Just how many characters is too much?

Watching several anime for some time now, I’ve noticed things that they all have in common: the number of characters affects how the anime would go. The more the are, the overall focus for each is reduced.

That many main characters?

Take Negima for example. On the image on the right, you would see everyone that appears at least once in the entire series. Sure there’s a lot, but the focus is mostly on characters number 8, 13, 27, 28, and that kid in the middle bottom. What happened to the rest? They became just background characters, or supporting the earlier mentioned characters. I would prefer focus on no. 2, 5, 13 (again), 28 as the main characters, but guess they wasted it on filters.

In recent posts, I’ve mentioned about Angel Beats and Durarara having introducing unnecessary characters. That acting/vice president of the student council does seem good to introduce for a short-term character, but they kept him around for too long that, besides regaining Otonashi’s memories, his presence was unnecessary and his constant arguing with Hinata was getting too annoying. In Durarara’s case, the focus of all the characters featured in the opening and endings meant that, given the amount, means that the main characters (Kida, Masaomi, Anri) were given lesser importance than they should be getting. It seemed like a 3-character focus, but this somehow increased to over 20 that it has become a big mess, adding to the jumping around the timeline all over the place. Kind of reminds me of how seasons 3-5 of Pokemon seem to have this “a-Pokemon-an-episode” theme, large diversions by having filters that were not in the game they were based on, or having the main characters of the first season to mysteriously become the main characters again for any beginnings of a new region.

Rightmost top, leftmost bottom, and the 2 next to her
Who is this?

So, this brings me to the next topic: background characters. Have you seen background (“mob”) characters of any anime that looks better than the main characters themselves? I mean, I could see how much better their personality is compared to the main character is. In the ending theme of “Seitokai Yakuindomo”, they featured a girl from the same school the anime is set in, but is also not any of the introduced characters. Well, it’s nice to have an another perspective.

In short, having just 2-3 characters and focusing on them most of the time as compared to having too many and focusing on them only once.

Just how many characters is too much?

Watching several anime for some time now, I’ve noticed things that they all have in common: the number of characters affects how the anime would go. The more the are, the overall focus for each is reduced.

That many main characters?

Take Negima for example. On the image on the right, you would see everyone that appears at least once in the entire series. Sure there’s a lot, but the focus is mostly on characters number 8, 13, 27, 28, and that kid in the middle bottom. What happened to the rest? They became just background characters, or supporting the earlier mentioned characters. I would prefer focus on no. 2, 5, 13 (again), 28 as the main characters, but guess they wasted it on filters.

In recent posts, I’ve mentioned about Angel Beats and Durarara having introducing unnecessary characters. That acting/vice president of the student council does seem good to introduce for a short-term character, but they kept him around for too long that, besides regaining Otonashi’s memories, his presence was unnecessary and his constant arguing with Hinata was getting too annoying. In Durarara’s case, the focus of all the characters featured in the opening and endings meant that, given the amount, means that the main characters (Kida, Masaomi, Anri) were given lesser importance than they should be getting. It seemed like a 3-character focus, but this somehow increased to over 20 that it has become a big mess, adding to the jumping around the timeline all over the place. Kind of reminds me of how seasons 3-5 of Pokemon seem to have this “a-Pokemon-an-episode” theme, large diversions by having filters that were not in the game they were based on, or having the main characters of the first season to mysteriously become the main characters again for any beginnings of a new region.

Rightmost top, leftmost bottom, and the 2 next to her
Who is this?

So, this brings me to the next topic: background characters. Have you seen background (“mob”) characters of any anime that looks better than the main characters themselves? I mean, I could see how much better their personality is compared to the main character is. In the ending theme of “Seitokai Yakuindomo”, they featured a girl from the same school the anime is set in, but is also not any of the introduced characters. Well, it’s nice to have an another perspective.

In short, having just 2-3 characters and focusing on them most of the time as compared to having too many and focusing on them only once.

Final thoughts on Angel Beats

Angel Beats was a 13 episode Spring 2010 anime that ended around the third week of June.

Just a little background about the production process: it is an anime original by Key and Jun Maeda, who also did Clannad, Air, and Little Busters. Maeda went to PA Works because he was impressed on how they did True Tears (or Kyoto Animation they usually go with was busy with K-On).

(I am listing the events in chronological order, so you might find some spoilers if you have not watched the episodes of the latter half.)

Did they say what illness she’s suffering from that she has to be hospitalized for a long time?


Otonashi Yuzuru was a high school student who has a younger sister being in hospital for a long time as she waits for a suitable donor. Back then, Otonashi was at his lowest point in life and taking several part time jobs to earn a living, barely enough to have money to eat.

Despite permission being denied by the doctors, Otonashi brought out his sister out of the hospital on Christmas night to look at the Christmas decorations. It was that night that she died on her brother’s shoulders. Otonashi didn’t realize it until later.

