Persona 4: July 10th – July 23rd (Summer Finals)

On the evening of the 9th, John sleeps like a baby after confirming no one’s on the Midnight Channel and congratulating himself on a job well done.

On the morning of the 10th, there’s another murder. A copycat, perhaps, given they didn’t appear on the Midnight Channel?

Chie immediately calls and… we flap our gums in Junes instead of going to the TV world and asking Teddie what’s going on. I’ve brought this up before, but it seems like such an obvious thing to do that it just becomes more baffling every time the characters don’t. We still don’t even know if bodies are auto-ejected or if Teddie is doing this, something we would know if they would just ask him.

I didn’t recognize the body, but Yosuke reveals it was Mr. Morooka. Well, the list of suspects is a mile long, then. Everyone immediately assumes they must be wrong about the murders being tied to the Midnight Channel instead of considering the obvious possibility this is a copycat killer. Kanji breaks out an inspirational speech, which Yosuke immediately pisses over.

YOSUKE: Hmph… Big talk from someone like you, Kanji.

WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM YOU ABSOLUTE TRASH FIRE. (Well, I guess we do know what is problem is, actually.) This doesn’t even make sense; big talk from… the guy with actual fighting experience who is actually capable of doing things on his own?

They finally remember that, oh right, they should probably talk to Teddie about this. Plot twist: Teddie has left the TV world (and has reinflated). He reveals he could have left at any time, “It just never occurred to me to do it before.” Okay. Teddie insists that he never sensed anyone cross over, even after waiting until the fog settled. Chie reminds us the Midnight Channel was blank, which corroborates this.

Hm. Initially I thought this was a copycat killer, but I wonder if this was a non-premediated murder. Previously, the gang speculated that the Midnight Channel reveals the killer’s intent; it shows people the killer is actively targeting. But what if he just ran into Morooka by accident, panicked, and killed him immediately?

Teddie confirms that he’s been promoted to frontliner, just like Mitsuru in P3.

He’ll definitely be a strong asset in your battle against the Shadows.

I’m not clear how you’re so sure of that, John. All you’ve seen him do so far is blow himself up. He does, at least, boost my team social link to rank 5.

They continue discussing the murder. Everyone trusts Teddie’s testimony and assumes Morooka never entered the TV world. I provide my theory that the killer never intended to throw him in at all. The gang speculates that the killer must be getting frustrated by us thwarting them so much, so they decided to kill the next target in the real world to make sure it took. Thing is though, if they were capable of regular murder, why have they been using such a roundabout method every other time?

Teddie insists he’s no longer hollow because he’s been training, because uh…

TEDDIE: I trained and trained, hoping to someday score with Chie-chan and Yuki-chan…

Why. Chie and Yukiko at least push back against this for once. He takes off his head and…

He’s a sexy naked bishonen now.

…You know, I technically got spoiled for this: I saw him looking like this in a mod screenshot. I just assumed it was part of a joke mod because what even.

I… guess this could make sense if we assume he changed his persona to solve his problems, his problems being that the girls wouldn’t bang him?

The girls act starstruck, though I will note that they are not blushing, making it read as more confused then aroused. They go off to get him clothes and the boys go off to find Rise. After a skip, Teddie arrives in clothes.

KANJI: You lost the suit… Man, that sucks. I mean… that fuzziness was…

Kanji is a furry, confirmed. Oh, and now, of all times, Yosuke asks Kanji for his gay opinion. For once, Kanji pushes back and threatens to pummel Yosuke for it. Yes, please, Kanji, he deserves it so much. For some reason Yosuke follows this up by… paying Kanji to babysit Teddie while the adults do the real work. Will Yosuke ever stop trying to cut Kanji out of the team? Chie then reveals that they put the bill for Teddie’s clothes on Yosuke’s tab. Obviously he deserves this, but it seems remarkably cutthroat of Chie to specifically pick out the most expensive clothes knowing Yosuke can’t possibly afford it. It would have made more sense for him to be dressed in a nightmarish collage of crap that was on clearance. Yukiko decides to be the adult in the room and pulls me over to the tofu shop while everyone is squabbling.

Kanji’s date pops out of the shop as we approach. He introduces himself as Naoto Shirogane and claims to be investigating the murders. Oh, so he’s the prodigy detective. He immediately demonstrates his chops by revealing he’s come to the same conclusions as us: Morooka breaks the pattern of all the victims appearing on TV. Yosuke plays dumb, because it was never about the police being incompetent, it was always about him having to be the main character. Naoto lets this go, but warns that he’ll be keeping an eye on us.

Rise shows up and takes us to the shrine to give us her account. Like the others, she can’t remember anything useful. Moreover, she’s talked to Naoto already and fed him a pack of lies because, like Yosuke, she is needlessly antagonistic. Then she thanks the gang by flirting with us.

YOSUKE: Man, it’s finally hitting me that you’re the real deal. You really are Risette.

