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Fanfic / Forewarned is Forearmed

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Art by Renu. (Full version with spoilers can be found here.)
Akira Kurusu is a strange kid. Quiet, mousey, and nearly perpetually glum. He does a good job of pretending everything is normal, but there's always the hint that there's something wrong beneath the surface. At least, that's the impression Ryotaro Dojima got when he agreed to take the 11-year-old in as part of a school exchange program. Strangely enough, the kid's parents are nowhere to be found, and all calls to the phone numbers on Akira's records lead to dead lines.

Unbeknownst to anyone else, Akira's parents have been dead for over a year. This exchange program is his last-ditch effort to find obtain some normalcy when he had none. He just had to keep his head low for another year until he could figure out what to do since no one else seems to know or care enough to tell him.

But this illusion of normal life is quickly shaken by the arrival of Dojima's nephew, Yu Narukami, the strange fog, and a string of bizarre serial murders that have swept through the otherwise sleepy town of Inaba.

Forewarned is Forearmed is a series of Persona 4 and Persona 5 fanfics written by VampireBadger. It follows Akira as a witness to the happenings of Inaba, all while he gets increasingly entangled in the supernatural and his future as the Trickster.

It can be read in order here.


The story is clearly written with the mindset that the reader knows the stories of both Persona 4 and Persona 5. All spoilers pertaining to those games will be left unmarked.

You Have Been Warned.

Forewarned is Forearmed contains examples of:

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  • The Ace: Yu is the strongest member of the Investigation Team by far thanks to his abilities as the Wild Card, his natural leadership skills, and his natural talent at basically anything.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Yusuke is dragged along when his mentor Madarame decides to take a break in the backwater town of Inaba. Akira is asked to show him around, and the two become friends.
    • Lavenza is only introduced at the end of Persona 5 as a huge reveal. Here, Ren runs into her by accident after falling into the TV World.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Akira joins the Dojima household when he otherwise would have never met them, getting to know Yu and his friends along the way as well as getting doted on nearly as much as Nanako.
    • Akira meets Yusuke well before he's expected to, and they both get involved in the Metaverse completely by accident. As a result, they become Best Friends willing to stake their lives for one another, which carries on into Forearmed, as Yusuke is the first one Akira seeks out for help during his probation, as well as the first to have his Persona evolve.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Daiki and many of the other kids at Yasogami Elementary School don't take kindly to an outsider like Akira and begin bullying him from his first day at school.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The story ends with Yu's realization about the true culprit behind Adachi's murders and Marie's predicament. He and Akira then run off to confront Izanami to end the events of the fog and the Midnight Channel once and for all.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Although joining the Dojima household is a ploy for Akira to avoid being dumped into the Japanese foster care system, Akira is quickly takes a liking to living there and becomes extremely protective of Nanako. Similarly, Yu becomes equally protective and doting on both Akira and Nanako.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents: Akira meets Yusuke well before they originally do in the games, as Yusuke is staying with Madarame at the Amagi Inn. They soon find common ground over their background as orphans.
  • Call-Forward: There are numerous nods to Akira's future as the leader of the Phantom Thieves.
    • Igor and Lavenza continually refer to him as "Trickster", a title they only give him after they both return following Akira's confrontation with the Big Bad in the Velvet Room.
    • Akira developing Sticky Fingers and a reputation as an enormous trouble magnet all clear nods to his future escapades stealing Treasures from Palace Rulers and the unfortunate incident that brings him to Tokyo.
    • Rather than the Investigation Team's brute forcing of the dungeons they encounter, Lavenza teaches Akira to be sneaky, as his Personas can't grow strong enough to handle all of the Shadows on his own without the Velvet Room. another skill that proves handy once he tackles Palaces as a teenager.
  • Character Development: Akira is a perpetually glum Stepford Smiler who is desperately trying to find some semblance of normalcy at the start of the story. His adventures in the Metaverse as well as his growing sense of belonging in Inaba brings more of his true personality to light: a thrill-seeking, cheeky, and kindhearted young man as well as a huge trouble magnet.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: During the P-1 Tournament, Elizabeth mentions that she came to investigate because of the unusual number of Persona users gathered in one place. Akira remembers this years later, and calls in every single Persona user he knows in hopes of piquing her interest so he can talk to her and figure out what Fake Igor is and why Lavenza has been replaced by Caroline and Justine.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Akira never lived in one place for long and has no friends, family, or trusted adult figures to rely on until he comes to Inaba. Because of this, he's terrified of the future and what will happen after his year in Inaba is up. Part of the reason why he keeps jumping back into the TV World is because of the feeling of freedom and purpose he gets from having a Persona that he can't get in reality.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Even after Akira develops his cheeky and mischievous personality, he gets embarrassed easily, especially when girls (or more specifically, Lavenza) is involved, is cheerfully enthusiastic about jumping into the TV World, and awkward when he's on the spot. This only endears him to Yu and his friends.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: Nanako is beloved by pretty much everyone, who dote on her and become extremely protective of her. The same holds true for Akira, who becomes like a younger brother to Yu. Kanji chases off Daiki when the boy attacks Akira and Yusuke, and Yu is always fretting over Akira's safety, especially after he learns that Akira is the mysterious Trickster.
  • Everybody Knew Already:
    • Akira hides his parent's deaths from Yu and Dojima out of fear of being kicked out should they learn the truth. Unbeknownst to him, Dojima had already dug into Akira's past given how it's impossible to reach Akira's parents and learned about this within a few months of taking him in. He doesn't confront Akira about this at Yu's insistence that Akira be allowed to come clean himself.
