Otonashi wakes up suddenly to find that he can't remember anything, not even his full name. Before he even has time to get his bearings, a purple-haired girl with a sniper rifle informs him that he is dead and asks him to join her rebellion against God... God is nowhere to be seen, however.
The world they are in seems like an enormous Japanese boarding school populated by soulless, though realistic and harmless, "NPC"s who act like ordinary students and faculty. The only apparent enemy of the self-named Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife Battlefront) is the student council president, a short, white-haired girl they call Tenshi (Angel), who wields supernatural powers in an effort to force the SSS to behave like the normal students. Every real person who has submitted to this behavior has disappeared forever, so the SSS members are understandably unwilling. The Angel Beats! anime is the story of Otonashi's time in this strange afterlife, as he learns about his situation, interacts with the others in the SSS and Tenshi, waits to regain his memories, and decides what to do after he does.
The light novel was the first adaptation to see publication in November 2009, spanning seven chapters and one special until its completion in May 2010. The series was authored by Jun Maeda and illustrated by GotoP, and published by ASCII Media Works in Dengeki G's Magazine.
A manga adaptation quickly followed the light novel, under the title Angel Beats! The 4-koma, first published in December 2009. Also authored by Jun Maeda and illustrated by Haruka Komowata, the manga was again published by ASCII Media Works in Dengeki G's Magazine. The manga is currently ongoing.
A Thirteen Episode Anime installment of the work, simply named Angel Beats! and again written by Jun Maeda and directed by Seiji Kishi for studio P.A. Works, began airing on April 3, 2010 and finished June 26. A Special Episode called Stairway to Heaven was included with the 7th and final BD/DVD volume released on the 22nd of December 2010.
Finally, a second manga was published, coinciding with the completion of the light novel series. This manga, Angel Beats! Heaven's Door, is again written by Jun Maeda, illustrated by Yuriko Asami, and once again published by ASCII Media Works in Dengeki G's Magazine. First seeing publication in May 2010, this manga series is also ongoing.
A Visual Novel has been announced and is waiting to be greenlit.
The TV series is licensed by Sentai Filmworks, the founders of ADV Films, for the North American release. No surprise, considering that they've picked up many Key titles in the past. The series is released with an English dub with the first episodes being shown at Anime Boston. The English dub was released on DVD in July, 2011. Can be viewed on the Anime Network.
For any character-related tropes, please see the characters page
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council: At the very least, the new Student Council President has a good number of mooks at his disposal.
- Abusive Parents: Naoi's father to a crazy degree. The kindest thing he can recall him saying was a begrudging "that wasn't bad".
- Actor Allusion: Shinji Ikari is a kid committed to fighting off against Angels using husks of steel as his bidding, while trying not to lose his sanity and/or self in the process. When Naoi, with the same voice actor, is shown completely deranged on a bloodied battlefield, what is the main line Otonashi delivers?
- Adults Are Useless: Yuri essentially believes the teachers are this way.
- And she's right, considering that they don't seem to notice, well, anything that happens during the exams.
- Averted in the manga, where the teachers and staff are constantly interfering with things.
- All There in the Manual: Angel Beats! is essentially a mixed media project. Much of the background between Yuri and "Angel", including the SSS's formation, plays out in the Light Novel.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Yuzuru to Kanade, towards the end of Episode 13.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Angel believes that this is what happens to people when they disappear, but she won't force them into it. In episode 9, Otonashi comes to believe this as well and is determined to save the rest of SSS.
- Awesome but Impractical: Angel's Hand Sonic Version 4 is a blade in the shape of a giant lotus flower.
- It does work (in episode 6), actually, so it's not that impractical.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Very briefly, but Noda and Hinata in Episode 11.
- Baseball Episode: Episodes 4 and 10
- Battle in the Rain: Subverted. We only get to see the aftermath of the fight between the SSS and the student council.
- Battle Royale With Cheese: Episodes 2 and 8. Emphasis on the cheese.
Hinata: Why does this look like the end of a shonen manga?!
- Also, the OVA has a 'cavalry battle' between two teams of NPC students and the SSS. Again, emphasis on the cheese.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Hinata and Yui
Yui: (After threatening Hinata into a Heroic Sacrifice) Senpai, wait for me...
Otonashi: Do you love him or hate him?
- Definitely Foreshadowing if you saw Episode 10.
- Better to Disappear Than Be Assimilated: With the appearance of shadow NPCs, Otonashi's resolution to help everyone overcome their emotional baggage now has a lot more pull with the SSS.
- Big Damn Heroes: Episode 12 has everyone left in the Battlefront joining the fight against the shadows.
- Bishie Sparkle: Otonashi pulls this off momentarily in episode 4 to mock Hinata.
- Also, Takamatsu in episode 5's ending, and most of the other times he appears shirtless (which is often).
- Bishounen: Majority of the male cast.
- Bishoujo: The design aesthetic used for the female cast.
- Black Comedy: Those traps seems painful... until you realize that people can't die (permanently) here. And thus it's OK to get killed again and again.
Yui: Even death doesn't cure idiocy.
- They're still painful. Dying hurts.
- Yui accidentally hanging herself in the fourth episode is damn hilarious.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Guard Skill - Hand Sonic
- Blade Run: Shiina in the ED.
- Bland-Name Product: Angel apparently uses the Macrosoft Winding XO OS, which has DES 128-bit encryption. She's a PC.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The manga. Of course this extends to both serious moments and the slapstick nature of Angel Beats! in the manga.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Iwasawa and Hisako in the manga.
- Bond One-Liner: TK when fighting the Shadows.
- "I kiss you."
- "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
- Brats with Slingshots: Hand Sonic Version 5. Subverted in that Tenshi is not a brat.
