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The major antagonists of Persona 5.

Be aware that there will be spoilers for the game, marked and unmarked.

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    Asmodeus (Suguru Kamoshida) 

Suguru Kamoshida
Click here to see his Shadow 
"Drop the attitude, you mediocre peasant! There is no wrong in using my gifts for my gain! I'm a cut above all other humans!"

Sin: Luxuria (Lust)
Shadow: Asmodeus
Voiced by: Yuji Mitsuya (JP), D.C. Douglas (EN)

The first major target, Kamoshida is the gym teacher at Shujin Academy who is also a former Olympic volleyball gold medalist. He has been using his position to sabotage other sports teams at Shujin to make the volleyball team he coaches appear to be the school's sole pride and joy. His warped lust for the volleyball team's female members - and, more so, Ann Takamaki - creates a Palace in the collective unconscious where he transforms into Asmodeus, demon of Lust.

His Palace resembles a Medieval castle, and it is based in Shujin Academy in the real world. In his Palace his Treasure resembles a massive bejeweled crown, while in the real world, it is a gold medal he won in the Olympics.

  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: His response when Ann refuses to sleep with him. See I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure below.
  • Bishie Sparkle: He is seen in this light during the volleyball rally right before one of his spikes meets Mishima's face. It emphasizes how he's seen as the star of the school in spite of his true nature.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Combined with Faux Affably Evil. In front of authority figures like Principal Kobayakawa and one of the counselors, he'll try to be polite and easygoing while still sounding arrogant. Once he's alone with the protagonists, he'll show his more threatening nature.
  • Breaking Speech: Does this to Ryuji, accusing him of being responsible for the track team's downfall, and saying that the protagonist and Morgana will die because they sided with "trash" like him. Ryuji briefly goes into a Heroic BSoD, but fortunately, snaps out in time to awaken his Persona and save the rest of the party. He later does the same thing to Ann, claiming that what he did to Shiho, and thus Shiho's suicide attempt were all because of Ann refusing his advances (which also ends in Ann awakening her Persona although it's saving herself).
  • Broken Ace: He was once a beloved Olympic athlete who brought home a gold medal for Japan, but he's since become a twisted, selfish bastard obsessed with keeping his status and reputation.
  • The Bully: All in all, he's nothing but one, albeit one that's far worse than any of the other bullies in Shujin. He physically abuses his students through brutal training regiments, while frequently extorting sexual favours from his female ones via Mishima.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: His Shadow never refers to Shiho, the girl who attempted suicide because of him, by name, and doesn't remember her as anything more than another victim.
  • Call-Back: Kamoshida is one to Persona 2's Ginji Sazaki. Both were once talented celebrities who end up in less prestigious jobs, and were desperate to reclaim their former glory. Both Sazaki and Kamoshida also gained notoriety for their sexual advances on their female students, particularly on one who is of mixed heritage.
  • Cool Crown: His Shadow has a simple gold crown, and his Treasure takes the form of a much larger and more ornate crown, which he wears after transforming into Asmodeus.
  • Dirty Coward: For all his high and mighty talk, his Shadow is pretty cowardly, leaving all the fighting to his Guards. When Joker and Ann first awaken their Personas, he quickly gets cold feet and scurries away with his tail between his legs. The only reason why he still acts smug when Ryuji awakened his persona is because Shadow Kamoshida still has plenty of Guards by his side. Once he's defeated, he's left pathetically begging for his life.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Justified; the students are intimidated into silence while the authorities either don't care or are willing to go along with his misdeeds for the sake of profit.
  • Dirty Old Man: Played for Drama. He's a middle-aged ex-athlete with an unhealthy fixation with female high school-aged students, particularly the girls who are on the volleyball team he coaches, and the visibly "exotic"-looking Ann Takamaki. The students who aren't in the loop about his true nature are repulsed by him, and the only reason he was able to get Ann into his clutches in the first place was because he promised that Ann's friend Shiho a spot on the team for a national tournament if Ann accepted his advances. This fixation manifests in his Palace in several ways: his sexed-up, pink-skinned cognitions of the volleyball team, the gigantic female torso pillars that serve as decor, and his bikini-clad cognition of Ann, who, unlike the real Ann, is completely subservient to him on top of being shallow and ditzy.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: His Shadow has the Protagonist and Ryuji captured and plans to execute them both just because they walked into his Palace. Later on, he threatens to have the Protagonist, Ryuji, and Mishima all expelled for confronting him about Shiho's attempted suicide. What makes this worse is that the Protagonist actually stops Ryuji from attacking him, yet all it does is earn him the risk of being expelled. Even Mishima, who went to stop Ryuji, is lumped into it, even though he had taken Kamoshida's abuse and not said anything to worsen the situation. Joker and Mishima were just collateral to him.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: When he uses his Last Ditch Move, Gold Medal Spike:
    "Time for my killshot from when I was active and rockin' it! in I'll make the kill!"
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted. During his confession at the school assembly, Kamoshida feels so guilty that he says that he will kill himself to atone. He is talked down into turning himself in by Ann, who insists that suicide would be running away from his guilt.
  • Entitled Bastard: Because of his past success as an Olympic-level athlete, Kamoshida believes that the school ought to reward him for that, regardless of what he does.
  • Ephebophile: A truly disturbing one at that as Ann would happily attest, given he is a high school teacher and never shows or indicates this sort of interest in any women his actual age in game.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Even before we find out the full extent of his abuses, Kamoshida's first appearance has him casually gloating that his volleyball team is the only thing putting the school on the map, which the other teachers agree with. His Shadow's first impression is even worse: when we first see him, he immediately orders the Protagonist and Ryuji executed just for intruding in his castle. The fact that the protagonist interacts with his shadow first in-person before his real one doesn't help either.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Kamoshida sometimes likes to crack jokes or make light humor in instances where he isn't being a sociopathic Jerkass. It only serves to upset people when it isn't simply ignored.
  • Evil Is Petty: He encourages students to spread rumors about Joker simply because he's a "delinquent" with no business ruining the school's reputation. The rumors start the day that Joker gets to school, indicating that Mishima spread them early, or that Kamoshida told him to do it even before Joker reached Shujin Academy. Kamoshida also broke Ryuji's leg to ensure that his volleyball club would be the only one to win the school awards.
  • Evil Gloating: If Joker finds him in Shujin before stealing his Treasure, Kamoshida will taunt him about his inevitable expulsion.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: He's a slimy, repugnant Jerkass with a fairly deep voice. Averted in the Japanese version, since Yuji Mitsuya's voice is more naturally high pitched.
  • Evil Teacher: He beats the volleyball team and sexually harasses the female students, and believes he's entitled to do so as the "king" of Shujin.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Ann considers sparing him to be this, as he will have to admit to his crimes and atone for the rest of his life for what he has done to his students.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He can act nice when it suits his purposes, but it does nothing to mask how rotten he is.
  • Foreshadowing: His first appearance in the game involves him chatting with Kawakami about the troublesome new transfer student. This otherwise innocuous scene hints at the root of Kamoshida's own deep-seated personal issues through a seemingly-offhand comment of his.
    "Having such high expectations placed on you by others is quite a problem in itself."
  • For the Evulz: Leaks Joker's criminal record basically just because. See Evil Is Petty above.
  • Freudian Excuse: His Shadow implies after its defeat that he suffered some sort of stress-induced mental breakdown following his Olympic victory due to people's increasing expectations for him. It's further implied that this is the root of his twisted obsession with being seen as The Ace.
  • A Glass of Chianti: In his boss battle, one of Kamoshida's hands is holding a large glass of red wine with the Ann copy floating in the drink like a tooth pick. Kamoshida can drink from the glass (and slobber over the Ann copy before spitting her back into the glass) to get a boost to his offenses.
  • Glory Days: From Olympic medalist to high school PE teacher. This perhaps explains, without excusing, the worst aspects of his personality.
  • Hate Sink: For a Starter Villain, he's made as unsympathetic as possible, committing everything from blackmail to sexual harassment, even getting the entire track team disbanded because Ryuji hit him after egging him on to do it, and makes Shiho attempt suicide from how bad his abuse gets. This is most likely so the protagonists' methods feel more justified. That said, the Phantom Thieves do wonder if they went too far with him, even after all the terrible things he did.
  • Hot for Student: He has a rather lustful attraction towards Ann, and is also very fixated on the girls' volleyball team that he coaches. Unlike with Kashiwagi in the previous game, this time it's very much Played for Drama.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He acts like a big shot and that he's the true leader of the campus, but the minute anyone shows up the Volleyball Club or stands up to him, he will retaliate to salvage that pride. His Shadow inadvertently admits that he doesn't think he's worth anything if he doesn't win, and keep winning. To this end, his treasure is the Olympic gold medal he won.
  • It's Personal: He manages to earn the personal ire of all four of the founding Thieves: he lusts after Ann and drove her friend to suicide, broke Ryuji's leg back when he was a track star, told everyone to spread rumors about the Protagonist both because he stood up to him and because he wanted to, and his Shadow imprisoned Morgana.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Blackmails Ann into accepting his advances under threat of removing Shiho from the volleyball team, and then assaults her out of spite when Ann refuses to sleep with him.
  • Jaded Washout: He was once a beloved Olympic medalist, but is now a simple volleyball coach who's trying to cling onto whatever glory he has left. This consequently moulded the Entitled Bastard mentality that drives the terrible things that he had done.
  • Jerkass: Kamoshida is so repulsive that even when putting on the charm, he comes off as a smug and repellant egomaniac.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As repulsive and slimy as he is, he makes several unfortunately accurate points about certain subjects.
    • He points out that a lot Ryuji's problems comes from his Hot-Blooded nature, an issue that comes up frequently throughout the story.
    • The party doesn't argue when his Shadow points out that he wouldn't have been able to get away with nearly as much abuse at school if students, parents and school staff hadn't been willing to overlook it for the sake of their personal interest. It's the first of many ties into the game's overarching themes of rebelling against corrupt authority and of the apathy of Tokyo's citizens towards individual plights.
    • His reformed shadow in the Prison of Regression may still have the audacity to pretend to hit on Ann in front of the other Thieves, but there's no way he would actually do it anymore after everything that already happened to him, and likely agrees that the joke was in bad taste.
  • Kick the Dog: Comes with the territory of being a villain in this game, but Kamoshida's Shadow actually manages to do this even after being reformed. When the Thieves meet him down in the Prison of Regression, he halfheartedly hits on Ann before saying it was a joke. Inn all likelihood it was a joke, but Kamoshida's Shadow would have to be absolutely delusional to think they would find it even remotely funny as opposed to, you know, reacting with disgusted fury. Though with his current state, even he might have thought it wasn't that funny.
  • Knight of Cerebus: A pretty unique example considering he is a Starter Villain. The game starts out with a serious and gloomy tone shortly after his introduction, with Shujin Academy coming off as a depressing place as a result of his presence. The majority of characters introduced during his arc were left extremely miserable due to his influence, the worst case being Shiho's attempted suicide due to his implied rape of her. After his defeat, the story noticeably switches to a more light-hearted tone, with many of the characters being able to perk up once he is gone.
  • Large Ham: His Shadow uses "Ore-sama" as a first-person pronoun in Japanese which is extremely impolite. It also speaks in a loud, flamboyant tone.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After the boss fight against his Shadow, it ends up cornered near a balcony by a very angry Ann, possibly contemplating jumping off in order to avoid incineration by her Persona. Ann takes a moment to point out this is exactly how Shiho felt.
  • Lecherous Licking: Shadow Kamoshida uses this as an attack with his Overly Long Tongue. For extra doses of squick, it only targets Ann and deals high physical damage to her. That said, it can be used to your benefit if Ann isn't sent to take his crown. The Shadow will waste two turns staring at Ann to telegraph the attack and it can be prepared for via healing and having her guard, which won't work if she isn't in the active party.
  • Lust: His sin and motif. Not only is he obsessed with the female volleyball team he coaches, but he also has a Hot for Student complex towards Ann. Further, his out of control Shadow form is none other than Asmodeus, the demon of lust. His treasure in the real world turns out to be an Olympic medal, thus his lust was not only for his students but his glory days when he was somebody other than a High School PE teacher.
  • Malicious Slander: His main tool in dealing with students who refuse to obey him. To do this, he browbeats a few students, such as Yuuki Mishima, to spread rumors of his own creation. After enough students believe those rumors, there would be few complaints at the school towards the expulsion of the targeted students.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The only thing separating the real Kamoshida from his Shadow is that in the real world, Kamoshida is smart enough to put on a thin veneer of sincerity and feign an understanding attitude in public, which he uses to spread rumors about and lob veiled threats at anyone he doesn't like. However, it is strongly implied that even the authorities at school know what a rotten man he is underneath, and yet they do nothing about it because he contributes a great deal to the school's reputation as the trainer of their athletic teams.
  • Mid-Life Crisis Car: Kamoshida drives a 2008 Toyota Crown S200 luxury sedan. It doubles as Viewers Are Motorheads piece of Foreshadowing of the form his Treasure will take.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Asmodeus has four arms and four legs.
  • Never My Fault: Shadow Kamoshida claims as such during his boss fight, saying that his students came on to him. The party member tasked with taking his crown calls bullshit immediately. He also blames Mishima for spreading rumors about the protagonist, acting as though it was Mishima's own idea, and treats Ryuji punching him when he rightfully deserved it as Ryuji simply being petty.
  • Nightmare Face: He outwardly appears much more twisted in the anime, and is prone to these when he gets upset.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Has a fair bit in common with the Olympic gold medalist Masato Uchishiba, although Kamoshida won his medal in volleyball rather than judo and coaches a high school team instead of a college one. Still, both are Japanese gold medal-winning Olympic athletes turned coaches who engaged in sexual harassment and (most likely) rape.
  • No Cure for Evil: Subverted at first. Asmodeus can perform Libido Boost during the fight to eat one of the bodies in his trophy for an instant Diarahan. He will keep doing it as long as that trophy remains, so breaking the trophy to stop this should be top priority.
  • Not So Different: After being defeated, his Shadow claims that his obsession with being seen as the best stems from the expectations people placed upon him after his Olympic victory — much like how the protagonists are driven by the expectations of society. Ann quickly puts him in his place for even comparing himself to them.
  • Not Worth Killing: Following his defeat, Shadow Kamoshida attempts to commit suicide and later demands Ann to kill him for his atrocities. Ann, however, denies him this as he will not atone for his sins if he dies.
  • Oh, Crap!: His Shadow shows demonstrable fear in three instances.
    • During the Protagonist's awakening, he is clearly freaked out in the animated sequence, but he quickly regains his composure and orders his guards to kill the protag and Arsène. He remains more composed when Ryuji awakens later...
    • ...but when Ann awakens, he is clearly afraid, and remains so after the fight with Belphegor, his only line of dialogue being a panicked "Oh shit..."
    • When he loses in direct combat, he grabs the crown and runs, only to find he's running towards the balcony with the Thieves bearing down on him.
    • In The Animation, Kamoshida hits Ren's face with a volleyball, prompting Ren to give him a Death Glare that startles Kamoshida briefly.
  • Overly Long Tongue: His form during the boss battle has a saliva-coated tongue as long as his entire body, adding to his sleazy image and capable of attacking with it.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted. He is first seen offering the protagonist a ride to school, but it's clear this is because Ann is by him. When she reluctantly accepts, he gives Joker a wary glance before driving off.
  • Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You: His Shadow begs this of Ann after his defeat. She instead gives a Restrained Revenge, saying he needs to pay for his crimes rather than run from them.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Kamoshida, from his petulant attitude and immature sexual cravings, can best be summarized as a twisted Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up no longer having long-term goals or ambitions than lording over a high school like a popular jock. The way he kisses up to the teaching staff of Shujin for praise even resembles a snobby child craving attention for good work.
  • Pose of Supplication: During a school assembly, he assumes this pose while apologizing for his misdeeds in front of the principal and student body.
  • Puzzle Boss: In two phases. Firstly you need to destroy his trophy to stop him from healing, then you need to send one party member to sneak up on him and knock off his crown. During the second, you need to keep him distracted with your main party until this member is able to get into position. It takes time, but once his crown is off his defense is reduced so drastically he won't last much longer.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Despite Kamoshida physically abusing members of the sports teams for years, including Shiho, Yuki and Ryuji, it's the strongly implied rape of Ann's friend Shiho that makes Shiho attempt suicide, causes Yuki to side with the protagonists against Kamoshida, and drives the protagonists to decide they'll brainwash Kamoshida into admitting his crimes, even though he could potentially die in the process.
  • Reality Ensues: While Kamoshida is a filthy coward at heart, he is still a fit former Olympic athlete and not someone anyone can pick a physical altercation with. Ryuji previously punching him resulted in a vicious beating that crippled his leg. Kamoshida still regularly tries to goad Ryuji into assaulting him again just so he can beat him up again and claim self-defense to finally have him expelled.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Yes, his heart gets changed, but he's still enough of a jerk afterward to make a sex joke towards Ann when the party encounters his Shadow within Mementos Core.
  • Sadist: The way his "training" is presented in the palace shows that he gets a kick out of hurting students. His Shadow also orders the guards to take the time to beat up the protagonists rather than simply killing them immediately.
  • Sex for Services: He tries to justify his actions by claiming that his victims came to him in order to curry his favor. No one buys it for a second.
  • Sinister Schnoz: A rather downplayed example, but compared to most other characters his nose is drawn rather prominently in some of his character portraits, typically those used when he drops his facade and menaces people. It's the only hint to his true nature among his otherwise plain appearance. His nose is even more pronounced in the Stylistic Suck drawings that pop up when Morgana is explaining how stealing a treasure works.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: His treatment of his male students manifests as slaves in his palace; he has their information in a "Slave Book", and he has four lackeys in his boss fight adorned with balls and chains.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Played With. His Olympic gold medalist status means that he is highly valuable to Shujin Academy and students who received his college recommendations could get instant admission to the college of their choice. However, as an athlete he is largely forgotten by Japan and when his crimes were made public, most people felt that he was some no-name has been who should have just kept his head down.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He's the first target of the Phantom Thieves and one of the few targets to have no connection to the Conspiracy. That said his change of heart is what sets the game's plot in motion. It turns out that the principal did not report him to the police since it would draw too much media attention towards Shujin and harm Shido's chances at being elected. In fact because of his change of heart, the principal is one of the first people who catches on to the existence of the Phantom Thieves thanks to his ties to the Conspiracy leading him to manipulate Makoto into getting dirt on them which eventually leads to some of the plot points later on.
  • Starter Villain: He's the first antagonist the Thieves take on. He also fills many of the tropes in this regard, being of low personal status (a gym teacher) and having a personal connection to the first two friends the protagonist makes. He is also the only target to have absolutely no connection to Masayoshi Shido or the conspiracy in any capacity.note  His manipulation of the school could also be seen as a smaller-scale version of what Yaldabaoth was doing to the entire city in that the students were doing nothing to change their lives, despite being "prisoners", for the sake of social harmony, just like the people of Tokyo.
  • Stripperific: Shadow Kamoshida only wears four articles of clothing; his crown, a pair of shoes, his cape, and a speedo.
    • Disturbingly, this also applies to the cognitions of his female students in his palace.
  • Tarot Motifs:
    • Reversed Chariot— representing lack of control, lack of success and being full of aggression. Fittingly, most characters associated with this Arcana are athletes.
    • Reversed Lovers— False love, infidelity and feeling helpless, representing his lust for his students.
  • Training from Hell: Kamoshida's training methods are... extreme, to say the least. And by "extreme", we mean "borderline criminal", and even worse than that if you count what happened to Ryuji. It's Flanderization Flanderized in Kamoshida's Palace, where the cognitive entities emulating the track and volleyball teams are subjected to actual torture. It's heavily implied that his "training regimen" consists of denying his atheltes water even when they need it, beating them up if he felt that they are incomptent as well as randomly and deliberately spiking volleyballs right onto them. As if Ryuji didn't have enough reasons to be angry with him already...
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Various confrontations with Kamoshida and Ryuji can have the protagonist taking the reasonable approach and talking Ryuji out of being goaded into doing something impulsive. Kamoshida only continues to antagonize Joker despite this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Asmodeus has one over the course of his boss fight as the party takes away his trophies, being shocked into dropping his guard after his trophy cup is destroyed, and having a Despair Event Horizon after his crown is taken. By the end of it, he doesn't even care if he lives or not.
  • Warm-Up Boss: As the first major target, his Shadow serves to teach the player about how boss battles work. Namely, that brute force alone isn't enough to win, and you may have to send one of your party members away to get an advantage, forcing you to think about party lineups.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He physically abuses and sexually assaults several of the female players. Just ask poor Shiho. In The Animation, we actually get to see him assault her.

