Persona 4: November 7th – November 20th (Downtime)

Last time, the real culprit was revealed to be even more boring than the fake culprit and John’s baby cousin got hospitalized. That means now is definitely the best time to go on dates!

The next day in school we get a classroom scene and–

MR. YAMADA: Remember to wear extra layers so you don’t get sick. But ladies, it’s no good to wear warm-ups under your skirts. …Why? Because no one can see your legs…

–it immediately makes me question why I’m still doing this. Sigh.

Yosuke asks after me at lunchtime, so I go with him. He takes me to the hill overlooking Inaba, and says that though he used to hate it because it let him see what a small town it is, now he’s grown to like Inaba because he’s realized what’s really important is ~friendship~.

YOSUKE: There’s still nothing here, but I have family and friends… and you.

I’m a separate category from “friends”, huh?

YOSUKE: I always wanted to be “special.” I thought my life’d finally have meaning if I was “special” to someone. That’s why I was really excited when I got my Persona. But I really didn’t need it… It’s not what you have or what you can do… Just being born, living your life… Before you know it, you’re already special to someone.

…Does he not feel special to his dad? He seemed to be the only one with a healthy parental relationship! Also, I can’t help but find it conceited for the person with superpowers to declare you don’t need superpowers to be special.

YOSUKE: Yeah… Like you… You’re special to me, you know?

👀 Could this recontextualize why he hates Kanji so much? Is it not just internalized homophobia, but jealousy? Well, maybe I wouldn’t prefer Kanji so much if you were less of a terrible person, Yosuke.

Well, that was surprisingly decent. I don’t know if it totally disproves him being a sociopath — sociopaths are capable of liking people — but it definitely seems like a positive direction for him. That’s it, though, that’s the entire scene. …And afterwards, the social link screen says Yosuke sees me as a “special friend”. Wow. The romance mod says it mods ranks 6-10, so I don’t know if it was this gay in the original, but wow.

Oh, the music is different when I come home to the empty house; slower and more serious-feeling, though I wouldn’t describe it as somber.

The next day I can finally finish the sports boys’ link. Kou has self-actualized and decided he’s going to keep doing basketball as well as be a good big brother for his little sister. He confronted his adoptive parents and asked them outright if they still want him, and they said yes.

KOU: I bought into the same crap artists are always writing or singing about. They’re always trying to “find themselves.” So I thought I knew all about how to “find yourself.” I thought I got it. But… Really getting it is totally different. I mean, really finding yourself. Without you guys, I probably never would have figured it out. I would’ve just kept pretending, and I probably would have given up on the people I care about most.

I… don’t really get what this is saying. It’s a lot of words that sound deep but don’t seem to say much in particular. I never got the sense he was pretending he knew everything, he was pretty open about feeling conflicted the whole time. Who are the people he cares about most? His family? Us? Why would he have given up on them if we hadn’t… what did we do for him, exactly? We put on the game for him, which got him out of a funk, but we never gave him any meaningful advice, he made all the important decisions on his own.

His capstone item is his orphanage letter, which feels really weird. This is super important to him, I don’t feel comfortable holding the responsibility of keeping it! He insists that he’s just having me borrow it because “This way, I’ll never forget that I’m alone…” Wouldn’t being able to read the letter anytime he wants do that better? Given it was what made him realize that in the first place?

KOU: I’ll ask for it back when I feel like I can stand on my own two feet again.

??? This is such an incredibly contrived way to give us a capstone item. The writers really phoned this in.

Now that my understanding is “saintly” I can finally take the tutoring job, so I do that.

Oh hey, he has a portrait. This must be one of the remaining social links, I was wondering where they were.

SHU’S MOTHER: I’m sorry, he’s just a shy boy.

??? He did not sound shy at all, that was a totally normal introduction. Why are you being weird, lady? His mother proceeds to ramble about how Yasogami High is such a good school and she’s thinking of sending Shu there. Shu is actually extremely assertive and tells her to shut up and leave us alone. After she leaves, Shu confides to me that he has no intention of attending Yasogami, and if I’m inadequate he’ll find a new tutor. I appreciate his honesty! Tutoring him boosts my knowledge and expression, not that it matters because I’ve already maxed those out. I’m deeply curious what the balancing logic was here; knowledge is the easiest stat to max and you’re forced to max expression to complete Nanako’s social link, so you’re likely to max that before any of the others too. Anyway, afterwards he decides I’m adequate and I get his social link: the Tower. Huh, wonder what disaster’s in his future.

On the 10th, Yosuke accosts me at lunchtime to reveal he’s “in anguish”. I ignore him to hang out with Naoto instead and discuss the mysterious card some more. Our discussion is interrupted by a phone call revealing her home’s been burgled. She doesn’t keep anything of value in her room, so she’s not concerned and is confident the police will handle it, though she wonders if there’s some connection to the card. Then she gets embarrassed over me being concerned about her. Ugh, this is going to get weird, I can feel it.

I can continue Naoto’s social link on the 14th, which I do by offering to walk her home… and then continuing to insist after she politely declines. Ugh, how bad is this going to be?

Naoto seems relieved, despite her protests…

…That bad already, huh. Remember kids, if girls don’t want you to walk them home, they’re just playing hard to get!

Naoto finds a love letter in her shoebox, but resolves to shred it without even reading it because “I have no time to be dilly-dallying with callow love affairs.” Thank you for having your priorities in order, Naoto.

Naoto is taking the case seriously…

Unlike every other numbskull in this game, yes.

On the 16th I can hang out with Kanji. He tells me he went to visit his dad’s grave. Wait, his dad’s dead? How is this the first I’m hearing of this? Or was it mentioned before and I missed it?

KANJI: Dad told me somethin’ right before he died: “If you’re a man, you have to become strong.”

Ah, so that’s where Kanji got his hangups from.

KANJI: Fighting gangs, thinking I was protecting Mom… Tryin’ to catch this killer… I thought alla that was how I was becoming strong. That I was really making up for all the trouble I caused… I was drunk off my “power”…

I find this interesting as a parallel to what Yosuke just said in his rank 9. They’re expressing similar ideas about abusing their Persona power and playing hero on the case, but while Yosuke’s was completely self-centered, Kanji seems to have a lot more awareness, and specifically describes his actions in terms of how they affect other people. He goes onto say he’s going to be true to himself and stop being embarrassed about his hobbies. He also says it felt really nice when the kid and his mom thanked him for the dolls, aw.

The next day Naoto receives another white card, this time from someone claiming to be the burglar. She wants to leave it to the police, but decides it would impugn the Shirogane family’s honor if she doesn’t solve it herself, thus wasting time and energy she should be spending on the murder case. Wow, aristocrats are easily manipulated. Her rank 4 skill is… Mind Charge! Oh, I’m definitely keeping that.

It’s raining on the 18th. Yumi’s not available, I haven’t finished the fox quest, and I’ve already unlocked the beach, so… I guess I grind in the TV world? I waste a literal hour of my life farming Power Rocks, then about another half-hour trying to get a Ghoul Persona for Margaret’s fusion quest before realizing how stupid that is and hacking one in via Cheat Engine, which takes a few minutes. I genuinely believe the developers put these quests in entirely to pad the game’s playtime. They don’t just add nothing, they actively detract from the experience. Does anyone seriously think these slot machine mechanics are fun? Does any developer genuinely think they improve the game? Ugh.

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