「Knockin’ on heaven’s door」

Not the new slimmed-down Matsushita, not Guild leader Char, but a mysterious teenager played by Ishida Akira proved to be at the bottom of it all. Even so, he’s nothing more than a creation of the Angel Player software developed by someone who converted himself to a mindless NPC. Quite frankly, I’m really not sure how to take the “final boss” being a nameless individual we’ll never meet and no longer has any sort of emotions or aspirations in this world; however, his story on how he was willing to wait an eternity for his loved one’s return despite the astronomically slim chance of her doing so wasn’t really all that unbelievable given how this series has been. At the same time, it was a lot of story divulged in the latter part of this episode through pure discussion between this nameless drone and Yuri, making it feel like things could have gone any which way.

In accordance to the way it did go, the idea that this programmer was a “bug” in this system because he had devoted his life to another person, arrived without his memories, became unable to bear waiting for the return of his loved one after she moved on, and developed the shadow program to erase his own consciousness all looks good on paper, but I really would’ve liked to see some of that hinted at in earlier episodes. The one thing that this revelation did reiterate from past episodes though is that this world is a place intended for love to be nourished and inevitably allow people to move on. It also tempted Yuri with the prospect of taking over the Angel Player program and using it to remodel the world as she fits, taking on the role of its would-be “God” if one were to exist. Upon seeing her power-hungry laugh, I was seriously thinking that Yuri would become the new “final boss” from that moment on, but she surprised me by declaring that she’s only come this far due to her desire to save everyone before taking down the entire system that’s now trying to rid the world of people who have discovered love yet not moved on.

As mentioned above, I feel the specific details on the explanation behind what’s been happening could have been different, but the end result with Yuri feeling like she’s finally become the big sister that was able to protect everyone was clearly the story’s ultimate goal. After accomplishing her lifelong regret and being told by her younger siblings that she’s done enough, it was nice to see Yuri finally show some emotion even if it meant she was going to move on because of it. Incidentally she didn’t, even after Girls Dead Monster and most of the other SSS members voluntarily did so at the beginning of this episode, saving her for the “graduation” ceremony in the series finale next time. Based on the preview, it’s befitting that Otonashi takes on the valedictorian role for that after leading everyone to the arguably “correct path” in this world, but it’s still going to be very very bitter sweet to see everyone part ways. In fact, just thinking about it now gets me a bit choked up.

With the end in sight, I still wish more of the girls — Shiina, Hisako, Irie, Sekine, Yusa — and some of the other guys got some more focus with their respective subplots, but that’s clearly too much to ask for in a short thirteen episode series. However, despite the series’ inability to cover every character in detail, it did make good on the three main ones to a substantial degree. In Kanade’s case, the focus was more on her time in the afterworld and being perceived as the enemy for the vast majority of the series, but that in itself developed her character just as much as a tragic past would have. I mean, how can you say no to a face like this popping up from behind people now? Anyway, with the shadows gone and practically everyone else as well, I imagine the last episode will be primarily an epilogue type one that’s probably going to get me a bit teary-eyed if not more.

* It’s been four episodes since we’ve seen the ending sequence, which has been updated yet again. Surprisingly, Iwasawa, Yui, and the rest of Girls Dead Monster are in it.
* The preview only shows Otonashi, Yuri, Kanade, Hinata, and Naoi at the graduation ceremony, leaving me wondering what happened to everyone that was battling up top. Given everyone’s laughter, it doesn’t seem like they were consumed by the shadows and turned into NPCs though.



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  1. wooowwwww First!! this anime is amazing lol.. First time seeing Yurippe, Now to see how they are going to finish the series. My assumption is that they’re going to continue with the 2nd season since we didn’t really hear any stories from rest of the characters? (I’d like to hear about TK mostly lol).

  2. They could have easily adapted the series into a 26/52 episode one in order to flesh out the characters even more. But Angel Beats! has done an amazing job at telling its own story with the short amount of time it was given. Can’t wait for the last episode and the preview, albeit a few lines long, did make me teary eyed thinking how Otonashi and the gang (especially Kanade!) will have to part ways.

    This got me thinking… Kanade’s past wasn’t really covered for such an important character in the series. What could possibly be holding Kanade down into the purgatory world such that she couldn’t pass on?

  3. Maybe they will explore the stories for everyone in another medium like a visual novel, but it does feel like the series is rushing when most of the SSS (the commoners aka people with little problems? according to Naoi) can simply disappear by accepting. Even cha who i think has his background mentioned slightly in track 0 simply accepted and disappeared.

