Persona 4: April 15th evening – April 17th (Shadow Chie)

Last time, Yosuke’s crush got fridged, which he shrugged off because he’s a callous monster who doesn’t care about anyone but himself. He fused with his Jungian shadow by accepting he’s a terrible human being, and I’m apparently cool with this.

On the way home we see Yukiko, who’s in a fancy kimono. She makes some small talk and mentions she’s never been outside of this town. Back at home, the news suspects Saki’s death was the work of the murderer trying to silence the witness. Perhaps, but it seems odd that they’d only strike after the entire town knew about it. According to the coroner, Saki died an hour after midnight. Curious. Nanako is depressed because another incident means her dad won’t be home. I can try to reassure her, but she just gives a resigned response.

Nanako seems to be very reliable for her age.

That’s certainly one way of putting it.

The news transitions to a program on the Amagi Inn. The former manager has stepped down following the death of the announcer, so Yukiko has succeeded her, which explains why she’s been so busy lately.

REPORTER: In other words, she’s a manager who’s still in high school. Now that has a nice ring to it… Let’s see if we can interview her. Excuse me! […] We’ve heard you’re the new manager. Is it true you’re still in high school?
YUKIKO: Oh, well, I’m only filling in temporarily…
REPORTER: Someday, though… That aside, wow! You’re looking gorgeous in that kimono. You must have had a lot of male visitors.

Yes, he makes sure everyone knows she’s underage before hitting on her.

NANAKO: …This is boring.

The child is numb to this. Talk to your daughter, Dojima.

On the Midnight Channel we see a woman in a kimono, so by conservation of detail it’s obviously Yukiko. John has the thought of sticking his hand in to see if he can interact with her, but this just dispels the image.

John dreams of the Velvet Room and gets the Velvet Key. Igor gives him the standard exposition about personas and social links.

IGOR: You must abide by your contract and assume responsibility for all decisions you may make.

Wait, did I already sign the contract? When? Why are you choosing to be so confusing about this when you were so direct in the last game, Atlus? This is acting like I was supposed to sign it before I even started the game as a meta… oh. I suddenly wonder if Toby Fox had the same thought when he did that thing in Deltarune’s Terms of Service. Given he’s listed SMT as one of his inspirations, almost definitely.

That was a pleasant diversion into thinking about a better game, but back to this.

IGOR: The Persona you have acquired… It is a side of you that shows itself when you face the world around you. Perhaps you can think of it as… a facade of determination you wear to face various difficulties in life.

Right, I think we can all relate to roleplaying as gods as part of our lives. This remains stupid and I’m going to keep harping on it for as long as the game does.

He then exposits about the wild card ability (lets us use multiple personas), and I didn’t go into this in my P3 review so I’m gonna harp on it here: This is also stupid. Given the fluff they’re using, everyone should have multiple personas. The entire point of this psychological model is that everyone has multiple selves they present in different situations, not just one alter ego they adopt in life-or-death situations. (To address the obvious point that I hated that in P1, my objection was to Personas being transferable, not to characters containing multitudes.) If they wanted to restrict everyone else to one Persona for gameplay reasons, they should have used a different explanation.

The next morning, Yosuke says he also watched the Midnight Channel last night and “We need to find the culprit… No matter what it takes!” Am I the only one who remembered we just learned playing hero is a character flaw of his? I should not be encouraging this! Yosuke reiterates that we definitely have to do it ourselves because the police would never believe us, even though the past few days showed I could clearly just demonstrate my TV-touching powers to them. The game gives me four response options, none of which are pointing this out. Even if I tell him he’s on his own, I’m railroaded into agreeing to help, which gets me his social link. He’s the Magician, which is fitting.

Yosuke’s determination in battle has been enhanced…
Yosuke can now wake up a knocked-down ally during battle!

Oh, I heard about this. Apparently now the gameplay bonuses are tied to the characters’ individual social links instead of the team one, which makes a lot more sense.

At school, Chie shows up to tell us she hasn’t seen Yukiko since yesterday. Then she immediately launches into blabbing about our supernatural adventures in earshot of the rest of the class.

Chie thinks the woman who appeared last night is Yukiko, because she recognized the kimono as the one she was wearing yesterday. Chie emailed her last night, but she hasn’t responded.

You summed up the information you gained in that other world for Chie.

