Here’s My Crazy Persona 5 Theory

DISCLAIMER: Do not read this if you don’t want to be spoiled on P5. Not because it’s going to be right for sure, but on the off chance it is, then I can’t be held accountable.

After PV#04 dropped on 5/5/16, the search began for reliable translations. The Persona community is extremely passionate, so it’s no surprise it was done. That allowed me to make my own high quality cut of the trailer.

A lot of good stuff is in there and some interesting lines. However, the beginning of the crazy theory doesn’t start with the trailer, but rather, the DLC that’s been announced. You see, during the May 5th stream, the DLC for the Gekkoukan and Yasogami uniforms was shown on screen, but the final party member – a male with brown hair – had his face intentionally obscured because he hadn’t made his formal debut yet. However, on the following day, detailed images of the DLC were released online allowing us to get a better look at him.

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Why? Why did Atlus choose to show off three new ladies in PV#04 but intentionally keep one male character from the public? Why keep one character hidden this long at all? Unless of course, there was something special about him.

THEORY: That’s Ken Amada. Yes, Ken Amada formerly of Persona 3’s SEES and the Shadow Operatives of the Persona 4 Arena arc. There is a strong resemblance between that character and Ken’s last appearance in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax set in 2012.

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Ken’s official birthday is in June of 1998. It should be noted that at this time, Persona 5 does not have an official year in which it takes place. In fact, in PV#04, the calendar shows the year as “20XX” to intentionally obscure that detail. However, if Persona 5 is set in 2016, which would make sense due to its clear theme of being a commentary on modern society as well as the dates matching up to the days (like April 20th being a Wednesday this year as well as in P5), then Ken Amada would turn 18 during the course of the game.

Other than a passing resemblance, what leads me to believe this? Well in PV#04, we learned an interesting role about Morgana in that she seems to act as a recruiter for the Phantom Thieves. From Hashino’s interview with the Persona Magazine in February, we heard that Morgana is the one that reaches out to the protagonist. In this new trailer, she also is directly responsible for introducing the group to the third new girl; the “Beautiful Thief.” So say, in accordance with expanding the group and finding valuable assets, Morgana finds this nice 18-year-old boy who happens to have already awoken to the power of Persona. Ken, fitting with the age and demographic of the group, joins the Phantom Thieves as the final party member. However… He does so with ulterior motives.

In the ‘Episode P3′ epilogue of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Ken turns in his Shadow Operatives badge to Mitsuru Kirijo saying that he’ll get it back some day, but wants to live the rest of his youth normally. Let’s speculate and say by 2016, whether Ken is technically out of high school by now or not, that he’s since returned to the organization.

At the end of PV#03 and start of PV#04, we see the protagonist in an interrogation room. He’s being questioned about the Phantom Thieves’ activities. What’s interesting is the nature of the questions. These are not normal crimes he’s facing, but rather he’s being asked directly about the existence of another world. Meaning, whoever is asking likely knows full well that what the protagonist is doing involves Personas/Shadows/demons or however you want to put it.

Towards the end of PV#04, there are lines that say a plan of the Phantom Thieves’ was “leaked” and now they’re in danger. If the leak came from within the group, who would be responsible? Well, perhaps the covert Shadow Operative.

THEORY: Ken Amada is the final member of the Phantom Thieves and infiltrates the group leading to the arrest of the protagonist.

That feminine voice at the start of PV#04? It sounds a lot like Mitsuru Kirijo.

What other organization could possibly bring someone in on such a bizarre case? An organization that knows of Personas and other worlds, a mysterious male party member that looks strikingly like Ken Amada, and an authoritative woman leading an interrogation that sounds like Mitsuru?

Persona 5 is a sequel to Persona 3. And that… Is… Awesome!

I’M ABOUT TO SPOIL PERSONA 3, IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED THAT FOR SOME REASON

THEORY: Persona 5’s theme of societal change is a tie-in to the dilemma set at the end of Persona 3 FES The Answer.

At the end of The Answer, the former members of SEES defeat Erebus; the being born of mankind’s apathy towards living which calls out to Nyx to bring about “The Fall.” As anyone who’s finished Persona 3 knows, the protagonist of that game gives his life to become the Great Seal to prevent The Fall and man’s calling out to Nyx. However, the threat of Erebus persists, leading to the climatic battle of The Answer. Though SEES is victorious, it is speculated that Erebus, because it is the embodiment of mankind’s collective will, can only truly be defeated by all of humanity changing and no longer being apathetic towards living.

