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Will anybody like me for who I am?
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Persona: The Sougawa Files is a Persona fanfiction written by Arsene_Phantom.

Rina Oshiro, the daughter of a wealthy family, moves to the big city of Sougawa to start a new life while living with her sister. While things seem like they're looking up, all is not well in the city, as a strange plague around the city is leaving people in happy, lackadaisical stupors. After a close call with her Shadow, Rina acquires the power of the Wild Card and forms a team called the Freedom Fighters, bent on saving those afflicted with the Shadow disease and defeating the machinations of crime lord Nobuyuki Itou, the old man who controls the Shadow Syndicate and seems to rule Sougawa.

The fanfiction was first published on June 3, 2018 (with Arsene beginning work in April of the same year) and completed on January 26, 2020. It can be read on Archive Of Our Own here.

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Arsene published the first chapter of a sequel, Persona: The Okabe Files, on May 30, 2020.


Persona: The Sougawa Files provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear:
    • Imagine if your kid or someone you’re otherwise closely connected to got sick and suddenly experienced a massive change in behavior.
    • Worse yet - imagine finding out a crime lord is after, essentially, your kid via the crime lord bursting into your home, beating you to near death, destroying all of your belongings, and leaving behind a threatening note for your kid.
    • It gets really bad in the endgame: imagine if said essential kid was mercilessly beaten down and mocked to the point of losing her spirit, and you're completely unable to help because you've been infected by the sickness listed above.
  • An Aesop:
    • If you feel like you’re trapped, there is always a way out. You just have to find it. And you may not be able to find it on your own.
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    • Freedom and happiness cannot necessarily coexist, but it's better to be free and inconsistently happy than being forced to be happy with no freedom.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Some of the Shadows are surprisingly cordial - mostly the ones in the latter half of the story. Shadow Tamiko is a downright Friendly Enemy, Shadow Kazuki's unfailingly polite, and the white half of Shadow Arata is always pleasant and amicable.
    • Yuudai Honda, despite working for the Big Bad, is actually a pretty friendly guy who genuinely wants the city to improve, even after The Reveal. Unless you interrupt him.
  • All Your Powers Combined: A variant. In the first part of the battle against Yuudai, Rina uses all of the max rank Personas of the people she's fighting with - for example, when she's with Hikaru and Izumi, she uses max Sun (Asura) and max Chariot (Chi You), albeit briefly. The only exceptions are max Moon (Sandalphon) and max Lovers (Cybele) since those were used already.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Lasher in Shadow Tamiko's dungeon is taken out before it can actually combat the party by Nobuyuki's grunts, Jim and Gerald.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Justified. Shadows intentionally steer attention away from their unusual occurrences with a perception filter; only Persona users can see through this.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: The guns the Shadow Syndicate uses, including Nobuyuki's own, don't actually seem to do much. Justified as their Personas grant them physical protection.
  • Arc Villain: The fic is split up into a fairly simple pattern after the core trio of Rina, Hikaru, and Izumi meets up: Character is revealed to have Shadows; Freedom Fighters do the first half of their Shadow's dungeon, with usually a chapter or so in between; Freedom Fighters have a showdown with the Shadow. This pattern remains for when the main villains are directly tackled, though obviously the Shadow fights are gone. The arc villains in order are Shadow Wilma, Shadow Ryouichi, Shadow Tamiko, Shadow Kazuki, and Shadow Arata, Nobuyuki Itou, and Yuudai Honda.
  • Arc Words: After transforming, Shadows always say “I am a Shadow, the true self!”
  • Asshole Victim: It's really hard to feel bad for Nobuyuki after he dies, considering all the shit he put Rina and the Freedom Fighters through.
  • Assimilation Plot: Yuudai Honda, the true main villain, intends to infect everyone with Shadows to essentially transform them into a hive mind.
  • Badass Adorable: Wilma and Tamiko are cute dorks who are able to kick a lot of ass in a fight - Tamiko while being the navigator!
  • Bait-and-Switch: The second challenge in Shadow Tamiko's dungeon features the group being forced to combat a Sadistic Lasher without the help of their Personas. Before it can get a single attack off, it's killed in one shot by Nobuyuki's men, and the real battle is against them, with Shadow Tamiko allowing the group to use Personas and even helping them in combat.
