This week’s Angel Beats! begins Otonashi and Kanade’s mission to bring peace to the members of the SSS. Spoiler Alert! I’ll start off with a short summary of the episode but If you want you can just skip to the end for my thoughts.
Otonashi wants to start off simple so decides to help Yui first. The plan requires Kanade to insult Yui’s guitar playing so that she can be lured away from the others. Through a comedic series of events Otonashi eventually gets her alone with him.
After some talking Yui eventually reveals to Otonashi that there are still many things she wants to do. When she was still alive she was hit by a car and paralyzed from the neck down. She was bedridden and always taken care of by her mother. The only thing she could do was watch TV so she started dreaming of being able to do the same things as those depicted in the shows she watched including playing baseball, soccer and pro wrestling.
A little bewildered by Yui’s various interests Otonashi decides to start off with wrestling. Yui has always wanted to try a German Suplex so Otonashi volunteers to be her training dummy. After several hours of backbreaking pain Yui is able to pull off the move gloriously.
Next up is soccer. Yui doesn’t want to go one-on-one but rather against a team of five. Otonashi slyly recruits four other guys including Hinata to go up against Yui. Despite the odds Yui is able to make it past the guys and make a goal courtesy of some cheating by Otonashi and Kanade.
Lastly is baseball. Yui wants to hit a home run past the fence. Unlike before however things don’t go that well. After several days she is still unable to hit a home run, her hands covered in bandages. Even though she hasn’t been able to do what she originally set out to do she’s satisfied with the whole experience. It’s fun as if she’s been working hard in a club the past couple of days.
Otonashi is glad that Yui has been able to do all the things that she couldn’t do when she was paralyzed. However she reveals that there is still one thing she wants to do–She wants to get married. Otonashi can’t grant her wish but Hinata has been watching over her the entire time. Hinata is the one person who can give her what she wishes for. After a heartful dialogue Yui disappears. With Yui gone Hinata joins Otonashi to help bring peace to their friends.
Yui is my second favorite female character in the series so I really enjoyed seeing her in the spotlight. Most importantly we learn about her past which has forged her motivations and actions in this life. At some level I can really empathize with her as another person who has dreams inspired by television. It would be ridiculous for me to name the times anime has made me try things. However I’m physically able to try them. Yui didn’t have that basic ability to move for most of her life. She had the motivation but never the means to live them out until after she passed away. She doesn’t waste her second chance and learns to play the guitar, sing and fight among other things. Compared to someone like her I’m sort of disappointed in myself for not trying my best to do everything I aspire to do when I’m physically able to. I really admire Yui.
Yui’s final wish was also a really inspiring moment. To get married is such a simple dream that sometimes we overlook it thinking that it’ll just happen. In contrast for Yui her physical condition has led her to believe that there would never be anyone there for her. Who would want to be with someone like like her? However Hinata was right next to her all along. Despite the astronomical odds even after she is reborn he’s sure that they’ll meet again and fall in love. Even if she can’t stand or walk or even have children he’ll always be by her side. It’s a little cheesy but who wouldn’t want to hear that from the person they love? Hinata was really cool here. I really hope Hinata will actually be able to see Yui again after the mission is complete.
After this eventful episode one also has to wonder with only a few episodes left what will happen to everyone else? The remaining principle characters such as Otonashi, Hinata and Yuri obviously have already gotten their backgrounds revealed. The only main character left without a true background reveal is Kanade herself. Given these facts most likely most of the supporting cast will start disappearing en masse with little character development in the next couple of episodes while the four remaining main characters will have their resolutions during the finale. That’s to be expected but I wish there was a little more time for the other side characters. T.K.! However I have faith that Angel Beats will end satisfactorily even if the shows world isn’t explored completely.