Angel Beats OVA 2

August 21, 2015

Wait a minute. Hold on a second now. I thought they were done and dusted with this?! Almost 5 years after the TV series and only OVA came out and ended the damn thing, suddenly there is another OVA out. What are they trying to do? Play on our nostalgia factor? So when Angel Beats came out with a second OVA back in June 2015, it just sends mixed feelings to me. I wasn’t a big fan of the series since there were a lot of stuffs that I didn’t comprehend (and couldn’t remember) so I’m not sure. But there is no harm in checking it out, right? I believe this OVA takes place in between one of those early TV episodes because Iwasawa is still around and Yui hasn’t joined GirlDeMo yet.

Hell’s Kitchen
Yuri has gathered the guys for another operation. It isn’t your usual picnic in the mountains. Because she wants them to kill each other! The only catch is that they cannot use guns as Tenshi will confiscate them. The last one standing will become possessed by a demon. I don’t know what Yuri is planning but the guys think she’ll get something out of it so hell they’re okay in participating in this. Although the picnic is in a week’s time, they have a week to prepare traps to deceive each other. Of course, only Yuri and Yusa will not be participating as they will observe Tenshi’s actions. Who is the real demon here? Yuri goes to seek permission from Tenshi to hold this event and she approves it hoping things don’t get out of control. So our guys leave for the mountains. After setting up tent, Takamatsu suggests playing volleyball. Noda charges with all his might at the ball. It explodes, killing him. Seems Takamatsu rigged it with the guild’s help. Meanwhile Shiori has drafted (forced, rather) Miyuki’s help to kill Iwasawa. First they let her rant about her music days as they walk along. Then Iwasawa drops into a pit dug by them! But she climbs back out like as though nothing has happened! The ranting continues. Don’t worry. There are more pits up ahead…

As the guys play badminton, Ooyama smashes the shuttlecock at Takamatsu. The fiery impact kills him! Yeah, Ooyama had the science club help him with this trap. Then they decide to go fishing. Matsushita gets strangled by the vines before being torn apart! Fujimaki admits he got the theatre club’s help for this trap. While fishing, Fujimaki caught something big. However he is being pulled into the water where he drowns (in this shallow river?). They deduce this was Matsushita’s trap and he enlisted it from the synchronized swimming club. And then model Apache helicopters attack them! Hinata’s trap with assistance from radio communications club. Everybody runs for their lives as the helicopters spray oil on them. TK saves Ooyama and gets burnt but before he dies, he warns them to beware the manga club. Ooyama then gets reeled in by the fishing rod into the river and drowns. Otonashi and Hinata decide to go back but the latter gets caught in a net trap and being stabbed by knives. Actually they are the pen brush of the manga club. Otonashi is surprised that Tenshi is before him. She confirms that he is not the one who killed Hinata.

Meanwhile, Shiori and Miyuki must be starting to panic because pit after pit, Iwasawa continues to climb out and continue her boring story!!! There is nothing to stop her! Is her love for music that great? They are approaching the final trap… A flashback 3 days ago, Shiori and Miyuki mixed some raw liver trap in a bucket. Then they bribe Shiina to help them out. Hisako, who has been lost for a while, sees her fellow bandmates. Seeing how messed up Iwasawa is, she gets mad thinking it was Shiori and Miyuki’s ploy. As she charges, she falls into a pit. But she climbs out! Shiina waiting to pour the raw liver screws up and spills the bucket over Hisako. This causes her to become mad as she turns into a demon to pound Shiori (because she turned tail and ran away)!!! OMG! She makes Shiori eat the raw liver until she dies!!! Tenshi and Otonashi see this and the former is going to do something to kill this demon. Seems this is all part of Yuri’s elaborate plan. Because there is a demon that no one here can handle, this will force Tenshi to call upon God. But to her surprise, Tenshi doesn’t call God and attacks Hisako. Guess what? Tenshi lost!!! OMFG! We’re all doomed! All the other resurrected guys who unknowingly waltz into the scene got violently killed off again as Hisako stuffs the raw liver in their mouths. The survivors better run for their lives. This isn’t a demon. This is just a rampaging monster!!! In the aftermath, all this is actually a history lesson as told by Shiori to Yui and the rest on how GirlDeMo got their name. I can see why now… Then Shiori excuses herself to the toilet and I think she will experience eternal retribution because the raw liver has been giving her relentless diarrhoea ever since! It won’t stop! The biggest loser…

