Sad, but sweet.
I won’t bother with a summary of the final episode, nor the whole series. Just talk about it and mention some events as they come and go, so spoilers abound.
What started out as another typical high school anime with slapstick comedy in obscure settings just for the sake of plot progression, turned out to be one of the most unique and beautiful anime series of the season. Definitely a contender for the best anime of 2010!
Angel Beats certainly melded a few genres together, which initially seemed to work against it, to the point where I didn’t even know where the story was going once it established the rules and the characters. The action and animation was not only smooth, but brilliantly choreographed as well. The comedy timing, for the most part, was nigh on perfect in every episode. Equally well placed were the heavier moments of the anime where we get to see the terrible pasts of the entire cast, one by one. Once the high school of purgatory’s purpose was revealed, it only made sense how everyone would meet their fate.
However, it was the process of these misguided souls making peace with their past and fulfilling their dreams which was done so elegantly that makes Angel Beats so special. The anime could’ve easily lost it here with a half-assed job, instead the focus was always kept on our core group and trying to resolve their situation. Everybody else becomes a smoke monster, but even here they served a purpose in helping Yuri finally reconciling with herself.
The final episode was truly heart wrenching, up until the very end. The graduation ceremony was sad in the truest sense of the word. The core group, and the strongest cast members, were all that remained. Graduating from the purgatory was the final step towards “passing on” from this world to the next, which, in Angel Beats means reincarnation. So as one by one the final five said goodbye to each other, we are left with Otonashi and Kanade. The final reveal, I have to say, was both shocking and sad. Still, maybe everybody found peace and happiness in their next lives.
So, Angel Beats is definitely a must watch show. It’s short, funny, emotional and thoroughly entertaining.