Video Game / Persona 4

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/persona_4_3425.jpg
Trapped in a maze of relationships.note 

Life is truth, and never a dream...
All souls know this from birth...
The truth is something that is chosen and grasped...
Something discovered with one's vision and will.
Only by gaining that does the seeker become truth himself,
a cord that connects past and future.

Persona 4 is an Urban Fantasy Role-Playing Game Spinoff of the popular Shin Megami Tensei JRPG franchise (specifically, the Persona sub-series), made by Atlus for the PlayStation 2.

You are an Ordinary High-School Student moving to the rural town of Inaba for one year while your parents are working abroad. Soon after you settle into your new home with your uncle and young cousin, a series of impossible murders begin to rock the sleepy town: victims who suddenly disappear, only for their bodies to be found hanging upside down from telephone poles with no obvious cause of death.

Meanwhile, you decide to check out a new Urban Legend called the "Midnight Channel": supposedly, if you stare into the screen of a switched-off television set on a rainy midnight, an image will appear that shows your soulmate. However, when you try it out, you instead discover a strange alternate world on the other side of the television screen, shrouded in a perpetual, oppressive fog.

Someone or something is kidnapping innocent people and throwing them into this world, where the monstrous Shadows that inhabit it will eventually kill them. Using a mysterious inner power called "Persona", you and your friends form an investigation team to rescue the kidnapped victims before they are killed and solve the mystery of who is responsible.

Persona 4 takes place in the same universe as all the other Persona games, and begins almost exactly a year after the events of "The Answer" in Persona 3 FES. The game runs off the Persona 3 engine and even on the same console, but with some upgrades to the graphics and different game mechanics. Most of Persona 3's main features return, including the popular Social Links and the calendar day system - just as in Persona 3, the game takes place within an entire school year.

One major difference is that instead of the player climbing one long tower for much of the game's combat, the player instead enters the TV World and has access to multiple dungeons that unlock as the story progresses. Plotwise, the setting is rural versus the urban setting of Persona 3, which creates an entirely different feeling and plays against the game's main themes. Notably, some of the sexual overtones present in earlier Persona titles have returned in this one.

The game has spawned a plethora of related works, including:

Persona 4 is considered by many to be one of the best JRPGs of its generation (and more generally, in the upper echelons of the wider genre), received universal acclaim and won many awards on release, and deftly followed up on the spur of interest caused by Persona 3, cementing the SMT franchise's place in the Western gaming mainstream at last. It has also been called the PlayStation 2's last great game, a very bold claim, but this excellent game is definitely a candidate for that. As the related works above show, the success was enough for it to be an entire Cash Cow Franchise of its own, with spinoffs, adaptations and extra releases all based on just the one game.

Also, unlike other Shin Megami Tensei games, it is so happy that its dominant Color Motif is bright yellow. Seriously, even comparing it to its immediate predecessor, Persona 4 is quite possibly the most upbeat and positive game about Serial Killers ever made. The Golden takes this Up to Eleven by having an opening that can only be compared to The Beatles.

Since April 2014, the original game has been available for download on the Play Station Network.

Persona 4 and its spinoffs provides examples of:

