Ren Amamiya is about to enter his second year after transferring to Shujin Academy in Tokyo. Following a particular incident, his Persona awakens, and together with his friends they form the “Phantom Thieves of Hearts” to reform hearts of corrupt adults by stealing the source of their distorted desires. Meanwhile, bizarre and inexplicable crimes have been popping up one after another…
Living an ordinary high school life in Tokyo during the day, the group maneuvers the metropolitan city as Phantom Thieves after hours. Let the curtain rise for this grand, picaresque story!
Unfortunately for game anime adaptations, they have a steep hill to climb to recapture the magic you get from playing through them.
Persona 5, another addition to the long time SMT/Persona series was a huge success in both the west and in Japan. It won 2017 Game Awards “RPG of the Year” And was ranked at was of the top games of the year by many gaming outlets. Even with that, the anime was considered a disappointment from the start. With its cheap animation, off-pacing at times, and generally its lack of what made the game special.
However, my expectations played a part in the viewing experience.
It was clear from the start that this wasn’t going to be like the game at all, as most game adaptations never are. Persona 5’s stand alone story is not what made the game special, rather just one factor. I wasn’t coming into this expecting what I got from the game, and neither should you. As I do see where most the criticism comes from, the root of it is from people who compare to the game, this probably isn’t a fair way to look at it. The game was made by thousands of more people, have had years to develop, and is generally taken more serious. This was a direct result of poor animation, bad pacing, and cutting out parts of the game. The anime should be given some slack in that regard.
With all that being said, I am not trying to defend the bad parts of the P5 anime. They are noticeably apparent, and part of why it led to widespread hate of the P5 anime. The animation is sometimes shit. The CG usage was often bad, especially in the background characters walking around. The faraway faces are sometimes laughable. And although the pacing is considerably better in the second half of the show, the beginning is way too fast. Usually I wouldn’t give these issues a pass, but like I said since it was mainly being compared to the game I do. People who haven’t played the game probably won’t see that much of an issue in these.
In many cases however, what likely appealed to you in the game should transition into the anime. If you like the characters, they will translate nicely. And of course, the music does as well. Chances are you didn’t complete everything in the game unless you played it through multiple times, so some of what you will be seeing from the characters could be a new experience. The character development was taken from the ‘confidant’ system so if you didn’t complete everyone’s confidant or maybe just were not paying attention you could be seeing new content. That along with the actual anime exclusive scenes, like seeing some of the characters in new situations, or seeing them given more backstory like showing them as children, gives the anime merit to watch even if you have played the game, a common criticism.
There isn’t always something to say about P5TA. Largely because it is just doing what it was supposed to. There are both good and bad parts. If you want to experience the game but don’t want the time investment of playing through all of it, (and trust me, the game is huge) than this might be for you. If you are a fan of the game, than this might be for you. It doesn’t necessarily show everything the game has to offer, but doesn’t do anything too bad to diminish it either.
Persona 5 is the newest addition to the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. Its source material had around 5 hours worth of actual content like is implied in its name, yet playing the whole thing takes around 140 hours because it's a classic J-RPG game that relies on repeating the same thing 18500 times.
Unfortunate for the fans of the game, the anime end up being 26 episodes long when it should have been 500, and unfortunate for anime fans, the anime end up being 26 episodes long when it should have been 13.
As far as fillers go, filler is canon content I mean, Persona 5
is full of slice of life nonsense that has nothing to do with anything. People fighting over pieces of bread and talking about their dreams just to make sure the pacing will become harder to comprehend than the popularity of the franchise itself.
What is directorship? is what I found myself often asking when seeing how Persona 5 is build to be nothing but a collection of random scenes that were edited together without any consistency or flow that makes the next scene related to the former one. Screen transitions seem to be some sort of "worst animated cabbage" meme when the focus goes from pan fights in the middle of the day to a scene where we drink coffee in the evening to a bully scene and finally returns to a scene where the actual pan is being eaten in a time that seems to be the very next day. The shots mainly remind me of Resident Evil The Final Chapter (movie) where the camera angle could change 45 times a minute over the same scene except here it changes from scene to another in ludicrous tempo. Visual storytelling at its finest. Bravo.
