Anime Contemplation Carefully considering the world of Anime, episode by episode.

27Jun/100

Angel Beats! Episode 12 – Knockin’ on heaven’s door

Kanade's swooping attack

We start with a scene of Kanade swooping out of the sun towards a horde of shadow monsters, ready to fight. However, we don't actually get to see her fight them, instead we switch to the SSS headquarters where Otonashi, Hinata and Naoi decide to get their disappearance plan started. As they step out into the hallway though, GirlDeMo and all of the other lesser-known SSS members are outside waiting. Hisako speaks on their behalf, saying that they've had a lot of fun in this world and are ready to move on. After saying their goodbyes, they all disappear. It's amusing to think that it took Otonashi an entire episode to make [spoiler]Yui[/spoiler] disappear, but only a few minutes to make all of GirlDeMo and the lesser known SSS members disappear.

Having achieved this, Otonashi, Hinata and Naoi go outside only to discover that the shadows have spread everywhere. They fight them and are gradually joined by the other SSS members, each one demonstrating their signature attack. TK's is perhaps the most epic - he does a headspin grind down a railing (kicking the shadows) and then shoots another. Matsushita also returns from his training up in the mountains, but looks completely different. As there was hardly anything to eat in the mountains, he's now significantly thinner but also even stronger.

While this is going on, Yuri continues to explore the Guild. She reaches the Old Guild and decides to take a break, but the shadows suddenly sneak up on her and consume her - turning her into an NPC. We then see Yuri's life as an NPC - in class. However, she rebels and manages to break free with the help of Otonashi and the others who arrive at the Old Guild to save her. They continue onwards and Yuri eventually finds a room entitled "Computer Room 2".

Inside are many computers running the Angel Player software and a new character. However, this new character turns out to be little more than an NPC with special programming. The NPC explains that the shadows are the result of bugs in the world, when love develops. The original programmer of the Angel Player software fell in love with a girl in the afterlife but she disappeared. He waited a long time for her to return, but she never did and he lost his sanity. Therefore, he created a program to turn himself into an NPC. I think the NPC is the programmer, but i'm not sure - this is the only bit of the plotline I didn't really understand and it seems that i'm not alone in this sense.

The NPC offers Yuri the chance to use the computers to become the God of this world, which is what she has always dreamed of. However, she declines this opportunity - it would be cruel on the others. She then proceeds to shut down the computers, through the use of bullets. Effective, but i'm sure there's a better way to shut down computers...

Having shut down every single computer, Yuri sits alone. She sees a vision of her murdered younger siblings, they tell her that she's done "more than enough" and that she "doesn't need to be the only one suffering any more". Having heard this, she breaks down in tears and the end credits play.

The ending, like the Episode 11 ending, shows all of the Class SSS characters including the ones who have previously disappeared.

After the ending, Yuri wakes up in the school's Medical Office with Otonashi, Kanade, Naoi and Hinata by her bedside. It seems they've not disappeared yet.

Judging by the preview, the next and finale episode will be the 'graduation' of the remaining Class SSS members. However, the previews are easy to misjudge so we'll have to wait and see.

GirlDeMo say goodbye, the other SSS members are just about visible in the background

TK's epic headspin handrail grind attack

More random English from TK!

This is where we need TK's "Alright, lets go" line

BRB, attacking horde of enemies?

Yuri shuts down the computers running the Angel Player software

13Jun/100

Angel Beats! Episode 11 – Change the World

Kanade deploys her wings, looks amazing

While trying to think of who to help next, Otonashi comes across Hinata and Naoi. While they are talking, a shadow appears and attacks them. Thankfully they manage to defeat it, however, this is now the second shadow attack - are more on the way?

Thinking that Tenshi might have something to do with it, Yuri requests her presence in the Student Council room. Tenshi informs Yuri that she did do some programming recently, but only to add wings (as suggested by Otonashi previously).Yuri gets Takeyama to check the program for bugs, but none exist - it seems that the shadows are unrelated to Tenshi's actions. The meeting is cut short by the sound of gunfire from outside - Noda, TK and Shiina are being attacked by multiple shadows. The others rush to their assistance, jumping from the high building down to the ground. Tenshi deploys her new wings - they look absolutely stunning but don't appear to be fully functional. They manage to defeat the shadows, but Yuri witnesses one NPC turning into a shadow just as the battle is ending - what caused this?

