Persona 4 Ep. 2: Too much fidelity


Quality animation.

I like watching Persona 4 because I liked playing the game it is based on, but that’s the problem: the anime just makes me want to replay the game. Well, this probably isn’t an troubling issue whatsoever for Atlus. With Persona 4: The Golden coming soon to the PS Vita, it would be in their best interest if AIC A.S.T.A. could stick to the original script as much as possible. After all, they wouldn’t want virgins to the Shin Megami Tensei series balking that the game fails to resemble the anime they’ve come to enjoy. Still, while a faithful adaptation is hardly a crime, I should be saying “I want to replay the game to see what’s different” or “I want to make the character decisions,” not “I should replay the game ’cause it was better.”

Of course, I’m not trying say that the anime is a perfect copy of the video game’s events. AIC A.S.T.A. did take some liberties although they appear to be few and far between at the moment. For example, I laughed when Yu accidentally punched Yosuke and said, “Oops. Wrong guy.” If AIC A.S.T.A. couldn’t or wasn’t going to stray too far from the original formula laid out before them, I certainly do hope that they chose to amplify the story’s humor. After all, this is Persona 4‘s one clear superiority over its all-too-similar predecessor, Persona 3. At times, Persona 3 got a little too heavy and a little too serious; the final month almost seemed like a chore to trudge through. Persona 4 was better paced and, more importantly, just a whole lot more fun to experience. I’m curious to see, then, how the anime will tackle Kanji’s arc as well as the plot’s comedic intermissions (e.g. the camping trip, the beauty pageant, etc.).

There’s also something to be said (again) about the soundtrack. Like I mentioned last week, the adaptation doesn’t even remix the original songs, but although I was on the fence before, I must admit that I now think keeping the soundtrack (mostly) untouched is a good move. Hearing the familiar tracks is like sitting down to some childhood comfort food or uncoiling in your own bed after months away at college. In other words, it’s like, “Yeah, I remember this. This is nice.” Having said that, yes, I find it strange myself that keeping the exact same soundtrack can create a sense of nostalgia, but I nevertheless feel more should be done with the plot.

People tend to be hesitant to criticize faithful adaptations because they conflate criticism of the adaptation as criticism of the source material. No, no, I just think adaptations should do more to stand on their own two feet. Take this very episode, for example. While Yu and Yosuke were screwing around in the fog-shrouded world, the anime could have given us a shot or two of Chie in the outside world or maybe even a look at what Yukiko is up to. After all, are really meant to think Chie just sat there all slumped over in the middle of Junes — a big department store, mind you — the entire time her classmates are battling a demonic frog from hell? So yeah, although I’d like the anime to give us something new, this doesn’t necessarily mean they would have to make serious alterations to the original plot. AIC A.S.T.A. could simply opt to fill in the details that the original story overlooked. There’s plenty of episodes left too so it remains to be seen if they will.

21 thoughts on “Persona 4 Ep. 2: Too much fidelity

  1. thearbee

    I’m more worried if the anime would even last to the end. Apparently, Animations there weren’t paid and were abused a lot by the director (methinks), thus ending with some of the animations leaving the company.

    Personally with this show, I’d like to see more in-plot conflict. And possibly what is in the other people’s minds. Maybe I do wanna see Chie’s POV for a Sec, maybe even Yukiko’s inn training a little bit. Wait a sec, what is her Inn Training Anyhow? Also, HOW did Yosuke Keep teddie!

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I thought the director was the respected Angel Beats guy (well, I thought people liked that damn series). In any case, at this point, I’d think they’re close to done with the series and any unfinished business would just involve post production.

      Reply
      1. thearbee

        Here is the post I found
        :
        According to the tweet of animator Arai Jun (the key animator of “Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto”), the episode 2 of Persona 4 The Animation was leaked to video sharing sites with French subtitles before the TV airing in Japan. The OP sequence of the anime was also leaked yesterday prematurely. Arai Jun disclosed that the production studio AIC A.S.T.A. has been swindling the animators and his salary hasn’t been paid even after the deadline. Animator Murata Toshiharu (the character designer of “Hellsing”) agreed with Arai that there is something wrong with the whole AIC studios. Two anonymous animators (@zouni and @bito) also tweeted that they quit the team of Persona 4 from the episode 3 because of the bad management of AIC.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Shrug, I’m not going to get too wrapped in the drama behind the scenes. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like interesting stuff but I can only write about the stuff in the anime. Of course, I always did find it strange that AIC A.S.T.A. was doing P4 instead of someone like Manglobe.

          Reply
        2. Seinime

          Wow, some drama behind the scenes there. Hopefully they manage to get it done even with studio problems.

          That being said, the anime just makes me want to finish the game. Now it just feels like deja vu and no interaction at all, watching the fights take place. Of course, it’s an anime, but the incentive to watch…

          Reply
          1. E Minor Post author

            You haven’t finished the game? Oy, how come I meet so many Persona 4 fans who haven’t actually beaten the game?

            Reply
        3. thearbee

          It was a downer to me because it seemed too cliched-happy for my taste (sorta like Persona 3’s “the Power of Friendship” magnified by a million!). Persona 3’s ending has at least some kind of dark epilogue after the happy ending.

          But then again Persona 4 has to be happy… has to have a happy ending. That is why in the “SMT Endings” Grid, Persona 4 is in the ‘Blessed” section on the upper right.

          Reply
          1. E Minor Post author

            P3 was just downright depressing. I liked the ending but it just felt too heavy when you consider it together with the couple of months leading up to the finale.

            Reply
        4. thearbee

          Yeah true, Persona 3’s elements were meant to be dark and depressing (although it did became draggy especially going to Good Ending). Persona 4’s True Ending route TRIES to copy the dark elements of Persona 3’s final months to me, and the True Final Boss… doesn’t pose as much of a threat as it seems.

          (Trying to be a bit Spoiler-free for the bros who have yet to play the game)

          Reply
      2. passerby

        Actually, from what I understand, the production schedule of many anime series is dangerously tight – hence why, for instance, many Shaft series are aired in technically incomplete form. It’s highly unlikely that the entire series would be close to production right now.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Shrug, I’ll take your word for it. I was just extrapolating from Western examples. A Simpsons episode would take months to complete, so at any given point in time, there are a slew of episodes in various stages of production. I guess anime’s different.

          Reply
          1. E Minor Post author

            I never used those Megido line of spells. Too costly in terms of MP. I guess I never grinded that far anyway.

            Reply

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