Persona 4: December 24th – December 25th (Magatsu Inaba)

Last time, the villain begged me to pretty please come fight him, but I had to complete a social link first or I’d miss out on an optional dungeon, so I left him hanging for a month.

Just for funsies I run out the clock and it turns out he wasn’t lying, on the evening of the 24th we get a special cutscene where Shadows overrun Inaba. (Well, we’re told Shadows overrun Inaba, custom animation for a bad end cutscene was probably expecting too much.) Afterwards the game lets me rewind by a week, which would give me enough time to grind if I was underleveled; I was wondering if it would let you lock yourself into an unwinnable state, but looks like they accounted for that.

Rise informs me that as per usual an optional boss has spawned in the previous dungeon, but screw it, I don’t care about sidequests anymore.

Adachi’s world looks like a twisted version of Inaba covered in signs and police tape.

I did in fact save this until the last possible moment, not that he acknowledges this. There’s just no pleasing you, Adachi. He goes on to rant about how we should be spending our time studying instead, once again not recognizing that I do in fact have max knowledge and perfect grades.

The “stairs” in this world are red portals, and when I step through I discover they’re one-way. Adachi claims to be on the next floor, but the door to his chamber is sealed, so I have to jump down a hole into into the “Magatsu Mandala World”, which looks the same but with a red tint; this part functions normally, with two-way stairs as usual.

ADACHI: Aren’t you just doing this because you want a little spice in your boring lives?

Yeah, obviously? Haven’t you been watching the Midnight Channel? He goes on to argue this makes us ~not so different~, which for some reason Rise “can’t deny”. Speak for yourself, Rise, I understand the difference between a hero complex and murdering people for kicks.

On the third floor he tells me this is boring (yeah, it is) and to spice things up I have to complete the floor without touching any Shadows. Enemy Radar makes that pretty easy… or so I assumed, but I need to kite Shadows out of position to actually make it to the end, which is tricky. At the end there’s a miniboss that’s actually quite hard because it continually summons copies of itself, requiring you to kill all the enemies on the same turn. On the next floor Adachi starts rambling about how it’s bad we’re searching for the truth because we’re the only ones who want it. What? No, we’re doing this to stop him from killing people and/or ending the world.

RISE: I’m not sure what he’s getting at, but the murder victims won’t be able to rest in peace like this…

Even Rise agrees this is nonsense. On the next floor he rambles some more, pointing out that currently everyone accepts as “truth” that Namatame is the killer, but that if we catch him, people will accept that as “truth”. Uh, yes, Captain Obvious? What is this even trying to say?

On the sixth floor is a much less interesting miniboss; it just spams Megidolaon, which doesn’t even do that much damage. Defeating it arbitrarily removes the lock on Adachi’s door, so I have to head back to the start of the dungeon to finish it. Once I’m there Naoto starts by reminding us of Adachi’s crimes, to which he obviously doesn’t care.

ADACHI: Haha… You’re so self-righteous.
CHIE: How can you say that…!? Aren’t you a police officer!?

ADACHI: Don’t make me laugh. Just because someone joins the police doesn’t make them some kinda “agent of justice.” Y’know why I applied? So I could legally carry a gun… That’s all. You’d be surprised how many are like that.

Oh wow, actual social commentary. Wasn’t expecting that. (And haha, silly Adachi, if he just went to America he wouldn’t need to jump through hoops to get a gun!)

Adachi tries the argument that the real culprit is ~society~, because if the TV world is shaped by peoples’ thoughts then it’s everyone’s fault that it’s dangerous. No one buys it. Also, apparently getting assigned to Inaba was a punishment for something he did.

ADACHI: Those who actually succeed in life… They just happen to be born with the magic ticket called “talent.” If you don’t have it, you can either accept or deny that fact until you die. That’s your only choice.

This sure is coming out of nowhere. If it’s trying to draw a comparison to Persona power that makes no sense, since it’s obtained through effort and not by birth.

ADACHI: Once you realize that, all you have left in life is despair. The ultimate game over.

No, I’m pretty sure that’s death.

He finally coughs out something approximating a real motive: He hates the ennui of the world and that’s why he wants to remake it into something else. So as usual, ambition = evil, even the most tepid of ambitions. Also something something people will be happier if they accept nihilism and turning people into Shadows will do this somehow.

