As I’ve made very clear in the past, Persona 4 is easily my most anticipated anime of the year, let alone the season. The game is considered a modern classic and the plot seems perfect for adaptation. That said, it was never going to be an easy thing to adapt, as it’s compressing an 80+ hour long game into 24 episodes. There’s a lot to cover and if it was handled poorly, it could lead to the anime feeling very rushed, and if it deviated from the source material, there’d be a lot of angry fans.
Thank god then, that this so far not only proves to be a very faithful adaptation, but one that turns out to be as good as I could have hoped it to be.
This first episode does an admirable job of compressing the famously long opening of the game (it took about an hour and a half for the gameplay to properly kick in) into just over 20 minutes without feeling at all rushed. Sure, it gives a little less time for viewers to get attached to the characters, and at this point they may not seem like much, but a large part of the story is about personal growth, so rest assured that if you had any nagging doubts, they’ll go away soon.
The fantastic sense of style that permeated throughout the game has carried over incredibly well, the animation is solid, but all technical shortcomings are easily made up for with wonderful art direction that helps to liven up even the slower paced real world scenes, and the TV world is no longer let down by PS2-era graphics, allowing for far more creative environments (though it remains to be seen whether or not the dungeons will be livened up a bit)
The director, Seiji Kishi, who I was initially quite worried about, proves to be a great match for Persona. And the first episode is very well directed and paced, culminating in a very stylish (albeit short) fight scene at the end. His famous mood whiplash also suits the source material, with heavily contrasting atmospheres between the real and TV world scenes. I look forward to seeing how he handles the rest of the series.
To be honest, this was tough to write. As a fan of the game, I’m ecstatic, but I wanted to avoid making this post little other than crazy fanboyism, and I tried my best to give an opinion that wasn’t loaded with bias. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Everything looks just as it did in the game (to the point where they even kept in the date transitions), the Character designs look as great as ever, the shadows and personas look awesome, the music is wonderful. I could go on. But I’m just going to stop here with this, one fanboy moment:
I’M SO HAPPY, IT’S BEING ADAPTED WELL! THIS WAS GREAT IN JUST ABOUT EVERY WAY, I LOVE IT SO MUCH, GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW!!!!! Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…
Will I blog this?
Absolutely yes. This has been my favourite episode of the season thus far (and I loved the first episode of Chihayafuru) and I can’t wait for more even though I already know the plot. This must just be the fan in me speaking, but this looks to be one of the best, if not the best show of the season. Watch it.