Hi, I’m the new guy Mr. Flawfinder hired to help keep the anime levels of this blog up while he’s busy jizzing over movies you guys have never seen. Now how about I make my debut by reviewing an anime adaptation of one of his favorite Japanese video games of all-time?
- Back in the summer of 2014 when everybody was praising Aldnoah Zero as the biggest thing ever, only to have their hopes crushed when all the staff started experiencing delirium after finishing two episodes, which coincidentally happened while I was visiting the production company and ended up discovering a rare perfectly clean Evangelion figurine that was lying in one of the office trash cans for some reason, the same production company of that show was also involved with creating a second anime adaptation of Persona 4.
- Y’know Persona 4, right? That really popular anime video game that Mr. Flawfinder just can’t stop jizzing over to the point that he beat it six times in his life and bought all the spinoffs as well as the consoles required to play them? Seriously, the dude is so mad over this game like you wouldn’t believe despite his insistence that he’s not an anime nerd. I think just like the P4 characters, he’s actually suppressing a very dark Shadow that’s constantly yelling at him about how he’s secretly a lonely otaku deep down.
- The first anime adaptation came out in 2011 and despite not really living up to the game in the eyes of most fans, it was a popular success to the point that Yu Narukami became the canon name for the gray-haired ugo that you controlled in those games. So with the release of Persona 4: Golden about a year later, the same team decided they may as well make lightning strike twice, hence we got an anime adaptation of that. Or to be more precise, a sort of sequel-y adaptation that skips pretty much everything covered in the first Persona 4 anime and only shows all the new stuff included in Golden.
- I mean why bother showing everything we already know or even telling us what the main plot is and who these characters are, even if that makes the anime totally impenetrable to people who’ve never played the games or watched the first anime, right? Do you remember when Batman v Superman came out and lots of people complained about that scene showing how Bruce’s parents died because we’ve already seen it in like ten different interpretations?
- True Persona 4 isn’t nearly as popular, but the bottom-line is that the first anime exists and isn’t going anywhere, so why bother trying to repeat its success even though we’re using different animation and a clearly different story? Let’s just all have hope that the fans are happy.
- Of course, the fans weren’t happy because when the New Game Plus story choices weren’t throwing them off, the inclusion of Marie did. For those of you who don’t know, Marie is a new female character created exclusively for the P4 Golden game in order to give players more incentive to rid Inaba of the despair caused by its fog, only for it to backfire over accusations that she’s a Mary Sue-ish fanfiction character who makes Maki in the new Evangelion movies look like Taki in Natsume Yuujinchou. The only reason people bothered to bond with her was to get powerful Aeon Personas as well as all the extra content that Golden had to offer.
- Personally, I think she’s misunderstood. I know that feeling given how I once tried to instigate a murder in order to make my classmates’ hope shine all the brighter, only for them to end up tying me up and throwing me into an empty room. Marie is just another piece of the puzzle in the grand scheme of things. Another victim of despair so that the hope that is the Investigation Team can overcome it and shine all the brighter. You see (Mr. Flawfinder: edited out an incredibly long rant about Marie’s character that has almost nothing to do with the anime)
- …and that is why for this anime adaptation, Marie ends up joining the gang in pretty much all the new activities from the game, even though she was never present during the beach trip, the Junes concert, or the Christmas party in this show’s original incarnation. She even warns the main protagonist, Yu, about Adachi and how evil he is, only to be flatly ignored because if we’re not blessed with main protagonist syndrome, then we’re all just stepping stones so that they can save us, amirite?
- After eight or so episodes of Marie raising everyone’s hopes, she ends up getting erased from everyone’s memory only so the lead characters can remember her during a skip trip and go save her. She even plays a pivotal role in the final boss fight against Izanami just to add more despair to the leads, only for their hope to shine even brighter and rescue them with that new epilogue that takes place four months after the original ending. For you see, Persona 4 isn’t just a story about discovering the truth amidst a stream of lies created by pop culture, family expectations, and societal pressure. It’s a story about characters growing up through turmoil, and we all love that sort of stuff, right?
- There have been accusations that even discounting the assumption that you’ve already seen or played the original P4 iterations, the early episodes leading up to the climax were useless unfunny filler that added nothing to any of the characters. However, I view it the same way most people view ACCA in that it’s all just buildup to something greater. And as an anime fan, I am required to like episodes consisting solely of world-building/character-building as long as what looks good on the horizon is intriguing. Did I mention that Durarara is one of my favorite anime ever?
- It also may seem like the animation looks worse than the previous Persona 4 anime – with it being well-known that the production for the first anime had behind-the-scenes drama that rival Bradgelina – but who cares about that sort of stuff as long as the story is good, right? I mean Mr. Flawfinder loves that Haibane Renmei show (as do I), and the animation in that wasn’t exactly Ghibli.
- Persona 4 Golden: The Animation may not be a perfect adaptation of the game, but in terms of what it set out to do, a story about the Persona 4 protagonists overcoming even more odds to achieve an even happier ending, I think it achieved it real well. Marie was setup with enough hope so that the eventual despair would be sizable enough so that by overcoming it, an even greater hope will emerge. Everything the characters did revolved around her and we already know them, so there was no need for the plot to go into detail about Yukiko or Yosuke or whoever. And when you get down to it, Persona is just a great series in general whether in game or anime form.
- I’m definitely looking forward to the next game coming out soon. It does suck that it was supposed to come next week and instead got pushed back to two months from now. But on the plus side, we get the original Japanese language. And as we all know, English dubs are fucking horseshit, so I’d say everyone got lucky in the end, amirite?
- Mr. Flawfinder seems to love the English dub for P4 to the point that he was disappointed this iteration never got dubbed, but he thought this anime sucked regardless, so I don’t think it would have mattered so much on his end.
Mr. Flawfinder’s Thoughts
- Seriously, Persona 4 Golden: The Animation was shit.
- To be fair, Bruce’s parents in Batman v Superman were probably asking for it due to swinging their fists at a guy who clearly had a gun pointed at them.
- Just a heads up, Ultimate Bullshit does not like Aldnoah Zero because it ended too sadly for him.