Persona 4: The Animation – 01 Review

My spidey sense is tingling...

Episode 1

Reviews by M0rg0th and Saranaufogus

Saranaufogus:

This was another disappointing first episode of the season for me.

It is probably not as much of the show’s fault as it is my expectations of the show being somewhat different to what was delivered.

Plot Summary (as taken from Wiki):

Persona 4 takes place in the fictional, rural Japanese town of Inaba, which lies among floodplains and has its own high school and shopping districts. Unexplained murders have taken place in the small town, where bodies are found dangling among television antennas and their cause of death unknown. At the same time, rumor has begun to spread that watching a switched-off television set on rainy midnights will reveal a person’s soulmate.

This opening scene was made in such a way that the characters are speaking to the audience and whilst I can see how that would work well in a RPG, it simply felt odd.

Saranaufogus’ Review

You see, after having read that summary I had expected something eerie, dark and spooky but what we got was none of those. I had hope that with the rural setting and plot of the mysterious deaths we would have a series similar to Shiki in style. I have not played the actual game and I am not sure how true this show is to the game but one could pick up certain RPG “elements” in this show (e.g. the main character being handed special glasses that seem to aid him in his “adventure”, the opening scene of the episode, etc.).

The story of the first episode is similar to the typical introduction episode in the information that we get out of it, we get to learn a bit about the history of the main character, the people surrounding him, the environment/setting of the series and the future co-stars of the series. Since all I know about this show is through what I have seen in the first episode, I can safely say that after the first episode I have learned close to nothing about everything. The plot feels uninspired with regards to the mysterious deaths, and the only thing that might interest me is the alternate reality that is looking like it would be the main point of the show.

There were too many random situations that perhaps were meant to add to the whole “mystery” of the town (like the petrol kiosk dude) but because of how they were executed, I simply brushed it off as a weird occurrence with probably no importance. (Even now I am still unsure if it is meant to mean anything.)

Then we have the crazy characters. The main character, Narukumi Yu, leaves pretty much no impression on me except for the fact that he appears to have some sort of brain damage (or a split personality). Why, you ask? Simple. When he is normal (without a persona), he is like every boring teenage boy but with the difference of having sudden bursts of “fear/sixth sense” (refer to 1st image) and seem to lack a brain (I mean, who runs to school the next day telling his new friends in a new school that his hand went through the TV screen. Any normal human being would have found him crazy especially when you don’t even know if this newcomer is mentally stable). But when he is in control of a persona, he turns into another human being – a cocky brat. Yu’s reaction to the discovery of the Persona was, to put it in short, weird. Who says “this power belongs to me” in such a normal manner and smirks after seeing a huge monster rise from the ground? Most *normal* people would be shocked and slightly afraid instead of being so accepting of such an occurrence. I mean, he was shocked over the fact that his hand went through a TV screen yet he acts so normal when he discovers his ability to control a huge monster? I don’t buy it. There had better be something more to his attitude – like some prior meeting with the Personas or something along those lines.

His teacher is another oddball, he has an unknown prejudice towards people from the “big city” and I am really hoping that this would be explained or have some importance, because if not, this is just a useless character trait. As for Yu’s new friends, they remind me of a typical couple in denial of their relationship which results in their constant bickering and who can blame the girl when the guy acts like a partial retard?

As I had said previously, I was expecting something with more substance with a stronger, darker and creepier atmosphere. One of the reasons why this atmosphere and mood was never achieve is due to the horrible retro soundtrack of the show. There were many animation elements as well as sound clips that made the show dated and tacky. Perhaps this was what the music and style in the game was like but I wouldn’t know anything about that since I have not played the game.

The atmosphere is constantly destroyed by the sudden intrusion of a loud upbeat retro background music and it honestly stands out like a sore thumb when the series itself has another fatal flaw – having no budget for music. The show is plague with constant silence and even in a outback village, such as this, one would think that they would have at the very least used the standard background soundtrack of insects noises just to fill the silence. I think that the show had basically destroyed my expectation the moment the OP music started playing alongside the scene of Yu in the train. Such a “silent/thoughful” scene should be accompanied by a suitable song and not something so upbeat and funky (especially when the song is sung in broken English), I would have rather have absolute silence with the OP being a separate element from that scene.

Then we have the animation. What is with the experimental and poor use of gradients on the character faces? It made it look like they had a hat on while they were suntanning over the weekend. It was odd and pointless and I would have much rather something less experimental and more traditional. But then again, this whole episode was a style shock to me.

Overall, the execution and animation direction was not what I had expected it to be like. The story on the other hand was close to what I had expected but it was nothing great nor interesting and I am already losing my interest in the show. The whole episode plot played out in a very choppy manner and the main character’s sudden change into a smart-ass when he had summoned his persona does not sit well with me. Nothing much about the Personas and Yu’s relation to them is explained in the cryptic opening scene nor through the episode and I would have seriously preferred if the show played up the mystery element instead of the comical element. Also, I would appreciate if the sound director’s taste in music would be slightly less…bold and unique.

Episode Rating: 5.5/10 – Not what I wanted or expected but it is not terrible either. I have no clue where this show will take us, but I hope that the next episode will shed some light on the direction of this series.

