I was flicking through channels on the tv the other night. Hundreds and hundreds of channels with not a single interesting thing to watch. Then I remembered that my TV had Viewster on it. So I had a quick look at the animes available to watch and stumbled over Another. I had never heard of it before, but it was only 12 episodes long and felt it would fill the boredom-hole. It certainly did! Slow to start, Another takes a couple of episodes to really get going. But bear with it if you do watch because it is so worth it. Again I stepped out of my comfort zone and watched something I normally wouldn’t as Another is basically a horror story with blood and gore.
The story revolves around 15-year-old Kouichi Sakakibara who joins a school as a transfer student. He is placed in class 3-3, which is filled with suspicious, nervous, secretive and downright gloomy students. One student–Mei– is particularly strange as no one seems to see her and you question whether she is really there or not. She wears a conspicuous eyepatch and no one speaks about her nor acknowledges her existence. This prompts Kouichi to start asking questions about her and the story begins to unfold in a terrifying way.
He discovers that in 1972 there was a student named Misaki who died during the school year. His classmates were devastated by his death and so pretended he was still alive, right up until their graduation. Even to the point of leaving his desk in the class as if he sat there every day. In the graduation photo, Mizaki could be seen as a blurry version of himself–a ghost picture. Since then, every year, any student in class 3-3 is in danger of dying the most horrendous death as by pretending Misaki was still alive, they inadvertently invited a ‘calamity’ into the school.
Why Mei is ignored is unveiled and as a result Kouichi himself becomes ignored, allowing the two to converse normally and discuss what the calamity is and how they might possibly stop it. As the series goes on, things begin to happen and believe me when I say there were times I had my hands up to my face to stifle a cry of horror. Students begin to die in the worst ways imaginable, and quite graphically, too. One by one their classmates die off while Mei and Kouichi struggle to find a way to prevent more deaths.
Another is a clean animation. The drawings are flawless and perhaps at times a little too flawless as very little detail is left out–even in the deaths. Some of the deaths made me shudder and as I mentioned before, one in particular made me cry out! The soundtrack adds to the creepy atmosphere and there are times it really ramps up the excitement and anxiety on the run up to a death.
Another is not for the faint hearted. It is a supernatural horror anime with lots of blood and gore, but it is a brilliant story. It also isn’t perfect. There were parts in which I wanted to scream WTF?! at the television. One time in particular was when there is a building on fire and no one really seems to be that bothered. Like, the building is on fire people!! Get out!!! But no, they all mill around and walk to every room and….yeah, like I say, not perfect.
After I finished watching I read up on it and discovered it was originally a manga. I will be searching for the manga to read, as apparently there are some differences from the anime. It might not be one I will watch again, but it definitely cured my boredom!
F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE