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.