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Persona 4: The Animation – “The Choice Left Remaining” Episode 23 Recap

by on March 16, 2012

With Nanako dead, Yu and the rest of the investigation team are completely enraged by Namatame’s actions of kidnapping her. Yu must now make a critical decision that involves either letting Namatame live or killing him to avenge Nanako. One of these actions shall lead to despair, while the other may finally open the path to the truth.

While the
investigation team grieves over Nanako’s death, Dojima
heads directly to Namatame’s room to confront him. Everyone except Teddie follows Dojima, who is abruptly stopped by his injuries and gets forced back to his room. After hearing a noise in Namatame’s room, the investigation
team runs in and finds him attempting to escape through a
window. As he does, the Midnight Channel lights up on the widescreen TV
nearby and reveals Namatame’s shadow. The shadow taunts the entire team, telling them that they can kill him if they wish but that will never stop his love for “saving people”. The group is angered; Naoto suggests that Namatame will most likely meet his doom if they just throw him inside the TV world. Yosuke and Kanji agree, while the girls wonder if that would really be the best idea. Before anybody thinks it through further, Yu forcefully grabs Namatame and drags
him towards the TV. Namatame begs him to stop, but Yu only can think about how unfair it was for Nanako to die.

As Yu forces Nametame against the TV, his mind becomes clouded with thoughts of revenge.

However, Yu realizes that something is completely wrong about this entire situation. Once he calms himself down, Yu explains to the group that they are definitely missing something and have yet to uncover the real truth behind the recent string of murders in Inaba. Killing Namatame would only mean that they would be blinding themselves from the reasons why he kidnapped people and threw them inside the TV world. The team
proceeds to cool off and respects Yu’s decision to not send
Namatame to his death.
Outside the hospital, the team decides to call it a day and everybody
besides Yu departs. Yu looks up at the sky and he starts to break down into tears due to thinking about the promises he made with Nanako. He then begins to question if letting Namatame live was really the right thing to do. Yosuke comes back to check up on Yu and comforts him
while he cries.

The next day, the group heads back to the hospital to
finally hear Namatame’s side of the story. He tells them that he
discovered the Midnight Channel and his ability to go inside the TV
after watching a television broadcast talking about his previous lover,
Mayumi Yamano. The Midnight Channel appeared once it struck
midnight and he saw Mayumi dying on the screen. Unable to save her, he
tried to warn the next victim who appeared on the next showing of the Midnight Channel. The next target became Saki Konishi, who refused to listen to Namatame’s warnings and suffered the same fate as Mayumi. After
Yukiko appeared on the Midnight Channel, Namatame came to the conclusion that
kidnapping whoever appears and hiding them somewhere would be the right thing to do. Thinking that he had his power to go inside the TV for a reason, he decided that he would hide the killer’s targets in the TV world. Since Yukiko did not die from
being thrown in, he continued his kidnapping attempts and that
process eventually led to Nanako being the next victim. Once he personally followed Nanako into the TV world, he realized it was truly a frightening and dangerous place. 

The investigation team comes to the shocking conclusion that Namatame is completely innocent and not even aware of the threatening letters that were sent to Yu. Having heard his story, the group is forced to include that the true culprit of the murders is still on the loose.

Elsewhere, Teddie is shown wandering a fog-covered street by himself. He begins to think back to Nanako’s death and muses that he wasn’t able
to protect her at all. Teddie proceeds to say his goodbyes to Nanako
as he gets covered in a thick fog. Unknown to Teddie, Nanako was
able to somehow hear his words and her heart begins to beat again. Yu,
Dojima, and the rest of the team are surprised and overjoyed to find that Nanako has somehow miraculously come back to life, though they later realize that Teddie has been missing since Nanako seemingly passed away. Yu heads back to Dojima’s house and falls asleep, relieved that his little cousin has somehow returned from the dead.

Yu appears again at the Velvet Room, where Igor and Margaret praise
him for the bonds that he has formed. Margaret tells Yu that he has not
only made the Judgement arcana with his teammates, but also
formed the Empress Arcana with her. She explains to him that the “Velvet
Room Limousine” will be parked for a while until they can figure out
which direction they will be traveling next.

The next day, the group meets up at the Aiya diner to figure out who really killed Mayumi Yamano and Saki Konishi. Naoto steps outside to get some air and Yu finally eats the entire rainy day Nikudon meal by himself. Yu and Yosuke then step outside with Naoto, and together they all carefully think about the true culprit’s identity. They reason that it would have to be somebody who had been keeping a close eye on the investigation team, could walk up to the Dojima Residence without causing any attention, and who had the knowledge of Namatame’s efforts at “saving” others. Taking all of that into account, Yu looks up at the sky and finally realizes who it is…

“The Choice Left Remaining” continues the dramatic climax of Persona 4 and it doesn’t disappoint; it’s good mostly because of the deep plot twists that keep you on the edge of your seat, such as the emotionally powerful and crazy scene where Yu is considering killing Namatame. I already knew the events that were going to happen, yet I still felt the impact of the moment. Thankfully, Yu eventually makes the mature and correct decision to spare Namatame, allowing the group to discover his innocence and the truth behind what he did. Namatame was nothing more than a man who followed the path as a savior, believing that he had to protect everyone who appeared on the Midnight Channel. I really liked Namatame’s role in the story; he truly fooled me thanks to the writing tricking me with all the hints that he was psychotic and not at all an innocent person. The video game definitely fools you more, as his dialogue is much more exaggerated and so feels much more powerful.

I have no doubts that there is at least one person who is probably thinking “Man! I wanted to see Yu throw Namatame inside the TV!”. That wrong action can actually occur in the Persona 4 video game; you can choose to throw him in instead of convincing your party something is off, but if you do you get a bad ending where Nanako stays dead, Yu leaves a very foggy Inaba and the true killer is never found.

Speaking of Nanako, it is revealed that she has in fact come back to life thanks to Teddie’s words. Sadly, this adaption somehow was able to mess this scene up. In the original content you find out that Nanako lives after Yu decides to not to throw Namatame into the TV. I always liked that, as it makes players really feel like they made the right decision. In the anime the event feels random and the show rushes through it. Usually I would be OK with the writers switching some scenes around, but this time it was a mistake that diminished a powerful moment. Note to the writers: never change something that is fine the way it is. 

The animation and art quality was boosted tremendously for this episode. I loved how the characters were drawn, and I can’t recall the show looking this good since the first few episodes. It’s a shame that most of the adaption couldn’t look like this, but not everything can be perfect. This is definitely better than the deformed faces I noticed in the previous few episodes.

With only two episodes remaining, Yu has finally realized who the true culprit is. This adaption doesn’t exactly give you many chances to really figure it out, though it is still very possible. You can the current to deduce who it is by looking back at the last few episodes. If you want a hint, just consider the characters you’ve seen up till now, their reactions to specific key moments, and who would make sense as the culprit of the crimes in the first place. There have already been a few lines and actions that make this specific character really stand out.

Overall, “The Choice Left Remaining” is a step up in quality and it definitely raised the bar during its emotional scenes. The ending is close and the final two episodes will be where it counts the most.

The biggest question on my mind currently is if the writers can really make it to the very end of Persona 4.


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