Another Would Have Been the Best Horror Anime Ever If Not for Its Ending

Airing in 2012, the horror anime Another captivated viewers with the intricate rules of the cursed Yomiyama North Middle School's 9th grade Class 3 as they were revealed through the completely clueless new transfer student, Kouichi. Living with his aunt Reiko, he encountered a weird, ghostly-looking girl named Mei who none of his other classmates can seemingly see. Unbeknownst to Kouichi, Class 3 has been cursed for 26 years, resulting in one death of a student or someone directly related to them every month until graduation. This is because, for each class roster, there is one extra student that is brought back from the dead. No one knows who the dead student is, not even themselves, because everyone's memory has been altered. Past students discovered 15 years prior that if a single student is designated to be treated like they don't exist within the class, then the curse has a 50% chance of being lifted. The same class was also the first class to stop the curse mid-year.

Thus, Mei is designated to be the "non-existent student" that year. Kouichi, who is unaware of what was happening because the class officer in charge of telling him, Izumi, was absent on his first day, acknowledges and talks to Mei, breaking the rules. When students start to die, the students and the teachers try making Kouichi a non-existent student alongside Mei in order to battle the curse. This proves to be unsuccessful, so Kouichi, Reiko, and a few other students go to the beach to meet with Matsunaga, Reiko's former classmate from Class 3 of 15 years ago to clarify the conditions of the curse. He reveals that the only way to truly stop the curse is to kill the extra student, or "send the dead back to death."

Mei eventually reveals that she has a twin sister who died right before Kouichi transferred and that it technically made the curse happen a month before everyone else thought it did. As the students of Class 3 go on their field trip to an inn near the Yomiyama Shrine to pray for their safety, they start to become suspicious of one another. Soon, the students are overcome with fear and try to kill one another. Izumi comes to the conclusion that Mei is the extra student after another student claims to have gone to middle school and her two eyes were intact. That instead turned out to be her secret twin sister.

After Izumi is killed by lightning-induced glass shrapnel after attempting to kill Mei, Mei reveals that it was, in fact, the assistant homeroom teacher Ms. Mikami, who is revealed to be Kouichi's aunt, Reiko. She was murdered a year and a half ago, and in order to break the curse, Kouichi takes it upon himself to kill her. After reflecting on the events of the year before their memories are eventually wiped, the students record a message for future students about how to break the curse, much like Matsunaga did for them.

While the slow reveal of the curse through Kouichi's perspective was well-paced, the ending felt very rushed. It seemed to have transformed from a suspenseful murder mystery to be solved to a battle royale. This sudden genre change paired with the outlandish revelation of Ms. Mikami being Kouichi's aunt Keiko all along cheapened what was meant to be a big reveal. Many viewers complained that all the buildup of finding the "extra student" was also ruined by making the extra student a teacher instead. The ending is often criticized for being too chaotic and suspenseful as the buildup of the previous 10 or so episodes is left to waste. It is also never revealed as to who or what was behind the curse in the first place.

From the perspective of the outsider, viewers were fascinated to uncover the secrets of the curse, and the suspense of who was going to die next left fans on their toes. Yet, the payoff wasn't satisfying enough to wrap up the journey. Another definitely had potential, but it is definitely a testament that if the big reveal isn't executed successfully, then all the build-up will be for nothing.

sasuke uchiha
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