Amateur vs. Expert: PERSONA 4 #21

Topic started by Guest_Author on March 12, 2012. Last post by FoxxFireArt 2 years, 4 months ago.
Post by nocturne98 (2 posts) See mini bio Level 10

Yeah, I admit that having no crash sound effect was weird. I was pissed when I saw how huge of a plot hole they had when Yu didn't just go over to the TV and stick his hand in. The problem was, that was in the original game, and I thought it was just as stupid then too. Naoto was my favorite character in the game, and I thought she wouldn't get as much screen time or character development since she appeared so late in the story, so I was impressed when they tried to merge her social link into the few episodes she was in.

Post by PerfidiousSinn (0 posts) See mini bio Level 4

@Babylonian: Comparison shots between TV and Blu-Ray:

http://seventhstyle.com/2012/01/25/persona-4-blu-ray-facial-differences-compared/

http://seventhstyle.com/2012/02/26/persona-4-blu-ray-not-just-hd-in-name/

It's not night-and-day but definitely a nice improvement.

Post by FoxxFireArt (2,639 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@Hailinel:

So, you're berating Nick for being too critical of the series, and don't like that I praise the series in ways you don't like. I love talking about how they incorporate stuff from the game into the story, because I love it. I never thought they'd be able to make all of this work.

@Turambar:

Thanks, now I don't feel as left out.

@Babylonian:

But we all know the true enemy is the one within. Also, clowns.

Post by FoxxFireArt (2,639 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@PerfidiousSinn: Oh, those are cool screenshots. It's amazing the weird touches and changes anime makes for home release. I remember seeing shots fro Code Geass R2 that added a jacket to Kallen for only one scene.

Still, many of those changes look really positive. I just couldn't excuse that episode 6 had so many still images of characters not even blinking while dialog was happening off camera.

Post by Hailinel (74 posts) See mini bio Level 11

@FoxxFireArt: No, that's not it at all. Nick has been overly-critical and overly-repetitive in his criticism of the animation as noted in a more detailed fashion, but he has also been overly-critical regarding aspects of culture and fanservice that if anything, do a disservice to the material and his words a disservice to the people watching it.

Your contributions have been, in general, fine. You make some good cultural notes, but otherwise these columns are nothing more than episode recaps. There is no depth to the discussion, no poignant criticism in the analytical sense. Mostly, you and Nick both focus on moments that stand out in one way or another, label them as good or bad, maybe elaborate on why you think they're good/bad for a paragraph or less, and then move on. There's no deeper context to the discussion. For fans of the game that have already pondered and discussed the plot in depth, and who are interested more for how the anime interprets the game's events than the actual outcome of the series, these columns are of relatively little relevance. They're fluff. I say this not to be mean, but because that's what these pieces ultimately feel like. They're fluff that does little more than make a few baseline comments regarding the episode in question and, barring comments like those made by Nick last week, don't invite much in the way of conversation.

From my experience, the best columns produced are typically those that follow adventures in the TV World, particularly following a major Shadow encounter. There's a lot of depth and reasoning behind these Shadows the way that they're designed and how they perceive the slices of personality that they're born from. These are the columns that tend to draw the most responses and the most constructive discussion in part because there's obviously more up-front to chew on. However, even in an episode where little in the way of action happens, or where more of the discussion in the column gets aimed at things like the animation quality, there's still plenty of detail and material to mull over. But you guys don't touch it, and that's what I find so disappointing. That's why I entered the comments of this particular column doing the internet equivalent of flipping tables. I saw too much wasted potential, and I was tired of it.

For what it's worth, I'm not burning with so much annoyance now as I was when this whole conversation started. But my disappointment remains. I would love to see the two of you go deeper. Not necessarily Inception-levels of depth, but deeper than you have been. Ignore trivialities, do some research, and just go at it. Give me something to think about instead of regurgitating the episode's events. That's really all I ask. Maybe this is the wrong column and venue for this, but that's all I really ask of you two.

Post by mutha3 (17 posts) See mini bio Level 6
@Babylonian said:

@PerfidiousSinn said:

I think the animation quality for characters is a point worth repeating. I know the animators are under a lot of pressure and don't have much time to clean things up, but there's a disconnect between the battle scenes and environments looking mostly great, and the character's faces looking consistently weird.

Maybe it bugs me more because I've spent hundreds of hours playing the game, but the faces are off, often. At least they're being fixed up for the DVD/Blu-Ray releases, but I do wish they had more time to make the character art look great.

Wait, is that really happening? I had no idea some of the lazy animation was being corrected for the Blu-Ray release. That rules! Where'd you hear it?

Yeah, I guess the insane profits they've been making of this show finally brought the goods.
 
