Angel Beats! is a Japanese mixed media project originally conceived by Jun Maeda with original character design by Na-Ga; both Maeda and Na-Ga are from the visual novel brand Key known for producing such titles as Kanon, Air, and Clannad. Key is working in collaboration with ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki G’s Magazine to produce the project. An Angel Beats! anime series will be produced by P.A. Works and Aniplex into 13 episodes directed by Seiji Kishi and will begin airing in Japan on April 3, 2010. Two manga series and a series of illustrated short stories are serialized in Dengeki G’s Magazine.
Angel Beats! takes place at a high school acting as a Purgatory, where students learn to give up any lingering attachments they still have from life before continuing to an afterlife or reincarnation. While the injury or cause of death are gone, those in the afterlife school can still feel pain or other things as they did when they were alive, as well as dying again, only to awaken with no injures several minutes later. The story follows the main protagonist Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. Upon awakening in the afterlife, he meets a girl named Yuri who invites him to join the Shinda Sekai Sensen (SSS) (死んだ世界戦線?, lit. Afterlife War Front), an organization she founded and leads which fights against God for the cruel fates the SSS members experienced in life. Their only enemy in the world is the school’s student council president Angel, a being with supernatural powers who is in charge of keeping the status quo and fights against the SSS. Yuri believes that anyone who follows Angel’s orders and behaves like a normal student at the school will eventually disappear and pass on to Heaven. However, those who fulfill their dreams in the afterlife will pass on as well.
In the SSS, there are two sub-divisions which help in the SSS’s operations against Angel. The first is a four-girl band named Girls Dead Monster whose objective in the SSS is to cause a diversion from other activities the SSS is engaged in, while on the surface appearing to be a normal all female band. This includes distracting Angel and a large number of “normal” students and teachers at the school Yuri deems “non-player characters” as they are not human, but look and act the part. Another organization in the SSS is the Guild, located far below the surface of the afterlife world, which serves to supply the weapons the SSS uses against Angel. Anyone in the afterlife is able to create anything out of dirt that they had memories of in life, and the Guild uses this ability to mass produce weapons. Angel uses a similar ability to create her supernatural powers, with the aide of a computer program called Angel Player.