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Angel Beats: The Complete Collection Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 2
  • Studio: Sentai Filmworks
  • Blu-ray Release Date: July 26, 2011
  • List Price: $69.98

[amazon-product]B004XC5LHS[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Angel Beats Complete Collection (2 Disc) - Subtitle

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4.5/5]

A perfect balance of comedy, sentimentality, and rock and roll, Angel Beats is a touching anime series that shakes up the teen high school drama. It follows a group of teens who have all died and landed in an alternate, purgatorial existence where they must live out the youth they never had the chance to fully experience. The series focuses on the main character Otonashi. When it first opens, we see Otonashi reviving in this strange new world, he has suffered some sort of accident and lost all memories from his previous life. The first person he sees is a girl in a schoolgirl uniform holding a rifle, Yuri Nakamura, nicknamed Yurippe. She’s trying to recruit him to their side, the Afterlife Battlefront and aiming toward another girl she calls Angel. Angel, she tells him, is their enemy. She obliterates the students there if they do not lead productive lives and follow the rules. But, she also tells him, they are all dead and he cannot die. It’s a strange world where, either you follow the rules or face the wrath of Angel, or, on the other hand, reach some sort of internal self-fulfillment and disappear anyway.

This group of teenagers led by Yuri fighting against the enigmatic Angel uses two divisions to fight her, one is a girl band used for distraction of the “normal” students who are not real and do not have souls, but are “programed” to play the part of real students. The band is known as Girls Dead Monster. The second division is known as the Guild, they reside below the school and use their memories to craft weapons from the dirt to fight off Angel, who also happens to be the Student Body President.

Oddly, however, as time goes by, Otonashi, discovers that Angel, whose real name is Kanade, may not truly be their enemy and that she may serve a helpful purpose in this strange world. It seems that the ultimate goal may not be to survive, but to vanish, or rather, move on through discovering what it was in life that these young souls could never achieve and being able to finally experience them here. Has Kanade been trying to help them do this all along by imposing these strict rules on them?

Angel Beats gets an A+ for charm and character development. The bittersweet series is all too short, but it strikes a nerve nonetheless in its brief 13 episode run. Themes of love, loss, regret, and determination are deftly handled and well balanced with humor and stylized animation.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Angel Beats comes in a beautiful AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 high definition transfer from Sentai Filmworks that is free from any major artifacts, maintains a relatively high bitrate, sometimes peaking at around ~40Mbps, and full of vibrant color and detailed line art. The look of the series itself is a bit a bit diffuse and veiled, one assumes to purposely impart an ethereal, otherworldly feel, so it doesn’t always at once jump out at you as being very sharp and detailed, but it is a strong presentation free from video noise and compression artifacts.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Angel Beats comes with two DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 lossless stereo mixes, and English dub and the original Japanese language track with forced English subtitles. Both are highly effective mixes with wide stereo imaging, good dynamics, natural highs and clean dialogue. The Japanese mix offers dialogue that is fuller and a bit more forward in the mix. Either mix will provide good, solid midrange and pretty deep lows.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

What will be of most interest on here is the addition of the OVA – Stairway to Heaven, which emphasizes the series’ comedic aspects. Other than that, there are the usual clean opening and closing songs plus additional Sentai Filmworks trailers and disc credits.

  • OVA – Stairway to Heaven (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Clean Openings
  • Clean Closings
  • Disc Credits
  • Also Available on Blu-ray from Sentai Filmworks

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Who says animation can’t be just as artistically sound and moving as any other art form? Angel Beats is more evidence that this art form can move you emotionally. It’s a sweet, action-filled series that skillfully handles the idea of lost youth through death. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product]B004XC5LHS[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Angel Beats Complete Collection (2 Disc) - Subtitle

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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