Another (Winter 2012)

another

There are a couple of life lessons we can take away from Another:

  • Avoid moving to small, rural towns.
  • Groupthink can be a dangerous, detrimental thing.

There are probably more, but this is only supposed to be a 500-ish word review. Let’s get this corpse party started.

Another is a supernatural horror mystery of sorts. The story follows transfer student Kouichi Sakakibara and his classmates at Yomiyama North as they attempt to defy a supernatural force they don’t quite understand.

Tsutomu Mizuhima (Genshiken, Blood-C) is at the helm working alongside series composer/writer Ryou Higaki (Kuromukuro) to adapt the written novel source material. They’re joined by chief animation director Yuriko Ishii (Kuromukuro, A Lull in the Sea), and sound director Yoshikazu Iwanami (Baccano!, Blood-C, Erased). Kou Otani (Eyeshield 21, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing) produces the music, and the series is put together and animated under the banner of P.A. Works (Angel Beats!, Uma Musume: Pretty Derby).

From a narrative standpoint, there is definitely some curious plot development and questionable character decision-making, but you almost have to have a higher willing suspension of disbelief when you’re watching something of the supernatural or science-fiction variety.

Why does this curse exist in the first place? I don’t know; it just does.

Why does the universe hate Mayuri so much in Steins;Gate? I don’t know that, either; it just does.

Why doesn’t Kid A do this, this, and this? Well, probably because they’re like 15 years old, and don’t know how else to handle the situation; they just do.

Bearing this in mind, I’m fairly confident in saying Higaki puts together a narrative that, while somewhat unreliable, successfully introduces conflict, escalates it, and concludes it. That’s more than can be said for many horror stories—which are often left annoyingly open-ended.

One of Another’s strongest features is its generally off-putting feel. Dialogue often follows a deliberately awkward flow, and many of the scene/shot transitions are deliberately abrupt. Furthermore, there’s a heavy emphasis on light, or the lack thereof. Many of the scenes taking place indoors are shrouded in darkness, even when there are sources of light. I don’t usually do this, but here’s a picture of what I’m talking about.

LIGHTING
Note how the scene lighting really emphasizes the shadowy darkness

The soundtrack, with the exception of the OP theme, is predominately eerie. It’s the sound design itself, though, that cultivates most of the unsettling atmosphere. Loud noises will sometimes interrupt softly-spoken character interactions, while interjections of silence will throw an unnatural-feeling wrench into otherwise normal situations.

The slow-burning out-of-sync feel is nice and all, but there’s a certain type of satisfaction that occurs in seeing something simmer for a while, then finally erupt. It was the late stages of the series that actually ended up winning me over—the final act in particular.

One more thing worth noting is lack of sexualized content; there are no painfully unnecessary panty shots, or instances of sexually suggestive clothing damage. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fanservice, but if used in an untimely or excessive manner, it can make things seem less dire *cough* HOTD *cough* and even Corpse Party *cough*.

Mizuhima and company take a more serious approach here, and I like that. If you decide to suspend a little disbelief and go along for the ride, you’ll find that Another can be an entertaining mix of deathly horror and mystery. I recommend watching the uncut DVD/BD version for the full experience, but the censored TV release (for those who are a little squeamish) is available on VRV/Cruchyroll.

Story/Character: 7

Music/Sound Design: 8.5

Art/Animation: 7

Enjoyment: 8

Average: 7.625

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to round to the nearest half-point. I’d probably round down to 7.5 if this were another genre, but this is the most enjoyable animated horror series I’ve seen yet, and one of the better  horror shows I’ve seen in general. For that, I’ll bend the rules a bit and round up to a “Very Good” 8.

If you fancy yourself a horror buff, let me know what you think. I’m not really a fan of the horror genre, but WeeaBroShawn likes it, and I like a change-up from my usual stuff every now and then so I’m open to suggestions.

 

The Weeabros don’t own any of the images used in this post, bro. They belong to their respective creators, licensors, and distributors. Please support the official releases.

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