Fridge: Persona

A reminder of the rules of Fridge Brilliance:

This is a personal moment for the viewer, so every example is signed by the contributor. If you start off with "This Troper", really, you have no excuse. We're going to hit you on the head.

This revelation can come from anywhere, even from this very page.

Also, this page is of a generally positive nature, and a Fridge Brilliance does not have to be Word Of God. In fact, it usually isn't, and the viewer might be putting more thought into it than the creator ever did. This is not a place for personal commentary on another's remark or arguing without adding a Fridge Brilliance comment of your own.

Click here to return to the video game Fridge Brilliance page.

  • In Persona 3, the main character is of the Fool arcana, meaning he can fuse and summon pretty much any Persona. Keeping in mind that a Persona is a reflection of one's psyche, this ability leads to mountains of crazy WMG about the main character's sanity, the status of reality ("is it all a dream?"), etc. The constant changing of Personas reflects the fact that the player can effectively paint whatever personality they want for MC because they control his responses in various situations. Even moreso, the culmination of all of MC's Personas into a single, ultimate Persona in the fight with Nyx shows that no matter how the player decided to have him act throughout the game, his decision in the end was the same.
  • The remake of Persona 3 has been criticized as shameless fanservice for fangirls. Lo and behold, however, the social links exclusive to the female route are still true to the arcana, and better yet, deconstruct their original characterizations.
    • The single-minded and even mildly selfish side of Akihiko's determination along with his oblivion towards normal friendships/romance as a result are explored through the Star. Optimism is wonderful, but at the same time has its deceit.
      • Ken's relationship with the female protagonist is criticized by the blind assumptions of society under Justice. The fact the Slink can split like a romantic commu (Squick out and you're Completely Missing the Point, it's not meant to be Shotacon) prove that initial judgment (unlike true judgment in its own arcana) of what we perceived is not absolute.
      • Continuing off of that, Ken himself is surprised that the protagonist likes action shows and reads manga, judging her to be a stronger leader who wouldn't have a "childish" side. Through that, he learns it's okay to have some childish sides (and becomes the main focus of the Friendship ranks). It gets better as he gains his Precocious Crush as he wouldn't believe she would ever return it. Go romantic, and prove his judgement wrong again.
    • Moon is tragic. It's not the arcana of the snobs (Ai and Nozomi may give off this impression), it's the one of contradictions, illusions, emotional turmoil, and fear of dark desires. Shinjiro would love a normal life, even if he fears the after-effects of the short-lived normalcy he is given. His genuine kindness and modesty definitely contrasts the toughened up image he is seen as initially, like an illusion. The fears also manifest in his repressed feelings/lust for the main.
  • When Erebus was revealed to be the real reason that Nyx was coming to Earth, some people took it as a cheesy, poorly-explained Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. However, I followed a link on Wikipedia and found out that, in mythology, he was Nyx's brother (and husband); suddenly, the fact that the emotions forming Erebus 'called out' for Nyx made a lot more sense.
    • Then the above led to even more brilliance, when I read that two of their children were Thanatos and Hypnos — the protagonist's and Takaya's Personae, respectively, which is why they both end up so closely tied to Nyx's arrival (although Takaya's wasn't in a good way). And this one's more of a funny note, but Hypnos was usually associated with poppies; Takaya's Fan Nickname of Druggie Jesus now fits even more. - Ms Devin 92
    • Yukari's persona Io transforms into Isis. On a surface level, this seems strange because most of the party characters' personas in Persona 3 are Greek and they transform to other Greek personas [with the exception of Ken]. After doing some more research lately, it turns out that in some versions of Io's myth, she flees to Egypt and is renamed Isis by the natives.
    • Minato is Jesus, SEES are the 12 Apostles (counting Metis, Igor, and Elizabeth/Theo), Takaya is the Antichrist, and Social Links are people whose life Jesus touched.
  • Maybe it's just me thinking that way, but I was playing again through the game, and one particular sentence said by Fuuka struck me as particularly fridge brilliant: after Shinjiro's death, she laments that all the tragedy could have been avoided if only she had trusted her intuition... Fuuka's arcana is The Priestess. What is one of the meanings of The Priestess arcana? That you should trust your intuition. Brilliant!
  • The fact that Shinjiro and Akihiko's personas make up the Gemini twins is pretty obvious in the game, but where Ken ties in is very clever - in some versions of the myth, the Gemini were the sons of Nemesis, neatly tying Ken to their story. If that's not clever enough? Castor was killed by a spear to the heart. Now, what's Ken's weapon again...?
    • There's more to it. Shinjiro was killed by a gunshot after being threatened with a spear. In the game, both attacks deal the same type of damage: Pierce.
