While Persona is largely an episodic game series, there are certain characters and archetypes that have a presence through multiple games. This page is reserved for those characters, who have a significant role in multiple games and the overarching continuity rather than primarily being focused in one particular game.
For a full index of characters from the Persona series, see this page.
A man with a butterfly mask who bestows Personas to people. He lives in the realm of the collective unconscious. Philemon operates as an ally to the party, despite the fact that he can only watch events unfold as a neutral observer. As such, he cannot directly interfere with anything that is going on, but does his best to aid the player despite this. Philemon is conducting an experiment with his rival, Nyarlathotep, over humanity's destiny. Philemon believes they can become enlightened, higher beings.
- Anime Hair: His gravity-defying ponytail.
- Animal Motifs: He is associated with butterflies.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Of humanity as a whole, or to be more specific, their virtues, their capacity to give shape to the universe through observation, and most importantly their creative "potential".
- Big Good: By default, due to his views on humanity being the polar opposite of Nyarlathotep's. Nevertheless, he's been Out of Focus for quite a while, since he chose to give his Mysterious Benefactor job over to Igor.
- Bishōnen: In the second game, though he doesn't look that bad in the first game either.
- Bonus Boss: You can have a boss fight with him at the end of Eternal Punishment's Bonus Dungeon.
- Calling Card: A gold or blue butterfly showing up means he's near.
- Cosmic Chess Game: There is a checkered floor in both his and Nyarlathotep's rooms, suggesting a sort of chess-match using the individual party members as pieces.
- Cool Mask: He often appears as a man wearing a white mask that incorporates some sort of butterfly motif.
- Eldritch Abomination: While he often takes humanoid form, he's just as eldritch as every other god in the franchise.
- "End of the World" Special: After Nyarlathotep destroys the world at the end of Innocent Sin, Philemon offers the heroes a chance to create a new world by erasing the "innocent sin" in the past that had led to Nyarlathotep's victory.
- Exposition Fairy: Will explain how to use Persona and most other systems in the games he appears in.
- The Faceless: He almost always wears a mask. As he's the personification of all humans, he can also appear with whatever face he wants, including the protagonist's in Persona 2. "I am thou, thou art I" after all.
- Game-Over Man: Shows up if you get a game over in Persona 2 or Persona Q2. (In Eternal Punishment and Q2, he only appears as a butterfly.)Philemon: Are you going to finish... without knowing the truth?
- The Ghost: His last appearance was in Persona 2, but the butterfly motif continues on into subsequent games (most notably at save points in Persona 4), hinting at his involvement from behind the scenes.
- God and Satan Are Both Jerks: The events of Persona 2 all come down to a bet between him and God of Evil Nyarlathotep over whether Humans Are Bastards or not.
- God's Hands Are Tied: He just shows the heroes how to use the power of their own hearts and walks away, unlike Big Bad Nyarlathotep, who actively tries to destroy humanity.
- Greater-Scope Paragon: Philemon is the embodiment of humanity's most positive virtues (opposite Nyarlathotep, who represents the worst impulses of humanity), and the master of Igor (who runs the Velvet Room). While even in the early games he had very little direct involvement in the series's events outside of giving the protagonists their Personas (due to the terms of the bet he made with Nyarlathotep), with the one exception being when he remakes the world following the events of Innocent Sin, after the Persona 2 duology he's shrunk back his role even more, preferring to simply observe the protagonists while in butterfly form as the save points.
- Hotter and Sexier: He goes from looking like a middle aged man in Persona to looking in his early 20s in Persona 2.
- Humans Are Good: As he's the Anthropomorphic Personification of the good of humanity, this is expected to be his viewpoint.
- Justified Save Point: Remember how Philemon let you pull a Cosmic Retcon at the end of Innocent Sin? There's a reason most of the save points are blue butterflies in Persona 4.
- The Long Game: At the outset, both he and Nyarlathotep are reactive entities. Over time, Nyarlathotep's planning is revealed to be much more extensive than previously thought: planting auditory hallucinations in Tatsuya Sudou and fake memories in Jun, impersonating Kashihara, and originating the biblical legend of the Spear of Longinus (a whopping 2,000 years ago) which comes into play at the worst possible moment. Philemon is no slouch, though, as Nyarlathotep realizes when it hits him like a rake in the face.
- Meaningful Name: Named for Swiss psychologist Carl Jung's self-proclaimed spirit guide. Fittingly, Igor will tell you Jung was actually one of the original Persona users.
- One-Hit Kill: In the Bonus Boss battle against him in Persona 2, if the party tries to use Armageddon against him he will simply shrug it off and counter with his own version, Armageddon R.
- The Powers That Be: He's the Big Good, seeing to it that all the screwed up parts of humanity's collective soul stays out of their reality.
- Put on a Bus: Their bet settled, Nyar and Philemon depart our realm seemingly for good, and have not been heard from (at least not directly) since the nineties. Despite this, he still keeps an eye on the future protagonists in his butterfly form.
- Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: Justified, at least, in the original Persona and Innocent Sin. The students chosen to wield Persona have relationships with the various Big Bads: Maki, Saeko Takami (under the control of the Snow Queen's mask), Guido, and Jun. In a rare departure for Persona, the users he recruited in Eternal Punishment were each young professionals in their twenties and thirties.
- Save Point: The save points in Persona 4 were made to look like a cloud of butterflies as a reference to Philemon's continued involvement in the overall series.
- Spirit Advisor: More so in Persona 1 and 2; by the time Persona 3 comes about, he doesn't even bother to make a direct appearance, though Word of God states that the blue butterflies in 3 and 4 are supposed to represent him watching over the protagonists. The blue butterfly shown in Persona 5 is assumed to be Philemon as a case can be made that the butterfly isn't necessarily the one speaking and Lavenza's voice is heard telepathically.
- Stupid Good: Played With. His refusal to do anything about Nyarlathotep during their "bet" led to the destruction of the world in Innocent Sin. On the other hand, the whole point of the game is strong-willed people overcoming tough obstacles. It was imperative that the team took down Nyarlathotep on their own. It didn't help that Nyarlathotep was actively attempting to rig the game in his favor every step of the way.
- The Unmasking: At the end of the first two games, Philemon reveals how he looks like beneath the mask, an old man in the first and Tatsuya in Innocent Sin. Granted that he, like Nyarlathotep, can take any form that suits him.
- The Watcher: Albeit a slightly self-serving one, as he's trying to win a bet with the God of Evil.
- Wham Shot: Should the player choose to punch him in Innocent Sin, Philemon reveals his face underneath the mask; Tatsuya.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The player can punch Philemon at the end of Innocent Sin for his actions throughout the game.
- The Worf Effect: In Persona Q, the butterfly that he represents has been trapped in a web made by Chronos. Once the party destroys Chronos and the fake Yasogami, he escapes from the web.
Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, is a Shapeshifting entity who stands opposite to Philemon. While Philemon observes a rule of neutrality, Nyarlathotep regularly manifests in the real world in a wide array of guises. Despite appearing only at the tail end of both Persona 2 games, he is nevertheless a prime mover in the overarching storyline, and is retroactively named as the puppeteer behind the first Persona.
In Innocent Sin, both he and Philemon are performing an experiment to see if humanity will become enlightened or ultimately destroy itself. Nyarlathotep decides to push things in his favor by placing a curse on Sumaru City, causing rumors to come alive and guiding humans toward self-destruction. Nyarlathotep corrupts the memories of Jun Kurosu, leading him to believe that Tatsuya Suou and the rest of the Masked Circle killed their "Big Sis", Maya Amano. With this, Jun gave in to Nyarlathotep and became the Joker, creating a corrupted adult version of the Masked Circle with the intent to raise Xibalba, the alien ship upon which Sumaru City rests, and create a superior human race. Nyarlathotep took the form of Jun's father, who died long ago, but with all the ideal traits that Jun desired in a father. Besides this default form, he also manifests as Adolf Hitler, as well as Jun's own Persona.
In Eternal Punishment, Nyarlathotep takes advantage of Tatsuya Suou's mistake of becoming a paradox in the recreated world. He starts by restoring the memories of King Leo, one of the key figures that led to the Other Side's destruction, as well as bringing his former host, Takahisa Kandori, back to life. The New World Order, a parallel to the Other Side's Masked Circle, is established as a result. Xibalba is revived as the Ameno Torifune, an ancient Mayan machine buried underneath Sumaru City.
- Alien Geometries: The Monado Mandala, the "utopia" promised by the New World Order (some utopia), is actually the realm of the Collective Unconscious where he resides. It's a giant web of glowing pathways arranged in the shape of a cube, with Nyarlathotep's shrine, a dark mirror of Philemon's own, floating in the center.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The battle versus the Great Father at the end of Innocent Sin.
- Animal Motifs:
- Some of his forms like Moon Howler and Crawling Chaos resemble squids which goes with his inspiration.
- Also, like his counterpart he uses a butterfly as his symbol, albeit black.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Of humanity as a whole, just like Philemon. To be specific, he is the culmination of their vices, their destructive impulses, and most importantly their inherent "contradiction".
- Ascended Extra: From a meta perspective, he went from merely being Kandori's Persona in the first game, to being the Big Bad of both Persona 2 games.
- As Long as There is Evil: He's the darkness in human hearts. As long as it exists, so will he.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: As Kashihara, he's decked out in a dark brown pinstriped suit, a black Nehru shirt, and a crimson scarf.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Makes an extremely convincing argument that Humans Are Bastards in Innocent Sin by manipulating a bunch of deluded humans into destroying reality. It was undone with a Reset Button but Eternal Punishment is about stopping it from happening again.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: Philemon guides those who are "strong of will", while Nyarlathotep "drags the weak to Hell."
- The Battle Didn't Count: Pretty much how he makes his debut in Innocent Sin, initially appearing in his form of the Fuhrer. After the fight he reveals himself, acting like the fight didn't even happen.
- Big Bad: Serves as the main antagonist of the Persona 2 games, and was even retroactively revealed as the Greater-Scope Villain of Persona 1. Since then, however, he has been Put on a Bus along with Philemon. The closest we have to a re-appearance is the Malevolent Entity from Persona 4: Arena and its sequel Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, two crossover fighting games following 3 and 4; despite many fans believing their similarities were too neat to be mere coincidence, the Entity turned out to be Hi-no-Kagutsuchi.
- Blade on a Stick/Holy Hand Grenade: The Spear of Longinus, whose legend he loves to take advantage of to create a holy weapon capable of inflicting wounds which can't heal.
- Body of Bodies: As the Great Father, he is very much a dirty fighter; sprouting fists shaped like the visages of the protagonists' fathers and daring you to strike them. He even announces each assault in their voices.
- Breaking Speech: Above all else, he loves pointing out to others when they are contradicting their inner emotions with their actions and statements. As far as he's concerned, everyone has the secret desire to hate and destroy everyone and everything, and trying to tell yourself otherwise just makes you a hypocrite.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: He is impossible to truly defeat permanently, barring the total destruction of humanity itself. Presumably, this is why he spares a couple million survivors aboard the Sumaru starship at the end of Innocent Sin.
- Catchphrase: Nyarlathotep's favorite taunt is "That's a contradiction/You're contradicting yourself."
- A Chat with Satan: Regularly points out the darker desires in the heroes' hearts, as he is those desires.
- Complexity Addiction: Given his powers, he likely could effortlessly kill the protagonists early on if he really wanted to, but he prefers to break them through his manipulation, cunning, and breaking speeches.
- Cognizant Limbs: His Great Father form has a health bar for each part of his body, each of them being a twisted form of the protagonist's fathers.
- Coup de Grâce Cutscene: At the end of Eternal Punishment, Philemon shows up to announce that the game is ended, and a frustrated Nyarlathotep concedes defeat... for now. Maya and Tatsuya then tag-team him with pistol rounds and sword swipes, causing him to cry out and vanish into the depths of the collective consciousness.
- The Corrupter: Most assuredly. He excels at luring people in a direction they were already flirting with and sinking them. Kandori was always a crooked, social-climbing businessman, but he only gained a God complex when handed the keys to a device which can reshape the world to his whims. Tatsuya Sudou was always a bit of an odd-ball, neglected by his father and without friends, but he never was a mass-murdering madman 'til after he started hearing "The Voices, the VOICES!" The voice that he's hearing, of course, is none other than the Crawling Chaos himself, manipulating yet another pathetic human.
- Dark Reprise: His theme music is a variation on Philemon's Leitmotif.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Albeit not a very good one. Akinari Kashihara was a meek man in a pullover vest with a permanent case of bed-head. His doppelganger has the same face, but dresses like a GQ model and wears a perpetual smirk. This was done intentionally: Jun felt ashamed of Akinari, so he wished for a father who wouldn't embarrass him. Nyarlathotep granted his wish in usual Jackass Genie fashion, impressing his friends by showing up unannounced at their playhouse. He also keeps a Masataka Amano skin-suit around to belittle and spite Maya.
- Deal with the Devil: Most of the Masked Circle's members were promised their greatest wishes, in exchange for ignoring reality and destroying the lives of others. Later, Maya Okamura succumbed to her desire to vindicate her dead love and prove his mad theories correct, which placed her under Nyarlathotep's thrall; he keeps Okamura in his front pocket until the very end. Other suckers included the key members of the NWO, most notably General Sugawara, who threw his lot in with Nyarlathotep's men in hope of curing his terminal illness; he was rewarded by becoming an immortal (but hideous) monster.
- Demonic Possession: He can pose as a Persona well enough. Once his host falls in battle, however, Nyarlathotep simply takes over their body and springs back up for Round 2. This is retroactively revealed to have happened to Kandori in the original Persona, and Jun suffers the same fate as Joker.
- The Dreaded: He tends to have this effect on humans and Persona alike. Whenever he steps out of the shadows, the party members can sense him exuding a great power, reacting with dialogue such as "What... what is this feeling? This cold... my... my Persona... is afraid!" Even the poker-faced Baofu's blood turns to ice.
- Eldritch Abomination: He's a shapeshifting monster that comes from inside the darkness of every human heart and can break the lines between rumor and reality with a thought. Many of his forms also feature tentacles and various types of Body Horror.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: The enormous, elaborate clock behind the Time Count. It's covered in gold rings that spin and spin and spin... In hindsight, this foreshadows Sumaru City's eventual transformation into a halo-covered UFO.
- Evil All Along: He helped the heroes as the Time Count but did that only to make his plans go smoothly.
- Evil Counterpart: Philemon is all the good in humanity. Nyarlathotep is all the bad. His "Time Castle" store in the heart of Sumaru City is a wonderful counterpoint to the Velvet Room. He exchanges cards, pontificates on fate and the insignificance of humans in the greater scheme, and his store reflects the progression of the overall plot (i.e. it slowly fills up with brainwashed NWO members and Shadows).
- Evil Gloating: "Let me see your terrified faces." He really likes doing this, whether he is winning or not.
- Evil Will Fail: After he's finally defeated at the end of Eternal Punishment, Nyarlathotep notes with bitter irony that he's become the unwitting instigator of man's evolution; "chaos" being the wellspring of Philemon's "potential."
