「I Am Alibaba」

Staying relatively non-biased has been easy so far, but that will be put to the test in this arc because I absolutely love Futaba. With the Anonymous-esque hacker group Medjed as the leading figures to act as a catalyst for the Phantom Thieves next adventure, it finally places the avoidant hacker at center stage as Alibaba places a target on Futaba as the Phantom Thieves’ next heart to steal. While we only see her for a brief interval of time during the episode’s last moments, her identity as both the next target and a girl living under Sojiro’s care will come into play as the arc continues picking up momentum.

For those familiar with the game’s events, it adapts key segments of this section efficiently with fun tweaks to work with. The fireworks festival could’ve been better, considering that it’s one of those awkward parts whether the anime has to adapt one of the game’s animated cut-scenes, but the anime comes into its own for the remainder of the episode. The text message relay between Ren and Alibaba is interesting as a text-scroll across the screen is shown while the group tries to get Futaba’s identity from the mysterious Alibaba. The infiltration of Sojiro’s house was animated perfectly as we see Makoto’s face slowly contort from her fear of supernatural haunts before the scene builds up to its crescendo until reaching the piece-de-resistance with Futaba’s shadowy figure looming over Makoto as they both scream at each other.

Similarly, it’s newer additions were more than welcome as we got a cool scene where Alibaba proves their strength against Ren by having every person’s phone in his class go crazy except for his to create an ominous, foreboding, and neat way of exemplifying just how intimidating the hackers of Persona 5 can be. With the Phantom Thieves operating mostly through online and social media platforms, it also becomes a crux of their latest issues with public opinion as they now have to find a way to sway the public in their direction now that they are working with a live audience hovering over them.

The only issue with this episode in relation to its story-telling methods within the past 15 episodes was Sojiro’s development. It’s the point in the game where we learn far more about Sojiro than we’re lead to believe, but the past episodes haven’t made him be quite as pivotal to Ren’s city life as he is in the game. The impact that the speculation the Phantom Thieves have about Sojiro’s parenting skills or his treatment of Futaba isn’t given as much skepticism or worry as it did in the game where we spent a good chunk of time being yelled at by Sojiro while he taught us how to make coffee and slowly allowed us to break curfew by roaming around new parts of Tokyo the more he got used to our company.

Whether we go with our gut that Sojiro’s softer side we learned from hanging out with him means he couldn’t possibly deserve Sae breathing over his neck or that Sojiro’s rougher side with his threats to send Ren to juvie could be an indicator towards the treatment he could be giving to Futaba, the speculation is far more agonizing until Sojiro spills the beans when you have the capacity to get to know him. The anime breezed through so much of Ren’s moments with Sojiro, however, that we were never able to have the opportunity to get acquainted with him before the threads unraveled on whether he’s being supportive enough to Futaba or not. Nonetheless, Episode 15 gives use a lot of promise for what’s to come as the next episode puts Sojiro in the hot seat for explaining what exactly his situation is with Futaba.


  1. https://randomc.net/image/Persona%205%20The%20Animation/Persona%205%20The%20Animation%20-%2015%20-%20Large%2016.jpg
    I just love that disapproving expression on Ann’s face. (Reaction image fodder… XD)

    Seeing the Hachiko statue area with so few people is just as rare as finding a bottle of Morning Rescue. (I guess that’s one way to show that Persona 5 is a work of fiction. The Hachiko statue area can get quite crowded IRL.)

    They animated Makoto holding on to Ren in fright?! YES!

    I know the waifu taking center stage for this episode (and the rest of this arc) is the much-awaited Futaba, but I appreciate the episode sneaking in a bit of Dr. Takemi (a.k.a.: “Dr. Legs”) and Ms. Kawakami (a.k.a.: “Becky”). It’s a shame they didn’t include the scene where Yusuke was approached by two other pretty girls in yukatas, but oh well. (DVD/Blu-Ray extended version?) And yeah, I’m about to begin the Medjed arc in my LP watch, so it will be interesting to compare the game and anime versions.

