Home Late- Persona 4 The Golden Animation 12 Review

Persona 4 the Golden Animation – 12 Welcome Home

As Narukami said, “I’m home.”

Over the course of the series Marie has been through a lot and we’ve been there with her. She was our cipher to see different sides of familiar characters, her amnesia was the impetus for Golden’s main plot of making memories, and she served as McGuffin turned powerhouse once she faced herself with a little help from her friends. Marie was slyly made one of the gang when she appeared on the TV and was rescued from her Shadow in the Hollow Forest. The first part of this episode really harmonized beautifully with that prior event. I don’t feel that Marie confronting Izanami was redundant; it was foreshadowed, not forced. Throughout the game and the prior series there is the distinct pattern of people becoming near victims in the TV, being saved and then joining the team. What keeps the cycle fresh is the variety in each person’s personal issues. The setup and explanation for Marie’s arc is done in a more protracted way in this series; most of it coming in these last few episodes and neatly tied up in this finale. The unique details of her personal struggle still follow the same pattern, but offer a novel look at personhood, agency and inner strength. All the grandiose talk about “truth” and having faith in humanity’s wish at the core of Marie’s self-actualization are inspirational and aspirational. Marie is certain of who she is and is no longer afraid of her feelings by the end of her story.

Where the others were able to become heroes and champions always pushing through the fog to grasp truth, Marie experienced apotheosis. As strange an unattainable as this is, I find it inspiring in perhaps the best way, without trying or being preachy. The characters (Marie included) are cool and go through these engaging struggles and change because of them, they don’t become someone else and I don’t need to either. Embracing your failings, loving yourself for who you are doesn’t mean you refuse to change or grow. The characters in this show are brave enough to stare there ugliness in the face and forgive it- forgive themselves; that is the key to victory over the self. The final battle ends with a short sell on dynamic violence and heroic bravado, it ends with Marie hugging herself, showing that love and acceptance. The message I get and feel is so well conveyed is that, by being one’s true self, pushing aside lies and really knowing who you are and what you want, we can be happier people and help others around us to do the same, if you like that sort of thing. Whatever.

The denouement was well executed, which hasn’t always been the case in this series. The way we see with the passage of time; that things change, but remain the same, is charming, warm and reassuring. Somehow, the creative team did an excellent job of making it seem like Narukami had been gone a long time. The slight changes to all the character models earn a lot of praise for that. The nostalgia of the reunion wasn’t drudged up either, it was conjured. Everything just felt right: Rise’s heart was on her sleeve; Teddie acted unexpectedly to Yosuke surprise; Yukiko started cracking up at nothing; Chie’s enthusiasm never waned; the detective prince found herself out of the loop in an otherwise normal social situation and Kanji finally got it right- almost. Nanako even looked like she had grown some and Doujima was more open. Marie’s new persona, as the thinly veiled goddess of local weather, Mariko Kusumi, parallels the others’ changes neatly with her cheery, but not-too-cheery disposition. The voice actress gave a great performance for her final big scene.

For being the Persona 4 I remember while saying something new and different, I give this episode 4 out of 5.

Dream Boat – Moon Speak 06

Join Sono and Ammit as they discuss Tuxedo Mask and the awesome women with whom he shares the screen from Queen Serenity to Queen Beryl.

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If you’d like to comment on our thoughts, or ask any questions our inbox is trialofheroes@gmail.com or we can be reached individually @sonoyourface and @trialofheroes on Twitter. We hope you enjoyed the show and thank you for listening.

The opening and closing for this episode can be found here and here, please check out the other cool work this musician has done.

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FU Gaim – Gaim 46 – RX! 083

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Aleph, Ammit and Jonathan discuss and review Kamen Rider Gaim 46 with special guest Hannah!

