Oh wow, this show is ending too… sorta.
— The opening scene with Caroline and Justine is a dead giveaway that someone is pulling the strings. Well, it can’t be Shido, because as bad as he might be, he’s still only human. There’s really only one viable suspect, and that’s Igor. If you’re a longtime Persona fan, however, this can throw you for a loop because Igor is always a good guy. Yeah, sure, his voice is different in this game, but that’s only because the original voice actor passed away, right? Well… if you had been paying attention to the game, you might have notice other slip ups as well. For example, he never actually does any of the Persona fusions. He instead leaves that to his two wardens. In the anime, this doesn’t really come across, because I think we’ve seen Ren do a fusion once? I can’t really remember. Point is, the medium directly impacts how the story is told for better or worse.
— Arsene pops out just to say some cryptic things to Ren. I guess for the Persona protagonists, their first Persona is also story-critical. Kinda. Thanatos is technically P3 guy’s first Persona, but only in a story cutscene.
— Anyway, we’ve seen all this stuff before. Ren tries to make his escape, but he gets cornered by a riot squad. They beat him up and take him into custody. He gets beaten up some more in an interrogation room. Finally, Sae shows up to ask him some questions.
— At least we get to see some of his teammates’ reactions, I guess. That long nose of Akechi sure is prominent…
— The Diet is dissolving? Does that happen a lot in Japan? I honestly don’t know. I don’t exactly keep myself abreast of Japanese politics.
— We get a short scene with Yoshida. He has a decent story in the game, but seeing as how this is like… the second or third time we’ve seen in the adaptation? Point is, it’s hard to form an emotional connection to “No Good Tora” when we’ve barely spent any time with him.
— As the news talk about Ren’s arrest (without identifying him, of course), the show jumps from Sojiro to Takemi to Kawakami and more. Basically, his identity as a Phantom Thief is pretty much the worst kept secret in the world. It’s funny to see everyone get on Ryuji’s case for being unable to keep his mouth shut, but anyone who befriends Ren ends up knowing all of his dirty, little secrets.
— Hell, from the adaptation’s perspective, we hardly know a damn thing about Chihaya other than that she’s a scam artist.
— To the adaptation’s credit, the majority of this week’s episode apparently deals with the rest of the Phantom Thieves and how they’re coping without their leader. You don’t get to see much of this in the actual game. I wish we could’ve gotten more of this kinda thing from the adaptation. They don’t have to change anything about the story. Rather, give us a different perspective. Let us see important events in the storyline from someone else’s eyes.
— Akechi apparently claims that he will be the one to save Ren. Uh-huh. He keeps insisting over and over that the rest of the team should just trust him. More importantly, the gang shouldn’t try and do anything rash, because he’ll get the job done. But of course, he’s the newest member of the group. Why does he assume that they will just trust him? I guess you could argue that Akechi just got arrogant.
— Christ, her allotted time was like two seasons’ worth of anime.
— Even now, however, Sae tries her best to “win.” Despite hearing everything that Ren has to say, she still wants him to take a shitty deal. After all, her treasure was never stolen, because otherwise, the Palace would have collapsed right there and then with all of the riot cops in there. Technically, they didn’t change her heart. So after the hero repeatedly refuses to take her deal, Sae seemingly admits that she’s lost her way. She then proceeds to reform herself right there and then. I think this part happens a little too quickly for my tastes.
— Just as Sae is about to leave, Ren finally starts to recover his lost memories. It’s apparent that he and the rest of the gang, especially Morgana and Futaba, already knew that there was something fishy about Akechi. But is that enough to prevent his schemes?
— Well, so far, everything is playing out as we expect it to. Ren tells Sae to show his phone to Akechi. She has no clue what this would accomplish, but we do.
— So Akechi shows up to the interrogation room, but instead of saving Ren, he shoots the hero in the head. Or so he thinks. This moment would be a lot more powerful if we didn’t just see all of Ren’s teammates saying to themselves, “It’ll work! It has to work! We can’t go back now! It’s Ren we’re talking about!” This moment would also be a lot more powerful if it wasn’t so shoddily animated. Like hell, man, there are only two colors in this scene. You’re trying to tell me you can’t animate a few simple silhouettes?
— But yeah, as you might have guessed, this is the game’s worst possible ending. You would have to be mentally challenged to unknowingly reach this ending. The game does everything in its power to prevent you from screwing up. Why? Well, this is probably their overreaction to how the previous game played out. It wasn’t that hard to avoid the worst possible ending in Persona 4, but you definitely had a decent chance of screwing up. You had to make a series of sensible dialogue choices during an emotionally fraught moment. I’m sure most players were seeing red because they thought Nanako had died, and as a result, they were more than happy to toss Namatame into the TV. Luckily, I don’t really care for child characters, so Nanako had no effect on me. But even then, players could miss out on the epilogue against the true villain of Persona 4. As a result, I almost felt like the writers felt bad and decided to scale this way back in Persona 5.
— Oh hey, it’s the final dungeon music.
— The director of the adaptation recently came out and claimed that there would be a surprise for us at the end of the series, and all the dorks out there had hoped that Akechi would somehow turn out to be a good guy. In a recent poll by Atlus, the boy detective is easily the most popular character out of the entire game. I guess I just don’t get it. He’s a lying, murderous sack of shit. Having a terrible childhood is pitiful, yes, but that doesn’t absolve you from crime. I never understood why people wanted to forgive this guy for his sins so badly. I guess society in general can easily dissociate itself from the realities of murder. It just doesn’t feel real to most people until it directly affects them.
— But yeah, this is the “end” of the televised series. Apparently, if you want to watch the rest of the adaptation, you’re going to have to wait a while. Even if they wanted to continue airing Persona 5‘s story episode by episode, Sword Art Online is taking over its time slot starting next week.
— Of course, the show isn’t technically over, but I’ll offer some parting thoughts anyway. Look, as a Persona fan, I’ll gobble up any Persona-related media that you put in front of me. Hell, I’m even going to get the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection even though I unequivocally do not enjoy rhythm/dancing games. I’ll probably play it for a night then shelf the game for good. Nevertheless, you can’t make me love this piss poor adaptation of Persona 5. What gets me is that A-1 Pictures, CloverWorks, or whatever you’re supposed to call them isn’t even supposed to be this bad. Yeah, sure, they’re no Madhouse or Kyoto Animation, but it’s not like they’re chopped liver. It’s not like they’re Gonzo. But all across the board, this adaptation is jam-packed with lazy animation and meaningless divergences from the original story.
— Most of all, the way this ending is set up is just incredibly dumb. Let’s say you’ve never played the game before. Let’s say that this adaptation is your first exposure to Persona 5. Obviously, there’s much more story to tell. Much, much more story. Well, too bad, because you now have to wait months for the OVA to come out. Way to shoot yourself in the foot, guys.
— Again, what I really wanted from this adaptation wasn’t necessarily a faithful translation of the game’s story to anime. Rather, I wanted them to fill in the gaps. I wanted to see certain events from a different perspective. Although this episode managed to accomplish that a tiny bit, this can’t be said for the entire series. To be fair, we did get to see neat extras like Chibi Makoto spending time with her father. But in general, these moments were scarce. This adaptation rushed through the story as fast as it could, rarely stopping to smell the flowers.
— Watching all the side characters pop in the OP, I’m just reminded that we barely got to see Ren explore his relationship and friendships with any of these people. Considering how social links are what truly make the Persona series special, this seems like a bad oversight.
Final grade: D