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Fan Fic / Ace In The Hole (Persona 5)

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As the Battle for Japan's soul draws ever closer, a Shadow Nest surfaces in Tokyo, and enigmatic Phantom Thieves change the corrupt, the Shadow Operatives find themselves in desperate need of an ace in the hole.
Ace In The Hole is a Persona 5 fanfiction by eiranerys. It focuses on a What If? scenario on Ken Amada being sent by the Shadow Operatives to Tokyo to investigate the Phantom Thieves. This will eventually lead Ken to join the Phantom Thieves, under the codename "Ace". Here is the link to the AO3 version.

There is also a spin-off fanfiction called Persona Q2: The Ace Edition, which is the Persona Q2 spin-off version of Ace In The Hole. You can find the the AO3 version here.

Additionally, as a part of "ShuAnn Week 2019," eiranerys created a one-shot set in "Ace-Verse" that centered around the wedding of Ren Amamiya and Ann Takamaki entitled A Future In Her Eyes. The link to the AO3 version can be found here.

Expect unmarked spoilers for Persona 5, as well as other installments like Persona 3 and Persona 4.


This Fan Fic contains examples of:

  • The Ace: It's implied that Minato is considered this out of the Wild Cards, as Ren is especially impressed with how he sealed away Death.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Ken's family history is discussed in Ken's confidant. Ken's parents divorced when he was young. Ken has no concrete memories of his father due to him dying while Ken was a toddler. Ken's mother has an estranged twin sister.
  • Adapted Out: Due to Persona 5 Royal being announced while the author was writing the Okumura arc, Kasumi and Takuto will not be included in this story.
  • Adjusting Your Glasses: Ren and Futaba both have done this, but the latter more so.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Lampshaded by both Ken and Akechi.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Averted. Shinjiro and Ken's adventures with Personas and Shadows have caused them to be very open-minded.
    Futaba: I want to know what crazy thing that you've seen that makes a talking cat seem normal.
  • Arc Welding: In this story, Wakaba was a former employee of the Kirijo Group. In fact, her death is the reason the Shadow Operatives are aware of Shido in the first place.
    • Minako also reveals that Sugimura once attempted to court Mitsuru.
  • Ascended Extra: A downplayed version, but there's more of an emphasis on Haru breaking away from her father and choosing to rebel.
    • Similarly, Yusuke is more active in helping out Haru during Okumura's arc as he empathizes with her.
  • Babies Ever After: Koromaru ends up fathering a litter of puppies and Yukari Takeba has given birth to her and Minato's twin son and daughter, Kaito and Miyuki Arisato.
  • Baby's First Words: Ken reveals to Ren during his confidant that Miyuki and Kaito's mutual first word was "Stupei", due to them mimicking Yukari.
  • Battle Couple: Ren/Ann and Ken/Makoto.
    • Even before they get together, Ren is seen blocking blows for Ann and she uses that opportunity to blast Shadows with fire.
  • Beach Episode: As in canon, but the end has Ken telling the Phantom Thieves that he's ready to tell everything about his past.
  • The Bet: Ren, Ryuji, and Futaba bet over when Ken and Makoto will get together. Futaba ends up winning that bet.
    • Shinjiro also notes in his narration that Minako and Junpei apparently like to bet. A lot.
  • Beta Couple: Ren and Ann, contrasting with Ken/Makoto. By the time Ken comes to Tokyo, they're already quite close. Ren also comments that his attention was always on Ann and he had eyes for nobody else. This contrasts with a huge part of the fic being dedicated to building up Ken and Makoto's feelings for each other.
  • Big Fancy House: Where Ken and Shinjiro live in Tokyo. It's described to be an opulent building, owned by the Kirijo family. The Phantom Thieves are surprised that Ken lives there when they first see it.
    • Haru's house is also implied to be this, as Haru mentions there being a parlor. However, Haru also implies that it was a cold and lonely place to live in.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Shadow Sae is prone to this when Akechi outwits her.
  • Birthday Episode: Chapter 35 is mostly about putting together a birthday party for Ann.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Ken's birthday involves him having to trail the Phantom Thieves in Kaneshiro's Palace. Being not used to sneaking around like the Phantom Thieves, he accidentally triggers one of the traps. This leads to his presence being known to the Phantom Thieves. He ends up getting chased by Ryuji for this trouble, and is barely able to escape.
  • Bland-Name Product: Several.
  • Blunt No: When Ryuji suggested that the boys spy on the girls while the latter were in the hot spring, Ken casually shot it down. Ken then proceeds to remind Ryuji about how terrifying the girls can be.
  • Brain Bleach:
    • Turns out poor Ken had the misfortune of... er... seeing his senpais having a romantic moment when he was still a kid. So, Ken has every right to want to forget that moment.
    • Shinjiro also wants to forgot when he accidentally runs into Ken and Makoto while they were having their first kiss after they finally confessed their feelings for each other. Poor guy even went as far as ask Mitsuru to have her scientists to actually make real mind bleach.
  • Brainy Brunette: Makoto and Ken are both this. Ken is mentioned to work especially hard so to earn a partial scholarship to Gekkoukan, so to be less of a burden to Shinjiro.
