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Roadside Picnic
• 9/3/2013

Theory: Otonashi is the creator of the afterlife

I heard this from a friend: put it simply, the theory goes that Otonashi was the original creator of the afterlife who went insane and turned himself into an NPC. This would make him the first to die of the SSS members, which means his heart could've been given to Kanade, despite the fact that he seemingly arrived to the afterlife after her. When he awoke in the first episode, that wasn't him entering the afterlife, but his return from being an NPC, much like how Takamatsu had returned after the shadows had been defeated.

What do you guys think?

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Roadside Picnic
• 8/1/2016

Ok I will address some of your points so that the evaluation and reinterpretation of the theory can be execute in a proper manner. 

First off, let's try to refocus on what we are trying to discuss here. The thread title for the theory is Otonashi is the creator of the Afterlife. In the response above, it is unclear which side is being taken.

Next let's discuss  the couterpoints to the theory posed above.

In order to do this let us take a loo at the two main beliefs in Japan:


Buddhists believe in the idea of reincarnation and Nirvana. Reincarnation is described as this:

"Life is a journey. 

Death is a return to earth. 

The universe is like an inn. 

The passing years are like dust. 

Regard this phantom world 

As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, 

A flash of lightning in a summer cloud, 

A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream."

This state is often described as a candle being lit with the previous candle's flame

Next, there is Nirvana.Nirvana is the state of final liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. It is also therefore the end of suffering. This is often described 

Shintoism: Shintoism believes that there are several worlds after a person dies that they can go to. For example, there is one that is like heaven with their own gods and then there is one like we see in Death Note where it is like death realm with shinigami. They also believe that their ancestors turn into those types of gods and watch over their current family. 

Now that we know this, let's apply this to the anime.

In the anime the students go to the high school setting after their deaths and then aftewrward when they move on they reincarnate. So, this anime blends the two ideas together. This is sort of what Japanese people do. That practice the ideas of Shintoism in their daily lives but will go and have a Buddhist funeral as well as visit Buddhist Temples. 

With this I can begin to discuss the counterclaims to the arguement.

1. For this claim, the fact that he went to a form of purgatory was not mentioned and so the arguement is not applicable. In the anime it discusses the fact that aa person who has not had a regret in their life when they died at an age under graduation, they come to the afterlife. Otherwise, they move on. So, the idea of the purgatory being mentioned is not appicable as Otonashi did not go to purgatory when he first died in the subway.

2-6. You claim that these are unnecessary because of what we know. The question then becomes what do we know? Just because something is not stated directly in the anime does not necessarily mean that the writers didn't intend for it not to be there. It may have been something that the viewer had to figure out. Secondly, you are disregrding the theory when in reality there has not been a counterclaim to support them, however you claimed that it was based on what we know. The issue here is you used a broad term that didn't give a specific counterpoint to the points specified. In essence, you are disregarding them because they were not directly stated with all that the anime has given.

7. In the Shinto religion, that is exactly correct. There are multile realms that a person can go to after they die. As discussed before addressing the counterpoints, there are places like the death realm and the higher realm(shinto version of heaven). So, in saying that there are multiple purgatories for many different people is correct. This purgatory in particular was meant for Japanese high school students who died having some sort of regret in their life. When you talk about the fact that the purgatory is not affected by IRL time, I get what you mean. The people there do not age, I get that. However, when talking with Yurri, Otonashi dscovers that she and the others have been there a long time(about 50 years). Sure the people may not age in the purgatory that they are in, but that doesn't mean that real time does not pass. And then  to use that as the idea to confirm the fact of infinite number of purgatories is not applicable because a space of time that is nt affected by time does not mean that there are an infinite number of purgatories.

8. When you say this, you contradict yourself later on in the response by saying the following: "As human population grows we are also destroying local habitats and lowering animal populations and deforesting so it makes sense to have more souls cycled into human form as time progresses." Could this quote not be applied to modern Japan. People are building new houses and tearing down forests and such for factories and other things. Does that not mean that the conditions could be met for an increased chance of a human reincarnation based off your statement. So, it is entirely possible to reincarnate as a human again. I do have to correct myself here. I mentioned that the original sould could be tracked but that is not true based on Buddhism, as they believe that there is no soul. So, to trace back several incarnations, one would have to look for five things: physical body, emotions, sensory perceptions, responses to said perceptions, and finally the conscience. 

