Persona 5: The Animation – Episode 20 – “My Name is Beauty Thief!”

Peace and love to you all! Josh here, once again bringing the noise and the funk that is my review of Persona 5: The Animation! Once again, I thank you for your patience with the delay, and I’m slowly but steadily getting caught back up! Once again, thank you all for checking out my reviews, and for providing commentary where applicable. I truly appreciate it!

Speaking of appreciating things, I truly appreciate the fact that this episode is PRODIGIOUSLY  more watchable than the last one I reviewed. I don’t know what was going on with that last episode, but this one… very much improved. However, it does feel quite a bit shorter than the others… even though we actually get quite a bit done this time around.

The game is on and we’re playing the odds! I’m Josh and this is Episode 20 of Persona 5: The Animation!

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Our episode kicks off in Ren’s room. Our fearless leader wakes up expecting to see Morgana waiting for him, but sadly, he’s still gone after the stupid argument he had with Ryuji in the last episode. During breakfast, it’s clear that Morgana’s absence is really getting Futaba down. She suggests to Ren that they head into Okumura’s palace as Morgana said that he was going to try and take down Okumura all by himself. Ren agrees. Meanwhile in the palace, all hell is breaking lose. Alarms are going off and the entire palace is hunting around for two intruders.  Wait—two?! What’s going on here? Roll Credits!

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After the credits, our group meets up outside a large building in Shibuya; Okumura headquarters. Ryuji is still upset over Morgana’s abandonment of the team, and tries his best to hide it, but Ann sees right through it—she knows he’s worried about him. After hours of research and analysis, Futaba was able to isolate the keywords used to get into Okumura’s palace: “Corporate HQ” and “Outer Space.” Her reasoning behind Outer Space? Well, look at his franchise—Big Bang Burger. “Big Bang”… as in… THE big bang. The one that created the universe. However, someone else is listening in on the phantom thieves—it’s Akechi, and he has his phone out. AND THIS IS WHY YOU DO NOT HAVE PUBLIC MEETING PLACES WHERE YOU DISCUSS YOUR PHANTOM THIEVES BUSINESS! WE’VE HAD THIS DISCUSSION BEFORE, YOU IDIOTS! And to make matters worse, Makoto decides to input the keywords into the app and transport the group right there in the middle of the street in broad daylight. Good grief, why do they even go through the trouble of staying secret if they’re doing all these foolish things?! Honestly, this makes Ryuji’s outburst earlier seem like NOTHING by comparison!

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Anyway, The Phantoms are transported to Okumura’s palace, which is a massive Space Station, and I’ll say one thing for Okumura—when he dreams, he dreams BIG. No silly land-based cognition like banks or schools or art museums, no, brother man taking this one to mother effing SPACE! He really Feels So Moon now. Anyway, The Phantoms begin casing the joint while looking around for Mona, and in their discoveries, they find out that this station is being manned by thousands of robots working non-stop doing various repetitive and draining tasks, all of them branded with the Big Bang Burger logo. Oracle is able to pick up on a conversation from one of the robots that looks like an overseer; do your work or quit without pay. This is how Okumura sees his employees in the real world; mindless robots that he works to death until they break and throw away. You know, kinda like Walmart except without the job satisfaction. The group then arrives at a sealed door that is sealed shut with a bio-metric lock—meaning that it only opens with the DNA of authorized users. Ryuji tries breaking down the steel door with his shoulder, but that goes about as well as you think it does. As the group tries to figure out how to get past this particular lock, a voice cries out to them to stop where they stand.

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From on high, a very Musketeer-like girl stands over them complete with fancy hat and a black mask; the group immediately thinks that this could be the person causing the Mental Shutdowns, but before they could question her, a familiar laugh meows out in the darkness. Mona appears next to the girl and brags that they should just leave now as they’re going to be getting the treasure. Yusuke tries to explain that they were just looking for him, but Mona is too far into it now—after all, “Last Surprise” is playing and he’s feeling himself! However, the tension is soon popped as his female accomplice misses her cue to announce her name. Mona starts again, proclaiming that he will be stealing the treasure with this… Beauty Thief! The Phantoms are… less than impressed with this performance, which seems to have been thrown together by Mona at the last minute, and wasn’t given a proper run through before going live.

