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Persona 4 the ANIMATION – 08

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「We’ve lost something important again」

Summer has finally arrived in Inaba and with it comes new uniforms, the school camping trip, and swimsuits. After the questionable humor of the previous episode, I was definitely looking forward to the series returning to comedy that was more in line with the game.

The administrators at Yasogami High School (with the exception of Morooka) have the right idea: all students should go on a camping trip at least once a year. Just look at all the things the students managed to do in two days: helping clean up the environment, “learning” how to buy groceries and cook, and even making new memories with the opposite sex. Even though I already knew what would happen at camp from playing the game, seeing it animated was a whole other story. From the food to the characters and the situations, everything felt more impactful compared to the slide shows or blocky polygons of the game.

I think the overarching theme of this episode was people’s varied tastes. Let’s start with the most obvious taste: food. I’m really thankful that I already had my Thanksgiving dinner when I watched this episode because there was one thing that might have made me empty the contents of my stomach and no, it wasn’t Ohtani Hanako (Agawa Ryou). I’ve seen quite a few lethal dishes in anime so it wasn’t much of a surprise that the boys nearly died from a single bite of Mystery Food X, but there was something about the way this looked that made it seem particularly deadly to me. Maybe Yuu should have kept an eye on Chie and Yukiko’s grocery shopping because I’m pretty sure sea cucumber and coffee milk don’t ever go together.

A taste for Aika’s beef bowls helped the Investigation Team befriend my least favorite social link, Konishi Naoki (Yonaga Tsubasa), who is the younger brother of the second girl to be killed in Inaba, Saki. It was good for the group to meet a victim’s family member and get more personal motivations for solving the case, but his character seems rather boring to me and it’s hard to feel sorry for him because of his confusing behavior. Right upon meeting Yuu and Yousuke for the first time, Naoki tells them upfront that he hates them, but at the same time, he’s unable to say a word to people that he already knows when they leave him out of activities. All it took was giving him his favorite food and he wanted to be friends again too.

Yousuke, befitting the stereotypical frat boy he’s turning out to be, has only one taste on his mind: girls. First he talks openly about ogling Chie and Yukiko in their summer uniforms, fantasizes about sleeping in the same tent as them, and then he ditches the group at Junes to buy swimsuits. Even Kanji, with all of his antics, called him out on it. I do have to respect his taste though, and his uncanny skill in selecting the right sizes too. So for that, kudos Yousuke, you deserve a beer for your actions in this episode.

Finally, we get to Kanji’s tastes, which are complicated to say the least. Judging from his reaction to being smothered by Ohtani and his nosebleed at the sight of Chie and Yukiko, I don’t know which way he swings anymore. I’m okay with this though because the game was ambiguous about his tastes, and I’m hoping that the adaptation will continue to be vague as well. All we know is that Kanji has unusual tastes – but was that a face of disappointment, incredulity, or both when he was rejected by Ohtani?

At least the camping trip was well worth leaving Nanako home alone again. She needs some time in the spotlight soon though because watching her being left behind time and time again is getting hard for me to bear (pun fully intended). Whenever Yuu or Ryoutarou tells her that she’ll have to stay home alone, the way she quickly looks away and then turns on the TV really breaks my heart, and when Yuu raised his fist, part of me even thought he was going to punch her too. If I were Yuu, I’d probably bring her stuff from Junes every day to hear her sing the jingle and more importantly, to assuage my guilt.

* Quick and informal poll, who would you have said looked better in their swimsuit?
* Yuu’s lack of facial expression (again) is priceless.
* All the YuuxYukiko supporters now have even more ammunition for their cause.
* The cuts of the children’s notebook drawings and Kuma yelling “Persona” were unexpected, and I’m not sure if I liked it since it was so inconsistent with before (not to mention, who drew that stuff? Nanako?)
* If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Aiya has a great product placement deal with Persona — maybe I should open a restaurant by that name…
* Full-length images: 01, 05, 13, 18, 24, 26, 32

Preview

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November 26, 2011 at 11:19 pm
54 comments »
  • November 26, 2011 at 11:32 pmMoshi2wei2

    Great hilarious episode fav episode so far!!!

    • November 26, 2011 at 11:47 pmMoshi2wei2

      I thought chie looked better though yukiko is not bad either

  • November 26, 2011 at 11:35 pmDa5id

    BECAUSE I.

    LOVE.

    WOMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE *pff*

  • November 26, 2011 at 11:39 pmJason

    While they both looked good, I’d have to say Chie looked moderately better.

