Greetings and salutations, everyone! Josh here, with yet another review of the prodigious-ness that is Persona 5: The Animation! Yeah, I know I’m WAY behind with this particular review, but several events including MechaCon 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the subsequent bout with what some call “Con Crud” rendered me useless for the last few days, so I beg your forgiveness once again for my lateness. As an apology, at the end of this review, I’ll do something special for ya! As always, I want to thank all my readers for… well… reading… and for providing commentary on my work. Seriously, you guys are prodigious.
I have to say, Episode 17 of P5:A is an example of just how much this show has stepped up it’s own game from the first half of the series, and it’s just in time, too, as this particular little story arc requires attention to detail as we’re dealing with one of the most beloved characters in the series. The Fanboys will not tolerate mishandling of the Futaba story arc, they demand R-E-S-P-E-C-T for their favorite hacker.
We’re going riding on a Freeway of Love! I’m Josh, and this is Episode 17 of Persona 5: The Animation!
We start this episode in the sketchy gun shop where The Phantoms have been selling off their wares, and our shopkeeper, Iwai, is keeping an eye on his newest patron, the “Detective Prince” Goro Akechi. Akechi tries to get some info out of him, but Iwai believes in that old adage “Snitches get Stitches” and says nothing. Once Akechi leaves, we see exactly what he’s up to, and apparently he’s on the track of several of the items The Phantoms had procured and sold off, including Kamoshida’s track medal and Kaneshiro’s golden briefcase. Akechi notes to himself that X-Day, the day that MedJed declared would be the deadline for The Phantoms to reveal themselves, (and the same day that X is scheduled to give it to ya) is tomorrow yet they have not released a calling card. He wonders what the rouge group of thieves are planning to do. ROLL CREDITS!
After the credits, we pick up where we left off in the last episode with our adorable cinnamon roll Futaba Sakura pleading with the group to steal her heart, with arms wide open. However, Makoto gently tells her that all they really needed to do was open the door, which would’ve opened the door in her palace. Embarrassed, our little cutie dashes back inside the closet closing the door, but she overhears the group talking about how she doesn’t know how palaces work, and that she still hears Morgana as a meowing cat. She also overhears, rather conveniently, how the MetaNav app works and what is required to gain access. Yusuke suggests that they check the Palace door to see if it was opened, and the group heads out, but not before Ryuji sticks a calling card between the gap in the closet door for her to read out loud once they leave. Now alone, Futaba steps out and reads her calling card, which is short and to the point:
Inside the palace, The Phantoms discover that the door had indeed been opened and, after a quick lift ride up, are shown a large semi-opened tomb. However, before Morg has a chance to drool all over it, the ceiling of the tomb opens up and a large sphinx, with the head of Wakaba Isshiki and the body of a lion… with wings… hovers above them, demanding in a screeching voice to not disturb the pharaoh’s tomb lest misfortune befalls them. Yeah, um… Futaba, sweetie… if this is in your head, you got some VERY deep seeded problems. We need to talk or get that dingbat from Iyana Fix My Life to come help you out with this.
Speaking of Futaba, it seems as though our little hacker has discovered the Meta-Nav on her phone and decides “what the heck” and input her information. She is transported inside her own cognition in amazement, and talk about being inside your own head. Futaba is in awe at the world she finds herself in, but is immediately distracted by hearing the battle above her.
Meanwhile, The Phantoms are putting up a brave fight against Shadow Wakaba, but because she’s air-based, their attacks aren’t very successful, and they’re looking like a chain of fools. All seems lost, but then, to everyone’s surprise, Futaba walks up and witnesses the battle; naturally, Morg is surprised that Futaba is, quite literally, in her feelings, and cautions that there’s no telling what can happen next. Shadow-Wakaba begins hurling venom at her daughter, talking about how she’s a demon and wishes she never were born and how much she could’ve done had she not been around. Mother of the effing year, right here. Chi-Chi from DragonBall Z? Yeah, take a seat. Medusa from Soul Eater? Sakura from Boruto’s Dad? Yeah, you all can take 5. THIS MoFo right here is probably the worst mom in anime.
The Phantoms try to get Futaba to understand that her mother—her REAL mother—did not have these feelings towards her, no matter how bad she may have been as a little kid. However, Futaba falls into her own despair, picturing the adults standing around her telling her about the suicide note Wakaba allegedly left behind. Shadow-Futaba then appears and forces her real-life counterpart to
reach out to the face the truth; her mother never thought of her daughter as a hindrance, but just needed to focus on her work, determined to finish it “even if it cost me my life.”
