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Fridge / Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

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As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Logic

  • The Inaba Pride Exibit turns out to be home to Rei's shadow, and the game explains why it takes the form of a festival, but where does all the homoerotic imagery come from?
    • Rei died during puberty?
    • Margaret mentions that the P3 and P4 Teams entering the margin expanded Rei's world, and so a lot of their thoughts were brought to life through her as well.
    • It's explained below that it's due to her hearing the conversation between Kanji and the others at the start of the labrynth, which involves mentions of him in a loincloth.
  • Another Inaba Pride related one- why does the orange gourd FOE chase the Holy Flame despite being weak to fire? One could attribute it Gameplay and Story Segregation, but the Fast Guy is scared of it, likely due to his own weakness.
    • Because it is attracted to it like moth flying towards the light.

Fridge Brilliance

  • The quote at the start of the game is: "Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant." There is a reason; And that's because Rei is being reluctantly dragged into her fate, she just wanted to live normally and happily yet she cannot since she is only there to succumb to her illness.
  • The workshop is in the art room because craftsmanship is an art.
  • Rei seems to just blindly agree right? And looks to Zen to complete her? Well, Rei means zero, and Zen means complete!
  • Why is Magatsu-Izanagi Persona of the Tower Arcana even though in Golden he is classified as a Persona of the Jester/Hunger Arcana (aside that the said Arcana isn't in the game)? The Tower Arcana predicts the fall of some one. By the time Adachi gains Magatsu-Izanagi, his role as the real culprit has been revealed and his situation isn't going to get any better.
    • On that note, why is Magatsu-Izanagi, along with Thanatos, Kaguya, and Orpheus Telos, DLC? They simply aren't available yet in the story proper. Orpheus Telos was the reward for completing all of the Social Links in Persona 3, while the former three are unlocked by maxing out Social Links of certain plot-important characters. At the points in time the two parties came from, these Links were still in progress.
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  • The Group talk about what Kanji would look like carrying a Mikoshi while sporting only a Fundoshi. One level of labyrinth later, there's Fundoshi-wearing FOEs closely resembling the consorts' of Kanji's Shadow in Persona 4, some of which even carry a Mikoshi! The reason for that is that the Labyrinths reflect Rei's emotions and thoughts. The moment she started imagining Kanji in a Fundoshi, the Shadows in the Labyrinth began to adjust to the new image in her mind.
  • Stat-wise, the Persona 4 cast have more pronounced strengths, but also bigger flaws, than the Persona 3 cast, who lean more towards Jack-of-All-Stats. This makes a lot of sense, seeing as a major theme of Persona 4 was finding your own strengths and accepting your flaws.
  • While everyone's Confusion Quotes have them disoriented enough to not be able to tell apart opponents and allies to a degree, Teddie is the only one whose quote has him outright state that "friends are enemies and enemies are friends". Given that almost all enemies in this game are Shadows, this might be Foreshadowing for the fact that he is actually a Shadow in denial himself.
  • Aigis shares a few scenes with Teddie, in two of which she points out that he gives her a strange feeling that she can't quite pinpoint. Players who have finished both, P3 and P4, will know that it is her sensors alarming her of Shadow Readings from him, but due to the damage she took during the Moonlight Bridge incident, she is unable to interpret the signal correctly.
    • Aigis is also shown having a similar reaction to Rei, however, in that case it's probably the dormant copy of Labrys' memory stirring, since there is a good chance that Niko was the girl used to create Labrys' personality pattern. Aigis herself eventually decides she is happy with the explanation that she must have sensed Rei's deep appreciation of life. (Which is a nicely poetic.)
      • Unfortunately, this theory is impossible- Labrys' mother was a girl who let doctors research her terminal disease and died happy to make a difference. Niko really didn't get to do anything in her short life other than die by an overconfident surgeon.
      • Actually, it's not impossible at all; in Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, it's revealed that the Inaba Municipal Hospital, where Niko was held was used by the Kirijo Group to hold patients secretly involved in their experiments. Considering she was there for long enough to reach puberty but didn't leave even once, it's entirely possible she got involved in the experiments when she was grade school age but never saw the results and thus forgot about them by the time she was almost High School Age.
