Friday, June 22, 2012

Guest Post: Anime Review: Another

As I have come to acknowledge that there was a severe lack of anime on Kentucky Geek Girl, I have asked one of the biggest anime fans I know (who just happens to be an awesome geek) to write a series of anime reviews. I may do some myself, but I will freely admit that I'm still starting to get into anime, though I love them all the same. Huge thanks to Heather for being up for this undertaking. I sincerely welcome her contribution to Kentucky Geek Girl!

Heather Jayne is a 25 year old geek of all trades, games, comics, science fiction, anime, you name it. When she was 8 she was given her first anime to watch, recorded on a VHS tape, it was an anime older than her called Galaxy Railway 999 and a movie special to the series featuring her favorite character, Pirate Queen Emeraldas. After watching the series her love for anime boomed. Her favorite entertainment genres are action/adventure, horror, science fiction and mystery. Usually you'll find Heather watching anime on her Macbook Pro, reading comic books or obsessing over anything related to the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Contact her via Twitter @HeatherMonstar.

“Do you know Misaki? Misaki, from Class 3 of Year Three? The story about Misaki?”

I’ve always found myself drawn to the horror, suspense and mystery genres of entertainment, always in search of a series that will leave me guessing. If I’m aware there’s some sort of mystery to be solved I will sit down throughout every single episode, page, or entire movie, trying to deduce the ending of the “whodunit”. I’m left fairly impressed when a series manages to leave me guessing and keep me intrigued without my even picking up a single clue. Recently I sat down to watch an anime series that did so; a horror/mystery series lasting only 12 episodes called “Another”.

“Another” is an anime brought to us by Progressive Animation or, P.A. Works Corporation and was originally adapted from a mystery horror novel written by Yukito Ayatsuji. The anime starts off with what is presumably two Junior High students of the school we see depicted in some of the scenes discussing what sounds to the viewer like just another ghost story ending on a suspenseful note giving the viewer a clue as to what the remainder of the anime may be about. The opening sequence begins immediately after and we’re drawn into a whirl of beautifully smooth animations of eerie ball-joint dolls, darkness and red scenery as well as a girl with an eye patch that we have yet to meet at this point, all accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful song called “Kyōmu Densen” by Ali Project.

The music throughout the entire series is well composed and fitting to each scene playing out before us. Most of the time it’s subtle and slipped it quietly at perfect moments. The animation moves beautifully and is overall very visually appealing, with each sequence moving near flawlessly and realistically. There was a point in the series I found myself excited at such a simple movement; one of the characters steps over a rope but instead of perfectly clearing it her backmost foot touches the rope slightly. It’s the little details like those in animations that make them feel all the more realistic.

The version I am reviewing is currently the only version, which includes the original Japanese voice acting and can be subtitled in English. The voice acting was fitting; the actors were convincing and added to the suspense of the series. Small things such as the lighting in each scene also adds to the suspense of pulling you in; I would have preferred to watch it in a dim or dark room because of the wonderful contrast in lighting within each episode however my significant other prefers to watch anything remotely scary with all the lights in our house on. It should certainly be stated that this is an anime with horror elements. As said before, it is based on a horror mystery genre novel; if you’re not a fan of the horror genre this may not be the anime for you.

The mystery portion of the anime that you’re thrown into will certainly keep you guessing who is what and what’s really going on. By the end of the series I found myself dumbfounded when the final episode recapped all the clues that were given to us in the 11 episodes leading up to the finale. And though the anime is a mere 12 episodes in length with each episode lasting only 25 minutes total, it feels as though each episode goes on longer. This is not to say the anime feels slow but rather; it feels like quite a lot is covered within such a short period of time and somehow the script manages to do this without feeling even the least bit rushed. Each episodes ending leaves you on a cliffhanger, wanting to watch yet another episode to find out what may happen next to the students in Class 3 of 1998.

In summary, “Another” is a fantastic anime that will keep you guessing; the animation is beautiful, the writing keeps you intrigued, the music is subtle fitting each scene it plays in very well and if you’re interested in horror/mystery as a genre you will definitely want to give this series a chance.

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