  • Battle Couple: Hikaru and Izumi, as well as Rina and Wilma.
  • Beneath the Mask: Shadows show the true feelings people hide when they feel trapped, like Rina’s desire to have true friends and Hikaru’s depression over being unable to be a hero.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Izumi and Hikaru: Don't hurt the other. Izumi goes on a rampage against Shadow Tamiko when Hikaru falls, and Hikaru reacts with brutal Tranquil Fury when Shadow Kazuki knocks out Izumi.
    • The entire team: Hurting Rina. The Freedom Fighters greatly respect their leader. When Nobuyuki attacks her apartment, they unanimously decide to go after Shadow Arata earlier than scheduled and Nobuyuki becomes their next target in short order.
    • The Shadow Selves generally have one. In order:
      • Shadow Hikaru: Don't try to be a hero.
      • Shadow Izumi: Don't get in her way.
      • Shadow Wilma: Don't interfere with her attempts to make people happy... or call her lightsabers pulse blades.
      • Shadow Ryouichi: Pick one.
      • Shadow Tamiko: Don't insinuate she's crazy.
      • Shadow Kazuki: Don't cut off his tail.
      • Shadow Arata: Don't break his masks.
    • Nobuyuki Itou: Don't betray him. When Arata betrays him, he shows the first signs of anger ever, and when Rina tries to catch him off guard by bringing Yuudai's betrayal up, Nobuyuki simply dismisses his second-in-command as if he were a standard lackey.
    • Yuudai Honda: Don't interrupt him, or he'll have you know HE IS TALKING! He goes from somewhat pleasant to furious the instant Izumi cuts him off.
  • Betty and Veronica: Wilma and Kazuki respectively, to Rina. Wilma is sweet and awkward, Kazuki is dark and suave, and Rina has romantic interactions with the both of them. Kazuki does confess his interest in her, but she turns him down - Wilma wins.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Shadow Ryouichi is by far the most cheerful and carefree of the Shadows... but when things don't go his way, he proves to be dangerously cruel.
    • Rina is kind and understanding, as expected of a Wild Card. She's also the strongest Persona user by far and won't hesitate to fight back against anyone who threatens her friends.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The Shadow Selves are often ridiculous, but are not to be underestimated.
  • Big Bad: Nobuyuki Itou, the biggest crime lord in Sougawa, is the main antagonist in control of the Shadows and seeks to rule over Sougawa with an iron fist. At least, for most of the story. His role is taken over shortly after his defeat by his treacherous second in command, Yuudai Honda.
  • Bishōnen: Both Kazuki and Arata, though Arata falls into this more. People have even mistaken him for a flat girl at first glance.
  • Bold Inflation: Several characters have a special style of speaking:
    • Regular Shadows speak in plain bold.
    • Personas speak in italics with one exception.
    • Shadow Selves and Grendel speak in both bold and italics. Yuudai does it inconsistently after he's absorbed the Mother Shadow's power, and goes all in as the Father Shadow.
  • Book-Ends: Rina begins her first and ends her last boss fights completely alone.
  • Break Them by Talking: Yuudai Honda delivers a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech towards Rina while putting her through a Curb-Stomp Battle, all to crush her morale.
  • Breather Episode: Shadow Tamiko zig-zags this. On the one hand, her Shadow tackles extremely serious issues. On the other hand, she's an Affably Evil Shadow who's not outright gearing up to kill the party necessarily (even helping them at one point!) and is right in between Shadow Ryouichi and Shadow Kazuki, some of the toughest fights in the fic.
  • Brick Joke: In Chapter 9, Hikaru offers a fistbump and Rina thinks he's offering rock-paper-scissors. The same thing happens with Tamiko in Chapter 32. This is even lampshaded by Rina.
    "I'm getting a strange sense of deja vu..."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Both Tamiko and Yuudai are quite quirky, with the former being a Chuunibyou and the latter being a Bumbling Sidekick, but when it gets down to it both of them are not only smart, but effective. Yuudai still falls into this after The Reveal, as he retains his delightful quirkiness while being a scarily effective antagonist.