-ra

M0rg0th’s Review

The series provides deep wisdom by telling you that SURPRISINGLY a little town isn’t like a big city! I know, a really shocking revelation for everyone – except of course for the main-character. That douche doesn’t have enough brain-cells to react to anything actually…

Game-fans should probably rejoice right now because this series seems to be a faithful adaptation of the Game. Seriously it seemed to me like I was watching someone play the game when I watched this episode. This blank main-character, the strange stilted dialogues that leave the main-character out most of the time, the torrent of repetitively telling the main-character what the current plot-points are and another strange dimension where the main-chara has the chance to fight. Sounds like a description for a J-RPG to me…
Persona 4 is a series that tries to be mysterious but strangely doesn’t quite get there with its atmosphere. It already starts with the strange scene in the train when the main-chara thinks about how silent it is but you can hear in the background the up-beat OP. The style is there in what happens but the story is simply told in such an awkward way that you don’t really feel involved with the story.
Mainly to blame for that is the main-chara since he not only is the sort of blank slate everyone as a player could identify but he’s also a strangely dispassionate character who never shows any reaction to anything. He seems like these giant-stereotypes that are big and powerful but really slow on the uptake. Only that the main-chara isn’t powerful (for now) to make up for that slow-wittedness and it’s painful to follow his perspective as most of the time he has as much influence on the scenes as the audience – practically nothing. Instead he gets just dragged around by his friends that just suddenly pop up after he transfers to a new school. Seemingly his acclaimed “beauty” is his replacement for having no social grace whatsoever.
And his friends is just this boring line-up of stereotypes and you might as well fall asleep hearing them talk since they don’t say anything interesting and it’s just terrible anyway how seemingly the script just copies the dialogues from the game. In a game I can accept this level of story-telling and dialogue-style but in an anime I’d like to see a little bit more. First of all, how often I heard people complain how dull the town is and how often people talked about the “Midnight Channel” was simply abnormal. Can’t they frigging talk about anything else?!

Great deduction, Sherlock, but let’s face it: Of course he’s right under your noses! Where else is he supposed to be?! In a rabbit-hole or something?

As for the story, that one was utterly boring. A strange murder-series, a strange dimension, stepping into a television, whatever… it’s boring! You’d think that with the fourth Persona-game the franchise would stop doing the “Something mysterious and terrible has happened…!” as a plothook for the characters to investigate. And that the main-chara’s uncle is the police-detective who’s concerned with the case is the sort of “weird coincidence” that’s just cheap storytelling. But the storytelling was just so bad that you could feel simply no motivation behind the characters actions. It just seemed strangely detached in the way things developed and some scenes just made no sense (like the main-chara admitting to have a supernatural experience and everyone’s all ‘Cool! Really? That’s spooky…’). And how the tomboyish girl, the stupid male-sidekick and the main-chara assemble as the main-chara reveals that he’s constantly able to step through televisions was just a weird stilted scene. And it got worse when the male-sidekick had to pee all of a sudden but instead of finding a toilet tripped and pushed the trio through the television. As he arrives there all he thinks about is emptying his bladder but the tomboyish girl has to leave the room they landed in because he’s too embarrassed to piss in front of a girl. *facepalm* Unbelievable, simply unbelievable. Is this supposed to be funny? It’s not for gods sake! Who the hell would think otherwise?! And this strange scene would’ve been mood-destroying but the series didn’t succeed in building up any kind of mood to begin with and so it became just another stupid scene.
And then when the action is supposed to start… a robot arrives warning the heroes AND giving the main-chara the power to kill the monsters that will attack them any minute now. In a game it makes sense, in an anime – it’s boring! Where’s the drama in that kind of plot-development?! The game at least had the drama of me as a player having to use the power right to save the day but in an anime it’s ‘Here are the bad guys that will try to kill you… And here’s the weapon with which you can kick their sorry asses before you’re in any sort of danger!’. That’s not exciting!
And the main-chara makes some weird moves even at the end as his reactions to receiving this kind of power is a mixture between getting his Christmas-presents and feeling a faint sense of surprise that one plus one are still two. Like that the main-character went through the whole plot with an air of mild befuddlement while getting his special powers at the end was something of a “Of course it happened to me…”-event for him. I doubt that I will ever have any interest for what happens to this douchebag of a main-character.

It doesn’t matter what people say to him, the main-chara always seems to start with a non-verbal reaction saying “Yeah, whatever, dude…”.

The OP has a nice visual style and it seems that the series tries to be a very faithful adaptation of the game… and with that ends my praise for the first episode. The storytelling was just plain stupid and and the characters were uninteresting stereotypes in a boring story that got in its best moments a yawn from me. This episode is NOT good.

Episode-Rating: 5/10

About Saranaufogus

An Anime fan who can't seem to keep her thoughts to herself. Find me on: Instagram | Twitter

Posted on October 7, 2011, in Anime, Persona 4: The Animation, Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. You might need to do some research into the actual game, guys. I mean, I understand that it might be a great idea to try and review something from an outsider point of view as not to appear biased, but it’s still a good idea to research the actual source material before making so many assumptions.

    For one, most of the songs in the anime weren’t a directing choice; they were homages to the game. The opening song was the original game OP song, and almost every song used was also taken from the game. So, yeah, it may be out of place for outsiders, but it is a clever use of in game content to create nostalgia for the fans.

    And yes, I agree that staying true to the game storyline has made this suffer. In reality, the story in the first episode was told over a 5 hour period, as to get players settled into the story at a good pace. To stay faithful to the plot however, the directors had to condense it down into 24 minutes worth of footage. It ruins the pacing considerably and makes for a confusing, uninteresting story.

    Bottom line, I get where you’re coming from, but maybe some actual research into the source material may help you to understand just what the anime is all about. As for me, I have high hopes for the later episodes; the pace might slow down.

    And no mention about the epic Persona battle? Really?

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    • Hmm, I can’t speak for Saranaufogus but for me it was more about what I saw in this episode and how I as an outsider felt about it. I think for someone who played the game the episode was good (that’s the impression I got based on stuff like how game-y it feels and how its rushed style probably can be appreciated better by someone who played the game and got the “full package”) but the pacing was abrupt in its scene-transitions and much of what I saw just seemed “game-y” to me and that’s not necessarily a bad thing but personally, I simply like it more to see this style stay in games while animes use their own respective structure of dramatization. I’ve heard also that Persona 4 has a really slow start and that this part was summarized here, rightly so even, you may say. But I just didn’t like it as it was presented to me as outsider. The main-character seemed disturbingly silent (and somehow arrogant because of that) and the rest of the main-characters didn’t leave a really inspiring impression on me. And the story itself seemed badly told as there was hardly any building-up to be found due to the rushed nature of the pacing in this episode and the humour wasn’t that good either.

