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Persona 5 the Animation – 16

「This Place Is My Grave」

This is a part of the anime adaptation that I’ve been anticipating as Futaba’s palace is one of my most recent gaming experiences where I was genuinely devastated by a game. The games I’ve played during the PS360 era hadn’t struck a chord with me like some of my favorite PS2/PS1/Nintendo games. But in 2017, this game, along with Nier Automata, had sections that were truly heart-breaking. One exchange I remember that broke me was when I was navigating Futaba’s palace, and I got into an Interrogation with one of the palace’s shadows where they gifted me an item. At the end of most of the interrogations where enemies are left intact, they often have some spiel about how they will continue to honor their unscrupulous masters. With Futaba, however, the script is flipped. Because her shadow’s manifested desires are in self-destruction, her shadows come to you as defenders of her tomb, so gaining an item means I got to hear about how they wish I wouldn’t disturb Futaba’s final resting place. I’m not sure if it was the soul-draining imagery that the palace’s theme song “The Days When My Mother Was There” brought as its emotional highs amped up the further it went along or the puzzles peeling the layers behind the mental torture that was placed on Futaba, but the way they spoke non-nonchalantly about protecting a suicidal girl’s grave left me the most teary-eyed I’ve been with my PS3.

Apologies for droning on, but the anime is a great reminder of how Futaba’s palace tells such an impactful story that, save for the desert thief chase around the beginning, is designed masterfully to tell a story of the anguish Futaba faced since her mother died ranging from how the puzzles reflected her interest in binary coding and went into detail about how she saw her mother’s death to the palace’s theme song blaring as you progress further into her palace. In the anime, much of the dungeon-crawling is placed in the backseat, but its essence remains with how the characters react to the murals of how Futaba sees the events that lead to her mother’s demise. The way Futaba’s shadow both helps the Phantom Thieves navigate through her palace and throws obstacles for them to get around also lend itself to how fascinating it is to see how her problem with letting people get close to her translates into her Metaverse palace, and at the same time, shows you the role her shadow plays in trying to encourage both the thieves and Futaba to see the truth behind the version of the story she was given. There were some aspects of the palace that were lacking in the anime like how the tomb’s reveal didn’t feel as grand, the missing thief chase on the outskirts of the town, or how they changed the location of the ecchi clothes-sweat gag from inside Morgana’s car form to the entrance of the tower, but at the same time, they made up for it by making their initial appearance in the middle of the desert funnier. They didn’t emphasize how they warped far away from the palace specifically because of Futaba’s avoidant mindset, but it did swap in a humorous Ryuji face.

Luckily, that isn’t the extent of the anime’s changes as many of its inclusions helped to give emotional impact towards specific moments that were missing from the game due to the limitations of in-game graphics or hindsight. For instance, the significance Ann plays in this episode mirrors the vulnerability that players would feel navigating through the tomb. Because she is strongly affected by the imagery of Futaba’s palace, the mural puzzles that revealed her mother’s death, and the voices that plague Futaba’s shadow, we are given more of a glimpse of how much Ann has developed since she joined the Phantom Thieves. As someone who has experienced the feeling of wanting to run away from everything and the distress that pushed Shiho to jump from Shujin Academy’s roof, it’s her empathy and her push for Futaba not to say she’ll die in her room that lets us understand how Ann’s experiences have lead her to want to use her perseverance and strength to help others push back against their cruel situations. Compared to some of the fanservicey moments she’s given, its a welcome change for Ann to be given more to work with as she has far more depth than players give her credit for. The little exposure to Sojiro might not show us all of his layers just yet, but it does brings out more of his understanding and compassion by making him less rough around the edges, allowing it to be more understandable about how his parenting style is a double-edged sword. He wants to let Futaba do as she wishes because she’s had a rough life so early on, but he doesn’t realize he should try to intervene at least to help her overcome her fears or do more to help her out now that the stakes are far higher to trying to make sure her depression does hit the manic peak it has reached within the past month.