In Persona 4 Arena, that speculation is confirmed. It is revealed that the reason Elizabeth left the Velvet Room following the events of Persona 3 is to gain power that would defeat Erebus permanently so that she could save her former guest, the hero of P3, from the fate of being the Great Seal. Ever since, she has been periodically destroying Erebus just as SEES did in the The Answer only for it to return again and again.

That brings us to Persona 5. P5’s setting of being in a real city, Tokyo, and (likely) being set during the present year, unlike its previous two predecessors had been, all seem to fit into the theme of commenting on the state of real life society. This also brings us back to the opening theme of the game:

“Can we make a difference?” “Why does nobody want change?” “If you hold on life won’t change.”

Societal change would seem to be the purveying theme of Persona 5.

THEORY: The grand events of Persona 5 are meant to lead to a world where Erebus no longer exists and the Great Seal is no longer necessary.

Now, I admit, this is one of the craziest things I’ve ever written. I’m basically suggesting that at the end of Persona 5, be it blatantly or to be interpreted by the player, the protagonist of Persona 3 will be freed of being the Great Seal. Whether that means coming back to life or resting peacefully, I have no idea. I’m also willing to admit that of all the things I’m theorizing this is the most farfetched and downright fan-fictional of them all. I’m not writing this because I want this, but simply because these are the crazy connections my brain has pieced together.

How would we even get from point A to point B? Again, I’m not sure. Though, to be quite honest, I’ve been suspicious of whatever Morgana’s motives are since Hashino’s interview in February. According to translations, Hashino states that Morgana has a specific goal she looking to accomplish – one that predates the formation of the Phantom Thieves. That sounds similar to Elizabeth’s journey, though it’s a stretch to say the two are one in the same.

CONCLUSION: There you have it. That’s my crazy P5 theory. Granted, I feel a lot less confident about the second half of all of that than I do the first. Perhaps I’m right, but instead of P3 connections being the focus of the end game, they’ll instead be a side story or something that only appears in new game plus, which is similar to how the nature of Elizabeth’s absence was revealed in the original Persona 4.

Or maybe PV05 will come out at E3 next month, we learn the mystery guy’s name, and all have a good laugh about this.

Persona 5 May 5th Announcement Reaction

Appropriately, it all started at 5 AM for me.

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For two and a half hours, that’s all we saw. A shot of Tokyo Tower in the skyline… and it was amazing. Why? The music, my friend. Two and half hours of Persona 5 background music as composed by the one and only Shoji Meguro. Granted it was a three song loop, but it was still incredible.

Then at 7:30 things began to pick up. We were greeted with reports from Tokyo Tower of the Phantom Thieves taking over. At 8, the lights went out and came back on to a bright glowing red. We heard the voice of Jun Fukuyama, the man behind the P5 protagonist and his Persona, and then PV04 began.

My. Goodness.

Three new characters, tons of music, and most importantly a release date for Japan: September 15th, 2016 – five days before the franchise’s 20th birthday (are you sensing a theme?).

Here’s what we know from the fourth trailer thus far. All three of the detailed new party members are ladies. The first, still unnamed, has dark short hair and is a combatant. She likely fights with her fists and her Persona would appear to be a motor bike. Yes, a motorcycle, for all of you Tatsuya Suou fanboys and fangirls.

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I don’t agree with the theory that she’s from another school (her skirt resembles the Syujin High School uniform), but that’s a good guess that she is the Priestess arcana. One translation I’ve heard is that she is student council president, meaning the emblem would likely be a symbol of status. If she is student council or class president, that makes me wonder if she’s a 3rd year student, which would make her the first cast member to hold that distinction since Akihiko and Mitsuru in Persona 3. What is apparent is she seems to be hyper aggressive and a total badass. Already she has a lot of fans.

Speaking of making a lot of fans…

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Our new navigator would appear to be named Sakura Futaba and is the Hermit arcana (according to observant Japanese viewers). She’s likely a hacker by trade, her Persona is a shaped like a UFO and seems to draw its influence from Eldritch/Lovecraftian horror given its name is “Necronamicon.” That is the coolest thing I have ever seen and the Internet is already head over heels for this girl. Also of note is that nowhere in the trailer does she appear to be wearing the Syujin uniform which may mean, like Yusuke, she doesn’t attend our protagonist’s high school.

Finally there’s the girl – also nameless – that refers to herself as the beautiful theif.

Note: I wouldn’t think her name is actually “Adieu.” (French for “goodbye”)

What an entrance. With these three ladies, alongside Ann, we now know our P5 main cast girls, so allow the waifu wars to begin anew. It would seem Katsura Hashino and his team have crafted four strong, unique female characters for us to get to know and welcome to the Persona family.

