I logged into Hulu+ for a lazy saturday of working on a small writing project with some anime and video games, and i saw this in my “recently watched” list, apparently i forgot to log out of my hulu account on the wii at my fiance’s apparetment, but it was fun to freak her out with the information a little bit.
Anyway, Another is an interesting interpretation of horror-suspense in anime form, which I haven’t really seen work out so well in the past. Just something about the combination of anime and an attempt at horror just doesn’t seem to connect in my mind, i don’t get scared by horror movies, never really have, there’s just too many degrees of separation between myself and the people on screen i suppose. So even though it does a magnificent job creating a forboding atmosphere the horror aspect didn’t strike home.
Not scaring me though should by no means be held as a strike against it, What it lacked in horror it more than made up for in suspense. This anime does a wonderful job of making every single character pretty interesting. What i mean by that is, as we all know, there are often overblown stereotypes, it’s part of anime, and a part that i love to see, having a varied cast created wide appeal which is very important, but when using a plot device such as “The Calamity” in order to make things unpredictable it is much better practice to have 20 individually interesting characters than 3 characters you really relate to and 17 faceless blobs to be disposed of at the writer’s discretion. This is one gold star i give to “Another” because it really combines with the wonderful atmosphere to really resolutely bring the sense of mass hysteria to the surface, both on screen and in the viewer.
Speaking of the atmosphere, the animation is beautiful and the dark lighting is tastefully done, creating the sense of foreboding at all the right times. The setting, characters, and dialog are all great and come together to form a wonderful sense of personality that really makes this anime stand out. At this point I usually try and reference an anime or two that share a feeling or experience, but I don’t have any under my belt that i can really compare it to. The closest thing that i would bother referencing is the anime “Shiki”, and that’s really only in the first few episodes of shiki, after episode 8 of Shiki, the similarities end.
I’ve saved my favorite thing for last as always, and that is the level of suspense. Another is a Shining example of the PERFECT use of suspense, I already have a bad habit of playing “one more episode” chicken into the wee hours of the morning, but i was really glad this was a short series and that i had all day to watch it in one sitting. This is one anime that i could not have survived the ” oh i’ll watch the next episode tomorrow after work.” mentality with. I really liked the pace at which information was given to the viewer here as well. At all times the viewer feels like they know just as much as the victims, or occasionally a little bit less. this is my personal opinion now, but I think the FASTEST way to destroy suspense is to have the viewer know something that the characters do not. As soon as you have information the Characters don’t you’re no longer clenching teeth in suspense, you’re yelling at them for not seeing things that were shown to you. At no point does this anime do this, beginning to end, you know exactly what the characters know, and that’s absolutely wonderful in my book.
To illustrate my point one step further, and throw out the title of another film i really greatly enjoy, the movie “Orhpan” does an awesome job of painting the picture of something being “off” about the little Russian girl, Esther. Well, They do an awesome job with that until the mother finds out she’s not a child at all, but a woman with a rare condition that kept her from growing, so she became a disguised murder jumping from life to life after escaping a Russian insane asylum. at that moment all the questions and suspense are answered… but wait there’s still half a movie still! From that moment on it’s not a suspense thriller anymore, it’s a ” watch this woman try to convince her husband that this girl wants to kill her and repeatedly get ignored” story.
In closing, “Another” does a wonderful job of doing something that i think should really be done more, telling the whole story from a Victim’s eyes. I definitely recommend this anime to anyone really, there’s a little bit for everyone, and it takes such a tired concept in horror movies, transfers it to animation, and does so phenomenally, creating something different from what you’re used to and may not have realized you’d like until just now.