What They Say
When Yu Narukami moves to the country town of Inaba to stay with his uncle and cousin, he’s expecting a lot more peace and quiet than he’s used to in the big city. What he isn’t expecting is for his uncle’s job as a police detective to spill over into his own life, or for the murders that are occurring across town to be somehow linked to Yu’s own strange experiences, odd local weather patterns, and a mysterious TV show world that seems to be attempting to get Yu to enter it!
Now, together with a new group of friends, Yu must plunge into a bizarre alternate reality where he gains unique abilities that will either help him solve the riddle of the mystery killer… or lead him to his doom.
The audio for Persona 4 the Animation is really impressive. The soundtrack sounds like it didn’t change much from the game, but the music came in crisp and clear. I was also really impressed with both the quality of the voice acting and the sound. The voices were never too soft or too loud, and I never felt like the sound effects overpowered them. It feels like Sentai Filmworks went all out when they dubbed this.
1080p high-definition is pretty much the epitome of what it means to watch something on Blu-ray. The lines are crisp and clean, none of the colors are smudged or feel grainy. The animation is also very fluid. I was really impressed with the visuals and how well they paired with the high-end quality that can only be found in Blu-ray.
The packaging is the standard blue found on all Blu-ray cases. The front cover features a very nice piece of art with the protagonist, Yu Narukami, at the bottom. His hand is out and there’s a glowing blue card hovering over it. He’s also surrounded by more cards, which are the keys to his personas. In the background above him are two personas; his Izanagi and another Izanagi that looks evil. The title, P4 Persona 4 The Animation, stands boldly in the center with mostly white font. The back is a bit unusual. It’s a strange shade of yellow. It looks like a beam. The blurb and several screenshots are on it. Below that is the information about the series and Sentai Filmworks.
Each menu features one of the main Persona characters on the right, and the selections on the left. Discs one through three all feature the episodes, which can be watched in Japanese with English subtitles or English.
Special Features: Director’s Cut Episode 1, Japanese Commentaries, Person 4’s Mr. Experiment; The Unlucky Ninja, Mr. Experiment; The Unlucky Gentleman, Mr. Experiment; The Unlucky Ninja, Mr. Experiment ~ Final Episode; The Unlucky Ninja, Experiment Girl; A Brief lesson on Izanagi & Izanami, Japanese Promos, TV Spots, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation.
Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
Our anime begins in the velvet room. For those who have played the game, you’ll recognize the velvet room. For those who haven’t, this room is a place that reminds me of the interior to a limousine. There, the protagonist meets Igor and Margaret, who tells him that he is about to go on a great journey of discovery… or something to that effect. Anyway, after the velvet room scene, we are introduced to Yu Narukami, the protagonist of this series. Yu came from Tokyo all the way to Inaba because his parents were traveling for work. During the first episode, we are introduced to several other characters, including Yu’s uncle, niece, and a guy at the gas station. The next day he goes to school and meets Chie and Yosuke. However, his arrival at the school is eclipsed by the sudden murder of a TV hostess on campus. Even stranger, Yu and his new friends accidentally enter a portal through a TV and discover a nightmare world infested by fog and monsters.
Episode 1 serves as an introduction into the series; it does a good job by moving neither too fast nor too slow. All of the characters introduced have clear personalities and motives, the beginning begins slowly, but the last few minutes pick up the pace as Yu, Yosuke, and Chie run from shadow-like monsters. During this episode, Yu also unlocks his Persona, Izanagi.
If there’s one thing about the anime that I didn’t like, it’s that I never really understood what the Personas are—I mean, I do, but that’s because I have prior knowledge from playing the game. To someone who has never played the game before, they might become confused by this. Where do these powers come from, how do they work, what is the velvet room, and why do Yu, Chie, Yosuke, and the others just accept their powers with no questions asked? While many questions are answered later on, the fact that no one seems to find it strange that they can enter a TV and suddenly gained powers is a bit weird.
As the story continues, more characters are added to the increasingly large cast. We meet Yukiko, Chie’s best friend and the third person to appear on the Midnight Channel, a mysterious show that comes on at midnight every night. Yukiko is also the first person they save from the TV world. They also meet Kanji, a tough guy who also ends up in the TV world and is rescued; Teddie, a strange bear that lives in the TV world; Rise “Risette”, a pop idol who leaves show business and steals away to this small town; and Naoto Shirogane, a boy detective who is actually a girl. They form the core of Yu’s group, though Naoto comes in much later.
There’s a bit of redundancy when it comes to the introduction of these characters. Each one is kidnapped, Yu and friends rescue them, and they are forced to confront a side of themselves that they hide, thus gaining their personas. This happens pretty much every time. While the personas themselves are different, the fact that it always happens the same way makes it feel repetitious. I think another problem is that Yu and the others always struggle to fight against the Shadow Personas that appear, even though they become both stronger and more numerous as the number of allies they have increases.
This story has a lot of emotional twists. Sometimes it’s seems like a silly high school series, with jokes and blossoming romances, and other times it seems like an intense action series. There were a few scenes that really surprised me. One in particular was the family issues that came up between Dojima and Nanako, the father and daughter pair that Yu lives with. Dojima is a cop who’s always out working. This is hard on Nanako, who feels like her own father hates her because he’s more focused on catching bad guys than spending time with her. The situation eventually culminates into a huge blow up that strengthens the bond between these three after their issues are resolved.
While I liked this anime overall, I do feel like the ending was a bit rushed. The episode after Yu and company defeat what appears to be the final boss shows Yu being attacked by Margaret. It then switches to a scene of Yu leaving his friends via train before suddenly switching to Yu being back at Dojima’s house, and it does this several times before we find out that there’s another badguy—girl—named Izanami, who could be considered the final boss. This ending felt very rushed and disjointed. If I hadn’t played the game, I would have been incredibly confused.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: A
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Running Time: 670 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Bluray player