Another – Episode 2

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Mei sits alone on a bench in the courtyard, which is fenced with yellow rosebushes. As she issues her cryptic warning to Kouichi, a sudden, violent gust of wind whips through the air, putting a million rose petals to flight. The arcing camera angle as it rotates around the impassive Mei and the bewildered Kouichi filled with the brilliant accent of yellow in a chaotic breeze is an excellent augur of the ominous portent that hangs over the school (and certain other of the town’s residents), which is one reason why this scene is so very well done.

 

The yellow rose is one of the few that doesn’t implicitly carry a message charged with romantic suggestion; and one of its many meanings is joy and happiness. In this context, there must be no ambiguity in the yellow roses’ message. Mei informs us “it” is coming: an unanticipated storm is about to occur that will strip away the relatively peaceful tranquility the town now enjoys after being mired in dark events in its past.

Based on the fact the rosebushes serve as a backdrop in the scene itself and are not of active importance to the two principals, it is of the author’s humble opinion the yellow roses represent the peace and happiness of the status quo that will soon be torn to shreds in the face of a chain of tragic events that will swallow everything in its path. It’s always refreshing to see directors employ this kind of cleverness in their craft as it greatly enriches subtext.

 

 

Throughout the episode, several of Kouichi’s classmates hint at the dark secrets surrounding class 3-3 before class officer in charge of “countermeasures” Akazawa Izumi tries to enforce damage control.

However, it is too little, too late to quell Kouichi’s curiosity as he has already employed the assistance of a nurse at the hospital to help investigate the identity of a girl who recently died there. Mei’s warning at the beginning of the episode and the repeated near-miss events that nearly expose the truth, along with a few foreshadowing moments, help give the plot some momentum as things begin to take shape and turn up the tension.

 

One thing’s for certain. When tailing a suspected ghost, you’ll never be bored with where you end up. Kouichi’s pursuit of Mei, who in the otherworldly fashion is always within two steps of disappearing from view, brings him to an obscure, out-of-the-way locale in the deep recesses of the town’s back streets. Here the doll motif takes central focus as Kouichi enters an odd building which incidentally houses a doll gallery.

Welcome, Sakakibara Kouichi: you are now entering the Uncanny Valley. The deathly silence of the dark, somber studio gives him no comfort, and he is startled to see a doll that bears a strong resemblance to Mei before coming face to face with Mei herself in the bowels of building’s lower level.

 

One of the things that makes Mei so profoundly creepy is her uncanny, unsettling voice: an odd lethargic monotone with unnatural pauses, brought to great effect by seiyuu Takamori Natsumi. On a completely different level, another thing that makes her creepy would be her taste in dolls, when she points out her favorite among the scattered bodies. In the final moments of episode 2, she offers Kouichi a chance to see what lies hidden beneath the eyepatch…

At the beginning of the episode, classmate Mochizuki remarks the world “screams” and is filled with uneasiness that everyone can feel. It seems it’s only a matter of time now before the sense of dread turns to outright terror.

2 responses »

  1. I think most of the characters in this show have very eerie, monotone voices. Like Izumi for example…she’s almost as creepy as Misaki x.x

  2. So you get eerie vibes from most everyone then? It’s great for the overall mood, right?

    Izumi definitely seems to have a colder, unemotional tone than other characters (especially when compared to classmate Teshigawara) but then she has the burden of being in charge of “countermeasures” and safeguarding the rest of the class. She’s almost like everybody’s bodyguard so it’s understandable.

    Creepier than Izumi, though, is the librarian guy. What do you think of him?

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