The first minute of this episode was a surreal bit of nostalgia. To clarify, I’ve never played Persona 4—I avoided it because I never managed to beat Persona 3, even though for years I considered it my favorite video game. That aside, I have the Persona 3 OST and love it, and the Velvet Room BGM, “Want To Be Close,” has apparently remained the same across both games and, now, the show. It was interesting to suddenly hear that song in an anime, and while I don’t know the Persona 4 soundtrack, it nonetheless felt familiar since it carries the same distinct vibe courtesy of composer Meguro Shoji.
Anyway, about the show—I don’t need to have played the game to know that the show is reaching around its own ass to pay it tribute (like using the game’s own soundtrack). Some of the scenes look like the animation was made to imitate exactly what happened at the same moment in the game. The most obvious visual call-back is when Narukami uses a spell:
Visual call-backs and references are awesome (especially for fans of the game I’m sure), but the trouble I have with this adaption is that it lacks its own personality. Episode One was written and paced very awkwardly, and most of the animation didn’t stand out at all. It seems like the show is more concerned with presenting a trimmed-fat transliteration of the game material than it is with being a good anime series. If I’d played the game, I might be happy with that, though. After all, I dropped the Persona 3 anime precisely because it had little to do with the game (and it was just boring).
Of course, I could be totally wrong, because I haven’t played the game. Maybe the shortcomings of the anime have nothing to do with its being an adaption. Either way, I felt this was a rather weak opening episode.
(I probably would’ve loved it if the fight had opened with “BABY BABY BABY BABY BABY B-BABY BABY BABY BABY BABY BABY!”)