  • Calling Your Attacks: A few Persona users do this from time to time. Hikaru is one of the only ones to do it frequently. Shadow Hikaru does as well.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Shadow Hikaru briefly mentions that his friend died because of him. This is elaborated on in the third chapter of Hikaru’s Social Link.
    • Rina finds a poster made by Tamiko in Chapter 15. She meets Tamiko personally 9 chapters later.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Basically every party member past Wilma shows up before they get relevant to the plot.
  • Combination Attack: All-Out Attacks, though they’re not explicitly named, are used in this fashion.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Yuudai running away from the Freedom Fighters is a lot less funny after the reveal that it gave him the opportunity to step up as the Big Bad.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Gilgamesh gets Rina to start fighting with a rousing speech, challenging her to wield his power wisely.
  • Dark Is Evil: Yuudai Honda is primarily associated with darkness. His powers manifest in pitch-black strands of whatever he wants, and his Father Shadow form is almost pure black, save the yellow eyes.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Shadows, despite being antagonists and sometimes outright malicious, ultimately just desire freedom. Heck, this even applies to Grendel; while he initially appears Ax-Crazy, once he mellows out a bit he's not so bad.
  • Darkest Hour: Chapter 107. Rina's suffered a massive loss to Yuudai Honda that's left her unable to summon her Personas. She finds her sister infected with Shadows and can't use her Personas to fight them, leaving her broken and sobbing over Furuta's body - not helped by her sister encouraging her to abandon her team. Thankfully, things start to get better after she has a chat with the folks at the Velvet Room.
  • Deal with the Devil: Shadow Rina extends Rina the offer of fully merging with her. Thankfully, she refuses. The other people who contract Shadows aren't so lucky, but beating the Shadows up helps fix this.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The final battle ends with Rina annihilating the entire Shadow race by utterly destroying their progenitor.
  • Downer Beginning: While Rina starts off happy, things are quick to take a turn for the worse as Rina’s worries are reinforced and she eventually contracts Shadows.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the hell Rina goes through with her team, the story ends on a lighthearted note. Satomi is made an honorary member of the Freedom Fighters, Yuudai is imprisoned and has no chance of rising up again, the Shadows are (mostly) destroyed, and the team remains friends.
  • Eldritch Location: Every location taken over by Shadows, starting from Shadow Wilma and beyond, warps places into this. The worst example is Shadow Arata's, which somehow manages to fit an entire outdoors village inside an abandoned prison.
  • Elsewhere Fic: Arsene has described it as her own take on a Persona game - similar format and structure, with Personas and Shadows following canon rules somewhat closely, but with an entirely new cast of characters.
  • The Epic: The main characters' Personas are all characters from epics.
  • Evil Counterpart: Goodness, this fanfiction loves them.
    • Nobuyuki Itou, the leader of the Shadow Syndicate, is an effective counterpart to Rina. Both of them are of high status and primarily carry themselves formally; however, Rina seeks to genuinely improve the city and is a good-hearted person while Nobuyuki seeks to rule over Sougawa with an iron fist and is willing to cross any line.
    • Yuudai Honda, the true main antagonist, contains many parallels to every party member.
      • Rina: The most, obviously. Like Nobuyuki, they both want to improve the city and care about the well being of others, it's just Yuudai takes it way too far. Furthermore, they're both in positions where they have plenty of power and influence. To top it all off, Yuudai gets the signature Shadow gold eyes in his final form, and Rina has gold eyes normally.
      • Hikaru: Both feel shackled by real-world responsibilities and want something more.
      • Izumi: Both are very driven people who resort to sometimes self-destructive measures to get what they want.
      • Wilma: They're both less concerned with themselves and more the people around them.
      • Ryouichi: They both have a hell of a temper underneath how they normally act.
      • Tamiko: Both are eccentric, spirited, and have flashy shows of power.
      • Kazuki: Both generally act well-meaning but have quite a dark, sadistic side.
      • Arata: Both worked with Nobuyuki and ultimately see him as a problem.
    • Even Gilgamesh gets one: Grendel, Satomi's Persona/Shadow hybrid. Gilgamesh is stalwart, formal, and works alongside Rina; Grendel is cunning, informal, and while he respects Satomi he separates himself from her.
