Yu Narukami has formed a bond allowing him to access the power of the Magician Arcana. With the knowledge that people that appear on the midnight channel end up getting tossed into the world on the other side of the TV, the gang is one step closer to discovering the truth. However, to the horror of Chie, the next victim to disappear is her dear friend, Yukiko Amagi…
It’s safe to say that each episode is going to start with a visit to the Velvet Room from now on. This time around, Igor expounds on the idea that Yu’s power of Persona is cultivated through his bonds with other people. The friendship formed with Yosuke has unlocked the power of the Magician arcana, and in order to further expand his power, Yu will have to form bonds with more people.The episode proper begins with a flashback to when Chie first met Yukiko. Sad that she couldn’t keep a lost puppy she found, Yukiko is cheered up by Chie who volunteers to take the him in. Back in the present, Yu and Yosuke are discussing the midnight channel when Chie bursts in worried that she can’t contact Yukiko. They all agree that the person that appeared last night most closely resembled Yukiko, but thankfully, Chie is able to reach her when she calls the the Amagi Inn. Relieved, the group decides to go to Junes after school to investigate who it was that appeared. On their way out of school, Yu is propositioned by to join a sports club while Chie beats Yosuke for insulting her handwriting. At a crowded Junes, the gang is forced to communicate with Teddie through the TV, rather than entering. According to Teddie, no one is on the other side as far as he can tell. Chie finds it strange considering that someone did appear on the Midnight Channel the previous night. Yu decides they’ll have to watch again to see if anything changes. When he does, he’s treated to a strange sight. Yukiko wearing a princess dress is hosting what seems to be a game show in front of a fantasy style castle. She claims that she’s going hunting for studs and disappears inside the castle. Chie runs to inn, only to find that Yukiko has disappeared for real this time. The next day, Sunday, the plan is meet up at Junes once again. Because Dojima is out of the house on police business, Yu is worried about leaving Nanako alone, but she reassures him she’ll be fine. Later, Yosuke meets up with a waiting Yu at Junes with a pair of fake swords in hand. Naturally, the pair is arrested for having weapons in public, while Chie who had arrived slightly late witnesses from the crowd. Thanks to his connection with detective Dojima, Yu and Yosuke are released. Chie meets them at the exit to inform them that Yukiko has really disappeared. Dojima’s partner, Adachi, then confirms that she had been reported missing. He goes on talk about how Amano, the first victim, had been staying at the inn and had caused Yukiko’s mom to collapse from stress, which is why Yukiko had been temporarily filling in for her. Adachi goes on to suggest that Yukiko might be laying low for some reason. Chie flies off the handle at the suggestion that Yukiko might be the murderer and Yu and Yosuke both have to hold her back. After leaving the station, they resolve to save her. Inside the TV, they arrive at the castle, where Chie runs in on her own. While giving chase, Yu and Yosuke end up having to fend off an attack from shadows. Further inside, Chie enters a room resembling Yukiko’s and is confronted with her inner thoughts. Shocked by what she hears, Chie’s shadow manifests to air her own inner feelings. While Yukiko believes herself to be worthless and relies on Chie as her friend, Shadow Chie claims that it’s herself that is worthless, and she gets a sick joy from watching the beautiful and popular Yukiko belittle herself and depend on Chie. The guys arrive late, and despite trying to stop her, Chie denies her shadow and it transforms. Both Yosuke and Yu jump in to protect Chie, but her Shadow proves to be too powerful for even their combined strength. While holding Yosuke by the neck, the shadow sends Chie into the pits of despair, confronting her with her own jealousy and envy. As she is about to succumb to the shadow’s taunts, her friends voices reach out to her: no matter how Chie might have felt on the inside, her friendship with Yukiko was never fake. Finally understanding the truth, Chie accepts her own shortcomings, weakening the shadow. With Yosuke still in danger, Yu remembers back to Margaret’s words regarding the power of the wild card and the different arcana. He changes Izanagi into Pyro Jack, frees Yosuke, and they take out the shadow with a combination fire and wind attack. Upon its defeat, the shadow becomes Chie’s Persona, Tomoe Gozen. With Chie weakened from the ordeal, they retreat for the day. Noticing that Chie feels guilty about delaying the search, Yu reassures her that they will certainly need her help from there on. As a sign of gratitude, Chie shows him a picture of her pet dog, the same one that allowed her to meet her dear friend, Yukiko. Together, they resolve to save her.
Another episode, another Persona is born. The focus this time was placed squarely on Chie and her friendship with Yukiko. I thought it was a great touch that we got to see the flashback to when the two met, a moment that was only mentioned in the game. I’d say that Chie’s shadow was handled better than Yosukes, simply because more focus was placed on her inner feelings. The scene in the darkness where Chie was surrounded by her own eye-less face was appropriately creepy. I’d seen some complaints from last episode that Yosuke’s troubles seemed to come out of nowhere, and you might argue the same for Chie, but frankly that’s the point. The Shadows are manifestations of the negative, dirty feelings that the owner might not even be aware of. For example, it’s common for people to feel jealous or envy even towards their closest friends, it’s just naturally human. However, we normally push those negative thoughts to the back of our minds, because we know better. The problem with that world beyond the TV is that it exaggerates those natural emotions, your insecurities, and manifests them. By denying those feelings, you are essentially denying yourself. Coming to terms with those feelings is accepting that they are one of the many parts that make up your whole, or in other words, one of the many personae you assume to get you through your life.
ANYWAY, I quite liked the episode. They continued to throw in plenty of small things for viewers who’ve played the game to catch. The students Yu met in the hall are social link friends you meet by joining clubs in the games, and I fully expect to see more of the two guys, Kou Ichijou of the basketball club and Daisuke Nagase of the soccer club. We even got a brief glimpse of the cute Ayane from the music club. As I mentioned last time regarding the cranes, we get to see Yu making more this episode, and true to the game, his Understanding stat rose this time. It’s blink and you’ll miss it, but on the table in Yu’s room when he watched the midnight channel, you could see a model kit, something you can build in your spare time to raise Dilligence, so expect that to go up next time. It’s great to see that the stat increases are not just random.
With regards to Yu, he continues to be a deadpan snarker, and I’m loving it. The two one-liners that got me were “It’s making me cry” said with a completely straight face when he got bit by Teddie, and “I wish I’d taped it” with regards to the Midnight Channel. Both hilarious, and even funnier, actual dialogue choices from the game. Another game mechanic that I’m glad to see brought into the show is Yu’s ability to change Persona using his wild card power, based on which Social Links he’s formed. Since last episode it was with Yosuke, representing the Magician arcana, we got to see the lovable lantern toting Pyro Jack. In The Anime Network stream, if you look closely, you actually see Pyro Jack in the compendium Margaret is holding in the beginning. The fact that they kept the All Out combination attack from when you land a critical hit, cut-in animation and all, was just icing on the cake. Animation was once again up to par. I could go on and on, so I’ll end it here, but before I go, Nanako, along with young Chie and Yukiko, are SO CUTE.
-Reach out to the truth.