Previously on Persona 4:
The Investigation Team succeeds in rescuing Naoto from the Midnight Channel and add the stalwart detective to their group. With their ranks strengthened once again they continue to pursue the culprit. Spoilers Ahead.
After a hit & run incident happens in town, Dojima (JB Blanc) begins to throw himself into his work trying to find the culprit. Fearing what this is doing to his already strained relationship with Nanako (Karen Strassman), Yu (Johnny Yong Bosch) tries to smooth things over. However things come to a head when Dojima lies about being able to come to a parent-teacher event and Nanako runs away from home, forcing Yu & Dojima to go look for her.
This episode focuses solely on the Dojima’s, more specifically Ryotaro & Nanako’s relationship, and as a result we barely see the rest of the kids, but Teddie (Sam Reigel) does get some minor development when he confides in Nanako that he doesn’t know where he came from. Turns out that Nanako’s mother, Chisato, was killed in a hit and run accident and the culprit was never found. This is a pretty important piece of character development as it basically frames the relationship between Ryotaro and Nanako.
Ryotaro is a detective and not being able to find the man who took his wife away from him and his daughter is an enormous blow to his pride, but first and foremost he is a father. These two responsibilities clash often when he has to leave in the middle of the night or stay at work late due to case work. He doesn’t know how to be a single father and his relentless pursuit of his wife’s killer puts an enormous strain on his relationship with his daughter as he feels he can’t truly face her until he finds the killer.
Nanako on the other hand loves her father, but feels as if he doesn’t feel the way. The constant distance between them puts an enormous strain on her young mind and the fact that Ryotaro doesn’t keep pictures of her mother in the house, let alone talk about her doesn’t help matters. The difficulties are all the more glaring when Nanako asks Yu if Ryotaro is really her real dad. She misses her mother dearly but also needs her father.
Yu probably has the most important role in the episode as he has to play mediator between the two, showing Ryotaro how important Nanako is while trying to show Nanako that he father does really love her. Although when he tries to explain things to Ryotaro he is rebuffed. Ryotaro feels that Yu is closer to Nanako than he is and even urges him to talk to Nanako when they find her at the Samegawa river bank, but Yu gets him to confront her.
“Anniversary To Become A Family” is definitely the best of the “arcane” (Nanako’s Justice & Ryotaro’s Hierophant) episodes of Persona 4 and one of the best episodes of the series. Giving a nice insight into the Dojima family and serves to bring them & Yu closer together as a family through heart break and hardships. The investigation continues next week as the kids attend the annual school festival.