Persona 4: June 19th – June 26th (Shadow Rise)

NANAKO: Welcome back, big bro. How was the school camp?

COMPLETELY FINE I DIDN’T SEXUALLY HARASS ANYONE GOOD NIGHT

The NPCs have new dialogue. The “rival school student” believes Morooka is connected to the murders. I’m kinda curious how that’s going to play out; we can’t possibly have the culprit’s identity this early and he’s far too obvious a suspect anyway, but maybe he is connected in some way?

The weapon shop guy makes a weapon for me out of a trout. It’s… actually really good, boasting both high offense and a big evasion boost.

Kanji is available for hangouts, so I head over to apologize to the poor man. During our date he gets hassled by a cop, which spoils his mood. Then he gets depressed and berates himself for causing trouble for his mom. I tell him to buck up, and he proceeds to blow our cover in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS INFOSEC?! I’m sure rumors of you bragging about having a “power” you’re using to “pacify” the town will definitely get the cops off your back, Kanji! For this he gets Dizzy Boost, which, sure? Not entirely sure how that works because dizzying seems to be automatic, but okay.

In the evening we watch the news. Are we going to see our next victim/party member? The news mentions a new name, “Rise Kujikawa”, who has recently taken a leave of absence from the entertainment industry.

And she has a portrait so yeah, this is it. Let’s see how long it takes the ace detectives to catch up. Moreover, she apparently has relatives in Inaba and will be staying here during her absence. Her family runs the tofu shop, which I have seen but John has refused to enter thus far. We then cut to the advertisement from the opening movie, and the game reveals Rise was the actor in it. Okay, so the game did manage to make its porn plot-relevant. Ish.

The morning of the 20th Kanji tells me there’s been more activity around the shopping district. If I say I smell a case he doesn’t believe me, but agrees to ask around at school anyway. Aw, I appreciate your help, Kanji!

YOSUKE: But man, seeing you here kinda reminds me of the school campout…

I thought we agreed to never speak of that again. Also, he’s part of the team, Yosuke, stop being pissy every time he dares show up.

Yosuke reveals Rise is an idol. Oh, she’s screwed. Yosuke is just a creep, but Chie picks up his unused braincells to remind everyone that the victims are connected to TV appearances. Thank you. Yosuke denies it on the basis that Rise’s been on TV for ages, even though that was the case for Yamano as well.

YOSUKE: Also, how could Rise be connected to the incidents so far?

SHE HAS FAMILY HERE YOU IDIOT. Yukiko reveals she already did research on that — wow, the girls are really picking up the slack for Yosuke today — and confirms Rise has been on the same show with Yamano in the past, which finally convinces Yosuke to take this seriously. He claims that if she is targeted this will disprove their theory the victims are connected to the first murder, which I find a strange thing to fixate on. We still don’t know why the culprit killed Yamano or if they were even trying to kill her — it’s possible they were subjecting her to some kind of trial by fire and were expecting her to somehow get out.

YOSUKE: [winking] Alright, now we have to keep a close eye on everything Rise does!

I guess it takes a pervert to catch a pervert…

In class, the teacher tells us Japan first implemented bonus pay in the Meiji era, then immediately asks us to repeat the answer. Okay, I’ll take the freebie.

MRS. NAKAYAMA: It’s a wonderful culture. It’s the joy in labor…

You poor, sad, capitalism-pilled teacher.

During lunchtime, Ai finally accepts my date and tells me to play hooky with her. After I accept, I can immediately say, “You shouldn’t ditch class,” which is just hilariously hypocritical. She drags me along shopping and makes me carry all her bags.

AI: It’s nice to have a personal servant!

So she’s the femdom love interest, I suppose. She pays for everything with a credit card and brags about her daddy being super rich, so also a sugar mommy. She goes on to whine about how the guidance counselor pays special attention to her attendance record, yet the teachers are “totally clueless” that she’s skipping school as long as she makes it back before the final bell. How does that work…? She does indeed cough up a card: the Moon. I’m not well-versed in its meaning; illusions and self-denial, I think? We’ll see how it plays out.

