Final Destination the Anime, only better.
Another (アナザー Anazā?) is a mystery-horror anime that follows Koichi Sakakibara, who finds himself caught in the middle of a classroom curse most deadly, and is based on the novel by Yukito Ayatsuji. In addition to this anime, a manga and a live-action movie has also been developed based on that novel.
If you've ever watched any of the Final Destination movies, you will find that Another is extremely similar, only better written. At first it feels like a ghost story, but soon everyone is marked for death and it's just a question of how each person is going to die... And their deaths are horrifying. Where other series tend to keep to quick deaths, most of Another's are long, agonizing, and bloody. I especially liked how death isn't just hunting victims that cheated it, but for a different reason all together. I'm not going to go into further details, so not to spoil the story, but let's just say it's a very disturbing and horrifying journey that will test the viewer's sanity in ways few others do.
My favourite part of this horror story is that it's enshrouded by an incredibly well written mystery with clues spread out through the entire series. So many mystery stories are either so easy to figure out that the twist falls flat, or we aren't told the whole story just to make the truth a huge surprise. In Another's case, I was left guessing right until the final death. We definitely need more well-thought-out mysteries like this.
It isn't all just death and curses, though. The friendships forged between the characters, especially between Koichi Sakakibara and Mei Misaki, are so memorable that I couldn't help but feel for them, especially in the last few episodes. Sure, a few of the characters made some downright evil choices, but if we took a group of real people and put in the position they were, I'm fairly certain they would act the same way. I know that I didn't care for what some of them did, but I also can't say for certain that I would react any differently if put in their situation. I just hope I never have to find out.
Other than Koichi and Mei, we sadly never get much of a back story for most of the characters. There are lots of them, too. Another's cast is filled with an entire classroom full of students, a few teachers, a handful of family members, and a talking bird. Obviously far too many characters to be able to spend time fleshing out, but a few more would have gone a long way, especially to help justify their actions toward the end.
Even though the animation doesn't look as realistic as other, more recent, series, the contrast and colours do an amazing job of accenting the mood of this series. Actually, an increase in the animation realism might have actually harmed the series since the deaths would have been so brutal that most viewers wouldn't have been able to stomach them. That, combined with the creepy soundtrack, and the amazing use of silence, Another feels like none other. Certainly more than enough for the characters, their deaths, and the world, to look and feel real enough to leave an impact.
By now, you probably already know that Another series comes highly recommended. So few horror stories, especially in movies, TV, and anime, have seemingly forgotten how to deliver on a truly horrifying experience, so blood-soaked gems like this definitely deserve recognition. If you are suffering from heart conditions or other physical or mental conditions that would be impacted by horrific scenes, do not watch this series as it will likely be too much for you to handle; especially a certain classroom death. I know that one even left me shaken beyond words. Regardless, this series will change you for there are things which you will bare witness to that you will likely never forget, but that may not be a bad thing.
If you're interested in watching Another, you can watch it on Crunchyroll. If you've seen it already, what did you think of this gruesome story? Sound off in the comments below (just be sure to mark spoilers).