Another was one of those series which had me waiting eagerly for Mondays to arrive and wishing that the weekend would end sooner. For twelve weeks, it was my priority above all else to watch this amazing series, and to be honest, I'm already awaiting the release of the OVA in May. If I had to say what makes it so incredible, I would cite the short series length, the clever plot with a brilliant resolution, and outstanding animation as the main contributing factors, although the promise of blood will probably be enough for most people to decide whether this show is for them or
not. Although the violence means that this is not for the faint of heart (or weak of stomach), I would nevertheless wholeheartedly recommend watching it, as it is well worth your time.
Have you heard of Tantalus? (No, a knowledge of Greek mythology is not essential to watch Another, I am simply at my wits' end with trying to describe the story without giving anything away). Tantalus was a man condemned by the gods to eternity in the underworld, immersed to the neck in a pool of water which he could not drink from, and underneath a tree laden with fruit which he could not reach, no matter how hard he tried. Now, if this is not too swift and broad a leap, this is how the storyline of Another will make you feel; every time you seem to be tantalisingly close to the answer, a new development occurs, and you have to start all over again. This series never goes where you expect it to, but it manages this without being a particularly complicated story, which is quite an achievement. I've read and watched many mystery stories, and I have found that nothing ruins the story more than confusion caused by an overloaded storyline and a huge ensemble of characters. Here, it is simple: one tightly-written, carefully thought out storyline involving a relatively small number of characters, which proves surprisingly durable as a twelve episode series, having avoided the trap of the same cliff-hanger ending every time; they always manage to throw in a new and interesting variation. The resolution of the storyline was amazing; it managed to bring all the strands of information which we had gleaned and wrap everything up in a style which was paced exactly right; fast, but not hurried or rushed. I certainly didn't see the final twist coming- not many people did- but it was masterful. It was also the most emotional moment of the series; even those of you who have laughed like maniacs throughout the entire series will suddenly become sombre during the final five minutes. Being mindful of the strict limits on what I can actually say about its specifics, I shall merely say that it was a perfect ending to a brilliant series.
The art is simply beautiful. This might actually be quite near the top in terms of the best series I have ever seen art-wise. The characters aren't that different from any other series, but the backgrounds are amazingly well defined; they really are just bliss to watch. The art mostly depicts death, lots and lots of death, with some dismemberment and impending doom thrown in. In almost every scene, there's a sense of decay, everything looks decrepit and rusty, the buildings look deserted, and there's gratuitous use of deep, dark reds wherever possible. If it's outdoors, there are crows perched on the roofs, looking hungry. If it's indoors, like the hospital, then the lights are dim and flickering occasionally (and for the provision of information to those who have watched the hospital scenes and noticed the missing fourth floor, it's because four in Japanese is either 'shi' or 'yon', depending on the context, and 'shi' can also mean 'death', so they tend to avoid using four when numbering things, like we do with thirteen. Right, fun fact session over). The use of dolls, often missing limbs, is prevalent (whether they're scary or hilarious just depends on the viewer) and appears to have more significance to the storyline than I originally thought. And every so often, in case you haven't got the message, there's a split-second image of a blood-stained knife which is lying on the floor. I mean, what could possibly happen next? (This was intentionally ironic. For those of you who don't get irony, just assume that this means it was hilarious). To sum up, the art sets up the atmosphere perfectly.
Of course, we can't leave out the sound, as this is key (bad musical pun; I apologise) to the aforementioned atmosphere. From the start, the music creates a sense of eeriness, from simple melodies to electronic effects and string sections. As difficult as it is to describe, I would like you to imagine a full orchestra having a psychedelic freakout (think of that section of A Day in the Life) with a hair-raising selection of electronic hums and whines added, and then multiply that by about ten. That's about what it's like (or as best as I can put it into words). The music never quite goes away, unlike in other, lighter series; it drops right down to a few notes on a piano, but still gives you the sense that something's always just about to happen. The opening has some weird and unsettling vocal melodies going on, creating tension, stress, and suspense. But after a few episodes, I'll express a preference for the ending theme; it proves that strong vocals and a few chords on a piano are more effective than the aural blitzkrieg which we are usually subjected to, and it brings a sense of peace and serenity to the end of the episode. Basically, the soundtrack works perfectly with what's on screen.
Now, the characters; obviously, we know very little about any of them right up until the end, otherwise it wouldn't be a mystery, would it? They're all quite weird and unusual, and they're all either ruthlessly blunt or very obviously trying to avoid certain topics of conversation. As you can imagine, this makes the dialogue quite awkward. Kouichi Sakakibara, our horror story loving main character, seems to have more than half a clue what's going on, which makes a nice change from the average clueless/in denial character in the horror genre. Although it cannot be denied that he is of that genus most favoured by scriptwriters lacking inspiration, the transfer student, he does actually get some background to why he transferred. Mei Misaki develops a bit from the 'weird loner' presented in the first episode to someone who is frustrated by their situation and yet cannot change it. While near-silent and emotionless girls seem to be very common at the moment, I can promise that there is more to Mei than being a mere tribute to consumer demand. If you have watched only a few episodes, she might seem a bizarre person, but she becomes more understandable as the series progresses. Izumi Akazawa, the class representative, is blunt to the point of being rude, but is quite the deceiver and manipulator behind the scenes, as it later turns out. Reiko, who was at first glance a stereotypical 'ridiculously youthful, kind and caring female relative', turns out to have quite a temper, and appears to have a few secrets. In a sentence: don't judge them too soon.
If you are still with me (and it's quite likely if you are indeed reading this sentence), I recommend you go and watch Another now. It's only a few hours out of your spare time and you really have nothing to lose except a night's sleep if you are easily scared. If you are going to watch it, I can recommend watching it at midnight, it's surprisingly good fun (if your idea of 'fun' is the same as mine, that is). Personally, I reckon that from a fairly dull season, Another will come to shine as easily the best new release this season, and possibly one of the better of the year.
(Author's note: I started writing reviews because decently written reviews with no spelling or grammatical errors are almost non-existent on MAL, as very few people can be bothered with such trivialities these days, and this desperately needs redressing. While many people aren't with me on this, I believe that a review is not worth reading unless it is well written, and so I have put quite a lot of effort into writing this without making it too formal or verbose, whilst avoiding flippancy, in order to inform and entertain the people in the audience who are on my wavelength. My apologies if you are not one of those people. If you do have some constructive criticism to make, PM me or just post a comment, I'm quite happy to take it under consideration when editing this. And on that note, good night!).
When it comes to anime, the horror genre is a tricky one. A fatal flaw arises right from the beginning, as each person has their own definition of horror depending on how imaginative they might be. While some may immediately think of a bunch of gruesome killings, others may think of more eerie supernatural events, and the list goes on, but because of this, the genre has a high chance of failure depending on each person's perception of horror.
Unfortunately, Another just happens to fall way outside my definition of horror, and seems to fit very nicely within comedy.
But hold on a
second, this anime isn't just a horror, it's also supposed to be a mystery as well. Every year we're usually greeted with at least one mystery anime per season that I only consider mystery simply because that's what they are labeled. This is because, more often than not, anime that are supposed to be predominantly mystery, surprise, have no mystery to speak of in them, and Another is no different.
Alright, well, saying there is absolutely no mystery might be a bit of an exaggeration, but can you really consider Another a mystery? When you get down to it, it was ultimately about finding out who the "Another" was so that they may be able to stop the curse that has been running rampant for 26 years. The problem with this is that for the first four episodes, it was all about Kouichi figuring out who Mei was, seeing as she had the same name as the girl who died 26 years ago, which is what people believe started the curse in the first place. So when we figure out that she is just a normal girl, everything up until this point felt like nothing more than another useless time sink.
Here is where it gets into episodes that are completely wasted in favor of cheap shock value to try and keep the viewer hooked. Until episode 10, what did they actually learn about the Another? Nothing of any value. Where's the mystery in that? I don't find random deaths to be mysterious or horrifying in any way, and this is what the series focused on the entire time. One could argue that this narrowed down the possible suspects, but the characters did nothing with this. Even though they might have not been able to do anything to stop the curse, they could've at least devoted more time to actually trying to figure out who the Another is rather than waste time with other daily activities.
Throughout the entire series, there were only two episodes that truly served any purpose, one of which was the beach episode. Now, where would any anime be without a beach episode? It's practically mandatory these days, however, it wouldn't be Another without a token death scene in almost every episode now would it? The only good thing this episode did was provide us with one of the bigger clues, which made it very easy to figure out who the Another might be, as it proved that deaths could happen outside of Yomiyama. Meaning that the Another had to be on the trip. The only problem is that the explanation they gave in the next episode made any speculation as to who the Another was entirely useless. It was said that the person who died actually had gotten a brain injury while still in Yomiyama, and would've died later that day regardless of him being run over and torn to shreds by a boat on the beach. With this, it was practically back to square one since you wouldn't know whether or not the information given could be trusted or not. Although, any good mystery relies on misdirection, and this is one thing I can credit Another for at times, as it did try to send you down a wrong path or two as the series progressed, but this small aspect alone doesn't make up for how horribly executed everything else was.