      So, yeah, it may be out of place for outsiders, but it is a clever use of in game content to create nostalgia for the fans.

      It isn’t clever when the music is used in contrast to the scene it’s used for and that was my complain about the OP as its funky, up-beat style was in direct conflict with the main-character sitting in a train and remarking how silent the situation is. The reactions I would get from the scene without the music are totally different than the ones I get from the music and therefore I think it’s inappropriately chosen for that scene. In regard to its nostalgia-value, now that’s a different aspect and if it refers to the game, it’s a nice touch and it also enhances the impression of this anime being aimed more towards the game-fans.

      Bottom line, I get where you’re coming from, but maybe some actual research into the source material may help you to understand just what the anime is all about.

      But wouldn’t that point presume that this anime wasn’t made for outsiders in the first place? If getting a fair understanding of the series’ ‘soul’ means knowing the game via research or playing it, can this still be called a good adaptation? If you say that only an opinion based on knowledge of the game is a valid opinion concerning the series then this is nothing else but a copy of the game’s story in a condensed form. But assuming that games don’t tell stories the same way, anime-series do, that means it’s an faulty approach to just copy the games’ story. I know that it would make the purists out there squirm to see the story of their game change to make an anime-adaptation but I think it’s better to make an anime with a “Based on”-note than a faithful “adaptation” that wasn’t truly adapted rather than copied to anime-form with the least possible effort storytelling-wise.

      As for me, I have high hopes for the later episodes; the pace might slow down.

      For me it wasn’t only the pacing that was a problem here, otherwise I wouldn’t have given it such an average score. The fundamental way of presenting the story seemed too game-y to me. It did everything right as a game-story but for an anime I want to see building-up that affects the mood instead of giving directions for the plot and I want a characterization that goes deeper than showing the type of character. And like usual, well, what I gave it was an episode-rating, my series-rating can very well be positive depending on what my overall impression of it will be.

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      • Tsubaki.Seishuu

        The Review what kind of agreeable. in the outsider’s point of view, it’ll look like that, but for those who have actually played the game, they wouldn’t really notice all the faults cause even without explaining the whole story, they would understand it, since they already had the idea on what it’s contents are~ which is kind of predictable since, with some cutout parts, this is basically, the introduction of the game.

        honestly, it’s not about the game but the animation itself, they made it so horrible. I thought the bgms, although i personally like them, it was horribly placed just about everywhere, i don’t really remember where those bgms are but since in games we are used to read this long dialogues that’s why it makes it okay, but they didn’t understand that it will not work well on animes. It seems they don’t know the places as just to where they should put it, which doesn’t makes the mood any better.

        and as for how the story was told, although it may not look like it, it was actually fast paced that it doesn’t give too much details about the game. they should’ve thought of a new approach on how they will cater the game and not just copy the game itself and the most irritating part is that they touched those scenes that should’ve left alone, thats why people gave out the wrong impressions about it. Just like the Tv scene, actually in the game, the main character told them what happened in that night (his hands got through the tv) but chiie and yuske didn’t believe it coz they only saw a feint shadow in there, they said it must have been a dream. the main reason they went to junes was because chiie slip out saying her parents wanted to buy a new television, and yu told them junes will be releasing new flat screen tvs, and they decided to go there. after chiie saying that it was expensive, youske and chie had the same idea of checking out the television out of curiosity perhaps, and they said they can’t really get through which they said they already figured out, then while they were talking, the main character tried to put in his hand which went through again. actually the main character already had a feint idea about this weird things because of his dreams that happens more often after getting into the city, and in going there on the other world they didn’t seem to focus the main point of the story that was the mysteriousness of the whole plot, but instead went on with the fighting scene to give out some actions i guess but well, actually, the real shadows came out after the 2nd time they tried to step in the television and many mysterious things happened before that.

        and I want to make it clear, teddie is supposed to be a mascot, and he didn’t give the main character the power, that glasses was just something he made so that people can see clearly the thick fog. the power called “persona” is something like we have in our selves~ more like personality hidden that has been materialized in that world. Teddie was actually trying to make them leave since the other world is now in chaos due to some strange reasons.

        as for the character, the game itself was an RPG as well as a simulation game coz you’re the one who will build up social links therefore, in the game you are the one who will kind of decide just what character he will be like. as I said, it might work in the game, but the animation made it so much the same that they pick up even that part of him, so it turns out, his as dull as everybody thinks he is. although it is true that he did smirk after getting the power, but maybe he just thought that there’s already something interesting in his boring life. but everyone personality seems almost the same, coz that is one important part of the story. and the teacher morioka, actually his just prejudice on just about everyone, its like when he started talking, it’ll go on forever and just say all the nasty stuffs that comes out in mind, that is why everyone doesn’t like him, although he does have a part in the story.

        I myself is not sure if the animation was a right choice. I just don’t like them having a really bad impression about the game because of the poor animation. It might just end up with it’s not cut out to be animated and must have ended it with just a game. But I like this game though, although it might not work for everyone, but this is one of my favorite to the least games that interest me in ps2.

        all in all, i don’t know, may be they might have put the most important information on

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  2. Seriously play the game before reviewing an Anime based on the game. Major Facepalm at your “Reviews”

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  3. I’m gonna have to agree with the reviewers on this one, I found myself a bit bored through the episode, even though there was clearly a driving force behind it. Personally, I haven’t played the persona games, I have however played a lot of jrpgs, and the SMT series which is essentially an offshoot by the same company, and after this first episode, I am almost positive that I would love to play the game that this is based off of. Might even bootleg it if a Nintendo DS version ever comes out. Its definitely nice to see a game based anime that isn’t originally from some haremy VN or Eroge, but the execution was for this particular first episode was off, be it pacing, animation, music or crazy character shifts.

    Also for the people saying that the reviewers have an obligation to be familiar with source material, that’s completely bunk. Its impossible to give an unbiased review of a anime when comparing it against something in a different medium, or even in the same medium. Every anime has potential be good in its own right without being faithful to the manga, or game in this case, and it is up to the animation team to make in interesting for a broader viewership than just the gamer fans.

