First Look: Persona 5 The Animation

Alternative title(s): Lupin III Part V
Game Adaptation by A1 Pictures
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Ren Amamiya is a juvenile offender who was unjustly expelled from school and arrested after interfering in an attempted assault. Now transferred to urban Tokyo, he’s got a year to keep his head down and stay out of trouble.

Zigg’s verdict: You’ll Always See It Coming

This is a totally adequate adaptation of Atlus’s super hit RPG which is occasionally nice looking, but is mostly workmanlike, and certainly fails to capture the sizzling style of the original game. The main issue here remains the same as it was with the Persona 3 Persona 4 animated adaptations however, namely that so much of the strength of those games is dependent on their extreme length and massive amount of humdrum, everyday activity. That’s simply something you can’t replicate in animated form, and as a consequence those previous adaptations lost a great deal of the original versions’ charm and ‘lived in’ feel. I think Persona 5 probably has the strongest actual plot of the three games we’ve mentioned, which should mitigate these factors somewhat, but it’s still something worth bearing in mind. The other, more prosaic fact working against this adaptation is simply that pretty much everyone who was interested in Persona has probably had a chance to play the game by now. Still this isn’t half bad at all. Just, you know, completely predictable.

Gee’s verdict: Perfectly Adequate

Persona 5 The Animation is a competent rendition of the Atlus JRPG. The production values alone make it a distinct step up from the rather uneven Persona 4 anime adaptation. Unfortunately, an anime simply isn’t the way I want to consume the story. The strength of the modern Persona games has been the degree to which you become familiar with your newfound friends over the course of a year. You’ll end up spending literally dozens of hours with these people, learning about their quirks and motivations. Throw in the dozen confidantes you meet that aren’t even part of the main party and you’re left with an experience that’s rather difficult to compress. A standard length anime simply isn’t going to be able to capture that for better or worse. That’s not even going into the source material’s actual flaws and shortcomings. Regardless, there’s nothing actually bad about the anime so it probably isn’t the worst way to experience the story. Also if nothing else, we’re sure to get some good new tunes in the form of the OP and ED so it’s not a total wash either way.

Iro’s verdict: Welcome Back to the Velvet Room

It was almost comical how directly beat-for-beat this followed the start of the actual video game Persona 5, admirably cramming about 90 minutes of gameplay into a mere 20 of animation. It also inadvertently highlights some of the contrived coincidences that kick things off, and comes off as a little pointless to anyone who’s played the original. The Persona 4 anime also suffered from this before finding its own goofy style a ways in, but I’m not sure it’s worth spending the time here if you’re already familiar with the plot. Quick nods to side characters just aren’t the same as actually experiencing their stories, yknow? But if you’re really interested in P5 and just can’t actually play the game for some reason, this version will probably be just fine.

3 thoughts on “First Look: Persona 5 The Animation

  1. Every time I see a new Persona anime I wish that the Persona 2 duology got more than an anime trailer. Its plot would translate much to an animated adaptation than any of the modern Persona games.

    • I’m with you on that one. It’s also way less well known, even among pretty serious fans, which would be another advantage.

      • I agree with you there. I wonder how people would react to the plucky kids losing to Nyarlathotep and the adult cast of Eternal Punishment take center stage.

        As I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself liking the EP cast more and more to the point where they’re my favorite party. The adult cast also shows that the Persona formula has the potential to be used for so much more than your regular JRPG teens but there’s no way Atlus would ever move away from such a winning formula.

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