My Favorite Anime of 2013

Persona 4: The Animation

This should come as no surprise. Persona 4 ties with Clannad for my all-time favorite Anime. The similarities between both Anime is striking: Both are based on a video game (Clannad was originally a visual novel, which is a type of video game in Japan). Both have a main character who creates bonds with most of the other characters (Tomoya and Yu). High School students make up the main cast. Both have life lessons anyone can take from them.

I think Persona 4 the video game is one of those games a fan would play no matter how many times it’s re-released. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Persona 4 ported to the PS4 with the first episode of the Anime for example. The Anime does have a couple original tracks not found in the Anime. This one that plays during the team’s battle with Ameno Sagiri is my favorite:

It’s interesting to note Persona 4 The Animation (I won’t say P4A since there is a game titled Persona 4 Arena that uses that acronym) is not available on Netflix or Hulu Plus. The only way to legally watch it is to buy it. I first learned of the Anime from the trailer included with Persona 4 Golden and bought the whole series via iTunes in September. Then I bought theĀ  Blu-Ray set earlier this week. Speaking of which: I noticed only the Blu Ray release includes Episode 26, which features Yu fighting Margaret and the battle with Izanami. For some reason this episode is not included with the iTunes, PSN and Xbox Live releases of the Anime.

 

 

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My Panel Plans for AB2014

Before I start, preregistration is now live. Register by the end of November and save $15!
AB2014 will be my 3rd year as a panelist (WOOT!). This time I am looking to do four panels, two of which I am looking for someone to do the panel with this time around.

Of the panels I’ve done in the past, the following I can say for sure will definitely be back in March:

1. Clannad: The Place Where Wishes Come True (60 Mins): I will play clips from the Recap Episode duriing the panel. The quiz will not return but I will throw in some random facts about Clannad throughout the slideshow. As before, this panel will definitely be Saturday night.

2. Court Records: Ace Attorney (60 or 90 Mins): It will be more or less like how I did it last year plus info on Dual Destinies and extra info on the Ace Attorney movies (worth checking out in my opinion, mind you). If I can’t get someone to do this with me it will be 60 minutes and it will be late Sunday morning.

That’s it.

I’m looking for one or two people to help me do the Ace Attorney panel. If I can get help it will be 60 minutes, allowing me to commit 45 of those 90 minutes to a mock trial Ace Attorney style. It stole the show last year and it would be so much easier for me to do it next year. Cosplayers preferred but not required =D

If I can’t get help I’ll still do the mock trial it will be much shorter than the one I did last year.

As for my Fan Fiction Panel I will do it only if someone agrees to do it with me. I have no idea how I made it through the 90-minute marathon last year but I made it! I’m not in a rush to go through that alone again, though (LOL!). I am going to ask Lauren G., who is also a member of AB staff if she’d be interested in doing it with me but I wanna ask other folks too just in case. If I can’t get someone to do this panel with me I won’t do it this time. I’m expecting to do another panel afterward and would rather avoid a repeat of this year where I was scrambling to go to my next panel and get set up.

Before I talk about new panels I might do please keep in mind that panelists need to be pre-registered in order to run a panel at Anime Boston. I am going to ask the same of those interested in doing a panel with me. Please be registered for the Con by December 31 at 11:59PM. If you are interested in being a Co-panelist with me please email me at bthomas04@gmail.com or PM me. PM me only if you know for sure you’re up for it.

Now for the new panels:

* Persona 4: Pursuing My True Self (60 Minutes) will cover both the Anime and the Video Game, both of which I have (I have the Vita version of the video game). I will play clips from the Director’s Cut version of the first episode of the Anime during the panel. I will also have screenshots from the Vita version as well. I’m hoping to slot this panel on Friday afternoon or early Sunday morning.

* Flights of Fancy (30 Minutes) will cover the Anime and Manga series Ah! My Goddess! I will also field some questions from the audience of what they would ask for if given their very own wish. If I go forward with it, it will be Friday morning or around Opening Ceremonies (before or after).

* Chaos Theory: Fire Emblem Awakening (60 Minutes) focuses on the game and some of its inconsistencies. I will also take a shot at revealing what I think would be the canon pairings. If I were to go forward with it, it will be early Sunday morning or Friday afternoon.

So out of the above I am leaning toward doing the Persona Panel. My Clannad and Ace Attorney Panels will definitely happen and likely the Persona one as well if I can. If I end up not doing the Fanfiction panel I will do one of the other ones instead and save the one I don’t do for next year.

