Persona 4 The Animation

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roriconfan's avatar By roriconfan on Mar 30, 2012

Game adaptations were never successful in capturing the mood of the original. They were always messing something up, such as making the characters robotic, presenting events as dull as possible, or just stopping in the middle of nowhere. No matter how many times I tried to enjoy them, they felt like an Eternal Punishment.

“That’s sad-kuma.”

Yes Teddie, I agree, BEAR with it. But guess what, so far Persona 4 appears to have broken the circle of bad karma and as an exception it looks GORGEOUS!

“Hooray!”

The thing is, there have been lots of bad rumours considering the production of the show; something about someone stealing the original copy of an episode before it airs, the staff being unpaid for months, and many being ready to drop the project. All that made me have even lower expectations than normal, since an adaptation is by default bad and with such nasty things being said behind the scenes it should be completely horrible.

“Grizzly!”

And yet those rumours are BEARily true! So ok, there are some sloppy scenes in each episode but they hardly take out from your enjoyment. Maybe this was a conspiracy by some villain who spreads rumours as means to alter reality if enough people believe in them. Who knows, maybe by tomorrow the show will magically be horrible and Hitler will be alive and have ruled the world with robotic knights.

“Don’t say that-kuma! It’s an unBEARable thought.”

Ok Teddie, I stop. Until that happens (IF it happens) I consider this anime to be the most faithful videogame adaptation ever made. And by faithful I mean it LITERALLY! It’s like I am watching the cut scenes from the game with more variety in motions, camera angles, and the protagonist having a voice. They even use the same visual effects to depict emotions, which is a great treat for those who played the game. Heck, this is also the first time the soundtrack was left the same from the game instead of making a new one for the anime version. Which is both cool AND saves the makers time and money.

“You make it sound BEARy good so far-kuma.”

Indeed I do. But it’s not like I haven’t seen other anime where they tried to keep the cut scenes identical. The result was terrible as it felt like they were jumping from one scene to another without showing the in-between battles and the game engine generated dialogues. It felt very boring and dried up. But in this case, they are doing a fine job so far and I feel how the characters feel. They are so lively and I really like how they made them act so natural, without those stiff motions from the game. I mean do you rememBEAR how cold and distant they were in Trinity Soul where…

“I TOLD YOU NEVER TO MENTION THAT NAME AGAIN!”

Woops, I forgot. Sorry for the emBEARassement; can I call it an Innocent Sin and be spared the “ Dark Hour on a floor with Death” punishment?

“There is no Persona 3 anime-kuma.”

Right, and no Tsukihime one either. So let’s leave those BEARied and forgotten and go back to what I was talking about. The characters easily BEARcome likable and both visuals and soundtrack are extremely faithful to the original source. Of course there are those who complain the story is moving too fast or the characters feel a bit different but, come on, there were bound to be differences and you can’t possibly expect to have included EVERY SINGLE LINE OF DIALOGUE from the game.

“Well that makes sense-kuma. Does that have any significant BEARing on the series though?”

To be honest, at first it does try to cram in as much plot as possible just so it will have a major battle with a Shadow boss in the last minutes and a character accepting his hidden personality. That makes it feel like a monster of the week type of show, which turns it to repetitive and predictable. Rather TEDDIEus if you get what I mean.

“The story is not predictable! I will beat you up with my BEAR hands if you say that again.

Yes, I know, it is very complicating and has a very good concept around the feelings we hide inside and the role we are supposed to play in front of everybody else. I am just saying up to episode 4 it follows a pattern when all the juice of the story is the interactions amongst the various secondary characters. And in episode 5 we indeed got exactly that by presenting the people the protagonist forms Social Links in the game. No Shadow battles and just nice character colourization all the way.

“Yes, it was a polar BEAR opposite to the rest of them.”

That is enough to make most change their minds about the show being simple. I mean, when they see your real identity at the part where you are BEAR naked and…

“Hey, no spoilers! My BEARutiful self will be revealed in its proper time.”

Oh right, we need to enjoy you in your full trEDDIE glory.