  • Evolution Powerup: When the party's Personas evolve, they're distinctly more powerful. When Hikaru gains Hrothgar, he's able to effortlessly take out a large group of Nobuyuki's grunts alongside Izumi's newly evolved Persona. This is most evident with Rina, as Rostam is able to enter people's minds and has enough power to destroy the entire Shadow species.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: The later parts of the game have significant mysteries along with clues that give the readers chances to follow along - a few even guessed correctly. The key ones that Arsene invites her readers to solve are the true mastermind behind everything (it's Yuudai Honda) and where his hiding place is after he disappears from Tamiko's sight (it's in Satomi's mind).
  • First Girl Wins: Rina ends up with Wilma, the first other main girl she met.
  • First Love: Izumi is this for Hikaru (though it's not the case for him) and Rina and Wilma are this to each other.
  • Flanderization: An invoked in-universe example. The Shadow Selves all reduce the characters to one overdefining trait - Hikaru's heroism, Izumi's aggressiveness, Tamiko's eccentricities, etc.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • Shadow Arata's miniboss, the Lead Harlequin, isn't that tough - but it can summon other Shadows fairly frequently.
    • In Yuudai's first phase, he frequently summons Shadows to keep the party split up.
  • Foreshadowing: Loads, mostly centered around key characters.
    • Arata Kobayashi has some hints that he's not what he seems up until the fifth dungeon.
      • At the end of one chapter, Arata steps out of the elevator and startles Rina. It seems like just a coincidence - but later it's revealed this was one of his ways of spying on her.
      • He's one of the few people to know about Nobuyuki - for obvious reasons.
    • The true main antagonist gets some minor hints that they're plotting something.
      • At first, Yuudai warns Nobuyuki not to underestimate the Freedom Fighters. However, after the next dungeon, he seems to do an about-face in attitude and encourages Nobuyuki to finish them off. It seems odd, for sure, and is a hint that Yuudai is playing Nobuyuki for a fool.
      • Yuudai mentions that if Nobuyuki gathers enough Shadows, he could control the entire city. Seems a little oddly specific - it's a clue towards the Mother Shadow's existence and the fact that Yuudai knows way more about Shadows than he lets on.
  • The Goomba: The Gremlin series of Shadows serve as this - it’s the first Shadow Rina fights and they show up a few times later, still pretty weak.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: A few characters try not to swear and censor themselves with this. Wilma is the most obvious example, but Rina is prone to her moments.
  • Halloween Episode: The second and third bonus chapters focus around the gang having some fun during Halloween. Everyone has a costume, of course - Rina dresses up as a detective, Hikaru goes as a knight, Izumi goes as a gladiator, Wilma goes as a superhero called The Mottled Minder, Ryouichi goes as a Cowboy, Tamiko goes as a Cute Witch, and Kazuki goes as a vampire. Arata and Satomi don't have costumes, as they stayed at the Sougawa Clock Tower to hand out candy.
  • Inciting Incident: Rina moves to Sougawa with her sister in the hopes of starting a new life. This is what leads to the Shadows latching onto her.
  • Indy Ploy: The Freedom Fighters’ plans usually boil down to “make it up as we go”.
  • It's Personal: Every target the Freedom Fighters go after has to do with personal reasons.
    • Rina goes to save Hikaru because he, in turn, indirectly saved her from succumbing to her Shadow.
    • Rina and Hikaru rescue Izumi cause she’s Hikaru’s best friend, and was also responsible for giving Rina the willpower to stand up to her Shadow.
    • Rina was the only one who bothered out to reach out to Wilma, and thus she’s the first one to suggest they go after her when Wilma starts getting infected.
    • Ryouichi was starting to hurt people before the Shadows took him over, but what spurs Rina into action is him almost getting into a fight with Hikaru.
    • Ryouichi is close friends with Tamiko, and thus points the group to her when she contracts Shadows.
    • Rina seeks to befriend Kazuki and prevent him from falling into the same pitfall as she did. Things get even more personal when she has an argument with him and inadvertently believes herself to be the cause of his Shadows.