Survival Hell…
Rather okay, I suppose. Here I thought this was going to be a cheesy cooking show based on the title of this OVA but I must say that they surprised me with this so called survival theme. So I suppose the only Hell’s Kitchen would be most appropriate for is Shiori as she got what she deserved most in the end. Yuri once again shows she is a sneaky operations leader by using the clueless dumb loyal guys at her disposal just for her goals. Well, try again. And also, a silly and coincidental reason why the all-girl band was named so. Maybe. Overall, this second OVA isn’t that bad but it won’t evoke any nostalgic manner for me for this series but it is still a fun watch after all these years. But thanks for evoking my suspicions in even eating well cooked liver…

Angel Beats

January 30, 2011

Do you ever think about the afterlife? Where to dead souls go especially restless ones? Will there be a transition world for them before they really pass on to the next? Those sentences may seem ambiguous because that is not what the anime series Angel Beats is about to explore. In this series, the setting of this so called Purgatory is a vast high school campus, filled with all the amenities from school halls to dormitories. Why the heck would you want to relive your high school days? I don’t know. Why is the Purgatory a high school area anyway? I don’t know. But I’m sure if I watch this show, I will be getting those answers. At least, that is what I thought.

The plot itself seems intriguing because it’s about a bunch of student council members called SSS (Shinden Sekai Sensen) trying to fight against God. Woah! Most of us would see this as a test of faith whatsoever. You see, since this is the afterlife, all the young ones here have died a horrifying or at least an unfulfilled youth. Deeming that unfair, they decide to rebel against God. If the Almighty was as powerful as everyone think He is, don’t you think He would’ve crushed them all a long time ago with ease? There are quite a number of mysteries surrounding this series as each episode goes by in hopes of finding the truth behind it all and learn the workings of this world. Oh, did I mention that you can’t die in this world? Well, you can feel pain or be killed, but you’ll be resurrected a short time soon after. This gives a whole new meaning to dying over and over again.

Episode 1
Newcomer Otonashi arrives in this world and doesn’t have any memories prior to this. He spots a girl, Yuri, trying to snipe the enemy believed to be an underling of God, Tenshi. Of course Otonashi doesn’t believe all this crap and goes to ascertain this himself by asking Tenshi, but she declines. He still doesn’t believe all that has happened so he tells Tenshi to prove that he isn’t dead. She stabs him. Ooohh. Next thing he knows, he wakes up in the infirmary and his wounds healed. But he gets killed again by a violent guy bearing a halberd. After waking up and wandering around in this world void of adults, he soon collapses. He opens his eyes to find himself in a room. Seems leader Yuri and the rest of her gang are arguing another rename of their group. She offers Otonashi to join them in their rebellion against God. They need all the help they can get, right? She introduces the other members which include Hinata (guy with blue hair), Noda (guy with halberd who is totally loyal to Yuri), Takamatsu (bespectacled guy), Fujimaki (guy with a short Japanese sword), Matsushita (big sized Judo guy), TK (rapper guy who spews nonsensical English words half the time), Ooyama (normal guy), Shiina (some kunoichi girl whose favourite line is “How shallow minded”), Iwasawa (leader of the diversion rock group and lead guitarist of Girls Dead Monster or GirlDeMo for short).

Later Otonashi learns more about this world from Yuri. There are NPC (non-playable characters) that act like normal students in this world. Think of them as those NPCs you see in RPG games. And then, if you are to fully pay attention in class and follow school rules, you’ll disappear. In short, if you found peace, you’ll move on. Yuri plans her Operation Tornado for them to get meal tickets from the NPCs. And you thought that was going to be something big. After going through details of the plan, that night everyone goes into action. GirlDeMo goes into action to draw the attention of the crowd. During that, student council president Tenshi appears before Otonashi. His handgun seriously isn’t enough to stop her when she unleashes her Guard Skill. Even with backup arm support and flashy explosives, none of the bullets penetrate her but deflected instead. Otonashi is dumbfounded at the ferocity of the fight. With enough time bought, a big fan is activated to blow all the meal tickets from the student as the guys make a retreat. As the gang have their meal at the cafeteria the next day, Otonashi ponders of the recent events that has happened.

