It's filled with distortion, and "ruin" will soon descend.
However...there are those who would challenge fate, in desire for change.
Since time immemorial, they are known as...
Persona 5: Hoshi to Bokura to is a Persona 5 fanfiction story, written by Starlight's Poet. It is an Alternate Universe story and novelization of the game, with the inclusion of minor changes to the story and scrapped ideas from the game's development.
Following the incident that ruined his life, Akira Kurusu is forced to move to Tokyo. Now living under the care of his probation officer—Sae Niijima—and her younger sister, Akira now finds himself involved in the strange mysteries that hide underneath Tokyo's surface.
One such mystery unravels at Shujin Academy, where he and two others discover the mysterious Metaverse, a parallel world based on human cognition and perception.
The game finally begins.
Also, be warned for unmarked spoilers for the game!
This story contains examples of the following tropes:
- Action Prologue: Like in the game, the story opens up with the Phantom Thieves in the midst of escaping Sae's Palace.
- Adaptation Deviation: As early as Third Heist, the true Igor and Lavenza are shown to be in control of the Velvet Room, meaning that Yaldabaoth either didn't take it over or wasn't able to in this story.
- Adaptation Expansion: Some characters have received additional details to their backstories. Akira and Sae's fathers were old friends as it turned out, thus offering a reasonable explanation of why Sae would be tasked with looking after him as she was meant to in the cut content.
- Akira's father was an accountant at a bank firm, who taught Akira to be independent. His mother, on the other hand, insisted that he had to work hard to get ahead in life. As a result, his parents argued and got worse after he was arrested, eventually leading to a divorce.
- Ann's family gets this treatment as well. Her mother, named Satsuki Takamaki, was a model of some renown in Japan; and her father was a former writer.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: After obtaining Orpheus from Minato/Makoto, it immediately adopts its Picaro variation and announces itself as the trickster's mask.
- Adaptational Dumbass: The fight with Asmodeus is considerably different in the game proper, due to the Shadow being more like a thrashing berserker throwing a tantrum after having its Treasure stolen. It never talks, simply flailing around as it tries to kill the Phantom Thieves.
- Adaptational Early Appearance:
- Instead of the false Igor with Caroline and Justine, Igor and Lavenza are in charge of the Velvet Room when Akira first ends up there.
- Haru was given a brief Early-Bird Cameo during the Summer Festival and made another one during the Hawaii trip. She's introduced much earlier to Akira, first unnamed by accidentally bumping into him, then again several chapters later before properly introducing herself to him.
- Inverted in Sojiro's case. Instead of being introduced right off the bat in the game, he's not introduced in the story proper until the first Confidant chapter.
- Played straight with Kaoru, Iwai's son. It takes a while for the protagonist to get enough Guts to initiate Iwai's Confidant, so Kaoru isn't introduced to the players until much later in the game. Here, Kaoru appears during the Kamoshida Arc when Ryuji suggests they get weapons, as alternatives to them relying on their Personas, shown being bullied until saved by Akira. Kaoru even introduces them to Iwai, who immediately hits it off with the former.
- Adaptational Nice Guy:
- In the game, Sae was a cold woman who occasionally lashed out at Makoto before undergoing a Defrosting Ice Queen HeelFace Turn during her interrogation with the protagonist. Here, she is significantly nicer, but no less stern as she was originally. In the interrogation sequences, she also refers to Akira as "Akira-kun," in contrast to the "Kurusu-kun" she addresses him with during the flashbacks.
- Nakaoka, one of the members of the track team, acted like a petty douche towards Ryuji, who like many believed to be the reason why Kamoshida disbanded the club in the first place because he lashed out, but he obviously does care about his former friend. In the story, however, he's still friends with Ryuji and is keeping him up to date with the track team's current affairs.
- Post-change of heart Kamoshida specifically apologizes for his actions against Ryuji and the track team.
- Adapted Out:
- Yaldabaoth's control over the Velvet Room, fake Igor and all. The author's notes assure everyone that he still has a major role to play in the story.
- Due to the above circumstances, Lavenza was never split into Caroline and Justine.
- Kasumi Yoshizawa from the Updated Re-release Royal will not be included, due to the story having already progressed too far for her to be included.
- Anachronic Order: The 16th Heist ends with the Phantom Thieves and an unawakened Ann encountering Shadow Kamoshida and Cognitive Ann, leading up to Ann's awakening. The two chapters afterward, however, are time skips at different points in the story, focusing on Confidants.
- Ascended Extra:
- The author's notes reveal that Hifumi Togo will be joining the Phantom Thieves, as she was meant to before being Demoted to Extra in the final game.
- The real Igor and Lavenza are in charge of the Velvet Room from the start of Akira's journey.
- It's a Downplayed example since she was not a minor character by any means, but Makoto goes from being one of the later members of the Phantom Thieves to one of the founding members, awakening her Persona alongside Ryuji and becoming a member of the team in their first ever mission of stealing Kamoshida's heart.
- The reporter student in the game is also apparently being given a much bigger role as well, Named by the Adaptation as third-year student Aikawa.
- Audience Participation: On a few occasions, the author asked his readers opinions on certain changes or inclusions, such as changing Akira's name to Ren Amamiya following the announcement of the P5 anime and dancing game and the inclusion of the DLC Personas.
- Berserk Button: Threaten Makoto or Ryuji at your own risk. It's a fairly good way to piss off Akira something furious.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Akira and Makoto. They're pleasant enough, but pissing them off is not recommended. Unless you want to be ripped apart by a pair of sharp claws or run over by a supernaturally souped-up motorcycle.
- Big Damn Heroes: Morgana pulls this when he saves the group as they try to escape Kamoshida's dungeon.
- Big Eater: If the "Hanged Man" Confidant chapter is of any indication, Akira fits the trope to a T.Ryuji: ...okay, dude. I know a few guys who eat a lot because of high metabolism and all that, but... how the hell are going to eat all that?!
- Bloodier and Gorier: The viciousness that Akira displays at times invokes the trope to full effect. In the chapter following his Persona awakening, he kills a Bicorn by breaking off its horn and then gouging it into its eye before killing it. The Doom Marine would be impressed.
- Break the Cutie: Ann Takamaki and Yuki Mishima witnessing Shiho Suzui's suicide. Mishima is visibly shown to be hit the hardest as he collapses to his knees and sobs."Your fault." Shiho Suzui told him with her dead eyes. "All your fault."
- The Cameo:
- Elizabeth and Minato/Makoto make an appearance. The latter asks why Akira seeks power and gives him Orpheus. The former watches on before quietly asking Akira to look after Orpheus before taking her leave.
- Tohru Adachi is mentioned during Sae and Goro's meeting discussing the Mental Shutdown cases. After spending several years in prison, he's finally being released.
- Car Fu: Well, more like Bike-Fu. Like what she does in the game, Makoto fights with her Persona by riding on it.
- Cluster F-Bomb: While he does occasionally do his "eff" censoring, Ryuji is far more prone to actually dropping the F-bomb.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Subverted. Unlike most stories where after getting a Persona, Akira is shown to struggle on his own. In one chapter, after getting Arsene, his Persona is impaled by Bicorn, and in another chapter, his Persona—and by extension, him—gets strangled by a Silky.
- Deadpan Snarker: Akira tends to have his moments.
- Death Glare: Makoto is really good at giving these. Ryuji compares it to seeing the Shinigami.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: In accordance with her Adaptational Nice Guy, Sae's a bit thawed out, but she still makes it clear to Akira in a rather subtle manner that the "only" reason she accepted she would look after him was that their parents were old friends and nothing more. That said, in the interrogation sequences, she's visibly concerned about him when she sees that he's been brutally interrogated, even saying that she was hoping he wasn't a Phantom Thief.
- Evolving Title Screen: A non-video game example. For the first couple dozen chapters, each chapter opens up with a small bit similar to the one Yaldabaoth gives when players first begin the game, referring to those who resist the corruption of the world and desire change as "Tricksters." After Ann joins the team, the narration names these Tricksters "The Phantom Thieves of Hearts".
