Oh boy… and thus it begins. The arc that I don’t really like. But man, was it just me or was the animation quality just really bad in this episode? Like worse than usual. So many of the farther away shots looked way more wonky and severely off model. But enough with the obligatory complaints for this series. Let’s get into the actual episode.
The second years (with Makoto as an accompaniment) head off to Hawaii for their class trip. But not before the group sees how the phansite implemented a new voting system, where people vote on who they believe the phantom thieves’ next target should be. Which is actually kind of messed up if you think about it. But I’m getting off track a little. In any case, the party is wondering who the culprit responsible for mental shutdowns is. Especially since they’ve been causing trouble for a lot of people and even killed Futaba’s mother. Wondering if Sae might have some important info on the topic, Futaba gives Makoto a flashdrive to download her sister’s entire hard drive. To which, it’s pretty obvious that Makoto is not comfortable doing so. It’s probably safe to say that Sae is a very delicate subject for Makoto and when it’s like walking through a minefield when interacting with her. She doesn’t know what will set her sister off in her current mindset. And that’s a very sad thing to see, especially when they are the only family members they have left. But it’s also something I can relate to, which is one of the reasons I love Makoto.
Makoto gets the data and the group heads off to Hawaii. Their little first selfie of the trip was really adorable and hilarious (if not a little concerning) that Futaba could see what they were doing through Ren’s phone. I really liked the fact that the party actually DID something in Hawaii in the anime besides constantly checking their phones the entire trip. Because honestly, this whole sequence in the game felt a little pointless since they literally didn’t do much.
I also like the gradual build up to Mystery girl X’s (girl who has been making cameos) eventual reveal. And I appreciate that the anime showed her a decent amount before hand rather than having her show up too little like in the game. Also, the fact that she’s sharing a room with Kawakami was great, especially when she just walked in on her being weird lol. But also Yusuke making a sudden appearance and “conveniently” staying where the others are was a bit much. Though I do remember laughing hysterically in the game when Yusuke just walks up to them in the hotel as if it was the most natural thing in the world. His blank expression does give me a lot of life though.
Also, what I am liking a lot more in the anime than the game is showing the other party members interact with each other outside of Phantom Thief business. Such as Makoto and Ann going shopping and spending time together like actual friends. But while the girls were having girl bonding time, Ryuji wanted to go try pick up girls, to which both Yusuke and Ren didn’t seem too interested in. But Ryuji ended up kidnapping Yusuke as a “prop.” What kind of prop? We’ll never know apparently. I don’t know why, but I found Ryuji pushing Yusuke away on the raft really hilarious. Also, Yusuke with his shirt off. MMM… *cough* ANYWAYS.
We are officially introduced to Hifumi when Ren rescues her from some pretty aggressive guys who were hitting on her. I thought it was pretty interesting and clever to be introduced to her like this as Yusuke is the one to fill them in on who she was since they got to the same school.
When Ren and the others get back from Hawaii, I love how they picked the choice of Ren saying “Aloha” while also sporting the “hang loose” sign as well. When I picked that choice in my playthrough, I literally died at how disgusted Futaba sounded when she said “he’s been influenced.” However, things can’t possibly stay happy because the conspiracy had the principal killed in a street accident after he had a mental shutdown, just a few feet in front of the police station. Essentially masking it as a suicide. Sadly, I didn’t really like how this scene played out in the episode, but I rather not dwell on it so moving on.
Not only was the principal’s death plaguing their thoughts, but Sae’s suspicions of the Phantom Thieves the cause of mental shutdowns was causing the group to be anxious. But the needle that ended up breaking the camel’s back was Okumura being the one that the Phansite deemed to be the Phantom Thieves’ next target. However, there were also a lot of suspicions that this guy might have some connection to the mental shutdowns considering how fast his corporation grew and that he actually does have a palace.
Ryuji immediately jumped on board of taking the guy down while Yusuke tried to slow things down by stating they may need to investigate the situation more. Unfortunately, things don’t go smoothly when even Morgana (who has shown to have a lot of self worth issues for the past few episodes) speaks out that they shouldn’t dawdle. I appreciate how cautious Yusuke wanted to be in this situation and not rush into it. Especially since, you shouldn’t just jump the gun on what people say on the internet. You have to do your own digging to get the entire picture. Not to mention he also noticed how unnatural the Phantom Thieves’ booming popularity was.
This is probably one of the parts I liked the least during my playthrough of Persona 5. I hate how hard Ryuji and Morgana are pushing to go after Okumura and when the others aren’t agreeing. Especially when Ann expresses worries and doubt over if what they are doing is right and both Ryuji and Morgana just kind of dismiss her feelings. But honestly I have to agree with Ann’s sentiments. When Kamoshida first confessed, I felt a sense of uneasiness. On one hand he got the justice he deserved, but his “change of heart” was never genuine because let’s face it, the change of heart IS in a sense manipulating free will. And that’s where we hit kind of a gray area of morality. Is it justice to manipulate someone’s free will even if that person is a terrible human being?
I also started really disliking Ryuji in this moment because he’s letting the popularity of the Phantom Thieves get to his head and isn’t thinking things rationally, even disregarding his friends’ feelings and thoughts. However, it wasn’t just Ryuji, Morgana also rubbed me the wrong way with how he just lashed out at the party in frustration because they wanted to step on the breaks FOR LEGITIMATELY GOOD REASONS. He was also throwing their words and morals in their faces which honestly pissed me off. I understand why he wants to do this quickly, but that doesn’t make what he’s doing and saying right. The whole situation was super uncomfortable to watch especially when Ryuji and Morgana eventually started ripping into each other. The two never had a good relationship, but the way they lashed out in frustration at each other was what made me not like them too much after this.
It comes to a point where Morgana runs off on his own to take down Okumura’s palace on his own. Speaking of aggressive, both Sae and Akechi seem to be gunning to bring down the Phantom Thieves. Especially Sae who seems to wants to get results no matter what the cost.
I’m really curious as to how they’ll handle this arc because this had to be one of the weakest arcs in the game and I didn’t really enjoy it. Mostly due to the negative spin with Morgana and Ryuji’s characters. Next week we will be officially meeting Mystery Girl X and how the heck she was able to get into the palace.