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.