Persona 5: The Animation – Episode 5 – “The Phantoms”

Hey guys, Josh here, back again for another episode of Persona 5: The Animation. I know you guys are probably sick of me saying this, but dawg gone it, I’m gonna say it again and you can’t stop me; thank you so much for your feedback and your critiques of my reviews. Writing reviews every single week for 26 weeks is not an easy task, but knowing people are enjoying it makes it all worthwhile. So again, thank you so much for your feedback!

So, Episode 5 of P5A is quite relaxed and laid back, compared to the others. This is a world-building and establishing episode, so we got a lot of good information for later. Unlike the first four episodes where everything seems to happen in fast-forward, the pacing this time around seems a lot more natural and relaxed.  We get most of our series norms established this time around, and we are getting things set up for the next big story arc/heist.

This is not a mirage, but this is a chance to fulfill my mission to tell you about this show. I’m Josh, and welcome to Episode 5 of Persona 5: The Animation.

Last time on P5A, it was time for the big heist. After sending the “Utter Bastard of Lust” Kamoshida a calling card, Ann (AKA – “Panther”), Ryuji (AKA – “Skull”) and Ren (AKA – “Joker”)  invade the castle to steal Kamoshida’s treasure which will, in theory, make him have a change of heart and confess his crimes. However, this being an anime based on a video game, the battle steps up to a new level of WTF when Shadow-Kamoshida’s warped perverted desires manifest into a grotesque horn dog shadow. However, thanks to Joker’s new ability to fuse and wield multiple personas, the battle is won and Shadow-Kamosida’s palace crumbles around him. The following day, Kamoshida breaks into the morning assembly and loudly confesses to all his crimes. He even offers to commit suicide, but Ann demands that he lives with what he done. Got it? Good. Let’s get going.

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Our episode kicks off with our 2nd Coming of the Detective Prince. He’s filming a kind of “day in the life” segment for a show called “Good Morning Japan.” No, I’m not making that title up, that’s exactly what they call it. Anyway, our Detective Prince is hamming it up for the camera with goofy lines about eating a lot of sweets for brain power; dude, who do you think you are, “L” from Death Note? I don’t think so. Anyway, a couple fan girls run into him while he’s eating and they casually mention that there’s a rumor that Phantom Thieves are at their school. This seems to peak his interests…

After the OP, we join Ren and Ryuji at the gun shop from earlier, and it seems as though our two bros are trying to sell an Olympic medal. When the shopkeeper press them on where they got it from, Ryuji says they just got it out of someone’s closet. This seems to be enough for our shady shopkeeper, and he hands over 30,000 yen (or $274.95 US at the time of publication) without any trouble. So of course, our group does the one thing that you naturally do when you pull off a big heist—blow it all on food at a fancy buffet!

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The group are reveling in their food and their victory, and they reflect on the medal. As it turns out, once the group arrived back in the real world after the battle, the crown transformed into a replica of Kamoshida’s Olympic gold medal. Morgana ruminates that the gold medal was just as precious as a crown and he was hanging onto it as a way of holding onto his past glories and a sign of his absolute rule over the school/castle. Since it didn’t make sense for the group to keep it, they decided to go ahead and sell it off. Ren feels a little guilty about it, but Morgana reminds him that the metal was indeed a fake and that because they stole it, they were able to change his heart and celebrate as a reward.

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However, what comes in must come out, and the two boys go to the bathroom. As they wait for the elevator, a bald headed man and his entourage, deeply involved with their political conversation, bump into Ryuji and Ren and skip the line for the elevator. When Ryuji confronts them, the bald headed man simply ignores them, commenting about allowing kids into the restaurant. At the same time, Ann is having her own troubles with adults. While she was partaking in the sweets at the buffet, a rather rude dingbat bumps into her, causing a stain on her “Very Expensive” dress. Of course, the hoity-toity cow blames Ann, and when she speaks up, all the other people around her take the rich cow’s side. Oh come on, ma’am. You know good and dawg gone well you bought that dress from the Macy’s Clearance Rack. Don’t even play. The group reunite and ruminate about their recent run-ins with adult, and Ryuji then gets an idea. Oh, lord have mercy.

Meanwhile, in a dark office, watching the goings on with politics involving our bald headed douche from earlier, Sae and her boss are having a chat. Seems as though Sae has been hanging out with the Detective Prince a lot to solve the mystery of the mental breakdowns. Her boss gives her a pass to continue as she sees best with her investigation with his full backing. Now if only our politicians would allow special investigators to do their job without being hassled. Just saying!

