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Characters / Persona 5: Endgame Antagonists

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The final set of antagonists faced in of Persona 5.

Due to the nature of these characters, all spoilers for Persona 5 and Royal, as well as Persona 4 and Persona Q2 and Strikers will be unmarked. Read at your own risk.


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Shadow Sae
Unjust Dealer of Envy
Leviathan Transformation 
"Let's do this fair and square, shall we?"

"Justice cannot yield to evil! I must win, no matter what!"

Sin: Invidia (Envy)
Shadow: Leviathan
Voiced by: Yuko Kaida (JP), Elizabeth Maxwell (EN)

During the latter half of the Protagonist's interrogation, we learn that Sae Niijima herself is the Phantom Thieves' sixth major target. Leviathan, the demon of Envy, is Sae Niijima's Shadow, and she is in control of the casino Palace infiltrated at the start of the game. The palace and Leviathan are manifestations of both the extreme pressure put on her from her job and her feelings of inadequacy in comparison to her co-workers and younger sister.

The casino Palace is imposed on a Tokyo municipal courthouse, with the police station not far away. Sae's Treasure is the only one that is never explicitly shown, either in the Palace or out of it. Prior to its materialization, however, Makoto theorizes that Sae's real world Treasure is their father's notebook on investigations he's done, as his death in the line of duty is the major catalyst of her cynicism. Because leaving her Treasure alone is a major component of the thieves' plan to trick the conspiracy, Sae's Palace is the only one that is not destroyed in the game.

  • Amoral Attorney: Since Sae's Shadow is born from her growing cynicism about the prosecutor's office and desperate desire to prove herself, Leviathan views court cases as nothing more than games to be won, not caring what happens to the defendant. Makoto's horrified to hear that a part of her sister feels this way, and hopes to change Sae's heart.
  • Animal Motifs: Dogs. She has a tattoo of a dog's head on her back, and wears a spiked collar around her neck. Dogs in Japanese culture are often associated with envy, but at the same time also represent guardianship and loyalty. This reflects her status as an Anti-Villain and shows that she can still be redeemed without needing to change her heart.
  • Anti-Villain: She isn't as much a bad person as she is a good one who's lost sight of her values, and can be convinced to remember them.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!:
    • Her most powerful attack, Berserker Dance, has her violently firing and slashing wildly at her enemies and ends with an explosion. When combined with Desperation, it packs a very nasty punch.
    • Her whole gimmick in Royal, after her cheating was exposed sums up as this. The Roulette merely defines her attack behavior, and her whole roster of skills consists of close to nothing but attacking moves.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Her new strategy in Royal has her initiate a roulette that changes her elemental resistances and attacks.
  • Big "WHAT?!": She lets one off when defeated in the roulette.
  • Black Knight: Her monstrous form is one, representing her loss of faith in the law she upholds.
  • Blatant Lies: "Let's do this fair and square".
  • Casino Park: Her Palace is a giant over the top casino filled with amusement park-esque attractions.
  • Catchphrase: Proclaiming that she will do things "fair and square". The one time she actually means it is after she goes One-Winged Angel and fights the party head-on. The other one, "I will win," a reference to her Second Place Is for Losers mentality.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Her Palace, or rather, the area it was based on. In an attempt to dupe everyone and especially Akechi that Joker was dead, the Phantom Thieves used the Metaverse version of the Police Station which was located next to the Palace/Courthouse and looked identical to its real-life counterpart since Sae didn't associate it with herself due to not being there a lot. She also didn't distort those around her like Kaneshiro's ATM people, which meant that all the cognitions behaved exactly like normal people. Akechi unknowingly went to the Metaverse Police Station and killed Sae's Cognition Joker.
  • The Cynic: Shadow Sae is her real self's pessimism and bitterness devoid of any of her Knight in Sour Armor traits, leading to her repeatedly proclaiming the uselessness of anything except winning and selfish goals.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Played With. Shadow Sae's first form has a whopping 65,535 HP. For perspective, the Final boss has 15,000 HP. However, you're not actually expected to defeat her first form. After performing a special action, she transforms into her second form, which has a far more reasonable 8,000 HP.
    • Even if you do somehow manage to defeat her first form, she'll simply transform into her second form anyway, without a Developer's Foresight quote from her if you do it this way.
  • Decapitated Army: Averted. After she's defeated, the Shadows in her Palace start massing and preparing to capture the Thieves.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: She's the last boss that is faced before the game catches up with the present timeline. She even has the potential to be the final boss if the player sells out the other Phantom Thieves to the real Sae after she is defeated.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Shadow Sae's appearance is the most monstrous of the shadows without any traces of being comical and goofy. It's a sign of how distorted her values have become due to her envy. Makoto is shocked upon seeing it.
    Makoto: This... is my sister's true nature!? No...
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: As you can see in her picture, and fitting her status as a Goth. It pretty much resembles Joker's mask.
  • Fair-Play Villain: She pretends to be this, but ultimately is not. She talks about facing the Phantom Thieves fair and square, both through her Palace and through the actual fight with her, but in reality she has rigged everything in her favor. To overcome this, the Phantom Thieves have to either expose her cheating or else cheat harder than she does. This is also the biggest sign of her corrupted mental state, going from an honest woman who believes in finding justice to a power hungry woman who feels she must win at all costs, regardless of what lines she crosses.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • In an expression of Japan's infamous justice system, her Shadow pretends to want nothing more than a fair game against the protagonists, when everyone knows she's cheating and rigging the odds in her favor.
    • Subverted in regards to her real self, who openly acts bitter and stressed out whenever things are getting to her, and only mellows out after making a genuine Heel–Face Turn.
  • Female Misogynist: Implied to becoming one but outside of the seven normal subtypes. Some shadows in the overworld forms are shaped as ridiculously voluptuous playboy bunny waitresses, suggesting that Sae herself is starting to become influence by her own male superiors misogynistic views.
  • Fixing the Game: Her boss fight gimmick involves a roulette wheel that messes with the stats of whoever rolls the wrong number - with glass coverings over the numbers you picked. Un-fixing the game is required to clear the first phase of the fight by having a partner shoot out the glass.
  • Flower Motifs: The yellow rose on her hat and in the tattoo on her back represents jealousy in Hanakotoba, the Japanese language of flowers.
  • The Gambler: Attacks by forcing the protagonist to bet on a gambling roulette, but will skew the odds in her favor, like the Arcana Fortune from Persona 3.
  • Glamour Failure: Before her battle begins she taunts the Thieves in her human form, but as she does so the screen flickers and for a split second her true monstrous form is revealed, seriously unsettling Makoto.
  • Goth: She wears over the top goth punk makeup and clothing, with a massive amount of black shadow around her eyes, a spike covered choker, and so on.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Envy is her sin and motif. Her feelings of jealousy towards her younger sister and inadequacy towards her male co-workers, combined with the increasing corruption by her superiors, has embittered Sae greatly, giving her a deeply rooted drive to get ahead in her career at the cost of her personal happiness. Even then she is nowhere near as corrupt as the other Palace-dwellers, and her Shadow reforms of her own accord in the end.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: How her dungeon and boss fight is structured, with her changing the rules and outright cheating to assure she always wins. To beat her, you have to cheat back.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Unlike the other Shadow Bosses, the Phantom Thieves actually don't steal Sae's heart; they instead retrieve a fake Treasure to deceive Akechi, leaving the real one alone to leave intact both Sae's Palace and her ability to influence it as part of the Thieves' plan to trick him. Instead, Joker and Makoto help her work through her issues on her own without needing brainwashing, causing Sae to realize how harsh she was and repairing her relationship with Makoto, which saves her from becoming corrupt and abusive like the other targets.
  • Helpful Mook: The Shadows in her Palace that don't wear masks are otherwise normal employees.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Sae is the only target who actively chooses to change herself, as well as the only female target besides Futaba, who's a special case in a few regards.
  • HP To One: If anyone attacks her while her roulette is spinning, she will retaliate with this.
  • Hypocrite: For all her talk about playing fair and square, her shadow doesn't. In a special dialogue exchange that plays if Joker goes into the fight alone, Futaba calls her out on this. It just goes to demonstrate how cynical the real Sae has became to uphold her career.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: As the embodiment of Sae's insecurities and growing lack of faith in herself, society, or even the concept of good, Leviathan's confident declaration of her being the eternal winner is quickly shown to be this, with her Shadows rigging the games and her constant changing of the rules in her favor. Eventually she starts having a full Villainous Breakdown where she starts screaming at the Phantom Thieves about how they won't take her one bit of real power away from her.
  • It's Personal: Makoto is very personally invested in saving her big sister from her own dark side.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Ironically, despite her gambling motif, despite her constantly changing the rules and moving the goalposts on the Thieves throughout the dungeon, she finally gives up and accepts that it will come down to a boss battle when they kept thwarting her attempts to lock them out by keeping them from having enough coins to get to her.
  • Lack of Empathy: Haru and Akechi lament how she sees people as nothing more than tools in her game. That said, since the cognitive versions of people are relatively free of distortion, it's implied that Sae isn't nearly as bad about this as most of the other targets.
  • Last-Name Basis: Her Palace is referred to as "Niijima's Palace", although the real her is called by her first name in textboxes.
  • Lord British Postulate: If playing on Easy Mode (with a lot of revives), it's entirely possible to defeat her human form in spite of her massive 65,535 HP.
  • Meaningful Name: Contrasting with Makoto more or less living her given name (as detailed in her entry), Sae's given name (冴) translates variously as "clarity" or "skillfulness" - all things she's convinced she lacks in comparison to Makoto and her colleagues.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Her revealing attire really shows off a lot of skin, and it's clear she isn't wearing anything underneath. The Animation in particular tries to squeeze out as many Male Gaze moments as it can get, including a close-up of her barely concealed rear.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Her black dress has a plunging neckline that goes past her navel, although it does have a fishnet over the exposed skin.
  • The Musketeer: A large, grey, bloodstained sword in her left hand, and some sort of tommy gun/minigun combination in her right hand. She uses the sword for Severing Slash and the gun for Gatling Gun. She uses both in tandem for her Desperation Attack, Berserker Dance.
  • One-Winged Angel: After the party turns the tables on her in the first phase of her boss fight, she transforms into an armor-clad Shadow wielding a sword and a gun.
  • Screaming Warrior: After she goes One-Winged Angel, Leviathan spends the entire fight screaming in rage and, as she starts losing, despair.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: She takes full advantage of her status as master of the Palace to ensure that even though the Thieves have a way to reach her, it's all but impossible for them to actually do so.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Her dress is backless all the way down to her extreme lower back, showing a number of yellow rose tattoos.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: She hasn't jumped off the slippery slope yet, but with the increasingly more extreme measures she's willing to take to win, her growing bitterness towards her sister, and the fact that her distorted desires have formed a Palace at all show Sae is getting dangerously close to it.
  • Sole Survivor: Her Palace is the only one that wasn't destroyed due to her Treasure never leaving the Metaverse. Since she reformed herself without her treasure being stolen, it can be presumed that her Palace crumbled and if it didn't, it definitely did when Mementos was destroyed and took the Metaverse with it.
  • Sore Loser: She never takes it well when she loses, and her loss at the roulette causes her to go One-Winged Angel.
    Leviathan: Cheating?! Unfair?! Silence! This is MY world!
  • Spikes of Villainy: Her Leviathan form's shoulders are adorned with spikes that are vaguely reminiscent of her sister's Phantom Thief outfit.
  • Sword and Gun: Her Shadow's second form wields these simultaneously.
  • Tarot Motifs: Reversed Judgement - self-doubt and refusal to self-examine.
  • Tattooed Crook: She has a large tattoo on her back of a growling Dobermann's head surrounded by yellow flowers due to Rule of Symbolism. Lean, hungry dogs were common medieval pictorial representation of the Deadly Sin of Envy, and yellow roses translate as "Jealousy" in the Japanese language of flowers.
  • Teleport Spam: Not in her battle, but she appears to talk to the Thieves multiple times before teleporting to the Casino's main elevator.
  • Vapor Wear: Her outfit doesn't really leave much to the imagination. Worth noting that the outfit actually had to be Bowdlerised as the original version, shown in the art book, left almost nothing to the imagination.note 
  • Villainous Breakdown: She flies into a rage after her loss at the roulette, and, desperate to not lose her power, goes One-Winged Angel and attacks the party.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's known that her Palace was preserved by the Phantom Thieves since they needed the police station next to it in order to trick Akechi and Shido. What happened to it after their plan worked is never brought up again, though it's safe to assume it disappeared on its own afterwards since she evidently went through a change of heart without the Thieves performing... well, a "change of heart".

    Black Mask 

Black Mask
The True Culprit of the Mental Shutdown Incidents
"Now, let's see you drop dead one at a time, in front of your precious friends! DIIIIIIIIIE!!!!!"

Sin: Cavum (Emptiness)
A mysterious Metaverse user who is responsible for causing mental shutdowns and psychotic breakdowns, first mentioned by Shadow Madarame as "the one with the black mask". He made his first full appearance by killing Shadow Okumura after the Phantom Thieves succeeded in stealing his treasure.

It is later revealed that the masked man is none other than Goro Akechi, who sold out the Protagonist at the end of the casino heist, and it is only due to some creative thinking on the Thieves' part that they discover his true colors. When he is encountered in Masayoshi Shido's palace, he reveals that he is Shido's bastard son, driven entirely by his desire to demolish Shido completely. He informed the police of the Phantom's location in an attempt to pin the accidents and deaths he caused on the Phantom Thieves as a part of his plan to set Shido up for unopposed inauguration, in which he would take the oppurtunity to discredit him and ferment social unrest.

The Endgame reveals that Akechi and the Protagonist were chosen to partake in a thought experiment by Yaldabaoth to determine what course humanity's future would take. Akechi was chosen to represent "rebirth" - that is, wiping society's slate clean and building it up from scratch. While Akechi himself wants to teach society a lesson by causing his father's downfall in this fashion, Yaldabaoth's true plans are far more sinister.

Like the Protagonist, Akechi possesses the power of the Wild Card, allowing him to wield multiple Personas. However, as the Wild Card is only effective when the wielder forms many bonds with others, his misanthropic nature leaves him with only Robin Hood and his true persona — Loki, the god of mischief and lies in Norse Mythology.

For tropes pertaining to him, see his Character page here.


    The Prisoners of Regression 

The People of Tokyo
Apathetic Legion of Regression
"What are you doing to our Grail?!"

Sin: Acedia (Sloth)

The general populace of the city of Tokyo, whose hearts have collectively created the massive Palace, Mementos. This Palace is a manifestation of the people's Sloth, due to their unwillingness to challenge authority in general or take responsibility for selfish decisions. As a result, the Phantom Thieves often come here to change the hearts of people who have yet to establish a personal Palace. Their treasure is the Holy Grail, a.k.a. Yaldabaoth.

  • Accomplice by Inaction: By turning a blind eye to the evils of society and allowing corrupt people to guide their lives, the people of Tokyo are partially responsible for the success of the Antisocial Force.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Concerned only with their personal goals and problems, the people of Tokyo feel that overall society is too big of a problem for them to handle and are happy to let others deal with it, be it the Phantom Thieves, the Antisocial Force, or an evil god.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Most of the people in Tokyo are prone to this. Despite having the ability to change or be free, most choose not to for a variety of reasons, usually involving some kind of disruption to their orderly lives.
  • Chaos Is Evil:
    • The people of Tokyo have this oversimplified belief about chaos in general. Because of this, anything that does not follow social norms is ignored, frowned upon or strongly discouraged. Any subversion of civil order is considered a serious crime, no matter what the cause or end result is. For example, Ryuji was punished for hitting a teacher even though said teacher cruelly insulted his family at the time. Despite having just cause, Ryuji was labeled a pariah for the act of violence. This is also one reason why it is easy for the Antisocial Force to label the Phantom Thieves as evil villains, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. Their actions were against the law and this was enough for most people.
    • When Shido publicly confesses his crimes on national television, the people of Japan are terrified of the societal chaos that would result from his dismissal and arrest, rather than angry that such a vile man nearly became Prime Minister. While Shido's allies and Yaldabaoth controlled the public opinion to a degree, they played on the Japanese public's fear of chaos. After this, the Phantom Thieves eventually find and defeat Yaldabaoth, thus robbing the people of their distorted desire for social order at any cost.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The people of Tokyo inadvertently aid Yaldabaoth in his battle with the Phantom Thieves because he uses their belief in absolute societal order to make himself nigh-invincible. Later, the Confidants manage to persuade the people of Tokyo to believe in the Phantom Thieves' justice rather than the corrupt societal order of an evil god. As a result of this change of heart, the Protagonist gain enough power to summon his Ultimate Persona, Satanael, which enables the Thieves to defeat Yaldabaoth for good.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Many people in Tokyo have accepted the flaws of their society as a fact of life, no matter how much it truly harms them. If anyone ends up dead because of societal pressure or some other mishap, most people accept it with a shrug and carry on with their lives as if nothing happened. This is taken to obvious extremes within Mementos. Despite being prisoners in a gloomy prison, the peoples' Shadows believe that they are in utopia because they have been "freed" from all desire.
  • Extreme Doormat: Because of injustices and incompetence within the city's government due to corruption or inability, most of the people of Tokyo have learned to keep their heads down in order to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention. In suppressing their own desires, whether good or evil, they hope to find a place to belong to within society. By the time the story begins, things have gotten so bad that simply standing out in any way attracts the attention of those who would use the city's societal harmony for selfish gain. Yaldabaoth also subtly encourages this mentality to kill the chaos of individualism to strengthen his selfish idea of social harmony.
  • Faceless Masses: This is how the game portrays the people of the city except for those who play a role in the game's story (i.e. the Phantom Thieves, the members of the Antisocial Force, the Confidants).
  • Freedom from Choice: Rather than make their own fallible, imperfect choices, the people of Tokyo give themselves over to the Holy Grail so that it could make choices for them instead. Various prisoners in the Mementos Depths refer to this as the ultimate freedom, which the Phantom Thieves are very disturbed by.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The shadows of previous targets were originally imprisoned within Mementos Depths, before they managed to escape on their own and later become the rulers of their respective palace.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The opinions of the general public, belief in an orderly society and apathy have influenced the selfish decisions of individual citizens to various degrees, even though these individuals are ultimately responsible for said decisions.
    • Toshio and Hiromi Takase spend excessive amounts of money on expensive brand-name products and services because society looks down on those who don't.
    • Youji Isshiki was treated as a nobody by everyone around him, including his family, for many years until the day he won a jackpot at gambling. For a while, he received the attention and praise that eluded him, resulting in him later becoming a gambling addict.
    • Ichiryuusai Madarame, Junya Kaneshiro, and Kunikazu Okumura have all sacrificed moral decency in exchange for wealth and influence because of the public's scorn for the poor.
    • Suguru Kamoshida and Sae Niijima both believe that society will only remember and respect winners while losers will be ostracized and forgotten, leading them to resort to questionable means to maintain their "victorious" stances in their respective fields. Kamoshida's stress over maintaining his public image as an Olympic athlete have resulted in him trying to satisfy his base desires at any cost.
    • Goro Akechi's miserable upbringing was largely due to the social stigma of having been born out of wedlock and being an orphan since his mother committed suicide out of shame. As a result of being bullied, ignored and ostracized since birth by Japanese society, he became driven not only to become respected at any cost, but also to get back at society by causing its collapse in an insane scheme. Japanese society, including his mother, was just as responsible for Akechi's childhood misery as his father Masayoshi Shido.
    • The collective unconscious desires of the public for utopia at any cost resulted in the creation of Yaldabaoth, the ultimate conclusion of said desires. Even when he is defeated, in Royal, Yaldabaoth's Qliphoth World somehow effects a distraught Takuto Maruki and his Persona, Adam Kadmon/Azathoth, and the people's public opinion of the Phantom Thieves unknowingly turned them into the new masters of Mementos, but their wishes and control of the Metaverse went to Takuto, who'd go on to cause the Third Semester Arc, and grant another variation of humanity's utopia, but not one not ruled by absolute control to remove free will, but where everyone's desires and dreams are granted, so that all ambitions, yearnings, wants, and wishes are erased, which while not as bad as Yaldabaoth, still has the side effect of causing humanity to enter oblivious stagnation, effectivly.
    • It should also be noted that the game itself only refers to the public of Tokyo; All of the gods acting as the major antagonists of Persona are summoned by humanity which they are a part of. Nyarlathotep and Hi-no-Kagutsuchi are summoned by humanity's negativity and desire to inflict harm, Nyx and Chronos are summoned by humanity's wish for death in the form of Erebus, Izanami and Mikuratana-no-Kami were summoned by humanity's wish for happiness and refusal to accept the truth, Enlil was summoned in order to grant humanity's desire to escape the harshness of life through toxic escapism, and Yaldabaoth, Adam Kadmon, and EMMA/Demiurge were summoned to free humanity from their own desires and free will to live in peace of mind. In other words, they aren't just the Greater Scope Villains here; They are the Greater Scope Villains of Persona history, and their creations are the ones that the Persona users must fend Japan and the world from. Even if Yaldabaoth is defeated, they will still summon another god to terrorize us in no time.
  • Gullible Lemmings: Yaldabaoth believes humans to be little more than lemmings due to how easily they fall for lies because it's easier. Even the people he considers to actually be good would rather die because of a lie than take action.
  • Humans Are Morons: Because of this belief, the Shadows found in Mementos willingly allowed themselves to be imprisoned. They allowed an evil god to guide their lives because they have lost their faith in humanity being capable of making its own decisions.
  • I Am Legion: In Japanese culture, societal harmony is considered a virtue in and of itself. As a result, the people of Tokyo are often encouraged, at various levels, to fit in with the crowd even at the cost of their individual needs or opinions. People who refuse to fit in are usually forced to somehow participate or are ignored/rejected by society altogether (the common idiom is "the nail that sticks out gets hammered down"; it's often considered the inverse of the American idiom "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"). In Mementos, the people's Shadows have the tendency to think of themselves as one entity through fear and order, both of which are enforced by Yaldabaoth. Shadow Shido once commented that the true power of the city is the general public, which implies the idea of the people as a single entity.
  • It Can't Be Helped: Deconstructed. This trope is a core value of Japanese society and it is normally seen as a quality to be admired and emulated. However, the story of Persona 5 shows how this trait can lead to the perpetuation of corruption and evil with reprehensible authority figures, while encouraging the average Japanese citizen to do nothing for the sake of The Needs of the Many. Corruption and extreme selfishness become tolerated as long as the societal status quo isn't disrupted. In fact, such evil is pertuated and encouraged when it brings outward prosperity to society as a whole. The plights of individuals are outright ignored and rendered meaningless, as demonstrated by how Principal Kobayakawa tries to downplay and ultimately ignore Shiho Suzui's attempted suicide, Kamoshida's crimes and Kaneshiro's blackmail of students for the sake of outward appearances.
  • Lazy Bum: Their sin and motif is Sloth, encompassing laziness (the desire to perform evil deeds or let them exist unopposed because it is easier than doing good), cowardice (evil born of fear), apathy (ignoring the plights of the individual believing they have no gravity on the plights of the whole), and despair (disaffection from life motivating selfishness and abandonment of moral and ethical duty).
  • Never My Fault: The people of Tokyo usually claim they are not personally responsible for any troubles that occur and tend to blame other factors for their selfish actions or inaction (i.e. societal pressure, lack of direct involvement, the selfishness of others, inability to defy superiors). Yaldabaoth claims it's just too much of a burden for them to handle themselves, which is why they're subconsciously turning to him to carry it for them.
  • Obliviously Evil: They had no idea that their actions only further the Big Bad's goal.
  • Order Is Not Good: In the story of Persona 5, the Japanese core value of social harmony has been unconsciously twisted into a distorted desire for order at any cost by the people of Tokyo. They see the ethic of order as the only moral worth following, upholding it at the cost of everything else. These people care nothing for the suffering of individuals as long as overall social order is maintained and they willfully ignore or frown upon anything that openly disrupts the established social status quo, whether it is for the greater good or not.
    • While this might not be relevant in Persona 5 lore by itself, in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth it has degraded to the level where people who cannot fit in and get abused for it became withdrawn and were consumed by catatonic depression, having their souls trapped in theaters governed by a third party godly being who heaps them with more depression by having their souls watch movies that are formed from pure negativity and portray these hapless people as failures in a misguided attempt to relieve their pain.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The people of Tokyo have developed a dependence on strict societal harmony, allowing that to guide their lives rather than by their own will. The Phantom Thieves spend most of the story exposing and correcting the flaws of this societal harmony, one person at a time.
  • Sanity Slippage: Just like their incarnations in previous games, as you reach further and further into the endgame, they become more insane and hectic. In this case it's especially obvious as after the Futaba heist they begin to worship you in fervor, then after the Okumura arc they instantly treat you as some sort of vile creature. Finally after the Shido arc, they simply think that you don't exist at all...and after Yaldabaoth unleashes his Reality Bleed plan, they don't even notice something is horribly wrong!
  • Selective Obliviousness: Caring only about their own selfish needs and the need for societal harmony, most of the people of Tokyo prefer to ignore anything that could disrupt their comfortable, mundane lives. They also use rationalizations, fall back on willful ignorance or omit inconvenient truths to avoid responsibility for selfish decisions or to maintain personal innocence. For example, after giving praise to the Phantom Thieves for some time, the people of Tokyo immediately turn on them once the media condemns them and they later try to forget the Thieves ever existed in a selfish effort to maintain their own innocence.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: Many people in Tokyo feel trapped by strict societal culture of the city, but most of these people have either learned to accept it or feel that nothing can be done about it, resulting in their apathy. Others have even learned to take advantage of this societal harmony for their own selfish ends, such as the members of the Antisocial Force. This mentality is why Mementos resembles a prison.
  • Slave to PR: People only care about what they see or what they believe in and are unwilling to make a change. This is evident after Shido has been defeated but people still see him as a fair and just man worthy to lead Japan and worry what will happen without him. In addition, the people of Tokyo try not to get involved too much in other people's affairs in order to avoid trouble, such as ignoring a crime in progress or even calling an ambulance following a suicide. This reflects most of the antagonist's beliefs that the masses "wanted" to be enslaved.
  • Social Media Before Reason: The people of Tokyo are usually willing to just believe whatever the media tells them rather than take the time and effort to question the events. This made it easy for the conspiracy to frame the Phantom Thieves for Kunikazu Okumura's death. After Shido's confession on live TV, his allies tell Blatant Lies on social media to blame the entire debacle on the Phantom Thieves and most of the people eat it up, no questions asked. This forces the Phantom Thieves to deal with the city's collective Bystander Syndrome by destroying its source within Mementos.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As far as they know in the real world, all these people were doing were minding their own business and going on with their lives. There was no way for them to know that their desire for order would actually manifest itself as a godlike entity that plans on influencing them to give into said desire and let it rule over them.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means:
    • Most of the people in Tokyo inwardly believe that utopia can be achieved only when perfect social order is achieved. Due to this belief, these people endure needless suffering and make pointless sacrifices to achieve their personal goals. They also turn a blind eye to corruption because exposing it would be too disruptive to their own lives. The people of Tokyo always find excuses for this selfish behavior or use popular opinion to silence any dissidence. In fact, Yaldabaoth is the embodiment of this belief taken to its logical conclusion.
    • Despite being known as a physical abuser and a sexual predator, Kamoshida was able to get away with his crimes for a long time because his status as a former Olympic medalist brought good publicity to Shujin Academy. Students, teachers and parents were willing to endure/ignore his abuses because his recommendation alone can get a student into a top-tier university. When Kamoshida publicly confesses his crimes, the parents and teachers are more concerned about the bad publicity that would result from this, rather than be happy with finally catching a known criminal.
  • Villain Decay: Previous targets such as Kamoshida, Madarame, Kaneshiro and Shido end up as mere faces in the crowd after they are robbed of their distorted desires. As result of losing their desires, their reputations and being surrounded by the ruthless societal harmony of Tokyo, these villains have lost the will to live and prosper, leaving their fates in the hands of Yaldabaoth just like most of the people of Tokyo. Their Shadows can be found again as prisoners in Mementos among countless others.
  • Weirdness Censor: The people of Tokyo prefer to forget or ignore anything they cannot immediately comprehend because they are too concerned with their own everyday lives. This includes ignoring the existence of the Metaverse and the possibilities it offers until it affects them personally. After Shido's social force seemingly kills Joker and declares his "death" on the media, the death of what was supposed to be a reviled criminal was quickly glossed over in favor of praising Shido. After Akechi seemingly dies in Shido's Palace, nobody even mentions him by name despite the disappearance of a nation-wide "detective prince" should be fairly jarring. The Calling Card sent to Shido is also seemingly forgotten instantly in days, despite it being a grandiose broadcast hijack. When Yaldabaoth begins to superimpose Mementos over Tokyo as the first step of imposing his own version of reality upon the world, most of the people in the city do not even notice the frightening change due to a combination of Yaldabaoth's influence and their own belief that it did not concern them personally. In addition, they don't even remember that Shido all but resigned from the election on national TV due to their inner desire to believe a pleasant lie rather than an inconvenient, ugly truth. Only the Phantom Thieves and the Confidants have the willpower to comprehend the strangeness as soon as it begins, along with the consequences involved. The people of Tokyo gradually notice the changes to their city as Yaldabaoth is weakened by the Phantom Thieves, by which time the evil god was almost too powerful to be stopped. This is also an example of how societal problems could run rampant in the face of apathy. Most people would ignore such problems until they are personally affected by them, by which time the problem would be too rampant to be quickly solved.

    The Heralds 

The Archangels
Pictured (clockwise from top left): Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel, Michael
"Dare thee destroy the very ruler thou wished for? Human arrogance truly knows no bounds."

The Holy Grail's Four Heralds that appear on the Day of Reckoning in the Qliphoth World, acting as the Elite Four before facing off against the Final Boss. Players familiar with the Mainline SMT series will recognize them as the 4 Archangels that serve the forces of Law under Satan and YHVH.

More Information about them Series-Wide in the Shin Megami Tensei Forces of Law page.

  • Black-and-White Insanity: They all have a sense of morality, but to them the only moral thing is for the Thieves to return to their prisons and submit to Yaldabaoth and knowingly defying that is an act of evil. Morgana figures out early on that the team will not be able to reason with any of them.
  • Chaos Is Evil: They fight to preserve Yaldabaoth’s order, sharing the same beliefs as their master. Michael is the only one that actually talks about it at length.
    Michael: Since the dawn of time, man hath failed to quell the strife born of their own liberty. Now they finally seek the guiding yoke of a master's rule. What empty justice seekest thou in defying their wish?
  • Co-Dragons: They all share the role to Yaldabaoth, but Michael is the strongest of them and last to be defeated.
  • Combination Attack: Both Gabriel and Michael have Maziodyne and Mabufudyne which can apply shock or freeze. Combined with Cosmic Flare this can deal technical damage to shocked and frozen enemies.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Of all their skillsets, Raphael has it the worst. He only has Sword Dance, a single target physical spell, and his other abilities either buff Swords Dance, buff himself or remove buffs from your party. If you put Tetrakarn on your team, he would be unable to harm you. If Joker came to the boss battle with a Repel/Absorb/Null Physical Persona, it would be impossible to lose.
  • The Dragon: Michael is The Leader of the Archangels and is the penultimate boss of the vanilla game as a whole (or just the Mementos Depths arc in Royal). Unlike Shido, he serves Yaldabaoth directly, without being manipulated. He is also the biggest Yes-Man to him, going out of his way to defend his master's actions.
  • Elite Four: All 4 of them are fought in the last stretch of the game (or just their arc in Royal) before the Final Boss, though not back-to-back.
  • Flunky Boss: Uriel and Michael will summon up to 2 extremely powerful versions of the Shadow, Angel, and resummon them if they both die.
  • The Jailer: All of them are basically glorified prison guards for Yaldabaoth and the Prison of Regression.
  • Light Is Not Good: Their Shadow forms are golden and they're associated with light, but directly serve Yaldabaoth.
  • Made of Evil: Just like Yaldabaoth they are ultimately just Shadows who took the form of their mythical counterparts.
  • Mini-Boss: Effectively they are the last of these in the vanilla game. Michael has a lot more health than the rest of them and has a much more complete skillset, but he does not have any real gimmicks in his fight either. Michael does get his battle theme upgraded from the normal "Keeper of Lust" to "Blooming Villain", the same track as the Palace Rulers, to add to the finality of it.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Before transforming into the Archangels, they look the same as the golden robot angels patrolling the path to the Holy Grail Shrine.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Fitting with the mainline SMT games, the Archangels are the Lieutenants for the forces of Order, and in this case, the Phantom Thieves are the forces of Chaos.
  • Perception Filter: This appears to be their purpose, since the Thieves defeating each of them gradually awakens the public to the Reality Bleed happening before them.
  • The Quiet One: Raphael only says two short sentences before Morgana tells the team to kill him.
    Raphael: Halt rebels! I shall not allow you to continue forth!
    Morgana: Come on, let's beat this one too!
  • Red Baron: Their titles if you have not unlocked their Persona forms are as follows: Herald of Death (Uriel), Cleanser of Heaven (Raphael), Declarer of Anguish (Gabriel), and Apocalyptic Guide (Michael)
  • Support Party Member: The Angels that Uriel and Michael summon only know buffs and Recarmdra (which heals all their allies to full but sets their HP To One).
  • Token Good Teammate: Gabriel is the only one of the Archangels that attempts to reason with the Thieves instead of chastising or threatening them, though due to her Black-and-White Insanity, it doesn’t work and comes across as Condescending Compassion. When she engages, she is more of an Apologetic Attacker, who treats the battle as discipling disobedient children, rather than the other three who treat it as punishing sinners.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Archangels justify killing the Thieves to protect societal order.
    Uriel: Those who wish to disturb society shall be slain on the very spot they stand.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the English dub of Royal, Michael's voice changes from an elderly and raspy-sounding Evil Brit from the original English release to a slightly-younger but more authoritatively deep voice with an American accent, not unlike YHVH himself in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse.

