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 Spin-Off series of Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei franchise, consisting of multiple video games, animations, comic books, light novels, etc.

Unlike the Cyber Punk / The End of the World as We Know It worlds of the main SMT series, Persona takes place in a contemporary Urban Fantasy high school setting that utilizes Anthropomorphic Personifications of Carl Jung's persona and shadow concepts as its central motif: Characters in the series use the eponymous Persona, manifestations of their own personalities, to combat Shadows, representations of the collective darkness in the heart of humanity. The games also employ Tarot Motifs, with Personas, Shadows and most characters divided into the 21 Major Arcana of the standard deck. Despite these differences from mainline SMT, the series still employs numerous elements from its forebear: Personas take the form of various mythological figures from numerous cultures, the games use the main series's Fusion Dance and Elemental Power systems, and Persona 3 through 5 have variations of the Press Turn battle system from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.

Most of the games are Dungeon Crawlers where players obtain various Personas to fight on their behalf. Persona 3 also introduced the "Social Links" system to the franchise, which added Visual Novel-esque vignettes that enhance combat abilities as the protagonist gets to know other characters better.

Persona began with the tale of a nameless high school student and his friends trapped in their demon-infested hometown. This was followed by the Persona 2 duology, Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment, 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, starring an orphaned teenager trying to juggle school and friends with a giant tower of Shadows, who now serve as the primary enemy force, looming over the town every night. 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 out to "steal the hearts" of corrupt adults after crossing paths with a mysterious, shapeshifting cat.

Games in the Series:

Other Works bearing the Persona name

Alternative Title(s): Persona