    • Arata is Rina's butler, so the connection is obvious. Furthermore, since Arata turns out to be working for Nobuyuki, Rina's driven by her desire to find out his true nature.
    • Nobuyuki has repeatedly attacked the Freedom Fighters with his men, but the tipping point is when he personally gets involved, attacking Rina's apartment and nearly murdering her sister. This solidifies the Freedom Fighters' decision to go after him.
    • Satomi is revealed to be Arata's sister, so he feels an obligation to save her as his only connection to his past, considering he never knew his parents (or, you know, one of them might be Yuudai.
    • Yuudai himself has personally attacked the Freedom Fighters several times, may be Arata's father, and is hiding inside his sister's mind, making him the Final Boss.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A few people fall under this - namely Rina (she grows out of it) and Ryouichi.
  • Keystone Army: The Mother Shadow's destruction causes most Shadows to be wiped out along with it; it's implied that there are still a few more here and there, but there's no way for new Shadows to spawn.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Shadow Arata is the last Shadow Self the party faces, and he's essentially the herald for the main villains taking center stage. Unlike the other Shadows, where their quirks were generally lampshaded or made fun of by the Freedom Fighters, Shadow Arata is treated deadly seriously, with his dungeon even being a lot creepier than the others. And that's not going into his berserk form's second phase. After his defeat, the story remains dark with the final two arcs - while it isn't a complete tonal shift, it's certainly not as lighthearted, especially when the entire city gets Shadow-ified.
  • Large Ham: Almost every Persona and Shadow is kind of over the top, with notable examples being Gilgamesh, who exudes magnificence with every other line he says; and Shadow Izumi, who constantly shouts about how she's going to mow the party down.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail: Most minor characters and scenes play into the overarching plot somehow. Arsene even uses this trope as a justification for why she avoids showing the Social Links of the people not in the party besides the first rank - she prefers to focus on the main characters (though she does plan on doing the other four chapters for each Social Link after the story is done).
  • Living Shadow: Shadows, of course - black blobs that transform into various demonic forms.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: When Shadow Selves are defeated, their locations start to lose their distortion - which is often disastrous for rooms that change in size.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Turns out Nobuyuki was the least of the party's worries, as Yuudai Honda was manipulating him the whole time.
  • The Men in Black: Nobuyuki's men are frequently described as men in black. Heck, Nobuyuki himself qualifies; his clothing is almost entirely black.
  • The Mole: Arata Kobayashi, Rina's butler, turns out to be working for Nobuyuki. Luckily, he gets better.
  • Mood Whiplash: After the sad scene of Rina reassuring Hikaru, it’s quickly played for laughs when he makes a joke about how dramatic she is and then shifts to heartwarming as the two hug.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Shadow Ryouichi plays with this. He promises the party will get access to his office if they get VIP clearance. However, he changes his mind because they "didn't do it right", and uses Exact Words as a justification.
  • Mysterious Stranger: Shortly before confronting Nobuyuki, Rina is saved from a deadly fall by a strange, armored figure. At first it seems like they're an ally, but several chapters later, they reappear - and they nearly choke Rina out, only thwarted because of Clerval's interference. It's revealed shortly after they're working for the true mastermind, Yuudai Honda.
  • Mythology Gag: In Chapter 3, when Rina’s channel surfing, Goro Akechi is alluded to.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Rina trying to defeat Satomi nonviolently, while kind of working, also gets her to go berserk, which summons the Mother Shadow - and advances Yuudai's plans. It helps that that was part of his plan.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If Nobuyuki hadn't sent his men to kill the Freedom Fighters, they would likely have no idea of his existence. While they may have found out later, it could have bought him some crucial time.
  • Not Himself: A key symptom of Shadows is people acting wildly different than normal.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Rina pulls off a Hama spell against a Shadow, causing it to die instantly.
    • Shadow Arata, after he transforms, takes out every Freedom Fighter he comes into contact with in one shot. This is a warning sign to the Freedom Fighters that the Shadows are getting too strong and they need to strike at the source.
  • Police Are Useless: They can’t notice Shadows, after all.
  • The Power of Friendship: Rina has a wide set of Social Links that grant her power.
  • Precision F-Strike: F-bombs are rather rare in this fic, which makes the times they're dropped even more impactful.
