Persona 4: The Golden Animation Review

Last year we took a look at the Persona 4 Animation and pretty much loved it from beginning to end. It was a great adaptation of one of the best games ever made. Now, a year and a half later, we have the follow up.

The Golden is an odd one. On Animax (where it can be consumed) it’s actually listed as “Season 2”, which sort of makes sense. You see, it’s an adaptation of the Golden remake on Vita, but not the entire story, only the new scenes and characters that were added. It makes sense, as why would you watch another anime just over a year later that follows the same story beats? But it also makes the series unwatchable unless you’ve played the game. Even if you only watched the prior anime it can still be a little difficult to grasp.

So describing the plot as it appears in Golden can be hard. Overall it revolves around Yu Narukami, a teen who goes to live with his Uncle for a year in the quiet town of Inaba. Soon after his arrival murders occur and Yu finds that he has the power to summon Persona’s in the world inside the TV. Yes, there is a world inside the television where all sorts of craziness is happening. This setup is only really the basis for the first episode, after that it barely touches on any of this. Instead there are twelve episodes in total and largely they cover the Marie storyline. Marie being the new character they introduced in Golden. A blue hatted girl who resides in the Velvet Room, she has amnesia and her revelations about who she is forms the basis of the series.

Those familiar with the game will know that aside from Marie and a brand new dungeon, a lot of the new scenes were filled with comedy hijinks. And that’s really what you have a lot of here. In that regard, with the exception of the opener and penultimate episode, action is in short supply. There were the slow episodes in the first series, but they were always sandwiched between brilliant action set pieces, with rousing musical scores and people shouting “PERSONA!” as it all kicks off. Golden is on the other end of the spectrum with a large portion dedicated to the comedic, character building moments, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are many laugh out loud moments in the game and those are represented here faithfully and brilliantly. The trip to the beach resulting in some rather unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions, Yosuke’s motorcycle adventure and Yu’s Christmas disaster. All are here, and all are hilarious.

At times though  it can be best to make sure nobodies in the room when watching. It was strange, clicking on the “Play” button and being greeted by a “Rated 18” prompt. Yes, like the game, it’s a little more risqué. The bathhouse scene with Marie is just the tip of the iceberg; there are a number of moments with scantily clad teen girls that can get a little uncomfortable.

At the moment there is no English dub of the series. This may be blasphemous to some, but the English voice acting was great and is sadly missed. However, as a first taste of the Japanese voices, a lot of the time it’s actually like the English cast are speaking Japanese. There’s a definite sound to each character that translated over regions, such as Kanji’s deep vocals or Rise’s incessant whining (sorry Rise fans).

Compared to the original series this is definitely a hard one to review. In short, if you played the game and watched the prior series, then yes, this is a must watch full of memorable moments. If you did neither, then avoid as you won’t have the foggiest on what’s happening. Until of course you play the game. Because you should. As it’s brilliant.