I won’t deny that I approached Persona 4 The Golden Animation with an initial air of scepticism. We do, after all, already have a perfectly enjoyably anime retelling of the game’s story, and it’s only three years old. What sets this new show apart is a focus on the extra content found in 2012’s ‘Golden’ version of the game for PlayStation Vita. Because of this it exists comfortably alongside the original, and provides something that feels well tailored for existing fans of the series.
Not all good things have to come to an end. Black Butler is one such thing, and the latest anime to suffer from a divergence in plot with its manga counterpart after overtaking the source material. Whilst this third series disregards over half of the currently aired episodes as ‘non-canon’, this risky move somehow pays off and Book of Circus proves itself to be the most compelling Black Butler story arc yet.
Much of the first episode of Bacanno! is spent discussing the nature of stories, with some pretty heavy meta commentary asking if the one it’s about to tell can have either a main character or a true beginning. This is spliced between a series of seemingly random (yet still totally awesome) scenes all focusing on different people from the show’s massive cast, and all presented in a non-chronological sequence. Confusing? Maybe a little at first. Good? Probably the best thing I’ve ever seen.
Persona 4 The Animation may have a relatively specific appeal, but for fans of the game it’s an easy recommendation. I mean who wouldn’t want an anime retelling of their favourite RPG? It’s an excellent example of Japan’s smart attitude towards transmedia, and whilst it’s essentially a retelling of the game’s story, it is an entertaining and well-crafted adaptation of its source material.
Is ‘Survival Game’ becoming my favourite genre of anime? It just might be. Nothing can really compare to the thrill of watching a bunch of Japanese teenagers try and kill each other, and Future Diary also benefits from a well thought out structure and some extensive character development. There’s no denying that trying to kill your friends to become god would change you, and in Future Diary actions always have appropriate consequences. It’s one of the best in the genre, and fully realises ideas many other shows have attempted to explore.
Dangan Ronpa is one of my favourite PSP games (full review here), and its story is both involving and thrilling. The strong source material works in favour of the anime retelling, and whilst Dangan Ronpa: The Animation may feel a little familiar, the combination of a superb narrative and impressive presentation is a difficult formula to beat.