Poor introduction aside, it seems as though the Beauty Thief has the ability to get past the bio-metric lock and she opens the door with no problems. However, it was all for naught as there are dozens of robotic sentinels standing on the other side, and they’re on high alert, so Mona and the Beauty Thief hightail it out of the palace, with the rest of The Phantoms not too far behind.

Outside the palace, the group discuss what they just witnessed. Futaba wonders if Mona betrayed them, but Ren doubts it. However, the conversation soon turns to the Beauty Thief – who is she, where did she come from, and why was she able to get through the special locked door. After a minute, Makoto realizes that she actually knows who the girl is – that’s our Team Mom!

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The next day, on the school’s rooftop garden, the group confronts the Beauty Thief—also known as Haru Okumura, the daughter of Kunikazu Okumura and a third-year at Shujin Academy. Haru explains that her father had been the subject of many rumors on the news, and she became a Phantom Thief to find out the truth about what was going on, which is how she ended up in her fathers palace. When asked how she teamed up with Morgana, she says that it was just chance. She followed Morgana into the palace and discovered him near unconscious after an ambush; Morgana offered her a way to understand what’s in her father’s head, and that was to become a phantom thief. Ryuji thinks that The Phantoms can help her as they are going to change his heart. Haru questions their motives; are they helping to make themselves more famous or are they doing it for justice? Haru decides that she doesn’t need their help, and states that she’ll carry on with Morgana. She does apologize for it though, so baby girl is polite, bless her heart.

That night at Haru’s place, Okumura asks how Haru is getting along with a boy named Sugimura as their relationship will be essential for the company and for him personally. Haru sadly says that she’ll do the best she can, but it’s clear that she is as enthusiastic about being with Sugimura as I would be about meeting Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Ren is back in the Crossroads bar to get some information from our favorite drunk reporter Ichiko Ohya. Her lips loosened with liquor, she states that Okumura is really cocky now that his business is booming, and he’s looking to dip his big toe into politics. Speaking of politics, Ohya tells him that there might be an election coming up soon… interesting…

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After leaving the bar, Ren gets called out to by the fortune teller he ran into during his first foray into the red light district. Ren sits down for a reading. She correctly guesses that he’s lost something very important, but she reassures him that whatever it is will be found again. She then offers him something tomake his fate even better—a holy stone that ONLY costs 100,000 yen! However, that seems a little pricey for Ren as he pulls an “Eff this Stuff I’m Out” before she has a chance to look up. I don’t blame him! Later that night, Mishima messages Ren that the Phan-Site is blowing up with gratitude from satisfied posters who have had their requests completed…requests that The Phantoms have not worked yet… which can only mean one thing… somebody has been doing their job. The next day, the group decides to go into Mementos to wait around for the duo and ask them what the hell is going on between the sheets in their home.

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After several containers of instant ramen, Mona and the Beauty Thief finally show up from the depths of Mementos. Ryuji asks WTF, and Mona explains that Beauty Thief is still a rookie at the whole Stealing Hearts thing, and that their forays into Mementos is designed to help build experience. It’s almost like a video game, isn’t it? Also, Beauty Thief hears the cries of those who need her help, and she just can’t turn away. The group once again tries to convince Mona to return to the group, and even Ryuji humbles himself down, admitting that Mona is his friend and that justice means nothing if you can’t help your pals out. He also states that he genuinely wants to show the world what he’s all about, but admits he can’t do it alone, and he even drives the point home by apologizing earnestly! It looks as though it’s having an effect on our fuzzy pal, until Ryuji decides he likes the taste of socks and sticks his foot in his mouth, saying that he’ll no longer call Mona useless. This triggers Mona and he runs off, and Beauty Thief bids our group a friendly farewell before setting off a flash-bomb and running off. Bless her little heart.

