Monday, January 16, 2012

Another anime

So I've just stated watching 'Another' and the first episode was pretty good. Yeah it's 'another' anime set in a school but one thing they've done really well is captured just an oddness to the town and the people. 

I have a review after the jump

The show is a horror mystery with the tagline "Their class has a secret no one dares talk about..." and they've conveyed this very well. There's a lot of subtle gestures and fake smiles

It's filmed pretty interesting too. There's a lot of off camera talking, long takes that push that uncomfortableness (reminds me of David Lynch sort to stuff), strong shadows in every shot, they also use a lot of cuts of the environment and quick flash cuts of things (like a creepy doll) that I'm sure are going to be explained as the series progresses.

I'm going to write a bit about the first episode so if you want to avoid any spoilers (although everything in this ep is establishing) check out now while you can.......

From what I gleamed from the first episode and a quick google the story begins with Kouichi Sakakibara lying in a hospital bed (he has a collapsed lung you find out later) after his grandmother and hot aunt leave him he's visited by 3 students. We can see straight away there's something not right with these guys, they just creepy stare at  Kouichi.

 O____O   O____O   O____O

The nurse is all like whatever I'll just leave you alone with these creepy kids

They eventually introduce themselves and this was the point where I nearly stopped watching as I've seen these type of characters before. The shy girl, the serious guy and the confident girl. It's the clichéd ensemble I've become bored with but I decided to let the scene play out and the show was able to retain my interest with how they played the scene. The questions they asked had hidden motives, the students move closer to  Kouichi  and it feels uncomfortable, there's little eye darts between the students either telling the other to talk or that something was troubling them and oh there's this long drawn out violin like sound that is subtle in the background. That's a horror go to sound but dang it it works. The students are kids from the local school that  Kouichi  has transferred to and since he will miss the first few days they gave him some study notes and then awkwardly asked if they could give him a nickname. That should be normal stuff but they made it weird.

So time passes I guess (there's lots of jump cuts in this) and  Kouichi  is checking out of the hospital and rushes for an elevator whose door is about to close. He's busy looking at his phone when he realises there's some girl standing behind him with a doll. He does the usual awkward anime kid thing and jumps in fright and then apologises (dude it's not like you've grabbed her breasts accidentally......yet). Apart from the creepy doll and you're not sure if she's a ghost that just materialized behind  Kouichi  we also see she is a pirate or has had some horrible accident that has taken her left eye or has a demon eye.


....smoooth operator 

Sooo it's a long elevator ride down.  Kouichi uses his detective skills and sees the same uniform as the other kids he met and asks her if she's going to the same school as him. He then starts asking more questions but before he can seal the deal she gets off the elevator and begins to walk into the darkness. He quickly asks what her name is and she replies without turning around standing half covered by the shadows "Mei, Misaki Mei" (sounds like a keeper)

Kouichi then looks up and sees a sign saying that she's walking in the direction of the morgue ಠ_ಠ hmmmm

So Kouichi is home with his talking comedy bird and his Granddad who's all depressing. Then he goes to school and his teachers are creepy, he has to introduce himself and everyone stares at the floor (what the hell guys!!!) but then at break everyone crowds around Kouichi 

These guys are sooo friendly and aren't suspicious at all all

They tell him how cool it must be that he came from Tokyo and they know a disturbing amount of information about him that the teacher told them before he arrived (totally normal). Serious glasses dude seems to be the leader and he seems to be in control of the group once again with just eye darts to tell the other kids know what to say (MYSTERIOUS!!)

I should point out this scene is really interesting with how it is filmed. Apart from the above image we really don't see much of Kouichi instead we see all these cuts of the students doing student things. We get a feel for the environment and of all the individual kids in the class and their amazing hair (everyone has pretty great hair in this show). This could just be for stylistic purposes or there's going to be a lot of killing that's going to happen later much like what went on with 'Blood C' (an only ok anime from last year that's the same director as "Another")

Anyway getting to the end everyone is doing athletics running and face planting


Our homeboy Kouichi don't do athletics because of his collapsed lung and he just sits and watches the other students happily. Some weak looking kid starts talking to him and tells him they're kinda bros because he has a heart condition but before they can bro out heart attack kid has chest pains and wanders off to the nurses office. Dang! but it's not all bad for Kouichi because shy girl turns up with a sprained ankle

smooooth operatorrrr

Actually I don't think he cares much for shy girl (shy girls are always forever alone in anime) and he just hangs out and asks her a bunch of things about heart attack kid, the school and oh yeah that girl he met Misaki Mei...

....who? I know not of this Mei...

Shy girl who gives us no reason to doubt what she says, says she doesn't know of this girl  Misaki but then Kouichi looks up and sees  Misaki at the top of the building and he's all like, "latas, I gotta go to my dream pirate babe"

So Kouichi is up on the roof with the possible demon eyed pirate girl of his dreams and she's drawing. He asks what she is drawing and she hides it behind her back (omg what a tease). So after a bit of back and forth anime flirting (I guess), Kouichi brings up why she went to the morgue. Misaki  shoots him down "I don't like being questioned" Kouichi is all apologetic then Misaki (who has pretended not to know/remember Kouichi up to this point) says "You are Sakakibara Kouichi, correct?" Kouichi replies "that's my name baby"(something like that) then the pirate girl turns to Kouichi and says "Your classmates haven't told you?"

Kouichi freaks out he thinks maybe he has forgotten to wear pants. Misaki continues "they associate your name with death...but not just any death. A cruel, irrational death that took place at this school" Which probably explains why they wanted to give Kouichi a nickname since his name has the stink of cruel, irrational death all over it. She then goes on to tell him that this school particularly the class he's in is very close to death. She then asks if he really doesn't know anything about it. Then she gets even more serious faced

"You shouldn't try to get close to me"

"You shouldn't talk to me any more either"

DAMMM Kouichi things aren't looking good for you and the pirate girl. Kouichi whimpers a "Why?" to which Misaki gives the mysterious reply "you'll find out soon enough" and then walks off saying goodbye and spelling out his name (like a cheerleader? what is with the mixed messages?!?).

So that's pretty much the first episode. There were some things I missed like when hot aunty (who used to be a student) tells Kouichi that to fit in at the school it's about the group not the individual so it seems like there's almost a cultist aspect to the school. The grandfather was depressed about I think Kouichi's mother being dead. Kouichi's father is over in India (I can't remember why).

I really like the mood and pacing of this show but I do wonder how long they will drag out all the mysteries. I have seen shows like this that go on till the last episode and have tripled the amount of mysteries and have to solve them all in that episode and end up just effing the whole series. The styling is hiding pretty bland stock characters (colour Misaki's hair blue and you have Rei from evangelion) but it is doing it well. Once again I wonder how long the trick will work for. 

I am interested to find out what the big secret is so I'll probably watch 2 more eps which is my usual thing with a new show is to watch 3 eps as you'll get a feel for the overall quality.

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