「What Life Do You Choose?」
Before we get our new opening under development, the anime wants to continue playing catch-up with our party. It’s a good decision on the anime’s part to save its off time for after palaces so there isn’t pressure to further condense a confidant storyline. While the last episode did subtract some of the best qualities from Yusuke’s arc, the format does wonders for Makoto’s storyline as it helped to condense and trim the fat from one of the least enjoyable party social links.
Dealing in absolutes is not a good way to get the high ground, but Makoto didn’t deserve to have her confidant story overshadowed by her new friend, Eiko, who effectively ruined Queen’s personal backstory. The anime’s runtime is a hidden blessing in this regard as we get an equal amount of screen time split between Makoto opening up about her relationship with her father and trying to save her friend from a pimp. In the game, her family life, motivations, and father are merely an “off-topic” footnote in favor of digging dirt on Eiko’s pimp boyfriend while she denigrates Makoto for being too smart, high, and mighty for her.
The saving grace is seeing Makoto lay the smack down on her to get her to see why she shouldn’t make excuses to stay with someone who is the textbook definition of a pimp. It does lend itself to explaining Makoto’s ethics and understanding of those around her now that she’s a Phantom Thief, but we barely get that part of her when she’s too focused on getting chewed out by someone too well-off to be making dumb decisions and refusing to improve herself when it’s more convenient to lash out at Makoto for not letting herself get played by a pimp. The anime-original idea to give him a shadow equivalent was an interesting twist as well though it did rob Makoto of the awesome moment where she dares the pimp to get violent since she knows how to mess people up and has a family of cops that can end him in no time.
Shortening Yusuke’s development might’ve been the Achilles heel of the last episode, but the shortened Makoto confidant helps to fit time in for hitting at some of the highlights of Persona 5’s end-of-Spring highlights. To cap off the Yusuke confidant, he reflects on his former mentor/foster parent Madarame and thinks about just how much he’s changed since he received guidance from him. It’s something that the game needed to flesh out too, but it is interesting to hear more about what exactly Yusuke’s thoughts on the matter are after hearing about Madarame frantically trying to find medicine for Yusuke before he became too invested in material desires.
On a similar note, it was nice to see an adaptation of the mementos side mission where the stalker girl’s heart is changed to be more upfront about starting a friendship with her target of interest. It’s always good to see the other confidants as well with Chihaya showing up to predict Eiko’s future and Mishima being set up with Ohya. They also cleverly alluded to mechanic of Ren raising his “Charm” level through renting a movie so he can gain enough to progress through Makoto’s confidant to play the part of her boyfriend around Eiko. There are always parts of the show that can be improved, but luckily, Persona 5 has been showing improvement with its story-telling, and made Makoto’s friendship with Eiko a little easier to swallow down. Next time though, I’m exciting because we’re about to begin our next arc with a character I’ve been waiting to see for a while.