Characters: Persona Recurring
is largely an episodic games series, there are four characters that have a presence through multiple games. This page is reserved for those characters, who have a significant role in multiple games and the overarching continuity rather than primarily being focused in one particular game.
A man with a butterfly mask who bestows Personas to people. He lives in the realm of the collective unconscious. Philemon operates as an ally to the party, despite the fact that he can only watch events unfold as a neutral observer. As such, he cannot directly interfere with anything that is going on, but does his best to aid the player despite this. Philemon is conducting an experiment with his rival, Nyarlathotep, over humanity's destiny. Philemon believes they can become enlightened, higher beings.
Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos
, is a Shapeshifting
entity who stands opposite to Philemon. While Philemon observes a rule of neutrality
, Nyarlathotep regularly manifests in the real world in a a wide array of guises. In Innocent Sin
, both he and Philemon are performing an experiment to see if humanity will become enlightened or ultimately destroy itself. Nyarlathotep decides to push things in his favor by placing a curse on Sumaru City, causing rumors to come alive and guiding humans toward self-destruction. Despite appearing only at the tail end of both Persona 2
games, he is nevertheless a prime mover
in the overarching storyline, and is retroactively named as the puppeteer behind the first Persona
Nyarlathotep corrupts the memories of Jun Kurosu, leading him to believe that Tatsuya Suou and the rest of the Masked Circle killed their "Big Sis", Maya Amano. With this, Jun gave in to Nyarlathotep and became the Joker, creating a corrupted adult version of the Masked Circle with the intent to raise Xibalba, the alien ship upon which Sumaru City rests, and create a superior human race
. Nyarlathotep took the form of Jun's father, who died long ago, but with all the ideal traits that Jun desired in a father. Besides this default form, he also manifests as Adolf Hitler, as well as Jun's own Persona.
In Eternal Punishment
, Nyarlathotep takes advantage of Tatsuya Suou's mistake of becoming a paradox in the recreated world. He starts by restoring the memories of King Leo, one of the key figures that led to the Other Side's destruction, as well as bringing his former host, Takahisa Kandori, back to life
. The New World Order
, a parallel to the Other Side's Masked Circle, is established as a result. Xibalba is revived as the Ameno Torifune, an ancient Mayan
machine buried underneath Sumaru City.
- Alien Geometries: The Monado Mandala, the "utopia" promised by the New World Order (some utopia), is actually the realm of the Collective Unconscious where he resides. It's a giant web of glowing pathways arranged in the shape of a cube, with Nyarlathotep's shrine, a twisted reflection of Philemon's own, floating in the center.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The battle versus the Great Father.
- Animal Motifs: Some of his forms like Moon Howler and Crawling Chaos resemble squids which goes with his inspiration.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: He's the manifestation of humanity's worst and most destructive aspects.
- Ascended Extra: Went from merely being Kandori's Persona in the first game to being the Big Bad of both Persona 2 games.
- As Long as There Is Evil: He's the darkness in human hearts. As long as it exists, so will he.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: As Kashihara, he's decked out in a dark brown pinstriped suit, a black Nehru shirt, and a crimson scarf.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Makes an extremely convincing argument that Humans Are Bastards in Persona 2 by manipulating a bunch of deluded humans into destroying reality. It was undone with a Reset Button but Eternal Punishment is about stopping it from happening again.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: Philemon guides those who are "strong of will", while Nyarlathotep "drags the weak to Hell."
- The Battle Didn't Count: Pretty much how he appears in Innocent Sin, initially appearing in his form of the Fuhrer. After the fight he reveals himself, acting like the fight didn't even happen.
- Big Bad: Serves as the main antagonist of the Persona 2 games, and was even retroactively revealed as the Bigger Bad of Persona 1.
- Since 3 and 4, Nyarlathotep had been long-dormant for years and years, likely as a way to separate the latter two games with the former two. However, by the time of Persona 4 Arena, it's strongly hinted that Nyarlathotep has not only returned, but that he's responsible for Nyx, Erebus, and Izanami in 3 and 4, setting him up as the main villain for Arena (a crossover between 3 and 4).
- Blade on a Stick / Holy Hand Grenade: The Spear of Longinus.
- Body of Bodies: He's a dirty fighter, sprouting fists shaped like the visages of the protagonists' fathers, and daring you to strike them. He announces each assault in their voices, as well.
