Persona 5 The Animation Ep. 13: Maxing out another confidant

With Yusuke as this week’s focus, Ren is starting to go through his friends’ stories like a hot knife through butter. But this time, CloverWorks finally decides to take some liberties.

— The episode opens with a pair of individuals being arrested. I’ve never heard of this guy nor his father. Maybe the game mentioned them on the TV at Leblanc that I rarely ever watched.

— In any case, Akechi dropping by the cafe and engaging Ren in an extended conversation is definitely new. It’s actually astonishing to me that the detective prince has so many fans outside of the game, because the game never really used his character to its fullest potential. I think the writers’ intent was to have him play a cat-and-mouse game with the Phantom Thieves, but that never really panned out. But with the adaptation, Akechi has a second chance to play a larger role. Big spoilers coming up for anyone who hasn’t played the game…

— More importantly, he has a second chance to convince us why we should give a shit about his eventual fate. That’s one of the things I never really understood. The dude had so many apologists inside and outside the game. Hell, your party members practically want to take him back with open arms. Fuck that. He’s a psychotic murderer. I don’t care if he was put on this path by an evil god and a terrible upbringing, he still had to pull the trigger. But anyways, like I was saying, if Akechi spends enough time with Ren in the adaptation, maybe we’ll have a stronger reason to care about him. I probably still won’t, but I have the luxury of knowing who he really is. He’s already scum in my eyes, but we’ll see.

— I like the chess board is obscured by the chair, because they don’t want actual chess experts to pick apart the game. Hey, don’t look at me. Like Ren, I don’t even know the rules of the game. I don’t care for board games. Never have, never will.

— You can never count on Ryuji to keep your secrets. The Phantom Thieves are getting popular by the day, and all this attention is getting to the kid’s head. The guy who has been seen as a delinquent and a loser all his life finally has the chance to be adored and worshiped by the masses. Is it any wonder that he often screws up? Ryuji’s still a big idiot though, so don’t get me wrong.

— Morgana also splits with Ren to hang out with Ann and Makoto. I think that’s also new. I don’t recall seeing this in the game. Also, Makoto has a very wide-eyed look for some reason.

— But like I said at the top of this post, this is a Yusuke-centric episode. Our eccentric boy is starting to realize that artists need to eat too. Nobody wants to sell out, but at the same time, nobody wants to starve to death and only be remembered posthumously.

— What’s new here, however, is Akechi’s huge involvement in the side story. This is fine, though. In the game, he never really shows off his detective chops. You are instead told over and over that he is brilliant. At least the adaptation is taking steps to remedy that. And y’know, should there ever be a remaster of the game, maybe we’ll get a more involved social link with Akechi. As much as I love the game on a sentimental level, it has a lot of holes.

— I never really understood how something like this could inspire Yusuke. But at the same time, I’m not an artist nor will I ever be one. The only creative thing I’ve ever done was write a few terrible short stories in my youth. And now, all I do all day is write unit tests… ho hum.

— You also don’t run into Kin-ki in the game. Instead, you fight a bunch of slimes. After all, the game doesn’t want you to wipe in the middle of a social link. The adaptation, however, wants to spice things up a bit.

— Ren summons a Lamia, so that puts him at around level 26 or higher. I don’t know why I’m keeping track of his progress. It just fascinates me for some reason.

— Anyways, Yusuke ends up producing… this black swirl. It looks bad, because it’s supposed to be bad. What I find perplexing is when he finally paints something that people actually like, but we’ll get to that at the very end of the episode.

— Oh man, that sushi actually looks good. Unfortunately, top notch sushi here is at least 100 bucks a head.

— Kawanabe runs a foundation that supports aspiring artists. He wants to free them from their stifling financial burdens. At first glance, however, it would seem as though he’s only interested in Yusuke for the kid’s notoriety. Obviously, our artist isn’t pleased about this.

— Geez, Akechi, don’t you think you’re being a little clingy.

