[Spoilers] Persona 5 story impressions

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Knowing Sugita that was totally a Nobunaga The Fool reference.

Please do not read this post if you haven’t finished the game yet. There’s many points you won’t get unless you played the game anyway. There’s also Persona 4 spoilers. I think it’ll be a shame to not 100% enjoy one of the best games of the decade because of spoiling yourself in order to be a cool kid on the net. You’ll be wasting both your fun and life.

I wrote a spoiler free review here.

Webms & pics that weren’t took with my smartphone are courtesy of their makers.

I tried to organize this post the best way I could think of, but I’m not a very good writer, so I apologize as some parts may be confusing. It’s also very long as I have a lot of things to say about the game as it was really interesting. Similar to what I say about Pretty Rhythm, Persona 5 made me hit the maximum amount of happiness I can be regarding my hobbies. Persona 4 is one of the best games I aver played, but Persona 5 is much better, one of the best games I ever played and the best I played in years. Along with SRW games it was the biggest reason why I initially bought a ps3 in 2014. It feels weird that I finally finished the game now after waiting for it so long. I still vividly remember how excited I was when the teaser and PV1 got released, and now I actually finished the game. It feels weird. If you’re patient things go your way one day.

Since the end of September 2016, I’ve completely shut myself from Persona related things to avoid spoilers while playing the game, and only started checking some things around when I was nearly done with writing this post, as I didn’t want to get influenced by other’s impressions. The only background info about the game I know is how 123 could have been a main character. So it’s possible there’s some things I mention in this post that already got confirmed or denied in the artbook or other interviews. For now I only discussed the game with a very nice Italian online friend I recently made.

I didn’t spend time to read the artbook myself and only skimmed through it for now. Persona 5 is popular so people will translate things in it, so I don’t feel like doing it. Back in August I didn’t wait for someone to do it and checked the demo impressions myself, as I really wanted to read them, being impatient about the game getting out. Now it’s not the case anymore.

Intro
Impressions on each main story chapter
Impressions on Goro
Impressions on Igor
Impressions on the characters
Morales and themes
Random things
Wrapping up



Intro:

I finished the game last December with all coops maxed. My main save is at around 160 hours. Counting the time spent in different saves in order to watch mutually exclusive events or savescam to choose better answers, it took me around 180H to finish the game. I think the game was pretty long, and I spent more time reading than exploring dungeons and fighting. It’s even more like a Visual Novel than previous games, and I like long dialogues scenes so I really appreciated that.

I think it’s much easier maxing all commus/slinks/coops/confident links/whatever you wanna call it in P5 than in P4, but that may be because P4 was the first Persona I played, and I didn’t know some of the tricks like bringing a persona of the same arcana.
In P5 I managed to max everyone despite how I only started aiming for it starting the third dungeon. Starting Kaneshiro Palace, I cleared every dungeon in the least amount of days possible and spent almost all the timeslots working on the coops. I leveled Joker’s personal stats using the coop events as much as possible instead of using activities. I planned carefully by making sheets and by counting the timeslots I had left until the end of December, by skipping exam weeks and a few random days to take into account days when you don’t get free time. I didn’t check any guides but I guessed that similar to P4, starting the end of December you’d get few to zero free days until the ending, and I was right.

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I forgot if it was the case in P4, but in P5 the game actually warns you too. When the Shidou timelimit days start, both Morgana and a system prompt message tells you to spend as much time with coop people as possible. It was nice of them to notify the players that once these days are over you’ll get in the point of no return till the end.

Once I noticed sub characters’ coops always have a Mementos mission that needs to be done at either rank 7 or 8, I also put as many coop characters at rank 8 simultaneously, so then I could do multiple Mementos missions in one Mementos run.

I wrote down which dialogue choice gives the most affection points in each coop event and savescamed to pick them. Getting every choice right on your first time is quite hard. It’s not like tons of games where the choice is either act like a good person or act like the worst scum on earth. I’ve finished the game more than a month ago now, and there’s coops I did very early in the game, so I don’t remember all the choices. But I think the only coops that had easy choices were the early events of Iwai,(you just need to follow his instructions and don’t ask unnecessary questions) and the events of Haru. Or maybe it’s just that I understood Haru’s personality very well and was able to easily figure out the best choices on my first tries.

The game is also very nice regarding getting affection points. Whenever you get invited by someone for an event outside coop level rank up events, most of the time all choices give the max amount of affection points to both characters present, and/or the best choice is always the 1st choice in the list.

The maximum amount of notes displayed on screen is 3, but from what I tested you can actually get +4 to affection if you choose a +3 choice and have a persona of same arcana.

During the Shidou timelimit days, I spent one day timeslot on something not coop related, as according to my schedule I had one extra day to max all coops. That turned out wrong, thanks to Futaba’s coop requiring you to go to Mementos twice instead of once like all the sub character’s coop, and I ended up being short by one day to max her coop.(or maybe it was once in Soujirou’s and once in Futaba’s, their coops are so linked I don’t really remember which event happened in which coop). It was either redo all the days, or date Tae as her rank 10 event dating route takes place at night instead of day, and I had already maxed every night coop and had free time at night. I was already dating Kawakami sensei and really didn’t want to cheat, so I had to reload an earlier save and redo all the days. Thank God I always did the dungeons early in the timelimits, and was just before the Goro fight by that save or I’d have to redo the boat as well. I’d have probably given up if that was the case. The boat was really fun but also really tiring.

Before redoing these days, I had a persona with 万能ハイブースト. When I redid the exact same things, it didn’t have it for some reason. It really bothered me, so that was the only time I actually checked a guide. I googled and found out how Network Fusion can randomly give you 4 unique skills, 万能ハイブースト being one of them. That’s why I luckily got it in one save but not the other. So then I save scammed to get it again.

I tried to watch as many events I could and enjoy the game as most as possible in one run. I also didn’t want to watch the ending without every coop maxed as I wanted to see any possible bonus scenes related to that, and it was worth it.I didn’t want to miss events and then invest time in a new game + to watch them, in case they announce a enhanced version. I don’t think they’ll do one though. I think they put inside the game everything they wanted to. I didn’t find it rushed or incomplete.

I also have a save during the Shidou days with every girl at rank 8 so I can redo their events again by dating them to check their valentine and xmas events. I also have a save like that before the cultural festival to check Anne and Makoto’s events. For now I only saw most girls rank 10 various date events using different saves, and Kawakami sensei’s special dates events as she’s the one I dated, except the Hawaii one because I wasn’t dating her yet at that time.

Before the game was out I was thinking the story would be a mix of Tomino’s “adults are evil” writing+Lupin The Third+Persona, and it’s pretty much that, except much deeper than I could have imagined.

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Impressions on each main story chapter

Kamoshida Palace: I didn’t think Kamoshida would be this evil, raping Shiho, pushing her to try suicide. Because he’s the 1st villain, I used to think they would start things slowly. All the villains after him are indeed worse though.
I’m not a fan of sad stories like these, but I think that was necessary to the story. Joker and Ryuji needed a strong push to decide to steal Kamoshida’s heart as Morgana warned them they could accidentally kill him.
Too bad the traps in the Palace like the guillotine swing thing are just walls gameplay wise and you can’t get past unless you deactivate them. There’s no way to dodge them using your playing skills like in a platform game. This is the same for all other traps in other Palaces as well, like the various traps in Futaba Palace. Since they did the effort of putting in platforming, they should have made it so there’s traps you can actually dodge in the game. The only thing I can think right now are the security lasers in Madarame palace. I wasn’t expecting Crash Bandicoot but I wish they put in a bit more effort regarding this.

Madarame Palace: The ultra Lupin way you steal Madarame’s treasure was really exciting. An art gallery and a painting to steal, nice thing they didn’t let that opportunity pass. Too bad they didn’t put in a Cat’s Eye reference like escaping using deltaplanes. I guess we can’t have everything. And the fact that Yusuke is stealing the painting his mom made can be taken as a Cat’s Eye reference anyway.
While Madarame is a bastard who ruined the lives of many people, and even drove some to suicide if I remember some NPCs’ stories correctly, he’s the only vilain I didn’t completely hate, as Yusuke’s coop reveals he genuinely cared about Yusuke. Despite being the one who killed his mom. Kinda like Travant in FE4.

They’re remaking Fire Emblem Gaiden so maybe they’ll soon remake FE4&5. They really need to remake FE4&5 together on Switch. All the kids wasting their lives on the net overreacting to things and misusing words like NTR would be all over it since it has actual double incest NTR. Then they should just ask Kozaki to redesign the characters so these same kids don’t think the game is automatically bad because “90 designs look old”. I don’t hate his designs but I’m not a fan of how he draws every character very pale, but that would be the price to pay for FE games besides 1/Kakusei/If to become relevant again. They finally announced a FE Musou but judging by the swords in the PV it’ll only be FE1/Kakusei/If characters again like Sharp FE.

They didn’t get him for Fire Emblem Echoes and asked Hidari instead so I really hope they finally pick someone different for the new FE scheduled for 2018 on Switch.

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The ironic thing about this picture now is there’s a big chance among those in this pic, only Ike and Marth will actually be playable. There’s no Sealing Sword or Wudao in the FE Musou trailer.
I’d still be happy being able to play FE4-8 characters even if they’re recolor clones with same movesets as Awakening/Fates characters. In a sense it wouldn’t be too jarring too since FE games recycles archetypes like that in the first place.

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I have no intention to play Fire Emblem Heroes as it’s a typical mobage with gacha, but it’s interesting to note that for the character popularity contest, they bothered translating past game’s summaries in various languages. I can dream this means remakes are coming and will be released outside Japan. It’s also fun how they put in every single character. I hope they release full results when the contest is over. It’ll be interesting to see how many votes characters like Arden got, as he often appear in fun fanart. There’s regularly new fanart, doujins and events of past Fire Emblem games.

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Voted for Olwen as I like a ton of FE characters a lot but she’s among the ones I like the most.

Back to Persona 5 and Madarame’s case, that’s one thing I guessed before the game was released: Most main villains in the game became villains because modern society pushed them over the edge. But of course, like the main characters say, that’s no reason to excuse what they did. This is true for some of the coop stories’s villains as well. For example there’s the chief of Chihaya’s cult group, which iirc got swindled himself by a similar group long ago, and when he went to the police, they mocked him for being dumb enough to believe the cult. And he used to genuinely care about Chihaya before getting twisted, calling her “Chii chan” instead of “priestess”.

Kaneshiro Palace: It’s the same for Kaneshiro too. He became a ruthless mafia boss because he used to be poor himself & developed an inferiority complex and wants to take revenge on society. Villain wise he’s the one I liked the most with Shidou. Both of their boss fights were my favorites too. His name being a pun made me laugh a lot and ORE NO BUTATRON YO and all the rest of the dialogue during the boss fight is super fun. Tanaka Kazunari had a fun voice and I’ll miss it. With Tanonako Isamu/Igor and Matsuki Miyu/Chihaya, the game has 3 deceased voice actors. It’s not often a recent game turns out like that.

Futaba Palace: That was one of the funniest dungeons. The fact that Futaba and Futaba’s Shadow aren’t hostile, with Futaba Shadow asking you things was a nice change. The village outside was nice but too bad once you retrieve the papyrus map scroll from the thief you don’t need to go back there anymore. They could have done more with it, but it’s great they even put it in in the first place.

I can’t find it right now, but there used to be a promo screenshot in a magazine, with the ingame date being July or August, meaning it was Futaba Palace, where Joker was crossing a plank between roofs in something that looked a lot like the village in Futaba’s Palace. In the game this doesn’t happen though, so I guess they cut that segment.

The screenplay for the imaginary Wakaba boss fight and Futaba’s awakening was really well done. Pretty much every cutscene in the game is executed really well.

The way Necronomicon’s tentacles wrap around Futaba was certainly done on purpose but too bad they didn’t make her comment on it herself.

The promo materials all said Futaba is Soujiro’s daughter, while the game initially hides this. This is a shame, because since you already know her identity, you don’t feel any sense of pressure or being cornered when she initially contacts you as Alibaba. At least the promo material didn’t spoil that Futaba isn’t his biological daughter.
I didn’t expect Futaba to be the one who actually created Medjed. They did a pretty good job with that and Medjed in general. It was pretty realistic. Medjed is obviously based on Anonymous and other similar groups. I don’t remember it well but iirc Futaba does say there’s a few core members who actually do things from time and time and then thousands of other members who are just talk. Just like Anonymous. They did nice things from time to time, like when they hacked Israel government sites in 2014 to protest against their blockade&violation of human rights and UN resolutions. But beside that they don’t do much. And they don’t do anything anymore these days.

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Futaba’s rehab plan&beach episode: This was really fun. Futaba saying she wants to join the Phantom Thieves for a selfish reason because she wants to find her mother’s murderer wasn’t selfish in the end since that turned out to be Shidou.
For the beach, too bad they kinda recycled one of the jokes from P3: how you go with Ryuji and Yusuke to hit on girls, get rejected every time for various reasons and end up getting hit on by the two gay guys from Shinjuku.

Going to eat sushi with Soujiro and Futaba was really nice too.

Hawaii episode: I didn’t expect Yusuke to be there thanks to the typhoon. All the events are tons of fun. One cool thing is how you can choose to either hang out with Makoto or Ryuji&Mishima, regardless of your coop rank with them. Like with other similar events, I reloaded my save to watch both. However unlike with the cultural festival or xmas/valentine, I don’t have a save a few days before the Hawai trip to rank up different characters and watch their Hawaii event. Now that I finished the game, I checked some streams records, and learned there’s one for Anne, Kawakami sensei and Hifumi. I wasn’t fiancees with Kawakami sensei yet and didn’t rank up the others a lot either back then so I didn’t see any of those two. IIRC before the trip, Hifumi sends a message saying she’s going to another place in america, the same place Yusuke was going since they’re at the same school. I guess you only meet her if her coop rank is high enough, but you don’t actually need to date her.

I hope people make compilation events videos soon, because it takes too much time to search stream records if they show an event I haven’t seen, and I’m not gonna new game + just to watch the very few events I didn’t see. For now I only managed to find and watch Hifumi’s event on this stream. You can see it at 05:17:00.
I wish I could see Kawakami’s event. Only found pics of it on 2ch threads matome sites.

The Hawaii trip was also used really well to show how the popularity started to get to the characters’ heads. If not for the Hawaii trip it would have given me an unpleasant feeling when Ryuji asks “when did we make a mistake” after discovering we’re getting framed and the popularity boom was artificial. Because all the answers you can choose say it’s because you were thinking too much about the popularity and enjoyed it instead of focusing on your initial noble goal.
Same with Morgana piling up frustration and feeling useless after Futaba joins. Even more so as he can’t come to the trip and stays alone with Futaba so he keeps comparing himself to her. If not for these scenes, it would have felt forced later when he finally snaps after yet another argument with Ryuji and decides to leave.
The Hawaii trip seems like just a big event for comedy and fun scenes, but it actually prepares the terrain for a lot of things. I wrote tons of times how well the game is written in this post but I really can’t say it enough.

Okumura Palace: I forgot why, I think some magazine greatly hinted it, but before the game was out I already knew Okumura would die. But I thought that it would be because you screw up his reform, I didn’t think he’d get assassinated by his “secret organization” allies. (It was obvious from the PVs there was someone pulling strings and framing the Phantom Thieves, so I used to call them “secret organization” before playing the game.)
Haru’s real awakening scene&her speech was really cool. It’s probably my favorite Persona awakening scene in the game. It’s also funny because Milady has the exact same usual Tomato Haruka voice, while a bit more haughty, while Haru herself doesn’t sound like Tomato at all. The chapter and dungeon were both really fun and a really good commentary on the worst companies in Japan, or “black” company like Japanese society calls them nowadays. The term is used multiple times in the game as well.

Speaking of that, the game taught me a lot of expressions like that I didn’t know, like “レッテル”, “ぶっちゃけ”, etc .

I knew since PV4 that this dungeon would be a criticism of japanese work society, as you can see of the “はたらけ/work” screens etc in the PV, but I didn’t think it would be such harsh criticism. Like the “lunch break is 30 seconds” thing. It’s not that extreme but there are actual companies with similar practices like that in Japan, like Canon, and I try to boycott their products.

First time fighting Okumura’s right hand man, I died from the Big Bang Burger as I didn’t make Joker defend. Second time, I used a lot of items to hit the robots on their weaknesses instead of changing to a party member with skills hitting that weakness, so I ran out of time because I spent too much time in the menus as I wasn’t used to using so many items in battle and because Atlus can’t do item sort options.  I also wrote down each robot’s weakness and the reinforcements wave’s pattern as I couldn’t remember it all. Then I tried again(or maybe 2 more times) and easily beat the boss this time with lot of time left. It wasn’t as fun as ORE NO BUTATRON YO and Shidou but it was a very entertaining boss fight like all the others.

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Cultural festival: Similar to how you can choose to hang out with Makoto at Hawaii, you can hang out with Haru there. Besides her, hanging out with a different character requires you to have them at rank 10. I only had Ryuji and Kawakami at 10 and already dating Kawakami, so that’s the events I saw. But in my main save I spent the time with Haru to get points to help me in my goal of maxing all coops. I quickly googled it now that I finished the game, and saw Anne and Makoto have an event if you date them, but not the others girl coops. Too bad. It’s weird not even Futaba has one.

