Anime / Persona 3: The Movie

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Persona 3: The Movie is a movie tetralogy based off of Persona 3, a spinoff of the Shin Megami Tensei series. All four movies were first released in theaters before later being released on Blu-Ray.

Ordinary High-School Student Makoto Yuki has moved into a new city, the same one where he experienced an accident that killed his parents ten years ago. He discovers on arrival that the town experiences a phenomenon every night at midnight called The Dark Hour, which causes normal time to stop and transforms ordinary people into coffins. Those who aren't transformed are attacked by creatures called Shadows, which will prey on their minds and inflict them with an illness called Apathy Syndrome. Makoto quickly finds out that he has the potential to fight these shadows, using a power known as "Persona". He joins a group of other Persona users who call themselves "S.E.E.S." to help fight these shadows and protect those around him from being attacked.

The first film was animated by AIC ASTA, who animated the TV adaptation of Persona 4, while the remaining three were all animated by A-1 Pictures, who co-animated the original Persona 4 anime cutscenes and animated Persona 4 Golden: The Animation. The films are:

  • #1 — Spring of Birth: Covers roughly from April to June in the game. Released in theaters in November 2013, and released on Blu-Ray/DVD in May 2014.
  • #2 — A Midsummer Knight's Dream: Covers from July to October in the game. Released in theaters in June 2014 and on Blu-Ray/DVD in March 2015.
  • #3 — Falling Down: Covers November and early December in the game. Released in theaters in April 2015 and on Blu-Ray/DVD in January 2016.
  • #4 — Winter of Rebirth: Covers the final months of the game. Released in theaters in January 2016 and on Blu-Ray/DVD in August 2016.