- Faux Affably Evil: "You desired all of this! Smile a little! You're contradicting yourself!"
- Final Boss: He's the last opponent in every part of Persona 2 except the EX Dungeon in Eternal Punishment, taking different forms each time:
- In Innocent Sin, he starts out in the guise of the Fuhrer using the Moon Howler as his Persona, then becomes the Great Father, a horrific fusion of all the party members' fathers with Kashihara at the top.
- In Eternal Punishment, he directly engages the party as the Moon Howler before finally revealing his true form as the Crawling Chaos.
- In Tatsuya's Scenario in the PSP version of Eternal Punishment, he takes on the form of the Faceless God, which is his original design from Shin Megami Tensei II.
- Final Boss Preview: The "Fuhrer" summons the Moon Howler as his Persona. You aren't going to see it again until the sequel. He also converses with you throughout the game as "Time Count", the helpful-but-smug card monger.
- For the Evulz: Neither he nor Philemon have any real stake in their wager. Nyarlathotep wants to destroy the planet... for kicks.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Often appears as friends or family members of the humans he's trying to manipulate at the moment.
- God of Evil: Literally, given the part of humanity he represents.
- Guardian Entity: To Joker and Kandori, manifesting as a Persona for each.
- The Heartless: He's the anthropomorphic personification of the negative emotions of humanity as a whole: fear, hatred, anger, and all of their perceived weaknesses.
- Hidden Villain: He prefers to operate behind the scenes for most of the Persona 2 duology.
- High-Class Glass: The Time Count's clock-shaped monocle.
- Hope Crusher: Befitting the Lovecraftian Outer God he is named after, he delights in destroying the hope and sanity of humans.
- Humanity on Trial: What he and Philemon are setting up in Persona 2. He's perfectly happy to tip the scales to his favor, though.
- Humanoid Abomination: He often takes the forms of humans to better manipulate and unnerve them. Katsuya and Baofu, no strangers to criminal profiling, suspect he has more in common with us than he realizes, and that this is a flaw to be exploited.Baofu: That's definitely a human. The way he looks down on others that's something only humans can do. Heh... All right, I'll tango with ya... As another human.
- I Have Your Wife: Abducts Lisa, Eikichi, and Jun at the climax of Eternal Punishment, then threatens to restore their memories (which would doom the planet).
- Knight of Cerebus: Persona 2 was already Darker and Edgier even for a Shin Megami Tensei game, but once this man shows up things go downhill fast!!!
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: It becomes evident that something is off when Tatsuya's party corners him in Xibalba. As the "Fuhrer", he responds to each attack with a Palpatine-like "good", and the Great Father wraps up the fight by praising your strength. These are just sparring matches for his personal amusement; Philemon wonders if playing the father figure has made him go "soft," suggesting that he's far less merciful under normal conditions. Nyarlathotep just chuckles and admits that his counterpart was right about humans: they're fun to play with. This might be because with Okamura in place, he's already all but won and he's just dragging on the battle for the lulz to be had at the end. To support this, he's far less cordial in Eternal Punishment, when the Moon Howler takes off the kid gloves; "You are all DEAD!"
- Let's You and Him Fight: Nyar's usual MO is to arrange the world's destruction without doing it himself. According to him, it's not really his fault if it can happen with just a little push.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: As the Time Count.
- Man Behind the Man: The mastermind behind SEBEC (via retcon), the Masked Circle, the Last Battalion, and the New World Order (in the new world of Eternal Punishment).
- Man of Wealth and Taste: His guise as the Time Count is a very well-dressed man.
- Mana Burn: In Innocent Sin, he has a trick which allows him to damage your SP rather than your HP.
- Manipulative Bastard: His favorite tactic is to manipulate his enemies into doing exactly what he wants them to do, with a 95% success rate.
- Meaningful Name: Is named for a crafty H. P. Lovecraft monster who delights in causing insanity in mortals, unlike his fellow Outer Gods who are more brutish and unintelligent. In Eternal Punishment, one of his boss forms is a clear homage to "the Howler", perhaps his most recognizable literary depiction.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: His Moon Howler form is covered in jagged fangs that erupt from the wrists.
- Mythology Gag: The form he takes as the final boss in Tatsuya's Scenario is his mainline Shin Megami Tensei design.
- Obviously Evil: His forms when fought as a boss take the cake. They tend to be a combination between being mostly black, taking inspirations from Lovecraft and being covered with screaming masks or fangs. Definitely a good guy.
- Offhand Backhand: He does this to Maya and Eikichi during their first encounter, swatting them aside without any real effort.
- One-Hit Kill: The Faceless God from Tatsuya's Scenario has Armageddon R, which he uses as a counter if the party tries to use Armageddon on him.
- One-Winged Angel: As you'd expect from someone nicknamed "God of 1000 Faces", his Final Boss forms are particularly trippy.
- Orcus on His Throne: He always waits until the last moment to reveal himself.
- The Power of Hate: Represents wrath, sloth, pride and nihilism. In Eternal Punishment, he uses the three poisons of Buddhism to illustrate why he can't be stopped.
- Pride: He knows he's powerful and a cunning planner, but because of this, he often underestimates the heroes.
- Reality Warper: He can place a curse on an entire city which turns rumors into reality no matter how large-scale or outlandish they are. He can corrupt and twist the memories of humans without a Persona. He can bring people Back from the Dead with nothing more than a thought. Further, it is retroactively implied that the reality-altering DEVA System of the original Persona is his handiwork. His authority over cognitions is similar to Philemon; which is why he can undo Philemon's Reset Button simply through the mere existence of Tatsuya Suou's memories of the old world.
- Recurring Boss: An unusual example in that he spends much of the games disguised as various Personas. His initial incarnation as Kandori's original Persona was a huge, gargoyle-like monster. Jun/Joker's starter Persona is a mockery of his Joker uniform, with lupine claws and appendages in place of his body. He is fought again as Kandori's Persona in the Undersea Palace (now with fragments of God Kandori glued onto his face and torso), and numerous times as the Fuhrer/Great Father/Moon Howler/Crawling Chaos at his base of operations, the Monado Mandala.
- Red Herring: This guy loves his deceptions and misdirections. It's part of what makes him so dangerous, as you never know what part of his plans are critical components and what is simple fluff. Even the smallest loose end could be the final nail in your coffin.
- Retcon: Persona 2 establishes he was the one behind Big Bad Kandori in the original Persona. This is ostensibly built off the fact Kandori's Persona Nyarlarthotep in P1 looks completely different from the player version.
- Satanic Archetype: Similiarly to the works he originates from, Nyarlathotep suffers from no Blue-and-Orange Morality like its fellow god-like entities in the series: He completely understands what he is and he loves it. He finds enjoyement in manipulating and tempting humans into screwing themselves instead of destroying everything instantly. After all, where would the fun be in that?
- Shapeshifter Default Form: He has no face, therefore his faces are infinite. For the sake of continuity, however, he has a few favorites. When leading Jun around like a dog on a leash, Akinari Kashihara usually suits his purposes. For leading troops into battle, who better than Der Fuhrer? For Eternal Punishment, he drops all pretense and doubles as Tatsuya Suou to goad him.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: "Why did you come here? Heh... to spout gibberish??"
- Signature Move: Has a lot of these in his final fight in Eternal Punishment, some referencing his Lovecraftian origin.
- Unperishable Black, which is used by the Moon Howler. It will halve your entire teams' remaining HP without fail.
- Guard Punish, also used by the Moon Howler, deals large Almighty damage that hits for twice the damage if the target is guarding. Philemon also has this in his secret fight.
- Wheel of Time, used by his true form, which deals large Almighty damage and gets stronger with each use.
- Crawling Chaos, also used by his second form, which has a chance to Mute your characters in addition to Almighty damage.
- Shadow Kill, used by both forms, deals large Throw damage.
- Finally, Transient Ripple which nullifies all healing, buff, and shield spells. He shares this spell with Philemon.
- Slasher Smile: Makes big, toothy grins when he's about to do something monstrous.
- Smug Snake: He's an excellent manipulator of plots to get humanity to destroy itself, and he's smart enough in Eternal Punishment to not be surprised by the protagonists thwarting the initial plan. What he's too cocky to plan for is them actually beating him.
- Straw Nihilist: Often claims that there are no reasons for humanity to live, but considering his origins, he most likely sees that as a good thing.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: His glowing gold eyes hint at his unnatural existence.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Subverted, as he only took his form for a short time.
- Suicidal Overconfidence:
- The Time Count is another of Nyarlathotep's guises, as revealed in Persona World Guidance; he's just keeping an eye on the party, and wants to force them to come into his store... and chat about their plans. Duplicating cards is a bit much, though.
- The cockiness doesn't end there: In Eternal Punishment, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon contains a network of portals leading back to the Alaya Shrine, and the city's storekeepers. The purpose of this is twofold: to remind Tatsuya that "Everything begins and ends here", and to give the heroes a sporting chance. To Nyarlathotep, it's all a game. His This Cannot Be! and Villainous Breakdown bellow make it clear that for all the effort he puts into his planning, he never accounts for the possibility of him actually losing.
- This Cannot Be!: Coupled with his Villainous Breakdown below, and does so again when he finally loses.
- Turns Red: Some of his stronger avatars: God Kandori, Angel Joker, and God of 1000 Faces.
- Villain World: In Innocent Sin, he actually succeeds in destroying the world and replacing it with his own arcology in space. In fact, the Tatsuya of this world, the "Other Side" can never return to his world, because the last remnants of humanity are stuck on Xibalba. The possibility of rebuilding civilization on the surface was left open, but unconfirmed.
- Villainous Breakdown: When fought one last time at the end of Eternal Punishment, he starts screaming "I won't accept it! Invincible! INVINCIBLE!" when the life bar of his final form dwindles.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: Though he is a Hidden Villain, Nyarlathotep is the prime actor which moves the plot during Persona 2. The protagonists mostly adapt and react to his plans executed through various proxies.
- The Virus: Embodied by the "shadow people" and later the civilians possessed by the JOKER curse.
- The Watchmaker: Masquerades as an antique clock salesman in Rengedai. This is probably a reference to Tick-Tock Man, one of his avatars in the Cthulhu Mythos.
- We Will Meet Again: Though the protagonists deal him a serious blow at the end of Eternal Punishment, drop-kicking him back into the dark depths of the Collective Unconscious, he vows not only to return, but to roar back even stronger than before. Considering his origins, he has likely reformed, but he hasn't make an appearance in subsequent games ever since.
- White Hair, Black Heart: As the Time Count he has white hair, but he's just as evil as ever.
- White Mask of Doom: His final form has white, scream-like masks all over his tentacled body.
Igor is the mysterious proprietor of The Velvet Room, an equally mysterious place "between dreams and reality", and introduces himself as the being who calls forth and forges Personas. His most distinctive physical attribute is definitely his Tengu/Pinocchio-like long nose. A servant of Philemon, after the apparent departure of his master, Igor has taken the role of mentoring the player from Persona 3 onwards. Igor is always found in The Velvet Room: although in previous games he used a phone made of bone to call up Personae from the depths of the soul, now he does so by arranging tarot cards into mystical arrangements on his table.
- Absentee Actor: Much more prominent due to his Japanese voice actor's death, he's absent in the spinoffs due to temporarily leaving the Velvet Room for unspecified reasons, leaving his assistants to run the facilities.
- All-Powerful Bystander: While he's not implied to be as strong as Philemon (who created Igor in the first place), he is suggested to be incredibly powerful in his own right despite solely being a passive observer and helper. Elizabeth notes in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth that after she and Theodore temporarily take over the Velvet Room while he is gone, they are barely able to keep the place stable and that it's his power alone that keeps the place functioning for guests and the attendants that reside there. In Persona 5, it's revealed that he even has the power to create life. Dancing in Moonlight shows that Elizabeth is absolutely terrified of crossing him.
- The Archmage: The closest we have in the Persona series. Comes with the territory for being the series's resident fusion master. Considering his students and his boss, he would be a force to be reckoned with if he ever stood up and challenged someone to a fight.
- Ascended Extra: In the first two games, he was a character on the level of the regular shopkeepers, simply offering his fusion services. Starting in 3 he takes a more active role: while still largely a bystander figure, he takes the role of a Big Good who nudges the hero in the right direction and gives subtle advice in place of Philemon. It happens again when Persona 5 made him the Conspirator of the Fool Arcana, but this is a subversion. The "Igor" seen throughout that game is actually an evil imposter, with the real one only making his appearance at the very end.
- Basso Profundo: Following his recast in Japanese, Igor's voice has gone from an impish high pitched one to an extremely deep reverberating (though still soft-spoken) thunder. This is actually the voice adapted by his impostor, however, as the real Igor still sounds very much like he always had.
- Big Good:
- Takes over the role left by Philemon after the events of Persona 2, spurring the protagonists on their journeys and providing help while always remaining in the backseat to look over things.
- Double subverted in Persona 5; the fake Igor is actually The Man Behind the Man, while the real one created Morgana to help you. Then played straight upon the real Igor's return; Lampshaded by Lavenza, who says that he has always believed in the potential of humanity.
- Berserk Button: His reaction to Margaret singing the "Long Nose" song is pretty much the closest we've seen him angry.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Whether it makes him look cool or creepy is up for debate. But he has them.
- Catchphrase: "Welcome to the Velvet Room."
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Permanently etched on his face.
- Cool Car: In Persona 4, the Velvet Room takes the form of a luxurious limo.
- Cool Old Guy: Arguably. He certainly looks the part, if a little on the creepy side. Nobody else can summon almost every being in the mythic pantheon though.
- Creepy Good: Looks scary, but is most definitely on your side—except in Persona 5, but that's not the real Igor.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He looks suspicious, and he withholds information from you, but he's generally very helpful, almost mentor-like.
- Demoted to Extra: His Japanese actor lost his life to illness prior to Persona 4: The Animation, so all of his lines for Persona 3/4-related anime and Arena are recycled from the original game. As a result, he comes across in those works as little more than a quiet mentor, who's only really there to serve as a figurehead while Margaret fills in as the Big Good. He in fact completely disappears from the Velvet Room in Q, which is actually what kickstarts the plot. In 5, it initially seems that he's finally returned to a major role, now played by Masane Tsukayama. But that's not really the case. It turns out "Igor" in P5 is actually Yaldabaoth, the Demiurge in disguise. The trope ends up being played straight as real Igor returns at the very end, once again voiced by Isamu Tanonaka's recycled voice clips. In Royal, Lavenza serves as the primary representative of the Velvet Room in the Third Semester.
- Expy: He's the Mido of the Persona series, being the guy in charge of fusing Personas like demons are fused in the other SMT sub-franchises.
- Face of a Thug: Looks like a devil, but remains one of your most trustworthy allies throughout the series.
- Finger-Tenting: He's often seen clasping his hands together in a sinister-looking manner in the Velvet Room, but while he does withhold information from the players, he's by no means deceiving them, and is completely on their side.
- Gag Nose: Take a look above, at everyone else's nose. Then look at this guy. Elizabeth made a song with lyrics all about his nose, and she even made Margaret sing it too.
