Many months ago, I decided to review two different anime series episode-by-episode on the old site. They were the two shows I was most looking forward to for the spring season, and I wanted to talk about them. Plus, I wanted to get better at writing in depth analytical reviews, so it seemed the perfect opportunity. These shows were, of course, the third season of My Hero Academia and the anime adaptation of Persona 5 simply titles Persona 5: The Animation.
The ladder of which has made me more angry than any show I’ve ever seen.
Persona 5 is my second favorite game of all time. I’ve finished it five times now, gotten the Platinum trophy, and poured well over four hundred hours into it. I was so addicted to it that I nearly stopped attending school altogether, only leaving my house for my job and my friends, and staying up until three in the morning to play it. If I hadn’t already cleared all of my mandatory credits and had I not elected to avoid the ceremony, I likely wouldn’t have graduated because of this game.
I have a very addictive personality.
So naturally, when it was announced that it was going to be adapted into an anime roughly a year after the game came out, I was excited. It was everything I needed: an excuse to jump back into the world of Persona 5 without the need of sinking a thousand hours into slaughtering monsters and listening to ‘Last Surprise’.
Frankly, I should’ve known I’d be disappointed.
I hate this show. Like, a lot. It is so bad in fact that it made me question whether or not I actually enjoyed the game. It took another whole playthrough to remind myself that the game was really good, and the show was simply a misstep.
A misstep that took it off of a cliff, but still.
The writing, pacing, and animation of this show is simply abysmal all around. Sometimes the show would be so slow that you’d feel like you were grinding enemies in the game (minus the fun) and others it’d be so fast that you’d only be able to keep up if you’ve played the game as many times as I have. The dialogue is just awful, which is even more insulting coming from the very well written game it comes from. And then there’s the animation.
Surely I don’t need to talk about this again, do I?
But I’ve been over this already before, and I don’t want to do it again. Mainly because if I did, I’d have to watch the show again and finish it, and I’d rather take a thousand spiked sand paper dildos up my ass simultaneously. Without any lubrication.
So today, I’m just going to ask: what the hell happened? How did this show fail so badly?
There are many reasons, but it simply boils down to time and heart.
See, Persona 5 was in development for roughly… forever. It had more than enough time to refine the cutscenes, both anime and in-engine, as well as the gameplay and music. They had more than enough time to carefully plan out the story and make sure it’s pacing is just right. And all that time and hard work paid off: the game looks great, sounds great, and the pacing is nigh perfect.
Persona 5 the Animation did not have this time. Whereas the game was in production for nearly a decade, the anime adaptation was only in production for about a year. As such, it didn’t have the necessary time to cut down the story content in a satisfying way, iron out the animation, and properly score each scene.
It’s painfully obvious that A-1 did not give P5A the complete focus of the studio. Between their work on Darling in the Franxx (Fraanx? Who cares, it was bad anyways.) and the currently running second season of Phoenix Wright, it’s clear that they didn’t have all hands on deck for this one. And frankly, I can hardly blame them for it.
Let’s be real. The rushed and low budget production isn’t the primary reason this show fails so badly as a Persona 5 adaptation. The core of the issue lies in heart.
Persona 5 was a game that had many things to say. It pushed video game visuals extremely far, and the story had a simple and powerful message. It’s abundantly clear that everyone involved put their heart and soul into making this game.
And it’s kind of hard to put your heart into a commercial, isn’t it?
The fact of the matter is, Persona 5 The Animation was not meant to be anything more than an advertisement for the game. Atlus had a big checklist of things they needed to do because of Persona 5’s success, and ‘Anime Adaptation’ was the next one they needed to check off the list.
Followed by ‘Dancing Game’ and ‘Cross over with Persona 3 and 4’.
The show lacks the life and heart that the game has in spades. It’s clear that no one involved in the production of this show cared and they just wanted to get it over with and get paid. The game had passion behind it, and it had something to say. The show simply exists to get people to play the game. It’s an advertisement, through and through.
A bad advertisement at that.
If you enjoyed this show, then I’m sorry to have dumped all over it. You can disagree and still enjoy it. To each their own; we all enjoy different things. The purpose of this post isn’t to get you to hate a show you enjoyed. I wrote this to explain why the show failed for me personally.
Also, if you did enjoy the show, I have a simple question: have you played the game? If not, you should do so. It’s like the show, but far better in terms of pacing and visuals. But most importantly, it’s damn fun to play.
Unlike what this show was for me. This show really pissed me off. And I will never watch another episode ever again.