Anime Blog
Neverending New Beginnings: Angel Beats! Episode 1

4 Apr 2010

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Haruka Takahashi

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Angel Beats! Episode 1

(fig.1) You wake up to see a girl in front of you with a sniper pointed towards something

The long awaited anime by Maeda Jun Key (did Air and Clannad too) has begun. There was no opening theme song here, but there is the slow-paced piano version and you might have heard parts of it in the trailers anyway.

(fig.2) Yes, the title is just a white background with black text with a Georgia/Times typeface.
Now, this episode title screen is rather plain... but having fanciful fonts and colours that is small overlaying the main episode is just distracting. Durarara and Railgun are examples of having a (near) basic background and might carry over audio from the scene prior to it being displayed. BakaTest is um, hard, and that is already without the fansubs. Haruhi is kind of okay as the text is large and white despite being on top of the episode itself. Like, look at company logos of today to just 25 or more years ago. Speaking of overlays, the display of sponsors appears as an overlay after the CM break around the middle instead of the usual 10 seconds, with the background from a scene of the episode or what the producers made up, within about the first 7 minutes or after the opening theme, whichever is earlier. This episode seem to have a lot of overlays from winning prizes by visiting some site with some password within a specified time, to a soundtrack selling at the end of May, to next episode starting at a different time. A lot.

(fig.3) Lighting adjusted

The (male) protagonist, who has amnesia, is suddenly thrown with Yui (fig.1) pointing a sniper rifle to an "Angel" (fig.3) who looks very much like a girl. Not believing he's in the afterworld, he just walks up to her and have a conversation before being stabbed. The protagonist wakes up in a infantry to find that he doesn't have any scar and thinks it was all a dream until he saw his blood-stained torn uniform hung nearby. Eventually, he finds out about the SSS (死んだ世界戦線) and Yui introduces to everyone. (Why the male and female uniforms are completely different in design is beyond me. Shouldn't it look closer to what "the angel" is wearing?) There are no hospitals as everyone is already dead, but that doesn't explain where the weapons everyone is carrying comes from.

(fig.4) Very detailed
This afterlife world is the transitional phase between one's death and the next phase. As Yui describes, anyone who follows what the angel says are like NPCs in a video game who abide by the law, while others, go against them. In fact, the afterlife world is full of them or the world wouldn't be like that and be lifeless instead.

(fig.5) Blueprint of the place
Yuri: Anyways, it's about time we start with Operation Tornado. Guys, you head to key locations at specified times around the cafeteria, while I have the girls to have a "live band" to create a distraction. As for me, I'm going to hide during the duration of the entire operation. Oh, and the "live concert" is scheduled to end three hours from now. Here's a rough illustration of how the band would look:
(fig.6) Let's see, some adjustments here and there...
(fig.7) ゴーゴー水色。。。
Otonashi: Hey! How did you do that?
Yuri: The same way how I got the hat I'm wearing now or the large projection behind me: it just magically appears when I need it. I'm telling you this as the music is so loud that you could hear it as you fight the angel and get lost in thought while fighting as to what is going on inside. Go on, the clock is already ticking from when we started the meeting.
Otonashi: Why didn't you say so earlier!

(fig.8) Mommy!!!!
As Otonashi stand-by at one of the bridges, the "Angel" who stabbed him earlier appears. He had shot her, but despite a direct hit at the stomach with visible blood flowing out, it seems that it's ineffective. From that point, she uses the "blade" to reflect the attacks like a force field surrounding her. Even reinforcements who came can't overcome her strong defense. Eventually, they withdraw from the fight but still achieve their primary objective: to steal food tickets by using several large fans inside and blow them out of the building. Yes, all the heavy duty things just for that. (=_=)0

(fig.9) Those flying things in the air are the food tickets
...I've rarely the first episode of an anime to be this hyped up and closely matches my expectations of what to look out for in a typical anime. The ranking of this is even higher than Durarara, but comparable to Eden of the East. I'm speechless. P.A. Works had did anime like True Tears or sola some years ago, but to be this detailed is quite rare, probably more detailed than Marcorss Frontier. It's something like Someday's Dreamers (魔法遣いに大切なこと) in 2008, or what SHAFT would have done if they have not added mountainous words in kyuujitai, references to other anime, and other nonsense most other animation studios usually don't do. Not sure if it's me, but I did notice lags during the concert animation. At least this lifts up my spirits on how BakaTest ended recently and all the other anime that look good, but failed to keep my attention (eg. Sora no Woto, Fullmetal Alchemist).

(fig.10) Yes, like (fig.2), this plain looking thing is the preview too.
I'm not sure if the on-screen credits before we see the spinning logo of SSS is the actual ending, but it's normal for the first, last, and some significant episodes (suspense, a main character died, end of a major event). Since almost all of the trailers has content from episode 1, and the preview is nothing more than a random excerpt of lines from that episode, I have no clue as to what to expect.


Unknown said...
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Haruka Takahashi said...

No illegal links please.