    Azazel (Ichiryuusai Madarame) 

Ichiryuusai Madarame
Click here to see his Shadow 
"I make the rules of the art scene! I am the supreme being! I AM THE GOD OF THE ART WORLD!"

Sin: Irritum (Vanity)
Shadow: Azazel
Voiced by: Yukitoshi Hori (JP), Kyle Hebert (EN)

The second major target. He is a famous Japanese painter who adopted Yusuke Kitagawa when Yusuke's parents died. He has been claiming both Yusuke's and his other disciples' work as his own, propping up his own fame at the cost of his students'. His unwillingness to create his own work and his desire for fame create a Palace inside the collective unconscious where he transforms into Azazel, demon of Vanity.

Madarame's Palace resembles a massive, gaudy art museum, and it is based in the run-down atelier where'd he raised Yusuke in the real world. In his Palace his Treasure resembles a painting, which is revealed to be the original, unedited Sayuri portrait. The painting in question is what the Treasure manifests as in the real world.

  • Abusive Parent: Downplayed. Despite having adopted Yusuke, he exploits the hell out of him, barely furnishing him while leeching off his talent. However, he treats Yusuke with enough kindness to earn his deep respect until the full extent of his corruption is revealed, and Sojiro wonders whether Madarame actually cared for Yusuke to some extent. Yusuke's confidant reveals that he did in fact genuinely care for Yusuke deep down in his greed blackened heart, at least before he openly turns against him.
  • Animal Motifs: Peacocks, fitting with him representing Vanity. Peacock feathers feature in a lot of his artwork and his Palace, along with a heavy blue and gold color scheme.
  • Archnemesis Dad: He adopted Yusuke after the boy's parents died, and serves as the boss of the dungeon where Yusuke gains his Persona.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Azazel isn't typically associated with any particular one of the Seven Deadly Sins, though myths describe him as having taught women how to use makeup, which makes him a decent enough fit for a villain representing vanity.
  • Bad Liar: Ann points out several contradictions when he tries to cover up his multiple copies of Sayuri. When Madarame claims the original was stolen and he had to sell copies to make a living, Ann points out that he couldn't have made copies if the original was stolen. Madarame then claims he got a high-quality photograph from an art book, but Ann shoots that down too when she points out Madarame himself said his clients have a keen eye for fine art; they'd know if he was selling them a copy of a copy. Then, when Ann and Yusuke uncover the real Sayuri moments later, Madarame claims it was a counterfeit that he bought. Ann points out that this excuse is "pushing it," since an artist wouldn't knowingly buy a fake of his own work.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Unlike the other targets, who are openly hostile to the protagonist and friends right away, since they trust their influence to protect them, Madarame at least pretends to be nice and personable on the outside. He has several "logical" excuses prepared to cover his tracks if exposed and it's only when the party keeps pressing the issue and forcing their way past his facade that he finally drops it. In reality, he doesn't appear to treat this as anything other than trespassing of private property; But his Shadow is a completely different person that blatantly flaunts and slips all of his beans in front of the party and has no remorse doing it. This is part of why Yusuke has such a hard time understanding the truth and takes it so badly.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: His own talents as an artist weren’t terrible, meaning that if he hadn't decided to run a scam by exploiting his pupils to cover for a slump, he could've had a successful legitimate career.
  • Broken Ace: He indeed used to be a famous artist and his work is not terrible at all, he just ran his pupil scamming scheme to make money from an artistic slump.
  • Broken Pedestal: Yusuke initially deeply respects him and finds it hard to believe that he'd do any wrong. By the end of the arc, Yusuke's faith in him is completely shattered.
  • Character Shilling: Long after Madarame has had a change of heart and confessed all his crimes, Yusuke still finds reasons to believe that his Evil Mentor may not have been such a bad guy. To some extent, this is a justified example in that Yusuke would have trouble reconciling the idea that the man who raised him could be so evil.
  • Child Hater: According to his old acquaintance, Madarame hated children, which made it odd for him to even adopt Yusuke in the first place. Turns out the reason was to leech off of their talents. However, it's implied with Yusuke that guilt over what Madarame did prior to taking him in played a part of it.
  • Cognizant Limbs: In order to get at the real Azazel, you have to destroy four portraits - two eyes, a nose and a mouth - each of which attacks separately, and each of which has its own unique resistances.
  • Consummate Liar: He's capable of deceiving anyone who had never met his Shadow or personally lived with him as a disciple long enough to witness his true nature.
  • Driven to Suicide: Nakanohara (one of Madarame's former pupils) informs the Thieves that another of Madarame's pupils found Madarame's conditions untenable and left, later finding out that Madarame had been using pupil's art for master's own gain; said ex-pupil subsequently ended his own life.
  • Elemental Powers: Madarame's portraits form can use renamed versions of Bufula and Garula. His human form uses Madara-Megido.note 
  • Evil Counterpart: To Sojiro. Both are older men who have taken in youths and looked after them, but while Sojiro is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who genuinely cares for his charges, Madarame is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who abuses the students he takes under his wing. The similarities run deeper when you take the child they've adopted and their relationship with that child's mother into account. Sojiro laments not being able to prevent Wakaba Isshiki's death and adopted Futaba as a way of atoning for it, while Madarame let Yusuke's mother die so he could profit off of her Sayuri painting, and exploits Yusuke's artistic talent in the present day.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite his disdain for children, it's revealed that Madarame did genuinely care about Yusuke, even though he exploited the hell out of him and his talents.
  • Evil Old Folks: He's the oldest of the targets.
  • Fake Special Attack: "Madara-Megido", Shadow Madarame's signature move in his human form. Most people who have played the Shin Megami Tensei series games would be worried to see a Megido attack that hits everyone, especially this early in the game... except that it does pitiful damage when it hits.
  • Fallen Hero: According to Kawanabe, Madarame was at one point a legitimately passionate artist before his spirit was crushed by the politics of the art world.
  • Faux Affably Evil: At first glance, he's kind of polite, humble and calm even when angered or being exposed of his crimes....Until you meet his Shadow, who blatantly flaunts all of his crimes like they were his pride and glory.
  • Foreshadowing: After his Shadow is defeated he mentions a Metaverse user with a "black mask" that he believes the Phantom Thieves are affiliated with. While small this is one of the first hints that a Conspiracy is targeting the Phantom Thieves, and there is another character with the ability to use the Metaverse and possibly a Persona.
  • A God Am I: As shown by his quote and fitting with his sin of Vanity, Madarame considers himself to have godlike authority over the world of art.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: His Palace and a lot of the things inside are gold or painted gold. Shadow Madarame wears robes like his real self entirely of gold. All of the gold is considered a gaudy eyesore by the phantom thieves.
  • Henohenomoheji: He plants a fake treasure as bait for the thieves. It's a painting of this with a cover on it. Shadow Madarame brings the real treasure to the boss fight.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Ironically, his Shadow is the one who officially spills the beans to the Phantom Thieves and Yusuke and stripped whatever redeeming qualities he had in the eyes of the latter by flaunting all of his crimes in a flamboyant way that his real self never will.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: While it's in its four portraits form, Azazel can cover a party member in ink, which gives them a weakness to every attack. If you don't take him down when he returns to his portrait form for the third time, a special operation unlocks where you can send a party member to cover him in the ink, allowing you to make short work of him. For an extra layer of irony, this also mirrors his MO in the real world; he's serial thief of other artists' ideas, but is defeated by someone stealing his powers.
  • Hypocrite: Practically everything about his initial characterization is a facade. He acts like a humble, self-deprecating artist and in fact explicitly claims that the key to his success is his detachment from worldly desires such as fame and fortune. His Palace ends up revealing that fame and fortune have been all he's cared about for a while, and only convinces his students not to profit from their art, so he can instead.
  • Ironic Name: His surname "Ichiryusai" means "Top artist." While he might once be, he now is simply reduced to scamming his pupils and plagiarizing their work.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He exhibits this during his boss battle. At first he laughs maniacally then seemingly melts into his demon form, which speaks in a high and mighty Large Ham tone. Once the portraits are destroyed and the real Madarame appears, he looks extremely terrified and seems to be talking big just to deny that he can hold his fort no longer, and it's revealed that he's not transforming into the portraits, he's just hiding behind them.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: When confessing his crimes at a press conference, his character portrait shows him openly weeping with streams of tears and snot running down his face. Several pedestrians later mock him for it, with a comical drawing of his wailing showing up on the class blackboard.
  • It's All About Me: His sin and motif, an older sin (Vainglory) that would be folded along with Pride. For years he has not made a single piece of art on his own, taking credit for his disciples'. The resulting fame has given way to self-idolatry on his part, using his status for money and to stroke his ego (his Palace, a grandiose art museum, is based in his own run-down house in the real world, is proof that his humble behavior is little more than an act, as his Shadow claims he has a grander house under a mistress's name). His refusal to make any work of his own also gives him elements of Sloth.
  • It's Personal: Yusuke feels deeply betrayed after discovering Madarame's true nature in his Palace. And then he reveals he essentially murdered Yusuke's mother in order to steal the painting she made for Yusuke as a baby.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A microscopic example. He is nothing but a hideously evil Jerk With A Heartof Jerk in the story, but toward the end of Yusuke's confidant, the sympathetic and tragic sides of Madarame's personality are discussed. Joker and Yusuke conclude that deep, deep down, Madarame still had some good in his heart through sincere concern for Yusuke.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The whole reason why the Phantom Thieves found out for sure that he was taking advantage of his pupils is because one of them, Natsuhiko Nakanohara, started to stalk his ex-girlfriend after having his dreams crushed and she posted about the harassment on the Phansite.
  • Master of All: His reputation is partly due to mastering all forms of Japanese art, although this is a lie- he's simply stealing the credit from his apprentices, who bring a variety of styles to the table.
  • Money, Dear Boy:invoked His shadow claims that there's no purpose for art except as a brand or as a way to make money. After he's beaten, he confesses that he's scared of being a Starving Artist again. Yusuke has little sympathy for his plight.
  • Murder by Inaction: Yusuke's mother had a seizure in front of him. While Madarame didn't cause the seizure, he did let her die when he could've saved her in order to exploit the Sayuri for profit.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Probably unintentional, but he looks very similar to George Carlin.
  • Pet the Dog: While Yusuke resolves to change Madarame's heart as soon as he encounters his Shadow, he does note that Madarame at least had the heart to adopt and care for him for most of his life. It's subverted when Madarame's Shadow reveals that he let Yusuke's mother die to steal her work, and in fact adopted Yusuke for the express purpose of covering this up. Yusuke pointedly tells the Shadow that he has no reason left to forgive him. A potentially straight example, though, is when an old acquaintance of Madarame recalls how Madarame once called him, desperately trying to find someone to treat Yusuke when he fell ill with a fever as a young boy.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: He steals the credit for his students' work. The most prominent among them is a painting titled Sayuri, which is seen in-universe as his greatest work. In reality, the painting was a self-portrait of Yusuke's mother holding him when he was a baby, and knowing that she would likely die young due to her illness, she intended it to be a parting gift for her son. When she did die, Madarame gave the painting a name and painted over the baby in order to make it a shallow sensationalist piece. The untouched painting is what his Treasure manifests as in the real world, likely because he either saw it as a stepping stone to his rise to fame or was unable to kill his admiration for the original's artistic merit.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • He waits until after the art exhibit ends to press charges against the party, knowing that doing so during the exhibit would only damage his reputation. Ironically, this restraint gives the Thieves time to steal his heart, and ends up being his undoing.
    • While it is treated as a potential Pet the Dog moment, him trying to save Yusuke as a child could easily be seen as him not letting his potential golden goose die.
    • While Kamoshida and Shido are also Bitches in Sheeps' Clothing, Madarame is more consistent in maintaining his friendly facade and never drops it until he actually feels threatened, allowing him to create fewer enemies and to make it harder for his apprentices to realize they're being exploited. It helps that he lacks the influence of the powerful to protect him.
  • Properly Paranoid: In spite of his apparently friendly demeanor toward the protagonists, and that he has no real reason to consider them a threat, his Palace's security already considers them enemies the first time they enter, resulting in them immediately changing into their thief costumes. His suspicions are correct, since they did come with the intention of stealing his heart.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He has a great deal of influence in the art world, and uses it to retaliate against anyone who speaks out against him by having them blacklisted. He all but names the trope at one point.
  • Self-Deprecation: He's willing to pretend to do this in order to further his facade. When Yusuke gets angry as the party reveals their suspicions to him, Madarame tries to get him to calm down, saying that it's natural that not everyone would like him. When Ann breaks into his private room, causing Yusuke to discover Madarame's counterfeiting racket, he makes up another lie on the spot about how having his painting stolen, as well as his own financial irresponsibility, landed him in a tough position and pushed him into doing this kind of shady work.
  • The Stool Pigeon: His Shadow is such to him, as he spills the real one's beans whenever he pleases. Without the Thieves encountering his Shadow, his plans to ruin Yusuke would had been ran down successfully and he would be saving himself a face.
  • The Svengali: A manipulative, exploitative figure who is using Yusuke for his own gain while claiming Yusuke "owes" him for taking him in. And he killed his student's mother too.
  • Tarot Motifs: Reversed Emperor— representing his abusive control and manipulation.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Madarame's boss fight is an interesting inverted example, as dragging his fight out long enough for him to regenerate his painting form twice makes it a near guaranteed victory for the player. At this point the player can steal his Signature Move that makes the target weak to all forms of damage, including basic physical attacks. While not a guaranteed victory for the player, it makes the fight much easier as you can pretty much knock out all of his paintings in one turn.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As the Royal trailer shows, rather then being defenseless when taken out of his Azazel form, he summons 4 elemental copies of himself to keep fighting.
  • Two-Faced: The real Madarame acts quite calm and collected for such a twisted person. Even if he gets angry for Yusuke and Ann exposing him, he still acts like as if he is just lawsuiting them for trespassing private property. It is impossible to know what he actually is before you get extorted by him.... or you meet his shadow, who blatantly spills everything about him without remorse, and he even looks proud of it.
  • Villain Ball: Shadow Madarame was able to dupe the Phantom Thieves by letting them steal a decoy of his Treasure. Rather than let them escape and waste their one chance (not that he would know It Only Works Once), Shadow Madarame confronts the Phantom Thieves and brings his actual Treasure with him to gloat. But naturally, gloating and showing off are a key part of his sin, Vanity.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Madarame feels entitled to profit from the works of his pupils and they should feel gratitude towards him despite the abuse he puts them through.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Discussed during Yusuke's Confidant. Yusuke acknowledges that Madarame took care of him from infancy despite there being no evidence that he would have any artistic skills and Kawanabe recalled a time where he was desperately looking for a doctor after hours when a baby Yusuke caught a fever. This suggests that he wasn't always such as awful as he's seen in-game.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Nakanohara and eventually Yusuke realize that Madarame's modus operandi involves disposing of his apprentices once he no longer needs their talents. He's even willing to go as far as to let Yusuke's mother die in order to steal her masterpiece and exploit her son.
  • You Killed My Mother: To Yusuke's mother, via Murder by Inaction.

    Bael (Junya Kaneshiro) 

Junya Kaneshiro
Click here to see his Shadow 
"I'm gonna swarm all over you, and squeeze out every last penny!"

Sin: Gula (Gluttony)
Shadow: Bael
Voiced by: Kazunari Tanaka (game) Takahiro Fujimoto (anime) (JP), Jalen K. Cassell (EN)

The third major target. He is a mafia boss who has been blackmailing and extorting high school students for money. His indifference toward his victims and overindulgent lifestyle creates a Palace inside the collective unconscious, where he transforms into Baal, demon of Gluttony.

His Palace is a massive floating bank, and in the real world it is imposed across the entirety of Shibuya, as he runs many of his operations out of it. His Treasure, which resembles a massive stack of gold bars in the Palace, is a gold plated suitcase filled with stacks of fake currency in the real world.