  • Brick Joke: When Ken first met Ren, the former questioned why the latter was carrying around a cat (Morgana). Ren's excuse? Morgana is his therapy cat. Morgana did not take that well. Ren proceeded to use the same excuse again when he first met Shinjiro. Ken certainly didn't drop this 'therapy cat' detail when he was confronted by the Phantom Thieves after the gang found out that Ken is a Persona user.
  • Bridal Carry: Ren carries Ann in this style during the fight with Kaneshiro.
    • Makoto does this, carrying Ken out of danger during a Mementos trip.
    • Ken also catches Makoto in a similar fashion after a failed attempt to jump the Bridge of Judgement.
  • The Cameo: This is mainly a Persona 3 and Persona 5 crossover, but there was a chapter dedicated to the Phantom Thieves visiting Inaba and meeting most of the Investigation Team.
    • Shiho also makes a couple appearances throughout the story.
    • Kei Nanjo makes an appearance as an ally and benefactor of the Shadow Operatives.
    • Similarly, there is a scene where the entire Investigation Team/Seekers of Truth discuss the plan to help save Ren's life and get Shido off of the Phantom Thieves' backs over a video chat.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Makoto and Ken both wrestle with their inability to tell the other how they feel.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Ren is especially prone to quips and witty banter while fighting Shadows.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Several characters note how closely Ken and Akechi resemble each other. There's a reason for that: Ken and Akechi's mothers were twins, thus making them cousins (genetically half-brothers).
  • Character Development: Unlike in the game, the Phantom Thieves gain their ultimate Personas through in-story scenes like in Persona 3.
  • Children Are Innocent: Kaito showed no understanding on what a bastard is. Things got really out of hand when Akechi tried to explain it to a boy who got called as a bastard by a bunch of women who were jealous of Yukari. Ken had to resolve the issue when Akechi's explanation caused poor Kaito to be distressed and worried that his mother might actually preferred that he wasn't born.
  • Class Trip: Shujin goes to Hawaii. This class trip shows how big the Phantom Thieves have made it and it also introduces the beginning of Haru's turmoil.
  • Compensating for Something: When Ken is cornered by the Phantom Thieves in the aftermath of their battle against Kaneshiro, Ryuji, wether he was just joking or actually being serious, starts to ask Ken if this is why he chose a spear as his weapon of choice, only for Ken to cut him off before he could finish the sentence.
  • Continuity Nod: There are several.
    • Ken references Wild-Duck Burger, preferring that chain to Big Bang Burger. Futaba also mentions there's a mental shutdown connected to Wild-Duck Burger.
    • Ekoda is still teaching at Gekkoukan and evidently still a Jerkass.
    • Chapter 14 is named "I'll Face Myself", a reference to the song in Persona 4 that plays when the characters face their Shadow self, earning their Persona. This is the chapter where Futaba comes face to face with her Shadow and ultimately gains her Persona.
    • Yukari mentions Mikage-Cho and Sumaru City.
    • During Ken's first venture into the Metaverse, he's wearing the Ring of Darkness, Thanatos' heart item. This allows him to have an advantage that evens the odds when fighting Akechi.
    • Ken's Confidant bonuses are centered around Combination Attacks. When the Adjustment Confidant started, Ken mentions that this is what he'll teach Ren, mentioning that he's well versed in them. This is a reference to how he was a team with Koromaru in Ultimax.
    • The Phantom Thieves and the Investigation Team play The King's Game together.
    • Shinjiro and Ken are a bit... paranoid when Haru offers to cook, due to having some bad experiences with some Lethal Chefs.
    • In an early chapter, Ken mentions to Makoto that Gekkoukan took a trip to Kyoto, like the members of SEES did in Persona 3. To top off that, Ken mentions that they had good snacks, something he had remarked on in the game.
    • During the Adjustment Confidant, Ken is telling Ren about Minato and his sense of humor. He then goes on to say that Minato convinced Ken that he drank coffee with hot sauce, which can happen in an optional conversation with Ken in Persona 3.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Due to Ren being absorbed in his thoughts, he ends up having one with Ken.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ken should've been the receiving end of this when he just reawakened to Kala-Nemi, due to the power level disparity between him and Akechi, but him wearing the Ring of Darkness prevents this.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Discussed. Akihiko mentions that he and Minako discussed naming their children after their deceased siblings depending on the gender but ultimately decide against it.
  • Death by Childbirth: Haru explains to Yusuke that her mother died giving birth to her younger brother.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Ken's dad died when he was young, but Ken's not really broken up about it. He doesn't have much memories of his father.
    • As in canon, almost all the Phantom Thieves' dads are out of the picture. The only exceptions are Ren and Ann.
    • And of course, Minato Arisato, Kaito and Miyuki's father, passed away before the twins were born as a result of his Heroic Sacrifice in sealing away Nyx.
  • Dramatic Irony: Akechi's POV in Chapter 36 is filled with this, with him believing that he has the upper hand on the Phantom Thieves.
  • Duel Boss: Ken's first fight in the Metaverse ends up being with Akechi in his Black Mask form.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Haru makes an early appearance during Kaneshiro's arc, when she crosses paths with Ken.
  • Everyone Can See It: Makoto was not... the best at hiding her feelings for Ken. It got to the point where the Investigation Team could see it very clearly. Note that it was the first time they had seen Ken and Makoto interact.
  • First Kiss:
    • Ren and Ann share their first kiss after confessing to each other.
