Persona 4: September 18th – October 4th (Downtime)

When I get home, Adachi is there and also drunk.

ADACHI: They found Naoto-kun! Oh, uh, do you know who Naoto-kun is? He just up and vanished without a word, but it looks like he’s back now.

This sure must be awkward if you wait until the last minute to save her.

ADACHI: You know what sucks? We still don’t have proof that the Kubo kid murdered anyone besides Mr. Morooka. How’re we gonna make a case like this? I wonder if Dojima-san’s instinct is right… Maybe there really is another perp out there. The real one…

Hm. I’m not sure if this disproves my theory Adachi is the culprit. It seems really self-sabotaging for the culprit to draw attention to the fact they have the wrong suspect… but if Dojima is already suspicious, he could be doing this to direct suspicion away from himself — “See, Dojima, I agree there’s totally another culprit, what a shame we can’t find that slippery, handsome bastard.” Is he playing 4D Chess with us? While drunk?

Dojima yells at him for spilling confidential info, then walks off. What does Adachi say once Dojima has left the room?

ADACHI: Just leave the case to us police. You know the problems it could cause if something happened, right? Like, if it happened you were mixed up in it, we’d be real worried…

What an interesting threat.

…Dojima acted awfully certain we were involved on very flimsy evidence. Could Adachi have been pushing him in that direction? Or am I overthinking this and it’s the other way around? I was going to say it’s odd for Adachi to be making vague threats instead of directly attacking us if he knows our involvement, but we recently got confirmation Personas don’t work outside of TV world, so he’s actually powerless against us out here.

Nanako gets nervous, but Adachi insists that everything’s fine.

ADACHI: We caught the bad man, so no more scary things will happen. Right? Everything’s just fine. […] A-Anyways, your dad’s just a worrywart. Leave it to me! You might not know to look at me, but I got the most brains in the whole police department!

So he’s undermining the person who’s getting close to the truth, talking himself up, and insisting that everything will be fine as long as we all agree that his patsy definitely did it and no further questions need to be asked. I wonder what Dojima would say to this if he was here.

The next day I hang out with Kanji. The boy from before has talked him up to his whole class, and now they want to hire him to make dolls for more people. Kanji is flustered but halfheartedly agrees. Apparently, in elementary school he fixed the bag of a girl he liked, but all the other girls made fun of her for it. What is wrong with the girls in this town? His rank 6 skill is… Power Charge, alright! Now he can match Chie. Odd that she learns it through level up and him through social link.

The next day I watch a scary movie with Yukiko, which she likes, then in the evening I can hang out with Adachi. He offers to tutor me, then immediately says, “Did that completely fly over your head? I forgot everything I learned in high school.” That’s really weird, wasn’t he bragging about getting really good grades in high school last time? He agrees to come over anyway, and decides to help with Nanako’s homework instead since mine looks too complicated. Nanako wants help on a book report.

ADACHI: Oh, those. They’re really easy if you know what to do. You don’t have to read the whole thing. Just read the notes in the back and then summarize those.

Well, now we know how he forgot everything he learned in school. Nanako feels weird about this, but Adachi insists, “We have to be efficient here.”

> “You’re right.”
> “She won’t learn anything that way.”
> “Is that how you do your job, too?”

Oho, we can hit him where it hurts. He takes my accusation with complete nonchalance: “Of course. Government work is full of pointless red tape…” I’m taking that as confirmation they falsified the data to convict Mitsuo.

Nanako explains she doesn’t have to write a review, she just has to read the book and get an adult to confirm she did it. Adachi volunteers to be her witness, but zones out and has to be reminded when she’s done. Unsurprisingly given his attitude toward academic honesty, he stamps her homework anyway, and distracts her by bribing her with a flower drawing. He asks me if I want one too, and I pointedly say no, which annoys him.

ADACHI: I’m not saying it should be me, but if something happens, you shouldn’t hesitate to bring it to a grown-up.

Pfft. “You should talk to someone about your problems! Just not me.” Then he says the old lady tried to hook him up with some dates, but that just annoyed him because it meant more work for him. He insists he never wants to get married because “Marriage is where fun goes to die.” (He says this in front of the small child with a dead mommy.) He goes on to say that Dojima would make a terrible father-in-law, so that would scare off any potential matches for Nanako. I ask what he means, but he ignores me.

The three of you spent an enjoyable evening together…

That’s not how I’d describe it, but okay, narration.

The next day at school, interacting with Teddie makes him ask me for dating advice. I tell him to wait for the girls to hit on him in the vain hopes this will make him less insufferable.

I play with the sports boys since they’re ready to rank up. Daisuke initiates the long-awaited game, and… we lose. Is it influenced by your social stats? Afterwards, Kou confesses the game made him happy anyway. He gives more details on his home situation: His parents have devoted all their attention to his baby sister, which makes him feel like they’ve given up on him. He resolves to visit the orphanage to see if he can track down his biological parents. I can offer to go with him, but he says I don’t have to. Boo, stop padding your social links, game.

On the 21st I grudgingly decide to hang out with Sugar Mommy, since she’s been full on social points for a while. She shops at the fashion boutique, and rants about how much she hates service workers. Okay.

On the 22nd I hang out with Yosuke. He’s reminiscing about a photo he took with Saki.

YOSUKE: Back then… somewhere inside me, I thought I was above this place… A lot of people saw me as the enemy because Junes was going to ruin the shopping district… But… when I met her, she told me, “Parents are parents. You’re you…” Even if she didn’t really mean it… it made me happy.

This seems like a weird summation. He still doesn’t care that she hated him or why, all he cares about is that made him feel nice once. Either it was a complete lie and she was just telling him what he wanted to hear, or she actually did like him enough to tell him something nice once… but he’s not interested in considering which was more likely. He then starts sobbing about how sad he is she’s dead.

YOSUKE: It pisses me off… It makes me mad! I wanted to talk with her more! I wanted to get to know her better!

And his reaction isn’t sadness, but anger.

YOSUKE: I wanted to forget about Saki-senpai. How she’s not here anymore… […] When the murders started, I got excited… I thought there was finally a point to me being in Inaba… I thought I could forget Senpai was gone… and the fact that I was such a loser…

You wanted to forget about her before she died. Your Shadow explicitly said, “You had no other reason for coming here.” You never cared about Saki, your Shadow told us so. The only way I can interpret this that makes any sense with established scenes is that he only now cares about her from looking back on the nice things she did for him, but that’s not how this is phrased. I am genuinely starting to think the dungeon scenes and social links were written by two different people and they never communicated, because this is an outright contradiction.

YOSUKE: I… didn’t even take the first step… I’m sorry… Saki-senpai. I’m sorry… John.

This feels so weird. Does this disprove he’s a sociopath? I don’t know. I think his Shadow was just so awful it’s impossible for me to give him any benefit of the doubt anymore. I genuinely thought he cared about Saki based on his behavior in the prologue, so if he’s able to fake emotions that convincingly, how can I trust anything he does ever again? The most charitable reading I can give here is that he’s some sort of emotionally stunted manchild who’s somehow having strong emotions for the first time in his life at 16. His phrasing and behavior here is extremely simplistic and childish, like he’s confused why he’s having this completely normal and understandable reaction to someone he likes dying. Even when he’s trying to apologize, he’s doing so in a completely self-centered way; everything he says is about what he wanted, never considering anything about her internality or motivations, never seeing her as a person. He still doesn’t seem to understand why the townspeople hate Junes or how it’s hurting them, he’s just annoyed that they’re being mean to him about it.

On the 23rd, Nanako is acting weird, but my expression is finally maxed out so I can talk to her. The teachers want the parents to come in for a parent-teacher conference, and Nanako is worried Dojima will blow it off. I offer to back her up when she asks him, which she appreciates. And… that’s it, that’s the entire scene. Jesus, the padding in this game.

On the 25th I can rank up with Dojima. He whines that he feels “left behind” because I’m being a better father figure than him. I can outright say, “Because you’re a coward.” And he actually finally admits it! And… once again that’s the entire scene. Ugh.

On the evening of the 26th I do gardening with the family. Normally these scenes are very generic, but this time Dojima brings up plot events:

DOJIMA: It’s about Shirogane, but… you weren’t really involved with his disappearance, right? I don’t like to say this, but too much of what’s happening seems to be centered on you.

What? We barely interacted with Naoto! This was absolutely not centered on us! None of the victims have, really — the first victim is someone we never met, the second victim is someone we had one polite conversation with, and the third is a friend of a friend. After that, okay, maybe someone saw us stalking Kanji, but then Kanji doesn’t even die. There’s no logical reason to think we’re the centeral thread here. I really have to wonder if Adachi is siccing him on us. Maybe Naoto said something, given she said she suspected us, but then right before she disappeared she said she no longer suspected us, so surely she would have passed that onto Dojima if he was the only detective still listening to her? Nanako gets upset and he insists he’s just worried about our safety, but if so that was an incredibly roundabout way to say it.