    • Similarly, Lavenza tries to keep Akira out of the Metaverse since it isn't his time to develop as the Trickster. But she finds herself drawn to the rambunctious and adventure-seeking boy, following him while trying to hide her intervention from Margaret and Igor. Though it turns into a pointless endeavor, as Igor is well aware of Lavenza's interactions with Akira and outright approves of their growing bond so long as Lavenza doesn't solve Akira's problems for him.
  • Family of Choice: Although joining the Dojima household is initially a matter of convenience for Akira, he soon grows to genuinely love Dojima and Nanako as family for taking him in on top of seeing Yu as a big brother figure. Akira doesn't even hesitate to say yes when Dojima offers to let him stay.
  • For Want of a Nail: Subverted. For the most part, Akira's presence does little to change the events of Persona 4's plot, and Lavenza tries her hardest to keep things that way out of fear of causing a Bad Future.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Akira's Purely Aesthetic Glasses from Persona 5 are recontextualized as a pair of Teddie's glasses for seeing through the fog as it leaks from the TV World into Inaba. He continues to wear them even after the fact even though he doesn't need them, to the point that he doesn't realize that Shujin is being shrouded in fog until Haru and Makoto point it out to him.
  • Happily Adopted: While Akira's strange predicament prevents Dojima from signing adoption papers, it's blatantly clear that they've come to consider each other family. Akira causally refers to Nanako as his sister, and Dojima cares for him much like a son.
  • Helping Would Be Killstealing: After saving Akira from his own Shadow, Lavenza pointedly refuses to intervene in any more of his fights, saying that these are challenges that he must overcome on his own. That said, she watches over him and ensures he doesn't get too in over his head while giving him advice.
  • I Got Bigger: Akira starts hitting his growth spurt about halfway into his stay in Inaba. It's far more of a nuisance than anything, as gaining several inches over the course of a few weeks means that he quickly outgrows all of his clothes. The lack of money from his parents to replace them raises additional red flags with Dojima, and Akira is soon too big to use the TV in his and Yu's bedroom to enter the TV World.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Discussed. Akira tells Lavenza that he loves running around in the TV World despite the danger it poses because the superpowers he gets there make him feel special and that he has a purpose after going through life without one for so long. Compared to real life, where he's a bullied orphan desperately trying not to get kicked out of his new home, risking his life in the Metaverse is a thrilling escape.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Lavenza continually refers to Akira as "Trickster", alluding to his future role as a guest of the Velvet Room and the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Heart. He's confused by this at first, but soon grows to like the nickname and embraces it. After coming clean to Yu, he also starts calling Akira by his title on occasion.
    • Akira is also mildly miffed that he doesn't get a weird title like Yu's "Sister Complex Kingpin of Steel" during the P-1 Tournament.
  • Kid Hero: Downplayed. Akira doesn't do much to influence the events of Persona 4's plot directly (in large part due to Lavenza's insistence), though he does get involved in the Metaverse much earlier and learns how to take down Shadows on his own. But his Personas aren't particularly strong, especially when compared to Yu's, due to lacking access to the Velvet Room and a sufficient number of bonds to power them up. But his presence ends up tipping off both Nanako and Dojima to the nature of Shadows, Personas, and the Metaverse, getting them all much more involved in the finale. Akira is also the only Persona user around to defend Inaba from the Shadows appearing there while the Investigation Team is off to defeat Adachi. He also joins Yu when he goes off to defeat Izanami, though the story ends before we see the fight.
  • Knife Nut: Akira purchases a pair of cheap daggers from Daidara Ironworks because they're the only things he's able to afford from the meager amount of cash he's scrounged up from beating up Shadows in the TV World. They soon become his preferred weapons and he continues to use them well into his teenage years.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The existence of Lavenza is a closely-guarded secret in Persona 5, as her existence reveals the nature of the true Big Bad of the game. She appears relatively early in this story to rescue Akira after he falls into the TV World by accident, and later becomes his first friend.
  • Lethal Chef: The female members of the Investigation Team tend to get too... creative and generally fail to follow recipes. As a result, their food is inedible at best and poisonous at worst. Akira shudders when he remembers a time he swiped some Mystery Food X for a quick snack.
  • Loophole Abuse: Igor allows Lavenza to advise and watch over Akira in his adventures even though he's not yet a guest in the Velvet Room, with the condition that she not intervene in any of his battles, a command she follows to the letter. But that doesn't stop her from indirectly assisting him when he'd otherwise never make it. She's able to find Akira and Nanako after Namatame traps them both in the Midnight Channel and offers to guard her while Akira jumps through a portal in search of help to bring Nanako back to safety.
  • Luminescent Blush: Akira is prone to blushing furiously when he's embarrassed or ashamed, making it blatantly clear when he's in distress.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Akira's "Trickster" moniker does do more harm than good, as Lavenza's constant attempts to hide him from the Investigation Team to ensure the story proceeds as usual makes Yu suspicious of the nebulous and conniving-sounding "Trickster". Even though said Trickster hadn't done anything to him or anyone he knows, the fact that there's another rogue Persona user with such an ominous name constantly puts Yu on edge, and Akira learning about this makes him reluctant to spill the beans to him.
  • Naughty Is Good: In contrast to Yu who is maturing into a responsible young man, Akira's Character Development revolves around him moving past the trauma of his parents' deaths and his fear of the future to become The Trickster he's destined to be. This involves sneaking out, swiping things that could prove useful, and lying about his whereabouts to prevent his new family and friends from worrying about him, though his actions also bring himself and the family he's trying to protect a lot of grief.
