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Another – 00 (OVA)

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「アナザー OAD」
“Episode 00″

If the OVA of Another conjures up anything in my mind’s eye, it’s the realization of just how tragically the final two episodes of the TV series missed the mark.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this “Episode 00”, but it’s fair to say I went in with pretty low expectations, and fair to say they were exceeded. What I figured was most likely was a blatant pander to the fans – when an ep is centered on hot buttons like twincest and yuri it was certain to predictably raise Pavlovian squeals of delight from the viewers, on cue. And no doubt it did that, but “00” was more than that – it was a callback to the clever misdirection and suspense of the first ten episodes of the series. Apart from a pretty huge drop in animation quality, it was a very good effort indeed.

In the main, the purpose of this OVA is to “put flesh” on the back-story of Misaki Mei and her twin sister, so crucial to the series but referenced only in recollection. Misaki Fujioka (Igarashi Hiromi) was lifeless in a dark sub-basement when the series started, but at last we meet the living and breathing girl. She’s considerably more genki than her “cousin” Mei – her hair is lighter in color, her outlook brighter, her taste in clothes flashier. There are plenty of nods to the fetishists out there – feel-ups in the shower, sharing a bath and a bed, holding hands – but there’s also an ever-present sense of sadness in seeing how close these twin sisters are, knowing what we know is going to happen.

The subtext of the twins’ story – the psychology of their separation at birth and why it happened – was important to Another’s main plot but as a secondary focus. Here’s it’s at the center – we can see the guilt Fujioka feels for being the one her mother chose to keep – especially given the difficulties Mei faced (and still faces) with her “mother”. We can also see just how important Fujioka is to Mei and in doing so, we can see just how understandable it is that Mei was such an emotionally hollow shell by the time Kouichi-kun met her. It wasn’t being the class’ designated dead person that did it – it was the loss of the sister she was so close to.

Also of great interest it that we’re at last given a prolonged glimpse of what Mei sees with her doll’s eye – and if there were doubts that we’re supposed to see her ability to see “the color of death” as reality rather than fantasy, this OVA should erase them. And it’s here that the idyll of the first half of the OVA gives way to the sadness and suspense of the series, and we see that this is going to be spiritually in-line with the TV after all. When Mei sees the color of death in her sister it doesn’t come as a shock to the audience of course, and it doesn’t seem to shock her either – for Mei has just entered third-year middle school, and she now knows the curse of Class 3-3. And she knows that as her true sister, Fujioka is vulnerable to the curse.

What does come as news to us is that Fujioka has apparently been suffering from Leukemia – a fact we’re told after an eventful day at the amusement park that recalls the best of the first ten eps of the TV. Another has always had the ability to troll the audience with the best of them, and the Ferris wheel scene with the bird – apparently flying straight at Mei’s doll’s eye – was classic. Yes, I jumped when that bird smacked into the glass with an explosion of blood – but the real payoff was when Fujioka fell backwards through the door (lawsuit pending) and Mei grabbed her hand, the scene playing out in classic fashion until Mei finally loses her grip – only to reveal that they were only a few feet of the ground. Gotcha!

Of course Another has always known its horror constructs intimately, and in getting the audience to relax it set up its true purpose: to walk us right up to the events of the first TV episode. Mei’s attempts to protect her sister come off as pretty heartbreaking even before the leukemia reveal, and all the more so after – and again, this OVA brings back the feelings of the TV show when it was at its best – tragic and suspenseful. It also reminds us of just how off the mark the concluding two eps were, as Mizushima Tsutomu apparently gave in to the Blood-C gene. That “what might have been” reminder is the saddest part of this OVA, but it doesn’t deny us the pleasures of experiencing Another as it was meant to be one more time.

 

A final thought: It’s certainly been noted that the character who murders Reiko in the flashbacks looks a lot like Kouichi. Well, so does the character who hits on Fujioka in the first scene here, and it really makes me wonder – is Another trolling us yet again in some way, or is it just a matter of character design? I see no reason to think Kouichi was directly linked to either person, so I suppose the most likely answer is the latter – but it’s one more strange element in this puzzle.