  • Adaptational Jerkass: As bad as he is in the original game, his Animation counterpart is even worse. When blackmailing Makoto, he orders his men to forcefully strip her naked before having her pictures taken. Fortunately, they were stopped by the timely intervention of the Phantom Thieves.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Kaneshiro's shadow has purple skin.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Declares his intent to make Sae his "personal slave" to Makoto's face. It ends badly for him.
  • Animal Motifs: Pigs and flies, both animals often associated with gluttony. Piggy banks appear all over his Palace, and both are visible during his boss fight, with him assuming a fly-like One-Winged Angel form in the first phase and piloting a giant mechanical piggy bank for the second. Pigs also fit with his general appearance.
    Kaneshiro: Yeh called my Piggytron a pig earlier, right? Were yeh talkin' about me too when you said that?!
  • Artistic License – Religion: Played with; even though his design is based on Beelzebub, Kaneshiro's Shadow uses the name Bael, the name of the original ancient god that was demonized in Judeo-Christian traditions into Beelzebub.
  • Bad Boss: After receiving the calling card, he orders his goons to hand over their earnings or he will kill them. His Shadow threatens the guards he sends at Makoto after her Awakening in a similar manner.
  • Bait-and-Switch: His treasure in the real world is a golden suitcase full of money...except that the money itself is completely fake. The case that the money came in, however, is made of actual gold. The Thieves sell that off in order to fund an expensive dinner at a high-end sushi restaurant.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Bael is based on Beelzebub (The lord of the flies)/Baal, so of course Kaneshiro's Shadow turns into a bugman.
  • Blackmail: Takes photos of the protagonists inside his club, with alcohol and cigarettes in the shot when they try to confront him, and threatens to release the pictures in three weeks they don't pay him 3 million yen. The party has to clear his dungeon before he makes good on this threat.
  • Blatant Lies: He says that his Piggytron is definitely not a pig, even though it looks like a cross between a bank vault and a giant mechanical pig.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In contrast to Kamoshida's volleyball team slaves and Madarame's painting cognitions of his pupils, Kaneshiro's walking ATMs are all virtually identical to each other.
  • Break the Cutie: His Shadow threatens Makoto with this, which leads directly into her Awakening.
    "Then you better start taking customers tomorrow. All you gotta do is endure it and do as you're told. You'll earn three million yen in no time. Although, your life and everything along with it will be a complete wreck by then! Gwahahahahaha!"
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Gives 3 million yen to his mistress basically for the hell of it. It's why he's Gluttony and not Greed - he wants money solely to show off that he has it, rather than harboring greater ambitions like Okumura.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: He orders the party to hand him 3 million yen after he gives the same amount to his mistress. And he only wants the party to pay that money because they interrupted him from sexually exploiting Makoto.
  • The Don: He's evidently the head of his own Yakuza clan.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Slightly. When hinting at the Conspiracy to the Phantom Thieves, the tone in which his shadow describes how there is no low they won't sink to implies even Kaneshiro thinks they're in a different league of depravity. He finishes his speech expressing the Thieves (and himself) are nothing to them in scope and can't stop them.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He's genuinely befuddled that the Phantom Thieves aren't exploiting the hell out of the Metaverse to enrich themselves like Shido and Black Mask/Akechi.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: A gluttonous, blackmailing, sex-slaving oyabun with a deep voice.
  • Fartillery: Piggytron's Fear Gas attack comes out of its exhaust port.
  • Fat Bastard: Take a good look. Also, he's extremely touchy about it.
  • Filler Villain: Downplayed. The only major events that happen during his arc are Makoto becoming your ally, and learning more about Black Mask. He has no personal connection to anyone in or out of your party, his boss fight is fairly straightforward, and his confession happens entirely off-screen, with Sae and Akechi recounting it. It's pretty likely he's just here to demonstrate the Phantom Thieves' powers. On the other hand, he's tied to the Conspiracy (he's one of their financial backers), and because he had been notorious for evading the police for so long, his change of heart is what truly puts the Phantom Thieves on the map. Furthermore his actions actually have a severe effect on Shujin Academy by spreading drugs and criminal behavior to the students, making him one of the more important Targets the heroes go after.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Late into the fight against Piggytron, the Thieves distract him by giving him valuable items, allowing them to wail on Piggytron while Kaneshiro is obsessing over his new possession and not paying attention to the fight.
  • Foreshadowing: After his Shadow is defeated, he comments how the Phantom Thieves are wasting away their extraordinary powers to uphold a "naive sense of justice" and could instead exploit them to take control of the world. This is what the Phantom Thieves sink to doing in the ending where Joker sides with Yaldabaoth after concluding society cares nill for their justice and isn't worth saving.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Kaneshiro thinks that he can extort the poor and gain money from them because he himself grew up in poverty. This does nothing to gain any sympathy from the Phantom Thieves.
  • Gonk: He's distinctly uglier than the other targets, who go more by They Look Just Like Everyone Else!.
  • Hate Sink: Less so than Kamoshida and Shido, but still utterly loathsome. Even after his shadow is defeated, he still acts smug, unrepentant, and condescending towards the Phantom Thieves, something that not even Shido's shadow did.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Wants to make Sae his "personal slave", and intends on forcing Makoto into prostitution to recoup the 3 million yen. The latter occurs if the player misses his Palace's deadline, though (thankfully) not actually as it's a product of Joker's drug induced stupor, but it very well could have if The Phantom Thieves screwed up.
  • The Hedonist: As the representation of Gluttony, Kaneshiro indulges in spending frivolously without a regard for the consequences. He doesn't spend money because he wants something, but rather he spends money for the sake of spending money.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Do enough damage to him when he starts up Piggytron's "Super VIP Form" Rolling Attack, and he'll fall off and be squashed himself.
  • Humongous Mecha: Pilots a giant mechanical Piggy Bank named Piggytron in the second phase of his fight.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: For all his smugness and confidence, his Shadow is shown to be extremely insecure especially when concerning his weight and wealth. This is what drives his obsession with money, due to being mocked for his weight and poor background.
  • Kick the Dog: Saddling Makoto and the Phantom Thieves (when he thought the latter were still ordinary high-schoolers) with a 3 million yen debt basically out of spite, and then threatening to make Sae and Makoto Sex Slaves if they can't pay. That last one ends up triggering Makoto's Awakening.
  • Meaningful Name: Kaneshiro literally means "Money Castle". Nothing could be more appropriate for a target whose Palace is a bank.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: Kaneshiro isn't actually a banker, but he sees his scam as the equivalent of running a bank. For this reason, his Palace is a bank of which his Shadow is the President.
  • Never My Fault: Claims he's just a victim of society after losing to the party since as a poor, ugly man he had to do evil deeds to get to the top! The party naturally buys none of this.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Twice. Blackmailing Makoto and the team lets them enter his Palace, and his Shadow's threats towards Sae help trigger Makoto's Awakening.
  • Nouveau Riche: He exemplifies the obnoxious mannerisms and greed typical of the Nouveau Riche, on top of being a criminal.
  • Obviously Evil: While other Targets at least have a good reputation to cover themselves (though Kunikazu Okumura's reputation takes a nosedive even before his heart is stolen), Kaneshiro is the only Target whose job is criminal by nature and also a target of police, and the other reason why the Phantom Thieves targeted him (aside from Makoto's request and getting blackmailed) was to show the world that the Phantom Thieves will also target corrupt people who are also on the police's radar, to show they're not 100% against law enforcement.
  • Oh, Crap!: Makoto's awakening and direct assault on his Shadow's guards leave this impression on his face. He regains his composure quick, though.
  • One-Winged Angel: Transforms into a more fly-like version of himself as Bael. This form isn't much of a threat on its own though...
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Thieves only meet his real person once, and the only other time his real person appears is after the Thieves sent him the calling card. He's never even seen appearing out of his nightclub.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: When the party first encounters his Shadow, he states that young women are the easiest to target because they lack strength and brainpower and that they only exist to be 'devoured'. Makoto's awakening is largely triggered by the glee he expresses over the prospect of making her and Sae Defiled Forever by having them work as prostitutes.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Kaneshiro cultivates a mysterious image as a dreaded Shadow Dictator of one of the most untouchable and terrifying gangs in Japan. When the Thieves meet him, however, he proves to be nothing like what's expected of such an individual. Kaneshiro introduces himself throwing a ridiculous temper tantrum over his guards letting kids into his den, then anxiously claims he must spend a lot of money now to relieve the "stress" of such a situation. The Palace of his subconscious is also second to Okumura in being the most childish compared to the deeply twisted nature of the other Palaces, illustrating Kaneshiro as a deeply insecure manchild under all the bluster.
  • Rags to Riches: He was once poor, and "worked" his way up to the top.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He is not as lustful as Kamoshida, but Kaneshiro is still considered one of the most deplorable targets of Phantoms Thieves due to his desire of wanting to force both Niijima sisters to a life of sex slavery. He even stated that he was planning on making Sae his "personal slave", something that greatly angered Makoto. The Yakuza is known for their sex trades, after all, so it makes sense.
  • “The Reason You Suck” Speech: Does this to Makoto, calling her useless in comparison to her sister, whom he also wants under his thumb. Like Kamoshida, he ends up triggering Makoto awakening her Persona.
  • Retail Therapy: He claims that he spends money to relieve stress and that the 3 million yen he demands from the protagonists is to pay for a present he gave to one of his mistresses in anger over his subordinates allowing someone to find him.
  • Rolling Attack: Piggytron's most dangerous move, though you can make it backfire on him.
  • Sadist: His Shadow laughs maniacally at the thought of destroying Makoto's life by forcing her into sex trafficking.
  • The Social Darwinist: Believes those at the top of society should oppress the weak. Ironic, seeing as he used to be poor himself.
  • The Sociopath: Say what you will about Kamoshida, but at least he recognized other people as human beings. Kaneshiro's cognitions of the people of Shibuya are walking, talking Automatic Teller Machines.
  • Squashed Flat: This will happen to him if you mess up his Rolling Attack.
  • Tarot Motifs: Reversed Temperance— Imbalance, excessiveness and lack of a long term vision; fitting for one guilty of the sin of gluttony.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Combines this with Tranquil Fury after realizing his men got followed by the Phantom Thieves. When Ryuji asks him why he's giving money to his mistress seemingly out of the blue, Kaneshiro responds with a ghastly smile and this line:
    Kaneshiro: I'm royally pissed right now. Can you tell? You know how spending money relieves stress? [...] See this empty space? I'm so pissed that now there's a three million yen gap here.
  • Tranquil Fury: When he receives a calling card from the Phantom Thieves, he nonchalantly dismisses it. But you could clearly tell that he's seething with anger given the terrified expression of the goon who passed the calling card to him.
  • Trick Boss: When you fight him, at first he is pretty weak and only fights on foot. The standard boss music also does not play and the mid-boss theme plays instead. But after you beat him, he instantly hops onto his Piggytron and fights you at full force, with the music becoming the actual boss theme.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When the calling card arrives, he threatens his men to hand over everything they've earned at once lest he kill them while he and his mistress intend to skip town. Like this helped him in the end.
  • Villainous Glutton: His sin and motif. He's a Yakuza boss who flaunts his power with money and objects and isn't afraid to trample over others to gain even more of it. His Palace being a massive bank ties to Greed as well, but the main difference between him and Okumura (who better embodies the latter sin) is that Kaneshiro is satisfied overindulging as an oyabun, whereas Okumura has ambitions beyond being president of his company. His need for overindulgence can be tied to having grown up poor, as explained below.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Not exactly dying for real, but once his Shadow is defeated, he decides to throw the Thieves a major bone on the mysterious Conspiracy without dropping any names.
  • Visual Pun: Both of his demon forms are based on a pun relating to their name. Bael becomes a ball and Piggytron is a mechanical piggy bank.
  • What an Idiot!: In-Universe. Kaneshiro has this reaction at his subordinates when the Phantom Thieves barge into his hideout in the real world.note 
    Kaneshiro: Oh, I get it. You got followed, you dumb shits!
  • Wicked Pretentious: His Shadow affects the mannerisms of an upper-class bank president, though he abandons it for his boss battle.
  • Would Hurt a Child: His criminal organization makes drug mules out of high school students by promising easy money, making them easier to extort for all they're worth; the students would be too afraid of getting arrested by the police for the drug-dealing to tattle on the gang. His Shadow takes it a step further, gloating to Makoto that he's going to pimp her out as a sex slave if she fails to pay back her debt. The bad ending of his Palace proves he's not kidding.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Despicable as he is, it takes a special kind of criminal go from having his hideout discovered by a bunch of kids to fabricating blackmail material on the five of them by simply pulling out his cell phone and taking a photo. Furthermore, his Shadow revealed that extorting money out of them wasn't his real objective, but instead Kaneshiro was hoping that Makoto would fail to pay him and then use her as leverage against her sister the prosecutor, who he knew was trying to send him to prison, a chance he spotted the moment his men brought Makoto to him.
  • Yakuza: An oyabun, to be precise.
  • You Fool!: Right before his boss battle, he stops trying to justify himself and breaks out a long string of childish insults.

    Shadow Futaba (Spoilers) 

Futaba Sakura

"You were used! They trampled all over your young heart! Get mad! Don't forgive those rotten adults!"

Sin: Ira (Wrath)
Boss: The Sphinx
Shadow voiced by: Aoi Yuuki (JP), Erica Lindbeck (EN)
Sphinx voiced by: Minako Arakawa (JP), Erin Fitzgerald (EN)

The fourth major target. Futaba Sakura's feelings of Survivor Guilt and self-hatred creates a Palace inside the collective unconscious, where her emotions manifest as the Sphinx, avatar of Wrath. Unlike the other Shadows, Shadow Futaba isn't the Sphinx. Rather, Futaba's Shadow represents her suppressed positive feelings about herself. Meanwhile, the Sphinx is Futuba's misguided projection of her dead mother, whose passing has been driving Futaba deeper and deeper into self-loathing. After realizing the Thieves are trying to help Futuba, she willingly aids them, and eventually becomes the Persona Necronomicon to protect her other self.

Futaba's Palace resembles an Egyptian pyramid meant to serve as a tomb, and it is based in her and Sojiro Sakura's house in the real world. Due to the unique circumstances surrounding her and her Palace, her treasure turns out to be herself. While Morgana suspects that a "traditional" Treasure lied in a massive sarcophagus at the top of the Pyramid, Futaba enters her Palace herself, and subsequently becomes the Treasure instead.

  • Already Done for You: Futaba accepts her Shadow on her own, without the party's help.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The dungeon is based on Futaba's thoughts and controlled by her Shadow, so things are expected to occur like they did in Persona 4, right? Nope, Futaba's Shadow is not the boss of the dungeon, and Futaba accepts and converts into a Persona without a fight, using it to pull a Big Damn Heroes on the real boss: a false version of Futaba's mother created by her mind, a manifestation of her belief that her mother blames her for her death. To top off the switch, Futaba herself is the treasure of her palace: by "stealing" her own heart, she is able to reform from a suicidal shut-in to a happier and more confident young woman who overcomes her fear of her mother. It also prevent her from suffering the usual fates of those who have their treasure stolen as she was able to maintain her free will instead of ending up being in the prison of regression as a docile and eerily tranquil girl and oh, getting arrested as Ali Baba.
    • Futaba's acting as a shut-in will lead players to assume her sin motif is Sloth. Except her true sin is actually Wrath, representing her self hatred in the form of blaming herself for her mother's death, as well as unintentionally enabling a group of government hacks to impersonate her group Medjed to resort to a nationwide hacking spree that endangers not just her, but the identities of people like Joker and the rest of the Phantom Thieves.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her stomach is completely bare in her pharaoh outfit.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: Her palace takes the form of a desert and massive Egyptian pyramids and temples.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Shadow Futaba's security level icon takes the form of white eyes, which glow upon the Thieves being spotted.
  • Enemy Without: She's a Shadow Self, what did you expect? Well, joke's on you. Shadow Futaba and the Sphinx are two different people, with Shadow Futaba embodying Futaba's remaining hope and desire to come out of her depression.
  • Four Is Death: She's the fourth Palace ruler, born from Survivor's Guilt and suicidal depression.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The Shadows in the palace call her "Queen Futaba" during negotiations, but it's played with in that while she's antagonistic to the party at first, Futaba herself is a significantly better person than the other targets, and her Shadow reflects that.
  • Good Counterpart: Unlike the Shadows in Persona 4, who were born of the repressed negative feelings of their hosts, Futaba's Shadow is her hidden positive feelings, since Futaba outwardly is filled with self-loathing.
  • The Heartless: Shadow Futaba is the first Shadow in the series to actually invert this trope as she was born from Futaba's positive feelings instead of her negative ones.
  • Hero Antagonist: Shadow Futaba, born as she is of the real one's survival instinct and attempts to talk herself out of suicide, is actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold-the reason she's hostile to the Phantom Thieves is that she thought they were going to hurt Futaba more, and she willingly becomes a Persona when the real Futaba arrives.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Shadow Futaba doesn't initially realize she needs the Thieves' help to save Futaba from herself.
  • Nepharious Pharaoh: Futaba's antagonistic Shadow dresses like an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. Actually, she's not nearly as antagonistic as most Shadow Selves are.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The palace overall has two of them. One is the Sphinx, which to summarize is Futaba's perception of her mother's hatred against her. The other is Shadow Futaba or moreso her IRL counterpart, as she was looking for an easy way to recover from her Truama and being a Hikikomori, her shadow never actually fights you (in fact her overall resistance is comparitivly token to the other palace rulers), let alone takes one a monsterous forms which only shared with one other boss shadow, and the persona she turns to doesn't fight much either, being a Support Party Member. As you can tell, they directly oppose each other.
  • The Power of Hate: She encourages Futaba to vent her anger at the adults responsible for not only killing her mother, but also faking a suicide note which mentally wrecked her for years under the pretence that she was responsible.
  • Pyramid Power: The dungeon's Boss Battle hides at the top of a massive pyramid.
  • The Stoic: Shadow Futaba is completely controlled and measured at all times, even as the Phantom Thieves grow more and more frustrated with her riddles and games. The Sphinx, on the other hand, screams every line at the top of her lungs and attacks savagely and constantly unless stunned by a catapult shot.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: One moment she asks the party for help, only to immediately let them fall into a death trap afterwards. This is a representation of the real Futaba's desire to be saved and her instinct to push people away as a defense mechanism.
  • Survivor Guilt: Her isolation is due to her mother dying due to mental shutdown followed by a car accident, which people falsely said was suicide due to the stress of raising Futaba. And she's so depressed she thinks her mother blames her for it.
  • Tarot Motifs: The Reversed Hermit, representing unhealthy and excessive isolation, symbolized by Futaba's Palace being on the other side of a massive desert, even when the gang enters the Metaverse right outside her room. The actual Sphinx, not Shadow Futaba, represents this. Shadow Futaba represents the upright Hermit, the ability to grow emotionally from introspection and finding inner balance and stability.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Her sin and motif is Wrath - The Sphinx, that is, as she appears to Futaba as a massive beast fueled with anger and a need for vengeance stemming from Futaba being born. The Wrath also manifests herself in the real Futaba - in an ironic twist, her anger and hatred is directed towards herself. Shadow Futaba herself does not embody Wrath at all, but is instead accused of Sloth (in it despair and fear aspects) by the Calling Card-and even that's a bit downplayed, as Shadow Futaba's initial antagonism is born of Futaba's social anxiety, and she actually wants Futaba to break out of her isolation and shell. However, the organization that she led and is impersonated by Shido's cronies, Medjed represents this as the Cleanse is utterly indiscriminate in whom it targets and that includes her and everyone she knows.
  • Walking Spoiler: Everything regarding the fact that Futaba has her own Shadow as well as that Shadow not actually being the true boss fight of Futaba's palace is a huge spoiler.


    Mammon (Kunikazu Okumura) 

Kunikazu Okumura
Click here to see his Shadow 

"The cold reality of kicking people down is a part of business! Virtue and sentiment are for losers."

Sin: Avaritia (Greed)
Shadow: Mammon
Voiced by: Hirohiko Kakegawa (JP), Christopher Corey Smith (EN)

The fifth major target. He is the president of Okumura Foods, a fast food company most famous for the Big Bang Burger chain you can find in various places in the game, and he is Haru Okumura's father. His selfish ambitions to enter the political world at the cost of both his company and employees' livelihoods creates a Palace inside the Metaverse, where he transforms into Mammon, demon of Greed.

Okumura's Palace is a Space Station, and it is based in the Okumura Foods World HQ in the real world. His treasure resembles a mysterious orb with a metallic shell, while in the real world it manifests as a model toy kit of a spaceship he wanted as a child but was too poor to buy.

