Persona 4 the ANIMATION – 21
「DON’T SAVE ANYONE ANYMORE」
Yuu has more lines in this episode more than he did in all twenty previous episodes combined. At least it feels like he does!
Don’t get me wrong, I think Yuu’s been a terrific and memorable main character. Hands down, he’s been by far the best harem king in recent memory and remains calm and collected in almost every situation, as the leader of the Investigation Team should. Up until now though, we’ve never seen some other personality traits of great leaders – most notably a passion and intensity that inspires others to take up their cause, and spurring controversy (and blog comments) on the way as well. Even the normally demure Naoto was more agitated than Yuu ever was, when she expressed her regrets in not caring about his safety. What does her newfound intensity do for her? It makes her even more endearing.
It’s not like personalities like Yuu’s never have the potential for a hot-blooded drive and passion – I just thought he’d never show it. He’s handled almost every past crisis with aplomb, so what reason did we have to suspect that he would act any differently come next crisis? The man doesn’t even appear to have a shadow as far as we know either. Like we’ve seen in countless characters though, all it takes is a powerful emotional trigger, most often a tragedy befalling a loved one, to flip the switch and turn a wallflower into a torrent of emotion. For Yuu, this fateful trigger was sweet and innocent Nanako’s abduction – and as much as it unsettles me when bad things happen to good people, seeing the changes it brought forth in Yuu softened the blow a bit. He is now a man of action and agency, and I find that much more respectable than a man who is merely calm and reactionary.
His uncle on the other hand, has the personality of the typical hard-boiled detective – albeit a pretty terrible one who either didn’t read the threatening letter sent to Yuu, or just chose to ignore its contents and left Nanako home alone. I thought that having lived together for almost a year now, he would also have softened up on Yuu, gave him the benefit of the doubt (especially with such a threatening note) – but it seems that the familial relationship and trust between the two only runs in one direction. That is, until their shared anguish brought them closer together. Some people might think that the use of tragedy to strengthen a relationship is too clichéd, but I don’t mind because from my experience, it’s the most realistic catalyst there is – and the most easily identifiable. Misery loves company, and misery also breeds company. Seeing the guys and girls of the Investigation Team united in their cause, despite being separated across the harsh and unforgiving walls of the police detention room, was probably the most powerful image in this series yet that they are a team in every sense of the word, and a force to be taken seriously.
As for the revelation that Namatame Taro is the culprit responsible for the abductions in Inaba, I can’t say I was all that surprised since he was after all, the man whom the first victim had an affair with – but I do think that his use of a delivery van with a large TV in the back was a very clever twist, one that might have gone unnoticed if Yuu hadn’t seen Namatame make his delivery to Nanako. His motives, however, leave much to be desired since he seems to be under the impression that he is saving each victim rather than trying to kill them, contrary to everyone’s beliefs about the case so far. Could this merely be a case of a misguided religious fanatic? Or is there more to this story – a Shadow story? (Pardon my pun). Guess we’ll have to wait and see if Yuu’s new Bead Ring and stylish spectacles will keep him safe when he enters Heaven, Nanako’s dungeon.