  • Neutral No Longer: Lavenza worries that spending time with Akira before he's supposed to become the Trickster will interfere with her duties as a Velvet Room Attendant. It becomes increasingly clear over time that she cherishes Akira as a friend, and perhaps even more than that, coming to his aid however she can and answering as many of his requests as possible. By the events of the Arena story, she admits that she can understand why Elizabeth left the Velvet Room.
  • Not a Morning Person: Akira doesn't enjoy getting up early in the morning and Yu has to shake him out of bed so he's not late for school. Yukiko notes that Yu seems to be the only one who seems to like mornings at all.
  • Now You Tell Me: At the start of the story, Dojima isn't very happy that his sister made all her plans to send her son to Inaba for the year, including enrolling him in Yasoinaba and booking his train ticket... and only remembered to ask her brother for permission 3 days before Yu was to show up.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The story tends to gloss over fights entirely, summarizing them in a few paragraphs or only showing the aftermath.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • In the Persona 4: Arena story, Akira manages to defeat Mitsuru by surprising her with Belphegor, who knocks her on the head with his toilet. Both Akira and Mitsuru find this horribly embarrassing, Akira for summoning a Persona sitting on a toilet and Mitsuru for being beaten by said toilet. It's brought up in jest years later, though Mitsuru tries to brush it aside rather than linger on it.
    • Akira is on tape dancing horribly as part of an idol concert. He looks back on this fondly, though he admits that despite the fun he had, it's still rather embarrassing.
  • Parents as People: Dojima loves his daughter Nanako, but his work as a police officer and the stress of the mystery of the serial killings prevents him from always being there for her, leaving Akira and Yu to babysit her in her place.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • A driving source of conflict in the story is how reluctant the characters are to reveal the truth. Akira's refusal to reveal his parents' deaths causes Yu and Dojima worry about how they can't get in contact with them. Lavenza's refusal to let Akira get involved with the Investigation Team out of fear of causing a Bad Future she can't speak about drives a wedge between Akira and Yu. Yu's inability to come clean about the TV World's existence to Akira causes Yu to become worried about this strange "Trickster" while Akira believes that Yu will hate him if he does tell the truth.
    • Teddie's own extremely vague descriptions of Akira in the TV World contribute to the ominous air the Trickster gives off that puts Yu on edge, especially when the Trickster's name seems to imply that he's plotting something.
  • Protagonist Power-Up Privileges: Although they're both Wild Cards, Akira is barred from using the Velvet Room's facilities as he's not yet a guest. This, along with the great number of bonds Yu has cultivated around Inaba, is why Yu's Personas are so much more powerful than Akira's.
  • Reformed Bully: Daiki bullies Akira from day one in Inaba, giving him a black eye while he and his cohorts hurl insults at Akira in hopes of making him leave. But after Akira rescues Daiki from the TV World, he manages to convince Daiki's Shadow to get him to reflect and change. After this, Daiki apologizes for how he treated Akira and they soon become friends making small-chat over lunch.
  • Small Town Boredom: Yu's mother apparently has this opinion about Inaba; according to Dojima, she ran off to Tokyo the moment she turned 18 and never looked back. In later stories, she is overheard talking/arguing with Yu, unable to fathom why her son wants to go back to live in Inaba after he graduates from university.
  • Sticky Fingers:
    • Akira has a habit of swiping things he shouldn't if it could help him in the future. It first starts with some of the vegetables from Nanako's garden as healing items. Then he swipes a pair of the glasses Teddie makes just in case. He even steals Persona cards from Igor's desk in hopes of using those Personas, though it turns out that only Yu can summon them and Akira has to convince those Personas to become one of his masks (it's also implied that Igor had intended for Akira to steal them). This habit of his is another Call-Forward to his future as a Phantom Thief.
    • In the Persona Q story, Akira recalls a time when this backfired on him, as he swipes Yu's leftover food while looking for a quick snack. As it turns out, that "food" was the girls' Mystery Food X, and the memory still sends shivers down Akira's spine even as a teenager.
  • Sucks at Dancing: In the story's adaptation of Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Akira quickly realizes that he's terrible at dancing and initially refuses to go on stage with everyone else out of fear of embarrassment. But he relents with some coaxing from Yu and Yusuke, finding it surprisingly fun despite knowing that he's really, really bad. The event still becomes something of a Once Done, Never Forgotten thing for him, and he brings it up to Ann and Ryuji later when discussing Kamoshida's rumors about him.
  • Terrible Artist: Akira struggles to draw anything more complex than a stick figure, to the point that 6-year-old Nanako is a far better artist than him. He's hurt when Nanako can't decipher his drawings and quickly admires Yusuke's budding artistic talent.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Lavenza is concerned when Akira falls into the TV World, as he was not meant to know about the Metaverse yet in the "proper" course of events. Despite her attempts to make him stay in the real world, he keeps coming back both to revel in the powers of his Persona and to see her. She worries that Akira's increasing involvement would alter the story too much, so she insists he keep out of sight and not tell Yu anything.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Morgana certainly thinks this way about Shadow, the Dojima's new cat, who unfortunately is in heat when the Thieves pay a summer visit to Inaba. Morgana spends half the time hiding away from her.
  • The Ace: Much like how Yu was the leader and strongest of the Investigation Team, Akira's several year headstart in the Metaverse and abilities as the Wild Card make him by far the strongest and most experienced member of the Phantom Thieves.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Lavenza is the true Velvet Room attendant to the protagonist late game. Not including her role in the previous story, she is re-fused from Caroline and Justine after Okumura's Palace, becomes a new ally to the Phantom Thieves as a teenager and gains her persona Psyche later on.
    • Futaba is also worth mentioning here, shes the first Phantom Thief to join beside Yusuke and is part of the team, even without her Persona, exploring her own Palace from the start, before even Yusuke's official reintroduction.