Just some of the topics discussed are:

-How awful this show is as a Kamen Rider

-Poor use of mythology in a narrative

-Urobuchi’s ailment and how it affected

 

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Dream Bound- Sailor Moon Crystal 6 Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6- Tuxedo Mask

Ambiguity, threat escalation and wide ranging impact make this episode an exciting answer to my previous complaints. By the end of the episode more questions about Mamorou Chiba remain, even as Usagi finally realizes he is Tuxedo Mask. He is a desperate person, who is willing to take desperate measures. His kindness and care for Usagi are a mix of self-motivated interest and genuine care for her, but what does he want? The preview lets us in on that, but we’ll leave the particulars to next week, because what is important is how things unfolded in the episode proper. He and Usagi are connected by their dreams of the Moon Kingdom; even new viewers I am sure, have seen the similarities between the princess and soldier in Usagi’s dream and her and her and Mamorou. The story is telling us, quite openly, that they are deeply connected to each other and the Moon Kingdom. We have seen that the other Sailor Guardians are also connected to the Moon Kingdom because they have glimpsed the palace at different times during their introductions. The revelation that Luna’s base is under Crown Arcade and is accessed by the Sailor V machine and the glimpse of Sailor V at the end of the episode with a white cat connect Usagi’s world in a very satisfying way. How everything is connected is still nebulous, but there is a plan and some solid structure upon which this story is all being hung. Queen Beryl’s appearance alongside Soizite also made the Dark Kingdom feel more real and a lot scarier, especially when Soizite had cast a pall over thousands of people in his plot to find the Legendary Silver Crystal and absorb human energy for their master. The doubt and uncertainty which stymie Usagi seem so realistic given the threats she and her friends face. The way she wavers is handled in just the right way too, where the viewer can have sympathy for her, cheer her on to step up and be proud of the team for doing what they must with or without her. Watching Usagi struggle to grow and change has been extremely satisfying and I am so excited to see more.

A return to form that has me really excited for the next episode gets this episode 4 out of 5.

Ererything Is Un- Persona 4 The Golden Animation 11 Review

Persona 4 the Golden Animation – 11 Let It Out! Let It GO!

OK. I will.

Please change your narrative flow P4GA team. The current set up is not making me want to continue watching the series. Poorly constructed cliffhangers are frustrating and anti-climactic. Perhaps the structure of this episode was meant to mirror the first episode, but that one had two endings, while this latest episode had one and one half. The pacing just felt interrupted, not compelling, as if this team hasn’t made (at least) the previous ten episodes. I hardly quit media (because I am very selective), especially of a story I enjoy, but the thing about secondary or tertiary media is that if it is ineffective or poorly executed, it makes it easier to quit. I know I enjoy Persona 4 and I don’t need prove it to anyone by sticking with a show I don’t like. The first half of this episode was really good,  it firmed my desire to play Persona 4 Golden, if only so I and my real life can present the issues of timing in how I experience the story. I think I’m done. I might just go watch more Sailor Moon instead, there is a dub of the 90’s anime now, maybe I’ll go in on that.

For just ending and giving me no reason to want to come back, I give this episode 3 out of 5.

Kamen Rider Drive: Full Trailer

Brand New Love Song

Earlier this week, we got the full trailer for Kamen Rider Drive, and it gave us a good look at the show we’re going to be spending the next year with. Let me tell you, I’m pretty damn excited and I want to go over some of the things we saw and what they might mean for Kamen Rider Drive.

We open up with just how wide the scope of the attack by our villain/monster group, the Roimyūdo, is. We see many different people being attacked, and connect this directly to our central protagonist, Tomari Shinnosuke, by seeing him screaming and running toward an attack. We’re then graced with several large explosions among city buildings, and then we cut to a much wider shot over Japan and part of China where we see both countries lit by many simultaneous explosions. Our first look into this world is one that presents just how vast the…

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We Want Drive – Gaim 45 – RX! 82

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Aleph, Ammit and Jonathan discuss and review Kamen Rider Gaim 45. Aleph steps out feeling a little under the weather, but Jonathan and Ammit stick around to slobber all over the extended Drive trailer.

Just some of the topics discussed are:

Kaito’s Misogyny

The show’s misogyny

How the dichotomy between Kouta and Kaito could have been better portrayed

How AWESOME Kouta’s declaration to Kaito was before their fight started.

Ammit predicts how the fight will end. It looks something like this:

GaimDefeatingBaron

What do you want to see happen with Mr. Belt in Drive? Comment on the speculation post and let’s have some fun talking about all the fresh new possibilities as speedy as we can!

