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 8: Hair Stand
Summary: Kouichi and friends head off to the beach for some fun in the sun but find that everything isn't as peaceful and serene as they hoped it would be.
Air Date: Feb. 27, 2012
Run Time: 24:40
Warning: This article contains spoilers. We recommend watching the episode here first.
Desperate to put an end to the Class 3 Calamity, Kouichi and friends decide to head to the beach where they plan on meeting Matsunaga, a former student from Class 3 who was able to stop the calamity after it started. Unfortunately, Matsunaga's memory of exactly what it took to stop the calamity is incredibly foggy, but he does recall that he left a note somewhere that explained what was done. Disappointed but not wanting to let the trip goto waste, the students continue to have fun on their vacation but tragedy strikes when one of them suffers a fatal dismemberment via a speed boat.
So, we've finally reached the point that all shows based around students eventually arrive at: the beach/pool/hotspring fanservice episode. I found this episode to be a nice change of pace. There were some genuinely funny moments scattered throughout, such as the initial gasp everyone let out as a massive tractor trailer passed them on their way out of Yomiyama, everyone hunting for food to eat (to varying degrees of success), and the multiple gags provided by the ever cheerful and upbeat Naoya. Additionally, it tapped into an element that I love about slice-of-life series: everyday interactions. I'm a bit of a voyeur myself and just watching the way people interact with each other can be entertaining to no end. Sitting back and watching the kids be kids without the need to have everything narrowed in on the plot was the breath of fresh air that I didn't know the series needed but was happy to see.
Of course, it wouldn't be Another without a little bit of carnage and this episode made sure to live up to that. I usually enjoy these deaths but this one made me laugh much more than usual. I understand the idea that nowhere is safe, but the way the episode goes from fun in the sun to blood in the water in an instant cracked me up. The transition from kids having a great time on the beach to hearing evil horror music blaring was so jarring and out of the blue that it bordered on dark comedy. I believe this episode would have been better without the death or at least one that felt less like well, people pay to see carnage so we have to give it to them in every episode. There was plenty of spooky and interesting calamity related content within for it to stand on it's own as good horror without going for the cheap thrill.
Another good episode. It ended funnier than it probably should have, but I really enjoyed the light hearted feel of it and getting to see these kids relax and just have fun for a change. The Mei x Kouichi connection got pushed a little bit further via some 1-on-1 fun in the sun, but even more intriguing, Izumi now seems like a viable second romance option for Kouichi. We've got a possible love triangle going here folks and with more murder and mayhem sure to come, things should be pretty interesting from here on out.