「He Is My Other Self」

With Episode 07, we reach the point where Madarame and Yusuke unveil their true selves. Whereas we see the darker implications behind Madarame’s art as an opportunistic plagiarist whose deep-seated desire to earn money contributed his ill-advised exploitation of young artists, Yusuke is finally able to free himself from his sensei’s influence by awakening his persona and joining the Phantom Thieves. Much of the arc has been adapted far better than the Kamoshida chapter as we see the events of the Madarame section adapted faithfully while the staff get the hang of how action scenes should flow without having too much stake put into having the characters use their personas or All-Out Attacks all the time.

It also captures the most popular scenes from the chapter well as Ann wears hundreds of layers of clothing for a nude modeling session and Yusuke’s awakening is kept in-tact, complete with him digging his nails into the floor. They were also gracious enough to include Ohya Ichiko into the fray, a journalist who finds herself diving deep into Tokyo’s criminal underworld to get the best scoop. Some people don’t like her, but I’ll fight tooth-and-nail to defend her as she contributes to the plot twice, has a decent confidant story line, and has great voice actresses in English and Japanese.

Err, back to the topic at hand, Madarame might not be as memorable of a villain as Kamoshida, especially since Kamoshida sets such a high bar for the level of awfulness the Phantom Thieves targets, but he is interesting in that he’s been successfully coasting off of a mild-mannered attitude to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone around him other than the students he’s exploited. Even as Yusuke is startled over how many copies of Sayuri are present in his closet of counterfeit paintings, he had acted like he was coming clean about his heinous counterfeiting scheme, and looked convincing enough to make it seem like he truly was coming clean right then and there. It wasn’t until Ann poked the holes in his lies when his visage of a calm, collected artist who fell on hard times in secret came undone, resulting in him losing his cool and reporting Ann & Yusuke to his private security system.

While his real-world personality covers for his misdeeds enough so that he’s never had to face the possibility of getting angry and getting the authorities involved, his Palace’s ruler lets most of his worst vices slip as he eagerly took advantage of a young Yusuke and his pupils to gain access to their artwork, working them to death so that he can take credit for their work. The flashback of Yusuke being influenced by Sayuri and Madarame’s teachings was effective in this regard as it brings about the disillusion with his sensei/father figure that Yusuke has while piecing together the younger Madarame’s smile in conjunction with his shadow’s sinister laughter.

Although much of the episode was well-done, the only technical aspects that could’ve been improved was how the palace was shown. Most of the palace’s neater aspects are in-tact, except for the painting puzzle, which was given very little stylistic flair. It looked amazing in the game, but an animated version of the scene could have made it far more visually tantalizing to show the Phantom Thieves navigate around the semiotics from painting-to-painting, climbing over waves, deserts, and forests. There’s also the dubious implication behind the party pressuring Ann to strip down for Yusuke when the past arc was decrying Kamoshida for objectifying her and treating her like an item. There are a few times in the game where it gets hypocritical as far as what level of sexualization is acceptable, or what situations we can give characters a free pass for seeing the girls in a sexual light. Even if Yusuke had no actual desire for Ann outside of painting, it seems messed up that Ann was being pressured to put herself in an uncomfortable position like stripping down in front of Yusuke after she was already at risk of being sexually exploited by the gym teacher. Where the guys telling Ann to strip is given the okay because it’s part of a wider plan that doesn’t actually see her taking it all off, yet still places her in a vulnerable position by having her remove her clothes in front of a strange boy who pressured her to strip for him to make amends for breaking into Madarame’s shack.

Additionally, there was much more to securing the root than the painting puzzle as it was the first time the treasure was so heavily guarded that they had to piece together an idea to create a full-on heist of Madarame’s treasure. They’ll probably depict it in the next episode, but it was one of the first instances in the game where you felt like a professional thief, having to map out a clear-cut route to steal a possession methodically in a way that isn’t just walking up to an empty room to snag it.


  1. We’ve officially reached the point where the game went from “good” to “great” IMO, especially on the replay. The first arc was well done, sure, but I feel like it drags the second time around, and I never liked how Ann was so wishy-washy at the beginning of the Madarame arc. Now things are in full swing, though, and it only gets better.