The only other episode that had any purpose was episode 9, and regardless of it being the most frustrating one, it did provide some crucial information. As the events played out, Kouichi and his band of half-wits found a tape telling them how to stop the curse from continuing. Now, here comes the frustrating part, one of the geniuses amongst the group had the brilliant idea of ripping the tape out of the tape player to stop it from playing, instead of simply pressing the pause or stop button. You seriously have to invent an entirely new level of imbecile to describe something so moronic. Considering the current standards for incompetence in modern society have set the bar so ludicrously low, this newly discovered form of stupidity deserves some kind of fucking award. The author clearly was looking for an easy out so that they could extend the series just a bit longer, which resulted in the wonder that is the final two episodes.
However, there was one thing that was the ultimate "Fuck you" to all of the viewers. More so than the whole tape fiasco in episode nine, and that's Misaki Mei. Not only did they try to make her seem far more important than she was for the first half of the series, but, in one of the worst reveals I've ever had the displeasure of witnessing, they confirm that she was able to tell who the Another was from the very beginning. So with this, anything of relevance that happened in all of the previous episodes was for naught, and that's just absurd. She could have at least tried to speak out and tell the other students that she knew who the Another was, and before you say they wouldn't believe her, take a second to think about this. All of these morons in Class 3 believed in a completely nonsensical curse that was nothing more than superstition until it was proven to be true in the final episode. Yes, nothing could've been done regardless if she told someone or not, but due to the fact that she actually knew the entire time, the mystery was already technically solved since the beginning. It was only a matter of figuring out how to get rid of the Another, which took seven episodes of cheap deaths, one episode to figure out how to stop the curse, one episode of half the class dying and/or killing each other, and half of the final episode to reveal and kill the Another.
Am I the only one who sees a problem here? There was no actual deducting or piecing together of the puzzle. All Mei had to do was convince Kouichi that his aunt was the Another (which went over far too easily by the way), and it was over. I'm not saying that all the deaths could've been avoided, but I'll be damned if Mei isn't partially to blame for sitting around doing all of nothing for the previous eleven episodes. This is in no way a mystery. The beginning of the series could be considered an infinitely better mystery than the latter half, as you really have no idea who or what Mei is and what role she actually plays in the story until half way through the fifth episode.
Not only was the "mystery" handled very haphazardly throughout, but the horror and supernatural aspects were as well. Even now, this series isn't listed under supernatural, most likely because horror usually blends with supernatural in some way, but knowing that this series has supernatural elements only makes everything far worse. From the beginning, we're introduced to the central plot point: the curse that started 26 years ago that still takes the lives of people today. The problem with this is that throughout the series, the curse felt like nothing more than superstition. Almost every single death throughout the bulk of the series, and especially the ones in episode eleven could be logically explained in some way rather than only explainable by taking supernatural elements into consideration. There was only one death that truly felt so farfetched that it could only seem like the work of the supernatural hand , and that was the elevator death in episode four. However, no matter how small the chance of it happening is, it was still within the realm of possibility. I understand that hospital elevator cables snapping may seem ridiculous, and it really is, but you can't rule out this having happened at least once in documented history.
As for the rest of the deaths, they're all easily explained. The umbrella death in episode three? Dying by falling down a flight stairs is entirely possible on its own, but regardless of this being in the original source or something P.A. Works changed, Dead Girl #1 falling on the umbrella was purely done for trying to hook the audience, and there is no easier way of doing that than making some over-the-top death scene which all the mindless little sheep will endlessly ejaculate over. Episode five? Heart attack. If I honestly have to explain this one, I'll probably lose what little hope I have left in humanity. Episode seven? Simple suicide. The real question here is why did the teacher who commited suicide have to make such a spectacle of his death? Here's a hint: shock value.
And they aren't don't yet, oh no. Not only were most of the deaths earlier on in the series blown way out of proportion, P.A. Works felt the need to try and make episode eleven able to rival the entirety of a series like Higurashi in terms of deaths and overblown character reactions. So here we have a bunch of teenagers scared for their life each and every day, wondering if they'll be the next ones to die, and through the magic that is the adolescent mind, one of the previously mentioned half-wits lets two unstable girls listen to the tape so that they may also learn the marvelous way of how to stop the curse. Queue a ridiculous amount of jumping around between scenes that would make even Shinbo jealous of their artistic direction. To say this episode was shizophrenic would be quite the compliment.
Even though there may seem to be a lot going on in this episode, there is absolutely nothing to it in the end. It's just a meaningless massacre where everyone is dying from a series of random events like having a pillar falling on top of them, being incinerated by flames or simply being killed by one other in some twisted way due to mass hysteria, paranoia and/or plain idiocy. This all goes right back to Mei, as this entire thing could've been avoided if she had spoken up sooner about who the Another is, instead of letting the entirety of Class 3 believe it was her. Even once she revealed to Kouichi that she in fact knew who the Another was (we heard this twice), Kouichi never bothered to ask her who it was the entire time before or after they were being hunted by everyone else in the mansion and Mei never brought it up again. Not only was there no real mystery to begin with, withholding the information that could've easily solved this "mystery" a couple episodes ago puts her at fault for just about everything. Not the Another.
Either way, no matter how you look at it, every single death in this series was very highly dramatized to the point of absurdity for the simple sake of selling Blu-Rays. People like nonsensical violence, that's just how it is. Many series have success through using shock value (Madoka, for example), so I can't necessarily blame P.A. Works for this, as they were just trying to make money like everyone else in the world, but that doesn't excuse the fact that it was all completely superficial with no deeper meaning other than people dying for the sake of dying. If I wanted to see that, I would just turn on the news.
So, what exactly was Kouichi's role in all of this? Being the protagonist of the series, one would imagine that he would be the one solving the mystery by piecing together the puzzle; yet he's just as useless as the rest of the cast. His purpose was finished once he figured out the story of Mei and why she was being ignored by their class in the first place. After this, he, just like everyone else, was tagging along for the ride until the conclusion finally came around. Did he piece together evidence based on everything he's heard and encountered to come to the conclusion that the Another was his aunt? No, that was Mei. The only purpose he served in the end was providing us with irrefutable proof that his aunt was the Another by recalling memories that even he forgot until Mei spoke with him about it during the final episode. While this wasn't necessarily bad, as he does get points for not being a beta protagonist like you would imagine him to be, it certainly wasn't good.
Now, assuming you're not counting the death fodders that people like to call characters, by simple process of elimination, Mei is the only character left to go over, and she is by far the worst character in this series. Random Dead Kid #92 was more memorable and even had better characterization and development than she ever had. There was no real depth to her character, and unlike Kouichi, she served no purpose other than actually causing more problems for everyone around her, making her more of an antagonizing force than the Another was. Add in the fact that if she didn't have something unique to her design, she's completely indicernable among the myriads of Ayanami Rei clones out there. So what, she has a sad past, but who hasn't gone through something like losing a loved one nowadays? It could've been much worse, and I actually expected it to be seeing as just about everything else was expanded upon so ridiculously in this series. The only ounce of development that actually she received was during the mid-point of the series, which is arguably the only decent portion of it, and that's just because you finally learn about her as more than "The bitch that no ones gives two fucks about."
However, among the countless death fodders and pitiful excuses for characters, there is one who stands among the rest, simply for being one of the ones I hate to see the most in any given work: and that's the catalyst for an overdramatized event. In the case of Another, it would be the woman who owned the mansion that Class 3 went to on their trip. She had all of maybe 3 lines the entire time she was on screen, and was viewed as a side character of no importance, yet, out of nowhere, she decided to go on a random killing spree. This came on suddenly and was completely unwarranted, which just detracted from the main focus of the finale. During the final episode, they did decide to leave us with one terrible justification for her actions: she was said to be emotionally unstable due to the death of her grandson, but this should in no way trigger her actions seeing as his death happened earlier in the series, and by the fact that she went on the murdering spree BEFORE the news was leaked about Mei presumably being the Another. She merely served as a catalyst to help drive home the paranoia in the already unstable kids staying at the mansion, thus triggering a few of them going batshit insane after they found out that Mei was believed to be the Another. I don't even consider the old woman to be a character, but a horribly written plot device that was bad enough to actually be addressed.
