Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Writer (of original novel): Yukito Ayatsuji
Animation Studios: P.A. Works
Version Watched: Subbed
Choosing new anime to watch is hard. There’s a huge amount to pick from, so recently I’ve just been picking out names that I’ve seen talked about by others. While Another isn’t a show you see mentioned often I’m very thankful to whoever did bring it up where I could see because I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. If you’re after some visceral slice of life horror with a little bit of mystery thrown in (if such a thing exists), then you won’t go wrong with Another.
Yomiyama North Middle School’s class 3-3 isn’t normal and its new transfer student, Sakakibara Koiichi, can’t quite put his finger on what’s off about it. Odd enough is the fact that 3-3 is the only class in the school, or perhaps in Japan, that has a Head of Countermeasures (whatever that means), but there seems to be a girl in the class that only he can interact with. Though Misaki Mei seems normal enough despite her eyepatch, it’s as if no one but Koiichi can see or talk to her and whenever he tries to ask anyone they seem too scared to reply. As Koiichi tries his best to unravel the secrets surrounding his new class, a series of gruesome deaths begin to plague everyone around him. Is it even worth knowing the truth?
Maybe I’m starting to beat a dead horse here, but 12 episode series are not the best way to tell a complete story. Having said that, Another does an admirable job of keeping you on the edge of your seat while crafting its morbid tale. Jumping from one mystery to another multiple times throughout the course of the show, you’ll find yourself eagerly trailing along behind as you guess at what might happen next. What makes the story so gripping, though, is that the characters and their interactions seem so real. This isn’t your average slice of life affair with over-the-top personalities and hilarious antics; it’s a very normal, very believable setting that could have taken place at any school in the real world. However, at the same time that realistic feeling means that the characters themselves aren’t all that interesting on their own. While they may have some amusing quirks and backgrounds within their mundane setting, there really isn’t any character that stands out for you to feel a connection with, and the length of the series doesn’t help with that either.
I’ll warn you right now that watching Another isn’t exactly a walk in the park. The deaths are brutal, gruesome and horrific in a way that only realistic deaths can be. Of course, for many people, that’s one of the series’ strong points. At the same time, however, it’s also one of its weaknesses. The characters that are killed off are often the ones you don’t really know or care about, meaning that their deaths lack impact. It also means that you never fear for the safety of the main characters. While it may not be a big deal in the long run, I couldn’t help but notice it while I was watching.
Continuing with the realism theme, Another’s visuals are much like a more modern version of Death Note’s. Add on a layer of concentrated depression and you have Another’s animation. It immediately sets the mood for the entire series and drags you down to its level, which works well because Another isn’t meant to make you happy. I can’t comment much on the OST because it didn’t really stand out to me, though in this case that just means it did a good job of meshing with the other technical aspects.
Summary – While Another isn’t going to do anything for your mood, it will provide you with 12 episodes of solid, mysterious and gruesome entertainment. I’ll almost guarantee satisfaction if you’re into more morbid storylines (Final Destination, anyone?). If you’re not, then pick it up anyway because Another is simply well made and you might just find that you like it. I’m not exactly chomping at the bit for more but I’d happily watch a second season, or even something in the same vein.
Score: 8.5/10 – Good