Clues, Crazy, and Carnage: Anime Baba’s Countdown to Halloween

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Anime Baba reviews Another, a Horror / Mystery anime, where the students of Class 3 struggle to survive as a curse claims victim after victim.
Anime Baba reviews ‘Another,’ a horror/mystery anime where the students of Class 3 struggle to survive as a curse claims victim after victim.

Today Anime Baba is running a Countdown to Halloween special—a 3 for 1. Sounds great, right? Except the truth is that I missed Thursday, so, really, I’m just catching up. But hey, I like the “three for one special” spin better. Let me live in my reality, kind of the way our ghost did for a time in The Dusk Maiden of Amnesia.

So what does that mean for you? This means you will get a Halloween anime post today, and you’ll have another (no pun intended) tomorrow, then yet another (hmm, that word just keeps popping up) on Monday without having to wait a day between. You’re bound to find one you like! Unless you don’t like anime, or you don’t like Halloween… in which case, why are you even here?  Oh, you are interested in anime? Great! Let’s look at today’s Halloween Countdown anime.

As you might have guessed, today we are looking at the horror / mystery anime series titled Another. Another is a 12-episode anime television series produced by P.A.Works directed by Tsutomu Mizushima with a screenplay written by Ryō Higaki. This series is based on the Japanese mystery horror novel by Yukito Ayatsuji.

Interesting note: The anime series uses a character design based on the concept art created by Noizi Ito, who also illustrated a re-release of Another under the imprint Sneaker Bunko the same year the anime released.

In 1972, a popular student in Yomiyama North Middle School’s class 3-3 named Misaki passed away during the school year. Since then, the town of Yomiyama has been shrouded by a fearful atmosphere, from the dark secrets hidden deep within.

Twenty-six years later, 15-year-old Kouichi Sakakibara transfers into class 3-3 of Yomiyama North and soon after discovers that a strange, gloomy mood seems to hang over all the students. He also finds himself drawn to the mysterious, eyepatch-wearing student Mei Misaki; however, the rest of the class and the teachers seem to treat her like she doesn’t exist. Paying no heed to warnings from everyone including Mei herself, Kouichi begins to get closer not only to her, but also to the truth behind the gruesome phenomenon plaguing class 3-3 of Yomiyama North.

Another follows Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates as they are pulled into the enigma surrounding a series of inevitable, tragic events—but unraveling the horror of Yomiyama may just cost them the ultimate price. ~ source MyAnimeList

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Day 2 /15 – Another

Another came out in 2012, and the complete collection can be purchased on Amazon.  In spite of being older, it still holds its own in terms of Halloween-style atmosphere and gory body count. Another is an anime series that creeps you out and makes you think all at once. If you are a movie buff, you might see why it is often compared to the movie Final Destination (the original). There is a certain inevitable feel to death in this series which will leave you wondering whether the deaths are coincidence or curse.

Taking place in a city that contains many secrets, the story of Another starts 26 years in the past when a popular student of Yomiyama North Middle School’s class 3-3, Misaki, dies tragically mid-term. Unable or unwilling to cope with the loss, students and faculty alike carried on as though Misaki were still alive. Rumor and superstition created the belief that this lead to a strange presence in the graduation photo and a curse on class 3-3.

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What You Don’t Know Can Kill Others

Our story starts when Kōichi Sakakibara transfers into class 3-3 of Yomiyama North to live with his grandparents and his aunt Reiko Mikami while his father is working in India. He spends an unfortunate first month of the school year hospitalized due to a pneumothorax. While there he is befriended by a nurse, Sanae Mizuno, whose brother is also in class3-3. During his stay, a delegation of his classmates visits him to welcome him. Izumi Akazawa, Tomohiko Kazami, and Yukari Sakuragi all seem friendly, but something is off in their demeanor.

Later that night in the hospital, Kōichi meets the eyepatch-wearing Mei Misaki in a dark elevator. He attempts to be friendly and discovers she is going to deliver something. It’s only when she gets off at the morgue that he becomes disturbed.

