At the time of writing we’re just days away from the release of the latest Persona game, Persona 5, so what better way to get into the mood than with the second movie adaptation of Persona 3? This movie might be subtitled Midsummer Knight’s Dream, but it certainly isn’t dreamy for our cast…
The second movie kicks off in style with Makoto Yuki and the SEES group battling a tough Shadow, and then promptly drops us into some summer- themed fun. The first half of the story sees the team going on a getaway to a nearby island for some time at the beach (yes, there are plenty of swimsuit shots). While on the island they also meet Mitsuru’s father, who reveals some important secrets about the history of the Shadows. With their history now clear and the news that the Dark Hour can be stopped by defeating twelve Arcana Shadows (some of which SEES have already defeated), the team resolve to bring an end to the nights of terror.
Much of the 93 minute runtime is used to showcase the cast living out their summer mostly in peace, and it also introduces a couple of new cast members to the group. Most notable of these additions is a Shadow fighting android known as Aigis. Due to the fact that most of the more interesting story progressions happen so late, I’ll refrain from mentioning anything. Just believe me when I tell you that the sweet fluffy summer fun definitely doesn’t last. The news of bringing the Dark Hour to an end stirs up new conflicts inside Makoto, who believes that if it ends, he will no longer have a place in the world. Because of this, he struggles to fight alongside his teammates and this begins to create rifts and confusion that are likely to continue on into the next movie – possibly even beyond.
The animation for Persona 3 The Movie 2 continues to be wonderful and A-1 Pictures have created some really striking battle scenes for Movie 2. They’re well shot, fast and incredibly fluid. The scenes definitely appear to have had plenty of time and money put into them. Even away from the more action-packed shots there is a lot to be said for the creepy atmosphere A-1 builds for the Midnight Hour. It’s impressive work and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it in the future.
Musically there is little to complain about with this movie either. Composer Tetsuya Kobayashi continues to offer varied and emotional tracks that really fit the action or situations on-screen, and even away from the context of the movie, they’re memorable scores. The main theme song for this movie is “Fate is In Our Hands” performed by Lotus Juice, and is a quiet but emotional track that will also stick in your mind.
I wanted to write a quick note about the voice actors because while I don’t have too much to say about them, they all do a great job. Most notably, Akira Ishida, who plays Makoto Yuki (Yoshinobu Kubota in Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Bungo Stray Dogs), continues to perform the role wonderfully.
This release comes to the UK thanks to Anime Limited, who have brought out Persona 3 The Movie 2 on DVD and in a collector’s edition including both Blu-ray and DVD. The collector’s edition also includes a booklet. It’s worth noting that the movie is subbed only as no English dub for it exists.
As a quick note: I am aware of a problem with the 5.1 audio track for this release but have not mentioned it in this review as my system doesn’t work with 5.1 audio. The issue involves the central dialogue channel not coming from the centre speaker. If you wish to know more then myReviewer has a much clearer write-up for it.
Overall Persona 3 The Movie 2 feels like a bit of a stopgap between a brilliant starting point and better things to come in the future. It’s not bad by any means and the last 30 minutes are terrific, but I do wonder if we could have gotten away with cutting out some of the summer fluff. Still, a must-watch for Persona fans.
Publisher: Anime Limited
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Drama
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Original vintage: 2014
Format: Blu-Ray and DVD (Blu-Ray version reviewed)
Language options: Japanese audio with English subtitles
Age rating: 15
Running time: 93 minutes