Volume: DVD Set #1 (eps. #01-#13)
Distributor: NIS America, Inc.
Genre(s): supernatural, drama, game adaptation
Age Rating: 13+
Runtime: 325 minutes total
Release Date: 07/06/2010
Official Website: at NISAmerica.com
Persona: Trinity Soul is the anime sequel to the highly regarded PlayStation 2 role-playing game Persona 3.
The story takes place one decade after the events of the videogame, and mainly follow Shin and his brothers, Jun and Ryo, as they struggle to fix their dysfunctional relationship and overcome the obstacles in their lives; including the development of Shin's Persona and a group of mysterious Person-users with unknown intentions.
The first thirteen episodes however, appear to lack a strong connection to the game. To hardcore followers of the Shinmegami Tensei: Persona series, this might come as a major disappointment. To those not so loyal or who are new to the franchise, it is an enjoyable mystery anime with an underlying story of maturation and of reconnecting with lost family. In other words, Persona: Trinity Soul is the Persona equivalent of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
Starting with the visuals of the show, this anime is a very mixed bag of excellent quality and lackluster corner-cutting. Having played several games of the Shinmegami Tensei series, I always loved the transition from one high-production-value animated cut-scene to the next. Not having seen the Disgaea animation, I had always thought seeing anyone of the Persona game brought to full animation would be amazing. In many cases, my thoughts were justified and Persona is a beautifully detailed property that successfully draws out the emotions of its characters. Shigenori Soejima, the art director for Persona 3, does a great job of creating unique characters who actually look their age. Shin, a high schooler, has a softer face than his older brother Ryo, but has stronger facial features than his younger brother, Jun. Little details, like highlights in some characters' hair, are handled subtly, and it's obvious that the design department thought long and hard on how they wanted their characters to look.
This is especially true of expositional scenes. Characters will literally stand stock still while their slit-like mouths grow and decrease in a manner that denotes speech. It's a strange dichotomy to have such excellent and such weak animation from one scene to the next.
This could be my minor fandom of Atlus as a company speaking, but it's not nearly as noticeably harsh as the bland, shape-shifting characters of Moonlight Mile . It still is noticeable, but doesn't draw away from one's immersion of the series too strongly.
A huge reason that the good-to-bad quality of show isn't as large a drawback as it should be is Persona: Trinity Soul's soundtrack. Taku Iwasaki (Tengen Toppa Gurren Laggan's musician) does an excellent job of creating intensity even in some of weaker scenes mentioned above. I would argue that without his strong musical talents, many of the anime's dynamics would have remained stuck with the flat, emotionless faces described earlier. The original soundtrack for this animation establishes a genuinely tense atmosphere.