After PV04 came yet another director’s interview with Hashino. There isn’t an English subtitled version yet, but I’ll make another post when translated versions of this and the trailer are inevitably made by dedicated fans. Regardless, you can still check out all the awesome gameplay that’s shown during the interview. Dungeon crawling looks to be based on tearing the masks off of Shadows or whatever the monsters will be called, which frees the Personas inside and allows the real battle to begin.

The user-interface looks spectacular and commands/attacks are now mapped to buttons on the controller, allowing for a faster and more streamlined combat experience. As I’ve said before, it’s clear that when it comes to dungeon gameplay and combat, Persona 5 is going to simply crush its predecessors and make this aspect of the game something to be cherished and savored.

After this, the stream shifted gear to focusing on release information. Box art was finally revealed, which is in line with the covers of the original Persona 3 and Persona 4 in terms of style.

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Not surprisingly, a special edition was also announced. It will come with an art book, a special CD set featuring arrangements from Persona 1-5 to commemorate the series’ 20th anniversary, and bonus DLC. The DLC includes special P5 themed versions of Orpheus and Izanagi – the Personas of the P3 and P4 protagonists respectively -, Persona 3’s Gekkoukan High School uniform costumes, and Persona 4’s Yasogami High School uniform costumes alongside background music from each game to go with the costumes.

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You may also have noticed from the trailer and definitely from the cover art that there is also one more party member that has yet to be showcased. Nothing is known about the young man at the top right of the cover, but given his appearance with the rest of the Phantom Thieves as well as being included with the DLC previews, it’s safe to say he’s a party member and another combatant. That brings our party up to nine members: four guys, four girls, and Morgana. It also means that the Phantom Thieves are a larger group than P4’s Investigation Team and on equal footing with P3’s SEES (in its final incarnation, anyway).

Atlus also confirmed that the previously announced Persona 5 anime would be airing sometime in September. It will act as a prologue to the game and is called “Persona 5 the Animation: The Day Breakers.” Whether this is a one-off episode or will develop into a fully animated series further down the line, just like Persona 4 the Animation, remains to be seen. Personally, I’m greatly looking forward to this. Depending on the focus of this animated special, we may be getting a canonical (or close to it) name for the protagonist prior to playing the game.

Before the stream ended it was confirmed that we won’t have to wait long to hear from Atlus and P5 again. Persona 5 has been confirmed to be appearing in Los Angeles next month for E3.

Cross your fingers that this may mean P5 is apart of Sony’s keynote press conference and that we may be getting release information for the west next month.

Finally, after the stream’s close, news was reported that P5 will be featured in next week’s issue of Famitsu with details on the new ladies and their Personas. Persona Central also reports that there will be another interview with Hashino that will cover the inhabitants of the Velvet Room and Igor’s “double life” – whatever that means.

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Reaction: It’s hard to put into words. I loved it. All of it. Atlus clearly sat on this information and release date for a very long time just so that they could have the flair of announcing all of this on 5/5. That doesn’t surprise me, because that’s simply how Atlus rolls.

I love the girls. The three new ones as well as Ann. The main character aside, the ladies feel like the life of the team compared to what I’ve seen of Ryuji, Yusuke, and to a lesser extent Morgana (though Morgana is female too). The three girls that debuted today all seem unique but intimidating and awe-inspiring in their own way. All my Twitter timeline could do this morning was meltdown over how awesome they were and which one was each of their favorites. That may seem like dumb, ‘waifu’ culture, but it really was a reflection of just how good of a job Hashino and the P-Studio team did making appealing characters that I can’t wait to meet and get to know like I did with P4’s Investigation Team.

The release date was no surprise, as many had speculated that it would be exactly September 15th (which fell in line with the rumor/leak from last month). I would have preferred a larger buffer between Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV, which releases on September 30th, but it’s clear why Atlus wanted this date. The question now is, when are Atlus USA and SEGA going to follow through with localization? The seven month window it will take for Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse to reach the United States doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence right now, but Atlus USA is still teasing something big for E3 and now we know for sure P5 will be in L.A. in some capacity. I wouldn’t hold my breath for simultaneous release or anything close to it, but I’m hopeful that the game will be out here in the fall with early December at the latest. It would be painful to see Persona 5’s localization to slip into 2017.

I am also very curious to read a translation of Hashino’s interview in Famitsu next week as it pertains to Igor.

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Those familiar with Igor’s Japanese voice will know he sounded much different at the end of PV04. The reason for that is actually outside of Atlus’ control, as sadly his original voice actor passed away in 2010. Atlus had been using recycled recordings of him from Persona 3 and Persona 4 ever since to fill out content in Persona 4 the Animation and the Persona 3 the Movie series in Japan. What’s interesting is that the new casting could not sound more unlike the original Igor. I’m curious if this somehow plays into the supposed “double life” of Igor we’re just now hearing of. Igor has always been a mysterious character in the Persona story world and his relationship with the new protagonist may be much different than the ones he held with previous heroes. You know, seeing as the Velvet Room is now a jail and the main character has been depicted as a prisoner there.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for fan-subtitled versions of PV04 and Hashino’s interview and hopefully more translated updates next week from Famitsu.

Correction: It’s the first girl that is said to be a student president of some kind. Not much is known about the third girl, except that she seems to be recruited by Morgana directly and refers to herself as the Beautiful Thief.

Another note: On May 6th, publications state the proper spelling to be “Anne.” The first official releases have it spelled to be “Ann.”

Countdown to Persona 5 News

And so it begins.

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Atlus’ official page for Persona 5 has updated to show a countdown clock that begun at over 300 hours*. The end time? 5/5/2016.

This reveal comes just 48 hours after signs of P5’s release date began to show. This is just speculation on my behalf, but I imagine we’re about to get our fourth full-length trailer and release information for Japan. I’ll take it a step further and say with what Atlus USA has been teasing in regards to E3 this year (and the fact that release info on Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse is already known), not only could we be learning Japanese release info in May, but we could be learning American release info in June.

For those wondering.

A post shared by Jack Frost (@atlususa) on

All aboard the hype train.

*Note: The time displayed on the site depends on your system. The countdown ends at 8:30 AM Eastern time on 5/5/16

Persona 5 Release Date Rumored Between Aug 18 and Sept 30

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Today’s news comes way of ore-no-web4th,  a Japanese blog with connections in retail known for leaking release dates in strange and vague fashions. Their latest ruse is the following. 

  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End — May 10, 2016
  • Dragon Quest Heroes II — May 27, 2016
  • Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers — June 30, 2016
  • Toukiden 2 — June 30, 2016
  • The Idolmaster: Platinum Stars — July 28, 2016
  • Tales of Berseria — August 18, 2016
  • Yellow children’s umbrella
  • Final Fantasy XV — September 30, 2016

As you can see on their site, each upcoming game is shown by its Amazon Japan listing, with a conspicuous yellow umbrella amidst highly anticipated games.

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What’s the connection? The pictured umbrella is for a TV show called Chikyu Sentai Fiveman. Readers are making a connection between the “five” and Perosna 5’s advertised release date of summer 2016.

August 18 –  September 30 is still a rather large window; nearly a month and a half (and the final week or so would technically be fall 2016). Still, this would fall in line with what we last heard from director Katsura Hashino in February: fans will get to enjoy P5 prior to celebrating Persona’s 20th birthday on September 20th.

Of course, this would also put P5 out prior to its prime competitor, Final Fantasy XV, with it still being on track to seeing English localization before the end of the year.

Meet Caligula, a New JRPG From the Writer of Persona 1 & 2

What’s Caligula? Another niche weeb game for the Vita? Perhaps. But it sure does look interesting.

It’s being directed by Tadashi Satomi, who was responsible for writing the stories and characters of Megami Ibunroku Persona, Persona 2 Innocent Sin, and Persona 2 Eternal Punishment.

It would appear to be a combination of action and turn-based JRPG styling starring high schoolers and a bizarre other world – shocker, that last one. According to DualShockers, the white haired idol, a vocaloid by the name of “μ” (the lowercase Greek letter pronounced “Mu”), is a software that developed its own heart and travels the world of Mobius seeking to bring happiness to others.

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Credit: DualShockers and FuRyu

I know the concept of Japanese youths coming together for the sake of friendship and defeating enemies isn’t exactly a JRPG concept exclusive to Persona, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a modern Persona vibe from that trailer. And that’s a good thing. When I think back of the only works I’ve enjoyed from Satomi, I think of the growing pains P1 and P2 had compared to their eventual successors. That’s not to say they aren’t good games. Diehard Megami Tensei/Persona fans will let you hear it if they think you’re disrespecting the originals and championing P3 and P4.

My point, rather, is that it’s exciting to see that perhaps technology has finally caught up to the point where Satomi’s creativity is coming to life in ways the original PlayStation couldn’t provide. As much as I love old games, or “retro gaming” as some refer to it, this is one major plus as the industry progresses. Artists are being allowed advantages not seen previously. To a game designer, it must be similar to a new spectrum of colors being discovered to a painter.

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It’s been quite awhile.

Caligula is slated to release on June 23rd in Japan exclusively for the PlayStation Vita. There are no plans for localization yet, but let’s hope that changes in the future.