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Amateur vs. Expert: PERSONA 4 #3

Is...is that Baby Chie and Baby Yukiko? What the hell is going on here?

Welcome to Amateur vs. Expert, a new column wherein noted anime layperson Nick Robinson (Babylonian) squares off against anime savant Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt). The goal? To take our two columns, Anime Amateur and Anime Examiner, and combine them for your reading pleasure. Let's get started!

Nick Robinson:

So that was kind of a curveball, wasn't it? From the flashback sequence to the changes in Chie's Shadow World encounter, they're finally starting to stray from P4's path in some serious ways! If this doesn't completely silence those of us who have criticized the show for feeling a bit regurgatory, it should at least quiet us for a bit!

I think what I like most about the changes is that they are significant and interesting without altering the plot in any sacreligious ways. Example: we knew Chie and Yukiko were longtime friends, but we'd never seen their first meeting or what they were like as kids before. I really dug it.

What are your major takeaways from this episode, Kris?

Kristoffer Remmell:

Curveball is a great way to put it. There were so many surprises in this episode. They seem to be hinting at the Social Link aspects for the original game. When this anime began. I was absolutely certain that Yu Narukami was only going to have Izanagi as his only Persona, but they gave him Pyro Jack. It makes me wonder how many different Persona from the game we will see. It's exciting.

Story wise, Chie really stands out in this episode for me. Everyone has a dark side to them with deviant thoughts. It's hard enough to accept those parts of ourselves, but to have other people see it. It's as if having someone reading your private thoughts. Who would accept that? Notice how Chie's Shadow went from being a dominatrix to a knight for her Persona? It's all creating a great sense of character drama. With each episode, the series is grabbing me more and more. I love the scene where she nearly tried to strangle Adachi in anger. Yu also gave some pretty good funny lines. It was sort of awkward how the episode ended with Yukiko left trapped in the Midnight Channel, but it wasn't as frustrating as that first episode of The Walking Dead's new season. Also, no deer.

There is a bit of interesting trivia from this series that people have already been talking about, but I think deserves mentioning. The voice actor for Igor, Isamu Tanonaka, actually passed away back in January 2010. Due to his tragic passing, they are just using the dialog he recorded years ago from Persona 4 the game. That is an amazing level of dedication to keeping the original cast for this series. That's impressive. Can you image any Western production that would go to that extent?

Nick Robinson:

I heard about that! That's an impressive level of commitment to pleasing the fans. Unfortunately, since the group who have licensed Persona 4's English release aren't willing to divulge their dub casting yet, it's tough to say whether that level of fanservice is something we can look forward to when the show gets brought here.

I'm with you on how the Shadow World stuff; it's continually stood out to me as very dark and personal, and I really dig it. It almost feels like there's a bizarre dichotomy forming: whenever the characters are in Inaba, they act like prototypical, kinda boring anime characters, but once they enter the TV and confront their Shadows for the first time, their anime character persona (heh) vanishes and they're held accountable for their real motivations. It's pretty interesting!

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how great the segue into the Shadow World fight was this time around. Episode 2's liquor store transition was good, but the black and white (with red) scene in Yukiko's room with her shadow talking to Chie was really tastefully done, I thought. Really great stuff.

And yeah, Yu being funny is great ("I wish I'd taped it" really caught me off guard, in a good way), but it's indicative of an even more exciting trend: Yu actually having personality! It seems like we finally have verification for the theory that as the protagonist will develop a personality as his stat wheel expands.

As this show goes on, they're really not pulling any punches in terms of using the Persona 4 soundtrack, are they? It feels like the number of songs lifted directly from the game doubles with each episode (which, for the record, I'm totally fine with). Is that something you enjoy, or does it feel a bit pandering to you?

Kristoffer Remmell:

I think they are really going to try to get as much of the original voice actors from the English cast that performed for the Persona 4 game. You just never know with contracting, or what the schedules are for them. I do remember the English dub actors for the game had very good quality. It even used Japanese honorifics in places. I just don't have much faith in Sentai Filmworks after that horrible English dub they produced for H.O.T.D. (Highschool of the Dead).

I suspect that the red and black motif of Yukiko's castle was intentional. Chie had always told her that she looked good in red. In reflection, her shadow world is filled with it.

I'm with the viewers that support the idea that Narukami will be evolving along that character chart. Otherwise, what's the point of showing the changed attributes every episode? Some of the lines he gave in this episode were dialog options in the PS2 game. It's also a nice touch how Yosuke failed on his first magic casting. Shows he needs some practice.

