Cross Stitch Pattern of the patch from Angel Beats. The backstitching doesn’t show up on the preview. Oops, but don’t worry, because my backstitch mapping sucks. Feel free to ignore it. Download the PDF here: Angel Beats Pattern and read my in depth rant/review of the first three episodes below. And I know what you’re thinking “Why did you make a pattern for a show you don’t like?” and my answer is that I like making patterns. It’s my thing and the patch design is pretty cool.
Grid Size: 105W x 102H
Design Area: 7.36″ x 7.14″ (103 x 100 stitches)
Alright, I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I have to say it. The very first episode of Angel Beats sucks. Yes, yes, I know everyone loves Angel Beats, but really the first episode does not do anything to get me pumped to watch the rest of the show. Let me explain. Our main character has amnesia, which would normally peeve me off, but it kind of makes sense here. The problem is that I instantly don’t care about him AT ALL. He’s super bland, but, you know, I can get behind his decision to go talk to the Angel first thing, and I like how he goes looking for an adult, but other than that his personality is just… so… blahhhhhh.
I also hate how exposition dump heavy this episode is. There are too many things that are just told to you that really should have been shown. Like Dumbo here just takes totally not Haruhi’s word for it that the NPCs aren’t really sentient. That could have been a really funny scene if they had decided to show it. There’s this scene right after Blando boy gets skewered where he wakes up in a hospital and some dude smacks him around a bit. This scene is totally useless. They could have had him wake up where he was before and had him try to find the principal’s office by asking random people and getting odd answers. Then you could see his realization that the world isn’t what it seems and that real people are rare. That would have given him a reason to join the Barnacle Brigade, but no. He joins because the plot tells him he has to, when there really isn’t any reason for him to do so. If he choose not to do what Angel says because she stabbed him, then if we’re going on blood loss totals then the New Kids on the Block have caused him a lot more pain. At the time he joins, he doesn’t know anything about how the world works. He should have just walked out of that room and wallowed in his misery that he’s now dead. He doesn’t cry about dying or even wonder if he lived a good life. He’s just told he’s dead and is like “k”.
And halfway through the episode when there’s another stand around and talk moment, I started thinking “Wow, I really wish I was watching Haruhi’s story instead. I want to see what it was like for her to get here when there was no one else around and see her figure it out and choose to rebel. That’s the story I want to see, not this junk.” They introduce everyone, but I don’t care about any of them. You get a short blurb about who they are and that’s it. They are utterly interchangeable in my mind.
And then there’s Operation Tornado, oh boy. A bunch of girls start rocking out on a stage. Are these girls part of Star Wars Battlefront? Are they NPCs or Angels? The intro kind of made them look like they were a separate group, but whatever. They attract a crowd of randos and Angel chick appears outside. Look, I get that the author wanted to use this to show off Angel’s powers but no. The NPCs are already in one big group. You don’t have to keep them there before turning on the fans. It’s not like people put their meal tickets in the air at a certain point in the concert like they’re lighters or something. Those fans blew the papers right out of their pockets or something and then they all get scattered outside anyway. You don’t see anyone struggling to pick them up or trying to jump and pluck them out of the air. I understand the NPCs may be too stupid to realize what’s happening, but the Loser Squad should be doing something to gather them. And Angel, who was just there a minute ago, is now inexplicably gone. They didn’t defeat her. She just disappears. And Bob here was all scared of the Angel coming to kill them, but they’re already dead! Even if the angel had gotten into the concert, NOTHING WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. They could have just run away. There are absolutely no stakes in this operation!
And then we have this scene where everyone is happy and eating together and it’s supposed to be this calm relatable moment, but all I’m doing is yelling at the screen “Why are you acting like they’re your friends? They attacked you, remember? And, why are you all eating if you’re dead?!” Seriously, they went through all this work to get meal tickets and yet they never explain why food is important to dead people or why they don’t get meal tickets the same way NPCs get them or why they can’t just swipe the food from NPCs whenever. They also never explain why there are no adults, why there are so few humans, and why are they in a school at all! Actually, no, I know why they’re in a school, because all anime is set in high school. How about instead of ruining the suspense about why Angel stabbed Frank, you could have told us why you carry around weapons when the angel seems impervious to them.
Alright, episode two. You start out with this guy saying their gunpowder stores are low, and I know this is a nitpick, but gunpowder? Seriously? You’re saying that these kids are making their own bullets with gunpowder? I mean, Yeah you can do it but why? The guy says they should stock up before their next battle. Apparently these Guild people have carved out the lucrative business of selling guns to dead kids. But then if they could just get bullets from the Guild then why do they need gunpowder to make bullets?
So there’s this trapped dungeon they have to go through, and once again, there is nothing at stake here. They think Angel is down there and if they don’t stop her then they won’t be able to get more weapons… but weapons are useless against her, so what’s the point in having weapons? They also don’t show any of the juicy gory deaths, and I’m a little disappointed about that. And I hate to keep bringing this up, but a guy dies because he’s big and someone says he needs to go on a diet… but they’re dead. Why do they need to eat? Then the American dude get’s squashed and they all just brush it off. Is this supposed to be funny? Okay maybe the climbing bit was kind of funny.
So, not Haruhi tells her backstory where her house gets broken into… while they were in the house… and since the robbers didn’t find any cash, they started breaking valuable things? I understand that she might be remembering things wrong, but do you seriously expect me to believe that these are competent robbers? These are rookie mistakes! I like to think that they were from some secret organization and Haruhi’s dad had some kind of mega virus on a flashdrive and the robbers were looking for that and nothing she could have brought them would have saved her siblings. And where the heck were her parents? Who leaves an eight year old to watch over babies? And then she’s like “I didn’t commit suicide or anything. Why would you think that?” Well, I wasn’t thinking it before your suspiciously specific denial, but now I’m not so sure.
Then they get to the guild and, woowee this place is huge! There’s a whole civilization of oddly school-aged kids here. Which begs the question, why don’t Bad Company just live down here? You could just send one guy up everyday on his best behavior to search for new recruits and then you would never have to deal with Angel at all. And then! Oh and then, Haruhi explains that you can make whatever you want out of dirt if you know how it’s made… Then why did you steal all those tickets in the first episode!? You could have just made them out of dirt or better yet, you can make whatever food you want! Or maybe you should stop eating food because you’re dead! And how do all these high-schoolers know about mechanics? I mean, I guess you would only need one guy who was really into cars in his life to teach everyone how to make cars, and one pyromaniac to teach you how to make IEDs, but some of this stuff is a little complex for teenagers. Are they finding this stuff in the school library? That’s a pretty sweet library then. Now, I didn’t mention this before, but this whole time, the areas they go into have been shown as basement numbers like in a dungeon. They are really making it obvious that the viewer is supposed to believe that this isn’t the afterlife but rather a simulation. Still doesn’t explain why people eat.
Okay, Episode three. This red haired chick has just finished a song and Haruhi tells her that she can’t use it because it’s too soft, and the girl is just like “k.” Man, if I had spent days writing a song and some chick told me to scrap it, I’d slap her pretty face, but apparently Red here is a better person than I am. So glasses boy shows up and starts reciting pi like it proves he’s a leet haxor somehow? John Johnson gets a soda out of vending machine. He hasn’t been shown how to create things from dirt though so where did he get the money? Also, why is he drinking? He meets up with Pinkie Pie who mentions something odd. She says the teachers would not approve of the concert… There are teachers here? Charlie Brown hasn’t gone to a single class since he arrived. But wait, if Angel comes when students are misbehaving, wouldn’t skipping class constantly gain her attention? Apparently not.
Then the dude goes to check in on the band practicing. Look, I feel like there is only a band because K-on did it, and there’s only arm patches and a female lead with short hair and bows because Haruhi did it, and there’s only guns and weapons because of the rule of cool. I just don’t see all of these things as being cohesive. Right, so, he goes to see the band practice and he’s there all of two seconds before they take a break and then he tells Red he was mesmerized by her performance? He didn’t even see her concert. He was there when she sang her ballad for Haruhi but he didn’t seem mesmerized then. Anyway, Red tells him a story about how she got through a rough childhood with music. She found a guitar out in the rain and… sorry, sorry, just stop right there. That’s an acoustic guitar in the garbage in the rain. Not only is it stupid to throw out a guitar because they’re pretty easy to sell, but you know what, not everyone cares about money so ok, she found a guitar in the trash, but, BUT you can’t expect me to believe that that guitar didn’t warp at all in the rain. That thing is soaked through. It’s going to sound like cats and that’s IF you can dry it out.
Then we see a scene where Angel is taking down the fliers for the concert, and we hear the NPCs… talking to her. Wait a second. These people seem… real. Like they have just as much personality as most of the humans. Well, now we know why John Smith took Haruhi’s word for it that they’re NPCs, because if he HAD talked to them directly, he would have seen that they aren’t. No, this is still bad writing. Are you trying to tell me that the NPCs were reasonable people all along and Jonny B Goode just never bothered to talk to any of them ever? How are these guys any different from the people in the Baby Sitters’ Club?
And then the concert starts and, what? Is that the same guitar she had when she was alive? Did she just make a copy or is that the actual guitar? How in the world did she bring it to the afterlife with her? Whatever, so the gang breaks into Angel’s room and glasses bro uses a program to hack her laptop’s password instead of booting it in Linux and accessing her files that way. Look, I haven’t done this in a while so I’m not sure if that’s changed but back when this anime was made, you could totally still use Linux to steal files.
So we cut back to the concert and the song is fine, it’s just not plot relevant and can be skipped entirely. And then, Oh my god… Adults show up, like actual adults, not just a high-schooler with a beard. These are real adults that are doing the proper adult thing of breaking up an unauthorized concert on school grounds, but as you’d expect, they’re complete losers. So we cut back to the guy who’s bad at hacking and he says he doesn’t have enough time to copy all the files. Well maybe if you hadn’t spent so much time futzing with the password, you could have had enough time to do that. Now back at the farm, the adults have done their job and they confiscate all the instruments and Red acts like this is a scary thing, like they can’t just make new ones out of dirt. She freaks out because one of them touches her old acoustic guitar, because… she… needs it? Isn’t it just a copy? Then she starts playing her ballad and no one stops her… for some reason. And everyone can hear her even though she doesn’t have a mic for the vocals or the guitar. So while Red is singing her heart out and not getting detained by the teachers, glasses kid messes with some program on Angel’s computer. Haruhi explains that Angel gets her abilities the same way that they make their weapons. So does that mean that they use computers to make items? I guess this lends credence to the “it’s all a simulation” theory. And then Red disappears after fulfilling her dream of inspiring a bunch of NPCs.
I just… I just don’t get this show. Maybe I would like it better if they didn’t try to explain anything. I mean, I’m frustrated because they don’t explain certain things but then again if they explained nothing then I would be okay with it. And maybe I would get into the show more if there weren’t glaring problems with backstories and motivations that I can only hope are hints to a greater conspiracy or something, but right now I’m just supposed to take them at face value and that’s hard to do when just that one idea of being able to create things from dirt is causing so many problems. Look, people say it picks up at around episode eight and maybe it does, but why would I want to wait that long? Right, I’m going to watch one more episode and then I’m dropping this. I give it not the worst thing ever out of ten.