- Game-Over Man: He'll appear before you if you get a game over in P3 and P4 to lament over your journey's end. In P5, his tone is more mocking; however, this is because he is an impostor, and once the real Igor returns, he is properly saddened by your demise.
- Gonk: He's ugly enough to not even look human.
- He's Back: In P5, once the real Igor returns from his imprisonment. "Mmgh... Oh my... It's been quite a while since I last stepped foot in this place... Welcome to the Velvet Room."
- Horrifying Hero: Although he gives off a very sinister aura, he's nothing but helpful, friendly, and benevolent.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: A non-evil version. The Velvet Room changes form every game, depending on the guest he looks after. It has changed from a classical nightclub, to an elevator, to a limousine, and now a prison. Say what you will about Igor's taste in assistants, the man has awesome personal taste when it comes to making the room look classy, elegant, and mysterious.
- Mundane Utility: According to Elizabeth, when he's bored he plays cards with the Persona cards.
- Nice Guy: Never anything less than kind and reassuring towards the protagonists, though he insists on maintaining a passive role in assisting them.
- Omniscient Morality License: Igor makes it clear early on that he knows far more than he's saying, but feels compelled to hold back and let the hero learn what's going on for themselves. In the end, it all works out.
- Once an Episode: His last words to the heroes of Persona 3, 4, and 5, during their last visit to the Velvet Room, are:"You were truly a remarkable guest."
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: While embarrassed about it, he makes it no secret that while his Persona fusion abilities are powerful and impressive, he has performed at least one Fusion Accident in the past and can't guarantee that all fusions will be flawless.
- Perpetual Smiler: Always seen with a toothy grin. He doesn't even open his mouth when talking.
- Pointy Ears: Another of Igor's inhuman traits. His ears are pointed and extend horizontally.
- Powers That Be: Whatever Igor is exactly, he's almost certainly one of these.
- The Quiet One: Since the death of his original voice actor, Igor has been voiced entirely through archived audio, and thus speaks much less frequently. This has the dual effect of making his various attendants more prominent, as they now provide most of the exposition for him, and making him come across as even more mysterious than he already was.
- Scratchy-Voiced Senior: He speaks with a scratchy, high-pitched voice (one that, at least in the English dubs, sounds an awful lot like Mr. Burns) to help portray his whimsy and mysteriousness as the master of the Velvet Room. In fact, he became so well-known for his voice that Persona 5 shocked players when his new voice actor gave him a deep, booming one instead. This is a clue that this Igor is a fake. Once the real Igor returns in the end to assist the heroes, his voice is the same as ever.
- Shout-Out: The Velvet Room most obviously draws from the David Lynch's film Blue Velvet, as that's the color the "Velvet room" literally is despite being an uncommon color for the material to be shown in, it's initial appearance is of a nightclub like one in the film, and like most of David Lynch's works this is a very surreal and dream-like "location" dealing with matters of the collective human subconsciousness. The ambiance of the Velvet Room, combined with the sheer weirdness of Igor and his cronies, could also be drawing inspiration from the director's popular series Twin Peaks.
- So Proud of You: At the end of the protagonists' journey, Igor congratulates them on their efforts to change the world around them, telling them that they "were truly a remarkable guest."
- Spirit Advisor: Starting with 3, the main character is usually the only one who has direct contact with him. Even on the rare occasions when the other party members do meet him, it's only when they're accompanying the main protagonist. Otherwise, they're largely unaware that the Velvet Room even exists or how the protagonists use Igor's services to develop new Persona.
- Theme Naming: Igor and all of his Velvet Room Residents are named after characters from either the novel or the movies of Frankenstein.
- Time Travel: While he won't offer this to undo Downer Endings due to the protagonist taking responsibility for their actions, he freely offers to rewind time back one week in 4 and 5 in case of deadline-induced Game Overs.
- The Unfought: In the games, we have fought Igor's assistants and even his boss Philemon, but we have never faced Igor himself in combat. Judging by how he's the series's resident fusion master, it might be for a sound reason. He did teach the Velvet Siblings nearly all he knows. The Igor you battle in Persona 5 is a fake.
- Walking Spoiler: His true appearance in Persona 5 indirectly reveals the identity of the Greater-Scope Villain of the game as well as how he was impersonating Igor throughout 99% of the game.
- The Worf Effect: Despite there being no indication of exactly how powerful he is besides being stronger than his attendants, Igor and Lavenza were defeated before Persona 5 by the fake Igor, who imprisoned him in the deepest depths as the sole prisoner of the most guarded cell and the Velvet Room itself merged with Mementos.
- Visual Pun: Whether or not he's really a tengu, he sure does act and look like one.
In the first Persona, Nyx, under the name Night Queen, serves as an antagonist in the B-path within the Snow Queen event, haunting the titular mask. It possesses Tomomi and then Saeko, before turning the school into a frozen dungeon with 3 Towers named after Nyx's children (Thanatos, Hypnos and Nemesis), each Tower guarded by the Snow Queen's previous victims for housing shards of the Demon Mirror capable of freeing possessed humans.
Planning to sacrifice its current host to bring about the Eternal Night and end human life, Philemon tasks the party with retrieving the Demon Mirror shards to stop the Snow Queen. After being forced out of its human victims, the Night Queen is freed from the mask, before being joined by the Masked Girl and Man (Maki and Kandori) to become Queen Asura as the quest's final boss. After being defeated, it disappears, though Maki and Kandori survive.
Another Nyx returns with a much larger role in Persona 3. An Eldritch Abomination, named and known to past civilizations as Nyx and the goddess of night for bestowing Night and Death upon the world. Being an aspect of and a fragment of Nyx's psyche, Death serves as humanity's Appraiser to determine when it would summon its creator for the end of the world, an event prophesied as the Fall.
Accepting the Fall as 'salvation' the Kirijo Group researched the physical condensation of human negativity known as Shadows, eventually gathering enough to awaken Death and give it a physical form. However, one of the researchers defied the group's beliefs and his actions fractured Death into 13 pieces about a decade before the story proper.
Twelve pieces became the Full-Moon Shadows fought on each month, while the thirteenth piece is Death's main body in an incomplete and amnesiac state, sealed into the protagonist's body. It goes through several identities as the story develops, including Pharos and Ryoji Mochizuki. After Death absorbs back the Full Moon Shadows, it is finally ready to call its creator and becomes the Nyx Avatar.
Due to the nature of the Persona series, it is unknown whether or not the Nyx from the first Persona and the one from Persona 3 are actually related. According to side materials, Persona: Revelations states P1 Night Queen is something akin to a Shadow; while Persona 3 Club Book describes P3 Nyx as "the Star Eater", a living entity from outside of reality the size of a celestial body. It collided with Earth back during the earliest years of life formation, which causes it to become the planet's moon. Its "wave-like psyche" was fragmented and scattered across the planet, and their presence influences life and causes the awareness of death to develop in all living beings, directly causing humans to develop the Collective Unconsciousness.
The event known as the Fall is actually a healing process where its psyche fragments reenter the Star Eater's body and restore its original form, but its descent on the planet would physically and mentally kill all life on earth.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Nyx as Night Queen is the final boss of a hidden story route of P1. Another Nyx (which might or might not be related) is introduced and plays a major role in P3.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Both the Eternal Night and the Fall qualify, though the exact details differ between P1 and P3.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Besides the Snow Queen guise, Nyx Avatar also sprouts a crown-like attachment. Additionally, one of Nyx Avatar's signature spells is called Night Queen.
- Humanoid Abomination: All of Nyx's various forms are always humanoid enough to count as these.
- I Have Many Names:
- Persona: The Snow Queen, the Night Queen, the Goddess of the Night, Lady Snow, Lady Masquerade, Queen Asura.
- Persona 3: "The mother" figure or "the maternal" entity. Nyx is sometimes confused with Death, itself is known as Pharos, Ryoji Mochizuki, and the Appraiser. It is not until Death becomes Nyx Avatar that the distinction between them becomes unnecessary, however. The Persona 3 Club Book additionally refers to Nyx as "the Star Eater".
- You Don't Look Like You: The P1 Night Queen's lack of resemblance with Nyx from P3 indicates that the two might be two different entities whom coincidentally share the same name.
Tropes that apply to the Night Queen
- Adaptational Wimp: In the first Persona, she serves as the Final Boss of the Snow Queen Quest. In the manga version: it is killed in one hit by Yukino.
- An Ice Person: Her main powers.
- Arc Villain: For the Snow Queen quest of P1.
- Composite Character: Snow Queen's power in P1 comes from the movers and shakers of the main plot: Kandori and Maki.
- Demonic Possession: Anyone who wears the Snow Queen mask will be possessed by the Snow Queen herself, before dying a few days later.
- Evil Mask: The Snow Queen possesses its wearers into following its will. When fought as Lady Masquerade, the mask grows in size.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: When Saiko dons the Snow Queen mask, the school campus is encased in ice, signaling its transformation into a dungeon.
- Multiple Head Case: As Queen Asura, she possesses three heads, each with its own stats and skills.
Tropes that apply to Nyx Avatar
- Affably Evil: Neither Nyx nor Death hate or even dislike humans - in fact, Nyx's usually described as a 'maternal' entity. Both are just following their nature and job as the Grim Reaper, and as shown when they fight you as Nyx Avatar, Death as Ryoji laments having to fight you and Nyx displays a deep understanding of, and compassion for, humans through the Arcana-themed Boss Banter.
- All Your Powers Combined: Death requires the powers and bodies of the 12 Full Moon Shadows to fully awaken and complete its purpose. In both the fourth P3 movie and the manga, Ryoji as Nyx Avatar uses the powers of each of the Full Moon Shadows whenever he switches Arcana.
- Anti-Villain: Nyx Avatar is not evil at all and is just reluctantly sent here to carry out its job. In fact, he's actually one of the protagonist's closest associates as Ryoji and Pharos.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Nyx Avatar is by far the largest of the enemies S.E.E.S. faced. In the movie, its head alone is roughly as large as Makoto. It's taken Up to Eleven in the manga, where in its fight with Messiah, it grew into a Kaiju-sized monstrosity that towered over the Moonlight Bridge.
- Attack Reflector: Nyx Avatar's Moonless Gown spell. Notable because it reflects absolutely everything for three turns, even Almighty attacks.
- Badass Baritone: Nyx Avatar uses Ryoji's voice with an electronic filter that makes it much deeper.
- Barrier Change Boss: Nyx Avatar has fourteen life bars, each representing a particular arcana and changing attack styles and immunities to suit.
- Battle Theme Music: During the final battle, "The Battle For Everyone's Souls", a composition involving a lot of guitar and piano along with choir voices. It notably incorporates part of the Velvet Room's theme, "Aria of the Soul", and is later used as Elizabeth's battle theme in Persona Arena.
- BFS: Similar to his Thanatos form, Ryoji as Nyx Avatar wields a sword about as long as he is tall, which is quite a bit taller than a freight train.
- Big Bad: Of the late game portion of Persona 3. Not so much as of the Updated Re-release though, which reveals Erebus as the real problem.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Seems so. Despite Nyx's deep understanding about life and humanity (as its Avatar neatly explains the various interpretations in its Boss Banter during P3), it still answers the call to end humanity, even if the reason boils down to 'they want it'. The moment the protagonist asserts that humanity as a whole don't wish for the ultimate end through preventing Erebus from calling it down, Nyx is content to go back to sleep.
- Boss Banter: Each time one of its life bars is depleted, Nyx Avatar performs its unique move Arcana Shift from "The Fool" to "The Hanged Man" and follows it up with an appropriate quote referencing what the tarot stands for. As its second to last life bar is depleted, it ends the banter with quoting its true Arcana, "Death":Nyx Avatar: The moment man devoured the fruit of knowledge, he sealed his fate... Entrusting his future to the cards, man clings to a dim hope. Yet, the Arcana is the means by which all is revealed... Beyond the beaten path lies the absolute end. It matters not who you are... Death awaits you.
- Call-Back: One of its attacks is called "Night Queen."
- Catchphrase: In Persona 3, Nyx Avatar always says "The Arcana is the means by which all is revealed" whenever it changes Arcana.
- Complete Immortality: Unlike most Persona Eldritch Abominations, Nyx is more or less a sentient force of nature, and as such cannot be killed. Its psyche fragments such as Death normally lack a physical form as well, requiring Shadows to become tangible. Destroying their bodies only renders them dormant.
- Cool Mask: Like the Night Queen, Nyx Avatar bears one resembling a comedy mask, which is ironic, as comedy in its roots was the term for a play with a "happy" ending - which ''Persona 3'' doesn't have.
- Cosmic Entity: Side materials claim Nyx is a "being from outside reality". The fact the Great Will (a core being and recurring multiversal force from the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, of which Persona is a part of) is mentioned to have influenced humanity to create deities and demons from their collective consciousness to withstand the Star Eater's psyche implies Nyx itself is this trope.
- Creepy Child: Death is, in some ways, Nyx's offspring. As Pharos, he looks fairly unsettling.
- Darkness = Death: Considering its namesake, this trope is a given.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Subverted. It appears Nyx's true body is sealed away at the end of P3, but in truth it merely returns to dormancy, and the protagonist actually seals the path for Erebus to call Nyx.
- The Dreaded: Almost anytime its name is mentioned send chills down anyone's spine.
- Duel Boss: At the climax of the game, the Protagonist is forced to fight Nyx's true body alone. In the fourth movie and the manga, Makoto has to duel Nyx Avatar first before doing the same.
- Eldritch Abomination: Not unlike its namesake the Greek myth Nyx. Its aspect Death has no physical form, requiring masses of Shadows powered by 13 Arcanas to be awakened. Nyx itself is described by Death as a force of nature than a mortal being; after Nyx Avatar shrugs off its defeat during the final battle of P3, it calls forth Nyx's true body - one that has the power to physically and mentally kill all life on Earth - which turns out to be the Moon itself. Its 'true' self lies within the core of the Dark Hour moon, which looks like an incomprehensible, massive sphere of white energy with hand-like 'wings' connected to it.
- Four Is Death: Fitting its theme, Nyx Avatar has four black wings attached to itself.
- Gender Bender: Nyx is referred to as "the mother" (despite likely lacking a true gender), but Death (as Pharos and Ryoji) look and act masculine. Once Death becomes Nyx Avatar, it appears somewhere between male and female, resembling Ryoji but with a more feminine and much less human appearance, plus a mask.
- The Grim Reaper: The most prominent among the four beings which could count in Persona 3. A fragment of Nyx's psyche is an embodiment of Death who acts as its harbinger and the Appraiser of humanity, whose existence in the fabric of human consciousness leads to the creation of the Persona Thanatos and the Shadow Reaper.
- I Let You Win: Nyx Avatar allowed itself to be beaten in the final battle of P3, as a courtesy to let the main characters live to the fullest, before continuing to bring upon the Fall.
- Master of All: Nyx Avatar sports pretty much every elemental and physical attack in the entire game, plus its own unique moves to boot.