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It’s nice how Kawakami sensei actually mention the main plot, about how Goro knows your true identity, worrying if things will be alright for you and saying she’ll do her best to help you like you did for her. They did a really good job with the coop characters actually being aware of the main story. Then again it would have been really weird if your friends didn’t react to certain things, like when they just said on TV you’re dead. Rather than praising Atlus for that, one could say they did the bare minimum of stupid writing avoiding.

Niijima Sae Palace: I was really happy when it turned out you can actually play the games in the casino, and it’s incorporated in the story. It would have been a real shame if this turned out to be a dungeon like any other. This is also the first dungeon they ever showed, as its in PV 1, so this was the dungeon I was looking forward to the most, probably like everyone else, and I wasn’t let down. Just from the PVs you could tell it was awesome, but I didn’t expect it that to be that awesome. The boss fight against Sae is very cool too. That was the 2nd most entertaining dungeon in the game, my favorite being Shidou’s National Diet Building boat. When doing the casino, I thought the next dungeons would be just as good and not better and yet I was wrong.

Shidou Palace: The dungeon I liked the most. The idea of Shidou’s mind being the whole country sinking with only his boat surviving was really awesome. Turning into a mouse because Shidou views everyone as rats was a very good idea. The level design of the 4 rooms corridors is very tortuous but it was really fun. It was hilarious seeing everyone complain whenever you unlock yet another door, with Futaba complaining about how she really hates this stupid boat.
I think that in order to make it even better and less repetitive, they could have included one more gimmick or mechanic besides activating/deactivating the statue’s lights to turn into a mouse or not. Also at least the 4th area isn’t as long as the other three, and is just a bunch of rectangular rooms.

Hunting the 5 VIPs for their letters of introduction was a really good idea too, as it gives each character a moment to shine:
1/ Makoto talking with the man at the restaurant (Forgot what was his function, I think politician?)
2/ Anne acting like a noble with the ex noble pervert at the pool deck, saying the others girls are her servants. That was so fun. Water Tree7’s engrish was really fun. This also allowed them to show Haru in a swimsuit for those who like her and wanted some sexual fanservice as she didn’t join yet during the beach event.
3/TV channel chief. He used to work with Haru’s dad so she’s the one who acts. When that bastard started saying he should make a Big Brother like TV show on her life after loosing her father etc, it genuinely irritated me. They did a very good job making even the small villains like this detestable.
4/Futaba with the IT company president.
5/Yusuke and the yakuza. I figured the “trouble clean up duty” guys would be yakuza but I didn’t expect such hilarious turn of events. This was the funniest one. Yusuke was really cool too when he refused the Yakuza’s invitation to be his personal tattoo artist, saying no one will decide the way his art will walk anymore.

Goro boss battle was really awesome, maybe a bit too easy though. Haru is too overpowered with the barrier skills, this+Spot Highlight makes every boss battle easy. Haru is the most useful party member imo.

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The cutscene when Futaba hijacks TV channels and you reveal you’re alive and that Shidou is a bad guy is one of the coolest video game cutscenes ever. That was really well done, especially the reactions of policemen etc and random people watching. The overall direction of the game cutscenes, 2D animated or not, is always perfect.

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The Shidou boss fight was one of the hypest things I saw in 2016. I’m really a sucker for when villains suddenly go full Hokuto No Ken/Toguro 120% so this pleased me very much. What I liked the most with Shidou’s Shadow is how he wears a mask, obvious Char reference, but it’s actually justified. Everyone on his boat wears masks, because Shidou never shows his true intention to the world, and so he believes everyone is the same as well and doesn’t trust anybody. It made perfect sense for him to wear a mask. It’s not often you see a seiyuu joke integrated so well into a story instead of being forced in.

Ryuji is the one going to activate the safeboat, because he’s the only one who didn’t get a moment to shine while hunting the 5VIPs. If not for that, I think they would have just wrote it so Makoto got there with her bike, there was some water to jump but she could have done it. Probably Morgana van too.

During the dungeon, they mention how the people in the boat aren’t simply Shidou’s imaginative version of them, but also their actual shadows, and that the two merged. But then they didn’t elaborate on that or explain it. But I do have a theory: These people in cahoots with Shidou blindly believe in his protection and his “steering”, and believe they’re 100% safe on the boat. Like how they aren’t scared when seeing you fight Shadows. They let themselves be controlled by Shidou. He’s the captain of the boat, he chooses for them. Just like Yaldabaoth chooses for the people inside Mementos. So I think that similar to people’s Shadows going themselves into the depth of Mememtos to imprison themselves, those people’s Shadows went on Shidou’s boat Palace instead of Mementos.
It’s also possible it’s something Shidou’s followers made using Wakaba’s research, that way all of them can’t be reformed as long as the Phantom Thieves didn’t discover Shidou and how to get inside his Palace.

Shidou aftermath + study meet

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That scene were pretty fun. The first time I did it, I wasn’t on my main save but a temporary one where dating multiple girls. If you answer you have plans for the future, and dating a party member, they will react to it. Futaba is a good girl who didn’t get tricked into the “marriage is outdated” meme which was literally invented by Satan.

Mementos& True Ending: Mementos lowest level was as good as Shidou’s boat but not better. The place is genuinely disturbing too with the organs/spine things on the walls. That dungeon and the game as a whole is the harshest and most complete critique of (Japanese) modern society I’ve ever seen in a game. Pretty much everything is dealt with.

  • Bullying by students at school: Futaba, Kana chan, Mishima, Shinya.
  • Bullying/abuse by teachers
  • Teachers or parents keeping shut about the 2 above.
  • Parents being violent, bad or crazy in general: too many examples.
  • Parents not being crazy but being too rich or negligent toward their children: Eiko’s parents
  • Issues about the school system in Japan.
  • Child abandonment: Kaworu
  • Depression&suicide
  • Consequences of adultery and outof marriage relationships in general: Futaba, Goro
  • Orphans being mistreated: Futaba, Goro
  • Sexual harassment and rape: Shiho
  • Parents exploiting their children: Kana chan’s parents, Hifumi’s mom
  • Racism against women or sexism at work:Sae, Hifumi
  • Yakuza tricking teens into helping them with their drug business
  • Extortion and being forced into sex industry: What “Tsukasa” does and what he almost trapped Eiko into
  • Overwork/karoshi: Kawakami sensei, Okumura chapter in general.
  • Corrupt politicians: the politician who framed Toranosuke(forgot his name, I think it was Kuramoto?), Shidou.
  • Corruption in medical or research fields in general and stealing one’s credit: Tae, Wakaba.
  • Corruption in media and information manipulation.
  • Consequences of spreading rumors or gossiping
  • Entertainment industry corruption, and (sexual) abuse of new talents: That one coop mission with the producer’s shadow being a Mara.
  • Stalking: That black haired Shujin girl,forgot her name.
  • Racism: That drunk salaryman always complaining to the black guy in Shibuya at night whatever is happening is his fault.
  • Cults and sects extorting people: the sun cult guys always in front of Shibuya station, Chihaya’s group leader.
  • Homeless and/or jobless people: Too many exemples
    And ton of other things

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And then there’s Mementos itself which finally explains what the very first teaser for Persona 5 actually meant. There’s definitely a lot of people who once thought the same things as what some of the caged people say: “Trying hard, working hard everyday, for nothing. Is it really something needed by the world?”
“Just follow te rules and manners and act like people want you to”.
“I don’t need to go out to see the world, I can just look with the net”
With Futaba answering: “I really get you, but that’s not good.”

What the previous villains say is interesting too.

Kaneshiro: “its ok to not aim higher than what you are.”
Shidou: “This place is the regression prison. Everyone is free here, free of choices and worries, free to not choose for themselves. However some people like us escaped and decided to make their own choices, and cloister themselves in their Palace. But we’re thankful that you reformed us and that we’re back here. This prison’s master is the masses. You learn this at school right? The ruler of a democracy is the populace. There’s prison guardians to reflect how everyone always look out on each other. Everyone supervises each other.”

That’s a really heavy and pinpoint critic of (japanese) modern society, about how people simply don’t care about things and don’t think for themselves. Like how everyone think of the Phantom Thieves in a way that’s convenient for them, believing in them when it’s popular to do so and thinking of leaving their 1st world problems to them. “Aah, I hope my annoying boss gets reformed by the kaito dan” and similar lines can be heard or read during the chapters of the story when the Phantom Thieves’ popularity is at it’s peak.

The first time I read something like that about Japan was around ten years ago on a french forum called The Uso. A guy who was living in Japan said that while it’s relatively the same for a lot of people in the world, in Japan, people don’t think for themselves. Japanese TV don’t have documentaries or the like, only variety programs and things telling you what to buy, what you should eat, what to watch, which cram school is best and your kids should go to, where you should go for vacation, the most popular drama currently which you should watch, etc. And because of how everything is controlled like that, most Japanese people can’t think for themselves, and can’t deal with any unexpected situation. The guy said there was some meds he was taking in France, and went to a drugstore in Japan to ask if they had it, and the staff panicked because they didn’t and didn’t know what to do.

At first during the game while exploring Mementos, the characters mention how it’s weird and out of place that the masses’ Palace under Shibuya is a huge subway network (and a prison), but in the end they realize it makes sense. Shibuya looks like a place of freedom or fashion or fun, but below it is a prison because of how everyone feels. Morgana says everyone willingly gets into the subway train’s suffocating boxes everyday, unable to change their routine, bound by various things, etc. Just like the people willingly going into Mementos prison. So it’s actually logical all of this is (imaginary) below Shibuya.

And so, the final dungeon being the masses’ Palace, the theme of the dungeon fits the game so much, no matter what they did with it would be impossible to satisfy every possible thing they could have done with that dungeon.

I guess if there’s one thing I wish they did, was making you meet and fight the masses’ cognitive version of the Phantom Thieves, since every other Palace has you fighting or at least meeting the Palace master’s cognitive version of someone. At that point, some of the masses think of the Phantom Thieves as murderers too, so it was the perfect opportunity to make you fight evil versions of yourselves. As this game doesn’t have you fight Shadows/Persona before awakening, this was the only occasion they had to do something interesting like that, and they didn’t.

The first safe room of the dungeon is very far inside. But unlike all the dungeons so far, whenever a sub boss fight is about to start, the game gives you control again for a few seconds while the Shadows rush toward you, so you can open the menu and prepare if you want, or even run away.

It’s nice how during the discussion in the Safe Room right before the boss room, everyone gets a line with a voiced YOSH or IKUZO, and you get a choice prompt too, only time it happens during a war concil iirc.

1st grail boss fight was pretty fun. When the masses start chanting “KAERE” that made me laugh as I thought this was pretty much the only typical japanese creepy thing the game didn’t do yet. The scene with everyone getting erased was the creepiest thing in the game and they did a good job with it.

When you get erased, shouldn’t the coop characters get erased as well since they still remembered you and believed in you? They should have made it so you meet all the coop characters you maxed in cells outside the VR too. They should have made it so the Phantom Thieves members were in the other cells inside the VR, and the sub coop characters in the cells outside. If they do an enhanced version they might do this.

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Yaldabaoth fight was fun too. Though they could have made it better, like being able to send characters on other platforms to try to flank him? Or make it so you can only use ranged attacks like the cognitive Wakaba fight?(maybe it’s actually the case, I only used guns or Persona attacks so I couldn’t check.) Or maybe make the status ailments he uses more threatening? I didn’t even stop attacking when he does auto SP drain counterattack since it didn’t drain enough to be threatening. And Futaba broke my ears with her BUT I TOLD YOU TO STOP ATTACKING.

First time I heard the name Yaldaboath the first thing I thought of is obviously Folka’s Yaldabaoth and the Shuras in SRW aka Hokuto no Ken mecha version.

Because of the hands during the grail fight, I thought he would turn into a giant mecha and I’m happy it did. Its design is a bit bland though. like if it’s missing things on top. They should have put more things on his top half. I think it turned out like that because they might have made Satanael’s design first, and then drew something similar to complement it.

Satanael was pretty fun and made me think they read too much Mazinger with the you need a devil to fight a god thing. I was expecting Joker’s ultimate Persona to be called Arsène Le Troisième to reference Lupin again, was a bit disappointed. There’s also how when you get to the casino escape, Arsène appears saying you’ll meet again one more time when your destiny reach a turning point. But then the only time he appears after that is before turning into Satanael, and he doesn’t even say anything. Satanael doesn’t even have one cool Lelouch sounding line too before Joker tells Yaldabaoth to take a hike. Not that the scene wasn’t already ultra awesome though.

They should have also made it so the coop characters talk with each other during their bonus scenes before and during the fight. Or I guess it would have been too much trouble writing a dialogue between the different characters depending on which coop you have maxed etc. If so, they should have just made it so there’s yet another bonus scene if you have everyone maxed, where they talk with each other. Besides Soujirou talking with Mishima, there’s nothing else. That scene was already super cool anyway, and I’m really happy I took the trouble to max all coops on my first run to fully enjoy that scene the first time I saw it.

They should have also made it so the final fight is displayed into the big screens on Shibuya instead of the Phantom Thieves logo. Then again the people can see the fight anyway, as they comment on Satanael’s design. Before the game was released, when I first saw the Kaito Onegai Channel survey gauge in promo materials, I thought the true final boss fight will definitely be in the sky of Shibuya with everyone watching on the big screens and cheering you on, with the gauge reaching 100%, so I was really happy and hyped that it actually happened.

Hearing Yaldabaoth reach the “BAKANA” point was fun too. Especially since Shidou doesn’t say it iirc. Was hoping it would happen like with every villain ever and it was fun to finally see it. It’s among the things in Japanese media I never ever get tired of and that always makes me laugh.

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Same as seeing the rival girl in a sports shoujo story reach the “ANTA NO KOTO DAI KIRAI!” point towards the main character, which is also the “they’ll become friends soon” point. You see that in Pretty Rhythm(Bell to Naru), or in Kenran Taru Grande Scène(Sakura to Kanade). Speaking of which I need to write a post about this manga, I don’t like ballet but it’s the perfect shoujo sports story like Pretty Rhythm.
If you happen to be reading this post and are French, you should buy Kenran Taru Grande Scène, it’s released here as “En Scène”.

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I don’t mind open or bittersweet endings like Psycho Pass s1, Madoka Magica or Phantom (The first two didn’t need a sequel and the later is the best thing Urobuchi wrote. Fate/Zero being the worst) But if the game ended with you in juvenile prison it would have made me really mad, especially since I had already predicted before the game was out that Joker would turn himself in at the end, without telling his friends to protect them. Really nice thing they didn’t end it there.

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The scenes with every coop character doing their best to make you get out were really heartwarming. Mishima’s one asking people to help his “best friend who’s always helping people” made me really teared up. If not for Joker smiling at the screen at the end which made me smile and all happy myself, I would have cried during the end.
I’m really happy I maxed all coops and see the ending for the first time in it’s full glory. It was worth it.

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Final VR scene with Lavencia saying “you finally got out of the prison in your heart but now you’re in prison IRL” was pretty funny. Igor saying “you were the greatest kind of client” just like he did to the previous ones, and Joker getting the World Arcana.

The final day where you go say goodbye to everyone was really fun and heartwarming. I think it took me almost an hour to do it, as I also talked to every single NPC to check out how they’re doing. Too bad you can’t actually talk with shops or facilities NPCs though. I really wish they did more with them. The system where each coop character you maxed gives you an item to use their skill directly in New Game + is really ingenious.
A lot of the girls you can date are adults so I was wondering if they’d actually go back to your hometown with you, as they aren’t bound by school etc, it’s not the case but at least Kawakami sensei does imply it, saying “please go live alone when you graduate so I’ll do all the houses chores for you”. I guess the others imply it as well if you date them. This also makes me think every girl you can date has a different final voiced line whether you date them or not.

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I loved how everyone gives you a ride back home. Not showing them arriving at Joker’s hometown and their separation was the best choice. A teary separation like P4 wouldn’t have worked.. This ending fits the themes of the story perfectly. Even if everyone lost their powers, they’ll still help each other and help those in need and do what they can. Because they’re free. Joker having a honest, free happy smiling face couldn’t help but make me smile as well. Joker never felt truly free until then. He does smile during the game like at the beach, but not as much as this. The whole ending sequence didn’t forget being fun as well, with that Yusuke opening the van’s door on the highway. Usually when I finish such a good game I get a bit sad about it ending, but I didn’t feel that way at all because of how nice and happy it is. This ending was perfect.

The online friend I recently made showed me how some people speculate about how the story may be a loop, because Ryuji says “maybe we’re still inside someone’s dream” . In my opinion it’s just a metaphor and not to be taken literally. And assuming that was the case, if you think about it for a second, Igor and Lavenzia definitely can notice that sort of thing, they wouldn’t just leave Joker if he was still in danger especially when he just saved them.

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Impressions on Goro

Right from the start of the game, when there’s the animated scene with Sae leaving the chief’s office and meeting Goro, I imagined Goro was a Persona user. Because of the “A” sign on his suitcase. I thought that if I was writing the story, I’d make it so he’s already a secret warrior of justice using his Persona to solve crime, and a Zenigata clone who will frantically chase Joker, and that he keeps his Persona related things and costume on his suitcase. Needless to say this turned out wrong as the characters don’t physically change costumes, but I still managed to guess he’s a Persona user so that made me happy. When the pancake scene happened it just comforted my wrong theory, and I was actually quite fond of Goro, back then I didn’t think one second he’d be evil.