  • Abusive Parents: Forces his daughter into an Arranged Marriage with a man he knows is sexually predatory (judging by his cognition), solely for political gain.
  • Action Bomb: He will order his robot minions to self-destruct during his boss battle.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: His business practices are hard on his employees, and he puts Haru in an arranged marriage with the (potentially abusive) son of a member of the Diet to give himself a political boost, but Haru still legitimately cares for him and believes he can be the good man he once was... and so none of the Thieves think he remotely deserved his fate, never mind the effect it has on poor Haru.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: His shadow has blue skin.
  • Ambition Is Evil: His wishes to expand his wealth and his influence - the latter by becoming a politician - is why he represents Greed. Despite the fact that Kaneshiro had a palace that took the form of a bank, he is content hoarding luxuries and lacks Okumura's ambitions.
  • Archnemesis Dad: He is Haru's father while also serving as the boss of her dungeon, since she wants to change his heart so that she won't have to get married. Played with, in that he would be an example of Good Parents were it not for his willingness to sacrifice Haru's happiness for his political ambitions. His Shadow is horrified upon realizing Haru has turned on him, but quickly declares her worthless and leaves her to Cognitive Sugimura.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Averted; he, Kaneshiro, Kamoshida, and Sae use the standard demons for their respective sins.
  • Asshole Victim: An in-universe example. After his death was broadcasted live, many people on the Phansite disturbingly rejoice his death for all the crimes he had done.
  • Bad Boss: Orders his robot minions to self-destruct to damage the party. To a lesser extent, the real Okumura is highly exploitative of his employees, which is why they're represented as robots in the space station.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Okumura tries to climb his way up to the political ladder, and its even implied that he plans on running against Shido in the elections. Unfortunately, he's nothing more than another loose end for the Conspiracy to tie up.
  • Closet Geek: Heavily implied. His shadow seems to relish in theatrical villainy and wears an obvious Darth Vader knockoff suit, and his Palace has an outlandish sci-fi theme that turns out to be directly based on his treasure, a model spaceship kit that his father refused to buy him when he was a kid.
  • Co-Dragons: Shadow Okumura has Cognitive Sugimura and the Corporobo MDL-ED, the cognitive version of the real-life second-in-command of his company, in this role.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He is the head of a fast food empire who overworks his employees to dangerous levels, puts profit over the quality of his products, and is a member of The Conspiracy.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Upon his Shadow Self being killed, in the real world he oozes out sludge from his mouth and eyes on live television in a way that looks extremely painful.
  • Darth Vader Clone: As befitting a sci-fi geek with a space station Palace, his Shadow's costume is basically Darth Vader's with a spaceman helmet instead of the iconic mask. Also, he used to be a decent man before succumbing to his worse nature, tries to get his child to follow him in being immoral and self-serving, and is ultimately subservient to someone with more power and even less scruples. Finally, he ultimately dies while trying to bring down his former leader, but tragically, he gets assassinated before he can expose the Conspiracy instead of going out in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In contrast to Madarame (mostly) and a true monster like Shido, Okumura genuinely cares for Haru despite his willingness to put his ambitions first, and genuinely begs for her forgiveness once he's defeated. It makes her reaction to his death considerably more tragic.
  • Fatal Flaw: Greed, obviously. Literally in this case, as it's implied his political ambitions put him into conflict with Shido and partly fueled the decision to knock him off.
  • Flunky Boss: The flunkies he summons form the main part of the fight (the last of which is essentially a King Mook), with Okumura himself hanging out of reach, supporting them with buffs and debuffing your party. Once his flunkies are all gone, Okumura himself turns into a Zero-Effort Boss, since he'll never attack, and he'll go down with just a few regular hits.
  • Food Fight: His King Mook has an attack which involves a cartoony tray of a Big Bang Burger meal which explodes.
  • Foreshadowing: During the interrogation room segment, Sae warns Joker about how his testimony towards what happened with Okumura will be taken very seriously. This is a hint towards him getting killed during the course of the story.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Wears glasses and happens to be a villain targeted by the Phantom Thieves. Played with, in that he's one of the more sympathetic ones.
  • Freudian Excuse: Haru notes that when he was a child, his father/her grandfather was a kind businessman, but was often in debt due to his lack of financial skills. Kunikazu had to watch his father undergo this and thus shaped him to become the opposite; a shrewd and ruthless businessman with little kindness. His Treasure manifested in real life is actually a spaceship model kit he desperately wanted, but could not afford, which also explains the theme of his palace.
  • Gratuitous English: In the Japanese version, he gives Morgana ten seconds to choose between him and the Thieves, saying "Time is money!" in English.
  • Greed: His sin and motif. His business practices (overworked employees and unsanitary working conditions among them) are unethical and driven by profit, and he put his daughter in an Arranged Marriage with the son of a member of the Diet so that he can enter the political world, not only knowing that the younger man would likely take mistresses but consenting to let Haru be one of them should she become unsuitable for marriage. His space station palace embodies both his ambitions and his tacit ignorance of his sacrificing Haru's happiness.
  • He Knows Too Much: As he's about to reveal the ones behind the conspiracy, his Shadow is shot and destroyed, causing his real self to die during a press conference soon after.
  • His Name Is...: Akechi kills him before he can reveal Shido is the leader of the conspiracy.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: One of his attacks, Big Bang Challenge, deals a ton of Almighty damage. While it may seem bad, it actually helps out any party members affected with Hunger (which, as stated below, is one debuff you'll be seeing a lot during his boss fight); instead of being hurt, the attack fully heals them and removes Hunger.
  • Ill Man: He's apparently not in the best of health. Haru points this out when he's bedridden after his heart is stolen, and when he's killed, it's brought up again, which is why people are initially unclear on the cause of death.
  • Ironic Echo: Early on in his dungeon, he says that he believes that the Okumura way involves avoiding failure at any cost, even if it means betraying others. At the start of the final confrontation, he traps the party except for Haru and Morgana in a force field, and then repeats those lines when giving the two of them an ultimatum- betray their allies or share their fate.
  • Irony:
    • One of his moves during his boss fight is "Sacrifice Order" that he uses on one of his mooks, causing them to self-destruct the next turn. Similarly, Shido's Conspiracy which he is a financial backer for does away with him to prevent him from revealing the conspiracy and harming Shido's chances at winning the election.
    • His philosophy is to sacrifice others to get ahead in life and he was noted to treat his workers pretty bad. During the boss fight with him, he eventually runs out of Shadows to use for his "Sacrifice Order" ability because of said beliefs and actions.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: At the start of the fight, he tricks the Phantom Thieves into thinking he's surrendered by apologizing to Haru, then when Haru approaches him, traps the others besides her and Morgana (who manages to get out in time) in a force field.
  • It's Personal: With Haru, who he planned to force into an abusive arranged marriage for his own profit. In fact, when Sae asks you why he was singled out when there are multiple Corrupt Corporate Executives guilty of similar sins, you can explicitly say that it was because Haru was in trouble.
  • Kick the Dog: When the cognitive version of Haru's fiance complains that Haru has been Defiled Forever because of her association with other men and says his own father may not approve of her, Kunikazu's Shadow says that he can simply take her as a lover. Haru's horrified to hear that her father knows her fiance is this kind of person and still would go through with the deal, and thus awakens her Persona.
  • King Mook: The last robot he summons is a large and black robot that resembles some of the robots fought as minibosses, as well as in earlier waves in the Mammon battle.
  • Knight of Cerebus: His unexpected death marks when things start to go to shit for the Thieves, and the point at which they seriously stake their lives to fight the Conspiracy.
  • Large Ham: Shadow Kunikazu is prone to making grandiose soliloquies about his ambitions and motives.
  • Manipulative Bastard: His Shadow, by insincerely apologizing and recounting memories of the past, is able to lure Haru away from the other thieves, allowing him to spring a trap on them.
  • Mook Depletion: After his King Mook is defeated, he'll try to summon more robots... and none arrive. Having thought he had an infinite number of disposable lackeys at his beck and call, Okumura is faced with the logical conclusion of his treatment of his minions: All who blindly followed his orders are dead, and any who could possibly be left refuse to help him.
  • The Neidermeyer: While he is a businessman and nothing in the game gives any indication of military service, his shadow hits all the points for this trope's application. He sends wave after wave of minions to attack the P-Thieves, and from an armchair no less in his boss fight; cares nothing for their well-being, is utterly useless in combat himself, and consistently talks about using his company as a stepping stone to greater glory, namely the political sphere.
  • Non-Action Arc Villain: Prefers to support from afar while his minions do his work for him.
  • Obliviously Evil: His major problem is that he refuses to see how much his shady business practices are hurting Haru. Then subverted when his Cognitive Sugimura turns out to be just as vile as the real thing, leading to Haru's Awakening.
  • Obviously Evil: His corrupt business practices are very well-known among the general public by the time the thieves target him, making him the only target other than Kaneshiro who isn't a Villain with Good Publicity. Additionally, nearly everyone is begging the thieves to take him down. This hints at something suspicious going on, as no previous target had their secrets revealed until after the Thieves exposed them. The Conspiracy wants the Thieves to rush into taking him down, for good reason.
  • Oh, Crap!: After his most powerful robot is defeated, he tries to summon another, but is unable to do so, and is shocked to realize that it's now him against the Thieves.
  • One-Winged Angel: The fact he Averts this is notable: whereas all of the other Targets transform into grotesque monsters for their battles against the Phantom Thieves, Mammon goes through no such metamorphoses.
  • Pose of Supplication: His Shadow does this immediately before and after his fight- the former is a trap and the latter is genuine.
  • The Scapegoat: He was deliberately chosen by the conspiracy to be targeted by the Phantom Thieves, only because Shido believed Okumura wasn't good enough for politics. They had to get him out of the picture since he still knew too much.
  • Standard Status Effects: He and his robot minions inflict Hunger, which lowers damage output.
  • The Starscream: It's implied that he was planning on running against his boss Shido for Prime Minister, and this was the original reason Shido wanted him dead— framing the Thieves for his murder was a convenient second bird to kill with that stone.
  • Tarot Motifs:
    • Reversed Empress— no love or warmth for anyone, whether it's his subordinates or his family.
    • Reversed Hanged Man— utter selfishness and a willingness to sacrifice anything besides what's most important to him, which is himself and his ambitions.
  • Time-Limit Boss: He must be defeated within 30 minutes.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Has this mentality, expressed in his quote. He's willing to trample over others in order to increase and expand his wealth. As noted in Freudian Excuse above, his own father's misguided kindness is why he's such a hardass when it comes to running his business.
  • Walking Spoiler: Unlike the other targets thus far, he dies.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: While it didn't come up in the game, in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight Haru comments that her father owned a yacht and that she's not sure what to do with it after his passing.
  • We Have Reserves: During his boss fight he continually throws employee robots of increasing rank at you, culminating in the cognitive version of the company's second-in-command, and demands they give up their lives for him if necessary. Unfortunately for him, there's only so many troops in his arsenal, and once the Phantom Thieves destroy them all he's left defenseless.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The conspiracy has him killed when he's a liability, hacking the Phan-Site so that they set him up to have his heart stolen, leading the Thieves into their trap and being framed for his murder.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Without his minions to fight for him, he stops attacking the Phantom Thieves, and he goes down in no more than a couple of hits. The only way to lose at that point is to intentionally let the timer run out.

    Leviathan (Spoilers) 

Sae Niijima

"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 a good one who's lost sight of her values, and can be convinced to remember them.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Averted; she, Kaneshiro, Kamoshida, and Okumura use the standard demon for their respective sins.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Also, "I will win."
  • 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. 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 that has a far more reasonable 8,000 HP
  • Decapitated Army: Averted. After she's defeated, the Shadows start massing and preparing to capture the Thieves, likely because of Akechi's ability to control the Shadows.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 that is not lost on Makoto, who's shocked to see 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.
  • Faux Affably Evil: In an expression of Japan's infamous justice system, she 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, she doesn't.
  • 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.
  • 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 its 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.
  • 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.
  • Nice Hat: A wide-brimmed hat that even comes with cards and a yellow rose attached.
  • 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 by the end of the game, Mementoes is destroyed and more than a day had passed since Sae read her calling card implies that the Palace is still up, which doesn't bite the Phantom Thieves back later since Sae reforms by herself.
  • 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 Priestess— Out of touch with one's inner self due to worrying about external issues, such as excessive need for approval or validation
    • 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.
  • 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, as 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.

Late-Game Antagonists

Due to the nature of these characters, the following entries contain unmarked spoilers for Persona 5, as well as Persona 4. Read at your own risk.

    Black Mask 

Goro Akechi
Click here to see Loki 

"Justice? Righteous!? Keep that shit to yourselves!"

Sin: Cavum (Emptiness)
Arcana: VIII. La Justice (Justice)
Persona: Robin Hood, Loki
Weapons: Serrated Blades and Silenced Pistols
Voiced by: Soichiro Hoshi (JP), Robbie Daymond (EN)

The final member to join the Phantom Thieves, Goro Akechi, is revealed after the Protagonist's interrogation to be the one that sold him out during 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 be acknowledged by his father and others. He informed the police of the Phantom's location in an attempt to pin the accidents and deaths he caused on the Phantom Thieves.

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.

  • Adaptational Wimp: Akechi gets hit with this badly in The Animation. In the game, the Phantom Thieves had to rely on their strength in numbers to defeat him, praising his own power after the fact. In the anime, he's beaten fairly quickly in a one-on-one duel with Ren and Arsène.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: All he wanted was to be acknowledged by his father. He also admits that his goals and the Phantom Thieves are ultimately the same, and seemingly dies protecting the party from Shido's projection of him.
  • All for Nothing: Twofold.
    • Were he successful in getting his revenge, Shido would have killed him off after the fact. In the face of potentially failing in getting his revenge, Akechi suffers from a massive breakdown in the face of the Phantom Thieves potentially stealing Shido's heart instead of ruining him himself.
    • Even if a scenario of him exposing Shido went down, Yaldabaoth's manipulations in tandem with the public's genuine love for him would have meant that society at large would not have reacted as he wished; this ultimately comes to pass even when the Phantom Thieves steal Shido's heart.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Many of his personality traits such as his extreme black-and-white thinking, need for praise, and general Lack of Empathy could be chalked up to him having a Cluster B Personality Disorder, caused by Parental Abandonment AND abuse from his father.
  • Animal Motifs: Crows. His second outfit as Black Mask also enforces the connection, being all in dark colors and his helmet resembling a crow's skull. Crows are often associated with bad omens and death, referencing his status as the traitor.
  • The Anti-Christ: Effectively this, as the player in Yaldabaoth's "game" representing ruin.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance:
    • Loki is covered in Dazzle Camouflage, a mess of contrasting stripes painted on boats not to hide them but to make it so observers couldn't get a read on their heading or direction. It's very apt for a trickster god of chaos.
    • Akechi's second outfit is this, resembling a Featherman suit yet dark and twisted looking, showing that not only is he a Fallen Hero of sorts, but also how much he hasn't changed as a child (while hinting he may have genuinely wanted to be a hero, but became consumed by his bitterness).
  • Attention Whore: He uses the fame he attains from his detective escapades as a flimsy barrier for the sheer loneliness, sadness, and anger that he garnered growing up.
  • Ax-Crazy: The guy is... quite unstable, to say the least. The fact he keeps a Mask of Sanity as long as he does is quite impressive considering how hard he snaps.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": A rare example of this being Played for Drama. His "surprise" at hearing Morgana speak when he joins the team is given intentionally wooden delivery. It's later revealed that his bad acting here was one of the things that tipped off the party to his betrayal.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: His signature power is making people go psychotic, which he inflicts on their Shadows to cause their real life counterparts to go off the rails and commit crimes, which he then "solves".
  • Bastard Angst: Big time. The power-hungry politician Shido is his father; he abandoned his mother (who would eventually commit suicide out of shame for conceiving him), and the stigma of being an illegitimate child has haunted Akechi since childhood. To top it off, Shido did suspect Akechi was his son, but not only did he not care, he planned to have him killed off eventually. Little wonder he's so full of anger.
  • Bastard Bastard: He's Shido's bastard son and a ruthless hitman. Deconstructed in that society's horrible treatment of bastard children was pivotal in molding his wicked ways to begin with.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Even under a rouse, he nevertheless still bonds with the thieves, making it the one genuine bond he's had in life. Doubly so for Joker, as he views him with equal parts admiration and intense jealousy. These two factors are the key in his partial Heel–Face Turn.
  • Becoming the Mask: Undergoing this is an important facet of his redemption in Shido's palace.
  • Being Evil Sucks: What he realizes at the end of his second boss fight. He never really got what he wanted at all until he became friends with the Thieves, but by that point, he had too much blood on his hands and too much trauma to really change.
  • Big Bad Friend: One of the main antagonists, and the main character is forced to befriend him through his cooperation link, which ranks up automatically (which includes two rank-ups before and after his boss fight).
  • Big Bad Wannabe: As his powers make him the conspiracy's biggest linchpin, he would have certainly posed as an extremely dangerous threat. However, he ultimately ends up being had by Shido, the Phantom Thieves, and the true Big Bad.
  • Black Knight: As the mysterious Black Mask, the supernatural hitman for the Conspiracy who wears black armor with blue and black highlights.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: He's last seen battling a doppelganger of himself. Futaba is unable to sense his presence afterwards.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: His ultimate goal is to prop Shido up as Prime Minister and then expose all his crimes, which would not only destroy Shido's career, but also throw society into anarchy by colossal breakdown of trust in authority and government.
  • Boom, Headshot!: He kills the protagonist via a silenced pistol shot to the head in the game over scenes. In the good ending, the protagonist survives by some machination, due to Akechi being Out-Gambitted.
  • Broken Ace: Despite setting up all of the cases he solved, he's both smart enough to execute an elaborate plan to frame the Thieves for his killings and strong enough to handle the Thieves on his own, only losing due to being outnumbered. Not to mention that he has the power of the Wildcard. However, he's only known lies and hatred his entire life and a combination of his own pride and Sunk Cost Fallacy prevent him from making a Heel–Face Turn or realizing what Shido has in store for him until it's too late. Furthermore, he squanders the power of the Wild Card because his own choices means he never got close to anyone and never could up until he met Joker, his fellow Wild Card wielder.
  • Call-Back: Like his father being a nod to Tatsuzou Sudou of Persona 2, Akechi being the fire using, psychotic son is a nod to Tatsuya Sudou. Unlike Tatsuzou and Shido, the similarities stop there, as Tatsuya went out in Eternal Punishment as the Starter Villain.
  • Call-Forward: There are several subtle nods to the revelations about his character in Q2.
    • When he shows up late for a Mementos run at the beginning of the game, Ryuji suggests they leave him behind in an uncharacteristically caustic manner.
    • When the Phantom Thieves get dragged into the cinema world, Ryuji immediately accuses Akechi of being responsible.
    • When the party meets the Velvet siblings, one of them notes that the power of the Wild Card has been strengthened before making comments that imply they might think another Wild Card might be present.
    • In one special screening, you find Teddie's discarded costume without him inside. You can immediately accuse Akechi of murdering him.
    • In another special screening, Marie asks him if his sparkly exterior is hiding something darker.
    • Several members of S.E.E.S. and the Investigation Team get the feeling he's hiding something; Ken realizes he is similar to him on some level, the P4 Hero recognizes he's carrying some heavy burdens, Yukiko accuses him of having a dark secret during a session of "Junpei's Believe It or Don't", and Shinjiro gets a feeling he has a lot of deep regrets.
  • Char Clone: Wears a mask with one of his outfits with red colors and has a personal vendetta by climbing through ranks as the The Dragon. Not to mention he has a laser sword that switches to a red saw blade in his second outfit who serves as a rival to the main character whom he shares a friendship with and later betrays.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Somewhat justified in-universe as he's inflicted a psychotic breakdown on himself, but Robbie Daymond sounds like he's having a pretty good time cackling like a comic book supervillain.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Betraying the Phantom Thieves aside it is also revealed that he would have done the same with Shido as his ultimate goal was to get him elected just to steal his victory away from him as a part of a revenge plot.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After the Cruise Ship dungeon, Akechi is never mentioned by the public again, only in a one-off line by Sae (saying he disappeared, so there are no other witnesses to Shido's crimes) and in Lavenza's explanation of Yaldabaoth's plan. No one else mentions him, not even an NPC known as his biggest fan, despite him supposedly being a huge celebrity and a former party member. While some fans chalk this up to his story arc being over (and the situation the Thieves face quickly getting a lot bigger than Akechi), others consider this to be incredibly bizarre, especially when it's revealed that Akechi was a part of the bigger game at hand. The Animation at least has his voice heard among the other Confidants during the final battle.
  • Climax Boss: The fight with him signals the beginning of the endgame. The only major bosses following him are the Big-Bad Ensemble.
  • Complexity Addiction: His path of murder and mayhem was all part of a ridiculously elaborate plan to get revenge on his father Shido, when he could have simply killed him or induced a mental shutdown in him using the Metaverse. This ends up being lampshaded by the Phantom Thieves.
  • Composite Character:
    • A perverse amalgamation of Naoto Shirogane and Tohru Adachi from the previous game, but with the former's desire for justice and the latter's self-centred villainy amped up to monstrous extremes. As mentioned above, he also has elements of Tatsuya Sudou from Persona 2, being the psychotic son of a major villain.
    • He also could be considered an amalgamation of Ken Amada and Shinjiro Aragaki from the third game, sharing the former's tragic backstory and Justice Arcana, and the latter's status as a Guest-Star Party Member who ends up being responsible for killing another party member's parent and ultimately pulls a Heroic Sacrifice (at the very least), possibly depicting what either of them would have been like without their most redeeming qualities.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Played with. Because of his two-year head start with his Persona abilities, he's more powerful than any of the Phantom Thieves, allowing him to take on the entire gang at once by his lonesome. It's their teamwork that allows them to triumph over him in the end, and they outright tell him that afterward.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: A downplayed trope. Akechi is the only party member who wears gloves out of his thief costume. While fitting the elegant facade he's built for himself, they're also useful in keeping Akechi's finger prints off the stolen SIG-Sauer he uses to stage the murder-suicide of the protagonist.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Akechi serves as one to Tohru Adachi in Persona 4, another detective who hid his grotesque personality behind an affable mask, and used their supernatural powers for murder and mayhem. Both saw themselves as victims of society, and they strive to see its downfall through their actions.
    • However, Akechi is directly participates in the murder of his victims, since he serves as Shido's personal assassin. Adachi, excluding his first two victims, prefers to leave the heavy lifting to an Unwitting Pawn whom he manipulated under the pretence of saving them.
    • Adachi's actions were simply motivated by Small Town Boredom, relishing in the bedlam caused by the murders and kidnappings in hopes of making his life more interesting. Akechi, on the other hand, has an actual agenda beyond Adachi's nihilistic For the Evulz. He seeks revenge on his abusive father, while at the same time using his powers to set up cases he could solve to win fame and adoration from the general public.
    • Adachi's aloof upbringing encourages him to look out for himself, causing him to be unwilling to forge bonds with others. Akechi's lonely childhood in contrast makes him crave for acknowledgement and to have friends.
    • Akechi poses as the prodigious ace detective, while Adachi acts as a bumbling and carefree one.
    • Adachi does a far more efficient job in concealing his malicious personality from the Investigation Team than Akechi did with the Phantom Thieves. The Investigation Team never suspected him to be the Killer until late in the game. The Phantom Thieves, on the other hand, never trusted Akechi from the moment he joins their team.
    • With the exception of Yu, the Investigation Team do not show any sympathy for Adachi's Freudian Excuse, seeing how flimsy his motivations were and don't excuse his actions at all. While the Phantom Thieves don't forgive Akechi, they nonetheless sympathize with what he had been through and were willing to accept him back into their group.
    • Adachi only has one persona, while Akechi is a Wild Card user, and thus could use more than one persona.
    • Lore-wise, both are stronger than the individual party members (save their respective Wild Card), which requires the entire party to defeat them. For Akechi, it's because he has a two year head start on all other Persona users in his game. Meanwhile, Adachi is the last Persona user of his game to gain his abilities, yet he's an Instant Expert who's already strong enough to fight Yu to a standstill.
    • Akechi is considerably more sentimental than Adachi was, despite the greater magnitude of his crimes. It's implied during his Villainous Breakdown that he was subconsciously remorseful for what he had done and even considers changing his view. This is in contrast to Adachi who openly gloats for the mayhem he had caused, and only chooses to repent for his crimes once he was defeated, and even then does not change his worldview.
    • Adachi survives his encounter with the Investigation Team, and willingly surrenders himself into custody. Akechi however sacrifices himself to save the Thieves from his cognitive self before he could truly atone for his crimes.
    • They and the respective protagonists were chosen to determine humanity's fate by the real villains. While Adachi's actions had the most effect on Izanami's decision, it didn't matter what Akechi did because Yaldabaoth already had his own plans.
  • Cop Killer: Shoots a officer guarding the interrogation room where the protagonist is held. Who's supposed to be killed to tie up loose ends. It turns out to be a cognition; the real cop was scared away by Sae.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot:
    • The Phantom Thieves rightly point out there's no reason for Akechi to fight them in Shido's Palace, as using the method Morgana taught them, they can turn Shido into a man who would actually care about his son, like Akechi always wanted. Unfortunately, Akechi's inability to admit he's second best, let alone that he wasted two years of his life and hurt countless people All for Nothing, causes him to attack the party anyway.
    • Akechi himself comments during his Villainous Breakdown that he probably would've gone down a completely different path if he had supportive friends like the Phantom Thieves when he awakened to his persona abilities.
  • Dark Magical Girl: The Spear Counterpart is what he is, at his core. He desperately wants the love and affection neither parent gave him, preferably from his actual living parent. Unlike most examples of the trope though, he can't let himself accept anything less.
  • Darth Vader Clone: A Broken Ace, The Dragon and The Starscream to the Big Bad, has an Evil Costume Switch into a black outfit that almost covers his entire body, and is seemly given a Redemption Equals Death treatment, though the game leaves it intentionally vague if he survived. Heck, the guy even has a Laser Blade that was blue when he was with the heroes, but was later changed to red after his Evil Costume Switch.
  • Despair Event Horizon: His sin and motif is Emptiness (Cavum) which is also sometimes called sorrow or despair (Tristitia), and is often connected to the sin of suicide. Akechi's upbringing has left him with deeply rooted depression and an extreme craving for love and affection; unfortunately, his anger towards humanity and intense desire to be special prevent him from truly connecting and loving others in return, to the point he believes the only way to fix society is to wipe the slate clean. This also ties into his lack of self preservation: when Akechi transforms into his second form, he berserks himself, just so he can try to kill the heroes. Similarly, his ultimate Evil Plan involves exposing that his connection to Shido to the world, which would not only destroy Shido's political career, but Akechi's own status as a celebrity as well.
  • The Dog Bites Back: His partaking in berserking/mentally shutting down assorted Asshole Victims as Shido's enforcer is his way at getting back at a society that put him down for something that genuinely was completely out of his control: being an illegitimate child, left behind by a mother who couldn't cope with his existence. The fact that many innocents were also harmed during his missions make Akechi's methodology a particularly dark Foil to the Phantom Thieves' own methods and reasons for fighting the corrupt.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: He has some elements of this, particularly his being infuriated that people whom he looks down upon would sympathize with him. Taking more supportive dialogue options during his boss fight incurs reactions such as this. He also expresses similar sentiments during the trailer for Royal.
    Akechi: Is that supposed to be pity...? You piece of shit!

