“I want to go to ‘Joo-nes.’ I heard about that place.” — Marie
Welcome to May. It’s cloudy.
Fitting that the first day in this new month would be a Sunday, because this transition marks a severe break in tension. We’re looking for a fresh start. After April, a month filled with dread and lackluster heroism, Yu is going to try and recommit himself to his craft, his friends, his legend.
Chie calls up to ask if he wants to go in the TV with Yukiko, since she’s inexperienced. This is a well-intentioned but terrible idea. Yukiko will have to fight, yes, but let’s not throw her back into that prison until we really need to. Let’s spend this calmly cloudy Sunday hanging out with everybody’s favorite fish out of water: Marie.
She wants to go to Junes, and Yu is happy to oblige. She wants to see the TVs. This makes Yu a little uncomfortable, but that’s silly, because Marie lives in the Velvet Room.
Out of nowhere, Chie approaches. Yu can only assume she was burned by his refusal to go into the TV. Credit where it’s due — she manages a level of composure that Yosuke simply couldn’t a mere two days ago. That was April, though. This is May.
She starts off all cool. “What a coincidence!”
Then straight to the heart of the matter.
And a charming dismount.
That’s it! No weird possessive undertones! Chie with the slam dunk.
In terms of textual analysis, this second S. Link rank is actually kinda dense. The majority of your conversation with Marie is focused on television: what it is, why she wants it, why she can’t have it. It is no mistake that Persona 4‘s equivalent of a walking, talking newborn child feels an immediate pull to the Almighty Television Screen. There’s probably an essay topic in comparing Marie with Nanako. I should write that down.
The second half of the conversation, hinging on Marie’s amnesia, is largely expository. It’s interesting exposition for a first-time player, so that’s not really a criticism. But the thing that really caught my attention was this line of dialogue…
…followed by this…
Those lines are a little on the nose, but they hint at a deep, reflexive understanding of Persona 4‘s theme. Now, I’m not huge on authorial intent. I don’t have all the answers, and it’s a constant struggle to find the appropriate middle ground, but I lean toward the whole “death of the author” thing. That said, it does sometimes make me happy to feel a writer’s intent, and Marie’s lines here are one such occasion. Does this make me a hypocrite? Maybe. Let’s acknowledge that and keep trucking.
Persona 4‘s thesis, quite obviously, is that the truth does exist. But it also knows that pursuing that truth can be dangerous. Marie can get away with saying this to Yu because of her circumstance. When she says “the truth doesn’t exist,” she’s not communicating an idea to the player, she’s communicating her ideas to Yu. She’s a frustrated, sentimental, amnesiac poet. What fucking reason could she have to believe in truth?
Truth is a great theme, too, because it’s easily dramatized in basic inter-personal communication. Just think about Nanako, sitting at home right now, excited about that family vacation. That is her truth. That is Dojima’s truth. But “truth” isn’t always predictive, and in the case of that vacation, well, I think we all know what’s going to happen.
After all those jumbled pontifications, Yu decides to grab some spicy tofu. What else will this exciting new month throw at him?
This is the New Truth. Long Live the New Truth.