Fujimaki tells Class SSS that he saw Takamatsu consumed by one of the shadows. He's eventually found in class but with a completely different personality - he's now [spoiler]an NPC[/spoiler]. Yuri calls a meeting of all the Class SSS members - it turns out that there are actually quite a few members, certainly more than we see normally. Yuri reveals that she knows of Otonashi's plan of disappearance and allows him to pitch it to the other Class SSS members. The members are now left with two choices - fight or disappear.

Afterwards, Yuri holds a small meeting with Otonashi, Tenshi, Hinata and Naoi. She reveals a new theory - that someone is controlling the NPCs and causing this to happen and she is going off alone to find out who is doing it. She asks Otonashi to work with Tenshi to protect the Class SSS members. Before she leaves, she reveals that Tenshi isn't really an angel - but a normal human like the rest of them. Otonashi realises that he was told this by her in the very first episode. I guess from now on i'll call her by her proper name - Kanade.

After the ending credits, we see Yuri's attempts to track down who is doing this. Whoever it is needs computers, so she heads over to the library's PC room to try and find out if anyone is there. It turns out that someone is there, alone, working on a computer. She threatens them at gunpoint, but it turns out that this person is just installing a new PC to replace a stolen one - apparently quite a few have gone missing. Yuri goes back later to have a search around and finds a trap door - leading back to [spoiler]The Guild[/spoiler]! So whoever is stealing the PCs and controlling the NPCs is either [spoiler]a member of Class SSS[/spoiler] or simply hiding down there - I wonder who it is?

This episode seems to be a cross between the plot lines from Lost (smoke monster etc.) and The Matrix (NPCs transforming into something hostile, someone altering the code). This is building up to an interesting finale, only 2 to go now!

That's just how she expresses her love for you Naoi!

I think it would be more 'shock and awe' than prestige

All of the Class SSS members, didn't think there where this many

Tenshi isn't an Angel!

Girls Dead Monster pay tribute to Yui and Iwasawa's guitars

8Jun/100

Angel Beats! Episode 10 – Goodbye Days

This post contains huge spoilers about a certain character. I normally try to hide spoilers but in this case i'd have to hide the entire post. If you don't want the plot of this episode spoilt for you please do not read on - go watch it now!

Hand Sonic: Version 5, more pain!

Otonashi and Tenshi start to put their disappearance plan into action, starting with Yui as she seems to be pretty fulfilled already and only needs a little push in order to disappear.

Otonashi tells Tenshi to intervene in a Girls Dead Monster practice session, tell Yui that her lack of guitar playing skills is destroying the band and then take the guitar and run. Otonashi will then pretend to bump into Tenshi, grabbing the guitar to give back to Yui and establish a friendship with her.

Just before Tenshi invades the band practice, the other members of Girls Dead Monster are complaining that Yui is unable to effectively both sing and play simultaneously. Tenshi suddenly walks in, declares Yui is terrible and steals the guitar, but as Yui is in shock she doesn't give chase to Tenshi as intended. They resume practice and it turns out that Yui is actually a lot better without the vocals. Yui disagrees however and gives chase Tenshi. Now the plan proceeds as intended and Otonashi is able to establish a friendship with Yui.

As Otonashi talks with Yui, he discovers her past. She was hit by a car when young and was paralysed. Due to this, she was confined to her bed for the rest of her life, unable to do the things she wanted. As a result, she has a lot of things she wants to do, including;

  • Hit a home run in baseball
  • Play soccer football
  • Pro Wrestling

This is the result of a TV influenced childhood - there wasn't anything else for her to do from her bed. Otonashi decides to help her out, starting with Pro Wrestling. Unfortunately, she's pretty specific about what she wants to do - the German Suplex move. However, she's not very good at it which results in quite a bit of pain for Otonashi. However, she finally masters it.

