Tag Archives: persona 4 the animation

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.

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Persona 4 The Animation Episode 7

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"Suspicious Tropical Paradise," the guy says. Somehow, I'm not tempted.

Rocky Horror Picture WHAT?

A very flamboyant Tatsumi Kanji appears on the Midnight Channel as Yu and Yosuke watch with no small discomfort. Yu, Yosuke, Chie and Yukiko return to the Shadow realm, and though they try to enlist Kuma’s aid to find Kanji’s location, he is at a loss. The foursome decide to withdraw for the time being to return with something that has Kanji’s scent for Kuma to track. Unfortunately, they find he hasn’t been home lately but in the process also learn that he also had his reasons for taking on the biker gang. To their greater surprise, they discover he actually has a caring, compassionate side that belies both his intimidating appearance and reputation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borrowing one of Kanji’s handmade crafts, they prepare to reenter the Shadow realm when they encounter Naoto in the lobby of Junes. Naoto suggests Kanji is probably hiding a complex he wants to keep secret from others. When the group returns to the Shadow realm, they bring the trinket to Kuma, who with renewed confidence in his tracking leads them to the dungeon where Kanji is located: a bathhouse, “Men’s Only,” of course.

Yu and Yosuke balk, with Yosuke in particular protesting on grounds of “losing something important.” Spurred on by Chie, the group enters and immediately finds Kanji’s Shadow, whose obscenely florid posturing provokes both Yu and Yosuke to summon their Persona on reflex. Chie restrains them at first, until the Shadow’s antics prove too annoying for her as well and eventually even Yukiko, when Chie draws a comparison between the two.

When they pursue the Shadow to the inner “Tropical Paradise,” predictably, no one wants to open the doors to a potentially mind-scarring Pandora’s Box that almost certainly lies beyond the doors so Chie volunteers the guys into taking the initiative, shoving them through.

See, THIS is what happens when you DON'T KNOCK

Much better. Yukiko and Chie, sprawling helpless in the lube: do want!!

They are met by the sight of Kanji, demanding answers, pinning his Shadow to the ground in a somewhat compromising posture, filling them all with profound regret for having walked in on the sight. Kanji, realizing their presence, becomes flustered as his Shadow begins a new round of taunting and eventually tricks Kanji into denying his inner self. The Shadow begins transforming into its true form -a colossal, hulking monstrosity, accompanied by two… well, whatever you call these two:

The three-fold Shadow threat demonstrates amazing resilience to any direct onslaught and easily repels the combined efforts of all four Persona with powerful electric attacks. Meanwhile, Yu and Yosuke are subjected to an altogether different “attack” administered by the two bald titans. Later, Yu encourages Kanji when he calls kanji’s handmade crafts “cute,” giving Kanji the resolve to take down the Shadow, and earn his Persona. Later, Kanji joins the team, lending his aid in the investigation.

Morning After

… … …Yaranaika? I know I’m repeating a joke I used last week but Kanji is so exploitable.

With Not-So-Tiny Tim on their side, the Gang of Four become a Gang of Five. Anyway, Kanji’s Persona looks totally badass. There are huge advantages to having a juggernaut who can be summoned at-will at your disposal though still, Yu gets all the really cool toys for himself. That Wild Card is pretty sweet. One thing that seemed strange was Naoto still has yet to be officially introduced by name, but he strikes me as the kind of character who likes being mysterious.

Note: Since more than half the episode takes place in Kanji’s Shadow’s bathhouse dungeon, most everything is cloaked in a thick fog of humidity. It made getting reasonably clear snapshots a real pain but what can you do.

Persona 4 The Animation Episode 4

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Returning to the world of Shadows, Chie leads the way with Yu and Yosuke providing support as they continue their search for Yukiko.

Reaching a grand staircase, they catch up to Yukiko’s doppelganger in the same princess costume seen in the earlier Midnight Channel broadcast. Chie demands to see the real Yukiko. The double retreats deeper into the inner corridors, but they must dispose of a group of Shadows before they can continue their pursuit.

Elsewhere, Yukiko recalls an incident when two guys starting hitting on her at school, pressuring her to go out with them just as Chie arrives to drive them off. Relieved, Yukiko thanks her for always being there for her. Awakening, Yukiko looks up to hear the voice of her doppelganger recounting how much Yukiko values Chie as a friend.