  • The evokers. The protagonist summons their Persona by shooting him/herself in the head. Apart from evoking images of suicide, it's excellent foreshadowing. Remember what happens to the Protagonist at the end?
    • The bad ending, where the MC kills Ryoji, has the MC executing his evoker at a much slower pace. Perhaps he knows the consequence of this which is that everyone will die, including him, and thinks of this as ACTUAL SUICIDE, thus taking a logical approach to the hesitant evoker pose.
  • Out of the New Game+ Endings, Ken's was much more bittersweet and less romantic than everyone else's. The endings follow an upright meaning of each character's arcana. Justice as an arcana does not have an interpretation pertaining directly to love; the opposite, actually, with ones such as distance and logic. Those would make sense, as space and rationality are what would keep them together without a stigma from society. The most significant of the meanings, however, is "clear vision". Ken expresses his worry that the main character will "go somewhere", hinting he knows her fate to die. Whether the others know and are lying for her sake, or Ken is the only one to know, this is both poignant, and absolutely heart-breaking.
  • Aigis' persona transformation from Palladion to Athena gives her one of the best healing spells in the game. Previously, she only had buffs as support techniques. This is most likely due to her finally getting human emotions and caring for her comrades.
  • Ken's persona also fits his character arc: starting out with insta-kill spells and a physical attack designed to kick you when you're down, it evolves into the second-strongest healer of the party, learning the strongest revive and a the best single-target heal… reflecting his priorities changing from revenge and hatred to a desire to protect and help, and possibly even prevent anything like Shinjiro's death from happening again.
  • In Persona 4, Nanako Dojima is of the Justice Arcana. Later on in the game, should you get the bad ending, Namatame, the man accused of killing her, basically gets away with it. It is said that the 'law can't touch' him. Law... Justice... get it?
    • At first, during the bathhouse dungeon, I thought that Shadow Kanji was behaving...extremely, even for a Shadow. Even if he was afraid of being Mistaken for Gay, his image of gay looked really overdone. It wasn't until later, when we learned that the Midnight Channel reflected humanity's thoughts as well that it made sense. Of course his Shadow was so over-the-top Hard Gay; people were making crazy assumptions about his sexuality! - Ms Devin 92
      • Oh hell! I think you just hit another bit of Fridge Brilliance. This explains why Yosuke and Chie's shadows were more reserved compared to the others. No-one was watching the Midnight Channel while they were there, so their Shadows were only shaped by their assumptions about themselves. If someone had been observing, Shadow Yosuke and Shadow Chie would have likely been as over-the-top as the others.
      • Also, it explains why they appear where they do — they have connections to whoever created that world in the Midnight Channel. Yosuke was always hanging around Saki, and Junes was responsible for the slow business in her family store; Chie was always warding off Yukiko's admirers.
      • Once more! Students mention the notion of dating Yukiko is referred to as the Amagi Challenge. That would explain her shadow's bout on the Midnight Channel sounding like a clichéd reality TV show. As a Bilingual Bonus, In the regard of trying to date her, the students mockingly add "-hime" or "princess" to her name, in relation to its loftiness of a challenge in the original dubbing. If the localisation had preserved that particular suffix, the true name would actually be the "Amagi-hime Challenge" or, the "Princess Amagi Challenge".
  • In Persona4, there is an incredibly unintuitive moment where you have to make the exactly right choices in a series of ambiguous dialogue; that moment determines your ending. It's very easy to fail; in fact, you more or less need to have figured (most) of the Truth out so you can answer. That is because reaching out to the Truth is hard. From the severity of the battles to the hard labyrinth of dialogue, every facet of reaching out to the Truth, whether personal or general, is hard.
    • This may be on the facetious side, but it still fits. There's a certain theme of going out and seeking the truth, rather than simply declaring your own opinion to be the only belief that matters. Thus, when you're at the point of making a decision that dictates whether a man lives or dies, and whether or not it will truly solve anything, is it not a wise decision to take the time to do research, figure out the facts and make a more educated decision? GameFAQs is a good start... - Falcon Pain
    • The ending becomes an immensely bittersweet moment in all endings, as the MC stil has to leave all his friends behind. Then it hit me - this is the player having to say goodbye to the journey he's been on with these characters, and the major emotional attachment they've felt for each and every one of them. This is the player saying goodbye to the game - I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world, but sadly our time has come to an end.
  • Yukiko's name means snow. Snow White, perhaps? Like how her Shadow sat around waiting for a prince? How did I miss this? - Ms Devin 92
  • Okay, so let's be honest. Even if you don't already know in advance, it's possible to work out that Naoto is female long before the game reveals it. The voice acting makes it obvious enough as is... however, some folks have mentioned that you can still tell if you play with the voices off. There's one way you can tell, and it's due to a particular quirk of the art style. Specifically, how the characters' lips are drawn. Notice how the guys' lips look different to the girls' lips? If you pay attention to that particular detail, it becomes screamingly obvious whenever Naoto's portrait pops up. Niiiice.