With that, he realized that the sister wasn’t the only thing in his life and wants to save people. That courage had him to study hard to have his grades improve.

“Everyone’s dead?”

However, on the way to take his college entrance test, the subway he was in was caved in with no way to get out by themselves and external communication unavailable. Reminded of his sister, he chooses to lead everyone until help arrives. However, help came too late to save Otonashi. This is where he soon finds himself in the afterlife world where most of the anime takes place.

……….well that’s the summary. Now I would like to point out my thoughts about it.

Iwasawa appeared for only 3 episodes? She was way more cooler than Yui.

The first episode was impressive, along with the music. Until after the title screen appears in episode 4, things start to go downhill with filters and rushed storyline, even with the last episode.

Visual-wise, I thought that the “brightness” and shiny heads was part of the afterlife universe, but things remained the same style in the real world.

What I find lacking is, how did Yurippe die? The flashback she had was when she was younger, and suicide is out of the question as they won’t end up in that world. There was also the lack of interaction with other members of the war-front or the Guild. Naori’s introduction seemed to be of little significance and unnecessary too. The last 2 episodes raised a lot of unanswered questions.

This “dream” scene was too short

Confusingly, this anime looks like it’s focused on Yuri being together with Otonashi, but she doesn’t even care at the end and suddenly interested in Tenshi Kanade like the last scene of the last episode.

“End”… That’s it?

Including the opening and ending theme songs, the songs featured in the anime have more songs that are actually quite good compared to other anime that has songs too, including K-on. In the below PV, the band arrangement and instruments are strangely the same models featured in K-On too:

oh, and sparkling water too

Overall, the anime seems to be a big mess or a slice-of-life with some action added. It’s one of the few anime in the spring lineup that I enjoyed watching. As you had seen in the above screenshots, their heads are unusually shiny, but when combined with a background like on the right, the scenery can be quite nice: something quite rare even in popular anime.

Final thoughts on Angel Beats

Angel Beats was a 13 episode Spring 2010 anime that ended around the third week of June.

Just a little background about the production process: it is an anime original by Key and Jun Maeda, who also did Clannad, Air, and Little Busters. Maeda went to PA Works because he was impressed on how they did True Tears (or Kyoto Animation they usually go with was busy with K-On).

(I am listing the events in chronological order, so you might find some spoilers if you have not watched the episodes of the latter half.)

Did they say what illness she’s suffering from that she has to be hospitalized for a long time?

Otonashi Yuzuru was a high school student who has a younger sister being in hospital for a long time as she waits for a suitable donor. Back then, Otonashi was at his lowest point in life and taking several part time jobs to earn a living, barely enough to have money to eat.

Despite permission being denied by the doctors, Otonashi brought out his sister out of the hospital on Christmas night to look at the Christmas decorations. It was that night that she died on her brother’s shoulders. Otonashi didn’t realize it until later.

With that, he realized that the sister wasn’t the only thing in his life and wants to save people. That courage had him to study hard to have his grades improve.

“Everyone’s dead?”

However, on the way to take his college entrance test, the subway he was in was caved in with no way to get out by themselves and external communication unavailable. Reminded of his sister, he chooses to lead everyone until help arrives. However, help came too late to save Otonashi. This is where he soon finds himself in the afterlife world where most of the anime takes place.

……….well that’s the summary. Now I would like to point out my thoughts about it.

Iwasawa appeared for only 3 episodes? She was way more cooler than Yui.

The first episode was impressive, along with the music. Until after the title screen appears in episode 4, things start to go downhill with filters and rushed storyline, even with the last episode.

Visual-wise, I thought that the “brightness” and shiny heads was part of the afterlife universe, but things remained the same style in the real world.

What I find lacking is, how did Yurippe die? The flashback she had was when she was younger, and suicide is out of the question as they won’t end up in that world. There was also the lack of interaction with other members of the war-front or the Guild. Naori’s introduction seemed to be of little significance and unnecessary too. The last 2 episodes raised a lot of unanswered questions.

This “dream” scene was too short

Confusingly, this anime looks like it’s focused on Yuri being together with Otonashi, but she doesn’t even care at the end and suddenly interested in Tenshi Kanade like the last scene of the last episode.

“End”… That’s it?

Including the opening and ending theme songs, the songs featured in the anime have more songs that are actually quite good compared to other anime that has songs too, including K-on. In the below PV, the band arrangement and instruments are strangely the same models featured in K-On too:

oh, and sparkling water too

Overall, the anime seems to be a big mess or a slice-of-life with some action added. It’s one of the few anime in the spring lineup that I enjoyed watching. As you had seen in the above screenshots, their heads are unusually shiny, but when combined with a background like on the right, the scenery can be quite nice: something quite rare even in popular anime.