Chie asks if Yukiko could have been thrown into the TV world in a voice that is definitely not a whisper. Yosuke is impressively calm and says they should give her another call before panicking. Yukiko doesn’t pick up her cell, but does pick up when Chie calls the inn directly. Chie then whines that Yosuke got her worked up over nothing. She is becoming more grating by the minute. Yosuke takes this abuse with genuinely impressive chill, and notes that contrary to what they thought, this shows that people don’t have to be in the TV world to show up on the Midnight Channel.

Well, the school rumor mill will certainly have a lot of material today.

We skip over school and straight to the gang meeting up at Junes.

So after all that fuss over hiding John’s powers from the customers we’re just saying all of this in the middle of a crowded store. I guess we’ll soon get to test Yosuke’s theory of if the police will believe us after the entire town gossips about it.

YOSUKE: O-Okay, I think that’s more than enough about my sorry escapades.

Oh? How much did we tell her? Is he trying to cut us off before we tell Chie he’s an amoral scumbag?

I kid you not, the background NPC TURNS TO LOOK AT US right after this line.

Yosuke finally notices we have an audience. He “forgot” there was an electronics sale today, so the area is packed. Seems like the sorta thing one would have noticed on the way in. His grand plan to keep the masquerade is to… stand in front of us as we stick our hand in, which he says at normal volume while only a few feet away from the customers.

A foolproof plan as long as customers only look at this TV from exactly two angles.

Something bites us. We presumably yelp, and so does Yosuke.

CHIE: Shh! Not so loud, you idiot!

Oh I think it’s far too late for that, Chie.

CHIE: D-Dude, is that a bite mark!? Are you okay!?

And she proceeds to ignore her own advice. The lady looks away at this point to pretend she’s not listening. Chie assumes it was Teddie who bit us and, to her credit, does audibly whisper into the TV to reprimand him. Then the TV starts glowing on its own and Teddie’s voice comes through the speakers. Oh yeah, everyone in the store is gonna be talking about this. Yosuke asks if Teddie senses anyone on his side, and Teddie proceeds to be extremely weird about it.

TEDDIE: Who’s “anyone”? I’m a lonely little bear like always. This land feels so bear-en…

So he hates the idea of people coming into the TV world because it makes it “messy”, but now he’s “lonely”, like “always”, even though we just gave him company yesterday. And if he’s alone, that means he really was the one who bit us, which he did for no apparent reason. He is looking more and more suspicious.

Credit to Chie, she resolves to warn Yukiko anyway. We then cut to Dojima and his partner Adachi investigating the murder. Dojima repeats the standard line that they don’t know if it’s a homicide, but Adachi is incredulous, saying it couldn’t possibly be an accident. Thank you. Dojima confirms they do not have any cause of death for either victim, so who was spreading that poison rumor? Also, how do they not have a cause of death? Do Shadows not inflict physical damage?

The politician’s wife, at least, has an alibi, and apparently she was the one who broke the scandal in the first place, so it wouldn’t make sense for her to murder her after drawing attention to it. (Unless of course she’s playing 4D chess and using reverse psychology.) The politician himself also has an alibi, but for some reason Dojima does not consider the possibility that maybe a well-connected politician might have an accomplice. He’s also been fired as a result of the scandal, which Adachi feels makes him “just as much of a victim” as the announcer, who in addition to losing her career also, you know, died. They’re also at a loss as to why anyone would target Saki; the only logical motive would be to silence her, but Dojima voices what I considered earlier: she was killed after she reported the body, so there would be no point.

I wonder if the link here is parasocial relationships? The first victim was a TV announcer; then Saki was only killed after she got interviewed by that creepy reporter. Now Yukiko is slated to be the next victim, right after she was also interviewed by (the same?) creepy reporter. That seems to be the only correlation between the victims, and surely there has to be some connection to TV given that’s the story’s central motif.

Dojima declares the killer has to be someone in the town, because as we all know it’s impossible for murderers to enter small towns, especially ones that rely on tourism to keep themselves afloat.

On tonight’s Midnight Channel we get a much clearer image, and this time it’s definitely Yukiko.

However, she’s in a ball gown instead of a kimono, and acts completely contrary to Yukiko’s established personality: She’s extremely outgoing and sexual, giving us a panty shot before declaring that she’s going to search for “a whole harem, and the best of the lot is gonna be all mine!” So obviously this is her Shadow. (Also, that’s not how harems work.)

Yosuke immediately calls me to say WTF. I tell him to call Yukiko, but he doesn’t have her number. Instead of calling Chie to get her contact information, he decides Yukiko will totally be fine if they leave her in Death World overnight and we can continue this discussion tomorrow. I’m given no chance to object to this.

You decide to go to bed early tonight.

Midnight is “early”? What are these kids’ sleep schedules normally like???

The next morning it’s sunny for the first time we’ve come here. Dojima has already abandoned his child.

If you leave, Nanako will be left all alone to look after the house… On the other hand, you have important business with Yosuke today…

Nanako insists she’ll be fine by herself, then immediately glues herself to the TV. Satisfied with this, we abandon our baby cousin.

You know what would have been funny? If we actually did have to take her with us to our meetups. She loves Junes and constantly asks to go there, so it would be a completely reasonable thing to do on the face of it. We could even have a funny running gag of the protagonists trying to keep secrets around her — or more likely, given how badly they bungled that yesterday, have her constantly telling Dojima about your TV adventures only for him to still not believe you. But no, we don’t even get the option. Nanako just gets a deadbeat brother as well as a deadbeat dad.

At Junes, Yosuke says he found a bunch of weapons in his closet at home that we can use to fight Shadows. Why do you have weapons in your closet, Yosuke?

Then he starts brandishing them (and talking about our magic powers) in public. Clearly he used WIS as his dump stat for all that INT.

We can express a preference for either the katana or the nata (or say neither), but I’m not sure why because our weapons are fixed: we can only use swords and Yosuke can only use daggers. I’m not sure why he likes daggers so much given fighting in close quarters is absolutely brutal, but okay, Mr. Hero.

On a character level, it sure is disturbingly consistent with what his Shadow said that Yosuke prioritized acquiring weapons so he could feel like a big man over checking in on Yukiko like he promised he would.

He then starts literally swinging the weapons around, while also trying to dual-wield katanas. Oh, child, you should not be allowed near sharp objects, stick to magic for now. The lady just watches all of this.

At this point the plot finally acknowledges how bad we are at keeping secrets as a policeman walks over to apprehend the delinquent teen swinging weapons around in broad daylight. The first words out of Yosuke’s mouth are “We didn’t steal it,” and his defense only gets worse from there. He then tries to placate the officer by raising his hands while forgetting they’re currently occupied.

Of course, we are only arrested instead of reduced to Swiss cheese. See, this is why Persona could never take place in America. For some reason I’m dragged off with him, even though I am clearly an innocent victim here!

At the station, Dojima shows up and openly admits to police corruption.

DOJIMA: You’re lucky I was around, or this would have ended up on your permanent record.

Then, conveniently, we overhear some policemen mention Yukiko has disappeared. Yosuke expresses no remorse over the possibility that maybe he could have done something about this if he didn’t decide to sleep through it. The police’s going theory is that she ran away from home. Dojima tells us not to stick our nose into it, but Yosuke identifies Adachi as a soft target and grills him instead. He tells us Yukiko was reported missing by her parents last evening; also, the first victim, the TV announcer, was apparently a very rude guest when she was staying at the inn and sent the manager into a nervous breakdown. That’s why Yukiko has been appointed manager so suddenly. Adachi lets slip the police think she’s “laying low for some reason or another.” So they think she’s the killer. How very helpful of you to spill all this to civilians, Adachi!

Posting this so you can marvel at the posters with me. NO! Drugs.

Chie shows up to berate us. She just came back from the inn after trying to calling Yukiko all morning because unlike Yosuke she actually cares about her friend, so she knows Yukiko’s missing.

You guys are so bad at this. Chie loudly shouts about it in response, so everyone in the lobby now definitely knows.

YOSUKE: With the police totally on the wrong track, we’ve gotta handle it ourselves.

Or you could just shove your hand into a TV in front of them, but then I suppose you wouldn’t get to be a hero. I’m really frustrated we can’t at least call him out on this.

Yosuke is nervous about entering the TV world unarmed since their weapons were confiscated. Chie loudly says in front of the receptionist that don’t worry, she knows a place where we can get the good stuff!

Huh, only $60 for a battleaxe? Not bad.

This is one of the stores we could see but were too lazy to enter on the first day. Yosuke acts like this place is super weird because he’s apparently never seen a metalworking shop in his life.

YOSUKE: Doesn’t that seem weird to you!? Why would you know about a place like this anyway?
[…]
CHIE: I overheard some guys in our class talk about it. They said this place sells weapons and armor.

I wonder if this is meant to be a callback to the weapon shops in Persona 2 getting created through rumors?

Yosuke proceeds to be a chauvinist dick and insist this is still just too dangerous for Chie, and Chie responds by demonstrating she’s the only person who seems to understand the actual stakes here:

CHIE: You don’t know shit about how I feel… Yukiko might die from this, for crying out loud!

So Yosuke is the only character with a brain, and Chie is the only character with a heart. This is setting up to be a very frustrating dynamic.

…And Jesus, after that Yosuke still insists she’s not taking this seriously enough and should stay behind. Worried she might steal your spotlight, asshole? He’s not afraid of me stealing the spotlight, though, because he immediately fawns over how I’m so awesome I should call all the shots and gives me 50 bucks for equipment. He then realizes the obvious fact that if they wear equipment around town the cops will just pick them up again. Chie comes up with the brilliant solution of simply hiding body-length weapons under their uniforms. (The uniforms which, you may note, they are not currently wearing because it’s the weekend.) If they were going with this explanation they really should have made their uniforms bulkier, or just had them buy trenchcoats. There’s definitely nothing suspicious about a gang of teenagers in trenchcoats loitering around a supermarket and clinking every time they move.

Yosuke insists we have to wait until after the current sale ends to reduce the number of witnesses. Yosuke, that ship hasn’t just sailed, it’s circumnavigated the globe. But whatever, it’s not like our friend is in mortal peril or anything.

I can now chat with the blacksmith, who I suppose was very politely not listening to our previous conversation because he doesn’t have anything to say about kids openly plotting to lug real weapons around town. Despite Yosuke insisting Chie can’t come with unless she gets equipped, he has no objection to me walking out with just my T-shirt and golf club.

On the way out a Velvet Door appears so Igor can exposit about fusion. We also get followup on that “unfriendly girl” from the prologue, who is “a new resident of the Velvet Room” according to Margaret. Her name is Marie, and apparently “her soul is still very young”, but she cuts Margaret off before she can tell me anything more. Margaret proceeds to be incredibly condescending, telling me I shouldn’t hold her rudeness against her because she’s just such a stupid dumb baby you can’t expect anything better from her. Apparently, she can sell me skill cards. I’m given to understand she’s new to the Golden rerelease, so did skill cards not exist in the original?

Then I’m finally allowed to walk around and enter the stores. Well, some of them, at least; John still refuses to interact with stores that presumably have no gameplay purpose. I can examine Saki’s liquor store, but John doesn’t have anything noteworthy to say about it.

The pharmacy is run by this… individual. I wonder if she’s the mom of that weird student from earlier? They have the same weird eyes.

I can also talk to NPCs.

HOUSEWIFE: You know what makes life easier when I’m taking walks, or shopping? The Sub Menu Button! With just a press of the Sub Menu Button, you can come and go as you please… Ah, the wonderful Sub Menu Button. The ever-present, press-me-anytime, Sub Menu Button.
Um… I know this is all kinds of weird, but please don’t think too strangely of me…

This reads like something straight of Undertale or Deltarune, haha. Something just tickles me about NPCs giving gameplay tutorials in-character.

MAN: Hey, did you know? There’s been rumors forver about those things appearing at the shrine… What am I talking about? You know… those things… I’ve never seen one, so I don’t believe it in the slightest. This place is a playground for kids during the day, so you might not know how different it feels here at night. I tell you, it’s scary. You can’t even take one step inside if you don’t have the courage.

Okay. I can investigate the shrine now, but John says I “have no business here.” Someone’s not religious, I see. Apparently not many other people are, either, because the fortune box is empty.

Oh, they really did change into their uniforms! This still doesn’t change the fact that there is no way I could possibly be fitting a katana under there, and we’re visibly not wearing armor.

Yosuke is still trying to push Chie to stay behind. Why can’t I tell him to stop being a prick?

We cut straight to the TV world, where Teddie is moping in a corner for some reason.

TEDDIE: Can’t you tell? I’m thinking about stuff.

Like how you’re going to murder us now that we can fight back?

Teddie confirms that someone entered the TV world after we left yesterday, but he hasn’t checked to see who it is despite being able to pinpoint her exact location and guide us to it.

It’s the same fairytale castle we saw in Yukiko’s Midnight Channel video. Yosuke asks Teddie again if “You’re positive no one’s behind a camera for that bizarre midnight program?” Teddie just expresses confusion at the concept again.

TEDDIE: There’s no “camera” stuff going on. This world has been like this from the beginning.

Okay, so he is definitely implying he’s been in this world since its inception. Where did all the Shadows come from, then? (And again, how is he so certain there are no cameras if he doesn’t know what they are?) Teddie just says you’re probably just looking into the TV world from your side. However, Chie reminds everyone that Yukiko appeared on the Midnight Channel before she came here. Instead of pursuing this thread, though, she’s just distracted by how out-of-character Yukiko was on last night’s program. Yosuke, once again proving he’s the brains of the operation, points out the obvious possibility that that was Yukiko’s Shadow.

TEDDIE: I think that “program” happens because of the person who appears on it. Or something like that…

How delightfully vague. Teddie confirms he senses someone inside the castle, and Chie immediately runs off alone, I can only assume to spite Yosuke’s constant negging earlier.

TEDDIE: There’s lots of Shadows in the castle! It’ll be dangerous inside for a girl by herself…

But Teddie, I thought Shadows were only dangerous when the fog cleared? (Also, gotta love the sexism they slipped in there.)

YOSUKE: Dude, are you serious!? Why didn’t you tell us before!?

Because he’s obviously trying to kill us, try to keep up, Yosuke.

…And Teddie immediately undermines me by actually being helpful and giving me tons of healing items. Where did he get them, I wonder?

We then get to do an actual dungeon with regular battles and stuff.

Yosuke’s weapons are normally daggers, but since the cops confiscated them his default weapons are wrenches. Why an ordinary high school student is so proficient at dual-weapon fighting, let alone dual-weapon fighting with small finesse weapons, is not explained. I appreciate that they at least went through the effort of explaining how these kids got melee weapons in the first place, unlike P1, but they still act like acquiring weapons is the only hard part of using them. I know this is a common video game problem, but the Persona series makes its modern and realistic setting a core part of its identity, so I think I am justified in holding it to a higher standard on this.

Yosuke actually starts with a healing spell, which I wasn’t expecting because he’s a dude, but it’s useful given he’s your first party member. He seems to specialize in wind and status ailments otherwise, and appears to be a glass cannon with balanced strength and magic.

This works so badly with the established SMT demonary.

I notice Shuffle Time now includes the Major Arcana. Most of them are tradeoffs rather than straight bonuses, such as allowing you to draw more cards at the cost of reducing your money and EXP rewards, which I like. They’ve also fixed the problem of Wands’ effect being random by giving the stat bonuses to Major Arcana cards instead.

When I get to the second floor, Teddie suddenly tells me that Yosuke is a terrible fighter compared to me despite having no objective evidence for this. While I speculate he’s trying to drive wedges between us so he can pick us off individually, the actual purpose of this is to tutorialize the party AI mechanics, which I won’t be using anyway. (You can now assign them via the sub menu, which is a nice quality-of-life addition.) Yosuke doesn’t fall for Teddie’s mind games, and agrees that I’m so super awesome he won’t mind if I order him around.

Then we catch up with Chie, who is miraculously still alive. She’s listening to some of Yukiko’s thoughts that have appeared.

YUKIKO’S VOICE: I hated my name… Yukiko… “Snow”… Snow is cold and it melts quickly… It’s transient… worthless… But it’s perfect for me… Apart from inheriting the inn, I’m worthless… Still… Chie told me that red looks good on me.

Oh wow, they actually made her wardrobe relevant to her character. I am impressed, that’s not a bar many video games manage to clear.

YUKIKO’S VOICE: Chie was the only one who gave my life meaning… She’s bright and strong, and she can do anything… She has everything that I don’t… […] Chie protects me… She looks after my worthless life… And I… I don’t deserve any of it… Chie is so kind…

If you think this sounds gay now, believe me when I say this is only the beginning.

Chie’s Shadow shows up to recontextualize things.

SHADOW CHIE: She says I’m protecting her!? She says she’s worthless! *chuckle* That’s how it should be, right? […] Yukiko’s sooo good looking… sooo fair-skinned… sooo feminine… She’s the one all the guys drool over. When Yukiko looked at me with such jealousy… Man, did I get a charge out of that. Yukiko knows the score. She can’t do anything if I’m not around… I’m better than her… Much, much better!

