Friday, 14 October 2011

Persona 4: The Animation - Episode 2

Having awakened the powers within them and gained a key to visit the so-called "Velvet Room" (which isn't a dodgy nightclub, even if it sounds like one), it's time for Narukami and his friends to beat a hasty retreated from the weird world within the television of Junes' department store - something they succeed in doing thanks to their new-found bear friend.

If those involved think that this is the end of the matter however, they're sorely mistaken, as the very next morning we see another body hung up from a telegraph pole.  What's more, this time around the victim of this latest murder is none other than the apple of Hanamura's eye, Saki Konishi.  With shock spreading around the school, Hanamura deduces that her death must in some way be linked to the urban legend of the Midnight Channel and their journey into the television, and so he and Narukami set off to return to this strange, topsy-turvy world in search of answers.

In those terms, the trip is quickly a success - the aforementioned bulbous bear within the television relates his tale of someone dumping people inside "his" domain, and it seems entirely likely that both murder victims so far were amongst those thrown into this strange place.  What's more, our two brave individuals also stumble across the probable reason for their deaths, as Hanamura runs into his "shadow"; a being containing his deepest darkest thoughts and fears who quickly throws the real Hanamura into turmoil with his talk of what really drives him and his friendly demeanour.  With Hanamura's alter-ego turning into a full-on Shadow, it's time for Narukami to put his Persona to use once again while Hanamura himself has his own part to play in winning the day.  But what next for the strange goings-on in this town?

After a reasonable first episode, this second instalment of Persona 4 manages to up the ante in terms of delving deeper into what its premise is basically all about, and does so in a pretty succinct and direct fashion to boot.  The episode's big Persona battle started off well but turned into a bit of a damp squib, and speaking of damp things Narukami continues to be the show's proverbial wet lettuce personality-wise, but despite this Persona 4's core concept and the intrigue around it does shine through sufficiently to keep my interest provided it doesn't become overly formulaic over the coming weeks.

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