Hey guys, Josh here, once again pouring heart and soul into these odd-ball summaries of Persona 5: The Animation. As always, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your feedback and kindness though my voyage, and I promise you, that if you stick around with me through this trip, you will get nothing but my absolute best! Granted, my write-up may not be as interesting as the Royal Wedding was, but trying to live up to the Royals is a feat in and of itself.
So yeah, Episode 7. A really solid episode. Granted, it could be argued that this show just follows along with the pattern of all the other ones like it—new member accidentally falls into the Meta-verse, Shadow-Douche captures them and gloats, a voice rings out in their head, bing-bang-boom, Persona! And you would be right, this is a pattern. However, because each of these characters and their backstories are so unique, it’s not that bad. This episode, while it does follow the above formula, still manages to be good because of the character involved.
All that being said, come on and get spun in by the net you didn’t catch in time! I’m Josh, and this is Episode 7 of Persona 5: The Animation.
Last time on P5:A, at the behest of apprentice artist Yusuke Kitagawa, The Phantoms decide (somewhat reluctantly) to check out the art exhibit of famed Japanese Artist Ichiryusai Madarame, an outwardly humble guy living and working in an outwardly humble atelier. However, all is not as it seems, as Madarame has quite a few rumors swirling around him involving abuse of his apprentices and stealing their work for his own personal gain. When the group confronts Yusuke to find out WTF, Yusuke tells the group to GTFO as that’s some BS as Madarame took him in and taught him everything he knows about the fine arts. It also comes out that Yusuke has been “giving” his artwork to Madarame, but having drunk the Madarame Kool-Aid, he doesn’t see this as a problem considering all that Madarame has done for him. Outside, the group stumbles across Madarame’s codewords, triggering the Meta-Nav and revealing his large gawdy art museum palace. Inside, Shadow Madarame reveals that he plans on working Yusuke, literally, to death, profiting off his artwork. After receiving a formal request from former target and former apprentice Nakanohara, The Phantoms decide that it’s time to wage holy hell on Madarame and make him the next target. Got it? Good. Let’s get going.
Our episode starts with the group establishing their infiltration route in Madarame’s gaudy palace. All goes according to plan until the group reaches a gaudy, tightly shut door surrounded by wide-beam laser alarms with no way to circumvent them. Morgana suggests that they regroup after the Opening Credits and come up with a plan of attack.
After the credits, it looks as though a plan is currently in the works and it also looks like someone else is trying to get dirt on Madarame. It’s a nosy reporter of course, following a lead on rumors regarding Madarame and his abuse of students. Ryuji and Ren deny having anything to do with Madarame, but our roving reporter, Ichiko Ohya, knows something is up with these two and offers up her card, asking them for any information they could have about the shenanigans going on.
Meanwhile, it seems as though Ann has agreed to pose in the buff for Yosuke while Madarame is currently out the house. Uh-huh… he’s clearly thrilled about the idea, yet it seems as though our dear Ann has gained a couple pounds since the last time we saw her. I think the correct term is “Thicc”. What’s going on here?! Did Ann go to the Black Cookout? Nah, it’s not that crucial. Baby girl is just layered down in just about every piece of clothing she owns. How did we get here? Hold up, let’s go back a bit…
Earlier, after determining they couldn’t get past the alarms in Madarame’s palace, The Phantoms pull out and regroup to brain storm. Morgana mentions that he saw a similar looking door with a freakishly large lock on it in the real world during his earlier recon in the atelier. They come to the conclusion that in order to open the door in the Palace, the same door in the real world must be opened right in front of Madarame’s eyes. However, in order to get the timing down right, a distraction would be required…a pretty blonde distraction with pigtails, blue eyes, an amazing smile… and not a stitch of clothing. Ann, of course, balks at the idea of posing in her birthday suit for a guy she just met all by herself, but after reassurance from Ren that is indeed for justice… maybe… she relents.
Back to the atelier, Ann gets Yusuke to turn around as she begins to slowly strip. Of course, baby girl is taking her sweet time as Morgana is trying to pick the lock on the gaudy door using just his claws. Yeah, let’s just go with it–Morgana can change into a bus so I guess it’s not beyond the scope of implausibility that he can pick locks. After throwing a particularly frilly blue bra, she goes off to check on Morgana’s status. Yusuke, puzzled, goes after her and explains that the door she is standing by is Madarame’s storage area and nobody is allowed in. Just as it looks like Ann really will have to strip down to keep up the distraction, Madarame returns home… and it is timed perfectly with Morgana cracking the lock right in front of him.
