ANOTHER ANOTHER REVIEW (REVIEW)
Another is a book written by Yukito Ayatsuji, though technically it began as a serialized novel that ran for two years in a Japanese publication. It eventually got translated into English, and there’s a manga and anime adaptation as well. Ayatsuji has written a lot of horror fiction, but most of it won’t be familiar to most folk outside of Japan. Fun Fact: Ayatsuji’s wife is none other than Fuyumi Ono. Does that ring a bell? She’s the author of Shiki, as well as Ghost Hunt. What a spooky couple!
Anyways, time to review Another. I saw the anime of it first, but later when the English edition of the book was released, I figured I’d give that a spin. I enjoy horror, and thought it would be interesting to compare the anime with the source material.
Overall, the book’s not bad. It’s not much of a horror story, to be perfectly honest. But it’s interesting. It’s what I would call a premise story. The idea is what drives the narrative, and there isn’t all that much to the plot outside of said premise. The protagonist moves to a new school, his class is acting weird, and people start dying -> what the hell is going on -> a curse? -> let’s figure out how to stop the curse. The mystery plays out incredibly slowly for the first half of the book–not so much that I wanted to give up on it, but it is something to note for those who want snappier pacing. Our protagonist has to really mull over things. He has to talk to classmates and not learn much. He has to talk to his nurse and not learn much. He has to talk to the librarian and not learn much. He has to talk to his aunt and not learn much. One puzzle piece at a time. One puzzle piece at a time.
One thing the book does way better than the anime is understand that less is more. The anime decided it really wanted to play up the horror aspect, and chose to take the fairly schlocky route of killing lots of people in outlandish ways. Not so many people die in the book–or at least not so many that we actually read about–and everything is just left more ominous and foreboding. The atmosphere of the tale comes off a lot stronger that way, and there’s more of an impact when there finally is some manner of violence.
The prose for this book is quite good for YA fiction, and the translation seemed on the money. There are a few introspective moments in particular that I quite like, mainly in regard to a number of things that we learn about the character Mei Misaki. Both her and the protagonist/viewpoint character Koichi work well for a mystery story of this sort, and I liked all their interactions with each other.
All that said, certain issues I had with the plot in the anime are just the same in the book. So while I did enjoy the book experience more overall, I didn’t enjoy it a ton more. It’s a decent read, and I’ll suggest it over the anime. (I have not checked out the manga; I might not ever bother.) But if you have already seen the anime, there isn’t really enough new or different material in the novel that I’d strongly recommend it.