Another Anime Review - Double Feature Part 1
Welcome to the Imouri Anime Review, where people vote for an anime that the Imouri team will review. The anime will be reviewed using these four criteria; Story, Animation, Character Development, and World-Building. Each category will be given of score (1-10), and then an overall score will be determined.
It's Halloween and do you know what that means? The users from the Secret Anime Club voted for three spooky themed anime. It was a close vote, but Another was the anime chosen for the October review. But this year is special. Imouri is doing a special Double Feature anime review. Part 1 will be Another and Part 2 will be Highschool of the Dead. Be sure to check out Highschool of the Dead's anime review here.
The StoryAnother's story has both classic and unique elements to it. Do you remember the book "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"? If you have, then you definitely will get that vibe from this anime. If you haven't, then what you will experience in this anime is raw, mysterious horror filled with an eerie chill that slowly descends down your spine as the story continues on.
The story focuses on 2 main characters; Sakakibara Koichi and Misaki Mei, as strange occurrences occur involving Yomiyama North's class 9-3 and the mysterious "Calamity." There is a strong presence of uneasiness as, one by one, the students of 9-3 and/or their subsequent relatives die, unnatural grueling deaths. Koichi struggles to understand what is happening to the class as countermeasures and "rules" are made to prevent further death.
I love ghost stories, and this anime really brings out the dread you will feel as the story unfolds. It has many classic elements of a great ghost story; fear, suspense, surprise, and mystery. What makes Another's story even more impressive is when the dread and anxiety have a momentary break. It feels like you are riding a roller coaster where both scary parts and calming parts control the viewer's mood. The brief pauses give you a false sense of ease before BAM, your hit with even more dread has the story unfolds.
The only thing I wish the story had was a stronger ending. I felt that the last 2 episodes really missed the mark on making a better conclusion. That is not to say that the final 2 episodes were terrible, but there were elements of those 2 episodes that felt were not needed and a couple of elements needed. I don't want to get into spoiler territory. Still, while the final 2 episodes were okay, some missed marks could have easily been incorporated to strengthen the ending due to the location of the characters and what was transpiring.
Story Score: 8/10
The AnimationWhat I loved about Another was its animation and sound. Another has a fluid style of animation, and due to the location of Yomiyama being a small city in the countryside, it really does show. You get constant backdrop shots of the city, and the details are pretty cool. On the surface, everything looks new and modern to an extent. This anime is based in the late '90s, specifically 1998, but you can see hints of wear and tear in the buildings, signifying decay upon closer inspection, specifically on the hospital and the school. The environment feels almost old and dirty with the modern era trying to cover up its past.
An excellent element that the animation includes are quick flashes of eerie imagery, specifically dolls. The environment itself is trying to tell you the story. What I felt sort of fell flat was the death scenes. While very apparent that someone died, a lot of the deaths did that whole black gradient animation to make the deaths a little less intense. I don't want to spoil what the death scenes are, but you can tell a small portion of the bodies is covered in black, kind of like the mysterious white lights that block intimate parts of a female character's body in a harem or ecchi anime.
The sound really hits home in this anime. It may seem annoying to some which the high pitch noises and awkward tones, but those sounds have a purpose. That purpose is to promote fear. While storytelling is essential as well as imagery, the sound has a unique function in ghost stories. Its role is to emit strong feelings of doubt, tension, and dread in the viewer and carry that feeling for long periods. The sound in Another really helps build the overall story.
Animation Score: 8/10
Character DevelopmentAnother has some character development, specifically from Mei, Koichi, and a side character Akazawa Izumi. I'll be honest, almost all the students, even the ones introduced, are really just potential cannon fodder for the "Calamity." But for Mei and Koichi, there is some development on their end, even some potential relationship interest.
Although there is not much, throughout the story, Mei does open up more and more to Koichi as the story goes on. Koichi finds to open up back to Mei but also some classmates as he unravels the mystery. As for Akazawa, she is introduced in the first episode, but she makes regular appearances throughout the series, and she also starts to open up as well. She even has a minor part in Koichi's story to some extent.
Most of the other characters contribute a small bit to the overall story. A couple of students start to interact with Mei a bit more, but nothing is considered a significant milestone. Overall, the development of the characters was okay. Mei and Koichi show the most promise as the story goes on.
Character Development Score: 5/10
World-BuildingThe world of Another is mostly isolated to the city of Yomiyama. While on the surface, it's an ordinary city, you can see through its imagery that there is something eerie about the location. The story does a decent job of going into the past with the previous 9-3 classes and their "Calamity" events. This helps build the entire world of Another. While I much appreciated the lore behind how the "Calamity" begins, I felt there wasn't enough lore to really flesh out the world. You learn some details about the other 9-3 classes, but it's more story-driven than world-building.
Perhaps the one thing I liked about Another's world-building is the 9-3 class from 15 years before the current timeline. What makes this so special is that they incorporate locations around the city into its world-building and provides leverage for continuing the story. While this is only brief, you do get a sense of something just a bit grander in that this "Calamity" stretches beyond the classroom and its students. There is another world-building aspect that I did like. However, that gets into spoiler territory and does directly impact the story. So I will omit it, but trust me when I say that this particular aspect does bring the world of Another and the City of Yomiyama full circle.
World-Building Score: 6/10
Overall, I really enjoyed Another for its spooky story and great use of sound and animation. Again, Another falls short with character development and world-building, but sometimes you don't need that to tell a scary story. At the end of the day, Another delivers on its scary story factor, which is the most important. It gives you a sense of dread and the fear of the unknown. If you are looking for a classic scary story with some twists, I highly recommend Another.
Overall Score: 7/10
*All images are from the My Anime List website. We do not own any of these images. Credit to all artists of the images.