This episode, to me, felt like it was desperately trying to catch a train. Sure, it got there in the end and it’s a damn cool train, but at the same time it rushed through everything and forgot to buy a ticket, and now just keeps hoping that a member of the train crew won’t drop by to find out about this. This episode came with a ton of interesting plot twists, but at the same time it just didn’t care about logical narrative. Things just… happened, while most of the necessary transition scenes were lost on the cutting room floor or something.
But you know what: who cares? This series has already been chaos, and in that sense this episode was everything this has been focusing on. The thing I liked best that yet again, whenever we feel that finally the setting itself is taking action, it yet again turns out to have been just another regular character who took his own ideas. This has been the same for Kanade as she played the evil part to get everyone to pass on, the new student council president with his God complex, the Tachibana clones who went out of control: all of them are just people who took advantage of the setting, and the setting remained very much like an axe or a saw: sure, you can kill people with them, but they’re usually pretty useful in getting somewhere.
And hey, how many other series can boast that they actually found a believable way to include the power of love as a plot twist? It’s actually quite an interesting idea, in a world in which spirits who find themselves at peace will disappear. If you were to fall in love there, and the other person disappeared, that would make it damn hard to disappear as well out of love sickness. The guy in question happened to know how the computer programs worked here, and I guess that he installed some kind of system to prevent the same thing from happening again. His methods were just too extreme, though. If you can’t make them disappear, then just turn everyone into NPCs. That’s cruel! I’m also very curious here which NPC this guy turned into…
In any case, the end of this episode dropped a ton of hints that Yurippe has disappeared. In terms of Key, it did not turn out to be as emotional as their other works. The thing is that Air and Clannad reserved a lot more time to get the best out of their emotional climaxes, while that clearly wasn’t the focus of Angel Beats. I do think that I like Angel beats more than Kanon, so at least that’s something.
To be honest, I’d rather see a rushed episode with a ton of interesting ideas like this one, compared to a series with no ideas that, while solid, is too focused on playing it safe. Especially when it doesn’t have much else to offer. That’s why I rather liked this episode, despite the obvious criticisms you can have against it.
Rating: ** (Excellent)