Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Another - Episode 3

With an impromptu visit to a decidedly eerie shop selling dolls turning into another enounter with the ever-more mysterious Mei Misaki, we finally get to clear up one of those mysteries - what's underneath that eye patch?  The answer is, of course... Skittles!

Okay, okay, not really - behind the eye patch is an artificial eye, which Mei claims allows her to "see things she shouldn't be able to"; her primary reason for keeping it hidden.  After moving away from the creepier segment of the shop, Mei regales to her new "friend" the story of class three which occurred twenty-six years ago, of which we were clued in on right at the start of the series - the story of a popular girl whose life was cut tragically short, and whose classmate's refusal to deal with their loss left them with a ghostly member of their class.  But how does this tie up to the recent death of a girl named Misaki which Kouichi is aware of from the hospital?  Besides which, what about the girl with the eyepatch sat right in front of him?

There's clearly more to this story than meets the eye, but our protagonist's attempts to find out more are met with a wall of silence from all and sundry - Kouichi's aunt Reiko defers telling him anything of substance, while his classmates deflect or stall on any questions before ultimately telling him to forget about it until next month, when all will be revealed.  With exams underway, forgetting about things for a while seems like sound advice, but Kouichi simply can't drop the nagging concerns he has, and ultimately his pressing brings us to a shocking revelation from Mei before tragedy unfolds.  Are these two seemingly unrelated incidents connected?  It seems more than a little likely that they are.

As this third instalment of Another wore on, I began to worry about just how much longer we'd have to wait for some kind of pay-off from all this build-up.  My impatience was duly shot to pieces as the final scenes of this week's episode delivered a double-whammy - a big (if admittedly entirely obvious to the viewer) reveal, followed by one of the most grotesque death scenes I've ever seen in anime.  The timing of these incidents is perfect in terms of washing away those concerns and putting the show well and truly back on track, bolstering my intrigue in a series which already had its visual and audio elements absolutely locked up in terms of delivering a perfect sense of creepiness and the realisation that we're a long way from getting the full story.  This could well be the turning point for Another which moves us from a series which is simply visually adept into something far more compelling.

One things for sure though - I'm not going to be dancing along to Singin' in the Rain on the staircase again any time soon...

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