Persona 4: The Animation – 02 Review
I said, I am yet to be impressed
Episode 02 – The Contractors Key
After last weeks opening episode for Persona 4, the question that has been on my mind (and probably some others too) is whether this second episode has managed to redeem itself.
I was tossing up between reviewing Persona 4 or Guilty Crown tonight but as you can see Persona won and I shall leave M0rg0rth to review Guilty Crown for tonight.
[Disclaimer: have not played the Persona 4 game] I shall keep this review as short as possible.
My general opinion of this show was that this episode had somewhat piqued my interest about the mystery of the deaths despite the fact that the show still suffers from the same issues that episode 1 had.
Once again this episode has yet to integrate a personality into the main character and it is looking like this would be the case with the series being lead on by a shadow like main character. This would probably make the fans happy due to the mere fact that this show seems to stick true to its origins, but for someone like me who has yet to play the game, a dull main character makes for a dull show.
Yuu takes on the role of the provider of knowledge in this series. (At least this was how I saw his character as being) He enlightens the cast with useful deductions that pushes the plot along like his observation of the poster for instance. Throughout the episode he continues this trend and pushes the supporting cast to act and move the plot forward.
The supporting characters (bear, flirting duo – Chie, Yousuke) have personalities that simply over empower Yuu and it feels like they take the main stage. I had found this episode more interesting than the last simply due to the focus placed on Yousuke whilst Yuu takes on a background role.
The bear was…. odd to say the least. He appears as a comic relief for the series and whilst it does lighten up the mood, I did get annoyed by his voice and his random reactions.
The start of the episode was the same as the first episode’s with the 2 characters in the car(?) talking to the audience/Yuu. This show has its moments of being in 1st person and I find this to be slightly annoying. Once again, it works well in a first person gaming scenario and this scene would be faithful to the game (i assume) but when I am watching the show as a 3rd person, I tend to not want to be suddenly tossed into a first person role. It felt disruptive towards the whole atmosphere building of the show in relation to the audience.
This brings me to the atmosphere. The only time a decent soundtrack is used is when the production team felt the need to point out an important clue or turning point in the plot. The rest of the time, we are once again filled with empty silence. I did like those “new clue” moments, but I would have like things to have a more consistency and a more fluid trend.
Then we have the plot, it once again felt rushed. Points were thrown out at us one after another and we are forced to absorbed all the facts. We jump from one scene to another and the plot moves along at such a fast pace that no thought is paid to the buildup of the atmosphere. Others have said that this is most likely due to the amount of content that the game has and how it would be hard to fit it into such a limited amount of time. However, this does not change the fact that I felt like the end product was a choppy episode that made it even more obvious when they were transiting through the various scenes. It basically felt like a power point presentation episode with the writers having a list of things that they needed to cover in this episode and they simply went “check, check, check”.
Talk about being Mr. Obvious by that point in the scene. =P
Even the fight scene this week felt choppy and quick. There was not much of a fluidity when it came to the way the fighting happened in my opinion and whilst there were decent moments of action, the end result felt pretty much like a “final blast. bam. the end.” (Sine the buildup of the fighting scene focused more on the characters) However the psychological aspect between the characters was played out in a decent manner and I quite liked that part.
The good thing about this episode were that the clues that were dropped in this episode has finally made me feel like the mystery is taking shape and a more front seat role which means that I am getting more interested the development of the story. Also, I appreciated the explanation of the Personas as well as the process by which Yousuke had obtained his as it was fun to watch.
A few other things I would like to mention in a more powerpoint style:
- I would like an explanation of how Yuu knew about Personas (intro scene does not say much about what had happened)
- Explanation of what a Persona really is about. (as in about their form and backstory)
- Character designs still suffer from the same terrible use of gradient on their faces
- Why do they go to the store to enter the TV when Yuu manage to enter the screen (his hand) from his home TV set?
- Who gave them the idea that a rope would even be of any use?
- What normal store would not question the actions of the 3 teens in the Television section?
- The auto-tuning of Yousuke’s shadow to make it sound evil was fun to watch and came across nicely.
- Only time we actually get to see some personality with Yuu was when he punched Yousuke and took a more proactive role and I liked it
It is good that all of us agree on this point when it comes to this show.
Overall it was a more entertaining episode as compared to the last but we still get no resolution regarding the issues that I had with the series as judged from the first episode.
Episode Rating: 7/10 – had some fun with it despite its more obvious issues (or maybe I had such a crappy day with maggots in my food and drink spilt all over me plus a fly landing in my lunch, that I am merely too numb and everything looks better than they may be. I am just saying…)
I guess my question is, which is worse in your opinion?
Too much information too quickly (Persona 4) or too little information over a long period of time (Blood-C)?
Both are at the different extreme ends but which would you enjoy more? At this point, I am not too sure.
-ra (tried to make it as concise as I could)