Meanwhile in the Palace, the lasers go down and the doors open up, allowing access for Ren and Ryuji. The two go into another room with several large paintings hanging on the wall. Ren, deciding that sticking his hand randomly inside things that you normally aren’t supposed to is really cool (hey, it worked for Yu Narukami), sticks his hand in one of the pictures and walks right through it with Ryuji close behind. Well, hey if Blue can Skidoo, then dawg gone it, they can too. However, skidooing is best left to the experts as the boys emerge back out, exhausted. Seems like all the paintings are connected together like a maze, and getting through them all is really complex. Who would’ve thought?
Back in the atelier, Ann and a rather flustered Yusuke enter the locked storage room and make a shocking discovery. The room is full of many copies of the paining “Saiyuri”. If you recall, the story was that the painting was considered stolen a long time ago, so seeing all these copies of it in a locked room is more than a little suspect. Yusuke asks his sensei what’s the deal. Madarame then spouts off several stories about the painting which are very clearly lies and which Ann calls out multiple times. Ann, sweetie, if the modeling gig doesn’t work, why not consider a job working as a White House reporter? I would love to see you call out each and every one of Sarah Huckabee-Sanders’ lies. It would make my effing DAY! Anyway, Morgana then flicks in and uncovers a painting sitting on an easel—it’s “Saiyuri,” the REAL one this time. While Madarame tries to convince Yusuke it’s just another copy, Yusuke knows better as this is the painting that has kept him going since he was a kid. Confronted with all this evidence against him, Madarame does what any humble starving artist does—pulls out his cell phone and reports Ann AND Yusuke to his private security company. The two run off and Ann launches the Meta-Nav just as Yusuke catches up to her… uh-oh…
So yeah, Ann and Yusuke literally fall into the Metaverse in front of Ryuji and Ren. Explanations are soon given that this is the inside of Madarame’s heart. Yusuke understandably still can’t believe any of this, especially since the world that represents his heart is garish and ugly. However, our artist bro doesn’t get long to dwell on this as Shadow Madarame confronts the group. Dressed top-knot to toe in bright garish gold, Shadow Madarame admits that his ragged looks and surroundings are nothing but a cover. Remember that atelier? Yeah, that’s a cover too; Madarame got a larger house in his side ‘ho name. Madarame then goes on to gloat about how he fooled the entire art loving world and how he used his puplils paintings and other art works to advance his own career simply by putting his name on their works.
Yusuke then asks the very logical question. “If you had the original Saiyuri all this time, why make so many copies?” As it turns out, Madarame was the one who spread the rumor that the painting was stolen. That way, he could take the copies and tell some poor unsuspecting fool “Hey, I actually found the real painting, but there’s gonna be a mad rush for it, so what I’ll do is sell it to YOU for XYZ” And since some art buffs sometimes have more money than sense, they’ll just throw money at him like Phillip J. Fry buying an EyePhone. It’s all completely legitimate and legal, if not morally bankrupt. (Insert joke about the current President HERE)
Madarame, finally tired of offering exposition, summons his guards who, after a valiant effort on the part of The Phantoms, captures Yusuke. Shadow Madarame offers Yusuke the chance to turn against the group, but he does it in the oddest way. He actually admits to Yusuke that he only nurtured his artistic abilities to exploit them for all they’re worth and then slaughter him like a cow. In fact, Madarame calls Yusuke his “Cash Cow.” Yeah, because that’s the best way to get someone to join up with you–admit that you’ve been using them all their lives and that you plan to milk them dry until they literally DIE. Naturally, Yusuke is horrified that his sensei could be this way, vowing that he could NEVER forgive Madarame. Shadow Madarame smacks him, and as we all know, in anime as in life, sometimes it takes a good smack to come around from a delusion. Or if you’re in the Kamiya household, a good smack, even when you’re in the wrong, and even when you’re 8 years old, is just a fact of life.
A voice rings in Yusuke’s head, berating him for being so blind and denying what he knows was true. The voice then offers to forge a contract with Yusuke, and show the world the difference between beauty and vice. The force of his will breaks his bonds and Yusuke finally removes his masks, causing his inner trickster to manifest itself into the mystical ninja and hero of the poor man, Goemon! No, not THAT Goemon… or THAT Goemon… yeah, THAT Goemon.
Now fully woke, Yusuke goes HAM, slashing through Shadow Madarame’s guards using his ice attacks. However, just as he is about to confront Shadow Madarame, his strength gives out and Shadow Madarame runs away.
Outside the Metaverse, in a local cafe, Yusuke ruminates with the group about his life with Madarame. He knew that the plagiarism was going on and he knew it was wrong, but he forced himself to deny it because of all that Madarame did for him; taking him in after his mother died when he was 3 years old. Ren asks about what Yusuke’s next move is going to be. At first, Yusuke seems hesitant about what he wants to do, but after hearing from Morgana and Ryuji that they plan on doing some heart stealing, Yusuke asks to join the group. Of course, they welcome in with open arms.
Later, the group try to settle on a code-name for their newest member. Yusuke offers up “Da Vinci” but that gets shot down. How about… ”Abura-age,” because of the mask and tail on his costume look like a fox, and according to Japanese mythology, foxes (kitsune) love fried tofu (abura-age). Yeah, no. Ren’s suggestion is simple and to the point: “kitsune”. However, our American Girl Ann decides to go with “Fox,” which everyone seems to agree with. Roll Credits!
After the credits, back in the Metaverse, Fox seems to navigate through the painting maze with ease, and the group establish their infiltration route. Skull immediately offers to do the calling card this time, but Panther suggests that their new artist friend should have the honors. As they are about to leave, Joker is recalled into the Velvet Room. Seems that Igor is quite proud of the progress he’s making down the road towards rehabilitation. When he tries to ask what is this power he’s been given, Justine quickly rebukes him, much to Igor’s delight.
So yeah, Episode 7 was actually pretty good. Granted, it was predictable that Yusuke was going to be the fourth member of the team (after all, we’ve seen him and all other future Phantom Thieves multiple times in the ending credits) his awakening was actually played out really well here. In fact, dare I say, you get a better idea for the betrayal he must’ve been feeling as compared to the game, as we get some shots of him when he was younger being reared by Madarame. There’s just something powerful about seeing someone being raised by someone when they were little, knowing that the betrayal is coming. And that slap (which was not seen in the game or even hinted at) was just the icing on the proverbial cake. I’m also very glad that we actually got to see Yusuke pull off some attacks for his debut battle. If you’ll recall, I had prodigious problems with Ryuji’s first fight, as I felt Ren jumped in a little too quickly and didn’t give him a chance to shine. This time, Yusuke got a chance to really open up and do the dawg gone thing, and it was glorious.
Speaking of that fight, of all the different Persona designs of this series, I have to admit, Goemon is right at the top of the list; right next to Izanagi from Persona 4 and Jack Frost from…well…just about every Shin Megami Tensei game made in the last decade or more. Gomeon looks straight out of a ukiyo-e painting and, while there are a few little differences in the anime design as compared to the video game, this version of Goemon still captures the feeling of this Japanese Par-Boiled Robin Hood perfectly. Just so glad they didn’t go with the Ganbare Goemon version…though I wouldn’t say NO to seeing a persona on roller skates…
Honestly, I don’t have any real complaints this time around with this episode. It actually was really good. I just hope that they keep on showing us more things that may have been alluded to in the anime, but never seen. We really needed that moment with Yusuke and Shadow Madarame in the palace. That scene just wouldn’t have worked if it was just him mustache twirling and grandstanding. He had to get in Yusuke’s face to try and get him to flip. He HAD to smack Yusuke around a bit. We’ve heard so much about the abuse… we had to see it, and I’m glad we did. If I DID have to complain about anything, I just wish we got a LITTLE more of the Goemon awakening fight… mostly because I love Goemon’s design.
So yeah, long story short, Episode 7 was a really good one! We got our fifth member and we’re getting ready to jump in the next palace. There’s a small part of my mind that thinks we may be going a bit too fast, but then I realize that Persona 5, heck the Persona series as a whole, is more than just the fights—it’s about how our main character establishes relationships and interacts with the world around him, changing and evolving as he goes, so I suspect that we may spend a couple episodes after we get a core group taking a breather and meeting new people and confidants. I really hope this show doesn’t decide to mash on the proverbial gas pedal…especially considering how high gas prices are now.
Yup. I’m gonna remind you again. Why? Because if I don’t, who will? Anyway, 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.