Check out Sono’s many thoughts on the Drive trailer.

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3 Ways For Mr. Belt To Be Mr. Right – Kamen Rider Drive Speculation

Promotional material for the upcoming Kamen Rider Drive has stated that Tomari Shinnosuke calls the Drive Driver Mr. Belt, it will be its own character and a co-protagonist. Long time fans of the franchise, and the quick studies among new initiates may have had previous entries come to mind after learning of Drive’s talking Driver with a personality. Battle Hopper, Acrobatter, Rideron (the Car of Light), Auto Vajin and Kivat all have served in varying degrees as communicative assistants in 4 separate series over 27 years. There was an 11 year break between Black RX and Kuuga, so perhaps the link is a bit tenuous, but it feels real enough to me. I like the concept a lot, but the one thing linking these four unique additions to the series is that they all could have been done better. While I don’t believe there was a concerted effort to create a progression from a machine affecting life to a fully fleshed out artificial intelligence, that trend can be seen by those who wish when taking a broad view of the material. If I wanted to I could stretch this premise to include Ichimonji’s use of the Typhoon’s remote control for Cyclone that randomly appeared in episode 26 of the original series, but I won’t.

The exception to the lack of intended progression is Battle Hopper which was reborn as Acrobatter and then had its life force used to spark Rideron (the Car of Light) to life. They both spoke in a way, without intelligible words or voices, and had some measure of personality. Ryuki introduced the talking belt to the series and, the following year Faiz featured an underused bike that transformed into a fighting robot in AutoVajin who would help out Takumi in fights now and then. Five years later, Kivat (Kibat) served as a sort of butler to Wataru Kurenai, in addition to helping him transform into Kiva. Kivat would give Wataru advice, encourage him to persevere and fight Fangire without Wataru when the two disagreed. I hope to see Mr. Belt go beyond all of these roles, especially because each iteration of this type of character or element of the show has differentiated itself from its predecessors.

Three possible roads Drive could take handling Mr. Belt that I would like to see are:

  1. Phillip done well
  2. Battle Hopper or Auto Vajin + real personhood following the model of the Roimyuudo
  3. Late-Manga Takeshi Hongo

The World’s Finest Partners, but Actually

Phillip and Shotaro are allegedly the world’s finest partners, but I think Riku Sanjo failed to fully support their relationship, so it wasn’t as meaningful as it was supposed to be. We didn’t get to see them just hanging out enough and the closing of the gap between them could have been more teased out in a more satisfying way. As this is Sanjo’s show and the promotional material says that Mr. Belt and Shinnosuke are partners, the show provides a perfect opportunity to upstage W, one of the most popular series in recent history, in the Super-Partners department. I know not the appeal of the bro-fest, given my favorite Riders have a surrogate family as a group of friends, but if bros sell, then do it well. SInce Mr. Belt docks into Tridoron and Shinnosuke wears him, I hope they will get to talk a lot and form a really strong relationship. I admit that I dislike Shotaro a lot and his character almost entirely made W an unpalatable show for me, though I liked it just fine for the first 36 episodes or so. That being said, I am open to what Sanjo will do after having helmed Kyouryuger more or less single-handedly. He has more experience now and will hopefully be approaching this series with different things in mind. If Shinnosuke and Mr. Belt’s relationship can surpass that of Wataru and Kivat, I think the title of “world’s finest partners” will have to be relinquished by the two-in-one detective.

Roimude After All

Battle Hopper and AutoVajin are vehicles and are sort of like people. They have some ability to operate on their own and a modicum of personality, but that could be pushed farther. Kivat is a good mark to shoot for, but he could have been pushed even farther and more fully fleshed out. The more I think about this, Cheeda Nick (Red-Buster’s Buddyroid) comes to mind as a good model. He and the other Buddyroids were very much alive. Interestingly, the scant information available on the Roimyuudo makes them sound similar to Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters’ Vagras, in that they were manufactured for a purpose and are acting in a way that is deleterious to Tokyo’s citizenry because of that. It’s unclear if they are renegade or if some just don’t execute their programming in the nicest ways. The Roimyuudo start off as fresh machines with a blank slate and strive to surpass humanity with their superior robot nature. They evolve by associating with humans based on a common trait, proclivity or interest. I would like to see Mr. Belt grow more human over the course of the series as a result of his interactions with his car-fanatic partner Shinnosuke. Since Mr. Belt is part of a machine and we live in an era of interconnected gadgets, with programs and files that sync across multiple platforms, it would be really interesting to see Mr. Belt’s autonomy and personhood blossom in a way that leads to him to driving and controlling Tridoron while Shinnosuke is running around as Drive.

