OP Sequence

OP: 「Burn My Dread -Spring of Birth Ver.-」 by 川村ゆみ (Kawamura Yumi)


「劇場版「ペルソナ3」第1章」 (Gekijo ban Perusona 3 Dai Ichi Sho)
“Persona 3 The Movie #1: Spring of Birth”

“I am thou… Thou art I… From the sea of thy soul, I come…”

Critically acclaimed, winner of numerous RPG of the year awards, and listed as one of the best RPGs of all time by some, Persona 3 arrived on the big screen amid quite a bit of hype. Needless to say, I’ve been eagerly waiting for the BD to come out since it was first announced a while back, and why not? The PS2 game was hands down one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve ever had, and there’s a measure of awesomeness seeing the story unfold once again with upgraded visuals and new songs by Shoji Meguro and Lotus Juice (BURN MY DREAD! Or was it bread?)—even if it’s going to be a pretty hefty wait for the second and third movies respectively.

Before getting started on the movie though, it must be said that there’s a lot of give and take when it comes to game adaptations. Some games are naturally more conducive towards being adapted into another medium, and there’s much that can be said about the difficulties of maintaining the narrative while trying to keep true to the source material. In particular, the transfer of game mechanics aren’t exactly things that tend to work out, and it requires quite a bit of creativity to keep things such as battles and player choice when you’re trying to tell something on the big screen. This goes double when you get into Persona, which revolved a lot on creating and fusing new Persona with different abilities depending on their respective levels and your preferences. All things considered though, I felt like this adaptation did a great job in balancing the aforementioned factors, but it needs to be emphasized that not everyone will feel the same, especially if you’ve played the game before.

That said, perhaps the greatest thing this adaptation accomplishes is how it manages to stay generally true to the game without much narrative alteration. Much of the events that happen within the movie are quite similar to what happened in the game itself, and I found myself loving how this adaptation manages to make it so that first time viewers are really able to get a feel for the universe. There’s an atmospheric feeling here that all our characters (and the world itself) seems to have a darker side to them all, and considering its thematic importance to the series, it’s definitely a plus to succeed in this regard. The inclusion of the quote about how:

“Time never waits. It delivers all equally to the same end.”

is yet another example of this, and the occasional calendar (with its visual demonstration of time progression) does a good job giving the series that “grounded in reality” feel, as it clearly shows how our cast needs to balance their nightly excursions into Tartarus with their own social obligations.

Ultimately, the fact remains that Persona 3 is an RPG with roots in reality and an emphasis on human nature, and it’s a story that focuses much on the bonds our protagonist establishes over time. In particular, it demonstrates the change he undergoes as a result of them, and as it’s meant to be a story where he embodies the player, it can be said that this is essentially “your story” playing out on a set stage. Toward this end, I feel like the “blank slate” personality they give our protagonist here does well in emphasizing that notion. For the most part, he’s supposed to be generally emotionless—after all, you’re supposed to be filling his shoes and forming bonds with him as your “avatar” so to speak—until the story develops further, and this adaptation really takes this to heart.

Arguably though, the movie might just take that too much to heart, as Makoto generally doesn’t develop much throughout the story at all, and there’s a notable absence of interaction with characters outside of the SEES members in Mitsuru, Junpei, Akihiko, Yukari, and Fuuka. There are some glimpses of some of the other characters that one could form social links with throughout the game, but they’re fleeting moments to say the least, and it’s here where many fans of the original game will find fault with this adaptation. Considering the importance of these interactions in the game and in context of the thematic notion of developing and strengthening one’s bonds, these omissions loom somewhat large in the shadows (no pun intended), and it can be argued that they could have and should have done more in this regard.

One must however consider the fact that there’s so much interaction within the game that it’d be impossible to implement most of it without stretching this trilogy to something more of a heptalogy instead. There’s clearly a limitation here imparted upon this movie due to the nature of the medium, and it could be said that adding in multiple social links and all the individual stories they’d entail might actually detract from the overall narrative (in movie form) before it’s all said and done. As such—even if I may end up in the minority for thinking this—I feel like the strategy taken here is for all intents and purposes the right one given the circumstances.

Essentially, they’ve cut out the social links aspect in order to put a firm focus on the main Persona-wielding cast and the stories behind them and Tartarus, and I feel like they definitely made the right decision in this regard. The result is admittedly far from the “definitive Persona 3 experience”, but aside from playing the game itself, it’s questionable whether that’s even possible in a medium different from the original source. I feel like this could very well be the closest we’d be able to get to it given the constraints of the medium, which makes it très bien in my book. At the very least, those entering the series for the first time won’t be found wanting from this iteration of Persona 3, and it’s a great nostalgia trip for those who’ve already experienced it before. It’s just too bad it’ll be another year before the second movie’s out on BD, although one can enjoy the second movie’s main theme until then… (wait till the piano comes in a minute in. Phew*).

