OP3 Sequence

OP3: 「Dark Sun」 by Lyn

「I Won’t Let It End Here」

I didn’t think I would be writing about the anime ending this weekend. With the Morgana bus traveling to other episodes hinted at ones much further down the line. They even animated the second OP after all this time. However, they pulled the rug out from underneath everyone by regulating the anime’s continuation towards an OVA at the end of the year. Instead, anime-only viewers have the delight of seeing the part of the game where Akechi shoots Ren in the face. Yup, that’s how the game ends…

Except it plays out like this in the regular good ending of the game and we’re only three quarters of the way through the story. Part of the hazy memory that he has with Futaba and Morgana regarding a plan triggers a response from Ren to have Sae show Akechi his phone, resulting in the scene playing out as it is in the anime; Akechi shoots the guard and then triumphantly shoots Ren, ending the Phantom Thieves’ story on a down note, or so it would seem. The bad endings in the game that result in Akechi also shooting you are either if Ren took a deal with Sae to reveal the names of the Phantom Thieves/Confidants or if you don’t reach the deadline for palace and have Ren give incoherent answers about a hypothetical fail state that cause Sae to walk away without helping Ren.

I clarify this because the ending of this episode isn’t any of the game’s bad endings, but rather how it normally plays out. But without context on anything following the shooting, it is bound to create a lot of rancor with anime-only viewers. In fact, it would seem like an incoherent way to end the show considering that, without any of the scenes afterwards explaining how Akechi was never on their side to begin with, it seems like a completely out-of-the-blue way to end it with his betrayal and cutting off the entire section just like that. If you’ve played the game, you know what happens next and why Ryuji smiles and says “Just kidding!” But as a standalone anime, having Akechi shoot Ren in the face, walk away to the final dungeon’s music, and Ryuji smile in the darkness comes off as entirely confusing.

It has a hard time distinguishing itself between being an anime created for fans of the game vs. an anime created to bring the game’s experience to television, so it ends up creating an ending like this that doesn’t take anyone enjoying the anime for its story into account when it’s all so slapped together. Did everything Ren plan amount to nothing? Does Akechi ever escape the hallway? Is Ryuji the mastermind? It’s a level of incoherence you’d expect from an original anime with too many cooks in the kitchen, but the video game had its entire story planned out. If the twist that the directors have was “We’re just going to end it when Akechi shoots Ren and then let viewers wait for an OVA to answer the questions that we left out by not adapting the remaining 25% of the game,” then it placed too much value on the twist of the interrogation being that Akechi was the traitor all along. Almost anyone could’ve predicted that since him being the traitor was the least significant of the twists of that night alone, but it rode so much on the traitor’s identity this late in the anime that it didn’t reveal the juiciest part of what happens after.

Not only does the ending feel like a lazy, slapped together attempt to troll the audience by making its ending sequence incoherent for newer viewers, but Ren’s bonds with his confidants also feel unearned. By this point in the game, you’d have interacted with each of your confidants to the point of being at least halfway through their routes. With the anime, most of these characters have barely even reached Rank 2 of their confidant stories, so it’s odd to see all of the confidants look stunned or concerned for Ren’s arrest when he hasn’t had a deep conversation with most of these guys. It was neat to see how they tied in Toranosuke to the upcoming election against Shido, but it’s also strange to hear him so inspired by the Phantom Thieves and Ren when he only held an umbrella for him at that point. “This kind young man sheltered me from the rain once, so I want to run for his sake and the Phantom Thieves!”

There were some interesting tidbits in addition to the Toranosuke’s election woes such as Makoto’s point-of-view when Ren gets arrested, Akechi meeting with everyone to take it upon himself to “save” Ren, and, as always, seeing more of Sae Niijima is perfect. However, the sour taste comes from the notion that not only has the anime ended at this specific point in the game, but they subsequently announced an OVA, possibly to rush through the last chunk of the game. There’s a level of cynicism from all of this because of the anime’s investment in Akechi’s story and the idea that they framed it in such a clumsy cliffhanger that it only begs to question how much stock did Cloverworks take in turning the anime into Akechi’s show at the price of the viewer’s understanding of the game and its universe.


