Persona 5: The Animation – Episode 11 – “Let’s Be Friends, Shall We?”

Hey guys, Josh here, bringing you quality commentary on this fantastic voyage known as Persona 5: The Animation! Again, I’m sorry that the last review was delayed! Granted, it wasn’t as bad as the previous review, but still, I like to get these out as quickly as I can, but life makes fools of us all. Again, thank you one and all for your kind words and comments on my earlier stuff, and especially thanks to all those who reached out and wished me a happy 33rd Birthday on Friday. Even though I had to work, the day was made super special by your messages, so again, thank you so much.

So, Episode 11 was really well done! I enjoyed it from beginning to end. It really struck the perfect balance with remaining true to the video game source material, while adding in a few new little bits and pieces to help the story flow along better and to give us more depth with regards to our characters, especially Makoto.

Is this a mirage or a chance to fulfill my mission? It’s neither and both in this case! I’m Josh, and this is my review of Persona 5: The Animation, Episode 11!

Last time on P5:A, Student Council President and Worst Stalker Ever Makoto Nijima has been following around Ren for a while now, as part of her investigation into the Phantom Thieves. Her investigation hits pay-dirt when she catches our Big Mouth Bro Ryuji and Ann on tape talking about being Phantom Thieves. She threatens to turn over the recording to the police unless they do something for her—prove their Justice by changing the heart of a mob boss that has been causing trouble for many Shujin students. After a few dead-end leads, Ren decides to contact the nosy reporter that was camped out outside Madarame’s atelier, Ichiko Ohya. Ryuji and Ren decide to meet up with her in a bar in Shinjuku. However, our blonde bro is incapacitated by two flaming dudes looking to have some fun. Ren leaves him be and goes off to meet up with Ichiko in a local bar. In exchange for insider information about the Phantom Thieves, Ichiko offers up a name to Ren—Junya Kaneshiro. The next day, The Phantoms figure out that Kaneshiro does have a palace, and that he sees all of Shibuya as his bank. Got it? Good. Let’s get going.

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It looks like it’s time for National Mock Exams, and Makoto, studious student that she is, has just finished them. As it turns out, Akechi runs into her in the halls, and asks her for any information she has about the Phantom Thieves as she is doing her own investigation and may have information. Makoto plays it off saying that it’s exam season so she hasn’t noticed. Akechi then says that it’s surprising that she doesn’t have any information and that, she’s just a good-girl pushover type and he leaves. Congratulations, Goro Akechi… you’ve just earned a first class seat on the DOUCHE CANOE!

That night, Makoto remembers all the time she spent with her father; Makoto’s dad was a police officer and was all in for the whole “Justice” thing… and Makoto admired him for it. That is, until his untimely death while on an investigation, leaving Makoto and her older sister, Sae Nijima, alone together.

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Sae comes home, and baby girl must not have had a good day, having just been assigned to the Phantom Thieves case to investigate the mental breakdowns. Makoto asks if their dad would support the Phantom Thieves if he were still alive. Sae… does not take this too kindly. She berates Makoto for daring to have a conversation with her about possibly supporting the Phantom Thieves and pretty much calls her a leech, feeding off her life. She THEN berates her father for foolishly deciding to rush off in pursuit of justice leaving them all alone. She then levels the worst insult you could ever level on a person… she called Makoto… Sakura Haruno “useless.” So, good job there, Sae, you just gave your little sister, who did NOTHING WRONG, a complex about being useless. Now she’s going to go off and beat up people at random, act like a Grade-A Witch With a B, and be the most pointless character to exist in the history of anime… oh, sorry. Went off the trail again. Roll credits!

And yes, all this happened BEFORE the OP. I think this is the longest teaser we’ve had in this show… and… I really don’t mind it!