There might not be any dialogue from her palace’s shadows, but what the anime does with Futaba’s palace and hallucinations is far more harrowing than I would have imagined. The in-game engine couldn’t entirely capture just how severe Futaba’s point-of-view was, but we are given a front row seat to the visions and voices that Futaba has faced since she shut herself in her room, and it’s entirely understandable why she’s as disturbed as she is during the period of time she’s been haunted by her mother’s death. The blame she places on herself leaves her paralyzed as her shadow starts to writhe at the same time she is left in a catatonic state in her room as the voices continue to hammer on the blame on Futaba for what she was told was “maternity neurosis” brought on by her desire to rid herself of her daughter’s neediness. Seeing Futaba’s eyes upon hearing all of these voices rush to her was horrifying enough, but the nightmare fuel behind her hallucinations hits its peak with how a ghoulish vision of Wakaba looms over her with a murderous stare piercing down at her. Seeing models writhing or portraits looking disturbed is one thing, but the anime’s direction at this point is actually getting the hang of how they should be framing their scenes, using its animated format to enhance moments from the game by fully fleshing them out to bring the most out of the emotional weight these scenes hold. It stopped us around the funny scene where Futaba assumes they can just steal her heart as soon as she pops out of the closet, but it’ll be fun to see how they get to the tail-end of Futaba’s palace where she gets the resolve to push towards the truth.

July 22, 2018 at 3:20 pm
19 comments »
  • July 22, 2018 at 4:55 pmLyfe

    What spoiled some of the palaces for me was the artificial roadblocks that prevent you from proceeding further. They did the same with Kaneshiros. Basically each time you have to take a detour to unlock the door, maybe some story, and you repeat this several times. It’s so tedious.

    It looks like they also cut the town thing where you have to chase that theif guy to obtain the map for Futabas palace.

    • July 22, 2018 at 5:01 pmLyfe

      I thought Ryujis reaction when he got a good view of Anns top in the Mona car was hilarious. His face was like OMFG YES!! He’s such a perv.

    • July 24, 2018 at 5:01 pmChoya

      While the palace layouts are a nice improvement from the older model of the P3/P4 randomly generated dungeons, especially with how fun some of the puzzles and layouts ended up being like with the desert, museum, and casino, it does have that issue where they place barriers that make you go back and forth through the level to open up. There are many instances where it can be justified like Futaba’s palace taking you to go through side rooms to open up the barriers up to open the hallway because she’s adamant about being close to others. But there are many moments like Kamoshida’s jewel-eye door or Kaneshiro’s vault where the puzzles are based off of just killing your way through to a solution to unblock the path.

      • July 24, 2018 at 9:10 pmRiku1186

        If you can do the math the vault isn’t so bad, the jewel lever was shit though.

      • July 25, 2018 at 7:27 amChoya

        The bank vault was relatively simple albeit tedious if you wrote down what number coincides with which letters.

        The jewel puzzle was murder because it was so early in the game and it was around the end of Kamoshida’s palace, so you were already probably hurting for health or SP by then. So here’s the game twisting your arm to try to seek out which strong enemies have the jewels you need in the two guard-heavy rooms. The second playthrough makes it easy with OP personas, but on the first playthrough, it was on a wing and a prayer whether you had enough items or SP to carry you to the finish line.

      • July 25, 2018 at 6:28 pmRiku1186

        Totally didn’t use my awesome SP item to get me through that section…

        I really wanted to hold onto my Soma.

  • July 23, 2018 at 7:21 amRaksasha

    Shadow futaba is best girl

    • July 24, 2018 at 5:37 pmChoya

      The Egyptian Pharaoh outfit on Futaba is adorable as is the Alert Phase Percentage artwork they use for her, though I feel her best impression comes from how she works with Futaba at tandem to get her motivated to re-evaluate her situation now that she’s begun to trust the Phantom Thieves.

      • July 30, 2018 at 3:45 pmRaksasha

        I interpreted her Show Spoiler ▼

  • July 23, 2018 at 7:52 pmIncognito

    https://randomc.net/image/Persona%205%20The%20Animation/Persona%205%20The%20Animation%20-%2016%20-%20Large%2010.jpg
    Looks like A-1 Pictures went to the Studio DEEN/KonoSuba school of “drawing off-model characters for comedy.” (OK, so it’s more of a comedic “art shift,” but it still reminds me of KonoSuba.)

    Also, I did like the “reality ensues” addition of the Phantom Thieves having their feet burned by the hot desert sands (poor Makoto), especially once you remember the traditional Japanese etiquette of removing outdoor shoes/sandals first before entering a house. (And giving more weight to Morgana’s warning of not activating the Metaverse app willy-nilly.)

    https://randomc.net/image/Persona%205%20The%20Animation/Persona%205%20The%20Animation%20-%2016%20-%20Large%2011.jpg
    At first, I was also pissed/disappointed about not doing the ecchi clothes-sweat gag inside the Morganamobile, but the anime’s take on the scene did redeem itself by having Morgana join the perving. (Since in the game–save for some Mementos skits–Morgana’s unable to join in because he’s transformed into a vehicle.)

    https://randomc.net/image/Persona%205%20The%20Animation/Persona%205%20The%20Animation%20-%2016%20-%20Large%2034.jpg
    Waitaminute… Isn’t this scene supposed to include the Phantom Thieves delivering the calling card to Futaba? Or are they saving that for next episode? (Along with the boss battle, if the last scene is any indication.)

    • July 24, 2018 at 4:38 amLyfe

      They breezed through the palace a bit too quickly I thought. I mean they didn’t show the many instances where Futaba was subconsciously pushing them away. Such as at the start when the group fall through the floor into the sub levels. I think it was Ryuji who ended up a bit irritated at Shadow Futaba after a while thinking she was intentionally trying to kill them before someone tells him that she isn’t doing it on purpose and he chills out a bit.

      • July 24, 2018 at 7:44 amChoya

        The anime did downplay how much of a role Shadow Futaba played in the palace by placing obstacles in their direction. They showed the boulder that chased after them, but stopped short of that and didn’t show parts like them being dropped in a room after Ryuuji accuses her shadow of trying to kill them or the cryptic advice she gave to throw them off. I did mention that the palace placed emphasis on how Futaba wants the Phantom Thieves to both help her and leave her be and how it’s reflected in her shadow’s behavior and her palace’s layout, but I definitely agree that there wasn’t as much of this emphasis with the anime considering how much they had to condense to get to Futaba opening the door for the Phantom Thieves at the end.

      • July 24, 2018 at 11:27 amLyfe

        I hope they retain(I’ll spoiler tag because it hasn’t happened yet lol).

        Show Spoiler ▼

        The next episode has the potential to be really great if they don’t speed through it.

      • July 24, 2018 at 10:54 pmIncognito

        TBH (based on the LPs I watch on YouTube), exploring the palaces often takes an hour or two (sometimes more depending on how elaborate the target’s palace is) in-game. Coming off the anime adaptation of the Kaneshiro Palace heist back in Episode 12, I already had a hunch that the anime will use montages to portray the more elaborate palaces of later targets, so it’s no surprise that the anime would do it here as well.

        I do hope that important moments while exploring the palaces won’t be skipped, though. Especially with the last target.

        That being said, I did read about an article interviewing the Persona 5 anime director that says the anime will have a surprise twist that deviates from the game’s story.

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • July 24, 2018 at 5:32 pmChoya

      It was more entertaining to see the Phantom Thieves stranded out in the desert as the reality settles in that the hot desert is cruel and unforgiving to their casual wear, and it was nice to see that they are willing to get visually creative with the shadows over their eyes and Ryuji’s best impersonation of Kazuichi Soda. What got me cracking up about the new ecchi moment was Yusuke positioning his painter’s frame towards the girls instead of subtly focusing on Makoto in the car. Ryuji’s ogling face was far funnier in the game version, but I guess they wanted to streamline the scene to segue into Shadow Futaba’s intro.

      They give out the calling card after she pops out of the closet, but it is something that is fast-forwarded over because they popped out of her palace right away after they found the Metaverse version of her door.

  • July 24, 2018 at 9:27 amGinobi47

  • July 24, 2018 at 1:22 pmyoloalchemist

    So really glad the anime played up Futaba’s personal trauma some more (forgive me if I sound sadistic :( she’s my best girl too). Now I’m anxious to see how they resolve it.

    • July 24, 2018 at 3:05 pmLyfe

      I think it’s a bit early to say the anime > game for the personal trauma just yet because.

      Show Spoiler ▼

    • July 24, 2018 at 5:22 pmChoya

      I think I know what you mean. Where much of what she’s going through as far as panic and trauma is something that many players/viewers can understand or relate to, but our perspective in the game is still mostly with the Phantom Thieves, and there’s only so much in-game models and dialogue can pull off with putting us in her shoes. But with the liberties the game would have, it’s easy to understand how the voices she’s hearing and the images she’s seeing are keeping her paralyzed in her room.

      The next episode should follow through in capturing the next part of her story with the same level of depth, but what the anime improves on here does help her feel less like she’s outside of the norm and understand how the hurdles she have to cross are due to how her perception of the world around her was molded through the torment we saw her face regularly.

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