Final Impressions:

Persona 5 the Animation was an adaptation with a tall order to fill: condense about 100-120 hours worth of gameplay and story into an anime. While they ended it before the party got to explore the final two palaces, they took up the challenge of trying to do justice to about 75% of the story. Did they accomplish that? Well, it depends.

For all intents and purposes, there were plenty of growing pains with how sloppy the Kamoshida arc was handled and how the art looked. It turned off a wide range of viewers, and what was intended to be the strongest arc of the game that drew players into playing further made a lot of viewers’ minds up on whether they actually wanted to continue watching the anime. The problem with the animation never really went away as there were only select moments when the artwork didn’t look off-model. It would ultimately be the anime’s most damning indictment that drove many potential viewers away and looked like an aspect that would never be solved without the possibility of Bluray edits.

How the anime told the game’s story looked like it was improving with Madarame’s arc, but the show’s pacing was clearly a double-edged sword. Mediocre moments like the summer trips, beach scenes, and culture festival did touch on some of the events of each rather than skim through them. They also made a more concentrated effort to have the characters hang out more and treated them like actual friends instead of casual acquaintances. Ann and Makoto’s friendship in particular was a high note in the anime as they had very cute chemistry together as Ann helped Makoto come out of her shell to enjoy going out on shopping trips or enjoying things without worrying about the others. However, great or important moments were cut short or denied of any of the gravitas that they should have had such as the events of Yusuke’s and Sojiro’s confidant routes. Confidants in themselves were underutilized, and though it might be to help tell the rest of the story without bogging down the pace of the story, the anime did very little to show that Ren was making a positive change in their lives, and only told their relationships from the one-sided perspective of merely helping Ren with his dungeon-crawling.

With the impact that the poor artwork had with the animation quality, the breakneck pacing’s negative affects on the storytelling, and the lack of development for most of its main cast, the Persona 5 anime felt far more half-hearted than it needed to be. It is difficult to tell such a massive story, but with the amount of planning that had to have happened, these elements should have been more finely tuned to prevent the quality in storytelling and animation from deteriorating to the extent that it did by the end of the anime. The decision to regulate any final moments towards an OVA is also an insult that spits on the face of anyone who had followed this show expecting to at least have the story fully told to them instead of outright cutting it off right when the OP was finished and around the same time the last ED sequence hinted towards the anime reaching beyond 30 episodes. I guess we’ll have to wait until December to find out what exactly Morgana and Futaba had up their sleeve and why Ryuji seems so excited in the final scene.


  1. I’m confused, what were the numbers before the credits about then? I thought they were meant to count each episodes progression. What a nonsensical way to end the series(Though I did say perhaps they would end with Rens arrest a few posts back). Ugh.

    Seriously, it makes no sense for them to have that counter before the credits if they never intended to go past 26 episodes. Why show us up to 29???

    1. A-1 just pulled the classic “Bait and switch.”

      Bait the viewers into thinking that there will be more episodes to properly wrap up the story before making the switch by blindsiding them with this episode. While those who’ve played the game (or watched a Let’s Play) already knew that 26 episodes won’t be enough to adapt the game’s main story (more so if the Confidant routes are included), those anime-only watchers who hadn’t played (or seen a Let’s Play of) Persona 5 didn’t see this coming.

      I should have seen this coming as well, but cynically, that’s what happens most of the time when you do give the benefit of the doubt.

      1. Surely they’re going to realize that doing this will just annoy those who follow the show and care about a proper adaptation? It’d be interesting to see if the Blu Ray sales tank after picking such an awkward spot to conclude the main series.

