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Characters / Persona 5: Targets

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The antagonists of Persona 5.

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

In general

  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: A person's real-world self doesn't share memories with their Shadow, which is a good thing for the Thieves as it means nothing they do in the Metaverse risks exposing them. A Shadow is fully aware of their real-world self's memories.
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  • And That's Terrible!: Whenever you catch a glimpse of a Target's depravity in full force, at least one of your party members will always comment on how horrible said target is and make it perfectly clear that their heart must be stolen, no matter what.
  • Arc Villain: Each of the Palace Rulers acts as the main threat for a portion of the game's story, only to all-but-vanish after the Thieves succeed in stealing their heart. The game itself even acknowledges their importance by referring to their respective storylines as the "[villain] arc". The sole exceptions are Futaba and Sae (who were never evil to begin with) and Shido (who acts as The Heavy throughout the game).
  • The Atoner:
    • Played straight for minor targets. The more atrocious Mementos targets the Phantom Thieves change the hearts of do genuinely apologize and stop their misdeeds, and others turn from corrupt corporate executives into benevolent bosses or Abusive Parents into genuinely caring ones.
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    • Subverted for most major targets, who were made into cowering empty shells of their former selves, devoid of any ambition and enjoying their captivity in Mementos' Depths.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The Palaces exist inside the consciousness of distorted people. The Thieves are effectively going inside their brains to bring them down.
  • Barrier Maiden: For every Palace that the Phantom Thieves destroy, a door leading further into the Depths of Mementos opens up. Morgana theorizes that more of Mementos is explorable because it is the Palace of the general public, so their growing awareness of the Thieves grants them further access. Also in play for whichever Mementos Target blocks the way to the next Path.
  • Bring It: The Palace Rulers (with the exception of Shadow Futaba) react to their calling cards in this manner: the screen flickers, revealing the Target's true self, who taunts the Phantom Thieves to steal their treasure if they dare, before the Palace's security rating rockets up to 99% in the vanilla or 100% in Royal.
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  • Card-Carrying Villain: No matter how carefully the Targets hide their twisted nature in reality, their Shadows often present themselves as thoroughly unpleasant people with little shame or remorse for how they conduct themselves. Justified in that Shadows represent the impulses that everyone tries to hide.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The Major Targets are a contrast to the Shadows in Persona 4. Rather than be the Shadows of the party members, they're instead the Shadows of those party members' major emotional roadblocks, with Kamoshida serving as one to both Ryuji and Ann. As such, the party members awaken their Persona and join the party before the bosses' defeat, not afterwards. It's worth noting that the exception to this just so happens to be the Navigator of the game, Futaba, much as the same way that Shadow Rise was the odd one out of the Party's Shadows.
  • Deconstruction: Of the idea of Shadows in general. Shadows are physical manifestations of a person's repressed emotions and desires, with the protagonists of the games generally gaining their Personas by accepting theirs. But whereas the Shadows of the previous game were largely teenage desires and confusion, 5 displays that Shadows can also become the dark sides of some truly monstrous individuals.
  • Defeat Means Playable: For a few Mementos Targets, defeating them bestows a key item that unlocks their corresponding Persona for fusion.
  • Empty Shell: Morgana warns Ryuji and Joker that stealing desires equates to robbing people of the pillars that hold up their world. Without those desires, they could lose the will to live. It happens to the Shadows of the Palace Rulers after they are defeated; they are trapped in the Depths of Mementos, content to a life of slavery.
  • Evil Is Petty: All the Targets are unhealthily petty to absurd degrees, most of them doing a pretty bad job of hiding it in the real world. Think that Kamoshida's leaking of Joker's criminal record to all of Shujin was bad? He's not even the worst of the lot.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Ann quotes this trope word-for-word when she explains why she didn't kill Kamoshida, and the same logic applies to all of the Targets. Killing them would be too easy because they wouldn't get the chance to repent for their crimes. The change of heart forces a Target to live the rest of their lives wallowing in guilt, knowing what horrible people they used to be.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Zigzagged.
    • As noted on the main page, the two major female targets are nowhere near as twisted as the male targets:
      • Futaba in particular is a special case: you're stealing her heart not to reform her, but to prevent her from committing suicide.
      • Sae is notable for being the only Palace ruler who doesn't need her heart stolen to perform a Heel–Face Turn, instead pulling one of her own volition after undergoing some Character Development.
    • Downplayed for the women you target in Mementos. While there are truly wicked people among the women there, they are sharply outnumbered and are largely relegated to extortionists, Abusive Parents and overly obsessive Yanderes, as opposed to the men who can be serial killers, ex-mercenaries, manipulators of women or even at one case, an entertainment industry head who blatantly goes to bed with his idols like Kamoshida.
    • Inverted for the True Final Boss of Royal, Takuto Maruki, whose status as a target is merely a consequence of the main campaign, and whose actions and dialogue are anything but evil, just misguided.
  • Flat Character: Basically, they are living justifications for the Thieves to venture into Palaces and progress through the story, in that they're all so incredibly vile and needlessly cruel that there's an inherent Catharsis Factor to want them put down.
  • Foil: Almost all of them can be interpreted as representing the reversed form of the Arcana represented by the people they act as the Arc Villain to.
  • Freudian Excuse: Several of the Mementos Targets will reveal, after you defeat them, that they too were victimized by the system, and figured that if they couldn't beat the corrupt establishment, they might as well join it.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While many of the targets have their personal tragedies, the Phantom Thieves point out that this doesn't justify what they put their victims through.
  • A God Am I: Zigzagged depending on the target. While not all of them think this highly of themselves, some are convinced by the power and/or authority they have at their disposal that they can compare it to being godlike in some form or another.
  • Gotta Catch Them All!: In Royal, there are special items hidden in all of the Palaces except for the Mementos Depths, called Will Seeds, skulls that are attached to roots and are hidden away, with the last one guarded by a powerful Shadow. Collecting all three causes them to fuse and become a Crystal, which while useful, can also be traded with José for a Ring, which has even better spacial abilities.
    • Ring of Lust: Champion's Cup; Summon's Kamoshida's Trophy to restore a medium amount of HP and increases Attack for one ally for 3 turns.
    • Ring of Vanity: Bleeding Dry Brush; An inverse of Madarme's Artist's Grace, seven brush strokes forms a barrier that can absorb any one attack except Almighty.
    • Ring of Gluttony: Vault Guardian; Summons golden vaults to increases Defense for all allies for 3 turns.
    • Ring of Wrath: Wings of Wisdom; Summons the wings of The Sphinx to cure all non-special ailments for all allies.
    • Ring of Greed: President's Insight; Summons the Corporobos to multiply one ally's next magical attack damage by 2.5.
    • Ring of Envy: Gambler's Foresight; Increases Agility for all allies for 3 turns.
    • Ring of Pride: Tyrant's Will; Summons Beast of Human Sacrifice's head to multiply one ally's next Physical or Gun attack damage by 2.5.
    • Ring of Sorrow: Guiding Tendril; Summons with Azathoth's tentacles to down all foes. Only usable during preemptive attack.
  • Hate Sink: Justified in the case of the Shadows themselves—since Shadows are the darkest parts of humanity given life, it's expected that the Targets' Shadows would be unashamedly evil (or in the case of the Mementos Targets, generally unpleasant). However, the story goes out of its way to present the mass majority of the Targets in the real world as thoroughly reprehensible people as well, allowing the player to feel less guilt when it comes to stealing their heart away.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Stealing their Treasures removes their distorted desires and gives them an intense desire to atone for their sins.
  • Heel Realization: The response of most Targets to having their Treasure stolen is a sudden feeling of remorse and actively attempting to repent for their crimes. The only exception is Shido who prefers to commit suicide rather than be changed... though even then, after failing, he too tries to repent for his actions.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Many of them justify their actions this way due to demanding expectations from society as well as their own insecurities.
  • It's All About Me: Most of the Targets are generally selfish people who are willing to do anything to fulfill their own desires, from harming their own family members to committing murder.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Several of the major targets like Kamoshida, Madarame and Shido have been getting away with their crimes for years before the events of the game. Needless to say, the Thieves are all too happy to put an end to that and finally make them pay for all they've done.
  • Kick the Dog: All of them have their moments of doing evil things for the sake of sadism.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Each of the main Targets gets a dose of it, most often during their boss fight:
    • Kamoshida used his past glories as an excuse to abuse the students under his care. He ends up stripped of the representations of these trophies over the course of his Shadow's boss fight, leaving him as the pathetic monster he is deep down. And after the boss fight, he's cornered on a balcony by a very pissed off Ann, who takes the chance to point out that what he's feeling is probably how Shiho felt when she jumped off the school's roof in her attempt at suicide.
    • Madarame stole the artwork his students created to pass it off as his own. During the fight against his Shadow, it covers party members in ink in order to weaken them and make them vulnerable to his attacks. If the fight goes on long enough, you get the opportunity to steal his own trick and use it against him. In Royal, he summons Ersatz copies of himself to attack in numbers, only to have them removed quickly and the more Ersatz he summons, the weaker they become.
    • Kaneshiro lured in students with the promise of a "part-time job" in order to Blackmail them. He's lured in by the Thieves giving up a valuable item in order to distract him from the fight, letting the Thieves wail on him without worry. In Royal, he goes to the Piggytron first, then fights the party on foot summoning a pair of incredibly tough bodyguards that he hired with money and boasts on their impregnability, only to have a simple Dormina disable them and the party's attacks severing them. The guards are also literal money-grubbing flies that are only there for the money, so once he wastes all of his money as a last ditch attempt to severely damage the Thieves, he will have no money to hire the guards, so they flee and leave him vulnerable to anything that the Phantom Thieves might throw at him.
