DVD Review: Persona 4 The Animation Volume 1
An adaptation of the hugely popular Persona 4 videogame!
High school dramas form a large majority of anime series, and can be set in many genres. Persona 4 contains fantasy situations that happen to the students outside of school and one student in particular, Yu has moved into the area, experiencing some strange phenomena from a TV left on overnight. As he is new he has to make sure that he keeps up a good profile if he wants to make friends, but once he does, his life will change forever.
Chie and Yukiko want to welcome Yu as he is the new guy, but he’s finding it difficult settling into the school routine even if he doesn’t show it. They are friends with the class clown, and Yosuke seems to get into trouble all the time, whether it’s falling off his bike, being tripped up in class by Chie, or falling head first into a trash can. Yu tries to ignore him until things get bad. Once he helps him, he is his friend for life. Yosuke has a crush on Saki, a girl who works at Junes, but his friends wonder if he will ever get a girl as he has an immature streak that puts girls off.
While the characters are introduced, and their problems are all at school, they seem frivolous once Yu discovers the Midnight Channel. Urban legend dictates that when it is rainy at twelve midnight and the TV is left on after the shows have gone off, they will meet their dream date, but for Yu, it means he is haunted by a ghost between the static real and the unreal. He keeps receiving messages from this unusual world as it wants to bring him into theirs, and there is only one way that can happen – through the TV itself. It is only when he and his friends are in an electrical store that Yu ventures into the world inside one of the display TVs along with them.
The world in there is very different to the one they know. It is a strange parody of it where nothing looks real. It has buildings with rooms in them that look out of place, and no normal people live there, only evil spirits who pursue anyone who decides to enter their domain. While Chie and Yosuke are having trouble fending off the evil spirits, Yu stands up to them, and is offered the chance to protect his friends and be given an amazing new power called Persona.
While there is a serious element to the story, the supposed evil spirits are amusing to look at, the bear they meet is far too cute, and Yosuke lightens the darker parts with his comic antics. As it would be right to assume, if such as Yu and his friends went into another world via a TV, then the evil in there could also spill out into the human world as well. Yu and his friends have noticed there have been several accidents in the human world, and he thinks they are somehow connected to the evil spirits. The nub of the whole story is that Yu and his friends are coaxed by the bear to find out why humans are being forcibly sent to their world, and for a time it puts the three of them in great danger.
It is entertaining to watch, has voice actors that can be easily recognised, and contains both humour and dark aspects to the story. The enjoyment is with the characters, and the idea of having normal people put into a surreal situation.
Label: Manga Entertainment
Release date: 24th December, 2012
Running time: 300 minutes
Director: Seiji Kishi
Sandie has a keen interest in Anime, Manga and all things Japanese. Her interests other than reviewing are Japanese Language, dress and culture, liking Harajuku Girls, Gothic Lolita, folding some neat Origami, drawing her own Manga characters, writing her own Manga stories and everything in between.