    Anyways, this was a nice slice of life episode, though I’m surprised to see that Naoki’s arc made it in, especially since from what I’ve seen of the game via LPs, it was very different.

  • November 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm;alsijgeo

    • November 27, 2011 at 11:48 amKyzel

      Pimp smile confirmed! Imo, Yukiko looked sexier, while Chie looked cuter in their own respective swimsuits, Yousuke has good taste. Lastly, Poor Kanji, thoroughly got owned this episode.

  • November 26, 2011 at 11:45 pmPen3

    Reminds me of when i went on camping trip my school… Good old days with no worries, but to have fun and girls.

  • November 26, 2011 at 11:56 pmChaos2Frozen

    Not even Narukami can keep a straight face when he realizes what’s heading down stream… :p

    I think the current perceived pairing of Narukami/Yukiko and Yousuke/Chie works just fine, but I wonder what would happen when you throw Rise into the mix… Or would they put her together with Kanji for symmetry?

    • November 27, 2011 at 1:48 amFairlee

      don’t forget Show Spoiler ▼

  • November 26, 2011 at 11:59 pmfragb85

    I think this is the first time the anime tried to do something new in plot progression. They essentially took what was filler in the game and then inserted Naoki’s Social Link to the episode. It works surprisingly well. This is how the Social Links should have been, sprinkled in little bits around the show, not ramming it in one episode like they did with Ai.

    Most of the comedy was faithful too, including Mystery Food X and of course the river scenes. Not sure about final scene with Hanako though, but I guess the episode needed a punchline before the credit roll. Aika is growing on me, she seems to have omnipotent delivery skills for no apparent reason. I’m okay with this.

    Rise is next, and that’s something I’ve been waiting for.

    • November 27, 2011 at 7:19 amAex

      The Hanako scene was the only change I didn’t like. Made Kanji seem too much of a joke character. Granted he was kinda-sorta supposed to be during this part, but that took it too far.

    • December 4, 2011 at 12:50 amErif

      I think this is the first time the anime tried to do something new in plot progression. They essentially took what was filler in the game and then inserted Naoki’s Social Link to the episode. It works surprisingly well. This is how the Social Links should have been, sprinkled in little bits around the show, not ramming it in one episode like they did with Ai.

      While I agree that social links should span multiple episodes, instead of being crammed into one, I dislike how they established Naoki’s Social Link. He claims to hate Yuu and Yousuke (for no apparent reason, while he says nothing to the students who make fun of him), then a moment later confesses his feelings to them and asks to be their friends. It just felt a little forced, especially compared to how it was started in the game.

      But I’ll be thankful if they don’t stuff an entire social link into one episode, like they did in the fifth. One of the most important elements of the game was managing your time, between school, social life, and the murder investigation, so I thought that bits and pieces of social links would be progressed throughout the series. It pained me to see two whole social links rushed through in a mere twenty minutes, even if they’re two of my least favorite.

  • November 27, 2011 at 12:06 amRamen

    I really liked this episode, but they kind of rushed the events by mixing in Konish Naoki into the camping trip. I’m glad they used the Mystery Food X since it’s such a important part for later “unexpected” meals. I was disappointed that they didn’t end up starving, but promoting Aiya restaurant was great. Hopefully they will have the rainy bowl challenge in the future. Since they didn’t end up starving. they didn’t do the Kanji and animal crackers scene(There was a animal cracker box when they were lying in the tent).

  • November 27, 2011 at 12:48 ammyman88

    One thing that got overshadowed was the little bit with Margaret. Seems like we’ll be getting Empress soon.

  • November 27, 2011 at 1:06 amGekokujou

    Speaking of Bear puns, Teddie/Kuma was nowhere to be found in this episode with the exception of him screaming out Bearsona when shifting scenes. It’s beary important to have Teddie/Kuma in every episode.

    As for voting who looks better in their swimsuit, Chie for some strange reason.

    I don’t know why, but Naoki’s Social Link is one of the ones I want to see more of. It must be because I feel a little sympathetic towards him.

    Finally Yosuke needs a gold star for preparing the fanservice in this episode with Chie and Yukiko in swimsuits. Beary nice job Yosuke.