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    Tropes A-F 
  • Aborted Arc: Sayoko's social link begins strongly emphasizing her sexuality, having her hit on the player, talk about doctors she'd seduced at previous hospitals, and even having the wife of a doctor she'd slept with track her down to cuss her out. However, by the middle of the link, her sexual past gets entirely dropped in favor of her guilt over a former patient dying. The rest of her link deals with her overworking herself due to guilt and grief, with no further mention of sexuality or infidelity. Granted, though, the interlude does have some significance, as after the incident with the doctor's wife, she expresses some of her cynicism and disillusionment with her job.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Yosuke describes Chihiro as "The most bewitching bespectacled beauty I've ever… beheld!" and even pauses briefly whilst he thinks of a word for "seen" that starts with the letter B.
    • Also, Shadow Kanji "searching for sublime love that surpasses the separation of the sexes".
  • Adult Fear:
    • The last victim of the kidnapper is your little cousin Nanako. Her father goes through absolute hell, alongside you.
    • You know how in Real Life, serial killers tend to be people the victims know, right? Well, the person pulling the strings here is none other than Tohru Adachi, Dojima's partner, who's visited the family on at least two occasions.
    • When making the choices that determine your ending, if you want to give in and punish her kidnapper? You will get the Bad Ending and Nanako will die. It's a really easy option and one that many newbies are likely to take, and then BAM. Kid is 100% dead, and you'll lose the chance to get her back. And this is amped up in Persona 4 The Golden: Adachi is actually one of your Social Links. So make the wrong decisions and Adachi not only gets a Karma Houdini, but he mocks you over it even when you're leaving Inaba. Happy "Accomplice" Ending, MC.
    • What, just the Protagonist? It may be less spectacular, but the interaction with Mrs. Hisano Kuroda touches pretty close on how awful it is to watch your spouse die before you, as well as the pain of old age and having a loved one suffer from memory loss. Yeah, Mr. Kuroda had Alzheimers, thank you. (Even if it's not treated by name).
    • If you make the right choices after the November dungeon, you find that Namatame also had it very rough. Not only was his whole life destroyed because of his affair, he also had to sit and watch two people, including his lover, dying right in front of him, helpless to do anything. And then, right after that, he was tricked by Adachi into almost murdering several innocent people. No wonder everyone thought he was mentally unstable at the end of the game.
  • A.I. Roulette: And that is the only break the game will ever give you. It's also the only thing keeping the Magus enemies (who can use multiple elements) from exploiting your weakness endlessly.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: In-universe example: After Morooka is murdered in July, Yosuke expresses pity for him.
  • Alice Allusion: The Persona, Alice, who Teddie crossdresses as for a beauty pageant.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: More like gods in Yasoinaba.
  • All in a Row: Averted. The party members visibly follow you around in the TV world, but at a distance in a sort of loose formation.
  • All Myths Are True:
    • Major figures from Japanese Mythology actually exist inside the TV world, though it's left ambiguous whether they're Anthropomorphic Personifications of their myths or the myths are indeed based on them.
    • Golden muddies the waters a little, as while Izanami of the TV world really is the goddess of Japan, Marie makes it clear that she, Ameno Sagiri and Kunino Sagiri, are manifestations of humanity's collective unconscious wish. You only get this tidbit if you maximize her Social Link and save her before earning the True Ending. (And of course, given what all gods are in the wider setting, this might ultimately be the difference between two related species of apples.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The battle against Ameno-Sagiri, God of Fog, takes place in a trippy location full of moving black and red lines in the skies above Magatsu Inaba.
  • An Aesop: The lesson at the end of the game is that it's best to seek and face the truth, no matter how bad it is. Because by knowing the truth and accepting it, you can start to move on. The fog throughout the game is a metaphor for how most of humanity is more comfortable believing in convenient lies, because they're afraid to accept the truth.
    • More or less extends into the social links as well, which all revolve around finding a truth to your life- accepting yourself, others, and dealing with your identity.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Since you lose the game if your main character dies, other characters will jump in and take a hit that would normally kill him so long as their social link is at least level 1 (level 9 in Golden). This only applies to single-target attacks, but at Level
    • Naoto's Social Link is the last to be introduced, and you thus have the least amount of time to do it. To avoid serious pressure problems, her social link can be done on rainy days.
    • Players can fast-travel to various portions of the overworld map when not in the TV World with just a single button, in comparison to needing to manually walk everywhere in Persona 3.
    • The Golden adds multiple others as well:
      • The ability to "skip through" both animated cutscenes and dialogue sequences, particularly handy when starting a New Game+ or facing Kunino-Sagiri.
      • On a game over, restarting will allow the player to resume play on the same dungeon floor they died upon, rather than at their last save point. This option can be turned off, and is unavailable on Very Hard mode, though.
      • When Fusing personas to create new ones, the player can choose manually which skills are passed on from the fusion, rather than needing to "reshuffle"note  in order to re-decide what skills are randomly passed on. This makes Margaret's Social Link much easier to complete.
      • Rather than needing to try and "catch" persona cards during Shuffle Time, which requires a combination of perception, memory and reflexes, all of the useful cards are immediately displayed for the player and the player can then manually select which one they choose. As part of this, Shuffle Time also lost the Blank Cards (nothing, but chance of getting an Arcana Card in either the upright or reverse position) and X-cards (lose all items, experience and cash received from the fight) and regained the Minor Arcana Cardsnote  from Persona 3.
      • In a New Game+ on Golden, you can select anytime what the difficulty is going to be like. As in going to Settings and manually change how much or little you get EXP, money, how badly you take damage, etc.
      • The aforementioned "fast travel" method now allows a player to immediately skip up or down a level once they have found the stairs in a dungeon, making it easier to get around.
      • A minor one, but with the new Costume feature, you can play as Teddie in his human form, which gets rid of the squeaking sound when he walks.
      • If you manage to get at least the Normal ending in Golden, where the Playstation version normally skips to the ending in next March you instead get to play through every day between taking down the killer and the final day spent in Inaba, giving you significantly more time to max out social links, get the persona compendium, and just generally giving a larger grace period for 100% Completion.
    • Weirdly, averted with The Golden; there are no longer save points/escape points to be found outside of the boss's chambers in the dungeons, making Goho-Ms much more necessary if the party isn't prepared for the final battle of a given dungeon.
  • Anti-Grinding: The stronger you get, the less EXP you get from fights. Your characters don't get "tired" like in P3, but eventually you'll simply run out of SP and run out of ways to recover outside of simply leaving the TV Worldnote  (Although with The Golden, by the time you get to Nanako's dungeon you can easily grind endlessly, assuming you've maxed Rise's S. Link and gotten her to Level 62, which gives you HP and SP recovery, respectively, at the end of every battle) Alternatively, there's a rare Persona ability called "Victory Cry" which gives the player (Just the player) a complete restoration of HP and SP (The only exception is Marie's dungeon which your HP and SP are halved after every battle).
  • Apocalypse How: A downplayed version near the end as the fog covering Inaba makes the people more and more apathetic & erratic.
  • Arc Words / Catch Phrase:
    • "You're NOT me!"
    • "I am a Shadow... The true self..." / "我は影、真なる我" (literally "We are Shadow, a reflection of the True self.")
    • And also Nanako's habit of singing the Junes jingle. "Every day's great at your Jun~es!"
    • While not technically spoken by any character, the game itself reminds you (through song, no less!) to reach out to the Truth in about 90% of the game's battles, though less so in Golden because "Reach Out To The Truth" is reserved for when the player gets Advantage.
    • Continuing in that vein: "The Search for the Truth"
    • And the arc words for the entire Persona series: "I am thou... thou art I."
    • Arc words for the animation? "Bonds of people is the true power."
    • The word "promise" is frequently used in Teddie's character arc and social link.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Naoto's chosen weapons are guns, which aren't any more effective than the MC's swords, or even Chie's kicks. Less so in some cases.
  • The Artifact:
    • Shadows on the map will sometimes look like Persona 3's "Maya" series enemies, none of which appear in 4. The introductory cutscene to the game's first real fight makes it pretty clear that the Shadows can start out looking like the Maya enemies before transforming into their freaky battle shapes. That being said, none actually remain as a pathetic masked blob to go into battle, though there is unused enemy data for them.
    • Maxing out a S-link will note that you forged a bond that can not be broken. This was important in 3 where bonds that were not maxed would break after time, now it is mostly just congratulatory. Unless it's Ai's Social Link.
    • The final boss theme includes Triumphant Reprises of "I'll Face Myself" and "Reach Out to the Truth". With Golden replacing "Reach Out to the Truth" with "Time to Make History" as the new main battle theme (though "Truth" still plays when there's a Player Advantage, these are somewhat uncommon), the reprise loses a bit of its impact in the rerelease.
  • Artificial Riverbank: Samegawa Floodplain, one of the areas around Inaba that can be explored.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • FSteak is now canon. Interestingly, it was a happy accident; in the original Japanese, "fusuteki" is used.
    • Yosuke getting stuck in the trash can, a minor scene in both the game and anime. The opening to Persona 4 Golden shows Yosuke dancing with a trashcan over his head.
  • Asshole Victim: Morooka doesn't do or say a single solitary pleasant or likeable thing throughout the entire game, but it doesn't justify murder, and the characters say as much while discussing his death.
  • Assimilation Plot: After the string-puller decides Adachi is the truest representation of humanity, the real world starts becoming engulfed in fog, so that everyone can become Shadows and can wander forever without suffering.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!:
    • When the protagonist awakens to Izanagi, the track ("Awakening") slowly climbs from a piano intro to a guitar solo that's downright metal.
    • The main battle theme, "Reach Out to the Truth", is a vocal rock/J-pop song. In Golden, "Time To Make History" becomes the new main, equally rocking main battle theme.
    • Nearly every boss theme is an imposing hard rock song: the fast-paced metal track "I'll Face Myself (-Battle-)" for the Shadow Selves and optional bosses, the droning, dreary, glitchy "A New World Fool" against Kunino-sagiri and the Killer, the triumphant "The Almighty" when fighting Ameno-sagiri, and "The Fog" for the first phase against the true final boss, Izanami.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Fox's healing leaves, which instantly heal your SP in a dungeon (and unlike in most other SMT games, SP recovery items can't be bought from stores normally), but cost a fortune until the higher ranks of the social linking. And by the time you reach these, you'll likely be in the loot-rich final dungeons, but your levels will be high enough that conserving SP won't be an issue anyway. So for the majority of the game, unless you can't afford to have a day passed, you're better off just leaving for the recovery.
    • Izanagi-No-Okami. If you decide to go through the True Ending to get him, you're in for a shock: He's a level 91 Persona, and he can't be registered into the Compendium. If you want to have in in later games, you'll have to level yourself up and amass all the Personas to make him.
    • Some of the 3rd tier Persona abilities in Golden are this. Only Yukiko's, an attack-all fire spell with a little more power than the Ragnarok spell, is one that will be consistently used; it also helps that she has a massive SP pool.
      • Teddie's is more or less the same Random Effect Spell that Fuuka learns as her very last spell. Either your party or the enemy's party can be completely healed or affected with one or more Standard Status Effects.
      • Naoto's Shield of Justice ability and Chie's Dragon Hustle ability (the former provides invincibility for one turn; the latter is a multi-target Heat Riser spell) are both useful in context, but both require an absurd amount of SP (160 and 150, respectively). It's a bigger problem for Chie than Naoto because, lacking Naoto's larger SP pool, it takes over half her SP to cast and you'll need to waste SP restoratives in order to use it more than once, which would otherwise be a viable strategy in boss fights.
      • Kanji's can knock down and potentially cause dizzy on enemies. But it only works on Mooks, and is somewhat inaccurate besides (a trait shared with every other status effect spell). He'll learn a spell that can boost this particular effect, but it's learned so much earlier that the player will likely have shunted it out by then.
  • Awful Truth:
    • The major theme of the game is that people naturally will cling to lies and falsehoods to avoid horrible truths about themselves and others. The fog of the TV world is symbolic of people's desires to live in ignorance and denial. The climax is interesting in that the protagonists don't deny that most people are like that—but they themselves are different and they'll fight to stop a world shrouded in fog even if it goes against what the rest of the planet wants (something Marie says is not the case in Golden).
    • A more personal version occurs in Golden if you were a cheating bastard throughout the game. On Valentine's Day, you have to turn down every girl (save Marie and possibly one other) and later accept her gift in person anyway. Each heartbroken girl (who believes herself to be your only girlfriend) asks you just what you're planning to do on Valentine's Day without her. You give all sorts of non-answers, but each of them have a feeling what's up. They just decide to ignore the subject and half-heartedly say that they trust you (wrongfully). Naoto's is the most cruel, as she says that she's a failure of a detective because there's a mystery in front of her that she doesn't want to solve because she already knows the truth is too awful. Consider the entire Aesop of the game, and this is even worse.
  • Badass Adorable: The whole team respectively is certainly this, due to them being very good-looking and badass enough to take down anything hat comes in their way. Naoto takes a special mention.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit / Sharp-Dressed Man: In Golden, you get the option to give the people in your group FBI suits.
    • Oddly, Izanagi-no-Okami. Apparently, in Japan even being the Original God doesn't get you out of wearing a tie to work.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: When fighting Shadow Rise, Teddie steps in and defeats the boss for you — shortly before Shadow Teddie appears, and you have to fight him instead.
  • Batman Gambit: Partially deconstructed. Naoto's works, but Kanji is furious at her for taking that sort of risk and is not shy about letting her know. Some other members of the team are definitely impressed, though, especially given the amount of detail she's able to remember from her own kidnapping.
  • Battle Theme Music: You'll hum to the Pre-existing encounters. You'll rock out to the boss battles.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Shadow Teddie.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: A funny example: After Yosuke signs the girls up against their will for a beauty pageant, they respond by signing the protagonist, Yosuke, and Kanji up for the crossdressing pageant.
    • You defeat the the True Final Boss by essentially throwing her own Hopeless Boss Fight back at her. After you get her second form's health to zero, Izanami-no-Okami becomes invulnerable and starts spamming your party with a one-hit-KO attack called Thousand Curses. After succumbing to her attack and hearing rousing speeches from all your maxed social links, you return with your persona's second form, Izanagi-no-Okami. After Thousand Curses misses, Izanami repeatedly hits you with 999-damage attacks, but this time you're the one that's invulnerable. You then one-up her Thousand Curses with your own one-hit-KO attack called Myriad Truths.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Zig-Zagged. Morooka, Hanako and Mitsuo are all characterized as rotten people in general, are basically the only people in the entire game who aren't considered attractive and don't come around to be better people. Adachi is a subversion, but that's the point; the player is supposed to trust him. Igor, on the other hand, has a hooked nose, bulging eyes and a cryptic personality that give him an Imp-like look, but he's the only supernatural entity in the entirety of the MegaTen franchise to help you without an ulterior motive and not backstab you horribly.
  • Become a Real Boy: Late in the game, Teddie realizes that he is a Shadow himself, born of the desire to appeal to people, which is why he appears as a cute mascot bear. The party tells him that once he was granted a Persona, he developed the ego necessary to control it, which is why he was able to manifest in the "real world."
  • Belated Happy Ending: While the original game concluded with the protagonist leaving Inaba, possibly forever, with the reassurance that neither he nor the friends he made would ever forget their happy times together, subsequent releases, from Arena to The Golden have all-but reversed that initial conclusion by allowing Yu to repeatedly visit Inaba and generally keep in touch with everyone, confirming his lifelong friendship with the whole cast.
  • Beneath the Mask: Shadows in general, as they reflect a person's inner feelings.
  • Berserk Button:
    • An individual's shadow goes into berserk mode with a "You're not me!".
    • Don't say anything to Kanji about him being "strange".
    • Hurting Nanako. Once Nanako is kidnapped, the entire party drops the jokes, and even suggesting to go to a different dungeon will result in glares. And when Nanako is thought to be dead... well, you better just hope you're not alone with Yosuke and Kanji in a room with a TV. The entire cast will have no mercy, and if you didn't get the good ending, then Namatame is killed by Yosuke and the gang pushing him into the TV. Don't fuck with Nanako.
  • Betty and Veronica: Yukiko and Rise, respectively. Both express strong desire for Yu, Yukiko being shy and Rise being flirty.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Some of the shadow selves can be quite goofy in their behavior, but they are FAR from harmless.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Kanji does this as his victory pose after winning a battle. And often outside of battle, too.
  • Bifauxnen: By mid-October, you find out about Naoto Shirogane.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The All-Out Attack. If you kill all the enemies in the process, you're rewarded with a skull mushroom cloud. In The Golden, once Rise joins the party and decides to randomly join in on the All-Out Attack, the skull mushroom cloud is colored pink and designed to look like her. You get this regardless of whether or not you kill the enemies.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The game gives numerous opportunities for the Protagonist/player to have this towards Nanako.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Kanji does one when Nanako tries the Christmas cake made by the girls before they could after she just got out of the hospital. Turns out, there was nothing to worry about.
    • While not really a big "no", Yosuke and Kanji both have these when Nanako appears to die. Yosuke screams "DAMN IT!!" twice and Kanji lets out a painful anguish cry and punches the wall as hard as he can.
  • Bile Fascination: In-universe example. Yosuke on the people who get excited over the murders:
    They're like onlookers at a car crash. As long it's not happening to them, they're dying to get a closer look.
  • Bilingual Bonus: A surprisingly subtle one, from the Aiya Chinese Diner. "Aiya" is a Cantonese expression of displeasure or disappointment, and sure enough, the diner owner says this every time you don't finish the Rainy Day Special. It could be a Mythology Gag that's a Shout-Out to Lisa Silverman, who spouts lots of Cantonese expressions - Aiya being one of her favorites.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Teddie has this effect upon becoming a human, and, of course, abuses it with the girls.
  • Bishōnen: Most of the principal male cast to a certain extent, but especially Teddie. Includes sparkle and drooling girls.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Subverted with Saki Konishi. The twisted Shopping District area in the TV world makes her come off this way... for about five minutes, until Yosuke's Shadow turns up, after which is becomes clear that while the echoes heard in the area were Saki's real feelings, they don't provide the full picture of her personality. Yosuke never once holds it against her, and though he accepts that she disliked him, he doesn't hesitate to describe her to others as a good person. It's something of a theme of all of the Shadow self confrontations that everyone has an ugly side to them, but that it doesn't define everything about them.
    • Adachi is a more straightforward example. More obvious in Golden when you see how his Social Link centers around him badmouthing an old lady who mistook him for her son.
  • Blind Without 'Em: The fog inside the TV is nearly impossible to see through (though the Protagonist can see slightly better than the rest of them), so the main characters have to wear special glasses made by Teddie to see through it.
  • Blush Sticker: Ayane has these all the time.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Going to the bathroom isn't necessary, strictly speaking, but doing so has a chance of giving you an item, and can also help you think of what to do next.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Each dungeon has a Bonus Boss which is available upon returning to it.
    • In addition, Izanami, Japanese goddess of Death and Rebirth is available in the game if you unlock the True Ending, as well as Margaret on your second playthrough (only if you unlocked the True Ending on the previous playthrough).
    • In a New Game+ (or first playthrough in Golden), the Grim Reaper from Persona 3 also shows up as a Chest Monster in each dungeon.
    • Kusumi-No-Ookami in Golden is an odd example in that she isn't necessary to finish the game, but once you gain access to her dungeon, you have to beat her.
  • Bookends: When Yu first arrives at Yasoinaba train station, he is alone and turned off by how boring his new home seems. When he leaves by the end of the game, he is surrounded by friends and sad to be going.
    • In the extended epilogue of Golden, he arrives to see people working hard to turn the town around, and sees a more lively shopping district.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: So very, very much.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Beating the Grim Reaper earns you an Infinity Plus One Weapon.
    • Getting the True Ending lets you fuse the Protagonist's ultimate Persona the next time through - except that it's a twelve-Persona fusion and it can't be registered in the Persona Compendium. Granted, it can learn all the highest elemental skills and their respective boosts, and its stats are insanely high, even for its level. Taking the time to level grind to use said persona can make beating Margaret and The Reaper extremely easy. Still a bragging rights reward nonetheless, as both the weapons and Persona cannot be transferred over to a New Game+, and you don't even keep your levels, so you have to grind to 91 all over again to get the Persona.
      • In Golden, Izanagi-No-Ookami, while still unstoreable and cost-prohibitive (therefore still falling into this trope) becomes a fair bit more useful. The most important change is his ability to actually Inherit skills (and being able to choose which ones get inherited this time around.) This lets him actually fill specific roles for the end-game bosses instead of simply being a trash-mob killer. He's also the only method of getting the Victory Cry skill card without relying on luck, which is obscenely useful for the Bonus Dungeon.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The calendar in your room is an ad for Persona 3.
  • Break Them by Talking:
    • The raison d'etre of the Shadow Archetypes. Their existence is entirely based around deconstructing and showcasing the darker sides of their owners' personality. Naoto, in particular, starts off as somewhat annoyed with and dismissive of her Shadow, but gradually loses her composure as her Shadow keeps talking, and finally denies it. Unusually, the way to finally defeat them involves admitting that they're right, and not trying to deny them.
    • The Big Bad also tries to give one at the end of his dungeon. Naoto, Yukiko, and Yosuke turn it back on him.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Pretty much everything that happens that isn't related to the murder plot, but especially the end of August and the whole month of October.
    • During your summer break, once you catch Mitsuo, there's over a whole month of time where everything seems fine and nothing at all happens until the plot picks up again once you've gone back to school.
    • The only thing of note that happens during October are exams and the Culture Festival, and the month before sees you rescuing Naoto, your last party member, and November brings Nanako getting kidnapped. That said, one evening, you get a threatening letter from the real killer.
    • January ,except for one day in particular (Playable only in Golden, the original ends its free-roaming on December 24th) also has no major events in it, mostly being a chance to finish your Social Links and earn the 3rd-Tier Personas.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Several things mentioned in the original game as future plans (Yosuke's desire to own a motorbike & a possible trip to the beach, to name two examples) wind up occurring during the course of Golden.
