- "Please let me believe what you believe in too. Let me believe that life is wonderful."
- ―Kanade to Yuzuru Otonashi
Kanade Tachibana (立華 奏で, Tachibana Kanade also known as Angel) is one of the students of the Afterlife school and is said school's Student Council President. She is also referred to as Angel by the Afterlife War Front, which is a nickname coined by Hideki Hinata and later used by the group's leader Yuri Nakamura to refer to Kanade after discovering her unusual abilities.
As the school's Student Council President, Kanade is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that all of the students are able to cope with their personal problems. This eventually clashes with Yuri's determination to blame God for her hardships in life, and she becomes a target of the Afterlife War Front upon its founding. Kanade is the titular heroine of Angel Beats.
Kanade is a very beautiful girl who has long silver hair, which is often mistaken in the Light Novel to be a shade of blue, that reaches about waist length. She also has gold eyes with hints of auburn/brown in certain lighting. Her eyes appear to be slightly cat eyed and curved up to fit with her mysterious/kuudere vibe and has a very white skin.She wears the standard uniform of the Afterlife School, a skirt over a white petticoat, white knee-high socks, brown loafers and a pale blue barrette clip on the back of her head, which keeps a part of her hair up. Kanade is one of the shortest characters in the series, being only 150 cm (4'11") tall. After her seeming reincarnation, Kanade is shown with short hair tied in a ponytail.
Kanade does not appear to be any less foolish than a typical human being in physical form, but this is contrasted by her lack of detectable emotion, even in skirmishes with the SSS which usually end up with her being injured. It is difficult to understand what she is thinking due to her rarely showing any outward emotion. Her lack of expression also makes it difficult to determine whether or not she has any consciousness, but she is revealed to be rather intelligent, as she was able to make use of the Angel Player program, creating weapons and giving herself monstrous defense mechanisms, even leading the Afterlife War Front to believe she is an angel from God. In later events, she is shown to have abandoned being friendly because of the rules of the world she is in, as her newly-found friends inevitably leave her when they disappear.As the series progresses, she shows a little of her emotions, mostly to Otonashi. In Episode 13, Kanade goes as far as to give a small pout.
She is fond of eating Mapo Tofu, even going so far as to ignore school rules to eat it. She also includes it in her self-made school anthem at the close of the series.. She spends portions of her free time gardening. She is actually part of the disbanded gardening club. She recently became friends with Otonashi, even though she didn't realize this until Otonashi said so. Although this did not alter her personality much, she allows him to call her by her first name, Kanade, and seems to exclusively talk to and hang around him. Kanade helped him fight Naoi and saved Otonashi and the SSS from being eaten by the River Monster.
Later on, she opens up to Otonashi, talking to him casually and even helping out in Otonashi's plans to help the SSS get over their lingering feelings. After spending more time with her, Otonashi discovers more of her personality and her startling lack of common sense. Otonashi describes her as a "Clumsy Angel". She seems to have a large amount of pain tolerance, as she has been shot several times by the SSS without any reaction or indication of suffering.
Although there is not much known about Kanade's past, it is revealed that during Otonashi's last moments alive, he used what strength he had left to sign his donations card and from options that were listed, he circled to donate his heart, and as it turned out, Otonashi was her donor.
It's not been revealed how exactly Kanade died, but it is very likely that while she survived with Otonashi's heart, it eventually failed to support her after some time.
Although, it seems that Kanade has spent a while in the afterlife. As she says that everyone who has been her friend before vanished or was obliterated. This would make it seem like she spent a good deal of time in the afterlife and has tried to help everyone "graduate".
A Servant of "God"Edit
Kanade is the main target of Yuri and by extension, the SSS, as she is seen as a servant to a higher being (God) and thus, receives her namesake "Angel"; their assumption was formed after seeing her unusual powers first-hand. Even before Hinata's arrival in the afterlife school, Yuri starts planning to lure God out. Upon her discovery of the powers of Angel, the Student Council President at that time, their focus shifts to plans on how to get rid of her.
