This is anime review 7 & is part of Halloween Week
Some anime can be scary, but most anime that try to go the horror route are pretty bad and not worth your time or money. That being said, every once and awhile a show comes around and manages to get things right. Another tries to be one of these horror gems, offering mystery, gore, and suspense. Let’s take a look at whether or not this anime delivers or falls a bit flat.
Despite having a fairly large cast, there are really only two characters of interest. Kouichi and Mei. The story focuses heavily on these characters and doesn’t really offer much development to the other cast members. To some extent, a few of the supporting cast members get moments in the sun, but if you are looking for massive amounts of depth in the characters you aren’t going to find it here. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just the reality of this show.
Kouichi is your bland protagonist. He is obsessed with horror related novels, such as Stephen King. This is his only real trait. He’s meant to be a stand-in for the audience so this at least makes sense, but there just isn’t a lot there as far as character goes. Unfortunately, this is worse due to the fact that many of the characters get very little development to begin with.
Mei, on the other hand, has more depth to her. She is a mysterious character who the viewer knows almost nothing about for a good portion of this 12 episode series. Since a lot of the mystery surrounds her, I don’t want to go too far into her character, but she is probably the most developed character in the entire series.
As for everybody else, they either serve as fodder for the horror scenes, or as suspects in the mystery plotline. Honestly, this would normally be a terrible setup, but for Another it sort of works and isn’t as bad as it could have been. That being said, it could have been a little bit better than it was.
Kouichi moves to the country where his grandparent live while his dad is away on a business trip out of the country. Due to a health condition, Kouichi begins school in his grandparents’ home town late. What was supposed to be a relaxing and less stressful place to recuperate, soon turns into a mystery with serious consequences.
Finding himself assigned to the cursed class of 3-3, Kouichi must unravel the mystery in order to save himself and his friends from the curse. Eventually, he and his friends discover the way to end the curse, but it comes at a serious price.
The plot of the series is initially pretty decent. It is a bit awkward in some moments, but it did a great job of getting me hooked for the long-haul. Another manages to do this by having a great atmosphere and hinting almost immediately that something is horribly off.
The atmosphere is perhaps the most well done aspect of the story. The anime nearly always feels creepy, even when the show goes off the rails during parts of the story. Since this is supposed to be a horror anime, it tries pretty hard to be spooky. It usually fails pretty badly at this. There were a few good moments, but overall as a horror show it’s average at best.
Fully aware of this though, P.A. Works made sure to have the death scenes animated well. They did this by upping the gore factor in many of the deaths. To some extent, this is sort of effective. There were times where it enhanced the scene, and others that made the scene absolutely hilarious.
Depending on your preference, this is either going to help the story for you, or hurt it. These deaths drive a lot of the plot, but they can be so silly that they hurt it sometimes. If you can get past it, then the story gets pretty good. Otherwise, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
The other glaring negative in the story is that there are moments that are just ridiculous. Not only in the deaths, but in just some of the general scenes. These moments are meant to relieve some tension, but they were just weird and out of place. Admittedly, they were funny and I enjoyed them, but they didn’t really belong. One such famous scene is the dance number at the midpoint of the series, had me laughing, but was out of place.
The ending is another preference issue. To a lot of people, it was unexpected. However, on my second watch I noticed that there really isn’t any reason it should have surprised anybody. The show does an excellent job masking the truth of the mystery, but at the same time, it hands you all the pieces that you need well before its conclusion.
Animation & Sound
Being animated by P.A. Works, the show looks good. As I said before, it has a great atmosphere and the deaths are animated fairly well. From a visual standpoint, the anime does very well and delivers in more cases than not.
The sound design was all over for this show. I loved nearly all the music, but it rarely matched the tone. The opening was too high energy, but really good. The ending theme was similar to a visual novel adaptaion’s ending, but wasn’t bad. It just was bizarre. For a horror show, the music is extremely important, and more often than not the music didn’t do anything for the experience. This isn’t to say the music never fit, it was just there instead of accenting the visuals like it should have.
I still love this opening despite it not fitting very well. Remind me of Rozen Maiden, very unique in the music department. The video and music aren’t mine, it’s also slightly altered as to avoid copy right claims
The voice acting was fine. It was anything crazy great but it wasn’t awful. I watched dubbed, and overall the voice actors did there job. Outside of Monica Rial as Mei, nobody really popped out for me. She does a great job of sounding creepy and for Mei’s character that’s important.
I know that I didn’t say too many positive things about Another, but I actually didn’t think it was that bad. I enjoyed it. It definitely had its moments of effective horror and the plot did manage to suck me in. This is one of those shows that people either love or hate, there really isn’t much middle ground.
Score & Extra Info
I give Another a score of 7/10 with the recommendation to try it. If you like the horror genre, this is worth trying out. There just aren’t many, even decent, horror anime out there and this one isn’t that bad. It’d get a higher score from me if it delivered its plot a little better and had more of the effective horror scenes than it did. However, for being only 12 episodes it puts forth a good effort and doesn’t fall flat at the end.
If you are looking for something to try this Halloween I suggest you give this anime a look. You can watch it for free online (sub only) at Crunchyroll.com. If you enjoyed it, you can purchase it from Rightstuf for around $35.
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