    • All the Phantom Thieves, sans Makoto and the character introduced in Royal are this to various degrees, with the canon group being completed before the summer vacation, with only Makoto truly joining the group later than what happens in canon.
  • Adaptational Badass: Nanako confronts her Shadow in Mementos, accusing her of being nothing more than a helpless Damsel in Distress, and while she is unable to accept it right away, she's able to realize that what it's saying the truth after Yu and Akira subdue it. As a result, it becomes her Persona, Murasaki Shikibu.
  • Adapted Out: Hikari makes no appearance in the Persona Q2 chapter, being replaced by Emi, a completely amnesiac girl and Akira's mother.
  • Age-Gap Romance: It's heavily implied that Akira has started to feel more than feelings of friendship for Lavenza, even if he can't quite parse out his relationship with her yet. But while he's grown up, her appearance has remained the same as ever. Though in reality, Lavenza is an ageless aspect of the Collective Unconscious, so it's unclear how old she is exactly. All pretense goes out the window when the Group Date Labyrinth pairs the Akira and Lavenza of 2011 together. The Akira of 2016 sees this and realizes that he is genuinely in love with her. But then she gets a Plot-Relevant Age-Up after she's properly fused back together in 2016, having kept a piece of herself inside him for safekeeping.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Ryoko Ishikawa, Inaba elementary school teacher, gets this from all sides after her police testimony basically gets Akira exiled from Inaba. Those that know Akira and don't think he'd actually assault anyone think that she got a kid falsely accused and sent away, and those that do believe her testimony (and had also read the part where Akira said her male friend was going to rape her) think that she was going to sleep with him, both behaviors unbecoming of a teacher. All the rumours, stories and scrutiny flying around the town get to her enough that she eventually develops a Palace.
  • Always Someone Better: Although Akira is The Ace of the Phantom Thieves, it's blatantly clear to everyone that Yu is a step above in every conceivable way. This is probably most blatant in their fight against Nanako's Shadow. It's powerful enough that Akira collapses in a heap on a floor afterward, while Yu treats it like a light workout.
  • Ambiguously Human: After Akira pulls his soul back together in the Sea of Souls, his eyes flash gold like a Shadow Self's or a Velvet Room Attendant's. Because of this, Elizabeth and Lavenza aren't sure if he's still fully human.
  • Attack Reflector: One ability of Murasaki Shikibu, Nanako's Persona, is to absorb enemy elemental spells that would knock down an ally, and send it back at another Shadow.
  • Bash Brothers: Yu and Akira tag-team in Mementos in order to subdue Nanako's Shadow. Futaba watches in amazement as the two of them work, neither one taking a leadership position but both of them seamlessly covering for one another.
  • Become a Real Boy: With Lavenza's help, Morgana is able to take on a human form, albeit temporarily. The original cognition of his cat form is still strong, as a result he can only hold human form for a few minutes after leaving the Metaverse. He's slowly becoming able to maintain it for longer, though.
  • Big Little Brother: The Elizabeth and Theodore of 2009 and the Margaret of 2011 are astonished to see Lavenza grown to the size of an adult, as they last saw her in her original child-like form.
  • Butt-Monkey: Akechi has become this, due to his plans constantly being ruined, on accident or otherwise, by Akira and the rest of the Phantom Thieves.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Even after realizing their feelings for each other, Akira and Lavenza dance around actually having a proper conversation over it, made more difficult by the idea that Lavenza had become more human and Akira less. They eventually work it out during a trip back to Inaba.
  • Chainsaw Good: Lavenza's melee Weapon of Choice as a Phantom Thief. Akira is intimidated by this fact.
  • Chekhov's Gun: While all of the Phantom Thieves have the usual Metaverse Nav app with the red eye, Yu has a different Nav app with a blue butterfly, provided by the remnants of Lavenza's power. When Yaldabaoth decides to end his game early after Okumura's Palace by shattering Akira's soul and damaging the Velvet Room, the red eye Nav is removed from all of the Thieves' phones, leaving them at a loss on how to get into the Metaverse until Yu shows them his different app, which can then be installed on everyone's phones through the usual means.
  • Chick Magnet: Akira recalls getting confessed to by numerous girls at Yasogami High, but he turned them all down because he's still waiting for that special someone.
  • Color Motif: In contrast to the Velvet Room's traditional blue, during her struggle to find her place beyond the Room, Lavenza finds herself wearing quite a bit of green. When she awakens her Persona, Psyche, it appears as a woman with Velvet-blue butterfly wings and a green dress, and Lavenza's thief attire is the same shade of green.
  • Corrupted Data: Ryoko Ishikawa's Palace Treasure is her signed testimony that falsely incriminated Akira, along with the name of the person who he allegedly assaulted... except since that the Palace is an underwater fishbowl, that name is ruined by water damage. Later, however, Ishikawa tells Dojima the name of the man anyway due to her change of heart.
  • Don't Split Us Up: One of Lavenza's fears after she's remerged and becomes more human is that she won't be welcomed in the Velvet Room or by her siblings any longer.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • After discovering that Akechi has knowledge of the Metaverse, the Phantom Thieves ultimately decide that he can't be Black Mask since his Metaverse outfit doesn't have one. Unfortunately for them, they're not quite right about that...
    • Right as Naoto and Akira are comparing notes and figure out that Akechi is the one who got Naoto blacklisted by all her contacts because she was looking into Akira's probation, Akechi is elsewhere, feeling content that he'd successfully removed Naoto Shirogane as an interference in the conspiracy.