Our main characters are incredibly random. They mainly remind me of Suicide Squad. By Suicide Squad, I mean every superhero movie ever because that thing was exactly as good as they all are. The real mc is some sort of mixture of Robin Hood and Jesus. The female lead appears very mysterious, but the real mystery is why would anyone care. She is pretty hot, tho. The blonde dude is like spiderman but sassy. All the other girls were just swag, but gladfully there was like 7 beach episodes so they really had time showing off their naked bodies as it's not like they had anything else to show. None of the side characters feel like genuine persons, they are more like NPC's who only exist for the main characters... oh wait.
What is this series all about even, you ask. And that's what I am still wondering. Teenagers with stand powers are participating inside some sort of fighting tournament shonen storyline that mainly reminds me of Katekyou Hitman Reborn (we even have the same mascot here) except the comedy was replaced with some type of combination of angst and edgy, the villains are evil adults, the actual events are Robin Hood with superpowers and most of it is slice of life. As epic as it might sound, what it really sounded like was a wet fart.
The only good thing about the game itself was the OST. Unfortunately, voice acting is always at louder volume than the OST, and SFX above all else. Boy don't we love it when explosions cover the music. It really fits the definition of a background music because instead of trying to make the series better by using the songs to their full potential, they are just there hanging in the background. It's pretty much a stupid decision.
Our art is at least pretty fun if not otherwise impressive. Villains wearing strings and cloaks made of fur offer the most original content in the entire series. Some of the leather suits were also pretty sexy. Especially the art room looked cool as fudge. Too bad its overall screen time totaled 3 seconds. Like literally. Not that even these things would be worth of praising in a series that had some other merits. Pretty much all side characters follow the "spot the main character" tier filler/design.
Hoy lads, I was quite excited to see my first review make it front page so thanks for that but now that the anime is done I guess I have to write this again. Most of my opinions haven't really changed so bits and pieces will remain the same. Swearing to Brahman didn't really help save this anime and P5A only slightly picked itself up towards later episodes. Atlus still should not be tolerating this kind of quality and I do sincerely hope they get out of whatever sort of contract they're in before they decide to ruin another property.
begin, no spoilers. As someone who is passionate about the Megami Tensei franchise as a whole, and adore the Persona entries, I felt obligated to just... say what I'm thinking, give a little rant ya' feel? Aight, cool. Let's go.
P5 was my game of the year last year and is one of my favourites in MT as a whole. Lots of things they could work on, but nevertheless it's a brilliant entry with a brilliant story, characters, art, music, etc.. If you're wondering whether or not the *game* is worth your time, then yes. It probably is. Please don't go looking at this anime for your answers because, well for fuck's sake, you won't find them here.
Let's start with the big one. The animation is hilariously poor and it kind of pisses me off. The P3, P4 and to an extent DeSu properties have been treated quite nicely (except for P4G which was atrocious and made me want to die), and hardly did I ever cringe at any 1 frame. P5 however. Heh heh heh... uh, well let's just say I've made a separate Discord to Jack Bros that just holds a bunch of cropped screencaps of characters.
From the awkward running cycles shown in the first couple of minutes of the first episode to the new, overly lazy All-Out Attack meme scene of the second episode and out of place CGI characters roam the corridors and street to episode 12's (~9:30) scene where they tried to zoom out on a character but the character layer and the background layer were done to two different levels of zoom so basically the kind of shit I accidentally did in my 2011 YouTube videos and like how the fuck can this go unnoticed my god. I'mma take a breather. And we back. Okay. I also liked when they got too lazy to animate Makoto so they brought out a low quality P5 model in episode 11.
Whoever is animating this bullshit is in it for the monetary gain. They've been given one of the most well received RPG franchises and it just seems like they don't give a shit about it. Ironic considering P5's story.
Shoji Meguro is still a god with music. Whatever he creates makes me the very happy. The first opening song is brilliant, the second opening song is brilliant, the ending song is brilliant; Lyn's voice is just great and Shoji knows how to create music. What little new stuff I've heard has also been pretty good. Actually using his music at the right moments however is a different story. I'm primarily thinking of the Ryuji awakening scene at the moment, the song choice and awkward sync made me (personally) cringe a little and took away from what should have been a very powerful moment for the character, like it was in game.
On top of all this, episode (12) had begun using P5D music, in particular the Jazztronik remix of Wake Up and ATLUS Konishi's Blooming Villain. Considering P5D was released like a week ago from this episode's release, their inclusions made me feel like the episode had only been completed recently, implying it was rushed. They might've gotten the rights to such music beforehand, but I personally believe they would've used more remixes in earlier episodes had this been the case. I had a discussion with a friend about this and they said it could've been a marketing strategy for Dancing but using random songs doesn't seem like it would accomplish anything in my personal opinion.
