Angel Beats! (エンジェルビーツ! Enjeru Bītsu!?) is a 13-episode Japanese anime television series produced by P.A. Works and Aniplex and directed by Seiji Kishi. The story was originally conceived by Jun Maeda, who also wrote the screenplay and composed the music with the group Anant-Garde Eyes, with original character design by Na-Ga; both Maeda and Na-Ga are from the visual novel brand Key, who produced such titles as Kanon, Air, and Clannad. The anime aired in Japan between April 3 and June 26, 2010. The story takes place in the afterlife and focuses on Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. He is enrolled into the afterlife school and meets a girl named Yuri who invites him to join the SSS—an organization she leads which fights against God. The SSS fight against the student council president Angel, a girl with supernatural powers.
Key worked in collaboration with ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Magazine to produce the project into a media franchise. Two manga series are serialized in Dengeki G's Magazine: one illustrated by Haruka Komowata, which began serialization in the December 2009 issue, and the other drawn by Yuriko Asami, which started in the May 2010 issue. A series of illustrated short stories written by Maeda and illustrated by GotoP were also serialized in Dengeki G's Magazine between the November 2009 and May 2010 issues. Two Internet radio shows were produced to promote Angel Beats!. Jun Maeda is writing the scenario for a possible future visual novel adaptation of Angel Beats! by Key.
Angel Beats! takes place at a high school acting as a Purgatory, where students learn to give up any lingering attachments they still have from life before continuing to an afterlife or reincarnation. While the injury or cause of death are gone, those in the afterlife school can still feel pain or other things as they did when they were alive, as well as dying again, only to awaken with no injures several minutes later. The story follows the main protagonist Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. Upon awakening in the afterlife, he meets a girl named Yuri who invites him to join the Shinda Sekai Sensen (SSS) (死んだ世界戦線?, lit. Afterlife War Front), an organization she founded and leads which fights against God for the cruel fates the SSS members experienced in life. Their only enemy in the world is the school's student council president Angel, a being with supernatural powers who fights against the SSS. Yuri believes that anyone who follows Angel's orders and behaves like a normal student at the school will eventually disappear and pass on. However, those who fulfill their dreams in the afterlife will pass on as well.
In the SSS, there are two sub-divisions which help in the SSS's operations against Angel. The first is a four-girl band named Girls Dead Monster whose objective in the SSS is to cause a diversion from other activities the SSS is engaged in, while on the surface appearing to be a normal all female band. This includes distracting Angel and a large number of "normal" students and teachers at the school Yuri deems "non-player characters" as they are not human, but look and act the part. Another organization in the SSS is the Guild, located far below the surface of the afterlife world, which serves to supply the weapons the SSS uses against Angel. Anyone in the afterlife is able to create out of dirt anything that they had memories of in life, and the Guild uses this ability to mass produce weapons.
Angel uses a similar ability to create her supernatural powers known as "guard skills", with the aid of a computer program called Angel Player. The primary ability that she uses is called "hand sonic", a blade on one or both forearms that is capable of changing into five different forms. Other skills include but are not limited to: "distortion", an invisible barrier that deflects bullets or other projectiles away; "delay", which creates an after-image to disorientate an enemy in close range; and "harmonics", where a clone with a consciousness of its own is formed from the original. These abilities are activated at her will; however, her ability "overdrive", which gives her great physical strength, is passive and is always on.
The Guild is purposefully destroyed after Angel infiltrates the compound, but the Guild members relocate to the old Guild location, which Angel does not know about. As Otonashi begins to get used to life in the afterlife, the leader of Girls Dead Monster, Iwasawa, disappears in front of a crowd of people after a solo musical performance as she fulfilled her dream that she wanted in her real life. The SSS find out Angel's real name is Kanade Tachibana, and after a successful operation, Kanade loses her position as student council president and the vice president Naoi succeeds her. Unlike Kanade, Naoi cracks down on the SSS and even uses powers of hypnosis to control NPCs to fight for him. Otonashi is able to stop him after acknowledging Naoi's existence and Naoi subsequently joins the SSS. Otonashi regains his memories with the aid of Naoi's hypnosis and agrees to continue with the SSS.
With Kanade a normal student now, Otonashi befriends her and invites her to join in on SSS activities. Kanade uses one of her powers to clone herself while engaged in combat, resulting in a violent red-eyed Angel. The clone replicates itself many times, but the clones are later absorbed back into Kanade after Yuri rewrites the Angel Player program. Kanade manages to overcome the personalities of the violent clones after awakening from the ordeal. Otonashi starts cooperating with Kanade to help the other SSS members move on after he fully remembers the details of his life and death. Kanade is reinstated as student council president in accordance with their plan. Otonashi and Kanade cooperate to allow Yui to pass on by fulfilling her wishes, but it is Hinata in the end who fulfills her final wish to get married that allows her to pass on.
Mysterious shadow monsters appear and begin attacking the SSS. Takamatsu gets devoured by one, only to reappear as an NPC. Otonashi reasons with the other SSS members and many of them agree to pass on in lieu of becoming an NPC, including the rest of Girls Dead Monster, Chā, and several unnamed members. Yuri notices that the NPCs are turning into the shadows, and her investigation into who is behind this leads her back into the Guild. After receiving help from Otonashi, Kanade, Hinata and Naoi, Yuri meets a boy who tells her he was programmed to activate the shadow program when love was detected in the world. The programmer himself turned into an NPC long before. Yuri destroys the computers responsible for the shadow program. Three days after the incident, Otonashi, Yuri, Kanade, Hinata and Naoi are the only ones yet to pass on. They hold a graduation ceremony where they thank each other for their support. After Naoi, Yuri and Hinata pass on, Otonashi learns that Kanade's regret was not being able to thank him for the heart she received from Otonashi after his death. Otonashi is heartbroken after she thanks him and passes on, as he has fallen in love with her. In the epilogue, reborn Otonashi and Kanade meet each other on the street in the real world. Otonashi recognizes Kanade because of the Girls Dead Monster song she is humming and grabs her hand. In an alternative epilogue, Otonashi is shown to have stayed behind in the afterlife helping people pass on.
- Yuzuru Otonashi (音無 結弦 Otonashi Yuzuru?)
- Voiced by: Hiroshi Kamiya (Japanese), Blake Shepard (English)
- Otonashi is the main protagonist of Angel Beats!. Due to his past, he has a caring personality and does not want anyone to experience pain or sadness. After dying, he lost his memories of the time when he was still alive, but later regains them. He had a younger sister, Hatsune (初音?, Voiced by: Mai Nakahara (Japanese), Jessica Boone (English)), who died of an illness and who he cared for very much. When she died, he decided to go to school to become a doctor, but died in a train accident before he could take the entrance exam to college. Initially unskilled in any equipment, he starts to practice his marksmanship, and pulls through for the team when they are in danger. He carries a Glock 17.
- Yuri Nakamura (仲村 ゆり Nakamura Yuri?)
- Voiced by: Harumi Sakurai (Japanese), Brittney Karbowski (English)
- Yuri, also known as Yurippe (ゆりっぺ?), has a determined personality and invites Otonashi to join the SSS, an organization she founded and leads which fights against God. She is smart and decisive when making operations and decisions. She carries a silver Beretta 92 but is seen using a TDI Vector, CheyTac Intervention, and Mk 18 Mod 0 CQBR with a drum magazine. Not only is she skilled with a gun, but she is also capable in close range hand-to-hand combat. She vowed to fight against God after her three younger siblings were murdered by burglars looking for valuables when she was alive and never forgave herself for failing to prevent their deaths. She is an effective leader, but does not think so. She does not really notice that she actually cares a lot for the SSS members like another family. She regrets even fighting with Kanade later in the story, because she feels she could have been great friends with her. After coming to terms with Kanade, she often adores and fawns over her.
- Angel (天使 Tenshi?) / Kanade Tachibana (立華 かなで Tachibana Kanade?)
- Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa (Japanese), Emily Neves (English)
- Angel is the student council president at the afterlife school. This places her at odds with the SSS as her responsibilities require her to suppress delinquency and other disruptive activities that the team does. The SSS initially calls her "Angel" since they do not know her real name, but they still refer to her by it even after finding out her real name to be Kanade Tachibana. It is difficult to understand what she is thinking due to her rarely showing any outward emotions and her way of talking bluntly. Despite her gentle demeanor and small frame, she is incredibly powerful and near indestructible to the point of ejecting bullets out of her wounds during battle. She creates her powers through a program called Angel Player. She is personally dedicated to helping others overcome their regrets and pass on. However, she often lacks a proper understanding of others, as she never thinks to try and explain to the SSS why she was doing what she did. She has an affinity for eating mapo doufu, a spicy dish.
- Hideki Hinata (日向 秀樹 Hinata Hideki?)
- Voiced by: Ryōhei Kimura (Japanese), David Matranga (English)
- Hinata is a bright, dependable boy who is the closest to Otonashi. He always tries to save his friends if he can and is a reliable force in the team. He and Yui constantly irritate one another on a daily basis, but deep down, he cares for Yui, as shown when he helps her pass on. He is a talented baseball player. His regret in life was his failure to catch a baseball, which cost his team an important baseball game. He nicknamed Yuri as Yurippe when they co-founded the SSS as he did not feel comfortable calling her Yuri, because his mother has the same name. He died by getting hit by a truck.
- Takamatsu (高松?)
- Voiced by: Takahiro Mizushima (Japanese), Kalob Martinez, Illich Guardiola (English)
- Takamatsu is an honor student who has a polite personality and wears glasses. He mainly contributes to the SSS through intelligence gathering and other affairs, but does not actively fight. Yuri herself says to not be fooled by his glasses and that he is actually an idiot. Though appearing to be slender, he works out and is actually well-built muscle-wise. After he first reveals this, he tends to take his shirt off, much to everyone's discomfort.
- Noda (野田?)
- Voiced by: Shun Takagi (Japanese), Leraldo Anzaldua (English)
- Noda is a self-reliant boy who executes the strategies formed by the SSS and fights with a halberd. He does not listen to anyone other than Yuri, for whom he has adoration, and is antagonistic to almost everyone else. He has a one-sided rivalry with Otonashi. He is a complete idiot whose weakness is education. He is not afraid to harm or kill anyone who gets in Yuri's way.
- Shiina (椎名?)
- Voiced by: Fūko Saitō (Japanese), Melissa Davis (English)
- Shiina is a female ninja who fights with dual-wielding kodachi and shuriken. She is able to sense when danger is coming and is a highly capable fighter. Despite her serious demeanor, she has a weakness for cute things like stuffed animals. She is strict in her training and is very self-critical when she fails, especially to a newcomer like Otonashi. She rarely speaks but will normally remark "how shallow-minded" whenever the obvious or something stupid is said.
- Yusa (遊佐?)
- Voiced by: Yui Makino (Japanese), Serena Varghese (English)
- Yusa is an operator in the SSS who conveys the state of the battlefield to Yuri. She is a calm and gentle mannered girl with a straightforward character. Much like Angel, she does not express her emotions and is called scary by Otonashi and Hinata. She cannot calm down without her earphone. She rarely talks, and she sometimes hurts others' feelings even though she does not mean it.
- Fujimaki (藤巻?)
- Voiced by: Yūki Masuda (Japanese), Andrew Love (English)
- Fujimaki is a delinquent who fights with a long shirasaya. He picks on new people like Otonashi but does not seem like a bad person himself. He cannot swim.
- Voiced by: Michael Rivas (Japanese), Adam Van Wagoner (English)
- TK is a mysterious character who wears a large bandanna over his eyes and tends to break out in dance every so often. No one knows his real name or past. He speaks in semi-nonsensical English phrases depending on the situation, mainly quoted from pop culture, but apparently does not know English fluently. He saves the team many times and does know some Japanese but rarely speaks it, though he seems to understand what others say to him. He carries Browning Hi-Power and LAR Grizzly handguns or a PP-19 Bizon submachine gun during missions.
- Matsushita (松下?)
- Voiced by: Eiichirō Tokumoto (Japanese), Rob Mungle (English)
- Matsushita, also known as "Matsushita 5-dan", has a large build and is a master at judo. He never forgets a debt he owes, especially when it involves food (specifically gyūdon). He carries heavy weapons such as rocket launchers or machine guns into battle. He later loses weight after training in the mountains.
- Ōyama (大山?)
- Voiced by: Yumiko Kobayashi (Japanese), Corey Hartzog (English)
- Ōyama is an ordinary boy who has no special talents. He does not excel at anything, but is as capable as any normal person; in other words, he is a Jack of all trades. He is a pure boy whose feelings will get hurt from things like a making fake confession or watching his teammates "die". He carries a Remington 700 sniper rifle or a P226 handgun.
- Takeyama (竹山?)
- Voiced by: Mitsuhiro Ichiki (Japanese), Dylan Godwin (English)
- Takeyama is an intelligent boy who is good at hacking computers. He wrote the "Briefing Manager" program that Yuri uses to brief the SSS prior to a mission. He insists everyone should call him by his username "Christ", though nobody cares about it. He tries to execute all plans as perfectly as possible. He does not engage in combat or any other physical operations, but rather gathers data and information.
- Chā (チャー?)
- Voiced by: Hiroki Tōchi (Japanese), Illich Guardiola (English)
- Chā is the leader of the Guild. Despite looking much older, he is about the same age as Otonashi and the others. He is the fourth member to join the SSS. He first met Yuri and Hinata by holding the Principal of the school hostage in an attempt to learn more about God, causing him to get stabbed by Kanade.
- Ayato Naoi (直井 文人 Naoi Ayato?)
- Voiced by: Megumi Ogata (Japanese), Greg Ayres (English)
- Naoi is a human originally thought to be a non-player character (non-human). After he died, Naoi developed hypnotic powers that allow him to control others and cause them to enter a dream-like state. In life, he was the son of a famous potter. However, it was his brother who had the talent in pottery and as a result, Naoi was ignored by everyone. When his brother died, he was made to replace him by his father and was given strict training in pottery. As a result, he felt as if his own life was fake and all he wanted was to be acknowledged for his own existence. He later befriends Otonashi after he acknowledges him and joins the SSS. As acting student council president for a time and self-proclaimed God, Naoi is strict and arrogant, but this is quick to disperse when Otonashi chastises him. He is affectionate to Otonashi, much to the latter's chagrin, and always tries to earn his affection.
Girls Dead Monster
- Iwasawa (岩沢?)
- Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro (Japanese), Luci Christian (English), Marina (singing)
- Iwasawa is the initial leader of Girls Dead Monster who is in charge of the vocals and is the rhythm guitarist. She also writes the lyrics and composes the music for the band's songs. She plays a Sienna Sunburst/Maple Fender Stratocaster guitar. While usually a quiet girl, she is able to fascinate listeners by striving to create music that speaks her thoughts. She used music as an escape from her constantly fighting parents in life, but ended up dying from a brain injury she received. Her full name is Masami Iwasawa.
- Hisako (ひさ子?)
- Voiced by: Chie Matsuura (Japanese), Elizabeth Bunch, Jessica Boone (English)
- Hisako is second-in-command of Girls Dead Monster who plays a Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar as lead guitarist. She has a candid personality and likes to play mahjong, which she has incredible luck with. As noted by Hinata, Hisako is also athletic and is greatly admired by Yui for her guitar riffs. In life, she was a part of a band whose main vocalist ended up committing suicide, but after meeting Iwasawa, she forms Girls Dead Monster with her.
- Irie (入江?)
- Voiced by: Kana Asumi
- Irie is the drummer of Girls Dead Monster who, despite being dead herself, is bad with hearing stories about ghosts or spirits, which Sekine likes to take advantage of. She is best friends with Sekine and joined Girls Dead Monster at the same time as her. Her full name is Miyuki Irie.
- Sekine (関根?)
- Voiced by: Emiri Katō
- Sekine plays a G&L L-2000 bass guitar in Girls Dead Monster. She likes to play pranks on those around her to see the surprised faces of her victims. She also likes to abruptly improvise during performances, much to Hisako's chagrin. Her full name is Shiori Sekine.
- Yui (ユイ?)
- Voiced by: Eri Kitamura (Japanese), Hilary Haag (English), LiSA (singing)
- Yui is a big fan and initially an assistant to Girls Dead Monster. She is known to be hyperactive and talks extremely fast. Hinata finds Yui annoying, which results in bouts between the two of them though in truth, they truly care about one another, saying that had they met before they died, they would have fallen in love with each other. She wears a devil tail and shackle bracelets on her wrists, giving her an image of an imp or devil. She also has wings hidden by her hair on her back. After Iwasawa's departure, Yui becomes the new rhythm guitarist and vocalist of Girls Dead Monster, as well as its leader. Yui plays a Gibson SG Special electric guitar. She later becomes a part of the main SSS, following them along on missions, though she does not contribute much. In life, she was hit by a car and was paralyzed as a result from a young age. Her regret was being not able to do anything with her body.
Creation and conception
The original creators of Angel Beats!, Jun Maeda and Na-Ga of Key, were interviewed in the July 2009 issue of ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Magazine. Around the time Key completed the first release of their sixth visual novel Little Busters!, Hironori Toba of Aniplex (himself a fan of Key's works) approached Maeda around October 2007 about collaborating to produce an original anime series. Maeda began meeting with Toba and Aniplex on a monthly basis and the story started to gradually progress. Aniplex wanted Maeda to write a screenplay that would be very "Key-like, with touching moments of laughter and tears," but initially Maeda found himself at a loss to write a story more amusing than Little Busters!, because he thought that he had reached a limit with Little Busters! in regards to a "Key-like story". However, one day Maeda was struck by inspiration, where he thought up the initial idea of a story set in the afterlife. Furthermore, with everyone already dead, Maeda conceived of flashy battles where the combatants go all out without fear of death. According to Maeda, the theme of the series is "life", which in Angel Beats! is depicted as a precious and wonderful thing, despite the characters in Angel Beats! who fight against their fate.
Maeda nominated Na-Ga to begin work on the character designs near the beginning of 2008. Na-Ga was worried that other computer graphics (CG) work for Key would get delayed, but he took the position because of his accumulated experience in CG. Maeda nominated Na-Ga because of the popular characters he designed in Little Busters!, and because of his frankness. Na-Ga designed Yuri based on her personality as a leader, though it was per Maeda's request that he added the black headband, taken from the character Yukiko Amagi from Persona 4, who was Maeda's favorite heroine from that game. The length of Yuri's hair and the addition of a green ribbon were decided from production committee meetings. Angel's original concept began with the idea of a brave, fighting girl. Maeda cited that Angel's image had changed considerably over the development process and that originally she was similar to Shiki Ryōgi from Kara no Kyōkai. Eventually, Angel's concept changed to being a "silent and mysterious girl". Before Na-Ga decided on Otonashi's design, Maeda told him that anything would be fine and to just draw something, and eventually drew up a prototype for Otonashi and Hinata, among others. Some of the characters had vague initial conditions given by Maeda, such as asking Na-Ga to draw an "all female band bass guitarist" in the case of Girls Dead Monster member Sekine and particularly the cryptic "character who speaks in puzzling English phrases" for TK.
The Aniplex producer of Angel Beats!, Hironori Toba, was interviewed in the November 2009 issue of Dengeki G's Magazine, where he commented that a 13-episode anime with about 21 minutes per episode was not enough to tell the whole story of Angel Beats! Maeda had envisioned. Therefore, the various additional media, such as the illustrated short stories and manga, contain some of the story that was unable to make it into the anime because of time constraints. Toba wanted fans of the series to be able to enjoy it to the fullest by exploring all of the media types. Maeda found it tiring to go back and forth between Osaka and Tokyo for business meetings when he was in the process of writing the script, and found it difficult to write an entire script by himself, since he had never done that before with any of the games he produced as a member of Key. It was only after the script was done that Maeda was able to work on the music, which he greatly enjoyed and never tired of it. Maeda composed about 15 songs for Girls Dead Monster and spent about two days each composing each song. He made sure to create songs for Girls Dead Monster that high school girls would compose, including the lyrics. Due to this, Maeda pointed out that the opening and ending theme songs for Angel Beats!, which Maeda also composed, sound like they were composed by a different person compared to the Girls Dead Monster songs.
In regards to bringing in P.A. Works as the animation studio, Toba had taken notice of the company from back when they provided in-between animation and production assistance for Fullmetal Alchemist (2003–4) and Darker than Black (2007), respectively; Aniplex helped produce both series. After watching just the first three episodes of P.A. Works' True Tears (2008), however, he was shocked at the high quality and immediately went to P.A. Works' studio in Toyama Prefecture to meet with the production staff in the hope that one day Aniplex could collaborate with them on a project together. The following week, Maeda brought up the subject of deciding on an animation studio for Angel Beats! and mentioned that he too had seen True Tears and had become interested in P.A. Works. Shortly after that, Toba formally made the proposal to P.A. Works to animate the project. Maeda focused on making jokes an important part of Angel Beats!, leading Toba to seek out Seiji Kishi to be the director, because of his experience in directing and his pulling power influence on the staff of P.A. Works, where there are many that are still young. Kishi was ultimately approached by P.A. Works representative director Kenji Horikawa about working on a "school comedy written by a game scenario writer" and was shocked after taking the director's position to discover Maeda was the screenwriter. Kishi commented how, far from just being a comedy, the series contains many different aspects, including flashy action scenes, live musical performances, and drama. Kishi stated that normally he would be hard pressed to cover this range of aspects, but was motivated by Maeda's uncompromising attitude in regards to the script. The decision to add in the all female band Girls Dead Monster was due to Maeda's intent to add in many different and interesting elements into the series.
Kishi specifically requested that sound and music director Satoki Iida work on the project, who also helped with the proofreading of the script due to Maeda's fixation on the music production. Iida was interviewed in the April 2010 issue of Dengeki G's Magazine, where it was stated that Maeda and the group Anant-Garde Eyes received Iida's approval to employ a minimalist approach to the background music (BGM) used throughout the anime. Iida admitted that it was uncustomary to use this music genre in anime and that he had to go through various trials and errors with Maeda and Anant-Garde Eyes to get the music right. Maeda and Anant-Garde Eyes strove to create individual quality music tracks, while Iida pursued the goal of having music that would be useful as BGM tracks, which caused problems during the creation process. Iida realized that it was important for the music and the visuals to combine together to create a synchronization between the two. Toba first took notice of Angel Beats! character designer and chief animator Katsuzō Hirata during the production of Gurren Lagann (2007) with his skill as an artist and ability to finish work quickly, but thoroughly. It was after Toba saw Hirata's work as chief animator of Strike Witches (2008), however, that he pursued Hirata to join the Angel Beats! staff; Maeda also gave his seal of approval for Hirata.
Internet radio shows
A four-episode Internet radio show to promote Angel Beats! called Jun Maeda's Brutal Radio (麻枝准の殺伐ラジオ Maeda Jun no Satsubatsu Rajio?) aired between May 30, 2009 and March 31, 2010. The show was hosted by Jun Maeda, though guests did make appearances, such as Hironori Towa, the producer for Angel Beats!, and Na-Ga. One month after each regular broadcast, an additional shorter broadcast called Postwar Disposition (戦後処理 Sengo Shori?) was released. Another Internet radio show to promote the series titled Angel Beats! SSS Radio had a pre-broadcast on March 18, 2010, and began regular weekly broadcasting on April 1, 2010. Produced by Hibiki Radio Station, the show is hosted by Harumi Sakurai (the voice of Yuri), Kana Hanazawa (the voice of Angel) and Eri Kitamura (the voice of Yui). The first volume of a CD compilation containing the first four broadcasts, as well as the pre-broadcast and brand new recorded material, was sold on June 23, 2010. A limited edition of volume two was sold at Comiket 78 in August 2010, and became available for general sale on September 22, 2010. Volumes three through six were released between October 27, 2010 and June 24, 2011. Volume seven will follow on July 29, 2011.
Books and publications
A series of seven illustrated short stories written by Jun Maeda and drawn by GotoP entitled Angel Beats! Track Zero were serialized between the November 2009 and May 2010 issues of ASCII Media Works's Dengeki G's Magazine. The main character of the stories is Hinata, and is a prequel to Angel Beats!, which tells the story of how the SSS was formed. A special extra chapter focusing on Girls Dead Monster was published in the sixth volume of Dengeki G's Festival! Deluxe on March 29, 2010. The short stories were collected into a bound volume released on June 23, 2010 and included an additional chapter along with the other eight chapters. The chapter titles for the stories are taken from song titles from various musical artists. The first chapter, "Two Person Rocket" (二人のロケット?, "Futari no Rocket"), was posted online with illustrations by ASCII Media Works. ASCII Media Works published an Angel Beats! Official Guide Book on December 22, 2010.
A four-panel comic strip manga entitled Angel Beats! The 4-koma: Our War Front March Song (Angel Beats! The4コマ 僕らの戦線行進曲♪ Angel Beats! The 4-koma Bokura no Sensen Kōshinkyoku?) began serialization in the December 2009 issue of ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Magazine. A two-page special chapter of the manga was printed in full color in the fifth volume of Dengeki G's Festival! Deluxe published on December 26, 2009. Another four-page special chapter in full color was printed in the sixth volume of Deluxe. The manga is inspired from Jun Maeda's original concept and is illustrated by Haruka Komowata. Komowata was also in charge of illustrating a manga which showcased the progress of the Angel Beats! project and was serialized between the September 2009 and July 2010 issues of Dengeki G's Magazine. The first tankōbon volume for Angel Beats! The 4-koma was released on December 18, 2010 under ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Comics EX imprint. A manga illustrated by Yuriko Asami, titled Angel Beats! Heaven's Door, began serialization in Dengeki G's Magazine in the May 2010 issue. Heaven's Door is based on the Angel Beats! Track Zero short stories. The first tankōbon volume for Angel Beats! Heaven's Door was released on December 18, 2010 under ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Comics imprint; the second volume will follow on July 27, 2011. An anthology titled Angel Beats! Comic Anthology was published by ASCII Media Works on December 18, 2010.
The 13-episode Angel Beats! anime TV series directed by Seiji Kishi and produced by P.A. Works and Aniplex aired in Japan between April 3 and June 26, 2010 on the CBC television network. The first episode was previewed on March 22, 2010 to a selected number of people who participated in a lottery held that earlier that month. The screenplay was written by Jun Maeda, who originally conceived the series. Chief animator Katsuzō Hirata based the character design used in the anime on Na-Ga's original designs. Sound and music direction was headed by Satoki Iida. The eyecatches used in the series feature the series logo on a white background with the note middle A played a single time.
The first BD/DVD compilation volume containing the first two episodes was released on June 23, 2010 in limited and regular editions; the limited edition came bundled with a drama CD written by Maeda and performed by the anime's cast. The second and third BD/DVD volumes were released on July 21 and August 25, 2010. Another drama CD was bundled with the limited edition of the fourth BD/DVD volume released on September 22, 2010. The fifth and sixth BD/DVD volumes were released on October 27 and November 24, 2010; a third drama CD was bundled with the limited edition of the sixth BD/DVD volume. The seventh and final BD/DVD volume released on December 22, 2010 featured an original video animation episode, as well as a bonus short which serves as another epilogue to the series. Sentai Filmworks licensed the anime, and along with distributor Section23 Films, will release the series on BD/DVD on July 26, 2011. Siren Visual licensed the anime for Australia and New Zealand.
The music used in the anime is composed by Maeda and the group Anant-Garde Eyes, who also provided the musical arrangement. The music is released on Key's record label Key Sounds Label. The opening theme is "My Soul, Your Beats!" sung by Lia and the ending theme is "Brave Song" sung by Aoi Tada. The single containing both songs titled "My Soul, Your Beats! / Brave Song" was released on May 26, 2010 in limited (CD+DVD) and regular (CD) editions; the limited edition's DVD contains the opening and ending videos without the credits. The in-story band Girls Dead Monster is made up of the real-life singers Marina and LiSA. Five singles for Girls Dead Monster were released. The first, "Crow Song", was released on April 23, 2010 featuring songs sung by Marina. The second and third singles, "Thousand Enemies" and "Little Braver", followed on May 12 and June 9, 2010, respectively, with songs sung by LiSA. The fourth single was "Last Song" by Marina and the fifth single was "Ichiban no Takaramono (Yui final ver.)" (一番の宝物～Yui final ver.～?) by LiSA; both singles were released on December 8, 2010. A Girls Dead Monster album titled Keep The Beats! was released on June 30, 2010. A version of Keep The Beats! containing instrumental tracks was released on July 28, 2010 bundled with a 256-page band score book. The anime's original soundtrack was released on July 28, 2010 as a two-CD set.
Each of the Angel Beats! Blu-ray Disc (BD) compilation volumes ranked in the top three on Japan's Oricon weekly BD sales chart. Volumes one and four ranked at No. 1, volumes two and five ranked at No. 2, and volumes three, six and seven ranked at No. 3. The DVD volumes, however, ranked lower than the BDs on Oricon. Volume one ranked at No.5, volume two at No. 10, volume three at No. 13, volume four at No. 11, volume five at No. 8, volume six at No. 12, and volume seven at No. 15. The sixth episode of Angel Beats!, which aired on May 8, 2010 on Osaka's MBS station in Japan, achieved a record 4.9% rating for an anime series broadcast during the late-night "Anime Shower" timeslot in the past three years. The Angel Beats! anime was selected as a recommended work by the awards jury of the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2010.
The opening and ending theme song single "My Soul, Your Beats! / Brave Song" debuted at No. 3 on Japan's Oricon weekly singles chart, selling about 80,000 copies in its first week of sales. "My Soul, Your Beats! / Brave Song" was awarded a Gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) in May 2010 for shipping over 100,000 copies. Girls Dead Monster's single "Crow Song" debuted at No. 7 on the Oricon singles chart, selling approximately 16,400 copies in about four days. "Crow Song" sold over 25,000 more copies over the next three weeks after its release. The Girls Dead Monster single "Thousand Enemies" debuted at No. 4 on the Oricon singles chart, selling about 28,000 copies in its first week of sales. "Thousand Enemies" sold over 18,000 more copies over the next two weeks after its release. Girls Dead Monster's third single "Little Braver" debuted at No. 2 on the Oricon singles chart, selling about 38,800 copies in its first week of sales. Girls Dead Monster's fourth and fifth singles, "Last Song" and "Ichiban no Takaramono (Yui final ver.)", ranked at No. 2 and No. 3 on the Oricon singles chart, respectively, both selling about 35,000 copies in their first week of sales. The Girls Dead Monster album Keep The Beats! ranked at No. 6 on the Oricon albums chart, selling about 51,000 copies in its first week of sales. Keep The Beats! was awarded a Gold disc by the RIAJ in September 2010 for shipping over 100,000 copies. The version of Keep The Beats! with instrumental tracks and a band score book ranked at No. 14 on the Oricon albums chart, selling just under 9,000 copies in its first week. The Angel Beats! Original Soundtrack ranked at No. 9 on the Oricon albums chart, selling about 13,300 copies in its first week.
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- Angel Beats! official website (Japanese)
- Angel Beats! at Key (Japanese)
- Angel Beats! at the Internet Movie Database
- Angel Beats! (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
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