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Anime / Angel Beats!

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(From left) Otonashi, Yuri, and Angel.

I felt like I heard it
Because I felt like I sensed it
Just now, in my heart that has begun to tremble
I felt it come again
Some hundred million stars vanishing
I saw them off
Waved goodbye
And said "Good for you"
"My Soul, Your Beats!" (Opening Theme)

Angel Beats! is a franchise consisting of a thirteen-episode anime (plus two OVAs and a short epilogue), four manga, a Light Novel (adapted into one of the manga) and a Visual Novel by Key/Visual Arts. Jun Maeda, co-founder of Key/Visual Arts and scenario writer of many of the company's previous works, has conceived and written all of the installments in the series.

In the anime, simply entitled Angel Beats!, our viewpoint character, high-school-aged Otonashi wakes up suddenly to find that he can't remember anything, not even his full name. Before he even has time to get his bearings, a purple-haired girl with a sniper rifle informs him that he is dead and asks him to join her rebellion against God... but God is nowhere to be seen.

The world they are in seems like an enormous Japanese boarding school populated by soulless, though realistic and harmless, NPCs who act like ordinary students and faculty. The only apparent enemy of the self-named Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife Battlefront) is the student council president, a short, white-haired girl they call Tenshi (Angel), who wields supernatural powers in an effort to force the SSS to behave like the normal students. Every real person who has submitted to this behavior has disappeared forever, so the SSS members are understandably unwilling. The Angel Beats! anime is the story of Otonashi's time in this strange afterlife, as he learns about his situation, interacts with the others in the SSS and Angel, waits to regain his memories, and decides what to do after he does.

The light novel serves as a prequel to the anime and follows the character Hinata and the formation of the SSS. Titled Angel Beats! Track Zero (November 2009-May 2010), it was written by Jun Maeda and illustrated by GotoP, and published by ASCII Media Works in Dengeki G's Magazine.

Two Yonkoma manga under the title Angel Beats! The 4-koma (December 2009-October 2013, December 2013-January 2016) followed. They were, again, written by Jun Maeda and illustrated by Haruka Komowata, and published by ASCII Media Works in Dengeki G's Magazine.

The anime, directed by Seiji Kishi for studio P. A. Works, began airing in Spring 2010. Included with the seventh and final BD/DVD volume was an OVA entitled "Stairway to Heaven" and a brief alternate ending entitled "Another Epilogue". A second OVA, "Hell's Kitchen", was released in June 2015. The OVAs take place between episodes 4 and 5 and episodes 2 and 3, respectively.

Another manga (May 2010 - October 2016) was published, adapting and continuing the story of the Track Zero Light Novel. This manga, Angel Beats! Heaven's Door, was illustrated by Yuriko Asami, and once again published by ASCII Media Works in Dengeki G's Magazine and, later, Dengeki G's Comic. Seven Seas Entertainment is releasing the manga in North America.

Another manga, Angel Beats! The Last Operation, began in 2017. Yuriko Asami returned as illustrator for the manga, which is described as the "True Angel Beats! [Maeda] wanted to write".

A six volume Visual Novel adaption was anounced and promised to feature more of the Angel Beats! universe that couldn't be crammed into the other works. Angel Beats! -1st beat-, the first volume, was released on June 26, 2015 for Windows PC. It covers up to the tenth episode of the anime as well as Yui's, Iwasawa's, and Matsushita's routes with Otonashi as the main protagonist. In December 2016, Maeda revealed that subsequent volumes had been cancelled, with the content that had been planned for future games used as a basis for the manga Angel Beats! The Last Operation.

The TV series is licensed by Sentai Filmworks for the North American release. No surprise, considering that they've picked up many Key titles in the past. The series was released with an English dub on DVD in July 2011. The first episodes were first shown at Anime Boston. Can be viewed on the Anime Network and Crunchyroll.

For any character-related tropes, please see the characters page.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: At the very least, the new Student Council President has a good number of mooks at his disposal. That is more because Naoi can hypnotize people, though.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Naoi's father to a crazy degree. The kindest thing he can recall him saying was a begrudging "that wasn't bad" back when his more favored brother was still alive. Following his brother's death, Naoi's father barely gave him any acknowledgement.
    • Iwasawa had one as part of her backstory.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adults Are Useless: Yuri essentially believes the teachers are this way. And she's right, considering that they don't seem to notice, well, anything that happens during the exams. Averted in the manga, where the teachers and staff are constantly interfering with things.
  • An Aesop: Life is what you make of it, and a life lived by you holds irreplaceable value to you regardless of the unfairness and cruelties you might have been faced with in that life. Throughout the whole story, there is absolutely nothing about the school that actually requires the guerrilla warfare, weapons, and epic duels to the death. All of that is solely invented by the main characters who are unable to make peace with the lives they'd led and accept passing on to the afterlife after finding fulfillment in the school.
  • All There in the Manual: Angel Beats! is essentially a mixed media project. Much of the background between Yuri and "Angel", including the SSS's formation, plays out in the Light Novel and manga adaptations.
  • Amusing Injuries: Easy to do when no one can die. Episode 5 uses this repeatedly.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Yuzuru to Kanade, towards the end of Episode 13.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Angel believes that this is what happens to people when they disappear, but she won't force them into it. In episode 9, Otonashi comes to believe this as well and is determined to save the rest of SSS.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Angel's Hand Sonic Version 4 is a blade in the shape of a giant lotus flower. It is only ever used once, for a purpose she probably had not intended it for.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Very briefly, but Noda and Hinata in Episode 11.
  • Baseball Episode: Episodes 4 and 10.
  • Battle in the Rain: Off screen. We only get to see the aftermath of the fight between the SSS and the student council.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Hinata and Yui.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: With the appearance of shadow NPCs, Otonashi's resolution to help everyone overcome their emotional baggage now has a lot more pull with the SSS.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Episode 12 has everyone left in the Battlefront joining the fight against the shadows.
  • Bishie Sparkle:
    • Otonashi pulls this off momentarily in episode 4 to mock Hinata.
    • Takamatsu in episode 5's ending, and most of the other times he appears shirtless (which is often).
  • Black Comedy:
    • Those traps are still painful... until you realize that people can't die (permanently) here. And thus it's OK to get killed again and again.
      Yui: Even death doesn't cure idiocy.
    • Yui accidentally hanging herself in the fourth episode is damn hilarious.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Guard Skill - Hand Sonic
  • Blade Run: Shiina in the ED.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Angel apparently uses the Macrosoft Winding XO OS, which has DES 128-bit encryption. She's a PC.
    • In the same episode, "Bolvic" brand bottled water. It reappears in Episode 9, and was vital to the survival of train wreck survivors.
    • Episode 9 also features "Poaky".
    • The members of Girls Dead Monster use Harshall and Markte brand amplifiers.
    • Played with when Otonashi and Yui drink cans of "Key Coffee." It's a real brand of coffee in Japan, but uses the logo for Key/Visual Arts in the anime.
  • Bond One-Liner: TK when fighting the Shadows.
  • Break the Cutie: It seems that any cutie out there has been/will be broken by the end of the series.
