Anyone here really excited for Persona 5, like it may be a psychosis excited. Even with all the great JRPGs coming out in recent weeks and the next few months February 14th is going to be a special day for many. It’s lucky it will be Valentines Day as you’ll need that boosted Social Link with your significant other to get through the next few weeks of your absence.
Of course February 14th is still half a year away, so how are we going to pass the time? Well lucky for us coinciding with the Japanese (lucky bastards) release of the game this month an anime special was released. Persona 5 The Animation: The DAY BREAKERS as a special preview/partial adaption for the game. While I doubt we’ll know much of what’s going on, it is Persona we’re talking about so lets dive in.
Note: For those of you who don’t know how this work, there will be spoilers (from here everything is a spoiler) for this particular special. However as I have almost no knowledge of the game the rest will of course be speculation based on information revealed in the special and publicly available trailers. Please watch for yourself over at Crunchyroll it’s actually a fun little caper.
The special opens at a train station with four teenagers. After a brief conversation about the city being overrun by criminals the four transform into their Phantom Thief forms. As the train station transitions into a demonic tunnel leading to somewhere... Funny enough from my perspective the Protagonist of the special/game doesn’t just look like Lelouche Lamperouge from Code Geass he even shares his voice actor being played by the prolific actor Jun Fukuyama which speaks well of the production values.
Switching scenes Goro Akechi a High School Detective (this is totally Persona) is being interviewed on TV regarding the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. The band of “Thieves” that comprise the main party. Interestingly the fact that both the main characters have their abilities and are well known, seems to indicate that they have been active for sometime. Implying that the timing of this special is during the events of the game, not before as was previously speculated.
Splitting away again the action shifts to a break-in at a bar. As the crooks break in with the help of a young man lockpicker, where they notice their own Security Companies card. Laughing that the owner should have hired them so a break in like theirs wouldn’t have happened.
The young man later revealed to be named Kazuya Makigami seems troubled after the events. Searching through his cell-phone he finds an app “Ask-a-Thief”. Seeing this app the young man seethes with anger.
Flipping back to the main cast of the game the Protagonist is absentmindedly attending class. Paying attention “in his own way”, before seeing a notification from the same “Ask-a-Thief”. The Protagonist then moves to the location “Ask-a-Thief” told him too along with a talking Cat (Morgana) companion and finds the gang of thieves chatting, during the encounter its shown that Kazuya is infact the leader of the gang and not one its lackeys.
Deciding it is their duty to stop them, the Phantom Thieves of Heart decide it’s something only they can do. However the five (counting Morgana) decide they have got to gather evidence first, to which the Protagonist replies “I’ve already thought of that”.
Moving on the gang of actual criminals continue their crime wave. Coming to another restaurant the crooks run into Morgana and the Phantom Thieves of Heart, where Kazuya has discovered a message they left. To their fear and astonishment as they thought the restaurant was unguarded, the crooks trip an alarm left for them by the Phantom Thieves and retreat.
Following a scene where Kazuya is wondering how the Phantom Thieves found them as he didn’t leave a message on “Ask-a-Thief”, he is transported to the location from the beginning of the episode. Within the demon form version of the train station alongside the Phantom Thieves in their alternate forms.
The “Perceived World” is another “reality given shape by human souls” or so the Protagonist explains as he terrifies his prey with his supernatural abilities. Which we have seen used in trailers for the game itself. The Phantom Thieves of hearts then “answer to the cries of the oppressed” again as explained by the Protagonist.
The Phantom’s explain they’re not confronting Kazuya because of his burglary. No they were called by the cries of help from his younger brother, Naoya Makigami - who believed Kazuya was one day going to kill him due to his constant abuse and death threats if he even told of his life of crime. However the heart of a younger brother always finds a silver lining in anime, he believed (correctly) that Kazuya was only doing these evil actions because of the stress from a life of crime.
Confronted by the reality of his action. Kazuya has his big “I am the Leader, It was me, all the rest of them are morons” moment and goes on the tried and true villain monologue. Insulting his “punk tag along” brother, Kazuya goes deeper and deeper into a psychotic mania, eventually ripping himself open revealing the demon with. Now remember, this is Persona so I meant that last line literally, he disembowels himself - M for Mature anyone?
As a battle rages on the Phantom Thieves seem to be meeting their match. However the Protagonist “Joker” walks forward and as blue flames dance around him summons his Persona - Arsène who exclaims:
As Joker and Arsène engage in battle, a soft but distinctly Personaesqe song plays in the background. Giving the whole scene a very classically Persona feel. Honestly if the special is anything to go buy this game will feel very similar and distinct at the same time. Considering how beloved Persona 4 and to a lesser extent 3 is to many people (be honest we know you haven’t played the first three games) this must be a good thing.
This is only enhanced by the addition of classic Shin Megami Tensei monsters in the fight such as the Oni forcing the release of the other Phantom Thieves Personas including Captain Kidd, Carmen, and Zorro each a Persona based on classic fictional thieves, a fun touch I must say. Even if the genie Zorro looks rather absurd - especially as he’s commanded by a talking cat...
With that line Joker shoots the monster in the face ending the battle in a totally over the top, but perfect fashion as he collects a key from the remains of the demon. Following the defeat of the embodiment of his arrogance Kazuya unsurprisingly finds his conscience. Transported back to the real world Kazuya pleading for his brothers forgiveness confesses his sins along with those of his “friends” to a crowd of onlookers, effectively ending their crime spree.
Somehow Joker leaves the mysterious key with Naoya. With the new found key Naoya moves straight to his brothers room, with the key the literal conduit of his brothers arrogance, it’s revealed Kazuya always did indeed love his brother. He just seemingly got lost along the way. As Kazuya and his gang is being taken to prison, one of the cops asked if he’s ever seen the Protagonist who is walking away. To which he replies no, but he looks familiar.
As the story comes to a close a familiar tune plays in the background. It’s revealed by Igor flanked by two childish attendants that the events of the special were all a vision of a potential future. Igor asks the “Prisoner” (wearing black and white stripped jumpsuit from the Persona 5 reveal all those years ago) what is his name to which the screen fades to black on the unnamed Protagonist.
Well I got to say I did not expect to write so much on this special. It was just that much fun and it did it’s job admirably, even if it did start admittedly slow. Seriously Final Fantasy XV got lucky by moving out of this month as if Persona 5 is anything as good as this special it’s going to sell REALLY well.
Surprisingly I think the special gave a good glimpse of the game, along wih the potential of a full anime adaption down the line. Actually scratch the word potential, this will be an anime although I hope they keep our hero nameless as they did here. All around I’m more excited for Persona 5 the game then I was before and even a proper Persona 5: The Animation as A1 Pictures did a great job. (Note I incorrectly originally thought this was produced by Production I.G. who will be doing the animated cut scenes)
So enough of me rambling on now. What did you all think. As always leave your comments and lets wait for our ticket to the Velvet Room together.