Back at school, one of the students gushes over Rise at us. I can say I’m not interested in her, to which he says, “What!? You have a fever or something!?” Game, you’ve demonstrated you know gay people exist, can you maybe consider the possibility your players aren’t straight?

I hang out with Yumi since no one else is ready to advance yet. She throws a fit about no one else in the club taking acting seriously enough, and reminds me she’s frustrated about her family situation, but nothing meaningfully new.

It rains on the 22nd; sure enough, Rise’s on the Midnight Channel.

For some reason, it keeps zooming in on her chest and thighs…

So we’re going to get a sex-themed dungeon for the third time in a row. Sigh. The next day, Chie questions if it was really her, because “Didn’t she seem a little… different?” Chie, this is the third go-around, when are you going to stop being surprised by Shadows acting different? The rest of us make plans to investigate, but…

CHIE: Sorry, but me and Yukiko have plans. Give us a call if anything comes up.

So Yosuke’s callousness is catching. Farla argues that given our track record they’re probably assuming there’s no way we’ll stop the kidnapping so they might as well get a good night’s sleep for once.

Directing traffic in front of the tofu shop is none other than Adachi. How interesting to see him in the vicinity of the next victim. Kanji notes that he’s in plainclothes — odd — and asks what a detective is doing on traffic duty. Adachi gets embarrassed and walks off, muttering about having other work to do. Yosuke, despite insisting until he’s blue in the face that the police are useless idiots, now wonders if the police have noticed the same pattern in the victims they have. I mean, that’s not really necessary; she’s a high-profile individual and there’s a murderer on the loose, that’s all the reason they need to keep an eye on her.

Dojima pops out and asks me why I’m here. I choose to tell as much truth as the game will let me: “We came to see Rise.” Dojima just gives a “Hmph,” to that. After he leaves, Yosuke insists we definitely can’t tell him anything because…

He wants to get caught. There is no other explanation.

The gawkers complain that Rise isn’t here and run off. We take the opportunity to head inside the store, where we find Rise working in the back.

“I couldn’t recognize you now that you’re covering the only part I care about.” Kanji outs Yosuke as a fan of hers, even repeating in detail his creep speech about her earlier. This is absolutely revenge for the campout. Yosuke manages to activate his brain long enough to ask her an actually pertinent question: if she’s seen the Midnight Channel. She has, actually! She claims it can’t have been her, because she’s never been filmed wearing that particular swimsuit before. I’m not clear how she’d be certain of that given the poor image quality, but okay. She follows this with much more definitive evidence: her boobs aren’t as big as the figure’s were. Yosuke explains they think the Midnight Channel stars get kidnapped, and Kanji only chimes in to insist they’re not lying and not that this literally just happened to him.

We then cut to Dojima and Adachi interviewing Rise later. They also tell her she might be in danger, and Rise says she’s already been warned.

Adachi is very invested in this For Some Reason. With the descriptions Rise gives, Dojima realizes we’re the ones who warned her. That evening, he asks me outright what I talked to Rise about. I choose to be honest and say, “About the cases.” Dojima gets pissy and insists I should let the police handle it, because they’ve done so well so far.

We see the Midnight Channel again that night. The image is still grainy, but this time it shows her face and it’s clearly Rise. Yosuke declares the gang needs to talk about it as soon as possible, by which he means after school the next day. Yosuke starts off the meeting by establishing that this proves the victims aren’t connected to the first murder, even though, again, it doesn’t. Rise is still in her shop, so this also seems to confirm the full TV program doesn’t start until after the victim is kidnapped. Chie still wonders what’s up with the pre-kidnapping appearances, which I’m also curious about. If that’s their Shadow — which Rise implied by insisting it didn’t look like her — how is it appearing before the host is in the TV world? Yukiko brings up a new theory:

YUKIKO: If the Midnight Channel shows the victim’s true feelings… maybe it does the same for the culprit. Maybe what we’re seeing is the culprit’s intentions.

Oh, that is interesting. It could explain why the figure looks sexier than the real Rise, if it’s the culprit’s idealized version of her. Yosuke goes further, speculating that the TV world itself is influenced as much by the culprit as the victims… “Or maybe it’s everyone’s minds.” Oh no, please don’t tell me ~the collective unconscious~ is the villain again. This does raise the possibility that people might not be doing it on purpose, though — perhaps it just happens if enough people develop a parasocial relationship with you. That would at least fit with how incredibly weird and abstract our two victims’ accounts were.