“Indeed, I am close to BEARfect! Just like this show.”

Now wait there a second little bear. All the things I said so far consider my impressions as someone who already played the game it is based upon. It won’t cause a PANDAmonium amongst those who didn’t play it or who are quality whores. Unfortunately most viewers will place it far bellow other scenery porn anime of the same year, such as Madoka Magika, Steins;Gate, and Fate/Zero.

“That makes me a saaad panda.”

Well, you can’t keep everyone happy. Just think how many complained about the protagonist not showing any emotions, or how the whole detective and thriller aspects of the show were boged down by lots of school comedy. Or how the battles were not interesting. Or how the animation did not cost enough to buy a small country.

“The things they find to bitch about these days. It’s unBEARlivable!”

Yes, I agree. Those are quite minor issues in my eyes and I consider them to be nothing but the voices of a few haters.

“VOICES VOICES!”

Oh you are such a JOKER Teddie. So, let’s celeBEARate for this most amazing show.

“Sure thing, wait a second to bring my BEARy juice.”

Oh lol, such a joker. And such a good anime too, I sure BEARfare it to all those other overhyped nonsense shows. Man, how many plot holes and inconsistencies did I find in each one of them? Must have been dozens. This ranks for me as the best of the year in the enjoyment department. Likable characters, fast pace, lots of colouring, lots of mystery, lots of fun. Pure win!

“And now for some excused scorings-kuma.”

ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 1/2 (looks good in overall but has several sloppy-drawn scenes)
Character Figures 2/2 (rather generic but highly lively)
Backgrounds 2/2 (the tv world has some weird funky artwork)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (trippy)

SOUND SECTION: 9/10
Voice Acting 3/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series and even full of interesting context)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 3/3 (straight from the videogame)

STORY SECTION: 8/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (rather loose and formulaic at points)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 1/2 (so-so)
Conclusion 2/2 (cheesy but solid)

CHARACTER SECTION: 8/10
Presence 2/2 (funny/sexy)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 2/2 (everyone has some that usually mixes with others)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)

VALUE SECTION: 9/10
Historical Value 3/3 (best videogame adaptation of all times)
Rewatchability 2/3 (high if you liked its style)
Memorability 4/4 (extremely memorable for the fans of the game and most others who like perky characters and interesting concepts)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 9/10
“Close to BEARfect!”

VERDICT: 8.5/10

8/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
Thrawn's avatar By Thrawn on Feb 23, 2013

Disclaimer: I played P4 before watching the anime so my views might be skewered to those who played the game without taking much consideration to the numbnuts (Most likely you, unfortunate, miserable reader) who haven't played the game. I'll try to bring myself down to your slime level and... offer views on the uninitiated. Or what I think it would be like if I was as pitiful as one who hasn't played it.

After this is said, highly unlikely I'll follow through.

Story: Straight up, play the game. The game is better than the anime and the game is sublime, one of the greatest things to be released on Earth. The anime, it's pretty dang darn good and does it justice but to get the most you can out of it, invest 80 hours into P4 (Really, it's a long ass game).

Ok, it's a murder/mystery at heart with elements of fighting, school life/slice-of-life and character development. More on the non-genre one later. The murder mystery itself is pretty good, but I think you'd be there more for the ride instead of playing Sherlock. You may be given clues and such, but chances are you're not keeping track since you mostly know what they (The investigation group) know. It's real cool and all but the real meat lies in the events outside the mystery; the social aspects and events.

Events first and if you've played the game, they're just as good. Barring a hilarious line in the culture festival (You know the one), they pretty much play out just like they do in the game. They usually have the same stuff that make up the event and a few are even added on to it's benefit. Some are hardly plot-relevant and are there for kicks but others help dig deeper into the plot, if not move it forward in some way. The events are those you'd see in a regular Japanese school year and are a real treat. Most are comedic and a few are even laugh out loud funny.

