0 Items | £0.00

VIEW BASKET

Persona 4: The Animation

Wednesday 19th December 2012

Helen McCarthy tries to avoid getting sucked into the screen

Persona 4: The Animation

There's nothing new under the sun. The idea of people caught inside a TV screen isn't new, even in anime: Video Girl Ai did the same thing back in the days of cassette tape. The idea that in another reality, you have special powers and a vital purpose, has been exploited by shows from Sailor Moon to Vision of Escaflowne. The displaced teen hero is found in myriad places, from Princess Mononoke's early Japan to Fullmetal Alchemist's Nazi Europe. The sentai concept, the teen-led team with its mix of strengths and mutual respect goes all the way back to the 60s, with Osamu Tezuka's puppet adventure Galaxy Boy Troop predating 1966 anime Rainbow Sentai Robin.

Where Persona 4: The Animation scores is in spinning this handful of old tropes into an interesting pattern. A 26 episode TV series aired in Japan from October 2011, and released in the USA and UK from September 2012, it's based on a game from Atlus. Japanese teenager Yu moves from Tokyo to a quiet country town to stay with his police detective uncle, and becomes entangled in a weird world of murders, changing weather patterns and a TV show that's trying to pull him into its universe. Yu and his new friends must find their Personas – their "other halves" inside the TV screen – and prevent more destruction in their own world.

Game-based anime have some complex constraints. They have to stay faithful enough to their origin to please game fans, but be coherent as standalone stories to win new, non-gamer audiences. They also have to compress many hours of gameplay into much shorter screentime. Happily, senior writer Yuuko Kakihara has plenty of experience as a story-planner, including a key role in Disney's Japanese Stitch!, while director Seiji Kishi's rap sheet includes tense human drama in Yugo The Negotiator, strange powers in Magikano and game-based stories in Ragnarok The Animation. All the key elements of the game are present and correct, although much compressed, and there are only a few moments where newcomers to the concept will be momentarily baffled.

The stylish, striking designs and colour palette wielded by art director Kazuki Higashiji are a major plus. The opening credits play up one of the show's key features, the difference between the TV world and the real. The mix of 2D and 3D is a tricky one to pull off in anime, but lead 2D house D-Station was supported by some of the top names in the TV anime business, including AIC, GAINAX and Sunrise. Shoji Meguro adapts his music from the game to good effect for TV. There are a few problems with the animation, an occasional over-reliance on still frames, but not enough to spoil your enjoyment of an otherwise entertaining show.

Persona 4: The Animation is out in the UK from Manga Entertainment.

Buy it now

Persona 4: The Animation

MANGA UK GOSSIP

Persona 4 The Animation Box 1

£20.99
sale_tag
was £24.99
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.

FEATURED RELEASE

RELATED BLOG ARTICLES

Unboxed: Persona 4

Jeremy Graves checks out the set
Jeremy Graves checks out the set.

Persona 4's video game origins

Matt Kamen on the video-game origins of Persona 4
Persona 4 was originally released in 2008 on the PlayStation 2 and is currently available in brilliantly enhanced form as Persona 4 Golden on the PlayStation Vita. While the tale of the nameless hero (Yu Narukami in the anime) and his friends in the small but macabre town of Inaba became arguably the most popular entry in the Persona series of role-playing games, it was far from the first.

Unboxed: Persona 4 the Animation 2

Jeremy Graves gets to grips with the new DVD
Jeremy Graves gets to grips with the new DVD

The end of Persona 4: The Animation

Andrew Osmond on the final part of Persona 4: The Animation
The third and last volume of Persona 4 The Animation – released like its predecessors as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack – shows the full spectrum of the series. The first volume was adventure-heavy, as hero Yu and his growing circle of friends sought the serial killer dispatching victims in the country town of Inaba; a mystery linked to a foggy fantasy world behind the TV screen. The second volume tied up – well, seemed to tie up – that arc early on, then told lighter-hearted stories tying into the show’s theme of friendship. However, Volume 2 ended with another action-heavy story confirming that the serial-killer mystery wasn’t solved, and recruiting the last warrior in Yu’s band of heroes – the cross-dressing “boy” detective Naoto, voiced by Japanese actress Romi Park (Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood).

