segunda-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2013

[Anime Review] Another (1st episode)

After searching a bit for a good anime worthy of a review, here I found the one called Another. It stems from a novel (which was already good to begin with) that deals in the mystery and horror genres. Right then, we have a winning combination waiting to happen.

Summary: A boy moves into a small japanese town, and finds himself surrounded in strange events. There´s a story about a girl who died, told in the beggining of the episode, and then it cuts to a boy in a hospital bed. He is welcomed by his classmates, and then goes to a first day in the school of this new quaint town.
That´s about it. 

Analysis:  Let´s start with the scene of the protagonist thanking the 3 students that are there to welcome him to the new school he is going to be attending. Creepiness in anime (mainly, anime as it´s normally understood by the term) is hard to come by. We got it, here and there, but more often than not, we have larger than life hero types, colorful animation and "genki" girls abound. This is the reason anime like these are to be cherished. As the students welcome him, we have a sense of uneasiness since from the start, coming from either the lingering and faint soundtrack that accompanies the scene or the fact that they stop for some time without doing any movements besides looking to the protagonist for quite a few instances. There´s this disturbing feeling that something is taking place there. Here we have 3 of the typical, by the book anime characters, complete with different hair colors, looking at another typical, honest to good anime character, and the scene couldn´t be creepier.  What gives?

We also have the dolls. Yeah. Scenes of creepy dolls are displayed every now and then (alongside with other types) since the very beginning. To those that know about Thomas Ligotti, he uses the concept of the doll, the mannequin, to discuss important issues about the nature of reality and existence - having the story "Dream of a Mannequin" being a huge example. In this anime, we got brief scenes in which various dolls appear. They have nothing to do with the present scene, they are just shown, for a brief moment, and the scene reappears. It´s awesome and it adds to the creepiness like crazy. 

Not only dolls, but various other things do appear in those brief moments. In the beginning of the first episode, we have a road, various house interiors, dolls, hair flowing in the wind, a mansion seen from afar. It certainly gives the work the right tone. 

One thing I couldn´t stop noticing is the sense of reality it conveys regarding decay. This is not the common anime in which the background makes it seem like there are entire teams of people  in-universe dedicated to cleaning and fixing every tiny detail of the setting, with the result of even make it seem too fantastical or fake: here we have, in the first scenes of the hospital room, small crevices on the wall, and bruises on the painting job. In the end, where we have the protagonist talking to a mysterious young lady, we have the outer metal structure of the building appear to be under the process of rusting, amongst many other examples.

The quality of the material, the depth of the scenes, the dedication of the ambience puts this anime on the top of the league of its genre.

This is the review of the first episode and the overall aspects, but whenever I finish it, I´ll let you know my feelings about it - but as far as I have seen, it´s pretty much flawless.

If I´m going to be picky, I´d say that the ending makes it lose a few points for me, because of the change of the theme. The opening does have a more catchy song than what I was expecting it, but the video maintain the creepy overtones, so it matches the theme, but the ending kind of like makes it feel like one of those school drama aimed at 15 year old girls, complete with the chosen song. But as I said, it´s a minor flaw - one that doesn´t take nothing away of it´s 20+ minutes of weirdness.

Notable references to Stephen King and John Saul (episode 2) are overtly made on the series.
Nothing related to this anime, and other works of art herein quoted are my property, neither the image as well. This a review with the purpose of information only. 

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