ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Persona 5,’ Vol. 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Persona 5 Vol. 2

Persona 5 Vol. 2, published by Viz Media, is a retelling of the game of the same name. The volume comes from mangaka Hisato Murasaki, with translation from Adrienne Beck, touch-up art, and lettering from Annaliese Christman. The story picks up with Akira and Ryuji facing the school’s volleyball coach, Suguru Kamoshida, in his palace.

Despite having awakened their Persona’s and having the help of the mysterious cat Morgana, who swears he is more than just a cat, the two are outnumbered and retreat in hopes of formulating a plan. Now having formulated a plan, they must infiltrate his palace and steal the treasure within to change his heart. However, things get complicated when Ann Takamaki stumbles upon them and Kamoshida’s palace.

Persona 5 Vol. 2 follows exactly with the plot of the game and features mostly the same dialogue. That being said, I adore Persona 5. The game, a role-playing video game developed by Atlus, was released in 2017 outside of Japan and also my game of the year during that time. The game, like the manga, follows the Phantom Thieves, a group of reluctant teens who are thrust into a strange world and learn they can change the hearts of evil people and thus the world for the better. The concept is wild enough to work on almost any medium and overall, it translates very well to manga. I have to confess though, this is my first time diving into a manga and previously was intimidated by having to read right to left. Luckily, I caught on fast and all my years reading comics adequately prepared me for the jump over to manga.

Murasaki’s art is lovely and beautifully captures the characters. This is especially true with Ann. Ann is my favorite character of the series because of her ability to overcome her insecurities. Ann’s discovery of her own Persona was a breath of fresh air and seeing it play out on the page was just as spectacular as when I saw it while playing the game. Ann’s growth even in just this manga alone is spectacular. She faces gross sexual harassment and misplaced guilt about her friend’s attempted suicide, which occurred in the previous volume.

Persona 5 Vol

My only issue with the volume is that some of the gameplay elements don’t quite make sense in the manga adaptation. Most notably, the role of Momentos, the palace for everyone’s hearts. Morgana’s explanation of the area and why the team needs to travel there feels incredibly forced. In the game, Momentos acts as a play to complete side quests mostly unrelated to the main story. While I think the addition of the area is necessary, I would have liked to see the explanation feel less like a tutorial and more like a story. Even that, though, is a tiny nitpick.

Overall, Persona 5 Vol. 2 is the perfect way to fall back in love with the story of the original game without committing yourself to another 100+ hours playthrough. Additionally, this is an excellent opportunity for anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to pick up the game to enjoy the thrilling and emotional story. The Persona franchise, in general, is a masterclass in storytelling and I for one will take any opportunity I can to jump back in.

Persona 5 Vol. 2 will be available at bookstores everywhere and online on April 14, 2020

Persona 5 Vol. 2
4.5

TL;DR

Overall, Persona 5 Vol. 2 is the perfect way to fall back in love with the story of the original game without committing yourself to another 100+ hours playthrough. Additionally, this is an excellent opportunity for anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to pick up the game to enjoy the thrilling and emotional story.