Most fans of the Persona series (previously known as Shin Megami Tensei) knows that once the video game comes, the anime follows shortly thereafter. Within the week of the U.S release’s first anniversary of Persona 5, Phantom Thieve fans everywhere knew what time it was. We awaited this day since the announcement in August 2017. With multiple “Video Game of the Year” nominations (and wins) surely the creators understand how important this tradition is to the series. On April 7th, I stared profusely at the Crunchyroll website, continuously scrolling and refreshing.
My heart sang, my world fell into this bowl of Doritos. Ren Amimaya, is a high school kid with a criminal record. Ren helped a woman who was getting harassed on the street. He tried to push her abuser off, the man got tight, fell over, and sued him. He gets transferred to Shujin Academy to stay away from trouble in order to fulfill his year of probation. His caretaker Sojiro Sakura, doesn’t make it any easier, when Ren steps into his new home in the attic of a cafe called Le Blanc. Sojiro immediately talks to Ren as if he is a waste of space. Sojiro cuts him off when he tries to explain. Already as an audience member, I feel for him. It’s annoying when you’re just trying to live your life in peace, and people around you are like “Nah”.
The visuals are pretty accurate to the game. The scene where the Protagonist trips into the palace is where the artistry truly seeps in. The swirls that seem like paint, it ripples the screen and gives a pulling effect to the viewers. The confusion of seeing your school, and seeing the palace shift through your brain. You’re essentially seeing, and feeling what the character feels. The imagery gets jagged. The feeling of entrapment reflects both in the palace, your own reality, and people’s views. Ren’s search for escapism in the midst of a world that refuses to see him different helps him break into his Persona. The colors are striking. The artists continue to make bold choices when it comes to Ren. The contrast between his seemingly quiet nature versus the Persona that lives inside of him is what we were all waiting for.
The Persona franchise has a history of making small references that lead up to each other. Therefore, Ren’s Persona, Arsene living in LeBlanc is a low-key but clap worthy use of wordplay. Maurice LeBlanc a playwright created Arsene. LeBlanc, the metaphorical cage he sleeps in, is essentially home to the rebellion. My bowl of Doritos and I cannot wait to see the rest of the series unfold, and make continuous Persona 5 video game references.
Watching Persona 5 :The Animation? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here