Persona 3 The Movie: Spring of Birth
Persona 3 The Movie: #1 Spring of Birth (劇場版「ペルソナ3」第１章, Gekijōban Perusona 3 Dai Ichi Shō) is a 2013 Japanese animated film and the first installment in a film series based on the Persona 3 video game by Atlus. Directed by Noriaki Akitaya and written by Jun Kumagai, it is based on the original story by Atlus and distributed by Aniplex. It stars voice actors Akira Ishida, Megumi Toyoguchi, Kōsuke Toriumi, Rie Tanaka, Hikaru Midorikawa, and Mamiko Noto. Set in 2009, the film follows the exploits of transfer student Makoto Yuki who, upon moving to Iwatodai City, discovers the Shadow creatures which feed on the human psyche during the Dark Hour midnight phenomenon. After awakening to an ability called Persona, Makoto finds himself intertwined in the battle against the Shadows with his new schoolmates.
Moving to Gekkoukan High
A High school student named Makoto Yūki arrives and had seen a strange phenomenon grips a city—shutting down all forms of technology and causing humans to get turned into coffins. Makoto had now arrived to the Iwatodai Dormitory where a mysterious boy greets him with a contract after which he meets his fellow dormmates, Yukari Takeba and Mitsuru Kirijo. The next day, Makoto enrolls at Gekkoukan High School as a sophomore with Yukari and fellow classmate Junpei Iori. Afterward the school's Chairman of the board, Shuji Ikutsuki, asks Yukari to investigate Makoto due to his uncanny characteristics which hint at his "potential" and coincidental circumstances involving the death of his parents during an accident in the city some decades previous. Meanwhile, Makoto sees himself in a place that is called the "Velvet Room" and became acquainted with Igor and Elizabeth. Later at midnight, Akihiko Sanada rushes back to the dorm just as it comes under the attack of an ambush of monstrous creatures. Yukari grabs Makoto and flees to the roof. However they are cornered by a giant creature Makoto awakens maniacally to the power of two Personas to defeat his opponents.
After having been unconscious for over a week, Makoto awakens in the hospital to find Yukari, who explains their similarity in having both lost parents during the accident in the past. Ikutsuki, Akihiko, and Mitsuru recruit Makoto to the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (S.E.E.S. for short) to help them fight the Shadow creatures responsible for the Apathy Syndrome by preying on humans during the Dark Hour midnight phenomenon. Not long after as Junpei arrives and also joins S.E.E.S., Akihiko deduces that they have enough members to begin exploring their school's form that is the Dark Hour, a Shadow-infested labyrinth called Tartarus, where they hope to unearth the mystery of the Dark Hour. Makoto also befriends Fuuka Yamagishi and learns of her strained relationship with the class bully, Natsuki Moriyama.
On the night of another full moon, Mitsuru senses an abnormally large Shadow presence aboard a train and deploys Makoto, Yukari, and Junpei to investigate. However, the trio is ambushed by the Shadows just as the train begins accelerating. Junpei charges ahead and encounters the Priestess Arcana which overwhelms him. However as the train had come an inevitable collision, Makoto defeats the Priestess with Junpei and Yukari before stopping the runaway train.
Search of Fuuka Yamagishi
Yukari, Junpei, and Makoto go looking for answers from the delinquents behind Port Island Station and learn from Shinjiro Aragaki that the girls had been bullying Fuuka before the latter disappeared that same night. Natsuki confesses to Mitsuru that she and her friends had locked Fuuka inside the school's gymnasium. However, when her friends went to check on Fuuka that same night, she had mysteriously vanished while the latter developed the Apathy cases after being preyed on by Shadows. That night the SEES members deduce that Fuuka may be trapped inside the Tartarus tower and plan to rescue her. Mitsuru elects him to protect Natsuki at the dorm where he listens to Natsuki's reasoning for bullying Fuuka and relates that Fuuka genuinely considers her as a friend.
Afterwards the S.E.E.S. members break into the school and indeed find Fuuka inside Tartarus when the Dark Hour strikes. Mitsuru and Yukari come under attack by the Emperor and Empress Arcanas at Tartarus' entrance. Junpei, Akihiko, and Fuuka rush to their aid however the Arcanas easily overwhelm all of their Personas. In the midst of the battle, Fuuka also awakens a Persona, Lucia, to defend an entranced Natsuki. With everyone approaching their physical limits, Fuuka uses Lucia to sense the Arcanas' weaknesses and coordinates the SEES members in a collaborative effort which results in the Shadows' defeat. A few days later, Fuuka moves into the group's dorm and repairs her relations with Natsuki, while life returns to a level of normalcy.
In a post-credits scene, the mysterious boy appears to Makoto and introduces himself as Pharos. Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location, a girl awakens from a slumber.
Why It Rocks
- The film is very faithful to the Persona 3 video game. It mostly takes time to tell a story rather than including all of the references and be its own separate story.
- Compared to the game's cutscenes(where everything is mostly solid colors), the animation and colors are more vibrant.
- While it may use the soundtrack from the original game, it includes many new and different songs that are movie exclusive.
- The characters are just as likable as they were in the game:
- Makoto Yūki, the series' main protagonist is a sad and emotionless teenager, does not care about anything, he is very kind hearted and forgiving.
- It has also managed to explore some parts of the Persona lore that the games did not touch upon, like Makoto first meeting Fuuka.
- Many voice actors (Akira Ishida as Makoto/Pharos, and Rie Tanaka as Mitsuru Kirijo) from the original game reprise their roles.
- A cool fight scene where everyone at S.E.E.S. used up all their might to battle the Emperor and Empress arcanas.
- The post-credits scene introduces a blonde robot named Aigis and will have a major role in the sequels.
- "Personal space, please."
- While it does get most parts of the game correctly, the calendar passing a day is the most distracting, and completely unnecessary to the film, so you should get used to it.
- Like the rest of the film tetralogy, there are no cut-ins like in Persona 4, and Persona 5, and same goes for the English dub.
- The pacing is too fast, not enough time for viewers who aren't very familiar with the franchise to understand what's going on.
- Junpei can be a dick to Makoto sometimes.
Persona 3 The Movie: #1 Spring of Birth was scored a 7.6 on MyAnimeList, a 6.8 on IMDb, and an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.