|Persona 4 episodes 5 and 6||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
Every day.Alright I'm jumping ahead of myself here. Persona 4 is a HUGE game, 80 hours huge. Over the course of these 80 hours you'll experience these social links moderately, you'll only finish about a hand full of these and completely miss others. Persona 4 The Animation is 12 and a half hours long. That would shorten the social links to under a minute a pop, about the length of the splash screen that currently shows Yu's stats, which are considerably more important.
So instead we get these glorified filler episodes about select social links. The first one follows Kou and Ai, the Strength and Moon Arcana social links.
The first thing I want to do is go over Kou's social link in the game. In Persona 4 Kou's the head of the high school's terrible Basketball team who is also at a cross roads in his life. Kuo's adopted and his family seems to have some influence in Inaba, and sees the sport to be a childish hobby and wants him to focus on studies. Over the course of the S.Link Kou wrestles with this issue and tries to find his birth parents, only to find they died sometime ago and gave him up because they had no one to make his god parent, and all they truly wanted was for him to be healthy and happy. At the end of it Kuo gains the support of his parents and decides that his bonds with others are what make him, not his parents.At the end of it all kou decides to make his own path in life, where he'll probably fuck his best friend Daisuke because whoa that guy is gay.
Kou's social link has a lot of weight to it. Statistically speaking Adopted children having quite a few problems genetic ones don't. Of course to be adopted one has to be given up, which has a huge impact on one's self confidence, and these feelings often lead to trying to impress their parents in order to feel, well not worthless. The later half has a lot more weight in Japan, where one's lifetime achievements are considered worthless unless one has a successor. Because of this there's a lot more stress on children to adopt their parents way of life, especially if they're notable.
So what's Kou's story in The Animation? He likes Chie! yup. Now do you see why I'm upset? In the game Kou's story line has a lot of depth to it and resonates with a lot of people. In the show it's downgraded to him having a crush on a girl that's already taken. I don't care what you say, she's taken. There is some mention that Kou's parents want him to quit basketball, but there's nothing about him being adopted or coming to terms with himself. It feels very detached, and less like he's confiding in you and more like he's just letting you know what's going on. Yu is Kou's personal Twitter follower.
The next story line is Ai's. In the game Ai is the quintessential High School popular girl. She's vapid, mean, bitchy, and all around unlikable. However she's cool, and wants to cut class so she's probably easy. Over the course of this story we find that Ai is a facade. Her father moved to inaba after coming into a large sum of money and decided to reinvent her self as the barbie girl everyone adores. By the end of the social link Ai decides to quit the act and become her real self, breaking up with Yu in the process since she never really liked him and just liked the idea of being with someone.
Ai's story line is treated a lot better in the transition to animation. For the most part episode 5 is about Ai forcing Yu to be her boyfriend. Yup.
Alright in all honesty I do like some thing's in the Animation more then the original route. For the most part Ai is a bit more likable then her game counter part. In the game we get about 4 S.Link ranks of her just being catty about things and it really makes it hard to continue. That fat is trimmed in the Animation and AI comes off as a lot more likable because of it. Now for the bad part!
There's no closure to Ai's route. No really, at the end of the episode Ai doesn't come to terms with who she really is, she doesn't become a better person or realize how vapid her and Yu's relationship really is. She just gets in a fight with Chie and decides she likes Kou more and leaves Yu, which sounds like it would hurt but it's a blessing in- well it's really just a blessing.
The entire point of the S.Link, hell, the entire point of the game is lost. Persona 4 is about 1 thing, accepting who you are and becoming a better person for it rather then burying these problems and letting them grow out of control. That is completely lost in the animation.
Now for good news! I do like what the series is trying to do with the social links by combining them. I know I complained about the show doing this earlier, but in the games Yu doesn't really seem to do much in these friendships. Everyone just kind of tells him stuff and uses him as an excuse to better their lives. The show tries to get past that by mixing the links together and giving people friendships outside of Yu. Kou and Ai's S.Links are both about their parents and how they deal with them. Kou was being pressured to be more like them, Ai was his them as an excuse to become something different. They're very similar in premise but also entirely different, which would make them ideal to combine. it doesn't really work here as the ratio has too much Ai in it, but down the road it gets refined into something a lot better.
For all the crap I'm giving it, I really did enjoy the episode. Even if it lacks the depth of the original S.Links, that's to be expected. The things I mentioned don't actually start until half way through the Link when we're already pretty connected to the characters. As we find out down the road trying to force viewers to feel for someone we're not properly attached to is just as bad if not worse as dumber it down.
At the end of it all I don't regret watching Episode 6 of P4. It's fun, has some really good gags, and is leagues above most filler. Even if it didn't tug at my heart strings like the game did.
The next episode is episode 6 and I should let you know I don't have anywhere as much to say. Simply put there's not a ton to talk about this episode.
By now you've probably figured out how the formula for Persona 4 works. An episode about finding the next victim, saving the victim, talking to the victim, victim joins the team, S.Link episode. By looking at that you can probably tell which episodes are going to be worth watching and which ones will be drags to sit through.
Despite the inevitability of Kanji being the victim seeing as he's IN THE FUCKING INTRO (JRPGs really gotta get better at that) the episode manages to be entertaining. In terms of adaptation it's pretty straight (LOLOLOLOLOL) the Seekers of Truth try to stalk Kanji and fail miserably. The added touches of Chie ordering take out do break up the monotony of it though.
One thing I do dislike isn't exclusive to the Animation, and that's forcing Yu and Yukiko together. In the game no matter who you pick when asked who you want to split up with you're always going to be stuck with Yukiko. It's done to establish a Social link early on, but it always feels forced. both the show and the game are very good at making these points where characters open up to Yu seem sincere and fluid, but this one always feels forced.
But that one point isn't enough to ruin the whole episode. Regardless of Yukiko confiding in Yu during the middle of a murder investigation, it's a fun little episode and It reminds me how fun Persona 4 can really be. But one complaint is that I don't think the Japanese VA for Kanji is nearly as good as Troy Baker. When i heard he voiced Kanji I was a little skeptical but after some 40 hours I can't see anyone else voicing him. But we'll talk more about that next week.
Persona 4 remains a really good show. While some things are lost in translation from game to show it's still really good and manages to capture both the unbridled fun and tension of the show. It's biggest downfall is it's a little redundant. It doesn't really expand on the original and if you've played the game there's not a whole lot of purpose in seeing the show. But if you don't have 80 hours to waste or a ps2, or a Vita then P4: The Animation is well worth watching.