Persona 5 The Animation Ep. 15: Enter the hikikomori

Obviously, the shut-in would be an adorably nerdy redhead with cute glasses. Oh yeah, she’s also an imouto in spirit to boot. Boy, who wouldn’t want to waifu that?!

— The episode opens with the main character finishing up his exams. Sounds like this Ren is pretty smart, but it’s pretty hard to do badly here. You pretty much have to not pay any attention whatsoever to the game to do badly on these tests.

— Doing well on the exams will increase your… knowledge. Yeah, that makes no sense to me either. You already have the knowledge. By displaying the knowledge, you become smarter? I liked how this was handled in (I think) Persona 4. Instead of increasing your knowledge, doing well on your exams would increase your popularity. Imagine if a future Persona game had factions, though. For instance, doing well on your exams might make you more popular with people like Makoto, but sink your relations with the delinquents.

— In general, I just wish it was harder to max out all of your confidants in one run. This way, each playthrough would be slightly different depending on who you choose to befriend.

— It’s the summer fireworks event, and the adaptation leaves out a scene in which a pair of random girls hit on Yusuke and tried to peel him away from the boys. As you might expect, they were unsuccessful in their endeavor.

— In Persona 5, the Phantom Thieves never really get to enjoy their downtime. Something always manages to rain on their parade. Even the trip to Hawaii felt kinda lowkey. This is such a sharp contrast to Persona 4 where it felt like fun o’clock every single day (especially in Golden).

— Ah, Haru, Haru, Haru… she should’ve been a presence since, like, May. You should have kept interacting with her every single month up until she becomes a major player in the story. Just showing us brief glimpses like this one does her character no justice. Most of all, the gardening gimmick was pointless by the time you unlocked it in the game. I already had those SP-recovering accessories from Takemi as well as an inventory full of coffee and curry. The hell did I need her shitty vegetables for?

— Oh no, you can see above her kneecaps! Brand her with a scarlet letter!

Yusuke is such a precious boy.

— You already knew Sae could be harsh to her sister, but I think this is the first time you realize that she also plays dirty. She’s definitely not an agent of justice. Like c’mon, who talks like that to some single parent? How heartless can you be?

— Too bad the animation quality makes Sojiro look like a derp.

— So obviously, Medjed has parallels with Anonymous. But I think what the story really wanted to highlight was how truly dangerous the idea of the Phantom Thieves could be… from an outsider’s perspective. You have no idea who they are or how they’re doing what they’re doing. More importantly, vigilante justice has no accountability. We’ll soon find out, of course, that Medjed was created by a single person, but the name has since been co-opted by other less-than-savory individuals. That’s the same danger that exists with the Phantom Thieves. Anyone can pose as the Phantom Thieves and take advantage of their cachet. As long as groups like the Phantom Thieves remain anonymous, their form of justice is unsustainable. I just think the game failed to ultimately draw out this inherent problem with the Phantom Thieves.

— Maybe Medjed just didn’t come at the right time. After all, the Phantom Thieves just took down a pervy and abusive teacher, a corrupt and abusive artist, and an evil yakuza boss. These individuals are all obviously immoral. So when Medjed storms onto the scene and starts going on and on about how the Phantom Thieves’ justice is false, it just obviously bullshit. On the other hand, if the Phantom Thieves had taken down a controversial target, then Medjed’s appearance would’ve made a little more sense. As players, we would still be on the Phantom Thieves’ side, but we would think, “Hey, y’know, maybe Medjed has a point…”

— I like how Yusuke tries to investigate these mysteries by droning on and on about their mythological inspirations. In the game, the rest of the group is just like, “Um, thanks for that…”

— So this is new to the anime: Alibaba hijacking everybody’s phone in class and driving Kawakami nuts.

— I also don’t remember being shirtless in Takemi’s office. Maybe I shoved that out of my mind.

— Well, you can’t say no to that face.

— I like the reflection in Morgana’s eyes. I just wish the animation in general was stronger. The adaptation has its moments, but for the most part, CloverWorks is half-assing it.

— Honestly, the kids shouldn’t be discussing their plans over LINE anyways. Nothing is secure on the internet. Nothing.

— I guess this guy is supposed to be Medjed. The whole point of them being anonymous is that they’re a nebulous threat. Medjed shouldn’t be some stupid nerd smiling like a generic, evil villain in his computer chair.

— What a cheap episode to animate. The group just gathers around Ren as we watch the chat messages scroll by.

— So the group has no leads regarding Futaba, but Sae just has to go and give Ren the necessary clue that he needs.

— This Sojiro sucks. Let me explain! When Ren tells his friends about what he had just overheard, everyone starts to worry. No, it can’t be Sojiro! Don’t let him be the bad guy! Ren breathes a sigh of relief when he discovers that his friends agree with him; they just can’t picture Sojiro being an abuser. But if all you’ve seen is this anime, then you’d be like, “Uh, why not?” On the other hand, if you’ve been playing the game up until this point, you’ve likely spent some quality time with Sojiro. He’s probably taught you how to make coffee and maybe even a curry dish. You’ve seen that while he can be prickly on the surface, he’s obviously a softie on the inside. Unfortunately, anime Ren hasn’t spent any time with Sojiro. So for him to stick up for the old man, I’m just like… ehhh. Another wasted opportunity from the adaptation.

— As a show of force, Medjed goes and shuts off power in Shibuya. They then threaten to deal a blow to Japan’s economy. I’m not sure how that would work in real life, but sure… whatever you say, Persona. Look, if hackers could tank an entire country’s economy, it would’ve happened by now. Instead, they just rig elections. Just as bad, but y’know, a little less direct.

— The group decides to look further into Futaba Sakura. This takes them to Sojiro’s home. It’s just a small home in the middle of a crowded city, but the girls are still spooked.

— But after encountering Futaba face-to-face, the episode comes to an end. Hm, we’re already up to episode 15. Can we really get through the rest of this story in just nine more episodes? I can’t see it. They’ll really have to cut corners in one of the later palaces (if not two).

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One Reply to “Persona 5 The Animation Ep. 15: Enter the hikikomori”

  1. Persona 5 already feels like it bit more than it can chew in the game, so I never believe a 24 episode anime can do it justice. Not to mention, each episode just got 24 minutes more or less run time.

    That is an interesting way to see Medjed. When I play the game, I’m never able to see them that way. I just see them as a way to give the player reason to recruit Futaba and make her joining the team more dramatic in a “this is the job for Aquaman”. Heck, she is even the original Medjed to make her even more animu. The new medjed just seem like a throwaway villain than a dark reflection of the Phantom Thieves. The “crash Japan’s economy” also make the entire thing more ridiculous and cartoonish.

    Even if they get better treatment, the fact that as you’ve said, they don’t come at the right time. Not to mention, the Phantom Thieves get pushed hard that their legitimately questionable method is pretty much unquestionable in-story. Their so-called “mistake” isn’t even their mistake at all. So, what’s the point of this dark reflection if the story never want to make the Phantom Thieves questionable in the first place. Weird.

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