Persona 4 The Animation Episode 3

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We begin in flashback with elementary-school age Chie and Yukiko, who have apparently been close since childhood. Chie consoles Yukiko on a rainy day during their first encounter, quickly becoming friends.

Chie barges into the classroom one morning, hysterical at not being able to contact Yukiko. Grimly, Chie cannot rule out the possibilty that Yukiko may have been the one who appeared on the Midnight Channel the previous evening. Worse, Yukiko hasn’t been responding to her calls or texts. Yu suggests she may have been busy helping out at her family’s inn, which Chie takes as some measure of consolation until Yukiko calls Chie herself, finally allowing her to calm down completely. Yu and Yosuke are left to wonder who it was that actually appeared on the Midnight Channel.

Yu, Yosuke and Chie head back to Junes so that they can consult with Kuma, who tells them he hasn’t seen any new people come over from the other side since their last visit. Yu suggests they all watch the Midnight Channel again to confirm. After dark, Yu waits and when the screen crackles to life, Yukiko appears onscreen in a princess costume, declaring her hunt for a prince on a white horse to be on. She races through the castle gates into the background, heading deeper in the Shadow world. Afterwards, Chie races to Yukiko’s house, only to find Yukiko missing.

The next morning, Yu meets Yosuke at Junes. Yosuke is excited to show Yu the katana he found in his backyard and begins openly flaunting the fake but realistic blades, alerting a nearby cop who mistakes Yu and Yosuke for thugs and subsequently arrests both of them for brandishing swords in violation of Japan’s strict anti-weapons laws. Chie catches up with them just in time to see them being deposited in the back of a police cruiser for transport to the station. After the misunderstanding is resolved, Yu and Yosuke are released and find Chie waiting for them in the lobby, finally able to tell them about Yukiko’s disappearance. The news prompts the junior detective to begin questioning Chie, as Yukiko’s family had already asked the police to search for her; but when he mentions Yukiko in connection with the case of the deceased Yamano, Chie is infuriated and Yu and Yosuke both rush to restrain her before Yu’s uncle arrives to break up the ruckus. As they leave the station, Chie resolves to re-enter the Shadow world to save Yukiko.

With the guidance of Kuma, they arrive at the same castle “gates” Yukiko had passed through on the Midnight Channel broadcast. He confirms Yukiko is inside, and Chie races ahead, passing through a cavernous, palatial hall -oblivious to the presence of the Shadows, as she lacks special glasses to equip. Yu, Yosuke and Kumakichi follow her, summoning their respective Personae to clear a path through the treacherous Shadows.

Chie arrives at a room at the end of the hall resembling Yukiko’s room as she knows it in the outside world, and begins to hear the Shadows give voice to Yukiko’s doubts and inferiority complex towards Chie. In response, Chie’s doppelganger appears, revealing all the hidden jealousies and resentment towards Yukiko Chie had bottled up inside. Yu and Yosuke arrive, to Chie’s embarrassment as she denies her inner Shadow. Transforming, Chie’s doppelganger holds off Yu and Yosuke’s Personae as Chie wrestles with her inner jealousies until Yu and Yosuke remind her that she is indeed Yukiko’s true friend, and that what’s important is that she genuinely loves and cares for her.

Believing in her bond with Yukiko and accepting the less noble parts of herself, Chie challenges her Shadow. Margaret informs Yu that his bonds have granted him access to another Persona. With his new Persona (Jack-O-Lantern + Tonberry?), Yu is able to free Yosuke to team up with against the Shadow, successfully coordinating their attacks to bring it down. Chie finlly accepts it as a part of her, earning Chie her Persona.

Chie may have some repressed dominatrix tendencies, frustrated by Yukiko getting all the attention from the guys: her inner Shadow is decked out in leather, armed with numerous, animate whip-like appendages, after all. I wonder what the physical characteristics of Yukiko’s Persona will reveal about her personality.

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