- Catchphrase: Nyarlathotep's favorite taunt is "That's a contradiction/You're contradicting yourself."
- A Chat with Satan: Regularly points out the darker desires in the heroes' hearts, as he is those desires.
- Classic Villain: Represents wrath, sloth, pride and nihilism. In Eternal Punishment, he uses the three poisons of Buddhism to illustrate why he can't be stopped.
- Complexity Addiction: Given his powers, he could probably kill the protagonists effortlessly if he really wanted to, but he prefers to break them through his manipulation, cunning, and breaking speeches.
- Coup de Grâce Cutscene: Philemon shows up to announce that the game is ended, and a frustrated Nyarlathotep concedes defeat—for now. Maya and Tatsuya then tag-team the demon with pistol rounds and sword swipes, causing him to cry out and vanish.
- Dark Reprise: His theme music is a variation on Philemon's Leitmotif.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Albeit not a very good one. Akinari Kashihara was a meek man in a pullover vest with a permanent case of bed-head. His doppelganger has the same face, but dresses like a GQ model and wears a perpetual smirk. This was done intentionally: Jun felt ashamed of Akinari, so he wished for a father who wouldn't embarrass him. Nyarlathotep granted his wish in usual Jackass Genie fashion, impressing his friends by showing up unannounced at their playhouse. He also keeps a Masataka Amano skin-suit around to belittle and spite Maya.
- Deal with the Devil: Most of the Masked Circle's members were promised their greatest wishes, in exchange for ignoring reality and destroying the lives of others. Later, Maya Okamura succumbed to her desire to vindicate her dead love and prove his mad theories correct, which placed her under Nyarlathotep's thrall; he keeps Okamura in his front pocket until the very end, springing her upon Maya as a cruel surprise. Other victims included the key members of the NWO, most notably General Sugawara, who threw his lot in with Nyarlathotep's men in hope of curing his terminal illness; he was rewarded by becoming a hideous (but immortal) monster.
- Demonic Possession: He can pose as a Persona well enough. Once his host falls in battle, however, Nyarlathotep simply takes over their body and springs back up for Round 2. This is retroactively revealed to have happened to Kandori in the original Persona, and Jun suffers the same fate as Joker.
- The Dreaded: He tends to have this effect. Even Baofu's blood turns to ice.
- Eldritch Abomination: He's a shapeshifting monster that comes from inside the darkness of every human heart and can break the lines between rumor and reality with a thought. Many of his forms also feature tentacles and various types of Body Horror.
- Humanoid Abomination: He often takes the forms of humans to manipulate and disturb them. Katsuya and Baofu suspect that he has more in common with us than he realizes, and this is a flaw to be exploited.
That's definitely a human. The way he looks down on others… that's something only humans can do. Heh… All right, I'll tango with ya
… As another human.
- Evil Albino: His "Time Count" form has pale white skin and white hair.
- Evil All Along: He helped the heroes as the Time Count but did that only to make his plans go smoothly.
- Evil Counterpart: Philemon is all the good in humanity. Nyarlathotep is all the bad.
- Evil Will Fail: After he's defeated, Nyarlathotep notes with bitter irony that he's become the unwitting instigator of man's evolution; "chaos" being the wellspring of Philemon's "potential."
- Faux Affably Evil: "You desired all of this! Smile a little! You're contradicting yourself!"
- Final Boss Preview: The "Fuhrer" summons the Moon Howler as his Persona. You aren't going to see it again until the sequel.
- For the Evulz: Neither he nor Philemon have any real stake in their wager. Nyarlathotep wants to destroy the planet... for kicks.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Often appears as friends or family members of the humans he's trying to manipulate at the moment.
- The Ghost: Like Philemon, he hasn't appeared since Persona 2, though Persona 4 Arena heavily implies that he is the "Malevolent Entity" responsible for the events of the game.
- Guardian Entity: To Joker and Kandori, manifesting as a Persona for each.
- The Heartless: He's the anthropomorphic personification of the negative emotions of humanity as a whole: fear, hatred, anger, and all our other weaknesses.
- Hidden Villain
- High-Class Glass / Making a Spectacle of Yourself: The Time Count's clock-shaped monocle.