    The Holy Grail 

The God of Control
The Holy Grail 
His True Form 

"The game isn't over yet. Whether the human world is left as is, or destroyed and rebuilt, it is all sport to me."

Sin: All
Arcana: 0. Le Mat (The Fool)
Voiced by: Masane Tsukayama (JP), David Lodge (EN), Keith Silverstein (EN, Persona 5 The Animation)

The Eldritch Abomination behind the creation of the Palaces, representing the collective desire for order regardless of cost. Prior to the game's start, he invaded the Velvet Room and imprisoned Igor before splitting the current ruler of power, Lavenza, in half to erase her memories. He then deliberately sets up the most despicable of men possible into power, rigs the public into worshiping them and manipulates Joker and Goro Akechi throughout the game, pitting them against each other to help him discern the desires of humanity. The one remaining would dismantle the conspiracy he set up and "win" his game. In reality, it does not matter if the protagonist or Akechi "won" his game, he will simply remove the winner out of existence and use it to justify his totalitarian rule because humans are too stupid to think for themselves.

In Gnosticism, Yaldabaoth, a variant of the Demiurge, is an entity unable to perceive other expressions of the divine, leading him to believe he is the supreme deity of the universe. In an attempt to create order from the perceived chaos of the cosmos, Yaldabaoth chained the soul and heart in mortal forms, and punishes those who refuse to adhere to his rule. In some traditions, Yaldabaoth is eventually cast into the Gnostic equivalent of Hell, where he becomes the judge and torturer of wicked souls. This is different from the Platonic Demiurge seen in Devil Summoner, Strange Journey Redux, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse and Persona 5 Strikers, as the Gnostic Demiurge/Yaldabaoth is exclusively considered as malevolent, much like the Yaldabaoth from Shin Megami Tensei: NINE or the classic YHVH which are also based on the same Gnostic Yaldabaoth as this one. It should also be noted that the aforementioned games with the Platonic Demiurge explicitly names the entity as the "Demiurge".

