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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: The Golden 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:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: In the first movie, Makoto, Yukari and Junpei get harassed by some punks. Makoto proceeds to make a joke about the delinquent leader's nose ring, to which the other punks found funny.
  • 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 Thanatos take care of it. He was also the only Persona Makoto had before the Reverse Priestess is usually the Persona Makoto leads with. Even around the end of Winter of Rebirth, it manages to deliver a curbstomp to 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.
  • Adaptational Deviation: Chidori's kidnapping of Junpei occurs at a different date. In the game, this happens on the night S.E.E.S. fought the Hermit and he was held captive on the roof of the dorm. Here, this happens on the night they fought the Hanged Man and he's held captive at the Moonlight Bridge. Because of this, Junpei is present for the Hermit fight.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Happens a bit to everyone sans Junpei and Koromaru but the two most changed besides Makoto (who was mostly a blank slate anyway) are Ken, Yukari, and Aigis.
    • Ken doesn't realize Shinjiro is the one who killed his mother at first. He becomes a Hero-Worshipper towards him until The Reveal, acts much nicer and happier towards the rest of SEES, and he also interacts more with the male protagonist than was possible in the game.
    • Aigis becomes much more mentally unstable during the final months of the story. Instead of accepting Makoto's decision and parting with Ryoji as friends, she has a Freak Out during which she nearly kills herself. It is justified as the events surrounding it are changed a bit, as the others did not talk to Aigis beforehand about choosing to live like in the game and the conversation about finding a purpose to live didn't happen until afterwards. Thus, why Aigis reacts much worse, as she has no chance to actually process things like she did in the game.
  • Adapted Out:
    • As Makoto only receives new Personas that share the same Arcana with the Full Moon Shadows, he does not use any Arcanas past Death, with the sole exception of Judgement in the final battle.
    • As Midsummer Knight's Dream starts with in the middle of the July Full Moon operation - specifically when Makoto and Yukari are being influenced by the Arcana Lovers - Arcana Hierophant doesn't appear, having already been defeated off-screen.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Makoto saves the rest of SEES from the Empress and Emperor Shadows near the end of the first movie as he doesn't 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 when Yukari runs out of arrows in Tartarus.
  • Chasing a Butterfly: At Yakushima, while Junpei is commenting about the girls' swimsuit, Makoto is following a crab, going further and further away after each shot.
  • 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.
  • Continuity 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 and Kaz are the most recurring among the Social Links friends, appearing in all four movies.
    • While Toriumi appear in all movies, her online alias, Maya, makes a cameo in the second movie.
    • Hidetoshi is seen talking to one of Fuuka's bullies a few days before the third Full Moon Operation. He also appears in the third movie, annoyed with Ryoji's antics, and the fourth movie.
    • Chihiro is seen in the third and fourth movie together with Hidetoshi. In the third, she is one of the girls Ryoji asked for a date.
    • Nozomi appears in the first movie at Wild-Duck Burger while Yukari, Makoto, and Junpei are discussing about Fuuka, and in the second at the Beef Bowl Shop.
    • Maiko is seen playing with Koromaru in the first and second movie while in the third she has a confrontation with President Tanaka, the latter whom Makoto owed some money to.
    • Taken from an additional scene from Portable, Kashiwagi appears at Yakushima during Operation Babe Hunt.
    • 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.
    • Yuko appears in the third and fourth movie.
    • Bebe and Keisuke appear in the third movie among the many clubs Makoto and Ryoji join in order to raise money.
    • In Falling Down, Rio and Saori from the Heroine's Social Links appear briefly in the hallway. Tanaka, Bebe and Chihiro also have cameos.
    • In Winter of Rebirth, Mutatsu and Akinari have background appearance at Club Escapade and the shrine respectively.
  • Cosplay Café: Makoto starts working at one during the third movie, and has to dress up in a butler uniform.
  • 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. This also applies to the movie series itself. The comic relief moments become less frequent over the course of the first three movies and are completely gone by the final film, with a short glimpse of Elizabeth's strange personality providing the only lighthearted scene before Aigis' Freak Out and the final battle..
  • 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.
  • Death by Adaptation: Zig-zagged with Chidori - she dies in the original game, but Updated Rereleases would introduce a way to revive her. Her death remains the same, but her resurrection is completely omitted from the movies.
  • Downer Ending: The second movie ends after October 4th and Shinjiro's death.
    • The third movie ends with Aigis and Makoto recovering their memories, and the beginning of Aigis and Ryoji's disastrous confrontation on the Moonlight Bridge.
  • Driven to Suicide: Aigis. Due to events being switched around, Aigis does not accept Makoto letting Ryoji live. This results in a massive mental breakdown that nearly ends with her blowing her own head off if Makoto hadn't reached her and comforted her in time.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Without: The Nyx Avatar implies during their battle with Makoto that Thanatos is this.
    This is... this is... my hesitation?
  • 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 Avatar uses the Death Arcana.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Makoto first summons Thanatos in '"Winter of Rebirth'', there's a short flash where his silhouette changes to that of Ryoji Mochizuki.
  • 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 or outright removed in the movie. Aigis even becomes Makoto's date at the Summer Festival, which wasn't an option in any of the games.
  • 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 large 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.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Yukari tells Makoto to never tell a soul about what they did 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.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: The Hot Springs Episode scene is played for faux drama in the movie when Junpei loses his Modesty Towel in the stream while they were swimming underwater. He invokes this trope but his fellow male teammates don't want to leave him behind. Their conversation drew the attention of the girls, followed by the guys' "Execution".
    Junpei: I think this is the end of the line for me. You guys go on and escape without me.
    Ryoji: What are you saying?
    Makoto: You have to come with us, Junpei! Come on!
    Junpei: I can't! (Stands up, revealing that he lost his towel)
    Junpei: Forget about me and go! At this rate, we'll all die!
    Akihiko: You think we could just leave you behind?!
  • 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.
    • Like in Persona 4: The Animation, the second Persona Makoto summoned is a Jack Brother, this time being Jack Frost.
    • Arcana Lovers is defeated after Makoto, Yukari, Mitsuru and Akihiko all rush the dazed Shadow at once, reminiscent of the game's All Out Attack.
  • 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. Essentially, the movies are the main plot mixed with heavily altered version of Aigis' social link as well as a heavily altered version of Ryoji's link from the female MC in Portable.
  • 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: 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: Given the movies' lack of Social Links, Makoto has little interaction with the girls outside of S.E.E.S. and rarely talks to Mitsuru. His Ship Tease with Yukari is also nearly completely removed. Instead, Aigis receives many new Ship Tease filled scenes.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Makoto and Elizabeth, once she asks him to show her around town; her boundless enthusiasm is well-contrasted with his non-plussed stoicism.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Trauma Button: 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.
  • Worth Living For: Makoto only really started caring about living after he met the rest of SEES and started bonding with them.

Alternative Title(s): Persona 3