  • November 27, 2011 at 1:06 amZhinvu

    It’s a nice touch saying Kanji and Naoki were childhood friends. And wow Yukiko can be a bit scary sometimes as I didn’t expect that she considered covering Ohtani’s face. I can’t tell if she was serious or joking. Yuu’s emotionless face when he was sent flying was also unexpected and funny. As for Verdant’s informal poll, I can’t decide because they both look good in their swimsuits. And actually speaking of Chie, I find her really cute in the anime, especially in these shots to name a few:
    http://randomc.net/image/Persona%204%20the%20ANIMATION/Persona%204%20the%20ANIMATION%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2030.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Persona%204%20the%20ANIMATION/Persona%204%20the%20ANIMATION%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Persona%204%20the%20ANIMATION/Persona%204%20the%20ANIMATION%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2026.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Persona%204%20the%20ANIMATION/Persona%204%20the%20ANIMATION%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2006.jpg
    I didn’t really see her this cute in the game, aside from hearing Yui Horie’s voice. It’s hard to see Chie in another hairstyle aside from her short hair but I think she would’ve looked cute too in Lisa Silverman’s (Persona 2) hairstyle, which the makers first considered.

  • November 27, 2011 at 1:07 amsaka

    yuu & his poker face, winning the hearts of many women, men & child alike.

  • November 27, 2011 at 1:19 amRainbowIslands

    Talking abou Kanji’s taste, you can argue how he is looking at the boys (or that direction anyways) when he’s nosebleeding…

    • November 27, 2011 at 7:03 amYanDaMan263

      No, he was from the girls. He saw the boys in their trunks way before the girls and showed no reaction except commenting on how rad them purple trunks are.

  • November 27, 2011 at 1:45 amDaitro

    I can’t get the sight of Yuu in a speedo that reads cutie pie out of my mind >.< laame

    • November 27, 2011 at 2:22 amsaka

      hope hiimdaisy completes the rest of the persona4 comics.
      one can never view persona4 the same way again after reading it.

  • November 27, 2011 at 4:00 amRawr

    Finally! It’s time for Rise!

  • November 27, 2011 at 4:27 amJiCi

    OMG, I was waiting for that part, thanks a lot fo the review Verdant.

    Ok… what did I spot ?

    Show Spoiler ▼

    And… that’s all I got, the rest is spot on, including the nosebleed :P Thanks again.

  • November 27, 2011 at 4:39 amPazoozoo

    Well, I’m a Chie fan so it’s Chie all the way xD it was in the game and now in the anime, so yes, I though the better one in the swimsuit is CHie

  • November 27, 2011 at 4:57 amTalaGrey

    Ok episode but I hated the weird “Persona!” breaks/transitions…there were 11 in total.
    Aiya delivers anywhere- including on school camping trips! If only that could happen irl.

  • November 27, 2011 at 6:00 amimmortalgamerz

    thanks for blogging this. i enjoyed this episode!

  • November 27, 2011 at 6:29 amTheVoid

    I don’t see Yukiko blushing helps her winning since Yu doesn’t seem to care. He needs to start showing emotions before I can see YuxYukiko being possible and not onesided.

    Yosuke might have good taste in picking female swimsuits but he has bad taste picking out his own. Show Spoiler ▼

    Shadows are exaggerations, deceit in physical form, and negative qualities of a person. His shadow might look HardGay but that’s most likely to deceive others into believing it is. Kanji just wants to be accepted and not treated differently for liking cute stuff. Which is what they said last episode.

    • November 27, 2011 at 2:13 pmAcerbus

      Pretty much this, regarding Yukiko/Yu. That’s why I could never get behind Kanji/Naoto…

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • November 27, 2011 at 7:04 amYanDaMan263

    I wasnt that big of a Chie fan from the game, but the anime definitely made her a lot cuter so Im leaning on her more for the swimsuit “contest” by Divine.

    Of course both of them pales in comparison to Rise so its all good~!

    • November 27, 2011 at 7:05 amYanDaMan263

      I mean Verdant, got too used to Divine blogging stuff lol.

  • November 27, 2011 at 7:10 ammohawkt

    This ain’t mine, but I thought it was a good read, it was on some forum, and pretty long!

    “Mind you, let me be blunt here: I fucking LOVE Persona 4. So much I commissioned our very own Matt Speroni to draw me high-quality P4 fanart. So much that Chie Satonaka is basically my soulmate. So much that I’ve played the game through three times; once playing the main character as if he was myself, then going for a ‘perfect’ playthrough, then playing the game a third freaking time because I enjoyed it so much that I HAD to play it again. Even achieving perfection already was insufficient to persuade me.

    I love Persona 4 and I’m getting that out of the way in advance because you don’t need to accuse me of hating P4 just because I hated the last two episodes. The fact that I love Persona 4 so damn much is basically the reason why these last episodes hurt so hard. It was like getting sucker-punched by your best friend, learning that your father betrayed you or getting dumped by the love of your life. P4′s like my favorite roleplaying game of the last five or six years, if not the last decade. Getting curb-stomped like this was unexpected.