    • Ken and Makoto also shared their first kiss after their own confession too.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Ken dreams of the night his mother died as well as the day Shinjiro almost dies on October 4th in the story. Apparently, Ken has had this exact same nightmare every year on October 4th ever since his mother gave her life for him, with the addition of Shinjiro Taking the Bullet for Ken having become a part of it after Takaya's failed attempt to murder Ken, who had claimed to be S.E.E.S. Mission Control in order to protect Fuuka.
  • Foil:
    • Akechi and Ken share similarities with each other, and it's not just their similar appearances. They are both Persona users of the Justice arcana, as they seek justice for how they were wronged. They seek vengeance against the person responsible for the death of their mothers. However, while Ken learned to move on and grow into a better person as his mother's murderer was a sympathetic figure, Akechi is too absorbed by his anger and past suffering caused by an unsympathetic jerk. This results with Ken and Akechi developing clashing personalities and different ideas of justice.
    • Shinjiro and Sae are also this. They both received Promotion to Parent, but it was by choice on Shinjiro's part. Sae is also very proper and eloquent, whereas Shinjiro is blunt and sometimes crass. When they meet, they almost immediately start clashing. To emphasize this, the story mentions that they're the same age.
  • Foreshadowing: The Reveal that Ken and Akechi are cousins. Firstly, Ken is often mentioned to resemble Akechi. In Ken's Confidant with Ren, it is revealed early on that his deceased mother has an estranged twin sister, after some kind of scandal happened. During the Sae arc, Akechi tells Ken that his mother fell prey to Shido, because she desired love and happiness like how her twin sister found with her high school boyfriend.
  • Forgotten First Meeting:
    • Ken and Makoto are revealed to have one in Chapter 36. Ken's maternal grandparents died in a car crash when he was 5, so Ken's mother brought him to Tokyo for the funeral. On the day of their arrival, Ken had wanted to go to the park and ended up wandering away from his mother. This led to him meeting Makoto and her father.
    • Ken and Akechi are revealed to have one in Chapter 37. Akechi's mother brought her son with her to meet her sister, Ken's mother, after their parents died in an attempt to reconcile with her sister. Akechi and Ken bond over their love of Featherman. However, the visit is cut short when their respective mothers get into an argument concerning their parents.
  • Framing Device: Averted. Instead of the entire story being presented as Joker's recalling event to Sae, the story unfolds naturally. There's even a scene where the Phantom Thieves figure out the plan against Akechi. However, there is still a flash-forward scene to Ren informing Sae of the moment when Makoto and Ken revealed their relationship to the other Phantom Thieves. The revised prologue also has a scene of Sae asking Ren about his connection to Ken Amada.
  • Gambit Roulette: As in canon, the Phantom Thieves concoct a bold and daring plan for Ren/Joker to allow himself to be captured by the police, lure Akechi into the Metaverse and have him assassinate the cognitive body double of Ren that would be created by Sae's cognition. However, once they catch wind of the Phantom Thieves' insanely risky gambit, and that the make-or-break aspect of it involves convincing Sae Niijima, whom Shinji doesn't believe can be trusted, to show Akechi Ren's phone, the Shadow Operatives enlist the aid of Chie Satonaka, Akihiko Sanada, and Rise Kujikawa in order to at least reduce the roulette aspect and tip the odds in their favor.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • One of Ken's Confidant bonuses is that he's able to narrow down a Shadow's weakness. His suggestions usually boil down to the correct weakness and the weakness the Shadow had as a Persona in Persona 3.
    • Ren's Confidant rank ups are also acknowledged throughout the story.
  • Generation Xerox: Ken and Akechi are revealed to be this to their mothers. While Akechi's mother, Tsukiko, was a loving mother to her son, she also was bitter about her life's circumstances. Ken's mother, Hikari, had lost someone she loved, her former husband, but was able to move on with her life and try to live it to the fullest. On top of that, Ken and Akechi are said to look very much like their mothers.
  • Get Rich Quick Scheme: But with a catch. While the Phantom Thieves are able to earn a lot of money from the Shadows in the Metaverse, they also spend a lot of that money on buying new weapons and supplies for their trip to that same Metaverse.
  • Girls Have Cooties:
    • A flashback shows a young Akechi thinking this, wondering why his cousin, Ken, would want to play in the park with Makoto.
      A girl? Wasn't this cousin of his aware of the dangers?
    • In the same chapter, Ken and Akechi agree that the parts of Featherman where Pink Argus and Red Hawk kiss are gross. Also, Ken acts disgusted at the thought of kissing Makoto.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: After Ann attempts very, very badly, to get Ren and Makoto to confess that they are dating to the rest of the Phantom Thieves, Ryuji snaps and explains what was really going on between them.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Makoto and Ken visit the former's parents' grave, right before confronting Sae's Shadow.
  • Happily Adopted: There's a mention that Yosuke's parents adopted Teddie, making him and Yosuke brothers.
  • Have We Met?: Akechi asks this to Ken when they meet after the latter's first trip to the Metaverse and subsequent encounter to the former as Black Mask. Ken wonders why Akechi would ask a question like that. While Akechi was referring to their first meeting in the Metaverse, it is later revealed that Ken and Akechi met as children.
  • Henpecked Husband:
    • Kaito and Miyuki observe that all of the SEES males are this, much to Akihiko's chagrin.