The gang heads to the pharmacy to buy materials for the stakeout, and who shows up but Adachi. He acts really awkward and tries to avoid us, as if he doesn’t want us to know he was here. He mutters under his breath (conveniently loud enough for us to hear) that Dojima ordered him to babysit us.

And the idiots let him into Rise’s store. But then!

Clearly an actor you hired to make us abandon our post. …I say, but no, Adachi does follow when we give chase. We corner the suspicious guy, but he has no portrait. Oh, but I notice he does have a professional camera. He threatens to commit suicide by jumping into traffic, but falls for a simple misdirection, allowing us to catch him without issue. He insists he was only trying to creep on Rise, not murder anyone.

ADACHI: Yep, you’re the culprit, all right. No two ways about it.

Adachi declares this immediately. He arrests the dude and tells us to stop getting involved because we’re worrying Dojima. As we pass by Rise’s shop, her grandmother tells us she just left.

ADACHI: C’mon, you worry too much! She must’ve just stepped out.

How quick you are to say that, Adachi. And how convenient this has established an alibi for him.

The gang decides to waste time running around looking for Rise instead of just going to the TV world and asking Teddie. That night…

She confirms that she’s a high schooler. Great. So this is now the third time in a row we’ve had teenage sex drama. At a certain point I have to say, yes, it’s true teenagers have a lot of sex-related hangups, but how much of this is just an excuse for the very much adult creators to draw underage softcore porn? Why can’t we have, just for once, an outwardly sexual teen who’s actually asexual and has secret hangups about that? Why won’t you pander to me, game?

Shadow Rise declares that she’s going to strip naked, but mercifully runs off before she does so. Yosuke immediately calls us to be a creep.

YOSUKE: Hey, d-did you see Risette on TV!? I-Is she serious about baring it all!?

Good to know you have your priorities in order, horndog. The narration confirms that “Yosuke sounds excited.” Why can’t we call anyone else instead? Like the people who have personal experience with this, maybe?

On the 24th the kids finally visit the TV world (after school, of course). Teddie whines about us abandoning him. After guilting the girls into comforting him, he hits on them. Why. Once again he needs a hint to locate the victim. We listen to him cry a bit more and, surprisingly, finally score his social link: the… Star? I have no idea what that symbolizes.

As with Kanji, we have to scour the commercial district to dig up dirt on our target.

LAZY STUDENT: I don’t want to stay in Inaba forever. Look at this shopping district; it’s practically deteriorating. But… there sure does seem to be a lot people moving in from the city. You and Yosuke are both like that, right? Even Rise Kujikawa is coming. Why in the world are all these people coming here?

This must be important if dialogue is bringing it up, but I don’t see what’s significant about this. The town has an inn; its economy is predicated on people coming here. Unless he means people staying here long-term, but then three people is not “a lot” in my book and only Yosuke appears to have moved here permanently. Farla wonders if we’re supposed to think the killer is deliberately trying to lure people here, which they may have to do if their reach is limited to the town.

YUKIKO: Rise Kujikawa… She’s probably scared and alone right now… Seeing her image on the Midnight Channel every night… We need to save her, quickly!

Don’t worry, Yukiko, I’m sure we can leave her to rot for weeks like we did you.

The creep who thought Yamano totally had it coming has this lovely tidbit for us:

MAN IN SUIT: My students wouldn’t shut up about [Rise]. They said they didn’t understand why she would stop, because she’s so cute! Well, I’m not interested at all. She may be an idol, but she’s still just a child. I prefer women a little older.

A shame the Persona artists can’t relate.

Once again the solution is to talk to the victim’s family. A paparazzi was creeping on Rise earlier, and is now hanging out by the riverbank, supposedly. Didn’t we arrest that guy?

I remember Margaret wanted me to have more knowledge before I could deign to talk to her, so I go to the Velvet Room to check if I’m smart enough for her now. I find her sitting there alone.

MARGARET: Excuse me. Do you have any business here?

