We’re into week 2 of the Persona 5 the Animation broadcast season which of course means episode 2 has just aired. It picks up from the high point we were left on last week and continues to impress.
The episode begins as Ren has just unleashed his persona Arsene for the first time as he and Ryuji remain trapped inside Kamoshida’s palace inside the metaverse. The climax of this battle is over just as quick as it begins lasting less than a minute and was more about introducing the viewer to Persona’s and the pact for power Ren made to defeat the guards, escape Kamoshida and exit the metaverse, returning back to the real world school.
We then get our first look at the opening sequence for Persona 5 the Animation. Featuring the Break in to Break Out track that we heard at the end of episode 1. The opening is comprised of clips from episode one overlayed with the credits and original character animations. Reports online are stating that this isn’t the true opening for the series but is a placeholder piece being used until after episode 4 to avoid spoilers that are in the true opening. So we’ll have to look forward to that.
After a short scene from the interrogation room we’re sent back to Ren’s first day at Shujin Academy. There’s some dialogue mentioned here that hints that Kamoshida and Ryuji, who they reference for most of this episode by his last name Sakamotto have some negative history and don’t get along.
We see Ren’s introduction to the class and notice that people are still talking under their breath about him being the probation transfer kid and being quite distant. Ryuji takes Ren up to the school roof, which becomes an iconic and staple meeting place especially early on in the story of the game. Here Ryuji lets Ren know that Kamoshida isn’t all that he seems, but nobody at school calls him out on his abusing ways because of his power status at the school, he’s idolised by many of the other staff, and some students because his coaching methods got the school volleyball team to nationals.
Later that night Ren is transported back to the Velvet Room for another discussion with Igor, who tells him about the navigator app, revealing it was he that put it on Ren’s phone in the first place and he has high hopes for Ren if he can master the use of that app.
The next day at school we get our first look at Kamoshida’s abusive ways. Disguising his cruel nature behind the facade of being a passionate coach. One of the highlights of the episode was seeing Ren get back up and seeing the peeling eye overlay jet across the screen. Replicating the exact look of the overlays shown in the game.
It then starts to become apparent that many of the students are on edge around Kamoshida. When a group of students confronts Ryuji in the school yard we learn that many of them are just putting up with Kamoshida’s antics to stay out of his target zone and just get by until they graduate. Too scared to stand up themselves. Ryuji then informs Ren that it was likely Kamoshida that spread the details of his past and his current probation to the other students which has resulted in him not being able to really get to know anyone besides Ryuji. The two decide it’s time to jump back into the metaverse.
Back inside the Kamoshida castle the two witness physical manifestations of Kamoshida’s punishment traps, representing his hold over the school students and his habit of physically punishing those that step out of line, disobey or don’t perform to his liking.
Then off in the distance our heroes hear a voice coming from a prison cell offering them help in return for freedom. It’s the one and only Morgana. Morgana goes on to be a key character and often provides insight and suggestions to the leads as he has the most first hand experience with the metaverse. In the game Morgana is at times one of the most lovable characters and at others the most annoying. But seeing as he likely won’t constantly be telling Ren to go and sleep every 15 minutes his anime portrayal should hopefully only contain the positive aspects of his character.
Morgana informs Ren and Ryuji that the palace is a manifestation of the dark, hidden desires present inside a persons heart. And since they have travelled into Kamoshida’s palace they are witnessing his true personality and desires.
The Shadow version of Kamoshida returns and it’s here we learn of the cruel treatment Ryuji had suffered at the hands of Kamoshida in the past, which is the catalyst for his hate of the teacher. Ryuji was the star of the track and field team and after standing up to Kamoshida received a broken leg. Kamoshida claimed self-defence, got off scott-free while Ryuji’s running career was destroyed and he’s now looked upon by the rest of the students as someone who tried to attack a teacher. Ruining his reputation around school.
In the midst of hearing Kamoshida make light of his situation and threatening Ren and Morgana, Ryuji awakens his Persona Captain Kidd and together the three of them team up to defeat the enemies summoned by Kamoshida. This part was hands down the highlight of the episode. Seeing how well the systems from the game translated across to the anime in such a faithful way was fantastic. The Persona design, sound design, and battle overlays were all perfect. Topped off by the stunning ‘All Out Attack’ sequence all while the ‘Last Surprise’ music tracked backed the scene brought a massive smile to my face.
The group manage to escape to a safe room where Ren and Ryuji leave the metaverse and head to a resturant for a meal. It’s here that Ren opens up about his probation story, which was hinted at in episode one but now reveals he was trialled for assault after attempting to help a woman on the street that was being assaulted and caused the attacker to fall, injuring himself and pressing charges against Ren.
In a moment of empathy Ryuji offers to pay for the whole meal before asking Ren to call him by his first name and not Sakamotto.
We then get our first look at the ending theme. Another brand new music piece titled ‘Infinity’ another boppy bass heavy track composed by Shoji Meguro and performed by Lyn.
Persona 5 the Animation continues to soar forward with a brilliant second episode. Combining a perfect blend of action and back story for our lead characters and the villain. A battle sequence that perfectly captures the look and feel of the game and it’s key moments. I did notice some more off key animation quality drops in this episode, more than I saw with episode one but the key animation moments continue to amaze with their crisp visuals and character designs. If Persona 5 the Animation maintains this on-going path of quality story telling I can easily see it being my favourite anime of this season.