    • The Sphinx, the representation of Futaba's guilt over her mother's death, is bought down when Futaba decides to stop feeling guilty and realizes that her mother loved her, and the "rotten adults" who accused Futaba of her mother's murder are the ones to blame.
    • Okumura espoused betrayal as necessary in order to get ahead in the world and relied on always having disposable workers. He eventually runs out of robots to throw at the Thieves during his boss fight and in Royal, throws his daughter as a suicide bomb against the Phantom Thieves for nothing, eventually bared on the battlefield and defeated in a single hit. He is ultimately betrayed not only by his own daughter, but by the very conspiracy he embraced for power, who set him up to die so that they can frame the Phantom Thieves. In Royal, he also fakes difficulty by retreating and redeploying his robots and using Rakukaja on his stronger ones to make sure he gets his way, only for a keen-eyed player to find out that the robots stopped resisting Gun and are all vulnerable to a variety of status conditions unlike in Vanilla and thus can be hit incredibly hard with Technical Gun attacks using this way just like Kaneshiro's hired bodyguards and the Rakukaja lifted by a simple Dekaja, allowing the party's offenses to actually go through.
    • Sae Niijima spends the entirety of her Palace claiming that she'd fight "fair and square", only to keep rigging games in her favor. She's forced into an actual fair fight after being exposed one too many times, and ultimately loses.
    • Black Mask AKA Goro Akechi, the personal assassin of the Big Bad and a traitor to basically everyone he knows, seemingly dies saving the Thieves when Shido's cognition of him turns on him for his failure and reveals that he was always meant to be disposed of in the end just like Goro did for everyone else who could potentially stand in Shido's way. Furthermore, having done everything he did in order to receive affirmation and praise, his ultimate deed of glory takes place where nobody could see it, under circumstances that mean nobody besides the other Thieves will ever know that in the end he was truly a hero.
    • Samael AKA Masayoshi Shido, a Corrupt Politician who crushed the lives of many innocents for reasons ranging from power to pettiness, is ultimately brought down by the Phantom Thieves, many of whom have lives that he tried to ruin. It was his attempts to ruin their lives that bought the Thieves' attention to The Conspiracy in the first place. Furthermore, in a display of Irony, despite how he goes out of the way to catch the Phantom Thieves, he never knew that they got his heart changed and they were formed by the very people he crushed, and he doesn't even know that the kid he put on probation and forgot in March was leading them. In Royal, he also attempts to challenge Joker one on one when his HP is low enough, although he loses Tyrant's Wave and physical attacks completely, and is thus outmatched by Joker's wild card. Furthermore, a resourceful player can force him to kill himself by spamming Magic Oinments on their Joker, since he no longer uses anything but Magic once he starts fighting Joker one-on-one.
    • The Holy Grail. A malevolent god who claimed to represent the voice of the masses, is defeated when the masses ultimately support the Phantom Thieves, allowing Joker to summon Satanael.
    • Takuto Maruki in Royal during the Third Term. A loyal confidant of the Phantom Thieves who fortifies their mentality, collapses to a series of career and love-based issues and is eventually corrupted by Yaldabaoth, going into a fit and attempting to jump off the debris of his Palace only to be saved by Joker and Morgana in his newfound helicopter form. One of the basis of his research, Sumire, also becomes one of the greatest counters against his Azathoth form, being immune to his nuke and bless attacks that he spams frequently, assuming that Cendrillon has transmogrified into Ella.
  • Laughably Evil: The Palace-owners lean towards this, as while they do serve as very real and dangerous threats to both society and the Phantom Thieves themselves, their Shadow selves more often than not tend to expose them as petty, over-the-top, pathetic losers who have unbelievably fragile egos and fall back on excuse after excuse as to why they're as evil as they are.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: A Palace disappears once its Treasure is stolen, so after defeating a boss, the Thieves have to scramble for the exit.
  • MacGuffin: Each Target has a Treasure that the Thieves need to steal in order to change their hearts.
  • Metaphorically True: The Targets aren't exactly wrong in most of their statements.
    • Kamoshida was in fact, once a famous volleyball athlete, and he was truly in fear of losing his reputation. He just copes with it by committing atrocities around Shujin.
    • Madarame wasn't exactly a terrible artist and he was once truly famous for his work, he just went into a slump and tries to cope with it by scamming his pupils.
    • Samael says that they're not any different from the Phantom Thieves, rebelling against the current and corrupt Japanese government in hopes of turning it into a better place. It's just his definition for it is a fascist dictatorship where he and a select few bootlickers are at the top, and he ruined numerous lives to achieve it.