As Kanade becomes involved with conflicts initiated by Yuri, she stays true to her duties, watching over the school as the Student Council President for some time, and at times, ignoring Yuri's assaults altogether.
The Afterlife War FrontEdit
Upon the forming of the new "anti-Angel" group called the Afterlife War Front, attacks against Angel intensify with the help of Guild's weaponry. At this time, Otonashi has joined the group and has been witness to how much of a threat she was to his safety. Thus his decision to join the said group.
A Backfired PlanEdit
Later on, the SSS discovers that Kanade does not have the nature of someone working with God; in fact she is human like them. The discovery forces Yuri to devise a plan to humiliate her to serve as additional proof for her humanity. The plan involves sabotaging Kanade's test results to tarnish her clean record and thus, giving her grounds for dismissal.
Their plan succeeded flawlessly; Kanade was dismissed from office as Student Council President, with Vice President Ayato Naoi taking over her position. At this period, she experiences being put into a detention facility with Otonashi due to the latter insisting to treat her for lunch despite the time constraints. Meanwhile, Otonashi hears news of his friends confronting Naoi and turns to Kanade to help him escape. After she and Otonashi break out from the detention facility, she goes to help Otonashi in saving the SSS from Naoi's plan to get rid of them.
In an attempt to become friends with her, Otonashi invites Kanade to fish with him and the other SSS members, despite the others' rejections. She agrees, and eventually, she becomes a big help to the group, taking down the biggest and most-feared fish in the river; she also stays to assist the SSS in sharing the catch with the rest of the school.
During this time, Otonashi tells her they are friends and requests to address her by her first name, and that she will do the same for him, in return. Although she does not seem to be particularly appreciative of Otonashi's efforts due to her emotionless demeanor, she does agree to become friends with him and allow him to call her by her first name, Kanade.
Soon, she is compelled to face a foe who shares the same powers and form as herself, which causes them both to kill each other. In later events, they discover that it is one of Kanade's clones who developed an independent conscience after being summoned. Kanade is then captured by another of the clones and was contained in Guild's lowermost underground ruins. The SSS, led by Yuri and Otonashi, push through to rescue her from the clones, which unattended would be a bigger threat than Kanade herself, and they succeeded in saving her, though most of the battlefront is lost in the process and she is forced to fight a more difficult battle: one against the many consciousnesses that her Harmonics ability created.
Misunderstandings and a PlotEdit
After a long time unconscious in the infirmary, Kanade manages to wake up from the ordeal victorious.
She then explains to Otonashi who by sleeping on Kanade's chest, regained all of his memories, that her fighting with the SSS has been a very large misunderstanding. Her "role" in the world of the afterlife is to help young souls that feel life or God was unfair to them, find comfort with themselves and relieve themselves of regrets so they may pass on or "disappear." Despite what the SSS made her seem to be (an evil "angel" who carries out the will of an unfair god; partly because Kanade used weapons against them, which unknowingly were created for self-defense, and due to her being unable to express herself effectively) she is extremely kind on the inside and only wants to help people's souls move on.
Kanade is later seen resuming her position as the Student Council President and the SSS members have to retake their exams for tampering with her test paper. She continues helping people in the afterlife pass on, but this time, with the assistance of Otonashi as her ally and companion.
An Unlikely AllianceEdit
Eventually, Kanade teamed up with the SSS in order to fight against the Shadows, who were threatening the safety of non-NPC and NPC students in the world. She acts as the primary defense of the newly-formed alliance as the SSS gathers the remaining members to assist.
She also detected the Shadow attack on Yuri, and led Otonashi, Hinata, and Naoi to her. They managed to rescue Yuri and brought her over to the Second Computer Room, where the culprit behind the Shadows appearing was located. After the fight, Yuri was left unconscious for three days, during this time Kanade and Otonashi worked together to prepare a surprise for Yuri.
