Angel Beats! is another really good anime.
I got through my weekend guard duty on this wonderful masterpiece by Key, which is (for me) on par with Love Hina for pure Crowning Moment of Heartwrenching. Albeit this time is heartbreaking instead of heartwarming. Still, I got that same emotional restless adrenaline-pumping mind-blasting feeling that I got when Love Hina ended. I'm afraid I might becoming addicted.
I loved the artwork. When you realise that most anime is just awesome artwork with a slow pan or slight zoom, you start appreciating more of the tiny details of the world. I loved the 3D 180-degree wrap-arounds of Yui at the baseball pitch. I loved the closeup of Yuri's eyes. I loved the artwork throughout the entire series.
The story also tantalizes with so many philosophical thoughts and literary themes. It talks about the meaning and purpose of life, fulfillment of your dreams, of friendship and leadership, of the amazing power of unconditional love in the face of an unjust world. (The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance. As an aside.) It's about acceptance, it's about life after death, and another life after that.
Then there were the other bits that just made my day. Yui was extremely adorable whenever she appeared. TJ was hilarious. I found that the creators mixed the perfect balance of humour and I-want-to-stab-myself-right-now melancholy that you're able to survive the first few episodes without falling into depression. I also loved the Matrix-esque computer room and its Architect. The plot twist which revealed Otonashi's real cause of death also had me mindblown. I also loved the graduation scene, even though it was tear-my-heart-out-now depressing. I thought it was brilliant that the "afterlife" was mostly the same as "life": you can't die, but you can be erased, so accepting your life is also like accepting your death.
The only thing I find disappointing with this anime is that it's part of a mixed media project, which means a lot of the story is found in the light novels and manga, and the plot is also quite rushed and not very cohesive. That said, whatever they managed to squeeze into the anime worked well enough for me.
I would like to grow up and write like these writers do, to take your emotions and throw them on a roller-coaster, and stretch them, pull them, smash them, until you're panting and sweating and you feel so alive.
My soul, your beats
The Edna Man