    Akechi: You should know me by now. Did you think this would please me, being shown mercy? I don't want your pity. Are you really this spineless?
  • Dragon with an Agenda: He's the enforcer of Masayoshi Shido's Evil Plan, killing the protagonist in the bad ending and serving as the final obstacle before you go after Shido himself. In truth though, he's just plotting to destroy Shido's reputation after elevating him to power as revenge for his cruel upbringing.
  • Dying Alone: He ends up dying with only Shadows for company. Maybe.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zig-zagged. The Thieves express a desire to work together with him to take down Shido despite him murdering several of their parents among many others, but make it clear that they haven't completely forgiven him.
  • Enemy Mine: In actuality, his goal is to steal Shido's victory away from him once he is elected in order to create chaos among the public. The only reason Akechi works with Shido to capture the Phantom Thieves is that they would prevent Shido from being elected as Prime Minister. However, he ends up bonding with them.
  • Eureka Moment: Akechi remains oblivious to the trick the Thieves pulled on him until he goes on a talk show: first he muses that he felt a little dizzy after killing Joker... only to realize the dizziness was the feeling of traveling to the Metaverse. Then the host snaps at someone in the audience whose phone had just gone off, the lightbulb goes off, and Akechi rushes off to face the Thieves in their final battle.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He was shocked when Shido ordered him to dispose of his remaining associates, and Shido had to strong-arm him when Akechi showed hesitance in doing so. It's also implied that aside from what he did to him and his mother, working with Shido has given him an idea just how needlessly cruel he really is, and part of him is disgusted to have such a man as his father.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He's highly shocked at the offering of a second chance by the thieves, to say the least.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Robin Hood grants Akechi a white, princely uniform. Loki, meanwhile, dresses Akechi in a hellish black uniform with a neck brace, clawed gloves and boots, a face-covering helmet, and a "cape" that emits ominous black smoke. He transforms into this outfit for the second phase of his boss fight.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To the Phantom Thieves as a whole, a fact which he bitterly realizes before his Heroic Sacrifice. Like them, he wants to stop authority from being abused and to reform society, but unlike them, he wants to do so primarily for selfish reasons, has absolutely no doubts that what he does is entirely the right thing, and he doesn't want to "change" society so much as "tear it apart from the inside and let God sort it out." This is why Yaldabaoth chose him to be the other Wild Card. His true Persona fits as well. Like the Personas of the Phantom Thieves, Loki is The Trickster, but while the others are modeled after dashing rogues or rebellious heroes at best and annoying pranksters and Noble Demons at worst, Loki is commonly interpreted as a malicious, amoral Troll.
    • To Joker, who he holds a massive inferiority complex towards, more specifically. Besides both of them being Wild Cards, many of their design aspects mirror each other: Joker's Thief garb is black with red highlights - Akechi's is white with red highlights. Both of their masks have bird motifs to them. His toy swords and rayguns are childish versions of Joker's more realistic knives and pistols. In their All-Out Attack images, Akechi is posing in front of an ornate, intact star, while Joker does so in front of a simple, cracked one. During the second form of his boss fight, even Akechi's idle pose, with the slouch backwards while holding his weapon down by his hip, mirrors Joker's; not to mention he is also left-handed.
  • Evil Gloating: Engages in a very subdued form of this when he encounters Sae outside of the interrogation room. He brags about being the true leader of the investigation before playing it off as a joke, and comments on how things could easily get violent in the room and no one would be the wiser. When Sae leaves, he drops all of his subtlety, mocks her, and smugly taunts Joker before shooting him in the face.
  • Evil Is Hammy: During the final confrontation, he hollers at the top of his lungs about wanting to kill the Phantom Thieves during his boss fight. Justified as he's having a meltdown, and caused himself to go psychotic.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Just after going psychotic, he lets out a maddened laugh before threatening to kill the Phantom Thieves.
    • He has a triumphant cackle if he manages to kill Joker during his boss fight.
  • Evil Wears Black: His second outfit when summoning Loki is covered entirely in black.
  • Exact Words: While much of what he says turns out to be outright lies, a significant amount of his dialog is completely true, but missing the proper context. Most notably the reason he gives the Phantom Thieves for becoming a detective: an extremely personal grudge against rotten adults, with one in particular.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: On the surface, Akechi has the appearance of an androgynous Pretty Boy with equally Adorkable and innocent mannerisms. Deep down, he's a psychotic murderer and a manipulative schemer who is willing to murder countless people in order to take down his father and be seen as a hero.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: All those cases that he "solved," every mystery that helped win him fame? He was the true perpetrator behind each of them; causing havoc so he could swoop in and be seen as a great detective. Persona Q2, at the very least, shows that he is still legitimately intelligent enough to qualify as The Smart Guy in the cinemas and earn the respect of his predecessor Naoto.
  • False Friend: He presents himself as a friend and ally of the Phantom Thieves, but in truth is plotting to stab them in the back.
  • Famous Last Words: "So, my final enemy is a puppet version of myself... Not bad."
  • Faux Affably Evil: Akechi seems like an Adorkable, humble, and determined detective and even joins our heroes. Turns out he's in league with Shido and willing to shoot a cop and the teenaged protagonist in cold blood. Zigzagged, however, in that his feelings of friendship are genuine, and he is ultimately convinced to turn on his father.
  • Foreshadowing: The game seems to go out of its way to tip the player off that not everything with Akechi is what it seems.
    • While he appears alongside the other thieves on the game’s box art, the title screen, and the screen when the game is loaded, he doesn’t appear in the opening movie. He is also absent from a fair bit of promotional material, didn't receive official artwork of his Crow outfit or his Persona Robin Hood until a few years after the game was released, and isn’t present on the reverse artwork for the game’s Steelbook Edition or the collector’s box for the Premium Edition.
    • A giveaway that some players will likely miss on their first playthrough is that Akechi hears Morgana talking about pancakes during the visit to the TV Station, and ends up bringing up the topic of pancakes to the group before he leaves. It's established early on that only people who have visited the Metaverse can understand Morgana.
    • Just after Kaneshiro's Palace, Akechi confronts the thieves and starts heavily implying that he knows - or at least strongly suspects - that they're the Phantom Thieves. During this scene, he notes that you're behaving suspiciously, and one of your dialogue options is to turn it around on him and say that he's the suspicious one. Cue a cut-in of Akechi looking legitimately surprised, before brushing it off as a joke. His reaction is likely him being shocked at the idea that the thieves could correctly suspect him of wrong-doing so early on.
    • During the infiltration of Niijima's Palace, Kawakami gives a lesson on crows, and comments that crows are cunning creatures who shouldn't be underestimated. This not only plays into how Akechi manages to stack points on the card Futaba told him to discard, and that the rest of the thieves didn't know he still had, as well as out-gambit Shadow Sae, but also how he deliberately chose the date of the heist to lure the Phantom Thieves into an ambush.
    • Another subtle one has Akechi at one point wording catching the Phantom Thieves as bringing them to "[his] justice". This alludes to Akechi's role in the game as "rebirth" and his character behind the mask.
    • In a more subtle example, there are no Personas in the game that can be itemized into equipment that is exclusive to Akechi.
    • In the IM app that the Phantom Thieves use to communicate, each of the Phantom Thieves is represented by a bright color (for example, Joker is red). Akechi’s color in the IM app is a shade of gray.
    • Whenever a party member joins, a book about their Persona becomes available in the Shujin Academy library. When Akechi joins, no such book about Robin Hood becomes available.note 
    • Perhaps the biggest giveaways are found in Akechi’s DLC costumes, as almost all of the costumes he receives represent an antagonist from the respective game the outfit is based on. He gets General Munakata’s outfit for his Raidou costume, Ideo Hazama’s uniform for his if... costume, and Boss/Dumuzid’s suit for his Catherine costume.
    • In the anime, the heroes have the Metaverse app at the bottom right of their phones to signal how recently they acquired it. Akechi's phone has it closer to the top left, showing he's had it for far longer than he's letting on.
  • Game-Over Man: In the Nonstandard Game Over, he is the mysterious man who blows your brains out.
    Akechi: Allow me to enlighten you. That trivial righteousness that you've paraded around...? This is how such idiocy ends. [gunshot] ...Farewell.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Akechi doesn't get the usual confidant Rank 9 ability, which allows a party member to take a fatal blow for the protagonist. However, you do hit Rank 9 not long before Akechi sacrifices himself to allow the party to escape from an army of shadows led by Shido's cognitive version of him.
    • During his boss fight, he tends to aim for Joker a lot. Considering his case of Green-Eyed Monster and the fact that he just made himself psychotic, why wouldn't he target the source of his frustration?
  • Go Out with a Smile: After Joker promises to stop Shido for him, Akechi gives a small smile before he draws his gun on the cognitive version of himself.
  • Hate Plague: Unlike the Protagonist who has the ability to cause his victims to feel all their repressed guilt by stealing their hearts, Akechi has the ability to drive people completely berserk by attacking their hearts with Loki. The Train incident early in the game where the conductor goes crazy and crashes it is his doing, and it's implied that several of the crimes he "solved" were actually caused by him using his power to make other people commit them. He also uses this ability to power up his shadow flunkies and even uses it on himself during his boss fight.
  • The Heavy: He's the one doing most of the legwork for the Conspiracy, including being behind most of the mental shutdowns that occur throughout the game that get blamed on the Phantom Thieves.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: He begins to come around after the party beats him a second time and the berserk effect wears off, but then Shido's cognitive image of Akechi shows up and threatens everyone. The real Akechi shoots a control panel that closes a bulkhead, sealing himself off with the fake one so the Phantom Thieves can escape.
  • Heel Realization: When he meets the thieves again, he confesses to Joker that he ultimately could have been put on a better path had they met before putting his revenge scheme into play.
  • Heroism Addict: One of the reasons Goro teamed up with Shido was Goro's desperate need for approval.
  • Hero Killer: He shoots the protagonist in the head after the Phantom is taken into custody, to avoid anyone else finding out more about The Conspiracy. In the good endings, he kills a fake version of Joker in Sae's palace. In the failed mission bad ending, he kills the real Joker.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: His claim to fame was investigating the mental shutdown and psychotic breakdown incidents that he himself was perpetuating, and his first appearance has him consulting with Sae Nijima regarding such cases. Later on, as part of his supposed deal with the Phantom Thieves, he asks them to disband and promises to personally bring the Metaverse killer to justice, even though he is the Metaverse killer.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: By the time the Phantom Thieves confront him he realizes that they are for his own good and genuinely recognizes them as friends; He just wants to save his reputation and not to make Shido ashamed of him, even though if the Thieves are killed he won't be around much longer.
  • Hope Is Scary: The reason he attacks the team a second time.
  • Hypocrite: He frequently criticizes Sae whenever he feels she goes far, and after hearing Sae's Motive Rant, makes a disappointed remark that he'd hoped that her reasons would be more noble. All this is coming from someone who'd actually caused the mental shutdown incidents and became famous by solving the cases, all for the purpose of taking revenge on/being acknowledged by his father.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: He conceals the existence of his other Persona and his ability to cause Shadows to go berserk until he fights the party. He taunts Ryuji for being stupid enough to assume that he knows all there is to know about his power, and Makoto points out that if Akechi is responsible for all the incidents, he's more dangerous than they assumed. That said, he makes his Evil Costume Switch and takes out Loki for the second half of his boss fight.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: He subconsciously yearns for any kind of affection and acknowledgement, and Shido ends up exploiting this in order to keep Akechi under his control.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: His desperate need for others' approval results in him leaning towards this at times.
  • I Just Want to Be You: He can't stand that Joker is more loved than him despite being in a similar situation and belittles Joker's achievements, coming to a head in his Villainous Breakdown.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Morgana's commenting on the pancake-shape of an amusement park attraction and Akechi speaking of it is the root of his undoing. Since only Persona users can hear Morgana, the thieves suspect him immediately once he joins, and he lies in saying that he awoke to his Persona during September. Since he clearly heard Morgana back when you met him at the TV station in May, they realize that he was lying. Due to the In Medias Res nature of the story - with everything prior to November 20th being a flashback forming the main part of the Protagonist's interrogation at the hands of Sae Niijima - this is the only inkling of Akechi's motives that the player is initially made privy to. Because the Protagonist was doped up on truth serum and other such drugs, his flashback memories of him discussing the plans to entrap Akechi become noticeably hazy, with all of the dialogue absent until the actual revelation that the Phantom Thieves plotted to fake his death.
  • Irony:
    • He's a villain who embodies SMT's Law alignment, yet his initial Persona is the archetypical Chaotic Good character.
    • Despite being holding a Wild Card, Akechi only ever forms one bond and it's with the character he despises the most (save for Shido), the Protagonist. Makoto even notes after his defeat that Akechi was the strongest of the Phantom Thieves and had he not actually squandered his talents and abilities they probably would not have beaten him.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: His opinion of society in general. Whereas Joker and the Phantom Thieves want to fix what's broken, Akechi wants to let it all burn and let God sort it out to see what rises from the ashes. It's why Yaldabaoth chose him as the embodiment of "reform".
  • It's All About Me: Killed Haru's father, Futaba's mother and dozens of others in cold blood all to further his deranged revenge scheme and to inflate his own ego.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: However short-lived their partnership was, the Phantom Thieves are invested in Goro's fate. On his end, Goro has a massive chip on his shoulder with the Protagonist specifically, and during his boss battle he will even prioritise Joker as his main target of attack, and has a special voice clip if he manages to knock him out.
  • Knight Templar: Part of his motivation. He wants both to punish his father for being a terrible person and society at large for letting him get away with it, planning on revealing all of his misdeeds and horrible treatment at his hands as Shido is elected Prime Minister and causing a colossal breakdown in trust of authority and government.
  • Lack of Empathy: He questions why no one loves him, as he tries to kill the only people who could have been his friends if it weren't for his spiteful actions against them. Society's ostracism of him is one reason, but his monstrous true self probably didn't help either.
  • Large Ham: Runs in the family, he's about as hammy as his father, Shido.
  • Last Ditch Move: Once his health gets low during the second phase of his boss fight, he'll attempt to attack Joker with the Almighty skill Laevatein. Luckily, this attack is telegraphed so the player can take him out before he's able to use it.
  • Last Request: After trapping himself with Shido's cognition of him and a horde of Shadows behind a bulkhead door, he asks for one last "deal" with the Thieves: to take down Shido in his stead.
  • Last-Second Chance: The Phantom Thieves offer to let him rejoin them after the second phase of his boss fight, he expresses surprise that the Thieves would do something like that after all he's done.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The trailer for Royal only takes small steps to hide his status as a villain; he isn't shown on-screen, but his undisguised voice is used. The Akechi trailer flat-out shows him as Black Mask, allied with the Phantom Thieves once again.
  • Laughing Mad: A very impressive one to boot, and it gets even moreso when he uses his berserking abilities on himself.
  • Like Father, Like Son: He never realizes that a lot of his actions to get revenge on his father makes him more similar to the man than he would like to admit. Part of the reason Shido suspects Akechi of joining him with the intent of backstabbing once he is prime minister is implied to be because it's something Shido would also do.
  • Limp and Livid: His idle stance during the second phase of his boss battle.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Plans to do this after he's done making Shido the top politician in Japan to ruin his father's career. Little does he know...
  • The Man Behind the Man: Zig-zagged: Akechi was the one who was able to successfully let Shido's conspiracy creep across the country by introducing him to his ability to invoke psychotic breakdowns. On the other hand, Shido was the one who, in turn, showed Akechi how to evoke mental shutdowns, was the one who formed the conspiracy to begin with, and a discussion with the SIU Director implies that Shido came up with the major trappings of the plan to frame the Phantom Thieves, particularly the utilization of the fake Medjed that led to Futaba joining them.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Whether it's teaming up with the Phantom Thieves just to get them arrested or using the Conspiracy to get Shido elected just so he can steal that victory as part of revenge, nothing is ever what it appears to be with him. Unfortunately, he's not nearly as good at it as he thinks he is, and both factions have contingencies to deal with his inevitable betrayal.
  • Meaningful Name: He shares a surname with Akechi Mitsuhide, the Sengoku Period general who betrayed his norm-breaking lord Oda Nobunaga. The comparison becomes more appropriate once Akechi reveals his intent to take down his father; Shido has an ambitious streak on Nobunaga's level.
  • Metaphorically True: The motivation he gave the rest of the Thieves for joining them turned out to be completely true, he just left out a lot of important details.
  • Mini-Boss: While in the game's files he is located in the same folder as major bosses in-game and he is a relevant and dangerous threat to the Thieves or otherwise in-canon, the in-game location where he is fought is placed awkwardly in the middle of Shido's Palace, he is only slightly more durable than end game mid-bosses because he has two forms, and his in-game behavior is more akin to Guard Captain Shadows instead of a Palace end boss, namely having simplistic attack patterns and no obvious unique gimmicks save for an attack that specifically targets Joker. If not for his plot signifigance, his dramatic presentation before fighting you or his position in the game's files, he can be easily mistaken for something like the Michael fought during the day of reckoning, who also plays "Blooming Villain" when you fight him and actually qualifies as a Mid-Boss.
  • Mirror Boss: In the first phase of his boss battle, he'll fight you directly once you defeat his initial summoned minions, and will use the same skills and weapons he did when he was a playable party member. After you defeat this phase, however, he morphs into his true form as the Black Mask, and reveals that his true Persona was a completely different one all along.
  • More Than Mind Control: An extremely downplayed example. There's no proof that Yaldabaoth utilized any supernatural influence on Akechi, but Akechi's poor living conditions and history made it easy for him to be manipulated into taking on the "destroyer" role of his game: access to the Metaverse, a psychosis-inducing Persona, and the lack of help from other forces (such as access to the Velvet Room that Joker was immediately given).
  • Motive Rant: Delivers one after the first stage of his boss fight:
    Akechi: Teammates!? Friends!? To hell with that! Why am I inferior to you...!? I was extremely particular about my life, my grades, my public image, so someone would want me around! I am an Ace Detective... a celebrity! But you... you're just some criminal trash living in an ''attic!'' So how...!? How does someone like you have things I don't!? How can such a worthless piece of trash be more special than me!?
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: In The Animation, he manages to kill his cognitive self for good, only to meet his end at the hands of the Shadows who shoot him to death with rifles.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: It's implied that his Villainous Breakdown was at least partially caused by the realization that he could have gotten his revenge and solved his problems without becoming a murderer. The Phantom Thieves even point this out to Akechi in an attempt to talk him down, but he refuses to listen.
  • Narcissist: His flair for the dramatic during his stint as a Phantom Thief, plus his desire to be seen as the hero who stops the Phantom Thieves, shows that he has some narcissistic traits.
  • Never Found the Body: After his apparent death, his body doesn't reappear in the real world, leaving it ambiguous whether his body disappeared along with Shido's Palace or if he actually survived. Sae also comments that he's missing and thus can't be called to testify against Shido.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: His fate remains ambiguous in The Animation, but no matter what happened to him, Joker hears his voice encouraging him alongside everyone else in the final battle.
    Akechi: What's the matter? Get up. It's too early for checkmate.
  • Obvious Judas: In-Universe. His behavior raises so many red flags that the Phantom Thieves see his Evil All Along nature coming from a mile and a half away. Shido also already knew that Akechi was going to betray him from the start and is planning to ruin his career if he is inaugurated as prime minister.
  • Out-Gambitted:
    • The Phantom Thieves never trusted him, and were setting him up to help them bust the Conspiracy for months. Not only that, they planned two steps ahead of him for every move he was going to make, up to and including trying to kill Joker. Akechi does not take the news well.
    • By Shido as well, who suspected that Akechi was his illegitimate son from the beginning and planned to have him killed once the election results came in.
  • Overlord Jr.: A key part of his motivation. He does Shido's bidding out of a desire to be acknowledged by him.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He comforts Makoto just before the battle with her sister's Shadow and tells her that they're going to save Sae, a gesture that is likely genuine given his growing attachment to the Thieves. Furthermore, in a number of his prior interactions with the Phantom Thieves, he's implied to genuinely respect and admire them.
    • If you read between the lines, he goes out of his way to at least try to save the lives of everyone he likes. He tries to convince Shido to leave eliminating the rest of the Thieves until after his election, citing that it would be suspicious if too many teenagers died mysteriously in the same area. But if his plan to ruin Shido worked, he'd never have to go through with it. He also lies and says that Morgana's just a regular cat to get Shido off his trail. He also goes above and beyond the call of duty to help clear Sae's Palace to change her heart, even though that's not critical to the plan (he just has to have the cops ambush Joker there at some point). But when he's ordered to clean up the the SIU via Mental shutdowns, Sae is spared since as far as they know her Shadow has returned to her and can no longer be killed, something that he pushed to get done.
    • Akechi also tags along with the Phantom Thieves in Mementos, something he could've easily avoided. Additionally, you can use his assistance as a party member while performing changes of heart, including any Confidant quests you may have pending at the time. None of this serves any purpose when it comes to his ultimate plans, which indicates that even as a traitor who planned to backstab the Phantom Thieves later on, he had the heart to at least help out with their goals in some small way.
    • In The Animation, he helps out Joker and Futuba in dealing with the latter's Evil Uncle. He also genuinely empathises with her over the abuse she suffered at the hands of her foster homes, considering that he too had suffered from a similar situation in the past. Joker also hears his voice during the final battle against Yaldabaoth, telling him not to give up.
  • Playing Both Sides: Aligned with both the Phantom Thieves and the Conspiracy, Akechi only uses them as a means to an end to get revenge on his father Shido. Subverted, however, as he ends up getting played by them instead.
  • The Power of Friendship: Defied. He rants and raves about how these things are nothing and utterly ridiculous. As his boss fight goes on it becomes clear that he's actually trying desperately not to admit to himself that the Phantom Thieves' friendship is why they're beating him.
  • The Power of Hate: Akechi is driven by his hatred of everything in the society he grew up in for how miserable his life really is. From his upbringing, his father Shido for abandoning his mother, people like the Protagonist where he doesn't understand how they're able to live better lives than him, and possibly even himself for having to put up with all of it, including the horrible things he's done to get where he is. This is particularly invoked with his boss battle when he uses his own Hate Plague on himself to become strong enough to kill the Phantom Thieves even if it kills him as well.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: After supposedly killing Joker, Akechi is told by Shido to kill the rest of the Phantom Thieves. Akechi refuses, but says that it's because now is a bad time, since the disappearance of so many students who had been associated with the Phantom Thieves all at once would be suspicious, and might get linked back to Shido. The implication of later dialogue with the Thieves themselves suggests Akechi just said that in order to keep them around because he'd grown somewhat attached to them.
  • Promoted to Playable: While Akechi is playable in the initial release, Royal sees him donning the Black Mask costume with Loki as his Persona, neither of which were available in the original.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Despite his crimes and motives, the Phantom Thieves, who typically believe in Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse, choose to view him as a victim and pin Shido as the true cause for all of his crimes. They are also appalled to see that Shido views him as a puppet and has no qualms about killing him, despite Akechi having admitted a few minutes earlier to being a unstable sociopath who murdered countless people in his scheme to get revenge on Shido.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: A rather tragic example. His abusive upbringing and complete lack of meaningful relationships until he met the protagonist resulted in him never quite "growing up"; his "true" costume is a corrupted, all-black version of those from the in-universe Sentai series "Phoenix Ranger Featherman", and his weapons are described as being "based on popular children's toys." The Proof of Justice OVA reveals that he used to play as an ally of justice when he was younger, and one of his favourite toys was a ray gun.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Once he shows his true colors, he's prone to giving these. The most prominent one is when he prepares to execute Joker in the interrogation room.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: His true outfit is completely dark, along with a red visor.
  • Redemption Equals Death: He sacrifices himself to save the Phantom Thieves from the Cognitive Akechi created in his father's Palace.
  • Redemption Failure: In Persona Q2. The artbook reveals he genuinely does come to value the friendships he makes in the labyrinths, but it's all for nothing since his memories are wiped along with the rest of the Persona users.
  • Regretful Traitor: Deep down, he did have an attachment to the Phantom Thieves, despite betraying them.
  • The Reveal:
    • Akechi isn't just a member of the conspiracy: he's their main hitman and the one responsible for the Psychotic Breakdown/Mental Shutdown cases that have been plaguing Tokyo for two years. He doesn't believe in the justice that he speaks of in public, finding it fruitless, and is only interested in getting revenge on his father.
      Akechi: Justice? Righteous!? Keep that shit to yourselves! You and your teammates piss me off!
    • As shown in the second phase of the boss fight with him, he's also has the Wild Card power to control multiple Personas, though due to the misanthropy he had throughout life, he only has two.
  • Revenge: His ultimate plan is to put Shido on the top of the political landscape, then reveal himself to be Shido's illegitimate child and confess to the murders he carried out on Shido's orders, destroying Shido's career.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: He would've been cast aside and disposed of had Shido's plan to become Prime Minister succeeded. Ironically, Akechi himself was planning to betray Shido as well, but was completely blindsided by the revelation that he was slated to be taken out once Shido had no further use for him.
  • Sanity Slippage: During his Villainous Breakdown, he starts getting more and more unhinged.
  • Scary Teeth: While this is averted for Akechi, his Persona Loki has a red, sharp-toothed grin. It's difficult to see this detail in-game as Loki is placed far away from the camera during its appearance.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: During his boss fight, he gets several skills he didn't have access to during his time as a playable character.
    • In his first phase, he gains Charge and drops his old Curse weakness.
    • His second phase consists almost entirely of new abilities; he gains resistance to Curse attacks and a whole bunch of new skills, and you only get access to Eigaon and Megidolaon when he's on your side.
    • It's also inverted in that Robin Hood loses his Bless resistance as an enemy, and Akechi also totally loses access to his Hama and Mudo skills, Attack Master, Samarecarm, and Debilitate.
    • In a case of a literal version of this trope, his second phase has the skill Ice Boost in his skill set. Not only does Akechi never learn any Ice skills, let alone Ice Boost, when he's playable, he can never take advantage of Ice Boost as a boss since his second phase doesn't have any Ice skills in his move set.
  • Shadow Archetype: As Joker's Evil Counterpart, Akechi is what Joker could have become had Joker let his problems caused by society and the power granted by Yaldabaoth get the better of him. Both of them were victims of Shido, and were helpless to do anything about it prior to gaining their powers. While Joker pushes through by forging genuine bonds and genuinely tries to help society, Akechi's rage prevents him from forming meaningful bonds with others and he abuses the power of the Metaverse to hurt others.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Like with Adachi, Akechi gets a fair number of these lines when he's confronted in response to the Thieves' attempts to call him out on what he's doing and/or appeal to him.
    Morgana: You talk big, but you're really nothing more than a little kid throwing a temper tantrum!
    Akechi: Don't lecture me, you piece of shit...
  • A Sinister Clue: If the player is paying close attention to the man who murders the protagonist in the Bad Ending, they'll notice that he wields his gun with his left hand. Akechi is the only party member who is left-handed and ends up being the one who sold the protagonist out during the heist.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Zigzagged. While he's both the last member to join the Phantom Thieves and a secret member of the conspiracy they've been trying to dismantle, the Phantom Thieves cotton on to his motivations as soon as he joins them. You have to trust someone to be betrayed; the Phantom Thieves never did.
  • Smug Snake: He's confident that he's played everyone like a fiddle. In the end, he's ultimately outsmarted, manipulated, and used by both sides of the conflict.
  • The Starscream: He manages to be utterly loyal and this trope at the same time, as he wants his father to be punished and his political career destroyed so that he is forced to care for his son.
  • Stealth Pun: Akechi first appears to the Thieves in his Crow Mask and with the Robin Hood Persona, and when he turns up against them, he brings out his Black Mask and the Loki Persona. He is quite literally and figuratively two-faced.
  • Stepford Smiler: A combination of all three types. After the party tells Sae about his true colors, she remarks that he always seemed a little off.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: According to Shido, Akechi looks like his mother, which is why Shido suspected that Akechi was his illegitimate child.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • He uses his power to make peoples hearts go psychotic on himself to enter a greatly empowered Unstoppable Rage, knowing full well it could kill him, because he reaches his Rage Breaking Point with The Phantom Thieves and just wants them dead, even if he has to kill himself to do it.
      Akechi: GO DOWN WITH ME!
    • Akechi's plan for destroying Shido's career hinges on exposing that he is Shido's bastard son, which would result in both of their careers being destroyed.
  • Tarot Motifs:
    • The Reversed Justice Arcana, representing dishonesty, Black and White Insanity, and an inability to take responsibility for one's actions.
    • The Reversed Fool, representing a disregard for the consequences of one's actions, i.e. being an actual fool. It represents how he's yet another of Shido's pawns, as well as Joker's Foil.
  • Too Many Belts: His second outfit has several belts strapped around his waist, arms and legs.
  • Tragic Villain: A psychotic villain indeed, yet he's arguably one of Shido's - and society at large's - biggest victims.
  • Traitor Shot: After Sae lets him past into the interrogation room, he smirks and calls her a "foolish woman" once she's out of earshot.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: He apparently looks a great deal like his mother, which is how his father guesses his identity.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe. Apparently, Sae always thought there was something off about his behavior.
  • Uncertain Doom: His fate is left nebulous behind a bulkhead. There are gunshots, and Futaba says she can no longer detect his vital signs. Plus, if Akechi was still in the Palace when it collapsed, he'd be dead for sure. But the player is never actually shown Akechi's death onscreen, so what actually happened to him is up in the air.
  • Unstoppable Rage: After his first loss, Akechi uses his own Hate Plague powers on himself, utilizing it for his second boss fight.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Both he and the Protagonist as part of Yaldabaoth's game, representing the destruction of the world and its recreation. He's this to his father as well, with the Shadow born from his father's Palace telling him he would be disposed of the moment he serves his purpose.
  • Useless Superpowers: Akechi has the wild card, but he cannot acually use and he cannot forge any bonds to actually utilize it. He never has access to the Velvet Room nor is he able to negotiate with Demons, and in the closely related Persona Q2 he's never recognized as a guest by The Twins. While he has two Personas, it's implied that Robin Hood was merely a facade made by Loki to cover himself up.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After he's beaten for the first time, he completely loses control, saying he doesn't care about Shido's plan anymore, he just wants to murder every last one of the Phantom Thieves. He even intentionally makes himself go psychotic just to make absolutely sure he doesn't hold back.
  • Villain Respect: When he confronts the Phantom Thieves on the Cruise Ship, he says that he's impressed that they manage to trick him, and even compliments how their strength has led them as far as it has.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: He saves the party from his own doppelganger and an army of Shadows by sealing himself behind a bulkhead, telling them to take care of business for him. While Akechi's fate is uncertain, he never shows up again in the story, so this trope still applies.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Due to his public persona, he's quite popular among the public and even in law enforcement, despite being a cold assassin.
  • Walking Spoiler: Talking at all about Akechi's role in the latter portions of the story reveals him to be a Sixth Ranger Traitor, as well as the Black Mask responsible for the psychotic breakdown incidents and several murders.
  • Weapon of Choice: Uses a SIG-Sauer P230, the standard sidearm of the Japanese police detectives. His pistol, however, has a threaded barrel installed to fit a suppressor on the muzzle, which comes in handy for Akechi during the bad ending.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: The Phantom Thieves are perfectly willing to let him tag along and settle accounts with Shido (or they would have, if not for Cognitive Akechi showing up and causing his death). Royal allows the Phantom Thieves to follow up on this for real.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The greater bulk of his motive is built around both gaining his father's acknowledgement and forcing him to take responsibility for abandoning him.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Downplayed, but he definitely experiences some Sanity Slippage after going berserk for the second phase of his boss fight.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He's batshit insane and out to kill you in cold blood, but his life is also one long Trauma Conga Line.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Rare villainous version. The heroes praise his abilities after defeating him and concede that he really is special; they only triumphed because they had numbers on their side. It's almost enough to make him consider a genuine Heel–Face Turn, but his cognitive double won't have that.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: A rare villainous example. He attempted this with the people of Tokyo when he defended the Phantom Thieves for the death of Okumura. (Which he caused). Depending on how you play, it'll either work or not.
    Akechi: After all, if you wish to trick your enemies, you must first trick your allies.