    • After meeting Elizabeth and finding out Lavenza's separation into Caroline and Justine, Akira wants to find a way to re-fuse her, but Elizabeth says that there's still a tiny part missing from them, and without it, she cannot be re-fused. Due to the Laser-Guided Amnesia of Persona Q, neither know that during that event, the Lavenza of 2011 gave a tiny part of her soul to Akira for safekeeping.
    • During Q2, Futaba points out to her fellow Navis that Ken had been born three weeks before Akechi, and the conversation eventually veers to Futaba pointing out that "you'd never guess that one of them is a murderer," in reference to Akechi. Ken even flinches at the word 'murderer'.
  • The Dreaded: After seeing him hold off a Reaper with hardly a misstep, Yu becomes this to Akechi, who is determined to do all he can to keep him out of his way. As such, his mental narration goes into a panic every time he sees Yu around.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Directly confronting Fake Igor a.k.a. Yaldabaoth with the knowledge that you know he's an impostor isn't a very smart move, Akira. You just might get your soul shattered into pieces.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Despite choosing "Crow" as his Thief codename, Akechi just can't stop the rest from calling him "Flamingo", due to his red mask. The name also plays a factor in him realizing that the Thieves are on to him.
  • Enemy Mine: The Thieves are fully aware of Akechi's treachery by the summer break, but they still end up fighting alongside him during the events of Persona Q2.
  • Epic Fail: Thanks to Akira simply existing, a lot of the things Akechi does go wrong.
    • His attempts to turn Ryuji and Ann into unwitting pawns goes wrong when Akira, Yusuke, and Futaba officially join the Phantom Thieves before he can even have a "second" encounter with them.
    • Getting Naoto blacklisted from Tokyo leads the Investigation Team and Phantom Thieves to realize that he shouldn't be trusted.
    • Targeting the Thieves with Medjed gets smacked down without fanfare by Futaba, putting Akechi in a lot of hot water with the Conspiracy.
    • Thanks in part to Akira having a hearing to get his record cleared and his probation lifted, and having to miss the Hawaii trip in order to go to it, the Phantom Thieves reach Shadow Kobayakawa moments before Akechi. Time will tell how screwed Akechi is because of this.
    • Attempting to turn Kotone into a pawn during Q2 fails miserably when Akira, who knows the Shadow Operatives, realizes almost instantly that she's a member of SEES, earning her trust.
    • Trying to use Akechi to bypass the Destined Partner doors leads to humiliation for both him and Akira.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Having gotten involved in the supernatural when he was 12, Akira is more than capable of handling himself in the Metaverse and is well-acquainted with Personas and fighting in general. But he needs the nitty-gritty of this new Metaverse and cognitive psience explained to him, namely things like Palaces, Treasures, and Mementos.
  • For Want of a Nail: Compared to the previous story, Akira's Experienced Protagonist mindset changes a whole bunch of things.
    • Akira quickly picks up on Kamoshida's pervertedness from the outset and manages to convince Ann not to step into his car. As a result, Akira makes it to class on time while Ryuji and Ann enter Kamoshida's Palace first. In fact, he doesn't learn about it until long after he gets back in the game by entering Futaba's Palace.
    • Akira reaches out to Futaba after she tries to sneak into Leblanc to plant a bug to listen in on him. As a result, he and Yusuke are able to help Futaba confront her trauma and get her obtain her Persona before Ryuji and Ann are able to get much of anywhere in Kamoshida's Palace. This means that the Phantom Thieves are a much bigger party from the outset.
      • It also means that when Medjed rears its head later that year, Futaba handles it with barely a misstep.
      • Futaba awakened her Persona by accepting it and before Akira had any inkling that there was a conspiracy going on, and as a result, the knowledge that her mother was murdered via a mental shutdown doesn't come up, until Mitsuru Kirijo tells her in a conversation during the summer.
    • Due to Akira entering Kamoshida's Palace late, Akechi makes the mistake of revealing himself far too soon in his attempts to turn Ryuji and Ann into Unwitting Pawns. As a result, he's blindsided by the arrival of Akira and Morgana and scrambles to change his plans. But Akira's connection to Naoto through Yu soon has the Phantom Thieves pinning Akechi as a traitor even before the infamous pancake comment.
    • Madarame's previous experience with Akira means that he hates him for distracting Yusuke from producing more works of art to pass off as Madarame's own. Because of this, Madarame's Shadow instantly jacks up the security level at the mere sight of Akira, forcing him to sit out Madarame's Palace until the time comes to steal Madarame's heart, when the security is going to be jacked up anyways.
    • Akira picks up on the fact that the Igor he meets in the Velvet Room is fake partway through the events of Persona Q (which happens right before Okumura's Palace) and confronts him about it after Okumura's death. As a result, Yaldabaoth decides to seal off the Velvet Room and shatter Akira's soul across the Sea of Souls - and if not for Elizabeth and Jose, it would've been fatal.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Inverted. In the story's adaptation of Persona Q, Akira runs into his future self. After getting over the initial confusion, both Akiras think it's awesome and the younger Akira is eager to ask all kinds of questions about the future, only to be dismayed when Lavenza informs him that he's likely to forget all this since the older Akira doesn't remember any of this happening.
  • Have We Met?: In the Persona Q chapter, Futaba runs into the Akira from 2011. She gets a nagging feeling that she knows him, but doesn't connect the dots until he tells her his name.
  • Have We Met Yet?:
    • In the Persona Q chapter, Akira runs into Margaret and recognizes her instantly. Meanwhile, Margaret is surprised that he does, given that they hadn't spoken at that point, as well as her surprise at Akira being sixteen rather than twelve.
    • The Persona Q2 chapter has Emi wondering why Akira seems so familiar to her despite being sure that they've never met. He has the same feeling and wonders if they've met, but he can't remember anyone like her at her age. This is because they're mother and child, as Emi is from the past.
