ADVOCATE FINAL REVIEW FOR PERSONA 4: THE ANIMATION
By Raiji Magiwind
Persona 4: The Animation
Original Story/Plot - Sogabe Shuji | Being Serialized by Dengeki Kuro Maoh
| Anime Adaptation by Aniplex and AIC A.S.T.A. Licensed by Sentai Filmworks.
Genres: Adventure, Mystery, School, Sci-Fi, Super Power, Supernatural, Fantasy
--Adaptations to the video game Persona 4, released by Atlus (Square Enix in the UK and Ubisoft is Australia). Music composed by Shōji Meguro. Part of the Megami Tensei umbrella of titles, and the sub catagory of Shin Megami Tensei.
Overall Synopsis of Series
Persona 4 takes place in a rural town named Inaba. There have been mysterious murders occurring whenever there was fog after heavy rain. There were also rumors about a channel on television airing only at midnight called Mayonaka TV, during which it is said that one can see his/her "other half" when staring at the TV screen.
After hearing about a recent unsolved murder which occurred during the fog, the characters—Narukami, Chie, and Yosuke—discuss how each of them had attempted to watch the mysterious TV channel and witnessed the murder victim. The protagonist later realizes that during midnight when the channel is on, his body can phase into his television set as a gateway to enter another world infested with shadows.
After discovering this, they all decide to explore. When first completely entering the world, dazed and confused, Narukami meets Teddie. Mayonaka TV and the town murders seem to have a connection. The murder victims may be merely victims of Mayonaka TV. Everyone decides that they will together try to solve the mysterious murders by exploring the hidden world of Mayonaka TV.
From the famed Shin Megami Tensei Persona series comes an anime adaptation of the fourth game to the famous franchise. It starts with you meeting Yu Narukami (Souji Seta in the manga adaptation), and his moving to Inaba, a small rural town to live with his uncle and his daughter Nanako. He hears about a recent string of unsolveld murders that are happening and over his time in Inaba, he meets many people, to whom he becomes good friends. He is also the newest person to weild the power of the wild card, the ability to summon multiple Persona's. With the help of his circle of friends, they explore the world of Mayonaka TV and try to solve the mystery and stop the murders.
Total Stars: 4.75 of 5
Overall the plot managed to stay relitivly true to the game with a few minor changes which made me happy. It managed to at least touch on the major events of the game nicely.
Date of Birth: Unknown, 1994
Height: 180 cm (5'11")
Blood Type: O
Initial Persona: Izanagi
Ultimate Persona: Izanagi-no-Okami
Weapons: Two-Handed Sword
The Protagonist is named by the player in the video game, but is given the name Souji Seta in the manga adaptation and Yuu Narukami in the anime.
He has silver hair with a shape close to a bowl cut. He is depicted as being a distant, but otherwise friendly, loner with a pessimistic outlook on life due to having to move frequently as a result of his parents' changing careers.
At the beginning of the game, he moves to the countryside to live with his uncle and cousin for a year, and attends Yasogami High School in the same homeroom class as Chie, Yosuke, and Yukiko.
The story of Persona 4 begins when the Protagonist meets Igor and Margaret in the Velvet Room, in the form of a limousine driving in a thick fog; the shape of the Velvet Room changes based on its visitor.
The Protagonist's first Persona, Izanagi of the Fool Arcana, wears a long coat reminiscent of the Japanese bancho and wields the Amenonuhoko, which, in-game, is a spear with a blade resembling a combat knife. This Persona is later transformed into Izanagi-no-Okami of the World arcana, the game's most powerful Persona.
The Protagonist also has a unique "wild card" ability to swap Personas, similar to the main characters of previous Persona games, but without the power of Death at his hand, he cannot use Fusion spells like the Protagonist of Persona 3.
The characters of the story give the Protagonist titles "senpai", "sensei", "leader", "partner", "big bro" when directly talking to him, instead of the usual "you" or "him" like his predecessors.
The character design of the Protagonist stayed relatively similar from initial conception, with his tone and expressions changing the most.
He was given his persona by Izanami, the mastermind responsible for Mayonaka TV and everything that resulted from it, who was disguised as a gas station employee and gave it to him with a handshake at the beginning of the game. In the final battle he uses his commu power to summon Izanagi-no-Okami and kill Izanami with a single attack.
Age: Unknown; Probably irrelevant
Height: 152 cm (5'0") (human form)
Weight: 55kg (human form)
Initial Persona: Kintoki-Douji
Ultimate Persona: Kamui
Kuma is a strange stuffed-bear-like creature with blue fur and a red/white jumpsuit, who resides inside the TV world. In the Japanese version, Teddie has a verbal tic where he usually ends his speeches with "-kuma" ("bear" in Japanese). In the English version, he makes puns on the word "bear" (Bear-sona, etc.).
