Tomoaki MaenoAnotherRie TakahashiKengo Kawanishi
Another (2012 anime)
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2012
Director: Tsutomu Mizushima
Original creator: Yukito Ayatsuji
Actor: Atsushi Abe, Natsumi Takamori, Ai Nonaka, Hiroaki Hirata, Kazutomi Yamamoto, Madoka Yonezawa, Misato Fukuen, Naoko Sakakibara, Seiko Yoshida, Tomoaki Maeno, Genki Muro, Go Inoue, Haruna Sakurai, Hiromi Igarashi, Hitomi Harada, Iori Nomizu, Keisuke Koumoto, Kengo Kawanishi, Kenichi Mine, Kouji Yada, Kousuke Kobayashi, Kouzou Mito, Mana Hirata, Mitsuhiro Ichiki, Mizuka Arima, Rie Takahashi, Ryota Asari, Satomi Akesaka, Shinya Takahashi, Shizuka Furuya, Sho Takano, Takurou Kitagawa, Yoshino Nanjou, Yu Shimamura, Misuzu Togashi
Keywords: Another, anime, horror, ghost
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=13258
Website category: Anime early 10s
Review date: 23 March 2016
I quite like it. It's not transcending its genre, but it's quite interesting and I admire what it's doing.
It's a ghost story. Or a horror story. Or a suspense story. Something a bit like those, anyway. The details are slippery, but it's definitely a story in which the living are worryingly close to the dead. Here's the backstory we're told at the beginning:
Once upon a time, there was a nice girl who was popular with all her classmates and teachers... but then she died. However, one day, one of her friends pointed at an empty chair and said, "Look, she's still alive! There she is!" The weird/creepy thing is that everyone else in the class agreed, including the teachers, and the pretence was kept up all the way through to graduation.
That's assuming it was a pretence, of course.
And now, believe it or not, I'm already close to the limits of what I can say without giving away spoilers. What's happening? Why is it happening? Why will no one tell Kouichi? What are the survival strategies that have evolved in this small-town school over the years and why are they breaking down now? (That's an easy one to answer, though. They were never very reliable to begin with.) What's the significance of the title? (Quite a lot, actually. "Another" is a fundamental concept in this story, and not just in the straightforward sense of "another gruesome fatality".)
It's a stylish show, animated to the usual high standards of P.A. Works. Just look at the start of the opening title sequence. Look out for those briefly glimpsed legs. To be in the world of Another is to be quiet, melancholy and withdrawn. There's often rain. There's rust that looks like blood. The characters are often viewed from a distance, be they up stairs, down corridors or through windows. The dolls I'm still not quite sure about, but you they certainly add to the atmosphere.
Then there's the gore. Goodness me. There are a couple of real set-pieces.
I think the most interesting material is when ghost story things are going on not for supernatural reasons, but because of deliberate choices by human beings. There's a big one in the first half, then an apocalyptic one in and around ep.11.
The characters are, I think, where the anime fails to be special. They're fine. I quite like them. I enjoyed watching the show. However I think the story's bigger than them, whereas the greatest horror works have characters that transcend the horror story. The show's finale is good, but I think it had an opportunity to be more than that.
(Oh, and Mei with her surgical eye-patch looks like Rikka from Love, Chuunibyou and Other Delusions, which was coincidentally another 2012 anime. Completely different personalities, mind you.)
It's a good show, based on an intriguing idea. It's guilty of "why didn't they say?" syndrome, in a number of ways, but that's obviously the point. The dates might be potentially confusing, mind you. I think it's meant to be set in 1998. Since important events took place earlier in 1972 and 1983, awareness of that is probably important for being able to make sense of everything. I also see, incidentally, that this was originally a novel, but has since spawned a manga, this anime series, an anime OVA and a 2013 live-action film. If I can find those last two, I'll watch them.