Angel Beats was a show that aspired to greatness and ended up being merely good. What Jun Maeda fails to grasp with his reach in storytelling, however, is partly made up for by his OP, which is one of the finest songs of the year.
Or, why sob stories are not always character development, and what the story might become.
This is strange. Why do I already feel, in just three episodes, that when the Plight Turn occurs for Kotomi–it more or less works? Is it because I find Kotomi a lot less annoying than Fuko was at first? Do I just have a moe fetish for antisocial genius girls who can’t play violin?
No. But that doesn’t stop this from being the most heartfelt, genuine, and overall best Key plotline ever. Here’s why.
I can’t help it. The Fuko arc really does work after all, in spite of itself. Maybe the reason why the arc is so long is because it needed that time to settle in the viewer’s mind, but there’s something primal and powerful about where this story is headed that I can’t help but be touched by.
I remember I was gushing over episode 2, probably more for personal reasons than for genuine artistic ones (though I do think this is the strongest start to a Key show ever), and so it was just a little disappointing to see it slip back into a more “typical” kind of mode with this episode. Of course, it’s way too early to prejudge anything–dang it, I learned that lesson by now!–but this episode more than the previous ones felt more like a collection of loosely connected vignettes rather than a more cohesive story that was pulling forward in a certain direction.
On the other hand, it was also genuinely funny.