Franchise / Shin Megami Tensei: Persona

"I am thou... And thou art I."
Arc Words for the entire series.

Persona, or Shin Megami Tensei: Persona as it is often known in the West, is a long-running Urban Fantasy series of video games, animated series, comic books and light novels that began as a spinoff of a Shin Megami Tensei What If? Gaiden Game aptly titled Shin Megami Tensei: if....

While SMT games revolve around characters enlisting the aid of demons and deities, characters in the Persona series fight using the eponymous Persona, anthropomorphic personifications of their own personalities. Similarly, instead of battling the forces of Order or Chaos, the protagonists of the Persona series combat Shadows, manifestations of the collective darkness in humanity's hearts. Along with the usual Atlus weirdness, the games revolve heavily around David Lynch-esque dream worlds full of oddball residents.

Persona began with the tale of a nameless high school student and his friends trapped in their demon-infested Domed Hometown. This was followed by the Persona 2 duology, which expanded the universe with the story of an ongoing war between two manifestations of the collective unconscious, Philemon and Nyarlathotep.

Next came the radically-different Persona 3, where you played as an orphaned teenager trying to juggle school and friends with a giant tower of Shadows threatening to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. Persona 4 followed with a supernatural murder mystery where a transfer student and his friends try to stop a Serial Killer who can use TV screens as portals to another world. Persona 5 moves onto the adventures of a teenage Gentleman Thief and his accomplices fighting Shadows after crossing paths with a mysterious, shapeshifting cat.

Persona tends to be more forgiving (hence, more commercially profitable) than the mainline SMT series. Most of the games are Dungeon Crawlers where you obtain various Persona to fight on your behalf. Persona 3 also introduced the "Social Links" system to the franchise, which trades the monster negotiation of earlier titles for Visual Novel-esque vignettes that enhance your combat abilities as you get to know other characters better.

Games in the Series:

Other Works bearing the Persona name