    • Early in the game, Nanako asks if the weather forecaster "decides the weather", because when she says it'll be sunny, it always is. If you're playing Golden and you max out Marie's social link, then she becomes a weather forecaster in the True Ending and she actually can decide the weather.
    • During one instance, Yosuke makes fun of Chie for being afraid of lightning. Afterwhich, she then says that if lightning should strike someone let it be him. Fast forward to after you save Marie where she strikes Yosuke and the other guys with Ziodyne at the hot springs. Comically, Yosuke's elemental weakness is lightning.
    • Yosuke has a Potty Emergency the first time the group ends up in the TV world. Almost eight months later, when they return to the same room they went to the first time there, the incident is mentioned again.
    • At the beginning of Marie's Social Link in Golden, while eating steak skewers together, you can choose one of three answers to give for what the name is short for, causing her to coin her own nickname for them based on your answer. In the second-to-last event, Marie mentions the name that she gave them, and this is actually significant, given that it's proof that she's starting to make her own memories.
  • Briffits and Squeans: The game's favored way of visually conveying emotions outside of anime cutscenes. There's a wide variety of symbols that can appear over characters' heads.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • Yosuke, Naoki, and Hisano's Social Links involve them learning to come to terms with the death of a loved one. Those Aesops end up getting derailed when Nanako comes Back from the Dead, preventing Yu from learning that lesson himself.
    • Naoto crossdressing is treated very maturely and sympathetically throughout the story. However, during the School Festival, the boys are forcefully signed into a crossdressing pageant, and it's entirely Played for Laughs.
    • Despite the Central Theme about "reaching out for the truth" and never ignoring an Awful Truth, no matter how difficult or painful, everything about Inaba that might classify as "a complaint against society" remains unquestioned and unchallenged. Japanese society, overall, tends to favor the group over the individual. For example, Yukiko dislikes being forced to inherit her family's inn: turns out, what she really was worried about was having to do it all alone. The issue of not being able to choose her own job is thus not really addressed at all. Rise dislikes being seen as a media lust object but it turns out she secretly enjoys being in the spotlight. Her objectification is written off as something she can just deal with by accepting the constructed lust object as "herself". Yumi has a complaint about her father selfishly abandoning his wife and child. Her father ends up dying in the hospital, so Yumi decides to live up to her name and "bear fruit" by dropping out of the drama club; the narrative avoids assessing her father's behavior at all by casting Yumi's misgivings as selfish. And lastly, Adachi has a lot of complaints about how impossible it is to be rewarded for your hard work in the current job system if you aren't talented. Whether or not these complaints are accurate is never really addressed, because Adachi is a psychotic serial killer who just uses this as justification to act For the Evulz. Thus, his complaints about society, even if they're valid, come out of a psychotic man-child's mouth.
  • Broken Record: The truth will be hammered into your head until it feels like a migraine. The game is very insistent that you pursue it.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Several of the teachers have some odd quirks, such as giving lectures with handpuppets and dressing like Ancient Egyptians. It's not so extensive a list as the one from Gekkoukan High School, though, and, unlike many of those teachers, all of them are actually rather good at their jobs.
  • But Now I Must Go:
    • At the end of the game, the protagonist leaves Inaba to return home (see Parental Abandonment example below). However, he does come back to Inaba twice, once during Golden Week and again in the summer of 2012.
    • In Golden, played straight with Marie if you maximize her S. Link.
  • But Thou Must!: Somewhat improved from the previous game, but still there.
    • There are some actions that are listed as options, but you can't do them no matter how high your stats are. This includes holding the line against a barrage of buckets and watching as Ai is about to get slapped by a former boyfriend.
    • Yosuke is pretty bad about this. He'll often call to bring up time you can spend with him. You have the option to say "no" but Yosuke will whine and beg until he gets what he wants. Of course, most of these are plot-relevant or simply enjoyable scenes, but on at least one occasion he takes a week of your time from you with no impact on you or the plot to help out at Junes.
    • Played for Laughs near the end of the game in The Golden. Nanako makes a chocolate "creation" for you on Valentine's Day that consists of bell peppers, fermented squid, and coffee, amongst other things. Nanako looks at you expectantly, and the game states "You have NO options!"
    • One example also includes Cruelty Is the Only Option. Yukiko offers you a bite of her udon noodles and you have the option to take one bite or chow the whole thing down. If you choose the former, your character chows down on the noodles anyway against your command.
    • When the player character gets a threatening letter from the killer, the next day, the Investigation Team will ask what to do with it. The player can propose going to Dojima about it, but if so, Naoto advises against it, saying that Dojima is trustworthy, but this might result in the player being placed under suspicion and unable to investigate.
  • But Wait, There's More!!: If you watch Tanaka's Amazing Commodities, you'll know that Tanaka does this without fail.
  • Call Back / Continuity Nod:
    • The class trip, which is basically a long list of locations from and references to Persona 3, some of them very obvious (Hi, Chihiro and Edogawa!) some of them not so obvious (They even reuse the background music for most locations, and the song playing in the nightclub should sound very familiar to anyone who watched the opening movie for FES...)
    • During the Answer in Persona 3 FES, you see that the police label Ken's mom's death by Shinjiro's Persona going out of control a drunk driving accident because the Kirijo group were quick to cover up the fact that two of their best SEES personnel had just accidentally killed a civilian. Now, alcohol doesn't get served at the club you're attending because of this event.
    • Also Teddie saying "Faster than expected," while standing in the exact same spot Takaya was when he said that line.
    • Running around, you can tell that the game is ripe with these. The history teacher mentioned in Bunny-Ears Lawyer who wears ancient Egyptian headwear, Ms. Sofue, complains about her brother, who apparently dresses up in samurai gear - said teacher is actually Mr. Ono, the history teacher from the school in Persona 3.
    • Rise will mention she had a secret show at the nightclub 2 years ago, but the power went out, most likely due to the Hermit Full Moon boss. Shinjiro in 3 even mentioned a show that got cancelled back then.
    • There's also the Sunday morning shopping channel show - anyone who's played Persona 3 will hear the callback before they see it.
    • In Kanji's social link, there is a reference to a pink alligator from a storybook. Akinari, one of the social links from Persona 3, wrote a story about a pink alligator. Nanako is also seen reading Akinari's book in one scene.
    • You'd only recognize this example if you played Persona 3 and made a habit of turning on the TV in the dorm room, but when Nanako does her report on the platypus and asks you which gender is venomous, it's supposed to remind you of a TV program on the platypus from Persona 3. The TV program appears on April 24th.
    • Naoto mentions that while researching the terms "Persona" and "Shadow" she came across an "unofficial project document" with information about both. This almost certainly came from the Kirijo Group's scientific research.
    • One of the books you can read is titled 100 Ghost Stories. In Persona 2, this was a contact option between Ulala, Baofu and Ellen.
    • While the group are telling ghost stories to one another, Yosuke mentions one he heard from his cousin; about a girl who had bullied another girl relentlessly, only for her to disappear. The bully then ran out at night apparently hearing the girl's voice calling to her, and ended up unconscious outside of the school. Clearly his cousin knows one of the girls that used to bully Fuuka. Naoto's comments of reading a police report similar to Yosuke's story further solidifies the connection.
    • Really kind of an obscure one, but one of the text crawls in the Void Quest dungeon says "The noise of the arcade was bad, but can you buy some coffee from the cafe in the police cars?" This doesn't make sense for any place in Inaba, but Persona 3 had an arcade, a cafe, and a police station next to each other in Paulownia Mall.
    • It (and a previous text crawl) also references the start of Shin Megami Tensei I where your character's mother mentions police cars and asks you to buy coffee at the arcade... in a more insane fashion this time befitting the state of the mind of the person who created the Void Dungeon.
    • If you talk to your party members at Junes before going into the dungeon for December, you can choose to talk about Adachi or about the fact that Teddie is a Shadow. If you choose the latter, Teddie eventually says that he knows that somewhere out there, there must be another Shadow that took on human form who hides a ladykilling personality beneath dashing good looks. The party dismisses this as an offhand comment, but anyone who's played Persona 3 will be reminded of Ryoji, who fits everything in Teddie's description.
    • Possible one here. Yosuke (the P4 social link of the Magician) asks Yukiko for some 'private lessons' to help him study. She assumes he was being lewd and slaps him. Rewind back to Persona 3 when Kenji (the Magician social link in P3) talks about getting private lessons from his tutor/love interest.
    • The Priestess Arcana Chance that can happen after battles will temporarily make enemy scans show all weaknesses and resistances, just like the scanning system in Persona 3. In 3, the one in charge of scanning was Fuuka, of the Priestess Arcana.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Yosuke is somewhat well known for this.
  • The Cameo:
    • Chihiro is featured with Voice Acting this time. Tanaka also returns selling his usual fares.
    • Inversely, Kashiwagi makes an appearance in the Beach Episode of Persona 3 for the PSP. A younger Yukiko appears in an event exclusive to the female main character, as well.
    • The shopping show. Here comes Tanakaaaaaaaaa, Over the airwaves to youuuuuuuuu. Granter of your desires!
  • Canon Foreigner: Not quite a character, but in the anime, when the characters are hit with Enervation, they literally turn into old people. This is taken into Golden, when the characters fail to summon their Persona, they will do a pretty funny old person imitation (though their models stay the same).
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Doesn't help that the protagonist in the beginning was placed under contract... by a guy in a space limo.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: TV Show, remake, rerelease on PS3, Dancing all Night, Persona Q... Atlus will have fully milked out the P3/P4's series before Persona 5 releases.
  • Captain Obvious: Whoever is serving as Mission Control in battle. Over and over and over...
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • When Yu first tells Yosuke and Chie about his television trying to eat him early on in the game, they don't believe it.
    • In two instances in the game, the main characters tell someone the unbridled truth about their powers and the world inside the TV, only for the person to assume they're lying to cover up their true purpose.
      • Yukiko and Rise tell Naoto exactly how they're involved with the murder case. She doesn't believe it until after her kidnapping. It doesn't help that both of them are acting completely drunk at the time.
      • If you tell Dojima about the TV, flat-out, he won't believe you either.
    • A humorous example: One of the guys in the Shopping District tells you about how he keeps seeing an ancient Egyptian, but nobody in his old hometown believes him. (It's actually the history teacher, Ms. Sofue.) Talk to him during the Playable Epilogue and he reveals they've started dating.
  • Cast From HP: The Persona physical attacks work like this.
  • Category Traitor: Saki Konishi took a part time job to work at Junes, the store chain that was running her parents' shop out of business. Her parents don't really take this well, although her brother is more sympathetic.
  • The Catfish: The Guardian, a legendary giant fish that inhabits the local river.
    • Feed it to the cat during the quest "Cat Needs Food Badly" and you can clear the quest with only four feedings. (Otherwise, it takes twenty fish to clear the quest.) Hell of a way for the Guardian's career to end... then again, there's apparently more than one, since it's possible to catch multiple ones in a single fishing session if you have good luck and enough of the right kind of bait.
    • The Golden introduces its marine cousin, the Sea Guardian. It's bigger than the MC and sells for a whopping 10.000 Yen. If you're good enough, catching and selling those is the second-most lucrative activity you can do, next to extensive grinding.
  • Central Theme:
    • The primary theme of the game is the general idea of "truth", which manifests itself in various ways. The Investigation Team wishes to find the truth behind the murders in Inaba, and there are several points where they have to see through falsehoods to find the real Killer. The party's Shadows show the truths about a person they don't want to admit to themselves - only after accepting the truth does the Shadow calm down. In contrast, convenient lies are repeatedly frowned upon: the fog serves as a visual metaphor for humanity's lies, clouding the truth so people can live in blissful ignorance.
    • Inaba itself, and the way it connects to the group, serves as a secondary theme. As a small, rural town, Inaba has a very homey atmosphere, and the idea of making friends and memories is subtly encouraged with various landmarks the player will grow accustomed to throughout the game. The second credits theme of The Animation, "The Way of Memories", takes note of this. Other characters relate to Inaba in various ways - Yosuke hates the town, missing his old home in the big city, while Yukiko's family has major stakes in it from running the local inn for generations. Compared to Tatsumi Port Island of Persona 3, which was mostly incidental, Inaba as a location has a much larger focus, and it could almost be considered a character in itself.
  • Chalk Outline: The floor of the Hub Level is littered with outlines of dead bodies.
  • Character Shilling: Characters often go on about how good Yu is at everything he does.
  • Check Point Starvation: Several instances towards the end of the game. In a combat sense, you have to do at least a floor of a dungeon, then fight Adachi, and then Ameno-sagiri with no chance to go back and change personas and save. This is somewhat problematic for Golden, which is, after all, a portable game.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • If you're close to the True Ending, an unexpected key player is going to be the gas station attendant.
    • Namatame and Mitsuo both appear around Inaba and in neglible cutscenes well before becoming major players in the plot. The former even makes an appearance at Junes at your team's concert.
    • After playing through November's dungeon, notice the delivery truck you see driving by while chasing the pervert spying on Rise? It's got the real kidnapper in it. If you play from the beginning after that dungeon, you'll note that even earlier, when you first arrive in Inaba at the gas station, a truck that appears to be the same delivery truck is getting filled up next to you & the attendant runs out from behind it to help the Dojimas, which would seem to indicate this is when Namatame also received his powers.
    • Arguably, Nanako. Said character has no effect on the plot and is mainly a secondary character making her kidnapping all the worse.
    • If you rescue the first kidnapping victim early on, you get to see scenes with other Social Link characters, such as Hisano, Eri, Naoki and Ai, on your walks to school.
  • Chekhov's Lecture
    • The mythology lecture on the school trip. Fairly obvious, as it gives the background of the protagonist's first Persona.
    • One day a lecture brings up Friedrich Nietzsche. Unless you already beat the current dungeon on the first day possible, the next boss has an attack called Nihil Hand.
    • If you make it to December, Adachi's statements to Nanako about how smart he is take on a whole new light...
    • You are asked to describe what the meaning of ressentiment is. Guess what the theme of Adachi's Motive Rant is.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise:
    • If you complete her S-Link and didn't get a bad ending, Nanako will tell you she wants to marry to you before you leave.
    • In one of the Devil S. Link events, Sayoko mentions that a patient at her old hospital made her promise to marry him when he grew up. She says this because the boy died, and the guilt is eating away at her.
  • Christmas Cake: Noriko Kashiwagi, who is instantly pegged as being at least 40 during her introduction. Also Sayoko.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The TV world is formed through people's thoughts, beliefs, and desires.
  • Clark Kenting: Played straight with Rise when she first shows up in town. Everyone who comes to the tofu shop looking for her seems to assume she's an old woman, despite the fact she's just wearing a scarf on her head and an apron. It probably helps that everyone expects her to act like the "Risette" persona (Pun not intended) that had been marketed to the masses, and she's rather low-key at that point precisely because she didn't want to be Risette anymore.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The spacy girl in the shopping district. Apparently, she's somewhat popular with the fanbase.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: About half the enemies in the game will make it painfully obvious what they're weak to by dressing themselves in the opposite motif, i.e. a white-colored enemy is weak to darkness, and a red-colored enemy will be weak to ice. This actually becomes inverted in one of the last dungeons, where a flame-patterned tank is only weak to fire and there are blue Cyclops shadows that repel everything but ice.
  • Color Motif: In contrast to the previous game, this game's color motif is bright yellow. Fitting, since it's the most upbeat SMT game yet.
  • Combination Attack: Added in Golden as a possible follow-up attack to an All-Out Attack that didn't wipe out the enemies, but only if you have the specific pairings of Chie/Yukiko, Yosuke/Teddie, and Kanji/Naoto in your active party.
  • Combined Energy Attack: How Izanami-no-Okami is finally defeated.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Kanji is pretty much this. One moment happens during the epilogue's ski trip, shortly before starting to save Marie, if you met the requirements to be able to do so. if you choose to go with any female character, the MC and your guest will notice something odd happening with the TV, and make a commotion that sounds awkwardly like the two are making out. The characters will say similar, if slightly different things depending on who you pick, this example is if you pick Naoto (Naoto: "Hey, don't go too deep!". (Rest of the party walks in.) Rise "...They're still dressed." Kanji: "Why would they take their clothes off in this freezing weather? And dude, why're you guys so flustered? What's up with you guys?" Chie: "Are you really asking that, Kanji-kun?")
  • Continuing Is Painful: As can be expected of a game that is so dialogue-heavy, most bosses have a lot of unskippable cutscenes before them that can wear down a player for a very hard boss. The crowning example, however, is the conversation that leads you either to the Bad or Good Ending, which has almost twenty minutes of scenes beforehand that you have to go through, and it's very easy to mess up.
    • Due to the fact that any death sends you back to the last time you saved, boss death are perhaps the least painful because the original game gives you the ability to save just before entering the boss room. Every random death to a mook, however, is incredibly painful because unless you are willing to do the tedious task of exiting the dungeon after every floor to save in the main hub, you are likely losing an hour or more of grinding for every death, most of which you will have had no way to stop.
  • Contrived Coincidence: What are the odds that Namatame just happened to talk to Adachi - one of two other people with the power to enter TVs - that night to report what he saw on the Midnight Channel, allowing Adachi to use Namatame to kill off more people with that power? Granted, Adachi said the rest of the police was busy, which made it more likely that he'd have to man the phones.
  • Cool Bike: In Golden, Dojima gets his old scooter fixed up and gassed up and hands it down to you, allowing you to travel to and from Okina City without having to rely on the trains.
  • Cool Down Hug: The Protagonist has the option to give Yosuke one of these during the Magician S-Link, assuming certain dialog options were previously chosen.
  • Cool Helmet: Chie's personas, Tomoe and Suzuka Gongen, are two legendary Japanese warrior women who wear a standard street bike helmet and an off-road bike helmet, respectively... and make it work.
  • Cool Old Lady: Rise's grandmother, who's kind and understanding to Rise when she stays on Inaba while on hiatus from being an idol. By comparison, Rise describes her own parents as fairly strict and isn't as close to them.
  • Copy And Paste Environments: Returning from Persona 3, but somewhat improved due to the occasional gimmick, non-randomized floor. Dungeons overall, however, are randomized between days.
  • Crapsaccharine World: If you ignore the whole serial killer thing, Inaba seems like an okay place to live, right? Wrong. The police force is woefully undermanned and way out of their grasp with something like a high-profile murder case.The recent arrival of Junes has forced many of the town's independent businesses (which are established to have been around for generations) out of business, and has caused much of the town to turn on each other as some accept the change Junes is bringing while others cling to their ancestral businesses. This is made especially clear during Saki's posthumous rant, which reveals that Junes completely destroyed her life, turning her from a sweet, bubbly girl (according to Yosuke) into a bitter, self-loathing nihilist who wished that everything would just end.
    • Utopia: What Inaba becomes for many, later on in the Golden Epilogue. Yukiko, Yosuke, Naoto, and Yu all gain a newfound love for the town, Namatame recovers from his high-publicity affair and arrest as a murder-suspect and runs for Mayor, with a good chance of winning. The local businesses work together with Junes to have a Locally-Produced Goods section in the store, bringing more business to the town, the local Teen Idol drops by regularly to keep locals from being bored out of their minds. Crime was already virtually-unheard-of, but now there's a super-sleuth Kid Detective making it home. The fog that's returned on and off every few decades will no longer flood the town, and the local weather girl actually controls the weather!
  • Creepy Monotone:
    • In contrast to all the other Shadows, Shadow Teddie barely has any fluctuations in his voice at all. Depending on your perspective, it's either absolutely bone chilling or completely awesome.
    • While not as much as the former Shadow Mitsuo is somewhat of a Dull Surprise, due to the fact he represents Mitsuo's inner emptiness.
  • Critical Hit: The animations that show it are quite satisfying to see. Also grants extra turns. Unlike in some other games, this doesn't have to be entirely random. There are spells that influence the probability of getting one.
  • Critical Hit Class: Chie Satonaka is geared towards this, especially in Golden. There, she has Black Spot and later Rainy Death, two physical attacks with very high critical rate. She also got a passive that increases chance for critical, as well as a buff that also increases critical chance. This is probably to compensate for her lower damage compared to fellow physical attacker Kanji.
  • Cross Counter: You and Yosuke get into one of these at the end of his Social Link Max.
  • Cross Dresser:
    • You and your buddies get entered into a crossdressing beauty pageant by the girls for signing them up for the regular beauty pageant. Hilarity Ensues.note 
    • By the time you hit October, you should know about Naoto Shirogane.
  • Cruel Mercy: The Investigation Team's apprehension of the killer. Rather than leaving Adachi to die, they submit him to the laws of the society he so contemptuously hates.
    • They also do this to the first suspect, whom they hand over to the authorities.
    Kanji: Kill you? It ain't gonna be that easy, you son of a bitch.
  • Curtains Match the Window: It's rather interesting to note that just about every character (Major and Minor) has this trope in effect. There are only 3 characters who don't follow this trope: Margaret (White hair, yellow eyes), Teddie's human form (Blond hair, blue eyes) and Izanami's human form (whitish-grey hair and RED EYES), all of whom are otherworldly beings of some sort. Hmmm.
    • And then there's the interesting case of Marie. In Golden she has black hair, grey eyes but in everything else (Golden Animation, Arena Ultimax, Q) she has black hair, green eyes. She stops following this trope after people who played Golden when it came out find out what she really is.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: While most bosses prior had a gimmick or a check point, Adachi and Ameno-sagiri are simple and straightforward.
    • Earlier in the game is Shadow Teddie. He's a pretty simple boss fight, mostly because Rise tells you how to get by most of his damaging attacks, but he has a gigantic HP value of 5000, at a point in the game where you're lucky or spent a lot of time level grinding if any of your party members besides you can hit for more than 100 damage a turn. For comparison, Shadow Naoto, a boss you fight two entire dungeons later with more levels and Personas, only has 500 more health than Shadow Teddie.
  • Dancing Theme: The new opening for Golden, as if this game needed to be any more upbeat.
  • Dark Is Evil / Dark Is Not Evil: Shadows selves represent the thoughts and emotions that their counterparts repress, both from the world and from themselves. Things like boredom, dissatisfaction, pent-up anger, envy, depression, guilt, shame, etc. They deliver Breaking Speech after breaking speech, ranting about how they truly feel, hoping to be rejected with the magic words "You're not me!" and thus go berserk. This seems to make them out as villains, but the Shadows really just want to be acknowledged for who they are. It's just that they lack self-control and discipline, so the method they attempt is to kill the ones repressing them and try to become their own selves. They're both distilled, unwanted qualities, and the desire for those qualities to be accepted. When someone is able to face their shadow, they not only gain a Persona, but also a greater awareness of themselves. From that point on, they can begin improving, allowing their Persona to become even stronger. In a way, Shadows want their other selves to be happy.
