What’s the important information? Persona 5: The Animation is a Spring 2018 anime that aired 26 episodes between April and September. It is based on the Persona 5 video game released by Atlus.
What’s it about? Ren Amamiya is a high school student, who, after being in the wrong place at the wrong time ends up on probation. He moves to Shibuya to start a new life under the roof of a family friend but soon finds himself caught up in something bigger and more important than he could possibly imagine. He has unlocked the supernatural power of ‘Personas’ and with it the ability to change the hearts of wrong-doers, with the help of his new friends they become the ‘Phantom Thieves of Hearts’ a group of vigilantes intent on saving innocents from those who abuse power. But things aren’t ever just that simple…
Why did you watch it? I played the Persona 5 game so naturally I’m going to see how much the stuff it up, uh, err, I mean faithfully adapt it for television…
Did you enjoy the show? For the most part, yes I did. It simultaneously made me fondly remember the best parts of the game (the story and the character development) while glossing over the infuriating parts of it (the back-tracking, the repetitive battles) while also wonder why it so faithfully adapted things that could have easily been cut for the sake of a more streamlined experience. Ultimately though it’s interesting and entertaining even for someone who’s played the game so that’s got to be a recommendation of sorts!
What was your favourite episode? With so many episodes and none of them specifically distinct the whole series kind of blends together into an amorphous blob but the most faithful episode (at least as far as I’m concerned) was the first beach episode (Episode 18) where Futaba starts coming out of her proverbial shell so I’ll pick that one!
What were your most favourite things about the show? Despite the fact that I played the game with English dubs but watched the show with original Japanese voices I still think they perfectly captured the essence of every character (with the exception perhaps being Ryuji who I still prefer in English). Also, unlike Persona 4 the Animation this series feels less like a video game adaptation and more its own thing—which for newcomers is a very important thing.
What were your least favourite things about the show? This show tries too hard to squeeze every little thing that was even ~vaguely~ significant about the game into the show which adds to the narrative bloat and ends up with a lot of pointless asides that while ostensibly ‘fan-service’ for players of the game fall flat for everyone else. Characters like Hifumi Togo the Shogi player and Chihaya Mifune the psychic are introduced and ~vaguely~ returned to, but never in the same substantial way that they are in the game so their inclusion feels like pointless padding in a show already stuffed to bursting.
Who was your favourite character? In the game it was Futaba, she was best girl—but without the adaptation of her romantic plot line the connection feels lost. The character who came across the best in this adaptation was surprisingly Sojiro, the surrogate father figure to our protagonist and all around good guy—bet you didn’t expect me to pick an old dude over a waifu!
Thoughts on the OP (opening) and ED (ending) and the soundtrack in general? Not to keep referencing the game too much but its soundtrack was a definite highlight and thankfully most of it remains for the adaptation, the various OP’s and ED’s are all sung by Lyn as they were in the game but in serving as OP’s and ED’s they draw ~more~ attention to themselves and thus highlight the quality of the soundtrack overall.
What’s something unique about this show? It seems weird to say but the fact that we got 26 episodes of a video game adaptation and we’re still not done with the completed adaptation! Yes, that’s right, a ‘special’ episode will air in late 2018 to wrap up the story proper! Maybe this isn’t especially unique but it kind of felt like it for me!
What other anime are most like it for the sake of comparison? It should go without saying that it’s somewhat similar to Persona 4 but this show carries more style and panache than that show ever could muster. There have been plenty of shows throughout the years that focus on the struggle between oppressed and oppressor but none have felt more nascent and timely than Persona 5.
Who would you recommend it to? If you’ve played the game, then obviously this series comes recommended. Just don’t expect a 1:1 retelling of events nor anything that expands upon the universe. If you haven’t played the game the series is still worth watching for those interested in a compelling drama with interesting and charismatic characters.
Sum up the season in one sentence: ‘Social Justice Warriors; the anime!’
Final score? 83 out of 100.
Previous PERSONA5 the Animation Reviews:
Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
(Stopped reviewing weekly after Episode 5)
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