- Meaningful Name: Nyx in Greek myth is an Eldritch Abomination who is likened to a woman who gave birth to many, many things, included among them Death and Friendship. It parallels the fact Nyx here also created Death, which in turn caused humanity to evolve, and is referred to as 'the mother'.
- Monster Progenitor: The origin of several psyche fragments which influence humanity, one of which is Death, who in turn catalyzed the birth of the Persona Thanatos (through the protagonist of Persona 3) and the Shadow symbolizing Death known as the Reaper.
- Noble Demon: Despite being an Eldritch Abomination whose role is to bring upon end of the world, Nyx acts a lot more polite and affable than the human antagonists through Ryoji. It isn't even causing the Fall by choice, it's doing so because of Erebus.
- Non-Malicious Monster: Nyx as a whole is a neutral entity who doesn't hold humanity in contempt. In fact, the main reason it's causing the Fall is because humanity's self-destructive desires in the form of Erebus compels it to do so.
- Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: Being a Cosmic Entity, Nyx doesn't have a specific gender, however both of its humanoid incarnations, Pharos and Ryoji, are male, and the primary entity is referred to as a 'mother'. Fittingly, its form as the Nyx Avatar is incredibly androgynous, with its chest and its head slightly resembling Ryoji, but having a female-looking outfit and sillouette.
- Patrick Stewart Speech: Subverted. The Appraiser's tarot quotes highlight many great things about life and humanity, but it sums it up by saying none of them matters, since everyone and everything is fated to die.
- Planet Eater: It is unknown whether or not Nyx is actually capable of eating planets whole, but it is referred as the Star Eater according to the research of Kirijo group as detailed in side materials. Note that the Japanese tends to describe planets and other celestial bodies as 'stars', meaning its name can be correctly translated as "Planet Eater".
- Readings Are Off the Scale: In the Scripted Battle at the core of its body, Nyx can only do one attack: Death. It does 9999 damage. The protagonist shrugs it off multiple times.
- Scripted Battle: When the protagonist of P3 fights Nyx's true body at the very end of the game.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Not exactly sealed nor evil, but its main schtick is to hibernate for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years until humanity compelled it to "save" them.
- Signature Move: Nyx Avatar has three, Arcana Shift, Moonless Gown, and Night Queen. It uses the first whenever one of the first thirteen life bars depletes, to signify Arcana change. The Appraiser starts using the last two during the last life bar, the former of which reflects every attack for three turns while the latter deals huge Almighty damage to your party and inflicts random status ailments.
- The core of Nyx has only one single move: Death, a move that deals the absolute maximum amount of damage in the game. The protagonist only manages to survive it through sheer willpower before the empowerment of his friendships allows him to avoid, and then outright block it.
- Slasher Smile: Nyx Avatar's mask-like face has a constant creepy smile.
- That's No Moon!: Literally. Nyx's true form is hidden within the Moon visible within the Dark Hour.
- The Three Faces of Eve: The Seductress to Elizabeth's Wife and Aigis's Child.
- Vocal Dissonance: Nyx Avatar has a clearly feminine body, but its voice is not only provided by a male voice actor, but deliberately pitched down to further reinforce the Eldritch Abomination trope.
- Winged Humanoid: Nyx Avatar has four wings around the hips, giving it a distinct 'Angel of Death' impression.
- Arcana: Death
A notorious Bonus Boss found in Persona 3, Persona 4, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Persona 5 and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth. His Arcana card is "Death", and he's based off the Grim Reaper, though he forgoes his trademark scythe for a pair of long-barreled revolvers. His face is shrouded in bandages, with only one ominous yellow eye to see its surroundings. Common to all his appearances is that he's very worthy of his title, able to resist and use every element in the game and punish you if you try to use that against him by spamming Megidola and Megidolaon, being immune to the One-Hit Kill Light and Dark elements, and in general being incredibly hard while being in an Atlus game.
In Persona 3, he lurks around Tartarus during the Dark Hour, personally appearing if one condition is met: if you stay on one floor for too long. However, certain conditions can drastically shorten the time left before his apperance: if the Shadow population of a floor is different from the norm in any way (less or more than normal, or none at all), if there are only gold Shadows on the floor, or if you pick a Shuffle Time card that's appended by an ominous black crossbone. Fuuka will warn you at certain time intervals before the time left to his appearance runs out. Once it does, you get one final warning just before he spawns and proceeds to hunt you. Thankfully, he cannot follow you into the stair room and up them, but good luck trying to find them with this guy on the loose. Defeating it is part of one of Elizabeth's request, where she asks you to receive a Bloody Button from it. Completing the request is needed to gain the one where you have to fight Elizabeth.
He reappears in Persona 4, but only on your second playthrough. In Magatsu Inaba/Mandala, the Reaper can be found in ordinary chests; upon examination, the Protagonist is forewarned that a powerful force dwells within the chest. Should the Protagonist choose to open it, the Reaper will attack the Protagonist, engaging the party to a battle. Like its previous incarnation, the Reaper can be challenged multiple times, as long as the Protagonist manages to locate the treasure chest he dwells within. Beating him grants a character's Infinity +1 Sword, but only if they're part of a team that beats him, so be prepared to beat him multiple times if you want 100% Completion.
In Persona 4 Golden, his appearance parameters have changed. Not only can he appear during the first playthrough, his appearance is tied to the number of treasure boxes opened in the TV World. After 20 boxes are opened, the 21st box will signal his arrival though his trademark chains clanking and hearing him breathe. The next box opened may give you the warning message, though you can circumvent this by opening a Gold Chest (which needs a chest key to open). His AI was also given an update, as he can now attack twice per round, and you best believe he will exploit this fact.
In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, The Reaper appears as one of the F.O.E.s of the final Stratum of the game, The Clock Tower in every even floor and floor 9. There is usually one Reaper guarding a floor, who will beeline forwards you if it spots you, moving two spaces every other step you take. Not only that, The Reaper can move over gaps due of it floating, meaning that not only can it cut corners, it can move out of a room to another one to chase you further. Defeating it will give you Death's Order, what can be crafted into items what halves all stats but doubles experience gained. Hunting it down is also a part of a request which you get in New Game+.
In Persona 5, the Reaper can be found in Mementos in a similar capacity to his role in Persona 3, appearing if you stay on one level too long.
In Persona Q2, the Reaper is lurking within a Power Spot located in the 4th floor of the Labyrinth outside the Cinema. Beating it gives the material required to fuse Lucifer.
- Adaptational Wimp: Downplayed, but he is significantly weaker in the Q series than in a mainline Persona game. He does not have as many variants on his attacks there and is only slightly stronger than the FOEs around him.
- In the fourth P3 film, the Reaper is quickly vaporized by a Megidolaon from Orpheus after showing up to attack Makoto. To be fair for him though, Elizabeth gave Orpheus that skill without warning.
- All Your Powers Combined: He can use every element in the game. This means he can target any weakness you have. He also knows the Break Element skills, so even your immunity isn't guaranteed to keep you safe unless it's to a physical element or Light or Dark.
- Artificial Brilliance: Thought you'd buy yourself time by using a Magic Mirror or a Persona with Makrakarn? Congrats, The Reaper will now proceed to bombard you endlessly with Megidola and/or Megidolaon until you die.
- Badass Longcoat: With four coat-tails, too.
- Bonus Boss: A famous one among Persona fans. It uses every element, is smart enough to target weaknesses, will go berserk if you try to reflect its attacks, and can break immunities.
- Boss in Mook's Clothing: In some installments (e.g. Persona 4), the game plays the regular battle theme when you encounter him and he can be downed for an all-out attack if hit by a critical physical attack.
- Bragging Rights Reward:
- He does give additional rewards in 3 and 4, but by the time you're strong enough to be able to beat him, you probably don't need the 5 million yen you get from the Velvet Room request in 3 or the Infinity Plus One Weapons he drops in 4.
- In 3, completing a request to defeat him is one of the requirements to unlock the Bonus Dungeon Monad, a late-game Peninsula of Power Leveling and home to an even stronger Bonus Boss, making the Reaper's first appearance the only one to avert his Bragging Rights Reward status.
- Chained by Fashion: Has two chains running across both of its shoulders, forming a cross. They're not actually connected to The Reaper, as they just float on its body.
- Chest Monster:
- In Persona 4. Moreso in Golden, where he has a chance to appear after 20 boxes are opened.
- He also does this in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, but he only lurks at a treasure spot at the second to last floor of the final dungeon. It's red and the party warns you before you excavate it, so it's quite obvious.
- The Dragon: In Persona 4: The Animation, Adachi personally summons him to fend off the investigation team.
- The Dreaded: Regardless if you're prepared to fight him or not, whenever he comes, he always freaks the hell out of your navigators, who may advise and motion you to run for the hills.Fuuka: No! You can't defeat it! RUN!
Rise: What is this thing? It feels really bad...
Morgana: What!? This one's a real threat!
Futaba: Whoa...this Shadow looks strong...!
- Four Is Death: In Persona 3, it is one of four beings symbolic of the Grim Reaper and it has 4444 HP.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: There is no context or concrete information on where he came from or his origins.
- Grim Reaper: One of four beings that count in Persona 3.
- Guns Akimbo: He completely forgoes a scythe for dual revolvers.
- Hand Cannon: He dual wields revolvers with barrels that seem several feet long.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: If you manage a Hold Up on the Reaper in Persona 5, he'll only have this to say."Me no want to talk to you! Me just want to hear your screams!"
- Marathon Boss: He's got quite a lot of HP, and resists every element in the game plus being immune to Light and Dark. Get ready for a long fight... unless you have Armaggedon.
- Me's a Crowd: Three Reapers show up in Persona 4: The Animation.
- Metal Slime:
- In Persona 4, defeating the Reaper grants the respective characters their strongest weapons per defeat; if the in-battle characters already have their strongest weapons, the Reaper instead drops the strongest armor. If all of those have already been received as well, the Reaper drops the Omnipotent Orb, an accessory that voids all attacks excluding Almighty-elemental.
- In Persona 5, defeating the Reaper always makes him drop a Divine Pillar, which makes it so the equipped character takes half damage from everything but can no longer dodge. Royal doesn't have him drop the Pillar anymore, but with the Experience Booster at max, he gives 172,790 experience points, more than anything else in the game.
- Money for Nothing: Beating him as per Elizabeth's second-last request and handing her the Bloody Button he drops results in a five million yen reward. The problem is, by the time you're able to take him down, you probably won't need a few extra million yen in your already bloated pocket. Plus, that's over half the money cap.
- Number of the Beast: In Persona 3, aside of its HP, all of its stats are composed of either sixes or nines and defeating it grants the party 6666 EXP. In Persona Q, his HP is now 13666.
- Order Is Not Good: Zen mentions in Persona Q that the Reaper is an agent of providence sent to execute those who threaten the cosmic order. He does this by killing them. One of the materials he drops, Death's Order, also reflects this.
- Recurring Boss: In Persona 3 and Persona 5, he'll appear every time you spend enough time on a floor, and in Persona 4, he shows up in special chests. You can't really kill the Reaper, apparently.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Especially when they have 3 foot long barrels.
- Run or Die: When you first start out, if you hear his clanking chains, it's time to haul ass in the other direction. You won't be able to challenge him until the endgame.
- Shout-Out: Being a rare Bonus Boss who is equated with death, he's pretty much the Persona equivalent of the Fiends in the other games. (Though the classic Fiends show up as Personas)
- Stalked by the Bell: In Persona 3 and Persona 5, if you take too long to leave a floor of Tartarus or Mementos, this bastard will show up. You'll know he's gunning for you by the clanking of chains getting closer and faster from somewhere, covered by the darkness of Tartarus or Mementos. If you're not close to end-of-game levels of strength, the only option is to haul ass to the closest exit before he gets you.
- Status-Buff Dispel: Strangely played with in Golden. His getting two turns at a time means that he will shrug off debuffs placed on him even faster. However, due to having various "Break" spells added to his repertoire, he will waste a good deal of his extra moves on dispelling whatever elemental resistances you or your party members possess. While this neurotic tactic does not guarantee he will spend all of his time trying to do so, changing Personas or having teammates with Ultimate Personas (that have more than one resistance) in your group can turn this quirk against him.
- Suddenly Voiced: In Persona 5, he actually has a line of dialogue if you manage a Hold Up on him.Reaper: Me no want to talk to you! Me just want to hear your screams!
- 13 Is Unlucky: In Persona 4, you get a mere 13 yen from defeating it. In Persona Q, his HP is now 13666.
- Violation of Common Sense: In Persona 5, it's actually advantageous to let him ambush you rather than starting the fight normally, because this will cause him to be limited to one action per round instead of being able to take two. You can expand on this by equipping a persona that has special skills that are only useable if you're ambushed.
- Weaksauce Weakness: In Persona 5, the flu. Going in during Flu Season may inflict him with Despair, which will kill him in three turns without him ever attacking. Royal makes it so this can no longer be done.
- Worf Had the Flu: In a literal example of this trope, in Persona 5, the Reaper is susceptible to catching the flu under certain weather conditions, making the battle laughably easy. He'll spend his first two turns doing nothing, then die on the third turn. Averted in Royal, where this exploit is no longer possible.
- You No Take Candle: As you can see from his use of "Me" instead of "I" and improper word agreement in his sole line in Persona 5, he does not seem to have a good command of the English language. (Which if you consider this is it's first time talking, makes sense)
Recurring Character Types
A Persona is the manifestation of a person's psyche hidden within them. Also known as a person's "mask" or "other self", Personas originated from the Sea of Souls and take the form of a mythological figure depending on the wielder's personality. Each Persona are represented by an Arcana that befits its motif. It is with their Personas a person can defend themselves against demons or Shadows. If a person finds the resolve to become stronger, their Persona will evolve into a stronger form. The method of obtaining and summoning a Persona differs in each game but a user often hear the voice of their Persona during their Awakening. Gameplay-wise, Personas are used as a magic or special skill, consuming either SP or HP for every used.
In the first two games, those who play the Persona game or meeting Philemon or Nyarlathotep in some way are given the ability to summon their Personas by calling out their name. In the third, the ability is acquired when an individual with the desire to protect someone they care for, though some had theirs awakened artificially. With the exception of Takaya, users summon their Personas by "shooting" themselves using a gun-like device called Evoker. In the fourth game, when an individual confronts their Shadow Selves and accept their flaws, their Shadow turns into a Persona which is summoned by breaking a tarot card. In the fifth, the Awakening is triggered when someone wanted to fight back against a detestable person. A mask will then appear on their face which serves as a summoning conduit for their Personas.
- All Myths Are True: Personas are based on mythological figures or deities. Each game sans the first follow on a particular myth. It's left ambiguous whether they're representations of their myths or said myths were indeed based on them.
- Astral Projection: How the Personas appear to an individual.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: A Persona is a manifestation of a person's personality that differs in form.
- Non-unique Personas are created from legends common enough to make a mark in the collective unconscious.
- An Initial Persona is the representation of the user's innermost thoughts, and manifested by their will to make a difference.
- A Prime Persona is an upgraded version of the Initial Persona of a user, representing the possibility of having first summoned it after a fair bit of Character Development.
