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Another – Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 14, 2013 by  



A dark and creepy storyline that will keep you captivated from beginning to end, “Another” is a horror anime series that I definitely recommend!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Another – Complete Collection

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 Minutes (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9), English and Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14V

Release Date: July 30, 2013

Originally Created by Yukito Ayatsuji

Original Character Designs by Yuriko Ishii

Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima

Series Composition by Ryou Higaki

Music by Ko Otani

Character Design by Yuriko Ishii

Art Director: Satoru Hirayanagi

3D Director: Yoshimasa Yamazaki

Sound Director: Yoshikazu Iwanami

Anime Production: P.A. Works

Featuring the following voice talent:

Atsushi Abe/Greg Ayres as Kōichi Sakakibara

Natsumi Takamori/Monica Rial as Mei Misaki

Ai Nonaka/Brittney Karbowski as Yukari Sakuragi

Hiroaki Hirata/David Wald as Tatsuji

Kazutomi Yamamoto/Clint Bickham as Mochizuki

Madoka Yonezawa/Jessica Boone as Izumi Akazawa

Misato Fukuen/Emily Neves as Takako Sugiura

Naoko Sakakibara/Molly Searcy as Reiko

Seiko Yoshida/Carly Mosier as Sanae Mizuno

Tomoaki Maeno/Chris Patton as Naoya Teshigawara

Mei Misaki was cute, athletic, and one of the most popular girls in her school. Why should a little thing like death change that? Now, twenty-three years after Mei’s mysterious demise, a new transfer student discovers that not only is his school’s student body one corpse short of a full roster, but that some secrets never leave high school. What’s more, all of this may somehow be tied to his own family past.

What is the secret and how does it all connect? And even if Kouichi does figure it out, will that knowledge help save him? As the school bells toll a deadly dirge and students begin to die, things that were never properly buried come back to haunt the high school of the damned!

How would you feel if the new school you attended, one of the students in class is not acknowledge by the other students as alive?

And what happens when mysterious deaths start happening to your fellow students?

This is the story concept of “Another”, an anime adaptation of Yukito Ayatsuji’s 2009 mystery horror novel of the same name.  Originally published by Kadokawa Shoten and a manga adaptation by Hiro Kiyohara and serialized on “Young Ace” since 2010, a manga adaptation produced by P.A. works was featured on Japanese television in January-March 2012, with an OVA and a live-action film that followed.

The anime is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima (“Big Windup!”, “Blood-C”, “Genshiken”), series composition by Ryou Higaki (“Eccentric Family”), music by Ko Otani (“Future GPX Cyber Formula”, “Eyeshield 21”, “Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino”, “Ghost Slayers Ayashi”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”), character design by Yuriko Ishii (“Nagi no Asakura”, “Persona -trinity soul-“) and background art by Satoru Hirayanagi (“AKB0048”, “Angel Beats!”, “Oreimo”).

“Another” is a story that centers around a teenage boy named Koichi Sakakibara who has transferred from Tokyo to the small town of Yomiyama to live with his grandparents and aunt Reiko Minami  while his father is doing research in India.

Koichi has been hospitalized due to pneumothorax but is dong better and will be now attending Yomiyama North Middle’s Class 3-3.  While Koichi gets a long with his classmates very well but on his final day in the hospital, he meets an unusual girl named Mei Misaki who wears an eyepatch and she tells Koichi that she is delivering a doll to her dead cousin Misaki.

When Koichi starts school and becomes a class member of class 3-3, he begins asking around if anyone knows the girl with an eyepatch.  But while he eventually sees her and talks to her, his fellow classmates act as if she’s not alive and without any explanation, all they tell him is don’t talk to someone that doesn’t exist.

Koichi meets his fellow class 3 classmates such as Izumi Akazawa, a student in charge of countermeasures and upholds a deal with the 3-3 calamity, the sports loving Naoya Teshigawara, the artist Yuya Mochizuki and the honor student Tomohiko Kazami.  But these individuals also are cautious of Koichi, especially since he has been asking about a girl with an eye patch.