One of the biggest problems with this series is, of course, the ending. Stating the obvious, they need to kill the Another so that the curse will be stopped. The only problem with this is that, while the curse is stopped for this year, each person whose life was taken by the curse has a chance to be brought back to life the next year. So, in the end, killing the Another does nothing for anyone in the future, only for the present year. Not only is the curse absolutely ridiculous, it adds on yet another layer of absurdity to everything by giving a nonsensical reason for how it started and why it continues today. Said given explanation is that 26 years ago, the people of Class 3 decided to believe that their classmate who had recently died, wasn't actually dead. Due to this, the curse continued to run rampant each year simply because it could, and it can never be stopped. In the end, the supernatural aspect is nothing more than a terrible excuse to shovel garbage down the throats of the people who eat up pointless deaths. And that is not how horror should work.
If there is any credit I can truly give to Another, it's the simple attention to detail that's present in things like the background, exemplary of almost every P.A. works anime. Sadly, this is quite easily the strongest point of this series. The atmosphere was great at times, yet seemingly over done at others. The main problem with this is that an anime can't be successful with only a few parts out of the many that make it up, especially not something like the atmosphere which requires other aspects of the series to be good in such a manner that it enhances the experience. More often than not, the atmosphere was ruined not because it was actually overdone, but because the scene taking place was horribly executed. In turn this made everything that took place work against any positive aspect the atmosphere might have provided. In combination with the overbearing OST that sounded like an angsty teenager turning their stereo up to over 9000 in some apparent misguided sense of rebellion against society; it more than kills any good mood that a scene might have been giving off in record time.
At this point, I think it might be P.A. Works who is cursed. Every anime they've produced has had a strong beginning, a core that gets progressively weaker and ultimately yields a poor conclusion. This trend hasn't changed through any of their work, and Another is no different. It had the potential to be a good mystery, but started to focus on all the wrong aspects as it progressed, and became nothing more than another twelve weeks of my life wasted.
Notice: some spoilers will be present in this review, despite my best efforts; I've made them as vague as possible, but sorry about that anyway.
Another advertises itself as a mystery horror anime; its premise is definitely interesting and right off the bat the production values look promising. Unfortunately, the show starts to fall apart halfway through, the mystery leaves you with many, MANY questions of the wrong kind and is so serious yet so over-the-top that the "horror" tag might as well be read as "comedy".
This show is a prime example of a promising story being told in the worst manner imaginable. The beginning is
strong, then it starts going downhill in the middle, with the last stretch being just a mess. This is mostly because of how the mystery is handled: at first, Another does a good job at being mysterious and creepy. You know something's up, yet you don't get many clues or even get thrown off the path to the truth. You (may) feel on edge, yet you have no idea why. Obviously, those are the signs of a good mystery. Unfortunately, it doesn't last - pretty much everything about the mysterious curse is revealed and explained long before the final stretch. The only detail that wasn't exposed was the curse's catalyst for that year. This is quite possibly one of the most disastrous moves I've ever seen in an anime, since from that point onwards the characters get almost nothing accomplished and are just swept along by the flow. They don't even TRY to figure out the last, most important piece of the puzzle, making a considerable part of the show very boring... at least, that's what it would've been if the death scenes weren't taken up to eleven.
Let me stop talking about the plot here for a moment to comment about the death scenes, which are probably the reason why you've heard about Another. Some are creative. Some are nasty. All of them are over-the-top, to the point where they can be hilarious. Sure, many of them serve as cheap shock value to keep the viewer interested, but I'll be damned if they didn't do their twisted, morbid little job well. As soon as the first person dies, a (maybe hidden) part of you wants to keep watching to see if there'll be an even more exaggerated and ridiculous death in the series; hell, the laws of physics seem to be altered every other moment just so this can be done.
Anyway, back to the plot. Perhaps one of the show's biggest flaws is that the supernatural elements are never properly explained. Okay, so many years ago someone popular from the class died, and ever since then that very class has been subject to a devastating curse. Why does that happen? Aside from the curse's annual catalyst, nothing is ever explained about it. It just happens. There's also an issue with dead people and memories (can't talk more about it without giving a big spoiler). Again, why does that happen and how? Never explained. Your guess is as good as mine, really, and if you want to know, mine is that the Grim Reaper has enough spare time to screw around with middle school students every year. Finally, Another also commits two writing sins that really annoy me: the first one is that, in multiple occasions, cell phones will malfunction for no reason whatsoever while characters are holding important conversations. This is a blatant diabolus ex machina and only serves to cheapen the writing. Second, at one point a character we've never seen before goes nuts. The problem is that the reason for that is lazily handwaved, making it seem like a poor excuse just to up the chaos even more. Speaking of chaos, let me ask one very simple question: why is the school still open? Over half a dozen people die there almost every year, yet the authorities never did something about it? And if that's the (really illogical) case, then why in the world are people still enrolling their kids there? This isn't a question that stems from deep thought, IT'S COMMON SENSE.
The sound department is hit-or-miss. The BGM itself is not bad; while it's sometimes effectively used to create a good, tense atmosphere, it's also misused some other times, and it's not very memorable. The OP, however, is just bad. The imagery fits, but the song feels incredibly out of place and is nothing special either. Same goes for the ED. As for the voice acting, it's... OK. Nothing amazing, yet nothing particularly bad either.
Another's greatest weakness is its characters. I don't think they even deserve to be called that - "amoebas" is more fitting, as they display the intelligence and personality of a single-celled being, and that's IF the characters in question have any "relevance" to the plot; if not, "death fodder" fits the bill quite nicely. For starters, we have the protagonist, Kouichi. When the body count starts to rise and his classmates desperately tell him to lay low before someone else dies, what does he do? Keep trying to find out what's going on. Hell, at one point he thought a doll was a REAL PERSON. And guess what? Aside from his stupidity and some stalker tendencies, there is nothing remarkable about him. Even worse is Mei, who is proof that Rei Ayanami expies get carte blanche from the anime fandom no matter what they do. Not only does she have no personality to speak of, in the last few episodes she reveals that she knew the answer to the mystery all along AND withheld a piece of very important info from everyone else. Because of some stupid, never-explained power she has. So basically, everything that happened, all the chaos, bodies and paranoia, almost all of the show, ALL OF IT probably wouldn't have happened if she OPENED HER MOUTH IN THE BEGINNING. Her reason for not revealing the truth doesn't make it any less aggravating.
The supporting cast is just as bad. Even the named ones, some of which have quite a bit of screen time, are so forgettable I don't even remember their names. The only memorable thing about them is, as usual, their lack of brains: one guy - who looks like a girl - likely has NO common sense, as he shows very delicate evidence to emotionally unstable girls; this, surprise surprise, makes them go berserk. Then there's a girl with twintails who wants to stop the calamity; there is almost always a character like this in horror/mystery movies, and she is so loyal to that common, predictable archetype that a savvy viewer will easily know everything that she will do/will happen to her before half of the anime has gone by. But worst of all is the blonde guy. While he arguably has the most "personality" out of the cast, this jackass is the group's idiot, and he EARNS the title. No, seriously, you heard me right, he accomplishes such a DIFFICULT GODDAMN FEAT with ease. His crowning moment of stupidity? Forcibly removing a tape AS IT'S PLAYING from the player to make it stop. Remember: this anime takes place in 1998, when tapes weren't the ancient forgotten technology they are today. Ladies and gentlemen, this is something else.
To make things worse, the blonde had some TOUGH competition for the title of "most brain-dead character" in this anime. You see, a little over halfway through we learn that one of the old students discovered something very important about the curse. He even made a "copy" of that knowledge for future generations. Only one problem: HE HIDES THE DAMNED THING IN AN ABANDONED SCHOOL BUILDING. The thought of handing it over to the school's staff or the police never crossed his mind? Brilliant, just brilliant. There are plenty of more characters, but really, you're not gonna care or even remember about any of them because they're pretty much just going along for the ride to the slaughterhouse.
If there's something that nobody can deny about Another, is that it looks good. The animation is very nice and fluid, with some obvious bumps in quality during the death scenes. The backgrounds have a great amount of detail, being sometimes nothing short of gorgeous. The lighting is good as well, which is great for creating the ideal atmosphere for each situation, something crucial for horror works. It's a shame, really; the anime didn't deserve this quality.
In conclusion, Another is a mess. It may be pretty, morbidly entertaining and have a strong, interesting beginning, but it is unfortunately plagued with bad, forgettable characters, a terribly mishandled mystery, half-hearted or straight up missing explanations and many other writing flaws. It serves as a great example for what not to do in the mystery horror genre, and I wouldn't recommend it - unless you like tearing apart bad works of fiction as you're watching them or find over-the-top deaths to be hilarious.
This show actually caught me by surprise. I went into it knowing absolutely nothing about it, but needless to say, I was hooked after just two episodes. Who is this girl? Why is she so special? Why is this new transfer student the only one that seems to know she’s even there? A mystery indeed. The show does an amazing job leaving the audience to wonder what’s going to happen next. Each episode’s cliffhanger is gripping. They take things to a whole new level during the second half of the series.
