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    Fridge Brilliance 
  • The appearance of each character's Phantom Thief costume is supposed to reflect their idea of a rebel. The truth of that really hits home when you take a close look at the party members and their costume:
    • Joker starts the show with his black coat and outfit. A bit non-specific, but perfect for blending in with the shadows in order to get away with whatever you want. Take a closer look and you'll see his outfit even has a bit of a tuxedo feel with the undershirt, coattails, and shoes. Now who was wearing a fancy suit when they falsely accused Joker and started this whole mess?
    • Ryuji is a former track star who's been branded as a punk by society. His outfit certainly reflects that with the metal plates, leather jacket, and club-like weapons like a back-alley street thug.
    • Ann grew up admiring a cartoon super villainess for her free spirit. Little wonder her costume basically looks like an Expy for Catwoman's.
    • Morgana's outfit looks like it might not fit, given he appears like a mascot character. It fits in with his thoughts that he is a human, and thus is "rebelling" against the idea that he is truly a cat.
    • Yusuke is an artist and (partially due to his poverty) takes a rather old-fashioned view of things. His rebel persona therefore has the tight jumpsuit and flashy mask of a romanticized period-drama ninja thief.
    • Makoto is the prim-and-proper, reason-over-emotion head of the student council. What else would reflect a rebel to her but a hot-blooded biker chick?
    • Tech-savvy Futaba is almost deceptively easy to place as a black hat hacker, but take a closer look. With all the high-tech gizmos and powers her persona grants and the fact that she's always riding inside of it instead of being on the battlefield with the others she's like the final boss from a video game!
    • Haru's own persona calls her a "princess", and she's desperate to break that role. Hence her outfit reflects nobility, but looks more like it's meant for a gentleman burglar than a female courtier like Milady's dress.
    • Akechi follows a similar theme to Haru. A white outfit that just screams disgraced/exiled noble (which he sort of is being Shido's bastard son). His true costume reveals another side to the rebel, though: The stripes on his outfit look like a prison uniform, like the countless people he's helped lock up. It also serves as a hint that he, like Joker, is a prisoner of the Demiurge.
  • The thief outfits and weapons also represent how others perceive them.
    • Ren is thought of as shifty criminal and some of the rumors you see in the hallway even imply the students think he is carrying a knife on him, just by reputation, his awakening manifests a knife as well for him to fight with.
    • Ryuji is perceived by others at school as a violent no-good thug after his altercation with Kamoshida, the outfit and lead pipe make him look the part, he even mentions after his awakening "Kamoshida's cognition ain't changing, so I'll act like the troublemaker I am!"
    • For Ann, around school people see her as a shameless flirt who uses men, like she's a femme fatale, the sexy catsuit and whip makes her looks like a woman who dominates men.
    • Morgana looks like a miniature mascot, hard to see and easy to miss, with weapons he can easily use. Igor probably meant to make Morgana an ally and give him some things that wouldn't be hard to use due to his miniature size.
    • Yusuke is seen as a quiet cold artist, who's quick to draw his weapon/brush in a flash when the moment strikes. His outfit also has white, black and blue, frequently seen as cold/winter colors.
    • Makoto is harder to pin, but she is seen as the enforcer of the principal or like his loyal knight, her mask looking very knight-like, her knuckles could be seen as almost word play of her "knuckle down and follow orders" personality she gave off initially.
    • Futaba was really interacted with by Sojiro, he saw her as a strange but exceptional girl, like a high tech specialist, her persona being a UFO also represents how alien she is to everyone, strange but fantastic.
    • Haru has a refined elegant look, but is armed with a brutal axe and grenade launcher, many saw her as a proxy of her father and perhaps perceived as being capable of being as ruthless and aggressive as he is as a business man.
    • Akechi is seen by all his fans as a hero and all around "pleasant boy" even as the second Prince detective, his outfit being very princely, his weapons being fantastical, his fans believing him to be capable of doing impossible things just by being star struck by his charisma. His Black Mask outfit also fits, given it looks like the in universe Neo Featherman series outfits, mashed with a prisoner theme: Shido and Yaldabaoth see him as nothing more than a doll to be used and thrown away when it bores them.
  • The appearance or namesakes of the Phantom Thieves Personas are also rather fitting concerning their circumstances or how they rebelled from society.
    • Akira/Ren has Arsène, based on the fictional character Arsene Lupin. Arsene was written as a force of good, but often found on the wrong side of the law, which is well symbolized by Arsène's Gentleman Thief combined with his angelic black wings, who is also Chained by Fashion. Akira/Ren had just recently found themselves on the wrong side of the law and branded a criminal for something he didn't do, but is still a good person.
    • Ryuji has Captain Kidd, based on the real life figure William Kidd. William Kidd was a pirate, who are often stereotyped as having eyepatches, golden teeth, and peg legs. The third is actually very fitting, considering Ryuji's leg was broken by Kamoshida and thus he'd have a bum leg for awhile. Kidd was also notably tried and executed, and Ryuji's fit of rage caused the Track Team to get disbanded, effectively "executing" Ryuji.
    • Ann has Carmen, based on the character that the same play is based around. Carmen is a known heartbreaker and deconstruction of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. This is fitting because Ann has been trying to keep away from Kamoshida, never confronting him while his cognition of Ann shows that he wants her to be his Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Carmen is shown having two broken hearted men in chains with herself, which befits how Ann not only stops running away from Kamoshida to fight against him, but also destroying his cognition of her, in essence intending to break his heart.
    • Morgana has Zorro, based on the fictional character of the same name. His character was seen as a savior who defends the commoners of the indigenous peoples of California from tyrants and villains who seek to control them. He hides his fighting abilities when pretending to be a commoner, instead opting to look like a coward and a fop. He also has a horse named Tornado. Fittingly enough, Morgana specializes in Wind/Garu spells, and his cat form has been used more than once to innocuously spread calling cards. Morgana was also created by Igor to find Persona users to help him and defeat/overthrow Yaldabaoth, therefore being a "Savior" to Igor and the rest of Japan.
    • Yusuke has Goemon, who is based off of the real life figure Ishikawa Goemon. Goemon's supposed earlier life involved the death of his parents while he was very young which led to him swearing revenge upon the killers, which befits how Yusuke's mother was left to die by Madarame and he in turn swore revenge upon him. Goemon's acts of stealing from the rich and giving to the oppressed poor is also fitting in the sense that he's stealing Madarame's fame and giving it back to the oppressed artists he's long since subdued. Goemon's appearance is also fitting, looking like a Japanese ink wash painting brought to life, and Yusuke is an artist!
    • Makoto has Johanna, who is based on the supposedly fictional Pope Joan. Pope Joan was said to have disguised herself as a man to infiltrate the church and have risen up to the Papacy, only to be ousted as a woman and killed when she had delivered her child in full view of everyone else. Makoto similarly tried infiltrating the Phantom Thieves at the behest of the principal, which lead her to the point of finding Kaneshiro's hideout who was intent on making her into a sex slave (aka "with child"?). Her awakening could be seen as her "Death" (which in the Tarot symbolizes change) and rebirth into a Phantom Thief. And what better way to ride out of your old life than on an awesome supernatural motorcycle!?
    • Futaba has Necronomicon, a fictional Tome of Eldritch Lore in the Cthulhu Mythos by H. P. Lovecraft. It's fictional author was said to be "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, which gives a nice connection to Futaba's Pyramid Palace theme. Not to mention the factor that the Necronomicon is said to be a book of forbidden and eldritch powers fits Futaba. Afterall, what better Persona for a girl who indulges in the illegal art of hacking? Furthermore, it's UFO appearance hits in the sense that Futaba has alienated herself from everyone else, but has been trying to make contact with others like aliens in urban legends do.
    • Haru has Milady, based on the fictional character Milady De Winter from The Three Musketeers. Milady De Winter is known as a spy and criminal, who had married into royalty but was nearly killed by her husband when her status was found out. And after she manages to survive and tries to get vengeance, she is found out and later executed by beheading. This fits Haru as she willingly joins the Phantom Thieves in hopes of reclaiming her father's heart, and that her fiance is a Domestic Abuser intent on using her as his plaything. And while Haru succeeds in her "vengeance" of stealing her father's heart, he gets killed and essentially leaves heading the company to Haru who doesn't know the first thing of being a CEO, essentially being left headless. The loads of guns within Milady's dress is also fitting, because when faced with the idea of a future with someone like her Fiance, that's exactly the kind of protection you'd want to keep him away.
    • Akechi has Robin Hood and Loki, based on a fictional story of the same name and the god of deceit and lies in Norse Mythology. Robin Hood's appearance fits with Akechi's desired public image, and his story fits as stealing from the rich to give to the poor. But when the rightful king returns, Robin Hood gives up being a thief and is knighted by the King...which is essentially what Akechi does the moment he's done working with the Phantom Thieves, going back to being Shido's lapdog. Loki is fitting in the sense that he's one of the parties responsible for instigating Ragnarok, the all out war at the end of the world in Norse Mythology. He killed a beloved figure, insulted the gods over their past misdeeds and gave a Motive Rant to how he did all of his, and even fathered a few of the monsters responsible for tearing up the world when Ragnarok comes. This all fits how Akechi intends to build Shido up (killing a "beloved" figure), oust The Conspiracy (insult the gods on their misdeeds) and even testify of all of his own to further break down Shido (Motive Rant to how he did all of this). And that "Fathering Monsters" bit also helps in the fact that Loki has the power to make Shadows go berserk, essentially turning them into vicious monsters! As well, one of Loki's most noted powers is shapeshifting. Akechi has the ability to change his Metaverse Outfit, and uses the false facade of a "Detective Prince" to hide his inner darkness.
    • Kasumi has Cendrillon (a.k.a. Cinderella) in which many people don't imagine her as a thief. However, Cinderella does in fact rebel against her family to attend the ball against their wishes, thus making her fit in the theme of rebellion. This could be a statement towards Kasumi being an Aloof Ally since Cinderella became a rebel while not really becoming a criminal. As well, the persona also reflects the fact Kasumi feels like she's been helped throughout her life, as Cinderella was only able to attend the ball thanks to the fairy godmother.
  • The appearance and stories of the evolved Persona's of the party members is also fitting.
    • Ren/Akira/The PC has Satanael at the end game, who is said in game to be a Gnostic representation of Lucifer before he fell from grace.
      • His wings go from feathered to black bat wings, as he is draped in armor that looks fine, as well as a dark halo, representing how the PC is willing to embrace being a criminal if it means it's for the good of mankind.
      • He represents a more beneficial representation of Lucifer, how he freed mankind from ignorance and gave them free will. The Protagonist's endgame at this point is to free humanity (or at least the general public of Japan) from Yaldabaoth's influence. Notably, Artistic License – Religion is in play, as Satanael isn't shown in actual places as being a good being. This could be interpreted that the PC is no longer going by societal expectations, but creating his own meaning in the world.
    • Ryuji has Seiten Taisei, the titular Monkey King in Journey to the West.
      • He rides a living cloud and wields a staff weighing 800K, which shows how Ryuji is able to work under the pressure and go wherever he pleases at the same time.
      • "Seiten Taisei" is noted to be a title Sun Wukong gave himself when trying to entice the residents of Heaven. After extending his own life, he was found by Buddha and crushed underneath the Five Fingered Mountain for 500 years until freed by a Monk, who he then followed. Ryuji had notably changed his image after the incident with Kamoshida, going from a good kid to a delinquent to fit where he was at. He was crushed by Kamoshida's own hands, and was going to be executed by Kamoshida's Shadow. While Ren/Akira/The PC isn't exactly a monk, he does free Ryuji, and Ryuji proceeds to follow Akira loyally.
    • Ann has Hecate, the Greek Goddess of Witchcraft, Crossroads, and Necromancy.
      • Carmen's twindrills have turned into wicked hair with eyes in them, she wears some armor on her upper body and the two broken hearted men have become rabid dogs at Hecate's command. This well represents that while Ann does have very good looks, she won't let herself be defined by them and that she knows how to look out for, reject and control those who would seek to get to her via her looks.
      • Hecate is also known as being more at home at the fringes of greek society, how she defies boundaries, eludes definition, and is even seen as a savior by some. Ann became a Phantom Thief by accidentally stumbling onto the Cognitive World, and finds a place she can belong in the Phantom Thieves. As a model, she also eludes definition, and is in with the other protagonists in starting the Phantom Thieves, in essence becoming "saviors" to the oppressed populace.
      • Hecate at first glance looks quite evil. This isn't just related to Ann's desire to emulate female super-villains, but also because one of Hecate's main characteristics is that in one way or another, she's 'scary'... just like an evil-looking female super-villain figure would seem to be at first glance.
    • Morgana has Mercurius, the Roman God of Commerce, Luck, Travelers and Thieves. Mercurius is much more lean in build, wears more rougeish attire and wields a cadaseus in stark contrast to Zorro who had a bulkier build, armor and wielded a sword. This shows how Morgana has embraced his lifestyle as a thief and is a general benefactor/guide to the Phantom Thieves as a whole.
    • Yusuke has Kamu Susano-o, the Japanese God of Storms.
      • Susano-o is now a Walking Shirtless Scene with tattoos covering his skin, baggy pants, stark white hair and a scarf with an actual sword compared to Goemon's over the top traditional wear, black pompadour and his sword looking like a huge pipe. This befits how Yusuke seems to be getting more in touch with modern society and the people around him.
      • Susano-o was known for rampaging through Heaven when he lost to Amaterasu, and was eventually thrown out. He then finds out about the Orochi from a grieving family who lost 7 daughters and are about to lose the last one. Susano-o proceeds to kill it, take a sword from it's innards, and gift them and two other items to Amaterasu as an apology. This seems to befit how Yusuke has embraced the lifestyle of a Phantom Thief, going from a possible enemy of them to someone who helps venerate them. He even creates the calling cards past the 3rd palace.
    • Makoto has Anat, a goddess of War that has appeared in several northwestern Semitic Religions.
      • Anat is a Transforming Mecha of a Motorcycle, plated in steel. The calm face of Johanna has been replaced by an angry visage of a woman with horns. This represents how Makoto won't let society's labels define what she can or can't do, and how she can be or go wherever she wants to if she puts the effort into it.
      • Anat is known in multiple stories to have avenged her fallen brother by killing Mot, and dragging him back from the underworld. This befits how Makoto was "dragged into reality" by the Phantom Thieves, as well as her desired purpose in life by the end of her Confidant by becoming a Police Comissioner. It also befits how protective she is of her sister, Sae, when she becomes the object of the Conspiracy's fancy.
    • Futaba has Prometheus, the Greek Titan who gave mankind fire.
      • Prometheus appears like a ball engraved with rainbows and having what appears to be a smiling face emoticon. This seems to befit how Futaba now views life, instead of a lifeless wasteland, there is possibility, vibrancy and color that she has come to experience from her time with the Protagonist.