  • Heroism Won't Pay the Bills: In response to Naoto getting on his case, Akechi has the Conspiracy blacklist her from every police organization she has ever made contact with, forcing her to move out of Tokyo in the process. Unfortunately for him, she does find work with the Shadow Operatives and his act of sabotage quickly narrows all of her suspects down to him.
  • Honor Before Reason: After Okumura's death, Akira goes to confront Fake Igor and tell him off, consequences be damned. He ends up paying for it by having his soul shattered into countless tiny pieces, to the point that even Elizabeth was sure he was beyond recovery until he miraculously pulls his soul back together through the power of his bonds.
  • Ignored Epiphany: During their summer trip to Inaba, Lavenza confronts her Shadow about potentially becoming more human and not having a place in the Velvet Room or anywhere else any more, and though Akira beats it, she cannot accept it immediately. Akira offers to hold on to it as a Persona in his mind until she's ready.
  • Indy Ploy: As Yu puts it, Akira tends to fly by the seat of his pants and loves it. Compared to Yu's calm and careful leadership, or Akechi's long-term and complicated plans for his revenge, Akira is a much more chaotic and spontaneous person whose quick thinking lets him run mental circles around his enemies through gambits that work out more often than not.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Despite Akira's experience in the Metaverse, many thing still go the same way. Kamoshida and Madarame are brought to justice, Okumura is still murdered by Akechi, and Lavenza is still ripped into Caroline and Justine by Yaldabaoth.
    • Akira's best efforts also change nothing about the Persona Q chapters, which ultimately end the same way besides Akira realizing his feelings for Lavenza and him cutting himself as a Note to Self about the Fake Igor.
  • Ironic Name: Akira's full name is based on the Japanese pronunciation of "A killer kills you". So when he jumps into Kamoshida's Palace in full thief garb to help the struggling Ann and Ryuji, they immediately accuse him of being the Black Mask who attacked them earlier despite Akira being completely innocent and unaware of Black Mask's existence (and his mask being white).
  • It's All My Fault: Yu apologizes to Naoto when she's blacklisted from the police organizations she used to work with, as it's Yu's request to find Akira that ruined her career in the first place. She quickly assuages his concerns though, telling him that she should have trusted her detective instincts rather than Akechi and that this is all on her.
  • I Will Find You: Akira swears this to Lavenza after she mysteriously disappears and is replaced by Caroline and Justine. One of the first things he does after reuniting with Rise is to have her and Futaba combine their abilities as Navigators to scope out Mementos in hopes of finding Lavenza, and is given hope that they remember seeing a blue butterfly down there. He reaffirms this oath to the Lavenza of 2011 when they meet in the fake Yasogami High School during the events of the Persona Q chapter of the story.
  • I Will Wait for You: When the Akira of 2011 is asked how long he'd wait for his special someone by the Group Date Labyrinth, he replies that he'd wait forever. This, combined with Lavenza being Akira's supposed fated someone, gets the Akira of 2016 to realize his feelings for Lavenza.
  • Kid from the Future: Emi is astonished to learn that Akira is her teenaged son from the future, and the thought of having more family to hurt shocks her so badly that she has a mental breakdown and decides to bury herself in another one of Nagi's movies to return to the "comfort" if nihilism and depression so she wouldn't have to confront it.
  • Kid Hero All Grown Up: Akira grows from a cute, if gangly twelve-year-old into a Tall, Dark, and Handsome Bishōnen by the time he turns sixteen. In the Persona Q story, the Investigation Team from 2011 is quick to notice is this, especially with the "dark and mysterious" air he gives off while hiding his eyes behind his glasses. This is particularly noticeable given that the Akira from 2011 is present, prompting the girls to coo about how cute he used to be while Yu tries to shake him out of bed.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • In the Persona Q chapter, the Akira from 2011 is dismayed to learn that he'll forget ever meeting his future self when all is said and done. But things get more complicated when the Akira from 2016 recalls a distinct memory of Zen informing his younger self that Rei is dead. He does end up forgetting the whole thing by the end, but not before scratching "Igor Fake" onto his own arm. He eventually regains these lost memories after recovering his own soul from the Sea of Souls.
    • Similarly, Haru and Makoto awaken their Personas during the events of Q, but forget them when they return to their time. It does make it easier for them to reawaken them after, though.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the Persona Q story, Akira, Yu, Lavenza, and Margaret are having a laugh about the song Elizabeth wrote about Igor's nose. Lavenza then mimics Igor's high-pitched voice telling them not to sing it again. Yu and Margaret say that she's on point, but Akira doesn't, telling her that she's completely off before giving an impression of the booming voice of the Igor he knows. That's when Yu, Lavenza, and Margaret realize that something is very wrong, leaving Akira to wrack his brain about how to remind himself of this with the impending Laser-Guided Amnesia. He decides to cut "Igor Fake" into his own skin with a knife, which carres over after seeing the scar his 2011 self got while fighting Shadows in the labyrinths.
  • Misplaced Retribution: According to Nanako, Ryoko Ishikawa blames Akira for all the unwanted attention and rumours she is under after she testified against him and got him sent away from Inaba. Also has a dash of Revenge by Proxy, as she is starting to take out her frustrations on one of her new students, namely Nanako herself.
  • Mythology Gag: Akechi still comments on pancakes during their encounter at the school trip to the TV studio, however this time because Akechi and the PT already know of each other, the reaction is much different, with the PT being mostly relieved that he only caught them talking about pancakes instead of them knowing Akechi is the traitor, which they were doing shortly before that.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The woman who testifies against Akira at Shido's behest is given the name Ryoko Ishikawa, and the role of elementary school teacher in Inaba.
