In for a bit of a treat this week with the release of the Winter 2012‘s horror series’, Another, prologue episode. Recounting Mei’s friendship with her once lost twin, Misaki, just a short period of time prior to her entry into the third year class and the subsequent horrors we saw in the main series, Another 0 shows Mei in a new light compared to her usually stoic nature. Lighthearted outings with her sister, separated at birth, and the closeness they shared that turned dark the night Mei began to see the color of death upon her. After more than one near death experience, Mei’s fears come to fruition as Misaki collapses, later finding out she has leukemia. Sadly, Misaki wasn’t meant to recover, but it did lead to Mei’s chance encounter with Kouichi, one night in the basement of the hospital, as Mei goes to deliver her final gift to her now forever lost twin sister.
Breaking away from the horror trend of the main story, Another 0 really showcases the art style and background of the series. In the words of Misaki, even the most run down things seemed “cute”, or at least well designed and crafted from an animation and design standpoint. I still get goosebumps when I get to see Mei’s faux eye, it’s always so perfectly lit and seems to have a depth beyond what is physically there. I also thought it was cute that Misaki wore an eyepatch too for part of the episode.
The character dynamic between Mei and Misaki was very interesting, it really showed the subtleties of two sisters who hadn’t lived together. And I always love it when twins, although in this case visually dissimilar enough to tell apart, have personal mannerisms that differentiate them, and I like it even more when these mannerisms make me like one more than the other. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t dislike Misaki, but I adore Mei, especially so when she was smiling and happy. The emotional connection Mei had with her twin before she died also explains some of Mei’s behavior seen at the beginning of the series back in December. Her quiet despair and seeming loneliness make more sense and are more recognizable now that these traumatic events have been shown. Or maybe it’s just me that found this whole prologue to be an enlightening look at what may have caused Mei to just accept her fate as the “extra” student.
I’m glad this episode 0 was released, after all the events of the main story this extra look into the events beforehand shows a more in-depth look into Mei’s backstory that really couldn’t be shown in the main series. A lot of the mystery surround her and the class would’ve been ruined (or at least diluted) if the whole backstory and once-lost twin had been shown as a part of an early episode. Now, seeing this OVA lets one look back at the main series with an additional piece of understanding and appreciation for the character depth that was prevalent through the whole thing.