“Another” long awaited OVA has now come – and while this episode does satiate to a vast assortment of interests, including yuri, bathing, and gothic lolita, amongst livelier moments, the conclusion is quite teary.
This prologue carries us alongside a twin pair of gothic lolitas who share the “Misaki” surname – an onee-chan and her imouto as they go about more cheerful days. Mei within this episode is much more lighthearted – she’s still not an overly enthusiastic high energy girl, although that’s as such a thing is simply far from her personality. Another trait she doesn’t exhibit is indifference – as indeed, it seems prior to her sister’s death, she had yet to become so solemn and uncaring of the world.
Misaki having to bear her imouto’s passing is the instigating factor which led her to become the cute, yet cold gothic creature who we see within the main series. And this OVA actually unveils that drastic change – yet as for now, it begins as Misaki is with her imouto shopping.
Both have a playful attitude, and are noticeably very intimate with one another. Amusingly, upon the start of the episode, the two are dressed in matching gothic lolita garbs, eyepatch and all. It’s not explicitly said, yet it can be insinuated that the reason behind the dual appearances is that the imouto didn’t want to leave our Misaki Mei feeling left out – and thus, she decided to sport the eyepatch as well.
In any case, as they freely mess around – they start to pick out ensembles for one another till they come across outfits they feel the other would be perfect in. Like a yuri couple, the two head to the changing room and shuffle their clothing around till each is fitted in the fashion selected by the other. A detail more noteworthy in this scene is how the two interact – as aforementioned, it’s highlighted simply how close the two truly are, and additionally, it seems Misaki has mentioned her eye to her imouto before.
Mei still sports a patch over her eye most of the time – yet it is clear that as result of her imouto’s repeated words of encouragement regarding the prosthetic, Misaki was easing up to her artificial ocular piece. However, as a day goes by with the two having spent it together merrily around the local markets, it’s eventually settled that the imouto will spend the night at Misaki’s home whilst Misaki’s mother is away – and there, Misaki’s disposition of her eye takes a relapse.
It’s from that point, there’s a striking transition in mood – what was all optimistic has now gotten heavier as Misaki speaks with her imouto about their family troubles, the same details one may recall Misaki having shared with Sakakibara near the latter half of the televised series. The imouto appears to blame herself for Misaki having lost her eye, and not being able to live with her biological mother – yet Misaki in fact does not, she says she holds none responsible, and that she simply loves her imouto.
And indeed, the studio behind this depressingly wonderful work, P.A. Works, have practically embodied Misaki’s emotion in the animation – it’s painfully apparent that she does sincerely adore her imouto, something which unfortunately, is a foundation for tragedy.
Night falls upon these twin gothic lolitas as they rest together in Misaki’s bed – peace was resonating, yet then once her imouto falls into slumber, Misaki is horrified to see that her little sister is the color of death, the peculiar hue which Misaki somehow sees through her radiant green eye which indicates an entity has either expired, or is to soon do so.
As the day begins anew, and the gothic lolitas head to a carnival, one will see that Misaki isn’t entirely sure of what to do regarding what she saw – this is why she simply covers her eye once more, not wanting to accept the troubling sight as truth, and that is also why she said nothing of it to her imouto. However, Misaki does make overprotective moe attempts at ensuring the safety of her sister – at first it would have appeared Misaki were exagerating, yet once it becomes least expected, a life threatening situation does ensue.
Surprisingly, it was simply a close-call – another tease of the frail thread separating the realms known as “life” and “death”. Subsequently, upon only being a short ways from home after leaving the carnival, this being another moment in which the worst is unexpected, the worst does strike. The imouto collapses, only to later be seen hospitalized – and at that point, her destiny is already decided, an untimely parting.
Hearing she now has one imouto less, Misaki first becomes enraged at her eye, her visual receptor which is seemingly capable of picking up far more than merely visible light – and from thereafter, Misaki turns hollow on the inside.
Thanks to this OVA, many of the curious details regarding the series’ first episode are now answered – the doll Misaki had in hand when Sakakibara first meets her is indeed like she told him, it was a gift for her imouto’s birthday, yet the imouto passed away simply too soon. It’s also worth noting the imouto’s cause of death is leukemia – yet the subject of the curse within Another still remains a significant mystery, and further, the grinning lunatic remains an untouched topic as well.
Many references and foreshadows are made in respect to Misaki’s fated meet with Sakakibara – and a final item to note, Sakakibara never did manage to revitalize Misaki’s personality fully, however he did, by the conclusion of the series, pull Misaki out of a black void she fell into emotionally since the loss of her imouto. In fact, Sakakibara couldn’t have restored Misaki to the person she was prior to the cruel exit of her imouto as Misaki evolved as a person.
It was certainly not for the worst which Misaki transformed by the finale of Another, yet it was a substantial plus – she was able to recollect herself, find closure on a few parts of her life, and was able to then take a refreshed look at the road forward. With what she experienced, she simply couldn’t have gone back to being the exact same person – people change with every memory they make, even if only by a minuscule percentage. Misaki however grew quite a bit as a person – and that’s an effect of her time with Sakakibara.
The OVA ends on a note of great things to come – setting the stage for the 26 episodes of the TV series to then play out. The feeling felt is truly inspiring in several ways – one of the more prominent, yet perhaps underlooked, being that Misaki is the one who met the most radical of hardship in this “curse of class 3″. She reached a point where she didn’t even seem to care about her life, and others didn’t recognize her existence either – however, she overcame much.
Further, the OVA shows how much came to be, nothing was blatantly developing in this OVA – rather, it showcased a progression of how Misaki’s life got to the point in which she meets Sakakibara, and that in turn truly adds a whole new tier of emotion to what this meant, as well as how it went on to shape Misaki. She was as joyous as can be, then completely crushed, and lastly saved by Sakaki.
Anticipations hadn’t accounted for this, yet this single OVA does rewrite the basis of Another – we made one grave mistake during the viewing of the TV series. We assumed Sakakibara was the central protagonist of it all – he is a main character, however we focused on him to the point we hadn’t noticing anything related to Misaki aside from her reserved nature and other arbitrary tidbits. And that’s in fact justified, the TV series never gave us reason to get too deeply hooked with Misaki in terms of her character background and its story relation – yet this OVA does.
Sakakibara’s adventure is one of realization, yet is is Misaki who is the one attempting to topple sorrow and calamity – and Sakakibara serves as a vehicle for Misaki to accomplish this.
And so what to say of Another’s OVA, it certainly leaves us wishing to revisit the series as we now understand Misaki had a role more meaningful than ever imagined – it wouldn’t even be too far-fetched to say that she’s the leading role, and Sakakibara comes second.