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Video Game: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax aka: Persona 4 The Ultimate In Mayonaka Arena
The Final Battle Begins!
"Hahahahaha! The P-1 Climax... It's the end of the world, one-on-one death match that's worthy of the name 'climax'! And best of all, if you don't win the one-on-one tournament to the finish within the hour, the world will end! No punches pulled this time!"
— General Teddie
Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, or Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold in Japan, is the sequel to Persona 4 Arena. It was released as a Japanese arcade location test in August 2013. A console port for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was released in Japan on August 28, 2014, with an international release soon afterward.In Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, the characters from Persona 4 and Persona 3 once again find themselves teaming up to face off in the P-1 Climax, a series of battles which must be won before the world ends. The original cast of characters from Persona 3 and 4 are back to discover the mastermind behind the whole tournament, while a few new faces join the fight, including Junpei Iori, Yukari Takeba, Rise Kujikawa, and more. But standing in their way is the dual katana-wielding Sho Minazuki, a huge threat to everyone involved in the P-1 Climax. Worse yet, there's a Sho lookalike who can wield a Persona...New playable characters include:
All There in the Manual: Narukami's secret super is a challenge mode combo in Ultimax. The inputs for it are also literally in the manual (in his skill list of course).
An Ice Person: Ultimax bumps the number of Ice-Persona users to two, as Chie gains a new ice-themed move.
Another Side, Another Story: The events of the P-1 Climax are different depending on if you play story mode from the Investigation Team's perspective (Episode P4), The Shadow Operatives' perspective (Episode P3) or Adachi's perspective (Episode Adachi), though once you beat the first two you unlock a "True Ending" on the Investigation Team's side.
Anti-Frustration Features: Score Attack mode now has selectable difficulty (instead of being locked at Nintendo Hard), making Achievements and unlockables relating to it easier to get for less experienced players. You also won't face SNK Boss versions of the characters unless you're on Normal or higher. (and on Normal, only half the opponents are "boss" versions)
Artifact Title: Despite the fact the game now also contains almost the entire case of Persona 3, it's still called Persona 4 Arena.
Bag of Spilling: The rest of the former members of SEES (Junpei, Yukari and Ken) avert this and have their ultimate Personas. Koromaru (a dog) is the only exception, but his never transmogrified in the first place.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Some returning characters had their inputs completely overhauled in Ultimax. Those who spent the time mastering Yosuke's gliding technique now must learn the new sequence. And his kunai? Those migrated to different buttons.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: The "real" Shadow Labrys doesn't work like any of the other Shadow characters because in this game it's the actual Labrys with the personality of her Shadow in control.
Earn Your Happy Ending: For the Persona 3 and 4 game series as a whole. The group finally defeats Sho, Minazuki, and Kagatsuchi, with the chance that Sho will be redeemed. Adachi returns to jail peacefully and begins to realize he too is capable of forming bonds, the Shadow Operatives and Investigation team have cleaned up all, at least up to now, threats related to their adventures, and Elizabeth is another step closer to her goal.
Enemy Within: Shadow Labrys still exists as personality inside Labrys after Arena due to Labrys already being a Mind Hive, and tries to take control of Labrys body partway through the Persona 3 route. She gives back control soon after, as she was just trying to protect Labrys in her own way.
Evil Knockoff: The sequel introduces Shadow Doppelgangers; copies of the main characters true Shadow Selves created by the Big Bad to slow the heroes down. Doppelgangers have lower attack power and fewer defensive abilities, but have rapid SP gain, constant access to Awakening SP Skills, more health, and the Shadow FrenzySuper Mode (which grants them unlimited SP and special-to-special canceling temporarily).
Hoist by His Own Petard: Sho tries to shut off Labrys mind to take control of her. Instead, this just makes her Shadow's personality, the second strongest "self" inside her, come out and try to kill him.
Immediate Sequel: Arena ends with everyone pouring out of the TV at Junes sometime in the afternoon. Ultimax starts the next morning at the Junes' food court, and the action takes place later in the evening around midnight. Several people note the whole investigation is ruining Yu's Golden Week vacation.
Lampshade Hanging: After noticing Sho's Yasogami uniform, Yosuke notes his Remember the New Guy-status by pointing out how unlikely it is that no-one on the Investigation Team spotted him around the school when one considers Sho's distinctive appearance.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: Aside from the story, the addons will spoil several characters if you haven't played Persona 3 or 4.
Leitmotif: Each new character also has their own battle theme.
Ultimax, Yu got a secret super which plays out exactly like Order-Sol's "Dragon Install Sekkai" super, or for SNK fans, Gesse/Rock's Deadly Rave.
This isn't the first SMT game to base a character after the rather unknown Kagutsuchi. Before this, he was also an avatar of YHVH.
Sho has some references to Joker from Persona 2 in that both of his names are spelled in a mix of lower and uppercase letters along with the fact that his Leitmotif is titled "Joker". Add to that that he is working closely with the main antagonist (who in turn is a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Nyarlathotep).
Rise sings "True Story" from Golden & her introductory episode in The Animation. However, whilst the Western release of Golden translated the lyrics into suitable English, the dub of The Animation used the original Japanese song instead - here, the song is dubbed into English but with the actual translation of the Japanese lyrics.
Noone Else Is That Dumb: When Kanji and Shadow Kanji each pretend to be the real deal, Yukiko holds an impromptu quiz show with questions about Inaba to determine which is the fake. Her last question is a math problem; when the Shadow gets it right, she proclaims he's the fake since the real Kanji would never be able to do the math so easily.
Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: Mitsuru's maid Kikuno has a bow made for Yukari based on the "Ultimate Arrow" prop she uses on the TV showFeatherman Victory. However, this one is equipped with an actual Energy Bow.
As Yukari points out "This means it is likely the best bow ever created."
Rise Kujikawa, who was only an announcer in Arena, becomes playable in Ultimax.
Tohru Adachi, who had a guest appearance in the arcade build of Ultimax, becomes a DLC character in the home console version of the game.
Margaret, who played a supporting role in Arena's story, becomes a DLC character in Ultimax.
Sho Minazuki, who was the Eerie Voice back in Arena, becomes a playable character in Ultimax.
Psychotic Smirk/Slasher Smile: Almost all the Shadow versions of the characters have either one of these expressions on their faces. The exceptions are Shadow Naoto, who just has a look of disdain, Shadow Kanji, who is just fabulous, and Shadow Teddie, who looks pissed..
Rise's story in Ultimax is book-ended by her preparing for shows with "Kanamin Kitchen", the idol group that suddenly disappears in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. You can even see Rise in her Dancing All Night costume in a few cut-scenes.
The prologue of Ultimax's story mode has a person later revealed to be Sho Minazuki refusing a contract with the Velvet Room. Igor however comments that Sho is destined to refine his power, and will eventually return.
The epilogue of Ultimax's story mode True End has Margaret imply that both Sho and possibly Elizabeth are destined to become Guests of the Velvet Room.
Naoto points out that there might be more people like Sho out there.