Persona 5: The Animation Episode 23 [How About a Deal With Me?]
Episode starts off with the group counting ballots on who the student body wants to bring to the culture festival and lo and behold it’s mr. pretty boy detective, Akechi by a landslide. Everyone is a bit hesitant since Akechi has made it clear he wants to bring the Phantom Thieves to justice and they’d be putting themselves at risk by asking him to come. However, because the group needs intell since Makoto’s sister isn’t reliable anymore, they decided to take a chance to get information from Akechi. A pretty bold move on their part, but with the police kind of breathing down their necks, they have to play some risky moves if they want to get of this situation.
However, the next time we see Akechi, which is when he suddenly appears at Leblanc, eagerly awaiting a chess rematch against Ren. There, he voices his opinion on the whole Phantom Thieves killing Okumura situation. He seems to believe that there may have been a different culprit behind the murder, even proclaiming this on television, surprising the hosts and probably everyone watching. He even said he would agree to be the guest at Shujin.
I will say, the thing that the anime does well is minor scenes and group interactions when they’re not doing Phantom Thief business that is actually part of the plot. Definitely not the confidants though because those scenes are just a mess in this series. The part where Ushimaru throws the chalk at Ren, but he gracefully dodges it was pretty hilarious, especially when it whizzed right over the student seated behind him’s head. All the animation budget literally went into that chalk shot. The part with them arriving at the culture festival and Futaba being cute along with Yusuke’s whoes of not having money (again) was cute and funny. Yusuke please lol. Not to mention the VR experience. A very low budget way to do it, but still great. I had a pretty big laugh when Ren freaking snuck up behind one of the scarers in the haunted house and went Joker on them for a moment. And I laughed even harder when Ryuji came up and smacked him in the back of the head. Why couldn’t they have had more fun moments with Ren like this? These moments were definitely the highlights of this episode, for me at least since I had fun watching these parts.
Though if we’re talking about having fun watching certain moments, it was definitely satisfying to see Akechi and his high and mighty attitude take a dive by eating the spicey takoyaki. But enough of finding joy in Akechi suffering, we move on to the next day where Akechi is holding a Q and A panel. Things get super tense when Akechi claims that he knows the identities of the thieves, putting all of the party on edge. When asked who he believes the Phantom Thieves are, his phone goes off in the most cliche fashion ever. Though I have a feeling he planned for it go off in the first place.
Everything essentially followed the game plot with Akechi showing evidence of how the Phantom Thieves entered the Metaverse, how he had awakened to a Persona when he was accidentally pulled in as well and confronted by the Black Mask, and making a deal with the party to help them out of being framed for Okumura’s murder, despite blackmailing them into agreeing. He even saw through the plan of the thieves trying to get information out of him. As much as I dislike Akechi, the guy has a lot of charisma and can really control the flow of conversation and mood. Even the party couldn’t get any leeway into the conversation and was essentially lead by the nose by Akechi the entire time. Though it seems like the party is getting backed more and more into a corner as time progresses, especially since the police already put a bounty on their heads. I can’t even imagine how stressed and anxious they must be.
In the end, they agree to meet up with Akechi to talk more about the deal. Akechi brings up he wants to trigger a change of heart in Sae since she already had a palace shockingly enough. He even goes on to say that because of Sae’s current state, she would undoubtedly try and stage a false culprit and pin the blame on them to win the case. By triggering the change of heart, Sae would come back to her senses, she could stop the situation and protect her from being another target of the Black Mask. However, Akechi also asked them that once this mission was over, the Phantom Thieves would disband. The party agrees and even comments how Akechi even reminds them of the group since he has a vendetta against a “rotten adult.” Though it does seem a little too… smooth. But I guess Ren also seems to suspect something is up judging from his expression.
I feel like I have less and less to say about this series as it seemingly is starting to reach the conclusion. (Even though I’m confused as to if they’re really gonna end the series at episode 24) I just recently started watching a playthrough of the game, reminding me why I loved this series in the first place. The anime even started making me forget why I loved Makoto so much. (Don’t worry, watching her in the game reaffirmed my affections lol) I’m also a bit disappointed with how they essentially took out almost all importance Sojiro had in the plot since there was a big plotpoint they completely ignored that Sojiro was involved in. I just feel so done with this adaptation and I’m eager for this series to end.