Guess I should also mention that the sound design in terms of effects and ambiance is quite poor. I made a note of episode 16 having used stock sound effects, or what sounded as such, but either way it sounded very unprofessional and cheap.
The pacing feels awfully fast and unnatural, with them cutting out a bunch of stuff that ultimately added to the game's story and development of characters. They cut out the part where Kamoshida asks Ren if he wants a ride where he says "Nah" and that. That. I was sitting there, anticipating the "nah" but they didn't do it and I was just blue balled y'know. Cried a little even. Jokes aside, with 24 episodes I thought they'd not need to be rushing but look how that turned out with that 2 episode extension. Tips for next time: focus on filtering out the stupid long and drawn out shots of the fucking rain.
Also as a quick note, watched the show on Crunchyroll where they awkwardly linked Kamoshida to being in a train accident in the first episode or something and then relate that accident indirectly to the phantom thieves... which never happened in the game nor really happens in the anime. It was just worded really poorly.
I like how they ended the show with an ambiguous ending, did we get the "good ending" or the "bad ending" thing; obviously leading to their OVA but it was nifty none-the-less... at least in theory lmao. They've said they're going to sway away from the original ending with the OVA so when I heard they left on a note of ambiguity I got a bit of a hard on. But from the looks of it, they set up the good ending pretty well so don't know what to expect now.
In my personal opinion, Persona typically does its characters really well -- formulating them in such a way that makes them more human than just characters playing their part in a story. However in P5A, they're... well gee, they not done very well lads.
Ren (the protagonist) comes off initially as this angsty, edgy and depressed teen, and with such dialogue options from the game as "Please look after me" and "Hell yeah I'm into older women", you kind of desire that silly aspect of the character especially when they did it with Yu in the P4 anime. Of course, Ren as a character is up to interpretation so I can't really say it's "wrong". The other characters though, well yes I can.
Sojiro feels so monotone and boring. The first couple of moments in the game set him up as a character who doesn't want to bother with your shit effectively helping to establish one of the best character development arcs in the story. He just sort of feels 'there' in the anime, to progress the story when we need him to. Ryuji was fine until his rushed awakening and overreaction to Ren's story. There's something about him but I cannot put my finger on it just yet. Morgana is there, Igor looks dumb, Mishima didn't get hit by a ball, and I can finally understand why Shiho wanted to jump.
Ann is definitely the worst change though. Ann's whole arc was supposed to be about her feelings towards objectification and slowly acknowledging herself as an attractive individual, using that fact for good. But what happens the episode after she goes on her whole "don't objectify me" spiel? They objectify her. :clap: :clap: Constant fanservicey shots, close ups of the icky unmentionables, you name it.
This show has been making me very sad and I'm not entirely hopeful for Dark Sun. There's nothing much more to say except that I hope Atlus start giving their properties back to competent studios. Tune in next time for when I show you how to hack into the Pentagon using only Futaba's social link.
It's no secret that adaptations from video games tend to suck. Which is understandable due to it being difficult to cram so much storytelling into another form of media and condense it. There is also the fact that they bring the problems of the video game and try to adapt it into another form of media with those problems. Some examples include the adaptation of characters, their backstories, personalities and glossing over key plot points, believing that the viewer or reader already knows the details.
Now I've always admired the Persona games as an outsider since I have never played the games. So this was
a chance to inspect the story of a Persona game through the ease of use of watching it in anime form. But instead of judging and comparing it to the Persona game, I will judge it on its own merits and see how good it is as an anime and how it has been translated while still acknowledging it is an adaption. Spoiler alert, it didn't do well.
Sit back, relax and google what the f**k a Persona is as I present to the anime review for Persona 5: The Animation. Lets begin.
The story begins with our main protagonist Ren Amamiya leaping around and trying to escape a casino until he is stopped and captured by the authorities. From there, someone comes into the interrogation room. An investigator by the name of Sae Niijuma tells Ren that she is willing to help Ren plead not guilty if he tells her everything about the Phantom thieves and their actions. The Phantom thieves are a vigilante group that steals peoples' "hearts" to confess their sins to everyone that they have wronged. From there we see the events that have led to this moment and get acquainted to the Phantom thieves, their motivations and their desired goals to see justice against horrible people.
