26 years ago in a village middle school, a smart, popular girl named Misaki suddenly died one day, but her classmates made the decision to carry on as if she hadn’t, until graduation. In May 1998, a student named Sakakibara Kouichi transfers to the class after recovering from a collapsed lung, and is unnerved by the odd, gloomy atmosphere of his classmates and the school. He has also started seeing a strange, eyepatched girl who sketches alone and never interacts with anyone else…named Mei Misaki.
A quietly chilling, forboding start to this new novel-based horror series from P.A. Works, fresh off of Hanasaku Iroha, one of our faves. Both take place in small, quaint towns, but that’s where the similarities end. Whereas the town around Kissuiso was warm and welcoming, this place gives us the willies, in spite of the beauty. Something’s lurking beneath, and like the protagonist Kouichi, we start off in the dark about just about everything. The only info we have over him is a prologue that explains the taciturn girl he meets is, well, dead.
His new classmates – friendly enough chaps – seem more interested in asking him questions than answering his. Nobody will acknowledge Misaki’s existence, and Misaki herself would prefer Kouichi to leave her alone. It doesn’t help that they associate his name – Sakakibara – with death. We’ve been slowly eased into a cool horror bath, and as is true of many works of the genre, we can reasonably expect to a slow burn answers-wise. For now, Another has set up an unsettling and intriguing introduction to a place and situation that frankly I wouldn’t want to be when the sun sets and the lights go out. Godspeed, sickly kid!