No real relevance, it’s just not an Angel Beats! post without a TK picture!
There are times when Key’s work becomes so formulaic that it’s hard to be surprised at what they’re going to throw at us next. This is one of those times. I had my suspicions back in episode 3 when Iwasawa disappeared, but with episode 10, my suspicions have been confirmed. I present to you: The Maeda Jun Angel Beats! formula.
Step 1 – Set up the scene with something humorous. Episode 3: Christ’s introduction and Yui’s introduction. Episode 10: The “steal guitar” plan.
Step 2 – Add in backstory. Episode 3: Iwasawa’s backstory. Episode 10: Yui’s 5 second backstory.
Step 3 – Insert misc events to build up the tension between the revelation of the backstory and the conclusion. Episode 3: Hack Kanade’s computer and the concert. Episode 10: Otonashi plays with Yui.
Step 4 – Hit them hard with the drama. Episode 3: Iwasawa’s final song and disappearance. Episode 10: Yui and Hinata scene and disappearance.
Step 5 – Insert cliffhanger. Episode 3: “Tenshi got her own powers… Is there no God?” Episode 10: The Shadow.
Step 6 – Adjust elements in proportion to the amount of time left in the episode.
And that, my friends, is how you create an Angel Beats! episode using the Maeda Jun formula.
In all honesty though, I’m getting rather sick of seeing this stuff over and over again. I know this is supposed to make me feel all emotional inside, but I’m really feeling… nothing. It might be because I’ve just become completely immune to Key drama, or it might be because Maeda Jun failed with his proportions of drama vs humor in this latest episode.
In the Iwasawa episode, I would say that the emphasis of the episode was on the drama. Iwasawa’s backstory took up at least a few minutes, and the same deal with her ending. In the Yui episode, I felt that the comedy domianted and the humor took at a backseat until the end. Yui’s backstory took up all of about a minutes worth of the show. The ending was well done, if not cheesey, but the problem with Angel Beats! as has been reiterated over and over again by numerous people, is its absolutely horrendous disjoint between comedy and drama.
In every single Angel Beats! episode that I have watched, there has not been one episode where comedy and drama didn’t occur in the same episode. Yet that’s not a bad thing. In fact, mixing in a little comedy where appropriate within a dramatic episode is probably a good thing. Just look at episode 6, the one where Naoi went on a killing rampage. The ENTIRE second half of the episode was pure drama. There was no comedy to be had, which was perfect considering the setting. Yet I definitely didn’t mind the small bits of Kanade humor in the beginning of the episode. They never intruded upon the drama.
This was fine.
But in episode 10, this was not the case. I didn’t feel that the drama worked for me. I think it resulted from the length of time devoted to Yui’s backstory, and the even longer time that was spent on the German Suplex and the Soccer game. I think another part of the problem also comes from the completely unbelievable nature of the characters. I mean honestly, Otonashi came up with the most retarded scheme for getting the boys to play football with Yui. That was more of a facepalm moment rather than a “haha” moment for me. The characters are just so exaggerated that we lose the impact of the drama that’s supposed to make us feel sympathetic towards them. You know that you’ve failed at creating drama if this is the reaction from any fan. I don’t think anyone went “ha ha Nagisa is finally dead! That girl was so freaking annoying during the show!” That’s not really the reaction that anyone is looking for.
On the other hand… You’ve got to be kidding me. What kind of a plan… Never mind
If I were to sum up the problem of Angel Beats! in just one phrase, it’d have to be “identity crisis”. The show doesn’t know what it wants to be, or what it wants to do. You can’t have fundamentally ridiculous characters in a drama. You can’t mix comedy and drama in disproportionate amounts. None of it works in Angel Beats! I don’t feel sympathetic to the characters when I should, and I don’t feel sad when I should. I just can’t stand characters that are absurd while trying to live in a serious world. I can’t stand the fact that the entire conflict of the show between Yuri and Kanade started because Kanade apparently lacks communication skills. I can’t stand the random introduction of Naoi into the SSS. None of this makes any sense.
I think I’ve beaten the dead horse into the ground, but I’m serious when I say that this “shadow arc” better pull something pretty crazy out of its hat, or I’m honestly going to rage so hard at this show. Such a great premise… Such poor execution… Bah.
PS – The lateness of this post was due to me not knowing what my reaction even was to this episode. This was my initial reaction:
Lol Angel Beats. I don’t even know what to say. I don’t even know what to say. I can’t think of what to say… LOL.
PPS – I know that I haven’t touched The Tatami Galaxy yet, but I promise that I’ll have a huge series of posts on it when I come back from a short break on Thursday!