A birdcage rolls down the nearby steps towards her, reminding her of the orphan chick she found one day by the side of the road and raised to adulthood. Day by day, the bird quickly became a source of some measure of comfort for her in a busy life occupied by long hours helping support her family’s ryokan and her school-life, when at times she didn’t have time even for Chie.

One day, Yukiko returns to her room to find the cage empty and the bird nowhere to be found. Her sympathetic companion in a life of stifling confinement and unchanging routine had vanished.

One day after having to turn Chie down yet again, the latter encourages Yukiko not to be discouraged in her position as heir of her family’s business and offers to help her any way she can; although Yukiko is glad to have Chie’s constant support, she is inwardly disappointed at the remark. Yukiko’s Shadow taunts her, indicating that moment as the time she realized Chie would not help free her from her plight.

Yukiko’s Shadow then reveals herself to her face-to-face as Chie and company arrive. Voicing her disappointment in Chie as her prince, the Shadow attacks Chie. Yu covers for her with a new Persona Margaret alerts him he now has access to before the Shadow incapacitates the group and their Personae. Yukiko denies her Shadow, allowing it to increase in power and transform into its true form, an immense harpy-like entity raining fire and bedlam until Yu summons Pyro Jack to absorb the brunt of the attack and contain as much of the fire as possible.

Yu initiates contact with the Shadow, galvanizing Chie as she makes her way through the inferno to reach Yukiko, confessing her jealousies and shortcomings as a friend while encouraging her to find the courage to trust herself and live the way she wants. Encouraged, Yukiko breaks free of the cage and embraces Chie. Yu, Yosuke, and Chie work together to bring down the Shadow, allowing Yukiko to make peace with her inner Shadow and gain her own Persona.

—–

And with this, Yukiko has officially joined the cool kids club, allowing the foursome to forge yet stronger bonds and upgrade their strengths and abilities even further. As I mentioned previously in my review of the first episode, I don’t know anything about the game so the lack of a clear-and-present antagonist seems somewhat strange to me.

The caged bird leitmotif prevalent throughout the episode and the color red (as referenced in the previous episode) gives us fairly good insight into Yukiko’s personality and her overall disposition. What comes off as passivity and shyness may in fact merely be part of her way of coping with her less-than-ideal life bound by tradition and filial duty for taking responsibility for the family business; the frustrations which may have developed in response to the menial daily routine ultimately gave rise to her Shadow self.

Yearning, boundless desire and a restless spirit bound up in a world dictated by the cold confines of a steel-wrought cage: Amagi Yukiko, break free and live.

Next week, Kujikawa Rise (Kugimiya Rie) makes her debut.

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.

Persona 4 The Animation Episode 2

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So. When was the last time you saw a TV that looked like this?

Dawn brings a new day to Inaba, and out of the murky depths of the dense morning fog comes a gruesome discovery: another body, this time a high-school age girl, who bears a disturbing resemblance to Konishi Saki.

The previous day, Yosuke and Yu rouse Chie from unconsciousness after defeating the Shadows. Yosuke asks Yu about his Persona, an entity of which Yu himself admits he knows next to nothing. Anxious to leave, Chie prompts them to quickly try to find their way out. At the entry point, they once again encounter the bear-like creature (Kuma-san, if you will) who conjures a trio of CRT TV sets. Before they can get any answers to their questions, they are unceremoniously shoved through the screens, sending them back to the real world.

Back in June’s, they arrive unharmed. Curious, Yu spots a familiar poster: the same he saw back in the Shadow world. Chie recognizes the woman in the poster as Hiiragi Misuzu, the cuckolded woman whose husband had had an affair with the now-deceased news announcer Yamano Mayumi. Yu hypothesizes the room in the Shadow world may have some connection to the news announcer’s death. The idea causes both Yosuke and Chie to lose their nerve, and the group each go their separate ways.

The next day, Chie and Yukiko are walking to school when Yukiko is accosted by a strange, disheveled man waiting outside the school gates. His erratic manner and aggressiveness towards Yukiko make both girls uncomfortable, and despite Chie’s protests he continues pushing his unwanted advances. With Yukiko’s rejection, he’s forced to leave and Yu and Yosuke show up seconds later. As they arrive in class, sirens blare in the distance, possibly heralding another “accident.”

