Persona 4 the Golden Animation – 12 Welcome Home
As Narukami said, “I’m home.”
Over the course of the series Marie has been through a lot and we’ve been there with her. She was our cipher to see different sides of familiar characters, her amnesia was the impetus for Golden’s main plot of making memories, and she served as McGuffin turned powerhouse once she faced herself with a little help from her friends. Marie was slyly made one of the gang when she appeared on the TV and was rescued from her Shadow in the Hollow Forest. The first part of this episode really harmonized beautifully with that prior event. I don’t feel that Marie confronting Izanami was redundant; it was foreshadowed, not forced. Throughout the game and the prior series there is the distinct pattern of people becoming near victims in the TV, being saved and then joining the team. What keeps the cycle fresh is the variety in each person’s personal issues. The setup and explanation for Marie’s arc is done in a more protracted way in this series; most of it coming in these last few episodes and neatly tied up in this finale. The unique details of her personal struggle still follow the same pattern, but offer a novel look at personhood, agency and inner strength. All the grandiose talk about “truth” and having faith in humanity’s wish at the core of Marie’s self-actualization are inspirational and aspirational. Marie is certain of who she is and is no longer afraid of her feelings by the end of her story.
Where the others were able to become heroes and champions always pushing through the fog to grasp truth, Marie experienced apotheosis. As strange an unattainable as this is, I find it inspiring in perhaps the best way, without trying or being preachy. The characters (Marie included) are cool and go through these engaging struggles and change because of them, they don’t become someone else and I don’t need to either. Embracing your failings, loving yourself for who you are doesn’t mean you refuse to change or grow. The characters in this show are brave enough to stare there ugliness in the face and forgive it- forgive themselves; that is the key to victory over the self. The final battle ends with a short sell on dynamic violence and heroic bravado, it ends with Marie hugging herself, showing that love and acceptance. The message I get and feel is so well conveyed is that, by being one’s true self, pushing aside lies and really knowing who you are and what you want, we can be happier people and help others around us to do the same, if you like that sort of thing. Whatever.
The denouement was well executed, which hasn’t always been the case in this series. The way we see with the passage of time; that things change, but remain the same, is charming, warm and reassuring. Somehow, the creative team did an excellent job of making it seem like Narukami had been gone a long time. The slight changes to all the character models earn a lot of praise for that. The nostalgia of the reunion wasn’t drudged up either, it was conjured. Everything just felt right: Rise’s heart was on her sleeve; Teddie acted unexpectedly to Yosuke surprise; Yukiko started cracking up at nothing; Chie’s enthusiasm never waned; the detective prince found herself out of the loop in an otherwise normal social situation and Kanji finally got it right- almost. Nanako even looked like she had grown some and Doujima was more open. Marie’s new persona, as the thinly veiled goddess of local weather, Mariko Kusumi, parallels the others’ changes neatly with her cheery, but not-too-cheery disposition. The voice actress gave a great performance for her final big scene.
For being the Persona 4 I remember while saying something new and different, I give this episode 4 out of 5.