Another is a horror anime that descends into slasher territory, starting slow and ending with murderous violence. I was drawn in by an appealing mix of suspense and atmosphere, but as the mystery turns into chaos it’s clear to see that it leaves a lot to be desired in its execution.
With a strong first episode, Another hooked me quickly. Although hardly devoid of tropes, Kouichi Sakakibara isn’t your stereotypical main character; he is quite and subtle, introverted and wrapped in thought. During his first few days at school a dark and brooding atmosphere is created, and the overall feel is not dissimilar to the beginning of Persona 4. It’s creepier though, and that’s pretty cool.
The mystery that lies at the heart of Another’s story certainly had me initially intrigued; suspicious deaths in Class 3-3, what’s not to love? Things get exciting quickly, the twists are satisfying, and the first five or so episodes are great. But its second half is more streamlined, and the genre change doesn’t work as well as it could. This is coming from someone who thought Danny Boyle’s Sunshine was great.
Another has to repeatedly battle against potential communication between the characters. It’s set in the 90’s because mobile phones would ruin everything, but even then dialogue has to be restrained to prevent the mystery being revealed too fast. After seven or eight episodes it becomes pretty clear that everything the viewer currently knows could have been easily deduced if everyone had shared what they knew, instead of deciding to keep secrets for no reason.
When someone reluctantly does decide to tell Kouichi what’s going on, their story is always interrupted. This happens so frequently it is laughable, and strange plot devices are continuously used to keep both Kouichi and the viewer from finding out too much at once.
Strange issues with the plot aside, Another is still a lot of fun it watch. It’s horrifically violent at times, whilst subtle at others, and I found the relationship between Kouichi and Mei Misaki to be intriguing. At only twelve episodes long it’s an easy watch, and there’s certainly enough good stuff to make it worth your while.
Also recommended: Blood-C, Future Diary