  • Deconstruction: Pretty much every team member's Shadow does this for that character's given archetype. The team member's social links meanwhile go about the business of reconstructing them.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In some cases, defeating yourself means befriending yourself.
  • Degraded Boss: The Dominating Machine and Neo Minotaur, introduced as sub-bosses, show up later with comparably high attack and HP, but severely reduced defenses.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Taro Namatame's job as a deliveryman gives him the perfect cover to approach and abduct people who appear on the Midnight Channel, even when pretty much the whole town is on high alert.
  • Demonic Invaders: The Shadows.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Shortly after Kanji is kidnapped, Chie gives us this line:
    First we save Kanji, then we crush the killer! Finally, we crush the killer and send him to hell!! Got it!?
  • Dialogue Tree: But of course!
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The True Ending, where you use the Power of Friendship to defeat Izanami, Shinto mother goddess turned deity of death. Yes, you win a fight against Japan's co-creator and vengeful embodiment of death, granted, by manifesting her husband and speaking the word that strips all lies away...
  • Difficulty Spike: None of the bosses are exactly easy, and most will bring on tears of rage. However, Shadow Teddie stands out as coming right after Shadow Rise (who isn't threatening, but who isn't a Breather Boss either). She'll use your basic Agi on party members. He'll use Bufudyne, on top of having twice the amount of health you can take from Rise and higher stats.
    • Shadow Teddie can be beaten fairly easily, as multiple Personas at that point can absorb Ice, meaning if you block his nihil hand, he's not too bad. Shadow Mitsuo on the other hand will take everything you thought you knew about the game and rip it to shreds.
  • Dirty Old Man: Morooka/King Moron is implied to be a Covert Pervert example through his exaggerated disgust at the perversity of his students and a dialogue segment where a fellow student tells you that he caught the teacher looking at a pinup book of Rise.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Man, the Investigation Team are pissed when they find out the reasons why Adachi caused the conflict of the plot. The same goes for the first suspect, who killed one person and claimed responsibility for the other murders and kidnappings out of a desire for attention.
  • Discount Card: Shiroku will give discounts on rainy days and Margaret will give discounts depending on how much of the Persona Compendium you have completed. Golden has Daidara giving discounts if you catch him still in his store on rainy nights.
  • Disc One Final Boss:
    • Mitsuo Kubo. But the fact that it's only August when you beat Mitsuo is kind of a giveaway.
    • Later, Taro Namatame. Not only is he found in the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon (if you don't get the Good Ending, at least), but he has semi-unique boss music too (reused for Adachi). Oh, and you get an animated cutscene during his One-Winged Angel transformation right before you fight him.
    • Bonus points to Adachi for the game going to great lengths to convince you he is the true final boss of the game.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Once early in the game (though it isn't quite revealed until some time later), then twice in a row near the end (but it's a subversion if you fall for the Red Herrings).
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • Fusing Kaiwan on a Skill Change Fusion Forecast day can net you Victory Cry as early as level 24. For reference, Victory Cry fully restores your HP and SP after every battle, and is normally only available by fusing Lucifer on the final day and grinding him up to level 99.
    • Slime, one of the first Personas you get, learns Resist Physical at level 7. By drawing the Magician arcana card during Shuffle Time, you can instantly upgrade that to Null Physical. Being immune to Physical attacks makes fighting some bosses a complete joke; even the infamous Contrarian King CANNOT defeat you if you've got this on the Protagonist. Plus, you can pass this skill around through fusion to make ANY Persona you want immune to Physical; very handy considering that most Personas which are naturally immune to Physical also have multiple elemental weaknesses.
    • In the same vein as Resist Physical, the Aeon Rain move. Your best bet to get it is through shuffle time unless you want to grind a while for higher personas. But once you have it, a single Magician Card during shuffle time will upgrade it to Agneyastra, the most powerful physical attack in the game.
  • Disney Death: Nanako in December (unless you decide to go with the worst ending, in which case she stays dead).
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the Golden, one of the outfits you can get and equip (for the guys only) are bath towels. If you equip it on the protagonist and talk to Rise, she gets VERY distracted.
  • Do Not Spoil This Ending: A rather friendly message to this effect was planned to be displayed but not visible in either the original or The Golden.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At one point in the game, Yosuke and Chie tail Kanji and Naoto, and hide themselves behind a tree. Yosuke is standing above Chie, who is on all-fours. Lampshaded (along with a lot of other stuff) in hiimdaisy's legendary comic.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Yosuke's well-intentioned "Maybe I should ask Yukiko for some private lessons", when the possibility of him studying with Yukiko is brought up. Cue bitch-slapping from Yukiko, and it results in Chie and Yosuke blaming each other for the misunderstanding, with Chie pointing out that Yosuke's choice of words made it sound "creepy and wrong."
    • Also said by Yosuke, "You do seem to be good with your hands" to the main character, when the group talks about a cooking contest. Yosuke himself notices and backpedals.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: All of the scenes where Chie assaults Yosuke or the Amagi Inn scene would definitely not fly if the genders were reversed.
  • Downer Ending: Choose to throw Namatame into the TV. Doing this prevents Nanako from reviving from her death bed, the fog never truly leaves Inaba, the case is closed abruptly, Teddie never comes back from his sudden disappearance, and the protagonist leaves the team. The implications are made even more jarring if you watched the Golden Ending and know that the true killer was never found and Inaba will soon be a large Shadow-infested corral and the hazardous fog will spread out into the world eventually.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: During the winter, a thick blanket of pretty, perfectly white snow covers the ground. It's meant to be cheery and blissful to contrast the stress-filled climaxes of December.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The dream you have at the beginning of the game takes place in Yomotsu Hirasaka, and the person you fight is Izanami.
  • Drunk on Milk: Somehow, when visiting a night club that doesn't even have a liquor license, Rise, Yukiko, and Teddie manage to get totally hammered on what Naoto confirms are completely non-alcoholic fruit drinks. Teddie could maybe be explained, since he's not human and his biology might play by different rules, but there's no explanation for Yukiko and Rise. Yet despite Naoto reminding them repeatedly that there's no alcohol, they all keep acting drunk until it "wears off" in the morning.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: invoked
    • Many things that happen to Kanji, who just really gets the short end of a long stick and rarely takes his Butt Monkey status lying down. Put Kanji in his bathhouse costume and he tells you that it makes him uncomfortable because it reminds him of his Shadow. He also calls out Yukiko on pushing him into the river.
    • Even poor Naoto isn't safe from the other girls. While Rise, Chie, and Yukiko didn't seem to see anything wrong with feeling Naoto up, she clearly was not okay with it and was very uncomfortable. She, Yosuke, and Kanji all bring up the consequences of the inn scene's humor if you talk to them at night.
    • When Yosuke teases Kanji about his interest in Naoto, he gets angry and storms off. Chie then scolds Yosuke, saying that he should know that Kanji doesn't find it funny.
  • Dutch Angle: Used during the cutscene before the battle with Shadow Rise / Shadow Teddie.
    • Also used at the hospital job during the courage stat increases.
  • Dynamic Entry: If you have Kanji in your party during the fight with Izanami-no-Okami, when she starts using "Thousand Curses" he'll jump in and kick the protagonist in the head to shove him out of the way. This lead to an amusing YouTube video in which it becomes a Falcon Kick, based off of a theory that Kanji is Captain Falcon.
    • In Golden, if your S. Links with your party members are high enough, they will perform follow-up attacks from off-screen.
  • Dysfunction Junction: S-Links are back, complete with a host of tarot-based neuroses.
  • Early Bird Boss: Shadow Yukiko, which employs fairly powerful single- and multi-target attacks, as well as the Fear status (which, if not healed, will cause Shadow Yukiko to follow up with an attack that will likely be a One-Hit Kill), before you get a dedicated healer. Her Shadow is also a literal bird.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Rise appears in a commercial in the games opening cutscene.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: As of Golden, you can go out of your way to get one of the worst possible endings. When you get past the initial choice of not throwing Namatame into the TV, you and the gang then try to figure out what else they could be missing. If you come to the conclusion that Adachi is the real culprit, you can choose to protect him and not say anything to anyone, if your social link is a high enough level with him beforehand. From there, you can make dialogue choices telling Adachi that you're on his side and even going as far as to burn the threatening letter he sent you. This earns the "Accomplice ending", with the game going out of its way to point out how monstrous of a decision you've made and how screwed you are.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The game makes a big deal about not being distracted with easy answers and that one has to search for the truth. If you follow this concept through, you will avoid the Bad Ending. In addition, if you realize the game isn't over during the ending sequence, you'll get the True Ending, which ends with the fog of deceit finally being lifted from the heart of humanity.
  • Ear Worm:
    • In-universe example: the Tanaka's shopping jingle is said to be irritatingly catchy. The Junes' jingle is also extremely popular to sing among grade school children, apparently, with Nanako reporting that she's the best in her class at it.
    • Out-of-universe, you will become very familiar to "Reach Out To The Truth", the standard battle music. It doesn't help that it was remixed for Persona 4 Arena as Yu Narukami's theme.
  • Easter Egg: If you load up Golden's TV Listings at midnight, you can watch Teddie's version of the Midnight Channel. You can't put your hand through the Vita, but you can tap the screen to tickle him.
  • Education Mama: Shu Nakajima, the Tower S-Link, has one of these. She's well-intentioned, wanting him to be "set for life," but that, and her exuberant praise, causes him to think that she only loves him because he's a good student.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Naoto's dungeon
  • Eldritch Location: The TV World, which manifests new areas based on the minds of anyone who enters. The shadows on the floor also have fluctuating color patterns. Somewhat subverted in the True Ending.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The Protagonist's "ultimate" Persona, which is attained through the strength of the Social Links formed up until that point and used to defeat Izanami.
  • Enemy Scan: One of Rise's abilities. Teddie doesn't do an actual scan - he just remembers what attacks worked and what didn't. Rise's is slightly better, and gets more useful if you max out her S. Link.
  • Enemy Without: People's "shadows" (until they're defeated, at which point they become a sort of Ally Without).
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Some of the theories the team comes up with are rationally arrived at based on the data they have, they just happen to also be wrong. The killer isn't targeting women or people who had some indirect connection to Mayumi Yamano, the Midnight Channel isn't the result of the killer announcing the next target and the killer isn't even directly responsible for most of the disappearances!
  • Epic Fail:
    • Human Teddie coming in and getting all the girls as his dates during the shrine festival, leaving the boys all alone, is appropriately described by Yosuke as this. Also a bit of an Ascended Meme.
    • Yosuke and Teddie attempting to surprise Yu on his second return trip to Inaba in the Golden Epilogue. The others then show up to berate them while welcoming Yu back at the same time.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: Within a dozen or so seconds of the P4G opening.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Overlapping with Instant Expert, the Investigation Team is inexplicably skilled at hand-to-hand combat with very little to no justification. Especially Yosuke, who ninja flips about the place. This is notable as Persona 3 justified most characters' weapon choices by either showing them training or making them involved in a school club related to their Weapon of Choice.
  • Everybody Lives: Courtesy of the True/Golden endings. Especially in Marie's case, who appeared to disappear but turned out to be just fine.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: Nanako Dojima. She instantly becomes his nakama's little cousin as well, and they all become very protective of her. When she's almost killed near the end of the game, the entire team basically goes on Roaring Rampage of Revenge mode.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: During the school campout, Kanji berates Yosuke for eating his animal crackers, during which the following exchange takes place:
    Kanji: Dammit, I was so pumped about finding the penguin today...
    Yosuke: Penguin?
    Kanji: The secret animal cracker! You were eating them and didn't know that!?
  • Everything's Better with Spinning:
    • Yosuke's follow up attack, where he'll spin with both weapons in hand.
      • Likewise, his persona Jiraiya will spin while casting a spell.
    • Teddie's follow up attack might also count.
    • Averted with some of the Shadows - both mooks and regular bosses. Shadow Naoto particularly comes to mind with Brave Blade
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Anyone who goes inside the world inside the TV will eventually face their Shadow, which is a personification of their darkest thoughts and fears. The Shadow will kill its source when enraged, either by the victim provoking it or when the fog appears in the real world. The only exceptions are Nanako, who is too young to generate a Shadow, and the main character, who was given the power of Persona by Izanami directly and was already protected from the effects of the TV world.
    • Magatsu Izanagi, Adachi's persona, counts as well for the normal Izanagi.
    • The villain counts as one to the protagonist, and the final boss to the protagonist's persona.
  • Evil Debt Collector: The 2nd book of the Bullied Teacher series deals with one.
  • Expressive Mask: Teddie's mouth changes expressions, but doesn't move; the animated cutscenes show the lack of mouth movement isn't just a graphical quirk.
  • Extended Gameplay: Congratulations! You've solved the murders and now you get to enjoy the Playable Epilogue during the last day of the game. It's a "Playable Epilogue" because it's the only chance you get to unlock the True Ending route and solve the game's last dangling plot threads.
  • Extremity Extremist: Chie only fights with her feet, no arms are used. Even when summoning a Persona or defending.
  • Face, Nod, Action: Done twice by Chie and Yukiko when deciding to give the boys the curry they made and pushing them off a cliff into a pool of water.
    • Done by Yu and Yukiko when joining Chie and Teddie in the water in the Beach Episode in Golden.
    • Done by the entire team before they fight Izanami.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: All throughout the game, the player follows alongside the Investigation Team as they try to figure out who the killer is. Near the end, if you've managed to avoid the Bad Ending by killing Namatame, the game reminds you of the clues you've collected so far, gives you a list of every single person you've met, and gives you three tries to guess who the killer is. And if you're sharp enough, you can catch one final clue when the killer says something that implies that they know things they shouldn't know.
  • Fake High: Rise and Yukiko get completely smashed at the dance club during the class trip...only for Naoto to reveal that the club doesn't even sell alcohol, being forbidden to do so due to a rise in drunk driving incidents the previous year.
  • Fanboy: Mild example in Yosuke, who is rather enthusiastic about meeting Rise when she first arrives in Inaba. Depending on your dialogue choices, Yu can be one too. This isn't really mentioned anymore after the initial meeting, though, and the tables quickly get turned when Rise becomes Yu's Fangirl after you save her from the Midnight Channel.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The Shadow versions of Rise and Kanji exemplify this. Shadow Rise is disturbing even before she goes berserk, especially the squelchy noises she makes when moving...
    • Shadow Chie, a whip bearing dominatrix sitting on a stack of school girls is no better.
    • Hanako in the beauty pageant.
    • Crossdressing Kanji anyone?
    • In Golden there's the Shiroku store owner's taste in evening wear.
    • Izanami isn't an especially bad looking woman. Until you see her true form in the True Ending...
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Subverted. Most of the characters don't use guns, but that's because they're civilian teenagers in a country with tight gun control laws, so they aren't trained to use them regardless. Naoto, however, has a license to carry, being a detective and all, and uses various kinds of pistols in combat. Thing is, as both a minor and private investigator (not a police detective), it would be incredibly unlikely for Naoto to be able to get a gun in real-life Japan.
    Adachi: You know why I joined the police force? So I could legally own a gun. That's it. You won't believe how many are like that.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: There are time periods (e.g. Evening, Afternoon) that can be skipped to.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: See Childhood Marriage Promise above.
  • Faustian Rebellion: Izanami gave the protagonist his initial powers, but she never expected that he would develop these powers enough to defeat her.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Inverted; while the feminine Rise and Yukiko and the slightly tomboyish Chie are horrible chefs, the male protagonist and Naoto are actually good chefs.
  • Fetch Quest: Most sidequests fall under this category. They usually demand X number of some item found from specific enemies. It's needed to complete Fox's Social Link.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Yasoinaba is based from Fuefuki in Yamanashi Prefecture.
  • First Love: For most romantic Social Links. Ayane, Yumi, Rise, Chie, Naoto, and Marie all count. It's lampshaded in Yukiko's case; because she's so beautiful and popular, she has lots of wannabe suitors to the point that just asking her out has become called "the Amagi Challenge". Several characters, including Chie and an old acquaintance of hers, express disbelief that a girl like her has never had a boyfriend. And if you romance her, she expresses gratitude that you were her first (and, if she has her way, ONLY) boyfriend.
  • Fist Pump:
    • Kanji being the youngest on the investigation team, and easily excited, does a fist pump as his victory pose.
    • In the updated rerelease "Golden", The Main Character will do a fist pump as his victory pose when he's wearing the red ranger costume.
  • Flanderization: Happens in-universe with the characters' Shadows, which reduce them to a single (and completely overblown) defining trait.
    • Golden plays up a lot of the Investigation Team's quirks. Yosuke is more of a Butt Monkey, Chie's Steak obsession is increased, and Yukiko and Kanji are more of The Ditz and Book Dumb respectively. Also, the frequency of Teddie's more unsettling, perverted tendencies is blown through the roof.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Heaven, the area of the Midnight Channel that was created by Nanako's desire to be with her dead mother, whom she believes went to Heaven and Namatame's delusions about the Midnight Channel being a safe haven for his victims.
  • Flunky Boss: The Gorgeous King in the Hollow Forest summons minions. They're not that much of a threat on their own, but given that the boss only takes much damage from All-Out attacks, you'll also have to knock them down if they're out.
  • Foil: If you get the True Ending, you'll find out that the protagonist is this to Adachi, and both of them are this to Namatame. The relationship between the first two is even hammered home by the fact that Adachi's persona is just a variation of Izanagi.
  • Food Porn: The Protagonist can cook meals, that when cooked properly, can be shared with a character for boosts to their Social Link status. Share it with a girl and not only do you get the boost, you get to watch her face glow.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first time you see Adachi, Dojima asks him how long he's going to act like a rookie. Key word: Act.
    • A blink-and-you'll-miss-it example near the start of the game. After Saki's death is announced to the school, two girls are seen talking about rumors in the hall. One mentions that she heard someone saying they saw Saki on the Midnight Channel, her friend decrying this rumor as people just having "Saki on the brain", due to her interview being broadcast so frequently. Fast-forward to the end of the game, and this is revealed to be EXACTLY how the Midnight Channel works.
    • Perhaps the most delicate foreshadowing is reserved for Izanami. Honestly, were you paying attention to anything the gas station attendant said throughout the year? Her Motive Rant at the end is practically distilled from the attendant's script, if you condense it a couple of months. Additionally, you can only speak to her on rainy days. Also, she's the only 'minor' character with a Voice Actress..
    • If the player is using a controller with a rumble feature (vibration feature) then the user will feel a tiny almost unoticable vibration as the attendant shakes your hand indicating the power going to you.
    • At one point, when helping Nanako with her homework, Teddie quotes "Cogito ergo sum" as a proverb - "I think, therefore I am". Considering the revelations later on about Teddie's nature as a Shadow and how he developed his Persona, it makes a lot of sense in retrospect that it would stick with him.
    • Pay close attention to the animatic when the main character first finds out about the Midnight Channel. The rain on his bedroom window makes three very blurry points of light in the city beyond, representing his, Adachi's, and Namtame's powers given by Izanami.
    • One piece of late game dialogue mentions Nanako doesn't open the door for strangers, one following suggestion is a friend of Dojima. Which one of Dojima's associates has Nanako come to know?, Adachi.
    • In early November, Nanako opens the door for the deliveryman to answer a question. Said deliveryman takes advantage of Nanako's trust and kidnaps her.
    • On the day the first murder occurs in Golden, a pair of NPC's can be found right outside the Dojima house. Their conversation will eventually turn to gardening, with one of them commenting that the Dojima's have an empty space on their property that could make a mighty fine garden— foreshadowing the gardening function.
    • Early in May (exclusive to Golden), a thunderstorm happens while the Investigation team is together discussing. The team's next member is Kanji, whose Persona is the japanese thunderstorm god.
    • Also early in May, you are gifted a swimsuit by Ryotaro Dojima, your uncle. If you talk to him about it on the same day he'll say: "The ocean's a bit far, but the river is right in town. I'm sure you'll be taking a swim sometime this year". Although not in the river, you will end up taking a swim."
    • During the scene where the gang and Adachi are chasing the stalker that they believe to be the killer outside of Marukyu Tofu, look closely and you can see Namatame's delivery truck go by. You can also see it at the gas station during the beginning of the game, when the gas station attendant runs out from behind it to greet you.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Many of the team's and Namatame's actions are at least partly guided by the belief that police would never buy that people could go inside a TV. The obvious solution to this problem (walk up to a TV and stick your hand in it) never occurs to any of them, even when Dojima is interrogating the protagonist at the police station, berating him for making up crazy stories, and there's a TV in the same room.
  • Four Is Death: When Nanako is hospitalized, the number on her room is 404. Hell, while it's not commented on in-game, her birthday is, of all days, October 4th!
  • Fridge Logic:
    • In-Universe example with a movie - Yukiko mentions how they never explain why the power to curse people to death ended up on cell phones. She doesn't seem to be too bothered by it, though, and even thinks that leaving some things unanswered is for the best.
    • Another In-Universe example tips the group off that all is not what it appears with Namatame supposedly being the serial killer. The warning letters you received earlier tell you not to "rescue" any more victims or "someone close will be put in and killed." The group notes that Namatame, who believed he was saving people, would not have used words like "rescue" and "kill."
  • French Maid Outfit: An outfit option in Golden.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: One of Ameno-no-Sagiri's powerful attacks. Even more powerful when he boosts his stats while hiding in fog. Hope you have Debilitate handy!
  • Friedrich Nietzsche: Much of the game's philosophical core seems to be Nietzschean in nature - actually Nietzschean, not the stuff people try to pin on him. (In fact, several of the villains are prominently Nietzsche Wannabes.) The concept of the "fog of deception around humanity" and the way it is explained seems lifted almost wholesale from Nietzsche's On Truth And Lies In A Nonmoral Sense; the concept of the truth being something that a person must look past themselves to truly grasp (a process that is often painful and requires critical self-reflection) is central to his thesis and is the core message of the game.
    • Most likely because the entire series is based on the psychology/philosophy of Carl Jung, who was greatly inspired by Nietzsche. Everything about the series, from the term "Shadow" to "Persona" to the collective unconscious manifesting as a "Realm of Adventure" are lifted directly from Jung.
  • Funny Afro: The MC at the Culture Festival, and a nameless third-year who gives you riddles.

    Tropes G-L 
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Even if you max Dojima's social link, he still refuses to believe you even if you decide to tell him the truth, and takes you in for questioning. Granted, the main lesson he learned was to not stop running from Nanako.
    • When you max out any of your party members' social links, they never treat you differently in story scenes.
    • After the final battle against Izanami, where she used "Thousand Curses" to kill your entire party and drag their bodies off who knows where, the camera pulls out to show...everyone standing there perfectly fine, with no mention of how any of them got back. Of course Izanami is a Master of Illusion so it may very well have all been in the team's minds.
    • The anime expands on your party members being dragged into darkness. Thousand Curses is shown as an illusion to force Yu into the fog.
    • Romancing anyone is never referred to by anyone besides the girls themselves in private events. This gets especially harsh in the True Ending if you've decided to romance Rise, who will burst into tears when you leave with Kanji telling her to stop crying. It's implied that you and they are keeping the relationship secret, given that talking with your girlfriend in a dungeon will have the other person nearby note that she's acting strangely around you, but never figure out why (for example, Chie thinks Yukiko made a mistake around you, while Kanji's offended at Naoto's seeming rudeness toward you, as her senpai).
    • Due to story reasons, anyone you have top rescue from the TV world will always recover on the same day(within a few days of the deadline), meaning that the time it takes them to recover is inversely proportional to how long they spent trapped. Nanako, however, remains hospitalized from when you rescue her in November until January 20, except for a bit of time out of the hospital for the holidays.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The genesis of all the events that occurred over the year was... the bumbling, slacking, and seemingly-incompetent detective Tohru Adachi. Beyond that, the true origin of the events, and the events that gave both the protagonist and Adachi their powers, is the result of... that person working at the gas station who shook your hand on your first day in town? Justified in that Izanami really didn't do anything other than shake your hand and watch for the majority of the year, so there was little to no reason to suspect her. She doesn't even get a character portrait until her reveal.
  • Game Show: Teddie's Midnight Trivia Miracle Quiz, which is accessible after completing certain parts of the story in Golden.
  • Gender Bender: Shadow Naoto tries to do this on the original, but your party stops it before it happens.
  • Genius Ditz: Yukiko consistently aces school exams, and yet manages to get the wrong end of the stick on more than one occasion - for example, when the group discusses a biker gang: Yosuke mentions that a student from their school, rumoured to be a member of said gang, is considered a legend. Yukiko immediately assumes he means that kind of legend. Not to mention that in Golden, Yukiko is the ONLY one out of the four members in Teddie's Midnight Trivia Miracle Quiz that is actually EAGER to get the show started. The other three (Yu, Yosuke, and Chie) were essentially called in.
  • Genre-Busting: It's an RPG Urban Fantasy about saving the world and the true self and romance and horror and psychology and resolutions and with dating sim mechanics.
  • Genre Savvy: After defeating the second form of Kusumi no Okami at the end of Golden's secret dungeon, the ground starts rumbling. While the party wonders what is happening, Yosuke points out "This is the kind of thing you see in movies, killing the boss and the castle starts crumbling".
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Once their Social Links get high enough, your party members can actually do this to each other to "cure" certain status effects. The cure for "Panic" is literally them slapping you in the cheeks.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When starting Sayoko's Social Link, she openly flirts with him. The protagonist can actually choose to accept her advances, although it's nothing more than a blank screen and some text saying "You spent some time" with her. You also don't get any points toward advancing her Social Link if you go this route.
    • If you romance Naoto on Christmas Eve, she'll give you a watch that tells you how far apart you are from her, albeit with a fairly short range. The scene ends fading to black and with the watch saying that you're less than a meter away from each other...
  • Ghibli Hills: The true form of the TV world, revealed after you finish the Final Boss of the True Ending.
  • Giant Mook: The miniboss Shadows are essentially "upgraded" versions of the normal enemy Shadows.
  • The Glasses Come Off: The scripted portion of the battle against Izanami-no-Okami in the True Ending.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The glasses Teddie makes can see through the fog inside the TV and in Inaba during the December events.
  • Going Through the Motions: Even though the game uses 3D models, a lot of the gestures wind up like this.
  • Gonk:
    • Hanako is morbidly obese and quite unattractive.
    • Mitsuo looks mostly normal, but has black eyes, which are his most defining characteristic.
    • Morooka would probably fit the trope as well. That guy is in serious need of a dentist.
    • The Shiroku owner is fairly overweight and has odd lips and hair.
    • And, of course, Igor. The recurring epitome.
  • Golden Ending: The "True Ending". Appropriately expanded to the "Golden Ending" courtesy of the Golden re-release. In both, not only is the real culprit Adachi apprehended, but the true cause of everything related to the fog and TV world and even the source of the MC's, Namatame's, and Adachi's powers, is also revealed—the goddess Izanami herself disguised as the gas station attendant at the beginning of the game—and subsequently dealt with in a way to prevent the fog from returning. The "Golden Ending" kicks this up a notch with Marie's involvement: through maxing her social links, she learns that she's actually an aspect of the true mastermind whose true purpose was to absorb the fog into herself to prevent it from destroying the world, and disappears to spare him and his friends the pain of losing her. However, Margaret aids the protagonist in tracking Marie down and preventing her from killing herself—which would have also wiped her from their memories—while also clearing away the remaining fog. Once that's done, it's on to confronting Izanami; however, Marie then informs the MC that Izanami is 'her' with all her old powers, and that they split because she couldn't both protect humanity and grant their desire to live in the fog. And indeed, it seems as if defeating Izanami causes Marie to fade into nothingness, or at least from their plane of existence. But in the extended epilogue, along with the other characters sporting new outfits and hairstyles, she appears on TV as a weather forecaster who can control the weather and poses with the MC and all their friends for one last beautiful picture.
  • Golden Super Mode: The Golden adds a new golden third form for Yukiko's Persona, dubbed Sumeo-Okami. Most of the other party members' persona get at least some gold or white colors.(except Yosuke)
  • Good Is Not Nice: There are a variety of possibilities for the MC to be a dick to his social links, although doing so is not recommended. Usually.Hint 
  • Good Times Montage: In Golden, the time between February 15th and March 19th is shown as such, including a ski trip with Nanako, the Investigation Team having dinner at the Dojimas' , the preparation and the giving out of chocolate on White Day, and, finally, a scene where the original picture is taken place. The montage ends as the player character packs up the picture, in preparation for returning home.
  • Gratuitous English: In the Japanese version.
    LOAD GAME: Former game data is read.
    NEW GAME: Game is begun newly.
    CONFIG: Various setup is performed.
    • Rise also gives an "OK!" when she pitches in on an All-Out Attack in Golden.
    • The soundtrack is predominantly in English. You'd be forgiven for not knowing that.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Geez, where do we start?
    • All of the girls act this way if you date more than one of them. If you have more than one girlfriend on Valentine's Day . . .
    • Rise is the most obvious example, because you don't even have to touch her Social Link for it to shine. She often appears in other girls' S-Links (especially Marie's) just to express disapproval.
    • Kashiwagi-sensei feels this way about Rise and all the attention she gets. As she's past forty, she has real issues about her age.
    • Ai Ebihara will have at least one example during the course of her Social Link. She'll admonish you for daring to talk to another girl while on a "date" with her. In another, she'll despise Chie for being Kou's crush if he's your Strength arcana (although she does eventually come to terms with the fact that he's not interested in her). And lastly, she will show hostility to your other female S-Links if you've advanced to the point that she's in love with you.
    • Chie feels this way about Yukiko for being beautiful, feminine and popular, and secretly derives pleasure from Yukiko being dependent on her, which, in turn, makes Chie dependent on Yukiko for her sense of self-worth.
  • Groin Attack:
    • "Critical hit to the nads" indeed. This is usually Chie's preferred method of teaching Yosuke a lesson. In the Persona 4 Manga, Chie's Shadow does this to Jiraiya, Yosuke's Persona, complete with both getting Blank White Eyes. Congrats, we now have a Running Gag.
    • Once you hit a certain rank in Chie and Yukiko's social links, then go through a dungeon you've already cleared, and the conversation will reveal that this is what Chie did when Kanji came into their tent on the night of the campout.
  • Growling Gut:
    • Happens To Yosuke and Chie during the night at the camping trips after the "Mystery Food X" incident
    • Later happens to Teddie hoping Nanako will survive after the Heaven dungeon.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • While it's quite possible to realize the True Ending exists given Ameno-Sagiri's comments and some Interface Spoilers, the game practically forces you away from it by pestering you many, many times to go home and get ready to return to the city. And the Good Ending? Picking the exact set of dialogue options to defuse Yosuke in just the right manner so that the group thinks that there's still something going on? Easy to screw up.
    • You cannot fight the New Game+ Bonus Boss unless you finish the Empress S. Link before 12/24 and then visit the Velvet Room twice before you enter the true final dungeon. And destroy all the bonus shadows. And rescue Marie in Golden.
    • Overall, the social links themselves can be a pain to complete. You have a rather limited time to max them all, meaning you'll have to get almost every response during the level up sequences spot on (and they're not always obvious). Almost every social link can only progress on certain days of the week, and are unavailable on rainy days. Add to this that some Social links cannot advance until you reach certain levels of Yu's personal stats (you need maximum Courage and Knowledge just to even start Naoto's link) and the whole thing can be very frustrating to the uninitiated.
    • Golden adds another in the form of a bonus dungeon. All of the guides say that you just have to max out Marie's Social Link, and then ask Margaret where she vanished to after New Years Day. However, they fail to mention that it's possible to still botch it. Margaret mentions that tracking Marie down could be dangerous, and that you have an option not to go. This can easily be misunderstood as Margaret offering to transport you to a difficult dungeon before you're fully prepared, thus giving you a reason to turn down the offer and spend more time gearing up. This is your only opportunity to activate the side-quest, and turning it down accidentally will affect how certain endgame events play out, as well as deny you the True Ending Epilogue. That's a lot of content riding on a single mistake.
    • Golden has a trophy that requires you to read all the books in the game. Three of them can only be acquired through spending time with Kou and Daisuke when they call you on three specific dates. The game doesn't tell you this, of course. Say you'll pass and the book in question is Lost Forever. At least your friends will call you automatically, so the invitations can't be missed, right? Not in this case. If you don't go back to your room at evening on one, very specific datenote , you won't get called and you won't even know you missed an invitation. Oh, and did you join the basketball club? If that's the case, you also won't get called if the social link is at rank 4, 5 or 6 (the first invitation) or 5 or 6 (the second invitation). Naturally, if you complete the link,it's also Lost Forever. Now have fun figuring all of this out without a guide.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming:
    • Just go ahead and try not to save the victims in time and see what happens. Especially with Nanako. You Jerk.
    • Used to a much more comical effect when you eat Nanako's pudding in the fridge, even though the game technically rewards you for it. (See Violation of Common Sense below.)
    • Leaving the TV World before Teddie joins the party leaves him despondent that he's being left alone again.
    • New to Golden, if you romance more than one girl, all of them (save Marie) will call you out for it come Valentine's Day.
  • Hand Wave: And a pretty notorious one at that—how does the Investigation Team conceal their weapons while in Junes? They hide them in their uniforms. How do they conceal the protagonist's katanas and Kanji's giant shields? They hide them in their uniforms. And that's all the explanation we need.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: A decent amount of fanart has Naoto's hair as black because of this.
  • Hard Gay: Kanji's Shadow boss has a pair of these flanking it, as well as a embedding itself in a torso based on this, and surrounded by roses. The various Gigas enemies may count, especially the ones that resemble Hulk Hogan in rainbow tights.
  • Hard Work Fallacy: Adachi during his speech before his boss fight, complains about this, saying that you wouldn't get anywhere in society if you didn't have talent.
  • Harmful to Minors: When Teddie is about to take his head off in the real world for the first time, Yosuke tries to stop him because there are kids watching and that they'll be scarred for life if they see an empty mascot.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Yosuke, although he wears them around his neck to show that he's not totally cut off from the world.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Lose to Shadow Rise and it's Game Over, but once you get its HP down to a certain amount, it does an Enemy Scan on your party and goes to a Cutscene where it blasts the crap out of you. Just when it's looking dire for the group, Teddie rushes in and saves the day, and Rise gets her Persona. So everyone turns around to leave... But not so fast! Teddie decides to take that moment to pay attention to your own ability to tell two different people two different things about life, and his Shadow manifests. Cue a Boss Battle with Rise taking over as Mission Control (and a party at full HP and SP, suspiciously enough).
  • The Heartless: The Shadows.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • After a character's Evil Counterpart is defeated, if they choose to accept it, it becomes a Persona.
    • Kanji himself, as he tries to reform his thuggish delinquent ways after joining the heroes.
      I'm gonna tear this place apart so fast you won't have time to file for the insurance! Wait... I mean... I'm gonna tear it apart and rebuild it twice as good! I-I'm gonna RENOVATE your ass!
    • In the True Ending, Adachi sends a letter to the protagonist and gives the team the clues they need to completely solve the mystery. Whether this is a Heel–Face Turn or not may depend on interpretation.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Lampshaded, it is implied that people think an NPC who mentions the square button is strange.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The Protagonist has to be provided with a name in the beginning. During voiced cutscenes, other characters refer to him as "Senpai" (mentor), or sometimes "Leader". The manga calls him Souji Seta, while his official name (used in the anime and fighting game) is Yu Narukami.
  • Heroic Second Wind: The S-Link flashbacks sequence during the battle with Izanami.
  • The Hero's Journey
  • Hidden Depths: Your party members if you follow their social links, particularly Kanji.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: This is done posthumously after the death of Saki Konishi, the girl Yosuke had a crush on and worked at the store his father managed. When they visit her death site, her last thoughts are broadcast loudly. He finds out that she found him to be a real pain in the ass and hated how much he flirted with her, and was only nice to him because he was the boss's son. He takes the news hard at first, but later still tries to respect her opinion and bring her killer to justice. One possible interpretation, though, is that this is how Yosuke subconsciously thought Saki viewed him.
  • High School: The game's main setting.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: Rise's Persona Himiko is depicted as a woman with a satellite as a head, complete with hexagonal patterns.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The game will try to set this up on you near end levels, throwing enemy sets at you where one's only weakness is a light/dark spell and another repels it—which would mean a good chance of it backfiring and one-shotting you if you cast a ma-version. It's actually a pretty flat example though, because almost any persona in the game that uses Light or Dark attacks will be immune to them, including those of your party members, and this follows through for elemental spells. (On the first playthrough though, this can be more dangerous, if you're mixing light/dark spells into new personas.)
    • One way to seriously screw this up, however, is to have Kanji try to mow down an enemy that repels physical attacks. Kanji has absurd HP, but his strength stat is so high it'll probably be one of the few scenarios to get him down to low HP or unconscious. Of note is that Kanji's ascended Personas don't gain an extra null like the others do, instead only getting an extra resistance (to Physical attacks) at third stage in Golden.
  • Holding Hands: Probably unintentional, but Yu and Yosuke when the Magician link first starts.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: A dream sequence near the beginning of the game has you fighting someone (presumed to be the Big Bad); it lasts all of six turns before you wake up, the last three not even letting you hit the boss.
    • Also occurs against Shadow Rise and in the final battle.
  • Hope Spot: The True Final Boss. You're in the last leg of the fight, Izanami is at her last sliver of health, and an epic Theme Music Power-Up is playing in the background. Then Izanami goes "oh fuck this" and starts spamming an unavoidable One-Hit Kill attack.
  • Hospital Hottie: Hello, Sayoko!
  • Hot-Blooded: If Kanji ever bled, it would eat through metal. "BRING IT ON!"
  • Hot for Student: Ms. Kashiwagi's self-confidence is so completely down the toilet that this actually comes up at one point.
  • How to Become a Love Interest: Just like Persona 3, the majority of the love interests in this game tend to follow this formula:
  • Hp To One: The Death Arcana Chance does this to the party along with fully restoring the party's SP. The reversed card does the exact opposite. Either one teleports you out of the dungeon and resets the floors.
    • Galgalim Eyes does this along with inflicting Enervation.
  • Humanity on Trial: As revealed in The True Ending, Izanami gave the power of Persona to people representing emptiness, despair and hope in order to ascertain what humanity truly desired. Thanks to Adachi, she thinks humanity wants oblivion and it's up to you to beat the crap out of her in order to prevent her from making it happen.
  • Humans Are Bitches And Whores: Implied by the game at times, especially before the final battle against the Big Bad during the True Ending. Though Izanami put everything in motion, she created the Midnight Channel as a portal into the human subconscious. The Big Bad sees evidence that what humankind really wants is to live in a permanent delusion without any real-life distress or struggle, so she decides to give that to them. There are hints and discussions of this galore throughout the game, sometimes completely randomly. If you win the fight, though, you see the world that really exists in people's hearts is rather lovely.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Played straight, but with minimal effectiveness: food items do restore HP, but the restoration is so little (i.e. 25 HP from a Steak Croquette) that you're better off using medicinal items for that purpose. Played straight with the rare Tater Longs item, which restores all of a character's HP. However, it still can't be eaten during combat.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After Morooka is murdered, it is revealed through gossiping classmates that despite complaining about how his students are apparently obsessed with getting laid, he still takes the time to buy Rise's pinup books.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Adachi says something like this after arresting a stalker of Rise's.
    • Margaret gets one after being able to welcome you while Igor is away.
  • I Lied: In Yumi's Social Link, she gets told that her mother collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Upon arriving, she's furious to learn that her mother is fine and that her father was the one being hospitalized. Her mother admits that she lied because she knew that Yumi wouldn't have come if she knew her father was hospitalized, and Yumi's still upset that her mother spends so much energy on someone Yumi doesn't think deserves it.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: This trope, both inverted and played straight, is what ends up revealing Adachi. The characters have no evidence at all when they first confront the killer; he's just the only person they can think of who interacted with both of the initial victims, could have left the warning notes at the Dojima house, and would not have been noticed as suspicious regarding either of these. Once they start asking questions, however, inconsistencies start popping up, first when he plays dumb and claims not to know or remember things he should know about, such as the threatening letter that got the player character into trouble with Dojima. When the characters refuse to let him leave and continue questioning him, Adachi gets angry enough that he inadvertently describes the victims being "put in [to the TV]," a phrase that only the Investigation Team and the killer would have any reason to use.
  • Idiot Ball: Dojima and the protagonist pass it back and forth a few times in one scene, which directly leads to Nanako getting kidnapped.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: Deconstructed. The Big Bad's motivation for wanting to turn the entire human race into Shadows bascially comes down to "If humans are happier by hiding from truth and living blissfully in ignorance, their true desire must be to live as mindless drones whom are ignorant even of their own existance".
  • Impossibly Awesome Magic Trick: A mundane example, but in one of his S-Link scenes in Golden, Adachi manages to make a coin appear in the protagonist's pocket from across the table.
  • Improbable Age: Nanako is seven years old. Yes, the girl who's home alone more often than not, AND does all the laundry, AND does all the grocery shopping. Parental Abandonment really does wonders for one's independance.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Most of the weapons in the game are fairly realistic: the Protagonist favors "two-handed weapons", which are usually swords (although early in the game can be slightly more esoteric things like golf clubs or baseball bats); Yosuke dual-wields knives; Chie using "shoes and shinguards" may seem odd at first but given that she's an accomplished martial artist it makes sense; Teddie uses claws built into his suit; Naoto favors pistols. Yukiko and Kanji, however...
    • Yukiko uses hand-fans, of the traditional hiogi type, exclusively as her weapons; most of these aren't even of the "iron fan" variety (one early one you can get for her is basically made out of peacock feathersnote ), and yet they have as much base damage as any other weapon type. Only her fairly abysmal strength score prevents Yukiko from hitting as hard as melee heavies like Kanji or Chie, despite her weapon typically being made from wood and paper. (Even more unusually, she doesn't use them as a melee weapon; she throws them.)note 
    • Speaking of Kanji, his weapon of choice is a "shield", or a large, wide, blunt weapon. This is already fairly unusual (using a shield as a weapon isn't totally unheard of, but using it as a primary weapon is), but early on... metal shields aren't available. This means that Kanji will use whatever large and flat objects he can lay hold of as a weapon... including folding chairs and desks at his school. This gets particularly hilarious in light of the fact that, technically, the heroes are supposed to be using their school uniforms to conceal the weapons and armor that would otherwise get them arrested... so how is Kanji concealing a desk?
    • Honorable mention also goes out to Teddie's initial Persona. Kintoki-douji is traditionally depicted as using a tomahawk. Wellllll... Teddie's Persona has one too, but we don't mean the hand-held hatchet variety, either. Sadly, once upgraded the Persona simply uses the same claws Teddie himself does.
    • The Golden has even more unusual weapons. You can equip Yosuke and Kanji with grilled corn and the River Guardian respectively, for instance.
  • Improvised Weapon: Except for Naoto, everyone's starting weapon is this (Kanji's entire fighting style revolves around this). Some of the later weapons are this as well (such as a titanium golf club for the protagonist, or a pair of fish for Yosuke).
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Not even Yukiko finds Teddie's bear puns funny, and she's the type to go into a laughing fit over any joke.
    • Also Rise: "It's weak against wind, this'll be a breeze!"
    • Margaret is prone to these when she asks you to fuse a certain Persona for her.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: And how!
  • Infallible Babble: Zig-Zagged: it's rumoured that the Midnight Channel appears at midnight when it's raining (which is usually true), and shows you your "soulmate" (which isn't - it shows who the next person to end up in the TV is/will be) or rather, what everyone in town is thinking of..
  • Infant Immortality: Played straight in all except the worst possible variation of the bad ending.
  • Informed Ability: Rise is an Actress/Idol Singer, and during her Rank 8 Social Link, her former manager proceeds to gush about how talented she was, but (Aside from a commercial right at the start of the game) the player never sees her in action.
    • Averted in Golden, which has Rise perform at a concert being hosted by Junes with the rest of the Investigation Team as her band.
  • Inn Security: Averted for the most part: you sleep in your own house (most of the time) and a fairly trustworthy fox provides healing services in the dungeon proper (for an outrageous price, which becomes less outrageous as you build your link with him).
  • Instant Runes: Light ("Hama") and Darkness ("Mudo") skills utilize this.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • The fact that you cannot reach MAX in the Judgement Social Link until after you've finished the "final" dungeon is one of the only tip-offs that Ameno-Sagiri is not the final boss after all. Enjoy figuring our how to reach the truth after that. Corrected in Golden, where the final rank up occurs when you all celebrate your victory, but you can't get the final Jester Social Link rank until you read Adachi's letter after choosing to go to Junes.
    • Why does the controller rumble when you shake the hand of a gas station attendant?
    • Why does that creepy guy hitting on Yukiko have a profile picture while talking with him? This is averted with the gas station attendant, who doesn't have one until you unlock the true ending.note 
  • Intoxication Ensues: During a school trip to Tatsumi Port Island, courtesy of drinking at the local nightclub. Yukiko, Rise, and Teddie get particularly sloshed, with hilarious consequences. Subverted in that, as Naoto repeatedly insists, the nightclub isn't even permitted to serve alcoholic drinks - amusingly, the three of them are too "drunk" to care.
  • Invocation: The protagonists will sometimes call the names of their Personas before Evoking them complete with an Eyed Screen cut-in: when this happens, you know you hit the weakness of or landed a critical hit on at least one enemy.
  • Ironic Echo: If you choose to hit on Yosuke during the school Culture Festival, Kanji mocks him with the same speech Yosuke used on him earlier.
    Yosuke: [To Yu] Okay, we get it! You're good at role-playing! Now quit it! You're creeping me out...
    Kanji: "There are many forms of love..." Didn't you tell me something like that?
    • In the days leading up to the Culture Festival, Chie confronts Yosuke with "You'd better have a damn good explanation for this!" when she learns that she and the rest of the girls were signed up for the pageant without their permission. Yosuke repeats the phrase when he learns that in retaliation, the girls signed up the guys for the cross-dressing festival.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Reach Out to the Truth
  • It's a Wonderful Failure:
    • Can get some fairly interesting ones by not saving victims before the fog rolls in. Not catching the killer when you are about to leads to a particularly disturbing one, where Naoto calls you to warn Shadows are invading the real world, only to stop mid sentence and start screaming.
    • All of the Bad Endings have this sequence (spoilers!). They also play "Corridor", a somber piano theme which plays during the Credits sequence and Izanami's dungeon. If you have the latter happening, you're already at the True Ending.
  • It's Personal:
    • Oh boy, where do we start? The best example is Nanako's kidnapping.
    • Yosuke makes a big deal about his beloved Saki-senpai and why she had to die whenever the murders come up.
    • Yukiko, Kanji, Rise & Naoto all join the Investigation Team after their kidnappings made it personal to them, with Kanji outright stating he wants to join the team to get some payback on his kidnapper.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Midnight Channel only comes on these. So do the murders. And the gas station attendant only shows up in the rain. Hmm...
  • Japanese Pronouns: In the Japanese version, the Arc Words for the Shadows are done using the "Ware" pronoun. Significant since they are referring to all Shadows, not just itself.
  • Jerkass:
    • Morooka. King Moron indeed.
    • Yosuke dips into this category occasionally throughout the game, especially during the confrontation with Namatame, but for the most part he can more accurately described as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Really, it comes with being a teenager. A good example is his reaction to just how bad the curry is on the school camping trip, and that he never lets Chie or Yukiko forget it.
    • The killer is one of these, but he hides it pretty well, except during his Social Link.
    • Maybe subverted with the Main Character himself. Sure, he has a variety of asshole phrases you can use in the social links, but saying them more often than not will discourage your S-linker from wanting to talk to you again, unless you do something nice, like hang out with them or invite them to lunch.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Kanji. He's short-tempered and can sometimes be abrasive, but he cares a lot for his mother, and develops a deep respect for the protagonist over the course of his Social Link.
    • As is Shu. Initially, he seems like a proto-Insufferable Genius, but after working with him, he soon shows a much more compassionate and trusting side.
    • Ai Ebihara. Hate her for being a Tsundere that's astoundingly heavy on the "Tsun". Then max her S-Link beyond level six and hate yourself. At the end of her link, she also expresses a desire to become nicer.
    • Yumi. She's fairly harsh with some of her less dedicated clubmates, and resents her father, but she has a good heart, seeing as how she cares for the protagonist and her mother, and even finds it in herself to forgive her father.
  • Jump Scare: The random killer chests that drain your HP or SP when opened, accompanied by a very sudden "punch" sound effect and a red flash. These chests are not present in Golden for some reason.
  • Just a Kid: Naoto's Shadow berates her with a rant to this effect. Also, the real killer tells the protagonists that "Students should stay home and study."
  • Just for Pun: An item named 'Goho-M' will instantly transport your party from the dungeon back to the entrance area. At first glance, it appears to just be another strangely named item in the game with some roots still stuck in the original Japanese (see Woolseyism on the YMMV tab), however, it can also be read as 'go ho-M', or 'Go Home'.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Adachi in the worst endings. One ending in Golden that can only be obtained after the hospital but before the True Ending can be earned, called the Accomplice Ending, actually has you destroy the evidence that implicates him.
    • Izanami, the Greater Scope Villain, isn't exposed as the true orchestrator of the plot in any ending except for the True one. Her plan to engulf humanity inside a fog and turn them into mindless Shadows is also implied to be a success in the BadEndings.
    • A more light hearted example, the girls during some of the Breather Episodes.
    • The driver of the hit-and-run that killed Nanako's mother, given that it was likely a tourist who's long since left Inaba and there were no witnesses, it seems unlikely he or she will ever get caught. That Dojima refuses to let this stand and continues to hunt the killer long after the trail's gone cold, sometimes to the point of neglecting the family he still has, makes up a large part of the Justice Arcana's story. However, if you get the best ending available in Golden, Dojima's reunion with the Protagnoist ends with him being informed of a massive breakthrough in the case.
  • Keep It Foreign: In the Japanese version. One of your available reactions to Teddie after the girls dress him up is 'brilliant', said in English. In the English version it's 'Ces't Magnifique.' Both are references to Mitsuru Kirijo's speech in Persona 3.
  • Kid Hero: Everyone in the main character's party.
  • Kill and Replace: If a Shadow-Self is rejected by his/her human counterpart, the shadow will invoke this and will try to kill him/her and take his/her place. However, if the first couple of victims are any indication, the Shadow stays in its world while the victim's body reappears in the real one.
  • Kotatsu: There's a whole sub-plot about obtaining one. It takes a more prominent role in Golden when the Protagonist ends up getting extremely sick right after New Year's and ends up bed-ridden. Who puts him under the kotatsu? Teddie (although he's questioned for doing so by everyone else).
  • Lampshade Hanging: Several. At one point, a girl comments on the improbable items they sell on the weekly shopping show with her friend, "Who would buy a sword over the phone?"
  • Lap Pillow: One of the possible actions that the Protagonist can invite one of his party members (Rise) to do during the King's Game.
  • Large Ham:
    • MC, the pink-afro wearing announcer of the culture festival.
    • The Shadow Selves, especially Yukiko and Naoto. One teacher even asks the class if they know where the term "ham" originated from. (Pay attention when it comes up, too; it's on the exam.)
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In Golden, Teddie's Casanova Wannabe antics come back to bite him in the ass during the summer festival, as two days after taking all three of the girls as his dates, he winds up drawing the unwanted attentions of Hanako after he gets carried away hitting on anything that moves. In-universe, this is even stated by Yosuke as Teddie's karma catching up with him, but in reference to Teddie bringing Yosuke's "private reading material" to the Hanamura breakfast table that morning.
  • Lazy Backup: Surprisingly averted in The Golden. Party members that aren't in your active party may sometimes appear out of nowhere to attack your opponent after you knock down an enemy, if their Social Links are high enough.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • There's a bit during Rise's Social Link where her ex-manager says something about how "the cult of personality" controls one's life and schedule. No kidding...
      Inoue: Your schedule fits together, minute by minute, like a jigsaw puzzle... Every day you're squeezed utterly dry...
    • The first non-voice acted line in the game (outside of battle) is Morooka shouting, "Be quiet, you idiots!"
    • Golden adds an exam question about atlases, along with this dialogue:
    Mr. Yamada: Note the spelling. It's spelled A - T - L - A - S, okay? I mean, how else would you spell it? note 
    • When the group confronts Adachi in the midnight channel:
    Adachi: "Games like this gotta have surprises or they get boring fast."
    • If you get the semi-bad ending, Dojima's dialogue to the MC as he's about to return home could just as easily be interpreted as asking the player if they're sure they made the right decisions in the game.
    • In one of Eri's Social Link events, she says "We're just little robots following the program our creator made for us. So, whenever anything happens, there's nothing you can do about it... It was already decided for you." In context, she's talking about how fate is defined (and making excuses for not doing anything despite not being happy with her present situation), but it seems a very apt line for an NPC in a game to say.
  • Left Hanging: Epileptic Trees aside, the Good and True endings to the game seem to do this quite deliberately for a couple plot points, which is what leads to so many shaking branches in the first place. Most prominent by far is the fact that, very much unlike the resolution to Persona 3 wherein the Dark Hour ceases after Nyx is beaten, even after Izanami has been defeated the TV portals still work. Naoto even intends to continue investigating Ame-no-Sagiri and Izanami, and there's a little worry that someone might try to abuse the realm beyond the TVs again. Could these be hooks for another sequel? Oh, perish the thought...
    • The True Ending isn't that bad about it. Izanami states that she has been completely eradicated and the other world is purged of all fog and presumably shadows. While it's still available, it doesn't look like much could be done there but take a vacation.
    • It is implied that the world has always existed, being something of an Urban Fantasy equivalent to the Collective Unconscious. Considering it lies in people's hearts, it probably is true.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Chie, Rise, and Yukiko. Yukiko is bad enough on her own (she uses the hero as a guinea pig during her S. Link events), but when they team up during the camping trip segment, the result is the infamous "Mystery Food X," which takes out both Yosuke and the protagonist when they try to eat it. Rise can cook but tends to add a lethal amount of spiciness to her meals. The three of them get it right in the end, but probably only because Naoto helped out (and after two failed attempts).
      • Painfully subverted on Valentine's Day in Golden. The girls inadvertently trick Nanako into creating a lethal chocolate creation for Yu. The result? One strike. note 
      • Golden also takes Yukiko's case Up to Eleven in the Valentine's Day event, where she reveals that she wanted to try using Octopus Ink to give an extra flavor to the chocolate. The reason? Because they are the same color. Thankfully, the chefs at her inn did most of the work, and make very good chocolate.
    • Yet another lethal chef can be found outside the Dojima residence on some days, and will give you her creations (bait).
  • Lethal Joke Character: The King Frost Persona. Level grinding will quickly unveil his completely worthless stats except for his sky-high luck stat, affecting instant kill rate, critical rate, evasion rate, and status effects chance. Applying Hama or Mudo skills to him, or sticking him with more dangerous status effects like Old One, can make him a formidable Persona.
  • Lestrade: Adachi is responsible for much of your knowledge about the police investigation of the case and he's the guy who did it, using this information to mislead you. Ryoutarou Dojima is in a position this would be expected from, but is not an example.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After the disastrous school camping trip comes up in a conversation, Kanji says something along the lines of "I thought we agreed never to talk about that."
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: The Social Link system returns - but this time, with more immediate effects on combat when you develop your links with party members, culminating with their Persona evolving at the max S. Link.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the rest of the SMT series, hell compared to P3 which had Personas threatening to and killing people among other things. Compared to the rest of the series, Persona 4 is incredibly cheerful and upbeat, and the true ending is completely happy. No catch.
  • Limit Break: The supporting characters' follow-up attacks:
    • Yosuke, Yukiko, and Teddie only target and critical a single non-downed enemy, or kill it if low on health.
    • Kanji and Naoto multi-target 1-3 enemies to critical hit.
    • Chie just kicks them out of the battle, which works on any non-boss enemy.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Subverted in town, where PCs wear a variety of seasonal clothing, but played straight in battle. The latter is supposedly explained by the need to conceal their equipment under their school uniforms. (Though in P4G, there are more outfits to wear in battle, just like Persona 3).
    • Lampshaded by Marie in Golden, when taken on a shopping trip with Yukiko and Chie. They are utterly incapable of buying anything not red or green, respectively (or in Chie's case, blue and yellow, which makes green).
    • Of course, Marie is one to talk. (Justified in her case by the fact that everything she has is "borrowed" from the Velvet Room.)
    • The Golden Epilogue changes their looks completely. Kanji no longer dyes his hair, wears glasses, and dresses more modestly due to his change in attitude, Chie and Naoto dress more femininely, Yukiko ties her hair up, and Rise has returned to dressing more like a Teen Idol. Even Nanako has changed her appearance to look more ladylike. Yu, Yosuke, and Teddie all dress up practically for the season.
  • Logic Bomb: One Social Link has you complete wishes for a fox so people would put money into an offertory box (Long story) in return for a healing station similar to the clock in Persona 3. At the very end of the quests, you visit the fox, to find that the money in the offertory box will go to making the shrine a shinier place. Cue the construction workers who replace most of the stuff in less then a day.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • Deconstructed in that Naoto knows damn well that the Investigation Team is withholding information about the kidnappings. The frustration from this situation leads to her getting herself kidnapped in order to find out the truth.
    • Dojima, though he has his suspicions. It leads to Dojima taking in the protagonist for questioning near the end of the game when he finds the second warning letter from the Killer, giving Dojima the proof he needs that the protagonist is involved in the case. It doesn't help that when the player gets the first letter, Naoto advises against showing it to him, warning that if Dojima puts his nephew under surveillance, the team will be unable to act.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Yukiko was this until she became friends with Chie. Naoto also has elements of this, but gets better after joining the investigation squad, especially if you complete the Fortune social link. Ai has elements of it tied into her also being the Alpha Bitch.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Mitsuo Kubo, a somewhat Gonkish loner who wanted attention ends up becoming a copycat killer.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: One of the many arrangements of "I'll Face Myself" includes "I'll Face Myself-another version-". It plays in exactly one, fairly brief scene: after Dojima is injured in a car crash and, while in his hospital room, he's asking the Investigation Team to find the kidnapped Nanako. This is especially bizarre as nearly every other song in the game appears in numerous scenes, and there was already a version of "I'll Face Myself" that would have fit well with the scene.
  • Look Behind You: Yosuke does this to Rise's stalker if you choose "Tackle him from the front". "Look, a Martian!" He falls for it completely.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Dojima's Rank 6 Social Link event, he'll tell you that the accident that killed Nanako's mother is something that he can't talk about under his roof. You can say "Then let's go outside," and he'll remark "[[Touché...Hah. You win...", while giving you a good amount of relationship points.
  • Love Hotels: Ms. Kashiwagi rents rooms at the Clamshell Inn, a motel-turned-hotel formerly known as the Champs de Fleurs Love Hotel from Persona 3. Deliberately, as far as we can tell, considering that it's pretty much the same place with a new name and catering to a broader clientèle.
  • Love Hurts:
    • Congratulations! You completed a Social Link and have a very close bond with your girlfriend! Now say goodbye to her before leaving Inaba at the end of the game.
    • In Golden, the game will guilt trip the player if they've been cheating when Valentine's Day rolls around.
  • Love Letter:
    • The protagonist receives these if he does well on tests. They're usually filled with useful items.
    • Naoto gets one in the third rank event of her Social Link and coldly discards it without reading it, declaring that the sender does not truly know her and saying that love affairs are a waste of time for her.
    • The second rank sidequest for the Hermit Social Link starts when you find a girl who accidentally put a love letter into your locker, and only realizes her mistake when you approach. Upon returning to her and admitting that you read it, she's mortified, but gains the courage to successfully confess to her love interest.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • The Personas used to fuse Izanagi-No-Okami are fairly random and unrelated but the first kana of each from each one top to bottom reads " Izanagi-no-Ookami tsukurenote ". This only barely (the first one or two levels of most spell "Isanagi-no-Ookami" phonetically identical to the created Persona) works in English.
    • The final boss has a seeming example. It hearkens back to the original myth of Izanami and Izanagi, where Izanami swore to curse 1000 mortals each day, and Izanagi swore in turn to give life to 1500 mortals each day. In game this manifests as Izanami's attack Thousand Curses and Izanagi-no-Okami's counter Myriad Truths, which was 10,000 Truths in the original Japanese. However, myriad has a little used alternate definition in English, a specific reference to 10,000 as in the original Greek.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Defeating the Contrarian King when it first appears. Your victory is completely dependent on how many times it decides to use its overpowered Rampage move; a physical attack that targets the entire party and hits each target up to three times, except each hit deals a ridiculous amount of damage and two or more hits is guaranteed to KO a party member regardless of defensive buffs and/or physical resistance. Its one weakness is the relatively low accuracy of its attacks, so a semi-effective strategy is to maximize your evasion with Sukukaja and Sukunda. But although those moves bring the odds more into your favor, your success is still not guaranteed and it's not unheard of for Rampage to still hit and wipe your entire party even with those buffs in play. The only way to guarantee victory is to come in with complete immunity to physical attacks; something which is only possible on a New Game+.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Averted. Though Kanji's primary weapons are shields, his guard animation has him using his arms to block attacks.
  • Luminescent Blush: Most character portraits have a "happy", "surprised" and "infatuated" variation.
    • Crush Blush: The infatuated Luminescent Blush, as mentioned above. From about Rank 5 and on, most female Social Links (and some guys) sport this for our protagonist; some sooner, some later. Some do this in the Rank 10 dungeon conversations, which usually get misinterpreted by the other party member.

    Tropes M-R 
  • Magic Is Rare; Health Is Cheap: The only SP-restoring items you can purchase are cans of soda, which restore a measily 5 SP each, and are in limited supply. If you don't finagle your way to getting Victory Cry early, your best bet for SP restoration is probably getting a Persona with the Spirit Drain skill.
  • Magic Skirt: Subverted - Chie wears black bike shorts when in combat. It's not always easy to tell with a lot of the taller boots, but they're easy to see when she wears sneakers. Avert with Yukiko as well. Her Fan Assault follow up attack reveals that she wears black short shorts.
  • Magikarp Power: Izanagi—low stats and skills that are okay early game, but lame later on (and don't compare to other personas, even Yosuke's and Chie's), and fairly slow at leveling, meaning even if you ditch him and bring him back for endgame levels he still qualifies. He is also not fuse-able in the Velvet Room, negating the possibility of social link rank-up. Grind him long enough though and he'll turn out some phenomenal strength, agility, and endurance, and decent magic and luck to boot, meaning all that's left is to reassign skills.
  • Male Gaze:
    • When Shadow Rise first appears on the Midnight Channel, the camera focuses on her chest and thighs, with the game commenting that you can't even see her face. Could also apply to Shadow Yukiko's intro. This point gets driven home later, when you learn that in the absence of a victim, the Midnight Channel shows whatever the public consciousness is thinking of, with the clarity tailored to each viewer. Not only is her figure apparently of immense interest to the folks of Inaba, but her breasts are exaggerated.
    • In Golden, the Investigation Team's trip to the Hot Springs after the School Festival features an animated cutscene of the girls entering the Hot Springs in nothing but towels, complete with a pan upwards of Yukiko & Chie, a shot where Rise runs past the just-below-waist-high camera & Chie subsequently walks (And stands) directly in the shot after her, and finally, a close-up of Naoto's chest.
    • During the second trip to the Hot Springs in Golden, there's a prolonged shot of Marie from the back, as the camera pans up her naked body, before going in for some closer shots as he pours water over her body. The other girls are very obviously naked in the same scene too, with their bodies being hidden by steam.
  • Man Behind the Man: If you get the True Ending, you find that Namatame, Adachi and Yu are all being manipulated by the Big Bad Izanami-no-Okami.
  • Manual Leader, AI Party: The default battle setting—you can choose your party's style of attacks (offensive, healing, general) but not control their actions directly. However, you can opt for manual control of every party member.
  • Masochist's Meal:
    • Mystery Food X and pretty much anything the girls cook until the end of the game.
    • Yu can also eat Nanako's science project, which is a pot of grass. The game rewards you for doing so.
    • There is a bag of wasabi in the fridge. ... Lick it?
  • Meaningful Name: One of the meanings of Tohru (透) is "transparent". This fits well to Adachi as he represents "emptiness". Although tohru (透る) itself, if it is a verb, has multiple meanings.
  • Mega Corp.: The Junes Department Store.
    • Subverted. Not only is it just an ordinary department store, Yosuke is the son of the manager. In fact it is actually DOWNRIGHT HELPFUL at times. Its TV section serves as the gateway into the TV world while the food court is their meeting place. It also provides a place for Teddie to work in since he would stand out in the bear costume.
    • Played straight in the opinion of many Inaba citizens, especially those whose family stores are closed by Junes' presence. The vast majority of the shopping district is boarded up closed shops that presumably went out of business thanks to Junes. In the epilogue, however, it's implied that relations between Junes and the local merchants are better now, since Junes is hosting locally produced goods.
  • Mega Meal Challenge: The Rainy Day Special Mega Beef Bowl Challenge.
  • Meganekko: The cast visits Gekkoukan High School, on Port Island, where they are greeted by Chihiro from Persona 3. She's had two years in which to shed her moe traits in exchange for just damn hot. Also, technically all your female party members since they wear attractive glasses inside the TV.
    • The Fighting Game spin-off/sequel Arena gives you the option to put glasses on everyone.
  • Megaton Punch: Chie's follow-up attack. Of course, it's more like a Megaton Kick, but the enemy goes flying either way.
  • The Men in Black: The "Agent Suit" costume set allows you to dress as these. If you talk with Yukiko about them while Naoto is in the party, they'll discuss how the suits make them stand out, and Naoto's somewhat annoyed when Yukiko brings up the entire part about them searching for aliens.
  • Metal Slime: Golden hands appear in every multi-level dungeon. They'll attack you instead of running away or disappearing when cornered, and if you can kill them before they escape, they drop a lot of money and a key for the locked golden chests you'll sometimes find. Unfortunately, they tend to resist most elements and have fairly high defense.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • Adachi fights by summoning a Persona, just like the main characters. Better yet, he summons a dark version of Izanagi called Magatsu Izanagi.
    • The Bonus Boss is also an example, having even more similarity to the players method of fighting, including the protagonist's Wild Card.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Nanako's mother died in an accident.
    • Eri, the main focus of the Temperance Social Link, is a woman who married a man with a young son named Yuuta. What happened to Yuuta's mother is unclear, but Eri says that the former Mrs. Minami "is no longer here."
  • Modesty Shorts: Chie wears bike shorts under her skirt — good thing too, considering she's a Kick Chick.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The hints about the Good Ending are only (relatively) easy to pick up if you're Genre Savvy, or have it spoiled for you. The True Ending... yeah, have fun with that.
  • Mood Whiplash: This is easily one of the most cheerful games centered around murder. Then November and December happen. It's painful.
    • Lighter and Softer: Persona 4 is extremely optimistic and upbeat for a Shin Megami Tensei game. It even has two happy endings. The Normal Ending is quite cheerful itself; it is only detracted if one bothers themselves with Fridge Logic.
    • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: For a game centered around murder, this game takes the scale and slams it hard against the idealism end.
    • What is interesting to note is that this mood whiplash is also seen in how characters summon their persona, compared to Persona 3. Persona 3 has people initially terrified of summoning it (due to the whole "shoot yourself" thing) and take it morbidly. In comparison, Persona 4 characters summon their persona by doing things they find fun (Chie kicking the card, Yosuke doing the stylish flip thing, etc) and are actually happy when they first receive their persona.
  • More Friends, More Benefits: The social links. Unlike Persona 3, you are never forced into a romantic relationship if you want to complete the Social Link. On the other hand, the game doesn't punish you if you cheat either. The worst that happens is some awkward dialogue in the dungeons.
    • And, in The Golden, heart-rending conversations on Valentine's Day with every girlfriend you DON'T spend it with except Marie. Fully voiced.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • If you join your friends in throwing Namatane into the TV, he and Nanako die while the case goes unsolved. You return home without much fanfare.
    • If you stop your friends from punishing Namatane but fail to convince them that there is more to the case than expected, Nanako remains in a coma until the end of your stay.
    • Stop your friends, but fail to identify Adachi as the culprit and you leave for home in the same manner as the above ending.
    • Identify Adachi as the killer but cover up his tracks and the case will end, with him blackmailing you as his accomplice. This is only available in Golden, if Adachi's S-Link is leveled enough.
    • Identify Adachi as the real killer and stop him and Ameno-sagiri in Magatsu Inaba, and you can leave Inaba peacefully with your friends giving one last goodbye.
    • Stay behind to identify the true culprit behind the Midnight Channel, and defeat Izanami. The Midnight Channel reverts back to the peaceful state Teddie once lived and all final story threads have been cleared up.
    • If you complete Marie's Bonus Dungeon and defeat Izanami in Golden, you return to Inaba after a few months to reunite with your friends and family.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • The Dragon, and the Shadow possessing psycho For the Evulz Adachi is a disco eyeball. A DISCO EYEBALL!
    • You defeat the True Final Boss starting with what looks like a dance move, and ending by defeating a physical god.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: The girl in front of the library at Yasogami High School eventually tries to do this after spending the entire game pining for her senpai, but whom she has a falling out with when he starts spending time with another girl late in the game. Luckily, all the girl does is opening the window so the allegedly poisonous fog can seep in, hoping the other rival girl with take a deeeeep breath.
  • The Musical: A fanmade one was in production, titled Midnight Channel: The Musical.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Namatame does this after realizing that his efforts to "save" the victims actually put them in a mortal danger. On a smaller scale, Rise does this after Naoto deliberately gets herself kidnapped by Namatame, in the hopes of proving that the killer is still out there. Rise is upset because the last thing Naoto said to the group before enacting this plan was "This is not a game for me either", answering Rise's earlier accusation that Naoto was only working the case for her own vain enjoyment.
    • The Protagonist in the Accomplice Ending, as it sinks in that he is the only reason the killer's getting away with his crimes.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Persona Alice is created by fusing Belial and Nebiros. This is a reference to the original Shin Megami Tensei, in which the demons Belial and Nebiros summoned Alice for their own designs. Similarly, Ardha is fused via Shiva and Parvati, a reference to Digital Devil Saga which featured Serph and Sera merging into Seraph and gaining Ardha as the single being's Atma form. This itself being a mythological reference to Shiva and Parvati fusing into the god Ardhanarishvara.
    • Yukiko seems to resemble the old, SNES-SMT-era (and later Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey) design of Amaterasu (who serves as her ultimate Persona).
    • There are references, both subtle and not-so-subtle, to several SMT games, both in and out of continuity. These range from the pink alligator of Persona 3's Sun Link and Rise talking about a mysterious power failure two years ago during her show at a Port Island night club (same game, Hermit Boss Battle), to the Fox's Macca leaves or the explicit mention of Detective Kuzunoha.
    • Yu has a Persona 3 calendar on the wall in his room.
    • The appearance of Magatsu Izanagi looks like the berserk starving demons of Digital Devil Saga. It also seems to be a reference to the enemy used "Reverse" Personas featured in Persona 2.
    • Right before Naoto's dungeon the MC can reply in on conversation with "I do not comprehend".
    • Makoto/Minato's Persona from Persona 3 was Orpheus, Narukami's Persona in Persona 4 is Izanagi. These two share a similar story: they both went to the underworld to rescue their lover from the clutches of death, but had to leave them behind. Orpheus screwed up and lost his lover, but Izanagi actually left Izanami in the underworld after he realized she was all rotted from spending too much time in the Death World. "Learning when to let go" is a big part of "Facing the Truth", which is Persona 4 's big theme.
    • In the instruction manual of the American version, the protagonist is named Raidou Kuzunoha.
    • Another nod to Digital Devil Saga, one of the drinks you can get from a vending machine is Cielo Mist.
    • One of Teddie's weapons is the "Strega Claw," described as a weapon for an "agent of revenge."
    • In Golden, one of the costumes you can equip is the Gekkoukan High School uniform. Your party members not only imitate the end-battle poses of SEES, but even their end-battle quotes.
    • A new event in Golden involves the protagonist, Yosuke, and Kanji going to Okina to try and fail miserably at picking up girls. This is a Shout-Out to the Operation Babe Hunt from Persona 3.
    • Long Way sounds a bit like Monado Mandala if one pays close attention
  • Naginatas Are Feminine: Chie's initial Persona, Tomoe, uses a double-ended naginata. While neither Chie nor Tomoe are excessively feminine, Tomoe is partially borne from Chie's repressed femininity.
  • Nerf: Golden, in order to compensate for all the new abilities your partners get, no longer lets your party members' persona lose their weaknesses, although they do get an "Evade (Weakness)" skill with their second-tier Persona to compensate for that. They do gain new resistances for their third tier personas, though.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe:
    • The guys, mainly Yosuke, make damn sure the girls never forget their past exploits in the kitchen.
    • Teddie never lets Yukiko forget about her Shadow going "stud hunting."
    • Yosuke will not let Kanji live down the things his Shadow did and said in the TV World.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Kunino-sagiri wears a shirt with a heart and the peace sign on it, and is supported in the air by a gigantic peace sign wrapped around its head. Doesn't help that he looks a thousand bloody years old.
  • New Game+: Allows you to carry over the Persona Compendium, your characteristics, and your money into a new game. Golden also allows you to retain your costumes. Unfortunately, there is not much to do with all that - the only new things that become available in the New Game+ are one new Bonus Boss fight and a single Persona, and they are only available if you got the True Ending - which requires completing almost everything else there is to complete in the game - on the previous cycle.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The game was released in 2008 (or 2009 if you're European) and takes place in 2011-12.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Choose to throw Namatame into the TV as revenge for Nanako? Congratulations, you just killed her. Oh, and Izanami gets to destroy the world unopposed.
    • Generally speaking, Shadows want to be accepted by their owners. At the same time it's part of their nature to expose their owners' faults for all to see, which leads to their owners violently rejecting them and their going berserk, ultimately killing the person in question if left unchecked.
  • Nintendo Hard: A hallmark of the series. Persona 3 was difficult, moreso in the updated re-release, but complaints about some easier parts of it lead the developers to jack the difficulty of Persona 4 up to 12. Of course, they also gave you a bunch of tools to make it easier, too. Party members are now directly controllable, the Nonstandard Game Over condition is much more forgiving than Persona 3's (if you weren't ready for a Full Moon Shadow in P3, you were roadblocked if you saved over your file - if you fail the rescue in P4, you can flash back a week and try again).
  • Nominal Importance: At the climax of the story, the game will ask you directly who the killer is and then provide you with a list of every single named person in the game to choose from. The killer is on that list somewhere.
    • Subverted heavily in the true ending, where it's revealed that The Big Bad is in fact the nameless, portraitless gas station attendant you met at the beginning of the game, and who's shown up every rainy day to watch the events unfold. As soon as you Pull the Thread enough to expose her, she gains a portrait, and then finally a name.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: If you fail to rescue someone, there'll be an event where one of your party members calls you, telling you that said person is now dead (except for the last deadline: Naoto calls, warning you that Shadows are appearing in the real world - and is promptly killed off by Shadows herself). This leads to a Heroic B.S.O.D. and a dizzy spell, which causes the Protagonist to begin to collapse... And then you're in the Velvet Room, with Igor offering to rewind time back one week in order for you to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Non Standard Skill Learning: Several of Rise's skills are obtained through Social Link instead of leveling up.
    • In Persona 4 Golden, every party member gets a unique skill that is obtained through talking to them on a certain date after maxing their Social Links.
    • All the party members have social link skills. Golden also adds "Bike Ride" skills, which allow the party members to learn new skills late in the game by going on a trip to a spa with the protagonist.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Averted, unlike Persona 3, social link characters will have a handy voice over when they first say their name.
  • Nosebleed: Kanji gets one of these during the swimsuit scene.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Inaba before the main character arrives. Town residents will bemoan their boring lives. Some even get excited that horrible things are happening, because at least it's something worth talking about. Yosuke's Shadow gets special mention. Still others, though, actually liked Inaba the way it was, and are worried that Junes will change it for the worse.
  • Not What It Looks Like - A meta-example - One FAQ for Persona 4 laid the games conversation choices out with only the lead in question. The last question for Yukiko's girlfirend social link, the point where they're in an intimate relationship, was given solely as "So.....the couch, or the futon?". Play through it, and they're just sitting.
  • Older Than They Look: Ayane Matsunaga, one of the two options for the Sun social link. Despite being only a year younger than the protagonist, if he chooses to bring her as his date to the Summer Festival, the man handing out prizes will mistake her for an elementary school student.
  • Old Media Are Evil: P4 takes this trope and runs with it. The heroes explore a supernatural television channel that causes some deaths. Even outside the world inside the television, this trope is heavily discussed. In particular, how television and gossip are bad.
  • Ominous Fog: When the fog comes, someone's going to show up dead, unless you intervene. And even then, it's a crapshoot. Later becomes permanent, with your characters realizing it's the fog from the TV world.
  • One-Hit Kill: Hama and Mudo series. Of course, they are capable of missing like many others in RPGs. However, if an enemy is weak to light or darkness, Hama and Mudo will almost always hit it.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: The party's confrontation with Taro Namatame is played as this, with both sides of the argument misinterpreting what the other is saying. The main characters believe him to be the killer. But, when they accuse him of being a killer, he insists that he's "saving" people. At first, the party (and the player) believe that Namatame is so far gone that he thinks killing people is saving them. But, everyone that Namatame threw into the TV world was rescued by the party. And the only people who ended up dying were Mayumi Yamano and Saki Konishi, the two people that he didn't throw into the TV. So, from his point of view, throwing people into the TV world does save them from dying. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! Here's a notable example from the scene:
    Namatame: If I hadn't put you in the TV...how would you have ended up...?
    Yukiko: How would we...?
    Rise: Are you trying to say...we wouldn't have been able to face ourselves?
    Yukiko: What...!? But we nearly died!
    Namatame Yes... Exactly...
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with a character and a place — Kanji Tatsumi and Tatsumi Port Island (the location of Persona 3, which is visited during the game).
    • In Japanese they're spelled with different characters, but their readings are the same, so they appear the same in the English version.
  • One-Winged Angel: Adachi and Namatame both do this. Izanami also does this when you reveal her true form—a skeletal, maggot and filth-ridden corpse, just like in the legend that Edogawa told you during the class trip.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: At the end of the Christmas date, your girlfriend decides to spend the night and the screen fades to black. Followed by suggestive text (for example, Naoto gives you a device that tells how far apart you are, and after the fade to black, it shows that you're less than a meter apart). You could also make an argument that maxing any of the social links with a girl you've chosen to date leads to this. She asks to come to your bedroom, the two of you exchange words, and then it fades to black with the words 'You spent a long time with Insert Girl Here'. The thing is, most of these conversations end with your arms wrapped around the girl in question while you're sitting alone together in your bedroom, so one is forced to wonder what you spent such a long time doing...
  • Pantyshot: Ishtar, the last persona of the lovers arcana has an extremely short skirt. No wonder then that she flashes whenever you summon her, though it's still not that prominent. Chie on the other hand, despite being a Kick Chick with plenty of chances for this, manages to avert the trope by wearing shorts under her skirt. The same goes for Yukiko.
  • Painting the Medium/No Fourth Wall:
    • One of the Shadow bosses does some serious tapping on the fourth wall, summoning a giant cel-shaded blockman (identical to the style of 3D Dot Game Heroes, actually) that attacks and uses items using a Shin Megami Tensei-style menu. We can prove it.
    • A more straight version is Yosuke muttering that he's insulted that he thinks of game characters this way. More likely, however, that he's saying it's insulting that Mitsuo thinks of the murders as a game.
    • Or on a return visit to that dungeon, adding Yosuke to your team results in him saying "Yosuke joined your party! ... or something like that, right?"
    • Another for Yosuke: before entering Marie's bonus dungeon on 2/13, you can choose to lament that there wasn't a chance to fully explain everything beforehand. Yosuke says that if you had, the "question mark above [his] head could be seen from orbit." This being a game where "?"s and other punctuation marks indeed appear over characters' heads.
    • Adachi at one point says games like this need a twist, or they get boring really fast. While it can be seen as a joke for the players, it fits within the fourth wall, too. Adachi considered his murders and the competition between the team and Namatame to be a game for his enjoyment
  • Panthera Awesome: A few of the fusable personas are these. Ose is a bipedal, dual-sword wielding, cape-wearing cheetah while Gdon, available around the same level, is a tiger that has flames rising from his back. The White Tiger Byakko, one of the four heavenly beasts, is also available for fusion.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: By the name of "Perofella"
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Yukiko when you meet up with her at the Samegawa Flood Plain after the first boss battle.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • The Protagonist is forced to move to Inaba for the next year because his parents went to work overseas. The manga takes this even further by implying he's being moving to all different places his entire life. Goes into Parental Neglect, when you think about it. He's there for an entire year, and he never contacts his parents, and they never contact him.
    • Then there's Nanako, who does all the housework and practically lives by herself because of her father's habit of constantly being called into work, and her mother's habit of being dead. And to rub it in, he ends up severely injured and doesn't make it in time to see Nanako die - if you get the worst ending.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat:
    • Rise is a black belt at this sort of thing, mostly driven by her jealousy of the other girls when she thinks they're competing for Yu. In particular, there's the "Wrap Up Party", where she sweetly warns the other girls not to compete with her cooking because she'd win hands down.
    • Ai Ebihara has at least one scene like this during her Social Link, where another girl (picked according to your relationship status) appears while you're out with her. The two of them have a friendly greeting while the other girls asks what you're doing out with Ai. Ai interjects, and then the claws come out immediately.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The final two dungeons become this if the EXP settings are at "more". No matter how high-level you or any party member are, the regular encounters will still give experience points at a rate of around 10000 per enemy, meaning any persona you take into battle will level up with every battle or two.
  • Pieces of God: In Golden, the True Ending and the completion of the S.Link for Marie, Aeon, reveal that Izanami-no-Ookami (and by extension, her manifestations as Ame no Sagiri and Kuni no Sagiri) is a cast-off from the true deity, Izanami-no-Mikoto, who incarnated as Marie.
  • Playable Epilogue: The normal ending. Getting the true ending subverts this as it requires you to realize that the last day is only presented as a playable epilogue and that the game isn't over yet.
  • Player Data Sharing: Golden added a feature (to take advantage of the PS Vita's wifi/3G capabilities) where the player could call for help while in dungeons and gets healed based on the number of players who respond. The game also lets players write a short message (from a few specific phrases, presumably so they could be easily translated and avoid griefing), which is stored in anyone they aid's log.
  • Playing the Player: The game uses a couple of subtle fourth wall breaks to mask the importance and true identity of the gas station attendant. Most notably is that she doesn't even have a character portrait until her true nature is revealed - due to Nominal Importance, the player only expects characters that have a portrait to ever have a major role. Outside of the opening, the attendant never appears outside of hanging out around the gas station on rainy days with no voice acting, further suggesting she's just a standard NPC with a unique design.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Officially, it's Teddie. In practice, everyone fills this role at one point or another.
  • Police Are Useless: But not incompetent. Dojima catches all the major plot turns: your involvement, the way the victims are selected, Namatame's involvement, the fact that Mitsuo is a copycat murderer, sometimes even before Naoto does. Sadly, the poor man is Wrong Genre Savvy, and doesn't realize that he's living an Urban Fantasy world. And you never tell him until he's too pissed about your lying to believe you anyway. The Investigation Team constantly state that there's nothing the police can do to stop the perp, but they recruit all but one of the rescued victims to their cause after gaining a Persona. At no point does the team simply walk over a TV and stick their hand inside while a policeman is present.
    • Part of that was in-universe Executive Meddling, though – the higher-ups were really pushing to just close the case and be done with it after Mitsuo was recaptured.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: The cast are experts at using their weapons, despite there being no sign that they've had any sort of training (other than Chie watching kung fu movies and Kanji... well, punching things). This is particularly jarring considering it was relatively justified in Persona 3 (the characters used weapons corresponding to their club, and/or were shown practicing), and the weapons in this game are more exotic as well. Yosuke deserves special mention, busting out ninja tricks out of nowhere.
  • Potty Emergency: When the party first explores the TV World, Yosuke really has to go. He almost does it in a Room Full of Crazy, too.
  • Power Floats: The optional boss battle against Margaret, as well as Izanami's first form.
  • The Power of Friendship: The Social Link system: the main character can form relationships called Social Links with significant people. Each one is associated with one of the Major Arcana and will power up Persona of the matching Tarot class when fused in the Velvet Room. Some of the tarots have more than one person associated with them, and you have to pick one over the other. In addition, each party member has an S-Link, and your level of S-Link power with them directly affects combat.
  • Power of the God Hand: The God Hand attack returns from Persona 3, only now it's the second strongest physical attack, albeit the one that does the most damage in a single use. Still a giant golden fist striking from the sky, though.
  • Power Trio:
    • ¡Three Amigos!: Yu, Chie, and Yosuke are the founding members of the Investigation Team.
    • Freudian Trio: Late in the game, Yu, Yosuke, and Naoto fit this dynamic.
  • Preexisting Encounters: Returning from Persona 3 intact (because it's the same engine).
  • Prolonged Prologue: The game takes a good three hours to establish the plot and the charactersnote .
    • Not nearly so bad in Golden. You're given more chances to save, there's an extra section where you can run about the town, and you even get a prompt asking if you want to save around half way through the prologue. Add to that the new 'fast forward' feature that lets you skip through long sections of dialogue, and the prologue isn't nearly so bad.
  • Properly Paranoid: Mr. Morooka assumes all of his students are horny bastards whose sole motivation is to get it on with members of the opposite sex. In the case of the main character, you are free to live up to his expectations. Yosuke isn't that far off either, and neither is at least one male student NPC.
  • Private Tutor: One of the odd jobs/Social Links (The Tower social link, to be exact) you can take is working as a tutor to Shu Nakajima, a younger student. If you stick with it, he goes from an Insufferable Genius obsessed with pleasing his Education Mama to talking things through with her and joining a baseball team (in the epilogue, he reveals he made friends with The Rival he was complaining about).
  • Psychological Torment Zone: The TV world.
  • Put on a Bus: Many social links (obviously not ones with party members) end with the link getting on a bus, thus justifying why the protagonist doesn't see their supposedly close friend anymore:
    • The tutored student, Shu cancels his tutoring sessions and joins the baseball team, having realized that good grades aren't everything.
    • The nurse, Sayoko transfers to another hospital, having reignited her passion for helping people.
    • Saki's brother, Naoki decides to be closer with his family to help them deal with their grief, realizing it'll mean not having as much free time to meet you.
    • The old lady, Hisano moves out of Inaba to live with her children, having come to terms with her husband's death and illness.
    • The drama club student, Yumi realizes that she only liked acting as an escape from her home life and quits the drama club to help her mother.
    • The symphonic band member, Ayane decides to go abroad for a music program.
    • The young mother, Eri stops leaving her stepson at daycare, deciding to spend more time getting to know him rather than avoiding him out of anxiety.
    • The Bus Came Back: Except for Sayoko, the social links will show up again for your New Year's greetings in Golden, to say goodbye to you on your final day in town, and if you romanced them, can be dated at the summer festival, Christmas and Valentine's Day.
  • Ramen Slurp: Really loudly, whenever the characters are in ramen shops.
  • Rated M for Manly: The Man Series is an in-universe example, consisting of books, which when read, increase the hero's Courage.
  • Reactionary Fantasy: The game is famous (or infamous) for dealing with a number of progressive and sensitive subjects topical for the 21st Century. However, it does that by packaging a lot of them in ways that are "attractive" for more conservative mindsets. For example, Chie is a Tomboy Action Girl who is insecure about people not seeing her as feminine. Yukiko is a young girl set to inherit a powerful family business. Rise is a popular Lust Object who has grown tired with all the problems that brings. Naoto is a non-gender-conforming girl who is confused about her identity and what it means for her career. Good news: helping to solve each of these problems will allow these girls to become your girlfriend. All of them. (You don't have to do so, but the option is nonetheless there and many of them will be disappointed if you don't.) This also applies to many other characters as well, such as Ai (bullied new money girl), Ayane (shrinking violet with self-esteem issues), Yumi (abandoned daughter), and many others. Even Kanji (whom you can't romance) has his masculinity issues largely dealt with by being the butt of homophobic jokes.
  • Real Men Take It Black: There is a scene where Ryotaro Dojima asks the player how he wants his coffee:
    Black: Just like me. The easiest kind to make.
    With cream: Huh...? Oh, uh, well... It's just I haven't heard anyone ask for that in a while.
    Cream and sugar: Hah, you have the same tastes as Nanako.
    Surprise me: Alright, I'll pour you a good one.
  • Reality Ensues: Naoto's status as a Teen Genius and Kid Detective sometimes runs into this. No matter how smart you are or how good you are at solving crimes, it doesn't guarantee that the police will want your help, particularly when you've been acting like an Insufferable Genius and challenging the authority of the people who hired you.
    • When the School Festival rolls around, the player is given an option of voting for the class booth. The player's vote makes no difference.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Every Arch-Shadow gives one of these, overlaps with a Breaking Speech.
  • Red Herring:
    • It wouldn't be a proper murder mystery without 'em. Hell, the non-True Endings come from following the Red Herrings instead of continuing to search. The game makes a big deal about finding the truth and not accepting the easy answer.
    • The Junes department store is not particularly popular for running smaller stores out of business, and their jingle might seem to be brainwashing Nanako. Especially considering four of the first five victims are kids set to inherit small family-owned businesses in Inaba, one might start suspecting Junes is behind the plot somehow, or even suspect Yosuke because of this. The fact that it doesn't get brought up in dialogue options might make some of Genre Savvy players even more suspicious. In truth, it is completely irrelevant.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Unlike Persona 3 you can choose to do this with any, or all, or none, of the potential Love Interests. Some require more work into making this than others.
  • Remonstrating With A Gun: Yosuke does a variant of this early in the game. After offering the main character a choice between a long sword and a dagger, Yosuke gets it into his head that he should use both, and tries a few moves. A cop sees him, and moves in to arrest Yosuke. Yosuke tries to explain himself, while still flailing about with his weapons. He and the main character end up being arrested.
  • Retraux: Void Quest, in all its self-referential, Dragon Warrior I splendor. Repeatedly lampshaded, and Yosuke breaks the fourth wall if you take him into the big boss fight.
  • Refuge in Audacity: While an admittedly rather mild example, some of the costumes you can wear in Golden are pretty out-there. Kanji probably puts it the best in once particular instance:
    Kanji: You don't give a crap. You're in a dungeon in just your swimming trunks and you just do not give a crap.
  • Relationship Values: Cultivating your Social Links allows you to make better Personas.
  • Revised Ending: The Golden adds a new ending sequence; the Protagonist returns to Inaba a few months later, all of the Investigation Team members turned a new leaf on their lives, being sincere with themselves and their lifestyles coupled with new dressing fashion.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Chie and Yukiko could count, given the whole "Chie is my prince" scenario and their (perceived) dependence on each other. Of course, personal issues aside, they are close friends, and Chie points out that she honestly did want to save Yukiko.
  • Room Full of Crazy: When the characters first enter the TV world, they run into one, covered in mutilated pictures of Misuzu Hiiragi and splattered in blood. Near the end of the game, it's revealed that the room was created by Mayumi's thoughts and acts as the portal to Adachi's lair. In full context, it probably represents her resentment of Namatame's legitimate wife, though the exact circumstances will probably always be hidden.
  • Running Gag:
    • Most notably Yosuke getting owned every three cutscenes.
    • And Teddie trying to "score" with the ladies.
    • And Mystery Food X.
      • CHRISTMAS EDITION!
    • Yu has "Calm down." show up more than anything else in his dialogue trees.
    • The phrase "I don't know." shows up often as a dialogue choice. It is also usually the ideal choice during social links.
    • Yu's many opportunities to eat suspicious-looking food items from the fridge, generally resulting in a nauseating description of the food, a boost to Courage, and Yu not feeling well and opting to go to bed early.