The character design and animation style both are top notch. Clean, sharp, and crisp. Nicely done here by P.A. Works. The opening fits the theme of this series perfectly. I couldn’t ask for anything better. The ending theme is up for debate. I personally didn’t care much for it, but let’s not make that the focus here.
I can’t say a whole lot without spoiling the series, but I will say this: as predictable as you will probably think it is, the ending will throw you for a loop. They even recap for you, showing all of the proof from the previous episodes and it will blow your mind because it’s at that moment that you realize the pieces were all there the whole time. How it all came together at the end was fantastic.
The actual ending itself, however, left a sour taste in my mouth for some reason. Not the solution to the mystery, not how it pieced together, but the aftermath. In other words, the epilogue is what sort of made me rethink a few things. If you do pick up this series and watch it to the end, you may or may not understand what I mean, because it’s hard to explain.
There are some points in the series where the pacing really seems to slow down. The reason I mention this as if to say it’s a problem is mainly because the audience can lose interest when nothing is happening. I found myself dozing off a few times during a couple episodes, and next thing I know, stuff is going down and I totally missed everything leading up to it. Obviously, I had to rewatch those episodes but even fully awake, some parts felt like the longest 23 minutes ever.
If you likes psychological, gore, horror/mystery genre. If you like more serious shows that take themselves seriously, look no further this is what you looking for.
"Another" is a series that I really wanted to like. The initial premise whilst unoriginal was somewhat promising, but somehow it never quite managed to move away from that initial premise - to the point that it never actually went anywhere.
Here's the problem I have with "Another": the entire series is about unraveling a murder mystery but for the greatest part of the series no unraveling is done. Almost every conversation goes over the topic of mystery, but never is there anything developed. It's frustrating filler which has no right to be there.
The fact that conversations continuously retread the same subject matter
also means that the characters are not given any development of their own - in 10 episodes there has only ever been scant development. It doesn't help that the characters are all cookie cutter clones from other series: the main character Kouichi Sakakibara is a sort of weak recreation of Keichi Maebara, but shorn of all personality; Mei Misaki is simply the typical Rei clone who mumbles something every now and then; none of the other characters are of any consequence whatsoever throughout the series - they are so mind numbingly dull and hastily introduced that you won't care when they die.
Speaking of the deaths in this series, they are all so ridiculous that they are hilarious. Accidentally self-impaling on an umbrella early on is the least silly death (I could go on but I don't want to spoil it for people who are genuinely interested in seeing them). The deaths are entirely gratuitous, so if you're looking for 'edgy' grimdark this may appeal to you.
The artwork for the series is excellent for the most part: backgrounds are lavishly drawn, characters are nicely detailed and animated. It's about the only saving grace this series has, though there were a few instances where NOPE necks were evident, and there is the broader problem that the visual style borrows liberally from Higurashi (which, incedentally I would recommend instead to anyone considering watching this).
The audio work for the series was... mixed. The OP theme by Ali Project is simply terrible, completely out of setting for such a series; the OST was very nicely composed, however it was extremely poorly inserted into the series itself - often score pieces seemed completely out of place, a prime example being when characters are sitting idly in a car whilst a suspense cue plays... but nothing happens. It's entirely out of keeping, however I would recommend people look up the OST when it gets released whereupon it may be better appreciated.
Overall I'd give this 5/10. It's a shame to do so, but ultimately the series is let down by an extremely weak story and a weak set of characters who undergo no development.
Well I decided to write a review for this anime since no one has yet.
Right off the bat from the first episode, this anime lives up to its mystery and horror genre. So far it is interesting and mysterious in that the audience is feed extremely small bits of infomation.
The art is fairly good and a bit graphic at times; this probably wont be for the faint of heart.
The sound is just amazing in that it really sets the mood for each scene and adds a bit of mystery. The opening by Ali Project is also a very nie touch.
The characters are still vague at this point but interesting; but that's probably becaue its only the first episode.
I extrmely enjoyed tthis anime from the first episode alone because it gave me chills and an eeire feeling; very reminicent of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
Overall, I enjoyed this anime a lot and makes me want to see the next episode already. I also feel this anime has a lot of potential.
So if you love mystery, horror and sitting at the edge of your seat, I highly suggest watching this anime - especially if you liked Higurashi.
This is going to be short and sweet. While I am a huge fan of Noizi Itou's artwork and character design in general, I must admit the end of this series was a huge let down. I was, naturally, captivated by the visceral and beautifully displayed fates with which the characters met and was immediately entranced by the lure of a ghost story. However, there were many plot "twists" hinted at through out the story, most of which seemed lazily unfinished. It almost made me feel that the authors had really no concrete plot line to begin with, and hoped the masses would be entranced
with the gore and yangire enough to not really remember the last plot point left unexplained. In my humble opinion, there was a huge chunk of the story left completely unresolved, and they tried to make Mei out to be a more bad-ass character than she wound up being at all. Ultimately, it left a very unsavory taste in my mouth and is not something I would recommend. This is a very unpleasant thing for me to have to write, as I am a huge fan of the character design artist as well as the horror genre. I can only hope for another media installment in the series that will perhaps answer my MANY burning questions.
I don’t watch horror movies. I’m the kind of guy who hides under his covers during thunderstorms and checks behind the shower curtains for serial killers. So, being the weak-willed man I am, I was a little apprehensive about starting Another. I shouldn't have been. Another is psychological horror done right. It’s bloody, gruesome, and flipping scary, but it’s also got a strong story, beautiful animation and powerful characters.
The story is good. Not great. It could have been a lot better. The first five episodes are great. It's mystery, suspense, and terror, and it's done masterfully. After that, the plot starts to crawl. The big
mystery is unraveled, and all the suspense is sucked out. The music even admits that things aren't mysterious any more. This, surprise, is the main plot, which - don't get me wrong - is still interesting enough to occupy your attention. The story picks itself back up for the finale. The final three episodes are fantastic, and it brings a good finish to all the loose ends.
The plot itself is pretty simple. I can’t say too much without spoiling it for you, but the series does a good job of keeping it interesting with good pacing.
The middle school ensemble is pretty typical. We have best friend one, best friend two, the shy girl and the strong girl. Their personalities don't go too much deeper than that. The supporting characters aren't anything you haven't seen before, but they each have their share of secrets and it’s interesting to watch their personalities evolve. They’re a good bunch. The real strength in characters, though, lies in Misaki Mei. She's an absolutely fascinating character. The air of mystery around her is the backbone of the whole series. Kouichi, our endearing protagonist, is also a very strong character. He’s the kind of guy who gets stuff done. Unlike a lot of protagonists, he’s not clueless, he’s not retarded, and he’s very interesting to watch.
The artwork and animation are beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. There isn’t really any other way to describe it. Every scene and environment has meticulous detail and does a great job in capturing the dark atmosphere of the series –rusting guardrails, flickering lights, and a thin layer of dust over everything. The characters look great and the animation brings life to everyone. I couldn’t find an awkward animation among them. It’s one of the best-looking series you’ll see.
Another really isn’t very scary. The music is. It’ll freak you out. It sounds like the brainchild of an orchestra having a seizure and a drunken pianist. It’s dark, gloomy, and creepy, and it’s brilliant. The OP is Halloweenie pop song sung by a wannabe goth. It sounds corny, but it works pretty well. The ED is fantastic. It’s a soft, beautiful piano solo, and it’s the perfect ending.
In conclusion? Another is a great anime. I’d recommend it to everyone, even if you don’t like the genre. I thoroughly enjoyed Another. Well, that’s enough out of me – go watch it for yourself. You’ll be a better person because of it.
What is considered a horror and what is considered a thriller? This is a subject that can confuse many, much like the difference between plot and story; the topic of whether or not something is a thriller or horror is a concept that most people have vague knowledge of, yet people often use incorrectly. The question to ask now is which does Another fall under?
Let's begin by discussing horror versus thriller. Horror, essentially, is based off of basic, scenic brutality; it is typically filled with blood, gore, and 'creative' methods in which people die gruesome deaths. Think of common horror flicks like Halloween, Nightmare
on Elm Street, or in reference to anime, Corpse Party. What is considered a thriller then? Thrillers tend to tap into the audience psychologically and build suspense based on anticipation, often scaring viewers without resorting to blood and guts; think Paranormal Activity, Silence of the Lambs, or The Sixth Sense. While deaths (when they happen) can be fairly gruesome, most of the anime has a more slow-paced, suspenseful atmosphere; there is a certain lingering feeling of lurking malice that is presented through an eerie environment and the ambiguity surrounding the mystery of Class 3. While peoples' view on what they define as horror and thriller differ based on their tolerance of what is perceived as ‘scary’ to them, Another should be considered a thriller.
Story-wise, Another is pretty interesting in the sense of being mysterious. It delves into a very ambiguous semblance and piece by piece slightly becomes clearer. There aren't many good thriller anime out there, but Another did a great job at keeping a suspenseful mood. However, thriller elements aren't enough to carry a lacking plot direction and story. Like many plot twists in anime, if you watch closely and follow the dialogue events become predictable. The entirety of the series doesn't stay coherent and by the end of the series you’ll end up angered by how disrespectful the ending is to your intelligence.
The art/animation and overall scenery of Another positively adds to the creepy, mysterious atmosphere of the show. The art and animation look good and are consistent, which is really what matters most. What's exceptional about Another is the fact that everything is utilized to create the mood; whether it be the weather, objects, or the school/environment itself, each plays their own role in building suspense and spook factor. Sound-wise, Another is decent. I liked the OP and the ED was fair.
The characters of Another are a strange group of people as a whole. I don't think there is a single normal character in this whole entire show. However, the abnormality in these characters goes hand-in-hand with the abnormality of the show. Since Another is supposed to be of the Supernatural genre, it makes sense that many things don’t always fall into the realm of logical reasoning. This also applies to the attitudes, mental being, and personalities of the characters. Characters seemed fairly bland and lacking of genuine human qualities. People tragically die in front of the main male lead and he doesn’t seem to be bothered in the slightest. It begs to question whether or not the characters are actually humans or simply moving corpses. I suppose asking for realistic reactions in a fictitious thriller story are a bit far-fetched on my behalf, but there is definitely something more to be desired.
It's tough to say whether or not I enjoyed Another. While being a somewhat entertaining thriller for the majority of the series, Another also has a horrible ending. Essentially, it takes all the suspense and build up from the first ten episodes and throws it out the window. I’m not sure why the direction steered towards a ‘Final Desination’ type of ending or why it chose to disregard its thriller base and transition into horror, but it certainly left a sour aftertaste.
When trying to formulate a good mystery plot, the author is prone to making some loopholes; the biggest challenge is to prevent these from happening, or cover it with a literary device.
It is also easy to make a mystery plot without any loopholes at all, but with that case, it gains a risk of being bland and predictable. I have watched and read my own fair share of those kinds of stuff, like Detective Conan, Gosick, CSI, and other books and movies, and though I'm not saying that they're not enjoyable, some can be easily predicted halfway.
That is why not only I became a fan
of Ayatsuji Yukito-sensei, I also respected P.A. Works (Angel Beats!, HanaIro) a lot more. Yes, some of you who watched it may argue that there were facts that were intentionally hidden from the audience, but isn't it just as well? This is one of those rare moments when it feels good to be cheated on.
Let's proceed with the story. I'm gonna give it an 8/10. Wait what!?!?!!11 After all those praises, this newb otaku is giving "Another" only an 8? Yes, the scenario that it gave was really unique, in the sense that they give you minimum info at the start of every episode, then just as you are expecting a revelation, it will just leave you hanging and hungry for more (kind of like women LOL). Still, that atmosphere was not sustained for all of the twelve episodes. Also, after some realllllllllllly deep afterthoughts about the anime, I found one big loophole at the end that was not covered up well. Maybe you can find about that too, it's right at the last episode.
Also, even if this was categorized as horror, caveat emptor: horror fans may not be too amazed with this aspect, unless you get easily freaked out by Saw-type movies, as this show will be a bloodbath.
On a side note, I was one of those lucky people who were not spoiled, so my guesses were wrong. -_-
The art is just,,,, WHOAAAH! I'm gonna quote something I read from Japanator: it feels like you can pause the anime anywhere, anytime and it would always be a candidate for an awesome desktop bg. P.A. Works is just so good at this aspect. So yeah, 10/10.
I'm not gonna include OP and ED for sound, since I'm not particularly a fan of those. Anyway, the BGM was a really well-used mood-setter for the anime. By any chance, do you know Hans Zimmer? And by any chance, have you watched The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan? Another's BGM is like TDK's: without the music, scenes are incomplete; without the story, the music is kind of useless. Now, I'm not trying to insult Zimmer here; what I'm saying that the se kind of music are meant to be a catalyst of a situation's atmosphere, and nothing else. And with Another's case, I'm gonna give it a 10, duh.
If you have watched slasher films like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, one common characteristic they have is that they have fu**ing DUMB characters! You know, the feeling where you're yelling "DAMN IT WHY ARE YOU STILL INSIDE THE DAAAANG HOUSE" on the screen? Some characters in Another are like that. I guess it's a given for this genre, but still, they could have made some of the deaths more justifiable. Meanwhile, I have to commend Ms. Sakakibara, the female lead. I'm expecting a lot would be irritated by her, but try to put yourself in that situation; try to read her psyche whenever that time (i.e., the hating :P) comes. One good characteristic about her is that she's one of those characters that you can't really label any stereotypes. While most characters were static (which works well for this show), those handful of the lead roles were the opposite of that, and they were well-developed until the end of the series.
As for enjoyment, I also give it a 10. I was always waiting for the subbed episodes to come out as soon as possible, simply because "Another" always ends with cliffhangers. These cliffhangers did not leave me high and dry, and as soon as I finished an episode, it always makes me think, giving me some kind of faux intelligence. xD
Overall, I give it a 10. I just really loved this show, and I would certainly watch and read other related materials, and I recommend you do too. n_nv
In my honest opinion, I recommend you watch the anime first before reading the novel or the manga, because as I mentioned before, a lot more facts are kept hidden, which would mean that your assumptions and guesses would have less evidence, making it slightly more thrilling. ^_^
P.S. This is my first review, go easy on me guys! Hajimemashite. @_@
Some horror flicks manage to work because of good pacing, unique presentation, and a genuinely unnerving atmosphere, others are just entertaining gorefests that make up for there weak writing and stupid characters with a healthy dosage camp. I genuinely enjoy both sides of the horror spectrum and came into Another looking for one or the other and instead got what seems to be a horrendously botched attempt at both. As far as being creepy goes, Another employs the most ridiculously derivative approach. A small pale chick and ugly dolls? It’s about as done to death as it sounds . Plainly put, the series puts a
pitiful amount effort into establishing a legitimately creepy atmosphere using such cliche imagery isn’t gonna put my hairs on end. The ominous music does it’s best to compliment these scenes, but it ends up being overused and doesn’t do much to elevate such weak material.
OK, so Another clearly isn’t very successful when it comes to being unnerving, but there’s still the “other” type of horror I already brought up right? Well the death scenes are ridiculous, but Another otherwise lacks a fun sense of self-awareness. Any fun to be had in this show is reduced to simply laughing at an absurd death scene before the series try to make you take it’s plot and characters seriously once again. I could forgive botched attempts at spookiness and some death scenes too silly and jarring to take seriously, but the underlying writing is so unrelentingly bad it’s unbelievable. The mystery in Another in simple terms makes no sense whatsoever. All the reveals regarding the calamity of Class 3-3 have to do with either how it happens and what the rules are. There’s never any explanation as to why it happens. It’s just a bunch of rules applied to some class with no rhyme or reason. The idea behind the show was bad, but what ruined the show was excruciatingly terrible pacing. For starters, after the 1st couple of episodes, the show pretty much front-loads the viewers with most of the information through forced info-dumps, which is boring as hell to watch and doesn’t really give you much to think about besides the mystery behind who the killer is. You know exactly what’s going on for most of the show (minus who’s causing it all) which guts the tension quickly.
A lot of the problems with the plot could’ve been mitigated if the series wasn’t driven by a cast with perhaps one of the worst case of plot convenience and plot-induced-stupidity I’ve ever seen in quite some time. This is where the characters come in unfortunately, whose actions seem to lack any semblance of logic whenever the script demands so. It’s the type of stupidity that creates plot craters as opposed to holes. Why doesn’t anyone try to do something about a curse for 30 years? Why doesn’t anyone try to transfer out of a cursed class? Surely you’d consider at least that much before trying to murder your fellow classmates right? The writing goes far enough to avoid aspects of the world that ought to get involved in the annual massacre of children (like parents, the police, etc) to the point where the school may as well have been teleported to a remote island. The worst part of it all was the reason they gave for why Mei doesn’t just tell Koichi the identity the real undead person, it’s an insultingly stupid handwave that essentially causes the show to be four times longer than it needed to be while making most of the deaths entirely preventable.
Koichi himself as a character isn’t stupid like the rest of the cast, but that’s really all I have to say about him. He’s essentially a blank slate ” hey project yourself on to me” type of character. This sort of lead works OK for video games (though even then I’d prefer not to have to put up with it), this degree of blandness is sleep inducing. They don’t even really give him much to do besides talk, and talk, and talk, and hey that person just died, back to talking. There’s not really much to say about the rest of the cast as individuals, but as a whole, they came off to me as nothing more than l mere death fodder whose names I never bothered learning or forgot after/during my watch-through of this series. Anyone who tries to drop information the writers deem to be to juicy to give up at the moment either do so by dropping very vague hints that you’d have to rewatch the show to catch (fat chance of me doing that), or something ridiculously contrived and inconvenient happens to stop right exact moment where a truth bomb is about to be dropped. There was also a hint of romance between the two leads, but the writers barely gave it any attention, as will this review.