    I even liked the first six episodes of the P4 anime. No, really! They were good!

    So let’s establish why I personally hated recent P4 Anime developments:

    * I kind of expected, and in fact would have encouraged, Yosuke to be a homophobic jerk because, let’s face it, he’s a homophobic jerk. He’s a lovable character, but in the game the fact that he is a homophobic jerk is clearly portrayed as a character flaw. The reactions of other characters to Yosuke’s behavior throughout the game clearly establishes that Yosuke is a tad immature and he blurts out stupid things and he often receives a legitimate comeuppance for his bursts of douchebaggery.

    That’s kind of the point with Yosuke: he’s a decent human being who nonetheless is a bit of an ass. And while the Protag basically scores with every woman in the city because he’s a nice, compassionate guy who cares about his friends and acts respectfully, Yosuke deliberately contrasts with the Protag and shows just how and why the Protag just might be so ‘successful’ in his dating life and why he and not Yosuke is the leader of the Investigation Team. With men like Yosuke as ‘competition,’ all Protag has to do is not be a chauvinistic, homophobic douche with the maturity of a third grader!

    So, the way I thought Episode Seven should have gone was the way my game’s playthrough essentially went: Yosuke says stupid homophobic shit, the Main Character and the girls scold Yosuke for being so self-centered when Kanji’s life is at risk, the Protag acts like the supportive, all-around awesome person he is (and the awesome person that the game and the anime portray him as and that the other characters believe him to be; that is important), Kanji accepts his shadow, everyone wins!

    So it was exceptionally disappointing when the Protag decided to join the Homophobia Train. And not just with one or two “You feel mild trepidation entering this dungeon with the wacky sauna theme…” messages that the game gave. Merely feeling fear upon entering a dungeon with shadows trying to kill you, even if that fear is exacerbated somewhat by some irrational and brazenly idiotic “What if the shadows are gay and try to rape me?” thought is one thing, but it’s what the Protag actually says when he opens his mouth that differentiates the game’s Protagonist from the anime’s douche.

    Game Protag hesitates but he never once indicates that he’s willing to abandon the mission outright (and effectively allow Kanji to quite possibly die due to his non-intervention) because he’s afraid of gay people. And while I don’t have the script of Episode Seven in front of me, some of the lines from Protag’s mouth were just disgustingly homophobic. It wasn’t ‘snarky,’ it was homophobic. There is a difference.

    But that pales in comparison to Protag’s single worst line (said in Episode Eight, we’ll get there,) and it also pales in comparison to…

    * The Protag and Yosuke expressing willingness, at a moment’s notice, to attack and attempt to kill Kanji’s shadow just because Kanji’s Shadow makes them feel uncomfortable because Kanji’s Shadow is totally gay and hitting on them.

    Let’s get a few things straight:
    At this stage of the storyline, Protag and Yosuke have seen and fought other shadow versions of characters before. They know that shadow versions of characters are absolutely harmless in their original state and remain harmless until the person in question denies them, at which point the shadows transform into a violent version that does in fact start to destroy things.

    …So, Yosuke and Protag know that the shadow must be ‘defeated’ by Kanji accepting Shadow Kanji as himself. Given that the shadows have never been permanently ‘defeated’ by the cast by any other means, attacking the pre-transformation form of Kanji’s shadow is counter-productive at best and could well end up in an outcome of Kanji’s death at worst.

    Remember, the strategy employed by the P4 characters at this point of the game was to attempt to convince the affected character to accept their shadow before the denial happened, therefore avoiding a fight outright. I’m reasonably certain that at no point in the game did the P4 cast attack the pre-transformation version of a Shadow, particularly when this version of the shadow did nothing to merit their anger except be gay.

    And let’s not forget that the only fault or foible of pre-transformation Shadow Kanji was that he was too gay for Yosuke and Protag to apparently handle. Shadow Kanji did not constitute a physical threat to the Persona 4 cast at this juncture. He did not physically attack them. He did not threaten to hurt or kill them.

    …He just was gay.
    And being gay, in and of itself, was totally enough to send Yosuke and Protag into a primordial rage.

    But even if we could stop there, I might have been okay with the episode. I mean, sure, lots of (heterosexual, privileged) high school guys who are otherwise decent people have no idea whatsoever how to handle the thought that another guy might think they’re smexy. Back in high school, I was one of those guys myself! And maybe there’s a message here that the P4 Anime would attempt to convey, like perhaps the Protag who was a perfectly compassionate, likable dude in the game would be portrayed very differently, as a flawed boy with significant moral shortcomings, in the anime.

