Persona 5: The Animation Episode 3 [A Beautiful Rose Has Thorns!]
I’ve come to accept the fact that this anime is going to go at a frighteningly fast pace, which is unfortunate. But what can you do? While I knew it was unlikely, it really felt like if this arc were to have the right amount of breathing room, it really could have been so much better to have a first season of this arc with 12 episodes. But that’s just wishful thinking and it’s not reality so let’s move on to the actual review of the episode, shall we?
The episode very quickly glosses over the questioning of the different volleyball players (which is understandable) with all of them denying there’s any abuse. However, my favorite scene had to be when Ryuji and Ren went to go talk to Shiho. Before they came, we get a small peek into how much Shiho means to Ann with her being her only friend. And while Ann was trying to protect her friend, denying the fact that Shiho was facing a lot of abuse from Kamoshida wasn’t good, especially for all states of her wellbeing. This also shows the flaw Ryuji has as a character. He lacks tact and really needs to learn to be more empathetic towards other rather than aggressively questioning them or demanding answers. And further down the line, this will get him into more trouble. He has good intentions, but the way he goes about them only seems to provoke or upset the people he’s trying to help.
The whole situation with Kamoshida is just so messed up. We find out that he has been forcing his advances on Ann in exchange to keep Shiho on the starting lineup. And while I can understand why Ann is doing this… the whole situation is just wrong and nobody should have to go through any of this. In the long run, what Ann is doing really isn’t helping anyone. Not herself, not Shiho. Yes, Shiho has a chance to get a scholarship for her efforts in volleyball, but to be abused mentally, emotionally and physically everyday during practice… is it really worth it? Even Ann had second thoughts on taking up Kamoshida’s offer to go to his apartment if it meant helping Shiho with her dream. NO ONE, should EVER have to make a decision like that and it just pains me to see these girls have to suffer like this. They feel powerless in this situation and because they’re so young, they don’t know what to do since they feel like no one else will help them. It makes it even more despicable that something like this actually did happen at a Japanese school and Kamoshida is based off of an actual person. It’s sickening.
As soon as I saw the title my reaction was like: Oh no… IT’S THIS PART. This part of the game probably had to be the WORST, not execution-wise, just content-wise because what happens is absolutely TERRIBLE. After witnessing what happened last episode with it showed some moments of abuse between Kamoshida and Shiho, I was super apprehensive of what we would witness this episode. Thankfully they didn’t show anything, but the feeling of dread was still very real when Mishima called Shiho to go see Kamoshida. This part was the scene I was not looking forward to reliving, especially since how hard to swallow it was in the game. Because Ann blew off Kamoshida, he got super pissed… leading to one of if not the darkest moment in this series. This part made me sick. Especially with how DISGUSTING Kamoshida was about the whole thing.
I didn’t like how this part was done with all of them running into the office to confront Kamoshida. In the game (I know, I know, this is getting old but I can’t help it) Ryuji, consumed with rage runs off on his own to confront Kamoshida with Ren and Mishima running after to try and stop him from what he might do. It was such an emotional moment and I felt like it was incredibly watered down here and it was a bit disappointing. Especially since this is the part where you WANT this guy to be brought to justice. You WANT him to pay for his crimes. And it’s the breaking point where the Phantom Thieves are forced to act to bring this scumbag of a teacher to justice. The episode just lacked the punch and emotion. It was also kind of a disservice to Ryuji’s character. He’s a guy driven by emotion and he seemed to be lacking a lot of his usual attitude in this moment. Yes he got mad and almost punched him, but it almost felt forced from what we’ve seen up to this point. There just isn’t enough emotion in these scenes and it’s kind of sad.
The execution of the infiltration was so lacking and it’s a shame. They could have shown the phantom thieves doing cool tricks like the ones you have to utilize in the game, but instead it was just underwhelming sneaking around and still shots. I don’t mind them skimming the infiltration (I often just skipped those parts when I was watching a playthrough myself). I thought it was smart to have explanations going as they did the dungeon crawling. However, I was really disappointed with how they chose to show it especially since the dungeon crawling and sneaking is one of the flashiest parts in the game.
I did like how they made it to the treasure in this episode, which we learn that if they steal his distorted desires, Kamoshida could lose his ability to function normally. If you were given the choice of possibly killing someone to bring them to justice… would you take it? I feel like it’s a loaded question and it’s not as black and white as people would like to believe. It’s kind of like the death penalty in a sense. Who are you to determine if someone should live or die? Which is probably why both Ren and Ryuji take pause when Morgana asks them if they’re willing to risk it. (which really doesn’t make sense at this point but I digress)
The fact that Shadow Kamoshida FORGOT Shiho’s name after what he did to her is just DESPICABLE. Even throwing the blame on Ann, which is even more of a low blow. So the fact that Ann comes to stand up against him and strive to bring this vile man to justice, is a powerful moment since she has thrown away the her that felt trapped and powerless, awakening her persona, Carmen. In the metaverse she can truly fight for the justice she seeks for her friend.
This episode was pretty disappointing in many aspects, but there were moments that I appreciated and thought were actually pretty good. Next week seems like it’ll cap off the Kamoshida arc, so we’ll see where the series goes from there. Not to mention I heard we’ll get to see the actual opening to this series next week, so that’s super exciting!
But that last bit after the credits… That was a really great way to end the episode with the first calling card.