There’s nothing to recommend about Another. As a serious mystery, it’s far too dumb and not in a way that would make it fun to sit through.
I was amazed at how great Another was. I must say that there were lots of things that had really stood out to me while I was watching. The most noticeable thing for me was the art and sound. In my opinion the art and sound really enhanced the atmosphere of the story and the events that were taking place. The music made things so uncomfortably eerie along with the decaying, drearier backgrounds. The story to me was a little cliche and predictable however that didn't stop it from being any good. There are lots of shows with the similar "main character moves to new
place" "strange things happen" "people die" type plot however out of the many that I have seen Another's unique take on this was very enticing... exciting. "Another" thing (get it?) I loved most about Another was that it brought to me the lovable and memorable character Mei Misaki. There are in the anime-verse millions, of mysterious girls characters, Mei Misaki is perhaps my number one favorite for now. She has lots of great qualities to her personality other than being strange (lol )and her hobby of drawing is something I like most. The damn girls a great artist. Lastly, and the thing that really made Another amazing to me was how thrilling it was! Especially towards the end where all chaos breaks lose and people start acting straight up savage. It was one big thrill ride for me, there is however a lot of talking during the show, so if you've ever watched Bakemonogatari or anything similar to that series then you should know what to expect. Overall I would highly recommend Another to anyone who loves Horror Mysteries because it is well worth watching!!! 9/10
When I first got a grasp on the story in Another I was slightly surprised. I started to watch this show with expectations of a cliché storyline, where the “surprises” could be seen from a mile away. The story in fact is something very different than what I would expect. Another takes the form of a “slice of life” show at the very beginning and evolves from then on into a thriller. The whole of the story follows a character named Kouichi Sakakibara after he transfers to a new high school. As he begins adjusting to his new
surroundings he notices a girl in his class named Mei Misaki. Mei (for reasons unknown) has been ostracized by the rest of the class so Kouichi, being a nice and friendly guy, starts talking to her and befriends her. Once strange accidents and calamities start befalling the classmates Kouichi takes it upon himself to find out what is going on. This story setting is something that I have never run into before, so, naturally, it caught my interest. Even though the storyline was unique it unfortunately seemed to be lacking. Exposition about the plot is very dry and sometimes hard to understand. The main character’s investigation pretty much consists of sitting in the school library and sifting through old yearbooks. Seriously? I had to take points off for that. Where the story really shines is the situations. Many characters will find themselves time and again in very strenuous or perilous circumstances, all of which come out of the blue and give the watcher a very strong sense of suspense. This was what kept me going, and honestly what saves the show in my opinion. I will not spoil anything but I have to say that these parts are extremely well done and had me on the edge of my seat.
The one thing that makes a thriller movie good is the atmosphere and on this section I have mixed feelings. The characters are drawn well enough and the animation quality fits together, but there is one issue. The key to scaring the audience is getting them immersed into the story, making them more susceptible to fear, but there are parts where immersion is broken. For instance near the ending (no spoilers) there is a scene in which a fire breaks out. One huge immersion breaker for me is the animation of the flames. To be blunt it’s extremely bad. Honestly it looks like something out of an old Playstation game. To have something look so poor at the climax of the show is a huge mistake. To be honest I made the effort to try to ignore it so that the experience wouldn’t be ruined. Other than that the animation is fine. The atmosphere is done effectively enough to tell the story with little interruption.
I’m sure people who watch thrillers know that sound plays a crucial role in completing the atmosphere. In the case of Another they pull it off very well. The music is downright creepy, silence is used correctly, and the OP sets the tone for the show. I found that when the atmosphere was lacking or part of the animation was “hiccuping” that the music and sounds would be enough to keep me involved.
This one is hard for me to admit, but the characters aren’t really well done. They are very average, bland, and plain cookie cutter. That being said, they still fulfill their roles as characters. I never found myself attached to the two main characters, as I should have been. Let’s just leave it as this. There was nothing outstanding about them. There was enough to make me scared and interested but overall they leave something to be desired.
This show is like junk food. You know it’s bad, the ingredients are not up to par, but there’s just something about it that you like. Apart from all of the faults mentioned above I still really enjoyed this show. There were a few parts that tested my patience and/or bored me, but they were brief enough that I still continued I think it was worth sticking out. Nothing about this show will astound you, make you think, or leave you breathless, but regardless it can still scare you. Everything comes together just enough so that the ride is still a lot of fun, and for me that’s worth something.
Like I said before. This show is junk food. Not to say that it’s total garbage. It is not all that well done but proved to be an entertaining and fun ride. Apart from its lackluster appearance and somewhat shaky atmosphere Another still freaked me out and gave me a good time. If you like thrillers that are gruesome and creepy, but you’re not looking for something to overanalyze or study, this is a good two-dimensional product that may be worth your while. Even though it was slightly forgettable I had a good time and, if you pick it up, I hope you do too.
We all have our own expectations for a horror, and whether Another fits this genre is controversial. Its similarities to Final Destination, one of America's horror film series, makes it well-known for the countless freak accidents. It doesn’t go without saying that Another has its shortcomings that declined to make it as serious a horror as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, which it desperately tried to compete with and failed. On the other hand, Another pulls through with a solid mystery, and the top-notch animation by P.A. Works enhances the suspense throughout the series.
Another revolves around a 26-year-old mystery of one particular high school class
that leads to multiple bloodbaths. The mystery itself is decent and adds onto the horror and suspense for each episode, but it may not please one who searches for complete logic in a mystery. The mystery only has a temporary solution, which makes it appear less serious. Multiple deaths of high school kids normally would cause a reasonable course of action to put an end to it. The fact that it went on for 26 years might turn one off. There was a slow start in introducing the mystery in full, but the characters’ reactions to the situation was understandable. Apart from that, the mystery gradually develops as characters discover more clues for the first time. The ending brings all of the pieces together, including connections between some of the important characters with thorough explanations, and eliminates any potential for plotholes.
Another’s main problem is that it tries way too hard. Creators mock the viewer with quick cuts of dolls between scenes like “Boo! Are you scared yet?” The gloomy backgrounds and freak accidents were enough by themselves, and the dolls just overdid it. Even the OP places a huge emphasis on dolls. Dolls can be creepy when they want to be, but they have absolutely nothing to do with this show besides their relevance to Misaki’s past. One or two deaths were unnecessarily dramatic as if it's Shakespeare. Dark music plays needlessly during conversations, but other scenes prove that the dialogue is enough for this anime. The gloomy backgrounds and freak accidents were enough alone, so the obsession with dolls and exaggeration in the scenes were avoidable.
There is literally nothing special about the cast. They only exist to either contribute to solving the mystery, die off, or both. However, they deserve an excessive amount of credit for giving appropriate reactions to calm or terrifying situations. Misaki is probably the only distinct character with her unique background, and her introverted behavior keeps her mysterious. Kouichi is your typical cliché male character who feels the need to talk to a girl who is invisible to everyone else or desperately trying to figure out what’s going on around him. Oppositely, Kouichi destroys the concept of a male protagonist in horror who constantly needs saving. He adjust to unfortunate changes very well, but it's annoying how he gulps or gets frightened before anything actually happens. The characters overall is probably Another's weakest point.
P.A. Works did an extraordinary job with Another’s animation. Finally, there is a show with an active background and not plain stills to just focus on the main characters. The blood splatter and gore are on key. The character design was good. Most of the body figures were distinct, except for two female characters who looked too much alike, and the characters' facial expressions brought terror to the screen. The background design is amazing with the dark, gloomy colors to fit the anime’s theme.
The soundtrack was good, but the problem came with the timing. When eerie music was necessary, it wasn’t there at all and vice versa. There are no complaints about the seiyuu, especially Takamori Natsumi (voice of Misaki) who fit the role for a quiet yet mysterious girl. The sound effects, including the blood gushes and lightning strikes, fit the situations perfectly.
Whether or not you will enjoy Another greatly depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a logical mystery, you won’t find it. Like other scary movies, you might find the deaths humorous or look past the over-exaggeration with dolls to get a scare. Personally, it was very satisfying for me, but it could be better. The mystery was good, and the high quality animation made the show even more attractive. Even though the majority of them had no unique personalities or anything special about them to make you care, the characters reacted appropriately towards the situations whether it is horrifying or a calm atmosphere. Since Another is a hit-and-miss anime, I suggest reading other (non-spoiler) reviews as well.
*Regardless of whether you liked Another or just dissatisfied with it altogether, watch Higurashi no Naku Koro ni if you haven’t already.
