Sunday, 29 January 2012

Persona 4: The Animation - Episode 16

Did you really think that the murders and mysteries within Inaba had been solved and cleared up?  Of course not, and after a decidedly quite spell it appears that it's time for the Midnight Channel to begin broadcasting once again.

This chain of events is brought about by "student detective" Naoto, who makes an appearance on television both to show his prowess and discuss how he still has doubts that the case upon which he worked has really been solved.  This is a theory that he then goes on to espouse directly to our group of would-be crime-fighters, showing that he hasn't completely overlooked the relationships between them and how the group in question might have formed.

Given that TV appearance to provoke any potential criminal into action, it's no shock to find Naoko appearing on the Midnight Channel - first indistinctly, but then in a very obvious fashion via some kind of mad scientist alter-ego.  That means it's time for the gang to head off into the world beyond Junes' TV for the first time in a while, although Rise's inability to track down Naoto means they have to decamp back to the real world to do some digging befre they can find him.  Once there, it seems as if Naoko already has the better of his sobbing, childish Shadow... at least, he does until he denies that the wailing individual before him is part of Naoto's true personality.  This means that it's time to do battle again, as we learn in more ways than one that Naoto isn't quite who he seems.

Having said that I was ready to return to the more mysterious elements of this series after rather a lot of frivolity within Persona 4: The Animation of late, I was certainly thrilled by what we saw here - a well paced, plotted and directed affair which made great use of Naoto's personality and intellect while also taking us back to the heart of the series in compelling fashion.  The potency of its cliff-hanger was perhaps weakened by a reversion to comedy, but this does little to take the sheen off a great episode.  I've thoroughly enjoyed Persona 4's frequent dips into comedy, but those moments work so much better when they have the kind of fare on show this week to sustain them.

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