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Anyway, back in the Meta-verse, The Phantoms are still in awe at their situation. Remember, Kaneshiro’s palace is a floating bank, high in the air, where it can leave NO trace at all among the ground. In addition, there are bi-pedal walking ATM’s instead of people. Fox rightly determines this is how Kaneshiro sees people—walking cash machines that he can withdraw cash from until they break. Panther asks if Mona can transform into something that can float them up to the bank—like a helicopter. However, Mona sadly confesses that he can’t transform into a car… and he also doesn’t have any secret gadgets like a familiar blue mecha-cat that we all know and love. So, now that we got our Doraemon reference out the way, and after talking with several ATM/People and getting no answers (all of them either on the verge of breaking or too terrified to talk), the group decides to call it a day and head back to the real world for a debriefing.

After a fanservice shot of Ryuji’s crotch, the group discusses their next actions when Makoto walks up for a progress report. Of course, everyone kinda gives her the cold shoulder, with Ann telling her, in essence, to stay on her high horse and do nothing as usual, as she is useless. At the mention of the word, Makoto decides that enough is enough, and storms out with the intent on getting The Phantoms face-to-face time with Kaneshiro. Curious as to what’s going on, the group follows her.

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Once outside, Makoto calls Ren and tells him to keep the line open and record the call. The Phantoms listen on in shock as Makoto confronts the two mobsters from earlier, demanding to speak with Kaneshiro. The mobsters push her in the car and whisk her off, but the Phantoms arrive too late; thanks to Yusuke’s keen eyesight, though, he remembers the license plate for easy following. Good job, bro.

Makoto is then lead inside a club with a bunch of skeezy looking guys; Kaneshiro, a guy who looks like he could be one of Donald Trump’s illegitimate children, confiscates Makoto’s phone noticing that she’s on a very long phone call, and the goons pin her to the ground. He goes through her phone and discovers information about her and about Ren, and he then orders the goons to strip Makoto for client photos later, but before this happens, our Phantom Thieves burst in wanting to know WTF. Just when it looks like a throw-down is about to go down, Kaneshiro calls off the goons. Angrily, he pulls out a briefcase full of money, stuffs a couple stacks in the bosom of the floozy next to him, and tells her to go buy something nice. But there’s a problem—he needs to fill the empty space in his briefcase, and guess who has to put the money back? Yup. It’s time for some good old fashioned extortion! Kaneshiro ups the ante by taking a picture of our group with booze and cigarettes in the shot, threatening to send it to the school if they don’t come through with the money and threatening to destroy their families if they go to the cops.

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Outside, Makoto apologizes to the group and promises to get the money herself, but Yusuke rightly says that even if she were to get the money herself, Kaneshiro won’t be that quick to let her go. Ren asks her what the hell was going through her mind to make her do something so reckless, and Makoto admits that she wanted to be useful, someone that could be counted on. She then apologizes to Ann, confessing that she did indeed know about Kamoshida’s abuse and the teacher cover-up, but couldn’t do anything and thus pretended not to notice. Ann tells her that she has no reason to apologize because the whole thing was Kamoshida’s fault in the first place. With that out the way, The group formally decide to make Kaneshiro their next target, but still lament that they have no way of getting to the bank in his palace. Morgana has an idea, though; since they’re now Kaneshiro’s “customers,” they should have no problem gaining access to the “bank.” A very puzzled Makoto wonders what the heck they’re talking about, and an even more puzzled Ryuji and Ann are still lost, so Morgana decides to explain it again as they walk along to the center of downtown… which, because Makoto has yet to enter the Metaverse, sounds just like a cat meowing.

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When the group reach their destination, Ren triggers the Meta-Nav and transports the group with Makoto to the Metaverse, where our girl finally gets to meet the real life Phantom Thieves she’s been (awkwardly) hunting. Of course, she’s surprised to see Joker, Panther, Skull and Fox in their garb, but she’s downright shocked to see Morg, the once four-legged cat hiding out in Joker’s bag now walking on two legs and speaking clearly. However, our intelligent Student Council president catches on rather quickly, theorizing correctly that this is a world of the mind, human cognition, and that stealing someones heart is like overriding that cognition—like overwriting a file on a floppy disk; you have to…

Yes, I said floppy disk. Look, I turned 33 on the 15th. Floppy disks were a thing for me for a long time!

Anyway, Morg explains things in Phantom-Terms: they can change Kaneshiro’s heart and make him cop to his crimes by stealing his treasure, and Yusuke also asserts that this’ll help cement their justice to the public and give courage to the masses. Before she sets out, Makoto ruminates to herself that the group sounds a lot like her father. As they arrive at the front door, Morg rightly expresses concern about brinign a newbie into the mix, but it seems as though our girl knows aikido, and she can throw down if need be.

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…and Makoto is ready to throw down when they’re confronted by several “bank guards.” However, Joker rightly (and silently) warns against it, and she instead demands to see the “bank president.” Low and behold, Shadow-Kaneshiro strides up, just as smug, bloated, evil and as arrogant as… well… the sitting President of the United States, and gloats that if she can’t pay the three million yen, he could always give her a loan… with ten percent interest… PER DAY. And you thought American Express interest rates were something. However, Shadow-Kaneshiro offers another option: sell her body in one of his “shops” to pay off the debt. It’s then when the bloated one in the bad cut suit lowers the boom; he has a wide information network and knows that Makoto is not only the Student Council president at Shujin, but is also the younger sister of prosecutor Sae Nijima. Shadow-Kaneshiro then makes a very BIG mistake—he starts gloating and bragging about how hard he’s going to work her and her sister, and how she’s finally going to be useful… to please men.

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This triggers Makoto. And as Shadow-Kaneshiro is about to find out, you do NOT want to trigger Makoto. It’s ALWAYS the quiet ones… remember that.

A voice rings out in her head, a cool and mature voice, asking her if she is ready to tread the path of strife; she resolutely agrees. The voice beseeches her to never again lose sight of the justice she has just found and pronounces her graduation from her meek and mild-mannered false self. The force of her will breaks her bonds and Makoto finally removes her mask, causing her inner trickster to manifest itself into the undercover female pontiff Johanna! But… wait a minute…

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Johanna… is a Bike, ladies and gentlemen. A BIKE. The ultimate symbol of rebellion and freedom. Now, I’m not Catholic, so I’m not too familiar with the tenants of the Catholic faith, I freely admit this. However. I’m 99.99% certain that a MOTORCYCLE is not part of the faith! I don’t think the Sermon on the Mount was given while riding astride a Harley-Davidson 48 Special. Maybe I missed that book in the Bible.

Speaking of, did you guys know that Pope Joan disguised herself as a man in order to rise through the hierarchy of the church until she attained the position of Pontiff?  Wanna know how she got found out? Well, during a procession, she went into labor and actually gave birth. I’m sure there was someone in the congregation who watched this whole thing go down and was like “I thought the Pope was getting a little fatter these last few months… I just thought he had gotten into the communion biscuits and wine…”

Speaking of oddball pregnancies, let’s take a quick look at what’s going on over in #YearOfDigimon!

I’ll let you guys know if I get a reply back from Brian about what it feels like to voice a character that absolutely shattered gender roles in a Saturday Morning cartoon. Anyway, back to Persona 5.

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Anyway… our Student Council President has now become a full-on biker chick that would make the Hell’s Angels cower in fear. Both Skull and Fox are in awe at the transformation. Shadow-Kaneshiro, not so much. He sics his guards on The Phantoms, and the battle begins in earnest. Our group summons their Personas for attacks and when it looks like Makoto is about to be ambushed from behind due to her inexperience at battling, Joker comes through with the save using Nue, a persona he fused earlier. Now that she’s really feeling herself, Makoto turns her attention to Shadow-Kaneshiro, but Morg quickly calls her back; you gotta do things the right way—secure the route, infiltrate the palace, and steal the treasure. Reluctantly, she breaks off her run and leads the way out the palace, and the rest of The Phantoms follow behind, leaving Shadow-Kaneshiro to twirl his bad-guy mustache.

