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Anime / Persona 4: The Animation

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"So I'm stuck here for a whole year?"
Yu Narukami

Persona 4: The Animation is an animated adaptation of the Eastern RPG Persona 4, as the title indicates. It ran from October 2011 to March 2012, its final episode (nearly) coinciding with the date of the game's ending.

The story follows Ordinary High-School Student Yu Narukami, who has moved from the big city to the tiny rural town of Inaba to live with his uncle and cousin for one year. Shortly after he arrives, a string of unusual murders begins, with the victims hung from high places. Together with his new friends, he must unravel the mystery of the murders and the Urban Legend of the "Midnight Channel".

Both of the game's lead character designers, the game's lead soundtrack composer, and nearly all of the Japanese voice cast were on board, creating an almost seamless transition from the in-game depictions of the characters to animated form. The first volume of the English dub, which also features most of the original voice actors (Teddie and Chie are voiced by their P4 Arena and Golden VAs instead, and while Troy Baker initially returned to play Kanji, he had to leave halfway through and was replaced by Matthew Mercer, who would later become Kanji's permanent voice actor), was released on Sept. 18th, 2012, while the second half was released on January 15th, 2013.

Please note that Persona 4: The Animation follows the plot of the game almost exactly, so beware of spoilers for the game on this page, and vice-versa.

Has a sequel, Persona 4: The Golden Animation, that covers extra events added to the PS Vita Updated Re-release. It has not currently received a dub, though a subtitled version is up on Crunchyroll.

Now has a recap page.

In addition to those from the video game, Persona 4: The Animation provides examples of:

  • Abridged Series: The series has had a plethora of these, two of which with their own tropes pages here and here.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • During the summer arc, Yu is forced to pay for an expensive (not actually) broken Neo Featherman toy, which takes a huge chunk out of his money, causing him to grumble "Damn you, Neo Featherman!", which sounds like what a Tokusatsu villain would say after having their plans thwarted, in stark contrast to his voice actor's previous role as a Power Ranger.
    • During the Tatsumi Port Island trip, the group visit Club Escapade. After Teddie, Yukiko, Rise and apparently Yu get drunk, an exasperated Yosuke says "shoot me now". Several years ago on the same island, Yuri Lowenthal played a role of a character who repeatedly shot himself in the head several times with an Evoker.
  • Adaptational Badass
    • Izanagi. In the game Izanagi's just a cool-looking Persona with low-tier stat growth/elemental affinities/skills that most players will have gotten rid of by the second dungeon; but in the anime he comes off as the biggest badass of the entire bunch, regularly being the go to Persona when Yu needs to wipe out a particularly dangerous Shadow.
    • Beelzebub is a good and late game persona but he's far from the best. When Yu fuses him in the fight against shadow Naoto, it uses Megidolaon and turns the entire dungeon into a smoking crater. Then later in the anime, when Namatame takes control of Yu, he summons various persona to fight the rest of the gang. They don't mind much, until suddenly Beelzebub is summoned. Rise looked about ready to shit bricks after scanning him and realizing it was the same guy Yu used to beat Naoto.
    • Several of Yu's other Personas count as well, during the True Ending episode. A prime example being Rakshasa (a level 23 Persona in the game) going toe-to-toe with Yoshitsune (who is a whopping level 75) during Yu's battle against Margaret. Though Rakshasa does resist physical attacks, and also has the Counter and Dodge Physical abilities.
    • Loki may count as well, although it was Margaret's Loki, rather than Yu's. Loki's worst stat by far is his endurance, yet he takes on attacks from five other Personas Yu summoned unfazed when Margaret was previously switching out to one-on-one each persona from him. These may include allusions to two of his skills, however, Repel Fire and High Counter.
    • Adachi certainly became one of these in episodes 24 and 25. He went from being a simple battle that's mostly warm up for the fight with Ameno-Sagiri to being able to defy gravity, teleport and create clones of himself. Heck, he even has the reaper on his side! Not to mention that he royally schools Yu in the first part of their Mirror Match, even managing to bring him to his knees.
    • Rise's Personas get a moment of badass in Episode 25. Note that in the game proper, Himiko and Kanzeon have no attacks and are glorified Mission Control. In the anime, Himiko and later Kanzeon join the other Personas in directly attacking Ameno-Sagiri.
    • Believe it or not, Kanji is even more badass than in the game during his dungeon. Rather than the gang defeating his shadow and him facing it afterwards, he personally knocks his shadow out with a single punch (to the surprise and shock of everyone in the room) before facing it.
    • There's a skill-based one in episode 12. Shadow Mitsuo is able to block Agilao, Bufula and Zionga, even though in the game he doesn't have any elemental resistances and Red Wall, White Wall and Blue Wall (abilities he can use) only increase resistance to certain elements in the game, rather than outright nullify them.
    • Shadow Mitsuo is also able to rebuild his shell instantly, as well as actually use the blocks that make up the shell to attack. Though to compensate for this, the shell is a lot weaker than in the game.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Rise's former manager, Minoru Inoue, is given this treatment in episode 9. In the game, he repeatedly shows up in Inaba and tries to convince Rise to return to show business, genuinely wanting her back and believing that her retiring from being an Idol Singer would be a waste of her talent. Here, he only heads to Inaba to Kick the Dog by telling her she's been replaced in an upcoming movie by a younger Idol Singer, coldly telling Rise that he's done being her manager in favor of the new girl.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Very little of the dungeon-crawling (which was at least half the game) is on-screen. And when they're on the way to the boss fights, usually they're providing exposition and character development on the way. As a bonus, it eliminates the Fridge Logic of where these kids managed to get the ability to use their weapons like experts.
    • The Social Links also get condensed pretty heavily, usually only presenting part of the issues that the person in question is working through. For example, the Strength Social Link leaves out everything related to Kou's adoption by the Ichijous, including the reason they don't want him playing basketball in the first place.
    • Teddie's mandatory clue-finding quests to help search for an endangered victim are removed, instead replaced with the Investigation Team simply giving him something that belonged to the victim like Kanji's crocheted bunny keyring or Rise's phone.
  • Adaptation Expansion
    • By cutting out nearly all of the dungeon-crawling, the anime has more time to focus on the characters' backstories.
      • For example, the third episode shows the start of Chie and Yukiko's friendship, something that was first shown in the manga adaptation but only mentioned briefly in the game.
      • Episode 9 shows Rise letting her manager knowing she's done being an idol and even lets us hear one of her songs (in lieu of an Opening).
      • Episode 10 expands the scenes right before the Shadow Rise fight, including splitting Rise's shadow from one into seven. In addition to the stripper Rise from the game, we see versions of Rise in a pink French Maid outfit, fashionable street clothes, a football team uniform complete with actual football, a cheerleader costume, a suit and glasses, and a kimono with her hair tied up. Yosuke's comment about recognising them all implies these are all outfits Rise wore as Risette, enhancing the sensation of her being lost and not knowing who the real Rise is.
      • Also of note is episode 12, which gives considerable Character Development to Yu/The Main Character, something he lacked in the game proper due to being pretty much a vessel for the player.
      • Episode 15 expands on the King's Game by having Yu get in on the crazy hijinks, whereas he usually responds to player choices in the game proper (See Mundane Made Awesome below). The girls get in on it, too. After Chie is forced to sit on Yu's lap, Yukiko and then Rise decide to "show her how it's done." Yosuke demands that Yu stops hogging them all, to which Yu pushes up his glasses and responds "It's because I'm... the king."
    • Certain relationships are also made more important in the anime than in the game. Naoto and Nanako, for example (see Big Brother Instinct below). Kanji and Naoto also get a lot more Ship Tease.
