You're dead. You don't have to take my word for it either. Go talk to that girl down there... Yeah, the one with the silver hair. (There are no other people around, after all.) I'm sure she'll do a nice job of killing you. Again.
Of course, nobody stays dead in purgatory, which is the humor of Angel Beats!.
The anime is set in a high school, where the majority of people aren't people at all, but non-player characters designed to persuade you that the high school is a reality. Once you accept that the high school is a reality, and begin to enjoy life within its confines, you are "obliterated," meaning you leave the world of purgatory.
And that's a bad thing.
The plot is definitely the weak point of Angel Beats!. Many times, the anime withholds crucial details, or introduces ideas and presumes to expand on them later, but never does.
In other words, Angel Beats! lacks continuity, and fails to expand upon or think of key details. What happens when you leave the high school grounds? Is there a larger world, or are you brought back to the high school? How did (x) die? We don't get many back stories on key characters- they're just sort of "there".
For thirteen (technically fourteen, including the special) episodes, this show lacks much follow-up. As such, it plays out less like a story and more like a large collection of concepts.
Don't get me wrong- it has a plot line. The plot line just isn't coherent enough.
The art style of Angel Beats! is good. In fact, the animation is one of the reasons I started watching Angel Beats!, though not because the art style is revolutionary or exceptional.
When I look for an anime, I like to find familiarity, and Angel Beats! had that familiarity in the form of its art style. The illustration is similar to Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, another show I've reviewed and would highly recommend.
So while the animation style is not revolutionary or ground-breaking, it certainly doesn't detract from the show. The often light-hearted and comedic air that Angel Beats! has is captured well in its illustration.
You can almost watch Angel Beats! for its sound alone. The soundtrack to this show is exceptional. I'm not going to make ignorant pretenses, because anime is a new genre for me, but the intro to the anime is extraordinary in my humble opinion. The background music for the show is often quite catchy, and the ending theme for the show, coupled with its animation sequence, is enough to make you feel sad that the episode has ended and to go looking for more.
Of course, Angel Beats! is based around its music, as is implied by its name. The band, Girls Dead Monster, (GDM) is a fairly significant part of this show.
Believe it or not, the idea of a music-centered anime turned me off at first. When I watched it, and found out that Angel Beats! meant that it was probably going to have a lot to do with music, I thought that it meant that it wasn't going to do as much with plot, and I was partly right, but for the wrong reasons (see above.) This show really doesn't do enough with its band, but then again, you can't expect too much in thirteen episodes.
The music in Angel Beats! is outstanding. It complements the show extraordinarily well, and can almost stand on its own. Beyond that, I often watch this show over just to see the introductory sequence, which is really quite enchanting.
This story lacks much character development, which is another one of its drawbacks. At times, this has a fair amount to do with the plot of the show, because the show juggles too much at once. Often, characters are introduced who have no real back story and who only come up once more in the series, if at all.
That said, the characters in the show also add to it a fair amount, especially TK. TK is a stock character, who often says the most outrageous things, and who is a "mystery man" with an unknown back story. He adds a fair amount of humor to the show, and it's characters like him, who only add to the comedy of the show, that make Angel Beats! worth watching. I only wish the forces behind this show would have developed their characters more...
To say I enjoyed Angel Beats! would be an understatement. The show made me laugh. The show made me cry (and I almost never cry). I anticipate that I'll be watching this many times over. In fact, I am now. And I'm wearing socks.
Angel Beats! lacks many of the things that make a good show- character development, a coherent plot, etc.
And yet for some reason, you can forgive it for that. Perhaps it's the beauty or the depth of the show itself, which poses questions about what it's like to be human, or whether or not you're prepared for death. Perhaps it's the music of the show, which could almost carry it completely.
Either way, Angel Beats! is worth watching. You shouldn't expect much in the way of answers to the questions that the show puts forth, but you should expect a great deal of enjoyment.
On a side note, the creator of Angel Beats! claims a second season is on the horizon. Some presume that this is all talk, but supposedly the show is coming out this spring. The cast list is completely different, which is a disappointment, but maybe this next season will still answer some key questions that the first season never answered.
In the meantime, I'll be finding more anime to watch and reading the show's manga, which might also provide some insights into the show itself.