    • Ren seems to be this to a degree with Ann. After Ann berates him for being reckless in Okumura's Palace, he sheepishly apologizes.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Yu is dating Rise, who has auburn hair. Additionally, Akihiko Sanada is married to Minako and is currently expecting a child.
  • High-School Sweethearts:
    • Most of the established ships are this. The one exception is Kanji and Naoto, as Rise mentions that they started dating a year prior to the story's beginning.
    • Ken's parents are revealed to have a similar romance, but unlike with the romantic relationships that formed amongst the ranks of SEES and the Investigation Team, they did not last.
    • A related oneshot also shows Ren and Ann getting to that point.
  • Hot Springs Episode: When the Phantom Thieves are in Inaba, Yukiko invites the girls to soak in the hot springs. It leads to some girl talk. Ryuji actually wants to go peep but Ken puts a firm stop to it.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Shinjiro/Fuuka, Yu/Rise, and Kanji/Naoto all have this dynamic.
  • Interrupted Intimacy:
    • Ken walks in on Ren and Ann having a make out session at one point. It's also implied that it's a recurring problem with Shinjiro and Fuuka.
    • And then it comes full circle when Shinji walks in on Ken and Makoto's first kiss. Shinji then proceeds to forbid Ken from making fun of him and Fuuka about being intimate.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • As in canon, Shinjiro has "Shinji" and Akihiko has "Aki". Shinjiro is only called that by Akihiko, Minako, and Fuuka, whereas Akihiko is only called that by Shinjiro and Minako.
    • Akihiko also calls Minako "Mina".
  • It's Personal:
    • There's an added tweak where Kaneshiro is responsible for Detective Niijima's death.
    • Ken and Ann both take Futaba being suicidal very personally, as Ken used to be suicidal when he was younger and Ann had to watch her best friend attempt suicide just a few months ago.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Ken mentions that when he met Mrs. Sakamoto, he was really caught off guard with how she had quite a thick Kansai accent.
  • Malaproper: This happens in Chapter 31, where Ryuji botches up scapegoat, using "scapecoat" instead.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Yukari is shown to be protective of her children, Kaito and Miyuki, to the point that she taught her children to not trust strangers at all, and is quite livid when she finds out that a couple of Green Eyed Monsters had insulted her children by calling them bastards, and she isn't too happy with Akechi making things worse by explaining what a bastard was.
    • Mitsuru is pretty protective of her friends, especially Ken, who is the youngest of their group. This is best shown when she ordered Ken to come back to Tatsumi Port Island after the Phantom Thieves were framed for Okumura's death by Shido, making them the target of the police.
    • Ken's mother Hikari is shown to be this, protecting Ken at the cost of her life.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Ken's mom died on October 4th, 2007.
    • As in canon, everyone's mothers is dead, save for Ren, Ann, and Ryuji's.
  • Momma's Boy: Kaito adores Yukari. He's distrustful of the Phantom Thieves until it's shown that Futaba is a big fan. Miyuki is also quite fond of her mother as well.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: A female example. During the interrogation segment, when Sae found out from Ren that Makoto was dating Ken, Sae became pretty protective of Makoto and started to aggressively demand information about Makoto's relationship with Ken.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • The Persona 3 protagonists are Minato and Minako Arisato (though Minako being married to Akihiko is now Minako Sanada), the Persona 4 protagonist is Yu Narukami, and the Persona 5 protagonist is Ren Amamiya.
    • Ken's mother was never named in the game but Ken's rank 8 reveals that her name is Hikari.
    • Akechi's mother's name is Tsukiko.
    • Makoto's parents are named in Chapter 38, Hideo and Masami Niijima.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Ken is the Noble Male to Ren's Roguish Male. While both have their respective love interest in Makoto and Ann respectively, Ken is chivalrous, driven by justice while Ren is a Lovable Rogue, devilish and mischievous.
  • Not So Different: Rise points out to the Phantom Thieves that the Investigation Team didn't exactly straddle the line of the law.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Ken and Makoto had a lot of questions back in Hawaii when they found Ren and Ann having an intimate moment alone in Ren's assigned room, early in the morning. It is important to know that Ren and Ann were supposed to be sleeping in separate rooms, and Ken and Makoto went to check on the other students as early as possible.
  • Official Couple: A bunch of them.
    • For the SEES group, we got Minato and Yukari, Minako and Akihiko, Junpei and Chidori, & Shinjiro and Fuuka.
    • For the Investigation Team, we got Yu and Rise, & Kanji and Naoto.
    • For the Phantom Thieves, we eventually get the official pairings of Ren and Ann, & Ken and Makoto.
  • Older and Wiser:
    • The Shadow Operatives in general give this vibe.
    • Ken is especially this, having taken on an older brother role to the Phantom Thieves.
  • Opposites Attract: This was the case for Shinjiro and Fuuka. The same can be said for Kanji and Naoto.
  • Original Character: Kaito and Miyuki are the children of Minato and Yukari who were conceived prior to the final battle against Nyx (which led to Minato's death).
  • Out-of-Character Alert: At the end The Cameo chapter where Ken and the Phantom Thieves take a trip to Yasoinaba, Yu Narukami seems to have one of these in regards to Igor, due to the proprietor of the Velvet Room giving Ren strange abilities like the Third Eye, and the fact that Marie disappeared while looking into what was going on with the Velvet Room. Of course, anyone who's played and finished the main story of Persona 5 will know that he's onto something.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • It's no surprise that Shinjiro is this to Ken, both before and after Ken was adopted by him.