Episode 2
In order for them to replenish their ammo for their fight against Tenshi, Yuri plans another operation to descend to the Guild via underground. However the path is long and filled with anti-Tenshi traps. This episode feels like a survivor series as each of the members get picked out one by one by the traps. Most of them in a silly way. The last duo standing left is Yuri and Otonashi. Otonashi learns a little about Yuri’s past and possibly how she end up in this world. She had 3 younger siblings and on the day her parents were out, their house was being robbed. The robbers did a cruel thing by holding Yuri’s siblings at hostage and gave her a time limit to find something valuable for them. For every 10 minutes passed, a sibling will be executed. Yuri frantically searched the house high and low but couldn’t find any. All her siblings died and it is only by that time the police arrived and had the robbers arrested. She was the only one left standing and thus her bitterness towards God. Though it isn’t clear how she died, she did mention it wasn’t by suicide. The duo finally reach Guild but Tenshi has arrived. Yuri orders them to abandon this place and return to the Old Guild. Yuri and some of the Guild members fight Tenshi to buy time for the rest to set explosives around the place. Eventually they emerge victorious and evacuate back to the Old Guild. Otonashi feels that Yuri makes a fine leader and it’s no wonder everyone follows her.

Episode 3
Iwasawa composes a new ballad song but Yuri feels it isn’t suitable to retain the crowd’s interest during their operations. Yuri then announces her next operation to infiltrate Tenshi’s room and enlists the help of a computer hacker whizz kid, Takeyama. He insists people call him Christ but nobody is ever interested and always gets cuts off when he does that. Later Otonashi sees a devoted fan of GirlDeMo, Yui, putting up posters of the band’s next performance. Another scatterbrain and airhead if I should describe her. Then Otonashi goes to hear GirlDeMo practice and later talks to Iwasawa. Learning that she came from a family that is always arguing, she found her solace in music and aspired to be a musician. Finding an abandoned guitar and with the talent to write songs, that was all she was living for. But one day fate dealt a cruel blow when she got hit by her drunken dad’s bottle. She was hospitalized and her life slowly and painfully faded away. That night while GirlDeMo goes into action, Otonashi isn’t happy that Yuri and co are just trespassing a girl’s room under the guise of some grand operation name. They find a few weird programmes. Meanwhile the teachers are trying to put an end to this concert and round up GirlDeMo. Till one of them touches Iwasawa’s beloved guitar. She takes it back and starts singing her ballad song. The crowd is astounded in silence. At the end of song, she feels at peace and disappears. Next morning as Yuri and her SSS members think what happened. She feels something odd as Tenshi is developing weapons on her own like the same way as they are. Because of this, there may be no God. Think about it. If she was a subordinate of God, wouldn’t He have given her even more awesome weapons?

Episode 4
With Iwasawa gone, Yui pleads to replace her but I guess she wasn’t convincing enough since she’s such an airhead. Seeing that they can’t pull off any big operations with the band in this state, Yuri proposes that everyone enters the school’s baseball tournament and the worse one will get a punishment worse than death! Hinata convinces Otonashi to join his team and goes around trying to convince others whom he wants part of his group but to his dismay, they already had others in mind. So he is left with urm… Let’s say not-so-good ones or those at the bottom of his pick list like Yui, Shiina, Noda and a couple of Yui crazy fans. Can this bunch of jokers win matches especially when Hinata and Yui are busy doing submission moves on each other? Apparently yes. With lots of luck. The teams are doing well as Yuri is very pleased watching from afar. But Hinata’s team is facing Tenshi’s team next. She’s got the student council vice president Ayato Naoi on her side too. Otonashi learns a little on Hinata’s past. He was on a baseball team and failed to catch a ball which ruined their team’s effort and chances. Feeling down and lousy, he was mocked by his peers and was ultimately given a ‘medicine’ to ‘calm his nerves’. Otonashi is worried that he might disappear. That predicament almost came true when Hinata is in a position to catch the ball. Otonashi tries to stop him from catching the ball but airhead Yui got to him first. Safe. But they lost. Well at least Hinata didn’t disappear. But with that folly, I hope Yuri isn’t serious for them both to disappear.