    • Additionally, the killer is hinted at much more obviously in the anime. Take for example the fact that in the anime the cop Naoto was fighting with was Adachi, rather than some random, unnamed officer.
    • Naoto is also given an early Red Herring status (see Red Herring below).
    • Shadow Naoto loses the Mad Scientist act and instead talks coldly and bluntly while deconstructing its owner. It also goes half the way and binds its owner to a metal operating table while it has the chance, where in the game, the team starts the fight immediately after it goes berserk.
    • Unlike the game, a person stays conscious whenever their shadow goes berserk. This allows them to actually play a role in defeating their own Shadow, sometimes weakening it by Talking the Monster to Death.
    • What happens to people trapped in Izanami's fog is explained, along with what happens to somebody hit by her One-Hit Kill Dragged Off to Hell move. A person is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine where what they see is shaped by what they want to see the most.
    • Izanami can briefly be seen conversing with a few residents in the now fog-filled Inaba in episode 22.
  • Adults Are Useless: Justified, no rational adult would believe there's an alternate dimension that can entered through a TV.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: The protagonist after he gets his Persona. He lets his uniform jacket hang open and even smiles.
  • The Anime of the Game: As indicated by the title.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Despite the series' supposed end with Episode 25 (The battle against Adachi and Ameno-Sagiri), the REAL final episode, "No One is Alone", was released when Vol. 10 of the anime was released in Japan. Naturally, the episode focuses on the final battle against Izanami as well as a battle against Margaret, though not necessarily in the manner someone who has played the original game would expect...
  • Ascended Meme
    • What was once a throwaway line in the game about cabbage became Adachi's signature item thanks to the fandom. And that meme became immortalized in the animated adaptation.
    • Also, the line "Bitches and Whores", a line misattributed to Adachi courtesy of a fan edit to a Persona 4 Hentai doujinshi is now actually said by him in a plot centric piece of dialogue in Episode 24.
    • Dub-exclusive, the beginning of Kanji chasing Yosuke and Chie would sound like in games in Japanese, calling Kanji 'strange', but in the dub, Chie slips off calling Kanji 'gay', which is in context similar with the memetic phrase from the Hiimdaisy comics: "You sayin' I like dudes!?"
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Played for Laughs in the Hot Springs Episode.
    Nanako: Teddie, big bro...are you guys... horny?
  • As Long as There Is Evil: Ameno-Sagiri comments that he is a manifestation of the collective unconscious of humanity. As long as there are people who want him, he will reappear again.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Naoto, who has at least one male and at least one (albeit off screen) female character crushing on her. Teddie is also an example, winning the cross dressing pageant by a landslide. It's commented offhand that Naoto won the beauty pageant because there were both boys and girls voting.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The dub does this for the Mega Beef Bowl Challenge. Yu is also using his Vash the Stampede interpretation of said bowl while using the in-game script!
    All of these skills are needed to finish off THE MEGA BEEF BOWL.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: During the fight against Shadow Naoto, every male except Kanji is hit with Galgalim Eyes, which inflicts HP to 1 and the "Enervation" status. This is expressed by them all turning old. Naturally, none of the female characters are afflicted.
  • Bifauxnen: Naoto
  • Big Brother Instinct: Most of the group has its moments, but there are two main examples.
    • Yu is the bigger example. He may be irreverent and a little cuckoo, but he really loves Nanako, taking up the mantle of her older brother with ease and frequently having her around when he's hanging out with friends. The depth of feeling between the two is especially evident in episode 22.
    • Naoto is an inversion, because she is a girl. The first time we see Naoto's true colors is when Nanako is upset about her "case," dressed up in her Detective Loveline costume. Naoto picks up Nanako's abandoned magnifying glass, hands it back to her and encourages her not to give up by telling her that a detective should see the case through until it's over. When they visit the Amagi Inn and most of the others want to stay up in the baths, Naoto falls asleep with Nanako, and the two share a bed. In episode 23, when Nanako apparently dies as a result of Namatame's actions, Naoto is among the members of the Investigation Team in support of tossing him into the TV world and leaving him to die.
  • Big Damn Movie: With Persona 4 The Animation - Factor of Hope, a 90-minute movie including never-before seen footage and the events of the final episode. It was included as the "Bonus Disc" of the final volume of the anime in Japan.
  • Bland-Name Product: Episode 5 has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it portion where Ai and Yu go to "Atzrbucks Coffee" (though it's only visible written that way in the background with an abstract logo, and the top portion only shows the end of "-RBUCKS COFFEE" so it could easily be mistaken for Product Placement).
  • Book Ends
    • The first thing Yu kills is one of the shadows attacking the group in Episode 1 — he does so by plunging Izanagi's sword through the shadow's head. In the sort-of final (25th) episode — in the fight against Adachi and his Persona Magatsu Izanagi? Yu's Izanagi plunges his sword straight through Magatsu Izanagi's head. The scenes even look exactly the same.
    • Yosuke's social link is the first non-automatic social link that gets initiated in the game. In the adaption, it's also the last one that gets resolved.
    • When Narukami first arrives at Yasoinaba train station, he is alone and depressed by how boring his new home seems. When he departs in the end, he is surrounded by friends and his memories make him smile despite having to say goodbye.
  • Breather Episode
    • Episode 5 is definitely this; bringing the plot to a halt after the Shadow Yukiko battle to focus on the Strength and Moon Social Links.
    • Episodes 13 and 14 focus on the summer break and Yu's Social Links right after Mitsuo's capture.
    • Episode 19 is also a breather, focused entirely on the cultural festival and coming right after a comparably tense episode dealing with Nanako's feelings about her mother's death.
    • Episode 20 as well, which focuses on the Investigation Team's night at the Amagi Inn. Episode 21 is Nanako's kidnapping, and the first time we see the usually lighthearted Yu completely lose his shit.
  • Brick Joke
    • Episode 6; The delivery scene.
    • After seeing Shadow Yukiko on the Midnight Channel, Yu states that he wished he recorded it. By episode 10, this has turned into a running gag. This includes Yu rapidly hitting the record button while Rise is "showing her stuff", and then immediately trying to view it after the Midnight Channel ends. Unfortunately for Yu, it doesn't turn out as planned.
    • During the Group Date, Daisuke mentions a line which will then be repeated by Yosuke after the bath scene at a later episode:
    Daisuke: All I know about girls is... they suck.
    Yosuke: I double-checked the schedule and the open-air bath is supposed to be open to guys right now. They suck, girls really suck!
  • Bungled Suicide: Happens in episode 25 when Yu defeats Adachi, who promptly turns his own gun on himself and tries to pull the trigger before Yu can stop him. He's found to be alive after Ameno-Sagiri is defeated though.
  • Butt-Monkey: The guys for some episodes, with Yosuke taking the brunt of it.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Yu does this to Dojima in episode 18.
  • Canon Name: Although the protagonist has no official name in the game, he is named Yu Narukami both in this anime and in the fighting game sequel.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Yosuke shows Yu the two swords that he found in his backyard. Not moments later a cop notices them and the two of them are arrested and sent to jail.
  • Cassandra Truth
    • In Episode 14, Dojima and Adachi ask Yu what he's been doing late. His response: "A fox told me to pick up a part-time job." Predictably, Dojima and Adachi just laugh at him.
    • Played for laughs in the 15th episode, when a drunk Yukiko and Rise tell Naoto all about the Personas, but the latter flatly refuses to believe it.
    • Played seriously in episode 21 when Yu is being interrogated at the police station by his uncle. Again, he explains about Personas, but Dojima just doesn't believe him.
  • Cat Fight: Ai and Chie get into one in episode 5.
  • Censor Steam: Episode 20 makes liberal use of this in the Hot Springs scenes.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Pretty much every single person in episode 13 shows up in episode 14.
