Persona 4 – The Animation Episodes 21 – 26 Review

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Persona 4 – The Animation comes to a conclusion with its last five episodes (plus an OVA episode 26) and it does a good job of wrapping up the action side of the story, but seriously skimps out on the social aspect of the series. How much does it effect the story overall? Read on!

Synopsis:

Yu Narukami and his friends are finally free from the shadow that had been cast over them by the murderer and his involvement with the alternate TV world. Now all that’s left is to remember how to be a kid again… well, until a letter arrives tipping them off that the case isn’t actually over…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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She’ll be fine!

Yu Narukami (Daisuke Namikawa / Johnny Yong Bosch) – Yu hasn’t been able to shake of the idea that the serial murder case wasn’t actually over, so when a letter arrives telling him “don’t save anyone anymore”, the case is about to restart… and get extremely personal.

Yosuke Hanamura (Showtaro Morikubo / Yuri Lowenthal) – Yosuke was actually happy and naïve about the case, but now this mysterious letter Yu has received has brought him back to reality.

Chie Satonaka (Yui Horie / Erin Fitzgerald) – Chie was similarly happy returning to her school life and friendship with Yukiko, but is more than willing to finish what she had a hand in starting.

Yukiko Amagi (Ami Koshimizu / Amanda Winn-Lee) – Yukiko is more determined and calm about her future than she has ever been, but when the note Yu receives becomes known to her, she knows she can’t begin to move forward while the case is still in the air.

Kanji Tatsumi (Tomokazu Seki / Matthew Mercer) – Kanji is a gentle soul trapped in a thuggish shell, but is happy to direct his anger towards whoever sent Yu the mysterious note.

Teddie (Kappei Yamaguchi / Sam Riegel) – Teddie comes from the “TV World” where the shadows dwell. He cannot remember his past, but is looking forward to his future… so long as the murderer is dealt with properly this time.

Rise Kujikawa (Rie Kugimiya / Laura Bailey) – Rise was formally an idol, and indeed wants to be again in the future, but first comes school, and before that, figuring out the murder case that has reopened…

Naoto Shirogane (Romi Park / Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) – Naoto is a child detective prodigy, and as such her instincts have been telling her that the murder case wasn’t closed. When Yu’s letter arrived, she wasn’t surprised, she was happy for a new clue in the case she knew hadn’t finished.

Tohru Adachi (Mitsuaki Madono / Johnny Yong Bosch) – A police officer with a friendly, goofy personality… for now.

Ryotaro Dojima (Unshō Ishizuka / John White) – The man who took Yu in and is the father of Nanako. To say he is about to have a rough few months would be an understatement…

Nanako Dojima (Akemi Kanda / Karen Strassman) – Nanako is the daughter of Ryotaro and the cousin of Yu. She’s cute, adorable and is therefore a rather unpleasant potential tool for those wanting to get to Yu and his allies…

Igor and Elizabeth (Isamu Tanonaka / Dan Woren and Miyuki Sawashiro / Michelle Ann Dunphy) – Igor and his assistant Elizabeth are the mysterious denizens of the “Velvet Room”, this time taking the form of the inside of a limousine. They guide Yu on his journey, but never directly interfere.

and many more!

The Good:

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Now there’s a final boss I can get on board with!

Wow, well, where to start here. The previous chunk of episodes were mostly light-hearted, but these episodes are anything but. The first two episodes see Nanako get kidnapped by the crazed Namatame and taken into the TV world. Some drama with Ryotaro and Yu becomes hard to watch, and when they jump into the TV and defeat Namatame, Nanako gets ill anyway, and soon… dies in hospital. Now, I didn’t truly believe she was gone for good, something about the presentation of the series lead me to believe it would be reversed, but wow… it was tough watching everyone’s reaction to the news. Good drama, but odd after such frivolous fun in the prior episodes.

Episode 23 not only deals with everyone’s feeling of grief, but after resisting the urge to kill Namatame in revenge everyone finds out that he didn’t start it all, he was just manipulated into kidnapping people because he believed he was saving them, the real, actual original murderer was still at large. Everyone eventually draws the conclusion that it’s Adachi, and sure enough, he escapes into the TV at the end of the episode. The one thing I’m upset about is I’ll never know if that would have been a surprise to me or not, as thanks to being a fighting game fan, I had my eye of Persona 4: Arena and its oddly named sequel, and therefore I knew he was the lead villain going into this. Would I have been fooled, or when would I have figured it out? I’ll never know.

Episodes 24 and 25 are a long battle with Adachi and his Persona, with Adachi playing the crazy psycho role perfectly. It’s then a shame when this leads into a Godlike being called Ameno-sagiri appearing and being revealed as the reason behind the “Midnight Channel” and the evil fog that has been polluting their hometown, soon taking over Adachi’s body. Everyone bands together and Yu delivers a decisive blow that makes Ameno-sagiri reassess humanity and give it another chance. Everyone, including Nanako, who was mysteriously brought back to life by Teddie being really sad (Yep…) soon meet up and sees Yu off back to his parents after an extremely short montage…

But wait! A 26th Episode is on the blu-ray release as an OVA, and in it we get a bit more of everyone hanging out and a big battle between Yu and Velvet Room assistant Elizabeth, with Yu’s Shadow self playing a role as well. Basically Yu is afraid of leaving his friends and being alone again, but manages to come to terms with it. It’s a better ending, for sure. Oh and there was something about a gas station attendant being another Godlike being, but… whatever. *shrugs*

The Bad:

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Adachi’s reaction to finding out he’s going to lose his place to a giant eyeball.

It goes without saying that the ending of Episode 25 is pretty damn rushed. The actual climactic fight is great, but then there is a very brief montage of the next few months and then a not-even-five-minute scene with everyone at the train station waving goodbye and that’s that. Not very satisfying for a series that’s done such a good job of displaying the bonds between everyone!

Now I don’t want to sound like a insane man who wanted to see a little girl die, but I wish they’d come up with a different way to bring Nanako back than Teddie remembering his past and being really sad and that somehow brining her back to life.

Adachi was a great final villain, I was kind of annoyed that it ended up including another God-like being at the end, like in 3 and 5 (which for those who haven’t read the start of this Persona run through, are two I’ve actually seen through to the end already, one way or another) but oh well. The idea of humanity as a whole being trapped in a cage of repetition, complacence and acceptance is sort of the running theme of the games, so…

Overall Thoughts:

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This is a bit of a bummer for a final picture… ah well, there’s still the Overall Series Review to come!

A good end to the series, saved from a low score thanks to the OVA episode giving a better ending. Adachi was a fun psycho to end on, and overall the last few battles were worth watching. The drama in the first few episodes of this batch is also good, in an uncomfortable way. A good end then, though not an amazing 5 star one…

4 Star Watch

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