Persona 5 is one of my favourite JRPGs of all time and its easily the best I have played in the last five years or so. Between the music, the characters, and the style that oozes from every single menu and battle, it exceeds expectations on every level. So, when the anime came out in 2018, just a year after the game shipped, people expected a lot from it. And it was okay. Certainly not abysmal but not quite reaching the heights that the game took us to.
The lukewarm reaction that many fans had to the anime might explain why it has taken more than two years for the show to be dubbed into English. Originally announced as part of the blu ray collectors’ edition (at a price tag of a whopping $300), the English dub hit Funimation in the US and All4 in the UK a few weeks back. This is a welcome change from needing to shell out so much for what amounts to fourteen and a half hours of content, so I wanted to have a look at how this dub measures up after not having seen the show in so long.
Persona 5: The Animation English Dub Review
First thing I’ll mention is that even the streamed version available on Funimation is obviously from the remastered version intended for blu ray release, so there are some marked improvements in how the show looks on the screen. Shading is clearer. Colours are sharper. Effects have more impact. While it doesn’t improve everything about the show (there are still some moments where the animation is a subpar), it is closer to the Persona 5 experience we expect to see.
The English voice cast of this game has always been one of the highlights for me. It is a mixture of veterans and relative newcomers, but each one gives a fantastic performance reprising these roles. The comedic timing and delivery among all of them are some of the best you’ll find in anime. The scene where we are first introduced to Haru as the Beauty Thief is good in the game but somehow becomes more effective due to Xanthe Huynh’s adorably farcical performance. The entire cast brings a little bit of the magic that made Persona 5 such a great game into the booth.
Max Mittleman’s turn at Ryuji has always been excellent, but there is an extra feeling of spontaneity to him in this dub. Between shouting “Yeet!” as he flings Morgana through the air, muttering nervously as he tries to pronounce difficult words, or dying from the heat in the desert, there is an air of chaos to Mittleman’s performance that endears you to this troublemaker.
The anime adaptation is never going to be a replacement for the Persona 5 video game and it feels even more out-matched following the release of Royal earlier this year, but it was always intended as a little extra for fans to dive into, to allow them to consume the massive story of the game without spending 100+ hours to reach the end. With the somewhat mixed response to the anime when it was released, I don’t have a lot of hope for a Royal version to be produced like Persona 4 got with Golden, but if the English dub gets enough traction anything could happen.
This isn’t a product without issues, with some uneven animation and the need to rush through a fair chunk of the game’s content, but the dub finally brings this incredible cast back together for another score and the results are just as magic as you might expect. And with it hitting streaming services, this is a welcome change from needing to shell out that much money for the collector’s edition. Even for a huge Persona 5 fan like myself, $300 is a bit steep.
Persona 5: The Animation’s English dub can be found on Funimation’s streaming service in the US or All4 in the UK (though the All4 streaming service doesn’t have the Dark Sun or Stars and Ours specials, which finish off the story).
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