  • Clark Kenting: Subverted; Rise puts on fake glasses to try and disguise herself, but people still recognize her immediately.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The fanbase cannot decide if Yu is this, or a Deadpan Snarker. And then there's Margaret, whose moments include singing about Igor's Gag Nose while in his presence.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: The two Macho Camp flunky Shadows alongside Kanji's Shadow really enjoy getting hit. This isn't because they like pain, however, but because they null or absorb those specific attacks.
  • Comical Overreacting: While the characters normally summon their Personas when they're actually engaged in battle, they do so immediately the moment they meet Shadow Kanji.
  • Continuity Cavalcade
    • When the Investigation teams visits Gekkoukan High in episode 15, all the background music changes to Persona 3 tracks.
    • The OP Song for the episode when the gang goes to Tatsumi Port Island is none other than "Burn my Dread".
    • The "King's Game" background music is none other than the battle theme from Persona 3, "Mass Destruction".
  • Continuity Nod: Although the anime is much abbreviated, attentive viewers can note specific bits from the games that are still present.
    • Though he no longer draws attention to or explains it, Igor repeats the Tarot reading he did in the beginning of the game during the very first episode.
    • Video Game Interface Elements are featured during transitions, fight scenes and the mid-episode Eye Catches.
    • Various Social Link characters are present in the background of scenes they have no involvement in.
    • Yu has a habit of folding multiple origami cranes in his free time.
    • Many scenes that were changed or added to the anime still borrow directly from other events featured or mentioned during the game.
      • A flashback detailing Chie and Yukiko's first meeting in episode 3.
      • Yukiko's pet bird in episode 4, hinted at during the opening cinematic of the game.
      • Adachi coming back from shopping at Junes with nothing but cabbage in episode 7.
      • Rise's decision to quit being an idol in episode 9.
      • After the school exam, Yu mentions that "His pen seemed to move on its own", which is the caption you receive in the game if you've studied enough for any exam.
    • Personas and Shadows demonstrate abilities related to ones they have in the game.
      • Yu defeats one of the Slipping Hablerie in the very first episode by having Izanagi use Zio on it, complete with "critical hit" animation. Slipping Hablerie are weak to Electricity in the game.
      • In episode 3, Yosuke hits a Trance Twins with Garu, only for it to fly right out of the spell and attack him. Trance Twins null Wind attacks. Teddie even chastises Yosuke for not paying attention to the Shadows' weaknesses.
      • Chie's shadow has her Persona Tomoe's weaknesses in episode 3.
      • Also, Nice Guy and Tough Guy causing Chie and Yukiko to get mad and making Yu and Yosuke collapse reference two abilities Shadow Kanji has in the game; Roar of Wrath (which inflicts Rage on female characters) and Forbidden Murmur (which inflicts Poison on male characters). They also seem to enjoy being hit by Yukiko and Chie's magic, a reference to the fact that Nice Guy absorbs ice and Tough Guy fire. Shadow Kanji himself uses his Fanatical Spark ability on Yu, complete with the same animation of throwing his male and female symbols in the air and letting them hit the floor. Yu then fuses Yamata-no-Orochi (using a Persona combination that would actually create it in the game - Pyro Jack (Magician) + High Pixie (Priestess)) to block the attack - Yamata-no-Orochi blocks Electricity attacks in the game.
      • The Persistent Fuzz in Marukyu Striptease repel all elemental attacks, just like they do in the game.
      • Shadow Mitsuo inflicts Fear status on Yu using Evil Touch. Yosuke bringing him out of it could also reference the fact that in the games, once your Social Link with a party member is high enough, that party member can cure status effects on Yu, including Fear.
      • In the same episode, all the Personas that Yu uses in the battle against Shadow Mitsuo reflect their abilities in the game — Pyro Jack absorbs fire, Ara Mitama is strong against physical attacks, High Pixie uses Lightning, et cetera.
      • Shadow Mitsuo rebuilding his shell after his real body is exposed is also what happens in the game, though in the game there's a delay of a few turns between destroying the shell and it being rebuilt, whereas in the anime he starts rebuilding it immediately after it's destroyed. Rise even points out that you can't hurt the Shadow unless you destroy the shell, just like she does in the game.
      • Shadow Mitsuo blocks Makami's Agilao, King Frost's Bufula and High Pixie's Zionga, referencing its ability to use Red Wall, White Wall and Blue Wall in the game (which only increase resistance to elements in the game, not outright block them, but it could be a case of skill-based Adaptational Badass).
      • During the battle with Shadow Naoto, when she turns Yosuke, Yu and Teddie into old people, she's actually using her Galgalim Eyes attack, which causes the Enervation status. The connection to the game is further established by having Kintoki-Douji use Energy Shower to reverse the effect - in the game, the skill Energy Shower cures the Enervation status effect.
      • Shadow Naoto also fights like she does in the game, by exploiting weaknesses. Yu keeps having to change Personas because she keeps preparing to use attacks that his current Persona is weak to (though thanks to Rise, Yu is one step ahead).
      • During the Shadow Naoto fight, Yu has Mot use Mudoon, which doesn't work. Naoto's Persona, Sukuna-Hikona, resists Dark attacks. It could also be referencing the fact that all bosses in the game nullify Light and Dark.
      • Kuni-no-Sagiri, in possession of Namatame, takes control of Yu. When he breaks free, he takes control of the entire party. When he does, you can see them "charging" when Kintoki-Douji uses Matarukaja.
      • Kohryu is the Ultimate Persona of the Hierophant Arcana, attained by maxing out the Ryotaro Dojima Social Link. In the series, Dojima's spirit somehow assists Yu across worlds, allowing Yu to fuse Kohryu.
      • Sraosha using Mahamaon to exorcise the shadows that possessed Namatame, a Light-based One-Hit Kill that can instant kill regular enemies.
      • Chie finishes off the Reaper (at least, the one she and Yukiko are fighting) by having Tomoe use God Hand on it.
      • Ameno-Sagiri uses Nebula Oculus (complete with "charging" mode) to flatten Yu and the landscape surrounding him. Then he tries to attack Lucifer with God's Judgement, a light-based beam attack... which Lucifer reflects right back at him. Lucifer learns Repel Light at level 96.
      • During the True End episode, Margaret uses the Personas Helel, Yoshitsune, Cu Chulainn, and Loki in her battle to make Yu come to his senses; these are four of the Personas she uses during her actual boss battle in the original game. Also, all of her Persona cards are gold-colored, just like the Aeon Arcana card in Persona 3 FES and Persona 4 Golden.
      • Margaret's Yoshitsune uses Hassou Tobi, its unique skill, against Yu's Rakshasa. Rakshasa somehow survives this, though it could be explained by Rakshasa having resistance to Physical attacks as well as the skills Counter and Dodge Physical.
  • Continuity Porn: Just have a look at the Continuity Nod section above.
  • Cosplay: When she's investigating Yu, Nanako cosplays as an in-universe fictional Magical Girl detective named Loveline. Apparently the cosplay's so good, some kids actually think that she is Loveline.
  • Covert Pervert: Narukami.
  • Credits Montage: The ending for the first episode.
  • Cringe Comedy:
    • The "Steamy Bathhouse" sequence in Episode 7, with Shadow Kanji and his flunkies' flamboyance cranked up.
    • Parts of Episode 8, as well. Bathed in Morooka's vomit much?
    • The. Entire. Amagi. Inn. Sequence.
    • Hanako and Kashiwagi may as well embody this every time they're on-screen.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Almost everyone, except Aika Nakamura, who has aqua teal hair and brown eyes, Izanami with black hair and red eyes, Kanji Tatsumi who's blond with beady black eyes, and Teddie's human form, with blond hair and blue eyes. Kanji is actually a double subversion, as he dyes his hair.
