Posted by psgels on 27 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Another



So, Another: the season’s horror series. Let me put a fair warning out first, because for the past months I have seen a few people unpleasantly surprised by its true nature: this show is brutal. If you don’t want to watch gore, then stay as far away from this show as possible, because it contains a number of very graphic death scenes. This is particularly nasty, because it takes a while for it to reveal this nature.

A lot of the airtime in this series is spent on building up. It’s nowhere as extreme as with Blood-C, but still this show really puts emphasis on creating an atmosphere to draw the viewer in, only to toy with this in a gruesome manner. This is also what makes this show great: the contrast between surprisingly relatable characters, and the really dark and intense scenes.

With a lot of the bad horror flicks, the creators spend little time on the characters themselves, however this series avoids this very well. This goes in particular through a very solid lead couple: the two of them have creative backgrounds, they’re well fleshed out, and this series also allows the two of them to play off each other really well whenever they are together. There really is a lot of detail in their acting and dialogue.

The show also rocks in terms of mystery. The show evolves quite nicely as we learn more and more about what’s going on and the characters. The series loves to drop random hints and red herrings everywhere, which really spice up its scenario. This isn’t the series that answers everything, but the closure it gives at the end does wrap things up.

However, this series also is far from perfect. By far the biggest flaw is that it’s trying too hard at times. This series really wants to be atmospheric and haunting, but the twists it pulls at times are just to forced or obvious to take serious. Think of being in an art class, with one of the students suddenly painting “The Scream” of all things. I like symbolism, but there is a line for everything. What also seems to plague this series, especially in its second half, is that it tends to pull very convenient plot twists, just for the sake of wrapping everything up.

It’s understandable that this series wanted to get everything done in just 12 episodes, but that comes with a sacrifice. The cast of this series is huge, and unfortunately it just doesn’t have the time to flesh every single character out, even though this really could have improved this series considering the nature of the story. The same goes with the plot: with more episodes it could have wrapped things up more naturally, but that would have been at the expense of a few boring episodes. And really: the way Another is now, it’s a quick bite-sized horror show that despite its quiet moment never has a part that drags.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Excellent mystery, build-up and turns into very intense horror. Tries too hard at other times, though.
Characters: 8,5/10 – Very well acted main couple, but some of the side-characters could have been better fleshed out.
Production-Values: 8/10 – This isn’t as good as the standard that we’re used to from PA works, but this series still has its moment of very life-like animation.
Setting: 9/10 – I must say that the story behind everything is very creative, and this series knows it.

Yes, I’m also trying to experiment a bit with refining the ratings of these reviews a bit, because Another was a perfect example of a series that I liked better than most series I’d rate 82,5/100, but not as much as the series that I’d rate 85/100). Doing so would lead to a rating of 83,75/100, which is getting a bit ridiculously specific, so rounded a bit more sensibly this lead to the rating of 84/100. For me, this rating means a series with a lot of reasons to be worth watching and something I really enjoyed, which has something that holds it back from being really excellent, which describes Another perfectly for me.
Suggestions:
Ghost Hound
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Hitsuji no Uta

24 Responses

  1. Armpit says:

    Awesome review psgels.

    They took a series with young kids, and cutesy character designs , and still made a solid anime out of it. I feel it is a good sign for the future of anime.

    I also want to say i’m impressed with the romance, well if you count it as romance. Yet i loved the Mei/Koichi moments we had. Even without this series being a romance, the romantic elements in it still feel more real than most actual romance works.

    • tktym says:

      Totally agreed here, pretty much everything about this show was refreshing, compared to the fanservice/moe/otaku pandering that’s been going on in anime lately, even with some of the “wtf that doesnt make any sense!” moments I still enjoyed it more than 90% of the shows out this season

  2. Guigas says:

    84/100, huh. I’m surprised with such score. I was preety much certain that you’d give it a 70 or 72,5/100 for this one. Guess I don’t know your tastes as much as I thought :)

    • anim3spy says:

      HUH!
      If you compare Another(84) with Rinne no Lagrange(82.5). The score was as expected.
      This series has 3 good-great episodes and 9 excelent-awesome episodes. Rinne no Lagrange 1 disapoiting, 3 good-great episodes and 8 excelent-awesome episodes.
      How could he give this serie such a low score of 70-72.5.
      72,5/100: These series did quite a few things wrong here. They’ve got some nice parts, but overall they’re not worth it.
      70/100: Very flawed series that are only enjoyable if you’re really bored.

