After the show ended things off on a rather intense note, it was time for this special to continue the story along. It’s fair to say that the show’s ending was never going to stick but it was fun to entertain that notion in the meanwhile. This one brings things together to a pretty decent end although it’s fair to say that it’s still another cliffhanger, just a different one. It picks up right where the show left off so it’s nostalgic to see the whole cast here. Since we’re pretty deep into the adventure, there is no downtime and the heroes just get right to work. Naturally this post will have spoilers for the show so proceed with that in mind.
After Akechi murdered Joker he played it up as a suicide and went about his way. It turns out that he’s been working for Shido this whole time and all of the incidents have helped get Shido up to the world stage. The guy is very close to becoming the prime minister now and naturally needed everyone out of the picture. Well, it turns out that Joker faked his death through a clever trick involving switching the two worlds so that Akechi murdered a virtual version of him. Now the team has to saddle up and take Shido down but can they really keep Akechi off their backs long enough to pull this off?
The special goes pretty fast from this point. The intro where they have to explain how the trick worked take some time but then it’s off to the races. I thought the trick was pretty solid although I have my doubts on how well this would work. It really all comes down to two things I have an issue with. The first being that when you switch worlds there is no indication of this happening. Can it really be so smooth? Usually there is an effect where the world itself distorts and the characters all seem to notice this so how is it possible that it didn’t alert Akechi?
The best thing I can think of is they opened it up as such a large territory that he was not in the blast radius but that doesn’t seem to have been something they could really do. My other issue is with the virtual bodies themselves. So we know that a virtual body will die in the same way as a real one based on the previous castles only the body will then disintegrate into a pile of black smoke. How did they prevent Joker’s body from vanishing until after Akechi left? Furthermore, how did the security guard’s body not vanish after Akechi took him down? Akechi monologued for quite a bit so the guy should have been long gone.
In short, I don’t think their plan actually should/could have worked here. At least not with the info we get here, perhaps the video game was more detailed about it. Ah well, then we cut to the heart of the adventure which is to try and take Shido down but of course Akechi will still try to stand in their way. He gets a lot of props here as he was taking on the whole team at once. At one point they ask how he can use more than one persona but Joker’s been doing that since the very start of the show so they should be asking him that. I suppose Akechi is just super talented since he never actually explains how it’s possible.
The various mysteries throughout the show are all wrapped up pretty well here. Akechi does start to go off the deep end a bit but all in all the guy’s still my favorite character. He was usually one step ahead of everyone else and his plans were really on point. The guy was certainly crazy and a total villain but he executed this well. He’s the kind of villain you enjoy watching because his goals make sense and he’s just charismatic.
Shido is a little less interesting in that respect but he makes for a good final boss here. The guy actually knows a little bit about the mental abilities and alternate world. While this is something unknown to most, it makes sense that the big boss should be in on the loop. It even opens the door to some interesting storylines like if they trained a bunch of government assassins to pull this off as well. Perhaps in a sequel or something like that.
The animation is good here. It’s still nothing top notch or anything but works well enough for the fights. Persona isn’t always a very action packed title but this one had a good amount of fighting. With Akechi here that makes sense since the whole show was building up to this and you wouldn’t want to have an underwhelming climax at the end of the road. For the soundtrack we don’t get the big lyrical songs this time around but the beats still work. I’ve always liked the Persona soundtrack and this one’s no exception.
For the main characters they all get their chance to help out. Joker takes most of the credit here as he was strong enough to go up against Akechi and also took most of the risks in the plan. It’s just clear from the start that he’s the most powerful. The rest of the gang helps out as best they can as well. Without them Joker would have definitely been doomed either way. Even Sae gets to help out quite a bit and her role as a cop/investigator is always coming in handy.
If this did end up being the ending to Persona 5 I dare say that it would still work out pretty well. Sure, the heroes are still in a dangerous spot and not all of the villains are down for the count but for the most part things would be going well. It would also be open ended just enough where there could be a sequel. Of course there was a sequel and I’ll be reviewing it pretty soon. I would have liked Akechi to have done more but I am still satisfied in the end and I can see why he’s a fan favorite.
Overall, Dark Sun is a solid follow up to the main show. We get to see the updated version of the opening song here which is fittingly called Dark Sun so that’s nice. If you liked the show then you should definitely like the special. In some ways the special even beats the show as it’s able to focus on just one case and give it the full attention of around an hour. It does a lot within that time and it’s nice to just see the gang back in action. It might not make a whole lot of sense if you haven’t seen the show though so you won’t want to check this out as a stand alone title.