  • Cutaway Gag: Twice in episode 11, both times when the team realizes they've left the head of Teddie's original body behind. Cue some kid crying at its white-eyed, soulless stare.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 13 focuses on Nanako rather than Yu.
  • Death Glare:
  • Demoted to Extra
    • Igor, due to Isamu Tanonaka's fatal heart attack in 2010. All of his lines in the animation are taken directly from his speaking parts in the game itself.
    • Yumi Ozawa effectively gets written out completely, thanks to Cutting Off the Branches. In the game, she was one of the possible candidates for the Sun Social Link, befriending players who joined the Drama Club. This adaptation opted to follow her Music Club counterpart, Ayane Matsunaga, instead. The only time we see Yumi is a brief cameo when she's silently annoyed at Kou hamming it up in the Culture Festival drama play.
    • All of the teachers get hit with this hard, since classes were already a fairly minor aspect of the game, and they had to condense everything into twenty-odd episodes. Morooka and Kashiwagi are the only ones that make more than a fleeting cameo, and even they don't get quite as much focus as they do in the game.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Ayane plays the game's credits theme, "Never More", on her trombone in Episode 19. Badly, but she improves a bit the second time around.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: After Nanako’s initial demise and shortly before her recovery, she’s seen in her hospital bed from a side view while a nurse puts some flowers next to her, heavily evoking a funeral.
  • Dump Stat: For the most part, Yu's Knowledge is lower than his other stats, with the exception of the short period where it's his Diligence that's trailing behind.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the TV series semi-finale, during the battle with Ameno-Sagiri, Yosuke finds the strength of heart to evolve his Persona from Jiraiya into his Ultimate Persona Susanoo, which he uses to save Yu's life. The rest of Yu's friends then express their belief in him by doing the same, evolving into Suzuka-Gongen, Amaterasu, Rokuten-Maoh, Kanzeon, Kamui, and Yamato-Takeru to drive Ameno-Sagiri back and give Yu the opening he needed to fuse the Persona of the Judgment Arcana, Lucifer. The same thing happens with Yu in the True End OVA: after getting out of his self-induced Heroic BSoD "Groundhog Day" Loop, he awakens to the power of the World Arcana, and obtains his Ultimate Persona, Izanagi-no-Okami.
  • Enemy Without: Of course, the main characters' shadows appear and have to be defeated before they can gain their respective personas. Special mention goes to Yu's shadow in the final episode, which didn't appear in the game. He immediately accepts its faults as his own and thereby gains the strength to escape the Lotus-Eater Machine and defeat Izanami.
  • Entitled Bastard: Adachi. He apparently has had a lot of things in his life not go his way, so he does a ton of crap because he feels the world owes him.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Naoto gets a love letter from a girl after she returns to school after her kidnapping. It's also implied that she wins the pageant in large part because of the female vote.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Yu. Yosuke apparently has confusing feelings for him during Episode 19's group date.
  • Evolving Credits: One of the ending credits (first appearing in episode 2) involves a lot of falling, rotating tarot cards. First one (or two) cards fall past Yu's face and he grabs it/them. This card is the Social Link(s) he gained in that episode, otherwise it is blank. Then all of the cards are shown and their faces are left blank until Yu has earned the appropriate Arcana.
  • Eye Catch: Used to show Yu's character stat growth. It also changes at times to reflect events in the current episode: in Episode 12, all of the stats are blank, the first major clue that something is very, very wrong. In Episode 19, after Yu seamlessly plays the part of a girl in the group date café, his Understanding ranking is changed to "Effeminate".
  • The Faceless: We never get a proper look at Chisato's face. It's obscured by other objects as part of a photo, under Yu's thumb when he's holding it, and is always covered by a light reflection. Aside from that, the bottom half of her face is shown in Dojima's memories.
  • Face Palm: Yosuke does one when he's exasperated over Yu's drunk shenanigans.
  • Fake High: In the club of episode 15, half the characters start acting as if they're drunk, even after it's confirmed that there's no alcohol served there. Carries over to the next day, where the ones who acted drunk don't seem to remember much of the previous day.
  • Fake Shemp: Isamu Tanonaka's voice clips from the game were used to keep Igor in the anime.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: Yu has one of these in episode 19 when explaining the importance of entering the school's beauty pageant to the girls.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: What Yu initially fears is that his band of friends he has gathered will fall apart just as quickly once they're no longer unified by their quest to find the killer.
  • Female Gaze
  • Final Exam Finale: Episode 12 / the mid-season finale, where the entire team needs to work together and Yu needs to unleash all the Arcana he's gathered except Star over the past 11 episodes to take down Shadow Mitsuo.
  • Flanderization: Condensing the game down to a 26 episode series is bound to make this happen, though Yosuke and Chie get it especially bad.
    • Chie kicks Yosuke over the smallest of annoyances (e.g. he says her handwriting is sloppy).
    • Yosuke has his Jerkass tendencies exaggerated quite a bit. Additionally, he was the de facto Mr. Exposition in the game (given the Silent Protagonist), and basically in many ways acted like the leader of the group. Now that Yu is Suddenly Speaking, Yosuke has much less competence.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A very subtle one in episode 4. When the spotlights hit Teddie's eyes they briefly change from his usual black into a Shadow's yellow. Hinting at his status as a shadow.
    • During the fight against Shadow Teddie, Rise under Himiko's guidance, pinpoints its weak spot, which Yu has Izanagi go into the Shadow and stab it, which looks like a big sea mine. It's later revealed that this is Ameno-Sagiri.
    • In episode 18, when Yu and Dojima are trying to figure out where Nanako would go, Yu recalls her wanting to go to Heaven to see her mother again, then an ambulance drives by on the way to the Flood Plains. She's fine when they arrive, but this sets up what she creates in the TV World, which is a storybook version of Heaven, and her near-death.
  • Funny Background Event
    • Teddie's Persona holding off the Dice in episode 11 while the character discuss their strategy for dealing with the Shadow... Tediie's Persona just bouncing around in the background, occasionally casting a spell.
    • In episode 13, keep an eye on Kanji, frantically eating his watermelon at top speed.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man
    • Yu pulls this trope on Yosuke during the fight with his Shadow. Yu claims that it was an accident, but turns it into a straight example with the lines he delivers after the punch.
    • Margaret does this to Narukami after his Heroic BSoD in the True End episode.
  • The Glasses Come Off: All members of the Investigation team (sans Teddie) do this at the end of the 3rd opening. And, of course, there's Yu removing his damaged glasses before unleashing the full power of the World Arcana on Izanami.
  • Glasses Pull
    • Yu has enacted this trope at least twice now, seemingly for no other reason then to be a ham. Namely, during his attempt to catch the guardian, and during the anime's version of the "King's Game" event.
    • Not to mention every single party member besides Teddie in the second opening.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix
    • When Yu is dragged into Shadow Mitsuo's Lotus-Eater Machine, he catches on that something is up when he tries to put his hand in the TV and it no longer works. With the deception revealed, Shadow Mitsuo reveals itself.
    • The True End episode seems to start off normally, but it immediately becomes apparent to Yu that something is wrong when the events of the day before he is set to leave Inaba keep repeating themselves. Turns out it was the result of a "Groundhog Day" Loop he created after suffering an absolutely epic Heroic BSoD watching Izanami kill all of his friends.
  • Gonk: While Mitsuo, Morooka and Hanako still retain their designs, the rabid Risette fan Adachi ends up arresting has buck teeth.
  • Gratuitous English
    • It continues the trend just like the game.
      Bonds of people is the true power.
    • Look no further than the opening and ending songs! The opening especially has caused a lot of mishearings.
    • Though the preceding text before the 2nd Ending theme is decent, the first line of that text however comes of as if Yoda was speaking it.
