Posted by psgels on 6 February 2012 with categories: Another

I didn’t expect the answers for everything to come up this early in the series. This episode was where this show said “okay, that’s enough building up, time to explain why everyone is acting so weird”. And I must say, I like the story that’s behind this a lot here.

This puts the first episodes in an interesting perspective: we were lead, along with the main character, to believe that Mei was some sort of ghost. Instead, she was only treated as a ghost by the students of class 3. On top of that, the real ghost is one of the other students of the class, just nobody knows who.

That also has a very interesting effect that I applauded this series for: there are no copy-paste students in that class. Everyone here feels like a proper classmate, there just are a bunch of them who don’t talk to the main character. This doesn’t have the usual anime syndrome where some characters have obviously better character designs or something. The only exception of this being Mei, who just looks too moe compared to the rest of them (I was quite surprised when I saw how much she changed compared to her designs of the original source material).

What’s also surprising is that my criticism of the first two episodes (it’s trying too hard!) are much less noticeable right now. I mean, during art class, episode 2 had people draw things like the scream, and the random doll shots that appeared for no reason whatsoever. In this episode, everyone was acting very naturally. It’s like the creators were afraid that these first two episodes weren’t interesting enough to hold people’s attention, so they threw those random things in there or something. Personally, I use completely different criteria to determine if something is worth my time. In particular I look at the execution and acting, which were perfectly fine and would have been even better with those obnoxious distractions.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

21 Responses

  1. Cholisose says:

    While I always felt this show had an excellent atmosphere, I now feel safe in saying it has an excellent storyline too. It’s really rather clever how all the “slightly off” events of the first four episodes now make a lot more sense. All the little ways everyone acts… it all fits now. Definitely my favorite show of the season–I only hope the story’s quality will remain this good now that the playing field has changed so much.

  2. john says:

    This show’s main problem is that it gets to the amazing parts a lot later on. People nowadays are way too used to the first couple of episodes being amazing, and when it isn’t, they just drop it.

  3. Cytl says:

    Now that you mention it I think you’re right about the hook in the first episodes. Along those lines the choice of Noizi Ito for the characters designs pretty the correct, expanding the target audience with more friendly-to-the-eye characters is a good way of not loosing the integrity of the story.
    I kinda want to see the character development for Mei next episode.

  4. Padre says:

    Loving this series so far. This is the first anime I’ve watched in a long time where I don’t feel like I have to force myself to sit through it.

  5. imredjimmy says:

    Oh now this is getting very interesting :D Congrats to the person (i don’t remember who) that had guessed that they were just ignoring Mei to counter some sort of curse. I wish I could have the class roster with the pictures to keep track of all of them and put big red X’s on their faces when they die XD If I’m right there were 30 of them….minus the girl with the umbrella and the heart attack guy. 28 left, Mei doesn’t really count though, and I wonder if the main character is on the class roster as well…

  6. sato says:

    Because of the fact that the “another” student doesn’t know he’s dead, we can’t stop suspecting Mei until the final reveal. But Kouichi is most suspicious at the moment, because he’s the new “transfer” student that disrupted the class. With his ties to the class through his aunt and dead mother, and the fact that the series started with him in a hospital bed, there’s plenty of evidence. Likely, that’s all the author’s trolling to lead us astray. So, if written well, the suspects will keep increasing!

    But I do wonder, if the deaths are set off by the arrival of an extra ghost student who gets left out because there isn’t a desk for them, why don’t they just add a desk when the numbers don’t match?

    • TinyRedLeaf says:

      By that time, it would be too late. It means acknowledging that the ghost student exists, which triggers the curse. (Hey, teach, so-and-so doesn’t have a desk… Wait, you’re not supposed to exist! uurrk *falls down dead*)

      It appears that the current counter-measures are the result of several iterations of trial and error. The students still don’t know why the curse exists, let alone what drives it. But they seemed to have stopped the deaths for the better part of the last 10 years, or so they had hoped.

      The trick, it seems, is to always ensure that only 29 REAL students are assigned to Class 3-3 every year. Before the school year starts, someone must be “volunteered” as non-existent, so that when the “extra” turns up, the class would still officially have 29 students. The magic number is 30, it seems. Once you start the year with 30 students, the deaths begin.

      Kouichi’s arrival, AFTER the start of the term, threw a massive spanner into the works, leaving the poor students confused about what to do next. Is Kouichi the “extra”? If he is, wouldn’t it be dangerous to acknowledge his existence? But what if he’s not? It would be cruel to ostracise someone for no fault of his own. Neither can they tell him about it, because the “probation” has already started. Telling him, if he turned out to be the ghost, acknowledges his existence, wham, the curse begins.

