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.



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.