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     -Jeanne, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Part 12




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Persona 4 : Part 3
By Ben
Posted 11.19.13
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7 : 8 : 9 : 10 : 11
Last time we checked in on Gary McStu and his increasingly angsty love life, the lovely Yukiko became the latest intended victim of the mysterious TV Killer, whose incredibly long-winded method of committing murder still hasn't gotten any less ridiculous. Rather than immediately rush to his friend's rescue, Gary decided to spend the better part of a week yo-yoing between main man Yosuke and his new sports club buddies, Daisuke and Kou (there's a guy who clearly has his priorities straight). Hopefully now that he's decided to get back on track with Yosuke, his life will be much simpler from now on. And Square-Enix will stop making FFXIII sequels nobody asked for!

Because Yukiko's convenient case of amnesia prevents her from shedding any light on the killer's identity, her friends are just kind of settling back into their regular routine while she recovers. Which, presumably, means lots of boring school stuff for me to recap. Awesome! For some reason, my save picks up in Gary's classroom on the afternoon of 23rd April, so whatever may have happened during that school day will forever remain a mystery. Feel free to let your imaginations go wild. Knowing my luck, this is the one day where Gary actually learned something useful and didn't just fall asleep at his desk.

In the corridor, both Daisuke and Yosuke are waiting for Gary with massive exclamation points over their heads, like they're pretending to be quest-givers in an MMO. Wanting to enjoy at least one day free from personal drama, he discreetly ignores both of them and decides to head into town instead. This is easier said than done when the person controlling him hasn't played this game for several months. About five hours later, he's finally grown re-accustomed to Yasogami High's befuddling layout and has miraculously found the exit doors without the need of a rescue team. It's probably midnight by now, but hey, at least he made it.

The shopping district of Inaba is still as sleepy as ever, but something tells Gary he should go and check the town bulletin board. Maybe among all the missing cat notices, someone will have posted a flyer for a touring musical or an advertisement from the Inaba LGBT Society. He finds several local job vacancies, and although work's been the last thing on his mind since he arrived here, he figures taking up part-time employment might be just the distraction he needs. Unfortunately, the positions on offer--Envelope Constructor and Origami Crane Folder--are only marginally more appealing to him than a threesome with Yukiko and Chie. The only other vacancy on the list, Translator, won't even let him apply because the apparently sentient and psychic job notice can tell his Knowledge isn't high enough. Well, fuck you then.

With the only vaguely interesting job opening out of the question for now, poor Gary is resigned to accepting one of the mind-numbing alternative roles. In case he needed any extra persuasion, one of his two omnipresent spirit guides chimes in with some advice. "If you work at a part-time job, you'll earn money," the Bodiless Advisor reveals. No way--Gary was totally going to spend his evenings folding envelopes for free. Christ. The BA continues that carrying out duties can potentially raise his Knowledge, Diligence, Understanding, Expression, or Courage. That's nice and all, but cash is Gary's main incentive.

Well, Gary understands that he never wants kids, if that counts.
 

With a heavy heart, he accepts the Envelope Constructor and Origami Crane Folder roles, hoping that the soul-crushing tedium will subside over time. And at least both jobs are flexible, so he only has to work when he has nothing better to do, like running around inside the TV. Just as he's about to walk away, he notices that the vacancies listing has a second page, with one additional job listed--Assistant Daycare Caretaker. Now, since this job involves working with children, Gary would ordinarily walk away without a second thought; even with the risk of death, he'd rather babysit Shadows than human kids. But the money on offer, a whopping 4,000 yen per session, is telling him to ignore his better judgment--after all, those pricey weapon and armour upgrades aren't going to buy themselves, and Dojima's stingy allowance isn't going to stretch very far. Figuring that wiping snot-filled noses and enduring ear-piercing screams a few hours a week is a worthy price to pay for not dying horribly, he also applies for the daycare job, though he's secretly hoping the daycare centre will have a TV into which he can throw any kidlets who step out of line.

Like the other jobs, Gary only has to work at the daycare when the mood takes him--I'm assuming the kids in his care are left to their own devices if he can't be bothered showing up--and it just so happens that today, Saturday, is one of his possible working days. He decides to bite the bullet and head there right now, so that he'll at least have an idea of how excruciating an experience this job is going to be. On the way to the bus stop, he drops into the Velvet Limo to fuse a few new Personas, including the awesome Jack Frost. He also summons Cu Sith, a green dog with winged ears and, judging from its crazed expression and lolling tongue, a severe case of rabies. After witnessing that, not to mention Pedocchio's lecherous grin, he's actually quite glad to hop on the bus and head to Sprogsville.

 
Gary totally wants to bring this along to the daycare.

A Black Screen of Extended Bus Journeys drops us smack-dab in the middle of Gary's first babysitting session, at an outdoor seating area overlooking the town. He's wearing some kind of apron, not unlike the one Taylor Swift Konishi wore for her shifts at the Walmart Food Court. It's both hilarious and a strangely good look for him. Oh, if only Yosuke could see him now. Two of his new charges run up to greet him, and one of them, a boy of about Nanako's age, asks him if he has a girlfriend. Wow, there's so much wrong with that sentence I don't really know where to start. The boy's female friend admonishes him for being a creep, and then, mercifully, another boy initiates a game of tag before the scene can get any weirder. Seriously, what the hell was that about?

Gary doesn't really know how to act around kids, especially when they appear to be hitting on him, so he's relieved when their parents arrive to collect them. All except one, that is. Gary's supervisor drops by to exposit a little about the remaining child, a boy named Yuuta Minami. Apparently he's always being picked up late, which puts Gary in mind of poor Nanako and her long, lonely days spent home alone. Maybe he should arrange a play date between her and this kid, then they could bond over their respective part-time parents.

Looks like we've found Squall's long-lost little brother.
 

Eventually, a young, smartly-dressed woman arrives and apologizes to Yuuta for being late again. His response is to sigh, "...Whatever," and then run away. Awkward! Not at all concerned that her (presumed) son could, like, run into traffic or climb into a stranger's windowless van, the woman turns to Gary and asks if he works here. No, he just really wanted to try on one of those fabulous aprons and have other people's spawn breathe their germs all over him. Oblivious to Gary's involuntary eye-roll, she apologizes in advance for Yuuta being a handful, which in my experience is parent!speak for "Yeah, my kid's kind of a brat but I'm not going to do anything to discipline him, so everyone else is just going to have to deal with it." As soon as she leaves, the daycare supervisor starts gossiping about the family like her life depends on it--apparently Ms Minami is in fact Yuuta's stepmother, and he doesn't seem to like her much. No shit--he couldn't get away from her fast enough. And, unless the game is going to go down the stereotyped and cliched "wicked stepmother" route, the reason for this will no doubt be revealed in due course. Hopefully my excitement won't kill me in the meantime.

Clearly wearing the Gossip Apron +1, the daycare lady isn't letting up with dishing the dirt on the Minami clan. She reveals that Ms Minami only married Yuuta's dad recently and that the kid's behaviour at school has deteriorated since then. How she knows all this, I have no idea, but Gary sincerely hopes he isn't going to become embroiled in Ms Minami's inevitable quest to gain her stepson's love, or some such guff--that apron of his is only new, and he's not sure how easily he'd be able to get the vomit stains out.

 
'Um, do you want to do my shifts at the daycare? Because, like, you're totally responsible enough, and I'll split the money 50/50.'

Eventually, Mrs Daycare Rubbernecker pauses for breath long enough for Gary to rip his apron off and make a run for it. The 4,000 yen he receives does little to assuage his doubts about taking this job so, vowing never to return, he heads back to the Dojima residence and a kid he can actually tolerate. Hot Uncle is--surprise!--not home, so Gary chats to Nanako for a while. She adorably tells him she wants to get a job too, even though she probably does more shit around the house than most people do at their workplace. If she got paid for all the housework she does, she'd probably have her college fund saved up by her 14th birthday.