- Break the Cutie: It seems that any cutie out there has been/will be broken by the end of the series.
- Yuri had her siblings killed in front of her by robbers when she was a kid. The worst part: it was Yuri's "fault" that they died because she couldn't find money in the house to give to the robbers. They probably would've killed them all regardless, but that doesn't really help Yuri's feelings of guilt.
- Iwasawa had an abusive Dad and generally a broken household. She found her savior in music, but that was taken away from her when her Dad hit her causing her to lose her voice and ability to play first, then die.
- Angel has a lesser example but her rank as Student Council President was taken away, the teachers and students have lost all respect for her, and her comfort food was taken away from her all because of the SSS's actions.
- It's also sad when you realize that Angel is a human like the rest of SSS and was just trying to fulfill her duties as Student Council President. Her reputation and life in the afterlife are ruined because she was trying to play by the rules.
- What about Yui? In her past life, she was completely paralyzed and unable to do the cool things she saw on TV, hence her boundless energy.
- Anyone who qualifies as a cutie in the SSS counts, given that an unhappy life is a prerequisite to arrive in this afterlife.
- Breather Episode: Episode 4 is rather lighthearted compared to the drama-filled episode 3. Episode 8 piles on the Black Comedy just before episode 9 shows us how Otonashi actually died.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Never actually happens, but all through episode 8 Yui keeps saying she's going to wet herself out of nervousness or fear.
Hinata: Don't care.
Yui: Care, damn you!
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Shiina is a hypercompetent ninja. She is also very strange.
- Butt Monkey: Most of the SSS members take turns at the role, but Hinata by far is the most memorable.
- Call Back: In the manga, Hisako reveals her regret when alive was being unable to prevent her band's lead singer from committing suicide. Both Iwasawa and Yui disappear in episodes 3 and 10, respectively.
- When an NPC in the second computer room tells Yuri they have all the time in the world, Yuri tells the NPC that human beings won't even wait ten minutes.
- Call Forward: In Episode 2, TK's butchered Japanese while holding up the Descending Ceiling could be a nod to the next time they visit the Guild to retrieve Angel, and Otonashi attempts a Cooldown Hug.
- Calling Your Attacks: Angel.
- Cardiovascular Love: An entire room covered with it.
- Catch Phrase
- Shiina: "How foolish."
- "This is so stupid" in the English dub.
- Yuri: "Operation Start!" ("Oppo-ray-shun... Start-o!")
- Takeyama: "Call me Christ!"
- Yui: "What an idiot."
- TK: "Get chance and luck!"
- Shiina: "How foolish."
- Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Non-romantic example--Angel grabs Otonashi's shirt to prevent him from leaving an exam. (He ends up achieving the objective he had in mind by talking to her, anyway.)
- Chekhov's Boomerang: "My Song"
- Chekhov's Gun: Kanade stabbing Otonashi in the 'heart' in Episode 1, combined with her hospitalisation in Episode 9. The relevance of these doesn't become clear until 5 minutes before the end of the final episode.
- Not to mention the heartbeat monitor on the eyecatch.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Angel's eyes turn red when she activates Harmonics and makes mincemeat of Monster Stream. Blink and you'll miss it. By the end of the episode, a red-eyed, hostile Angel appears.
- Clean Pretty Reliable: Mostly Averted though the part of the trope where the person doing the CPR, in this case Otonashi, gives up before an ambulance can get to the scene is probaby Justified what with Otonashi himself suffering from the massive internal bleeding that would eventually kill him at the time. Combined with the fact that rescue crews wouldn't show up for several days yet.
- Cloning Blues: In episode 7, an alternate Tenshi appears due to Harmonics. But that Tenshi can clone itself, and so on and so forth.
- Clothing Damage: Death may be cheap, but it'll still mess up your threads.
- Combos: Noda in his first meeting with Otonashi, complete with hit counter.
- Computer Equals Monitor
- Continuity Nod: Episode 8, during the SSS's second trip to Guild, Noda dies first again and Otonashi and Yuri are the last two again.
- Hinata comments on how he and Yuri founded the SSS Battlefront, which is a nod to the manga/novels, given how it is not mentioned anywhere in the anime itself.
- Contrast Montage: Three smiling children - three kid-sized coffins - three smiling children - three kid-sized coffins...
- Contrived Coincidence: Pretty much the only explanation how Otonashi so coincidentally picks up Angel's meal ticket.
- Cooldown Hug: Otonashi attempts this with Kanade, but fails. Earlier on, he succeeds with Naoi.
- Cool Gun: The SSS actually uses real world firearms. They are created using memories of their past life. You can see all the firearms featured in the series HERE.
- In the first episode, Yuri is first seen aiming a CheyTac Intervention sniper rifle at Angel.
- Since he's a new recruit, Otonashi's primary weapon is a Glock 17.
- Matsushita sometimes carries an Rheinmetall MG3 heavy machine gun.
- Yuri wields a TDI Vector SMG and an M4A1 CQB-R equipped with a Beta C-Mag in episode 12.
- Plus her Beretta 92 INOX that is her standard sidearm.
- Ooyama's rifle is a Remington 700 lacking a bipod.
- Crazy Prepared: In episode 6 Yuri hands Otonashi a Walkie-Talkie in the beginning of the episode figuring if things went to hell she could contact Otonashi, who would be near Angel, and get him to ask Angel for help. Guess how things went. Guess who Otonashi happened to be sitting next to.
- Cross Dresser: If you consider the conformists' uniforms, you'll realize the SSS boys are wearing modified girls' uniforms (designed to not look like this trope).
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The entire SSS - the frequency of idiots in the group seems to be directly proportional to the amount of asskicking they're capable of. Not that it helps.
- Cry Cute: Ooyama
- Yuri in Episode 12, after seeing her dead siblings comfort her.