    It true that its rare that the anime is ever better once it starts to deviate from the source material, and that change tends to be noticeable whether or not a person is familiar with said source material. That said these reviews would be more positive if the anime overall was better. As I said, from my own gamer standpoint, if this really is faithful to the game, then I would like to play, but purely as an anime fan, it has to fix some issues to keep its viewership up for more than the next 2 or 3 eps, and I really couldn’t say if that means it needs to stay the course of the game, or make some creative decisions on how to advance the plot in a more interesting way.

    Thx to both reviewers, this is definitely my favorite place for emerging reviews since I first posted on the last episode for No. 6 review and discovered this site a few weeks ago.

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  4. It’s arrogant to claim you can objectively state whether its better for the anime of the game to be faithful to it’s source material or deviate to fit a more anime-like flow. Many works that are adapted from other mediums require the viewer to be familiar with both to fully appreciate it. Take a feature length movie from any long running anime (say Pokemon or Naruto) and you won’t know who is who or the foundation of that anime universe unless you are a regular viewer of the show. Likewise for games made into anime much important information from the setting can and will be dropped because of time constraints. It’s easier to expand the content in a manga to anime conversion than it is to condense a 40 hour game into a 26 episode anime. Naturally, pacing will be affected adversely by this.

    I’ll admit that it doesn’t stand up as an independent work, and there were a fair amount of awkward scenes. As a stand alone anime it deserves it’s criticism but as a homage to fans of the game, it would seem to be what they want. I’m going to side with others who noted you are bound to be disappointed if you don’t bother to research the original work.

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    • So… you think, it’s impossible to determine by the way of storytelling which form of media represented the original and therefore an adaptation is something… that should be viewed without comparison? Is that your point? But you later say that because of time-constraints you can’t get all the information in the anime you would’ve gotten from the game but that would presume that you can compare those two and say that the game did a better job of telling the story than the anime due to time-constraints.
      So you can compare those media on some level but they aren’t the same naturally. As for the part where one can argue whether it’s better to stay true to its source-material or do something different to make it fit the new medium, I think, it’s not arrogant to argue this on a case-by-case-basis. Obviously you can’t generalize regarding that but you do have to admit that storytelling does relate to the medium it’s told through and therefore the storytelling of a game HAS to be different than that of a book or an anime. And an adaptation has to bridge that difference between the two different media. If it’s ignored you get something like the main-character of this anime whose player-role in the game obviously led to an awkward characterization in the anime. Since his character wasn’t shown clearly in the game due to the flexibility of how you could develop the character choosing his answers yourself, they seemingly tried to go the middle-way by making him rather passive and introverted. With that he represented the common ground of all the options but independent of the knowledge of the game this simply lets him look bad…

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      • I’m not a Persona fan so I can’t say whether or not nostalgia makes up for the episodes short comings. When adapting a game into an anime there are going to be sacrifices either in pacing or faithfulness. Having a introverted, largely silent dull looking protagonist is awkward, but there isn’t a lot to do about it. With other silent protagonist characters you can at least assume certain qualities about their personality judging by their actions but for a game where you choose how to develop their personality, there is no canon. I’m not trying to excuse the faults in the anime so far. Some parts, like when he is on the train thinking about how silent it is while the theme song is blaring on in the background, were very strange.

        Perhaps I should say that the differences in storytelling between the two mediums generally makes a lesser anime. The only anime of an rpg game that I watched that seemed well done was Tales of the Abyss, which made the smart choice, at least, of giving the show 26 episodes rather than the defeatist attitude of the people who made the Tales of Symphonia OVA “Well, we can’t tell a 80 hour story in 8 episodes so lets just gut the plot, write a new one and hope fans, the people we are catering to, will not notice.”

        I’m going to maintain that certain adaptions will require knowledge of the source material to overcome the weaknesses of the conversion between two mediums. Books to movies suffer from having to lose a lot of background information to fit time constraints. A compromise has to be made on faithfulness. The second to last Harry Potter movie was too much of this whereas the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was, arguably, too little at times. As a film goer I liked Lord of the Rings better than Harry Potter but if I were more a fan of the books my opinion would likely be reversed.

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  5. Hmm…I’ve played the game, but throughout the whole episode I was thinking “How is someone who didn’t play the game going to understand this at all?” And yeah, the main character is silent and personality-less because in the game you make choices and choose for him what to say so you give him his personality. It doesn’t work so well in an anime… Just makes him look kind of stupid xD Yeah, the background music did stick out (in a bad way), the game had some very nice music and artwork but it doesn’t work here somehow. In fact, I’d say the game has better animation cutscenes than this. Since I really like the game, guess I’ll watch another episode or two and see if they fix it up a little.

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  6. @Anonymous No.1 (the one with the green monster icon)

    I think that you are forgetting one of the most important points – the people who will watch the show or read the review are not going to be only the people who have played the game but rather people like us who have not played the game and have no idea what is about to happen next.

    It is impossible to tell everyone who wishes to watch the show to run off and play the game just because they don’t like the series and thus won’t “get it”. A series should be able to support itself unless the animators aim to create a show that is based on the idea of it being simply for the fans and not the general public.

