Monthly Archives: December 2011

Persona 4 The Animation Episode 10

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Love Shack/Shot Through the Heart

Rise’s Shadow dungeon resembles a garish strip club; and her Shadow sure knows how to work the pole. It also sports multiple clones, each representing different facets of Rise’s superidol personality, something which aptly reflects the expected refraction of her publicly projected (and also her self-) image that comes with being a performer.

When Rise refuses to accept her other selves, her Shadow transforms into a rainbow-colored humanoid entity with the ability to analyze each of their individual Personae’s attributes and retaliate with a diversified spectrum beam attack (although any way you look at it, it’s rainbow-colored) tailored to their weaknesses. To make matters worse, it can strike from a distance, attacking multiple targets if not all of them simultaneously.

If Rise were a narcissist she'd have no problem here

Though they try to take preemptive action to bring it down quickly, their attacks are repelled and the entire team suffers critical damage. The Shadow redoubles its attack, intending to annihilate everyone along with their Personae in one final blast, when Kuma steps in and intervenes.

Fortunately, he is immune to the Shadow’s scan abilities and deflects the blast eating the full brunt of the beam as he forces it back on the Shadow, causing its cannon mechanism to misfire and explode. Though Kuma is exhausted, the effort saves everyone and incapacitates the Shadow for Rise to properly acknowledge it as a part of herself. Having come to terms with her struggle over her personal identity, Rise receives her Persona.

Shadow of the Beast

Easy, right? A little too easy apparently. Kuma’s Shadow suddenly materializes, an overgrown behemoth of a bear that dwarfs even Kanji’s Persona. Kuma’s Shadow’s true form is even bigger and seems to subscribe to some sort of radical hypermodern nihilism, dismissing any concept of a true self as meaningless. As it spouts metaphysical rhetoric to the confusion of everyone, it begins swallowing Kuma and everything else into the gaping void where its face should be. Kuma is pulled into a vast nothingness, much like the theoretical Dirac Sea; and, after challenging the Shadow’s claims that any search for truth and identity is inherently futile, asserts his self-worth and his desire to continue living to find his own meaning. Meanwhile, Rise and Yu coordinate their efforts from the outside to help defeat the Shadow. Escaping, Kuma also gains his Persona.

Back at the tofuya, Rise tells Yu she is glad she came to Inaba because she finally feels she’s found a place to belong. With that, she plans to stay and help with their investigation.

The epilogue reveals the killer has struck again, killing his latest victim since Konishi Saki.

Going My Way

Two Persona battles this week. Without knowing details about the flow of events in the game, I can only feel this episode felt rather rushed. We’re already on episode 10 with only two scheduled episodes remaining, and junior detective-in-training Naoto has yet to officially join the team, let alone “join the cool kids’ club.” I’m curious as to whether there will be a continuation to follow or if AIC will rush to wrap things up as, at this point, Yu and company still don’t have the slightest clue as to the killer’s identity. Waiting and watching while monitoring appearances on the Midnight Channel will only go so far without any concrete information to go on. If only they had the cooperation of someone with the investigative ability and insightful powers of deduction to come up with a solid lead, they could stand a better chance of cracking the case. But where would they ever possibly find someone like that…?

Lovebirds

As evidenced in the opening scenes, where he doesn’t even pause to pick his jaw up off the floor, Yu is quite taken with Rise. With the way she latches on to his arm at the end, cooing with delight it’s pretty clear she likes him as well. It seems along with leveling his normal attributes, Yu has been secretly racking up some major stat bonuses towards Charm and Charisma. Not bad for a guy who doesn’t believe in smiling, the lucky bastard.

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Guilty Crown Episodes 6 – 8

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Episode 6: Death Star

The plot for the latter half of Episode 6 reminds me of something, just can’t put my finger on what it is…

Yes, I made two references to outside franchises right off because that’s the way we roll down at GHQ.

Gai turns out to be alive, having survived the Leukocyte strike on Point Delta. Returning to rendezvous with the forces stationed at base camp, Gai briefs the Undertaker rank and file on the target of their next objective, indicating they will launch an offensive against a dam complex which houses a subterranean control center for the Leukocyte satellite system. Unfortunately, logistics calculates potential casualties at around 35% of forces, a figure Shu finds completely unacceptable. Questioning Gai’s seemingly callous acceptance of lost lives, he refuses to participate. Afterwards, Inori shows Shu just how much of a tortured soul Gai actually is: all too aware of the weight of each human life he shoulders and haunted by the blood sacrifice of countless comrades fallen in the name of the cause. Shu resolves to help Gai.