Rider Rebirth

If you haven’t read Ishinomouri’s Kamen Rider manga and you are a Western fan, I think you should go buy it all now, funds permitting, to put money in coffers as thanks for the hundreds of hours of live-action Kamen Rider content (and the stack of Kamen Rider SPIRITS) sprung from the success of Ishinomouri’s classic. The 42-year-old show is good, the manga is better (at minimum, it is a good divergent take on the show). I’d like to see Mr. Belt and Shinnosuke’s relationship be like that between Ichimonji and Hongo towards the end of the Kamen Rider Manga. They were just two guys fighting against the same enemy, relying on each other to do together what neither could do alone. I might even like to see Mr. Belt get a body and become “the second Rider” of the show if that must happen. With my point about programs syncing across multiple platforms, it would be interesting to see Mr. Belt fighting alongside Drive in his own body as well as helping him from his waist.

What would you like to see?

Jupiter Is Ready – Moon Speak 05

Join Sono and Ammit discuss Makoto’s introduction and the baggage of formula fatigue and a point of lack-luster execution. On the other hand, Makoto has some pretty awesome powers as Sailor Jupiter and she has some great qualities at her core that are played out in interesting ways.

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If you’d like to comment on our thoughts, or ask any questions our inbox is trialofheroes@gmail.com or we can be reached individually @sonoyourface and @trialofheroes on Twitter. We hope you enjoyed the show and thank you for listening.

The opening and closing for this episode can be found here and here, please check out the other cool work this musician has done.

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Not Fun Anymore- Persona 4 The Golden Animation 10 Review

Persona 4 the Golden Animation – 10 Not Fun Anymore

I’m once again feeling like this is a different show, which will ultimately work against the series as a whole. The scope of the material covered serves to give a fairly cohesive experience as a first time viewer and enriches the world and story for fans who have seen the original show and played at least the original game. The new areas being explored in the timeline are especially interesting to me because the original game just skipped over them. The show therefore gets a lot of credit and goodwill from me for being able to work in that unexplored area without changing things. Seeing the characters operating towards the end of the story as I know it, as a group who has competently dealt with a murderous adult and a nihilistic goddess in a new situation where they are really unsure of what to do is so fun. Everyone is behaving in a more grown-up way than at the beginning of this series, their growth has been shown throughout and I’m really happy to see that consistency displayed here. The mysterious nature of this Hollow Forest that has just been introduced is effectively engaging too. It doesn’t feel tacked on, because while the TV World has hardly been explored in this show, Narukami and the others getting to the Hollow Forest through the TV and Margaret’s presence as a guide really cemented it as another corner of this nebulous world. The mystique of the TV World and the seriousness of the gang trying to help their sad friend feels so weighty and engaging that I am really hooked.

For reeling me back in and almost making me forget my complaints of the past by feeling so fresh and so classically Persona 4, I give this episode a 4 out of 5.

Into The Hornet’s Nest- Gaim 44 -RX! 081

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Aleph (who comes on after a while) Ammit (who leaves somewhere in the middle), and Jonathon (the anchor of this episode) discuss and review Kamen Rider Gaim 44, and some listener feedback.

Contact the show unkamencastrx@gmail.com like Hannah and you can hear yourself on air too.

