Persona 4: April 14th – April 15th (Shadow Yosuke)

Last time, we got introduced to the characters: Our cop uncle is a deadbeat dad, our baby cousin is deeply maladjusted from this, and our protagonist has severe Someone Else’s Problem syndrome.

This installment, it’s finally time for the supernatural elements to show up.


John watches the Midnight Channel. Unsurprisingly, the urban legend is true, and we see a blurry picture of Saki on the TV screen followed by the persona trigger phrase.

I am thou… Thou art I…

Can I just say, after three games of this, I really hate that this is what they went with? Yeah, it’s technically a correct translation, but it sounds so awful in English. It’s full of hard stops and phonemes, like the whole phrase is all sharp edges. Compare that to how much softer and fluid it sounds in Latin: Tu fui, ego eris. They could easily have kept it in Latin, given the characters are all nerds who can explain it and it’s a fairly well-known phrase to begin with.

John also discovers he can push his hand into the TV, which startles him so much he stumbles back and hits his head loud enough to wake Nanako, who just leaves him with his potential concussion no matter how you respond.

The next morning Chie accosts me on the way to school and says she wants to talk about the Midnight Channel, but abruptly backpedals and says she wants to wait for the others. Then she makes a sweatdrop emoji and stammers about how actually she should run ahead instead of walking with me, then says actually never mind let’s keep walking together. Did she see us on the Midnight Channel and now she’s embarrassed? It would explain why she doesn’t ask who we saw, if she assumes we saw each other.

At school, we’re introduced to a new teacher: Reverse Weeaboo.

Egyptian cosplay, just normal teacher things.

MS. SOFUE: Our transferee, Mr. Smith, please stand up.

They won’t translate “-san”, but now they’re using “Mr.”? Why? Is she using a different honorific the localizers decided even the weebs wouldn’t recognize?

She teaches us that the year before 1 AD is 1 BC, because the AD calendar has no year zero. That’s interesting, I genuinely didn’t know that.

After class, the students continue to be gossip queens about the murder.

GIRL: Is it supposed to be, like, mimicking an execution? It’s messed up…

WHY WON’T YOU SHOW US A PICTURE. If it really is mimicking a reverse hanging execution, that makes it even more absurd anyone thought it could be an accident. You can’t accidentally string yourself up like that. The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that she died accidentally somewhere else and someone panicked and strung it up to look like a murder, but that would not be anyone’s first assumption.

Yosuke starts talking about the Midnight Channel, then acts really weird and backs out just like Chie did. Chie comes up and says there’s a rumor that Saki discovered the body. Girl, you were there when the housewives said it was the student who left early, followed by the news confirming it. This isn’t a “rumor” at this point. Yosuke, because he possesses a brain, connects this to Saki acting depressed yesterday, and informs us she hasn’t shown up to school today.

Yukiko abruptly leaves, saying things are hectic at the inn. Yosuke succeeds at his Perception check and notes she seems unusually stressed out; Chie fails her Empathy check and brushes this off to gossip about the Midnight Channel, finally.

CHIE: Did you see… it… last night?
YOSUKE: Uh, well… what about you?

Why are they being so weird about this?

CHIE: I did! I seriously saw a girl! But… my soulmate’s a girl? What’s that supposed to mean?

Oh, I think we all know what it means, Chie.

She describes her in more detail than we glimpsed on our TV, but her description is just, “Her hair was brown, about shoulder length. She was wearing our school uniform…” so, it could be any girl in the school, which presumably means any girl in the entire town, since there’s been no evidence of another high school. But Yosuke immediately says it sounds exactly like who he saw, even though “The image I saw was much blurrier,” therefore it must be the same person.

CHIE: We saw the same girl…? Does that mean… we have the same soulmate?

Chie is willing to immediately go along with this instead of even considering that they saw two different girls who have brown hair (or possibly two different girls who have hair, given he didn’t specify any details). That’s a weird assumption, but presumably it’s the game trying to move us in that direction despite the lack of evidence. (But it’s weird they didn’t at least say Yosuke saw the same details in that case.)

John tells them he saw it too, plus the voices and getting sucked into the TV, which the others dismiss because polyamorous staticy rainy midnight soulmates are totally believable, but that’s a bridge too far.

I want to note that the other students, who are established to be gossip queens, are right next to us as we have this presumably normal-volume conversation. But apparently gossipers have a blind spot when it comes to us, because this never comes up.

The fact that in our “dream” our TV was too small to let us in reminds Chie she wants to get a bigger TV, so the group goes to check out the big flatscreen TVs at Junes. They attempt to push their way into the TV, but it doesn’t work for them. It does for John, though.

The body part he chooses to test next is his HEAD, because he apparently has no self-preservation. Yosuke notices customers coming in, so I guess they’re doing this in an empty store — that does explain how they’re keeping this a secret. He and Chie proceed to freak out at the possibility of customers seeing John half-stuck in a TV, and instead of solving this by backing out John just sits there until they bump into him and cause the whole group to tumble into the TV. Presumably, he doesn’t care about anyone seeing this. He’s probably still annoyed they didn’t believe him.

The gang quickly notices there’s no apparent exit and starts freaking out. Yosuke rubs his two braincells together, tries his hardest to say something sensible…

YOSUKE: We got in… so we must be able to get out somehow.

…and fails, because braincells or no he’s still a jRPG protagonist.

CHIE: That’s true, but…

No, it really isn’t. Even in the normal world, one-way entrances exist, and you literally fell in from somewhere above like a trapdoor. That’s before we consider this is an alien world that could operate on its own rules.

Yosuke points out that regardless, they have nothing better to do than explore. Do I get control now? No, we just suddenly cut to the characters in a new location:

No one acknowledges the creepy red portal, even as they enter it.

Yosuke only now tries his phone, which of course has no service. Why didn’t the writers have him do this in the first scene?

Why doesn’t this room have a red portal over the doorway?

Chie’s only reaction is that the room is a dead end (that door is the one they came through), and not that they’re in a creepy slasher shrine. We proceed to have some tonal whiplash by Yosuke suddenly declaring he has to pee, but he can’t go because everyone’s watching. Why was that necessary? Only after this do they acknowledge how creepy the room is. The posters are of the politician’s wife, which implies this could be related to his mistress’ death. The kids decide this isn’t their problem and walk back to the studio, whereupon we meet a new character.

Ah yes, a “bear”. I think the moment we saw this character, we all thought “bear” was the most notable part of this design.

The “bear” is a wuss who cowers at the slightest intimidation, so fortunately he’s not a threat (unless that’s what he wants us to think). He claims that this world is his home, someone has been throwing people in here, and that he can create an exit to get us back to our world. He does the latter before the gang can ask him any more questions. Back in the real world, Yosuke finally makes the connection that maybe the room full of posters of the politician’s wife’s eyes slashed out and a noose hanging from the ceiling might have something to do with the politician’s mistress’ death, but immediately decides he just wants to forget everything that’s happened. You disappoint me, Yosuke.

The gang notes that being in the other world for even that short span was exhausting, and now they feel sick and tired. Remember this, because the game won’t.

Back home, Dojima confirms Saki was the student who found the announcer’s body, as well as Yosuke’s suspicion that she’s gone missing. We watch the news, which gives us new information: Prior to her death, the announcer was staying at Yukiko’s inn.

COMMENTATOR: Oh yes, the Amagi Inn! Their hot springs are first-rate. The manager’s teenage daughter also works there, and it’s rumored that she’ll take over the inn this spring. If that happens, she’ll be one of the youngest managers on record! I should book another trip there!

Well that went from zero to Yikes impressively fast. Even the announcer appears skeeved, as he awkwardly segues to the weather report. Nanako reaction:

Dojima, are you feeding your daughter ramen cups?

The next morning, we finally get to see a body. This time it’s Saki.

Yeah, that is clearly not accidental. She doesn’t even look strangled.

Students are already gossiping about it on the way to school. We skip to a school assembly where Ms. Sofue addresses the school still in full cosplay to deliver the news that Saki has died.

Yosuke is clearly very upset by this. Remember this, because the game won’t.

PRINCIPAL: If [the police] ask you for your cooperation, I urge you, as students of this school, to provide only the facts. […] Mind what you say, not only to the police but to anyone who asks…

This is a man who knows his students. They proceed to demonstrate why he needs to say this by immediately gossiping as soon as the assembly ends.

