Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Persona 4: The Animation - Episode 26 "True Ending" OVA (Completed)

I remember a time when a Director's Cut release meant something, but these days they mostly seem to be more or the same with the odd new scene or moment shoe-horned in here and there - so it goes with the Director's Cut of Persona 4: The Animation's twenty-fifth episode.  Still, at least it served as a reminder before delving into the real meat of this particular offering - the additional bonus "true ending" episode to the series, subtitle No-one Is Alone.

After beginning by teasing us with some brief shots of what appears to be a battle between protagonist Yu and the Velvet Room's Margaret, we return to normality, jumping forward in time from the events of episode twenty-five to see Narukami joining the gang in preparations for his farewell party.  Indeed, all seems to be as normal as the usual suspects goof around... but is everything really as it seems?  Something appears to be up, and a letter received by Yu from Adachi confirms it - the Midnight Channel's rabbit hole goes deeper still...

More specifically, the whole thing leads to the first meeting Narukami had after arriving in Yasoinaba, and lo and behold Yu soons confirms his suspicions as he finds the true mastermind between both the Midnight Channel and his own powers.  With Narukami in a vulnerable state as he laments the fact that he's about to lose his friends, this new suspect puts him through the wringer as he points out that the rest of humanity will take none too kindly to our hero doing his part to dissolve the fog that previously enveloped the town, thus stripping people of the opportunity to pruriently see the weaknesses of their fellow man.  Just as all hope is lost, and with Narukami seemingly prepared to accept an illusory happiness rather than his reality, it's Margaret who arrives to save the day and remind Yu of the importance of the truth in everything that he's done up to this point.  This time the struggle really is over, and they all live happily ever after.  Probably.  Who knows, I live in the UK so I can't even play Persona 4 Arena...

For all of my quibbles with the original ending to Persona 4, it still did a pretty good job of rounding things off to the point where this "true ending" didn't really feel necessary beyond the fact that it was part of the original PlayStation 2 game.  Having watched this episode, I'd really rather it had been left out to be frank, as this additional episode was a clumsy, muddled and disjointed affair - sometimes deliberately so admittedly, but it never really seemed to add anything particularly of value to everything which had gone before.  On top of this, it feels as though ever expense was spared in the production of this episode, with decidedly shaky animation quality which only added to the feeling that the whole thing was hurriedly stuck together in the name of boosting Blu-Ray sales.  I guess it's good for fans of the game to get a feeling of closure from the series thanks to it covering all of the angles of its source material, but as someone who hasn't played the game from beginning to end, part of me wishes that they hadn't bothered with this OVA in its current form.

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