Over time, merging anime and horror has proven to be a challenging task, however, the 10-year-old series Another remains an unforgettable story that masterfully tackles several of horror’s most notorious sub-genres. Whether it’s supernatural mysteries, slasher storylines or even the prospect of generational curses, this uniquely unsettling horror gem has everything you could ever require as a horror fan, or at the very least, for your spooky season binge-watching pleasure!
If you’re willing to join a cursed classroom that’s riddled with mysteries, jump scares, paranoia, and non-stop pulse-pounding tension alongside new student Kouichi Sakakibara circa 1998, you’re in for one devilishly excellent treat. So now that we’ve reached the scariest month of the year, here’s why you should be savoring Another.
Unsettling Atmospheric Bliss
One paramount attribute that separates horror from other genres is the tendency to manufacture an artistic but still unnerving backdrop for its entirety. In the case of Another, the series consistently finds ways to make each setting eerie, yet absolutely captivating through its detailed art, resulting in a cooperative relationship between two concepts that aren’t always the easiest to blend. For example, the presumably safer daytime scenes of Another routinely attach dark, overcast tones to the sky, torrential downpours, and even deep, hypnotic shades of colors within its presentation that paint a uniquely somber mood.
As the series progresses, the eclectically stunning locations range from a dimly lit doll museum to a rundown school, or most notably, a beautiful gothic-inspired mansion and shrine for the series’ climactic finale. Though in all sincerity, no matter where you’re located in Another, the eye-catching atmosphere brings a looming sense of danger up until its very last moment.
A Slasher-Style Final Act
Another wholeheartedly commits to various stylistic horror influences, however, the final act bravely initiates a classic slasher-style finish that you certainly won’t be able to shake. With complete fear taking over the class and rumors spreading as quickly as the on-site inferno, people begin to turn on one another in order to survive the overtly chaotic conclusion. In fact, during the final episodes, the unexpected scene-stealing duo of Teshigawara and Mochizuki engage in one of the most iconic, nail-biting chase sequences the genre has offered across any classification of media.
Even a shocking mob mentality that’s later introduced infects a majority of the remaining students, putting several lives at risk and deliberately giving the anime an assortment of slasher-inspired villains when you’d least expect it. By the time the nerve-wracking bloodbath comes to a halt, there’s a lot of trauma to process, and a big portion of that — including a devastating twist at the end — involves the dark-horse potency of the slasher sub-genre. If anything, let this be a lesson that slasher anime titles can be done correctly!
Pure Paranormal Tension
At the nucleus of Another is a plot with respect for the spookiness that’s bound to the paranormal. From its earliest conception by renowned author Yukito Ayatsuji, there’s such a heavy emphasis on paranormal entities that it actually causes a faction of Yomiyama residents to live in a constant state of fear. In essence, what once began as a tragic student ghost story linked to an untimely death now haunts the class of 1998 for a 12-episode event without any hiccups, ramping up to a satisfactory explanation that masterfully ties everything together. And like any solid ghost story, it suggests that consequences will follow.
Aside from the predominantly present-day paranormal narrative, there’s also a more tangible aspect that’s explored by revisiting ghosts of the past. When we first meet our leads Sakakibara and Mei, both are coping with close losses that are very authentic to real-life, organic grief. By the time the paranormal implication becomes clearer within the story, it adds an air of tension to these previous losses that hadn’t been assessed in real time. In essence, viewers are open to speculating that every single demise, whether past or present, is tethered to the paranormal.
A Mysterious Generational Curse
Obviously, there’s nothing alluring about the probability of a curse, but in regard to Another, viewers get to partake in its grisly scares and unfathomable outcomes at a comfortable distance! And considering that the fictional town of Yomiyama is no stranger to recurring tragedies, their deep-rooted belief in spirits and supernatural occurrences creates a rather scary hotbed for conversations surrounding unstoppable curses.
An important facet of this exact suggestion comes from a specific recurring catastrophe that causes every generation of the afflicted school to eventually prepare for potential “countermeasures.” In order to overcome the curse and its deadly ramifications, the characters are repeatedly coerced into following the techniques of survivors from the previous years who managed to make it out alive. Thankfully, all references to the curse are depicted with scratchy tape recordings, foggy memories, or suspicious rumors from staff, expertly maintaining a general vagueness that makes the anime an exemplary horror blueprint.
Bonus: If you’ve enjoyed curse or fate-oriented films like The Grudge and Final Destination, this series incorporates a few wonderful ingredients from those genre titles to create something brand new!
All-Important Final Boys and Girls
Out of everything horror can provide to its prospective audiences, one of its more prestigious offerings has to be the ability to construct resilient, courageously written characters who go on to become survivors. Dubbed as “final girls,” or “final boys,” the ability to survive the unique terrors of the genre often connects with viewers who hope to see someone triumph — or even the implication to other trauma survivors that their pain can be turned into a story about conquering adversity. Throughout Another, we’re introduced to several possible characters to root for, and as the dust settles, viewers won’t be disappointed by the final outcome.
Unlike some of the other more predictable and cliche qualities that adept genre viewers might anticipate, these central personalities aren’t willing to go down without anything short of a fight. As the series progresses, a necessary investigative component comes into play for many of the central Class 3 students, leading to a story where intellect and cautiousness are the characters’ keys to surviving. With a handful of potential survivors at the forefront of a climactic final act, we can confirm that there isn’t a single person who’s offered a painless path to the end.
After witnessing plenty of tragic fates and missed opportunities for countless characters across the genre, Another is one example of a horror story that genuinely understood the assignment.