      • This theory does not work chronologically. Since Labrys's story takes place in 1999, we can only assume that the girl used as her base died at some point in the 90s. Since Rei's death is stated to be "10 years ago" and Persona 4 takes place in 2011, we can conclude that she dies in 2001, two years after Labrys was built. Furthermore, Rei does not have a Kansai Accent like Labrys' base does.
      • The "10 years ago" text is given in both, the P3 story and the P4 story. If you assume that it actually means "10 years ago" from the P3 story, that places Niko's death 3 years earlier - in 1998, perfectly matching up with Labrys' creation. This is furthered by how Chie and Yukiko state that the clock tower in Inaba was torn down before they ever entered grade school, meaning it must have been longer than 10 years ago, since both of them are 17 at that point. As for the lack of accent, accent doesn't settle until the age of 14 and Niko was clearly hospitalized long before that and Inaba is in the Chuubuu region, which isn't *that* far from the outer regions of Kansai. It's perfectly possible she lost the accent after several years of hospitalization. We don't know when the message for Labrys and her sisters was recorded in her memory after all.
      • Another possibility for Aigis's sensors acting up is that they're detecting that Rei is dead.
  • A minor one, but only the protagonists call our the names of their Sub Personas. They're already used to using and calling on different Personas and thus, would know their names, while everyone else is only just used to using one Persona.
  • Why does Rei often misunderstand what the others tell her? Probably because she instinctively still want to rejects the truth about everything, as when she had tried to rip out her eyes when she learned she was dead.
  • At the Inaba Pride Exhibit, the last floor before the boss fight is set up in a way that all the manly gates are in cardinal angles. Each gate represents one of the four beasts of Chinese myth: Northen Genbu, Eastern Seiryu, Southern Suzaku, and Western Byakko. Now what's interesting is that you have 5 Personas related to the 4 saint beasts: the beasts themselves, and Kohryu, the Golden Dragon, whose profile says he's at the center of the four beasts. What do we find at the center of the four gates? The stairs that lead to the golden-haired Shadow of Rei... clever Foreshadowing.
  • An interesting detail to note: Most characters don't get any form of character development throughout Persona Q, very much unlike normal games, up until a particular point: when the clock tower is unlocked. The brilliance in that? Well they finally can grow and mature once more, because The Clock God is awaking, and time resumes, as opposed to the frozen time they were stuck in throughout the story.
  • Even the poses the two teams assume when pulling their Big Damn Heroes moments at the You In Wonderland exhibit are a nice touch of detail, since it serves well to represent their games' respective moods, their personalities and themes:
    • SEES is under a blue light with all their Evokers to their heads. Persona 3 is a very serious game dealing with themes of death and purpose, so the color blue helps to set a gloomier theme where a lot of sadness and grief are involved, and blue also serves as the main color for their game. The pose the team takes does look cool, as well, but it's actually a battle-ready stance, since they're a lot more tactical than the Investigation Team, already with their Evokers on standby for the Shadows they'll face. It might look cool, but appearance is not the main purpose for it.
    • The Investigation Team is under a yellow light and taking overblown anime-inspired poses different to each of them. In contrast to its predecessor, Persona 4 is a much lighter, happier game, hence the need for a brighter and cheerier color like yellow. Their game also focuses a lot more on the uniqueness of each character and has a shift towards comedy, which explains their poses coming from an anime famous for being overblown and bombastic, since their game is not as serious as the previous ones.
  • Why does Rei's shadow just disappear when she denies it? Because she's right. It's not her. It's Niko's shadow. Rei didn't know she was dead or why she was there and had no reason to not want to be born. But Niko did. Even if she's just the same person with a wiped memory, she became her own, and was no longer "Niko."
    • Actually, the same happened to Mitsuo's Shadow when he denied it, so the reason is simply that Teddie's wording about Shadows initially in P4 was misinterpreted: In the Japanese Version he says that a denied Shadow will "go wild again", but not specifically that it will attack again. The defeated-but-denied Shadows that disappear go back to their owner's psyche, but are not tamed, meaning they will now torment the host and drive them insane until they finally accept them.
