Review of Another

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Another is a twelve episode anime series based on a novel penned by Japanese author Yukito Ayatsuji. The series has been available to buy in the UK since November 2013 via a two disc DVD set courtesy of anime distributor MVM. British animation fans, with a thing for horror and mystery, can purchase the collection from Amazon for around twenty quid. Alternatively, if you are the patient type, you can wait to see if it appears on MVM’s deal of the week, were a random title in their catalogue is temporarily put on sale for a mere tenner.

The series stars transfer student Kouichi Sakakibara who is forced to move from Tokyo to his grandparent’s home in Yomiyama after his pop gets a job abroad in India. Unfortunately for the show’s protagonist, after enrolling at Yomi High School, he gets placed in Class 3 that happens to be afflicted with a deadly curse. Twenty-six years ago one of Class 3’s students passed away and to honour their memory his classmates decided to pretend that said student was still alive, even leaving his desk and chair reserved. The whole situation is pretty bizarre, if you ask me, but what is really creepy is that when the class’ end of year graduation photo was taken the deceased student can clearly be seen posing in the background.

Why this photographic evidence that the afterlife exists doesn’t make news headlines across the globe is beyond me, but that’s not important. Ever since that day future students of Class 3, and their immediate family, have been known to suffer from an unusually high mortality rate. Given that this is public knowledge I’m not sure why anyone dares attend that particular school. Perhaps the institution is renowned for having a stellar cafeteria no one can resist. I hear the meatloaf they serve at lunchtime is to die for (no pun intended.)

Anyway, during his first day at school Kouichi is pleased to learn that Mei Misaki is in his class. Kouichi first met the eye patch-wearing girl during his stay at hospital where he was on the mend after suffering a collapsed lung (perhaps she took his breath away as he has a fetish for pale ladies who clutch creepy dolls.) What’s strange however is that no one else in his class can see Mei, who sits at a decrepit desk at the back of the classroom, or even acknowledges her existence. What is going on? Do we have a case of a phantom turning up to school to learn calculus? Come to think of it Kouichi’s inaugural conversation with Mei did occur outside the hospital morgue. Right on cue one of Class 3’s students dies in a most horrific manner. As it turns out she will be the first of many. Is this all just a twisted coincidence or has the fabled curse resurfaced?

Commenting on Another is a difficult task as it is one of those shows you cannot describe without giving away major spoilers. With that in mind I’ll just say I enjoyed it and am giving it a rating of four stars. The art style and chilling kills remind me a little of Elfen Lied, although the two shows are nothing alike in terms of tone. Elfen Lied shocked audiences visually with gore and mentally with disturbing subject matter. Another is much more slow paced and dialogue heavy. At its core it is a mystery tale although the case the cast are trying to decipher is how to lift a supernatural curse as opposed to who committed a crime.

Overall I enjoyed seeing how the relationship between Kouichi and Mei grew from episode to episode. Sadly a lot of the supporting cast aren’t as well fleshed out, partially as many of them are doomed to perish before being given ample time to develop. My only real complaint with the series is that in order for the whole thing to work the viewer is expected to make a few leaps in logic. Supernatural forces conveniently erase evidence that would unravel the mystery and inexplicably some characters choose to keep vital information to themselves, when in the interest of their survival you would expect them to be more forthright with their classmates. Those quibbles didn’t bug me too much though and I suspect if I give the show “another” go I’ll enjoy it even more as I’ll pick up on subtle hints I missed during the first viewing.

12 thoughts on “Review of Another

  1. I’m about the same. Another has such a terrific atmosphere. It’s dark and very pretty. I do agree there was some unrealistic behaviors amongst the supporting cast. A lot of people dismiss the show as a simple “Final Destination” knock off, but I think the visual quality and the character design make it better than that!

    • I enjoyed this anime much more than Final Destination due to the creepy ambiance. Yeah, some of the characters act unrealistically but I suppose that is a fault many horrors suffer from.

  2. I kinda liked this show and recommended this to some of my friends. What kept me interested was the various ways the students were going to die one by one, because it was obvious it was going to that direction, until the main characters are the only ones left. Overall, it was visually pleasing and engaging, but somehow disturbing. The fact that I enjoyed this show disturbs me a little bit, too.

    • Don’t feel too guilty. We all have a dark side, which explains why gory movies are popular,Like you, when watching this series, I was morbidly curious about how the characters would perish. Some of the deaths were quite inventive.

  3. Hello The Otaku Judge,

    Recently I thought of this anime as one of the many things that I have seen that I need to make a post about one day even though there is a lot I do not remember, and so I am glad that you have a review of it.

    I saw this anime several years ago after my brother GC shared it with me, I only remember bits and pieces, but I believe that I kind of liked it as well; and I am glad that you pointed out some of the issues with this show.

    I think that I watched this anime and Future Diary near the same time thanks to my brother GC, and so when I remember one of these I usually think of the other.

    Thank you for sharing your review,
    -John Jr

    • I watched this show so long ago that my memory of it is hazy too. Should you revisit the series some day I look forward to reading your review of it. Future Diary and Another is quite a bloody double bill haha. Out of those two shows I liked Future Diary more.

      • Hello The Otaku Judge,

        I probably will not get to watch them again but I hope to still do a post on them one day, thank you.

        I can not remember, but I think that I probably liked Future Diary more as well.

        Speaking of things seen long ago I recently made a post about an anime that I first watched back in maybe 2005 that I did not see on your blog called Wonderful Days (Sky Blue), and I was curious if you have ever seen that South Korean animated / anime movie before?

        Another anime that is very blurry that crossed my mind that I saw once back in maybe 2003 is Serial Experiments Lain (which I still need to make a post about one day even though I remember even less of it than I do Wonderful Days).

        -John Jr

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