- Despite being a boy, Naoi's tears in the final episode were very cute. And sad.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Naoi stomps the SSS by using NPCs as mooks and human shields, preventing them from being able to fight back effectively.
- Curtains Match the Window: This applies to many of the characters.
- Cute Bruiser: Tiny little Yui pulls off a German Suplex on Otonashi... after several failed attempts.
- Cute Little Fangs: Yui.
- Cuteness Proximity: Shiina. Ahem, CUUUUUTTTTEEEEE.
- Angel is described as having this weakness as well. In the OVA, she abandons a Student Council meeting to question the SSS, who are causing a ruckus, and gets sidetracked by harvesting some "cute turnips".
- Dangerously-Short Skirt: Each of the Action Girls have one, combined with Zettai Ryouiki.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Every character more or less because it is a prerequisite to enter the afterlife.
- A Day in the Limelight: Episode 10 mainly features Yui.
- And Iwasawa in Episode 3.
- A Death in the Limelight: See above. Not quite "death", but close enough.
- Defeat Means Friendship: So far, both Naoi and Kanade have been befriended.
- In the prequel novel, we have Chaa, Noda (somewhat) and Shiina.
- Deal with the Devil: In episode 12 Yuri is offered the chance to be God and eternal life by the NPC in the secret computer lab. She promptly refuses and shoots up the place.
- Death by Origin Story: Justified and exaggerated.
- Death Course: SSS's secret supply route is protected by one.
- Death Is Cheap: Unless you come to terms with your actual death that is. Then you disappear.
- Death as Comedy: Remember Death Is Cheap in Angel Beats!.
- This gets especially jarring in Episode 2, where after the rest of the SSS has been killed off in a various of manners played for laughs, Yuri tells Otonashi about how her three siblings were killed by robbers, and this time no one's laughing.
- Deflector Shields: Angel has her own personal one capable of deflecting
bulletspretty much any kind of projectile, including grenades.
- Denied Food as Punishment: Yurippe does this to the all members of the SSS in the OVA.
- Descending Ceiling: One of the traps on the way to Guild.
- Despair Event Horizon: The murder of Yuri's family, which is why she's fighting God in the first place. It's worth noting that the murders serve as a Moral Event Horizon for the perpetrators.
- Determinator: The traps on the road to Guild, which took out all but two of the SSS, will only slow down Angel. Taken Up to Eleven when it's revealed that she's not any kind of divinely-powered superbeing, but an ordinary (if dead) high school girl.
- Disney Death: Yuri is caught by the shadows in episode 12 but unlike Takamatsu barely escapes with her soul.
- Episode 13 reveals that Takamatsu was able to break free like Yuri did, eventually.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Happens to Otonashi in episode 2 while climbing Yuri after they nearly fell down an area where the floor caved in on them. Hinata was not as lucky, but his was a noble sacrifice, as spoken by Yuri after he apparently grabbed a part of her he shouldn't have.
- Dodge This: In episode 11.
TK: I kiss you. *hail of lead*
- Doing in the Wizard: Episode 3 implies that there may be nothing divine or supernatural (at least compared to the SSS) about Angel at all. This is confirmed in episode 11, raising the issue of whether God really exists or not.
- Driven to Madness: Yuri's "penalties" are said to have this effect on people, though she denies haven ever given any that bad.
- Dwindling Party: Sort of, considering how more and more characters disappear.
- Played straight in episode 2 and 8, even though Death Is Cheap.
- Dysfunction Junction: Everyone here is messed up. No exceptions. Though Otonashi's worst problem is just amnesia. Before his death is revealed, not knowing makes you really wonder what happened.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Yui can be seen in episode 1, trying to take pictures of Girls Dead Monster before their Operation Tornado performance. She is not named or introduced until episode 3.
- Easy Logistics: It turns out people in the afterlife can literally create any item they can think of out of dirt if they can remember it well enough. With this ability, SSS was able to create a massive underground factory to manufacture their weapons and ammunition.
- Hilariously subverted when they try to use a large cannon on Angel, only to have it explode on them because while they may have known what a cannon looks like, they didn't know the mechanics inside it to make it work properly.
- Eating Lunch Alone: A very tearjerking example thanks to the mechanics of ascension in this afterlife.
- Kind of subverted because it's just Otonashi's imagination of something that possibly happened to Angel.
- Fear not! For the magic of the internet shall ease your tears. (Link NSFW)
- Elaborate Underground Base: The Guild.
- Epiphanic Prison
- Even the Guys Want Him: Naoi constantly seeks Otonashi's approval in an overly-friendly way and even Hinata has his fair share of moments where he seems interested in Otonashi especially early on.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: This is the afterlife, after all.
- The Everyman: Otonashi
- Not necessarily. After seeing his backstory, he becomes more or less the leader of the group, being logical, intelligent and strong-willed.
- Evil Laugh
- It happens again in Episode 12. Right before she denies becoming God that is a CMOA.
- Yet again in the DVD Bonus Episode. This time she even learns how to do it like a professional, by mimicing Lelouch, and seems very glad to be lampshaded by Yusa one more time.
- Evolving Credits: As characters are replaced and removed through various circumstances, the OP and ED, both of which focus on showing off the characters, change accordingly.
- Also, when characters interact in the show in a noteworthy way, it also reflects the interaction. Examples include Yui strangling Hinata as per episode 4, and Takamatsu not wearing a shirt to show off his (surprising) 8-pack from episode 5.
- Some episodes don't even show the typical ending, replacing it with more footage.
- Played for Laughs in the OVA, if you watched the OVA itself, that is.
- Excited Show Title!
