Original Release: 4/14/18
Good god this episode was disappointing. This sequence was one of my favorite parts of the game, and they handled it pretty poorly. Allow me to explain.
Episode two picks up right where the first left off: with Ren using his new Persona, Arsene, to escape Komoshida’s cell with Ryuji. He slaughters the Shadows with ease, knocks Komoshida down, gets out with Ryuji, and… the two escape the Palace.
No joke, the next scene is them falling on the ground back in the real world. No running through the castle, meeting and freeing Morgana (that comes later), getting to know the cat, learning how to use the Persona, running into the Cognition of the Volleyball team members (thus planting the seed of suspicion that the Palace could be used to bring him down)… all gone. It’s totally erased.
Instead, we get several scenes of Ren being a nice guy in the hallway, including him bumping into and helping Shiho. Though I can’t be too mad, because there was a shot that established both Makoto and Haru early in the story, which is just a nice touch to add to the world. Then, Ryuji and Ren share a bun on the roof and grow closer.
Quick side notes, we got three new scenes in this episode that I feel were really unnecessary: Komoshida beating Ren with a volleyball during gym class, Komoshida breaking up a conversation between Ann and Shiho, and Komoshida beating Shiho. None of these scenes really added anything. If anything, they removed the subtlety of the original game.
Let me explain. In the game, you never saw Komoshida’s abuse in the real world. You saw it in his palace and the effects of it in the real world, but you had no solid evidence of it to use against him. So you as the player had the same amount of information as your character. Here, it creates a sort of dramatic irony, because you have seen what Komoshida has done to Shiho and how he’s strained Ann’s relationship with her.
We also get a scene of Ryuji being confronted by the former track team members. This one I don’t have a complaint about, since it’s basically just his Social Link. But it does lead to Ryuji wanting to go back to the Palace under the suspicion of being able to find evidence.
Here, the show combines the remaining events of the first Palace encounter and the second. Here, Ren and Ryuji meet and free Morgana, Ryuji awakens his Persona, they see cognitive Ann, escape, and the two have ramen, officially becoming friends. Then, after the credits, we get a scene with Akechi.
Why? Don’t ask me.
Okay, one more side note: the action scene of Arsene, Captain Kidd and Zoro fighting the Shadows is pretty bad. The animation is lackluster, lacks any energy, the All-Out Attack is nowhere near as flashy, well put together and cool as in the game, and it’s over really quickly. Simply put, it sucks.
The same could be said about this entire episode. Overall, it sucked pretty bad. But I still have hope that the rest of the show will be as good as the first episode. Hopefully they’ll be able to step it up again for episode three.
Oh god I don’t want to hate this show.