While some aid the plot, others aid in character development. By going more into a character (And possibly his/her motives), we're expanding the story AND providing fun! Two pies for your buck! This (Sort of) is where I'll mention the social aspect, and by that I mean "Social links", which is a fancy term that basically means character development. The game has 16 or so links and the anime has 26-ish episodes, so obviously not all links can be as fully fleshed out as one would desire. I was kinda miffed that they weren't but it would be hard to fit 'em all in and keep the viewer's attention, with them believing it's filler of sorts. The development is uneven, some are given more attention than others and one is even excluded (Kinda like the game). What's there is there, and it's done well enough.

There's also the combat, which plays a hefty role in the taco of things. It's where the Persona component comes into play and where some of the development and action lies. Done pretty well too, glossing over most of the fusions (Narukami would be fusing all on his lonesome in the Velvet Room) and fusions at improper times (Level-wise) is nitpicky. The fighting is fast, it's engaging and it's actually pretty damn faithful to the game.

Among all the comedic moments are the sad, emotional segments. There are a few that can be real tearjerkers and others that come through character development. Has some real heartfelt moments and are not just tacked on.

Animation: Thanks to greektornado, I notice the spaghetti sauce on their chins. So noticable when one notices it. Demerits but points for how good everything looks otherwise and familiarity. It's fanservice for the veteran, as the characters look good, the personas look gnarly, things are rad and Naoto. Naoto full stop.

I'm uh... forgetting... for... ah screw it. Animations spiffy.

Sound: Oh god yes. It's a total eargasm. There's an orgy in your ears and every note is invited. The music, oh lordy lord... I remembered the tunes, it has Heaven, The Almighty in the most perfect place (And missing in another), Reach Out to the Truth and the school trip, fans would be clapping their hands in glee. This is as good as it gets, and as faithful as can be with some bloody hilarious placements of Muscle Blues. No OP from the game, but a minor quibble, as good as it was.

No problems with the VO, except for Teddie in one part. No preference for dub or sub but if I had to choose one, dub. Maybe. Narukami's actor in the dub hams it up and that's always a plus. And for the sub, onii-chan.

Characters: Liked them before, like 'em now. The main group gets developed, a few of the people outside the group get their own development, some more than the others (Social links again) and everything is fine and dandy. The group has chemistry, each person has their own demons and they're more than just a name. Although some characters are more... trait-excessive? Like a character's trait might be more prominent than it should have been.

Aside from less development in half the social links, I don't have much to say. I have my favorites, I have those that I just adore and those I wanted to see more of. But should mention the delivery gal for the noodle shop, her deadpan delivery and deliver anywhere motif is hilarious.

Overall: Spent more time on frivilous (Needless) details but end point, I loved it. I got the callbacks, the references, felt the nostalgia after playing the game a few months prior (Gross misuse of nostalgia) and the music, crowning moment of everything.

A person just entering the series wouldn't have as much enjoyment and should be directed to the game, if possible. If not, feel free to give it a go. It takes a few episodes to pick up but it's still a fun watch, has it's comedy and drama, development and an OVA that warrants a watch. Entire thing is mandatory for those who played the game and can more easily pick it apart.

The music, oh lordy lord... I could give this a 9.5 overall based on that alone.

9/10 story
8.5/10 animation
9.5/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
GrimsFoxes's avatar By GrimsFoxes on May 26, 2012

Persona 4 when I watched it, at first it was somewhat slow but at the end of the first episode i was curious enough to watch the next episode. The story shows great character depth gives off a western/ japanese culture which shows alot in its game which is quite fun to play. I would recommed this. The story is mystery/comedy/action.

10/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
darkdante14's avatar By darkdante14 on Jun 3, 2012

Introduction:

Shin Megami Tensei : Persona is well established JRPG video game series and has a dedicated fan-base. Fans have been asking for anime adaptations of Persona games for quite some time and there have been many rumors of it.  Although there was an anime for Persona franchise made in 2008 called Persona: Trinity Soul, it wasn’t a video game adaptation and fans were left somewhat disappointed by it but after this entire wait we’ve finally received a full-fledged Persona 4 anime adaptation.