RECENT FEATURED POSTS

One Piece: Strong World

The Straw Hats Pirates come together for an adventure like no other...
Written by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda himself, Strong World leads the Straw Hats into the deadly path of Golden Lion Shiki.

Out Now: Naruto Shippuden 16

Ninja action sneaking to a store near you
Naruto Shippuden box 16 is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

Who's Who in Dragon Ball 1

Ever wonder just how Goku and friends became the greatest heroes on Earth?
Wonder no more, as the original Dragon Ball reveals the origins of Akira Toriyama’s beloved creations! The faces may look familiar, but everything else is different in this classic series!

Karneval

Andrew Osmond rolls up for the fun of the anime fair…
Roll up for Karneval! See cosplay cats, robot sheep, hi-tech airships, battling super-beings, smiling snowmen, mutating monsters and cute boys. Some very cute boys, in fact. Let’s face it, studio Manglobe – which has a CV that zigzags between the gruesome Deadman Wonderland and the cuddliness of The World God Only Knows – has opted to make the pretty youths into the main selling-point.

Last Exile versus Fam, the Silver Wing

A Versus feature with a difference: Last Exile against Last Exile!
With the first part of Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing now available in the U.K., we can finally compare it with its predecessor, Gonzo’s 10th and 20th anniversary specials pitted against each other. What do they tell us about the industry then and now?

Anime on iTunes

Discover a whole new world of anime on your tablet or phone
There's a whole bunch of Manga Entertainment titles available for direct download on the iTunes site, including Shinji Aramaki's Appleseed, Mamoru Hosoda's Wolf Children, and K-on: The Movie.

Fam, the Silver Wing 2

Andrew Osmond finds Emperor Hirohito in Japanese animation
The Sara storyline in Fam the Silver Wing seems to echo a view – many would say a myth – of Hirohito, encouraged not just by the Japanese but also by the victorious Americans when they rebuilt the country. Namely, it was the story that Hirohito was a helpless figurehead, at the mercy of his warmongering government.

Sword Art Online Music: LiSa

Tom Smith on Sword Art Online's LiSa
Salarymen to the left of me, shoppers to the right. And here I am, stuck in the middle with otaku. Well, more accurately I’m frolicking with them, in Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall, a concrete amphitheatre that’s dwarfed by the towering skyscrapers of Tokyo’s business district to the west, and high-end retail haven Ginza to the east. Between the two is the venue, hidden in the peaceful Hibiya Park. Peaceful, that is, until 3,000 anime fans descend en masse, clutching chunky glow batons, wearing identical shirts and all waiting for the latest lady-singer that tickles the tastes of otaku to hit the stage; LiSA.

Godzilla: Too Soon?

When is it okay for a real-life disaster to become entertainment?
How soon is too soon? The question’s raised by the new Godzilla trailer, the first half of which seems to be all about recreating traumatic events as fantasy, just three years after they occurred. Specifically, the trailer opens with a disaster at a Japanese power station, before segueing into images of a giant wave sweeping into a town with devastating force. Both images seem less ripped than Xeroxed from the headlines of March 2011, when northern Honshu (Japan’s mainland) was struck by an earthquake which caused a tsunami, killing thousands, and the meltdown at Fukushima.

PODCAST: SMOKING IN THE BOYZ ROOM

Babymetal, anime apartheid and MazandaRanting in our 25th podcast.
Jeremy “Care in the Community” Graves is joined by Manga UK’s Jerome “Twitter Hijacker” Mazandarani and Product Manager Andrew “Mr Manga” Hewson, and special guest Stuart Ashen, star of Ashens and the Quest for the Gamechild, out now. Not sure any of those names will stick.
Contact Us   |   Refund Policy   |   Delivery Times   |   Privacy statement   |   Terms & Conditions
Please note your card statement will show billing by MVM. Persona 4: The Animation from the UK's best Anime Blog.