    • Shadow Izumi drops several, and Shadow Ryouichi drops one as well.
    • When Izumi and Tamiko are fighting due to Arata's fake texts, Izumi angrily says "You wanna fucking go?" Luckily, Rina breaks it up before anything serious can happen.
    • After Nobuyuki attacks Rina's apartment, both Hikaru and Izumi are furious enough that they both drop the f-bomb.
    • When Arata mentions Yuudai is working with Nobuyuki, Izumi is dumbfounded enough that her only response is "You're fucking kidding."
    • When Yuudai is giving their Motive Rant, Hikaru can only say, disgusted, "You're seriously fucked up."
  • Public Domain Character: The Personas are all this, taken from epic hero stories, such as Gilgamesh or Beowulf.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of the adults fall under this, with some good examples being Rina’s sister Furuta and Principal Kaii.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The Freedom Fighters think it best to keep going against Nobuyuki despite him being Sougawa's biggest crime lord, as they can take on his men individually. This gives Rina a nasty shock when she comes home to find Nobuyuki attacked her apartment and her sister personally.
    • Even though the Freedom Fighters are doing all they can to keep up with the Shadows, as an alien species they simply prove to be growing too powerful. While they defeat Shadow Arata, he's able to one-shot most of them left and right. The team decides to shift to attacking at the source.
    • Yuudai, a normal human (albeit with gadgets), deals with eight Persona users at once by running away. He even says the party's crazy to think he's going to fight them.
  • Recurring Element: Gotta keep some elements for a Persona game.
    • The Velvet Room has another silver-haired, golden-eyed attendant named after a Frankenstein character.
    • An early part of the fanfiction has the protagonist getting into a contract with Igor.
    • The protagonist gets a key to the Velvet Room.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • There are quite a few concerning Arata. As just one example, he's the only one who knows about Nobuyuki, and during that particular conversation, he specifically says he's not a man Rina should cross - which now comes off as a Shame If Something Happened moment.
    • There are also some subtle clues hinting towards one of the endgame antagonists. Again, just one example: in his first extended intermission, Yuudai warns Nobuyuki to be cautious about facing the Freedom Fighters. However, in the very next one, he seems to have changed his tune entirely, encouraging Nobuyuki to crush them. This is because he's decided Nobuyuki is of no use to him.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The party gets Personas from epic stories, tying into the escapism theme.
    • Each of the Shadow Selves from Wilma and beyond have some sort of symbolism with their locations and the form they take.
  • Sequel Hook: The very first of the bonus chapters is a chat between the protagonist of Persona: The Okabe Files, Yuina, and her best friend Kanako.
  • Ship Tease: Plenty.
    • Before they hook up, Hikaru and Izumi are teased plenty of times - Izumi's crush on Hikaru is fairly obvious and Hikaru admits he's interested in her in his initial Social Link chapter.
    • Rina and Hikaru are teased plenty, with them frequently hugging each other. At the end of Chapter 24, Rina has a short inner monologue about how Hikaru means a lot to her. They even discuss this in Chapter 36, where both of them admit to their crushes on each other (even if both of them acknowledge that Hikaru and Izumi are happy together).
    • Despite their orientations being unclear, Rina and Wilma have fairly intimate gestures that can come off as a little more than just friendly touching. Word of God is even that Wilma has a crush on Rina - even if Rina sees her as more of a big sister. However, Rina's feelings appear to have changed, if Chapter 91 is any indication.
    • Tamiko and Ryouichi have some of this - the two obviously care about each other a lot, to the point where Tamiko is implied to be slipping into depression when Ryouichi is taken over fully by his Shadow. Then again, if Chapter 34's ending is to be believed, those are just her own Shadows, but even then, the fact that they start popping up after Ryouichi's disappearance is more than just a coincidence. Ryouichi even denies that she's his girlfriend at one point, though Rina isn't convinced.