My Soul, Your HeartEdit
After all the Shadows were obliterated by Yuri's assault on the Second Computer Room, Kanade and the remaining SSS members plan a graduation ceremony while Yuri is recovering in the infirmary. Since most of the SSS members already have moved on, Kanade, Otonashi, Naoi, Hinata and Yuri are the only ones left to experience the graduation ceremony.
Naoi, Yuri and Hinata soon move on and disappeared, leaving Otonashi and Kanade. Otonashi then invites her to walk outside with him saying that he wants to feel the wind on his face. While outside Otonashi confesses to her that he loves her and he finds out that Kanade has his heart, which he donated in his final moments. Kanade soon reveals that the true reason that she was in the afterlife was that she was looking to thank the person who had given her the gift of life through the heart; as it turns out, it was Otonashi's heart beating in Kanade's chest at the last moments of her life.
After thanking him for giving her an extended life, she disappears leaving Otonashi in tears and despair.
A Fated MeetingEdit
Sometime later in the world of the living, a girl that resembles Kanade, with shorter cut hair and a hat, is humming while waiting on the streets. A passing boy that resembles Otonashi recognizes the tune she is humming as Iwasawa's last song, "My Song" (Most likely subconsciously). He turns in recognition of either the song or her. In the scene, the girl checks the time on her phone and then proceeds to walk in the opposite direction of the boy after he passes by, but he then chases after her to tap her on the shoulder in order to get her to stop and turn round so they can meet. The scene fades to white just before the boy makes contact with the girl. This is likely that Otonashi and Kanade meet each other again in the real world as Otonashi was confirmed to have reincarnated back into the real world by the writer.
Kanade fights with supernatural abilities, whose origin is probably artificial in nature. Her abilities are voice-activated, and can take effect almost immediately. Combined with her advanced skill in hand-to-hand combat, this makes her a formidable opponent for the members of the SSS.
In SSS's attempt to infiltrate Kanade's dormitory room, they gain information about her abilities, which are compiled in her personal computer. This discovery deeply disturbs Yuri, who wonders why Angel is not getting her abilities from God like she first assumed. This leads her to question if there is even a God, meaning that at all of their fighting has been for nothing. Later events support their earlier discovery and a manual called Angel Player is even discovered which is related to the program they discovered.
List of Guard SkillsEdit
- Hand Sonic: Calls forth a single blade or a pair of blades, one on each hand. The blades are capable of slicing through steel or even easily dispatching Shadows. It has been shown to have many variations:
- Hand Sonic [Version One]: Regular shape resembling a longsword. The main version she uses when fighting the SSS.
- Hand Sonic [Version Two]: A thinner, longer version than the previous. It has a curved-diamond shape on its tip. She made this version thinner for higher speed.
- Hand Sonic [Version Three]: Is shaped like a traditional sai. She once remarked that this version is "inelegant".
- Hand Sonic [Version Four]: A variation which is shaped like a lotus flower with no edges other than, perhaps, its petals. Apparently more of a bludgeoning weapon than a slicing one. Kanade admits to have created it in her attempt to make her weapon "cuter".
- Hand Sonic [Version Five]: Kanade's most recent variation of Hand Sonic (Excluding the version in the 3rd Drama CD). It is basically a pair of pincers secured on the arm by a violet gauntlet-like accessory that resembles a demon's head, horns and shape. She created this version due to Otonashi's advice that she should give herself a more ruthless image. She also used this version as a makeshift slingshot and for dispatching the Shadows or hitting certain targets from afar.
- Hand Sonic [Version Twenty-Eight]: This is Kanade's latest version of Hand Sonic. However, this variation is only known to have been used in the 3rd Drama CD. Otonashi and Hinata has stated that it excels in bringing pain and that one would merely know just by looking at it
- Distortion: Allows her to deflects bullets and other projectiles away using an invisible shield in front of her. The drawback of this skill is that she has to take it down should she want to switch from defense to offense. This skill does not deflect physical attacks as she is show to dodge physical attacks
- Delay: Creates a sort of after-image for close range. It is effective in dodging melee attacks by confusing the enemy into attacking elsewhere.
- Harmonics: Makes a clone of herself which is identical to her, except it has blood-red eyes. Clones created through this ability have their own consciousness, as well as all the abilities of the original - including Harmonics itself. The copy are forms of whatever she is feeling at the moment of their creation.
- Absorb: A "hidden ability" which acts as the reverse of Harmonics. It allows the reintegration of clones created through Harmonics into her body. This, however, poses some risks as Harmonics clones also possess their own consciousness. This ability is connected to Harmonics using a command called timewait, which is simply a wait command which delays the execution of this ability. This ability was created by Yuri as ma ethod of dealing with the Harmonics clones.
- Overdrive: A passive ability that gives her superhuman strength. The word "Passive" is supposed to refer to a fact that, unlike other guard skills, this skill can be used without an explicit invocation. Overdrive's passive effect is strong enough to lift both the Master of the River and nearly all of the SSS members combined into the air by jumping.
- Howling: Emits powerful high-frequency, high-amplitude sound-waves from crossed Hand Sonic blades, meant to make an enemy faint. Created by one of the Harmonics clones.
- Angel Wings: Sprouts wings from her back that, while they don't enable her to fly, can be used to slow her descent. They also allow her survive long drops, such as jumping from the roof of a building.
- Sonic Rotation (unnamed): This technique when activated, produces a blue aura when used. Kanade produces a Version One Hand Sonic on each arm and spins rapidly, effectively destroying everything in the vicinity. It was stated to be as powerful as a jet bomber by Naoi, after it demolished a mass of Shadows and left a circular crater in the ground.
- Kanade's blood type is A.
- In the 3rd drama CD, she tells Otonashi that she loves him.
- In the opening credits, Kanade is shown playing the piano, but it is unknown if she actually plays the instrument.
- In the 3rd drama CD, she had a later version of Hand Sonic, called Hand Sonic Version 28. She commented that it is made out of fear, sadness, etc. She also said that she has already made Hand Sonic Version 6-27.
- The kanji for Kanade means "to play a tune".
- During the first broadcast of the anime series, many Japanese fans were admiring her saying "Tenshi-chan, maji Tenshi" (天使ちゃんマジ天使, lit. "Tenshi-chan truly is an angel"). Even after it became apparent that she wasn't a real angel, as she had claimed in the very first place, they still kept on hailing her as such (as "_____ is truly an angel" is a fairly common phrase assigned to particularly lovable characters in general).
- In the last scene, Otonashi spotted Kanade outside of a large department store building. This building was the only setting in the show that was modeled after (a) place(s) actually existing in the real world. The name of the original building is Shibuya 109. 109 is located in Shibuya, one of bustling shopping districts in Tokyo. 109 is extremely popular among teenagers in Japan.
- Since the Angel Player program is fully written in English, it could be possible that Kanade knows the language. But it is never implied if she reads it.
- There is a continuity in Kanade's existence; Otonashi's heart was transplanted to her so she would have been alive when he was dead yet Kanade was already in the afterlife before Otonashi (It might be that Otonashi's soul wandered around and eventually ended up in the Afterlife which may explain the time gap).
- Some fans have theorized that Kanade's lingering feeling to thank her heart donor is what brought Otonashi to the world, even though Otonashi had lived a full life prior to his death.
- In Episode 3, when Yuri and the others infiltrate Kanade's computer, a name of someone called "Tachibana Kazunobu" is listed in the school roster. However, because the kanji for the last names differ (Kanade is 立華 while the list shows 立花), the person is likely an NPC with the same romanized last name as Kanade and not related to her. Also, Kanade's name is strangely not listed in the school roster.
- Interestingly, Kanade shares the same English voice actress (Emily Neves) as Minene Uryu , from the anime Mirai Nikki and Kotomi Ichinose, from the anime Clannad.