Lady, you explicitly opened this place to do business with me. Why else would I be here? She almost immediately points this out herself, as if she only just remembered. Then she suddenly decides she needs to introduce herself again.

MARGARET: I am the one who rules over power, invited here after my predecessor’s sudden disappearance.

Is this referring to Elizabeth? Is this the same continuity as Persona 3? She proceeds to flirt with me a bunch, which gets me her social link: the Empress, as I suspected. She then requests I show her an Ippon-Datara with Sukukaja oh god not this again. I guess it’s a lot easier now that I can directly control skill inheritance, but I still don’t really have the spending money to resummon old personas to use as stock for these.

The paparazzi is nowhere to be seen, so maybe I have to wait until evening? I pass the time at daycare. When she comes to pick up her son Eri asks what I think of kids. Amazingly, when I say I hate them she’s actually pleased.

ERI: *sigh* It’s so tiring… I don’t hate [my son], but…

If I ask her to elaborate she just laughs and says “you’re still a child, I see.” I think you may just be a terrible mom, lady.

The paparazzi isn’t at the riverbank in the evening either, so I lick some wasabi instead. On the 25th it’s raining, and Chie says we should rescue Rise as soon as possible. Oh so now you want me to be quick about it, game? This time there is a “photographer” at the flood plain, though he seems to be a different person than the weirdo Adachi arrested. He offers to trade information about Rise, and I say she’s different from her TV appearances. He agrees with this and… don’t give me anything, the cheapskate! He demands I find more information about her, so it’s back to the shopping district I guess. …Except there’s no new information there. I find it in the school, instead, after discovering one of the students is a Rise fanatic. It’s just that she’s “stressed”, which I think was pretty obvious? The photographer confirms that she was apparently stressed over the dissonance between her real self and her stage persona, which is… surprisingly insightful. How much do you know, random photographer? We finally consider this enough information for Teddie to use, even though this is baseline information we know about everyone because we know about Shadows.

I could rescue Rise now, but why do that when I could get a rainy day study bonus? I rescue her the next day instead, and Chie has to remind Yosuke not to delay the investigation so he can see Rise strip naked. Ha ha, it’s funny how this is a legitimate concern when someone’s in mortal peril!

TEDDIE: I see… [Rise is] just like me. The delicate, sentimental type.

Farla finds this intriguing. None of the characters think anything of this, but the fact that Rise already has a bifuricated sense of self really ought to be interacting with this. If she already has a literal persona, could she already have a magic Persona? Given we still don’t know what Teddie is, could he be the result of someone like that confronting their Shadow?

It’s a strip club. The characters are not as weird about it as I feared, but still pretty weird. I immediately back out to grind for some quest materials, then head back.

TEDDIE: This smell, this atmosphere… It’s making my heart pound!

You don’t have a heart.

We encounter Obviously Shadow Rise on the third floor. Yukiko is at least quick on the uptake this time. This time, the viewers (?) are cheering rather than murmuring.

YOSUKE: This is a thousand times worse than just hearing a few nasty secrets!

Is it really, though, sociopath boy?

TEDDIE: The Shadows are really getting aggravated! […] She’ll be in trouble at this rate!

So do the Shadows care about the fog or not?

On the sixth floor, Teddie is confused why the Shadow is cheering us on even though that’s happened every single time. Was this originally supposed to be the tutorial dungeon, I wonder?

On the seventh floor, Rise turns out the lights. Unlike in Persona 3, however, this doesn’t disable the minimap and thus has no meaningful effect.

TEDDIE: S-Sensei! Am I about to climb the stairway to adulthood!?

How do you know that phrase? Also, how old are you? Because Teddie consistently seems to act like a kid, so this is deeply uncomfortable.

Shadow Rise just keeps acting flirtatious throughout the dungeon, unlike Shadow Yukiko who actually showed us multiple sides. When we finally reach the end, Shadow Rise claims the sticking point is, “I’m sick of being some airhead cliche who chokes down everything she’s fed and takes it all with a smile!” That… doesn’t really track. I was expecting the twist to be that Rise wants sexual relationships, but has to pretend to be the perfect maiden because that’s how idol culture works. Instead she’s mad that she’s… an actor? Even if we’re to believe that’s her real issue, her Shadow’s behavior doesn’t at all track with this being the true self beneath the mask. Everything her Shadow’s done is playing into the role of the actor: objectifying herself, enticing her “fans”, literally putting on a show. Frankly, this looks to me like they started with wanting to draw a sexy girl and backfilled from there, rather than the other way around.