- A Reverse Persona is a Persona with a reversed Arcana, but still in sync enough with its user to not revert into a Shadow. Alternatively, a Reverse Persona can be wielded by certain unique Shadows, such as Shadow-selves.
- An Ultimate Persona is the evolved form of the user's Initial Persona, representing the resolve gained from their personal character arc. This comes with an upgrade to their stats, skills, and even their elemental defenses.
- If a Persona user realizes there's still a path in front of them to travel after gaining their Ultimate Persona, it will become a Third-Tier Persona, representing their clear-headedness over their next step. This comes with powerful unique skills and a stronger upgrade to their elemental defenses.
- Certain Personas are unique in the sense that they were created by a bond between two specific people. For instance, Thanatos was made from the bond between the P3 Hero and Ryoji/Pharos, and Kaguya was made from the bond between the P4 Hero and Marie. It's implied that Robin Hood is a similar case, being made from the bond between the P5 Hero and Goro Akechi.
- An Ancestor Persona is a Persona in the form of one of the user's ancestors, though Eternal Punishment, the only game they appear in, implies that they're just a result of Nyarlathotep taking advantage of rumors becoming reality.
- Character Title: The titular Persona.
- Cool Mask: A Persona is referred by Philemon as a person's mask used to face hardship. In the fifth game, masks serve as the Phantom Thieves' method of summoning their Personas.
- Despair Event Horizon: Should a Persona user lose their way, their Personas might turn on them, or worse, turn into a Shadow.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the first two games, each character are able to switch to another Persona that they have a high affinity with. In later games, every character is only able to use one Persona, with the exception of those who are granted the power of the Wild Card.
- Elemental RockPaperScissors: Most Personas have Elemental Powers, with accompanying defensive strengths (resistance, blocking, absorbing, or reflecting) and weaknesses (taking more damage and being knocked down) to different elemental skills.
- Enlightenment Superpowers: Once a Shadow has been accepted as a part of the individual, they transform into the Persona.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Many of the Personas spin when attacking or using spells.
- Evil Counterpart: Certain Shadow Selves have Reversed Personas, evil version of the Personas held by the original.
- Evolutionary Levels: Each user starts with an Initial Persona which will further evolve into an Ultimate form if they seek to become stronger. The second game and fourth game's expansion have additional forms (the former called Prime and the latter an evolution beyond Ultimate).
- Fighting Spirit: The unconscious thoughts and emotions of their users, given form and used to fight enemies.
- Guardian Entity: They somewhat serve as their main form of protection against Shadows.
- Mask Power: They are referred to as masks that allow them to move through daily life uninhibited. In fact, persona is Latin for mask.
- Morphic Resonance: The Personas in Persona 4 resembles their Shadow Self's berserk form in some way.
- Power Glows: A blue or red mist surrounds the wielder each time they summon their Persona.
- Summon Magic: A Persona's user main form of attack.
- Summoning Ritual: The method of Awakening in the first two games involved playing the "Persona" game.
- Synchronization: In the anime adaptations of Persona 3, 4 and 5, a Persona user can feel the damage that is inflicted on their Personas.
- Tarot Motifs: Each of them are represented by one of 22 Arcana from the Tarot deck.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Individuals who have their Personas artificially awakened or are weak in will are at risk of having their own Personas attempting to kill them.
- Uncatty Resemblance: All of the Personas resemble stylized super hero versions of their owner. This is expected, as they are manifestations of their psyche.
Shadows are recurring enemies of the franchise, replacing the demons from the third game onward, though their existence is hinted at in the first two games. Unlike Personas, Shadows are born from the repressed, hidden aspects of a person's heart. These creatures only exist within the alternate worlds the games visit, though they do occasionally attack humans.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Destroying their masks seems to destroy them instantly. Game-play wise, hitting them with their weakness knocks them down, leaving them open for an All-Out Attack.
- Back Stab: Attacking a shadow from behind gives the player an early advantage.
- Beneath the Mask: They represent the inner feelings of a person coming to life.
- Body Horror: Some of them have distorted bodies.
- Cute Monster Girl: Some of them can be this such as angels and succubi.
- Empty Shell: Victims of Shadow attacks often literally become a hollow shell of themselves as in the cases of Apathy Syndrome.
- Evil Counterpart: Shadows, like Personas, are manifestation of a person's psyche though they were born from a person's negative emotion. In fact, a Persona is capable of turning into a Shadow should the wielder begin to have self-doubts or personal issues.
- The Heartless: Monsters born from negative emotion.
- Shadow Archetype: In full Jungian psychology, the Shadows are manifestation of humanity's negative emotion. To deny them only gives them greater power. Accepting them as a part of ourselves allows us to begin improving.
Unlike a normal Shadow, Shadow Selves are based on Carl Jung's theory that everyone has a side within them that they refuse to acknowledge. The circumstances of how Shadow Selves are created differs but each of them has one thing in common; to kill their original. During combat, they either use Reversed counterparts of the original's Persona, or transform into a larger form.
The Shadow Selves of Innocent Sin were created as a result of contrasting rumors regarding the protagonists while those in Eternal Punishment were created by the Big Bad to hinder the party. The ones in Persona 4 appear before the Midnight Channel victims, trying to break them but once accepted, they transform into a Persona. The Shadow Selves in Persona 5 however are created from especailly evil humans to the point there is no different between the original and Shadow.
- Arc Words: Prominently in Persona 4:
- "I am a Shadow... The true self" note
- "You're not me!"note
- Battle Aura: Darkness radiates from shadows in their human forms, another visual clue that it isn't the original. During battle, a blue or red aura surrounds them before they attack.
- Battle Theme Music: "I'll Face Myself" in Persona 4. "Blooming Villain" in Persona 5.
- Berserk Button: Being ignored and suppressed by their ego, which causes genuine Shadow Selves to fly into a rage and try to kill their original. Artificially awakened Personas are perpetually in this state, as the Shadow Self never agreed to help the ego, but is being forced to anyway.
- Break Them by Talking: Their MO is to utterly break their Other Self by showing their flaws.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The antagonists of Persona 5 are so evil to the point its sometimes hard to tell which of them is the Shadow simply by personality. The only way to tell is that Shadows blatantly flaunt their criminal acts while the real person is at least slightly more modest and refined around it.
- A Chat with Satan: They can talk, and represent the repressed part of the psyché. In Persona 4, confronting them and ultimately accepting them as a part of oneself is key to the Character Development of each of the player's teammates. Though only after the Investigation Team beats the crap out of them.
- Defeat Means Friendship: They become Persona following their defeat in 4.
- Depending on the Artist: In Persona 2, the Shadow Selves have red eyes. But in the Japanese boxart of the Playstation version, Shadow Tatsuya and Shadow Maya have golden eyes, more closer to the Shadow Selves in Persona 4.
- Enemy Without: They are a part of a person hidden deep within their conscious.
- Evil Laugh: They tend to laugh before transforming into their monstrous form.
- Fatal Flaw: They each represent those of their counterparts, albeit to an insane degree.
- Flanderization: The Shadows are basically an aspect of a person's hidden side that they refuse to acknowledge tune up to the max.
- Gone Horribly Right: When rejected, Shadows will attempt to kill their counterparts, with the implication that they're trying to become the ones in control. Should they succeed, like what happened with Mayumi and Saki, chances are the shadows also end up nullifying their own existence as well.
- Kick the Dog: Each of them love to point out the flaws of their original counterparts.
- Kill and Replace: In Persona 4 the Shadows try to kill their originals upon being rejected in order to replace them.
- Laughing Mad: Usually just as they transform.
- Leitmotif: Borderline of Madness usually starts up during a Shadow's breaking speech in the fourth game.
- Motive Rant: Usually a part of their breaking speech. Shadows will usually ramble about what they, and by extension their other selves, really want.
- Mood-Swinger: Some tend to act docile before or emotionless before switching to angry.
- No Indoor Voice: In keeping with the above, Shadows are very vocal about their true desires. This makes sense when you consider that they're everything rejected by the Ego, i.e., they have no self control.
- Obliviously Evil: Most of the Shadows in the second and fourth games are social anxieties of teenagers given form, with a rather unhealthy outlet of trying to replace their hosts.
- One-Winged Angel: In battle if they don't use a Reverse Persona they'll take on a monstrous form.
- Phrase Catcher: Inevitably, they cause their host to say "You're not me!", resulting in them going berserk and fighting the party.
- Promoted to Playable: Every Shadow in Persona 4 except for Shadow Mitsuo become playable characters in Persona 4: Arena Ultimax.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Shadow Selves in Persona 2 and Metis in Persona 3: FES have sharp red eyes.
- Rule of Symbolism: Their berserk forms invoke this:
- In the case for the Investigation Team, their Shadow Selves' berserk forms share their basic appearance with their Personas, but are far more monstrous, emphasizing the reversed nature of their arcana.
- For the antagonists of Persona 5, their Shadows take the form of the demon that is associated with their Sin motif.
- Split-Personality Takeover: More advanced Shadow Selves have the ability to overwhelm their ego, as demonstrated by Shadow Labrys and nighttime-Kiritani or if they are rejected by the original such as Rei.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: The key difference between them and the original in terms of appearance when they don't go into Berserk mode are golden eyes.
- Tarot Motifs: Shadow Selves represent the "Reversed" meaning of their original's Tarot Card.
- Villain Has a Point: What they're talking about is a part of their hosts that the people in question need to accept, even if it isn't all there is to them.
- Violence Is the Only Option: Yosuke and Naoto raise this possibility in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth when facing Rei's Shadow. Naoto points out that it's not easy to accept your true self, and Yosuke suggests that for the Shadows, it's necessary for them to go berserk and let out all their issues before their host can accept them. This is averted by Futaba, however, as she was the only person to accept her Shadow without fighting it, given that her Shadow is benevolent.
- Voice of the Legion: Their voice is a distorted version of the original.
Entrusting his future to the cards, man clings to a dim hope. Yes, the Arcana is the means by which all is revealed..."
The Persona series heavily invokes the motifs and readings of the 21 Major Arcana, and while the exact roles of each arcana change from game to game, there are a handful of notable recurring themes, personalities, and Persona throughout the series.
The tarot card designs in Persona 3 and Persona 4, with three exceptions, are based on the Rider-Waite deck, while the Persona 5 cards use the Tarot of Marseilles deck and written in their French names, with the exception of the Death Arcana.
- Always Female: The High Priestess, Empress, and Lovers Arcanas are always represented by female characters.
- Always Male: Similarly, the Emperor Arcana is always represented by male characters.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- From Persona 4 onward, every party member possessed an arcana and the accompanying Social Link / Confidant. However, this was only the case for the female party members in Persona 3. In the female protagonist's route in Persona 3 Portable, the male party members receive an arcana and replace the equivalent Social Links in the original game with two exceptions, Akihiko (who represents the Emperor Arcana) and Shinjiro (who represents the Hierophant Arcana). The two replaced the Star and Moon Social Link, respectively, due to both the Emperor and the Hierophant Social Link remained unchanged in the female protagonist's route.
- The protagonists in Persona and Persona 2 did not harness the Fool or World Arcanas, and they were in fact not represented by any particular character at all.
- The Judgement and the World Arcana are treated as any other arcana in Persona and Persona 2, while in Persona 3 onwards, the former is often a late-game arcana and the latter is the Infinity +1 Element.
- Relationship Upgrade: By progressing the Social Links of most female characters (Or male in the case of Persona 3: Portable), the Protagonist can start a relationship with them depending on their choice.
0. The Fool (Le Mat)
The Fool represents innocence, divine inspiration, madness, freedom, spontaneity, inexperience, chaos and creativity, commonly portrayed by a laughing jester nearly walking off a cliff with a dog at his heels. It is given the number 0, indicating the limitless potential of its wielder.
The protagonists of the Persona series circa Persona 3 are given the Fool Arcana as their actions are shaped by the player. Wielders of this arcana are also given the Wild Card ability, which gives them the ability to use any Persona and their abilities with the exception of their party member's.
Because the Fool levels up with the plot, represented as the arcana for the party as a whole, the persona of this arcana are weak or underutilized until the later parts of the game.
- The Ace: In general, protagonists associated with the Fool have a wide array of useful skills that earns them both admiration and jealousy from others around them.
- Ascended Extra: The Fool is like any other card in the first two games. From the third game onward, anyone who is bestowed the Fool gains the ability to use multiple Personas of different Arcana.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Fool Arcana Personas tend to learn all sorts of skills, but specialize in none of them.
- Magikarp Power: Fool Arcana Personas tend to be weak at first but get much stronger later.
- The Resenter: The Protagonists associated with this card are often the receiving end of a party member's jealousy because of their abilities; Junpei to both P3 protagonists, Yukari to Aigis, Yosuke to Yu and Goro to Joker.
- Shapeshifting: Many Personas like Ose, Loki, Decarabia, etc. are known for their shapeshifting abilities. In Persona 3, many of the Personas can inherit any skills.
- Starter Mon: In the post-2 games they're the first Persona you acquire.
- The Trickster: Personas of the Fool Arcana are known tricksters like Loki, Obariyon, and Black Frost.
I. The Magician (Le Bateleur) / The Consultant (Le Consultant)
- Wielders: Yuka Ayase, Kenji Tomochika, Junpei Iori, Yosuke Hanamura, Morgana (Magician); Takuto Marukinote (Consultant)
The Magician is associated with action, initiative, self-confidence, immaturity, manipulation, and power.
Wielders of the Magician Arcana are commonly the first friend or party member of the protagonist. Underneath their insecure, slow-witted, perverted, and just plain rude exterior is the best friend you'll ever have. A running theme with the Magician is their terrible romantic lives, which end unrequited or worse.
The Consultant Arcana, first introduced in Persona 5 Royal, replaces the Magician in the Spanish El Gran Tarot Esoterico deck, and is associated with diplomacy, choices, creativity, persuasive skills, vitality, and power over mental illness.
- Blow You Away: A form of magic the holder might specialise in, particularly in later games such as 4 and 5.
- Butt-Monkey: You can expect the holder of the Magician Arcana to be made the butt of the joke in some way or another.
- Hidden Depths: There's much more to them than meets the eye.
- The Lancer: Junpei, Yosuke, and Morgana all serve as this towards the protagonist of their games, being their right-hand man.
- Love Hurts:
- Junpei and Yosuke's love interests end up dying, largely motivating their Character Development.
- Kenji and Morgana aren't able to woo their love interests, though it's less serious for Morgana than it is for Kenji.
- Part of Takuto's motivation of creating an ideal world is to help his ex-girlfriend overcoming the grief of her family's death. This however, has the side effect of her losing memories of him.
- Yuka inverts this, being well-known in her school as a heartbreaker. Ironically, her genuine crush on the protagonist doesn't pan out, though she does find a husband after high school.
- Playing with Fire: If they're not physical fighters, they focus on fire magic.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Their status as the Butt-Monkey makes them the source of many a funny moment.
- The Smurfette Principle: Yuka otherwise fits most of the traits of a Magician, but thus far she's the only female character to represent the Arcana.
II. The High Priestess (La Papesse)
The High Priestess, also known as simply the Priestess, is a symbol of hidden knowledge or other untapped power, wisdom, female mystery, and patience, portrayed as an old woman with an open book.
The wielders of the High Priestess are the withdrawn and intelligent emotional support for the party. While they seem shy and fragile, they have their quirks and will absolutely fight if they have to.
Their Persona focus on healing and support magic, and are based on other female mythological figures.
- An Ice Person: While not specialized in offense, many Personas of this Arcana use Bufu skills.
- Beneath the Mask: They tend to suffer from inferiority complexes due to failing to fulfill their family standards.
- Beware the Nice Ones: While characters of the Priestess Arcana are always pretty nice, they are not to be trifled with.
- Implied Love Interest: Like the Lovers, wielders of the Priestess Arcana are heavily Ship Teased with their respective protagonists, with Maki and Yukiko having canon crushes on theirs.
- Nice Girl: They are considered the nicest member of their respective party, but getting them angry is a fatal mistake.
- Shrinking Violet: Common traits include social anxiety of some kind, mostly stemming from their struggles with being the examples of femininity and gracefulness society wants them to be. They break out of this during the course of the game.
- Squishy Wizard: Physical offense is not their forte. Maki has one of the lowest attack in the first game, Yukiko has the lowest defense in the Investigation Team, and Fuuka doesn't fight at all. Makoto is well-rounded enough.
- White Mage: The Personas of this Arcana are specialized in healing and support skills, with Yukiko being a primary healer.
III. The Empress (L' Imperatrice)
The Empress represents mothers, prosperity, creativity, sexuality, abundance, fertility, protection, and comfort.
Empress Arcana Persona are based on motherly goddesses, queens, and other female figures, and come equipped with healing and Bufu spells.
- An Ice Person: They tend to specialize in ice-based Bufu spells.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: As their namesake suggests, Personas of this card tend to be empresses or queens who hold a considerable degree of power.
- Blood Knight: As rough on the battlefield as they are with their friends.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Further down their Social Links and in the story, they become more open to the protagonist and the party.
- The Dreaded: Nobody wants to piss these girls off.
- Gratuitous French: Mitsuru and Haru especially tend to pepper French into their word phrases.
- Ice Queen: Initially stand-offish and aloof.
- Magic Knight: They have average Strength and Magic stats, making them excellent all around attackers.
- Team Mom: They tend to take on a motherly role once they've fully defrosted.
IV. The Emperor (L'Emperor)
In tarot readings, the Emperor symbolizes the desire to control one's surroundings, and its appearance could suggest that one is trying too hard to achieve this, possibly causing trouble for others; some elements in life are just not controllable.
Gameplay-wise, the Personas of the Emperor Arcana are Personas typically excelling in lightning-based and physical attacks; these Personas are almost always kings or emperor figures, but may simply be important male figures and deities. Typically, the king of a mythological pantheon is of the Emperor Arcana.
Within the Persona universe, characters of the Emperor Arcana are often male leaders or father figures (or both). Often times, the Emperor character is troubled by something very personal, and doesn't know how to deal with it.
- Ambiguously Bi: Taking his Shadow Self aside, Kanji pretty much has a crush on Naoto Shirogane (before and after he knows about her gender). Also, Yusuke may show some interest into Ann Takamaki as he does have to pep-talk himself into focusing while Ann undresses herself to model for him, and buying wholesale into her flirty antics despite how bad her acting is. In addition to that, there is some Ho Yay going on with the social links for Kanji and Yusuke with the latter being excited if Joker strips for him for when he paints him. Matthew Mercer even believes Yusuke is bisexual himself.
- The Ditz: Wielders of this card tend to be absent minded, Book Dumb, or fail to understand simple explanation.
- Magic Knight: Though they specialize more in strength, their magic attacks are not that bad. More-so in Q for both Akihiko and Kanji.
- No Social Skills: On the whole, characters whose Personas are aligned with this Arcana tend to be socially lacking. This is pretty ironic since the major traits of the Emperor tarot card are excelling as a leader, wisdom, and fatherly/brotherly behavior. The sole exception thus far is the protagonist of the original Persona, who was a Heroic Mime in his game but was socially competent in the manga adaption.
- Shock and Awe: Most Persona associated with this card including Akihiko and Kanji's specialize in Zio-related spells.
- Top God: High-ordered male deities or male deities with great importance are associated with this Arcana, such as Odin, King Frost, Baal, and Okuninushi.
V. The Hierophant (Le Pape)
- Wielders: Kei Nanjo, Shinjiro Aragaki, Bunkichi and Mitsuko Kitamura, Metis, Ryotaro Dojima, Sojiro Sakura
The Hierophant is also known as the Pope and can be considered the male counterpart of the High Priestess. It is a symbol of education, authority, conservatism, obedience and relationship with the divine. The card depicts the Pope sitting on a throne is holding up the two-fingered sign of peace with one hand while holding a gold staff with three crossbars in the other hand.
Characters associated with the card are usually older than the protagonists and often give them words of wisdom. Their greatest flaw however is that they are sometime too engrossed over their past.
Personas of the Hierophant Arcana have no weaknesses but tend to not have powerful strength as well. Hierophant mythological figures tend to mirror Priestess figures, being male priests, gods of wisdom, or divine beings.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Most of them had a terrible past, usually because of the death of a love one or in Shinjiro's case, accidentally killing Ken's mother.
- Intergenerational Friendship: They are usually older than the Protagonists by a few decades.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A lot of the wielders of this arcana can be viewed as this.
- Like a Son to Me: As their Social Link/Confidant with them advance, the Kitamuras came to see the P3 Protagonists as their grandchild while Sojiro somewhat sees Joker as his son.
- Married to the Job: Dojima and Sojiro are too busy being a working single parent to find love again.
- Parental Substitute: Both Dojima and Sojiro become Yu and Ren's respective guardians during their one year stay with them. Similarly, Bunkichi and Mitsuko somewhat see the P3 Protagonists as their grandchild.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Again, Dojima and Sojiro can be viewed as this. The former figures out a lot of details about the murder despite him being Locked Out of the Loop, and Sojiro supports the Thieves once he learns about them, after a long serious talk with Futaba and Joker.
VI. The Lovers (L'Amoureux)
The Lovers Arcana represents relationships and choices in life, and is normally portrayed as a man and woman on a crossroad with either a tree or an angel at the center.
Wielders of the Lovers Arcana are usually the first female member of the party. They are usually considered the most attractive girl in their school. While often cheerful or spirited, underneath they tend to feel insecure.
Personas of this Arcana focus on healing or powerful elemental spells and are based on either fairies or the wife of a historical figure.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: They don't really like it when their love interests show attraction to someone else, notably Maya/Jun, Aigis and Marie.
- Dude Magnet: All of them have a considerable size of boys attracted to them.
- Our Fairies Are Different: Several Personas like Pixie are fairies.
- First Girl Wins: With the exception of Rise, all of them are the first girl to join the party in their respective game and are romanceable. That said, Rise, while being a late member of the Investigation Team, is the first seen in a commercial during the prologue, making her the first girl to appear in the game before Chie.
- Implied Love Interest: Regardless of whether or not the protagonists choose to romance them, the girls will still have feelings for them. Ann is the only one who isn't in love with her respective protagonist by default, requiring at least Rank 3 before she is.
- Love Goddess: Some of its Persona are love gods and goddesses, including Eros and Venus.
- The Medic: They tend to be the healer of their group though their magic is no joke either.
- Ms. Fanservice: Already considered the most attractive girls in their school, the wielders of this Arcana are prone to wearing revealing outfits. Whether they are a Reluctant Fanservice Girl or Shameless Fanservice Girl depends on the wielder.
- Pink Means Feminine: They prefer to wear clothes that are either pink or light red. Lisa, Yukari and Ann take it further by wearing Feather Pink masks.
- Squishy Wizard: While they have among the highest magic skill in their teams, they also have low strength and defense.
- Standard Status Effects: Lovers Persona often used ailment-inflicting skills, especially the Charm ailment.
- Teen Idol: Lisa and Rise are both idols, while Ann is a fashion model, which fits into the 'attractive girl looked on by others' theme. Yukari also becomes an actress after graduating though she isn't a teenager anymore.
VII. The Chariot (Le Chariot)
The Chariot is portrayed as a king riding on a chariot being pulled by either two horses or sphinxes, one colored black while the other white. It represents control, will power, victory, assertion, determination.
Characters associated with this card are athletic, hot blooded individuals who will stop at nothing to complete their goal. They are also short tempered or aggressive and often get into trouble with authority figures.
Personas associated with this card tends to favor strength over magic skills and are usually based on war heroes or deities.
- Big Eater: Chie and Ryuji are known to eat large portions of food.
- Determinator: Both Kaz and Ryuji suffer from an injured knee but that doesn't stop them from running long distance. Likewise, Mark is the most determined to save Maki while Chie, before obtaining her Persona, would stop at nothing trying to save Yukiko.
- Dumb Jock: Chie and Ryuji especially do not do well in class.
- Hot-Blooded: It is easy to get them riled up over the most minor thing.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sure they can be a little rude, especially when they are riled up, they are actually nice people.
VIII. Justice (La Justice)
Portrayed as a sword and balance, the Justice Arcana symbolizes a strict allegory of justice, objectivity, rationality and analysis.
Justice Arcana wielders are concerned with fairness, order, and vengeance and are typically involved with the law. Their withdrawn personalities allow them to understand situations better than their age would indicate.
In Persona 2, Justice is the eleventh (XI) arcana.
- Fair Cop: Katsuya and Goro are detectives and Nanako is the daughter of one, though Goro is actually a subversion.
- Guardian Angel: Most generic Personas of this Arcana are angels.
- Improbable Age: Nanako, Ken, and Goro are awfully insightful and intelligent for children.
- Light Is Not Good: Ken and Goro use Hama spells, but they're not exactly heroic, at least at first.
- Missing Mom: Ken, Nanako, and Goro losing their mothers at a rather early age all influenced their characters later in life.
- Revenge: A common theme with the Justice Arcana:
- Ken is obsessive with finding the Persona User who killed his mother.
- The Investigation Team wanted to find the TV killer for altruistic reasons, but when Nanako almost dies because of Namatame, they nearly kill him out of vengeance. Meanwhile, Dojima constantly chases the driver who killed her mother in a hit-and-run despite it being a long cold case at this point. In Golden, he finds a lead in the case.
- Goro intends to undermine and humiliate his father Masayoshi Shido for abandoning him and his mother.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Ken was planning to kill his mother's murderer and then himself afterwards. Goro solved all his cases because he committed the crimes in the first place. He also starting doing this as young as at least 14.
IX. The Hermit (L'Hermite)
- Wielders: Jin Shirato, Isako Toriumi (aka "Maya"), Saori Hasegawa, Mitsuo Kubo, The Fox, Futaba Sakura
Portrayed as an old man in a dark place or cave, holding up a lantern, the Hermit is associated with wisdom, introspection, solitude, retreat and philosophical searches.
Gameplay-wise, the Personas of the Hermit Arcana are commonly Personas excelling in Mental-Ailment skills. Mythological figures associated with the Hermit Arcana are usually hermits themselves, or are otherwise figures or deities that exist and operate behind the scenes.
Similarly, Hermit Arcana characters share the commonality of placing themselves in situations that hide them from the public eye. Hermit individuals hide away from others or act in more supportive roles rather than putting themselves in the spotlight.
- The Aloner: As their Arcana suggests, they tend to keep by themselves and only open up to a selected few.
- Gamer Chick: Futaba and Isako are both this with the latter's Social Link only being available by having the male P3 protagonist play an online game and chat with her in that game.
- The Medic: In an unique way, both the Fox and Futaba are this. The Fox can heal the Investigation Team's HP and SP if you bring it some money, while Futaba serves as the Mission Control who will occasionally heal the HP and SP for the Phantom Thieves.
- Promoted to Playable: Up until Persona 5, no playable character possessed this Arcana. Futaba Sakura is the first.
X. (The Wheel of) Fortune (La Roue de Fortune)
- Wielders: Jun Kurosu, Keisuke Hiraga, Takaya Sakaki, Ryoji Mochizuki, Naoto Shirogane, Labrys, Chihaya Mifune
The Fortune Arcana is portrayed by the Wheel of Fortune and symbolizes fate, luck, fortune and opportunity. Personas of this Arcana often specialize in Wind-based abilities. They are depicted as mythological figures or deities that control fate / omens.
Human characters of the Fortune Arcana are usually individuals who attempt to seize their own destiny in spite of fate and are typically involved with making important choices and decisions in response to what life throws at them.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: Jun's official profile states that crossdressing is one of his talents, to the point where he looks better in a dress than most girls. In addition to that, Naoto was quite a Chick Magnet before her gender went public (and she is still is even after her gender is revealed).
- Blow You Away: Most of the Personas tend to specialize in wind skills with Jun's Personas being prime examples. Also, Tayaka and Naoto (in Golden) know Garudyne.
- Born Unlucky: Both Naoto and Labrys dealt with this, as Naoto was born as a woman despite her wanting to be in a very male-dominated profession, and Labrys was born as a robot despite her wanting to be human.
- Screw Destiny: A common theme with those of the Fortune Arcana. When Ryoji told S.E.E.S. that there is no way to defeat Nyx, S.E.E.S. has decided to fight her anyway. Also, part of Chihaya's Character Development is her realizing this as fate can be changed.
- Sixth Ranger: Naoto and Jun were the last party members to join their respective teams.
XI. Strength (La Force)
The Strength is portrayed as a young woman taming a terrifying beast (often a lion). Beyond the Beauty and the Beast imagery, the card is meant to represent the power of self-control, gentleness, courage and virtue over brute force. Unlike the Chariot, the meaning of the Strength card is about knowing that you can endure lifes obstacles by drawing upon your inner strength and confidence.
Characters associated with the Strength Arcana are individuals with a strong heart and do not upset easily. Personas associated with this Arcana have high physical skills but weaker in magic and are often based on warrior figures and heroes, or are figures that embody strength of body or character.
- An Aesop: What the card represents, mainly the victory of control and virtue over brute force.
- Heroic Willpower: The "strength" represented by the Strength Arcana has less to do with physical strength and more the ability to withstand physical hardship and mental torment.
- Magically Inept Fighter: Personas with this Arcana tend to have high physical skills but low magic.
XII. The Hanged Man (Le Pendu)
The Hanged Man depicts the image of a man hanging upside down from one-leg with the other crossing it, forming a "4". The card reflects a need to suspend action, and as a result, a period of indecision may be indicated. Alternatively, it also represents self-sacrifice for the greater good.
A recurring theme with this card is that its wielders are caught in between two worlds and must make some sort of decision. Personas associated with this Arcana tends to have high defense and are often typically mythological figures that exist between two different forces.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Most of them suffer from a dark past such as Baofu losing his assistant, Chidori being experimented on by the Kirijo group, Naoki losing his sister, and Iwai's criminal past.
- Secret Test of Character: What the card represents, being able to let go of one's desires for the sake of others.
XIII. Death (La Mort/L'Arcane sans nom)
Also known as The Card with No Name, Death is portrayed as a skeleton riding a white horse as the skeletal bones are the part of the body that survives death. This card is often misunderstood as representing physical death, but it actually represents a cycle; every ending marks a new beginning.
Characters associated with this card tends to be loners, wear dark outfits, or have lost someone dear in them in their past. In-game, they are the powerhouse of their teams, surpassing even the Chariot and Emperor. Personas related to this Arcana are figures related to death from different mythologies or are notable in their own death, and are specialized in Dark spells but weak to light.
Death is the central theme of Persona 3 as well as the main antagonist.
- The Aloner: Due to personal reasons, they tend to keep to themselves.
- Book-Ends: The card represents the beginning and end of a cycle, similar to how the Fool represents the beginning and end of a journey.
- Dark Is Not Evil: They prefer to wear dark outfits even though they're not evil themselves.
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Though they appear creepy or have an intimidating aura, they are actually nice people on the inside.
- We All Die Someday: Makoto (in the first P3 movie) and Hisano seem to have accepted that death is inevitable, though after Character Development they find the resolve and reason to keep on living.
- Weakened by the Light: Light-skills are not their friend.
XIV. Temperance (Tempérance)
The Temperance shows an angel pouring one cup of water into another with one foot standing on dry land and the other on a pond. The card represents equality, patience and merging of two opposites.
Characters associated with this card live a double life, balancing their hobbies with their lifestyle or job. Fitting of the Temperance, Personas of this Arcana are well-balanced in their stats and are normally mythological figures (often beasts instead of humans) associated with balance and moderation.
- Living a Double Life: A main focus of this card. Andre for example is a transfer student from overseas and needing help to adjust while Sadayo is a teacher working a second job as a maid.
- Non-Action Guy: The Temperance Arcana has never been wielded by any Persona user up to Persona 5.
- Non-Player Character: As of Persona 5, Temperance remains one of the only two arcana not represented by a playable character (the other being the Tower).
XV. The Devil (Le Diable)
As its name suggests, the card is portrayed as a Devil (or Satyr) holding two people in chains. In divination, receiving the card usually means bad luck. The card represents the negative aspects of humanity (ie the Seven Sins) and how we are a slave to our own desires, whether it is addiction to drugs or lust for a person.
Characters associated with this card are obsessed with something in life (revenge, money, or love) and are committed to it. They also tend to be anti-social, whether it is by their own choice or due to being seen as an outcast by their peers. Like the Death Arcana, Personas of the Devil Arcana specialize in Dark-skills but are weak to light. Fittingly, Personas of this Arcana are represented by the devils and evil deities of mythology such as Poltergeist, Pazuzu and those of the Chaos alignment of the main Shin Megami Tensei games, eg: Beelzebub, Lilith and Lucifer himself.
The theme of Persona 5 is slavery, which is somewhat akin to the Devil Arcana as the enemies the protagonists fight are represented by the Seven Sins, and will do anything to accomplish their goal, even if they have to step on anyone who gets in their way.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Depending on their role, they may actually be a good person at heart.
- Devil in Plain Sight: One aspect of them is that they are not good people by their appearance.
- Married to the Job: Like with the Hierophant, Devil Arcana users absorb themselves into their jobs. Unlike the Hierophant, it's because they tend to drown themselves in their vices, and said jobs allow them to do so.
- Seven Deadly Sins: An aspect of the card:
- Reiji represents Wrath with his desire to kill his half-brother Kandori.
- Tanaka represents Greed with him swindling the P3 Protagonists for money and being an unscrupulous businessman. Despite having gone to less shady ventures, he still is the source of potentially questionable goods in Persona 4 and 5.
- Uehara represents Lust in how she attempts to seduce the much younger Yu.
- Ohya represents Sloth in how she sells stories without properly doing research first or by twisting the information.
- Satanic Archetype: Like the name of the card, Personas of this Arcana are usually the personification of the devil, one of them being Lucifer himself.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To the Death Arcana.
- Weakened by the Light: Most Personas of the Devil Arcana are weak to light.
XVI. The Tower (La Maison Dieu)
The Tower, also known as the House of God, is portrayed as a tower being struck by lightning with two people jumping out of it. As with Death and the Devil, the Tower is normally an omen, representing a sudden change, impending doom or disaster. Usually, the card is associated to arrogant and corrupt individuals or organizations falling to their demise. The tower depicted on the card could be the Tower of Babel and how its collapsed representing pride before their fall.
Characters associated with this card are egoistic individuals suffering their fall from grace and how are they trying to cope with this change. Personas of this Arcana tend to focus on their Physical skills and are often associated with mythological figure who were once worshiped before their fall from grace or deities associated with disaster. In the first two games, only one party member has strong affinity to this Arcana, showing how negative this card is.
Story-wise, the tower depicted in the the card can also represent Tartarus, the Clock Tower at the alternate Yasogami High, and the Conspiracy.
- Death by Irony: Downplayed. While they don't die, the cause of a person's fall is normally how they got their power in the first place. Kandori for example has finally achieved his goal of becoming a god, only to find that Victory Is Boring. By the time the party confronts him, Kandori has become a nihilist and actually wants the party to kill him until Nyarlathoep decides to interfere.
- Double Entendre: Guess what Mara's Arcana is?
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Probably the worst card of the deck, receiving this card is normally an bad omen.
- Non-Player Character: Like Temperance, none of the playable Persona wielders up to Persona 5 are the Tower. Unlike Temperance, there is a known Persona user who is primarily of this Arcana (Kandori).
- Pride: The main Seven Sin associated with this card.
- Pride Before a Fall: Each wielder of this card used to be someone respected or powerful before something happens that causes them to lose it:
- Persona 1 has Kandori, who spent a lot of time and effort in becoming a god... and finds that omniscience is boring, and that he's only godlike in Maki's cognitive world. By the time the party finds him, his pride is so beaten down that Nyarlathoep has to hijack his body to make him fight them.
- In Persona 4, Shu Nakajima starts out as the smartest kid in his class, until another student starts showing him up. Shu resorts to cheating on a test to stay on top, and gets caught, resulting in him getting chewed out by his mother and the loss of his confidence.
- Persona 5 has Shinya Oda not only lose at a game where he is a prodigy, but his aggressive mannerisms have caused him to become isolated and even on the road to being a bully. In fact, some kids he was arguing with accused him of needing a change of heart, despite Oda being a large fan of the Phantom Thieves.
XVII. The Star (L'Étoile)
The Star is portrayed by a woman filling two jugs with water from a pond, pouring one of them onto the land behind her. Above her are eight stars, seven small ones surrounding a larger one at the center. It represents renewal of a person's faith or spirit as well as self-confidence following a terrible past.
Characters of this Arcana tend to keep keeps their spirits high, knowing that something good will happen to them eventually despite their hardships. In-game, they use their fists to beat up their enemies and have average magic skills, making them a Magic Knight of the party. Persona of this Arcana tend to favor Wind or Ice spells and are often associated with astrological or multi-talented figures.
- Determinator: A key aspect of the card is never giving up.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: All three playable party members use either their fists or claws as their weapon of choice.
- Love Hurts: Ulala, Akihiko and Teddie have difficulty in talking to the opposite sex, while Hifumi is forbidden by her mother to date anyone until she is popular.
- Magic Knight: Akihiko and Ulala have great strength but their magic is well above average to help them against physical-resistant enemies. Teddie however has the second lowest strength in his team, making him more of a mage instead.
XVIII. The Moon (La Lune)
The Moon is portrayed by a dog, a wolf (or a second dog) and a crayfish (or a lobster) staring at the moon with two towers in the background. The card represents femininity, fantasy and trickery. It can represents the life experience of a person (be it their past, present or future) and how they subconsciously react to the world around them and to accept which is fiction and reality.
Personas of this card are either usually mythological figures directly associated with the moon or evil figures and tricksters. They have a balanced Strength and Magical skills though they tend to favor the former more. Characters associated with the Moon tend to share their problems with the Protagonists, have trouble accepting who they are and behave like an ideal person to those around them.
Out of all the Arcanas, the Moon is closely associated with Carl Jung's theory on how Everyone carries a shadow, referencing how Personas and Shadows in the series represents one aspect of a character, whether they choose to ignore it or accept it.
- Dark and Troubled Past: All of them have some sort of horrible past, be it surviving an arson incident, killing an innocent by accident, or being a victim of bullying and violence at the hands of a teacher.
- I Just Want to Be Special: A recurring theme of this card is that the person tries to be something they are not (Maya as a Cool Big Sis, Ai and Yuuki want to be popular among their peers) in order to have some meaning in their life.
- Shadow Archetype: The concept of Personas and Shadows are based on Carl Jung's theory and how the people react to them. Notably, Maya defeats her Shadow Self but refuses to accept it, while MINAZUKI is a split personality of SHO but the two couldn't be any different. With Yuuki, the Shadow that needs to be taken care of on his arc is his own and even then, Yuuki already is aware he's becoming worse and just needs a pep talk from Joker.
- Weight Woe: While Nozomi isn't ashamed of being fat, Maya often has to look out for her weight, Shinjiro makes sure his friends (especially Akihiko) have a balanced meal and Ai is Formerly Fat. Subverted with Yuuki, who is pretty slender and almost frail.
XIX. The Sun (Le Soleil)
The Sun is portrayed by a child riding on a horse happily beneath the sun with sunflowers in the background. The card represents a person's joy, happiness and hope even in their darkest hour.
In contrast to the Moon, characters associated with the Sun have something in the present that is troubling them. Like the Moon, the wielders either remain hopeful or regain it through their interaction with the Protagonists, allowing them to overcome their problems and leave with a smile on their face.
Personas of the Sun Arcana tend to represent a mythological figure associated with the sun, light, or fire. Befitting the sun, Personas of this card specialize in fire and light spells, two major sources of energy released by the sun.
- Dark and Troubled Past: While the Moon Arcana wielders have a troubled past, they try to forget about it or have forgotten about it altogether. Bearers of the Sun Arcana however have their past still eating them from the inside.
- Hope Springs Eternal: A primary theme of the Sun is to remain hopeful no matter what.
- I Love Nuclear Power: Personas of this arcana often wield Frei skills, fitting given the sun's association with nuclear fusion.
- Light 'em Up: One of the two spells Personas of this card specialize in are that of the Hama-line.
- Playing with Fire: One of the two spells Personas of this card specialize in are that of the Agi-line.
- The Power of the Sun: Personas of this card are usually those who are associated with the sun. Notably, Apollo's (the second Greek God of sun) signature move, Nova Kaiser, has him creating a miniature sun, and he can also learn Nuclear skills.
- Stepford Smiler: No matter what happens to them, wielders of the Sun always keep a smile on their smile, knowing they will find the answer to the meaning of life.
XX. Judgement (Le Jugement) / Aeon
Judgement, in tarot, is associated with realizing one's calling, gaining a deep understanding of life, and a feeling of acceptance and absolution.
The Judgement Arcana is the culmination of the protagonist's decisions and actions throughout the game, and the player's pursuit of the true and final resolution. It is represented as the climax of a pivotal decision shortly before or after the Final Boss.
The Aeon Arcana, which is part of the Thoth deck and available only in the remakes, is inherited by those without a sense of belonging and understanding. While physically non-human in some way, they nonetheless are as human as anyone else and helping them understand their place in the world will grant the protagonist essential power and knowledge.
Persona of the Judgement and Aeon Arcana are divine mythological figures such as Metatron and all forms of Lucifer, who represent the ultimate judgment of humanity.
- Adaptational Heroism: Lucifer, Metatron, and Satan, three major antagonistic figures in the main SMT franchise, are summonable allies to the Protagonists.
- Biblical Motifs: Most of the Personas are based on a biblical figure.
- Golden Ending: Obtaining or maxing out the Judgement Arcana means making the right choice for the true ending:
- In Persona 3, you must choose not to kill Ryoji, which will allow you to fight Nyx. If you do kill him, SEES lives their lives without their memories of Tartarus before Nyx ends the world shortly after.
- In Persona 4, you have to deduce and defeat the real Midnight Channel killer. Choosing the wrong culprit will net you the bad ending.
- In Persona 5, you have to pull off the casino interrogation and catch Goro / the assassin in a trap where you fake your death. If you fail to complete any of the Palaces or sell out your friends, Goro kills you for real.
- The above are all examples of a Non Standard Game Over, but to get the true Golden Ending in Persona 4 Golden, you have to complete the Aeon Social Link before December 31st and complete the Hollow Forest.
- Guardian Angel: Most of the Personas of these two Arcanas are high ranking angels.
- Implied Love Interest: In contrast to all other romantic Social Links, both links to the Aeon Arcana are the closest to an official Love Interest in canon. Aigis and Marie have a plot-relevant connection to the P3 and P4 Heroes, further enforced by the anime adaptations having a heavy focus on their respective relationships, to the point of certain scenes being changed to accommodate this. Likewise, Eriko is also in love with the protagonist from the first game, which becomes a subplot for her in Eternal Punishment.
- Threshold Guardian: Judgement either is or follows the final test before being put on the path to the Golden Ending, and is fittingly the penultimate Arcana before the World.
XXI. The World (Le Monde) / The Universe
The ultimate triumph arcana, the World is a representation of the world's totality, the symbol of fulfillment, wholeness, and harmony, symbolized by a young woman surrounded by figures of an angel, a bull, an eagle, and a lion.
This arcana is the strength of the bonds the protagonist has made with others over the course of the game. It manifests as an 11th-Hour Superpower during the True Ending that the player uses to defeat the True Final Boss. During a New Game+, and with a hefty amount of money, fusions, and EXP, the player can summon the persona of this arcana to completely steamroll the game.
In Persona 3, the World is replaced with the Universe, which is a card from the Thoth deck instead of the Rider-Waite deck, and is used by the P3 Protagonists to seal away Nyx at the cost of their lives. Otherwise, it's identical to the World, only represented by a blank tarot card.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: In-story their Personas tend to be summoned during the final battle, during which they make short work out of the Final Boss.
- Ascended Extra: While rare, this card has zero plot relevance like the Fool in the first two games. From the third game onward, the World is the second Arcana bestowed to the protagonist which represents the end of their Journey. Through the power of the World, the Protagonist awaken their true power to finish off the final boss.
- Finishing Move: After tanking the final boss' attacks, the Protagonist finishes it off with a move that represents the bonds they have made.
- Infinity +1 Element: The World Arcana is treated as the single most powerful Arcana in the series, and the Universe is considered even more powerful than that.
- The Power of Friendship: The World is the power of all the protagonist's bonds made manifest. It allows them to not only No-Sell the final boss, but to also unlock their Ultimate Persona and finish it off.
0. The Jester / XI. Hunger
The Jester Arcana is exclusive to Persona 4 Golden as Tohru Adachi's arcana, and shares the same number and role as the Fool, personifying ignorance, spontaneity, and freedom. But while the Fool embraces the bonds they make, the Jester suppresses them.
