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Persona 4 The Animation Series Review: An Amazing Adaptation For An Amazing Game
What’s to say about Persona 4 that I haven’t already? This is a game that I’ll never forget. It hit so many right notes for me and in my circle of gaming friends I’m not the only one who feels that way. This was an experience that made me laugh, care, and be happy and sad. No other game had tugged on my heartstrings as hard as Persona 4 did. I’ve had games make me feel sad and hell I’ve even shed a tear once (damn you Sephiroth!). Still, no other video game was able to make me feel so many emotions and make me not want to stop playing. I was legit upset when the game had ended.
For an experience as impactful as that, it has to be insanely hard to take all of those aspects and put them into another media. Will it retain the emotion? Can it properly show the flow of the story and the action of the dungeons and bosses? Can it be just as good as its original form?
Those questions are usually met with no’s or meh’s and so I entered Persona 4 The Animation with a bit of hope and a dash of doubt. I was pleasantly surprised when I came out with the same feeling I had once I finished the game.
Persona 4 The Animation does many things right and if I may be bold for a moment, I’d wager that it’s the best adaptation of something ever. The way this anime blends both the normal lives and supernatural lives of the characters and retells the story so vividly with the right cuts, edits, and changes that work in an episodic form is nothing short of amazing. I had a lot of doubts that an anime (or even a live action TV show) could pull off what the original video game did but I’m glad I was wrong.
This is truly a great way to experience Persona 4 for fans and non-fans alike. You don’t have to actually play the game to experience the anime to its fullest extent but you may not be engrossed in it as much. Watching Yu arrive at Inaba Station, seeing Rise perform on stage, watching Chie and Yukiko’s best friend dynamic, and Teddy’s confrontation with his shadow are all amazing to see unfold in constant anime.
I say “constant anime” because the game only gave us so much of it until we went back to gameplay so watching the battles and the struggles that every character goes through with their friends is spectacular. You’ll really appreciate the anime if you’ve played the game.
Furthermore, you may even like some of the changes. In my opinion, they portrayed Kanji much better in the anime than the games. While the character was introduced as a badass he quickly rescinds into a calmer, gentler, and idiotic party member. In the anime he keeps that sense of badassery and even has intriguing and smart things to say. He’s almost critical to the party in the anime and it’s really nice to see that version of Kanji. Instead of being almost shunned by the group (especially Yosuke) he’s accepted and helpful.
The anime also treats battles and bosses very well. Instead of drawn out action sequences they focus on the struggle between character and shadow while the Personas duke it out all over the provided arena. It’s also a great dynamic to see the party members attempt to help the ailing characters while they themselves are getting hurt as their Personas battle.
Oh, and I may be in the minority here but I’m so glad they used Chie’s Golden voice actor. It fits her so much better than the bland voice she had in the original version of the game. I’m also critical of it because Chie is my favorite character in Persona 4.
Not everything is perfect, though. For one, I was upset to know that Marie wouldn’t be included in the anime. I know she was just included in the Golden version of Persona 4 but I really enjoyed her character and the extra story she provided. She was tough to break and when you finally got her to soften up, all hell breaks loose for her and the party has to save her. It’s a great story to watch unfold as a tragic girl finally gets someone real in her only to have it ripped away. I can tell the bulk of fans are mixed on Marie and her story but I found it worthwhile to pursue in the game. I would have really liked to see that play out in the anime.
Overall, I feel that the anime did everything it needed to while it could have benefited from being a bit longer and including some of Golden’s features. While Persona 4 The Animation was meant to portray the original version of the game, I can’t really hold that against it too much. I loved this anime and its the first time I’ve said that in a long time. I’ve been known to not care about anime lately and I severely miss Toonami and the shows that came on there but I credit Persona 4 The Animation with making me believe there’s still great animes out there I must have missed.
If you’re a fan of the game, then by all means you must own this anime. If you never played Persona 4, then by all means you must own this anime.
It’s a gripping story with great characters and a well done split between real life and the supernatural. It will make you smile. It will make you laugh. It may make you sad and for some you may find yourself holding back a tear or two. It’s short enough to get into and be able to follow it to its end just like Trigun. It’s short enough though to make you upset that it just won’t keep going on and on. You’ll want to stay in Inaba and you’ll want the characters to stay together. There’s so much more to be told in the world of Persona 4 but after you leave the train station you’ll need to use your imagination.
What an amazing story and congratulations to the anime for correctly portraying something I’ll never forget.