It’s always interesting to see an anime that is based on a game, in this case a JRPG. There are multiple anime series based on Persona 4, among which Persona 4 the Golden Animation. This is the most recent one and was aired in Japan on television in 2014. This series consists of 13 episodes of not even thirty minutes per episode and that’s pretty short.
The story is based on the remake of Persona 4, namely Persona 4 the Golden which I personally haven’t played. I have played Persona 4 and I just barely didn’t finish it. This is why I am pretty familiar with the characters that appear in this anime series, except for Marie. She was added to Persona 4 in the remake of the game. The anime series shows a lot of scenes which were also part of the game. Yu Narukumi moves, due to family circumstances, to Yaso Inaba to move in with uncle Ryotaro Dojima and his cousin Nanako. He enters Yasogami High School where he meets his new friends: Yukiko Amagi, her family runs an inn, Yosuke Hanamura, his father runs Junes and Chie Satonaka, a tomboy who loves kung-fu. Later on in the story, just like expected with this game, he also gets to know the idol Rise Kujikawa, the rebellious Kanji Tasumi, the androgynous Naoto Shirogane (the ‘Detective Prince’) and Kuma (in English Teddy).
Shortly after his arrival a few people are murdered, a rare occurrence in this quiet village. Yu awakens the power of his heart to a physical form, a persona. Another mystery is also added on, a girl names Marie, who has no memories of her past. Together with his friends Yu tries to uncover these mysteries and solve them.
When I watched the first episode I had the feeling the story was pretty fast paced. Translating a game into thirteen episodes seems like a crime to me! And the execution leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. Up until the seventh episode I already had the feeling that the series wasn’t a good match for people who had never played the game. There are a lot of holes in the story, that remain unfilled for me, but that’s because I didn’t play this Persona 4 game. The story is very confusing for people who haven’t played the game. It took me until episode 8 to get the feeling that I understood where the story was headed. When it comes to the order in which the story was told they deviated from what I’m used to from the game. The story about the murders didn’t really come across, but the bad guy was already found and defeated in the middle of the series. Now and then they referred to people who didn’t even appear in the series yet, they missed the mark.
Nonetheless I had fun watching this anime. The humor was great and there was enough tension and action. Just like I’ve come to expect from Persona 4. Even so I feel like the series could’ve been executed better. The characters fell flat, they didn’t gain much depth during the course of the series. A persona 4 gamer would understand what it’s about but someone who hasn’t played the games would stop watching pretty quickly. If the storyline would’ve been more elaborate, by which I mean they should’ve filled up the holes in the story and adjusted the order of it, then this anime would’ve been a lot more pleasant and clearer for the viewers. I think this would’ve meant more than 13 episodes as well.
Studios: A-1 Pictures
Started airing: 11th of July 2014
Number of episodes: 12