The Persona 3 movies are collectively a real treat for fans, retelling its engaging story in a compelling new format. Split into four parts, Winter of Rebirth covers the final section of the narrative, and ties up the series with a competent adaptation of the game’s most fiddly section.
So I’m going to try something I’ve not done before – that’s covering five movies in one review. Code Geass: Akito the Exiled is a series of five hour-long films that saw theatrical screenings in Japan and recently concluded after five years of releases. Collectively they tell an epic war story set between Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R1 and R2, bridging the gap between the two anime series.
Erased crafts its own special type of time travel that sits somewhere between Steins;Gate, Life is Strange and, Groundhog Day. It tells a story spilt between two timelines, and whilst it partially delivers as an exciting and intense thriller, what also stands out is how frequently Erased does something that feels weird and disjointed.
As the third film in the tetralogy, Persona 3: Falling Down faces all the challenges that the previous two movies have already struggled with. At the same time it’s now easy to take the impressive visuals and production design for granted – this look is now to be expected. In light of this I didn’t expect Falling Down to surprise me in the way it did, but the movie has several notable improvements over its predecessors, and the result is the best Persona 3 film yet.
The Tatami Galaxy is highly ambitious. It’s also a huge success, and amazingly every experiment it tries seems to work. Simply listing everything great about it could take a while, but that sure won’t stop me trying. The characters rock, it is thematically and structurally complex, there are parallel universes and they are awesome. In eleven episodes it achieves a staggering amount, and leaves an incredibly powerful impression.
A space time rift has opened up over New York and the city is now co-inhabited by aliens and humans. This is the premise of Blood Blockade Battlefront, and it’s a set up that works well for delivering the endlessly strange and bizarre encounters that the anime powers through in its twelve episode run. This introduction to Hellsalem’s Lot is a fast-paced and exciting journey into a unique world, and makes for the most compelling anime I’ve seen in quite a while.
Psycho-Pass: The Movie is in two ways an obvious return to form after getting sidetracked in its second series. The film brings back writer Gen Urobuchi and character Shinya Kogami, both who’ve been missing since the events of series one. But its hour and a half runtime doesn’t prove long enough to explore any of the complex issues that have been lingering in the background for a while now, and whilst the film is fun in a conventional way, it doesn’t fully realise the potential of the franchise.
When the first series of Tokyo Ghoul ended it did so without resolution. Now we have √A (Root A), the follow up that continues the arc which was paused so abruptly, but isn’t quite the sequel you’d expect. In contrast to original we have an experimental series that changes focus, recharacterises its protagonist, and expands in an unexpected way.
With Ciel and Sebastian’s adventures at the circus officially over, Black Butler powers on into its next arc; the Phantomhive Manor Murders – and yes, that’s as exciting as it sounds. This time around the genre is mystery, and in its two hour run time Book of Murder fuses together some classic tropes from the detective literature of the period with its own twisted humour and over the top antics.
It’s been ten months since Persona 3: The Movie #1 Spring of Birth; a great film that left me wanting more. Having covered only the first portion of the game, Midsummer Knight’s Dream begins right at the point things pick up, and progresses the story with the addition of several new characters. This does however come at a cost, and several members of the main cast have marginalised roles as a result. In spite of this, Persona 3 The Movie #2 mostly succeeds at fighting the difficult battle of translating its source material into the most compelling film possible.