The latest game in the highly acclaimed Persona series, Persona 5 was released in Japan in September 2016. Leading up to the release, a special OVA episode based on the game was released to promote the new entry. Now Persona 5 is being re-released in an expanded edition, which gives Anime Limited the perfect opportunity to bring the OVA to the UK! Let’s find out if it’s worth a watch.
This episode is focused on Kazuya Makigami, a delinquent who has gotten himself involved with a gang. While torn between continuing the group’s activities and asking the ‘Phantom Thieves’ to save him from the situation, Kazuya gets himself into deep trouble…
Meanwhile, the Phantom Thieves, led by the young leader Joker, receive a cry for help from someone in fear for their life. The message is connected to Kazuya’s gang, so our heroes lure the group into robbing the Cafe Leblanc that our main character calls home. Caught red-handed, can the Phantom Thieves put a stop to the gang’s action?
Being a single 24-minute episode, Persona 5: The Day Breakers wastes no time jumping into the action. For existing fans of Persona 5 this isn’t an issue as we’re well acquainted with the cast already, but if you’ve never watched, read or played anything of Persona 5 before then you’ll have a hard time enjoying this story.
As someone who loves the original video game, I enjoyed watching this episode a great deal. Studio A-1 Pictures capture the best bits of the series well while giving each of the characters a moment in the spotlight to please their fans. It’s a solid advertisement for the game and an entertaining watch.
The animation is a bit hit-and-miss throughout the OVA (although not as bad as the TV anime which came after), but the battle scene towards the end stands out for its impressive sense of style. It captures the imaginative and thrilling feeling of the game, drawing the viewer in. The colours are striking, a bold selection of red and black that bounce off one another. It might not be perfect but it’s certainly memorable.
Where music is concerned, Persona 5: The Day Breakers’ soundtrack has been handled by Shoji Meguro, who also composes for the Persona series of games. The episode reuses a lot of music from the games, which is certainly a welcome touch if you’re familiar with it. The compositions are very rock-based, filled with the sounds of guitar solos and catchy rhythms.
As well as sharing a composer, the OVA also keeps the same voice actors as the game. The lead role of Joker is handled by Jun Fukuyama (Lelouch in Code Geass, Grell Sutcliff in Black Butler) who plays the role well. Fukuyama gives Joker the perfectly aloof yet intelligent personality the character demands. Meanwhile, antagonist Kazuya is played by Ryota Osaka (Marco in Attack on Titan, Zen in Snow White with the Red Hair) who gives the troubled teenager a suitably nervous yet arrogant tone.
As previously mentioned this release comes to the UK thanks to Anime Limited and is available on Blu-ray. There are no on-disc extras and no English dub, which makes the SRP of £15 quite a big ask for 24 minutes of content. It feels to me like a bonus that would have been better served bundled with the TV anime in the future.
Overall, Persona 5: The Day Breakers proves an entertaining watch for fans of the franchise. If you’re a newcomer to Persona 5 then this will do nothing but confuse you and probably isn’t worth the investment. There’s no getting away from the fact it’s an expensive release for 24 minutes of content, so only justifiable if you really want to own anything and everything to do with the series.