Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Sep 3, 2016
Studios: A-1 Pictures
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Seinen, Supernatural
Duration: 24 min.Hearts
As if I needed any more reasons to be excited to play Persona 5 when it releases here in North America on February 14th, 2017! Today Crunchyroll aired the prequel/tie-in anime special titled Persona 5 the Animation: The Day Breakers. So is it worth the watch? Should you watch this before playing the game? Well let me give you some insight on this Anime Special.
Side Note: This review is written in a perspective that will appeal to both the anime only watchers and the Persona Universe/Franchise fans. As I have noticed that there are many people out there interested in P5 that have never played any of the other games or have only watched the anime series/movies of P3 and P4.
Our story takes place in Tokyo somewhere near Shibuya. The story mainly acts as an introduction to five (Six if you include Goro) of the playable characters in the game and their Personas. We also get some insight as to what the Phantom Thieves actually do.
The anime opens with us meeting the main antagonist, Kazuya Makigami (Makki for short), the leader of a gang of thieves who uses insider info to break into various businesses and robs them. They are in what appears to be a bar or restaurant robbing the place when Makki notices a business card with a message addressed to him. We then change scenery to a train station where our five main characters are discussing the growing criminal activity in the area. After a train passes by, we see they are now donned in their Phantom Thieves outfits and proceed to their objective. The next scene has us meeting Goro Akechi (who happens to be a detective that also attends high school), who is appearing on a talk show discussing the Phantom Thieves.
We are now in basically flashback mode showing the events that lead up to our opening scene. It appears that Makki works for a locksmith company and another of his group’s members works for a security firm in which they seem to get their information for their heists. After one of their jobs it appears that Makki is upset and disgusted with what they had done and would like to see the other members of his group disappear. He seemingly wants to post on the Ask-a-Thief channel about bringing his gang down, but in the end decides not to. Meanwhile, the Phantom Thieves appear to have received a request from a sender who fears for his life. The protagonist follows Makki to a meeting with his gang as they discuss the security firm member losing his job and their insider info for future heists. All of this is overheard by Morgana the cat who is also a member of the Phantom Thieves.
Now back to the opening scene where Makki’s gang is in the bar robbing the place when Morgana jumps out and hisses at them. Makki is in a state of panic from seeing the card that the Phantom Thieves left for him, as he never posted a message to the Ask-a-Thief channel. A security alarm goes off and our gang of thieves end up having to abandon their heist. Our protagonist and friends jump into action and lure Makki into the persona world to confront him. It turns out that their request came from Makki’s younger brother, Naoya, whom he physically abuses everyday after each heist to relieve his frustration and stress. With proof of the abuse and Makki’s crimes against society, the Phantom Thieves feel it is now time to take him down. Makki snaps and transforms into a demon shouting that he is the only person that matters and that all others are subhumans to him. After a fierce battle between the Phantom Thieves and Makki, they finally subdue him and purge the arrogance from his heart. As a key falls from the sky, Makki tells them it goes to the locked drawer in his desk and to give it to his younger brother with a message to burn everything he finds inside.
Back in the real world, Makki breaks down in tears and begins shouting out his guilt for the abuse and his gang’s crimes. As he and his gang are arrested, he notices the protagonist in the crowd and wonders why he seems familiar to him. Also in the crowd is Goro Akechi who seems to have been in the area investigating the Phantom Thieves activities. Morgana delivers the key and a written message to Naoya, who in turn unlocks his brother’s desk to find a photo of them from when they were younger. With their mission complete, the Phantom Thieves set their sites on their next job, in which they comment that it is a huge one.
At the conclusion, we see our protagonist in a jail cell within the Velvet Room. Igor reveals to him that the entire experience is just a glimpse of his possible future and that what kind of story he weaves will be based on the decisions he makes. He then asks the protagonist, “What is your name?”, the camera pans to his face and he begins to mouth something and the screen goes black.
