There comes a time when you just have to throw you hands up in the air and figure out what the hell you just watched.
Now that can be a good thing (currently Jinrui makes me do this), but this can also be a very very bad thing. Another was probably the most hyped Winter 2012 series for a good reason: there’s a lot of similarities between Another and the Higurashi series: boy moves into small town, town keeps a secret, boy gets way too deep in the secret and the graphic content. Now, I’ve only seen around 7 episodes of Higurashi and the entirety of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, but those two series are far and away better than Another could ever be. Yes, I know how bad the Umineko anime is and yes I too think it was one of Studio DEEN’s most fabulous series but yet from the get-go it got me hooked on viewing, even at the same time I still don’t understand those ‘red truths’ and Phoenix Wright-style arguments.
The same cannot be said for Another. Starts off with (your typical high school boy) and his adventures with (a girl who tries too hard to be cute). Your Typical High School Boy (referred from now on as YTHSB) and A Girl Who Tries Too Hard to Be Cute (referred from now on as Eyesore) are both quickly ostracized from everyone else because THEY KNOW TOO MUCH *cue obnoxious background music*. YTHSB and Eyesore want to know the reasons for this, but that’s when the
Final Destination deaths begin. Nurse gets crushed by an elevator, some girl with huge tits gets impaled through the neck by an umbrella, the guy in the first picture HNNNNGHed died from a heart attack, teacher stabs himself WHILE THE SHOW PLAYS UNFITTING MUSIC, some dude looks like he got cut up from a rutter in a boat (later he ‘died’ before he hit the boat, riiiiiiight), and lots of crazy bitches meet their ends.
Another wants you to believe it’s an incredibly serious mystery anime. But it lacks the subtlety that even KyoAni’s Hyouka can actually do well. I’m talking about those annoying shots of the dolls in Misaki’s house. What purpose did they serve to the overall mystery? Not even the fans know and even criticize this as well. For a while it was nothing but meandering from YTHSB and Eyesore with over the top deaths in between. Now, I wouldn’t mind how ridiculous these deaths were but Another is hell bent on wanting to let you know that it takes everything seriously. Heck, even Umineko did a much better job with the deaths as they had some meaning (beneath all of that dialogue I could care less about). While unraveling the ‘extra person’ that is responsible for the calamity, somehow somewhere a meeting took place at P.A. Works and decided they’d make the last two episodes bizarrely entertaining. I imagined the conversation as follows:
Producer: Hmm, the Blu-ray sales are poor. I bet senseless hysteria will sell!
Director: And I thought Misaki was enough moe for people to buy the series.
Producer: Moe sells, but we at Kadokawa (known for our outrageous prices) want a little more pizz-azz.
Director: So we’re going through with the new turn starting on episode 11? And what about that other thing you mentioned?
Producer: Good. And that other thing, you mean this? We feel this will attract more buyers.
Sad to know that the director for Another was Tsutomu Mizushima: a very talented guy who directed the criminally under-rated Ookiku Furikabutte. He also directed Blood-C, which I hear is just as bad as Another and Umineko. Good to know that the sales were just as bad as predicted: around 2,000 Blu-rays sold. It could also be the ridiculous Kadokawa prices: 2 episodes per volume, retail price is around $95 USD. 95 bucks for two episodes? Ridiculous. 95 bucks for two episodes each of Another? My wallet just closed. That image I linked to above is the cover for the fourth blu-ray volume.
Anyways nerdy sales speak aside, my experience with Another has left me in a pretty bitter mood. Not enough to give up on anime as a whole, but to really question why people would find this show even a decent watch. I hear over-rated being used for things like Code Geass (true to an extent) and Death Note (indeed) but there’s others like Angel Beats and also Another: both of which are P.A. Works series, luckily Hanasaku Iroha and currently Tari Tari are making me rethink how I feel about this studio. Sure they all have gorgeous background art, but that doesn’t excuse awful writing. Sorry Another, you just are awful. Beyond the ‘it’s so bad, it’s good’ type of bad, you’re just plain awful.
Animation – 7/10: Gorgeous backgrounds, everything else was ick. Try harder, P.A. Works.
Story – 4/15: What was the purpose of Misaki’s dolls? You get back to me on that one. And if Misaki could figure out who the dead person was, why the hell didn’t she just do it instead of wasting twelve episodes on poorly built up events, forced attempts to be creative and cringe-worthy dialogue? The dialogue is pretty awful, I think I’ve seen B-movies with better scriptwriting than this. I’ll give it four points for abandoning the first nine episodes to give us pure chaos and mayhem for the last three. Good choice, but too late. Only decent thing handled was the mystery behind the “extra person”.
Characters – 5/20: YTHSB is probably the most annoying character I’ve seen in a while (though Renton from E7 or Shinn from GSD take top [or low] honors for that). I get the guy’s curious about the mystery, but learn to take a HINT! There’s a reason why no one talks to you (besides being weird), there’s a reason why they keep secrets from you. In fact, it’s so damn obvious that they keep things from him and he still doesn’t get it. Eyesore doesn’t fare any better, either. She’s more of a plot device for the series, and said plot device doesn’t begin to function until…the last episode. Everyone else ranges from wanna-be tsundere (Akazawa), boy who looks like Rin from Katawa Shoujo (Mochizuki), another generic best friend of the MC (Teshiagawa) and wanna-be yandere (the girls on the trip in the last episodes).
Sound – 6/10: Funny, the best thing for me in this show is the OP. I love Ali Project, even if their songs sound very similar. ED was alright. The soundtrack…what the hell was that THING? Let’s totally play obnoxious music during serious scenes, cause that totally works! The voice acting was decent I suppose but I feel bad for these seiyuu, then again you do whatever you can to make money.
Enjoyment – 5/45: Unlike a series just as pathetically awful as Another (Guilty Crown), Another didn’t even become ‘so bad it’s good’ that GC somewhat accomplished. It went beyond that point, where it just became so awful in terms of storytelling, scriptwriting, music and character development. The fact that this show is rating 8.16 and has 1,200+ favorites on MyAnimeList is very depressing, but then Guilty Crown also has the same stats and so does Angel Beats and the other over-rated melodramatic trash shows from Key. People, you need to see the light: the light being Natsume Yuujinchou, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Michiko and Hatchin, Usagi Drop and recently Nazo no Kanojo X. In fact I’m really annoyed at how easily people give out 10 and 9 scores like it’s free candy and cringe going on forums. Oh well, not everyone can be sophisticated with their reviews I suppose.
Overall – 27/100