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Back at the meetup spot, Makoto is understandably exhausted, but none the worse for wear. She receives a message from Kaneshiro, reminding her about the debt, of course, with no memory about what went down in the Palace. Ann recalls the conversation in the Palace earlier about Makoto’s sister being a prosecutor that’s investigating the Phantom Thieves. When Ryuji expresses concern about this, Makoto reassures him that there’s no way her sister’s investigation would lead them into a world like the Metaverse.  She then comes to a long realized conclusion; that she can’t be like her sister, even though Sae erased her for 3 years after their father died. They’re two different people now. Yusuke suggests that she would be perfect as an adviser for The Phantoms, and, after everyone voices their approval, she accepts. Roll Credits!

Sometime later, in Mementos, the group brainstorm several Code-Names for their newest member. Ryuji goes with…”Shoulder Pads”. Bless his heart. Yusuke suggests “Rider,” but Makoto thinks that sounds too much like a courier.

…AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH BEING A COURIER, MAKOTO!? I’ll have you know that I’ve was a FedEx Express Courier for 2 years! It’s a very proud profession! Granted, I’ve never heard anyone in my station referred to as “Rider”, it’s still a very respectable profession, and I don’t appre—

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Ahem… sorry. Got carried away there. Anyway… Makoto rejects that suggestion, so Ann suggests “Fixer”… OH NO YOU DON’T! We’ve had enough “Fixers,” thank you very much! Makoto shoots that one down, so finally, our leader decides to take a crack at it. After studying Makoto up and down because… well, reasons, he offers up “Queen.” Makoto tries it on and accepts the moniker before stepping into Mementos with her new-found friends for some shenanigans.

And that’s Episode 11 over and done with! I have to say, this show really did strike a GREAT balance between what’s in the source material and adding in new things for newcomers. While we didn’t get a lot of the other characters in this one, I actually don’t mind it at all, because for a character like Makoto, you really need to give her an episode to do her justice. I love how she’s smart enough to figure out a lot of what’s going on with the Metaverse and cognition, but things like Morgana going on two legs and talking freak her out.

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Speaking of Morgana talking, this is one of the funniest moments in the show—watching Yusuke, Ann and Ryuji listening intently to Morgana as they walk along. Not only is this just a genuinely funny moment, it actually is a PRODIGIOUS clue to something that happened in the last episode, and something that will happen later on in the series.

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I absolutely LOVE the fact that we see Makoto as a little girl in the beginning of the episode and actually see how close she was with her father. That’s something that was talked about in the game, but never actually shown. Props to the creators for actually taking the effort to show the relationship between Makoto and her father, even though we never actually see his face. The rift between Sae and Makoto over dinner was played PERFECTLY, and it still feels as uncomfortable as it did when I played the game.

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One VERY nice touch I have to compliment the creators on is the moment right before Makoto meets up with the group in the walkway. She sees a commercial for a motorcycle on a screen outside prompting passersby to “Get on the road to freedom, just step on the gas.” There is no moment like this in the game, in case you were wondering; this is a completely fresh thing, and it works PRODIGIOUSLY well. And the payoff in the palace when Makoto metaphorically and almost literally steps on the gas is amazing… dare I say, it’s way better than in the game. And of course, the payoff that her Persona is a motorcycle is even better! You could say that in that moment, Makoto’s cognition, her vision of freedom, which is a running theme in this show, was set right then and there.

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Honestly, I don’t think I have anything to complain about this episode. If anything, I do think some of the gratuitous shots of Makoto in the episode epilogue were a little gratuitous. I mean, come on, did we REALLY need that shot of Makoto’s booty in the skin-tight leather outfit? While, yes, she does look amazing in it, the moment did come off as being too fanservice-y. Yes, I know that Makoto is the waifu of many a fanboy out there, and she does have a very attractive body, there IS more to her character than just being a hot body and up until this point, this show has done a good job of showing that.

So, yeah, episode 11 was awesome and a great way to welcome Queen into the fold. Next time, our Phantom Thieves of Hearts pull a Set it Off and rob a bank. Honestly, I can see Makoto going out like Cleo… but actually surviving. Till next time!

Time to remind you where you can watch this… as though you didn’t already know. 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.

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