EZA Watches "Another" [SPOILERS]

  • The Anime Club has just finished watching the first three episodes of "Another", one of the most popular horror animes of all time. This thread is for discussion of the first three episodes, but if you have things you want to say about any of the rest of the show, you can do so as a spoiler by using the appropriate formatting.

    The reason why I love this show so much is because the violence and gore is used effectively rather than haphazardly. In both anime and Western media, there's a real leaning towards this idea that more blood and guts necessarily equals a scarier experience. I feel like "Another" is almost taking a page out of Hitchcock's book in terms of how it is able to effectively build suspense in ways that don't rely on the (incredibly gruesome) death sequences. Hitchcock famously said that the difference between tension and surprise can be thought of pretty clearly in the case of a diner scene where the two lead characters have a bomb planted at their table without their knowledge. If you just see them talking and then suddenly everything explodes, you're surprised and shocked, but there's no real tension there because it comes so suddenly and unexpectedly. If you show the bomb to the viewer but keep the characters ignorant of its existence, however, suddenly the audience is experiencing suspense and tension because they have access to knowledge that the characters don't. For me, "Another" balances the two really well.

    The sound component can make or break a horror series, and I loved the way that sound effects were used as well as the effective use of music to build tension. If you had subtitles on the opening song and watched the whole series, you would notice that the opening theme foreshadows much of the plot. As a musician, I can also confidently say that the intro song is just compositionally bizarre. The use of key shifts, chromatic motion, and unusual rhythms makes the song feel oddly uncentered, and carries with it a sense of unease that pairs well with the content of the show itself.

    So, Allies, what did you think of our inaugural noodles?

  • Well, I liked the show enough to watch all 12 episodes. Those are some dark noodles! Considering that some people might only have watched the first 3 episodes, I'll limit my non spoiler discussion to what I thought of those.

    At the end of episode 3, we still don't know the whole story as to what's going on, or the "rules" really. According to my notes, I was suspicious of the super friendly nurse at the hospital who would give out seemingly confidential patient info to our protagonist because "you seem like you have got a good reason for asking, so maybe tell me about it later..."

    Seemed too convenient to me. I was also pretty sure Mei, the girl with the eyepatch was dead.

    Without spoiling anything, I'm pretty happy with the way the series kept you guessing petty far along into it. Some of the plot points are pretty convoluted, but I guess that goes with the territory.

    Was super dark, series got real violent at the end, and those dolls are super creepy .

  • When starting, I was wondering where the story would start and if this was an "easy" horror story (typical gore, jump scares) or something more engaging, and it definitely fell in the latter area for me.

    As @alexwhiteplays stated, sound design in the series is great. For some reason, some of it reminded me of the creepy/weird stuff Joseph LoDuca did for Evil Dead. I would have to go back and watch things again to find specific examples, but it all added to the creep atmosphere.

    I'd also be curious about a lot of the visual imagery used. Obviously there are items that relate to ghost stories of various kinds, but I wonder to what extent, since I am not familiar with a many Japanese ghost stories, and I'm sure other cultural myths, out side of Japanese ones, are being referred to as well.

    It's all very well layered, is appropriately creepy and intriguing, like an old school Giallo, and has me wanting to watch the rest of the series!

  • Personally I don't watch a lot of horror in general, but Another was intriguing enough that I continued watching it to the end. The animation is good for a TV series, character designs are okay, and the pacing keeps things moving along at the right speed once you reach episode 3, as it is pretty slow at the beginning. Thankfully, it reveals just enough details every episode to keep you guessing, just as any good mystery should.

    @alexwhiteplays makes a good point about how to effectively implement gore, with the end of episode 3 being a particularly good example. It showed just enough to make you cringe all over *Don't watch if you're squeamish. Another manages to straddle that line between implied and overt violence pretty well overall through the remainder of the series.

    In terms of imagery and reference to Japanese horror culture, there are a couple of things to mention. One is the use of lots of dolls, in reference to Misaki most likely. There is a belief that dolls that resemble people have souls and to dispose of them improperly would cause them to haunt you. It's why there are doll purification ceremonies. This belief is likely an urban legend of sorts that took a life of its own (much like what's happening in Another), ultimately becoming a part of Japanese culture. The myth has no origin in Shinto or Buddhism, the ceremonies are simply a "service" they provide because there was a desire for it.

    Also referenced loosely is Hitobashira (人柱), or literally human pillar. An ancient practice of human sacrifice (live), as an offering to the gods to protect large/important structures from natural disaster. A popular modern urban myth is the use of human sacrifice in dams and early on we see one. It's probably just used to set the tone, but Japanese viewers would get the reference pretty easily. As horror imagery goes, it's a a kind of subconscious primer.

    I'd say if you like horror/mystery, give Another a fair shot up to at least episode 4 (about 90+ minutes). It's pretty slow early on as I mentioned before, but when things get rolling, its a pretty fun ride.

  • I haven't got much tolerance for horror. Seriously. It took me ten years to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas because of the spooky trees. So as you can imagine, this show (pardon my language) scared the ever living shit out of me. As for the plot, I picked up on what was going on pretty quickly, and if I wasn't so terrified I'd want to keep watching to see what happens next. If I work up the courage I might watch the rest, but not by myself, and most certainly not at night.

  • @michemagius It's always interesting to hear from someone who avoids horror, by and large. I watch anything because I like the intensity, and the following "release" or "win" that, typically, comes along. But, that kind of intensity isn't for everyone.

    For instance, my wife cannot STAND tense situations in anything. Comedy, horror, anything. Gore, she's completely ok with, but make a situation too tense or uncomfortable, and she's out.

  • Spoiler question for those that finished the series:

    What was the deal with the innkeeper and his wife at the end, did they just turn into serial killers or something? I might have missed some motivation...

  • @TokyoSlim

    I think they went insane because their son/grandson died and just went psycho. The curse could have also amplified their grief and send them into a psychotic rage. I don't think they ever gave a definite answer however.

  • @Mechanoid hmm thanks.