Angel Beats! Episode 1

(fig.1) You wake up to see a girl in front of you with a sniper pointed towards something

The long awaited anime by Maeda Jun Key (did Air and Clannad too) has begun. There was no opening theme song here, but there is the slow-paced piano version and you might have heard parts of it in the trailers anyway.

(fig.2) Yes, the title is just a white background with black text with a Georgia/Times typeface.

Now, this episode title screen is rather plain… but having fanciful fonts and colours that is small overlaying the main episode is just distracting. Durarara and Railgun are examples of having a (near) basic background and might carry over audio from the scene prior to it being displayed. BakaTest is um, hard, and that is already without the fansubs. Haruhi is kind of okay as the text is large and white despite being on top of the episode itself. Like, look at company logos of today to just 25 or more years ago. Speaking of overlays, the display of sponsors appears as an overlay after the CM break around the middle instead of the usual 10 seconds, with the background from a scene of the episode or what the producers made up, within about the first 7 minutes or after the opening theme, whichever is earlier. This episode seem to have a lot of overlays from winning prizes by visiting some site with some password within a specified time, to a soundtrack selling at the end of May, to next episode starting at a different time. A lot.

(fig.3) Lighting adjusted

The (male) protagonist, who has amnesia, is suddenly thrown with Yui (fig.1) pointing a sniper rifle to an “Angel” (fig.3) who looks very much like a girl. Not believing he’s in the afterworld, he just walks up to her and have a conversation before being stabbed. The protagonist wakes up in a infantry to find that he doesn’t have any scar and thinks it was all a dream until he saw his blood-stained torn uniform hung nearby. Eventually, he finds out about the SSS (死んだ世界戦線) and Yui introduces to everyone. (Why the male and female uniforms are completely different in design is beyond me. Shouldn’t it look closer to what “the angel” is wearing?) There are no hospitals as everyone is already dead, but that doesn’t explain where the weapons everyone is carrying comes from.

(fig.4) Very detailed

This afterlife world is the transitional phase between one’s death and the next phase. As Yui describes, anyone who follows what the angel says are like NPCs in a video game who abide by the law, while others, go against them. In fact, the afterlife world is full of them or the world wouldn’t be like that and be lifeless instead.

(fig.5) Blueprint of the place

Yuri: Anyways, it’s about time we start with Operation Tornado. Guys, you head to key locations at specified times around the cafeteria, while I have the girls to have a “live band” to create a distraction. As for me, I’m going to hide during the duration of the entire operation. Oh, and the “live concert” is scheduled to end three hours from now. Here’s a rough illustration of how the band would look:

(fig.6) Let’s see, some adjustments here and there…
(fig.7) ゴーゴー水色。。。

Otonashi: Hey! How did you do that?
Yuri: The same way how I got the hat I’m wearing now or the large projection behind me: it just magically appears when I need it. I’m telling you this as the music is so loud that you could hear it as you fight the angel and get lost in thought while fighting as to what is going on inside. Go on, the clock is already ticking from when we started the meeting.
Otonashi: Why didn’t you say so earlier!

(fig.8) Mommy!!!!

As Otonashi stand-by at one of the bridges, the “Angel” who stabbed him earlier appears. He had shot her, but despite a direct hit at the stomach with visible blood flowing out, it seems that it’s ineffective. From that point, she uses the “blade” to reflect the attacks like a force field surrounding her. Even reinforcements who came can’t overcome her strong defense. Eventually, they withdraw from the fight but still achieve their primary objective: to steal food tickets by using several large fans inside and blow them out of the building. Yes, all the heavy duty things just for that. (=_=)0

(fig.9) Those flying things in the air are the food tickets

…I’ve rarely the first episode of an anime to be this hyped up and closely matches my expectations of what to look out for in a typical anime. The ranking of this is even higher than Durarara, but comparable to Eden of the East. I’m speechless. P.A. Works had did anime like True Tears or sola some years ago, but to be this detailed is quite rare, probably more detailed than Marcorss Frontier. It’s something like Someday’s Dreamers (魔法遣いに大切なこと) in 2008, or what SHAFT would have done if they have not added mountainous words in kyuujitai, references to other anime, and other nonsense most other animation studios usually don’t do. Not sure if it’s me, but I did notice lags during the concert animation. At least this lifts up my spirits on how BakaTest ended recently and all the other anime that look good, but failed to keep my attention (eg. Sora no Woto, Fullmetal Alchemist).

(fig.10) Yes, like (fig.2), this plain looking thing is the preview too.

I’m not sure if the on-screen credits before we see the spinning logo of SSS is the actual ending, but it’s normal for the first, last, and some significant episodes (suspense, a main character died, end of a major event). Since almost all of the trailers has content from episode 1, and the preview is nothing more than a random excerpt of lines from that episode, I have no clue as to what to expect.

