So the Shin Megami Tensei series are a ruddy good series of games. In particular, Persona 3 and 4 stand out as two shining examples that Eastern RPGs can be as good if not better than their Western counterparts. Both games are widely regarded as having excellent stories, characters and presentation, and so of course both of them were destined to make the leap to TV at some point.
Persona: Trinity Soul was a 2008 anime series based off of Persona 3, set 10 years afterwards. It was a neat “addition” to the Persona 3 story, with a few references to the game but still standing on it’s own two feet as a series. Now we’ve got Persona 4: The Animation to look forward to, an adaption of the games story.
For those of you who haven’t played it, Persona 4 takes place in a small town called Inaba. You play a kid who is forced to move there with his uncle, and have to adapt to town life. It’s not long until you start hearing about a midnight channel. This is a mysterious channel that turns on at midnight, that shows you who your one true love is. At the same time, a TV Announcer is found dead, strung up on an antenna pole. Obviously, town life isn’t as simple as it sounds. You discover that you can reach into the TV, through the screen, and you and your new friends embark on a journey of mystery and danger as you uncover the plot to the gruesome murders that are beginning to take place.
Now at first recycling the story seems like a lazy way to animate the Persona 4 world – whereas 3 got a whole new cast and story, Persona 4 is just getting a repeat. However, it’s worth remembering that whilst Persona 4 already had an amazing story, it would have benefited by having more scenes that drive in the paranoia and investigation elements of the game. And judging from the trailer, it certainly has that, as well as the typical light-hearted feel of the game.
On top of this, I for one am really looking forward to watching some of the big battles of the game take place in full animated glory. While I don’t want to spoil those who are yet to play the game, some of the later battles are so full of emotion that seeing it take place in a more passive medium would be really interesting. On top of that, the various midnight channel dungeons would be exciting to see in an anime. But the thing I am most excited about? Shoji Meguro is doing the soundtrack. This is hardly surprising – Shoji does the soundtrack for almost everything Shin Megami Tensei related – but his music is usually so good that it feels like my favourite band is releasing a new album. Here’s hoping that the music for the anime is as good as the game.
They’ve released a handful of trailers for the series, which you can check out on youtube. Here’s one now, for those of you too lazy to type “youtube” into the search bar:
Persona 4: The Animation is due to start airing in October 2011.
~ Jamie ~
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