Since I have been on a horror anime binge lately, I may as well review the ever popular series "Another". This is a series that despite its popularity, is quite divisive in terms of critical rating. I will attempt to take a fair and objective look at it and separate the actual flaws from the popularity-backlash.
I'm going to get this out of the way early. The plot of Another isn't very good. Not only is it absurd in its premise and character actions, but it doesn't even feel creative or like it works within its own constructed world. The basic plot and mechanics that drive
the show are VERY clearly borrowed from the shitty Final Destination movies. Another doesn't even try to cover this up. It is amazing to me that the Newline Cinema hasn't tried to sue Another for plagiarism. A curse causes character after character to die from wildly unlikely "Rube Goldberg" deaths in which object A bumps into object B, causing object C to fall down and spring object D into the air, ultimately concluding in a piano being dropped on a character's head and crushing them in gory fashion. In defense of Another, many horror classics don't actually have very good plots. Was "Nightmare on Elmstreet" a literary masterpiece? Hell No! Another can take refuge in the fact that it is clearly a horror series and horror is about generating scares regardless of logic or realism. A drama play like the works of Tennessee Williams should have a strong level of realism and complex characters, but a horror is unbound by such constraints and Another's shitty plot is therefore excusable.
Another has been criticized as one of those mystery series that "cheats" ,so not enough is revealed to the audience in order to give them a fair chance of solving the mystery in its entirety. I will say that this is a fair criticism, for Another does indeed cheat in that regard. However, that doesn't automatically make it bad. Many of the great mystery novels including the many short stories and novels of Sherlock Holmes refuse to play fair and withhold vital information from the audience. Yet the characters, prose, and enjoyability of the plot made that flaw forgivable. Keep in mind that I'm NOT trying to compare the quality of Another to Sherlock Holmes. I'm just saying that a mystery story refusing to play fair doesn't automatically make it bad and this criticism could be seen as a tad unfair towards Another.
One thing Another does well is that it actually DOES have a solid soundtrack that helps give it a creepy atmosphere. Unfortunately, the series often spoils this atmosphere with cheap jump scares, but unlike some other horror anime, Another does at times seem to sort of know what its doing. The art is also excellent! Both the character art, background art, and animation are the highlight of the series. I also love the sharp color contrast between the blood and everything else. Perhaps an homage to the cheesy, Hammer Horror films from the 1950s and 1960s? In summary, Another has a strong soundtrack, excellent animation, and at least SOMETIMES it tries to build appropriate horror atmosphere.
Another is a far cry from being a horror masterpiece that will scare the pants off you, but it isn't actually quite as bad as some critics make it out to be. Another actually DOES do some things right and although it has a weak plot and borrows far too much from Final Destination, it is a competently made series overall.
If I can sum up Another in one word it would be, "fun." (Of Course if you're into horror/Suspense/Thrillers) Another is a show that's not the best of it's kind, or not the greatest in it's execution but for what it's worth, nonetheless I had a GREAT time! There's was enough suspense at the end each episode that left me wanting more and even if I fully didn't understand what was going on, the events that were shown on screen were still highly enjoyable to watch!
The Story of Another is pretty simple enough; A class has a curse and the characters spend the series trying
to find ways to break it. What I thought the series done really well was to slowly provide small amounts of information on the curse as possible, building tension and leaving the viewers continually invested in the world that these characters were in. The atmosphere of the series was also a high point, showcasing sceneries that were downright creepy (I'm looking at you doll house/museum!) and enough suspense that demands you to marathon the entire series!
What lacks in Another however is the pacing and organization this series had. For the first two episodes we see a SLOW development in the plot. It's at the end of episode three where things start to pick up. Even still however, I found the series constantly slowing down for more dialogue heavy moments. I found this rather frustrating especially if it came after a drastic death scene. The plot can also be convoluted at times. Because of this it can be hard to follow the plot due to all the sudden back stories and similar names (Seriously, how many misakis are there?!?) Another point I have are the deaths themselves! To me personally, I found some of these natural occurring deaths to be too bizarre! None of the deaths had no purpose and they all seemed to be either too scripted, or too random that I actually found it comedic at times! Honestly, who didn't find that death hilarious when that guy was randomly crushed by a pillar in episode 11
The art of Another is a strong point of the series. Even though the animation can be considered standard fair of today's current gen anime, what differs the series is the detail put in each animation. what really stuck out to me was how well the dolls were drawn (Even if I despise them!) as well as how visually detailed and gruesome the death scenes looked. some deaths are certainly cringe worthy, especially to the lighthearted!
The Sound of Another is at times eerie, yet only adds to the mystery surrounding this whole entire series. I enjoyed the upbeat opening theme, which suits the tone of the gruesome and fast paced final third of the series. Another piece that stuck out was the piece titled, "The Mystery Of Yomi Yama" that played frequently throughout the series in different renditions.
What did not fit however, was the ending theme. It was a slow piece that might have fitted a drama better, but after a suspenseful episode, it was especially hard on the ears! I came to watch high school students get massacred, not Les Mis 2.0 Japanese Edition!
The Characters in Another are sadly the weakest part of this blood fest. Aside from lead female Misaki Mei, I found myself uninterested and not invested with the characters. This is also due to lack of Character development. We don't get to know much of anyone and therefore, it's hard to feel any sympathy when a character would die. Because of this, once I got to the ending, I was shocked, but not as surprised as I could have been, due to lack of interest in the characters. In turn, the characters are simply there to advance the plot or showcase the most intense ways of dying.
Don't mistake this anime for just "ANOTHER" cliched horror title (see what I did there?) xD. What you get is an interesting plot that's enjoyable as well as enough death scenes that can either make you gag, laugh or even make you say, "whhaaattt!!?!?!" It's definitely a fun watch and a big recommendation!
This is actually an updated ver of my review after watching the twelve ep of the series (already ended at that point, I guess). I thought I need to update it since I got different feeling from the first impression I had, and watching this show till the end just reducing my points.
The story is one of the most intriguing idea I ever know, and it fits perfectly as the backbone of a horror. So, at first it's just incredible. However, the routine deaths in the sense of Final Destination bored me. I lost the most of the creepiness feeling on the second half
of the series since the way it presents the horror moments is rather predictable and always repeating. The only surprising moment is just at the end episode when we got to know who the dead is (Thank god it is).
I simply love the art of this show (more than the manga). It really fits the atmosphere of the story.
Still AWESOME!, especially when I knew that ALI Project sang the opening. Well, one word of advice, pay attention to the opening scene, there are some 'small' noticeable scene which surprised me, and I love it.
Again, I really regretted that the secret of Misaki Mei revealed in rather early episodes. This was necessary for the story development though, but I still regretted it. I mean, the only character gives me creepiness is no one but her, and I just feel a big loss when her identity revealed.
The character development is just as predictable as any other horror story : Everyone will go mad. It doesn't matter though, since the way it shows on ep 12 is amazing even some are questionable, like why the hell the inn owner goes mad like the students?.
Well, In this part I cannot avoid spoiler, since the ones bugged my enjoyment mostly are the last two episodes.
I enjoy watching the show, even with all the predictability, however there are some questionable moments which disturb me. Firstly the death on the elevator. I just simply don't understand it since what I know is the elevator has a kind of automatic lock to prevent it from falling when an accident happen (it was what my science teacher told me).
The second is the most annoying part. On the last two episodes, there was fire set in a room inside the inn, and instead of running as quickly as possible, almost all characters (especially the mains) are just walking calmly as if nothing happened !. They even have chit-chat before evacuating ! (What the heck! a fire is under your feet !).
One more thing, this show ended rather calmly and very complete. It bugged me also, since what I always wish from this kind of show is a cliffhanger ending or an open ended one. This show gave me neither one.
This show was promising at first, another new breath after the slice-horror/thriller show like Mirai Nikki, but the repeating horror moments just cut off my admiration, and the last two episodes are just nonsense. Thankfully there was tension built up and the one who is dead is out of my prediction.
Recently I came to realize how much I like the horror genre, and why did I realize this? Well, a few scares are nice, and a good, gory bloodbath every so often can be enjoyable, yes, I just said that. However, the best about horror is that because it deals with the supernatural and the unreal, the horror genre encourages the creators to create worlds, that can put us on unease and expecting the unexpected, horror is best when it tries to unnerve us rather than scare us. Unfortunately Another missed the horror class.
The first sin of Another it’s the
unfortunate lack of subtlety. The early episodes feature many, many, many quick cuts to ugly doll faces, as if to say, “Aren't these dolls creepy? I bet you’re scared now, huh?!”, the only thing missing would probably be big red flashing signs “you should be scared now” . There’s nothing wrong with throwing subtlety out the window on occasion, but the world of Another simply isn't strange enough for those types of tricks to work.