Story: 8 (Great)

The story is about a boy who’s forced to move to a rural Japanese town from city due to parent’s work. The main plot is a mix between detective and mystery story but there’s also comedy. The premise is that mysterious murder cases began to happen and main characters discover it has something to do with urban legend of a Midnight Channel (Mayonaka TV). Just read a plot summary if you haven’t already.

Then there’s also slice of life element to anime which has to do with main character’s everyday life, interaction with friends, school and so on. I must say the anime did a great job to include a lot of events from the game and even though some things were altered, slightly referenced or gone all together, it was done due to time restraint.

Animation: 7 (Good)

Overall, it was good and left a clean impression what isn’t that rare for modern anime but it also left somewhat weird impression on me. It’s hard to explain in words but something just felt off.  The backgrounds in TV world were certainly interesting, while in real world varied from nicely detailed to very dull ones. The character design while not exactly bad is somewhat is somewhat, for lack of a better word – weird at times. But what felt really off was the fact that there were times when I got a feeling that characters are sort of glued onto the background. You know what I mean – take a picture of a rendered character/person and simply put it on a different background in Photoshop…

As I said the animation is good but watch and episode of Persona 4 then switch to something like Mirai Nikki and the impression of animation changes drastically.

Sound: 9 (Amazing)

The sound does perfect job at giving that Persona 4 feel for fans. While voice acting is good by all means, the soundtrack is what really steals the show here. The soundtrack is straight from the video game which is just perfect and gives that distinctive Persona 4 feel.

Characters: 8 (Great)

It’s by no means a surprise that an anime which is based on a game that put so much emphasis on socialization and interaction with other people would do so well in ‘Characters’ category. All of the characters had a distinctive personality and story behind them. Not to mention how ‘realistic’ the characters felt at times as each one had their hobbies, impressions of current lives in town and concerns about life after school. There was also a lot of emphasis made on family relationships and hardships of a single parent.

The main protagonist is a completely different story though. A bland piece of bread with one strawberry on top still tastes somewhat bland. By that I mean, he lacks personality compared to rest of the cast and that’s done with intention. The game featured a silent protagonist - a blank sheet which was up to player to fill. In game players got to name the main character themselves as well as decide on certain dialogue. Surely, the protagonist has more personality in anime than in the game but that’s not saying much. It didn’t surprise me as much as the name. In anime the protagonist is called Yu Narukami but I expected it to be Souji Seta which was the character’s name in Persona 4 manga which came out long before the anime but after the game.

Overall: 7 (Good)

A lot of people (particularly the fans) will disagree with this score but I had to look at the anime from 2 different aspects. First, being a fan of the game series and then as a simply anime viewer.  The anime indeed felt like fan-service (in a good way). I’m surprised how well the anime creators managed to cramp 80+ hour long game into only 25 anime episodes.

But at the same time, a lot of things felt rushed, and the pacing is weird. Pacing is why ‘Story’ category suffered a bit in terms of score. It’s due to the sub-plots (such as field trips, helping towns people) being plunged into middle of main story (murder cases and Midnight Channel). The main story easily would get 10 or 9 but I can’t ignore that these sub-plots are part of the story as well.

Again, the pacing was off. One episode – intense fight and character development but in the next episode I have to watch how Yu helps out old lady and other minor characters. This worked in game but it doesn’t quite well translate in anime. Then there are the rushed things and I don’t mean sub-plots. I mean the explanations about Personas and Yu’s powers. They are so vague, rushed (Yes, I’m repeating words. Couldn’t find a good synonym) and it feels that anime creators assume you’ve played the game already.

If you’re a fan of the game then you should have seen the anime by now. As a fan myself, I’d give this anime 9 just because of faithfulness to the source but as an anime itself it gets a solid 7.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall
theSentinel's avatar By theSentinel on Dec 31, 2013

So I realized how long this was when I finished, but I needed the space to explain.  The anime was good, but there is a need to warn you about some of the stupidity so that you arnt TOO taken aback by the weirdness.  SLIGHT SPIOLERS but nothing big

Im not sure where to begin this review, it was a great anime, however there were also some major flaws in it as well.