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I only started to notice at that one scene, where the chief prosecutor is seen talking on the phone. They talk about removing collaborators of their organization like the school principal and Okumura, and the chief says “I asked “him” to take care of that”. He uses the pronoun 彼 which is used for young men, so I thought of Goro then. And when the cultural festival happened and Goro says he saw the “Black Mask” kill Okumura’s shadow, that’s when I realized he really is evil and currently lying.

Another incredibly well written thing are the scenes muted on purpose where the main characters talk about how to deceive Goro:

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1/The one with Morgana and Joker staying behind right after meeting with Goro during the cultural festival, talking about how he was lying, because of the pancakes.

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2/Right after Joker and Morgana asked Futaba to look up info on Sae. That way, if there’s something they need to know about her to progress further into her Palace, they’ll know immediately and won’t get stalled because of it. Regarding on what you say during that scene, Futaba can tell you she can even find out what type of underwear Sae likes and if she ever had a boyfriend, that was hilarious.

When I first saw these, I guessed the scenes were muted on purpose to not “spoil” the player as they were talking about something that happens later, as the game at that point is still a flashback. However, I didn’t realize Joker and Morgana knew Goro was lying and told everyone to find a countermeasure. Back then, I definitely thought that this was an horrible case of stupid writing, and that the characters were getting swindled like idiots by Goro. I was extremely pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be the complete opposite and how you trap Goro. That was perfect.

There’s even an actual story reason as for why those scenes were muted. Joker couldn’t remember these discussions&the plan to deceive Goro, because of the drugs he was injected with. Joker only remembers at the very end of Sae’s interrogation, when they show you the scenes again but with the dialogue. Of course, the gameplay reason is so the players need to guess by themselves that Goro is evil.

As long as you pay attention during the dialogues and don’t skip them, the pancake thing makes it instantly obvious that Goro can hear Morgana and thus already is an user of Other World Navi, and so when the cultural festival happens you should automatically connect the dots and figure out he’s lying.

I guess there’s also the problem of whether you’ll believe in the game’s writing or not. Because while the pancakes scene makes it obvious Goro already uses the Isekai Navi, iirc the game doesn’t show you the characters reacting about it at all, so some people could actually wonder if Joker and co did notice or not, if it’s not a plothole, etc.
During the final interrogation scene with Sae it’s like that as well.  Players who didn’t miss the hints, know by now that Goro was a sleep agent,(I don’t call him “traitor” since he was evil from the start), but you don’t know whether the game knows that you know. The interrogation scene is a  “are you thinking the same thing I’m thinking?” between the game and the player. It’s similar to some points in Gyakuten Saiban, or the kind of excellent level design you can find in some games’ puzzles, like the best Zelda games.
And it’s a “are you thinking the same thing I’m thinking?” situation between Joker and Sae as well, to indirectly tell her Goro wasn’t your friend and evil, since the surveillance camera is monitoring them. Sure, there’s like ten questions to answer but it’s really not hard. I think getting the true end in Persona 5 is much easier and logical than in Persona 4. I don’t think I would have ever guessed by myself I needed to go see everyone again in Persona 4 to trigger the true ending. Taking all this into account, in a sense saying “persona 5 is well written”  to someone who didn’t play the game yet can be a spoiler in itself.

Even if you forget about the pancakes, or for one reason or another you don’t figure it out, the game gives you multiple other hints. Like how Goro claims to be so surprised and amazed about the cognitive world when doing the casino, like when the real world overlaps with it, and yet managing to get all these ideas to circumvent the cheating and amass coins. (It’s funny how everyone praise him about it to make him let his guard down.)
Gameplay wise there’s how he doesn’t have more coop skills like a super awakening or covering Joker about to die etc.
My favorite hint is at the end of the Shadow Sae boss fight, when Makoto is worried about her sister, and Goro is like “Isn’t that just her Shadow? You’re over reacting.” and Anne retorts “Shut up!” showing you the characters knew about his schemes and didn’t trust him at all. Her choice of word really show the animosity she feels toward him, and the voice tone shows so as well.
Lastly, the game is nice enough to actually show Goro killing you for real in that bad ending. That way, even people who still didn’t guess he’s evil can get it. And the final interrogation scene with Sae is quite lax too.

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Before it begins the game tells you to save, saying the story will have “big developments”. Then if you’re about to choose an answer leading to the bad ending, the game asks you “are you sure” and if you answer no, it automatically makes you choose the right choice.
If I was making the game, I’d have made it so the bad end doesn’t show you Goro killing Joker, and would have made it so the game always ask “are you sure” whatever you pick, to make players doubt.

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Once you get jailed out by Sae, it was very satisfying seeing everyone mock Goro while explaining everything to Soujirou, saying how much Goro’s acting sucked etc, because that’s pretty much it. Goro only has himself to blame. He screwed everything up because of his unnecessary actions. There was no need to make up a story on how he saw the Black Mask be the true culprit behind Okumura’s death. He could have just said he knows the Phantom Thieves aren’t the culprit because he trusts Joker, and that he randomly got attacked by shadows after seeing you guys get in Okumura Palace and awakened his Persona that way. The pancake thing as well was unnecessary. If he didn’t want to act like a cool teenager who’s into the last foods trends, and be like “oh, delicious pancakes?! tell me more plz” his plans wouldn’t have failed.

The ultra hilarious scene when he eats the russian roulette takoyaki shows this perfectly as well. Because of his personality of lying to others, keeping up appearances and not trusting anybody, Goro wants to act cool and ends up screwing himself up. Seeing how well the game is written, I’m pretty sure they did this scene on purpose so you can see the irony of it in retrospect. He probably doesn’t even actually like sushi either.

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Which brings the question of what is Goro’s real personality. I think we see what Goro really is like whenever he visits the café and chats with you, except the times when he’s obviously lying. His mom got abandoned by Shidou, and she died from depression. He was moved from relatives to relatives and other places etc, and they were always cold to him which made him feel unneeded. So he wanted his father and people in general to acknowledge him. Just like every other villain, he became warped because of the environment around him, but that doesn’t excuse what he did. As Morgana says, he genuinely liked Joker, probably beacuse Joker is the first person who treated him as a normal person instead of an unwanted kid or an ace detective bishounen. Joker was Goro’s first friend basically. And Goro regrets things, saying he would have turned differently if he met Joker sooner.

I first guessed Goro is actually Shidou’s son during the scene when he meets Shidou in his office, believing he just killed Joker. With Shidou asking him why he helps him, and he just answers “your ideals and vision is necessary for this country’ or something. I didn’t realize yet that he wanted revenge though, I just thought he wanted to help his dad. And Shidou actually already knew Goro’s identity and true plans and was planning to kill him once he no longer needed him.

While Joker and the others were ready to work with him since they had the same objective of defeating Shidou, I’m sure they weren’t going to forgive him either. Haru is the nicest character in the game with Kawakami sensei, and yet she doesn’t forgives him for killing her father, but she would have conceded working with him again. It was a logical thing they got sad when he died since he wanted to change and redeemed himself by saving them, as how he says himself everyone would have died if you tried to fight while protecting him in his wounded state. But there’s also how they didn’t brood over his death too much either. It would have been stupid for them to go “nooo that guy who killed tons of people just died”, and it’s nice they didn’t. Goro just got what he deserved.

As a villain, I think Goro was really good. Souichiro Hoshi’s acting was really good as well with that KOI ROOKKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII. That was really awesome.
Usually villains with “I don’t trust anybody, justice is worthless, friendship is worthless”etc as motivations aren’t too interesting, but Goro was really well done. He was scum who deserved to die, and he dies. They didn’t do some kind of cheap plot where he redeems and  survives.

The game is usually nice regarding bosses and sub bosses, and always warns you before you’re about to fight one, and gives you a chance to prepare. However Goro’s boss fight is right after the Yakuza sub boss, without savepoint or prior notice, that’s the only time in the whole game the game does that. I think it suited the whole situation really well. He suddenly appears without prior notice because as you progress through Shidou’s Palace he slowly realizes you tricked him. The dialogues with him before and after his boss fight were really interesting too. His jealousy and inferiority complex toward Joker was well exposed.
After his defeat, he understands friends are important and says he’s jealous of Joker, lamenting how he wasn’t special or talented, and all the party members retorts him.
Makoto’s lines were very nice in particular as she talks about how she was jealous of him since he always got to work with Sae and was trusted by her, meanwhile Sae always treated Makoto like a kid.
Before the game was out, I used to think Goro would be related to Makoto and Sae like being their cousin because they don’t have the same family name but the same red eyes, but I realized very early in the game that’s wrong.
Makoto also says that as an individual, his skills and knowledge are superior to each one of us, and that we only defeated him because we ganged up on him. This means that while Goro was solving the berserk cases he himself caused,  he still had actual talent. Seeing how much Sae used to trust him and always asked about his POV, he probably solved many actual cases besides the ones he did himself.
Futaba’s retort is also interesting. She says Goro probably had the same initial potential as Joker, but because he doesn’t trust anybody and decided to use his power for himself only, the only two powers he got are his apparent and hidden selves. The apparent face being playing the perfect teenager detective hero: Robin Hood. The hidden face being his resentment, deceptiveness, pettiness and vindictiveness: Loki. My own interpretation of that is Goro actually is a Wild Card  like Joker and others protagonists, but because he didn’t have any friends he only unlocked 2 Personas.

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I think they initially wanted to make Goro even more evil, maybe not getting a redemption, and that’s why they didn’t make him show up in the OP animation sequence because they must have completed it early in development, as it’s shown in PV1. And I think that’s why there’s no ending credits illustration for him even though he redeems himself in death. There’s also how Shidou’s imaginative Goro got different faces despite being a character you only meet once and don’t even fight. Seeing how stingy they were towards some aspects of the game, like only voicing rank 1 and 10 of the coops, my theory is that they were planning to use these for the real Goro at first.

After Goro dies, it’s weird no one wonders where he disappeared to, considering how popular he was and always on TV. I remember one Kaitou Onegai Channel message asking “where is Goro”, but that’s it. Also in Shibuya’s building, there’s two NPCs, a young woman and a middle aged woman. After Goro dies, if you eavesdrop on them, they talk about how Goro kinda look like Shidou, and iirc one of them say her women’s intuition makes her think they’re actually blood related.
It’s a bit weird no one wonders what happened to Goro, but I guess it was on purpose, to show that his popularity on TV etc was just a fad. Just like how in the true ending, the Kaitou Onegai Channel survey shows half the people already forgot about the Phantom Thieves/ didn’t vote they believe in them.

From what I saw so far, it seems Goro is very popular, he won one of the official popularity polls. Sure probably a lot of fujoshis voted for him and want to do JokerxGoro yaoi doujins, but I didn’t expect him to be this popular. Sure I kind of like him as well, and as a villain he’s very good, but he’s still evil. If you take into account all the incidents he has caused by making people go berserk, and how he had no qualms getting other people involved in the process, like how the train crash was iirc caused to kill a single person riding the train, he killed/wounded hundreds of people at least. And Goro did that for more than two years, as in one scene Shidou says it’s been around 2 years since he met Goro.

I guess it’s similar to how a lot of people like Adachi for some reason. I never got that and never liked Adachi, and Goro killed way more people than Adachi. Then again, compared to Adachi, Goro is actually interesting, has some redeeming qualities and died by saving you.

Goro might seem similar to Adachi on paper, both are working in the police, turn out to be murderers who investigate their own crimes. But they’re completely different. I’m sure a lot of trolls will say P5 recycled P4 but that’s not the case at all.

The online friend I recently made showed me how part of both the JP and EN fanbases are crazy about Goro and how there’s a lot of theories on how Goro could be alive. I didn’t read them all, but most of the things I’ve seen are making conjectures about certain elements despite the game making these elements clear. It may sound contemptuous, but I think it’s the kind of “reasoning” obsessive shippers, delusional yuri fans, crazy obsessive otaku, etc would do. I’m not really interested in these theories because before even thinking of ways on how Goro could have survived, the fact that he would survive itself doesn’t fit with my vision of the game. If he survived it would mean he didn’t redeem himself in death. In my opinion Goro surviving would defeat the point of his character in the first place. And even if he survived there’s no point anyway because he’ll just go to jail.
I  hope Atlus doesn’t give in to money and won’t make Goro spinoffs of something.

They should have just made Goro into a girl, would have solved all these problems. It actually would have made some players more reluctant to suspect a girl too, and maybe made things a bit less obvious. Now that I think about it seriously, this could have been a good idea. I also think the pettiness of Goro’s plan of wanting to wait when Shidou’s elected and whisper in his ear “I’m your kid” would fit a deranged girl more. That’s the kind of telenovela revenge plan a crazy teenager girl would think of. You can really tell Goro had no friends because no one ever told him his plan was pretty stupid.

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Impressions on Igor

A lot of people, myself included, thought there’s something wrong with Igor when PV4 got released and that he said “わたくし” instead of “我が”. The nuance there is that you can use 我が to designate yourself + other people, while わたくし is always you alone. Besides that, it means the same thing, just a different pronoun. But this was a very big hint as different people with different personalities use a different Japanese pronoun to refer to themselves.

However any possible fake Igor theory I had in my mind was immediately dispelled because Igor’s original seiyuu is dead anyway.

Seiyuus’ link with their character is very important in Japan and they will never replace a seiyuu unless there’s serious issues like sickness or death. Or some kind of scandal like drug use. Because of that, changing a seiyuu can also mean changing a character’s personality, so I just thought Atlus was using the “opportunity” of Igor’s original seiyuu being dead to give Igor development or make him more involved in the story this time, especially since I heard from the demo goers he had a coop. Of course, I believed he’d keep being the nice old man who helps you, but I just thought his role would be more important.
Because of all this, I never suspected once that he might be fake.

All the dialogues you have with him throughout the game aren’t suspicious at all either. Whenever you defeat a villain, he praises you like the real Igor would. When you finally defeat Shidou, he says it’s the greatest turnover he’s ever seen, as in compared to the previous guests. Come to think of it, this claim is invalidated now, as it wasn’t the real Igor who said it.

The only time Yaldabaoth screwed up and says something weird is when you realize that at this rate, Shidou won’t be judged, with Morgana saying it’s as if the real world and the people are becoming warped as well. At that time, Yaldabaoth tells you that your biggest enemy turned out to be the masses you’re trying to help, and that it’s the limit of humans, that he didn’t believe humans were this warped, and that even you the True Trickster won’t be able to win against their warpedness, (which is actually himself). At that point I thought, “huh Igor is saying weird things. Usually he always encourage you” But I still didn’t doubt him.

Even when you hit the end of Mementos and fight the grail for the first time, and the laugh it does is clearly fake Igor’s voice, I just thought Atlus was greedy and gave the grail the same seiyuu as Igor to avoid paying another one. Seeing how they were too greedy to pay the seiyuus to voice the coops events.

Even after you get sent back to Shibuya, that Mementos fuses with the real world, that you get erased, wake up in the Velvet Room, and Fake Igor orders the twins to execute you, I thought he was just doing it to help you rebel and reignite your will to fight or something.

Maybe I’m just stupid, but because of all this, I only realized he’s fake when he starts calling himself a god, saying “a god’s orders are absolute”. And then it becomes obvious when the twins say they’re actually prisoners here as well, and were “separated by an evil will”, and Fake Igor is the only other person present so they could only mean him.

I think that was one of the best plotwists I’ve ever seen, because it uses the IRL fact that Igor’s seiyuu is dead as it’s main argument. I don’t think I’ve seen a lot of twists in media using IRL facts like that. That was really excellent.

Too bad only people who play the game in Japanese will get to experience that. As they changed his voice in the English dub too while there’s no particular reason to, people will immediately notice there’s something wrong.

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Ever since Pv1, it was obvious that Caroline and Justine would end up fusing into one person, but I didn’t guess that they were originally one person. I thought that fusing would be their new ultimate form. During the game, if you do their coop, you’ll notice it as well, as it heavily hints that they’re actually one person, without explicitly saying it. In any case I didn’t expect at all that it would be under these circumstances that they would fuse. The “we were actually prisoners as well” line was really impressive.

If the game actually showed when a Persona gets into the guillotine, it would have been the same for the twins fusing scene, so maybe they would have censored it outside japan? Since they wouldn’t want to show two kids getting into a guillotine.  I’m against most censorship in games, but so many people waste their lives whining about it these days. Along with console wars it’s one of the biggest reasons why video game discussion quality on the internet is so bad.

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The bad end that triggers if you accept regulation god/Yaldabaoth’s deal, changing back the world to normal and making the Phantom Thieves ultra famous, was necessary, as it fits with the themes of the game. It was necessary to show what would happen if the True Trickster was an evil person and made a deal with the villain, as making deals is one of the themes of the game.
Joker’s gesture of “I don’t care” when you reject his deal is really funny. Too bad I didn’t take a picture and don’t have the time to redo the scene for it.
When the real Igor comes back and actually says “我が” it was really awesome, gave me shivers. I wonder if they ever told his seiyuu before his death they would keep using his recorded lines, and do a trick like that in a future game. Probably not as they probably got the idea to do this trick after his death.

