is telling the truth, a fact she backs up by stabbing Otanashi, showing him that here, he can die over and over with no consequences. So Otanashi ends up joining Yuri’s group of rebels, but can they overcome Angel and if they do, what will become of them?
I really enjoyed Angel Beats, as the series has humor, drama, and great characters. I wasn’t sold on the main characters at first, but the story does a good job of filling in their pasts, which helps a lot. So even if you don’t like them right off, give the story a chance and you’ll probably be won over. I was impressed by how much detail was put into each of the main characters, as we’re shown a glimpse into their lives, the problems they faced, and how they coped. This adds some perspective to the situation they all finds themselves in now, which enhances the story quite a bit. The series offers great humor as well, despite the rather dark circumstances. At the same time, the writing is smart and knows when to let the drama be the focus. So you’ll have ample chances to laugh, but the humor never lessens the more serious situations. Angel Beats is a well crafted anime series with a lot to like, so if you’re looking for action, humor, and drama, you’ll find it all here.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. These episodes look excellent, with bright colors and razor sharp animation that is sure to delight fans. The level of sharpness is just remarkable, as it allows all the detail to surface within the animation, so it really stands out. As I said, the colors are bright and vivid, while black levels are spot on as well. Just a superb looking series that really is a treat for the eyes.
Audio: How does it sound?
You can choose between DTS HD 2.0 soundtracks in the original Japanese or an English language version. As always, I endorse the original soundtrack. The audio is good, but didn’t dazzle or what not. Even so, the music sounds good, dialogue is clear, and the various sound effects all come across well. Just not one of the better anime soundtracks I’ve heard of late. This release also includes English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes clean open & close animation, plus the bonus OVA: Stairway to Heaven.