Anime Reviews: Persona 4 The Animation Episode 1 – You’re Myself, I’m Yourself

Introduction
I’ve never actually played Persona 4, but I have watched a friend play it, and watched the Giant Bomb Endurance Run videos. So I’m familiar with the story and characters. I consider it one of my favorite video games, that I’ve never played.

Gah!

When I heard there was going to be an anime I was pretty excited, since I thought the story was good enough to be adapted. This is even considering my distrust of adaptations. So really, the question now is, does the anime adapt the story well? Is the story strong enough to do without the gameplay? Which version will be best?

Plot Summary
The main character, Yu Narukami, has a dream about a strange room, before waking up on the train. He meets his uncle, and cousin, who he will be staying with. After an ominous dream he goes to school the next day.

In his new class he meets his new friends, as well as his…shall we say…eccentric?…teacher. He gets along well with martial arts movie enthusiast Chie, and quiet, proper girl Yukiko. Though he does leave the goofy Yousuke to his pain. Though he does get to now Yousuke a bit better the next day, after helping him out from a bike crash. The two go out to eat, and Chie tags along with them. Yousuke meets a girl that works at the Junes Department store, and goes to talk to her. She is acting distracted for reasons that could possibly have to do with the dead body she found hanging from an antenna the prior day.

The girl, Saki-senpai as Yousuke calls her, is later interviewed about the body she found. After the interview, an add for the Junes Department store plays, ending with the iconic Junes song.

What…

Yu watches the midnight channel, a channel that is meant to show you your soulmate on a rainy night. Yu hears a voice, and sticks his hand through the TV. The next day he tells his friends what happened, but not until he proves it on one of the TVs in Junes do they believe him.

They panic when someone comes around, and instead of doing the smart thing and just having Yu pull his hand from the TV, they end up pushing each other in.

The three find themselves in a strange, foggy area. They explore their new surroundings, and come across a creepy room. When they try to find their way back they run into a strange bear like creature who tells them they shouldn’t be there. He gives Yu a pair of glasses, that make the fog easier to see through, to help them find their way back home.

Before they can start on their way back they are attacked by a group of shadows.

Miyazaki’s gonna sue.

Chie gets licked by one of them and falls unconscious. Yu hears the strange voice again, and calls out a name.

He summons the Persona Izanagi and destroys the tongue monsters.

How dare you get to first base with Chie before me!

After a relatively good use of badass music the episode ends with Yousuke looking upon Yu and his Persona.

My Opinion
Overall not a terrible episode. There is a lot that I worry about for the future, but so far the anime has shown a good sense of pacing. It manages to fit everything important into the first episode, allowing for a good hook for viewers not familiar with the game. But until I see more of the show I can’t make any judgement calls.

Yu doesn’t really do much, or react much, which isn’t surprising considering he had no personality, other than the one projected by the player, in the game. At least he actually speaks, which is more than I can say for the manga version.

But, despite speaking more than he does in the manga, Yu still lacks a clear personality. That will be the biggest task ahead for the anime, if they can’t give Yu a proper personality, then there will be no point bothering to watch the anime.

The anime is pure fanservice, music and visual elements are directly taken from the game. It’s definitely a treat for fans of the game, but so far it doesn’t have much to stand on its own. Whether this changes in later episodes remains to be seen.

I can’t help but wonder how they will treat the dating aspect of the game, will this become a harem series (what I expect), or will they go for a specific girl, or ignore the concept all together. If they do go for a single girl I hope they go for Chie. Aka/ the best character in the game.

The coloring is a bit odd. I don’t know why, but for some reason the characters faces are shaded in a way that makes them look like they have Homer Simpson beards going on. The art looks just like the animation from the game, but the shading just stands out more than I would like. I would have been fine with the art looking exactly like the animated scenes from the game.

Overall a decent start, and while I worry about the rest of the series, I can’t go and make a decision just yet. It’s definitely interesting me enough to see how they adapt the story, and what they change to fit the artistic medium of anime.

Oh, and I reject the Japanese version of the Junes song.

If you liked my review, Watch the Episode Here!

3 comments

  1. "Everyday's great at your Junes."

    Wow they really sucked up that song. Is it bad I like the English voices in the game better? Atlas really does a bang-up job with voice acting in their games.

  2. Also I literally do not see the point of this TV show considering the game was probably as close to an anime as a game could get already. With maybe the exception of Catherine, which is like 100% anime interspersed with weird puzzles in-between.

    But my point is I liked the game because I was forging my own relationships with the characters, and because those relationships were so strong (yes, that's sort of got a double meaning, because relationships are how the game advances). So taking that out and writing a story for it means it has no meaning. And considering our protag in the anime is so stale, it hits the middle ground where people who played the game won't really enjoy it (it isn't their story they invested 100+ hours into) and fans of anime won't enjoy it (it's stale).

    But hey, animated Chie and Naniko are always appreciated. And Kanji.

    Quit the show when Rise shows up, she is the worst thing.

  3. Yeah, so far this show feels like it's mostly fanservice that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. And since the relationships between the characters are dictated by the writers, rather than the player, there will be people that are disappointed with the outcome.

    Like I said, if they chose one girl for the protag to end up with, then all the players who went with a different girl will be pissed, and if they go without choosing a girl, then all the viewers who played the game will be pissed, because they developed an attachement for a specific girl in the game and will feel cheated when the anime doesn't adress that.

    Still, I'm going to remain cautiously interested in where the show goes.

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