The normally sleepy town of Inaba has recently fallen prey to a string of bizarre deaths, where the deceased are discovered dangling from TV antennae and telephone poles. But that’s not the only mystery that’s cropped up lately: the "Midnight Channel" has gained notoriety in the local high school for allegedly revealing a person's soul-mate to them. When transfer student Yu arrives in town, he quickly becomes enmeshed in the center of all these mysterious goings-on, especially after the teen and his friends are pulled through the television into another world! How is this strange place connected with the other mysteries plaguing Inaba?
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!
I've read only positive reviews about this anime, but honestly I didn't like it that much. Can't fathom what exactly those who are so enthusiastic about it saw in it; except maybe if they played the game before, which I didn't. I actually consider it to have been pretty much a waste of my time. The story is based on an interesting concept and there are some good ideas, but that's all the positive I can say about it. The execution is sloppy and the pacing isn't great either. Several times I found myself bored to tears. Oh, another positive note is that there is an ending and it's satisfactory. Even if a bit too cheesy for my taste. Transfer student arrives in quiet countryside town and has to adapt. He starts making friends, but soon enough things both weird and terrible start happening: namely, strange murders and our protagonist getting sucked into the tv. He starts surrounding himself with new friends, making bonds with people, and each new friend is a new power he is given to fight with in the parallel world in the tv. The moral of the story is that human relationships are important and they're what make you powerful. And it's hammered into you each and every episode. Anyhow, the protagonist and his friends suspect that the bizarre world in the tv is somehow connected to the murders happening in the real world and start investigating in order to solve the mystery. Mystery which does get solved at the end. The characters are nothing special. No one in particular sticks out to me in a positive way. They are kind of interesting when first introduced, when they all have some interior conflict that has to be at first exposed and then resolved; but after this, when they've each had their moment of glory in the limelight, they do not develop anymore and remain superficial caricatures. Same goes for our protagonist, I wasn't overly impressed by him. Completely and utterly forgettable. The animation is at times really good, but other times sloppy with choppy movements. I didn't like the character designs either. But the colours were nice. And the music is maybe the only aspect really well done. So in conclusion, in my opinion this is an anime you can easily pass up. It scratches just the surface of things with a superficial story and superficial characters.
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.
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