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Tag Archives: Persona

Persona 4: The Animation (review)

The cast of Persona 4: The AnimationFinal impression – play the game first (7/10)

Fall 2011 to winter 2012 (25 episodes)

Yuu Narukami is a city boy, who for various circumstances at home, ends up moving out to the countryside to live with his uncle and little cousin.  But being a naturally suave and likeable guy, he’s quickly able to shake off the aura of being a transfer student and makes some friends.  But when the tiny town of Inaba he finds himself in is rocked by a series of bizarre murders, he gets caught up in a creepy cold case where the victims are seen on a mysterious TV program called the Midnight Channel that airs on foggy nights when you have your TV turned off.  In the face of such unbelievable circumstances, Yuu and his friends become the only ones capable of rescuing the victims by diving into the television and fighting the bloodthirsty monsters that live there using a manifestation of their psyches called Persona.

Yu calls IzanagiWriting an objective review on P4 was difficult for me since I’ve played the game it’s based on.  This isn’t the same as reading the manga that serves as the source material for an anime since both of those media are non-interactive.  Video games on the other hand are and being put in the position of having no influence on the characters’ decisions or the pace of the story was a little unsettling.  I wonder if many other people feel this way about adaptations of video games that aren’t a loose reinterpretation of a concept, but instead a faithful retelling of the same story.

The girls can't cookThat being said, P4: The Animation recreates the events of the game as closely as is possible, with a few changes made that were probably necessary for the transition to TV.  This includes obvious things like completing a side character’s story in a single episode rather than the game’s slower progression that might be spaced out over the course of the entire play time (or even not completed at all if the player neglects that particular social link).  But one thing that always disappointed me about P4: The Animation was the fight scenes.  The game is something of a visual novel built around the framework of a really solid RPG.  That setup should have been a natural cue that the anime ought to be an action / drama.  And while the drama does well, the action is dry and has an air of inevitability to it that never feels the slightest bit suspenseful.

"Welcome to the velvet room."All in all, it makes me sad because, because I loved the game and my hopes were high that the anime would live up to that same level of quality.  If nothing else, the soundtrack for the P4 anime is even more amazing than the game and includes all of the original music in addition to new and expanded tracks with terrifically-written English lyrics that really gets me fired up.  In the end, Persona 4: The Animation is a supplemental anime for fans of the game, but still a very solid series.

Anime of the Week (4/1 – 4/7)

Anime of the Week – Accel World
What strikes me most about this series is its character design. I’ve never seen such a stark contrast between the hero and heroine.
April 2 Amagami+ Ep. 13 As fanservice goes, this was pretty tame. Beyond that, I don’t think there was anything novel about this series’ finisher.
Persona 4 Ep. 25 I’m curious about how the true ending will depict the events in the game, especially since this episode was so rushed.
April 3 Mirai Nikki Ep. 24 I hoped that Yukiteru would have become more decisive, but he’s still going about things with a wishy-washy attitude.
Accel World Ep. 1 Initial impression – the beginning of something really cool http://wp.me/p1Gaby-k9
April 4 Space Brothers Ep. 1 Initial impression – the wrong style (4/10) http://wp.me/p1Gaby-kf
April 5 Zetman Ep. 1 Initial impression – too niche (4/10) http://wp.me/p1Gaby-kk
To Heart 2 Dungeon Travelers Ep. 1 This series has always been hilarious and ridiculous, so adding an RPG twist really isn’t a big stretch.
April 7 Hiiro no Kakera Ep. 1 Initial impression – deliberately hazy (4/10) http://wp.me/p1Gaby-kp

*You could have read these mini-reviews in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (3/18 – 3/24)

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
Ever since it debuted halfway through the winter 2012 season, this series has been far and beyond the best in so many ways.
March 18 Nisemonogatari Ep. 11 This series always performs well when it focuses on its strong point. Its intellectual dialogue is always awesome.
Zero F Ep. 11 If your loved one sent you away to protect you, would you honor their protective wishes or do everything you could to return?
March 19 Mirai Nikki Ep. 22 This was a brutal episode. But all these cliffhangers and mysteries are starting to annoy me. Are they really necessary?
Rinne Ep. 11 Sure enough, Madoka went berserk in Vox Aura. But I’m confused. When a pilot loses control don’t bad things usually happen?
March 20 Another Ep. 11 It seems we’ve reached the breaking point of sanity. How will this curse be brought to an end and what will be the cost?
Shana III Ep. 23 In some ways the battle is over and in other ways this is just a minor change in the status quo, but it was most elegant.
Ano Natsu Ep. 11 Seriously!! Just who is Remon? Things are getting a little ridiculous, but it’s still a lot of fun so I’m not too annoyed.
March 23 Guilty Crown Ep. 22 Talk about crunch time. A pretty series with an interesting concept falls flat with a rushed and empty ending. =(
March 24 BRS Ep. 8 The winding path this series takes belies its actual simplicity. Telling such a straightforward story so beautifully is amazing.
Persona 4 Ep. 24 Ah… all the secrets are getting revealed. I really love this part since all the subtle clues were there all along.
Amagami+ Ep. 12 It seems the Morishima family is full of bad girls. After jumping through all those hoops I’m glad he got the good ending.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (3/11 – 3/17)

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
This series has been fantastic; touching on intellectual insights and covering the difficult intricacies of relationships, all while creatively slipping in some epic fight scenes. But now that Mato has to face herself, what will the ending yield?
March 11 Persona 4 Ep. 22 How will the anime address the video game’s bad ending? Will there be a new spin or will it just cut right to the good end?
Nisemonogatari Ep. 10 As this series winds down, it’s turning away from the intellectual tone that made Bakemonogatari so philosophical.
Zero F Ep. 10 The current plot point serves no other purpose than to put Louise and Saito’s love in jeopardy, which makes it feel hollow.
March 12 Rinne Ep. 10 More team building followed by a threat of war and losing something precious as well. But what’s at stake is still unknown.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 21 This was such a satisfying episode that was well worth the wait. But, why do new mysteries suddenly keep appearing?
March 13 Another Ep. 10 When desperate people get cornered, there’s no telling what they’ll do. What will be the result of their hasty conclusions?
March 14 Ano Natsu Ep. 10 Things feel like they’re wrapping up nicely. A little love and a little heartbreak leads into this anime’s last segment.
Shana III Ep. 22 What tricks does Yuji have to pull this turn of events back in his favor? Will his last resort be venting his frustration?
March 16 Guilty Crown Ep. 21 As the story winds down, everyone puts their faith in Shu while he honors their trust by praising their humanity.
BRS Ep. 7 Things are really starting to move. How will Mato resolve her fight with Yuu? And how will Yomi play a role in wrapping things up?
March 17 Amagami+ Ep. 11 Haruka is such a bad girl. The way that Junichi plays along with her silly, often frightening antics is hilarious to watch.
Persona 4 Ep. 23 Now that the mysteries are getting solved, I’m suddenly getting a desire to replay the last few battles of the video game.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 3/4 – 3/10

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
I’ve always liked the engaging qualities of a bad guy with respectable motives. At this point, I think it’s pretty clear that BRS is this season’s best anime.
March 4 Nisemonogatari Ep. 9 We’re supposed to be on Tsukihi’s story arc right now, but she’s had almost no presence in the last two episodes.
Zero F Ep. 9 This series is a bunch of average stories, broken by punctuated climaxes. After the trouble last time, this was pretty low-key.
March 5 Rinne Ep. 9 I always like stories where the bad guys have principles. There’s nothing more disappointing than a one-dimensional antagonist.
Persona 4 Ep. 21 This series has never handled its action very well and with only a few episodes left, I fear things will be rushed.
March 6 Another Ep. 9 There’s a difference between atmospheric pacing and contrived delays for the purpose of artificially lengthening a story.
Ano Natsu Ep. 9 I can’t tell if we’ve reached the climax of this series’ romance or if there’s still more surprises yet to come.
March 9 BRS Ep. 6 Now that Mato understands, how will she reshape the purpose of her other self and what will her new goals be if she’s successful?
Guilty Crown Ep. 20 Has Gai learned nothing? He just can’t keep his arrogance in check. It’s like he’s beckoning Shu to come challenge him.
March 10 Amagami+ Ep. 10 I don’t know how to react to such an ordinary, low-impact episode. Even Junichi was a little blander than usual.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 2/26 – 3/3