      It was a Catch-22 situation. The students were damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

      • CY says:

        Wait… I thought you’re supposed to treat the Ghost as a real student and ignore one of the real students in order to keep the Curse at bay?
        Isn’t that why there’s 29 students but 30 sets of tables & chairs in the classroom? *Confused*

        I have got to stay this… If they do pull a “Sixth Sense” and make Kouichi the ghost… I will freak out… Anyway, i couldn’t help but feel that Kouichi’s mother will also play a role in the story as that Library Teacher seem to imply…

        As for Mei not being the Ghost… Is it just me or does her animation seem more alive and less other-worldly after the relevation?

        But all in all, I’m voting for the Countermeasures girl, Akazawa Izumi… No concrete reasons but i’m getting some weird vibes from her… :P

      • Rio says:

        Isn’t it the fact that Kouchi was acknowledging Mei’s existance that was the problem?

        • mousoukyoku says:

          Yes, that’s exactly the problem. The key is not that the students have to treat the dead one like (s)he’s alive. Nobody knows who is the extra one from hell. The extra one doesn’t even know him/herself. The class experienced fewer deaths in the past as long as this countermeasure worked accordingly and everyone cooperated. That’s pretty diffucult though as you can imagine I guess. They’ll also be telling a bit about that in the next episodes if I remember the novel correctly.

      • Padre says:

        Wait. If there is supposed to be 29 students at all times, and 30 when the ghost is added into the fray … Kouichi’s arrival SHOULD bring the total number of students to 31, no?

        This alone should instantly clear Kouichi (or instantly identify him as the ghost). If, after his arrival to the class, the grand total of the class is 31, then it can be said that he ISN’T the ghost, since the ghost had already appeared before he arrived. But if the total is 30, then Kouichi would be the “30th classmate”, which logically means …

        • Gunner says:

          If I’m not mistaken, Kouichi is the 30th student (Not sure if he’s really the extra).

          He’s a transfer student and hospitalized in the first days. That’s why everyone was anxious, asking him weird question like “have you lived here before?”. I assume they suspected him to be a former resident of Yomiyama who died, which also means that he’s the extra one. But Kouichi said he’s never been in Yomiyama before, that’s also why he didn’t know about the urban legend.

        • Rio says:

          I don’t think it can be Kouchi because with the ‘extra ghost student’ they don’t know when it arrives. They just suddenly realise there aren’t enough desks.

          They all know that Kouchi is a transfer student though, so knowing about his arrival surely that means he can’t be the ghost?

          From the layout of the desks, it looks like 5 columns and 6 rows which is 30 desks so he must be the 30th student.

  7. Anca says:

    I haven’t seen the past two episodes yet, but people actually believed Mei was dead? Heh.

    The thought did cross my mind, but when everyone could see her just fine I thought “so people are just pretending she doesn’t exist.”

  8. Andmeuths says:

    Well, there’s still a chance that Mei is the Dead one. Who is to say that whatever the accident that caused her to loose an eye actually killed her, instead?

  9. RABUJOI says:

    Revealing some truths (like Misaki is not a ghost) and answering some questions (like why the class is ostracizing her and now Sakaki) only leads to more questions for me (like what’s the endgame?), but that’s okay. I’m glad this series has started to turn away from earlier horror cliches and is finding its own voice.

  10. starpowder says:

    Honestly, I don’t think that Koichi’s the “extra” because he was on the roster since the first day of when the class started. They even pointed it on in episode one.

    I read on another forum that possible reasons why Mei was chosen was because:

    1) Her name is Misaki, the same name of the first girl who died 26 years ago.

    2) Her cousin died (which is why she went to the morgue and why Kouichi had the nurse investigate before her own untimely death) when Kouchi was in the hospital. That may have been the first death from the class (remember that the curse also affects the class’s family members as well) and they freaked out and decided to ignore her.

    3) Even though the president of the countering-measures was present when the class officers at the time gave him flowers in the first episode, it wasn’t like they could have explained to him what the “rules” were (which, again, when Mei’s cousin died – they probably freaked out and thought that the curse had already begun).

    What I would like to know is: even if the above theory is true about the reasons why Mei was chosen (or if it really is a coincidence but I honestly don’t buy that for a second) as the “extra” for that particular year, why didn’t they tell him before he went back to school? I mean, if I’m remembering it right, I can understand they didn’t because the nurse and Kouichi’s family were there so it wasn’t like they were able to be respectful towards them… but why not shortly thereafter or rather do it right when the pig-tailed girl eventually cornered and talked to him about it?

    That’s one serious mistake if that’s the case.

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.

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