"Once the star comes to a complete halt The Maia Maiden's heart stops with it What then remains is paradise on earth Marking the end and a new beginning" —"The Oracle of Maia"note (PSP translation), a brief description of the plot of Persona 2: Innocent Sin
Persona 2 is a duology of games released in 1999-2000 as an Urban Fantasy spinoff of the popular JRPG franchise Shin Megami Tensei. It is the second title in the Persona spinoff series developed by Atlus, which continued in 2006 with Persona 3.Innocent Sin (Tsumi) stars loner tough-guy Tatsuya Suou, a Japanese high school student from Sumaru City. A popular rumor going around the city states that if you dial your own cellphone number, a mysterious man named "Joker" will appear before you and grant you whatever you wish. When Tatsuya and his friends try this, Joker appears and marks them for death, accusing them of committing a crime against him which he can't remember. As the Joker Charm runs out of control and rumours start to become reality, Tatsuya and his friends must figure out why they're being targeted and stop Joker before it's too late.Eternal Punishment (Batsu) stars perky Intrepid Reporter Maya Amano, a Japanese journalist working in Sumaru City. A popular rumour going around the city states that if you dial your own cellphone number, a mysterious man named "JOKER" will appear and kill whoever you wish. Maya's investigations into the rumour lead her to being marked for death by JOKER, who accuses her of committing a crime against him on "The Other Side" which she can't remember. As the Joker Curse runs out of control and rumours start to become reality, Maya and her friends must uncover the mystery of "The Other Side" and stop JOKER before it's too late. And then there's a boy in a red jacket that Maya swears she has met before...Gameplay-wise, Persona 2 straddles a fence between the previous title and the sequels to follow. The grid-based battles are thrown out, along with the moon phase calendar (which made a comeback in Persona 3). The Contact system, however, is in full swing: In addition to your characters negotiating with demons in their own quirky style, selecting two or more will yield a new contact based on their relationships, which change over time. Though mainly a source of comedy, it would be perfected with Persona 3's Social Links.Summoning work much the same way, with "Fusions" enabling two or more Personas to unleash Combined Energy Attacks. Pretty sweet. Also new are "contracts" - when you make an enemy happy, they make a guarantee that they won't hurt you if made happy after that, and can also give you special items.Though the PSX version of Innocent Sinnever left Japan, Eternal Punishment was localized and released in North America in 2000. While it isn't necessary to play the first to understand the second, much of the fun of the second comes in spotting the changes between the two continuities. Atlus initially announced no plans in localizing Innocent Sin into English and later elaborated they had planned to release it, but were prevented from doing so; Depending on who you ask, the game was either Christmas Rushed or canceled outright due to content issues. A fan translation of this version was released in 2008. Atlus later admitted they were aware of it, but chose to not interfere with it.Innocent Sin was remade for the Playstation Portable with widescreen support, new art, enhanced demon negotiations, and the option to pick between the original and arranged soundtrack. It also slightly censored the more overt Nazi imagery at the end of the game that is widely believed to have prevented the PSX release from leaving Japan. This version of the game was released in North America in September of 2011, and in Europe in November 2011 published by Ghostlight, with Ghostlight planning a late 2011 deluxe release for Europe. It was confirmed that the second part of the game would also be remade and was released in May 17, 2012 in Japan with an extra scenario, but alas... However, the original PS1 version IS available on PSN for both PS3 and PSP. Hurray!Not to be confused with a game called Sin and Punishment, which are the Japanese subtitles in order of release.
Abomination Accusation Attack: With Katsuya and a female in your party, it's possible to slander demons by accusing them of groping one of the ladies.
Adults Are Useless: Averted - not only are the adults often the villains, but the player party in Eternal Punishment consists of mostly adults. To this day, Eternal Punishment is the sole Persona game boasting a party of adults with jobs as opposed to high school (and younger, such as elementary-aged Ken in Persona 3) students. And said adults are the ones who defeat Nyarlathotep in the end.
All Myths Are True: This is even a gameplay mechanic: by spreading new rumours you can suddenly have bars selling weapons under the table or lingerie stores carrying bulletproof vests.
This comes to bite you in the ass in Innocent Sin's ending. Have you ever heard of the Spear of Longinus?
All Your Colors Combined: All of the Ultimate Personas join up to perform the Grand Cross fusion (renamed Dragon Cross in EP).
Almighty Janitor: Toku, the hobo who plods around Honmaru Park (the ramen shop in EP) and dispenses rumors. He's no different from the other rumormongers, but his large vocabulary and sly grin are meant to evoke this.
Always Save the Girl: Tatsuya is dedicated to protecting Maya, which is mostly evident in Eternal Punishment.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: The urban legends peddled by Kashihara-sensei and Ideal-sensei are taken from real conspiracy theorists (including Ernst Zündel and others) who claim Hitler fled to Antarctica and has been sending out swaths of UFOs for decades. In fact, pretty much all of the conspiracies in Innocent Sin have been promoted by Zündel at one time or another. (Overlaps with Poe's Law.)
Anatomy Of The Soul: Joker's aim is to revive Xibalba using the "Dream Energy" taken from those who summon him. Eikichi witnesses this firsthand when his bandmates are zapped by Joker, reducing them to shells devoid of any willpower or aspirations. Over the course of the game, the threesome revert to shadow-like beings, then fade away entirely.
Ancient Astronauts: The main impetus behind Innocent Sin is a rumor that the Mayans were alien visitors from Maia, a star in the constellation Pleiades, which (thanks to Nyarlathotep), becomes retroactively true. Subverted, of course, in that this is due to Clap Your Hands If You Believe: After the Reset Button that triggers Eternal Punishment's plot, all supposed existence of Ancient Astronauts never existed.
Apocalypse Day Planner: Remarked on by Maya's coworkers during Eternal Punishment's prologue; the planets all aligned in the Grand Cross formation "this summer", but nothing happened. Those who've played the previous game remember things alittledifferently.
Co-Worker: All this fuss about Armageddon and Grand Cross, and nothing happened this summer... The more hype, the more people complain.
Apologetic Attacker: Some of Maya's battle quotes count as apologetic, such as "I'm sorry..." as a victory quote.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite the fact that he regularly fights demons with the help of an aspect of his psyche that manifests as a mythological figure, and despite all the crazy things that happen as the game goes on, Katsuya's reaction to any new strange thing still tends to be "that's impossible!"