    • Yuri had her siblings killed in front of her by robbers when she was a kid. The worst part: it was Yuri's "fault" that they died because she couldn't find money in the house to give to the robbers. They probably would've killed them all regardless, but that doesn't really help Yuri's feelings of guilt.
    • Iwasawa had an abusive Dad and generally a broken household. She found her savior in music, but that was taken away from her when her Dad hit her causing her to lose her voice and ability to play first, then die.
    • Angel has a lesser example but her rank as Student Council President was taken away, the teachers and students have lost all respect for her, and her comfort food was taken away from her all because of the SSS's actions. It's also sad when you realize that Angel is a human like the rest of SSS and was just trying to fulfill her duties as Student Council President. Her reputation and life in the afterlife are ruined because she was trying to play by the rules. Not that her past life as Kanade Tachibana was much better.
    • What about Yui? In her past life, she was completely paralyzed and unable to do the cool things she saw on TV, hence her boundless energy.
    • Anyone who qualifies as a cutie in the SSS counts, given that an unhappy life is a prerequisite to arrive in this afterlife.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Episode 4 is rather lighthearted compared to the drama-filled episode 3. Episode 8 piles on the Black Comedy just before episode 9 shows us how Otonashi actually died.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Never actually happens, but all through episode 8 Yui keeps saying she's going to wet herself out of nervousness or fear.
    Hinata: Don't care.
    Yui: Care, damn you!
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Shiina is a hypercompetent ninja. She is also very strange.
  • Butt-Monkey: Most of the SSS members take turns at the role, but Hinata by far is the most memorable.
  • Call-Back: When an NPC in the second computer room tells Yuri they have all the time in the world, Yuri tells the NPC that human beings won't even wait ten minutes.
  • Call-Forward: In Episode 2, TK's butchered Japanese while holding up the Descending Ceiling could be a nod to the next time they visit the Guild to retrieve Angel, and Otonashi attempts a Cooldown Hug.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Angel.
  • Cardiovascular Love: An entire room covered with it.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Shiina: "How foolish." (Translated to "This is so stupid" in the English dub.)
    • Yuri: "Operation Start!"
    • Takeyama: "Call me Christ!"
    • Yui: "What an idiot."
    • TK: "Get chance and luck!"
    • The entire SSS uses "He's/she's/we're/they're morons!" pretty consistently in the English dub. May be more of a Running Gag, though.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Non-romantic example—Angel grabs Otonashi's shirt to prevent him from leaving an exam. (He ends up achieving the objective he had in mind by talking to her, anyway.)
  • Central Theme: No matter what tragedies have happened in life, you can always change and move on.
  • Character Focus: A lot of episodes focus on a single character, telling the story of their past life and possibly giving them resolution at the same time. Episode 2 focuses on Yuri, 3 on Iwasawa, 4 on Hinata, 6 on Naoi, 7 and 9 on Otonashi, 10 on Yui, and 12 on Yuri.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: "My Song".
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Kanade stabbing Otonashi in the 'heart' in Episode 1, combined with her hospitalisation in Episode 9. The relevance of these doesn't become clear until 5 minutes before the end of the final episode. Not to mention the heartbeat monitor on the eyecatch and the show's title itself!
    • Also, the Ship Tease between Yui and Hinata seems like a cute background Running Gag at first... but becomes very important when his declaration of love causes her to disappear.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Angel's eyes turn red when she activates Harmonics and makes mincemeat of Monster Stream. Blink and you'll miss it. By the end of the episode, a red-eyed, hostile Angel appears.
  • Cloning Blues: In episode 7, an alternate Angel appears due to Harmonics. But that Angel can clone itself, and so on and so forth.
  • Clothing Damage: Death may be cheap, but it'll still mess up your threads.
  • Colour-Coded Characters: All NPCs have very dark brown or black hair. Naoi's hair is green. Hm...
  • Combos: Noda in his first meeting with Otonashi, complete with hit counter.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Episode 8, during the SSS's second trip to Guild, Noda dies first again and Otonashi and Yuri are the last two again.
    • Hinata comments on how he and Yuri founded the SSS Battlefront, which is a nod to the manga/novels, given how it is not mentioned anywhere in the anime itself.
  • Contrast Montage: Three smiling children - three kid-sized coffins - three smiling children - three kid-sized coffins...
  • Contrived Coincidence: Pretty much the only explanation how Otonashi so coincidentally picks up Angel's meal ticket.
  • Cooldown Hug: Otonashi attempts this with Kanade, but fails. Earlier on, he succeeds with Naoi.
  • Cool Gun: The SSS actually uses real world firearms. They are created using memories of their past life. You can see all the firearms featured in the series HERE.
  • Cower Power: Angel hides behind Yuri when Hinata complains about the lyrics to their graduation song.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Mostly averted though the part of the trope where the person doing the CPR, in this case Otonashi, gives up before an ambulance can get to the scene is probably justified what with Otonashi himself suffering from the massive internal bleeding that would eventually kill him at the time. Combined with the fact that rescue crews wouldn't show up for several days yet.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In episode 6 Yuri hands Otonashi a Walkie-Talkie in the beginning of the episode figuring if things went to hell she could contact Otonashi, who would be near Angel, and get him to ask Angel for help. Guess how things went. Guess who Otonashi happened to be sitting next to.
  • Crossdresser: If you consider the conformists' uniforms, you'll realize the SSS boys are wearing modified girls' uniforms (designed to not look like this trope).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The entire SSS - the frequency of idiots in the group seems to be directly proportional to the amount of asskicking they're capable of.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the dub of Episode 1, Otonashi does this after he wakes up in a pool of his own blood, completely unharmed, for the second time that episode. He gets as far as "What the f..." before interrupting himself with another line of thought.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Naoi stomps the SSS by using NPCs as mooks and human shields, preventing them from being able to fight back effectively.
  • Curtains Match the Window: This applies to many of the characters.
  • Cute Bruiser: Tiny little Yui pulls off a German Suplex on Otonashi... after several failed attempts.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Yui.
  • Cuteness Proximity:
    • Shiina. Ahem, CUUUUUTTTTEEEEE.
    • Angel is described as having this weakness as well. In the OVA, she abandons a Student Council meeting to question the SSS, who are causing a ruckus, and gets sidetracked by harvesting some "cute turnips".
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Every character more or less because it is a prerequisite to enter the afterlife.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Iwasawa in Episode 3.
    • Episode 10 mainly features Yui.
  • A Death in the Limelight: See above. Not quite "death", but close enough.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • So far, both Naoi and Kanade have been befriended.
    • In the prequel novel, we have Chaa, Noda (somewhat) and Shiina.
  • Deal with the Devil: In episode 12 Yuri is offered the chance to be God and eternal life by the NPC in the secret computer lab. She promptly refuses and shoots up the place.
  • Death Course: SSS's secret supply route is protected by one.
  • Death Is Cheap: Unless you come to terms with your actual death that is. Then you disappear.
  • Death as Comedy: Remember Death Is Cheap in Angel Beats!
