First Impressions: PERSONA5 the Animation

PERSONA5 the Animation is based on the recent and popular game of the same name. The first episode introduces us to the Phantom Thieves, a mysterious group led by Ren Amamiya, who is captured during a heist they tried to pull. He is beaten and interrogated by the police, who seem to have been after him for some time. The beating is interrupted by an attorney who begins to question him and his motives, but as that happens another voice speaks to him and wants him to remember what happened. The episode takes us to a flashback of a different Ren, a milder one, transferring to Shujin Academy in Tokyo and also affect by some kind of app on his phone that takes him to some other, darker world. He is forced to transfer and to live with a cafe owner after formerly getting in criminal mischief. While going to school, he meets a classmate, but the two never make it: the school disappears a castle takes its place, while living, sword-wielding armor suits attack them. Another student, dressed in strange attire, decides he will kill them both until Ren has a conversation with a demonic presence. He makes a vow to accept its power and the episode ends with Ren grinning, the assumption being that he is going to strike back.

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I know of PERSONA5 the video game and have played it a little, but never purchased it. I never wanted to get into it for personal reasons, mainly that it focuses on receiving power from demons. That aside, the anime looked very interesting but to me, it seems more for those who have played the game or have some background knowledge going in. The story in episode 1 is all over the place, and you might have to watch it twice to get what’s going on completely. I would have liked it to go at a slower pace, but maybe that’s because the game is so long they want to fit as much as they can in a season of episodes. I will continue watching, and I hope it allows viewers to understand the characters and the worlds they become involved in. I recommend watching it for yourself and coming to your own conclusion, but if the anime stays true to the game I expect this to be quite a ride of a show.

TWWK: I was also intrigued by the first episode, mainly because I really like the character design for the Phantom Thieves. I frequently post Persona 5 fan art on my Tumblr, and have found that the fandom for the game is very active and strong, and I want to know what these characters are like. But as Samaru said, the series definitely has that game-to-anime feel, and I’m not sure it can stand on its own. PLUS, I just watched Caligula as well, which has a very similar feel but had a more polished and interested opening episode. If I only have room for one character-becomes-aware-of-alternate-reality-and-must-save-the-world anime this season, the latter would probably get it.


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