- Executive Meddling: Orignally written for 26 episodes, Executives abruptly cut it down to thirteen, forcing several loose ends to be tied up hurriedly and some subplots being unresolved. The Director was not happy about this at all, plus this decision has helped contribute to a lot of the flak this show has gotten.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Yuzuru Otonashi had Peek-a-Bangs. He soon realizes that his ill sister had more life and hope than he did, and that she had a purpose. He cuts his hair and applies for medical school.
- Expy: Yuri has been called a "rip-off" of Haruhi Suzumiya by some pissed off fans of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, even though any resemblence between the two characters is entirely skin deep (though Yuri's initial appearance is at least bombastic enough to be on Haruhi's level.) Some fan artist took note of this and this piece of fan art was born. (WARNING: link to site is NSFW).
Comment on Picture: So Yuri finally gets to fight God.
- Eye Scream: Played for Laughs in the manga. Out of irritation, Yuri stabs Hinata's eyes out using chopsticks.
- And for a more serious example, Shiina stabs one of Hinata's eyes out during their fight.
- Eyes of Gold: Angel a.k.a. Tachibana Kanade, and Naoi.
- Face Palm: Otonashi does this in episode 10.
- Fate Worse Than Death: SSS believes that if you conform to the rules you may get reincarnated as lowly creatures like barnacles.
- Also, Yuri's "punishment games". The only one we see, in the OVA, ends with all of the SSS dead of dehydration.
- And now getting assimilated by a Shadow NPC and being turned into an NPC, thereby being stuck in that world forever.
Hinata: That's worse than death...
- To put it more in perspective, the SSS believes that NPCs have no souls. Therefore, being turned into one by a Shadow means that it has devoured your soul!
- Female Gaze: The SSS are quite Bishonen, but it's the shirtless scenes that seals the deal.
- Fiery Redhead: Yui can act out if she is pushed enough. See Rose-Haired Girl and Genki Girl below.
- Finale Credits: Normally, the credits sequence shows Yuri slowly being surrounded by the various members of the SSS. At the end of Episode 13, the sequence starts with all the characters present, and they start to disappear one by one, until only the five characters that were in Episode 13 remain. Then they, too, disappear, in the same order they vanished in the episode, with Otonashi going last.
- First-Episode Resurrection: Otonashi, several times.
- First-Name Basis: Between Otonashi and Kanade, starting in episode 7.
- Five-Man Band: As of Episode 11.
- Flower Motifs: Angel's Hand Sonic version 4 is a lotus flower, a traditional Buddhist symbol for bodhisattva - enlightened ones who forgo ascension to help others do the same.
- Fond Memories That Could Have Been: After Hinata says he would have married Yui despite her paralysis, we see images of them meeting in their previous lives and falling in love. Yui disappears shortly after, having found peace.
- Friendly Enemy: As long as SSS doesn't cause any havoc in the school, Angel will not treat them as an enemy but rather as ordinary fellow students.
- From a Certain Point of View: Angels? Horrible, vile things.
- Genki Girl: Yui.
- Genre Savvy: Played for laugh and lampshaded multiple times.
- Gilligan Cut: In episode 2, Fujimaki tells Otonashi that he will be the next to get (temporarily) killed by an anti-Angel trap. Cut to Fujimaki showing off his Super Drowning Skills in a water trap while Yuri, Shiina, and Otonashi escape unharmed.
- Good Is Dumb:
Yuri: That's right. Our main weakness is that we're stupid.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Several of the more potentially gruesome deaths in episode 2 aren't fully shown onscreen.
- Gratuitous English: "Angel Beats", "Girls Dead Monster", "Guard Skill", everything out of TK's mouth (despite having a native English speaker for a voice actor)...
- Most of TK's lines are actually lyrics from songs, actually. Which also explains why he's dancing all the way through. But...
Yuri: I sent Takeyama-kun to Angel Area, along with someone who can translate the manual [from English].
Otonashi: Where are TK and Matsushita?
Yuri: Both of them are watching over the infirmary.
Hinata: So, TK was useless at English at the end...
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Played for drama. Poor Iwasawa...
- Girls with Guns
- Guns Akimbo: TK and Naoi in episode 11, Yuri in Episode 12.
- Guns Are Worthless: Against Tenshi's Distortion shield. Lampshaded.
Matsushita: Dammit! This is why guns are useless!
- He's Dead, Jim: In episode 3, Iwasawa comes to terms with her past, disappears, and leaves her guitar behind. She's also omitted from the end credits of that episode.
- Healing Factor: While immortal, everybody can still be seriously hurt. If they are injured or die, they will eventually heal and revive regardless of how much damage their bodies have taken. The OVA shows that they will even revive after dying of starvation or dehydration.
- They do still feel pain, so this provides an incentive to stay out of harm's way.
- The Heartless: The Shadow NPCs
- Heavy Sleeper: Angel sleeps through a kidnapping, an earthshaking battle and a surprisingly loud conversation between Otonashi and Yuri.
- Heel Face Pirouette: Angel spends a few episodes with the SSS after being disgraced as student council president by the group in episode 5 and then gets her position back (courtesy of Otonashi) in episode 9, pretending to be her old self. Eventually she rejoins the group again and befriends Yuri.
- Heel Face Turn: Naoi, to an extent.
- Heroic BSOD: Shiina in response to her Cuteness Proximity weakness, as well as the thought of a newbie (Otonashi) outlasting her in Guild's Death Course.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Played with, since nobody actually stays dead.
Yuri: "TK's sacrifice will be-"
Otonashi: "You guys sacrificed him."
- Played straight in episode 9, where Otonashi ignores his own injuries to help the other train crash survivors, and spends his final moments filling out a donor card.
- Hey, It's That Voice!
- Nadeko/Anri/Mayu/Suou is Angel.
- Koyomi/Mr. Despair/Izaya/Souma/Shinji/Tieria is Otonashi.
