26 years ago, something terrible happened in a middle school’s third year classroom. A popular, talented student named Misaki suddenly died, and the ramifications of that incident have caused each third year class since then to live in fear. It is now 1998, and Kouichi Sakakibara has just transferred into the notorious classroom, curious about the mysterious secret that his peers are hiding from him. He’s drawn to one enigmatic girl named Mei Misaki, a quiet student who wears an eye patch and warns him about getting involved with her, and continues to seek her out against the pleas of his classmates. And that’s when people begin to violently die...
Another, is an anime faithfully based on a novel written by Yukito Ayatsuji. Available in both English and Japanese, is felt more of a mystery than a horror, yet with some horror aspects, I found this anime to be the best audio-visual 'horror' experience so far in life. Why do I think so? Animation/Sound The animation is modern and clear, as is to be expected. It doesn't have too much of a unique look, however there are no faults with it for the most part. The sound is pretty good, the exceptional music is used to set the mood and even the calm, seemingly positive outro music had an eerie feel after a while. The english dub does the job well. Story The most important aspect of this anime is the story. It is a mystery and a very well written one at that. The progression is complete, so it doesn't require a sequel, though it could be argued that there isn't a reason not to. What I enjoyed the most about the story was that it was unpredictable and reasonably so. There is a lot of foreshadowing, which most people won't notice when they first run through. The ending makes sense as there are clues all throughout which I mostly noticed in a second watch of the series. The synopsis can be found on the main page. Characters Characters were done very well, which may have been due to the fact that this was a novel. The main characters are followed throughout the anime and there is reason why these characters are more significant. It seemed like a few characters were cut short and weren't shown enough, but again it is to do with the story. I found it rather funny that this anime has a beach episide, however it is still to do with story and there is no aspect of ecchi in this anime. Conclusion I would recommend this anime to anyone, yes, anyone. I showed it to someone who was into horrors but not into anime and they thoroughly enjoyed it. If you do watch this anime do not look it up online, as there could be spoilers, for example on the wikipedia page for the novel. I recommend against a marathon as this anime is it its best when watched over a long period of time. It is mentally engaging to think and to try and solve the mystery in your head and speculate after each episode. If anything, watch the same episode twice on your first run and see if you notice certain things. Family-friendliness rating: 2/5 - No pervyness, but being a horror means certain things may be unsuitable for a younger audience (lower is better) Overall rating: 10/10 (higher is better)
This show is called Another, as in “another show with a loli ghost” since just half a year prior to it we had AnoHana (aka We still don’t know how to write the full name of that show). The thing which I didn’t like there was how the ghost was all fluff and hardly haunting (as ghosts are supposed to be). So here comes this show to try to portrait a more rewarding and actual ghost story. Actual, as in horror and mystery and not GODDAMN MOE FLUFF! My impressions though are not any more positive because it is not creepy or scary at all.The animation is done by P.A. Works, a studio famous for its high production values (True Tears, Angel Beats, Hanasaku Iroha). I personally don’t like any of their titles because they mostly aim to pamper the viewer with fancy visuals and moe fan service instead of just telling a well-presented story. Regardless, they are highly esteemed in the anime fandom and draw in people by the thousands, just because their shows look great. Shallow but true.The director is not promising either. Mizushima Tsutomu. has made some really funny low tier anime; some of which are Hare+Guu, Dokuro-chan, Punie-chan, and Squid Girl. You can see how he likes to make violent comical stories with little girls. For reasons unknown though, lately he decided to switch to horror and gore and his previous work was the total crapfest Blood-C anime. He is completely incapable of doing a proper horror/mystery show and instead of learning from that THEY GIVE HIM TO DIRECT ANOTHER ONE! Get the pun? Another. Why do they give horror/drama shows to a guy who is good only at making light comedies? Just to make “Another” travesty? He does a great job at that.SPECIFICSHere is a list to make you understand what a shitty work they did with this one.1) Overused generic school-ground and stock character figures are definitely not helping me to appreciate the show as something special. And yes, they are generic despite being well-drawn. They barely stand out from a hundred other school anime and thus you end up watching the same old tired style.2) For a show that is supposed to be horror, they barely tried. They just throw in over the top death scenes which border campy and comedy. They were trying of course to make it all cool with some creepy tunes and use of darkness but it hardly feels scary, or mysterious. In fact it mostly feels like cut scenes from a boring date sim. The characters just stand with emotionless faces and the camera zooms to their faces. This problem goes even further in most scenes which deliberately use creepy BGM even when there isn’t anything creepy going on in the plot. They just throw it there to keep you anxious or something but it otherwise is out of context with the plot. There are some