Anazā/Another (Series) – A Review

Let’s talk about a good anime this time.

Here’s the set up:

15-year-old Kōichi Sakakibara should be heading towards his final year of junior high in a brand new school, joining Grade 9 Class 3  Unfortunately he suffers from a collapsed lung.  Things turn out alright for him, but it means missing a month of school.

Once there, he discovers something odd.  There is this girl wearing an eye patch that no one wants to talk about.  Who comes and goes without even the teacher making comment on it.  As he spotted her while leaving the hospital, he decides he wants to talk with her.  Which proves to be the worse mistake in his young life.

See, twenty six years earlier Grade 9 Class three had this student.  Super popular, super nice.  Only she dies before the year ends.  Something that devastates the whole class.

So great is the sorrow involved with this death, that when one of the students proclaims the dead student is still alive, still in the class room in fact, that everyone else goes along with the idea.  They keep her seat open, talk about her as if she was there, the whole bit.  The principal even sets up a seat for her at graduation.

At the graduation, they take a picture of the whole class.  And wouldn’t you know it, but the dead student is right there, sitting there smiling with her classmates.

This would be a nice, creepy story, except there’s more to it than that.  The next year something bad happens.  And the year after that.  And so on.  Until finally one of the students of Grade 9 Class 3 discovers the very simple rule that can keep the class safe.

Unfortunately for Kōichi he just broke that rule.  In doing so, he has plunged the current Grade 9 Class 3 into a world of terror and paranoia…

Another 000The above set up covers the first episode of Anazā/Another, more or less.  To tell more than that is… well, I have another site for that.  In any case, it’s worth seeking out if you’re a fan of Japanese Horror or Horror in general.

This would be a pretty poor review without some more comment on my part, so let me add the following observations in bullet form:

  • It’s nice to watch an anime that doesn’t sex up the female characters.  After Asura Crying and High School of the Dead (which I couldn’t even watch one episode of, sorry), it comes as something of a relief.
  • This is some of the most grueling Horror I’ve witnessed since… well, since Corpse Party.  You might not think animation could do that to you, but ha ha that’s so wrong.
  • I will admit some shouting at the computer monitor while watching the second to last episode.  The characters screw up big time.  However after so many pitch perfect episodes, I gave it a pass.
  • This, I think, hits my ideal for Horror.  Bad things happening to good people.  The protagonist know something is wrong and try to stop it.  And it’s grim.  Boy, is it ever.
  • Apparently there is a novel and a movie based on this story.  Something that Mr. Waters intends to check up on as soon as he can.
  • Amusingly, the first few episodes name check American horror writers such as Stephen King (of course), John Saul, and the one and only H. P. Lovecraft.  It’s almost as if there were no Horror authors over in Japan that could have been named…

The series is currently at Crunchyroll and you will have to sign up there to watch beyond the second episode due to the overall nastiness of what happens.  If that ain’t your bag, hopefully it’ll come out of Japan in the fullness of time.  I think it’s worth checking out.

(The above links head to over places.  If you want further blatherings from me, click the following links, one for the anime Asura Cryin’, the other for the PSP title Corpse Party (among other things).)


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