When Kōichi returns to school, he makes friends easily at first but notices that the students and all the faculty seem unaware of the presence Mei, despite her being in their class. It is as if she doesn’t exist. Confused by their behavior, he befriends her. This leads to him to clues about the curse on class 3-3 and the charm they enact each year in an attempt to avoid it. He enlists Sanae to help him sort out what is happening.

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The Living Dead

When Kōichi continues to acknowledge Mei, ignoring the other students’ warnings, deaths begin. Kōichi saves his classmate Aya from being hit by a falling sheet of glass, and she begins screaming that she doesn’t want to die. He confronts his classmates about not telling him what is going on and is interrupted by a phone call from Sanae. As she is explaining that her brother insists that Mei Misaki doesn’t exist, the elevator she is on malfunctions and Kōichi is forced to listen to her death.

Ikuo Takabayashi, one of Kōichi’s friends, is angered at the way that Izumi Akazawa is handling things and the fact that Kōichi isn’t being told what is going one. He offers to answer any questions that Kōichi has, but when Mei Misaki is brought up, Takabayashi falls to the ground and dies of heart failure. In spite of the fact that Takabayashi always had a weak heart, Kōichi’s classmates start ignoring him.

Mei finally explains the history of the curse and that the charm the students use to keep the curse away is to pretend someone doesn’t exist. She was chosen, but now she and Kōichi are “in the same club.”  She explains that class 3-3 has been enacting a charm for years in an attempt to counter the curse which causes students, teachers, and their close family to die randomly in horrific ways. The desire to avoid this “calamity” is the reason behind everything that has struck Kōichi as odd, including the insistence that Mei did not exist. Kōichi accepts the circumstances, and while he finds it unreasonable, he simply goes on with his life spending more time with Mei. He and Mei begin developing a good friendship.

The next day the homeroom teacher of class 3-3 dies in front of the class, and it becomes clear that the “charm” has not stopped the curse. From this point on, Kōichi and Mei are no longer ignored and become embroiled in a desperate attempt to find a way to stop the curse.

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History Repeats

With his friends back at his side, Kōichi looks into the history of class 3-3 as the curse claims victim after victim, as people related to his class succumb to gruesome and senseless deaths. The final episodes explode with clues, crazy, and carnage  as everybody turns on each other in a violent free-for-all that ultimately reveals the truth amid complete chaos that includes knife-wielding maniacs, blood-crazed smiles, explosions, and even fist-fights.

Another plays out in a way that many of the best horror/mystery stories do. In spite of a short 12 episodes run, this series is filled with plot twists and packed with red herrings that, once they are revealed, make you wonder how you missed them. I’m usually able to tag a reveal within two to three episodes, but Another kept me guessing. The series starts off slow and creepy and escalates steadily. Those slow episodes are ones you should watch carefully because the plot twist at the end is foreshadowed in every single episode and yet, the writing is so well done that you are likely to be distracted by what you think is the obvious answer. In the end, no one is safe, nothing is sacred, and once the truth is revealed, you are going to want to go back and look for the clues you missed. This series makes an art out of the “things aren’t always as they appear” idiom.

Fair Warning

Another is visually stunning. The eerie music and grim artistic imagery set a perfect tone in the early part of the series. Keep in mind that as the story progresses so does the violence, and at times that can be intensely graphic. As I said earlier, the last few episodes are the worst offenders in terms of shocking levels of blood and gore. I intentionally left out any graphic images, so I want to note this for those that prefer their deaths scenes off-camera. Most of the deaths are depicted in brutal detail and to a gut-wrenching visceral effect.

I recommend this for people who love anime and enjoy a bit of blood and gore with their well written plot lines. If you are the type who reads a mystery novel and after the last page flips back to see if all the clues really were in the book… this one is for you. Also, watching it late at night alone may result in you scaring yourself—even with the lights on.

Another can be streamed from Crunchyroll or purchased in Blu-Ray format on Amazon

See you tomorrow!

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