One day while following Mei, Koichi ends up visiting a doll house and when he talks to her, he eventually finds out that she wears an eyepatch because her adoptive mother put a doll’s eye.

But the more Koichi starts to investigate more about Mei and ask around, it leads to unfortunate tragic incidents around the school.

Is Mei Misaki real or is she death?

VIDEO:

“Another” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  P.A. works did a wonderful job of creating an anime series that may utilize a lot of closeups but also providing well-done art backgrounds but also the paintings of dolls and creating a creepy vibe with a lot of blood/blood splatters.  While a horror anime series, the blood splatters is not overly done but the tragic scenes featured in the series are effectively done.  Colors are vibrant during outdoor scenes, character designs are well-shaded and for the most part, I didn’t see any artifacts or any visual problems during my view of this anime series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Another” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  While I would have wished for an immersive lossless 5.1 soundtrack, a lot of anime series aren’t.  But the audio is clear and understandable.  For anime, Greg Ayres does a very good job in playing the role of Koichi and Monica Rial as Mei Misaki.  But the entire English dub cast do a wonderful job in this series, as does the Japanese cast.  Both soundtracks are well-acted and there is no major difference when it comes to how the sound effects are done between both 2.0 lossless tracks.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Another – Complete Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • ANOTHER Special – This was more like a 5 minute music video.
  • Clean opening and ending themes

When it comes to horror anime series, they are quite rare to see in the United States.

When they do make it overseas, some anime series are creepy, some tend to be more about vampires or zombies but for “Another”, what I enjoyed about this anime series is that its not predictable.

From the beginning of the anime series, you have the gullible Koichi as lead protagonist but it’s the character of Mei Misaki that you can’t figure out.  She seems emotionless, she seems non-caring, she seems a bit unusual in her behavior towards others including towards Koichi.  And you put this character together with those creepy looking dolls that people freak out over and the dark stories just makes the vibe of the series creepy.

But once the deaths start happening, that is when you are left shocked.  From the first two episodes alone, you start liking the various characters in the series.  And while I don’t want to spoil how each person dies, I will use one early example of a character who dies by falling down the stairs and her neck landing on the metal top of an umbrella, impaling her throat.  This was such a major character and to see blood splattering everywhere and spilling out while the character starts twitching was a shock, especially because you start to like this character!

While the storyline does become creepy and you wonder if every “Class 3” is cursed and there will be characters that will die and you hope that your favorites don’t die, I couldn’t help but think of a film like “Battle Royale”, where students die in unfortunate ways and wondering if a fellow classmate is a killer or are the killings done by something supernatural?

But I will say that “Another” is one of the better horror anime series that I have seen in a long while.  You just don’t get to see many of them in the U.S. and when they are released, you can’t help but hope for a well-written storyline that doesn’t follow Hollywood cliche’s or typical cinema banality.

For those who are a bit timid about gory blood, for one, this is not as bloody as “Hellsing”, there is blood, quite a bit of it at times but it’s not overdone to the point that you will be sickened.  If anything, the way certain people die may make you feel squeamish but its the uncertainty of what will happen in a given situation and how people end up dying that unnerves you.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is great while the soundtrack is lossless English and Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0.  Not an active or immersive soundtrack but considering many series are released in HD stereo in Japan, while Sentai Filmworks didn’t redo the audio, they did provide a well-cast group of English voice actors for the English dub.  As for the Japanese soundtrack, voice acting is wonderful as well.    You also get a short “Another Special” which is more like a music video and also the clean opening and ending themes.

It’s important to note that the OVA episode 00, is not included in this Blu-ray release.  A sort of prequel to the anime series (meant to be watched after watching all 12 episodes) involving Mei Misaki, I do hope that the OVA is released in the U.S.  But I was surprised it was not included on this Blu-ray release, but the OVA is not essential to enjoy the series.

A dark and creepy storyline that will keep you captivated from beginning to end, “Another” is a horror anime series that I definitely recommend!






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