Another Review

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A class with a mysterious secret.  Imminent death always haunting.  The desire to survive.  Japan has never been known for horror flicks, but Another could easily make one reconsider their ability to haunt you with a gripping and eery story.

another3Story
After Koichi transfers to Yomiyama North Middle School, he soon discovers an odd series of events and strange behavior that he cannot explain. Students and teachers alike treat a classmate named Mei Misaki as if she doesn’t exist and Koichi keeps receiving subtle hints to stay away from things that “don’t exist”.

Koichi would soon discover that 26 years ago, a popular student of Yomiyama North Middle School class 3-3 had died suddenly. Though oddly enough, the students one by one began to act as if Misaki was still present in class. Ultimately to the point that some say he appeared in the class graduation photo.

Since that fateful year for Yomiyama North Middle School, following years have had cases where students of class 3-3, as well as their relatives, have faced tragic deaths each month. As this event seems to be recurring, Koichi searches for answers to stopping the strange deaths.

another6Another manages to excel in a very eery feeling from the get-go.  Emphasis on keeping the viewer stuck in a cloud of mystery that is in dire need of a resolve. Of course this resolve doesn’t come fast enough and that produces a very nice balance of suspense and terror. Something that is often not seen in anime.

Admittedly, that’s where this show excels and keeps the pacing going strong throughout most of the show. However, at some point, it does become frustrating that details are not being leaked for nearly half the show, leaving your constantly in Koichi’s shoes of being confused and wanting some sort of clue. Though this doesn’t become apparent until just before the reveals hit and things start to really get interesting.

Another, being released several years after Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When Cicadas Cry), seems to take quite a bit of inspiration from it. Though this is merely speculation as I’m only going on the feel. In my research, I wasn’t able to find any tie between the two series, but I did find the similarity in the two protagonists to be quite comical.

another4The only downfall in the show overall was towards the last couple episodes. Things take a turn for the worst and characters begin to break. While some may speculate that an outside source is causing this, there was no real explanation for it and it instead made the characters look extremely broken.  The mood quickly turned from serious and eery, to just plain silly; breaking the overall feel of the show. That said, with the strong ending that comes, one can easily overlook this brief tangent.

Animation
The visual style is quite good overall. While most of the show consists of still shots, most are atmospheric and create a dark tone. The character artwork is good for the most part and often do a great job of portraying the more psychotic points of the show. When the show comes to its darkest points, it seems that the animation kicks in to create a very gruesome picture that is sure to catch you off guard.

Sound
another9While nothing really stood out to me when it comes to the voice acting, I did take note of Natsumi Takamori’s performance of Mei Misaki. Every scene she was involved with was truly amazing and her often subtle tone made the most eery moments all the more interesting.

More important than the voice acting was an amazing job that the sound team did for the ambient and often haunting music and sound. The screeching tones that sound during a reveal or following an event that Koichi experiences did wonders for the moment to moment thrills.

Conclusion
In the end, Another is definitely not for the faint of heart. While Japan has never been known for horror and thriller flicks, Another still manages to make people take note. It has so many eery and intense moments that keep you guessing from moment to moment.  Which makes it a gem in my book. If you’re a fan of shows like Higurashi, then you’ll definitely feel at home here. Even if you found the more troubling elements of Higurashi unbearable, I can still fully recommend Another.

Family Friendliness-Another is a very gory show that contains some very gruesome and graphical death scenes.  Though if you’re fine with these often violent imagery, the rest of the show has no real aspects to report.

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

REVIEW VERDICT:
Good

Pros:

  • Eery and intense
  • Great conclusion
  • Fairly easy to follow twists
  • Great audio

Cons:

  • Character logic breaks towards the end
  • Slight frustration with vagueness at beginning
  • Lots of still shots
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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.