Persona 4: The Animation – “A Stormy Summer Vacation 2/2” Episode 14 Recap
When Nanako comes home soaking wet, Yu asks what happened to her Loveline umbrella. Nanako lies and tells her brother she lost it, when in truth she gave it to a fox who was caught in the rain. Yu decides to go out and buy her a new umbrella, but he realizes that he doesn’t have enough money. As he walks past the local shrine, a mysterious fox approaches him holding an ema from a boy named “Shu Nakajima”, who is in the need of a tutor. While tutoring Shu, Yu is told by one of his friends that there is a job opening available at the local daycare. Yu begins to work at the daycare as well and he is forced to break up a fight over a broken toy between two boys named Yuuta and Kaneko. Yuuta’s stepmother apologizes to Kaneko’s mother and offers to replace the toy, but Yu graciously takes the blame and suggests that he pay for it instead. During another fight between the boys a few days later, Yu decides to calm them down by wearing Teddie’s costume. When exiting the bus after work, Yu, who is still in costume, is noticed by his friends and Nanako. He quickly runs away before his friends can realize he’s not Teddie.
At a later date, Yu finds an old woman who is unconscious and appears to have been mugged. He accompanies her to the hospital, where her nurse, Sayoko, begins to flirt with him. A few days later still, Yu continues to tutor Shu, who tells Yu that he dislikes school and finds his classmates completely annoying. After Yu finishes, he’s forced to go on a date with Sayoko. Sayoko reveals her depression to Yu, explaining that every person she cures leaves her and never comes back.
On that same day Yu meets with Yuuta’s stepmother, who opens up about her strained relationship with her stepson. Later on, he meets Mrs. Kuroda again, the old woman he saved a few days earlier. She talks to him about how much she hates being reminded of her deceased husband, and during the conversation she throws a decorative comb that he gave her into the river. Once she leaves Yu notices the comb stuck to the fins of a giant carp, so he spends the night trying to retrieve it. He is successful and returns the comb to a shocked Mrs. Kuroda during the summer festival. She begins to think back to when her husband gave her the comb and realizes how much she truly loved him. She thanks Yu for teaching her a valuable lesson about keeping the things that remind you of your loved ones, as they are precious memories.
Yu runs into Shu, who has stolen a few fireworks from his fellow classmates because he wasn’t invited to join them. Yu gives Shu a Reversi set as a Birthday present and proceeds to tell Shu that they should return the fireworks together. While they do that, Yu finds Yuuta’s stepmother badly injured from being hit by Kaneko’s mother. He quickly calls Sayoko in order to get instructions on how to treat the injury. As the Summer Festival closes, Yu is thanked by all the people he helped the last few weeks. Yuuta is now getting along with his stepmother, Shu is getting along with his classmates, Sayoko has learned from Yu to be much more devoted with her job, Mrs. Kuroda is no longer depressed about her deceased husband, and the Fox’s shrine has gotten many donations. The Fox gives the donations to Yu so he can buy a new Loveline umbrella for Nanako. Nanako wasn’t the only one who got something, as Yu’s actions earned him five new social link Persona powers with the “Temperance Arcana”, “Death Arcana”, “Devil Arcana”, “Hermit Arcana”, and the “Tower Arcana”.
The summary of “A Stormy Summer Vacation 2/2” almost displeased me because it crammed so many side character stories into one episode. The writers were able to save it by creating a beautiful flowing plot that involves Yu going on a Summer quest to make Nanako happy. The strong point of this episode is that it was able to fuse four different social link stories from the video game. Throughout Yu’s crazy Summer, he meets an old woman, a nurse, a boy who wants friends, and a stepmother who just wants to get along with her stepson. Of course, the show does leave out a lot of details about each of these side characters, but this can be easily excused as the emotional impact is still here.
I think the only major flaw is that I felt like the writers were changing a little too much characterization of each of the characters to make them work into the story. For example, Sayoko the nurse was much more mysterious and flirty in the Persona 4 video game. Reading her lines would literally bring chills up my spine and I could feel why she is considered “The Devil Arcana”. Here in the animation though, she is just your everyday flirty nurse who doesn’t see the point of her job.
It wasn’t just Sayoko, the whole story behind Yuuta’s stepmother was really toned down as well. Her story in the game is a much more depressing tale of how Yuuta won’t approve of her and that her husband ran off to work in a far off area. Shockingly, the animation doesn’t even show much of a conflict between Yuuta and his stepmother. His stepmother brings it up, but we never actually see them fighting. This episode only showed scenes of Yuuta fighting with another child and his stepmom coming him to help him each time. It was still true to the original content, but I felt like they weren’t pointing at the struggles between a stepmother and son as much as they should have. It only detracts noticeably when the writers begin to change too much of what made the characters so interesting in the video game. As I said however, this can be excused. I was still able to feel plenty of emotion behind the characters to the point where their stories being altered didn’t bother me too much.
In addition to the deep, emotional stories, there was some top notch comedy. There are no words to describe how hilarious I found the idea of Yu being in Teddie’s suit was. It makes me smile when the writers become so creative and make fun of a lot of the silly concepts that the Persona 4 video game had to offer.