Persona 4: The Golden Animation Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 15, 2015 by Dennis Amith
If you have played the video game or watched “Persona 4: The Animation”, then I definitely recommend giving “Persona 4: The Golden Animation” a try. It’s more focused on character relationships, instead of action this time around but still a fun anime series that “Persona 4” fans will definitely want to give the Blu-ray release a try!
Images courtesy of © 2014 SEGA/P4GA Committee. 2014 Aniplex Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Persona 4: The Golden Animation Vol. 1
YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 1-6 (150 Minutes)
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0
RATED: Suggested 13 and Up
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Chief Director: Seiji Kishi
Directed by Tomohisa Taguchi
Music by Shoji Meguro, Tetsuya Kobayashi
Original Character Design by Shigenori Soejima
Character Design by Yuu Shindou
Anime Production by A-1 Pictures
Featuring the voices of:
Ami Koshimizu as Yukiko Amagi
Daisuke Namikawa as Yū Narukami
Kana Hanazawa as Marie
Showtaro Morikubo as Yōsuke Hanamura
Yui Horie as Chie Satonaka
Akemi Kanda as Nanako Dōjima
Chizu Yonemoto as Izanami-no-Okami
Isamu Tanonaka as Igor (special performance)
Kappei Yamaguchi as Kuma
Mitsuaki Madono as Tōru Adachi
Rie Kugimiya as Rise Kujikawa
Romi Park as Naoto Shirogane
Sayaka Ohara as Margaret
Tomokazu Seki as Kanji Tatsumi
Unshou Ishizuka as Ryōtarō Dōjima
Spring. Far from the city, time flows peacefully in this rural town. As the cherry blossoms scatter in the wind, a young man named Yu Narukami steps off the train at Yasoinaba Station. Yu has come to this town, where his uncle lives, for family reasons; he will be transferring into the local high school, Yasogami High.
And so begins his school life… The shopping mall after school. A series of murders taking place in town. The Midnight Channel, airing late at night… What lies in store for Yu and his friends “this time around?”
The “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona” role-playing video game series developed and published by Atlus and has won over fans due to its darker storyline and it’s one of the few games to incorporate a Japanese atmosphere incorporating simulation type games relating to its characters.
Created back in 1996, “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona” has continually evolved and its fifth installment, “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4” (the fifth installment in the SMT: Persona series) was no doubt a popular title in the series when it was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2008.
The video game would inspire a 25-episode anime series titled “Persona 4: The Animation”, which aired on Japanese television in 2011-2012 (and released on Blu-ray in North America in 2013), followed by a 13-episode anime series titled “Persona 4: The Golden Animation” which aired in 2014.
Created as an expansion of the original “Persona 4: The Animation”, this 2014 version is produced by A-1 Pictures and is directed by Tomohisa Taguchi.
The story focuses on the character Yu Narukami and how he meets a mysterious girl named Marie who has lost her memory. Marie is a character that was featured in the Playstation Vita game, “Persona 4 Golden”.
Aniplex has released the first volume of “Persona 4: The Animation” featuring the first 6-episodes released in July 2014.
What is “Persona 4” about?
“Persona 4” begins with a clip inside the limousine as an older man named Igor and his assistant Margaret introduce themselves to someone. They explain their location, The Velvet Room as a place that exists between “dream and reality” and not many people can find this special room.
We are then introduced to high school student Yu Narukami arriving in the countryside of Inaba. Because his parents are working abroad, he must live with his uncle, Ryotaro Dojima, the resident investigator and his cousin Nanako Dojima for the entire year.
While attending Yasogami High School, he meets two people who become his friends. Yosuke Hanamura is a teenager who also moved to Inaba a year prior and his father own the huge department store, Junes (pronounced as “Joo-Ness”). And his friend Chie Satonaka is a teenage girl with an appetite. While she is often teasing and hitting her friend Yosuke, she also hangs out with her best friend Yukiko Amagi.
Meanwhile, a student named Saki Koshi is seen cutting class and discovers the body of TV announcer Mayumi Yamano.