Shadow-Futaba then confronts Futaba, forcing her to think about that “suicide note” that, suspiciously, was never shown to her by the adults who read it to her, and did not sound like the writings of a mother who loved her daughter absolutely. Sure, she would tell Futaba to knock it off when she was being a brat (as all kids that age can be sometimes), but Wakaba clearly had love for her daughter, despite what the fake note declared. Shadow-Futaba then asks Futaba who she will obey; will she die as she was told to do—as she was PUSHED to do? Or will she live, to tell the truth from the lies. Of course, our barefoot hacker decides to err on the side of living, declaring that she will never forgive the rotten adults that put her in such a state.
The force of her will breaks her bonds, causing her inner trickster to manifest itself into the mythical tome of magic, Necronomicon!
And in the great tradition of unidentified flying objects of the past, the flying saucer sends down several tentacles and pulls Futaba up into the hovering craft. Tentacles show up in the weirdest of places, don’t they?
From inside the floating cocoon of the UFO, surrounded by swirling lines of code, a cool and mechanical voice rings out that she will no longer be deceived by mysteries and illusions as the forbidden wisdom has been revealed to her. She then beckons The Phantoms to help her defeat Shadow-Wakaba, and The Phantoms are only too happy to oblige.
And so Round Two begins in earnest, with Shadow-Wakaba immediately getting ready to pull off a dive-bomb attack from the air. However, Futaba figures that since this is her own cognition, it shouldn’t be a problem for her to hack herself. Life Hacks for real, yo. Anyway, Futaba beams down a Ballista to be fired at Shadow-Wakaba to bring her back down to Earth. Panther, determined to help Futaba so she will never talk about dying again, decides to fire it off. With everyone in position, Panther fires off a blast and Shadow-Wakaba is hit, giving The Panthers a chance to absolutely wail on the Sphinx with our boy Joker going all biblical on us by breaking out his newest shadow White Rider. Shadow-Wakaba then tries to discourage Futaba once more, saying that she wishes she had never birthed her, but our little hacker knows better know, vowing that no matter what anyone says, she will continue to live. With a grin, Joker pulls out his gun and blasts Shadow-Wakaba away, sending her tumbling to her demise off the side of the pyramid.
After the fight, Futaba beams down to earth, now wearing a skintight lime green and black trickster outfit with goggles that would put Tsuyu Asui from My Hero Academia to shame. Yeah, I said it. She beams down just in time to see her real mother. She tries to go over to her, but Wakaba tells her not to… because, you know, dead. Futaba finally gets to tell her mother that she loves her, which her mother reciprocates before fading away. And… that seems to be enough for Futaba who decides that she’s had enough for today and leaves The Phantoms behind, stating that she now knows how the Meta-Nav works. The group checks the tomb, but as it turns out, it’s empty—lo and behold, Futaba herself was the treasure and since she’s gone and the Shadow was defeated, her palace begins crumbling down around them, and The Phantoms haul butt out of there.
Later, it turns out that all the excitement was a little too much for Futaba, because baby girl is back in her room, completely knocked out of it. Out of an abundance of caution, Ren and Makoto summon Dr. Legs For Days, while the others get Sojiro. As it turns out, everything is alright with Futaba, but she’s just out of it. Also, baby girl is not very athletic and has very little muscle and stamina for a girl her age. Dude, she’s a shut-in. The fact that she’s even able to move is a miracle. Sojiro comes in and explains that Futaba’s current state is no big deal as she sometimes runs her batteries down and drops off like this. Sojiro, wanting to show his appreciation to Ren and the guys for helping Futaba, decides to give him some tickets to Skytree in Asakusa, which is actually a real thing, I just found out!
The next day, X-Day, the group sets out to Skytree, but they are still plagued with thoughts of MedJed. There hasn’t been any activity on their end, and the waiting is making everyone a little on edge, especially Makoto. However, our team mom sees something that snaps her out of it—Buchimaru, the panda mascot from her childhood. Makoto, with a fiery determination normally saved for shadows, decides to take a photo with the mascot. Ryuji, naturally says that since they got the tickets from Sojiro, they owe it to him to have a good time. And so, with the strains of “Last Surprise” playing, we get a montage of our group enjoying themselves at SkyTree, with Makoto looking beyond adorable with a Buchimaru plushie. However, the conversation still goes back to MedJed as the group wonders if and when they’ll attack. Ren suggests that they have faith in Futaba and wait.
