Persona 5 The Animation Ep. 20: Beauty Thief can’t steal anybody’s hearts

Certainly not mine. 

— Haru feels like an afterthought in more ways than one. She joins the party super late, so she doesn’t get a whole lot of bonding time with the rest of the team. Likewise, her gardening bonus is not really all that useful at this point in the game.

— Last but not least, you can just take a look at her move set. No one else on the team has psychic damage, so she fills that role. Fine, that’s not what I have a problem with. But the rest of her spell list just doesn’t jive. She also has gun damage because I guess nobody else has gun skills. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get Charge, so her effectiveness there is limited. On the other hand, her strength stat is higher than her magic stat, so her psy spells are only useful for targeting weaknesses. She has Tetrakarn and Makarakarn ’cause I guess nobody else has those spells. Luckily, this is Persona and not SMT, so you don’t really need those two spells that badly. Haru then gets Amrita Drop and Amrita Shower, but with Morgana’s Salvation, those spells are kinda pointless. But unlike Makoto, Haru doesn’t get even a pity healing spell. She gets Heat Riser, but it only targets one person. Haru just never really found her way into my main party. The game is easy enough that you can all of the bosses with anyone. Nevertheless, Haru was a big disappointment both as a character and a party member.

— And god, her English voice is so grating. It is only used effectively once, and it’s early on when she’s trying to be intimidating as Beauty Thief. Her shrill, high-pitched voice works here, because it highlights the ridiculousness of the scene. But beyond that, it was painful to listen to Haru speak. I generally prefer the English track, but the girl often made me want to switch.

— Plus, her Japanese voice actress — like the rest of the cast — is pretty notable. You also know her as Zero-Two from DARLING in the FRANXX or Asuna from SAO.

— When Ren wakes up, he doesn’t find Morgana at the foot of his bed. It looks depressing, but as a cat owner, I’m jealous that he actually got to sleep in. My cat wakes me up at 5 am everyday.

— The adaptation gives us gems sometimes… like this amusing shot of Futaba on the computer.

— Is Okumura’s Palace the worst palace? Not in my opinion. I think that distinction belongs to Kaneshiro. I like the spaceship aesthetic. I dig the music, too. Most of all, I will never understand why people had such a hard time with the puzzle near the end of the dungeon. It involves flipping some switches to open up the right path. Over and over again, people complained about the puzzle stumping them for at least an hour. That sounds ridiculous to me. I think people just overthought it. Sometimes, a problem is only difficult because you’ve convinced yourself that it is difficult. People saw a puzzle and immediately put themselves in a negative mindset. On the other hand, I winged it the first time and got through without issues. That doesn’t mean I’m smart, because I literally gave it no thought. All I did was that I kept it simple. Persona isn’t supposed to be hard and hasn’t been for a long time.

— So yeah, Okumura’s Palace basically shows that he is abusing his workers. I mentioned it before, but I think this would’ve been more effective if the bad guy wasn’t a CEO of burger joint. I’m not fond of McDonalds, but there are a ton of companies I would rank above them in terms of shady practices.

— Morgana shows up with Beauty Thief, and the cat’s being obstinate even though it’s obvious that his friends want him back. I’m happy that his little tantrum doesn’t last very long. While I understand Morgana’s issues — he just wants to feel useful — like most problems in anime, it could have been solved with simple communication. Instead, the cat bottled up his emotions until it exploded. It’s especially damning because Ren has been nothing but a saint in this adaptation. Sure, if he was a careless jerk, I would understand Morgana’s inability to open up to his partner, but we’ve seen the hero literally attempt to reach out to the cat from time to time. Hell, I think anime Ren puts in a better effort than video game Ren.

— In the game, I remember the team poring over some yearbooks to determine Haru’s identity. In the anime, we just cut right to the chase. Yes, very impressive.

— Even though I defended his Palace, I think Okumura is a terrible villain. He has the least presence out of all the villains. Not just thus far, but this is true for the entire game. Not only that, you never even interact with the real Okumura. You can confront his distorted self in his Palace, but the team literally never even meets him in real life. Haru is the only person who ever has to deal with him.

— Ah, the cat has upgraded his living situation.

— So we see Ren go around and seek out information from a couple of supporting characters, namely Ohya and Chihaya. We’re already on episode 20, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll probably never see what’s bothering these two. Hell, have we even met the disgraced politician? I can’t remember…

— Ohya is probably the least popular of all the eligible waifus in the game, but she’s really only kinda pathetic if you get to know her. Since that looks unlikely in the adaptation, all we see is a reporter who likes to get drunk after work. That might look bad, but that’s pretty much the culture for most people in their 20s.

— As for Chihaya, she’s a cute, little scam artist. That’s about it, really. Her story is also pretty weak, but she doesn’t come off looking too bad in it. She’s just plainer than I thought she’d be.

— Thanks to Mishima, the team learns that someone’s been fulfilling requests in Mementos. It can only be Morgana, so they go and stake out the place. What happens next is similar to the game, but a bit… off. Everyone has kind, corny things to say to the cat, so it looks like we’re finally going to mend some fences. All of a sudden, Ryuji says, “I won’t say you’re useless anymore!” This pisses Morgana off. Really? That’s it? Dude, you call Ryuji useless all the time.

— In the English translation for the game, it makes more sense why Ryuji’s apology wasn’t so sincere. This is what he said instead: “I mean, I don’t mind if you’re not human or if you’re useless!” The anime also leaves out a somewhat amusing moment where Morgana turns into a car, and you have to try and trap him.

— Instead, we just cut to Haru’s creepy fiance getting on her case. The guy is written with no subtlety, so it’s hard to imagine why Haru won’t tell him off. I know, I know… this is a different culture and everything. She wants to be a good daughter, so she agrees to the arranged marriage. She won’t make a scene, because it would embarrass her family name, blah blah blah. Cultural differences aside, I will never understand being a pushover. This is another reason why I’m not fond of Haru’s archetype as the quiet, rich ojousama who needs more courage. She says it herself that she needs to be more outspoken. It’s just that we see this same character over and over in anime that I’m pretty over it.

— To be fair, if you spend time with Haru in Mementos, she does end up saying some pretty wild things. She’s probably a lil’ crazy, and it’s all just bottled up inside when she’s in public.

— Anyways, the team finally makes up with Morgana for good, and we get to see the impossible: a cat blushing. Morgana also spouts some cheesy lines about friendship.

— In the end, Morgana is right back where he started.

— You can tell that the animators only care about Ren.

— In the after credits stinger, we learn that Haru will soon be married off, so the Phantom Thieves better steal Okumura’s heart soon.

— I feel like there’s still one cour’s worth of episodes left in the story. We’ll see, though.

— One last thing I want to add about Okumura is that the writers for the game should’ve done more with him. Being a vigilante is cool and all when you don’t have any personal ties to the bad guys. Okumura had the potential to show, however, that justice is not always so easy when family and emotional ties are involved. But like a lot of ideas and themes in Persona 5, his short time in the spotlight is full of wasted opportunities. It often feels like the writers are pulling their punches, because they just don’t want to go too far in their condemnation of society’s ills. As a result, what we get is a rather watered down.

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4 Replies to “Persona 5 The Animation Ep. 20: Beauty Thief can’t steal anybody’s hearts”

  1. Hey, Killer Queen here.

    Persona 5 would have worked better if their stealing hearts thing actually has complications and real setbacks… but having it be Persona 4 with Persona 2 paint makes more money, so…

    1. I dunno if having a better story would make it less money. They could just balance it out by giving the player even more waifus.

    1. Mouse and switch puzzle? You mean the boat dungeon at the end? I didn’t like Kaneshiro’s dungeon, because half of it takes place in a boring looking office environment.

      I don’t mind long dungeons. I don’t think the devs intended for players to beat these palaces in one day, but since gamers are so obsessed with min-maxing, this became the unintended result. I think the boat dungeon’s biggest problem was that they kept repeating the same gimmick. Also, no one likes stealth sections.

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