    But then…

    * Chie and Yukiko join in and attack a pre-transformation version of Shadow Kanji who represents no physical threat to them just because he’s gay.

    I guess Chie sort of attempted an excuse of “It’s not because he’s gay, it’s because I’m impulsive and really annoyed at his monologue and I want to freeze things!” But it was particularly surprising (and disappointing) to see Yukiko Amagi, who is basically presented as a sweet, likable girl who’s thoughtful and considerate and not excessively prone to initiate violence suddenly decide that she too has had enough of Shadow Kanji.

    …because Shadow Kanji is ‘acting gay.’

    Shadow Chie was acting pretty sinister; why didn’t Yosuke and Protag beat the crap out of her when she talked her trash, before Chie’s denial and Shadow Chie’s transformation into Dominatrix Banana-Chick? Actually, that’s just the thing; Shadow Chie’s pre-transformation dialogue was arguably far more threatening and antagonistic than Shadow Kanji’s, because really, all Shadow Kanji does is flirt shamelessly and talk about how much he enjoys what constitutes his definition of a ‘good time.’

    The answer that the Anime posits to us is quite simple: Shadow Kanji was gay, and open about being gay, and willing to flirt openly and present his sexuality in a forthcoming manner around others, and that alone merited wanton violence against him. From everyone, male or female, ‘jerks’ and ‘compassionate heroes’ alike. The Protag is the chosen one, a symbol of tolerance, progression, heroism, the greatest hope the town of Inaba has, beloved by every woman, respected by man, and he totally wants you to know you better not flirt with him if you have a penis or he will fuck your shit. Chie and Yukiko weren’t even a position to feel personally threatened by Shadow Kanji’s idle flirtations and they still were so riled by Kanji’s **gayness** that physical violence was the preferred solution! Their only justification was one of brazen homophobia, unless you want to argue that they were ‘afraid’ they’d otherwise be subjected to something so torturous as ‘watching this guy talk about how much he enjoys hot saunas with other guys.’

    * Did I mention that all of this is occurring in the context of a moment when Kanji’s life is personally threatened? The kids don’t have the slightest clue of the intricate nature of the TV world they’re exploring; all they know is that they have a strict timetable to save Kanji in or he dies, and he needs to accept his Shadow or he’s at risk.
    …Oooh, I know! Let’s antagonize Kanji’s Shadow before it transforms and give Kanji more reasons to want to deny his affiliation with said Shadow because we literally care more about not having to listen to gay people flirt with us or our guy friends, than we value Kanji’s life!

    * Oh, it’s okay, because we all know that deep down inside Protag’s a really, truly nice guy who cares about Kanji and respects their friendship, he just likes to be ‘snarky’ (manifesting his snark in the form of wanton attacks in this particular instance, I suppose) to his buddies, right?

    Well, Episode Eight puts rest to any thought of that notion!
    Episode Eight takes place after the Protag and his buddies have presumably ‘accepted’ Kanji.
    …Only they’ve only accepted Kanji at day. At night, it’s another matter entirely!

    Protag’s line here is absolutely ludicrous to defend precisely because Yosuke acts far worse around women and the Protag does not call Yosuke out on it. Hell, in the very same episode, Yosuke brazenly advocates that Chie and Yukiko sleep in an integrated manner with he and Protag — he is advocating a sexually predatory outcome in a tent in the exact same manner that he and Protag accused Kanji of doing! And yet the Protag and the women will tolerate this, because it’s typical heterosexual male chauvinistic bullshittery.

    …And that’s probably actually the biggest problem about all of this. It isn’t just the homophobia, although the homophobia is very overt and very despicable and it very openly refutes the P4 game’s flawed yet positive approach of encouraging tolerance and diversity in friendships.

    …It’s that the characters respond so harshly to actions taken by ‘homosexual’ characters while tolerating and in fact encouraging the very same behavior from their heterosexual counterparts!
    Yosuke forcing Yukiko and Chie to wear swimsuits despite their discomfort at the notion is funny and typical guy hijinks, and Yosuke can be excused of that! Even Chie and Yukiko don’t aggressively call Yosuke out for being creepy. When Yosuke says “Hey Yukiko and Chie, why not sleep alongside us tonight?” The girls do not respond by badgering Yosuke for threatening to take their ‘chastity.

