Man, I thought I’d follow Darling in the FranXX with something easier to write-up, but I ended up vomiting up way too many words for this post. Ah well. Let’s start the game.
— I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see Ren and Arsene face off against the first enemies of the game. If I recall correctly, Kamoshida’s guards turn into Pyro Jacks, and you take them down with ease. In the adaptation, however, it appears as though Arsene simply nukes the guards with Eiha (a dark-element spell). Lame.
— I love Persona 5’s soundtrack the most out of Hashino’s trilogy. Persona 3’s hip hop was refreshing to hear at the time, but I was lukewarm about Persona 4’s poppy tunes. There are some great tracks (like “Heaven” or “Long Way”), but nothing got me as pumped as Persona 5’s “Blooming Villain,” especially the way it’s timed. You’re doing all your buffing and early battle planning during the percussive start of the track, then as you start fighting back, the wailing guitar starts in. It’s perfect in my opinion. I understand all the complaints about the lack of variety in the Persona 5’s soundtrack, but I’m more concerned with how it added to the overall gameplay experience. For that reason, “Blooming Villain” is one of my top songs from the game.
— Plus, with the whole rebellious theme that the anime has going for it, the soundtrack absolutely had to have some rock tracks in it.
— Wait, what? As soon as Ren and Ryuji escape from their cell, they end up right back in the real world? They’re supposed to meet Morgana first before leaving. Other minor scenes have been cut out (like Kawakami giving Ren a hard time for being late on his first day), but that’s fine. We can’t adapt every single scene from the game. Nevertheless, moving their first encounter with Morgana is a huge change.
— I also don’t like Kamoshida’s real world characterization. He comes across as too obviously evil. On a related note, I preferred his English VA over the Japanese one.
— It’s interesting to see how shocked Ren is that everyone’s already gossiping about him. As the player, I had no real reaction during this same moment. I just assumed that the MC couldn’t hear them.
— Y’know, if you want your peers to treat you normally, you probably shouldn’t just sit by yourself at lunch and stare at nothing.
— Ah, it’s Shiho. For some reason, she has a small group of fans out there in the Persona 5 community. Personally, I never felt as though she was in the story long enough for me to care. And if you really put off leveling up Ann as a confidante, you pretty much never hear of her again.
— Ah man, Makoto deserves better than this. A-1 Pictures hasn’t really been putting forth their best effort as of late. It’s such a shame.
— Why do these guys act like they’ll go hungry if they don’t buy bread from the cafeteria? Japanese schools don’t supply any sort of meal plans?
— I watched a lot of people play this game, and a good chunk of them expressed incredulity at the idea that Kamoshida would be held to such high esteem.
— I don’t find it surprising, though. My own country worships football to a sickening degree. It’s amazing what these “tight-knit” communities can overlook just to win a few pointless high school games, and I say that despite being a huge sports fan myself. But the problem is that it’s not even limited to just one sport. Too many gymnasts have fallen victim to Larry Nassar.
— This Sojiro is too blase. He’s telling Ren off for being late to school, but not really. He never raises his voice, his inflection doesn’t contain any anger, and he doesn’t even look at the kid. It’s like he doesn’t even care. Maybe this Sojiro just thinks Ren will inevitably go off rails again, and there’s not much that he can do about it. As a result, why even bother parenting the kid? But y’know, that’s what I liked about the game’s Sojiro. His tough guy act is just an attempt to scare Ren back into shape. Once you get to know him, you realize how caring he is.
— We get to see Kamoshida pelt Ren with volleyballs during PE. This is not in the game. It’s interesting because we get to see the MC’s defiant nature come out, but it’s also odd that Kamoshida would actually be phased by it.
— By the way, Haru is easily my least favorite party member, which sucks ’cause gameplay-wise, she has some really cool moves. But god, I hated her personality, and I hated her English VA even more.
— Ren watches as the track team confronts Ryuji. We find out that something bad had happened to Ryuji’s leg, but I feel as though this revelation was better delivered in the game.
— I like Kawakami’s hairstyle on girls. I like her character design overall despite the jean skirt. But man, her story later…
— This Ren is ready and willing to dive back into the Metaverse.
— Yeah, they’re overdoing Kamoshida’s villainy way too early.
— As an aside, I went with Ann on my first playthrough of the game. Yeah, I don’t mind her as a character, but this was mostly by default more than anything. I already said above that I can’t stand Haru. The adults are, well, adults; they shouldn’t be dating a high school kid. Yes, in a vacuum, the doctor is badass as all hell, and she’d be my first choice. But what the hell is a doctor doing with a high school kid? Then you get to Futaba, and she’s like fucking otaku bait. She’s a genius hacker/programmer, loves games and anime, and eats junk food all day. It’s too much. Not only that, she’s also way too young.
