Persona 4 the ANIMATION – 13
OP4: 「key plus words」 by 平田志穂子 feat. 川村ゆみ (Hirata Shihoko feat. Kawamura Yumi)
Watch the 4th OP: Streaming ▼
「A Stormy Summer Vacation 1/2」
Alright, who put Tantei Opera Milky Holmes into my Persona 4? I honestly haven’t watched anything from the magical detective girl genre yet (shocking right?), but after seeing Nanako’s turn as the pink-haired detective Lovely’n, I’m beginning to understand how such a genre even exists in the first place. Even if you don’t like Nanako or mahou shoujous, this episode was a great example of what adaptations can add to the source material – namely, showing the story from a point of view not found in the original game. A healthy dose of humor definitely doesn’t hurt either, especially when it comes after a couple of more serious episodes.
Back in episode 08, I remarked on how much I felt sorry for Nanako because she basically spends her days watching TV alone, neglected by both her father and cousin. Hers was a character that was ripe for development and I knew that she would eventually get her time in the spotlight, but I could have never foreseen that her episode would turn out this way. Not that I’m complaining – the setup and progression of the episode was a textbook perfect execution of a focused character development episode.
The setup: Nanako’s personality. This girl is so nice and caring that she’ll even abandon an umbrella to shelter a fox, despite knowing nothing about it. She even gave up the umbrella even though it had her favorite magical detective girl, Lovely’n, on it. How many people do you know who could give up a prized possession without any hesitation, and to an animal no less? This random act of kindness to animals along with how quietly she handles being left home alone by Ryoutarou and Yuu elevates her character to the rarefied pantheon of “Best Elementary School Aged Daughters in Anime”, joining Rin from Usagi Drop.
What truly distinguishes Nanako from other girls is that the blood of detectives that runs strong in her veins, which brings us to the conflict of the episode: the mystery of Yuu’s free time. Other imoutos, when faced with the mystery of why their onii-chans don’t spend time at home with them, probably just give up and go back to watching TV. Not Nanako. Her favorite anime and her detective bloodline have developed Nanako into a girl of action. Seeing her don the costume of the caped crusader known as Lovely’n was arguably better than any Persona summoning seen so far in the series. Nanako might want to get rid of that wand though – it seems to always deliver the weirdest lines at the worst times, and the creepy old man voice doesn’t help either. She even knows how to choose her sidekicks! At first, when Nanako ran into Kuma, I thought that she had just found the best person to investigate with, thanks to the skills of his nose. Turns out all that nose is ever good for in the real world is leading Kuma to food. Thankfully, she runs into the true Investigation Team, who is probably itching for a case to crack open again, and Kuma actually helps them out this time. I thought that Kuma’s help was going to be some cross-dressing disguises, but his nifty disguise glasses that never fail to crack Yukiko up works too.
Ever wondered what Yuu’s social links with older women might look like to other people? I don’t think I ever stopped to ask that question, but after watching this episode, I’m glad that this adaptation chose to answer it. And what better way to answer this question than by turning Yuu’s relationships into a harem! The misconceptions from Yuu’s friends when they were investigating him were priceless, making Yuu look like a guy with a taste in cougars of all ages – from Uehara Sayoko, to Minami Eri, and the “super old” Kuroda Hisano. I’m sure Yuu knew of people’s potential misconceptions about his relationships with all these different women; why else would he don Kuma’s costume/suit and ride it on the bus? The sensei needs to learn from the student though – his impression of Kuma wasn’t very convincing, but it was good for one of the most hilarious moments of the show so far.
With Nanako’s investigation into Yuu going nowhere, we come to the final part of a good character focused episode: the character’s monologue (sometimes internal), insight, and resolution. I really liked how everything came to a full circle at the end and included many of the characters we know from game. Naoto being the person to encourage Nanako to continue her investigating felt quite appropriate given their shared circumstances, and the sage advice of Daidara (who has been recast as a fireworks maker instead of a weapon smith) was a nice touch as well. Nanako truly does share more than a love for detective work with her cousin Yuu. In putting a smile on the same people that Yuu’s helped in the past, like Kou, Daisuke, and Ai (how the heck did she get a scarf stuck in a tree, and how does she know how to use that wand?), Nanako realizes her investigation is finally complete.
Next episode, we get Yuu’s side of the story, on what exactly he did with all those older women. With those many stories, five by my count, I am a little worried that each one won’t get as much time allotted as the story deserves. Maybe they should add in another Nanako episode somewhere down the line, with a new investigation into the mystery of how Yuu’s popped collar is able to attract so many women in Inaba.
* To clear things up, unlisted does pretty much all of the caps while I do the writing, so please give him credit for all of his hard work, especially the full-length images, like this week’s ED cap
* Speaking of the ED, loved the artwork and innocence of Nanako
* Full length images: 04, 07, 13, 16, 23, ED3
* All ED sequence thumbnails link to the same full length shot. Enjoy! -unlisted
ED3: 「恋する名探偵」 (Koi Suru Meitantei) by 堀江由衣 (Horie Yui)
Watch the 3rd ED: Streaming ▼