The shows story structure is very formulaic. The phantom thieves encounter a very horrible person, get closer to them, change their heart, add a new recruit to the phantom thieves and move on to a bigger target. Every. Single. Time. There is some downtime between these in order to get attached to our characters more, which is good. Having downtime between these helps balance the pace out so we are not just going around in circles. But it doesn't change the fact that these castle raids to change peoples' hearts are boring to watch over and over again with only slight deviation. Not only do you know what is going to happen, but there is little variation between them on how it is structured.
And while I say the pace is balanced, it is also unbalanced as these castle raids have so many cutaways that it makes it all feel rushed and we don't get concrete buildup to it all when they encounter the final boss of the area. Context is key here as it helps flesh out the story and characters, but rushing to the important bits leaves the impression that nothing else is important other than this scene that we are trying to get to in order to show you this cool scene.
Man, Ren is such a boring and bland character. I know portraying silent protagonists is hard but their personalities are driven by their actions and by you, the player. But translating that into an anime is very difficult. Instead, Ren resorts to being a near silent protagonist. The problem is that being a near silent protagonist, you are relying on your actions to speak for you, which is something the this show doesn't do. Ren does nothing interesting outside of the Phantom Thieves to expand and personalise his character. Too many times the anime cuts the meat off the side activities to help expand Ren's character. This leaves a main protagonist mind you, with no personality whatsoever as he merely just agrees and nods to other characters.
Now does the rest of the cast share this same problem? Wellllll, not really. Individually, they do have their own personality traits to make them interesting but they are much better when they are together and these multiple personalities integrate with one another. They also get expanded upon in an episode dedicated to them to develop them more, which is something that Ren doesn't get unfortunately. The entire Phantom Thieves group hides Ren's lack of a personality by having multiple different personalities in the group work together to achieve the same goal. There individual personalities though. While they are better than Ren's personality (which isn't saying much), they do start to become a bit stale and boring. As well as some of the characters personality traits start to blend into one another as the show goes on.
Well it certainly captures the Persona style but in execution, it does fall flat. It feels like there were many cutbacks and so the overall animation quality has dropped from what I was expecting. Too many cutaways affected the fight scenes to make them feel lackluster and not capture the overall feel of watching these awesome moves be portrayed effectively. Instead, they just feel like they don't have as much of an impact as they should. This is especially true in the finishing manoeuvre sequence as it really feels lackluster. On the bright side though, the art style is rock solid and really does capture the Persona series which thank god it does because Persona is styled like an anime after all. There is also a good amount of CGI used in this show as well and while I don't think it looks horrible, it isn't great looking either; it's just okay.
Sound is the one area I have little to no complaints about. The OST has a very cool style to it and it really does stand out. From calm, collective soundtracks, to alert soundtracks to battle soundtracks. Each of them is distinct from one another and I can immediately recognise which one is playing at that moment. So at least this part of the anime is solid.
Likewise the openings do help set a tone and are enjoyable to listen to. Both opening 1, "BREAK IN TO BREAK OUT" by Lyn and opening 2, "Dark Sun..." by Lyn as well are probably where the animation style actually shines and is well choreographed. While Dark sun took a little bit to get going for me, it is still enjoyable to watch and listen to. But Break in to Break out, for me, is the better of the two due to not having scenes ripped straight from the episodes before hand and the song being more fun to listen to due to its better build up towards the chorus.
The endings, while also having good songs to listen to, is hampered down by simple animation as all it features is the cast just walking side by side, looking ahead of them, doing nothing else. I mean I know that it is meant to calm the viewer after watching the episode but it is boring to watch. But I still watched them because the songs were enjoyable to listen to.
For me, Persona 5: the animation feels like a half assed attempt to adapt the game into an anime. Everything feels rushed as to say this is a summary of what the story is. For someone that has not played Persona 5 like myself, that's disappointing. I wanted an alternative to experience the Persona 5 story and characters, not a cheap way to make an anime while Persona 5 is still somewhat relevant before it gets swarmed by other big name games. It is a disappointment to me and I imagine many others and is a poor adaptation of an otherwise fantastic game. Unless you never played Persona 5 and you are really curious or a diehard Persona fan, you can skip this one.
Although it still feels like it only just started, we are now somehow halfway through the Spring 2018 anime season already, and trends are now clearly starting to emerge. In the past three weeks, Boku no Hero Academia returns to prominence, Persona 5 sinks like a stone and more.
In these opening weeks of the Spring 2018 anime season, Steins;Gate 0 starts off as the by far highest rated anime, although Megalo Box is the new heavy hitter if we look past sequels. This and more in the opening edition of The Seasonal Quarterly.