    • Sojiro is also this to both Futaba and Ren.
  • Parental Issues: The Phantom Thieves have hordes of this.
  • Parting Words Regret: Tsukiko, Akechi's mother, tells her sister Hikari, Ken's mother that she hates her for supposedly not doing when their parents disowned her for her pregnancy. After leaving, she clearly regrets her words, but she feels that it's too late to make amends. She never gets a chance to as Hikari would later lose her life in an accident.
  • Protective Charm: The Ring of Darkness, as it shields Ken from darkness spells, his weakness. Also a bit of a Tragic Keepsake, as it was Minato who gave Ken the ring.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Shinjiro. He does have his overprotective moments with Ken, but he also trusts Ken more than Sojiro trusts Ren. He also points out that both Mitsuru and Ken have good points in the aftermath of Okumura's death.
    • Mitsuru is also this, exhibited especially in the aftermath of the destruction of Kaneshiro's Palace. Ken worries that Mitsuru will be angry with him for accidentally revealing himself, but she's more concerned for Ken's well-being.
  • Relationship Upgrade:
    • Ren and Ann receive one in Chapter 13, confessing to each other right before delivering the calling card to Futaba.
    • Ken and Makoto get one in Chapter 31.
  • The Resenter: Akechi. He begrudgingly acknowledges Ren's abilities, but is also deeply jealous of him.
  • Revenge: As in canon, this is Akechi's entire motivation behind his causing the mental shutdowns and acting as Shido's hitman and personal assassin.
  • Running Gag: When one of the Phantom Thieves doesn't want to admit something, they usually will say "I plead the fifth". This usually leads to either Ken or Makoto irritably reminding them that's an American law, not a Japanese one.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Ren and Ann have this dynamic.
  • Secret Relationship:
    • Yu and Rise are mentioned to have been in one for years, due to Rise's job as an idol. However, since Rise has moved on from being an idol, she and Yu have announced their relationship and now are dating publicly.
    • Ken and Makoto attempt this. It lasts a week.
  • Scars Are Forever: It was revealed during the Phantom Thieves beach outing that Ken had many scars from his time at the Dark Hour when he was still a kid. Though, most of those scars have already faded.
  • School Festival: The focus of Chapter 31, which leads to Akechi joining the team.
  • Shadow Archetype: Akechi to Ken. There are a lot of parallels between them.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Ren, Futaba, Ryuji, Minako, and Junpei are all rooting for Ken and Makoto to become a thing.
    • Ken also quickly noticed Ren's feelings for Ann and encouraged Ren to go for it. Ryuji also supports them. It's implied that Shiho ships Ren/Ann as well. And the Phantom Thieves are on board once they get together.
    • He could also be considered this for Shinjiro/Fuuka, since he gives Shinjiro his mother's old engagement ring so that Shinjiro can propose to Fuuka.
    • Amusingly so, the three seniors find out that Sae actually ships Akechi/Makoto through encountering Sae's cognition of Akechi, who is rather flirtatious towards Makoto. Both Ken and Makoto are unimpressed by this...
  • Ship Sinking:
    • While the player can romance Makoto in Persona 5, in this story, Ren and Makoto mention that they felt horribly awkward during the fake dating. Makoto specifically mentions that she cannot see Ren in a romantic light.
    • Ren also talks about how Ann had enraptured him from the day they had met, so any other girl who ends up liking Ren would have an unrequited crush.
    • In Chapter 32, it's revealed that Sae would like Akechi and Makoto to get together, based off of her cognition of him. However, Makoto is scornful of the idea, as is Ken, who promptly knocks Sae's cognitive version of Akechi out cold with a single punch to the face.
  • Ship Tease: Yusuke and Haru are ship teased a bit in this fic, due to them having their father figure being a Palace ruler. Yusuke does his best to try and help her throughout Okumura's arc. Haru is also the catalyst to Yusuke awakening his ultimate Persona.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ken's Phantom Thief outfit is clearly one to Sailor Moon.
    • A two-for-one in one particular scene where the Phantom Thieves are playing video games together. Ren mentions that he would love to jump right into Super Bash Bros very much like he, as Joker, did by being the very first DLC character revealed for Ultimate. Morgana is Leaning on the Fourth Wall right next to Ren by commenting that no one would ever see it coming, much like how no one saw the reveal of Joker as the first DLC character announced for Ultimate coming, some people initially believing the reveal trailer was an announcement for a Switch port for Persona 5.
    • Ace Attorney and Fire Emblem are both mentioned as games here.
    • Ann is shown to be a fan of "Bubbly Hills", which is most likely a parody to the "Beverly Hills" show.
    • Ren also wants to teach Makoto how to play "Mario Kart".
    • It is suggested Kaito and Miyuki are fans of Pokemon since they would like to visit the Pokemon Center store.
  • Single Mom Stripper: Chapter 37 reveals that Akechi's mother, Tsukiko, turned to this in order to support herself and Akechi.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The two main ships. Ann and Makoto fall for their love interests due to their kindness.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Shinjiro is definitely blunt when he is talking. Even the twins Kaito and Miyuki picked up his swearing. Ryuji still has a pretty bad pottymouth, but less than Shinjiro.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Shinjiro and Sae have shades of this. They don't hesitate to trade barbs with each other and generally have a rather antagonistic relationship with each other. Shinjiro doesn't hold back any punches.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Yukari became pregnant some time before the Fall, giving birth to her and Minato's twin children. Yukari herself admits that, as the twins look so much like Minato, with Miyuki having her father's eyes, that it sometimes hurt her to look at them.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Some of the Persona 3 cast were rescued by the fanfiction.
    • Because this fanfiction had both Minato and Minako become part of the story as siblings, Minako was able to live past the Dark Hour arc and ultimately marry Akhiko Sanada after her brother Minato sacrificed himself to prevent Death from destroying the world.
    • Shinjiro was rescued as well thanks to Minako's involvement in the story.
    • Even Chidori survived in this fanfiction too.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Sae is mentioned to be six feet tall in her heels.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • As in canon, Akechi resembles his mother. Ken is also mentioned to look very much like his mother. This turns out to be important, as it is revealed late in the story that their mothers were twin sisters.
    • Kaito and Miyuki also have some resemblance in hair color to their father, Minato. Miyuki also happened to have inherited her father's eyes, while Kaito inherited Yukari's.
  • Supreme Chef: Shinjiro, obviously. He also taught Ken how to cook. Ken's mentioned to be a good cook, but not at Shinjiro's level.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: So much that it is even lampshaded in the story. Some of it even plays an important role in the story.
    • Ren shares similarities as a Wild Card user like Minato, Minako, and Yu. This led Ren to develop an inferiority-complex when he keeps constantly comparing himself with the other Wild Card users, especially with Minato (since he was willing to go as far as to sacrifice his life for his friends). It gets worse when he and the other Phantom Thieves fell for Shido's trap with Mr. Okumura's death and being tracked down by the police. Fortunately, Ann, Morgana, and even his immediate predecessor as both a guest of the Velvet Room and as a Wild Card, Yu Narukami, were able to help Ren recover from this and at least help him start to recover from his inferiority complex.
    • Ann and Ryuji's relationship reminds Ken about the relationship between Yukari and Junpei, down to how both groups love to argue with each other.
    • Futaba shares similarities with Fuuka as both of them are Persona users who specialize as navigators and both of them know a lot about computers. This allowed them to get along with each other very well.
    • Makoto is similar to Mitsuru as they are both Student Council Presidents who take their duties seriously, yet suffer from pressure from it. In addition, both of them had forced themselves to turn a blind eye from bad situations after being pressured by more powerful individuals, which led them to blame themselves when that situation gets worse because they didn't do anything about it. This similarity allows Makoto to be able to convince Mitsuru to not force Ken to go back to Tatsumi Port Island and not to run away from the escalating situation with Shido, as they both understand that it would only make the situation worse. Additionally, Makoto is stated to have felt some sort of "draw" towards Fuuka, most likely because their Tarot Motifs are both that of the High Priestess arcana.
    • Haru is an heiress to a large company that suffers from the sins of its previous leader, just like Mitsuru. In addition, both of them know what it is like to lose their father, whom they deeply love, and began withdrawing themselves from others as a result of that pain of losing their fathers. This relation allows Mitsuru to be able to talk Haru into escaping from her depression and open herself up again to her friends. Also, they both happen to be the Empress Social Link/Confidant for the Wild Cards of their respective generations, so that probably helped too.
    • While their personalities are two very different degrees of rough around the edges, both Shinjiro and Sojiro have the Hierophant Arcana as their Tarot Motif, both of them are Papa Wolves for their respective charges, and both of them are Supreme Chefs to some degree or another.
  • Squee!: Futaba is over-ecstatic when she meets Yukari, the actress who plays the Pink Argus in "Neo Featherman: Victory".
  • Tagline: Both versions of the fanfic have a tagline of the definition of ace in the hole.
    • "A hidden advantage or resource kept in reserve until needed."
  • Take Me Instead: Ken surrenders himself to Shido's men in exchange for Futaba's life. It turns out that that was Shido's plan all along.
  • Tarot Motifs: Ken represents the upright Justice arcana, which represents the truth, justice, fairness, and the law. In contrast, Akechi is the reversed Justice, representing unfairness, lack of accountability, and dishonesty.
    • In a bit of a literal example, all three male Wild Cards (Minato Arisato, Yu Narukami, and Ren Amamiya) have fallen in love with and dated their Lovers Arcana Social Links/Confidants.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Hikari and Tsukiko Himura, the mothers of Ken and Akechi respectively. Hikari means "light", which is associated with the sun. Tsukiko means "moon child".
    • Minato and Minako are also this.
    • Kaito and Miyuki avert this, however.
  • There Is Another: The news that there are other Persona-users out there takes the Phantom Thieves, or at the very least, Ryuji, by surprise.
    • Later on, the news that there are other Wild Cards out there is something that takes at least Ren and Morgana by surprise, and also causes Ren to start developing an inferiority complex.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Played with. Ken and Makoto end up sharing a room during the Hawaii school trip but it's furnished with two beds. But after Makoto has a nightmare, she asks Ken to stay with and sleep in the same bed as her.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ken mentions that more of the Shadow Operatives are capable of summoning their Personas in the real world, without using an Evoker.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 37. It turns out that both Ken and Akechi are biological cousins, their mothers being twin sisters.