Later, the faculty call a school-wide assembly, where they announce the death of Konishi Saki. The news devastates Yosuke, who had harbored a crush on Saki. After the dismissal, Yu and Chie try to comfort the distraught Yosuke, who mentions he saw Saki on the Midnight Channel the evening prior. Yosuke remarks the way Saki died was very similar to the previous death, causing Yu to give voice to Yosuke’s theory that whoever is shown on the Midnight Channel becomes a victim and that the world in the television is somehow related to the murders. Yosuke further reasons that Saki and Yamano Mayumi may be in the world through the television screens.

The group returns to June’s sales floor, contrary to Chie’s objections. As Yosuke ties a rope around his waist to tether himself to the real world, Yu volunteers to go along with him; they entrust the end of the rope to the reluctant Chie. Unfortunately, when they pass through the screen, the rope breaks, causing Chie fall to her knees in anguish.

On the other side, Yu and Yosuke again meet Kuma-san, who accuses them of being suspicious persons -the culprits who have been sending people over from the real world whenever the fog lifts. Kuma-san explains that fog in the real world causes the fog in his realm to clear up; Yu observes that the murders both occurred on foggy days.

Kuma-san provokes Yosuke into trying to remove his “costume” to show his himself, only to find literally nothing underneath Kuma-san’s “head.” Kuma-san pardons the pair but in return asks them to find and stop the ones responsible for the body traffic. Yu quickly agrees, and Yosuke receives his own pair of special glasses. Kumakichi (as Yosuke calls him) leads them to the shopping district, where Yosuke confirms Saki as the last person Kumakichi saw come through from the real world. Ahead, Yosuke spots Saki’s house and, hearing strange voices, runs off to investigate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside one of the shops, Yosuke finds the ticket he had given to Saki lying torn on the ground. Her displaced voice taunts him. Suddenly, Yosuke’s doppelganger emerges from the shadows. The double immediately launches a psychological attack on Yosuke’s insecurities, from his crush on Saki to his hidden dissatisfaction with small-town life in general. Shedding its human appearance, the doppelganger transforms into its true form: a powerful Shadow that towers over them. In response, Yu summons his Persona, drawing the attention of the Shadow’s physical attacks. The Shadow continues to verbally harass Yosuke however, claiming he maintains an upbeat personality because he fears being alone. Unwilling to accept the shadow as a part of him, Yosuke tries to flee the scene only to be struck down.

Other Shadows begin to seep through into the environment, steadily corrupting the surroundings; and Yosuke’s Shadow further claims Yosuke sought attention from Saki only as a means of escape from boredom. Yu senses what needs to be done and questions whether Yosuke really loved Saki. Facing his fears and admitting the truth, Yosuke confesses he honestly cared for Saki and admits he didn’t want to accept reality. Taking advantage of the opening, Yu cuts down the Shadow with his Persona. The Shadow dissipates, leaving the doppelganger neutralized. Having come to terms with his insecurities and accepted them, Yosuke gains his own Persona.

Returning to the real world, Yu and Yosuke find Chie waiting. Relieved at the sight of them, she breaks down in tears and forces both of them to buy her food as compensation. Returning home, Yosuke thanks Yu and confides that he feels at ease knowing he can rely on him to help find the culprit. After the credits, Yu is watching TV at home and is startled to see Yukiko being interviewed by reporters…

This episode helped confirm a definitive connection between the real world and the world of the Shadows, although there’s alot more left to be explained (not to mention additional protagonists to work into the plot) before the main party can truly get down to business. The incident with the stalker waiting for Yukiko outside school seems almost unnecessary in the context of the episode’s events; however, I’ll add that even random, seemingly superfluous details might become crucial later. His creepiness is reason enough to suspect him of foul play. Moreover, considering the fact there is an active, ongoing murder investigation, he isn’t doing himself any favors with this kind of behavior. Of course, he could just be a red herring slipped in to distract us from other details.

I’m not sure what happens in the game but it’s obvious the protagonist is steadily building his party, which is always essential for success in any RPG/adventure. It seems Chie is on-deck for getting her Persona next week. Personally, I’m waiting for Shirogane Naoto (Paku Romi) to show up.