Persona 5 The Animation Ep. 14: More Makoto and cleverly disguised recaps

More Makoto? Sure. Don’t mind if I do.

— It’s Akechi 24/7 for the adaptation, and I guess I don’t mind it so much. The anime does a better job of portraying Akechi’s cult of personality. You know he’s popular in the game, but certainly not to this extent.

— Oh hey, a new OP. It’s fine, I guess?

— We also get to see the Phantom Thieves handle one of their many requests from the Phan-site. This involves going into Mementos and taking out a mini-boss of sorts. I actually prefer Persona 4‘s questing system to what we have here. The problem with Persona 5‘s requests is that there’s no variety to any of them. Like I said, you go to Mementos and you kill a mini-boss. Each and every single time. It’s boring, and as a result, none of them are memorable. In Persona 4, you often had quests where all you did was simply talk to the NPCs in town. I wish they had brought those back, because Persona 5 has its own colorful cast of NPCs.

— I’ve never had a yakisoba pan. Plus, I think the ones that I can get in the US probably wouldn’t be very good.

— This is a sneaky episode. It actually doubles as a recap episode, and while CloverWorks does a decent job of disguising the flashbacks, I’m still not keen on them.

— Afterwards, Ren and Makoto decide to hang out some more. Ren has formed a close bond with both Ryuji and Yusuke already. He’s about to max out Makoto real soon. I guess Ann is the odd girl out. I wonder why they’re delaying her story. In the game, you can actually wrap up Ann’s story relatively early. Makoto, on the other hand, is actually a bit of a challenge. Curiously enough, you need a very high charisma stat to finish it, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

— Makoto tells Ren to follow her from a distance, because she wants to feel as though she’s experiencing a red light district for the first time all on her own. Our hero, however, is literally right behind her.

— Getting to know Makoto better also means getting to know Eiko better. Unfortunately, I don’t think the game gives the anime much material to work with. Eiko’s character is paper-thin in both iterations of the story. In any other series, Makoto’s mini-arc would probably take at least two or three episodes to complete (I’m thinking of how much time a character in a show like Clannad would get, for example). I guess we just don’t have the luxury of time on our side. It would’ve been cool to see a 50-episode version of Persona 5, but that would never happen. Persona 4 is more popular than it, right?

— That’s one sad panda. This adaptation makes me a sad panda sometimes too.

— When Ren returns to Leblanc afterwards, Yusuke gives us more flashbacks to chew on. But hey, you get to see a shota version of the guy.

— I got a real problem with this particular scene. Sae isn’t supposed to know that Makoto is a member of the Phantom Thieves yet. You actually get one of the worst bad endings for selling out your teammates. You need to protect their identities until the very end of the interrogation. This way, you can convince Sae to help you out with a certain little scheme. Plus, Ren isn’t actually telling her every single little detail. He’s only telling her about the bad guys and why they were targeted. I mean, c’mon, did you really think he would tell her about Kawakami moonlighting as a maid-for-hire.

— I spy a Catherine reference in the background. I want to get the upcoming remaster, but I hate puzzle games. They’re just not fun for me to play. At the same time, however, I really like Catherine‘s story. Hmmm. Oh wait, they’re adding another girl to the story, huh?

— Every time Atlus tries to add a new character to their remastered games, it’s been a mixed bad. P4: Golden‘s Marie is a joke of a character. Strange Journey Redux‘s Alex isn’t as bad, but she doesn’t really fit into her game’s overall feel and aesthetics either. She looks like a generic anime character dropped into the SMT universe.

— C’mon, Makoto, getting into a top university has a lot of obvious benefits. It has a lot of cons as well, but she should be smart enough to know that connections are everything. Nobody cares what you actually learn at Harvard. They only care that you went there at all.

— Makoto’s story isn’t super complicated. Like a priestess, she’s duty-bound. She has done her best to live up to other people’s expectations. Unfortunately, you have to trust that other people have the right expectations for you. Since she wasn’t happy with her life up until this point, she’s now questioning what she wants out of her own life.

— She begins to open up to Ren about her father. He apparently became a police officer to fight society’s corruption. It’s funny, because I see the police as nothing but corrupt. Obviously, recent incidents in my own country has colored my impression of our public servants in blue. All I know is that I’m not necessarily safe around a cop.

— There’s a throwaway scene in which Mishima meets up with the worst girl in the game. I think somebody needs to have their heart stolen. Y’know, it would’ve been fun to explore a Mishima-themed palace.

— We also see Ren and Morgana enjoy watching some movies on his new CRT TV (I can’t get over that). This is yet another activity that I personally ignored while playing the game. I simply never bothered to rent tapes. When my friend (who was also playing the game at the same time) mentioned how she kept forgetting to return her tapes, I was so confused. What tapes?!

— Eiko, Makoto’s new friend, falls for a male host, and we later find out that he’s just trying to scam her. But in order to get closer to the new couple, Makoto has to pretend to go on a double date with Eiko. This means Ren has to up his charisma. This was the reason why it took me so long to max out Makoto’s social link on my first playthrough. And here I thought she would want me to be super smart or something. In the adaptation, however, it looks like all Ren has to do is buy a gaudy necklace.