    • Chapter 38. Ken gets captured by Shido's men after the Casino Heist, who intend to use him as a hostage against Mitsuru.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Phantom Thieves were really shocked when they found out that Ken allowed himself to be adopted and raised by his mother's murderer, even if the murder was by accident. Some of them were even horrified or disgusted by it before they finally calmed down.
    • Ken also gets this reaction when Mitsuru demands that Ken go back to Port Island in a misguided attempt to protect him.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Ken and Makoto. They finally do, at the beginning of the Sae arc.
  • You Must Be Cold: Ken lends Makoto his school blazer at one point. Makoto already had realized her feelings for Ken by then, so the gesture flusters her.

The "Persona Q2: Ace Edition" Fan Fic contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Minako's Persona is called Eurydice instead of Orpheus.
  • Alternate Universe: Besides this What If? universe with Ken joining the Phantom Thieves, we also got a universe where a teenage Minako comes from a world where her brother, Minato, died during the Shadow incident when they were kids.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Akechi is very skeptical about jumping in and out of the movie screen. However, since the Phantom Thieves actually visited the TV world when they visited Inaba, this comes as no surprise to them.
  • Ascended Extra: Miyuki and Kaito are introduced in just a few scenes in the main fic. Here, they've been present since the second chapter, and even become Guest Star Party Members from Chapter 6 onwards.
  • Badass Adorable: If Chapter 5 is anything to go by, Kaito and Miyuki Arisato seem to be well on their way to this, having knocked Kamoshidaman flat on his ass with their combined power, indicating that the potential to access the power of Persona runs in the family, and can be passed down through a Heroic Linage.
  • Badass in Distress: As in canon, Haru is kidnapped by Kamoshidaman. But instead of Makoto being taken, Ken is kidnapped.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Not in the physical sense, but Kaito and Miyuki are a... handful.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Minako has this reaction when Kaito lets slip that one of the captured Phantom Thieves, Ace, is, in fact, a future version of Ken Amada.
  • The Bus Came Back: Given the time-traveling-multiverse-esque nature of the movie theatre setting that Persona Q2: The Ace Edition is set in, it should really come as no surprise that the man, the myth, the legend, and The Ace of the Wild Cards, Minato Arisato returns, thus allowing Kaito and Miyuki to finally get to meet their Disappeared Dad for the first and indeed the last time, Minako to finally get to see her long-dead twin brother alive, well, and all grown up, as well as giving the Phantom Thieves the chance to meet him face to face, as well as Phantom Thief! Ken Amada, who knows full well that he's been given something that his senpai, Yukari in particular, would kill for the chance to get.
  • Brick Joke: In the first fanfiction, Ken's Phantom Thief attire reminded Ryuji and Ann of Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, much to Ken's embarrassment. Unfortunately, this topic got brought up again in the spin-off fanfiction, when Kaito and Miyuki proceed to point it out too.
    • In the first fanfiction, Ken once told Ren on how Minato claimed he could drink coffee mixed with hot sauce. Ren was horrified by the idea of coffee being tainted by hot sauce. In the spin-off, Ken punished Ren for bringing the twins Kaito and Miyuki to danger twice by warning Ren about possibly finding hot sauce in his coffee in the near future, much to Ren's horror.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Not long after attaining some form of Persona-esque power and helping the Phantom Thieves defeat Kamoshidaman, Kaito and Miyuki pass out from a combination of how draining being in a Shadow Nest is and a sugar crash.
  • Calling Card: As in Persona 5, the Phantom Thieves deliver one to Kamoshidaman. However, the twins hand it over to Kamoshidaman, disguising it as fanmail.
  • Cheerful Child: Kaito and Miyuki are both rather cheerful even with the situation they're in. They get along swimmingly with the Phantom Thieves, even though sometimes the Phantom Thieves aren't quite sure how to deal with them.
  • Children Are Innocent: Kaito and Miyuki are shown to have little knowledge on what an 'execution' is, other than the fact that Akihiko is terrified of being executed by Mitsuru.
    • Kaito also naively asks Makoto if she and Ken have been doing "mommy and daddy things", much to her mortification.
    • The twins are also rather confused when Minako, Futaba, and Ren joke about Ken being a ladykiller.
    • The twins also show some confusion to Junpei mentioning that Ken and Makoto's relationship is nothing short of a miracle, as Ken has "never looked twice at another girl," with Kaito mentioning that Ken has looked at the female members of S.E.E.S./the Shadow Operatives plenty of times before.
  • Death by Adaptation: Because of the Alternate Universe scenario, we got a universe where Minato died while both him and Minako were still kids during the Shadow incident.
  • Defiant Captive: Haru and Ken during the Kamoshidaman arc.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did the Arisato twins just use Jack Brothers to knock down Kamoshidaman after he went One-Winged Rabbit?
  • Discretion Shot: Kamoshidaman's 'death' was shown as his simply disappearing into nothingness. It is basically the censorship version of a villain's death in a kid's show.
  • Dramatic Irony: There's loads here, with the presence of Minako.
    • One instance has Kaito and Miyuki asking Makoto if she and Ken have been up to some naughty things. The embarrassed Makoto denies this, and Miyuki comments that it's too bad because they wanted another baby to play with. Minako is left wondering if Junpei already has a child, unbeknownst to her that the Minako in that timeline is pregnant.