RUMOR-LOVING GIRL: Someone said the cause of death was some unknown poison.

So finally we get a possible cause of death. This would explain why the police were hesitant to release that detail, but I’m very curious who this “someone” is.

GIRL’S FRIEND: Unknown…? C’mon, this isn’t some sci-fi drama. Oh, by the way, did you hear? Someone saw a girl that looked like Saki on that Midnight Channel thing.

As we all know, poison only exists in sci-fi, but soulmates appearing on dead televisions is very real.

Yosuke says he watched the Midnight Channel again last night and he’s certain the girl was Saki. This time, however, she looked like she was writhing in pain. He remembers a student a few days ago said his soulmate was the announcer lady, which means she might have appeared on the Midnight Channel too. Now that they’ve both ended up dead in the exact same way, he theorizes the Midnight Channel doesn’t show your soulmate, it shows people who are about to die.

How did the soulmate rumor even start, actually? If it only shows one person at a time, surely anyone who compared notes would realize they saw the same person? Does everyone in this town believe in polyamorous soulmates?

Yosuke is also finally willing to acknowledge that the room they saw might have something to do with the announcer’s death, especially given the mascot creature said someone was throwing people into the TV world. He wants to enter the TV world again to search for clues.

We go through the standard “Why don’t we let the police handle this?” / “No one will believe us!” spiel, though interestingly Yosuke decides the police would be useless (on the basis that they still haven’t solved the last case, even though he’s now speculating that’s due to lack of information not lack of work ethic) before he says they wouldn’t believe them.

YOSUKE: I just… I need to know why Senpai had to die like this. After what I’ve seen and what I’ve put together, there’s no way I can ignore it now…

You can decide whether you want to help him, but Chie will guilt you into looking after him no matter what you say.

Oh, he brought a lifeline! Look at him continuing to use those braincells. Chie has borrowed her own braincell to point out that they have no guarantee they can get out again, but Yosuke insists it’ll be fine.

YOSUKE: We were able to come back once, right? If we go in from the same location, maybe we’ll meet that bear again.
CHIE: “Maybe” isn’t good enough!
YOSUKE: Look, I can’t just act like everyone else and pretend this has nothing to do with me.

I can agree, disagree, or deflect by pointing out he’s endangering Chie too. (Can’t complain that he’s staking my life on a “maybe” though.) Yosuke explains he never planned to bring Chie at all, since he needs her to hold the lifeline. He gives me the golf club so I have a weapon, but also gives me some healing items! That’s a pleasant surprise, I wasn’t expecting him to think that far ahead.

As soon as we go in the lifeline snaps. Yosuke notes we’re in the same place as before, so his theory of there being a correlation between entrances and exits was correct. The “bear” waddles over and gets mad at us for coming back, abruptly deciding we must be the culprits because we’re the only people he’s seen coming and going. Yosuke is confused by the concept of throwing people into the TV world even though the “bear” mentioned it last time. You have so many braincells, Yosuke, why must you disappoint me? Does the TV world make people stupid? Is this a metaphor for TV rotting kids’ brains?

YOSUKE: If someone was thrown in here and they couldn’t get out, they might die!

Yes, it’s almost like the mysterious murders are… the work of a murderer. Fortunately he’s only a little slow on the uptake, and does make the connection right after he says this.

Mascot thing whines more and asks why we came back.

BEAR: It’s a one-way door! You can’t get out once you’re in!

Wait, how would he know that if he’s never left this world? He seems to be referring to the fact that he has to create an exit, but the exits dump us out of the same TV, so there is in fact some kind of two-way connection going on here.

Yosuke gloats that they don’t need him this time, only to discover his lifeline’s broken. Mascot thing continues to whine.

BEAR: I’ve lived here for a long time. But it’s never been noisy like this till now.

This is going to become an odd statement in a few moments.

It demands we prove we’re not the culprits. At this point both John and Yosuke get fed up with its whining and just yell they’re not the culprits harder. I’m disappointed I can’t point out the logical fallacy of proving a negative. Yosuke finally gets to the point and explains they’re here to investigate the mysterious deaths. He claims that “every time” the fog appears it’s correlated with a death, which seems quite a leap to make from just two data points. He’s correct, though, because the mascot thing reveals the weather actually is significant: when the fog clears in the TV world, monsters attack.

BEAR: I know that if it’s foggy on your side, the fog lifts here.

HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS. Honestly, at this point he seems the most suspicious. He was absent when we arrived the first time, he was weirdly hostile to us the moment we showed up to investigate, and he keeps claiming knowledge about how the two worlds relate even though he also claims he’s never left here. He definitely seems pathetic, but a) that could be an act and b) if he’s getting the monsters to kill the victims, he wouldn’t need to fight anyone directly. The only thing in his favor right now is that he saved us last time… although now that I say that, he could have done that because he knew that if you can open TV portals you can fight the Shadows, so he wanted to get us out without engaging us directly.

…And interestingly, he immediately distracts the protagonists by accusing them again, as if he doesn’t want them to think too hard about what he just said.

Yosuke notices this area looks like a TV studio and asks if the Midnight Channel is being filmed here. The “bear” expresses confusion at the concept of “filming”.

BEAR: This world has always been like this. No one has ever done that “filming” thing here.

That first line is an interesting statement. How long has he been here? Does he mean it’s always been like this as long as he can remember, or has he been here since this world’s creation? He goes on to insist that:

BEAR: Only me and Shadows are here!

So the only things in this world are murderous monsters and… you. Not suspicious at all, no siree.

It’s weird that he seems to have a lot of information yet doesn’t know what filming is, even though we’re standing in a literal film studio. Actually, for that matter, if he doesn’t know what it is, how does he know no one’s done it? (And in a little while we’ll learn the locations here are created by people, which means someone must have come in to create a studio.)

Yosuke does not put this all together, but does point out the mascot thing is the most suspicious of them, and accuses him of being the culprit. He also demands he take off the costume so we can see what he really looks like.

Well, Yosuke, you may not have been a murderer before, but…

I kid, of course. Mascot thing is fine. So fine he just continues the conversation as if nothing happened!

BEAR: Me…? The culprit…? I wouldn’t do such a thing… I just live here… I just wanna live here peacefully…

Really interests me that he swung from hyperaggressive to “I am just a poor smol bean uwu” on a dime. Presumably because we’ve shown a willingness to manhandle him, he also withdraws his accusations against us and asks us to look for the real culprit because we have to stop “him”. Is that just English being chauvinist or are we supposed to find it incredibly suspicious Mr. “I just wanna live here” knows the gender of the culprit?

BEAR: Promise me, or else… I’m not gonna let you guys out of here.

Okay, so even if he isn’t aware humans need food and water, he just said this place is full of roving monsters who become hyperaggressive periodically. It is currently looking very plausible that he is the culprit and he’s actively trying to murder us.

BEAR: This can’t keep going on! My home here will be a complete mess!

So roving murder monsters are fine, but humans showing up for five seconds to get murdered is a “complete mess”?

Then he starts crying. Yosuke isn’t impressed and points out how incredibly weird he’s acting. He asks you for what to do, and after a lot of internal narration about destiny and whatnot, you remember, oh yeah, he holds your only way out of here so it’s not like you have any other options.

BEAR: You’re the only ones I can ask. Will you promise me…?

Five minutes ago we were definitely the culprits, now we’re his only hope.

…And huh, the internal narration very directly reminded us about Igor’s opening statements about a “contract”. Is this “promise” the contract this time? Mascot thing perks up immediately as soon as I agree, I notice.

YOSUKE: Damn bear… Practically holding a gun to our heads…

Thank you, Yosuke. You may have hit your head on the way in but it looks like your brain is still working. Keep doing that, you’re the only smart one so far.

Everyone finally introduces themselves. Mascot thing is “Teddie”.

YOSUKE: But how are we supposed to find the culprit in the first place?
TEDDIE: I dunno…

Helpful. He does, however, know where the last person (presumably Saki) came in and can lead us there. Definitely not a trap! He also gives us glasses that let us see through the fog.

YOSUKE: With these on, it’s like the fog doesn’t exist.

So we’ll have no warning when it clears and the Shadows get aggressive. Teddie is definitely trying to kill us.

TEDDIE: Well, I’ve been here for a long time. So you can rely on me! Uh… but I can only show you where the place is. You guys will have to defend yourselves.
YOSUKE: Wh-What happened to relying on you!? There better not be any monsters!

Definitely.

Where did these glasses come from? Teddie doesn’t visibly retrieve them from any sort of pocket, they just suddenly appear in his hand. He doesn’t wear any, either, so how did he even know we’d need them?

Yosuke demands Teddie fight the monsters if he knows so much about them. Teddie insists he’s a pathetic little baby who can’t fight. (“I’ve got no muscles,” he insists as his disturbingly realistic ears twitch.)

TEDDIE: Oh! Oh! I’ll give you guys *moral* support from a safe distance!

“The better to escape after I sic the monsters on you.”

John calls his bluff and punches him, whereupon he flails pathetically like a flipped turtle.

Credit where it’s due, I genuinely like his voice acting. They really sell how utterly pathetic he is.

Yosuke mentioned Saki earlier, so Teddie asks who she is. Yosuke gives the same pained “…” he did at the assembly and refuses to answer.

I still don’t get control, but I’m teleported to a new area. Yosuke notes it looks like a carbon copy of the town’s shopping district. Teddie says that it’s new and “some weird places have appeared here recently.” Yosuke notices Teddie’s keeping his distance and accuses him of planning to cut and run when things get tough. Thank you, Yosuke.

He was absolutely gonna.

Okay, he can blush? What on Earth is his biology? We need to dissect him. For science. (He also does not light up. I wonder if that’s a girl-only thing.)

Yosuke notes that if this is the shopping district, Saki’s liquor store should be here too.

Once again no one acknowledges the creepy red portal. Teddie warns that he can sense Shadows are about to attack… even though the fog hasn’t cleared, so are they just aggressive all the time?

We get an anime cutscene of the Shadows appearing. The red portal is still present and the shadows actually come out of it, so it’s clearly diegetic and not just a UI element. Then John awakens to his Persona power and we have our first battle.

For some reason he’s framed like a villain the whole time. Are we gonna turn out to be the bad guy all along?

Teddie actually does give us useful advice instead of running and demonstrates that he’ll be fulfilling Fuuka’s role of scanning enemies and shouting encouragement. Unlike in P3 however, you can’t turn his voice lines off so you have to listen to him shouting the same canned lines constantly. Why do gamedevs ever think that’s a good idea?

Teddie claims he can tell these Shadows have a weakness, but he can’t tell what it is. Oookay. Conveniently, they are of course weak to my starting spell (electricity). My starting Persona is Izanagi, who looks like this:

The Shinto father god is into weird chastity cages, sure, why not. I’ve given up on trying to understand these artists’ design decisions. Is this the same character designer as Kingdom Hearts, or is there a whole group of artists with zipper fetishes?

John Smith has faced his other self… He has obtained the facade used to overcome life’s hardships, the Persona Izanagi!

As usual this makes no sense to me. How is there even the slightest connection between social masks and mythological figures? Even assuming this isn’t literally Izanagi, just John’s view of him, why is he going through life pretending to be Izanagi? This made so much more sense when they were just literal demons.

Yosuke fanboys out at how cool that was and wonders if he can do it too. Teddie is suddenly also my fanboy and dubs me “Sensei”, which I suppose is a way to get around the variable name when there’s voice acting. I have no idea why he specifically chose to call me “Teacher”, though, or how he even knows the phrase when supposedly he’s never been to the human world.

TEDDIE: I can’t believe you were hiding such an amazing power! No wonder the Shadows were scared of you!

Really buttering me up, huh. He then asks if I’m the one who’s able to bring people to the TV world, which John confirms without giving me a chance to lie even though frankly I would like to, given how incredibly suspicious Teddie is. He clearly knew one of us had the power from the start, but he didn’t know which of us had it. Maybe that’s why he was so quick to get all of us out; he didn’t know which of us could fight back.

As we approach the threshold, we start hearing voices. They appear to be random townspeople, all ranting about how much they hate Junes’ takeover of the local economy, as well as some gossip about Saki taking a job there even though Junes is ruining her family’s store. Inside, we hear Saki’s father berating her.

MIDDLE-AGED VOICE: Saki, how many times do I have to tell you!? You know what the neighbors say about you, right!? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? You’re the eldest daughter of a family who’s owned this store for generations! Is it the money? Or did you meet some guy there? Just tell me why you have to work THERE, of all places!

Further in they see a photo of all the Junes part-timers together. Yosuke expresses surprise at how it’s cut, but we don’t get a close-up to see what he means. Then we hear Saki’s voice:

SAKI: I… never had a chance to say it… I always wanted to tell Hana-chan… …that he was a real pain in the ass. I was nice to him just because he was the store manager’s son, that’s all… But he takes it completely the wrong way and gets all enthusiastic… What a dip. Who cares about Junes, anyway? Because of that store, our business is ruined, my parents hate me, the neighbors talk behind my back… I wish everything would just disappear…

Okay, so why was she working there?

Initially, I thought her father was being unreasonable; if Junes is the only game in town, obviously she has no choice. But thinking on it, our introduction to the town economy on our very first day is that there are part-time jobs everywhere. Junes does not, in fact, appear to be stifling the labor market at all, so she absolutely could have worked somewhere else. The father’s rant sets up the possibility that she was there because she had a crush on Yosuke, but now it turns out she hates him too. So… why does she have to work there of all places?

Also, it is bizarre that even in her deepest darkest thoughts she’s still referring to the guy she hates with a cutsey pet name. Are we supposed to think this isn’t actually true? (She also implies she thought he was too forward with her, yet the interaction we saw between them seemed perfectly platonic, and he refers to her with a respectful “Senpai” when she’s the one who has a pet name for him.)

I would be willing to accept that the Shadows are twisting things and showing an exaggeration of what she actually felt, but then Yosuke’s Shadow shows up to explain that everything Shadows say is 100% true and what you really feel.

YOSUKE: Who are you? I-I wouldn’t think that…
SHADOW: Hahaha… Yeah, right. How long are you going to keep deluding yourself? Screw the shopping district, and Junes too! You’re sick of everything, especially living out in the sticks!
[…] And what’s this about checking out this world for Saki-senpai’s sake? Hah! I knew the real reason you came snooping… […] You just came because you thought it sounded like a good time! What else is there to do out in this shithole? A world inside the TV–now that’s exciting! You didn’t have a single other reason for coming here, did you!? […] You’re just trying to act like a big shot… If all went well, hey, maybe you could even be a hero! And that Senpai you were so sweet on? Her death was the perfect excuse!

Yosuke denies everything and insists the Shadow isn’t him, whereupon it turns into a monster. I’ll talk about the battle in a moment, but for better coherency I want to cover what happens after first:

YOSUKE: You’re… not me…
TEDDIE: That thing came from you, Yosuke… You have to admit it… or it’ll go berserk again…

How do you know this, Teddie? And why didn’t you warn us about this if you did?

I give Yosuke a pep talk and he finally admits everything it said was completely true.

YOSUKE: I knew it wasn’t lying… But I was so ashamed that I didn’t want to admit it… You’re me… and I’m you. When you get down to it, all of this is me.

So, to recap: Yosuke acts genuinely nice and respectful towards Saki. When she dies, he acts extremely upset and depressed about it. He takes the danger of the TV world very seriously. But apparently, that was all an act. The Shadow just said he didn’t care about Saki at all and the only reason he came to investigate was to play hero, and Yosuke just admitted all of that is true.

And I’m willing to believe him, because his only reaction to discovering his friend secretly hated him this whole time and died thinking about how much she despised him?

YOSUKE: What a way to find out… Geez, this is so embarrassing…

Anyway, Yosuke’s repressed id looks like this, apparently:

Later Shadows have very blatant metaphors in their designs, but I’m not clear on this one. The puppet hero on the back could represent his desire for self-aggrandizement, I suppose, and the sentai iconography fits with that. The hero is interestingly exaggerated, though; its hands are cartoonishly large, and it sways around like one of those streamer balloons. Perhaps the fact that the main body is an animal (in military camo, no less) denotes that he really just wants a fight, and is only pretending to be heroic.

The battle is a clear tutorial for the 1-More system, as you’re both mutually weak to each others’ spells so you have to learn how to guard to negate your weakness or you’ll die. Interestingly, my physical skills do more damage than my spells even with the weakness, either because physical skills are inherently stronger or Izanagi has crap magic. Despite having a very simple attack pattern you can beat by just doing the same actions on loop, it has a ton of HP, making the battle unnecessarily drawn-out and repetitive. Possibly it’s meant to force you to use the healing items Yosuke gave you.

Oh, and Yosuke doesn’t participate (he just faints when the Shadow transforms) so you’re doing all the work of beating up his psychological trauma for him, which seems really weird, thematically. The reason you have to do this is because the Shadow becomes his Persona, so party members can’t participate in gameplay until you beat their Shadows.

The strength of heart required to face oneself has been made manifest…
Yosuke has faced his other self…
He has obtained the facade used to overcome life’s hardships, the Persona Jiraiya!

Game. Game, do you know what “facade” means. It means “fake”, which means the opposite of “true”, the thing you just claimed his Shadow was. How are we supposed to interpret this? Are we lobotomizing these kids by turning their true selves into facades? Why did you have to do this instead of just making them guardian angels like in SMT if?

Back to the plot, Yosuke proceeds to clinically evaluate the situation and conclude that Saki must have been attacked by her Shadow like he was, but since she had no means to fight it must have killed her. Teddie reiterates that the Shadows go berserk when the fog clears, even though it’s currently foggy and we still got attacked by Shadows. Is he just lying to us? Yosuke, having used up all his braincells for today, accepts this without question.

YOSUKE: So if I’d been here until the fog cleared, I woulda been in much deeper trouble?
[…]
TEDDIE:
[The victims] disappeared when the fog lifted. But they were safe before that. No Shadows attacked them.

THEY JUST ATTACKED US THOUGH. The only reason Yosuke isn’t just as dead as Saki is because someone else was here to save him. Teddie immediately tries to paper over this plot hole with a handwave of [the shadows] might see people who investigate this place as enemies…” even though Yosuke’s Shadow attacked us for completely unrelated reasons. Shadows can clearly attack people by default, fog or no fog. Why is the story so insistent on this?

He also notes that he feels exhausted, just like last time.

TEDDIE: This world isn’t made for humans. It’s not comfortable for you here.

HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS.

Yosuke’s brain manages a bit more activity, and he concludes that the places that appear in the TV world like the slasher shrine and the shopping district must be created by the thoughts of people who enter. Odd that we haven’t generated anything, though, especially when we were here for a while last time. And what places were here before this, if only two people have ever entered? Was this TV studio an original part of the world, or was it created by someone too? If the latter, that would suggest it’s a reflection of the killer, which could be a useful clue to their identity. (Moreover, given the locations are 1:1 with the real world, that would mean the killer came in through Junes originally…)

Or could the TV studio have been created by the announcer lady? We assumed that the slasher shrine was her, but it honestly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for her to hate the wife so obsessively, or explain what the noose is there for. She knew what she was doing and she did it, but as far as we know it’s her career that really suffered. The wife did get her in trouble, but in terms of what she should be obsessing over, it makes more sense for it to be the studio and everything she lost. The other possibility is that people can generate multiple areas and they’re both her, but still, why would her Shadow pick the slasher shrine? (And the noose implies she was suicidal, but what we’ve seen of Shadows is that you don’t need to be suicidal for them to be deadly.) It would be interesting if the slasher shrine was actually generated by the wife, who perhaps hates herself?

Teddie also confirms he sensed two people total come in here before disappearing, which Yosuke takes as confirmation the announcer lady was also killed here… but what about the culprit? Does he not enter the world himself? Surely he would have to in order to retrieve the bodies, at least; Teddie hasn’t provided any explanation for how they got out after they died. Perhaps he’s lying to cover for the culprit.

TEDDIE: It’ll be dangerous, but we might be able to fight [the shadows]! We might save people!
YOSUKE: Are you saying, if anyone else gets thrown in here, we can save them before they disappear!? Like how you guys just saved me!?

Hey, remember how we literally just learned Yosuke has an unhealthy hero complex and maybe we shouldn’t encourage that? No? Just me? (Also excuse you, “guys” plural didn’t save you, I did all the work.)

Now that we know where Shadows come from Teddie also makes an additional request to find out where he came from, because he’s definitely not a Shadow no siree, just the only other inhabitant in a world populated exclusively by Shadows.

…You know, I wonder if Teddie is what happens if you accept your Shadow without fighting it. He visibly looks like a literal shadow: there’s nothing but a dark void inside his costume, so he’s nothing but facade and shadow. And come to think of it… if Shadows are made from people and the area is teeming with them, there must have been people coming in here before this. If Teddie can’t remember anyone but the two victims, that means he wasn’t created with this world, he arrived after it was already highly populated. That might also explain why there seem to be plenty of places here for Teddie to live in, even though it seems like people can only create one place.

Teddie confirms that different TVs correlate to different locations in the TV world, and asks that we always enter the TV world from the same place so he can wait for us here. Then he dumps us out in the middle of the store and Chie freaks out because she thought we were dead. God, though, she is so whiny. The voice actor did a very successful job of emulating the voice of a shrill whiny teenager, but that doesn’t change the fact that’s not something I want to listen to.

YOSUKE: I think… I’m gonna sleep well tonight.

YOUR FRIEND DIED HATING YOU.

2 Comments

  1. Doorto says:

    Man, its been years since I’ve last commented on this site. But I just had to come back for the post on this exact part of Persona 4. (I’m also reminded of how badly I want a feature where the comment box is to the right of the post so I don’t have to constantly scroll up and down, haha).

    This part of Persona 4 is special to me because it led me down a path of self-reflection and discovery as a sophomore high schooler. I heavily identified as Yosuke, happy-go-lucky guy that likes to make people happy. So seeing his character really ravaged by that shadow hit me super hard (shout outs to the VA for doing an absolutely wonderful job there). From there, I started to ask myself, “what would my shadow say to me?” and I focused a lot on self-reflection from that point forward. Extremely important at that age due to being a teenager and learning a lot about yourself at that age. It also helped that P4 was one of the first media I remember (that wasn’t a school assignment) being so particularly smart.

    When I was applying to colleges, I wrote a paper explaining the effect this game had on me. And it was the magnum opus of my high school career. So really double downed on how important this was for me, haha.

    Ok so now for reaction to the post.

    “So we’ll have no warning when it clears and the Shadows get aggressive” You see, its symbolic~ (hiimdaisy reference). Gonna see that phrase a lot when talking about Persona 4. Partly because Atlus in general is just really freaking blatant with the symbolism (which isn’t a complain), and the meme.

    Speaking of which, “How is there even the slightest connection between social masks and mythological figures?” Now, say it with me everyone, “its symbolic~”. The tldr is that the personas are basically the writers showing their hand/source material for the given character. I forget the P3 guys parallels, and the one I know for P4 is for a late-game character so won’t say anything more.

    “Game. Game, do you know what “facade” means. It means “fake”, which means the opposite of “true”, the thing you just claimed his Shadow was. How are we supposed to interpret this?” oh, oh! Pick me! Pick me! I know the answer to this one, mr and/or ms blogger. Jungian Psychology.

    “YOUR FRIEND DIED HATING YOU” lol

    1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      I know very little about Jungian psychology other than that it’s bunk, so I’ll probably be lost for most of this, then.

      The thing about symbols is that they need to make sense diegetically. If a symbol only makes sense metatextually, I consider that sloppy writing. It’s cool that Yosuke was inspired by a folk hero, it still doesn’t make sense that his personal facade takes the form of a public domain character who lots of other people already vibe with. The diegetic explanation is completely at odds with the intended symbolism.

      Again, none of this would be a problem if they used the SMTif system of guardian angels instead of insisting these public domain characters are intrinsically tied to specific people.

      This part of Persona 4 is special to me because it led me down a path of self-reflection and discovery as a sophomore high schooler.

      Yeah, this is probably tainted by me being a curmudgeonly old man; the game’s definitely intended for high schoolers, and I’m not one. Shadows don’t intrigue me as much as they would a larval human because I feel I’ve settled on a pretty solid perception of myself; I doubt my Shadow would tell me anything I don’t already know. (I would also just murder it because I don’t believe in the Jungian crap about needing to accept the worst parts of yourself.)

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