I wonder if Jun Maeda was influenced by Persona 4, because first we see a Naoto clone (named Naoi) and now we get evil shadows that consume people.
This threesome seems so wrong… but I’m still sort of amused by them. Somehow Naoi learns of Otonashi’s plan to erase people (I suppose it only sounds evil when Naoi says it, although the irony is delicious), and wants in on the fun. And by fun, I mean getting in between Otonashi and Hinata’s budding romance. Naoi’s excuse making skills may be poor, but even he realizes you can’t stand idly by when the competition is moving in on your target. However, the romantic interlude is interrupted when aforementioned evil shadow grows from Naoi and tries to devour him. Luckily, both Otonashi and Hinata are able to fight it off with bullets (don’t ask).
Yuri’s one smart cookie. Easily the smartest one in the show. And she’s quickly able to pick up on the fact that Kanade isn’t the same Angel she was before. I wonder if she also thinks Kanade seems more and more like a stray puppy ever since she turned "not evil." The way she just stands around looking into space… it’s sort of cute in a completely unromantic way. However, when they hear the gunfire from a major shadow attack outside, Kanade unleashes her angel wings which actually are a quite to see. I don’t know how functional they are though, because she hit the ground pretty heavily. For a second, I was afraid they were completely useless and she’d end up doing a nosedive.
I haven’t really cared about TK, because well… he doesn’t do anything. But even I’ll admit that his "I kiss you" gunkata was pretty smoove. The gang successfully fight off the shadows in the school yard, but not before Yuri notices one of the NPCs actually turning into one of the shadows. But bad news hits quickly when they learn that Takamatsu has been consumed by one of the shadows. The next day, they find him revived and sitting in class, but with no memory of the attack. It quickly becomes obvious to Yuri (I’ve used that phrase a few times now) that Takamatsu is no longer the same Takamatsu. Instead he’s lost his soul and turned into an NPC.
So here’s where things take a turn. Yuri, who’s been onto Otonashi’s plan all along, lays out the options for the whole crew, including the Guild faction. They can try to continue fighting the shadows with no guarantee that they’ll win, or they can go along with Otonashi’s plan to disappear in a good way. Surprisingly, Yuri isn’t dogmatic at all and leaves the decision to all of them, which leads to a tearjerking montage. Damn you Angel Beats, toying with our emotions!
So a couple things. One, I thought the whole mystery behind the shadows was fascinating. I think Angel Beats is most interesting when it’s letting you in on beats and pieces of the world. The characters are likeable, but it’s the world that’s really interesting. Two, Otonashi’s plan sucks. And I don’t mean sucks because I have a moral qualm against it or anything like that. But it sucks, because it’s completely implausible. I have a very hard time believing that Otonashi and Hinata (I suppose Naoi could do it with ease) suddenly have the power to solve everyone’s screwed up emotional problems in an afternoon. It’s not like they’re Dr. Irabu or something. I also don’t think a night of reflection will allow everyone to disappear on their own accord either. Yui was an aberration. A break in the Matrix. Luckily for her, she was Trinity and she found her Neo. But for everyone else? Look, all the thinking in the world isn’t going to solve your deep seated abusive, traumatic memories. They didn’t end up in limbo, because they needed a word of encouragement and a delicious after school snack. They ended up in limbo because they most likely had some really messed up personal histories. The show is going to feel ridiculously rushed if I find that half the people suddenly disappear within a day of each other.
Luckily for us, it seems Yui has other plans. Travel through the Guild (again) and deliver us a sequel, will ya? I have no idea how they’re going to be able to wrap this show up. There’s two episodes left, and you have to think that one will be devoted to Kanade’s backstory, and the other to Yui’s redemption. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for the other people in the show.