nauseating cool scenes as well but, guess what, they all end up being fictional nightmares instead of something that actually happened in the story.3) Just look at the opening video; you hardly see anything besides the main two characters and a minimalistic background. That is not a way to build atmosphere; that is plain BOOORING! And the soundtrack is bad just for being made by Ali Project. That band is synonym to junk food music, generic and forgettable songs for mass consumption that are forgotten fast. Then they make a slight variation and they resell them all over again. I hate them and I feel they downgrade any show they are allowed to be part of. How are people even finding them to be good or creepy or anything other than tasteless?4) Mannerisms are terrible too. Just look at how everybody behaves. They hardly show emotions and just stand with their hands hanging. The characters don’t seem to have life in them at all. They talk without much emotion or act scared for a few seconds before they magically stop remembering why they were scared in the first place. They hardly have any body language that would make them adorable. To hell with the story, it never matters in any P.A. Works anime. It is always about the characters and as long as you like them, then everything is fine. In this case they all feel like lifeless stock material. Remember those generic rip-offs in Angel Beats? As unoriginal as they may have been, they were at least fun to watch. These here are BOOORING!5) They don’t make you care about them in the least; many of them are killed after just a few episodes without being fleshed out or you being given a reason to give a damn. As for those who are fleshed out? Awful!- The protagonist is once again a wuss who passively witnesses events happening with a complete blunt and lame demeanour. Sorry but I can’t identify with this blank sheet as so many otakus claim they can, as opposed to having a colourful and complicating personality. Once again I bring up the Angel Beats cast for being fun exactly because they were colourful. With this asshole I was just thinking “Do something you goddamn idiot; don’t just space out all the time!”- The co-protagonist is a total bitch that knows a lot but never says anything before it’s too late. For most of the show she is presented as a tragic figure who is blamed for things she didn’t do. She can prove her innocence by simply telling everyone the truth, but no, she just remains quiet and lets everybody being killed for nothing.“Oh, I knew who the dead person was since the very beginning but never thought it would be important to mention it. And when I found out it was important, I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”Yeah, ok, and for that a dozen people got brutally killed, you bitch. They were right to blame you since the very beginning.- All secondary characters are cute girls and pretty boys with the most basic and plain personalities imaginable, so you end up not caring at all. SOME VARIETY WOULDN’T KILL YOU! And it also looks like their mouths are crooked when they are facing sideways so they are not even cute anymore.6) The story runs purely on Idiot’s Plot. Things seem scary and dangerous only because all the characters are retards who don’t seem to do anything right. The plot is about a new transfer student (since we can’t have a school without transfer students because the planet will blow up from too much originality) who discovers that there is something off with that place. Basically you have an unseen supernatural killer nobody can find because they all have lizard-brains and unlike Angel Beats this is not supposed to be a joke. For a town where people get brutally killed by the dozens, they are all constantly PRETENDING EVERYTHING IS FINE! Hell man, a student gets killed every two days in the same school and they keep on going there like nothing happened. THEY HAVE NO LIFE IN THEM! They even go to the beach to have fun and offer us fan service instead of…. I don’t know; DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Like, bringing in an exorcist or stuffing themselves with garlic and crosses. They are literally not doing anything other than ignoring the horrible things that happen around them for over 30 YEARS! If they really were smart, this show would be over in ten seconds. Thus all characters are there as nothing but hollow plot devises, existing either as:- informants, to reveal stuff by talking instead of showing and always in a lifeless manner (they don’t care).- moeblobs, for the sake of looking moe.- cannon fodder for some really hilarious death scenes. Seriously, the only thing you impatiently expect from them (other than staring at them) is to see who is going to die horribly next.7) The script is one big mess as well. Who on earth would have some basic talent in storytelling and would start by revealing the backdrop story through a forced narration? It is the classic “show don’t tell” mistake all lazy stories never get right. The first three minutes feel like they have thrown at your face the main conflict of the series instead of gradually showing it through the plot. That is something you use in movies where you don’t have time to show it properly in just one and a half hour. You don’t do it in a damn 4-hour-total show. And even if you do it, what is the point of having it there when the characters repeat the exact same things in a later episode? It was obviously there just to waste time and ruin the mystery. And skip all that, there are many factual errors in it as well, such as the police not closing down the school because of the murders or someone in a whole damn town not doing the slightest thing to change the situation for over 30 YEARS!8) And speaking of waste, the plot moves terribly slow and even makes pointless circles and several resets just to stall time. It’s supposed to be doing that in order to make you feel uneasy but in reality it only manages to give you enough time to realize how idiotic the whole thing is. The actual progress is also nothing much as it only has to do with people revealing stuff by talking or just people dying. This is a show where we see cute characters talking and talking and talking apathetically, then someone gets killed, and then they get a bit scared for a few minutes before losing all their emotions again, and return to more talking and doing moe stuff like nothing of importance happened, until another one (pun) gets killed. There is absolutely no excitement; you are watching this for cute girls and handsome boys dying horribly; that’s it.9) The mystery is one pile of manure. Not only it doesn’t head anywhere for most of the show, but even when it finally does, it makes absolutely no sense at all.