9. I agree with you here.

10. Based on number 8.

11. yeah the feels...KANADEEEEEEEEEEE

However, when mentioning number 8, I have to bring up something else: the fact that the anime is more based on shintoism than Buddhism because of the NPC system used in the anime. It talks about the eating of the soul, but in an earlier post of mine, I claimed that it might just force you to move on to the next life. However, that evidence there suggests that the people in the anime actually have souls, which is a main belief about the afterlife in Shintoism, but they can still reincarnate. So, here is an idea for how the afterlife in Angel Beats works:

A human dies and goes to one of the many afterlifes out there and they stay there until they find a way to move on. Then they are reincarnated into another life. But, only humans can be reincarnated because they have souls, so that means that all of the humans that die will reincarnate as humans because of that soul. 

With this, the idea that the base soul could be tracked is a possibility. And, since they are in the afterlife, a lot more things are possible. So, Otonashi could very well have made the NPC system track the original soul from the first reincarnation.

All in all, the theory I have stated still could apply even now, though it may need a few revisions. So, why not all work together and try to make the most plausible timeline together.

• 8/14/2016
Could you explain the Otonashi X Shiina thing? The only reason i ignore so much of your earlier post is that i have no idea where that idea came from.
• 8/16/2016

It was just a way to give Otonashi a reason to build the NPC system and turn himself into an NPC. In the original theory, I mention that he falls in love and she moes on, but he doesn't, so he misses her and so he can't live with himself, thereby turning himself into an NPC.

I used Shiina because of the fact that she had been around longer than the others and so while Kanade was living her other life, a reicarnation of Shiina came through. But, I can take that all back and just use Kanade instead. I mention that in my revised theory posted on June 9th addresses that issue and rewrites a different theory around kanade being the incarnation that goes in place of Shiina. I hope that clears up anything with that issue. I appreciate that you read it and actually responded to it, though. So thank you. I hope that you can read it again(the theory from June 9th) and not ignore most of it. 

• 9/27/2016

I reacon I can give a much simpler explination. Time is mostly consistant relative to the characters deaths. They appear at a regular inteval.

Shiina is the oldest coming from feudal Japan. The amount of time passed in the real world is irrelevant and only useful for determining the order of their deaths. 

Otonashi moved on happily. He was in the true afterlife with other dead people rather than the youth who had no life. 

Kanade's heart (from Otonashi) failed before long. But she wanted to thank Otonashi but as Otonashi moved on, she couldn't.

So Angel Player steps in. It finds Otonashi's soul (takes a while. Lots of souls to filter through). Otonashi can't go to Purgatory because he was happy. So Angel Player wipes his memories and sends him to Purgatory to help Kanade. 

Anime starts.

• 10/10/2016

But that doesnt explain whether or not Otonashi is the creator or not? Are you saying that he isn't, I mean, is that the side you're taking?

• 10/21/2016

Let me stomp on this theory.

Read the very last trivia.

According to the 1st VN Shiina was there the longest (100 years)

The first successful heart transplant was on 1967

Otonashi looked like he was living in the modern world, even if it meant guessing that his life took place and died in the 80's or 90's

(no birthdate mentioned anywhere :c)

and considering this theory and Shiina being there for more than 100 years; that would mean the heart transplant happened before the year 1900! (his flashbacks don't look that old to me :/)

However if they were living in the year 2100+, your friend's theory will make sense but will not explain Shiina's culture shock.

• 11/8/2016

That could be backed up further by the fact that when the computers were all destroyed, the Programmer never showed his face.

• 1/3/2017
otonashi became the student council president after the ending in the CD
• 2/9/2017

I will explain to y'all to disprove your ridiculous theories. Otonashi is not the creator. He is a human soul that is destined to be in the Afterlife to fulfill Kanade's request. The episode "Another Epilogue" is only an alternate ending created by the crew due to fans' requests. But the real ending in the canon is Otonashi leaves the afterlife and lives in the real world, reincarnated.

• 7/2/2017
Michael Morningstar wrote:
I highly doubt this theory.

In Episode 12, when Yuri talked to the AI in the Second Computer Room, he stated that she wouldn't know The Programmer "even if he did say his name". This would crush the theory of Otonashi being The Programmer at all. 

Also, it could be possible that time doesn't exist in the Afterlife or its mixed. Kanade may have died after Otonashi, but she may been there for a long time first before Otonashi arrived.

I really hope the Visual Novel and the fan made sequel "Afterlife Reincarnation" would help us explain this.

Well man problem is that your doubt anyone who saying that Otonashi can't be The Programmer because he said "even if he did say his name" is wrong because Yuri wasn't know Otonashi name so if he even said Otonashi name then Yuri couldn't know it because Otonashi revelead his name on graduation and before that in anime/manga/game he never said what his name is, only last name.

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