Angel Beats 11 brings us a new shadowy threat, while everyone is already busy dealing with the truth of their existance there. Because of this tug-of-war the episode feels distracted, or at least the characters do.
The shadows are attacking SSS people at random, first individually, then in a big melee which was good fun to watch. They seem to be proliferating, and Yurripe sees a NPC turn into one, which raises all sorts of questions. It’s possible that they’re around to force the students to “move on” as quickly as possible. Or is there a malfunction in this world? Recent Angel programs are checked but do not seem to be the cause.
It gets worse. Takamatsu gets “eaten” by one and the next day appears as an NPC, apparently soulless. I hope this isn’t the last we see of this character. Why should he die off so unpleasantly? So I guess SSS folks get eaten by shadows, transform into NPCs (perhaps a larval period), and then turn into shadows, which is not the way I would want to end, cool looking as the shadows are. Though I don’t now if Yurippe has followed this line of reasoning or not.
But she does come to some conclusion. She calls a meeting, ostensibly because of the shadow threat (though since the melee we haven’t seen any), but also to out Otonashi and have him reveal what he’s been doing in freeing people to move on. I have to commend her for not only figuring out Otonashi’s plan, but supporting him before the group. But after that the episode gets confusing. Everyone now has to think “Should I stay or should I go?” but meanwhile there are those shadows. And everyone ruminates alone, in spite of the orders to stay in groups. Everything stops except for Yurippe, who finds out some interesting things at the end. Nonetheless, with two episodes to go I still have no clue how this show is going to end, and I’m quite excited to find out.
Heroman 11 starts the next story arc in earnest, bringing in two new characters—okay, we saw Hughes last week, but this is the episode where he swings into action. However, it’s the other new character that promises to be the most fun.
Big sis Holly comes back after three years and immediately dominates the Jones’ household, especially Joey. You can see why he and Psy live in fear of her. Of course, she immediately goes to make their life miserable, having them show her around town for reasons she won’t say, except she’s lugging her guitar around with her. This neatly works into the Hughes’ side of the plot, where he and Minami are plotting to get to the bottom of this whole ghost business.
By coincidence all of them are around the same area when news of trapped workers appears, and Joey is compelled to Heroman up, only to find it to be a trap. Nothing much to the scene. Heroman and Joey escape, but not before Heroman saves Hughes from falling rubble. I bet that will be a factor later on. Right now Hughes is a cipher. Working for the government would make him bad, but we don’t really know the reason for it except the government is curious, and they ought to be. I wonder if Hughes isn’t going to change motives after a while. As for Minami, I can’t take him seriously as a villain. So who is the bad guy going to be?
It’s all nicely spiced up when Holly, looking for Joey, spots Heroman flying right above her. Now, she says, she has a reason to stay in Central City! As I said, Holly is the more interesting newcomer. Unlike Hughes, she has no agenda. She’s a wild card. She can cause trouble in all sorts of interesting ways. As for Joey, he’s like many Marvel characters: when he tries to do the right thing it only makes his life more complicated. The new story arc is off to a good start.