「Dreams and Desires」
With Kaneshiro defeated, that means there would be a hint for what’s to come, right? Well, other than some of the ominous figures to arise from the Phantom Thieves investigation, we are in a blank space where the anime figured would be the perfect place to adapt the entirety of Yusuke’s confidant. Did they do it justice? Err, that’s a different story. It still follows the trajectory of his confidant where he attracts the attention of one of Madarame’s former friends who wants to sponsor Yusuke’s artistic efforts so that he wouldn’t have to worry about food or education. In his pride, Yusuke continues to want to push on, but learns as he gets to know Ren that he must go by his own inspiration and integrity to perfect his art.
However, much of his development and growth his highly glossed over. His depiction of the cross sacrifice at church was considered to be a highly hilarious moment in the game with Yusuke and Ren posing inappropriately at church. Here, it’s skimmed over in the animation’s notoriously blobby detail. Them sharing a paddle boat was another great moment completely skipped over by the anime with how Yusuke confused siblings for a romantic couple. It’s a shame because Yusuke’s route was one of the stronger party confidants as it shows how far he had come after being untangled from Madarame’s web, and how facing his true self inspired him to take on a far different approach to both his artwork and his personal morals.
As a double-edged sword, it was transformed into an Akechi episode as they created some criminal plot to have an associate of the older art mentor do shady deals behind his back to attract the attention of the next detective prince. In the process, Akechi gets to talk with Ren as they play with each other and chat about their ideals and their own personal ethos to fighting crime. It beefs up the potential for Akechi to be further fleshed out, should they expand on his confidant in a further expansion to the game. However, it comes at the cost of both the horrible dive in art quality that the show has been struggling with to this point and sacrificing how well done Yusuke’s confidant was in the game and threw him under the bus when his time came. While it did get Akechi further acquainted with Ren to create some tension between the two like L and Light, it shouldn’t have taken over Yusuke’s arc to have to contend with Akechi and Ren’s symbolic game of chess.