Calamity – an event that brings terrible loss, lasting distress or severe affliction.

It all began 26 years ago when a terrible accident, its causes still unknown, occurred resulting in the unfortunate death of a popular honor student at Yomi North Junior High, 9th grade class 3. Distraught over the student’s death, the teacher and students continued on as if the dead student were still present; they left an open desk in class and even a seat at graduation. No one could ever explain how the dead student showed up in their graduation photo at the end of the year – a mystery that would eventually lead to malice, grief, and death.

Since then, every 9th grade class 3 has had to take special precautions to prevent the calamity from re-occuring. So long as the rules are strictly followed, the year will pass without occurrence…

However, when “another” student is added to the class or things that do not exist are tampered with, events begin to take a turn for the worst. Once the curse is activated, a student or family member will die every month of that school year until graduation. They say that the additional student is actually dead, but even they themselves do not know it and there is no physical way to tell who the extra or dead student might be. Although there are many rumors surrounding this curse, little is actually known except that it is a very real situation for those in class 3.

Transferring from Tokyo, Koichi Sakakibara is scheduled to start 9th grade at Yomi North Academy, class 3. Unfortunately, due to a lung condition, he is forced to start school a month late. Seemingly unrelated at the time, Koichi meets a strange girl with an eye patch in the hospital elevator. As the elevator finally comes to rest at the morgue, the girl gets off, pausing just long enough to answer that she is giving a doll to someone who is staying there.

The girl’s name is Mei Misaki, an enigmatic figure that doesn’t seem to be completely in touch with this world. Having spoken with Mei and a few classmates already, Koichi is soon thrown directly into the center of confusion and mistrust: no one will tell him what is going on, why people are horrifically dying, or anything involving the terrifying calamity that has begun. Everything soon rages out of control as students and family members begin to succumb to gruesome accidents and blame is thrown back and forth in anger and in fear. Nobody knows how to stop it; but if they don’t figure something out, it is uncertain who will survive to graduation…if anyone.

Another is a horror/mystery anime containing numerous elements of my hearts contentment. I somehow knew that I would enjoy this one, but then again I simply love anything within the horror category from utterly terrorizing to completely cliche. Horror, mystery, curses, strange relationships, death, violence, gore, blood, dolls and intriguing characters all make up this cruel story of unfortunate events. As the series progresses you will come to question nearly every character and their motives; never knowing who, if anyone, can really be trusted.

How far would you go to save a life?…to save your own life?

I know Another isn’t perfect, I will say this straight from the start, but I really did enjoy this one. The first few episodes set the mood and scene so well, you cannot help but begin feeling the dread and anxiety of the situation. The characters of the series also add a certain level of depth as you will not only begin to empathize with many of them, but it also enhances the overall fear and creates a more prominent impact when their lives come to such horrid ends. It is a bit slow in revealing what is actually going on, but at the same time this adds to the overall tension the series aims to create.  It is also more of a survival horror anime than a mystery series (not that I am complaining ^^), although the clues are there if you know where to look for them and can drag your eyes away from the numerous death scenes.

As for the ending, it is probably one of the most critically looked at parts of the series. It is not terribly difficult to discern where the final showdown will be taking place; but the actual climax and revelation of everything happens quite abruptly and ends with about as much flair. There are a few unforeseen aspects that add a nice touch to the overall bloodbath and chaos; and watching the students paranoia and complete collapse of sanity, even in the most sturdy of characters, truly adds to an atmosphere already filled to the brim with panic and suffering.

Despite its flaws, my love for the genre and everything it encompasses still places this anime high on my list. Another possibly unrelated note is that much of this show also reminded me of one of my favorite game series, Fatal Frame, in which I found many similar elements shared between them and perhaps also contributed to my instant attraction to this piece (“I wonder how long it’s been since my brother and I began to see things other people can’t see“, dolls, calamity, violent death…the list goes on and could probably be formed into a post all by itself).

If you are fan of this type of story then I would definitely recommend watching this. Be warned though, there is a great deal of blood, death and violence and absolutely nothing is left to the imagination. It may not be perfect, but see what you think for yourself.

After all, it’s only a fight for survival against a horrifying unseen and unstoppable force. Do you think you would make it out alive?

Death is not kind. It’s dark, black as far as you can see, and you’re all alone.

All alone…

Yes, but it’s no different when you’re alive, is it? No matter how many relationships we seem to have, we’re all alone.