  • Motive Rant: Since the Shadows are born from the Targets' repressed issues, they'll often go on about what led their hosts to become this way.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When the Target's Treasure is stolen and their Shadow beaten, the Target's heart will be unable to handle the guilt and they will immediately confess and beg to be punished.
  • Never My Fault: Part of their MO when confronted is to blame their victims or the society that lets them get away with it. The Palace targets especially never blame themselves for any tragedies they might have caused, believing themselves to either be in the right to do it, or completely unrepentant about what they want.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Targets' tendencies to be so remorselessly cruel to unnecessary lengths only bolsters the Phantom Thieves' resolve to steal their hearts.
  • Obviously Evil: Their mere appearance already shows that these people are assholes who will trample on anyone for their own benefits. In fact, some of them do not bother hiding their true nature to others.
  • One Steve Limit: Beelzebub, Satan, and Lucifer are recurring characters in Shin Megami Tensei and also show up as individual Personas here, so the Shadows that represent Gluttony, Wrath, and Pride use alternative demon names instead.
  • One-Winged Angel: When confronted, the Shadow Selves of each Target transform to combat the Thieves. Those mainly affiliated with the Antisocial Force have unique forms based on the below trope, while the Mementos Targets often transform into a Shadow which Joker can use, or as a Mook in most cases.
  • Playing the Victim Card: When confronted, the Targets attempt to justify their actions by claiming that they are no different than their own victims and Society Is to Blame for turning them into monsters. The Phantom Thieves don't buy this line of thinking for one second, saying that a Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse and/or that they always had a choice, but simply took the easy way out.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The main motif of all of the major Palaces and their Shadows. Six of the regular seven are embodied by the owners of each Palace, along with two non-traditional ones (Emptiness and Vanity, alternatives / counterparts for Sloth and Pride). Sloth is a special case: the Mementos dungeon is its representative "Palace", and the people of Tokyo as a whole embody the sin, which is shown during the endgame when the Greater-Scope Villain begins to enact his plan.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: A Treasure is a distilled manifestation of what triggered the Targets' internal distortion. The majority of the Targets' distortions can be traced back to a single reaction they'd gained from a simple object that are either completely worthless to anyone else or are actually valuable objects that can be sold for a huge sum of money.
  • Society Is to Blame: Many of the Targets in Mementos and all of the Palaces' rulers will at one point or another will blame society for the way they turned out, whether it's the public's mistreatment toward the poor (Ichiryuusai Madarame, Junya Kaneshiro, and Kunikazu Okumura), stress due to people's increasing expectations of them (Suguru Kamoshida and Goro Akechi), undeserving blame for those looking for a scapegoat to misfortune (Futaba Sakura), sexist discrimination in a male-dominated environment (Sae Niijima), believing that they need to preserve themselves and a chosen few in a continuously declining society (Masayoshi Shido) or simply claiming that they are fulfilling society's wishes (Yaldabaoth and Maruki). The Phantom Thieves will usually retort by pointing out that they are still fully responsible for their own actions. Granted, all of them do have a point to varying degrees, which actually becomes a plot point as the story progresses, as the Thieves wonder if what they're doing is the right thing.
  • Space Whale Aesop:
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Like in Persona 4, the Shadows have gold eyes that make them separate from their real world counterparts.
  • Tarot Motifs: While none of the major targets have given arcanas, and minor targets share theirs with the Shadow they take the form of, inferring which Reverse Arcana they represent is a matter of whose Arc Villain they are.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: A few of the lesser targets in Mementos take this mindset. Basically, they think that if they can't fix the system, they might as well indulge in it and be just as bad as the people they hate.
  • Unnamed Parent: Averted. Despite the fact that most Shadows are referred to by their last names, including those who are parents of other characters (for example, Mitsuyo Togo is called "Hifumi's mother" in her dialogue boxes), their first names are briefly mentioned, and are necessary knowledge to take on their Shadows.
  • Villain Ball: The Targets tend to hide their darker sides well enough from the rest of society, but when they lash out, they all prove themselves to be so unrepentant and malicious that it simply gives the Thieves more of a motivation to steal their hearts away. A particularly egregious moment comes along when Madarame's Shadow manages to fool the Thieves into stealing a fake Treasure... only to confront them a few moments later with the real Treasure just to flaunt it in their faces—and the ensuing exchange between him and Yusuke only bolsters Yusuke's resolve, culminating in the destruction of Madarame's Palace.
  • Villain Has a Point: While the Targets are ultimately responsible for their own selfish choices, it is true that society's flaws are partly responsible for influencing those choices to various degrees given how rigid Japanese society is. In fact, it becomes a major plot point to where it is tied to the final boss and embodies the Sloth of the people of Japan.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Several of the better-known Targets are able to get away with what they do because of their reputations or the results they bring.


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