Posted by psgels on 6 October 2011 with categories: Chihayafuru, Persona 4 The Animation, Some Quick First Impressions

Persona 4 The Animation

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a transfer student with special powers.
Seeing as how this was the most hyped up series of the new season… it felt oddly disappointing. I’m not referring to the characters, although that pee-moment certainly didn’t help, but what striked me the most is that the storytelling was completely off. In particular, this episode didn’t seem to care much about timing or build up. It didn’t seem to know how to create an atmosphere, it jumped around way too much instead of establishing things, and everything happened way too quickly . This episode had a very short attention span, which really hurt any attempts on drawing in the viewer: one moment the main character is in a shop, the next he dives in a tv. It just doesn’t flow well and there were a lot of anti-climaxes in this episode. Was the game really that long, forcing such a fast pacing? Oh, and this is just a small detail, but I consider it very important too: the show had what sounded like a great soundtrack, but it didn’t seem well used at all. There were lots of scenes with no background music at all, and it only started playing at the most predictable moments.
OP: Funky
ED: Again, funky. If only the rest of the soundtrack was like this.
Potential: 60%

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is surrounded by cute girls.
For a while, this episode actually avoided the usual warning signs. When it was just the main male and female together, this show avoided fanservice, the female lead was eloquent, rather than stupid, and about the only big cliche was the deadpan snarker male lead. Then the second female lead arrived, the girls turned tsundere and they wasted no time in making boob jokes. This show… when I first read that it’d be about people who are bad at being friends, I thought that this would be a show about outcasts. Instead, the main cast consists out of two people with foreign looks, suffering from Japan’s xenophoby, and another character who refuses to talk to others because of… arrogance I guess. That was not what I expected. Strangely enough, these people didn’t seem to suffer from insecurities at all. Instead, the emotion that prevailed here was annoyance for not being able to make friends. It doesn’t have the biggest cliches: aside from the boob jokes this episode refrained from beating any dead horses, but it has relatively little that it can call its own. The xenophobia was probably this episode’s biggest asset, but that was handled very one-sidedly: everyone is afraid of the main characters, aside from the really good-looking girls (yay for subtlety!). This was neither the worst moe show of the season, but it also certainly wasn’t the best.
OP: FANSERVICE!
ED: Why the nuns?
Potential: 40%

Chihayafuru

Short Synopsis: Our lead character plays card games.
This had the best animation of the new season so far. Seriously, Madhouse made this series look absolutely gorgeous. The use of cg is excellent, while it completely lacks the acting problems of Madhouse’s usual series. The shots are all creative, the animation is smooth and life-like. It would be awesome if the creators could keep it up like that. The rest of the episode also was wonderful: instead of most series about games, the female lead Chihaya isn’t a complete rookie at the start: she has been playing the card games (and seriously, they’re not what you think: this is miles away from Yugioh) for a few years now. In fact, this series series shows how she got introduced to it when she was still a grade schooler. What especially caught me however was how well it used its animation to portray the game. The soundtrack is also exceptionally well used. This is one to keep an eye out for: rock-solid… though it’s a shame that it’s a manga adaptation. Of a manga that isn’t finished yet.
OP: A bit generic, but certainly not the worst of the season.
ED: Simple, but very pretty visuals, with a decent ballad.
Potential: 90%

49 Responses

  1. Scruffy says:

    Loved this and really looking forward to see how this develops. I do hope that it’s not just around the love triangle though. The game itself sounds insanely hard!

  2. paj says:

    i have been looking forward to this since I love heorines like her. And who ever liken this one to yu gi oh? it is far from that. Anyways, I am glad that Chihayafu is getting the spot light!

  3. kurini says:

    OMG I LOVE IT!! It was the best first episode I’ve seen in a while!I really love this series! I can learn more about the japanese culture, it’s a plus!! Karuta! I know how it works now! :D

  4. awioejfeiojf says:

    yay! :3

  5. VyseLegend says:

    Yay! A series that isn’t a hyperactive mishmash of hundreds of character cliches, ridiculous and outlandish premises, fan service, and half assed animation!

  6. Tan-Tan says:

    A show about card games Psgel likes?

