Another – Review
Another isn’t very subtle about telling you that scary stuff is about to happen.
Another: The Ways Of Getting To Know One Another
One thing about the show still baffles me: How did this whole phenomena start? Was it really this one class’ fault since they didn’t treat the dead classmate as well, dead? Did they just tiptoe around the matter the entire time? It certainly seems weird how this phenomena occurs and in what form. It’s only strange because it doesn’t really say anything about death, the phenomena is just a mystery that needs to be solved and nothing more. The supernatural doesn’t care much about giving a message to the audience in this series.
Release-Date: Winter Season 2012
Nr. of episodes: 12
Synopsis: When Kōichi Sasakibara transfers to his new school, he can sense something frightening in the atmosphere of his new class, a secret none of them will talk about. At the center is the beautiful girl Mei Misaki. Kōichi is immediately drawn to her mysterious aura, but then he begins to realize that no one else in the class is aware of her presence.
You’d think being in a situation where even spoon can kill you in some sort of freaky accident is bad enough but no, at some point they decide to add “killing each other” to the list of causes of death.
The creators of Blood-C give us another chance to look at the horrible Horror of people dying gruesomely. Another with the most stupid title any sane person can come up with shows how important the atmosphere in a plot is. When I think about this series I don’t remember any characters, the story or the fact that Ali Project delivered performance #1034 of the same frigging song and called it new, no, what I will think of the creepy soundtrack played in the background of people doing normal stuff.
This series is about the constant danger that anyone in this class could die in any minute. And the solution to this “phenomena” is also a nice development following that notion and raising the bar for the finale. But what this means is that this series should tell you that the characters are always in danger. To that effect some person decided to let the soundtrack tell us exactly that – all the time. I know that people can die eating peanut-butter in the kitchen but that’s not really a setup for a gruesome death, isn’t it? That’s a comedy! That’s what it is! Danger unseen and seen has to be present as part of the scene and not as a contradiction to the general impression of it. If I see a peaceful scene and the BGM signals suspense then that’s just silly.
Although I have to admit that at least this time I cared about some of the characters compared to Blood-C. What Another is really good at is showing the characters under pressure. The drastic influence of constant danger can be felt when confronted with the class’ behavior, especially in the beginning when there’s the contrast between the main-character’s ignorance (following the new-comer-stereotype) and the big unknown that is the mystery at that point. Misaki is also a very interesting character whose soulless character actually has some surprising depth considering how usually it’s just a forced “Look how weird I am!”-characterization is. Her actions seem rather mysterious at first which is one of the issues I will talk about later but her character is consistent throughout the story so that makes her mysterious appearance actually interesting instead of generic. And in contrast to the ever-present haunting soundtrack her actions are a far better demonstration of the weirdness of the place. The classmates are okay in their presentation as side-characters but never get any chance to become particular deep like the story did with Misaki. Rather the story wants to concentrate on Misaki’s character which is a strange choice for a mystery-driven plot like this one.
If you like seeing creepy puppets then the first half of Another will be a thrill-ride for you. Otherwise you will be even more bored by the experience of repeatedly seeing some puppets with no purpose whatsoever – besides telling you (again) that the whole series is supposed to be scary.
Now the main-character is the worst character of the bunch but not really characterization-wise. He’s not obnoxious or anything. My problem with him is connected to the pacing of the story. His actions have a rather plot-convenient feeling to it. It’s a mystery-driven story so you’d expect someone to play Sherlock and solve the mystery, right? Naturally there’s the main-chara investigating with support from other characters and there are some antagonists trying to stop him. It’s the usual picture of a force trying to overcome some form of resistance so that the truth can be revealed. I already said that the atmosphere of the series fails at portraying the danger or rather it’s overdoing the whole thing so that it becomes stupid. So one is sitting there and the series tries to force its horror-notions on you. Even the last idiot will realize something’s not right and something has to be done against it. But the main-character…? He doesn’t do much. Like a snail he slowly crawls towards the point where he starts asking the hard questions. And all the way towards that point I had already asked the hard questions a hundred times and wondered how long the main-characters would stay dumb. Like that the series has a rather slow pacing that in a rather unconvincing way stretches the story until the point when it meant business.
And therefore the second half of the series is far better than the first half. The developments and the revelations about the central mystery of the series are really worth sitting through this stupid first half. The characters aren’t very endearing so it might be difficult to relate to the plot in some ways but the strangeness and absurdity of the plot is more than enough to make it entertaining, I think. It also comes together very nicely in the end (the stupidity of the slow pacing excluded) which is the kind of reward you like to see in a mystery-series.
Another is a solid mystery-series with strong (or obnoxious, one might say) horror-overtones. As solid as the overall impression is it’s rather unlikely that the characters will leave any impression at all. With a good thought-through mystery at its core, though, this flaw doesn’t really matter. The flaw that really matters in the end is the atrocious pacing which turns the first half into a dull “Let’s wait and see”-scenario which keeps plot-development forcefully to a minimum. But everyone who loves a good mystery-series should suffer through that because the ending is good enough to make this a worthwhile series despite its flaws.