ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Persona 5,’ Volume 5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

PErsona 5 Volume 5

Persona 5 Volume 5 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 fifth volume, translated into English by Adrienne Beck with touch-up art and lettering from Annaliese “Ace” Christman, picks up after the Phantom Thieves’ second victory after defeating Madarame.

Volume 5 includes Chapters 23 through 28, which focuses on Makoto’s background and character development as she goes from investigating the Phantom Thieves at the behest of Principal Kobayakawa to joining the team herself. Plus, the gang discovers the crimes of mafia boss Junya Kaneshiro and begin their infiltration into his palace.

While there’s not much action in this section of the story, Persona 5 Volume 5 remains a compelling read, mostly because of the insight it gives readers into Makoto and her motivations. Up to this point, Makoto has been an antagonistic figure for the Phantom Thieves; she’s the student body president, she’s the definition of an honors student and a goody-two-shoes, and she’s done nothing but cause stress and anxiety for Joker and his newfound friends.

In the previous volume, however, readers began to see a bit of the conflict in Makoto. She questions her actions and the principal’s motivations behind investigation the Kamoshida incident. In Volume 5, Makoto’s internal conflict only becomes more of a focal point for the story, and for Makoto’s character development, culminating in her decision to finally team up with the Phantom Thieves toward the end of the volume.

The best part of this deep dive on Makoto actually has nothing to do with the Phantom Thieves, but with her home life. Although at this point readers know that Makoto is the younger sister of Sae Niijima, the prosecutor investigating the increasing number of bizarre crimes in Tokyo, their relationship doesn’t truly come into question until this volume.

A disagreement between Makoto and Sae, which happens around halfway through the volume, provides an enormous amount of insight into who Makoto is and why. She does what she’s told so she doesn’t disappoint her sister, and she’s uptight at school because of the pressure Sae puts on her to get into university. Most importantly, she is unable to separate others’ opinions of her from her own self-worth. All of this culminates in her behavior with the principal, her role as the student body president, and her pursuit of the Phantom Thieves.

Additionally, throughout Makoto’s personal growth, the rest of the main characters are searching for a new target, resulting in a compelling investigation. Even with an extensive knowledge of the Persona 5 video game, reading along as Joker, Ryuji, Ann, and Yusuke try to find leads and navigate the criminal underworld of Tokyo is captivating, especially as the group realizes they need to work together with Makoto instead of keeping her at arm’s length.

The only average thing about this volume is the art. It’s not really good nor bad – it’s simply there. However, compared to Volume 4, Volume 5 is much easier to follow and understand because small details don’t get lost quite as much as they did in the large action scenes with Madarame. The best part of the chapters art-wise was the end, but other than that, there wasn’t anything that stood out much in either direction.

Overall, Persona 5 Volume 5 is a phenomenal deep dive into the characters and motivations of the Phantom Thieves. There’s not much action, but the plot propels the main story forward at one of its most pivotal moments. It gives insight and understanding into Makoto and sets up her future role with the Phantom Thieves in a meaningful way. It’s a great addition to the Persona lore, even for already-established fans of the series.

Persona 5, Volume 5 is available on January 12 from VIZ Media.


Persona 5 Volume 5
4.5

TL;DR

Persona 5 Volume 5 is a phenomenal deep dive into the characters and motivations of the Phantom Thieves. There’s not much action, but the plot propels the main story forward at one of its most pivotal moments. It gives insight and understanding into Makoto and sets up her future role with the Phantom Thieves in a meaningful way. It’s a great addition to the Persona lore, even for already-established fans of the series.