That horrible 1 minute of nonmotion in episode 9/10 is now gone based on a niconico video clip of the improvements! The show's still not much of a looker, but at least the derpfaces seem to be severly decreased. 
 

 @Babylonian said:

Yeah, that would've been less annoying. We've talked before about how Yu is more or less the perfect protagonist in this show, and if they'd at least illustrated that the thought occured to him to use his magical powers in front of his skeptical cop uncle, it would be a little less irritating. Maybe there's a case to be made that he wasn't thinking clearly because he was worried about Nanako?



Seeing how Yu was desperate enough to go all "I AM A MAGIC HIGHSCHOOLER WHO GOES INTO TV'S ", I don't think the lack of attention is a valid excuse. Its just the writers messing up, big time. This was one of the most irritating things about P4's story to me right there alongside

(ER episode 118 spoilers)
Post by Babylonian (16 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Staff

@Crowwing said:

Uhh....about the whole, no crash sound when Dojima hit Namatame's truck....well....it was kinda that way in the game as well.

The scene is right at the beginning.

Just saying.

The thing is, they aren't being graded on their ability to imitate the game, they're being graded on their ability to make an effective and compelling drama. (Technically, they aren't being graded at all, but you get what I mean,) Watching that clip from the game, it works, for whatever reason. Maybe it's the fact that in the game the Investigation Team is far enough away not to hear the crash, maybe it's the fade-to-white right before the crash at the end of the animated cutscene. Whatever the case: in the game, it works, but in the show, it was awkward and felt incomplete.

@Turambar said:

@Babylonian: For the sake of making my previous post a bit more useful, I'll give an example of what you could have written to address the visual issue in this episode in a better way. Simply saying things look bad is a bore, especially when you've done it a dozen times already. Offer alternatives that would have made it better without saying simply "learn2drawbetter". For example, for that scene, they could have used different camera angles, doing closeups of Yu and Naoto's faces, thus negating the need for the drawing of multiple silent background characters. While the lower torsos of the back ground characters might be still in the shot, drawing them with slightly less detail but still looking good is easier than drawing faces, and animating them slightly makes the entire scene fine. Further, utilize flash backs. They do one with Nanako saying she doesn't open the door for strangers, but when Naoto says that she was surprised at how quickly she was thrown in after being chloroformed, instead of drawing custom animation of Chie interjecting, use a flashback of Naoto saying the same thing after she was rescued. Simply criticizing something over and over in identical fashions isn't interesting to read. Being able to offer well thought out alternatives like I did above gives the criticism more value. If you value visual quality so much and have some experience with other shows, you can also draw examples from other shows that used the alternative you're proposing. All of this makes for more entertaining, informative, and insightful writing.

I'm actually a little surprised to hear this. You guys want me to talk more about the visual issues this show has? Because the consensus from you guys in the past has been that dedicating even half a paragraph to it is overblowing the problem!

Put another way: I'm not an animator, I'm a critic. I'm not here to suggest alternative ways for them to hide their budgetary issues, mostly because I'm not an expert on that stuff, but also because they aren't listening. It's totally something worth going into in the comments, though!

I think you're onto something - those all seem like they'd be valid ways of disguising the issue. The fact that they're going back in and putting everyone's facial features in right place for the Blu-Rays is definitely a step in the right direction!

@Hailinel said:

Your contributions have been, in general, fine. You make some good cultural notes, but otherwise these columns are nothing more than episode recaps. There is no depth to the discussion, no poignant criticism in the analytical sense. Mostly, you and Nick both focus on moments that stand out in one way or another, label them as good or bad, maybe elaborate on why you think they're good/bad for a paragraph or less, and then move on. There's no deeper context to the discussion. For fans of the game that have already pondered and discussed the plot in depth, and who are interested more for how the anime interprets the game's events than the actual outcome of the series, these columns are of relatively little relevance. They're fluff. I say this not to be mean, but because that's what these pieces ultimately feel like. They're fluff that does little more than make a few baseline comments regarding the episode in question and, barring comments like those made by Nick last week, don't invite much in the way of conversation.

I dunno, man. I think we've gone out of our way to make sure these aren't just 'episode recaps' - we're not here to summarize the events, we're here to discuss our feelings on them. At the same time, we're also not here to write doctorate-level theses on the minute differences between the anime and the game, either. These are quick-and-dirty weekly opinion columns we're talking about here.

@Hailinel said:

For what it's worth, I'm not burning with so much annoyance now as I was when this whole conversation started. But my disappointment remains. I would love to see the two of you go deeper. Not necessarily Inception-levels of depth, but deeper than you have been. Ignore trivialities, do some research, and just go at it. Give me something to think about instead of regurgitating the episode's events. That's really all I ask. Maybe this is the wrong column and venue for this, but that's all I really ask of you two.