    • This gets especially jarring in Episode 2, where after the rest of the SSS has been killed off in a various of manners played for laughs, Yuri tells Otonashi about how her three siblings were killed by robbers, and this time no one's laughing.
  • Declaration of Protection: Played straight when Hinata promised Yuri to protect her no matter what and does so in the light novel. Seemingly subverted in the beginning when Yuri tells him she's already dead.
  • Deflector Shields: Angel has her own personal one capable of deflecting pretty much any kind of projectile, including grenades.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Yurippe does this to the all members of the SSS in the OVA.
  • Descending Ceiling: One of the traps on the way to Guild.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The murder of Yuri's family, which is why she's fighting God in the first place. It's worth noting that the murders serve as a Moral Event Horizon for the perpetrators.
  • Destination Defenestration: Played for laughs in the very first episode. Twice. On the main cast.
  • Determinator: The traps on the road to Guild, which took out all but two of the SSS, will only slow down Angel. Then it's revealed that she's not any kind of divinely-powered superbeing, but an ordinary (if dead) high school girl.
  • Died Happily Ever After: The entire point of the Afterlife world actually. People disappear and seemingly reincarnate when they have accomplished all they couldn't do in their life and are finally at peace.
  • Disney Death:
    • Yuri is caught by the shadows in Episode 12 but unlike Takamatsu barely escapes with her soul.
    • Episode 13 reveals that Takamatsu was able to break free like Yuri did, eventually.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens to Otonashi in episode 2 while climbing Yuri after they nearly fell down an area where the floor caved in on them. Hinata was not as lucky, but his was a noble sacrifice, as spoken by Yuri after he apparently grabbed a part of her he shouldn't have.
    Yuri: Arh! Don't grab me there! *SLAP*
    Hinata: ARRRRRHHH-YOU BIIIIIIIII-[cuts to next scene]
  • Dodge This!: In episode 11.
    TK: I kiss you. *hail of lead*
  • Doing In the Wizard: Episode 3 implies that there may be nothing divine or supernatural (at least compared to the SSS) about Angel at all. This is confirmed in episode 11, raising the issue of whether God really exists or not.
  • Driven to Madness: Yuri's "penalties" are said to have this effect on people, though she denies having ever given any that bad.
  • Dwindling Party: Sort of, considering how more and more characters disappear. Played straight in episode 2 and 8, even though Death Is Cheap.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Everyone here is messed up. No exceptions. Though Otonashi's worst problem is just amnesia. Before his death is revealed, not knowing makes you really wonder what happened.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Yui can be seen in episode 1, trying to take pictures of Girls Dead Monster before their Operation Tornado performance. She is not named or introduced until episode 3.
  • Easy Logistics: It turns out people in the afterlife can literally create any item they can think of out of dirt if they can remember it well enough. With this ability, SSS was able to create a massive underground factory to manufacture their weapons and ammunition.
    • Hilariously subverted when they try to use a large cannon on Angel, only to have it explode on them because while they may have known what a cannon looks like, they didn't know the mechanics inside it to make it work properly.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Seems to be the entire point of the Afterlife.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: A very tearjerking example thanks to the mechanics of ascension in this afterlife, though this is just Otonashi's imagination of something that possibly happened to Angel.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Guild.
  • Eldritch Location: a more linear one than most, but the school is only accessible by death, grants resurrection to everyone within its borders, is supplied with utilities and enough energy for an ecosystem, despite the fact that if the battlefront could move anywhere else it would, implying a barrier around the grounds.
  • Epiphanic Prison: The school in Purgatory.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Naoi constantly seeks Otonashi's approval in an overly-friendly way and even Hinata has his fair share of moments where he seems interested in Otonashi especially early on.
  • The Everyman: Subverted. Otonashi can be seen as such in the very start, but he becomes more or less the leader of the group, being logical, intelligent and strong-willed, after his backstory is revealed.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The NPC teachers come dangerously close to stopping Girls Dead Monster from performing against the rules in episode 3, but when Masami Iwasawa starts strumming her guitar and singing My Song, they all instantly stop what they're doing and watch her perform.
  • Evil Laugh: Yuri,.
    • Yusa even talks about it.
      Yusa: Yuri-san, you sound like a villain.
    • It happens again in Episode 12. Right before she denies becoming God.
    • Yet again in the DVD Bonus Episode. This time she even learns how to do it like a professional, by mimicing Lelouch, and seems very glad to be lampshaded by Yusa one more time.
  • Evolving Credits: As characters are replaced and removed through various circumstances, the OP and ED, both of which focus on showing off the characters, change accordingly to these events.
    • When characters interact in the show in a noteworthy way, it also reflects the interaction. Examples include Yui strangling Hinata as per episode 4, and Takamatsu not wearing a shirt to show off his (surprising) 8-pack from episode 5.
    • Some episodes don't even show the typical ending, replacing it with more footage.
    • The 2 special episodes feature a different "To Be Continued" quote. The OVA got "BAD END" (hence how every member of the SSS went through a week without water or food and somewhat died) and Another Epilogue got "NEXT STAGE".
    • Played for Laughs in the OVA, if you watched the OVA itself, that is.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Yuzuru Otonashi had Peek A Bangs. He soon realizes that his ill sister Hatsune had more life and hope than he did, and that she had a purpose. He cuts his hair and applies for medical school.
  • Eyes Out of Sight: TK's are always obscured by his wide bandana.
  • Face Death with Dignity: What the purgatory is trying to get the people who end up in it to do.
  • Facepalm: Otonashi does this in episode 10.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • SSS believes that if you conform to the rules you may get reincarnated as lowly creatures like barnacles.
    • Also, Yuri's "punishment games". The only one we see, in the OVA, ends with all of the SSS dead of dehydration.
    • And now getting assimilated by a Shadow NPC and being turned into an NPC, thereby being stuck in that world forever.
      Hinata: That's worse than death...
    • To put it more in perspective, the SSS believes that NPCs have no souls. Therefore, being turned into one by a Shadow means that it has devoured your soul!
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: When Yuri defeats the Shadows and most of the Battlefront has ascended, the remaining members hold a graduation ceremony before passing on themselves.
  • Female Gaze: The SSS are quite attractive, but it's the shirtless scenes that seal the deal.
  • Fight to Survive: Otonashi's backstory, which is revealed well into the anime, involves an underground train catastrophe, followed by attempts to find evacuation routes and manage the resources properly. It leads to his death with little justice in it — as is normally the case for the inhabitants of the place he comes to at the story start.
  • Finale Credits: Normally, the credits sequence shows Yuri slowly being surrounded by the various members of the SSS. At the end of Episode 13, the sequence starts with all the characters present, and they start to disappear one by one, until only the five characters that were in Episode 13 remain. Then they, too, disappear, in the same order they vanished in the episode, with Otonashi going last.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: Otonashi, several times.
  • First-Name Basis: Between Otonashi and Kanade, starting in episode 7.
  • Flower Motifs: Angel's Hand Sonic version 4 is a lotus flower, a traditional Buddhist symbol for bodhisattva - "enlightened ones who forgot ascension to help others do the same".