    • One of Shadow Kanji's flunkies speaks nothing but Engrish.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The final episode. Narukami repeats his final day with his friends over and over out of fear of being alone.
  • Harmful to Minors: How Yosuke tries to stop Teddie from removing his head, as it would scar the kids for the rest of their lives.
  • Heart Symbol: When Naoto tells the group she was scared, Kanji gets these floating around him.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: In episode 23 Nanako's apparent death causes Yu to enter this state, and it's scary as hell, particularly his expression when he nearly kills Namatame. He's able to regain control of himself long enough for the situation to calm down, but once everyone goes their separate ways (save for Youske), he snaps out of it and breaks into tears.
  • Hidden Depths: A key part of the series is exploring various characters' hidden depths.
    • Yosuke seems like he hasn't got a care in the world, but he's really bored with everyone and everything in his life.
    • Chie is a tomboy and tries to be an ideal best friend and protector for Yukiko, but she's often jealous of Yukiko's looks and the attention Yukiko gets from boys.
    • Yukiko plays the part of the perfect daughter and future innkeeper, though she feels stifled by the fact that her path in life has already been decided for her.
    • Ai is a stereotypical Alpha Bitch on the surface, but underneath it all, she's a bundle of insecurities.
    • Kanji acts like a stereotypical punk/manly man, but he also loves cute things, is kind to children, loves his mother and enjoys sewing and knitting.
    • Rise, the ex-idol, doesn't know who the real Rise is, and is struggling to find herself in the midst of the identities that have been manufactured for her.
    • Teddie realizes the implications of the fact that despite his cuteness, he is empty inside.
    • Naoto plays the part of a mature young man, but is actually a young girl who is insecure about her age and gender because her chosen profession is one dominated by men.
    • Dojima has spent so much time dedicated to his work, he's never taken up the role of father the way he should have.
    • Nanako is a sweet young girl with abandonment issues brought on by the fact that her father never seems to have time for her.
    • Even Yu gets in on the act. Outwardly, he comes across as both The Stoic and The Ace with a really strange sense of humor (the audience isn't sure whether he's a Deadpan Snarker or Cloud Cuckoo Lander; it's hard to tell). Turns out that he's a Broken Ace who harbors a strong need to be connected to people because he views himself as being weak and powerless on his own. This was first hinted at in episode 12 when he gets hit by a "Fear" affliction from Shadow Mitsuo; and later confirmed and explored further in Episode 26, when Yu ends up facing his own Shadow during his battle with Margaret:
    Shadow Yu: I felt depressed when I was separated from everyone... losing your friends and advancing alone is terrifying... I don't want to be alone. It's too much to bear...
  • Homoerotic Subtext
    • Episode 12 seems to have a lot of this between Yu and Yosuke. Yosuke pulls Yu out of Mitsuo's Shadow's illusion, and they then look each other in the eye while in Jiraiya's arms. At the end of the episode, Yosuke calls Yu by his first name.
    • Episode 15 and the Love Hotel, Chie, Yukiko, and Rise in the rotating bed having giggle fits. Something similar happens when Teddie, Yosuke, and Kanji end up in a bed together, except in that case the only one laughing is Teddie.
    • Episode 19 has some tension between Yu and Yosuke during the group date. Yosuke says that he feels he was "about to cross a line that should never be crossed," and searches frantically for a drink.
    • Episode 25 had something similar to Episode 12. Yosuke shouts Yu's name while being the first to awaken to Susanoo-o and uses it to save Yu from Ameno-Sagiri.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: Episode 8. Especially horrible for poor Kanji.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode 20, when the group spends the night at the Amagi Inn.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That
    • In the opening of the 6th episode, Igor is not in the Velvet Room so Margaret says "Welcome to the Velvet Room" in his place then invokes this trope.
    • Adachi, when he arrests Rise's stalker.
    • Teddie, the first time he summons his Persona. ("Bear-sona!")
  • I Wished You Were Dead: Saki's true feelings reveal that she wished Junes, her father's store, Shopping District, to be dead.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: They're called Scents and are titled in English.
  • Idol Singer: Risette
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: In episode 23, Yu makes this point when the Investigation Team are arguing about throwing Namatame into the TV World to die, promptly silencing those in favor of doing so and making them see sense.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The English dub makes some blatant mistakes that don't match the source material, such as Margaret identifying The High Priestess as The Empress, or Yu invoking Lucifer's name when summoning Beelzebub.
  • Innocent Swearing
    • In episode 20, Nanako happily announces to the group that Margaret, the fortune teller at the cultural festival, told her that Yu was a "gigolo".
    • Subverted in the dub in which she says he's a "man-whore". Possibly a reference to the game where it was sometimes needed to juggle female social-links to get them all maxed.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Teddie's response to how the main villain rationalizes his actions.
  • In Vino Veritas: Subverted. No vino, plenty of veritas.
  • Ironic Hell: Yu being in Izanami's fog turns into an unintentional case of this on her part. Being in a Ground Hog Day Loop of the events before he left Inaba very clearly starts to take toll on him.
  • Japanese Delinquents
    • Kanji is designed as this. Dyed blond hair? Check. Frequently rolls r's to convey rage? Check. Scar on forehead? Check. Wears uniform inappropriately? Check. Foul-mouthed? Check.
    • Izanagi is also modeled after a stereotypical Japanese gang leader.
  • Japanese Ranguage: In the opening scene for episode 17 Margaret comments that "Ls and Rs are hard" after flubbing the name of Black Frost.
  • Joke Character: Mot of the Death Arcana its attempts to use Mudoon fail miserably.
  • Karma Houdini
    • Let's face it, the girls surely don't get their comeuppance for their mistreatment on the boys in episode 20. Somewhat mitigated in the dub, as the reason the girls don't forgive them is because whilst the girls are at fault for the mix-up with the hot springs, they accuse the guys of trying to perve on them, which Yosuke admits to.
    • Yu himself is one in episode 15 as he doesn't get punished for taking a picture of Kanji, Teddie, and Yosuke together in their hotel room, much to the latter's dismay.
  • Large Ham: A few of the characters get to indulge in some hamminess, but the crown goes to Yu. The cross-dressing pageant is just one example of Yu seriously hamming it up.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler
    • The anime assumes most of the viewers have already played the game, and because of this, certain scenes are played with much less fanfare (Teddie revealing his human body was a big deal in the game, in the anime he just popped his head off and things continued from there). They also put less effort into hiding things (Naoto was harder to figure out in the Japanese game than in the anime).
    • Averted with the revelation of Adachi being the killer. The episode before the revelation ended in a cliffhanger towards his identity. Then, episode 24 starts with multiple scenes that try to avoid revealing his, and when it's finally time to let the viewers know, it has tremendous buildup.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine
  • Love Dodecahedron
    • In episode 5, we have Ai dating Yu to make Ichijou jealous, since he's actually in love with Chie, who Yosuke tries to hook up with Yu because he thinks she likes him, incorrectly. Though Chie's reactions in later episodes when Yu compliments her suggest Yosuke might not have been wrong.
    • And of course, we also get the complications from Yu being a love interest for basically any readily present female Social Link.
  • Love Hotel: In episode 15, complete with funky lights and a rotating bed that all of the room's residents have to share, which causes no end of embarrassment for Yosuke and Kanji, and endless enjoyment for Teddie and Yu. According to Noriko Kashiwagi, she got the rooms for a discount for their school trip.
  • Love Hurts: Discussed by Margaret when discussing the Lovers Arcana.
    Margaret: Romance in moderation can fertilize the heart. But if you go overboard... it will prick you.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Episode 13 gets Nanako's perspective on Yu's summer vacation.
  • Male Gaze
    • Chie gets quite a few closeups of her thighs in Episode 2.
    • Episode 8 has the camera pan up over Yukiko and Chie's bodies after they change into their bathing suits.
    • In Episode 9 they literally switch into Yosuke's point of view while both he and Yu momentarily gaze at Chie's thighs (apparently Yu likes them, but Yosuke doesn't). Episode 15 also has a closeup of her backside as she's about to sit in Yu's lap.
    • In episode 9, when Rise bends over to get some ganmodoki for the guys, Yosuke stares at her ass. That he does like. Oh, and he openly gapes at her chest.
  • Manly Tears: Both Yosuke and Yu indulge in these in episode 23.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Teddie makes his appearance in the Crossdressing Beauty Pageant as Alice, with help from Naoto. In the video game, it only had a few people. Here, it had an entire swarm of them complaining about HOW IS THIS PERSON A GUY!?
    (after much Squeeing)
    Girl: Is that really a guy!?
    Girl: She's so cute!
  • Meaningful Background Event: In the background of episode 6, Nanako leaves a television show playing while the conversation with Yu and Dojima is going on. The words are fully intelligible, and it's very obviously reminiscent of Naoto's show on the Midnight Channel, much later on.
    Mr. Experiment: Thanks for tuning in, all you curious kiddos! With the body of an adult and the heart of a child, lovely whiskers and gentlemanly ways, I'm Mr. Experiment! [...] In this corner let's try to solve mysteries found in your everyday lives!
  • Meaningful Name: Yu Narukami. 'Yu' sounds like the English word 'you', reflecting the fact that Yu in the game is a blank slate representing the player. In other words, Yu is you.
  • Megaton Punch: Kanji manages to obliterate his own Berserk Shadow with a single punch.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episodes 16 and 22.
    • 16 near the end, gets very serious when Shadow Naoto berserks, strapping the real Naoto to an operating table and attacking the team. Then cue hilarity as Shadow Naoto uses Enervation and the team runs away yelling to prevent being turned into old people. Then cut back to gruesome reality, as Naoto is still on the operating table with a buzz saw over her.
    • 22 starts with Nanako having to be rescued from the TV world before getting sent to hospital and just when things are looking up, Yu gets called to the hospital, and the episode ends with Nanako flatlining.
  • Mundane Made Awesome
    • Yu fishing in episode 14. See Theme Music Power-Up below.
    • Yu catching the King's Chopstick/throwing the dart in episode 15. The battle theme from Persona 3 plays as the last button on his shirt falls open, and the a battle animation flashes across the screen when he reveals his command.
    • Yu commanding the other boys to hold the line while the girls chuck washtubs at their heads in episode 20.
    • Episode 23 has Yu finishing the Rainy Day Special, complete with dramatic music.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Inverted in Episode 10.
    Teddie: Oh no, Sensei!...Other guys!
  • Mythology Gag
    • During Shadow Kanji's battle, the boss's beefcake bodyguards incapacitate Yu and Yosuke with a poke in the butt, causing Teddie to proclaim that their touch was toxic. Said beefcakes then insult Yukiko's choice of wardrobe and Chie's tomboyish demeanor, causing them to turn red with rage. This is a reference to two of Shadow Kanji's attacks from the original game: Forbidden Murmur, which poisons Yu and Yosuke; and Roar of Wrath, which inflicts rage on Chie and Yukiko.
    • Yu's ringtone for when Ai calls him is Zigeunerweisen (German for Gypsy Airs), also known as the Game Over theme from Catherine, and his inner monologue after she calls plays out exactly like one of Vincent's.
    • When Nanako gets kidnapped, Yu finds a ring made out of beads. In the next fight, it breaks when he gets hit with a particularly strong attack. In the game, the bead chain was an item that fully heals conscious party members.
    • In episode 25, after Ameno-Sagiri proclaims he'll bring Order to the world by transforming everyone into Shadows, Yu summons everyone's favorite champion of Chaos in the main Shin Megami Tensei series: Lucifer, the Rebel King of Hell.
    • The 13th and 14th episodes' plots are basically an extended one to the whole aspect of building up Social Links in the games, with the 13th episode focusing on Nanako's and the Investigation Team's reactions to Yu wandering around with so many strangers.
  • Never My Fault: Played for laughs, the girls in episode 20 continue to insist that the guys are perverts because they walked in on them at the hot springs. They conveniently choose to ignore that Yukiko was the one who caused the mix up in the first place. Even worse, when the boys try and go into the other of the two hot springs because the girls are in the first one, it turns out that the girls have switched. The boys get blamed again. The mistake is pointed out to the girls by the boys and they still won't apologize.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Yu can awaken and fuse Personas in the middle of combat. He summons Pyro Jack for the first time during Shadow Chie's boss fight, using it to set her on fire.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In Episode 13, Nanako gives the Fox her new Detective Loveline umbrella to keep it dry from the rain. Some time after, a gust of wind blows it away and it gets crushed by a car.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: A fantastic one delivered by Yu to Shadow Mitsuo after he comes out of his Heroic BSoD. He summons Persona after Persona to pound the shield around Mitsuo into dust. Every single one of those Personas are powered by his Social Links: his bonds with his friends. WHO'S empty, Shadow Mitsuo?
  • Nosebleed: Kanji gets one of these in episode 8, and again in episode 19 during the beauty pageant. Both times, it's girls who cause it, which really adds to the confusion of his sexuality.
  • No-Sell: If an enemy uses a fire attack, Yu just summons Pyro Jack, who simply absorbs the fire in his lantern.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: Teddie and Naoto get this the worst. Walking out of the Textile Shop in episode 6, Naoto is just taller than Yu's shoulder in one shot and barely shorter than his shoulder height in the next. When Naoto and Kanji are talking outside, in one shot the top of his head reaches just below Kanji's chest. In a few seconds, Naoto only seems to reach Kanji's waist. Later on in the episode, he is shown as up to Kanji's shoulder. Episode 21 has Naoto looking slightly taller than, slightly shorter than and the same height as Adachi.
  • No Theme Tune: Episodes 23 and 24 open with just the title cards, no theme song. Episode 25 also forgoes the theme tune, instead showing the title card just as Adachi is presumed to have shot Yu in the head.
  • Not So Stoic: Yu lives and breathes this trope. Unlike Persona 3's protagonist in the animated films who develops this over time, Yu immedaitely starts delivering quips and getting into odd situations, even if he does it all with a straight face. Episode 14 which foucuses on Yu's perspective of his summer vacation cranks this up as he gets into wacky adventures that force him to constantly break his stoic expression.
  • Once More, with Clarity: Episodes 13 and 14 take place over the summer break, documenting Yu's misadventures during that period. The first one, taking place in Nanako's perspective, seems like that Yu is dating three women at once, one of which is a mother with a child and another is an elderly lady. Plus, Teddie takes the bus. The second episode has Yu explaining to Nanako about what he was really doing: Gathering money to pay for a new umbrella for her by taking odd jobs at the hospital, day care and tutoring. He also happened to meet said three women who became his Social Links, had to pay for a toy that wasn't broken in the first place and borrowed Teddie's costume for the day care.
  • Pet the Dog: In Episode 8, after Chie and Yukiko accidentally invent Mystery Food X and nearly give the guys food poisoning over it, Hanako takes a bite of it and compliments them on it, calling it "curry with a whole new twist". Also, due to said creation leaving the group with nothing edible to eat, the girls order takeout for them to make up for it.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In an effort to condense a 90+ hour game into 26 half-hour episodes, the anime shows no class time and cuts out the vast majority of the dungeon crawling—basically showing condensed versions of the dungeon plots and then skipping straight to the boss battles. The very sidestory-ish Social Link plots are also usually resolved in a single day except for the ones during the Summer arc. Similarly, the team no longer uses weapons, since it's a whole lot harder to convince viewers that the investigation team has been sneaking swords and chairs into Junes under their clothes when everything is being fully animated.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The Persona 3 main character makes a brief cameo at the end of Factor of Hope, which is was to foreshadow how that game would be getting its own set of movies later on.
