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Anime Review: Another

Another is based on the eponymous novel by Yukito Ayatsuji. Even though horror isn’t my favorite genre this series was very popular when it came out and I wanted to find out why. It was produced by P.A. Works, a studio also known for Angel Beats!, Nagi no Asukara and many more titles. There are 12 episodes in total, each 24 minutes in length.

The series starts with a boy named Kouichi Sakakibara. He has just moved to Yomiyama and transferred into class 3-3 of Yomiyama North Middle School. His family comes from Yomiyama, but he has lived in Tokyo for most of his life. Kouichi quickly notices a mysterious and intriguing girl named Mei Misaki. Even more intriguing is everyone else’s response to Mei, or rather lack thereof. They treat her like she doesn’t exist. Kouichi ignores several warnings, even from Mei herself, and begins to form a bond with her. How could he have known what tragic events would follow as the dark mysteries of Yomiyama began to unfold?

Another follows Kouichi, Mei and their class 3-3 classmates as they search for a solution to the gruesome phenomenon plaguing their class. Along the way they manage to find more information on what happened in 1972 to cause the horrors that occur even now. As you watch them unravel the mysteries you also glance into some of the students’ lives.

The story starts off a bit slow and seems predictable in the beginning. It takes a while for the ‘real’ story to kick in and this made me feel less interested at first. Once the story speeds up a bit it’s a very interesting and surprising series to watch, in my opinion. The series wasn’t predictable at all and neither was the ending.

Kouichi and Mei are both interesting characters with a somewhat dramatic background story. Both of their backgrounds are elaborated on more as the story progresses and they include quite a few surprising twists and turns. Their interaction is fun to watch, since Mei is a very mysterious and reserved person. Watching Kouichi put in his best effort to get to know, and get closer to, her is pretty entertaining. Especially since Mei keeps an air of mystery, even after Kouichi found out more about her and the situation in Yomiyama.

Another is full of different characters, some with more worked out backstories than others, but the class and teachers are quite diverse when it comes to personalities. This makes for some interesting interactions and also interesting responses to the horrible events that occur.

The genres of this anime are horror, mystery, school, supernatural and thriller. Although these are serious themes, there are also quite a few fun moments. They’re not super humorous, but they do manage to lighten the mood a bit which is something I could appreciate.

When it comes to the drawing style and animation this series does it well. Sometimes there were tiny inconsistencies, but for the most part everything fit together very well and the animation ran smoothly. The style doesn’t give away the horror genre, which adds to the surprise whenever something gruesome happens.

The character designs are nice, although not very elaborate. This is a good thing in my opinion. Extravagant designs could distract from the real story and make the setting, a class full of normal students, less credible. The students and teachers each have an individual look, but none of them stand out too much. Mei looks very different from the rest. That is because she is supposed to be a focus point in this story.

When it comes to the intro music it fit the horror theme very well, but didn’t exactly fit my taste. Because the vocals were a bit too high and fast for me, at times. But the animation and music did fit very well together. The outro music was, as opposed to the intro, very calm and the images shown fit well with this.

Personally I think this anime was pretty good. The storyline was interesting, once it really got started, and the characters are pretty interesting too. As horror isn’t my favorite genre I was a bit hesitant to watch it at first, but the underlying story and the events that occur did really grab my attention. The interactions between the characters and several lighter moments made it more interesting and easier to watch.

If you can’t get enough of Another you could read the novel the anime was based on, or the related manga. There is also an OVA you could watch, Another: The Other – Inga and a spinoff light novel called Another: Episode S. There’s even a live-action movie.

Studios: P.A. Works
Started airing: 10th of January 2012
Number of episodes: 12

Rating: 70/100

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