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"'You don't owe this world anything. You never have. You never will." Pictured from left to right 

"To be thrown into a situation where the odds were constantly stacked against us, and to keep fighting even though we knew we were way in over our heads. That's either bravery or stupidity. Maybe, if you twist the meaning enough, it can mean either of these things or even both. Brave and stupid, sums me up quite well. Also hungry."
Kazuto Takeba
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Spring of Hope is a Persona 3 fanfiction written by Emiya2004.

It has a premise similar to A Fool Named Fortune and Lusnati Style, replacing the blue-haired protagonist of the original game with a fresh Original Character. However, it is very different from both fics, in that basically, it's a Deconstruction of the Self-Insert Fic, playing out things how they'd normally play out from the beginning (to the point where the main character's initially named after the author himself) and eventually rearing its ugly, roaring head when you'd least expect it to, shedding some new light on the trope.

Kazuto is a wandering young man who's had to constantly transfer from school to school ever since he was born. Having led a rather tragic life prior to the events detailed in the story, he arrives at the Minatodai Dormitory in Iwatodai, where he intends to reside in for the entire school year before transferring out again. However, he discovers that the inhabitants of said dormitory are part of an elite group called the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad, whose raison d'etre has been to annihilate the threat presented by the Shadows: monstrous marauders that threaten the very lives of the people in Iwatodai during a Hidden Hour known as the Dark Hour. And then he gets a pet dragon...

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As Kazuto learns more about the secrets of the Dark Hour, he learns more about the secrets of the very, very strange universe in which he lives. Determined to find the truth against all odds, Kazuto struggles with loss, the consequences of revenge, hatred, longing, and more as he strains to stay sane...

...meaning that it's absolutely fortunate that he has very good friends willing to stand by his side, no matter what.

NOTE: Due to the length of the story, there are indeed going to be spoilers for most of the early chapters.

The author is planning a Persona 4 fic as a direct sequel, and has created a Crossover fic with fellow fanfic writer LastDragonborn titled Persona Q: Shadows of the Heart.


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Tropes contained in Spring of Hope.