- And Shinji Ikari is Naoi, the new Student Council President. And self-proclaimed god.
- Heero/Xingke is Fish Saitou.
- Nagisa/Mai/Rena is Otonashi's sister.
- Kaworu is the final boss
- Fuhrer King Bradley is the computer technician.
- Holy mother of crap, they got Ed to sing the ending theme. . .
- BLACK STAR IS OOYAMA!!!
- Hidden Eyes: TK's are always obscured by his wide bandana.
- High School: Although it's technically in...y'know, purgatory.
- Hot-Blooded: Noda, personality-wise. Now if only he could get his hands on a mecha.
- Hopeless War: SSS and Angel will probably be fighting each other forever since neither side can truly die.
- How We Got Here: The manga starts out with the framing of Hinata explaining to Otonashi how he met Yuri and how the SSS got founded.
- Ho Yay: Has its Angel Beats own page (also includes Les Yay).
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Otonashi and Kanade. Very much obvious when he hugs her in the last episode.
- She's so small because her heart condition inhibited her growth. She's still about the same age as the rest of the cast.
- Idiot Hair: Yui. Ironically it is Yui who often calls others an idiot.
- Identity Amnesia: A common side effect for those that had brain trauma as part of their death.
- I Have the High Ground: Red Angel.
- Indy Escape: One of the Guild's anti-Angel traps is a giant rolling boulder of doom.
TK: Fuckin' crazy!
- In Medias Res: The anime series starts off when the SSS is already established. The newly released manga series starts off from the very beginning, even before the creation of the SSS.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Shiina
- Imagine Spot: Otonashi. Whenever a new operation is introduced, he think it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Immortality Hurts: The characters can regenerate from anything, and some of the deaths are quite painful.
- Immortal Life Is Cheap: Slapstickly so. Nobody gives a second thought about even the most gruesome of deaths in the Afterlife, secure in the knowledge that the deceased would simply return a while later perfectly fine.
- Impairment Shot: Done in the third episode to illustrate the effects of Iwasawa's stroke.
- Ironic Echo: In episode 2, Otonashi starts to feel a little uncomfortable with Hinata's rather chummy nature and asks if he's gay or not, which Hinata angrily denies. In episode six, Otonashi runs over to Hinata, who's severely injured. He makes a note of the fact that he ran to him first, and asks the same question as Otonashi did four episodes back.
- It Got Worse: After Angel resigns from her position, the acting student council president takes a much more hardline stance against SSS.
- It's All My Fault: Yuri blames herself for not being able to save her siblings. Needless to say, nobody else does.
- And perhaps to a lesser extent - Hinata for failing a decisive catch.
- Yuri again after accidentally sending Kanade into a coma by dumping 100 aggressively violent copies of herself into her mind.
- Otonashi after his sister's death. Difference is, it actually is his fault, even though he had good intentions at the time.
- I Will Protect Her: Played straight when Hinata promised Yuri to protect her no matter what and does so in the light novel. Seemingly subverted in the beginning when Yuri tells him she's already dead.
- I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: This happens to Yuri's siblings after she fails to find anything valuable for the crooks who broke into her house.
- Knife Nut: Angel's primary weapons are blades that extend from her forearms. Yuri shows that she's also very skilled at knife fighting.
- Large Ham: Everyone in the OVA It Makes Sense in Context...
- Laser Hallway: One of the anti-Angel traps.
- Last-Minute Hookup: Some fans think this way of the suddenly surfacing romantic feelings between Kanade and Otonashi.
- Les Yay: See the HoYay page.
- Let's Get Dangerous: In Episode 12, the entire SSS gets to be awesome fighting the Shadows. Even Ooyama does something impressive!
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: Both the traditional music-fading-out and the music-stopping-abruptly variety. Played for Laughs.
- A Lighter Shade of Gray: The SSS went from a band of rebels trying to take down the God that destroyed their lives to a group of self-centered teenagers blindly lashing out at the world in about three episodes.
- They were lashing out at the world from the beginning.
- Literal Change of Heart: One of the heroic examples: Otonashi donates his heart to Tenshi after dying.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: SSS has a lot of members. See the character page for details.
- Locked in a Freezer: Episode 9.
- Lotus Eater Machine: Episode 12, Yuri imagines life as an ordinary student while the Shadow consumes her. Luckily, she breaks out of it and is saved in the nick of time.
- Loud of War: Guard Skill - Howling.
- Love Confession: Yuri's plan for Ooyama during the exams. Angel tells him to name a time and a place, which effectively stuns him until the teacher tells him to sit down.
- And in the end Otonashi and Kanade confess their love for each other.
- Marshmallow Hell: Episode 2, Otonashi climbs Yuri when they all fell down the trap. He has to grab on, he ends up hugging her, and gets some in his face. He even comments on how she smells good.
- Masochist's Meal: Mapo Tofu, to the point that the only one who can eat it is Kanade.
- Meaningful Name: Aside from a few of the characters, the series itself. To elaborate, the finale revealed two key things: Kanade's regret tying her to the Purgatory-world was that she never got to thank Otonashi for his heart, which kept her alive.
- Otonashi means "no sound", Yuzuru means "to string" an instrument, and "Kanade" could be read as "playing" an instrument. His little sister Hatsune's name also means "First sound". It could be said that Otonashi was an instrument that was properly strung, but could never play any sound, but Kanade finally played it.
- Another piece of symbolism to 'Otonashi' is simply that, lacking a heart in the literal sense, Otonashi has no heartbeat.
- Megane: Takeyama, while Takamatsu is more standoffish. See Stoic Spectacles below.
- Mind Control Eyes: Sported by the NPCs Naoi hypnotized into fighting for him.
- Mind Rape: Naoi attempts to use his hypnosis ability to implant fake happy memories into Yuri's mind so that she can disappear. Unfortunately for Naoi, things don't exactly go as planned.
- Done to Hinata in Episode 7 when Naoi hypnotizes him to think he's worse than a clothespin. Surprisingly, Hilarity Ensues.
- Naoi attempts to do so again to Hinata in Episode 11, except this time to make him think that he is toilet paper. Fortunately, Otonashi stops him.
- Mission Control: Lots of SSS members work away from the front lines or behind the scenes, most notably Takeya, who gathers intel for the team. Yuri does this from time to time as well.
- Mistaken for Gay:
- Monster Sob Story: Naoi, most noticeably in episode 6.
- More Dakka: Not that they work against Angel...
- Mouthful of Pi: Call him Christ.
- Played straight to the point of it affecting one of the listeners physically.
Ooyama: Stop, stop! That guy's an idiot!
- Multiple Endings: After the credits of the final episode, reincarnated Otonashi and Kanade are shown meeting when Otonashi hears Kanade humming Iwasawa's "My Song." A short segment entitled "Another Epilogue" replaces this scene with one depicting Otonashi still in the afterlife helping another soul discover how to move on.
- Mundane Afterlife: Subverted thanks to the SSS's insistent tries to wreak havoc and prevent their own disappearance.
- Musical Theme Naming: Most of Angel's abilities, such as Harmonics and (Hand) Sonic. Also, Distortion, Overdrive, and Delay are various guitar effects.
- My Friends and Zoidberg: In Episode 8, during everyone's Heroic Sacrifice to stop an Angel clone, Naoi is sadly unnoticed (Yui doesn't even know his name).
Naoi: "You're all imbeciles. With the exception of Otonashi-san, of course."
- My God, What Have I Done?: A minor version when Otonashi realizes that preventing Hinata from catching the baseball probably wasn't a good idea.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: TK, when speaking Japanese.
- When he was holding up the falling block in Episode 2, he was actually singing lyrics to a song. The video replaces his lines with the actual song.
- Name's the Same: Yui, she's the singer and guitarist in a band and plays a Gibson (Les Paul) SG guitar. Remind you of anyone.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: They manage to oust Angel from her positions as student council president, which allows a person who's infinitely worse to take the position.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Yuri does it at leasttwice in the anime. Complete with hand near mouth. The other person talking to her over the walkie even asks if she's the villain for doing such a laugh.
- No Fourth Wall: The drama CDs. The characters' commentaries in the second disc point out all the incontinuities in the "NG" takes.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In his spare time, Naoi beats up NPCs in order to stay in this world.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Averted; death presents no objective risk, so nobody really sweats it.
- Non-Singing Voice: Miyuki Sawashiro voices Iwasawa, and Eri Kitamura voices Yui, but neither of them sing for their own characters, even though they have sung in other series.
- Not Quite the Right Thing: Otanashi's little sister was terminally ill. She wished to see the city on Christmas Eve, but the doctors wouldn't let her leave the hospital, especially considering that it was snowing outside. Otanashi decides to sneak her out himself in order to grant her her wish... and just like the doctors warned, she dies very soon, and almost certainly would have lived (even a little) longer if it wasn't for that foolish trip. Otanashi tries to convince himself that it was the right thing to do, since she died happy, but even he doesn't really believe that.
- Nice Hat: Yuri wears one while issuing commands at headquarters. Naoi has a nice one too, as part of his uniform, and Angel wore one in episode 7 in the garden.
- NPC: The majority of Non-SSS students are explicitly considered to be these, but not all, as it seems like Angel and Ayato Naoi aren't despite not being SSS-members. At least, until they joined the SSS.
- Offhand Backhand: Otonashi and Matsushita pull this off in Episode 12, Otonashi with his Glock and Matsushita with his actual hand.
- Oh Crap: Otonashi's face when he discovers that the train tunnel is blocked on both ends and there's no signal.
- Ominous Multiple Screens: Although they end up covered in hearts...
- Only Known by Their Nickname: No one seems to know what Angel's real name is. (Except, one of them actually does.) She stops getting called Angel later, though.
- TK. He's basically a gag character with his random english/stoner accent, and he vanishes with the rest of the SSS in episode 12 without us learning his real name.
- Ontological Mystery
- OOC Is Serious Business: The Ninja (who is The Quiet One) says something in the 10th episode. Everyone is shocked by this.
- No one bats an eye when she speaks again a few episodes later. By that point, things have gotten much worse, though.
- Ordinary High School Student: Takes on a whole new meaning in this series. The "ordinary students" are the NPCs of the school. They have no souls, acting as model students under Angel and God. The SSS are acting against Angel and God, souls intact and rebelling against what had been dealt them in their former lives. This situation is highlighted by the different uniforms between the two factions of students.
- The Other Darrin: A few of the minor characters in the dub had different voice actors for early and later episodes.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Otonashi, before his sister died
- Playing Tennis With the Boss: Noda does this... during a baseball game. To his own teammate, no less.
- Plot Armor: Episode two, Otonashi.
- Poor Communication Kills: Kanade and the entire reason the SSS are in Purgatory. We're talking so bad that a war broke out because she was bad at getting her point across, and since nobody truly dies due to physical injuries, this war has lasted a long time.
- The Power Of
RockA Ballad: Stopped the teachers intent on shutting down the concert in their tracks.
- This is most likely what TK runs on.
- The Power of Love: In this case, it breaks the system - anyone who fell in love in the afterlife might stay there forever, never accepting the need to move on and thus never reincarnating.
- Powers as Programs: When the SSS break into Tenshi's room, they discover that she's been modeling her powers on her computer, using the software AngelPlayer. Yuri later finds a manual for it. There is a manual for warping reality. Too bad it's in English.
- Precision F-Strike: TK: "Fuckin' crazy!"
- Product Placement: Key Coffee is most likely a Shout-Out to Key Visual Arts (bearing their logo and all), but it is still suspect since it's also a real life Japanese brand of coffee.
- Iwasawa plays a Fender Stratocaster, Hisako plays a Fender Jazzmaster, Yui has a Gibson SG, and Sekine plays a G&L bass.
- Prongs of Poseidon: Angel's Hand Sonic version 3
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Takamatsu. Yuri points out in the first episode 'Even though he's adjusting his glasses to look smart, he's still an idiot.'
- Rage Against the Heavens: Subverted. The characters wish they could Rage Against the Heavens, but they can't seem to find any. Their efforts only end up hurting themselves.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Hinata and Otonashi's baseball team in episode 4.
- Pretty much all the SSS.
Naoi: You're all idiots. Except Otonashi of course!
- La Résistance: The SSS.
- Recurring Location: Guild appears in Episodes 2 and 8.
- Redemption Demotion: Naoi goes from credible villain to yet another comic relief character when he makes his Heel Face Turn.
- He's still scarily competent, to the extent that he's effectively Yuri's second-in-command.
- Redemption Equals Disappearance: Yuri in episode 13.
- This is the entire purpose of the afterlife, as well.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Naoi activates his hypnosis.
- The evil Tenshi clones, too.
- Reincarnation Romance: Implied between Otonashi and Kanade
- Replacement Sibling: Naoi
- Resurrective Immortality: In one of very few comedic uses of this trope, the main characters often suffer horribly ignominious (and often hilarious) deaths, only to return to life a few minutes later whole, hale, and cracking wise.
- Reverse Grip: How Noda swings his baseball bat. He hits a home run with it, too.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: At the beginning of the first episode, Otonashi demands that Angel prove he can't die. So she stabs him in the chest.
Yuri: To be fair, you were kinda asking for it.
- Rose-Haired Girl: Yui, and Iwasawa as well.
- Rustproof Blood: After Otonashi wakes up in the nurse's office after being offed for the second time so far, his shirt is still sopping wet.
- Say My Name: Episode 8, whenever someone in the SSS pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to stop an Angel clone, the rest of the SSS have a Say My Name shot for the character in question. Lampshaded, no less:
Hinata: What's with this last-chapter-of-a-shonen-manga scenario?!
- Lampshaded hilariously during Naoi's turn, right after he hypnotizes Ooyama into thinking he's a clown and sending him to get stabbed by a Red Angel.
Naoi: *gets stabbed*
Hinata: Someone say something.
Yui: I don't know his name...
- Scenery Porn: The Christmas lights on the trees - then the main Christmas tree itself - on the main street where Otonashi lived in his former life. He snuck out his younger sister from the hospital so they could see them together.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: The Shadows appear immediately after Yui disappears.
- Shout-Out: Episode 3 references two of Hayao Miyazaki's films, with Otonashi trying to imagine what Angel's base looks like by showing (mosaic-censored) images of the titular structures from both Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Howls Moving Castle.
- The school vending machines, aside from a full line of Bland-Name Product drinks, also carry Key Coffee, bearing the studio logo.
- TK seems to love referencing popular media, from two lines of song lyrics to:
TK: I'll be back.
- Also this one as mention in Episode 8.
TK: Hey yo! Check this out! It's a moonwalk, a moonwalk, headspin!
- The title of the eighth episode is "Dancer in The Dark".
- In episode 10, Yui is seen to own plush toys of a brontosaurus, a small white dog, and a baby boar. All from other Key titles respectively.
- Episode 10's title "Goodbye Days" relates to Jpop artist YUI's song of the same name. It's sung in her movie, Taiyou no Uta, with similar implications to Angel Beats Yui's past. Both characters had an illness which contributed to their death, not living the life they wanted to. Can you guess who disappeared this episode?
- Episode 12 has the title, Knockin' on Heaven's Door, shouted out by TK. Even the other characters recognise it as a reference to Bob Dylan.
- The ending of episode 12 has been compared numerous times to The Matrix Reloaded.
- In Episode 3, TK says "Get chance and luck!", which is a line from one of the ending themes to City Hunter.
- The Baseball Episode contains a lot of them to Little Busters, ranging from obvious ones, like Yuri's Actor Allusion Evil Laugh, to not so obvious ones, like how Hinata missing the baseball went exactly like how Haruka randomly missed a catch in practice.
- In episode 7, the monster that Otonashi imagines when hearing 'Operation: Monster Stream' is a large, red, dragon-like monster, with a striking resemblance to a Rathalos
- Shown Their Work: All of the guns in the series are accurately modeled after their real-world counterparts.
- Smells Sexy: Yuri, according to Otonashi.
- Spam Attack: In episode 1, Noda executes a 100-hit combo because Otonashi refused Yuri's invitation to the SSS, utterly KO'ing Otonashi.
- Special Edition Title: Episode four has the opening sung by Yui, integrating it directly into the show. There are some Credits Brand Products and different visuals, and the visuals that are retained have a very different aesthetic.
- Split Personality Merge: Played heartlessly straight with all of the Red Angels merging back into Kanade.
Red Angel: That many of us ruthless clones are going to return? Even as clones, we have our own consciousness. Those won't disappear. They'll be incorporated into her. The spirits of all the clones you attacked will return to her. When she takes in all those at once...she'll pay for it.
- Spoiler Opening: The anime has a clip of the current episode in its opening sequence - excepting, of course, the episodes that skip the credits.
- The Stinger: After the credits, Otonashi and Kanade are shown to meet up again in their next lives.
- Stoic Spectacles: Takamatsu.
