Persona 4 the Animation – Episode 7

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.


6 Responses to “Persona 4 the Animation – Episode 7”

  1. 21 November 2011 at 2:36 am

    I enjoyed this P4’s episode because it stayed true with its theme about shadows and at the same time it managed to be so hilarious and interesting. Recent episode where kind of bland for me in terms of the execution but with Kanji they managed to pull out a very entertaining character in him, as well as the characters were give the chance to be really funny.

  2. 2 guest
    21 November 2011 at 5:13 am

    I am a bit sad that many people are saying that this episode was funny. Most people seem to be ignoring the fact the this episode could be very offensive to gay people, and the boys’ behavior is frequently excused as “normal teenage” behavior when they were really overreacting. The manga (it is just as japanese as the anime) version did not have them whine about going home, the manga version captured the original game’s seriousness by showing a young Kanji being bullied for sewing in elementary school. The shadow in the manga was also very angry and serious at the end, while the anime one is stupidly happy the entire time. It seems as if the boys are willing to let him die because they value their virginity over his life. Unlike the anime, everyone is supportive of Kanji, and kanji hugs his shadow after punching it.

    • 3 Gooney
      21 November 2011 at 5:41 am

      You see, I get how people could interpret it as offensive, and it did play some of the elements of homosexuality for comedy, but in my opinion, Persona as a franchise is very respectful of varying lifestyles. In the second game the main character could pursue a gay relationship, and in Persona 4, Kanji, a character who might be gay, is one of the most honourable and respectable characters in gaming. Some of the characters reactions aren’t far from how teenage boys would react (take it from someone who is currently in highschool and has a gay tutor, the students are often offensive (bearing in mind I’m straight) but that’s just how teenagers are these days, they overreact) in such a situation, and the episode never once seemed to be insulting Kanji, in fact, it showed his character in a terrific light. He helps out a young boy purely out of the goodness of his heart and fights an entire biker gang just so that his mother can have a good night’s rest. The boys don’t seem to value their virginity over his life at all, as shown by Yu jumping in front of a shadow and taking a hit just to save him, and he accepts him faster than anyone else does. I believe the game may contain one of the most tasteful representations of homosexuality I’ve seen in any medium, and while the anime might not be quite as strong in that regard, it’s certainly trying, and I can’t fault it for that.

  3. 4 `1dream-kun
    22 November 2011 at 4:51 pm

    oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh i cant wait to watch this when i get home XD

  4. 5 marcus
    24 November 2011 at 4:55 am

    The next episode will be more unfortunate, as Kanji will be kicked out not only be Yosuke, but by Yu as well (who will be just as homophobic as Yosuke). This is based on the preview: I thought you accepted me/Not at night. Kanji will become a chew toy, I’m predicting. This is trivializing his being even more. I cannot see why more people are not angry at the way the anime is ruining Kanji’s arc. It is a bit boring just to read comments that say “I love it” over and over again. Sometimes, some insightful criticism is needed.

    • 6 Gooney
      24 November 2011 at 8:32 am

      Wait, “ruining Kanji’s arc”? It may be injecting it with more humour, and some people will undoubtedly dislike this change, but saying that it’s ruining his arc when it’s actually been pretty faithful, though it has a few changes in terms of how characters react and some other minor edits, but it’s made no changes to the plot.
      Criticism in the comments, regarding either my writing or the show in question, is more than welcome (Seriously, I need to be criticised, I’d like to improve my writing as much as possible for both myself and anyone who reads what I write, and that will highlight my areas that I should work on.) but all comments are appreciated, I like to know that people are actually reading and paying attention to our posts.

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