To be honest, I dislike first episodes for the most part. They tend to be dull, although they’re a little limited, needing to introduce characters, and plot, which obviously wouldn’t be the most exciting part of any series. However, when a series has a really good first episode, it makes the grind of having to watch a bunch of first episodes worth it. Angel Beats had an excellent first episode. Of course, it introduced plot and characters, as all first episodes do, but it did it with an amount of energy and character rarely seen this early on.
First off, the main character. He’s your typical wimp/loser character, but he’s an amusing one. When initially freaking out to find himself in this world, he proceeds to run around like a chicken with his head cut off trying to figure out what he can do, and gets killed multiple times doing so. Who knew that watching someone get killed could be so much fun? My only worry is he’s going to spend too much time worrying over his amnesia.
The characters we meet throughout this episode are pretty neat themselves. The leader of the battlefront, Yuri, is a familiar mix of bossy, forwardness, and charisma. Unlike Haruhi though, Yuri gives off the sense that she’s trying to do what she is doing for the general goodwill, not her own selfish whims.
The other characters didn’t get as much as screentime, but the still left a strong impression. Some of them were stereotypes, but some of them weren’t. Still, they had personality. The conversation about barnacles was delightful.
The story is unusual. While we’ve been presented with one story, students trying to prevent from being erased, there’s the sense of something deeper and more complex lurking under the surface. Let’s just hope this show delivers on that.
The band/battle scene was completely unexpected, but very awesome. Something that cool, and a scene with that much energy in the first episode, well, doesn’t happen very often. Not to mention, the tune they were singing was pretty dang catchy.
Kudos to Angel Beats delivering a fantastic first episode. I just hope the rest of the series can keep up.
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