Posted on Friday, November 1st, 2019 by Rafael Motamayor
(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)
A couple weeks ago, I said that horror and anime often don’t mix, and that’s mostly true. In anime, horror mostly deals with gore or “torture porn” and the supernatural. The former mostly deals with characters being constantly tortured or falling to over-exaggerated deaths, while the latter mostly refers to monsters and demons with exaggerated facial features. In any case, the anime relies on exaggerating whatever method it’s using to create shock value because it wants to remind you that what you’re seeing isn’t real, so they can get away with overplaying that disconnect.
But there are some creepy anime thrillers that can get under your skin, and a select few that could be considered true horror shows. One such show that is definitely horror is one that’s part junior-high drama, part supernatural murder-mystery with disturbing imagery, and part anime-version of the Final Destination franchise – by which I mean, you can expect some of the most bonkers, ridiculously bloody kill scenes.
That show is Another. We follow 15-year-old Koichi Sakakibara, whose mother died after childbirth and whose father is abroad on business. He’s the new transfer student in a rural junior-high school with a horrible secret. Of course, he gets assigned to the one classroom that is said to be cursed, and even though he’s well-versed in horror (Koichi is often seen reading Stephen King or John Saul), Koichi doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. There are a lot of special rules he’s supposed to follow but doesn’t know about, and there’s a quiet and weird girl with an eyepatch whom both teachers and students seem to ignore – as if she’s either invisible or a ghost. Are there supernatural beings haunting the grounds of the school? Is there really a curse that claims the life of a student each month? Is Koichi next?