Persona 4 Ep 2: Slowing Down

I think this episode slowed the pace down quite a bit, and that’s great news.  Hopefully everyone now has a relatively clear sense of what the conflict is all about: someone’s throwing people into this midnight TV thingy, where all these shadows of negativity are lurking.  Yosuke faced his own shadow, i.e. he realized that his shadow was a legitimate side of himself, and was able to defeat it (with help from Yu’s persona, of course).

Something in the visual aspect of this show bothers me, but I’m so ignorant of the production side of anime that I can’t even tell what it is!  I mean, the art is pretty and the animation is fluid enough, but something just doesn’t click.  Is it the art?  The animation?  An intersection of the two?  Something else altogether?  I just get this feeling that if they would throw more money at this show it could look 100 times better.  I like how it looks, but it could look much better.  Hmm…

I’m really happy that the anime is following through with the game’s focus on sexuality.  It’s pretty obvious already that Yosuke and Yu are forming a bond, and that this bond can go all sorts of ways.  One of the strengths of the game was its openness to all of these possibilities, and it does look like the anime will be faithful in this respect as well.

On the topic of faithfulness, it’s great that this episode managed to stick close to game events without being compelled to show absolutely everything that happened.  Transitions were much more even and we weren’t left scratching our heads like in the first episode when stuff happened and we just didn’t know why…

On to the fights.  I don’t like how much they’re relying on closeups.  I much prefer “surveying” the battle from a larger distance.  Anyway, as the number of combatants increase I think the animators will be forced to pull back the camera, as it were, and so I will be pleased.  And I like to be pleased.


1) Paradoxically, the Kuma puns work better in English translation!  In Japanese, the bear critter just adds the word “kuma” (=bear) at the end of every sentence.  The English translators in the game worked on finding more intellectually stimulating puns, and subbers are following suit.  Thus the English Kuma will say things like: “Bear with me” and “I’m beary tired”.  Sure, it’s not rocket science but it’s still far superior to the Japanese treatment.

2) When Yosuke asks his shadow who he is, the shadow responds: “I am the shadow, the true I.”  [The word “ware” can mean “self” as well, so this works better in the original]   The Japanese is “Ware wa kage, shinnaru ware” (=我は影、真なる我).  This is not Modern Japanese, it’s Classical.  I’m currently studying the classical language so this is pretty awesome!  Anyway, in modern Japanese one would say something like “Watashi wa kage, honto no watashi”.


~ by Haloed Bane on October 14, 2011.

15 Responses to “Persona 4 Ep 2: Slowing Down”

  1. Thing that’s always bugged me with P4 visuals is the over shading and saturation of people’s chins.

    • You know, I saw this issue raised the other day somewhere but I completely ignored it. Now I took at look at the episode again and realized what this whole chin thing is about. I hadn’t noticed it at all! It does look like they have some powerful light source shining on their faces or something. Hmm…interesting..what’s bothering me might have something to do with the contour of the lines, which could be related to this, yes. When characters move it becomes even more obvious, so I didn’t mind in the game so much…maybe?

  2. According to an ANN thread, Episode 02 had some issues behind it:

    But yes, the game’s dub includes bear puns for Kuma (His name’s Teddie in English) and the stuff about Shadows is translated as “I am a Shadow, the true self”.

    • Wow, that gossip is very, very troubling. I sure hope they get their act together soon!!

      “I am a Shadow, the true self” is the best possible translation IMO, but it necessarily lacks the impact of the Japanese, because it has to use two separate words (I, self) when Japanese uses one. The Shadow’s point is that he is Yosuke’s shadow, and that this shadow is the true Yosuke. At the same time, the sentence has a real universal feel to it, as if the shadow is also telling us that “each person’s shadow is their true self”.

      Thanks for the info!!

  3. I have no idea how you thought this was slower, I thought it was breakneck in all the worst ways, totally fumbling over itself. Didn’t care for it at all.

    • Really?? I thought way less stuff happened than in episode 1, but my perspective is totally skewed because I know the story already. Hmm…

      I wonder if there’ll be any non-game-playing viewers left for next episode then…

  4. By the way instead of Guilty Crown and Persona, why don’t you watch Fate/Zero AKA something actually amazing? It pretty much assfucks the rest of the season.

  5. “Is it the art? The animation? An intersection of the two? Something else altogether?”

    I get the feeling what you notice are a lot of what in animator terms are called “off-model” scenes; scenes where the faces are just inconsistently drawn with what the character should “normally” look like, even when accounting for foreshortening and lighting (in other words, they deviate from the character model reference art). Persona 4’s anime adaptation seems to have a lot of this.

    The prevalence of off-model scenes in animation really depends on how much money and time the animators (especially the animation director, since he is the one who has ultimate responsibility for keeping the characters on-model and consistent) are willing to spend to redo frames by hand until they get it “right”; there’s really no single magic bullet solution.

    The ANN post is very troubling too – the animation director is *the* lynchpin of the project, and often is the one who needs to work hard to correct art errors, continuity errors, and generally provides the final proof draft for the animator’s work. If the staff doesn’t get along with the animation director, that’s big trouble.

    • You’re right, that’s exactly what it is. This show has too many off-model scenes, and the gap between off and on-model is wider than usual. This might totally be connected to the conflicts among the staff. I wonder what will happen this week…

  6. I just noticed something and can’t wait for your next post:

    If memory serves, the Velvet Room in Persona 3 was in an elevator. In Persona 4, it’s now in a car. What do elevators and cars make you think of?!

  7. i always thought it was shin no ware, ive only seen naru used for becoming…so is it truth made me?

    • Yup, in Modern Japanese (MJ) “naru” is almost always the verb “to become”. In Classical, there is a verb “nari” that means “become”, but there’s also a “nari” that serves as the copula (MJ = “desu, de aru”). You can use this second “nari” (conjugated as “naru”) to link two nouns together. So yes, it does work kinda similar to the particle “no” in many expressions. An example: “Haha naru onna” would mean “the woman who is (my) mother”.

      The Shadow’s expression “Ware wa kage, shin naru ware” means literally “I am the shadow, the I that is truth.” which means the shadow claims to be that person’s true self. “Naru” here does NOT mean “become” at all, it just means “is”.

      OK, check that. I just realized the real explanation is a bit more complicated. In Classical Japanese you have 1) verb “nari” meaning “to become”, 2) there is the copula “nari” meaning “is” or “there is”. But shinnari/shinnaru is neither of those. It’s actually an adjective! There is a class of adjectives in Classical Japanese called “nari” adjectives. This is one of them. So “shinnaru” simply means “true/real”. By the way, that “nari” ending in adjectives is originally related to the copula “nari” so I was kinda right, but not really!! All these “nari” are a mess!!

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