Time for another review! It’s Another. Review. There, the joke is out of the way now.
As I review these various horror stories, I’ve noticed that a lot of the anime feature a transfer student as the protagonist? It makes sense from a storytelling standpoint, of course… The main character is in an unfamiliar new place and doesn’t have any context for the spooky stuff going on–all of that adds to the horror. And in the case of Another, this is something that is pulled off quite nicely at first.
A boy named Koichi Sakakibara moves in to a small town to live with his grandparents and aunt while his father goes to India for research (and the mother is deceased). But something about his class at school is weird? Everyone acts like they’re hiding something from him… And who is this peculiar eyepatch-wearing girl named Mei Misaki? Why does she act so creepy, and why is she being 100% ignored by everyone else in the class?
The atmosphere for the first half or so of Another is fantastic. The animation is top-notch (based P.A. Works), and the music always fits perfectly too. I also really loved the build-up for the mystery–or perhaps mysteries, as there’s quite a few things for Koichi to work out over the course of this story. The directing in general for this series seemed quite intelligent, and I appreciated the overall more realistic handling of the characters (i.e. there aren’t many typical anime tropes to be found here). The story felt mature, despite the young age of the characters.
Unfortunately, the story and atmosphere started falling apart about halfway through, and then completely burst at the seams by the final episode. That last episode did not make me happy, and it’s always a big minus when a story ends on a sour note in my opinion.
I don’t want to spoil the main conflict of the story, as it’s actually a really interesting premise–but I’ll try to explain my main issue with this anime of Another (which is an adaptation of a novel). Killing someone in a mysterious way can be pretty spooky, right? Now, what if you kill a whole bunch of characters in mysterious ways? Twenty gruesome deaths instead of just one means the story is twenty times more scary, right? Well, as it turns out… no. No, not really. It’s just too much. It feels silly.
There is a tonal shift in Another in the later episodes, in which everything just goes to hell, and I didn’t like it. The production values were still very good, but I did not care for the way the plot played out. When the biggest mystery was solved, it did not feel satisfactory–in fact, if felt pretty cheap, considering the “rules” that were established in earlier episodes regarding the supernatural element of this story. Also, I didn’t care for the deus ex machina we got near the end either.
I think Another is actually an interesting series to watch from the perspective of analyzing storytelling, because there’s a number of things it does really well, and then a number of other things that it just completely drops the ball on. In some ways, the anime feels rather meta in regard to its story’s collapse, both inside and outside the narrative.
NEXT TIME. ON SHARKBERG. RESET TEARS REVIEWS THE BOOK? IT’S ANOTHER ANOTHER REVIEW! CLASH OF THE STORYTELLING MEDIUMS! BELIEVE IT!