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In Otonashi's flashback in episode 9, he was on his way to take the National Center Test for University Admissions, held annually during a weekend in mid-January over a period of two days, when the train he boarded crashed. He took out his mobile phone to check the time and then realized that he was late for the test. Thus, we can conclude that January 15 was a Sunday and Otonashi left the real world on January 21 (Day 7).

Date of Day 1

Despite being a school-themed anime, there seemed to be little indication of time and the seasons in the Afterlife World when compared to the real world in the flashback episode, where we knew the exact dates (and even the days) of the incidents that were happening. Can we tell the date (or the time of the year) each episode occurred on from the activities the students were doing (or any other hint)? And can we possibly determine the duration of Otonashi's stay in the Afterlife World up till the last episode?

  • I don't know but is it ok to compare real life world time with after life time. As you describe it sounds like he stayed in after life roughly 2 months. – mirroroftruth Mar 11 '15 at 4:49
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In the Hell's Kitchen OVA set between episodes 2 and 3, we learned from Yuri's event application form that the deadly picnic took place on May 3.

Yuri's event application form

Furthermore, Yuri allowed for one week of preparation for the picnic prior to the Golden Week. Taking that into account and given that the series of events connecting the first two episodes and the second OVA episode were tightly packed, it is probably safe to say that Otonashi woke up in the Afterlife World sometime around the start of the first term of the Japanese trimester system, maybe even on the first day of the fourth month as an April Fool joke by God.

There is no set date for the Ball Day (球技大会), but with its conditions being similar to the day of the regional game final that would decide if Hinata and his team get to participate in the Summer Koushien, it should be set in late July during the Dog Days, or not, if the anime followed the logic explained in the next paragraph.

Throughout the anime, everyone wore the same winter uniform, unlike in the Angel Beats! Heaven's Door manga where they actually switched to the summer uniform once. As the dates of the seasonal uniform switch in Japan (June 1 and October 1) are strict and almost universal, there is little doubt that the anime didn't show anything that occurred between these two dates.

Following episode 4 and preceding episode 5 is the Stairway to Heaven OVA episode. Otonashi and his comrades organized the Sports Day that normally occurs in September/October. Then by episode 5, the students were taking their second midterm exams in early/mid October per usual.

November largely overlaps with the tenth month of the lunar calendar, the Kannazuki (神無月), or the "Month with/without Gods".

The 無 character, which normally means "absent" or "there is not", was here probably originally used as ateji, that is used only for the sound "na". In this name the na is actually a possessive particle, so Kaminazuki means "Month of the Gods", not "Month without Gods" (Kaminakizuki), similarly to Minatsuki, the "Month of Water".

Whether God exists or not is still debatable, like how it is with the na in Kannazuki. Interestingly, Naoi proclaimed, in episode 6 during the "Month with/without Gods", that there was no God and that he is God. Maybe God is a Schrödinger's cat in the tenth month of the lunar calendar.

From mid-November to early December is the "rainy season of the Camellia". (The only times it rained in the anime were in episodes 6 and 9.) We saw the blooming Camellias in episode 7:

Camellia sasanqua in anime Camellia sasanqua IRL

We also saw Kanade weeding the Chrysanthemums japonense, which typically flower in November annually.

Chrysanthemum japonense in anime Chrysanthemum japonense IRL

I couldn't pick up any seasonal cue in the later episodes, so I'm less confident with the time of the events happening in episode 8 and onwards. It was not clear how long Kanade stayed in a coma, but could it be that she woke up on or around the day Hatsune died (Christmas Eve)? I couldn't help make this assumption because of the similarities between Kanade and Hatsune.

And then there is Matsushita's mountain training. It is possible, but highly unlikely, especially for a person like Matsushita who is not too fat, to lose 10 kg in a week. Judgment by the eyes (my eyes) tells me that he had lost 20–40 kg by the time he returned from the mountains in episode 12. That equates to a 3–6 weeks minimum time gap between the beginnings of episodes 10 and 12. However, it is far more likely that he was away for longer than that, probably 1–3 months to coincide with the time of the graduation, which is in March. I would wager that the anime ended with the end of the third term in March, excluding the epilogues.

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That's a complicated question.

Really, you cannot know when Otonashi enters afterlife. But, something is clear: Isn't immediately after his dead. The only explanation about this, are who you can think "time does not pass when you're dead".

Since Kanade enters afterlife before Otonashi (Kanade have Otonashi's heart, if you understand this, Kanade dead after Otonashi), there's some time who Otonashi are dead and out of afterlife.

Some option are this: Kanade doesn't feel fulfill with their life. Because this, they arrives afterlife. Some time ago, their feeling and "request" for fulfill their life make Otonashi to go afterlife (from a unknown place). Then, the series start.

If you need a date, then, probably they're a year after Otonashi's dead. But, without more info, that's impossible to know. Maybe the game can give more information about this.

More info about the time lapse can be found on this question and this reply.

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