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Persona 4: The Animation – “It’s School Festival Day! Time to Have Fun!” Episode 19 Recap

by on February 19, 2012

The School Festival is around the corner and Yosuke decides to enter all the of the girls on the investigation team into the Yasogami High School beauty pageant! Sadly, this plan backfires when Chie gets her revenge by entering all the boys on the team into the Yasogami High School Cross Dressing pageant. While all of this chaos is occuring, Yu helps out a student named Ayane Matsunaga.

Yasogami High School is holding its annual cultural festival and thanks to a joke Yosuke pulls on Class 2-2, they are forced to put together a group-dating cafe. Yosuke then reveals to all of the girls on the investigation team that he signed them up for the beauty pageant, which causes Chie to become extremely upset. Yu and Kanji support the idea and eventually convince the girls to participate. Later on, while playing with the soccer team, Yu kicks the soccer ball too hard and hits Ayane Matsunaga. Yu apologizes to her and realizes she is one of the trombone players of the school band. Ayane reveals to Yu that she is only filling in for a third-year student who got hurt, so can’t play at the cultural festival. After Ayane plays her trombone for Yu, she tells him that she hopes her music will one day lift people’s spirits.

A few days after, Yosuke is shocked to find out that Chie has entered all of the boys on the investigation team into the Yasogami High School Cross Dressing pageant. While Yosuke denies wanting to enter, Yu and Kanji encourage the idea and find it to be rather humorous. When the first day of the cultural festival arrives, the group cafe turns out to be a complete failure. Because there aren’t enough girls Yu role plays as a female, and Daisuke ends up blurting out how much he dislikes girls.

After that, Yu decides to watch the school performance of “Romeo and Juliet With Hamlet”.

He then overhears people talking about the band and how bad Ayane really is with playing instruments. Yu proceeds to the music room, where he finds the band trying to figure out what they can do with Ayane. Before the band members can come to a proper conclusion, Ayane suddenly steps down from her trombone position after hearing that the student who got injured has recovered. Yu tries to stand up for her, but she suddenly grabs him and takes him out of the music room. Outside, Ayane begins to cry to Yu and tells him that she feels like she just gave up on her dream. Yu manages to cheer her up, telling her that she will have another chance to follow that dream. They both decide to proceed to the cultural festival and have many fun moments together with the activities and the haunted house. After they leave the haunted house Ai grabs Yu and forces him to the tarot card reader, who is strongly hinted to be Margaret in disguise.

The final day of the Cultural Festival arrives and the cross-dressing pageant sadly begins for the boys. Kanji, Yosuke, and Yu are shown with incredibly embarrassing outfits. To the investigation team’s complete surprise, Teddie enters the competition as well and wins the rights to become a judge in the beauty pageant. Because of his one track mind about girls, he enforces the idea of having a swimsuit competition. Before the beauty pageant starts, Rise finds out that the audience has become smaller because the idol Kinami Mashita is having a big photo shoot in town.  When the contest begins, Chie, Yukiko, and Rise get great ratings from the remaining audience while Naoto decides to not go on since she finds the idea too embarrassing. In a shocking turn of events though, Naoto wins the competition despite that.  Near the end of the day, Rise talks to Yu in private about how she feels disappointed that she didn’t win. However, she tells him that she is now inspired to go back to being in an idol when spring comes around.

Persona 4: The Animation continues to flourish greatly with its neat writing and comedic moments.  From a failed dating cafe to cross-dressing hijinks to the climatic beauty pageant, this episode is just full of laughs. Of course there is still the usual social link character event, which revolves around Ayane. I was actually really interested in her story because I never played her social link scenes in the video game, so her conflict felt very refreshing when I got to watch this episode. She has difficulty fulfilling her dream of playing music since she’s not exactly the best at it, but the event is a message about following your dreams no matter how hard they seem to be. It’s rather interesting that that her social link belongs to the Sun Arcana, which actually involves two people in the video game. The other social link character event belongs to a girl named Yumi, who makes a very quick cameo in the background during “Romeo and Juliet With Hamlet”.  Without spoiling anything, Yumi’s story strongly relates to her own struggles in the drama club and a certain issue with her parents. The video game is rather creative about the Sun Arcana social link event, as you can only experience one of their stories stories in a single playthrough. Hopefully the writers will plant Yumi’s story somewhere in an upcoming episode where it can make sense.

There is one big flaw that is happening with this show that I overlooked before; the animation and art quality have been really dropping since the tenth episode.  A lot of character’s faces will suddenly be toned down in particular scenes, and I was shocked to see some random characters deformed in the background. I’ve been oblivious to this issue for a while due to my enjoyment of this adaptation, but for others I’ve discussed this show with the art style seems to be a pretty big disappointment. While I don’t want to sound demanding, I really do hope that the animation quality will rise as this show reaches its conclusion.

My favorite moment has to be Yu pretending to be a girl at the group cafe. Yu Narukami will always be known as the main character who hilariously messes around with his position as the protagonist. You know he’s funny when he is completely tricking Yosuke by pretending to give him “the stare of forbidden love”. 

I also liked how they included more character development for Rise during the festival, which worked much better than how the writers handled Kanji’s recent resolve.

Viewers should know that this is actually the second-to-last comedic episode that we’ll be given. After next week, the plot does proceed into a much darker tone.  So if you’re sick of the random taste of comedy, then you will be pleased when episode 21 comes around the corner.

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