      • Prometheus is known as the titan who gave mankind fire and knowledge, which had incurred Zeus's wrath. He was to be chained to a rock, an eagle ripping out his liver each day, only for it to regrow in the night, to which the cycle would continue ad infinitum. He was freed by the hero Hercules during the 12 Labours. This befits how Futaba was tormented by her own self-loathing thanks to the men in black sent by a "god" (aka Shido), and it wasn't until "heroes" saved her (aka the Phantom Thieves) that she started to get better.
    • Haru has Astarte, the Mesopotamian Goddess of Love and War.
      • Astarte appears to be a black silhouette of a woman with her hair let loose, wearing nothing but lengerie, a large crescent moon symbol on her forehead, and her bottom half is concealed by what appears to be a constantly rotating triple headed skull that faces three directions. One with it's eyes open, the next with them half open and the last with them shut. It also appears to have a rotating halo like thing around itself. This seems to befit on how Haru is able to be more open to people in spite of her status, being able to open her eyes to everything around her.
      • Astarte is known as having multiple associations, mainly with Goddesses like Aphrodite or Ishtar. She is known as the "Queen of Heaven" in some contexts, but she's also been known to have been demonized into Astaroth, one of the three dukes of Hell. Haru was well known for her high status as Okumura's daughter, but after her father confesses and dies, and she falls in with the Phantom Thieves, it befits how she's become one of the forces for criminals, which society in game could perceive as "Hell".
    • Akechi has Loki, the trickster god from Norse Mythology.
      • When one looks at Loki, he has Dazzle Camouflage, a type of camouflage used on ships to mislead onlookers as to what direction they're going. Furthermore, its legs seem to shift into horse's legs at the knee down, his fingers turning into claws and the braids on its head turning a fiery red at the tips. It has horns and wears a malicious smile on his face. In a way, Loki's appearance shares a lot of similarities with Arsène, given they share the smiling face, horns and fingers. Both are the intial Personas of their respective users, but while Arsène is known to be a good guy, Loki is well known for being a malicious troll. Both Akira/Ren and Akechi were put into positions where they were dehumanized by society, but while Akira/Ren tries to make the best of his situation, Akechi wallows in it and becomes more corrupted. It even shows in how Loki is becoming more monstrous in appearance, like how Akechi has become a monster as well. The factor that Dazzle Camouflage is used on ships also details his relationship to Shido: he's trying to misdirect people from hurting Shido, at least not until he can sink the ship himself.
      • Loki is known as a trickster god in Norse Mythology, who usually got people into as much trouble as much as he got people out of it. However, after Balder's death and during a night the other Aesir were being cruel to him, Loki drunkenly ranted about how he caused Balder's death and how much everyone else sucked. In retaliation, they killed his children, tied him to a stone and make venom drip into his eyes. When Ragnarok happened, he was one of the confirmed casualties. This befits how Akechi was doomed to fail or die no matter what he did, be it by his father's cognition of him, a death sentence for all the murders Akechi did, or fail to defeat Joker as the two couldn't help but fight each other as per Yaldabaoth's game. And unlike the rest of the Phantom Thieves's Personas, Loki was demonized by Christianity marking him as a villain, much like how Akechi was demonized by society for being a bastard child and for saying the Phantom Thieves aren't justice.
  • The Velvet Room taking the form of a prison, instead of an elevator or limo. This time around, you're not trying to reach a goal, but running away from a hierarchical society that's rejected you and your friends.
    • The prison not only represents his feelings of entrapment but also the subconscious fear Joker has of being caught for his actions.
    • And in light of The Reveal, it foreshadows that Igor has been replaced by a being that wants to control rather than free you.
    • In addition, fake!Igor also greets the protagonist with "Welcome to my Velvet Room" while the real Igor only ever refers to it as the Velvet Room.
    • Not only that, but in Persona 4 Margaret reveals that the shape of the room and its residents are selected by their master. The prison shape was chosen by a being that supposedly expresses surprise at its shape at the start of the game. Even from the previous game we were given hints of the truth.
    • In the previous two games, Igor is exceedingly benevolent at all times, offering to turn back time and give you as many chances as you need should you fail a main story mission. In this one, Igor mocks you for losing his "game"... First time players may think this is the game taking a Darker and Edgier route, but it is, in fact, yet another clue towards the impostor's identity.
    • This extends to even the attendants. Caroline and Justine wear uniforms of washed-out blue instead of the deep Velvet Room Blue of their siblings. Why is this? Because they've been diluted from their original form, Lavenza. Once they are combined again by use of the fusion guillotine, Lavenza regains the full blue of the classic Velvet Room.
  • The dominant color of P5 being red, as opposed to P3's blue and P4's yellow. Red isn't a calming color like blue or a happy color like yellow and is used to excite, foreshadowing P5's more action-oriented nature.
    • Red, blue, and yellow are also primary colors, this would extend the contrasting themes between P5 and the previous games.
    • It goes deeper than that! The color motif corresponds to the emotions that the protagonists of each game are confronting: 3 is blue, and centers on depression, despair, and grief. 4 is yellow and centers on fear, deception, and cowardice. 5 is red, and focuses on anger, vengeance, and outrage. If they ever do Persona 6, this troper's money is on the dominant color being green, centered on envy, jealousy, and ambition.
  • The Velvet Room having twin attendants this time makes sense. The room and its residents are connected to the current guest's psyche and the game's theme is individualization; what other type of person wants to assert their own individual identity more than a twin?
    • Also, the twins may also represent the two different paths (glory or ruin) that the protagonist may take.
    • They also represent the protagonist's duality in his life between his public and secret persona.
      • The scene when the protagonist is in the Velvet Room follows along this line of thought. The twins are on either side of his cell, and if they're representative of the dual faces he shows to the world (the meek student and the confident trickster), then he, the real person, is caged between them.
    • Another plausible possibility is that they are supposed to represent the trope Good Cop/Bad Cop, given the nature of this game. This becomes blatantly obvious when Caroline shows to be aggressive and abusive, while Justine takes a calm approach.
    • It's also possible that the Velvet Room having two attendants is a subtle way to foreshadow that the protagonist isn't the only Wild Card holder this time around.
    • They are represented by the Strength Arcana, which, aside from the obvious symbolism of being the strongest boss in the game, is number eleven of the twenty-two listed, meaning that they evenly bisect the list. This is yet more foreshadowing of their true nature as Lavenza. One list split in twain, and the list of persona you're made to create for them is another failsafe by Lavenza to remind them of who they truly are.
  • You'll probably miss it the first time through, but in Ryuji's conversation with the Protagonist, they actually say the three coordinates necessary to use the Meta-Nav. Ryuji even explicitly refers to Shujin academy as "Kamoshida's castle."
    • The first episode in the Animation brings emphasis to this by showing the Meta-Nav react to the keywords.
  • In previous games, the attendants of the Velvet Room who deign to fight the protagonist have always wielded Persona's of undeniable might, such as Helel, Loki and Uriel. In this incarnation, however, Justine and Caroline go on the offensive with such entities as Slime, Agathion and Mandrake. Their power levels remain as hellish as ever, to be certain, but the drop in the quality of Personas is highly noticeable nevertheless. Most likely, the disparity in power arises from 'Igor' dividing them into two separate entities, thus dividing their power and making them easier to control. It is only when the pair combine their might that Ardha, a Persona truly befitting keepers of power such as they, presents itself, thus hinting at their true nature.
  • The ice skating on concrete. You play as a bunch of teenagers running away from society's law; they are always at risk of being caught. You could say they're always on thin ice.
  • Okumura's Palace consists of the headquarters for Big Bang Burgers represented as a spaceport, he's using his own company to boost himself into a political career, and you fight his Shadow just as he's about to launch off. Kunikazu is reaching for the stars.
  • Unlike most other Palace Treasures, Shido's treasure, his Legislator's Pin, is completely worthless. It has absolutely no monetary value; That's because his entire person is just worthless. He absolutely cannot do anything to benefit other people, and even his Charisma is bestowed by Yaldabaoth, in which he can easily revoke using Joker.
  • The first trailer made it seem as if the main character was a standard silent protagonist, only for everyone to be blown away when he turned out to be a hot-blooded thief. We were all literally hooked by Joker's ruse.
  • In P3, Elizabeth is a girl around Minato/Makoto's age though more outgoing and energetic to contrast his brooding and distant but secretly caring nature; in P4, Margaret is an Older and Wiser woman but with her own strange sense of humor to parallel Yu's maturity and wittiness. In P5, the Velvet twins are younger than Joker and at first, a little disturbing: This reflects Joker's own mental immaturity and how people might see him as a little odd. It's then even more meaningful, as they're actually two halves of an entity split by force through malice, reflecting how Joker was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Ann having absolutely horrid physical stats (worst strength, worst endurance and second-worst agility) makes perfect sense once you realize that she doesn't even slightly care about keeping herself in shape. She eats whatever she wants and she is never seen exercising, which is brought up during her Confidant when she tries to work out only for Ryuji to correct a lot of misconceptions about it. Sure her metabolism keeps her thin, but it doesn't mean she's healthy.
    • Something else to tie into this is her high luck — namely how lucky she is to have such an incredible metabolism that lets her indulge in such a lifestyle. Considering how much of a mixed bag genetics can be, she basically dodged a serious bullet.
  • In a similar vein, Ryuji having low agility makes sense when you remember he's still recovering from a broken leg. While he can still run quickly with enough buildup, the guy can't break into top speed as quickly or as easily as others without risking the chance of hurting himself. Furthermore, as Ryuji is shown to be very insightful when it comes to physical fitness, it's likely that he has to take a moment to make sure he's not doing anything to hurt himself before he takes action. However, to compensate, he has great strength and the highest endurance in the party, showing that despite his limitations he's still very much in good physical health.
  • The various Palaces are, aside from reflections of their owners, also all classical "heist" locations: a wealthy nobleman's castle, a museum, a bank, a pyramid, a space station, a casino, and a cruise ship. While most of them very obviously fit the Phantom Thief motif and are classical targets for "bumping off", two of them can seem a little out there. And yet, they still make sense:
    • The pyramid? Well, you're robbers, of course; now, you're engaging in tomb robbing. The treasure was even located in a sarcophagus (before it got up to walk around and help the team). There's even a segment at the start in a nearby "town" where you deal with "competing tomb robbers", clear out of classic tomb raiding films!
    • The space station? This one's probably the most esoteric, but there have been plenty of pieces of sci-fi media about infiltrating high-tech bases for various reasons; the treasure in the Palace itself even takes the form of a high-power energy core for Okumura's ship, which is a common target for such actions in other stories. On the other hand, the discrepancy between it and the other Palaces as being somewhere thieves usually wouldn't rob could hint at the fact that the Phantom Thieves shouldn't be there: things end up going horribly wrong for them right after this heist.
    • The depths of Mementos can even be viewed as a "prison break" (aka something in which Thieves can do to their comrades) as the Phantom Thieves are breaking people out of Yaldabaoth's prison.
  • The reason why the human party members have golden eyes before obtaining their Personas is because in that moment they're internally confronting their Shadows. When they have the determination to stop hiding their discomfort with life, they can (literally) take off their mask and see the dark side of themselves face-to-face, taming their Shadows and gaining Personas. This also explains why the Personas come out of their bodies while granting them their cool outfits: it's their Shadows' last act of showing "their true selves" before giving way to their Personas.
  • If Atlus' goal was to portray the Thieves as ambiguous anti-heroes, they've succeeded in doing this with the voice cast alone. The protagonist and Ryuji are voiced by Jun Fukuyama and Mamoru Miyano respectively, their most famous roles? Lelouch Lamperouge and Light Yagami. Two characters who define Ambitious Anti-Hero.
  • In the OP, Morgana is first shown with the text "Luxuria" before being shown on the other screens with the rest of the deadly sins. Why Lust instead of something more thief-fitting, like Greed? It's because the first dungeon is the Palace, implied to be the Lust dungeon, and it's where the protagonists first met Morgana and the concept of Personas.
    • Another point to bring up is that this Palace is also where Morgana first meets Ann (both the cognitive version made by Kamoshida, and the real deal) and develops his crush on her.
  • Makoto Niijima. Repressed student council president? Constantly scrutinized as the academic and behavioral model for an entire school? No wonder she seems to have anger issues.
    • Plus, Sae has very little time or patience for Makoto to be anything 'but' a "good child", and that has some negative effects.
  • The Death Arcana in Persona 5 doesn't have a name on it unlike the other Arcana. Why? Because the tarot in the game are based on the Marseilles deck, where the only card without a name is Death.
    • Rather appropriate given that Tae Takemi herself has been blacklisted by the medical community.
  • The Greater-Scope Villain, Yaldabaoth is known as the Gnostic interpretation of the God of monotheistic religions, a false god that created the universe and shaped the heart and soul into mortal forms. Keeping this in mind, it's fitting that he impersonates Igor, the Big Good and the one responsible for helping you develop your Personas.
  • A meta one here for the developers. Usually, the fact of a character changing voice actors isn't something to take note of, but in this case it might have been a subtle bit of foreshadowing to the point about the bait and switch with Igor that takes place.
  • Morgana's Ultimate Persona is Mercurius, the Roman version of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods. Morgana turns out to have been created by the real Igor to help the protagonist.
    • Compared to Zorro, Mercurius's color scheme features a lot of blue and gold. Y'know, the major colors of the Velvet Room attendants?
  • Why is the first available party member you meet, Morgana a healer? Igor created him to find and help those who could stop the Big Bad. He would naturally want him to be able to keep them alive once they met.
  • The reason for there being nine sins instead of the traditional seven: Two of the "sins", hollowness and vanity, are alternate interpretations of sloth and pride, respectively. Hollowness could also be read as despair, which ties into Futaba's pyramid dungeon and the reasons why it forms.
  • Almost immediately in in the Fortune Arcana, Chihaya has you buy a "Holy Stone" that breaks into pieces upon coming home, and is revealed to be just rock salt. This may in fact be none other than Himalayan Pink Salt, which aside from its pink color and somewhat stronger flavor, is known for various claims of being able to absorb negative energy when heated by light or flame, popularizing rock salt lamps. However, just as these "Holy Stones" are little more than a sham, these various claims are unsubstantiated and have little hard evidence.
  • Why is Futaba's shadow helpful rather than antagonistic? Shadows are the repressed feelings about oneself, Futaba knew that her mother loved her, but the blame thrown at her made her repress it. Unlike Shadows of P4 who embodied negative feelings, Futaba's Shadow was made of her positive feelings and righteous anger, thus worked to repair her self's fractured psyche.
    • Extending this, Shadows are reversals of a person's current selves given form. For example, Chie is upright Chariot (determination), while Shadow Chie is reverse Chariot (lack of conviction). When you meet Futaba and then see her Shadow, the roles are reversed themselves: Shadow Futaba is upright Hermit (moving forward) whereas present Futaba is reverse Hermit (cannot leave behind). It is little surprise that the Shadow ends up lecturing their current form for missing the truth, something that was massively hammered in P4 but performed the other way around.