- Hope Crusher: He delights in destroying other's hope and sanity.
- Humanity on Trial: He's perfectly happy to tip the scales, though.
- I Have Your Wife: Abducts Lisa, Eikichi, and Jun at the climax of Eternal Punishment, then threatens to restore their memories (which would doom the planet).
- I Shall Taunt You: "Let me see your terrified faces."
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: It becomes evident that something is off when Tatsuya's party corners him in Xibalba. As the "Fuhrer", he responds to each attack with a Palpatine-like "good", and the Great Father wraps up the fight by praising your strength. These are just sparring matches for his personal amusement; Philemon wonders if playing the father figure has made him go "soft," suggesting that he's far less merciful under normal conditions. Nyarlathotep just chuckles and admits that his counterpart was right about humans: they're fun to play with. This might be because with Okamura in place, he's already all but won and he's just dragging on the battle for the lulz to be had at the end.
- He's less cordial in Eternal Punishment, when the Moon Howler takes off the kid gloves. ("You are all DEAD!")
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: As the Time Count.
- Man Behind the Man: The mastermind behind SEBEC (via retcon), the Masked Circle, the Last Battalion, and the New World Order (in the new timeline).
- Man of Wealth and Taste: The Time Count.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Meaningful Name: Is named for a crafty H.P. Lovecraft monster who delights in causing insanity in mortals, unlike his fellow Outer Gods who are more brutish and unintelligent. In Eternal Punishment, one of his boss forms is a clear homage to "the Howler", perhaps his most recognizable literary depiction.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Moon Howler is covered in jagged fangs that erupt from the wrists.
- Obviously Evil: His final forms take the cake. They tend to be a combination between being mostly black, taking inspirations from Lovecraft and being covered with screaming masks or fangs. Definitely a good guy.
- Offhand Backhand: He does this to Maya and Eikichi during their first encounter, swatting them aside without any real effort.
- One-Winged Angel: As you'd expect from someone nicknamed "God of 1000 Faces", his Final Boss forms are particularly trippy.
- Orcus on His Throne: He always waits until the last moment to reveal himself.
- The Powers That Be
- Pride: He knows he's powerful and a cunning planner, but because of this, he often underestimates the heroes.
- Reality Warper: Can turn rumors into reality with little effort.
- Recurring Boss: An unusual example in that he spends much of the games disguised as various Personas. His initial incarnation as Kandori's original Persona was a huge, gargoyle-like monster. Jun/Joker's starter Persona is a mockery of his Joker uniform, with lupine claws and appendages in place of his body. He is fought again as Kandori's Persona in the Undersea Palace (now with fragments of God Kandori glued onto his face and torso), and numerous times as the Fuhrer/Great Father/Moon Howler/Crawling Chaos at his base of operations, the Monado Mandala.
- Retcon: Persona 2 establishes he was the one behind Big Bad Kandori in the original Persona. This is ostensibly built off the fact Kandori's Persona Nyarlarthotep in P1 looks completely different from the player version.
- Shapeshifter Default Form: Akinari Kashihara in Innocent Sin, and Tatsuya Suou in Eternal Punishment.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: "Why did you come here? Heh... to spout gibberish??"
- Slasher Smile: Makes big, toothy grins when he's about to do something monstrous.
- Smug Snake: He's an excellent manipulator of plots to get humanity to destroy itself, and he's Genre Savvy enough in Eternal Punishment to not be surprised by the protagonists thwarting the initial plan. What he's too cocky to plan for is them actually beating him.
- Straw Nihilist: Claims that there are no reasons for humanity to live, but considering his origins, he most likely sees that as a good thing.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: His glowing gold eyes hint at his unnatural existence.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Subverted as he only took his form for a short time.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: The Time Count is another of Nyarlathotep's guises, as revealed in Persona World Guidance; he's just keeping an eye on the party, and wants to force them to come into his store... and chat about their plans. Duplicating cards is a bit much, though.
- The cockiness doesn't end there: In Eternal Punishment, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon contains a network of portals leading back to the Alaya Shrine, and the city's storekeepers. The purpose of this is twofold: to remind Tatsuya that "Everything begins and ends here", and to give the heroes a sporting chance. To Nyarlathotep, it's all a game. His This Cannot Be! and Villainous Breakdown bellow make it clear that for all the effort he puts into his planning, he never accounts for the possibility of him actually losing.