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After that, there’s how you need to find everyone in their cells and help them get out. This was another really well done thing. I think it’s rare that a RPG has another scene of individual development for each of its main characters, right before the ending.
All the dialogues are super interesting and well thought too. It would have been too weird to immediately go back and fight Yaldabaoth again, without going over the characters’ feelings when they just tried fighting him once and “lost”. This also allowed to show what each one of them thought about when they thought they were about to die. Again, that’s something you don’t see often, simply because main characters almost never die in stories.

Anne is actually scared and trembling in her cell and among the things you can tell her is “Are you going to tell Shiho you gave up?” which has even more weight to it if you actually completed her coop and saw her relationship of cheering each other with Shiho.
The dialogues also serve to refute the argument that Yaldabaoth used to erase us:
Yusuke says we were betting our lives all the time but no one ever asked us to do it. And one of the choices you can answer is “it’s not like we fight because we were asked to in the 1st place”.
Too bad they didn’t fully voice these scenes and only did the final part of each scene.

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It’s pretty funny when you come back to Lavencia, she says Igor still haven’t got back all his powers yet and is tired from getting imprisoned, so she’ll do the talking. The actual reason is because Igor’s seiyuu is dead so they couldn’t record new lines with him. And having him speak without being voiced wasn’t an option during such an important main story scene.
It was really cool how everyone actually meets with Igor and Lavencia instead of Joker alone. The others never met him during the game and Joker barely mentions the VR or Igor to the others before this too.

Lastly, there’s the reveal that the “great sinner imprisoned in the Mementos cell you should never approach” or whatever the exact line was, turned out to be Joker and the Velvet Room themselves. That was a really awesome reveal. I used to think it was Morgana, so when he says it’s not him, I had no clue who the criminal’s identity would turn out to be. Criminals in the definition of Yaldabaoth are those who want to think for themselves, so the biggest criminal being Joker/The True Trickster who will shake the world is perfect.

They took the time to record lines for the VR with Lavencia. She has lines for every function of the Velvet Room, they were stingy when voicing the coops events but at least they did this much. They even remade the executions’ animations with her model. And if you try to access the toilet seat to check the tutorial’s definition of Persona, etc, Lavencia says the fact that she and her master are currently here is proof you already understand everything about Personas and Shadows.

I wish they would have made it so you can use hanging, electric chair and network fusion any times you want at that moment. They could have used the excuse that instead of these equipments being fragile and only usable one time per day, it was that Yaldaboath didn’t know how to tune them properly or whatever since they’re not his, and that when Igor comes back you can use them any times you want. But then I guess it would make things too easy. And you can use those functions every day in a new game + thanks to Lavencia’s max coop item she gives you during the epilogue anyway.

The only complaint I have about this Igor thing, is how it means that even if Igor’s seiyuu is dead, they have no plans to replace him for future games. This means he’ll never have new spoken lines, and he’ll never have any kind of development. Of course, I don’t want them to drastically change his personality or anything. Just that it would have been cool to get him to interact with characters besides the protagonists more. Of course they can still do it, but it won’t be voiced.

Impressions on the characters

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Joker&Morgana:
Regardless of how you answer questions during the game, at the end, the main characters note that Morgana’s personality as a whole is closely similar to Joker’s. And if Morgana ever finds a way to become human, he’ll probably physically look a lot like Joker. This means Joker’s “actual” personality is the same personality as Morgana, someone with a lot of self confidence etc. Maybe Igor actually made Morgana from Joker’s feelings and not just from “humanity’s hope”. Or I guess since Joker is the True Trickster he is “humanity’s hope” which Morgana was made from.

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The fact that Morgana was made from “humanity’s hope” explains why characters feel nostalgic toward Morgana, like Anne at the beginning of the game. I don’t really remember but I think Makoto and Yusuke say something similar too about Joker or Morgana or both.

Did Joker actually graduate from 2nd to 3rd year of high school? He missed around 1 month of school during December when he was supposed to be dead/visiting family, and then another month and 2 weeks during his time in juvenile prison. That’s more than two months in total. I guess he didn’t broke the max limit attendance or whatever. He probably graduated. Maybe they could have exploited that, and exploited the educations themes more in general. They hint at stuff like that at the start of the game like with the rumors, how the students are surprised of Joker’s good grades and when you answer questions well despite supposedly being a violent guy with a past record. But they don’t do much with it. There’s also how the event if you study in the library with students saying stuff like “why is the transfer student studying here” never changes even late in the game, at least from what I tested.

They could have put in more stuff like some of the themes in the Bakatest LN, how Ryuji(bakatest) wants to prove it’s not because you have bad grades that you’re dumb etc and that there can be tons of reasons for kids failing school, like social status and that education is flawed in most countries. Then again they did develop all that in Kawakami sensei’s story.

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One thing that always bothered me before the game got out, was how Joker never changes expressions in the cutin for dialogues choices. I really didn’t like it at first, as it gives the feeling Joker never say his true feelings and deceives everyone. Though there’s a few instances in the game that requires you to bluff. I always thought it was weird they didn’t bother making more faces, as they bothered putting many small details: the different loading screens depending on where you are, like crossing paths with Ryuji or Anne in school, or the Hawaii only ones. For the bonus twins battle on new game + they even gave them an hold up animation and a todome illustration.

After playing the game for a while, I realized Joker only having that one indifferent face is on purpose. He does say his true feelings, he doesn’t trick people, he’s a good person, he just doesn’t show it on his face. The characters say Joker is a person of few words. Goro before his fight says Joker doesn’t speak but acts and has real guts. There’s also one of Anne’s date events, where she points out you always have the same cold looking face and she says “I like you” tons of times to try to make you show expressions.

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When Sae visits you to announce you’ll be freed, she asks for confirmation if you could have indeed stopped reforming people after Kamoshida instead of establishing the Phantom Thieves. Joker thinks: “True, if I never met Shidou at the hotel that day, I may have not continued the Phantom Thief business”. Sae adds how it’s weird your connection with Shidou triggered everything, which will finally lead to him being judged, like if someone planned everything. She asks you if you actually planned everything.
You can answer 3 things:

If you answer “Maybe I did plan everything”, Sae says something like “You’re joking right? But hearing you say it, it sounds convincing. It’s weird”.

If you answer “It was a coincidence”, she says “A coincidence huh. It’s as if God made himself your ally. Well, assuming he exists”
(That’s when cool kids on the net these days say *tip fedora* right? She actually saw stuff like a talking cat or the other world exists but still doubts whether God exists. Kinda made me remember of the guys who saw Moses,peace be upon him, split the sea thanks to the power of God and yet worshiped the golden cow statue some time later. It’s terrifying.)

If you answer “It was a game” Sae says how that answer is very like you.

I answered 3 the first time I did it. Sae already knows about Persona powers and the other world anyway so my own interpretation is: While there’s no scene that explicitly shows it, everyone must have explained to her what happened starting the point when she bailed out Joker. From Shidou’s boat to the fight against Yaldabaoth, how he made an unwinnable game between Joker and Goro, etc. At the very least Makoto definitely told her about these things, there would be no reason not to.
So I think she asks despite knowing Yaldabaoth planned things to a certain extent, and that Igor also planned things to a certain extent with Morgana guiding Joker.
I believe Joker did plan everything. While it’s true he didn’t recognize Shidou when he met him at the hotel elevator, by his behavior Joker saw that he was a rotten adult that needed some reforming, and that by establishing the Phantom Thieves and keeping on reforming people it’ll eventually lead to him. If you’re a fujoshi you can even overanalyse and say it was also for the sake of taking revenge for Ryuji who got pushed by Shidou’s SP.

In the end, I think Joker does sometimes manipulate people, but for a good cause. He’s a pretty original character, a mix of typical silent character + much less typical manipulative but good character. An example of the later would be Yuuri Yanagi(Hakomari), or how Furudo Erika would be like if she was a good person and not the worst kind of scum ever.

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Status pics are after beating Yaldabaoth.

Thanks to the hanging function to give exp to a persona once a day, leveling is very easy and is cheaper than paying to fuse a new Persona higher level than you. That crystal skull accessory is the best I could find in the game, with its +5 to all stats and high chance to dodge magic. I got one for everyone. The 500K acce you can buy on Tanaka’s uranet shop is a waste of money. One good thing that came out from being forced to redo the Shidou time limits days to max all coops was that I didn’t buy it again.

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Before the game was out, I used to think that Morgana was an artificial Persona or Shadow made by the “secret organization pulling out the strings”, and that he was unknowingly the traitor, unknowingly got programmed sending information of your plans. And that the guy telling Joker he was betrayed in the prologue was lying, to make Joker doubt himself and his friends. Nice thing that all turned out wrong. I had some pretty weird theories before the game got out.

When Kamoshida’s Palace is collapsing, Morgana turns back into a normal cat. I don’t think they ever explained that, and from reading my notes I think it’s one of the few things in the game I can’t think of an explanation for. I used to think it’s because they’re slowly being shifted into the real world as the Palace is disappearing, but in all the other Palaces this doesn’t happen and Morgana stays in his Other World form, and can still even transform into a bus as that’s how you escape most of the time.

They also never explain why Morgana is in love with Anne, but there doesn’t need to be a particular reason for it. Soon after being born he stumbled into Kamoshida Palace and got caught. So it turns out she’s literally the first girl he ever saw.
If you’re into shipping by using completely over analysed or delusional evidence and also obsessed with canon, and want to ship Joker with Anne, you could say since Morgana has the same personality as Joker/was probably made from Joker, Morgana liking Anne means Anne is canonically Joker’s fiancee.

They also didn’t explicitly explain Morgana’s uncontrollable attraction towards treasures, and how it got healed during the Okumura chapter, but I think they hint toward this explanation: Because Morgana wants to be human at all costs and is obsessed with humans, he gets obsessed with the treasures since it represents someone’s strong feelings which caused their heart to become warped. And starting the Okumura chapter he realizes he has a place where he belongs, that he’s useful and worries less about being human or not, so his obsessions with treasures gets cured.

They also never explicitly said how Morgana goes from the real world to the Other World by himself as he doesn’t have a phone and Other World Navi. I guess that’s just part of his powers.

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Morgana isn’t the most useful in battle but not useless either. Can be a nice healer and miracle punch crits often. If you have the twins’ coop at 10 and lot of money you can fuse ouryuu, its easy as it requires byakko suzaku seiryu and genbu which are all easy to get. Then you put Ouryuu in the electrical chair to get a very powerful slingshot for Morgana that should set you all game. I did that near the start of Shidou’s boat and this made me save a lot of money as I never bought him new slingshots again.

Mercurius looks ok, not too weird. Zoro was obviously better though.

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Ryuji turned out to be much less annoying that what I imagined before playing the game. At the start of the game I felt really bad about his injured leg issue, but he himself gets over it pretty fast, and his leg actually heals and he can run again just fine too, and yet decides he won’t rejoin the track&field club, as he found where he truly belongs, with the Phantom Thieves. At the end of the game he’s happy like everyone else.

It’s a bit weird he’s the “not popular with girls” joke guy. It’s not like he’s lame or anything, and you’d think he’d still have fangirls from his track&field days. Even if some probably stopped liking him after thinking he’s violent, he should still be popular with girls from other schools who may have seen him during sports competitions or whatever. They could have added a story about a girl from another school liking him in his coop or whatever.

It was good how his coop among other things dealt with Kamoshida’s aftermath, as the main story didn’t really elaborate on that.

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I don’t get how they thought that design was a good idea, I got used to it after a while though. Ryuji learns charge so sometimes I’d switch him in instead of Makochan during bosses if everyone was at full health and buffed and didn’t need Makochan’s support.
Once I got Haru I tried to use her as much as possible and use Ryuji and Morgana as less as possible as they’re the first characters you get and that if I replayed the game I wouldn’t get to use Haru until a while.

Ryuji’s instakill skill can be a bit annoying if you’re hunting low level mobs or playing on safety or easy but you just need to refrain from surprise attacking to circumvent the skill activating.

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Anne: Most of her events are really funny. Her personality is very different from what I imagined. She’s very straightforward and can change ideas and objectives very fast while still being really determined about them. When Morgana says that stealing the Mementos’ treasure to reform the masses will make us loose the option to reform evil people, Anne is the 1st one to stand up saying she’ll do it. The morning of the 25th when you went to turn yourself in she’s also the first one to say we mustn’t get depressed and do everything to help Joker even if no powers anymore and don’t even know where to start.

Early in her coop story she talks about how she never cared before about what she eats or doing a particular training program to have a better figure or to be a “better” model. So I used to think her coop story would criticize how society brainwashes girls into always worrying about their figure and being compared with models and fashion they’re expected to follow. And how its one of the many things which puts pressure on women and wants them to be perfect at all times which makes them stressed and develop an 裏side like my new online friend said. But in the end that scene was only used to show how Anne didn’t take her model job seriously. The game was so good that sometimes I expected too much from it I guess.

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There’s ton of fun moments like when she asks you and Ryuji to go to the gym with her, and wonders what kind of training program can make her waist thinner and get her a nicer butt and calves and you can answer “you don’t actually need to”.

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Rank 9 coop event when you help Anne carry Shiho around school was really nice.

I don’t think they’ll do an enhanced version this time, but if they do make a Persona 5+ , they should give Shiho a coop. I don’t think they can change the fact that she’ll transfer schools, because staying in a school where everyone saw you try suicide is dumb, but they could just make it so you talk to her via SNS and agree to meet her some faraway places. I really like Shiho so I hope they do this if there’s an enhanced version. And if you’d be able to confess her, Shiho would say something like “I don’t deserve your love because Kamoshida dirtied me” and you could answer “I don’t care”.  “Purity” is so stupid.

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They avoided all the possible forced drama with Mika posing as a victim and framing Anne. It was really fun and well thought how Anne actually comes to admire Mika for her acting skills instead of crying or complaining to you about getting tricked. When Mika tells Anne she only managed to become a model thanks to her parents, Anne actually agrees with her, and how she needs to take it more seriously and train to become a true pro model. At the end when Mika gets found out, she’s not repentant at all about sabotaging other models to get more jobs, but she still reaches an understanding with Anne and feels like fighting her without tricks now. I really liked that.

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It’s also fun how Mika appears in the anime cutscene where everyone act as if they’re shocked to the news of Joker dying.

One complaint I have with the game is that there’s no Zenigata and Fujiko clones. Ryuji is kinda Jigen and Yusuke is kinda Goemon, but Anne isn’t Fujiko and Goro definitely isn’t Zenigata. I wish there was some kind of rival thief character like Fujiko and a rival police like Zenigata, but I guess seeing how the Other World works it would have been too hard to write. If they make an enhanced version I hope they add rival characters based on Zenigata and Fujiko.
I guess there’s no Fujiko clone but each main girl got traits or skills similar to her. If you gattai Anne’s figure and skills, Futaba’s photographic memory and hacking skills, Makoto’s wits and Haru’s skills and add a personality of being a good person but still doublecross for their own gain, you actually get Fujiko.

When Anne says she admires Mika because she reminds her of beautiful strong female villains in anime she used to watch when she was a kid, I thought of Grandys in Nadia and her clones like Musashi/Jessie, but now that I think about it Fujiko kinda fits as well.

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I think Anne is the most useful party member with Haru. Her attack debuff skill is the best thing there is. Bosses tend to use debuff you a lot but rarely ever dispel the debuff on themselves. You can do ton of damage with concentrate + fireguard kill+ 大炎上. She can heal too but near the end I made her forget the heal skill to keep the confuse skill as its useful against mobs. My starting party for subbosses/bosses starting the casino was always Anne Makoto Haru as they turned out to be perfect together.

I think Hecate is the only truly good looking ultimate persona with Satanael. It actually keeps the design theme of the chained things that Carmen had too.

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Yusuke is my favorite male character in the game by far. He turned out very different from what I imagined as well. First off, he actually isn’t a pervert. I used to think Yusuke would be a commentary on how most people who call themselves artists are actually just sexual perverts. For millennials people draw or make statues of naked guys and chicks, which is basically just pornography but everyone says it’s ok because “lol its art”.  I thought all the party wouldn’t stop calling Yusuke a pervert and call him on that, but that doesn’t happen. Only Futaba does, and sometimes quite randomly when he didn’t do anything wrong, which always makes for hilarious scenes. The comedic duo between him and Futaba is the best of the game imo, much better than Ryuji + Morgana, which isn’t that bad either.

However, Yusuke is actually used for all the accidental pervert jokes. When you crash land from Futaba’s Palace, he accidentally hugs Anne, who then hits him real hard. It truly wasn’t his fault though and Anne actually apologize too. All the characters are so nice.

A lot of Yusuke’s jokes and puns are hilarious too. Another thing that wasn’t mentioned in the promo material at all is Yusuke being extremely poor and jokes related to it. It kinda shows what a lot of art graduate or similar fields with few jobs go through in their lives. Yusuke is still in high school and haven’t finished his studies yet though, so the reason he’s poor is simply because he doesn’t have any family to help him, not because he can’t find assignments or jobs. If they do a spinoff sequel a bit later in time, Yusuke will probably have a job with nothing to do with art to get more money to live instead of simply surviving.

I don’t really want to write this because it’ll give delusional kids some material to work with, but it’s really cool how physically effeminate Yusuke is. His chara design and way of dressing are really good. They were aware of that too, as after he joins, you can choose to complain how there’s only guys besides Anne, and he asks if he should crossdress.