  • In this game, the Protagonists' starting Personas are much stronger. They're also much more their own character, especially in their opposite number's routes. In other words, they have a more defined "self", and thus a stronger Persona.
  • Niko's story is a perfect blend of the morals of both 3 and 4. Or rather, it's the perfect example of what happens when you don't follow those morals. Niko felt that there was no point to her existence and that she'd be better off never having existed. As Rei, she runs away from the truth of who and what she really is. 3's moral is about finding your purpose in life, while 4's is about accepting the truth about yourself. So it's a very good thing that SEES and the IT showed up to actually show her these morals.
    • Zen himself also embodies P3's theme of death and P4's theme of illusions. He is an avatar of Death that leads souls to the afterlife, and when Niko's despair over her life becomes too much to bear he seals her memories, shuts away his, and gives her a new name. This sets up the illusion that they're first-year students of Yasogami High, all so that he can eventually find an answer for Rei before she moves on.
  • Why does Rei love food so much? Zen guesses that she eats because it's a reminder that she is alive. Really, it was most likely food was one of the only pleasures she ever had in the hospital, enjoying the flavors of the food in the meals she ate. Due to personality surfacing in subtle ways, it's quite possible she remembers the only true good thing about being in the hospital, eating and enjoying her meals, so that leaked out, and affected her personality even when under amnesia.
  • More fun with names: consider the theme of "a finite number of days," symbolically embodied by Chronos. While Cronos is sometimes distinct from Chronos—the former being a titan and the latter being the personification of the inexorable march of time—it may yet be significant that the consort of Cronos...was Rhea. (Hint: to modern English speakers, it rhymes with "they.") It may also be significant that Chronos is a primordial deity, dating back in mythology and Ancient Greek cosmology to the time of Nyx. A full dissertation could probably be written on this game's treatment of the symbolism of Chronos.
  • Why does Zen have a collar? Well, the question should actually be, why does he have a spiked collar? Because it bears a vague resemblance to a gear, as in the type found in an analogue clock.
    • Zen holding out his crossbows also resemble the hands of a clock.
  • A neat little detail in the Final Boss's animations: look closely at the Clockwork God's arm gestures in its idle animation. They're circular, like the movement of a gear or a clock hand... and together those movements vaguely resemble the infinity symbol. And it's probably not a coincidence that the track that plays during the fight is named "The Infinite".
  • One possible reason why the boss of the Fourth Stratum, Shadow Rei/Best Friend is a rabbit? In the event of a failed rabbit pregnancy, whether it be due to lack of resources or simple miscarriage, the zygote is harmlessly broken down and reabsorbed by the mother. Because Niko spent most of her days in the hospital, she must've spent her time reading stories and fairy tales, and an in-universe fairy tale in Watership Down is that due to a blessing by their god, young rabbits would never be born if they'd suffer needlessly. She probably read this book.
  • Why does Mitsuru, of all people, absolutely lose it when first encountering the Old Doll? Penthesilea has analysis capabilities. She can likely tell that the already split up group is utterly screwed, having at least a general idea of what it can do to them and how much more powerful it is compared to the group.
  • Theodore's Butt-Monkey status from his sisters extend to even in gameplay. Think about it, he pays you presumably from his own pocket to get the materials you gain from the labyrinths to forge new equipment. What's this money likely going to be used for? Elizabeth's healing services or Margaret summoning Personas from of the compendium as well as Skill Card extraction. In short, they're indirectly stealing money from him.
  • A lot of players complain about the fact that, despite the entire cast getting with their minds' wiped in the end, Word of God stated that this game is canon. What they don't realize is that Zen, Rei and both P3 and P4 casts are NOT the only ones trapped in the labyrinth. How can you tell? It's due to little, innocuous cutscenes during the intro and the ending, and a late game sidequest. Still don't know who this is? It's the blue butterfly, AKA Philemon. For added Fridge Horror, if someone dying in the margin world causes him/her to erased from existence, imagine what would happen if the Big Good of the entire Persona series gets that same erasure. Talk about a Butterfly of Doom...