    I’LL WATCH IT

    (and ygo is good D

  7. Alec says:

    This will probably become my fav anime of the season, but I’m pretty sure that like Iroha, this anime will also have quite a number of weak episodes

  8. Esmeralda31 says:

    This is really a good anime… after the mediocre stuff of spring, finally something good…

  9. Scruffy says:

    After checking out the manga I’d have to agree with psgels that this show risks being ruined by the end, although by the look of the start of the manga the author had a clear endpoint in mind. There’s 14 volumes out and I would guess by looking at the first 10 volumes that 10 is the halfway point. (only the first 10 have been scantilated :(

  10. ender650 says:

    It was much better than I thought it was going to be. I have been less than impressed with most Madhouse series in the past few years, but if they keep the interesting storytelling and animation quality up this could be really great. Negatives:the music was nothing special

  11. Diasen says:

    I wasn’t planning on checking Chihayafuru out but you made me. AND I LOVED IT :D

  12. kero says:

    I LOVED IT! I love straightforward heroines like her. And Taichi was great too, just from his expressions and actions, you knew exactly what he was thinking, without it being over the top.

    I wanna learn to play karuta!

  13. kero says:

    I LOVED IT! I love straightforward heroines like her. And Taichi was great too, just from his expressions and actions, you knew exactly what he was thinking, without it being over the top.

    I wanna learn to play karuta!

  14. Tuuli says:

    I liked the athmosphere it gave and the visuals look great and seems like the story will be done well with this ! I also like different kind of games and it seems to be well used here so this series will probably be an interesting series to follow. Since it’s a manga adaption that isn’t done yet I hope they will end it well or wait for the manga to end at some point. This one caught my attention so I will at least keep wathing it.

  15. Tuuli says:

    and the characters seemed really well done and they brought them really well to life.

  16. Starry says:

    Thanks for reviewing this, I checked it out and its quite lovely so far. Sticking it on my watch list for now.

  17. Kah says:

    Due to having been following the manga version, I already knew that this was an anime I would follow this season. It being a Madhouse anime was the cherry on the top! :D

  18. billish says:

    not really my type for anime, but i’ll probably still watch a few episodes
    not gonna judge it at all past its type until after episode 2 – 4

  19. AKI says:

    Twas good but not good enough, maybe im not the target audience. I enjoyed Phi Brain and Ika-Musume better. But I’ll still definitely watch this.

  20. Anime Games says:

    Most of the pics are not showing but I really love Chihayafuru is kinda funny and romantic…:-)

  21. Joojoobees says:

    Chihayafuru FTW! An excellent first episode, with some interesting characters, and strong hints of plot afoot.

  22. Addictd says:

    To answer your question about the length of Persona 4, psgels, yeah, it was that long. Once you start the game there’s over an hour of just heavy dialogue, so yeah, forcing the pacing in the beginning is something I can see. It really builds up by the end though. If the anime will do this too though, I don’t know.

  23. HENRCAST says:

    I’ve never played Persona 4, but the third one took me 120 hours… Yeah, the series’ games tend to be VERY long, but with extremely slow pacing

  24. Starry says:

    In regards to Persona 4… they crammed the first 90 minutes of the game into 20 in order to get to the first battle by the first episode. It takes about two hours to introduce the setting, characters and plot too. A normal playthrough takes about 60-80 hours to get to the true end and about 15-20 hours of it is pure story related/cutscenes

  25. m says:

    Persona 4: They sped through introductory material to get to some action. It seems like a bit of a mistake to me, because it stunted the main cast a bit and makes things a bit confusing. However, the game really is long and the Scooby parts will easily fill up two cours.

    Persona 4 (game) has a fun soundtrack and they seem to have just lifted that for the most part for the series. It’s hard for me to complain about that too much. Although it would be nice to have had some new music to buy.

    I didn’t really like the lighting and gradients in some of the scenes.

    Overall, not too bad. Without a better idea of how the rest of series will be paced it’s hard to tell yet if it’ll be a good adaptation or not.

  26. m says:

    Persona 4: Oh, as an addendum. They will mix really silly humor and serious business throughout the story. I’ve seen you praise that sort of thing in series with worse stories, but I have no idea if it will work for you in this case or not.

  27. DmonHiro says:

    “Was the game really that long, forcing such a fast pacing?”
    Yeah… pretty much.

  28. Suzushina Yuriko says:

    Yeah, the first episode was incredibly rushed. The scene of them getting to the room with the noose in it, for example, was really creepy in the game but they kind of just brushed it off in the anime. Also, Souji was actually not supposed to summon Izanagi here – in the game, he made a second visit to the TV world with Yosuke that had a lot of importance to the plot.

    The shadows aren’t even supposed to attack normal people until certain conditions are met, but it seems they ignored that here.

    Since Persona 4 won the poll, I’m assuming you’ll be blogging this? I’m glad, because the story really does get good as it goes along and I wouldn’t want you to drop a good series just because it starts off bad.