  • Fond Memories That Could Have Been:
    • After Hinata says he would have married Yui despite her paralysis, we see images of them meeting in their previous lives and falling in love. Yui disappears shortly after, having found peace.
    • There's also at least one theory that The Stinger is not a Distant Finale but Otonashi's desperate imaginings of a world where he knew Kanade while alive. Most find it too depressing to consider.
  • Friendly Enemy: As long as SSS doesn't cause any havoc in the school, Angel will not treat them as an enemy but rather as ordinary fellow students. The prequel manga "Heaven's Door" takes this trope further in regards to Angel and Yurippe.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Angels? Horrible, vile things.
  • From Bad to Worse: After Angel resigns from her position, the acting student council president takes a much more hardline stance against SSS. And after he reconciles with them, they get assaulted from all sides by Shadows.
  • Gag Sub: The first fansubs released for episode 1 were joke subs made by CoalGuys. The translation started out normal and eventually fell apart and turned into comedic nonsense.
  • Genki Girl: Yui. Yurippe can occasionally have her moments of being one as well when she's pumped up and feeling victorious.
  • Gilligan Cut: In episode 2, Fujimaki tells Otonashi that he will be the next to get (temporarily) killed by an anti-Angel trap. Cut to Fujimaki showing off his Super Drowning Skills in a water trap while Yuri, Shiina, and Otonashi escape unharmed.
  • God Is Good: Heavily implied by The Reveal at the end of the anime about the nature of the school. While the SSS fight in the hopes of defeating the unreasonable God responsible for not doing anything about their suffering in life, it's revealed that the school is how whatever higher being that's in charge dealt with their suffering. It's meant to be a second chance in which those who arrive there can live a normal, satisfying school life. They disappear only once they've become satisfied and fulfilled the dreams that they couldn't in life. It's also revealed that God was not responsible for Angel's abilities, the software that makes said abilities and the Angel Clones, or even the Shadows that start appearing to devour souls - it was all the doing of someone in Purgatory who programmed a system using computers stolen from the school's computer lab. Also, The Stinger at the end of the anime seems to confirm that people who pass on in the school actually get resurrected or reincarnated.
  • Good Is Dumb:
    • As lampshaded by Yuri:
      Yuri: That's right. Our main weakness is that we're stupid.
    • And though it could be debated if Yuri and her Battlefront were actually "good" at the time, we find out later that Angel/Kanade too suffers from this, as if she had been better at communicating her motives, the fighting between her and Battlefront could have ended ages ago. Otonashi even calls out how completely inept both sides have been in this whole conflict.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Several of the more potentially gruesome deaths in Episode 2 aren't fully shown onscreen.
  • Gratuitous English: "Angel Beats", "Girls Dead Monster", "Guard Skill", everything out of TK's mouth (despite having a native English speaker for a voice actor)... Most of TK's lines are actually lyrics from songs. Which also explains why he's dancing all the way through. But...
    Yuri: I sent Takeyama-kun to Angel Area, along with someone who can translate the manual [from English].
    Otonashi: Where are TK and Matsushita?
    Yuri: Both of them are watching over the infirmary.
    Hinata: So, TK was useless at English at the end...
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The mysterious Programmer who changed the purgatorial world the first time by setting up a system that he used to create the NPCs, the Angel Player software, and the Shadows as a clean-up program should the amount of love in Purgatory exceed a certain rate. This set in motion the bulk of the problems faced in the actual story, but he is not an active character in it, as he turned himself into an NPC a long time ago, leaving his identity forever unknown.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Played for drama. Poor Iwasawa...
  • Growing Wings: After Otonashi suggests it, Kanade gives herself angel wings.
  • Guns Akimbo: TK and Naoi in episode 11, Yuri in Episode 12.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Against Angel's Distortion shield. Lampshaded.
    Matsushita: Dammit! This is why guns are useless!
  • Harmful to Minors:
    • Yuri's younger siblings were murdered while she was babysitting.
    • Yui was hit by a car and paralyzed when she was little.
  • He's Dead, Jim: In episode 3, Iwasawa comes to terms with her past, disappears, and leaves her guitar behind. She's also omitted from the end credits of that episode.
  • Healing Factor: While immortal, everybody can still be seriously hurt. If they are injured or die, they will eventually heal and revive regardless of how much damage their bodies have taken. The OVA shows that they will even revive after dying of starvation or dehydration. They do still feel pain however, so this provides an incentive to stay out of harm's way.
  • The Heartless: The Shadow NPCs.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Angel sleeps through a kidnapping, an earthshaking battle and a surprisingly loud conversation between Otonashi and Yuri.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Angel spends a few episodes with the SSS after being disgraced as student council president by the group in episode 5 and then gets her position back (courtesy of Otonashi) in episode 9, pretending to be her old self. Eventually she rejoins the group again and befriends Yuri.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Naoi, to an extent.
  • Heroic BSoD: Shiina in response to her Cuteness Proximity weakness, as well as the thought of a newbie (Otonashi) outlasting her in Guild's Death Course.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Usually played with, since nobody actually stays dead.
      Yuri: "TK's sacrifice will be-"
      Otonashi: "You guys sacrificed him."
    • Played straight in episode 9, where Otonashi ignores his own injuries to help the other train crash survivors, and spends his final moments filling out a donor card.
  • High School: Although it's technically in...y'know, purgatory.
  • Hollywood Encryption: Angel's personal computer is secured with "128-bit DES" which is hacked through without any trouble. While DES is an encryption standard infamous for being insecure, that's because of how short its key is. A version of DES that had an 128-bit key would be impossible to break with any conceivable technology. Certainly not in a few minutes with a laptop.
  • Hopeless War: SSS and Angel will probably be fighting each other forever since neither side can truly die.
  • Hot-Blooded: Noda, personality-wise. Now if only he could get his hands on a mecha.
  • Idiot Hair: Yui. Ironically it is Yui who often calls others an idiot.
  • Identity Amnesia: A common side effect for those that had brain trauma as part of their death.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Even after all the time they've been fighting Angel, nobody in SSS has ever bothered trying to figure out Angel's real name. Only Yuri had apparently heard it before, but she just didn't bother trying to remember it (if you can even believe she was telling the truth about that and hadn't just heard it when Otonashi got it out of her).
    • Also, in episode 8, Yuri attempts to reprogram Angel's Harmonics technique, but has trouble because she doesn't quite understand the programming language. Remember that SSS has Takeyama, who is a master hacker and computer expert, and he doesn't even show up in the episode at all! Although Takeyama became A Twinkle in the Sky in the last episode, he was seen again during the fish barbeque, so his absence from episode 8 is even more jarring.
  • Indy Escape: One of the Guild's anti-Angel traps is a giant rolling boulder of doom.
    TK: Fuckin' crazy!
  • In Medias Res: The anime series starts off when the SSS is already established. Heaven's Door starts off from the very beginning, even before the creation of the SSS.
  • Imagine Spot: Otonashi. Whenever a new operation is introduced, we see it being put into action through Otonashi's envisioning it.