In addition to those on the main page, these movies provide examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Like Izanagi in Persona 4's television adaptation, Makoto's initial Persona,Orpheus, is this. In the games, he is a beginning Persona which hardly has the stats and moves to make him that useful, and being weak to one of two One-Hit Kill elements, resulting most players to fuse him away the moment they have the chance. Movie Orpheus? Let us begin with the fact that he had the chance to fight against the Magician rather than instantly let Death take care of it. He was also the only Persona Makoto had before the Priestess and usually leads with him. Even around the end of Winter of Rebirth, it manages to deliver a curbstomp at The Reaper with Megidolaon.
    • Junpei during the Priestess event. In the game, he almost loses to normal Shadows before MC and Yukari come to save him. In the movie, Junpei reaches the Priestess alone, survives her attacks before getting too exhausted with Makoto and Yukari coming to save him and taking her down with single clear hit.
    • Koromaru, Ken, and Shinjiro join the party differently, via being introduced through fighting Shadows.
  • Archer Archetype: Naturally, Yukari.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Similar to the game, Yukari does this to Makoto once she snaps out of her Shadow-induced stupor. This also snaps him out of his own stupor.
    • And then taking note from that, Makoto slaps a Charmed Junpei hard enough to knock him out.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Makoto saves the rest of SEES from the Empress and Emperor Shadows near the end of the first movie (he does not go with the rest of the team to the school to rescue Fuuka in this adaptation).
    • In the second movie, Aigis saves Yukari and Makoto from a Shadow horde at Yakushima.
    • Shinjiro saves the entire group from the Justice and Chariot Shadows and helps them get out of the weapons depot (here, it's a Gas Chamber, and they would have died from the gas even if the Shadows were killed).
  • Bittersweet Ending: The final movie ends with Makoto sacrificing himself to save the world and spending his final moments resting on Aigis' lap, waiting for the arrival of their friends. Though it cuts on him seeing them coming his way before the Fade to White, implying they might have made it in time.
  • Book Ends: Overlaps with Theme Naming — the first movie is called Spring of Birth while the finale is Winter of Rebirth.
    • The third is a straighter example. It begins and ends on the Moonlight Bridge and features a battle against Strega.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: There's the one in the opening, like in the game. One also seems to appear for each Full Moon Shadow that's defeated.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted in the fourth movie with Yukari.
  • The Cameo: Makoto's Social Links from the game are relegated to these, since the films are entirely focused on SEES itself and the main storyline. The first film's cameos include:
    • Kenji is actually with Junpei and speaks to him in the arcade.
    • Hidetoshi is seen talking to one of Fuuka's bullies a few days before the third Full Moon Operation.
    • When Yukari, Makoto, and Junpei are at Wild-Duck Burger discussing Fuuka, Nozomi can be seen nearby scarfing down two burgers.
      • He's then seen again in the second movie, when he and Makoto are eating at Hagakure.
    • Maiko is petting Koromaru during the opening sequence.
      • In the second movie, she's playing with Koromaru at the shrine, with Makoto looking over them.
    • The old couple at the bookshop make an appearance at the beginning of the first movie with Fuuka. In the second, Makoto is seen buying a book from them.
    • In Falling Down, Rio and Saori from the FeMC's Social Links appear briefly in the hallway. Tanaka, Bebe and Chihiro also have cameos.
  • Character Development: By the second movie, Makoto is much more open and happy with his new friends and far less stoic than in the last movie. Unfortunately, having something to lose presents problems of it's own. In the third movie, he spends most of it trying to cast aside whatever friendships he has built, and is mostly successful until he meets Ryoji. Come the finale, when he spends time with Elizabeth, Makoto realizes how much he has enjoyed life in the past year he spent with his newfound friends. This inspires him to reject Ryoji's offer to wipe away their memories so he can continue enjoying life.
    • While we see some development in the rest of the cast, it's at a far more accelerated pace, sometimes detrimentally so. For example, Akihiko's sister Miki, a major source of his motivation to fight and his Blood Knight tendencies in the original game, isn't mentioned at all until the third movie when he grieves for Shinjiro; unless the viewer played the game, it looks as if his motivation was tacked on. Junpei's romance with Chidori is also compressed within the entire third film as well.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Makoto has been experiencing the Dark Hour for such a long time that he doesn't have any reaction to it anymore. The same can be said with Strega, especially Takaya who sees no issue with murdering people during the Dark Hour.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the original game was dark enough, the movies manage to push it further, either by adding in additional Nightmare Fuel, or altering events to make them fit a more dramatic narrative.
  • Determinator: Every SEES member. No matter how much you hit them or how exhausted they get after summoning their Personas multiple times, they will keep on fighting until you are dead.
  • Downer Ending: The second movie ends after October 4th and Shinjiro's death.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Makoto and Yukari at the beginning of the second movie, due to the Lovers Shadow influencing their minds.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Fuuka is introduced in Spring of Birth a lot earlier than her debut in the original game.
  • Fanservice: The second movie has fanservice in the form of Yukari's gratuitous Shower Scene at its start and the entire trip to Yakushima shortly thereafter. The third movie includes the hot springs incident in Kyoto, which offers a surprising amount of near-nudity for the guys.
  • Foil: Makoto and Ryoji, just like in the games. In the final battle, this is represented by Makoto countering the Nyx Avatar with Personas of the same respective Arcanas. This ultimately ends with him summoning Thanatos when Nyx uses the Death Arcana.
  • Funny Background Event: In the second movie, Makoto literally attempts to follow a crab offscreen. In subsequent shots of the same scene, Makoto is getting farther and farther away from the group.
  • Gas Chamber: The underground weapons storage depot now has one of these, making the August full moon battle far more difficult for SEES. They would have likely died from the gas had Shinjiro not saved them.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Makoto sticks to using a short sword (his canon weapon if Persona 3 Portable is to be believed) in the movie.
  • Hope Spot: When Aigis activates her Orgia Mode during the Justice/Chariot Shadow battle. She overheats.
  • Hour of Power: Those with Potential becomes stronger during the Dark Hour.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each movie's subtitle references the season they take place in: "Spring of Birth", "Midsummer Knight's Dream", "Falling Down", and "Winter of Rebirth".
  • Implied Love Interest: Aigis has the strongest bond with Makoto in the movies. In fact, a lot of the early subtext with Yukari that was present in the game ended up getting downplayed in the movie.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: The fight against the Hierophant and Lovers Full Moon Shadows in the second movie takes place in a Love Hotel. Highlights include Junpei diving into a bathtub to avoid the enemy's Combat Tentacles, Akihiko stumbling on a discarded French Maid Outfit, leading to Mitsuru to grab a whip laying around in order to get him some breathing room to recover, Makoto slapping Junpei out of Charm and Yukari fighting down the indignation of getting herself Ready for Lovemaking under the influence of the Arcana Lovers.
  • Love Triangle: The students in their class think this is happening between Makoto, Aigis, and Yukari. Yukari is naturally not thrilled by this, though her defensiveness about Aigis' insistence to be by Makoto doesn't help her case.
  • Lunacy: Just like in the games, terrifying Shadows appear whenever there is a full moon. Makoto also takes a good long look at the full moon the first time he sees it in the Dark Hour.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Junpei when he's Charmed by the Lovers Shadow.
  • Mood Whiplash: The second movie starts out with the Love Hotel mission and its shenanigans, and features more light-hearted comedic scenes compared to the first movie. It ends with the events of October 4th and Shinjiro's funeral.
    • During the climax of the third movie, Junpei manages to calm Chidori down, the two confessing their love to each other, and it seems as though everything will be alright. Then a gunshot is heard, and blood spills from Junpei's chest.
  • Mythology Gag: Many of the animations during battles are pretty much taken straight from the game.
  • Nerves of Steel: Makoto has little fear of dying or of anything. This leads him to making rash and borderline reckless decisions without a second thought, like soloing the Magician Shadow, stopping a speeding train based on his experience with a video game, and instigating a fight with some thugs.
    • In the second movie, he loses this thanks to his conflicts about ending the Dark Hour.
  • Not Afraid to Die: During the Magician Shadow attack on the dorm, when Yukari asks him "Do you want to die?!" when trying to lead Makoto to safety, he word-for-word says he doesn't care. He even asks her why dying is so scary.
    • Played with in that while he may not care about dying, he certainly cares if someone else does.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Naturally. It's trying to compress a 60 hour+ JRPG with around 11 hours of main story cutscenes and another 9.5 hours for Social Links (at default text progression). The Social Links only get brief cameos and the story focuses entirely on the main plot; as a result, Makoto's Wild Card ability manifests after each Full Moon operation, getting a new Persona of a different arcana each time. Contrast with Persona 4: The Animation, which had time to explore more side-stories away from the main plot.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: Lampshaded.
    Junpei: I've just leveled up!
  • Scenery Porn: Both movies contain beautiful scenery such as the cherry blossoms at the beginning of Spring of Birth.
  • Serious Business: Operation Babe Hunt. And Aigis spying on Shinjiro being nice to Koromaru. Also, the guys trying to avoid an execution from Mitsuru after accidentally overstaying their welcome in the hot springs. They nearly succeed.
  • Shout-Out: The second movie is called A Midsummer Knight's Dream, and yes, the first persona Makoto summons is Oberon.
  • Silent Protagonist: Naturally, subverted. The protagonist now has a name (Makoto Yuki) and his own personality. The movie plays with this, making him The Stoic and only speaking when necessary, leaving most of the dialog to the other characters.
  • Slasher Smile: Makoto sports a particularly terrifying one the first time he summons his Persona. Made all the worse considering he just did it by shooting himself with what looks like a gun, and only moments after he told Yukari that he doesn't care if he dies or not.
  • Starts with a Suicide: It all opens with a nameless character throwing himself in front of a train.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Since the movies lack of Social Links, Makoto has little interaction with the girls outside of S.E.E.S. and rarely talks to Mitsuru. Though he still have his moments with Aigis, Yukari, Fuuka and Elizabeth.
  • The Stinger: Spring of Birth concludes with Aigis being activated in her lab.
    • Likewise, Midsummer Knight's Dream concludes with Ryoji's appearance.
    • Falling Down concludes with a shot of Gekkoukan's rooftop.
    • Finally, Winter of Rebirth ends with a short scene of Elizabeth leaving the Velvet Room, leading to her story arc in the Persona 4: Arena series.
  • The Stoic: How Makoto is portrayed. When we see him experiencing the Dark Hour, he simply walks along to his dormitory with a flat expression on his face. The only thing that seems to faze him throughout the entire opening sequence is seeing Yukari with a gun. Justified, as Makoto explains that he's been experiencing the Dark Hour for as long as he remembers, so it's practically normal for him.
  • Surprisingly Good English: While it has few weak moments, "Fate is In Our Hands" — the first song in A Midsummer Knight's Dream — is a rather impressive, coherent and understandable rap completely in English.
  • Take a Level in Badass: Orgia Mode allows Aigis to (temporarily) do this, shutting off her limiters and making her much faster and stronger. This allows her to throw a fucking tank.
  • Theme Naming: The movies are divided by season (spring, summer, fall, winter), roughly covering three months apiece. This is reflected in each title: Spring of Birth, Midsummer Knight's Dream (also a pun based on the Shakespearean play), Falling Down, and Winter of Rebirth.
  • The Unfettered: Makoto. He'll perform any task, not out of a sense of duty or moral obligation, but simply because he was told to. Or so it seems anyway. This ends up ticking off Yukari because of how emotionally detached he is with everyone in a life or death situation.
  • Trigger: The protagonist has flashbacks to his parents' deaths when people are put in danger, or told they could die.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: SEES no longer get their weaponry from Officer Kurosawa, rather all their weapons are Anti-Shadow weapons manufactured by the Kirijo Group.

Alternative Title(s): Persona 3

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