      • Guigas says:

        Oh, I know Psgels rate his stuff weekly, but I’m used to read only his final reviews about the anime, I don’t read any of his weekly posts so I didn’t know he was liking the progression of Another. So I was guessing he’d give a low score based on my intuitions only.

  3. Guigas says:

    BTW Another was quite bland IMO. Could have been a lot better…

    • confused otaku says:

      maybe you should try the manga? It’s better and more realistic I think (at least, everything makes sense in the manga .. for me at least)

      I drop the anime at episode 3 .. pick it up again because lots of people seems to like it, drop it again (for real this time) at episode 11 … I read in animesuki that the manga goes in a different direction than the anime, so I decide to give the manga a try and I definitely enjoy it till the end.

  4. Armpit says:

    Same could be said for all but a handful of anime. Almost all of them could of been a lot better.

  5. Vonter says:

    Is this series like Mirai Nikki? In the senes of madness, and over the top violence.

    • KaZuHiRo says:

      Not quite. This is more like Shiki/Blood-C/Mouryou no Hako/Ga-Rei Zero but more in the mystery/horror department.

  6. AidanAK47 says:

    I am sort of on the fence about the comment on the gore Psgels. Brutal isn’t a word I would use to describe it. Juvenile is more appropriate. The gore in blood c and Another can be compared to Mortal Kombat. Too over the top to be taken seriously. Most of the time I was just laughing at the absurdity of it rather than being horrified.

    I hate to say this as I don’t like the guy who stated this, but the deaths are too telegraphed. When someone is about to die you know they about to die. A lady gets into an elevator and you think “Yep, she’s dead.” You know how it’s going to happen and it’s just a matter of seeing the result. Horror isn’t good when it’s predictable. Horror leads you into a false sense of security and shocks you off balance when you least expect it. The best death in this series was the car one. That was brilliant. No eerie music. No clues. Just dead silence and you wait. You thought something might happen but you were not sure. You think you know how it will happen but it throws you something unexpected. It catches you off guard and That’s how the deaths should be. That my friend, is horror.

    As a mystery it doesn’t give the viewers enough information about the characters to make judgements. As a horror it’s too obvious. But as a slasher flick it’s a decent show. Mindless but enjoyable.

    • Armpit says:

      The umbrella death i think is the only one i would consider brutal. I agree with you though it is just mindless fun. The only reason i probably would of rated it as high as psgels is because i was very impressed with how the kept the characters from being total cliches. I loved that even though they had those cutesy type characters, they didn’t digress in to giving us random out of place fan service. I loved the subtle romance, and how it didn’t take anything away from the main story.

      Still there were a bunch of useless characters that we had no info on so who cares when they died. I had no sense of attachment to most of the characters. At least thats how i ended up feeling.

  7. Pax says:

    Well, this was most definitely an entertaining series, I especially liked the first half of the series, mostly since during that half I was actually thinking this might turn out to be quite a complex horror story, using superstition as a main theme and it turns out that there is no ghost, but in the end it’s still the old mysterious supernatural, that never really gets explained and is used just as an excuse to have this story of survival. As I said in the beginning, it was entertaining, but I’ve read and watched too many horror and this was nothing to write home about.

  8. Litho says:

    6.5/10 for me, and I’m being generous here since the atmosphere and sound direction in the early episodes was pretty good. The gore went from relevant in the earlier eps to borderline comedic (the unfunny kind) towards the end.

    Definitely not in the same league as Ghost Hound, but it did have its moments.

  9. Elk says:

    You should have suggested Shiki instead of Hitsuji no Uta. The author of Another is actually the husband of Shiki Author.

    The novel and manga is actually better than the anime imo. At least, they make more sense and the characters are much more fleshed out. The Anime tries to hard to make this like a thrill anime when the real deal is actually the mysteries.