Angel Beats! Episode 1

(fig.1) You wake up to see a girl in front of you with a sniper pointed towards something

The long awaited anime by Maeda Jun Key (did Air and Clannad too) has begun. There was no opening theme song here, but there is the slow-paced piano version and you might have heard parts of it in the trailers anyway.

(fig.2) Yes, the title is just a white background with black text with a Georgia/Times typeface.

Now, this episode title screen is rather plain… but having fanciful fonts and colours that is small overlaying the main episode is just distracting. Durarara and Railgun are examples of having a (near) basic background and might carry over audio from the scene prior to it being displayed. BakaTest is um, hard, and that is already without the fansubs. Haruhi is kind of okay as the text is large and white despite being on top of the episode itself. Like, look at company logos of today to just 25 or more years ago. Speaking of overlays, the display of sponsors appears as an overlay after the CM break around the middle instead of the usual 10 seconds, with the background from a scene of the episode or what the producers made up, within about the first 7 minutes or after the opening theme, whichever is earlier. This episode seem to have a lot of overlays from winning prizes by visiting some site with some password within a specified time, to a soundtrack selling at the end of May, to next episode starting at a different time. A lot.

(fig.3) Lighting adjusted

The (male) protagonist, who has amnesia, is suddenly thrown with Yui (fig.1) pointing a sniper rifle to an “Angel” (fig.3) who looks very much like a girl. Not believing he’s in the afterworld, he just walks up to her and have a conversation before being stabbed. The protagonist wakes up in a infantry to find that he doesn’t have any scar and thinks it was all a dream until he saw his blood-stained torn uniform hung nearby. Eventually, he finds out about the SSS (死んだ世界戦線) and Yui introduces to everyone. (Why the male and female uniforms are completely different in design is beyond me. Shouldn’t it look closer to what “the angel” is wearing?) There are no hospitals as everyone is already dead, but that doesn’t explain where the weapons everyone is carrying comes from.

(fig.4) Very detailed

This afterlife world is the transitional phase between one’s death and the next phase. As Yui describes, anyone who follows what the angel says are like NPCs in a video game who abide by the law, while others, go against them. In fact, the afterlife world is full of them or the world wouldn’t be like that and be lifeless instead.

(fig.5) Blueprint of the place

Yuri: Anyways, it’s about time we start with Operation Tornado. Guys, you head to key locations at specified times around the cafeteria, while I have the girls to have a “live band” to create a distraction. As for me, I’m going to hide during the duration of the entire operation. Oh, and the “live concert” is scheduled to end three hours from now. Here’s a rough illustration of how the band would look:

(fig.6) Let’s see, some adjustments here and there…
(fig.7) ゴーゴー水色。。。

Otonashi: Hey! How did you do that?
Yuri: The same way how I got the hat I’m wearing now or the large projection behind me: it just magically appears when I need it. I’m telling you this as the music is so loud that you could hear it as you fight the angel and get lost in thought while fighting as to what is going on inside. Go on, the clock is already ticking from when we started the meeting.
Otonashi: Why didn’t you say so earlier!

(fig.8) Mommy!!!!

As Otonashi stand-by at one of the bridges, the “Angel” who stabbed him earlier appears. He had shot her, but despite a direct hit at the stomach with visible blood flowing out, it seems that it’s ineffective. From that point, she uses the “blade” to reflect the attacks like a force field surrounding her. Even reinforcements who came can’t overcome her strong defense. Eventually, they withdraw from the fight but still achieve their primary objective: to steal food tickets by using several large fans inside and blow them out of the building. Yes, all the heavy duty things just for that. (=_=)0

(fig.9) Those flying things in the air are the food tickets

…I’ve rarely the first episode of an anime to be this hyped up and closely matches my expectations of what to look out for in a typical anime. The ranking of this is even higher than Durarara, but comparable to Eden of the East. I’m speechless. P.A. Works had did anime like True Tears or sola some years ago, but to be this detailed is quite rare, probably more detailed than Marcorss Frontier. It’s something like Someday’s Dreamers (魔法遣いに大切なこと) in 2008, or what SHAFT would have done if they have not added mountainous words in kyuujitai, references to other anime, and other nonsense most other animation studios usually don’t do. Not sure if it’s me, but I did notice lags during the concert animation. At least this lifts up my spirits on how BakaTest ended recently and all the other anime that look good, but failed to keep my attention (eg. Sora no Woto, Fullmetal Alchemist).

(fig.10) Yes, like (fig.2), this plain looking thing is the preview too.

I’m not sure if the on-screen credits before we see the spinning logo of SSS is the actual ending, but it’s normal for the first, last, and some significant episodes (suspense, a main character died, end of a major event). Since almost all of the trailers has content from episode 1, and the preview is nothing more than a random excerpt of lines from that episode, I have no clue as to what to expect.