Persona’s popularity is continuing to climb, with the release of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax this month, Persona Q getting a release next month, the second Persona 3 movie out right now and the recent conclusion of Persona 4 Golden The Animation, it’s a great time for a review.
First I should give a quick explanation of what Persona is. Typically it’s a series of role playing games where you take control of a character who summons beings that are essentially parts of your inner psyche called Persona and you and the team you lead go and defeat monsters called shadows. I say typically because in recent years there have also been two fighting games (one of which came out last week), and even a dancing/rhythm game. The most popular of the Persona games was the latest numbered game in the series first released in 2008, Persona 4. In 2011, the anime based in that same game aired, aptly named Persona 4 The Animation. Then in 2012 Persona 4 received a re-release for the PS Vita with extra content, including a new character, called Persona 4 Golden. So now, there is a brand new anime that is based on the re-release called Persona 4 Golden The Animation.
The reason why I felt I should mention the history of Persona 4 as a series is because unless you have at least half of the knowledge of the game, you might have a harder time getting through the P4GA. The anime assumes that you already know the setting, the characters and the story, so it glosses over all of that info unless it involves the new character, Marie. P4GA is mostly a slice of life with the characters while the one topic that set this apart from the original the most, Marie’s amnesia, is kind of pushed into the background until the last couple of episodes.
The antics that the characters have are almost taken straight from the Vita game while cutting out everything that was covered in the last anime. While this keeps this anime from repeating anything you may have seen from the last, it seems like the show jumps around a lot. Suddenly, characters appear with hardly any introduction and they just roll right along into the plot of the episode.
Now if you are a fan of the game and series, then you’ll probably love this anime. The Easter eggs and references you’ll find while watching are available in spades. Even episodes that don’t actually involve the new character reuse the opening from the previous anime. The new situations that you see from the characters are great especially if you played the game because the anime puts a slight new spin on the events that are covered. For an example, there is an event that occurs where the player may spend Christmas with one of the other characters. What happens in the anime, however is that they put a comedic spin into combining every possible event into an original new story. Those who want to watch the show and already played the game won’t have to worry about any lack of originality, it’s not just watching the game all over again.
In the end, I believe that this show was pretty good. P4GA isn’t meant to stand alone, so I can’t say that I recommend it if you’ve never played the Persona games or even finished the original Persona 4 The Animation, otherwise you’ll be completely lost the whole time watching. If you do your homework before starting Persona 4 Golden The Animation, then you’re sure to enjoy yourself.