Another – 06

[HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.12_[2012.02.13_14.11.44] [HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.56_[2012.02.13_14.15.00] [HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.49_[2012.02.13_15.48.26]

So if Steins;Gate can win fan polls for “Best Romance” of 2011, can Another with them for 2012?

Yeah, I’ll get to all the X-Files stuff in a minute, and there’s certainly plenty of it this week. But really, Another would never rise above the level of interesting intellectual exercise if that arrow were the only one in its quiver. Fact is, this series is great at telling a story and developing its characters, and that’s what elevates it to the level of masterwork. I loved all the scenes between Kouichi and Mei – they were some of the very best out of a very good six episodes, and they weren’t horrifying at all. In fact, they were some of the most natural and involving scenes involving two young teenagers getting to know each other I’ve seen in ages. The slight awkwardness between the two of them was perfectly portrayed, but so was the fact that a barrier between them had come down. When you’re 15, nothing brings you closer to someone than the feeling that “we’re in this together”. And a healthy dose of sexual attraction doesn’t hurt either.

The two of them were certainly adorable together, both in reality and in the brilliantly executed fantasy sequence where Kouichi and Mei ballroom danced their way through the classroom – which was all the more effective because it’s wistful and outrageous humor was such a radical change of pace. But what these scenes really did was validate my feelings from the first few eps, which were that this was a sad situation more than a terrifying one. It looks as if Mei was the natural choice to be isolated because she was already a social misfit, with an odd mother and an artificial eye. Fact is, it’s ironically much more humane to have two students be “dead” than one – because this way, at least, they can support each other. The theory that two sacrifices is better than one may not work for the “phenomenon” (I’ll join Tatsuji in not calling it a curse) but it seems like a good idea, just to reduce the likelihood than the designated student will crack under the pressure – as Tatsuji tells us happened as recently as 1996.

Several of Mei’s statements during this sequence stuck with me, though their exact significance (if any) I can’t quantify yet: “I know I’m not dead.” “I’m just another of my mother’s dolls”.” “It’s sad when people die.” I haven’t abandoned the notion that she could ironically be the Another, though it’s a long-shot. We know she had an eye tumor and her eye was removed by surgery at four years old, during which she had a near-death experience. Her mother thought a conventional glass eye wouldn’t be “pretty enough” and gave her the doll’s eye. But what the anime seems to want us to think is that Kouichi is the Another. It’s strongly implied by his father Yousuke (who by the way is voiced by Kitagawa Takurou) that Kouichi was actually in Yomiyama 18 months earlier, but once again, phone static cuts in before the truth is elaborated – he seems to be about to say (unconvincingly) “Oh, you’re right – my mistake.” and then the line dies, and we cut immediately to “Who is dead?” drawn by Misaki on the scarlet desk.

Fact is, I think this is a misdirection or a troll of whatever term you like – it’s much too obvious, for one. For another, Tatsuji tells us (and there’s documentary evidence supporting this) that those outside Yomiyama are unaffected by the phenomenon. Therefore Yousuke’s memory wouldn’t have been altered, and I think a father would remember if his son were dead. In fact, I think that’s exactly why these conversations with Yousuke are in the series at all. So what does this tell us, if not that Kouichi is dead? Well, perhaps it tells us that he really was in Yomiyama 18 months earlier – and it’s his current memories that have been altered to make him think he wasn’t. Implications of that are hard to pin down – if his memories have been altered by the phenomenon, why does it need him to believe he wasn’t in town? Is there someone or something he would be aware of otherwise that would clue him in to who the Another is?

