Persona 4: The Animation

For those unfamiliar with the Persona series, Persona are fighting beings formed from one’s alter ego and summoned to fight Shadows in the alternate/ dream world.

I’d say I did not begin watching Persona 4 with any expectations at all, seeing the Genshin Impact Specialist meme made me curious what Persona 4 was about. Despite these initial expectations, and a slow start, somewhere along I started to enjoy watching it a lot. Episode 14 especially had me realise that I really liked the story telling and had grown to like the characters in it. Skip to spoiler-free if you’re spoiler-concerned.

Episode 14 (Spoilers not relating to main plot)

In episode 13-14, the anime showed side stories from the game where Yu (main character) spends his summer helping people. Initially in episode 13, we see from Yu’s little sisters’ perspective, who sees Yu coming home late every night over summer and behaving oddly than usual. In the next episode, all is explained when we see Yu’s side of the story, which explains why he has been coming home late, how he has been tutoring, helping people… etc. Everything pieces together, and it is in that Eureka moment that I felt this anime was so worth watching. Not to forget the warmth of each little story, and how the little sisters’ actions to help in some way ended up contributing to Yu’s attempt to help. E.g. the little sister helps get ice for the shaved ice stand. In the next episode we find out that thanks to the little sister’s good deed, Yu can do a further good deed in helping ice the wounded head of an injured mom.

Episode 14 (spoiler-free)

The anime used an effective story telling technique; I’m not sure if there’s name for it, but it starts with telling parts of the story from one perspective, then telling that same story from another perspective to complete the puzzle and fill in the gaps in the first telling of the story. This allows the viewer to piece together the initial story into a complete whole, and explains the actions and happenings that we didn’t understand at first. Well done for what most anime would consider to be filler story or filler episode. Plus, the filler episode actually felt heartwarming although perhaps the coincidences that happened and prices of things were a tad absurd.

Music

I love Persona 5 soundtrack, it’s jazziness and chillness. Specialist is a Persona 4 soundtrack, and it was not bad too. The Persona soundtrack has quite a distinctive feel to it, and easy to pick out, so when trombone girl plays her trombone I instantly knew it had to be a Persona soundtrack too.

Wrap

Comparing with Persona 5, I could definitely see the similarities in how the true culprit is not easily determined and is such a big plot twist, and as of every game the final boss must be A Big Bad Evil that is super strong and to be defeated With The Power Of Friendship. But even with all those tropes, I’d say Persona 4 did well in fleshing out characters – familiar (as in family) bonds in the main characters’ household, friendship between Chie and Yukiko, crush of Kanji on Naoto. Each time the persona gang saves someone, they fight their alter ego or suppressed selves, face the other person within themselves and accept themselves for who they are. With each backstory, we get to know these characters even better and come to love them as they struggle to love themselves. A good watch and would go on to play the game had I not already played Persona 5.

Favourite Character

As with some posts, I did a favourite character section. Although most of my favourites are either shota or traps, this time round little sister Nanako takes the cake!

As little sister, this little angel 1) softens her words when telling others their food tastes good even though it wasn’t, 2) shows maturity in handling situations, pretends to understand what braniac is then ask her brother afterwards , 3) is lonely and relatable as a key child (kagikko – child alone at home most times with parents coming back late from work) yet is understanding about it, 4) goes around helping random strangers, (even a fox!). And she’s adorable.

last episode
Source: Boy or girl? Cute does it matter

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