Next up, football. Again she's pretty specific wanting to take out 5 guys with her dribbling skills and then score. Where might Otonashi find 4 other people who are willing, or can be persuaded to participate? Other members of the SSS of course! Otonashi fakes a note from Tenshi challenging the men of the SSS to a sportsmanship match. The fake note convinces them and they go down to the field to challenge Tenshi.  Of course, Tenshi isn't there but Yui is! With a little help from Tenshi on the sidelines, Yui is able to bypass everyone and score a goal. The only person who vaguely managed to put up a fight was TK!

Finally, Otonashi helps Yui achieve her final dream - hitting a home run in baseball. However, this one turns out to be the most difficult of them all - she just can't hit one. However, Yui decides that it doesn't matter, she's was never able to move her body this much before and has really enjoyed trying to hit a home run.

However, it turns out there is one final thing she wants to do - marriage! As she felt like such a burden when disabled in her previous life, she thought no one would marry her. She suddenly asks Otonashi to marry her, but before he can reply Hinata steps in and offers his hand in marriage to her. He tells her that all of her flaws are irrelevant, he would marry her regardless. Yui protests that they'll never meet, Hinata makes up a story of how they'll meet and how their relationship will develop. We are then shown this hypothetical series of events, and then Yui [spoiler]disappears, having achieved all she wants[/spoiler]. Hinata admits that he's on to Otonashi's plan and offers to help.

This episode was almost certainly the best one yet. The process of realising Yui's dreams was amusing in itself but the final scene between between Yui and Hinata was extremely moving. The song that played over the scene, 一番の宝物 (ichiban no houmotsu, My Most Precious Treasure), fitted it perfectly, even more so than Iwasawa's My Song back in Episode 3 when she disappeared. It's great to finally her LiSA (the singer behind Yui) sing a beautiful song like this rather than a JRock or JPop song. This song will be available on the upcoming Keep The Beats! CD, scheduled for release on the 30th of June 2010. I've included a video of the scene at the end of this post as it's so beautiful.

After the credits, Ooyama is attacked by what is described as 'a shadow'. He is only saved from serious injury by the quick intervention of Noda. Now that Lost has come to and end, I guess the smoke monster had to find employment in another TV show...
With only 3 episodes remaining it will be interesting to see how Otonashi, Tenshi and Hinata manage to make all of the other Class SSS members disappear - or will the smoke monster do something to make them disappear?

Tenshi would look a lot more badass with wings

Don't get on the wrong side of Yui

The facial expression confirms everything

Where did those sunglasses suddenly appear from?!

The objective is to kick the ball into the goal, not to steal the goal posts!

Yui is visibly moved by Hinata's words

Yui and Hinata together

6Jun/100

Angel Beats! Episode 9 – In Your Memory

I've got no one to fight against, damn this sucks!

Tenshi is recovering in the infirmary, having been rescued from the Guild last episode, however she is unconscious. Class SSS speculate that this is due to her absorbed personalties fighting inside her, which begs the questions - which one will win and be the personality of Tenshi when she wakes up?

While Tenshi is recovering, we get a flashback from Otonashi. It seems that he didn't die in a [spoiler]train accident[/spoiler] after all. Instead, he is stuck in a train tunnel along with other people who where on the train. After helping tend to the injured, he searches the tunnel only to discover that both ends are blocked by a cave in and hence they are unable to escape. After several days it seems evident that rescue won't come and everyone is very weak as the supplies of food and water have run out. Remembering that his sister was awaiting an organ donor before she died, Otonashi uses his last moments of life to fill out the organ donor section of his health insurance card. Inspired by his example, all of the other survivors out theirs as well. Just as Otonashi dies, rescue finally arrives.

Tenshi wakes up and thankfully she retains her nice personality. Otonashi gives a brief recap on his flashback, concluding that his life wasn't harsh after all - he achieved his dream of helping others get well by donating his organs. However, surely this means that he should disappear? Tenshi explains that as long as he has some regret or something binding him to the afterlife he won't disappear - in this case it's the memories of the good times he's had with Class SSS.