They shouldn't pull back on a soundtrack of that quality. I remember that game having some really cool music. The battle music always stuck out to me the most. In an RPG, it's very easy to get sick of battle music.

In conclusion, the character building and drama are really coming along for the series. This episode swings open the doors to more of the possibilities for the story. Having Margaret point out how building relationships with others will help Narukami increase the powers of his Persona may be a hint at more character interaction in place of just bulldozing down through the plot points. I feel sorry for anyone who just dropped the series because something in the first episode rubbed them the wrong way. You really can't treat series such as this like sitcoms.

Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt

Nick Robinson (Babylonian) is a Whiskey Media intern and a journalism student. Won't you follow him on Twitter at @Babylonian? He'd be ever so appreciative!

rubberluffyon Oct. 26, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.

I'm definitely liking how things are going. Enough like the game but with well done changes to fit the new medium. Hopefully the keep the momentum up and don't stumble.

Some of the complaints I've read for the show (on other sites) have been a bit ridiculous, though. Ranting about how there was no way Protag could get Pyro Jack that early and similar stuff, like how it wasn't JUST LIKE the game. Ridiculous. Clearly what the anime version needs is grinding scenes and level up screens.

Since they're clearly letting Protag use multiple persona, I hope they throw in some fusion scenes. That'd be pretty badass.

LifeByDegreeson Oct. 26, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.

A solid episode overall.

The moment when you realize:

"Wait, he is going to summon another Persona... He is going to summon another Persona!!!"

was classic- and overall- it seems like they're handling everything on a very even keel.

We're starting to see the beginnings of the stuff the game couldn't do- such as show us the Chie-Yukiko meet up in living color- an so I agree- it will be interesting to see how they pan things out.

Turambaron Oct. 26, 2011 at 3:25 p.m.

Huh, didn't know that about Igor's VA. Guess they are going the Bright Noah route for him.

ReyGitanoon Oct. 26, 2011 at 3:47 p.m.

When the first episode came out I didn't have high hopes for the series; it seemed like they were just going to take the easiest word-for-word path for making a game into an anime. Now that I've seen that they've added extra scenes in this episode, and moreover that they're very well done, my excitement is renewed. I hope this trend continues for the rest of the series.

zeemod155on Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:04 p.m.

Really strong episode this time. I loved Yu's "It's making me cry" line and Chie's reaction, that really made me laugh. Also, I liked how they hinted at minor-story social links too, hell they even gave one a line. But I wonder how much of it they plan to explore with the series' episode constraint and if that would take too much away from fleshing out the main story line, considering the liberties they've taken so far.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:13 p.m.

@Turambar:

What I wonder about this, who does that company pay for using his work in this series, or do they at all since they are using his old work he'd already been payed for?

@ReyGitano:

I hope more users consider coming back to this series now that it's proving to be more than just a word for word remake. There are some twists to expect. I'm always up for user events we can all enjoy together.

Hailinelon Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:19 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

@Turambar:

What I wonder about this, who does that company pay for using his work in this series, or do they at all since they are using his old work he'd already been payed for?

@ReyGitano:

I hope more users consider coming back to this series now that it's proving to be more than just a word for word remake. There are some twists to expect. I'm always up for user events we can all enjoy together.

They would simply pay the rights-owner of the performance. In this case, that would most likely be Atlus/Index.

mutha3on Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:20 p.m.

Actually, I'm pretty sure the fat dog was in P4, just not explicitly shown. I still remember the Endurance Run joke that came from the phrase "Chie's smelly dog".

Couple of random thoughts that popped up after watching this:

-Again, an improvement over the last episode. Its probably still not preferable over playing the game for non-fans, but the anime is finally starting to be able stand on its own merits. (I LOVE the way they're starting to characterize Charlie)

-I wonder if I'm going to get a P4 overload, when you consider the fighting game, Golden and the anime. Well, I'm definitely going to want to play the fighting game, but seeing the same story unfold with The Golden? I had kind of been looking forward to that since I haven't really played P4 since '09, so I was ready for more P4, but I hope the anime+Golden won't give me a P4 burn-out. If they do manage to get the English dub-cast together, I probably won't get around to watching that 'till 2013 or something when you consider all dat P4.