Uh, no, she explicitly said Risette wasn’t real. Were you too busy thinking out of your dick to pay attention to her Shadow confrontation, Yosuke? Is that why Chie had to provide the warning this time? Rise reacts weirdly to this, as expected, and confesses she’s still confused about her sense of self.

YUKIKO: I think everyone has multiple sides to them. You don’t have to force yourself to decide on just one.

Except according to the gameplay, you do, because everyone has only one Persona.

Rise joins the team and we immediately get another rank up, to 6. She gives us a heart emoji on our way out. Sigh.

On the 11th we meet our new homeroom teacher…

…Sexy Lady. Sigh. Please be evil so I can get rid of you. Amazingly, even the male students hate her, and that’s before she goes on a rant about Rise (who is now confirmed to be a first-year) being nothing but “inexperienced jailbait.”

STUDENT: She doesn’t stand a chance against Risette. I mean, I heard Kashiwagi is on the wrong side of 40…

Oh, so that’s why none of the boys are into this. Also, I know this is anime, but that is not what 40-year-olds look like, game. The rumor mill goes onto say that Morooka supposedly had Rise’s pinup book, so that’s another pedophile in town. The rumormonger goes onto talk about Rise’s striptease on the Midnight Channel, which the other student refuses to believe. How are there still people who haven’t seen the Midnight Channel at this point, when it’s so easily verifiable?

The gang decides to meet up after school (in the middle of a full class with multiple students clearly in earshot). After some banter of everyone crapping on Chie for her poor academics, Yosuke finally resumes the plot and talks about Morooka. For some reason, no one considers the possibility of a copycat killer even though unlike the previous victims he had an enemy list a mile long. Heck, someone could have very well believed Saki killed herself because of something he did — we still don’t know why she skipped school that day, only that Morooka hated her for doing so.

Yosuke reveals that he apparently suspected Morooka was the killer this whole time and for some unfathomable reason never brought this up during our months of investigation.

YOSUKE: But now… I feel bad that I doubted him.

This may well be the first thing in the entire game to contradict my sociopath theory, which is pretty wild.

YOSUKE: And not just King Moron… I feel sorry for all the victims.

News to me.

CHIE: Well, we’ll do what we can, for King Moron’s sake too!

Not gonna stop calling him by an insulting nickname though.

Naoto shows up to reveal he’s been eavesdropping on this whole conversation. Move over, Yosuke, there’s a new brain cell in town! He also reveals the police have already caught a suspect, and that he’s (obviously) the special detective Dojima was whining about. Naoto doesn’t know the suspect’s identity, but does somehow know they’re a non-Yasogami high school student. The kid who hit on Yukiko, perhaps?

Yosuke points out this is a flagrant violation of police protocol and therefore crazy suspicious of him. Ah, I missed you having a brain, Yosuke. Naoto ignores him and looks directly at me to say, “Your ‘game’ will soon reach its end.” Huh. So he knows about Personas too?

The gang immediately has a tizzy over this and accuses Naoto of being the one treating this as a game out of nowhere.

YOSUKE: One of the victims… She meant a lot to me.

That’s not what your Shadow said!

Naoto takes these accusations with grace and leaves. I’m sure he definitely won’t continue eavesdropping as soon as he’s out of frame.

In the evening I remember I can do a dishwashing job at the nightclub.

HOSTESS: Having a young man around here may not be such a bad idea. It may actually attract some new patrons…

WHY IS EVERYONE IN THIS TOWN A PEDOPHILE. She claims she’s “joking”, but goes onto say that chatting with drunk patrons is part of my work duties, so.

HOSTESS: You’re still too young. If anyone offers you a drink, you need to politely decline.

Alcohol is serious business for adults, unlike sex. I get a diligence boost for washing the dishes and a courage boost from listening to a patron’s probably-exaggerated tales of heroism. So this lets you grind two stats at once, nice.

The next morning, Ms. Cougar teaches us about sex-linked inheritance. I thought Morooka was the literature teacher? If his replacement is teaching biology, who’s teaching literature now?

MS. KASHIWAGI: An example is calico cats. Calico cats are almost entirely female. Not that there aren’t any boys, but apparently there’s only one out of every several tens of thousands. Maybe these rare male calicos are very popular with the ladies? Hehehe.

This is so incoherent I can’t even tell which wrong thing it’s trying to tell us. Calico cats aren’t even a good example of this! Male calicos are sterile! She has no idea what she’s talking about! Did she fake her credentials to get in here?

On the 14th, Puppet Man asks me which monk famously misprinted a particular kanji. How on Earth do they expect English players to know this???

In the evening I work at the hospital again, and this time the creepy nurse introduces herself as Sayoko Uehara. She immediately starts groping me, and just finds it “adorable” if I push her away. Eugh. Why? Just why? Was this really necessary? Her social link is the Devil, which at least is fitting. I gormlessly finish my shift instead of reporting any of this to HR.