— In any case, the detective prince starts telling Ren all about how there’s shady business surrounding Kawanabe. Afterwards, we even see them working together as they try to crack the case. This is definitely an anime original side story. There’s nothing evil at all about the man in the game.

Ren hits a home run and reminds me that I never bothered with the mini-game. It’s just not my thing. I love baseball, though.

— We proceed to get a very abridged version of Yusuke’s social link, including everyone’s favorite moment. Hifumi even gets a cameo. In the end, however, Yusuke is inspired by his dearest friends. There’s nothing inherently wrong with desire! Art is subjective! Last but not least, you have to fight for others! As a result, Yusuke decides to inject a little hope into his paintings.

— But before his latest piece is revealed, Ren looks as though he’s trying to confront Kawanabe by listing off a bunch of damning names. The old man, however, acts as if he has no idea what our hero is talking about.

— Later that night, we get our plot twist. So like the game, Kawanabe is completely innocent. Instead, his right-hand man is the corrupt individual! So we didn’t take too much liberties with Yusuke’s story, but we did give Akechi something to be happy about. He gets to catch another criminal and look good in front of Ren.

— At the latest exhibit, Yusuke reveals his triumphant painting. He titles it “Desire and Hope.” Again, I’m not an artist, and I had a terrible time with my art electives in college. I’m sorry, but art history bores the fuck out of me. All those names and dates to remember about some random fucking triptych…. who the hell cares? My point is, I just want to establish that I’m not an expert. So with that out of the way, I gotta say that I have no clue how a painting like this can actually win anything. I think it’s fucking terrible.

— Like in the game, Kawanabe reveals that he was just trying to goad Yusuke all along. More importantly, he’s seen Madarame’s good side, so he can’t fully condemn his former friend. Even if the disgraced artist was evil, he still raised Yusuke like his own son… or something. I mean, freaking out over the kid’s health once isn’t going to change my mind, but let’s just play along.

— Anyways, Kawanabe doesn’t want other artists to succumb to their greed like Madarame. As a result, he offers Yusuke his foundation’s support once more. Our eccentric boy, however, believes in not only himself, but his friends as well. He won’t ever turn to evil, because the power of friendship is just that awesome. But hey, maybe he’s right. All of the bosses in the game were probably loners. Could you imagine anyone being friends with Kamoshida? He had butt-kissers, sure, but genuine friends? Probably not. The same goes for the rest of them. So pay attention, kids! If you’re a loner, you’ll probably have your own kickass palace where all your fantasies come true. Like Ann in a bathing suit. Wait a minute…

— Next week looks to be another Makoto-centric episode. Sure, we just spent a bunch of time with her, but she still needs to ask Ren to teach her about love. I kid, I kid… the adaptation probably wouldn’t include that scene.

— In the after credits scene, Ren actually shows us a bit of his personality. It appears as though he had deduced a while ago that Kawanabe was innocent. As a result, he was really trying to rattle the old man’s second-in-command. It then looks as though Ren manages to beat Akechi in a chess match as they engage in a verbal duel over the Phantom Thieves’ brand of justice. I mean, just look at the way he is sweating:

— I think this episode is fine. Nothing mind-blowing, but I actually like the changes that CloverWorks made to Yusuke’s side story. In the game, Ren never really shows off his smarts. The anime, however, wants to prove that the main character can stand toe-to-toe with the detective prince. Time will tell if CloverWorks can be successful with this endeavor.

— That’s it for today’s updates, though. Tomorrow, I’ll get to the latest My Hero Academia episode, then I’ll wrap everything else. Hopefully, I’ll get to watch the Hisone to Masotan finale by then.