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: He took over the Velvet Room, usually your base of power in the collective unconscious, before the game even started.
  • Angelic Abomination: A towering angelic robot with multiple limbs, four of which are equipped with a sword, a book, a bell, and a gun instead of hands. His halo is a ring of smaller golden angelic wings which covers his head when disguised as the Holy Grail.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: He represents humanity's collective desire to maintain social order regardless of cost as well as their ability to believe in any sort of lie regardless of how blatant they are.
  • Artifact of Doom: As the Treasure of Mementos, Yaldabaoth represents humanity's desire for a savior who would guide them to utopia. After he is defeated, all that remains of him is a gleaming golden goblet, which is what most people imagine when they think of the Holy Grail.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: In his true form, Yaldabaoth is a giant angelic robot. Fitting for a pretender trying to play God.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: If his Holy Grail form is around 1050 centimeters tall (going from Jokers 175 centimeter height), then that means his true form is around 105 meters tall. That's taller than the size of the Statue of Liberty.
  • Bad Boss: He's outwardly helpful to the player character, but Caroline and Justine are quietly terrified of him and in the end he orders first Joker, then the twins, to be executed when they refuse his orders.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • If Joker accepts his deal, Yaldabaoth achieves his goals and enacts his new social order unopposed.
    • Also indirectly when Joker accepts Sae's offer to reduce his penalty during the interrogation. Lavenza mentions that if the Velvet Room loses Joker the door to the Holy Grail will be closed, implying that Yaldabaoth will end up implementing his new social order after Akechi's role in his "game" is done.
  • Balance Buff: In Royal he's the overall least changed major boss, and fights virtually the same way, but he does pick up a couple buffs: the Sword of Conviction gets an additional Gun repel to go with its existing Physical and Electric repels, and the Deadly Sins debuffs last two turns instead of one.
  • Bastardly Speech: After Shido is defeated, he stops playing the supportive mentor. When the general public deny the Phantom Thieves instead of punishing Shido for his crimes, "Igor" just shrugs his shoulders and says that there's no way to change the will of such a rotten people, therefore ruin is inevitable. After the Phantom Thieves are eradicated by the Holy Grail in Mementos, "Igor" brings Joker back to the Velvet Room, repeats his declaration, and orders Caroline and Justine to execute him as punishment for failing the game. This attempt to dispose of loose ends tips off Caroline and Justine to the truth.
  • Big Bad: He is the true mastermind behind the events of the game. Akechi and the Antisocial Force are mere pawns on his chessboard.
  • Big Bad Friend: He's the Confidant representing the Fool Arcana, providing Joker assistance at critical points under the guise of Igor. However, he only values Joker to the extent of being a useful test subject, and he completely turns against you unless you accept his deal.
  • Bishōnen Line: His One-Winged Angel form is much more humanoid than his Holy Grail form.
  • Bling of War: His true form is covered in crystal and gold armor. His shadow Mooks are gold angels.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Joker's ultimate persona, Satanael, defeats him by shooting a hole straight through Yaldabaoth's head with its giant ornate lever-action rifle.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    Yaldabaoth: I release upon you the deadly sin of [name]note . You have no means of escape, humans. The [vice]note  of mankind shall bring forth the demise...
    Yaldabaoth: The abyss of the unconscious yearns for ultimate ruin... You have no means of escape, humans. Punishment shall strike you all... as you pass through the gates of destruction...
  • Chaos Is Evil: As the embodiment of absolute order, Yaldabaoth is a firm believer in this trope. In his eyes, no amount of evil he commits compares to the destructive potential of chaos. And as a result he deliberately sets up Shido; the very epitome of a stupid and corrupt oaf into power and sets it up so either the Thieves or Akechi will 'execute' him to prove his point.
  • Cognizant Limbs:
    • The Holy Grail is actually Yaldabaoth's head. After it's been defeated, the whole body of the entity emerges itself from the shrine, in its full glory.
    • In his second form, he summons over four extra arms over the course of the fight, each with different special attacks, status effects and elemental resistances. They gain additional attacks over time, and downed arms can be revived at half HP. You can simply ignore the arms and just focus on the main body, but that means having to deal with five attacks per round. And near the end of the fight, he revives all his arms to full HP and charges a super powerful attack that can only be weakened by destroying all the arms again.
  • Consummate Liar: While he doesn't actually lie verbally most of the time, he has cognition warping powers that are so powerful that he can deceive basically anyone in extremely blatant ways, with one of the few examples being Shido's massive popularity, Mementos Reality Bled into reality with absolutely nobody noticing and Joker unwittingly serving him because he has never met the real Igor before.
  • Composite Character: He combines the personality of YHVH from the main series with the actions and methodology of Nyarlathotep from Persona 2.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: He is this to the Greater-Scope Villain of Persona 4, Izanami. While both bestowed power to different individuals as part of their experiments to decide mankind's fate, their motivations and methods differ:
    • Both of these characters exploit the weaknesses of the public in their plans using a misanthrope-sociopath, but Izanami takes advantage of the public's interest in popular media topics to make her "game" more interesting, whereas Yaldabaoth takes advantage of the public's disinterest in doing anything to guide them into "ruin", a society where people fell into nihilism and apathy.
    • Izanami operates on Blue-and-Orange Morality and only acts to fulfill what she believes humanity truly desires. She also implies she would have fully left the world alone if the P4 protagonist had “won”, the Killer’s actions were just more prolific. Yaldabaoth is a Control Freak who seeks to subjugate mankind under his "guidance", and is willing to brainwash the populace of Tokyo by exploiting their subconscious desire for order. He also had no intention of either leaving the world alone or letting anyone destroy and recreate it regardless of which of his players “won”.
    • Izanami stays behind the scenes during the cat-and-mouse chase between the Investigation Team and the Killer. Her disguise as a generic NPC that lacks a character portrait highlights this aspect. Yaldabaoth directly interferes in his own 'game' to rig it in his favour by impersonating the Big Good Igor so as to oversee Joker's "rehabilitation".
    • Izanami's experiment is centered in the rural town of Inaba, where she exploits the people's discontent with the mundane and quiet lifestyle of the town to ascertain humanity's desire. Yaldabaoth's 'game' takes place in Tokyo, whose populace is too apathetic due to their societal struggles to resist his control.
    • Izanami is based on traditional Japanese mythology, whereas Yaldabaoth is conceptualized after Gnosticism.
    • Lastly, Izanami's true form is a monstrosity with a decrepit appearance that reflects her status as a Fallen Hero as per the myths she's based on, due to her misguided opinion on what humanity truly desires. Yaldabaoth's true form is a glorified angelic robot, which befits his desire to become a god to the masses.
  • Control Freak: What's his motive? He gets a kick out of dictating the lives of others. He is given the title of "God of Control" for a reason. For him, everything should stay the same.
  • Dark Is Evil: His first appearance as the Holy Grail is a black cup with red liquid connecting him to those who wish to be slaves to social order. He loses this over the first fight as he is nourished by the people's desires; the Grail slowly turns lighter until it's shining gold.
  • Dark Messiah: As the embodiment of the desire for social order, Yaldabaoth represents the people's desire for utopia at any cost, which is reflected in his insidious methods to influence and control the world. Yaldabaoth also takes on a divine, angelic image and uses Shadows shaped into archangels to enforce his will, which shows that he sees himself as a hero in spite of his evil methods.
  • Death by Irony: After harnessing the sins that embody chaos against the Phantom Thieves as proof of man's destructive nature, Satanael's Sinful Shell turns the power of those same sins against him. This reflects both his origin and resultant demise; mankind's subconscious desire for safety brought the Holy Grail to life, only for the same mankind to then wish him gone. Yaldabaoth seems to notice, and he's okay with it.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: He really likes to throw this around a lot. While the most glaring case occurs during December 23 where he deliberately manipulates the public's support for Shido to near ridiculous levels, it's implied that December 23 isn't the first time he's been manipulating the public's cognition, it just happens to be him stepping into action himself, and way before then there's very glaring signs that he also engineered the Phantom Thief bandwagon that resulted in Okumura's murder, followed by collapsing the Thieves' popularity and elevating Shido to a godly figure within the last two heists.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: In Royal, provided the player is able to reach the highest rank for the Councilor Confidant before the start of the third term. Not long after Yaldabaoth's ultimate defeat, Takuto Maruki almost immediately takes his role as god and presents a similar threat.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One of his attacks inflicts Lust, a unique status ailment that has a chance of causing the party member with it to miss a turn because they're "indulging in a lewd fantasy".
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Big Bad who created the Palace and gave Akechi and yourself access, kicking off the entire plot, was none other than Igor, the narrator and guy in charge of the room where you can fuse Persona... or at least an impostor who's been posing as the Igor from previous games since the opening narration of Persona 5.
  • Dying Declaration of Hate: Downplayed due to being a Graceful Loser. His last thoughts before his death are to curse his enemy Igor, having been forced to admit that he was right about humanity's potential.
  • Eldritch Abomination: He is a representation of a negative aspect in all humanity, with the power to shape the collective unconscious to its whim, and warp or outright control the minds of people.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Igor, being a false manipulator guiding humanity to destruction rather than the gentle mentor trying to protect everyone.
    • He's also one to Morgana. Both are beings made from desire, but Morgana was a rebellious thief made from a positive emotion that was born to protect humanity. Yaldabaoth was made from the Seven Deadly Sins and was the embodiment of humanity's desire for a dictator.
  • Evil Former Friend: This is the "Igor" that you had formed a confidant with throughout the game, and ironically, he's the guy keeping you alive until he himself takes action — Because he's actually doing an experiment to prove that people want him to control them. He's why the government can't do things such as track your SNS records down and it took them so long to catch you red-handed.
  • Evil Is Angular: He's basically a gigantic robot deity whose design prominently features pointy geometrical shapes, most notably an inverted triangle for the torso and several hexagons on his sides from which he "manifests" his weapons such as a "Sword of Conviction" and a "Book of Commandment". The mooks patrolling his area take the form of golden robotic angels with a similar sharp design as well.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: He's on the giving end of this for The Conspiracy, as he was what lurked within the Metaverse that they thought they could use to create their own ideal version of the country. All their efforts were really something that he was counting on them be unable to do. (So he can use it as an excuse to prove that humanity is ignorant and blatantly take over the world)
  • Evil Laugh: Lets out quite the chuckle when The Reveal happens.
  • The Evils of Free Will: He truly believes that his way of maintaining order at all costs is what's best for humanity, since humanity is too weak to guide itself. Of course, that comes with the knowledge that no matter who "won" the game between Akechi and Joker, Yaldabaoth was just going to do whatever he wanted.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Speaks with a deep, commanding voice, that turns out to be far deeper than the real Igor's.
  • Faux Affably Evil: One of the main indicators, other than his deeper voice, that distinguishes him from the real Igor is his condescending tone when he addresses Joker. The real Igor always speaks politely.
  • Final Boss: In the original Persona 5, Yaldabaoth is the final threat the thieves have to defeat to save Tokyo. He also plays this role in Royal if the player doesn't complete Maruki's social link before he leaves, as failing to do so locks them into the ending route for the original game.
  • Fixing the Game:
    • His "game" between Joker and Goro Akechi is displayed as the Trickster's rallying of the masses versus Akechi's sowing of chaos. If Joker wins and rallies everyone to his cause, Yaldabaoth will leave the world alone, but if Akechi wins, he writes the world off as a lost cause and remakes it. In truth, however, this is an elaborate farce facilitating him to Take a Third Option and enslave humanity. As humanity's sins incarnate, he knows humanity won't just change its tune for the Trickster so readily, and is proven right until multiple spanners in the works force the populace to reject him.
    • It's also implied that awakening Akechi's persona abilities years before Joker's was also a deliberate attempt to fix the game, as it meant the two Wild Cards would be unlikely to Take a Third Option themselves by teaming up, and if Yaldabaoth's own third option failed, the Wild Card representing the outcome he preferred (remaking the world) had a head start.
