One evening Otonashi wakes up in a strange place and a strange girl with a gun tells him he is dead. Trying to recruit him to her organization that rebels against God, Otonashi decides to talk to her enemy, a mysterious girl named Angel. After she kills him for being too literal, he finds himself siding with the SSS Battlefront and the oddballs within.
Like many other Jun Maeda shows, Angel Beats is a natural tearjerker that deals with loss and death in a way that manages to blend great music, good comedy, and touching moments flawlessly. If you are looking for similar sob stories, you will be hard-pressed to find them, but you mind as well give some of these anime recommendations a chance.
For Fans of Some Serious Feels
Your Lie in April
After his mother’s death, Kousei Arima is left unable to hear his own music and thus unable to play his piano. As a musical prodigy, he drops out of the musical world. However, one day at the prodding of his friends, he goes to a concert so see the beautiful violinist Kaori Miyazono play, and suddenly his colorless world comes alive again.
Like Angel Beats, Your Lie in April is one anime that will assure that the ending leave you broken. Both series are filled with occasionally funny, but ultimately bittersweet, moments that detail pleasant and painful days in life. While Your Lie in April is more realistic, Angel Beats combines in some more supernatural elements.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Jinta Yadomi is living life as a recluse when one day the ghost of his dead childhood friend Menma appears to him and reminds him of a forgotten wish. Thinking she is a hallucination, he ignores it, but when he is later convinced that it is really her, he must gather together his friends that grew apart after her death to put Menma’s spirit to rest.
Both Anohana and Angel Beats are about death, life, and reincarnation, and strangely one of their biggest similarities that is that a silver-haired girl has a goal to fulfill. However, among the many themes that they share, ultimately both stories end up being about the joys and pains of friendship.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki are typical middle school girls. However, one day they are approached by a strange creature that offers to grant them one wish in return for them becoming magical girls to protect humanity from witches. Sayaka accepts almost right away, but a mysterious new transfer students begs Madoka not to.
Both Madoka Magica and Angel Beats feature absolutely stunning, emotionally charged stories that feel like they ended too soon. However, even in their short runs, they explore higher concepts that make you think, even if Angel Beats does have some more comic relief moments.
For Fans of Dealing With Your Problems
After the tragic death of his parents, Riki Naoe developed narcolepsy and became a shut-in. One fateful day, he finds himself saved by a boy named Kyousuke that recruits him into a team called the Little Buster. Beside his comrades, they spend their days fighting evil and enjoying youth.
Both Angel Beats and Little Busters were created by Jun Maeda, so you know that you will get a lot of similarities. You can not only expect a similar OST, but you can also expect a lot of the same character tropes, random funny moments, and that both are wrapped up in a big poignant blanket.
At Yamaboshi Academy, there is a club called the Student Cultural Society, a club of five students who don’t fit into any other clubs. Everything is normal and boring until one day the club members start switching bodies. Forced to be closer than ever before, emotional scars and hidden secrets prepare to come out.
Both Angel Beats and Kokoro Connect present school life stories that ultimately have a deeper purpose in the plot. Both make you consider your moral choices, feature protagonists that can’t help but help people, and allow you to watch as numerous people work through deeply ingrained issues.
The Fruit of Grisaia
Yuuji Kazami is a transfer student to Mihama Academy. He wants to live a normal life, but his new school is anything but. With his class consisting of a principal and five other students, Yuuji is posed to learn the truth about the academy and his classmates.
Fruit of Grisaia is like Angel Beats, but with a smaller cast and everyone is alive. While ostensibly a harem anime, there is no fan service, but like Angel Beats, it is ultimately about a guy trying to help a bunch of girls.
Yuu Otosaka is charming and intelligent, but he has a special power. He is able to control people’s mind for five seconds and has been using it to get good grades. However, when he is caught by the enigmatic Nao Tomori, she forces him and his sister Ayumi to transfer to Hoshinoumi Academy, a school for those with supernatural abilities. There he is tasked with tracking down people who have been abusing their abilities.
Charlotte, like Angel Beats, is another story written by Jun Maeda, so you can expect the same production team, but better animation than some of the older stuff. Like his other stories, Charlotte has a big focus on feels and overcoming problems through the power of love and friendship. Unfortunately, also like Angel Beats, Charlotte feels like it was ended a bit too early.
For Fans of Dealing with Loss
Tsukasa Mizugaki has failed his college entrance exams, but he manages to land a job at the Sion Artificial Intelligence Corporation. This corporation is responsible for the creation of Giftias, or highly advanced androids which are almost indiscernible from normal humans. However, unlike humans, Giftias have a maximum lifespan of around nine years and four months. Terminal Service One, the station Tsukasa was assigned to, is responsible for collecting Giftias that have met their expiration date, before they lose their memories and become hostile.
As you can likely tell from the synopsis, Plastic Memories, like Angel Beats, is set up to be a natural tearjerker. Both stories are about loss and dealing with it when it is someone you deeply care about.
Rakka is an amnesiac who only remembers emerging from her cocoon. She is born into the world as a Haibane, a group of young people who small gray wings and halos. While she tries to live a normal life, there is much that the Haibane don’t know and must figure out.
Haibane Renmei has a similar premise to Angel Beats, but executes it way differently. Both series have the characters questioning their life, or afterlife, and have characters that end up in a different setting. However, Haibane takes away the comedy of Angel Beats for more depth and time to explore the premise. However, Haibane also likes to leave things more up to the viewer’s interpretation.
After death, there is no heaven or hell, but there is a bar that decides whether you reincarnate or disappear into oblivion. Pairs of the recently deceased must play a random game which decides their fate.
Naturally, both stories about death and what waits beyond. However, while Angel Beats is often bright and funny, Death Parade is the exact opposite. However, while they both feature some brutal choices, Angel Beats tends to be on the sadder side compared to Death Parade
Have your own recommendations for anime series like Angel Beats? Tell us about it in the comments section below.