However, there are complications as they commence their attack on the dam complex, as GHQ has anticipated their movements and immediately launches a counteroffensive. Gai and Shu manage to reach the control center for the Leukocyte but the operation is compromised when they are interrupted by Lieutenant Daryl, eager for vengeance for his humiliation in his previous sortie with Undertaker. The float cage encasing the main control mechanism is severely damaged in the ensuing skirmish, setting off a chain reaction that disrupts Tokyo’s power grid and the stability of Leukocyte 1, which begins to descend into freefall from orbit at alarming speed. Knowing the satellite poses an imminent threat to the entire population, Gai decides to use Shu’s special “pen” to destroy Leukocyte and brokers a deal with Segai, who tracks them to the location, to have Shu exonerated; however, this time Shu won’t allow himself to passively stand by and takes charge of the situation.

Thus, humanity is saved. Right?

Episode 7: Wine, Women, and Song… and Missiles

Shu’s rejoins his classmates at school for the first time since Segai took him into custody. At first things are tense but Seitoukaichou Kuhouin Arisa (Endou Aya – Cheers to you, Sheryl) smooths things over for him, relieving any lingering misgivings in the air amongst his peers, who are actually curious and eager to talk with him. Yahiro, however, is conspicuously absent.

And now for the most important part of the episode:

This is Shu’s mom, Ouma Haruka (Fujimura Chika). His mom, for gyoza sakes. She’s been seen in fleeting glimpses alongside Keido in several scenes in earlier episodes but this is the first episode to feature her in any significant capacity, personal or otherwise. Shu refers to her as simply “Haruka,” sans any any honorific or familiar appellation whatsoever. The second she appeared in her unmentionables, beer in hand, I just knew what kind of parental figure/guardian she likely is. Case in point:

Ouma Haruka, mother of the male protagonist though she has more of a sisterly air, and…

Katsuragi Misato. While she also projects a sisterly air, her relationship with her series‘ male protagonist is decidedly much more… complex, shall we say.

Meanwhile back at the plot, Gai crashes the Kuhouin Group’s private party aboard a luxury yacht to petition the family patriarch Kuhouin Okina (Houki Katsuhisa) for cooperation in securing a new supply route, essentially securing a vital lifeline for the resistance. Shu, accompanying Gai for the mission, is surprised to see Haruka in attendance lobbying amongst other industry players.

Things turn deadly serious, however, when Tsugumi relays the message a GHQ detachment, led by obnoxious field commander Dan Eagleman (Mogami Tsuguo), means to destroy the vessel with surface-to-surface missiles. Gai finds Arisa and leads her on deck where Shu makes use of her Void, a highly-resilient barrier type Void that, fortunately for everyone onboard, is able to withstand the entire combined payload of GHQ’s missile strike. More importantly, it makes pretty lights!

Like this! AT Field! If there is a more efficient way of producing fireworks, I don’t know what it is.

Episode 8: OBLIGATORY SWIMSUIT EPISODE!!!!11 (sort of)


Yes, that is the official translation of this episode’s title.

Shu is taking a class trip with his friends from school to Oshima Island but the entire thing is an elaborate cover to facilitate Undertaker’s most recent mission, which involves infiltrating a secret GHQ laboratory on the island. There, Gai plans to acquire the “rock that started everything.” He arranges for Shu and his classmates to stay at a rented villa provided within a short distance of the site.

Key to the mission is Shu’s classmate Tamadate Souta (Sakaguchi Daisuke), whose Void is essential to bypassing security to reach the inner facilities of the GHQ compound.


Oshima is also where Shu’s father Kurosu is buried. As Ayase and Tsugumi reconnoiter the GHQ base, Ogumo, Arugo and Shibungi monitor Shu’s classmates enjoying the sunny beaches while standing by. Later, Shu becomes agitated over his feelings for Inori and jumps the gun, drawing Souta’s Void under less than ideal conditions. The assembled Undertaker members decide to adjust for Shu’s impetuousness and proceed with their objective.

Using Souta’s Void, a camera-like object with versatile, skeleton key applications, they bypass each level of security until they reach the secure storage chamber for their objective, only to find GHQ commander Keido Shuichiro has already taken it. Chillingly, he accessed the facility with Ouma Kurosu’s clearance cardkey.


Growing Pains

The series is picking up and really improving. Notably, Shu is becoming more sure of himself and displaying more competence as a member of the resistance and as a male in general. While I’m still wary of the production going overboard on the romantic engagements with the possibility of unnecessary melodrama, it’s good to see Shu assert himself where Inori is concerned. Though he has had a few missteps with his associates in Undertaker and lacks finesse in certain social situations, Shu is definitely on his way to earning his man card. Let’s hear it for the kid!

Oh, and please remember to vote YES to more of the luscious, languid splendor that is Haruka in her skimpies.

Persona 4 The Animation Episode 9

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Ye Kugyuu fans far and wide, rejoice! Along with the other show this season featuring the Queen of Tsundere in the idol business, this week’s Persona 4 opens with a new OP: “True Self” by Kujikawa Rise (Kugimiya Rie). Goyukkuri douzo!