His coop story was one of the funniest too. I’m still laughing at the swan boats scene.

When it turns out both Kaneshiro and Madarame’s money also flowed to Shidou, I thought that was a bit unnecessary. There was already tons of things to show how evil Shidou is. But come to think of it now, that was necessary, as it was to explain how Madarame and Kaneshiro’s shadows knew about the Black Mask/Goro. Shidou probably ordered Goro to kill some people for them in exchange of the money they gave him.

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Yusuke is really useful to clear mobs in an SP saving way with his phys skills. Near the end he’s not really useful against bosses though, as he doesn’t learn Charge. I still tried to use him as much as possible as he’s my favorite.
Kamususanoo looks ok, like Mercurius.

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Makoto&Sae: I think Makoto is one of the best characters by far. Probably the best. I wouldn’t say I’m biased toward her since I loved everyone anyway. And I didn’t even date Makochan but Sadayo.

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Makoto’s awakening scene is my favorite one after Haru’s. Seeing her snap after all that frustration was really nice. Too bad she pretty much never uses her bike in cutscenes after that. And they didn’t even need to take into account whether it already evolved to Anato or not because Anato can turn into bike form.

It’s really heartwarming how Anne is hostile to Makoto at first and how they become friends. That scene when they apologize to each other was really nice.

While Makoto is a student council president, she isn’t like the usual seitokaichou you see in anime. While she’s a hard working person, has a strong sense of justice and can TEKKEN SEISAI evil and enjoy action movies and TV dramas, in the end she’s just a normal person. She’s not ultra rich or talented. She’s just a hard working girl. Maybe they could have made her completely obsessed with justice at some points and play it up for comedy, like Amelia in Slayers. But then I think it would go against with how normal she is.

From all the events I’ve seen, I don’t think there’s anything actually hinting toward it, but Makoto probably wears lipstick because she saw her sis do it. Probably asked her to teach her makeup. That’s my theory based on their personalities.

The way she tails you at school and Shibuya during some parts of the story is ultra cute. While she doesn’t know “how high school students have fun” like Game Centers because she spends most of her time studying, she’s not a stereotype. She still has some common sense and can still do jokes. I’m still laughing about the escape from Kaneshiro Palace, with yet another crash landing.
Ryuji: I totally split my butt
Yusuke:Anne, did your butt got split?
Anne:Of course not!
Makoto:Isn’t your butt already split normally?

Her coop story was pretty interesting. The parts about Eiko are similar to the parts with Mika, as in it’s the kind of scenario that’s usually full of forced drama but they avoided it all. It’s even referenced, with how the reason why Makoto thinks Tsukasa is suspicious in the first place is because she saw forced drama situations like that in TV dramas. It was extremely satisfying when Eiko goes 私にはツカサしかない and Makoto slaps her.

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In battle she was my main support. Def buff and healing and then atomic magic. And if everyone is already at full health or def buffed her revolver do quite the damage or just use items.Kinda sucks she doesn’t learn a better Physical skill than Flashbom but she’s still extremely useful.
Anato’s design isn’t that bad but could have been tons better. The thing that greatly irritated me about it is how it’s not a bike anymore, so Makoto doesn’t ride it anymore. I really wish there was an option to use the old Persona’s appearance even after evolving. It’s even more infuriating because Anato is a mid sized mecha, like an Armored Trooper or a Knightmare Frame. The seat is still there too, if it was a bit more inclined and designed slightly different Makoto would still be able to directly jump and ride it.  And then it would do the Votoms whirr whirr SFX and it would be perfect.

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And they were lazy, while they gave her a distinctive face holding pose when attacking with her persona like all the other party members, they didn’t make a new animation for when she summons Anato: if you look closely, Anato appears in Johanna/bike form, she jumps on it in bike form, but then it turns into Anato and she’s suddenly not riding it anymore.

Makochan is definitely the character that intrigued me the most. I have a theory about her: Makochan is definitely a staff favorite, but I think they wrote some of the story from her point of view, and that she used to be the main character instead of Joker in some early drafts of the story. Sure, she’s the strategist of the group, and Ryuji is right hand man in title only while she’s the real right hand woman. But I’d even go as far and say she’s the true leader and main character. Whenever big decisions needs to be made, something important and plot relevant needs to be said, she’s the one who does it. Of course she always asks Joker for final confirmation, but she’s the one who actually makes all the plans and takes all the decisions.

At first I used to think they made things this way to compensate how she screwed up during the Kaneshiro incident and put all of the party in danger, but then she gets more and more important and keep doing things and calling all the shots.

Before the game was released, I used to think they wouldn’t make Sae too important because it would make Makoto more important than the other characters, but they did anyway.  And it turned out to be a very good thing imo. Most of the time Makoto is main character of the story instead of Joker. If you dislike her you’ll probably won’t think the game is a masterpiece. Come to think of it, that’s true for all the characters. Your enjoyment of the game greatly depends of whether you get attached to them or not. They’re all nice people so they grew a lot on me.

I’m gonna sound like some kid wanting to forcefully make his fanfic and headcanon true but I genuinely believe Makoto was written as the main character.  While playing, I used a pocket notepad to write the kanji and vocabulary I didn’t know before, along my impressions on the game. I only started writing detailed impressions starting the Casino chapter as things were getting too interesting and I couldn’t resist writing things down. I made a list of some instances of Makochan doing things:

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Makoto clinging to Joker when trespassing in Soujirou’s house. Soujirou thinking you’re dating. She’s also the one you go with to check on Futaba after returning from her Palace.

Makoto is the one to realize along with Futaba the popularity was artificial and was planned to later frame us. Futaba is a genius etc and yet Makoto also figured it out the same time as her.

Makoto is the one who makes the decision to ask Goro to meet each other during the cultural festival. If she had already joined during the pancakes scene, she would have probably even started thinking of a plan in case Goro doesn’t reveal he already knows about the Other World, and like Joker&Morgana after the chat with him she would have noticed he was lying.

Makoto, with the help of Futaba is the one who designs the plan of using Sae’s Palace to trick Goro. (It was pretty cool how the method Futaba used to take control of Joker’s smartphone and operate Other World Navi from a distance was the same thing she did to stalk you during the Hawaii trip. Another instance of great planned writing.)

There’s how the real reason she joined the Phantom Thieves was to reform her sister, as after learning of Palaces she guessed Sae had one.

While I’m happy the characters don’t brood too much over Goro’s death, Makoto is the one who’s bothered by it the most. Similar to how a typical good willed main character would be bothered that someone, while evil, who could have turned into their ally, died.

After the TV hijack, Makoto is the one to note that despite us revealing Shidou is a villain, not many people started to doubt him or want to see him reformed, and she asks if what we’re doing is really justice. Speaking of that, while it’s true that after the artificial popularity incident the characters notice they were starting to enjoy the popularity and loose their initial objective of helping people, at that point they were still concerning themselves with whether people actually “needed” them or not, which is why later Yaldabaoth’s trick of erasing them because supposedly no one wants/remember them anymore works.

After reforming Shidou and information gets manipulated to make it so everything the Phantom Thieves did was either coincidences, that you didn’t actually do anything, or “occult stuff”. Morgana drops the important line “it’s as if the real world itself is warped now” and Makoto drops the second important line  “they’re manipulating people’s mind. That’s the same as in Palaces”.

Out of all the characters they could have chosen, Makoto is the one you meet at Shibuya station the morning of the final battle on December 24. She asks if you think things will go nicely.

Makoto is the first to notice that one puzzle in Mementos is initially impossible to solve.

When you see the grail, Makoto is the one who points out that while what Shidou and the others said has some truth on it, it feels too complex for it to be the masses alone controlling it and that there’s a mastermind behind.

Makoto asks “is that was everyone really wants” when the caged masses defends the grail, and she’s the one asking what happened and “did we loose” to Joker when getting sent back.

The morning of the 25th Makoto is the first one who got to the café, as she probably went with Sae and Joker when he went to turn himself in. She says she tried her best to stop Joker but couldn’t do anything. She’s the one who told it to Soujirou and Futaba.

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On January 3rd Makoto is speaking with someone on the phone. They talk about how they found out the name of the woman Joker protected from Shidou so they should be able to find her address now, to ask her if she can testify for you. Makochan also says “tell hi to Shiho san for me” meaning Shiho probably volunteered to testify for you as well. And I guess it means the character she’s speaking with is Anne, as she also says “see you tomorrow”(at school). All the other scenes after that are with the coop characters, so I guess if you don’t have them maxed you don’t see these scenes and only see Makoto’s scene.
This means that among all the characters, they decided to pick Makoto to show the player that the party members are working to get Joker liberated.

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Too bad they don’t actually show the woman testifying for Joker, apologizing to him and thanking him. But I think even if they didn’t show it, it must have happened.

There’s also how Makoto is predominant in cutscenes, both 2D animated or not, and is often shown in shots with Joker:

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Before the cognitive Wakaba sphinx fight and how Joker saves her from falling debris.

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After beating Yaldabaoth and Mementos start disappearing.

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The new years eve cutscene was directed so Makoto’s the center of the group, and she’s also the one saying the leaderlike things.

I think there’s other examples in the game but that’s all I remember/wrote down.

But yeah I swear to God we’re getting at least one Makoto spinoff manga before the first half of 2017 ends. What I want the most is a VN+DMC/Bayonetta hybrid game with Makoto doing her studies at day and investigating stuff and punishing evil with her fists at night.

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I think they should have made Sae get a Persona and join after Shidou’s Palace. But then I guess it wouldn’t fit the theme of youngsters correcting warped adults, and entrusting the world to the good adults(Sae) once they complete their final mission. Still I think it could have been a good idea. The whole final Mementos fight after Shidou gets elected only lasts a day anyway, so she would have only got a Persona for a day, it wouldn’t have hindered her work of pursuing Shidou.

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When she leaves the interrogation room with Joker’s phone, it would have been fun too if they made it so you actually play as her. Making you choose what to say to Goro when she meets him in the corridor to deceive him, and what to say to make the guard working with Shidou think you’re here to kill Joker in place of Goro.  She has tons of different cutins too. If they make a Persona 5 + they should definitely make her playable.

Throughout the game, because of how much main character Makoto is, I thought countless times that Sae would end up getting killed. I’m really happy she doesn’t die.

Through Sae, they show sexism and sexual harassment toward women at work. Like that bastard Shidou follower telling her “aren’t you still single, take that opportunity to find someone” when telling her to take a break from investigating Shidou. In one cutscene in Kaneshiro’s chapter, she complains about it to Makoto too, telling her she needs to get good grades to get a good job as a woman and she’s useless for now and how she’s ruining her life because it’s hard to work in her field as a a woman and she has to work hard to take care of useless Makoto etc. There’s also how she almost caught Kaneshiro before the Phantom Thieves made him turn himself in, and it made her miss her chance as it’s hard to prove herself as a woman in her field of work and that’s what triggers her hate of the Phantom Thieves.

But it’s important to note that even during those times Sae was still a good person, contrary to all the other Palace owners. That scene when she tells Makoto she’ll bring her to a hot springs trip once she catches the Phantom Thieves was really heartwarming. Thinking of that, too bad it didn’t actually happen. There’s around one month between when Joker gets released and when he goes back to his hometown. Again, I don’t think the game’s ending was rushed or incomplete, I think it was perfect, but Sae&Makoto getting a big car and bringing everyone to a trip could have happened during those days.

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I almost thought she would confess during that scene. As she praises Joker so much about how he changed her life and taught her how to live again and how managing to get him acquitted made her the most happy in her life ever,  and how she’s telling him first instead of Makoto that she’s planning to become an attorney. That fits her perfectly.

That scene is the first time in the game she fully smiles too. Regardless of what you answer, Joker doesn’t tell her her Palace’s treasure was her father’s police identification card. She says it doesn’t matter anymore as she knows Makoto and her justice are her treasures, and how Makoto taught her the meaning of justice again. Their father’s ID represents her justice and her love for Makoto. It also fits what Makoto said in the casino when reaching the treasure room, that her father’s death made Sae think he got used&thrown away by the police and triggered her obsession with winning.

Because they didn’t take the Treasure, Sae’s Palace didn’t disappear and she didn’t get “reformed” in the same way as the villains, but she does reform anyway. Even if real people don’t remember what their Shadows do or say in the Other World, it still affect them. It’s the same thing that happens when you talk to Mishima’s shadow during his coop story. Despite not reforming him, he still notices his mistakes and changes by himself. By the end of the game as the Mementos and Yaldabaoth are destroyed, Sae’s Palace disappears as well.

They didn’t say where Sae got her pendant. But the game indirectly shows she used to be a student at Shujin, and the pendant’s symbol is the same as the one on Shujin’s emblem, so I guess she got it back then. I wonder if they’ll expand on that in spinoffs. I’m betting on she used to have a boyfriend when she was at Shujin but he went to live abroad when they graduated so he gave it to her to remember their time together.

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In the final day of the game, the business card she gives you says “attorney” instead of “prosecutor” which means she already became one in the few amount of time between Joker’s liberation and his depart. I don’t know how easy it is for a prosecutor to become an attorney in Japan but surely this shows her skills. I can’t wait for the game spinoff about police chef in training Makoto  and Ace Attorney Sae.

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Futaba&Soujiro: I used to think they would use a “cheap” shock value reason for Futaba’s condition like rape and nice thing they didn’t. Instead, they pretty much just piled up tons of things on her. Her life incredibly sucked.  She couldn’t spend much time with her mom because of her work, though she was still loved by her mom. She was bullied at school for being too smart and being called a liar when saying she can remembers books after reading them once. She was always eating lunch alone in toilet stalls. The only friend she made Kana chan was bullied as well. But then Futaba accidentally saw Kana’s diary and how she wrote in it everything that happened to her like getting hit or getting weird pictures of her taken, and Futaba remembered all of it because of her photo graphic memory, and asked Kana about it to help her. So then Kana stopped being her friend, saying she looked at her diary. Then Futaba had to lie to her mother and tell her she’s still friends with Kana and feel guilty about it. Then her mother gets assassinated and she was made to believe it was her fault. Then she got taken in and passed around relatives who all neglected her. And then she once ended at one of her uncle’s place, and they wouldn’t feed her or let her bathe. Until Soujiro finally managed to pick her up. And even then she was still screwed and about to kill herself, until Joker saves her.

Sometimes the circumstances in which a character’s coop event makes you learn a new skill is pretty interesting. For example Futaba coop event rank 4. She realizes that despite getting depressed when visiting Shujin because it reminds her of the bullying, it still had its merits. So it’s like turning a pinch into a chance ->she learns Position Hack. Because before she didn’t even worry about her past, being depressed when being remembered of it means she’s actually confronting it.

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When did Futaba buy her portable PC? It’s not like it’s important but they should have showed her buying it during one of her  events in Akiba. She probably didn’t have one before as she was a hikikomori.

Futaba’s banter with Yusuke was really good, some of the funniest jokes in the game involve them and they’re one of the biggest reason why the game is so much fun. Futaba is also much less annoying that what I imagined before the game got out. Even on the SNS she actually barely ever say 2ch/internet memes. She doesn’t spout that much references to games or the like either. I can only think of a few examples like how she calls Joker a rare items that allows her to go outside. Or when she says a “you got a trophy” notification gonna pop up in her rank 10 date route.

I get the feeling the game didn’t display enough how much of a genius she is. Along with Makoto, she does a lot of things, like the plan to trick Goro but maybe she could have done more.

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Promotheus’ design is fine but really lazy, its’ a just a big sphere with some eyes and lines. One thing I’m disappointed about is how even on Hard I never died during the final dungeons and during the final boss, and that was the only time I had Futaba’s coop maxed. So I didn’t get to see the animations for Last Guardian and Emergency Shift. I should reload a save and trigger it on purpose to check.

Soujirou’s story is really interesting, and probably the most interesting and important one, as it’s tied to both Futaba’s coop story and the main story. It’s tied in so well that there’s some scenes I remember very well, but I don’t even remember whether they were part of his coop or Futaba’s or the main story. Soujirou is the only character who discovers your identity during the main plot, regardless of whether you do his coop or not. That’s nice and they did a good job avoiding possible bad writing regarding this. It’s really fun when he says “I’m Futaba’s guardian, one day she didn’t want to go outside her room, the next day she was like “YEAH LETS GO TO THE BEACH!!!” Of course I noticed something happened”.
The fact that Soujirou used to work for the government and be the link between it and Wakaba’s lab was something I didn’t expect at all. He even knew Shidou, as he was one of the government people working with the lab too and even suspected he might be Wakaba’s true killer. When this gets out, Futaba actually berates him saying why he never talked about it before, but he says he never had any leads or evidence, and didn’t want to put Futaba in danger, which makes sense.

IIRC Wakaba rejected Soujirou when he confessed to her, and he says Futaba was already there back then so while Wakaba wasn’t with Futaba’s father anymore, and Soujiro doesn’t know what happened with him, he knew he had no chance. But I think Wakaba actually loved him. There’s how she improved the curry recipe for him after he treated her to curry. Then she made him the coffee recipe guessing he liked coffee while he never told her about it. Soujiro says it’s because she was good at observing others but not herself, but I think it’s also because she liked him. There’s also how they would always go eat sushi together with Futaba. Maybe she was planning on reciprocating his feelings once she was done with her research work. When she told him she might get killed, he just brushed it off and feels bad about it and it’s one of the reasons he took in futaba, but I think she told him because he was the only person she trusted. And lastly, seeing how Futaba was a genius, she knew he would have taken care of Futaba anyway after seeing how badly the relatives treated her, but in my opinion she also told him to trigger his guilt so she can be 100% sure he’ll take good care of Futaba.

