Another centers around a "calamity" that occurs some years in the town of Yomiyama. This calamity affects the students in class 3-3 of Yomiyama North High School, slowly killing off students and their relatives through a variety of means. The main character--a transfer student named Kouichi Sakakibara--and his classmates must figure out how to stop this before most or all of them are killed.
While generally considered to be a "horror" anime, I can't say that Another ever actually frightened me. That's not to say the story isn't excellent. The elements of mystery, such as finding out how this calamity is caused and how to stop it, drive the plot forward. I was also able to derive a certain morbid pleasure from the many, many gruesome deaths that occur throughout the series. The writers make superb use of cliffhangers in several episodes and successfully keep the tension running right until the end.
This is one of the few shows I think works well in a 12-episode format. If it was expanded to 24 or 26 episodes, I think either: A.) the writers would have run out of students to kill or B.) the suspense would have been difficult to maintain. The conclusion wraps things up pretty well and even manages to provide a few twists.
The animation of Another is beautiful. Colors, as expected, are generally fairly dark. I in particular loved the use of rusty reds to draw out the color of the sky and buildings. Character designs are in realistic proportions, though the eyes are somewhat large compared to the face (but not by anime standards). Facial expressions show a great amount of detail.
I found no fault with the Japanese voice actors. Particularly near the latter half of the series, they express the panic of their characters well. The opening song by ALI PROJECT unfortunately kills the early tension in some of the episodes. It is good otherwise. The very calm ending song, Anamnesis, was not particularly entertaining to me. It is also worth mentioning that some cheesy creepy music is played during the preview of the next episode, but I found it endearing.
There are many characters in this anime, a large chunk of which fall prey to the calamity. Most of the minor characters are not explored in any detail. This is acceptable, I think, given the fact that they usually die shortly thereafter.
The main character, Kouichi Sakakibara, neither particularly intrigued nor irritated me. He served his purpose of wading through the events of the calamity well enough.
The mysterious Misaki Mei, reminiscent of none other than Rei from Evangelion, is loved by some fans of this anime. I did not particularly like her. Again, however, she serves her purpose.
Perhaps the best thing about all of the characters is the way they slowly crack under the weight of the calamity. Seeing them squirm and finally go insane is entertaining.
Another is one of the best anime that I've watched in quite some time. While it may not terrify you, it is suspenseful and entertaining for the entire 12 episodes. Highly recommended.