        It’s an awful choice because there’s literally no context behind why they’re doing this in the story. This whole entire thing from start to finish when the group enter Saes palace to the arrest is one huge deception to not only trigger Akechis trap, but to buy Ren some breathing room. They knew that Akechi would bring the Cops into the palace and they knew that it would end with him being arrested. But they had to do something because the person behind the scenes pulling the strings was just too powerful to leave alone.

  2. https://randomc.net/image/Persona%205%20The%20Animation/Persona%205%20The%20Animation%20-%2026%20-%20Large%2001.jpg
    Akechi: “No way!”
    Me: *scoffs* “Yeah, right…”

    [cue “Freedom and Security”]

    Well, I already had worries about not having enough episodes since episode 20 and I was hoping that Persona 5: The Animation would continue into the Fall 2018 season to properly wrap things up. But after this episode and the announcement of an OVA to conclude things… Yeah, I knew it.

    It would honestly be nice if the Dark Sun OVA would at least have a two-hour runtime, like a made-for-TV movie. Because there’s no effing way all those scenes from the last quarter of the game can be crammed or streamlined into a paltry 30-minute OVA. (Though might as well ready my “I’m not mad, just disappointed” face one the Dark Sun OVA arrives.)

  3. Are they really thinking the police are that dumb? Seems like.. So they really will think this Boy smuggled an Gun with Silencer into this Room and shoot the Cop and them himself, without no one notice the Gun? Where did he hide it? in this back?…

    Sometimes i really wonder in how dump they make the Police officers just for the sake of the story, also i bet there is even an surveillance camera. But he would take care of it, right?

    Why.. omg why are the story’s make the Police officers that dump?… this old cliche hurts

    1. Akechi took the gun from the policeman’s holster, so the story that’ll be told be him is that Ren overwhelmed the officer, stole his gun and shot him before he himself could overwhelm ren in return and kill him in self-defense

      1. This. Akechi had always planned to spin a story that sadly he was too late to stop the “criminal” leader of the Phantom Thieves from seeing justice after he stole the gun, shot the cop, and suicided.

      2. Akechi was wearing gloves before shooting the Show Spoiler ▼

        Ren. Presumably he would just remove them and dump them somewhere outside. Also I don’t believe there were many people around at the time and the one cop that was, was a corrupt one. No one would have heard anything.

    1. The colors shifting to red looked very cool and stylistic, though they shouldn’t have faded it back to reality afterwards because the art from afar ended up looking sloppy once it shifted away from the stylistic look of the initial gunshot.

  4. It was kinda funny in the game when Akechi shoots you and your confidant with him ranks up. It’s not everyday that you feel closer to a mentally unstable detective who shoots a fake you in the head, right? LOL

    1. Akechi has the weirdest ranking route because it’s tied to story progression. By the time he became the traitor, they started giving him the oddest rank-ups like pointing a gun at Ren’s face in preparation of shooting him dead or

      Show Spoiler ▼

  5. ” I guess we’ll have to wait until December to find out what exactly Morgana and Futaba had up their sleeve and why Ryuji seems so excited in the final scene”

    You saying it as if you didn’t spoiled enough about other 2 palances and Ren, sure we can’t tell if the anime team will suddenly decide to change the game’s final arcs to something else in the OVA, but I never like when people act as if they don’t know things while contradicting themselves in the next sentence, not very convincing imo :/

  6. Does Akechi ever escape the hallway? – This made me laugh way more than it should have.

    I almost believed Akechi when he said “I’m here to rescue you.” Partly ’cause of the “twist” and partly because they way Soichiro Hoshi delivered the line. Now I’m thinking the twist was – there was no actual twist. They just said it to entice people who played the game to watch…

    They did it. They went for the Fakeout Ending
    1. Yes, there’s an OVA coming! I really hope they don’t rush the last part of the story. Also hoping they’ll put more effort into the art and animation but seeing how the anime’s turned out… :/

      They did it. They went for the Fakeout Ending
      1. I also like how the anime aired in the Spring where the game started and “ended” in the fall (a month earlier than in game but still). Now I guess we’ll just have to wait for December for the “true ending”.