  • Considering Goro's background as a victim of child abuse, the weapons his Persona uses which are inspired by a Japanese children's anime, might be based on the subconscious memory of one of the only outlets of escape he had from his crappy home life.
    • Alternatively, considering his usage of those weapons exclusively during his stint as a Phantom Thief his weapons could be his interpretation as to what a Phantom Thief is actually like, with the toys being a representation of how he doesn't take them seriously.
    • It can also be seen in his desire to be seen as the hero of the story, with his evil persona costume reflecting how said desire has corrupted him.
    • His use of these weapons actually provides a parallel situation with his predecessor as Detective Prince. Naoto's dungeon was heavily influenced by sci-fi anime in the same way Akechi's weapons are.
  • Ann's Ultimate Persona is Hecate, who is identified with another goddess Angelos within her backstory. Hecate is commonly theorized to be a foreign goddess who gradually became assimilated into the Greek pantheon, partially through identification with gods like Angelos. Ann, similarly, is a mixed race girl who finds her place among the Phantom Thieves.
  • On a similar tack, and going into a kind of "Fridge Tearjerking", even, it can at first seem rather random and out-of-character for Makoto to be so afraid of "spooky things", as the Futaba chapter demonstrates - she fights supernatural beings on a motorcycle and otherwise loves things like gory, violent Yakuza movies, so what the hell would she have to be afraid of? But then you realize: the problem in a situation like the one where she so thoroughly loses her nerve is that she's worried about being ambushed out of the dark, with no way to defend herself. Her Confidant reveals that her father was killed in the line of duty by a hit-and-run vehicle ambush he had no way of stopping. Of course she's afraid in that situation. She's probably had that particular phobia for a long time.
  • Goro is named after Kogoro Akechi, a Japanese Expy of Sherlock Holmes. It subtly foreshadows how Goro is a "fake" copy of a Great Detective, as opposed to his predecessor "Detective Prince" Naoto. It also gives an easier way to reference to another famous traitor, Akechi Mitsuhide, which makes the targets of his betrayal, Joker and Shido, making more sense: Mitsuhide's lord, Oda Nobunaga was known for rebelling from and shunning old traditions during his conquest on Japan, similar to Joker and Shido, while Shido's ambitions are easily compared to those of Nobunaga's.
    • Oda Nobunaga was even referenced in one of the questions the teacher would ask you during class. He also came up during exams. Shadow Shido even wears a Japanese war leader outfit when fighting you on chariot.
    • There's also the fact that the game has several references and nods to Arsene Lupin, and Maurice Leblanc did use Sherlock Holmes himself as an antagonist to his phantom thief, something the game itself points out just a few in-game days before Akechi is introduced to the team.
  • Goro's Persona, Robin Hood noticeably lacks the character's famous green motif and is instead white. Just like Goro, it's not showing its true colors.
  • Robin Hood is an odd choice in the lineup of Personas, since even though he was a rebel, some tellings of the story end with him swearing allegiance to the crown after King Richard returns. So why would Goro's rebellious heart manifest as someone like that? Goro is secretly loyal to Shido and the establishment. Goro (Robin Hood) becomes loyal to the government when Shido (King Richard) rises to power.
  • Akechi often comments on how refreshing or different Joker's comments are compared to the rest of the public's perception. He feels like Joker is one of the few who understands what it's like to be unable to escape preconceptions or expectations of one's self. This is not only foreshadowing his knowledge of Joker as a second Wild Card holder but is symbolic of how he sees him, re: his second persona, Loki, who sees Thor as having everything he believes he himself in entitled to: loyal friends, loving parents, sense of purpose, etc. Akechi asks Joker specifically about this after suffering a second consecutive defeat inside Shido's palace. Joker has no good or easy answer.
    • Almost as if to enforce the Loki/Thor parallel between Joker and Akechi, look at the latter's moveset during his boss fight, it consists of Physical, Bless, and Curse moves with one Almighty attack as a desperate measure. Thor is strong against Physical, Curse, and Bless. That's right, he's practically the best Persona Joker can use against Akechi.
  • All Myths Are True in this universe, or at least perception of them is, since you can create personas based on Judeo-Christian archangels, Hindu devas, and Greek deities. On the long list of famous names are also Thor, Norse God of Thunder and Storms, and the Allfather himself, Odin. The only other really recognizable Norse god seems suspiciously absent. Because he's Akechi's "real" persona.
  • With the DLC outfits based on Catherine, Goro's outfit is based on Boss. Boss, AKA Thomas Mutton, was the Hidden Villain of his own game and slips up in the same way.
    • In fact, many of Goro's DLC outfits lampshade his status as the traitor, not strictly because they're all different from the others, but because the outfit he gets saddled with is usually a villain's outfit. Instead of the standard Karukozaka uniform for the Shin Megami Tensei if... set, he wears Big Bad Ideo Hazama's white uniform. Instead of the Seven Sisters uniform for the Persona 2 set, he wears the Kasugayama uniform, which is worn by Jun Kurosu, who served as The Heavy for most of the game. Instead of Raidou's outfit for the Devil Summoner set, he wears the uniform of General Munakata, one of the game's antagonists. It's quite brilliant, and serves as a nice Shout-Out for players who are familiar with those games. It also explains what a lot of the fandom took as a joke before the game was released, as covering him up in these pre-release materials helped hide his costume theming until you got to see him wear them in game.
  • At first, the reason why the belief counter in the Phantom Thieves begins to erase them seems like an out of nowhere move for the villain, until you stop to think about the beginning of the game. What did we have to do at the beginning? We had to accept that this was a work of fiction or Yaldabaoth wouldn't let us play the game. No wonder the Phantom Thieves faded so quickly, everyone was made to accept they weren't real at the very beginning! The only reason why they didn't was because of something Yaldabaoth didn't see coming. The villain sure isn't a slouch this time, he took steps to take care of things in Meta!
    • Not to mention the fact that it foreshadowed that the imposter is a Control Freak, since saying no to him will result in you being booted back to the start screen. It's his way or the highway.
  • The Persona 5 protagonist is fairly lazy compared to his predecessor, and can nap or work on side projects in class. Fittingly enough, the Diligence stat doesn't return in P5.
  • The Palace right before the story catches up to the present day is a casino. The palace's owner claims to want to "fight it out fair and square", but the entire dungeon's gimmick is that you have to go through rigged casino games in order to make it to the treasure, and in order to get through, the Thieves have to cheat themselves in order to beat the rigged odds. This is very fitting from a meta-narrative standpoint on two levels. First, you know that no matter what happens during the heist, the ending is a Foregone Conclusion where the heist goes awry and the Protagonist gets captured. Second, the reason the heist goes awry is because it's all a setup by Goro to capture the Thieves, meaning that even the heist itself was rigged for failure. And to top it all off, the Protagonist escapes from this situation by "cheating" again, this time by cheating death so that he can escape with Sae's help and strike back against the Conspiracy when they least expect it.
    • Considering the Palace's owner and its real world location, Sae who is a prosecutor, and the courthouse. You could see it as one big metaphor for how rigged the system is. Especially against people like the Phantom Thieves.
    • It might also mean that Shadow Sae knows the Police are coming and stalls for time so that it can be fought in the real world - where both individuals DEFINITELY hold the same amount of power.
  • Because of his reputation, this game's protagonist has very few friends at school, and his "school life" is lacking in comparison to the previous two games. His fellow Shujin thieves (Ryuji, Ann, Makoto, Haru), Yuki Mishima (who gained the protagonist's friendship after Kamoshida's heart is changed, and runs the Phantom Thieves' website), and Sadayo Kawakami (Ann and the protagonist's homeroom teacher) are the only Shujin-related people who are close to him. This is reflected in the fact that none of your cooperation links involve you joining school clubs. Your co-op links are with adults working across the city, an elementary-aged latchkey kid (Shinya Oda), and a shogi player who attends another school (Hifumi Togo). You only get close to Kawakami after discovering her second job, and Yuki's co-op doesn't take place at the school at all and focuses on his personal life and his job as the thieves' PR manager instead. The same mostly applies to the Phantom Thieves who do attend Shujin, and even then, you don't truly actively partake or join in whatever club or group they do (Ryuji helps out the track team, and Makoto is the Student Council President. Makoto being on the council isn't even focused on that much in her co-op either, save for about two scenes.)
    • This also applies in the main story. Shujin is a major setpiece for your first week in Tokyo and is the real world location of Kamoshida's Palace. Once his heart is changed, Shujin loses its importance in the setting, aside from the occasional note that the principal is a member of The Conspiracy (and a low-ranking member at that). The second and final time it's used is for the school's fall festival, but absolutely no fun is had, because it takes place not long after Kunikazu Okumura was killed, and Goro, who comes to the festival as a guest speaker, finally reveals that he knows about the thieves and joins your party. To top it all off, once Sae frees the protagonist from prison and he fakes his death, he has to lay low for a while and stops attending school for the rest of the game.
  • Normally, the Fool arcana represents the protagonist and their team. This time, however, the card represents Igor... because this "Igor" has been using you the entire time.
  • Madarame's plagiarism theme shows even in his boss fight. His Shadow uses "unique" moves that are just renamed versions of normal skills like Magaru, Mabufu and Megidola. Even his attacks are plagiarized!
    • For added brilliance, the only attack his human form can use is Madara-Megido, which is a shoddy knockoff of Megidola both in terms of name and power. If this is what he is truly capable of on his own, then his genuine art talent has devolved to match that henohenomoheji, and all the "fancy" works he plagiarized are naught but a cover for that.
    • Not only that, Shadow Madarame praised himself for coming up with the "brilliant scheme" of selling copies of the painting Sayuri to collectors by making them think they're buying the supposedly stolen original so they will keep quiet about it and allow him to use the same con over and over again for more money. It turns out that isn't even an original scam at all. In 1911, Argentine Con Man Eduardo de Valfierno allegedly masterminded the theft of the Mona Lisa by former Louvre worker Vincenzo Peruggia not because he wanted the painting itself, but rather because he planned on selling six forgeries of it that he shipped around to world and close to their eventual millionaires buyers before the heist even took place because he knew that it would be harder to pass the copies through customs after word of the robbery would hit to the newspapers. That's it, even as a scam artist, Madarame is nothing but a sad imitator who doesn't hold a candle to the real deal.
  • "Friend Awakening Battle" usually plays during battles where a friend awakens to their Persona, but there are a few special cases where it's used for the second part of a Sequential Boss. All of these, however, still fit the "friend awakening" theme if you think about it.
    • The second part of the Leviathan fight. Unlike the other targets, Sae performs a Heel–Face Turn of her own free will after the fight and becomes an ally of the thieves.
    • The second part of the traitor battle. Foreshadowing that Goro really did come to care about the Thieves and his Redemption Equals Death after the fight.
    • The best part? The music played during the battle is called "Will power", which describes those who had awaken their form percisely. Every party member, this means come out of their difficulties and unleash their "Will power" to change the world. For the two bosses, that is to describe their entire life:Sae is a female prosecutor who is struggling in making a stand in a male-dominant society while taking care of her sister. Akechi is a famed celebrity who has come from a background of despised illigimate son(as well as an orphan), overcoming the prejudice and judgment with his will to live.
  • Belphegor, the demon of Sloth, can be seen multiple times throughout the game, but never as a full-fledged boss. This may have something to do with Sloth being represented by the people of Tokyo, whose desires are not twisted enough to form a Palace by themselves and instead combine to form the massive labyrinth of Mementos.
  • Notice how high-level personae shifted to lower levels much more heavily compared to Persona 3 & 4 like Isis becoming a low-level Priestess Persona from her Ultimate Empress status? It could have been Yaldabaoth messing with the compendium and personae to doom you in your journey.
  • The protagonist learns a lesson in class about how the gentleman thief Ishikawa Goemon was boiled alive. Fittingly enough, Yusuke's Persona Goemon is weak to Fire.
  • There's an early indication as to who the traitor may be: take note of Akechi's uniform when aiding the Phantom Thieves. In particular, his mask, which has a very long nose. Considering he's lying to get on the Phantom Thieves' good side long enough to destroy them, sounds an awful lot like Pinocchio...
    • The art book notes that Goro's red mask was meant to evoke that of a Tengu, a type of Japanese spirit that, while protective of others and ultimately good, are nefarious for their pride. The comparisons to Pinnochio and to commedia dell'arte masks that have followed were not initially in his design plan, but are nearly as apt nevertheless.
  • The traitor wears a mask with a long nose on it. He lies to you and stabs you in the back. Guess who also has a long nose and has been lying to you the entire game? Igor. That is to say, the false Igor that was taken over by Yaldabaoth.
    • Related to the above there is another possible Shout-Out to be found with the reveal. After all most people's first guess for the posed question here in any other context would be Pinocchio himself, which suits how Akechi really does grow to care about the team like he pretended to. "Igor" however has more similarities to the Coachman in this case though, making asses out of you and your party to try and accomplish his own goal.
    • You can look at it in this way: the fridge page for Captain America: The Winter Soldier does note that Bucky Barnes being the Winter Soldier (which a majority of fans who read the comics knew about beforehand) was a surprise to hide HYDRA infiltrating SHIELD. The sort of obvious reveal that Akechi was the traitor ended up hiding and foreshadowing Igor being Yalbadoth and the true culprit behind the Metaverse.
  • Shadow Futaba couldn't help but screw over the Phantom Thieves one last time because when she became Futaba's Persona, that meant the Palace was about to collapse and possibly kill the Thieves yet again. And Futaba can easily escape her Palace collapsing because her Persona can fly!
  • Why does Goro Akechi only have two Personas when he's a Wild Card like Joker? Because he only has one bond before he met Joker, the bond between him and Shido, and that relationship is definitely a poisonous one.
    • Related to the above, it's more than likely Robin Hood was Akechi's original Persona before Yaldabaoth's influence gave him the Wild Card ability. Yaldabaoth's influence gave him Loki, which corrupted the young man with the power it gave him.
    • Duality is a large part of the story, with Akechi being no exception. In the case of his Personas, Robin Hood and Loki show the big conflict going on in Akechi. Robin Hood represents his desire to be a hero who is loved by everyone, while Loki represents his anger and desire for revenge for being abandoned and ostracized. Robin Hood is also his desire to bring justice to the corrupt people in his life (i.e. Shido), while Loki shows his malicious desire to make those same people suffer like he has, no matter how many innocent people do too.
    • Robin Hood and Loki also both criminals in their stories. Robin Hood, a thief who stole from the rich to give to the poor, was loved by the general public while Loki, a notorious trickster, was hated by just about everyone. Robin Hood, and by extension the far more honorable Phantom Thieves, may be what Akechi wants to be but thanks to The Conspiracy and his father, he's nothing more than the detestable Loki who only wants to others to suffer for his own selfish desires.