  • Adorkable: Kaz. All the time. Especially around Aigis.
  • All-Loving Hero: To anyone who's not a Shadow, Strega, or Philemon, Kaz is this.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Taken straight from The Empire Strikes Back. Kazuto and Aigis proclaim their love one last time before Kaz faces off in his personal final battle against Philemon.
    Aigis: I love you.
    Kazuto: I know.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Burroughs is this to Kaz.
  • Berserk Button: Don't touch the people Kaz loves, or he'll annihilate you. Don't hurt Aigis - especially not Aigis. In fact, just don't hurt people in front of him in general. And don't call him old.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Kaz has a great big heart for everyone around him and is willing to do anything to help anyone in need. And if you cross him or the people he loves, he'll be more than willing to rip out your own heart.
  • Bi the Way: Kaz isn't really turned off by the idea of being in a relationship with Ryoji, and admits to having feelings for him - but has much stronger feelings for Aigis.
  • Big Bad: The Shadowlord is Kazuto's greatest enemy and is the one who deals a heapload of suffering onto him throughout the story. Until it turns out that he's merely The Heavy of the story. The true big bad is Philemon.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Kaz reads a book featuring this very trope he ultimately finds to be absolutely fascinating from a storytelling standpoint. In fact, he thought it was boring until he found out this was in it.
  • The Cameo: Minato Arisato is repeatedly referenced throughout the story and seen in visions as the "blue-haired hero" who saved the world from Nyx. And he appears to greet Kaz when Kazuto dies.
  • Canon Welding: Canon Welds the Persona series with several other JRPG series. We've got Drakengard elements, NieR characters, elements from the Tales series, characters from Revengeance, and: of course: abundant Continuity Nods to SMT games. The author even threw in a bit of Devil Survivor, with Frosty!
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: Constantly shifts between Lighter and Softer and Darker and Edgier than the original game, treating the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism like an actual Slip-N-Slide. Sure, Kazuto has an incredibly healthy relationship with his True Companions, even more so than how the MC does in-game, but then we later on find out that he's also had a past as a prostitute.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Kazuto. It's pretty difficult to keep up with some of the weird things he does. Not that that's a bad thing.
  • Chick Magnet: A lot of women fall for Kaz. Hitomi, Amane, Fuuka, Louisa Ferre (kind of), Rio and (since she's the Love Interest and all), Aigis.
  • Childhood Friend: Hitomi Tono is Kaz's childhood friend. The two have stuck together through thick and thin, having had a tight relationship for many years, which makes it really difficult to not feel sorry for them when you discover that Kaz had to prostitute himself for funds to help with Hitomi's medical care years prior to the beginning of the actual story.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Subverted. Hitomi wants to have this with Kaz (and she actually gets her wish in one timeline), but ultimately realizes that Kaz loves Aigis, so she decides to concede without any fuss.
  • Composite Character: In a more literal example than most. See Reincarnation below.
  • Continuity Porn: Tons of it to SMT games. Not on the level that Fairly English Story was at, but it's prevalent nonetheless.
  • Covert Pervert: Kazuto hides yuri magazines under his bed.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The universe was literally so incomplete that Philemon had to fix it by cherry-picking elements from other universes.
  • Deconstruction Fic: As stated above, the fic deconstructs the concept of self-insertion in fanfiction and the general video game trope of Character Customization. To elaborate...
    • Kazuto is not human at all. He's a replica of a human, specifically Shiori Mikami, a friend of the original protagonist of the whole story, Kazumi Tsukino. Having been created by Philemon, who used elements from different universes to help create a proper personality for him, Kazuto is merely a puppet used for the sole purpose of being The Hero of his universe, destined to save the world and sacrifice himself in the process of doing so, precisely because Philemon discovered that the original person set to be the Hero of the universe was the reincarnation of the mother of all Shadows, Nyx. When Kaz figures this out, he goes into a massive Heroic BSoD because he was never his own person, along with the fact that the ideals that he had stuck to for so long were merely borrowed, never his own. Kind of makes his identity issues Harsher in Hindsight, huh?
    • The fic also deconstructs Canon Welding. The reason there are so many elements from different JRPG franchises present in the fic is because Philemon needed to stabilize the universe during its creation, and he did so by cherry-picking elements from other universes.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The fic is slowly gravitating towards Kaz not being the actual protagonist of the story, and indeed is shifting the point of view over to another: Kazumi Tsukino.
  • Determinator: Kaz won't quit. Ever. Especially when there're very high risks at stake. That just makes him stronger.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Played for Drama. Kazuto had to prostitute himself to guys as well as girls to fund for Hitomi's medical care.
    • Eventually a more straightened-out example when Ryoji expresses having feelings for Kaz.
  • Famous Last Words: "Heh. I knew I wouldn't like you." From Kaz, directed to Minato Arisato.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Isn't that right, Kaz?
  • Good Is Not Soft: Kazuto, full-stop. He's pretty willing to do some really frightening stuff to those who cross him. This overlaps with Horrifying Hero from time to time.
  • Guile Hero: Kaz may not act it from time to time, but he's shown to be pretty smart. And really good at deductions. When a murder took place in the school, Kaz was able to find out that it was supernatural in nature before anyone else, just from environmental clues. It also helps that he's been exposed to some pretty weird stuff when he was young, so he's a little more experienced than most of the other characters.
  • The Hero: Deconstructed. Heartbreakingly so. Kaz was literally made by Philemon to be The Hero of the universe, destined to become the Great Seal and prevent Nyx from coming into contact with the world. Kaz...isn't necessarily happy with this, because this means that he was never who he wanted to be: just a creation of someone else.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kaz knows he's most likely gonna die on the last Full Moon, against Philemon. And he does it because he loves his daughter, Aigis, and everyone else.
    • He ultimately goes through with it. In a blaze of glory.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: To help with his childhood friend's medical bills, Kaz had to prostitute himself to both men and women.
  • Irony: Minato Arisato gave his life to seal Nyx away. Kazuto Takeba gave his life to release Nyx onto the world.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Kaz's mystical companions invoke this when it's apparent that he's gonna go on a Suicide Mission to get his daughter back. It hurts.
  • Keet: Kazuto.
  • Large Ham: Kazuto again.
  • Long Title: The full title is: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES - Spring of Hope.
  • Love Hurts: Poor Hitomi...
  • Love Confession: Subverted. Kaz gives one to Yukari, but it's more or less platonic. Eventually, other female characters end up giving this to Kaz.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Has many elements which appear straight out of a Cosmic Horror Story type deal, but underlying it all are themes of companionship, courage in the face of adversity, love, hope, and compassion.
  • Manchild: Kaz is still a little kid at heart, evident by his interactions with the other characters.
  • Meta Twist: The fic as a whole. Orpheus isn't his first Persona, it's Thoth. Thanatos isn't what comes out, it's the Demiurge. And later on, Kaz eventually loses his Wild Card ability, and then new cans of worms upon new cans of worms open up, as if you haven't had enough of the twists.
    • And now, it's giving Meta Twists to itself, as Kazumi Tsukino, the original protagonist of the universe, turns out to be alive (despite having been thrown into Monad by Philemon to die), is slowly being given the point of view of the story, and it's quite possible that she will overtake the role as protagonist.
  • Mystical White Hair: Kaz eventually sheds his normal brown hair and gets this. As opposed to blue hair.
  • Nice Guy: Kaz is this through and through. Except when something hurts the people he loves. Then...
  • Not Quite Dead: Kazumi Tsukino, the original protagonist of the Spring of Hope universe and one of the original foundations of Kazuto's existence, is alive and kicking, despite having been left by Philemon in Monad to die.
  • Odd Friendship: Kaz is friends with a magic book, a dragon, a robotic dog, an angel, a being that resides in a realm between mind and matter, a group of people who can summon monsters from their head, and the Big Bad of the original game, Nyx.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Kind of subverted. The dragon seen in the story, Mikaeru, is a character from Drakengard 3, and is written out as how dragons from that game are Different. Yes, this means that dragons in this rendition of Persona 3 are common knowledge.
  • Papa Wolf: Don't touch Hamuko, or you won't live to see the end of this sen-
  • The Power of Hate: Surprisingly, Kaz partially runs on this whenever he gets into a scrap. At first, he hated the Shadows and treated them without mercy, and slowly started growing out of this as time went by. It came back in full force when Philemon gave The Reveal, though. This is a variation of the trope, however, as while TPOH does wonders for him in every fight, he mostly runs on...
  • The Power of Love: If not for the trust and camaraderie he has with S.E.E.S., Kaz would be insane. Or silently weeping to himself in the corner. Or both.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Kazuto wants to be a traditional Hero. It's just that everything else is forcing him to be this.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Kazuto has some...issues with religion. Seeing as how the ruler of the SMT-verse is a worship-hungry despot FAR from the loving God seen in The Bible, it's not very surprising.
    • And then a Rage Against Philemon adds to it later on...
  • Reincarnation: Kazuto Takeba is technically a reincarnation of Kazumi Tsukino and Shiori Mikami, as Philemon fused both of their souls together to make him. Additionally, Kazumi Tsukino is the reincarnation of Nyx. And again, later on in the story, there appears to be some sort of third element in the mix that made Kazuto, one who goes by the name of Akame, the Red-Eyed Killer.
  • Retcon: In-universe; whenever the universe would go down a path Philemon doesn't like, he'd reset the timeline and hope things would go better the next time. Four times, this happened.
  • The Reveal: Ohh boy...
    • Kazuto is Yukari's brother!
    • And he's also Hamuko's father!
    • And guess what? PHILEMON'S RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING.
  • Robo Sexual: It's pretty clear Kaz has a thing for Aigis. They are the Official Couple, after all.
  • Semi-Divine: Kazuto and Yukari turns out to be actually, turn out to be an Intoner Intoners, which is a half-angel. And then it turns out he's not, it was all a lie fabricated by Philemon. But he does have an angel for a "mom."
  • Shout-Out: To a lot of things, really. To RWBY, to Danganronpa, to Tekken, to Drakengard, to Kingdom Hearts, to Frozen...it's kind of hard to keep track. Unsurprisingly, the most shout-outs go to Shin Megami Tensei games.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Guess what, little boys and girls? Shinji doesn't die on October 4!
  • Stepford Smiler: Deconstructed. Kaz hides a whole lot of issues underneath his smile, and those issues come out whenever something real bad happens. Which is a lot. So the fic goes high and wide to show just how these issues really would affect a person: and how different that person can be from the happy disposition he puts on.
  • Team Pet: Koromaru, of course. But then we have Wolf...
  • There Is Another: Kazumi Tsukino, the original protagonist of the Spring of Hope universe, is alive.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Every named character returning from the original game. Even Ikutsuki and Nyx.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: "Cookies!"
    • This is Hamuko's favorite food as well.
  • Tragic Hero: See Pragmatic Hero up above.
  • Tsundere: Amane Kitamura is Kaz's ex-girlfriend and a textbook Type A.
  • The Unexpected: Nyx is an ally of Kazuto's in this fic.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Kaz is deeply affected by this when he realizes that he's just a replica, forged by Philemon to be The Hero of the universe.


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