    So the message here is plain: Girls just have to tolerate this from heterosexual guys! Heterosexual guys can and will act like perverts who want to steal your sexual purity against your will and force you to dress up in scanty swimsuits, but you should just swallow your criticism and choose to remain his friend and accept the behavior as ‘typical.’ Even the Protag, by refusing to aggressively scold Yosuke when Yosuke acts legitimately creepy as fuck in drooling over Chie or Yukiko, is passively enabling Yosuke as his ‘friend’ to engage in this skeevy shit.

    …But when Kanji barely acts half as predatory as Yosuke and is just sitting silently in the middle of the guy’s tent, both Yosuke and Protag feel that their chastity is in serious danger! Not even because Kanji is gay and because Kanji, like Yosuke to the girls, has expressed a serious sexual interest in the Protag or Yosuke. The ‘real’ (non-Shadow) Kanji hasn’t flirted with Protag or Yosuke at all! They don’t even really definitively know whether Kanji is actually gay! And there’s far less evidence that Kanji is remotely interested in pursuing a relationship, and he’s certainly not forcing the Protag or Yosuke to waltz around in swimsuits for his personal enjoyment.

    …The anime says this: The mere possibility that your guy friend might be gay, even if he is utterly disinterested in you, is more threatening than a heterosexual guy’s overt and depraved sexual interest in women. There’s only reason why this could be: Because mere gayness in and of itself is a ‘threat!’

    * And the game sort of was imperfect too, but the crucial difference was, the game at least gave you incentives to roleplay the Protag as a decent human being who did not in fact support this worldview. Yosuke may have been condemned to his childish immaturity, but the Protag received rewards in the form of boosts to his social links with Chie and Yukiko by treating them respectfully during the swimsuit scene, and the Protag received rewards in the form of boosts to his social link with Kanji by treating Kanji compassionately, like a true friend, supporting Kanji’s presence in the tent, refuting privilege and refusing to indulge in homophobia. Even if you could choose to roleplay the Protag as a jerk, doing so felt out of character (how could the Protag acquire the sincere respect of Kanji and the women he interacts with regularly if he was a chauvinistic homophobe?)

    Choosing the ‘I-am-a-decent-human-being’ options subsequently flow naturally. Yukiko and Chie and Naoto and Kanji and Nanako and Dojima repeatedly reinforce the notion that Protag is a great guy; and more often than not, choosing the ‘snarky’ options results in penalties to your P4 gameplay experience in the form of stalling social links. An ideal playthrough requires you to consider your friends’ feelings and act respectfully and not be intolerant.

    But P4: The Anime is tying to have its cake and eat it, too; it’s simultaneously attempting to give you a snarky Protag who repeatedly chooses the “hysterical” (note that I don’t think they’re often very funny) dialogue options, yet also gives you a Protag who, by the Anime’s own admission, has above-average Stats in all fields of personal growth by Episode Eight and who’s Maxing social links with relative ease. The dynamic of P4 that once punished a homophobic, chauvinistic, asshole of a player is gone, and instead there’s a huge fundamental disconnect: The anime characters are still acting like Protag is the sweetest, coolest, most benevolent, likable, tolerant human being they know, utterly demanding their fealty and accruing their affections, but the Protag is increasingly acting just as big a jerk as Yosuke is.

    The plentiful evidence that the game provided you that the Protag was a decent person in watching his social links gradually accrue over extended periods of time and effort is gone; what’s left is a homophobic jokester who tolerates Yosuke’s chauvinism and who’s petty and insecure and yet still beloved. At this point, the Protag is in desperate need of the same kind of abuse given to Yosuke on a regular basis. But even when Yukiko and Chie dared toss the Protag into the river with Yosuke, it’s still heavily implied that they’re totally crushing on him, just as it’s still heavily implied that Kanji thinks the Protag is an incredible friend (except, well, not at night, lest his chastity be threatened) and just as Naoki can apparently be swayed from hating the Protag and Yosuke to totally being good bros in the course of a single goddamn conversation.

    …So it’s not just the homophobia that bothers me, although it’s bothersome enough. It’s that the homophobia is in plain contradiction of the halo the P4 anime team is still painting around the Protag, and that in painting that angelic halo around the Protag, the animators are saying this: The Protag is an ideal high school student; all you high school students watching the P4 Anime should want to be just like him, because he’s going to get all the girls and earn the respect of all the guys and he’s a role model. Oh, and by the way, he totally hates gay people, and you should, too. They make him feel awkward and uncomfortable and fearful for his chastity just in the mere act of being themselves. And, it is totally acceptable for heterosexual men to treat their gay friends with this degree of innate suspicion. (By the way, despite the fact that gay people can’t do this to you, it’s totally cool for you or your heterosexual friends to go even further then this when pursuing women. They just have to accept your inherent lustful state.)”