The rescue team just watches this very long monologue, but this time Chie does at least warn Rise… right at the very end, when Rise is too emotionally compromised to listen anyway. Could you try being more proactive, guys?

O…kay. It’s supposed to be a flower and the body paint mimics ultraviolet lighting, like she’s signaling to a bee? Interesting that they chose to remove her face to just focus on her body. Yeah, we’ve established that the character wants to objectify herself, but the writers chose to give her that very convenient motivation. At a certain point, you have to ask if you’re really critiquing something or if you’re just wallowing in it.

YOSUKE: Looks like she had issues of her own after all…

Gee, you think the celebrity who had a breakdown so bad she needed to hide in her family’s tofu shop might have issues? This is only occuring to you now, Yosuke?

YOSUKE: But we’ll stop her from going berserk!

A bit late for that, Yosuke. Maybe if you had warned her earlier than the literal last second?

SHADOW RISE: Ahahaha! Enjoying yourself?

Not really, no.

SHADOW RISE: I dealt all that exquisite pain and you’re still not satisfied? What a finnicky guest… You might as well die, then!

It’s getting increasingly forced that the Shadows always want to kill us. The previous ones at least felt threatened in some way (though Yukiko’s was also a big stretch), but this one just wants our attention. What does it have to gain by fighting us? Why does it hate us so much?

At half health it uses “Supreme Insight”, which “fully analyzes” our attributes. Okay, so she’s going to have the same support role as Fuuka. Does that mean Teddie is going to become a real party member? This has the result of giving her perfect evasion against all attacks, so we’re abruptly kicked out into a cutscene. Shadow Rise launches a devastating counterattack — probably could have depicted that in-battle — and Teddie has a breakdown about being useless and not wanting us to die. He waddles in front of us and…

TEDDIE: M-My body’s moving on its own! Wh-Why am I stepping forward!?

…immediately undercuts his own sacrifice. Whatever, Teddie, die for me. He self-destructs, which killsteals the Shadow from me.

Somehow, he is still alive, just deflated. Once they confirm he isn’t dead, they walk over to the person who actually matters.

RISE: You’re a part of me, but I kept refusing to admit you existed…

No? We were explicitly told she was aware she had multiple personas. Unless this persona is somehow separate from both her stage personality and her “real self”, despite the game repeatedly insisting Shadows are your “real self”?

RISE: I was trying to figure out who the real me was. But I realize now that I was on the wrong track. There is no “real” me. It just doesn’t exist.

Get outta here, Stanislavski, this is a Jungian universe! And in all seriousness, this does not sound like a healthy conclusion for a showbiz celebrity desperately trying to escape the showbiz.

Her Persona is Himiko, and it seems she’ll be replacing Teddie’s role as navigator rather than being a party member in her own right. Weird that it’s taken so long, in P3 we got Fuuka pretty early.

Teddie reinserts himself into the scene to have a breakdown over there being no “real him” either, then starts talking in an evil voice.

Yosuke, try to keep up. Chie, reversing the roles, immediately does catch up and realizes this must be Teddie’s Shadow. Rise, however, says that she also “felt some powerful presence intervene…” Am I actually right that Teddie’s connected to the culprit?

OTHER TEDDIE: The truth is unattainable… It will always be shrouded in fog. Though you reach through the murk and the gloom to grasp something, you have no means to know it is the truth… In which case, why…? What sense is there in yearning for truth? Close your eyes. Lie to yourself. Live in blissful ignorance… It is a much smarter way to exist.

This is interesting given Teddie seems to be very selective about what he does and doesn’t know, as if this thing is pushing to keep him ignorant of certain concepts. And now that I say that, that does track with him specifically being ignorant of things related to TV and recordings, which are probably relevant to the culprit’s methods.

