Persona 5 – The Animation: Dark Sun & Stars and Ours Review

P5 TA Dark Sun and Stars and Ours

We reach the end of the Persona 5 Animation (quickly due to most of this being written at the time and saved for later!) with the two TV Specials: “Dark Sun” (written as “Dark Sun…”) and “Stars and Ours”. They both cover one of the two final story arcs each and once again do a good job of adapting the actual core story and fighting aspects, at the cost of nearly all of the social side of the game. Let’s have a closer look at how it all ends, then, shall we?

Synopsis:

After faking Ren’s death at the hands of the corrupt detective Goro Akechi, the Phantom Thieves know they only have one shot to take down the head of a government conspiracy that could free the country of Japan, a country that doesn’t know, or care, it’s been manipulated…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

P5 TA Dark Sun and Stars and Ours 3

It’s only roughly half of the cast, but with a nice background!

Ren Amamiya (Jun Fukuyuma) – Ren has had a rough time, being beaten and drugged during his lengthy interrogation. Still, so long as he and his friends can change the heart of the corrupt politician Masayoshi Shido, it will all be worth it.

Ryuji Sakamoto (Mamoru Miyano) – Ryuji found it hard to play along with the ruse of Ren’s suicide, but now the gang is back together, he’s looking forward to taking down the biggest fish of them all…

Morgana (Ikue Otani) – Morgana is closer to finding out his true identity, but he has to focus on what’s important right now, and that’s Masayoshi Shido.

Ann Takamaki (Nana Mizuki) –  Ann is looking forward to taking down Shido, but is also sad that it might be their last mission together as Phantom Thieves…

Yusuke Kitagawa (Tomokazu Sugita) – Yusuke has found his peace, and now wishes to help out his leader Ren and take down the man responsible for much of his team’s heartache.

Makoto Niijima (Rina Sato) – Makoto had a hard time watching her sister Sae’s inner Shadow, but now they’re on the same side, seeking the same justice…

Futaba Sakura (Aoi Yuki) – Futaba has found the person responsible for her mother’s death and the stealing of her research, now she has to work towards bringing him and his corrupt regime down.

Haru Okumura (Haruka Tomatsu) – Haru’s father died at the hands of Goro Akechi, but even still, she has to focus on bringing him and Masayoshi Shido down, rather than purely on revenge.

Goro Akechi (Soichiro Hoshi) – Goro thought he had done it, used the Phantom Thieves to cover up his own actions and set up his father, Masayoshi Shido, to reach the top of the political food chain… so he can then take everything away from him. Sadly for him, it turns out not to be the case at all…

Sae Niijima (Yuko Kaida) – Sae has had a change of heart, she is no longer so down on the Japanese Justice system and can see light at the end of the tunnel. Sadly she has to rely on a bunch of teens to actually get the job done…

Masayoshi Shido (Shuichi Ikeda) – Masayoshi Shido sees himself as the future of Japan, as the only person who can lead the country, and has been willing to do literally anything to achieve his goal. Now he’s on the verge of achieving everything, can he actually be stopped?

Plus more!

The Good:

P5 TA Dark Sun and Stars and Ours 1

Goro Akechi, actually a well-written and acted villain, but now topped off with some black armour!

“Dark Sun…” has the Phantom Thieves enter the Palace of Masayoshi Shido, which takes the form of a gigantic cruise ship, showing how he envisions himself steering the country to his whim. Before they face off against Shadow Shido they face off against Akechi, who reveals his true Persona and fights them, but is ultimately defeated and admits that he wants Shido to suffer for leaving his mother pregnant with him and not helping out, so he was being extremely bad for a sort of good reason? Well, not really, revenge isn’t exactly noble, but at least he had a reason, I guess! After his defeat he stays behind to fight off a bunch of Shadows and presumably dies doing so, some last noble act after realising he was wrong in his methods, but it would be a bit off to call it a redemption…

This leads to the showdown with Shido, as he goes through several different forms before the Phantom Thieves bring him down. The action is fine, and Shido’s grandiose speech is always entertaining, as is his attempt to nearly kill himself with a pill in real life to stop his change of heart. It fails, for the record, but his speech of guilt is pretty much rejected by the populace, which confuses and angers the Thieves, leading into the final part of the story…

“Stars and Ours” then gives us our grande finale, as we find out that an evil God-like entity has been behind everything (again!) by the name of Yaldabaoth, and our heroes must defeat it against all odds to break humanity free from its collective consciousness. We see Igor and his Velvet room was a trick all along, with the real Igor and assistant appearing in the last few moments… I realise I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned him for the whole three-part review… Oh well! Morgana was also a creation of Igor that was meant to guide Ren and co. to victory against Yaldabaoth, so that’s that storyline tied up as well… Anyway, dramactic showdown and then Ren goes back home to his family, but his friends give him a big send off. It’s fine, the animation is good, but it’s all very samey… which you can hear more of below!

The Bad:

P5 TA Dark Sun and Stars and Ours 2

Shido’s final form, which is more revealing, but more powerful! Clothes lessen your power, there’s a lesson, kids!

As mentioned, this feels like the exact same ending as Persona 4, complete with the entire cast fighting a God-like figure and our main protagonist defeating it with a giant version of his Persona, something that was also the ending of Persona 3 (though that at least ended with the protagonist’s death, which is a little different…) Lead Protagonist leaves town to go back home is also the same as P4, now that I think about it… Much like my complaint about the similarities of the cast in Part 1 of this review, if the writer of the series wants to do a Persona 6 I’m all for it, but I hope he gets a bit more creative next time…

Scenes where Ren’s social connection characters all cheer him on as he fights Yaldabaoth seemed a little silly as the anime version excluded most of them, but as I’ve said before, it makes sense given the run time…

Overall Thoughts:

P5 TA Dark Sun and Stars and Ours 4

Morgana gives the big speech, meanwhile everyone is wondering who the guy with the big nose is.

Persona 5 ends with essentially two one-hour long episodes that wrap up the adaptation with the final two heavily connected story arcs. The animation is fine, the characters are still good (even if they’ve all finished evolving by this point) and the message is still a good one, though for someone who experienced the past two games / anime adaptations, the resolution does seem extremely similar…

4 Star Watch

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