Persona 4 the ANIMATION – 23
「In Order to Find the Truth」
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and in this hour of need, which path will the Investigation Team take? This doesn’t seem like the same show anymore. What happened to the humor and hijinks of the previous 22 episodes? All the fun school events seem like a distant memory now as we’re left tumbling from the previous heights of hilarity to deal with the reality of losing one of our favorite characters in the show – someone we thought was safe, someone who was completely uninvolved in the case.
Watching every member of the Investigation Team sob was even more tear-jerking than the event that unleashed their waterworks. Even Yousuke wasn’t his usual wise-cracking self. Crying, like laughing, is a contagious activity, whether you like it or not. Shows put laugh tracks in to make us laugh at their jokes, and if they could put in crying tracks somehow, I’m sure they would do that as well. Unfortunately, I’m dead inside so I couldn’t summon even a single drop to shed, but trust me when I say their sadness spoke directly to my heart. Just think of me like Yuu, summoning every ounce of our maxed out attributes just to hold back the flood of tears until no one is around to witness them, except for my bro Yousuke. Personally, I think I would have wanted Yukiko to be the one there for me, but Yuu doesn’t discriminate like that.
After a murder, one of the most intense issues that the victim’s family and friends have to deal with is the fact that the murderer is still alive while someone innocent is not. From this, the need for vengeance is the natural emotional consequence, so I can understand why everyone wants to take matters into their own hands and deal with Namatame on their own, beginning with Doujima and then including the usually mild-mannered Adachi. It’s also very reasonable that the Investigation Team, who never trusted the police in the first place, contemplated using the Mayonaka TV to punish Namatame. These desperate times were made even more palpable when the normally united group began splitting up on mostly gender lines on the issue of throwing Namatame into the TV. My respect for Yuu, which was already high, increased even more after witnessing his dogged and determined look while dragging Namatame to the brink of punishment and death, and increased yet again when Yuu halted at the last second after an image of a smiling and happy Nanako.
I was immensely relieved that the bad ending was avoided with the group’s eventual resolve to find out the truth. It can be hard to think clearly when people’s emotions are consumed by anger, sadness, and desire for revenge, which probably made everyone jump to conclusions too quickly. Not everything added up, and they didn’t even ask Namatame for his side of the events yet either, which proved to be very enlightening. The revelations about what really happened, what Namatame’s true motives were and what he thought he was doing, all of the flashbacks were a welcome explanation, and interesting to see people’s different takes on the world inside the TV. Yuu and company were scared of it because they actually fell in and knew what dangers lurked inside, while Namatame somehow assumed that the world inside was safer than the real world until he finally followed Nanako in. Nevertheless, I still think that the whole thing is a creative and clever explanation for all the events that we’ve witnessed so far, and it does leave us the question of who really killed the first two people – leading us to the real culprit, presumably the one who’s been sending Yuu the threatening letters. For those of you who haven’t played the game, any ideas about who would fit Naoto’s description? And what did you think about Namatame’s explanation, about him not being the true killer?
Lost in the shuffle of everything that is happening is the whereabouts of one large stuffed bear and the oppressive fog that is turning the residents of Inaba paranoid. I felt so bad for Kuma, who’s basically neglected by everyone, save for a barrage of phone calls from Yousuke. When I saw him alone in the fog, saying goodbye, it was almost too much for me to bear. And what was strange was that soon after he disappeared into the soupy fog, Nanako came back to life. Unfortunately, now that Yuu has so many messages of support from all his friends, he might not notice that a person who’s been around from the start won’t be there for him anymore. It’s a bittersweet feeling to see one character come back, and another leave. Hopefully, now with the Investigation Team reunited in the search for truth and the true culprit, we won’t have to deal with any more deaths and disappearances – I don’t know how much longer I can hold back these manly tears.