Episode 5
It’s exam time and Yuri plans to embarrass Tenshi by bringing her grades town. She announces herself, Takamatsu, Hinata, Ooyama, Takeyama and Otonashi to be part of the operation. The plan is for them to write stupid things in the answer paper and then swap it with Tenshi’s. Sounds easy? Nope. They need a distraction when they make the switch. And the only person sitting close to Tenshi is Takeyama so he’ll handle that while the rest will do the distraction. Hey, wait a minute. Do they know Tenshi’s real name? Bummer. I guess Otonashi’s nervousness inadvertently got him to talk with Tenshi and revealed her name to be Kanade Tachibana. End of first test, Hinata does some look-outside-the-window distraction. Nobody is giving a hoot so Yuri presses a button that sends Hinata’s seat flying to the air and into the ceiling! Now that is sure a head turning event. The switch is successful. For the next test, it is Takamatsu’s turn. And he thought he was brought in for his brains but actually it’s Yuri’s plans to have a variety of distractions. End of second test, Takamatsu shows his muscular and greatly built abs! Nobody is interested so Yuri sends him flying into the ceiling. Swap successful. For the next one, Ooyama is to confess to Tenshi but he is bloody nervous to do so. Eventually at the end of the third test, he musters up his courage to confess his feelings. Nobody gives a damn but it was Hinata who was sent flying into the ceiling for distraction!!!

Otonashi sees Tenshi coming out from the staff room and later learns that she scored zero in all her tests and since her answers were ridiculous like as though they were making a mockery and is going to be punished. Otonashi feels something isn’t right. As everyone gathers in the hall, the teachers announce that Tenshi will be removed from her student council president and her position will be taken over by Naoi. With Tenshi out of the way, Yuri puts forth her Operation Tornado. That night GirlDeMo puts up a concert with Yui taking the lead. They see Tenshi coming in but she’s acting weird. Instead of attacking, she’s just buying mapo tofu from the vending machine. Her actions baffle Yuri. The operation is a success as the gang ponder about Tenshi’s behaviour over food the next day. Yuri thinks Tenshi is human and started developing weapons against them since they were disruptive. Otonashi wonders if Tenshi could be considered as one of their allies now but was shot down by the rest.

Episode 6
Tenshi is no longer the student council president so the gang do what they want in class like brazenly playing mahjong or sleeping. Till Naoi comes by so they have to make a run for it. Later Otonashi sees Naoi beating up a couple of guys at the rear of the dining hall and then treats Tenshi to mapo tofu. However Naoi arrests them for violating school rules for eating during break time and throws them into prison. They hear the ground above them shaking so they think something big must’ve happened. Otonashi receives word from Yuri that Naoi is a human just like them. Though he put up a good face in public, he does bad things in the background. They have no choice but to fight him but he is smart using ordinary students as shield. Yuri has no choice but to submit. Communication is cut off as Otonashi pleads to Tenshi to free them. Using a variation of Hand Sonics, they are able to break free. They rush to the field to see their comrades slaughtered. Naoi explains his twisted right to be God. He also reveals his hypnotism powers he has developed and is going to erase them all. Otonashi gets pissed about it and punches him, giving him an earful about memories and the likes. Naoi’s flashback reveals how his father was a famous pottery. He had a twin brother who unlike him was better in doing those pottery stuff. Till he died. Naoi was forced to take over his place and pretend a life as him but he was no good and always got scolded by his dad. Till his dad got bed-ridden and passed away did Naoi felt he was never independent. Otonashi insists that his life was real and struggled hard. He embraces Naoi and acknowledges his existence.