    • November 27, 2011 at 6:53 pmfragb85

      This is a prime example of “Thinking about it way too hard”. Just because there were some funny moments doesn’t mean they are waving the homophobe flag. Nor is this whole fanon interpretation of Protagonist really an issue since he was mostly a blank slate in the game.

      • November 28, 2011 at 11:37 amverdant

        How exactly does a “few” homophobic moments not mean that they’re waving the flag? It’s sort of an all-or-nothing deal here. We’re not dealing with a person whose true feelings on the subject are unknown. With a piece of work, be it a tv show or a book, even a few instances of racism or homophobia without any balances is enough to skew the work as racist or homophobic. Media is a powerful influence on young impressionable minds. Just because you’re able to dismiss them doesn’t mean everyone else will be able to. For a show and series that claims to focus so much on accepting others for who they are, it’s quite sad that they couldn’t do the same for Kanji, only to play it up for laughs. Expect more from your media.

      • November 28, 2011 at 12:12 pmDa5id

        Yeah…it’s pretty much clear that Kanji’s gay, and to continue to make it ambiguous is not helping the show.

        But I never really expected this show to be a revolutionary “breaking down the walls of discrimination” sort of thing.

      • November 28, 2011 at 10:42 pmfragb85

        Kanji’s orientation has never been made clear. The writers even said this. His entire Social Link never addressed it either. His entire character is built around his social problems and his own denial of his favorite hobbies. Any other reference to his orientation in the game were either made a joke, or a pretext for Kanji to do something awesome.

        This is why I think all these arguments on his orientation are ridiculous. His orientation never mattered. His social awkwardness and difficulty in accepting his hobbies are very real social issues, but not necessarily linked to actual sexuality. Fans saw an Kanji as an ambiguously gay character and latched on this notion that he was like some presentation of deep message on accepting sexuality when he wasn’t. Just like how people are seeing this episode like it was some absolute defilement on Kanji on something that really never defined him.

      • November 29, 2011 at 3:18 amverdant

        Honestly, I think you’re missing the point when you see any comments in the game on Kanji’s orientation merely as jokes or pretext, or that his Social Link is just about accepting his hobbies, when it’s about accepting himself for who he is as a whole. His exact orientation may not matter, but the struggles he faces with his oreintation do matter. I realize that the writers never made his orientation clear and official, but they still acknowledge that this question does exist in his Social Link.

        You might deride fans’ opinions, but the idea that he isn’t a “presentation of deep message on accepting sexuality” or that his orientation never really defined him is still an opinion in the end as well, and one that I feel is in the minority given that the multitude of articles that have been written on the subject of Kanji’s orientation. I would even say that some of the writers would disagree with you.

        “We would like everyone to play through the game and come up with their own answers to that question; there is no official answer,” says Yu Namba, Atlus USA’s Persona 4 Project Lead. “What matters is that Kanji’s other self cries out, ‘Accept me for who I am!’ I think it’s a powerful message which many, if not all of us can relate to.”

        Nich Maragos, Atlus USA’s Persona 4 Editor, agrees with Namba that it is up to each individual player to draw their own conclusions, but his personal opinions sway toward a gay Kanji. “At the end of Kanji’s Social Link, should you choose to advance it that far, he does say specifically in reference to his Shadow self, ‘That ‘other me’ is me.’”

        I think the crux of the issue that we’re trying to bring up is that even though in the end Kanji’s orientation might not matter, the fact that it’s still there being questioned means that it’s also part of his Social link. Instead of addressing any of his issues in a serious way, they continually obscure it with homophobic jokes.

      • December 8, 2011 at 9:10 pmn30nl16ht

        easy guys… everybody has the right to express themselves, you don’t have to derail each other, regardless of how the other one interprets the episode. hehe…

    • November 27, 2011 at 10:28 pmTOP2NE1

      Jesus christ, just post a link next time.

  • November 27, 2011 at 7:28 amAex

    Loved how this was done. Very faithful to the camping trip(except for that dumb Hanako moment at the end), while also saving time by rather smoothly working in the start of Hanged Man S.Link and even a investigation team meeting. The team meeting actually felt more natural here instead of having them wait and then all go to Junes to talk about it. Yuu also shows he’s got some swagger under all that stoic!! XD I still don’t like how he gets thrown in the river along with Yosuke, never made sense even in the game, but I’ll just chalk it up to the girls being too embarrassed here. Nothing against Yukiko, but my two favorite girls still haven’t shown up yet, so I’m denying any romantic implications until later :P

    Also, gimme my Empress!!!

