Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side P3, Vols 1 + 2

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side P3, Vols 1 + 2

PersonaQP3Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side: P3, Vols. 1 + 2
Created by Atlus, manga by So Tobita
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Teen (13 +)

So Tobita’s Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side: P3, Vols. 1 + 2 is an adaption of the similarly titled Atlus game featuring a crossover between the two most popular installments of their Persona game franchise. Focusing on the Persona 3 characters, this two volume manga sees the characters trapped in a mysterious world with no choice but to delve into the bizarre Alice in Wonderland styled maze in the hope of finding a way back to their own world.

This is clearly designed for fans of the Persona game series and isn’t the easiest things for newcomers to get into. Right from the start half a dozen characters are thrown at us with only the most basic introduction and it’s clear that their relationships are already established and readers are left to puzzle it all out in a sink or swim fashion. One immediately noticeable issue with the series is that the nameless “Leader” lacks any personality at all and everyone else is as one note as you can possibly get. While nearly all of the characters featured in the first volume are from the Persona 3 game, there are apparently two new characters introduced who seem intimately linked to this new mysterious world. Sadly they’re not terribly interesting either and both are little more than cyphers, even after two volumes. To make things even more complicated, the second volume throws in the characters from Persona 4, meaning that we’re stuck with nearly a dozen different characters running around and with almost no backstory for any of them for those not already familiar with them.

If this sounds bad it gets even worse, because there’s absolutely no resolution to the story or any of its mysteries. It just kind of peters out and readers are presumably intended to go out and buy the game to find out whether our heroes make it home and find out what’s going on in the first place.

A page from Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - Side: P3, Vol. 1

They’re all so cute!

At least Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side P3 has some adorable looking artwork going for it. Under So Tobita’s pen everyone is pretty damn adorably, including the weird shadows, monsters that the characters encounter. They’re so adorable that it really works against any attempt to build drama or tension, but at least they’e nice to look at. The backgrounds are the usual vaguely defined white space with the odd checkerboard floor, bush or wall tossed in. This does make things a bit bland and also takes away from the idea of them being stuck in some bizarre Alice in Wonderland inspired world.

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side: P3, Vols. 1 + 2 are kind of a mess. The lack of characterization, the absolutely adorable looking artwork and the lack of a resolution all combine to create a series that feels like little more than a trailer for the game. Fans of the franchises involved may get some enjoyment out of seeing their favorite characters in this medium, but newcomers will find a muddled, bland and forgettable read full of flat characters and a story that ultimately goes nowhere.

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side: P3, Vols. 1 + 2 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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