    1. Some of the little moments like Ann and Makoto chiding Ryuuji for being so quick to try deleting his browser history were great and offered some funny reaction faces from Ann in particular. I’d imagine Hachiko would be insane in any given point with how significant its story has been and how prevalent its been in media, so it was funny to see how easy it was to get a juxtaposition shot between Morgana and Hachiko when it’d be swarming otherwise. I’ve always been curious about Morning Rescue because of how much the adverts appeared during Madoka’s broadcast, but it must be something that had emerged predominantly in 2011 only.

      They did fast-forward through the fireworks scene which is kinda disappointing given the exchange Yusuke had in the festival and the Haru reveal did lose its mystique with how much they’ve shown her, but that should be a decent detail given that her presence felt awkward in the game when she’s still a student at the academy.

      The scared Makoto part being kept in with full detail was given justice to and was really funny in this adaptation. It’ll be neat to compare how they are able to adapt the narrative side of things in later parts of this arc. It is nice too how the anime gives other waifu supports a chance to shine through as well with Takemi and Kawakami appearances as well before Futaba gets her full reveal.

      1. Speaking of Haru, I think all the game showed of her at that point was her in a car and I think Makoto caught a glance of her. She mentions that she saw someone she recognized when they’re in the store after it rains.

    1. While I agree with everything you’ve mentioned, I’m thankful that we got to see a little more of her in this episode than in the game where it was merely just her reflection on her glasses before her shadowy in-game model scurried away. The timing of the ending with Makoto and Futaba’s faces in close-up was also pretty hilarious, but I am anticipating when we get to see her outside of the darkness.

      1. The game showed Futaba in her bedroom at her computer quite a few times before that scene though. Remember as she was spying on the group, like, listening in to their convos?

  2. Good point about Sojiro, Choya. In a way the reactions the P-Thieves have to him is swapped, since in the game it feels like they should all know he’s just a gruff but pretty cool guy yet the rest of the team is skeptical if you say he’d never abuse anyone. Here we haven’t seen that much of him, good or bad, so the P-Thieves instant approval feels a little off. As the audience we know that Sae is off the rails, but aside from Yusuke and Ren the gang doesn’t really have anything to go on in his favor.

    One addition I really liked even more than the cellphone thing was the Medjed blackout. It gave weight to the situation, instead of just telling us that something would happen without any real evidence that they could do what they were threatening.

    1. Yeah, they never gave us as much to go off of aside from a few exchanges that Sojiro would have with Ren, Yusuke, or Akechi. Aside from that, there isn’t the level of depth to give us a good way of telling what kind of person Sojiro is.

      Much of it is due to the limitations of how much the series has to dedicate to Sojiro’s earlier confidant ranks, but it’s also the lack of interaction that he has in general with Ren. Him going from threatening regularly to send Ren to juvie to being confused but pleasantly surprised with his circle of friends is something that would sow the seeds of doubt in what exactly his role as a guardian would be.

      And then there’s the gradual shift Sojiro has the further we peel back the layers behind his personality as he grows fond of Morgana’s presence, lets Ren go out late to Yongenjaya, Shibuya and eventually across other sections of Tokyo, and starts to find Ren’s fascination in coffee to be admirable. It might’ve been hard to fit in during previous episodes, but it does hinder the kind of development that would’ve made the speculation on Sojiro’s character have more impact.

      I do agree though that the Medjed hacks had more umph to it in the anime as there is far more paranoia and power in how they triggered several blackouts rather than hearing third-hand about Medjed’s hacking or the Phansite hiccuping.

    2. I think they treated Sojiro with suspicion because they didn’t really know him as a person and they didn’t have the full facts about Futabas situation. And if you add in the fact they had been dealing with a whole bunch of scumbags in the metaverse it’s easy to see how they may have figured that the guy they’ve seen may have been putting up a front and was actually abusive.

      I would say the first “real” conversation the group had with Sojiro was when they’re all sat around listening to him talk about Futaba for the first time. They really connected and emphasized with him.

  3. Oh and I can’t see how they can fit the game in 24-26 episodes. With Futabas palace to come, when that’s done they will be at the half way point of the game with very few episodes left. Either we get the most rushed botched ending of all time or they’ll have to announce another 12-13 episodes to wrap it up.


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