Episode 7
Naoi seems to be part of the gang (I’m not sure if his admiration for Otonashi is just…) so Yuri decides to use his hypnotism powers to regain Otonashi’s memories. His first name is Yuzuru and has a weak little sister who is hospitalized for 2 years. He took up various part time jobs to support her. On a Christmas night, he snuck her out to see the pretty Christmas lights in town but she passed away while being given a piggy-back ride. Feeling lost, he wandered around till he realized his goal in life. He studied hard to be a doctor and to devote the rest of his life to save other people. While taking a train to the university he enrolled in, something happened. That’s when he is snapped out from his hypnotism and wishes to be left alone for awhile. Well, life is indeed cruel. Later, Yuri announces they will undergo Operation Monster Stream. Sounds like another dangerous mission but it seems to be just fishing by the riverside. Otonashi invites Tenshi to come along, much to the chagrin of the rest. As everyone fishes with their own style, Otonashi teaches Tenshi how to fish and control her tremendous strength. Then something is tugging Tenshi’s hook. The fisherman thinks it’s Monster Stream, the master of the river. Everyone join forces to reel in the monster fish. After pulling it out and preventing everyone from turning into fish food, Tenshi swiftly cuts up the fish into several parts. So as not for it to go to waste, they serve it to the other students. Like doing charity, eh? Otonashi wishes to call Tenshi by her first name and hopes she will stay with them. While they’re cleaning up, Yuri comes in hurt and says she’s been attacked by Tenshi. However Otonashi disagrees as she has been with them all the while. They see another Tenshi.

Episode 8
She starts attacking but Kanade defends them. Kanade is unconscious in the infirmary as Yuri reveals a programme called Harmonics which allows her to clone herself, which she found during her room infiltration. Though it is her clone, they think they are following the original’s command from back then. For the time being, she has her members attend class but not to take it seriously while she infiltrates Kanade’s room. She sees a software manual called Angel Player and messes with some of the programme. But the next time they visit Kanade, she is missing from her bed. Yuri reveals something about rewriting a programme which will cause the clones to remerge. They think the clone is hiding the original. The furthest place down below is the Guild and they are going to make their descend once more to rescue her. Another survivor episode as each one from the gang is being picked off while trying to hold of Tenshi clones that are increasing in numbers. The final duo again turn out to be Yuri and Otonashi. While Yuri takes on the clone, Otonashi found the real one. He wants her to activate Harmonics. However since she will be taking in all the clones she created at once, she’ll have to pay for it. The programme is activated as Kanade absorbs all the clones but is in pain.

Episode 9
Kanade is taken back to the infirmary but remains unconscious. They are worried she may wake up as a different personality. Yuri has Takeyama translate the manual and even though they are trying to change the data, that will just be short term measures. As Otonashi sits by Kanade’s side, he remembers the horrific train crash. Both sides of the tunnel collapsed so there is no way out. There were several survivors so Otonashi and another guy Igarashi took lead the survivors and retain order. Supplies and oxygen are running low so all the best they can do is wait for rescue. Morales are at the lowest point when 1 of the injured survivors died and everyone is weakened. Otonashi took out his donor card and circled on every organ possible to donate. In this way even if they die, somebody else will be saved with their donated organs. The survivors are touched by his gesture and did the same. Just when the rescuers managed to dig a tunnel and rescue them, Otonashi’s life fades away. Otonashi wakes up and is relieved to see Kanade awake. He is glad he is able to help somebody after his death. Then they talk about attaining peace in this world and it hit Otonashi that Kanade was trying to do so all the while for the rest. She wanted everyone to lead a normal life and persuade those who stayed but you know her awkward actions made everyone misunderstood her actions. Otonashi teams up with Kanade in hopes of bringing peace to everyone even if it means her playing the villain and being alone again. Later Otonashi exposes Kanade’s exam papers switch. The teachers reinstate innocent Kanade as the student council president and hand the perpetrators their punishment.

Episode 10
The first person to target is Yui. Even if their plan to make Yui accidentally meet Otonashi was a bungling one, but you could consider it a success. Otonashi learns she was bed-ridden and her mom was always taking care of her. She learnt things via TV and some of her unfulfilled wishes include being a musician, baseball player and football player. Otonashi starts off with the supposedly easiest one: German Suplex. After a lot of pain and practice, Yui is able to pull it off. Then he gathers some of the guys to play football as he collaborates with Yui (and Kanade in the background) to make successful tackles and makes her score a goal. Lastly, she practices swings to hit a homerun. Though she isn’t successfully, she doesn’t give up. In the end, she’s pretty happy she’s able to use this body to do things and reveals her last wish to get married. Which guy would want to marry her? Hinata steps up and says he will. Cooking up a manga-like story how their fate will meet in the real world, he promises to take care of her even if she can’t move. Yui is happy with that thought and disappears. Hinata knows what Otonashi is doing and plans on helping him. Elsewhere, Noda and Ooyama are being attacked by mysterious beings and Yuri receives word on this.