    —Spoiler—

    In the Anime, it feels like Sakakibara is a cold guy who only cares for his love interest, Misaki. Like, everything’s fine as long as Misaki is beside me. That’s just too bad. The truth is, at the end of the series, Sakakibara cried for Reiko in front of her grave, wishing that he could keep on remembering her. Their relationship is much more sweet and it’s clearly shown that he considered Reiko like a mother he never had. But after a while, he accepted her death and made a promise with Misaki to visit the art museum in Tokyo after their graduation. They talked about this once in the rooftop before.

    It’s also indicated in the novel and manga that the extra people return because they have regrets and more than one people reject their death. Rejecting someone’s death is the same as rejecting one’s existence. That is why the most effective way to prevent the calamity is by ignoring someone. So the best way to end the curse once and for all is to not reject the death and accept it so the dead people can rest in peace. However, we all know that it’s a difficult thing to do for the mourning people and so the curse continues to exist.

    • Pafiume says:

      Thanks for that little extra! I wish they had put that in, it really would have closed things up. But I guess they didn’t have time. A shame.

  10. Pafiume says:

    I loved this show. Marathoned it yesterday and something about the atmosphere just sucked me in. For me, it was perfect. But I do see things wrong with it, like Psgels was saying the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more, and that maid just killing everyone in the hotel was stupid. Like… I feel like that should have been explained a LITTLE, I understand that she probably just went mad, or was controlled by something, but it was just random and I thought a little stupid. I pitied her for being sucked in, though.

    Beyond that what bugged me was the killing. All the deaths either had super slow motion scenes (like the first one) which just drew it out to the point of me laughing, or they showed how the kid was going to die a good five minutes before it happened, so I knew it was going to happen, and as it got closer I started laughing again! Even those deaths still made me jump or shudder a bit, though, and there were some good unexpected ones.

    But shit. That homicidal maniac voice acting in those last two episodes was great. I fucking loved it. I would so recommend this show.

  11. jreding says:

    Psgels, while I generally agree with your rating of the production values at 8/10 I think the backgrounds and the level of detail would have deserved mentioning. The animation itself was – except for a few action scenes – rather subpar and someteimes even awkward. But I can’t remember a show in the last seasons which consistently had such a high level of detail both in the characters and in the backgrounds!

  12. kero says:

    I was interested in watching the story progress and liked it until the ending which I really could not believe in. From reading the snippets posted it sounds like they ruined the original story in this aspect. There were some great scenes I think, I still love that dream dance sequence and at the start it was interesting to see how the classmates would die.

    The reveal made sense of why it was Reiko, so in that respect I was not disappointed.

    I’m not sure how I would rate this when compared to Blood-C. Wait no I do. It was better for most of the way with better characters.. but Blood-C had a better ending that made me wanted to watch the following battle.

  13. Mike Stevens says:

    The genre of Another is my favorite, gore and suspense, so for me this anime was just incredible.

    Something they didn’t really explain i thought was the reason why people die. If you remember in the first episode this one lady said “You need to act like a group instead of an individual.” If you think back to every death the person who died did something that was against the will of the whole class. Without this knowledge all the deaths look random and pointless but it does have a meaning behind it.

    The one thing that this series did amazingly was its visuals. Good god there were some beautiful scenes and when they show people in a restaurant you see other people walk around and pay for their meals like normal people would do. In other anime they don’t really try to do anything with the background characters, sometimes they even just put stick figures but this series by far put some great work into the background animation.

    I would rate this higher for myself but that’s because this genre appeals to me. I think your score of 84 is right on the mark. The story line and background story to characters could have been better. But all in all i think it deserved an 84 as well.

  14. Space Eater says:

    This anime was the best horror/suspense I watched. The characters are believable, plot twists, subtle hints and scares, Another had it all. Definitely gory, but its not so much that it makes it distasteful, like some animes that just go off handle and spill gallons of blood and guts.

  15. Janfred says:

    Best horror anime for me, I would rate this 90+ for good characters and good twist of events/facts ^^

  16. Mirai says:

    i give this anime 10/10 because for me this anime fit my taste perfectly! and thank God there is no ecchi in this anime! :)

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