So I maxed out all Persona 5 confidants (with a little help from a guide), and they were my favourite part of the game. So much so, that they have compelled me to create my very first Top 10 list.

Two criteria need to be met for every confidant: How much I enjoyed the overall story, and how useful the ability was. I also didn’t want to rank every confidant, because that would allow you to find out number 1 through elimination. Furthermore, stat barriers won’t be a determining factor in my rankings.

Or, you could just, scroll to the bottom of the page and spoil the number 1.

ANYWAYS, ONTO THE LIST!

10.) Makoto Nijima

B-BUT SHE’S THE BEST CHARACTER IN THE GAME!

This statement is somewhat true. But let me ask you this: who is her confidant about? This personal relationship that you are meant to form with a character isn’t really between the player and Makoto. You spend almost the entire confidant assisting Makoto with her student council duties. It isn’t really the two of you getting closer, but more so the player tagging along as third wheel. It is pretend dating, that ends up becoming real dating. Other than one rank in which Makoto realizes her future goals through her sense of justice, not much of the focus is on her. The player doesn’t assist Makoto with these realizations, but rather, she finds them herself.

And an argument can be made that Makoto is independent and it makes sense that your presence would help her realize who she truly is. But that’s the problem: you’re just present with her while she does all the cool stuff. Sometimes you defend her and provide assistance, but most of the time, the moral support you give is just being there with her. It doesn’t feel like I have an active role in this confidant.

Makoto’s confidant ability is okay, but it isn’t very spectacular. Enhanced analysis of enemy weaknesses and their moves is nice on harder difficulties, but on normal, I didn’t really need it very much. I can definitely see how some people can use it to strategize which persona and characters to use.

So, through all that negativity, why is she on the list at number 10? Because her character IS still great, and the moments you share with her are fantastic. Conformity and societal pressures on a really smart, pretty girl in Japan is rough. Makoto doesn’t really know how to socialize properly because of her previous haughty attitude, so helping her break out of that shell and connect with more people is fascinating. I just wish the journey to accomplish this goal was a bit more polished. Just a teensy bit.

9.) Haru Okumura

Why does Haru get so much hate? Seriously, I see a bunch of vitriol going around that she is a throwaway character, she isn’t interesting, she comes late in the game and she isn’t very useful. To that I say: Have you even talked to her? The vegetables she grows are some of the most valuable items in the late game. Her gun skills in battle are incredibly useful, and combine that with skills like Cripple that increase the gat potential? Triple Down is one of the best damage dealing moves in the game, and her ability to heal party members’ status effects is fantastic. It beats Ann and Morgana’s ability to do so, that’s for sure.

And what’s wrong with her character? I hear people say she’s completely bland, but when you compare her to the other characters, she’s clearly distinct. Haru is good-hearted, she cares about others, she always shows compassion for others. Even when her father dies, she never complains about anything, and she is resilient to it all. How she hasn’t had a psychotic breakdown over the pressures from others to run a company as a 17-year-old girl is mind-boggling.

“oh, b-but her confidant becomes available so l-late! Think of my perfect run!”

Dude, every time you talk to the girl, she is available to rank up right after. The complete opposite can be said for every other party member in the game. I ranked Haru up fully before Futaba, and she was available 2 months earlier.

And Haru’s struggle is brutal! Who wants to be forced into a marriage and inherit a company they don’t want? She was originally meant to be married off for political reasons, and was given no business training. If you were handed majority shares of a massive fast food company, how well do you think you would do? Would you be able to handle the pressures of people constantly trying to manipulate you for their own gain? I wouldn’t.

So leave Haru alone. Her ability is one of the best in the game, she’s a great party member, and her confidant has actual struggle.

8.) Hifumi Togo

SHE IS HERE MOSTLY BECAUSE OF THE ABILITIES SHE PROVIDES.

I personally found the story for Hifumi’s confidant to be…odd. She is built up as some legendary Shogi player who doesn’t want the immense fame she is attracting, and, the confidant kind of just repeats that for ranks 4-7. Nothing really develops until you get the bombshell that Hifumi’s mom has been rigging all of the matches she’s been doing to boost their family fame and fortune. Eventually, you as a Phantom Thief, change her mom’s heart to reveal that all of the matches are fixed, and Hifumi realizes she isn’t talented.

But what I like about her is she takes all of the criticism and backlash, and uses it to strengthen her. She doesn’t whittle away and let herself be destroyed. She betters herself at Shogi, and she betters herself as a person. This is a clean start for her, and genuine losses provide more knowledge than constant wins. It’s a fairly simple, but enjoyable story.

But her confidant ability is by far, one of the most useful in the game. The ability to switch out party members adds a much needed layer of strategy to battles. Not starting out with this ability also makes it feel like it’s a reward, and later abilities she provides, like always guaranteeing escape, is legendary.

7.) Shinya Oda

Shinya is a kid who makes total sense within a 2017 context. It makes sense why he likes the Phantom Thieves, because they are a cool rebel group that fights against clearly awful adults. He buys Phantom Thieves merchandise and gatchapon. He IS a Japanese 13-year-old boy.

Yet, what’s most compelling to me about Shinya is the overwhelming pressure he faces from an overachieving mom. I used to work a lot with children, and I know the negative effects a lack of compassion can have on a child. Shinya also has no father figure, so his entire lifestyle has been him and a stressed mother. To their livelihood, losing is not an option and they need to take every step they can to ensure survival in a costly Shibuya.

Therefore, acting like an older brother to Shinya and providing him positive support in his life is so endearing to me. I have worked with younger children myself who have damaged households, and knowing that you can make a positive contribution in a youth’s life means so much.

His ability is great too, allowing you to gat people late game effectively. Guns don’t become godlike until the last few months of the game, where you discover all their abilities and get Shinya’s power to down opponents with the gat.

Yes, this confidant is this high for a personal reason, but, it is my list. So, please understand.

6.) Morgana

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a major fan of Morgana’s character from the start. I thought Morgana was arrogant and cocky. I thought Morgana was cruel to Ryuji and inconsiderate of others.

But I was a Fool, because all of this was intentional. Because Morgana changes. Morgana goes through a real character arc. Morgana goes from the assumption that he is using all of the Phantom Thieves for his own gain, to the realization that he is nothing without them. The Phantom Thieves are Morgana’s only friends in the world, and they are the only people who have ever cared for him.

So when Morgana throws them away, thinking he can fight every battle on his own, and he finds out his own limitations, it is an endearing moment. Morgana went from this annoying cat who follows you everywhere that dictates your sleep schedule to a true friend. I never thought once about Morgana’s constant presence, but once I grew to like him more, and he grew to be more kind and accepting of those who matter to him, I realized how precious the time spent with Morgana is. All of the subtle touches he adds in cutscenes matter a lot. And yes, his crush on Ann does still get on my nerves, but it thankfully diminishes over time.

Gameplay wise, you essentially get Morgana from the beginning of the game, but I began to weed him out completely for Makoto. Morgana’s healing is great if you want to play conservatively and need a healing net to ensure victory, but there are other characters who eventually match his healing abilities while being able to dish out more damage. So, Morgana got the shaft in the late game.

Cat buses are lit though.

5.) Toranosuke Yoshida

Yes, this character is not a young, beautiful anime boy/girl, but his confidant is one of my favourites. Being an assistant to an unpopular politician with a strong message is fascinating. The first time you meet Yoshida really says all about his character. You meet him working part-time at the beef bowl store. This is a politician, who eats at the same common restaurants as every other regular citizen. He doesn’t have any embezzled funds or high-end connections. He just notices your skill in memorizing orders and sympathizes with your struggle. He’s a politician that genuinely tries to connect with the people.

He’s not cruel either, but he’s a genuinely nice person who feels remorse for his past. Yoshida, 20 years prior to 20XX, engaged in shady political acts. He slandered opponents, embezzled funds, typical politician stuff. That should have marked the end of his career…

…until you find out that he didn’t actually do that. He was framed, and Yoshida believed he engaged in those practices on accident. He gained the nickname “No-Good-Tora”, which still triggers him over his past mistakes. But once the information is revealed that he did not do anything illegal, rather than tell this to the general public, he embraces the previous label of No-Good-Tora. Rather than show that he was an elitist member of society, he owns up to his mistakes, pretending they are still true. This works massively in his favour, as it shows him willing to atone and improve as a person. It is a level of honesty and transparency not seen in many politicians, and the bravery that takes is commendable.