Shadow Teddie insists that Teddie always knew the truth of what he is but refuses to accept it. Teddie has no lost memories or prior existence: he is, himself, a mere Shadow. Huh, so I was actually right about that! Kind of an obvious twist, but I’ll take it. Teddie flips out and tries to attack it, but gets knocked out.

YOSUKE: How are we supposed to fight something like this without Teddie…?

Oh, because he’s been so useful up to now? Rise confirms that she’ll be Replacement Teddie and we enter battle.

Woah, that’s a lot creepier. I wonder if Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass took inspiration from this bit. Interestingly, its Arcana is Moon, even though Teddie himself is Star.

I have to ask, if Teddie is a Shadow, how is he generating another Shadow? Farla speculates that he only thinks he’s a Shadow, because why should we trust the guy rambling about how truth is unattainable, but that seems too convoluted.

And we’re fully healed for this. Boo! Make resource management matter, game. After knocking off a quarter of his health he uses “Ultra Charge” and prepares for a supermove. Rise says she has a bad feeling because she’s also filling in Teddie’s role of Captain Obvious. I guard, only to discover it takes two turns to charge, so I guard again and block all damage. Well, that was anticlimactic. His Mind Charge + Mabufula combo is much more dangerous than that. I guess it does no damage if you guard? At low health he starts using “Nullity Guidance”, which auto-dizzies someone (and gives him a 1-More, which he sometimes chains into another Nullity Guidance). Still nothing I can’t handle. Just for funsies I see what Nihil Hand does if you don’t guard, and sure enough it’s heavy damage + instant dizzy. He only combos it into Dekaja, which is surprisingly merciful. After a few more cycles of debuffing his defense and guarding when he telegraphs his supermoves I’m eventually able to whittle down his overmassive HP. John almost runs out of MP, so that might not have been trivial if I hadn’t gotten the full heal after Shadow Rise! Resource management gameplay is only interesting if you can actually run out of resources, if you can just keep running the same cycle until the boss is dead the game may as well play itself. (Though honestly even if I had run out of MP I have so many Chewing Souls at this point it wouldn’t have mattered.)

Afterwards Teddie mopes about not knowing who he is and the rest of the team volunteers on my behalf to help Teddie figure it out. Speak for yourselves, I’m only interested because it might be relevant to the case.

Teddie does actually manage to get a Persona out of this: Kintoki-Douji, which is actually an alternate name of the boy hero Kintaro. Looks like he’s going to be more of a support character, which is fitting. Also interesting that he seems to share an ice specialty with Chie — this must be similar to the Junpei/Koromaru situation where we double up on the fighter’s elemental specialty so it can be used by someone with an appreciable magic stat.

Then Rise collapses because doing Teddie’s job is just so exhausting. We return to the entrance and Teddie abruptly decides to start doing situps so he can be strong when we get back. Okay. He also claims that when he’s with us he feels “There must be something only I can do…” Okay.

Dojima graces us with his presence this evening, but he’s fall-down drunk. Nanako just looks resigned, as if this is a familiar occurence. Adachi explains the Feds are calling in an outside detective because they’ve done such a crap job investigating the murders. Shouldn’t Dojima be happy about this? Finally, the hideously understaffed police have someone to take the pressure off him and he can finally spend some time with his daughter! Because that is what you want, right, Dojima? The detective is apparently another high school student because anime runs on teenage prodigies, and he’s offered to work for free because the poor kid doesn’t understand capitalism. Dojima whines that the Feds are just giving him another kid to babysit, which would be reasonable if we had any reason to believe he was actually a bad detective — like, say, the fact his major selling point is “I’m free!” — but Dojima does not connect these dots.

One Comment

  1. Seed of Bismuth says:

    “So we’re going to get a sex-themed dungeon for the third time in a row. Sigh.”
    Well that is Freud (and his student Jung) for you

    “Is this referring to Elizabeth? ”
    actually Think it a reference to the Velvet Room’s Butler voice actor’s death so the re-release added content that was going to be him, now its Margret.

    “Is this the same continuity as Persona 3?”
    Yes as of Persona 5 Royal all the Persona games take place in the same timeline. No that doesn’t really add up.

    “if Teddie is a Shadow, how is he generating another Shadow?”
    Like in Kingdom Hearts where Nobodies can have there own Nobodies, because the Author Said so.

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