  • Immortality Hurts: The characters can regenerate from anything, and some of the deaths are quite painful.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: Slapstickly so. Nobody gives a second thought about even the most gruesome of deaths in the Afterlife, secure in the knowledge that the deceased would simply return a while later perfectly fine.
  • Impairment Shot: Done in the third episode to illustrate the effects of Iwasawa's stroke.
  • Ironic Echo: In episode 2, Otonashi starts to feel a little uncomfortable with Hinata's rather chummy nature and asks if he's gay or not, which Hinata angrily denies. In episode six, Otonashi runs over to Hinata, who's severely injured. He makes a note of the fact that he ran to him first, and asks the same question as Otonashi did four episodes back.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Yuri blames herself for not being able to save her siblings. Needless to say, nobody else does.
    • And perhaps to a lesser extent - Hinata for failing a decisive catch.
    • Yuri again after accidentally sending Kanade into a coma by dumping 100 aggressively violent copies of herself into her mind.
    • Otonashi after his sister's death. Difference is, it actually is his fault, even though he had good intentions at the time.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: This happens to Yuri's siblings after she fails to find anything valuable for the crooks who broke into her house.
  • Large Ham: Everyone in the OVA It Makes Sense in Context...
  • Laser Hallway: One of the anti-Angel traps.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Some fans think this way of the suddenly surfacing romantic feelings between Kanade and Otonashi.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In Episode 12, the entire SSS gets to be awesome fighting the Shadows. Even Ooyama does something impressive!
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: Both the traditional music-fading-out and the music-stopping-abruptly variety. Played for Laughs.
  • A Lighter Shade of Gray: In about three episodes, the portrayal of the SSS shifts from a band of rebels trying to take down the God that destroyed their lives to a group of self-centered teenagers blindly lashing out at the world, though they were mainly lashing out at the world all along in response to their dissatisfaction with their past lives.
  • Literal Change of Heart: One of the heroic examples: Otonashi donates his heart to Angel after dying.
  • Literal-Minded: Otonashi.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Episode 9.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • Episode 12, Yuri imagines life as an ordinary student while the Shadow consumes her. Luckily, she breaks out of it and is saved in the nick of time.
    • The entire school is a benevolent one, intended to give dead children a happy childhood to make up for their terrible lives. Once they find peace and accept their deaths, they are reincarnated.
  • Loud of War: Guard Skill - Howling.
  • Love Confession:
    • Yuri's plan for Ooyama to distract Angel during the exams. Angel tells him to name a time and a place, which effectively stuns him until the teacher tells him to sit down.
    • And in the end Otonashi and Kanade confess their love for each other.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Brave Song," the ending theme, unless it's the album version.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Episode 2, Otonashi climbs Yuri when they all fell down the trap. He has to grab on, he ends up hugging her, and gets some in his face. He even comments on how she smells good.
  • Masochist's Meal: Mapo Tofu, to the point that the only one who can eat it is Kanade.
  • Maybe Ever After: In an epilogue of the next life Otonashi's/Yuzuru's reincarnation comes across Angel's/Kanade's, he recognizes the tune she is humming, and the screen fades to white as he approaches her.
  • Meaningful Name: Aside from a few of the characters, the series itself. To elaborate:
    • The finale revealed two key things: Kanade's regret tying her to the Purgatory-world was that she never got to thank Otonashi for his heart, which kept her alive. This is also true of the opening theme —My Soul, Your Beats — which alludes to the series' climax: Kanade has Otonashi's heart, and it's listening to the sound of his own heartbeat while sleeping on her chest that awakens his latent memories.
    • Otonashi means "no sound", Yuzuru means "to string" an instrument, and "Kanade" could be read as "playing" an instrument. His little sister Hatsune's name also means "First sound". It could be said that Otonashi was an instrument that was properly strung, but could never play any sound, but Kanade finally played it. Tugging on a heart string, eh?
    • Another piece of symbolism to "Otonashi" is simply that, lacking a heart in the literal sense, Otonashi has no heartbeat.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Sported by the NPCs Naoi hypnotized into fighting for him.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Naoi attempts to use his hypnosis ability to implant fake happy memories into Yuri's mind so that she can disappear. Unfortunately for Naoi, things don't exactly go as planned.
    • Done to Hinata in Episode 7 when Naoi hypnotizes him to think he's worse than a clothespin. Surprisingly, Hilarity Ensues.
    • Naoi attempts to do so again to Hinata in Episode 11, except this time to make him think that he is toilet paper. Fortunately, Otonashi stops him.
  • Mission Control: Lots of SSS members work away from the front lines or behind the scenes, most notably Yusa, who gathers intel for the team. Yuri does this from time to time as well.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • Hinata, to the point of it being a running gag. He brings it upon himself, really.
    • He reverses this on Otonashi in Episode 6 when they were getting massacred by the Student Council.
    • Naoi, to the point where Otonashi doesn't even comment on anything Naoi says.
  • Mood Whiplash: Often during a single scene. This show is notable for being one of the shows for which one can easily find themselves both laughing so hard they cry, and then genuinely crying, in short succession.
    • In Episode 7, Otonashi's attempts to reach out to Angel and convince her to fish alongside the SSS, set to the instrumental version of "Ichiban no Takaramono," are interspersed with Angel's rather hilarious failures at fishing.
    • Late in Episode 9, Otonashi has a heartfelt conversation with Angel about how he discovered the true meaning of his life, then gets comically annoyed with her when he realizes how utterly inept she was at communicating with everyone that finding fulfillment is the way to pass on. The scene then shifts back to seriousness when Otonashi realizes that out of everyone he knew, only Iwasawa understood the truth.
    • Episode 10 comes to an emotional conclusion as Yui manages to pass on, but in The Stinger, the mood shifts to terrifying as the Shadows first appear.
  • More Dakka: The SSS members often unleash barages of gunfire against Angel, who manages to No-Sell it.
  • Mouthful of Pi: Call him Christ. Played straight to the point of it affecting one of the listeners physically.
    Ooyama: Stop, stop! That guy's an idiot!
  • Multiple Endings: After the credits of the final episode, reincarnated Otonashi and Kanade are shown meeting when Otonashi hears Kanade humming Iwasawa's "My Song." A short segment entitled "Another Epilogue" replaces this scene with one depicting Otonashi still in the afterlife helping another soul discover how to move on. Strictly speaking, they aren't mutually exclusive.
  • Mundane Afterlife: Subverted thanks to the SSS's insistent tries to wreak havoc and prevent their own disappearance.
  • Musical Theme Naming: Most of Angel's abilities, such as Harmonics and (Hand) Sonic. Also, Distortion, Overdrive, and Delay are various guitar effects.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
  • My God, What Have I Done?: A minor version when Otonashi realizes that preventing Hinata from catching the baseball probably wasn't a good idea.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: TK, when speaking Japanese. When he was holding up the falling block in Episode 2, he was actually singing lyrics to a song. The video replaces his lines with the actual song.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: The SSS never hurt the NPCs at the school. Naoi exploits this by holding them hostage in episode 6.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The next episode previews just consist of a white screen with random lines from the next episode flying by. The lines are quite out of context so deducting any clues about the plot of the next episode from this is next to impossible. On top of that, every Monday the online preview adds short, half-second clips from the next episode. This can answer some questions, but often raises many more.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: They manage to oust Angel from her positions as student council president, which allows a person who's infinitely worse to take the position.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Yuri does it at leasttwice in the anime. Complete with hand near mouth. The other person talking to her over the walkie even asks if she's the villain for doing such a laugh.