“There is this dead person you see, because of it people will be killed by a curse in this class unless you ignore it.”Excuse me? What if I don’t ignore it and I want to stop the killings?“Then people will die until you find out who he/she is.”This makes no sense. It should work the other way around; if you ignore it people die and if you do something people are saved.“Not in this show.”Well anyways, how hard can it be to find out? I will just look for a walking rotting corpse.“Oh no, it will look very much alive and well.”Ok then, I will look for any new people who came to class or people who got killed recently and are related to the class.“No, the person will have brainwashed you all to not remember if he/she is new or died recently.”What? This is bull shit!“And even if you find out who it is, you will forget it as soon as it goes away.”What nonsense is this? And how to I make it go away?“You kill it.”But it’s already dead.“It’s ok, you can kill it regardless.”How? Does it take some special ritual?“No, any conventional way to kill someone can work just fine on it.”What kind of a lame undead is this if it dies like everybody else?“Beats me.”So now I have to go ask people if they noticed something weird going on?“Yes, but most of them will be killed exactly before they reveal important information to you.”What?! Really? Will the dead person be killing them so they won’t reveal its identity?“No, it will be the same curse that kills people.”And will kill specifically the people who may know something and at the exact moment they are about to tell me?“Pretty much.”This is horse manure! So how the devil will I find out who it is then?“Easy, just wait until most suspects have been brutally murdered and that bitch that knows all along who it is will tell you.”What the…? Doesn’t that render useless the whole mystery detective aspect?“Pretty much.”It will be too late by then! Why doesn’t she just tell me now?“She doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.”Hurt my what??? If people are dying horribly all around me my feelings will be pretty much hurt already!“Doesn’t matter. Just ignore her in the meantime.”Why? Is she the dead person?“No, the students just randomly picked her to be the dead person they must ignore so people won’t die.”But that doesn’t work!“They do it anyway.”And she conveniently happens to be the only one who knows the truth?“Pretty much.”And if they think she is the one, why don’t they kill her?“They don’t know that killing her will work.”What do you mean they don’t know? It happens for so many years.“Yes but they forget it afterwards, remember?”If they forget it, how do they even know there is a curse around here?“Because people die in horrible accidents.”Well why don’t they just assume they were accidents, or aliens, or something other than a far-fetched excuse as a curse?“I don’t know. People die and thus it must be a curse.”So what began this curse in the first place?“I was probably made to forget that detail.”What a pile of shit! And no matter how many dead people you kill it doesn’t go away?“Never. But it’s around only since 30 years ago.”So why don’t they try to find a way to lift the damn thing?“They do. They kill the dead people.”BUT THAT DOESN’T SOLVE ANYTHING!“They do it anyway. It’s not like they have another choice.”Of course they have; you said the curse only affects the students of a class.“Yes, it only affects class 3-3.”So why don’t they cancel that class? Why don’t they cram the students to classes up to 3-2 or at least skip a number and just jump to class 3-4? This way the curse won’t affect them. Right?“That is not possible.”Why not?“Because we can’t have a show full of gore and death if the solution is so simple and obvious.”What kind of meta-thinking is that? So what do they do eventually? Find out that killing the dead person will stop the curse?“Yes. At that point they all turn to maniacs and kill each other.”What??? Based on what?“They randomly accuse people of being the dead person and kill it.”They just start killing each other instead of just transferring to the class next to them?“Correct.”This is beyond pathetic you know.“Correct.”And how do they even know they were right or wrong in their choice of someone being the dead person?“Simple. If others remember the person they killed, then they made a mistake. If they don’t, then they were right.”So if you are wrong, everybody will know you just killed someone for no reason; but if you are right, nobody will remember you saved them all.“Pretty much.”THIS IS BULL SHIT!“Pretty much.”AND YOU FORGET EVERYTHING AFTERWARDS SO WHAT’S THE POINT?“I don’t know; it is as it is.”I am left speechless with all this crap. Who the hell is responsible for writing this shitty mess?“I will tell you. It was KFTJTZT!”What happened?“The curse made the name incomprehensible.”OH COME ON!“Sorry, I can’t say his name. Everything else I say is ok but his name will come out muffled.”What if you write it down? Will it magically turn to gibberish?