Angel Beats! (エンジェルビーツ! Enjeru Biitsu!) is a multimedia project consisting of an anime series, a manga series, 4-panel comic strips (4-koma) and a novel. The anime series acts as the central plot source for the remaining material, while the mini-novel and manga act as an expansion to the series as prequel and adaptation-expansion respectively.
The story was originally conceived by Jun Maeda, who also wrote the screenplay, with original character design by Na-Ga; both Maeda and Na-Ga are from the visual novel brand Key known for producing such titles as Kanon, Air, and Clannad. Key is working in collaboration with ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Magazine to produce the project. The series began airing in Japan on April 3, 2010. Two manga series and a series of illustrated short stories based on Maeda's original concept are serialized in Dengeki G's Magazine. Jun Maeda is also responsible for writing the successful anime "Charlotte."
- See full article: Afterlife
The story of Angel Beats! takes place primarily at a high school complex set in the afterlife, with a majority of the population consisting of high school students. Here, they learn to give up any lingering attachments they still have from life before finally going to their next life. While injuries acquired at the time of death are gone, those in the afterlife school can still feel pain or other things as they did when they were alive, as well as dying again, only to awaken with no injuries several minutes later. Also, unlike in other portrayals of the afterlife, people still feel the necessities of a normal person, including hunger and need of sleep.
The story of the Angel Beats! anime series follows the main male protagonist Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. Upon awakening in the afterlife, he meets the main female protagonist Yuri, who invites him to join the Shinda Sekai Sensen (SSS) (死んだ世界戦線, lit. Afterlife Battle Front), an organization she leads which fights against angel for the cruel fates the SSS members experienced in life. Their only enemy in the world is the school's Student Council President popularly known as "Angel", a being with supernatural powers who appears to be in charge of keeping the status quo and the fight against the SSS. As the story continues, despite Angel being their enemy, Otonashi grows accustomed of her and starts to get along with her.
The novels for the Angel Beats! multimedia project, entitled Angel Beats! Track Zero, acts as a prequel to the anime series, as it retraces the beginnings of Yuri's rebellion in the afterlife and her encounter with Hinata, who (at the time of the novels) has just arrived in the afterlife after an accident. Also, it focuses on how the SSS is founded and how the present cast is gathered to form the organization which aims to confront God.
- Otonashi - a newcomer into the afterlife and an amnesiac. He arrives in the middle of the conflict between the Afterlife War Front and Angel and finds himself forced to take sides.
- "Angel" - the mysterious Student Council President with unusual powers. She becomes Yuri's target because of her powers as well as Otonashi getting along with her.
- Yuri - the leader of the Afterlife War Front and also a student in the afterlife school. Her feelings against how God has made her life miserable has led her to found the said group, and she aims to confront God at all costs.
- Hinata - he arrives in the afterlife earlier before Otonashi arrived, and he witnessed the Afterlife War Front's beginnings. He supports Yuri's cause but is also questionable of her means.