So it really just comes down to Ann and Makoto. Makoto is great… up until her story reminds me too much of Mitsuru from P3. Like how she has much to learn about the real world (dude, she’s never been to the arcades!), how naive she can be about friendships, and most of all, how she wants you to teach her about love. That line near the end of her social link sealed it for me. Like with Futaba, her story just felt too pandering for my tastes. Someone as smart as Makoto is likely to have done extensive research on love, romance, and sex all by herself. I hate it when these writers treat these girls as if they’re innocent maidens just ripe for the plucking. It’s ridiculous.
So yeah, I went with Ann. Yes, the hafu with supermodel good looks is also unrealistic in her own way, but I found her to be the most palatable option out of all of the girls that you can romance. Had this been a story about college students, however, Takemi and Kawakami would win hands down.
— Ren and Ryuji eventually discover Shadow Kamoshida’s weirdo torture/sex dungeon, but we still haven’t been introduced to my guy Morgana. Tsk tsk.
— This is quite overt.
— We even get to see him sock the poor girl. I just feel as though the adaptation hasn’t built up to Kamoshida’s ugliness properly. It’s all too sudden, and it doesn’t organically develop the viewers’ hate for him like the original. But it’s possible that I just have rose-colored glasses for the game.
— Finally, Morgana shows up. It amused me how people hated him, because in the game, he’d often insist on the MC going to bed every night. See, that didn’t bother me, because I’m used to how these games work. You just didn’t have anyone in P3 and P4 to tell you to sleep, but you still had to. It’s amazing how simply giving a voice to a gameplay mechanic will crystallize people’s hate where there otherwise wouldn’t be any.
— As for Morgana as a character, I like him far, far more than Teddie. It helps that he’s a black cat, and I also have a black cat. He gives Ryuji way too much shit, but eh, Ryuji kinda deserves it. We’ll talk more about Morgana later, though.
— We’re about to see Ryuji awaken to his Persona, which means we also about to learn that Kamoshida had broken his leg. See, this is what I’m talking about. By having him abuse Shiho so early on in the story, this takes away from the impact of Ryuji’s story. In the game, it’s hard to understand just how bad Kamoshida really is until this very moment. Sure, we saw all those puppets being tortured, but we don’t know for sure that he’s just as bad in real life. Hearing from Ryuji firsthand, however, that he lost his place on the track team just because of Kamoshida is really the first time it sets in that this volleyball coach is a piece of shit. Then it naturally builds from there when we find out more about Shiho’s situation and how he’s been sexually harassing her. The adaptation does this whole thing backwards, and I can’t say that I like it.
— I don’t have much to say about Ryuji’s Persona, but I do wanna comment on the gameplay mistake in him being the only physical fighter to have the Charge ability. Likewise, Ann is the only mage to get Concentrate. This pretty much means they’re way stronger than the other members. Ultimately, the game is easy enough that every character is viable, but if you really wanna breeze through the lategame, you’d just stick with Ryuji and Ann. This is funny, because P4 had the same problem. Chie had Charge, and I abused her Charge+God Hand combo all the way through the vanilla game. This disparity was eventually fixed in P4:Golden, so it’s just odd to me that P5 had the same problem all over again. There was no reason for me to use Yusuke over Ryuji, especially when Ryuji also gets Matarukaja. Talk about overkill.
— Yeah, the animation could be better. A whole lot better.
— We’ve completely skipped the fact that Ren can summon more than one Persona. Odd. Maybe it’ll come later.
— Also, are they gonna ignore the fact that these guys can use guns in battle?
— That feel when the game has better animation than you.
— Is this girl supposed to be someone important…? If it’s a cameo, I don’t recognize her at all.
— Basically, the justice system did Ren something dirty. Like with Kamoshida being worshiped, a lot of players also couldn’t believe that Ren would get in trouble for saving the poor woman, but we should get a better picture of what really happened later on in the story.
— The ED’s alright, but not really something I’d find myself listening on my free time.
— So Akechi told Sae right off the bat that he thinks the incidents in the news might have supernatural causes, huh? Hm.
— At the end of the day, it’s Persona 5, so I’ll always enjoy this show, but A-1 Pictures could’ve done a better job with this episode. Let’s hope that this isn’t a sign of things to come.