ADACHI: You all saw Shadows as mere monsters, didn’t you!? These things move on pure instinct! They go wild because you defy them!

Is this trying to explain the “Shadows were totally peaceful before you showed up, really” thing? I still don’t see how this makes any sense. Is it that by taming your Shadow you’re no longer acting on pure instinct, so anyone with a Persona aggros them?

The investigation team tries to give an inspiring comeback but it just sounds like a jumble of nonsense and platitudes to me. For some reason this does get to Adachi, and he flips out and goes all shadowy… but then in the boss battle he’s still human. Okay. Oh, but he uses a Persona that looks like a messed-up Izanagi.

RISE: A Persona? How could this be!?

Why are you surprised by this? We’ve established you need Persona power to enter the TV world.

Boss music is the same as when we fought Shadow Namatame. The discordant music is fitting with his overall derangedness, but honestly feels less climactic than the standard boss theme. For some reason he never uses his gun, just a lot of physical and electrical skills (which sucks because I brought Teddie). Also the game thinks it’s funny to make him resist physical damage but not tell you. Why is that a thing? Afterwards…

Huh, he’s looking and talking like Shadow Teddie. Rise informs us this isn’t Adachi speaking anymore, and the voice confirms, claiming it is Ameno-sagiri, the Japanese god of fog. (Bad localizers, that should be Ame-no-Sagiri.) I bet you thought I was joking when I asked if there would be a real real real culprit. I knew this was coming; I heard complaints that Persona 4 devolved into a spooky demon man plot at the last minute, so I’m not surprised, just very, very disappointed. For some reason none of these Japanese kids recognize the name or are at all surprised to be meeting a god. He claims to be “awakened by man’s desires” so we’re doing the Nyarlathotep plot again.

AMENO-SAGIRI: Do what you will, but your world’s erosion cannot be stopped. It is an inevitability…

It’s hard to tell if they’re deliberately rehashing Persona 3’s themes of inevitability or if they’re just using a canned villain line.

AMENO-SAGIRI: I am the one who shepherds humans to their true desires. Though their hearts longed for peace, it could never be attained… So they tore down the wall between image and reality. Indeed, this is the outcome desired by mankind.

Oh wow, we really are rehashing Persona 2’s plot. Self-destructive nihilists represent all of humanity, folks!

AMENO-SAGIRI: Humans view things as they see fit. They wish not for truth, but rather prefer the undesirables be hidden in fog…

I’m guessing this is the central theme of the game, since it’s been mentioned several times now. This… sorta relates to TV, I guess? He also says that Shadows are aggro’d by the desire for truth, and that’s why they go berserk when the fog clears. How this tracks with Shadows claiming they’re the truth is not explained.

Obviously, he’s responsible for the Midnight Channel, but his explanation contradicts how it actually works:

AMENO-SAGIRI: A world filled with desires… Viewed through a window, from which one sees what one wishes to see…

No, the Midnight Channel shows the person’s true desires, not what the viewer wants to see. We keep hearing this over and over, the Shadow is the true self! But no, Naoto insists this is correct, and that this also explains why Namatame’s Shadow was acting so weird when he appeared on the Midnight Channel: he acted evil because the team all believed Namatame was the killer. This honestly reads like the writers are ad-libbing to fill time. We are told and shown throughout the whole game that the Midnight Channel, the TV world, and Shadows all show the truth, but now at the last minute suddenly they’re actually fake?

This is a retcon. They made their central theme “seeking the truth” and then told us the truth isn’t what we saw, it’s what they say it is. These absolute hacks.

Then Ame-no-Sagiri turns into a giant eye and we have a second boss fight. And we are not healed this time! New boss music, also; I suppose that’s why Adachi’s battle theme felt anticlimactic, he’s not the final boss. Though personally I feel this one is too straightforwardly upbeat for what a confusing mess of a climax this is.

