Another Is Stylistically One of the Best Horror Anime

While the anime industry unfortunately does not monopolize the horror genre nearly enough, Another shows the potential of horror anime through its artful use of stylistic elements to create a truly eerie experience. Its plot is certainly chilling on its own merit, but Another‘s visual and sound design gives its horror an edge.

Originally a light novel by Yukito Ayatsuji, Another follows Kouichi Sakakibara’s endeavor to make sense of his new school after being sent to live with his grandparents and aunt in Yomiyama. As Kouichi gets settled in Yomiyama North Middle School’s ninth grade Class 3, he notices a girl with an eye patch named Mei Misaki. His curiosity leads him to realize that his other classmates can’t see her — or so they say. Ignoring their obvious discomfort and discouragement, Kouichi continues to get to know Mei and suspects her to be a ghost, but Mei reveals a more ghostly truth: there is in fact someone dead in Class 3.

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Another’s Suspenseful Horror Is Matched By Its Color Schemes

Kouichi learns that Class 3 invited the dead into the classroom 26 years ago by pretending that their recently deceased classmate was still alive, resulting in a curse that causes there to be an extra person on the class roster. No one knows who this dead person is — not even that person themselves. Though the presence of a dead person among a classroom creepy enough, the curse has fatal consequences.

Every year, students in Class 3 and their family members are at risk for gruesome and tragic deaths. The class combats the curse by ignoring one student’s existence as if they are the dead person, a strategy that has a 50% chance of negating its effects. However, as Kouichi and Mei come to realize, the curse is going to claim victims once again during their year in Class 3, leading them to work with their classmates to bring this mess to an end.

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The suspense of Another’s story is highlighted by the creepy aesthetic of its art and color scheme. The colors are muted and shadows are emphasized, a creative decision that not only sets the anime’s tone, but also allows red shades to pop. The color pallette gives viewers the impression that something dark and sinister lays over the town like a thick fog, hidden from plain sight but very much present and threatening.

The bits of red that pop through are foreboding, creating a jarring and unsettling visual while serving as a shadow of the town’s bloody curse. While the art and character design are standard, the slightly jilted nature of the animation and no-frills art style give the characters the appearance of life-like dolls at times, contributing a sense of dissociative eeriness. The anime also makes use of frightening pop-up imagery that appears at seemingly random intervals, jarring the viewer even more.

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How Another’s Soundtrack and Dialogue Set It Apart From Other Horror Anime

Another’s soundtrack and sound effects contribute even further to the anime’s frightening aesthetic, while the opening and ending themes set the tone. The opening, “Kyoumu Densen” by ALI PROJECT, provides a jolting introduction, and the ending song, “Anamnesis” by Annabel, leaves the audience on a nostalgically mournful note. Throughout each episode, the background music ranges from soft music-box notes to an orchestral arrangement, creating a heightened air of suspense and chaos. However, sometimes Another‘s use of heavy silence gives the audience even more of a sense of breathless anticipation.

The silent dialogue and vocalization also play a part Another‘s creepy atmosphere, as if each character cannot fully articulate their thoughts for fear of saying too much. While withholding information does serve as a vehicle for the plot, pushing Kouichi to seek more information about his mysterious classmate and the class’s curse, it also signifies the curse’s murkiness, both to the audience and the characters themselves. As Class 3’s curse distorts the memories of those involved, it makes sense that the characters are not certain of anything, as if their perception of reality is heavily clouded.

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The blunt yet stild dialogue communicates this murkiness well while further contributing to the sense that the characters are dolls, playing into the overarching visual themes of dolls and doll making. Furthermore, there are instances in Another where the dialogue does not match up with the visuals, instead overlaying snapshots or scenes. This jarring effect also contributes to the anime’s dissociative eeriness, further establishing a frighteningly suspenseful atmosphere that serves as the backbone to the story’s construction of horror.

While properly utilizing stylistic elements is essential in producing horror, Another goes above and beyond. Using the various tools available as an anime, Another weaves together a ghostly plot with atmospheric elements to create a deeply unsettling and entertaining experience for its audience, setting an example of the potential for the anime industry to create truly remarkable horror.

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