Masayoshi Shido
Click here to see his Shadow 
Click here to see his Shadow's final form 
"There is no need for thieves in my mighty country! Only myself and the ones who revere me are needed!"

Sin: Superbia (Pride)
Shadow: Samael
Voiced by: Shuichi Ikeda (JP), Keith Silverstein (EN)

The seventh and final major target, Shido is the head of The Conspiracy, a powerful politician, and Akechi's father. His belief that it is his god-given right to lead society and destroy any who dare cross him creates a Palace inside the Collective Unconscious, where he transforms into Samael, demon of Pride.

Shido's Palace is an enormous, multi-tiered cruise ship, which is imposed over the National Diet Building in the real world. His treasure in the Palace resembles a ship's steering wheel; in the real world it manifests as a legislator's lapel pin. Unlike most other itemized treasures, it has no monetary value, especially after he destroyed his own political career by confessing.

  • Abusive Parent: To Akechi, whom he abandoned, uses as a pawn and plans to discard once his child is no longer useful.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Shido in the anime closer resembles a man nearing his 60s than the remarkably fresh faced man in the game, with more pronounced wrinkles and lines across his face.
  • Ambition Is Evil: He seeks to become Prime Minister of Japan, and rule Japan with an iron fist. His Shadow also highlights this aspect of this trope.
  • Animal Motifs: Lions. The first stage of his boss battle involves him riding a huge, golden lion. Lions are often seen as the guardians of heaven and hell, befitting Shido's self-delusion as Japan's saviour.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Ultimately, to Akechi. Shido always had a feeling that Akechi was his son, but he didn't care. Akechi, meanwhile, wanted to get back at Shido for all of his abusive actions and abandonment.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Samael is not associated with any of the Seven Deadly Sins; the standard demon for Pride is Lucifer. Downplayed, however, in that Samael fills a similar role to Satan in Judaism. This actually makes him an even better fit, since in Samael's case it's the job he's supposed to have rather than being a Fallen Angel - and "I am supposed to fulfill this role" is exactly what Shido thinks of himself. Furthermore, in Gnosticism, Samael is often presented as being the right hand of the Demiurge, or even an aspect of him. Given the Greater-Scope Villain's true identity, it's quite fitting.
  • Attempted Rape: He is the person in the Protagonist's flashback who attempted to molest a woman while in a drunken state.
  • Badass Cape: His Shadow starts with one (patterned with the naval ensign of Imperial Japan) before ditching it after losing the Beast of Human Sacrifice.
  • Bad Boss: He has no issue with having his fellow conspirators killed when they're no longer useful to him, and not even his illegitimate son is exempt.
  • Bald of Evil: A horribly evil man with absolutely no hair on his head.
  • Battle Strip: When you defeat its first form, his shadow strips down to its trousers and starts fighting you hand-to-hand. He does it again on his third form by smashing the large body braces he was wearing.
  • Biblical Motifs: Shido's Palace is likely a reference to the biblical story of Noah's Ark, a tale where said ark was built on God's instructions to save a select few from The Great Flood and restart the world anew once the flood ends. Shido's Palace is a cruise ship where the rest of Tokyo is engulfed in a flood, and only those chosen by Shido could be on his ship. This fits into Shido's god complex, where he believes himself to be God's chosen one to "steer" Tokyo from ruin and towards greatness like Noah did with the world. Furthermore, his palace theme is appropriately titled "Ark".
  • Big Bad: The head of The Conspiracy, and the last target the Phantom Thieves face related to it.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He acts charismatic and sympathetic to the plight of the citizens on-camera or when he's on the campaign trail. Off-camera, he's incredibly irritable and condescending to random strangers, knowing full well that no one will believe any testimony about his true personality.
  • Body of Bodies: The lion and its alternate forms are made up of numerous human bodies.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Despite knowing full well of what Akechi is capable of, he seems to have no qualms in trying to strong-arm a guy who could easily enter his palace and kill him. Subverted, however, as Shido had a contingency plan in the form of a cognitive Akechi to deal with such a situation.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • Zig-zagged. The real Shido never acknowledges Joker beyond vaguely recognizing his name on a death certificate, even when they encounter each other at the buffet and during the campaign. Despite this blase attitude towards Joker and all of the other people he's killed and tormented, when the Protagonist reveals himself to his Shadow, the Shadow clearly remembers him, even though the event was nearly a year ago, although the party has to give him a few hints first. This makes sense to those aware of Jungian psychology; forgotten memories fade away into the collective unconscious, from which all shadows in the Persona series are born. Shadow Shido retains the memories that his original self had long since forgotten. Not that this makes him any less heinous, as he so casually declares:
      Shadow Shido: How would you ever reach your destination if you stopped to count every ant you crushed on the road?
    • His Shadow also only ever refers to Akechi's mother as "that woman", but he still seems to remember enough about her to figure out who Akechi really is and what he probably plans to do to him.
  • Call-Back:
    • His character and role in the story is one to Tatsuzou Sudou from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Both are corrupt politicians who head a massive Conspiracy, have complete disregard for their sons and tend to callously get rid of any allies once they are no longer useful. They're also both confronted on a cruise ship right before taking down the supernatural mastermind.
    • Just as his son has a call back to Ideo Hazama with one of his DLC outfits, Shido gets one too with the design of his shadow which calls back to Zurvan, a.k.a. the Deity Emperor, the being behind Hazama.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Zigzagged. Despite his incredible off-camera dickery, he never refers to himself as a villain and instead seems to think of himself as Japan's savior. However, he differs from other most other targets in that he's aware of his own Palace, meaning he knows he has distorted desires. Worse yet, Shido embraces his distorted mentality to the point of putting himself in a temporary coma once he realizes his heart is about to be changed. It takes a special kind of hypocrisy to be as self-righteous as Shido while still being aware of one's own insanity.
    • Considering that every other Palace-ruler's Shadow has physically warped to match their internal perception of themselves, it's rather telling that Shido's Shadow looks exactly the same as his real-world self until he prepares for battle. As if to emphasize this, his sunglasses' lenses are yellow, making his eyes look the same color as a Shadow's even in the real world.
  • Char Clone: Very Char's Counterattack in terms of motivation and personality (an elitist prick looking to change the world to his own desires, even if it means devastating the planet), however his shadow has visual aspects that reference both 0079 (a white, helmeted mask of a very similar style) and Zeta (a mount of pure gold). He's also voiced by Char's actor in both Japanese (Shuichi Ikeda) and English (Keith Silverstein).
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: His Shadow's final form is just a version of Shido who's gotten so strong from constant physical training he can punch the air so hard it explodes.
  • Child Hater: Judging by his complains when he met the Phantom Thieves at the buffet, Shido apparently hates teenagers and that's not the extent of his actions towards children. He also had the Protagonist arrested over a minor injury, sent Futaba into despair by making her believe that she was the cause of her mother's death, and plans to kill his own son.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Persona 4's Big Bad Tohru Adachi.
    • Both of these characters exploit the weaknesses of the public in their plans but Adachi takes advantage of the public's interest in popular media topics to make his "game" more interesting, whereas Shido takes advantage of the public's disinterest in doing anything to reform society to get elected.
    • The way both go about their plans though is much different. Adachi has to keep a low profile to ensure that he isn't arrested with the Irony of working for the police. Shido however, has no problem staying in the public eye in spite of committing several political crimes but unlike Adachi, has the police on his side because he is manipulating them.
    • Both also have the ultimate goal of using the shadow world to take control of the world, but while Adachi wants the shadow world and the real world to merge so that people no longer have to live in fear of their repressed feelings, Shido's plans require him to keep the Metaverse and real world separate so that he can use the Metaverse to eliminate anyone who he sees as threats to his position.
    • Though they are both Hypocrites, Adachi is willing to admit he is one while Shido is so self-deluded that he remains blind to his own hypocrisy.
    • Both are also Unwitting Pawns to the Greater-Scope Villain only Adachi had a sense that he is this and once defeated can give the Investigation Team a push for finding the mastermind. Shido despite all his power and control had no clue he is just a piece in Yaldabaoth's board.
    • Adachi is a persona user who has the power to access the Midnight Channel to commit his crimes. Shido, while aware of the existence of the Metaverse, could not utilise its power on his own. Instead, he has to rely on his son Goro Akechi to do his dirty work.
    • Despite his It's All About Me mentality, Adachi still cares for the Dojimas (and possibly the protagonist considering his aforementioned push) and has a few Pet the Dog moments with them. Shido, on the other hand, truly cares for no one but himself.
  • Cool Mask: His Shadow wears a giant futuristic mask with a pointed Statue of Liberty-esque crown sticking out of it.
  • Cool Shades: Square, orange-tinted ones. Given how much it maks Shido stand out coupled with how evil he is, doubles as Sinister Shades.
  • Corrupt Politician: He's an evil politician who wishes to control the masses and regularly uses his position to avoid getting in trouble.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Aside from getting the Protagonist on probation, thus getting the Protagonist involved in the plot in the first place, his shoving Ryuji aside to get on the elevator is what inspires Ryuji come up with the idea of becoming the Phantom Thieves of Hearts.
  • Decapitated Army: Averted. While he's the head of the Conspiracy, his accomplices remain a threat even after his heart is successfully stolen, thus leading to the final heist in Mementos in order to deal with them.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: For all of his speeches and rhetoric of leading Japan to a new age of prosperity, the only thing he cares about is power for the sake of power. The only people who would benefit are his immediate inner circle and any lackeys he doesn't plan on immediately disposing of.
  • Determinator: Say what you want about Shido, but his Shadow is incredibly resilient. Whatever the Phantom Thieves throw at him, he always comes back for more. Even after defeating his final phase, he still tries to stand up ready for more, only to collapse from his injuries. This also applies to his real self, where he still tries to pull a Taking You with Me to ensure that the Phantom Thieves would go down with him by destroying his Palace. This reflects on his sin of Pride.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Nobody but the Phantom Thieves or anyone that they made a confidant with knows he is evil; In fact, even Akechi knows about it and is secretly working against him. However, a few scenes after the prologue, the game already tells you that Shido is obviously up to no good.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: His boss battle was certainly built up like one, but Shido is not the Final Boss despite being the Big Bad for most of the game. Granted, anyone familiar with this franchise would have likely saw this coming. Subverted (disregarding the Hopeless Boss Fight against the Holy Grail) if the player accepts Yaldabaoth's deal.
  • Driven to Suicide: Downplayed. After his Shadow is defeated, he temporarily kills himself with some medicine in a last-ditch effort to kill the Phantom Thieves by collapsing his Palace with them in it. It doesn't work; the Thieves survive, and so does he, causing Shido to have a proper change of heart.
  • Elemental Powers: Uses all of them, in various phases of the fight.
  • Establishing Character Moment: One of his first scenes is him and his subordinates shoving Ryuji and the Protagonist out of the way to get onto the elevator while everyone else backs away apprehensively. When Ryuji objects, he condescendingly remarks that he's in a daycare. And this is coupled with flashbacks that confirm that he's the guy responsible for the Protagonist's probation. All this lets you know instantly that this guy is bad news.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To Joker. Both have a desire to reform society; but Joker chooses to reform it out of a desire to help people who suffer under society's cruel expectations, whereas Shido simply wants to reform it to suit his own power-hungry needs. Joker doesn't sell out his team, leads from the front, inspires others and wins their loyalty through genuine kindness. Shido stabs everybody in the back who gives him the chance, doesn't lift a finger himself until he has no other choice, threatens even those who work for him and only cares about himself. To highlight Shido as Joker's Evil Counterpart, the second "Bad Ending" has Joker accept Yaldabaoth's offer, disillusioned by how people refuse to act for themselves, and becomes a borderline Knight Templar. This is eerily similar to how Shido had planned to enforce his own authority over the will-less masses once he wins the election.
    • He is also one to Sojiro Sakura. While Sojiro has a gruff and cynical exterior, he acts supportive and understanding to those around him who manage to breach past his Hidden Heart of Gold-hiding facade. This is the opposite of Shido, who acts sympathetic and charismatic in the eyes of the public, but in reality is a smug and condescending elitist who sees himself better than others. While Shido treats his lovers as disposable, Sojiro remained loyal to Wakaba to the point that he never considered having another relationship. As parental figures, Sojiro treats his adoptive daughter Futaba with loving care and devotion, while Shido refuses to have anything to do with Akechi beyond using him for his own ends, and even plans to have him killed.
    • Another is the Sun Confidant Toranosuke Yoshida. Yoshida admits he originally entered politics for his own self-benefit not unlike Shido and both were alternative politicians, but they deviate greatly from there. After having been framed for a scandal and dealing with that reputation for 20 years, Yoshida is a Nice Guy genuine about his desires to help society but no one is willing to believe his words or forgive his past. Shido meanwhile is beloved by the public to abnormal degrees but is a deplorable human being outside public eye that utterly lacks care for the future of the country or the people he's harmed with his actions. Also, Yoshida is able to be elected back into the Diet because of his own efforts and the moral support of Joker on the way with Shido only getting as far as he did because of having orchestrated the mental shutdowns and ridding his competitors with Akechi's help.
  • Evil Is Petty: He would ruin the lives of others for no other reason than a single insult or minor injury.
    • Shido got the protagonist put on probation all because he got a minor scratch when the protagonist pulled him off the woman he was assaulting, that wasn't even the protagonist's fault in the first place, then forced the same woman to lie about what happened otherwise he would expose her secrets. To rub it in even further, he goes out of his way to have a falsified record forged for the kid by his connections that ensures he's stigmatized no matter where he goes.
    • The first time the protagonist encounters Shido again, alongside Ryuji, and Morgana, Shido doesn't recognize the protagonist, but sarcastically remarks about being in a daycare when they protest being shoved out of the way by him and his subordinates as they're waiting for an elevator at a restaurant.
    • Making Futaba believe that her mother never loved her by having her mother's suicide note forged after having her murdered.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: He has a deep, dismissive-sounding voice. He noticeably pitches it up when speaking in public.
  • False Flag Operation: He bases much of his campaign on the incumbent government's ineptitude at handling the mental shutdown crisis, when in fact he's the one causing it for just this purpose.
  • Fatal Flaw: What else but Pride? He ruins people's lives, sometimes for highly petty reasons, assuming that he's untouchable and they're of no consequence; but some of those very same people end up being instrumental in taking him down.
  • Freudian Excuse: Averted. Even when compared to an evil bastard like Kaneshiro, there is no given tragic backstory or reason as to why Shido acts the way he does; Sojiro offhandedly remarks even back in the day, he was always a suspicious individual. Even his Treasure only indicates he values himself and his political status with no hints of a freudian slip. Shido is just naturally that evil.
  • Fictional Political Party: He's a part of the fictional Liberal Co-Prosperity Party (Which is an Expy of the LDP or Liberal Democratic Party, Shido's views being reminiscent of its ultranationalist wing, which is referenced with his Shadow Self's Rising Sun motif) for most of the game, but when his plans advance, he breaks off to form the United Future Party, causing the Diet to dissolve until new elections can be held.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • He constantly compares the state of Japan to a ship, which is a hint of what he sees his Palace as.
    • The flashback the beginning of the game of the incident that had the protagonist arrested for assault has him angrily state he is the one that will steer the country. Joker remembers this comment, leading to him finding the keyword needed to enter his Palace.
    • When you first arrive at Yongen-Jaya there are posters of his face on the district's walls, which is the earliest indicator of his political campaign.
    • Before the Phantom Thieves fight him, he falsely offers them a chance to join him. This is genuinely attempted by Yaldabaoth later on so Joker could become a force of corruption assisting him in terrorizing Tokyo.
    • Before the Protagonists can actually fight him they must first defeat The Beast of Human Sacrifice, a massive monster seemingly made of countless human figures holding aloft and worshiping Shido. This foreshadows how the ignorant and distorted masses who were willing to put Shido in power in the first place will continue to be a problem even after the man himself is gone.
    • The Beast of Human Sacrifice resembles a lion. The Demiurge, Yaldabaoth's other known name, is often depicted with a lion's head.
    • In the final phase of his boss fight, Shido proclaims that he shall "win this game". Igor similarly refers to the conflict between the Phantom Thieves and the Conspiracy as a "game", foreshadowing Igor, or rather his imposter's, connection with Akechi and the Conspiracy.
  • For the Evulz: At first glance his framing Futaba for the death of her mother could be seen as a case of this, as he seemed to have no reason to drive this young teen to near suicide... and he doesn't beyond for the fact he thought she'd make for an easy target. The reason given for making Wakaba's suicide appear to be caused by the pressures of raising her bastard daughter alone was just to create an obvious and believable reason for her death that couldn't be linked back to Wakaba's cognitive disruption research (as that would reveal what actually caused her sudden suicide fairly quickly), so there were many other ways he could have gotten Wakaba out of the way but he chose to pin the blame on her closest family who'd already be hit hardest by her death anyway just because he could.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He's a villain with a pair of square glasses and easily the game's most heartless antagonist.
  • The Generalissimo: His Shadow dresses like this, complete with Bling of War.
  • Glorious Leader: This is how he is portrayed when he addresses the public. He sympathizes with people who live a hard life, makes promises about a golden age that will come when he is elected Prime Minister and publicly blames the Phantom Thieves for all of society's woes, including the recent mental breakdowns. He is very popular in Tokyo due to a combination of personal charisma and a case of Social Media Before Reason among the people. Even after Shido publicly confesses his crimes, the people of Tokyo simply refuse to see him as the vile, corrupt man he really is until the Phantom Thieves defeat Yaldabaoth.
  • A God Am I: With the power he has, Shido views himself as God's chosen one.
  • Graceful Loser: His Shadow, surprisingly, concedes defeat and calmly acknowledges that what he did to the protagonist was wrong and unfair. It's right at this point that the real Shido realizes the Phantom Thieves are about to win, and defies the trope by taking a suicide pill to eliminate them.
