I watched Angel Beats last year and since then I have seen quite a few people are confused by the ending. Thus this post is born.
Otonashi has managed to convince everybody that they should move on. Now that it is just him and Kanade left he has second thoughts and wants to stay there with her to help guide other souls that go there find peace and move on.
Kanade tells Otonashi that he is the reason that she was able to live a little longer in the real world. That is where the wheels fall off. Since the Not Yet Dead Battle Front had been fighting against Kanade for quite some time before Otonashi had appeared, so how could he have been the one to save her?
It is simple really; when he died he died feeling at peace since he was able to become an organ donor and he had managed to help the others that were trapped with him. His heart was then given to Kanade who was given a little extra time. Kanade dies and finds herself in the after life. She is then joined by the others. While time passes and the SS is formed Otonashi’s soul has been lost or traveling through limbo. Eventually it makes its way to the afterlife world of Kanade and the others. He is drawn there due to Kanade’s regret.
The others felt cheated and that they had an unfair childhood, thus they could not find peace. The after life world was created to help each of their souls to find peace and have the ‘normal’ childhood that they wished they could have had. Since Otonashi had managed to find peace he should not have gone to the after life world in the first place. However since he did he was able to help all of the others including Kanade find peace and move on.
To read my review on Angel Beats click here.