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  • Better on DVD: Part of why the series was Vindicated by History. When watching the anime with a focus on how the narrative develops from episode to episode without any expectations for it to be anything more than a story that can be delivered through a 13 episode anime and catching various clues for reveals made later on or moments with underlining thematic resonance that build to how things ultimately end up, the experience is more satisfying than it would have been for people who had to wait for all 13 episodes to be aired.
  • Broken Base:
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    • There exists a faction of the Key fanbase that considers Angel Beats! inferior to other works by the company, mostly due to it being more action-oriented than its previous visual novels.
    • Is Yuri cruel or kind? It's unambiguous that she's the actual Villain Protagonist while Angel was a Designated Villain in the earliest episodes, but how much of her actions come from justifiable reasons and how many of them are just completely petty and mean-spirited (especially those directed at her own followers and supposed friends, which are often Played for Laughs) is always up for debate among fans.
    • Is Otonashi an All-Loving Hero or a fool rushing into things?
  • Die for Our Ship: There's some degree of Angel/Kanade hatred from people who want Otonashi with others, specially Hinata. Her and Otonashi's last scenes made them go all nuts, especially about the credibility of the hookup (see Strangled by the Red String below).
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  • Ear Worm: Any of the Girls Dead Monster songs.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • TK is remarkably popular among viewers. In a recent popularity poll Angel and TK dominated... Of course, that they had such a huge amount and proportion of the votes reeks of internet vote rigging, however...
    • On this very wiki, Naoi's section is huge compared to other character's.
    • Iwasawa, despite not sticking around long in the series, is incredibly popular with the fanbase.
      • Girl's Dead Monster on the whole are this, with the individual members and the band's songs getting a ton of expanded focus in other parts of the franchise.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • There've been a few here and there, but it wasn't until the appearance of the red-eyed Angel that they started spreading like wildfire.
    Anonymous: I see what's going on. You are really TK, who is God, but Yurippe beats you and takes you memories, and then she becomes God, but she knew Otonashi in her past life, who was her childhood friend, but she fell in love with him, and when as God she realized he was going to die, so she made his sister who is really Angel who is waiting for Otonashi into the enemy and with her God powers made this world so that when Otonashi got there he would think Angel was the enemy and now she made a new Angel after Otonashi befriended the old one who is really his sister and she wants to tear them apart.
    • One popular fan theory fueled on by the alternate ending to the series is that Otonashi is the programmer of the school. This fits into and address the Continuity Snarl of how he seemingly ends up in Limbo despite dying without regrets, and how he ended up there at a time where Kanade was already there despite him having died before her, with his heart having been used to prolong her life afterwards. Apparently this theory was Jossed, as Maeda stated that Otonashi vanishing at the end of the final end credits sequence was meant to signify that he passed on shortly after Kanade had, choosing to make the opposite choice of what the Programmer did.
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  • Evil Is Cool: Yurippe isn't exactly evil, but she is a Villain Protagonist for the bulk of the series. Many of the show's coolest moments are provided by her and her tendencies of acting like a Diabolical Mastermind or Evil Overlord as she initiates and oversees her group's operations makes her incredibly entertaining to watch.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Yui prevents Hinata from winning his team's baseball game in episode 4, just as Otonashi realized that if Hinata were to make the catch that's exactly the same as the one he failed to make in life, he'd move on. Six episodes later, back on the baseball field no less, Hinata helps her move on by promising to marry her in her next life even if she's paralyzed in that life too, meaning if it weren't for him she'd be stuck in Purgatory for a long time!
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: One of Key's best known works in the West outside of CLANNAD.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Magnificent Bitch: Yuri "Yurippe" Nakamura is the leader of the SSS Afterlife Battlefront, a group of dead students rebelling against God, whom Yurippe blames for the unfairness of her life. Fighting opposition from Kanade Tachibana, Yurippe fully acknowledges how inept her subordinates are and thinks up plans around this, being able to fight Kanade to a standstill while ensuring important followers and resources aren't claimed by Kanade, lead a stealth mission to hack Kanade's computer and uncover crucial information from it, and sabotage Kanade's performance on an exam so that she loses her status. Ever Crazy-Prepared, Yurippe also knows how to make good use of her lackeys through intimidating them with twisted penalties for failure, keeping them in the dark about things she knows until an ideal time, and using their own idiocy as convenient distractions in operations. When threats emerge and endanger Battlefront, Yurippe uses her quick wit, decisiveness and skill with weapons to counter them, even breaking a shadow's illusion over her with a heartfelt "World of Cardboard" Speech. As perceptive and caring as she is strong-willed and ruthless, Yurippe earns and keeps the loyalty of her troops through raw charisma and being a fair and inspirational leader in spite of her frequent cruelties towards them.
  • Memetic Badass: TK. Stops a frigging ceiling falling down, makes the most awesome Heroic Sacrifice speech, goes guns ablazing against shadows with a friggin' "[Verb] This!" line: I kiss you. * bang*
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Anything that comes out of TK's mouth.
    • Angel is the cutest Protoss Zealot you'll ever lay eyes on. And turned Up to Eleven in in the finale where she smiles, sings a song about mapo doufu, and does this. And with the revelation of her Harmonics skill, there's a possibility that she can become Agent Smith. Zealot Smith, even.
    • Clothespins are quickly becoming objects that are praised to be fragments of God.
    • Itsumo hitori-- is well on its way to be one.
