Angel Beats! – Track Zero
I really thought from the very start of Angel Beats! that Otonashi is such a boring character and that Hinata should have a greater exposure instead because he is much more likable (although, I’d say he also is a good supporting cast). Good thing there are Track Zero chapters to compensate for that.
Track Zero is supposedly a prequel for the anime, having Hinata as the main protagonist, aside from Yuri. It explains some of the stuffs which wasn’t really explained during the start of the anime, just like how the party was founded.
By the way, let’s get things clear first, there might have been some misunderstanding with regards to Hinata’s backstory of how he died because of questionable drugs, but according to Track Zero, it isn’t because of that. I was actually thinking the same thing as well when I watched ep. 4 but finally got some answers after reading Track Zero.
I really think they should have shown this as well, because just as how many viewers have seen the episode 1, many thought it was very fast-paced, even non-sense. I just began reading Track Zero and I already liked it a lot (Chapter 1-3, since it’s the translated so far). Because Angel Beats! animation was kind of having a fast pace, I just can’t pick up at times. Track Zero allowed me to pick up the story because it was slow paced compared to the anime. It also gave me a better feel of how things were in the Anget Beats! universe through Hinata’s succinct perspective, unlike Otonashi’s in the anime.
Honestly, I did not like Yuri during the first chapter. Aside from her innate high and mighty personality, I really don’t like her initial idea in the chapter which is to murder all the NPCs in order to create a commotion that would surely lure out God. That was such a gruesome idea and I would really find Hinata brutal if he had decided to follow Yuri after introducing such idea.
Meanwhile, I find this idea of existence of God in the series rather imposed only by Yuri herself, which is why I wasn’t really surprised during the third episode of the anime wherein she found out that Tenshi was actually developing her own powers, and not getting any some sort of blessings or powers from “God”. Even the idea of the school president being a God-sent Tenshi, was also just dubbed by Hinata originally because he got the idea of God from Yuri. Just like what Yuri said to Hinata, she only “found out” things by herself as well, which is why I think she is misled by the idea of how God created that place and that He is going to show himself once uproar ignites in that world. I think she’s just overtaken by the vengeance and contempt she feels over “God”. (But then again, I doubt God will be able to show himself. After all, He’s all too busy as well looking over the living world, assuming the world they are currently in is really the afterlife.)
I liked the RPG references, really. I was laughing a lot during Hinata and Ooyama’s conversation when Hinata tried referencing Ooyama as Villager A, when he wasn’t still aware that Ooyama is also amongst them. I really lol’d when Hinata even mentioned that he triggered a “flag” when he gave Ooyama a nattou (which was supposedly Ooyama’s favorite), and tried to ask whether he’s going to get an “item”. I just can’t blame Hinata for suspecting Ooyama as a NPC because he’s just too plain.
I don’t really know why the anime shows Fujimaki(the one with bokken) and Ooyama, as if they were the closest. Ooyama and Hinata were actually roommates and the first two members of SSS. I just think the two of them should have been the closest amongst any of them. Although I think the anime explicitly shows Ooyama and Hinata’s “seniority” on the team. Ooyama knows a lot about the traps in Guild although he seems to have forgotten them. Hinata almost explains all to Otonashi what Yuri missed to.
Also, it was mentioned in the anime that SSS members shouldn’t conform with what Tenshi is trying to do in the school because it will erase their existence — I think this notion is rather wrong. Yuri also said it herself that what will erase their existence is being contented or some sort of satisfaction like resolving the lingering emotions while they were still alive and finally sorting out their thoughts (just as how Iwasawa was finally able to sing songs she wanted to). I doubt participating in classes and acting like normal students will erase their existence.
There was actually no guns at the start of the story.It is actually a mystery to me how the gun appeared in that world, although it is hinted that the one responsible for bringing (or should I say “creating“?) the gun in the world was Char (the one we saw on Guild). It was also during that time when Char decided to take the school principal as a hostage that Hinata and Yuri discovered Tenshi’s supernatural powers, in which they conclude that she must be the one closest to God(thus the name, or at least a representative. thus the name Tenshi.
I am yet to understand how gun came into existence into their world. Even the concept of Guild is even vague, and the way Yuri explained it. As long as you have the method of creating it, you’ll be able to create it out of dirt — I think that’s what Yuri and Char was trying to say although I still can’t imagine it.
As far as chapters 1-3 are concerned, Hinachi is a co-founder of SSS, along with Yurippe. Yamappi was the first recruit, and probably Char was the second. (Hinata was responsible for all the nicknames)
Track Zero is actually a good read. It showcases how Hinata helped Yuri to build the team, which we know now as SSS.
image credits: pixiv user おかSCC1日目ま11a