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.

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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 – 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