    • Another implication is that he did attempt to rig the public's perception of the Phantom Thieves into a bandwagon after defeating Medjed, although it would seem as if the IT Company President behind the Medjed threat was doing it. This is the same for how the Phantom Thieves were considered dangerous murderers after Akechi killed both the principal and Okumura, in which Yaldabaoth was implied to rig the public's cognition into thinking the Thieves are murderers, then making everyone but the protagonist's Confidants think that Shido is god after Joker survives the interrogation. After the public began to even remotely awaken to Shido's pure evil, he brings out his final payload where starts making the public worship Shido contrary to what is supposed to happen. In all of these cases, he nonetheless blames the public's collective indolence for allowing things to progress so far.
  • Foreshadowing: There's a number of hints to him not being the Igor from previous games.
    • He sits in his chair resting his head in one hand with his legs crossed at the knee while Igor sits with his legs uncrossed and his fingers laced together.
    • His voice is considerably deeper and comes off as more commanding than your previous encounters with Igor. Granted many could assume this would be because of a new actor, but even so, the fact that the new actor doesn't even try to sound like the old one surely sets off some alarm bells. Indeed, when the real Igor does return, he sounds much more like the original voice actor. In the Japanese version, the real Igor is even voiced entirely by archived dialogue by Isamu Tanonaka due to his passing.
    • He speaks in a clearly more possessive and controlling manner than the real Igor does, emphasizing his position as being above Joker and de-emphasizing the importance of the Velvet Room as the Guest's subconscious. This is carried across differently depending on the spoken version:
      • In the original Japanese his Japanese Pronoun is Watakushi instead of Watashi. He also refers to you as Omae instead of Anata.
      • In the English version his greeting is "Welcome to MY Velvet Room," not "Welcome to THE Velvet Room."
    • The Tarot Motifs using the Marseilles deck rather than the series' traditional Rider-Waite deck -inspired imagery and the friendship system being referred to as "confidants" instead of the usual "social links" is a subtle Interface Spoiler in addition to a stylistic choice.
      • He also has a confidant while Igor has none in Persona 3 and Persona 4. This means that you are contracted by him to do his bidding, something that the real Igor never does.
    • He never actually fuses a single Persona for you, as Justine and Caroline do it all.
    • He regularly refers to events taking place as "a game".
    • He's extremely vague about what Joker's "rehabilitation" actually entails, and dodges the question every time you try to ask him to clarify.
    • When asked a question that has to do with the real world and the hero's journey, he often gives a straight answer even when being deceitful. The real Igor meanwhile always dodges such questions and encourages characters to find the answer on their own.
    • Once the Thieves learn of the existence of someone else traversing the Metaverse, Igor tells Joker that he doesn't know who this is. However, he also outright stated earlier in the game that he was the one who gave Joker and the thieves the Metaverse App. At first, it could be chalked up to Igor's usual decision to withhold information from you so that you can decide freely for yourself what to do, but it comes across as an outright lie this time around and contradicts how he often assists you. And as mentioned elsewhere, Igor never deceives you.
    • During the arc where the Antisocial Force starts leading the Phantom Thieves' arrest using the Medjed cleanse threat, the real effects only show up after Igor finishes talking.
      • Pay attention to the scene right after you clear the Futaba heist. He tells you not to let off your guard or you may swept off your feet and at the next day, the Phantom Thieves' approval rate increases from 30% by twofold right after he finishes talking!! This is an obvious sign that he's manipulating the bandwagon for the sake of advancing his plan. Surely, everyone gets caught off guard and he's capable of advancing the "game" to its climax because of Okumura's murder.
      • On a similar tangent, after the successful Okumura heist, he outright warns you that "something unexpected will happen" and it really does afterwards as Okumura got a mental shutdown and died. When you go to bed the day Okumura died, he will warn you of an "upcoming contingency" and that your rehabilitation might not go through. Surely after, if you pay attention, the Phantom Thieves poll drops from 93% to 70% approval rate and it just goes all the way down from there, again, right after he finishes talking. It should also be noted that people are celebrating his death before Igor starts the conversation and the Phantom Thieves were treated as murderers instantly after. This is another sign that he's clearly rigging stuff in your face and this time is possibly putting you into an extremely dangerous position with the public.
    • During the first bad ending you can get, Igor imprisons you in the Velvet Room for the rest of your life after Akechi shoots you dead in the interrogation room. Triggering any other bad ending in Persona, including the one where you cut a deal with Yaldabaoth and Maruki results in the Velvet Room forsaking humanity (It's simply never to be heard of again). This indicates that the real Igor is not in charge of this Velvet Room, since it isn't supposed to exist anymore when its guest makes a doomed decision.
    • When you meet him in the interrogation room after getting past Sae's interrogation without triggering the bad ending, his dialogue will imply that he taught you how to outsmart Akechi. The real Igor never teaches you how to outsmart the culprits.
    • In your confrontation with Akechi in Shido's Palace, Akechi reveals how he received his powers long ago. He attributes this to either the hand of a god or a demon. This foreshadows that there is a bigger player beyond that of The Conspiracy who has had a hand in the plot.
    • Also crossing over with Interface Spoiler, but every major character, Confidant or Target, has special eye cut-ins that'll pop up depending on the emotion that the developers want to convey. While Igor does have them, they never once show up during the time Yaldabaoth impersonates Igor. This should be a subtle clue that Yaldabaoth has been hiding his intentions from the start, even to the player.
    • Pay attention to the Holy Grail's voice, especially his Japanese voice when you first meet him in Mementos Depths. That's the exact same voice as the "Igor" you met throughout the game, just with extra echo effects.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: You're not safe from Yaldabaoth's manipulations across the screen either — the standard "this is a work of fiction" disclaimer at the start of the game appears here, but unlike previous games where it pops up, he voices the disclaimer and tells you to agree with it. If you click "no" the game just boots you back to the Title Screen, meaning that he's making you sign his contract. Within the game itself, the distortions he induces take the form of very legitimate-looking political gesturing towards Shido that can be easily mistaken for organic events by the player. He also outright Ret-Gones the Phantom Thieves from public cognition at one point, so the "this is a work of fiction" disclaimer can be interpreted as him trying to make you not care about the Thieves being erased.
  • Glamour Failure: His disguise as Igor, for all its effectiveness or lack-thereof, has an unrelated but serious flaw. It's made abundantly clear when Joker awakens his metaverse outfit inside the Velvet Room, something that only happens when the ruler of a Metaverse location sees you as a threat. Igor would never see his guests as a threat.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: After you challenge him, the eyes of his Igor form start glowing bright yellow.
  • God Is Evil: In Gnostic belief, Yaldabaoth the Demiurge is the entity worshiped as God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, along with any other religion that has a "supreme" deity. Though in some versions he is seen as a pretender of sorts who are unaware of other divine entities, acting as the "God" of the material world and trying to keep humanity trapped in it (which goes well with his scheme in the game). And sometimes it is said that the true "Good God" banishes him to Hell where he essentialy becomes the Devil or something similar to that. Overall though, this game's depiction of Yaldabaoth is a subversion of this trope because he isn't anywhere near powerful enough to be considered God, being merely a deity born from the wishes of the masses, though the theme of his character (a god who believes in The Evils of Free Will and places absolute order as priority) certainly plays with this trope considering it is very much how YHVH is depicted in the main Shin Megami Tensei games.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Yaldabaoth nearly overpowers the Phantom Thieves by using the Tokyo citizens' faith in absolute societal order to make himself nigh-invincible. Once their faith heals and protects the Phantom Thieves from his Rays of Control, Joker summons his ultimate Persona, Satanael, by breaking Arsène's chains, which enables him to defeat Yaldabaoth.
  • Gone Horribly Right: However accidental, Yaldabaoth is the physical culmination of the masses' collective unconscious desire for utopia by any means necessary.
  • Graceful Loser: After he is finally defeated, Yaldabaoth acknowledges the power of hope within humanity before fading away to nothing, leaving only a golden goblet.
    Yaldabaoth: What power... it surpasses mine own... a god born from the wish of the masses. So this... is the true Trickster. Damn that Igor... it seems he wasn't spouting nonsense...
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He is the one who granted Goro Akechi and Joker their ability to use Personas and access the Metaverse, making him the power behind both the Phantom Thieves and the Antisocial Force. This makes Yaldabaoth indirectly responsible for the conspiracy's crimes and the suffering caused by the conflict between the Thieves and the conspiracy. In addition, Yaldabaoth subtly influences the people of Tokyo towards the extremes of social conformity, causing many people in the city to suffer while also encouraging them to do nothing for the sake of societal harmony. Royal also has his machinations play a part in the additional events long after being destroyed.
  • Have a Nice Death: Prior to The Reveal, he often has some choice words for you should you screw up and get a Game Over. This is the most apparent in the interrogation room bad ending, where he coolly points out how screwed you are since Akechi successfully assassinated you.
    Yaldabaoth: Our game has ended. Ruin shall be coming momentarily. Enjoy spending the rest of your life in the prison repenting for your actions.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose:
    • Much like with Izanami from Persona 4, after you empty his second form's HP, he pulls an I Am Not Left-Handed and crushes the Thieves with sheer power. Also, the first fight with him before his true identity is revealed also plays out this way, as the prayers of the people simply heal him from all the damage you do.
    • This is how his "game" is ultimately set up. On paper, it's supposed to determine humanity's fate; whether Akechi's distortions would lead to ruin and the world's destruction, or if Joker would lead the world to salvation. Since Yaldabaoth was created by humanity's distorted desires, however, he had an interest in remaking the world in his image, and to that end, tried to rig the game in his own favor. Namely, by giving Joker a taste of his power of removing them from existence, and after seeing him survive, offering him control of the world at the expense of free will.
  • Hobbes Was Right: The literal embodiment of humanity's desire for a strong leader who will dispense with The Evils of Free Will to maintain law and order.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • After using the Seven Deadly Sins against the party during his boss battle, Joker has Satanael shoot him in the head with a bullet powered by those very sins.
    • He's the founder of the Confidant system and the first Confidant you make in the game. These very same Confidants later give Joker enough power to turn against him and the ruin he imposes upon Tokyo.
  • Holy Grail: His true form is a dark version of it, representing the desire for a great king like Arthur to take away The Evils of Free Will.
  • Holy Halo: A gold ring lined with gold angel wings rotates above his head. The halo was originally folded around his head as the cup of the Holy Grail.
  • Hope Crusher: He wants to destroy all hope of anything better than what he offers to society. Yaldabaoth uses despair as a tool to keep people obedient and he is quick to talk down any hope that he could be defeated. By the time the Phantom Thieves encounter the Holy Grail within Mementos, Yaldabaoth has already smothered much of the city's hope, resulting in the peoples' Shadows submitting to him out of a mixture of despair, fear and reverence.
  • Humanity on Trial: Like Nyarlathotep before him, Yaldabaoth sets up the events of the game with the Phantom Thieves and the Antisocial Force as his pawns playing against each other. The game is supposedly to decide whether humanity would embrace its inner "sloth" and submit to the Antisocial Force's rule, or join the Phantom Thieves' rebellion against said inner "sloth". Of course it wouldn't really matter and he's more than willing to rig that trial in his own favour that would see him as the absolute ruler over humanity.
  • Humans Are Morons: He believes in this wholeheartedly and this is his biggest reason for why he should rule humanity instead of letting it make its own decisions. He deliberately chooses the most despicable people to ascend into abnormal popularities only to set them up as bait for the Phantom Thieves or Goro Akechi to remove, then projects this mentality onto his unwitting followers (the people of Tokyo) so they would accept his false paradise and give him their faith to strengthen himself and remove anyone who removed his made-up conspiracy as well. Nonetheless, Yaldabaoth has a low opinion of humans in general, considering them to be Gullible Lemmings. Only a few exceptional humans, like the protagonist and Goro Akechi, pique its interest, but even then he treats them as little more than disposable, transient entertainment. Overall, he's merely using everyone for the sole reason to prove a point that sums up as "If you don't want dumb and corrupt conspiracies like this to rule you, let me rule over you." Once, Haru even asked Yaldabaoth outright if being defeated by such humans would change his worldview, and his paraphrased response is a blunt "no".
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: You know Rays of Control, that super-powerful attack that comes from his extra arms that requires you to destroy them? He doesn't need the arms to cast it, removing them only reduces the damage dealt. After his HP goes to 0, he just gets back up and fires the attack with no warning to stomp the party. Even in the final battle, he enjoys being a Hope Crusher a bit too much.
  • I Have Many Names: The Holy Grail, Yaldabaoth, and Igor.
  • Identity Impersonator: How he kick-started his plans. First, he invaded the Velvet Room, sucker-punched and then imprisoned the real Igor, then split Igor's latest assistant into two amnesiac forms he could order around without arousing suspicion. Finally, he disguised himself to look just like Igor, taking over the Big Good role while doing the exact opposite in secret.
  • Karmic Death: In his Holy Grail form, the prayers of humanity for him to impose order heal him too fast for the Thieves to damage until they cut him off from their prayers. In his second form, the people choose the Thieves over him and their faith protects the Thieves, who then use the Seven Deadly Sins imbued into a bullet to kill him in one hit.
  • Lack of Empathy: For all his concern about human behavior and his interactions with others, Yaldabaoth has no concern at all about human emotions. His only concern was to rule over humanity through his Knight Templar ideals, no matter how much suffering he must cause to enable this to happen. Yaldabaoth only acknowledges and respects power, particularly his own. Even after he is defeated, he only acknowledges the power of hope demonstrated by the Phantom Thieves, not once considering the feelings of the humans he oppressed (he does ruefully admit that Igor was right).
  • Last Villain Stand: He represents the last stand of the Antisocial Force conspiracy. After Shido is arrested, his remaining allies commence an all-or-nothing plan to wipe out the Phantom Thieves and maintain their corrupt chokehold over Japan. For this plan to work, Yaldabaoth directly influences the people of Tokyo to forget Shido's crimes and blame the entire debacle on the Thieves. After Yaldabaoth is defeated, public opinion promptly turns against Shido and his allies, eventually bringing an end to the Antisocial Force and its schemes. In the bad ending where the protagonist sides with him, the outcome is superficially similar as Yaldabaoth himself deems the Phantom Thieves more trustworthy than the corrupt conspiracy opposing them, ending the latter's significance entirely.
  • Light Is Not Good: The black covering of the Holy Grail that consists of his head flakes away to reveal his gold composition, and the full entity is a giant robotic god covered in white and gold armor, and one of his main attacks is "Arrow of Light."
  • The Man Behind the Man: The true villain behind the creation of the Palaces, the Antisocial Force, and the Phantom Thieves.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Manipulated most of the events in the story by usurping Igor and splitting his attendant to serve him, then giving power to Akechi and later the Protagonist to take control of the collective unconscious. Akechi ends up using his power to set in motion The Conspiracy for his father Shido, while the Protagonist ends up forming the Phantom Thieves.
  • More than Mind Control: Yaldabaoth has the ability to manipulate the cognitions of the general public to an extent bordering on outright mind control, and he starts cranking things up a lot shortly after Shido's defeat, turning up his inmates' Weirdness Censor up to ridiculous levels. But since Yaldabaoth is the embodiment of the masses' desire to submit to an all-powerful ruler rather than think for themselves, he only exists in the first place because on some level the general public wants to be controlled.
  • Morton's Fork: His "game" was set up to determine whether humanity should receive "reform" or "destruction and rebirth". "Destruction and rebirth" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. "Reform" was the Phantom Thieves reforming society by changing people's hearts. In reality, for him his "Salvation" a.k.a the enslavement of humanity is the only acceptable goal because people are too stupid to deserve freedom for thinking Shido (a good-for-nothing corrupt politician who delights in committing atrocities) as some sort of god that will somehow bring Japan prosperity and happiness. (Which he makes sure happens by blatantly controlling their cognition)
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: His boss fight form has 4 spindly robotic arms sticking out of his back, each holding an item from the Book of Revelation - and a pistol.
  • Mythology Gag: He's the closest equivalent to YHVH in the Persona universe.
    • Both think themselves Gods with a capital G, and both are the embodiment of Law and control. Both also desire to take away the free will of humanity and rule over them.
    • Both will keep existing so long as humans desire to be controlled or believe in a higher power dictating their lives.
    • Both control the Four Archangels. (real ones in service of YHVH, Shadows that take the forms of them in the case of Yaldabaoth)
  • Narcissist: Yaldabaoth reeks of this, considering that he embodies both the sins of Vanity and Pride. He desires for the masses to worship him to satiate his sense of self-worth, and will eliminate those who challenge him. His appearance as a robotic angel adorned in gold and silver reflects this.
  • Never My Fault:
  • No Cure for Evil: Subverted. He is outright healed by the prayers of humanity who seek to be slaves in his Holy Grail form. Disconnecting their prayers from him is required in order to defeat him.
  • Not as You Know Them: Before his true identity gets exposed, longtime fans may notice how "Igor" seems considerably more dismissive of the protagonist and humans in general, doesn't actually fuse any Persona himself, and has a menacingly deeper voice.
  • Obviously Evil: Technically when disguised as Igor, who once again turns out to not be this, acting and sounding more sinister than the real deal would.
  • Oh, Crap!: After striking the entire party down with his powers, everyone in Shibuya starts to give the Thieves their support, giving them strength. When he unleashes another of his attacks, it has zero effect on them.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Concludes humanity is beyond saving and destined for ruin after Shido's change of heart fails to affect significant change among the public. It's actually subverted, since he doesn't really try to destroy existence, but seeks to keep everyone in his absolute control and ignorant of the outright absurdities he imposes upon them.
  • Order Is Not Good: He is the god of control and order and he wants to impose order into the world by removing chaos through any means necessary. Yaldabaoth's societal order is evil because his methods are corrupt and immoral, causing unspeakable suffering to humanity.
  • Order Versus Chaos: He seeks to impose order upon the world and remove the chaos that blights it by imprisoning everyone who has chaos in them in the depths of Mementos forever. Fittingly the four Archangels that serve YHVH appear as his heralds in the final dungeon.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Though there are many small signs beforehand, the first concrete piece of evidence that all is not what it seems with "Igor" is him claiming to be disappointed in Humanity.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The only reason his Igor disguise works is because Joker has never met the real Igor and possibly only works on the audience through Refuge in Audacity (“The Big Good would never be the villain right?”). He sounds nothing like Igor, he acts condescending towards Joker, he never fuses a Persona himself, and generally acts very little like the real Igor.
  • Perception Filter: He creates one shortly after Shido is defeated, causing the citizenry of Tokyo to ignore several things, like his conquest of the world or Shido's confession. It is also apparently linked to the Four Archangels, as more and more people notice the mutated world and him banishing people from reality as they're defeated.
  • Playing Both Sides: He more or less plays Akechi, The Conspiracy, and the Thieves against one another for his own purposes.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Despite his arrogance, the ending where the Protagonist sides with him makes it clear he does value the work done by the Phantom Thieves, if only because it would help keep societal order stronger and united. He is very much sincere about his intention to "re-evaluate" the Protagonist should he make the deal, as he suspends his plan of fusing Mementos with reality and allows the Phantom Thieves to do his bidding.
  • Reality Warper: He physically superimposes Mementos onto the entirety of reality, filling the land with the bones of giant creatures and red water. He also tampers with the cognition of the populace so that they don't even perceive the obvious changes. Also, by using the people's faith in absolute societal order, Yaldabaoth is able to project his own idea of reality onto the real world, whether or not that reality is a truth or a lie. This is how he is nearly able to wipe the Phantom Thieves out of existence at the height of his power.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Attempts to pull one with his Ret-Gone of the Phantom Thieves in Mementos Depths, but is Out-Gambitted by Joker and Lavenza.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: He wields all seven, with each of his skills being named "Distorted Lust / Wrath / Pride / etc." in your final battle with him. He uses them as examples of how naturally evil and selfish humans are, to prove that they need his rule.
  • Slouch of Villainy: One of the differences between him and Igor is the disinterested posture Yaldabaoth takes when sitting at the desk in the Velvet Room. The real Igor sits up straight.
  • Smug Super: When he drops the Igor act, he shows himself to be the embodiment of divine hubris and self-righteousness, assuming he's better than anyone just by being a god and never shutting up about it.
  • Spell My Name with an S: His name is spelled with a Y in the game, but his boss theme is called "Jaldabaoth". Averted in Royal as the theme is retitled "Yaldabaoth" in the Thieves' Den.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Is quite similar to YHVH from the mainline SMT series, even using the four Archangels as his heralds for the Phantom Thieves to fight.
    • His view on humanity as well as his conflict with Igor greatly resembles Nyarlathotep. And like him, Yaldabaoth had also disguised himself as service provider to manipulate the main characters. The Time Count for Nyarlathotep while Yaldabaoth took the form of Igor. It should also be noted that in some Lovecraftian circles, the Demiurge, or Yaldabaoth is considered Nyarlathotep in disguise, and it is also often identified as Yahweh in Gnosticism.
  • Tautological Templar: His bringing of salvation-through-order is something he views as an inherent good, largely because he's the one doing so.
  • This Cannot Be!: Fully believing himself to be the true embodiment of humanity's desires, Yaldabaoth expresses disbelief when he witnesses the Phantom Thieves' ability to stand up to him and ultimately defeat him.
  • Treacherous Advisor: He's you and Akechi's boss after all, aside that he wants to sink both of you to the pits of despair.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Yaldabaoth's fusion of Mementos and reality had the unexpected side-effect of allowing Maruki to awaken to his Persona, Azathoth, and subsequently take over reality as the next God of Control.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: While Yaldabaoth enjoys controlling humanity for its own sake, he does feel that he is helping humanity on some level. By eliminating The Evils of Free Will through absolute societal order, Yaldabaoth truly believes that he is bringing paradise to humanity and that he should be worshipped for this.
  • Vichy Earth: What his goal is (and he succeeds if Joker accepts his offer), though Yaldabaoth isn't an alien per se.
  • Villainous Breakdown: During the last moments of the battle, he starts to display anger when everyone starts to place their hope to the Thieves, especially becoming shocked at his powers becoming ineffective at them. When Joker unleashes Satanael's last attack, Yaldabaoth quickly shows his rage.
    "Preposterous! You dare rob the people's wishes?!"
  • Villain Has a Point: Like other supernatural antagonists of the Persona series, humanity's flaws and/or malevolence were what brought him into existence and only made him stronger with their desires. He didn't cause the blind desire for order at any cost, the blind desire for order at any cost made him. The problem is that he tried to take full advantage of it by Fixing the Game so that he could gain as much power from them as he can.
  • Villain Respect: He seems to truly respect Joker's cunning, ingenuity, and character as a Trickster. Coming up with the plan to trick Akechi, for instance, was "truly ingenious", in Yaldabaoth's words. He also offers Joker the chance to join up with him before the final battle, and is sincere about keeping his word if Joker accepts.
  • Voice of the Legion: Gains one after being exposed as a fake Igor.
  • We Can Rule Together: He actually offers to cut a deal with Joker, in thanks for being such a help to him and for actually figuring him out. So as long as he leaves him alone, he'll restore him and the Thieves and stop the worlds merging, let him keep his ability to enter the Palace and use it for whatever he desires, and continue watching how he uses his power on society. If accepted, he does keep his word and you get another Bad Ending, where Joker is basically in control of the city, and all of the police and government officials who were opposing him are forced to keep their distance from him, lest they get their hearts stolen. However, since none of the other Thieves were even physically present and still barred from existence in the Prison of Regression, the implication is Joker has given in to the temptation of abusing their power like Akechi did, and society will never be free from Yaldabaoth watching everyone from behind the scenes.
  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • His game involving the Phantom Thieves and the Antisocial Force is a rather simple one, and he goes various steps to ensure that he would emerge as the victor regardless of who wins his game. If Akechi wins, the public would not react to Shido's death and exposure like he hoped, and Yaldabaoth's control over the populace is cemented. If the Phantom Thieves manage succeed in changing the hearts of the corrupt, those corrupted individuals would lose their distorted desires and be reduced back to faceless masses under Yaldabaoth's control. The public will also not react to Shido's Change of Heart like the Phantom Thieves would expect, and he still cements control over the populace. It's only when the Phantom Thieves expose Yaldabaoth's true identity, Joker refuses to cut a deal with him, and the Confidants rouse the people into shifting the empowering faith factor from him to Joker which leads to the summoning of Satanael to kill him outright, that he loses entirely.
    • Based on the Phan-Site counter abnormally fluctuating overnight after false Igor's speeches prior to the Okumura and Niijima heists, it's also implied that he was responsible for setting up the public's cognition to go with Shido's framing plan.

Antagonists exclusive to Royal

    The Dreamer 

    The Creator of Wisdom 

Azathoth / Adam Kadmon
The Blind God of Dreams
Azathoth's Second Phase 
Adam Kadmon 

"This power is the source...and the destination. I will be the light that guides mankind."

The creator of wisdom who acts as Maruki's Persona. Its initial form is Azathoth, the mindless, formless, blind idiot god of ultimate chaos who rules over the dreamlands in the Cthulhu Mythos. It is later evolved into its true form Adam Kadmon, the Kabbalahistic concept of the pure, unbound potential of the human soul, often associated with the crown of the Sephirot.

It is also possible that Azathoth might be a corruption of the "Azoth," the ultimate universal life force and the cure to all in Alchemy, which Azathoth envisions itself as, and in some sense of word, it is truly a "cure for all suffering." Azoth also motivates people towards physical and spiritual perfection, which Azathoth violates by giving them perfection and causing them to ironically become imperfect.

Another interesting point is that Azathoth and Adam Kadmon can be considered Lovecraftian and Kabbalistic versions of the Demiurge. Further, Azathoth and Maruki's plans mirror the initial conception of the Gnostic Demiurge, who imprisoned Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden so they could be happy, but in the process left them equally deluded and ignorant to the fact he is not the one true god. This is in opposition to the previous Big Bad, Yaldabaoth, who mirrors the modern Gnostic interpretation of the Demiurge, where he simply wished to oppress humanity.
  • Adaptational Heroism: At the very least, the Azathoth of Persona 5 Royal is willing to fulfil the dreams of every human being in existence because that seemed like the best way to accomplish his master's goal. The Azathoth of the Cthulhu Mythos does not care for much of anything except the music being played by his servants.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Azathoth having any sort of goal at all puts him miles ahead of the original, who quite literally lost his mind.
  • Ambiguous Situation: There is some speculation that Adam Kadmon might be a separate entity similar to other gods born from the Collective Unconscious, given how it sometimes acts as if it were a separate entity from Maruki. In addition, every other character's masks are the form their Persona takes while not in use, and disappears when their Persona is summoned. Maruki's mask remains on his face even after Azathoth/Adam Kadmon has manifested. Not only that, but it's also unclear if Adam Kadmon is sentient and was directly addressing the Thieves for the second phase of their fight or if Maruki was merely talking through Adam Kadmon like some sort of puppet, given that before the Persona's awakening, it was Adam Kadmon's voice that spoke to Maruki, not Azathoth, as they have noticeably different voice distortions.
  • Anti-Villain: Just like Maruki himself, all of its actions in the Third Semester are actually an unintended aftermath of Yaldabaoth's plan, seeking to save humanity just like Maruki.
  • Armored But Frail: Downplayed, since Azathoth actually has a fair amount of health, but his phase 1 and 2 individually have less health than The Holy Grail and Yaldabaoth phases of the Final Boss respectively. Yaldabaoth is also fought about 10-20 levels earliernote . Azathoth is instead dependent on the tendrils shielding ability to protect him from damage. When the tendrils are knocked out and the party has done multiple baton passes, Azathoth (or Maruki) will take a massive amount of damage from the built up power.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Azathoth has nothing to do with the Garden of Eden or even the infinite wisdom of man known as Adam Kadmon to begin with, and he's actually the reverse of wisdom. In-Universe, he even seemingly has literally nothing to do with Nyarlathotep unlike the Lovecraftian Gods from Persona 2, who are said to be connected with each other.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Phantom Thieves beat Adam Kadmon by attacking his head before Joker blasts off Maruki's mask with a well-aimed gunshot to destroy him.
  • Beware the Superman: Adam Kadmon's overall design follows the convention started by the Phantom Thieves. Just like Makoto is an homage to Kamen Rider and two of Akechi's Personas are based on Superman and Batman, Adam Kadmon is based on Ultra Series heroes such as Ultraman and Ultraseven.
  • Bishōnen Line: Adam Kadmon is much more humanoid than Azathoth, who looks more like an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Body Horror: Azathoth's tentacles are actually Adam Kadmon's entrails or veins and they are spilled all over the floor as Azathoth.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Its Adam Kadmon phase is significantly easier than its Azathoth phase, as during the Adam Kadmon phase, it only has a single-target Almighty attack that does around as much damage as an unbuffed Megidolaon (Around 300 damage) as well as only Maruki being targetable, which has only around 3000 HP. It also drains your HP with a party-wide almighty attack that does around the same damage as his single-target, but does nothing more than that. However, invoked Fridge Brilliance may explain this once you consider Azathoth was The Unfettered in comparison.
  • The Corrupter: Downplayed. He's responsible for Maruki's cognition-warping abilities, and convinced Maruki, in his desperation, to allow him to heal Rumi of her trauma (but unwittingly erasing her memories as a result). While their initial relationship is relatively benign, with Maruki using his newfound powers judiciously, Azathoth eventually tempts Maruki into creating a Lotus-Eater Machine when he fully manifests into reality due to Yaldabaoth's merging of Mementos. None of this is done with any malicious intent however, and Maruki himself has (subconsciously) manifested these same thoughts long before Azathoth, his supposed other self, voices them out.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Azathoth is consisted of Azathoth itself, Maruki and three tentacles. One of the tentacles protect Azathoth from taking anything but 1 or 2 damage, other constantly heals Maruki for ridiculous amounts, while the last one casts buffs on him. The game does not give any tips on how to deal with it, but the protective effects weaken after each destroyed tentacle, with the final goal being defeating either one of them. To make things worse, these tentacles shuffle weaknesses after it enters phase 2, indicating they have to be taken down one at a time; Using crowd control may trigger repel which can kill anyone mistakenly hitting the wrong tentacles.
  • Combat Tentacles: Double Subverted. Because Maruki was using the Palace's tentacles to protect himself and restrain people, in combat Azathoth's tentacles seem like they will be used for offensive purposes, but instead they are all just there to support Azathoth's main body. Azathoth's Piercing Strike attack has it use the tentacles to attack if it must, though.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist:
    • Like Yaldabaoth, Azathoth and Adam Kadmon are this to Izanami, the Non-Human Greater-Scope Villain of Persona 4.
      • Both have the goal of granting humanity’s wishes in hopes of making them happier, either through turning them into shadows or by achieving all their goals, though Izanami did it because Adachi's actions convinced her that is what humanity wanted since they paid the most attention to his murders, and Azathoth did it because it's what his master Maruki wanted, though Maruki came to that conclusion also due to the actions of a murderer. Izanami in Persona 4: The Animation even flat out puts Yu Narukami in a Lotus-Eater Machine, while Azathoth's Lotus-Eater Machine affects everyone except Joker.
      • Izanami is the overall mastermind of the plot from the beginning and empowered all the human antagonists to do as they want and she would plan based on what they did, while Azathoth and Adam Kadmon only truly awaken in the endgame of Royal and serves as Maruki's top muscle, putting the human in charge of the God-like non-human being.
      • Izanami transforming into Izanami-no-Okami turns her from a humanoid goddess into an Eldritch Abomination, while Azathoth transforming into Adam Kadmon turns him from an Eldritch Abomination into a humanoid robotic god.
    • He is also one to Yaldabaoth himself, since Royal is an Updated Re-release of the original Persona 5 and had several years of development after it's original release. While Maruki was designed to contrast Shido, Azathoth and Adam Kadmon end up contrasting Yaldabaoth.
      • Both are in control of Mementos and it is shown by running long tubes through it. Red for Yaldabaoth and Blue for Azathoth. They also fight with Cognizant Limbs in their boss fights.
      • Yaldabaoth is highly involved in the story and manipulates everything from behind the scenes. He attempts to take control of the world at the end once the pieces are set up as he likes. Azathoth does not awaken until near the end of the game but when awoken he immediately puts the Lotus-Eater Machine into place at Maruki's direction with no plotting whatsoever.
      • Yaldabaoth is The Man Behind the Man to Shido and Akechi, manipulating the public to help the former and awakening the Personas of the latter, while Azathoth and Adam Kadmon are a loyal Dragon-in-Chief to Maruki. This is essentially an inversion of the standard relationship between a Non-Human and Human antagonist in the game (and most of the series).
      • Yaldabaoth is a Treasure that represents the will of most of humanity, while Azathoth and Adam Kadmon are Personas (though Adam Kadmon is fused with and empowered by a Treasure) that represent the unbreakable will of one man.
      • Both are ultimately defeated by Joker shooting them in the face, but it plays out very differently. Yaldabaoth is defeated by Satanael, who was summoned by people believing in the Phantom Thieves over Yaldabaoth, while Adam Kadmon is defeated by the Phantom Thieves working together and exploiting the weakness of his Full Force attack without the help of the people and Joker shooting Maruki's mask through Adam Kadmon to unsummon him.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Adam Kadmon's final phase is not beatable by fighting, but is still presented as a proper boss fight, having multiple targets and even taking more than Scratch Damage while it's winding up for an attack (though eagle-eyed players will notice that its health bar doesn't go down).However 
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: In his second phase, Azathoth has a telegraphed attack called "Piercing Strike" that does this by dealing many instances of Almighty damage, which is almost guaranteed to deal lethal damage on a weaker party. To stop the skill from being too unfair, it cannot target Joker.
  • Dig Attack: How Piercing Strike works. All of Azathoth's extra tentacles behind him retract, Futaba senses who is being targeted, then next turn, they erupt from the ground and each strike at the target from below.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Azathoth's first form looks like the Staff of Hermes, a symbol often confused with the Rod of Asclepius as the symbol of medicine. Fitting for a doctor who has taken the old doctor oath "First, do no harm" too damn far to use the incorrect symbol.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: As with any Persona, he is the real threat in combat and not his master. This is reflected in gameplay, where Azathoth does all of the attacking in the True Final Boss fight and Maruki only regenerates the tentacles. If Azathoth is knocked out of the fight, Maruki stops fighting back. Adam Kadmon when he first appears is loyal and subservient to Maruki's direction, but takes the lead in combat when Maruki struggles against the Phantom Thieves still.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Evoked with Azathoth, who can summon legions of undulating tentacles, take control of other Persona users, rewrite people's minds, and even warp reality itself. Subverted with Adam Kadmon, however, who takes on the form of a giant human and uses much more conventional attacks.
  • Evil Is Visceral: Azathoth's Body Horror gives this impression, even if he's not truly evil.
  • Finish Him!: At the end of the boss fight, the protagonist's teammates distract him by blocking his fist and Joker uses this chance to fling himself right on top of his head with his grappling hook, before shouting "Checkmate!" and shooting it in the head, knocking off Maruki's mask and killing it immediately.
  • HP To One: Adam Kadmon's "Full Force", which he spends a turn charging, where it also leaves him vulnerable. Futaba's scans reveals that it's only when it charges that attack that its weak point, its head, can be hit.
  • Humongous Mecha: Adam Kadmon is a gigantic, near-invincible robot. According to Morgana in the Thieves Den, it shouldn't actually be as big as it was in reality, and only because of the dream world did Maruki's Persona become a big as it did, similar to how Satanael's appearance during the final battle against Yaldabaoth.
  • Irony: Despite the mighty appearance of Adam Kadmon after beating Azathoth, he's a Zero-Effort Boss and can be spammed with little effort, even with the Almighty attacks it throws. Then as Berserk Adam Kadmon, it's a straight up Cutscene Boss, with absolutely zero effort required.
  • Kaiju: Adam Kadmon is a hundred-meter-tall golden robot Persona, and his true awakening cutscene shows him rising amidst buildings and construction cranes, accompanied by a distorted electronic noise that sounds like a roar.
  • Light Is Not Good: Adam Kadmon is the ultimate representation of humanity's light and wisdom, and seeks to trap all of humanity in a dream world, which will cause Modern Stasis.
  • Meta Twist: Maruki starts out as a Call-Back to the Big Bad of Persona, Takahisa Kandori, a man with a Lovecraftian Persona that ascends to godhood. Kandori's Persona, Nyarlathotep eventually took control of him as its power kept growing, transforming him into an inhuman abomination against his will. This leads the player to think something similar will happen to Maruki. Instead, both Azathoth and Adam Kadmon remain completely loyal to Maruki. Maruki willingly fuses with Adam Kadmon instead of forcibly like Kandori and instead of losing control he willingly gives it up to Adam Kadmon, which emphasizes that there is no betrayal whatsoever.
  • No-Sell: Sort of. During his Azathoth form, if you do not destroy at least 1 tentacle, because of his persona trait it will take only Scratch Damage from anything...including Almighty Attacks. When it is Adam Kadmon fused with Maruki, it naturally does this. (Adam Kadmon will still allow the party to dish out decent damage on it every turn after it uses Attack Stance, although its HP bar is still un-depleteable.)
  • Post-Final Boss: Azathoth is a proper boss that can knock you on your ass if you aren't careful. Maruki with Adam Kadmon is powerful but pretty fast to defeat. The final fight against Adam Kadmon can't actually be lost.
  • Power Palms: Adam Kadmon's strongest attack in his first phase is called "Grand Palm", where he closes his palm at one of the party members and powerful energy smites them from above.
  • Reality Warper: It has the ability to alter the very fabric of cognition itself and can do nearly anything. If it's destroyed, everything goes back to normal, however.
  • Red Herring: The appearance of Biyarky and Hastur in Maruki's Palace should ring any red alarms that Nyarlathotep or his associates would be behind it. It becomes even more suspicious when Azathoth is revealed as Maruki's initial Persona, but it turns out the plot of the Third Semester has nothing to do with Nyarlathotep.
  • Signature Move: As Azathoth, Tyrant Chaos. As Adam Kadmon, Full Force.
  • Superpower Lottery: He is arguably the most powerful Persona that anyone has awakened. A combination of Maruki's own good heart, his understanding of cognition and his desire to rebel against the cruelty of reality led to getting Maruki awakening the Persona's unique capability of "Actualization" and manipulate cognition. Yaldabaoth's endgame plan to fuse Mementos with reality just causes Maruki to awaken his Persona albeit not in a natural way. When the Thieves unintendedly make Maruki in charge of Mementos, he and Azathoth manifest the Palace in the real world and his power grows drastically.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Adam Kadmon bears more than a passing resemblance to (ironically enough) Yaldabaoth from Shin Megami Tensei NINE. Interestingly, Adam Kadmon himself DOES appear in NINE in its first (and till Persona 5 Royal, only) appearance in the franchise, but he's a random encounter in the final dungeon rather than a boss fight.
  • Total Party Kill: Azathoth will begin to throw out extremely strong Megidolaons if he cannot be defeated in 40 turns. These Megidolaons do massive damage and will one-shot the party.
  • Trick Boss: Adam Kadmon cannot be defeated as nothing even scratches it. The party must stall him until Futaba discovers its weakness.
  • True Final Boss: A role that Azathoth shares with Maruki. As stated in Dragon-in-Chief, he is the real threat in the battle and the fight from a gameplay perspective is more with him than with Maruki.
  • Undying Loyalty: Azathoth is unyieldingly loyal to Maruki and wishes to grant his other self's wish, from the moment he purged Rumi of her trauma, up until his full manifestation when Yaldabaoth begins distorting reality, though unsurprisingly, given it's Maruki's Persona after all. It dabbles into a toxic relationship as Azathoth urges him to push forward with his ideals no matter what, but it remains loyal to him as everything falls apart and his plans end. Maruki shares the same sentiment as he gives all of himself to his Persona, making Adam Kadmon the dominant force.
    Adam Kadmon: I can't lose! I'm fighting for your sakes as well!
  • Victimized Bystander: Azathoth's awakening and the Third Semester events are merely unintended consequences for Yaldabaoth's domination plan.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Just like Maruki, it too seeks to trap humanity in a dream world to bring happiness to all, seeking to defy the cruel reality that lead into his being.
  • The Worm That Walks: Azathoth is just tentacles controlling different avatars. His first form is just propping up a metal cross, while Adam Kadmon is a humanoid shell filled with nothing but tentacles.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: While Azathoth is definitely not of this trope, Adam Kadmon's second phase will make sure that no side can actually kill one or the other; Even if he unleashes a would-be lethal attack, your party members will always endure it at 1 HP.