Based on the Japanese role playing game of the same name, Persona 4 takes place in a rural town named Inaba. There have been mysterious murders occurring whenever there was fog after heavy rain. There were also rumors about a channel on television airing only at midnight called Mayonaka TV, during which it is said that one can see his/her “other half” when staring at the TV screen. After hearing about a recent unsolved murder which occurred during the fog, the characters—Narukami, Chie, and Yosuke—discuss how each of them had attempted to watch the mysterious TV channel and witnessed the murder victim. The protagonist later realizes that during midnight when the channel is on, his body can phase into his television set as a gateway to enter another world infested with shadows.
The action was good, if quick, and the design of the Persona is definitely worthy of the best JRPG designs. The story seems to follow that of the games where our heroes must venture into the strange world and unlock their Personas. 13 episodes in so far I would say this is a compelling show that fans of the game will eat up. I liked the little detective club investigation done in the real world and how that led to the resolution in the TV world. The characters are fun and even a little bit strange, which I really enjoy because it gives the series a unique offbeat comedy feel to it. The transition from one element to the next is also well done, the kids chatting about odd urban legends folds right into them becoming reality.
I always judge an anime’s potential on its first five episodes and so far Persona 4 is pretty promising. If you have yet to experience the wonder of Persona 4, then I highly suggest you play the game if you cannot follow what exactly is going in the anime. It’s fast and a lot to absorb in 22 minutes. It covered all the basic points, but I believe it would be very hard for any person new to Persona 4 to understand/absorb what exactly is going on. This is most apparent in the fact that there are only about 3-5 sentences in each scene before something completely different happens. I truly believe that I could only follow what was going on because I have played the game beforehand. I did like the consistency with the jokes, and the group dynamics really shone through the responses each of the characters had.
Analyzing the series thus far, I would have to say that I wish that there were a more innovative way to integrate the focus on the outside world with the television world so that they would balance out. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the way they incorporated it in the series but having too much of a focus on either is starting to seem like an issue as it either turns into a repetitive situation or the show is forced to add filler scenes that don’t really do much for the series’ plot. With Nanako’s investigation into Yuu going nowhere, we come to the final part of a good character focused episodes: the character’s monologue, insight, and resolution. For those looking for an anime that breaks the cliche that all videogame anime are terrible, I think we found ourselves a winner.