Chie has a breakdown. Yosuke tries to calm her down, but can’t stop her before she says, “No, this isn’t me!”

YOSUKE: W-Wait, stupid! Don’t say anything else like that!

For some unfathomable reason, the anime cut this line and just has him uselessly gawk like an idiot instead. This is what convinced me to play the game instead. Look at the characters actually learning from their past mistakes and adapting to new information!

SHADOW CHIE: *chuckle* That’s right. I’m the one who can’t do anything alone… I can’t win as a girl, let alone as a person… I’m pathetic. But Yukiko… She depends on me… *chuckle* That’s why she’s my friend… I’ll never loosen my grip on her… She’s too important to me.
CHIE: No… That’s not how I think of her…

The Shadow baits her into saying, “You’re not me!” despite Yosuke trying to warn her a second time. Sorry, Chie, at that point I think you deserve what happens next.

I really like this design. The girls making up her “throne” visibly tremble and shake under the weight, which makes for a starkk contrast with how comfortable and casual the top figure’s pose is. I also expected the figures to be of Yukiko given the preceding spiel, but they actually look like a blend of her and Chie — they have Yukiko’s outfit but Chie’s haircut. I wonder if that’s supposed to hint at self-loathing. (And now that I say that, the monster’s emphasis on hair is also interesting given Shadow Chie just expressed a complex over not being feminine enough — especially given Yukiko has long hair.) It’s interesting with the gay angle, too — could those fused forms represent frustration at her inability to share her life with Yukiko like she truly wants?

Gameplay-wise, she and Yosuke are mutually weak to each others’ spells. She also tutorializes a new gameplay mechanic: There are now buff spells that grant resistance to a given element, and unlike the shield spells from DDS, they last multiple turns. Perhaps this was considered a better compromise over bosses having no weaknesses at all in P3, but it does lead to me sitting on my hands a lot waiting for the shield to expire.

The fight is also genuinely tough; I burn through all my MP and only win by the skin of my teeth.

Afterwards, Yosuke consoles her by saying he went through the same thing. No, yours was much worse, Yosuke. And indeed, Chie reacts to this with a lot more humility and guilt than Yosuke did:

CHIE: You are me. A side of me I couldn’t forgive… That I tried to ignore… But you still exist. You’re a part of me. […] I… Um… It’s true that part of me feels that way… But I wasn’t lying about being friends with Yukiko…!

That’s completely believable. Chie’s Shadow never said selfishness was her only motivation; it emphasized her selfish feelings toward Yukiko, but didn’t phrase it in a way that precluded her genuinely caring about Yukiko too. But Yosuke’s Shadow explicitly said he had no other reason to investigate Saki’s death; he had no feelings for her at all. If this was supposed to be the framing for how Shadows work, why didn’t Yosuke’s get this level of nuance when it’s our introduction to the concept?

Anyway, her Persona is Tomoe and her weapon type is… shoes. It seems she is genuinely strength-focused, which is a nice change from all the P3 girls being casters. Not sure why her element’s ice, though; maybe there’s something about Tomoe’s story that connects up with that. Odd that agility’s her dump stat when unarmed fighters are usually the opposite. Also looks like buffs and debuffs are getting split across the characters instead of giving them all to one gamebreaker, which should make things way more balanced.

Chie collapses because oh right, the TV world makes people sick. Odd that that isn’t an actual gameplay mechanic when it was in P3. Yosuke asks what we should do, and my only options are “Let’s go back,” and “Let’s take a break,” not “Hey isn’t our friend still in mortal peril?” Why is this a choice.

YOSUKE: It’s not that we don’t think you can [keep going]. It’s just, we have to save Yukiko no matter what.

“It’s not that we don’t think you can push yourself to save Yukiko no matter what. It’s just, we have to save Yukiko no matter what.” Did the translators bork this line? What even. He insists Chie needs to rest to recover her strength.

CHIE: But Yukiko’s still in here, isn’t she!?

Why is Chie the only one who actually cares about the person we’re trying to rescue? I know Yosuke’s a scumbag, but why is John evil too? Teddie tries to explain why leaving Yukiko to die is totally fine, because he’s so reliable and trustworthy.

TEDDIE: Yuki-chan’s normal. The Shadows don’t attack normal people.

YES THEY DO. IT HAPPENED TO CHIE LITERALLY FIVE MINUTES AGO. ARE YOU TRYING TO GASLIGHT HER???

What does “normal” even mean here? How is Yukiko “normal” but the rest of us aren’t?

TEDDIE: They only attack when the fog lifts here.

NO THEY DON’T. I JUST WENT THROUGH A DUNGEON OF THEM. YOU WERE THERE.

YOSUKE: So Yukiko-san will be safe until then, right?
TEDDIE: I’m positive.
CHIE: Why…? I don’t get it…

Please keep resisting, Chie, you’re our only hope. Yosuke explains to her about the fog as if that’s the confusing part here.

YOSUKE: So even if we leave for a while, Yukiko-san won’t be in danger until the fog starts to cover Inaba. I’m sure of it. It was the same way for that announcer and Senpai… Don’t you remember it was foggy in town on the day they died?
CHIE: You mean… they were killed by their other selves?

You mean the thing that JUST HAPPENED TO YOU even though it wasn’t foggy?

CHIE: But… But I can’t turn back now! We’ve come so far! Yukiko’s still here! She’s all alone… She must be so scared!

Yosuke explains he still doesn’t want to push on because there might be even stronger Shadows up ahead, which he somehow thinks is a point in favor of his argument that Yukiko will be fine. Either the world or Teddie is giving us brain damage, because this finally breaks Chie down enough for her to abandon her friend to the murderous monsters.

YOSUKE: We’re definitely gonna save Yukiko-san… Right?

Unless she gets eaten by her Shadow while you’re having sweet dreams tonight, which she probably will because you’re walking in the wrong direction.

You know, I actually wonder if Yosuke genuinely doesn’t want to save her. Recall that his Shadow had military camo. He’s not a savior, he’s an avenger. He wants the situation to get worse so he’ll look cooler — and to justify his violence. Come to think of it… we never encountered any trash mob shadows before we took Yosuke with us into the TV world, did we? If this world is psychoreactive, what if he’s generating them because he needs something to fight? Or maybe he’s the real reason they’re uncharacteristically aggressive — hostility to hostility?

When they head back to the studio, Chie wonders why she’s the only one who got sick, and we realize the glasses also protect against that. How very interesting that Teddie didn’t mention that when explaining that the TV world makes us sick. He magically whips out another pair for Chie and Yosuke manages to break through whatever hypnosis Teddie has placed him under to question why he waited so long to do that.

TEDDIE: I made them right now! You didn’t tell me she was coming!

Okay, so he does make them himself. How long does it take? Doesn’t sound like very long if he made them “right now”.

YOSUKE: Alright, so from tomorrow on, we’ll try and come here as much as we can after school… And that includes days off.

This just makes me cry-laugh. Sure, we’re on a strict time limit to rescue our friend before she dies (and that’s if we believe Teddie’s blatant lies that she’ll even last that long), but skip school? Perish the thought! This is so much worse than it was even in P3.

This is just… so weird. Even aside from how logically and ethically incoherent it is, it just wrecks the pacing. We rush in all prepared to save Yukiko, and then we just… turn around and leave? And I am going to have to do this multiple times throughout every dungeon, by the way, because once you run out of MP you become effectively helpless so good luck pressing onwards after that. (And unlike in P3 there are no healing stations.) I appreciate this from a gameplay perspective — it’s exactly the kind of resource-management gameplay I said P3 should have had — but it makes negative sense on a story level.

And it’s especially annoying because they already did this right in P3! The very first rescue mission in P3 establishes very clearly that the other world experiences time dilation, so people will be okay even if you leave them in there for weeks. This time they make it very clear that the other world cannot be experiencing any kind of time dilation because you watch it in real time through the Midnight Channel, and we have no indication there’s any food or water here. And they don’t have glasses — we have no idea what the long-term effects of that are, just that it’s really bad in the short-term. How is anyone surviving this? Despite all this, they’ve upgraded the rescue missions from sidequests to core plot elements.

Before we leave everyone gushes about how awesome I am and declare that I should be the leader. I can decline, but I get pressured into it anyway. This grants me the group social link (the Fool, once again), this time called the “Investigation Team”.

Back at home, we have a nice dinner with Dojima while Yukiko starves surrounded by murderous monsters. Dojima is suspicious we’re looking for trouble after the weapons incident, and I’m once again given a set of choice that all say the same thing, which is to lie and brush him off.

If I try to leave the house, Dojima lectures me about how nighttime is dangerous and I can’t go out without good reason. Fortunately, my homeroom teacher calls to give me one, telling me I need to pick up a delivery.

MR. MOROOKA: I was going to deliver it to your house, but the situation’s changed. I need you to come pick it up.

How delightfully vague and definitely not a trap! Sure thing, buddy, I’ll meet you in a dark alley for that. Unfortunately I can’t access the full town map at night, only the shopping district and the riverbank. I talk to Morooka to get… my school jersey. That really couldn’t wait until tomorrow?

Most of the stores are closed, but the pharmacy has turned into a nightclub. The owner is responsible enough to not let a child loiter around… unless I have some items to barter with. But we’ll get to that later.

HOSTESS: Everyone has countless numbers of faces. This is the one I wear during the night. I don’t want to hear anything about my other faces. The same goes for any other me you may encounter at a different time…

This feels too on the nose to not be a wink to the persona mechanics, but it just demonstrates even more why characters being locked to single personas makes no sense.

As the NPC said earlier, I can peek at the shrine but can’t enter it until I have more points in my courage stat.

2 Comments

  1. Valkiria de la flame says:

    I am going to comment here after a long time reading, mostly to try and improve your gameplay because P4 can be quite bullshit if you don’t know all the things the game never tells you.

    One thing you mention is the SP issue. There are 2 main sources of SP recovery: One is soft drinks you can buy in the vending machines, they restock every monday. TaP Soda restores 10sp, the ones found on the other vending machine (Dr. Salt Neo, Second Maid, The Natural) restore 5sp. You can buy 5 a week per machine, so you can get 75sp recovery per week (50 from TaP, 25 from the others). The second way is that you eventually unlock a social link that heals you to full if you pay, costing less per rank until it is free at max rank. I don’t remember the exact mechanics, but they should show every floor if you sweep the whole place.

    Other thing I want to say is about the social links. Every social link has a tarot card, as does every persona. If you are carrying a persona that matches the social link tarot, you gain extra points on hanging out. You also gain extra points when you pick the right choices during a rank up, so if you pick all right options and have a matching persona, generally you have enough points to rank up again next time you hang out. I acknowledge you might already know all this, but the first time I played I lost 2 in-game months because I didn’t know that, so I want no one to go through that if I can help it.

    Lastly, even if it can be painful, you want to complete all dungeons in one go. This is because the game only gives you 6 days to spare if you want to see everything there is to be seen, and that is assuming you do all dungeons in one day. If you don’t care about 100%, so you won’t spend time reading all books or fishing, you can spare about… 10 more days I wanna say, but it might be more, its been a hot minute. Either way, if you want to see everything you also want a guide, because the 6 spares days is assuming you do things in a very specific order while also save scumming to get the best results on all random events.

    Now, for non-gamplay, I think the game and Teddy (fuck Teddy) does a very bad job of explaining why and when the shadow attacks (which means the following explanation is a bit of fan wank because it is just sorta implied in-game). The shadows only attack people with personas, people that meet their shadow and denies them, and when the fog lifts. The MC is given a persona when he is given the ability to enter the TV, which is why he doesn’t get to have a fight with himself, and also why he fights at the start but Yusuke doesn’t. Being around someone with a persona makes the shadows act up, so you get the scenes where the shadows show up, and the character denies them in increasingly contrived scenarios. But consistently, if someone that doesn’t ALREADY have persona is around, no harm passes until the fog comes. You can see with Chie going there and being just fine until the MC arrives, and nobody dying of shadows unless the fog comes. It is incredibly contrived and a bad explanation really, but I *think* it is what the game was going for.

    Oh, and one last thing: You are not ready by how badly the game handles gender and sexuality. No, not even if you have spoilers.

    1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      Ah, I knew most of this but hadn’t considered the sodas as valid SP restore options. I’m also cultivating the Tiny Soul Tomatoes.

      I think I’ve probably already screwed myself out of 100% because I took a very long time to rescue Yukiko, but eh, I’d rather have to YouTube some stuff later than ruin my immersion with a guide. I actually like the tension of needing to actually consider my resources, too.

      Re: shadows, I’d accept that fanwank, but it still doesn’t explain how everyone is fine for weeks but aggros their Shadow the instant we show up. Shadow encounters seem to always go so bad so fast, yet somehow they politely wait to attack their host until the main characters show up.

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