  • No Fourth Wall: The drama CDs. The characters' commentaries in the second disc point out all the incontinuities in the "NG" takes.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In his spare time, Naoi beats up NPCs in order to stay in this world.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Averted; death presents no objective risk, so nobody really sweats it. Except Yuri, who's alternately frustrated at the moronic ways her subordinates kill themselves, and at her own inability to keep them from dying.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Played with. The SSS aren't the only humans in this world. Well below the surface of the school is the Guild- hundreds of other people who happened to live their lives as common workers, but still died with the same requirements as everyone else. They're the ones who provide weapons to the SSS, being able to make them out of dirt if need be. The catch is that they can only make something that they know how to create when they were alive. They say that it's a bad idea for any of them to be killed in that world, as they risk losing knowledge of how to create those devices when they come back.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Otanashi's little sister was terminally ill. She wished to see the city on Christmas Eve, but the doctors wouldn't let her leave the hospital, especially considering that it was snowing outside. Otanashi decides to sneak her out himself in order to grant her her wish... and just like the doctors warned, she dies very soon, and almost certainly would have lived (even a little) longer if it wasn't for that foolish trip. Otanashi tries to convince himself that it was the right thing to do, since she died happy, but even he doesn't really believe that.
  • Not the Intended Use: Purgatory is meant to let teens experience the school life they missed out on and pass on peacefully, but Yuri and the SSS have deliberately cultivated an environment based on not passing on even as its members were finding peace, letting them potentially exist forever in an enjoyable afterlife. This triggers in a programmed fail-safe (albeit programmed in later) to summon the shadows and triggering the final act.
  • Now What?: After the SSS manages to make peace with Kanade and Naoi they're not entirely sure what their group's supposed to do anymore. Fortunately for them, an evil Kanade clone attacks before they have to think on it too long.
  • NPC: The majority of Non-SSS students are explicitly considered to be these, but not all, as it seems like Angel and Ayato Naoi aren't despite not being SSS-members. At least, until they joined the SSS.
  • Offhand Backhand: Otonashi and Matsushita pull this off in Episode 12, Otonashi with his Glock and Matsushita with his actual hand.
  • Official Couple: Otonashi and Kanade.
  • Oh, Crap!: Otonashi's face when he discovers that the train tunnel is blocked on both ends and there's no signal.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Episode 6 features the SSS getting their internal organs handed to them in an epic Curb-Stomp Battle at Naoi's hands... while we see Otonashi and Angel trying to bust down a door. Naoi only has a couple of Mooks left by the time they show up, so feel free to pretend TK beat the crap out of the rest of them.
    • Possibly Yuri's battle with the "other" angel. Thankfully remedied in the next episode.
    • The original Angel battling the 100 evil Angels after they all merged into her consciousness. Angel even describes the battle as epic.
  • Older Than They Look: Angel turns out to be about the same age as the rest of the cast. She's so small because her heart condition inhibited her growth.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: Although they end up covered in hearts...
  • One Head Taller: Otonashi to Angel/Kanade. Very much obvious when he hugs her in the last episode.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • No one seems to know what Angel's real name is. (Except, one of them actually does.) She stops getting called Angel later, though.
    • TK. He's basically a gag character with his random english/stoner accent, and he vanishes with the rest of the SSS in episode 12 without us learning his real name.
  • Ontological Mystery: While the cast knows they're in some sort of purgatory due to dying with regrets, much of the plot is spent figuring out what they're supposed to do there.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • The Ninja (who is The Quiet One) says something in the 10th episode. Everyone is shocked by this.
    • No one bats an eye when she speaks again a few episodes later. By that point, things have gotten much worse, though.
    • The fact that the pack of idiots that is the SSS is actually having a serious and intelligent discussion on what they should do next while scouting and setting up contingencies is enough to make Yui realize they're in trouble.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Takes on a whole new meaning in this series. The "ordinary students" are the NPCs of the school. They have no souls, acting as model students under Angel and God. The SSS are acting against Angel and God, souls intact and rebelling against what had been dealt them in their former lives. This situation is highlighted by the different uniforms between the two factions of students.
  • Peek A Bangs: Otonashi, before his sister died.
  • Planning for the Future Before the End: When, after sneaking his dying little sister out of the hospital during christmas night, he promises her to make this night the best possible for her. She then dies on his back, without him noticing, after thanking him.
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: Noda does this... during a baseball game. To his own teammate, no less.
  • Plot Armor: Episode two, Otonashi, as only he and Yuri survive all of the death traps on the way to the Guild.
  • Plot Hole: Kanade recieved Otonashi's heart transplant after Otonashi died, yet she showed up at the school well before he did with no explanation as to how that would be possible. Various fan theories about the school not running in standard logic to time have been postulated, but to this day an official explanation doesn't exist.
  • Politeness Judo: While the SSS's undercover operations into Angel's rarely reveal anything, Otonashi learns a lot about her just through casual conversation. When Yuri suggests learning Angel's name by stealing the student registry, Otonashi just asks.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Kanade and the entire reason the SSS are in Purgatory. We're talking so bad that a war broke out because she was bad at getting her point across, and since nobody truly dies due to physical injuries, this war has lasted a long time.
  • The Power of Rock:
    • This stopped the teachers intent on shutting down the concert in their tracks.
    • This is most likely what TK runs on.
  • The Power of Love: In this case, it breaks the system - anyone who fell in love in the afterlife might stay there forever, never accepting the need to move on and thus never reincarnating.
  • Power Pop: The Girls Dead Monster songs.
  • Powers as Programs: When the SSS break into Angel's room, they discover that she's been modeling her powers on her computer, using the software AngelPlayer. Yuri later finds a manual for it. There is a manual for warping reality. Too bad it's in English.
  • Precision F-Strike: TK: "Fuckin' crazy!"
  • Product Placement:
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Takamatsu. Yuri points out in the first episode 'Even though he's adjusting his glasses to look smart, he's still an idiot.'
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Subverted. The characters wish they could Rage Against the Heavens, but they can't seem to find any. Their efforts only end up hurting themselves because what they're truly raging against is their own lives that they'd lived when alive on Earth.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Hinata and Otonashi's baseball team in episode 4.
  • Recurring Location: Guild appears in Episodes 2, 8. And 12, sort of lampshaded by Yuri, complaining that it's "Guild AGAIN?"
  • Redemption Demotion: Naoi goes from credible villain to yet another comic relief character when he makes his Heel–Face Turn. This is largely because his main power of hypnosis is pretty morally dubious, so he can't use it too much after his Heel–Face Turn. He's still scarily competent, to the extent that he's effectively Yuri's second-in-command, but he's not considered threatening enough to be a worse counterpart to Angel like he was before.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Yuri disappearing in episode 13 following her redemption in the previous episode.
