28/10/2013

Series of Events: Another (2012)


In "Series of Events" we take a look at finished TV-shows.

Series: Another (アナザー Anazā)
Release: 2012, Television/Simulcast
Length: 12 episodes
Starring: Atsushi Abe, Natsumi Takamori
Directed by: Tsutomu Mizushima
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: The young Kouichi transfer to a new school and class in a small rural town. However, there is a mysterious girl in his new class who everybody seems to ignore deliberately, and his meddling soon opens the door to a mystery and a horrific curse that has haunted the Yomiyama Middle School for ages.

Hans' thoughts:

Based on a novel by the same name, Another proves once again the aptitude the Japanese have for horror. Setting the tone with a low retelling of the beginning of the curse, and some really creepy music, we're introduced to the tale "Mizaki", a person in the 9th grade class 3 who died 26 years prior to the story's beginning. This is just a very good example of things to come, the entirety of the series has the feeling of a really well-told ghost story and the music throughout manages to hold this level of creepiness.

This is also partially because of the series intro Kyomu Densei, while upbeat the use of rhythm changes sounding almost like several different songs blending together. This combined with creepy imagery of the abandoned school building, dolls and several accidents happening just serves to up the creepy even more. I have to say though I am not that big on the closing theme, while certainly pleasant to listen to I feel it is way too reminiscent of ending themes from other series, even those not of the same genre. It also feels really jarring to have this peaceful of an ending theme when an episode leaves off on a chilling cliffhanger.


Character-wise this show really threw me through a loop, when I first watched the series I thought I knew exactly how all the characters were going to be - only to be wrong on so many different occasions. Especially the secondary main character Mizaki would throw me through a hoop a couple of times. Unfortunately our male lead, the character of Kouichi, could've have been written a lot better. He seems way too easily manipulated by the events around him, I don't know whether this was intended to be a character fault of his but he comes off as way too interchangeable, however it's worth noting that by the half-way point of the series he really comes into his own and becomes an interesting protagonist - it's just the initial crawl you have to get over first. There is not much to say about the minor characters, they are all your common high school anime fare. You have the no-nonsense class president, the wisecracking male sidekick and the nervous girl.  The death scenes in this show are on the hand pretty well done, often times coming when least expected.


There is not much difference from other shows, art-wise
Another manages to be cartoon show that's actually scary, something I very much doubt could've been pulled off in western animation, in any case I've yet to see it happen. The withholding of information and the absolute oozing of atmosphere is just a testament to the fact that western writers are far too quick to reveal everything about the main villain, a big problem to me about the slasher genre as an example is that once we know what the deal with the killer is, it stops being a scary story and becomes just a series of imaginative death scenes. Another is a good old fashioned ghost story and really, sometimes that's all you really need to make something scary. The show also manages to not overstay it's welcome and instead only runs 12 episodes. Enough to be given enough time to tell a scary story and wrap things out without padding the story once we already know what is going on.

Another was shown on TV in Japan, but Simulcast throughout most of the west. Simulcast means that episodes of the show were made available for streaming online shortly after it aired on TV. The show was simulcast on the website Crunchyroll.com, where it's still available to watch for free should you be curious to check it out.
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