With all due respect, I think it might be. Look at any other Watch & Learn-type article on the site - it's a lot like what we're doing here. I'm still not fully clear on what sort of depth you're looking for, exactly, but it's no secret that these sort of brief, fast, off-the-cuff reaction articles are, on some level, inherently superficial. We go in-depth where we can and where we see fit, but if you're looking for high-depth, very academic writing on P4A, I'm afraid we're going for something a bit more subjective than that.

That said, it's something you can feel free to go into in the comments. We're here to spurn and encourage discussion, and so far, it's working - these are among the most commented-on Anime Vice articles, period! So give me a for-instance: what's some of the hidden depth from this week's episode that you want to discuss?

Post by Turambar (233 posts) See mini bio Level 10
@Babylonian said:
@Turambar said:
@Babylonian: For the sake of making my previous post a bit more useful, I'll give an example of what you could have written to address the visual issue in this episode in a better way. Simply saying things look bad is a bore, especially when you've done it a dozen times already. Offer alternatives that would have made it better without saying simply "learn2drawbetter". For example, for that scene, they could have used different camera angles, doing closeups of Yu and Naoto's faces, thus negating the need for the drawing of multiple silent background characters. While the lower torsos of the back ground characters might be still in the shot, drawing them with slightly less detail but still looking good is easier than drawing faces, and animating them slightly makes the entire scene fine. Further, utilize flash backs. They do one with Nanako saying she doesn't open the door for strangers, but when Naoto says that she was surprised at how quickly she was thrown in after being chloroformed, instead of drawing custom animation of Chie interjecting, use a flashback of Naoto saying the same thing after she was rescued. Simply criticizing something over and over in identical fashions isn't interesting to read. Being able to offer well thought out alternatives like I did above gives the criticism more value. If you value visual quality so much and have some experience with other shows, you can also draw examples from other shows that used the alternative you're proposing. All of this makes for more entertaining, informative, and insightful writing.

I'm actually a little surprised to hear this. You guys want me to talk more about the visual issues this show has? Because the consensus from you guys in the past has been that dedicating even half a paragraph to it is overblowing the problem!

Put another way: I'm not an animator, I'm a critic. I'm not here to suggest alternative ways for them to hide their budgetary issues, mostly because I'm not an expert on that stuff, but also because they aren't listening. It's totally something worth going into in the comments, though!

I think you're onto something - those all seem like they'd be valid ways of disguising the issue. The fact that they're going back in and putting everyone's facial features in right place for the Blu-Rays is definitely a step in the right direction!

I personally would rather you not talk about the visuals, but this is your blog, not mine.  You write what you want to write.  And if you want to be a critic, then write criticisms that is conducive to good reading and writing. The point of it all is you are achieving neither thus far through formulaic repetition.
Post by Turambar (233 posts) See mini bio Level 10
@Babylonian said:

With all due respect, I think it might be. Look at any other Watch & Learn-type article on the site - it's a lot like what we're doing here. I'm still not fully clear on what sort of depth you're looking for, exactly, but it's no secret that these sort of brief, fast, off-the-cuff reaction articles are, on some level, inherently superficial. We go in-depth where we can and where we see fit, but if you're looking for high-depth, very academic writing on P4A, I'm afraid we're going for something a bit more subjective than that.

This is an example of what I really wish this blog, along with what a lot of the other Watch&Learn columns on this site would be like, though the fact that this is an almost unrealistic bar to expect everyone to achieve is not lost on me.  It's not academic thesis level writing (though I have read one on the undertones of Japanese imperialism in Diebuster, and if you guys can pull something like that off, it'd be pretty amazing.)  But it does show a degree of knowledge of not just the show itself, but the genre, character archetype, and medium as a whole, and the fact that you are taking advantage of that knowledge to form opinions. 
 
Yes, you can claim my example is unfair.  Gundam has a long legacy, and the capacity for cross textual analysis there far surpasses a new franchise like Persona 4.  But other shows depicting teenagers in conflict with the supernatural exists.  There is even another Persona anime.  The material is there for you to draw from, and the potential for fan wankery is actually extremely welcomed.  You guys just need to be willing to exert the effort to do so. 
Post by Hailinel (74 posts) See mini bio Level 11

@Babylonian: Obviously, this is the episode where the drama really ramps up. It's the episode after all that adapts both the interrogation scene at the police station and the pursuit of Namatame. As someone that's played the game, I knew that both of these events were bound to occur and from a technical standpoint, both are presented in a fashion that excels in this medium; it really, honestly helps the drama now that Yu is a fully voiced character, rather than a character that serves as a partial cypher for the player's own actions.