He serves as outside support in battle, but is later replaced by Rise and becomes an active party member. When fighting, he uses knuckles and other hand-worn weapons. He is often used as comic relief. Teddie's human form later in the game is a blonde, charming, bishonen-looking teenager.
Date of Birth: December 8th, 1994
Height: 164 cm (5'5")
Blood Type: O
Initial Persona: Konohana Sakuya
Ultimate Persona: Amaterasu
An elegant, introverted girl with long groomed black hair and a red hairband. Yukiko usually wears either a red cardigan over her school uniform blouse or a pink yukata, and is sometimes also seen carrying a paper fan, which she uses in battle, or a red umbrella.
Her family owns a famous ryokan in the city and Yukiko is always busy preparing herself to take over the business. She is named the next owner of the ryokan and feels oppressed by her expected duties. Despite her elegant appearance, she carries a whimsical side prone to fits of laughter.
Her Persona is Konohana-sakuya of The Priestess Arcana, resembling a Tokusatsu heroine and being almost completely pink in color, her uniform is reminiscent of a high school cheerleader's uniform. Like Yukiko, it appears to carry a pair of fans. Yukiko is skilled with healing and fire spells. Konohana Sakuya will evolve into Amaterasu once Yukiko's Priestess Social Link is maxed out.
Her Shadow takes the form of a caged red lovebird with Yukiko's hair, that is able to summon a prince-like shadow to assist it. It represents her resentment towards having her destiny already chosen for her as inheritor of the Amagi Inn and her desires to be rescued and taken far away by her "prince" Chie, as she feels "caged" in Inaba. Her Midnight Channel dungeon is a pink Romanesque castle filled with medieval furniture.
In the S.Link for The Priestess, Yukiko voices her wish to the protagonist to leave Inaba and find a career away from managing her family inn. She eventually changes her mind when she realizes she cannot find the heart to leave the family and employees who supported her when she decided to learn to cook.
In addition, Yukiko discovers her fear and resentment wasn't solely born from the idea of her inheriting the family business, but rather that the decision to take over was made for her by her family.
She is also one of the female characters with whom the protagonist can have a romantic relationship.
A younger Yukiko makes an appearance in Persona 3 Portable at the Amagi Inn, when the Gekkoukan students take a field trip to Inaba. She is seen interacting with Rio Iwasaki.
Date of Birth: June 22, 1994
Height: 175 cm (5'8")
Blood Type: A
Initial Persona: Jiraiya
Ultimate Persona: Susano-o
Weapons: Knives, Kunai
Boy with slightly unkempt reddish-brown hair, who usually walks around with a music player and red/orange headphones around his neck. He dual wields blades ranging from knives to daggers in battle.
He is usually very clumsy and often used as comic relief through physical comedy. When going from place to place, he is usually on his bike. Yosuke is the most vocal of the investigation team, and is the one often to create theories on the murders as well as piece evidence together.
Although it often falls on the player to decipher the clues Yosuke ponders, his deductive skills allow him to create solid theories, and he is the self-appointed second in command, often saying what the player is unable to.
His Persona is Jiraiya of The Magician Arcana, whose head vaguely resembles that of a cartoon frog, and wears a white disco suit with a distinctive "V" on its chest along with a red scarf. Jiraiya uses wind spells and is also able to use minor healing spells. Once his Social Link, The Magician Arcana, is maxed out, Jiraiya will evolve into Susanoo.
Yosuke's Shadow takes the form of a cartoon frog with a body on top; the body and frog resemble his Persona. It represents his resentment of living in a small country town with little to do, as well as his inner wish for something exciting to happen.
The Protagonist helps Yosuke face his issues regarding his sadness over his unrequited feelings for Saki Konishi, the second victim of the murders, in the course of the Magician S.Link.
Also in one of the Social Links, Yosuke told the Protagonist that he was fighting Shadows for no reason. He just feel that it is the right thing to do. He doesn't even know what he is fighting for, similar to Junpei Iori on Persona 3.
Date of Birth: June 1, 1995
Height: 155 cm (5'1")
Blood Type: AB
Initial Persona: Himiko
Ultimate Persona: Kanzeon
A cheerful-looking girl with bright-red hair tied in two pigtails. She was one of the most popular idols in Japan, but suddenly quit her job and transferred to Yasogami High School as a freshman to take a break from the spotlight and lead a normal life, away from the stress of fame.
