OP: 「Pursuing My True Self」 by 平田志穂子 (Hirata Shihoko)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼
「You’re myself, I’m yourself」
If you had any doubts that the anime adaptation of Persona 4 would stay faithful to its source, rest assured because for better or for worse, it looks like this show has the potential to be one of the more faithful video game adaptations — at least judging from this first episode. Whenever games are adapted onto other media, it’s inevitable that things will be lost in the translation, but so far it seems that director Kishi Seiji (Angel Beats, Kamisama Dolls) is determined to buck this trend, using as many aspects from the game as possible. While I’m sure that Persona game fans will enjoy looking for and appreciate all the references, it may also seem daunting for viewers who are unfamiliar with the Persona game, but that’s what we’re here for!
Distilling an 80+ hour long game into a 2-cours series is still tough no matter how you slice it, so to say this episode doesn’t skip a beat is probably an understatement. Certain events had to be reworked chronologically or removed altogether to make it work, but some of the more important scenes were thankfully untouched for the most part, such as the cold open where Igor (Tanonaka Isamu) and Margaret (Ohara Sayaka) introduce themselves to the main character Narukami Yuu (Namikawa Daisuke) in the Velvet Room. This brought back a lot of nostalgia since it was almost exactly how the game started as well, although it would have been nice to see an explanation for the Tarot cards shown for some plot foreshadowing since the upright Tower represents a terrible catastrophe in the immediate future, and the upright Moon representing “hesitation” and “mystery”.
Overall, I’d say the first episode did its job well in laying the groundwork to the larger mystery in Inaba and with introducing key plot points such as the strange murder, Midnight Television, and the awakening of Yuu’s Persona Izanagi, but the pacing was a bit too fast even for someone who already knows the story. Transition scenes found in the game would have helped, but they were probably cut in the interest of time. I also enjoyed finding all the references that only people who have played Persona would notice, such as background music, the calendar day changes, Yuu’s attribute screen eyecatch, and the emotion “icons”. The action scene at the end with Izanagi facing off with the Lying Hableries had me reaching for my controller to cast “Zio” from the get go. For the most part, I was a fan of the animation with its bold, crisp outlines and vivid colors, and while there were moments that lacked some detail, the action scene was a treat to watch and I felt generally it stayed true to the art style of the game. Hopefully AIC can keep meeting or exceeding the bar they’ve set with this initial fight scene’s animation.
Besides the action, one of the main themes of the Persona series are the social links that the protagonist forms with the other characters. With so much plot exposition in this first episode, there wasn’t much room for character development, but I’m hoping we’ll see more of the stories involving his classmates such as the spunky Satonaka Chie (Horie Yui), reserved Amagi Yukiko (Koshimizu Ami), broseph Hanamura Yousuke (Morikubo Shoutarou), and also his relatives Doujima Ryoutarou (Ishizuka Unshou), a detective with the local police, and cousin Nanako (Kanda Akemi), along with the mysterious yet lovable Kuma (Yamaguchi Kappei). PROTIP: Horie Yui and Koshimizu Ami make these two girls the best thing since sliced bread. With such a large cast of characters and more yet to be introduced, AIC will be hard-pressed to fit every social link story in but I’m hoping that at least the most memorable ones will be included. Admittedly, I was most worried about how Yuu’s character would be portrayed in this adaptation, seeing as he was the one I played as in the game, but I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that he retained his quiet nature.
For viewers who haven’t played the game, Persona 4’s first episode might be a bit overwhelming with its fast pacing and little references, but I think that the show so far has stayed largely faithful to the source material. I can safely recommend staying tuned in because this show really has something for everyone: action, comedy, drama, mystery, and even romance. If you only had time to watch one show a week, what more could you ask for?
* This week’s OP, 「Pursuing My True Self」 is actually the game’s OP, while the proper OP, 「sky’s the limit」 was used as the ED in place of 「Beauty of Destiny」. Next week should see the proper OP and ED sequences.
ED: 「sky’s the limit」 by 平田志穂子 (Hirata Shihoko)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