Episode 11
While Otonashi ponders who to send home next, it seems the competition between Hinata and Naoi are heating up over Otonashi. To help him in his quest, that is. Suddenly a mysterious shadow tries to absorb Naoi but they manage to set him free. Yuri then interrogates Kanade but Naoi’s stupid reasons cover her up. Then they hear gunfire coming from the field. Several of their members are being surrounded by the assaulting shadows that are also multiplying. With everyone pitching in, they destroy them all but they receive a distressing news that Takamatsu has been eaten by the shadow. They find him to be alive the next day but he has turned into an NPC! Thinking that this is a fate worse than disappearing since one will be stuck as an NPC for eternity. Yuri gathers everyone and knows of Otonashi’s plan of making students disappear and has him explain it. Though they are against it, Yuri gives them time to decide. Yuri then decides to deal with something so she goes off alone and leaves the rest to Otonashi. Yuri thinks that there is a software that transforms NPCs into shadows to attack them and a place filled with lots of computers just to do that. She infiltrates the library that night and concludes the one stealing the computers is playing God in this world. She uncovers an underground path believed to lead to where the perpetrator is but it seems the path is towards Guild.

Episode 12
Many of the members including GirlDeMo decide to disappear and have a few words to Otonashi before they go. Then the shadows attack as everyone cooperate to quell the menace. Matsushita is now a slim person after his self training in the woods. Shiina takes over from Otonashi and tells him to go. Meanwhile Yuri on her way deeper underground encounters infinite number of those shadows. She has to conserve her ammo if she’s going to see this till the end. Entering the Old Guild, she thinks about her relationship with Kanade which could’ve been different. Then Yuri finds herself back in her real world when she was alive. In the middle of class, she stands up and talks about happiness but hers a cruel and meaningless life. She wakes up to see Otonashi, Hinata, Naoi and Kanade next to her. As they proceed further, the guys hold off the shadows so that Yuri can enter the computer lab at the end. Inside, she sees lots of computers and monitors and a guy sitting in the midst of it. This is what I understand. Some guy created this Angel Player programme and fell in love with a girl. However the girl left a long time ago and he fell into despair. He couldn’t wait any longer and turned himself into an NPC. Because this is Purgatory, not paradise, love is not allowed to exist since everyone has to ‘graduate’ from this place. So when it does, especially some amnesiac who lived a fulfilled life for the sake of others comes wandering in, some bug will occur and reset the world, hence those shadows turning them into NPCs. Detecting the source of love to be from Yuri, the boy offers her to be God and rewrite the world to her will but Yuri declines and just wishes to protect and be with everyone else. She shoots and destroys everything in the room. She sees visions of her siblings who express their gratitude, causing Yuri to be overcome with emotion. Yuri wakes up in the infirmary with Otonashi, Hinata, Naoi and Kanade by her side.

Episode 13
It has been 3 days since the incident. No more shadows, no more everyone. The ones remaining left are Otonashi, Yuri, Hinata, Naoi and Kanade. Seems they have planned a graduation ceremony for themselves. Otonashi notes how different Yuri acts when everyone is not around. More feminine than a leader. The ceremony begins with SSS’s anthem (written by Kanade and about mapo tofu), handing of scrolls and the final words from Otonashi as the representative of the graduating class. Yuri and Kanade make up and wish they had more time to spend as friends than previously were fighting. The rest take their turn to disappear and it leaves Otonashi and Kanade. Otonashi suggests to her that they stay in this world together so that they could guide and prevent lost and young tormented souls from repeating the mistakes Yuri did. He also confesses he loves her. However Kanade only wishes to say thank you and reveals that she has his heart in her body (the donor card Otonashi circled became Kanade’s life safer). She wanted to thank her saviour so much that she wandered into this place. She knew it was him the first time because when she first stabbed him, he had no heart! Not just that. He regained his memories when he was sleeping on her chest, near to her/his heart. Then she wants him to confess again but he is reluctant as he fears she will disappear but eventually gives in. Kanade disappears leaving heartbroken and hysterical Otonashi in despair. In the real world, we see a girl and boy resembling closely to Kanade and Otonashi respectively. They pass each other as he taps her shoulder.

Life After Death…
I don’t know if I should consider that a good ending or not. But what I felt was that every of the main characters of the SSS should appear in the final graduation ceremony instead of just those 5. It makes it everything a little ‘hollow’ without them. At least give them a chance to say goodbye, eh? Maybe they just want to concentrate the drama on these few characters? I can’t accept it that the rest went ahead before Yuri. For instance that Noda guy is quite loyal to Yuri so I thought he’d be with her till the end. Decided to go ahead first, eh? Though there are dramatic and suspenseful parts in the series, the comedic parts are nicely spread out especially in the initial parts. I love the ones that had the gang undergoing a survival series and the exam to purposely fail Kanade. But for the plot, there were some parts that I didn’t understand that I had to go do lots of reading up from various blog sites and still only get the gist of it.

It was nice that we get to see some of the past of the characters and delve a little deeper into them but I guess for a short series, it won’t be possible to get to know all of them. Each of them had their own quirks though some don’t have enough screen time to flesh their character out. How I wish to know TK’s past and probably his behaviour. And that mysterious Yusa girl who is always working behind the scenes of GirlDeMo, yeah, she’s another mysterious character. And for some like Yuri, it may sound disrespectful but I too wished I knew how she died after her past was revealed. How the heck did she misunderstood Kanade for God’s angel in the first place and triggered this whole rebellion thing? Probably it’s because of Kanade’s non-expression and stoic appearance that made it hard to tell. However in the end, I could see her showing livelier expressions and even giggling than all the rest of the episodes put together. Otonashi’s appearance to the group is a blessing for without him, I guess everyone won’t be able to move on, accept each other and the meaningless would’ve dragged on for eternity. He is truly someone who puts others before himself. So perhaps that is the price to pay because in the end, he too becomes alone. First his sister, then Kanade, the one he loves. Naoi is still a cocky fellow and sometimes you got to love his arrogant speeches. If not for Otonashi, he’d still be a dangerous person. Even this self-proclaimed God cried in the end.

I read somewhere that there were a few reasons that served as a motivation to see this show. One, Yuri closely resembles to Haruhi Suzumiya. I guess most fans could relate to that. Two, great music. Well in my opinion, if you’re into rock music, I’m sure you’ll like the stuff GirlDeMo sang here or else for a person like me, they’re just pretty okay. Though the opening theme My Soul Your Beats by Lia has great piano play while the slow ballad ending theme is Brave Song by Aoi Tada. In the ending credits animation, you can see the gang in one big photo group and in some episodes, new characters pop up or old ones disappear. The next episode preview is, how should I put it, a cacophony of chaotic voices. It gradually has the characters start yelling about something as the screen is cluttered with the kanji words of their speech. In a way, that makes it easier to know what they are saying or else it would be just a riot and strenuous to listen to what they are shouting about.