With the murder of a known TV personality scaring people in town, leading to Ryotaro Dojima and his partner Detective Adachi investigating the crime scene, For Yu, he has heard of the rumors at school that a “Midnight Channel” shown on television may be connected to the murders. Apparently, if one watches the channel at midnight, they should be able to see an image of a person When Yu watches the channel at midnight, he sees someone show up. The image is of a young woman. When Yu puts his hand on the TV, he is nearly pulled into the TV.
Yu tries to tell Chie and Yosuke about it but they don’t believe him, but Chie said she wants to see if it would happen on a larger television. So, the three head to Junes Department Store to see if he can duplicate the same situation on a bigger television set and sure enough, when Yu sticks his hand, it goes through the TV set and all three are pulled in.
The trio end up in different world and encounter a bear named Teddie. Teddie explains that they are in a world where if foggy, it would be clear on Earth. If it is clear on Earth, then it would be foggy in his world. And to see things in his world, he must wear special glasses.
The trio are then attacked by shadows and fearing for their lives, the persona of Yu Narukami is awakened. It is learned that Yu has the Persona of the Wild Card and that it could lead to infinite possibilities, which include the use of other Personas or fusing two or more Personas to create something more powerful.
Eventually as Yu and his friends enter the TV set, they encounter other classmates and friends who eventually join the team and together they try to find the culprit responsible for murdering people and also sending people to the alternate world.
What is “Persona 4: The Golden Animation” about?
The anime series showcases various situations that have happened in the original anime series (and video game) but instead of continuing story about Yu and friends, “Persona 4: The Golden Animation” begins with Yu visiting the Velvet Room and Margaret introducing him to Marie and asking him to take her to the outside world and help her regain her lost memories.
And with each episode, Marie is helped by Yu and friends who befriend her and try to help her discover her lost memories.
[NOTE: Because the series skips around various storylines, if you have never played the video game or watched the original anime adaptation, you will not want to watch this anime series just yet as various mysteries are revealed in early episodes].
“Persona 4: The Animation” consists of the following characters:
- Yu Narukami – The main protagonist who moves to the countryside of Inaba for a year while his parents are traveling. He stays with his uncle, local police detective Ryotaro Dojima and his daughter Nanako Dojima. Yu begins attending Yasogami High School and begins to make friends. And as he develops these relationships with friends, he begins to attain more stronger persona and is the only person in the group who can use different persona’s during battle.
- Yosuke Hanamura – A teenager who moved to Inaba a year before Yu. His father is owner of the Junes Department Store. He is often thinking about girls and wanting to score!
- Chie Satonaka – A friend of Yosuke and a girl who is obsessed with kung-fu. She is best friends with Yukiko Amagi and often beating up Yosuke when he is in pervert mode.
- Yukiko Amagi – Introverted yet popular, Yukiko’s family owns a famous ryokan in the city and is expected to take over the family business.
- Kanji Tatsumi – A delinquent and bully, but deep inside he’s a tough guy that loves sewing cute things. He is often teased for liking guys or being interested in Naoto.
- Teddie – A bear from the TV world, he becomes good friends with Yu and friends and is invited to stay in the human world, where he created a human version of himself. Always excited and curious, Teddie wants to know more about the human world, but also wanting to remember his past.
- Naoto Shirogane – A young detective who moves to Inaba to help the police investigate the serial-murder case. Despite looking like a boy, he’s actually a girl.
- Ryotaro Dojima – The uncle of Yu and father of Nanako. Ryotaro is a police detective and is often so busy with his work especially with the escalating crimes, that he has to leave Nanako at home.
- Nanako Dojima – The young daughter of Ryotaro who looks at Yu as her “Big Bro”. Nanako likes the companionship of Yu and his friends and although she can take care of herself at home when her father is away, Nanako worries that her father is more interested in catching bad guys than her.
- Marie – A young lady who has lost her memories. Yu and friends try to help her find her lost memories and get her involved through their various activities. But meanwhile, she goes through certain moments of fear for some reason.