    • This is the entire purpose of the afterlife, as well.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • When Naoi activates his hypnosis.
    • The evil Angel clones.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Implied between Otonashi and Kanade
  • Replacement Sibling: Naoi
  • Resurrective Immortality: In one of very few comedic uses of this trope, the main characters often suffer horribly ignominious (and often hilarious) deaths, only to return to life a few minutes later whole, hale, and cracking wise.
  • Reverse Grip: How Noda swings his baseball bat. He hits a home run with it, too.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: At the beginning of the first episode, Otonashi demands that Angel prove he can't die. So she stabs him in the chest.
    Yuri: To be fair, you were kinda asking for it.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • It's never made clear whether God exists or not.
    • We also never learn how Yurippe died. She denies having commited suicide, at least.
  • Rousseau Was Right: After episode 9, were it not for the Poor Communication Kills, the war should never have happened in the first place. See entry above.
  • R-Rated Opening: As mentioned above, the first episode starts with Angel stabbing Otonashi in the chest.
  • Rust Proof Blood: After Otonashi wakes up in the nurse's office after being offed for the second time so far, his shirt is still sopping wet.
  • Say My Name:
    • Episode 8, whenever someone in the SSS pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to stop an Angel clone, the rest of the SSS have a Say My Name shot for the character in question. Lampshaded, no less:
      Everyone: TK!
      Hinata: What's with this last-chapter-of-a-shonen-manga scenario?!
    • Lampshaded hilariously during Naoi's turn, right after he hypnotizes Ooyama into thinking he's a clown and sending him to get stabbed by a Red Angel.
      Naoi: *gets stabbed*
      *Dead Silence*
      Hinata: Someone say something.
      Yui: I don't know his name...
  • Scenery Porn: The Christmas lights on the trees - then the main Christmas tree itself - on the main street where Otonashi lived in his former life. He snuck out his younger sister from the hospital so they could see them together.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Otonashi and Angel/Kanade get plenty of this as the series goes on.
      • Otonashi wanting to call Kanade by her first name in Episode 7.
      • There are also close-ups whenever Otonashi takes Kanade's hand.
      • She smooths his face with her hand in episode 9.
      • He pats her head in Episode 11.
    • When Otonashi was climbing Yuri. He hugged her, and then was right in front of her face. He even comments on how she smells good.
    • Naoi's... passionate way of reassuring Otonashi before he regains his memories in Episode 7.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The Shadows appear immediately after Yui disappears.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Episode 3 references two of Hayao Miyazaki's films, with Otonashi trying to imagine what Angel's base looks like by showing (mosaic-censored) images of the titular structures from both Laputa: Castle In The Sky and Howl's Moving Castle.
    • The school vending machines, aside from a full line of Bland-Name Product drinks, also carry Key Coffee, bearing the studio logo.
    • Episode 5 brings us the rocket-propelled chair as a distraction during several test sessions. Hinata gets launched twice, leading to this gem:
      Hinata: Besides, watching someone blast off may have a big impact, but everyone's going to get sick of it. "Oh, he's blasting off again."
    • TK seems to love referencing popular media, from two lines of song lyrics to:
    • Also this one as mentioned in Episode 8:
      TK: Hey yo! Check this out! It's a moonwalk, a moonwalk, headspin!
    • The title of the eighth episode is "Dancer in the Dark".
    • In episode 10, Yui is seen to own plush toys of a brontosaurus, a small white dog, and a baby boar. All from other Key titles respectively.
    • Episode 10's title "Goodbye Days" relates to Jpop artist YUI's song of the same name. It's sung in her movie, Taiyou no Uta, with similar implications to Angel Beats Yui's past. Both characters had an illness which contributed to their death, not living the life they wanted to. Can you guess who disappeared this episode?
    • Episode 12 has the title, Knockin' on Heaven's Door, shouted out by TK. Even the other characters recognise it as a reference to Bob Dylan.
      • It was also the name of the 24th episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Fittingly, the climax of this episode has Yurippe confronting a character voiced by Akira Ishida, voice of Kaworu Nagisa from that episode.
      • The ending of episode 12 has been compared to The Matrix Reloaded.
    • In Episode 3, TK says "Get chance and luck!", which is a line from one of the ending themes to City Hunter.
    • The Baseball Episode contains a lot of shout-outs to Little Busters!, ranging from obvious ones, like Yuri's Actor Allusion Evil Laugh, to not so obvious ones, like how Hinata missing the baseball went exactly like how Haruka randomly missed a catch in practice.
    • In Episode 7, the monster that Otonashi imagines when hearing 'Operation: Monster Stream' is a large, red, dragon-like monster, with a striking resemblance to a Rathalos
    • At the end of the OVA bonus episode, instead of the usual "Next time," it says "BAD END".
    • Also in Episode 13.5 (Another Epilogue) it says "NEXT STAGE" which might leave the series open for a second season.
    • The song Highest Life, which was done when Yui took over as lead singer, has a line about how she likes to do Clapton's guitar riffs from his Cream days note  on nights when she can't sleep.
    • The whole premise about people moving on to a "next level" once they work out their issues is lifted straight of Haibane Renmei. The name "Tenshi" is likely a reference to the wings that give the Haibane their angel-like appearance.
  • Shown Their Work: All of the guns in the series are accurately modeled after their real-world counterparts. The same applies to the musical instruments.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Hinata and Yui. Although they don't actually kiss, Hinata does promise to marry her in the next life.
  • Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: The show was supposed to be more character-oriented, but the reduced episode count required it to become more plot-oriented, with only a select few characters receiving proper development.
  • Smells Sexy: Yuri, according to Otonashi.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: This show loves to abuse its ending song.
  • Spam Attack: In episode 1, Noda executes a 100-hit combo because Otonashi refused Yuri's invitation to the SSS, utterly KO'ing Otonashi.
  • Special Edition Title: Episode four has the opening sung by Yui, integrating it directly into the show. There are some creative credts and different visuals, and the visuals that are retained have a very different aesthetic.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Played heartlessly straight with all of the Red Angels merging back into Kanade.
    Red Angel: That many of us ruthless clones are going to return? Even as clones, we have our own consciousness. Those won't disappear. They'll be incorporated into her. The spirits of all the clones you attacked will return to her. When she takes in all those at once...she'll pay for it.
  • Spoiler Opening: The anime has a clip of the current episode in its opening sequence - excepting, of course, the episodes that skip the credits.
  • The Stinger:
    • Episode 5 has a post-credits scene with Naoi storming into the cafeteria and asserting his authority as the replacement Student Council President, establishing him as SSS's ending.
    • In the final episode, After the credits, Otonashi and Kanade are shown to meet up again in their next lives.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Takamatsu.
  • Storming the Castle: Subverted. In episode 3, SSS decides to stage a raid on Angel's hideout, only for Otonashi to find out that it's her dorm room.
  • A Storm Is Coming: The appearance of Monster Stream.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Angel.
  • Suplex Finisher: Becomes the basis of an entire episode where Yui mentions that performing one of these was one of her life's wishes when she was alive, but could never do it. So to fulfill that wish, Otonashi trains her in how to do it right so she can perform it on him. She succeeds!
