Persona 4 the ANIMATION – 08
「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