    • Ken tries to reassure Minako that SEES is fine, and starts to say that they have Minato. But Minako cuts him off, mentioning Mitsuru instead, deeply confusing Ken.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Kaito casually asks Ryuji why he won't drop f-bombs, which causes the Phantom Thieves to freak out. Especially when Yusuke chides Miyuki not to, as it's not ladylike. This prompts Kaito to ask if it's okay for him to do it as he's not a girl.
  • Future Me Scares Me: invokedWord of God has confirmed that Young Ken Amada from Persona 3, when he makes his appearance, will be deeply unsettled by his future self bickering and bantering with the Phantom Thieves so freely and openly, due to currently withholding the truth about his mother's death from S.E.E.S. as well as keeping his current team at arm's length.
  • He's All Grown Up: Minako gets this reaction when she gets a good look at Ken.
  • I Hate Past Me: Although in this case, it's more along the lines of "Past Me Embarrasses Me," according to Word of God, who sums up Phantom Thief!Ken's feelings towards his younger self as his baby pictures coming to life, something that Ren and Futaba will take full advantage of in order to tease Ken.
  • It's All My Fault: Makoto blames herself for Ken's capture by Kamoshidaman because the latter protected her from being attacked by an FOE.
  • It's Personal: After Kaito Arisato lets slip that Ace is actually a future version of Ken Amada, Minako's motivation to help rescue the captured Phantom Thieves quickly switches to this.
  • It Runs in the Family: Chapter 5 reveals that Kaito and Miyuki have some kind of Persona.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Akechi falls victim to this at the hands of none other than Kaito and Miyuki Arisato. The crowning example is when the twins get into an argument about Akechi's mask resembling either a woodpecker or a tengu more than a crow. The Phantom Thieves, knowing full well that Akechi is the Sixth Ranger Traitor of their group, find themselves struggling to contain their laughter, while Akechi helplessly flounders, at a loss for words against the bluntness of the twins.
  • Killer Rabbit: What Kamoshidaman becomes when he goes One-Winged Angel. Complete with carrot bazookas.
  • Large Ham: This is Ren all over during the second battle with Kamoshidaman. Ken even silently snarks that this is overdramatic, even for him.
    Kamoshidaman: So… you've come to be punished! No matter, I will accept this gift-
    Ren: Oh no, no. *smirks* You see, Kamoshidaman… we're here for one thing… We will accept nothing less. *points at Kamoshidaman* Your defeat! Your complete and utter defeat!
  • Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness: Since this story is set in an Alternate Universe where an older version of Ken Amada is a member of the Phantom Thieves and has vastly matured from his Persona 3 counterpart, something that Minako Arisato lampshaded before her and Ken talked in Chapter 6, and not only made his peace with his past but is under the care of Shinjiro, the Phantom Thieves crossing paths with S.E.E.S. and by extension, the Persona 3 version of Ken, could easily be described as this.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Ann berates Ryuji for swearing in the presence of Kaito and Miyuki.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Ken's narration implies that Ann and Ren were in a suggestive position when they got dragged into the labyrinth.
  • Oh, Crap!: Minako has a small one upon realizing who the mother of the twins is.
  • Papa Wolf: Ken gets this reaction when one of Kamoshidaman's men grabs the twins. He gets angry enough to be able to summon Kala-Nemi without pulling off his mask.
  • Shipper on Deck: The twins quickly latch onto Makoto and label her as their aunt. They also expect Ken and Makoto to get married, much to Makoto's embarrassment.
  • Shout-Out: Several.
    • Once again, someone, in this case, Kaito and Miyuki Arisato, feels the need to point out that Ken's Ace outfit resembles Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon.
    • Apparently the Arisato twins, or at least Kaito, are fans of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, as after Kamoshidaman is defeated, Kaito believes that the so-called "hero" was sent to the Shadow Realm.
    • The Arisato twins also reference Jurassic Park when they compared it with the second movie labyrinth, Junessic Park.
    • The Arisato twins even reference Fire Emblem: Three Houses. When the Phantom Thieves and Minako discuss why Ken still has Kala-Nemi instead of Nemesis, the twins point out how the name Nemesis reminded them of a certain Big Bad from the game.
    • When Ryuji said "Get your head in the game, or else you'll get left behind!", Miyuki claimed that that's not how the song goes. It is likely that she is referring to the song "Get Your Head in the Game" from High School Musical.
    • When Ren introduces himself to the Investigation Team in a way similar to James Bond. This was lampshaded by Ann.
      Ren: Uh... the name's Ren. Ren Amamiya.
      Ann: Going all James Bind on us, huh?
      Ren: Then maybe we shouldn't have marathoned a couple of his movies last date night then. It was your idea.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Kaito and Miyuki seem to have this to a certain degree. Regardless, the twins clearly remain joined at the hip. Although it's probably to be expected of twin siblings.
    Ryuji: Uh, since I'm not on the main team right now… Who wants a piggyback ride?
    Kaito: ME! ME!
    Miyuki: Ladies first, Kaito!
    Kaito: What lady?
    Miyuki: Why you…!
  • Stepford Smiler: Minako is already showing shades of this. This is lampshaded by Kaito.
    Kaito: You try and talk to everyone, but you look sad sometimes. You smile at everyone but it's like... you're crying on the inside.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ken was understandably furious that Ren brought Kaito and Miyuki to a fight against Kamoshidaman twice.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Despite Children Are Innocent being in play, the twins were still perceptive enough to tell that Minako was a Stepford Smiler.

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