  • Survivor Guilt: The source of Yuri's issues.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Angel's 5 versions of Hand Sonic.
  • Tap on the Head: This trope is a lot more dangerous and a lot more lethal than we think, just as Iwasawa found out.
  • Teleporter Accident: Apparently Angel did this by accident when she activated Harmonics to save the SSS from Monster Stream.
  • Title Drop: Episode 12. By TK.
  • Tsundere:
    • Yui towards Hinata.
      Yui: (After threatening Hinata into a Heroic Sacrifice) Senpai, wait for me...
      Otonashi: Do you love him or hate him?
    • Yuri is like this for Hinata in the manga and light novel, which is the basis for much of the Ship Tease. Though to a far lesser extent, she's kinda like this to Hinata in the anime too since she picks on him more than anyone else. Without reading the manga/light novel though, most would just disregard it as him being the Butt-Monkey (which he kind of is).
  • To Be Continued: Happens at the end of every episode to show some of the dialogue for the next episode.
    • Deconstructed and Parodied in episode 14/4.5 where it ends with "BAD END" insted of "Next time". This may be a reference to Key's visual novels.
      • It's implied in episode 13.5/Another Epilogue where it says "NEXT STAGE", that the series might continue and get a 2nd season. But to date, this has not been the case.
  • Token Evil Teammate: After joining the SSS, Naoi continues to harass everyone (usually Hinata) with his hypnosis, as well as constantly insulting the rest of the group (except Otonashi!)
  • Tomboy: Yui, according to Yuri. After Yui accidentally chokes herself to death with microphone wiring while auditioning for lead singer in Girls De Mo Yuri comments:
    Yuri: [Yui] is one hell of a tomboy. The complete opposite of the cool beauty aura that Iwasawa had.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Matsushita 5th Dan in Episode 12. Granted, he was already badass...
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Angel and mapo tofu, Matsushita and meat udon, Oyama and potato chips.
  • True Companions: The SSS.
  • Twin Switch: Taken to the cruelest lengths possible with Naoi and his dead brother.
  • Twisted Christmas: It's implied Otonashi's sister died on Christmas Eve, probably as a result of her sight-seeing trip with Otonashi that evening.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Matsushita during the baseball game.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Zig-zagged with Otonashi and Angel's plan to lure Yui away from the rest of Girls Dead Monster by insulting her guitar playing and stealing her guitar, which they discuss on-screen. Angel follows the plan to the letter, but since the rest of the band had previously criticized Yui's poor performance, she gets depressed instead of angry, and doesn't give chase. Otonashi and Angel sneak back to the band's room, and when Yuri storms out again, she sees Angel and gives chase, enabling Angel and Otonashi to execute the second phase of their plan as they'd originally envisioned.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Noda brings his halberd to the baseball games, and even uses it while fielding, but the student council's only concern is that his team entered the tournament illegally.
    • Due to the NPCs being the way they are, this gets taken to another entire level in episode 6. We have a student springing up every minute to use the restroom, a snack-eater, someone who's sleeping across the tables, and students playing a full-blown mahjong game in the back of the classroom. The teacher's reaction: "Please quiet down."
    • Also, they don't seem to notice the fact that they carry around working firearms on campus. Yuri even holds one of the teachers at gunpoint. She has what turns out to be a fairly neutral conversation with him, all the while still pointing the gun at him. He never notices.
  • Villain Protagonist: Played for laughs in the OVA, where Yusa points out that Yuri is the most fearsome villain of this world after all. Ironically, it's actually kind of the case. It turns out the SSS's "battle against God" was a fool's errand all along.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Ooyama can't hold his stomach after seeing Matsushita get minced by the Laser Hallway.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: While Iwasawa was the most obvious example due to vanishing by the third episode, most of the rest of the SSS fall into this trope. For some reason, they introduce characters in the opening and episode 1. But by the time the series ends, you only get to know about half of the main cast, and they throw some more characters in later that get much more development. Characters like Shiina, Ooyama and Noda don't even get a backstory (and only bare-bones characterization), while both Yui and Naoi get much more screentime and development, even though they're introduced much later. The reason for this is most likely that the show was originally planned for 26 episodes but was then cut down to 13. The manga thankfully gives much more development to them, including rarely appearing characters like Yusa or Chaa.
  • We Need a Distraction: The SSS has an entire band dedicated to this. That's a literal band, mind you—they distract the student body with a concert.
  • Weirdness Censor: The teachers and NPCs suffer from a severe case of this. They only pay attention to what's directly in front of them, and they consider it to be normal. SSS even tests the limits of this trope in episode 6.
    • No Weirdness Censor can save the helpless eyes of NPCs from Team Rocket.
    • Though we get to see what the NPCs view the SSS's guns as in Episode 11. Apparently, they are seen as toys.
  • Welcome Episode: As soon as Otonashi opens his eyes in Episode 1, Yuri invites him to the SSS.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Ayato Naoi wanted his father's approval most of all, and got close to getting it by replacing his talented twin brother after the latter's death in a fall. Unfortunately, their father died before he could teach Ayato everything, leaving him an Inadequate Inheritor.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 3, where at its climax it's learned that Angel is making all of her own techniques using a special computer software program rather than having been given them from God, and Iwasawa passes on into the next life after finally fulfilling her greatest desire, the first major hint to the true nature of what's going on in Purgatory.
    • Episode 5, in which the SSS's operation succeeds so well as to topple Angel, Angel is shown to be unambiguously a human with even her true name being revealed, and the new student council president decides to take a more active role in stopping the SSS.
    • Episode 9 reveals Otonashi's past life. He and Kanade realize that the afterlife is meant to give people a chance to overcome their past, and they make it their goal to help people move on.
  • Wham Line: Kanade to Otonashi in the finale: "I was able to live my life longer thanks to the beautiful heart you gave me."
  • Wham Shot: At the end of Episode 7, Yuri claims that Angel attacked her, but Otonashi knows that Angel has been with him the entire evening. The camera then shows another Angel on the roof of the school.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Otonashi, when he's assisting the train crash survivors. Also, when Angel wakes up and is still normal, she and Otonashi decide to hide this fact so they can help SSS eliminate their regrets.
  • World of Ham: Not 100% of the time, but still. Get enough SSS members together in the same place and ham is sure to result.
  • Variations on a Theme Song: In Yui's introductory episode, the theme song is replaced by a rock version of the normally upbeat pop tune.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Hinata
  • You Are Too Late: While they're not storming a Big Bad's fortress, this trope is in play in episode 9 while Otonashi is stuck in the subway tunnel. He tried his best to keep as many people alive as possible, then dies moments before a rescue crew finally manages to break into the tunnel to rescue the trapped people.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Because you're dead! Arguably subverted in the epilogue where Kanade and Otonashi are reincarnated and presumably themselves.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: In order to rid the SSS members of their regrets, Otonashi and Angel agree to have Angel become the student council president again and act as she did before she befriended SSS so that they have a common enemy to fight.

Alternative Title(s): Angel Beats