Maybe it was some kind of nightmare. He'd been trapped in illusions before, but this felt like none of them.A Persona 4 Fanfic
written by Zephyran.
In 2018, Main character Souji Seta
returns to Inaba after studying in America, only to find that no one in Inaba remembers who he is. In his quest to solve the new mystery, he'll make unexpected allies and find himself on the wrong side of both friends and family (such as his thirteen year old cousin Nanako, who is disturbingly good at wielding a knife)... while powerful beings watch their new game unfold."
Thus begins Simulacrum
, wherein Souji finds himself in a suddenly alien Inaba, where everyone is either a complete stranger or suspicious of him, thanks to the influence of mysterious "Memflies". Pretty soon, he (and the party regaining their memories) find out that the Memflies are the opening shots of a divine
war, with the stakes being the very future of humanity...
The story continues in its sequel, Solipsis
This fanfic provides examples of:
- A God Am I: Chapter 13 is actually called "God Complex". It refers to Souji's own shadow, drunk off the power granted to it by Loki and years of unchecked growth.
- Nearly happens to Nanako. She snaps out of it.
- The Atoner: Taro Namatame finally gets a chance to make up for his mistakes.
- Badass Decay: Souji suffers from this, a little. However, it's justified The antagonists have singled him out as the biggest threat, and are doing everything they can to break him and/or render him powerless.
- That being said, he's still a Badass.
- Big Good: Deconstructed with Amaterasu. She genuinely wants the best for humanity, true, but the story also shows that she's a reckless, ambitious, and amoral Manipulative Bastard who's managed to convince herself that whatever she does is for the good of all-not unlike Susano-O. She eventually realizes this in the epilogue, after Izanagi calls out her hypocrisy.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The villains like to use this tactic; some are just more subtle than others.
- Continuity Nod / Shout-Out: Margaret offhandedly references the events of Persona 3 and even Persona 4's New Game+. As for Loki when his role in the plot is over...
- Darker and Edgier: Well, more consistently Dark and Edgy than the game. It's on a much more compressed timeframe, for starters, and stuff hits Persona 3-tier depressing pretty early on.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: It's a touch bitersweet, but definitely falls into this category (for the main characters anyway). The team has lost their ability to use their Personas, and the knowledge that they were being used by the Gods has left a bitter taste in their mouths. Regardless, they are all alive and their friendship is stronger than ever. Their story ends on a high note, with the future looking bright.
- With the exception of Nanako, who retains her abilities. This will be explored further in the sequel, Solipsis.
- The Empath: after obtaining her persona, Nanako gains the ability to sense a persons thoughts or emotions, much to Souji's annoyance.
- Fake Memories: The plot revolves around the use of this, and Laser-Guided Amnesia, on the entire town of Inaba.
- The Fellowship Has Ended: In the sequel, everyone on the team has moved on and are living fairly normal lives. save for Nanako whose busy preparing for some future apocalypse; Teddie is also helping her.
- Fighting from the Inside: Naoto. The Big Bad begins manipulating her thoughts and memories so as to undermine the group's progress, or make her kill Souji when he is at his weakest. She unconsciously fights him at every turn, causing her to hesitate during key opportunities. The Big Bad gets fed up and opts to resort to more... direct methods.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Happens right before the confrontation with the Big Bad, by way of Rise (with verbal backup from everyone else) to Souji (whose still somewhat insecure and shaken up from the events of the story.
- Grand Theft Me: Souji agrees to merge with his shadow, believing it intends to help him get rid of Loki. It instead back-stabs him, shatters his psyche, and steals his body. What his shadow did not realize, is that Loki took that moment to possess it at the same time.
- Happily Married: Thus far in the sequel, the two couples we have seen have either been this trope, or have subverted it. Kanji and Naoto are the happy ones with kids; meanwhile, Chie and Yosuke have a strained marriage that seems to be stuck in a rut.
- Heel Realization: Amaterasu has one when she realizes how amoral and self-centered she's been.
- Heroic BSOD / Despair Event Horizon: After enduring quite a lot of emotional trauma including two of his friends and his cousin/surrogate little sister (or rather, her Shadow) trying to kill him Souji finally cracks after he meets his own shadow and it verbally tears apart him and his relationship with his friends. He crashes Hard, and hits the edge of the Despair Event Horizon at the same time. Later he tries to confront it on his own in a misguided attempt to keep his friends, and the people of Inaba, safe; knowing full well that he would probably be killed in the attempt. It does not go well.
- Nanako almost crosses the Despair Event Horizon and become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds when she realizes that Amaterasu was being just as much of an amoral bitch as her brother! Watching her beloved "Big Bro" die right in front of her (from an attack he shielded her from), and Naoto's Heroic Sacrifice, also added fuel to the fire..
