Before anything, I’ll have to warn you that I thoroughly enjoyed Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 prior to wildly anticipating Persona 4 anime like a wild man. I don’t know how P4 anime will look like to people new to it or the Persona series in general. However, as a fan, the first episode blew my mind! And this is coming from someone who grew tired of/too old for anime quite a while ago.
Persona 4 The Animation sets off on the right foot and hits almost all the right notes. I say almost because episode 1: You’re myself, I’m yourself is a few steps short of perfection, but we’ll get to that later. Persona 4 anime starts exactly like its video game counterpart, which surprised me, considering the mess that was the earlier Persona-based anime. Also, video game to anime adaptations tend to take a lot of liberties in order to ease the transition between the two different media, but not this one.
After the symbolic meeting with the long-nosed Igor and his hot assistant, the show cuts to an opening using P4’s graphics and music. This is indicative of good things to come, because this anime adaptation does use visuals and tunes from the original medium, and does so very appropriately.
During the first few minutes, we also get to hear protagonist Yu Narukami’s voice. Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3 and 4 had silent protagonists, so fans had worries of the anime messing up P4’s star, but Persona 4: The Animation couldn’t have done it better. Yu is reserved and his lines don’t interfere with the people he interacts with, meaning conversations in the anime are very much like how they transpired in the game plus Yu filling in with appropriate responses.
His initial personality is also part of a bigger picture. In the cut between the first and second halves of the episode, we see the “status screen” of Yu that shows he starts off with his Courage, Diligence, Expression, Knowledge, and Understanding levels at minimum, just like in the game! If the producers and director do it right, we might see Yu evolve as he meets more people, making for a dynamic anime protagonist like never seen before.
As for the low points of Persona 4 anime, most of the downsides are related to animation quality. The characters don’t look their best all the time, as if the show didn’t get enough time and budget to get people’s faces right in every scene. That’s about it, really.
Persona 4 The Animation has a lot to like about, such as the transition day by day exactly the same way as in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, shadows (the enemies) working the way they should, and the Persona battle action being much better than in the previous Persona anime. Voice acting is superb – nothing is amiss when Yosuke, Chie, Yukiko and everyone else speak. Meanwhile, there’s very little to complain about, so it’s definitely a must watch!
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