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
How does the link between the real world characters and the other selves work? The connection is taking shape and the consequences of actions in the other world reveal something far bigger than initially expected.
February 26 Zero F Ep. 8 This was a rather ordinary episode to lead into the next segment of the series. How will these loose ends get sewn up?
February 27 Shana III Ep. 20 The series just seems to be driving along at a steady pace without any bumps in the road to make things more exciting.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 8 It’s all part of the fun of watching this anime, but sometimes I don’t understand how what’s going on is relevant.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 20 The survival game is almost over. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the for-TV censoring that appears a lot in this anime.
Rinne Ep. 8 I’m glad to see this series has addressed the issue of where the humans who are living on other planets originally came from.
Feburary 28 Another Ep. 8 It’s starting to strike me that the writing is getting more and more contrived in its ways to get Misaki into the story. Hmmm
February 29 Ano Natsu Ep. 8 This episode was a lot of fun. Some big secrets got revealed, but there’s still more—Lemon’s identity being one of them.
Persona 4 Ep. 19 Why are the side stories more interesting than the main plot? It must be how well the bonus material adds to video game.
Persona 4 Ep. 20 The past few episodes were a nice diversion with good timing since there’s nobody to rescue. But it’s time for some action.
March 2 Amagami+ Ep. 9 I think I’d like Sae’s story much better if it wasn’t for that annoying narrator. He’s funny at times, but too obvious.
Guilty Crown Ep. 19 The climax of this episode was way too predictable. This was merely a pathway to the trials that are coming next.
BRS Ep. 5 Why is this show so good? The formula is simple, but there’s majesty in watching this visual metaphor reveal its deeper meaning.
March 3 Shana III Ep. 21 I’m glad to see more subtly in this battle than I’d originally assumed. Conflict other than physical violence adds depth.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Persona 4 The Animation (ongoing)

Impression – straightforward, yet philosophical

Autumn 2011 to winter 2012 (more info)

As good as the Persona 4 video game was, I wish its anime series would deviate more from the default script or fill in some more fine details that have thus far flown under the radar.  Arguably, fans of the video game are going to be the primary fanbase of the anime, but if there are no surprises for us we’re not likely to give very good opinions to more casual viewers who may only have a passing interest.  So the plot of Persona 4 is stuck in a weird catch-22 where it needs enough new material to keep the old fans interested but it also needs to stay true to the original story.  In some ways, it’s suffering from some of the same problems as Fate/Zero.  But it’s more than worth it to watch Persona 4 just for the killer music and sharp art style that is an intrinsic quality of Atlus.  One of the things the anime does get right that is a perfect mirror of the video game is the pacing of events to match real dates and create a tangible passage of time.  And while the story may have felt more natural in video game format, it’s still totally awesome.  Its best points are a cast of varied, loveable characters, a good sense for spinning elaborate mysteries and an overarching theme of emphasizing the importance of the bonds we share with our friends.  When you think about it like that, there’s not much else to be desired.

Anime of the Week 1/22 – 1/28

Anime of the Week – Another
The art is immersive and the story has deliciously calculated pacing. With an amazing combination of mystery and suspense, Another is keeping me keeping me hungry for more.
January 23 Mirai Nikki Ep. 13 What is going on? This is all very exciting, but I was under the impression Yukiteru and Yuno were in the clear by now.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 14 Who are these new adversaries? They’re a team, but what are their motives? In a survival game there’s only one winner.
Daily Lives of High School Boys Ep. 1 Final impression – a guy’s anime for sure (5/10) http://wp.me/p1Gaby-gG
January 24 Another Ep. 2 I hate these kinds of shallow cliffhangers. There’s just no purpose for them other than to get you to watch the next episode.
Another Ep. 3 I see a web of bonds and painful pasts coming together to form a big picture, but I can’t imagine what it will turn out to be.
Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father! Ep. 1 Final impression – scattered and uncoordinated (3/10) http://wp.me/p1Gaby-gM
January 26 Ano Natsu Ep. 3 Oh the unfortunate misunderstandings and the wild imaginations. Where would we be if everyone stopped assuming?
The iDOLM@STER Ep. 25 A nice, generic ending to get everything wrapped up with no loose ends. Nothing special, but I’m not complaining.
Persona 4 Ep. 14 Yuu’s summer vacation has ended. I was worried the down time in P4 wouldn’t be given good service. I’m glad I was wrong.
January 27 Guilty Crown Ep. 14 This episode’s ending was a little awkward, but I like how everyone keeps finding smart solutions to their predicament.
January 28 Inu x Boku Ep. 3 I’m not sure about the pacing of the fast turn around of emotions, but I’m pleased to see a sense of responsibility.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 1/8 – 1/14

