In a third-year classroom of Yomiyama Middle School 26 years ago, there was a student named Misaki. As an honors student who was also good at sports, the charming girl was popular with her classmates. When she suddenly died, her classmates decided to carry on as if she was still alive until graduation. Then, in the spring of 1998, a boy named Sakakibara Kouichi transfers to that classroom, and he grows suspicious of the fearful atmosphere in it. In particular, there is a beautiful, aloof girl named Mei Misaki who wears an eyepatch and is always alone drawing pictures.
Another was originally serialized in Kadokawa Shoten's literary magazine Yasei Jidai (野性時代) intermittently from the July 2006 issue to the May 2009 issue. It was later published as a 677-page hardcover novel on October 29, 2009. Later it was re-published in 2-volume format on November 25, 2011, and again in 2-volume format under light novel label, Sneaker Bunko with illustrations by Noizi Ito on March 1, 2012; the cover art in the original was done by Enta Shiho.
The novel ranked third place in both the 2010 Kono Mystery ga Sugoi! and the 2010 Honkaku Mystery Award.
Another was digitally published in English by Yen Press from March 19, 2013 to July 23, 2013. Yen Press published the series in print in a hardcover omnibus on October 28, 2014.
"Another" is that kind of work that has several of the most different adaptations, so you probably already heard of the anime, the manga or the live action.
Here I'll talk a little bit about the work that originated all these different versions of the story: the original novel written by Yukito Ayatsuji.
The story starts with a series of events leading our main character to be transferred to a school in the countryside. Because of some complications he has to start the classes a month after the beginning, and that's how things will start to go downhill not only for Koichi, but for all the members of the class 3-3.
To begin with, his school is surrounded by many horror stories, but they're all just stories, and no one really believes it. The only one that everyone feels a shiver down the spine is the story about the class 3-3: a frightening ghost story with his roots in the past, exactly 26 years ago, where a picture of the group was taken, and "someone", the ghost of a dead classmate, that shouldn't be in the picture, was there; followed by a lot of strange deaths involving the class 3-3 in the next years, leading everyone to believe a curse had fallen upon the group after the death of this classmate.
Some years after the phenomenon started, they discovered that the "curse" can be avoided if someone "don't exist", or at least if they pretend someone of the class don't exist. Around this we still have a very important question, the question that can end with this phenomenon, but the hardest to be answered, "who is the another?", "who is the dead?", the extra classmate, the one that came back from death and it's infiltrated between the other students.
With all those mysteries, the important figure of Mei Misaki enters in the scene, she was already someone that had a very strange encounter with Koichi in the beginning of our story, and he encounters her again in class 3-3. Mei is a very interesting character, mostly in the first part of the story, she is an existence that you don't really know what it is, it me intrigued the whole first part who and what Mei was, but only in the second part and in the last chapters we start discover who this girl really is; a thing we can say for sure is, Mei is probably the only one Koichi can trust, and she will play a very important role in the story together with our main character.
In the beginning we might feel very confused because the story show us lot of content, it feels there are a lot of mysteries and you might end up caught yourself trying to associate every information that is given. This is very important actually, because lot of things will only make sense in the last part of the story, so all the details matters.
As for the story, what you need to know is that it is divided in two parts besides the chapters; these parts have important questions that will be solved during it. The first one is "What?....Why?" and the second one is "How?....Who?". Well, only saying it you can almost imagine what which part is about; first one is mostly regarding the doubts of Koichi about what's happening with the class, why these things happen and why his classmates act the way they act; as for the second part, it have relation with how to break the events of the phenomenon, and who is the dead.
What really called my attention, talking about the narration of the story, is that it's told in the first person, with Koichi being the one telling all the events. I personally thought it was a very interesting way of writing because like this we can see HIS point of view of the story, and not by an external narrator, it also feels a little bit more like a "horror" story, like, sometimes you see Koichi is really nervous when his hearing about something and you start feeling his nervousness too.
The characters are mostly very interesting, there are some I would like to know more, like Izumi, which, for me, had a very short role in the story, but mostly the side characters are very interesting and we get to know more about the ones that are close to Koichi, which is a good amount of characters. Of course Mei and Koichi get the special treatment, Mei being the highlight, as I said before, she's a very enigmatic character and you get yourself questioning her existence a lot in the first part of the novel. Koichi feels kinda like the our everyday main character, but I got to see a little bit of me in him, especially the "bookworm" personality, and we get to see his true emotions in many parts of the novel, so it feels like a very realist portrayal.
A thing that can be noted too it's that all characters are important, you might think "it's just a side character", but he definitely will do something important for the story, so pay attention to every single character while reading.
Another thing about the characters is that we get to see MANY deaths in this novel, some of them (ok, most of them) are very crazy, so crazy that it feels kinda unreal. Well, I guess one of the things about this story is that all the events are already unimagined, so even the deaths need to be unimaginable coincidences or accidents, but the only thing I know is that while I was reading, I started questioning myself: could this weird death really happen in the real world?
Overall, I think "Another" was a very good reading; I really liked the mysteries and the way they were shown, as well as the narrative, the characters have interesting roles during the story and they fit the atmosphere created by the author. All the questions he makes in the beginning and the way he starts answering them during the story, everything to lead to an unimaginable ending. It's the kind of story that even if you start reading and don't like, you'll at least finish because you just can't stop without knowing who is the culprit, or in this case, who is the dead.
I would totally recommend it for fans of mystery, not really horror fans, because I can't say this novel gets to the point of being classified as horror, but it's a very good mystery novel that will give you some shivers and make you question everything.
So, what are you waiting to start reading "Another" and discover who the dead is? But better read now, or will forget about everything when the phenomenon ends. read more