Another, the most fanboyed show of the season.
Most people watch it because it’s apparently scary. I watch it because it’s ridiculously easy to criticize. Let’s move onto the actual dissection.
Reveal: The final reveal was decent; the previously introduced foreshadowing was laced with a heavy layer of ambiguity, it wasn’t blatantly obvious, but looking back at it now, it seems that way. Another had a decent premise, not a great or amazing one, but a decent one. Nevertheless, it was executed in such a mediocre way that extenuated the possibilities of it actually being considered good, or even somewhat decent.
12 Episodes: Vicodin would have been required to finish the series if it was any longer. [That’s sarcasm; I would not take Vicodin; I would take placebo pills.] Well shit, I tried finding the positives. Let’s move onto the bad’s.
Why It’s Bad
Dolls: During the first few episodes, random shots of dolls were screened, for no other reason than to pompously declare “These are dolls, therefore you should be scared shitless.”; they quickly lose relevance after the first few episodes, and they aren’t central to the story.
Character Reactions: The character reactions in Another are so ridiculously inconsistent. They range from being scared shitless, to hysteric. During the first few episodes, a common trepidation was shared among the classmates, however, during the final episodes, a common mass-hysteria was felt. This in turn shifted their personalities; What was the catalyst behind the shift? Simply the curse. For example, let’s make up a character, let’s name him Billy. Billy witnesses countless deaths during the beginning of the show; Billy spends his days at school scared shitless; Billy listens to the head of countermeasures; Billy sees more of his classmates die; Billy becomes more worried; Billy goes on a class trip; Billy sees more of his classmates die; Billy becomes more scared; Billy snaps and kills countless people; Billy is not a main character, so Billy falls off the balcony and dies; Billy’s life flashes before his eyes; Billy’s life is not animated because Billy’s character does not matter; Billy groans for aid; Billy receives no help; Billy dies. The example is mainly relevant, but I decided to be creative towards the end; the big picture is, extreme mood-changes are inherently blamed on the curse, sure it’s plausible, but it’s half-assed.
Mei: I never really liked Mei’s character; she had nothing distinct that separated her from any given archetype, she was just another mysterious, silent girl with an intriguing past. If she was a dude,
nobody no guy would watch this show; she’s the poster girl, therefore she’s attractive, she’s an improved version of Inori from Guilty Crown. But subjectively loving aside, objectively, she’s still a shitty character. Late in the series, we learn that she has a magical eye that discerns the “extra” from the other classmates; now, the potential of this was revealed during episode ten. However, it’s not until the final ten minutes of the last episode that she tells Sakaki who the “extra” is. Even prior to the reveal, she knew about the extra, exactly who it was, yet, she didn’t share the information with anybody, she preferred to cosplay as a pirate instead; this asinine stupidity resulted in numerous avoidable episodes, deaths, and melodrama.
Melodrama: Everything in Another is introduced to accentuate the largest “shock factor” possible. The deaths are inherently, bizarrely shocking [Bulldozers saying “Sup” to second floor windows, impaling via umbrella, suicide in front of the entire classroom, etc.]. The cliche music plays to exemplify that, and the classroom reacts as such too.
Original Soundtrack: Another insists on playing melodramatic horror songs, over a favored more, dramatic silence. The deafening OST is so ridiculously obnoxious that it actually subtracts from the situation at hand, the OST loses its effect after a while. Another also insists on playing the same melodramatic OST regardless of the situation, whether it’s an actual death scene, or a small development, the music plays. [Think of it as The Boy Who Cried Wolf, after the fifteenth time the music plays, or after the third time the boy cries wolf, nobody gives a damn about it anymore.]
Amplified Volume: Contrary to popular belief, amplifying the volume from being silent to 600% does not correlate with being a good horror anime. It’s generally desperate to rely solely on human impulse to scare the shit out of the audience. Like for fuck’s sake, headphones and sudden tornados do not blend well.
Inconsistent Curse: Now, the curse is arguable as being omnipotent, but it’s also broken in how situational it is. Let’s view the curse as being aware of itself, it protects the “extra”, killing everyone else off. Now, this would be the most logical way to view it, it introduces a “natural selection” of ways in the curse’s inherent nature of killing off the weak, to survive. However, the curse has shown to be sporadically favorable, in being selective on who to kill. For example, during the final episode, in the struggle amongst the head of countermeasures, Misaki, and Sakakibara, lightning strikes through the window, and shatters the glass everywhere; prior to that, lightning was shaking the home, stalling, or preventing the death of Mei from the head of countermeasures. Logically speaking, glass is a poor conductor, so it had to have been the work of the curse; however, there isn’t a reason for the curse to work in aspirations of delaying Mei’s death, if the primary purpose of it is to kill, then Mei should be on the top of the list, she’s the largest threat with her magical eye. But Mei not only evaded death, the effects of the curse killed the head of countermeasures, while Mei got away safely, relatively free of harm.
