During the spring of 1998 in the town of Yomiyama, Kouichi Sakakibara is supposed to start classes at a new school. Unfortunately, he is stuck in the hospital due to a collapsed lung. When he is wandering the hospital, he meets a dark-haired girl named Mei Misaki wearing his new school's uniform—an innocent chance encounter that will have more repercussions than he knows.
When Sakakibara is finally able to attend classes at Yomiyama North Middle School, he notices his classmates treat Misaki as if she doesn't exist. He tries to uncover the mystery around her, but his classmates' behavior only gets stranger. And when fellow students in Class 3-3 inexplicably begin dying horrible deaths, Sakakibara begins to question a link between Misaki and the rising body count.
The premise of this curse in this class is that there was a kid, 26 year prior to the story, who was well loved, athletic, smart, and all that wonderful stuff. However, he met an untimely end – but because of how shocking it was and how much they didn’t want to believe it, the class refused to believe his death. So much so, they believed that he was part of the class still. And yet, when the graduation photo was taken and developed, the kid, Misaki, showed up on the picture.
Ever since then, there is an “extra” person
in the class that doesn’t belong. Then the disasters started.
Now, I will say that I have seen the anime version of this when it came out. I have less than savory views of the anime but I decided to pick up the manga now that I had forgotten the plot points and the major parts. There were plenty of questions I had about the series as a whole and I managed to pick up the manga for it finally.
The manga really is a lot better than the anime version. From what I understand, this series was originally a novel that just got adapted into anime and manga for a wider audience. I vastly prefer the manga to the anime, for sure.
The manga answers my question about how the deaths occur and when it does. It’s important to say that because, at first, Mei is purposefully ignored (something that everyone did in order to prevent the disasters from starting) and Sakakibara was not told about it when they should have. The kids dropped the ball on this one. It’s also important to note that the hints on who the another (or “casualty” to avoid grammar issues, I’m assuming) are way more subtle and the deaths that are shown are not as gruesome, or ridiculous, as it was in the anime.
Now, for the actual content – I really do like the concept. I really do like that they were not purposefully ignoring Mei because they were bullies – they did it because it was a tactic to avoid more deaths. However, because they dropped the ball in not telling Sakakibara about what’s going on – they start blaming him for it. I like that one of the characters survived while she tragically, and stupidly, died in the anime because it wouldn’t have made sense – especially in the grand scheme of things. There also weren’t as many deaths as I thought there was going to be.
Each death was treated with respect and with the appropriate shock that it deserves, especially in a series about death and how much it can affect not just one class, but possibly a whole town.
The manga version answers a lot more questions and goes into a lot more detail into the curse, its doing, and some ways to prevent the disasters from happening. Everything is much more laid out and it’s a lot easier to follow.
It doesn’t help that Kiyohara Hiro has finally put his skills into something really good – I was actually not surprised he did this story’s art because this seems to be something right up his alley in terms of horror and psychological. His art really drove home how horrifying the situation is.
And yeah, it’s still kind of stupid to bring in the fact that Mei could see “the color of death” when it was almost finished. I guess there wouldn’t be any better time to do it, especially since she also explained the connection between the girl who died and herself. It’s something I won’t hold it against the series since there are other things to be concerned about.
I really liked that there were characters who were human and not just anime characters who are either completely perfect or so flawed that nothing good could be said. They made mistakes, they fucked up badly, sometimes they do stupid things and sometimes they make really good decisions with their lives. With Akazawa, I can understand why she felt the way she did. She didn’t really seem to be a main character anyway like the anime made her out to be. However, she’s still a really powerful character. Her best friend was the second casualty. Her brother committed suicide. These are horrible, horrible things that she’s willing to try to fix before someone else she loves and cares about dies.
That is a real human being right there. They didn’t glorify nor damn it and I want to believe that Mei forgave her for trying to kill her, or at least, for poking her eye out.
If I had to pick a favorite character, it would have to be Mei. I understand her on so many levels. She’s not trying to be gloomy – she’s just trying to deal with what the world offers her. She came from, not really a broken home, but something that wasn’t right. Her mother does care for her, but Mei feels that it’s only because she’s her “doll”, since her mother actually makes ball jointed dolls in the series.
