Angel Beats – First Impressions

Rundown: Guy wakes up in the afterlife with amnesia; is immediately recruited into an after-school club locked in a battle with a seemingly omnipotent authority in the guise of a white-haired schoolgirl (Angel). They foil Angel with combo of J-pop concerts, handguns, artillery, and stage fans. The afterlife is also densely populated with NPCs. Guy’s told if he doesn’t fight, he’ll disappear.

This is P.A.’s third anime after True Tears (haven’t seen) and Canaan (watchable but shallow). It doesn’t waste any time throwing you directly into the situation at hand, and is paced well throughout. The SSS brigade/club leader reminded me a lot of Haruhi Suzumiya – charismatic; bossy; a little insane, but she has a much larger force under her command, more weaponry, and isn’t fighting on Earth, but in an afterlife with specific rules and roles. There’s thoughtful dialougue, comedy, and plenty of well-orchestrated action, and I didn’t even mind the concert, since it was intercut with other action.