Something wicked is haunting classroom the local junior high school. And it’s killing off the students in classroom 3-3 one by one. Transfer student Kouichi Sakakibara makes it his goal to figure out what's going on and what all this has to do with the mysterious Misaki Mei.
Much more would spoil the story that Another tries to tell through a combination of plot twists and everyone juggling the Idiot Ball.
The problem with Another's big plot point is, in part, that it gives mention of this plot point just once. A basic tenet of story-telling is that if something is important, you highlight it. You bring it to the reader/viewer's attention. That isn't to say that you hit them over the head with it until they’re bleeding from the ears, but that you provide a precedent for it becoming important later in the story.
Another has trouble with this. It wants to make dolls important to the plot. It shows you a bunch of still shots of them. We get a scene of Mei bringing a doll to her deceased "other half". Then we move onwards to Mei living in a doll museum, followed by a revelation about her eyepatch. Great, we've set up a basis for the doll motif. Well done so far, no complaints here except that maybe it's a little heavy-handed. "DOLLS," Another declares. "WE HAVE DOLLS."
And then...Another forgets about it entirely. It says, "Okay, I think I'm done with this! Let's move on," and heads off in a completely different direction. "Let's find a tape! Let's kill people brutally! Aww yeah, blood!" And nothing about the dolls are important to the plot for the next half of the series until it's decided that a one-liner from six episodes ago is now the pivotal plot point that will pull everything together and save the day.
Ever wonder what it would look like if someone fell headfirst out of a window and landed on hard pavement? Ever look at an umbrella and wonder if you could conceivably stab someone with it? Ever thought about what would happen if an elevator fell several stories while people were riding in it?
Never fear, gentle viewer, Another has all these gruesome deaths and more, rendered in loving detail for your viewing pleasure. Never again shall you wonder.
Beyond the various death scenes, Another’s animation is of high quality. There aren’t many moments where things look disproportionate or lazily animated. Another doesn’t take many chances with its scenery or character designs, but each character design provides them with their own immediately recognizable features, from Izumi’s pigtails to Yuuya’s big, doey eyes.
Please stop giving ALI PROJECT work. I’ve never heard an anime theme song by them that wasn’t the same dreary chords in various eighth-note configurations all slimed over with an operatic attempt at vocals.
ALI PROJECT aside, the voice actors for Another are a varied and fairly talented bunch. Since the characters’ performances run the gamut from quiet whispering to homicidal shrieking, it’s important that a good VA have the ability and the range to properly convey these variations. And for the most part, they do. Misaki’s voice actress is the only one whose potential is never fully explored, as she speaks primarily in a bored monotone, regardless of what may or may not be going on around her.
Get ready to take bets on when and how each character dies. Another has a lot of characters, and any and all are fair game for the chopping block.
Another’s main story is centered around Kouichi Sakakibara (Keichi Maebara Lite, for you Higurashi fans) and Misaki Mei (a cross between Rei Ayanami and the ghost girl from The Ring), and, well, they’re just…there.
Despite its large cast and the considerable effort put into making them each well-defined visually, there’s not much in the way of character growth. No one changes or comes out of the story a different person than when they came in (apart from the fact that some of them are dead). Even the most important characters are merely there to move the plot forward, and outside of Another’s supernatural mystery, none of them would really shine on their own.
Another had potential. An interesting premise, good animation, and decent vocals can be the saving grace for a series with lackluster characters. Unfortunately, the plot falls apart halfway through and never really manages to patch itself back together, and neither the animation nor the sound are enough to carry Another for its entire twelve episodes.
Get some alcohol and some pals, and play a drinking game while you watch Another. It’s the best way to keep things interesting. Also, you’ll be drunk and maybe the inconsistencies won’t hurt so much.