「Not a friend anymore」
I have never actually played Persona 4 Golden—only the original—so my familiarity with the game is limited. So I may be missing out of parts of the Persona 4 the Golden ANIMATION experience here, especially considering how this week’s episode is the most game-like one we’ve had for a while. We’re back to dungeons again! There’s even random encounters! Yay! But I suppose there’s also advantages to going into these episodes uninformed; the dungeon itself pleasantly surprised me. Let’s face it: once you get past the abstraction and the general metaphor Persona 4 dungeons are generally rather bland. I don’t know how much they spiced it up compared to the game, but I did enjoy the atmosphere and music, short though it was. There’s something to be said for a wistful dungeon crawling experience.
As for the story itself, I don’t know how it went originally in the game either; I’ll leave it to you guys to discuss in the comments. I wasn’t expecting Margaret to show up to play the super plot-device (and exposition machine). ‘I shouldn’t intervene directly,’ she says, while intervening directly. It’s all a bit convenient, really. Margaret even does a big spiel on Marie’s feelings and everything. We certainly didn’t need that. I’m a big proponent of ‘show, don’t tell’ and having a third party explain another character’s emotional state is essentially a cop-out. It’s artificial. And unnecessary. It’s not like it saved Marie from having to vent her spleen herself. Margaret’s monologues are transparently only for the sake of the viewer. It’s almost as if P4GA didn’t trust us to work things out ourselves, so it just gives us the answers before the test. That’s the thing about characters like Margaret: she’s a trap for writers to fall into. It’s far too easy to just parachute in a superpowered, all-knowing minor character to smooth over your plot for you. This is how we wander into the dangerous territories of deus ex machina.
So I suppose it’s a good thing that the fights at least weren’t so easy for the Investigation Team, even if it was a bit incongruous why. Normally I’m all for characters having to struggle—struggle is a sign of determination, after all—but we’ve just been shown in the very same episode (as well as Episode 01) how ridiculously powerful Yu is supposed to be. We got to see Yoshitsune still being OP and that’s great, but then why doesn’t Yu ever use it again? Was he just borrowing it from Margaret?
I suppose it’s not that big a deal in the grand scheme. Sleeper agent Marie did need to demonstrate her awesome godmode, and giving the Investigation Team a sound thrashing, even after they went full super sentai, is probably the only way to do it. Not like we actually know what she’s doing, though; Persona erasing is definitely a new trick. I would have said it was a pretty bold move for P4GA to suddenly throw up a Game Over screen, except that we know that it’s not because previews, so the effect is ruined. The fight itself, though, is probably not the important part. The entire Izanami/Izanaga metaphor is coming into fruition (which, I suppose, is why Yu is loathe to switch Personae). And, just like real mythology, gods act really immature. I don’t know about you, but for someone who’s supposed to be doing all this for the sake of her friends Marie sure is trying to kill the Investigation Team pretty hard. Yes, she’s not being herself etc. but still. It just goes to show: tsunderes are a pain to deal with in real life.