Original Release: June 23rd, 2018
I’m curious, are the two opening paragraphs of this review still relevant, or have those been fixed? I’ll have to check that out later if I don’t have anything else to do.
Luckily for me, I have plenty I need to do.
Before we actually review the bulk of the episode, I just want to point out a glaring animation flaw. Around the timestamp of 2:31, there’s a shot of Makoto and Ren side-by-side. If you look down during this shot, you’ll notice that Ren’s lower torso and hands aren’t in the frame. In fact, nothing is. His torso is floating there, half an inch above the bottom of the frame, and his hands are just cut off. Then we return to this shot after a brief close-up of Makoto, and his body is just fine!
I don’t know if this is a personal issue or if everyone saw this, but if it’s not just me, then that is inexcusably poor attention to detail. Come on, A-1. I get that you’re on a time crunch with these, but this is just embarrassing.
Anyways, let’s talk about the episode itself.
Holy fuck the pacing is awful in this episode! The first chunk is a montage of completely random hardly related events that take place during the infiltration of Kaneshiro’s Palace. We get Ryuji and Ren training, Ann and Makoto finally becoming friends, Yusuke and Ryuji helping Ren buy a TV, a random fight scene that very poorly uses the spectacular Last Surprise track, and a shared trip to the arcade with Ren and Makoto.
All of this in the first seven minutes of the episode.
None of this is given any breathing room, so it all just feels like a random assault of information on our senses. I could only handle it because I played the game and I knew about all of them. But for the people who haven’t played it… oh god I’m so sorry. That must’ve been an even worse headache for you than it was for me.
Then we get to Kaneshiro’s boss fight, which starts off with a transformation sequence so poorly animated that it makes the Ressurection F Arc of Dragon Ball Super look like Spirited Away. It’s a sad start, but I have to say the action sequence itself is actually pretty cool. A fun remix of Life Will Change is playing in the back, they use a creative way to actually weaken the boss by burning his cash, and they use the Baton Pass system from the game so that everyone gets a hit in. It feels kind of like the Daybreakers OVA, but without as much style. Still, it’s pretty well animated and fun to watch. This is easily the best action sequence in the entire show thus far.
That is until the last minute, where they use another god damn mother fucking poorly animated shitty looking All-Out Attack that ruins the entire god damn thing! God dammit P5A, let me give you one compliment before you ruin it!
Ugh… after that great fight scene is completely trampled on, we get the usual fare: Kaneshiro confesses, everyone praised the Phantom Thieves, and we even get an extra scene with Sae and Makoto where Sae admits that catching Kaneshiro could’ve meant a promotion. Because forget subtlety, we need to force down the audience’s throat that this character is going down the wrong path and will have a Palace later.
This episode was shit. Yeah the fight scene was good (aside from that terrible All-Out Attack ending) but everything else was just terrible. Poorly animated, poorly paced, and simply infuriating to watch. This was a real chore to get through, I’m not gonna lie.
But before we go, there’s one more thing I need to mention: there’s a lot of tell don’t show in this series. For example, at the beginning of this episode, we see the Phantom Thieves running from… something in Kaneshiro’s bank. Makoto asks is this always happens, and the others basically respond ‘yes’. But we’ve never seen that happen. Then, after the credits, we get a scene where Caroline and Justine compliment Ren on gathering a ton of Persona’s. But we don’t see that either. We’re just expected to believe that it happened, and that it’s impressive.
Tell don’t show is the worst way to tell a story. It only makes the audience yearn to see the things they’re talking about, as they sound far more interesting than just standing around and talking about them. But we’ll never see any of that. The show has to keep things moving, after all.
It’s the scenes like these that make me wonder why I still watch this show. They don’t add anything. If anything, it subtracts from it. I don’t want to watch what you’re showing me, I want to watch what you’re not showing me. Instead of boring scenes of the Phantom Thieves standing around and talking, I want to see them running away from Shadows with sirens blaring! That sounds like fun!
Unfortunately for me, fun is something this show can only give me with filler. Fortunately, the next episode is looking pretty filler heavy.
Oh god, why am I excited for filler?!