Considering how insane the plot gets, can you blame him?
Ascended Extra: The party members of Eternal Punishment are this, save for Maya and Tatsuya, who were already important.
Apocalypse Hitler: So, someone decides to start a rumor that Adolf Hitler is still alive. Not a problem, right? Well, normally not. But what with this whole "rumors become reality" business... Long story short, Hitler boss fight!
Awesome, but Impractical: The ultimate Personas in Innocent Sin will vary. They are practical because they all have diverse and numerous spells which work very well together (meaning lots of fusion spells to use), are easy to get in the game, and mutate regularly. The impracticality is factored in with the SP costs, which are massive! note Because they all have Best compatibility with their users, their SP cost is dropped from the 70s to the 50s, but that's still insanely high compared to other Personas at the same compatibility levels. Even in their range and at supposed "Best" compatibility, they cost double of what other Personas at that level cost. In addition, there are other Personas who can match the synergy of the five used (at the costs of some fusions). Which trope they fall into really depends on whether or not you're willing to shell out money for SP regeneration items.
Badass Longcoat / Scarf of Asskicking: The Masked Four are easily spotted by their long black trenchcoats, brightly-colored scarves, and oval masks. It does a good job of hiding their real identities, since the party speaks to them in and out of costume.
Bag of Spilling: Used straight with most of the cast, but subverted with Tatsuya Suou in Eternal Punishment: he starts the game with his ultimate Persona from Innocent Sin. And, if you have save data from a finished version of Innocent Sin, he'll start Eternal Punishment at the level he was there.
Ballroom Blitz: Kasugayama High's festival is revealed to be the work of Joker, herding the dancers into the gymnasium to drain them.
Bavarian Fire Drill: Maya's clever trick of lighting a cigarette in the women's bathroom at SMILE Mall, setting off the fire alarm. It works so well, she does it again in the second game.
Beauty Contest: The "Miss Sevens" Pageant. Oft-referenced, not least of which by Lisa (noted to have won last year), but not actually seen in-game.
Be Careful What You Wish For: The thrust of this particular Persona, exemplified by the various NPCs throughout town, many of whom dial the Joker to fulfill their fondest wish. Cue the chaos.
The businessman eating in Gatten Sushi hopes for a promotion; He becomes the head of his company thanks to Joker, whereas in the alternate Eternal Punishment universe, JOKER murders his boss, thereby promoting him by default. In both games, the businessman is jubilant at his good fortune. The price, however, is the eventual loss of his will (transformed into a Shadow in Innocent Sin, brainwashed by the NWO in Eternal Punishment), preventing him from fulfilling any of his dreams ever again. A similar scenario plays out with the other NPCs.
This works from a gameplay standpoint, too. Some rumors have a 50-50 chance effect, which can either help or hinder your quest. For example, spreading a rumor about Parabellum hiring a bodyguard might result in the Bartender selling a powerful new gun... or he may just charge more for his old wares, using the bodyguard as an intimidation tactic.
Big Brother Instinct: Several of them, good freaking grief. Katsuya's the most obvious, as he actually has a little brother he will completely rework his life for, but the other male characters in Innocent Sin can count as well, Jun and Tatsuya (in both games) being the worst. Jun actually takes it upon himself to murder his best and only friends from ten years ago because he thinks they killed his Cool Big Sis and is later viciously protective of Tatsuya in some of the official media, if not Innocent Sin itself (and for possibly other reasons), while Tatsuya himself is driven entirely in Eternal Punishment to protect Maya. Obviously, hurting her — or in Katsuya's case, him — will be thelastthingyoudo.invoked
Big "NO!": Tatsuya at the end of Innocent Sin. He's got good reason, too — His friends have all forgotten him
Bittersweet Ending: Both Innocent Sin (Tatsuya loses Maya) and Eternal Punishment (Maya loses Tatsuya).
Black Knight: The Longinus 13 are a modern day equivalent of this. Also, robots. On top of being part of the Western Zodiac recurring theme, they may be based on Heinrich Himmler and his "roundtable" of 12 lieutenants.
The Blank: In Innocent Sin, Shadow Maya's character portrait is exactly the same, but her character sprite has no eyes (the only facial feature visible on the sprites) to make her effectively faceless when she shows up. It's the first of several signs that something is very wrong with her, though it's surprisingly easy to miss at first but for a subtle feeling of wrongness about her appearance.
Bleep Dammit: Invoked in the American version of Eternal Punishment, where Ulala swears like a drunken sailor, and Baofu occasionally swears, too. However; they intentionally only censor a couple letters...so you can tell what they're saying. Also doubles as Getting Crap Past the Radar.
Baofu: Who the f##k are you?
Ulala: "Don't underestimate me you *bleep*ing bastards!"
Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Maya and Yukino's Contact combination in Innocent Sin, with Maya playing the former and Yukino as the latter.
Book Ends: The beginning of Eternal Punishment has Tatsuya reunited with Maya in the new universe. The ending of Eternal Punishment has Maya reunited with Tatsuya in the new universe, though her reaction is different.
Since Persona can 'sense' the presence of their kin, the game is kind enough to alert you when a boss is near. This averts the possibility of waltzing straight into a boss encounter while still unprepared. When you approach a boss' doorway in Innocent Sin, Tatsuya (and other characters) can hear their Persona speaking to them. In Eternal Punishment, it's replaced with the sound of someone's heartbeat.
Bragging Rights Reward: The One-Hit Kill Fusion, Armageddon, pwns literally everything — even the final boss (but not Philemon, though; he repels it). Trouble is, you need to summon both Lucifer and Satan to cast it, and can obtain only one per playthrough. Which basically boils down to (you guessed it) 100% Completion. The only situtation which would call for Armageddon would be the Bonus Boss fight versus Philemon — who purposely deflects that spell.
Break the Cutie: Every single character hits this in both games at least twice (most of the end Innocent Sin is Jun demonstrating this, and if you make the wrong choice in Caracol, Yukino's the second-best example), but Lisa in Eternal Punishment is likely the most powerful, drastic example. In Innocent Sin, she's spunky, happy, able to kick ass, and is almost comically over-the-top in her pursuit of Tatsuya. If you wake her up in Eternal Punishment, however, she starts sobbing uncontrollably against Tatsuya's shoulders, asking him to take her along so she can help to make up for what she forgot. What possibly puts this above the other break-the-cutie moments in game (and the ones she herself suffers in Innocent Sin) is that she's NOT letting her feelings get in the way. She says that she won't bother Tatsuya and the others again, which, if you know Lisa is just... absolutely heartbreaking. This depression continues, too, at the end of the game (if you continue that route). She sobs on the shrine steps, and Eikichi (if you don't wake him) and Jun both approach her, trying to cheer her up because it's just so painful.