-The art is so inconsistent! Whenever there's a Persona on screen, it looks phenomenal, but the characters can look very "Derpy" at times. I'm glad to see that they've gotten a lot better at applying the Gradients since EP1, though. They ain't Soejima, but that's a ridiculously high standard to hold them to anyway. Also, I gotta agree with Babylonian that the scene with the black/white room was really nice to look at.

- I think this is the only anime in the history of ever to have its first episode be worse than the subsequent ones in the animation department, I mean, usually its the exact opposite!

Babylonian staff on Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.

@rubberluffy said:

Some of the complaints I've read for the show (on other sites) have been a bit ridiculous, though. Ranting about how there was no way Protag could get Pyro Jack that early and similar stuff, like how it wasn't JUST LIKE the game. Ridiculous. Clearly what the anime version needs is grinding scenes and level up screens.

Hahaha, that's crazy! After noticing that they wrecked Chie's Shadow with a fire attack, I looked it up, and it turns out her Shadow is only weak to wind. A missed opportunity for a neat easter egg? Maybe. Worth getting upset over? Hell no!

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:24 p.m.

I'm glad that they a) showed some backstory on Yukio and Chie and b) actually gave Yu more Persona! I was also convinced that they would stick with just one Persona.

I think that if Avatar: The Last Airbender had more recorded lines of the Uncle, they would pull what Persona did. It's easy for this anime because Igor doesn't have a lot of direct involvement.

I hope they fill in gaps with extra scenes like they did in this ep. It adds extra enjoyment to those of s who've played the game.

AURON570on Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:39 p.m.

I can't remember, but wasn't there also a part where we hear about some sports teams recruiting members, but then Yu gets pulled away by Chie or Yosuke? It'll be interesting to see which "social links" it decides to develop. pretty good stuff. also that picture of Chie and her dog is so cute =3

Turambaron Oct. 26, 2011 at 4:40 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt: They'd be paying Atlus.

Username_Undefinedon Oct. 26, 2011 at 5:13 p.m.

I enjoyed seeing the sports guys and the band girl. Even if they don't interact with the Investigation Team, it's still nice to see them. Now, it's been three episodes....WHERE IS FUNKY STUDENT? (I hope he gets dialog so the dub, praying they will get the original cast, we can hear all about riddles and droppin' some knowledge like WHOA).

One thing that is kind of bugging me though. It's small, but the shading of everyone's faces is weird. In the game the gradient from dark to light as you move up the face was fine for still images, but I think it looks strange when they are moving around.

CrazyCanuckon Oct. 26, 2011 at 5:31 p.m.

<------

I want that dog!!!! he's so cute!

Petiewon Oct. 26, 2011 at 5:35 p.m.
@mutha3: Yep, the whole scene between Chie and Yukiko is actually told in the game in Chie's social link. Though you never see the actual scene or the dog it is talked about.
Hailinelon Oct. 26, 2011 at 6:49 p.m.

@Emeryl said:

I enjoyed seeing the sports guys and the band girl. Even if they don't interact with the Investigation Team, it's still nice to see them. Now, it's been three episodes....WHERE IS FUNKY STUDENT? (I hope he gets dialog so the dub, praying they will get the original cast, we can hear all about riddles and droppin' some knowledge like WHOA).

One thing that is kind of bugging me though. It's small, but the shading of everyone's faces is weird. In the game the gradient from dark to light as you move up the face was fine for still images, but I think it looks strange when they are moving around.

Funky Student was never voiced. :P

FoxxFireArt moderator on Oct. 26, 2011 at 7:08 p.m.

@CrazyCanuck:

I'm a German Shepherd kind of guy, but I agree that he's adorable. Someone needs to link this to Rorie. The man loves dog.

@Petiew: @mutha3:

The scene of Yukiko and Chie when they were little was also seen in the Persona 4 manga.

the_r0n1n_named_47on Oct. 26, 2011 at 8:11 p.m.

man I can't wait for this to hit US shores, me and my wife love the game and so far love this anime...BUT unfortuately dvd 1 and/ or season 1 isn't even over yet in japan... so it may be a while

Wraithon Oct. 26, 2011 at 9:39 p.m.

im pretty sure Chie mentions how she met Yukiko during one of her socal link events

Hailinelon Oct. 26, 2011 at 10:52 p.m.

@Wraith said:

im pretty sure Chie mentions how she met Yukiko during one of her socal link events

She does, but it's never explicitly depicted, only referenced by her. The episode goes the extra step of including the scene as as a flashback and also showing what the dog looks like now.

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