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A Not So Mighty Echo- Sailor Moon Crystal 5 Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5- Makoto – Sailor Jupiter

This introduction was nice, but I think it would have been better served by happening later. I know that the original anime spaced things further apart because Takeuchi was still working and while that arrangement typically bothers me, I can see the good in it. Masquerade provided a break from the pattern of introduce new girl, put her in danger, see her transform and save herself or the others. Patterns and formulas are not anathema to good storytelling, but they can become tiring, as is the case here for me. This may seem like a strange criticism, but if the formula had been hidden better or the details were flipped around I wouldn’t have this complaint; it is just so obvious that it risks losing my attention. I sense that the Sailor Guardian’s ranks will stay at four for some time, but I fear that we’ll be seeing the fifth girl join in one month and I’ll be similarly less than thrilled to see the repetition. The pacing of Luna adding three girls to her cause consecutively felt good because everything was new. Perhaps the break from that accompanying the first experience of both/all sides acknowledging each other (Whose side are you on Mamouru Chiba?) along with the engaging musings of Usagi’s young heart created such a charming experience that this return to the normal flow of the show weakened the experience.

Makoto is a neat character. Whether or not she is stronger than the average girl is irrelevant because she has guts and resolve. The friendship Usagi forms with Makoto and the encouragement she gives her when she realizes her heart had been a plaything to some jerk guy is empowering and heroic. I’m interested to see more of Makoto and her interactions with the rest of the team as they actually do something in the next episode.

Stymied by a modicum of formula fatigue, I give this episode a 3 out of 5.

A Missing Plot- Persona 4 The Golden Animation 9 Review

Persona 4 the Golden Animation –9 A Missing Piece

The latest episode of P4GA proves that you can have heart alongside comedy and mystery. Ardently returning to form in a slightly tiring way, the Seekers of Truth, yet again get their minds warped by a mysterious force more powerful than them. Narukami’s sense that something is off, manifested in some suspenseful and comedic turns that were really enjoyable to watch. Seeing the characters interact and tackle something slippery and much bigger than them is crucial to my enjoyment of this franchise and we got a lot of it here. The Narukami-specific snowstorm that reminded him of the fog sent me a meta-textual nod that felt good to decipher, but the way he received Marie’s comb and Yosuke spoke her name just before the cliffhanger ending felt really contrived. It almost worked on me, but this is another instance where the show’s focus could have been shifted to make the beefy content plentiful, if tough and I end the episode unsatisfied and feeling a little like I wasted my time. I want more from this series. I was pleased to have gone through the series and experienced all the memories the group made with Marie, thereby making them more palatable and nostalgically warm in my heart. The series is effective in getting those kinds of responses out of me, but I felt like I had to wait too long to get to the good stuff, which is addressing the questions of who Marie is, and why and where she has gone. Because the viewers already know this and the pacing makes it feel like the series is almost over it is a letdown and smacks of filler.

For being a lot of sizzle with not much steak, I give this episode 3 out of 5.

Done With Gaim- Gaim 41, 42, 43-RX! 080

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Ammit and Jonathon discuss and review Kamen Rider Gaim 41-43, which leads to a lot of pleas for comments from listeners explaining what is good about this show and this set of episodes in particular. They also talk about how much better Fourze (AND DIGIMON TAMERS) is at presenting a world where sorrows and pain abound, but people can still make choices and be happy. Ammit says he’ll likely never watch any more Urobuchi made shows, but Jonathon disagrees with that, but pines for Drive. It certainly is a lively discussion that contains a lot of Gaim bashing. Talk to us Gaim fans, we want to hear your opinions.

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Slipping The Multiverse- Persona 4 The Golden Animation 8 Review

Persona 4 the Golden Animation –8 Not So Holy Night

Whether the current and previous iterations of animated Persona 4 are supposed to be linked – if only in an emotional sense – this episode does not belong in this series. The tone and characters were so different that it took me out of the story. Once I accepted that this wasn’t going to be a natural continuation of Golden, I was able to relax and enjoy hanging with the crew from P4A, and it was beautiful. Seeing everyone’s new winter duds was great and the different takes on Narukami’s invitation to the four girls lead to some nice personal and comedic moments. I suppose the thread about “Making new memories.” anchors this firmly in P4GA, but I don’t really appreciate this kind of fake-out storytelling, where all of a sudden this big deception is revealed and the characters just roll over it like nothing. Maybe next episode will tie everything together better and this episode was to give the audience a “chance to breath.” Another concept I reject. Hardcore storytelling all the way!

This episode gets 3 out of 5 for being very enjoyable, but feeling like it was part of the previous series.