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I used to have a theory about how Soujiro is actually Yusuke’s dad but that’s definitely wrong. I remembered the scene above wrongly, just noticed now that I actually had a photo of it. I wrongly remembered that Soujirou said he already saw before the woman on the painting, but he actually says he already saw the painting itself. As in “I already saw a super famous painting and it looks a lot like this”. Plus besides this false hint of mine, there’s nothing in the game that hinted at it.

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Haru: I really liked every girl a lot but I guess Kawakami sensei, Makoto and Haru are the ones I liked the most.

While being a rich ojou sama she does have common sense, she’s also hard working and always helps around at school. Haru’s promo material used to make me think I wouldn’t like her but that’s not the case. It makes her look completely different than what she actually is, it’s really puzzling.

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I don’t think I’ll ever stop being bothered by how they made her look so lazy in the OP while she’s not like that at all.  And unlike the promo material I wouldn’t say that she has trouble expressing herself either.  The only time it’s really bad is when she’s initially with Morgana and she dumbly repeats everything he tells her, that sure was fun. Sure there’s  a few other examples too, like when her “fiancee” asked her to go with him to a trip, an “early honeymoon”, and she tells you she doesn’t want to go and ask how she should decline. I think any person would be troubled in this situation, regardless of their communication skill.

In my opinion, Haru’s problem isn’t how she has trouble expressing herself, but more like she has trouble expressing herself because she doesn’t trust people. And a big part of her coop’s story is how she realizes that not everyone in the company is her enemy. She has actual allies there and she’s not alone. The fact that the engagement actually didn’t exist was a pretty nice twist, and if she told forgot-his-name about it right from the start instead of being wary of him and investigating him, he would’ve told her about it.

Her being a fan of horror movies was unexpected. Most of her coop events feels like dates.

Along with Chihaya, Haru is the only character who falls in love with Joker/realize her feelings before you confess/rank9. If you tell her “we’re friends” she’s really disappointed. That scene was really painful to watch. Joker himself knows he just broke her heart, as he says “… let’s go home” . Speaking of that they wrote the game so well that Joker do act like most of players would and with the same emotions. The fact that the narration is made by Joker himself in 1st person instead of 3rd person helps at this as well.

Haru and Makoto both go to university at the end, but decide on a different one. So I guess in possible spinoffs sequels they won’t be able to meet much.

One thing weird is that Haru never ever mentions her mother afaik, haven’t seen all her date events yet. Or maybe I just forgot about it.
In her coop’s story she talks about how she used to really like her grandfather and her father too. Their company used to be very small by the time her grandfather was leading it, and they actually specialized in coffee instead of fast food, that’s why she’s so interested in Sojirou’s coffee and wants to grow her own seeds and want to study to open her own restaurant. But iirc there’s no mention of her mother at all. I guess she’s dead or else she might have tried to save her husband from becoming twisted.
I guess I could just leave it at that but it’s even weirder as all the other party members talk about their parents at some point, or at least succinctly mention them even if their status are unaccounted for.

  • Joker’s parents are fine.
  • Ryuji lives alone with his mom because his father was violent, forgot if they said if he’s still alive or not.
  • Anne’s parents are fashion designers, that’s how she became a model. One day when she was still living in Finland they missed one model for their show, so they told her to do it. Around half the year every year, they aren’t home, going from country to country. But right now they aren’t home the other half either, so she’s living alone and lonely.
  • Wakaba was already separated from Futaba’s father before meeting Soujirou, but we don’t really know what happened to him.
  • Makoto’s father was a policeman and was killed by criminals a few years before the game starts, and IIRC either Makoto or Sae says their mother was already deceased.
  • Goro’s mom sunk into depression and died when Shidou left her.
  • We don’t know what happened to Yusuke’s father, but that’s because his mom died when he was still a baby.

But Haru’s mother isn’t even mentioned, afaik.

A lot of scenarios in coops kind of overlaps with each other. In both Makoto’s and Ichiko’s, you end up posing as their boyfriends. Both Hifumi and Shinya have troubles with their moms. Etc. I don’t think it makes the stories uninspired, instead it feels like they were thorough with dealing with society’s issues like I wrote earlier above. They pretty much did every type of crazy mom possible.
I don’t think the game was rushed, but I do feel they might have re-speced some characters’ cut story into another’s. Since Hifumi was supposed to be a main character at some point in development,  my theory is that Hifumi’s story with her mother was originally Haru’s. They changed it a bit and made the mother an ex showbizz person and added the “I want my daughter to be successful in showbiz in place of me” parts to fit Hifumi. But then they didn’t make anything in replacement for Haru’s mom.

Speaking of that, I think one of the reasons why Makochan has so many lines and is so important is because they gave her the lines Hifumi was supposed to say if she was a main character. Also I get the feeling that while all the characters were there from the start of development, they decided on some elements of their settings and backstories a bit later. I think that’s also why Makoto Haru Futaba only show up in one scene in the OP, because they did the OP pretty early and weren’t 100% sure about their personalities yet. It would explain why Haru’s appearance in the OP doesn’t reflect her actual personality and status of nicest person in the cast with Kawakami sensei. And as I said earlier, I think Goro doesn’t show up in the OP at all because they were planing to make him even more evil. Same with how he doesn’t have an illustration in the credits. I also think they were planning on making Goro and Makoto family related at first, which is why they have the same eyes. Maybe Goro was a member of her family in some early story drafts, and the fact that Makoto is the one who feels the saddest about Goro’s death might be an artifact of this. But well that’s just my theories.

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That shot of Haru when Yaldabaoth is transforming is one of my favorites in the game.

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Milady looked so cool too with the guns under the skirt. I can’t believe someone okay’ed Astarte’s design. When I first saw it I thought it was a joke. Just why did they do that. It’s like they put in zero effort in the evolved Personas’ designs because they don’t show up in promo materials.

Impressions on the sub characters:

Toranosuke: The first coop I got to rank 10. The end revelation of how he actually was framed and never did anything bad was pretty nice. He stayed patient for 20 years despite everyone thinking he’s corrupt. That speech he does at the end was the first time in the game I got teary eyed.
His skills are really useful, but the more you extort the less money you get. You need to attack different types of shadows instead of farming the same area. I felt like that worked better. The last one that makes you able to get shadows of higher level to join you is very good too.

Ichiko:  Her coop scene during your time in juvenile prison actually has her going to your hometown, asking people to testify for you saying “did he really seem like a kid who would commit such a crime?” etc.  Every character’s scene fits them perfectly. It’s really nice how they made each character use their connections and skills to help you get out of juvenile prison. Really shows the theme of the game of trying your best to help people using whatever you can at your own scale, and that you don’t need superpowers do to so.
Her skills are completely useless if you clear Palaces in the minimum amount of days. But her coop story turns out to be actually related to Shidou and the main plot. I think they did that on purpose, they made her story among the most interesting ones to compensate the fact her coop skill is useless.

Unlike Joker, I wasn’t too surprised in her rank 10 date route when she says she can cook. Seeing how much independent she is and is used to tailing people or travelling for the sake of info, it’s obvious she can do this much. And that’s what she herself says too.

Iwai: Similar to how in Tomino shows there’s always nice adults to demonstrate not everyone is rotten, I think they made most of the coop characters in Persona 5 adults for the same reason. And Iwai is the parents side of things, that shows you not every parent is rotten. Among other things, one of the morales in his story is about how it’s not because your own parents were bad that you will definitely be a bad parent yourself.
He has a pretty original and nice story. Didn’t think I’d like him that much, he’s a great dad. His coop scene during your time in juvenile prison telling Yakuza to pass the message for delinquents there to not touch even one hair of Joker’s was really cool too. Same with how Kaworu decides to go to Shujin “because he wants to become like you”. It’s also pretty fun at the end when he realizes you’re actually not a gun maniac but needed the guns for your Phantom Thieves activities, and says you’re a really weird guy. “Just how the hell do you defeat villains with model guns anyway, since unlike airsoft guns they can’t even shoot things.”

Tae: Another story I didn’t expect. Tae’s coop events up to rank 7 or 8 are among the first ones I did in the game so I don’t remember them clearly.

IIRC first time the little girl and her dad visit Tae’s clinic, it turns out Ooyamada didn’t give the correct meds to the little girl so she wouldn’t get better and the father and her would keep coming back and keep paying. I won’t say “they could have done more” but as they showed how corrupt the medical field can be, they should have gone all the way. They should have clearly showed how some researchers or doctors are in cahoots with processed food industry&meds laboratories to make meds sell. Not long ago on Arte, there was a documentary on how cholesterol causing heart diseases and that you should monitor your cholesterol level it is a huge lie going on since 1950, created by processed food industries and laboratories to make money by selling products advertised as “low on cholesterol” and meds supposed to counter it. You can find it here.

They could have made it so Okumura Foods had a special anti cholesterol products line and that the manager of it was in cahoots with Haru’s dad and Ooyamada or something similar to that? Or some story about how a med Tae developed before the one you help her develop got its patent sold to notLoréal because it was also effective to remove wrinkles. Or make it so the old lady who often visits has cancer(she doesn’t) because she was addicted to notNutella and that’s what made her sick because Nutella gives you cancer. And then make it so the company producing this notNutella is also in cahoots with Okumura Foods. And how producing notNutella requires cultivating a lot of palm oil, which isn’t good for the environment. Speaking of that, ecological issues are pretty much the only modern society issue the game doesn’t deal with. Which is a shame since they even thought about putting in different weather  like “pollen alert”. They should have at least put in a “high pollution alert” weather too.

I guess they didn’t make the coop stories too complicated like that as it would have made the game way too long.

The story about how Tae became a doctor beacuse she used to be sick herself when she was a kid and got saved by meds, and wanted to save people with meds, was pretty touching. I wish you actually met 美和. During the final day, Tae does say she’d definitely like you to meet her. If they do a Persona 5+, and do “a few months later” new epilogue like with Persona 4G, Tae scene will probably be about introducing Joker to her.

The SP recovery acce you can buy after a certain coop rank was really useful to clear dungeons fast and manage to max all coops. At rank 10 you unlock items that makes you survive death once, but starting the two last dungeons I almost never died anyway.
I also never saw the character’s animation when they cover for you if you’re about to take a death blow. I think I only saw Ryuji’s. Speaking of which, in the very first PV, that was the same slow motion animation they showed before the AOA. I guess they were planning to do it like that at first, but then decided against it since it would make the AOA animation too long.

Chihaya: While I like all the characters, I probably like her the least. I did like her personality and story, and I didn’t hold it against her making you waste 100k, she does it give back at the end too. So I’m not sure why I didn’t like her as much as the others. She’s a very nice person too. I think it’s more like because all the others characters are even better.

Like with other coop characters, they made her dialogues well integrated with the main story. Like how she can guess something bad will happen to you, or how she knows during the Shidou days that’s you’re both “dead and alive at the same time”. Or how in her rank10 coop she says something really bad will happen to you but she will lend you her strength.

After a while, Chihaya starts to fall in love with Joker, and at the end of her rank 8 event, she asks you if you’re interested in older women, and really happy if you say yes. Chihaya is the only adult woman in the cast who actually likes you before you confess to her. And the only one with Haru overall.
Futaba seems to like Joker, but if you tell her “it’s how you feel toward friends” or whatever the actual line was, her dokidoki disappears. Anne seems a bit disappointed when you tell her “everyone is here for you”, with her choices of words and how you’re “not going out together” but I may just be reading too much into it. Besides that, all the others women don’t like you/don’t realize they have feelings for you until you confess.

Chihaya’s skill to raise affection of a character is really decisive to max all coops. If I had unlocked it sooner, I probably would have maxed everyone with a few days of free time left instead of 0 days left.

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Shinya: Story wasn’t particularly original, and it’s basically another case of “my mom is crazy”, but it’s told really well. While doing it, I thought that judging by Shinya’s personality, ending it with a brofist would perfectly fit, and when I did the rank 10 event and it actually happened, it was so awesome I got a bit teary eyed. At rank 10 he tells you that’s probably the last time you play together for a while too, as the phantom thieves are currently in a pinch, since you’re supposed to be dead. Yet another case of the coop stories taking the main scenario into account.
His coop scene during your time in juvenile prison with him showing you being first in the arcade’s ranking was so good.

His skill are all super nice. Down Shot doesn’t work on bosses but it’s perfect for capturing the jewelry rare personas. The way you learn Down Shot to beat the cheater guy was pretty fun. And that guy’s shadow is an Ise, because it looks like a cheetah, because he’s a CHEATAH. That made me laugh a lot. There’s ton of dumb puns like that in the game. Like the school being called Shujin.

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Or like the Kaito Onegai Channel’s survey result being at 66%6 on the 25th after defeating Yaldabaoth with Satanael.

Hifumi: Hifumi is a good example of a “chuuni” character. As opposed to tons of characters written by LN or manga authors riding the wave of whatever’s popular instead of renewing themselves. Having chuunibyo isn’t her sole character trait.

The story was fine and Hifumi is a very good character like all the others. Among other things, 123’s story deals with sexism. Just like Sae, a lot of people don’t take her seriously because she’s a girl. One of her mom’s plans was to actually use this too, Hifumi loosing on purpose would make her get more sympathy and popularity because she’s a girl, and then start winning and get even more popular.

Depending on your point of view, it can also be taken as a criticism of people who claim they want to help “enslaved” women, but actually just want them to follow their own vision of what a “free” woman is. Like the kind of “feminists” who verbally or physically attack muslim veiled girls. 123’s mom’s vision of a girl, of her daughter, isn’t do to shogi but is to use her looks to get popular in the showbiz industry, following in her steps.

There’s a lot of girls who are popular in one field and use that to do gravure, or girls who use gravure to pierce in another field. But a lot of girls end up doing this. In Japan if you’re a woman, unless you do gravure, become an idol, or go on TV on variety shows to act dumb and do some EEEEEEEEEEH?! you won’t get roles and stuff. And if you get into even one scandal your career is over. (For men they’re more forgiving). You can circumvent that if you manage to get in internationals movie from the start, like actress Kikuchi Rinko for example. So Hifumi’s story can also be taken as a criticism of Japanese entertainment industries who objectify women at all costs. With how her mom made her do gravure idol jobs. Hifumi says it wasn’t in skimpy clothing but just normal clothes, and just sitting on a chair smiling at the camera, but 123 says she didn’t like it and was uncomfortable doing it. Obviously because she doesn’t want to follow her mother’s plans, but also because she didn’t want tons of guys to look at pics of her. Like Futaba, Hifumi is a good girl who didn’t fall for Satan’s memes.

I think they could have done more with how the priest wanted to become a Shogi pro in his youth and that’s why he lets Hifumi train in the church. They should have made him into an actual NPC with an overarching story.

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Mishima  is a really good guy and probably my favorite male character not in the party. Through the game he keeps supporting you. Like that time starting the casino chapter when he tries his best to stop the rumors that you’re murderers. And of course how he cheers for you rousing everyone during the final boss fight.

Like everyone else at school, he’s part of the reason why Kamoshida was left unpunished, and while he was one of the worse off victims himself, he’s especially guilty of what happened to Shiho as he was the one who always relaying to her Kamoshida was calling her. During the Kamoshida timelimit days, he gave up and was just waiting to get expelled. Until he saw Joker and co didn’t give up and reformed Kamoshida. This made him realize he needs to change as well. Mishima is the character who grows the most during the game and reflect the themes of the story the most, that you can change things even if you don’t have superpowers and shouldn’t give up and do what you can.

There’s also how Joker and everyone starts seeing something is wrong with him, with how he wanted to get popular through the Phantom Thieves because of his inferiority complex he developed from being bullied in middle school. When Joker confronts his shadow about this, he doesn’t reform him. Mishima realizes his mistake by himself after talking with Joker, and keep doing his best to help others too, at his own scale, with his own means, like when saving his old bully classmate from thugs.

At the end of his coop, Mishima says he’s planning to write a book chronicling the activities of the Phantom Thieves. That’s a reference to how the IRL person he’s named after was a writer iirc. Probably the other characters have stories or elements in their actions inspired from the Japanese historical persons they were named after, but I’m not too interested in that aspect of the story.

Teacher Kawakami: She’s one of my favorite character in the game, without even taking into account how useful her coop skills are. And without even taking into account she wears a maid outfit. I like her the most with Makoto Yusuke and Haru. I like everyone a lot though so it doesn’t really mean anything.

I really like how at the start of the game she looks like a lazy teacher who doesn’t want any problems or deal with her students. Turns out she was already too busy with her own problems. In truth she’s actually a very nice and caring person. I like characters who seem bad at first but are actually very good people. I always cite Madoka Magica’s Kyouko as an example of this. While she’s not the best character who follow that pattern, everyone gets this example as it’s a popular show. (I think Madoka Magica was simply a good show, not a “revolution” or a “deconstruction” or any smart sounding word, and didn’t need sequels.)

