「I am thou, thou art I」

You definitely saw this coming. With the acclaim and success of Persona 5, an anime adaptation wasn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN. Flashforward to today, the first episode of the anime exploits of Amamiya Ren (Fukuyama Jun) is out, and it’s as good as you would hope it would be, despite not being too friendly to newcomers.

I have always been partial to the animation that happens within the in-game cut scenes where they devote 30 seconds to animating small segments of the game, especially since the Persona 4 TV anime had some wonky faces. Any concerns of art hiccups from this adaptation, however, were alleviated as much of the art is polished, detailed, and true to how the game’s anime cut scenes looked. The Persona 3 movies were more gorgeous, but for a TV show, it looks far better than expected, and did a lot to help convey how the characters behaved. The latter point is especially promising in how it opens up the potential to do justice to the game’s emotional core in later scenes.

As far as the story told within the episode, it did a decent job at making the first two hours of the game fit perfectly with an anime aesthetic, but could’ve explained details better for the viewer. In the game, you play through Ren’s flashback where he startles a drunk politician to stop him from trying to sexually assault a woman, and is arrested for causing him to lose his footing and trip on his face. This section is limited to a couple frames of animation as Ren sits on the subway. Similarly, a series of unusual train accidents are merely sped through instead of what the game did by having reminders wherever you went that conductors have been randomly losing their minds, causing a string of accidents to occur.

The anime relies on Sakura Sojiro (Nakata Jouji), the owner of Cafe Leblanc who agrees to give Ren an attic to stay in while he does probation at the only school that will take him, to give us most of this information. However, there’s only so much for Sojiro to shoulder when the game was all about creating a sense of atmosphere around both the string of accidents and Ren’s delinquency. Even though the latter would be easier to evoke once Ren makes it to school, the episode tries to give us crucial material at brakeneck speed, rushing too quickly to let any of it soak in. Important aspects such as the game’s storytelling mechanic of flashing back and forth from Ren’s past to his arrest later on, or his contract with the Velvet Room prison are also lightly touched on, and create a jarring shift rather than letting us know when we’d have to switch between Ren’s past and the Interrogation Room where prosecutor Niijima Sae (Kaida Yuuko) is pressing him on the events of his past. By the time we learn about how the Nav app sent Ren and fellow delinquent Sakamoto Ryuji (Miyano Mamoru) to a far-off world, it just brings a lot of confusion to those trying to get a feel for the world the anime is presenting.

If you have played the game, however, it does a serviceable job at making sure that it both adapts scenes from the source material and give nods to players who know what’s up. Rather than just seeing in-game character models staring at their phone, it’s awesome to see how the Nav is able to pick up on what palaces exist based off of the code-words Ryuji happened to say. I also appreciated a more outright mention of Shirogane Naoto from Persona 4 being the Detective Prince before Goro Akechi as well as the Kujikawa Rise billboard and an early bird cameo from doctor extraordinaire Takemi Tae. There was a small nod towards teacher Kawakami Sadayo (Fuchigami Mai), and why she would have the pamphlet that fell out of her pocket, but sadly we didn’t get to see her fluffy hair up close. There was also a longer conversation that Takamaki Ann (Mizuki Nana) had with Ren during her introductory scene before gym teacher Kamoshida Suguru (Mitsuya Yuuji) picks her up.

There is a lot of promise to the first episode. All of the scenes from the game look amazing in anime format, and the new additions don’t do anything to derail the material. Unfortunately, the pacing does race too quickly to let much of the material soak in, so those who are unfamiliar with the video game will have to piece the details together either through video playthoughs of this part of the game or careful, spoiler-free material. I’ll try to explain much of the details week-by-week carefully to make it easier for those who have a hard time understanding what’s happening, but hopefully, it won’t be too much of an issue with later episodes. For now though, I’m excited to see where the show goes from here, and how they’ll adapt some of the more hard-hitting moments in the game.

DISCLAIMER: Because the game is still fresh and new for many viewers, please use the <> spoiler brackets near the comment box to hide your spoilers like so:

Show Spoiler ▼

And remember, they are all best girls.


    1. Assuming you haven’t finished yet, do yourself a favor and finish it before watching this. I’m sure this adaptation will do a good job, or at the very least be at the level of previous persona anime adaptations, but the game really deserves to be played unspoiled.

      1. It is not that easy, i at the first mission… and when i thought “finally is behind the next door the boss?” The Game still give me more Levels.. it reach’s slowly “mehh… i begin to do not care anymore. This is a game not work! i just want to finish this level fast”

        Also no button to stop the “winning running in circle” after every fight…

        i really need to activate all my patience

    2. I’m around the end of my second playthrough. It’s been one of the best games I’ve recently played from the current gen along with Nier Automata.