After advising Nanako to never work with small children, Gary goes to bed, managing to cram in a quick study session before hitting the futon--let's just say he needs some intellectual stimulation after the afternoon he's had. The next day, Sunday morning, his phone rings before he's even had a chance to eat breakfast. Since the last phone call he received was from Pedocchio's dead-eyed assistant, Margaret, he's a little apprehensive, and even considers letting the call go to voicemail. But once he answers, he's glad he did--Kou's on the line, and what's more, he wants to meet up today. "If you're bored, let's hang out," he suggests. "I'll call up Daisuke too." For a brief moment, Gary gets the guilt jitters, but quickly brushes them off. Yeah, he's making a go of things with Yosuke, but that doesn't mean he can't still hang out with Kou and Daisuke as friends. He CAN keep things platonic, and he's going to prove it to himself!

We cut to the trio hanging out in Okina, the nearest big city to Inaba. The two country kids complain for a while about the horrible city air--Gary stays quiet, because the smog and grime are practically like nectar to him after all the cow farts and other delightful countryside smells he's been inhaling for the past few weeks--and then Kou puts him on the spot by asking if he prefers urban or rural surroundings. Gary does miss the city, but he's also becoming quite fond of Inaba, too, which he readily admits. Kou seems impressed, but concedes that Inaba is kind of a backwater. They somehow wind up on the subject of Walmart, and Daisuke puts the shits up Gary by casually declaring, "That Yosuke dude is hilarious, too." Gary does a double-take, all "Wait, what the fuck?" Why randomly bring Yosuke up like this? Is Daisuke trying to get at something? Are they waiting to see his reaction? What should he say!?

Man, Gary just can't say no.
 

Deciding that saying nothing is his best course of action, Gary looks down at his shoes, leaving an opening for Kou to ask what the fuck Yosuke has to do with anything. Meanwhile, Gary's mind is racing. He always made sure not to mention Yosuke while in the company of the sports dudes, and vice versa, but now he's wondering if he accidentally let Yosuke's name slip during a...heated moment. Does Daisuke know about their relationship? "Although now I think about it, aren't you friends with [Yosuke], Gary?" Kou asks suspiciously. That's definitely one way of putting it. Gary wants the ground to open up and swallow him whole, but just when he thinks this conversation can't get any more awkward, Kou goes, "The four of us should hang out sometime!" Oh, hell naw. Not happening. Gary is NOT putting his main course and side dishes on the same plate. The rest of this unbearably cringeworthy exchange is left to the imagination, so it goes without saying that Gary once again gives in to his raging hormones. "The three of you have a good time together..." the Invisible Narrator confirms, draping the screen with the usual Black Screen of Censorship, and then Gary reappears back home, where he resolves to go to his room and make some envelopes (no, that's not a euphemism). Anything to take his mind off the now-familiar shame.

 
Dat guilty conscience.

Unfortunately, he just can't concentrate hard enough, and so gives up on the menial task after about ten minutes. He still manages to earn 600 yen for his half-assed efforts, which gets me to wondering how this money magically and instantly finds its way into his possession. I mean, the daycare is easy to explain away; Gary could simply receive his payment during one of the numerous Black Screens, since we don't need to see everything. But for stay-at-home jobs like envelope folding, where does the cash come from? Does the Job Fairy fly by and throw a bag of cash through Gary's bedroom window as soon as he's finished working?

Disclaimer: I'm fully aware that this doesn't actually matter in the slightest, and that I'm paying far too much thought to it. Please don't email me to this effect.

The next day, Gary walks into school behind the Gossiping Schoolgirl Duo (I really should have given these girls names by now), who are chittering to each other, chipmunk-like, about the school's cultural clubs. It transpires that the music and drama clubs are both accepting new members starting from today, and Gary bets his bottom yen that he'll be expected to sign up for at least one of them, despite already being in the sports club. Fucking great--yet another extracurricular activity for him to keep track of. He can barely find the time to even sleep as it is, so I'm wondering how long it'll be before he finally cracks and starts rubbing amphetamine into his gums every morning.

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