At the stroke of midnight, the Dark Hour appears—a secret hour which most are unaware of. Those not trapped in coffins during this time, unfortunate enough to find themselves conscious, are met by dangerous creatures known as Shadows. A select few, however, possess the potential to wield Persona: a special power used to defeat these beings. This secret group is called SEES (Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad), and their mission is to uncover the reason behind the Dark Hour's appearance.
Only a short while after transfer student Makoto Yuuki begins his residency at Iwatodai Dorm, his Persona awakens after an attack by a strong Shadow. Now recruited into the ranks of SEES, he begins fighting alongside his comrades, as only they can protect humanity from Shadows and prevent the anomaly that is the Dark Hour.
Persona 3 The Movie: Spring of Birth is directed by Noriaki Akitaya, director of the Bakuman series. He’s also been an episode director for series such as Code Geass, Honey and Clover II and Nodame Cantabile.
The first big-screen outing of Persona 3 is roughly 90 minutes long and it covers April to June. They have cut out much of the school life aspect, and there is no mention of the characters joining clubs or taking exams. Instead, it focuses on the members of SEES and how their bond grows stronger. Makoto Yuki was a blank canvas in the game and at the beginning of the
film he still feels like one; he is quiet, doesn’t say much and doesn’t really care about his own life or have much of an interest in those around him. Seeing Yuki piece together his emotions and learn what it means to have friends and comrades is a nice touch to the movie.
If you’ve never played the game but have seen or played Persona 4, the first Persona 3 movie is darker and doesn’t have as much comedy. It focuses more on jealousy, bullying and friendship. It jumps from one Full Moon battle to the next, with moments in-between where the group gets to know each other better. Yuki, Yukari and Junpei’s first battle within the Shadow-infested tower, Tartarus, is very fun and beautifully animated. Junpei ends his battle with his famous line about levelling up, before becoming jealous of Yuki’s abilities. Akihiko and Mitsuru haven’t had their time to shine yet, but there is plenty of time for that in the next movie.
After the credits we see a certain character opening their eyes and are told that the second movie is coming Summer 2014.
I couldn’t help but smile when the opening credits started accompanied by Burn My Dread: Spring of Birth Version and that smile stayed on my face for almost the entirety of the film. Shouji Meguro’s music is always fantastic and this film’s soundtrack is no exception, the memorable themes of Tartarus, The Velvet Room and Gekkoukan High School all return. These familiar pieces alongside the impressive animation makes the film that much stronger.
As a fan of the game, I found Spring of Birth very enjoyable, Makoto Yuki’s character development, the battles and the fantastic animation made it well worth the wait. I would’ve liked to have seen more of the side characters and school life, but overall it did a really good job of bringing the characters to the big screen.
I originally wrote this review for my own website, but several users have messaged me asking me to review it on here as well.
[No one can escape time.]
[It delivers us all to the same end.]
The latest effort in animating this esteemed JRPG series is finally here, aaaaand it's a movie series. This means the release schedule will be hell to endure, but the payoff is definitely worth it so far.
First things first, the animation is beautiful. Anyone let down by the Persona 4 anime’s low quality should breathe easy, for the P3 movie looks stunning. The backgrounds looks great and the characters are sharp and on-model at all times. That movie budget is showing. The Dark Hour in particular looks great, with a muddy painting-esque look differentiating it
from the daytime sequences. It works very well in making it look all otherwordly and creepy.
As for soundtrack, here’s where this follows the P4 anime’s footsteps. Most of the OST is lifted from the game, and occasionally slightly remixed, with some original compositions in here and there. It works, even though they liked using the main battle theme just a bit too much. (Several scenes opened with the iconic chant of BABYBABYBABYBABYBABYBABYBABY.)