Anime of the Week – Another
The impressive attention to detail, an atmosphere so heavy you can taste it and mystery tantilizingly enticing combine into a superb episode 1.
January 9 Kill Me Baby Ep. 1 Initial impression – not as bad as I thought it might be http://wp.me/p1Gaby-eX
Amagami SS+ Ep. 1 Initial impression – a surprise present for fans of the first season http://wp.me/p1Gaby-f2
January 10 Zero no Tsukaima F Ep. 1 Initial impression – you already know if you’re going to like this show http://wp.me/p1Gaby-fc
January 11 Shana III Ep. 13 I’m sad to see one of my favorite villains come to an end, but he faced his demise with conviction and a fullness of peace.
Another Ep. 1 Initial impression – spine-tingling beauty http://wp.me/p1Gaby-fi
January 12 The iDOLM@STER Ep. 19 Takane isn’t my favorite character but she is very cool and smooth. 961 Pro is a cheesy villain, but he’s fun to hate.
Brave 10 Ep. 1 Final impression – unpolished and childish shounen (4/10) http://wp.me/p1Gaby-fm
January 13 Guilty Crown Ep. 13 What was with this episode? Is it over? That can’t be. There’s still 11 more episodes left but it feels like the end.
Vocaloid The Daughter and Servant of Evil http://wp.me/p1Gaby-fs
Persona 4 Ep. 13 This was a fun episode that gave the anime some individuality that will help separate it from its video game roots.
January 14 Senki Zesshou Symphogear Ep. 1 Initial impression – action, music and variety http://wp.me/p1Gaby-fF
Symphogear Ep. 2 I’d very much like to know more about the enemy they’re fighting. What are the Noise and what are their objectives?

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 1/1 – 1/7

Anime of the Week – C3 Cube x Cursed x Curious
The deep metaphors of this anime heighten it well above any inflamitory attempts at defamation and the character acting is top-notch.
January 1 Fate/Zero Ep. 13 The dynamic duo of Ryuunosuke and Caster is delightfully twisted and delicious in the way they feed each other’s egos.
January 2 Toradora OVA Even two years later, this anime still knows how to put a funny spin on the simplest of concepts and give you a big smile.
Hidan no Aria OVA As hot springs episodes go, this one isn’t awful. However, it does focus too much on ecchi to the detriment of the story.
C3 Ep. 11 I feel an affinity for Haruaki’s wisdom and selflessness. He’s a strong, rare character. He is a natural axis for the story.
January 3 Persona 4 Ep. 12 The twist in this episode was a fabulous surprise for everyone who was expecting a copy and paste from the video game.
Shana III Ep. 11 With all the soft, wishy-washy feelings in the first two seasons, I never thought I’d see true romance in this series.
Shana III Ep. 12 It feels like this series has revealed a natural decisiveness that always existed but never had a chance to show itself.
Working 2 Ep. 13 Because of the nature of this series, it just wouldn’t feel right to have a concise ending. That’s an uncommon quality.
Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 12 I really liked the long flashback in this episode detailing Yozora’s inner thoughts. It wrapped things up nicely.
Ben-to Ep. 8 This anime was never very sophisticated, but what’s with inserting two new characters with absolutely no introduction?
C3 Ep. 12 This is a beautiful metaphor of the relationships we have with our possessions. Where does the tool end and the human begin?
January 4 Mashiro-iro Ep. 5 This anime is sweet, but oftentimes silly. This episode was ridiculous in the way it depicted Ange the wandering maid.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 7 I like how this anime doesn’t try to explain things too much and just keeps up the pace of its quirky comedy.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 8 Usually the anime of funny misunderstandings is Working!!, but Squid Girl can put a silly spin on those situations, too.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 9 The reality of the world is often sad. But if you’re an outside observer, others’ misfortune suddenly becomes hilarious.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 10 With the three stooges, all things are possible. I was wondering if this anime would ever get a winter-themed episode.
January 5 Mashiro-iro Ep. 6 I like the sweetness of this anime, but it’s getting to be a bit much and sadly, it’s getting overly predictable.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 11 What is it that makes Chizuru such a frightening person? Is it her eyes or her calm demeanor while she threatens people?
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 12 Chizuru may be right. While Squid Girl didn’t invade the world, she can certainly invade the hearts of her viewers.
The iDOLM@STER Ep. 17 I think Makoto shows us that we need to use our talents more, even if we don’t particularly like those talents.
The iDOLM@STER Ep. 18 Ritsuko is one of the more interesting characters. She actually has a back story that relates well to the setting.
January 6 Ben-to Ep. 9 The abuse Satou goes through is sad. But if he’s such a good fighter when it comes to bento, why can’t he protect himself?
Ben-to Ep. 10 As rivalries go, taking out a duo by yourself is unlikely. I anticipate some cool team building as this anime wraps up.
January 7 Ben-to Ep. 11 It must be a universal constant that now matter what the competition, there’s always someone bigger and better to challenge.
Ben-to Ep. 12 Satou really doesn’t deserve the title he was given. The chivalry he showed in this episode makes up for his past failings.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

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