  • It Just Bugs Some People that "traditional" shadows weren't in 3. However, when you think about this...
    • Minato uses Death.
    • Junpei uses Magician.
    • Akihiko uses Emperor.
    • Mitsuru uses Emperess.
    • Yukari uses Lovers.
    • Fuuka uses Priestess.
    • Ken uses Justice.
    • Shinjiro uses Hierophant.
    • Koromaru uses Strength.
    • Aigis uses Chariot.
    • Takaya uses Fortune.
    • Jin uses Hermit.
    • Chidori uses Hanged Man.
      • So the 13 Full Moon Shadows represent those thirteen. (Pharos/Ryoji/Nyx Avatar=Death, obviously.)
      • What do you mean by "traditional" shadows? Like demons from 2?
      • No, they aren't Shadows. I mean the other selves from 2 and 4 who taunt people about their insecurities. In terms of the story, the Full Moon Shadows are much closer to the other selves than the demon, and no-one misses those in the same way they miss the shadows.
  • At first, the setup between Philemon and Nyarlathotep seems pretty damn depressing if you think about it - Philemon can only give out Personas and has to wipe your memories to save the world, but Nyarlathotep personally screws up the playing field without any apparent restraints. However, when you remember that they are both manifestations of human's souls and technically the same being, it not only makes sense, but becomes uplifting. Philemon (the good in the main characters) can't do much because they're already capable of overcoming their issues and being better people deep inside. Nyarlathotep's victory hinged on making rumors into truth and a ton of Deals with the Devil because humans aren't capable of such horrible things on their own. - Ms Devin 92
    • Except that if humans were really incapable of doing all that without outside prompting, Nyarlathotep could not exist. He's the shadow of all of humanity, and fundamentally, if humanity were not a bunch of bastards deep down he either couldn't exist at all or would be much nicer.
      • He may be humanity's shadow, but that doesn't mean humans are pure evil, which is why he's such a blatant cheater. For instance, the whole debacle with Maya and the shrine was horrible, but it's far from the fake memory Jun was given of the other kids literally burning her alive.
      • Not my point. I think we can both agree that Philemon is generally a trustworthy source here, yes? He introduces Persona by saying that humans have both the kindness of a god, and the cruelty of a devil inside them. At the end of Innocent Sin, Philemon says that he and Nyarlathotep are both half of the collective unconsciousness. In other words, they're the anthropomorphic personifications of humanity itself. One of the things they repeatedly point out in EP is that Nyarlathotep is fundamentally part of humanity. It doesn't mean humans are fundamentally evil, but simply that deep down, they have that capacity. Which they do. They also have the capacity to achieve enlightenment. That's kind of the entire point. You seem to be saying that humanity wouldn't be able to do what Nyar goads them to without an outside force, but that's wrong. Nyar isn't an outside force at all. He's humanity at its very very worst, to a point where no real person would be, but that's a consequence of combining and distilling every hidden and suppressed urge of the entire human race into one being. If humans tended to repress their urge to eat cake and ice cream all the time he'd look like Toro. Since humans tend to repress their desire to win at all costs, violence, and anger, we get the Nyar we see in P2.
      • Sorry, I probably should have elaborated more. While Nyarlathothep does exist because of the awful qualities present in all people, he's also trying to pretty much crush the opposition and doesn't believe in any of that goody-goody stuff. In other words, Nyarlathothep loses because he's trying to deny the other side of humanity in Philemon, arguing that ALL humans are complete bastards at their core, all the time, which isn't true. On the other hand, Philemon is balanced, because the heroes' journey involved defeating their Shadows and facing all sorts of cruelty...but also acknowledging that it existed and working to change it. He doesn't say that Nyarlathothep has no place in the equation, just that he needs to be smacked down when he's getting out of control.
    • The Jungian shadow (which Nyarlathotep represents) is all repressed desires. Therefore, the protagonists are far more likely to overcome their issues than be overcome by darkness, like the OP said.
  • I always wondered why Master Joker had that odd chin piece. Then I remembered that, in one of the Lovecraft stories, its stated that Nyarlathotep came out of Egypt and was said to look like a pharaoh; it's a postiche, one of those fake beards you see on sarcophagi. - Ms Devin 92
  • When playing Innocent Sin, I realized something: When you ask Katsuya about the Masked Circle at the beginning of the game, he chews Tatsuya out for bothering him with childish nonsense. Just him being a Jerkass right? Not quite. Later, it's revealed that "Masked Circle" was a game that Tatsuya and his friends played when they were kids. Katsuya presumably remembers this, and when Tatsuya brings it up again with most of those same kids grown up with him, he assumes that Tatsuya is trying to play a prank on him.