If you buy the DVD, there is an extra OVA episode called Stairway To Heaven. The setting of this OVA must be during one of its initial episodes since Yui is leading GirlDeMo, Naoi isn’t part of the gang and Kanade is still the hostile Tenshi that everyone knows. It begins with Yuri calling her usual members for a meeting on Operation High Tension Syndrome. What are they supposed to do? From what I understand, everyone has to go all out and do things in a wild and passionate manner. Don’t forget to laugh out loud too. The reason is that when Tenshi sees them doing such ‘happy’ things and not disappear, she will be puzzled at this strange phenomenon and would go seek God’s advice. It is at this moment that they will follow her to Him. Ah, I see. That doesn’t seem a bad idea unless you are the ones going into high tension for 12 hours straight! And if this operation fails, everyone will fast! Oh sh*t! Better get a move on and go high tension! So the rest of the scenes see everybody in SSS (except Yuri) doing some pretty wild stuff. You can measure their tension level with a Tension Meter at the bottom left hand of the screen. So we see Yui and her band going wild with a ‘love song’; TK, Fujimaki and Ooyama turning into gluttons and ultimately fatties; the rest of the guys passionately (more like shouting) participating in class (probably more chances for Takamatsu to show off his hot bod); later in a race to clean up the school. Lastly all sides converge at the field wanting to use it for their own reasons like playing baseball, dance or hold a concert. It turned into a sports meet with even NPCs getting into the action. It lasts until night fall as everyone prepares for the ultimate kibasen event. During the chaos, Shiina comes slashing in. Then the worst outcome possible: A confrontation with Tenshi. She questions Shiina what she’s doing. She shows her a cute animal doll and goes into extreme moe kawaii mode. Her tension meter is off the scale! Then Tenshi backs down and walks pass Yuri. Yuri heard something about the need to report. Thinking this is the moment they have been waiting for, she wakes up her comrades to follow Tenshi. Tailing her to a secret basement in the infirmary, behind a large door, the SSS gang are ready to bust in. However they are in for a real surprise as they see Tenshi tending to her radish garden. What the?! Tenshi states that when she heard Shiina say “cute”, she remembered her garden and came here. What she meant about the reporting was she was unsure how to report for her sudden departure for this during the student council meeting. Uh… On top of that, so that so called security device to open the door was just a calculator?! Yuri gets so frustrated and pissed off that I think it’s her turn to experience some high tension. Worse, she takes it out on everyone and has them to fast for a week! WHAT?! See their tension meter decrease into the negative level! Over the next 7 days, we see everyone collapsed due to starvation except for Yuri who is happily eating and drinking her share. Oh, Yuri. You’re the true devil! It’s funny to see the ending whereby everyone fades faster than usual, leaving Yuri the only one left standing. Haha! Bad end alright. I know everyone won’t really die, but still… Yuri, you’re the devil in disguise…

Coming together with this bonus OVA is a short clip called Another Epilogue. What I read and understand is that this approximately 3 minutes video is supposed to be “the one more ending that no one knows”. Oh, an alternate ending? This has got to be intriguing. In a classroom we see a guy who has an uncanny resemblance to Fullmetal Alchemist’s Edward Elric. Only difference this one is much taller :). This guy isn’t happy he is taking a test because he knows he has died without accomplishing anything and that all that has happened in this world is fake. Causing a ruckus in the middle of the class, he is upset about the rational of taking this exam and wonders if this allows him to enter Heaven. That is when the student council president walks in. Hey, isn’t that Otonashi? It IS him! Otonashi grabs Ed-look-a-like by the collar and tells him off for complaining. He continues with his ‘advice’ about doing something about it and the different things different people need to achieve their goals like courage and strength for friends and dreams. He questions what does he need now. Ed guy fights back that what he needs now is to face him and releases himself from Otonashi’s clutches. Otonashi didn’t get mad but instead smiled and backed down, saying that if he ever felt hatred or hesitation, he can come to the student council room anytime. The other students marvel in awe how cool Otonashi is. Rumours say that he is waiting for someone. But Ed guy still doesn’t feel good. He crushes his test paper. So does that end line “Next Stage” means that there is going to be a sequel? Is it true in this epilogue that Otonashi really stayed back all by himself to ‘look after’ this world and guide other lost souls? It makes that last scene in the TV’s final episode a little contrasting. But then again, times in both worlds run differently and there was nothing conclusive.

So it still bugs me about who created this world and if God really existed here. I mean from what I understand, some programmer guy created and manipulated this world via some software. So it makes whoever gets to control it becomes God of this world. And thus does that really serve its purpose? So when Yuri was given a chance to play God, for a short moment there I thought she was going to turn into Haruhi. At least for this world if she ever accepted it. And to throw in some random unknown guy to explain and reveal those stuff, I felt it threw me off my pace because I really thought the suspect would be one of the SSS members. Who is he by the way? A human or an NPC? I also wondered if this Purgatory goes beyond the campus, way past the woods. Has anybody ever stepped out of its boundaries before? And given the intriguing ending, does it mean that there is reincarnation instead of the eternal life after death?

I’m not going to ponder further about Purgatory or the afterlife. I think that is not the focus of this series. But instead, make peace and not war. Being friends even if it’s for a day is definitely more beneficial than being eternal enemies. Can you see that if you just open your mouth and explain things, a whole lot of unnecessary killing could be avoided? Of course in this world, nobody could really die. And if there is such a place and I happen to get thrown there, hopefully it would be a beach resort filled with lots of harem 2D girls. Oh wait, that would be paradise…

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