ARC Review: Persona 5, Vol. 1 by Hisato Murasaki

Persona 5, Vol. 1Persona 5, Vol. 1 by Hisato Murasaki
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Based on the popular video game, this manga’s phantom thieves will steal your heart!

After being arrested and having to transfer to a new high school in Tokyo, Akira Kurusu is given the goal of rehabilitation and awakened to a new power—the power of one’s true self, a Persona. Using his Persona and the mysterious navigation app Momentos, Akira and his friends take on the role of phantom thieves, saving people from the twisted desires of those around them.

Akira Kurusu thought he was doing the right thing, rescuing a woman who was being attacked. Instead he was framed for assault. Expelled from his school and sent away from home, he is reenrolled in Shujin Academy in Tokyo on probation. The trouble starts his first day when he comes across delinquent Ryuji Sakamoto and the two somehow stumble into a castle in an alternate reality. Caught by the castle’s king, the schoolteacher Kamoshida, Akira discovers his will to rebel and awakens the power of his Persona! But back in the real world, Kamoshida’s terrible actions cause an unexpected tragedy…!

Warnings: implied sexual abuse, suicide, physical violence, child abuse, domestic abuse

I went into this without knowing anything about the game or the anime, so I won’t be able to tell you how it fares as an adaptation. As a story on its own, though, it is pretty interesting. It is about a troubled boy who is admitted to a new private school on probation, and has to stay out of fresh trouble. But on the first day of school itself, he and one of his classmates get lost and wind up in an alternate dimension which reflects the real world. The evil in the real world is magnified by will and desire in the other world, and the two of them have to find a way to defeat it to defeat their evil teacher in the real world.

The concept of the other world being a representation of evil tendencies of a person seems a bit black and white, to be honest, as does the whole you gotta destroy the desire to improve a person making it a bit too simplistic. However, on the fantasy level, it is dramatic, flashy and exciting, so I’ll continue further with this series. I am interested in where this story takes this from here, and whether we get into more complex plotlines. The artwork is also quite good, and the visuals are impressive so this is a treat to read through.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Viz Media LLC, via Edelweiss.

View all my reviews

Buy links

The Book Depository | Wordery

Releases on January 14, 2020

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