I started liking Sadayo the most when Ryuji invites you to go fishing and you stumble into her. That event was really fun. When she says “I like fishing because sometimes adults don’t want to think about anything and get in a blank state of mind”, it was very relatable and made me want to comfort her. It was super cute when Ryuji&you praise her fishing skill, making her happy. The fact that you can’t even ask someone out to go fishing, including her even if you date her is one of my biggest disappointments in the game. Even if you watch a dvd or play games while she’s making tools or cooking, you can’t tell her to watch with you once she’s finished. It’s even more disappointing as you actually see her in the cutscene making tools if you watch/play TV. I’ll be pretty mad if they release Persona 5 ACCENT CORE PLUS R and make it possible in it, but I’ll still feel like giving them money to play it.

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Then there’s also how they didn’t make it so you’re able to ask her something right after calling her for a massage. You have to call her again. They should have make it so you can ask her to hang out for a date if she’s free and you’re fiancees with her, or to do something else for you, instead of calling her again. It’s just too jarring.

As I tried going to the Other World as little as possible and spent most timeslots on coops, to avoid running out of money, after repairing the PC I’d always order dirty clothes from Tanaka undernet and ask Sadayo to wash them, and I’d resell them.

I liked how her story showed kids in school in the world can get a bad reputation or fail at school without doing anything wrong, not having the same chances whether parents are rich or not. It really touched me as education in France is one of the worst in europe and it keeps going down in ratings like PISA. It’s all on purpose too. That way the elites can pay and use their social links to get the best spots in the best schools for their children so they can take over as elites. What they teach in public schools here is dumbed down on purpose each passing year, and iirc nowadays there’s even a law that prevents teachers in elementary to give out written homework, as it “stresses the kids too much”. Thank God most teachers don’t follow that law.

The villains in Sadayo’s story were particularly detestable too. Like when they bait her, saying “we know you have a secret and how you have a 風俗 related job.”  風俗 can be translated as sex industry, but as in girls bars and hosts clubs etc. Things which uses loops to avoid being branded as prostitution. The maid thing she does is going to people’s home doing their chores or whatever while wearing the outfit so they can look, but no touching. Iirc that’s what Ryuji or Mishima said while reading the flyer? Or maybe I’m just imagining it. In any case judging from her personality she definitely didn’t sell her body or do anything sexual.

I think she’s the nicest person in the game, and that’s an accomplishment, considering there’s people like Haru, who acted nice toward her father’s murderer for days while hanging out together or exploring a giant Casino together, even giving him high fives. Sadayo is always worried about Joker, whether he eats well and can manage himself living alone etc. And her story was really interesting and touching.

I was fiancees with her in my main save, so among the girls she’s the only one I saw the xmas and valentine events. I didn’t check any guide and was scared of the consequences of double timing, and I didn’t want to cheat anyway. For now I don’t have the time to reload an early Shidou timelimit days save after beating him and redo all girls coop by dating them. Even with making tons of sleep bombs and rushing through the last dungeon on safety it would still probably take 2 hours at least.

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In two of her date events, the giant wheel one and the one at home, her skirt clips into her seat. There’s tons of clipping in the game, like in many other games, but it’s the two times in the whole game it actually bothered me. In fact I think it’s one of the few times in my whole life something like this bothered me, since it’s really easy to notice and stays like that the whole scenes. It’s puzzling how come they didn’t see that or fix it.

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What’s even more perplexing is how some scenes like the rank10 event when you get together(two top pics) or the xmas event(bottom right) doesn’t have the clipping. Maybe they fixed it in some events but forgot in others? Or maybe it’s a problem depending on how the camera is positioned. I dunno.

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During the valentine event, seeing Soujiro reacting to her entering the shop was hilarious. “Wow student teacher relationships really do exist?” Seems he has a different reaction depending on who you date.

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They screwed up during her Valentine event. There’s one line where her portrait is the no jacket version, even though she doesn’t remove it. The line right after has her wearing it again. I think that’s the only error/bug I noticed in the whole game.

In terms of romance, Sadayo is the only character with whom the special relationship isn’t directly established during rank9 even if you confess to her. Because she’s so surprised by it and confused. That was a really funny scene. And because she thinks it’s definitely wrong for a student and a teacher to date, and doesn’t want Joker to get in trouble because she’s nice. During the following rank10 event, she says she noticed her feelings once you confessed but initially turn you down. If you answer that it’s a real shame, she says she thinks so as well. She’s really against it but ends up giving up and accepting it saying she’ll try her best so you don’t get found out. She doesn’t mean it in a “whatever, what comes along comes along” sense though, and actually plan things so you don’t get found out.

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Also, Sadayo bought an oven just to make chocolates for Joker. She’s BEST GIRL like the cool kids on the net would say.

Impressions on the permanent NPCs’ stories

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Girl with her mom and dog named Kotarou: They live in Yongen and are always there. By listening to their conversations throughout the game, you hear about how Kotaro is sick and about to die soon. At some point the little girl asks her mom if the Phantom Thieves can steal Kotarou’s sickness. iirc when the media treats you as murderers, she says she still believe in you. On December 22, Kotarou just died and they came back from burying him. The little girl says she didn’t cry while burying him to not make him sad, and starts crying now that they left. In the epilogue, the girl talks with her mom, saying she promised Kotaro to not cry anymore so he doesn’t worry, and will do her best in elementary school.

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The two kids in Yongenjaya at night: Always complaining about their parents confiscating their toys or games, or constantly telling them to study instead of listening to them. Always made me think of that one scene in My Neighboors the Yamadas. Like some of the others, they realize there’s something wrong about the media and society as a whole after you reform Shidou. In the epilogue, they’re happy how they got their confiscated things back, saying they won against the evil adults.

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Cameraman and journalist woman duo: They say lotsof interesting things during the game. On December 22, they actually notice how the medias are manipulated to cover up the Shidou incident. They say their boss was desperate about trying to cover it up. In the epilogue, they talk about how they became freelance.
Newspaper club girl at Shujin notices the media manipulation as well. Throughout the game she says a lot of interesting things too.

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Foul mouthed maid in Akiba: In the epilogue she says that seeing everyone there doing what they want to do, made her decide to stop being a maid. It’s not like she dislikes it, but it’s not what she truly wants to do.
Just writing these while looking at the pics makes me teary eyed again.

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Speaking of that in the epilogue you can actually see and eavesdrop on the black girl that you can always see in the maid café during the game. She talks about what happened to the thieves in the end.

There’s many others too, but those are the ones which moved me the most I guess.

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Morales and themes

I already did a list of the issues of modern society the game deals with in the Mementos&ending part earlier. There’s a few other things I want to bring up.

Persona 4’s theme is mainly about dealing with the truth and the dangers of gossip and spreading rumors, regardless if they’re based on truth or not. That’s why I liked it a lot. Persona 5 goes way further than that and got a multitude of themes blended in together.

In most games with event systems similar to commu/social links/coop, these events are focused on the character in question. The goal of these substories is to make the main character help a character solve their problems, and give out more information about said character to the player. Be it in anime or games or manga most of the time it’s similar as well.

In Persona 5 this is true as well for the sub character’s coops. All the characters you make a deal with and slowly befriend will get into a crisis they can’t overcome by themselves or by normal means. Some of them were even in death danger. Iwai was about to be killed, Sadayo would have died from exhaustion,etc. This is when Joker comes in and use his power to reform people to help them. The power to reform, Persona related powers, are actually used compared to the slinks in Persona 4(at least from what I remember). Joker isn’t only there to listen to the character’s worries or give them advice, he always actively help them through the deals they established: Helping Tae test the drugs, helping Toranosuke with his speeches, etc. The themes and elements of the story are inside this, they aren’t just for show. During the days you have to clear Shidou Palace, if you go to Mementos, 2 party members chosen randomly will say how you’re nice for still thinking about helping other people while we’re in our biggest crisis yet ourselves.

However, in the main character’s coops, two things are different:

They always use their own capacities. They almost never use the power to reform people.
Almost all the main characters’ aren’t in a crisis themselves, and their coop’s story develops into helping other people.

  • Ryuji wants to help the Track&Field club so the same things that happened before don’t happen again with Mini Kamoshida. If Joker propose to Ryuji to reform Mini Kamoshida, Ryuji actually refuses, and instead comes up himself with the idea to tail him and record his conversations.
  • Anne wants to help Shiho during her rehab, they push each other to do their best. Anne could have thought about reforming Mika but she comes to admire her and the idea isn’t even ever mentioned.
  • Makoto helps her friend Eiko. Instead of using the Other World to reform Tsukasa, she comes with a plan to trap him so Eiko can be confronted with the truth with her own eyes and stop lying to herself.
  • Futaba’s story starts about helping her complete her list, but then it develops into helping her old friend Kana. You end up reforming Kana’s parents.

Only Yusuke’s and Haru’s coop stories are about Joker helping them, but even then the theme of helping others still fit because that’s what Yusuke wants to do with his art and what Haru wants to do with coffee and her ultimate goal to do her own restaurant.

Not only the power to reform isn’t needed or barely used, but I think I can go as far and say that Joker himself wasn’t particularly needed in most cases. Someone had to be there, but not necessarily Joker.

  • As Joker himself says to Anne if you don’t confess to her, everyone is here for her, not necessarily Joker.
  • IIRC in the SNS message which triggers the event, Ryuji says that he can only ask Joker, but logically speaking Ryuji could have asked any other party member to tail and record mini Kamoshida.
  • Yusuke didn’t need Joker’s or anyone’s help. The art guy(forgot his name, iirc he owns a gallery) was only pretending to be evil and told Yusuke he should use his bishounen appeal to sell, among other thought provoking things, to rouse Yusuke and make him get out of his slump. Yusuke asks Joker to accompany him when meeting art guy so he can be rational and be calm to take the good decision, but art guy was a good person anyway.
  • Any other character than Joker could have hanged out with Futaba to help her complete the notepad. She finds out about Kana chan’s situation by herself thanks to her own skills. Then she would just come to consult you the leader to ask when you can go in Mementos to reform Kana chan’s parents.
  • Anne or Makoto could have helped Haru get over her distrust of people. Many people actually supported her and were her allies in the company. And even if she didn’t ask Joker about it, she would have realized Yamasomething(forgot his name) was a good person. And while he was persuaded Haru liked her “fiancee” and was about to organize their wedding party etc, since he genuinely cared about Haru, like how he notices she likes Joker in the rank 9 event, he would have realized that she doesn’t actually like her “fiancee”. In either case sooner or later he would have told her that the engagement didn’t actually exist, or Haru would have figured it out herself.
  • Makoto could have asked Ryuji and Anne to teach her about the game center etc. She could have asked Yusuke when she needed someone cool to act as her boyfriend. Sure, Yusuke is awkward at times but it would have worked. And then she was about to destroy Tsukasa herself, how she takes her stance and say 来るなら来い!!  sure was awesome. Then again as she says herself, if Joker didn’t “protect” her from Tsukasa and she actually beat Tsukasa up, it might have been troublesome laws wise.

Joker has an active role in the sub characters’ coops, but is passive in the party members’ coops.  I think that’s one of Persona 5’s greatest strengths and what made it refreshing compared to other games or media. While Joker is the hero, he isn’t particularly needed. It may seem paradoxical but I think it’s to show superpowers or having a special talent isn’t definitely necessary to change the world, and this is what the game shows at the end, with all of Joker’s friends doing whatever they can to get him out of jail.

All of this is summarized perfectly well by the game into two big themes:

  • “Phantom Thieves”: Fighting for good and helping people in need. Basically most of the Lupin stories. This is shown in the sub character’s coop and the main story.
  • “Wake Up Get Up Get Out There”: Do things yourself instead of waiting for things to change. Do things at your scale. Starting by yourself as you’re also part of the world you want to change. This is shown in the main character’s coop and the main story. All the main character along with Joker have woken up gotten up and got out there after awakening their Persona.

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The game heavily criticizes modern society but isn’t full of pessimism. That’s why there’s characters like the girl and her dog or the two kids, to show the writers still believe things can get better. Or how Sae says the world will be fine because there’s youths like Joker.

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And then there’s Shidou and his group. The fact that a politician turns out to be the main villain fits the theme of teenagers fighting rotten adults perfectly. Shidou says he wants “to make Japan into a strong country”, that “Japan needs to have a place in the worldwide scene”, and needs to become a “number 1 country”. This obviously refers to the type of Japanese politicians like current PM Shinzo Abe, who wants to rearm the country. But I think it’s deeper than that. At first, I used to think it’s a shame they didn’t elaborate more on Shidou’s views. Because beside these lines, they don’t actually explain what’s his political agenda, what kind of reforms, what kind of program he has for the country once he becomes prime minister. But after thinking about it, I think that was on purpose. It’s to show how Shidou mainly got popular thanks to bashing the Phantom Thieves&the police&authorities for “not doing their job”.

Shidou says himself at one point he just needs to keep bashing the Phantom Thieves for his popularity to rise. I definitely think it’s referring to what is happening in many countries in Europe and the world these past years, with right wing politicians bashing minorities like Muslims to get popular and avoid tackling real issues in their countries like health, education or unemployment.

France is the worst in that regard, as both left and right wing politicians do it, under the guise of “laicité”. Far right party leader Marine Le Pen recently said she “recognizes herself in Manuel Valls”, who is part of the left wing party. More than half of the most mediatised french politicians these days literally can’t talk politics without talking about Islam and how everything is Muslims’ fault. Like someone once said, Islam’s definition in dictionaries should be changed to: “word that hides the 6 million unemployed french citizens&the stagnating growth rate of the country”. There’s also how French politicians always launch a “controversy” related to Islam to hide how they’re passing an actual controversial health, education or economic law/reform.
The first time it happened was in 2003, under a right wing government. François Fillon started a reform which changed the pensions system of the elderly who retire from their work. The reform was heavily criticized by French citizens. So then the government launched the “controversy” about veiled girls at school, and that’s how French public schools banned veils in 2004. Ever since then it kept happening. The last time was this 2016, under the current left wing government, with the “loi travail”, which gives CEOs more power over their employees like being able to lay them off more easily. This reform was met with tremendous opposition. Some people who don’t live in France missed the point and said things like “its just that French people don’t want to work more”. France is actually one of the countries with Japan where people do the most hours. Tons of demonstrations happened against this law, which also led to many cases of police brutality, officers wounding or being violent toward demonstrators. And then Valls, which was Prime Minister at the time, avoided debating the law and forcefully made it pass with the famous “49.3 bill” which you should have definitely heard about. And in order to hide the  “loi travail”, some politicians, mainly Valls, who is now running for 2017 presidency, made up the “controversy” on islamic fashion, on the burkini, and on banning veiled girls from university.

If you’re interested about all this, there’s this one article here explaining everything.

Needless to say, I’m not delusional enough to think Atlus actually had islamophobia in mind when writing Shidou, but they did have discrimination in mind. Islamophobia fits along with any other form of discrimination. Instead of bringing out actual ideas on how he’ll make Japan great again, Shidou kept criticizing a certain group, the Phantom Thieves, to get popular and win the election.

(Islamophobia is all of the acts of discrimination or violence toward institutions or individuals because they are muslims, or thought to be muslims. Most people targeted are veiled women, because Islamophobic people are cowardly, but it also hits Sikhs, hipsters random people who like beards or turban looking things,etc. Writing this just in case.)

Because of this, I genuinely think being part of a group often victim of discrimination, like being gay, or in my case being black and muslim, will make you appreciate the game even more.

Another thing I’m sure of, is that Shidou was definitely based on politicians across the world who use fear to rule, by creating the fear themselves. In order to get elected, Shidou made the Phantom Thieves popular himself, before posing them as murderers and using them as an object of fear for the masses. Just like how the US government made and financed groups to fight communism, groups which later became Al Qaeda, or how they purposely let Infinite Stratos grow in the Middle East into the cancer it is now. And now they use these groups to feed fear to the people to justify their international policies, surveillance, or tons of other things. And then they do  drone or airstrikes which kills civilians and then make some of those civilians hate the world and enter a cycle of violence.
And again, I definitely think Atlus had these sort of things in mind when writing Shidou. You could think it is far fetched but remember we’re talking about a game that has notAnonymous among other things etched in today’s real world. I definitely think this was on purpose and referencing these kind of geopolitical issues.

Despite how they probably finished writing the scenario a few years ago, the game is extremely fitting in today’s world. I remember reading in an interview before the game was out that the game was initially about backpacking around the world, but then they decided to recenter it around Japan. I think they did a incredible job because despite being “centered on Japan” it still depicts issues and problems you see worldwide, not only in Japan.

