Anime Reviews: Persona 4 The Animation Episode 12 – It’s Not Empty At All

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The Story
Yu and the group go back into the TV world, where Rise discovers the location of the creepy kid, Kubo. They make their way into his corner of the world, where they find a video game themed castle. After letting Teddie fight against some monsters, they find Kubo arguing with his shadow self. The episode suddenly cuts to after the fight, and over the course of several weeks Yu watches helplessly as his friends drift further and further apart. One evening, he’s attacked by a shadow that looks like a giant baby.

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Yosuke pulls Yu out of what apparently is Kubo’s shadow’s attack. They’re still in the fight, and as the others’ Persona keep Kubo’s shadow from rebuilding his defenses, Yu summons all the Persona available to him one after another. Finally they are able to defeat the shadow. Kubo confesses to being behind the murders, and with the case solved the kids meet up for a celebration and omelette cooking contest.

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The Review
The sudden jump from the battle to after it had ended caught me off guard. I had to double check wikipedia to make sure something wasn’t messed up with the episode. And once I realized it was supposed to be jarring, I found that the majority of this episode was amazing.

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Yu’s characterization has been somewhat underdeveloped, or at least subtle, through the course of this show. Seeing an entire episode devoted to his fear of losing touch with his friends was a lot of fun. Though they never really explain what exactly the hallucination was, I think it’s safe to assume that it was an attack by Kubo’s shadow, trapping the characters in a nightmare of sorts. I thought this was the strongest part of the episode, or at least it was the most interesting. Once we got back to the fight I wasn’t as invested as I had been during the nightmare.

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The biggest problem is that the jarring shift pulls the viewer out of the story. I had to make sure that the episode wasn’t corrupted or something. Imagine what it would be like for someone that can’t check if another episode got mixed in during the editing process. They’d be completely confused by what they were seeing, and only once Yu is pulled out of the nightmare would they be able to make sense of what happened. That would completely destroy what was actually a series of heartbreaking events.

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Persona 4 continues to wow me with Yu’s characterization, but the action scenes are still complete messes. I can sort of make out what’s happening, but there’s something about the coloring and the lighting that makes it impossible to figure out what’s happening. I’ll probably bring this complaint up again, but I’ll try not to. It’s been said often enough.

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Overall, as long  as you’re aware of the jarring time shift this is one of the best episodes of the series. It takes full advantage of Yu’s emotions, making him a proper player in the game, and not just an avatar being acted upon by the plot. The writers for the show realize that anime is not like video games, and thus the way the story is told has to be altered. Overall I’d have to say, twelve episodes in, Persona 4 The Animation has succeeded as an adaptation. Whether it succeeds on its merits as a story remains to be seen.

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If you liked my review, Watch the Episode Here!

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