Lisa: I know you're troubled with a lot of things... I won't bother you... But... You have to take me with you! Don't leave me...!
Brother-Sister Incest: Metaphorically. The relationship between Maya and Tatsuya all through Innocent Sin is very plainly a big-sister/little-brother deal; if Tatsuya tries to express romantic feelings for Maya, she teases him and implies rather heavily that she doesn't and won't ever reciprocate. [[At the end of Eternal Punishment, they appear to have become Star-Crossed Lovers.]]
It's more her acting like the Cool Big Sis of the group rather than her simply seeing him as a little brother. Her reactions to Tatsuya's expressions of interest is no more or less romantic in nature than Lisa's, Lisa is just more open about it.
Burger Fool: PEACE Burger is back, this time featuring a cursed cashier who flexes her muscles in greeting. (Long story.)
But Thou Must: There are a few notable occasions where your actions and responses affect the plot (e.g. whether or not Anna Yoshizaka dies in Innocent Sin or you can mutate Maia into Maia Custom in Eternal Punishment) but on the whole, Thou Must.
Calling Card: Maya is handed a note reading "yOu'rE nEXt —JOKER" at the start of EP.
Cape Busters: The Longinus 13 are the Himmelsfeuer Marionetten-jaeger (Heavenly Fire "Marionette-Hunters"), with "Marionette" being Nazi shorthand for Personas. This means, in short, that their job is to hunt down Persona users. One stab from their spears will temporarily lock up that character's magic, making the battle much more of a chore.
What's interesting is that everyone from Eternal Punishment assists Tatsuya in some capacity in Innocent Sin (well, barring Katsuya), and vice-versa. Not only that, some of them reappear as bosses.
Chekhov's Gun: The spear of longinus at first seems to be used simply as a way to introduce a new status-effect, then it's used to kill Maya, and its historical relevance is used as the explanation for why she couldn't be healed.
Chekhov's Gunman: The first four playable good guys of Eternal Punishment all count save Maya, as she was already important. However, special mention goes to Baofu, who we first see in Innocent Sin as a drunken lout who gives the young Tatsuya and Jun a lecture in a flashback, and whom you barely can recognize even if you played Eternal Punishment, as he is missing his Cool Shades at the time.
Cthulhu Mythos: The games where it's referenced the most. Tatsuya's new story in the PSP remake of Eternal Punishment includes Randolph Carter as Chandraputra appearing and a boss fight against nearly every Lovecraft creature in the series. Including the main series design of Nyarlathotep. It even has Cthulhu and Dagon speaking R'lyehian. The regular game also has Lovecraft creatures as foes like Shoggoth, Byakhee, and others that also speak R'lyehian.
Chrome Champion & Evil Knockoff: Metal Daddy and Metal Mom, eyeless metal replicas of Eikichi and Jun's parents that are guarding Xibalba. They look and talk like the genuine article, scaring the pants off of Eikichi, who lives in fear of Kankichi on the best of days.
In Eternal Punishment, they've been replaced by robot versions of Eikichi, Lisa, and Jun to further torment their betrayer, Tatsuya. They wield the same Ultimate Personas, too, making this a retroactive Mirror Boss and quite possibly the toughest boss battle of either game.
City of Adventure: Sumaru City. It's a lot bigger than Mikage-Cho—boasting a sanitarium, casino, television studio, and a glitzy waterfront—and evidently it's a major port: The stores are run by an eclectic group of merchants (a Sheik, a British tailor, a French legionnaire cum waiter, an Americophile doctor, an Italian grifter, a gypsy, etc.). Tatsuya/Maya also get to explore terrain outside of the city limits.
City of Weirdos: Baofu comments that, with the curse in effect, Sumaru City is possibly the most dangerous place in the world.
This has all sorts of funky effects on the city. Holistic healing now suddenly has tangible results, i.e., chiropractors and hippie crystal therapy can cure poison and broken bones instantly.
Class Reunion:invoked Pretty much everynominal character from the first Persona reunites for this one. Even the dead ones. The only ones who didn't make it back are the Scrappies, Ayase/Alana and Masao/Mark. Fans hit the ceiling at having to put up with Tad again, so he was eventually written out, too.
Clock Tower: The steeple of Seven Sisters' High School.
Not to mention their corresponding Zodiac Shrines. Everything Scorpio is blue, everything Taurus is yellow, evertyhing Leo is red, and everything Aquarius is green.
Students at Seven Sisters High all wear colored ties/bows that correspond to their grade. First-year students wear green ties, second-year students (i.e. Lisa) wear red, and seniors (Tatsuya) are blue.
Combination Attack: Fusion Spells, where multiple party members combine spells to form a powerful attack.
Conspiracy Theorist: A pair of them: Akinari Kashihara and Maya Okamura, both History teachers at Seven Sisters High School. The former was just a hobbyist, a benign man who stumbled onto something he didn't fully comprehend. His partner got ahold of his manuscript and transformed it into something legitimately monstrous.
Continuity Nod: The PSP version of Innocent Sin adds a series of new side quests tied to a movie theater. The first two available take you to St. Hermelin (the school from the original Persona) and Karukozaka High School (from the series' Spiritual Predecessor and branching point of the continuity it takes place in, Shin Megami Tensei If).
At one point, when uncovering the masks for the ultimate Personas, Yukino mentions that it's "another sad story about masks" referring to her appearance in the Snow Queen quest in the original Persona
Coolest Club Ever: Club Zodiac, though the rear of the club is many times bigger than the dance floor.
Cordon Bleugh Chef: Exploited by the Shiraishi ramen lady, since the item on the menu is so bloody awful that nobody orders it unless they're really shopping for guns. It happens again to Maya, who is forced to choke down squid pasta (her most hated food) by Garcon Sojima in exchange for his wares.
Cosmic Chess Game: This is perhaps alluded to in Philemon's lair: The checkered floor resembles a chess board.
Crash into Hello: The ending of Innocent Sin and the beginning of Eternal Punishment. Tatsuya running into Maya, even picking up Maya's Iconic Item. Which stirs up feelings of deja vu in Maya...
Creator Cameo: "Tad" is a self-insertion by Scenario designer Satomi Tadashi, who previously cameoed in the first Persona.
Graphic Designer Soejima Shigenori appears as "Garcon Soejima", a French waiter/arms dealer at Claire de Lune.
The manager of the Seedy CD music store is Tasaki Toshiko, who composed Persona 2's music.
Lastly, the Demon Artist is modeled on Megami Tensei series artist Kazuma Kaneko (pre-haircut).
Dangerously Genre Savvy: The television broadcasts in Eternal Punishment reveal that agents of the NWO, comprised of celebrities and political elites, are aware of the rumour curse and are using it to their own advantage.
Darker and Edgier: Innocent Sin is dark, even by MegaTen standards. In the only ending, the heroes lose without really having accomplished much of anything, the world is destroyed, one of their number dies, and the only way they can squeak out anything resembling a happy ending is cutting a deal with Philemon that undoes everything that happened, both good and ill.
Day of the Jackboot: The Nazis take over the city (along with the rest of Japan?) without much fuss. Without any police, they only meet resistance from the Masked Four, the St. Hermelin grads, Principal Hanya(!) and some Sōhei monks camped out beside the Joker's temple. Their primary targets are the crystal skulls and Xibalba, which means that although tanks and droids are patrolling the streets, they aren't bothering the local businesses much—so you can still do your shopping unmolested.
The Day of Reckoning: The raising of the Mayan spaceship Xibalba, followed by the destruction of Earth. According to the Oracle of Maia, only the chosen few will survive, safe aboard the ship.
In Eternal Punishment, the prophecy varies a little bit. The Wang Long, fabled dragons that inhabit the planet's ley lines, will be called forth following a massive discharge of Kegare (or JOKER) energy.
Kiyotada Sumaru fits this role in a more general sense; he's a feudal warlord who once ruled the city during the Period Of The Warring States, but was assassinated by his own retainers. His malice lingers on as a mummy but, like Hitler, he's just a sock puppet for larger evil. The rumor that Sumaru's become a font of occult power is true as long as the NWO believes it is true; hence why their most skeptical member, the Police Chief, is the only one who doesn't hear him speak.
Demoted to Extra: Eikichi, Lisa, and Jun suffer from this in Eternal Punishment. They still play a role, although it is much more minor then before.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Twice. Not just Nyarlathotep, but Philemon as well, in the EX Dungeon. Though it's likely just temporary.... You get to literally punch Cthulhu out in Tatsuya's scenario, but he simply disappears after the fight.
Die or Fly: How the main characters unlock their latent Persona powers.
Dirty Cop: Some of the police officers in the Konan Police Department ( especially Captain Shimizu and most of the SAT operatives) are in league with the NWO.
Disc One Nuke: The Low-End Breaker Fusion Spell, which instantly kills whichever enemy has the lowest level. The only thing stopping it from being a full-blown Game Breaker is its inability to kill bosses (though rumour demons are fair game).
Both Maya and Jun lost their fathers when they were children; The former was a war correspondent who was killed in action, inspiring Maya to pursue a journalism career. Jun's dad met a mysterious (though no less grisly) demise when he tumbled into the gears of Seven Sisters' clock tower.
Door To Before: There's a portal in Nyarlathotep's realm which leads back to the city. (Actually, to be more precise, the whole metropolis is sucked into it by at that point, but you get the idea.) This ties back into Nyarlathotep's arrogance/weird sense of sportsmanship.
Downer Ending: Maya dies violently, Tatsuya's friends are ripped from him, and the world burns.
Ray of Hope Ending: Eikichi expresses an interest in hiring Tatsuya to lend street cred to his band (again), suggesting that they met yet become friends.
In Eternal Punishment, Maya and Tatsuya swap places at the conclusion of their stories: Tatsuya returns to the Other Side to live in Sumaru and create a future there, even with the world destroyed; his "This Side" counterpart now lives out his carefree youth—but now Maya is burdened with those old memories. Word of God is noncommittal about how it'll all work out. Shipping Maya/Tatsuya or Maya/Katsuya no longer seems feasible due to the risks and painful memories involved. "Big" Suou and "Little" Suou are getting along better, with Tatsuya lighting his brother's cigarette and inquiring about taking the police exam. Baofu and Ulala are also together, healing their respective wounds and running their own detective agency.
Easing Into the Adventure: In both games, the Player Character can't continue until you've talked to certain NPCs. Innocent Sin opens with Tatsuya staring down bullies, getting lectured by his teacher, and visiting Eikichi's garage band.
In Eternal Punishment, Maya can't leave the office until you've talked to everybody. She spends the rest of the prologue interviewing teachers at Seven Sisters about the JOKER killings.
Elemental Powers: Each Persona specializes in one to two elemental attacks, generally. This strictly applies to the cast's starting and ultimate Personae. The Final Boss of Innocent Sin,the Great Father, reflects each character's elemental preference with their own attacks.:
Light 'em Up: Maya's initial Persona, Maia, starts out only with the Hama spell, as does Kei's Persona Aizen Myouou.
The End of the World as We Know It: This was the stated goal of the Masquerade in the original: purging the Earth of sin and lifting mankind up toward becoming a new, enlightened race. The plan went sour when Nazis showed up, the finks. In the sequel, Tatsuya sets out to prevent this by retracing his steps and performing the opposite action whenever possible.
Enemy Without: The Shadow Sides. Rather than emerging directly from the heroes, they seem to have been engineered by Nyarlathrotep himself from the innate darkness of every human, to which he has a direct link.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Various rumormongers and merchants throughout the city. There are, in fact, two characters named Barkeep and Bartender.
Everyone Is Related: The main characters of Innocent Sin (with the exception of Yukino) were introduced each other as children, long before their eventual meeting in the game.
Evil Is Not a Toy: If you use the Joker Charm in Innocent Sin but don't have a wish (or refuse to tell it) then Joker turns you into a mindless zombie. In Eternal Punishment, using the Joker Curse will transform you into a Joker.
Evil Versus Evil: Nazis vs. the Masked Circle. We get to witness the Joker's personal falling-out with Der Führer.
