Persona 5 – The Animation Episodes 14 – 26 Review

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The second half of Persona 5: The Animation gets to … near the end of the storyline, but the actual end of the anime adaptation comes in the form of two TV specials I’ll be covering next week. So, how does this chunk of the story pan out? Well, once again, very well! It sticks to the game’s script well, while obviously cutting out a lot of the slice of life stuff, and creates a fun little series, especially if you’re a fan of the game. So let’s take a closer look…

Synopsis:

As a mysterious hacker group known as Medjed issue a public warning to the Phantoms, Ren is contacted by someone known as Alibaba, who threatens to reveal the Phantoms’ identities unless they can change the heart of someone named Futaba Sakura…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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The Phantom Thieves relaxing in the real world.

Ren Amamiya (Jun Fukuyuma) – Ren, alias Joker, is the leader of the Phantom Thieves, a group of teens who can enter an alternate dimension where they can change the hearts of corrupt adults.

Ryuji Sakamoto (Mamoru Miyano) – Ryuji, alias Skull, is a member of the Phantom Thieves. After a rough upbringing and finally conquering his demons in the form of corrupt PE teacher Kamoshida, Ryuji is up to making sure nobody has to go through the same things he did…

Morgana (Ikue Otani) –Morgana is a strange, cat-like creature that can’t remember his own past. He likes to believe he was once human, but even that he’s not sure of anymore…

Ann Takamaki (Nana Mizuki) – Ann, alias Panther, is a member of the Phantom Thieves who is similarly dedicated to making sure no more people have to suffer from the effects of the adults’ corrupting influence.

Yusuke Kitagawa (Tomokazu Sugita) – Yusuke is an art student who joined the Phantom Thieves (as “Fox”) after his mentor and father-figure turned out to be corrupt and near-evil. He now also fights for other people’s justice…

Makoto Niijima (Rina Sato) – Makoto joined the Phantom Thieves (as “Queen”) because she saw their methods as more just than the current system ran by adults, including her sister Sae…

Futaba Sakura (Aoi Yuki) – Futaba became a shut-in because her mother committed suicide and soon she was given the blame for it. Even with the crippling effect this had on her, she still believes, somewhere deep inside, that someone else was to blame…

Haru Okumura (Haruka Tomatsu) – Haru is a student at Shujin Academy and the daughter of famous fast-food magnate Kunikazu Okumura. She is being forced into a marriage due to business convenience and knows deep down that her father does not treat his employees well, but what can she do about it?

Goro Akechi (Soichiro Hoshi) – Akechi is a famous young detective who is on the case of the Phantom Thieves and their mysterious methods of changing people’s hearts, but he may know more than it seems…

Sae Niijima (Yuko Kaida) – Sae is in charge of the official investigation on the Phantom Thieves, but given the unusual nature of the problem, she’s having a hard time tracking them down…

Kunikazu Okumura (Hirohiko Kakegawa) – The head of Okumura Foods and the Big Bang Burger chain, Kunikazu treats his employees terribly and sees his daughter as a way to expand his empire… in other words, he’s due for a change of heart!

Masayoshi Shido (Shuichi Ikeda) – Shido is a top politician who has used his power and influence to make it near to the top… power, influence, and possibly something else…

Plus more!

The Good:

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Futaba is one of the more lovable characters, and more tragic…

The first arc of this bunch, ignoring a decent stand alone episode, is focused on Futaba Sakura, the child of a friend of the same friendly café owner who took Ren in. She is a complete, never-leaves-the-house shut-in due to her mother having apparently committed suicide due to her child’s actions. This horrible idea was planted in Futaba’s head by the same people who actually caused her to kill herself in order to cover their tracks. Anyway, she’s also a skilled hacker, so threatens the Phantom Thieves to change her heart (without letting them know that she requesting her own change of heart) or else. Ren and co. soon find her and slowly but surely get her to let her guard down, while at the same time doing as requested and changing her heart by going to her palace. As you’d imagine, she does overcome her depression and realises it wasn’t her fault that her mother killed herself, gains her Persona and frees herself, so a bit of a different spin on gaining a new party member.

Next up is the final party member to join the group: Haru Okumura, who is the poorly treated daughter of a top company CEO. Her arc actually goes hand-in-hand with a period where Morgana is fed up of not being taken seriously and starts to doubt his own existence. He leaves the Thieves and runs into Haru, so when she’s introduced she already has knowledge of the Metaverse (I believe they call it….?), Shadows and Palaces, and is already trying to change her father’s corrupt soul. Obviously it doesn’t take long for her and a reassured Morgana to complete the set, so to speak, and eventually change her father’s heart… accept after they leave a mysterious man in a black mask kills Mr. Okumura’s Shadow Self, causing the actual man to die in real life, just as the Thieves are celebrating their victory. Cue “did we do this?” drama and plenty of guilt towards their newest member, but they soon get over it.

The last chunk of episodes focuses on changing the heart of Makoto’s sister Sae, who is leading the case against them, and also sees the big revelation that the mysterious masked killer is super friendly detective Goro Akechi, who not only has metaverse travelling ability and Persona powers, but is the son of mastermind Shido, who finally starts to get focused on after being the man behind putting Ren in trouble in the first place. Speaking of “finallys”, we also get to see Ren get arrested and making it all link back to the framing device of his interrogation by Sae that we’ve been flashing to all this time. Ren is seemingly killed by Goro while in his holding cell, but Sae’s change of heart was a success and she helps save Ren’s life, although the how and why is left in the air until the first of the two specials…

The Bad:

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Sae’s Shadow Self looks pretty crazy… and stereotypically “bad-ass”. 

Although it didn’t actually affect me thanks to having seen through to the end of the game, I didn’t particularly like the cliffhanger. Implying Ren is dead was amusing in a “imagine if it actually ended that way” kind of way, but was also odd given it wasn’t until afterwards we knew of two TV specials, and now if people don’t know that the specials are actually the end of the series, they might get confused.

In general though, the only real criticism is how much of the social aspect was cut, but that’s understandable given the pacing and episode count…

Overall Thoughts:

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Between the game and the anime, I was quite fed up of this interrogation room by the end…

Persona 5 – The Animation is once again a good adaptation of the game in anime form, and has a great cast that are all are extremely likeable. It ends with the last two chunks of the story unadapted, but obviously that is coming up in the two TV Specials… Overall, I had a great time watching the series, as I did going through the game.

4 Star Watch

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