    • Rina and Kazuki is teased right out of the gate and picks up steam with each chapter they're both present in. In their first chapter, Rina outright admits that she finds him attractive in the looks department, and she's forced to play the part of "Lovestruck Admirer" in their improv session. In Chapter 42, when she meets up with him again, Kazuki says that something about Rina is special, and the two even act somewhat flustered towards each other at the end. Arsene even mocks this in the April Fools chapter, with her stating to Rina that there are plenty of other romance options... only for Rina to point out she made it incredibly obvious the two will hook up eventually. They hold hands several times, and Rina even asks her sister how to tell if she "likes" someone, obviously referring to Kazuki. The best part is, Rina doesn't end up with him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Chapter 3, there’s a passing joke meant to invoke Bob Ross.
    • One of Shadow Tamiko's quotes is "I can do anything!"
    • The final chapter of Hikaru's Social Link reveals Rina's ringtone is Centuries.
    • In Chapter 57, Kouki reveals to Rina he eats Snackoos.
    • In Chapter 58, there are two. Kazuki is performing a musical known as Amour at the start, and Tamiko attempts to invoke the Crucius Curse on one of Nobuyuki's men.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The antagonists so far have all fallen into this, roughly.
    • The first five Shadows - Hikaru, Izumi, Wilma, Ryouichi, and Tamiko - certainly have serious issues, but they're all self-contained.
    • The next Shadow, Shadow Kazuki, is directly tied to criminals, even if he's not one himself. This marks the first time the Freedom Fighters have to deal with actual legal matters.
    • Shadow Arata comes after, and he's the only Shadow directly tied to Nobuyuki, the main antagonist.
    • And then, of course, Nobuyuki is next - the biggest crime lord in Sougawa.
    • Then comes the true main antagonist - Yuudai Honda, an extremely popular businessman with access to even more resources than Nobuyuki - and a far smarter villain, at that. He's also backed up by an Eldritch Abomination and a Dark Magical Girl.
  • Stepford Smiler: Two of the party members are major examples.
    • Hikaru Hayashi comes off as a cheery young man determined to be a hero, who's charismatic and fun to be around. However, his Social Link reveals he has major parental issues and feels practically burdened by reality, and he uses his Persona as a means of escape.
    • Tamiko Maeda is the resident Chuunibyou, and she's energetic, kind of silly, and friendly to others. Her Shadow reveals she's been struggling with suicidal depression and loneliness because nobody else sees the world the way she sees it.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Clerval has golden eyes, just like other Velvet Room attendants.
  • Switching P.O.V.: In Chapter 51, at the amusement park, the perspective briefly shifts to Wilma and then Izumi. Each of them get a brief segment to themselves before it switches back to Rina.
  • Theme Table: The protagonists all have Personas named after mythological heroes.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Rina, Hikaru, and Izumi are essentially the core party, and are treated as three close friends before they start recruiting more people.
  • Traitor Shot: At the end of Chapter 73, Rina leaves from her chat with Arata. He quietly gets in the elevator, and then says...
    "She's onto me, Nobuyuki. How should I proceed?"
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Shadow Selves that possess their hosts have a smoky aura around them and golden eyes.
  • Unique Protagonist Asset: Rina has the Wild Card Ability, allowing her to make Social Links and use multiple Personas.
  • Urban Fantasy: It’s a story about teenagers in a big city who battle demons and summon manifestations of their psyche.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Nobuyuki and Yuudai share this dynamic. Nobuyuki is ruthlessly stoic and willing to do the most vile things to achieve his goals. Meanwhile, while Yuudai is smart, he's generally bumbling and silly. Well, until The Reveal, anyway.
  • Villain Episode: Downplayed. Nobuyuki and Yuudai get occasional intermissions at the end of chapters showing what they're up to.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The Freedom Fighters have to balance their school lives and Shadow-fighting lives.
  • Wham Episode: This story loves them, starting at around Shadow Arata's arc.
    • Perhaps the best example is Chapter 79. Rina comes back to find her apartment brutally wrecked, her sister nearly dead, and a threatening letter from Nobuyuki discouraging her from pursuing Shadow Arata. This is the point when the party realizes how dangerous their foe is.
    • A ton start popping up near the end. Chapters 101 and 102 are the biggest ones, however. In the former, Yuudai is properly revealed as the main villain, and gives a shocking motivation that sickens the Freedom Fighters to the core. In the latter, Satomi is revealed to be Arata's sister, which leaves him shocked and distraught.


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