Evolving Attack: Personas have a random chance of "Mutation" following a battle, which can do anything from raising it's stats, to unlocking a new power, to evolving into a brand new Poké— erm, Persona altogether.
Exposition Fairy: Your first random encounter is interrupted by a low-level goomba, Robin Goodfellow, who cheerfully explains the basics.
Facial Horror: In Innocent Sin, the Seven Sisters' school emblem is cursed, disfiguring anyone who wears it. It's not explicitly shown in-game, but the anime trailer contains the full face-melting results.
Fair Cop: Japan's answer to David Caruso, Katsuya Suou. In Persona 3, the news channel intervews a young man in his twenties (Tatsuya) training to be a cop like his brother.
Fake Difficulty: In Innocent Sin, the "theater" mode of bonus dungeons/scenarios does not allow you to save.
Five-Man Band: Lampshaded in Innocent Sin in that its characters do, in fact, comprise a rock band (Jun even plays synth). Note also that both of the "Big Guy" powerhouses are female. It fits better in Innocent Sin, because of the Masked Circle.
It's not quite fair to just hit Jun with that, as the entireInnocent Sin cast falls into this trope though Jun takes the cake with his parental issues, with his borderline Electra complex and mommy issues. They all at least have some problem or other with their fathers. In fact, the final boss of the game, Great Father, is a composite of all the characters' fathers.
Gag Nose: Tony, the laid-back foreign exchange student from Italy who sells trinkets to pay for tuition. You can spread a rumor that he's a fence for the Sicilian Mafia, resulting in — what else? — Tony becoming an illegal smuggler. He doesn't seem to mind, though.
Gameplay and Story Integration: When Ulala gets possessed by the JOKER in Eternal Punishment, she punches Maya and forces her to start the fight with some HP taken off.
In Eternal Punishment, the flashback scenes from Innocent Sin have Tatsuya talking; whereas Maya is silent... because in Eternal Punishment, Maya is the Silent Protagonist.
And in Innocent Sin, during the fight with Shadow Maya, everyone except for one character will be at low HP because of an attack used on them multiple times before fighting.
In Innocent Sin, Yukino gives up her Persona ability to have Jun reawaken his after Nyarlathotep strips him of his Persona. Because of this, Jun can use Durga, Yukino's ultimate persona.
In the end of Innocent Sin, everyone gets their pasts rewritten at the end so that that the adventure never happened, manifesting in Eternal Punishment as Bag of Spilling. Tatsuya retained his memory, however, so he starts off at Level 50 with his Ultimate Persona.
Genre-Busting: It's an RPG Urban Fantasy about saving the world and facing your fears and with psychological elements and it's a horror game like the other Megatens. And IS has one part with a Dating Sim element to boot.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Ulala swears like a sailor in the English version. Without getting an "M" rating for the stuff she says, they simply bleeped a lot of her cusses out...and they don't make a lot of effort to hide what she's saying.
Ulala: Shut up you (bleep)(bleep)! I'm gonna (bleep)ing kick your scrawny a(bleep)! You piece of sh(Bleep)!
Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: The NWO followers, all of whom dialed JOKER to fulfill their selfish desires, are reduced to walking recruitment posters: endlessly spouting party rhetoric, fascist arm outstretched, and constantly topping it off with Maya's stolen catchphrase ("LET'S THINK POSITIVE!").
The Ghost: Tatsuya and Katsuya's father in the PSX versions. To put it in context, everyone else's dad pops up in Innocent Sin (Maya's father is posthumously seen in a flashback), but not this guy. He technically appears during the final boss battle (as one of the Great Father's appendages); It's tricky to tell which one he's supposed to be, though, even in Kazuma Kaneko's concept art, though it is possible to take a guess by applying process of elimination. However, in Eternal Punishment's PSP remake, he appears in the new scenario.
Ghostapo: According to legend, Hitler is chilling in Antarctica with his elite forces.
God and Satan Are Both Jerks: At the conclusion of Innocent Sin, you discover that Philemon helped orchestrate the events of the series up to this point to test whether he or Nyarlathotep represent the more powerful aspect of humanity. Events that involved the destruction of Mikage-cho in the original Persona, the deaths of countless people (including Maya), and an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. The resulting dialog box gives you the option of punching him for what he's put everyone through.
Good Guy Bar: Parabellum gradually turns into one over the course of Maya's investigation. Baofu reveals himself by spinning on his stool, then convinces her to burn the effigy which keeps JOKER away, effectively starting the adventure. Later, as parts of the city keep getting blocked off or destroyed (Kei's penthouse winds up at the bottom of the sea), the party continues to rendezvous here. The barkeep is firmly on your side, as Baofu used him as a sort of test drive for the rumor curse.
Gratuitous English: "Let's Positive Thinking!", Ellen, some of Eikichi's battle quotes. Ellen usually gets it right, though. Eikichi, on the other hand...
Grave Marking Scene: At the end of the Eternal Punishment, Baofu and Ulala visit the grave of Miki, Baofu's old partner/lover who was murdered. Baofu makes his peace, while Ulala promises Miki that she'll look over him.
Guest Star Party Member: In Eternal Punishment, other than Ellen above, you can also recruit Nate from the first Persona. Both have grown up considerably.
Additionally, Yukino in Innocent Sin is one of the initial party members of Persona 1 — although she left early on unless you did the Snow Queen Quest that was Macekred out of the PSX US version.
Guide Dang It: The Ancestral Personas. In Eternal Punishment, they form the basis for a game-spanning Sidequest. Even meeting the requirements isn't enough, since you still need a FOOL card to summon the last Persona, and could scour the entire game without uncovering even one. All this to insta-kill a boss which isn't even difficult to begin with.
Hastur is an über-powerful, one-of-a-kind Persona whose card you can collect early in the game (Not that it'll do much good, as you need to be at a very high level to summon it), for free. The catch? Doing so requires talking to a specific NPC and imputing "HASTURCOMEFORTH" into a text prompt. Supposedly, a demon somewhere shares this information if you Contact it, but nobody has any clue which one; it appears in no FAQs or guides.
The Undersea Ruins treasure room. To reach the chests, you must Contact the Random Encounter Aeshma for help. Naturally, Aeshma is often difficult to pin down, and she won't unlock the room until you've Contacted her a dozen times or more. So get cracking, monkey.
