In 1972, a popular student in Yomiyama North Middle School's class 3-3 named Misaki passed away during the school year. Since then, the town of Yomiyama has been shrouded by a fearful atmosphere, from the dark secrets hidden deep within.
Twenty-six years later, 15-year-old Kouichi Sakakibara transfers into class 3-3 of Yomiyama North and soon after discovers that a strange, gloomy mood seems to hang over all the students. He also finds himself drawn to the mysterious, eyepatch-wearing student Mei Misaki; however, the rest of the class and the teachers seem to treat her like she doesn't exist. Paying no heed to warnings from everyone including Mei herself, Kouichi begins to get closer not only to her, but also to the truth behind the gruesome phenomenon plaguing class 3-3 of Yomiyama North.
Another follows Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates as they are pulled into the enigma surrounding a series of inevitable, tragic events—but unraveling the horror of Yomiyama may just cost them the ultimate price.
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.
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