Killing time: My year in Inaba

It’s bear-y nice to meet you

[Despite killing time sometimes literally being a big theme in Persona 4, TurboJasper proves to us that it is far more important in the grand scheme of things then you’d normally think it would be. ~Strider]

It’s a rainy Friday night. The bus to my part-time job isn’t coming and I am soaking myself to the bone waiting. I decide to treat my self to a meal at Aiya and call it a night.

My year in Inaba was not exactly one I was looking forward to initially. I had played Persona 3 at a point in my youth where it resonated with me heartily and quickly became a favorite. You know how difficult it is to move onto that next RPG in the series when the one you love has burrowed into your psyche so deeply? You feel as though you are betraying the memory, overwriting that mental save in a way. Sure, video games are great at killing time but the right ones will stay with you and be timeless, right?

I picked up the Golden version as I figured I may as well take it in its best form. A brilliant choice as the day-by-day nature of the Persona series lends itself well to the on-five-minutes-then-off nature of the Vita and in this way I truly enjoyed it. It unfurled in me slowly at first.

The introduction takes a good three hours to get through but at the least it is a good three hours. You’ll meet the beginnings of the Investigation team: Yosuke, Chie, Teddie, and Yukiko whom, at first, fulfill the basic five-man anime (I like food, I’m nervous and shy, I like girls, etc.) group trope and then when it finally opens out into the full world, it grabbed me fully. I got my first part-time job and started to work on strengthening my social links. The social links are, to me, where this game shines. 

I’m not an especially social person and even less so since my girlfriend broke up with me recently. I have not been taking it well and withdrawing down into my Vita. I am so lucky to have Persona be that game that broke my fall, as it were. Your Persona will strengthen through good ol’ fashioned grinding but the best way to get those gains is to go out and make friends.

Well, not just making friends. You need to maintain and be an active participant in these relationships and just making a buddy and moving on isn’t going to do much. You are going to be there for these people when they are pouring their soul out to you but more often than not you will be killing time. Taking a walk along the riverbank, grabbing a bite to eat, lying to your guardian to go on a late-night date. Those small parts of the relationship that exist in the thousands but are overlooked for more dramatic or celebratory moments.

I struggle with doing that. I feel intensely awkward and start looking for a door once there is nothing to do. I had to admit though: the feeling of creating and strengthening these bonds through simply allowing myself the time in my schedule to do so was empowering. I’m doing better everyday and I needed that reminder. It is so obvious and I understand that now, but sometimes we need these moments where we can look down into our hands and see these worlds we have helped bring together through just… being there. 

Just killing time.