Re-Viewed: Angel Beats Episode 05 and Yurippe the Big, Fat Bully

Up until this point in the series, Yuri’s plans have only yielded moderate results and were, for the most part, a bit silly.  This episode seems to follow along that similar pattern and 3/4 of the way through, carries a comedic tone as Yuri’s minions try to distract Kanade while Takeyama switches out her exams with ones full of wrong answers.

T.K. Angel Beats
6. T.K. - Art by our own R86 (not particularly involved in this episode, but I didn't want to forget putting TK's picture up)

By the end of the episode, Kanade has failed all of her exams and is forced out of her position as student council president.  Yuri has succeeded in her mission of rocking Kanade’s world and getting ever closer to the mystery of God.

But really, all that Yuri has done is led a group of people in mass bullying of Kanade.

Bullying is nothing new to this day and age, though recent suicides related to bullying have brought the topic to the forefront.  I was never really bullied growing up, but I worry that my own children won’t be as lucky as I was.  But beyond the simple cause and effect of one bully and his or her victim, there is a broader concern regarding bullying.  As Barbara Coloroso has emphasized, a bullying culture is the kind in which genocide can occur.  After all, the Holocaust was the chilling “final solution” after years of restrictions, violence, and torment.

While most of us are lucky enough to never live in a place where bullying is the norm and genocide occurs, we still might face our own individual battles, even after we’re done with schooling.  Bullies are prevalent in the workplace (I’ve had a supervisor who I would deem a bully) and certainly online.  I’m reminded of a popular anime forum where a moderator is a self-assured, prideful, sarcastic, bully.  You can’t even escape bullying in a forum full of people you’ve never met outside of cyberspace.

Bullying, of course, can destroy a person.  And unfortunately, sometimes we don’t even realize we’re bringing a person down.  Yuri was trying to destroy Kanade, but without realizing who she really was; meanwhile, her army just followed along.

It took a voice of reason to change the course of events and to, in a way, save Kanade.  Otonashi has wondered about her all along and particularly in this episode, which marks a shift in emphasis in the series.  His grace and compassion change everything – not only for the victim of Yuri’s bullying, but eventually for all the characters.

Grace is the right choice.  Bullying, even when we’re simply giving someone a hard time because, hey, they deserve it, only tears down.  Grace and love build up.  A certain aniblogger, who shall remain nameless, comes to mind when I think about bullying.  I’ve angrily commented about his activities and thoughts before, but to whose benefit?  And how did it make that individual feel?  I have the power to make people feel better or worse, just by what I say (or don’t say).  I hope that I’ll be careful and choose to be a man of grace, rather than one of hate.

How about you?  Have you been bullied in your life?  Have you been the bully yourself?  If so, what changes have you made or do you plan to make?

8 thoughts on “Re-Viewed: Angel Beats Episode 05 and Yurippe the Big, Fat Bully

  1. I thought this was the funniest episode in the entire series, why is it so enjoyable to see bad things happening to others? I guess we all are a bit bully inside.

    On that subject, I’m a bit skeptical of the idea that bullying is so bad, putting aside the odd case where a child is bullied way to much, I’d say being bullied can be very valuable as an experience.

    1. There were some pretty funny moments in the episode. 😀

      Also, I get what you’re saying. For me, the little bits of bullying I went through as a kid were helpful for me and made me a stronger person. On the other hand, I don’t think that bullying is kept to “odd cases” anymore. A lot of kids in my high school were bullied and they were usually the ones who were most emotionally unprepared for it.

  2. Fascinating take! Many bloggers and posters all commented on the bullying theme — in fact, many questioned the laughs they had while watching this show.

    Interesting enough, I have a feeling that is what the director is going for.

    1. So this take isn’t original? Bah. 😛

      You may be right about your take on the director. He’s walking an interesting line here – it’s a humorous episode, but an important one. He’s trying to balance our feelings a bit – Yuri is going over the line, but we still need to side with her – after all, at this point, we as the audience still think that she’s the heroine. On the other hand, we also need to start feeling a strong sense of sympathy for Tenshi.

  3. That episode was hilarious!! Loved it. Throughout the series, I often saw Yuri as the big boss or the tyrant of the group. She was dead set on killing of Kanade without investigating her true motives and was rude and bossy. However, we can all be like that when we want something done. Yuri wanted to destroy angel and renew life for everyone, even if she had to be the bad guy every once in a while. She took charge of a difficult situation, which is admirable, no matter how you look at it. Remember, she was also the oldest sibling in a family with four children, which basically earns you the title of “the boss and babysitter” of the other three (I speak being the oldest in a family of four children ^^;). Maybe she never got over that role and felt as though the team members were like her new family that she had to take care of to make up for the family she couldn’t.

    A bully’s actions can be easily misunderstood. It’s important to take both views into account. 🙂 But the entire time, I felt horrible for poor little Kanade. T^T

    1. That’s an interesting point of view regarding Yuri. She definitely acts the big sister role out in the afterlife, having been in that role during her mortal life. Thanks for comments!

  4. Don’t forget why Yuri was bullying. For those of us who don’t like the idea of a supreme being, god is the ultimate bully. But it’s impossible to stand up to something that isn’t there. Then what recourse is there for those who have been hurt by religion? Sometimes we atheists do the next best thing and bully the believers. I don’t think it’s as common as some believers make it out to be, but in the right environment I’ve seen undeserving Christians doing innocuous religious acts get their clocks cleaned by the words of nonbelievers (I’ve not heard of physical violence getting meted out, as most nonbelievers are pacifists). Increasingly, this is becoming an organized response to Christians bullying atheists (see the story of Damon Fowler). So while I may applaud Yuri for her motives, I decry her methods.

    1. I’ve seen bullying in high school settings against Christians and perpetrated by nonbelievers. For the most part, these Christians have a strong support group, so generally I would guess that this bullying is not a major issue.

      On the other hand, students who identify as Christians definitely pick on non-Christians, and I would guess this is a much bigger issue. Ironic, as Jesus stood up for the most helpless in society.

      As for Yuri, she’s not an atheist. She describes her self as agnostic, though her methods insinuate that she does believe in God – she just hates him. And I think this is where there’s a divide – those who have been hurt by religion and don’t believe in God and those who do believe in God and blame Him for their hurt. It’s hard for the earlier because they’re blame is more directed against people and against a movement. The latter is difficult because those individuals must come to terms with a God they see as a bully. The question, of course, is are they being bullied by God, or are they seeing things from their own perspective instead of from that of God, which could be very different.

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