As for the anime version, it makes me even angrier that they took something as mysterious and as good as this and turned into yet another gore fest. This had a lot more charm and a lot more sadness than what the anime showed. There were a lot of funny moments in the manga sure (after all, while it’s understandable it’d be hard to cope in that situation, you really gotta try to at least live a little) but it didn’t derail the story as some others tend to.
I do have to say it’s really bittersweet and interesting to note that while Reiko was the casualty, she must have known that Sakakibara was coming back. Maybe not intentionally to see her but… for the fact she died before she saw him and for him to keep his memories, maybe she came back just to see him one last time. It’s understandable that, in the end, he still had to re-kill her in order to prevent any more disasters from happening that year. It’s understandable he feels incredible guilt for doing so. However, if he hadn’t, he probably wouldn’t be able to let go of his mother – who had died 15 years ago.
It’s frustrating for me that I saw the wretched anime first before I read this. I wish I had read this first. Instead, though, I’ll read it with better understanding and hope that one day, the casualty of class 3 will eventually rest.
Another was something new for me. I've never read or watched any horror manga or anime before, so... well, I was prepared to be terrified. I switched to the manga as the safer option--after nearly wetting myself watching the first two episodes of the anime--and it definitely lived up to that. Another wasn't scary. At all.
It started out quite interesting. I was curious to know what was going on, and it did keep me guessing all the way through--whether this was in a good way or not, I'm not entirely sure. In volume two a lot is explained... but badly. Conversations are disjointed and hard
to follow, with topics being changed suddenly and points apparently missed out. Bizarrely, all the characters seem to understand these conversations. Different terms for the same thing were used in a way that made me think they were different, before later realising that they were all synonymous. (To save you a lot of confusion later: "the extra one", "the other one" and "the dead one" all seem to be the same thing. No problem.) It might just have been that I was reading a bad translation, but the tenses were also pretty weird. Even after reading this explanation three times, and finishing the series, I'm still not one hundred percent on what the problem actually was, or their apparent solution for it.
Because of that, volume two was a low for me--however, volume one and four were a high. There is a massive plot twist around the end that I can guarantee you will not see coming. (It scared me, anyway.) It was a mystery that I wanted to see the end of, but I'm not sure if the confusion around the middle is worth it. There are also a few mysteries or points that were never explained by the end, which might not bother you unless you're picky about this sort of thing, but really gets at me. (What was their problem with Kouichi's name? And why was all this actually happening? Eh?)
The characters weren't anything particularly special. The only thing that's surprising is that there's no romance, which is somewhat refreshing--we've all seen romance between characters like this before, but in Another there's only friendship. If you were expecting a romance to develop, well, tough luck. Kouichi is likeable, but nothing really interesting and especially nothing new, and Mei's your stereotypical mysterious female. She might have a backstory, but that doesn't really fix the fact that her personality is a cardboard cut out. The secondary characters aren't memorable at all, which means the deaths don't really result in much emotional response. I couldn't remember half of their names (they all sound really similar to me), and then they die. "Oh. Who was that person again?" That's what it was like. There's only one, maybe two, deaths that I cared about in this, and a lot more people die.
One other thing that keeps grating at me is how everyone seems to keep unnecessary secrets from Kouichi. It did create suspense (and pure irritation), but when it's over you can't help thinking that half their issues could have been solved if they just told him about them in the first place. When I look at it like that, it only seems like they were secretive so the story would exist, which is a pretty poor excuse.
Putting all that aside, I'll admit that it was pretty good, and it built up right to a climax. There are some pretty hardcore moments of psychological messing in this (if that makes any sense) which were very enjoyable, at least for me. The best thing about this series would be the art: I love it. It's just really pretty--the character design, at least.