Rise grew up in Inaba, and her grandmother runs a shop in the shopping district, Marukyu Tofu, which Rise initially helps out at after her return. Her look is reminiscent to that of Yuka Ayase from Shin Megami Tensei: Persona. She takes over the role of support character once Teddie's Persona awakens.
Her Persona is Himiko of The Lovers Arcana. Himiko wears a white gown, has a satellite dish for a face and holds a visor which resembles the torch held by her namesake. Himiko allows Rise to provide background and enemy information for the party both in and out of battle. Once the protagonist completes Rise's Lovers S.Link, Himiko evolves into Kanzeon.
Rise's Shadow is a pole dancer in a rainbow zentai suit which resembles Rise. Her Midnight Channel dungeon resembles a strip club, including stages with poles, curtains, and sexual looking shadows. Rise's shadow represents her anger at being stereotyped as an eroticized, airheaded popstar, represented as a sex symbol. However, her true worry was finding her true identity.
In The Lovers S.Link, the protagonist helps Rise's transition from her brief departure in showbiz. At first, Rise is happy to have left behind the alias "Risette", but numerous reminders of her time in the spotlight, including pestering from her former manager, a new replacement idol and a letter from her biggest fan, make her somewhat regret her departure.
The Protagonist helps her realize that even though Risette was a part of her that she only showed to the public, it was still part of what made Rise who she is and that she should accept all sides of herself. She then voices her plans to return to her idol job by spring.
She is also one of the female characters whom the protagonist can have a romantic relationship with.
Age: 16 (17)
Date of Birth: July 30th, 1994
Height: 158 cm (5'2")
Blood Type: B
Initial Persona: Tomoe Gozen
Ultimate Persona: Suzuka Gongen
Being a tomboy, Chie often behaves like a boy but manages to stay feminine. Other than that, she has a bright and upbeat personality, often trying to cheer up the group by joking about the case. She is also obsessed with kung fu and is a huge fan of martial arts movies like Trial of the Dragon, and is furious once she finds out that Yosuke broke her disk. Generally, she has a short temper with him and exploits this in order to get her beloved steak for free at Junes. Chie is an awful cook and often, along with Yukiko and Rise, serves the gang terrible dishes.
Her Persona is Tomoe Gozen of the Chariot Arcana, a muscular female figure wearing a yellow outfit reminiscent of Bruce Lee's "Game of Death" costume, wielding a double bladed naginata. Tomoe Gozen is shown to use both physical and ice spells. However, Teddie will take over as the main ice caster when he comes into play, thus Tomoe will stop learning ice spells (last spell to be obtained is bufula) near the level the player obtains Teddie. Tomoe evolves into Suzuka Gongen after completing The Chariot Social Link.
Chie's Shadow takes the form of a long haired, masked dominatrix supported by three pale Chies. The dominatrix has long black hair, similar to Yukiko's. It represents her jealousy of Yukiko's natural gifts and talents, as well as her wish and need of control over Yukiko. Chie went through a majority of design changes as the others, one of her designs even being used to develop Teddie.
Through the S.Link for the Chariot, the Protagonist and Chie become closer through training together at the Samegawa Floodplain. Over time, the Protagonist learns of how Chie enjoys creating groups and titles for herself, in hopes of being feared by juveniles and protecting the weak. Hearing from a police officer that high schoolers have been bullying people in the Central Shopping District, Chie and the Protagonist coincidentally help. They first save Chie's middle school friend, who then calls the police. The second time, Chie makes the hoodlums run off just as they attempt to steal from a little boy. Once this occurs, the Protagonist has the option of making an intimate relationship with Chie. Depending on what the Protagonist does, Chie will either go to train with the Protagonist (normal relationship) or go to his home (serious relationship) and give him some matching wristbands. Chie's resolve to help others and protect the team, especially the Protagonist, transfigures Tomoe Gozen to Suzuka Gongen.
Age: 15 (Start of the game, 16 first appearance)
Date of Birth: April 27th, 1995
Initial Persona: Sukuna-Hikona
Ultimate Persona: Yamato-Takeru
A refined, serious youth, with formal body language and gestures. Naoto is a young detective under the case of Inaba's Murders.
Naoto Shirogane is a tomboyish girl whose appearance and mannerisms closely resemble that of Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th. She is known as a famous high school detective, given the glorious title of "Detective Prince" by the media. Naoto is adept in the use of revolvers, and her Persona is summoned by shooting the card. Naoto's Persona is well-rounded with Light, Dark, Almighty and physical skills at her disposal.
