Another – 00 (OVA)

You can check out our reviews of the Another series here. Spoilers follow, there and here.

Taking place prior to the events of Another, Misaki Mei spends time with her identical twin sister, Fujioka Misaki, apparently without Mei’s mother’s knowledge. They go shopping, then hang out at Mei’s house when her mother is away. They visit a rundown amusement park they went to as kids, and Fujioka is nearly killed when she falls out of a Ferris wheel car. She then collapses when the two say good night and start their separate ways. Fujioka is revealed to be suffering from Leukemia, passing away shortly after being hospitalized. Mei briefly encounters Sakakibara Kouichi in the elevator while on her way to place a doll her sister liked upon her coffin in the hospital basement.

After a brief feint in the opening moments, most of this episode has a much different vibe to it than the very well-done twelve-episode horror series that preceded it. We see ‘another’ side of Misaki Mei from the get-go; she couldn’t be happier hanging out with her twin sister Fujioka, who couldn’t be happier hanging out with her, too. Whether shopping, on sketchy carnival rides, bathing, or sleeping in the same bed, the two are inseparable; in fact, aside from a momentary cameo by Sakikabara, they’re the only two characters in the OVA. Then, a little over halfway into it, in true Another fashion, the feeling of something terrible about to happen starts to pervade; the very close call on the Ferris Wheel is so deftly done, we can forgive the gratuitous fanservice of the previous scenes. When in the universe of Another, it’s basically best to stay away from any mechanical thing that can kill you (vehicles, elevators, etc.)

However, it isn’t a freak accident that takes Fujioka’s life. Even though the OVA takes place before the class calamity begins, Mei’s green glass eye can still see the color of death, as it always has. The moment Fujioka asks her if she can see anything when she looks at her and Mei says “No, nothing”, we were pretty sure that meant Mei could see death on her doomed twin sister. The revalation that she is in fact dying of leukemia is a big punch in the gut, making all their scenes goofing off and laughing with one another that much more poignant. Everything we saw was, in fact, the last time they did any of those things together ever again. When Another begins, Mei had already lost her sister and closest friend, making the forthcoming class calamity in the series only the latest of traumatic ordeals to befall her.


Rating: 3.5

Another – 12 (Fin)

More students die trying to flee the burning hotel. Mr. Tatsuji returns to help get Teshigawara, Mochizuki, and others to safety. Kazami tries to kill Sakikabara, but he in turn is killed by Izumi, who wants both Sakikibara and Misaki dead. When lightning strikes a hotel window, the glass shards rain upon Izumi. As she dies she tells Sakakibara they had met a year and a half ago.

Misaki sneaks off, but when he finds her, she’s about to kill the extra one, who is Ms. Mikami, AKA Aunt Reiko. She died a year and a half ago, but Sakakibara’s memories were lost until now. He kills her himself, and the calamity ends. Life returns to normal for Sakakibara and Misaki, and the rest of the surviving class 3 records a clearer message about how to stop the calamity.

We commend this series for building up a huge amount of atmosphere and dread (in a tidy twelve episodes) until it literally explodes in the finale, finally revealing the truth. For the record, we were still (semi-intentionally) in the dark until Misaki told Sakakibara not to go to the backyard.

The twist is that titular “Another” or extra student wasn’t a student at all; at least, not a current member of Class 3, but a former student, and the “assistant homeroom teacher” no other class in the school had. The roughed-up desk was Misaki’s, so there was no extra desk – except in the faculty lounge. Izumi remembers Sakakibara from before – because he came to town before for Reiko’s funeral. Sakakibara says “Goodbye, mother” before killing her, suggesting perhaps she wasn’t merely his aunt.

So, like many other Class 3s before, plenty of damage was done before the calamity ended. There are various reasons things went so wrong – the tape was released to the class too recklessly, causing a frenzy of suspicion and needless killing. That was proceeded by the misconception Misaki Mei was the Another and was ostracized by the class to protect themselves, when in reality ignoring her had absolutely no effect. Believing it would, however, would also lead the class to believe the calamity was started when Sakakibara arrived and started talking to Mei.

In short, all the evidence about Reiko was obscued from plain view by all the other theories students past and present had formed (including the dead Misaki story). Will future Class 3s learn anything from this last one? We’re not so sure. Whatever tape they record insisting a future class avoid regrets by staying calm and clear-headed, the fact is they won’t have a Misaki Mei in their class – a girl with the eye that can see the Another. Her smirk before the credits roll in response to Sakakibara’s asking if it’s over is a perfect ending: it’s only really over for them.


Rating: 4

 Car Cameo: Featured prominently in the last two episodes is Mr. Tatsuji’s awesomely boxy, teal-blue Volvo 240 Wagon, the quintessential librarian’s car.

Another – 11

A panicking Teshigawara tells Sakaki and Misaki that he may have accidentally killed class rep Kazami, who he believed might have been the dead one. While going to check on the body, Sakaki notices the dining hall is aflame, and the manager within dead. Kazami is gone. Takako plays the tape on the PA and tells the class Misaki is the dead person and must be killed. As Teshi and Mochi are cornered by the maid, Sakaki and Misaki run for their lives from students trying to kill her. Ms. Mikami, Ogura and Takako are killed in the process, and Izumi thinks Misaki killed Takako. The dining hall explodes, killing another student.

Without a doubt, having the whole class go on a manor retreat was a big, big mistake. Whether it’s pure fear of dying or some kind of supernatural power fueling them, students go crazy left and right this week, rearin’ to kill who they think is the dead person. Panic and desperation lead to insanity, in the case of Takako and Ogura, who both die particularly freakish and gruesome deaths (hanging and falling don’t begin to decribe them). All because no one knows Misaki Mei has a twin.

With all the death and carnage going on, you’d think one of the victims would actually be the dead person, but it seems they escaped harm this week, saving their fate, and that of Sakaki and Misaki, for the final episode next week. This episode outdid all previous episodes in sheer manic horror, gore, and bone-snapping. Compared to the calm early episodes, it’s as if the class has completely exploded on itself (like the dining hall), and they’re well on their way to tearing themselves apart, like so many class 3s before.


Rating: 4

Another – 10

The class goes on a 3-day school trip to a shrine to pray for safety. Mochizuki has brought the tape he repaired, and he listens to it with Sakaki and Teshi. In the rest, Matsunaga says he accidentally killed a classmate in an altercation while descending the mountain. No one remembers the boy he killed the next day though, so he knows he killed the extra student who is dead, which is what ended the calamity. At dinner, Akazawa blames Mei for starting everything and demands an apology, but their spat is interrupted when a student has an asthma attack and must be driven to hospital. Sakaki meets Mei in her room, where she tells him she and Misaki weren’t cousins, but twin sisters…and that her glass eye can detect the color of death and thus the extra student. Before she can tell him who it is, Teshi busts in, having done something bad…

If it’s one thing Another has in spades, besides atmosphere, it’s artificial, sudden interruptions right at the moment we’re about to learn something crucial. This was annoying last week with the tape, which is simply repaired and resumed, and it’s annoying at the end as well, as we must deal with yet another cliffhanger. But by no means did this severely mar an otherwise tense and exciting episode, which seem like odd words considering it was mostly dialogue and sitting around. The series continues to tease an unspoken romance of sorts between Mei and Sakaki. Her invitation sounded almost naughty, even if her intention was just to look at photos. That she can reveal secrets she couldn’t even tell her twin means she trusts him implicitly.

So the way to end the calamity is to kill the extra student. And Mei knows who the extra student is. Here’s something else that’s rather convenient: Mei wasn’t present when they learned this from the tape. So unfortunately, while she has the means to detect the extra person who is apparently dead, Sakaki didn’t know it when it was most important to this episode, and as a result, Teshigawara may have gone and done something stupid. Among everyone who knew the score, he was the one who seemed most likely to be okay with killing a classmate to save the rest. But that can get out of hand fast.


Rating: 3.5

Another – 09

Sakakibara learns that Nakao probably wasn’t killed by the boat at the beach, but by a contusion he suffered hitting his head back in Yomiyama. Sakakibara meets with Teshigawara, Mochizuki to search the old class 3. Two girls bump into them, and they mention what they’re doing. Misaki is already in the building and tags along. They eventually find a cassette tape in a locker recorded by Matsunaga, in which he chronicles the school trip to the shrine. Praying there had no effect, but the tape cuts out before they can hear both his confession and advice to the future class 3. The tape also unravels and snaps when ejected. Meanwhile, one of the two girls dies while in the car with her parents, and the other girl’s brother is killed by an excavator crashing through his bedroom.

This series is really starting to hit its stride, as this week served up lots more gloom, forboding, mysteries, and yes, a couple of deaths too. We knew the moment the two girls walked up and asked what Sakakibara and Teshigawara were up to that they were kinda doomed. In the cold open, there are two girls conversing: we suspect it was these two. One was trying to move away with her family, but it wasn’t to be. True, one didn’t die, but she lost her brother, and both deaths were terrible in that they were both matters of bad luck. The episode set them up so deliberately, leaving us an an audience helpless to do anything. In both cases, rain was a major player, making the road slick enough for a truck to start sliding backwards, and loosing rock that fell upon Ayano’s car while driving up a mountain road.

Also unlucky was Nakao last week, whose nausea was the result of his contusion, not mere carsickness, and who in all likelihood lost consciousness in the sea while swimming. This is proven beyond doubt when we see him get hit underwater; he’s not awake. Of course, Sakakibara can’t let this go on, and doesn’t want to involve any more people than he has to in solving this thing. Leave it to Misaki Mei to insert herself into the investigation. While searching the classroom, she proves quite the klutz, and even makes a tiny joke to try to reduce the tension. But that’s an exercise in futility, as listening to a creepy tape in a creepy building in the dark during a rainstorm only ratchets up that tension. And naturally, just when they’re getting to the part on the tape that may prove helpful, it cuts out and they’re nearly discovered by a faculty member. Fix that tape, Mochizawa!


Rating: 4

Car Cameo: Ayano and her folks meet their end in
what we believe is a fairly old white Toyota Corolla.

Another – 08

Sakakibara, Izumi, and a group of classmates go on a trip to Teshi, a seaside village where Matsunaga lives. Reiko drives them. They hope to get some info about how he prevented the calamity 15 years ago. He’s unavailable when they arrive, so they have fun on the beach while they wait. Sakakibara finds Misaki playing by herself on the same beach. Matsunaga arrives, and he starts to remember something about what he used being at the school, but a stiff gust sends their beach ball into the sea. Nakao swims out to get it, and is killed by the propeller of a passing boat.

Oho, Another…you’re good. Very good. 9/10ths of the episode was inconsequential car ride and beach fun. Everyone assumes because they’re not in Yomiyama, the curse has no power and they’ll all be safe. Well, they aren’t. There’s an initial and obvious moment dread – a passing tanker truck on the road, but that threat passes and we let our guard down. Coast clear. Could this be another bloodless episode? No. One of the lesser-known students, Nakao, gets killed after something convinced him it was a good idea to swim out to where there are boats. Heck, we even thought someone might taste that poisonous pufferfish.

The car ride was a nice way for Sakakibara to learn more about Akazawa, while his scenes with Misaki on the beach are also fun bonding experiences. All of this also served to lull us into a false sense that this would just be yet another beach episode; something that arrests the momentum of the horror. But the horror came, and better late than never. And it almost happened in slow motion, with everyone watching – almost knowing what was coming – but helpless to prevent it. Theory about being safe outside Yomiyama? Disproved. The importance of Matsunaga remembering more about the past? Crucial.


Rating: 4

Car Cameos: Aunt Reiko drives a Toyota Starlet 5-door (with plenty of road rage). Akazawa’s dad drives a Toyota Crown. One of the several cars Reiko passes is a Suzuki Wagon R+.

Another – 07

Mr. Kubodera takes a knife out of his bag and drives it into his throat, killing himself right in front of his class. He was a bachelor who had murdered his bedridden mother. The class stops ignoring both Kouichi and Mei, and start to investigate how to stop the killing. Yuuya’s sister Tomoka, a pub waitress, meets someone in the same class as Kouichi’s aunt, and supposedly he was the one whose actions stopped the killing in August of that year. Kouichi dreams about and fears that he may be the ghost student, but both Izumi and later Mei allay those fears.

This episode starts off with the bloodiest mess thus far, with the homeroom teacher making no attempt whatsoever to tear out his throat in a neat and timely fashion. The whole class is stunned, shocked, and traumatized, with few exceptions. Sakikabara takes it pretty well, as do Teshigawara, Yuuya, and Izumi. Mei barely flinches. Not surprisingly, with such a clear display of failure, the nonexistence embargo is lifted on both Kouichi and Mei…and neither seem to be the grudge-holding type, so all’s back to normal…except for the deaths, of course.

We’re now fully in the detective story realm, with witnesses to interview, clues to discover, and things to deduce. Kouichi has some nice interaction with Izumi – who thankfully is just joking when she tells him maybe he was never born – and just when you thought he and Mei hadn’t goten any alone time, they have one final sweet scene where she gives him her cell number, even though “being connected to people all the time by electromagnetic waves disturbs her”, and invites him into her life-size coffin-like doll box…which is a little more…creepy-sweet.


Rating: 3.5

Another – 06

Sakakibara gets used to being ignored along with Misaki in his class, and he uses the time to learn more about Misaki and the “curse”, which defies both memories and records and is more like a force of nature than anything overtly evil or malicious. He even learns his mother was in Class 3. He wants to know if there’s any precedent for the killing ending midyear, and if they can stop it this year, but their teacher enters class one day with a butcher’s knife…

As the pieces of the picture fall into place one by one for Sakakibara, this episode plays mostly like slice-of-life, or more accurately, slice-of-near-death, since his class now pretends he doesn’t exist. The more he talks to and learns about Misaki, the more intrigued he is by her, particularly the strength and dedication needed to accept being the pariah that she is. She says she’s glad it was her, so she didn’t have to pretend someone else didn’t exist. She says she understands that the class has to do everything it can – but we’re with Sakakibara when we say we can’t believe this is how things go down, especially when it only avoids deaths half of the time, at best.

Above all, we’re impressed with Sakakibara’s poise so far. He’s taking his situation in stride. Because hey, things could be worse, right? At least he has a pretty girl to talk to. The meat of the episode was some really nice dialogue between the two, mostly about their situation. His growing fondness for Misaki culminates in a hilarious daydream that caught us totally by surprise in which the two of them get up in the middle of a silent study session and start laughing and dancing. After all the dark, brooding atmosphere built up thus far, it was nice to know the series doesn’t completely lack a sense of humor.


Rating: 4

Another – 05

After Nurse Sanae’s death in the school’s elevator, Sakakibara is questioned by the police. Later, after a class 3 meeting that excluded him, the entire class begins shunning him, refusing to answer his questions. One student believes it’s wrong and is about to explain things to him when he suddenly suffers a heart attack and dies. After that, the class no longer acknowledges his existence. He meets with Misaki, who tells him they’re doing the same thing they’ve done with her; they may be alive and exist, but in order to stop the killings, the class must ostracize them.

A few more pieces fall into place this week, as Sakakibara’s meddling in the mystery of class 3 has an instant and fatal effect, and another classmate dies right in front of other students. The show hasn’t been displaying the particular dates of the episodes, but something tells me more than one person has died in a month. The idea that with every student death, the class grows ‘nearer to death’ is as intriguing as it is…flustering. This class has had cycles of death and new transfers for 26 years. And now we know the dead kid in the class isn’t Misaki, but someone – anyone -else. An unsettling thought.

Still, amidst what amounts to an extreme case of high school social ostracism, Sakakibara remains calm and collected, and is determined to find the truth. He’s no wimp, and even if he’s powerless in this situation. We’re also enjoying the budding relationship between him and Misaki, reinforced by the fact they share the same fate. The long dialogue between Sakakibara and Misaki that carried all the way to the end kinda reminded us of when Kyon got the skinny from Yuki Nagano. We were expecting one more death, but it looks like the series is sticking with one per episode tops…too many and the suspense is lost.


Rating: 3.5

Another – 04

With Sakuragi and her relative dead, Class 3 is uneasy, for if the curse is back this year, it means one student will die per month, along with one of their relatives, in some cases. Sakakibara saves one of his classmates from falling plate glass. He returns to the doll shop and finds Misaki there, who warns him to be careful. As Nurse Mizuno tells Sakaki her brother isn’t aware of anyone named Misaki Mei, despite Sakaki’s insistance, she enters an elevator whose cable breaks while she’s inside, and she crashes to her death.

While they caught us by surprise with the first death last week, Another didn’t do a very good job concealing its hand. Maybe that’s not the point; the point is, people are going to start dying from now on. As soon as we learned Sakuragi’s relative died, we pretty much knew the cute nurse was going to bite it; it was just a matter of how. And what does she do? Step into a decrepit old elevator for no reason! We know; last week proved stairs can be deadly too, but we knew there was no way she’d ever be stepping out of that elevator alive.

People are still reserved about letting Sakakibara know too much, which is kind of annoying, since he’s still apparently confused about something as simple as the existence of Misaki. No one else can see her, kid. She’s a ghost. And she’s bad frikkin’ news. Even if she’s not consciously or maliciously causing these things to occur, she’s a part of the cause. So, the question is, exactly what “countermeasures” do Izumi & Co. possess that will stop the killing?


Rating: 3.5

Another – 03

Misaki removes her eyepatch to reveal an artificial green eye. Misaki tells Sakakibara the story of the Misaki from Class 3 26 years ago, whom she claims to be her cousin. Whenever he asks his classmates about it, they react with shock and dread, and tell him never to ask about such things, and to not worry about things that don’t exist. Misaki herself tells him he’s the only one who can see her. Not long after asking Sakuragi, she sees him in the hall while he’s talking to Misaki, runs in the other direction with her umbrella, and trips and falls down the steps, impaling herself through the throat.

Third time’s the charm…or in this case, the horror. For 9/10ths of this episode, we didn’t know what to expect, and were contemplating the ramifications of a ghost student traipsing around who only Sakakibara can see. Well, now we know; the episode’s climax was quite emphatic: it’s not fucking good. Poor kind, innocent, big glasses-wearing student officer Sakuragi meets a most grisly death – the first blood of the series. And looking back, it was subtly foreshadowed through the use of umbrellas as well as long shots of the staircase – not to mention Misaki asserting “she doesn’t dislike the rain.”

Sakakibara must now feel partially responsible for the death of a classmate. That, combined with the realization he can see a dead person no one else can, will deal blows to his sanity. And he partially caused it by going against the warnings of his classmates. Still, if I were him, I couldn’t help being curious about just what the hell the deal is with that old, scratched-up desk in the classroom where no one sits, and why no one’s allowed to talk about it. Well, now he knows. And now, when we see that calm, soothing, beautiful ending sequence which reveals each character one by one, we’re left wondering who’s next…


Rating: 3.5

Another – 02

Sakakibara continues to converse with Misaki, which perplexes her. It appears he’s the only one who can see her, or wants to. He askes Nurse Mizuno about any schoolgirls dying at the hospital, and she later confirms it, but Sakaki’s phone drops the call abruptly. Following Misaki, Sakaki initially loses her when she turns a corner, but comes across a doll shop, where he finds her in the basement, near a doll that looks vaguely like her. She offers to show Sakaki what’s beneath her eyepatch…

So far, we’re less enamored by the characters than we are with their surroundings and the manner in which their presented. The entire setting is thick with gloom and imminent dread. Quick cuts and sharp, unsettling sounds keeps us on our toes. With a different presentation, this would be a quaint and beautiful town, but every fiber in our being is repelled by it and the secrets it contains. Similarly, Misaki is every bit the broody ghost, popping up in the middle of school amongst the living. Sakaki cannot help but drop everything and be drawn to her. And creepy dolls. My God, are they creepy. 

What is Mei’s story? Why is she still hanging around? What does she want? What’s the deal with Akazawa and her “countermeasures?” We don’t know yet, and suspect concrete answers to such questions may not be immediately forthcoming, but we’re enjoying the buildup so far. An aside: the ending sequence is very calm and airy and accompanied by a soulful, hauntingly beautiful piece of music (“anamnesis” by Annabel); it’s like suddenly coming up for a breath of fresh air from the depths of a dark, tense sea.


Rating: 3.5

Another – 01

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!


Rating: 3.5