Anime based on video games usually have a rough time being able to simultaneously do the game justice and make itself interesting enough to experience again. With games being able to stretch their stories across many hours of gameplay, anime must find the right balance between the games various elements to try and make a comprehensive story that can get across the same emotions while being significantly shorter. Persona 5 the Animation, unfortunately, suffers from many of the problems most video game adaptations face. From the pacing to the elimination of the games gruesome elements, the anime takes away more from the game than the average video game adaption. Today, we will be taking a critical look at the areas where Persona 5 the Animation struggles and how it affects the viewing experience for both fans and newcomers.
With Persona 5 being a very long game, it would be impossible to try to fit the hundred hours of gameplay into about eight hours of anime. Even though the anime cuts out and trims downs parts of Persona 5, it still has a pacing problem. All of the major story events like the palaces are in the anime, but they are trimmed down and finished in just a few episodes, giving the viewer little time to digest all of the info and concepts that are being thrown at them. The characters also suffer from pacing issues with each character getting little screen time and few of the social building scenes seen in the game. The anime just doesn't have the time to develop the characters the way the game did, and then when they do incorporate scenes that help develop the characters, they fall mostly flat due to a lack of execution.
Inaccessibility to newcomers
The anime's pacing is a big problem on its own, but it is also the cause for a bigger and a much larger issue with the story being incomprehensible to people who haven't played the game. Things like the metaverse, the palaces, and the plan to steal the heart get very little explanation and even by the end of the Madame arc, newcomers have been given very little room to understand the overarching plot of the series. While the plot and explanations needed to be cut down to save time, leaving out the important details that give the explanation of how and why the Phantom Thieves go about carrying out the changes of heart are one of the anime's biggest downfalls. The anime not only ostracizes its new viewers, but it also struggles to keep the viewers who played the game entertained, with its various shortcomings.
While the story pacing and the inaccessibility to newcomers are understandable to a degree, the low quality in the overall production of the animes visuals and battle scenes are much less defendable. The stylistic change in the anime's character designs are fine and match the artistic style of the world, but everything involved with the battles and the movement of the characters is lacking. The battles are the one aspect of the game the anime could have greatly improved upon, but the action ends up being mostly static. A special mention must also be given to the anime's version of the all out attacks, which also suffer from being less action-packed and less visually stunning. The anime also makes scenes less visual interesting by making scenes like the persona awakenings and the all out attacks less gruesome.
Although the anime has many problems, Persona 5 the Animation is still a fun and interesting watch for people who have played the game. Even though you won't be blown away by anything the anime does, it still does enough for fans of the series to make it worth watching. With just a few changes to the games pacing and more engaging combat, Persona 5 the Animation could have been a great anime that would have been enjoyable to fans and newcomers alike. What do you think of Persona 5 the Animation? Let us know in the comments below.