Back when Persona 4 (the game) was released, Kanji Tatsumi was lauded for being one of the few characters in modern gaming who not only had an ambiguous sexuality, but whose sexuality was explored to such a degree, he’s one of the more interesting characters in a medium that often prefers to leave such issues taboo, and the anime pulls off his arc very well.
After seeing Kanji appear on the midnight channel, the team sees that he’s gone missing, but Teddie has no idea how to locate him, and so he tells them that if they want to find him, they’ll need to bring him something with Kanji’s scent on it.
They do some more investigation at the textile shop, where Kanji’s mother explains that when he fought the biker gang, he did so to help her, as she couldn’t sleep because of the noise the bikes made. Yu sees a young boy outside the shop that’s looking for Kanji, turns out that Kanji made that phone strap we saw last episode in order to help this boy, and the team decides to give the phone strap to Teddie to find Kanji.
It works, and they end up at a bathhouse where they hear voices saying some… strange things, making Yosuke and Yu just a tad uncomfortable. This discomfort gets turned up to 11 when they see Kanji’s flamboyant (to say the least) shadow.
Yu, Yosuke and Chie get pissed off by the way he acts and almost immediately want to attack him, whereas Yukiko holds off for a bit until she realises that it could have been like this when she was kidnapped, and attacks the first shadow she sees. It’s at this point where the real Kanji is confronted by his shadow about how his delinquent appearance is nothing more than an act.
The team gets to where both Kanji and his shadow are, but are unable to interfere with Kanji due to the floor being to oily for them to move on, and Kanji is angered by his shadow’s talk of how he prefers guys because unlike girls, they don’t judge him for not being manly and his shadow takes one of the strangest forms to grace the series.
Whenever the team tries to attack the shadow, they’re stopped by the its two bodyguards who appear to be enjoying the pain, and they can’t do a thing until the shadow decides to attack Kanji directly, and Yu moves in front of Kanji to prevent him from getting killed, and just when it appears that Yu is about to die he gets one more power: demon fusion.
The fused demon subdues the shadows bodyguards (or lovers, whatever they are) and freezes the shadow. Yu then tells Kanji how he thought that the phone strap he made was cute, giving Kanji the strength the fight his shadow head-on.
Kanji explains how it made him happy when he was accepted by Yu, and when the shadow tries to attack again, Kanji confronts it, telling it how his problem never had anything to do with guys or girls, and that he simply wanted people to accept him (It should be noted that his sexuality is never outright confirmed). He accepts his shadow and is given the power of Persona, and a few days later he is accepted into the investigation team.
This was a great episode, though the game was always entertaining even when you were just doing a part-time job or attending club, those things don’t always make for great viewing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the slice of lifey episodes, but Persona 4 the Animation is definitely at its excellent best when it’s moving on with the main plot, and has given us yet another excellent episode.
Also, this is not a good idea.