Anime Review: Persona 3 The Movie #3 - Falling Down (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 09.06.2017

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Persona 3 the Movie #3 - Falling Down (UK Rating: 15)

Players in the UK are likely well into their second playthrough of Persona 5 now, marvelling at just how amazing it is even the second time around, and keeping the hype for the franchise soaring high. Anime Limited is making the most of that with these regular releases of the Persona 3 movies, delivering this third of four movies so quickly after the second, Midsummer Knight's Dream (the review of the first, Spring of Birth, can also be read here). That second film placed a focus on Aegis, along with telling the story of Shinjiro, his ailment, and what happened with newcomer Ken's mother. Picking up immediately where that previous film left off is Persona 3 The Movie #3 - Falling Down. It's once again courtesy of Anime Limited and is out now.

This film again opens on a full moon, the twelfth and final Full Moon. This would be the final shadow to defeat, to finally do away with both Tartarus and The Dark Hour. The opening moments immediately fly into the battle against this final foe, too, although the S.E.E.S. team has more to deal with than just the Shadow. The Strega team has finally come out of the woodwork and is ready for a showdown with S.E.E.S. The opening scenes immediately jump into the battle between the S.E.E.S. team and the shadow, with the Strega team joining the fight to try and stop S.E.E.S.

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When the final shadow falls, the battle is won and a nice happy ending plays out… Spoiler, with the majority of this film left and a final film in the series, the story can't end here. There has been a mastermind behind the scenes all this time, pulling the strings of all parties involved and now that the final shadow has fallen, the truth comes to light. The 13th shadow, "Death the Almighty," is coming and it will swallow this world whole.

Despite the revelations of the bigger plot and the higher stakes linked to it, it seems the students didn't get the memo and the majority of this film is spent on social links and light-hearted slice of life action; well, eventually, at least. At first, Makoto is dealing with the fallout from what they thought to be the final night. The night of the twelfth full moon delivered a huge betrayal, the death of a friend as Shinjiro finally succumbed, the death of a mentor as Mitsuru's father sacrificed himself to save them all, and another friend vanished as the mysterious Pharos leaves Makoto's mind. Makoto retreats from his friends and closes himself off, suffering from a severe depression as he tries to come to terms with not only what he lost but the reality before him, the overwhelming despair and doom.

While Makoto is in this funk, a new character walks into his life, a mysterious new student named Ryoji with a seemingly unnatural obsession with Makoto, a strange student who Aegis takes an immediate and extreme dislike to. Despite the clash between Aegis and Ryoji, Ryoji becomes part of the group and together they all embark on very classic slice-of-life 'go-to's. There's a field trip to the historic land of Kyoto and exploring of the sites there. There's the ever popular hot springs moment with plenty of fan-service and accidental nudity. Kimonos and school events. Club activities and table tennis.

It's all rather light-hearted, but there are darker moments mixed in, each acting as a catalyst for important developments to the cast and story. The loss of Mitsuru's father gives a previously friction-filled relationship a spark of friendship. Yukari and Mitsuru now begin to bond over the loss of their fathers and while it's not something that makes them instant friends, it's fantastic to see the pair begin to put the past behind them. Similarly, Chidori, who had been recuperating and rehabilitating from her dark past, found herself growing close to Junpei. The pair even began to become something of a couple. It brings her away from her nihilistic obsessions and instead gives the pair some great character development.

The quality in the film continues to be top tier; the colours and art looking absolutely gorgeous and getting a real chance to shine here through the everyday antics of the cast. That cast of consummate professionals delivers sterling performances and the soundtrack continues to be spectacular. Another aspect that matches previous releases is not so positive, though. Once again, there is little bonus content. There's only the Japanese dub and the extras consist of a mere short collection of trailers and promo videos originally seen in Japan in the run up to its theatrical release.

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
This is a great adaptation of this vital part of the game, but it doesn't make the best movie. The stakes and tension have been rising with each story but in Persona 3 The Movie #3 - Falling Down it drops out to something that begins to feel like a first movie or an epilogue. However, it matches with the game and the Persona titles in general, giving the player some downtime before the finale to build up the social links and wraps up story threads before it all comes crashing down. Consequently, though, this film is something of a letdown compared to what came before. It's not bad, it's just that the pacing and tone feel garbled at points. Although hardcore fans of the game will keep up, viewers who have only experienced this story in the previous films may find it confusing.

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