  • Hate Sink: Made out to be as thoroughly unlikable as possible. His entire existence is based around an ungodly combination of arrogance, corruption, and self-centered pursuits. Getting the protagonist arrested for a crime he didn't commit is only the first thing we see Shido do. And furthermore, he actually manages to top Kamoshida in this term in a way that he has no Pet the Dog moments (as Kamoshida at least offered to give the protagonist a ride to school); any time he's on screen is spent on being a complete jerk or spewing hypocritical words; and he absolutely has no Freudian Excuse, he does all those things because he's just a power-hungry and overly prideful man from start to finish (until he got his heart stolen).
  • The Heavy: In the latter half of the game, nearly everything horrible that happens can be linked back to him: the Protagonist's probation, the deaths and insanity caused by the Metaverse and the political conspiracy responsible for it, the death of Futaba's mother and Futaba's subsequent trauma, the deaths of Haru's father and the principal of Shujin Academy in order to frame the Phantom Thieves, Akechi's entire life, and Ryuji's elevator getting stolen. Even after he's defeated, the Thieves' actions afterwards are heavily motivated by making sure that Shido can be properly punished by society.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Shido's perpetual You Have Outlived Your Usefulness gambit to cover his tracks is what ultimately allows Joker to fake his death and slip under his and Akechi's nose. He's so quick to cut off any loose ends that there is no one in his circle to actually verify that Joker is actually dead. The Government officials sign off on Joker's death certificate without actually seeing the body, no questions ask.
  • Holy Halo: The handle treasure floats high above him during the battle. It shrinks once he's defeated.
  • Human Sacrifice: Sacrifices people for his goals. The Beast/Wings/Tomb of Human Sacrifice is based upon the masses that willingly sacrifice themselves to him so that he might rule Japan.
  • Hypocrite: Of the highest degree. He talks like he's a selfless man concerned for the chaotic situation of Japan and willing to put his life on the line to ensure its bright future. However, he's completely dismissive and rude to anyone who even looks at him the wrong way, makes no pretense of being friendly outside of his political posturing, is actually the mastermind of the chaotic situation in Japan that enabled him to get good publicity and his Palace shows that deep down he actually doesn't care about how Japan is sinking, just as long as he and those he sees useful survive.
  • Ironic Name: "Masayoshi" as a given name most commonly means "govern righteously, shining goodness" or "justice". He does work in government, but he's anything but righteous or good. However, he does cultivate this kind of an image in order to ensnare the masses, and it works to his favor.
  • Irony:
    • Combined with For Want of a Nail. In his own words, "a small leak will sink a great ship". He doesn't seem to realize that with his pettiness, he is in fact creating these very same "leaks". Had he never pressed charges and just let the thing with the protagonist go, then chances are the Phantom Thieves would have never been formed. Had he not killed Wakaba (petty) and then blamed it all on Futaba (even more petty), chances are she would have never become a member of the Phantom Thieves and the team would have been in the dark about Shido.
    • As noted above in Hoist by Their Own Petard, Shido's habit of getting rid of people who he no longer considers useful is what ultimately allows Joker to fake his death. His constant need to keep everything under wraps to prevent anything from being traced back to him, ultimately led to much of the police department being in the dark and not asking questions. Joker even gets his death certificate certified without anyone ever checking if there was even a body.
    • Technically, he's right about being chosen by god. However, this is because the Conspiracy is actually meant for said god to take over instead of him. It was even using people he had wronged in order to determine how he would be defeated.
  • It's All About Me: After entering his Palace for the first time, the party realizes that his Palace is a cruise ship standing afloat while the rest of society is sinking underwater. Morgana warns the party that he's never seen such a display of desire for it to distort the entire city, if not the entire country.
  • It's Personal: He's the guy who the Protagonist picks a fight with in the prologue, in addition to being the one responsible for him going on probation in the first place. He's also the one responsible for ordering a hit on Futaba's mother and forging her suicide note, mentally breaking Futaba, as well as orchestrating the murder of Haru's father. Oh, and he's also Akechi's father, who abandoned him and his mother.
  • Jerkass: Even discounting his megalomania and grand conspiracy, he's a giant asshole. The literal second thing he does on screen is cut in front of Joker and Ryuji in line for the elevator. If he ever shows up in a scene, condescension and insults are never far behind.
  • Karma Houdini: Downplayed: Due to the inability to prove the existence of the Metaverse even with Wakaba's research and the fact that it's now destroyed, Shido can't be charged with the orchestration of the mental shutdowns, but he's still charged with the realistic crimes he committed such as framing Joker for assault.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • To give only one of many examples: when Futaba's mother became a hindrance to him, not only did he have her killed, he also forged a suicide note to make it look like she wished Futaba was never born and then had it read out loud in front of her and her relatives, which completely destroyed Futaba mentally to the point she became a Hikikomori.
    • One more example: When the Phantom Thieves confront him in his dungeon about him being Akechi's father, he reveals that he's suspected it all along, due to Akechi's Uncanny Family Resemblance to his mother. He just didn't care. Ouch.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: While Shido is a Bad Boss with a absurd tendency to dispose of any ally who has served their purpose, some of his victims aren't saints themselves. Thus, its hard to feel bad seeing them all get offed on Shido's orders.
  • Knight Templar: Utterly convinced of his righteousness and divine destiny to dictate the future of Japan. He smugly dismisses all the lives he's ruined and ended as necessary sacrifices.
  • Lack of Empathy: In Shido's world, people are mere instruments for him to use and discard as he pleases. No one, not even his son, is exempt from being subjected to his selfish cruelty.
  • Light Is Not Good: The first part of the battle against him consists of fighting a golden shapeshifting lion he rides.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: While Shido is aware of the Metaverse and Cognitive Existence and how they work, he lacks the means to enter the other world, hence needing Akechi to do his dirty work. He is also seemingly unaware of the concept of Personas and Shadows unlike the other human antagonists of previous Persona games.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: He's Akechi's father. Not that he knew this. He did suspect it, though. And explains that he didn't care, either way.
  • Magic Knight: Adept at both physical and magical attacks. His on-foot form practically qualifies as a Kung-Fu Wizard: a huge muscular brawler who still has no problem using Ma-Dyne spells.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He used every other major villain except for Kamoshida in his plans.note  Even Madarame and Sae were being used by him unwittingly.
  • Marathon Boss: Has three forms (Beast of human sacrifice, Samael and True Samael), the first of which has three phases of its own. He also has a fairly large HP pool in each phase. After taking out his True Shadow form, he staggers to his feet with a cocky smile, takes a fighting stance...and immediately collapses, thankfully.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: When the protagonist protects a woman from him, Shido gets a small cut on his forehead. This enough to enrage him and place the protagonist under arrest for assault while forcing the woman (the only other witness) to give false testimony to ensure the arrest. Were it not for this overreaction, Shido would probably never have had to face the Phantom Thieves in the first place.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: His Shadow and True Shadow form are highly muscular, and powerful combatants. Futaba points out that they're not for show.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He gets hit the hardest out of any of the Phantom Thieves' targets by his Change of Heart due to the vast number of atrocities he committed in the name of his ambition and is reduced to a sobbing wreck.
  • Narcissist: As the embodiment of Pride, Shido has the traits of a textbook narcissist. He demands loyalty and unconditional worship from anyone (including his own son), while giving no loyalty or acceptance in return. He also has a god complex, believing that only he and him alone to be Japan's saviour, yet at the same time avoids responsibility and accountability for his wrongdoings. Lastly, like any other narcissist, he has a overly paranoid tendency to attack those whom he perceives as a threat to his image, no matter how small. Its no surprise where Akechi gets his own narcissistic traits from.
  • Never My Fault: He sues Joker for assaulting him when he tripped on his own feet while drunk. The way he probably sees it, his own actions don't matter as long as he still has the power, authority, and publicity in the palm of his hand.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Medjed's attack on the Phantom Thieves was orchestrated by the conspiracy he was leading, inadvertently resulting in the Phantom Thieves saving and recruiting Futaba Sakura. The very same Futaba Sakura whose life he had almost succeeded in destroying.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: It's been noted by many commentators that Shido bears a distinct resemblance to contemporary Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one of the most controversial leaders in the country's history. Like Shido, Abe ran for office on a right-wing populist and nationalist platform, and gained the support of the older generation but the disdain of the younger, but he is most infamous for his frequent defenses of Imperial Japan's actions during World War II. Given that Shido is a murderous, sociopathic fascist who deliberately creates disasters to make himself more popular, it's likely that the writers do not have a high opinion of Abe.
  • Not So Different: His Shadow tries to pull this on the Phantom Thieves, saying that their willingness to reform people's hearts makes them no different from him. The Thieves don't believe it for a moment, though, and say that there's no comparison between their methods and his using people for an ultimately selfish goal. The Metaphorically True point is that, he too is trying to reform the corrupt government and put an end to Japan's poverty and collapsing economy, although he does it by destroying all opposition, unleashing radical nationalistic policies and putting the entire nation into virtual slavery.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He repeatedly claims that he wants to lead Japan into a new age of prosperity, but it's made clear that he just power for the sake of having power, and he goes out of his way to ruin other people's lives over minor insults and injuries. To drive it home, his Palace is a cruise ship sailing over a sinking country, showing how his deepest desire is to stay afloat even if the entire nation around him is collapsing.
  • Obviously Evil: The propaganda posters in his Palace really hammer in what kind of person Shido is if his everyday Jerkass attitude isn't enough. In-universe, Shido comes off as this to anyone that isn't on his side or only familiar with him through the media.
  • Offing the Offspring: Shido intended to do away with Akechi after achieving his goals, as Akechi knew too much about him. While a unique example in that Shido doesn't directly kill off Akechi, his intent to eventually kill him leads to Akechi's death: a Cognitive version of Akechi manifests in his palace, an embodiment of how he saw Akechi as nothing but an expendable pawn, and it is this Cognitive being which allegedly ends up killing the real Akechi.
  • Older Than He Looks: He could easily pass for a man in his thirties, but Shido is actually 53 years old.
  • Orcus on His Throne: For such a dangerous, merciless and manipulative person, he never directly acts on his own in real life. Most, if not all of his atrocities are commited via the hands of his associates. Unlike most other Palace rulers, Shadow Shido also never directly confronts the Thieves before his boss fight.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: In the ending, Shido lives while his son is presumably dead.
  • Patriotic Fervor: His Testosterone Poisoning fueled Shadow Self filled with rage towards the state of Japan, complete with a Rising Sun background behind him, makes him more or less a Japanese version of Senator Armstrong.
  • Power Limiter: Wears a movement-limiting bodybuilding harness in the first phase of his Shadow form. He only gets stronger after snapping it off.
  • President Evil: His end goal is to rule Japan as Prime Minister, giving him ultimate power over the nation and it's populace.
  • Pride: His sin and motif, fittingly for the Big Bad and a corrupt politician par excellence. He even compares himself to God when the party confronts him, and when they try to reform his heart, he actively resists by trying to put himself into suspended animation.
  • Properly Paranoid: One of the many reasons he never trusted Goro Akechi from the moment he met him was due to a strong suspicion that Akechi only came to him with plans to betray him. He was completely right in his assessment.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: For being a busy political player in his 50s, Shido is childishly petty in so many ways that he could be compared to a schoolyard bully. Best illustrated in the scenes where he insecurely threatens Akechi and Ryuji with his status and expressively looks like a nervous child needing to be in control.
  • Putting on the Reich: Upon preparing for battle his Shadow wears a military uniform that looks disturbingly like something worn by the Nazi regime and Imperial Japan. If one looks closely, the underside of his cloak has a design that resembles the Imperial Japanese naval banner, a symbol that has very similar connotations to the Nazi swastika in East and Southeast Asia.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: His Shadow's security meter icon, combined with a Slasher Smile.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: His government and police connections allow him to do whatever he wants, namely getting away from attempted rape at the beginning of the game and having the Protagonist arrested over a minor injury.
  • Sequential Boss: His boss fight has five phases. The first three are Shido riding on a Body of Bodies that changes shape and resistances, the fourth is just Shido after a Battle Strip, and the final phase is Shido after he Turns Red (literally and figuratively).
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Shido is an evil bastard, but he dresses well. One of his epithets is even "Distinguished Man".
  • Smart Ball: For all his Stupid Evil decisions, he at least remembered enough about Akechi's mother to correctly guess his true identity and motives, leading to him deciding to prepare a contingency for him the whole time.
  • Smug Snake: As fitting his being a representative of Pride, he's convinced that his rise to power is proof of his own superiority and divine providence. Ann rightfully points out that had his son Akechi not entered his life and presented him knowledge of the Metaverse, Shido's aspirations to become Prime Minister would have gone absolutely nowhere fast. Plus he was an Unwitting Pawn of Yaldabaoth the whole time.
  • The Social Darwinist: Shido believes it's natural for the weak to be sacrificed for grand ideals. Even if the "weak" consists of innocents, scientists and their children, and even his own co-conspirators.
  • The Sociopath: He has a complete and utter Lack of Empathy, he's a Consummate Liar, he has no genuine loving relationships, he has a delusional sense of superiority over the common masses... Shido fits nearly all of the criteria.
  • Sore Loser: After his Shadow is defeated, he hastily takes a suicide pill against his cohort's warnings in a last-ditch effort to kill the Phantom Thieves. Shido seems less concerned with the fact he is very likely going to die than he is overjoyed in taking the Phantom Thieves with him.
  • Status Effects: Shadow Shido's latter forms favor Fear, with Tyrant's Fist having a random chance to cause it and his only Ailment ability being Evil Touch. Appropriate for a saboteur who sows chaos so he can use the promise of stability to get what he wants.
  • Stupid Evil: To an almost ridiculous degree. If it wasn't for his charisma, likely Yaldabaoth influencing the people, and Akechi eliminating anybody that got close to the truth, then his political campaign would have started to fall apart very quickly. In order:
    • First, all of the Mental Shutdowns benefit him or his co-conspirators directly, the identities of these co-conspirators was not secret, and Sae, who was at the time more focused on the Phantom Thieves, was able to quickly identify a pattern that all led to Shido.
    • Second, the sheer level of unnecessary dickery that Shido is involved in would quickly be discovered if it wasn't for his contacts and even then, it ultimately leads to the fall of his plans.
    • His ridiculous need to make people's lives as miserable as possible ends up attracting more enemies. What's worse is that many of his victims become the very people that bring about his downfall.
  • Taking You with Me: After his Shadow is defeated, the real Shido tells his doctors to put him into a coma, hoping the Phantom Thieves will be destroyed along with his Palace.
  • Tarot Motifs:
    • The Reversed Hierophant— A desire to break from the rigidity of society (i.e. Shido's split from Japan's ruling party to start his own), and the abuse of authority by forcing others to conform to their own ideals.
    • Even if the arcana's not used in game, the Reversed World still fits. He has the country just about to be handed to him on a silver platter, and he's still not satisfied. The World's lion motifs are also involved, except the lion is made of the ignorant masses as opposed to guiding them to a new era.
  • Turns Red: His Shadow does this both literally and figuratively. When under half health, he'll sometimes get four turns in a row, which he'll use to buff himself, debuff the party, then unleash a massive attack. When under a quarter, he'll start using Heat Riser on himself.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Little does he know that everything he and the Conspiracy were doing was part of the Demiurge's game.
  • Villain Has a Point: Despite his extremely repulsive manners, Shido raises a good point in his sincere belief that the current society of Japan is really corrupt, and that he has the power to drive it towards a better future. However, he's more or less planning to use that point and power for his own selfish desires first and foremost, putting the nation's state in second place, as seen in the background of his Palace being a cruise ship within a drowning Japan.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: To a downright insane degree: almost no one other than the Phantom Thieves and their close associates ever express any negative opinion about him. It gets to the point where even after the Phantom Thieves call Shido out in public, and Shido himself confesses to his crimes after his heart is stolen, the public staunchly refuses to acknowledge that Shido is evil at all. It's only after the Phantom Thieves steal the general public's heart that they begin talking about how corrupt Shido is.
    • Although less subtle than Madarame, Shido is extremely calm and reserved in a public situation, and in the few times he actually bumps into the Thieves, he just ignores them or briefly and verbally insults them. Even when he recieves his calling card, he still appears talking to the public formally instead of in a brazen fashion.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: His Shadow's battle form is shirtless.
  • We Can Rule Together: He tells the Thieves that if they help him, he'll give them anything they want. The Thieves refuse, though, and if you decide to ask him whether he's being sincere instead of outright refusing, Shido admits he wasn't.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Getting the future Joker arrested should prove this trope applies to him already, but he doesn't stop there. Shido delivers an Implied Death Threat to Ryuji, a high school student, just for pestering him at a rally. His Shadow reveals that he planned to dispose of Akechi, his teenage son, once the boy had outlived his usefulness as an assassin.
    Shido: Hey kid. You don't want to know what happens when you cross me...
  • The Worm That Walks: The Beast/Wings/Tomb of the Masses that he rides upon in his first form are actually hundreds of naked, golden humans clinging to each other to form a lion, a winged lion, and a pyramid, respectively.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He plans on disposing of his son, Akechi after becoming Prime Minister, since as an illegitimate child and Shido's personal supernatural hitman, Akechi would be too much of a liability if left alive. Shido also ordered the murders of Principal Kobayakawa and the SIU Director once he felt they were no longer useful.
  • You Killed My Father: Though Akechi was the one who killed Wakaba Isshiki and Kunikazu Okumura, Shido was the one who gave the order, and Futaba and Haru direct most of their enmity toward him.
  • Your Son All Along: When you confront him in his Palace, he reveals that he's suspected that Akechi is his son all along because he looks like "that woman".


