Original Release: May 26th, 2018
Seriously, the title of this episode sucks. It’s not snappy, witty, it doesn’t make you want to watch the episode, it doesn’t do anything right. Hell, it feels like they ran out of ideas and took a line from the script, slapped it on there and called it good.
Also, this episode loves to waste your time. Seriously, before and during the heist there are two cutaways to the interrogation room just so you can see Sae reacting to Ren’s story. It doesn’t add to the plot, it doesn’t create intrigue or mystery, and it doesn’t add any tension. It’s just a waste of your time. And for a show that needs to be so quickly paced to keep up with the game’s plot, doesn’t it seem odd that it insists on pointless padding like this?
Waste of time aside, we then get a ‘twist’ that comes out of nowhere.
Context: the episode begins with the Madarame heist, where he reveals that he tricked them with a fake and reveals the true Treasure: the unaltered Sayuri. Seeing the baby in the painting and hearing Madarame talk about a ‘female student’, Yusuke realizes that the Sayuri is actually his mother, which the villain then confirms.
Here’s the problem: there was no god damn buildup to this at all.
In the game, it’s established and built-up to the face that Madarame taught and killed Yusuke’s mom and adopted him. It was subtle, but not so subtle that you’d miss it. It gives you just enough clue as to how Madarame and Yusuke’s family connected that the twist isn’t just shocking, but it makes sense.
In the show, there was one throw-away line about how Madarame adopted Yusuke. Yep. That’s all the buildup to this dramatic twist we get.
Aren’t you shocked?
I’ll give the show this though: they actually did something new with the Madarame boss fight. Instead of just melee attacking the eyes and magic attacking the mouth and nose, like in the game, they had to use the weakening black ink that the boss shoots out against him in order to weaken him. It still ultimately becomes ‘blast him with poorly animated energy until he dies’ at the end like a god damn Pokemon battle, but it’s not the worst action sequence the series has ever done. It’s thoroughly okay.
The rest goes as you’d expect. They steal Madarame’s heart, he confesses, and the fame of the Phantom Thieves sky rockets. Yusuke leaves the house, everyone has a party to celebrate their victory in Ren’s room, they all bond as they tell their backstories to each other, and Yusuke leaves the Sayuri with Sojiro as the episode ends.
Another painfully average episode. Why is that a bad thing, you ask? Because Persona 5 should be well beyond average! The game was a near masterpiece of hard work, beauty and storytelling. It was something incredible. This show just… isn’t. It lacks all the magic, the luster, and the visual intrigue that made the game so spectacular.
And it shows no signs of improving from this point on. We’re just stuck in a void of average.
How many episodes of this shit are left?