Another – 08

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Any notion that this would be a laid-back “breather” episode was out the window for me in the first three minutes of Another this week.

Seriously – that has to be the tensest beach episode ever. I was on pins & needles through the entire thing – jumping at shadows and noises and seeing death in every corner. Are pufferfish poisonous? Are they going to forget Michizuki when the tide comes in? Is that a propane grill, and is propane explosive? As always much of the credit goes to Iwanami Yochikazu’s astonishing sound design and Otani Kou’s BGM. The stage was set with the utterly brilliant scene with the truck, which had me on edge from the get-go – the sound there was just incredible – and it set the mood of impending doom for the entire episode. Hilariously, the cast was just as much on-edge as I was, as witness their sigh of relief when they passed the city limits. I wonder if they were as queasy as I was when Reiko hit the accelerator.

As always I have reams of notes I took this week, but these long posts are killing me so I’m going to try and stick to what really jumps out. In simplest terms, we have Nakao’s death (neatly foreshadowed here) to consider, because (in addition to being incredibly gruesome) it forces us to reconsider our previously held assumptions. I see three basic possibilities:

  1. Death was coincidental and unrelated to the phenomenon
  2. Chibiki was wrong – the phenomenon can reach outside Yomiyama
  3. The phenomenon is not centered around Yomiyama, but around wherever the Another is – and that means the Another was on this trip

Absent any compelling evidence to the contrary I always default to Occam’s Razor – the simplest explanation is most likely to be correct. For me, that’s #3 – but I don’t know how much that helps, since all the most widely-held suspects (except Mikami-Sensei and Kyuubey) were on that beach. What’s also interesting to me is that Nakao is such a minor character, I can’t even remember if he had a speaking role before this – for a moment I wondered if he was the Another, and had just appeared in the middle of the cast. Was his carsickness a distraction, or a clue?

Most of the other things that jumped out for me this week involved Reiko. First, the way she was framed in this shot – obscured behind the frosted glass while Kou-kun was visible, just after a close-up of a dissolving sugar cube. Then there was the moment when Matsunaga said “Have I seen you recently?” (this was after noting “how much you’ve changed”). Her mind immediately went to the memorial services of two classmates we can now give names to – Kentarou and Natsuko, perhaps the ones who died on the class trip. Matsu-san said no, he’d only been to the funeral. That whole sequence screams “clue”. I’d thought for a time that Reiko was preventing the others from talking to Matsunaga intentionally, as we never actually saw her try and contact him – but that appears not to be the case, unless she intentionally gave him her cell number knowing the battery was dead. We also have the fact that she seems to get headaches every time she thinks back to 15 years earlier – or “more like 14 since we graduated”, as she interestingly puts it. This ep definitely casts “My poor Reiko, too” in a suspicious light.

As always, there was lots of good stuff not directly connected to the mystery here. The watermelon troll was funny, if a bit obvious. We had absolute confirmation that Akazawa is crushing hard on Kouichi, and some nice interaction there. I loved the scene where she said “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” (now that’s foreshadowing) and they had a cute little banter regarding how he saw her. But really, Mei is so kawaii that Akazawa just has no chance. Mei with the octopus, Mei offering up various inedible items for Kouichi’s approval, Mei in a school swimsuit – what an amazing transformation for her character, and it’s clear Kouichi only has eyes for her, and she him (for what it’s worth, we were also shown – not coincidentally I suspect – that both have a reflection). What’s up with her not knowing what her father does, and him being “rarely in Japan”? I don’t think it’s a clue, but it does give her something in common with Kou-kun. I also enjoyed the sequence where Mochizuki got buried in the sand, tickled and given boobs – it was borderline bullying and I felt for the poor kid, never mind worrying about him drowning if they forgot him – but it just fit him so well…

Somehow, we seem to have inched closer to the truth. Nakao’s death jolts Matsunaga into remembering that he left the clue in the classroom – and judging by the preview, it looks like a cassette. Speaking of which, it’s a pretty terrifying preview – either Kouichi is going to have another nightmare or some seriously bad crap is going to come down. Will the class trip – which I’d mistakenly assumed this beach visit was – still happen, now that Nakao has died? I think it must, because the matter of the shrine still seems intimately connected with Matsunaga’s “solution”, though we don’t know just how. I think we’re due to have some exposition on the doll angle, too, because that’s been largely ignored for weeks and it’s weight in the episode titles, OP and eyecatches strongly implies it’s a matter of some significance. Indeed, the images in the preview could be interpreted as hinting in that direction, if one looked at them from a certain angle…

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  1. F

    I'm a little disappointed, it was obvious Nakao was going to die from the moment he appeared, he may as well have been wearing a red t-shirt. Also even for this show, that was pretty contrived a death.

    I expect better, honestly.

    Still, good episode, and very, very tense regardless.

