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)”.
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.
Where Persona 4 is falling short in pacing, it’s making up in fantastic visuals and stimulating plot elements.
For example, TVs are important.
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.