It’s a lovely Friday and it’s time for my wonderful rendition of is this good. Today I review horror anime, Another, a recent and rather strangely big stir within the anime community and from what I hear has made it the butt of many pie jokes due to the joke that the ending is a romantic comedy about pie, well first off, no, the ending is not romantic nor does it involve pie, lot of f’d up stuff, not a lot of pie though.
Well Getting more to the point Another is a rather final destiny esk horror meets competent mystery story. Supposedly years ago this class 3 of the junior high Yami North of its 9 grade class had a horrible tragic death of everyone’s favorite student and to cope with the pain everyone pretended the student was still alive, and apparently inviting the dead to join you has some very potent consequences. This is all unknown to the protagonist who has moved to join class 3 in between the year and notice a quiet girl with just one eye named Mei who seems to be visible only to him.
That’s the story and I assure you it involves quickly into a real plot but that would be a spoiler so I’ll leave it there and focus on the real qualitative question. Well for that I think we need to build on what a good horror a good mystery story require then address if it met the standards, surpassed them, or lost the point entirely.
A horror story must be foremost tense or freighting. An excellent horror story makes you feel uncomfortable with it but intrigues you enough to keep at it despite your fear, hits tools for this are good atmosphere and visuals, a frightening enemy or threat, then just sound design. As for a mystery the components of a good mystery demand a internal question with an answer, the answer should always be within the ability of the viewer to realize before the revelation in the story and should be somewhat in your face, but a good mystery knows how to keep you from realizing the obvious answer with the help of red herrings and warped perspective, it should never lie, just trick you into making false assumptions. These are the key components another would need to pass or do well on as well as hopefully excel at along with good characters and plot.
First off does it make you afraid and uncomfortable? This is difficult for me to fairly say because horror tends to not work on me in this kind of media, it can be tense but the “threat” is often obvious and doesn’t come as a surprise at all keeping you from really feeling afraid. It’s visual style is creepy yes and it does build some decent atmosphere over time but its severely weakened by the sound design and music, Ali project of .hack//roots and Code Geass fame worked on this and as usual its good but the issue is Ali project is anything but subtle and that kind of music makes Another seem more corny then atmospheric. So as a horror its subpar plain and simple.
Second, the mystery. The series actually has a good one to be honest, though a bit generic at first the “rules” of the supernatural remain constant and the mystery meets all the requirements, the answer is obvious and for once in a while I did not guess it ahead of time due to Another’s gifted us of red herrings or fake clues designed to distract you from the obvious, beyond that the obvious answer is actually meaningful to the characters and doesn’t rely on an end plot twist (A introduction of a character or plot device that changes the plot in a way the audience could not have figured out) to be shocking. As a mystery Another is a winner excelling in one of the two genres it attempts to be.
Otherwise in terms of story movements the characters can be iffy tough generally likeable and interesting even if stilted and often overly dramatic, and the Final Destination comparison is true but is not quite as, well, stupid as it sounds. It’s clever but dramatic even if uncomfortably so and is far from perfect but far from bad.
I can’t help but feel deceived about the whole pie thing I constantly had to fear the whole story tanking because of that ill informed joke. Oh well looking at the core of it all a good mystery pushes this otherwise mediocre series In to a comfortable 3.5 umbrella spears our of 5 which I remind those that have not read my scale means that it is pretty good and worth your time.