Friday, October 25, 2013

Persona 4: The Animation

GENRE: Mystery, Comedy, Adventure, Slice of Life
CREDITS: 2011 Madman Entertainment, Sentai Filmworks, Kazé
DIRECTOR: Seiji Kishi
WRITERS: Yūko Kakihara, Mitsutaka Hirota, Jun Kumagai
MUSIC: Shōji Meguro

Persona 4 games
Persona 4 anime
Persona 4 books and guides
Persona 4 merchandise
Game Cover Description:
A rumor is going around school that by looking at a TV screen at 12:00AM on a rainy night, the face of your soulmate will be revealed. But is that all? A chain of murders appears to be connected to the rumor, and you and your team of Persona users must brave the mysterious TV world before another schoolmate dies.
25 episodes + 1 OVA (true ending)

Great addition to your gaming experience. >>> by skysenshi
I started watching this series when I embarked on my second run through Persona 4 on the PS2 (New Game+), so I was watching it every time I needed my mind to rest from all the excitement of playing. There were times when I'd get confused about where I was in the anime because of where I was in the game, but I found that the anime enhanced much of my gaming experience. They were in complete parallel.

For one thing, your protagonist in the game is a silent character. In the anime, he has this deadpan expression while still making the most hilarious choices. I found myself laughing at the hilarity of the situations, much more than I did in the game. Without giving away spoilers for those who haven't played the game or seen the anime, let's just say that this is one protagonist who has no gender issues. Persona 4 the game is known for handling many gender identity issues and these were addressed pretty well in the anime, too. Especially when the protagonist here seems to have chosen the queer and quirky options that were presented in the game.

Yu Narukami and starting persona Izanagi

The protagonist, whose name here is Yu Narukami, appears to be an extrovert who is afraid of being alone. If it weren't for the gameplay, which forces you to make friends with all sorts of people, I wouldn't have pegged him for one. But here is where I thought the anime was better: the amount of time it took for him to max social link (relationship) levels. I also think that in some way, the situations and complex relationships were explained more clearly in the anime.

The art isn't as pretty as the game's (this is VERY noticeable), however, the range of emotions displayed by the animated characters more than made up for it. The scenes that made me cry in the game, they were heavier for me in the anime. Ditto for the comical situations. I also appreciated seeing the sides of many of the other characters that I didn't see in the game because I never got to max their social links. Well, actually, I only didn't max one because I ran out of time, and that was the spoiled brat Ai Ebihara's, whom I find more endearing in this series. I did notice something that wasn't too defined in the game for me: Chie and Yukiko are best friends but they're too attached to each other here...and Yosuke and Yu look like they have some sort of a bromance going on. I'm happy to see Kanji spending more time with the person of his affections.

Oh, one other thing I noticed is how un-narcissistic the battle scenes here are. In many shoujo anime I've seen, specifically Sailormoon, it's like the focus is solely on the protagonist. Not so with this. Yu takes a backseat many times even if his friends are willing to lay down their lives for him. Come to think of it, many scenes that the protagonist did in the game alone were actually shared or even done by other characters in this anime.

The best part is that the music was done by Shōji Meguro, the same person responsible for the game music. Many of our beloved Persona 4 tracks can be found here (like Never More), as well as new ones specifically made for the anime, of course. I can't believe that this is the only Persona title that has made me feel so good about finishing a game. Incidentally, I finished the True Ending of the game and the last two episodes of this series (including OVA) on the same day. I think it's the reason why I feel that I've accomplished a lot even though I was only rewarding myself after a hard day's work.

To be honest, it's rare for me to see satisfying anime adaptations of video game titles. More often than not, they don't capture the spirit of the games they were based on. Not so with this. Persona 4 is an role-playing/social simulation game, which I think made it ripe for an adaptation. It's usually the story-driven visual novels, like Kanon, that successfully crossover into another medium.

Good job, Team Persona!

Looking forward to seeing the Persona 3 anime movie after the positive experience I've had with this! =^.^=

Individual Rating: Art 7; Story 10; Characters 10; Sounds 10

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