  29. Dalx says:

    Well, for me the game was cloking more than 2 hours when I got to this part. The OST is funky and yet they don’t used it constantly, probably to protect it from getting stale (they’re loops, you see).

    The pasing was pretty rushed for the first episode, the game had established Chie, Yosuke and Saki at that moment and the battle with the lying hableries (tongue things) had more explanation behind those things.

    I belive the passing will slow down a bit after this and maybe the second chapter when you’re finally able to control the protagonist actions of the day and the grinding begins. They’ll have to go for the Social Links that, if made well, are Character Development in other name.

    The problem I see is that they didn’t explained the concept (Persona) and Izanagi was just there, Souji knew what to do and all the infodumps of Igor where left out besides without the public getting a feel of Yosuke and Saki sempai the next episode will lose punch.

    Was expecting this and that’s why I voted for P4 in the polls, it deserves patience.

  30. h.n.elly says:

    Not defending a bad execution, but to answer your question, yes, the game was. The game is long (80+ rpg) and all the material can’t be explored in the first playthrough unless you get very lucky.

    Also, I think they want to put new material in the anime. I think P4 is going to be okay at best, but as a fan of the game, I’ll probably just enjoy seeing the characters.

  31. troy says:

    Sigh the game was a masterpiece but it was not really something good for Anime adaptation in the first place, the story of the game was good , but adapting it well will be…….hard.

  32. Aera says:

    Persona 4 would have needed a longer series to do it well, made worse by the fact that I dont think sticking to the way its presented in the game necessarily translates into an anime directly. Wasnt expecting much for the show and the first episode lived “up” to what I expected. Maybe it will get better, but I rather doubt it.

  33. Dalx says:

    @Aera
    I don’t think it would need longer series really, the start should had taken its time to build-up and establish characters instead of going for actionized first episode. Still, after the prologue, you spent a lot of time in random battles that, well, can be cut down and S. Links to be shown instead. I belive it is possible to have a well paced plot on 26 episodes.

  34. Tan-Tan says:

    Wait what? You didn’t like the storytelling? I think it was FANTASTIC! It felt so game-like! I think it’s a really interesting, experimental way and man I’m glad they had the guts to do it! I think what they did with Persona is awesome x3

  35. awioejfeiojf says:

    They are just copying the exact script of the game which is really dumb of them. They didn’t even bother to adapt it properly. Even the timing of the music is identical to the game…

  36. betawatcher says:

    @awieoefeiojf You… managed to put into words what I was thinking. I think psgels would have rated it even more negatively if he played the game. It felt to me like I was playing the game without the controller.

    Yup, rushed. The emotional scenes made me burst in laughter. (Adachi puking was hilarious, it just seemed pasted there XDDD I’m sure I felt a little creeped out when I played this part) I hope they slow down a little in the next episodes…

    The animation was pretty good though.

  37. Diasen says:

    Um.. So which show exactly do you consider as the best moe of the season? O_O?

  38. psgels psgels says:

    Diasen: Tamayura, with on second place either Horizon or Majikoi.

  39. Ghost says:

    I don’t know why I spamed the shoutout box instead of post here instead. haha

    Unlike most I liked the first episode, to me it’s a build up because honestly we haven’t even dipped our toe into the story. Also, I thought the pace worked well but I think because I played the video game, I have a different perspective.

    I already know and love the characters. Know the story so I might be bias haha But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have problems with it.
    I feel the “awakening” scene was…off. Like why was it in this episode anyway?! I hope it does slow down a little the next couple of episodes too though. In the video game, I think the opening was like 2 hours….and this is a very, VERY long game.

  40. chounokoe says:

    I can only say what others already said about the length of the game. It DOES take time to get somewhere and considering they decided to adapt some of the battles as well, they are gonna have some pacing issues along the way.
    Let’s say it’s 26 episodes, that makes about 520 minutes or about 8h40m of runtime…and that for a game that takes about 60h on a first run. Cuts HAVE to be made…even though it’s sad.

    I think the first episode did an okay job of introducing the setting…I hope they include some of the information along the way. I admit that it would have probably been a bad choice to spend the first episode with talking only.
    Of course, for a better pacing it would have been nice if the episode only went to the first encounter with Mayonaka TV, but they have to consider an audience with less patience as well…especially when adapting a game that is known for it’s battle system…

  41. Jack says:

    Actually, I really liked the pacing: sure, it WAS rushed and the atmoshpere will probably suffer for it, but…

    Well, two things: when most anime take its sweet time getting started, this felt a bit like an adaptation of a 60s Stan Lee comic: quick and to the point.

