「The World is Full of Shit」

Although the central focus was the revelation that Adachi was the mastermind behind Namatame’s kidnappings and the one who killed Yamano and Konishi, I found that when I looked past the surface of his motives, there was also a theme that connected it to Kuma and Yousuke’s storylines as well. Crass as it may be, the title of this episode is a fitting description of this theme: many of the Persona 4 characters, not only Adachi, have viewed the world this way. This makes sense, as early everyone has a dissatisfaction with some part of reality, but it is how they deal with their unhappiness that defines them, and ultimately, helps them grow as a person. Unfortunately, not everyone deals with it in a healthy way.

At first glance, Kuma doesn’t seem like a person who is too dissatisfied with reality – he just appears to be someone who wants to find out who he is and what the reason is for his existence. Yet after his appearance in the Velvet Room, I realized that he too had issues with his reality. Kuma wanted people to like him, but the reality was that as a Shadow, most people would probably be scared of him. The way he dealt with this was to take on his current adorable bear form, which probably saved him from being attacked when he first met Yuu. We all have yearned for that fresh start, a blank slate to start anew, all for the hope that we will be treated differently than before. While we may not be able transform ourselves as easily as Kuma, there are countless other ways that we can change ourselves and grow into better people.

Yousuke, on the other hand, is someone who we all know has been unhappy with the world, so it wasn’t really much of a surprise when he told Yuu his issues. As far as I can remember, the show hasn’t really explained Yousuke’s backstory very much, but basically he moved to Inaba from a large city because his dad became the manager of the Inaba Junes, and then became dissatisfied with reality because he was bored of Inaba’s small town life. It’s not like he did anything about it though, which explains why he was jealous of Yuu who also came from a large city to Inaba and was quickly able to find something to alleviate his boredom. I’m not sure getting into a good old brawl is the healthiest of ways to deal with your dissatisfaction, but I definitely know how it feels to just let it all out with a friend who understands that a fight like that isn’t personal, it’s just primal. What matters in the end is that it works, and hasn’t harmed anyone (too much) in the process.

And then there’s Adachi. He’s always been a suspicious one, but it was never entirely clear what his motives would possibly be to commit the murders. Adachi is a terrible police officer as well, one who’s always bumbling and aloof – so even though I knew there was a chance he could just be putting on an act and was actually a smart and diabolical mastermind behind all the kidnappings and murders, a part of me figured that there was some truth to his façade too. Sooner or later, Adachi would mess up, and he did with his lack of reaction when Naoto read out the names in Namatame’s diary. I have to admit, I missed that part when I was playing through the game, so I thought it was pretty clever writing to make me miss an incriminating clue like that, especially when I pride myself in trying to search for and pay attention to every single hint.

Now with Adachi was established as the murderer, it was now time to delve into his motives – and boy were they appalling. Here is a man who was filled to the brim with dissatisfaction with the world. Similar to Yousuke, Adachi implies that he also came from a large city and possessed the detective talents to work in a big-time police department, yet is stuck with the small town one in tiny Inaba. From the lack of challenge in his life, he probably moved onto other challenges, like trying to get with Yamano and Konishi, and then killing them just because he couldn’t get with them. I think the worst thing about Adachi’s motives is that to him, it is all a game to entertain him. It’s no longer about addressing his lack of challenges in life or his talents not being recognized. Adachi committed these murders and manipulated Namatame all because he can, and I think that is probably one of the most despicable reasons that one can have to do something. It’s also the worst possible way for dealing with one’s dissatisfactions with the world.

* Full-length images: 07, 30, 32


「We Can Change The World」

The title of this episode maybe clichéd, but it is entirely appropriate as it is basically the Investigation Team’s answer to Adachi and Ameno-sagiri’s view of the world, and a great answer in general for anyone who is dissatisfied with the world. Yuu and Adachi – this protagonist and antagonist pair are about as diametrically opposed as can be, or at least from what I can remember. Usually, I always anticipate that the protagonist can empathize with the antagonist a little bit and offer them a chance at redemption, but with these two, there is no seeing eye to eye; not one ounce of understanding exists between these foes.

In the previous episode, Adachi explained the why and how he committed the murders and manipulated Namatame, but it turns out his ‘why’ wasn’t as simple as he made it out to be. Adachi didn’t merely commit all those crimes just because he could and because it entertained him, he actually did them because he felt like he could no longer change the world. He didn’t want to face reality, or be boxed in by its boredom – he just wanted to give up and ignore it. Defeatism and apathy is by no means a rare emotion, but what I don’t understand is why he wants everyone else in the real world to feel the same as he does.

Even though it might be true that very few people think about what is real, what is right, and what is wrong, there are still some people who do think that the way. However, Adachi’s motivations here smacks of hypocrisy; he says that it’s pointless to change the real world and tells Yuu to quit trying, yet he’s working to change it by merging the two worlds, and turning everyone into Shadows so that they can continue “living” in naiveté. I don’t really understand what exactly he has to gain here. Is it because he would be able to lord over everyone since he presumably would be superior and not turn into a Shadow while the rest of them do? Even though it’s not really made explicitly clear in the anime, I recall from the game that he was actually the puppet of Ameno-sagiri? Unfortunately, the vagueness in the adaptation means that anime-only viewers might never understand the full story and Adachi’s identity as a villain remains somewhat muddled.

On the other hand, Yuu knows clearly why he fights and what he fights for. He is too smart to be outwitted by a person like Adachi, and it was spoke volumes about who he is when he called out Adachi on all of his misguided beliefs, especially when it came to the truth that Yuu and the rest Investigation Team was looking for, which was for justice. My favorite line was when Yuu said that they’ve braved and saw many truths in themselves, truths that they didn’t want to see, all so they could get to where they are now. Almost as enjoyable was when all the members of the team called Adachi out for what he was truly doing, which was basically throwing a tantrum because he wasn’t able to get what he wanted and was tired of living.

After being beat up by Tomoe Gozen’s “God’s Hand” attack, I actually thought that was the end for Adachi. With the culprit behind the murders and kidnappings dealt with, there was still one question that remained to be answered: what is Mayonaka TV and why does it exist? Turns out, it’s a place where humans choose to see what they want to see, what they want to exist, where their desires become reality. The master of this domain, Ameno-sagiri, the Japanese mythological god of fog, is an entity who wants to grant all of mankind’s hidden desires and believes that merging the two worlds is the best way to turn those desires into reality, which basically means one last enemy for the Investigation Team to defeat.

I was really satisfied that Mayonaka TV finally had an explanation and a face to attach to it. I also felt it was a fitting conclusion because we finally had a true reason for there to be Personas (which Ameno-sagiri did not expect), and a reason for all of Yuu’s social links to become useful. Some people might deride the series to falling back on the power of friendship trope out of nowhere, but I’d like to remind them that the theme of social bonds, their power and importance, has been said from the very beginning in the Velvet Room, and Margaret reminds Yuu of their value each time he forms a new one. True, it could have been emphasized more and spelled out in greater detail, and I would have liked it if each Investigation Team member’s Persona had transformed into their ultimate form earlier, but seeing everyone work together to defeat Ameno-sagiri was still a satisfying conclusion to the story.

With the every showing that they do have the potential to change the world, the crisis was averted and we’re left with a teary eyed goodbye, but this series could have easily been made into a 4-cour one too, since there still are a few strands left untied. For starters, we’ve seen how important the social link that Yuu made with each of the Team members is, but we’re never shown the importance of the other social links that he made, aside from probably using them to fuse Lucifer, the ultimate Persona of the Judgment Arcana (which technically can’t be fused until the true ending route). Even though there wasn’t a canon romance chosen for Yuu either, other than Rise telling him she loves him, there’s enough material for a whole cour to be made in an omnibus style. (Where’s my XMAS episodes!) It all makes sense though, since this anime adaptation can be seen as an extended advertisement for the games’ PS Vita remake (called Persona 4: The Golden), so they have to leave some things for players to discover, right? And that is one thing that it does very well, because I know I’m itching to play the game again.

* True Ending OVA, 「No One is Alone」, is coming out on 2012.08.22 with the BD/DVD Volume 10 release.
* Full-length images: 04, 08, 30


Final Impressions:

All in all, I’d have to say that Persona 4 the ANIMATION is one of the most entertaining anime adaptations of a video game that I have ever seen. And given the 2-cour time constraints, it’s also one of the most faithful adaptations too. Coming into the series, I worried that the show would consist more of shounen-esque battles between Personas and Shadows and that the relationships that Yuu made with people would take a back seat, but it turns out that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I think one of the best aspects and one of the most pleasant surprises about this adaptation is that it made many characters even more likeable than they were in the game. I didn’t think this would be possible because of how much story and voice acting many of the characters already had in the game, but somehow the show managed to pull it off. One of my main concerns was how they would portray Yuu, who as the player character was basically an unvoiced blank slate. Surprisingly, he turned out to be one of my favorite protagonists in recent memory as the writers did a superb job of extrapolating a fun and memorable personality from the limited dialogue choices of the game. As for characters who did have plenty of dialogue like Chie and Naoto, the show somehow even added to their appeal as they were cuter than I remembered. The fact that an anime adaptation could make characters more appealing and more endearing than their portrayal in the source material is a very laudable achievement in my book.

The other aspect that I think the show actually does even better than the game is the comedy, where for the most part, already hilarious situations are made even more hilarious. Some situations had to be shortened in interest of time, but it always felt like none of the humor was lost in the translation. I would even go as far as saying that even if someone didn’t care for the action scenes or the social links, Persona 4 is worth watching for the comedy alone.

Few adaptations, if any, are perfect – and Persona 4 is no exception. The pacing can be a little uneven, many of the less essential social links were pared down and combined so much that they lost a lot of their meaning, the Persona versus Shadow action was a bit short, and the mythology and meaning behind each Persona were largely overlooked. However, you have to keep in mind that there’s no way they can condense an 80+ hour game into approximately 10 hours, so working within those constraints, I think that the showrunners have done an extremely fine job with Persona 4 the ANIMATION, making it a show that even people who haven’t played the games can enjoy. And for people who have played the game, it’s an adaptation that very few fans will be unhappy with.


  1. Its not perfect but it one of the best video game adoptions. It gets more right than wrong. Now to wait for the true ending episode and hope for a dub with the original cast.

  2. Cannot wait for the OVA. Looks waaay more intense and interesting XD I really liked this series but they didn’t wrap it up quite nicely so the OVA was a good news for me.

  3. I’m a little bummed that we’ll have to wait until August for the OVA episode but it was still an enjoyable adaptation from beginning to end. As a fan of the RPG I have very few complaints. I’ll save my few complaints for my own review of the overall series. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to when Sentai Filmworks puts out P4A in English so I can buy the DVDs.

    Thanks for the excellent summary and analysis of this show, Verdant. I’ve really enjoyed your writing over the past few months.

  4. Verdant, I suggest you to change the second picture in the post preview on the home page, because that gives the culprit away for people who intend on watching Persona 4, but haven’t reached this episode.

  5. He max all social link in the anime but in the end no one see him off X_X. Hope that in true end all of people from social link will arrive at the station to say gb to Yuu when he leave

  6. I was disappointed when I found out they weren’t doing the true ending but at least its coming in an OVA, can’t wait for that. Those who are curious about it and don’t want to wait may want to check out how it continues on youtube, it was completely shocking to me when it was finally revealed in the game.

  7. Sly devil, that Nanako. Using her loliness to get ahead of the other girls with that marriage proposal.

    I still find it hard to believe I watched the entire season of this. Granted, I was never a fan of the battles or the other rpg elements. It was always about the slice-of-life bits, Narukami’s airhead-gigoloness and the Nanako bits.

    I’ll miss the old geezer and his “Yooooookosou, waga velvet room uuueeh”

  8. The end!!! Or does it? 😛 Oh and Yuu totally gonna visit you guys next year and Naoto will be in another school.

    Overall, one of the good adaptation in recent memories except one thing: TRUE ENDING in August!? And the fact tht if a english dub come out, I can’t get it frm my country T.T

    Now let move on to the current season and see if there any show tht will turn out as a hit.

  9. This show got me into playing the game (not nearly done with it yet, though) and putting The Golden on my list of must-buys, so it worked quite well as an advertisement for the games in my case.

    From what I’ve played of the game so far, I think the anime did a nice job finding the right balance between visibly being an adaptation and being a completely independent anime. There were a few instances in which the pacing felt rather awkward (or rather, a bit “crammed”) due to the show trying to incorporate material that could have easily been left out without anyone who hasn’t played the game noticing (like Naoki’s social link), but otherwise, I really cannot find much to complain about. And yeah, I agree with everything that was said about the comedy. Few shows actually had me laugh out loud as much or as hard as this one.

    Arrrgh, now for the wait until August…

  10. Although the True Ending is not shown, this animated series will be one of the best animated series in 2011-2012 because of how well-done the studio did with the series. The addition of the True Ending will simply make this series even more awesome and more complete.

    Chaos Raiden
  11. Great adaption, loved every second of it. I was quite fond of the way they transfigured the Personas into their ultimate forms when most needed.

    More than half a year until the true ending, huh? Looking forward to seeing my favorite scenes animated.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  12. I guess now is a good time to reveal Adachi’s infamous meme. One thing I do like is how they got Adachi’s psycho face right. Its creepy and funny at the same time.

    And once again Yuu shows HAX by summoning Lucifer way earlier than the game allows. He is practically the highest level persona though so it makes sense that he stomps Ameno-sagiri with it. Even more hax is how he does it by the power of friendship which shouldn’t be relevant until the true end.

    The series is a pretty decent watch overall. It doesn’t exactly confirm that there are great game adaptations around but at least it bucks the trend that all video game adaptations suck. The fact that its quite faithful to the game says a lot.

  13. Thank you for your undying efforts in covering this show for us Verdant ^_^! and…. Unlisted? BLAH! I forget who your expert Screen Cap artist is ^_^;;.

    Persona 4 The Animation, is truly a treat. Sure there are skips and bumps in the adaptation, but overall, it is brilliant. :D. I look forward to being able to recommend the Anime as well as the Game to friends now ^_^.

  14. I’ll do both episodes at once, for one last time:

    Show Spoiler ▼

    And… that’s all I could spot, for one last time. Thank you so much for the reviews Verdant, it was a blast.

    My personal thoughts on that show:
    – Jaw-dropping similarities to the game: I swear, I never saw a video game adaptation being this close to the original material. Don’t believe me ? check out my comments on all previous episodes to see what got altered, it’s not that major.
    – There are tidbits that I would have love to better see, like Yukiko’s and Kanji’s scenes with the funny-looking glasses. These scenes happened too quickly here compared to the game.
    – Good animation and story
    – Good character development
    – CRAPPY ENDING ! Seriously, WTF Atlus ?!? They should have made a 26th episode where the normal ending, the REAL final battle AND the true ending all happen. Right now, it’s rushed, VERY rushed, like they wanted to finish it as quickly as possible. I mean, come on, one more episode, was it too much to ask ?

    Anyway, that was a great show, and thanks again for the coverage Verdant.

    1. I guess you weren’t paying attention, it says the True Ending OVA is coming out this August. A lot of what you just mentioned will probably be covered in that. Also the part with Nanako saying she wants to marry Yuu was in the game, it happens when you talk to Nanako and Dojima on the final day if you completed their social links.

      1. It wasn’t much because I didn’t pay attention as much as I just didn’t know about it. I saw nowhere that an OVA would be released later on. I just wrote down the differences without that knowledge in mind, because I didn’t see that announcement.

        It does bring a point: why ?

        Look, I know the anime didn’t go for the bad ending and went for a mix between the good and the true ending, but at this point, there’s no real need for a separate OVA, no ? I could have seen that OVA for episodes 26, 27 and 28 for that series. I mean, they got it going, no need to take a break, right ?

        OVAs tend to be 1-hour long right, so I could have seen that OVA split into 3 episodes after that. The main reason would be because it would have kept a certain rhythm to the series and people wouldn’t have “forgotten” about it between the end of the anime and the OVA’s broadcast.

        I’ll take a out at the OVA for sure… but I just question the reason of being an OVA instead of regular episodes, that’s all. I could have understood an OVA about Persona 4 Arena, but about the true ending when part of it is in the last episode feels odd to me. It’s just my opinion though, because I tend to see OVAs are side-stories, epilogues, prologues and such, not as an conclusion that should have been included in the main anime series as part of the run.

        It feels a lot like Asura’s Wrath’s ending DLC, where the main game is the anime and the DLC is the OVA.

  15. Well it was a fun ride. Despite knowing everything already from playing the game, this show still entertained me to no end. So props to the studio for pulling it off.

  16. In the game it’s left unclear how much Ameno-sagiri was manipulating Adachi and how much was his own desire when it came to the TV World, they basically say it was probably a bit of both.

  17. The dual pistol shadow that Adachi called upon is Reaper, a optional boss shadow that can only be fought in new game+, & will drop the strongest weapon/armour/omnipotence orb(accessory that negates every attack except for almighty types).

    Finishing blows to the Reaper: Chie a , Yosuke a , Yukiko a , and Naoto a .

    The final persona is Lucifer, only summonable when you reached the True Ending or on a New Game+.

    And the party’s transformed persona are as follows: Susanoo, Suzuka Gongen, Amaterasu, Rokuten Maoh, Kanzeon, Yamato-Takeru & Kamui.
    Side Note: Persona4theGolden shows a new third persona for the party, and they look so much better.

    The orb of light that Igor shows Yuu in the ending plays a very big role in the True End, and also Margaret is also a optional boss in the game, appearing in Nanako’s dungeon. Probably angry that Yuu is such a pimp 😛 Wonder what everyone’s reaction will be when they meet her.

  18. I’m so glad they’re making an OVA. Never played the game, but I always looked forward to this anime each week thanks to the humor. I’m gonna miss it :< Thanks for covering this Verdant!

  19. Looking forward to the OVA. It might took place after Adachi’s arrest and before Yu’s departure from Inaba. Also where all of his schoolmates (Social Link ones) will be there before going back to Tokyo.

    So sad to see Nanako cry towards Yu before boarding the train. Will there be an Epilogue of the OVA saying “he’s back just few months after his leave from Inaba”?

  20. It’s a great series for those who’ve played the game, but for anime viewers it’s only average at best. As Verdant put it, the series seem to hype up The Golden and The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena. Enjoyed the series most for the comedy and it shines. The True Ending OVA will be out in August and it will be awesome!

  21. Thank you for covering P4A, Verdant! It really was a pretty darn good adaption and quite a few of the alterations they made were improvements on the original source. I totally agree with you on its best aspects. Yu was almost expertly executed – there are so many ways giving a self-insert protagonist a personality could have gone wrong, but it simply didn’t in P4A. He was likeable, believable and hilarious. My only wish is that they’d given Yu a Shadow, but that’s just a personal wish of mine. Oh, also, still no explanation of Aika? Just added for comedy, perhaps…? Can’t wait for the True Ending OVA! Thanks again, Verdant!


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