Random Tidbits:

  • Ah, the evoker motif. Every bit as memorable (and somewhat disturbing) as it was when I first saw it.
  • The airing of the movie in Japan gave viewers a chance to purchase a copy of a cel-animation style drawing of the main cast. I managed to snag one of them, and boy is it a beauty.
  • Full-length images: 138.

    ED Sequence

    ED: 「More Than One Heart」 by 川村ゆみ (Kawamura Yumi)




      1. I’ve been waiting for a longer version of the Burn my Dread OP Ver. for a while. Pretty awesome I get nearly 3.5 minutes of it now from the movie version. FTW.

        Burning my bread dead dread all day long.

        And yeah, while I can see why some people wouldn’t like how the MC was quite blank slate most of the movie, there was some pretty subtle development throughout. The fact that the OP was generally styled very similarly to the original game really helped the atmosphere to say the least.

        1. The impression I took is that the theme of these movies is going to be that the lead will develop from a empty emotionless person to the person who cares more about the world then anyone else. His character’s growth makes his choice in the ending more hopeful for humanity in general and I think is a good choice by the writers. It makes sense he would develop slightly in the first movie, really begin to change during the second, then become complete during the last.

        2. MC was quite expressionless and emotionless. Something that seem to be the case for the Persona 3 and 4 MC. A expressionless and emotionless character means less bantering and interaction between MC. Really hoping they could improve that. Though MC seem to develop emotion near the end so looking forward to next movie!

          Overall this 1st movie of Persona 3 is more interesting than Persona 4 beginning so maybe higher potential. It better be, since it is a movie after all.

          Chaos Lucifer
    1. i think this anime adaptation was actually superior than the manga adaptations mainly cause social links aren’t as important in P3 as it was in P4 from a story standpoint.

      thinking back, P4 story (anime version) acquires new arcana when forming a new bond, whereas in P3 Egor specifically stated that one acquires it through defeat of an enemy. That means the staff conveniently explained the process and thus making bond forming less relevant and unnecessary as in game we could’ve powered through the game through Tartarus and bonds with SEEDs members only.

      P4 felt coherent throughout, but gameplay-wise P3’s story-telling was somewhat a distraction for me when the mood switches too sudden when doing social links. I think overall P3 can’t be compared to P4 in terms of story settings and atmosphere, thus P3 is rightly done to omit much of the social links.

        1. It’s actually quite interesting to note that, because iirc the Persona’s he did use in the movie were generally Persona’s that you would’ve had access to during the time span shown in the movie.

          There’s a bit of omission obviously, and yes, I personally relegated Orpheus to perma-bench status by then, but I liked this more realistic take over say, the adaptations of Devil Survivor and/or P4, where there were just Personas spammed all over the place that I don’t think were even possible to make given the combinations used.

        2. They stayed true to the game. The combat is a lot more fluid with a tandem between normal attacks and persona summons. I also loved how they had to summon the persona every time to perform an attack after which it disappears. It looks more like the combat in the games and not a Pokemon battle like in Persona 4.

          The Atomic Dwarf
      1. @thenewhorde: Completely incorrect, Social Links are more important to the overall plot of Persona 3 then Persona 4. In fact forming Social Links (friendship) was the entire point of the story, the counter to the apathy syndrome (loneliness.) Do you remember the last scene with Igor? “These are the voices of hope that wish to help you. Separately, they are weak. . .But together they will bring about a great change in you. Now is the time to draw on the strength of the true bonds you have forged!”

      1. No. There’s clear progression in terms of their interactions with one another (it’s more or less identical to the game in terms of her worrying about spying on him at the beginning, whether or not he’s just doing this by choice or just because he’s being asked to etc.), but there’s no way you would’ve progressed the social link to the point of dating anyone at this point yet, so the first movie won’t cover this. If it happens, they’d likely show it in the last one, assuming they decide to go that route.

        1. Minato was dating Strength(Yuko), Justice(Chihiro), Hanged Man(Maiko), Hermit(Maya/Toriumi), Lovers(Yukari), Priestess(Fuuka), Empress(Mitsuru) and Aeon/Judgement(Aegis).

      1. Now you’re just twisting my words.

        It’s more like it’s the best we’ll likely get in terms of an adaptation and I’ll take it, especially over the alternative of no adaptation.

