I’ve been staying light on the spoilers for Persona 4 The Golden so far for a number of reasons. Mostly because it hadn’t really hit the plot yet. All there was to spoil was who joined your party, which is all spoiled in the opening of even the first version of the game, and the details about Marie, which have mostly been her interacting with the rest of the group for character development.
That kind of all changed this episode. This week on Persona 4 The Golden we get deep down into the actual plot of the series/game. We see who caused the first too murders and get a look at that character in a lot of detail. In other words:
If Persona 4 The Golden The Animation was, up until this point, set up and execution of the newly added Marie Social Link from the game’s remake then this episode is set-up for the new other Social Link.
Tohru Adachi. Police partner to the main character’s uncle, Ryotaro Dojima.
And the culprit behind the first two murders in the game, the inciting incidents that lead the main characters down their path towards truth and JRPG battles.
He is not a nice guy, much as he seems like comic relief for a bit.
The episode is set up as sort of a backstory episode for him, narrated by his internal monologue and it shows just how someone that seems like him can be harboring some deep anger and hatred that, in the right situation, turns him into monster. After acquiring the TV-entering power the main characters have, he proceeds to use it to toss the first two victims in to the TV, which is what ultimately kills them. First he’s just trying to scare Mayumi Yamano, the TV reporter who you mostly see as a picture, because he feels like her being a part of an affair with a politician betrayed the one-sided feelings he had for her. After she disappears into the TV he just laughs about it.
He then tosses Saki Konishi, the girl Yosuke was in love with, in after she refuses to, well, put it lightly “fool around” with him like he was assuming she also did with the politician.
After that he answers a phone call, back to normal already.
The episode then transitions to a bit with the main character who, after seeing Adachi’s less than comforting reaction to an older lady doting upon him because he reminds her of her grandson, starts to give him free food as an attempt to connect with him.
It does not work. Adachi tosses all of the containers Yu used as well as the pot the old woman had given him stew in.
After a talk with Adachi about how it’s not worth helping someone because they could betray you or it could end up worse, the time jumps forward again through the dungeon Nanako was in, taken there by the real culprit. All the while Adachi narrates that her being in a coma afterwards, and Dojima being injured, all all Yu’s, and therefor your, fault for just trying to help, as if to reinforce his point. Nanako flatlines and Adachi walks behind Yu, the two of them only lit by the hospital’s red light.
This was… Well, a powerful episode. The whole Adachi part of Persona 4 is just this example of the overarching theme of Persona. “The bonds of people are the true power.” Adachi is someone that does not want to, or maybe even cannot, make a meaningful bond with other people and it turns him into this monster. Being able to enter the TV world is tied with the ability to summon a Persona, gained by overcoming life’s hardships and accepting who you are. For the main characters, overcoming their shadow in this way helps them move on and try to make themselves better, as the whole party told Marie back in Episode 3.
- Yosuke had to accept that he hated being forced to move out to the middle of nowhere, but after accepting that he was able to see just how much fun he could have with his friends.
- Chie had to accept she was jealous of Yukiko’s looks and talents and had to move past that to be more confident in herself.
- Yukiko had to accept her feelings of not wanting to take over the family inn in order to give herself the motivation to find part of a life to live of her own choosing, and not wait for some knight in shining armor to save her.
- Kanji had to accept that he likes to knit and make cute stuffed toys, even if that meant society thinks that makes too effeminate and therefore gay.
- Rise had to accept that she was running away from who she was first by becoming an idol and then from running away from that in order to focus on finding out who she really was.
- Teddie had to accept that he didn’t know who he was in order to become who he wanted to be now.
- And Naoto, who wasn’t in Episode 3, had to accept that she didn’t need to be a he because that’s what society said a detective should be like.
Adachi, on the other hand, doesn’t move past that. He becomes his shadow, the part of them that everyone else moves past to grow as a character. He accepts the dark parts of himself and becomes that kind of person; killing two people, and pushing someone else down a path that would have killed many more, feeling no remorse about it.
Then passing the blame on the person trying to protect the people that he had endangered.
Next time it’s Adachi’s Dungeon, probably in more detail then the first anime had. I mean we have 6 episodes of the Golden left, and we’re to about the last 3 of the original series.