Persona 4 The Animation
Plot Synopsis: Yu Narukami is moving to a new town called Inaba to live with his uncle for the next year while his parents are away working. Inaba seems like a peaceful rural town, but a recent murder has shaken the town, and the mysterious nature of the case has left police with no leads. Yu makes new friends quickly at his new school, and soon learns about the Midnight Channel, which is supposed to show a person their soulmate if they look at their TV exactly at midnight during the rain. When Yu tries this he finds himself with the ability to enter his TV screen, though his new friends don’t believe him when he tries to tell them. Yu shows off this ability in the electronics department when he and his surprised friends stumble and go all the way through, landing in some new mysterious world. The group isn’t given long to figure out what’s going on before several strange creatures attack them, and u discovers another ability, the ability to summon a “Persona” to fight for him.
Thoughts: The only anime that matters this season is finally here, and all signs point to it being pretty good. This adaptation manages to move through the game’s story at a brisk pace, getting through most of the opening part of the game in a single episode. A few things are skipped over, changed and shortened, but this allowed the episode to have a proper climax instead of making us wait until the next episode to actually see a persona. Of course, this brisk pace also makes certain characters seem completely irrelevant to what’s going on. Yukiko, Nanako, and Dojima aren’t really given proper introductions and are just kind of there. Yu also suffers from not really having a personality, which largely stems from him originally being a silent protagonist incapable of really displaying a personality. While he does talk, he’s not exactly a chatty fellow, only chiming in on conversations from time to time.
The series also has so many nods at the original game that it borders on pandering. The opening credits are done in the style of the in-game menus, the eyecatch features social stats screen, it uses the calender transitions, all but maybe two songs used in the episode are taken directly from the game, and Nanako sings the Junes theme for absolutely no reason. The opening credits and the songs are fine. Those are subtle winks, things the fans will like that don’t stick out. The eyecatch is just weird and the calendar transitions are going to get annoying when a dozen or more start showing up in every episode. Nanako singing the Junes theme had absolutely no reason to be in the episode. Most of the stuff from the Dojima residence was removed so she just ends up singing it and leaving, providing no context as to why she did it. Anyone not familiar with the game isn’t really going to get what they just saw.
The art and animation in the series are certainly improvements over the animated scenes from the game. Characters aren’t long and lanky, and more detail is put into their designs. This format also lends itself better to some of the more comedic elements of Persona 4 than the in-game scenes did. Yosuke flails around more when he’s about to piss his pants, Chie actually visibly reacts when Yosuke is about to whip it out in front of her and piss in a corner, and so on. Animation just lends itself better to things like this and allows the comedy to flow more properly than it originally could.
Persona 4 The Animation is easily the best thing airing this season, a claim I am most assuredly qualified to make after watching only 4 shows.
Persona 4 is being simulcast on The Anime Network