|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Another offers up a solid mystery out of the strange behavior of the students and staff within Koichi's school. The series drops enough subtle hints regarding the nature of activities within the school and tease you over aspects to the series not seeming as they are on the surface, from Mei's very existence being ignored by his classmates to some horrific facts that Koichi uncovers regarding the school's past. Details regarding what exactly is taking place in the school are eventually revealed in the middle of the show with the remaining episodes of the series focused around Koichi and several classmates trying to discover a means of resolving the crisis within it. The visuals to Another offer up perhaps the best quality I seen of titles from this season sporting subdued colors and a plenty of detail in its designs of characters and buildings, as well as sporting some vivid scenery shots of the various areas visited by the show's cast. While not as prominent, movements from the characters and vehicles were naturally fluid and there are some great-looking animated sequences from some of the show's suspenseful moments.|
On the other end though, Another does sport some flaws in the execution of its premise. A number of the brutal murder scenes seen throughout the series came across as more over-the-top than shocking or horrific for me. There are also a few plot holes regarding the show's more supernatural elements such as aspects of the phenomena and some background with Mei. I also found Mei to be seeming too detached of a character to connect with throughout the series as she hardly seemed to express much in the way of emotion with the varying situations that take place throughout the show.
Despite my gripes with Mei and some aspects of Another's execution though, the series is otherwise a solid mystery/ horror title that builds up on enough suspense and mystery to keep you guessing over what the truth is regarding the show's mystery. I give the series a strong Rent recommendation.
Last updated Monday, March 26 2012. Created Monday, March 26 2012.
(Rent- or Watch+)|
(All episodes watched):
I thought I'd give a horror/ghost story anime a try. Kouichi is a transfer student who somehow can see a supposedly dead girl who apparently is a local legend. As luck would have it, the locals have a distinct aversion to him as well. That's about as far as episode one goes, but I can't help wonder how this might develop; like why do the other students fear and distrust Kouichi? The story doesn't go all that far in the first episode, but it seems to have style.
Somehow, I get a sort of deja-vu for Rozen Maiden as I watch this show; it has the same style of OP music (I would be willing to bet that both songs were written by the same person), and in episode two dolls are introduced into the plot--just creepy porcelain dolls, not animated, living ones, but dolls nevertheless. I wonder if Peach Pit was behind this series, too. Another impression (ha!) that I got from episode two was that this series isn't seeming to be as scary and macabre as I had thought it would be. Basically, a guy can see and talk to a girl who is invisible to everyone else, and ought to be dead--but other than that, nothing much has happened. Mei doesn't seem to have any evil intentions, and nobody has been placed in danger; so, what will the point of this series be? In episode three, we are apparently supposed to be shocked and thrilled when Mei reveals that only Kouchi can see her--but that had seemed obvious to me right from episode one.
In episode three people start meeting their deaths in grisly accidents; but I'm frustrated that this show doesn't seem to want to give us the slightest hint of what's really going on. Again and again, characters are clearly hiding one secret or another from the viewer, but this gets tiresome. Mei doesn't seem to be behind these accidents, so who or what is? People keep dying, but if there's never going to be any opportunity to figure things out for myself, what do I care?
The story took a while to get going, but the strange system which the students of Class 3 have created to protect themselves was kind of interesting. What's unclear is if any sort of explanation and solution to the 26-year old curse on the members of this class will ever come about. Kouichi and Mei might just get romantically involved with each other, too; being 'outcasts' of a sort, they have something in common. My guess is that they will cooperate to figure out just what's going on here. About the only way an end could be put to the curse would be by figuring out who is behind it; but so far the signs are that this person(?) is so supernaturally powerful that it's hard to see what anybody would be able to do at that point. As late as halfway through the series, all Kouichi and Mei have done is learn the rules of the game without discovering anything new, which, again, is kind of frustrating. But somehow I wonder how things will work out and look forward to each new episode of the show. Another will probably be worth watching after all.
Sometimes the violence in this show is so extreme that it becomes more laughable than horrifying--like the guy who gets caught in a propellor. Whoever or whatever is behind the curse must get a kick out of arranging bizarre accidents for people. Episode eight was mostly comedy, which was odd for a show which tries so hard to be gloomy and foreboding. The fact that the sun was shining at the beginning of the episode caught my attention. It had seemed that the first major clue to solving the mystery might be about to come to light, but not much new was learned. Time is running out for this (presumably) twelve episode series. Is one of the characters who we've come to know actually the 'dead' person behind the curse? Not much effort has been made to provide clues or suggest the slightest suspicion and distrust between the characters. There are logical holes in the plot, too: wouldn't people dying mysteriously on a scale like this be in the news worldwide? Why doesn't everybody flee to another town, since the curse isn't supposed to extend elsewhere? It's like the students are playing a game of Russian Roulette without complaint.
And yet I find myself looking forward to each episode of Another (and they seem to go quickly). What's the deal with this curse? Who's behind it? What will happen when this person is exposed? Do Mei and Kouichi have romantic feelings for each other? Will this actually be a twenty-sixer? In episode ten pieces of the puzzle start coming together, like I wish they had done from episode two or so. Best of all, the conclusions that are reached make sense and are intriguing. I found myself fervently wishing that Mei and Kouichi would unequivocably fall in love. But how does Mei have a modest supernatural capability of her own? Will there be any explanation? And why has she kept it secret until now?
Things freak out in episode eleven. The previously stoic members of class three, who had seemed resigned to meet their fates in a dignified manner (which an American would find hard to understand), seem to collectively lose their minds all at once. But what happens takes place in a thoroughly confused manner--it happens at night in a building which has lost its power (I think), and I was left asking myself what the hell is going on? Who was that person who just got killed (or was he/she only injured)? Is the curse attacking almost everyone at once, or have they all panicked? Does Mei ever get excited by anything? It was probably supposed to be terrifying, but confusion trumps horror. If everybody's just going to go insane, whatever character development has taken place is liable to go out the window, since people aren't behaving normally anymore. I felt that after all the time that was wasted early on, now things seemed to be moving too fast in an effort to make up for it. Another spent a lot of time trying to get creepy without much effect, and now it seems that the conclusion doesn't work very well precisely because it failed to do so.
The conclusion was pretty confused; a battle takes place within a virtual furnace, with lots of fire but little smoke and apparently little heat either. Episodes 11-12 seemed to pour on the corny violence, using quantity rather than quality to excite the viewer. And how is it that someone who is already dead can be gotten rid of by 'killing' him/her a second time? Still, I felt good at the end. An answer finally comes to light, and there are a few survivors from among the cast. It could have been much better, though. In general, Another seemed to largely waste its first half but shaped up afterwards. It took too long to explain the problem, which perhaps as a result seemed fairly dull and thus clues didn't catch the modest amount of attention which I was devoting. The characters didn't develop much and what personalities they had were largely thrown away at the end. But I'm glad things worked out for Mei and Kouichi the way they did.
My favorite line: "This is not normal"
P.S: There is also an episode 00, a sort of prequel to the series in which we learn about Mei's past. It turns out that she once had a twin sister, but they were separated when their mother sent Mei to live with an aunt (if I understood it correctly). Watching this extra episode certainly won't make understanding the remainder much easier; it might even spoil the mysterious aura she has early on. But I had gotten to like Mei by the end, so I didn't mind learning some more about her and enjoyed this one.
Last updated Thursday, August 08 2013. Created Monday, January 16 2012.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.another-anime.jp/|