Angel Beats

Angel Beats

As I promised, Angel Beats will be up next. So, this anime follows the story of Yuzuru Otonashi, who wakes up to find that he’s dead. Greeting him is Yuri Nakamura aka Yurippe, who informs him that he is in a sort of purgatory world. He meets up with more people like them, who have banded together to form the SSS, or Shinda Sekai Sensen (SOS Brigade, anyone?). So what’s the point of the SSS? They’re facing off against Angel, a girl who tends to make the people in this world “disappear”. But, this rivalry between the two sides is not what it seems, as you will find out as you watch. Also, I need to make this clear. This purgatory world revolves around a school that the members of the SSS, as well as Angel, all attend. Along with them are people that were never actually people, called NPCs by the SSS.

Although Otonashi’s the obvious pick, it’s hard to pin a protagonist in this anime. Otonashi’s the new guy in the SSS with the lost memory. He’s a kind person who tries to help out when he can, even if it’s Angel. Yurippe’s a pretty good leader for the SSS, able to dictate and create new operations for the group to tackle. She’s pretty loud and can seem a little maniacal at times. Finally, Angel’s student council president and charged with keeping the SSS under control. She has several “guard skills” that let her counter the weapons that the SSS throws at her. She’s also really quiet and doesn’t say much.

This series surprised me. When I first started watching, I was wondering where it was going, but by the end, I was definitely loving it. There’s plenty of comedic relief and the story is great. Part of the SSS is a band called Girls Dead Monster, which plays some amazing music throughout the series. These are mostly insert songs, but the opening and ending themes were also great, especially the opening. The only real problem is that this series is super short and has little room for a sequel (side story, maybe but unlikely). Other than that, it’s definitely worth checking out. I give it a 9/10

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Death Note

Death Note

Alright, let’s follow up Code Geass with Death Note. The protagonist, Light Yagami, is another one of those brilliant students in Japan. However, his world is pretty much the same as our world, but with one twist. There are Shinigami that hang out above the humans in their own little world. One day, Light notices a notebook falling out of the sky while he’s in class. When he checks it out, he finds the Death Note. Any human whose name is written in it dies…no joke. Light decides that he wants to use this notebook to rid the world of criminals, making it a better place. Sounds pretty nice, huh? Light soon finds out that the notebook originally belonged to a Shinigami named Ryuk, who dropped it in the human world to entertain himself. By this point, the police have figured out that criminals are dying, so they decide to bring out their secret weapon, L. Not a nuke, L is actually a brilliant detective who hides in the shadows and solves the world’s toughest cases. Light and L then proceed to go head-to-head in a race to find the other.

The animation in this series was definitely great. The music is amazing and the story’s concept was genius. The scenes where L and Light investigate each other are incredibly entertaining. However, this series starts to deteriorate at about the halfway point and the story begins to falter. Part of the appeal of the first half of the story was the long face-to-face “battles” between Light and L, where each would predict the thoughts of the other and counter, all without saying a word. This sort of analysis slows down in the second half. Also, the ending turns out to be pretty bad. However, this is definitely an anime you want to check out if you don’t know about it, especially if you want to see the infamous potato chip scene.

7/10

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Code Geass

Of course I was going to talk about this anime first. Without a doubt my favorite anime of all time. Go easy on me since this is my first review. Naturally, I’ll avoid spoilers and the like. Anyways, Lelouch Lamperouge, the protagonist, is a Britannian student who lives in Japan. In the world of Code Geass, Britannia is one of three major superpowers along with the Chinese Federation and the EU. In the events leading up to the start of the story, Japan is taken over by Britannia after losing in a war. Instrumental in this victory is Britannia’s use of the Knightmare frame, which is the mecha unit of this anime. As a result, Japan loses its name and is renamed as Area 11.

How does Lelouch factor into all of this? Lelouch is a brilliant student, but spends much of his time gambling on chess games rather than schoolwork. It’s not a problem, though, because he never loses. One day, while returning to school, he is caught up in a terrorist operation and trapped in a truck with “poison gas”. Turns out the poison gas is a strange girl, who gives Lelouch the power known as Geass, which allows him to force anyone into obeying his order. Naturally, this power has its limitations, but Lelouch also uses his natural tactical abilities to get past them in his plan to obliterate Britannia.

Another one of the major characters is Suzaku Kururugi, the son of the former prime minister of Japan. Suzaku is naturally athletic and has a strong sense of justice. Suzaku is what is called an “honorary Britannian”, or a Japanese citizen who has enlisted as part of a Britannian military. Same prejudice, just a longer title. Unbeknownst to most of the world, Suzaku and Lelouch are actually good friends, but they keep this a secret because of Lelouch’s ancestry.

The music of the anime is absolutely amazing. The first opening theme of the first season, Colors by FLOW, is one of my favorite songs. The openings of the second season are also great. The second opening of the first season was a bit strange at first, but it kind of grows on you. The endings are also all enjoyable, my favorite of which being Mosaic Kakera.

Also, the story is full of twists which keep you guessing, especially the start of the second season. Be ready for a ton of cliffhangers that will keep you watching. Only problem I have with the series is how tragic the relationships are. The mysterious nature of Geass kind of helps the story stay exciting, but it just leaves you with so many questions at the end. I can also see how the cliffhangers can be annoying, but I definitely enjoyed them. In all, two seasons with 25 episodes each to keep you entertained.

10/10