- Failure Gambit: Kamoshida appoints his toady Yamauchi to revive the track team so it can crash and burn and make him look better.
- Fat Bastard: Yamauchi from the Chariot Confidant. He has yet to appear, but he's working with Kamoshida to bring back the Track Team, if only to sabotage it and have it perform poorly in order to make the Volleyball team look more appealing. And according to Ryuji, the man looks as if he's never once participated in a physical activity.
- Arsene and Orpheus. The narrative has Arsene encouraging Akira to pursue the life of a Phantom Thief and usually bolsters his more raw emotions, such as his anger. Orpheus is the opposite, as he tries to placate Akira to prevent him from acting too wildly.
- Makoto and Ryuji. Makoto is shown to be respected by the student body, but her own baggage and thoughts of being useless frustrates her greatly and hides her true face. Ryuji is seen as a disgrace by the school, but he makes no attempts at hiding his true feelings.
- For Want of a Nail: There are quite a few changes implemented in this novelization.
- Rather than Sojiro being the one to take in Akira, who asked by the friend of his parents, his father instead asks Sae, whose father he was once friends with, to take care of Akira. This not only leads to Akira "befriending" Sae earlier but also becomes acquainted with Makoto.
- Makoto shows Akira the way to Shujin Academy, which leads to him arriving on time. This also leads him to meeting Ryuji and Ann much later, the latter of which only recognizes him as the kid who's sitting behind her in class.
- Makoto is dragged into the Metaverse several months ahead, as Ryuji's big mouth gets them both sucked in. Later chapters also have her join Akira, Morgana and Ryuji, acting as one of the founding members of the Phantom Thieves.
- Guardian Entity: Par the course for the Personas, who interact with their users in the form of a "pulse," usually to comfort them or to nudge them in the right direction. Arsene seems to be the most active, acting as the devil on Akira's shoulder as it tries to have him pursue the life of a Phantom Thieve, mildly even suggesting that no one would miss Kamoshida if he died.
- Heroic BSoD: Akira and Makoto suffer this when Shiho attempts suicide. The former because he knew something would happen to Shiho, and the latter for her inability to stop Shiho when she caught her on the third floor. Ann also suffers this when Shadow Kamoshida tries to break her spirit, but it backfires and ultimately leads to her Persona subsequently awakening.
- Heroic RRoD: Ann's first brawl, while amazing, leaves her utterly drained to the point where she passes out after having used up all of her energy to destroy all the Shadows.
- Hollywood Law: It's mentioned that Tohru Adachi is being released from prison. The idea of a man only getting four and a third years in prison, including the time it would have taken to process him, for two murders and six attempted murders by proxy, when all of his victims except one were minors, is utterly absurd even if he has been cooperative after being taken into custody.
- In Spite of a Nail: Despite the changes, there are still a few things that end up occurring as they did in canon.
- Akira's record is still leaked to the school despite arriving to Shujin on time, thanks to Kamoshida.
- Shiho's attempted suicide. What makes it even worse is that Makoto and Akira both could have prevented it. Akira saw Shadow Kamoshida in the same cell as Kamoshida's cognition of Shiho, with no clothes on and marred with bruises. Akira knew something bad was going to happen; he just didn't expect it to happen as soon as it did. Makoto's was even worse, as she encountered Shiho as she was making her way up to the roof. The whole thing leads to her having an It's All My Fault moment.
- Intrepid Reporter: Aikawa, a third-year who happens to be a member of the Journalism Club. She's apparently settling into this role by looking into Akira's case, noticing that virtually no one, not a single media source, was able to uncover the identity of the man Akira supposedly attacked. She even questions whether or not Akira actually did attack the man unprovoked.
- Jumped at the Call: After Shiho's attempted suicide, Ann overhears Akira, Makoto, and Ryuji discussing a way to make Kamoshida pay for his crimes. Ann immediately demands that they let her in on their plans.