    It would have been better to be someone who we knew though as bringing out a culprit we do not know breaks the mystery solving enjoyment of Angel beats. With references to the programmer, i thought Takeyama would put in an appearence but it seemed that the person Yuri was talking to was the programmer who erased himself into an NPC (i think).

    The crazy eyed Yuri was somewhat disturbing but we are missing 1 final person’s story unless she does not move on, so we may hear it next episode.

    Zaku Fan
      1. And before the end, will someone bother to save Takamatsu?? Leaving him as an NPC isn’t very nice and Takeyama or Kanade might be able to use Angel player to sort that out.

        Zaku Fan
    1. If you need extra media forms to explain your story, you don’t have a good story. Angel beats has been a story that never really flowed, and never did have a tie between the multiple arcs.

      1. Nope, it tied up well enough unless you had a specific idea on how it HAD to be done. As long as things have a logic to it, it connects well enough. As for needing extra media to flesh out a story, i’m assuming that all the star wars novels means star wars was a pretty poor story.

        Simple fact, as long as the main story gets told, side stories can be done in a different media eg track 0

        Zaku Fan
      2. I think the story itself was very well done, it was just TOO much story for 13 episodes. According to wiki: “The Aniplex producer of Angel Beats!, Hironori Towa, was interviewed in the November 2009 issue of Dengeki G’s Magazine, where he commented that a 13-episode anime with about 21 minutes per episode was not enough to tell the whole story of Angel Beats! Maeda had envisioned. Therefore, the various additional media, such as the illustrated short stories and manga, contain some of the story that was unable to make it into the anime because of time constraints.”

        So do I expect/hope for a revision in the future like they did Kanon? Absolutely.

      3. they did tie them well enough, they just gave a new plot near the ending…
        plus I have barely seen a 13 ep anime that is very good and OVA’s and a sequel mean that it was a great anime.

  4. My problem with Angel Beats is it never seemed to know where it was going. It carried itself with a fractured plot and very many lame jokes. In addition, it tries to pull so many different emotions out of viewers that it completely ruins the mood or is unbelievable or robotic. The times in which it did succeed emotionally, it ended up ruining it right after with a joke. This show has been a major disappointment.

    1. I think angel beats is closely classified as a slice-of-life with a catch that said their lives were limited and they had to fight for survival, how can that not be a plot…

    2. I’m going to have to disagree. Humor is always relevant to your own sense of humor so just because you didn’t find the jokes funny, it doesn’t mean you should call it lame because others found them hilarious (such as myself).
      Calling it a major disappointment also seems to be over-criticizing. I’ll just have to support what amado said up there^.

    3. Sorry but I kinda agree with Burgerz. This series is really so random and I dunno at first it had a good interesting feel due to how High Quality it looks. Right now it’s just riding the wave and seeing where this ends.

      Not so sure if it’s PA Works directing or this is just not the genre I wanted from Jun Maeda. But something feels amiss.

      Don’t get me wrong I still love it. It’s an eye candy that’s for sure. Also it passes as a good entertainment.

    4. Sorry, but I have to agree to this one.

      The messy plot was kind of frustrating, especially with all those misleading cliffhanger. To me it seemed like the episodes were structured around guild and tenshi (and mildly around Otonashi). It’s quite ridiculous how many times they had to go down into the guild to face their ‘greatest foe’ (I actually thought it was a one off thing, but its way too recycled).

      The final pseudo-matrix thing was incredibly confusing. It’s like watching Code Geass 2 all at once and expecting viewers to digest (or maybe just to accept whatever is thrown to them).

      Perhaps the redeeming factor were the backstories as they gave a reason why the SSS members existed in the realm. I admit being moved by their stories, Iwasawa’s one especially. Hence, I agree to what Divine wrote about how they could work around those more. (Kanade’s backstory anyone? =P)

    1. I have to agree.
      I like this show, and it’s been a fun ride, but that doesn’t mean I consider it a quality series.
      I guess it’s just…gah. Pacing and direction are the biggest problems for me, but there are other things.
      I don’t really know what it was that made Jun Maeda shine, but it’s absent here.

    2. I’ve only commented on this series ONCE before and it was on an ANIMATION issue.
      but i NOTICED that this series pulls DOWN on average about 90-100 comments.
      please believe my sincerity in me asking this, i really want to understand.
      i though at first it was the whole GIRL BAND GIMMICK and chalked it up to that , but that only happened a few times……SO????? and yes I’ve watched at least 3 episodes entirely and found it to be nothing special , so
      PLEASE i beg of you, some one please give me an HONEST ANSWER.

      BROOKLYN otaku
    3. @Zaku Fan…No buddy you must have got it twisted, i REPEAT I’m being honest and asking SINCERELY “please don’t read too much into the CAPS and way i phrased it” i honestly want to know what the majority of viewers think about this or get out of it *example* did you watch it for the humor?? the action?? what was the main thing that kept bringing you back?? YOUR OPINION, not mine… i just wanted to know because I’m interested in the majority’s opinions, PLEASE don’t get offended. like I’ve said i checked it out and got what i got from it…so now i wanted to know what yall got. get it?

      BROOKLYN otaku
  5. AGH! no more Kanade! I cant wait years for the next sequel! Come on, they should make it soon right away! I heard Angel Beats is very popular in Japan with high ratings, even beating K-ON!! in some stations. So I’m hoping that they could make the next sequel as fast as they can just like K-ON!! due to popularity and ratings.

      1. What makes you say that? -_-
        Even ironically speaking, they can’t have horrible taste in anime if they are the creators. You would just be saying anime is a tasteless form of cinema, which is completely outrageous since you are on this site at all.

        Japan seems to have a better view on anime than other countries. (It seems that all the people in U.S. like are Naruto and Bleach, which do not represent what anime is at all.)

  6. I thought we were gonna have one last song from the girls dead monster band 🙁
    well not really much development or it ended to quickly to be one, I wonder what next ep will show

  7. Burgerx, I disagree. i kind of liked how it went. although it wasn’t really into the plot(like those random comedy episodes), I like the emotions- it felt real. it would be better if this anime had a second season. it kinda feels like it was being rushed. but still, i liked this anime. (btw divine thanks for your review!)

  8. I was expecting the climax to be in the last episode, more like Clannad. The whole idea of some love crazed program had no foreshadowing before this episode, making it seem like a last minute idea that was rushed into the story. Although funny, Angel Beats contained too many “filler” like episodes that added very little to the overall plot, for a 13 episode series.

    I hope the last episode will make up for this, but it seems too much like an epilogue.

  9. Goodbye GirlDeMo. We shall all miss you and your awesome music so.

    I was seriously scared for Yuri three times in this episode: when she almost became an NPC, when she looked like she was about to go insane with power, and when it seemed like she was going to disappear. I’m glad she made it to the end.

    On a side note, TK’s fighting skills are awesome.

    1. Hell yea! TK is my fav char and Matsuhita Dan was skinny?! Awesomely funny interactions with both in this ep and if you look at the new end youll see Dan and TK in the same pose now. The only thing that confused me in this ep is the programmer at the end, id like more story about him if anyone has any info.

  10. A New Challenger Appears.so our prediction of Matsushita or Chaa is nothing but a prediction still adding a new character is odd for my side i still wish one of them was the culprit that will add more spice to the story.i wonder how will this end, damn why did i have to end this early this is the only anime that i wish one week could just pass by just to watch it. i really hope they make a 2nd season or something so…..

    Bring on the 2nd Season!

  11. I really REALLY enjoyed this series from the get-go even with the different character style. Btw, Divine, I hear you when you said you were pretty choked up. I felt the same when I saw Yurippe show some emotions in front of her siblings. I also really enjoyed seeing the connection between Yurippe and Kanade-chan. I got to say I wished they had made this into a much longer run, they would have enough material to do so. All in all, I don’t know how I feel knowing the last episode would come next week. It’s bitter sweet but maybe I had said that for all the series I’ve enjoyed.

  12. This episode felt really rushes. Even though that was to be expected, it seemed so fast-paced that I thought they were ending the series with this episode!
    I wasn’t fully satisfied with that ending to the so built-up climax, but I think the Graduation episode will truly be a tear-jerker. ;_;

  13. I liked the camera changes between Yuripe and Kanade that was nice. The end boss is a transient program waiting for activation to kill a bug that was what how when… Neo is that you ?????

    Island Esper
    1. Lol I think this series has a few hidden references to Matrix in the fact that the world can be edited with computers and yuri reaching the end and being faced with the same choice as neo; Being able to change the whole world and remake it anyway he wanted to.

  14. That was actually a pretty funny fight scene with all of the SSS, with Matsushita returning and each character making dynamic entrances. I felt that Key really did a good job with this series and really used up their 13 episodes up well.

    1. This may or may not be true. Although they MAY have stretched it to a 24 episode season, they would’ve tried to cut corners somehow. Also, I don’t know if they would’ve taken the time to carefully do the Girls Dead Monster scenes as well as P.A. Works. Sure, it would have probably looked nicer in some scenes, but it would have probably lost something along the way.

      Believe me, I too thought KyoAni would’ve done a better job when I read P.A. Works was going to be doing it, but they have proven themselves to me in a huge way. My hats off to them for putting out an amazing show this season. Now, if KyoAni wants to pick it up and re-do it a la Kanon in a few years, I’m sure they would strive to surpass P.A. Works and we’ll be in for one hell of a season if/when this happens.

  15. Maeda and Co. Did a pretty bad ass job with the limited amount of episodes they had.

    While it’s practically everyone in the audience wishes to have this extended to a 25/50 episode length series and/or revision, who would complain to have some extra footage of some certain characters XD, the message of the story is the primary focus and I believe that message has been sent out very well.

    I do hope that there will be subbers translating the prequal manga/novels so we all can get a better grasp of the story and also the massive amount of characters XD.

    With Angel Beats! getting close to an End, I do hope but wonder what is next on thier list XD

    To my knowledge, Key is closed to or already have released the Kudo’s Little Busters ‘extended’ storyline and The Rewrite project. I still pray for a Little Busters! Animation XD

    P.S. I will miss Girls Dead Monster *sniff* but your ‘last’ CD is coming out in 1.5 weeks! YAY!

      1. My “Thank You” can be seen on the further down this blog XD I thought I clicked reply but oh well lol

        I thought Yusa might have been included in the extra chapter, XD but im still greatful for subbers translating these novels =D Thank you very much for those who can translate Japanese <3

  16. Ah… I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Angel Beats truly is a masterpiece. I look forward to a happy and tear filled ending. Works by Key~ truly have the power to move ones soul.

  17. I always enjoy what most people would call “anticlimactic final bosses” because that is how things usually happen: so much build up just to be slapped in the face with how insignificant everything was. The fact that the shadows were being caused by a lingering program of a person who was essentially fighting the world like the SSS was (albeit for different reasons) felt right to me as the members of the SSS are also nothing more that lingering spirits.

  18. It might just be me, but I get the feeling that Otonashi could possibly be the programs creator. I mean the description they gave about the creator seem to fit Otonashi perfectly.

    1. Otonashi’s circumstances mimicked the original programmer’s, except he was trying to help people move on. The fact that some didn’t even when they found love/happiness is what caused the shadows to appear, as the current program is only concerned about getting rid of those who try to linger in this world.

    2. I think otonashi was another “bug” similar to the program’s creator but not him, since the fellow is still around as an NPC.

      Initially i thought it was Kanade since
      i) she knows how to use it very well
      ii) she displays NPC like qualities and always wears the NPC uniform
      iii) She seems to have been around for a very long time (longer than SSS anyway)

      But then it doesn’t make sense for her to go eat her comfort food of Mapo Dofu and she would have been a “he” prior to becoming an NPC (bleh)

      Zaku Fan
  19. Angel beats! 🙁
    Can’t believe its coming to an end already. But, you know it was a great run <3.
    Luckily for me, my girlfriend got back from Japan and I got three Angel Beats cds (:
    (Iwasawa's, Yui's First, and the OP/ED w/ Kanade on it)

    I see no need for a sequel except to just have more Angel Beats (:

  20. Hmmm have you noticed how Otonashi ended up here – with amnesia? could he be another “bug in the system”?
    I am glad Yurippe has found her peace of mind.
    And the entire “Nakama vs the shadows” battle was epic. I am not even sure who made better impression on me, TK as whirling dervish, Shiina calmly making statement about 100 men she can replace, or any of the other members of the Front.
    But Kanades stands head and shoulders above them all with nuke attack. Starcraft theory fans are going wild, probably.

  21. Like his role in Evangelion, Ishida Akira just can’t get away from playing a sardonic drone in service of a mindless god-like entity. lol

    It looks increasingly unlikely we’ll see Kanade’s backstory for the last episode, so here’s hoping they release a spin-off/prequel anime or even just a novel on how she came to this world and why she decided to stay behind to help others move on.

    With the limited number of episodes, I thought Maeda and PA Works did a good job in conveying most of what he wants to say for this story, at the expense of many of the interesting side characters’ backstories, which had to sadly and unavoidably take a back seat.

    One can only wish they or another studio like Kyo-Ani work on a remake of this story.

    PS Rather than the Cowboy Bebop movie, the title of this episode refers to the Bob Dylan song, as TK himself puts it clearly.

    Kinny Riddle
  22. OMFG this show is freaking amazing! Its ashame that its so short it would have been epic if this a was a 52 ep series. It has consistantly hooked my attention and make me hungry for more. Also to those who say this show is going no all over the place i agree but at the same time look how GitS: SAC was it was the same but was able to flush itself out more. I really hope that this series get a remake in the near future it will be a series worth keeping an eye out for. I am personally calling this series best of the yr!

  23. A 24 ep remake of this series must be made
    It just isn’t right to finish the story without revealing much about the other
    characters. Specifically Shiina and TK.
    Oh yeah Lolz for the new Matsuhida!!!

  24. I love this series and only wish they had not rushed it. I wonder if they will try to uncover the identity of the programmer converted into a NPC, and will they try to ‘save’ the other NPC’s that are converted kids? I don’t see them doing otherwise. I would think it is cool if Yuri was the guys lost love.

    I really want to know Angel’s back story, and will she move on when all is said and done or will she stick around to help the next group?

    1. Nope. Remember the only humans here are high school kids. Even Cha – whose facial hair did have Otonashi wondering about it.

      This guy here’s an adult, plus the fact he completely doesn’t flinch at the sight of Yuri’s machine gun pointed at him like a human normally would, so he’s obviously just an NPC.

      Kinny Riddle
  25. I think the graduation will be early next episode, and the other half might be spent on Kanade… still they should have spent some more time on TK, he is to awesome and mysterious to just be a background character, he even quoted Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, and the Terminator… its their fault that they had to make TK so awesome, they should take responsibility.

    Suppa Tenko
  26. wheeew… i’ve been downloading this.. and waited for the 2nd to the last episode to watch everything… and WOW! i just finished! that was a nice weekend marathon ^^

    now is it wrong of me to want a stuffed-toy kanade? she’s just too cute (I replayed the poping from behind scene immediately after seeng it) >_<

  27. Hahaha when I was watching it I totally forgot it wasn’t the last episode, I thought all the time while watching “hmmm not bad it wasn’t a trainwreck after all” and at the “to be continued” at the end I thought “wtf 2nd season???!!!!”.I’m so stupid.

    Anyway I loved this episode the only thing that felt wrong for me was when Yurippe started going like “I can be god” and started laughing and all, it was so obvious for me that she was about to say “No I can’t do it” that this part of the scene felt useless for me.

    And yeah I was right Matsushita came back from the mountains with super powers to help them I kept telling myself this since last week’s episode.

  28. While overall I feel the series is reaching a satisfactory conclusion I am somewhat bummed at how effortless and instant all the disappearances are now. Yes, it sort of had to be this way because of time constraints, but it’s sort of bizarre how it during most of the series people would occasionally move on by reaching a really emotional moment of true satisfaction and now in this episode hundreds of people pretty much just said “Oh, you mean the whole point of this world is to leave? Ok, cya later!” *poof*.

    1. Disagreed, the Guild has been serving Yurippe and her cause for a while and perhaps being put to use for that period of time and no longer having to fight is what helped them move on.

      The remaining band mates has been able to play several times and if that’s their regret not being able to play as well, then I believe they have accomplished what they wanted as well.

      You don’t have to have a pivotal emotional moment to realize it’s time to move on. You can still have that realization without having it being an epitome of emotional feelings. I think most realizations has been dramatic thus far and this one was more subtle and not so melodramatic which is probably what you’re looking for.

  29. I have to disagree with classifying it as Slice-of-Life. Working!! is SoL, but Angel Beats with its overarching themes and metaplot doesn’t fit it. It’s far easier calling it a Post-life Fantasy with Slice of Life elements.

  30. Didn’t the NPC at the computer say the system was to prevent people staying there for eternity with their loved one as if in paradise, not to prevent people from moving on entirely.

  31. Earlier in the Series (in episode 1 or 2), there were some scenes with a boy and girl sitting together looking at the sunset. They appeared two or three times and made me wonder if they were real people that decided to enjoy the afterlife and not join in the fight with Yuri’s group. However, since there was no story development into them, I assumed that they were just NPC’s. Could they have been the creator of the Angel Player and the girl he was waiting for mentioned in this episode?

      1. It might have been the creator of Angel Player but the girl wasn’t the girl he was looking for (or i assume some hidden program would have kicked off to reunite them). It might have beem an NPC he reconfigured to
        i) look like her
        ii) love him lots

        And if its true, the Angel Player programmer is one creepy fellow

        Zaku Fan
  32. aawwww one of the best eps imo. My affection for Yurippe has grown much in this episode. the scene where she Takes down the whole system was EPICC! and I broke out into tears when she started to cry too! X)


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