There’s some REALLY heavy stuff in this episode.
Last week, we saw Otonashi and Yuri survive all the way into the heart of what used to be the Guild in order to rescue Kanade while battling against her malicious clones.
This episode resolves the events that took place in EP9, but introduces a new dimension to the story. Otonashi remembers the rest of his memory, the agonizing final days of his life.
Before the Storm
Since all the clones were absorbed into Kanade’s body at the end of last episode, I’m assuming getting out of the Guild was not a big deal. The episode therefore starts in the school infirmary. Interestingly, Kanade is lying on the same bed Otonashi used back in EP1.
Yuri and Otonashi watch over an unconscious Kanade. Yuri feels guilty for putting Kanade in such a condition. After being reassured, she leaves the room.
We’re then shown a snippet of the meeting taking place in the SSS HQ without Otonashi. Apparently, this situation is unprecedented.
Then something unexpected…!
SHIINA APPEARS! I swear she’s been gone for at least 3 episodes. Not as long as Sekine and Irie though, they haven’t been seen for at least 5 episodes.
Shiina only appears when there’s a significantly important event taking place elsewhere. So the fact that she’s here probably signifies how crucial this episode may turn out to be for Angel Beats!.
According to the team, there’s a chance Kanade may never wake from her sleep, or may wake up to become a drastically different person (due to 100+ clone “consciences”). To help solve the mystery, Yuri has sent in Christ to Kanade’s room to decipher the ANGEL PLAYER manual.
At the same time, Naoi warns that deleting all data and changing the login password on Kanade’s PC is only a temporary solution to block out all her abilities.
Then Yui makes a snide remark about how everyone seems to smart today, asking if anyone ate food that’s gone bad.
Ignoring that, Yuri simply says, “Now, all we can do is wait for God’s will. Who will God side with?”
While looking after Kanade, Otonashi falls asleep.
This is where the episode, and Angel Beats! as a whole, really starts moving.
The survival begins.
Otonashi wakes up immediately after the train derails heading into the tunnel. First thing he says is “It’s way past the exam time.”
The devastation is quite gruesome.
There are several survivors still moving. In particular, he notices one guy with brown hair, and rushes over to help him. Using his medical school training, he takes care of the bleeding forehead. Together they get out.
His name is Igarashi. They work together to pull survivors out into the tunnel.
Situations like this is when you really appreciate having a doctor-in-training on board.
After providing medical attention to survivors, he then sets out to find an exit. However, reality is cruel, and he finds that both ends of the tunnel have caved in.
It also turns out that Otonashi suffered a blunt force trauma wound to his stomach area.
Now, this has become a game of survivor.
Otonashi is best described as a situational leader. He might not appear to have leadership skills in day-to-day life, but he shows his leadership when a situation arises. He calls for 『一心同体』 – or One soul, One body – to ensure all will survive.
Another day passes without help. They ration the little water and food they have – 1 bento, snacks and 5~6 bottles of water.
One of the survivors makes a move to take the bag containing all the water. He falls onto the floor and then is kicked in the face by two other survivors. At the same time, one of the water bottles open and water spills everywhere.
A seriously wounded survivor passes away. Otonashi frantically tries to revive him, but he was long gone.
“Nothing has changed since that day. That day that Hatsune taught me the reasons to live. But now, I again lost another life in front of my eyes. Nothing has changed…I am powerless. I’ve been powerless since that day. Nothing has changed…damn…damn!”
This is where the tear-jerker begins.
7 days without help. The original water and food they had available would have only lasted them 3 days at best, yet they made it 4 more days.
Otonashi – in that quote above – is perhaps questioning the world. Why it has to keep taking lives away in front of him. Why it has to be so unreasonable.
Otonashi asks for a sign pen from Igarashi. Otonashi pulls out a card and stares at it intently.
It is an organ donor registration card. For those unfamiliar, organ donation is when doctors remove the organs from your body and keep it alive to be used in transplants to save others.
Otonashi circles every single organ listed while Igarashi looks intently, and soon he pulls out his own organ donor card. Eventually, every survivor pulls out their card and circles all organs listed.
“If I do this, even if my life is over – even then – my life can be used to save others. It’s a legacy of my life.” – Igarashi.
“Otonashi, you’re a great guy…look at them. Look how they were utterly hopeless, yet now they want to give someone the gift of hope. You save their life, Otonashi..”
But he wasn’t hearing it. He wouldn’t ever hear those words.
Help arrived just too late for Otonashi.
This scene was extremely tear-jerking.
A New Beginning
Otonashi wakes up from his dream. In the best way possible for a guy – being stroked in the hair by an almighty loli.
Kanade did wake up. It’s nothing short of a miracle, really.
In explaining his story before his death to Kanade, he realizes that in the end, he was able to help someone by becoming an organ donor. His reasons for studying medicine was to help others, and be thanked. Kanade suggests that someone, somewhere is thanking a donor they’ve never met.
