[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]
[The cover in person is gorgeous, and it folds out to a large portrait in the copy I’ve linked]
“In the spring of 1998, Koichi Sakakibara transfers to Yomiyama North Middle School. In class, he develops a sense of unease as he notices that the people around him act like they’re walking on eggshells, and students and teachers alike seem frightened. As a chain of horrific deaths begin to unfold around him, he comes to discover that he has been placed in the cursed Class 3 in which the student body head count is always one more than expected. Class 3 is haunted by a vengeful spirit responsible for gruesome deaths in an effort to satisfy its spite. To stop the vicious cycle gripping his new school, Koichi decides to get to the bottom of the curse, but is he prepared for the horror that lies ahead…? “
[Strange, but, this synopsis has a pretty big lie in it? It specifically discusses in the book about the lie I’m referring to that it specifically isn’t something that the synopsis here says it is. I don’t want to point out what the lie is/what I’m referring to because it would kinda give some spoilers, but just keep that in mind if you do read this]
Are you looking at the novel cover and the synopsis and vaguely thinking ‘This kinda seems familiar…? Where have I seen this before…?’
I had actually watched the anime first, and I was like ‘huh, this is pretty awesome’ only to discover a few episodes in that the manga it was based on came from a novel. Having liked the origin novel for Parasite Eve once I realized the games were based on a book, I decided that I’d go ahead and find the book to read after I finished the anime. [I was going to try and hold off and finish the anime after the book, but it was interesting enough that I was hooked and couldn’t help but finish it while waiting for the book to arrive]
The book Another is actually split into two books. The cover/link I gave above though, is actually a hardback of both the books fused into one edition. It’s pretty huge. My version was 500+ pages, and I’ve seen some other editions be over 600 pages.
The story is from the perspective of a young teenager in late middle school named Kouichi Sakakibara. He’s sort of sickly, and has been close to death multiple times due to having issues with one of his lungs collapsing. This has made him pretty pessimistic, and gotten into horror since his own health issues started. He meets the secondary protagonist, a mysterious girl named Mei Misaki who seems to be hiding something under an eye patch she wears, and is oddly aloof and cryptic. There’s strange and extremely violent happenings going on in the classroom and in the town he’s moved to [think ‘Final Destination’, both in how it seems like no one else can see Mei, and there’s a lot of tension and talks about curses and the paranormal.
The book is a lot of different genres in one. It’s sort of a horror/thriller, a mystery, and almost sort of crime drama. It’s all first-person perspective from Kouichi, except for the occasional interludes that are small chapters made entirely of conversations of classmates in his school, but you aren’t told who is who.
Despite that I had watched the anime first and already knowing the story, the book was still good at keeping you guessing, and if you especially go in with the book first, I imagine it’s that much better that way. I’d say though that the aspects of the curse and how it works mayyyyy be a bit harder to grasp in the book, though. There do seem to be some minor translation issues [and not that the translation is ‘wrong’ at all, it just doesn’t work well in English as well as it probably did in Japanese]
The anime helped actually helped smooth out those aspects however, so I’m pretty conflicted about which I’d recommend first. Seeing what’s happening visually and explained that way will give a lot of ‘ohhhh’ moments. They should definitely be companion pieces to each other, however. And definitely know that one is going to spoil the other. It’s really hard to make up my mind, so I’d say that if you check into the book and definitely like it/don’t have any issues, start with the book first, then follow up with the anime. [I will say though, I liked the protagonist in his anime portrayal more than his book portrayal. He’s pretty douchey in the book.] Also of note, I was surprised at just how pretty much identical the book and anime were. Generally you’d see vast differences between the two like between book/movies, but except for a few extra students and death in the anime, they’re nearly the same.
Additionally, while the author doesn’t go into insane amounts of detail about death scenes, they’re still pretty brutal. The anime also fluffs up some of those a bit to do a bit of a better job to establish just how dire their situation is, especially towards the end.
I’d definitely say if you’re into general sort of thriller/horror with a lot of mystery and intrigue, this is your kinda book. I do suggest though that you at least be familiar with Japanese culture [especially school environments] to get some of the themes. And enjoy the anime, it’s gorgeous!
I give Another 4/5 Glass Doll Eyes
“As I answered, I stifled the smile that was rising on my face. I’d been caught off guard by their sudden visit, but I was also genuinely pleased by it. Plus, the way the two of them had come here was so picturesque – they almost seemed like the ‘class representative’ characters you’d see in an anime or something.” [lawl]
“Blue Eyes Empty to All, in the Twilight of Yomi….”