Hearing me say it may be starting to get repetitive, but the 4th episode in the Persona 5 the Animation series is another quality entry. The episode finishes up the first arc of the story. It moves along with a great pace and my fears I had after watching the first episode, thinking things may move too fast have gone out the window. The anime so far has been extremely faithful to the story from the game. Yes it can’t include absolutely every minor detail and interaction but the key points come across perfectly.
The episode starts out right where the post credits scene of last weeks episode ended. The Phantom Thieves have issued Kamoshida his calling card. Calling him out and revealing to the rest of the school that his judgement day is coming. Morgana informs that the calling card will make the treasure inside Kamoshida’s Palace manifest once he knows someone is coming for him. But only for a day or so.
Then comes what seems to be the proper opening to Persona 5 The Animation. It was rumoured this would be held from airing until episode 4 as it contained spoilers although there was nothing that was resolved in the prior 3 episodes that would have been spoiled by this opening. If anything it could be more of a spoiler now as it reveals much of the cast we haven’t even met on screen yet. Either way it’s a great opening and that theme song is still brilliant.
We then get to see the thieves preparing themselves and stocking up on supplies before entering the Palace once more. Something you need to do quite strategically in the game to make sure you have enough supplies to navigate through the Palace’s and make it to the next safe room. Ren and Ryuji visit ‘Untouchable’ the local weapons store in Shibuya, stocking what seem to be BB guns. Here they each pick up a firearm before we see them grab a pack of band-aids as it’s the only medical supply item they can afford after grabbing the weapons.
Ren heads back home and we briefly meet Tae Takemi for the first time, she is the owner of the Takemi medical clinic and gives Ren some experimental new medicine that is meant to help him if he becomes exhausted. We don’t get much of an explanation of who Tae is or why she gave the supplies to Ren but seeing as they have introduced the character it seems likely they’ll flesh her out more in a future episode.
Ren retreats to his room and we see him making lock-picks to use in the Palace. There is then a brief scene of Ann in the ICU visiting a still comatose Shiho. The group then re-enter the Metaverse.
The Thieves decide they need to start using code-name’s for each other as thieves shouldn’t use their real names obviously. Ryuji is Skull, Ann is Panther, Morgana is Mona and for now Ren remains unnamed as he’s too busy using the lock-pick to break into the treasure room. They get in but realise the treasure is behind another locked door that requires a key. Ann seductively performs a sneak attack on the guard with the key and it reveals itself to be a Pixie. Ren uses his firearm to perform a ‘Hold Up’ and the Pixie offers up the key they need before offering itself to Ren as a new Persona to use.
They access the room and the treasure manifests. Although Shadow Ann calls Shadow Kamoshida in and he swoops down taking the treasure before the thieves can grab it. Kamoshida then goes on a rant explaining that his actions aren’t his fault, but is the fault of the students idolising him and coming to him to use him for his glory. Kamoshida then takes his true demon form, which I wasn’t a big fan of as they decided to use noticeable CG to portray the demon. I have seen much worse CG used in conjunction with 2D animation. The two blended OK here but it was definitely noticeable as a CG model.
The Thieves come up with a plan to flank attack Kamoshida from the side and steal the treasure and Ryuji offers to be the one to do it. The other 3 enter a battle with the demon. Here the group use their firearms to damage the demon’s chalice. Morgana explains that inside the metaverse the weapons work like real guns because they are perceived as real in this cognitive world by the enemy.
Kamoshida performs his ultimate Gold Medal Attack which knocks the group down. Causing Ren to faint and be sent to the Velvet Room where we meet Igor again. Upon seeing Ren’s will to go on he performs a guillotine fusion of Ren’s two Persona Arsene and Pixie into one new Persona before sending him back to the Palace battlefield.
Morgana points out that Ren seems special as he can wield more than one Persona where as everyone else get’s only one. Ryuji manages to complete his plan and steals the treasure before a team All Out Attack defeats the Kamoshida Demon. Kamoshida then finds himself in the same predicament all the abused students faced, given little options and feeling powerless. Ann decides not to kill Kamoshida, but instead forces him to go back to his real body and confess his crimes in the real world. Kamoshida admits defeat and evaporates and as the Palace begins to crumble, the Thieves escape the Metaverse.
The next day back in the real world the group question if they performed Kamoshida’s change of heart correctly and wonder if they accidentally killed him as no one had seen him at school that day. Kamoshida then arrives at the school assembly where he confesses his crimes against the students in front of everybody. He plans to kill himself to make things right and make sure it never happens again. Although Ann says he can’t just run from this and he should face the repercussions of his actions. Kamoshida agrees and instructs the principal to call the police as he plans to confess his crimes and lawfully pay for his actions. Ren and Ryuji look on proud in what they have achieved.
That night back at home, Morgana tells Ren that when a shadow self returns to it’s body and isn’t killed inside the Palace the human doesn’t suffer a mental breakdown. Which is why Kamoshida wasn’t physically hurt and able to continue living relatively fine, other than being hit with the realisation he’s a terrible person.
The credits begin to roll over the top of some final scenes where we see that Shiho has woken from her coma and Ann has given her the good news about Kamoshida. Morgana then dubs Ren ‘Joker’ as he is the wildcard of the group which becomes his code-name going forward. Sojiro enters the attic after hearing a cat and has found out Ren is keeping Morgana up there. After learning Ren had already named the cat he seemed kind of disappointing before mentioning he was going to see what scraps remained for Morgana to eat. The credits end with a foreshadowing scene that will be set much further along in the series showing a more expanded group of phantom thieves meeting in the diner before briefly teasing the next Palace.
This episode was one of the best yet. It wrapped up the Kamoshida story line well, introduced us to some new characters (albeit briefly) and added interesting new story lore for the Persona 5 world that will feature in story threads in the future and still to come Palaces. I still think this will be one of, if not my favourite anime to release in 2018. It’s doing a fantastic job recreating the story of the Persona 5 game and if someone wanted to experience the story but not commit to the 100+ hour game i’d have no issues so far recommending them the anime.