      • On the topic of what Akechi wants to be, why is Robin Hood's motif white instead of traditional green? The wrong color scheme could also represent that Akechi's view of a hero is fundamentally incorrect. While Akechi's motives may be (or were initially) good, he doesn't understand what a hero actually is, so his view of his own 'heroic' Persona is distorted as well. It also makes sense as to how Akechi's Persona is based on the arguably most popular figure out of all the initial Personas the Phantom Thieves have; However despite his popularity he's the only one you can't read up on to correct any misconceptions Joker or Akechi (as Morgana often recommends having the Persona's user read the book when you finish) could have about him from "common knowledge" or various adaptions.
      • Adding to the above, Robin Hood's design, save for the bow, reminds this troper much more of a traditional American Superman-type hero, with the white and shiny armor, exaggerated upper body rather Robin Hood's more traditional rogueish portrayal. This shows Akechi's distorted desire to be a hero known for his noble and upstanding deeds, and revered by the media and general public, rather than a wanted "underground" hero who doesn't care for fame or popularity and just wants to help the poor.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins theme with the bosses can also apply to the Phantom Thieves - however, theirs are not "distorted" versions, but healthy recognitions that they are in fact people, and motivate their heroics to an extent. This subtly foreshadows how the ultimate villain wants to eliminate desire altogether and turn humanity into an emotionless race of drones.
    • Pride: The protagonist is very fond of smirking when he has the upper hand and what else could you describe defying a god and summoning Satan himself to fight back? This confidence is also what makes him an ideal leader, and as lampshaded by Ryuji, that god desperately needed to be censured for his own arrogance and vanity.
    • Wrath: Ryuji losing himself in a fit of anger and punching Kamoshida led to the track team disbanding and his reputation becoming that of an angry delinquent with a Hair-Trigger Temper. His anger also happens to be about a real wrong, and it kept him going even before he awakened his Persona when it seemed like Kamoshida would get away scott free.
    • Gluttony: Yusuke is the quintessential Starving Artist whose mind is filled with art and creativity, to the point he forgoes food and spends what little money he has on whatever catches his attention. As a result, Yusuke is very enthusiastic whenever the subject of food is brought up, especially if somebody else is paying. Said hunger also comes with the ability to recognize his means and when he is being denied sustenance purely so others can exploit him for money.
    • Sloth: Haru and Futaba. Haru never spoke up and remained a Nice Girl despite everybody forcing her to do whatever they wanted while Futaba, despite having evidence, continued to believe she was the reason her mother committed suicide and never bothered to deny it, not to mention when she was given the calling card, it had Sloth written on it like the other Targets with their sins. Haru also recognizes how easy her life is and that she really is luckier than everyone else to be born as rich as she is, and shows prudence and an honest recognition of when she'd just get in the way. Futaba, on the other hand does have distorted Sloth and it was strangling her alive-after she has her heart stolen, she switches to her original sin, righteous Wrath in the same vein as Ryuji.
    • Greed: Morgana gets very excited whenever he sees the Treasure, to the point it could potentially ruin the heist or get the Phantom Thieves in trouble. His ambitions are generally channeled into being the best he can at his job, and he's not at all remiss to others sharing in his acquisitions.
    • Envy: Makoto and Akechi. Makoto envied those around her who weren't being pressured by authority figures and knew what they wanted to be in life. This generally drives her to live up to those expectations and causes her to empathize with people in similarly poor situations. Goro Akechi, meanwhile, envied the protagonist and the bonds he made. Akechi wanted to be needed and have friends but his past kept him from developing any true and healthy relationships while the protagonist, whose record pushes everybody away, has everything he ever wanted-and this desire is truly distorted, as this jealousy drives him to drag others down to his level.
    • Lust: While Ann herself isn't a sexpot, she's quite proud of her ability to induce lust (she is a fashion model after all) and is driven by her desire for attention and companionship, a less carnal expression of Lust. This is also a motivation for her to be a good friend, and enables her emotional maturity and social intelligence.
      • Remember, Yaldabaoth uses 9 deadly sins instead of the original 7. What are the two additional sins? Hollowness and Vanity. These fit Futaba and Akechi, respectively. Futaba falls into despair due to her mother's death and her twisted belief forces her into stagnation because she feels responsible. In other words, she becomes hollow and needs the Phantom Thieves to sort her out. Vanity fits Akechi well, too. Akechi wishes to be seen as a hero, and does everything he can to promote his appearance of a detective of justice. However, like vanity, this appearance is only skin-deep, and internally Akechi is an immature teen with a troubled past and a hero complex who can't accept that he isn't the best. Seeing as both of these are not original deadly sins, it makes sense that for both Futaba and Akechi, their representations of these skins are distorted, rather than healthy. Both characters overcome these vices in some form: Futaba fills her life with her new friends and the desire to track down the true culprit behind her mother's killing. In his final moments, Akechi sacrifices himself to save the other Phantom Thieves in a way that no one could see, and no one else will ever believe the truth about.
  • Haru is noted in several aside conversations and Mementos blurbs for being particularly bloodthirsty and sadistic in battle while being soft-spoken and ladylike in the outside world. This is a nod towards the inspiration for her persona, Milady DeWinter, who acts the civilized lady towards society in general but is actually a ruthless and cutthroat villainess. It's also why Milady is so fond of mentioning betrayal.
  • Why is Jack O'Lantern weak to Wind? Because, Wind hits burning enemies for technical damage!
    • Even better: when Wind spells are used as a follow-up attack to do extra damage to an enemy/ally with a Burn status ailment, it's a case of fanning the flames.
  • The screen is shown to shake and move during cutscenes and the like. Why is that? Because the game up until a certain point is the protagonist's memories and he was drugged before Sae got to him to prevent him from remembering.
  • Sandman is fought in the Pyramid palace. Fittingly enough, the palace's target is a Heavy Sleeper.
  • Why does Shido's Shadow manage to remember the protagonist when Shido himself can only remember his face being familiar? Because of two reasons. One, Shido was extremely drunk at the time and refused to make appearances at the trials that charged Joker with assault. He only had the fuzzy memory of Joker's face when he was drunk. Second, Shido's Shadow is Shido's subconscious and has access to everything Shido subconscious remembers, allowing it to easily recall the memory of Joker when he sees his face.
  • Shido sees himself as God's Chosen One to lead Japan into the future. The general public, with the exception of the party and Confidants, single-mindedly support him in the end-game because Yaldabaoth is using his influence to amplify Shido's oratory beyond all limits of sanity. That the protagonist and his party, half of whose lives have been heavily affected by Shido's actions, should be the ones to take him out suggests that such a destined meeting is no coincidence. Sae even lampshades how the chance meeting between Shido, Joker and Ryuji is what inspires the latter to propose the Phantom Thieves keep operating after having stopped Kamoshida. One of Joker's responses to her ("It was all just a game") implies that Yaldabaoth also arranged this to keep his 'competition' from ending prematurely.
  • At the end of the game, only half of the general public believes in the Phantom Thieves, despite the Phan-Site tracker going all the way up to 100% not long ago. While this can be chalked up to the general public not remembering Yaldabaoth's world, it could also be because Yaldabaoth succeeded in erasing half of Japan's population by the time and therefore, only the remaining half would be able to express their belief in the Phantom Thieves.
  • The symbolic appearance of each boss.
    • Kamoshida: An ugly tyrant that demands respect and offerings for past glories, refusing to do anything befitting a king in the present. The men of his kingdom are his soldiers, fighting his battles while their king indulges himself with the women and other pleasures.
    • Madarame: His entire appearance could be likened to a self-portrait, art that many famous and brilliant artists like Vincent Van Gogh create. But Madarame's self-portrait reveals his ugly soul and vanity, requiring four separate canvas' for only his face.
    • Kaneshiro: A fly and a pig overindulging himself on money, not caring what happens to the people he takes it from.
    • The Sphinx- The protector of a pyramid's treasure and its Pharaoh, the sphinx takes down all intruders wishing to steal from the Pharaoh's tomb. But unlike the normal Sphinx, this Sphinx wishes only for the Pharaoh to stay in her tomb forever.
    • Kunikazu: As befitting a man overwhelmed with greed, he refuses to fight himself, instead relying on manpower bought with his money - in fact, he's the only boss not to undergo a demonic transform at all. Employees who take untold amounts of punishment but never refuse to work, while he remains sealed inside his spacesuit, away from the consequences of his actions.
    • Sae: A woman who once believed in justice but upon seeing Japan's law system, how corrupt and rigged against the defendant it was, became twisted by what she saw and turned into a monster who only believed winners can get ahead in life-a great Black Knight with no liege but her own ambitions.
    • Goro: An illegitimate child who was screwed from the get-go from a mere label and a horrible home life, sharing the beliefs of the other Phantom Thieves but having no one to guide or care for him, letting his misanthropy and anger consume him and abuse the powers Yaldabaoth bestowed upon him. The outfit Loki grants him is dark blue and black, is evocative of a prison uniform with its stripes, excessive belts wrapped across his body, and the large neck brace that serves as part of his helmet. Akechi is a true "prisoner of fate," doomed to fall from the get-go, from his birth to the false accomplishments to the false praise Shido bestows upon him - evocative not only of the despair and emptiness that his life has bought, but of Loki himself as well.
    • Shido: A man who only sees the masses as stepping stones for his own glory. Instead of the leader serving the general public, the general public serves the whims of their leader like sacrifices-he also thinks himself perfect, with his demonic form being little more than extra muscle piled on his human form. This also makes him a political strongman who fights as a literal strongman.
    • Yaldabaoth: A colossal machine-like evil God, representing how rigid, degrading and oppressive the societal order can be and how despite all this the people maintain and uphold it because they're too afraid to do otherwise.
  • Yusuke ended up in Hawaii instead of LA because a bad storm forced his plane to land on the islands. The thieves also believe their fireworks show got rained out because of Yusuke's presence. This is all humorously fitting as Yusuke's Ultimate Persona is the god of storms, Susano-o.
  • The use and portrayal of the Holy Grail as the final treasure of the game is incredibly apt for the game's themes of treasures and hearts, and even the franchise's tarot motif. Not only is it a Public Domain Artifact that represents one of the most sought and iconic treasures in history and myth, it's also the ancestor of the hearts suit in modern card decks. Added to it being at the core of the earth and having giant veins spouting out of it, it wouldn't be wrong to say you steal the heart of the world in the end. (Incidentally, this comes up in class several weeks before the matter.)
  • The Phantom Thieves tend to believe Shadows represent the true nature of people and on some level, they're right. Shadows do represent the target's true nature but even Shadows hide their true feelings. In Persona 4, the Investigation Team saw their Shadows and thought what they saw was the truth. Shadow Kanji made everybody think he was gay with his... personality but really, Shadow Kanji just wanted somebody to accept him for who he is. Shadow Chie, meanwhile, looked like a dominatrix who used Yukiko to stoke her own ego but as the social link with Chie proves, Chie loves her best friend like a sister. It's almost the same with the Shadows presented in Persona 5. Madarame may use his students to fuel his vanity but some evidence shows that he actually cared about Yusuke like a parent on some level, taking him in before he showed any artistic talent and panicking when he had a fever. Shido also might use others to further his own goals but he does genuinely believe he can steer Japan to a better future. In short, Shadows may paint a clearer picture of a person's true nature but Shadows are just one half of a whole and are just as likely to hide true feelings as their other halves are.
  • The mentor figure, fake Igor, as the final enemy. It perfectly follows the constant theme of the game of those trusted with leadership betraying the trust they're given and abusing their power. After all, what could be a greater betrayal to a gamer than the mentor NPC who's been giving them power and advice all this time stabbing the player character in the back?
  • Makoto's Japanese voice actress Rina Sato is best known for voicing Mikoto Misaka from the Raildex franchise. Makoto however is a subversion to Mikoto. Both characters are similar in that they hold positions of prestigenote  and were both manipulated by an evil conspiracynote . Minor dimensions to the comparison include the fact that both have attachments to animal characters from their childhoods and their missing fathers both seek to correct the evils in society. However, their personalities contradict one another. Mikoto is celebrated for being one of Academy City's strongest espers but that aside is simply a regular student with mass popularity. Makoto on the other hand is the Student Council President of Shujin Academy but is powerless, seen as Principal Kobayakwa's glorified gopher and prior to joining the Phantom Thieves had no friends. Likewise, Mikoto is shown to be very assertive and eager about social situations and spending time with people around her age while Makoto is socially withdrawn preferring to study and read books with her Confidant revealing that she has no clue what people her age like to do for fun. Lastly, Mikoto in spite of her mass popularity has a rather unpleasant personality as she is very rash, often tends to break her dormitory's rules and is generally rude to her possible love interest Touma. Makoto in spite of having a cold exterior is actually very sensitive and one of the kindest characters in the game and if you choose to romance her is a lot more straightforward about her feelings towards Joker only showing hesitation since she doesn't understand how love works.
  • Ann's outfit as Panther being a Shout-Out to Catwoman actually makes sense as Ann is quarter-American herself and Catwoman is an American comic book character.
    • Another reason for Ann's cat suit - she's a cat burglar. So is Morgana.
    • Though more of a minor design note when it comes to her outfit, the cleavage window and high neck of her outfit is reminiscent of a "Queen Ann" neckline.
  • Despite all Iwai's skill at making and modifying weapons, the best ones in the game can only be obtained through transmuting Personas. Unlike normal weapons which rely on the enemy's belief alone, transmuted items actually have a Shadow's power infused into them as well, giving them some real power in the other world.
  • The Phantom Thieves may be a Gender-Equal Ensemble when one looks at its members and sees four boys (Joker, Ryuji, Yusuke, and Akechi) four girls (Ann, Makoto, Futaba, and Haru) and one cat (Morgana) but a closer look will reveal that there's actually five boys in the Phantom Thieves. Morgana sees himself as male, making the gender ratio 5-4. How can the Phantom Thieves be a Gender-Equal Ensemble when the boys outnumber the girls? Other than Akechi being revealed to be the traitor and leaving the group, there was one other female character who was supposed to be a part of the Phantom Thieves but was cut out due to development taking too long. Now who is this character? Hifumi Togo, the Star Confidant. If Hifumi hadn't been cut from the Phantom Thieves, she would have made the team's gender ratio an equal 5-5.
    • This could also be part of the reason why Morgana can freely crossdress with the alternate costumes without comment, as for example with the butler/maid set he also gets a maid outfit like the girls do. It helps stress his Ambiguous Gender status of being a cat in a way that doesn't get in the way of dialog or the story, making things appear to be more balanced than if he were a girl instead which would still have left the gender ratio skewed with Hifumi's absence.
  • Shido claims that he was chosen by God to lead Japan. The final boss, who had orchestrated the entire plot of the game (thus letting Shido carry out his plan to rule Japan), takes the form of a demiurge, Yaldabaoth.
  • Compared to the previous game, the secret enemy (the "traitor" brought up through the frame story) is easy to catch on to. That's because in the Good/True Endings, the party knew early on that Akechi was the spy. Unlike Adachi, the whole party had every reason to suspect him and so you see him in that light.
  • Morgana isn't nagging the Protagonist by forcing him to go to bed, he's trying to make sure he gets enough rest. Joker is already on thin ice at school, so he can't afford any lateness or absences due to over sleeping.
  • Futaba's Palace resembles an Egyptian pyramid, and her Persona is the Necronomicon, named after a tome of forbidden knowledge in the Cthulhu Mythos. The tome's author was Abdul Alhazred, a madman who lived in Yemen circa 700 AD, and at that time, Yemen was part of the Umayyad Caliphate, which spanned much of the Middle East and North Africa, including parts of modern-day Egypt. Alhazred even journeyed to the ruins of Memphis, one of Egypt's great ancient cities.
    • Necronomicon seems like the odd one out of a group inspired by outlaws and criminals; however, if you are familiar with the 'Cthulhu Mythos', the Necronomicon was written by Abdul Alhazred, a Muslim apostate. Another explanation is that unlike the rest of the cast, Futaba didn't need to rebel to awaken.
      • Actually, thinking about it... what exactly is the Necronomicon, anyways? It's a tome of forbidden secrets. Futaba's rebellion isn't as concrete as the others because it's more subtle- she rebels by refusing to go along with The Conspiracy's plan to pin her mother's death on her conscience. She rebels by holding onto the forbidden secrets that she knows are true- that she didn't kill her mother, and that her mother loved her.
  • Speaking of Futaba's Persona, near the end of the game she says her Persona is a bit special because she wants to learn the truth. Now consider that she gets her Persona from accepting her Shadow self, and her Phantom Thief mask is really a pair of visor-goggles. All of these are references to Persona 4. The reason Necronomicon doesn't fit the theme of the other Personas is because Futaba is actually a Seeker of Truth.
  • If the player does not agree to Igor's This Is a Work of Fiction in the opening, he comments that your cognition is that the game is reality in booting you back to the main menu. Considering the Your Mind Makes It Real aspects of cognition in the game, Igor seems to be stopping you from playing the game to stop the game from becoming real.
    • It's also another form of the contract seen in previous Persona games, but the problem is that the fake Igor is addressing the player directly rather than in-game with a written contract. In other words, it's a Morton's Fork: you either accept Yaldabaoth's reality, or you make it your own reality. Considering Yaldabaoth is a Control Freak, he does not want you going for the latter option. Really makes the whole "rigged from the start" take a new context.
  • The tarot illustrations of the Confidants are notable in that, while the first version (P2) and the second version (P3 & P4) of the illustrations are cryptic befitting of the Velvet Room's mystic charm, the Confidants' version portrays an outright insulting picture of the Arcana, i.e. The Fool is bitten by the dog, The Priestess is reading a porn, The Justice's scale is heavier on the money, etc., which shows just how much malice the Velvet Room has in this game. This is further proven by the yellow eyes the cards have, which shows the shadow self demonstrating its reversed nature.
    • It also depicts the way Joker establishes his Confidants, as they are met in the reversed state. None of them are exactly established on ideal terms but out of a bargain in order to help one another. Each of them fits their character:
    • The Fool shows the dog biting him. Instead of a nurturing Velvet Room, it's a prison environment coupled with Igor being more of a nuisance than of a help. Until the end where the true Igor appears and helps you find your friends imprisoned in their own cells and reinvigorates their resolve.
    • The Magician's getting himself hurt while practicing his art due to being distracted is similar to how Morgana only cares about becoming a human instead of his intended purpose of leading them to the true Igor, due to his amnesia.
    • The Priestess is doing something she'd be decried for due to her station (looking at porn in place of holy scriptures, and seemingly of a female subject at that) while Makoto's arc also deals heavily in allowing herself to act against her "perfect" image adults both expect and demand of her. A lot of Makoto's Confidant takes place outside of the school, of which she wants to study the culture out of a desire to deviate from Sae's ideas on how to be successful as a person. By the end, she returns to path of justice, but through experience rather than through education.
    • Empress: Haru is quite openly flirtatious with the MC in her Confidant, which goes against the whole "pure princess" thing, which she stands up against, and how she's already in an arranged marriage to another man, much like the Empress is in an unfitting state of undress and pose for her position. Seeming unsuited for the role she is meant for also ties into how she's clearly out of her depth when it comes to inheriting and running her family's business as it is now after her father's death. The Empress holding her staff in a menacing fashion with a shield by her side as if ready for a fight could also be seen as relating to Haru's use of aggression as a means of stress relief and her blunt approach to controlling the company and the arranged marriage. She finally stands up for herself and wishes to restore the good name of Okumura Foods through one of her board members who agrees with her ideas and makes her stand against the arranged marriage.
    • Emperor: The Emperor is seen here as seemingly shirking his duties in favor of taking a smoke, while Yusuke does things that similarly jeopardize his health (spending his money on not-food things when he's starving, eating dangerous things like wild mushrooms, donating blood to the point where he's going to pass out), and his loss of passion stemming from the revelation of how uncaring Madarame was to his pupils and art. Eventually, through his friends and self discovery, he discovers the joy of art again.
    • Hierophant: Sojiro is meant to be your guardian, but at the start of the game, he mostly belittles and dismisses the MC instead of guiding him, like the Hierophant is in its illustration. Only after helping him realize deep down that he IS a good parental figure to Futaba does he represent the true Hierophant, stern but willing to listen.
    • Lovers: Ann, for good reason, has a hard time trusting men, and this heightened awareness of their behavior leads to her often accusing the male characters of perving on her; and while often accurate, this isn't always the case. On her card, instead of it being a matter of the man choosing between the two women, Cupid is similarly impulsive and picking "the right girl" for him regardless of who he wants, as Cupid's choice is opposite who the man's looking at; likewise, Ann thinks striving for an acting career will give her a better sense of self for Shiho and was ultimately forced to make a choice when Shiho changes schools, making her decide if the acting career was a good choice in the first place. Eventually, she sees how her charms can be used to inspire to others and wants to be a better person to help them, the same way she thinks Joker has helped her grow, as well as seeing that her talent as a model requires dedication and trust just like a loving relationship does.
    • Chariot: Ryuji's leg was broken by Kamoshida before the story started because of his inner impulses, and it's a huge basis of his struggles. The man on the Chariot card has a broken arm. Chariots were also historically used for races and as a symbol of victory, things Ryuji has now lost because of his injury and his lack of self control that destroyed his life. Ryuji prevails by helping his former team establish an honest organization and ensuring Yamaguchi does not become another Kamoshida through self restraint and confidence in himself.
    • Justice: Akechi has a distorted sense of justice and can't comprehend love and friendship, so the "heart" doesn't weigh very much for him in contrast to the selfish desires for which he acts. Ultimately his heart weighs heavier than the selfish desires, as he makes his heroic sacrifice over personally wanting Shido to suffer.
    • Hermit: The card makes him look like he's making fun of the peers by sticking his tongue out, showing Futaba is smart but not wise, unable to comprehend social norms despite being a computer whiz among all things due to her isolation from society. Ultimately, she learns to be a bit wiser with all the knowledge she had discovered from her withdrawal from society.
    • Fortune: The Wheel is being crushed by the demon's weight. Chihaya has very powerful fortune abilities, but she's weighed her reputation down by using it to scam people. In a way, she's also "threatening" them with misfortune to make them buy holy stones, as she's under the belief that the futures she see can't be changed like how the demon is hindering the wheel's ability to spin freely and skewing potential outcomes. She overcomes that and lets fate take its course to guide others.
    • Strength: The woman is meant to be gently taming the lion, but instead, she's treating it cruelly, much like how Caroline and Justine treat MC pre-character development by being cruel and dismissive respectively. Eventually, they see the protagonist's desire for reform and allow him to create a persona beyond his powers.
    • Temperance: The angel pouring the jugs of water is in a scandalous pose while the river bed is dry. Kawakami's been forced into lewd conduct moonlighting as a maid to continue being a teacher, but the exhaustion of doing and separating both jobs makes her unable to do anything with her full effort. By overcoming that struggle, she embraces both sides of her jobs, seeing it as a form of nurturing others and helping Joker readjust to society by lightening his load.
    • Tower: Arrows are the forerunners of Guns in terms of ranged weapons, and Shinya's whole thing is he's really good at shooting... and he's very confrontational when he doesn't need to be (because he "has to win"). The people are already falling from the tower; the arrows aren't needed. Ultimately, he stops bullying others and lets his own skills do the talking.
    • Moon: The moon is driving the creatures mad, much like fame does to Mishima. Mishima's behavior as his confidant goes on borders on insanity before you talk his shadow out of it. Mishima eventually finds the strength in himself and becomes the very turning point in leading the Phantom Thieves to their true goal.
    • Sun: In his youth, Yoshida misused resources and was complicit in some harmful scandals that hurt people who had looked up for him, sort of like a sun drying up its land. This caused people to distrust him wanting to be in a place of importance in the present, regardless of his current intentions, as he's already "burned" them in much the same way. Yoshida regains his optimism as a politician and inspires others, even in the face of certain defeat against Shido's party.
    • Judgement: One of the people being "judged" is dead - indeed, Sae's profession is one that sends people to their deaths, and she also spends most of the game interrogating and judging the Protagonist, who at that point is more or less condemned as he's been caught by the police and implicated for his crimes.
    • Death: The Reaper represents not literal death but rather change, transformation, regeneration, and cycles. Tae was forced to change after her reputation was ruined, losing her good name as a doctor in favor of "The Plague" much in the same way this version of Death lacks its actual title for being similarly associated with misfortune. Eventually, she accepts that loss of reputation for the sake for helping others, but is able to rebuild from there.
    • Devil: The devil here represents Ohya's boss, who suffocates her with his overbearing authority and determination to sabotage her investigation. In the normal card, the Devil is essentially causing his victims to bind themselves, harming themselves with their own impulsiveness and selfishness. Ohya, on the other hand, is being bound by someone else's impulsiveness and selfishness: that of her boss rather then her own investigations, which would have put herself in danger. Ohya would take responsibility of her own pursuit for the truth, even if it kills her.
    • Star: Normally, the woman is nurturing the land, but here she is nurturing herself at the EXPENSE of the land. Hifumi's rep as a Shogi master is thanks to her mother rather than herself, who does it so she can feel like she meant something at the expense of Hifumi's personal happiness and freedom. Hifumi would sacrifice her own reputation as a Shogi master to bring something to the Shogi world on her own without sacrificing her own happiness.
    • Hanged Man: This was the trickiest one. The Hanged Man is traditionally a man who is hanging serenely by the ankles, symbolizing willing self-sacrifice for enlightenment and achieving freedom through restriction. However, the Hanged Man in Persona 5 doesn't look enlightened at all as he's ignoring his situation by being on his phone; Iwai spends his time believing that keeping the truth from Kaoru to maintain the illusion of a normal family instead of accepting that he was once a criminal just for the sake of a family. Iwai eventually comes to terms with telling Kaoru the truth so that he can be a proud father and show that the Gecko on his back is indeed an irezumi that represents him.
    • The World: It shows us Yaldaboth's vision of humanity, as being complacent fools who need masters like him to control their lives, instead of beings who are capable of enlightenment (since he isn't) and achieving great things on their own. Ultimately the Thieves take the "Heart" of the world and lets humanity think for themselves as they should.
  • Relating to the above is The Faith, Kasumi's Arcana in The Royal. The card depicts a skeleton with a noose around its neck while being pulled along by two demons. Considering Kasumi's stance on the Phantom Thieves, it reflects her views of them as being harmful to the people they're helping...while implying how Kasumi has felt she was being helped throughout her life and lacks faith in herself due to it.
  • While in Hawaii, Ann interrogates Ryuji about his preferences by asking which of the two girls he would he choose if they both confessed to him. That situation is what's portrayed on the design of several versions of The Lovers arcana tarot card, including the one used in Persona 5. This actually acts as a double whammy when you know the original meaning of the Lovers. It was once used about choosing between the quick instantly rewarding path (signified by the closer but more beautiful woman) and the arduous but more lasting path (signified by homely but matronly looking woman). Ryuji picking the one "with the better bod" is basically him saying he likes the nice and easy path, with instant gratification but it may not last long.
  • Sae Niijima is this game's Judgement Confidant. Fitting, considering she spends your entire interaction with her judging your actions. And even better, your entire plan hinges upon said judgement.
  • As noted by Hoist by His Own Petard on the Targets page, Shadow Okumura's Big Bang Challenge normally does Almighty damage but instead heals allies debuffed with Hunger and removes it at the same time. As the move involves a ton of food blowing up in everyone's faces, it's no surprise it was enough to stuff people up and remove their hunger —while overfeeding non-hungry teammates into a severely painful stomachache.
  • Akechi's idle stance while in the Metaverse mirrors the Protagonist's exactly (minus the slight swaying). This may seem like a case of recycling animations, but it makes sense: halfway through his boss battle, he expresses that he was envious towards the Protagonist and wished he could have met him earlier. His admiration and jealousy for him may have showed through in his body language; it is possible he was subtly mimicking him.
  • Akechi being called a Detective Prince takes on some bleaker connotations once one realizes that Shido, his father, is an aspiring autocrat, not unlike the king of an absolute monarchy. Also, there's the bitter irony of Akechi being called a prince when he was born out of wedlock to a father who wants nothing to do with him.
  • Why does Sae make such a big deal about a confession...when it's implied that Joker gave her everything BUT the name? It would be a simple matter to confirm various minor details. Well, besides the method being impossible to prove? She's not wanting to do more investigation. She's wanting an EASY ANSWER! In short? Instead of caring about the truth, she wants an easy lie. And in the true ending, because she doesn't get it, she's forced to see the truth for herself!
  • Ryuji's association with monkeys underlines his Hot-Blooded attitude, rough fighting style, and desire to break free of society's restraints, but it could also be a subtle nod to Lupin III, whose author goes by the name Monkey Punch and whose protagonist often gets compared to a monkey himself.
  • When you first get Yusuke on the team, Morgana justifies the maximum number of party members as separating the group into the leading team and back-up team, where the leading team will focus on the task at hand while the back-up team falls behind and only step up when switching members out. With that said, it makes sense why they were able to investigate Sae's Palace with Goro on the team.
  • The black and red color scheme of the game and its association with the Phantom Thieves can be reminiscent of Magatsu Inaba, the dungeon where the murderer of Persona 4 waited for the Investigation Team, and Magatsu Izanagi, the murderer's Persona. In a way, the Phantom Thieves can be considered heroic Foils to the TV Killer: he had his own problems with society, but instead of trying to make things better, he instead abused his special power to toy with and end the lives of innocent people just to keep himself entertained in his boring post. He also takes his blame of society to unreasonable extremes, too, blaming everyone but himself for the results of his actions.
  • The Final Boss room happens to be a Panopticon, a hypothetical kind of prison conceived by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham in 1787, which imprisons people with their own paranoia by rendering them unable to see the other inmates or the one guard. Bentham intended the Panopticon to be more humane (and cheaper) than a traditional prison, since the inmates can be controlled without physically harming them, but in modern times it's come to be viewed as a cruel and unusual symbol of authoritarianism and rule by fear, a perfect abode for a God of Control like Yaldabaoth.
  • Okumura's MDL-WKR (in and of itself a pun on 'model worker') robots are weak to fire-type attacks. They're weak to being 'fired'.
    • The party also sees a conveyor belt dumping broken-down ones into a vat of molten metal for fuel. And the higher-ranking robot enemies have different elemental weaknesses, presumably because they've risen to positions where they're no longer as expendable as the everyday employees.
  • The Phantom Thieves steals hearts but this doesn't only apply to criminals and the scum of society, they will also steal the fan's hearts as they fall in love with the game and its characters.
  • Both of the Shadows the Black Mask demonstrates his psychosis ability on are "guard dogs". Cerberus guarded the gates of Hades and Cu Chulainn got his famous nickname after becoming Chulainn's bodyguard as repentance for killing his hound. Though the Black Mask is more of an attack dog, a mad dog is a pretty good descriptor of him. This is made all the more poignant by his awful upbringing, which makes him akin to a dog that's become aggressive and hostile thanks to an abusive owner.
    • Furthermore (and the game leaves this out of his bio), Cu Chulainn was well known for going into a terrifying frenzy during fights, to the point where even his allies knew to clear out when they saw him get this way, mimicking the way the Black Mask can make people go psychotic and harm people around them. Additionally, Cu Chulainn killed his own son, perhaps Foreshadowing the Black Mask's fate.
  • The moral ambiguity of what the Phantom Thieves do by "stealing hearts" gets a little greyer if you take the other games into account. On the one hand, it means depriving someone of their free will through violence. On the other hand, we've seen plenty of times what happens when someone is forced to confront their dark side directly. Your mileage may vary in terms of what you consider the line between purifying someone's inner darkness and brainwashing them, but having distorted desires that are so out of control that they're basically polluting the collective unconscious is a problem that really can't be fixed any other way. The Metaverse affects people just as much as people affect it, and past a certain point, the distortion becomes a self-perpetuating upward spiral. The Phantom Thieves ain't saints, they're doing it for reasons that are rooted in selfishness, but it's still the only solution that has any chance of working. Even the best therapists in the world can't help someone change unless they want to, and those distorted desires at the core of that emotional feedback loop mean that the victim isn't actually capable of wanting to change.
  • The first short story where Arsene Lupin is featured, he's caught in a boat. You know who has a boat for a Palace? Masayoshi Shido, the man who got the protagonist put on probation!
  • Morgana is infamous for constantly nagging the player to go to sleep. Two of his weapons, the Sleeper Blade and Resting Sword, force the ENEMIES to go to sleep. Ironically, he also has access to Patra, which CURES sleep to a target.
  • After the Metaverse is destroyed and Morgana finally returns, his dialogue portrait has changed to reflect his "normal" cat appearance, instead of his Metaverse humanoid appearance. With the Metaverse gone, your cognition of him changes.
  • This might be unintentional, but in the original Persona game the playable characters entered someone's idealized dream world. Said dream world was a distorted reflection of the city the game took place in. For example, a hospital in the real world was replaced with a castle in the dream world. There were also demons running around everywhere. An idealized, distorted, monster infested world born from a persons desires...sound familiar? It gets better: The dream world's creator had an important item that was analogous to a Treasure.
  • In Kaneshiro's Palace, you can see the distorted versions of every shop in Central Street... except the Airsoft store. Despite being on the minimap, the game never lets you actually get to the door. Considering just who runs the store, it might be a sign that not even Kaneshiro was that greedy enough to kick the hornets nest.
  • Ohya being the Devil Tarot confidant may seem like it comes out of left field, considering that previous Devil representatives are usually more along the line of sleezeball fast talkers... until you realize that the bar she meets you at is called the Crossroads. Since Roman times, crossroads have been seen as the place where devils and other malignant entities approach people to make deals, a la Gaunter O'Dimm. In fact, in-game starting her confidant is explicitly referred to as "making a deal" with her.
  • The most reliable ways to raise your Kindness are by working with plants and making coffee. Haru, easily the sweetest member of the group, does both.
  • At rank nine of the Confidant relationships with the Phantom Thieves, they can shield Joker from an otherwise fatal attack. Guess what rank you are at with Goro Akechi when he sacrificed himself to save the Phantom Thieves?
    • On the topic of the Justice Confidant, it's something of a joke amongst the fandom that, seemingly paradoxically, you rank up when Akechi comes to kill you. However, one could say you're still learning more about what the Arcana represents by seeing its opposite.
  • Each of the main characters' elemental strengths can make sense in a way given their real world personality.
    • Joker's original Persona is skilled at curse attacks as he is viewed as a cursed outcast of society.
    • Morgana's Persona is skilled in wind attacks. As pointed above, Igor wanted Morgana to have healing skills to keep the Phantom Thieves alive. Wind skills cost less SP than other skills, and therefore, Igor may have wanted Morgana to have plenty of SP to heal his teammates after he attacks his enemies.
    • Ryuji's Persona is skilled in lightning attacks. Out of all of the Phantom Thieves, he is the most looking forward to striking down the rotten adults.
    • Ann's Persona is skilled in fire attacks. Since she is Heroic Seductress of the group, she is one to use her hot looks to her advantage.
    • Yusuke's Persona is skilled in ice attacks. As somebody who is very obsessed with art, he can make ice sculptures after he attacks.
    • Makoto's Persona is skilled in nuclear attacks. Deep down inside, she is somebody who is quite angry over the status quo causing her to go nuclear on her enemies.
    • Futaba's Persona is skilled at analyzing enemies. It should be noted that Futaba has gotten her Persona like how the cast of Persona 4 got their Persona. As pointed out in the Fridge page of the game, the elemental attributes of the Investigation Team's Persona pertain in someway to what each Persona was as a Shadow. Futaba's shadow manages to know the truth behind her mother's death instead of believing the lies Shido's men told. Because of this (along with Futaba being a Playful Hacker), it makes sense for her persona to be a scanning persona that has the power to know "forbidden wisdom".
    • Haru's persona is skilled at psychokinesis skills. She is somebody who wants to move her fiance out of her way by changing her father's mind.
    • Akechi's persona is skilled at bless attacks. He is somebody who wants to bring the truth to light. Or so it seems to be at first. His Loki persona does not have any bless skills because of how he doesn't want to really bring the truth to light. Instead, it has cursed skills since he hides his true self in the dark.
      • If you pay closer attention, Akechi's true form can actually deflect bless attack back at its caster, it reflects the fact that Akechi believes in no fortune or luck at all, he knows that he is destined to be cursed, no matter who he is and what he becomes.
  • Each of the Party's Persona's weaknesses also makes sense in regards to how they interact with each other.
    • Ryuji and Morgana are constantly sniping at each other despite working together. Fittingly, each of their elemental weakness is to the other's element.
    • Ann has enough people skills to work in an industry as cutthroat as modeling. Yusuke has No Social Skills, but is not the most easy to influence person around. Fittingly, they are weak to each other's element.
    • Haru and Makoto are direct Foils to each other. Makoto had a loving father who died and a sister Promoted to Parent who neglected her, Haru had an Abusive Parent who only saw her as a tool and most of her company only care about her so much as they can influence her. They are, also, weak to each other element.
    • Ren and Akechi. Hero with Bad Publicity vs Villain with Good Publicity. Is it any wonder that they are weak to each other's element? Arsène is also notably weak against Ice, and Yusuke is somewhat responsible for getting the group into trouble with Madarame.
  • What's also fitting is how each of their final evolved personas gain a resistance to an additional element as well.
    • Ryuji's Seiten Taisei is resistant to Fire. It shows that he's starting to cool down as a person and think more rationally compared to emotionally.
    • Ann's Hecate is resistant to Electric, which shows that she's beginning to come more down to earth and realize how much effort it takes to work compared to the miniscule flashes of work she's put in.
    • Morgana's Mercurius is resistant to Bless, which shows that he no longer needs anything to light his past.
    • Yusuke's Susano-o is resistant to Wind, which shows he won't be blown away by material needs for his work.
    • Makoto's Anat is resistant to Curses, which shows that she is no longer letting people's negative criticism affect her as much as it could.
    • Futaba's Prometheus doesn't gain any resistances due to being a scanning persona, but hers does get the new skill "Treasure Seeker", which goes to show how she's now able to see the value of other people and the good in them.
    • Haru's Astarte is resistant to Ice, which shows that she realizes being cold to others solves nothing and how she can warm up to people she doesn't initially trust.
    • Despite not having an evolved Persona, Akechi's Loki repels Curses and Bless attacks. He's notably past the point of caring if anyone hates and curses him, and he doesn't believe in a light, hopeful future. He tells the party to "keep that [hopeful/justice] shit to themselves" and as other people have pointed out, his plans would more than likely lead to him getting executed, but his endgame is to ruin society in return because It Is Beyond Saving.
    • Finally, Akira/Ren has Satanael, who Absorbs Curses, Blocks Bless, and is resistant to all save Almighty. It could be seen as a mixture of all of the above, given that Ren/Akira has gotten past how dehumanized everyone but his allies have treated him, and has learned how to reconnect with people in many ways. He can absorb Curses because his reputation doesn't mean anything to him, and he can take what's being thrown at him, and can block bless attacks because he doesn't let so called higher authorites affect his path in life.
  • As has been noted several times Akechi's final fate is left nebulous. It's strongly suggested that he died, but that's mostly because Futaba can't sense his presence afterwards. The thing is, Futaba never seemed able to sense him when he was stalking them through Okumura's Palace and he also got the drop on them in Shido's Palace even though they had been expecting to confront him at some point in the future, even if it wasn't there. Assuming Akechi survived this, this ability to avoid being tracked probably would help him escape without anyone noticing.
  • Although he does grow out of it, one of Ryuji's running gripes for a long time is wanting to out himself as a Phantom Thief and at least show the world that he is responsible for their accomplishments. The final stretch of the game does throw him a bone in this regard: the Thieves organize a mass hijacking of Japan's entire public broadcast system where they make their first true public appearance, and the battle against Yaldabaoth takes place in the middle of Shibuya with a massive slew of spectators watching down below.
  • If Joker romances a female Confidant between November 20 and December 19 when he's Faking the Dead, he's taking that lucky lady's heart while he legally does not exist - or in other words, he's being a phantom thief of her heart.
  • Who are the main three villains of Persona 5? Masayoshi Shido, a cruel manipulative man who uses and abuses his own son in his quest for power, and is happy to kill him when he's outlived his usefulness; Goro Akechi, Shido's bastard son, who is planning to backstab him after completing Shido's goals; and Yaldabaoth, a divine being that calls itself a god and surrounds itself with angels, all while taking away free will and bringing the world to ruin, and which gave Akechi his powers. In other words, you're fighting twisted mockeries of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Now look at the main character: his ultimate Persona is Satanael, and he dies to free his friends from the depths of the Prison of Repression and save the world, and yes - He Gets Better. He's a genuine saviour, complete with mimicking the Passion, in the guise of a Dark Messiah!
  • Futaba's change of heart might look very familiar to anyone who's gone through therapy, especially the heist itself. Her shadow sits her down and talks through the root of her issues with her, forcing her to confront her past instead of hiding it. Shadow Futaba carefully unpicks all of Futaba's thought processes regarding her mother's "suicide". This makes Futaba think through her disorded thoughts and realise that she is seeing things completely incorrectly, causing her to change her own heart. In other words, Futaba is put through a super-fast version of cognitive therapy, with her own Shadow self as the therapist! Even better, her Treasure is herself, or rather, her own undistorted view of her life and personality. Once she starts to challenge her illness, she's able to see her "true self" again and recover.
  • The game already gives reasons why the Thieves don't actually steal the sixth Treasure, but there's potentially two more.
    • Assuming that you don't steal every single Treasure on the last day possible, they know that processing a change of heart takes some time. They don't have any time in the sixth Palace. The police are waiting to strike at any second. If they took the Treasure, Sae would need time to process her change of heart, which might stop her from doing the interview. This would get Joker killed without a doubt.
    • Furthermore, they know that a Shadow self isn't necessarily entirely malevolent. Shadow Futaba was a benevolent, helpful Shadow, who could easily be reasoned with. Just like Futaba, Sae isn't a bad person, she's just massively lost her way due to the cruel actions of others. By this logic, Shadow Sae can also be persuaded to change by herself - and once Sae's cognition begins to change, Joker can push it the rest of the way.
    • Also, if a person's Treasure is taken rather than convincing the Shadow Self to change, their reaction would be different, If the thieves took Futaba's Treasure, she would confess to Sojiro and society that she is Alibaba and the former leader of Medjed, leading to Joker being investigated and ultimately arrested. Sae would have confessed before an unsympathetic police force and fired unceremoniously before ultimately being killed to be silenced
  • The first class quiz focuses on Plato's tripartite theory of the soul, but there's more of his work playing a major role just beneath the surface: namely the entire interrogation between Joker and Sae as a demonstration of the Socratic method in action.
    • Sae enters the interrogation room with a clear belief that Phantom Thieves are terrorists responsible for the psychotic breakdowns and mental shutdowns.
    • Joker, in the role of Socrates, begins to show it contradicts with other beliefs Sae holds, at the point when Makoto joins the Phantom Thieves. Sae loves her sister and considers her a good person, forcing her to start to reconsider and be more open to Joker's story. Fitting, this is where the Judgement Confidant unlocks.
    • Covering the events of Futaba, Okumura and Sae's Palaces produces more information that Sae recognizes as logical, and she begins to acknowledge the existence of the Conspiracy.
    • Ultimately, the Socratic method is intended to acknowledge one's ignorance, which is the first step towards true knowledge and wisdom. In the True Ending, after Joker holds firm, Sae admits she doesn't know what the truth is anymore. As a result, this leads to her learning the whole story and getting the truth she was looking for after all!
  • Akechi is considered "the advent of the Detective Prince", pointing out he's yet another after Naoto in 4, being a young genius who chooses to work on solving crime, but it takes a deeper meaning when you look at his stats and skills. He focuses on light, dark, and almighty skills as well as decent physicals, being a high cost, high damage type, just like the playable Naoto. It's also revealed he's chosen to be viewed as such when he freaks out and starts commenting that every facet of his life was carefully calculated so that he public would see him as he wanted them to. His title is truly fitting in that respect considering he was more or less trying to trick the party into trusting him by acting as a detective on their side and the player by filling the party member gap that Naoto filled in the last game.
  • The game's final twist is mostly hidden from returning fans by banking on the fact that after twenty years and so many games there is no way a returning fan would ever suspect Igor. After all, he's Igor. Him being a bit out-of-character is concerning, but nobody would think for a minute that he was the villain. In other words, the same thing that protects people like Kamoshida and Madarame is what is protecting Yaldabaoth on a meta level.
    • This fits into the game's theme perfectly. The Thieves have spent the whole game fighting corrupt and dishonest people who use others for their own gain. With each having affected one of Joker's friends. Only for it to turn out that someone whom the player and Joker trusted and believed in to be one of them as well.
  • Even after starting the Judgement Confidant as part of the plot, you don't get bonus EXP for fusing Judgment Persona. The reason? It's Sae Nijima's confidant link, which is taking place during the flash-forward framing story. You're not getting fusion experience because technically the link hasn't started yet. Only after you pass that point in the story do you get the benefits.
  • Unlike the rest of the Thieves Haru's Persona demands more proof of her conviction after being awakened. This seems odd until you consider the circumstances. While her desire to escape life as her father's puppet was real, she was being used by Morgana as part of his plan to get back at the rest of the Thieves. Meaning that she was still just a puppet. Haru must have subconsciously realized the hypocrisy of this. So while Milady did awaken it waited until she could decide for herself, with nobody influencing or manipulating her before truly answering her.
    • Alternatively it could be seen as Haru having realized the truth that she does not want to be a puppet, but lacking the courage to truly do anything about it. Taking action only at the behest of someone else, rather than for herself.
    • The brilliance of both of these is that it ties into the very reason Haru even joins the group: to change the heart of her corrupt father. Her father was using her as a tool to get ahead in the world, so she teams up with Morgana to change his heart, but in doing so ends up being used as a tool by another person. Its by effectively saying "screw that!" to being used by her father and Morgana that she awakens her Persona fully. Ironically enough this process does ends up changing the heart of her father, and is a major step in mending Morgana's friendship with the group, meaning she also changed the heart of Morgana as well.
  • Yaldabaoth's plan is to make all of humanity fit within a certain specified criteria, never letting them think for themselves, or grow as individuals or a community, again, and he calls himself a God. He is quite literally declaring himself as the new Status Quo.
  • The lyrics of "Beneath The Mask" are appropriate on a meta-level for Joker. The lyrics state that this "shapeshifter" hides "both face and mind" which are "free for you to draw." Persona protagonists, including Joker, are usually blank slates that the player can impose some form of characterization on through the responses they choose (and their own imagination). As the player who decides on Joker's actions, words, and even the Personas he has, we really are "drawing" a face and mind on to him, just as the song says.
  • Ryuji's ultimate persona Seiten Taisei and Chi You, the Persona you unlock when you finish his Confidant, was once of the Tower Arcana, then you realize that Ryuji's situation fits with the Tower Arcana. Not being aware that the situation with Kamoshida was suspicious to begin with, when he provoked Ryuji, he chose to strike back, only to be physically crippled and treated as a delinquent. Much like the arrogance before the fall, Ryuji's rage cost him.
  • Most Confidants end with Joker having to steal the heart of someone in order to help them out. The target in Mishima's is actually him. Unlike nearly everyone else who are being antagonized or oppressed by another, the only one holding Mishima back is himself.
    • On that note, Yoshida is one of the few Confidants that does not require a Mementos quest to complete. While he is impacted by the embezzlement scandal in the past,this is not the cause of his present troubles. Like Mishima, Yoshida is held back by himself in his case lacking confidence to believe in his abilities. But why does Yoshida not have a shadow? It's because Yoshida is consciously aware of his flaws and mistakes, and what Joker does is give him the push he needs to overcome it on his own by giving him moral support.
  • At the end of Sae's interrogation, selling out your fellow Phantom Thieves or Confidants leads straight to a bad end. After all, the reason the Phantom Thieves were formed to begin with was to fight back against people who abused their positions of trust and authority. By ratting out your friends, you're proving you're no better than them.
  • Makoto always dreamed of being a policewoman. Police officers usually try to take the suspect into custody alive, if only because you can't question a corpse. So they often use less lethal weapons. Like flashbang grenades. Makoto's got the Flash Bomb physical skill that, just like a flashbang grenade, can disorient the enemies. True, her version definitely isn't less than lethal, but it's still based on a weapon in widespread use among police forces.
  • Morgana learns the Lucky/Miracle punch skill. A low damage but high Critical skill that's great at knocking down targets. It's pretty similar to a Groin Attack: not very lethal, but stops anything short of a target that Feel No Pain dead in their tracks, perfect for setting up a more lethal follow up attack (like an All Out Attack). The fridge part... He's the one with the most experience at being a Phantom Thief. The rest of the crew are forced to become phantom thieves by circumstances outside of their control, but Morgana was practically born one. How fitting he ends up with the best cheap shot of all the team?
  • Why is the theme of the "Prison of Repression" called Freedom and Security? It's a reference to the Benjamin Franklin quote "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." And sure enough, even though most of Tokyo follows Yaldabaoth and it doesn't save them from being erased.
  • Beyond the more traditional, symbolic meanings of the Moon, Mishima is also representative of his Arcana in that his role involves orbiting the Phantom Thieves like the moon does the Earth.
    • It actually goes further than that: like the moon, Mishima (at least at first) doesn't produce his own "light" (popularity, fame, justice, etc.) but instead hopes to glow with light reflected from the Phantom Thieves.
  • Look at the Psy Attacks animations. They are the perfect epilepsy trigger, so by using the Psy skill line you're making the shadows have epilepsy attacks.
  • In the casino heist, the way to progress through the major obstacles of the palace is through coins that the team collects. The final obstacle is a pair of scales that can only be activated if the team has 100,000 coins. Immediately after acquiring the required coins, the requirement is changed to 1,000,000 coins. Akechi, through a bit of trickery and savvy gambling, manages to acquire 910,000 coins, which brings the team's total to 1,010,110 coins. 1,010,110 in Binary is the letter 'V' in ASCII. In other words, the roman numeral for 5.
  • Akechi hardly seems to be brought up again after Shido's defeat, but there seems to be a subtle hint that Joker at least hasn't forgotten about him or his apparent sacrifice. Taking to account that Akechi originally tried to kill him with a headshot, that Yaldabaoth made both of them Wild Cards, and that all the other allies and Confidants had their share of the spotlight for the final battle, it's not hard to interpret Joker using Satanael to shoot Yaldabaoth in the head as an appropriate sendoff to his fallen ally, who was all that was left. Doing what Akechi tried doing to him, except now towards the very being that had been using both of them. Making what was already a great moment all the more epic, satisfying, and touching.
  • After Akechi's "off-screen death", we hear little about him or his arcana again. Especially in the end, where the only arcana that does not show up is the Justice Arcana (the one that represents Akechi). That is because Justice no longer resides in anyone anymore. Prior to his death, Akechi asked Joker to deliver justice in his stead. In the final battle, Joker manages to pass on this ideal to the rest of the people. It is basically an example of "my life will end, but my thoughts will live on."
  • All of the Phantom Thieves' costumes seem to involve gloves of some sort. This makes sense in a way because, well, they're thieves. Thieves and burglars traditionally wear gloves in order to avoid leaving any traces of themselves, even fingerprints, behind at the scene of their crimes. Even Morgana gets in on this action in a way. His two front paws are white compared to most of his body being black. A look which, on cats, is commonly described as "mittens".
    • In addition, Joker's gloves are red. Which could have two possible meanings. The first being a reference to his criminal record which everyone judges him for. All they see is not a person, but a criminal with blood on his hands (even though he never killed anyone). The second could have to do with his inability to get away with his actions. The phrase "caught red-handed" typically refers to someone being caught in the middle of a crime. He is apprehended by the police for the "crime" of defending a woman against the Masayoshi Shido, and even the beginning of the game shows him in the process of being cornered and captured by the authorities while doing a heist as part of the Phantom Thieves.
  • At first it might seem somewhat contrived that the only seat for Joker in class is next to Ann. But Ann herself is a social outcast, which explains why nobody who doesn't have to wants to sit next to her.
    • It doesn't really work as Japanese schools use designated seating arrangements but the metaphor is still apt.
  • The star motif you see a lot in the UI is most likely a reference to the 108 Stars of Destiny in the Water Margin, which is about a group of bandits overthrowing a corrupt regime. The developers did use the novel as inspiration.
  • The random enemies fought in each Palace have a tendency to reflect the theme of the Palace. For instance, the Pyramid contains a lot of creatures from Egyptian Mythology such as Isis, Anubis, and Thoth, while the Castle has a lot of lust-themed enemies like Incubus and Succubus.
  • Makoto's Confidant requires that Joker have max Charm to complete it, despite Eiko's boyfriend (who Joker is being compared to) not being very, well, charming. It makes sense, though, because Joker has to out-charm Tsukasa, who's very good at piling on superficial flattery to get his way. The purpose of having maximum Charm is to show Eiko how someone who is really, genuinely charming acts and help put some initial, desperately-needed cracks in Eiko's illusions about her boyfriend.
  • Unlike in the previous game, where the characters would go to an actual metalworks shop to obtain their weapons, all of the weapons that the characters in Persona 5 get are specifically named as models and fakes, with Iwai noting that the guns are all fake and the model blades would be less useful in a real fight than even a butter knife. However, it makes sense given the characters' situations. Unlike small rural town Yasoinaba, the characters are all minors living in the big city of Tokyo, and unlike the protagonist of Persona 4, Persona 5's lead has a criminal record. Besides the very fact that a noted criminal would be unable to purchase real weapons in any capacity, no weapons shop in their right mind in a big city like Tokyo would be caught dead selling real weapons to minors. Especially not actual guns.
    • Likely also helped along by the fact that many of the shops in Yasoinaba are already in serious trouble financially due to Junes taking a lot of their business, so a traditional metalworks shop like that one would be looking more for any source of income possible. Meanwhile, Iwai, while fully capable of obtaining and modifying guns, would refuse to do so. Both on principle of trying to leave his criminal past behind, and the fact that his shop is fairly well to do, and thus he is not desperate enough to resort to selling real weapons to minors.
  • Coffee you learn to make from Sojiro is great for restoring SP... Because you go in a mental world where people believe that Must Have Caffeine is much more true than it actually is (You'd have to drink coffee instead of water for it to actually work instead of just being a Magic Feather).
  • Anyone familiar with the medical practice of "triage" can understand why Tae Takemi is so disinterested in clearing her name. When resource are scarce doctors will compare the severity of their patient's conditions to decide who takes priority. Tae knows her own reputation is beyond saving, and that no matter how unfair her own situation is, it pales in comparison to her old patient who will die if a remedy to her condition is not found. So instead of wasting time trying to "save a doomed patient", she has chosen to focus on completing her work to save someone who still has a chance.
  • During the Futaba/Medjed Arc, Makoto is extremely proactive in taking the lead with helping Futaba overcome her social anxiety, right down the scheduling with the other thieves activities for Futaba to do throughout the last week of August. At first you would think this is just a case of Makoto displaying her Big Sister Instinct but when you consider that she knows that Sae was previously trying to threaten and blackmail Sojiro with accusations of Child Abuse, you can see why Makoto would go the extra mile here.
  • Unlike the other Phantom Thieves, Futaba didn't gain her Persona by tearing off her mask (the only exceptions being Akechi, and Morgana, who already had an awakened Persona when the Protagonist first saw them in Mementos). This is because she had no mask to tear off. Futaba wasn't hiding her true face from other people, as one usually does when adopting a persona in the usual sense. Futaba kept herself hidden in her room all the time in order to avoid people, and because she never interacted with them and believed everything they thought about her, she believed she had nothing to hide. And her 'true self' that she was avoiding doesn't wear a mask, because Shadow Futaba wanted to confront her with the truth about her mother and show her her true self. Futaba only wears a Phantom Thief mask, her goggles, after that confrontation. Because she's finally gained the strength to create a Persona and face both other people and the world around her.
  • Part of the meaning behind the "Joker" nickname is that, in playing cards, the Joker is a "Wild Card" that does not belong to any suit. However, also remember that there are two Jokers in a standard deck, hinting at the presence of another Wild Card Persona user, who turns out to be Akechi.
  • The Traitor's apparent Complexity Addiction regarding his ultimate plan. Why didn't Akechi just put a bullet in Shido's chrome dome and be done with it? Doing so in real life would obviously be impractical; Shido's an influential politician with no shortage of bodyguards to ventilate Akechi before he can even get within ten feet of the guy with malicious intent, and the only way Akechi could likely get a firearm is through Shido's influence. In the Metaverse? Shido's combined forms have 19800 HP, all of the severe-level single target elemental attacks in the game, and Heat Riser and Debilitate. Akechi has 7200 HP, a couple of heavy-level elemental attacks, Brave Blade (which gets repelled by Shido's Beast form), and Heat Riser. And this is ludicrously high-balling Akechi's chances by taking him at the absolute height of his power. Akechi at the beginning of his journey with a poopy level 1 Persona? Pfft. Trying to kill Shido directly would be tantamount to suicide. Taking the long road and slowly infiltrating his conspiracy was the only way 15-year old Akechi could come up with to get his revenge. By the time Joker and his The Power of Friendship antics waltz in, he's in way too deep to consider backing out now (and even if he does, there's the serious risk of Shido pulling a He Knows Too Much/You Have Failed Me if he tries it).
  • The code name for the last party member is "crow" instead of "karasu". This does follow their system for naming, but it also has another meaning. In Japanese the English word "crow" can sound like the word "kuro" or "black". Every time it's used, they're saying that he's the black Persona-user right to his face.
  • When he first transforms into a vehicle, Morgana mentions the only reason he can do so is because a large number of people that created Mementos have a belief that cats and cars are related. Why? Because it's a common saying of those who are evaluating the state of a car's engine. A perfectly sounding engine 'purrs like a kitten'.
    • His exact words were that "cats turning into buses is a surprisingly common theme." This could be a reference to My Neighbor Totoro.
  • Why do the health items you buy at drug stores have both a positive and negative effect on the character? Because like in real life, drugs that are made to target a condition in the body, often have side-effects that negatively effect other areas in the body. This also shows how good of a Doctor Takemi is, because her custom made drug items have great benefits with no negative effects, but they also cost a lot more Yen, which is also Truth in Television about modern medicine.
  • Later on, once you find out the truth of the Metaverse and Mementos, you'll notice that your entire "Phantom Thief" career is nothing more than a cleaner job and you are not and never rebelling against society; your rebel premise is just a Bait-and-Switch goal. The Big Bad Yaldabaoth has employed you to silence the people whose desires are too serious for society by silencing them and return them to the Prison of Regression; You aren't actually doing any good for them. As a Truth in Television portrayal of finding a job, for a 16 year old high-schooler the most appropriate part time job for them is the cleaner seat in a mall. And you know what happens once they are worthless? The landlord fires them, just like how Yaldabaoth decided that you shouldn't exist after all the personalized Palaces were gone.
  • One thing that most people see as an Ass Pull is how Ryuji somehow survives the explosion from Shido's cruise liner, somehow blasting him away and out of the Palace which led to his survival. However, one must remember that a mechanic that goes well in Persona games is the Social Links, especially for Party Members to make them more useful as they gain more abilities with each level, with a second awakening that gives several good things to their Personas. Since it's near the end of the game, it's reasonable to assume that you completed Ryuji's Confidant or are close to doing such. Assuming you got up to at least Rank 8 with him, which grants the "Endure" ability (survive with 1 HP), it suddenly becomes plausible as to how Ryuji survives the ship sinking and escapes, somewhat like how Akechi's Rank 9 coincides with him dying for the Phantom Thieves.
    • Assuming you completed his Confidant, he gets Seiten Taisei as his upgraded persona. The Second Awakening in Persona 5 gives an "Evade Element-This-Persona-Is-Weak-To", as well as a resistance against an additional element. What Resistance does Ryuji get? Fire Resistance. Given the explosion was undoubtedly fire based, his survival becomes even more plausible.
      • In addition, the mytholog of Seiten Taisei coincides with that of this seemingly impossible survival. The more common name that Seiten Taisei is known by in modern media is Son Wukong, the infamous Monkey King. Who, among multiple other fantastic powers, has immortality. A good part of Son Wukong's repetoir of incredible feats includes him surviving attacks and events that would have killed most individuals several times over. If the game is indeed assuming that Ryuji survived the attack while having Seiten Taisei, it could be that he's simply doing the same as his persona would have done.
  • Kasumi doesn't fit in with the rest of the Thieves' brand of rebellion because she's a rebel without a cause. Unlike them, she has been getting help her whole life while most of them struggle through their regular lives and she wants to rebel by spurning that help. The other Thieves had to rebel when they had no other choice or for a good reason. She is a rebel who is rebelling against something unnecessary and rebelling against their rebellion.

    Fridge Horror 
  • The sinking realization that pretty much all of the main villains are people who could actually exist in one way or another: corrupt individuals who have the money and influence to shirk the law and do pretty much whatever they want without fear of reprisal. The difference, however? There are no Phantom Thieves in the real world who can magically steal hearts and bring them to justice. In the real world, people like Kamoshida and Shido are unstoppable.
  • In every bad ending, Joker has charges placed against him. While the bad endings didn't happen in reality, Joker believes they did and believes that he deserves to be in prison for failing to help his friends. Joker might even be glad that Akechi kills him soon after, all because the drugs in his system made him believe he failed his friends.
    • It's even worse if the would-be victim of your target happens to be the girl you're trying to romance. That means if you fail to complete a palace on time, Joker dies believing that he failed to protect the love of his life from either falling into the hands of a known sexual predator, being sex-trafficked by the mafia, committing suicide due to her crippling depression and self-hatred, or being sold off into an abusive marriage.
  • Failing to finish the Third Palace on time leads to a bad ending where Makoto is found heavily drugged and brutalized at an "illegal services shop." If the implication that Makoto gave in to Kaneshiro's blackmail and almost got herself killed while whoring herself out wasn't bad enough already, there's the likely reason why the only coherent words she was able to say afterward was the protagonist's name: even in her drug-ailed state and traumatized beyond belief, she was still asking him for help. To add insult to injury, the only thing that accomplishes is leading the police straight to the protagonist's door as the prime suspect of what was done to her. Made marginally better by the fact that, as with every Bad End that contradicts the In Medias Res prologue, it's a drug-induced hallucination that the protagonist is having and thus can't happen.
    • Even worse when you consider how she ended up that way. Given that Kaneshiro's organization has been shown to rely on coercion rather than outright force and that the blackmail photos haven't been released (since there haven't been any policemen stopping by Leblanc to inquire as to what you were doing in a nightclub). Makoto must have willingly given herself over to them in order to protect the Phantom Thieves and her sister's reputation. Goes to show just how severe her self-esteem issues are that she honestly believes that suffering this herself is preferable to causing trouble for others.
  • If Joker cheats on Futaba there is nothing to prevent her from relapsing back into depression. As Yusuke proves, having a Persona does not make you immune to such negative feelings. If that happened, and she wasn't a Persona user, she may have even formed another palace.
    • Even with that in mind, there is also the possibility brought up by Persona 4: The Animation and Persona 4: Arena. Namely, that crossing the Despair Event Horizon can cause a Persona to turn back into a Shadow. Even considering that Futaba has a Persona, she likely stands a chance of losing it and forming a second palace due to Joker cheating on her.
    • Joker cheating on Haru also makes him little better than the philandering, stupid asswipe she was previously being forced to marry, which explains her seemingly subdued but intense anger when she snaps on Joker with the rest of his wronged lovers.
    • Having a Persona gives one a better sense of who you are, and prevents a change of heart since there is no Palace or treasure to steal. So if Joker decides to cheat, it means he must truly be a manipulative jerk deep down, with no way of changing that.
  • Yusuke's obsession with food takes on a horrifying bent when you realize that, like other victims of neglect, the psychological trauma of prolonged malnutrition probably makes him feel compelled to eat. He may even have a mild case of PTSD.
    • And if that doesn't make Madarame look appalling enough, remember that Yusuke attends Kosei High School on a scholarship, which he mentions he could lose on multiple occasions. The son of a bitch, for all his vast amounts of wealth, was too greedy even to pay his own cash cow's tuition.
  • In the pre-Boss Fight meeting at the hideout, Haru asks the team if defeating the Cognition of her fiancé will have any effect on her father. By then they know that it won't from their experiences in previous Palaces, but then Haru hits herself with the particularly upsetting bit of Fridge Logic as to why they never ran into the father's Cognition of herself. The game doesn't elaborate, but the implication is that her father cares so little about Haru that she doesn't even warrant a Cognition in his Palace. All the while her slimeball of a fiancé not only has a particularly realistic one but also powerful enough to serve as a Mini-Boss to boot because Kunikazu sees him as his ticket to the political world and thus more important to him than his daughter.
    Haru: Now that you mention it, why isn't there a cognitive version of me? Is it somewhere in there?
    Morgana: Well, I could imagine a couple of reasons why we haven't seen it... but I don't think you'd like them.
    Haru: [downcast] ...
  • It's a good thing that Yusuke isn't paying attention to the plot when you go see fake Les Mis with him. Who knows how he would have handled the applicability of Fantine and Cosette's story in the first act to his own tragic life.
  • The police drugging and beating the protagonist at first seems like it's only allowed because Shido has most of the Tokyo police force in his pocket. However, Sae, a prosecutor who is not in Shido's pocket, interviews him in his drugged up state and never once tries to inform a higher authority of the protagonist's mistreatment. This is because, in Real Life, Japan has a HUGE problem with abusive interrogations of suspects by police officers[1]. Japan currently has a conviction rate of 99% mostly because the suspects, after being subjected to a brutal interrogation potentially lasting for nearly a month, will often submit a confession to get out of the interrogation[2]. The situation has started to improve only because of highly publicized sentence turnovers for men who had already served 20+ years on their life sentences. The reason the sentences were overturned: little or mostly circumstantial evidence except for their confession. So yes, what the protagonist went through in police custody, minus the attempted (or successful) murder he suffers while detained, is not only highly plausible, it's most likely happened already.
  • When you see Sae's Palace and how obsessed with winning she is, her threats to Sojiro suddenly become a lot worse. Not only could she have been serious about taking him to family court, but if so she'd have happily gotten Futaba taken away to get what she wanted.
    • Given how guilt-ridden and borderline suicidal Futaba was at the time, seeing all the suffering Sojiro would have gone through during the trial because of her might have pushed her over the edge.
  • A minor example, but when The Protagonist starts a relationship with Ann late in her confidant, she will accidentally confess her feelings to him. Assuming these feelings are present even if The Protagonist does not start a relationship with her, she's stuck watching the boy she loves to get together with another girl every time he chooses someone else. If he's still single by the end, then Ann watches him leave without ever confessing her feelings to him.
    • Same goes for Haru and Futaba, who unlike Ann, definitely form a crush on the Protagonist no matter what.
  • Lavenza and the real Igor's fate in the bad endings. In the first case where Joker fails/is caught and killed, Igor is left a prisoner of Yaldabaoth, while Justine and Carolina presumably never realize the truth and reunite to become Lavenza, staying the impostor Igor's pawns. If the Protagonist accepts Yaldabaoth's offer, then not only is Igor left imprisoned, Lavenza, whose finally regained her identity, gets a front row seat to the guy she put all her hopes in betraying her, as well as his ideals. She's Forced to Watch as he turns to evil while she and the other Phantom Thieves remains as Yaldabaoth's prisoner.
  • Mixed with Harsher in Hindsight, after the big reveal at the end of the game, the voiced This Is a Work of Fiction at the start of the game takes on a very sinister new meaning, given the voice saying it is Yaldabaoth. In the final part of the game, he erases the Phantom Thieves from existence because the public believes they weren't real. It's possible that by forcing the player to agree the story is a work of fiction and the characters within aren't real, he's making YOU complicit in erasing them.
  • Thanks to the Your Mind Makes It Real state of the Metaverse, toy guns became real guns with live ammunition. The Shadow Operatives are supposed to hunt Shadows and deal with Persona-related activity, and they use Evokers (aka gun like items) to summon their Personas. If they somehow found themselves in the Metaverse, the enemies' cognition could interpret the Evokers as real guns, and when they try to summon their Personas, they could accidentally shoot themselves.
    • That's unlikely because an Evoker doesn't look like a real gun (if anything, Evokers look more like squirt guns), which is a stated requirement for a model gun to work like a real one in the Metaverse.
      • Explain Goro's ray gun, then.
      • The user doesn't have to believe it's real for the gun to become real, the one being shot at does, which is why they work at all. The ray guns work because Shadows are affected by fictional ideas as much as real ones because the idea is what matters in their reality, they ARE ideas themselves. If an Evoker looks like a squirt gun to the Shadows in the Metaverse, it'll shoot water.
      • Persona 4: Arena also establishes that the Shadow Operatives don't need their Evokers in places like the Metaverse. In the TV World (another branch of the Collective Unconscious), they can summon their Personas under their power.
  • One case of horror that laps back into brilliance: unlike previous games, once you max out Caroline and Justine's Confidant, you gain the ability to create Personas that have higher levels than Joker. The horror comes in when you remember Elizabeth's final battle in Persona Q, where she tries to summon a Persona stronger than her and ends up being possessed by Zeus - you effectively bribe the twins to do something that puts your life in grave danger. The brilliance comes in when you realize that unlike the real Igor, Yaldabaoth probably wouldn't mind this happening - after all, he plans to get rid of you anyway. (Although he too might be threatened if something like Lucifer or Satanael control you to attack him.) And the fact that Lavenza still lets you do this after exposing Yaldabaoth could be justified as a sort of Godzilla Threshold - yes, you risk falling victim to Demonic Possession, but if this is the only way to get strong enough to stop a mad god.
  • A minor but depressing one: from a set of characters profiles published in Maniax Magazine, Haru's ideal lover is described as "someone who I can share meals with." While the simplicity can be seen as somewhat romantic, it also shows just how bad her situation with her family and her fiance was that her expectations for such an ideal are so low (and perhaps explains why she was so quick to fall for Joker upon meeting him properly).
  • Lavenza's talk of the game being rigged from the start isn't just about how unfair Joker's situation is. It was the nature of the Palace targets they face, given Yaldabaoth's goal of eliminating human desire, he intentionally gave Joker the most reprehensible people as Palace targets just so to justify that people with desire are terrible human beings and must be imprisoned and stripped of all desire. It doesn't absolve them, but it does show how much foresight he put into the game.
  • Madarame painting over the baby in Sayuri is bad enough by itself, but it gets worse if you remember who the baby is. Sayuri is a self-portrait painted by Yusuke's mother, and was intended as a gift for him, meaning that Yusuke is the baby. Madarame then spent a good chunk of Yusuke's life stealing his ideas, abusing him, and treating him like he wasn't a person. In other words, Madarame keeps painting over the baby in the name of money and his ego.
  • Why does Joker start with level one courage despite being the only one who would stand up to Shido's molestation? His life was nearly ruined by it. This implies that his default courage was high only to end up damaged by the trauma of getting burned so badly and betrayed for it. Poor Joker.
  • Morgana spend quite a while as a stray cat during the epilogue. If the Side Quest "Calling For Justice For Cats" wasn't completed, he would have been in real danger during that time.
  • If you failed to retrieve Kaneshiro's Blackmail on time, you will learn that Makoto ended up in an illegal services shop drugged and brutalized. Now, this may be seen as implied rape, but remember what happened to Joker exactly in the Casino Heist (Since Casinos are also illegal in Japan) after his arrest. The same fate, trying to change the heart yourself and end up being apprehended as you are beaten up and forcibly administered drugs to confess who were your accomplices.
    • Speaking of Kaneshiro, if you take the time to talk to the AT Ms dotted around his palace, one of them can be heard begging him not to hurt his daughter. You have to wonder just how many girls he's already forced into prostitution.
  • And to top it all off, despite the higher stakes involving the entire Japanese society, there is a lack of interactions or guidance from the characters from the previous games, and in particular Naoto, who would be the most likely character to investigate. This paints an even bleaker picture of Yaldabaoth, Shido, and his henchmen's evil plans to silence their opposition - as their brutality and cunning is such that even Yu, Mitsuru, and co were helpless against it. Heck, maybe Naoto was unable to stop the other false incriminations Shido's prosecutors initiated. It is even possible that Naoto, in particular, made one step too far in her dealing with the police, and got eliminated (either her reputation ruined to forced retirement, or herself outright falsely incriminated and incarcerated) - explaining her absence in this game.
    • Not to mention how after she believes that the true culprit has not been caught during the middle of Persona 4, most of the police refuse to believe her due to her age and gender. Having tons of cases where Shido got away with his crimes may have lowered her self-esteem.
    • Fortunately (or unfortunately), a more appropriate explanation to this is their mental strength has faded in time, or simply sealed in Mementos. They could easily be just enjoying life till the day of reckoning like anyone else.
  • At the beginning of the game, the player character stops Shido from what likely would have been raping a woman. Given that no one mentions Shido having any romantic past, Akechi was his illegitimate son whom he didn't live with, and that Akechi's mother was Driven to Suicide by the whole ordeal, it's entirely likely that Akechi was conceived in the same kind of activity that the player tried to prevent at the beginning of the game.
  • Some of the early details regarding Kasumi's confidant don't exactly bode well. Hers is the Faith Arcana, which represents both self-confidence and belief in others. Positive attributes, right? It certainly fits with her belief that "the only one who can help you is you." Well, take a look at the card. Unlike all the other confidants, it has a black border and tears in the image. Additionally, Kasumi's confidant has been confirmed to only have five ranks. Anyone who's played the previous game's expansion will remember Adachi's arcana changing once his true colors were revealed. Could the same be true for her? What might her true intentions and arcana be?
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