  • Have you ever noticed just how freakishly similar Adachi and Junpei are? They both joke constantly and are often made butt monkeys, both make dumb mistakes but are honestly trying, they both work in a form of law enforcement (although it's supernatural for Junpei), both are very immature (Junpei is the Magician Arcana, which stands for immaturity, and Yukiko points out how backwards and childish Adachi's world view is during the confrontation)and both have massive inferiority complexes they blame others for. Junpei focuses his self-hate on Minato in envy to ignore his own shortcomings while Adachi does this for pretty much the entire world and his berserk button is when you point it out. The only major difference is years and backstory, mainly that we don't know much about Adachi other than he had a lot of failures that landed him in Inaba, while Junpei lost someone he loved dearly. But remember, Adachi is an attempted rapist and serial killer. Someone doesn't get that sick and messed up without enough issues and trauma in their past to trigger them. Adachi seems to be what Junpei could end up as if he ever has that one bad moment that causes him to be disgusted with the world in general.
  • On a lighter note, the Persona 4's Player Character's canon name is Yu Narukami. Get it?....'Cause You ARE Narukami.
    • It goes further than that. "Naru" can actually mean "become", thus "You become God", which is true for many SMT games (in a sense). But yes, your interpretation is valid too, because Izanagi uses Lightning-element skills.
  • Many people have said about Megami Ibunroku Persona that it seems quite similar to the main series SMT. For instance, you can still recruit demons (even if they can't be used in battle and it isn't really them). I've spotted another similarity: Kei wants you to use reasoning and logic to save the world from the changes made to it, while Masao wants you to follow your emotions to find a better solution. Thus, Kei is the Law Hero, and Masao is the Chaos Hero. This can be extended into saying that Naoya is the Hero: Kei and Masao both want him to listen to them. However, if he listens to either one of them at crucial points in the game, he gets a bad ending and ruins the world and his friends. Maki is therefore the Heroine, as she supports the Hero no matter what decision he makes. This is why the last spot in the party is for you to fill, and why Reiji is the canon fifth character - because he is the one who most resembles an old character, namely Ozawa. note 
  • Maki in Persona 1. Before she joins the party, she's a slightly unstable Ill Girl embittered by apparent lack of care from her mother and confined to the hospital. When she joins a little later, she is chipper and cheerful and, most importantly, perfectly healthy. Now, this is easily explained by the fact that you are dealing with an alternate Maki, the idealized version from a pocket dimension. In the ending, we know that the idealized version supplants Real!Maki's angry and embittered personality (to both of their benefit), but what got me was that previously, Real!Maki was, in fact, too sick to leave the hospital, let alone go to an amusement park (the manga implies that she has a heart condition). Then it hit me - the Deva System, which Maki was hooked into, allows the alteration of the physical world to suit the desires of whoever is controlling it. Kandori created Deva Yuga using it, and released all manner of monsters as well. It could well be that Naoya or one of the others on the team (or Maki herself!) used the Deva system to cure Real!Maki's physical ills, so that Ideal!Maki would have a healthy body to live her (notably happier) life in.
  • Ever noticed that YHVH isn't a Persona but Lucifer appeared as one in the games? Unlike YHVH, Lucifer is somewhat closer to humanity and the games seems to center on choices, and by extension free will. Something that YHVH hates, no doubt. YHVH is not a persona because he wants nothing to do with that, or because the protagonists aren't the type to relinquish their free will. They fight so that Humanity is free, mening that no matter who they are, YHVH would never be appropriate as their persona.
    • Another possible reason for YHVH's exclusion, as powerful as God is, YHVH is very much a Non-Action Big Bad. He prefering senfing his Dragons and underlings to do his dirty work or working In Mysterious Ways. In fact the various personae ofthen include all the classes of the Angels, some of the Archangels (Including the obvious quartet of Micheal, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael) and at one point Jesus Christ himself (albeit under a different name) as well as Lucifer, Lilith and other fallen angels. YHVH is not a persona because God works In Mysterious (but likely not benelovent) Ways, manipulating events from behind the scenes, not fighting directly even against Lucifer.
  • Why do Persona 3 and 4 begin in April? Because that, as T. S. Eliot so famously wrote, is the cruelest month.
    • Actually it's because the Japanese school year begins in April... but nice try.
  • In the original Persona, Ayase is incompatible with Judgement Personae because she made a poor judgement call regarding Toro.