  2. B

    I haven't read the novel and know nothing about what's happening, but I guess from what I've heard this leaving town business didn't happen in the original story, this was added for the anime, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that it isn't as effective as the rest.

  3. Ensign Ricky has to die. He's usually a minority, though.

  4. D

    I had the same reaction you did regarding the Michizuki prank and the pufferfish. After all of that, though, I thought the death was a little underwhelming. Also, as much as I hate to be one of the "omg this episode was so cute" people, I appreciated the (still tension-laden, of course) laid-back tone of this one.

    Anyway, this post was a great read, as always! Been lurking around for a while, and decided to finally add my thoughts 🙂

  5. And I appreciate both the lurking and the posting, David – great to have you here!

  6. d

    @Enzo: I agree with number 3.
    Since most deaths seems to be coincidental and target one person's family at a time… I knew that the truck won't harm a car full of different people. And it makes me think of something… was the suicidal teacher part of the phenomenon? He did not accidentally kill himself. (too much final destination talking??)

    I noticed that for a moment Reiko's hair turned black when she was pushed off her float. I guess my idea that Reiko is Reiko and the sensei is kouichi's mum is wrong.

  7. That's an interesting comment about the hair – I didn't notice that. Could be meaningless – but it might not be.

    I definitely think Kubodera's suicide was part of the phenomenon.

  8. A

    This, along with the my poor reiko too, comment already has me convinced. . .I mean maybe Im a stickler for animation but I was like "wtf" when the hair color thing happened. "I guess my idea that Reiko is Reiko and the sensei is kouichi's mum is wrong." —> that doesn't make sense to me though, I don't know how one person all of a sudden becomes two…I mean, someone would noticed if their own mother was a live again after being dead…

  9. b

    Akazawa >> Misaki.
    Nuff said.
    Well, it's just me and my twintails fetish that's speaking here. Though some people might appeal the sukumizugi makes Misaki more appealing but eh, to each his own. My eyes had its fill in this episode with Akazawa's mizugi and her various scenes, and them subtle advances to Sakakibara. I hate spoilers though and I got spoiled really bad…

    The truck scene in the highway felt too long for my taste but it's pretty tense. And that boat scene was just brutal.
    And who was that who's getting struck by lightning in the preview?
    And how is a cassette related to all this? Hmm…

  10. d

    Boat scene was brutal but he was already unconscious. Although drowning is not a pleasant experience.
    I thought the boat was the life guards coming too late. Not the killer. Lol.
    So the phenomenon does not make accidental deaths but can make people have leg cramps in the ocean? Not so accidental if it affects a person's physical condition. If so everyone might as well get heart attacks or suffer from spontaneous combustion.

    Akazawa, yes she is hot. Hot since ep 1. Red hair. Long hair. Bigger cup size. Does not look ghostly pale.
    I just prefer hot girls to cute ones.

  11. B

    Obviously the death this week is just a coincidence! Right?

    Well, maybe not, I really think there are only two possibilities, it being a coincidence in a story where people die almost every episode is really stretching suspension of disbelief ;).

    This episode was TOTALLY WORTH IT for Reiko in her beach clothes. I still think you're the Another, Reiko, but damn you were lookin' fine in this episode.

  12. A

    I think no.3 is the safe bet at this point. At least thats what I'm going with until another curveball is thrown. This is a grand whodunit and its doubtful we'll see another anime like this anytime soon.

  13. A

    umm…am i the only one who's still confused about mikami-sensei and reiko-san being the same person? it just doesn't make sense to me -___-

  14. I'm not commenting on that subject until the anime addresses it specifically. For now I consider anything else either guesswork or a spoiler.

  15. A

    so, for now you'll consider them as 2 different people?

  16. d

    @Enzo: OVA of another planned to be released in May.
    And the author plans to write a sequel to the story. (inconclusive end?)

  17. Yep, OVA is a prequel. I don't know what to make of the sequel idea – sometimes "sequels" revisit the same basic concept with an entirely new setting. I won't make any assumptions about what it means for the ending here.

  18. E

    I nearly had a heart attack watching this episode, for me it was the most tension filled EP yet. You got a perfect sense of the black cloud and ever present dread hovering over these kids … They just can't get a break, even when they're trying to forget that death could come at any moment. Really sad. But doom and gloom aside then there was Mei …

    LMAO, the octopus! I think I fell off my chair at her version of "I am freaking out" aka – barely audible squeak, looks at Kou with faintest hint of anxiousness in otherwise thoroughly apathetic face, stretches out hand (which is currently covered in one very angry octopus) … "G-get it off."

    So cute! I honestly wasn't interested in the Kou x Mei possibilities until this episode but DEF she won me over. Now as for the mystery I'm not sure how much merit to give anything that happened here if it wasn't a part of the novel, since this could essentially be one great big troll.

  19. S

    Indeed this is the tensest beach episode I have ever seen. I see dead flags everywhere!!!

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