May 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm
43 comments »
  • May 30, 2012 at 4:58 pmmasheucasheu

    This OVA was very sad. I enjoyed it a lot though, it kind of restores the bad after taste that was left with episode 11 and 12.

  • May 30, 2012 at 5:09 pmRyuunosuke808

    I have to admit I facepalmed at the ferris wheel part XD

    • May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pmHenry Barton

      If This Aired On ESPN THe THe WHole Ferris Wheel Incident Is Definatly will be on the NOT TOP TEN

  • May 30, 2012 at 5:30 pmronri

    I didn’t mind the ending, rather it was primarily the twist in the end that saved it for me. That said, I was a bit hesitant with this OVA, glad to hear that it’s actually not that bad and manages to flesh out Mei’s character and backstory even further.

  • May 30, 2012 at 5:33 pmQwert

    Such a bitter sweet ova.

    It was hard to enjoy all the cute and touching moments between the sisters, I honestly had to pause a couple of times to compose myself, with the eventual conclusion always lurking at the back of my mind.

  • May 30, 2012 at 5:45 pmStranger

    The Leukemia kinda felt like a cop out (no preamble or previous mention), but overall this was very well done.

    Definitely in keeping with the atmosphere that Another is known for.

    • May 30, 2012 at 6:34 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

      To me, it wasn’t the leukemia alone that seemed like a cop out, but the way she died THAT NIGHT out of nowhere when, during that day, she was talking about how she was just about to get chemotherapy. I mean, if she got it, but still ended up dying somehow, I think it would’ve been better, but I guess the “out of nowhere” death fits the series better.

      • May 30, 2012 at 7:11 pmGuardian Enzo

        I don’t think it’s implied that it necessarily happened that same night.

      • May 31, 2012 at 9:31 amj4c06

        If it wasn’t on the same night she would bring her the doll…

      • June 1, 2012 at 8:30 pmraitei_shourai

        One could also say that the faster advance of her sickness was due to the curse as well.

      • June 6, 2012 at 11:56 amFirelord

        If she had acute leukemia, her dying so quickly makes sense. People who get it are expected to live a few weeks at most if left untreated and I’ve seen first-hand how life expectations can end up quite lower than predicted. Maybe it felt a bit too quick here, but it’s not truly impossible, either.

  • May 30, 2012 at 5:46 pmboingman

    Could somebody explain what went so horribly wrong in those last tv eps. without spoiling? I was thinking about watching this show, but if the end is crap, then maybe not, after all. Does the show turn all happy world/ slice of life?

    • May 30, 2012 at 5:51 pmmasheucasheu

      It pretty much is suspense throughout the entire show. Its a great anime, one of my favorite last season, just the final 2 episodes were iffy. I think a good comparison is comparing the slow paced and horror that is Resident Evil 1~3 (episodes 1~10 of Another) to the fast pace action packed Resident evil 4 and 5 (Another ep 11 and 12).

      • May 30, 2012 at 6:00 pmronri

        I think that it only really becomes iffy depending on the person’s ability to tolerate such scenes. I know certain people that watched where they were actually rather horrified by the violence or carried by the adrenaline at the end to not give a damn what seems “ridiculous” anymore. While being controversial amongst viewers, the last two episodes weren’t really that bad even if I myself would’ve preferred a more subdued ending.

    • May 30, 2012 at 6:03 pmKentaiyoshimi

      It’s not that the ending was crap, it just that the first 10 eps were really well written and executed. The ending may not seem as good because the type of horror was not consistent with the rest of the series. As Enzo mentioned, think Blood-C.

      That being said, I definitely recommend checking out Another. It’s one of the better horror anime series.
      For maximum enjoyment, make sure to wear headphones and turn up the volume while watching Another.

    • May 30, 2012 at 6:09 pmGuardian Enzo

      I definitely recommend the series. It’s hard to go into detail about where the ending went off-track without spoiling, but for me it’s a question of a subtle, suspenseful show getting very broad and ridiculous in the last two eps. It felt like a different series, and not in a good way. But does that ruin the entire experience? Not in my view.