He repeatedly says throughout the fight he’s acting according to humanity’s will and no one wants the fog to lift… to the humans trying to stop him and lift the fog. Sorry guys, if you’re not a self-destructive nihilist your opinion doesn’t count. Then he uses Mind Charge followed by an AoE nuke and overkills John, so I have to do the fight all over again. Sigh. I replace Teddie with Yosuke so I have access to Dekaja, since both bosses use buffs heavily. He has an electric weakness too, but I can burn all those wall paprikas I’ve been harvesting to take care of that.

After I beat him he suddenly acknowledges our opinion that the world shouldn’t end because might makes right.

AMENO-SAGIRI: You have proven to me human potential…

When was “human potential” ever a topic in this discussion? Then it pulls a “As long as there is evil” speech:

AMENO-SAGIRI: If mankind so wishes, I will return at any time… I am always at your side, watching…

So what is the message here? Stop watching TV or else the spooky demon man will come back? This is especially incoherent when the Midnight Channel wasn’t the real problem, it was that some dude decided to start killing people based on it.

Then the team speculates if maybe Adachi was only being evil because the spooky demon man made him do it. Please no. Adachi regains consciousness long enough to choke out some more nonsense.

ADACHI: Fine… Live however you want… If you think… you have the power to change the future… then go right ahead…

What does this have to do with anything? This is just ad-libbing anime cliche dialogue.

Adachi says we should leave him to die, but now all of a sudden Yosuke doesn’t want to kill the murderer.

YOSUKE: If we leave you here dying… and a dead body eventually appears, then what? What’s that accomplish for anyone…?

I recall you singing a very different tune when we were discussing what to do with Namatame.

This is so frustrating. They only give us a tough moral choice when it’s a gotcha with an objectively right answer. “Should you kill the murderer? No, because he’s not the murderer HAHA GOTCHA!” Now that we have the actual murderer and deciding what to do with him would be an actual choice, the game denies us one. My choices never actually matter.

NAOTO: I’m sure that’s the outcome Dojima-san wishes for as well.

Nah, Dojima was pretty gung-ho for killing Namatame too.

ADACHI: We have the same power, but things turned out so differently for us…

Shoulda formed a party instead of trying to fight alone, idiot. …And indeed, I can respond with, “It’s because I had my friends,” because we’re doing anime cliches to the last. This ranks up both his social link and Seekers of Truth to rank 9.

You can sense Adachi’s sincerity…

He played us like a fiddle the entire game, but now you’re sure he’s being sincere for real? Sure, John.

Outside, the cops show up to arrest Adachi. Dojima apparently wants him taken into protective custody as a “personal favor” because cops will always give cops special treatment. We go outside and everyone, including all the NPCs, marvel at how the fog’s gone. Where are all the people who wanted the fog so bad, Ame-no-Sagiri? The team tries to do a celebration cheer but everyone is just extremely awkward and really dickish to Chie for being the only enthusiastic one. Why this? This immediately ranks Seekers of Truth up to max, ten seconds after the last rank up. The ultimate Judgement Persona is Lucifer, okay.

Even though it’s clearly daytime, we skip a day for the next scene.

NAOTO: I think we can safely leave the rest to the police.

NO YOU CAN’T. YOU JUST LEARNED A POLICEMAN WAS IN ON IT, YOU IDIOT. She goes onto explain that Adachi has confessed to everything for some reason. Wow, that must be confusing for the normies. One guy says, “You don’t understand, I just put them in the TV!” followed by another guy saying, “No, you don’t understand, I put them in the TV!” Dojima then calls to say he and Nanako are getting released from the hospital. Rise and Teddie hug over this, and then Teddie gropes her because now is definitely the best time for hilarious sexual assault. The girls make a cake for Christmas but it turns out good, and Teddie gives Nanako a Teddie plush as a gift.

TEDDIE: Oh, and it’s made from 100% pure Teddie fur. I’m a guy who’s all about using all-natural materials!

And he apparently scalped himself for it.

Dojima explains that Adachi also confessed to hanging the bodies. Oh, finally we get followup on that. Why did he do that, though?

DOJIMA: There are still things that are unclear about his story, but he’s most likely gonna pay for his crimes.

Except when Namatame confessed you said there wasn’t enough evidence to make the charges stick. What’s different this time? He also says he still doesn’t believe us about the TV world even though we could show us at any time, because he’s an incurious dolt and a terrible detective.

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