Persona 4: The Animation - "Somewhere not here" Episode 4 Recap
Yu and the gang return to the Midnight Channel to resume their search for Yukiko. They come across a castle and Yukiko’s shadow, which is in search for her “prince”. After her shadow runs off, the group is attacked by other shadows that reside in the massive castle. Meanwhile, in the castle’s throne room, Yukiko begins to recall how she looked after an abandoned bird which ultimately broke out of its cage and flew away. She begins to feel like she could never escape her life as an innkeeper, that she’s like a bird who can’t get out of her own cage to be free. As her emotions begin to build, her shadow appears and surprises her.
The group is attacked by different pieces of furniture and Shadow Yukiko finally transforms into her true form, a giant fire bird. However, the group breaks free from their traps and Yu tries using Pyro Jack to absorb Shadow Yukiko’s fierce flames. Facing the roaring fire ahead of her, Chie tells Yukiko that she was always jealous of who she was. Thanks to Chie’s words Yukiko gains the strength to break free from her chains of regret, allowing Yu and the group to finish off the weakened shadow and end the battle. Yukiko then accepts her shadow as a part of herself and it becomes her own Persona, “Konohana-Sakuya” of the Priestess Arcana. To lighten the mood Teddie gives Yukiko a pair of goofy glasses, which causes her to laugh for the first time in ages.
This is probably the first episode where the pacing hasn’t felt awkward. Instead, it flows nicely from beginning to end without many problems. In keeping with how the series has handled other character developments, Yukiko has flashbacks exclusive to the anime. They expand on her repressed emotions of feeling trapped in the life as a inn’s successor and feels that even Chie (who has always been there for her) can’t free her from that fate. I liked the symbolic moments about a bird being trapped in its cage and how Yukiko’s bird was able to break free and fly into the world. A bird being trapped in its cage is the whole meaning of this entire episode, a
person being trapped in a life that they don’t want at all. The show really executes these moments well. This series can be so strange, and yet you can’t help but to relate at the same time.
One thing I’m noticing now from those big battles is that Yu is starting to become his own character and more than just the silent protagonist from the video game. This is shown by his many actions in combat and helping each of his friends overcome their fears and worries. He shows that he isn’t all powerful and can’t win every fight by himself. And thus, “Somewhere not here” is another excellent entry into series. This show has broken out of its cage and escaped from being a merely a video game adaptation.