Posted 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

Posted on 26 March 2012 with categories: Another

You know what? This is a season of very solid endings (save for Guilty Crown perhaps, but screw that show). I realized that when Another’s ending was the first ending that didn’t live up to my expectations. Oh, it was still good and i liked the closure it gave, but my expectations of this episode were high, and this episode pulled a few things that tugged on my suspense of disbelief.

The closure that was given was very solid though. To be honest, I did not consider Reiko being the ghost being a possibility. Technically she isn’t a student, But I can accept the logic of the ghost being a bit creative. This episode also didn’t really solve the calamity, it only delayed the killings for another year. I don’t mind that either. This is no story about exorcists, it’s about a bunch of teenagers trying to survive. I also liked the direction of this episode. The faces were a bit silly t times, but it nevertheless was good suspense, the action scenes were well directed and shot, and the scene with the revelation of the ghost was also quite creative.

Still, my knowledge about fire kept poking my suspense of disbelief whenever the characters were in the house: what happened to the smoke? I mean, a lot of victims of house fires don’t die because of fire, but because they inhale too much smoke. I can buy scenes with characters running through fire as fast as they can, but the characters in this episode casually walked around a burning building while feeling perfectly fine. In fact, acknowledging the fire could have lead to an interesting extra threat to this episode.

My big issue with this ending is its lack of meaning, though. I’m still not exactly sure what happened here, with the ghost breaking his own rules and suddenly deciding to try and eliminate every single member of the class with random lightning bolts, falling pillars, chandeliers and even trying to kill the dead student… for some strange reason. The people who went crazy were also nice and all, but they would have been even nicer if they actually had been fleshed out a bit. Because of that they also lacked the impact they could have had. And who on earth was that murdering maid?

And then Misaki suddenly revealed that she witnessed Meiko being killed. Of all the places she could have been. The creators could have done an epilogue that explained that: “we later found out that Meiko had been killed when.. blah blah et cetera”. Also, regarding the dolls of the first episode: what was their point again?

Overall, I think I liked Blood-C slightly more over Another (yes, I liked that show). It took much longer to get going, but in the end I liked how bold it was with its mystery, and how everything came together at the end. Another doesn’t necessarily have that ending where everything comes together, but instead it’s the journey that made it memorable, trying to figure out a way how to stop people dying the most bizarre deaths. It tried a bit too hard at times, but overall I’d rank this in the top five shows of the Winter 2012 season..

A review will be posted tomorrow, because it’s too late now (where I am anyway). Why on earth do four series decide to end all at the same bloody time?
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 20 March 2012 with categories: Another

This episode… just went all out. Now that everyone knows that the dead student needs to die, this show just descends into one giant string of murders, with the ghost helping a little bit here and there. Holy crap, this was intense.

While the series has its problems, with this I do have to say that aside from perhaps Milky Holmes and Natsume Yuujinchou (both sequels), Another stands as my favorite Winter Season so far, because of how interesting it made its own plot. The progression so far was very creative, it knows how to use mystery really well, and now that things are spiraling out of control it’s really turning into very good horror here.

Problems in this episode were the abundance of overblown facial expressions, along with that fire in the kitchen. I’m no physics major, but I’m very sure that fire doesn’t work that way. Of course, it’s possible to build up an explosion and all, but that’s only assuming that the pressure can’t escape. While this is plausible in a new building, the hotel they were in seemed rather old. Plus, with a giant fire burning everywhere I’m not sure why there weren’t any holes burnt into the walls at some point. Or why nobody could hear an entire dinner room on freaking fire.

But yeah, the gore was good, but what really made this episode was the psychological horror of everyone just going crazy. This entire episode made use of that by using the entire class for that. One point of criticism would be that the series should have focused more on each of these people, because it’s pretty obvious who the ghost is right now by the logic of that 1) it has to be a named character and 2) it has to be someone who stays into the background, but for that you’d need a 24 episode series.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 12 March 2012 with categories: Another

This episode would have been totally AWESOME… if it weren’t for two specific things. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I had that feeling when the class photo of the dead Misaki was shown. I’ve been dying to see a picture of who he actually was, because all we know about him is that he’s some dead ghost who has been haunting the same class for more than 20 years. That was some awesome build-up there. The rest of this episode also had a really terrific atmosphere that really kept me on the edge of my seat.

But really, are you going to play the padding thing again in two consecutive episodes? This is the reason why I don’t rank Another among the best horror series. And don’t get me wrong: it is really good, but at these points it just tries too hard. The kinds of twists where right when something is about to be revealed something jumps up to break the tension completely misses the point of an anti-climax.

Also… Misaki knew who the ghost was? That sounds like pretty big information to conceal, isn’t it? I mean, I understand that she didn’t feel like telling her classmates after what they did to her, but she never mentioned this to Kouichi, someone who she has been very open with? I mean, she said that she preferred to conceal her eye in the class and all, but she sat in the back of the class: she should have had one point where she she found a good way to take a peak at the entire classroom (a test for example), so she knew who the bad guy was all along. The next few episodes had better offer a very good explanation for that.