  • November 27, 2011 at 8:37 amSilicaScone

    We need more Nanako screens. The last scene when she welcomes Narukami home is just too HHHNNGGGHH.

  • November 27, 2011 at 8:37 amDal

    Personally, I like Yukiko’s swimsuit more.

    Great episode. I really like the pace the anime is going.

  • November 27, 2011 at 10:57 amSuppa Tenko

    Chie always looks hot when the jacket comes off.

  • November 27, 2011 at 12:52 pmSylphs

    Is that Marie I see in the previews?

    • November 27, 2011 at 1:03 pmSylphs

      Nvm what I said. Probably Rise now that I can see the hair under the hat…the hat threw me off

  • November 27, 2011 at 2:39 pmHutch Hutchenson

    Nice episode. People will rage about the slight differences with the game but I liked them. Except that last joke. Blah. As for the vote, I dunno. I can’t choose. Both look good in there own way. ><

  • November 27, 2011 at 9:49 pmhaseo0408

    Why is it that none of my school trips ended like this? Those bastards are so lucky, well not Kanji. It´s good to see that they are making an effort to show all social links, providing some solid ground for the story to develop, at the all persona games come down to two things:
    1.-Chioces
    2.-Bonds with people

    That´s the true power behind the story.

  • November 27, 2011 at 11:58 pmWhee

    I like the humor- again, Kanji-related ones too.
    I feel like Americans in general are just a bit… swayed a bit in a different direction.
    It’s like, ‘I know it’s unrealistic and is something that is not “serious” at all, so it’s a funny content’. Which is clearly not the primary view of some people here.

  • November 28, 2011 at 6:56 amRyougaZell

    Seems Rise with a hat is directly brought from the manga. With her introduction… Yukiko has zero chances :D

  • November 28, 2011 at 1:19 pmZzz…

    I’m not going to argue with a swimsuit episodes but it seriously feels like they’re just going to blow of all the non-party character social links…

    …that seriously pisses me off.

    Seriously…

  • November 28, 2011 at 6:51 pmgespentRed

    Most of the outsider SL are boring anyway, except for Justice, Strength and Devil…I think that’s it. Actually, I think that’s the different between P3 and P4. P4 give you better relationship with your teammate but less fun with other SL. I really like Hanged man, Hermit, Hierrophant, Tower, Strength and Chariot of P3 but with P4, I just doesn’t feel it

  • November 29, 2011 at 1:42 pmhjerry

    I’m very excited. Rise was the character I was most looking forward to in this series. her arc should be interesting.

  • December 1, 2011 at 11:57 pmGhostNPC

    Surprising. The director for this adaptation really shined in this episode. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

  • December 18, 2011 at 9:43 pmMadoka Massachusetts

    Thank you very much for Massachusetts Institute of Technology sama. Madoka Massachusetts in zenrinji of Mssachusetts Institute of Technology sama. I will. I would like to see Yosuke and Mamoru and the professors in Massachusetts Institute of Technology sama early. Thank you very much for Atsushi Kitamura san. Today, I wtote these sentences,imagining the way of life of mine with Yosuke and Mamoru and my father, Taishun Baba and my elder brother,Taijun Baba and my elder sister,Ei Nakajima and my mother, Aki Baba.How are you,minasan.I finally got fine just now. Thank you very much for everything and everybody all over the world and especially in the world.I must thank you very much for Dr. Sugiyama. What is my promise with Dr.Katsuyoshi Sugiyama and Dr. Atsushi Kitamura san and the professors in Mzssachusetts Institute of Technology? Thank you very much for Massachusetts Institute of Technology sama. Madoka Massachusetts in zenrinji of Massachusetts Institute of Technology sama. I will. I shall absolutely never meet Mr. Hiroaki Suzuki. I’d like Dr. Katsuyoshi Sugiyama and Dr. Atsushi Kitamura san and the professors in Massachusetts Institute of Technology sama to do my promise with them. I must believe that our promise is our way of life with our groups. I believe that my and the other’s promise should come true. From Madoka Massachusetts in zenrinji of Massachusetts Institute of Technology sama.

  • December 31, 2011 at 5:04 amMadoka Massachusetts

    You should wait for right men’s justice. Good Luck!