    • June 1, 2012 at 5:45 pmboingman

      Thanks for all the replies. And this is a P.A. Works show, so one more reason that I’ll give it a chance.

    • June 17, 2012 at 7:44 pmLittleInmate

      It was the severe tonal shift of the horror. One subgenre was swapped for another. I was still afraid, but it wasn’t the type of horror I had signed up for and get the most out of.

  • May 30, 2012 at 5:50 pmKentaiyoshimi

    I enjoyed this OVA quite a bit. Fleshing out the relationship between the Misaki twins really adds a bit of depth to Mei’s character.

    This was the scene that really gave me the chills. The dolls always had a sinister aura, and I couldn’t help but think of Mei’s comment that the dolls were hollow. It was as if the dolls were draining Fujioka’s soul out of her body.

  • May 30, 2012 at 6:26 pmshamaticgrl

    oh sweet heaven. Coming home from work and I see this post brings joy to my heart yet somehow it pains me to know what will happen to this poor little girl in the near future. I’m going to hold off on this ep as long as I can so that I can forget what I just read and hopefully re-surprise myself again lol

  • May 30, 2012 at 6:35 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    We also got trolled a 2nd time (I was at least) with the way Misaki just collapses on the street after the amusement park. That certainly would’ve been a very…weird way to go…the whole situation with the ferris wheel only *plop* just drop dead on the road? lol

    • May 30, 2012 at 6:38 pmshamaticgrl

      I would have to sign a large petition to the Producers if that ever happened ._. it’s one thing to troll us but to go that far? no D:

  • May 30, 2012 at 6:43 pmRoguespirit

    This OVA really brought it back, all the darkness of that had been absent from my anime watching since Another ended. After watching happy go lucky animes for so long afterwards I didn’t fully remember all the things we ended up looking for during our time with the series.

    It was Misaki almost hitting the bathroom door that did it. I suddenly rememebered that this was an anime where peopel died a lot from horrible “accidents” or illnesses and I flinched. Afterwards I got back to it, just like before and like Mei was doing during the latter half of the episode I was looking for danger at every corner, running horrific scenarious through my mind and that Ferris Wheel was the biggest trigger of them all.

    I nearly panicked when that apolcalypticaly stupid bird smashed into the Ferris Wheel box and Misaki fell out the door(Definately lawsuit)Then it’s fine, awwww. Then as they stood by the road I kept expecting a random car or something to smash into her, but troll again she collapses on her own(well due to illness) and ends up dying in a hospital in what is my opinion one of the worst ways to die, you fell your life going and it’s anything but peacefull.

    Yes overall sad and bittersweet but a welcome and much appreciated addition. It emphasises the tragity and that’s what Another is really about. A great tragity.

    • May 30, 2012 at 8:16 pmMrMartini

      Definitely one of the worst ways to die. They could have let her die peacefully in her sleep, but NOOOO, they have to be all super dramatic about it, gasping for life and shit.

  • May 30, 2012 at 7:21 pmFFF

    You missed the close cap. of the angry Mei.

  • May 30, 2012 at 8:50 pmThousand Mistress

    SERIOUSLY. My reaction on that ferris wheel scene: WHAT. THE.
    Well what can we expect on P.A.Works. Jump scares that aren’t literally what they seem. =_= Didn’t surprise me when Fujioka fell on the ground since the atmosphere actually gave a hint.

    Also the change of expressions on Mei when she learned of Fujioka’s death. It comes to prove that she really loved her twin sister very much. Great OVA, my opinion from the anime is the same for this one.

  • May 31, 2012 at 12:10 amGrandier

    Sorry – Mei gets ZERO sympathy from me. Reason: She knew who the fuck the dead imposter was and did crap about it. As far as I’m concern, her sister’s death and every subsequent death related to Class 3-3 is on her hand. Mei should’ve been one of the students slaughtered throughout the year and rightly so. In the English language, there are words that describe girls like her. Two that come to mind are: Bitch and Cunt.

