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Persona 4: The Animation - "Suspicious Tropical Paradise" Episode 7 Recap

“After realizing Kanji has been thrown inside the TV, Yu and the gang decide to rescue him before he is killed by the shadows. The rescue operation becomes awkward quickly when the gang realize they’ll have to follow Kanji’s openly homosexual shadow self to a men’s bathouse.”

After seeing Kanji on the Midnight Channel, Yu and the gang decide to venture inside the TV world to find him. However, Teddie won’t be able to find him unless they bring an object that carries Kanji’s scent. After checking on Kanji’s mother, a young boy who he recently helped appears with a phone strap that Kanji made for him out of kindness and lets the gang borrow it. On their way to Junes to save their friend, the group runs into Naoto, who explains Kanji might have problems deep within himself despite what his appearance tells them. Once at the TV world, the group follows the scent of the phone strap to a bathhouse. Yu and company soon find Kanji’s shadow, who is revealed to be a openly homosexual. Kanji rejects his shadow, which triggers a transformation in which it becomes stronger. Even with the amount of Persona power the group has, Kanji’s shadow and its underlings begin to easily overpower the group.

During the battle, Igor introduces Yu to the power of combining different Persona together, which weakens the fierce shadows. Yu then helps Kanji realize his love for cute things, and Kanji ends delivers the final blow to his own shadow.

After the fight, Kanji explains to his shadow and everybody else that he isn’t confused about his sexuality or gender, but doesn’t want to be rejected by boys and girls for his own hobbies of liking and making cute things. With that, Kanji accepts his other self snd it the tranforms into a Persona named “Take-Mikazuchi”. A few weeks later, Kanji decides to help with the investigation to find the person who might be the murderer throwing people inside the television. Later at night, a mysterious figure is seen within the thick fog of Inaba…

This episode covers the entire Kanji rescue mission and some social link scenes from the Persona 4 video game. One of the primary reasons I’ve never liked anime based on games is that they usually can’t grasp the story too well. However, with Suspicious Tropical Paradise, I’m very pleased to say that the writing crew really pulled off something wonderful. Starting with the positives, I completely love how much development they tried to give Kanji here. Unlike in the game where you have to befriend Kanji more to know about him, the anime is able to successfully place that development within the main story. My favorite scene in particular was when Kanji accepted himself for who he is while fusing the scenes about him helping out the young boy. What makes Persona 4 a great experience is that no matter how weird it may seem, it will also inspire those who watch it.

Another great aspect of this episode was that the writers actually included the game’s concept of fusing Persona together, which only makes you wonder what Persona Yu will make in upcoming episodes. I also continue to enjoy how well done the animation is, as it’s very well-drawn and colored. Fans of the video game will easily notice that most of the music in this series is taken directly from the game, and it surprisingly works very well in the scenes.

There is one song in particular that is called “I’ll face myself”, which plays when the main characters accept their shadows and overcome the weaknesses in their hearts.

Of course, this episode wasn’t perfect. This series does have a really bad habit of rushing certain plot points. In this episode for example, the scene where Kanji decides to join the group was so rushed I didn’t even know what to think of it at first. In the game, Kanji joining had a whole investigation scene to go along with it to make it flow much better. Here in the animation, it was a quick five seconds to quickly progress to the plot.  To conclude, Persona 4 the Animation has been a really great experience so far. What it does best is its character development and its well-written, slice-of-life storylines. What it does poorly is cram certain plot points together and rushing them to other plot points, which looks bad to the many viewers who have most likely played the game already.

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