(Original Release 4/7/18)
There are many games I love. But among them all, only one surpasses Persona 5. It is easily my second favorite game of all time, featuring some of the best characters, music, and one of the most engaging stories I’ve ever experienced.
And now, just over a year after the US release, it’s being remade as an anime. Why?
Do I care? Nope.
Here’s my review of episode one of the new Persona 5 Animation.
The episode begins with a long shot of a mysterious and odd casino. A mysterious figure (Joker) exchanging a brief exchange with another figure (Crow) before the ladder shoots a chandelier down to the ground. (Quick note, I actually like this addition, as it established right off the bat that this won’t be a shot-for-shot remake of the game, and I don’t mind that at all.) Joker then dashed across the roof, briefcase in hand, drawing everyone’s attention while some voices (the other Phantom Thieves) commentate over his actions. Sliding the case into a metal grate and leaping out a window, Joker basks in victory… before getting caught by a large SWAT unit.
We are then taken to an underground cell, where Ren Amimaya (formerly Akira/Joker) is being interrogated by the Japanese secret service. After being heavily drugged and tricked into signing his confession, Ren is met by a young woman (Sae Niijima) who demands to know how and why he did everything. (Also, quick side not again, there’s one little detail I don’t like here. It’s nit picky, but I still think it’s worth mentioning. One of Sae’s lines to Ren is ‘How did you find out about that world’? This is a problem because, in the game, the character (formerly Akira) had to convince her that his story, and the world it took place in, was real. Having her already know about it kind of hurts that for me. But we’ll see how they handle it later, I guess.)
We then flash back about six months, where we breeze through Ren’s backstory (which I guess will be revealed more later, just like in the game). After a brief reference to Naoto and Rise from Persona 4, Ren sees a brief vision of a blue burning figure, as well as a strange app on his phone that he can’t delete. He then meets his new guardian, Sojiro Sakura, settles into his new home, and meets his new teacher the next day (Kawakami). (Yet another note, they added a shot where Kawakami has to hide a flyer to the maid service she works part time at, which fell from her pocket. This is a problem because it lessens the surprise reveal the game had, which didn’t happen until about two or three Palaces in.)
The next day, Ren gets caught in the rain, where he meets a pretty blonde (Ann Takamaki) who plucks a cherry blossom from his hair and gets in the car with a teacher (Komoshida). Ren then meets a blonde ruffian (Ryuji Sakamoto) and the two, in their conversation, accidentally fulfill the requirements necessary to enter Komoshida’s Palace (which is a nice touch, as it makes it a bit more clear how they actually got there. Still, I will miss the extreme subtlety the game had to it). There, they’re captured, tortured, and nearly executed. However, Ren hears a sudden voice question whether or not his actions have been right, to which he argues they have. With that, a strange mask appears on his face. Tearing it off, Ren bursts into blue flames, and the Persona Arsene springs to life as the episode ends. Then, after the credits, we get a two second shot of a strange creature (Morgana) reacting to Ren’s awakening from another cell.
Story wise, this episode was pretty okay. The pacing was very up and down, going from really good to meh. Still, I feel they did a good job condensing an hour of video game into a twenty minute anime episode. It was different enough that it didn’t feel repetitive. Plus, the ending point they chose was perfect.
In terms of animation, this was actually really good. Everything is well detailed, the camera angles are dynamic and interesting, and the movements of each character felt natural and nice to look at. The best part is, none of it feels ripped out of the game. Hell, even the anime cutscenes from the game have been completely redone! It all feels brand new, and a very good brand new. You can tell that a lot of time and effort have been put into this.
Music wise, though, this show is very repetitive. Each track is ripped straight out of the game. Now, is that a problem? Of fucking course not! The music in Persona 5 was easily the best part! It’s fucking awesome!
Overall, I think this show will be pretty good. If it maintains it’s current level of quality, it will be a fantastic companion piece to the game. Plus, I’m a big sucker for Persona 5, so it’ll be nice to have more of it. In the end, I would recommend this show… if you’ve played the game. I’ll have to see where the series goes before recommending it to someone who hasn’t played it.
And just like with My Hero Academia, you can be damn well sure I’ll stick with it and review every episode. So, if you want to read my thoughts for the next episode, feel free to follow my Google+ or leave a comment down below and let me know what you think.
Thank you for your time. Have a lovely day!