「I’ll beat you, and beat you good」
After several weeks of Persona awakenings and social links, Yuu’s special investigation team finally resumes its focus on Inaba’s abductions and murders and they do it with style, shenanigans, and some beef bowls.
Freed from most of the formulaic constraints of prior episodes, this sixth episode managed to better capture the slower plot and character progression of the game itself by subtly developing the characters while elaborating on the central plot. Without a clear social link or awakening event, the way we learned about various characters’ personalities was more natural as a result. For other shows, this might be par for the course, but for Persona 4, the previous episodes’ character development felt somewhat forced because of the events practically demanded it. With the added possibility of a romance, I feel that the pacing and style of this episode is a step in the right direction for this series (and I’m not just saying that because I’m fond of Yukiko).
Although Yuu lives at his uncle Ryoutarou’s house, the person he actually interacts with the most there is his cousin Nanako, making it a treat to see the first half of the episode focused on her. I wouldn’t mind having a younger sister who is so mature for her age. Even though she’s sad having again been denied a holiday trip because of her busy detective father, Nanako doesn’t complain. Also witness how easily and calmly she handled telling the others that she didn’t have a mother – if that’s not preternaturally mature, I don’t know what is. Yuu’s understanding level is probably still too low to realize that Nanako is easy to please as well. All he needed to do was to take her to Junes once in a while to buy her food and a cute shirt. Speaking of food, I’m eagerly anticipating the Epic Omelet Rice Battle™ being animated – and see if Chie can really cook as well as she claims.
Funny how after all that the investigation team has gone through, Yukiko was the one who brought up the subject of the abductions and murders and the character keeping track of the cases’ details was the one person I thought was the least likely to. Some possible explanations are that the others didn’t want to bring up the abductions for fear of upsetting Yukiko, and because Yousuke has all the time in the world to think about the case since he doesn’t study or even take all of his midterms. In any case, I’m glad that the team has finally started to live up to its name and begun to try and connect the dots and even doing some detective work.
With the theory that a person’s appearance on Midnight TV is essentially a preview for their eventual abduction, the gang decides to investigate the latest person to appear on it, Tatsumi Kanji (Seki Tomokazu), by shadowing him all over town. Unfortunately for them – they’re not too great at playing spies and staying hidden. Fortunately for us though, their missteps are more than worth it, giving us a great dose of character insights along with humor. Chie? Her hunger knows no bounds, even in times when she wants to be the tragic hero (thanks to magically delivered beef bowls from Aiya). Yousuke? He may have honorable motivations for investigating the mystery, but he’s also a creepy pervert, no doubt about it. (Who calls a girl late at night to tell dirty jokes?) Yukiko? If you ask for her phone number in a group, you’ll get a cold rejection, but if you ask her privately, you’ll get not only the number, but some blushing too.
Most, if not all of the investigation team’s antics stem from either their ineptness or their various misunderstandings of Kanji’s actions. Seeing all the unexpected aspects of Kanji’s personality was quite enjoyable, from his pink rabbit keychain, to his flustered face when he realizes that a mysterious boy (voiced by Paku Romi) has taken interest in him. I hope that this series doesn’t shy away from expanding upon this mere blush as I feel that it is a unique and worthwhile personality aspect that deserves further development. And in judging from his second Midnight TV appearance, I probably won’t have to wait long to find out more.