Monday, 10 October 2011

Persona 4: The Animation - Episode 1

Yes, I'm back!  After a long weekend hanging out with friends in Nottingham, normal service will be resumed here on this 'blog... until Thursday, when I head off to Edinburgh that is.

Anyhow, I should probably start this entry with a disclaimer - I've never played the Persona 4 video game (indeed I've barely played Persona 3 at all) so my thoughts on this series are very much the views of a Persona franchise virgin.  That said, the basic starting point for the series is hardly freshly-trod ground, as we meet a transfer student named Narukami who has been sent from the city to a sleepy town called Yasoinaba on account of his parents going to work abroad.

Not that things stay sleepy for all that long - no sooner has Narukami found himself a couple of potential friends in Chie Satonaka and Hanamura than news breaks of a gruesome murder on the school campus, with its victim left impaled on a television aerial.  Coupled with rumours about a "Midnight Channel" that allows you to see your soulmate if you turn on your TV at midnight, and you can see the focus of the series begin to emerge - lo and behold, the next thing we know Narukami finds that he can reach inside a television screen... although being accidentally pushed wholly into it and taking his friends with him perhaps wasn't quite part of the plan.

Thus, we're introduced to a strange world featuring a talking bear-like creature, some creepy shadows and, most importantly of all, a hidden power which Narukami seems to hold within him that gives him the ability to control some other being and fend off the aforementioned nasty creatures.  What the Hell is going on?  That'll be for episode two and beyond to handle...

For an opening episode, there's certainly plenty of ground covered to give us quite a lot to chew on in terms of plot and story - certainly a good thing for a newcomer to that story such as myself I would wager, and it seems interesting enough to make me want to watch more (which, let's face it, is all you can ask of any opening episode).  On the downside, Narukami is your typical dull as dishwater video game adaptation protagonist, with all of the charisma of an abandoned slipper on the side of the motorway, and the animation quality is ropey to say the least - this isn't the kind of series you'd necessarily expect to see animated on the cheap.  Still, with any luck Narukami's character will grow and develop somewhat and I'll get used to its animation foibles - if so, Persona 4: The Animation could have quite a bit to offer.

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