Did you ever get the feeling you were having Haruhi Flashbacks?
I did, in fact throughout the whole series I kept trying to think that Yuri the leader of SSS (Shinda Sekai Sensen) was Haruhi and that this was the SOS Brigade.
However, despite the glaring similarities, it was definitely yet still very different!
Being that the School kids are dead and living in some sort of Limbo World, many unknowing that they have to accept their death to continue passing on.
There are elements of Gorey Battles, using projectile weapons and swords, and energy weapons, inside a computerized matrix of a World that you can control by memory of something or by a Computer Program called 'Angel Player'.
The spider web of the characters plotlines seemed to mesh well; although the Writers give you perspective and insight into a fraction of the main and supporting characters, with background stories and the like, yet toward the end of the series the seem to rush through it, seemingly dropping the rest of the supporting characters like a hot potato and throw you a small bone, whereas they hint at what happended to the rest of them but you are left feeling put out in the wet cold night.
Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the series, as it delves into ones inner Soul and the turmoil that many have concerning Life and Death, Love and Friendship; and in this aspect Angel Beats Serves you a 4 course meal.
The concept of helping someone you made friends with to pass-on and watch them disappear before your eyes is disconcerting to say the least, but if you watch the series all the way through, this becomes clear as to why it occurs and why it is necessary.
It has some spectacular fight scenes, good monologue between character, and some of the characters; specifically a few of of them seem to grow on you fairly quick, but it isn't all laughter and clowning around.
There is a lot of sadness to be found in this Anime, and for those who enjoy this one, (you may never admit that at least a few tears dropped), but for me I really enjoyed the concept, play through, and original ending.
The 'Another Epilogue' Episode which comes after Final Episode 13, is only 2 minutes long and seems to set up for a second season, or game, ending with the words [Next Stage].
It seemed to show the main male character Otonashi in a new setting in the Same place, even though we see him meet up with his Love in the Earth World in the last episode.
So what can we expect? Not sure, but with the route taken by the writer both in the series and in the Special: Another Epilogue, it doesn't seem to hard to move into a second season if they want to.
I'd be curious to see what would be in store, with so many avenues open at the end of the first season, and when Isay open, I don't mean you were left hanging, just that they have the maneuverability to bring back some characters, and even flash back to the new sets of lives lived.
EDIT (07.21.2011) *There is also an OVA Episode on the DVDs and Blu-Rays, which I found fits in between Episodes 4 and 5.
If you like Boys and Girls with Guns, in a super-natural setting, with the addition of good script and art style, as well as a tear-jerker for some, then definitely get your hands on this one, for It is Almost-Epic.
R. William Holzkopf Jr.
More information can be found here:
2) Haruhi Suzumiya: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=6430
3) Angel Beats: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=10885