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Literature / Angel Notes

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The world has ended, so why have humans refused to end with her?

Angel Notes, also known as Notes., is a science-fiction short story by Kinoko Nasu. Despite not being officially released overseas, an English fan translation can be read here.

The planet Earth is dead, killed by human pollution and warfare. Yet humankind manages to survive through enhancements and modifications, resulting in the A-rays and the Liners. These two races wage a great war against each other in the harsh environment of their dead planet, nicknamed "the Land of Steel". However, that very war is interrupted by the eight Aristoteles, which descended to the Earth at Gaia's final death cry: to destroy the remnants of the human race that remain on her corpse.

The story begins with an anti-Aristoteles operation above the troposphere. Of the AI-piloted planes deployed to carry out the mission, only one remains in the air: the craft that carries "Gun God" Godo and the corpses of his comrades. Eventually, he snipes and kills a winged Aristoteles—the Type-Venus—with his Black Barrel, a gun that is capable of killing gods.

Five years later, Godo now lives in the last city on Earth with plant life, born in the place where the Type-Venus fell. In one of the few cities left in the Land of Steel, the last true human comes home to find an angel named V/V there. She tells him that she is here to cook, clean, and play the guitar. She is very bad at all of this—heck, her guitar's untuned—but she's pretty, and pretty impossible to kick out, so Godo eventually learns to tolerate her.

This doesn't last for very long, for another Aristoteles is coming to destroy the planet. Gun God has to leave once more in order to prevent the approaching Type-Saturn from reaching the planet.

Angel Notes sets the foundation for some major concepts of the Nasuverse (and is probably set in the distant future of the Fate/EXTRA timeline, or the Dust of Osiris' timeline, or the alternate universe from the main Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA universe, although it could also theoretically happen in any timeline), such as the Earth being a living being (Gaia), and the concept of the Ultimate Ones.

Tropes found in this short story:

  • After the End: The story takes place after Gaia was killed by humankind's unrelenting progress and warfare. The plot is spurred by Gaia, fearing that humans are outliving her, calling for her Ultimate brethren to eradicate mankind as her dying wish.
  • Angelic Abomination: V/V is a benign one; she's a little too pretty and bright to be one of the angels that spawn from the World Trees, nor is she an A-Ray who looks like an angel. She turns out to be the incarnated mind of Type Venus itself separated from her body and shaped by the minds of the humans living on her body.
  • Badass Normal: Godo. He's the last remaining normal human on Earth, which also lets him use the Black Barrel without suffering the effects that Grain-imbued lifeforms who would suffer if they attempt to wield it.
  • BFG: The Black Barrel, one of the Seven Superweapons of Atlas, which is capable of destroying all instances of Grain and Ether its bullets come into contact with, and can even kill the godlike Aristoteles, which are practically loaded with Grain. It can only be used by an unmodified human who does not use Grain or Ether because of the effect it has on them. The Black Barrel also has a pistol counterpart called the Barrel Replica, which is used by Melty Blood's Sion Eltnam Atlasia.
  • BFS: The Ether Liners fight using demonic swords emanated from their own bodies. The Slash Emperor wielded by Ado Edem is absurdly huge. Incidentally, see that ravine in the picture? The Slash Emperor did that.
    • Note that Slash Emperor did that simply by forming. It absorbs parts of the landmass around it to match it's opponent in power, so against a Type, it causes a lot of damage to the planet.
  • Big Bad: The Aristoteles/Ultimate Ones are the Eldritch Abomination siblings of Gaia summoned by her to destroy humanity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The final vignette sees the city evacuated, and Godo leaving his home for the last time, to battle against the approaching Type-Saturn. V/V remains in the city, to ensure that her body doesn't reawaken and set its angel-like spores upon everyone. The glossary reveals that Godo dies in averting Type-Saturn's descent, while Ado Edem kills Type-Saturn. However, there are other Ultimate Ones still waiting to descend onto the Earth.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Godo's entire family was annihilated, along with the Western Continent, by Type Jupiter. This led to him taking up shooting things for a living, until he uncovered a strange weapon known as the Black Barrel.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Godo hunts down the angels with relish because they resemble V/V and he can take out the anger she causes on them.
  • Death World: The Land of Steel, or "Over Count 1999", is the unofficial name of the dead planet Earth. Save for the modified humans, there is no other life, period. With so much Grain saturating the surface, any regular human would need special medication just to walk outside.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: They don't call him the Gun God for nothing. His gun kills gods. It's designed for killing gods, because its power is proportionate to the density of Grain in its target. Godo, as the last man on Earth, is the only one who can use his Black Barrel safely. Then there is Ado Edem, strongest of the Ether Liners, who slew Type Jupiter with his demonic sword, the Slash Emperor.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Nothing like finding out the pretty angel who refuses to leave you alone is Venus itself.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Aristoteles. Type-Venus is an Angelic Abomination.
  • Fantastic Racism: Implied to be the reason behind the war between the A-Rays and Humans (who are eventually replaced by Liners).
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The Earth was terrified by the fact that her children could survive her after they killed her, and called for the other planets to destroy humanity after her death. According to the angel actually type:Venus, Gaia didn't mind humans killing her, it was the outliving part that terrified it.
  • Giant Corpse World: Humans have built a settlement on Type Venus's corpse since it's capable of sustaining life unlike the dead Earth.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: A-rays, humans engineered to cross with other species, like lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my. Liners are just as engineered, being merely a subset of A-ray that happens to look more human. Both are designed to survive in the harsh world of Over Count 1999, to breathe the toxic, Grain-infused air and to eat food concentrated to levels that are toxic to normal human beings.
  • Hopeless War: Godo is horrified to find out that the Ultimate Ones are essentially planets unto themselves, and concludes that humanity has no chance of winning against them through brute force.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: What happens to Type Venus, having lived among humans for some time as V/V and absorbing their thoughts through her main body. It's implied that of all the Ultimate Ones, only Type Venus can truly understand humans because of her parasitic nature.
  • Humans Are Survivors: The main reason why Gaia sent the other planets against us - she was apparently utterly terrified of humanity being able to survive without her.
  • Just Following Orders: The Ultimates Ones have no antipathy or ill will towards humanity, they're doing this because Gaia wants them to. V/V, having learned humanity morality, condemns herself and the other Ultimate Ones for trying to exterminate humanity because someone else told them to.
  • Kaiju: Technically, this is what the Aristoteles are: bizarre giant monsters that appear out of nowhere to destroy all civilization.
  • Killed Offscreen: Godo's death against Type-Saturn is relegated to the appendix, and is not expanded upon further than that.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Humanity labels Type Venus as Heaven's Corpse and Type Saturn as the Cross due to lacking any other information on them.
  • Last of His Kind: Godo is the last human in the world, possessing none of the special abilities that the evolved peoples have. Even the Liners are a subspecies of the A-rays, which merely happen to look the most human. Godo's death against Type-Saturn marks the end of the original human race in the Land of Steel.
  • Love at First Punch: How the relationship between V/V and Godo started, as they locked eyes when Godo shot her with the Black Barrel.
  • The Magic Goes Away: For unspecified reasons, magic declined in the last hundred or so years (which is what connects Angel Notes to the Fate/EXTRA timeline (Fate/Extra Last Encore almost ends up as Angel Notes, and Fate/EXTRA itself originally happened because of the Aylesbury Ritual from the non-existent Tsukihime sequel), Miyu's timeline from Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, and the Dust of Osiris timeline from Melty Blood, which are all timelines where magic is ceasing/ceased to exist also for unspecified reasons), resulting in an abundance of poisonous Grain/Ether (AKA, mana) in the air that was released from Gaia's decomposition.
  • Meta Origin: The Earth's death has resulted in the abundance of poisonous Grain/Ether fairly obviously renamed mana, released from Gaia's decomposition, or "space dust", which has amazing energy density. Users of Grain can unleash amazing amounts of energy, and this results in conventional warfare becoming obsolete. One of the normal A-rays can apparently unleash force equivalent to that of a nuclear bomb by herself. She happens to look like an angel as well. The Aristoteles are the Ultimate Beings of their planets, essentially representations of their planets, and thus have the most Grain. They are absurdly powerful in a world where humans are walking nuclear bombs.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Gaia wanted mankind wiped out, and what was left of it was poised to kill each other in a final, cataclysmic war between the A-Rays and Ether Liners. The coming of the Aristoteles, who only travelled to Earth at Gaia's request, has these post-humans begrudgingly band together to repel these alien invaders.
  • No Name Given: We never learn Godo's real name because it had been lost at some point.
  • Not Quite Dead: Turns out even the Black Barrel isn't capable of killing an Ultimate One for good. When Godo shot Type Venus with it he effectively put her into a coma. She's recovered by the end of the story but decides to stay put, having grown to love humans.
  • Our Angels Are Different: One of the A-ray subspecies are Winged Humanoids who look like angels. Then there are the angels around the World Tree, who are basically seen as pests equivalent to wild dogs. They are actually spores of Type Venus's dead body. Godo gets paid to hunt them and keep their numbers down. An A-ray angel friend of his gets annoyed at him because of it.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Everybody except poor Godo. He makes up for it by killing gods.
  • Red Baron: Godo had earned the name "Gun God" for his ability to wield the Black Barrel against the Ultimate Ones. He was also given the more overtly-sarcastic name "God Imitator".
  • The Stoic: Godo.
  • The World Tree: Two intertwined trees that rise for hundreds of meters above Godo's home city. They are actually Type Venus's wings, and the source of the annoying angels that flock around the city like pigeons.
  • Tragedy: Notes. was described by Nasu as "a hopeless story", and it shows. The post-story glossary reveals in a single line that Godo died fighting Type-Saturn, meaning that the original humans are now finally extinct and that the remaining lifeforms of Earth have lost any way to use the Black Barrel against the remaining Aristoteles.
  • Trial by Friendly Fire: The Ultimate Ones are siblings and work together without conflict, but they won't hesitate to destroy one another if they happen to get in between them and those pesky humans. Godo tells V/V that the other Types will destroy her body to kill everyone living on it, but she refuses to awaken and move because doing so would kill humans anyways and she's grown to love them.
  • Ultimate Life Form: The Ultimate Ones are the most powerful life forms in their respective heavenly bodies.
  • Winged Humanoid: V/V, as well as an unnamed A-Ray woman.