Another at a Glance


I can’t help but feel like I’m going to be the minority opinion on this, but, wow is Another disappointing. Whether it is the fact that the cast is a bunch of fifteen year olds, or that it has all the delicacy of a firebomb, I found the first episode to be seriously tedious. Where better horror either opts for immediate screams or a slow-boil sense of evil, Another essentially stands there, pointing, yelling, “Look! Crows! Creepy! And a quiet girl with an eyepatch! More creepy! Oh, oh! And the classmates are all hiding something! ZOMG!!!”. As far as Another is concerned, subtley is a long-lost art.

Of course, I suppose that I should note that I am extremely picky with my horror. I think it is very rarely done well, and that anime typically must work harder at the genre in order to be effective than live action or literature. Essentially, because anime is animated, it is easier to dismiss what is intended as frightening – its a cartoon! Its not real! Which is why the psychological scares of the likes of Shiki and Red Garden function as horror far better than, say, Blood-C or Ookami Kakushi or the majority of Yami no Matsuei (to the exception of the well-executed Devil’s Trill Arc), all of which attempt to actually scare us with beasties and blood-spatter, while lacking the psychological underpinnings to work as horror.

Of course, it could also be that the OP biased me against it fairly quickly. I might be one of few people who doesn’t have a knee-jerk hatred for Ali Project at this point, but the OP felt utterly out of place. The accompanying animation only served to further my feeling that everything is being overdone. And the ED? Ugh. Might as well be Hanairo Season Two or Angel Beats! Season Two.

And, yes, it didn’t at all help that I couldn’t quite manage to avoid comparing it to Shiki. True, Shiki is the best horror I’ve watched in anime, but there is also the simple fact that Fuyumi Ono, who authored the Shiki novels (as well as the Ghost Hunt novels, it may be noted, although while I enjoyed Ghost Hunt overall, the only truly creepy arc was the Blood-stained Labyrinth) is the wife of the author of Another, Yukito Ayatsuji. There was a suggestion amongs some that, due to this relationship, Another was fated to be good. Well, that has yet to be borne out, and I remain extremely skeptical at the moment… although, it could simply be a matter of P.A. Works just not doing a very good job thus far.

Is it worth mentioning, too, that I don’t think P.A. Works is any good as a studio? Hanairo is garbage, Angel Beats! collapsed under its own flaws, Canaan was so-so, and True Tears has been lauded extensively beyond its merits (its decent enough to look at, the characters are developed a bit more than most harem show characters are, and the sudden siscon doesn’t feel shoehorned in; big deal, its still a harem show).

But, really, does any of this additional stuff matter? There is a simple truth here – Another insists on gesticulating wildly at what is supposed to be creepy in it, but fails utterly to actually be creepy. And, this, folks, is the cardinal sin a horror show can commit. Because, if a horror show isn’t creepy, isn’t scary, then it is completely falling short of its purpose for being. While things could certainly turn around, so far Another is terrible; its got quite the hole to dig itself out of already. At this point, I can only hope it somehow manages to endear me slightly to the cast before crutally murdering everyone. An aninerdloser can dream.

EDIT: Whoops, totally forgot to say this: there was actually something I liked about Another. The attention to detail on backgrounds was fairly impressive – you get a real feel for the fact that the town is aging and decaying. I first noticed it with the hospital scenes, where the corners of the room dingy and the paint looked worn, and this continues with things like the railings on the school roof and the bench by the athletic fields. A great touch; pity the rest of it couldn’t take a hint from the background design and tone itself down by a factor of about fifty.

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5 Responses to Another at a Glance

  1. wendeego says:

    You know? This was pretty much exactly my opinion after watching the first episode. Could only watch around eleven minutes of it and then turned it off in disgust.

    Then I finished it later, and liked it a bit more. But I think that while the background art was pretty great, practically every other element in the show was trying way, way too hard to be creepy without actually backing itself up. I can understand it was going for slow burn, but that doesn’t help much if you can’t give a damn about the characters and the show’s idea of “subtlety” is hazy skies and shocked glances and mysterious eyepatch-wearing girls.

    Maybe Another will be able to turn itself around, but yeah, at the moment I’m pretty disappointed too.

  2. Cholisose says:

    Well, mileage does vary indeed. I thought Another was creepy, and was more subtle than most horrors I’m familiar with. In most horrors you have people dying right off the bat, or at least something really weird happening–but Another is entirely mellow in comparison, simply focusing on the atmosphere of a fairly bizarre situation, and the possibility of something supernatural occurring as a result. Certainly more mellow than Shiki started out.
    (For context, I’m a huge fan of Shiki and Ghost Hunt as well, and am enjoying the Higurashi manga.)
    I also pay little attention to OPs and EDs, and think it’s fine for a horror show to have some crows in it. (Isn’t it kind of par for the course to have crows in a horror?) And I don’t think it’s the fact Mei has an eyepatch that is supposed to scary–it’s all the questions her presence elicits, which form the foundation of the mystery for the series (along with how Kyohei fits into it all).

  3. Taka says:

    I think Another was pretty dull as well. I too noticed the backgrounds with all the rust and I particularly liked the elevator doors and mei’s desk were all scratched up. The other element that pushed my buttons was the talking bird but that was more the creepy voice they used. I wanted that bird to die, quickly. Beyond that Another was a huge try-hard and utterly failed to engage me. It’s like they want everything to be creepy but don’t want to show anything actually horrific or supernatural. Even Blood-C at least had the chick fighting freaky monsters by the end of the episode.

  4. Caraniel says:

    My thoughts exactly. I think Shiki has spoiled us Day – nothing can really come close.

    I really wanted to like Another too – the background art is absolutely stunning. PA Works really need to get in better writers & directors, it’s such a shame their shows are so pretty, but so shallow & unsatisfying once you scratch the surface.

  5. glothelegend says:

    I started the first episode of Another…..but then I stopped. I had high anticipation for this too, but it just seemed….bleh….I still plan on watching it though……I fail to ever see how the combo of Girl with Eye Patch + Murder can = a show that’s not awesome.

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