Because apparently, we can’t have enough Persona in our life.
Persona 3, the entry that brought Persona series to success beyond the cult classic, had received so much attention throughout the years. There were the FES version attempting to give closure to the players, the distant sequel anime, then the girl version when it was ported to PSP. Atlus really squeezes P3 and P4 for every single penny it’s worth, not unlike Square and FFVII.
Now Persona 3 is finally receiving animation treatment. Unlike Persona 4 anime, Persona 3 the animation will be released in several two hours movie. The first is titled Spring of Birth, covering the beginning of the game until Fuuka’s recruitment.
The protagonist is no longer ‘Arisato Minato’. In this animation, he is ‘Yuki Makoto’.
After several years, Yuki Makoto finally returns to his hometown. Hardened against the strange supernatural phenomenon around him, he ignores everything on his way to his new home: Iwatodai dormitory. Ignorance may be bliss, but he can’t keep it much longer when sinister events begin to happen one after the another. This is his tale as he tries to strike a balance between his academic life, social links, and being part of a monster-hunting dungeon-crawling extracurricular club at night.
It occurs to me that the movie tries to pander gamers, especially, with surprises such as keeping the calendar transition and the Velvet Room’s fourth-wall-breaking dialogue. Don’t blame me to expect the status widget at the upper-right screen. There is even one ‘key item get!’ scene when Igor gives you the key to the room. Its function in the anime is still vague for now, while gamers and Megami Tensei fans will surely recognize the place they spend so much time in.
So far I think it is accessible to people who haven’t play the game, but they will miss several treats. The pace of the story is ideal for everyone to figure out what is going on. Adaptations tend to alienate people new to a certain series, so the team is doing a pretty good job in this aspect. The animation is sombre, mysterious, and cool which I believe will appeal to most fantasy fans -if they’re not intimidated by the number ‘3’ at the title-.
Even if you have already played the game, there’s nothing to lose to watch this. This time you can enjoy the events unfolding without having to remember your monthly plan and that worrying list of social links you choose to maintain. At first I was worried that the protagonist would overuse Orpheus like there wasn’t any other alternative, but fortunately Yuki could call other Personas as well.
And of course, this game has one of the coolest soundtrack in PS2 RPGs. Like the game, the whole soundtrack is actually Yuki’s MP3 player playlist.
Personally after watching this I finally understand why some people really hate silent protagonist. It is used to good effect here to portray an impossibly stoic Yuki. After half an hour, you’ll feel sorry having to be his friends. Junpei is definitely justified in his outrage. Just look as his passive expression walking in a town full of coffins!
That’s his default expression for the whole show.
That aside, do give this title a chance. You don’t find decent game-to-anime adaptation everyday.