  • Nerves of Steel: Yu is completely unfazed by the Reaper when it ambushes him in Mementos, merely fighting it with his full arsenal of Personas until he can find an opportunity to retreat. The fact that he's completely and utterly calm about this terrifies Akechi, who quickly realizes that Yu is far more powerful than him.
  • Note to Self: During the Persona Q event, Akira realizes that there's something off with the Igor in his Velvet Room, but given the Laser-Guided Amnesia when they return to their own times, he opts to cut the words "Igor Fake" into his arm.
  • Not So Different:
    • After meeting Akechi and trying to warn him off with little success, Yu notices some odd little flinches in Akechi's demeanor and thinks that, after all, Akechi isn't that much older than Akira.
    • During their run through Ryoko Ishikawa's Palace, Akira realizes that some of the puzzles are taken straight from the Arsène Lupin books, giving him an odd commonality with the woman who got him arrested.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Akechi attempts to sabotage Naoto's investigation into the circumstances of Akira's probation by having her blacklisted by every police organization she's ever made contact with. He smugly believes that this will get her off his trail as she'll be struggling to find work. In reality, this ends up narrowing the candidates of suspicious people down to him, and she immediately warns Yu and Akira about this while finding work with the Shadow Operatives for the time being. The Dramatic Irony is that he did it to prevent her from discovering the Metaverse and Persona, completely unaware she's already aware of both, because of the events of Persona 4. His entire plan hinged on Naoto and Akira not talking and putting the facts together that way. Which, with him being the emotionally damaged young teenager he is, doesn't even cross his mind.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • While lurking in Mementos to spy on Akira and Yu, Akechi runs into the Reaper and desperately ducks for cover. To his horror, Yu is completely calm when facing the monstrously powerful Shadow and manages to fight it to a standstill on his lonesome before retreating, sending Akechi into a severe panic over how strong this stranger from nowheresville is.
    • Futaba has this reaction and frantically texts Akira when she sees that Nanako traveled all the way from Inaba to Tokyo to find him.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • After being mistaken for a murderous "Black Mask" by Ryuji, Akira texts Yu and asks him how he was eventually convinced that Akira wasn't a mysterious "Trickster".
      Yu, over text: Uh oh
    • During Q2, specifically Singing in the Flood Plains, the Phantom Thieves and Investigation Team find a door. The same door from Q's Group Date Cafe. Akira is not amused.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. During the events of the Persona Q story, there's a lot of fumbling over how to refer to both Akiras, the one from 2011 and the other one from 2016.
  • Out-of-Body Experience: Akira's soul is separated from his own body after he goes to confront Yaldabaoth over Okumura's death and what he did to Lavenza. The God of Control's attack tears Akira's soul to pieces, leaving his real body in a coma. However, he manages to pull himself back together with Arsene's encouragement, and Elizabeth brings him to the relative safety of Mementos.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Although Akira has never spoken to Igor personally, he knows that Igor's eccentric appearance belies his benevolent and courteous demeanor toward guests of the Velvet Room. So when Akira finally does wake up in the Velvet Room, he's immediately on edge by how deep and threatening Igor's voice is, as well as his referring to Akira as "inmate" rather than "guest" and the coming events as a "game".
  • Out of Focus: Pretty much all of the Thieves excepting Akira, Morgana, Futaba, Nanako and Daiki get put in this role during one arc, as they are off in Hawaii while the rest are sucked into the story of Persona Q2 along with Akechi.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Due to the terms of his probation, Akira is barred from meeting with any of his family and friends under threat of prosecution for their illicit harboring of a minor who should have gone into the foster care system. Because of this, he doesn't tell any of them what happened or where he's going, causing them unnecessary worry and creating numerous misunderstandings, like Ryuji accusing Yu of being a creepy stalker for trying to find Akira. It isn't until Akira stops trying to keep his head low and gets Futaba on his side that he finally makes contact with them, and they can finally meet in person by making use of Mementos to hide from prying eyes.
    • Right as Akira and Haru (who had just reawakened her Persona) are about to tell Makoto the truth about the Phantom Thieves, Makoto tells them that she'd been talking to Akechi, that she's sorry she ever thought Akira was a member of the Phantom Thieves, and that she's still on their trail. The mere fact that she's been talking to Akechi makes Akira back down, which means that Makoto is still unaware when she accidentally warns Akechi that the Thieves are on to him.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Akira has enjoyed the Arsene Lupin books ever since he was a child after obtaining his Persona and coming clean to Yu. This turns out to be essential for navigating Ryoko Ishikawa's Palace, as it contains a Secret Passage identical to one found in The Hollow Needle, indicating that he and the Palace Ruler read the same book.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Post Persona Q, Akira is thoroughly worn down at the realization that Igor is a fake, Lavenza was separated into Caroline and Justine, and that they have to find a missing piece of Lavenza's soul to re-fuse her. Kunikazu Okumura's death at the hands of Akechi and Fake Igor talking about it as a mere part of his game is the last straw, and he accuses Fake Igor of being an impostor to his face. It doesn't end well.
  • Retired Badass: By the events of Forearmed, Koromaru has reached his doggy golden years and doesn't show up with the rest of the Persona users Akira calls in to draw in Elizabeth because he's simply too old to be in this kind of action anymore.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: In the second "Group Date Labyrinth", after getting told Akira is his destined partner, having to answer a large number of questions he finds infuriating, more or less becoming the Black Sheep of the Persona-Users in the theatre, in addition to his already-present Butt-Monkey status, Akechi rather pointedly tells the "question-asker" of the Labyrinth to screw off when he's told to pick between Akira and Rise ("Someone I don't know and somebody I don't like").