One final way to twist the knife; you can also find and talk to her...only to give you the rumor of a fusion spell ingredient rather than what you want to know.
Hairstyle Inertia: The original "Masked Circle." Averted with Maya in order to mislead players.
Heroic Mime: Played With. In canon, Maya and Tatsuya both speak in both games, but the protagonist's speech (whichever one that is) isn't shown - in the Nyarlathotep flashback scene in Eternal Punishment's Mt. Iwato, Maya says "........." and Tatsuya speaks, whereas in Innocent Sin, Maya would have spoken, and Tatsuya wouldn't.
History Repeats: Much of Eternal Punishment is a re-imagining of events in Innocent Sin. This is partly because Tatsuya's memories of the Other Side are affecting the current reality.
Hot Scoop: Maya, Yukino, and even Fuji are examples of this trope.
Humanoid Abomination: Nyarlathotep whenever he assumes human form. The Shadow Sides qualify, as well.
The Nazis are never seen without their gas masks, and are covered from head to toe in black uniforms. Given their origin (a rumor) and the fact that Hitler turns out to be another of Nyarlathotep's alter-egos, it's strongly implied that they're all just manifestations.
Iconic Item: Boy howdy. Tatsuya Suou and Jun Kurosu have the two most prominent ones (Tatsuya's lighter was originally Jun's father's, and Jun's watch was originally Tatsuya's father's; they switched items in a display of friendship), but Maya also has Mr. Bunbun. Flowers, too, seem to represent Jun, as the opening video for Innocent Sin demonstrates.
Frankly, lots of characters in this crazy duology have special items. Katsuya's glasses, Yukino's camera or at least the one she got from her crush, and Philemon's mask count, just to name a few extras.
I Know Kung-Faux: Eikichi is terrified of his conservative dad, especially since Kankichi claims to knows 18 forms of martial arts - "including capoeira!"
The Illuminati: Another parody. The New World Order, as often happens in this city, started out life as a nonentity: A loose consortium of developers who owned the excavation site where Sumaru's mummy was found. Believing it to be a cursed idol, the group formed an elite circle which attracted a number of power players in Japan's political sphere until, finally, they had "the power to move this country."
Improbable Weapon User: Jun uses flowers to attack, Baofu throws coins, and Eikichi uses machine guns disguised as guitar cases.
In Medias Res: To people familiar with other games of the franchise, it can sure seem like we're starting in the middle of things in Innocent Sin; how come there's no super-extended scene of actually being granted Personas and everyone just seems to have 'em already? Turns out this is a very important plot point, and had people not pushed certain events out of their minds this whole mess would never have happened.
America had this worse for a while since Innocent Sin was only released in Japan, making Eternal Punishment harder to follow. Fortunately Innocent Sin was finally released on the PSP in the U.S. with a remake of Eternal Punishment expected to be on the way sometime in the future.
In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Each catastrophe in these games can be traced back to a individual's anxieties and desires. When earth blows up at the end, Nyarlathotep crows that it was our biggest wish fulfillment of all.
Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: The "Longinus 13", so named for the Knights of the Round Table as well as the gigantic spears they carry around. The Tenchu Army in Eternal Punishment have their own mecha squadron (the X-series), as well.
The Internet Is for Porn: Using the Contact option in battle, demons will occasionally ask the player what the internet is for. OBVIOUSLY, one of the options — no matter who is being asked — is to say that it's for porn. It's always funny.
Intrepid Merchant: Narumi is built on the peninsula, and gets obliterated when Sumaru City rises. One rumor later, though, and all of the merchants/rumormongers magically relocate.
Ironic Echo: Maya's catchphrase ("LET'S BE POSITIVE!") becomes the slogan of the New World Order.
Kaiju Defense Force: Majority of the enemies later on in Eternal Punishment are JGSDF soldiers recruited by Sugawara. This distinction was not made clearly in the international version when EP was released overseas in the Playstation.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Used in the ending ofInnocent Sinto create a timeline where the world isn't screwed.. Hell, Eternal Punishment is a Deconstruction of what happens when you decide you'd rather subvert the trope and risk having the world end again, on top of none of your friends not remembering you or your adventures.
Last Kiss: In Eternal Punishment if you say the right thing to Tatsuya on a Dialogue Tree, he will give Maya a kiss before giving up his memories of the "other side" thus making any chance of the relationship happen null and void. Though he states that their souls are connected and that they can meet again.
Last Name Basis: Even after 40+ hours of gameplay, Officer Suou still insists on addressing Maya as "Ms. Amano". This just adds to his overall adorkability.
Maya's editor, Mizuno, is a less-friendly example as she constantly barks "'Amano!'" in place of her name.
Level Drain: The "Prophecy" spell, which resets a Persona's rank to 1. Given that a Persona's spells and stats come mostly from gaining ranks, and going from rank 1 to rank 8 often takes several hours of grinding, this can be pretty inconvenient.
Levitating Lotus Position: Shaka (aka Budha), a hidden Persona in Aoba Park/Bomb Shelter (area 2 in Eternal Punishment). Also, Virocana (Area 7, Eternal Punishment).
Limited Wardrobe: Three years between games, and Saeko Smith and Principal Harding still haven't changed out of their outfits.
Not to mention Jun who also has feelings for Tatsuya. (Jughead?)
Sibling Triangle: In Eternal Punishment, both Tatsuya and Katsuya are clearly infatuated with Maya. Katsuya's Shadow taunts him with this fact, trying to pursuade him to shoot Tatsuya. Katsuya says that while the Shadow is right about his feelings, he loves his brother anyway, and shoots the Shadow instead.
Made of Evil: "Kegare" is basically the essence of sin, hatred and malice, and in Eternal Punishment, Jokers are full of it. The New World Order starts draining people of their Kegare for their latest nefarious scheme.
Mirror Match: The Shadow Sides of both games. They wield "Reverse" versions of your characters' Ultimate Personas. This makes for some amusing pre-battle banter, with the Reverse Persona declaring their plans to usurp their counterpart, and the real one telling them where to stick it. However, if you defeat them while equipped with their ultimate Personas, then they get a power boost and some weaknesses removed.
Mouthful of Pi: At the start of Innocent Sin, one of Tatsuya's schoolmates is shown being chastised by his teacher for "cheating". The student claims Joker granted his wish to become super-smart, and proves it by reciting the first 100 digits of Pi from memory. The teacher is unimpressed.
