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Weskalia's Persona: Trinity Soul Tv Review

Persona: Trinity Soul

Persona: Trinity Soul tv Review

Story & Characters

How does one entice viewers to watch a series clearly aimed specifically at the fanbase? Tossing in ten-years-later follow-up set in the same universe and supporting characters from where it is based on is the apparent answer in this, the anime Persona: Trinity Soul based on the masterpiece Persona 3.

The time is ten years after the events of Persona 3, and the stage is Ayanagi City located near the Sea of Japan. Strange illnesses and deaths have occurred around the area, and only chief police Kanzato Ryo seems to aware what's going on. The situation does not improve when his younger brothers, Shin and Jun, move back to their hometown after an incident caused them to separate a decade ago. Just after their arrival, Shin gets caught in a nighttime incident and releases his Persona, a manifestation of one's soul, taking the form of a celestial warrior. Then he realizes that Ryo's investigation involves not just crime, but dark supernatural forces. As Shin and his brothers team up with other Persona users to investigate the case and to prevent it, he also has to fight off against puissant individuals who seek to take the Persona for themselves.

The core settings have been depicted, with varying degrees of focus and Persona 3 references, this franchise attempts to introduce a fresher twist by involving those references in some different aspects. The integration does not always produce smooth results, however, and that stands as the less subjective of the anime's two significant flaws. Oh sure, they'll tell you that it's based on Persona 3, the perfect candidate for an anime adaptation of that masterpiece. This is like saying that The Amazing Spider-Man has anything to do with that 2002 Spider-Man movie. The two works may share certain thematic elements, but in truth, the anime is more like someone else's supernatural murder-mystery with the Persona name slapped on it.

The other, more subjective problem is the writing literal and figurative weakness. Initially, Persona: Trinity Soul establishes itself as a murder mystery, it begins with the same formula Persona 3 has: everyday high school boy discovers he has amazing power, then intertwine with school life while figuring out the mystery behind the murders. Concept wise, the early episodes hardly brings out the intrigue that made Persona 3 a kind, instead it feels like a mixed between high school drama and supernatural. The high school portion is nothing to get thrilled about, being the typical morass of up-and-down friendships. Meanwhile, the supernatural element - although more serious and intriguing - is saddled by lots of vague, mysterious dialogue that means absolutely nothing until more of the story is explained. These dramas and gimmicks have a price, however: the latter half episodes keep the plot from making much progress, and somehow the endgame has to fit within the space of a few episodes. Head-spinning plot twists and dramatic deaths suddenly all start piling on top of each other, the hero gets into a series-ending fight (but who is he fighting against, and why?), and while the original question is answered, too many other detail remain fuzzy. Not that they'd be able to explain it anyway, since the world is ending and it's time to bail out.

Rating: 4

Art

So, is there anything in the show that actually stays true to Persona 3? Just one, maybe: the character designs. Soejima Shigenori, whose artistry gave Persona 3 its visual heart and soul, turns in his usual cast of appealing and stylish teen heroes for this series. The Persona creatures also each have a unique appearance, ranging anywhere from sci-fi robotic to disarmingly cute. The humans, by comparison, are rather plain (though the costumes look better in this futuristic setting, and the Persona 3 characters aged old enough to distinguish them from their old days but still easily recognized), but other prominent female characters are more appealing. Funny though, the investigator characters might be used as prototype for two certain characters in the franchise next hit Persona 4. Background art is a typically excellent effort by Studio A-1, who eventually went on animated the cutscenes for Persona 4, showing rural cities, stylish but menacing machinery and graphical action; it isn't quite as sharp, it is still better than average.

Rating: 7

Sound

With such heavy philosophical ideas going into the series, perhaps it's no surprise that the voice acting sounds a bit self-conscious in the early episodes. In the main leads, franchise veteran Sawashiro Miyuki (Persona 3's Elizabeth and Chidori, the titular character of Catherine) provides a little more variety to the vocal styles of Jun and the assemblage of male talent acquits themselves well enough. Shin's personal thoughts often sound like the whining of a disgruntled youth, although this goes away as his character develops; Ryo, meanwhile, has to play the monotone aloof big brother all the way through. With a script that also stays reasonably close, this is solid overall.

The musical score is not quite effective. It digs into heavy, dark rock themes for its action and dramatic scenes, and also plays a role in creating the mood in heartache moments. A couple of brief musical cues remixed from the original game will also catch the attention of perceptive ears. On the other hand, OP "Breakin' Through" is a forgettable rock theme, while the gentler tone of ED "Suicides Love Story" results in a more solid (if less memorable) number.

Rating: 5

Presentation

Ultimately Persona: Trinity Soul seems more concerned with spinning a fanciful supernatural thriller than with actually telling a character-driven story or playing up any emotional connections. As a supernatural anime, it's a passable entertainment, with story and elements that go deeper and darker than your average ghost hunt. As a spinoff of Persona 3, however, it may leave a lot of fan disappointed; it's no coincidence that most concept from the original only to go wasted. That would not necessarily be a problem if it was more direct about its intentions, the story isn't quite together but has the ability to grow, but instead it spends most of its time trying to straddles the line between goofing off and developing its characters and supernatural elements fully. Still, the elements and characterization of the setting and time period are handled decent enough for the series to be worth a mild recommendation. After all, the game is the only thing the anime has going for it. It's the reason it got made, and its fans are the only people likely to enjoy the entertainment that resulted.
____________________________________________________________________________________________
Story: 4
Characters: 4
Art: 7
Animation: 7
Voice: 6
Music: 5
Overall: 5

Good:
+Cleverly integrates dark supernatural mystery content.
Bad:
+Has almost nothing to do with the game it was based on.
+Plot threads can get lost in the goofing off content.

Rating: 6

Final Verdict

5.33 (moderate)

Reviewed by Weskalia, Oct 07, 2012

Comments

  1. SnickerdoodleNinja Retired Moderator Oct 08, 2012

    I've never really taken part in anything Persona-related, and this looks like it wouldn't be worthwhile for someone who isn't already a fan. :/ Which is sad, because I actually really like the artwork. :(

    As usual, your work is very fair, explaining the attractions and cons of the show much more concisely than I ever do lol. Great job, Weskalia, and it's good to see another review from you! :)

  2. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Oct 14, 2012

    It really is such a shame. Persona 3 was a fantastic story, and while I can definitely see the reason for creating something that had nothing to do with the original cast, I'm just glad that they learned their lesson for making the Persona 4 anime. If only it was better in terms of animation and plot though..

    Overall though, I'm glad to see you reviewing once again. You did a great job with the review and your structure is always something to be admired of. You definitely gave the series a balanced review and made me rather curious to give this a look sometime.

    Great work!

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