  • Precision F-Strike
    • The name of the third-last episode: "The World is Full of Shit"
    • In the final confrontation with the killer, Yu kick's off the team's epic Shut Up, Hannibal! with this.
      Yu: I've heard enough. It's all Bullshit!
    • In the English Dubbed version of Episode 20, Kanji says "Fuck off" in his sleep. This is the only instance of the F-word in the English translation.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: An example with The Not-Love Interest, Yosuke. In light of Yu not forming a romantic relationship with any of the females in the anime, Yosuke undoubtedly becomes the closest to him. He is always the one who jumps to Yu's aid when he is in serious trouble, is the one person who stays behind for Yu to cry on when Nanako dies, and Yosuke is the first one who evolves his Persona in order to rescue Yu.
  • Pun
    • In episode 9, Yukiko calls Chie's Persona a "Chie pet". As if that single pun wasn't enough for her, she then goes off on a short tangent about Tomoe — Chie's persona is Tomoe, Chie is moe.
    • Episode 15 has one that gets Lost in Translation. Teddie and Yukiko laugh at a pun on Kanji's name, "ii kanji," which means "good feeling/s". The subbers settle for using the pun that was used in the game, "Great Kanjecture". For bonus points, the latter isn't just lame — it doesn't make a lot of sense. In the English dub, Teddie makes the connection between Kanji and conjugal instead (Kanji-gal).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Igor's role is severely reduced because his voice actor passed away and they're only using his archived dialogue from the game. Instead, Margaret takes up his role as the Big Good and Yu's mentor/advisor.
  • Real-Place Background: The exterior of Junes seen in various shots was based on an Aeon store branch in Japan.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Like in the game, the Shadows do this to their hosts, but Shadow Mitsuo gives a very bone-chilling one to Yu inside the Lotus-Eater Machine:
      Shadow Mitsuo: You have no bonds. Friendship is an illusion. You are empty.
    • Yu gets another one from Izanami after watching her drag all of his friends to their deaths. He does NOT take this one well at all.
    • Adachi attempts to give everybody one, but it results in the Shut Up, Hannibal! below.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Applies to Yu and Adachi, who are the Blue and Red Oni, respectively. When they meet face to face in Magatsu Inaba, Adachi gradually has Villainous Breakdown while Yu calmly tells him to Shut Up, Hannibal!. Also, Adachi's Magatsu Izanagi is primarily red in contrast to Yu's Izanagi and its blue aura. It could also apply in the game, but it applies more here due to the fact that Yu has a personality here.
  • Red Herring: Like in the game, the in-universe version is Mitsuo. For the audience, we also get Naoto as a bit of a Red Herring early on. When Yu first sees them, eerie music plays and the shot fixates on their eyes during a tense sideways glance. That's not to mention that they were spending time with Kanji, right before Kanji disappears. The Spoiler Opening ruins the latter example, though.
  • Running Gag
    • Yu and his attempts to tape the Midnight Channel programs.
    • Aika making deliveries/working in increasing unlikely places. Not only does she work at Aiya, make a delivery in the middle of a chase scene, and bring food to the protagonists on top of a mountain in the middle of the school camping trip, but she also has a job at a noodle shop at Tatsumi Port Island and at the Amagi Inn. They try to explain away the job at Tatsumi Port Island, but by the Amagi Inn episode, the writers stopped caring.
  • Scenery Censor: In addition to Censor Steam, episode 20 uses this to hide the girls' lady bits from the audience. There are many, many conveniently positioned arms. At one point, a washtub held at a funny angle is used to hide Naoto's entire upper half.
  • School Festival: Episode 19, complete with a cheesy play, beauty pageant, cross-dressing pageant and a "Group Date Café."
  • Scooby Stack
    • Once while Chie and Yosuke spy on Kanji and Naoto in episode 6.
    • Again in episode 8 while the rest of the group watches Kanji and Hanako.
    • In episode 9, Yosuke and Kanji while they're staking out the tofu shop.
  • Sequel Hook: At the supposed end of the TV series, Igor presents Yu with the Orb of Sight, forged from the strength of his bonds and which can dispel falsehoods. The late introduction of this element hints that there's one plot line left dangling...
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Played for Laughs during the summer arc where Yu's plans take a hit when he has to pay for an expensive Featherman Ranger toy after a limb is broken off. However, the toy's owner tries to explain that it wasn't actually broken, which is confirmed by a bus-side ad that Yu doesn't see which has the same toy advertised with a feature enabling it to be easily taken apart.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Episode 2 has Chie and Yosuke share a hug. She then knees him in the groin.
    • Chie's acting disapproving of Ai and Yu's relationship cues Yosuke to ship them in episode 5. Naturally, Yu/Chie fans like this one, too.
    • Episode 8 has Yukiko and Narukami hiding in one sleeping bag together and Chie and Yosuke in another. When the time comes for actual sleep, they switch it up and Yosuke and Yu, and Yukiko and Chie sleep next to each other. When Yu says good night to Yukiko and turns around to go to sleep, he and Yosuke are spooning (though they apparently don't do this for the entire night).
    • Pretty much most scenes with those 4 in it, or Naoto and Kanji are some form of shiptease. The studio sure knew the fanbase well.
    • Episodes 9 and 10 have a lot of moments that would make Narukami/Rise fans Squee with joy, including a rather nice moment by the riverbank.
    • Episode 15 features some between Yu and Chie; they share a personal moment on a alone on a park bench as the sun sets, with some blushing on Chie's part. Yu and all of the other girls get this, too (except, of course, Naoto, still presumed to be a boy). King's Game, yo. The King's Game also gives us a rather (ahem) interesting Teddie/Kanji moment, if you're into that sort of thing. Kanji/Naoto gets teased as well. Kanji blushes when he looks at Naoto across the train station. He does the same again when they're all out "drinking" and Teddie is embarrassing him.
    • Episode 17 gives a healthy boost to the Naoto/Kanji ship by showing that he's still attracted to her. He even gets some floating hearts when talking to the group at Junes. (See Heart Symbol above)
    • Episode 22 has the first major tease of Yu/Naoto, a fan favorite. Naoto talks about being happy to be seen as valuable for something other than detective skills. Naoto then blushes, and rushes off and heads in the wrong direction, forgetting it's still the middle of the school day.
  • Shout-Out
    • One episode has Yu and Nanako watching a news report about "Pen Pen the Penguin".
    • Chie tells Naoto that she's living the life of a detective like Kindaichi.
    • Naoto's Midnight Channel area, like in the video game, shows a lot of references to tokusatsu series, including the Kamen Rider series.
  • Show Within a Show: Including the series-wide Neo Featherman, there's also a popular show called Detective Loveline which Nanako is a huge fan of and even has a full costume which makes her heavily resemble the titular character, setting up a Brick Joke about Yuuta claiming to have seen the real Loveline which technically gets proven at the festival.
  • Shipper on Deck: Yosuke tries to be this for Yu/Chie.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Yu does an absolutely awesome nonverbal version to Shadow Mitsuo in episode 12.
    • In the final confrontation with Adachi in the game, the party delivers one to their foe as a group, and this person all but brushes it off. But in the final TV episode, where they've been split up, every group of party members delivers its own rebuttal to Adachi separately, wearing him down. By the time we get back to Yu and he delivers his own Shut Up, Hannibal!, Adachi completely loses it.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Episodes 13 & 14 are the same series of days, except they're told from the point of views of Nanako & Yu respectively.
  • Skinship Grope: In Episode 20, the rest of the girls grope Naoto in the hot springs while admiring her soft hair and skin.