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Later, while trying to console a hard-headed and stubborn Morgana, Haru goes down an alley and runs into Sugimura. Apparently, Sugimura has Haru tracked VIA GPS (with her father’s approval), because that’s what you do when you’re trying to earn the trust of a girl—you track her every movements like a crazed stalker! (No…no that’s NOT what you do) Anyway, Sugimura starts getting rough, grabbing Haru by the wrist and telling her that he has to train her because she’s marrying into a politician’s family. Morgana runs back and makes a valiant effort to stop Sugimura, but sadly, we ain’t in the Metaverse and Sugimura kicks Morgana into a nearby wall. Somebody call PETA! Actually… no… never-mind… nobody call PETA. Those fools are too crazy for me to deal with. Anyway, Morgana painfully laments that he is, in fact, useless and cries out. As it turns out, the rest of the team are nearby and hear Morgana’s cries, and run over to help before Sugimura has a chance to drag Haru away. When the group demands to know who this douche canoe is, he makes Haru tell them who he is and she admits that this son of a gun is, in fact, her fiancé. Makoto doesn’t care who he is and threatens to call the police for help. Sugimura relents and walks off saying that he’ll tell her father.

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The team then take Morgana back to Ren’s room, and Morgana is resting peacefully and on the road to recovery, but Ryuji, bless his heart, is really worried about his little pal, much to the consternation of Ann and Futaba. Oh, come on ladies, Ryuji is worried about Morgana, and you know how he can be. Seriously, I think Ryuji gets a pretty bad rap in both the anime and the game. Yeah, he has his rough spots, and yes, he’s a bigmouth, but dawg gone it, his heart is in the right place and he’s a really good guy. Anyway, after a bit of small talk about Ren’s living environment, Morgana comes to and suggest that they all go their separate ways, not wanting them to risk their lives for someone as useless as him. The group reminds their fuzzy bro that they’re all still in it for their own personal reasons as well as to help him out. When Morgana shoots this down, Haru picks him up and forces Morgana to face facts about who he is and what he wants to do and where he wants to be. After a bit of self analysis, Morgana passionately admits that even though he doesn’t have a specific reason to be with the Phantom Thieves, or a reason to seek out revenge on someone, he wants to stay with them no matter what as it’s the only place where he belongs. Ryuji quietly states that he doesn’t need a reason to stay with them because he’s their friend. He then apologizes again for calling him useless. The group seconds this and Morgana tearfully agrees that he will rejoin the group.

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Now it’s time for Haru to follow her own advice. She admits that she’s never been able to talk about what she really wants, but after this moment with Morgana, she finally has the courage to say that she doesn’t, in fact, want to be forced into marriage and that Sugimura is so big a douche, his name should be Summers Eve. The group is surprised at Haru’s sudden admission and laugh it off. It seems as though our Beauty Thief has a new set of friends. That night, finally at peace, Morgana admits that he finally relax. Roll Credits after this random parting bishounen shot of Ren.

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After the End Credits (with Haru added at the end) we cut to Exposition Breaking News, and it seems as though Okumura has been indicted for something. Uh-oh. You done effed up now, Okumura. You had better get Robert Muller on the phone and work out a plea deal otherwise you’re going up the creek! However, he’s taking this rather bad news in his stride, telling Haru that she’ll be welcomed into Sugimura’s household once she’s able to be married and not to cause any trouble as he’ll have his hands full. He walks away leaving Haru to contemplate her future.

And that’s the end of Episode 20! As compared to the abysmal previous episode, this one was MUCH improved across the board. The animation was much better, the story was more interesting and the pacing of events was very well done. That being said, this episode really feels shorter than all the others. It’s not a BAD thing, but it just feels weird to have all these various events happen in just one episode.

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If I had to express disappointment in anything, it’s that we didn’t get to explore Okumura’s palace a bit more. In the game, the space station is MASSIVE with a lot of different things you had to get through to progress, including flying in space through different airlocks. This just feels a little… flat in comparison to the actual game. I know we’re kinda working on an abbreviated schedule as we’re coming to the end of the series, but honestly, we could’ve done with a pared down version of one of the beach episodes.

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Even though this episode was really good, I have to admit, I’m very concerned now about how the rest of the story will play out. This is episode 20… and we only have 24 episodes in the series unless the creators are going into a 3rd season or even OVA territory. There’s still LOADS of story left to tell and several more palaces to go through,  and I’m concerned that some of the more fascinating parts will be truncated down or cut out all together. We’ll see how the creators handle this as we reach the end, but I REALLY hope they know what the heck they’re doing…

Now before you go off and enjoy the last of the Harry Potter marathon on SyFy, I need to remind you all that 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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