Same Episodic Formula: The majority of the episodes follow a specific format; it’s shown to be ridiculously consistent among the early-mid episodes to the mid-late episodes. The formula is usually a recap of the prior episode [most commonly through school girl gossip], then it’s followed by slight background information [small tidbits that eventually add up to be useful], then it’s followed by a possible big reveal [which is usually brusquely interrupted by a new development, or the next step.], and it always ends with an abrupt, melodramatic, and illogical death of a character who’s not major enough to alter the story, but significant enough to be noticed. [Sudden elevator collapse during important phone call, bulldozer visiting second floor window, teacher committing suicide in front of the class, falling on umbrella, heart-attack, hit-and-run by boat, flash rockslide, etc.]
Episode 11: This was by far, the most redundant episode. It’s fanboyed as being the best episode for none other than the senseless slaughter that occurs during the episode. To put it simply, everybody essentially kills each other, out of paranoia, hysteria, and stupidity. Nothing is developed, only blood, gore, and senseless melodrama. The thing is, this entire episode could have been avoided; the central goal of this episode was to find who the “extra” was; Mei, prior to this episode, revealed the ability of her magical eye, however, during the entire engagement, she didn’t bother bringing that up, and Sakakibara didn’t ask her.
Butcher Lady: I dislike characters whose existence is solely introduced to act as a catalyst, or a medium in this case, for melodrama, or brute slaughter. The curse is known to manipulate the surroundings, and events to occur, but controlling a random woman, with little affiliation to the school, in massacring kids was ridiculously pathetic. You could theorize an argument against this, but it remains purely circumstantial; she isn’t bent on stopping the kids, she isn’t a mastermind, all she does it kill, for the sole reason of it. Her existence exemplifies the archetype of the insane lady who hacks shit to death with a cleaver, and she does that well; but, it’s not a positive thing when she exists solely to do that.
Keeping the Kids in Class: This is slight nitpicking, but it’s also a huge flaw in the logic of how the world of Another works. Where the fuck are the parents? If your kid dies in school, chances are, parents are going to be ridiculously, illogically overprotective. They’re going to hinder their children from attending school, they’ll demand stronger security. How does Another work? Parents essentially go “Oh my, how tragic, I hope that doesn’t happen to my kid.”; that shit is not logical. According to blatant human nature from observation, a string of deaths causes sensationalism; parents would not let their kids attend a school, knowing the high mortality rate of it. The curse’s existence isn’t exactly a top-secret conspiracy theory, it’s common-knowledge; the general belief is that the influence of the curse resides purely inside the town. Therefore, get the fuck out of town [it doesn’t matter if the limits are “false , there was no attempts that proved them to be wrong.]
A Blatant Curse: This is slight nitpicking too; Another is labeled as a mystery, and that mystery is there. But the happenings aren’t ambiguous, there isn’t a possibility of the curse not actually existing, it has to. Half the deaths say essential “Fuck you’s” to the laws of physics; and they’re too circumstantial to be a string of unfortunate events. As Lovecraft said it, “…the oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown.” [I have not read Lovecraft’s works, I used a quote to make myself seem more credible as a
Romance: Thankfully, Another isn’t labeled as a romance series, but I find this section necessary. There is no god damn chemistry between Sakaki and Misaki; the only common interest they have is the curse itself. Regardless of how much a romance is slightly insinuated, or hinted at, there isn’t a blatantly logical romance between the two. Yes, Mei did share something personal about herself to Sakaki and nobody else, but that’s not chemistry, that revolves around the topic of the curse; they don’t talk about anything else but the curse. The final episode, after he fails at his aspirations of flirting with her, he reasserts the question of the curse, redundantly. It’s an obvious hesitation in not knowing what to say, they’re not meant for each other. Sakaki is best suited with another melodramatic entity, while Mei is better suited harboring a relationship with a rock.
Why Another is Bad: Conclusion
Another’s rating would double if it was considered a horror-comedy-parody rather than a horror-mystery.