“Even familiar landscapes will reveal a different kind of beauty if you change your viewpoint,” says Margaret in the anime’s cold opening. Gee, I wonder what she’s getting at. In any case, a post on a remake? Sure, why not? In fact, think of this as a remake of my posts on the original anime adaptation. If Atlus can do it, why can’t I? Granted, I stopped writing about the AIC ASTA adaptation after like three mere episodes, but we shouldn’t let a minor detail like that get in our way, should we? Plus, I’ll try to stick it all the way through to the end this time around. It’s not like the remake will be very long; I heard it’ll only be twelve episodes long. Along the way, I might also voice my opinions on the story as a whole and not just remake itself. But for now, we should focus on what has changed. I mean, something has to have changed, right? Why else are we watching this? Well, there’s this new character…
I never played Persona 4 Golden, but that’s only because I didn’t have a PS Vita. If it had somehow been released to a console, I’m sure I would’ve played it too. Needless to say, the new girl’s character arc — if she even has an arc — will be completely new to me. I mean, I don’t even know her name. I could look it up, but y’know, I’ll just wait for the anime to officially introduce her to me. But really? You don’t do an entire remake just to include a couple new characters, do you? Luckily for us, it seems as though the main character has changed somewhat as well. If you’re familiar with JRPGs, then you probably already know what a “new game plus” mode is. For the non-gamers amongst it, It’s like starting a new game, but this time, your stats from a previous saved file will carry over. It feels like this is what’s happening here. Right from the get-go, Yu seems more outgoing and courageous. For one thing, he certainly didn’t stand up to Moronking in the original adaptation.
For people who haven’t played the game, you actually get two choices during this scene: when Moronking’s berating you in front of the class, you can choose to either stand up to your teacher or just take his verbal punishment. The first time through the game, you will not have enough points in the Courage stat to put the asshole in his place. It’s one of things Atlus included in the game to encourage replayability. So far, therefore, the remake feels like a new game plus playthrough. This should make the story a little more refreshing for longtime fans of the game. After all, a courageous Yu is unlike most anime protagonists as they are typically wimpy and uncharismatic. It’ll be interesting if this courage will carry through to the rest of the story, though. Will Yu, for instance, brazenly flirt with any of the girls? Romantically, the original adaptation stayed relatively inert. Even so, however, is this enough to make watching the A-1 Pictures adaptation a worthwhile endeavor? Probably not. It’s a start, but we need more positive changes.
Needless to say, I won’t be poring over every single change between this adaptation and the previous one. I think that’s just unnecessary, especially since this is only going to be a one-cour series. Rather, I want to take a more relaxed approach and take a look at the bigger picture. The animation has definitely improved, especially in the scenery and backdrops. They are much more vibrant and detailed this time around. Personally, I’m not very adept at judging the voice acting, so I’ll just leave that aspect of the remake alone. Of course, seeing as how my first playthrough of the game was on the English localization, it’s still a bit weird to hear their Japanese voices. But that’s just me, probably. Moving on, the fight choreography seems to have taken a step up as well, and it’s quite necessary if the main character remains this overpowered. Yes, he is currently overpowered. Longtime fans are certainly familiar with how Yu gets his powers, but it has never been quite like this.
When Izanagi finally makes his appearance in the remake, the Japanese god ends up holding off thousands upon thousands of shadows all by his lonesome. Granted, these shadows are level one monsters in the game, but this is still a display of power far and beyond anything I had seen in the previous adaptation. Back then, Izanagi actually took a few licks from these same level one enemies. Yu’s breathing also started to labor somewhat as if battling was putting a physical and mental toll on him. Here, however, the main character remains cool and calm as his persona takes to the air to fight off a hurricane of enemies. In the aftermath, Izanagi then floats into the sky and glows with a golden light. Yosuke asks, “Who are you?” In response, Yu merely smirks and grunts. This was in the original adaptation too, but somehow, our main character seems more cocksure and arrogant than before. Oddly enough, however, the credits start to roll soon after, i.e. at just a mere 17 minutes into the episode.
We thus meet the new girl again after the credits. This time, we finally learn that her name is Marie, and I guess the main character is supposed to keep an eye on her as she recovers her memories. Apparently, she’s a young soul who knows little about the outside world, so hey, who better to lead her around than the main character himself? Eh. What do I think about her addition to the cast? I don’t know, it feels like someone took a look at the original story and pointed out how it seemed to lack a tsuntsun character. So right off the bat, Marie utters that oh-so-familiar tsuntsun phrase: “Urusai…” Even as an idol, Rise manages to fit in with the rest of the gang. Marie, however… well, let’s put it this way: she wears a choker, and attached to said choker is a padlock. So yeah… she’s certainly an odd character. Sure, it’s too early to judge her character just yet, but I’m not too optimistic about her addition to what was a complete story to begin with.
Clearly, with a new studio behind the remake, one of the many goals is to show off A-1 Pictures’ animation chops. Still, I can’t help but imagine what this will mean for the future encounters in the story. Will Yu be just as strong, or will his powers conveniently disappear just for the sake of tension and drama? Pacing-wise, however, the episodes both “end” at the same spot in the story, but not really. In order to fit in a new scene with the new girl, they left out a lot of things. For instance, the episode didn’t even introduce the main story, i.e. the murder mystery. Again, this will only be a one-cour series, so it seems as though they’ve assumed anyone watching P4: The Golden will have already known what the story is all about. This is a shame for newcomers. Even if you say they could just watch the original adaptation, AIC ASTA still ended up having to cut out quite a bit of content. With the remake looking like nothing more than “Persona 4‘s greatest hits,” I can’t help but be a touch disappointed that we won’t see how the rest of the story would’ve looked with A-1 Pictures behind the helm.