23 May 2018 | bryce-wiseman94
So far, a servicable adaptation.
I figured I would go ahead and help to pad out the reviews for the P5 animation. Given the popularity of the game, I'm surprised it does not have more reviews/ratings as is.
For anyone who is not familiar with Persona 5, or the Persona series as a whole, It would take an entire essay to bring you completely up to speed. Just to cover the basics, Persona is a game series that mixes action JRPG elements with Life and Dating sim social systems. You often role play as a high school student, who is blessed with the ability "Wild Card", which allows him to wield multiple Personas in battle. Personas are essentially pokemon, though they operate on a much more complex elemental system. When you aren't battling the bad guys, called "Shadows", you are tasked with leading the life of an average student. You take tests, gets part time jobs for more income, and develop your relationships with your teammates and other supporting characters. The more you develop these bonds, the stronger you become in battle.
Persona 5, the latest entry in the series, was released for western audiences in the spring of last year by, and has quickly risen to the top of many fan's rankings for best Persona game yet due to its deep plot and engaging characters. Now, just about a year later, the anime adaptation has been released by company Aniplex, and is putting out episodes on a weekly basis, presumably until the entire main plot has concluded.
The reception to this project has been mixed, as opposed to the near universal praise that Persona 4's animation received. The reason why is immediately apparent after you watch the first episode. The pacing is.. not great. In fact, I could easily imagine someone who has not already played the game and knows the story getting entirely lost as to what is going on. With a property like this, that prides itself on giving sufficient context on the plot over multiple hours of gameplay and worldbuilding, it seems that a bit of that care was lost when they attempted to cram roughly the first two hours of the game into a 24 minute block.
At the same time, you can understand the approach from an objective perspective. If Aniplex were only able to cover an hour of in-game content per episode, they would be well over 150 episodes before they were done, and I simply don't believe they are able to invest the time to go into the triple digits.
From the second episode onward, the pace was fixed in a few places and we start to get invested in the characters. This is achieved well enough for how much screen time each one is given, but there's something.... missing. Some element of the social interactions that gets lost when you aren't driving the dialogue as you do in the game. This I fear will end up being the main issue with the series as a whole; the plot and its emotional impact will suffer for those who have only watched the adaptation, due to the fact they have not been given enough time with each character to fully appreciate their backstories and their bond with the main character.
As of the time of this review, there are 7 episodes released, covering roughly the first 30 or so hours of the game. So far, I can say that it is worth your time whether or not you have played the source materiel, but only time will tell if the entire package will come together as the story progresses, or whether things start to fall apart as more characters and plot elements are introduced.