Greetings and salutations one and all. Josh here, once again, offering up the classic Cajun commentary for this little anime called Persona 5: The Animation! Once again, my friends, I would like to thank you all for giving me your thoughts and feedback for these reviews. It’s really encouraging to see how many people actually like what I do enough to give me feedback on it, so once again, thank you so much for the feedback and for just reading my stuff!
So we’re now on Episode 6, and it really feels that we’re now out of the preliminaries and into the show proper. With the introduction of two new characters, and a new target to aim for, The Phantoms seem to have their hands full, and this anime finally seems ready to let itself tell the tale without going at breakneck speeds.
It’s hot as hell in my world of conflict… and in Louisiana, but it’s my goal that keeps me going… that, and air conditioning. I’m Josh, and this is Episode 6 of Persona 5: The Animation.
Last time on P5:A, Ren, Ryuji, Ann and Morgana decide to cash in their treasure from Kamoshida’s palace and go out for some high-class grub. However, just as our group were really feeling good about themselves, two separate run-ins with some selfish adults blow their mellows. It’s then that Ryuji has an idea—why don’t they make their Thievery a full time gig, stealing the hearts of corrupt and shady adults while offering inspiration and support for those who are suffering, all the while making a name for themselves? After some deliberation, Ren is appointed the leader of the group and officially christens the group “The Phantoms.” The job of finding corrupt adults is made a little easier thanks to Mishima and his Phantom Thieves Forum which is a place where visitors can post names of people whose hearts they want to change. However, instead of a giant palace like Kamoshida had, Morgana guides them to the People’s Palace—a winding Train station in the Metaverse called “Mementos.” The group mixes it up with a low-level shadow who has been stalking his ex, and they steal his heart, making him all good again. Afterwards, on their way to school the group encounters a pretty boy in the subway who has been following Ann around… and thus our story resumes.
Our pretty-boy stalker introduces himself to The Phantoms as Yusuke Kitagawa, 2nd year student at Kosei High’s Fine Arts Division and live-in apprentice of the famed painter Madarame. Seems like Yusuke is quite enamored with Ann, saying that from the moment they met, she stole his heart. FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION THAT, YUSUKE… anyway, Yusuke is so taken with Ann that he begs her to be his model for his next piece. Suffice it to say our group is… puzzled. Now is a good time for some OP credits.
We go back to the interrogation room grilling and to get info about our next target: Ichiryusai Madarame; a guy who has done many despicable things in the art world under cover and out of sight of prying eyes. Sae presses Ren for more information about how he was able to find out about Madarame’s crimes…
Rewind back to class and our group is just finishing up with their midterms. Up on the roof, a relieved Ryuji suggests that they get into some phantom thievery shenanigans. Morgana immediately rebukes this idea as being careless as Akechi is now sniffing around them. Ann suggests that they check out Madarame’s art exhibition at the museum as Yusuke gave her three tickets for the exhibit. Ann is all for going because, well, free tickets! But before the group can talk about appreciating the fine arts, our Student Council President, Makoto Nijima, comes up the stairs for a word. She correctly and brilliantly notices how weird it is that the three most infamous students at the school with ties to Kamoshida are now all friends and all conveniently gathered in one place together. Say what you will about if she is or isn’t waifu material, you have to admit, baby girl is a prodigiously smart cookie. However, she’s also a a prodigiously tough cookie as she says that the roof has been declared off limits due to Shiho’s attempted premature trip on the Midnight Train to Georgia. As they depart, Morgana wisely warns Ren to be careful around Makoto as she’s pretty on the ball.
The next day, The Phantoms set off for the exhibit. Along the way, the group passes by Madarame himself, who is giving a TV interview. He comes off as being a really humble and down to earth artist, downplaying his talent and putting emphasis on his meager surroundings including his atelier or art studio. Ann seems taken with the artist, but Ryuji and Ren seem a little hesitant. Yusuke comes up and enthusiastically offers to take Ann around to see the exhibit, leaving Ryuji and Ren to their own devices.
Yusuke gives Ann a guided tour through the entire exhibit, but she seems rather taken with one of Madarame’s painting in particular that she saw on TV. Ann goes on and on about how beautiful the paining is, but for some reason Yusuke rather abruptly guides her down to the other exhibits without explaining.
Meanwhile outside, Ryuji and Ren have clearly had enough of the fine arts and are now waiting outside playing a game of Shoji on a cell phone. When Ann meets up with the group, Ren explains that something was bugging him about Madarame and his “shack.” He shows Ann the Phan-Site, which has a few posts about how a famous Japanese artist has been stealing his apprentices work and passing it off as his own, treating them like inhuman slaves. Ann is clearly in doubt—how could such a nice and humble man like Madarame be involved in something like this? Ryuji however believes this is legit and that Madarame should be the next big hit. Morgana wisely tells him that because of the artists’ current celebrity status, it could be risky going after him. Ren decides that they should at least get confirmation either way before making a decision. Looking COOL Joker!
So our intel gathering mission begins in earnest—Ann sends a text to Yusuke telling him that she’s interested in being a model. Yusuke jumps at the opportunity and sends Ann the address to the atelier. When the group arrives, they are… well… clearly underwhelmed at what they find. IT is, indeed, a multi-story homely looking building. Seriously, this house looks like it’s made with ribbed sheet metal and wood. And you know what the crazy thing is? I’ve seen houses on HGTV that look just like this and you know some yuppie couple would buy in a heartbeat for six figures and not think anything of it, calling it a “fixer upper” or something like that.
ANYWAY, Yusuke meets our group at the door. Of course, he’s ecstatic to see Ann, but Ren and Ryuji… yeah, not so much. Ryuji decides to take the direct approach and ask about the rumors surrounding Madarame. The basis of these rumors? Of course, it’s the ‘net. Literally, Ryuji says something along the lines of, “So yeah, is this stuff I read about on the internet true about your sensei? Also, do you know anything about a Nigerian prince who was supposed to send me five million bucks?” Bless his heart. Yusuke scoffs at these accusations and says that they’re not true. He then fiercely explains that he is an orphan and that Madarame took him in and educated him on the fine arts. Just as Yusuke looks as though he’s about to lay the smack down on Ryuji for even breathing these accusations, up walks Madarame. When Yusuke explains what the hubbub was about, Madarame asks that Yusuke forgive them, as they were simply concerned for Ann’s safety. After exchanging formalities, the group walks in with Yusuke determined to show the group that Madarame is not the bad guy he is made out to be. Morgana goes off on his own to explore.
Inside the atelier, Yusuke produces an art book and shows the group a picture of Madarame’s Masterpiece, “Saiyuri,” a painting of a young woman dressed in red, looking down wistfully into a hazy blue fog. Yusuke explains that it was this painting that first inspired him to become an artist. The exquisiteness of “Saiyuri” is not lost on the group; even Ryuji is taken by the alluring beauty. While all this is going on, Morgana explores the halls of the atelier and comes across a rather interesting looking door…
Outside the atelier, The Phantoms discuss what they’ve learned so far. Were they wrong about Madarame? After all, Yusuke seems to respect him a lot and he seems so humble. How could someone like that POSSIBLY be the Madarame of rumor—a guy who would plagiarize his students work and make them live in a shack? Nah, couldn’t be, right? As the group turns to leave, the Meta-Nav app triggers. Seems as though Madarame really does have a palace. Just like that O’Jays song… “They smiling in your face, all the time they wanna take your place, the back stabbers…BACK STABBERS!!!” So the group now knows two triggers—the name and the place. Now they just need to figure out how Madarame sees this shack. Ren then comes to the logical conclusion—where else would a guy who is a famous artist want his domain to be? AN ART MUSEUM. We just figured out Blue’s Clues, guys! The Meta-Nav accepts the entry and transports the group to the Metaverse.
Clad in Phantom Thief gear, the group finds themselves staring up at a gaudy and glistening art museum and begin the infiltration. As they go through the palace “exhibits”, they notice something strange about the portrait exhibition areas. They all seem to be portraits of various people, one of which is Natsuhiko Nakanohara—the guy they fought in Mementos. The group then overhears a booming familiar voice down the hall. It’s Shadow-Madarame, and he’s bragging about how he had fooled everyone including the media with his humble act. He sees no problem with plagiarizing his students work as, in his mind, it’s a form of payment and that the abuse is necessary to break them so they don’t rebel and go off on their own like so many others… except for one—Yusuke. Shadow-Madarame plans on milking the young artist dry until he literally dies, using his feelings of devotion to get as much as he can out of him.
Outside the palace, Ryuji is understandably pissed that Yusuke is being taken advantage of. Ann wonders why Yusuke hasn’t said or done anything about it, but Ryuji says it doesn’t matter and immediately figures that they should go ahead and change his heart. However, Ren decides to get final confirmation from the horse’s mouth.
The next day, Ann, Ryuji and Ren meet up again the atelier for Ann’s modeling session. Ryuji and Ren watch intently as Yusuke goes into his own world with his sketching. He ignores just about every question posed to him as though he doesn’t hear them. After a while, Yusuke gives up, frustrated with how his work is coming along. It seems as though in order to paint a nude painting, you need to have your model be nude. Funny how that works. Ann, of course, is not on board with going around in her birthday suit and Ryuji immediately calls Yusuke out on it along with the plagiarism and abuse allegations. Ann chimes in, recalling how Yusuke reacted to the painting in the gallery… HIS painting. Yusuke finally admits that the works Madarame have been putting out there all belong to either him or his former pupils, but he willingly gave his sensei his art work as repayment for all Madarame has done for him and to help him out his slump. When Ryuji counters that he’s told everyone else the same line, especially those who are no longer living with Madarame, Yusuke rages and kicks everyone out. So yeah, that went well.
Later that night at LeBlanc, Ren receives a message from Mishima. As it turns out, the guy whose heart they changed earlier, Natsuhiko Nakanohara, has a request to change someone’s heart. Problem is, he can’t put the name up on the Phan-Site and wants to meet up in public to make his request. That next day, Nakanohara meets up with Ren, who hides behind a corner to protect his identity, while Ann and Ryuji hang out within earshot. Nakanohara then states that he wants the Phantom Thieves to change the heart of his former sensei; Ichiryusai Madarame. Along with what we already know, that Madarame plagiarizes and abuses those under him, Nakanohara explains that one of the students was so affected by the plagiarism, he ended up committing suicide. He even talks about one other student currently living with Madarame who wants to escape, but due to feeling indebted to him, won’t leave. As Nakanohara turns the corner to beg the Phantom Thieves for help, he sees there’s no one there.
Later, the group meets up and confirm that in order to save Yusuke Kitagawa, their next target will be Madarame. ROLL CREDITS!
And so that’s it for Episode 6. Overall, this is a really solid episode. Not a whole lot happened this time around, but for me, that’s not a bad thing. This show is finally realizing that it can take it’s time and tell the story. Like I mentioned earlier, we’re through the tutorial stuff, and now we can get on with the meat of the potato.
The introduction of Yusuke is done very well. He’s more than just the eccentric artist who just wants to have a gander at Ann in her birthday suit—you can see that he’s a really conflicted and troubled kid, torn between loyalty to his teacher and father figure, and the anger of knowing that same teacher and guardian is stealing his works and the works of others. You can absolutely see the anguish he’s going through—even more than in the actual game. And trust me, this will pay off in spades in the not-to-distant future.
Makoto Nijima introduction as a foil for The Phantoms is also very well done. You can tell that she’s a really smart cookie, having put together the fact that Ann, Ryuji and Ren have struck up a rather quick and close friendship so soon, and especially around the time that Kamoshida broke down. I also love the fact that she uses her authority to handicap the team by taking away their hiding spot and also by putting them on alert; “What does she know?” “Does she suspect us?” and most importantly “Is she best girl?” Okay, that last one I’ll leave to the denizens of the internet to fight over.
We also get our new target in Madarame who, while not exactly like Kamoshida, he still has his own level of despicably that makes him a target worthy of our Phantom Thieves and interesting to watch. Once again, having played through the game, I know that there’s going to be an even BIGGER reason to hate Madarame, but I like how the show isn’t dropping loads of hints about what to expect later on. Right now, all we know about Madarame is that he’s a faker just like Kamoshida.
Speaking of Madarame, if I had to point out any problems with this episode, I have to say that the constant repeating of Madarame’s sins is pretty annoying. I mean, during this episode, we have several characters repeat the same thing over and over again—Madarame plagiarizes his students work for his own personal gain and that he abuses them. Nakanohara says it, Ryuji says it, Morgana says it, heck, even MADARAME HIMSELF says it! We get it, he’s a bad guy! What else can you tell me?
But other than that, this episode was really very good. We’re sweeping through hours of game-play, but it’s not feeling rushed like the first couple episodes, nor does it feel like it’s dragging along. The show has finally hit its stride, and it looks as though we’re in for a great story arc. After all, what could be better than Phantom Thieves stealing stuff in a museum? Don’t let me down, Persona 5: The Animation. We eat many things down here in Louisiana, but one thing I hate to eat are my own words.
Just in case you forgot… (Which really, how could you seeing as how I remind you every week), 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.