It seems as if Otonashi has finally come to terms with his life – if I was able to help someone, then my life wasn’t so bad then,” he says. He has no more regrets. Then, he realizes that perhaps he might disappear, much like Iwasawa. But in reality, there was one more regret he had – the SSS members. He wants to be with them. He wants to spend time with them.
But now, he apparently has different ideas.
If anyone read the lyrics for My Soul, Your Beats – English or Japanese – you’ll realize that it’s from Kanade’s point of view. There are lines that go “I watched the millions of stars fade away and waved them goodbye”.
This is exactly what Otonashi has come to think about lately, it seems. He wants the rest of the SSS members to come to terms with their life, and disappear from this world together. It wouldn’t be such a bad thing to live a new life.
Then Kanade drops a bombshell.
「でしょ」 – “right?” – that one word pretty much changed the meaning of Angel Beats!.
Kanade had wanted everyone to experience the feeling of coming to terms with their past life.
So that pretty much means that the SSS and Kanade were fighting for completely different reasons. In short, a fruitless effort by both sides because of a misunderstanding.
Otonashi then realizes just how awkward and clumsy girl Kanade was, since she couldn’t explain or make the SSS understand what her goals were.
Then Kanade drops another bombshell.
Angel Beats! is a high-school adolescent story. (学園青春アニメ)
Now that came as a surprise, since I always thought Little Busters! was a high school story, but apparently Little Busters! is classified as “friendship”. This was actually leaked yesterday on the MusicStation Weekly Single Rankings when they said “Angel Beats!, an anime detailing the high-school story…”
Kanade goes on, “This world is populated by those who could not lead an adolescence that they desired.”
Thinking about it, it is true. This world is all about spending time together in a school environment, with friends. This world is a place to “save” the souls of adolescents who were forced live a harsh life that they never wanted to lead. No one is here because they want to. They are here so fight against what they see as “unreasonable”, “irrational” God.
Kanade merely wanted to teach those who rebelled that there was indeed a non-irrational life. She wanted to help them lead a happy school life, and tried to reason with the SSS who resisted and tried to stay in this world. Yet, both sides misunderstood each other, and in an effort to push through with their beliefs, began a conflict, eventually escalating to use of weapons.
But now, Kanade wants Otonashi to help her to achieve those goals.
The first step was for Otonashi to reveal their participation in screwing over Kanade’s exam papers, therefore restoring her to Student Council President. That way, Kanade can fight against the SSS and follow orders from Otonashi.
To be Continued…
This episode really brought together a lot of things. For one, I was dead-on with last week’s prediction that a major plot shift was coming, though I didn’t specify exactly what was going to happen. Either way, I got what I wanted.
Otonashi’s reason of death was due to massive internal bleeding. We’re shown that when he went to explore for an exit that he had a huge bruise in the stomach area, near vital organs.
The rescue team took 7 days, which is actually not an unreasonable situation. The tunnel structure was already weak from collapse, so if they used TNT to blast a passage, there are concerns that it can cause another collapse, even onto the survivors in the worst case scenario.
I was also right about how Otonashi’s memories that was revealed in EP7 was not yet complete, because it did not explicitly show him passing away. Now that his memory is complete, he came to terms with what his life meant. Now the only thing left for him to do is ascend to heaven together with the SSS, which is probably going to be the topic for the last 4 episodes.
Also, Perhaps the reason why Otonashi does not remember his memories are because his brain was transplanted elsewhere.
I honestly was taken by surprise when I read that Angel Beats! was a high-school adolescence story, even though all evidences (now that I look at it) points towards that way.
This is all over Japanese BBS’s:
- Kanon is MIRACLE
- AIR is AIR/ATMOSPHERE (literally)
- CLANNAD is LIFE
- Little Busters! is FRIENDSHIP
- Angel Beats! is ADOLESCENCE
Maeda Jun, in an earlier interview, said that Angel Beats! will have “2 apexes” – meaning 2 points of climax. Easy to visualize if you’ve played/watched Key’s earlier works (CLANNAD, AIR, Kanon, Little Busters!) but the general consensus in the Japanese Twitter community is that we haven’t seen the apexes yet.
Also a lot of Japanese Twitter users are speculating as to how this can all end. Some theories:
- Otonashi’s attempts get exposed and he is branded a traitor.
- SSS will factionalize and fight each other, but Kanade will bring them together.
Episode 10 will likely revolve around Yui, with Sekine and Irie making an appearance after 5 or so episodes of absence. This follows from the historic timeline:
EP1, EP7 ⇒ Newcomers to the SSS (Otonashi, Naoi)
EP2, EP8 ⇒ Operations involving the Guild.
EP3, EP9 ⇒ Central theme is “ascension to heaven” (Iwasawa, Otonashi)
EP4 ⇒ Yui was the central theme.
Just by looking at it, I have fears that a character, or perhaps even two, will disappear. The most likely candidate is Yui, but we can’t overlook others in GirlDeMo.