Overall, if you don't mind a bit of confusion or lack of explanations, and are looking for a supernatural mystery story: go for it. However, if you want to be terrified by serious darkness and gore, I'd go somewhere else. Another isn't scary. Having finished the anime now, I can confirm that it's about a billion times better. Unlike the manga, the intricacies of the plot are well explained and it's actually terrifying. (The amazing soundtrack and the creepy shots of dolls that pop up everywhere probably contribute.) Aside from a bizarre beach scene that was added for no reason that I can see, even when new scenes are added that weren't in the manga, they just add to it and make it better. If you're coming from the anime and wondering if this is worth the read... I guess it depends how much you liked Another for the plot. If it was for the gore and horror elements, then you'll probably be disappointed.
The only reason that I read this is because people have been saying that this is very different from the anime version. After reading it, I have to agree with it. Now I'll try not to get into too much spoilers of both the anime and manga versions, but I'll mention the ones that I felt stood out the most in the difference between the two.
Story 8/10: The story in this is very good and very original (to my knowledge at this time). It is about a curse that has occurred 26 years before the main story takes place. It being
a curse it doesn't give misfortune in a person’s life (by misfortune I mean a terribly life), it just kills them. The author, Yukito Ayatsuji, does a fantastic job on giving suspense and great plot twists. However, since I saw and read “Another” I would have to prefer the anime. Only until the summer camp trip arc, it is at the very end of both. Only that arc, why isn't because it is somewhat happier but it makes a lot more sense. And by happier I mean better closure for most of the characters.
Art 7/10: This I had a little bit of a hard time because the character designs seem a bit off, but I didn't know if I should put that under the character category or this. I decide to go with character. The reason I gave this a 7 was because the some of the scenes didn't seem right. There is this one picture that says "slow movement" it doesn't need to spell it out for us, if it has no action or tragically is happening it would seem unnecessary to me. It was just explaining the curse; it doesn't need hand moving slowly.
Character 6/10: This is where the difference between the anime and manga is seen. Aside from the two main characters, Mei Misaki and Kouich Sakaibara, every character is different. They act different; they have different roles, and have a different look. An example of this is Tatsuji Chibiki the school librarian (There are a lot of others, but with him I felt like it was less of a spoiler). In the anime he is an old man with long hair and has a lot of wrinkles on his face. He is also a very serious man about the curse and other than that little is known about him. In the manga version he is an old man with short hair and has a few more wrinkles. He is also very serious about the curse but also has a passion for cooking. There isn't as much character development done here as in the anime but I do like the endings a bit better than the anime's version, expect for Tomohiko Kazami. Only cause I liked him in the anime version a bit better and his ending.
Enjoyment 9/10: Despite the difference it is still a good read. It'll keep you guessing till the end. It is 20 chapters long, some really vary in number of pages, but a quick read.
Overall 8/10: I do like how this ends better than the anime, but the lead up to the ending that is where the anime really shines. Which to start off with first, that is a coin flip question. But I would recommend this to anyone that would want a good short suspenseful story.
Another is a strange thing to try and describe. So, I'll start with my initial reaction to the series. The first chapter is really interesting, it immediately makes you interested in Mei and gets at least a little attached to Kouichi and makes you wonder about the town and the school.
Sadly, this is the high point. As the series goes on they just talk about the mystery surrounding the incident of the town and all the deaths, they never reveal anything about it. And the deaths, oh the deaths. If you've watched any of the Final Destination movies you are familiar with these deaths.
Ridiculous things, like accidentally falling down stairs and impaling yourself on an umbrella. Which is a little more than jarring in a series that had taken itself seriously before that and continues to take itself seriously after that. The deaths aren't only ridiculous, they're almost boring, the characters that die are characters you don't care about and that have barely been introduced.
The characters are another down point. Mei starts out very interesting and seems to have a lot of story worth unraveling but as the story progresses Mei will sometimes just act like a normal girl then bounce back to being 'mysterious' and 'creepy.' It undermines any effect the first few chapters had. Kouichi is...bland. There's not much to say about him, besides his mother and his heart condition (which is quickly forgotten after the first chapter or two) he's just an average high school student.
The thing is, I really want to like this series, the first couple chapters were ominous and intriguing but everything afterwards is more of a let-down.
Part ghost story, part mystery, Another follows an unlucky group of students who must contend with a curse that's taking their lives one by one. What is the curse? How did it begin? Is there any way to stop it? Keep reading to find out!