And on the other hand, this episode did end with one heck of a cliff-hanger.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 6 March 2012 with categories: Another

This series really loves its red herrings. It doesn’t really work to make this show unpredictable (the two deaths of this episode had it coming from a mile away), but ti does make the episode ery nerve-wrecking. It cannot keep pulling this forever, though: all deaths in this series have happened right at the end of each episode. This cannot carry the series forever at this pace.

I like the use of the tape, but it’s too simple. Because of that the creators had to pull that weird twist of one of the characters screwing up before the most important parts were revealed. If you’re going to do that, then build in some extra challenge in trying to find the tape or something. Instead, this just screamed “oh no, we need to pad out this story a bit longer!”

In any case, Misaki was acting a bit weird in this episode by almost playfully nearly triggering accidents. I doubt that she is the real shost, though: that would be too obvious. My biggest candidate for this right now is Naoya, that blond kid who broke the tape. After all, that action does make perfect sense if he was the ghost, and either consciously or uncosciously wanted to prevent people from finding out about what stopped him. And with this episode, I also think I have an idea of what that might have been, after he called it a “sin”: he probably ended up killing the ghost student somehow. In the wy he told it it probably was a fortunate accident, but that would also explain why no student turned out to be the ghost that year.

There was also one particularly interesting twist that I realized just as I finished writing up this entry and taking screenshots. I’m not going to say it right now because I think it’s something everyone should figure out for himself, but I finally realized the link between a lot of the deaths.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 27 February 2012 with categories: Another

Thank god this wasn’t just another copy-paste beach episode. This episode felt unique, which just shows that beach episodes are usually terrible in how often they just boil down to the same thing. This episode didn’t bother with suggestive camera angles, and didn’t make a whole spectacle of “what will they be wearing?”, but rather showed the characters as they were. My only complaint here is that twintail girl suddenly turning abusive tsundere. Where did that come from?

Because of this I enjoyed this episode for its variety. With so much death around the corner it’s good to have episodes where the scenery is completely different. That’s something I miss in a lot of anime nowadays: they often feel rather monotone. Another obviously is too, but this episode definitely helped there.

I also loved the use of red herrings i this episode. There first was that truck, the cast catching a puffer fish and suggesting to actually cook it, and then there was that swimming scene. It got a bit surreal when that motor boat appeared right from out of nowhere. With this it’s clear that the ghost has some magic Deus ex Machina powers that can bend all common sense.

This is just a detail, but it does make me wonder: to their trip (which by the way actually had a purpose), the cast came in two cars. One of them was driven by Reiko, but the other one? We hardly see any shots of this random old man, as if the camera tries its best to ignore him. Also, when they arrive, Misaki Mei was already at the beach. Why didn’t she just come with them? It’s a bit weird to not have introduction scenes like that.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 21 February 2012 with categories: Another

Before, I criticized this show for not having very impressive animation for PA Works’ standards. And then that dream sequence came. Talk about fluid animation here. Overall, it’s clear that after Blood-C, Tsutomu Mizushima really saw the light. Here too the visuals just don’t shy away from the hard-to-animate gore at all, for the scenes where normally the camera would just pan away.

The mystery is also really on track here. On the background, you can really feel the evergrowing presence of that ghost student who keeps picking off dead people. The second half of this series is also going to be very different, now that Misaki is actually no longer ignored by her fellow student, with the plan having failed and all. It’s a good way for the show to evolve.

The challenge for this series was to keep its audience in its atmosphere, even during the building up scenes. For me, it succeeded. I’ve really been caught up in it and even though the start of the show tried a little too hard with the dolls and all, the quiet parts of this series didn’t feel boring at all. This time it’s due to both the interesting characters, and the very solid build-up of atmosphere.

With this, it’ll be up to this series to actually make use of the build-up, and make things come together, and it’s there where the tricky part will start. Bring in enough creative twists that will force the characters to develop themselves, and make the revelation of the real ghost have some real impact. A beach episode isn’t really the right way to do that!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 15 February 2012 with categories: Another

You know what? Everyone keeps praising Ano Natsu for its down to earth romance, but with this, I think that Another has beaten it. Especially after Ano Natsu came with that awful sixth episode.

A large part of this episode just showed Mei and Kouichi casually talk to each other and about themselves, and surprisingly it felt really natural. There were no cliches like shyness or random fanservice, and for once the creators actually allowed them to talk. And holy crap. I just realized how not often such a thing happens: long conversations between love interests. There were also these small scenes of them looking at each other that were neat touches. The only thing that stood out as weird was that dance scene, but even there: I am so glad that for once the creators went with an original fantasy. Most of the time they just stick to males sparkling, and females undressing.

The second half fleshed out the basic premise of this series more. It’s interesting how there is one guy who pretty much has been with the mystery from the start, and also doesn’t really have anything to hide. Instead, the creators used this artificial amnesia to create most of the mystery after this point: traces of the ghost that it’s trying to hide in order to stay unnoticed. It’s in any case established that the death of Kouichi’s mother was something special. In the meantime though, we have a teacher going crazy.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted 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)

Posted on 30 January 2012 with categories: Another

You know, this series reminds me a lot of Ookamikakushi, but well executed. This series pretty much is what I hoped that series to be. And within four episodes, it also has pretty much surpassed Ookamikakushi in every aspect. In particular the cast of characters is a lot better here.

The lead character… he actually doesn’t just passively do nothing, or act stupid like a wimp. He’s actually trying to find out what is going on, while at the same time he’s not the other side of the spectrum of being way too damn impulsive. What mostly sets this one apart is the dialogue, though. You can definitely see that this is coming from something other than a manga adaptation. It actually feels pretty natural here.

Also, I wonder how it must be marathoning this series in one go. It’s probably a completely different experience. The cliff-hangers in this series don’t give me the feeling of “must… know… what… happens next…”, but the shock factor nevertheless works really well. It will be pretty hard to eventually explain (aside from that the ghost wants to make the lead character’s life completely miserable), but I like the direction so far nonetheless.
Rating: * (Good)

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Odin
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 05:14 AM)
    when is Gangsta episode 9 review coming
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:38 AM)
    @Emma:
    Actually because there was so many deaths in WWII aside from the wargrounds, many were killed in these principles.
    Not execution by killer (which is quite against this principle) but by means which will save the killers from facing their victims, thus avoiding the psychological backlash.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:37 AM)
    @;( I mentioned desensitization due to overexposure as an alternative, but that is a natural mechanism for coping, as natural as the disgust in regular individuals. There is always a good portion of irregular people in every society, the information age just makes it more accessible and brings them together.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:37 AM)
    The point is, that I can see in rare cases and you could say this of butchers also., that for some off kilter people, aspects of those careers can easily become triggers to kill.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:36 AM)
    And yet there are doctors who kill such as Shipman.
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:34 AM)
    @Emma: I don’t think anyone too invested in medicine and surgical procedures is bothered by gore. They simply see too much of it to look at it as something more than a science probably.
    And we also know that a lot of organs are donated and not all lives are saved. So moving organs and bodies must seem normal.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:32 AM)
    In that he pretended to himself he wasn’t in the room while commiting the executions.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:31 AM)
    I am recalling a story about an English executioner from the world war II period. His attitude to his job of hanging people was that it was merely a job and he left himself behind whenever he did the hangings, to him he wasn’t in the room when they occured.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:25 AM)
    @;(: The doctor is aware he is saving a life, that fact I am sure overwrites his fear of the gore aswell.
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:25 AM)
    Disgust is psychological after all.
    And if you can change your perspective you can change your emotion towards it.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 09

So the reason Itami got married was because a girl pretty much said take care of me and I will marry you. And the reason why she divorced him was because Itami believed she saw him as a meal ticket when she had developed feelings for him. Those are oddest reasons for a marriage and […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 08

Well this episode starts off with a dark revelation and we see that Megumi is not buried on the roof but instead is roaming the school as an undead corpse. Her location seems to be the door where Yuki talks to her. From the looks of things, after taking a picture with the group she […]

Gangsta. – 08

Some focus on Alex this time around as with the drug out of her system she remembered that she had a younger brother. A pretty startling revelation for her as forgot about him the whole time she was under Barry’s control. It was done well on just how much this shocked her but I must […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 08

Itami continues to be a mystery as he is shown not only to be a ranger but also a member of special forces. Its not really confirmed whether he is a genius in hiding or a slacker who was tossed into high profile positions and got through it with minimum effort. The big part of […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 07

This episode has been a weaker episode than those so far. The opening has gone through a number of changes now that we have reached over the halfway point. Megumi’s part of the opening has been replaced by a shot of her grave, the colourful transition after showing the title is now a series of […]

Gangsta. – 07

Now the past has been mostly revealed, Worick’s friendship with Nicholas has become a more complex thing. Worick seems to see him as a good friend yet resent him for going kill crazy and murdering his whole family. Though the murder of his father looked to be an order he himself made to Nicholas and […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 07

I understand that for an anime adaption some character designs need to be simplified in order for an easier time to keep them in proportion in animation. But while the characters who suffer in this episode because of this are indeed minor characters, its really a shame to see them become something unrecognisable. The two […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 06

Well the story continues on from the flashback, showing Miki first joining the club. Right off the bat the episode pushes to answer the question of Megumi’s existence. It’s a answer that was pretty obvious by this point as the foreshadowing was pretty heavy on this particular detail but this episode makes it crystal clear. […]

Gangsta. – 06

When taking into account the show so far, I find that the quiet character moment stand out far more than the over the top fight scenes with knife wielding psychos on rooftops. The dialogue between characters is much more engaging that two characters jumping around like Bleach Soul Reapers. In particular it great seeing Worick […]

Latest Reviews

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]