Tatsuji’s testimony – like Mei’s last week – is full of information, some of which I think can be accepted as fact. But again, there’s enough in it that doesn’t add up to make me cautious – as with Mei’s version, I suspect there may be as much to lead us further away from the truth in his words as towards it. He confirms the hypothesis I reported (but did not think of myself) that the original Misaki was in fact a boy, Misaki Yomiyama (same as the town? Hmmm.). His house burned down in May, killing he, his parents and brother. Tatsuji blames himself for opening the door to death by the seemingly noble charade of treating Yomiyama as if he hadn’t died, and blames himself for “running away” driven by guilt and fear – by becoming a librarian instead of teacher. He’s systematically documented the phenomenon, which he equates to an earthquake or typhoon – deadly but not malicious – and tells us that students, family members up to twice removed and (only) Class 3’s homeroom teachers (the current one, Kubodera-sensei, appears about to snap and off himself spectacularly in front of the class as the episode ends) are all in danger, but they must live in Yomiyama. The countermeasure typically has a 50% success rate, and sometimes no one know why it fails. Records are useless while the phenomenon is occurring as they’re altered along with memories, but revert once the term is over.

Here’s where things get dodgy for me. Tatsuji says that the Another from 1996 was a girl named Asakura Mami, who was actually a student in Class 3 in 1993 who died during the phenomenon, but that during the term her name disappeared from the 1993 roster and appeared on the 1996 roster. If everyone’s memories are reverted back to normal after the phenomenon ends, though, how would Tatsuji have remembered that – remembered it well enough to write her name in the margins of the 1996 roster? Unless I’m missing something that doesn’t fit with his theory – perhaps he’s somehow immune to the memory alteration? It does seem likely that everyone thought 1998 was going to be fine, because they had enough desks – until Kouichi showed up, and they were indeed one short.

The challenge at this point is sorting everything into three piles – the relevant, the irrelevant, and the misleading. I believe multiple weird things are happening in Yomiyama, and not all connected with the Class 3 phenomenon. Something – I suspect unrelated – is seriously off with Mei’s mother Kirika (Harada Hitomi) and her doll studio. Kouichi is obviously at the center of the Class 3 phenomenon, but I honestly don’t think he’s the Another for reasons stated above. However, the issue with his father acting as if Koichi had just left Yomiyama 18 months earlier strikes me as crucial, and that implies a central role for those connected to him – namely his mother (who supposedly died 15 years earlier) his Aunt Reiko, and his grandparents. If his memory has been altered to tell him he’d never been to Yomiyama since his birth year, then the memories of the other students would have been similarly altered – and that would explain the lingering sensation that they knew him. Somewhere in that kernel of an idea is where the truth to all this lies – or so I’m betting as of right now. Ask me again after next week and you might get a different answer. In any case I’m having a great time watching this unfold, and independently from the mystery Kouichi and Mei’s relationship is developing into one of the most involving and charming of the year. I look forward to watching that progress just as much as to solving the riddle.

[HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.15_[2012.02.13_14.10.22] [HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.17_[2012.02.13_14.10.25] [HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.51_[2012.02.13_14.11.23]
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[HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.40_[2012.02.13_14.25.40] [HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.46_[2012.02.13_15.22.52] [HorribleSubs] Another - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.18_[2012.02.13_14.27.17]
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  1. d

    It seems romance is becoming the weird off topic
    Scifi? Horror? What is next?

  2. S

    Another great episode is next. SHUUPIIIIIIIINNNNNG

  3. K

    My theory is that Kouichi knew the another and was somehow connected to his/her death 18 months earlier.

    And yeah I loved the scenes of Mei & Kouichi together. A lot of people reacted negatively to the idea that a Sci-fi anime could win best romance but I'll stick by my vote on Steins Gate. It doesn't matter to me that a series isn't primarily a romance if it tells the best romantic story and you can have a great romance in any genre.

    Of course it's too early to tell if Another will be the best romance this year but if it continues like this I think it will at least give some very good competition.

  4. That's pretty much my theory too, Kim. But since no one else is thinking they were out of town, that implies it's someone he knows well and the other students don't, i.e. a family member.

  5. d

    Kouichi has a sibling…? Woah that sure is surprising. I like this
    If my Japanese was good enough i would translate all the names of the dead in that case roster of 2 years ago.

  6. I've seen it suggested that he has a sibling, dv, but I'm not suggesting that myself. Connection could be a cousin, could be Reiko, even a grandparent – who knows.

