I’m going to get this out of the way first so that I can talk about this episode of Persona 4 uninterrupted. I’ve barely had any time this week (I wanted to write this post a few nights ago, but I went to a Deadmau5 concert and was completely drained for the whole day yesterday) and as a result, I haven’t even been able to watch most anime (including this week’s episode of Haganai, so I’ll hopefully incorporate that into my next post) so that explains why this is later than usual. Last thing, I’m going on vacation this week, I should be back on the 9th so with any luck both of my next episodic posts should be out on time next week, sorry for the schedule slips, I love blogging so I feel like crap when I don’t even manage to write the minimum I planned.
So about this week’s episode…
I really did plan on talking about last week’s episode in this post, but after mulling it over for a bit, I realised that, though hilarious, it was a thoroughly empty episode. Contrast that with this week’s far more solemn offering and it really felt like bringing up the last episode was pointless.
I loved this episode because of what I mentioned above: It’s far more serious and melancholic than what Persona 4 has previously shown. It deals with Rise Kujikawa, a girl who, at the beginning of the episode announces she plans on quitting her job as an idol. Cue a snazzy-looking but poor-sounding OP sequence. (Maybe it’s just poor in comparison to the awesome regular OP)
Rise (or Risette, as her fans call her) moves back into her hometown, Inaba, acting in a far different manner than her public image shows. She thinks she’s being stalked when Yu follows her to give her phone (with a phone strap that looks like tofu) back to her after she drops it, and she snaps at Yu when he clears up the misunderstanding.
Believing that they’ve found another link between the victims, that they’ve all appeared on TV, the team decide to go check the Tofu shop that Rise’s family runs, as her life could be in danger. Arriving at the store, they see crowds of people hoping to get a glimpse of Rise, and they go into the store despite a sign saying that they’re out of tofu.
They see Rise, acting fairly cold and indifferent towards them, but she brightens up a bit when she sees Yu, and sells them a bit of Tofu they still have left. They warn her about her impending kidnapping, but Dojima and Adachi arrive at the store immediately after (for the same reasons as the team), and Rise tells then how the team already warned her, and they leave. But Dojima begins to suspect Yu.
So the team follows her for a bit, running into Adachi, who was doing some work for Dojima. They see someone following Rise and after a brief chase, Adachi arrests the stalker, but the team doesn’t think that the case is closed, and that the guy who was just arrested was really nothing more than a fan of Risette.
Accompanying Rise to the river, Yu has a chat with her. She says that they don’t need to help her as much as they have as she’s used to stalkers. She tells Yu how no one knows the real her, that they’re just in love with her public façade.
Yu cheers her up by making origami cranes (?) and after Yosuke texts him saying that they’ve caught the stalker, Yu takes her home. They run into each other at school the next day, and she tells him that she’s transferred into one of the freshman classes. They have some difficulty leaving the school, as photographers and reporters crowd the exit. Yu shows her another way out of the school, but the tofu shop is also crowded, and they have no way of going in unnoticed. Rise’s old manager comes to speak to her, urging her to return to her Idol work, but she refuses. Yu asks her if she’s not just lying to herself, prompting her to argue with him and run away.
Dojima later warns Yu about getting involved in the cases, and we see that more starts happening on the midnight channel, Rise has been kidnapped.
I really appreciated this episode keeping closer in tone to the game; it leads to far more thoughtful, intelligent episodes. Nothing wrong with a little comic relief, but it’s good to keep these things in balance. I honestly expected to come out of this episode preferring Rise’s English voice, as I was worried that Rie Kugimiya would be far too high-pitched and not sound quite as mature as she does in English, but Rie pulls off her role surprisingly well. See you next week (hopefully)