DVD Review: Another – The Complete Series

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What do we think of MVM Entertainment’s DVD Release of horror-based-thriller anime Another? Find out in our DVD Review of Another – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

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-six 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!

Our View:

Another is a very clever anime series, and I assume the novel (and not to mention graphic novel) which it is based upon are even better, but despite its clever story and impressively interesting plot twists the overall delivery of the anime series is confusing and its story progression is slow.

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You see Another depicts the story of a “mysterious secret” that has been kept within Grade 9 Class 3 of the Yomiyama North Middle School, a secret so intense that if revealed will wreak havoc across the class and their close family members. The Secret itself is that ever since the mysterious death of Mei Misaki in 1972 Grade 9 Class 3 has always had an “additional” class member, a class member that acts alive but is infact dead and due to the uneven numbers people involved with the class have been dying in mysterious ways. These mysterious deaths, which happen in gruesome “Final Destination” fashion, keep occurring until the end of the class year. To avoid this reoccurring issue a countermeasure was put into place, that countermeasure being to consider a class member dead and avoid any interaction with them throughout the school year.

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For the past several years this countermeasure has been the only effective tool against the curse, that is until 1998, which is where this story takes place, when an “additional” transfer student named Kouichi Sakakibara arrives at the school. Kouichi is mostly given the cold shoulder by other class members, even more so when he interacts with Mei Misaki a mysterious girl who wears an eyepatch over her right eye. Both Kouchi and Mei act as the main protoganists of the series and it is this “encounter” that sparks a reaction from the calamity, which results in the first death of the series, or so it may seem.

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Interestingly everything I just said can be considered a “massive spoiler” to the series as due to the way the story is presented all of it remains a secret until at least the halfway mark. There are more secrets to explore, such as the truth surrounding Kouichi’s birth and the explanation behind Mei’s eyepatch, each of which tie into the story to make it more entertaining. Hints (and suggestions) surrounding the truth of the curse are drip-fed to the viewer (like an a horror movie) which leads to false assumptions from the viewer. As I said it’s a clever anime and worth watching – but just be prepared for a long waits, with short bursts of fun, then a complicated explanation which ultimately results in a gruesome death.

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This is the problem I have with Another, the story (once explained) is highly interesting yet to takes far too long to get anywhere, additionally the English cast doesn’t make it much more enjoyable and it’s not just down to poor dubbing either. Characters in Another resemble characters  in Ef – A Tale of Melodies and due to Sentai Filmworks dubbing style majority of the characters repraise similar roles and act in similar manners, for instance Monica Rial provides the voice for Mei Misaki, who also provided the role for Chihiro Shindou. Her voice work does fit the characters (creepy) personality but there is no real “distinction” between them, since they look and act identical to each other despite being entirely different characters. This also happens with some support characters such as Yuuya Mochizuki who looks like Renji Asou (from Ef – Tale of Melodies), and is yet again portrayed by the same English voice actor, Clint Bickham. Both voice actors portray the character in a very similar manner so you’d be forgiven for saying it’s the same character in a different anime universe.

Extras:

While the overall story of Another maybe hit and miss for some viewers the extras included are plain and simple, but do contain some nice surprises in the form of Trailers and a 4 minute artistically drawn special.

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Personally the only thing of interest in the extra features, allo of which are located on the second DVD Discs are the Trailers (which include Kids on the Slope, Bakemonogatari, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia and Nisemonogatari) and the Another Special which is four minutes in length.The ‘Another Special’ is more of a music video, which sees Mei Misaki dressed in various different outfits while a song is playing in the background.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time:  2:44:30 (Disc 1 & Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 448kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Despite the rather slow progression of Another the series is highly enticing and it offers something unique and not often found within the anime genre, a horror story that contains suspense just like in a film, such as Final Destination or The Grudge.  Another also has a clever way of ending on a mini-cliff hanger, it gives another just to satisfy your “boredem” and then leaves you wanting more – it’s not often I find myself wanting to watch episode after episode but with Another it became a common occurrence, which resulted in the harsh revelation of the ending.

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This release of Another contains two rather disappointing factors, first of all is the English Dub track which, while its ok and does its job doesn’t provide the “traumatic” experience you’d want from a horror story. Amusingly I found the some of the “random support characters” to have better voices than the main characters. This issue is correctly fixed by changing to the Japanese Audio track, as even during key moments no-one is talking so viewers will not miss any of the on-screen action, and just like all Sentai Produced dubs the audio is provided in Stereo 2.0 (and Yellow English subtitles) for both audio tracks.

The second disappointing factor is that the OVA Special, which was released shortly after the TV Series and acts as a prequel (of sorts) to the main series, is not included in this DVD Release. I Won’t spoil the OVA (or the series) but it fills in a few gaps left out in the TV Series, so it would have been a nice “complete” collection if the OVA was included in this DVD set. That being said the OVA wasn’t included with the US Release, which this disc is a “re-author” of so we are not losing out on any content compared to the US release of this series.

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Overall Another has a lot to offer to the viewer, especially to those who enjoy suspense filled topics with bloody accidental death scenes, however its slow-paced approach to story progression will no doubtedly put some people off. Visual and Audio quality are better than expected from a DVD, with some nice animation provided when needed, but at the end of the day Another is a series worth devoting some time to as it is an entertaining series, you just need to stick with it.

Score: review-stars-3

Another – The Complete Series will be available on DVD from the 25th November 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

5 Responses to DVD Review: Another – The Complete Series

  1. bakum4tsu says:

    Has the dvd that good quality? The BD version wich is region free is quite expensive for just 12 episodes and if this has good quality enough for a dvd, then i might go for it.

  2. Pingback: MVM Entertainment To Release Another On Blu-ray | AnimeBlurayUK

  3. Pingback: Another – The Complete Series Collection (Blu-ray) Unboxing | AnimeBlurayUK

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