Another OVA – A Moment of Awesome Atop a Mountain of Stupid
Much like the series proper, the recently released Another OVA is pretty dumb and silly. There’s lots of shopping, naked groping, and general farting around (but not literally). It largely exists to build the relationship between Mei and another character whose existence is a spoiler that I’ll kindly reveal below the jump because I’m a nice guy like that. It succeeds to the point where you see that these two characters have a mostly normal relationship (groping aside). Nice and all, but fairly boring. I’d probably care more if the events of Another had actually gripped me instead of making me grip my sides while laughing uproariously.
However! Shockingly enough, there are a couple of moments that are not only worth noting, but also made me not regret the 20 minutes I spent watching this one-shot episode. Sometimes a rose is capable of growing in a shit pile, you know?
The first moment is — spoiler alert! — the beginning of the episode when Mei’s twin sister, Misaki, is introduced. Some dumb kid approaches her and thinks she’s some sort of doll, so he waves his hand in front of her like an idiot. Then, because he’s a gullible fuck, he believes the story Misaki tells him about doppelgangers and shits his pants when he sees Mei. This wonderful act of trolling establishes Misaki as someone 1) with a personality, 2) with a sense of humor and 3) who is the opposite of everyone in Another.
That moment does more to endear Misaki to me and make me care about her relationship with Mei than anything else in the episode (bar Moment No. 2 to come). All the other stuff they do together — the shopping, the carnival, the bath, etc. — shows they have a normal (?) relationship, but it’s also dull and trite. This act of hilarity, however, is different and fun. How could I not like someone who would fool some dumbass teenager like that? If you believe that horseshit, then you deserve to look like an idiot, and it warms my heart to see Misaki exploit that.
Pictured at left: hopeless fucking idiot.
The second worthwhile moment is the one that’s actually relevant to the title of this post. I briefly mentioned that boring carnival jaunt earlier. Well, it’s not all boring; actually, the best, funniest part of the episode takes place here. Like most of you, I’m sure, I rolled my eyes when that bird splatters onto Misaki and Mei’s car and bloodies up the window, whereupon Misaki steps backward in surprise, hits the car door and falls out, with only Mei’s teenage girl hand keeping Misaki from a melodramatic death.
“Haha, it was only a matter of time before this shit reared its head again,” I thought. “Bring on the hilarity!” I rubbed my hands in anticipation because I am a creepy, terrible bastard like that.
But a curious thing occurs: that is, nothing at all. There’s a good deal of panic as Mei struggles to keep hold of Misaki’s hand, and then . . . Misaki gently touches the ground as their car works its way back to the ground. It’s such a simple solution that it actually came to mind as I watched the scene. I literally thought, “Mei should just hold on as tightly as she can until the car goes around. It can’t take that long, right?”
And it actually happens. It’s beautiful. Misaki has a good laugh. Everything is fine. Beautiful.
This scene perfectly reads the audience expectations (obvious as they are) and plays off them wonderfully and with good humor. Taken in a vacuum, it’s not a super impressive scene. In the context of Another, though? It’s far funnier, more charming and better executed than anything in the parent series. It’s a fun, somewhat unexpected moment that makes me like and sympathize with Misaki and Mei more than the rest of the episode. (And of course the end fucks it all up with the melodramatic leukemia reveal and the unintentional hilarity of Misaki keeling over and croaking, but whatever.)
Perhaps the best part of this is that the scene would not be nearly as effective if the death scenes of the series proper weren’t so awful and melodramatic. Think about that: Another got so bad that a hawk crashing into a window and making a girl fall out of a ferris wheel car is a plausible death scene. (If any of you says that you saw this fakeout coming, then I reply that you are a god damn liar.) But the episode actually defies the (low) audience expectations and has a bit of (purposeful) fun at the expense of its stupid, convoluted death traps. Bravo.
I tip my hat to you, Another OVA creative team, and choose to forget the final three minutes and middle 16 minutes of this episode ever happened. As far as I’m concerned, this episode is 4-5 minutes, tops.