Hey guys, Josh here once again, bringing you the love and laughter always that is Persona 5: The Animation! And… I guess I got some explaining to do.
First and foremost, I need to apologize for the total lateness of this review. It’s completely my fault. I seriously CRASHED. I had a lot of stuff going on offline, and that plus the rigors of writing reviews every week resulted in a complete burn-out. I would come in from work, eat and make every attempt to write something… but my body just would not allow me to crack down and do anything. It just got to the point where I honestly COULDN’T bring myself to open Word to type. I had to take a break from the keyboard, and honestly, it was much needed. Thankfully, things are getting stable in my offline life right now, and I found some time to take off and rest my brain…at least somewhat. Again, thank you all for your patience with me and a special thanks to Rob and Alex for their patience and understanding. You guys are prodigious. Also, I got some feedback about my reviews a few days ago (of which I am forever grateful) and I’ll be changing a few things up starting with this particular review, so please don’t be shocked if you notice things are a little different this time around! And if you like it or don’t like it, please lemme know and I’ll make corrections!
So, Episode 11. Yeah, this is going to be painful for me guys. This episode was not that good. At all. Like, really, this episode was bad on several fronts. In fact, I would go so far as to say this episode was on the same level as episode 8 of King’s Game: The Animation… and you KNOW it’s bad when I have to reference THAT foolishness. But what exactly made it so bad?
I know the real question to be ask is “Where have I been?” but dawg gone it, sometimes you just need a break. I’m Josh, and this (finally) is my review of Episode 12 of Persona 5: The Animation!
We kick off Episode 12 back in the interrogation room. “Best Big Sister in the World Who Would Never Make Her Little Sister Feel like a Leech on Her Life” Sae just found out that her little sister Makoto had become a Phantom Thief, complete with her own moto-Persona Johanna. While Sae is shocked about this, she continues her interrogation, wanting to find out exactly what happened in the confrontation with Kaneshiro. Roll Credits!
And we pick up our story at school. Yet another rainy day without “Beneath the Mask” playing. Tsk, tsk. Another missed opportunity. Anyway, Makoto meets up with Ren and she’s a little bummed. She wants to get insight on the students at the school, but she doesn’t seem to know exactly what the young folk are into nowadays. Ren suggests that maybe if she goes to Karaoke or an arcade she’ll gather some—
OH DEAR LORD ABOVE, REN IS MISSING HIS LOWER HALF!!! HE’S MISSING HIS WAIST AND BOTH ARMS!! OH LAWD, WE NEVER SAW IT COMING!!!
Oh, wait… hold up… it’s just a stupid animation error. Come on, Aniplex. You know better than this! Get your act together… or at least proof your stuff before putting it on the air!
Ahem, anyway. The top half of Ren suggests that Makoto should go to an arcade or Karaoke to gather intel on what the students are into nowadays. Makoto agrees and suggests that Ren, once he finds his lower body, should accompany her, but there are other shenanigans that must be dealt with first… namely, Kaneshiro.
In the palace, it seems as though The Phantoms have yet to discover the whole “Stealth” and “Planning” thing, as they are now running through the “bank” with alarms blaring. Queen asks if this is always the way it’s supposed to go and if they have a plan. Morg pretty much explains that they more or less wing it, and confront any shadows that come their way. Queen then sees exactly how she can be useful to the group—she can be the person who actually comes up with smart ideas, so that way our group won’t get captured and shaken down for every penny! Good idea! So we’re going to see how that works for them, right?
