Angel Beats! – OVA 1

Down to the two OVA episodes of Angel Beats!. Sadly, neither episode is available for streaming here in the U.S.. This first one was included in the Blu-ray and DVD release by Sentai Filmworks (the second wasn’t since it came out in 2015) though both those products are now out of print and pricey since Sentai’s license for the series has expired. I don’t encourage piracy but your best bet to watch the OVAs is through thirty-party websites and torrents.

OVAs and specials tend to serve one of two purposes. The first is to either continue or expand on the story of the parent show. The second is providing a self-contained and inconsequential but otherwise entertaining scenario involving the characters you know and love. Ideally, I’d like for these Angel Beats! OVAs to fulfill the former purpose but ultimately, both episodes fit in the latter. It’s a damn shame. With a backlog of characters the show never got around to, learning more about at least one character would’ve been nice. At least the OVAs are fun.

The plot of this episode is simple: set between episodes 4 and 5, Yuri orders the SSS to act hyperactive and pretend to enjoy youth for a day. Her hope is that them acting like this and not disappearing as a result would confuse Tenshi and report the conundrum to God, giving the SSS the opportunity to finally confront him. The punishment for failing is that everyone except Yuri will have to fast for a week (obviously, with an end result like that, the group has to fail for comedy’s sake). Thus, we have the group going ape shit for nearly the whole episode. Hianta and some of the boys scream at the top of their lungs while in class before playing a game of baseball. GirlDeMo have the loudest jam session they can muster. Fujimaki and Oyama embark on a self-imposed buffet while TK suffers from a cramped stomach. Somehow, everyone meets and clash (especially Hinata and Yui, unsurprisingly) before agreeing to have fun together. About the only two who aren’t too involved here are Otonashi and Shiina though both do end up pitching in at some point, Shiina especiallyThese goofballs already are a wild bunch but honestly, this episode has me thinking they may have held back their energy this whole time. 

An amusing visual included in the episode is the “tension meter” which provides a numerical value to everyone’s mood. The score really doesn’t mean anything but it can garner a laugh as it keeps fluctuating depending on who’s on screen and what that person is doing as well as how high and low it can get. I particularly love how the meter even measures for Yuri. She’s not technically participating in the plan but considering the energy she gives off, it would’ve been a mistake on the animator’s part to not include her in this gag.

Being set between Episodes 4 and 5, you probably could watch this episode in between these two. It does reference details that are more prevalent later on in the series though the episode does a good job respecting the continuity. Fujimaki, Oyama, and TK all eat mapo tofu; a nice retroactive hint towards future developments for Tenshi. Naoi has a cameo appearance here and acts unassuming as he should in this point in time. Tenshi is shown gardening at the end and I’d argue that detail of her character is introduced more organically here. In Episode 7, it frankly feels like a throwaway detail. I kind of wish the show did more with it since her having a hobby ought to have raised flags for Yuri and Otonashi. About the only “future” detail the episode kind of screws up with is having Takamatsu take off his shirt and flex his six pack. That’s meant to be a surprise gag in Episode 5 so watching this OVA chronologically would undermine the joke. That said, if that’s the only bit of continuity the episode screws up in, it must have done a dang good job.

With the comedy squarely being the focus and character development receiving the short end of the stick, this episode can feel a little tiring. One of Angel Beats‘ strengths is the show’s versatility so seeing an episode stay so singular in tone can feel a bit weak. And again, I wish the extra episode was used to expand on the mythos, even it by a teensy bit. Still, Angel Beats! can be extremely funny and I can’t deny that this episode is no different in that regard.

Thanks for reading!

Watch Angel Beats! on CrunchyrollFunimation, and Netflix

Read my Angel Beats! reviews

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