As I mentioned before we met five of the playable characters from the game in this special. All of them are very likeable with my favorite having to be Morgana/Mona the cat. So let’s take a closer look at them! First up we have our Protagonist, who is of course nameless and just referred to by his codename of Joker. He appears to be a criminal of some kind from the ending, but in most of the episode he is your typical high school student. He seems to have a great personality, but also seems to really dislike having to pay attention in class. He uses knives and handguns during combat, wears a bird mask, and his Persona is Arsene. He seems to always be accompanied by our second character Morgana. Morgana is a talking, shape-shifting cat that is also a member of the Phantom Thieves. Her codename is Mona and she appears to have a very playful personality. In everyday situations, she appears to be your normal black and white cat, but when she transforms into Mona she has the appearance of a cartoon cat dressed in a cat burglar outfit. She uses slingshots and a cutlass during combat, and her Persona is Zorro. Ryuji Sakamoto is a blonde haired male high school student who appears to have a comedic personality. He also seems to be pretty laidback and friendly. His codename is Skull and he wears a skull mask, uses a shotgun and a bludgeon in battle, and his Persona is Captain Kidd. Anne Takamaki is a beautiful, blonde haired, blue eyed high school girl who seems to have a lively personality. She seems to get along well with the other members of the Phantom Thieves. Her codename is Panther and she also wears a cat burglar outfit with a panther mask, she uses a whip and a sub-machine gun in battle, and her Persona is Carmen. Yusuke Kitagawa is a blue haired guy who unlike the others wears a white school uniform. He seems to be the brainy one of the bunch and is very outspoken when it comes to doing the right thing. His codename is Fox and he wears a fox mask, uses a katana and a rifle during battle, and his Persona is Goemon. Goro Akechi is a high school detective, and not much background was shown about him in this episode. He appears to be investigating the Phantom Thieves and has a strong sense of justice. He made the comment that he believes that the Phantom Thieves should be judged in a court of law because they shouldn’t be twisting people’s hearts. Igor is the caretaker of the Velvet Room. He has an elderly appearance and is very outspoken. Kazuya Makigami (aka Makki) is a delinquent and leader of a gang of thieves. He appears to be a very conflicted individual who has a rather colorful personality. The other minor characters all seemed to fit into their respective roles and you could definitely relate to them. During the fight scene all the Personas were pretty bad ass and I can’t wait to find out more about them in the game.
Voice Acting and Animation
Many known VAs were used for the character voices and I thought they all did a great job as their character. The voices that stood out for me were Ikue Otani and Masane Tsukayama. Ikue Otani voices Morgana and is well known for her voice work as Pikachu in the Pokemon series. She gave Morgana such personality and due to that fact, made her my favorite character. Masane Tsukayama stood out for me as he is the new voice actor for Igor. Even though he had only a few lines in the episode, he did a great job taking over for the late Isamu Tanonaka. I was able to hear the difference in their voices, but it wasn’t a bad one. It was more of a shock that they finally found a new voice actor for the role instead of using archived recordings as they did before.
The animation was smooth and I enjoyed the fight scene the most. I also liked how they added the game like animation to their transformation scenes.
What can I say about the music? I am a huge fan of Persona music, so the ED song “Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There” which is also the game’s opening theme is amazing! Shoji Meguro has once again done an amazing job with the music for both the episode and the game.
Overall Enjoyment/Personal Thoughts
Overall this was a very well done introduction to the characters of Persona 5! I thought we could have had a little more information about Goro Akechi since he is in the game and there may be viewers who don’t read all the information that Atlus has released about the characters. Though I guess that it does leave the viewer with a bit of mystery about him. I have actually watched the episode five times already today trying to see if I can find any easter eggs or unreleased info about the characters, personas, or story.
This anime special will appeal mostly to fans of the Persona franchise, whether you are a gamer or an anime only watcher. Though I would recommend it to anyone interested in playing P5 or those who like to watch supernatural anime.
Here is hoping that Atlus decides to greenlight a whole season of P5 like they did with P3 and P4 or possibly a movie trilogy like P3. I for one would definitely watch and purchase it!
Overall I give Persona 5 the Animation: The Day Breakers an 8.5 out of 10! (Twenty four minutes was not enough P5 goodness! Also there were some minor issues with the animation)