The 90-minute movie covers the game up to and including the Fuuka Yamagishi arc, which is well over 10 hours of game time. There was a lot of daytime fluff scenes cut, much like in Persona 4, but here it didn’t really end up making the story or characters suffer at all, nor did it make the movie feel rushed. The fluff scenes were important world and character-building in Persona 4, but entirely superfluous and sometimes even badly written in Persona 3, so it’s more like they just trimmed the unneeded fat. What we have in its place is a more tightly paced, suspenseful story, which is more in line with what I expected Persona 3, the game, to be before I played it. The social links are relegated to background props and one-scene extras, but I never liked P3's social links, so I've no problem with that.
With the fluff scenes cut, the main story sequences are relied upon to give the characters depth, which works wonderfully. The movie’s version of the protagonist, Makoto Yuki, manages to show great amounts of depth with very few lines. Just like with P4’s Yu Narukami, the shift from silent protagonist to actual character has gone swimmingly. Other characters I felt gained a lot from the movie were Yukari Takeba and Fuuka Yamagishi. Yukari’s interactions with Makoto are very different from the game, and definitely make her come across as much more than just “designated love interest girl”. Fuuka never got much attention in the game, but her struggles here are played up a lot, which is only a good thing. Other characters, like Junpei, Akihiko, and Mitsuru, aren’t given overhauls that big, but we’ll see how the other movies handle them.
My main complaint is the action sequences. It’s nice to see the party make use of weapons, which was missing entirely in Persona 4’s anime, but the action sequences themselves are very static and awkward, with competitors often just standing around, waiting to get hit. I suppose that’s accurate to the movie’s source material as a turn-based RPG, but it doesn’t make for compelling action scenes.
I’m not used to hearing the cast in Japanese, so that was a semi-new experience for me. It was weird, because the game’s dub was how I first experienced P3, so I’ve come to associate the English voices more closely with the characters than I do the originals. Nevertheless, the Japanese cast is, as is typical, stellar. I particularly like Mamiko Noto’s Fuuka, who projects a whole different image than whoever her English VA is.
I wouldn’t recommend Persona 4: the Animation to someone who hasn’t played the game. The opposite is true here. Despite the limited time, Persona 3: Spring of Birth is a very good adaptation of the game’s opening hours, and many scenes I’d argue were even improved a lot in the movie. There’s a lot to see for P3 veterans, too. Basically, everyone should watch this. You should watch this. If you’ve already watched it, rewatch it.
Disclaimer: I have only ever played the very beginning of Persona 3, and have never played any Megami Tensei/Shin Megami Tensei other than that and a brief outing in the original Super Famicom SMT game. This means that this review is from the perspective of a complete outsider, and does not factor in everything that would contribute to the enjoyment of someone who is already a fan.
To put it bluntly, I went into this film with very high expectations. The Persona sub-series seems to be almost universally beloved in my online friend-circle, and frankly, after years of waiting (I own no Sony consoles besides my
(now broken) PSP), I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. What I found here was technically a disappointment, but only because of my artificially raised expectations.
The story of this film is fairly good, but has hints of developing into something extraordinary in the next films. Being an adaptation of what is only the first part of a larger tale, it has very little in the way of plot, focusing instead on (somewhat clunky) exposition and the introductions of the main characters. While I am pleased with what I have seen of the cast so far (particularly Makoto and Junpei) I cannot help but feel that the nature of the film as an adaptation artificially constrained how far we could dive into them in this outing. Mitsuru in particular strikes me as having her development held back because that is how the story unfolds in the game, rather than following how it should naturally go in this medium.
Bolstering the weaknesses of an adaptation is the gorgeous but understated animation. The characters are on-model at practically all times, and the designs of the shadows and personas are breathtaking to see in action.
Overall, this is a solid film for those who are unfamiliar with Persona 3, but my intuition tells me that first-timers like me would likely be better served by biting the bullet and playing the actual game before viewing this. That said, I was sufficiently intrigued by the film to be motivated to get off my ass and buy a used PSP so I can play it, so the film definitely did its job in that respect.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have played the Persona 3 video game and will probably mention minor spoilers about the storyline and characters.
After what felt like a eternity for me the first Persona 3 movie has been release on bluray for all to enjoy. Does this movie live up to the famous and popular game. Well in one word yes, But it definitely isn't perfect.
The Story line covered in the first of four movies covers up to Fuuka's recruitment into S.E.E.S. The movie follows the original game almost completely, but because of it's one and a half hour run time alot of smaller scenes are skipped and the
pacing of the movie is very fast. thankfully this doesn't really detract from the movie, but if you have a favorite side character they will only be given one or two lines or will just be placed into the background. The movie changes from action scenes with the S.E.E.S members fighting shadows and scenes where the characters are at school or other dramatic parts. The fighting scenes are handled very well having the character switch from fighting with weapons to using there evokers to summon there personas. unfortunately the fight scenes aren't quite as epic as I thought they would be. They aren't bad by any means, but at the same time they could be better. The scenes focusing on school or other drama are also handled pretty well, but also have there share of problems. The highlights probably being the couple of scene's with Yuki and Pharos. These scenes do a really good job of adding a eerie vibe. Many of the other scenes are unfortunately clunky and a little awkward. The worst of the bunch probably being the scene near the end where Fuuka is talking to her friend during a battle. all of the scenes I am referring to also have a similar feeling of being out of place and kinda sudden. I am guessing these problems will be fixed as more movies are added and they figure out how to do the fighting and drama scenes better. One other thing that needs to be addressed with the storyline is that the movies should probably be a little longer, so that they can add more scenes and give more context to whats going on and more time to get to know the characters.
The characters also remain faithful to the source material keeping there original personality's, but unfortunately many of the characters don't get very much screen time and there is only hints about what there characters are like. Also because of the short run time of the movie and the amount of the story that is covered character development is at a minim, but this is the first out of four movies so this is to be expected.As I stated above all the side characters are barely given any screen time and are only there in passing. This is probably for the best though, because it allows more screen time for the main characters which are much more important anyways. Junpei and Yukari are both given alot of screen time and you get to see both of there characters develop alittle, but unfortunately Akihiko and Mitsuru are given far less. Atleast the few scenes they are in give a good foundation for future movies, but I still would have liked to see them more. Shinji is Only shown briefly but it is the same in the game so it isn't a problem. Fuuka receives quite a bit of screen time and is shown through out the entire movie. There are also some added scenes so that you have a sense of who she is by the climax. Now we get to the most important character of all the Protagonist who in this adaption has been name Makoto Yuki. I was really worried about how they where going to handle Yuki, because in the game he is purposely not given much of a personality so that the player can make him into the character they want. I actually really like the direction they decided to go in. Yuki's character is a completely uncaring person and basically will do whatever you ask him to. He doesn't even really care that much if he lives or dies. This allowed him to be able to really develop and he is already starting to change by the end of the movie. It also make me really excited to see how he is developed as more movies are added. The only real problem I have with his character is that he hardly ever talks. If he had just been given a couple of more lines per scene I think he would of made a much better character. Overall the characters are in a good position to develop and grow throughout each movie.
The animation does a perfect job of capturing the look and feel of Persona 3. Backgrounds are dark and creepy, characters look great, and the combat looks awesome. The highlights definitely being any scene that takes place during the midnight hour. The only complaint I have about the animation is that in a few scenes the characters look alittle awkward and the details in there cloths aren't there as much, but overall the animation is amazing and fits perfectly.
Anyone who has played a Persona game knows that the game has amazing music and the movie adaption doesn't disappoint. Almost all of the songs are just slightly different versions of the original songs from the game so fans of the game will enjoy hearing there favorite track.
Overall the first Persona 3 movie was a very enjoyable movie. After finishing the movie I almost wanted to watch all over again. It also made me very excited for upcoming movies.
I can easily recommend this movie to anyone. Fans of the original game will enjoy that the movie remains true to the source material and newcomers won't have any problem following the movie and enjoying it themselves.
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