Thursday, August 14, 2014

Anime Review: Another

While it may not be the most appropriate season for checking out a horror series, I decided to finally watch a title that was recommended to me a while back; hope you've all got strong stomachs, because it's time to check out Another.

Another is a 12 episode anime originally published as a light novel in 2009; it was later adapted into a manga in 2010 and an anime in 2012. While there are minor differences between the adaptations, the overarching story remains the same for each of them. Said story is about a boy named Koichi Sakaibara who has just transferred from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the small country town of Yomiyama, where he will be attending his last year of middle school as a part of Yomiyama North Middle School's class 3-3. However, it isn't long before Koichi notices very strange behavior from those in his class; most prominently, a mysterious girl named Mei Misaki (the girl with the eye-patch over her left eye) is seemingly treated by the rest of the class as though she doesn't exist, and he is given repeated warnings (albeit indirect ones) not to interact with her. As Koichi gradually learns more about the reasons for the class's behavior, the class is beset by a series of strange and brutal deaths, all apparently accidental and yet all connected to class 3-3; from here, Koichi sets out to find an explanation for these events and a way to prevent further loss of life, before even more lives can be lost to the mysterious phenomenon.

As befits a horror series, Another relies heavily on building atmosphere through its use of visuals and its implementation of the mystery aspect of the story; the audience is made to feel as in-the-dark and terrified of the unknown as the characters are, with virtually no knowledge of who may die next. With that said, the series is also very skilled at foreshadowing certain details; while a few are somewhat obvious, most are so subtle that a viewer isn't likely to notice them unless they watch the series for a second or third time. The show is also very good at utilizing exposition effectively; it never comes across as forced or stilted, but instead as characters desperately trying to use what little information they have to figure out a solution to their predicament. The performances of said characters, however, tend to vary by fair margins; while most play their parts well and fit into the story nicely, some characters do feel somewhat unimportant, which can lessen the impact should said characters end up dead.

Altogether, Another is a series I would highly recommend to any fans of either horror or mystery series, particularly if they have a preference for the more violent titles in those genres. Of course, if it hasn't been made clear already, this is not a series for those with light stomachs or objections to violence; characters repeatedly die in very violent ways, and the anime is very detailed with the depictions of said deaths. Assuming you can handle this aspect, Another is absolutely a series to check out; you'll be on the edge of your seat all the way to the end.

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