  • Shout-Out: The third labyrinth of the Q2 arc is a ship being attacked by a Tentacled Terror. When the shadow makes a hole in the ship's hull, Futaba says that the ship will sink in nine hours. Junpei then finds a math problem involving digital roots.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Principal Kobayakawa, as the Phantom Thieves still present in Japan were able to get to his Shadow moments before Akechi.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • Averted. After realizing that Akechi is the one blacklisting Naoto out of all her Tokyo contacts, Rise initially wants to get the Investigation Team back together, but Yu disagrees since this isn't Inaba and the Velvet Room is open to Akira, not him. However, Akira does accept whatever help the Investigation Team has to offer, since Akechi's schemes did target Naoto.
    • The Shadow Operatives are a justified case. Over the past few years, Tokyo's government has made it increasingly difficult for the Shadow Operatives to work in Tokyo by issuing a series of laws making it difficult to transfer funds and preventing the police from working with them. This is why Mitsuru and the rest of the Shadow Operatives can't join in on the Phantom Thieves' efforts to root out the Conspiracy.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Both the attendants of the Velvet Room and Shadows possess bright golden eyes, indicating their supernatural nature and abilities. The Phantom Thieves also briefly sport these while awakening their Personas. Akira's eyes begin to flash gold in the Metaverse as a sign that he may not be fully human anymore following his time in the Sea of Souls.
  • Take Up My Sword: Akira makes Yu promise that if anything were to happen to him, Yu would be the one to lead the Thieves in his absence. Yu finds himself doing so for the few days that Akira is in a soul-shattered coma.
  • Technobabble: Futaba's knowledge of her mother's cognitive psience flies right over Akira's and Yusuke's heads, who tell her to simplify it since she's clearly the only one understanding what she's saying. In the story's Persona Q section, she gets wide-eyed stares while wondering aloud if their time travel situation is a closed loop or a branching universe given that the Akira from 2016 doesn't remember any of this despite the Akira from 2011 being present. While it initially seems to be the latter, the Akira of 2016 gets flashes of memory at certain moments, leaning the story toward the former.
  • Tempting Fate: After realizing that Madarame's hatred of Akira means that the security level in his Palace skyrockets the moment Joker enters, the other Phantom Thieves suggest that Joker sit out the infiltration and handle it themselves, assuring Akira that everything will be fine. The infiltration... doesn't go well.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • After the events in Inaba and Ishikawa retracting her false testimony, Akira is scheduled for a re-hearing about his probation and eventually gets it terminated, allowing him to officially see Nanako and Dojima again. The only downside is him having to miss the Hawaii trip - which is also a blessing in disguise as it allows him and the remaining Thieves (Nanako, Futaba, Morgana and Daiki) to save Kobayakawa's Shadow from being killed by Akechi.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Nanako and Daiki awaken their own Personas - Murasaki Shikibu and Fezzik respectively.
  • Unconventional Food Usage: From his previous adventures in the TV World, Akira learns to use the wheat that grows in Nanako's garden as a makeshift lockpick in the Metaverse. Morgana, who uses conventional lockpicks for his endeavors, is flabbergasted when Akira pulls out a strand of wheat to pick the lock to his cell.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Akechi keeps falling afoul of this on account of Akira's previous experiences with the Metaverse and his connection to the Investigation Team and Shadow Operatives. His attempt to ingratiate himself with Ann and Ryuji and turn them into Unwitting Pawns goes awry when Akira shows up and supplants him as the most experienced Persona-user around, his attempt to get an investigating Naoto blacklisted from Tokyo only leads to the others pinning him as a traitor, and the fact that Yu Narukami can fight off a Reaper single-handedly fills him with dread. Even his attempt to target them with Medjed falls flat when Futaba dismantles it in less than a day, putting him in a lot of hot water with the Conspiracy.
  • Under the Sea: Ryoko Ishikawa's Palace is an oversized fishbowl with Underwater Ruins as the centrepiece, and the Thieves have to figure out how to fight underwater fast. It symbolises how after she falsely testified against Akira and put him on probation, all the rumours flying around the town about what actually happened with her at the centre of it all makes her feel like a fish in a fishbowl.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Makoto, who is Locked Out of the Loop about the Phantom Thieves and their activities at this point, mentions to Akechi about a conversation she overheard from Akira and Haru, about palaces and flamingos. This makes Akechi realize that Akira and his group are on to him and are trying to finish Okumura's palace without him, allowing him to follow them in and kill Okumura's Shadow.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Gal: Lavenza desperately wants to still be accepted by her siblings and Igor after becoming more human, and her fear that she won't be is part of why she initially refuses to accept Psyche.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 29: Makoto, via a vague overheard conversation, lets Akechi know that the group thinks he's a traitor and are planning on finishing Okumura's Palace without him, and he follows them in and kills Okumura's Shadow. Haru's father dies on live TV, and Akira confronts Fake Igor that he knows he's an impostor, leading Yaldabaoth to shatter Akira's soul across the Sea of Souls, putting him into a coma in the real world.
    • Chapter 42: it turns out that Masayoshi Shido, in addition for being responsible for the situation Akira found himself in with the false charge and the worsened situation he found himself in in this story, was also responsible for Akira falling through the cracks of the foster system back when he was a junior politician. Instead of managing his parents estate until Akira was old enough, he stole and embezzled the inheritance for himself after they died, not even bothering to look for any inheritors.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Having met up with Akira and his group beforehand, and doing his level best to avert suspicion from himself, this is Akechi's reaction during his interview at the TV studio, when after he'd just criticized the Phantom Thieves on live TV, the staff picks Akira of all people to ask him a question.


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