Angel Beats! Episode 6

March 8, 2010

After five instalments of delighting in confounding viewer expectations at almost every turn, you weren’t really expecting episode six of Angel Beats! to be any different, did you? Angel might now be removed from her position as student council president (which I suppose means we should just call her plain old Kanada Tachibana now), but that doesn’t mean that life has become easy for the SSS. Far from it in fact, as life under the acting student council president Naoi proves to be much harsher as he makes use of “normal” NPC students to assist him in rounding up any trouble-makers and putting them in “reflection rooms” – The closest the school has to a prison.

With Yuri seemingly unsure of what to do next, she sends the rest of her charges out to do whatever they like around the school, which needless to say soon attracts Naoi’s attention, while Otonashi’s attempt to befriend Kanada soon finds the pair of them locked up for the seemingly trivial matter of eating in a school break-time. This soon proves to be nothing more than an excuse for Naoi to get his predecessor out of the way however, as his true nature (and indeed his past prior to ending up in this current world) comes to the surface showing him to be not far short of some kind of mini-Hitler who has taken it upon himself to become the world’s god in the absence of anything else.

As I mentioned in that opening paragraph, Angel Beats! certainly seems to be enjoying throwing everyone for a loop on a weekly basis, and although it seemed quite obvious Naoi was a normal person that going to shake things up this episode while leaving space for Angel to effectively “switch sides”, that’s about all I was able to predict – Indeed, I’m not sure anyone would have expected him to be effectively a cruel, sadistic swine looking to make up for what he perceived as a miserable past life by taking it out on everybody else.

Speaking of that past life, it’s difficult to make much out of both his story and what the end of this episode means for the rest of the series – Otonashi’s outburst and attempts to console Naoi look likely to bring about a change in his attitude, but to what degree? Perhaps just as importantly, we didn’t get to see how Naoi actually died, leaving a question mark over his head much like we already have over Yuri’s (although her feeling responsible for her sisters deaths seems to have been confirmed). Throw into that Kanada’s place in affairs and the fact that we seem to know less and less about the world in which Angel Beats! is set, as it’s almost staggering how little information we have after practically reaching the half-way point of the series. You know what though? I wouldn’t have it any other way, especially after an episode that somehow managed to work well despite being a mish-mash of so many different elements and sub-plots.


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