The view from Igirisu:
With only a couple of episodes to go we are starting to get some answers to the big questions in Another. We get to see the first meeting between Akazawa and Koichi for the first time, although it’s still unclear as to why neither of them remembered it, unless I am missing something. Matsunaga’s tape is played in full for the first time and his solution to the curse is a grim one. He killed the extra student.
“That’s when it dawned on me. The guy I’d killed must have been the extra student all along.”
Perhaps it would have been better if he had never made that tape. It’s obviously going to do more harm than good. It was nothing but coincidence that the student he killed (by accident, in a fight) was the one who was already dead, so his tape does nothing more than put the idea into everyone’s head that they can save themselves by killing another student, but they don’t know who. Those are dangerous thoughts to be swirling around in the heads of teenagers who are terrified for their lives, and from that point onwards it’s pretty obvious what trajectory the series is going to take. We are just marking out time until the students turn on one another.
“Could you kill a classmate?”
Before this piece of deadly knowledge comes to light, they are already turning on one another, with Akazawa’s vicious verbal attack on Misaki. It’s the politest bullying you’ll ever hear, but it’s bullying nonetheless.
“I sincerely believe that you Misaki bear some degree of responsibility for the disasters we faced.”
Asking her to publicly apologise is cruel, and it’s a little out of character for Akazawa. Yes, she is the epitome of cool, calm and collected, and there have been hints we have been building up to this, but it’s hard to square it with the more human Akazawa we saw in the beach episode. She has always been calculating, to the extent that she will sacrifice somebody for the greater good, but this is just vindictiveness for no reason.
Mei’s response is remarkable. She is impossible to bully simply because her reaction is a blank. She knows that an apology is just meaningless words, so she does it anyway. In the end, she probably just doesn’t care what most people think of her. With certain provisos, that’s a healthy attitude to have in life. The extent to which other people’s opinions are unimportant to Mei is clear when she reveals that she possesses the knowledge to absolve her of any question of wrongdoing or failure: the first death from the curse was her twin sister, before Koichi even arrived: two degrees of separation, not the three that a cousin would be. We get some flashbacks to scenes which are taken from the OVA episode (which I didn’t realise on first viewing), which is a prequel episode but does need to be viewed after the series rather than before, as it obviously blows the twist of the girl in the hospital being Mei’s twin. Perhaps the most heartbreaking line of the whole series is this:
“It was a matter of supply and demand.”
The strength of Mei and Koichi’s relationship is evident in the way she confides in him. Their very subtle budding romance has been a lovely balancing aspect to all the horror in Another, a ray of hope in the darkness. I think she knows exactly what she is doing when she thanks him for sticking up for her and then stands intimately close to him, teasing him with the words “will you come see me later”. As usual they just talk about the curse, like all their dates, but it’s pretty clear that their friendship is deepening to something more. She’s not one to become visibly emotional, but she is allowing Koichi into her inner thoughts and emotions:
“I didn’t want to believe that Misaki had died because of some crazy curse.”
And then we’re into what must surely be the build-up to the big final battle between these students and the curse, or perhaps these students and themselves.
“Is the dead person here on this trip with us?”
(Lightning strike – every episode makes me jump out of my skin at some point.)
“The extra person is here.”
“Who is it.”
…and another jumpy moment as Teshigawara bangs on the door. Something terrible has happened… RP
The view from Amerika:
Well, we know the solution to stopping the calamity: send the dead back to death. Figure out who the dead person is, and kill them for good. There’s got to be a recipe book in the Lovecraft library that talks about taking a group of people and slowly turning them all into homicidal murderers. And that’s a terrifying concept, especially as the series draws into the final 3 episodes and we have the entire class heading off to an isolated hotel together. Can you say “Overlook”? Stephen King’s masterpiece The Shining is coming together wonderfully. Or is that the next episode and this one is The Haunting of Hill House? The Haunting? I have a feeling these last three will take elements of all of these and many more.
This is the first time I had a clue that really presented itself and I think I know who the dead person is. I noticed it first here. Can you see it? No? Well, moments later…
…the class is taking a group picture by the gates of the place and there is a banner to the left of Akazawa. Sure this might be because the class wants to keep the banner visible but in a series of red herrings, couldn’t it be more than that? Then Teshigawara gives me another clue. He says Mochizuki and Ms. Mikami are too far apart. So is Sikaki and Misaki. He says nothing of the gap around Akazawa, and if you look, it’s on both sides of her, not just the side of the banner. The head of countermeasures has now been left apart twice. Why is that?
When the small group start listening to the tape, another interesting thing happens. The person’s name is left off 3 times. (Maybe more; I might have lost count.) But that’s telling. See, if it were Dead Meat Thompson, we would not know who that was. It was from 15 years ago, after all. But the fact that we are left without the name is more than ghostly avoidance. It’s not wanting the audience or the students to know the important fact: we know this person!
There’s more. When the question is asked, “you don’t supposed the extra student is here at the lodge?” there is a quick flash to a girls legs. Now, she appears to be sitting like Misaki sits, so it might just be there to denote her worry. And Asakawa tends to wear long stockings, so it might be nothing, but it might be letting us know that the dead person is a female.
This is going to be hard to keep the pace without wanting to jump from one to the other immediately. I’ll pace myself though. Let’s talk about other things.
Reiko is finally revealed to me to be Koichi’s aunt. If they ever said that before, I missed it. Also revealed is what Mei meant when she said “my other half” in episode 1. She was a twin and her twin sister died. There’s also an interesting thing that happened here. Koichi is not out of the woods yet. It’s said quickly but when Mei says that she knows the deaths started a month earlier than the rest of the class thinks, she’s basing it on the death of her twin. She knows Koichi can’t be the dead person because her glass eye doesn’t see anything weird from him. (I’m reminded of the movie The Eye, aren’t you?) But Koichi knows that he was enrolled in the school before he started. If we think back to the first episode, he told his class visitors at the hospital that he should be able to start school in June. But that means he was enrolled in May – when the calamity began!
The episode leaves us on a violent cliffhanger with a lightning strike that actually caused me to jump and Teshigawara runs into the room saying that he screwed up, just as Mei was about to tell Koichi who she believes to be the dead person. For the love that all that is scary, I want to move on to the 11th now… ML
Read next in the Junkyard… Another Episode 11