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Angel Beats! Episode 5

May 1, 2010

It’s exam season at the decidedly strange school that makes up the centrepiece of Angel Beats!, which means that it’s the perfect time for Yuri and the rest of the SSS to launch yet another of their plans in an attempt to gain an upper hand in their constant rebellion against the status quo.Their plot this time around is to disrupt Angel’s exam performance by switching her answer papers with their own concoctions filled with various levels of nonsense, ensuring that everyone is distracted so that the papers can be switched while nobody is watching. Needless to say this particular segment of the episode is rich in comedy, thanks largely to Yuri’s dangerously ingenious way of attracting attention which comes complete with action replays. Away from that, we do also learn Angel’s actual name, a vital component of faking her exam papers.

The results of this plan however are more effective than even the SSS could possibly have imagined – Rumours soon spread around the school that Angel received a zero in all of her exams, seeing her face the wrath of the teachers before she’s eventually demoted as school council president. Is this game over for the SSS’ greatest threat and enemy?

With Angel out of the way, Yuri soon launches another raid on meal tickets (complete with a performance by the new look Girls Dead Monster), but during the operation we see a very different Angel emerge – Non-threatening, meek, even sad as she pushes through the crowds to buy a meal ticket which she loses in the SSS-induced chaos. Is this really a henchman of God, or simply another human being thrust into this confusing world and doing the best she can in the circumstances?

Such is the big question that this fifth episode of Angel Beats! leaves us with, and it’s one that’s illustrated quite poignantly – Despite seeing the weapon-wielding and ruthlessly lethal (or as close as you can get in this world) Angel previously, you can’t help but soften up to this girl pushing fruitlessly against the crowds clutching a ticket for her favourite meal only to see it lost to her wide-eyed disappointment, and working hard in her exams only to have her efforts effectively stolen from her. Certainly, it’s another huge twist in the show’s tail, which leaves us knowing little more than we did at the very start – This could be the kind of progress to frustrate in some series, yet here it just leaves me wanting more, particularly when it’s blended it with such enjoyable slapstick comedy and some wonderfully animated moments. It’s still genuinely hard to pin down where this series is headed or, more importantly, where it will end up, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride at this juncture.

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