Naoto lost her parents at a young age and was raised by grandfather, who was also a detective. Yearning to emulate the cool male sleuths she read in novels as well as accepting the family tradition, she aids her grandfather various times in his own cases, eventually creating a favorable reputation for herself. She was sent to Inaba by the prefecture police, to gain insight for the serial murders happening there.
Naoto is yet another survivor of the Midnight Channel, bound by her resentment at being talked down to and treated as a child by the police, as well as her views on the police force being dominated by men. This manifests in a volatile shadow that also creates a high-tech facility reminiscent to that of futuristic military bases from science fiction. Her shadow self is dressed in a dress shirt and tie, while wearing a white lab coat that is too big for her. This shadow can act like a serious scientist one minute and act like a child the next, further referencing her true feelings. Her shadow claims she will perform "body modification" to turn Naoto into an adult male so that she can be respected by her fellow police officers. However, unlike the other victims, she had willingly put herself in danger by volunteering for a TV interview in hopes of using herself as bait; she was convinced that the Investigation Team had not caught the real killer.
Naoto is extremely gender-conscious and is often embarrassed when people learn she is female due to her rather masculine hobbies and practices. For this reason she wears her loose and gender neutral clothes to hide her feminine figure. In fact, in one scene after the group receives a physical examination at the hospital, Rise is shocked by the results of Naoto's exam and proclaims that "they must have measured wrong." In embarrassment, Naoto steals the results and vows to shred them, hinting that she might, in fact, have a much more feminine physique than she lets on.
Naoto is a reminiscent of Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th in Devil Summoner and the Protagonist of Persona 3, Minato Arisato.
Date of Birth: January 19th, 1996
Height: 183 cm (6')
Weight: 65 kg
Blood Type: A
Initial Persona: Take-Mikazuchi
Ultimate Persona: Rokuten Maou
A male delinquent with a bleached, swept-back crewcut who has a scar above his left eye. He wears many piercings, metal jewelry, and a black sweater with a skull-and-crossbones design on it under his school uniform. He uses brute force in combat, swinging weapons such as steel chairs and shields.
Kanji has a reputation as being a bully, and is the center of numerous rumors regarding a confrontation with a local biker gang. He also attends Yasogami High. His mother runs a textile shop, with the Amagi family being one of their main customers. Kanji is skilled at tailoring for this reason, and has been interested in sewing since he was a child, but was teased about his interests.
His Persona is Take-Mikazuchi of The Emperor Arcana, which, like Kanji, is a large, imposing figure with a skeleton-like design similar to Kanji's winter uniform. He uses electric spells and physical attacks. Once the player completes Kanji's Emperor S.Link, Take-Mikazuchi will evolve into Rokuten-Maō.
[spiler]Kanji's Midnight Channel dungeon is a men's bathhouse. His Shadow is a mostly nude version of himself surrounded by roses and holding two Mars symbols. It represents his desire to be accepted by society (mainly females because of their impression of him) for who he really is, regardless of his hobbies.
In the S.Link for The Emperor, Kanji and the protagonist meet a boy who lost a doll. Reminded of his situation while he was at that age, and in an effort to cheer up the child, Kanji personally made him a few dolls, which are so well made that they become a hit with the children and their mothers. Due to this, Kanji's works are displayed in his parents' textile shop as a side business, and by the end of the game he holds his own handcraft classes. Kanji eventually learns to take pride in his skills, rather than hide them.[/spoiler]
There are a number of others, but these eight comprise the main cast mostly....
Total Stars: 5 of 5
They managed to carry over the general attitude of the characters pretty well, though the fact they got most oft he original seriyuu's to reprise there roles made it even better.
Total Stars: 5 of 5
The animation was good and sharp. I liked the fact they brought over elements to the anime from the game, such as the calander and the eyecatches styled as the experiance screens and the like. It was amusing watching over the course of the series as the eyecatches ability chart slowly maxed out as the protagonist grew in his abilities and his connections with people.
After the so called travesty of Trinty Soul as a sort of spin off to Persona 3, many held a deep uncertaintly to seeing another Persona related title getting some form of animetreatment. I am pleased to say this series managed to avoid the horror Trinity Soul became and turned out to be a actually highly enjoyable series. It was enough to make me go out and buy a used PS2 so I could replay Persona 4 again. And go back to the others to play again...
The series had the right balance I think of action, comedy and even somber moments. I actually almost started crying during episode 22 and 23 because of what happens. Suffice to say, as a Persona-phile and general Shin Megami Tensei nerd, I can hold my head high in recommending this adaptation of Persona 4.
Total Stars for Series Overall: 5 of 5
Likelyhood to Recommend: YES