No one’s available to hang out on the 15th, so I work at the daycare again. Eri reveals that she didn’t know about her husband’s kid until they were practically on the altar, and as soon as they got married he had to go abroad on business, so it’s just been her and the kid. I ask if she loves the kid, and she proceeds to blatantly project onto the kid by saying it’s just not possible for kids to love stepparents.

ERI: When [my husband] told me I wouldn’t have to work, I thought it’d be a good idea, but…

You don’t even have to work and you can’t handle one kid? You are awful.

I’m finally able to rank up with Dojima. He’s trying to find an old newspaper article for an old case that’s “personal” to him. The driver who killed his wife? Nanako comes down with stomach pains during our conversation, and Dojima gets a phone call from the station at the same time. Once again he chooses his job over Nanako and forces me to get the correct medicine for her.

On the 17th I go on a date with Kanji. We run into the kid his mom took to the hospital, and find out he’s being bullied for liking a girly doll. How conveniently applicable to Kanji’s issues! Kanji looks for the doll but can’t find it, so he offers to make the kid a new one, being incredibly aggressive the whole time. He reaches rank 4 and learns Masukunda, not bad.

Someone informed me that Marie’s SL is required to unlock a special dungeon, so on the 18th I grudgingly go on another date with her. Chie invites her to lunch and Marie repays it by trying to give her an eating disorder: “You eat too fast. …You’re gonna be fat one day.” She confides that she’s a convenient amnesiac who conveniently Just Knows that Inaba is important to her somehow. She also echoes Shadow Teddie’s warning that I should stop trying to search for the truth.

Exams are once again trivial. Afterwards, Chie realizes she got an English question wrong, whereupon Yosuke decides to be twist the knife:

YOSUKE: So much for Chie going abroad. Heck, why leave Inaba? You have so much right here!

Yosuke. You saw that Yukiko’s deepest fear is her inability to leave Inaba, and moreover that she blames Chie for not being good enough to help her leave. You literally fought it in a battle to the death. This isn’t a light joke, you are tearing open a deep scar and you know it. Instead of pointing this out, Chie just gripes that he’s “annoying”.

Kanji and Rise crawl over to reveal they scored poorly. Yosuke’s reaction? “Whoa, more losers!?” Mercifully, Kanji remembers that there are more important things than exams and asks the team for an update on the murder case. (Once again, he says this in the middle of a populated classroom.)

CHIE: I’m kinda bummed… Not just because exams are over, but… The whole thing with the police finding a suspect. I mean, we believed that only we could solve this case. And now…

I see Yosuke’s hero complex is infectious. (Farla is much more generous, arguing that she’s weirded out to discover the police didn’t even need them after they put in so much work.) Yosuke points out the suspect hasn’t yet been arrested, so nothing is certain yet. You may be a sociopath and a monster, Yosuke, but you still have a brain cell and I respect that.

Conveniently, Adachi shows up to reveal he’s somehow lost track of his suspect.

ADACHI: I mean, the guy’s kidnapping people at random and slaughtering them!

At random? How did you find him, then? And “slaughtering” is quite an exaggeration when the bodies don’t even look visibly damaged. Talking up the culprit again, Adachi?

Rise decides that exams are more important than murder and starts reviewing exam questions with us. Kanji is weirdly hostile towards her. Chie suggests she study with Yukiko, and…

RISE: Huh? I guess, but wouldn’t you rather ask a senpai of the opposite sex?

…Rise immediately makes it weird. Well, I guess I won’t be doing your social link, creep. Chie changes the subject to ask how Teddie’s doing.

YOSUKE: I let him stay at my place. In return, he’s now our official store mascot.

By “your place”, you mean your parents’ place. So your parents are cool with letting a weird blond dude who appeared out of nowhere stay in their house. Kanji is happy about this because it means Teddie got his bear costume back.

KANJI: C-Can I… feel his soft fur…?

He is such a furry, it’s adorable.

The others go off to bug Teddie, but Creepy Rise gets me alone so she can butter me up and ask me on future dates. This gets me her social link: the Lovers, as I suspected. This also gives her a gameplay bonus: apparently, there’s a chance she will “encourage” the team during All-Out Attacks to make them deal more damage.

RISE: If you ever have some time to kill, think of me, okay?

I will not.

2 Comments

  1. Act says:

    Aside from it being a misogynistic and homophobic nightmare (seriously, how is it so much worse than even standard jrpgs?) is this game actually, like, fun? The day system and time crunch seem so tedious, and not being able to actually actively pursue the mystery seems so frustrating. I’m struggling to see anything that has made this game so popular aside from tits.

    1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      The jRPG gameplay is a cut above since resource management is an actual consideration (though I’m noticing that’s becoming less and less of a concern for me, especially since the fox’s healing becomes massively cheaper if you pursue its quests). I don’t know how the life sim elements measure up to other life sims because I don’t play many of them, but the pacing is definitely bizarre and a lot of the social links definitely feel padded. I think the whole game would have been better if everything was condensed into, like, half the time.

      Like most jRPGs I think the real appeal is supposed to be the story but yyyyyeah it is not looking good so far.

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