Unfortunately the problems don’t stop there, once the mystery develops and students begin dying, Another begins to show how ridiculous it can be. Let me just be totally honest, the first death was putting it simply, ridiculously hilarious. It’s so convoluted and absurd that I dare say it’s impossible to take seriously. Subsequent deaths don’t reach that level of absurdity, but they never feel like they fit the story, I was half expecting Light Yagami to jump out of the bushes and say "Just as planned!". Another could easily be the result of merging Final Destination with animation, is just that ridiculous. The show was going for big shocks, but the death scenes call too much attention to themselves.
So, how are the characters? Well, every good horror show needs a great protagonist, Another gives us Kouichi Sakakibara. But don’t worry, Kouichi isn't a stereotype - he doesn't have enough personality to be a stereotype in the first place. If you ordered a "Kouichi" from a pizzeria they would send you a pizza base. That all said about him, how about the supporting cast? Well...More than being the equivalent of little pigs going to the slaughterhouse, none of them will matter in the least, you won’t have the time or the reasons to get attached to either of them and they aren't in the least bit empathetic or relatable. Thankfully there’s one character that stands out, not because its good, but because isn’t half bad either, Misaki Mei gets some exposure, even if in small bits, but other than that acting distant and mysterious (Rei Ayanami would be so proud…) she doesn't do much, apart from providing the plot with some unexplained “power”, going deeper into this subject would involve spoilers so let me stop right here.
Also worth mentioning, P.A. Works did a fantastic job with the animation and art, well, most of time, while everything from character art to background was great, the fire animation present on the last episodes of the show, seems taken from a PlayStation 2 game.
Sound is very important to the atmosphere of a horror show, so starting from the opening performed by ALI PROJECT, to the ending performed by Annabel, all I can say it’s that it was rather, disappointing, ALI PROJECT performed perhaps their worst song, and the gothic tone didn’t seem to find place in the opening, as for the ending, while not bad, all I can say it’s that is average, sounded nice though. But, how did the soundtrack fare? Well, it’s a bit hard to say, there was a track that matched each situation, but nothing noteworthy, also average to say the least, the anime achieved to provide the unease feel more without the soundtrack than with it.
So most importantly, how was the mystery? Well is rather decent for the most part. There is some actual interest in finding out why all the” craziness” is happening, and the twist at the end isn’t half bad. The problem is there’s far too much padding. Stupid teenagers are a natural cliché of the horror genre, and Another takes that cue and runs along with it. Any useful information is hidden for stupid reasons. Technology fails at convenient times. When information is learned, someone comes and screws things up. This formula repeats until exhaustion. Taken alone these don’t break the entire experience, but when lumped together to prolong the mystery, all these annoying elements end up damaging any tension built.
Another has the foundation to be interesting, but shaky execution holds it back. It’s not subtle enough to be creepy, nor is it competent enough to be a compelling mystery. It’s too bad that these plot problems waste another strong visual effort from P.A. Works. But there’s still some enjoyment you can manage to extract from this anime, if you like gore, there’s certainly some “fun” to be had, even if there’s nothing to back it up.
I guess in the end Another ends up being just “another” anime, no pun intended.
[TL;DR: Very well made mystery/horror adaptation, intriguing (and FINISHED) story, interesting characters and pretty art style. Little short, but high on tension and great storytelling/pacing. Some people might be turned off by the nicely detailed gore, but it IS a horror anime, so viewer discretion is advised. Discount a few plot-holes and questionable decisions of some characters, I highly recommend it to all horror/mystery enthusiasts.]
Another was a genuinely pleasant surprise. I saw very mixed reviews of this series around, but as I later found out, the more negative ones were mostly because of the amount of gore. Yes, disclaimer, there are some pretty graphic scenes
in this anime, and I mean "pretty" in more ways than one. But first, let's start with the story.
It's very hard to review any series in the mystery/horror genre without spoiling anything. Even the short description on the MAL page spoils a fairly important plot point that only gets revealed 2-3 episodes in. But regardless of that, I can only say the Japanese are the masters of the mistery/thriller/horror genre for a good reason, and Another is a nice proof of that. Even modern Japanese culture is still teeming with mysteries of the old, ancient spirits, demons and all sorts of religious, spiritual and superstitious beliefs. The supernatural business is going strong, not to mention a plethora or urban legends and ghost stories. "Another" follows Sakakibara Kouichi, a faily generic teenage boy, who transfers to a new middle-school on the countryside, but from the very beginning he starts to suspect there is something weird going on. Students acting strange, whispers behind his back, and fairly normal questions they outright refuse to answer. Soon he'll realize, there is a dark secret behind Class 3-3, stretching back many decades...
For starters, the story is excellent! It's one of those urban legend mysteries most of you might've heard while growing up, about the "haunted house down the road" or the "cursed broom closet" or something like that. Another's mystery revolves around Class 3-3 and the people connected to it, which is not very grandiose in scope, but the story is VERY intricate, suspenseful and full of twists and turns revealed slowly during the course of the anime. I have to commend the storytelling for the excellent pacing, which is a must for this genre and it's executed perfectly here. Revealing too much would confuse the audience and revealing too little would make it boring to watch, but Another's pacing is right on the dot, and keeps the interest and tension up until the very end. It is a little cliché-ish, that most of the slow release of story comes from the other characters' fervent reluctance to tell anything to the protagonist, which, in turn, is the cause of many of the bad things that happen later, but at least their reasons for it are explained in context, which is nice. Also, the storytelling is mostly organic and flowing, the creators didn't resort to shortcuts much, like flat out droll exposition or monologues, which is very commendable.
The other great thing about Another is the art style and direction. For one, everything is VERY dark, ominous and very high-contrast, which was a little off-putting in the beginning, if even for the sole reason of not being able to see much of anything in a few scenes, but it did grow on me as the episodes passed. It looks like the sun never shines in Yomiyama, because the lighting and colors suggest there is eternal overcast above the town, not to mention the rain and stormy weather, but if you discount the weirdness of it, it adds to the dreary atmosphere The whole art style looks great and has a huge attention to detail, like showing off the old, run-down school building, down to small details, like cracked walls, dusty hallways and rust on the railings which is true to all the other locations in the anime. Some shots are incredibly photo-realistic, which makes me wonder if those have been traced from photos or heavily stylized video footage. In any case, the anime looks really good, and makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
Now, let's tackle the gore. Yes, there are some very horrific and bloody scenes in the series, and sadly/thankfully (depending on your disposition) the attention to detail and the intensity is very high in this case too. People die in some of the most gruesome/ridiculous ways imaginable, and you get to experience it in sickeningly high detail. I'm a closet horror fan, I grew up on horror/slasher movies (Cannibal Holocaust, Braindead, etc), and I also watched a ton of bloody anime, so I'm pretty much unfazed by gore in most it's forms, but even so, some of the scenes in Another sent a chill up my spine, which is a rare thing and I'm thankful for the experience. There are not too much of it (mostly towards the end of the series), however, I can imagine some people with less hardened stomachs would be pretty shocked/disgusted by the intensity of said scenes. So, if you are squeamish or can't stand blood, steer clear of this anime for your own good. I have to commend the creators, though, since the gore is never self-serving or included only for the shock value, but it always serves to accentuate the story in many ways. It gets a little shaky and show-off-y by the end, but I can forgive a little self-satisfying bloodfest if the rest of the series is this good.
If I have some complaint about Another, it has to do with the characters. Most of them are well written and fleshed out, but their reactions to certain situations in the anime is downright confusing and weird. When you realize, that most (if not all) of the horrific things in the series could've been avoided if only people would just talk to each other more, then the story loses a bit of credibility. When the mystery involves not one, but an entire group of people, it seems silly and VERY counter productive not to have all the cards on the table, especially when lives hang in the balance. While these sorts of stubborn secret keeping and lies lead to fun hijinks and misunderstandings in rom-com anime, in a mystery/horror series it usually leads to more, otherwise avoidable, death and suffering. Which is kind of the point, I know, but I can't help but feel a little reluctant about his.
In closing, all I can say is, Another was a really pleasant surprise. It has a few shortcomings, small plot-holes and questionable character reactions, but aside from that, it's very suspenseful and thrilling series, with great art direction and well made story. It has a few very jarring (and detailed) gore scenes, but it IS a horror anime, so these kinds of things are to be expected. If you are a horror/mystery fan, I recommend Another wholeheartedly.
One of the few animes I've seen that isn't entirely predictable, it's one of those animes that you want to keep watching after each episode. I've never been a fan of most long-running anime series that have 100+ episodes, with exception; because a lot of it tends to be filler and if the writers haven't told the story they set out to, they're rehashing old things or cooking up inferior ones.
I love that Another has only 12 episodes and I love that the beginning of the anime was written in mind with its end. It's not an anime that needs to keep coming up with
new stuff to drag out another season. The writing is strong and the mystery is engaging right up until the end. Historically, I have not been impressed by many endings, but the ultimate climax and payoff in this one is completely worth it.