    Well, whilst I understand that it is preferable for a reviewer to be as knowledgable as possible, it is impossible for everyone to know everything. Sure, M0rg0th and I could play the game to find out what it was like or watch some youtube videos of the game play (which probably won’t give us an accurate idea of the game) but I guess the thing is that different reviewers have different backgrounds and so do the readers and we can only offer our point of view regarding the episode of the anime as we see it without having played the game. =)

    @vishous

    Thanks for reading the reviews and I am glad you like them (hopefully you read them because you like them) =P

    @Anonymous No. 2 (the one with the red monster icon)

    Yeah, the background music did stick out (in a bad way), the game had some very nice music and artwork but it doesn’t work here somehow

    That sounds quite sad to hear. I don’t have as much of an issue with the animation as I do with the annoying gradients. I keep thinking that the guys are all growing a beard until I see a girl’s face and I start to wonder if “she” is actually a “he”. =P

    And yeah, the main character is silent and personality-less because in the game you make choices and choose for him what to say so you give him his personality. It doesn’t work so well in an anime

    I figured as much. =/ I think this goes back to the idea of having to rewrite the story to fit the medium. But it really boils down to what the animators want to achieve and the budget that they have for the show because it is looking like the budget for this series is quite tight. =/

    @Tsubaki.Seishuu

    and I want to make it clear, teddie is supposed to be a mascot, and he didn’t give the main character the power, that glasses was just something he made so that people can see clearly the thick fog. the power called “persona” is something like we have in our selves~ more like personality hidden that has been materialized in that world. Teddie was actually trying to make them leave since the other world is now in chaos due to some strange reasons.

    Well that clears a few questions up. I am hoping that perhaps the next episode would be an information dump to cater to all other spectrum of the viewers (like me) who have yet to play the game but would like to actually watch the anime without being left behind.

    If not it would be quite sad to purposely cut out a certain sector of the market (even if it is a due to time constraints that they have to rush the scenes).

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  7. As someone who has never played the game, I agree with the blog writer.
    Since this is no longer a game, but an anime, they should tweak the main character a bit.
    The first impression I get when I watched this is, “What a super, boooring guy!”
    I was surprised that those two girls bother to approach him.
    All his response throughout the episode are just:
    – “Umm, yeah.”
    – “Is that so.”
    – “Oh, I see.”
    – “Un.”
    -“What is this?”
    – “What the hell?!”
    Verdict : crap.

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  8. I’m sorry, but before you review something like this, I would highly suggest looking further into the thing you’re reviewing BEFORE you review it. Quite frankly, It seemed like you simply skimmed the surface of the series without giving it any depth whatsoever. It’s quite clear here that you haven’t played the game in the slightest, since there are so many things that are extremely inaccurate. I will start off with Kuma since it bothered me most. Kuma is not a robot – Kuma is a bear that lives in the TV world. nowhere in the episode was it mentioned Kuma was a robot – that’s what you automatically assumed. Moving on to the Protagonist (Yu, Souji, whatever you want to call him). He was supposed to have no personality in game so that the player could give him one, so I believe that’s what they were trying to accomplish. As well, if you even played the game or did any research on the game or any of the characters, you would have known that in the beginning sequence with Igor and Margaret in the Velvet Room, they were talking to Souji (Yu). As for his so-called “split personality”, he has none. As well, his “sudden bursts of “fear/sixth sense”” are his Persona speaking to him, and I believe if you knew anything about the game, or even payed attention in the slightest, you would have known that. In regards to the music, they’re all (aside from the ending theme) tracks from the ACTUAL GAME (see how this just keeps coming up?) and were most likely put in to give people who HAVE played the game a bit of nostalgia. The plot of the episode is almost exactly in line with the game, with only a few alterations (Kuma gives Souji his glasses a little earlier and Souji summons Izanagi earlier). As well, my friend explained that when he summoned his Persona, so many crazy things had happened to him that he just didn’t really care anymore. Also, IT’S THE FIRST EPISODE! Don’t expect much from it! So, before you go reviewing an anime, do your research first before you go and bash it.

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    • Thanks for spoiling the story, buddy…

      But strangely I’m reviewing the anime how I as an outsider see it – and not as a way to get nostalgic about the game. My opinion is based solely on what I saw in the first episode of this series. Maybe it’s too difficult for you to imagine this but there are people out there who haven’t played the game and despite that watch the anime. Because, you know, as far as I remember the anime didn’t start with a disclaimer telling you that only people who played the game should watch this. So, everyone can watch it and everyone can have his opinion about it 😉 . That people who played the game have a different opinion is only natural but please, don’t say that people who didn’t play the game aren’t allowed to have an opinion about the anime.

      Also, like you said IT’S THE FIRST EPISODE! And I said somewhere else here:

      And like usual, well, what I gave it was an episode-rating, my series-rating can very well be positive depending on what my overall impression of it will be.

      You see, that I don’t like the first episode doesn’t mean I don’t like the whole series. It is just a first impression, I might be wrong about it in the end and the series may be good. But that’s how I feel about the first episode. And it’s an opinion as valid as yours, buddy.

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      • “Because, you know, as far as I remember the anime didn’t start with a disclaimer telling you that only people who played the game should watch this. So, everyone can watch it and everyone can have his opinion about it 😉 . That people who played the game have a different opinion is only natural but please, don’t say that people who didn’t play the game aren’t allowed to have an opinion about the anime.”

        When is a show ever going to have a disclaimer that it isn’t for the mainstream audience? You are going to have to accept that you are not necessarily going to be the target audience of whatever you watch. I mean, I don’t watch children shows and criticize them for juvenile humor or nonsensical story telling. Do you watch an OVA and expect to know what’s going on if you never watched the original series?

        To reference my earlier point, I watched the second to last Harry Potter movie and found it was boring, had poor pacing and character interactions were bizarre. On the other hand, to fans who had read the books it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. My opinion was valid, but it was definitely the minority one. So was the film bad? Most viewers said no, but then again, they were fans of the book.

        If any disclaimer should be given, it should be before your review that faithfulness to source material vs. it’s ability to be a stand-alone work is a SUBJECTIVE topic. On each side of this argument you have people making a case for the virtues/weaknesses of the anime, but you are using different criteria to define what is good and what is not.

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      • I would like to know how you came up with the idea that I spoiled the story here. I gave no hints to upcoming events, no plot twists, future characters or anything of the sort. I was quite diligent to keep that post spoiler-free.

