Ah the Persona hype is real once more. Let me make this completely clear from the beginning for anyone interested in Persona 4 Golden the Animation. The anime COMPLETELY assumes you have played the original Persona 4 game or have at least watched the original animation. It is NOT a standalone series. Rather, P4GA focuses wholly on the new material in Persona 4 Golden that was not present in Persona 4. In short, the main parts of P4GA are the new group events, the Adachi social-link, and Marie. Yet these additions in their anime forms are so enjoyable that I would highly recommend even placing the new P4GA episodes within the original Persona 4 Anime to get an amazing thirty-something episode experience.
== Fire Up the PS2 for New Game+ ==
Anyone who has read my review on Persona 4 the Animation knows that I’m a huge fan of Persona 3 and 4. At the same time, that person would also know that JRPGs are extremely difficult for me to play through. Back when I first decided to play Persona 4, I did not have a PS Vita. While I have one now, it is still the case that I was unable to and probably will never play Persona 4 Golden. Persona 4 was good, but many Persona fans agree that Persona 4 Golden is the definitive Persona 4 experience. When an anime for P4G was announced, I was still in my initial play-through of Persona 4. So I figured, hey, I can just start watching Persona 4 Golden the Animation and get the gist of the story.
As I stated earlier, this is not the case. The beginning of the original story is hastily rushed through. The characters talk about how they saved somebody, but the anime does not show the act of them actually doing so. This show is not a New Game. This is a New Game Plus. There are a lot of developer hints at this, the biggest of which is a maxed out stats meter in the opening animation and Yu Narukami’s immense aura of confidence. It’s almost as if he knows what he’s doing at first, such as when he first meets Teddie. Maybe he’s done this before? Yeah. He definitely has.
It’s the new events not from the original story that are the true gems in the new Persona 4 Golden the Animation. The extra scenes range from the ever hilarious beach scene to the quiz show to the ski trip. As expected the voice acting is top notch. The music is as good if not better than the original as new tracks revitalize the experience while having a familiar enough vibe that the music feels right at home in the new anime. The art this time around is even prettier, with impressive and fluid animation and more vibrant backdrops.
== Adachi, Where’s my Coffee? ==
The second main focus of Persona 4 Golden the Animation is the Adachi social link new to the Persona 4 Golden game. I will try to be as spoiler free as possible, assuming a complete lack of knowledge of the original story. For those who, like me, are only familiar with the original Persona 4 story, Adachi’s role has not changed. Instead, Yu explores Adachi’s backstory and motives for his assignment into Inaba. I must say the Adachi arc surprised me. It makes Adachi, a character I did not like that much from the original story, extremely interesting and provides a new perspective on him.
== Tsun tsun dere dere ==
While Adachi is an old character now re-vitalized, Marie is a completely new character for Persona 4 Golden. Now, Marie is a textbook Tsundere and is great to watch. Part of her charm is the excellent voice acting of Kana Hanazawa, the epitome of the adorable Japanese voice. The last arc of the anime focuses completely on Marie’s social link.
It’s probably her short black hair, but I like Marie’s look the most out of all the Persona 4 characters. I also think her tsundere personality is hilarious to watch and super cute.
On the other hand, I am not the biggest fan of her back story. My biggest complaint about her arc is the final battle; the way Yu and his friends win is honestly a repeat of the original anime’s ending. While the “power up at the end to win” is pretty epic, it’s not interesting at all if it’s already been done before. I’m sorry, but Izanagi-no-Okami does not appear until the FINAL FINAL boss. Then again, I guess this IS New Game Plus. Sigh.
== Final Verdict ==
Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Final verdict.
If you have watched Persona 4 and enjoyed it, Persona 4 Golden the Animation will be a blast. If you have not watched Persona 4, don’t even touch Persona 4 Golden the Animation. This anime is a supplement and nothing more. But it’s a damn good supplement for sure.
Now, excuse me while I go play Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. So much Persona. So little time.