Persona 4 the ANIMATION – 18
「Anniversary to Become a Family」
Every father would be more than lucky to have Nanako as their daughter, but Doujima takes her for granted – spending all his time chasing a person who got away at the expense of the one who stayed. She is one of the most mature and independent young daughters in all the anime, similar to the likes of Rin (from Usagi Drop). I’m not sure how many people would actually agree with me on this, but I much prefer watching characters like Nanako and Rin rather than Hina (from Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai!). There’s more depth to the characters beyond being just cute.
Starting off with Margaret putting the moves on Yuu (yet again), I had actually thought that this would be another lighthearted episode. She even said (and I’m quoting verbatim), “Yuu Narukami x Margaret,” leading me to believe that we’d finally see an episode about their relationship, but the hit-and-run scene that followed signaled that this was going to be one of the most serious episodes in tone, so far in this series.
Throughout the series, Nanako has consistently behaved like a daughter who is more mature than other children her age, but none of her family has voiced their appreciation of her maturity, much less expressed their love for her. I found it striking how much more mature she appeared to be in comparison to Doujima – it was almost as if she was taking the death of her mother even better than he was, who couldn’t even bear to have any pictures of Chisato displayed. Despite her stoicism, I could tell that she was starving for love, or at the very least, being told that she is loved – which made Yuu’s silence even more unbearable. Seriously, your adorable cousin just told you that she loves you, so the least you could do is return her words.
Kuma wouldn’t have hesitated if someone told him that they loved him; that bear can charm the socks off all the ladies, no matter their age. I think he’s also one who appreciates how mature Nanako is. How many other girls do you know whom you could go to for advice and to tell your problems? It’s especially sad that Doujima has all these issues with losing his wife to a hit-and-run driver who has never been caught, yet he never confides in someone who shares his pain. Their whole father-daughter relationship is just heartbreaking to watch. Perhaps the moment that most characterizes their relationship is when Doujima admits that Yuu knows his daughter even better than he does.
With the recent hit-and-run reminding Doujima of his late wife, I can understand why he’s so distracted by work. Having a partner like Adachi who can’t even remember who sent the police a letter doesn’t exactly help either. Doujima’s stubborn drive to protect Inaba and his daughter all stem from his inability to find the person responsible for his wife’s death, which is honorable purpose, but it’s also clearly taken a heavy toll on him and others around him. Nanako doesn’t even acknowledge Doujima as her real father, and it was very surprising that Yuu said nothing to dispel that notion either. I expected him to comfort her, not let her wallow in her doubts.
What comes to mind for Doujima’s situation is the age old maxim, “take care of yourself, before taking care of others.” He showed little concern over Nanako’s health issues, instead brushing it off like it was a common occurrence and leaving it for Yuu to deal with. As mature as Nanako is and as well as she has handled everything, overhearing the truth about her mother’s death and being ignored by her father when she needed him the most was the last straw for her. Fortunately, the fear of losing his daughter in addition to his wife snapped Doujima out of his doldrums – I can understand that he’d be scared of Nanako being the victim of another hit-and-run, but it was also implied that he was afraid she would commit suicide in order to meet her mother again, an implication I found harder to believe.
Even though we’ve seen a lot of episodes in anime about family, Nanako and Doujima’s reconciliation was a welcome sight all the same. This is due in large part to how relatable familial situations are, which makes eliciting emotional responses even easier. If I take anything away from this episode, it’s an even larger appreciation for just how mature of a person Nanako is, especially considering the fact that even when she’s in pain or when she’s lonely, she still thinks and cares about others too. I think we can all learn something from her example.
ED5:「ほんとのきもち」 (Honto no Kimochi) by 川村ゆみ (Hirata Shihoko)
Watch the 5th ED!: Streaming ▼