Another Review

“The Colors of Death”

During the Winter anime announcement, Another is an anime which was my main top priority. I had no prior information regarding it’s original source, as I never knew anything about Another before the anime was aired. Just from the synopsis alone, I’m scared, curious, excited and anxious, all at the same time. It was amazing how an anime can provide me with so many emotions just from the summary alone.

Another stars main character Sakakibara Kouichi, who moves to a rural town from Tokyo, and transfer to a certain class of a middle school: Class 3-3. Kouichi realized that the class is not as it seems, as every month, there are always one or two students or their families who died in mysterious ways, as if there’s a fixed pattern to it, and there’s nothing they can do to alter this pattern. It is all up to him to unravel the mystery of the classroom, finding out the truth from the past, and to escape from their predicament.

Another gives it’s viewers a ghastly vibe, just from the synopsis alone, and while watching the first few episode, it definitely lives up to it’s spookiness. The random doll shots, the eerie silence, and it’s spooky atmospheres, the average Joe anime watcher might even wet his or her pants. As for me though, I do get freaked out at first, but I got used to the atmospheres a little later, as it is no longer shocking to suddenly see a picture of a doll popped up in my screen, at least, the dolls aren’t as scary as Chucky. What’s more, while the early parts of the anime does fits the “horror” genre, the latter part of the series can be said to be more focused on the “mystery” genre. Once the characters got more exposed behind the mysterious phenomenon, they started looking for an answer, a revelation, which will ultimately stops the calamity that befalls them.

The blend between horror and mystery is good, and it certainly reminds me of Higurashi, a legendary anime with similar settings and genres. It is horror, portraying random and horrifying deaths which just don’t make any sense. Then after the death, you need to figure out what happened, why did the death occurred and so on. Another manages to do what Higurashi did, makes the viewers immerse into the anime, feel the thrilling situations, and at the same time, playing the role of a detective and figuring out the truth. Of cause, especially in the “horror murder” department, Another isn’t as epic as Higurashi, and it’s horror vibes are easy to get used to, but still, Another is great in it’s own right.

The characters for Another are well-made. While most of them may be a bit diverse in personalities here and there in minor ways, they are mostly static and stoic, and it works well with Another. It shows them that the characters were already exhausted, having been witnessing deaths after deaths to the point that they cannot plaster a smile on their face, even when they welcome a certain new student and even when they were taking photos. In the sea of supporting characters where one of them can die in any moment, Akazawa Izumi shines the most. She is one of the better, more attractive character. As the head of countermeasures, she is brave and headstrong, never fearful in her pursuit to stop the phenomenon, though she may be a bit rash at times.

As for the main characters, Sakakibara Kouichi was surprisingly a decent character. He was a bit dull, but he is surprisingly calm, even when the death toll starts. I like how he is so adamant to their fate, and even looked for a way out so early in the series. Now that when I think about it, his character is probably why the anime turns into more of a “mystery” anime rather then a “horror”. During the last arc, I think he also handled the literally “exploding” chain of events much more better then I thought. He lose a bit of brownie points with his indecisiveness near towards the end (not going to spoil anything), but he’s still a good character nonetheless. And really, his hesitation just lasts a few seconds or minutes, he’s not Ikari Shinji after all.

Mei Misaki certainly takes the cake for the best and most intriguing character of Another, as she is pretty much the main focus of the show. From start to finish, she remains the mysterious “non-existent” girls who sits at the corner of the classroom, ignored by everyone, gives weird statements to our main character and even wears an eye-patch. We all know girls wearing eye-patches in anime are an obvious pathway to the word “mysterious.” However, as more answers were revealed, the reasoning behind her actions gets more obvious. And as emotionless as she seems, she is actually scared of people dying, easily detectable during the beach episode and the trip arc. Instead of emotionless, my impression of her is more like a fragile little girl.

The atmospheres in Another are especially presented in a way perfect for Another. The flickering lights, the eerie gossips, and whatever spooky things you can think of, find it’s way into Another. The visuals are stunning too, especially how they executed the character’s death in such a stylistic, flashy and gruesome way. The character designs look disappointingly plain though, almost all the characters has the same face and eyes. A very repetitive design so to speak.

Another’s soundtracks are well-done. It uses simple melodies and strings to create a dramatic effect, this works exceptionally well during a character’s impending death. When the anime returns to a “peaceful” moment temporarily, there are sometimes long periods of silence without any background music, or perhaps maybe just a few piano notes here and there. These creates an eerie atmosphere. It may looks silent and peaceful but the silence gives an impression that anyone could die in any moment. Another knows well how to use the right tracks at the right time. Sadly, the OP is completely horrid and the ED is uncharacteristically calm, though comparing songs alone, the ED is of cause superior.

The ending may looks like it ended well, but the last arc leading to it is like a roller coaster ride though, as it totally defies the fixed pattern aforementioned. There are also a lot of unexplained facts and theories remained. Looking around, I saw that the light novel had some differences in how the arc happened, especially in how the death of the characters were presented. I’m not sure if there are going to be any other major changes but reading it might answer more questions left unanswered in the anime. I might hit up the novel once I caught up with my Hako no Maria, as you all know, I’m slow reader in compared to my anime watching. Hopefully, I will be coming up with light novel reviews soon so please look forward to it. It probably won’t happen for a while though.

Anyhow, Another is a great anime overall, and is one of my favorite anime in the Winter 2012 line-up. While it amazes me in a way it doesn’t intended to, the mystery part of the anime is ironically what made the anime such a masterpiece. It’s not all just about murders or blood, but it is also about revelations and closures too. I certainly recommend this anime to most who enjoyed anime like Higurashi and the likes.

Rating
Story: A+
Character: B+
Art: A
Animation: B-
Sound: C

Final Score
8.5/10

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25 thoughts on “Another Review

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one comparing this with Higurashi.

    Also, you /had/ to link the umbrella scene, didn’t you? Goodbye, sleep!

    And regarding the OP, do you think that something more like Higurashi’s would have worked better?

    • I think most would easily relate them together in the least no? :D

      I think I’m actually more terrified at the elevator scene D:

      Hmmm nah, I think ones like the Dragonball OP would suit it better [sarcasm]

  2. This one’s for the background lesbian couple, the glasses girl who was dating the girl in the yellow tanktop and my darling Reiko-san:

    This show was certainly an interesting one to watch. Whether it’ll be anime of the season is completely subjective but overall it’s a good show but not one I’ll be picking up again for reasons I already explained you know where.

    • Lol, I can totally see your dedication for your lesbian couples and Reiko babeh :D

      Yes it is quite interesting and intruiging show, it’s executions is quite up to par with some of the more epic shows. Well, I rarely rewatch anime anyway..

  3. I enjoyed Another immensely and didn’t feel there were many plot holes. The ending made sense to me in a haphazard way. It might be mainly due to the way I think. I liked how everything just went crazy after the somewhat slow pacing of the show. It was like a dam bursting with an overflow of emotions,angst, anger, frustration, fear. I would have liked to have known who murdered Reiko but I’m cool with not having all my questions answered. I agree with you about the sound; it was ok but not spectacular.

    • @Goodbye Navi
      Ohh so you don’t mind a bit of open interpretion aren’t you? I prefer to have clear answers but I don’t really mind it that much in Another. The “sudden outburst” kinda suits Another, and is another element which makes akin to Higurashi, which is a good thing I guess.

      • It depends. For Another, an open interpretation would have been fine but I found the answers to be pretty clear. I’ve not watched Higurashi but seeing as it keeps gets compared to Another, I will add it to my already long list of things to watch.

        • Ohh Another is fine with just a bit of open interpretation for sure, after all, it’s not a mystery without a bit of those :D Yea you should. That is one crazy sht anime :D

  4. To me it felt a LOT like Final Destination and I was actually expecting a more darker twist in the end instead of a happy ending so I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the ending. It was still a good anime and for someone who HATES horror, I’m glad that I’ve taken a little step in battling against my fears ^^

    I would’ve given it a 7 personally but it’s definitely an experience I won’t be forgetting

    • @Tofu
      Battling against your fears eh? If you’re up for a bigger challenge, why not try out Higurashi? :D If you haven’t done so already that is. I think you would have your mind blown literally ;p The ending was done remarkable for me, just a bit of unanswered questions here and there but like I said, it’s no biggie :D

  5. I’m glad I picked this up. I was a bit iffy at first since horror wasn’t really a genre that I was familiar with. To be honest I picked it up because of P.A. Works, and since I liked what they did with Hanasaku Iroha I thought their spin on horror would be nice too. Saying that the series itself was pretty awesome. I’d purposely hold of watching it until later on in the night to get the atmosphere right. But I guess what I love most from this series is Mei, and how mysterious she is :3

    One thing that I’m not entirely a fan off is the “twist” they had built-up throughout the series, and subsequently revealed at the finale. I thought it was a cheap move, lol, but still, I give them props for that. I doubt anybody saw that coming.

    Funny you mention HakoMari. I think Another’s visuals would work wonderfully for a HakoMari anime adaptation.

    • Horror definite’y isn’t everyone’s favorite, but it’s good that Another strikes you fancy. P.A Work had certainly made a lot of astounding works in the past. I think I watched one of the first few episodes during midnight too, destructive :D Mei is a mysterious character, yes, and I wonder just how the heck did she gain that ability in the first place?

      That’s why it’s all about revelations and closures too, unless they want to be like Higurashi, and wants to make the first season a “question” arc and the next season an “answer” arc, so that the first season’s going to be one “twisting” chaos throughout :D

      Now that when you think about it, yeah.. I can totally imagine a mysterious Otonashi Aya :D

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  7. Another was great with it’s creepy suspense, so scary ehehe

    Aside from Kouchi, Misaki and also Reiko I disliked all of the classmates and didn’t cared much as they kicked the bucket, especially in the last few episodes it was rather amusing XD I dunno if it was ought to be to let the viewer feel this way, but it was a rather odd experience for me.

    A little part of this show had this bullying theme going on, being shunned and ignored is rather cruel and in the end they pushed all the blame on Misaki.

    The violence and gore level was a bit high in this anime reminded me of a certain episode in Blood C.

    I liked the ending scene of this anime a lot one of the better shows from the winter season.

    • Indeed, indeed.

      I’m actually happy and had a smile on my face as the other classmates kicked the bucket :D Nah, joking. I’m not THAT evil, but honest I didn’t care much either :D Though the bloody scenes are somewhat fun to watch.

      It’s not just normal bully though, they had a logical reason to do it, in order to save themselves.

      I didn’t watchh that yet ;x

      Yes. it’s certainly a decent ending, I’m glad that the librarian is still alive too :D

  8. Putting aside Mei introducing the new definition of moe or me swearing off that I won’t watch the show anymore if another girl died aside from Sakuragi (In fact a whole lot of girls did die), you’re right, this anime is a masterpiece, combining the suspense, horror and gore to provide viewers the excitement a mystery/horror anime should have. Though something worries me here, I’m going to become a 3rd year junior high student next school year @_@, and seeing I got assigned to class 2-3 last year, I wonder how this year will go for me :P

    • She’s the dandere kind of moe :D But with much more lesser of the dere, wonder if the light novel is different? And their screams are a music to my ears.. :3 Nah, jk~ Hmmm indeed, indeed. Oooh! Becareful :D

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