When the player levels up the Jester Social Link up until Adachi's reveal as the Midnight Channel killer, they have two choices; reveal their suspicions that implicates Adachi, or hide the evidence to save him. If the player destroys the evidence, the Jester Arcana will max out and they will earn the Accomplice Ending. If they instead reveal Adachi's true nature, the Jester remanifests as the Hunger Arcana.
The Hunger Arcana, known as the Lust Arcana in the Thoth deck, replacing Strength as the eleventh (XI) arcana, represents strength, but strength which comes through dominance. It is not true power, but the pure bliss of abusing power. Pursing the Jester is to be an actual fool.
Leveling the Jester / Hunger Arcana nets the player Persona of rebellious and questionable nature, including Magatsu-Izanagi, the form of Izanagi at his lowest point.
- Evil Counterpart:
- The Jester to the Fool, representing those who bring others to ruin.
- Hunger to Strength, as it's strength that is formed through dominance and abusing power.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Maxing out this Arcana in its Jester form means hanging out and working with a heartless murderer.
- The Hedonist: Wants all the power but none of the responsibility.
- Jerkass: The nastiest and most antagonistic of all arcana. Interestingly, maxing it out as the Jester requires the player to be one (to everyone but Adachi anyway).
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Adachi was pretty good at keeping up a bumbling personality to hide his true nature.
- What the Hell, Player?: The game makes no pretense that the Accomplice Ending is a good one. Even Adachi mocks you for conspiring to help a murderer.
Faith (La Foi)
The Faith Arcana, first introduced in Persona 5 Royal, appears in the Visconti-Sforza deck, a custom-made deck dating to a time when tarot was only used as everyday playing cards and the arcana were simply trump cards.
This Arcana is exclusive to Kasumi Yoshizawa. This card greatly differs from that of the other Arcanas of P5 as it lacks a number and has black borders with tears. Additionally, the Confidant associate with this Arcana only goes up to rank 5. This clue that Kasumi, like the Arcana, is actually a fake. Once the truth is out however, the Confidant continues as normal.
- Fairytale Motifs: Two of the main Personas related to this Arcana are different names of Cinderella.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A key theme of this Arcana is self-confidence. Once it is revealed that Kasumi is actually Sumire, the younger twin with inferiority complex, part of her Confidant involves her gaining self confidence in herself.
Wielders: P3 Protagonists, Aigis, Yu Narukami, Elizabeth, Sho Minazuki, Ren Amamiya, Goro Akechi
The Wild Card refers to the ability of a Persona user (usually the Protagonists of their respective games) to use multiple Personas of different Arcanas. Normally, this ability is connected to those who are of the Fool Arcana, although Sho Minazuki is of the Sun/Moon Arcana while Goro Akechi is of the Justice Arcana. Aigis and Elizabeth on the other hand were formerly of the Chariot and Death Arcanas before acquiring the Fool. This ability is first shown in Persona 3. Each of them first gains this ability after forming a contract or meeting Philemon in some way. This also allows them to enter the Velvet Room, where they are able to perform Persona fusions to form even stronger Personas.
- The Ace: Being able to use multiple Personas at the same time makes the Protagonists the strongest member of their teams.
- All Your Powers Combined: A fully realized Wild Card has access to all the different types of skills, can learn almost any skill their companions can learn, can function as a temporary navigator, and can change elemental affinities on the fly.
- Big Eater: The protagonists are often seen eating large portion of food and are able to conquer eating challenges. This became a joke in Q where Elizabeth and Margaret challenge on whose guest could eat more, leading to a donut eating challenge between the P3 and P4 Hero which leads to a tie.
- The Chosen One: Those who are associated with the Fool Arcana are destined to do great things.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Through Social Links/Confidants, the Protagonists help anyone with personal issues, ranging from a young girl with estranged parents to an old woman trying to accept the death of her husband.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the first two games, everyone is capable of switching their Personas and entering the Velvet Room. Furthermore, while Personas of the Fool Arcana are rare, there is nothing special about them. That said, no one has the same affinity with all Arcana like the Wild Cards do. That, however can be handwaved as in the first two games, Philemon, the creator of the Velvet Room and Igor, gives all Protagonists their power, whereas most other beings granting the Wild Card (Death, Izanami, Hinokagutsuchi, and Yaldabaoth) can only grant this power to one, at best two people, with Aigis inheriting it from the P3 protagonist and Elizabeth being the odd one out for acquiring that power by herself.
- Fusion Dance:
- By fusing two or more Personas in the Velvet Room, the Protagonists are able to create even stronger Personas.
- In Persona 3, the Protagonist's Wild Card ability is further enhanced by the Death Arcana, allowing them to use Fusion spells.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Through the power of the Wild Card, the protagonists can use multiple Personas of any of the 22 Arcanas. Because of this, they can use every skills in the game and can serve any role in the team (fighter, mage, healer, etc).
- Magnetic Hero: Margaret and Elizabeth mention that those with the Wild Card have the ability to attract people to join their cause. Notably, S.E.E.S. only begins exploring Tartarus after the Protagonist joins despite being formed years ago, and the Investigation Team is formed out of those Yu helps save from their Shadow Selves. Similarly, the Phantom thieves are founded only after Joker's arrival.
- Master of All: Unlike other Persona users, those with the Wild Card are able to use multiple Personas from any of the 22 traditional Major Arcana, and some others from alternate decks.
- Master of None: In Persona Q and its sequel, the unique setting of the games prevents the Wild Cards from switching to other Personas. However, this also allows them (as well as everyone else in the party) to carry a Sub-Persona.
- New Transfer Student: All of them are transferred to a new school at the beginning of the game.
- Oddly Common Rarity: The ability to use multiple Personas is not only restricted to those of the Fool Arcana. In the first two games, everyone is capable of doing the same while the Velvet Room Attendants are also able to use multiple Personas via the Persona Compendium. However, unlike the first case, where characters were limited to those Arcana they had an affinity with, Wild Cards have the ability to use Persona from any Arcana without limit or penalty.
- Positive Friend Influence: The playable Wild Cards help many of their Social Links/Confidants become better people through their influence.
- The Power of Friendship:
- A Wild Card can only achieve their full potential through the bonds they forge with others in the form of Social Links and Confidants. And even though Makoto didn't forge one with him, Shinjiro's spirit is still able to help him in his time of need, showing that the power of the Wild Card is so strong, not even death can break the bonds they have made.
- Averted with Goro. It is indicated that because he rejects friendship and has no bonds with anyone other than Joker, he can only use two Personas.
- Recurring Element: From the third game onward, the Protagonists are transfer students first arriving at town via train and stay there for a year. By the end of their Journey, they will receive a new Arcana, usually the World.
- The Reliable One: They are the one who gathers other people in need and helps to improve their lives for the better.
- Secret Handshake: Persona Q and its sequel joke that wielders of the Wild Card have a secret code in which they speak using lines spoken when recruiting demons from the main SMT games.
- Superpower Lottery: Whereas most Persona users are limited to their skill lines or Arcana affinity, Wild Cards are not. The amount of abilities they have allow them to fill any niche in their party, sometimes even several at once.
- Tarot Motifs: They are most closely tied to the Fool Arcana, representing unlimited potential and beginnings, since the Fool shows up at both the beginning and the end of the traditional Major Arcana. Contrary to what one might expect, Social Link Arcanas represent the relationship between the Wild Card and the Social Link, and not necessarily the Arcana of the Social Link themselves:
- Aigis is of the Chariot Arcana (self-assertion and war), but her relationship with the P3 Hero is of the Aeon Arcana (understanding the unfamiliar world).
- Akihiko is of the Emperor (strong will and control) and Shinjiro is of the Hierophant (gruff logic and worldly wisdom), but their relationship with the female protagonist is represented by the Star (hope and positivity) and Moon (Hidden Depths), respectively.
- Adachi starts out as the Jester (avoidance of responsibility), but when his true nature is revealed, his relationship with the P4 Hero is different from before, represented by it becoming the Hunger Arcana (unrepentant hedonism).
- Token Evil Teammate: Not only are Sho and Goro the only Wild Cards who are not aligned with the Fool Arcana, they are also the only ones to use their ability for their own malevolent purposes.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: The game automatically ends if the Protagonist falls in battle.
- You Are Not Alone: The Protagonists start their respective games alone but make multiple friends throughout their one year there. Through the bonds they make during Social Links/Confidants, the Protagonists are capable of fighting their respective final bosses, even if they are alone, to the point that remembering the voices of their friends allows them to keep getting up and finally No-Sell the boss's attack. This signifies the power of the Universe/World Arcana, the final card of the tarot, giving them the power to finish off the final boss.
The Velvet Room Attendants serve to assist Philemon and Igor with helping the protagonists on their journey.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The Velvet Siblings, albeit downplayed most of the time, do hit this trope. In the Q spinoffs in particular, they back each other up in the Bonus Boss fights. There's also a moment early in Q2, where Elizabeth warns Theo they shouldn't meddle too much with things involving Caroline and Justine, which Theo tries to protest. Given it's implied they've both figured out the twins are a divided Lavenza, Theo's worried for his little sister and is genuinely uncomfortable about leaving her divided into two people.
- Ambiguously Human:
- They take on humanoid shapes, but the Velvet Siblings in particular have the yellow eyes associated with Shadow Selves, and have a limited knowledge of the world of man. They also refer to humans as separate from themselves and are astonished when a human manages to defeat them as "ones who reside over power".
- The Demon Painter is an aversion, being a human painter from Sumaru City who came to stay in the Velvet Room.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: The Velvet Siblings seem to represent the Anima and Animus of Jungian psychology, or the repressed opposite gender qualities of men and women, respectively. Each one is the opposite gender to their respective Wild Card, and serves as a spiritual guide who is not meant to interfere with their journey.
- Ascended Extra: The attendants went from playing background music in the first game, to changing free Tarot Cards to any Arcana in the second (as well as providing an additional quest in the PSP remake) to having plot relevance from the third game onward.
- Big Eater: In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, the Velvet Siblings find themselves enamored with theater concessions, particularly hot dogs, to the point of hoarding enough to feed everyone several times over in their own rooms and stealing from each other when they run out.
- Bonus Boss: Starting with Persona 3, the protagonist can fight the Velvet Room attendants as bosses. They happen to be the most powerful bosses in the game gameplay-wise.
- Broke the Rating Scale: In every one of their boss fights, the operator on duty will remark that the Velvet Siblings' power is off the scale and warns the heroes to either run for their lives or be extremely careful.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: All Velvet Room Attendants have a journey to travel, much like the guests they're attending, only they don't know what it is. For the most part, they're content to just serve their respective protagonist, until said protagonist forms a bond with them. At that point, they'll get curious about how the protagonist affects them, culminating in a Bonus Boss battle where the point is for them to understand just what it is they're doing here.
- Dual Boss: Caroline and Justine fight the Phantom Thieves together in their boss battle.
- Duel Boss: Elizabeth, Theodore, and Margaret are fought alone in their respective games.
- Fish out of Water: The Siblings have little contact with the human world prior to their respective guests arrival and react with awe and curiosity during their visit. This lead to rather awkward situations like Elizabeth pouring one million yen worth of coins into two fountains and the twins literally thinking that Big Bang Burger is from outer space.
- Humans Are Special: All of them believe that humans have a spark that opens the door to an infinite number of possibilities. Caroline and Justine are less overt about this, mocking Joker repeatedly, but they truly believe in his ability to complete his "rehabilitation" and the potential of humanity itself.
- Left the Background Music On: Belladonna and Nameless are actually the source of the song, "Aria of the Soul", which plays in every Persona game.
- Mystical White Hair: The Velvet Siblings all possess starkly white hair, emphasizing their mysteriousness and otherworldly power.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Technically, for the majority of the plot in Persona 5, the Velvet Siblings, where there are five siblings, Elizabeth, Theodore, Margaret, Marie, Caroline and Justine. At least, until Caroline and Justine merge into Lavenza, making only four siblings by the end.
- Oh, Crap!: The response of your Navigator to fighting a Velvet Room attendant is to be in shock in terms of how powerful they are. This is also the Velvet Siblings' reaction whenever Margaret is angry with them.
- Promoted to Playable: The attendants from the third game onward are playable in spin-off games.
- Sibling Team: Whenever the Velvet Siblings appear in the same game, they usually become this. A prime example would be the three-way boss battle against Margaret, Elizabeth, and Theodore in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, you fight Caroline and Justine while they're backed up by Theodore, Margaret, and Elizabeth in succession.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Elizabeth, Theodore, Margaret, Justine, Caroline and Lavenza all have huge yellow irides reminiscent of Shadow Selves.
- Theme Naming: Save for the Demon Painter, they're all named after Frankenstein characters or a person in real life associated with the novel, hinting toward their Ambiguously Human and possibly artificial nature.
- Igor himself is a reference to the iconic servant character original to some movie adaptations, both of them having a distinctly deformed appearance.
- Nameless may be based on the blind man the Creature briefly befriends.
- Elizabeth is named after Elizabeth Lavenza, Victor Frankenstein's fiancée. Theodore is possibly named after Theodor von Holst, the first illustrator of the novel.
- Margaret is named after Margaret Walton Saville, the sister of the ship captain who rescues Victor and to whom the initial chapters of the Epistolary Novel are addressed. Marie could be an alternate spelling of Mary Shelley's name herself.
- Caroline and Justine are named after Victor's mother and a servant framed for one of the Creature's murders respectively. Lavenza is another reference to Elizabeth Lavenza.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: As the Velvet Room changes depending on the guest, the attendants also change with the whereabouts of the previous attendants unknown. The only ones who avert this is Elizabeth, who left the Velvet Room in order to find a way to free the P3 protagonist from his fate, and Belladonna and Nameless, who are still in the Velvet Room post-2 but don't actually make physical appearances.
- Wolfpack Boss: In the Persona Q series, the attendants team up to fight the protagonists. In the first game, Elizabeth, Theodore and Margaret fight together. In the second game, the twins fight together in the first phase, then are accustomed by Margaret, Theodore and Elizabeth, in the second, third and fourth phases, respectively.
Introduced in Persona 3, Navigators play the tactical support role of their respective party, usually analyzing enemies' name, Arcana and weakness. Initially, one party member usually plays this role until a new member with a superior set of support skills joins. Persona 5 averts this however, having two members (Makoto with either Futaba or Morgana) playing this role even late in the game. In addition to analyzing their enemies, they also can help the party in other ways such as healing and providing buffs.
- Always Female: Thus far, every permanent Navigator has happened to be female.
- Passing the Torch: The second navigator is usually better than the first and fully embraces this role after joining while the first returns to the front lines.
- Promoted to Playable: While they remain in the side-lines in the main games, they are playable in the spin-offs.
- Sensor Character: The permanent Navigator's Persona is used to do things including but not limited to identifying enemy weaknesses as well as their locations, the layout of a dungeon floor, or treasure chests.
- Socially Awkward Hero: A similarity between the second Navigator of each group is that they tend to be shy girls with difficulty in making friends.
- Support Party Member: Their role on their respective teams is identifying enemy weaknesses and occasionally giving status buffs instead of direct combat.