        EDIT: The way I see it, it was a pretty good adaptation, especially when you look at it from the narrative perspective. For me, when I look at this, there just isn’t any real feasible way to transfer the game mechanics and social links in a way that anyone would find completely acceptable, and I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect them to put it all in here. Again, maybe if they had like multiple extra movies to work with maybe, but would you really feel like it’d be better to watch that much and go almost day by day? You’d lose all semblance of proper linkage to the main narrative and it wouldn’t flow well at all, especially since you’re not actually playing through it like a game. There’s a world of difference between moments that work well while in a game versus when you’re sitting in your seat watching, and it’s definitely the right choice in my opinion to prioritize the overall narrative instead of trying to do the impossible and including every little detail.

        Disagree if you wish, but let’s not go twisting words and using snide, smart aleck responses.

        1. It’s more like it’s the best we’ll likely get in terms of an adaptation and I’ll take it, especially over the alternative of no adaptation.

          The alternative (some would say primary choice) is to actually play the game. That way you miss nothing and get to experience a great game. I introduced it to you back in 2008; it’s been 6 years since then. I’ve been more than pleased with the vanilla game and the hope for an anime adaptation actually never crossed my mind during that time, but that’s because I believe game -> anime adaptations is missing the one thing that I bought into the universe in the first place; the actual game portion and how integrated it is to the story. If you were to extract only the story portion, it comes off as jarring because the plot elements are pretty much tied to the game mechanics of [light] dungeon crawling and social simulation. Watched standalone, the viewer is forced to fill in the blanks that are done naturally in the game as you are given agency there.

          For me, my MC’s personal story is already complete. There’s just nothing else here except for the animation that is leagues better than what they had in the game (and the Meguro soundtrack I guess lol).

    2. “your story”… I don’t think so. An adaptation is always meant to be a stand alone, that can entertain you without you going to see the source material, I understand why the protagonist has such a personality in the game, but that doesn’t help one bit in an anime adaptation, I don’t see “myself” in such character and no one will, his lack of emotions make him a one dimensional type of character to the point I was bored.

      1. It’s stand alone to a point. You still have to base the adaptation off of something eh.

        I’m just saying it makes sense to make him the way he is because he is essentially a blank slate you’re filling in during the game itself. Obviously since this isn’t a game, you’re not exactly going to have control over him in this respect, so they went the route of blank slate and slow change over time. There’s clear development here, bit subtle, and probably not the preferred development by some, but there’s definitely some change in his personality from beginning to end, and I’m quite sure the remaining movies will expand on that change as time goes on.

        1. In the game he doesn’t have a default name.
          Minato Arisato is from the manga. He will have that name in Persona Q though.

          On a side note, the official figure simply labels him as “The Other Self”

    3. I expect Minato or Makoto to accually be stoic and funny like in persona 3 fes well they stay true to persona 3 , tbh persona is so deep and have so many good stuff happen making them a movie is somewhat not as captivating , for me at least.I still really like this but … not as much 9/10 i found that it’s soemtime quite boring with all that time skip (that’s why persona as a movie sucks).

      ps. I would crack up so hard if Minato go all dere and start to fell in love with Aegis … geeze I love Aegis so much , Elizabeth seiyu is also the one i love the most too bad that stck to original too much and we can’t take her on a date, and Mizuru well i love her as well but it’s gotta be Aegis , right? That metal plating , mechanical joints and elbows Titanuim breast , portable hidden machine gun and full metal waist ….. *orgasmm*

      1. I wonder. P4GA’s going to be the same staff as the original P4A, so I don’t think you’ll see much different in terms of how they’re going to go about it compared to the original P4A. That said, the way they did it there isn’t exactly that different than how they did it here in P3, so it’ll be similar, but more so to P4A than to this movie.

        We might get a glimpse of how the second movie will end up though, because the co-director for P4GA will be the director for P3M #2.

        1. The original P4 anime was done by AIC Asta, while the P4G anime will be done by A-1. So at least there’s going to be a much higher budget for the animation.

          I’m a little ambivalent on Seiji Kishi helming the project again, considering how badly he mauled the DeSu 2 adaptation and may have inadvertently killed the planned remake of the game. Still, P4 is much a higher profile project, so I’m hoping at least he can’t screw that up.

    4. The problem I have with most anime adaptations of games is that they end up moving further away than they should from the game by trying to turn it into a straight narrative and adding too much to it.

      The problem here was almost the exact opposite. Rather than feeling like they were telling a cohesive story it felt more like stringing together cut scenes from the game with big gaps in between where additional story and character development should have gone.

    5. As someone who never played Persona 3 and knows very little about it, could I watch this without being very confused? Or does it assume the viewer knows the story / characters already?

      I didn’t read the post for fear of spoilers, so apologies if this question was answered there.

      1. It’s set up so you can watch it without prior knowledge of it, yeah. It’s not the “definitive Persona 3 experience” because it doesn’t have everything the game does, but it does keep the general narrative intact, so you’ll generally be able to grasp what it’s all about.

      2. @Monks

        >As someone who never played Persona 3

        Go play Persona 3. Unless you don’t have like 80 hours to spare. You get a great game and story and the full social link experience. ALL of that is what it’s all about. Not just the story.

        1. Yeah, FULL social link experience. It’s a game that FORCES you to deflower and have sex with every single girl. They fixed this in P3Portable and P4, but in P3 you HAVE to have sex with every girl to get their persona. FULL experience.

      1. Isn’t he the complete oppsite of an emo, since he doesn’t show any emotions at all (until the last scene)?

        I found him somewhat amusing, especially when everyone talks about how they need to stop the train and two minutes later he goes “What, you want it to stop?”.

        But then again, I have always seen him as bit of a sociopath and a troll, as opposed to the nicer and more normal protagonist of P4.

    6. Been waiting for this movie and it was awesome!
      Played the game on the PS2 and still have my save game for it. I do hope in the later movies Minato would do combination attacks with his personas, my favorite attack?
      Lucifer + Satan = Armageddon!

    7. Just watched this recently and I was grinning like an idiot throughout the movie. Its been a while since i played P3P(cant remember anymore when I first played P3) so yeah you just cant help but smile when you see those familiar faces, more so when you start the film with Burn My Brea-err Dread. It was also a delight hearing Mass Destruction, the awkward hiphop dorm tune and more of the impressive OSTs in the game. The only letdown for me was they have to cut so much of the MCs social links and I’m afraid some wont even get to talk but yeah I guess its ought to happen since there’s only 3 movies. Oh well I’m thankful enough that we get to see this animated. And oh I cant get over how good the animation was, is this the same staff who did P4?

      Looking forward to next movie I guess, damn its gonna be long wait. I wanna see her soon ;_;

    8. While I don’t mind the silent MC in games(loved numerous silent protagonist RPGs in my life), watching one on TV just doesn’t cut it for me. In games you can assume what the MC’s saying by the responses from others. But when animated, being silent when people talk to you kind of just come off as sort of an a-hole, at least to me.

    9. It was okay. The quality is a what I expect of an anime movie and, as always for Persona, the music is always excellent.

      Adapting the game to several movies was the right move, because the game itself has little story happening for an 80+ hour RPG. Don’t misunderstand me, the actual plot of P3 is very good and in terms of emotional investment its ending ranks as one of the best on any RPG I’ve played. However, it was clear that P3 was Atlus’ experiment in the hybrid Dating-sim/RPG genre and it shows. There are long stretches of the game where nothing is happening, with only the Social Links and the occasional level-grind to occupy to player. It was ultimately a huge success though and Atlus would refine this genre with P4 for a more complete RPG experience.

      Makoto is…. meh. I don’t particularity hate him, but he always came of to me as the blandest of the protagonists. It’s not really his fault though, as previously mentioned P3 was Atlus’s experiment and he was designed to be a blank slate for the player. He’s a little TOO blank though, especially when you compare him the the P4 protagonist or even his alternate FeMC in P3P who felt more like solid characters. I do get what there going for here though, they’re trying to make him disconnected but growing more open as the movie progressed. I just hope he gets better in the next movies, because the ending relies heavily on how much I get emotionally invested in him.

    10. Canon: MC bangs everyone.


      No but this movie disappointed me. Pacing was fine I guess for a movie adaption but the characters were just skimmed over so much. Junpei’s lack of screentime and conviction made his jealousy come off as really babyish.

      Fuuka could have had decent development with more screentime but honestly she’s more of a side character here.

      Aki and Mitsuru were basically the wonderful cast members who explained everything to make sure the viewers got what was going on.

      I actually liked Yuki. His emotionless demeanor came off as more of a disconnect from society and I think he’ll evolve as the movies progress.

      Also that last shadow fight was cheesy as helllllll.

      I would rate it like a C. It’s a little below average imo but it’s worth a watch

      1. EDIT: (Does anyone play P4A? .-.)

        aaaand yeah I was also really sad about the lack of my waifu Elizabeth but whatever…

        We’d better see some dates with her next movie >.<

    11. Hearing all the “Orpheus” reminds me of Phi Brain 😛

      Anyway its great to see all the places in the game faithfully recreated in the anime.
      Fresh at the same time as you get to see them at a different angle from that in the game.
      The music transfer nicely to the anime too, very iconic tunes.

      Kirijo weapons? They don’t buy them at the Police Station? 😛
      Would be nice to see them opening chests in Tatarus.

      Lean back ,relax and watch. No need to schedule your time to go out with this person to max out this link by this date 😛

      Wonder will the female MC make an appearance?
      Or will they remake the P3 films later 😛


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