Persona Trinity Soul Volume 2 Premium Edition

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, November 6, 2010

One of the first things I noticed about Persona Trinity Soul when I first began watching it was that it was remarkably different from the games. What I thought was going to be a fairly straightforward adaptations of the titles turned into a mystery that was focused more on the underlying motives and psychological states of the characters rather than the Personas themselves. It was a much slower paced show than most, and yet I found myself drawn to the characters and the mysteries they were involved in. Now NIS America has released Volume 2, and for those that found themselves drawn into the story in the first volume will want to grab this as the end is a true rollercoaster ride.

The show’s main plot revolves around the three Kanzato brothers, Shin, Ryo, and Jun. In the first half of Persona Trinity Soul it seemed as though the three had a very distant relationship that was being shaped by the events happening in and around Ayanagi City. Up to this point, viewers have been left with far more questions than answers and have vague ideas of what concepts such as Personas and Reverse Cases are. When this volume begins, Ryo has disappeared and another officer Akihiko Sanada takes over (some of you may recognize Sanada from his appearance in the Persona 3 game). Up until its last five episodes, Trinity Soul continues its trend of providing more questions than answers, but it gives a good amount of background about the secondary characters and fleshes them out quite a bit. As it turns out, the major issue is that Mariya Kujou, a scientist that Shin’s parents once worked with is trying to resurrect his daughter Ayane in order to manipulate the world through its unconscious mind and Personas are directly related to this. I realize I’m being incredibly vague, but this is a tale that isn’t worth spoiling. Once again the pacing is a bit slow towards the beginning of the volume, but all of this is made up for in the last five to six episodes. When things really get moving towards the end of the show it doesn’t let up, and you’ll likely want to watch these in succession. Persona Trinity Soul ends on a slightly sadder note than many other Japanese anime, so don’t expect a lighthearted ending where all of the characters come away unscathed. But that is part of what makes it so interesting, and if you were able to handle the pacing and have stuck with it you will come away impressed with what the team was able to accomplish with this show.

As with the first half of the series, I was impressed by how much attention was paid to the animation and art style. While I didn’t notice it quite as much in the earlier episodes, it became much more apparent in the later ones how much effort was put into framing each shot. In particular, the use of reflections to showcase other sides of characters or their inner selves really stands out and makes the series feel a bit different from the others out there. I also felt as though the CG fit the overall style better in the later episodes, but this may just be my personal opinion. But what has really made this show stand out in my mind is its music and voice work. The voice work has been absolutely stellar throughout, and each of the actors really gave the characters that much more emotion and a bit more subtleness than anime fans might be used to. The music also enhances the atmosphere and sometimes makes the somber scenes seem that much sadder.

Once again NIS America has packed in an artbook with the two DVDs, and it is wonderfully done. In addition to having the standard episode synopsis and pages of artwork, this book also has humorous four panel comics that tie into each episode as well as initial sketches of the characters/locations and interviews with some of the staff involved to give viewers a better insight into what went into the show. On the second DVD NIS has also included a lengthy interview feature with the series producer, which may explain some of the questions that people may have had after finishing the last episode. The creators really seemed to want viewers to have some additional questions after completing the series and provided some interesting insights which makes the feature worth watching.

Persona Trinity Soul may a little too slow paced for some people, and it is understandable that some will come in expecting something similar to the games and come away disappointed. But for the rest of us, this is a well told tale that leaves a lot of concepts to think about after you have turned the disc off. The show is a combination of mystery and drama with a little bit of action, and like the best mysteries everything doesn’t resolve itself in the exact way that you predict. It’s not my favorite series, but it is worth returning to and if you give it a chance it will work its way into your psyche.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by NIS America

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