Post Reply Persona 4 The Golden Animation
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Posted 7/30/14 , edited 7/31/14
by rikun85

When it comes to video game adaptations there are two audiences to think about: the veteran fans of the games and the newbies who've probably never played it before. I find myself in the middle of this scale since I was fortunate enough to have played P4 on the PS2, but never got around to finishing past the first couple of days. Reviewing this adaptation is even more interesting since it's based on the Vita-exclusive Golden version which, as I've heard, is different enough from the original that it may throw me in for a loop. While there are those who have informed me that playing the game would allow me to appreciate the anime more, I firmly believe that an adaptation should be good enough to stand on its own while paying respects to the source material. With that said, here is my first impressions of Persona 4: the Golden Animation.

Fans of both versions of the game will already be familiar with the plot: the Protagonist (Yu Narukami) has arrived in the small town of Inaba to live with his uncle and younger cousin for a year. Along with the usual antics of fitting into a new school and making new friends, he and his newfound companions are thrown into a mystery involving murders that occur during foggy days and their possible connection to the much rumored "Midnight Channel". This might sound like yet another boring retread of the first anime, but there are a couple of differences that make these episodes stand out:

First off, it appears Yu is a lot more open, straightforward, and overall happier than he was the first time around. Secondly, a new girl by the name of Marie has been popping about all over the important plot points as if she was much more than an incidental add-in. Thirdly, the pacing of this series flies by much more rapidly than the original series to the point of almost becoming an abridgement. In fact during the course of this review I found myself comparing the events of this series to the ones in the first to see where exactly everything started to deviate, which seems to suggest that perhaps in the future there will be something bigger coming than what the big boss from the first series initially turned out to be. The overall feel of the series at the time of this writing is of a televised New Game+ mode, where the player has already experienced everything beforehand and can confidently stride through the story while appreciating the subtle twists in the narrative. Plus, it may also help in curbstomping monsters that would've been a pain to fight the first time through.

Even if you're not 100% familiar with the entire Persona game series, fans will be happy to know that what made P4 great is still present within this series: realistic, relatable characters in a modern day setting that's not too far removed from our own. Though I've never completed the original game as of this moment, I've always praised the series for having realistic characters in contrast to the casts of many types of anime that are too fantastic to be relatable. Given the source materials' emphasis on building social links it's not too surprising that the cast is a fully fleshed out ensemble that plays well off each other, though one can only speculate how a more confident Yu and the newly integrated Marie will mix up the change in group dynamic. Performances from the cast are solid as they should be, and while the animation may not be as awesome as the first series it still gives a pleasing aesthetic for everyone to enjoy.

As of this writing there are only three episodes out with a fourth soon to be released, so there's no way to know how the rest of the series will pan out unless you've already played the game. Thankfully speaking you do not have to buy a Vita and a copy of this game to understand everything that's going on since this series has always been known for its strong narrative and even stronger characters. However, as I have discovered during the course of this review, it really helps if you've seen the first Persona 4 anime before diving into this one as a total newbie is likely to miss all the subtle jabs and deviations The Golden will take from the first series. As a starting point for a complete Persona newbie this may not be the best series to dive into, but for those who've either played the games or at least seen the first anime series, Persona 4 The Golden is definitely worth the watch. As for the newbies to the series, there's nothing wrong with watching the first anime to refresh yourselves before diving into this one. It will be well worth your time.
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Posted 8/7/14 , edited 8/7/14
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