“Persona 4: The Golden Animation” is presented in 1080p High Definition. The anime series is vibrant and colorful. The overall look of “Persona 4” is stylish and cool, but it’s interesting to see its use of pink with white on the faces of the characters. It’s definitely a different use of coloring for characters but watching this anime series, color plays a big part in this series to set a mood. May it be the looming danger of the fog rolling into Inaba, the use of blues in the Blue Room but for the majority of the anime series, everything is colorful. Chie’s red hair and green/yellow track jacket, Yukiko and Rise’s use of red and of course the beautiful combination of animation and CG elements, for the most part, I felt the series compliments the video game remarkably well.
But overall anime production from A-1 Pictures is very good, with a slight difference from the original anime adaptation done by A.I.C. Asta. The series looks wonderful on Blu-ray with no banding or artifacts. “Persona 4: The Golden Animation” looked sharp, black levels were nice and deep and colors were absolutely vibrant! “Persona 4: The Golden Animation” looks awesome!
“Persona 4: The Golden Animation” is presented only with a Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 soundtrack. With that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels. I know that “Persona 4: The Animation” featured the original series with an English dub soundtrack, but that release was through a different company, this is through Aniplex Inc. and hopefully in the future, possibly a dual soundtrack release will be created.
“Persona 4: The Golden Animation Vol. 1” comes with no special features
“Persona 4: The Golden Animation Vol. 1” comes with a slipcase, six collectible postcards, a 24-page booklet (featuring art gallery and character information) and a “Persona 4 the Golden Animation: Original Soundtrack Vol. 1” featuring the following tracks with music by Shoji Meguro and Tetsuya Kobayashi:
- Friendly Conflict
- Golden Days
- Perfect Plan
- Just Like the Wind ~Instrumental~
- True Story
- a little
- a downfall
- Ying Yang
If you thought “Persona 4: The Animation” would be the end all anime series based on the popular videogame, along comes “Persona 4: The Golden Animation – Volume 1”.
While the original animated series is much better because it features a continuing storyline and also background on the primary characters and more.
With “Persona 4: The Golden Animation”, it incorporates stories from the original anime series, but pretty much, this latest anime series is about Yu and friends trying to help a girl named Marie, who has lost all her memories. But also mysterious due to the number of pains she receives, for some unknown reason.
If anything, the series compliments the original animation but doesn’t incorporate a lot of the action, it’s pretty much friends having fun with Marie and doing whatever is necessary for her to get back her memories.
But for the mostpart, I am a big fan of the entire “Shin Megami Tensei” video game series. My first experience with a “Shin Megami Tensei” video game was “Persona II: Eternal Punishment” and I absolutely loved the game for its characters but also it’s darker theme, use of Personas and it’s use of Japanese pop culture ingrained into an RPG game, the video games were a distinct style compared to other games from the major software makers.
And things changed no doubt with “Persona 3” which included a dating simulator and the ability for one to strengthen relationships, friendships and the overall gameplay becoming much more stylish and cool! Suffice to say, when “Persona 4” came out, once again, Atlus was able to create cool characters and further the experience for fans and gamers (who love Japanese RPG’s), but most importantly, making the games different from other companies and continuing to set the “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona” apart from its competitors.
And more American video game critics have started to take notice in the “Shin Megami Tensei” series. While many people who are discovering it are wondering, what is the appeal?
While “Persona 4: The Animation” is a series that captures the fun of the video game series but in animated format. One should not watch “Persona 4: The Golden Animation” expecting a connected series, but these are pretty much bits and pieces of what happened in the “Persona 4 Golden” video game series and focuses primarily on Marie. So, in a way, for those used to the action, will find this latest series to be lacking a bit. But for those who love character development, will enjoy “Persona 4: The Golden Animation”.
The Blu-ray looks absolutely fantastic! Colorful, vibrant, the anime series looks fantastic on Blu-ray. As for the audio, it’s only in Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0, so for those who were hoping an English dub like the original anime series on Blu-ray, this is not the case, as it is Japanese only. There are also no special features but you do get the Aniplex swag with an original CD soundtrack, booklet and more.
Overall, if you have played the video game or watched “Persona 4: The Animation”, then I definitely recommend giving “Persona 4: The Golden Animation” a try. It’s more focused on character relationships, instead of action this time around but still a fun anime series that “Persona 4” fans will definitely want to give the Blu-ray release a try!
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