Review: Persona 4: The Animation

Hopefully some of you saw the review I did of the game this Anime is based on. If not, go see it after you’re done reading this. Unlike most of the Anime based on a video game I’ve seen up to now, Persona 4 (henceforth P4) can be followed by anyone weather or not they’re familiar with the game it’s based on. With the way the Vita version I reviewed is presented, I actually thought the Anime came first (LOL).

Notice I said VIta version. Persona 4 was previously released on the PS3 and the PS2. My understanding is the same team that worked on the Anime and the PS3 game basically built the Vita version from scratch. I left quite a few things out of my review of the game but I am including them here since I’m focusing on the storyline in my review of the Anime.

For starters, the Anime itself is 25 episodes long spanning two seasons. There is an extended cut version of the first episode included with the first season. Now for those who’ve only played the game you may be wondering how much of the game made the cut.

Just about everything did:

  • All of the kidnappings happen in the same order they do in the games. The only change is the space between their rescue and recovery, which is skipped over to when they’re fully recovered.
  • Everyone the player character encounters in the game except Marie (who is exclusive to the Vita version of the game) made the cut and has multiple lines.
  • Like in the game Narakami uses multiple Personas, most notably while fighting Naoto’s Shadow and the final boss (not naming due to massive spoilers).
  • The attendant makes the cut though he isn’t heard from after he’s introduced.
  • Yes, the “Beauty” Pageant made it in, too. (WOOT!)

One interesting (or not?) change from the games presumably done to keep the Shippers happy is they didn’t pair the main characters. Narakami x Rise, Narakami x Ai and Kanji x Naoto were teased but that’s as far as it went. As I mentioned above the Vita version of the game introduces a new character who, once you’ve capped your bond with her gives you an extra ending. She is not included in the Anime presumably because the Vita version came after the Anime was done and The Velvet Room only appeared for about a minute at the beginning of each episode.

They didn’t hold back when they converted the game into Anime. It’s obvious to me they had fun putting the Anime together. Even if you played the game(s) first you’ll fall in love with the characters all over again. Like I said though, the Anime is essentially the same as the game in terms of content. I’d be fine letting a mature 12 year old watch it by themselves though.

Overall I give Persona 4: The Animation a 10 out of 10 for the same reason I gave the game the same rating: Everything together from the music to the storyline is executed flawlessly. Even the “ok, we’re going to skip ahead here” moments are subtly touched on without making a big deal out of it.

For me, the main selling point of both the Anime and game(s) are the lessons learned.

Let’s go over a few of them:

  • Everyone has a side (except Narakami, LOL) of themselves they don’t want anyone else to know about. A tutorial on the Theory of Persona is actually included in the Vita version (as well as the previous Persona games) that goes into detail on what a Persona is and how everyone subconsciously uses one for every single person the interact with. I’m talking about the real word itself, not the game and anime stuff.
  • For just aobut everyone (except Narakami), your most powerful enemy is actually yourself. The boss music in the Anime and games is called I’ll Face Myself for a reason. The characters are facing their own worst nightmare: A physical manifestation of their fears and anguish. For those who defeat their shadows and in turn gain the power of Persona, their Persona takes on the form of how they view themselves as heroes.
  • The characters all have aspects of themselves or their lives they’d like to be free of (except Narakami), hence why they deny their Shadows as a part of them at first. In refusing to accept their innermost thoughts and feelings made manifest they’re nearly killed. After they accept their Shadows as a part of them, yes they gain the power of Persona but more importantly, they’re stronger as individuals because of it.
  • With the Dojimas, Ryotaro was so obsessed with finding the guy who killed his wife he neglected Nanako. Thanks to Narakami Father and Daughter were able to come to an understanding about their feelings for each other and their deceased loved one.
  • Kanji and Naoto both have a complex about their sexual identities. With Kanji, he’s your textbook jock but he like cute things. With Naoto, she’s a girl who pretends to be a boy so she can be the cliche boy detective genius. After they face their shadows they come to accept these respective aspects about themselves.

…Whew, that was very tech-heavy!

Now as to the question of what would happen if I faced my “Other Self”, I’m strong enough to say I’ve been there already and at the moment of truth I accepted reality. Are the stuff about me I don’t want anyone else to know? Nope. The only thing that comes even remotely close on that list I’ve already put out there in both my Fanfics and Original stories.

Let me shrink that last paragraph into 5 words: I have nothing to hide. I’ve already proven it earlier this year. Yes, there are some things that just shouldn’t be shared but you get the idea. If someone else announced them to the world I’d be mad at whoever did it but I’d accept it as the truth. I’m even going to do a video to prove it.

Watch my main blog for ther video sometime next month.