    Tropes S-Z 
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Saki Konishi, whom Yosuke has a crush on; she ends up becoming the second murder victim, which makes it quite personal for him.
  • Sadist Teacher: Kinshiro "King Moron" Morooka, the brutally conservative Jerkass who is convinced that kids are all horny troublemakers and that the New Kid (you) is nothing but trouble as someone from the city. He also goes so far as to state that the deaths of the first two victims were their own fault. In front of a class of teenagers who probably knew one of the victims. Why exactly did it take so long for someone to kill him?
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Adachi does this when you finally corner him.
  • "Save the World" Climax: Starts off with a group of friends discovering the (supernatural and thus unprovable) MO of a Serial Killer and resolving to catch him. If you manage to unlock the true ending it turns out to be a conspiracy by an Eldritch Abomination (disguised as a gas station attendant) to bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Say My Name: NANAKOOOOOO! And also for another reason: ADACHIIIIIII!
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: The Protagonist does this when he first summons his Persona, Izanagi. Also occurs during All-Out Attacks.
  • School Idol: Yukiko appears to be one, and Naoto even makes the local news as the "Detective Prince". Rise as well, although it helps that she's also the other kind of idol.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: An attempted Justification is made by Chie suggesting they hide their weapons under them so they are not arrested. Whether this works for you depends on how hard you think about it.
    • Especially unconvincing since not a single main character wears the uniform properly, biggest culprits being Yukiko wearing a red jacket over her uniform and, ironically, Chie herself, with a huge green jacket over any top she may be wearing. (Though she is also the martal artist of the team, and her "weapons" are various leg and foot protectors)
    • It's not that hard of a stretch because most of the team wield weapons that could be easily hidden under their clothes (small knives/wrenches, fans, guns, and footwear),and Teddie could simply hide his gloves/claws in his suit. The only oddballs are Kanji (shields, folding chairs, and a school desk), and Yu himself, who wields 2-handed swords.
    • Averted in Golden, where the player can dress the characters up in whatever outfits they desire.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: All the little differences between the game's Multiple Endings, but perhaps the most prominent of which is the fact that the doctors were able to revive Nanako isn't revealed until after you decide what to do about Namatame. Should you choose to throw him in the TV, Nanako remains dead. You Bastard.
  • Scripted Battle: The end of the battles with Shadow Rise and Izanami-no-Okami.
  • Secret Relationship: Implied between Yu and his girlfriend, since most of the romance happens in private scenes, and while the party members might notice something's up between Yu and his girlfriend (such as after if Yu mentions going to the summer festival again during the fireworks festival, or talks to a romanced party member in a dungeon), they don't figure it out.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • In the True Ending, Yosuke asks Yu if he has any plans in May, which is when Persona 4: Arena takes place.
    • In Golden's epilogue to the True Ending, which is set several months later in the summer, Yosuke outright refers to how Yu just wound up running around the Midnight Channel again when he visited in May, which again refers to Persona 4: Arena.
  • Serial Escalation: There are several new Ultimate Personas for the various Arcana, and those that have retained that distinction from the last game are put higher up in their respective rankings, boosting their base levels and stats. Then there's Alice's "Die For Me!" which has gone from a One-Hit Kill spell with an 80% success rate to one with a 100% success rate as long as the target doesn't resist Darkness.
  • Serial Killer: The game does a masterful job of catching the player off-balance by first presenting them with two suspects in rapid succession who seem to precisely fit the bill of the fictional serial killer (the first being a creepy, socially maladjusted teen obsessed with violent video games and the second being an eerily soft-spoken nobody with an obvious messiah complex who rambles about "having to save" people), then, once they've gotten comfortable, pulling it all from underneath them with a chillingly realistic, supremely manipulative intelligent killer in Adachi. None of the characters see it coming, and the players are highly unlikely to, either. Unlike the two previous suspects, Adachi doesn't have an obviously colorful psychosis, a tragic backstory to explore or any of the other markers of a fictional criminal. He's just a complete and utter psychopath who is bored with life and found that killing people amuses him. He has no problem putting on the mask of the friendly, sympathetic assistant because things like "one's personality" mean nothing to him beyond his ability to exploit others' reliance on them, and he has nothing but contempt for other human beings, whom he considers stupid, selfish and fit only to serve his immediate desires. Also like real life psychopathic serial-killers, he's casually violent (remarking that he only joined the police force "so [he] could legally carry a gun" ad expresses horrifically little fear of death once caught. The thought of being sent to jail actually shakes him a lot more than that of being killed, since that would mean extended boredom. Even then, though, we go on to learn that once put in jail he immediately starts acting like a model prisoner, albeit only out of a desire to play by the rules now that he's lost his game, rather than genuine repentance.
  • Sexophone: Muscle Blues.
  • Shadow Archetype: One of the more impressive things about this game is that the Shadows follow the Jungian model. They're the parts of a person that they least want to admit exist; denying them only makes them stronger.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Happens a couple of times to Yosuke and Chie. A bit subverted in that it is entirely possible for the Protagonist to make the assertion true... unless Chie is all for polygamy, anyway.
  • Shielded Core Boss: Shadow Mitsuo of the "Void Quest" dungeon is surrounded by a shell of ... pixel blocks resembling a gigantic 8-bit sprite (yes, really). Rise informs you that you have to destroy his outer shell before you can attack him directly. He can restore his outer shell by acting three times (First Whisper, then Chant, then Prayer), and uses two of those after losing roughly half his health, so you will likely have to break the outer shell at least twice to win. On the plus side, though, every time you do so, you can gain an All-Out Attack on him, and if you do enough damage while he's reforming his outer shell.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Rise ships Chie/Yosuke and Kanji/Naoto. And, of course, herself/Yu. This can be seen in how she most often skis with Yu in the skiing trip in Golden, albeit with a good reason (Yukiko and Teddie ski too fast for her, Chie and Yosuke are on snowboards, and Kanji's busy teaching Naoto how to ski).
    • Chie arguably ships herself with Yukiko. At the very least, that's the tack that Erin Fitzgerald took with the character in Golden and elsewhere.
    • Yu himself is given the option to ship Kanji/Naoto. On one walk to school, he can suggest that Kanji share an umbrella with Naoto.
    • Before Naoto's revealed as a girl, Yosuke teasingly ships Kanji/Naoto when talking to Kanji, angering Kanji to the point where he storms off. Chie then scolds Yosuke, reminding him that Kanji doesn't find it funny, while Rise is fascinated at the idea of something happening between Kanji and Naoto.
    • Apparently, the Amagi Inn ships Yu/Yukiko, believing that Yukiko's trying to learn how to cook in order to get a guy. When you meet Kasai, one of the waitresses, she refers to you as "the rumored boyfriend," even though at this point, the player doesn't yet have the option to confess to Yukiko.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Frequently a viable strategy, especially against the bosses who come with minions. On the flip side, if all four of your party members can heal...
    • Kanji's shadow boss is a perfect example of the above. The shadow will come flanked with two minions, one who will cast buffs and heal the main boss, and the other who will target Yukiko far more than the other party members.
    • Works for the enemies too. All of your party members' evolved Personas gain an elemental immunity and lose an elemental weakness, except for Yukiko and Teddie, who don't lose their weakness, but get another resistance to go with their immunity. Their peculiarity is that they're the only ones who learn the Media (party healing) family of spells, revive spells and status removal spells. Which means that they're the only ones who can get the Downed status through elemental attacks, when later bosses tend to exploit weaknesses when they discover them.
  • Shorttank: Chie definitely fits the archetype.
  • Shown Their Work: In Golden, there is series of unlockable lectures by Edogawa from Persona 3 explaining Jungian Psychology.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Phoenix Ranger Featherman R returns yet again! You will often find Nanako watching it downstairs —when else?— on Sundays. Yuuta also becomes a fan during the Temperance social link. Golden gives the Investigation Team the Featherman suits as an optional costume.
    • Witch Detective Loveline, one of the books you can get in the game, becomes a show in The Animation and is Nanako's favorite. This is probably also a case of Lost in Translation, because Witch Detective is the Twilight Take That book (see below). Meaning... Nanako must be a total saint for liking something like that.
    • And of course, the shopping channel, Tanaka's Amazing Commodities!
  • Single-Issue Psychology: Averted. The party members are put on a path to overcoming their faults after beating their shadows, but it still takes plenty of work to have them fully embrace their insecurities (in this case via spending a lot of private time with them)
  • Skinship Grope: Naoto gets ''felt up'' by the other girls, in the hot springs.
  • Slice of Life: The game takes a page from this genre and defaults to this for Character Development during the breather scenes.
  • Small Town Boredom: Part of the reason Adachi causes the murders. It is also part of the shadows for Yosuke and Yukiko.
  • Schmuck Bait: Person 4: The Golden, adds a social link for Adachi. The game even gives you the option to cover for him when evidence points his way. Doing so results in the biggest (creepiest) Downer Ending in the game. Note also that not doing this destroys the social link—or, rather, mutates it into a new link.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "The Path is Open," the uplifting song that plays when you complete a social link, even if it's by helping the real murderer get off scott free.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: After her death, Saki is subject to quite a few nasty rumors about her being promiscuous, from Mr. Morooka, and a few nameless NPCs, some of whom even believe she was involved with Namatame.
  • Specs of Awesome: Every member of the Investigation Team (except Teddie).
  • Spit Take: The reaction to Mystery Food X from both you and Yosuke.
  • Split-Personality Merge: The end result of a person finally accepting their Shadow.
  • The Spock: Naoto acts like this in order to be taken more seriously by adults.
  • Spoiler Opening: A blink and you'll miss it example, but during the Golden's new opening, it shows how the victims are found dead, including Mayumi from a TV aerial, Saki from a telephone pole and Kinshiro Morooka from his apartment window. That last one, however, is quite hard to identify and has his face covered by his tie but is still easy to figure out who it is.
  • Stalker with a Crush: A girl at Yasogami High School, who spends her days in front of the library, longing for her senpai. She does get into contact with him ("her" in Golden) eventually, but that's about the same time her senpai gets really friendly with another girl. She doesn't take it well, ultimately making a rather ineffective attempt to Murder the Hypotenuse, possibly as an effect of the fog that is covering Inaba by then, which is screwing with people's minds.
  • Standard Status Effects: A lot of them are either changed or done away with, with the most notable being Charm and the Distress/Shocked/Frozen statuses that drop evasion to zero. New effects include Confusion, Exhaustion (an SP-draining status), and Enervation (all stats are cut in half). The Condition system from the previous game is also dropped. In addition, the Amrita Soda item, which only cured three status effects in Persona 3, can now cure any status ailments save for Dizzy.
  • Stealing the Credit: The Inaba Police, unwittingly. Because of the nature of the Investigation Team's rescues, they can't take the credit for capturing Mitsuo or, presumably, Adachi. To everyone else, the IT are just a group of kids who have a habit of ending up in suspicious places.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The term "Shadow" has way many more puns than in English:
      • First is that in the Japanese version, the common term for them is in Gratuitous English, whereas it is a general term in English. This game makes the mention that they refer to themselves as "影" (kage), while literally means "shadow" can in some translations mean "reflection".
      • Second is that they use the Royal "We" when they very rarely refer to themselves.
      • Finally, the kanji for "真" (shin) is the same kanji used in Shin Megami Tensei.
    • The ultimate Persona for maxing out Teddie's Star social link? Helel, the Light Bearer.
  • The Stinger: Only with the good ending:
    • As Yu takes his train out of town, the camera cuts between him riding the train and the rest of the group back in Inaba, as Teddie delivers a calm speech stating how no matter how far apart they are, they'll always remain friends. The protagonist, smiling, pulls out and looks at a group picture of the Investigation Team, and the game cuts to a "Fin" on it.
    Teddie: "You, me, and everyone else. There are no barriers. Our hearts are one. Right, Sensei?"
    • Golden adds one with its new bad ending: After burning the only evidence implicating Adachi as the Killer and Adachi threateningly promising to keep tabs on his new "partner-in-crime" via cell phone, Yu takes his train back into the city. Adachi walks past the train and Yu, startled, glimpses him from behind. Adachi grins, Yu angrily clutches his cell phone, and the train rides away into a dark tunnel. The implications are dark, to say the least.
  • Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: The sheer amount of dialogue in the game (1.5 times the amount in Persona 3) is just staggering. Even the translators were shocked when they realized just how much they had to translate, with less time to do so than for Persona 3. Reaching the first "free" day can take a good 4 hours, give or take 30 minutes, just to get past the introduction.
  • Summon Magic: The "Evoking" of one's Persona in battle.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Everyone's Shadows.
  • Surprisingly Good English: The song lyrics were always in English (except the ending theme), and barring speed are pronounced very well. Understanding it however...
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Adachi, when he figures out the Protagonist and his friends are behind the reappearances of those tossed into the TV. Comes with Ax-Crazy-sounding voice.
    • One third-year who gives you various riddle-related sidequests, insists that he's not doing it to get out of studying for exams.
    • In Golden, when King Moron summons you to give you a jersey, he's with a girl who insists that she can get home by herself, and she wasn't going out to party.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Kanji, to Naoto. Needless to say, this only makes his sexuality issues that much worse...though he also, naturally, is the most understanding when dealing with her Shadow.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: This is the effect used for people who have the ability to enter the TV world when they touch the screen. The entrances to dungeons also look like swirling black and red whirlpools, and act as portals that let you go inside.
  • Take That: If you agree to hang out with Daisuke and Kou on one occasion, it will net you a special book that you can read to increase your Diligence and Expression. It is described as "a ploddingly-written romantic comedy about a girl who moves to a new town. Vampires are involved." The game then describes it as painful to read, hence the increase in Diligence. Here's a screenshot of the event.
  • Take That Player: An interesting and low-key one. In the Moon Social Link, at Rank 6 you are given the "No turning back" warning, which usually implies that you can become a lover of someone. However, since Ai is In Love with Love the relationship will be simple play-dates and she will break up with you at Rank 9. This seems to be a good shot at all of the gamers who just look at the romantic subplot as just a way to collect a harem. You can make it romantic if you hold off on becoming Ai's lover but it also requires more work for the Protagonist.
  • Taking the Bullet: Characters that you have a Social Link with will take any single-target attack that would kill you in your place once per battle. Most players actually recommend making sure everyone on your team has at least a Level 1 S-Link rank, but Golden instead unlocks this ability at Rank 9. Also, During the final boss fight, as part of a story sequence, the boss will use an attack that has a one-hit KO. She will spam it at you, but the first three times, your allies will take the attack for you.
  • Tarot Motifs: Each Persona and each Shadow in the game is associated with a particular Arcana. Additionally, the game's protagonist can develop Social Links with other characters; each of these characters is also associated with a particular Arcana—the higher level a particular Social Link is, the more of a boost you'll get when fusing a Persona of that Arcana.
    • Shadows tend to be associated with the reversed or negative aspects of the Arcana, as opposed to the positive ones. (For example, Shadow Chie represents jealousy, egotism, and insensitivity to the feelings of others, all things represented by the reversed Chariot.)
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: An in-universe example in one Kanji's Social Links. He says the dolls he made are "so cute, they'll give you diabetes! The instantly fatal kind!"
  • Team Pet: Teddie fills this role somewhat, but becomes human. The fox from the shrine is probably a better candidate, but it generally does its own thing when you're not bribing it for SP.
  • That One Case: The Hierophant social link (and to a lesser degree, the Justice social link, where it is mentioned in passing) reveal that Ryotaro Dojima's That One Case is the hit and run that killed his wife.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: Both the original game's opening theme Pursuing My True Self, and the Updated Re-release's Shadow World explain quite a lot of the major themes of the game: Finding the truth, facing yourself, and the power of connections.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: During the final battle' with Izanami-no-Okami, the music starts out sounding hopeless. After a few minutes, a piece of the recurring theme "I'll Face Myself" plays, and shortly afterwards the song builds into an amazing instrumental of the main battle theme, "Reach Out to the Truth."
  • There Are No Therapists: Inaba seriously needs a psychiatrist because it's gotten to the point where people are being killed by the Anthropomorphic Personification of their repressed feelings. But at least they have you
    • On a lesser extent, there are also many people whose problems aren't threatening their lives, but who also admit that they don't have anyone to confide in besides you.
  • Time Skip: Will happen regardless towards the end of the game; the only difference is how much time passes and why. If you're heading towards a bad ending for throwing Namatame into the TV or otherwise failing to confront Adachi, the game calendar rapidly speeds from early-December to mid-March when it's time for Yu to leave Inaba. But if you do reveal and confront Adachi's crimes, you'll have several extra weeks to play around with—before the game speeds towards March, but this time with a montage of all the fun times the team had in-between. Furthermore, in the latter case, the game stops at 3/20, the penultimate day, giving you time to say your last goodbyes, wander around some more, and potentially defeat Izanami and achieve the True/Golden ending.
    • Additionally, unlocking the "Golden Ending" in the re-release will treat the player to an extended epilogue of the protagonist returning to Inaba a year later, showing what the townspeople have been up to since then and with everyone else dressed in new outfits and even hairstyles.
  • The Scrappy: In-Universe examples are the homeroom teachers for 2-F; Kinshiro Morooka (nicknamed "King Moron" by students) and Noriko Kashiwagi who replaces the former after he gets murdered. The former is a Jerk Ass Sadist Teacher who is strongly implied to be bullying kids, even those from other schools, and is infamous for long, rambling lectures/insult sessions towards his students. The latter is an obnoxiously sleazy Christmas Cake who manages to gross out and disgust her students, especially with her tendency to flirt with the male ones, to the point she becomes an In-Universe Replacement Scrappy, even though everyone still thinks of King Moron as The Scrappy.
  • This Is Reality: Late in the game, the two gossiping students in the Practice Building will be discussing the rumor that the fog is poisonous.
    Almond-eyed student: "This isn't some drama, so there isn't any poison.
  • This Loser Is You: Mitsuo could be construed as a Take That to players, being a creepy and ugly guy who hides behind video games. Also, giant floating baby.
  • Third-Person Person: In the Japanese version, Rise sometimes does that and Teddie constantly refers to himself as Kuma (Bear, his name).
  • Those Two Guys: Daisuke and Kou, who are grouped together as the "Fellow Athletes" Social Link.
  • Timed Mission: When someone appears on the Midnight Channel, you must save the person before a specific deadline. Fail to do so and the person dies, giving you a Nonstandard Game Over. Although the game will give you the option to flash back one week and try again.
  • Too Dumb to Live: See Violence Is the Only Option. You know, when a bunch of people charge in during your confrontation with your other self and actively tell you not to say it… Lampshaded by Kanji near the end of the game.
  • Too Much Information: said by Chie when Yosuke mentions Junes sells disposable diapers that they could use for their stakeout.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • All of your allies do this if you max out their Social Links. They get a new Persona with improved resistances. Both of your main mage types, Yukiko and Teddie, keep their weaknesses, admittedly while gaining immunity to their favored element and a resistance to another element, while everyone else loses the weakness and gains immunity; in Golden, one of the changes is that all of the Investigation Team's Personas follow the same model.
    • Golden comes with the Investigation Team taking several of these.
      • The entire team now gets a third tier Persona in the later months of the story.
      • Provided the Social Link is high enough, characters not in the active will occaisonally run into the battle with a new version of their follow-up attack.
      • Rise will occaisonally interrupt the battle to provide status boosts to the active party, and join in with the All Out Attack.
      • If the All Out Attack doesn't clear the field of enemies, then depending on if they're in the party, Chie & Yukiko, Yosuke & Teddie, or Kanji & Naoto will perform a follow up Combination Attack.
  • Translation Convention: Any release that isn't in Japanese.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Technically.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Return to the title screen via menu command from the game proper, and you'll see, among other things, Kanji, Teddie (and his shadow form, complete with a "Shadow Teddie" textbox!) and Naoto as party members.
    • Even more obvious, back of the box has Kanji, and Naoto in your party, Teddie in the real world, and Rise in a level up scene.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: When your friends say their goodbyes at the end of your stay.
  • Troll: The Shadow Selves. Their whole game is to feed off their victim's denial by pissing them off.
  • True Companions: It's a Persona game. Of course this is going to be a major theme.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Chie's follow up attack triggers this after kicking her enemies into the sky.
  • Uncommon Time: Reasoning, the theme that plays during investigative scenes, is in the unusual 7/4 time signature.
  • Underrated And Overleveled: Every single party member counts. (except MC, Yosuke, and Chie since they are your starting members and join at low levels) All of them join right after getting their Personas and resting for about a month with obviously no experience in using their Personas. All of them join with the appropriate levels and skills for the stage of the game they're in.
  • The Unfavorite: The basketball version of the Strength link covers Kou's belief that he is a case of this as his parents adopted him thinking they couldn't have children, but they wound up having a daughter anyways. He becomes suspicious when they start being less strict with him while grooming his (two-year-old) sister for her responsibilities, but in the end, he realizes that they still consider him family.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Can be seen briefly in the cut scene where everyone falls into the TV the first time.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Zigzagged. Yosuke can stand around in the middle of Junes with a coil of rope and golf club and not draw attention, and the investigation team talk about their case in public several times. However, Yosuke waving around a (fake) knife and katana at the food court draws the attention of the police. Things quickly get out of hand.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Late in the game, a politician visits Inaba to do an article about the fog, and interviews an anonymous source, whose photo somehow ends up in the paper. It's bad enough when you keep in mind that people who appear on the TV will show up on the Midnight Channel, but it's even worse when you realize that the person is your young cousin Nanako.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • If you make the right choices at the hospital after the November dungeon you find out that Taro Namatame was this. He believed he was saving people by throwing them into the TV.
    • If you make it to the True Ending, you find that Adachi, Namatame and the lead character are being manipulated by Izanami. The lead and his friends played the exact role they were meant to play by her: to show her humanity's determination and strength as "Hope" and stop her from hurting the humans she loved.
  • Updated Re-release: Persona 4 Golden for the PlayStation Vita is this, but due to the Vita's superior hardware (compared to it's predecessor), it features updated graphics and retains the 3D models for the overworld (as opposed to the Persona 3 remake). It adds a brand new character in Marie, two new arcana (With new Persona) & Social Links to accompany them (Marie & Adachi), new events during the original Persona 4 story, more voiced dialogue, new abilities & a third tier evolution for Investigation Team's Persona, new locations to visit, a new ending, new events during January & the first half of February (Skipped over in the original release), a new dungeon & boss battle, and various tweaks to the original release.
  • Uptown Girl: The protagonist (middle class) with Yukiko (Ojou) or Ai (Nouveau Riche) are possible pairings.
  • Urban Fantasy: Even though it's taking place in the countryside....
    • The town is pretty small, there's only really two places for people to hang out besides school or the river.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Ailments skills in general, whatever boon they may offer, because of the likelihood of them missing and wasting your turn. A specific variant is Evil Touch/Smile. While it opens up amazing opportunities for instant kills with Ghastly Wail, good luck doing that before the enemy runs from battle.
    • Life Drain. It heals a measly 30 HP for only 3 SP. While it harms the enemy and has a very low SP cost, even the most basic healing spell, Dia, heals more for about as much SP. This is especially redundant in regards to Teddie, who can learn it at the hot springs/beach: Teddie is one of the game's two healers and the one with the second largest SP pool to support it.
    • Tetraja. There's no denying that being immune to instant-kill attacks is useful, but it only nullifies Hama and Mudo spells, rather than reflecting them as Tetrakarn and Makarakarn do. This is kind of dumb, as repelling Hama and Mudo spells is fairly easy to find in Personas across the compendium, in contrast to enemies, who rarely use them enough to warrant Tetraja. So as it stands, if you're worried about them, you might as well have just brought along a persona that does as much permanently and for no cost and without taking up a skill slot...like your starting Persona, for instance. This is also a problem for Naoto, as Life Drain is for Teddie, because Naoto already has repulsion spells for physical and magical attacks, far more common to see, and if she's social linked to third tier, it's made obsolete two times over—one because she gains Shield of Justice, and two because her Persona will innately repel the instant death spells. And at that point Teddie and Chie will also block one instant death type each. And depending on the day and your luck, Hama and Mudo can be reflected by a Makarakarn anyway.
    • The Reaper weapons, armors, and Omnipotent Orb you earn for beating the Reaper. They're the most powerful weapons and armors in the game, and the latter voids all attacks excluding Almighty, so they don't disappoint. They can't be earned or created any other way than by defeating the Reaper, but with said Reaper being ridiculously powerful, by the time you're strong enough to do that, you're near the end of the game, or at least halfway into a New Game+. Most players probably aren't patient enough to actually get all of the items and then earn the Omnipotent Orb too, especially as encountering the Reaper is random even if you follow the formula. Of course, by the time you actually are strong enough to accomplish such a feat, there's little need to, as even the True Final Boss will be cake before then. And guess what? All of the things you win from the Reaper, can't be carried over to a new game, and they by complete coincidence don't appear in your inventory list if you try to sell them to Daidara.
    • The Heaven's Blade spell, unique to the Persona Michael, has been nerfed from game breaker to this. It does less damage than Gigantic Fist, and has a lower critical rate than Rainy Death. The critical rate is high, just not high enough to compete with other moves, so it's very situational.
  • Vendor Trash: You get paid in Yen at the end of each fight with the Shadows, but the Shadows also drop stuff that you can sell to the blacksmith. Not only will he pay you, but you need to sell him this stuff in order to expand his inventory.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • The majority of the Social Links fall directly under this during at least one stage or another.
    • Raise your hand if you rescued Nanako on the first day possible just because, 'I can't leave Little Sis in there!'.
    • Similarly, there's an achievement for visiting Nanako in the hospital three times, which also ups your Relationship Values with the rest of the team.
  • Video Game Lives: Easy Mode in the original version gives you 10 chances just in case you want to be covered by the kid gloves. Contrarian King and Shadow Kanji will most likely make sure you don't have any left by the third dungeon.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Played with.
    • The Investigation Team generally plays this straight, only acting when it looks like the killer is going to make his move. When they do get a lead, they make attempts to head him off at the pass, so they're attempting to subvert it.
    • Namatame thinks he's averting it by throwing people into the TV. But since he didn't know that was what killed them, his Obliviously Evil actions were playing straight.
    • Adachi played it pretty straight, being the villain who initiated all the major plot points in the investigation. As a result, his actions caused Izanami to think humans were bad, since he had the greatest effect on the TV world.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Ever wanted to eat grass, something that shouldn't be moving, or yogurt that was milk last week? You can, and you'll be braver for it!
    "You opened the fridge. There is a bag of wasabi. ... Lick it?"
    • It can't be food?!
    • Fanon took this idea and ran with it. Just check the comments section.
    • Occasionally when you go to the bathroom at school, you can get Rancid Gravy. It recovers SP like any other food item, but casts Silence on the one who eats it.
    • Some of the dialogue options that might seem to offend people are actually the best possible options for advancing their social links. It takes maximum courage for you to tell Dojima that he's distancing himself from Nanako "because (he's) a coward," but he laughs at your nerve and strongly approves.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Whenever you meet an important character and their Shadow, that person will deny the Shadow being a part of them, and the Shadow will try and kill everyone in sight. The party's attempts to defy this don't work either; after they've kicked some ass though, the character faces up to themselves. Well, most of the time anyway. Kanji even realizes that Shadows going berserk is a step necessary to their hosts accepting them.
  • Visual Initiative Queue
  • Visual Pun:
    • There are eight statues of rearing horses lining both sides of the way to the entrance of Yukiko's Castle. What did her Shadow say she wanted to "score" with again? A whole harem of hot studs.
    • Kintoki-Douji carries a Tomahawk.
    • Then there's series favorite Mara. Bonus points for those who realize that Mara is also part of the Tower Arcana and learns the skill 'Absorb Physical'. Although Mara doesn't need to compensate for anything.
  • Voice of the Legion: Everyone's Shadow clones.
  • Vomiting Cop: This is how Adachi is introduced (though you only hear it, not see it. Whether this was a clue (sometimes people can vomit due to panic, such as in an "oh god what if they can trace it back to me?" moment before realising there's no evidence), a sign of fleeting shock or remorse, or just part of his grand act is not elaborated on.)
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Shadow Yukiko is a very early-game boss, and has a wicked habit of tripping players up. No weakness, and summons a very annoying minion who will heal the boss if it's not dizzied or killed off. The boss itself, once it's down to low health, Turns Red and begins to spam an attack-all fire spell that is quite painful, topping it off on the fact that one of your party members is weak to fire if she doesn't guard, and she can't be removed from the battle team (but has the element the minion is weak against). Even in Golden, where Shadow Yukiko gets the ice weakness, this boss still qualifies because of her and her minion's ability to cast White Wall, which makes them resistant to ice for three rounds, and there's generally only a one-turn window of opportunity before they recast it.
    • Shadow Kanji comes with two flunkies, one of whom can heal him. Heat Riser and Power Charge are among the buffs they will spam before destroying you, and none of the three is a pushover. For reference, Heat Riser casts Tarukaja, Sukukaja, and Rakukaja all at once on one target, and charges will make the next attack (physical, for this case) more than twice as powerful. And you can't remove a charge.
    • Almost any of the bosses (save Shadow Yosuke and Shadow Chie) can be this if one hasn't leveled sufficiently.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The game's main premise in a nutshell.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Shadow Yosuke. If you were paying attention during the tutorial and listen to what Teddie says, you'll do fine. If not, he'll probably kill you. Because you were dumb.
  • Washtub Throw: When the male characters stumble upon the female characters in the hot springs, the latter continuously throw a ridiculously amount of wooden buckets at the former. No amount of Courage the main character can have allows the boys to be able to "hold the line".
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • The Michael Persona of the Judgement Arcana. It starts at Level 72 and has a set full of excellent skills, including Megidolaon, Repel Dark, and Mahamaon, but no matter how much the player levels him they'll be hard pressed to ever get his stats beyond the fifties. Doesn't apply quite as much as the Persona 3 incarnation, since Heaven's Blade received an extreme nerfing.
    • The Clear Skies Musha in the Hollow Forest in Golden. Scanning it will cause most players to panic, as it possesses not only Primal Force, but Hassou Tobi, the Yoshitsune-unique physical move that hits all enemies 8 times. The Musha, though, only has a very tiny strength stat, and so can't do much even with those devastating moves.
  • Weapon of Choice: Although they don't state it outright like in 3, the heroes of Persona 4 use weapons that reflect their personality. The Hero uses broadswords, Kung-Fu loving Action Girl Chie has leg greaves, Yamato Nadeshiko Yukiko uses fans, delinquent Kanji just hits monsters with a heavy blunt object, be it a shield or a school desk, Teddie the 'bear' has claws, and Naoto has a gun due to being a detective. Yosuke's dual knives are the only odd man out, but then again knowing him he might be Dual Wielding just for Rule of Cool.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: If the Protagonist kicks the bucket, the game is over. However, depending on your relationship is with the other party members, an ally will actually jump in front of you and take the damage from attacks if you're close to dying. Doesn't work for attacks that hit everyone, and only works for a given character once per battle. Upon maxing Rise's social link in Golden, she can resurrect you once per battle.
  • Weirdness Search and Rescue: Teddie is set up to fill this role but he's just as clueless as everyone else as to what's going on. Still, he does lead the group to the people inside the TV until Rise takes over the job, and again when he tracks down the real killer.
  • Wham Episode: The events on December 3rd basically cover this, although the rainy days after saving Rise are just as big, if not nearly as emotional.
    • November 5. The subtle tension between you and Dojima comes to a head, resulting in him taking you in for questioning, and you soon learn that the next Midnight Channel kidnapping victim is Nanako. In the course of one night, Nanako is abducted and Dojima is hospitalized, but you learn the kidnapper's identity.
    • Some Social Links also have these. The Rank 3 event of Yumi's social link makes it evident that it's about her relationship with her previously estranged and now dying father.
  • Wham Line:
    • The endgame is kickstarted with a phone call sometime after the Dojimas are admitted into the hospital:
    Adachi: Um, I want you to stay calm and listen to me, okay? Nanako-chan's condition suddenly got worse.
    • After the aforementioned events on December 3rd, interrogating Namatame, asking who the first person he threw into the TV was, and his response by pointing at the third Midnight Channel subject Yukiko, showing he had no ties to the murders of Saki and Mayumi.
    • When implicating the Killer, Adachi slipping up and saying something he couldn't have otherwise known:
    Kanji: 'Cause we think... it mighta been you.
    Adachi: What? Th-that's ridiculous! We already know it was Namatame who put them all in!
    Chie: What did you just say...?
    • And before the above, when the player is deducing who could be the killer, they come across Adachi's name on the list of choices, and realize that the evidence points to the possibility that he of all people could actually be the killer.
    • On Rank 8 of Rise's Social Link, her former manager, Inoue shows up one more time, and Rise, thinking that he wants to pester her to go back to showbiz, refuses him again. He then reveals this, which causes Rise to realize that she's thrown her career away.
    Inoue: Okay... I understand. Well, now I can focus on my new job. I signed up as Kanami Mashita's manager.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In the fight with the Killer, Adachi's Eyedscreen in his battle revealing he has a Persona.
    • Near the very end of the game, the gas station attendant suddenly getting a character portrait, revealing her to be far more important than thought.
  • What an Idiot: In-universe; The murderer stops just short of outright saying it, but clearly has this reaction if the Protagonist destroys the only piece of evidence tying him to the murders in the Accomplice Ending. Making a couple of wrong choices can even get them to say 'what an asshole.'
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • You can call out most of the party (particularly Yosuke) for attempting to kill Namatame in the paths for the Normal/True Endings. Worth noting that choosing this option involves a Precision F-Strike and Yu SHOUTING while getting visibly angry (using the "anger" animation that the other characters use) for the only time during the entire game.
    • In almost all endings other than the Good/True endings, Dojima asks you whether you think you made the right choices—the game is not-so-subtly hinting that you did not.
    • There is one possible ending in which you can protect the killer. He calls you out for your shitty choice.
  • What the Hell, Player?/Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The first thing Mr. Morooka does with you is introduce you as a "loser" to the classroom. You can backtalk him on this, which gets you on his "shit-list, effective immediately." Given that he's an asshole of a teacher. While shocked, (everyone has an exclamation mark above their heads) your classmates don't seem to mind much, though.
    • In the first scene of the Strength S-Link, if you join the basketball club, your choices at one point are "Help out" or "Be an ass and leave".
    • In The Golden, you have the choice to become Adachi's accomplice. Doing so earns you a new bad ending, the Accomplice Ending.
    • You can reverse Naoto's Social Link by refusing to help her at Level 5, causing your friend and teammate to run off in tears.
    • In the original Persona 4, there are no major repercussions for dating all possible love interests. In the Golden rerelease, you'll be forced to reject every girl but one on Valentine's Day, and the tearful scenes that ensue should probably make you feel like a terrible person.
    • Killing the kidnapper early on nets you the worst ending, with all its creepy implications.
    • You can, potentially, not complete a dungeon and allow victims to die in the TV/the killer to get away. Thankfully the game will rewind and let you redo the week, but the scenes can be pretty upsetting, particularly if you fail to stop Adachi before Christmas eve is over. Naoto calls and you can hear her ostensibly being killed over the phone.
    • If you wait too long to save someone, your party members start to get a little anxious when you talk to them. If you're running out of time to save Nanako and say no when your friends ask if they're going in the TV that day, they're understandably both dumbfounded and pissed off.
    • It's possible for you to steal Nanako or Dojima's food from the fridge, which results in you gaining a Courage boost without having to go to bed early, like you do if you eat the rotten food.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • The characters' respective Shadows.
    • You can date one girl, or you can date multiple girls. The latter carries no repercussions whatsoever in the original version. Come Golden and the Valentine's Day event, however...
    • Forms the crux of the choice that leads to the Bad Ending, much like the previous game. Nanako has just flatlined, and the Investigation Team is alone with Namatame, the one responsible for her condition in the first place. The choice comes down to either pushing him into the TV, dooming him to the Shadows, or sparing him and risk him getting away with his crimes. However, even if you decide to spare him, the rest of the Investigation Team decides to go through with it anyway unless you talk them out of it by reminding them that they want to learn the truth, not get revenge.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad??: Nanako asks Dojima the titular question over the phone more than once.
  • Where It All Began:
    • For the normal ending, the entrance to the killer's dungeon, is in the same Room Full of Crazy area where the protagonist and his friends first head to in the Midnight Channel.
    • If you get the True Ending, Izanami's dungeon is where Yu experienced his short, easily forgotten dream sequence at the very beginning of the game. This example is lampshaded in the game.
    • In the True Ending, your last moment in the Real-World where you have some amount of control is at the Junes Food Court, dubbed the official Secret Headquarters of the Investigation Team.
  • White and Grey Morality: Even the villains are at best, very mentally unstable and need help, but- excluding Adachi- ultimately doing what they think is best. This is especially odd considering the usual MegaTen game out-Grimdarks just about everything. Even Adachi apologizes later, and admits that he has a lot of issues and he deserves to be in jail.
  • World of Silence: Earn the True Ending, and you find out that this is the kind of world Izanami thinks the apathetic humans want.
  • Westminster Chimes: Played at the end of every school day.
  • A World Half Full: The note of the true ending.
  • You Are Not Alone:
    • In the True Ending, the Protagonist is empowered by his social links during the final battle.
    • This line word-for-word flashes across the screen if you use the new online feature in Golden to send an SOS signal (if somebody decides to respond). It causes your party to recover a small amount of HP/SP.
    • This exact line is also a dialogue option for the Protagonist when Teddie is trying to figure out who he is after the confrontation with his Shadow self.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One:
    • You can't stop people from being kidnapped. You can't stop their Shadows from getting pissed. You can't figure out how the culprit kidnaps people for basically the whole game (so you can't actually catch them). You can't stop the first phase of the Assimilation Plot from taking place. You can't make reversing it permanent just by getting Ameno-Sagiri to lift the fog.
    • In the September confrontation with Shadow Naoto, Kanji straight-out tells the rest of the party not to even try to keep Naoto from rejecting the Shadow - they might as well let the victim get it all out, and then they'll just beat the crap out of the Shadow as usual when it does go berserk.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Teddie keeps talking about "scoring" with the female party members. It's not clear that he's actually sure what that means, or whether he keeps saying it because it gets such hilarious reactions from the other characters.
    • The joke is slightly Lost in Translation in the English version of the game. In the Japanese version, Teddie specifically uses the word "gyakunan" to mean "score," a word he learned from Shadow Yukiko. Its meaning in Japanese specifically refers to a woman hitting on a man, which explains a lot of his friends' reactions. Understandably, it would have been a little awkward to translate that into English with the gendered part intact.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Turns out Mitsuo wasn't the Big Bad. And then, neither was Namatame! It ain't Adachi/Ameno-Sagiri either although you're getting close.


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