On the 28th I hang out with Sugar Mommy. She decides to start taking her management job halfway seriously for my sake. Then a student shows up to ask her out, and she coldly rejects him by saying he’s ugly. Okay.

On the 29th, I find Yumi ministering to her dad. She’s freaking out about how when she’s with him, all she can think about is how he could die at any moment. Yeah, this is really terrible of him. The game is clearly trying to argue he’s doing this because he’s realized he actually cares about her, but all he’s doing is traumatizing her.

In the evening I can rank up with Dojima. He hosts a little party for the three of us, saying that today’s the day we become a real family. Oh no, have I been inducted into a cult ritual? After Nanako’s gone to bed, Dojima says he’s finally decided to stop prioritizing his revenge and be a proper dad to Nanako. Aw, that’s actually sweet!

On the 30th, Adachi is finally willing to rank up after two stopovers. He complains that I must be lazy if I’m slacking off as much as him. I can insist “I’m busy enough, thanks,” but he blows it off. Then the old woman shows up again, this time with her son in tow! After they leave, Adachi remarks that he and the son look nothing like each other.

ADACHI: But as long as he’s here, I don’t have to talk to her, so that’s a relief. […] Now I won’t have to do all that overtime.

Huh? Was he doing overtime to avoid her?

ADACHI: I like being alone. It’s easy, and it lets me do whatever I want.

HMMM.

“But doesn’t it get lonely?”
ADACHI: I never said it doesn’t. I just said it was easier.

This is really similar to how Teddie acted: Initially saying he wanted to be alone, but then saying he still gets lonely. This is also interesting if I’m right that parasocial relationships are a theme here — if you refuse to have normal interactions with people but still get lonely, you’d be drawn to parasocial media relationships.

…Now I’m wondering if Teddie is Adachi’s Shadow. We’re repeatedly told that Shadows are born from humans, so if Teddie is a Shadow, he had to have a human host at some point. And Adachi has consistently echoed things Teddie has said.

In the evening, I hang out with Nanako, who shoves the parent-teacher conference schedule at him. Dojima has a nonplussed reaction and Nanako flips out.

NANAKO: It’s fine… It’s fine, okay!? You don’t have to write anything! You don’t have to come! It’s just another case to you, right? It’s more work, isn’t it? Bad people and everyone else are more important to you than me, huh!?

This sure is weird to get after the previous scene with Dojima.

Nanako runs out in to the night and Dojima and I split up to find her. Along the way, the investigation team shows up to help too. John remembers she told us she used to visit the flood plain when her mother was still alive, so we head there and find her sitting under the incredibly obvious pavillion. Dojima has a moment of self-awareness and realizes she’s more likely to listen to me than him, so I head over to her. Nanako feels like Dojima’s forgotten her mom, because apparently he took down all her pictures at home. Wow, that is really selfish. What I think the game isn’t acknowledging here is that, regardless of his reasons for doing so, he took the pictures away from Nanako, too.

…It’s October and the plot still hasn’t advanced, ugh. I decide to finish off Dojima’s social link. He gives me his wife’s coffee mug to show that we’re family. Then he takes Nanako and I out to the riverbank.

DOJIMA: It’s scary at night! But it’s fun with you and big bro!

This is such whiplash coming off the last scene. They really should have just had one social link for both of them. Nanako runs off to stare at the fish and Dojima says, “That look on her face… I haven’t seen it in a long time.” I’ve seen it plenty, deadbeat.

DOJIMA: I… am going to keep up my search for the criminal who ran over Chisato. This time, it’s not to escape from anything. I’m just doing it because… I’m a detective. Seems I forgot something as basic as that. You made me remember what’s important to me. I owe you for that. This town is my town. It’s the place where you and Nanako live. That’s why I’m gonna live on, protecting this place. As a detective… and as a father.

This would have been a nice note to end on, but then the scene keeps going: Some punks are being punks further up the street, and the police ask Dojima for help. And he… runs off, leaving me and Nanako behind once again. So he hasn’t actually changed. He’s just neglecting his daughter for the “right” reasons now, and it’s okay because she understands that.

On the 3rd I can finish Chie’s social link.

CHIE: I’m going to fight alongside you till the very end. I mean… we’ll always be friends!

The game lets me say “Maybe not always,” if I want to be a total dick. I say “Of course,” instead.

CHIE: I’m supposed to use this power to protect people… Yukiko, my friends, my family, this town… and you.

I like that Yukiko is separate from “her friends”. Elope already, Chie!

The gameplay bonus for maxing her social link is to evolve her Persona in addition to learning a new skill:

I replace Bufula because screw it, Teddie’s already the ice caster.

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