- Karma Houdini: Tohru Adachi gets a mere four years and change in prison for two murders and six attempted murders by proxy, a pitiful slap on the wrist.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- In the flashback showing Akira's meeting with Shido for the first time, he's visibly shocked by what he had done and weakly apologizes for busting open the guy's head. He's not so sorry after Shido throws his life down the toilet after he sues him.
- Kamoshida, after having his heart stolen. He's a sobbing, broken mess when he confesses to the point where he can't stand back up after revealing all the crap he's pulled throughout the years and accidentally knocks down the podium.
- Mythology Gag: In 21st Heist, Akira reveals to Aikawa that, before his arrest, he was a student at Seven Sisters High School.
- Not So Different: Shadow Kamoshida tries to pull this with Ann, claiming that she was using Shiho for her own goals and, like everyone else, ignored the fact that Shiho was being abused. It seems like it'll stick, but Carmen's interference leads to Ann successfully awakening.
- Oh, Crap!: Shadow Kamoshida has this when he realizes that Ann is about to awaken to her Persona. Initially, he wanted her as a plaything, but the prospect of having to deal with another Persona-user has him quickly order the Shadows to kill her before she has a chance. Spoiler alert: he fails and watches as Ann reduces them to cinders.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Orpheus is presented as the calmer, cooler counterpart to Arsene, but he's just as outraged and disgusted as the later when Akira discovers Kamoshida sexually assaulted Shiho.
- Pet the Dog:
- In the "Hierophant" Confidant chapter, Sojiro treats Akira somewhat more nicely, as he's introduced to him as someone asking for a job, not a burden like Sojiro thought he was in canon.
- Ryuji was treated horribly by his former teammates, even well after the Kamoshida incident has been resolved and remains all the way until near the end of his Confidant. In Hoshi to Bokura to, Nakaoka is explicitly stated to be one of Ryuji's only friends from the Track Team, keeping him up to date with the recent development of the Track Team's situation since it was disbanded.
- Playing with Fire: Carmen and Orpheus specialize in fire skills, the former more so.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Makoto, as she can really lay down the smackdown on any unfortunate Shadow. Akira also counts, as his eyes tend to turn red whenever its time to bring the pain.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Arsene, who encourages Akira to act on his raw emotions, is the red. Orpheus, who encourages Akira to be more levelheaded, is the blue.
- Refusal of the Call: Initially. After Morgana informs them that taking Kamoshida's Treasure may cause him to die, the group instead tries to gather information in the real world to expose him. Akira later realizes that everyone is too scared of Kamoshida to say anything, and anything they do will only be mitigated by the Principal, leading him to venture into the Palace before the others.
- The Resenter: Similar to the game, Sae has developed something of a skewed view of her father. Akira's father also seems to be aware of it as he happens to mention it while speaking with her on the phone weeks before Akira's sent to Tokyo. That said, she does still love her father, as his relationship with Kurusu-san is enough for her to begrudgingly accept Akira under her care.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ann's Awakening is this full stop. A mix of Mad Bomber and Pyro Maniac leads to Shadow Kamoshida shitting his pink speedo.
- Running Gag:
- Makoto intimidating various male characters, usually with a Death Glare.
- When Ryuji says something stupid, Makoto reacts thusly:"...Do you want to get smacked?"
- Secret Keeper: Since Akira was never told about him, as Sae reluctantly chose to look after him, Akira doesn't know that Sojiro is aware of his criminal record.
- Ship Sinking: Despite what many thought, especially given the numerous Ship Teasing scenes, Akira is surprisingly not paired with Makoto.
- Shout-Out: In the 18th Heist, Ryuji compares the Phantom Thieves' mission to Sly Cooper.
- Spiritual Successor: Akira is this to Minato/Makoto, signified by his obtaining Orpheus. Elizabeth even recognizes him as such.
- Synchronization: Much like Persona 4: The Animation, Persona-users feel the damage taken by their Personas. It's even taken Up to Eleven at one point when Arsene is being strangled by a Shadow, causing Akira to suffocate.
- Wham Line: A meta one when Akira first ends up in the Velvet Room, the line Igor says when he greets him confirms to the readers, that in this story, this Igor is the genuine article.