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14 Replies to “Persona 5 The Animation Ep. 13: Maxing out another confidant”

  1. About Akechi, I think lots of his fan comes from the shipping fans. Even though his dynamic with the Phantom Thieves, especially main character is not really good, detective – phantom thief/criminal dynamic has become so popular a tradition in Japanese manga/anime that most players instantly locked to the pairing… I might not make myself entirely clear, but I think it’s something like a shortcut by taking advantages of the cliches of the genre, even a way of “cheating” if you want to use stronger words.

    1. I’m just shocked at how quickly people forget that he murdered Haru’s dad. Even Haru doesn’t seem that worked up about it in the end.

  2. I think I’m the only one who actually preferred Yusuke’s original painting. I like how you can see how his experiences with Madarame and the Palaces has given him a whirlwind of negative emotions (even if that’s a bit on the nose), and I can see and like the Mementos inspiration. It’s kinda edgelord-y. But, I’m no art expert either.

    1. I don’t like either of them. Kawanabe’s initial assessment applies to both paintings. They don’t really say anything nor evoke anything.

  3. It isn’t a trainwreck. It’s just so-so just like the anime adaptation of Persona 4 I guess so far.

    “I think the writers’ intent was to have him play a cat-and-mouse game with the Phantom Thieves, but that never really panned out.”

    If only that could happen… It’s going to be more interesting than he is “secretly” evil and also the traitor. The game seems to think that lampshading the f*ck out of it is going to make it okay and it isn’t. If it’s meant to mock or make a laugh of it, it’s fine I guess, but it isn’t what happen in the game.

    “That’s one of the things I never really understood. The dude had so many apologists inside and outside the game.”

    He is a bishie and not just a bishie, a tortured bishie with a dark and troubled past. I’m honestly going to be more surprised and confused if this guy isn’t popular and doesn’t have many apologists. Heck, even that Adachi is popular and had many apologists.

    “So with that out of the way, I gotta say that I have no clue how a painting like this can actually win anything. I think it’s fucking terrible.”

    Same. I could never get what is so great about those modern, absurd art that seriously just look like what happen if a blind person throw a bunch of paint buckets on a canvas. I prefer those super-realistic oil painting of old. At least, I can understand those paintings.

    “So pay attention, kids! If you’re a loner, you’ll probably have your own kickass palace where all your fantasies come true. Like Ann in a bathing suit. Wait a minute…”

    I seriously wish these sentences are said by someone in the game. It would be hilarious as f*ck. Lololol

    I also want to comment on a few things about the game, considering these posts about the anime are also about the game as well. but this post is already long enough as it is, so I would comment about the game on a new post below.

    1. I could never get what is so great about those modern, absurd art that seriously just look like what happen if a blind person throw a bunch of paint buckets on a canvas.

      Eh, I can appreciate modern art. I can appreciate a Rothko or a Pollock. I wouldn’t compare Yusuke’s painting to actual artists.

  4. I don’t think there is anyone who is going to watch this anime before playing the game, but who know?

    I remember your comment about the game wanting to make a social commentary, but also still want to be a mainstream game. That comment really describes this game I think. As I see it, this game is a bizarre combination of “This game is serious about serious issues, so take me seriously, okay?!” social sledgehammer to the face and “Woah, woah, not that serious, okay?! We’re still young, hip, and remember to party!” pussyfooting.

    You already make a commentary on how all the party members are meant to be a rebel against the Man, but turn out to be all good and pure boys and girls in one of your previous posts about this anime. I want to add more to that because I think the game’s pussyfooting affects more than that.

    For example, the villain. I sincerely that the villain that the game executes most competently is Kamoshida. From the beginning to the end of his arc, the game executes it in a competent manner to the point that he overshadows a lot of other main villains that come after him. One of the example is Kaneshiro. Isn’t he supposed to be more than a mere filler villain? I mean if this game is supposed to be a criticism to Japanese society, there are better way to utilize him. The Yakuza are more than just a mere criminal organization or piggy bank for the politicians. It’s also has a lot of ties to Japanese right-wing political and ultra-nationalist organizations.

