Final Review: Another

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Another is based off a Japanese fiction mystery and horror novel originally published in 2009. It follows Koichi Sakakibara who transfers to Yomiyama Middle School and meeting the mysterious Mei Misaki. Unfortunately, his contact seems to lead to a sequence of mysterious, gruesome, and senseless deaths of his classmates. He later learns that this is a curse that has been stuck with this particular middle school class ever since his mother attended the same school. Another premiered with 12 episodes during the Winter 2012 anime season, was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll and licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

So here’s another title that took me effectively one year to finish as I continue to clear out some of the backlog. Technically I had completed 10 episodes around March 2012 as it was finishing up but real life got mixed in and put it off until now so I’ll try to be brief. To start off, I’m a bit mixed about the story. Another does a great job at providing the suspense factor but does a terrible job at explaining the actual story. It initially starts off very slow with monotone dialogue. The pale setting also didn’t really help until the first death in episode 3. After that, it became what you could call a gore fest. As said before, the suspense factor leading up to all these deaths are great but we never really learn anything about the plot. Even at the end of the day, the “ultimate” mystery is finding out who is the “another” in the class and the conclusion is rather questionable in more ways than one. There really wasn’t much of a mystery involved and was more “horror” and gore than anything else. In fact, one could even say the show goes full circle and doesn’t really resolve anything, such as finding an “effective” solution in remedying the curse in the future.

Background and details are above average for this show. The dark and gloomy setting fits nicely with the show but the visuals get dull really fast due to the vast amount of monotone coloring. Horror is meant to be dark but there is a limit as to what you could do to dark scenery. Everyday should not always be cloudy. Character designs are also stale for the most part. It bugs me how the quality also differs so much when compared to the ED video sequence. Animation is a bit out of wack at times and for the most part basic. Considering this is a work by P.A. Works, this is especially weak when you consider it came off of major titles like Hanasaku Iroha, Angel Beats!, and True Tears.

OP is by ALI PROJECT, a group that I rarely like and Another’s theme is no exception. Fitting with the show to a degree though. ED is ok and also fitting with the series. Background music is great for this show as it matches the suspense factor. It’s nice that they give viewers “a little scare” using the music even though a death doesn’t always occur. Sound effects are rather weak, however. Seiyuu is weak overall. While I didn’t really bother to look at the cast line up this time, everyone is literally monotone that it makes listening to dialogue incredibly boring at times. The explanations are often roundabout with no proper conclusion and having a monotone cast only makes it worse. It’s as if they’re literally reading dialogue from the novel.

Enjoyment? Another had some ups and downs. Ultimately, it felt more like another Blood-C, which is ironically by the same director. Tsutomu Mizushima can clearly do gore but clearly fails at presenting a proper horror story. I’m personally not a big fan of gore. However, I will admit that some of the scenes were well portrayed. Again, if only it was a better adapted story. In terms of other similar titles, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni effectively does what Another does but with a slightly livelier setting. Shiki is another similar title but utilizes a different sort of “curse.”

Overall, Another is one of those shows where once the cat is out of the bag, it’s over. As said many times, suspense drove this show forward. Its characters, plot, “mystery” and premise were all as dull as they could have possibly been. That said, the show does have a little bit of value mostly for those who haven’t seen it and because very few shows exist in this space. However long-term wise as more titles appear in this space, it will likely diminish, especially when titles like Higurashi and Shiki easily top it. In fact, there are even parts of Umineko no Naku Koro ni that I consider more enjoyable than Another.

Story and Character:

  • Premise (1/1): Mystery seems cheesy initially but at the same time intriguing.
  • Character Personalities (0/1): Everyone is monotone.
  • Character Development (0.5/2): Cast grows very large. We don’t actually learn much about the class let alone the small “main cast” yet the show attempts to pass them off as “important.”
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Large cast yet they start dropping like flies halfway through making them “useless” and forgettable.
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): Average. Beginning is really slow and ending seems rushed. Build up in the middle is quite solid though.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1/2): As stated in the synopsis, a number of the deaths are rather nonsensical. The curse is rather odd and never fully explained.
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): The “Another” was obvious yet not obvious. However, the path that the finale took to its revelation was unbelievably bad.
  • Total: 4.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Detailed and above average.
  • Character Designs (1/2): Stale and seems to not fit with the background.
  • Fluidity (1/2): Basic with little to none complexity
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (0.5/2): Monotone coloring that make it boring on the eyes. Nothing really catches a viewer’s eyes from scene to scene.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (0.5/2): P.A. Works has done significantly better quality than this. This reminds me of CANAAN animation quality but worse.
  • Total: 4.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1.5/3): Don’t really like the OP/EDs but both are fitting for the show.
  • Background Music (2/2): Very fitting and strong musical score.
  • Sound Effects (0.5/2): Weak and nearly forgettable. The only memorable sound effects are screams.
  • Seiyuu (1/3): Monotone cast.
  • Total: 5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1/2): Depends on how you define amusement here. Some moments of this show were overly silly that didn’t fit with the tense atmosphere.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1.5/2): It definitely had me hooked two or three episodes. The finale is a very questionable downside.
  • Presentation (1.5/2): Boring beginning with a few odd middle episodes. Suspense is a huge plus.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Cat is out of the bag
  • Recommendation (0.5/2): Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Umineko no Naku Koro ni (kind of…), and Shiki
  • Value (0.5/1): Fair short term value, poor long-term. Show is initially underrated but way over-hyped after it ended
  • Total: 5/10

Preliminary Score: 8/10

Final Score: 5/10

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