- He's Back: Souji pulls an utterly EPIC one after the aforementioned Heroic BSOD. With help from Nanako, Namatame, and Margret, he (quite literally) pulls himself together, regains control of his powers, and begins to deliver a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Loki (while telling his friends that This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself)... all with his own power (he had channeled the power of the God Izanagi when he defeated Izanami; he chose NOT to do so this time).
- Mind you, it still takes him a while before he's back to his old self. he's rendered comatose after the battle, and spends several chapters in the hospital before he recovers. After that, he's still shaken up from events of the previous chapters and it takes a You Are Not Alone / Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! from his team (right before they confront the Big Bad) for him to regain his confidence.
- Hurting Hero: Souji.
- Jerkass Gods: Oh yes. Even Amaterasu sees no problem in using underhanded means to further her agenda.
- Though there is one who is firmly on the side of the main characters. It turns out that the fox from the shrine is Oinari in disguise, and she gets manipulated just as much as the heroes.
- Love Triangle: Played rather interestingly with Souji, Yukiko, and Rise (Souji and Yukiko had been a couple, but had grown distant for various reasons). It turns out that one of the Gods that is working with Susano-O is actually manipulating their feelings in an effort to drive the team apart.
- The Man Behind the Man: Has as many as the game did: Shadow Souji to Loki to Susano-o to, in a sense, Amaterasu.
- The Mole: The Big Bad tries to turn Naoto into this.
- Mind Rape: ALL the main characters experience this in some form or fashion, as the antagonists manipulate their memories and feelings to either break their will and/or get them to destroy each other. this includes the MAIN CHARACTER Souji, whose psyche gets, literally, shattered at one point; this happens to Chie as well. Naoto gets subject to flat out torture when Susano-O's brainwashing fails to make her (completely) turn against Souji.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While he meant well, Dojima ends up pushing the stressed out Souji past the breaking point.
- Not So Stoic: A major theme in the story is that even the composed, calm Souji has his limits and weaknesses.
- At the beginning of chapter 11, he finally reaches the end of his patience and comes close to beating the crap out of Yosuke (who was under the effect of the "Memflies" and acting hostile towards him) before his friends (who have recovered their memories) stop him. He calms down after a few moments; but Rise notes that "she had never seen him lose his cool like that before".
- Only Mostly Dead: Souji and Naoto get killed during the final battle, but due to a literal Deus ex Machina, the team is able to revive them by sacrificing their personas.
- Secret Secret Keeper: Used in an interesting way, as it's mixed with Unwitting Pawn. Dojima's memories had been restored by the God Amaterasu about a day after everyone had lost their own. She took the guise of his late wife, and instructed him to support and to keep an eye on Souji; but forbade him from letting Souji know that he remembered everything, or from directly helping him. That would have tipped off Susano-O to her manipulations, which would have been... bad.
- Seen It All: In chapter 20, Yosuke walks in late after the rest of the cast have had the whole plot explained to them. His reaction after being brought up to speed?
Chie: What? Just "okay"?
Yosuke: (shrug) Sure. I mean, I think I'm past the point of not believing something because it's unbelievable, you know? So you tell me they're gods (Amaterasu and Oinari), and another god wants to kill us. My Persona, in fact. And Nanako-chan's got a power that lets her talk for Souji even though he's in a coma, but it's not really a coma, it's more like a really long ladder. That about cover it?"
Yosuke: (another shrug) "Pretty typical for this group.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Dojima's CMoA comes when he does this to his own shadow with A PUNCH TO THE FACE. Then, while the shadow (and everyone else) is still reeling from shock, he says: "Let me make sure I remember this right: you humiliate me, make me say you're not me, then you become powerful and they have to fight you to save me. That's how it works, right?" the goes on to list his flaws and weaknesses, and any other dark secret the shadow could use against him. The finishes up with this: "So there it is, humiliation done. You got anything else to say, or can we get this over with? There are two people's lives in danger and we don't have time for any more bullshit!" It works, and he gets his own persona without a fight.
- Through His Stomach: A clever variation. Since none of the girls are good cooks, Rise gets wise and instead gets Souji to teach her how to cook. This earns a "I wish I had thought of that!" from Yukiko later on.
- Took a Level in Badass: Taro Namatame.
- Understatement: "This... is not... good." Said by Souji after Susano-O has just impaled him through the chest with a sword.
- Trauma Conga Line: Some highlights of Souji's first day back in Inaba:
Souji: Let's just say that, since I've been here, I've been thrown out of a store (by Yosuke), almost been pepper sprayed (by Nanako), and a cop (Chie) nearly dumped my dinner in my lap, all just for trying to talk to people I used to know.
- And it just gets worse for him
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Loki. Then again, he's Loki, what do you expect?
- What the Hell, Hero?: Izanagi to Amaterasu when it comes out just how much of a Manipulative Bastard she is.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Pretty much the entirety of Rise's somewhat pointless yet very effective disguise.
- The Woobie: Oh, God. About the only character who doesn't come off as being at least somewhat pitiable is Susano-O, and that's only because of his actions.
- Souji and Naoto get the worst of it.