Yoshida was also swayed to give up his campaign, as prospects of becoming Japan’s Prime Minister is nigh impossible. But rather than accept a cushy job as a political assistant, he sticks to his guns, and promptly gets destroyed in the election. But he’s happy, because his victory does not come in his political position, but that he was genuinely able to connect with people. He does care about Japan, and wants to make it better place for the everybody.

I also got his ability early on, and the power to persuade shadows more effectively supplemented the majority of my income. Forcing opponents to give into your demands through passionate communication is a lifesaver.

4.) Yusuke Kitagawa

Yusuke is one of my favourite Phantom Thieves. I have a soft spot for weird, eccentric characters who seek true artistic passion. Yusuke is an oddball who eats way too much and spends money on stupid, superfluous things. He’s basically all of my College friends.

But Yusuke is an incredbily talented artist, and without him the Phantom Thieves wouldn’t have a brand or a logo. He takes inspiration from everything and finds beauty all over the world. His confidant is you attempting to help him find his own artistic talents, and not mooch off of the skill of his previous, abusive mentor.

I feel that I have been in similar situations to Yusuke. I consider my writing to be my artform, and I notice when it is lacking. I can tell when it is soulless. I never want to sell myself out for fame and stay true to myself. If this blog or any of my YouTube channel stuff takes off, I do not want to become the corporate monster who focuses solely on profits.

Yusuke’s confidant also has the most memorable moments to me. A lot of confidants have ranks that kind of meld together. They tell an overarching story with few memorable moments and locations. Yusuke’s has you going on a canoe date with him in an attempt to capture romance, you go to a church with him and try to imitate crucifixion (yes, this is real), and you go on a sushi date with him. You work through his mental blocks and help him become better as a person.

Personally, I rarely used Yusuke in battle, as I favoured Ryuji for physical damage, but I was a card copying fiend. I took my persona creation very seriously, so being able to provide the best skills for my persona was essential. So Yusuke is a cool dude who’s relatable.

3.) Sojiro Sakura

God, this one was a pain to rank up, but it was so worth it. Sojiro’s confidant took a long time, but it was worth it. His feels like a narrative that would have taken 8 months to unfold. to have Sojiro open up to the main character gradually as he helps him with his life problems is touching.

Seeing Sojiro’s kindness towards Futaba was adorable as well. He’s a guardian who genuinely cares about her, and he grows to really care about the protagonist as well. His relationship with Futaba also shines light on the reason he takes the main character into his care. Maybe he always desired that close relationship with a child. Futaba was a reclusive shut-in, and likely didn’t talk much with Sojiro. Perhaps Sojiro saw the opportunity to help you reform into a proper member of society.

But Sojiro never knew how to be a proper parent. He is very laissez-faire when it comes to guiding his kids, and he realizes that method never worked. He was obessed with his work and livelihood that he never truly cared for the one’s who matter the most to him. This confidant helps him realize how he was mismanaging his time, and allows him to deepen his relationship with Futaba.

As described in my Persona 5 diaries, I am a coffee monster. And Sojiro’s ability to let you make coffee and curry were essential SP boosts for majority of the game. It was what let me max all confidants in my first playthrough, by limiting the amount of days needed to infiltrate a Palace. So, thank you Sojiro, for acting like an in-game curry dad.

2.) Futaba Sakura

This character could have been so easy to ruin. Futaba could have been a meme machine who is there to make people go “DID SHE JUST?!?!??” This character could have been a condescending asshole to everyone she encounters. But she isn’t. Futaba is nerdy, but she is really nice. She cares a lot for the people who matter to her.

Her nerdiness isn’t used to get weird thirsty internet dudes to like her, but to add to her personal charm. The writing in this game is so strong, that even anime and internet references that would make me roll my eyes feel natural in this game. Futaba is a person who very rarely socializes in real life, so she lacks that proper communication. There is reason for terrible memes, and even after changing her heart, Futaba still slips up and says oddities. Instead of, “Can I get closer?” She says “Me near, OK?” She’s just really cute.

Helping her get over her social anxiety and depression is also incredibly relatable to me. Having others be there for you is the best remedy for these mental blocks. She reminds me of myself when I was thirteen. I was struggling to understand the world and find my place in it. Her quest to become affluent within a mall with friends reminds me of nostalgic times when I was a teenager.

But it’s her abilities that are amazing. Being able to save time in Mementos, knowing which enemies have treasure, the random buffs in battle, the SP and HP recovery, It’s all amazing.

And she’s uber cute. Lowkey I regret dating Makoto over Futaba.

1.) Sadayo Kawakami

Thicc Sensei is my favourite confidant in the game. It’s the most unique, her struggle is the most brutal, and her kindness is insurmountable. For those who don’t know Kawakami’s story: She used to tutor a young boy in the after hours at high school. This boy’s grades were slipping heavily, and she wanted to provide aid. However, the boy has terrible grades because he had to work part-time jobs to supplement his parents horrible gambling addiction. This boy got no sleep because of his stressful situation, and in a fatigued stupor, walked into the road without looking both ways and got hit by a car. The boy died on impact.

Because of this, the boy’s parents blamed Kawakami for overworking him, and demanded reparations. They threatened Kawakami by taking her to court, which, in Japan, basically means the end of her teaching career. She would likely get her license revoked and live with a criminal record, even though the situation wasn’t her fault. The boy’s parents are completely ignorant to their gambling issues, and don’t even work for their own income. They rely solely on monthly payments from Kawakami.

Because of this, Kawakami needs to get a part-time job as a maid/escort. She isn’t hired just for cleaning and cooking, but she is hired to serve a person’s every needs. It’s incredibly creeping and degrading, but it is the only place that pays her considerably well.

Kawakami isn’t a mean person by any means. He is incredibly stressed and tired, which affects her mood. When I need a nap, I get snappy with everybody about everything, but Kawakami can show some kindness through her horrible situation. She was a confidant I genuinely really wanted to help. Her situation is dehumanizing and brutal. She is a helpless victim. If you didn’t step in and provide aid, she would maybe be miserable for the rest of her life.

I never enjoyed the romancing option for Kawakami. I felt it was disingenuous thing to romance somebody so much older than you. I feel like remaining as her most trustworthy student is the best scenario, however I understand if people need to quench their thirst.

So her confidant is one of my favourites, but her abilities are easily the best in the game. Being able to provide you precious free time is amazing. Making coffee and curry for free saved my life so many times for the later Palaces. Having time to slack off and make lockpicks in class is amazing.

Kawakami’s confidant is, to me at least, the best in Persona 5.

 

1.) I DON’T WANT TO HANG OUT

The DM’s are blowing up

Whenever I look at the current high school curriculum for Japan, I’m so happy that Canada gets a two-and-a-half month Summer vacation. Mind you, the Summer vacation for the Phantom Thieves (or, as I appear to any PS4 users, the Blocheads), is spent trying to rescue a reclusive, socially anxious teenage hacker girl from her own inner demons. Basically, me trying to socialize in Maplestory when I was a teenager.

But I got to say, the Phantom Thieves are massive hypocrites. Before you complete a palace, they constantly bog you down with requests to visit it. If you decline, they’re like “are you suuuuuuuuure this is the right move?” It makes me feel guilty for wanting to boost my confidants and see more of the story.

But here come the Phantom Thieves, asking if they can come over and we can spend the day reading, playing video games, eating ice cream, or visiting amusement parks. They, of course, request these hangouts during crucial preparation for invading Futaba’s palace. But the instant I walk up them physically and request spending time together, It’s all “oh no, but da palaz! We only wasted 5 days playing video games! That’s not too bad.”

I like the characters in this game, but they gotta learn to be a tad more self-aware. S’all I’m saying.