        I’m not saying that only people who have played the game should watch this anime, I’m merely making a statement that you would know more if you played it, or at least read up about it. There’s a great wikia on the whole Megami Tensei franchise (which includes Persona 4), or you could Google it. I often look into anime before I watch it to get an understanding for what I’m going to be seeing before I see it. To be honest, I haven’t played Persona 4 past the first dungeon. It’s the fact that I have read so much about it and seen so many things related to it that I would have a better understanding then most. As well, I don’t find it hard to imagine people haven’t played the game before. Not one of my friends knew about it until I told them, and no one else whom I interact with on a day-to-day basis has ever heard of it. I found out about it via a friend over Skype who plays the game a lot. I will agree, however, that I have a different opinion than you because I have seen more than you have, but nowhere did I say that you weren’t allowed to voice your opinion. I apologize if it came off that way, but that was not what I was saying.

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    • Hi Nicole,

      you would have known that in the beginning sequence with Igor and Margaret in the Velvet Room, they were talking to Souji (Yu).

      Yes, I knew that they were talking to Souji but the execution was in a manner that they were speaking to the audience and that concept does not come across as “natural” to me as (probably) in the game since you understand that concept a lot clearer when you play the game as Souji (or so I assume this is the case). It is not like there is a big issue with that scene or anything, I just pointed it out as one of the scenes have made the anime feel like you are still playing an RPG. =/

      As for the whole play the game first then review statement. Well, we all wish to be almighty and knowing but that just ain’t possible =P I mean, that would be the optimal situation but could you imagine having to read all the light novels, manga, (play the) games of anime before stating if an anime is good? Also, since it is impossible to segment one’s knowledge there would always be some sort bias leaking through and right now what M0rg0th and I are reviewing is for the people who don’t play the game. (if you see M0rg0th’s review on the Fate/Zero anime first episode, he comes from the point of view of a person having read the light novels and I have no knowledge of the light novels as well. But i am just going off topic now….)

      At the end of the day, it is my belief that an anime should be able to stand on its own as the excuse of having to have prior knowledge is a poor one in my opinion. After all, how many shows out there have a prerequisite for prior knowledge before watching it? That would merely mean alienating and discounting a huge portion of the viewers who don’t play the game and that would hurt their ratings/sales which at the end of the day, I doubt is something any animation company would want. Then again, this is my single opinion.

      But like M0rg0th had said, we are not accusing the show of being terrible and dooming the series to eternal damnation. We are merely stating it as a first episode rating with hope for a better episode to come this week.

      Anyway, am happy that you took the time to comment (even if it was to scold us). =P

      Like

      • The scene seemed quite natural to me, but perhaps that’s because I know more about the game than someone like you, for example.

        That comment I made could have possibly come from the fact that I often look into an anime first to see if there’s any important aspects I should know about or any details that might not be made clear. So for something like this, I would have gone further into the game than perhaps you did, if you did at all.

        I agree that the anime should be able to stand on its own, and I believe it can and is. Me having prior knowledge is something that is viewed by myself as something like an added bonus. I am not in any way saying that it’s mandatory to play the game first, I’m merely stating that if there were things you didn’t understand, you could have looked into them. However, that could again stem from me constantly looking things up when I myself get confused.

        I will admit I was a bit harsh with my post, though. I often say what’s on my mind, and though I usually don’t mean it in a harsh way, it may come off that way. So I apologize.

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  9. For someone like me who played and replayed this game for 500 hours, I really appreciate the faithfulness of the anime to the source material. The fact that they did little deviation from the plot of the game to the anime really makes me and probably other Persona 4 fans happy. Plus, all those little details (the stat sheet, the OSTs, etc.) that they got from the game was a real bonus. Although, I’ve got to agree that the story is disjointed (even though it was really disjointed in the opening of the game as well) and it was told too fast for outsiders to get a sense of flow. But, I truly believe that it will hit its stride because, the story will only make more sense and get better from here. But for a first episode it was kind of a letdown.

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  10. For someone who played Persona 4 and loved it, I can’t believe how much every else is blinded by their love of the source material. The first episode just wasn’t very good. It followed far too closely to the game without deviating at all. I understand where you guys are coming from, as I too felt powerful nostalgia while watching it, but I realized that it was bad. I was hoping that the Persona 4 anime would expand on the show in interesting ways. The protagonist would be given actual character and there would be generally more room for character interaction. Unfortunately, the episode was just terrible:
    1) The opening scene tipped me off to the flaws already. What does Igor contribute? Why is it in first person perspective other than the fact that that is how it appeared in the game?
    2) The music was just copied directly from the game. Video game music that is enjoyable in a game is not automatically going to work in a TV show.
    3) I just can’t emphasize how frustrating it is for the protagonist to be a hollow shell with no personality. It works when its a role playing game. It does not work when its a TV show.

    Persona 4 is one of my favorite games of all time. If I wanted to have the same experience of playing Persona 4, I will play it again. I was hoping that the anime could be the sort of thing I could show to friends who aren’t really into games so that they could experience Persona 4 as well. The solution is not just to have the show be a playthrough of the game with the gameplay cut out. So far, I am not impressed.

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  11. Yeah, at last we got someone with common sense.
    I am surprised by how violent the reactions are.
    They are blinded by love, just like those Narutards when it comes to Naruto.
    No matter what the reason, if they really want to stick to personality-less, emotion-less protagonist; they should give us narration here and there. Otherwise, how the hell are we supposed to understand the story?

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  12. Its interesting to see the “blind” opinion and certain opinions are taste oriented but the general consensus is that its fast, and yes compared to normal anime that moves rather slowly and allows information to sink in by the look of things this is gonna very quick paced anime and if you can’t keep up sorry bud. As for specific scenes that are literally lifted from the game although they are nice the game had time too work them they could probably do to eliminate certain ones but then the fans would get all pissy about it so either way AIC loses and that argument can be applied to so much of the anime so far. I kinda did want a new opening not the same one from the game i thought that the song from all the previews was gonna be the opening but oh well and as many have said this is the first episode so there is plenty of time for change.

    Just a random thought when comparing this to say the beginning of season one of Shakugan no Shana what did we know at the end? Absolutely Nothing. I don’t see the problem of knowing nothing by the end of the first episode or not knowing the purpose of things either.