— In the end, Makoto is able to protect her friend from the predatory asshole. Still, I like Eiko’s reaction to everything. When you show people the truth, they rarely take it with a smile. The only reason she fell for the guy in the first place was because she has problems of her own to deal with. Problems that can’t be solved with just a slap.

— Afterwards, the rest of the Phantom Thieves confront the male host in Mementos. I don’t actually remember if this happens in the game or not. I definitely know you don’t need to complete a request in order to max Makoto out. Ah well, like I said, the requests are not memorable.

— Ren calls forth Suzaku, which is odd. It’s a level 19 Persona, so we’re actually going backwards.

These cards are odd, too. They don’t blend in with the rest of the animation, and why are they so flat looking? Why is he just standing in front of a blank, red background. This does not match Persona 5‘s aesthetics at all.

— In the end, Makoto decides to become a police officer like her father. So she doesn’t want to live her life by other people’s expectations, but she’s going to more or less follow her father’s footsteps. Eh. Plus, Chie also wanted to become a police officer, so I feel like Atlus’s writers need to vary things up a bit.

This angle just looks weird. It’s like she’s missing an eye.

— But that’s all for this week’s episode. Looks like we’ll finally meet our big nerdbait the next time we reconvene.

— As for me, I need to take a break. I’ll be back later to talk about some of the newer shows.

7 thoughts on “Persona 5 The Animation Ep. 14: More Makoto and cleverly disguised recaps

  1. sonicsenryaku

    I’m actually quite fond of the idea of having a 39 to 50 episode long persona 5 in order to capture the scope and personal sentimentality of the game more appropriately. See, despite some of persona 5’s narrative blemishes, i really dug what the story had to offer. Even after separating my feelings regarding how the work functions as just a game and how it tells a story, i still find that i respect its narrative accomplishments till this day. It’s definitely not the same as something like Xenoblade 2 where my initial impressions of the game’s narrative was clouded by how much fun i had playing the game itself (which is why I’m still eager to dive into the dlc side story). While at one point i was willing to give Xeno 2 a 7 for its story, the flaws that i previously noted in its narrative bothered me even more once the high of the game experience vanished, hampering my score of the narrative to a 5 ever since. On the other hand, something like persona 5 has stayed in my good graces even now due to the strengths of its storytelling accomplishments, easily earning around a 7.5 and even becoming one of my favorite persona narratives, if not my favorite one.

    That aside, I could see the anime, with that much time, be able to explore the characters a bit more meticulously, round off certain dramatic moments in the game that didn’t carry the intended catharsis (like some of Akechi’s stuff) and flesh them out a bit better in the adaptation. I could also see larger episode count also lending itself to more mementos shenanigans: imagine all the fun the anime could have making several one-off episodes concerning mementos, finding clever ways to link those supernatural escapades to the overarching narrative while adding anime original characterization to our main cast. Who knows, maybe the characterization could take the risks the game seemed less likely to take and bolster the already strong material that existed for some of the cast. Maaan, the more i think about it, the more i can see a 3 to 4 cour persona 5 working out as a superb adaptation of the game. And of course, the adaptation should also pack an above-average animation effort. The lack of visual punch and fidelity with this persona 5 adaptation has been nothing short of criminal; just uuuughhh

    1. Sean Post author

      becoming one of my favorite persona narratives, if not my favorite one.

      It helps that the minor characters are so much more fleshed out than its counterparts. If you go back to Persona 3, some of the social links are very short and basic. Persona 5, however, has a lot of memorable ones: Kawakami, Takemi, Sojiro, Toranosuke, etc. Even the NPCs in town change over the course of the game. Yeah, the Phantom Thieves aren’t as buddy buddy as P4’s Investigation Team, but I really feel that the world of P5 is far better fleshed out. Plus, I will never stop complaining of all the nonsense in P4 like the idol concert or Marie’s pointless role.

      1. sonicsenryaku

        “Plus, I will never stop complaining of all the nonsense in P4 like the idol concert or Marie’s pointless role.”

        (Dramatically clasps hands and shakes them violently like Kirk from The Wrath of Khan) MAAARIEEEEEE!!!!

        Ugh, who thought that was a good idea. If we ever get a persona 5 golden edition, I would really appreciate it if they omitted the whole, “let’s add a terribad extra character to the narrative” tradition and instead just focus on doing like a more grittier, alternate retelling of the original game; sort of like a “side B” track of the game’s events. Change up some of the social links to make double dipping feel fresh and exciting, remix some of the story elements that fell a bit flat, make Haru’s addition feel less tacked on; stuff like that. However, if they do end up trying to add another character to the new edition, i guess i wouldn’t mind if they tried to rework Hifumi into the phantom thieves like they had originally intended to. I just don’t want another repeat of persona 4 golden edition

        1. Sean Post author

          Everything about Marie was impressively bad. Her terrible poems, her tsundere personality, her character design, her absolutely horrible dungeon that takes away all your items and equipment, so on and so forth. She’s just mind-boggingly bad. So bad, I have yet to finish watching the anime adaptation.

          I wouldn’t want Hifumi. First, she would need a palace, and I don’t see how they can squeeze her in unless they redo a lot of the narrative structure. Second, I think she’s just boring. No more meek, quiet girls. Gimme someone tough.

          If they want to be lazy, they could just give Akechi the same treatment as Adachi, i.e. a bad ending where you team up with Akechi in some form or fashion. If they want to be morally reprehensible, then go even further and somehow let him join your team permanently.

          All I really want is for my choices to matter in terms of the social links. For example, if I date Ann, it’d be nice to have the team comment on it.

          And balance the party. In terms of pure damage, Ann and Ryuji outshine everybody. The fourth character doesn’t really matter. And gimme a harder post game boss than the twins. I beat them on my first try. I never did that with any of the previous SMT superbosses.

  2. Advaris (@Advaris2)

    This is a so-so episode I guess. I have nothing to add to your post about this anime, so let’s talk about the social link of the game. I think the waifu-pandering is hurting the female social link just because to make those female characters enticing to the crowd that it’s pandering. I’m not even talking about their personalities. I’m talking on how I feel that their social link feel like the writer avoid crossing some sort of line with them, especially compared to the male social link.

    I mean the male ones have two single fathers with two completely different background, a Japanese Bernie Sanders (lol), a boy facing Japanese version of toxic masculinity, a loser, and so on. And those social links do confront a facet of Japanese social problems and deal with them. Basically, you do get what you see. That isn’t what I got with the female ones. They tend to pussyfoot if not outright confront a completely different thing. I mean let’s take a look just at the female main characters.

    Ann: I thought her social link is going to be about dealing with her status as a hafu and the aftermath of what happen to Shiho, but all Shiho got is a cameo. The rest of it is pretty much super-modeling stuff with the aesop of appreciating the value of hard work even if you’re talented. That shit belongs in some idol anime not here. I mean… *sigh*

    Makoto: The moment she needed Joker to teach her about stupid stuff, I’m just disappointed. She is pretty much Mitsuru if she isn’t rich. She even got her personality more or less and devotion to her father. Her social link is also weird as it suddenly become less about her and more about her new friend. And I thought we’re supposed to deal with her excessive sense of obligation here. Well, she ended up becoming a police officer like her dad, so I guess Atlus give up there at a certain point.

    Futaba: She is somehow the most anime among all the date-able girls even more than Haru, the Taisho romance ojou. It’s unfortunate that her hikkikomori stuff is dealt with like all other hikkikomori in Japanese media with the power of friendship (and love if you date her). Another simplification of social/mental issue to make i appealing by the media. *sigh*

    Haru: Okay, I’m not going to blame this one on pussyfooting because I believe she isn’t mean to be a main character. Sean called her an afterthought and I agree because I think she is just a NPC with a social link bumped up to become a main character to fill the quota. Her presence in the narrative isn’t only too thin to justify my opinion, her gardening stuff is clearly meant to be available to the player much early too.

    Her social link is pretty hollow, too. The entire point of her character is to stand up to her dad, but he ended up dead, so yeah. Then, she has to take responsibility of her dad while being sad, but the entire thing can be solved just by asking for help from one of her dad’s loyal subordinates, so yeah. Well, there is that arranged marriage. The other part of Mitsuru that Makoto doesn’t get. Another one is money. Her fiancee is pretty much an one-dimensional, uninteresting dick, so yeah. Add the cute voice and I question her necessity in the story.

    Considering that women are marginalized in Japan, there is no way the lack of social issues about women is the reason. I mean we got two single father, but not even a single mother in the social links? (I don’t count all the evil mothers that serve as memento boss in a number of social links for obvious reason.) I know that there is no way the game can have a social link about a girl already in a relationship with someone because muh waifu, but not even a single married women in it? That is going a bit too far.

    1. Sean Post author

      Eh, railing on the game for not including a single mother is a bit of an odd thing to single out. The girls’ stories are weak in general. Adding a single mother isn’t going to make Ann any less of an airhead, won’t make Futaba any less pandering, so on and so forth. They should just fix their writing to begin with, not add random people just to be inclusive for the sake of inclusivity. We’d just end writing about shit we don’t understand. Besides, Temperance was a mother in P4. She wasn’t single, but she may as well be one considering how often her husband traveled for work. And y’know what? Her social link was fucking boring.

      Also, the biggest problem with Futaba was how her friend’s parents practically pimped her out for money, but all you do is change their hearts. If Kamoshida deserved to go to jail, then so did those fuckers.

      1. Advaris (@Advaris2)

        I’m not exactly railing on the game for not including mother. I’m just using it as an example on game’s pussyfooting about social issues and its writing is weaker on the girls’ stories. I mean the waifu-pandering and the game’s insistence that the player can date any girl with a social link, excluding Sae because it seems the writers realize that they can’t do that without crapping all over the story, just block the game from having a more diverse female characters and tackling more issues. If it comes off as that, I sincerely apologize. I should be more clear and detailed at the last part. My bad.

        The game does sometimes have an unique moral compass. I’m just disappointed at another friendship save hikkikomori in Japanese media.


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