Hey everyone, Josh here with yet another review of yet another episode of Persona 5: The Animation! As per usual, I want to thank each and every one of you for sticking around with me for these reviews. I know I can get long winded at times, but dawg gone it, I’m a native Louisianian, and we get long winded. In any case, thank you all so much for the love and the feedback. It is greatly appreciated.
So yeah, we’re on episode 4 when all the buildup actually comes to a head! While I didn’t get the same full-on thrill I got when I played this part of the game for the first time, I have to admit, the anime does put it’s own spin on some iconic moments that make me come close to those same feelings. However, there are a couple parts of this episode that gave me a lot of pause, and it really left me scratching my head… and no, not because of dandruff. I got a nice shampoo that helps with that. Ahem…
I may not be a shape shiftier at Poe’s masquerade, but I am Josh, and this is Episode 4 of Persona 5: The Animation.
Last time on P5A, Ryuji and Ren decide to grill the volleyball team on the alleged abuse witnessed in Douche Canoe Kamoshida’s palace. However, the students hand wave the inquiries away, not wanting to give up information on their coach for fear of retribution. Ren stumbles across Ann, who has just turned down a sexual advance by Kamoshida over the phone, and she spills her guts that Kamoshida is using her relationship with her best friend Shiho to manipulate her into being arm candy; think along the lines of R. Kelly. Kamoshida then decides to redirect his sexual urges to Shiho against her will, and severely distraught from it, Shiho attempts suicide by jumping off the roof. However, gravity doesn’t claim this one, and she survives, but just barely. When Ryuji, Ren and Mishima confront Kamoshida, he threatens to have all three of them expelled and thrown in juvenile detention to cover it up. Morgana explains that it is possible to make Kamoshida confess his crimes by forcing a “Change of Heart” in the palace, but if done incorrectly, it could kill him. Ren and Ryuji agree that, despite the risk, Kamoshida’s reign must be brought to an end and they take the mission. In the palace, Ann, who was transported to the Metaverse, is captured by Shadow-Kamoshida and, after a bit of self-analysis, awakens to her own persona, the femme fatale Carmen. The group then decide that they are going to team up for the epic heist to make Kamoshida confess his crimes by stealing his treasure. Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s get to it.
We pick up this episode with the whole school abuzz over the calling card left by “The Phantom Thieves of Hearts” calling out Kamoshida and his sins and promising to make him confess his crimes by stealing his heart, and Ryuji, our blonde bro, is the mastermind behind the calling card, bless his heart. However, Ren and Ann aren’t exactly impressed with his work. Poor Ryuji, it’s okay bro… I have a good friend of mine who loves you.
Anyway, Kamoshida is understandably ticked off at this, harassing students left and right to find out who done it. His focus turns to Ren and Ryuji, who say nothing, but he feels the need to gloat their expulsion over them. Because he’s a douche, and that’s what douches do. Don’t believe me? Watch the news.
We then cut to our OP… which is VERY different from the one we’ve seen for 2 episodes! The song is the same, of course, but the visuals… THE VISUALS… they are drool worthy, ladies and gentlemen! I don’t know why they changed the visuals after 4 episodes, but dawg gone it, this is a change that I love! I especially love, what I’m assuming, is a call back to Persona 4 with the TV in the beginning of the OP. And I ESPECIALLY love the MTV like logo on the screen. A lot of love and work went into this OP, and I really appreciate it!
Anyway, up on the school roof, our group gets a briefing from Morgana. He tells the team that thanks to the calling card, Kamoshida’s treasure, which was originally a floating blob of glittery light, has now materialized and able to be stolen. However, the calling card has also put Kamoshida’s cognition on high alert, making the heist extremely difficult because of it. In addition, the treasure will only be materialized for a short time, so they are on the clock. So Ryuji and Ren go to gather supplies while Ann goes to run an errand, and they agree to meet back up at the school late at night.
Ryuji and Ren, being led by Morgana, find themselves at a model gun shop to pick up weapons. They find a nice looking model gun, but it’s really pricey–$181 in US dollars. Morgana urges Ryuji to barter with the sales clerk, but it doesn’t go well as the clerk scares him, and Ryuji ends up paying full price, leaving him with about $0.90. Mr. Art of the Deal, ladies and gentlemen. Anyway, our group goes to the pharmacy to pick up some first aid supplies, but since their budget is blown, all they can afford for first aid is a pack of bandages. Lord knows I’ve been there before in the game. Many a times, all I’ve had for HP restores was some Rancid Gravy, a couple Peach Fruits, and maybe a SOMA that I know I’m gonna need for the FINAL final boss…
Ren returns to Leblanc just as a one of the customers, a VERY attractive lady in a white lab coat, gets ready to leave. She looks him up and down saying he looks like a great test subject and just randomly hands him some medicine for exhaustion, telling him to take it and report its effectiveness back to her. As she leaves, she warns that there could be side effects. Morgana thinks that this his sketchy, but the medicine could come in handy. While Ren is upstairs making lock picking tools for the heist, at the hospital, Ann is leaving the intensive care unit where Shiho is recovering, promising that she’ll return again to see her.
