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

Advertisements

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 – 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 – 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