「Is It Our Fault…?」
With Okumura’s demise, this episode deals with the SIU’s investigation reaching its fever pitch with Sae Niijima ramping up her investigation to aggressively target any suspected members of the Phantom Thieves localized in Shuujin Academy. The anime captures the claustrophobic feeling that the Phantom Thieves have in this part of the game well as each of the members question exactly who they’ve made enemies of in the process of their thievery if it took this quickly for public opinion to sway for and against them. Because of the hopelessness they’ve felt in an unjust game that’s rigged against them, the anime goes towards a reasonable direction by focusing on parts of confidants where Ren and his friends go soul-searching for a means to reverse fate.
Mishima and Hifumi’s confidants act as the main pillars of this search for improvement. Because the Phansite ended up being the source of much of the fervor, outrage, and outside hacking from the same source as the initial Medjed hacking, his position as the site’s admin would leave him in a far more emotional state. Rather than happening whenever the players can get though it, timing his distorted thoughts and ego trip with Niijima’s investigation makes sense as far as placement goes. He redeems himself once he’s passed that and once the game reaches its last palace, but they did a good job at building up to Mishima’s ego reaching its most obnoxious as he claims to be the spirit of the Phantom Thieves and uses his status as the Phansite admin to buy lavish meals and try to get the thieves to target a celebrity that is dating an idol he likes. While Mishima’s “change of heart” works to show the Phantom Thieves working to reform themselves to find their focus again, Hifumi’s guidance acts as a way for Ren to learn new strategic tactics. Although Futaba and Makoto have been able to deduce that an outside force is working against them, a combination of Ren getting to know Hifumi and training under her could help hone his tactics on the field so that he can be further in tune with the brain power that Futaba and Makoto have as far as building a counterattack.
At the same time, there were other moments that stood out well among the more eventful moments of this section of the game. Haru does brush past her father’s passing, but she does confide with Ren about how much his company places on her now that she’s one of the few people who would be able to have control of his fast food empire in his stead. One scene that stuck out the most was the adaptation of Ann’s confidant when Shiho comes over to visit. Shiho’s honesty and determination to overcome the helpless feeling she had when she jumped from the top of the school helped to show how far Shiho came as well as how far Ann has come in showing more compassion and support for Shiho now that she has the right level of confidence to reach out to her. Lumping Haru in there to have her learn from Shiho did feel shoehorned in, especially since Shiho reappears around the tail end of Ann’s confidant that you can complete way earlier than Haru’s very first appearance, but it’s an acceptable twist. Shinya’s appearance during the Mishima confidant also felt like an afterthought because they took a lot of time to introduce him, but it’s good that we at least got to see everyone’s favorite sharpshooter show Ren how to use a gun by playing arcade games. With the culture festival on the way, however, it looks like the show is going to steer right back into the main plot next week.