The bestselling “Persona” game of all time is “Persona 5” with over one and a half million units worldwide. Some people may think “Persona 4” was where the series blew up, but that was small potatoes compared to “Persona 5.” Of course, this success has caused an outcry for an anime adaptation just like with “Persona 4.” Now, the first episode of “Persona 5: The animation has aired and fans can rejoice.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, a high school student named Ren Amamiya is forced to live with a family friend in Tokyo for a year after getting arrested and put on probation for injuring someone. What’s supposed to a normal year of trying not to get into trouble, Ren finds a weird app on his phone that sends him and his new Shujin Academy buddies to a world called The Metaverse and gain the ability to use Personas, a physical embodiment of a person’s soul. Now, Ren and his friends have to deal with a bunch of awful people in the Metaverse as Phantom Thieves and steal their hearts in order to make them not awful.
That does sound like a lot, but once you remember that this anime is based on an 80+ hour RPG, there will be a ton of plot. As for the first episode, it does a great job of showing the events of the first three or so hours (!) of the game. Yes, that means compressing scenes in order to make a 24-episode anime series. However, “Persona” fans shouldn’t be downhearted because it gets all the plot items from those first few hours down well and newcomers will find it easy to follow.
For those wondering how close to the game the anime follows, it’s pretty close. From the way scenes are played out, the original voice cast is here, the animation looks exactly like the game and even some of the music is here. On the other hand, in the legendary opening scene, there were three changes: the boss fight was taken out, instead of the original “Life Will Change” a horrible remix is played and Ren is caught immediately. Again, these changes are needed to compress an 80+ hour RPG into a series.
While no intro song was played yet, the ending song, “Break in to Break Out” is wonderfully sung by Lyn, the singer who sang all the songs in “Persona 5.” That will please every fan because her voice IS “Persona 5.” Her style of music IS “Persona 5.” Anyone else just won’t cut it. Hopefully, she did the intro song as well to complete the fangasm.
The first episode of “Persona 5: The Animation” looks sounds and feels like the game despite some minor nitpicks. Hopefully, the rest of the series will be the same because a lot more people will be watching this than “Persona 4.”