Just recently at the time I began writing this, news of Persona 4: The Animation revealed that a prior report of bringing back the voice cast from the English release of the game was, more or less, not very truthful.
If you didn’t follow the links, Sentai Filmworks announced that they confirmed the original cast of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 video game would reprising their roles. Needless to say, the fans were very pleased. Then came today, March 10th, with much of the cast of Persona 4 expressing surprise at this and stating that Sentai never even contacted them, before or after the former announcement. Even Yuri Lowenthal and Karen Strassman, the respective voices to Yosuke and Nanako express their confusion to Sentai’s announcement. And on top of that, Dave Wittenburg is confirmed to be unable to reprise his role as Teddie. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that fans were not pleased.
So after thinking on this for a short moment, I decided that I shall dub this…
“The Peter Molyneux Effect”
For you who know your anime, but are completely befuddled by the name “Peter Molyneux,” Peter Douglas Molyneux is the former head of Lionhead Studios (no, I wasn’t making a pun), the team behind the Fable video game series. For those who may have played the games, you probably recognize it for it (admittedly) catchy gameplay for an Action-Adventure game. However, you may also know it for how it would get tons of hype during its development, in which Molyneux would go on about how awesome the game would be, talking about a rival system, plants growing in real-time, how every little action would effect your alignment, and stuff. The end result, however, was basically a video series that was, as Yahtzee put it when reviewed the first game of the series, “an Action-RPG with a great big stiffie for itself.”
Now, how is this relevant to the subject at hand? Simple. Hype. The thing about getting something to sell or even show is hype. With Persona 4: The Animation being an adaption to a video game that sold big time in the USA, you’re probably gonna get a lot of backlash if the adaption doesn’t live up to the original, and in case you haven’t figured it out, backlash is never good for a franchise. Persona 4‘s VAs for the American port were incredibly well done and memorable, so it’s really only natural that we want the adaption to be as good.
Now I’m not saying that it’s inherently a bad thing if the original cast doesn’t return. I mean, sure, I would really, really, reeeeeally like it, but you can’t get everything you want. I did a previous post concerning another game that was adapted into an anime that had a better performance. And another, speculating on what who would play who in the Sentai Dub.
But a good lesson to learn from this experience is this: Don’t wank off to what you want your product to be before it’s actually released. You might just end up crippling yourself in the worst way possible…
Okay so that’s not really a useful lesson, but learn from Sentai’s mistake as you wish.