    • That face Yuri makes when the NPC controlling the Shadows offers her godhood.
    • Expect Yuri's Evil Laugh from the first special episode to come up a lot in discussions and content involving her as well.
    • CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!
  • Narm:
    • The first episode has a scene where Yurippe jokingly tells Otonashi to, as the official subtitles put it, "give a girl an enema," which is funny for entirely the wrong reasons. "Enema" refers to the Japanese schoolyard prank of "kancho" poking your fingers up someone's (clothed) butt, not the extremely squicky medical procedure. The dub replaces this with "slap a girl on her ass," averting the narminess.
    • Also the ridiculously tragic backstories for many of the characters Crosses the Line Twice for some people. It's not tragic enough enough that Yuri's siblings are killed. Instead kidnappers break into the house while she's babysitting them and order her to bring them the most valuable object in the house or her siblings will be killed one by one, they start killing her siblings while she's searching. It's so stupidly melodramatic and blatantly manipulative that it can desensitize the viewers.
      • Otonashi's backstory might be even worse in this regard, when we learn in episode 7 that he A: had a cute little sister who died, B: from cancer, C: on Christmas, and D: because it was partially Otonashi's fault for taking her out of the hospital that night just to enjoy a wonderful Christmas night out. It goes beyond emotional gut-punch and straight into emotional gut-sledgehammer territory.
    • Even the super emotional final scene has a moment that, if watched completely out of context, kills the mood: Otonashi asks how Kanade knew that he was the heart donor who'd saved her life, and Kanade replies that she noticed "when I stabbed you" that he didn't have a heart inside of it. The casual admittance to having stabbed someone in such a dramatic moment could easily come off as unintentionally hilarious.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Many fans felt that the Otonashi and Kanade Last Minute Hookup at the finale came a bit too unexpectedly, as up to that point it is never made evident that his feelings for her are romantic in nature or more intense that a tepid friendship (or even a surrogate fraternal relationship, as the anime suggests sometimes). This is one of the most divisive points of the series, and a good part of detractors of the finale would have liked it better without them hooking up or at least having more development previously. Then again, given the short run of the anime, the latter would have been difficult to pull without falling in a probably not better received Romantic Plot Tumor. Some might not even interpret the love between the two characters as being romantic, though Otonashi telling Kanade he wants to "be with her forever" has obvious romantic connotations for many viewers, so this could fall under Relationship Writing Fumble either way.
    • The same thing occurs with Yui and Hinata in episode 10. Considering the only sort of expression either has expressed at each other are various levels of annoyance, it comes as quite a surprise when not only does Hinata say he loves Yui but wants to marry her. Even if it was to help her pass on, it's still really sudden and doesn't come with a lot of buildup.This becomes more apparent when compared to the development of Hinata and Yuri's relationship in the prequel manga, which seems much more romantic in nature. In comparison, Yui and Hinata's rushed relationship seems more sibling-like.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Since the anime is only 13 episodes long, there isn't a lot of time to focus on any of the interesting side characters, so they come and go without us knowing anything about their pasts, nor do they get a decent sendoff onscreen. This is somewhat alleviated by the manga and visual novel adaptations, which go more in-depth into the characters and where they came from prior to dying and joining the Battlefront.
    • The events that transpire between Kanade leaving her Student Council President position and the Shadows appearing feel like they were meant to span more episodes than they actually lasted, and this is due to the series's story having been planned for 26 episodes but the episode number was cut by half, leaving only 13 episodes in which to tell the story.
  • Tough Act to Follow: It's hard not to see some of the criticism the series got as this, since it followed the hugely successful anime adaption of CLANNAD.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The Aesop of the series seems to be: "Any desires you may have or actions you may take in life are completely useless and you shouldn't have them. Strive instead for nonexistence. All you should want is to be erased, you and your meaningless journey though life." While it might sound like a particularly bad example of Glurge to Western viewers, it is essentially the main aesop of Buddhist philosophy, a belief rarely enforced in anime media but yet very idiosyncratical of a country in which Buddhism is the second main religion.
    • Alternatively, the Aesop could be interpreted as "Even if you're treated cruelly by life, you can still find happiness and bring joy to others, and those feelings won't have been meaningless, for your existence and the life you've lived has value even after you're all dead and gone." Still somewhat glurge-y, but, well, it's Key.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Otonashi is often cited as one of the blander and more mundane members of the cast, with the enjoyment of his role in events mainly coming from how that more grounded personality bounces off the more colorful members of the cast who drag him along with their antics. Not helping is just how passive he regularly is except in episode 6 and in the episodes after he recovers his memory.
  • Vindicated by History: After receiving some initial flak for not developing some of the characters, due to the imposed halving of the number of episodes, the series has become one of Key's most popular properties. The series' female characters dominate Key's merchandising tables.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • 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 Christ 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.
  • The Woobie:
    • Kanade Tachibana/"Angel".
    • Most of the cast also qualify but varies from character to character. Yuri, Iwasawa, Naoi, Yui and even Hinata have significantly worse pasts consisting of murder of loved ones, guilt and death, parental abuse and death, death of loved one, long term paralysis and depression-fueled fatal drug addiction. Other characters don't even have that much development.
    • Yui's reaction to Hinata's "death" in episode 8.
    • Poor, poor Otonashi. It's pretty difficult to find fans who didn't feel horribly sorry for him in the last scene before the credits in the last episode.

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