Saturday, 15 May 2010

Angel Beats! - Episode 7

After being the bad guy last time out, come episode seven Naoi returns as the newest member of the SSS... That must have been quite some hug from Otonashi. Mind you, he still claims to be God (which I guess is useful considering the SSS also have a member who insists on being called Christ), and he also still hasn't entirely grown out of the habit of using his powers of hypnosis to get the upper hand from time to time.

That said, it's Naoi's abilities which are called upon by Yuri early in this episode, as she looks to deploy them to bring back Otonashi's previously missing memories. Naturally, our protagonist is a little unsure about going down this route but eventually agrees anyway, and thus the first half of the episode takes us down the same path as we gain our glimpse into his past life.

Essentially, the "old" Otonashi prior to his death was a guy who pretended to care about nothing and nobody, while actually doing little more than protecting himself from his worries over his ill little sister, who he visits on a regular basis. As time goes on he gradually opens up his heart regarding her as her condition deteriorates, and after her death a period of mourning is followed by his realisation that this may be his time to help others, causing him to study hard and enrol as a medical student before his untimely demise puts paid to that idea.

With all of that out of the way, it's time for a spot of fishing for the SSS and its members (talk about a lighting-quick change of tone), while Otonashi persuades Tachibana to tag along - A good thing to, as the episodes decides to jump the shark at this point. Well, jump the giant fish at least.

Sitting her trying to write this immediately after watching the episode, I find myself torn in my feelings about it. For starters, Otonashi's past felt like little more than a pasted together amalgam of Clannad's best bits, complete with boy who pretends not to care about anything but ends up caring about a sick girl who meets her end. Yes, there are a whole bunch of differences between the two stories besides the Key connection, but of all the flashback stories thus far this felt the least interesting.

On the other hand, seeing Otonashi's story has also set things up nicely with regard to behaviour towards Kanada, as she effectively takes his little sister's place as the girl he wants to help and make life better for. It also opens up an interesting can of worms regarding Yuri, who seemed keen to distance herself from Kanada during the fishing scenes even before the mind-bending cliff-hanger that makes my brain hurt ever so slightly. I can't really entirely defend an episode that suddenly pulls a giant fish on us, or indeed the "sick little sister" trope, but somehow Angel Beats has redeemed itself somewhat on this occasion with some more decent moments of humour, a little bit more depth in terms of character interactions, and of course that mind-bending twist at the end which I've almost come to expect of this series now.


Kexiu said...

I feel like Angel Beats! is scrunching up it's own plot into a ball of failure, and deconstructing KEY's reputation. The anime has become quite unrealistic, to point where it's just plain cheesy. I'm really quite disappointed.

Like said...

I on the other hand felt this was the best episode in a while. We got a story outlining character motivation as he never had a good reason for liking K before, We learned that K was never really putting any effort into fighting the SSS, last episode Niode (sp?)commented that it was possible end some ones existence permanently so an element of danger is possible now with any future adversary's.

JW said...

I agree with Kexiu. My previous assessment of this anime was "Haruhi but not as hot". I dropped it after that filler episode. But a friend of mine convinced me to pick it back up. So I tried this episode. But it looks like this is getting worse than my previous assessment. Now it just runs like a bad fanfiction of a good anime. So many good ideas, so many dumb moments.

Meh... re-dropped.

Krungie said...

This episode was a so-so one. There really wasn't much "meat" in this ep because... Well there just wasn't. I mean where in the plot does fishing for a monster catfish fit? So... It's not bad but they gotta do better because I am about to follow in JW's footsteps if this continues on.