  7. t

    Actualy in can't be a cousin.
    We're told the phenomenon is limited to familiy members within 2 degrees of separation.
    Cousins have 3. (they're the child of your parent's sibling)

    That actualy means Mei's cousin can't have been a victim and so there's indeed no casulties in April,therefore there was no extra student at the start of the year.Therefore Mei is indeed alive (and so is every student that was there at the start of the year).

  8. t

    LOL my head hurts,got confused here,the 2 degrees of separation only applies to who can die,so you can stratch the first paragraph.

    Still stand by the second one though.

  9. E

    Yeah, cousin could work, because Kouichi's not dead anyway. His memory got altered by mr. phenomenon because he might have blurted out something like, "Hey cousin, we are in the same class! But aren't you two years older than me?"

  10. d

    Does Mei's mum having the same hair and eye color as Kouichi but different from Mei have any meaning?
    Is it possible Kouichi is like Asakura? He was in the old roster, died, and become the Another?
    And was his mother killed in Yomiyama because her younger sister was in class 9-3 at the time.
    I think the years the charm does not work is when the person they pick to outcast is the Another.
    I also think Tatsuji is immune as an outsider. ALthough I thought talking to an outsider about the curse was banned?

  11. i

    @ Enzo; with the way you have mentioned that Kouichi was not in town for 18 months, along with the fact that the last "another" incident was in 1996, then 1998 (which the series is in, right?) may be the current "another" incident.

    …if those things are all true…
    (it's rather obvious where I am going and will not say it plainly here)

    Was I wrong?

  12. Heh, I'm not quite sure what the obvious inference you're going for is TBH. Thing is, I don't know whether Kouichi was in town or not – only that something odd happened in his phone conversation with his father. Maybe he lived in Tokyo, but came to Yomiyama 18 months earlier to visit. Maybe he was living in Yomiyama until then. Maybe his memory is actually right and he was never in Yomiyama, and the thing with his father is a misdirection. At this point, we just don't know.

    The most obvious inference to me is that if he indeed visited 18 months earlier, it was to attend a funeral – otherwise the timing is quite coincidental. But it's still just a guess, and that wouldn't tell us whose funeral it was.

  13. E

    The father is in India. It will be too much of a stretch if the curse can even went overseas. So Tatsuji's information is probably correct. Kouichi is alive. Dad (who doesn't affected by the curse) can't possibly dial the phone number his dead son. But Kouichi must have been in this town 18 months ago. After the static noise, Dad might have been cut off over there at India, and the one continuing the conversation on the phone is a ghost. *rolls eyes* Or an aetheral entity which is a part of the phenomenon, lol.

  14. d

    The Dad might not know the son is dead. Or maybe the Kouichi just things his father is calling him but the truth is there was no phone call. It is all in his head. The phenomenon is tricking him to make him think he is alive. The Sxith Sense.

  15. I don't buy it dv, because that doesn't match up with anything we've been led to believe the phenomenon can do – effect the memories of a man thousands of miles away or impact someone's perception of the present like that. It's not impossible but I need more evidence before I'd consider it seriously.

  16. A

    I didn't catch this last night when I was watching the episode, but it kinda slapped me looking at the stills. The portrait that Mei looked at in the art room looks like Reiko. Significant?

  17. P

    Thought it looked like Kirika, frankly.

    Also, Morishima (?) really loves his Munch.

  18. d

    Just posting a theory I thought of.
    Everyone knows she is dead. BUT no one knows how she looks like. Those who should know are Kouichi's dad (who is in India), Kouichi's grandparents (who does not go to school), and Kouichi's aunt Reiko (who conveniently has constant [memory alteration] headaches). Kouichi himself does not know how is mum looks like. And Minami-sensei could refer to his mum. His mum and aunt may look alike as they are sisters so no one can tell the difference, even if they could [memory wipe] phenomenon would take care of that.

    Star Wars: I am your Mother!

  19. So the idea is that Ritsuko is the Another, but no one realizes she's actually Kouichi's Mom? Including Ritusko herself? Interesting – but I'm not buying it. I'll add it to the theory pile in my head though.

  20. d

    Yes, including Kouichi herself, as she died when her son was young.

  21. A

    I know who the dead one is should I tell? I read the novel….

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