Originally I planned on giving this a 9 or 9.5, several things particularly around the end brought it to an 8.  I guess ill start by giving my normal breakdown, and then finish by giving some pros and cons to simplify things.

Story:  the story was deceptive.  I thought it was going to be the kind of plot that was too immature for me.  Strangly I was both correct and incorrect.  Part of what makes an good anime, is that they are true to themselves.  In other words, simple things that happen early on become important later, this helps to build the story into something meaningful, it is true to all of the important little things.  This anime actually did just that.  At the same time, it pulled a lot of problem of the day style butt kicking at the end of some episodes, making it seem less attractive at times.  The story built up well suprisingly enough, however I cannot call it a masterpiece.  It could have been more solid.  The last 3 episodes also pulled a lot of crap.  I hate the "love and friendship will prevail" scheme, as it blasts away logical context and makes the anime harder to connect with and enjoy.  Also, this was one of those animes that the hesitation to kill people came to such an extreme that the bad guys where the lamest bad guys in any anime I have ever watched.  When even the bad guy cant kill and then says "JUST DIE ALREADY" it makes the anime kind of retarded in a special kind of way.  This also damaged the story immensely.  What danger is there in bad guys OR good guys that cant kill or even try to miserably ruin the other.  Lame.  The very end of the last episode was nice.  It was the "Angel Beats Ending" that I was looking for.  

Animation:  This was one of the biggest selling points of the anime, again however, there were major flaws here too.  Almost like they put all of the extremes in one.  A lot of the time the animations and motion of the anime looked great.  But when it came to combat scenes, I could never see the micro of what was happening in the battle.  There was so much glowy sh*t during battles and the angles of the characters was so close up that it was hard to tell exactly what the characters looked like or what was happening without looking up images on google.

still I was impressed and entertained by the majority or the animations, and the emotion animations were great.

Sounds: again some good some bad.  I really liked the opening and ending themes.  At first I was annoyed that the main character was the voice of Ichigo from Bleach as well.  I got used to his voice however, because he did a fine job of playing the part.  The other voice actors did well too.  One part that annoyed the living hell out of me was that in the last 3 episodes you could tell that 3 different characters all used the same voice actor, agian it was the voice actor of Ichigo from Bleach (more people know Ichigo which is why I refer to him that way).  At times the voice actors could get immensley corny and that took away from the anime a bit.  The voice actors did a great job otherwise.  For the most part they were very unique and they had moments where they were completely hilarious.

very solid, the voice acting was unique, Its one thing to have unique characters, but the voice actors need to really make me understand the uniqueness of the character.  Persona 4 accomplished this, so I give it s 9.

Characters:  Like I said before, the voice actor helps to bring the character to life, but there needs to be a good character to begin with.  The stories of the characters came out just enough, but beyond their pasts they continued to paint the anime with awesomeness.  This is something that the larger animes fail to do.  Since there are soooo many characters they cant have all the characters be important all the time.  The best animes keep ALL or MOST of the characters pertinent and important.  If you want a good example of most of the characters being important or noticable then go watch Eureka 7.

This part only received a 9 because the stance of complete pacifism even in the wake of tradegy and insanity.  It was the most bizzare sh*t ive ever seen.  Otherwise the characters were special and hilarious.  

Overall:  had some flaws, but because this anime was superior when it wasnt making one of its flaws, I still managed to enjoy the hell out of it. The flaws were big though, so I have to give it an  8.  I reccomend watching this anime.

pros:
- great animation
- hilarious and colorful characters
- interesting premise, until it lost its logic in the very end.
- built up well and the very ending was good.  

cons:
- was corny at times, which fits a younger set of shounen viewers
- battle animations kinda sucked (not as bad as Dream Eater Merry though)
- last couple episodes went on a roller coaster ride, which dropped you off at nowhere.  (then the ending forgot that and got good again)

8/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall