Attendees flocked to Petree Hall on Day Two of Anime Expo to see what surprise Aniplex had in store for their “Persona5 the Animation” panel.

Director Masashi Ishihama and producer Kazuki Adachi joined a packed room of fans to discuss favorite portions about the first half of the show. The panel however started with a special video message from Jun Fukuyama, protagonist Ren Amamiya voice actor.

Before the event, Aniplex U.S. asked fans to vote on their favorite moments of the show, male characters and female characters via their social media. The top scene voted by the fans was also Adachi’s favorite. It was the awkward moment between Ren and Sadayo Kawakami or “Becky” the maid. Ishihama’s favorite moment was when the Phantom Thieves enjoyed a hot pot together. The crowd shouted their favorite guys and ladies and roared as the results came in. Regarding the men, the top three were Goro Akechi, Yusuke Kitagawa and Ren (in reverse order of poll placement). Producer Adachi shared the same sentiment with Ren as his favorite, saying he was a “perfect person” while Ishihama liked Ryuji more because he felt he could be the bestest friend. When it was the women’s turn, Adachi’s choice of Futaba Sakura was the fan’s third choice while Ann Takamaki came in second and was Ishihama’s pick. The audience exclaimed when school nurse Makoto Niijima took the top spot of the poll.  

The panel then shifted to gain some insight about making “Persona5 the Animation.” Since Adachi worked on the previous projects in the franchise, he was asked how different was it working on P5 compared to the others. He answered that with Persona3 and Persona4 had years worth of gaps between making the game and the anime. P5’s adaptation was simultaneously made with the game. Ishihama answered a question about his involvement and he said “Maybe I looked bored enough,” and explained he was handed the role as director.

Concerning translating the game to episodes, Adachi said that players went through as the protagonist but the anime provided its main character so he had to find ways to give a similar feel like the game. The two then were asked how they chose the protagonist’s name of Ren since it is customizable in the game. Adachi responded that there was a lot of time put in and found the kanji of his name very beautiful and fitting for the character. Ishihama in turn asked the audience what they felt on Ren’s surname which some mentioned “rain”. Adachi talked how Ren’s personality was developed, making him a quiet outcast in daytime and a “hot” or attractive phantom at night. Ishihama answered the inquiry about Goro’s extra attention in the show, saying that he is a cool character with a darkside and without him would possible a boring series.

In Persona5 the game, there are many side stories with minor characters. Adachi said he tried to put as much as he could without going overboard. He added that Becky was a must. Ishihama continued by explaining that there was no irrelevant story but some were more important to the main one. Adachi said that they could never give all the ladies to Ren.

The Aniplex US hostesses asked the two who would they want in a Hollywood fancast. Ishihama said he didn’t know who was acting now but liked River Phoenix. Adachi let the audience throw suggestions and when someone yelled out “Brad Pitt” he responded that he was an old man. They then shared brief behind-the-scenes information about the voice actors.

When asked how the second portion of the show will unfold, Adachi responded that fans will just have to watch, though gamers will know how it played out.

Before the panel ended, Morgana stepped onto the stage and played the trailers to the upcoming games “Persona5: Dancing in Starlight” and “Persona3: Dancing in Moonlight”. Both are available currently in Japanese and the translated versions are slated for 2019.

“Persona5 the Animation” recently resumed airing its episodes and are on Crunchyroll.