    Interesting review
    hopefully we get a proper Op animation and song next episode.

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  13. We can capture Sakai Yuuji’s emotion, like “Why the hell everybody stopped moving?
    What is that monster? Who’s the red haired girl? Nooo, I got cut, I am gonna die. Call an ambulance.”
    But this anime, what is this guy thinking when he fall into a yellow-ish world. “Nothing.” Why are there so many fog? “Oh, whatever.” Why can my hand went through televison? “No comment.”

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  14. your comments are annoying y dont we just appreciate the anime version instead of saying some stupid things like that…… try to appreciate the efforts of the people hus responsible for this version………

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  15. Clearly the storyline is being condensed to fit into a certain amount of episodes, and apart from that being a shame, it obviously spoils the pacing and how deep things can go – moments aren’t given much time to tell their part. As someone who owns and has played the game, I’m able to overlook this problem, but I’m still aware that newcomers are going to have a very uneven experience with Persona 4 as an anime.

    Things probably just don’t translate as well as they should because we can’t control the main character and take our relative time on things like we can in the game. It’s probably quite ambitious in the first place to turn any RPG into an anime unless you can spare the budget to create enough episodes to house most of the aspects of the story and Inaba and its inhabitants in general.

    So far I honestly wouldn’t recommend this anime to, say, someone who hasn’t played the game, but people familiar with the P4 franchise will likely enjoy some – if not most – of the things that made the playing experience so wonderful. If the series doesn’t ‘objectively’ get better, then I’m just going to conlude that objectivety is wasted on a show like P4; just have the fans enjoy it, I suppose.

    Anyway, if I had never played the game I’m sure I’d share the same sentiments shown in the review, so I enjoyed the review in that respect.

    Still, as a fan of the P4 universe I’ll continue to watch it because it’s another way for me to enjoy the characters. Should they have approached the anime with a new story? If it would cure problems with what I’m seeing so far: yes. But I don’t think you can win either way, as there would be fans on both sides of the fence talking crap about whatever ver. was put out.

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  16. Before attempting any kind of review on a Anime or Series that is based of a book or game, be sure to do some research on what you are watching.

    The background audio that was seemingly disliked was in fact from the game, and actually made for an easy comparison to the game.

    In my opinion, this Anime was brought up thanks to the great appreciation towards the game, so it seems that it’s more aimed towards fans of Persona 4 and those familiar to it.

    I played through Persona 4 multiple times, and after seeing episode one of this oncoming series I can say that I was thoroughly impressed; even in the game, the greetings of Chie and Yukiko were sudden and on the first day, so that was no shocker. The introduction of Yosuke followed accordingly as well, and I had no problem with that. Over all, the only thing that bothered me was the the quote Yu stated after realizing he had recieved a Persona.

    Other then that, I think amongst Persona 4 fans and those familiar with the game, this’lll be pretty successful. I would of liked to see perspectives from both those who played the game and those who didn’t.

    Oh, and by robot, do you mean…Teddie? I’m sorry, but please play the game before you start to make assumptions about the characters, because you’re way off base.

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    • @anoymous: I get what you’re saying about some parts in the P4 game being quite sudden – Chie and Yukiko’s greetings – but it’s the fact that everything else in the anime is so rushed, that viewers who have no clue about the game are not going to get any sense of scale whatsoever. For instance, the line between what is supposed to be a mystery and what isn’t but ‘is’ because of the unforgiving pacing is going to be unclear. Even though I’m a big fan of the p4 franchise and so enjoyed lots of the nods to the game, I kept thinking: Someone unfamiliar with the game is going to struggle to enjoy some of this.

      It’s still early days but, like I said before, if troubles like pacing become a trend in this anime, I’m going to chalk the series down as being mostly for the fans.

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  17. I’d just like to state that despite you saying that an anime that is unable to stand completely as a stand alone project is of poor quality and that it essentially alienates viewers by needing knowledge of it’s origins a mistake.

    I get the impression that you believe that any anime made should viewed as of amazing to any and all viewers despite it may be based on another work. This is what you to fail to understand, an anime of a game is made in the first place due to it selling well and being recognized by a certain number of people.

    Have you played Fate Stay Night? I saw the anime first, it was alright but there was so much lost to me that I didn’t even realize due to not playing the game. So would I be the best person to review the series before I even played the game? The answer is no. The game was a huge success and the anime was made for the fans, simple as that. You were expected to know certain things such as the relationship between Shirou and Archer and Sakura and Rin because if you didn’t you wouldn’t understand it due to it being only hinted at in the anime. They in fact huge and important plot points as well.

    This isn’t Naruto, this isn’t Bleach, THIS ISN’T Dragon Ball Z nor is this is not mainstream. This is merely a big thank you from the creators to the fans for their continuing support. If you haven’t played the game, that’s fine, watch the series and enjoy what you can but if that’s the case then realize that anime wasn’t made for you just like a romantic comedy isn’t meant for an action nut.

    Another example? Sure thing, was Dissidia Final Fantasy a complete failure just because you had to play at least one of the main series games to enjoy it? Hell no. The game ended up being placed in the top 5 best psp games. And this game was even more source material heavy then Persona 4 since each Final Fantasy game has a different story and it was taking information from 12 games worth of characters. People who haven’t played Final Fantasy and people who aren’t fans of it obviously aren’t expected to buy and enjoy it to the same degree as those who have. It is a game made FOR the fans, not the general public. In the end it was a total success, it had the support of enough fans of the series to make it happen in the first place and spawn another succesful prequel.

    You also criticize the characters portrayed in the anime of persona 4 yet how could you possibly hope to understand and relate to them in the first episode with no research either. I don’t expect a person to relate to Cecil or Cloud if they didnt journey along them through an epic tale but the game was made for me not him and for other people like me. Hence I more qualified to give a honest and true review then him.

