Persona 4 ~ The Animation Review
Based on the popular game, Persona 4 (surprise, surprise), Persona 4 ~ The Animation is, well, the animated version of the game. With much of the original cast and crew on board with the project, this is likely the best animated adaptation of a video game I have ever seen.
The story kicks off with Yu Narukami arriving by train from the big city to Inaba, a small town in rural Japan, where he will be spending the next year living with his uncle and his younger cousin. At first, all seems normal, as things do in this kind of show, but soon after Yu arrives, people start disappearing and turning up dead, hanging from various high structures. Naturally, this causes a stir in the town, especially since Yu’s uncle is a detective on the case, and the police are baffled. So naturally, Yu and his new friends take up the torch and try to unravel the mystery, along with the enigma of the rumoured Midnight Channel.
Everything in this show is designed to evoke memories of the game, and it does this perfectly, right down to the little annoying bits. These things are hardly deal breakers for me however, but it does get on my nerves a bit when they pause the action to do a little aside every fucking time somebody puts on their glasses. Besides that, however, it is a beautiful show, by almost any standard. The characters look like the characters in the game, they all act the same way they did in the game, hell, I’m sure if you did the research, the lines would be pretty much the same as well. There are even some call backs to some of the weirder decisions you can make in the game. Unfortunately, this ironclad faithfulness to the source material means that their haven’t been any improvements to it either; certain people’s motivations are still a bit flaky, at best, and it doesn’t offer any extra insight into the characters or their relationships, except for Yu, who was basically an empty shell in the game, and now actually has a personality.
As a stand alone anime, Persona 4 ~ The Animation has a well written, if a little overdone, character driven story, that examines human relationships and decisions in a rather profound way, once you really start thinking about it. Then again, if you’ve played the game, the anime will not bring anything new to the table; it is the same thing, told through a different medium.
Of course, re-telling a great story still makes for a great story.