Later, in the Cafe, having brought back a couple souvenirs, Sojiro decides to tell Ren about Wakaba. Apparently, she was deep into cognitive science, and this drew the attention of Sae, which is why she frequently stopped by the café. Futaba then comes in, much to the surprise of Sojiro, and corrects him—the field her mother studied was cognitive “psience”. She saddles up to the counter and apologized to Sojiro for worrying him, and when Sojiro goes off to get her a cup of coffee, Ren asks about “That thing we discussed earlier.” Futaba produces her phone and with a flick of the wrist, MedJed is destroyed; their homepage is altered to show The Phantom’s logo, and all information about them was transmitted to the media. The group is ecstatic at this turn of events.
Later, The Phantoms meets to toast their success over MedJed, but Futaba, still in anti-social mode, is not joining in the festivities, opting to perch L-Style on Ren’s bed. Ren compliments Futaba in his usual exuberant manor, to which Morgana tells him to shut up… umm, really, Morgana? Ryuji was complimenting Futaba. Yes, he may have been a little loud, but come on. I just don’t get why you have a stick up your butt NOW of all times. Geez. Anyway, when Yusuke expresses how amazed he is how Futaba was able to handle International hackers so easily, she replies that she knew how MedJed operated because she was the founder. Once upon a time, Futaba acted as a hacker of justice, putting out information about crooked organizations and businesses by hacking their systems. But, sadly, since she was anonymous, other groups used her name and pretended to be her, taking the credit and also committing real-life crimes. Because it would be such a hassle to deal with, Futaba just left the name MedJed behind and became Alibaba. When Makoto asks Futaba several questions about where she learned how to hack and when she got the Meta-Nav app, and just how she was able to listen in on their conversations, Futaba goes full-on, White House “No Comment,” Makoto decides that maybe this is a conversation left for another time and the group leaves.
Later on, Sojiro comes upstairs, disappointed that the group has already left for the day, as he was going to cook dinner for all of them. He then suggests that they go out to eat to celebrate Futaba’s recovery… Ren included. I know, right?! No threats to be kicked out! Miracles can happen after all!
Back to the expensive sushi restaurant we go, and Futaba is pigging out, having a good ol’ time, bless her heart. When she goes to the bathroom, Sojiro explains that when Futaba was little, Sojiro would go out for meals with her and Wakaba. As Sojiro gets up to pay the bill, Futaba sits back down and dishes to Ren. She explains that Wakaba was about to make a major breakthrough in cognitive “psience” before her death, which leads her to believe that her death wasn’t just a random suicide; it was murder. DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN!!! She vows to make the people who killed her pay, and she formally asks for help from The Phantoms. ROLL CRED—
Oooooh… new End Credit Sequence and song! I didn’t see this coming, and lemme tell you, I love it! I love how they use the date-change animation from the game along with the new Morgana-Van animation. I also like how the little group-march sequence is now in full color. Yes, it’s the same little odd animation of our group walking in one direction unblinking, but it look nicer in color, and with Lyn singing “Autonomy,” it ties the whole thing together!
Okay, and that’s the end of Episode 17! I have to say, this episode was perfectly done! Though it was mostly taken up with the Shadow-Wakaba fight, all the little moments where we got inside Futaba’s head were really good. I can honestly say, a lot of the moments we saw far outshines what we saw in the video game.
I have to admit, though, I got a lot of Persona 4 vibes from when Futaba was talking to her own Shadow. This is not a complaint by any means, but I found it interesting. In fact, a lot this episode is evocative of Persona 4—a person confronts their shadow form which forces them to realize the truth about something important in their lives, causing the Shadow to awaken and transform into the characters persona.
I also love the little touch that it’s Ann who fires off the Ballista to bring Shadow-Wakaba down to Earth. In the game, you can pick anyone to fire off the blast and it’s no big deal, but I’m glad that Ann got the honors when you consider how much it ate away at her that another person could consider ending their lives just like Shiho attempted to do earlier.
If there was one thing that I was disappointed with, was the fact that throughout the battle with Shadow-Wakaba, we did not get a single chord of “Rivers in the Desert.” We do get an anime-exclusive song during the battle that plays in the battle during the second half, but dawg gone it, “Rivers in the Desert” REALLY should’ve been used here.
But other than that, and that oddball moment with Morgan and Ryuji I mentioned earlier (though maybe this is a precursor to what happens later on…) this was a very well done episode once again. I saw in the comments section that some viewers are concerned that the pacing of the show is a little slow, considering there are at least four more palaces we have to go through and only a handful of episodes to do it. Admittedly, I did share in this thought myself, but I do believe that the creators know exactly what they need to do and where they need to make cuts in order to bring this show in to a satisfying conclusion. And if they need another season, then I don’t really see the problem with adding on another 12 episodes. I just hope and pray that they don’t eff this up.