Take the interrogation scene. In the game, the player isn't even required to tell Dojima the truth. They can choose to avoid telling him about Personas and the TV World, but the end result is still the same; Dojima becomes disgusted with his nephew and leaves him locked in the interrogation room. Here, the plot hole is more prominent in the game than it is in the anime. In the game, Yu is not voiced in this scene. There is no text that lets us know exactly what he says or the tone in which he says it. It's even more ludicrous that he doesn't simply stick his hand in the television in the corner of the room to prove his point.

In the anime, however, Yu is of course voiced, and we hear him tell Dojima the truth with sincerity and conviction. He still doesn't stick his hand in the TV, but judging from the tone of his voice, it seems like a moment that Yu wanted to prepare his uncle for. He cares for him and doesn't simply want to freak him out by doing something that should be impossible. But Dojima of course thinks that Yu's tale is absurd, expresses his abject disappointment, and leaves before Yu can convince him otherwise.

This episode is actually a showcase of emotion that in the game, Yu is never capable of expressing. He wants his uncle to understand what's happened and to believe him. He becomes worried and downright anxious for Nanako's safety after he sees her on the Midnight Channel and enters a point of despair.

The interrogation scene had to be one of the hardest for the writers to adapt. I'm sure that they must have been aware of the gaping plot hole that is the TV; fans of the game have pointed it out ad nauseum on message boards. It's quite possibly the single biggest and most glaring flaw in the game's narrative. But this adaptation has striven to remain faithful to the source material, and as a result, this scene exists in the anime as well. So with all of this being said, the writers did the smartest thing that they could have done in adapting the scene without rewriting it entirely; bring out Yu's emotions.

It is this emotional quality that separates Yu from the game's player character. For all of the comedic moments that have played off of his origin, from various scenes using dialogue choices taken straight from the game (especially the more ridiculous ones) to his stone-faced expression as he was sent flying into the river, what truly sets him apart are the qualities that he could never express in the game. And this episode is exemplary in depicting that fact.

Post by zaldar (1,237 posts) See mini bio Level 15

sorry you can't accept some arguments against Japanese culture but neither Babalyonian or me subscribe to cultural relativism (there is a college thesis concept for you) that excuses things simply because it is part of someone elses culture. If this was a teenager comedy I would not want my 15 year old watching it *shrug* but then I consider things like komodo no jikian as utter utter trash. Obviously you disagree, I like the people passing back emails and the fact that one of the people knows the game and one doesn't. I played it through once and that was enough (I do have a life, job and family after all) but I can still comment on parts of the game I thought were bad...like the no sound on the car crash and Yu not showing his power...I actually screamed at the TV during that scene in the game "THERE IS A TV IN THE ROOM WHAT ARE YOU DOING" Perhaps they did the best they could have done without writing the event entirely but I would have been happier if they had done so really. Simply removing the TV from the room would have been nice.

I also agree that I would like a little more intellectual depth but I would want that in the watch and learns sometimes also. There is Yungian philosophy behind the things in this show...it would be great to talk about that. At least in the Yu Yu articles we get comparisons to professional wrestling and in the Eureka ones we get discussions about how the episodes fit into a longer narrative and I expect the end will hopefully generate some nice philosophical discussion. But as I think I have said before I read journal articles about the metamorphosis of the japanese girl from girl to hyper girl and battling beauty (that is a great one by Mari Kotani and probably could be applied to chie...actually a discussion on how Chie, Nanoto, and Yuikio represent different female archetypes and how the changing role of women in Japanese society is effecting their birth rate and the rise of 2D vs 3D girlfriends might be interesting...I may work on that actually..any interest from other commentors?)

Post by Hailinel (74 posts) See mini bio Level 11

@zaldar: I wasn't aware that you were qualified to speak on behalf of .

Post by zaldar (1,237 posts) See mini bio Level 15

Of course I am not. I am just going by what I have seen him say before and he can certainly correct me if I am wrong.

But now to the real reason for this reply. For an example of the kind of analysis I think Hailinel and I actually are looking for look at Tom's discussions on the Akira manga. The one on the fourth volume is extraordinary.

Post by FoxxFireArt (2,639 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@zaldar: @Hailinel:

I'd love to go into the deeper aspects and the subtext, but not every episode deserves that level of detail. I think I've tried to address some of your issues in the next Persona 4 article that's just been posted. If there is something I enjoy about an episode. I'm going to want to bring it up.

Though, I don't see who we help be not talking about the latest events in some way. This isn't like what Comic Vine and Screened were doing for a while on The Walking Dead. That was mainly just listing down the plot events of the episode.

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