    It’s like other than Kamoshida, the game doesn’t really goes further on its villains. The best example is Shido. I mean a lot of people say that he is supposed to be a criticism toward Shinzo Abe, but I’m not seeing it. I mean he is just your standard evil, petty, corrupt politician with some Japanese flavor. The game is afraid to talk about his policy and so he just rambled about exploiting Japanese citizens for his own profit and his lackey to a lesser degree. And nope. His shadow wearing Char-esque helm and Imperial Japan-esque uniform while throwing a lot of Imperial Navy symbol around isn’t enough.

    Because of this, when I confront him near the end of the game, I feel less confronting him for his policies or whatever, but because he is a dick. And that is a little disappointing at least for me.

    I also disappointed that the last boss is some evil god. I know it’s SMT tradition, but isn’t Persona already branched out? Not to mention this Persona is less urban fantasy and more social commentaries. So, I feel that the last boss is an evil god manipulating everything is the game shooting itself on the foot. If the game is meant to confront the ills of Japanese society, making some evil god be the last boss that is responsible for everything more or less, is just lame and pussyfooting.

    I think the proper last boss of the game should be the manifestation of the sloth of the people of Tokyo. And the twist that Igor is evil isn’t as awesome as the game think at least for me. I guess it’s better than Akechi is evil, though. Lololol

    This post is longer than I thought it would be, huh? I also want to comment on how the game’s pussyfooting (and waifu-pandering) also affects the social links of the game, especially the female ones, but this post is long enough, so I’ll save that for your next post about this anime. I still stand at my opinion that the game has its heart at the right place, but the execution is lacking and it doesn’t go far enough. It’s still a good game nonetheless, though.

    1. making some evil god be the last boss that is responsible for everything more or less, is just lame and pussyfooting.

      Nah, I really disagree with you here. SMT in general always trots out the same thematic conflict, but I don’t think Yaldabaoth detracts from the social commentary of P5. He just represents taking one logical endpoint to the extreme. The game talked about rehabilitation constantly, so after dealing with all these corrupt adults, he was asking the player whether or not society can truly be rehabilitated. Even after Shido confessed his crimes, the authorities around him were still doing their best to sweep everything under the rug. More importantly, the public didn’t seem to care. Despite everything that the Phantom Thieves had done, it didn’t look as though they had managed to change society. As a result, Yaldabaoth would rather just enslave humanity all and install his extreme version of order. I think that this is fine.

      What the game lacks for me is true revolution. In the end, the kids just entrust everything to the “good” adults. The status quo stays more or less the same.

      1. I guess I just think that the existence of Yaldabaoth kinda come out of nowhere and feel like your obligatory JRPG final boss. I do agree that the happy ending does feel hollow, considering that the status quo indeed stays more or less the same. It reminds me of the ending of a manga named Akumetsu. Although, the ending of Akumetsu is more of a downer than Persona 5.

        1. Yaldabaoth didn’t get enough screentime, but I think that’s because parts of P5 feels rushed despite its humongous development time. They clearly had issues deciding on some very key points. For example, Akechi feels poorly fleshed out. Hell, even Haru felt like an afterthought.

          1. “Hell, even Haru felt like an afterthought.”

            Yup, and this is why i was never fully invested in her character narrative. I don’t find her egregious as a character or anything, even with her questionable high-pitched voice work (Sorry Xanthe; I love ya but you kinda overdid it just a little bit with Haru), but her presence in the game’s narrative felt so limp i couldn’t help but think of her as a forced character slot.

            1. The first time I heard her voice, I instantly wrote her off. I’m that biased against super cutesy high pitched voices.

  5. I also like how they made Red a talented person. From the beginning, he doesn’t know how to play. At the end, he beat Akechi. Goes to show that he can easily adapt to anything. Making friends and comrades, and also being an efficient leader.

    1. That makes me wonder, though. Is he a fast learner? Or did he lie about not knowing how to play chess in the first place to make Akechi feel overconfident?

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