「A missing piece」

Welcome back to your regular edition of the Persona 4 the Golden ANIMATION blog, in which we have to try to be interesting again with only prose. That may be difficult for this episode; it depends entirely on how you feel about Marie as a character. Let me explain.

While last week was pretty much all filler (amusing, but still filler) for the purposes of giving a sense of passage of time, this week is only half filler. We have our fun in the snow, obligatory bath house scenes, and the Naoto x Kanji ship sailing at full mast. The other half (to be accurate, actually the fair bulk of the episode) is dedicated to the cast trying to remember some girl who had been mysteriously deleted from existence. Yes, it’s a deja vu episode, and actually in more ways than one. All that drama in the snow sent me on the way-back machine all the way to 2006. Remember Kanon, in particular episode 22? By the way, don’t click on that if you don’t and want to avoid spoilers. Anyway, it’s not like Kanon has a patent on blizzard-based flashbacks but the similarities were uncanny.

That said, unlike Kanon, in P4GA there is no mystery about what our protagonist hasn’t managed to remember. We all know that it’s Marie. We’re just waiting for Yu to figure that out as well. Therefore the effectiveness of the related scenes depend entirely on the viewer having some kind of attachment to Marie. If you do, then this was an emotionally climax for you. If you didn’t, then it was a plot routine that needed to be summarily dispatched.

On my part, I can’t say this episode did it for me.

I think my problem is that in the end Marie, to me, felt too forcefully shoehorned in. It’s the result of skipping all the non-Marie events in favour of all Marie, all the time. Marie never develops naturally alongside the narrative, but rather becomes the narrative. At the same time, though, Marie herself does not add anything all that unique. Her amnesia subplot is simply that–a subplot–and does not have enough depth to carry more weight. Marie is important through plot contrivances rather than as part of a regime of thematic consistency.

In short: if you draw too much attention to a graft, you’ll expose the stitches.

So I didn’t really even mind the leaps of logic that the Investigation Team needed to get to ‘there is somebody missing’. I didn’t mind the unexplained inconsistencies needed to resolve the conflict. I didn’t even mind Yosuke looking through the viewfinder and video screen of his camera at the same time. I’m just kind of glad we’ve gotten the episode over and done with. If we needed some magical conveniences to do it faster, then so be it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this was an objectively bad episode. And I’m not saying that I hate Marie or anything. At most, I am ambivalent. I simply have not been able to work up any strong feelings about her. Perhaps I’m just a despicably contrary person; in the face of nine anime episodes shouting at me to care about Marie my first instinct is: ‘why should I?’


Reading the cards

All that said, I’m still hoping for some kind of mind-blowing revelation that will completely change the way I see Marie, though I do not actually expect it. It’s fairly obvious what sort of beast Marie is by now (or at least, I think I have a good guess about it–surprise me). Even so, a last bit of flair before closure will be nice.

There is every indication that the skiing trip is the last bit of fun we’ll get to have before the end. Everything from here on now should, presumably, be more or less Serious Business. Does that mean Persona action? Maybe. At the very least it should mean a build up to another confrontation that tops the one with Adachi.

With that in mind, join us next episode where Marie and Yu basically have a spat. Woo! Soap opera!




      1. Well they could have still played it safe and used the “bros” cabin scene. I was so looking forward to this and it is lame they skipped it. Even shoehorning Marie into the cabin scene would have been better.

  1. So you also got reminded of Kanon during that snowstorm. Nice one! On the episode itself, I guess it was okay. Show Spoiler ▼

    Yukiko getting all excited by the ghost talk was cute too.

  2. I think the heavy focus on Marie in this anime is simply because the previous anime already shown all we need to see for the other characters. It makes more sense to focus more on the new content for Golden after all. In the video game it felt more natural, at least to me.

  3. They skipped the cabin scene!? That was the best part of the Ski Trip Event! Instead it pushed aside in favor of Marie.

    I’m really having less and less reasons to defend Marie. She was always a side-story, like additional DLC the supplement the plot. And since her existence is tied to memories, they even had a brilliant explanation why she feels like an insert. But her story can’t fit an entire cour of anime, especially when it takes focus on established characters.

    The whole forgetting about Marie? Didn’t happen in P4G, it was just added here for a bit of pathos and quite frankly unnecessary. All that was needed is that the Team acknowledge Marie as a friend, and they would risk their lives to help her. Not unlike any other time they saved others from the TV World. It really highlights how they are stretching the narrative around Marie.

    I’m still hoping for some kind of mind-blowing revelation that will completely change the way I see Marie

    Yeah, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. At least Marie’s dungeon event was unique and challenging on P4G. I don’t think we will even get that next episode.

    1. I don’t know, I think making that move of making people forget about Marie actually gives the story more context. I personally think it is a good move. It all makes more sense when you consider who Marie actually is…

  4. The adaptation decay in this episode is strong.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    That’s why I don’t like the amnesia plot being used here even though it wasn’t really used in the game.


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