Touched by an Idol

Just before her most recent performance, Idol Kujikawa Rise “Risecchi” shocks her manager with the news she intends to quit. She trades the spotlight and her hordes of fans for Inaba, where her grandmother is the proprietor of a traditional tofu-ya. Far from everything that comes with the frenzied, fast-paced life of being a star, the tiny town seems the ideal place to sojourn in peace, quiet, and hopefully, relative anonymity. But considering her numerous, still-ongoing regular appearances in print and TV (Hooray, PR machine!), can she really relax with a murderer who ostensibly targets high-profile individuals still at large?

Despite the calm of small town life, simple trips to the shopping district are somewhat tricky as even in Inaba her celebrity is well-known. While shopping at Junes, a suspicious figure in a Yasogami High uniform follows her indoors and to a waiting elevator. Although Rise is startled, the pursuer turns out to be Yu, who followed Rise only to return her cell phone she dropped earlier. When he meets with Yosuke, Chie and the others, they raise the concern Rise is likely the killer’s next prime target, based on the theory the victims have all appeared on TV regardless of any connection to Amano’s murder. At night, a figure resembling Rise appears though the group debates whether it was actually her.

 

The guys decide to check out the tofu-ya and find Rise inside tending shop. Yosuke, losing all composure at seeing an idol in person, proves useless to the task at hand. Yu warns Rise about the Midnight Channel and the strange disappearances though she claims the person who appeared couldn’t have been her. Incidently, Yu’s uncle arrives on the scene on official police business. The curious presence of Yu and Yosuke with Kanji causes him to grow increasingly suspicious of their repeated run-ins, forcing the boys to make a quick exit. When the detective tries to warn Rise, he finds his nephew has already beaten him to the punch.

Knowing her conspicuous media presence makes her a prime target, the group decides to tail Rise out of concern whether the killer will attempt to move against her in the open. Aika-chan, again, provides delicious repast for the stake-out. Detective Adachi also “coincidentally” turns up. Surprisingly, it’s Yukiko rather than Chie who is most grieved at having to leave their uneaten food behind. They spot a suspicious character also following Rise, so they give chase when he tries to flee and tackle him to the ground. Adachi takes him into custody but the group is divided whether he is actually the killer since he appears to be only a fan. Meanwhile, Rise confides in Yu her frustrations the girl everyone obsesses over is just an image.

As Yu prepares to leave school the following day, he runs into the newly transferred Rise and helps her avoid the media presence but run into her manager Inoue who has tracked her to Inaba. Unfortunately, he has come to inform her her movie role has gone to another idol and he will be offering his services to her. Seeing her disappointment, Yu tries to help but she rebuffs him. The brief scene post-credits confirms everyone’s fears. Rise appears on the Midnight Channel, becoming the latest victim to disappear.



 

 

 

 


***MINNA-SAN, GORAN KUDASAI! THE FOLLOWING IS AN IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR OF INABA AND INABA MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENT:

While the Nation of Japan does not at this time consider merely being an otaku to be a criminal offense, it is all but universally acknowledged the otaku presence in public is a blight on the common decency of society and disruptive of the tranquility of others’ lives. Recent legislature has been enacted which effectively makes the open display, use, distribution, sale, transfer, or any other engagement with or centered-around idol-obsessive and otaku-related symbols, behavior or paraphernalia legally tantamount to a misdemeanor. Any and all offenders may be arrested on sight without warning and punished to the fullest extent of the law including, but not limited to, a prison term and/or fined up to the entire gross value of their anime and limited-edition figurine collections. Certain cases may also warrant sustained, intensive rehabilitation programs in secure, isolated facilities to correct such dangerous, degenerate behavior. The otaku element must not go unwatched to protect the purity of our youth and maintain a morally-upstanding society.

And stalking is bad too, so don’t do that either.

To all the otaku scum in Inaba, fair warning:

We will find you...

...and we will take you down.

FOR GREAT JUSTICE!


The Fan

Remember Yukiko’s creeper “friend” (Episode 2)? Apparently, he’s still hanging around. He is seen briefly on the street when the guys are visiting the tofu-ya. Something tells me he’s not as harmless as the poor sucker Adachi took back to the station.

Yu is a strange one: it’s been proven he has more game than Yosuke (ref. Episodes 5 and 6), but in certain instances he falls flat when it comes to certain social cues. By the time he and Rise reached the elevator, she was truly afraid. It may be just my opinion but it seems in that particular situation, one would call out immediately and make their presence known to the departing person to catch them as soon as possible rather than silently pursue them. While he won’t call out to a girl if he wants to return something she’s dropped/forgotten, he’ll make sure to say something witty in parting. To leave an impression, apparently. Well, one thing we do know, the guy is fond of making gifts of origami cranes. Showoff…

Aika-chan: How can a minor supporting character with the same line every time she appears be so endearing? Maybe it’s the blue hair.