Thursday, February 11, 2016

Manga Review -- Angel Beats: Heaven's Door

Today we have the manga companion to the stellar Angel Beats anime. This is Angel Beats: Heaven's Door Volume 1.

The story takes place before the anime. Average teenager Hinata wakes up at a mysterious school in an unknown place. His last memory is of being hit by a truck. The first person he meets is the student body president who doesn't give her name (but if you've seen the anime, you know exactly who she is). She tells him to get to class and he does, whereupon he discovers everyone somehow knows his name even though he's never met any of them.

He later has a deadly encounter with a headstrong girl named Yuri who introduces herself after kicking him off the roof of the school. Turns out, she did this to prove a very important truth: Hinata cannot die because they are already dead and this is the afterlife. Moreover, only a handful of the people at the school are actually real and the rest are more like computer programs.

We soon learn that Yuri holds a grudge against God (if you've seen the anime, you know why) and is determined to find Him in this world and punch Him in the face. But standing in their way is the student body president (whom they christen "Angel") and her mysterious powers. Yuri knows she'll need help taking down Angel, so she decides to recruit others to join her cause. Hinata brings on his vanilla roommate Ooyama, but will the three of them be enough to take down Angel and whoever else stands against them? Will they ever find God and beat Him senseless? And just who is the mysterious man holding a gun on them?

I was excited when I discovered this at Barnes & Noble and immediately purchased it. I can tell you I was not disappointed in the slightest. Angel Beats remains one of my all-time favorite anime, and this manga is a worthy companion to it. It retains the wit of the series (it's funny seeing Hinata continually kicked off the roof by Yuri whenever he annoys her), and I like seeing how the characters first met. Even though I know what will eventually happen, it's still fun watching it unfold. Finally, it's a heartfelt story with real emotions.

Angel Beats: Heaven's Door is a good time waiting to be had.

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