And so it ends. And begins.
I’ve explained some really intriguing thoughts at the end, as well as translated tweets that might shed light on things that people may never have thought of! Check it out to better understand the world of Angel Beats!.
UPDATE 2010-06-30: The Loop World theory is debunked by Maeda Jun himself!
直井文人 Naoi Ayato
仲村ゆり Nakamura Yuri
日向秀樹 Hinata Hideki
立華奏 Tachibana Kanade
In Another Life
This was a fitting end to Angel Beats! in my opinion. Also, it was executed well. The flow is consistent and nothing looks out of place. However, it’s important to remember this – Angel Beats! is nothing extraordinary unless you understand what the small hints imply.
I say this because most English twitter users cannot read Japanese, and miss out on key analysis that they make. I see many people tweeting about things that were resolve in the Japanese community hours ago – i.e. “why is Kanade here before Otonashi when he died first?” which I have explained below. It’s my opinion that if you are able to read them fluently, it will improve everyone’s understanding of Angel Beats!.
About the episode itself; the last 1/3 is tear-jerking. I do not cry. I have actually not cried in years. But this, it’s different. Maeda has done it for me….also, the episode makes more sense if you watch it twice and have some time to let it sink in.
I was surprised that Yuri was the second to leave. For someone that’s in the main cast, it seemed awfully early. However, Yuri’s regrets have been taken care of already in EP12, so along with Naoi, she had no more reason to stay here.
Hinata might have given up on his dream to win a game by catching a second-base fly. But that was probably not his ultimate regret; rather, he wanted to have a trusting friend and live a normal schoolboy life. If that indeed was his last wish, then Otonashi and the SSS fulfilled it.
The ending was something I thought I expected, but it was not.
When Otonashi said “Kanade, will you stay in this world with me” with the intention of helping others like Yuri, etc. – I thought “I saw this coming! He’s going to stay and take upon the role of an Angel!” but boy, was I wrong about it.
Explanations of the World
About the supposed hole in the timeline about Kanade and Otonashi’s death: You can only come to this world after you’re completely dead. Which means, even after Otonashi “died”, his heart in fact lived on inside Kanade, so he was not able to come here until Kanade died. Which explains why “Kanade was here before Otonashi, but Otonashi was dead before Kanade” – something pointed out by the Japanese crowd on Twitter.
Also. Thanks to a very insightful user, I may have realized something – the creator of Angel Player may be Otonashi himself. For those that remember EP12, the AI in Computer Room #2 said:
Angel Player was created by a person in the distant past. He had found love, but his target disappeared after living out her last regret. It was too much for him to handle, and hence he created Angel Player, programmed the shadows and then turned himself into a NPC with the hopes that one day, they will meet again.
The above only works if the world is indeed in an eternal loop. If time loops around, then Angel Beats! from EP1-13 was simply another iteration of that loop, where the NPC-turned Otonashi replays the happiest moments of being in this world.
Also keep in mind that this world does not necessarily have to follow the same rules as our world – meaning that time may flow differently; 100 years in that world may be the same as 1 day in ours. What I’m saying here is that it’s possible that Otonashi experienced the loop several times before being able to reincarnate.
In my opinion, these theories add up – we aren’t shown if Otonashi actually was able to reincarnate. Keep in mind that this interpretation really depends on how you see Part C (the part where Kanade’s reincarnation is humming My Song) of the episode.
- If you believe that Otonashi was able to leave the world soon after – then Part C is probably the moment when their reincarnated souls met each other again.
- If you believe that Otonashi was NOT able to leave the world (which I do) – then Part C is probably just his dream while being an NPC in the world (after following the loop).
- There’s another way, a combination of 1 and 2: Otonashi was initially consumed in grief, then created Angel Player. Then he was able to meet Kanade again, and was then able to reincarnate after that. Part C then shows the two souls meeting each other again.
Could it be that the world after death is a loop, as suggested by the story of Angel Player programmer in EP12? Since Otonashi can’t disappear, he creates Angel Player after the ending, programs the shadows and turns himself into an NPC and becomes the student council president to maintain order in the school. Some time later, there will be those who oppose these measures (i.e. Yuri), and there also will be those who enter this world accidentally (i.e. Otonashi). Then the world loops again.
Perhaps what Angel Beats! wanted to tell us is that “the people you meet in this lifetime is irreplaceable. It began in the your distant past life and will continue to the next iteration. So, live your current life to the fullest.
Don’t blindly fight the perceived evils of God or unreasonable life; rather, cherish the happiness you have now, and accept the reality to achieve a better tomorrow. That’s important to move on with your life. The wonderful life that you led. Perhaps that’s what Otonashi and Kanade taught us.
Kanade was able to tell Otonashi her message in the end! Perhaps Otonashi will be sad in the beginning, but the reason to be in this world is not to help the others that come here, but to rather hope that he can meet Kanade again someday. That’s why this is the best possible ending.
Thank you, Maeda!
It was a very exciting 13 weeks – watching it, thinking about it, then blogging about it.
I think Angel Beats! ended well. Sure, it has its flaws and holes, but what anime doesn’t? I think what’s important is the message. Key did not become what it is now by producing visual novels with just spectacular character art. It became what it is now thanks to the depth of the game. The message in the game. The one central theme that it conveyed to its players. The anime spinoffs are much the same.
Kanon was about miracles. AIR was about continuity. CLANNAD was about family. Little Busters! was about friendship. Angel Beats! is about youth and life.
This episode had me on verge of breakdown. With the exception of Toradora!, only other works by Key have managed to get me that far. It’s consistent. Perhaps Rewrite will do the same to me again, or a Little Busters! animation if it ever emerges.
Angel Beats! might have ended – but my respect and love for this work will not.
Life is good. Having lived is something you should cherish. Perhaps that’s what Maeda Jun is trying to tell us.