      But definitely keep playing it before the anime catches up because it is a fun game to go through without knowing anything too far ahead in the game.

      1. Ah, that does make it a challenge. Marathoning a game can be rough with only so much time. The good thing is that after Kamoshida’s palace, the game gets alot easier, and there are things that help you out right away afterwards.

        For now, just take your time, and make sure to grab the SP items from the vending machine near the courtyard at school and the hot springs by Leblanc (Water of Rebirth and Argonade). Further in Doctor Takemi’s confidant (one of the first ones available), there is also SP recovery gear to help make clearing dungeons easier by the second/third palace.

      2. on my first run, i nearly reached the top of the Tower.. But boy.. His Castle is that big..

        Lucky they invent this Save Rooms. I had an hunch what kind of Gameplay i get, because i played an Persona on my old PSP. But boy, this 1 Mission is “Big”

      3. But Negative Points so far are:

        – i wish they could had insert an button to skill this Running around in circle after every fight, and i do not run from fights to level up

        – When there are corners you can hide with X and you also need X to sneak Attack the enemy.. often pressing the X just let you jump to an other corner and the Enemy “suprise attack” you…

  1. I’ve found myself skipping through some longer parts to watch the scenes I’ve been interested in. But yeah some small additions like the phone you described were nice to see.

    Now, let’s just hope they do the girls justice and add some more fanservice.

    1. It’s good to hear that the anime is making it easier to access the P5 story. The Vita did have some great accessibility to the Persona games, but they seem to only have plans to port the dancing game onto Vita.

      The PS3 option would be the most affordable way of playing it and how I was playing P5 before I got an upgrade on Black Friday, but it depends on how good a PS3 sounds nowadays with Sony starting to phase out support.

    1. I played my 2nd playthough halfway with the Japanese dub, but I got too attached to the English version that I ended up switching it back. I think its mostly because I played the English-only copies of P3/P4, and couldn’t get an undub attached to it, so I’m used to playing the Persona games in English.

      I will say though that having the dual audio option for P5 helped to not make it as jarring to hear the original Japanese voices because I got accustomed to how they sounded earlier on, unlike when I was thrown off by P4’s Japanese voices.

  2. My main character’s name in P5 was (and still is) Minakami Arata. Such a specific name, isn’t it? I just felt the urge to do some research for it, and I settled down on this because Arata is from Kaizaki Arata, the protagonist of ReLIFE, who helps his fellow classmates become the versions of themselves they are meant to be as good and honest people and not let the thorns in their lives get the best of them while giving them the strength to overcome them on their own. Minakami, on the other hand, is from Minakami Mario, the other protagonist of the manga/anime series Rainbow: Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin, a rebel who wishes to stand for what is right within a society of injustice. True, I’ll likely not get used to Amamyia Ren, but I just let the anime have its own story (which I like so far, even though the pacing is kinda fast).

    On the other hand, Ren has here what I hoped he’d have, a personality that feels like his own. Not like he didn’t have that in the game, but I can truly feel his rebel side burning up here, whereas in the game it was really my rebel side that was injected into him, so the game really provided that special personality to the main character only for it to be expanded further in here, which is good. I also liked Miyano Mamoru approached the voice of Ryuji unlike in the game, even though it proved to be kinda annoying (which is deliberate I think). Show Spoiler ▼

    Overall, really liked this so far. Some parts were omitted Show Spoiler ▼

    , but I like what is showed so far.

    1. I appreciate that the extra personality to Ren/Kurusu in the P5 game made it easier for the adaptation to be able to create a personality for him based off of his own actions, lines, and mannerisms rather than make him a blank slate protagonist that forces the script to come up with their own interpretation.

      Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Keep in mind that they have 24 episodes to cover the games entire story. This episode basically condensed the intro(About an hour and a bit) of material from the game into 23 minutes.

  3. Show Spoiler ▼

    Pacing is a bit fast indeed, but that is a problem in general with anime-adaptations from games that can easily take over 60 hours to complete. Still like the velvet room music after all this time ^_^
    Oh and while all of this might be explained in later episodes, i hope they explain the palaces, the app, and how they will circumvent the leveling here. One of the highlights of persona for me always has been the real world lore behind the demons and the like we can use in the games. Like Jack frost or Orpheus, fun stuff.

    My main character in the first playthrough ( rushed it when i heard about the P5 anime coming out and currently on my second play through ) was called Arturia Fayth and no, not a fate reference 😛 Fayth has a double meaning as the first reason i picked it is because it sounds like a bastardization of faith. Faith in life or in others for example, or just having faith in your own fate. Second reason is because i thought the fae from lost girl where called fayth instead of fae ( i blame playing final fantasy while watching that show for that mix up ) and i don’t remember the reason for arturia anymore. Pretty sure i would remember if it was a fate reference though.

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      Hopefully they expand on the lore of the universe. I’d imagine they would, but I’m hoping it’s not too sped through that they can’t sit back and explain the Nav and how palaces work. Many of the problems with Episode 1 could be easily remedied as long as its more thoroughly explained later.

      1. I actually don’t remember a lot of P4 so i’ll trust you on that one.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Your only other options outside the party in P4 are Ai (popular girl), Ayane (band girl), and Yumi (drama girl). It’s hard for them to compete when they’re up against the Naoto/Chie/Yukiko/Rise quadrality of greatness.

        Show Spoiler ▼

  4. Why oh why did they change the canon name from Akira Kurusu to Ren Amamiya. Now my gaming OCD is playing up wanting me to replay the game using the canon name… Not necessarily a bad thing, but my gaming back log just keeps getting bigger…

    1. The manga & anime of Persona 3 & 4 used different names for the protagonists too. I’m assuming the anime name is the accepted canon by Atlus as I remember that was the case for Persona 4.

    2. I remember the Souji Seta vs. Yu Narukami wars of the yesteryears, and to this day, I still see them as different characters out of pettiness. The Makoto Yuki change in the P3 movies was a cheap shot after half a decade of using Minato Arisato.

      With Akira and Ren, at the very least they can fall back on using Joker as his default name in some material, though I can see them integrating Ren into other material as well.

  5. Persona 5’s game producer said the story was originally going to have a backpacking, world tour theme “flying around to various places (in)…a journey of self-discovery.”

    The 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami changed all that:

    “I felt that at once, my mood about Japan had changed as I rethought things…I wanted to refocus on Japan rather than direct my feelings to the outside world…
    …Since Persona is a contemporary drama involving (youth and society), and you get the feeling that the mindset of the people of Japan had changed (to a more inward, contemplative mood following the disaster), we felt we had no choice but to change the concept of the project..to look at the adventurous spirit of the human mind instead.”

    1. I thought Atlus were more about the vigilantism and how society perceived that with the game. These were characters with their own resolve believing what they were doing is right.

    2. I remember hearing about the concept of world travel being Persona 5’s theme before the tsunami.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. I dunno, except for a sparse few scenes in the P4 Anime they pretty much axed the romance if I remember right, which made no sense since the friggen main story hints at all the main girls being more than a little attracted to Yuu. They even cut out a lot of Rise being all over him. Hope P5 Anime doesn’t go that route and gives at least one of the girls some love. Show Spoiler ▼

  6. Hmm hmm I hav previously tried to watch Persona but gave up pretty quickly. Will really give this a go due to all the hype but like you say, I hope I’ll be able to follow what’s going on… I can already see that it’s more appreciated by those who know the source well but hopefully that doesn’t take the enjoyment out.

  7. Starting today, you’re about to watch the anime adaptation of Persona 5.

    But first, would you like to see the teenage idol from the previous game on a billboard?


    Awwww yeah… Wait, what? Oh right, it’s not the Investigation Team’s story anymore…

    Anyway, as someone who’s knowingly going into the anime blind without having played the game (as with Persona 4: The Animation and Persona 4 Golden: The Animation), I can’t help but hope there is still something even for the anime-only watcher and the show still suprises me in a good way–in a way I won’t see coming–within the next two episodes. And I do hope it won’t be as rushed as Persona 4 Golden: The Animation was.

    Also, at the pace the anime is going, any estimate as to which episode will the events of day “7/7” fall under? (Note: I only need an episode estimate, not “7/7” spoilers, despite watching that episode of Jimquisition–“Oh Atlus, Honey, No…”–where Jim talks about Atlus warning YouTube/Twitch streamers not to show scenes from “7/7” and onward in their Persona 5 streams or face a copyright takedown.)

    1. Fun fact: Rise is 20 now, so we’re 4 years after P4 started.

      As for 7/7, really can’t guess yet. Have to wait and see how much time they give to the stuff between jobs. Best random guess: Ep. 8 or 9.

    2. Persona 4 The Golden was intentionally rushed as the original series P4 anime series existed. It existed to cover the additional character Marie, and a few other scenes from the Vita port.


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