Persona 5 Analysis [Part 5]: This is Totally Fine. // Codex Entry

July 30, 2020

this game is haruible haha the commodification of rebellion routinely undermines sincere political movements that actually seek to have beneficial impact on the world for the sake of churning a profit by selling people the illusion of aiding in social change be sure to buy my Phantom Thieves Brand Masks to learn more

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  • I wonder if part 6 is going to be 2 hours long.

    Nazzul July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Y la parte 6?

    Pedro Acuña July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Persona 5 makes me increasingly worried for the future of the series. Not only for the lackluster handling of its plot, but for the overwhelmingly positive response to said plot. Hopefully the new director can turn this ship around, but it looks like its directly on course for major disaster with how much praise 5's very flawed plot has received.

    Kane Rodriguez July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • So… Any information about part 6?
    Or not yet?

    Great vídeo tho

    Luis Alfredo Mendez Garcia July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • So nice to have this in my feed. Thank you!

    Arvid From July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • I love the analysis of ohya! this is such an insightful part

    Revan July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • TLDR: I don't quite think you are right in thinking that Persona 5's theme is about rebelling against the system, rather I think it's a continuation of the themes of Persona 3 and 4, it doesn't seek to rebel against any system, just against the people that prevent you from living your life the way you want and I think the Calendar System is not out of place in Persona 5 because, much like Persona 3, it's a countdown, but not to your death, but to Joker's freedom.
    I mean I don't agree with everything you've said but I will say that you have made many good points when it comes to the flaws of this game but I feel like I have to add my two cents into this because a few things you said caught my attention:
    I'm gonna use your previous analysis of Persona 3 and 4 because I really liked those analysis, the themes and how they conect with one another. Persona 3 is all about how life is finite and thus you must live your life to the fullest, Persona 4 is how to live life you must be honest with yourself about your virtues, your flaws and what you want to do with life, since, up until this point, Persona has tried to conect the themes with one another I believe that Persona 5 is about having the will to live life the way you want it, not how others want you to live it:
    You said in your Persona 4 video that the game despises people that seek simple answers, I would argue that Persona 5 also despises a certain type of people, and that is those who are lazy, complacent and dependent, let's be honest here how many times did we just accelerate the scenes from the train or in the loading screens because we couldn't stand those ignorant people judging us when they didn't know anything about us, especially towards the end? Being lazy in the game lands you the worst endings, being complacent towards society just leads you to bad endings in general. And then there is Mishima, Mishima is a representation of the worst of society in the game, he is whiny, clingy and attaches himself to the Phantom Thieves to get a sense of worth, it's not until the end of his Confidant that he truly becomes his own self, and it is only then that the scene with Yaldabaoth is unlocked, because he is truly standing up for himself against a society that didn't care.
    And that leads me to the two things you said, first you said that the calendar system is out of place in the game because it doesn't tie in to anything. This is false, from the beginning the game has told you that you must break free and to take your time, much like a prison break that you would see in a movie you must pick your moment and in this case the game makes it explicit that without friends you will never break free. As the game progresses one could notice that the options in dialogue begin to be limited but this can be dismissed as an oddity, but it builds up to the last choice in the game, Joker, not the player, choosing to go to jail, with this act Joker has essentially broken all chains, from Yaldabaoth, from the player, from society, and become his own man. I read in a comment that they found it nonsensical that Sae would place faith in the system that she knew was bad to treat him fairly, this is a misconception, she is not placing faith in the system, much like any other Confidant she has none in it, but she has faith in herself and her abilities to get Joker out of it, no matter what society decries.
    And the second point, you said that Persona 5 did not dabble in it's themes, but I think you mislead yourself by concentrating in the part of "rebelling against the system", Persona 5 doesn't care a lot about politics, no political party is ever introduced in this and that's not an accident. Persona 5 asks the players to live life the way they believe to be right, not led by other people, it doesn't matter who they are, or how powerful they are, they have no right to tell you how to live your life. In this lense the game constantly questions the rammifications of this through the question of whether the Phantom Thieves are right or not, because by rebelling against society they are inadvertedly saying that society should listen to them, which results in the bad ending of accepting Yaldabaoth's offer. The Phantom Thieves do not care about political parties or capitalism, or communism, or any of those things, they merely want a society where those who are strong do not lord over those who are weak and choose every aspect of their lives, I know you are probably gonna rant about the Holy Grail but that's the thing, Yaldabaoth is no less a Deus Ex Machina than Izanami ever was, he is the representation of what you have to fight in the game, people telling others how to live, and weaklings who can't stand up for themselves.
    In essence Persona 5 tells you to fight against the concept of normality, none of your Confidants are normal people, but they are people who knew what they wanted but since the current order didn't like it, they were beaten until they accepted that that was their lot in life but you must guide them back to that same resolve, because they weren't wrong. Persona 5 celebrates abnomarlity, it celebrates individuality, and it tells you that weird people are not to be feared, rather it's the seemingly "normal" people that have to be opposed, because only you get to decide what you want for your life, and it doesn't matter if it's your teachers, a celebrity, criminals, corporations, politicians, or even the concept of God, they are not your masters, and they don't get to decide how you live. Persona 3 taught us that life is finite, and thus must be lived to it's fullest, Persona 4 taught us that to live life you must be honest with yourself and connect with those around us to become better, and Persona 5 tells us that we all are individuals that are worth something, and we all deserve to live the life and make the decisions that we want to make.

    Juan Rios July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • These have been really great analyses, but to end it here really DOES feel like you’re leaving it at contradicting your initial praise. You’ve said a couple positives about the game, and mostly it’s been negative. Not “this game sucks” but “this is such a letdown and inferior by comparison.”

    I’m also really interested to see your analysis of how the theme continues forward (the petty uses of power are directly addressed toward the end as “we lost our way”—we’re supposed to feel anxious and confused about the real meanings of rebellion and justice), but it’s been four months now.

    Erik Scott de Bie July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • If Persona 5 followed its own advice and themes to its logical conclusion, the final boss would be Atlus trying to sell you a Futaba body pillow

    June July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Who knew a Persona 5 review would have me questioning my own views on anti authoritarianism and whether I was convicted enough to the cause. Thanks man, you helped me see a little clearer in the fog, for better or for worse.

    Daniel Falconer July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • 37:25 The game is trying to make the point that someone's politics does not define them as a person. There are good and bad in every political party. No matter what his political beliefs are, you know that he is a good person that means well.

    Chip Corley July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Well now I feel weird for not having a hard time with the airlock puzzle. I understood it pretty much instantly, but even then it still blows.

    Mimiko Ishikawa July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • It’s always good to watch these videos, even if I disagree with a lot of he stuff you said. But that’s okay. I personally love both the beach and Hawaii scene, I love the jovial banter between the characters and I love spending time with my friends. I do agree a lot with the palace though, that sucks. I guess I am a little bias with the game seeing how it got me through a rough period in my life. P.S. just got done watching the whole thing and while I do agree that the game should have taken some more time to expand and explore it’s themes, I still think that when it came to the characters, it touched in them very well. While it may lack in substance in tackling more broader issues like corruption, greed, sexual abuse, etc. when it came to the characters the theme of freedom and being yourself and living for yourself was really great and honestly really inspired me. Again, I may be bias since the game helped me out a lot while I was in a very dark place mentally. And I do agree that sometimes the waifus can be a little obnoxious, I can forgive it if it doesn’t get in the way of character development, which I really think it didn’t. Ann, while yes she was sexualized, I think it was actually very empowering how she used it in combat and owned it, rather than letting society at large choose how and what she would do with it. As for Haru, yeah, she is a bit of a wasted opportunity and I do wish they focused a lot on her more, but it was nearing the end of the game, so idk. Lastly, I see Morgan’s gets some flack for being a loud mouth, but honestly I think, while the execution could have been better, I think this ark really helped him grow. Plus, the gang was WAY too hard on him sometimes, like how dismissive they were of him being absent. So, I’m conclusion, while I may disagree I still love these videos and your analysis on them. Keep up the good work!

    Officer K July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • In Persona 5 Royal the okumura boss fight is so bad, that you are happy that Akechi shot him.

    Sev Jones July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • When's the next video? Sae's palace should be the best palace in the game

    mochi lee July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • I have a couple objections to your analysis in this specific video, which I think come from a slightly uncharitable approach to what Persona 5 says and doesn't say. That said, I really like this video and this series overall, so I hope I can continue engaging with it even if it's no longer your focus for now. I'll get right to it. By the way, I agree with the vast majority of your points throughout, the following are the areas where I think your analysis falls a little short when analyzing the game.

    My first point is that they game does have an affirmation of what justice is. It's vague, I would say it's rather safe too, but it's there. It affirms a certain moral stance in which subjugation (willing or unwilling) is wrong. It holds to a certain realism regarding the validity of some norms, which carries with it its own moral stance. It also clearly delineates what an abuse of power is, and that it should be combated. Hell, you get examples of that in many different fields (such as law, politics, capitalism and even smaller-scale forms of power such as a school). With that in mind, it seems that there are instances or examples of "what you should be rebelling against". These seem pretty standard in my opinion, but the game presents clear moral lines against such behavior.

    Second: We don't need to necessarily come to the conclusion that institutions and power structures are the problem. I, like you, think it's something the game misses, but I don't think P5 is worse for it. The game gives another message: institutions must be improved. Going back to the affirmation part I mentioned earlier, it seems that P5 is not aiming for an anarchic system, rather, it affirms the usefulness of institutions (the characters that best exemplify this are the Niijima sisters, in different ways), while not falling for a view of them that would equate institutional legality with justice. Rather, the game seems to view justice (and I concede it is not suitably defined,) as something that can exist within the person. It's not exclusive to institutions, but it can exist in them through just individuals, and that's their formula for social reform. Is it naive? Probably. This view invites questions and might seem disagreeable, even unacceptable to some, but it seems undeniable that such a view exists in the game's message. In a sense, it balances the need for strong, just institutions, with checks that exist outside them, in this case, a form of vigilantism (I think Watchmen or some Batman stories do this much better). This, for me, is a theme that is not hidden away. My main argument here is that this is not an oversight or a failure to look at power structures. We may not like the ethical and political stance the game leaves us with, (I know I find it naive in philosophical terms) but it's there for the player to see. As such, attributing the lack of revolutionary change in the game's world to a failure on its part to consider specific ethical ramifications or indeed prescriptions, seems to me to be a misreading of the message the game is trying to tell and the goal it sets for its story.

    Let me stress another point. This is not a defense of the game's theme, rather, it is an argument for the existence of its depth. I'm not going to debate whether or not it does it better than the previous two. I think that you couldn't make the same incredibly deep videos you made on the other two about this one. That said, it seems to me that a well thought out theme is there and in an examined form. It is definitely true that it doesn't seem to be the deepest examinations of said theme, but your attacks on the specific effort seem a little unjustified in how vicious they come off as.

    Lastly, the analogy. I think that it overstays its welcome in a way. First of all, it sneaks in a premise that Persona 5 is by definition shallow, inconsistent and with ulterior motives to boot. Hopefully, my above points made that consideration at least questionable. Secondly, it also presupposes that the conclusion/goal of anti-authoritarianism is some of form of revolutionary workers-party-style anarcho-communism. I don't think that is what the anarchist tradition thinks, and there are others ways of thinking about and affirming resistance. Additionally, I think there is a far longer-running tradition of resistance and civil disobedience, from de la Boétie, Locke, Rousseau, Emerson and Thoreau, to Bakunin, Foucault and beyond (and the many, many I missed) that is more akin to what this game wants to argue for with its view on justice and unjust uses of power. Granted, I also think that this game itself, for several of the reasons you mentioned, wouldn't fit neatly in such a tradition. It's not lost on me that this game is clumsy and sometimes unsuccessful. The point is analyzing what the goals are that made the game fall in instances of failure to meet them, this is what I think you don't fully identify with your analogy, because it doesn't capture the goal of the game.

    It is important to look in detail at what the game is trying to say (and how and when it fails in this effort), rather than at what we are frustrated it doesn't talk about. As for the questions you ask concerning "what does that mean" and "how was X allowed to happen", I think the game does face up to that. Again, not on the most satisfactory way, but to say that it simply falls silent when presented with those questions is false. As strong example is this: Sae has a whole bit about how the system aims for convictions in all persecutions, which is a clear criticism of Japan's borderline authoritarian justice-system (which focuses so strongly on convictions and success, not on innocence or guilt). The game goes to great lengths to show you and make you feel just how far one has to go in such a system to get a conviction to be overturned. I think the game essentially being kicked off by a case like this, and two palaces being dedicated to that twisted way of looking at the law and justice are both examples of how this game is not afraid to tackle a fairly strong issue, even if it is one that is more strongly felt in home soil. I'd argue this satisfies the condition you mentioned of examining power in a specific context and how the deployment of authority can be considered wrong.

    With the above in mind, I will say that it does feel like this game is more interested in just telling its story rather than examine a specific question as part of such a story. It's certainly, as you put it, a shift in priorities.

    More importantly, my main argument here is this: we should resist the idea that the only real examination of power that can come of an effort like the one P5 seems to set up (or any other game, book, movie, etc.) is the one that in your opinion it fails to address. This replaces analysis with specific prescriptions of how to play by specific political-philosophical rules. I then would argue that this game doesn't just outright refuse to talk about complicated ethical questions. I will certainly concede that it is not my favorite examination of such a theme, and that I don't like where it goes with its analysis of unjust power in most instances. Hell, I feel like I'm defending the indefensible just by writing this comment in a video where you talk about Okumura, one of the biggest failures of this kind in the game (I fully agree that this part of the story was not exploited for what it could have been, particularly in the case of capitalism rewarding a specific kind of unethical behavior and the connection of massive corporations to political institutions). As a result, I do think that this game has major slumps along the way, from thematic dissonance to missed opportunities. That said, I would hardly call it immoral or complicit, at least not more so than any other videogame in the market.

    As for the message being self-righteous, I think that is more of an issue with repetition and the stating or establishing of a theme (which I do think is clumsy in this case, as there are better devices to do this) combined with an inherently political message such as resistance. Any one who goes on about a specific ethical, political or moral point eventually looks self-righteous regardless of the message thanks to repetition and constant affirmation. It might be a length issue as well as a writing one.

    In any case, I had some of these thoughts since back when this video released, but I didn't want to replay P5 a third time or watch a full playthrough in order to refine, abandon or confirm some of my views, but with Royal I ended up doing just that. I sincerely hope this isn't standoffish. Rather, I hope this is a counterpoint to some of the arguments I saw from this video which I liked but didn't fully agree with. As I said in one of my much older comments in another part of your series: I appreciate this kind of work, it forces me to reconsider some fairly shitty and great aspects of my favorite games. Some of those points, some of which are here on this video, have made me seriously examine my own opinions on games I liked without fully knowing why (Persona 3) or to fully change my opinion about games I hold dear (Persona 5, DMC 4, and others). So when I make criticisms like the ones outlined above, I hope they can be seen as contributions to a philosophical conversation, rather than an attack on your effort here. If anything, I would like this to be me offering a different consideration of what the game does, and the beginning of an interpretation of that.

    Emiroma July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Super good analysis here! Keep making awesome content!

    Oziach July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Love your analysis on Persona 5!!! Binged all 5 parts!!! I can't wait for part 6!!! I'd love to see an analysis of Persona 3 or 4 when you're done with this series.

    Ray Coiro July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply

    Kekoa Quereto July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • i would say I've been completely on board with everything you said so far but in this video there was a couple points i didn't agree with. i would say they really didn't need to inject actual politics into yoshida's confidant we get enough of that in media today and we really don't need someone pushing some kind of political agenda to get the message of conviction. yes it was fairly boring and could of been done better but i don't think that is the way to go about it. and the second thing i would say regardless of how gay people are viewed in japan i think western society has come far enough in social acceptance of all kind of sexuality that we can see those gay dudes as cartoonish stereotypes. we understand that real gay people are not like that and can have a cheap laugh at the overdone gay guys.

    Cody Skater July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Ryan ma dude, i need the name of the soundtracks at 06:40 and 36:03. Thanks in advance to anyone who writes them down.

    M.Serdar Demiral July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Still love this series so much and I cannot wait to see the rest! <3

    Hunter M July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Been coming back to the end of this video on a weekly basis. Makes me want to play P4 again.

    Chris Plemmons July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • You mixed up flat vs. round characters with static vs. dynamic characters when talking about Yoshida.

    GreenBoots_ July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • The only part I really disagree with up to now is that Futaba is anything more than awful.

    Richard Aka Silver July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Me before watching this Video:
    Yeah I love to Morgana to an abnormal degree but this arc is kinda terrible so he is probably going to tear it to shreds. And I agree. My biggest issue with this arc is that it makes no sense fore Morgana to think he is useless even with Futaba and Makotto taking over some of his jobs.
    He bragged so much about how great he is and after living up to his own hype he runs away whining about being useless.
    If it would make some sense I would not even mind him having a tantrum. The guy is like 2 ore 3 years old and Futaba also had tantrums when she was younger. But him thinking he is useless is just to dumb.

    Now I watched a bit of the Video and if I understood you right you day that Morgana did not lived up to his own hype and I fully disagree. He claims he is amazing and he is amazing. That is one of the reasons why I love him so much. He brags a lot but dam does he deserve it to do so.
    That makes him thinking he is useless so irretating fore me.

    Okay now I watched the whole thing.
    But I dont think its a bad thing to brag some about his skills if he can back his attitute up. I found that actully both funny and cool. He really sounds a bit like he is all talk and but he certantly shows action. That said being a jerk Ryuji is not ok. He defiantly should treat him with more respect
    In the game he never really apolegises to him. Now Ryuji is not much better but it fells like he is only reflekting Morganas ill behavior back at him.
    But Ryuji aside Morgana is a very kind gentle and respectvoll guy to the point its almost wired that he is such asshole to that one guy.
    I love this character to death. I would even go so fare to say he is my favorite Videogame character. But him being an asshole to Ryuji and thinking he is useless when on truth he is just as amazing as claims to be are the two things I dont like about him.

    Sofaris July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • While I think it's beyond debate that previous Persona games (Persona 2, 3, and to a lesser extent, Persona 4) tackled more mature central themes, I think P5 still did a decent enough job yet if a little inconsistent. Honestly, it is definitely a shame that Atlas is seemingly leaning more and more with each installment towards making typical shonen-like anime stories in place of their bizarre, dark, and yet iconic style of writing. But I digress.
    I would say that I'd rather not view this game through a political scope all the time. For instance, I can overlook the fact that the two beach perverts hitting on Ann and Makoto just happened to have some suntan. I didn't comic relief moment of having a couple weirdos making Ryuji uncomfortable is an attack on the LGBT community. I say this, and I am, much like you, a leftist. I mean, maybe it's just me, but I don't think P5 was intended to be deep and comprehensive political statement to be analyzed as such, but a high school students' drama with super natural elements and a likable cast of characters, instead.

    Lotus Warrior July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • The transfer line in persona 5 is a easy puzzle especially if you use you map slow yes

    JetBlack Jay July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Being a Marxist going through Haru’s story was torture with me yelling at the tv a lot.

    Alexander The Magnifcent July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • I personally during my play through wanted to kill Haru’s dad.

    Alexander The Magnifcent July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • This is my opinion. Freedom and rebellion is treated as "the answer" concept in Persona 3. Each person has his or her own answer, no one can tell you what it is but yourself.
    With that said, the problem with this analysis I see is it skips the problem that freedom and rebellion haa different shapes.
    There is political freedom (That's why we don"t know the politician ideas but we do know he oppose the corruption and authoritarianism in Shido's party) and emotional rebelion.
    Emotional freedom and rebellion is a thing, we as humans need to grow and the society sometimes stop us to persue what our emotions told us to persue, that opression of the psyqui.
    Sadly I am spanish speaker so I don't know how to call exactly some concepts of sociology and political studies that apply in this game, but shortly explaining… there is some shapes of power that utilizes the contacts you have to secure your power, those contacts could use any means for the sake of oneself goals, there is when the emotion came in place.
    Hifumi as example, she is in a problem and she doesn't know how to deal with it, some people simply don't have the means to go ahead, and as I say "If nothing change, nothing could change", and there is when you as player go as start to open the path to those that there emotions has been opressed by the powers abode them.
    I empathize with Hifumi because of that, I once was in a situation like that where I didn't see the scape route to go on and another one opened me the path. Then I continue and helped other who need opening theid paths better as I can.
    That's one way of freedom and rebellion, one that connects with the society thing, the power stuff, and the subconscious of the people, their emotions.

    Simón133000 - Ciencia, arte y cultura July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • i know i've left like 5 comments already, but this video has been real influential on me, helping me form my thoughts about art and my creations being not preaching or unsubtle, but being genuinely honest and taking a genuine hard stance on something and confidently making a defined statement. This video has also helped me understand my views and thoughts about Persona 5, views i previously thought were exclusive to me, about the contradiction of attempting to rebel, but commodifying it's female characters and super sparce black and gay characters into the exact subjugating waifu culture and mild ignorance that is the exact very reason those people would need to rebel, seriously thank you!

    June July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply
  • Codex you're really cool

    June July 30, 2020 6:11 pm Reply

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