    No offense but I don’t understand why you even reviewed this anime. This is the ANIMATION of Persona 4 meaning it isn’t just a lightly based attempt. You shouldn’t have entered this anime with expectations of criteria that fits YOUR standards if had no knowledge and/or interest of it’s origins. Maybe if you just watched it and had your own feelings on the subject which you expressed would be one thing but to actually review it as if what you said was anything else then personal feelings on a matter you knew nothing about is sad since a review is meant to be an accurate depiction of something, not your depiction. Take note of the words accurate and your.

    And to the person who said this came with no disclaimer, you would be some what incorrect. The disclaimer itself is in the title of the anime, I mean come on. “Persona 4: THE ANIMATION”. It is animating a game and that is far more clear then most other attempts like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. The game had many elements to it aside from just storytelling which seems to be a big problem you have with it. The persona’s are basically a manifestation of a person’s personality or “true self”. Each card represents a different personality or bond the person has with another person. This will probably be explained in episodes to come any way but this is something some one who even only glanced at a wiki page of the series would and should know.

    If you going to review a series then you should do some research on the source material, especially if it is a faithful adaption the key word here being faithful. You are confusing being unbiased with being ignorant, unbiased being an objective view on things despite knowing both sides of a certain matter while ignorant is being poorly informed on a matter you are involved in. Another thing, the thing that separates a review from an opinion is the facts included. You ignored researching the facts of a series you were reviewing and gave you’re immediate impression of it but that is NOT a review. This is nothing more then an uneducated opinion and coming into this site I was expecting an actual review.

    Now the reason for a people calling you out on your lack of information isn’t because you didn’t play the game and not even that you had little information when reviewing it, the problem they have with this is that you had literally, and I do mean literally, no knowledge of the source material and apparently the entire series of games in general what-so-ever. You don’t need to be a fan to review it, but as I said before, educate yourself on the source material so it is an actual review rather then your opinion. Then, if you are still unhappy with it you have reasons behind it, not just fall back on the excuse of ignorance. You don’t just watch season 2 of Shakugan no Shana and expect to enjoy and understand things as well if you haven’t seen the first season. There is a source to that show, watch it or get info at the very least on it, it is necessary. You shouldn’t give it a poor review just because you didn’t see what it was based on and it is alienating those who didn’t as well.

    There was more I wanted to say but I am far to excited about the next episode of Persona 4 to stay here and dwell on the subject when I have already spent way to much time already on this and then type more to you when chances are you will just excuse yourself from any mistakes you made by quoting a small section of what I typed and arguing a reason why I am wrong and you are right, while at the same time trying to belittle any and possibly everything I said by saying I am entitled to my own opinion. I am giving facts and truths of which really shouldn’t be ignored.

    So, good luck, hope you do a better job next time and try to improve yourself and take note of what others tell you rather then letting it fly in one ear and out the other.

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    • Well, I used my standards to judge the first episode of this anime and I didn’t quite like it. The review describes why I feel about the episode this way. Deal with it.

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    • I shall cover a few selected things (as you had said) but it is not to tell you why you are wrong or to prove I am right. Merely let you in on my understanding of things.

      “anime of a game is made in the first place due to it selling well and being recognized by a certain number of people. ”

      Quite true, the question comes down to what the purpose of this anime is, is it to get more people to play the game? or is it to satisfy the fans? or is it to entertain, and from that hopefully the show would be a bigger money churner? I tried to find an article on the purpose of the series but naturally couldn’t find any. (Mind you, I purposely chose not to research and ignore what I see since that may corrode my impression of the series unless I am certain it has nothing to do with the plot. I mean, I know people who are firm believers of not even reading the sypnosis of the show (although I couldn’t do that). If a show is good, it’s good, its as simple as that since a good show is generally not selective.)

      “”If you haven’t played the game, that’s fine, watch the series and enjoy what you can but if that’s the case then realize that anime wasn’t made for you just like a romantic comedy isn’t meant for an action nut.”

      I accept that fact and would have to review it as such, you can’t expect me to leave out all the shows that don’t suit me right? I merely review what I had watched and had appealed to my curiousity. Besides, the point is not that it does not suit my taste, more like a pacing and lack of information issue, not really a plot issue. If the show was an action show made for kids and I am looking for an action made for adults, then that might be a case in point. Besides, you are right with the title being a disclaimer, I merely misunderstood it to be an animated version of the game’s plot rather than the actual game. So I would have to say that it is my fault on that part.

      Personally, I review as to whether the show is entertaining for me to watch rather than whether it is a successful anime. If one wanted to read a fan’s review of the series, they may choose to do so. =) Success does not necessary mean the show is good, it simply means it has a following. Not all good shows have a massive following and not all shows that do have a following are good, everything has it’s positives and negatives.

      All I simply have to say to that is that some people would want to read a review based on the impression of not having played the games before or not having any research done etc etc.

      At the end of the day, I stand by the fact that I find it impossible to compartmentalize my knowledge of things and this will affect the way I view things and experience them. Perhaps this is simply me being a bad reviewer, if that is the case then, oh well, gotta try harder. Simply said, excitement and experience is never the same the second time around once you have experienced it before. Whether you find this to be an excuse, I shall leave it up to you to decide. Anyway, to put things simply, every reviewer is different and that is why you follow different reviewers since some think the same way you do and some don’t. After all, M0rg0th had said that people who had played this game should rejoice, and you certainly are doing so. =)

      I personally try to be unbiased or let people know I am bias when I review the show. I can enjoy the show like crazy but admit that it is a horrible show in general and only selected nuts like me would like it. ^-^v

      As for the shows you had stated as example, I would have said that some of them were bad for the same reason I felt that the first episode of P4 had its issues. But hey, I am not saying that it is a bad series/episode for the fans, just merely disappointing for someone who has yet to play the game or know anything about the series (I doubt you are going to deny this fact).

      Just an extra 2 cents, I feel that the show has indeed gotten better over the last couple of episodes.

      Anyway, some of the things that you have said has it’s merits and I am not letting it go in one ear and out the other.

      (Damn, this was a longer comment than I had expected. Geez)

      Like

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