WRONG, SIR! WRONG! We then cut OUTSIDE the Metaverse to see Ryuji and Ren doing some training after school, with Ryuji breathlessly pointing out that the only thing they’re good at is running away. But… why? In game, you have to stand and fight the enemies in order to get experience. Yes, running is an option; in fact, you can run from just about every enemy in the game up to the boss, but you get no experience from it (both literally and in game). So… why not stand and fight? You guys have Personas. USE THEM. We also see that Ryuji is getting along better with the track students from the last episode. So… we’re just gonna stay out here then. Okay. Social link stuff is always good and—
OH DAWG GONE IT! We’re back in the palace! Can we not make up our minds as to where we want to be?! This is one of the many problems with this episode—we get some decent moments scattered around here and there, but it feels so jumbled and awkwardly put together! You get excited for the palace stuff, but then the scene changes to the real world. So then you get excited for the real world scenes, and it shifts AGAIN. Scene changes are good when done right, but it’s so easy to get wrong.
ANYWAY… outside the Metaverse, Makoto runs into Ann at the crosswalk after school. As she gets ready to cross the street (on green, of course, daughter of a cop ain’t gonna jaywalk), Ann apologizes for blaming Makoto for the whole Kamoshida incident. Makoto brushes it off, saying that she was just as guilty for trying to brush off the blame of not being able to help one of her fellow students off on someone else. The two beauties decide to call it even and even agree to go by first-names which, if you know anything about Japanese culture, is a prodigious step forward!
Back in Kaneshiro’s Palace, with the powerful chords of “Last Surprise” blasting, our two femme fatales make quick work of the shadows they encounter, working as a team and having a great time, much to the bemusement of the boys who, outside the Metaverse, decide to hook up Ren with a “New” TV… and by “hook up”, I mean, they charged it to Ren’s account.
WAIT A MINUTE… HOLD UP! PUMP THE BRAKES!! This same exact thing happened in Persona 4! Chie, bless her adorable heart, charged Teddie’s entire outfit to Yosuke’s account without him knowing it! What is it with Japan?! Can anyone just walk into a store and charge stuff to another person’s account without their approval or even knowing?! I may have to try that out myself!
[Editor’s note: please do not try to commit fraud of this kind or any other kind in real life. We do not advocate such behavior. Thank you.]
Ahem, anyway, back in the palace, our group figures out one of the last of a series of complicated puzzles in order to gain access to the center of Shadow-Kaneshiro’s palace and his treasure. You know, it would’ve been REALLY nice if we had got to see this. I mean, this is probably one of the more complex palaces to date in the game… and we only get several shots of it? Really? I could’ve waited for Ann and Makoto to reconcile until the next episode… I could’ve waited to see Ren to get the TV until the next episode… why couldn’t we just stay in the palace? Ugh… let’s keep going.
The group unlocks the last door and they hear Shadow-Kaneshiro’s hemming and hawing off-screen about how much power and control money has gotten and has proven his worth. Makoto feels a little sorry for him…
…but forgets about it when Ren takes her to the arcade to play a shooting game, which she fails at miserably. Baby girl, it’s POINT AND SHOOT. Position the target in the center and pull the switch! It ain’t that hard! But it looks as though she’s enjoying it and gathering some great info as to how the young folk hang out. As she walks home with Ren, she mentions that she got another message from Kaneshiro reminding her that they only have three days left to satisfy the debt. She ruminates that it was thanks to him that she was able to even go to an arcade and wonders where he’ll take her next. Is someone developing a little crushie-crush? Awwww, snap…
We return to the Metaverse and our group finally lines up something on the map in order to get to Kaneshiro as yet unmaterialized treasure. What is it they lined up, you may ask? NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO EXPLAIN apparently! Makoto quickly catches on that the calling cards are the trigger to make the treasure materialize. Yusuke points out that the challenge is to get Kaneshiro, who isn’t known to go out a lot in public, to see the calling card. Makoto has it handled though.
The next day, calling cards are plastered all over Shibuya and one, of course, gets back to Kaneshiro:
Just as Makoto theorized, by posting them all over Shibuya, one would get back to Kaneshiro. In the walkway, the group gets psyched up for the fight ahead… and yes, they’re talking about all this… in an open public walkway in Japan. You know, people give Ryuji a hard time, but really, EVERYONE is being pretty stupid and careless here. WHY are they having discussions about theft and being Phantom Thieves while out in the open?! Why is there HQ out in the open IN THE FIRST PLACE?! And yes, in the game, they’re out in the open too, but still, it was stupid in game and it’s stupid now! Anyway, Ren gives the word and the group sets out to the Metaverse.