        I'll bet Ryuji wanted to punch Akechi in the face when they regrouped at Leblanc
  7. If so, I’m very glad they went with the evolving credits with each Phantom Thief that joined the team.
    For one thing it pretty much pointed out (to the anime only watchers) who the traitor was.
    And did the opening’s animation seem kinda choppy?

    I did like the similar imagery of a rose and a brain stem though.

    What are people’s guesses to the scarf guy with his back turned to the camera in the opening? I instantly thought of P3’s Ryoji but why would he be in the opening? All the clocks and green lighting wasn’t helping either.

    ~Dreamless dorm –
    Ticking clock,
    I walk away –
    from the soundless room~

    It’s probably Akechi…

    Was that supposed to be the real opening for Dark Sun?
  8. Back in April I saw the announcement for P5A. So, I decided to casually watch the first episode to see what Persona was about. All I really knew about the Persona franchise was there was this blue haired kid and his school uniform logo and they defeat Shadows. Oh, and they also face their dark side.
    Man, that was a bad idea! I was so confused. What was happening?? Why did they magically end up in a castle in an alternate reality? How did phone app make that possible? Who put it there? The fighting seems to take place in the alternate reality, so did the Phantom Thieves get so cocky with their powers that they eventually decided to heist a casino in the real world which lead to the main character getting caught?

    And I found I was disliking each episode because I didn’t understand how fighting Shadows worked or why stealing a palace’s “treasure” led to them magically confessing their crimes. My first impression of Ryuji, Ann, and Yusuke was they were dull. I understood they all came from bad circumstances but I didn’t particularly care for any of them.

    So I sought to understand Persona 5 better and watched some walkthroughs of the game, watched the game’s anime cut scenes (why didn’t A-1 stick with this color palette?), did some research on the main cast, Metaverse battles, confidants, and locations(thought that there was a plot twist that Ren Amamiya’s real name was Akira Kurusu until I found out the protags are nameless in game until the manga/anime names them. LOL).
    So after all that I rewatched up to the part where Makoto awakens her Persona (I actually got psyched she gets a motorcycle as a Persona. All previous Personas shown were giant mythical characters that have sweeping attacks. Or fire. Or whatever.).

    It was after around Futaba’s arc that I realized I was actually enjoying the character interactions of the team despite the shoddy animation, off models, rushed arcs, ect. Oh, and the music. I started off with Life Will Change and I was hooked to the OST.

    All in all the anime was a largely condensed version of the game but it had its moments. Also we got Infinity. 🙂
    – “I’m a dad.”
    – Ren silencing Mishima’s texts after he tricks him into meeting with Ohya
    – “Your fight’s with me.”
    – Ren spending all his money from his part time job so the socially anxious Futaba has a good time at the beach
    – Yusuke’s lobsters
    – Haru’s clumsy introduction as Beauty Thief
    – Morgana reconciling with the Thieves and finding his place of belonging
    – Heartwarming scenes of Yusuke, Makoto, and Haru’s childhood
    – Ren hamming it up at the school festival’s haunted house and Ryuji subsequently slapping sense into him
    – Futaba calling Sojiro “dad”, Sojiro tearing up
    – Joker saving Queen and strengthening her resolve to save her sister
    – The Phantom Thieves All Out Attack on Sae’s Shadow

    Persona 5 The Animation may not have done Persona 5 justice but it did make me a Persona fan
  9. “but it’s also strange to hear him so inspired by the Phantom Thieves and Ren when he only held an umbrella for him at that point. “This kind young man sheltered me from the rain once, so I want to run for his sake and the Phantom Thieves!””

    Yeah, I wish they expanded on Tora’s confidant arc so that scene had more impact. Actually that’s how I felt during the entire anime. I was supposed to be convinced that in a mere 6 months Ren and co. fought against all sorts of treachery, which transformed Ren into a cunning strategist and a hardened fighter who could withstand the brutal torture he endured.
    Did episode 26 sell it? Not really.

