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Another’s Genre

Another’s Genre

After a brief one week hiatus, I am catching up on the new anime season. One series airing this season is called Another.  It is a based on a Japanese mystery horror novel by Ayatsuji Yukito, husband of Ghost Hunt and Shiki author Ono Fuyumi.  I haven’t read the novels, and so far only two episodes are out, so I only have conjectures as to the nature of the series.

It is most definitely billed as a horror series.  There are elements so far as well.  The first episode began with the main character narrating a story of a girl in 1972 named Misaki who died mysteriously in the small town of Yomiyama, yet after her death her ghost apparently stayed in her junior high school class, and she appeared in the graduating photo.  Fast forward to the present time, the main character, Sakakibara Koichi moves to Yomiyama and is transferred into the same class Misaki was in.  He begins to notice strange things occurring around him and especially around a mysterious girl with an eyepatch… also named Misaki.  There are currently hints now that if Koichi takes one false step, he could catalyze death and destruction primarily in the class, but also potentially in the whole school.

As it stands right now, this series could go both ways.  Ghosts/spirits on killing sprees is not a new formula to horror.  But probably what draws me so insistently towards believe Another to be a psychological thriller is its fixation with eyes, which we saw in Chaos;Head.  The way in which Koichi’s classmates avoid the topic, and the way they handle this spirit is also increasingly interesting to me.  It has really deepened the mystery for me of what exactly the consequences are, who Misaki is, etc.  There is a certain degree of psychological imbalance outside of the potential spirit… and that’s why I would like to believe this will become a psychological thriller.  The second episode even featured a grandmother, whose eyes you couldn’t see, running a shop with creepy dolls that stare blankly into nothing.  I have high hopes for this series, but I’m aware that at the first sight of cheap screams and thrills, I will probably have to drop it.

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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Another

 

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1Q84: A World of Two Moons

Rating: ★

“Tell me, Tengo, as a novelist, what is your definition of reality?”

Murakami’s novels have consistently explored the merging of the surreal and the mundane in a truly Kafkaesque manner. His latest work, 1Q84, is no exception.

It follows the stories of two protagonists, Aomame and Tengo, in two separate storylines, as they find themselves shifted to the alternate reality of 1Q84, a world where two moons hang in the sky, and strange forces are at work. When Tengo, a 30 year old cram school teacher and fiction writer, ghostwrites a novel titled Air Chrysalis, he throws into motion a series of events. This is 1Q84; anything can happen. Yet, the world does follow its own set of strange and inexplicable logic.

This novel is Murakami’s best work yet: with his matter-of-fact, softly unemotional tone, he manages to capture the essence of modern Japanese society perfectly yet again. And, despite this softly unemotional tone, the reader feels a distinct connection with each of the protagonists.

In the end, it is an exploration of the loneliness.  The two protagonists, having borne their loneliness for so long, do not realize how unconnected they have become, and perhaps this is what allows them to shift to 1Q84…

I won’t say too much, but it is a long book, filled with subtleties and nuance. Sometimes the pace can be slow. But for one who would enjoy a deeply introspective query into what it means to live our modern life, flavored by a touch of Kafkaesque surrealism, I can think of no better book to recommend.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in 5 Stars, Literature, Postmodern

 

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