Previously on Persona 4:
Yu, Nanako, & Ryotaro became closer as a family and Ryotaro was finally able to move past his wife’s death, but not fully. Spoilers Ahead.
It’s school festival time and the Investigation Team is in for a full day of craziness. Yu (Johnny Yong Bosch), Yosuke (Yuri Lowenthal), Chie (Erin Fitzgerald), & Yukiko’s (Amanda Winn-Lee) class have decided to do a “Group Date” Cafe, which becomes more than a little awkward when there’ aren’t enough girls. Yosuke enters the girls in a beauty pageant (much to Chie’s rage) and Chie gets even bey entering the guys in a cross dressing competition, suffice to say the school festival will be filled with “fun” for all.
This is another episode that explores a minor part in the game. Just like in the games, the school festival is minor event that doesn’t really add anything to the overall story, but it is still entertaining since as adverse to the game; Yu is an actual character (somewhat) so his interactions are way more real than the game character.
As with all of these episodes there is plenty of comedy to be seen here, and for the most part it manages to hit the mark. When no enough girls come to the group cafe, Yu is forced (well more like willingly) acts as a girl with Chie & Yukiko while Yosuke, Kanji (Matthew Mercer) and a coerced Daisuke (David Vincent) sit opposite of them. Leading to a scene that nearly crosses the line of “bromance” between Yu & Yosuke (I can hear the fan girls now). Later things get hectic when the girls (with the exception of Rise) are reluctant to enter the beauty pageant, but thanks to 30 minute speech from Yu (which was sped up so we couldn’t hear a word) they relent. The cross dressing pageant was pretty amusing as all the boys (with the exception of Yosuke) get fired up about the idea (Kanji is even dressed like Marilyn Monroe) but Teddie manages to win out as a surprise entry.
The girls pageant is also kind of amusing. Since Teddie wins the cross dressing event he becomes a guest judge for the girls declaring a swimsuit competition, Chie & Yukiko are embarrased, Rise channels her inner idol, and Naoto (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) bows out without even showing her bathing suit (although this moment did make her look amazingly cute).
There is also a new character introduced in the form of Ayane Matsunaga (Michelle Ann Dunphy). Ayane is a first year band student that Yu meets when he accidently brains her with a soccer ball (smoooooth). She’s a small timid girl who plays the trombone but isn’t very good at it although you can see she is trying to improve. The pressure is on her since the bands first chair trombone is out and she has to pick up the slack, eventually he returns and she reluctantly cedes the position to him, despite Yu’s urging. He does however make her feel better when they tour the festival together which leads to a confrontation with Ai (Julie Ann Taylor) who takes him to fortune teller (who turns out to be Margaret) so she can know about Yu’s love life.
Going back to the pageant, although the episode doesn’t really advance the overall plot, it does give some character development to Rise (Laura Bailey). She finds out she is the centerpiece of the beauty pageant and starts to worry if “Risette” is the only thing people see her as. This is compounded later when right before the beauty pageant a group of boys leave to go see Kanami Mashita AKA Kanamin (The girl who replaced Rise). After losing the pageant (oddly enough the winner was Naoto, but it mostly had to do with female votes) she resolves that Risette is a part of her and she will goin back to idoling in the spring. Although this only takes up about 5 minutes of the episode, it is still an important moment of growth for Rise.
“It’s A School Festival!” is another entertaining episode that will manage to get to crack more than a few smiles. The dialogue was nice, the animation remained consistent, and the pace moved a long fine. Rise was overdue for some more development and it was nice to see it here. The investigation continues next week on Persona 4.