First Impressions – Persona 4: The Animation

Persona 4 is one of the more popular and well-known video games of the Shin Megami Tensei series where the main focus is summoning “personas” to survive in the game. And to the excitement of many, the game finally made its debut as an anime this past Thursday. The series is appropriately named Persona 4:  The Animation.

I’ve never had the opportunity to play any of the Persona games, sadly. Yet, that will hopefully give me a different perspective to approach the anime than fans of the game would. Although, I have heard a lot of good things about the game, so I’m hoping the anime will live up to its hype.

First impressions through episode 1 “You’re Myself, I’m Yourself.”

The episode opens with a first person view of the inside of a fancy limo with a creepy guy called Igor and a smart looking female, Margaret, sitting next to him telling you (the viewer) about fate and contracts. It plays as something like an intro to a video game, reminding me of “This is your mission, if you choose to accept it (and we know you will)”.

This is where your fate begins.

Now that we’re prepped for our adventure, we are thrown into the “real” world of our somewhat dull and mostly silent protagonist, Yu Narukami, and his new life in the boring town he has been sent to by his parents. The episode flies by and gets us into the action fairly quickly, which is a plus when coming from a video game, which usually drags in the beginning. Yet, it almost felt like the story’s premise was simply thrown at us instead of developing it along with the characters.

In short, Yu and his new friends, Chie and Yosuke go inside a TV and get glasses from a bear, and Yu gets a personality. Or rather, he opens his eyes and gains a “Persona” which comes in the form of a large warrior that fights the shadow creatures that live in TV land rather well.   And our quiet Yu becomes a cocky, glasses wearing guy controlling a huge warrior and killing shadow creatures.  And shockingly, he smiles for the first time.

Glasses can change a person.

Where Persona 4 is falling short in pacing, it’s making up in fantastic visuals and stimulating plot elements.

For example, TVs are important.

Through the looking glass, er, flatscreen.

And so is this cute little guy.

Then, there’s Yu’s habit for getting migraines that involves a voice speaking to him, later confirmed to be his Persona…I think.  There is still a lot of mystery that radiates from this anime’s story – personas, a local murder, and this thing called the Midnight Channel.

The voice actors for Persona 4: The Animation are the same as the original video game cast, which is an extra boost for not only the fans, but for those who were worried how well the voice acting would be. If they chose to use the same VAs for the anime as the video game, they must be doing something right.

The music is probably the strongest part of the series so far. I have read that it’s the same music as the video game, with the exception of perhaps the ending theme. The music keeps a constant style from scene to scene, yet still throws in some video game elements with it. For example, the very beginning in the Velvet Room has music that contrasts from the rest of the episode’s music, or when you first meet Chie, the music curves into an upbeat melody.

Since it’s only the first episode, I have hopes the series will find its pace and be able to present us a story without throwing it in our faces again as we continue on the adventure.

10 thoughts on “First Impressions – Persona 4: The Animation

  1. I played Persona 3 ( for 600 hours! ), my most loved video game ever ! and in fact, Persona 3 is my wallpaper. ( I posted a picture of my wallpaper on my blog) I have not seen the anime , if any, although there’s an anime where one of the characters ( Gees, I forget the name,omg !) is the main character, and he’s become a cop.

    I started playing persona 4 but I haven’t finished the game yet, although we’ve had it since the first day it was released, which was maybe 4 years ago. Playing it takes so much of my time… it’s not something a player leaves halfway through.

    1. I’ve heard that all the Persona games are pretty intense (yet fun!) and require weeks on end to get through. I’m glad you enjoyed 3, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Every time I hear someone praising a Persona game, I shoot myself in the foot for not buying a PS2 yet.
      I had been wondering why they are making an anime out of 4 and not 3. I thought for the longest time that Persona 3 was the more popular title, but I have been proven wrong before. ^_^

  2. Ohhhhh man. You’ll love the OST. So awesome. I wish they could include more in the series. Even the anime original song in the promos rocked!

    1. I’m planning to look up the soundtrack of the game shortly! I’m happy to hear more people like it though. 😀
      Yeah, I feel like they probably have to cut a lot from the anime (including some music tracks) to make it all fit in 12 episodes. We’ll see how it all plays out.

  3. Amazon is selling “brand new” PS2 for just $60, but that was several months ago. (^o^) I think I know why there’s no anime of PFES3, but since you haven’t played it yet, I won’t spoil it for you. Although I have not finished P4 yet, I can tell you persona 3FES is so much better, and the OST is one of the best ! ! Check them out on You Tube ! ! !

    1. All the great deals happen when I’m broke, oddly enough. I’ll keep my eye out for another deal though once my next paycheck rolls in.
      Wow, the intro to Persona 3FES is really cool. My afternoon will now be spent listening to all this music! 😀

  4. I have the cd of the soundtrack and I’m still playing it on my car cd player. I’ll never get tired of it!Persona 3 FES was Game of the year in 2007, if I’m not mistaken, and one of Sony;s top 20 games . If I recall , it was # 5 . Battle for Everyone’s Soul was voted one of the top 10 video games songs . ^__^ Sorry, I’m gushing. LOL

  5. I’d just like to point out that Persona 3 is one of the most religion-neutral (some might even call it sacrilegious) video games I’ve ever played. Among fantasy-game mythology staples like Odin, Thor, Amun-ra, Hermes, Ares and other gods, one of the personas you can summon is Jesus. I kid you not. They thinly veil the disguise and call the persona “Messiah,” but the fact remains that Atlus decided to put the hero of Christianity on the same level as all other mythological figures. What really ought to get Christians irked is that Messiah is only the third most powerful persona, bested by two different versions of Lucifer (one divine and one demonic).

    P4 stays away from such controversies, but I’d very much like to hear a Christian response to having their savior turned into a playable character—and on top of that, being bested in power level by his ultimate rival.

    1. Hello there.

      The Messiah persona doesn’t really stand out as being particularly representative of Jesus compared to other Western messianic figures; in fact, the appearance of this persona is rather undefined and therefore, I do not feel offendd or perturbed either way.

      As for Lucifer being more powerful, I was naturally concerned about this and thus decided to peruse the Shin Megami Tensei Wiki to read up on Lucifer as he pertains to the Shin Megami Tensei universe, which led me to more research into the origin of the term Lucifer.

      The term “lucifer” appears in Isaiah 14:12-15, commonly interpreted as a reference to a Babylonian king; commonly, this account is attributed as describing a literal king rather than being an allegorical account of Satan falling from heaven, the king referred to commonly being attributed as Nebuchadnezzar II. Most Latin translations of the Bible also used “lucifer” with a lower-cased L rather than as a formal name.

      Seeing as how most of the personas draw from mythology, I am inclined to handwaive things; I am still uneasy, but that is likely because of the common association between the name Lucifer and the devil.

      As for Persona 4 avoiding controversy, I don’t know if I would say that; Lucifer is still a high-ranking persona in the game (Lucifer and Satan – listed as separate personas – are both above the archangel Michael) and in the anime’s last episode…well, look at it yourself so as to avoid spoilers.

      Controversy aside, I still enjoy Persona 3 and 4 due to the interesting personality of the characters.

      My sources, if you’d care to check:

      1. Although this wasn’t my post, I feel I should say, thank you for the comments! It certainly helps better inform this controversy.

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