    And this rushed pacing has the effect of mirroring the Main Character’s (calling him ‘yu’ seems odd) experience: here he is, on the SECOND DAY of his new life and shit just got WEIRD. He certainly did not get time to take a breath.

    Also, I wonder if they botched the characterization here to focus on it during the S. Links? I mean, Yousuke was always a dork, but not THAT stupid. Even the wanting to pee thing was better handled on the game…

    One last thing about the pacing: maybe they rushed it so much because the last series (persona trinity soul) sucked so much and this wasn’t at all like that snorefest?

  42. Scruffy says:

    I actually thought that Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukinai was quite good. I can understand why Yozora went all crazy when miss popularity turned up. To someone who is on the outer those sort of people almost seem like they are rubbing your face in it.

    As to why the nuns? Well it’s a Catholic School

  43. sadakups says:

    The first episode is a wet dream for someone who has played the game with the references all over the place. It’s exactly how it felt like during the first hour of the game.

    Other than that, the animation hiccups, the awkward “comedic” scenes and kinda weak exposition of the mystery, it was pretty solid.

  44. psgels psgels says:

    Scruffy: I grew up in catholic schools as an atheist. Believe me, there are no nuns or anything in that direction whatsoever.

  45. Fedek says:

    Persona 4 was OK. i had played the game.

    Shin megami tensei games, are supossed to be deep.

    But for realz, is shonen fighting. That I like, but not as deep.

    The best thing in persona titles, are the characters adn the funky aestethics.

  46. AKI says:

    So I watched Persona 4 – it was definitely intriguing. Haven’t played the game myself but I think the first episode did many things the right way. It may be rushed but the adrenaline was there.

    I expected Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai to suck, but it wasn’t half bad. At least the lead female doesn’t have Shana’s voice. The male lead however was just a copy/paste of many harem anime.

  47. Rex says:

    “It didn’t seem to know how to create an atmosphere, it jumped around way too much instead of establishing things, and everything happened way too quickly .”

    Of course it feels odd, those idiots tried to cram two hours worth of story into 20 minutes. Its impossible to do right.

    @psgels: If you can, play the first two hours of the game, then you know what you missed. Lets just hope they get a proper pacing from now on.

  48. Anon says:

    Persona 4 is so rushed. The director should have taken some time to develop MC. Even if he’s quiet, there should have been monologues. He has no personality whatsoever, which is ok in game, but really bad in anime. The fact that the director chooses not to give MC personality (one of the few things that can elevate the anime beyond the game) is stupid.

    Persona 4 doesn’t make a good 26-episode anime to begin with. For such limited time, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor would fare much better. It has a more compact story, it builds atmosphere faster, less focus on side characters and no sidetracking.

  49. Sho says:

    @Anon: Ditto on the Devil Survivor thing.

    I only took a peek at the 1st ep of Persona 4..and i thought it was ok. But you can tell the transition from game to anime did’nt go so well. So far, the only good thing about the show is that Shoji Meguro is doing the soundtrack.

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:42 AM)
    Oh Andrew Niccol, oh how the mighty have fallen.
    Hoffman showed up in Capote and most wanted man, the latter which I especially love and there need to be more thrillers of that vein coming out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:37 AM)
    It’s funny how they also each have a Nicolas Cage movie. Kaufman has Adaptation and Niccol has Lord of War. Although despite the usual Cage antics neither of those movies is really that bad.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:33 AM)
    Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show are the two roles where Jim Carrey really demonstrated his acting chops well outside of his usual comfort zone. But Kaufman moved forward from Sunshine with the superior Synecdoche, while Andrew Niccol went from doing Truman Show and Gattaca to doing young adult garbage like The Host *wretches*
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:28 AM)
    @Emma: yeah you’ll most likely enjoy it. On the surreàl scale it lies somewhere between Birdman and Holy Mountain, so although it’s peppered with symbolic imagery and thematic shots it’s still a personal story about a man’s struggle when faced with his own demise. Although a lofty statement, this is in my onion philip seymour hoffman’s best performance, and his untimely death adds another incredibly rich level of nuance to this movie.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:20 AM)
    @Bam: Adaption, Nicholas Cage =< a guilty pleasure actor to watch for the most part and little more.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:12 AM)
    @Bam: The more you mentiom Synecdoche, the more interested I get. Malcovich was a creative idea for a film and Eternal sunshine was a good spin on the romance genre which gave Jim Carrey a film worth acting in.
    Riki-oh if anything is just a heck of alot of fun.

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