2.) Ann’s Friendship

Ann’s Confidant sticks out to me personally. Not because I can relate to her modeling or identity issues, but because I can’t relate to them. And, despite the fact that there’s a barrier between us, we can still be friends. I have lots of friends in real life who don’t share the same interests as I do, but we get along because we agree on a lot of things, we’re open with one another, or our presence makes each other happy.

I think Ann’s confidant rebels against the myth that people need the same interests to get along. I know plenty of people who play video games I don’t like, and I know plenty of people who hate gaming, but I’m close friends because of 1 million other factors. Ann reminds me of the great people in life who are just friendly and open. She’s a little airheaded and socially awkward, but that’s okay. None of the characters are perfect.

I’m still going to friendzone her.

3.) Mack on Makoto

Because I have found a much more suitable candidate for my waifu war. I was even able to fly over the initial threshold of level 3 knowledge to begin Makoto’s confidant because of all the diner studying I’ve accomplished.

Most of her confidant is even spent pretending to be her boyfriend and helping her help out others with their problems. Wait…I’m just a third wheel, aren’t I? No, it’s worse than that, I’m just an accomplice in some greater scheme. I help Makoto overcome her social issues by just tagging along and saying 3 lines in a whole day.

Actually, now that I say that out loud, it isn’t exactly a horrible situation. Makoto is cool, and I don’t mind chilling with her a lot. I look forward to maxing out her confidant and seeing how her story develops!

…I need level 5 charm to get past rank 6? My charm is only rank 2! What does this girl expect out of me? I’m just some frizzy hair dude with terrible posture, I’m not some really cool, charismatic guy. I’m a loser with a criminal record who only says the sarcastic comments. I’m myself!

4.) Hackers are Overpowered in Anything

Hacking to the Gate

Before you Futaba lovers sick your claws and DDOS my Minecraft server, I don’t hate Futaba’s character. In fact, I think she’s a fascinating look into social anxiety in the modern age. This is an issue i haven’t seen a Persona game tackle, and when it comes to mature topics, the series generally handles them with grace. Futaba is likeable, she has a rough past, but she tries her best to prevail in any situation. She provides a distinct charm to the Phantom Thieves that no other character does.

But It’s time to rant. Because, hacker characters in any modern piece of media are lazy plot resolutions. Is there a massive scale problem with no concievable solution? Get the hacker character to mash on their keys and all conflict evaporates. Persona 5 sidesteps this problem with a reasonable solution. A hacker group is after the Phantom Thieves. How do you expose them? Get another hacker on your side who can do the exact same damage they can. It makes sense. I just hope the next few palaces aren’t issues that can be solved with hacking somebody’s phone, because that would diminish the charm of the Phantom Thieve’s cognitive exploits.

Hackers in fiction need to be handled with care, and they rarely are. They usually end up having godlike powers that are either over or underutilized. They become cheap, easy solutions to wrap up messy plotlines. I hope Futaba is used properly.

5.) The OG crew lost it

Speaking of, the original crew of Ryuji, Ann, and Morgana kind of suck in terms of usefulness. Yusuke is a weird artist dude, but hes incredibly skilled and creates the image of the Phantom Thieves. Makoto is incredibly smart and works well for analyzing and deducing. Futaba is a hacker who resolves every issue, and the rest of us are…nice?

Ryuji is a vulgar asshole who hits things pretty well, but in terms of planning, he isn’t very useful. He constantly argues with other party members and disrupts the peace. Ann is nice and does some dank modelling, but she is pretty airheaded and doesn’t really contribute to decision making. The main character is a sass-master who barely says anything, and Morgana is a cat that turns into a car that protests against insomnia.

I suppose this adds to the theme of every Phantom Thief being a misfit in society, but it seems every subsequent party member becomes some overpowered beast.

6.) #AssaultInequality

Rest in Peace Ryuji. The two people with questionable sexuality have assaulted you. And the game played it as a joke for you.

Oh, when the main character deals with the assault at the beginning, It’s played super seriously, but once Ryuji gets attacked it’s an XD meme.

AND WE JUST LEAVE HIM. WE LET THIS HAPPEN, AND HE COMES BACK LATER, OUT OF BREATH, IMPLYING HE HAD TO RUN. HE RAN FROM GETTING ASSAULTED.

7.) Ryuji = Ryuk

Look that that posture. Look at that body build. Look familiar?

Yup.

8.) Let’s discuss Anxiety and Depression

Are you ready for me to grossly oversimplify issues plaguing a lot of people on this planet? Well, strap in, because let’s talk about crippling depression!

Depression is not the constant feeling of sadness. It is the inability to have meaningful things in your life provide you happiness. It’s the crushing feeling of inadequacy. It’s not taking a shower for 4 days because the idea of wasting water plagues your mind and you think of all the people on the planet who don’t have clean water.

In short, Depression is the inability to feel happy. Everything is tiring, and everything seems pointless. A short term remedy is to lock yourself away from everything and entertain yourself with petty interests, but that only ends up amplifying the problem in the long term.

Depression is something that cannot be beaten through sheer willpower. It takes people. It takes genuine relations. It takes certain individuals to know that you matter to them.

So why do I bring all this up? Because that’s exactly how Futaba overcomes her mental plagues. The Phantom Thieves do change her heart for the better and make her realize that her mother’s death wasn’t her fault, but Futaba also shows her own mental fortitude in overcoming her own struggle. Futaba’s treasure is revealed to be herself. Her demons came from her own perception that she was a horrible monster who was unloved by everyone, including her own parents. So knowing that the Phantom Thieves would go out of their way to help this 15-year-old girl regain her own happiness and peace of mind, is really touching, and is a far cry from the generic dungeons and scumbag villains previously seen in the game.

So, well done Persona! P$ dealt with homosexuality and trans issues in a time where that was vilified, and now you’ve gotten even more relatable with the internet lurking character being socially anxious and depressed! How modern.

I was reading Anne Frank’s diary on transit (very uplifting tale), and I keep finding myself pronouncing her name as “OHN”. This game is ruining my concept of the English language.

Entry #1: Principal Berserk Demon

Man, what’s with anime high schools? The principal at Shujin Academy is this terrifying blob creature who manipulates his students to do his bidding with prospects of college applications. He uses Makoto by threatening her post-secondary education and her status as student council president. He takes no action by himself and commands others to do his own dirty work that he wrapped himself in.

But despite this, Shujin Academy is one of the more realistic high school’s I’ve seen in media. Why is it realistic? It’s boring.

Aside from the scandal with Kamoshida, it is a fairly average high school. It’s got some extracurriculars, it has clubs, it has all the standard courses on the curriculum, and the teachers seem like regular people. Modern high school is nothing like high school in the 1990s. Smart people aren’t vilified, they’re respected, and jocks aren’t straight up assholes.

It’s kind of like people are their own individuals and it’s incredibly unhealthy to lump large amounts of people into stereotypes in an attempt to simplify and mold the world into what we want it to be.

Anyways the point I’m trying to make is high school drama is stupid, temporary, and don’t take your grades too seriously. It will make the whole experience less toxic and stressful. (This is why I’m not studying to become a teacher anymore)

Entry #2: Apologies for The Thirst

So my thirst about Kawakami was uncalled for. She is not the weird, one-note thicc sensei that the internet has led me to believe. Much like every other confidant, you learn that the character is undergoing conflict that you must solve with correct dialogue choices. In the case of Kawakami, she feels guilt that a student she was tutoring got hit by a car, and needs to work as a maid/sex worker to raise extra money to pay off the child’s parents. This is actually really engaging drama, and it seems like a scenario that could happen in real life.

It’s also problematic because Kawakami is a teacher as well. If any students find out, she could likely get her teaching licence revoked. Reputation is everything in Japan, so her career would likely be in ruins if this secret was released. I genuinely feel sorry for her and want to help her. I don’t feel some weird, thirsty lust for her. Just empathy.

Still pretty t h i c c though.

Entry #3: Make Japan Great Again

June, otherwise known as the month where almost all of the remaining Confidants become available. This entry’s candidate is Toranosuke Yoshida (did I spell that right?) Yoshida is a politician with a corrupt past that needs our help to overcome. He is a changed man from this time, and in exchange for promoting his campaign, he provides us with methods on how to interrogate shadows properly. His confidant is, at this point, not particularly fascinating, but his ability is amazing though.

The conversations between shadows make absolutely no sense to me. It feels like a crapshoot half the time, and the other half is just me mashing the third option because that one seems to work the most consistently. I’m not sure if it is different for every possible Persona, or if it is limited to personality types, but regardless, I am very bad at it, so any help I can get is much appreciated.

What it feels like to me

I also enjoy that there is a gameplay and story benefit to confidants. Confidants flesh out the world of Persona 5, while also giving you amazing bonuses to make the game easier. It allows you to personalize your Confidants to fit the necessities you desire. Do you rank up a character out of obligation? Or do you do it because the benefit is good for you? I’m personally just taking everything day-by-day, not really stressing too hard about maxing every feasible confidant. If I want to do that, I’ll do it on my second playthrough in the future.

Entry #4: Narc’d Again

#MakotoDidNothingWrong

Seriously, I feel bad for her. I know she doesn’t want to spy on the Phantom Thieves, but again, the Berserk principal has her college applications on the line, and if you see Makoto’s sister’s value in financial gain, then you understand the pressure Makoto has on her. She needs to maintain being student council president, while also balancing great grades, and she needs to spy on The Phantom Thieves all the time, or else her effort will be for nothing. She LIVES at school, essentially.

This is a mini rant about the current high school system and expectations on adolescents to succeed. Did you know 25% of teens are suceptible to anxiety?

This isn’t “oh no I’m shy to present in front of the class”, this is, “I cannot leave the house because I am terrified for my life”, anxiety. A large part in this modern age is the pressure to be the absolute best, present yourself perfectly, and never let the competition of other students surpass you. High school is like a bloodbath for the best grades and extracurriculars. The current system dehumanizes everybody into a set of numbers, and does not consider factors which may be hindering somebody. Got a C- in math? You need to work harder and ignore all of your mental and personal issues! Those have no influence, it just means you’re dumb!

The current mentality around education is that it is a necessity. Which, I agree, education is incredibly important in developing a human being, but don’t put an entire child’s self-worth into a few numbers on a sheet. There’s a lot more to a human being than academics in the real world, trust me.

Entry #5: Mafia Berserk Demon

DID THAT BOY CLONE HIMSELF? IS BERSERK DEMON PRINCIPAL A GANGSTER WHO MANIPULATES YOUNG’UNS?

Because if not, how is Berserk Mafia Demon never in the same room as Principal Berserk Demon?

Just a thought.

Entry #6: These friends are better than real ones

To any real life friends who decide to actually read this post: I apologize if I blow you off for a get together, or do not hang out as much. I have found myself a new set of friends that are not real whatsoever. This is a notification that you have all been replaced by anime characters.

I’m of course joking, but whenever a game has any form of socialization, I’m all on that. I loved talking to the villagers in Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, but I was disappointed with their lack of dialogue and scenarios. Thankfully, Persona 5 has novels worth of text and fantastic writing. The only confidant I am not personally thrilled about is Ohya.

I don’t really like her character or find her particularly interesting. I couldn’t even tell you what her abilities do off the top of my head, and I can do that for every character. But, 1 out of 20 confidants are a dud? That’s nothing, and I can pretty much ignore her to prioritize other people.

Although, prioritizing anime characters over other anime characters…over real life friends…isn’t very healthy, so maybe I should put the controller down every now and then.

Entry #7: 100000 yen for Snake Oil?!?!?!

So, if you’re like me and blew all your money on lotto tickets that you forgot to check, and gifts that you never gave, then you didn’t have 100000 yen reserved for Chihaya’s magical stone that begins her confidant. At this point in the game, that money is better spent on stat-increasing items, weapons, and medicine. I have plenty of other confidants to worry about…

…which is what a sensible player would do, but me having this nagging feeling had to see this fulfilled immediately. I grinded in Mementos for dat cash, utilizing Yoshida’s ability to get me more Yen from enemies…

…and then it broke. The snake oil stone, shattered. The powder inside was just salt. Which made me salty. All of my effort was for nothing. All of this to get a fortune told. I don’t even believe in fortune telling personally, and you’re telling me this girl charges strangers the equivalent of $1128 Canadian dollars to get a fortune read?! I can get a used car with that kind of money. I can pay off the majority of a University semester. If I want my fortune read, I’ll just look at a horoscope or something. I don’t need this crap.

And what does she provide? She belittles me for helping one of her clients. Well, you know what? I have plenty of waifu’s to talk to Chihaya, and you’re second last on the list.

Yes, I have a list, and yes, that is pathetic.

Entry #8: Tone it Up!

I’m going to do the laziest thing you can when discussing a sequel in a franchise: compare it to a previous game in the same franchise!

I really do feel like Persona 5 evokes a completely different tone than Persona 4. Persona 4 took place in a tiny, rural town called Inaba. Persona 5 takes place in the heart of Shibuya. It is in the most populated cities in the entire country. While Persona 4 emphasizes small-town connections, everybody feels really distant in Shibuya. It feels that everybody leads a different life. The main character is an outsider to society, and nobody is willing to accept you, aside from a few individuals.

One thing I am personally not a fan of is the lack of hijinx the main group gets into. The Fireworks Festival is a prime example of something that could have been great, but got rained out for, seemingly no narrative reason. I understand that more focus wants to be on the main plot, but I also feel the side stories can be improved. I understand that a serious tone further compliments the different tone this game is going for, but I think humourous moments could have made the character interactions more endearing.

I feel that Persona 5 wants the main group to feel like a band of misfits who came together despite their differences. More entertaining special events that do not get spoiled could have amplified this purpose.

BUT TO END ON A POSITIVE NOTE, WE GOT MAKOTO THO.

Netflix is currently continuing its conquest of all televised media and has gotten the rights to create a TV series based off of The Witcher novels.

My natural disposition towards video games being adapted into any other form of media ranges from skepticism to horror. However, The Witcher games were based off of a series of great fantasy novels, and it appears that the Netflix series is wisely choosing to adapt the novels as well. Because of this, I believe that this adaption can actually be strong, if it is handled correctly.

Speaking as a moderate fan of the series (played all 3 games and read the first 4 novels), I think I have a fairly strong understanding of what storytelling The Witcher franchise excels in.

SO ONTO THIS LOSER’S POINTLESS SUGGESTIONS THAT WILL GET IGNORED AND ULTIMATELY DON’T MATTER!

Method #1: Rely On Short Stories

The first two novels in The Witcher Franchise, The Last Wish, and The Sword of Destiny, were a series of short stories that were loosely chronological. They took place all over the world of The Witcher, called: The Continent. However, they all had a common procedure: they all followed the main character Geralt on a journey, and he had to solve an issue for somebody. The problem could be solved through swordplay and assassination, but it could also be done through negotiation and detective work. They were fairly simple, entertaining, pulp stories.

This format is perfect for a TV series. The stories never go more than 40 pages, which is perfect for a 1-hour timeslot on Netflix. If there isn’t enough material to cover in an episode, include some extended lore or characterization. Since the stories usually go at such a fast pace in the novels, and they often include a multitude of characters, give some of them distinct looks and personalities. It will help visualize and flesh out the world of The Witcher even more.

These question marks can be episodes

Beginning with an overarching story limits possibilities. Much like the progression of the novels, I believe it is a good idea to begin with the short stories to establish the world and the main characters who reside in it. Short stories have enough content contained in them individually to allow for strong episodes. By beginning with a long form narrative, the creators are trusting their audience to be committed to the narrative they weave, and it does not provide ample introduction into The Witcher’s thematic storytelling. The main drive for books 3-6’s overarching narrative takes time to develop, and the first season of this show can easily captivate its audience with unique and creative tales.

Method #2: Rely On Character Drama

There’s plenty of monster and human bloodshed to go around in The Witcher novels, but action was never the focal point of The Witcher. The Witcher focuses on the “why” instead of the “what.” What is the purpose for the scuffle between these individuals? What is the morality behind the decision to fight this group of bandits? Is it even worth the time, or will it only create more conflict?

The questions are more important in The Witcher than the answer. But don’t misconstrue my words – the action moments in The Witcher are great, as they are complimented well by the acrobatics and preparedness of the main character, Geralt.

This is also an opportunity to show Geralt’s multi-faceted qualities. I think it was a shame that the trailers for The Witcher 3 made the game look like thoughtless, edgy, grimdark garbage. It made Geralt into a super badass with no flaws and who slices up everything. This couldn’t be farther from his character in the novels, and the video games.

More often than not, Geralt’s meddling either solves nothing within a grand scheme, or it makes things worse for everybody involved. Geralt follows an archaic Witcher code of morality that does not mesh well with the contemporary standards. This causes his actions to clash with a lot of the public’s, and it paints him as a weird outsider. Geralt’s remorse for ever becoming a Witcher and the thought of others having to endure the process terrifies him. He’s unable to connect with many people, and regardless of his actions, his image within the public light is that of a monster.

Geralt and Yennefer

This is questionable morality that makes for fantastic television and discussion. Geralt, Yennefer, Dandelion, and Triss are characters who cannot be characterized by cliches, I cannot call Geralt a “misunderstood loner,” because that is dishonest to his character. I cannot call Triss the “loving best friend” because that fails to include her motives and other facets of her personality. It is easy to classify Yennefer as a cold, unforgiving raven, but that misunderstands her whole story.

These characters and their conflicts write themselves, and all it takes is a thoughtful adaptation.

Method #3: War and Politics Should Stay At Bay

I have a confession. I eventually gave up on The Witcher novels after I finished the fourth book. I did not do this because the books were bad, rather, because I didn’t enjoy the direction that the series took after the end of the 2nd book.

As discussed earlier, the first two novels consisted of short stories that were either loosely tied together, or not at all. The third novel began a continuous, epic narrative that followed political turmoil in the land, while many factions attempted to take control of Ciri for their own personal gain.

The personal drama the characters underwent was very interesting, and Ciri herself is a great character, but the board room meetings and the war talk bored me to tears. It also didn’t help that these factors weren’t a major part of the introductory novels, so I was not prepared to comprehend the regions, alliances, kingdoms, kings, rulers, and all of the other encyclopedic knowledge required of me. I wasn’t able to understand the¬†land in relation to other lands, so I embarrassingly had to consult the official map of The Continent.

It’s sad how much I needed this

This isn’t a fault of the author Andrej Sapkowski (proud of myself that I didn’t need to Google the correct spelling.) This is just my own personal interpretation of what makes The Witcher special. I believe war and political drama are not The Witcher’s greatest boons. When the series focuses too much on jargon and kingdom names, it feels like a lite version of Game of Thrones. There is already a politically focused fantasy drama that is one of the biggest shows of this generation. When The Witcher focuses too heavily on its weakness, it loses its charm. Superficially, comparisons of “dark fantasy” are always made to Game of Thrones, and in trying to emphasize the political aspect of The Witcher, it hampers its own identity.

Method #4: Play Up The Mystery

So, what is The Witcher’s identity? What makes this fantasy story different from the hundreds of others? Well, a fascinating bit in the short stories is the detective work that Geralt needs to do to resolve conflict. This aspect of the novels is seen heavily in The Witcher 3 with the Witcher senses. This can be a fascinating storytelling method, where Geralt deduces his surroundings and comes to a conclusion. The audience will be following Geralt as he does this, so they can have their own shot at attempting to piece the mystery together themselves.

The Witcher Senses are a good way for us to get into Geralt’s way of thinking. It provides more insight into his character, and allows for more development of his abilities. His knowledge of creatures, and his deductions also provide great world building, and emphasizes the mystical creatures that are present in The Witcher.

Witcher senses lead to endless monologues of insults

The monsters Geralt encounters also provides him with his identity a monster slayer, and it shows that the process isn’t all just killing. It requires strategy, and it requires time to find a solution. Stories won’t be “go kill big bad.” Maybe Geralt will discover that the monster is intelligent and that it attacked local farm animals because it was desperate for food, and maybe this food shortage was caused by the local villagers. This could lead to a conclusion that isn’t Geralt swinging his swords but negotiating a peace treaty between the monster and the villagers. Perhaps it can lead to a mutual trade deal.

There are many possibilities that come from this form of storytelling. Don’t make the answers clear, keep the audience guessing, and it will keep them more engaged with the material.

Method #5: Smile a Little!

The Witcher can crack jokes! Geralt himself has a sarcastic sort of humour, and the villagers around him can say funny things. I never perceived The Witcher franchise as grimdark fantasy. The environments are too lush for that, and the tone of the stories are too whimsical. There are a lot of serious moments, as The Witcher is a fantasy and not a comedy tale, but there are a lot of humourous situations.

One of the best self-referential jokes in the game

People don’t care about Geralt’s relationships with Yennefer and Triss because they’re super stoic and talk about the plot. People care about them because they have chemistry, they smile and crack jokes together, and they deeply care for one another. These are positive emotions that resonate with people, and It’s important to show these as well. It’s best for the series to not take itself too seriously, and allow Geralt to have his signature sardonic wit, alongside other funny characters like Dandelion.

Method #6: European Roots Are Strong Roots

The final piece of The Witcher’s identity is its Pagan roots and mystical environments. It’s not often that you see raw, pure fantasy anymore. It’s rare to see fairies, goblins, orcs, and other tokens of the genre. But, regardless of their modern rarity, these are still cliches that have been over-utilized.

This is where The Witcher’s uniqueness comes in: it takes creatures that are very rarely used in the fantasy genre, and if it uses generic creatures, it tries to give them a new twist. For example, a troll under a bridge is a classic myth. But The Witcher’s version is an alcoholic troll who’s been ostracized by the local village and has had his wife murdered in front of him. He hides under that bridge because there is no place in the world for him, so he cannot explore. It takes the original fairy tale, but expands on it, and gives it a unique flavour.

This is a troll. Yup.

Personally, I think it’s fascinating to see folklore from cultures I have never seen before given life. But, I can easily see this becoming a problem if the budget isn’t high enough for this series. If cheap CG has to be done because Netflix skimped on The Witcher (which I fear may happen), then these creatures will lose their life and identity. The show will look cheap and lose its edge over other fantasy products.

It also helps that The Witcher franchise has a large established audience, and they would likely be more receptive to unique oddities within the universe. This is an ample opportunity to be creative and let artists flourish their talents. There isn’t really a modern fantasy series that focuses on monster hunting and tendencies, so this is a serious advantage.

Conclusion

So Netflix, let this series be humourous, keep war and politics out of the main story, focus on the characters and creatures’ narratives, and save an ongoing narrative for once you have established this universe.

PLEASE DON’T MESS IT UP.

Another Entry, another dozen hours of my life consumed playing Persona 5. I’m not complaining though, as I’m greatly entertained by the game! It has a lot gameplay improvements that I strongly approve of. I love the abundance of options during your daily life to explore, study, work, read, socialize, relax, train, and so many more. Each day feels like I need to optimize it, and that keeps me constantly paying attention and thinking about my actions.

My current system is to prioritize completing the Palace, because I always feel a tinge of guilt when I want to hang out, and the characters go “DON’T WE HAVE BETTER THINGS TO BE DOING FOOL?!?” I know they’re video game characters, but it means something to me.

Like okay I get it, a crazy abusive artist is going to report us to the police, get us all expelled, and jeopardize one of our characters’ art scholarship’s, but I mean, we have English Quizzes to worry about! Don’t you care about filling in Scantron bubbles? Helping society can wait.

We’re perfectly safe.

But with that introduction out of the way, let me continue documenting the experiences and opinions I have in the May edition of the Persona 5 Diaries!

Entry #1: Night Life

Sakura trusts me, an ex-criminal, to wander the streets of Japan at night, on my own, and not cause any trouble? Well, he would be correct, because I didn’t understand the importance of the evening in Persona 5 and spent it studying and reading comic books like a loser. I still had the Persona 4 mentality, where nighttime = time with Nanako, Dojima, or small tasks in your room.

Persona 5 was slightly overwhelming with the amount of activities present during daytime and nighttime. Personally, I would prefer to be overwhelmed with an abundance of pastimes, rather than be bored by a sluggish drip feed of new content.

Tons of activities!

The amount of good content in Persona 5 astonishes me as well. It may not be a massive open RPG, but it is still quite large, with events and things to do packed into every corner of Japan. There is never a dull occurrence¬†in Persona 5, as you are constantly going to new places, trying new things, improving your character’s stats, improving your confidants with other people, and much more. It keeps the game incredibly addictive, and I haven’t had my life so consumed with a game like this since, well, Persona 4: The Golden.

There’s a perfect balance between area size, and content density. Persona 5 doesn’t have unnecessary variations on anything, or if it does, it comes at a cost. For example, studying at the cafe will give you Knowledge. However, studying at the diner will let you buy food, which increases another stat, while you gain knowledge. It just costs a bit more Yen. Everything has a purpose, and it never feels like you waste your time with any decision.

Entry #2; Beautiful Boys Coalition gains another member

It’s as if ATLUS heard my call to create the Beautiful Boys Coalition (BBC) and gave me another member. Yusuke Kitagawa is a character I really like. The socially awkward, artistic shut-in whose vision of the world does not match the mainstream’s makes him the perfect outsider and candidate for the Phantom Theives.

The latest Beautiful Boy

I also enjoy that the writers of Persona 5 portrayed Madarame’s abuse to him in a subtle way. I feel it would be ruined if it was melodramatic. Like, there would be a scene of Yusuke crying in the rain about his torment. Yusuke believes the neglect and poor treatment he receives is normal, and willfully ignores it because of Madarame’s care of him. Even after it is revealed that Madarame was partially responsible for Yusuke’s mother dying, Yusuke still claims that, deep down, he can never truly hate Madarame.

One of my favourite parts of Persona 4 was how it handled Kanji’s homosexuality. Rather than turn him into a sex-crazed lunatic which has become grossly common for gay characters in fiction, they truly fleshed him out as a human being who is conflicted about who he is, who he should be, and how others perceive him.

Kanji was subtle, aside from this.

Yusuke gives me a similar vibe to Kanji. Yusuke has a legitimately serious topic of discussion, but rather than use it for cheap drama or edgy shock value, it helps characterize him. Your confidant with him allows him to improve as an artist, but as an autonomous person as well.

Entry #3: Goodbye Progress

I DIED AND LOST AN HOUR OF PROGRESS.

Whenever an RPG has random battles that actually require your attention, I’m always supportive. Persona 5 accomplishes this by having a simple rule:

Hit the weakness, mess ’em up.

Every time a weakness is struck, you are granted an extra turn. This unfortunately can turn battles into steamrolls more often than not, but thankfully, not every enemy has a weakness. Debuffs, Buffs, and status ailments are valuable as well, so battles do require strategy to overcome them. It thankfully isn’t just, “spam every move until you find the weakness and exploit that.” Only most of the time.

You’re tellin’ me.

Entry #4: How Many Cups of Coffee does it take?!

Sakura takes so many friendship points to progress his confidant. I just keep making cups of coffee and I always get treated to “It doesn’t seem your bond with Sojiro Sakura will deepen yet…”

Does he just hate me? Did he not want to take me in that much? I bail him out when shady individuals approach him, is that not good enough for you Sakura? I’m taking all of your baggage and you still don’t acknowledge my coffee making skills?

Let me wallow in my sadness.

But I do like Sakura. I get a tough love vibe from him. I mean, he threatens to kick me out of the house at least once a day, but he cares! Trust me!

Entry #5: T h i c c

Bruh.

Entry #6: Codename: Kids Next Door

Ryuji continues to give me mixed feelings about whether or not I like him. I know he’s supposed to be the main character’s best friend, and I know he’s supposed to be the brawn of the group, but he has such cheesy lines. I appreciate his loyalty to his friends and his willingness to protect those who matter to him, but I don’t appreciate his vulgarity and inhuman stupidity. I think his loyalty and trust stems from the lack of a cohesive family structure, and the conflict he had with the track and field team in the past.

But what bugs me most about Ryuji is his hatred towards adults. He reminds me of the Kids Next Door, with his irrational hatred of older people. News flash Ryuji: in two years, you turn 18, and you’re officially an adult now. Enjoy the taxes and responsibility the Japanese curriculum never prepared you for!

Ryuji’s confidant isn’t gripping me like Yosuke’s did in Persona 4. Ryuji is the best-friend character, but he never really seems to help you in any way. It feels like you constantly do favours for him and cover up his weaknesses, while he never supports you. Maybe this changes later on in the game, but I’m still lukewarm about this character.

Entry #7: Ann, or, AHN

I don’t know if the mispronunciation of Japanese words is intentional, but if it is, it is slightly obnoxious. Maybe that’s my inner weeaboo. I don’t think I will ever naturally pronounce Ann as “AHN” like they want me to in game. 20 years of developing the English language creates some fairly nasty habits.

I really like Ann as a character though. She’s really sweet, but she has insecurities and issues to resolve. Ironically, I feel that she makes a better best friend character for the main character than Ryuji. She is supportive, understanding, and actually listens to others when they have issues. She has a stronger sense of empathy.

ahn plz

Which is why I will friendzone her. Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

Wrap Up:

Again, I didn’t want to focus on story events in this entry because that’s unanimous for every player. I moreso wanted to focus on my opinions on occurances and observations I have made so far. I’ve just finished June in Persona 5, so I will start working on that entry as well after some other topics I wish to write about first. Hopefully you’ll stay here with me for that!

Also, gettin’ reeeaaal tired of CUUUAAAAPTAAAAIIIN KIIIIIIID.

*Ryuji scream*

This hurts to say, but Adventure Time is almost over. It has entered its final season and the ongoing narrative the show has weaved for 8 years is ending. It’s been one hell of a ride. Adventure Time is, well, timeless. It can be watched, re-watched, and it will likely be enjoyed by children and adults for generations to come. The show exhibited and innovated the cartoon medium in so many ways, and paved the way for a flood of fantastic cartoons in the 2010’s.

When the initial announcement hit that cancellation was imminent, I was actually happy. I thought, “Adventure Time would not become Spongebob, as it chose to actually wrap up its storyline.” Cartoon Network let the show that revived their popularity and positive image within the cartoon community finish. This was one of the many great things Adventure Time exhibited that was so different from other cartoons. Adventure Time’s life-spanning narrative was finally finishing.

But rather than be gloomy, I want to reflect on why this stupid show about a boy and his dog voiced by Wakka from Final Fantasy means so much to me. I want to think on the relatable characters and messages that were so important in helping me through my formative years.

The Personal Sob Story

If you want me to get into the aspects that made Adventure Time so unique and what led to its popularity, I recommend you skip this section. I will just be discussing my personal experience with Adventure Time and the positivity it has brought into my life.

Adventure Time released while I was still in my formative years. I was in this odd, bridging age where I was stopping watching cartoons and moving onto anime and other shows. Little did I know, 2006-2009 was going to be arguably the worst time for cartoons, so me finishing up Elementary was plagued with really lackluster entertainment. This time had shows that were littered with scat jokes, immature humour, obnoxiously loud laughter, and many repellents for anybody over the age of five. Filling my dumb child mind with entertainment was rough.

So I fell out of cartoons for a while and occupied myself with other forms of media. Anime, video games, novels, but, never cartoons. I grew into adolescence never feeling the urge to watch anything from YTV or Cartoon Network. I just kind of stopped watching TV as a whole.

I watched this. Weird times.

Now let’s flash forward to 2012. I’m trudging through high school, not really caring or contemplating anything. I was just doing what I needed to get by. Sporadically, I discovered My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and that there is apparently a massive following for it that consists of mostly grown men. Perplexed, I did a little more research into the show and why people care about it so much. This “research” (watching the first season) made me reflect on what was actually a fairly solid TV show. A few days later, the Big Brother of Google caught wind of this 15-year-old boy watching a little girl’s cartoon and thought two things:

1.) This guy is weird.

2.) He would love Adventure Time.

So this video appeared in my recommendations. And many thoughts began to rush through my head. I thought “what is this show?” “Is that a dog?” “Why does it sound like Bender?” Naturally, I had to find out, so I went to the first episode of Adventure Time Season 1, entitled “Slumber Party Panic” and was…interested. It was confusing and non-sensical…but it was enrapturing. A Princess who’s hair is made of Bubblegum inventS a serum that turns dead candy into undead candy, and the only way to beat them is to cover the non-zombie candies’ eyes with blindfolds as they beat the undead candy like pinatas? I was confused, but I was totally into it at the same time! It was so unapologetic with its oddness, that it became charming. Nothing made sense, but it somehow felt like the insanity was understandable in an established world. It was controlled chaos, if that makes any sense.

If you want a fun activity, describe the plot of any Season 1 and 2 Adventure Time episodes literally. Just try to include as many details as you can. The absolute absurdities that will come out of your mouth will astound you.

So naturally I watch the second episode to try to find some answers to what happened in the first episode, and I find nothing. The kingdom altering events were completely forgotten. The zombie invasion was never brought up, and the two titular main characters, Finn and Jake, just went on another adventure. But I wanted to follow these two characters on their adventures. I kept watching more and more, until I realized, I finished the whole first season in a single day. I couldn’t even begin to process everything that I witnessed, nor could I even really rationalize it to myself. I kept telling myself “It’s a fantasy world, it is all fictional.”

I eventually learned to stop giving into rationality and let myself be carried by these two likeable characters and the creative and beautiful environments they visit. Every episode was different, and more importantly, every episode made me smile. Every episode entertained me genuinely. It had incredible passion, and it didn’t seem vapid whatsoever.

The show put my troubled adolescent mind at ease, and let me know there was a large community who enjoyed exactly the same content that I did! I eventually became enraptured in the fandom, and I grew to partake in a lot of community activities. It seemed that everybody was friendly about Adventure Time. This was likely due to its lack of polarizing topics, instead opting to focus on humour and relatable drama.

Adventure Time also got me back into cartoons. I had no idea there was a boom occurring in terms of great animated entertainment. Adventure Time initiated the storm of fantastic shows like Regular Show, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe, We Bear Bears and so much more. Heck, pretty much any new show that comes out seems to have the tagline of “made by this ex-Adventure Time employee”.

This greatness was made by an ex-Adventure Time employee

So Adventure Time got me back into cartoons and fandom, and it helped me to become more engaged with the media I consume. It was already off to a great start.

Actually Rated E for Everyone

The tagline, “E for Everyone”, doesn’t really mean that. It means the entertainment is kid friendly and kid oriented. Well, Adventure Time is one of those oddities that appeals to every possible demographic. It doesn’t matter the religion, culture, age, race, or whatever. The show is so creative it establishes its own fantasy world with its own drama, meaning polarizing topics are rarely the focus. Adventure Time’s conflicts are often Person vs. Person, or Person vs. Self. If it has drama, it is relatable drama about identity, feeling ostracized, or feeling inadequate. These are all emotions that everybody feels, and they are hidden under a superficial layer of a children’s cartoon.

I’ve often heard people say Adventure Time is very nostalgic and has many throwbacks to the 90s style of animation. I personally do not see it, and I feel that Adventure Time is 100% original. Adventure Time does not pander to specific audiences, it doesn’t (and thank God for this) use terrible internet memes to mask the lack of humour. It has actual timeless jokes that stem from character interactions. It doesn’t rely on references to make people go “XD”.

what is this emotion called remorse?

Adventure Time is also a surprisingly subtle show. For such a ridiculous premiere episode, there are actually a lot of quiet moments of reflection and contemplation later on. Characters wonder if they did the right thing, and decisions have actual ramifications later on in the series. Actions that begin as loud and non-sensical actually matter in the overall timeline.

Relatable Homies

The main character, Finn, actually ages and grows as a person. The people around him become smarter and there is actual character development! The characters don’t remain stock characters with a single trait.

An obvious example of the show’s great characterization, and the moment where the show stopped being mostly a comedy, is the episode I Remember You.

Judging by this image you know something is about to go down

Everybody who has seen this show knows about this episode and what it is about, but I won’t spoil it for you. Let’s just say it takes one of the comic relief characters and turns them into the most intriguing individual in the show. It’s only 11 minutes, but it says so much.

Adventure Time is also a show that ages with its audience. As Finn gets older, the issues he deals with compliment his age. Finn’s struggles in the first two seasons are with his sense of morality and always trying to help and be altruistic. It is a child’s version of heroism and fits a character who is 12-13 years old.

However, once season 3 rolls around, the external conflicts escalate, while the internal one’s mature. Finn searches for identity, dabbles in romance, and struggles to find his place in the world of Ooo. Finn’s title is “Finn the Human” for a reason: he’s the only human in Ooo. He cannot find anybody to romantically relate to, and when he does, it is a girl made of fire that ultimately fails because…well…she’s made of fire and will kill him if they get close.

Easily the Best Pairing, no questions.

But it isn’t just Finn who is a great character. The minor characters also get a lot of love and attention. Marceline, Princess Bubblegum, Jake, Ice King, Peppermint Butler, and so much more are either really well-developed, or endearing. I appreciate that Adventure Time doesn’t waste your time when it deals with its character progression. There are no repeats of conflict, and it feels that the people within the show are actual people, despite almost none of them being human.

Oh, Ooo!

Adventure Time takes place in the world of Ooo, and it is one of the most creative and vast settings I have seen. Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time, cites Dungeons and Dragons as a great inspiration for a lot of Finn and Jake’s journies, and it shows. D&D is a game that encourages creative and reactive storytelling, which are the exact words I would use to describe Adventure Time’s ongoing narrative.

Just a snapshot of Ooo

Ooo is a world with no limitations. It has kingdoms made of candy, different dimensions full of spectres, caverns full of deadly traps, forests full of wooden witches, and so much more. Adventure Time is not constrained by setting itself in the real-world, or by containing its characters to specific locations. Finn and Jake are constantly discovering new places and new characters. The land of Ooo is not bound by any limitations, and it lets ideas and creativity flourish.

The creativity and vivid colours likely contributed to Adventure Time’s success. Kids were treated to an onslaught of pretty colours, while an older audience was presented with well-thought out environments that were wildly unpredictable.

What were they on when they made this show?

Both a negative and a positive to Adventure Time is its complete unpredictability. This is negative because sometimes it takes too long for plotlines to continue, or an entire story can be retconned. However, I lean more towards a positive interpretation, as it makes every episode unique and memorable. Any episode can be seen at any time, and people will be taken on a unique and entertaining journey.

Each episode is only 11 minutes, and that forces the creators to cram as much as they can. Because of this, there is no time wasted progressing the narrative. Every episode is paced well, and the viewer is never given a moment of boredom.

Wrap Up

So, Adventure Time is going away. It’s sad, but it’s necessary. Seeing it go on its own terms is better than seeing it whittle away. I’m sad to see these fantastic characters go, but I am content in knowing that their storylines will conclude. I know Adventure Time will always be there, and it was there to comfort me when I was younger.

Goodbye Adventure Time, we will all miss you.

 

 

Nolan what is this anime weeaboo garbage post?

Persona 5 is likely going to consume most of my life for the next few months. Having a full-time job + other life commitments means that I am unable to fully devote myself to many other things during this time frame.

The whole gang.

So, I thought it would be a really fun idea to document my journey in Persona 5 as I go! The game goes through real-life months, starting in early April. So, to compliment this, I will make a post for every month I experience in Persona 5! I will likely skip over many story details, as that is universal for every player, and mostly discuss the choices I made, how I spent my days, and my opinions on a lot of the moments within the game. I hope that, if you haven’t played Persona 5, this post will be somewhat coherent, and I also hope those who have already beaten the game do not criticize me for potentially wasting time/spoil everything for me.

And so we begin…

Think of this series as a weird amalgamation of a review, a personal journey, and my own thoughts on the game as a fan of the series.

Entry #1: I’m a criminal in this game?!?!

Whenever a game allows me to play as a beautiful anime boy, I am always grateful. However, when all of my peers in Shibuya categorize me as a delinquent, then that is less desirable. Persona 5 immediately starts off with a different tone than its predecessors. In Persona 4, you are a beautiful boy who lives in the a big Japanese city who moves to the rural village, Inaba, because your parents had a business trip and you needed a Guardian. You move in with your loving Uncle and Niece, you’re super popular, and you make friends with equally beautiful anime boys and girls.

In Persona 5, you are framed as assaulting a man who was harassing a woman, and you get EXPELLED from your previous school. This gives you a criminal record, severely limiting your future, and the high schools you get to attend. And in Japan, this is a huge issue, because Education is essential for obtaining a career in the country.

My career’s done

But don’t think the main character is an violent scumbug. He attempted to stop a woman from getting attacked by lightly touching the assaulter’s shoulder. But for some reason, this causes the man to collapse. And due to a corrupt legal system, the rich person beats the high school student in a case, causing the main character to go to the only high school that will accept him: Shujin Academy.

Think that’s bad? The person who volunteered to be your caretaker is a friend of your father who runs a curry cafe called Leblanc. You can tell it’s important because it has a French name that means “the white” (citation: Google Translate.) His name is Sojiro Sakura. He has no real care for you. Big surprise. He is neglectful and just pushes you to do well in school and not cause any trouble. The main character is on probation and Sakura doesn’t want any slanderous rumours to his cafe or his name. Leblanc is also in sad shape, as Sakura doesn’t get many customers due to being located in the back alley of the suburbs, and having a generally sarcastic demeanor. Despite this though, Sakura puts tremendous effort and passion into his creations. His animosity about rumours in a culture that relies heavily on reputation is understandable. Sakura claims he took you in because your dad asked you to, but is there a greater reason?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?

I don’t know yet, I just started.

BUT THINGS GET EVEN WORSE. Your classmates, teachers, and faculty at Shujin Academy call you the “transfer student”. They all talk behind your back with hyperbolic rumours that range from thievery to outright murder of people. None of these are true. You’re immediately vilified before you even had a chance to establish your character.

I hear ’em talkin’

But I like the tone that Persona 5 is setting. I was worried that Persona 5 would be too thematically similar to Persona 4, but it isn’t. Persona 4 is a more cheerful game with optimism and a lot of funny moments. Persona 5 starts off surprisingly bleak before others finally begin to open up and accept the main character. Which, in my opinion, makes Persona 5’s humourous moments that more powerful.

Persona 5’s initial tone works wonders for depicting the main characters as societal outsiders who were never truly accepted for who they are. The main character, a misunderstood, ostracized loner, ironically becomes the leader of “The Phantom Thieves”. It is a great setup for what seems to be turning into a great narrative. I love what I see so far!

Entry #2: Cafe’s are the best ever and I wish I lived in one

I got a confession. I rarely get personal on this blog, but I have to say this:

I A M A C O F F E E F I E N D

My journey to developing an unhealthy habit started when I was 16 and discovered the drip coffee my parents made for the first time. From that point onward, I loved caffeine and different types of coffee. The balance between bitter and sweet, the texture, the different types of flavours that can be evoked from beans and ingredients, all of it is my absolute jam. Because of this, I always like to experience new cafe’s and the recipes they conjure themselves. My real-life workplace is in the heart of downtown, so I witness plenty of cafes, and I have been testing them frequently.

There is something endearing to the setting of a cafe. I am enraptured by the calming atmosphere, the heartwarming drinks, the tasty pastries, and the great conversations with friends. Cafe’s are always decently priced and what you pay for almost always delivers on that promise. I hate going to Starbucks now, because all of their machinery is so loud, they have walls that somehow amplify and echo voices right into your ears; it is an unpleasant experience.

Just chillin’

The reason I bring all this up, is because Leblanc is my ideal cafe. At the end of everyday in Persona 5, when you open the cafe door, you hear the welcome bells chime, and the smooth jazz start playing, I feel like I’m at home. I forget I’m playing a video game and not working a full-time job preventing me from making posts/videos/passions wait wh-

Entry #3: Ryuji is a Doof

So the first person who actually accepts the main character is a blonde-headed knucklehead named Ryuji (yes, I unironically called him that.) He is also seen as a delinquent by the rest of the school, while simultaneously being misunderstood. The two of you start a ragtag group of misunderstood beautiful boys. But instead of becoming exceedingly popular through our rebellious nature, we are seen as weirdos to the general public.

But Ryuji…I don’t know how to feel about this character. I like his enthusiasm and extroverted behaviour. He serves as a great foil and contrast to the other characters. But I also think he’s rash and often makes inhumanly stupid decisions and remarks. At best he is a generic jock dude with a kind side, but at worst, he is a Captain Planet stereotype.

And yet, he’s a homie. He reminds me of Jake the Dog. He’s loyal and dedicated to the main character. He is ultimately a cool, endearing guy. But he just makes so many stupid decisions. Much like Cartoon Network for purposefully gutting Adventure Time by reducing its run time on their channel when it easily could have continued to be their flagship series wait wh-

Entry #4: Moar coffee

So if you work for Sakura, he agrees to teach you how to make coffee. This has me ecstatic, because I have always wanted to be a cool, slick barista dude who’s smooth talking and always knows what to say and make…until I realized I’m not very attractive, I lack the charisma to do this, and barista’s don’t exactly get paid a living wage.

BUT I STILL ENJOY BREWING MY OWN COFFEE! I like to grind my own beans and extract my own flavour, I like to get experimental with spices enhancing the flavour. Try cinnamon, nutmeg, and a smidgen of cardamom in your coffee. Trust me.

Unfortunately, I always say the wrong things near Sakura so I struggle to rank up his confidant. Thankfully, brewing coffee also brews me friendship points with Sakura. But most importantly…

I get Coffee Bean Trivia!

If you take anything away from this post, I hope it is this.

Entry #5: Keener Life

My phone is buzzing with Ryuji’s requests to hang out. I scoff at his claims, and head to the diner to drink even more cups of coffee and study.

Side note, how do people study in Starbucks? Or any diner? Doesn’t the clanking of dishes and loud chatter distract you? I’m not judging, everybody has their own place that simultaneously lets them focus and be comfortable, and if yours is in a diner, then go right ahead. I’ll stick with libraries and obscure cafes.

Student lyfe

But apparently I am better at studying within a fictional video game than I am in real-life for midterms, because in Persona 5, I started 3 weeks before the midterms began. I would never be that prepared in real life. I have better things to do! Like, play Persona 5.

Entry #6: Da Dungeon

I suppose I should genuinely discuss the game itself. One of the weakest aspects of Persona 4 was the dungeons you visit. They were procedurally generated, which meant that they often consisted of long hallways where nothing unique occured. Persona 5 ditches that random generation for pre-made dungeons that are the same for every player.

I personally like the pre-made dungeons more. An argument can be made that it makes people’s general experience feel too similar, but I felt that the random generation in Persona 4 never got more complex than what hallways form when you walk. I like that areas are crafted delicately with small touches of symbolic imagery to represent the villains’ psyche.

Sneaky Beaky-like

I also enjoy the new stealth system. It isn’t very refined, but it genuinely makes me feel like an underdog, sneaking into an opponent’s base. It is like all of the enemies and obstacles are against me and I’m genuinely struggling. It doesn’t feel like I am trotting along like in Persona 4, that’s for sure.

DIARY WRAP-UP

So after about 10 hours of Persona 5, how am I feeling about it? It was everything that I expected. It has that signature ATLUS polish and addictiveness. It expands and improves the systems I loved in Persona 4 with a stylish flourish.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you stay while I continue to document my journey in Persona 5! I will just about finish May in-game soon. I really appreciate everyone’s support! If you would share this to social media or with your friends, it really helps! Have a great day everybody.