    • May 31, 2012 at 12:37 amWhatsht

      She knew who the imposter was, but what could she do? Even if she told the class, they wouldn’t believe her, and they had no idea how to stop the curse.

      • May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pmGrandier

        Only class 3-3 was ignoring her. The Librarian didn’t have to follow those rules – hell, he may have been the best person to go to! Sorry – the series may have tried to paint her as some victimized fallen angel, but she holds more responsibility for the deaths that occurred than anyone. That goes to include Ms. Mikami/Reiko, because the dead doesn’t know they’re dead.

  • May 31, 2012 at 12:20 amTez

    So Mei started the curse when she mentioned it to her sister… interesting. No wonder she felt so much guild

    • May 31, 2012 at 2:57 amSon Gohan

      Nah, the curse was already started when Aunt Reiko came back from the dead.
      Mei isn’t guilty of anything. We don’t know when exactly she learned that Reiko was the Dead, since she usually keeps her artificial eye covered all the time. Even after she found out, she didn’t know what to do with that information until they found the tape. Also she didn’t want to hurt Kouichi with the revelation that his beloved aunt was dead.
      She’s such a sweet girl. Mei haters can go die in a fire.

    • May 31, 2012 at 7:25 amTez

      I’m not hating on Mei. But the curse doesn’t start killing unless people acknowledged it or the singled out student. I don’t believe this was never proven incorrect.

      • June 6, 2012 at 12:52 pmFirelord

        No. When Reiko came back from the grave, the curse started, with Misaki being its first victim. Since Mei never told them that her sister died, no one suspected anything and thus, no one could have acknowledged anything either.

        What I think you mean is that the curse starts again once an ignored person is either unignored or his/her existence is acknowledged. But this still means that the curse must manifest itself at least once, else no one will even think that it’s there.

      • June 17, 2012 at 7:38 pmLittleInmate

        The calamity was prevented by singling out one student to ignore and by providing an extra desk. But since the dead person was a teacher this time instead of a student, it didn’t work despite that Mei was being ignored. They would have had to pretend a teacher was dead and provide another desk in the teacher’s lounge (or wherever it is that Mei said was short one desk in the last episode). Of course that doesn’t explain why Mei spoke to Kouichi as if his talking to her might get it started at first.

  • May 31, 2012 at 12:41 amWhatsht

    It was painful to watch them enjoy themselves when you know Fujioka was going to die, then there was the ferris wheel, and then her death was just… so sudden, I didn’t see it coming, I mean, she survived 2 times, surely she can survive another time, right?

  • May 31, 2012 at 6:50 amD-LaN

    So, who EXACTLY is those Kouichi lookalike?

    Man, college life is preventing me from watching this….. Had to just do with these pic…..
    YURILICIOUS.

    • May 31, 2012 at 10:40 pmCybersteel

      These “Kouichi” look alike are actually relevant to the “phenomenon”

      Remember the beginning when Kouichi was narrating to his “children” that should give enough clues.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • June 1, 2012 at 12:15 pmRoguespirit

        Maybe I was watching the wrong sub but when does he say that? Or is it in the Manga?

      • June 3, 2012 at 7:54 amPinky

        Oh, you.

  • May 31, 2012 at 10:10 amJulio

    I thought she was going to died at the ferris wheel, but felt too sudden. I kinda knew she was going to died in her bed at the hospital. I thought it was going to be a fanservice OVA all the way, but turned out to be something way beyond that. I was very pleased with this episode, it brought back the greatness of this series.

    • May 31, 2012 at 10:37 pmCybersteel

      Fanservice? I think you’re mistaking this for the High School DxD ova

  • June 3, 2012 at 3:24 amAki-Chan

    Cybersteel , I don’t remember any “And after many of my friends died in that mansion and killed my aunt, that was how I met your mother. ”
    I might rewatch the first ep to check…that sounds pretty interesting though :)
    And WOW at this episode …it really gives us better insight into Mei .The loss of her sister also took away her heart…but I can’t help thinking the specific pinpioint moment where she loses the emotions is after she destroys the mirror(reflection).

  • July 15, 2012 at 3:00 amTopboy

    Gotme