    The Prisoners 

The People of Tokyo

"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 Conspiracy.
  • Adult Fear: A reason why the people of Tokyo desperately seek order at any cost. Fears such as fear of loss (losing one's family, status or livelihood) and fear of chaos (disruptions that endanger societal harmony) have kept people from personally changing their lives for the better.
  • 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 Conspiracy 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 Conspiracy 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 confessed his crimes on national television, the people of Japan were 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 Phantom Thieves gain enough power to summon the Ultimate Persona, Satanael, which enables them 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 Conspiracy, 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 is summoned by humanity's negativity and desire to inflict harm, Nyx and Chronos are summoned by humanity's wish for death, and Izanami is summoned by humanity's wish for happiness and refusal to accept the truth. 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), 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 so he can 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 Conspiracy. 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.
  • Tarot Motifs:
    • Reversed Death— fear of change, preventing the reform they need.
    • Reversed Tower— resistance to change, enforcing a dangerous status quo.
  • 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 confessed his crimes, the parents and teachers were 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. Shido, Akechi and the other members of the Conspiracy take full advantage of this to abuse the Metaverse for their own gain. 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 Conductor 

Yaldabaoth, the God of Control
Click here to see 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
Voiced by: Masane Tsukayama (JP), David Lodge (EN)

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 manipulates Joker and Goro Akechi throughout the game, pitting them against each other to help him discern the desires of humanity.

In Gnosticism, Yaldabaoth, also known as 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.

  • 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.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: He represents humanity's collective desire to maintain social order regardless of cost.
  • 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.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: If Joker accepts his deal, Yaldabaoth achieves his goals and enacts his new social order unopposed.
  • 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 Conspiracy 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.
  • 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:
    "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 ruin..."
  • 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.
  • Cognizant Limbs: 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 stopped 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:
    • Izanami operates on Blue and Orange Morality and only acts to fulfill what she believes humanity truly desires. 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.
    • 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 conceptualised after Gnosticism.
    • Lastly, Izanami's true form is a Clipped-Wing Angel 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.
  • 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: His last thoughts before his death are to damn his enemy Igor, begrudgingly admitting 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.
  • Elite Four: His heralds are the four archangels.
  • 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 Not a Toy: He's on the giving end of this for The Conspiracy, as he was what lurks beneath the cognitive world 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 to do.
  • 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.
  • Famous Last Words: "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..."
  • 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.
  • 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 even after Akechi and the Conspiracy fall, 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.
  • Foreshadowing: There's a number of hints to him not being the Igor from previous games.
    • His voice is considerably deeper and 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 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.
    • 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.
      • 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 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.
    • 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 as mentioned elsewhere, Igor never deceives you.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Tying into the Featherman foreshadowing of Black Mask mentioned above that same episode goes on to warn of a second traitor without naming them as one of the Feathermen, hinting at betrayal from outside of the Phantom Thieves themselves.
    • In the conversation after Kaneshiro's boss fight, he refers to Black Mask as him when Madarame and Kaneshiro had used gender-neutral terminology. For good reason: he's the one who gave Black Mask his powers in the first place.
  • 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 ths 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 chain, 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 Conspiracy. 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.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Yaldabaoth's mindset is easy to misunderstand. In reality, starting from your probation for "assaulting" Shido, to the interrogation, and to your fight against Akechi, you are expected to win by him while Akechi is set up as the loser. He's basically setting up everything to prove that humanity wants him to control them, so if you won it doesn't matter anything to him. That's why he doesn't try to dispose of you quickly and is stalling things, since disposing of you before he has an excuse to or truly has to simply spoils the entire point of his motives.
  • 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.
  • 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 Conspiracy as his pawns playing against each other. The game is to decide whether humanity would embrace its inner "sloth" and submit to the Conspiracy's rule, or join the Phantom Thieves' rebellion against said inner "sloth". And like Nyarlathotep, 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 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. 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. 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. After his HP is depleted, he just gets back up and fires the attack with no warning to stomp the party, and apparently only did the huge buildup just for kicks. 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 shapeshifted 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 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 Conspiracy 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 his Holy Grail form flakes away to reveal his gold composition, and his berserk form 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 Conspiracy, 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: Starts exerting this on Tokyo shortly after Shido's defeat. While he couldn't imprison the general public's Shadow Selves without their permission, after that point his inmates turn the Weirdness Censor up to ridiculous levels. It's actually what causes the Phantom Thieves to realize that Mementos itself is a threat, and he begins to lose control of them as the Archangels are defeated.
  • Morton's Fork: His "game" was set up to determine whether humanity should receive "salvation" or "destruction and rebirth". "Destruction and rebirth" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. "Salvation" is Yaldabaoth enslaving humanity.
  • 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.
  • 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: Blames the Phantom Thieves' temporary Ret Gone when Mementos and the real world merge solely on the public, even though he was the one responsible for the merger that made it possible in the first place. On one hand, he is the Anthropomorphic Personification of their desires, so he could also mean that their general opinion became strong enough for him to gain the power to do so. On the other hand, he's still practically admitting that he couldn't have done it without them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: He represents all seven, with each of his skills being named "Distorted Lust / Wrath / Pride / etc." in your final battle with him.
  • 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".
  • 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.
"Preposterous... You dare rob the people's wishes!?"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, Yaldaboath quickly shows his rage.
    Preposterous! You dare rob the people's wishes?!
  • 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 the 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 long as he leaves the Holy Grail alone and doesn't interfere with it, 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 the Thieves are basically in control of the city, and all of the police and government officials who were opposing them are forced to keep their distance from them lest they get their hearts stolen. However, since none of the other Thieves know Joker cut a deal with Yaldabaoth, the implication is the Thieves have given in to the temptation of abusing their power like Akechi did, and they'll never truly be free from Yaldabaoth watching everyone from behind the scenes.
  • Xanatos Gambit: His game involving the Phantom Thieves and the Conspiracy revolves around this, and he goes various steps to ensure that he would emerge as the victor regardless of who wins his game. If Akechi and the Conspiracy win, 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 reduced back to faceless masses under Yaldabaoth's control. It's only when the Phantom Thieves expose Yaldabaoth true identity and Joker refuses to cut a deal with him, that this trope gets subverted.


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