Persona 4: The Golden Animation

Persona 4: The Golden Animation

20140802-133729-49049874.jpgYu Narukami, a fairy taciturn teen, transfers to Yasogami High School to live with his uncle and cousin. Through his new school friends, he learns about a mysterious happening named ‘The Midnight Channel’. Apparently, if you attempt to watch a turned-off TV on a rainy night you will see your soulmate. But such an outlandish rumour can’t be true… right?

This anime is based on the popular JRPG video game Persona 4 (or, to be more accurate, the re-release of this game: Personal 4 Golden). Meaning, if you haven’t played this game and know basically nothing about the franchise, then there is very little point of you trying to tune into this one. If you’re still keen, it’s best to start yourself off with the anime released back in 2011, which followed the original Persona 4 game.

20140803-164022-60022826.jpgFor those who need a refresher, ‘The Midnight Channel’ is actually a portal to an alternate dimension. It somewhat mirrors reality in some ways, but often twists and warps things in unthinkable ways. Most of the main characters are introduced from the get-go, but this isn’t meant to be an overwhelming onslaught of personalities as 99% of the viewers will already be familiar with everyone and their quirks. In this instance, it’s quite useful to already have that background information as it means that the plot is able to develop at a much faster pace because there is no introduction dragging it down.

As Yu and his friends are sucked into a TV into this alternate dimension, they meet a strange creature that goes by the name of ‘Teddy’, something that exists in this bizarre TV-world. Teddy provides the group with glasses so that they may see the monsters that inhabit this realm. Yu discovers the power of ‘Persona’, in which he is able to summon a powerful entity to rid the area of all enemies and protect everyone.

Viewers also get to see the familiar faces which inhabit the ‘Blue Room’, which features in both the Persona 3 and Persona 4 video games. If you haven’t played the games but are still trying to understand the concept, here is where you will become completely lost. The concept of the Blue Room is not explained or defined here as the anime just naturally assumed you are familiar with these subjects.

20140802-133730-49050556.jpgNot surprisingly, everything about this animation is true to the game. The drawing, the characters, the music, the plot. The main difference is the introduction of Marie, a character who wasn’t in the original Persona game. Instead of feeling that this mean this anime was lacking, I was keen to watch for the subtle changes and nuances that the anime has the opportunity to flesh out without the fear of disrupting gameplay (as I felt this would if done in the video games).

20140803-164023-60023488.jpgWhen an anime is made of a video game franchise, it’s usually to open up the media channels and attract more potential fans. What’s great about Persona 4: The Golden Animation is that even by doing this, it’s not isolating the core audience of die-hard gamers and fans of the series (like me and my brother. We’ve both been in love with Persona ever since we stumbled upon Persona 3 back in 2008). Hopefully the lack of introduction to certain elements doesn’t put off any newcomers (or Kanji dressing up in Speedos and bunny ears).