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Later, the group begins seriously discussing continuing their Phantom Thieves shenanigans. Ryuji wants to get back at the selfish adults who disparage others by changing their hearts and also, in the process, help those who are in trouble and make themselves famous. While Ann hesitates initially, after getting reassurance from Ren that it’s a good idea, she’s soon on board.

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Over a montage of the group going around town having out and doing fun things like eating gigantic burgers and fishing Atlus mascot dolls out of claw machines, the group solidifies a few things; Ren is their official leader and he and Ann are on first-name terms. They also decide on a name. After turning down the gaudy sounding “Pink Diamonds” as suggested by Ann, Ren decides on the simple yet elegant name of “The Phantoms”.

Next day in school, Morgana, stuffed in Ren’s desk (yup… this is his perpetual hideout… and no… nobody in the class seems to notice him in there), broaches the subject of who should be their next target. Conveniently enough, after class, Mishima meets up with Ren and asks if he’s seen his new Phantom Thieves website; a fan site that acts as a way to cheer on the Phantom Thieves in their endeavors to reform more evil adults like Kamoshida. Ren, of course, does nothing to reveal that he is one of the Phantom Thieves of note, but Mishima is not stupid, he knows what’s going on and that Ren has to be quiet about his involvement. He sees the site as atonement for spreading the rumors about his criminal record and vows to Ren that he will work hard on maintaining the site.

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Meanwhile Principal No-Neck is recruiting help in finding out who was responsible for the calling card in order to make his job of handling the police and the media easier. His help comes in the form of the Student Council President, Makoto Nijima. Our crimson eyed princess hesitates at the idea of spying on students, but Principal No-Neck decides to lay it on thick and she relents.

Later, our group meet up to check out the Phantom Thieves Website (Phan-Site for short… hey, that’s not me being lazy, that’s literally what it’s called in the anime and the game) and are amazed at what can be found. In addition to a regular forum where you can crap post to your heart’s content, if you have a problem with a certain person treating you badly, you can post their name online and the Phantom Thieves, the great heroes of justice, will change their heart for you. And as it turns out, the Phan-Site already has a couple requests for the Phantoms to change hearts. Morgana decides that now is a good time to show how they’ll pull this off.

Outside the train station, Morgana has Ann pick a target name from the site and, instead of going through the process of inputting a name and location in the Meta-Nav, Morgana has Ryuji enter one word: “Mementos”. Our group is then transported into the Metaverse just like before and also, just as before, their clothes change and Morgana goes on two legs. Our bipedal cat explains that Mementos is a communal palace of sorts shared by all the citizens of Japan—a collective unconscious. Only particularly distorted Mo-Fo’s get their own individual palaces, everyone else gets stuffed in Mementos… just like a giant train station. However, Mementos is large and sprawling. How are they going to get around? Simple.

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Yup. While in the Metaverse, Morgana can transform into a small bus. Why? Well… because cats turning into buses is a thing that we all are comfortable with. Why are we comfortable with cats turning into buses? Three words: My Neighbor Totoro. You’re welcome. However, it seems as though our Catbus didn’t come with the self-driving package, which means Joker has to get behind the wheel. I’m willing to bet brother man drives better than most people in Louisiana. Anyway, our group drives through the subway tubes, swerving and weaving around the different shadows along the way until they reach their final destination.

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The Phantoms encounter their first target—a man named Natsuhiko Nakanohara. Seems as though Nakanohara has a habit of stalking his ex-girlfriend. Probably sliding all in her DM’s, looking at all the pictures she put on Facebook, sending her messages talking about “Please take me back baby, I can do better, I swear it. I love you…” Don’t fall for it baby girl! Don’t fall for—ahem… sorry. Anyway, when The Phantoms confront Shadow-Nakanohara, he goes ballistic, talking about how she’s his “property” and how there are worse people out there than him like Madarame, who stole everything from him. Who’s Madarame? You’ll find out later. Anyway, Shadow-Nakanohara transforms and the group quickly dispatch him, stealing his treasure. Before he disappears, Shadow-Nakanohara says that he’ll return to his true self in the real world, just like Kamoshida.

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After the fight, Morgana leads the group to a new area of Mementos. It looks like a blank wall, but after a minute, the wall opens up revealing a set of stairs leading down into the depths. Morgana tells the group that the path was closed when he first went down into Mementos, and must’ve opened up because of their small notoriety from the Kamoshida caper—the cognition of the city has changed, and so Mementos has changed. When Ann asks how big Mementos is, Morgana sadly states that he doesn’t remember and he doesn’t know exactly who he is, but he is certain that he is human. Snapping himself out of his melancholy, Morgana lays down two rules for new group: they only focus in on big targets, they all much agree on a target as they all share a common destiny. Of course, the group agrees. Would you disagree with a cat that is also your ride?

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So, yeah, remember the doctor from the last episode? The one who gave our protagonist, a random high school kid she just met, a bag of experimental medicine? Yeah, well, it seems as though, at Morgana’s insistence that he gains confidants, Ren submits to a physical exam and agrees to be her guinea pig. With the exception of a few fresh bruises, everything seems normal and Dr. Tae Takemi gives Ren a small packet of white pow–



Ahem… anyway. After receiving drugs from the good doctor, Ren goes back to Leblanc where Sojiro, in a rare show of kindness, gives Ren some delicious looking curry. However, He who doesn’t work doesn’t eat, and Ren soon dons an apron and gets behind the counter to work for his supper. Before Ren gets his lesson in being a barista, in walks the Detective Prince and Sae. Our Detective Prince, Goro Akechi, introduces himself to Ren and… for some reason… talks about the nature of being a detective saying that in order to be valuable to society, a detective needs two things: a tough case to solve and a worthy rival. This throws up flags for both Ren and Morgana. END CREDITS!

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That next afternoon, after school, Mishima sends a message to Ren, saying how the person who sent the message about the abusive boyfriend thanked them on the Phan-Site for changing her ex’s heart. Ren, of course, plays stupid. While Ann talks about feeling as though she’s being followed, Ryuji looks up info about Akechi, commenting that he doesn’t look like a sharp detective. Morgana issues a warning to the group to be careful to guard their identities. (Advise that Ryuji will NOT HEED AT ALL). As the group split up and Ann goes off on her own, a mysterious figure walks up behind her and is just about to make contact when Ryuji and Ren appear, LITERALLY out of nowhere for the block. However, the guy stalking Ann is not a degenerate pervert in a trench coat, but a high school pretty boy… hmmm…

Anyway, that’s the end of Episode 5. I have to say, this episode was really well done! It felt great having a slower more comfortable pace as compared to the last four episodes that, while good, slammed a lot on us quickly. This was a much needed “down” episode—that is, an episode after a major battle that gives us a chance to regroup and tie up some major loose ends before starting into the next story. The game does something similar to this as well—depending on how early you complete a palace, you can get a lot of down time to meet new characters, start confidant story-lines, or up your stats. And in this episode, we actually get to see our characters do some of these things, allowing us to see them do something other than go to school or fight shadows. It gives the world of Persona 5 more substance. This down episode also started a lot of things into motion. We got peeks at certain characters that will show up later, and we got some information that will come into play much later down the line.

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Another thing I liked was the fact that the new OP actually stuck around! I was thinking this was going to be a one-time special thing for the first battle, but it seems as though, for the time being, this is our new title sequence. There’s always a chance it may change again; after all Persona 4: The Animation has at least two separate OP’s (three if you count the one used for Rise’s introductory episode which was only used once). But suffice it to say, for the time being, this one is the one we’re stuck with, and I ain’t complaining about that.

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What I AM complaining about is the relative shortness of the Mementos battle. I mean, from Shadow-Eruption to treasure materialization was probably about 30-45 seconds. I would’ve liked a little more of a fight… maybe a little more of Joker using different personas. Also, I would’ve liked to have seen the group fight some of the Mementos shadows as they drove to Shadow-Nakanohara. In the game, you can pretty much grind your way through Mementos getting items, farming Personas and leveling up. I would’ve liked to had seen a little more of that instead of Joker bobbing and weaving through the shadows. Granted this was their first time going in Mementos so the group was probably just being cautious not knowing what to expect, but still…

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Anyway, this episode was great. A nice recovery episode from the hustle and bustle of the last four episodes, and seeing a certain character at the end of the episode makes me excited for what’s to come. I think this show has finally got itself settled down and is ready to fully let us into it’s world, now that we got all the preliminaries out the way. Admittedly, it’s just in time, as most anime fans tend to give a show about five episodes before dropping it, and the last two out of five were really good episodes. Here’s hoping this show can keep up the good work.

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.

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