Another is the second anime from my winter watch list and a real treat for anybody who is into the supernatural like I am.
The story takes place in the Spring of 1998 at Yomiyama Kita middle school where a transfer student named Kouichi Sakakibara finds himself in a class under a curse which causes unavoidable death. It seems to be linked to the death of a student in the past but a code of silence has developed and a new beautiful but mysterious student named Mei Misaki seems to hold some of the answers.
This anime is based on Yuki Ayatsuji’s horror novel and it is reflected in the slow build-up and large cast of characters. The first episode sets up the story perfectly. The atmosphere is low-key with little in the way of open horror but there is the familiar J-hora imagery like dark corridors, mist shrouded temples, baleful waif-like girls, and crows. Then there are the creepy dolls.
They keep flashing up during the episodes and the mysterious eye-patch girl named Mei Misaki owns at least one of them so they will be integral to the story in some way. Speaking of Mei she has gripped my attention. She is the shade in the corner of the room that seems to haunt the class.
Whenever Kouichi mentions Mei looks of fear spring up on his classmate’s faces just before a collective amnesia descends upon his fellow students who are suddenly reticent in their behaviour. Then looks are exchanged and people rush to hush things up. She has the class in the grip of her hands but why? I’m intrigued not least because her personality swings from mysterious to blunt rudeness and she knows more than she is letting on. Mei even hangs out in a morgue and pops up when characters least expect or want her to… which is fun!
I’ll stop focussing on her before it sounds like I’m obsessed and mention other things… like… the soundtrack! which is a nice mix of creepy lullaby melodies and dismal strings. I liked the muted colour palette and the general sense of rot in the atmosphere.
Walls are weathered and paint is chipped, skies are dark with clouds heavy with rain and it rains a lot. Mei likes to stand in it. Oops, mentioned her again…
This one may be trading in familiar genre tropes but it has real potential to suck me in. At only 12 episodes I know I will finish it.