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It started out quite interesting. I was curious to know what was going on, and it did keep me guessing all the way through--whether this was in a good way or not, I'm not entirely sure. In volume two a lot is explained... but badly. Conversations are disjointed and hard to follow, with topics being changed suddenly and points apparently missed out. Bizarrely, all the characters seem to understand these conversations. Different terms for the same thing were used in a way that made me think they were different, before later realising that they were all synonymous. (To save you a lot of confusion later: "the extra one", "the other one" and "the dead one" all seem to be the same thing. No problem.) It might just have been that I was reading a bad translation, but the tenses were also pretty weird. Even after reading this explanation three times, and finishing the series, I'm still not one hundred percent on what the problem actually was, or their apparent solution for it.
Because of that, volume two was a low for me--however, volume one and four were a high. There is a massive plot twist around the end that I can guarantee you will not see coming. (It scared me, anyway.) It was a mystery that I wanted to see the end of, but I'm not sure if the confusion around the middle is worth it. There are also a few mysteries or points that were never explained by the end, which might not bother you unless you're picky about this sort of thing, but really gets at me. (What was their problem with Kouichi's name? And why was all this actually happening? Eh?)
The characters weren't anything particularly special. The only thing that's surprising is that there's no romance, which is somewhat refreshing--we've all seen romance between characters like this before, but in Another there's only friendship. If you were expecting a romance to develop, well, tough luck. Kouichi is likeable, but nothing really interesting and especially nothing new, and Mei's your stereotypical mysterious female. She might have a backstory, but that doesn't really fix the fact that her personality is a cardboard cut out. The secondary characters aren't memorable at all, which means the deaths don't really result in much emotional response. I couldn't remember half of their names (they all sound really similar to me), and then they die. "Oh. Who was that person again?" That's what it was like. There's only one, maybe two, deaths that I cared about in this, and a lot more people die.
One other thing that keeps grating at me is how everyone seems to keep unnecessary secrets from Kouichi. It did create suspense (and pure irritation), but when it's over you can't help thinking that half their issues could have been solved if they just told him about them in the first place. When I look at it like that, it only seems like they were secretive so the story would exist, which is a pretty poor excuse.
Putting all that aside, I'll admit that it was pretty good, and it built up right to a climax. There are some pretty hardcore moments of psychological messing in this (if that makes any sense) which were very enjoyable, at least for me. The best thing about this series would be the art: I love it. It's just really pretty--the character design, at least.
Overall, if you don't mind a bit of confusion or lack of explanations, and are looking for a supernatural mystery story: go for it. However, if you want to be terrified by serious darkness and gore, I'd go somewhere else. Another isn't scary. Having finished the anime now, I can confirm that it's about a billion times better. Unlike the manga, the intricacies of the plot are well explained and it's actually terrifying. (The amazing soundtrack and the creepy shots of dolls that pop up everywhere probably contribute.) Aside from a bizarre beach scene that was added for no reason that I can see, even when new scenes are added that weren't in the manga, they just add to it and make it better. If you're coming from the anime and wondering if this is worth the read... I guess it depends how much you liked Another for the plot. If it was for the gore and horror elements, then you'll probably be disappointed. read more