  • Sky Face: The image of "King Moron" appears when Yosuke remembers him arranging a school trip before being murdered.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In episode 21, the first chords of the soft, mellow ending theme start playing while Dojima is laying injured in the street, begging Yu to save his daughter, "his only reason for living." Even more jarring in that only moments ago we saw Yu, whose video game counterpart was a Heroic Mime, have his first true (however brief) emotional breakdown of the series. It is then averted for effect in Episode 22. The credits play with no animation or music after the end-of-episode scent, setting episode 23 up to look very, very bleak.
  • Spoiler Opening: Just like in the game, the opening gives away many of the kidnapping victims, as well as the identities of the full investigation team. If one hasn't played the game, the script and direction of the anime is clearly intended to make a Red Herring out of Naoto (see above), but simply watching the credits pretty much tells you she's a good guy all along. It also shows everyone's Personas right from the start.
  • Spurned into Suicide: Almost played straight (and for lulz) by Ai Ebihara in episode 5. After she overhears that Kou doesn't care for her romantically and likes Chie better, Ai is so distraught that she runs off crying to the roof of the school and prepares to climb over the fence and jump over the edge. Luckily, Yu gives chase and manages to talk her out of it.
  • Stat-O-Vision: How Rise's support role is represented in the anime, via Himiko's "visor." It displays the traditional game interface, including enemy HP, skills, stats, and what they (or Yu's Personas) are planning to do next.
  • Status Quo Is God: Yu's potential romances from the game never go beyond Ship Tease.
  • The Stinger
    • They tend to show whatever Yu sees on the Midnight Channel.
    • Also, The TV run of the anime ended with Igor handing Yu an "Orb of Foresight," hinting that things aren't quite over which point a trailer for Volume 10, and the "True End" episode, immediately aired.
    • The movie, Factor of Hope, ends with a flashback to 2009, where Makoto Yuki (the film name of Persona 3's protagonist) is preparing to shoot an Evoker at his head. This became the offical teaser trailer for the upcoming Persona 3 movie.
  • Superdickery: Episode 26 begins with Margaret slapping Yuu and preparing to kill him for no explained reason. It then flashes back and reveals that Margaret was pulling a Get A Hold Of Yourself Man.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In the game, Ai Ebihara climbs over the chain link fence on the roof and is about to jump off and kill herself before Yu talks her down. In the anime, Ai, a not especially athletic girl, isn't even able to climb over the fence before Yu gets her down. As you can see, the safety fence on the roof did its job.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Kanji in Episode 8:
    Kanji: I didn't sleep with anyone or anything!
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Kanji's sweet on Naoto.
  • Synchronization: The characters feel the pain their Personas feel.
  • Take Our Word for It: Yu's apparently so persuasive and eloquent that he manages to give a speech just over 30 minutes long about why the girls should participate in the beauty pageant. It actually convinces them to go ahead with it, too. Too bad we don't get to hear any of it.
  • Teamwork Seduction: During the King's Game, Rise and Yukiko ensure the game is very lewd and sexual. However, things go a step further, when the protagonist winds up having all three of his potential romantic interests follow the perverse rules to have their own quality time with him (although Chie is clearly embarassed).
  • The Teaser: Every episode opens with a short meeting with Igor and/or Margaret in the Velvet Room, except for three episodes. In one episode, Velvet Room is empty with message from Igor apologizing they couldn't be present. In the second to last, Teddie is in it. And the last one doesn't start with it at all.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: It is the dead of night. All hope seems lost. Yu is alone, beaten but not defeated. All his efforts have been in vain, and it seems nothing he can do will help him overcome. But then he stands, determination burning in his heart. He rallies his strength and summons the original game's Battle Theme Music, "Reach Out To The Truth," and he faces out, he holds out, he casts his fishing line and finally catches the Guardian.
  • Third-Option Adaptation: Averted for the most part. Yu's Strength and Sun social links are Kou and Ayase respectively (with Daisuke being a supporting character and Yumi being Demoted to Extra) and a lot of Yu's talking parts are actual responses that the player can give in the game. Subverted in the King's game, where he settles on Chie sitting on his lap, but Yukiko and Rise join in later anyway.
  • Title: The Adaptation
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The girls in episode 20.
  • Tranquil Fury: Being The Stoic, Yu does this a lot. Episode 23 has a really scary case of this.
  • Unmoving Plaid: School uniforms and, occasionally, Naoto's pants.
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Useless Useful Spell: Mot's Mudoon, which spectacularly fails to do anything of note in its two showings against Shadow Naoto and Margaret's Loki, due to them having Contractual Boss Immunity in the game.
  • Verbal Tic: Kuma/Teddie's constant use of "Kuma" (his name) in his sentences. Like in the game, Teddie makes bear puns every chance he gets in the English dub.
  • Video Game Interface Elements
    • The game's calendar and personality stats.
    • The second opening has the Enemy Advantage screen.
    • When the viewer gets to see what Rise sees when she's under Himiko's visor, the screen is tinted and the same strength/weakness chart from the game is in one corner.
    • We also see the characters suffer from various ailments, such as Enervation and Fear.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Adachi goes nuts when the team delivers their Shut Up, Hannibal! speeches.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 21.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Teddie covers the girls from Shadow Naoto's Galgalim Eyes, and his fur is subsequently aged rotten, the girls all squeal in disgust and abandon him to his fate, prompting this reaction from him.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Naoto
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: It's subtle and briefly seen, but this is Ameno-sagiri's reaction to Lucifer's summoning.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Dojima, like in the game, is clearly a competent police officer, but is under the mistaken impression that murder mystery is one that can solved with real world logic.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Either these or You Are Not Alone tend to be delivered just as one of the heroes has met their shadow and is experiencing the disillusionment, denial and/or anger that comes with facing their true inner selves.
    • In episode 2, when Yosuke faces his shadow, Yu reminds him that even though part of the reason he's inside the television is because he's bored with his life, he still really did love Saki.
    • Likewise, in episode 3 Yu snaps Chie to her senses by reminding her that even though her shadow is the embodiment of her secret jealousy toward Yukiko and secret desire to keep her best friend dependent on her so that she can feel superior, she is still Yukiko's friend.
    • Yukiko's shadow is manifested from the fear that she can't control her own destiny. She feels worthless because she always looks to others, specifically Chie, to rescue her. Episode 4 has Chie telling Yukiko that she can soar if she wants to.
  • You Are Not Alone
    • Both Kanji and Naoto get these in their dungeons. Kanji, when Yu lets him know that he likes cute things, too, and Naoto when Kanji tells her she isn't the only one who has trouble making friends.
    • The title for the True End episode: "No One Is Alone".
    • During Episode 12, after Yu is pulled from Shadow Mitsuo's fantasy wherein Yu is beset by loneliness, emptiness and despair, the entire Investigation Team holds off Shadow Mitsuo's defenses and rallies behind Yu:
      Rise: Go on! Now's your chance, Yu!
      Kanji: Yeah! Take him out!
      Yukiko: Please, get that guy!
      Chie: Yeah!! Hit 'im good and hard!
      Teddie: You can do it, Sensei!
      Yosuke: I'll let you take the final blow!
      (the camera zooms to Yu, standing on his own, but not alone)
      Yu: I am far... from empty!"

I am thou
Thou art I
Thou hast opened thine eyes
The time
Is now


Video Example(s):


Yu and Yosuke get arrested

Before going to rescue Yukiko, Yosuke shows off a katana and machete to Yu by swinging them around in public (and acting like a psychopath). Despite insisting that the weapons are fake, he makes the mistake of doing this in front of a police officer, leading to both him and Yu getting arrested.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / RemonstratingWithAGun

Media sources: