REVIEW: ‘Persona 5,’ Volume 4

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Persona 5 Volume 4 from mangaka Hisato Murasaki, published by Viz Media, is an in-depth look at the story of Atlus’s popular Persona 5 video game. The fourth volume, translated into English by Adrienne Beck with touch-up art and lettering from Annaliese “Ace” Christman, picks up in the middle of the Phantom Thieves’ fight with Madarame, the artist who has been plagiarizing works from his students and Yusuke’s former mentor.

Volume 4 includes Chapters 17 through 22, following the end of the group’s conflict with Madarame to their first meeting with Goro Akechi. Yusuke officially joins the Phantom Thieves as a permanent member and Makoto Niijima becomes a key player, investigating the group and their involvement with Kamoshida on behalf of the school’s principal.

Persona 5 Volume 4 nails the characters and their dialogue. Yusuke, especially, shines in the first few chapters of the volume. The conversations between Yusuke and his new friends demonstrates his quirkiness and artistic vision, but also his determination to do the right thing and help those in need.

Similarly, Makoto, who starts to be more important in this volume than she has previously, has key moments of inner dialogue. Readers gain insight into Makoto’s motivations and thought processes, much more than in the original game, as she is essentially forced into helping the principal investigate Joker and his friends. This makes Makoto a much more likeable character off the bat than she is in the video game.

Unlike the dialogue , the art of Vol. 4 starts off weak. Throughout the chapters, as the group navigates high school and the plot centers around character development instead of action, the art is great, highlighting everyone’s quirky personal style and moving the story forward.

In Chapter 17, however, which is the action-heavy Madarame fight, the art is confusing. It’s difficult to tell what’s going on and which character is doing what. Madarame fights using paint, so there are often large, black streaks across the pages to signify his attacks. Unfortunately, the streaks also obscure everything else in the scene. I’m sure this was meant to be the point, since Madarame’s paint weakens the Phantom Thieves. However, when it came to following the battle and what was going on, it made the fight visually unclear, which was frustrating since fighting doesn’t involve much dialogue.

Thematically, Persona 5 Volume 4 emphasizes the goal of the Phantom Thieves – to take down people who abuse their power. The group undergoes quite a bit character development throughout these arcs, enlisting Yusuke as a permanent member in the beginning and deciding to continue their work when threatened by the adults around them. Persona 5 Volume 4 is all about doing the right thing when no one’s looking, even when everyone else is pressuring you to give in.

Overall, Persona 5 Volume 4 is highly dependent on character development and dialogue, managing to nail both of these aspects almost perfectly. While visually the volume can be confusing at times, this set of chapters gives fans much to look forward to as we watch the Phantom Thieves grow in the face of adversity and carry on their mission against the evil, corrupt adults of the world.

Persona 5 Volume 4 is available from booksellers now.

Persona 5 Volume 4
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TL;DR

Overall, Persona 5 Volume 4 is highly dependent on character development and dialogue, managing to nail both of these aspects almost perfectly. While visually the volume can be confusing at times, this set of chapters gives fans much to look forward to as we watch the Phantom Thieves grow in the face of adversity and carry on their mission against the evil, corrupt adults of the world.