Neck Lift: Tatsuya is first introduced to Joker via this greeting.
Neck Snap: Makoto's (Ellen's stalker) fate after the second fight. He survives it though, which tips off Katsuya that there is more to this guy than there should be.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The driving force behind the plot of Eternal Punishment turns out to be due to Tatsuya Suou's retaining his memories.
A vast majority of the bad stuff that happens in Innocent Sin simply wouldn't have occurred if the PCs decided to stay home. For instance, the "Masked Circle" starts off as a teensy group with a mere handful of members (not that the player knows this at the time). Then you wander around town trying to scrounge up information on its sinister doings, only to discover that no one had ever heard of the Masked Circle, let alone that it's up to no good. Consequently, you unintentionally start the rumor that the Masked Circle is a huge evil cult-conspiracy. Very soon afterwards you'll find that a very large portion of the otherwise innocuous NPCs who hang around the city are now members.
Eternal Punishment plays things similarly with the heroes ending up essentially advertising the villain organization by "leaking" information.
Noob Cave: Seven Sisters High School in both games.
No Swastikas: In the PSP remake of Innocent Sin, Hitler is given a trenchcoat and sunglasses and is simply called "Führer" when he shows up (Even if it's obvious it's still him).
The swastikas in cutscenes are also changed to Iron Crosses.
Non-Elemental: Almighty attacks are non elemental magic, which is elemental since some demons and Personas are weak or strong to all type of magics when it's not all type of attacks. Even a few opponents are specifically immune to Almighty attacks, like Dark Alice and the Big Bad first form. That being said, there are a few attacks with no element at all like Another Dimension or Death Roulette. Most of them are instakill attacks.
Eikichi also wonders aloud at being stuck in a game (the time-worn cliche of schoolkids saving the world for great justice) if you talk to him in the shrines.
and then played straight in Eternal Punishment. Doing things over did not allow Tatsuya to escape the Eternal Punishment of his Innocent Sin; he has lost Maya and he will never be able to change that.
Not-So-Phony Psychic: Sumaru Genie is infamous for her bogus readings. A rumor will fix that. Actually, we learn she was originally just a neighborhood raver (and a man) before rumors transmogrified her into some sort of Prince of Persia character.
Number One Dime: Tatuysa's engraved cigarette lighter, and Jun's watch. They swapped them as children.
One-Hit Kill: Hama and Mudo are back in this game, fulfilling their instant death roles. New to this game are the odds of Nazi Soldiers killing your allies in one hit too. Any enemy with Aimed Shot can perform this as well. Same goes for Shadow Katsuya's Vice Shot
One-Liner Echo: In both games, right before facing off with the final boss.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Shadow Maya in one of the dungeons in Innocent Sin. Despite obviously putting no effort into imitating Maya, this fools even Yukino, who has been working with Maya for longer then the game.
Party in My Pocket: Mostly. Party members do appear as NPCs in dungeon "rooms", but everywhere else it's just the main character running around.
Pirate: The barkeeper of the Jolly Roger seafood joint. He simply will not shut up the sea.
Police Are Useless: One police precinct for an entire city, eh? Tatsuya's brother is a Sergeant in the Konan ward, and even HE is an obstinate jerk who ignores all evidence of a growing cult in Sumaru.
Prophetic Names: Two characters named "Maya", an important being in Hinduism.
The Psycho Rangers: Joker deploys evil clones of your party members after the Nazis invade. They were given full form thanks to a rumor about the group of five that set fire to the Museum.
This is wryly suggested from the Masked Four's origin story, since they're based on Jun's 'old 'Phoenix Featherman'' cosplay group; hence the masks. They make excellent foils for Tatsuya's party: Leo/Sudou's and Suou's names are almost identical, and both are Fire elementals with an affinity for the Leo sign on the Zodiac; Aquarius/Junko is a fair approximation of how Lisa might have ended up: a former Miss Sevens now stuck in the past, discarding her trophy husband once the novelty wears off. Scorpio/Anna is the wounded flower whose tragic past is channeled for villainous ends (Jun). Taurus/Ginji is an aging Lothario and has-been rocker who waxes lyrical at inappropriate times (can't think who he's supposed to represent).
Pyrrhic Victory: Well done! You beat Nyarlathotep, and he's laughing all the way to the bank: Your surrogate sister's dead, your planet's wreathed in the flames, and the only way to reverse it is to sacrifice your newfound friends. And then, there's the added insult of him being left free to engineer Earth's destruction all over again... Of course this means all they did during the game was for no reason at all and it's pretty much just a big Game Over, please load your latest save (which was 10 years ago).
Putting on the Reich: The NWO salute ("LET'S THINK POSITIVE!") is a sieg heil, mirroring the Nazis on The Other Side.
With the "rumors become reality" effect going around, everyone capable of spreading rumors becomes this. Both the good guys and the bad guys utilize this in story and in gameplay (in Eternal Punishment, for example, if you piss off a demon while equipped with an ultimate weapon, they will spread a rumor that greatly weakens it). Later in the games, Lisa (IS) and Ulala (EP) laments not being able to tell what's real anymore.
Reality-Writing Book: A non-book example. Rumors become true if enough people hear about them (this is due to a demon dicking with humanity). No writing needed, just word of mouth. Mostly this results in Urban Legends becoming true, but at one point the player characters themselves take advantage of it.
Replacement Goldfish: The Masked Four are fashioned after the group that Jun played with as a child.
Ret Gone: Getting turned into a shadow-person by Joker causes most people to forget they ever existed, while they stand in one spot, eternally drowning in self-pity for not being able to pursue their dreams.
Retconjuration: The ending to IS. The simplest way to make everything right is for the original Masked Circle to never meet each other.
Revolving Door Casting: Igor is the only true consistent in the whole Persona series; while Philemon appears from time to time; he doesn't play a crucial role outside of Persona.
The Time Castle guy in Eternal Punishment is aware of it when you use a rumor to make his shop sell and duplicate spell cards. Actually, he's Nyarlathotep, chilling with you, selling you the stuff you need, invites you to relax... and talk a bit about your next moves...
School Newspaper News Hound: Chika "Chikalin" Ueda is a reporter for Sevens' school newspaper. She operates out of Peace Diner as a rumormonger. In the NA version of Eternal Punishment, Chikalin makes a habit of saying "Roger-dodger!".