    This show seems to be a little in love with showing things via flashback, so I feel like you’re right, Choya, and we’ll actually see more of the infiltration route next time. That’s kinda good because they didn’t clutter Yusuke’s awakening episode, but I hope they don’t cut too much before the very end cause a lot of it was cool.

    1. The game does have a pretty slow start, and although the story with the Kamoshida arc is memorable, the gameplay itself does drag as you go from a long tutorial to a painful dungeon if you wanted to complete it in a day. Even if the Madarame section wasn’t as impactful, the museum was far more interesting to navigate around and wasn’t as excruciating as the castle.

      Hopefully they don’t cut out some of the cooler aspects of the heist and do it justice, but I’m also glad that they didn’t try to cram this episode with information overload, or try to swamp you with too many details that only those who played the game would understand right away. Much of the information is told via flashback or through voice-over from a past scene as the present plays out, so I could see them outlining the plan as it happens.

    1. I have a soft spot for the cut-in of Yusuke’s eyes widening whenever he gets a critical hit or finds a weakness. Similarly, the evil smirk during his awakening scene gets me every time. I love the next awakening scene the most, but the combination of Yusuke dragging his fingers against the floor and the smirk are perfect

  2. I couldn’t help but recall that video by Extra Credits about “Perversion Subversion” going into this arc and had my fears that Ann’s character would be reduced to a one-dimensional fanservice character for fanservice’s sake–the same character whose best friend suffered physical and sexual abuse in the previous arc. Naturally, Ann would be hesitant to pose nude for Yusuke even if it’s for the sake of a ploy.

    But after watching this episode, it turns out the impression I got of this arc from that video was actually wrong. (Also saw Appabend’s response video regarding EC/i>’s video as well. Damnit, EC… *SMH*)

    It was relieving to see the Persona 5 anime staff tastefully handle that scene, with Ann wearing multiple layers of clothing to buy enough time for Morgana to unlock that door. It was both funny (especially Yusuke unwittingly willing to go along with it) and clever, though I can only imagine how stiflingly uncomfortable it must be for Ann to wear all those clothes. And it seems it went the same way in the game as well.

    On a different note, I gave in and decided to watch a Persona 5 Let’s Play via YouTube (with the uncut version available on Twitch–even though Twitch’s video player frankly isn’t as good as YouTube’s). Though I’m not sure if the “7/7 prohibition” is still in effect, in which case I’ll still check out the anime episodes from time to time to get the basic gist.

    Oh, and Shadow Madarame’s sense of aesthetics is downright kitschy.

    1. Haven’t watched the EC video, but the anime plays it accurately to how it was in the game. Not much fanservice or fluff since the plan they came up with was for her to go through numerous layers of clothes until Morgana was finished, and stopped once she hit her tanktop. Yusuke being more dedicated to his art than anything else does also help to ensure that he didn’t decide to want her to model for a nude painting out of lust.

      The plan itself helped to subvert things, but the set-up did feel poorly timed in the lieu of the last arc’s focus on Ann being objectified. Ann does take up agency by the end of it and in this arc, she has full control of the situation as the game also avoids oversexualizing it, but it did feel odd to have a point where Ann is pressed by a future party member to put herself in an uncomfortable situation after a full arc where the last palace’s ruler had kept harassing her.

      I believe the prohibition has been lifted since there’s quite a few full Let’s Plays and walk-throughs available. P5A has been decent as supplimentary material, but it is nicer to experience the game itself whether it is by playing it or watching LP’s. Much of the plot is told at a more natural pace, and the game itself looks flashy and impressive.

      Shadow Madarame has an interesting design as the shogun/kabuki influence to his appearance begins the trend of seeing more eccentric character designs. Where in his vanity, he modeled himself after royalty from ukiyo-e artwork with elegant make-up and a top-knot. While it’s thematically weird with the whole “museum heist” angle, the nods to traditional Japanese artwork throughout the museum via the painting puzzles, sliding doors, and aesthetics make it fit his image. To top it off, the palace’s music “A Woman” has the string instrument pastiche that works well with everything as well.


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