Unfortunately, Shadow-Kaneshiro has been busy with some mods to his Palace. What was once an open room is now locked down with the mother of all safes. Kaneshiro gloats about his recent modifications and then goes on about why he’s such a bad guy, all while dropping more “Bakas” like he’s Killua or something. He then begins to transform into today’s Boss Battle Shadow—a Fly… get it, because “Fly on dirty money” is a thing… Also, Shadow-Kaneshiro has a WEIRD way of speaking. He kinda raps and peppers his raps with random English. Killer Bee, he ain’t.
Anyway, the battle kicks off, and right from the jump, Shadow-Kaneshiro bring out the big guns; the safe opens up to reveal a giant metal pig dubbed Piggytron. Yes, Piggytron… a Giant Metal Pig. Yeah, I don’t get it either. But this giant mecha-swine can fire rockets and shoot guns like it’s nothing. He soon puts our Phantom Thieves on the run without a chance to fight back. Queen and Panther formulate a quick plan. With Ann running distraction by burning piles of Kaneshiro’s money, the group begins their assault, each taking their turn and passing the baton like a relay-race. Admittedly, I loved this bit because it’s a callback to the video game that was very well done. Of course, Joker finishes it up with Nue before the group swoops in for the All-Out…
Which conspicuously has both Fox and Queen missing. Umm… oops? Come on guys. You should know better. Couldn’t you have been bothered to update the All-Out picture? Also, no Queen Finisher pose? Really? Good Grief.
Anyway, now defeated, Kaneshiro attempts to justify his greed, saying that having money gives him a place to belong. Queen then rightly states that soon, Kaneshiro will have a place to belong…a small jail cell being shared with some big hairy guy named Bubba who licks his lips every time he sees you and is counting down the hours until either lights out or shower time. Don’t drop the soap, Kaneshiro. Anyway, Shadow-Kaneshiro lets slip that someone else has been taking advantage of being able to go through different Palaces to control people and cause mental shutdowns. However, before they can get more information, Shadow-Kaneshiro disappears, warning the group to beware the guy in the black mask… and I’m sure he ain’t talking about R. Kelly either. Our group then makes they’re typical last-second escape from the crumbling Palace landing in the middle of the sidewalk in Shibuya… the large gold bricks that they assumed was Kaneshiro’s treasure now transformed into a large golden briefcase.
Back at the hideout, the group opens it up to reveal the briefcase is stuffed with cash! But before the group begins planning what to do with their capered cash, they take a closer look. Sadly, the cash is from the “First National Bank of Eff You” and is useless. At first the group is pretty let down, but Yusuke rightly states that they’re not typical phantom thieves; they’re the Phantom Thieves of Hearts.
Later, Makoto calls Ren and says that Kaneshiro contacted her to call off the debt and let her know that the pictures have been disposed of. In addition, he’s turned himself over to the police, and Sae decided to take him into custody on the off chance that someone higher up the chain would want to “off” him.
The news soon breaks out that Kaneshiro turned himself in. While the police are taking the credit for the caper, everyone else already knows the truth—the Phantom Thieves struck again, bringing down another bad guy. Morgana is understandably cautious that the cops might soon hone in on them, and also about the person in the black mask Shadow-Kaneshiro talked about before disappearing. Ryuji counters that it could’ve been yet another trick played by Kaneshiro. If only we could get Makoto’s opinion on the matter.
Alas, our Queen is otherwise engaged. She’s submitting in her report to Principal No-Neck about the Phantom Thieves. REMARKABLY, according to her in-depth findings, and much to the consternation of Principal No-Neck, the Phantom Thieves do, indeed, fight for a just cause, and she also resigns… from something. It’s not exactly clear what, exactly. Is she resigning from the Student Council, is she just stepping down from the investigation? Why this isn’t made clear is beyond me. Why even have her say something like that if you’re not going to clarify what it is she’s resigning from?
Later that night, while Sae works at her freakishly large laptop, Makoto openly questions what’s the point of studying so hard and what awaits her at the end of all this effort she’s putting into it. “Best Big Sister in the World Who Would Never Make Her Little Sister Feel like a Leech on Her Life” Sae calls the idea childish as success is the end all be all to strive for. Ain’t she great? Anyway, a news report appears on TV showing a now-black haired Kaneshiro being lead away by the police. Sae, somewhat bitterly, states that since Kaneshiro didn’t full-on confess his crimes, nobody can claim credit for the arrest, thus cheating her out of a promotion. Karma, baby. Anyway, Makoto ruminates to herself that her sister has changed, but she’ll be alright as she finaly found a place where she belongs.
Back in the interrogation room, Ren echoes Makoto’s line about finding a place to belong, saying that it applied to Kaneshiro as well. Sae is starting to come around and trust Ren a little more, but she decides that it’s not enough to full-on trust him so she continues her inquiry. Roll Credits!
After the credits, we find ourselves back in the Velvet Room. Caroline and Justine are impressed with the number of Personas Ren has amassed and that it’s proof that the rehabilitation he’s going through is going along well. The twins give each other a hard time about smiling, which causes Ren to look on with amusement.
So, that’s it for Episode 12. My final thoughts? Out of the 12 episodes we’ve seen so far, this one might be the weakest. I mean, we do get some funny moments and a resolution between Ann and Makoto, and the battle scene was pretty good, but other than that, this episode just feels unpolished. The story kinda feels like it was jumping all over, and it didn’t really have a good flow to me. I mean, one minute we’re going through the palace, and the next we get shenanigans in the real world. Personally, I would’ve loved if the show had just stuck with the palace, as there’s just SO MUCH they could’ve done in there! In the game, this is one of my favorite palaces to go through, and I was so hoping to see more in the anime, but it just felt short and not that impressive by comparison.
And of course, we gotta talk about the animation. Aniplex, I’m honestly ashamed of you. You KNOW better than to put this out there for the masses. Grated, you may go back and fix all the little mistakes later for the Home Video Release but come on! How could you NOT notice that Ren was missing the lower half of his body? That should’ve been caught by SOMEBODY. Also “Gamr Over”? Really? COME ON! You’re Japan! You make some of the world’s best video games! And there are several scenes when the characters are pathetically drawn, either they don’t look like themselves. Especially the eyes. There are moments when these characters look absolutely dead inside… and during the battle, there was a shot of Goemon where I have to wonder if the animators actually knew what the Legendary Mystical Ninja actually looked like.
Speaking of the battle, while I do admit the battle looked cool, and I loved the remix of “Life Will Change” they used (I think they used a version from the “Dancing Star Night” game) there was something about it that looked pretty flat. I mean, to me there was no definition, no real fluidity to the animation on screen. We’ve seen better drawn battles in this show.
I really hope this show isn’t starting to fall off the wagon. I really hope this was just a one-off badly done episode and that the production staff got their act together and said “You know what? We can’t do this again.” We’re going into the 2nd cour, for crying out loud. I feel this is where you should work the hardest to try and secure your viewership. Episodes like this could easily put people off, even hardcore fans like myself…and that’s saying something.
Oh, and by the way…remember a few days ago when I said i would give you guys an update on my tweet regarding pregnant Bokomon from Digimon Frontier? Well…
Sooooooo strange right?! 🤣 That Bokomon was FULL of surprises!
— Brian Beacock (@BrianBeacock) June 21, 2018
Seriously, this guy is awesome! Not many V/A’s are this willing to reply back to fanboys like myself, but there are a few that do, bless their hearts.
Okay, since I’ve been gone a while, I suppose I should give you a reminder. 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.