Otonashi finally understands Tenshi's plan for them all. Everyone's youth has been cut short, they come to the afterlife to fulfil the dreams they never could in their actual life. Tenshi has been trying to help them live what would have been a normal life back in the real world but because they've rebelled, Tenshi's plan for them simply isn't working. Otonashi and Tenshi decide to cooperate, Class SSS trust Otonashi and he can use this trust to help them achieve their dreams and disappear. Tenshi agrees to go back to being 'evil' and fight Class SSS to maintain a distraction against Otonashi's actions. Looks like we might have some more fight scenes in future episodes!

This has been yet another fantastic episode. It was interesting to see Otonashi's full past and how it actually wasn't that harsh contrary to what we had been lead to believe previously. Otonashi and Tenshi's plan (or should I call her Kanade? I can't decide!) is clever but could be difficult to keep secret. In addition, some memories are going to be difficult to overcome, Yuri's especially. We'll have to wait and see to find out just how effective their plan is.

The 3rd Girls Dead Monster album, Little Braver, seems to have been released slightly early (should have been released on the 9th, today is the 6th). Little Braver is quite a good song, but the other two (Shine Days and Answer Song) are somewhat average. The first album, featuring Iwasawa, is still my favourite.

Otonashi's crashed train, the tunnel is blocked by a cave in

Our cute, sweet Tenshi/Kanade is back 🙂

Shut up and get on with your exam!

2Jun/100

Angel Beats! Episode 8 – Dancer in the Dark

Look into my eyes...

It seems that I was right about Tenshi using Harmonics to create a copy of herself, however she is unable to erase it. In a fight with her clone, Tenshi is badly injured and taken to the medical room to recover. While Yuri attempts to come up with a plan, she orders the rest of the SSS to act normally and attend classes, but to not pay attention in order to prevent them from disappearing.

Yuri goes back to Tenshi's room and pokes around her computer, she discovers that the skill 'Absorb' will cause the clones to be reabsorbed into the original, but has no way of forcing it to run. Instead, she modifies the Harmonics skill to run Absorb 10 seconds afterwards which will destroy the clone.

However, before Yuri can get Tenshi to use the Harmonics skill, Tenshi is kidnapped by her clone and taken to The Guild (which was blown up in Episode 2). Therefore, Class SSS has to go and rescue Tenshi from the depths of the Guild. Luckily, the traps which almost wiped out everyone previously haven't been reset. However, it seems that the clone inherits all of Tenshi's skills and consequently the clone can create more clones! So instead of traps, Class SSS must battle their way past numerous clones. Otonashi's visions in Episode 5 of a Tenshi assault are now surprisingly accurate.

As Class SSS run low on ammo, Matsushita comes up with an interesting idea to pass each clone they meet - suicide! Each member of Class SSS takes it in turn to run at one of the clones and jump on them to restrain them (and 'die'). Naturally, most of them are actually quite amusing - TK does a run and jump at a clone, Naoi hypnotises Ooyama to hug a clone and Yui kicks Hinata into the a clone in the middle of his farewell speech. When they finally reach 'Ground Zero' at the Guild, only Otonashi, Yuri and Yui are still alive. They slide down to the bottom of the explosion crater, but Yui has a slight problem with a metal beam on the way down - ouch!

At the bottom, they encounter yet another clone - presumably the original clone. This one however decides to use the new Howling guard skill - creating a very painful sound. Having seen it on the computer though, Yuri has earplugs and is able to stab the clone while she is using Howling (and hence not using Distortion to protect against attacks).

Otonashi finds the original Tenshi and gets her to use her Distortion skill, as intended another clone emerges but explains that the strain of Tenshi having to absorb all of the clones at once is going to be a huge. The countdown hits 0 and re-absorption begins. With Tenshi in great pain, Otonashi holds her in his arms and the episode ends.

Like some previous episodes, i'm unsure of how the plot will progress from here - now that the Tenshi clones have been defeated Class SSS are again missing an enemy to fight against!

Unfortunately, that's your job!

An unusal method for not paying attention in class

More awesomeness from TK

Now you know how we feel about trying to understand a show that is all in Japanese

What the Guild looks like after destruction (Episode 2), i'm suprised that there is even this much left

Guard Skill: Howling. Looks like some kind of superweapon.

What a kind offer, but I think i'll give it a miss...