Oh? You wanna know about my trip to MechaCon? Well, I guess I can tell you guys a little bit about it if you’re interested. Well, umm…I went with two of my friends who both cosplayed:
My friend Hardy was Junpei Iori from Persona 3...
And my friend Alicia was Sania from Final Fantasy 15.
I…was a Young Black Man Trying to Make It Through The Day In Trump’s America With Faith and Good Humor.
…Yeah, I didn’t cosplay. But hopefully, that’ll change next time! Anyway, we didn’t really do a whole lot, but we had a lot of fun wondering around and just taking in the atmosphere. I did a lot of vlogging and live streaming on Periscope including a little bit where I did some “Speed Reviews” in the dealer room…
Mechacon Speed Reviews! https://t.co/1EfKtdK9mA
— Josh "Digi-Black Man" Knighten (@KhakiBlueSocks) July 28, 2018
I went into MechaCon with several goals in mind as far as how I would spend my money. I wanted to get something Digimon related because… well… I love Digimon, but the Dealer Room did not offer anything good. It was only when I went into the Artist Alley that I found something, dare I say… Prodigious.
Mechacon Digimon Mission Accomplished!? https://t.co/KGl3aFnifd
— Josh "Digi-Black Man" Knighten (@KhakiBlueSocks) July 28, 2018
I also found this AMAZING Persona 5 wall art that I just HAD to get.
Then, a few stalls down from where I bought my Digimon piece, I bought THIS Piece from a Canadian artist. My goal was to have it autographed, but it didn't work out, which is cool!
Artist Alley>>>>>>>>Dealer Room. pic.twitter.com/7WlwzqIUtO
— Josh "Digi-Black Man" Knighten (@KhakiBlueSocks) July 30, 2018
And later on, I also found this AMAZING Trigun art which I bought immediately as… well… it’s effing Trigun! It was then when I realized that, while the Dealer Room is great for standard stuff, it’s the Artist Alley where the real heart is. In the Artist Alley, you can feel the love that each maker puts into their wares, and you can find much more variety than in the Dealer Room. It’s also special when you meet the artist who makes the work. It’s a unique experience.
Oh yeah, before I forget… I got I got a selfie with the voice of Ann in the English dub, Erika Harlatcher, who is, far and away, the nicest person I think I ever had the honor to meet! Funny story, I went to MechaCon with a goal in mind to get as many autographs as I possibly could. However, I didn’t quite get the timing right, and the autograph room was closed. So I just shrugged and wrote it off. Later, I found out that Erika was doing a panel about Danganrompa and Persona 5 so I figured, I may as well go. Afterwards, there was a panel right next door for Cowboy Bebop. Since the line was going to be FREAKING LONG because…well…it’s Cowboy Effing Bebop, I hurried up and jumped in line. While going through the line, Erika was outside taking pictures with some fans. Now, keep in mind that even though I’m a thirty-three year old, six foot one 230 lbs black guy, when it comes to meeting famous people, I may as well be a 15 year old Vic Mignogna fangirl. But, I summoned my courage, and sheepishly asked if I could take a selfie. Bless her heart, she obliged and was so patient as I suddenly forgot how my phone worked. After snapping two selfies (the better of which is below), I walked off literally giggling.
And the good times just kept on coming as I sat in on the Cowboy Bebop panel immediately afterwards and got to be in the presence of two anime superstars: Beau Billingslea and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, which was all kinds of fun! So, no, I didn’t get any autographs, but hey, I did get some great pictures, some Prodigious memories and I got to sea Beau Billingslea dance… which is… special.
Oh, and this also happened too…
Yup. I got a calling card. I indeed have a palace somewhere. News to me. And it was given to me by these guys…
You know, for a group that’s supposed to remain secretive, they were very photogenic. After I took this picture, Akechi gave me this calling card which read:
Dear Con Attendee,
You have committed the sin of insecurity. You shame yourself & compare oneself to others. We will steal those desires & make you believe you are beautiful as is. We have noticed your hard effort.
Love, The Phantom Thieves.
This…actually touched me. I then found out that there was a panel with this group so I decided to go. It was pretty much a hang-out, where The Phantoms answered any and all questions from the audience where the one who got the biggest reaction got a prize. I ended up getting a Phantom Thieves pin, which was awesome!
So yeah, MechaCon 2018 was AMAZING and I totally plan on going next year…and chances are good that I’m actually going to cosplay too! Who am I going as? Well, I’ll let this commissioned artwork from Kit and Kat Creations speak for me. Ya’ll have a good night.
Yup. The text is in bold, so you know what time it is! That’s right, time to remind you of a couple things! 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.
The Queen is Gone… Long live The Queen. RIP Aretha Franklin. Thank you for Stealing our Hearts.