She Is All Grown Up: Applies to the entire Innocent Sin cast, most notably Lisa — who was often teased about her looks as a child, and grows up to be the most envied girl in Seven Sisters — and Eikichi, who starts out as a pudgy, shy loser. This also applies to Maya, whose appearance has changed so drastically that no one from the party recognizes her.
Shown Their Work: More or less. Japanese tradition mentions the existence of kotodama (言霊) a concept in which words have impact on reality; by repeating often words such as "crisis" and "depression", for instance, one becomes a target for the feelings those words convey; relate this to the rumor-based alterations to reality. It's even mentioned in EP that Kandori and Lord Sumaru were brought back by the power of the Kotodama.
Smoking Is Cool: Baofu celebrates his kills by lighting up. The Shiraishi Ramen Lady also has a cigarette dangling from her mouth.
Sound Effect Bleep: Ulala's rather... spirited speech. The bleeping is a bit inconsistent, though. It seems to pick up a good deal whenever it's a part of a voiced cutscene or a battle quote (main offender being the scene with the crazy stalker with a chainsaw in the television studio), but text-only scenes get away with only some minor Symbol Swearing.
This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Some party members have to complete some personal quest without assistance from Tatsuya and company in order to unlock more powerful versions of their Persona.
Token Minority: The Caucasian Lisa Silverman from Innocent Sin, raised in Japan her entire life by her Japanophile parents. She's the only non-Japanese playable character in the series to date, discounting non-human characters like robot girlsAigis and Labrys (and both were created in a Japanese lab), and the sentient ShadowTeddie (and his own Persona is lifted from Japanese myths). Sumaru City in general also has a large array of foreigners, which the original game and its sequels mostly lack.
In Eternal Punishment, Baofu is originally introduced as a man of Taiwanese descent, but it turns out that he's Japanese, which his Shadow self reveals.
The Tokyo Fireball: Inverted — the city transforms into a flying machine while the rest of the world burns. This is destined to happen in both realities. Sumaru City isn't quite let off the hook, however; Nyarlathotep draws it into his reality in Eternal Punishment, ripping the town apart and leaving it adrift.
The Unintelligible: Zig-zagged with the negotiation system to some degree. Certain demons (in Eternal Punishment, it's the demons that talk about the cosmos or Yog-Sothoth) will talk about absolutely random things with the player having to give random responses that may or may not piss off the demon. However, in the terms of basic negotiation, what worked once is almost always going to work again when used repeatedly.
Also zig-zagged with a type of enemies that speak utter gibberish during the negotiations. Some are worth great laughs though!
There Are No Therapists: There actually is a therapy clinic in both games that goes for a very cheap price and is so wonderfully effective that it's enough to heal physical wounds of any degree just by talking to the therapist, who is coincidentally the previous game's final boss (she got better)! Needless to say, it does nothing for the gigantic buttload of issues faced by every member of the cast in either game. Just heals their wounds, yup.
Unexpected Gameplay Change: Steering a hovercraft down the Amano River. It's a bit of a breather and not really difficult; you still fight random encounters and occasionally pick a direction to turn, similar to Final Fantasy VI's Serpent Trench.
Unreliable Narrator / Sympathetic P.O.V.: In Innocent Sin, Katsuya acts more strict, as it's told from Tatsuya's point of view. However; he doesn't quite act the same in Eternal Punishment, where the story is told from Maya's point in view.
Unwitting Pawn: The Masquerade cult is a representation of their master's long reach; among Nyarlathotep's many names is "God of a Thousand Faces", and his fourth and final boss form is covered in white Shy Guy masks, making his connection to them clear. Likewise, the various JOKERs spawned by the New World Order are just sporting a variant of the white mask.
Verbal Tic: The cashier at PEACE Burger speaks in an antiquated style of Japanese, a condition caused by a unkind rumor. The effect is sadly lost in the English localization; there, they say she "talks like a ninja" but this doesn't really come across in text.
Both the fan and official translations of Innocent Sin retains the effect far better by giving her speech a Shakespeare-ish dialogue range, which give the impression she is trying overly hard to be formal, which, given the limitations of the English language, is a fair analogue to the original.
Casino Park & Minigame Zone: At the start, Mu Continent is just an innocuous arcade. It becomes a casino offering slot machines, a roulette wheel, and video poker after you spread a rumor, and there's an optional dungeon attached.
Death Mountain: Mt. Katatsumuri in Innocent Sin, and Mt. Mifune in the subsequent game.
Noob Cave: Seven Sisters High School and its accompanying Clock Tower in both games.
One Time Dungeon: Most of the dungeons are these. When you try to reenter, a member of your party will bark at you to stop goofing off, or explain that they don't need to go there. In any case, most of them get destroyed anyway (either by Sudou during his reign of terror, or Zodiac Shrines that sprout in their place). The Narumi ward is lost forever after the city rises from the sea, as it was a later addition.
Where It All Began: Rengedai in general, as each of the key locations are strategically placed there. Both games start out at Seven Sisters, and the Naruato Stone in the courtyard is a portal to Xibalba. In Eternal Punishment, Sumaru Castle erupts from a park much like the previous game's shrines did. And, of course, the Araya Shrine is here (and is linked to Monado Mandala).
The other good example being Baofu, who throws coins at people.
More improbable: There's a scene with Baofu flipping coins at a guy with two machine guns, and HE gets the better of him.
Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Chiropractor Tomi got his medical degree in the states and returned with a passion for all things U.S.A. It's not even humanly possible to be wearing more flag apparel than Dr. T. is.
Wham Level: Mt. Iwato in both games, which offers a lot of plot twists.
Wham Line: The games in general are filled with these because the writers pulled absolutely no punches. Every plot twist great and small can hit like a shot to the gut. Even if you see them coming, especially because they build up perfectly logically from what's gone on before, they are vicious and perfect. They're two of Atlus's most tightly plotted games.
Wistful Amnesia: In the Beginning Dungeon of Innocent Sin, the gang cry in presence of Maya - their unconscious memories of her triggered the event. Also, what Jun, Eikichi and Lisa experience in the ending of Eternal Punishment.
You Are Number Six: Hitler's personal guard, the Longinus 13, which in German translates to "Eins," "Zwei," "Drei," etc.