Anime Vice News

Winter Watch: Another #1

Who would have guessed that spending 25 minutes in the dark with a dead school girl could be so good?

Welcome to Winter Watch, a look at the latest anime season. Among the many shows being broadcast this season, Another finds itself as the sole horror series in the slate.

Episode 1: Rough Sketch

Summary: Fresh out of the hospital, Kouichi begins attending Yomiyama North Middle School where he meets a mysterious girl names Mei Misaki.

Air Date: Jan. 09, 2012

Run Time: 25:00

Warning: This article contains spoilers. We recommend watching the episode here first.

The episode kicks off with two students talking about a ghost story that sets the stage for the entire series: sometime in the past, star student Mei Misaki died. During the year of her death however, the students and teachers of her class continued to act as if she was still alive. One student even went as far as to saying that she was in class and questioned why everyone kept saying she was dead. Years later, students still see her ghost to this day. After the OP we meet Kouichi Sasakibara, a young man with a collapsed lung who is bedridden at a hospital. Kouichi is visited by three representatives from his school and given some notes for the lectures that he has missed. Later, Kouichi is wandering around the hospital and meets a mysterious girl name Mei Misaki who wears a uniform from the middle school Kouichi will be attending. After recuperating, Kouichi begins attending middle school and starts to make friends. To his surprise, Mei is in his class. During P.E. he spots her on the roof and decides to talk with her, but she gives him a cryptic warning to stay away from her and the episode ends shortly after.

Creepy girl, check. Creepy hallway, check.
Creepy girl, check. Creepy hallway, check.

I went into this episode wondering if it would creep me out. Anime has made me laugh, shed a tear, cheer and be left in a somber and morose mood, but fear has never been an emotion it's been able to pull from me. So to give this show a fair shot I decided to watch it at night, with all of the lights in my house turned for full effect. As an added benefit, my house naturally creaks and makes noises on its own so this is the ideal environment to watch something designed to be scary. Unfortunately, none of that really helped out any. While the story had me engaged from the opening seconds until the closing ones, I didn't feel spooked out during it. One issue for me is that I always know when the series is about to get spooky or what is supposed to be spooky due to visual or audio cues. At the end of the day though, it just boils down to the fact that it's animated and with no real world environment or actual people, it's extremely difficult for me to be creeped out by it. Another minor gripe, perhaps an unfair gripe, is that a lot of the edits and angles (or lack their of) for shots make dialog scenes a bit dull, especially coming off of Nisemonogatari where they can take an episode that's nothing but dialog and interweave it with interesting cuts and different angles to make what should be a visually unappealing scene very interesting. It was jarring to move from just having seen that to come back to something like this that features lots of of still heads talking for 10 seconds at a time or full body shots with minimal body animation during a scene.


I believe that at its core, Another is a mystery series and it completely nails those elements. That feeling of next week can't come soon enough and the desire to get caught up in the world created and unravel the story are exactly what I want out of a mystery. If you've been looking at anime releases and wondering when the next When They Cry, Shiki, Ghost Hound, or Hell Girl was coming, it's here.

Watch on Crunchyroll

-William Taylor ( sickvisionz ) is lazy by nature, procrastinator by trade. You can also find him on Twitter @mrsickvisionz and on Tumblr at In My Lifetime.

sora_thekey moderator on Jan. 14, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.

Gah! I wasn't interested in this series before... Now I am!

Why is the girls name the same as the girl's name from the ghost story?! Want to watch!

metalsnakezeroon Jan. 14, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.

I like how it has a creepy sense but it had a few moment where it was forced. Also since it is a horror series it'll take time to build on it till it finally pops and than you'll be freaking out.

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 14, 2012 at 7:47 p.m.

@metalsnakezero said:

I like how it has a creepy sense but it had a few moment where it was forced.

That would be my one complaints. They mystery elements are mysterious and more than enough to carry the show but when it comes to creepy, so much of it is telegraphed. It reminds me of watching (I know I will spell this wrong) M. Night Shymalans's The Village. I could point out the setups and situations for the scares to a gag. Down to the details of where it was like, "ok, the camera will turn to what was supposed to scary but there won't be anything there. The music will relax some, as the camera returns to where it was before, we'll see a glimpse of what we all thought would be the scary thing." When you can predict that much into it, it's very difficult to be creepy. It hits all the notes but none of those notes really resonate.

Having said that, the mystery elements are totally in place and operating at darn near maximum potential output.

Addfwynon Jan. 14, 2012 at 7:55 p.m.

Pretty interested, I like dark mysteries and the first episode seemed interesting enough. Some elements seemed a bit forced (random scene cuts to creepy dolls...which as sombody with an intense doll phobia still scared the crap out of me) but it has a lot of potential. Conspiracy in the school between the students, why Misaki is still around, what the incident was and how is Kouichi involved.

zaldaron Jan. 14, 2012 at 8:22 p.m.

So are you saying that when they cry never freaked you out? That was the first anime that scared me and boy did that one scare me..glad to see this is good. Will probably have to check this one out!

fijilovesyouon Jan. 14, 2012 at 8:59 p.m.

I think this is my first horror anime. Of course good horror needs buildup. The first episode I guess is too explain the settings and the characters. The horror-ness will start next week. I hope it scares the s*** out of me. I have never been scared by horror stuff. So I have high expectations for this one.

I would say the first episode was a bit forced to end that way. But I like the dark designs of setting and characters.

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 15, 2012 at 3:35 a.m.

@zaldar: Is that at me? If so, no. When They Cry made me cringe at times (I think someone got stabbed in the eye or had their nails ripped out) but it didn't creep me out.

zaldaron Jan. 15, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.

Really wow...creeped me out to no end...

KuroNekoXIIIon Jan. 18, 2012 at 8:02 a.m.

Gave it a shot, it was quite intriguing. I'll admit that those broken dolls that kept popping up between scenes did creep me out. May continue watching the series....

Dig Deeper into Another

Studio P.A. Works Anime adaptation of Yukito Ayatsuji's horror novel "Another"

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