Hello all, to our little corner of the internet! I’m Frost, and today I want to talk to you about one of my favorite anime of all time. And since it’s the season, it seemed appropriate.
Of course, spoiler warnings apply.
The anime Another is one of the best examples of what makes Japanese horror so unique that I have ever watched. It’s gory and bloody, but not in the ‘Have a pile of body parts’ way that a lot of American horror is. It has a plot, it has interesting characters, and it makes you think. It was produced in 2012 by P. A. Works based on the novels by Yukito Ayatsuji, and for a ten year old anime, I think it still makes an incredible showing.
The story is good, if you ask me. Twenty-six years ago, there was a girl in class 3-3 that was the kind, popular person that everyone was attached to. You know the type, the one that the entire class just seems to gravitate around, the one that becomes the very heart and soul of the class? Yes, that one. Her name was Misaki.
Then… She died. The class started to go through the classic stages of dealing with grief, but they got stuck on denial. One day, one of them pointed at her empty desk and said “She isn’t dead, she is right there.” Then the other members of the class started to do it, as well. Even the teacher became part of this. It went so far that at their graduation, the principal included Misaki’s chair at the ceremony. It was even in the final class photo.
The thing is, there were no empty chairs in the picture.
Ever since then, this particular class, class 3-3, has been cursed. The door has been opened, and they have been brought closer to death. Every year, there is an extra desk in the class, one that no one knows of. And the person who sits in that desk is no longer alive.
How does that work, you wonder? Wouldn’t they know who the extra was, who was the other?
Wouldn’t the fact that there was Another stick out like a sore thumb?
That is where the next part comes in. For the entirety of the school year, no one knows. Their memories have been altered. Everyone just knows that everyone in their class should be there. They remember each other, no one stands out. Every list of names, every photo, conforms to this new reality. This new perception.
No one knows who the extra person is. They can suspect, they can wonder, but the exact person is unknown.
They have tried many things over the years to counteract this curse, to stop the cycle of deaths from starting, but the one that they have settled on is to decide before the school year who the Other is. Who to treat like they don’t exist, so that there is the correct number of students in the class. The person who they ignore to make the numbers right. The one they will exclude to balance the books.
Then, an outsider gets thrown into the mix. A transfer student who doesn’t know the rules, who missed all the planning sessions. Who doesn’t have a clue about the hell that is about to be unleashed. Someone who had reasons to not be present, to have to change schools the way he did.
He interacts with the class, and one girl in particular. Misaki Mei, who the rest of the class treats like she doesn’t exist. Like they can’t see her.
Things go downhill fast from there. The preparations have been upset, and the curtain rises on their little drama. The cycle begins, and the curse shows no mercy.
What makes it even worse, is the fact that as you start to get to know the characters, you start to get connected to them. You begin to learn who some of them are, as people, before tragic things begin to happen. It is one of the things that I have always found impactful about the Japanese style of horror. They are not shy about letting you get to know the characters before they do awful things to them. It is definitely the style I prefer over the bloody slasher flicks of American cinema. It makes the impact more meaningful, and the dread more visceral when you have some level of emotional attachment on the line.
I would recommend Another for anyone who is a fan of the Japanese’s unique take on horror. The fans of Final Destination, the Sixth Sense and other deeper horror series. The visuals are very strong, and disturbing, even if they are starting to show their age. They are used like a scalpel, to cut straight to the heart of the situation. To show just how sudden death can be, how unexpected… How inevitable. The use of foretelling and symbolism really drive things home, and make re-watching it an interesting experience.
There is a reason this has stuck at the top of my list with all the others that have come out before and since it. There might be shows that look better, or that have a different approach to telling their stories, but few have ever really made the kind of impact that Another has on me.
So, I hope you watch it, and see if you can figure out who is…
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