Our group traverses to the Metaverse and arrive at the castle, which has indeed heightened security. The group then begin the operation, dashing through the castle towards the treasure room. As they run through, Morgana decides that now is a good time for them to pick code-names for use while they’re in the Metaverse. Ryuji, due to his skull mask, names himself “Skull.” Morgana reluctantly gets the simple code-name “Mona,” Ann, due to her very tight cat outfit, takes the nickname “Panther,” and Ren… well… his code-name decision is put off for later. Eventually the group reaches a point where the path leading up to the treasure room is heavily booby trapped, requiring a special “eye-tem” to open the path. The group finds an armed guard with the item and, after a bit of sexy cat flirtation by Ann, the guard is knocked out and transforms into a female shadow. Ren, never being one for subtlety, points his gun at the flying shadow holding it up for the “eye-tem”. However, Ren’s subtitle charms are enough to get the shadow to remember that she’s more than just Kamoshida’s lackey; she’s the Persona known as Pixie—a part of the human heart that has lost its way. As thanks, Pixie turns herself into a mask and joins with Ren, and the others gasp in awe. With the “eye-tem” in hand, the group stop the booby traps and proceed to the treasure room.
As it turns out, the big blob of light from earlier has transformed itself into a large golden crown. Mona… well… he gets excited. REAL excited. But before he has a chance to sexually abuse the trophy, in comes Shadow Kamoshida who grabs it away. He is determined not to let anyone take the crown as it represents his dominion in this world. Shadow-Ann reappears, fawning all over Shadow-Kamoshida, who is just lapping it up, lusting after Shadow-Ann with R. Kelly like creepiness. Shadow-Kamoshida gloats that it’s actually the students and teachers who put him on such a high pedestal due to his many accomplishments and only a few fools like Shiho, whom he doesn’t even call by name, who don’t allow themselves to fall under his spell. Suddenly, Shadow-Kamoshida gives in to his twisted, distorted desires and transforms into a large, hideous monster. It’s Boss Fight Time, ladies and gentlemen!
After firing off a smoke bomb, the group takes cover as Shadow-Kamoshida fires off literal volleys of volleyballs to make a game plan. Mona sees an opportunity for the group to steal the treasure and Skull volunteers to execute the plan, with the full confidence of the team. While Ren, Panther and Mona summon their personas to engage in battle, Skull climbs up the side, out of Shadow-Kamoshida’s sight to grab the treasure. Hey, remember that model gun the boys bought earlier? Well, it comes in handy here as Ren fires off a shot to break Kamoshida’s trophy cup, the source of his power. As it turns out, in the Metaverse, a model gun is just as effective as a real gun. And if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of loads of NRA members tossing themselves off silly at the thought. Of course, Kamoshida is none too happy with this and he fires off a harsh volley, causing Ren to go unconscious.
In the Velvet Room, Igor asks if Ren is really ready to give up without putting up one good fight. Of course, our glasses bro is nowhere near done. So Igor decides to help out a bit in an unusual way. Arsene is summoned and, quite literally, sent to the gallows to create a new Persona…
Just as Shadow-Kamoshida is about to fire the last volley, Ren awakens and summons a new Persona—a Gremlin in a Jar more formally known as Agathion. With Shadow-Kamoshida in shock, Skull swoops in and knocks the crown off Kamoshida’s head. With nowhere to go, our quartet goes in for the All-Out attack and Agathion finishes up the job, shattering the distorted desires and leaving Shadow-Kamoshida scurrying like the pathetic creature he is.
The group corner Shadow-Kamoshida who whines and gives excuses for his behavior, that everyone else forced their expectations onto him and he was desperate. Panther summons Carmen and reads him the Riot Act and comes REAL close to ending Kamoshida, but decides against it, saying that he’ll confess his crimes himself and suffer as all the kids he tormented suffered. Shadow-Kamoshida admits defeat and says he’ll return to his real self and confess before disappearing, and with Shadow-Kamoshida destroyed, the castle begins crumbling around them and the group escapes. Good times.
The next day, at the school assembly, Principal No-Neck is giving a lecture about what happened to Shiho and trying put things back to normal. However, Kamoshida is nowhere to be seen. As Ryuji and Ren quietly wonder what could’ve happened to Kamoshida and if they did the right thing the right way… well, confirmation soon comes bursting through the gym doors as Douche Canoe makes his appearance to the shock of everyone. Sounding almost nothing like his earlier self, he admits to the abuse and the sexual assault and harassment. He also assumes responsibility for driving Shiho to kill herself and he offers to make amends by committing suicide. Ann, however, dissuades this, saying that Kamoshida has to live with those regrets and has no right to take the easy way out by killing himself. Kamoshida understands and requests someone call the police so he can turn himself in and be punished; naturally, this causes a stir in the assembly, and Principal No-Neck waves the kids out the assembly.
That night in the chat, as the ending theme and credits begin to play, the group are amazed at what they just pulled off. Ann also gives some great news—Shiho has woken up and is on the road to recovery. Ann told Shiho what happened and that Kamoshida had confessed. Morgana then decides to reveal Ren’s new codename—“Joker”—the team Wildcard. However, he’s still a rookie-level and Morgana decides to move in so he can teach Ren the ropes. Sojiro discovers Morgana in the attic, and decides to let him stay, upset that he wasn’t able to name the feline.
There IS a moment right after the ending credits before the episode ends that Crunchyroll tries to get you to watch yet another episode of My Hero Academia, but I’m not going to mention it here because it’s a PRODIGIOUS spoiler for… well… most of this series. We’ll discuss this later.
So, that’s the end of Episode 4! I have to admit, this was the culmination of 4 episodes of buildup, and the payoff was… pretty dang good! Having played through Kamoshida’s Palace before, I can honestly say that the anime does the game justice. Is it perfect? I can honestly say no. Part of me wishes the battle was just a LITTLE longer, letting Ryuji get in on the battle with Captain Kidd a little before going off to get the treasure, but hey, we all can’t get what we want. The Boss Battle version of Kamoshida looks AMAZING, by the way. For some, it may look a little too CG, but for me, it looks great!
I admit, that new OP was a complete shock to me. I have to wonder if this is going to be the permanent OP or will they do like Persona 4: The Animation did and change it up every so often? Only time will tell, but if this is our new OP, then you won’t get ANY complaints from me!
There was one moment that I really liked that I missed on my first watch-through. Just as Ryuji is about to pluck up the crown from Shadow-Kamoshida, he lands on his leg and wobbles a little and winces. If you recall, Kamoshida broke that leg a while back, and since we’ve seen Ryuji have trouble with that leg, it would only be natural that doing something that intensive would cause some pain, so kudos to the writers and the animators for putting in that one little thing. Attention to detail is important when it comes down to franchises like this and it shows the creators aren’t playing around.
The reveal of the doctor in this episode wasn’t the greatest thing in the world. So, lemme get this straight—she’s just going to give some random kid some random medicine and tells him that he’s now her test subject? Really? In the game, you actually go to her clinic, come up with a story for her to give you some special medication, she makes a deal with you to be her test subject, and the story goes on from there and you actually form a Social Link with her. It’s a more detailed and intricate process to get the medicine in the game, it’s not just, “Hey kid, take this and see what happens.” I understand that the anime is trying to get in as much as they can and they may not have the time for long detailed and intricate story telling for B-Level characters, but still… they could’ve done something better in the same amount of time.
So… umm… the last few seconds of the anime… yeah, that was stupid. It’s just one big spoiler for what’s to come! We see the COMPLETE team and we see the central object for the next palace. Like I said earlier, I don’t want to talk about it, and really, I would recommend that if you’re watching this series and haven’t played the game, DO NOT watch it. But suffice it to say, the last few seconds of the episode really didn’t need to be there. They could’ve cut back to Ren and Sae in the interrogation room or just end the episode after the credits. Why they put that massive spoiler there confounds me, and it all but ruins an otherwise great episode.
Lastly, there’s a moment right after the group enters the Metaverse when they go through the castle, talking about the code-names and cracking locks. The song “Life will Change” is playing in the background, and while I really like how this scene plays out, I kinda wish there was one more thing they could’ve added. In the game, as you are running towards the treasure room with the music playing in the background, there are lights flashing all over and the screen flickers and wavers like there’s a klaxon alarm or something going off. It’s SO THRILLING and it really gets the blood pumping. The scene, as it is, is okay, but I just wish there was that one little level. I want to feel that thrill like I did with the game!
So yeah, aside from a few missteps, this was yet another solid episode and a pretty satisfying ending to the first Palace story arc. Yeah there are a few things I wish they did differently, but I think on the whole, it was done pretty well. I do look forward to the next palace heist and seeing how those are adapted. Honestly, I know there are some people out there who are kinda giving this show a hard time for the pacing, but honestly, trying to cram a video game as in depth and immersive as Persona 5 into a 26 episode series is a challenge in and of itself. But it’s a challenge that has been done successfully and I have confidence that Persona 5: The Animation will meet that challenge head on… if only it wouldn’t make questionable storytelling decisions… like SPOILING ITS OWN STORY!
Reminders. I have them. Persona 5: The Animation is currently being streamed on Crunchyroll with new episodes dropping every Saturday at 1:00pm EDT/12:00PM CDT. You can also stream the series on Hulu, but I can’t say exactly what time each episode will drop. Also remember that the game, Persona 5, is readily available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 if you wanna check it out.