Original Release: 4/21/18
Okay… I’m going through this episode point by point to detail all of my problems with it. Spoilers, alright, okay nice.
Literally the first scene in this episode is Igor and the Twins explaining what a Palace is and what Shadows/Cognitions are. Like, dude we get it! We’re not stupid! And they don’t even present this information in an interesting way! It’s just static shots of Igor taking an exposition dump on the audience! It’s downright infuriating!
We got that shit instead of the catchy opening, by the way. This episode has a rough start.
We then get a scene with Ryuji and Ren discussing their plans to interrogate the volleyball members about Kamoshida’s abuse (because that works well in a game, so it should work just as well in a show, right?) with Akechi shoehorned in there, followed by an unanimated montage. We then get a new scene with Ryuji trying to ask Shiho about it, but being interrupted by Ann. Ren is also there for now reason.
After cutting back to the interrogation room for a few seconds (because Persona 5) we’re treated to another pointless scene of Ann being asked to go home in the middle of a shoot, followed immediately by the scene with her arguing with Kamoshida and venting with Ren. Interspliced into this scene is a pointless mini-scene of Kamoshida being a creepy sociopath and discussing his own plans to himself and sending Mishima to get Shiho for him.
And people are complaining that this show is faster than the source material? If anything it’s slower. And more padded. Way more padded.
Anyways, we’re then given a flashback to the earlier confrontation with Shiho, after which Morgana appears and explains about Treasures and the whole stealing hearts thing. Basic stuff.
But then we get the suicide scene.
This was probably the most important scene to get right from this part of the story. And honestly? They did half of it right.
Shiho’s actual leap off the roof was chilling. In the game, it was loud, what with the music and chatter of the panicking students. Here, it’s dead silent. All you can hear is the rush of wind on her clothes as she steps off. It’s breathtaking in all the most shocking ways. The rest, however, is standard fare.
Though they do cut the confrontation with Mishima in the locker room, which is fine. The scene in the game didn’t add a whole lot to the story. It was the next scene that mattered. Except here’s the problem.
In the game, Ryuji went in there fuming. He was screaming, hell he nearly attacked Kamoshida. But here? He’s very casual, calm and collected. Even though Shiho just tried to kill herself. Does this sound like Ryuji? No. That’s Ren’s character: calm and collected, even in the most strenuous events. Then, out of nowhere, the Ryuji we know returns and lunges at Kamoshida. In the game, it feels like a natural escalation of events. Here, it comes out of nowhere.
Another issue: in the next scene, Ren and Ryuji discuss the Palace and agree to ‘hear Morgana out’, saying that they still don’t want to kill anyone. Why is this a problem? Because in the game, it had reached the point where it didn’t matter. Akira (who would go on to be renamed Ren), Ryuji, Morgana and Ann have been pushed beyond their moral breaking point due to Kamoshida’s actions. Simply put, they don’t care. They just know he needs to be stopped. Here? It still holds them back, even though at this point nothing should be.
Sorry. Back on track.
After Ann follows them into the alleyway, we get a really jarring cut to Morgana, Ryuji and Ren sneaking through the Palace while Morgana explains about Treasures. Yep. They cut the entire scene of Ann freaking out, trying to get info out of them, Morgana falling for her, them removing her, and her finding her way back in only to be captured. Instead, they go the route of ‘Oh, they didn’t notice her’. How? Did she not freak out? Didn’t she scream and ask questions? If she didn’t, why didn’t she? Did she just wait for Ren and the others to get a head start on her before going in? It raises too many questions.
They also skipped the whole code-name thing. Yup. No Mona, Skull and Joker just yet.
And then, just to add salt to that wound, they skip the entire fucking Palace and get straight to his treasure hall. Yep. By the time Ann got into the castle, got captured, and before she awoke her Persona, they had already secured a path to the Treasure. How?
One word: montage.
Yep. They skip the puzzles, the disturbing room with pictures of Shiho in them, the Church, everything. Every opportunity they had to further flesh out the Palace and it’s inner workings was thrown out the window. Instead, they just cut straight to the Treasure and then to Ann’s awakening. And the best part is, they still aren’t set on actually stealing the damn thing!
They do this all in one day, I might add. Fuck you.
We then, of course get Ann’s Persona awakening. And quick question: why does the Cognition Ann have the Shadow voice filter? She’s not a Shadow! She’s something Kamoshida made up! The other Cognitions don’t have that filter, so why does she? It doesn’t make any sense.
I know. I should just give up on sense at this point.
Also, one more side note, in this scene they have a gag with Ren introducing himself to a chained-up Ann as ‘Amimiya’, and Ryuji is shocked that he uses his real name with the mask on. This is what we call a role-reversal. Ren should be the one smart enough to know not to use his real name while in disguise, not Ryuji.
Sorry, back on track for real this time.
The rest of the scene is standard fare. Ren encourages Ann to get payback, she awakens her Persona, kills Cognition Ann and the four soon-to-be Phantom Thieves attack. The following fight scene is only slightly better than the last, but it still ends with a truly dreadful looking All-Out Attack.
Like legit, how hard is it to make these look good? Just rip the final still-shot of the character from the game and put it here! No one would care! If anything, we’d thank you for it!
Any who, the end of the episode is standard fare. They escape, pack together to steal the treasure, and the credits role (Also, thank god they don’t deprive us of this awesome song!) before finally ending on a shot of the first Phantom Thief Calling Card.
So… yeah. This episode was pretty up and down. There was a lot of good, like Shiho’s attempt at suicide (which isn’t good, but it was done well… you know what I mean) and Ann’s actual Awakening was pretty rad. But the rest was… pretty bad. In terms of an adaptation, they chose so many things that just don’t make any sense.
But I’ve promised to stick it through, so I shall do just that.
I’m gonna regret that promise, aren’t I?