“I don’t think it will. Let me try.”Finally, we will now find out who it was.(out of nowhere a piano drops from the sky and crushes him to death)SCREW YOU SCRIPTWRITER!It is hilarious how most of the key characters were killed or were prevented from talking EXACTLY when they were about to reveal new information. This is done just for making sure the mystery will go on for as much as the scriptwriter wants by simply halting its revelation through killing anyone who may know something. That is tasteless and eventually ridiculous. Plus, after awhile this doesn’t happen anymore because the scriptwriter is running out of episodes and realized it’s time to get on with the plot. And what does he do to accomplish that? He has the main character sitting on a table and talking. THAT’S IT! And turns out there was actually someone who knew who the killer is since the very beginning and never said a thing because he/she was not sure if it mattered. YEEEEAAAAHHHH!10) The finale of the show is the most hilarious episode since the finale of Blood C. Nothing makes sense and people turn to serial killers out of nowhere, buildings burn up and nobody could sense the tiniest heat or smoke, while people calmly phone others while surrounded by fire. Oh, and when the dead person is finally revealed, not only it didn’t even try to fight back, not only it got defeated easily, but also there was no way you could have figured out it was him/her all along. One of the best troll endings I have ever seen.FINAL THOUGHTSI find Another to be completely boring, lazily made, and hilarious for being so bad it is good. It is hardly as imposing as the live action Ringu movies, it has far less cute lolis than Higurashi, it has far more boring characters than any other mystery/supernatural show of the past decade, and it is stretching a premise to last a lot more than it can remain interesting. The only good thing it has in it is the random death scenes, which are done in such an over-the-top way that are plain funny. That is, you laugh at them; you are not scared, or amazed, or intrigued to find out what is going on. Literally, the only thing we had to talk about this show is how much we laughed and made jokes regarding the kitsch deaths which are reminiscent of the Final Destination films. So in all this is your typical P.A. Works anime, where you stare at the pretty faces and laugh at ridiculous gore scenes, while disregarding good pacing or proper development of whatever story they may have, before eventually yawning a couple of times and dropping the whole thing just to go watch Angel Beats or Nisemonogatari. Not good at all.p.s.: By no means do I consider Angel Beats or Nisemonogatari to be masterpieces. They are full of retarded characters, poor plots, and ridiculous fan catering but at least they are brain-dead fun to watch and thus fulfil their basic role. Something which Another is not doing by miles.
Finally! Finally, an anime is recommended to me as a horror anime, and Another really is! Horror is not a genre that, in my opinion, is well represented in anime. Too many so-called horror anime rely only on blood and death to provide the horror and this, to me, is not horror. True horror also should include the element of suspense. Nail-biting, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, ready-to-scream suspense. Another gives you suspense. It also gives a nice mystery, as well as providing the blood and deaths for those who need that in their horror. It is the whole package. Kouchi Sakakibara has transferred to a new school. He knows it is the school which his late mother attended. But what he doesn't know is that the ninth grade class in which he is enrolled has a secret. A secret of death. A secret no one may speak of, lest they trigger calamity. Classmates and family members will die, at least one per month, unless the secret is countered. But how can Kouichi counter it, when no one is willing to talk or give information? The animation in this is very good, motion depicted fluidly, with vivid, realistic backgrounds. Creepy dolls, many dismembered or decapitated, set up a spooky and threatening atmosphere. Effects are done especially well. Lighting is used persuasively to enhance anxiety, create mystery, or portend ominous events. Blood drips and pools, fire looks like it will spread right off the screen. Only one area is not superlative - the character designs. Characters look like any other generic anime characters you may have seen. You could drop Kouichi or Mei into another series, and they would blend right in. Lead and secondary characters are distinct and identifiable, but not really memorable. Lesser characters are interchangeable and forgettable and often totally undistinguishable from one another. Soundtrack for Another is totally on the mark. From the edgy and tense opening theme song to the eerie and chilling background mood music, the incidental sound does a great job of keeping up the level of anxiety and anticipation for what will pop out at us next. Ending theme is a nice quiet piano ballad, perfect for soothing jangled nerves incurred from the turmoil of the episode. Character backstory is well developed, but you never really feel immersed in these people's lives. Which turns out to be a good thing, since their lives could end at any time, and many of them do end early. Kouichi and Mei, our lead characters, are fleshed out and given a basic unique personality, but there is no real character development or growth as this story only lasts the length of one school year. Koichi at the end of the series is still pretty much the same as the Kouichi who started this journey with us. If you, like me, have been wanting to see a true horror anime, watch Another. It will satisfyingly provide chills and thrills, fear and doom, mystery and doubt.
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