Another (anime) Review
One of Hanabee's latest releases, Another, has everything that J-horror fans could want. Creepy schoolgirls and creep schoolgirl dolls, gore aplenty, silly deaths and a number of twists and turns that you may or may not see coming. That said, this series feels like it reaches too far in order to cement itself as an iconic horror series, attempting to reach a Satoshi Kon level of quality, but falls short of the mark. While it may not be iconic, it is a fantastic example of the genre.
"In 1972 Misaki suddenly passed away.
The student’s death was so unexpected that the classmates and teacher had decided to pretend the incident never happened, allowing for Misaki to continue attending class and graduate with them.
-But in doing so they had unwittingly set a curse upon the school-
26 years later, Kouichi Sakakibara transferred into the very same class and it is clear something is amiss. A tense atmosphere has engulfed them and the answer may lie in the hands of an aloof classmate who no one appears to be aware of...." - Hanabee
In 1972, a student dies at school. School gets haunted, bad stuff happens. Basically, that's the premise of the series. Thankfully however, the characters are well realised and fleshed out enough to give substance to the series beyond its cliched premise. The main character, Koichi Sakakibara, in particular is brought to live and manages to avoid the usual hopeless teen archetype and instead creates a young man who is much more sure of himself than in many other similar series. Mei Misaki, our eye patched oddball, on the other hand is delightfully quirky an always unnerving.
Animation studio P.A Works, responsible for Canaan and Angel Beats, have done a fantastic job of bringing the series to life with a creepy sensibility throughout. This is thanks not only to the rather subdued colour palette but also due to it's beautiful vision of "real life" Japan. The realism of its setting assists in increasing the creep factor because of how relatable it is. This story isn't set in a whimsical land, but modern day Japan. Unfortunately I've not read the source material, neither the serial novel nor the manga, so I can't comment on the interpretation of character design but there were certain times at which the attempts to hit Satoshi Kon awesomeness very nearly work such as at the doll store. Nearly working is a close as it gets, however.
Overall, Another is a good example of the j-horror genre if not a predictable one but don't let that stop you. Full of mystery, suspense and a smattering of gore, Another really does put on a good show. Regardless of how well known the plot devices are, they are put to good use and pull together to create a good anime series, but not a great one. It is certainly a good series and worth sticking it out for a pretty damn good ending which is well worth the wait. If you have the option, grab yourself a copy on Blu Ray. The stunning sharpness and colour depth alone is worth the extra few coins.