- Storming the Castle: Subverted. In episode 3, SSS decides to stage a raid on Angel's hideout, only for Otonashi to find out that it's her dorm room.
- A Storm Is Coming: The appearance of Monster Stream.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Angel.
- Suplex Finisher: Becomes the basis of an entire episode where Yui mentions that performing one of these was one of her life's wishes when she was alive, but could never do it. So to fulfill that wish, Otonashi trains her in how to do it right so she can perform it on him. She succeeds!
- Surprisingly Good English: Michael Rivas, a Japanese-born, but raised in Hawaii, singer and voice actor, does the voice of TK. His pronunciation is perfect, but most of his dialogue still makes no sense because they're all out-of-context song lyrics or quotes from movies.
TK: Fuckin' crazy!
- Survivor Guilt: The source of Yuri's issues.
- Swiss Army Weapon: Angel's 5 versions of Hand Sonic.
- Tap on the Head: This trope is a lot more dangerous and a lot more lethal than we think, just as Iwasawa found out.
- Teleporter Accident: Apparently Angel did this by accident when she activated Harmonics to save the SSS from Monster Stream.
- Title Drop: Episode 12. By TK.
- Tsundere: Yuri is like this for Hinata in the manga and light novel, which is the basis for much of the Ship Tease.
- Though to a far lesser extent, she's kinda like this to Hinata in the anime too since she picks on him more than anyone else. Without reading the manga/light novel though, most would just disregard it as him being the Butt Monkey (which he kinda is).
- Token Evil Teammate: After joining the SSS, Naoi continues to harass everyone (usually Hinata) with his hypnosis, as well as constantly insulting the rest of the group (except Otonashi!)
- Tomboy: Yui, according to Yuri. After Yui accidentally chokes herself to death with microphone wiring while auditioning for lead singer in Girls De Mo Yuri comments:
Yuri: [Yui] is one hell of a Tomboy. The complete opposite of the cool beauty aura that Iwasawa had.
- Took a Level In Badass: Matsushita 5th Dan in Episode 12. Granted, he was already Badass...
- Trademark Favorite Food: Angel and mapo tofu, Matsushita and meat udon, Oyama and potato chips.
- True Companions: In the manga, Hinata decides to stick with Yuri to fight against God even though she just kicked him off the rooftops. More generally, the SSS themselves.
- Twin Switch: Taken to the cruelest lengths possible with Naoi and his dead brother.
- Twisted Christmas: Otonashi's sister probably died on Christmas Eve.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Matsushita during the baseball game.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Noda brings his halberd to the baseball games, and even uses it while fielding, but the student council's only concern is that his team entered the tournament illegally.
- Due to the NPCs being the way they are, this gets taken to another entire level in episode 6. We have a student spring up every minute to use the restroom, a snack-eater, someone who's sleeping across the tables, and a full-blown mahjong game being played out in the back. What does the teacher do? "Please quiet down."
- Also, they don't seem to notice the fact that they carry around working firearms on campus.
- Yuri even holds one of the teachers at gunpoint. She has what turns out to be a fairly neutral conversation with him, all the while still pointing the gun at him. He never notices.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: While Iwasawa was the most obvious example due to vanishing by the third episode, most of the rest of the SSS fall into this trope. For some reason, they introduce characters in the opening and episode 1. But by the time the series ends, you only get to know about half of the main cast, and they throw some more characters in later that get much more development. Characters like Shiina, Ooyama and Noda don't even get a backstory (and only bare-bones characterization), while both Yui and Naoi get much more screentime and development, even though they're introduced much later. The reason for this is most likely that the show was originally planned for 26 episodes but was then cut down to 13.
- We Need a Distraction: The SSS has an entire band dedicated to this. That's a literal band, mind you--they distract the student body with a concert. It's a bummer they keep losing their lead singer, though.
- And in episode 5, if you can't come up with one, then be prepared to be launched into the roof, complete with slo-mo replay and singing.
- Sometimes more than once.
- Or throw your dignity away by confessing love.
- And in episode 5, if you can't come up with one, then be prepared to be launched into the roof, complete with slo-mo replay and singing.
- Weirdness Censor: The teachers and NPCs suffer from a severe case of this. They only pay attention to what's directly in front of them, and they consider it to be normal. SSS even tests the limits of this trope in episode 6.
- Welcome Episode: As soon as Otonashi opens his eyes in Episode 1, Yuri invites him to the SSS.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Naoi
- Wham! Episode: Episode 5 where The SSS's operation turns out to be very very successful, reversing the entire power balance between them and Angel.
- And then, in the same episode The new student council president decides to take a more active role in stopping the SSS.
- And Episode 9 is the whammest of them all.
- What Could Have Been: The anime was originally planned to have 26 episodes to have more Character Development among the other side characters. Since it was cut in half some of the disappearances invoke We Hardly Knew Ye, with exceptions to Yui and Naoi.
- What You Are in the Dark: Otonashi, when he's assisting the train crash survivors. Also, when Angel wakes up and is still normal, she and Otonashi decide to hide this fact so they can help SSS eliminate their regrets.
- World of Ham: Not 100% of the time, but still. Get enough SSS members together in the same place and ham is sure to result.
- Would Hit a Girl: Hinata
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: It's probably easier to list the characters who don't have a hair color that makes you doubt your display settings.
- Zero-Approval Gambit: In order to rid the SSS members of their regrets, Otonashi and Angel agree to have Angel become the student council president again and act as she did before she befriended SSS so that they have a common enemy to fight.
- Zeroes and Ones: When Angel's clones are reabsorbed, they dissolve into this.
- If you look closely, the flashes of light around Angel's powers are all zeros and ones.
- Also, the shadows in episode 11 are made of these in a Matrix Raining Code sort of way.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Yuri.