- This Cannot Be!: Coupled with his Villainous Breakdown below, and does so again when he loses.
- Villainous Breakdown: When his final form's life bar starts to dwindle, he starts screaming "I won't accept it! Invincible! INVINCIBLE!"
- Villains Act, Heroes React
- The Virus: Embodied by the "shadow people" and later the civilians possessed by JOKER.
- The Watchmaker: Masquerades as an antique clock salesman in Rengedai.
- White Hair, Black Heart
- White Mask of Doom: His final form is covered in white masks.
"Welcome to the Velvet Room."
Igor is the mysterious proprietor of The Velvet Room, an equally mysterious place "between dreams and reality", and introduces himself as the being who creates personas. His most distinctive physical attribute is definitely his Tengu
/Pinocchio-like long nose. A servant of Philemon, after the apparent departure of his master, Igor has taken the role of mentoring the player from Persona 3
onwards. Igor is always found in The Velvet Room: although in previous games he used a phone made of bone to call up Personae from the depths of the soul
, now he does so by arranging tarot cards into mystical arrangements on his table. Although he's helpful, friendly, and benevolent, he still gives off a very sinister aura.
- Catchphrase: "Welcome to the Velvet Room."
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Permanently etched on his face.
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: He usually sits like this in the Velvet Room, and he does withold information from the players, but is by no means deceiving them.
- Creepy Good
- Dark Is Not Evil: He looks suspicious, and he withholds information from you, but he's generally very helpful, almost mentor-like.
- Demoted to Extra: His Japanese actor died prior to Persona 4: The Animation, so he operates more like a figurehead CEO due to his much less prevalent amount of screen time. His lines were recycled from the original game audio, both in Japanese and English, and Margaret takes over his spot without fully replacing him (although it certainly feels that way).
- Face of a Thug: Looks like a devil, but remains one of your most trustworthy allies throughout the series.
- Gag Nose: Take a look above, at everyone else's nose. Then look at this guy. Elizabeth made a song with lyrics all about his nose, and she even made Margaret sing it too.
- Visual Pun: Whether or not he's really a tengu, he sure does act and look like one.
- Game Over Man: He'll appear before you if you get a game over in P3 and P4 to lament over your journey's end.
- Gonk: He's ugly enough to not even look human.
- The Igor: A heroic(?) version of this archetype.
- Mundane Utility: According to Elizabeth, when he's bored he plays cards with the Persona cards.
- Omniscient Morality License: Igor makes it clear early on that he knows far more than he's saying, but feels compelled to hold back and let the hero learn what's going on for himself. In the end, it all works out.
- Powers That Be: Whatever Igor is exactly, he's almost certainly one of these.
- Shout-Out: The ambiance of the Velvet Room, combined with the sheer weirdness of Igor and his cronies, is most likely drawing inspiration from the popular series Twin Peaks
- Spirit Advisor: Starting with the latter two games, The main character is the only one who can see or enter Velvet Room.
- Theme Naming: Igor and all of his Velvet Room Residents are named after characters from either the novel or the movies of Frankenstein's Monster.
A notorious Bonus Boss
found in Persona 3
and Persona 4
, including FES
, The Golden
the Anime of the Game
. His Arcana card is "Death", and he's based off the Grim Reaper
. His face is shrouded in bandages, with only one ominous yellow eye to see its surroundings.
In Persona 3
, he lurks around Tartarus during the Dark Hour, personally appearing if one condition is met: if you stay on one floor for too long.
However, certain conditions can drastically shorten the time left before his apperance: if the Shadow population of a floor is different from the norm in any way (less or more than normal, or none at all
), if there are only gold Shadows
on the floor, or if you pick a Shuffle Time card that's appended by an ominous black crossbone. Fuuka will warn you at certain time intervals before the time left to his appearance runs out.
Once it does, you get one final warning just before he spawns and proceeds to hunt you. Thankfully, he cannot follow you into the stair room and up them, but good luck trying to find them with this guy on the loose.
He reappears in Persona 4
, but only on your second playthrough. In Magatsu Inaba/Mandala, the Reaper can be found in ordinary chests; upon examination, the Protagonist is forewarned that a powerful force dwells within the chest. Should the Protagonist choose to open it, the Reaper will attack the Protagonist, engaging the party to a battle. Like its previous incarnation, the Reaper can be challenged multiple times, as long as the Protagonist manages to locate the treasure chest he dwells within. He will only drop a character's weapon if they are in the team that fights him, so you can re-organize the party every time you fight him if you want to get every character's weapon.
In Persona 4 Golden
, his appearance parameters have changed. Not only can he appear during the first playthrough, his appearance is tied to the number of treasure boxes opened in the TV World. After 20 boxes are opened, the 21st box will signal his arrival though his trademark chains clanking and hearing him breathe
. The next box opened may give you the warning message, though you can circumvent this by opening a Gold Chest (which needs a chest key to open). His AI was also given an update, as he can now attack twice per round
, and you best believe he will exploit this fact.
- All Your Powers Combined: He can use every element in the game. This means he can target any weakness you have. He also knows the Break Element skills, so even your immunity isn't guaranteed to keep you safe unless it's to a physical element or Light or Dark.
- Artificial Brilliance: Thought you'd buy yourself time by using a Magic Mirror or a Persona with Makrakarn? Congrats, The Reaper will now proceed to bombard you endlessly with Megidola and/or Megidolaon until you die.
- Badass: One of the toughest enemies you'll ever have to face in the Persona series, unless your level reaches the mid-80s.
- Badass Longcoat: With four coat-tails, too.
- Bonus Boss: A famous one among Persona fans. It uses every element, is smart enough to target weaknesses, will go berserk if you try to reflect its attacks, and can break immunities.
- Bragging Rights Reward: The reward for the quest which specifically asks you to beat him. Five million yen is a lot more than you'll ever need at this point, and some players may even hit the money limit before getting the whole reward. It just means you'll have money to spare on your Sunday's next playthrough. Then again, actually beating him is rather merit-worthy. The real reward is probably access to Monad...which should tell you plenty.
- Call Back: His garments bear some resemblance to Tatsuya Sudou's clothes.
- Chest Monster: In Persona 4. Moreso in Golden, where he has a chance to appear after 20 boxes are opened.
- The Dragon: In Persona 4: The Animation, Adachi personally summons him to fend off the investigation team.
- The Dreaded: "Be careful! I sense Death!"
- Four Is Death: One of four avatars of the Grim Reaper, with his total (P3) HP at 4444.
- Guns Akimbo: He completely forgoes a scythe for dual revolvers.
- Grim Reaper: One of four in this game.
- Hand Cannon: He dual wields revolvers with barrels that seem several feet long.
- Marathon Boss: He's got quite a lot of HP, and resists every element in the game plus being immune to Light and Dark. Get ready for a long fight... unless you have Armaggedon.
- Me's a Crowd: Three Reapers show up in Persona 4: The Animation.
- Metal Slime: In Persona 4, defeating the Reaper grants the respective characters their strongest weapons per defeat; if the in-battle characters already have their strongest weapons, the Reaper instead drops the strongest armor. If all of those have already been received as well, the Reaper drops the Omnipotence Orb, an accessory which voids all attacks excluding Almighty-elemental.
- Money for Nothing: Beating him as per Elizabeth's second-last request and handing her the Bloody Button he drops results in a five million yen reward. The problem is, by the time you're able to take him down, you probably won't need a few extra million yen in your already bloated pocket. Plus, that's over half the money cap.
- Recurring Boss: In Persona 3, he'll appear every time you spend enough time on a floor, and in Persona 4, he shows up in special chests. You can't really kill the Reaper, apparently.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Especially when they have 3 foot long barrels.
- Stalked by the Bell: Take too long to leave a level, and this bastard will show up, and you will know he's gunning for you by the clanking of chains getting closer and faster from ''somewhere'' covered by the darkness of Tartarus' hallways.
- Status Buff Dispel: Strangely played with in The Golden. His getting two turns at a time means that he will shrug off debuffs placed on him even faster. However, due to having various "Break" spells added to his repertoire, he will waste a good deal of his extra moves on dispelling whatever elemental resistances you or your party members possess. While this neurotic tactic does not guarantee he will spend all of his time trying to do so, changing Personas or having teammates with Ultimate Personas (that have more than one resistance) in your group can turn this quirk against him.