    I hope anime only watchers noticed the suspicious difference between how Ren acted with Sae and Akechi
    1. It’s an app on their phone given to them by the Velvet Room. If they’re caught up in close proximity to someone else going into the Metaverse then their phone will get it too after being dragged in. When you enter the Metaverse the only way to exit is the way you came in. So no not every human has the gift because it is not their own personal power, their power is to summon their Persona. This is explained in the game, and when Makoto joins she even asks about the app and everyone else knows nothing about it and you can try and tell her a man with a giant nose gave it to you.

  10. I really liked that parallel shot of Joker diving out the stained glass window and Queen bursting out of the vent with the treasure. And also the fact that she (and Pancake Boy) witnessed how far their leader was willing to go to protect his teammates. I can only imagine the turmoil she must have felt with Ren getting captured and the traitor right next to her, before assuming her role as second-in-command telling everyone to go “or his courage will be in vain.”.

    No romance routes in P5A (or else incur the wrath of the fandom) but the biggest hints go to Ren and Makoto
  11. IT ENDED SO BADLY LIKE WTF WHY I WANTED IT TO KEEP GOING THEY JUST FUCKED UP A GOOD STORY, the anime wouldn’t have necessarily fir the description of the game they could’ve changed the ending and added more details to it, to me it just doesn’t make sense why this happened, Morgana told him to show the phone to Akechi, poor guy did but doesn’t that mean that Morgana is the mastermind, he does keep saying that he is human what if his self-was separated into 2 parts and this happened?! I honestly don’t care Y dd u kill him YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY it was such a good series!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT HAVE U DONE!!!!!! WHY HAVE U DONE THIS!! This could have been better than Code geass so why on earth would you do that JAYSUS HELP IM HAVING A MENTAL BREAKDOWN. IM LITERALLY CRYING MY FACE OFF…what have ya’ll done T.T YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! Y! Y!Y!Y!Y!Y!Y!Y!YY!Y!Y!Y!YY!Y!Y!Y JUST FUCKING Y!

    1. It’s okay, don’t worry. The game that’s out has more details. They just ended it on a weird note that would only be clear to those who played the game, but would otherwise confuse people. It wasn’t very well put together, but it did it so that we would be shocked about the reveal that Akechi was working against him.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      And it’s alright. It was a horrible way to end the anime and I still have problems with this being the place to end the official anime adaptation, but it’ll be alright. It’s just a passing moment that’ll be resolved either by the OVA or by watching a Let’s Play of the rest of the game or playing the game. I haven’t been able to go through therapy for my anxiety and panic while driving because of a new job, but my therapist tries to get me through the 4-4-8 exercise to breathe four seconds, hold four seconds, and exhale eight seconds. I still have problems with driving anxiety, but I feel like breathing does help bring things into perspective that my fears are intensified through not focusing on my breathing pattern.

      I can’t stand a lack of closure and was looking for streams of an Episode 27 on the off-chance they were bluffing, but I know they’ll have to resolve it at some point. Afterall, they made Persona 3 movies six years after the original game came out. In Jeff Goldblum’s words, “Life, uh, finds a way,” and that’s something I take to heart. Sometimes I think anxiety rules me and that I’m bound to just keep having panic attacks in uncomfortable roads or highways, but I’m always able to make it home fine whenever I get on the road. Not sure if this helps, but maybe it can help put things into perspective to think about how despite how hard things look and seem at the time, things end up working out. The search for finding how it ends up working out is maddening and bothers me every time, but it’s something we go through with anxiety and panic. If I’m misreading all of this, I apologize for jumping to conclusions, but if you’re feeling panicked by the anime’s lack of closure, I just want to let you know that these feelings always come in waves, and while they can unfortunately come in and out like a relapse, its something that can still wash over to make way for more positive times.

  12. If I was an anime-only watcher I would’ve been soooo confused about the butterfly and the voice that told Ren the “game was rigged from the start”.

    A Giant Honking Casino Behind a Courthouse

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *