Persona 5: The Animation – Episode 19 – “Aloha”

Greetings to you, patient and diligent reader! Josh here with another belated yet bountiful review of Persona 5: The Animation. Again, I am sorry for falling behind, but as this is Labor Day weekend, I hopefully will have the opportunity to catch up to the most recent episode. Keyword, “Hopefully.” Once again, thank you to all my readers who have been so patient with me and my delays and who provide helpful commentary for my writings. You guys are awesome… unlike this episode.

Long story short—this episode sucks. Yup. I said it. This episode sucks. I can honestly say that there was nothing really likable about this episode except for one little throwaway moment. Other than that, this episode was pretty much lackluster, and for the first time since this show started, I can honestly say I’m afraid for the rest of the series goes and how it ends.

Gotta break the rut and rewrite the book! I’m Josh, and this is Episode 19 of Persona 5: The Animation!

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We start this episode in the café where Sojiro, Futaba and Ren are watching Exposition News, which features a reporter that… doesn’t quite know where to focus her eyes as it seems like she’s looking UP for some reason. Ma’am, hello… the camera is in front of you. Anyway, the focus-impaired reporter is talking about an article in a local magazine, which in turn is talking about Kamoshida and the Phantom Thieves. Honestly, it’s just there to give Sojiro the excuse to tell Ren to once again keep his head down and not cause trouble, as per usual. Let’s just skip it. Roll Credits.

We come back from credits at the school, where there are plenty of reporters hanging around trying to get information about the Kamoshida case. Honestly, I don’t really get this at all. I mean, the incident with Kamoshida was MONTHS ago, and you mean to tell me that only NOW the press is getting interested in it to the point where they have multiple reporters outside the campus? Seriously? Where were you guys earlier when a young girl attempted suicide? Anyway, during homeroom, Kawakami… or rather, a poorly animated Kawakami… informs the class that, even though the students just came back from a vacation, they’ll be going on a school trip that following week. Dang. Gotta love Japanese Public Education. Also, since all the teachers are going to be dealing with the police who are conducting investigations, Makoto will be going along as a chaperone. That’s our team mom!

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The group meets up at their secure hideout… you know, the one that’s OPEN TO THE PUBLIC WHERE ANYONE AND THEIR GRANDMOTHER CAN OVERHEAR THEIR CONVERSATION ABOUT THEM DOING THINGS AS THE PHANTOM THIEVES?! No, I will NOT stop talking about how stupid this meetup spot is, because it IS stupid! Anyway the group meets up with Yusuke and Futaba to discuss things. It seems as though Yusuke is also going on a school trip, ironically enough, to Los Angeles. Seriously, how much money goes into the Japanese School System!? Hawaii? Los Angeles?! REALLY?! Anyway, the group relocates to…somewhere…and check the Phan-Site to see who their next target is going to be. Makoto states that the first place target is cool, but she’s more concerned with the person in the cognitive world who is inducing the mental shutdowns like the one that took down Futaba’s mom. However, they are kinda lacking in clues. Morgana remembers that Sae Nijima is still doing her investigation on the shutdowns, but Makoto states that it would be difficult and suspicious to ask her sister directly what’s up. Futaba has a more direct approach—hack her computer and grab the data without her knowing. She gives Makoto a jump drive with a program on it that will clone the hard drive and break any passwords, and after a moment’s hesitation, Makoto agrees to the recon mission.

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Meanwhile, it seems as though Principal No-Neck is in trouble. He’s on the phone with somebody who is NOT happy that information about Kamoshida has gotten out and whatever the person on the other end of the phone is saying is bad enough that it has No-Neck really stressed out and sweating like a pig…which, considering what he looks like, is very appropriate.

Later that night, Makoto goes home to find her sister working diligently on her laptop, having skipped out of work early. This looks like a prime opportunity to get the data, so Makoto innocently suggests that Sae take a bath first as she has to study. While Sae is in the shower, giving fanboys the chance to check out her silhouetted body frame by frame in the shower, Makoto plugs in the jumpdrive and lets Futaba’s program go to work.

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Fast-Forward, and it’s time to go on the class trip to Hawaii! Ryuji, bless him, is like a little puppy and Ren, as usual, is cool calm and collected. The group decide to take a selfie on Ren’s phone and it looks alright, but someone points out that our bro didn’t do a good job washing his face. Yup, our little Futaba managed to install an app on Ren’s phone so she can experience Hawaii for herself. Dang… she can hack phones, she can make cloning software that can defeat passwords… baby girl is like Russia up in here. Anyway, our group jumps on their phones to see what they can get up to in Hawaii… until Makoto points out that this is pretty much the same thing they would be doing if they were back home in Japan. Ann suggests that they try and do something more Hawaii-like… like Hula-dancing. Heck, may as well go for it, this is a glorified Beach episode all over again, except nobody is wearing a swimsuit-

