Persona 4: The Animation – 10

Rise is swept into the TV world, and the gang goes in to rescue her. Kuma leads them to a strip club where Rise’s shadow is holding her captive, along with all the other Rises she’s been throughout her career as a model and idol. Rise makes the mistake of denying her shadow’s existence, and it morphs into a powerful boss that scans all the gang’s personas and renders them all neutral. Kuma has to step in to save Rise, who comes then acknowledges her other self and gains a persona. Then Kuma’s other self appears and nearly kills him, but Rise and Yu save him with their personas, and he gains his own as well.

Well, why not kill two birds with one stone? This episode didn’t waste much time setting up the now very familiar persona-gaining sequence with Rise, but also did it with Bear, which was a surprise. While we’ve not been his biggest fans, this episode showed as no other that he has his uses, much like the non-human character in any given RPG. His unique nature makes him impervious to Rise’s shadow’s scans. This took us back to many an instance when a boss scanned us and we knew they were about to nullify all of our buffs, the bastards.

Rise’s shadow is predictably complex, with its initial form cleverly comprising all the ‘personas’ she’d appropriated during her career. Having been all these different people, it makes sense that her shadow would have that scanning ability. The shadow’s defeat and absorption into a card was a bit rushed, but it’s good to simply get Rise on the team so we can perhaps move on with the killer thing. We’re not crystal clear on Kuma’s problems, but I guess they have something to do with his fear of abandonment/disappearing as well as not knowing what he is or why or how he exists. We didn’t get why the cait sith existed either, but we liked him.

Rating: 3.5

Persona 4: The Animation – 09

Idol Kujikawa Rise, AKA Risette, is sick of her micromanaged, puppet-like life, and decides to quit and move to Inaba where her family runs a tofu shop. Her press conference appears on local TV, making her the next potential victim of the killer. Yu, Kosuke, Chie, Yukiko and Kanji both warn and keep an eye on her. In the course of their surveillance, they catch a real stalker who most likely isn’t the killer. But when Rise appears a second time on the Midnight Channel in her shadow persona, she is kidnapped.

Well, now, this should be interesting. Nobody who has accepted their shadow and gained a persona thus far has been a celebrity of the caliber of Kujikawa Rise – indeed, Yu Narukami is just about the blandest, least-flashy individual imaginable – meaning Rise not only has her shadow like everyone else, but that shadow exists in the real world as the fictional idol “Risette.” Worse still, she is the one everyone in the country knows and adores with all their heart. Not the real Rise.

Yu turns out to be the perfect guy to stand by Rise while the rest of the gang deals with the stalker: he met her before (in a hilarious scene where she first perceives him as a threatening stalker) but always lets her have the first and last say and move, to put her at ease. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Yu liked this chick, despite already being quite friendly with Miss Amagi (who again showed her weirder side this week). So yeah, this Rise has basically just released herself from her shadow’s real-life grip; only to be kidnapped and sent into the shadow world where she’ll presumably reconcile with it.

Rating: 3.5