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Random things 

After beating Shidou, there’s the cutscene with the Shidou followers saying they’ll enact the plan to use Wakaba’s research and manipulate people’s minds on a national scale. On December 23, when deciding to raid Mementos, Morgana says that people’s minds shouldn’t exist as another world in the first place, and that there’s something in Mementos which caused Mementos and the Palaces to exist. Which is why getting that something will destroy mementos along with all the Palaces existing and make us loose the Persona powers. That something is the Mementos’s treasure, which is the grail, which is Yaldabaoth.  But I’m not sure I get it.
The grail already existed and is Mementos’s treasure. But it became warped and then it developed a personality and became Yaldabaoth? So when does the Shidou followers’ plan come into play there? Did their plan using Wakaba’s research triggered the development of the grail’s self consciousness? But then he already existed before, since it’s apparently been a long time since he trapped Igor and the Velvet Room inside his nest/Mementos. But then again Igor wasn’t trapped for long since Persona 4 happened only a few months before, as you can see Rise and DAN girl’s ads and they look the same as in DAN. (Speaking of that, in the final day of the game, it’s still the two same ads you see in stations, they should have changed them. At that point in the game it’s been one year since they released their “new” CD)
When you meet Lavencia in the VR with everyone, she says the grail/the one who calls himself regulation god is an evil spirit who plagued humanity for a very long time and it reacted to some of the masses’ warped will of wanting to be controlled. So it chose 2 people, Joker and Goro, to make them fight an unwinnable game to decide if the world should be destroyed and remade if Goro wins, or if it should be left as is if Joker wins. And that he knew the masses’s warpedness would win instead of either Goro or Joker, since he’s that warpedness itself. And he’s the one who made Other World Navi, and Mementos. Meaning he also made the Palaces as they were initially part of Mementos.
Lavencia says Joker was receiving the evil spirit’s influence for long ago. They don’t say it but I think that’s why Joker’s perception of Velvet Room is a prison. And that if Joker met the real Igor in a freed VR from the start, while it’s true it would have reflected his state of mind of feeling imprisoned, and would have probably still looked like a prison, it could have looked different.
So, judging from this, I think Yaldabaoth already existed, but only started to exist as the grail not too long ago, and made the Other Worlds then. Probably around the time he gave the Other World Navi to Goro, so at least two years ago. But two years ago, Persona 4 didn’t happen yet, or was happening, meaning Igor and the VR weren’t trapped in Mememtos yet. So couldn’t Igor could have stopped Yaldabaoth then? And how did Igor even manage to get captured in the first place, what were Margaret and the others doing? I’m pretty sure she could have defeated Yaldabaoth. But then Lavenzia didn’t manage to and got captured with Igor, so I dunno.
If my reasoning is correct and it’s indeed been only 2 years that Yaldabaoth made the Mementos/Palaces, how come Wakaba discovered them and was researching them even before that? During Futaba’s chapter, Futaba clearly says how what she saw of her mom’s research talked about people’s mind being an Other World etc, whatever the actual line is. And the Shidou followers do know the word “Palace” from reading Wakaba’s research and a lot on how they work (Goro probably explained some things to them too.) How come Wakaba managed to figure it all out? Or is it simply because she was a genius, she managed to discover a phenomenon before it happened?

Anyway, to summarize what I want to say in a less confusing way:

  • In the end what was the plan of using Wakaba’s research to manipulate everyone’s minds that the Shidou followers executed? Are they the one who “activated” the grail/Yaldabaoth? Even though he already existed since “long long ago” and that manipulating everyone as the “regulation god who grants wishes” was Yaldabaoth’s goal in the 1st place? What incidence did their plan have?
  • How come Wakaba discovered Mementos/Palaces/Other World when it wasn’t supposed to exist yet. Is it simply because she was a genius and discovered something before it started existing? Or is it simply that Yaldabaoth made Mementos and the Palaces long long ago, even before giving the isekai navi to Goro and imprisoning Igor and the VR? At least we know the Other World already existed when she was done with the research and about to publish it, as she got killed by Goro. Shidou told her about his evils plans and she refused to cooperate.

I think these two points above are the only things plotholes in the game along with Morgana turning back into a normal cat when Kamoshida Palace is collapsing. Unless I forgot something or misunderstood something.

Now that I finished the game and looked a bit at fanart, I noticed a lot of people do pics depicting coop events with Morgana present. They didn’t realize Morgana always leave when Joker hangs out with someone. The first time you do a coop event with a character, Morgana says he’ll leave and come back once your done. After that they don’t show it anymore, but he always leave.

There’s a few things they changed in the final game compared to the promo material. What I noticed is:

  • The AOA animation had slowmo before. That slowmo ended up being used when a character covers Joker
  • Joker’s AOA portrait
  • The 1st hideout being the school’s roof instead of  a pedestrian bridge like in PV1 .
  • The Random Shoot skill doesn’t have you surrounding the enemies like in PV1.
  • Anne’s animation when she opens a chest with you turned out different. In one of the promo materials, it showed her leaning on Joker to check inside the chest, but she doesn’t lean on Joker in the actual game.

I think there’s also two lines that were in PVs that didn’t end up in the final game. Morgana saying “おいなりはJapanese hentai”, and Futaba saying “だって私、双葉だし”. Then again it’s possible I just forgot hearing them. And while I’ve seen a lot of events and their variations, I haven’t see every single event in the game yet. There’s also how main story voiced events have a different voiced answer for every choice you do, so it’s possible I just missed them.

One very good thing to note is that the game never feels preachy, or never explains what is happening in a super detailed way, taking the players for idiots. It also doesn’t say its themes in a too blatant way. I think the only case it happens is some of Morgana lines during the 1st grail boss fight and the Yaldabaoth fight. Like:”no matter how hard reality is, you mustn’t give up trying to change it”.
It’s also never pretentious, and deals with the themes without an aura of “look how deep and serious my story is, please tell your friends to buy the game too”. The Akame Ga Kill! manga recently finished, and its a perfect example of what I mean. I stopped reading it very early as I figured it wasn’t my cup of tea, and my favorite character was about to die right after my 2nd favorite character died. When my 2nd favorite character dies, which is also the first character in the story to die, the author actually wrote in the first page of that chapter “someone is gonna die in this chapter”, as if to say “look how serious and dark my story is, please keep buying this manga”.
Another example would be PriPara season2. While it was great, it could have been a hundred times better, and one of the many flaws it had was how it treated some parts of it’s story like the “genius vs hard work” arc as if it was the most complicated piece of fiction ever. And I’m still butthurt at how the reason why Hibiki had a deep distrust of people was so horribly written.

They should have included a fun mode in New Game + where Sae comments on everything you do during the game. I don’t think Joker actually tells her all of his life in detail, but it would have been fun to have a mode where he does, and she reacts to everything.  Like the Prinny commentary in Disgaea 1. And if Joker dates Makoto, they should include a scene where Sae flips the table asking if he did anything indecent with her.

I’m not a fan of trophy or achievements system that mostly started with ps3/360 era. I almost never bother getting them. It’s something purely used by kids to brag on the net or with their friends. I’m not saying that sharing friendly banter with friends and bragging about stupid things once in a while is a bad thing. It’s simply that trophies are 99% of the time stupid to get, so it’s not even a good indicator to brag, and more like an indicator of how much time you wasted. In tons of games you can do everything in the game and completely clear it without getting all the trophies. Getting trophies can sometimes stress you and make you play the game in a way you don’t want to. It’s a pure waste of time.
Persona 5’s trophies are mostly related to 100% clearing the game, like beating the bonus bosses, the reaper and the twins. Some of the tedious ones, like buying at least once every drink in the game, were easy to get for me as buying them all the time was a natural thing to do to me. My playstyle included buyign them all in order to save SP in dungeons so I can keep advancing and clear them in least amount of days.
However there’s also completely stupid trophies. For example one trophy needs you to make at least once every craft item. And asking Sadayo to do them doesn’t count. That’s stupid. There’s some items I never made because I simply didn’t need them, like the one to go back to a dungeon’s entrance. I’d just backtrack to a Safe Room or continue until I find the next Safe Room.

IIRC they never explicitly say it, but I think similar to how plastic replica weapons are effective and how model guns shoot real bullets, the physical abilities of the characters are heightened while in the Other World. Would explain why Joker can do 5+ meters jumps or how everyone can jump so high in cutscenes, like the one before the Shidou boss fight and the House of Councillors is transforming.

Since they used so many good ideas and weren’t scared about killing Goro or the trick with Igor’s voice, I wish they did more deceiving things in the game. Like a monster that can steal items or exp, or prevents you from using items or guns etc. Speaking of getting items stolen, I think I got hold up’ed by Shadows once in my entire run? They really underutilized that. Even if you play on Hard, if you screw up you’ll just die, you rarely ever get hold up’ed. Which makes Anne’s fake tears coop skill pretty useless too.

About screenshot function being disabled. I don’t think Atlus is actually doing that to stop spoilers. It is true they actively stop spoilers, and asked for people to not spoil the game on social media by not posting screens or videos. But most people who can afford to play videogames can afford a smartphone too and can just take pictures with it.
I think the real reason why they disabled screenshots is so people actually play the game instead of pausing every five minutes to take a screenshot and take one minute to think of a comment and upload it to social media. I think Atlus believe this isn’t the right way to play a game as good as Persona 5, and I agree with them. I know a lot of people do this with anime too, taking tons of screenshots while watching an episode. I don’t judge them, and I don’t have the right to criticize someone’s way of having fun, but in my opinion it’s a waste of time. Sometimes I do take screenshots as well, but at the very least I don’t spend time organizing them meticulously in folders or uploading them on twitter with comments.
Watching an episode, pausing every 30 seconds to post a screenshot. I think it’s just weird and just a waste of time. Social medias are 90% of time wasting. People waste their lives watching the lives of other. It can have a very negative effect on you too like making you jealous.
I think doing this twists your enjoyment of the game. Sure it’s fun to share things but it’s better to share them with IRL friends or family if you are lucky enough to be able to. I’m not saying having online friends and watching anime streams together and the like is unhealthy, I’m saying that having friends or family IRL, near you, watch/play  while chatting with them is much much funnier.
Anyway, I think Atlus doesn’t allow screenshots because they think it’s not the “right way” to enjoy the game. I’m pretty sure it’s the same reason why there’s no sound controls either. They think music is essential to enjoying the game, something I disagree with, and don’t want people like me who have a habit of playing games with BGM off to play without the BGM.
Maybe I’m thinking too much about it. Wouldn’t be surprised if the real reason is that they just don’t know how to make sound controls. They do seem to be unable to put in item sort options in their games after all.

It’s fun looking at the PVs now and see how each line was actually used in the game, or what kind of scenes they used for the PVs. For example in PV2 they actually show the moment right before Arsène turns into Satanael, that’s pretty bold.

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In PV4 they also show this shot of when Mementos fused with Shibuya. I remember some people on the 2ch thread noticed the characters’ feet being deep in water, showing the rain isn’t normal since there’s so much water. And it’s red. Then they started speculating that because it rains and because of the puddle like effect in the cutscene where you discover Kamoshida Palace, and the puddle like effect in footsteps whenever you’re in Palaces, that the game’s villain wanted to do the great deluge again.

In the end, nothing came out from the prompt at the start of the game read with Yaldabaoth’s voice about the “game” being a fiction. It’s really just a normal “this game is a fiction” message. Sure, there’s how he uses the term “game”, like he does in the actual story to refer to the “game” between Joker and Goro but in the end this promt had no deep meaning.
Before Persona5 was released, I used to think the whole game would turn out to be “fiction”, because it would turn out it’s taking place in a worldwide Palace that overtook reality, and I believed the date being 201x was a hint toward that. That turned out wrong, but the real world does fuses with Mementos at the end so I guess I kinda guessed that. During his boss fight, Shidou even says how he’ll definitely win this “game”, and of course there’s the discussion the day of Joker’s release with Sae and how you can say “everything was a “game””. All of it was really interesting, but I feel they could have done something even more awesome with all this.

In the end, I think they made the year  “201x” to avoid any problems, because of the game’s nature of being an ultra harsh criticism of modern society. Because of everything I wrote above about Shidou. And because of the events that happen in game like the elections. They couldn’t take the risk. People could say they’re talking about a particular Japanese Prime Minister or time period. They could have got into trouble if they made the date 2016 and that because of coincidences, similar scenarios seen in the game ended up happening IRL during 2016, like a famous artist getting found out about stealing and plagiarizing. Same reason why they never say the term “yakuza” in the game, though I think that’s more a japanese general thing, like how Japanese police never call them “yakuza”.

The DVDs you can rent and the movies at the cinemas are all puns on recent popular american shows or classic movies like Die Hard, Back To The Future, etc.

In France, any citizen can randomly go in a justice court to watch a trial. I guess it’s the same in Japan, as how everyone goes to see Sae at that one trial to make her unconsciously think you can get in the courtroom.

When you only have 8 or 9 days left in a timelimit, you can’t do the party members’ coop events anymore, they freeze until you clear the Palace. They also freeze right after Goro dies and until you defeat Shidou.

I wish all the coop sub character would get a phantom thief outfit too. Like, they would transform into it when they cheer for you at the end. Or even have them all just wear the same one, something generic based on Joker’s costume. Would have been fun to be able to do a kaitou romantic date with your fiancee too. Like, enjoying tea on top of buildings at night watching the moon. That’s one thing I thought would definitely be in the game before it got out, as I didn’t know yet how the Other World worked. They didn’t do it as it would have been weird having fun in someone’s mind.

Each dungeon has its own gimmicks and fun things, but there’s a few things that got underutilized, like following footprints found with Third Eye. You do it in Kamoshida Palace, then I only remember it again during Shidou Palace to get the restaurant pass. And that’s it.

It was clever to make Goro suggest to wait until the last day of the deadline to send the notice letter to Sae, because of Sae’s personality etc. That way whatever your schedule is, the day you raid the casino is the day the prologue took place.

In the game, right after sending the letter of notice and before going to the Palace to steal the treasure, Joker says “SHOWTIME” on two occasions: When about to steal Kaneshiro’s treasure, and when about to steal Sae’s treasure. I guess there’s a logic behind it:
Kaneshiro was the first big villain after Madarame, and they were getting used to it.
He doesn’t say it for Futaba since she’s the one who asked them to do it anyway.
Same with Okumura, saying SHOWTIME because you’re about to beat her dad’s shadow in front of Haru would have been kind of tactless. Then again she wishes so as well, and the same thing applies for Sae and Makoto. I think he says SHOTIME before raiding Sae Palace for the treasure because it also included how they’re putting into motion the plan to deceive Goro.

When Shidou appears for his speech rally in Yongenjaya, Ryuji and Haru are the first ones to rush to the scene. Because Haru finally knows who is the person truly responsible for killing her father.

There’s an error in the credits with how Rivers in the Desert is credited as “final boss theme” while it isn’t and doesn’t play against Yaldabaoth. But maybe it’s technically correct as only the voiced themes are credited, and this is indeed the final boss voiced theme, as the Yaldabaoth fight music got no lyrics.

If Mako chan is down, Futaba does the enemy analysis.

It’s nice how almost every shop in the game sells unique items on rainy days. I also loved how the shops actually rode the kaito boom to make money and sold Phantom Thieves goods.

Nice thing I discovered early on that you can make tools the night before a raid after you sent out the notification letter. The game doesn’t tell you this, so during the 1st two dungeons I wasted some timeslots making keypicks thinking I won’t be able to once I send the notification letter. They should have put in a system prompt that tells “you can use the kitchen or make tools the nights before raids”.

During the final day when you can go say goodbye to everyone, you still need to pay train fares. I wonder what happens if you run out of money. Probably nothing. During the game I never ran out of money either so don’t know what happens. I know the rental DVD shop guy never makes you pay no matter how many days late you turn a DVD in because “my shift is ending soon anyway”. Maybe if you do it a hundred times or give it back tons of months late there’s a different pattern.

On December 31 2016, Atlus tweeted “Do you believe in the Phantom Thieves of Hearts”, which iirc is the same very first survey Mishima does after launching the Kaito Onegai Channel.

The hilarious thing is how all the people who answered the tweet used some of the random lines that display in the kaito onegai channel throughout the game:
“the name “hearts” is lame.”
“You’re playing too much games”
“AKECHI KUN IS TRUE JUSTICE!!”
“This comment was deleted by this site’s administrator”.
Etc.  Too bad most game news site didn’t report about that or didn’t get the joke.


Wrapping up

Persona 5 is the best critic of modern society I’ve seen in game form. While it isn’t the first and shouldn’t be the last either, I think it’s rare a game tackles so many different issues and in such a perfect way. I’m really looking forward to how Persona 6 will turn out. One theme I’m already sure they will include in Persona 6, is how some people and especially some Japanese people, don’t have consideration for sick or disabled people. And how it is considered “shameful” to be sick. And how some people think disabled or sick people are a waste of resources, which led to the worst mass murder case in the country since WW2.

It’s commendable that many story writers do things like that in Japan, and are hopeful that things get better. They’re courageous to keep making games like these, seeing things don’t change too much, despite media with critics similar to the ones in Persona 5 regularly getting out. I guess in the case of games, it’s because not that many adults play games in Japan? Most think they’re for teens and something you’re supposed to “grow out of”. I think it’s nice story writers still do stories like that instead of always indulging into their own thing and writing something purely for their desire or for some “artistic” reason. I think games with themes like Persona 5 is what true art is supposed to be. It’s the kind of game that makes me wish tons of people play it so they can get happy too.

This entry was posted in Opinions on..., Persona 5 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to [Spoilers] Persona 5 story impressions

  1. MagnAvaloN says:

    I really like your review and the way you talk about your experience; seems you really enjoy the game! Hopefully this post gets more exposure.

    • rockmanshii says:

      Thanks I’m happy someone actually read this.
      After thinking about it since then, my theory about the story being written from Makoto’s POV in initial drafts, is too far fetched.
      Now, I rather think that if they wanted to male a female protagonist playable and were lazy, she could have definitely fit, without needing to change the story much, seeing how important and main character-like she is.
      Could have solved the problem of people asking for a female protagonist too.
      While I definitely wouldn’t say it’s a “flaw” that’s there’s no male/female, choice it would have definitely been a plus if it was present.

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