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OH FOR THE LOVE OF—KAWAKAMI?! REALLY?!!  They’re not even hiding the fact that this is just another beach episode, are they?! Ahem… anyway… we then see a pointless, shameless, montage of Kawakami in her room trying on different swimsuits. Kadeem also had some thoughts about Kawakami in between his Attack on Titan reviews (Which you should totally be reading by the way):

So yeah, after that rather obvious bit of blatant and pointless fanservice, we get a… somewhat poorly animated montage of our group doing various “Hawaii-Like” activities like hula-dancing, kite-surfing, regular surfing, and eating at Big Bang Burger. Oh, but it’s not like Japan’s Big Bang Burger… this one is different because they serve their burgers… with PINEAPPLE. See? See? It’s Hawaiian because it has pineapple!

So yeah, the next day, Yusuke just pops up like a Pidgey in Pokemon Go. It seems as though there was a bad storm on the west coast and the airplane couldn’t land, so it was decided that the school would take their trip in Hawaii instead. Okay. PUMP THE BRAKES! HOLD UP! WAIT AN EFFING MINUTE!! HOLD ON! SOMETHING AIN’T RIGHT!

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Let’s break this one down a bit, shall we? So Yusuke’s school decides to take the class to Los Angeles. 10 hour trip non-stop. They are just about to land, but the storms are so bad that they can’t land?! REALLY?! Now,  I’ve worked on the ramp at American Airlines for about six months, and I know for a fact that in the case of severe weather, planes can divert to other nearby airports. For example, if the weather in New Orleans is bad, a flight would typically divert to Baton Rouge Metro Airport and they wait out the storm on the runway there until it’s clear enough to continue the flight (See picture above). At the time of this writing, there are several airports they could’ve diverted to: Ontario International Airport, John Wayne Airport, Hollywood Burbank Airport, and Long Beach Airport. Unless we’re talking about the Storm of the Century that encompasses the entire lower half of California, one of those airports would’ve been glad to give Yusuke’s flight permission to divert.

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Oh, but we’re not done yet. Yusuke also said that since the airplane COULDN’T LAND… the school decided that they would just go to Hawaii instead. Um… no. Let’s go with the assumption that the plane made it all the way to LAX, saw the storm, and said “oh, we can’t land.” You mean to tell me that this commercial aircraft had enough fuel to complete a 10 hour trip… and also had enough fuel to complete a 6 hour trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii? What does that aircraft run on; hopes and dreams?! I call shenanigans on an airplane being able to fly for 15 hours without refueling unless it’s Air Force One.

So yeah, I said all that to say that this is a completely improbable set of circumstances, even for an anime! And yes, I thought the same when they did this mess in the video game! I don’t know who the teachers are in Yusuke’s school, and I sure as heck don’t know what kind of aircraft they’re flying, but this whole scenario makes ZERO sense, and I would be remiss in my reviewing duties if I didn’t mention it, even with my love of the Persona series. Anyway… Yusuke arrives, and Ann comments that it’s really like they didn’t leave Japan… however, everyone is pretty cool with that.

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The next day, while floating aimlessly in the ocean on a raft with Yusuke and Ren, Ryuji decides to tell his bros in no uncertain terms that is horny. No other way to say it. Our blonde bro has an itch that can only be scratched by flirting with pretty girls. He makes the deduction that since they’re on a school trip, all the girls should be in the mood. Not sure how that works out, but okay. Yusuke is not in the mood for any skirt chasing, but Ryuji will not be denied, doggy paddling the raft with Yusuke on it back to shore to try and score. Meanwhile, Ren just floats out there aimlessly, wondering where it all went wrong…

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Back on the land, and it seems as though a familiar looking girl is getting harassed by some extremely creepy Americans who are speaking broken Japanese. Just as they are about to drag her away to a restaurant, Ren comes up and makes it seem as though she’s with him, dragging her away. Smart move, brother man! Our damsel no-longer-in distress expresses her gratitude. As she leaves, Ryuji and Yusuke walk up, with the former pretty disappointed that no girls gave him the time of day. Yusuke identifies the girl that passed them as Hifumi Togo, a professional shogi player at his school. Ryuji asks for them digits, but Yusuke doesn’t have it. Looks like it’s another lonely night for Ryuji, bless him.

Meanwhile back in Japan, Futaba is hard at work on… something secret. Morgana ruminates to himself that he feels the only use he has on the team is driving around Mementos; however, Futaba doesn’t really pick this up and instead decides to begin cuddling with Morgana, saying that he feels so smooth and silky that it’s hard to believe he’s even a human. Oooooh, ouch. You hit a raw nerve there, Futaba… bless your heart. However, before she has a chance to find out what’s wrong, something catches her attention on the screen…

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Back in Hawaii and Ryuji is really feeling miserable in the room shared by Ren and Mishima. Not only did he strike out with the ladies, but the person he was sharing a room with decided to spend some time with his girlfriend, and Ryuji left before it got hot and heavy. It was probably like that opening scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie is looking in the window at all the kids eating candy while he’s outside like a sad (horny) puppy.

Actually, if I may digress for a minute… why DIDN’T Charlie go into the candy shop and score some sweets? I know he’s poor, and he had a job, but clearly he could’ve run in and grabbed something. It wouldn’t have been stealing at all because it seems as though the shop keeper was having a giveaway! He doesn’t take a single solitary penny (or shilling) from ANY if the kids, but he just gives out Slugworth Sizzlers and Scrumdiddlyumptious Wonka Bars to the kids in the store! He even lets them run behind the counters and grab what they want! But I digress…

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Anyway, there’s a knock at the door and it’s Ann. As it turns out, her roommate went to go see her boyfriend and apparently left with the room key, so she decides to sleep in the room with the boys. HOLD UP! TIME TO PUMP THE BRAKES AGAIN!! Now, I’ve stayed in a few hotels in my life… and I can honestly say that, at least once, I’ve locked myself out of my hotel room. However, when that happened, I didn’t just decide to up and stay in another room, I went to the front desk and asked for another key! The desk clerk was more than happy to verify my name and room number and make another key for me to get in. Took all of 5 minutes. WHY DOESN’T ANN DO THE SAME?! Just go to the clerk, say “Hey, I’m locked out my room, can I get another key?” and the clerk will verify some info and give you another one! It’s not that hard! Also, while I’m thinking about it, if Ann is sharing the room with another girl… why is it that this girl is the only one with a key? Shouldn’t Ann, as one of the occupants of the room have her own key for just such an occasion?! And even if she lost it, again, why isn’t she going to the front desk and getting another key!? I know this is just an anime, and this was just designed to get the characters in one room together,  but this is stupid! Come on, Persona 5! You’re supposed to be the smart show!

Lastly, I thought there were supposed to be chaperones on this trip! Where’s Makoto?! Where’s Kawakami?! There are two students on this trip who are literally knocking boots and another student who is sleeping in another room with a group of boys! No supervision whatsoever! Alright… alright… I get it, the chaperones can’t be everywhere at once. But I’ll tell you this… if there’s a girl walking around campus that starts putting on weight around the tummy about 8 months from now, think back to this moment.

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Anyway… it looks as though Ann is sleeping with the boys tonight, except Mishima, who is on yet another Phan-Site meetup… because it worked out SO WELL the last time. I swear, this boy is trying to get Catfished. Sadly, they didn’t go with the in-game reason for Mishima’s absence; that he ate something weird and was… well… having stomach problems. In any case, Ryuji tries to get everyone to talk about their love lives, but when pressed to go first, he quickly abandons that plan. They then discuss how The Phantoms have gotten popular even overseas after the MedJed incident. The three of them agree that they can’t let their fans down, and they commit to getting back on the grind once they get back to Japan.

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Back in Japan, Sae’s boss, the Director at the Public Prosecutors office, is on the phone talking about Principal No-Neck. Because there’s the possibility that he may turn on them since he was let go earlier, they’re completely severing connections with him. Cut to the aforementioned Principal No-Neck and he is clearly out of it. His eyes are rolled back up into his head and he looks like the walking dead as he stands in the middle of a crosswalk. However, a speeding truck that DOESN’T know how to pump the brakes slams into Principal No-Neck, killing him. Rest in peace, No-Neck.

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Anyway, fast forward and Ren comes back home to Leblanc slightly more tan than when he left. When Futaba asks how his trip was, Ren replies with a simple “aloha,” because that’s what you do. He then gives out his souvenirs—some Hawaiian coffee for Sojiro, a keychain for Futaba and he got Morgana lei’d. Good man. Happy times.

Meanwhile, upon her return to Japan, before she has a chance to show off the souvenir she got Sae in her “Hawai” bag, big sis breaks the bad news—their principal is now a hood ornament. The police say that suicide is a strong possibility, but Sae is suspicious as it looks like No-Neck was headed to the police station and even took a taxi cab to get there. Sae suspects that maybe he had a Phantom Thief inspired change of heart, but Makoto quickly rejects this theory as in the past, the change of heart was only used to make criminals confess, not take premature trips on the Midnight Train to Georgia.

Flash forward to the interrogation room, and Sae is shocked that Makoto was checking out her investigation data. When she asks Ren about his involvement with No-Neck, he states that they don’t kill, and Sae seems satisfied with this, but once again offers up the picture of Okumura….

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No… not THAT Okumura…

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Yeah, that one. That’s the guy. Kunikazu Okumura; the next target of The Phantoms, and the one where everything went downhill. (However, it could be said that this Okumura, like the other one, is Ready, Ready, Ready for the Take Off… I’ll explain in the next review) Sae asks for an explanation.

Back in the past, it’s school assembly time. The student body is being informed about Principal No-Neck’s death, and the speaker goes on and on about how the principal was just trying to work hard to restore peace to the school, but the whispers in the crowd tell another story as the students know that the principal was only trying to cover up what happened with Kamoshida. Everyone soon begins asking whether the Phantom Thieves had anything to do with it instead of suicide. These rumors clearly have Ann and Ryuji flustered; they know they didn’t kill anyone, but it seems as though doubt is thick in the air.

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Later that night in Leblanc, Morgana explains what Futaba found in the data she got from Sae; it seems as though Sae believes that the mental shutdowns are being caused by humans and that they are related to the psychotic-breakdowns that’s been occurring in the city. Sae then managed to narrow things down until it lead to Kunikazu Okumura—the CEO of Okumura Foods and the owners of the lucrative Big Bang Burger franchise. Okumura stood to gain from the mental breakdowns as more and more execs of their competitors began clocking out mentally and becoming embroiled in scandal.  So, naturally, our group suspects that Okumura is the source of the breakdowns… especially because, as Futaba discovers, he has a palace… and he’s the top of the ranks on the Phan-Site.

So it’s all ready, steady, go, right? Ryuji and Morgana seem ready to go, but Yusuke pumps the brakes, stating that there’s always the chance that Okumura may not be evil even though, in theory, he could be the one behind the mental shutdowns. In addition, Yusuke is a little creeped out with the current increase in popularity of the Phantom Thieves. Ann feels the same way, and also begins questioning whether or not they’re responsible for the Principal’s “suicide”; after all, if they hadn’t changed Kamoshida’s heart, none of this would’ve happened and nobody would be dead right now… which Ryuji rightly and correctly dismisses. If they HADN’T done anything, sure, the principal would be alive, but their lives up till now would be different and probably worse. The group is split, with everyone else wanting to exercise caution while Ryuji and Morgana want to go ahead. No consensus, no mission, right? Let’s split up for the day and—

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Ohhhh, crap. So yeah, Morgana says a trigger that ticks off Ryuji and causes a large argument between the two. I mean, bigger than any they’ve ever had before…and also dumber than ever before too… and it all stems from a misunderstanding of context! Ryuji misunderstood Morgana’s comment about only having Ryuji on his side, and Morgana is still stupidly sensitive about the possibility he might not be human. Ugh… I hate arguments like this in anime. Morgana decides that he can solve the mystery of the shutdowns by himself and sets off on his own determined to prove his worth. I swear, it’s like the Ron and Harry argument in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”… except dumber.

Meanwhile, Sae and Akechi are having a chat. Sae is still mystified how the people can stil believe in the Phantom Thieves brand of justice even after all that’s happened. However, thanks to the principals death, as morbid as that sounds, she was able to get information to help get a break in the case which involves Okumura Foods and Kunikazu Okumura. Sae is determined to get results no matter the cost. Roll Credits.

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After the credits, in a mysterious location, we see Morgana, sword cast aside and looking completely beat down with two robots sentinels standing over him looking much like Azaka and Kamidake from Tenchi Muyo. Having accomplished their mission, they return to their posts. Morgana passes out from exhaustion, questioning if it’s really possible to handle all this by himself. As he passes out, a familiar looking, puffy haired girl walks up to him in the shadows. Who is this figure?

So, yeah, that’s episode 19. Plain and simple, this was a bad episode. I mean, I have to be honest, I did not like this episode. There’s just not much here to sink my teeth into. I mean, if you break this episode down into its basic elements; our team goes to the beach (again), the principal dies, there’s a big argument, the cat runs away. That’s it. Other than that, there’s nothing special about this one. Don’t get me wrong, this episode wasn’t King’s Game: The Animation bad, but considering the episodes we’ve had thus far, this is the weakest. It’s almost like the creators didn’t quite know how to write this particular moment in the game, and it just turned out wrong.

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Typically, this would be the spot where I try to find something that I liked about this episode, but honestly…there’s nothing here. The fanservice was way too forced, the animation was once again amateurish, there are way too many contrived coincidences, Ryuji being a horndog was just too much, Ryuji and Morgana’s argument is beyond stupid and the dialogue dumps are just boring. If I had to REALLY hunt and find something to like… I have to say Ren’s little “Aloha!” when he came back home was nice. Yeah, I’m grasping at straws.

Plain and simple, this episode was just really poor, and it’s sad because we’re getting closer to the end of the series and every episode really counts here. It would suck for this show to burn out now, so close to the ending…

Oh, you expected something witty? Well this episode doesn’t deserve it. 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. 

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