  • Think of the bosses of the second and third labyrinths. Merciful Clergyman? Kind Doctor? Calm and Caring Nurses? They are not bad people, and were just trying to do their jobs. The reason why they were scary antagonists were most likely just because they are reminders that Niko has died, while Rei was still in denial that she ever did die. The clergyman was just trying to show mercy in hopes that a young girl will peacefully pass to heaven. Meanwhile, a doctor and some nurses who are kind, calm, and caring, just tried to do their best to save a young girl's life.
  • The boss theme Laser Beam blends the musical styles of both teams battle themes. It's got rap and beats, like Persona 3's battle theme, and rocking guitars, like Persona 4's boss theme.
  • It's noticed that the P3 protagonist is mostly calm and slightly grim, but has moments where he says something humorously out of character. It makes sense when you think about it, being an orphan he most likely would be a little on the depressed side, but he's still friendly and sociable. And the out of character moments? Well, think about Persona 3 and how many times it offered you a chance to say something in a conversation that was basically explicitly to evoke a funny reaction from other characters, but didn't actually change how things like social links or the plot played out. He's pretty much vocalizing those in those moments, just not under player control.
  • In the group date cafe, the robotic narrator will constantly mention they could chose to do something or not, despite agreeing with said "choice" be the only way to move forward. Since this is all based on Rei/Niko's psyche, it's most likely a mocking tone. She had no choice but to be hospitalized and ultimately die. It most likely adds that part on because she's still tormented on the futility of her continued living, and people telling her she doesn't have to do something despite having little other choice in her life.
  • Why does Zeus take over Elizabeth for the bonus boss fight? Because Zen is Chronos, or rather Cronus, Zeus' father, who swallowed his children to keep from being overthrown. Zeus understandably considers everyone to be Chronos' slaves, hence his need for the party to prove itself.
    • Additionally, during that fight, Elizabeth's internal level (90) is one level lower than Zeus (91), so she might not be able to control him.
  • How did Mystery Food X: The Final Edition kill an F.O.E.? Inflicting it with despair, of course. The sheer awfulness of Mystery Food X is already known to inflict poison or fear, so isn't too far out to assume that the worst level of MFX can set a status effect that even the Reaper isn't immune to.
  • Around the beginning of the P3 side, we have a brief moment where Fuuka screams because she saw a spider near her foot. Given this was near the time they were dragged into the game's events, and the nature of the game's final boss, it's not unlikely that this was no coincidence.
  • If Rise is chosen as the destined partner during the Group Date Cafe, she is unphased by the cheap cardboard cutout of herself and the protagonist. Even though she is shown to have a crush on the Pr protagonist in the game, she doesn't get flustered like others who see it and just comments how it must be photoshopped. Given Rise's line of work as an idol, and how she's had her revelation about all her Risette facets are a part of her, it's likely that she's simply unbothered by printed images of herself.
  • Rei is a Big Eater and a Cute Ghost Girl. She also died tragically and became obsessed and bitter over her life. She's also strong to curse and weak to light. In other words, Rei is a human form of Megami Tensei's interpretation of a Preta, aka a hungry ghost.
  • The Evil Spirit Club is the only labyrinth where your party members don't run ahead when you open the doors, making the whole run seem lonely and desolate. Why? Because they're scared, too! In fact, Aigis even mentions that Kanji and Shinjiro were the only ones who didn't have accelerated heart rates!

Fridge Horror

  • A young, incurably sick girl, whose window was passed by students of many grades every day and who wanted nothing more than for life to have meaning and to go to school and become a reliable, happy student with a lot of friends? Just where have we heard that before..? It does not help that some certain hints, like the date of Niko's death, the location of her hospital and Aigis' reaction to her seem to hint that this is, in fact, not a coincidence.
  • Dying in the Margin World causes one to be erased from their timeline. In other words: Every time you die in this game, you cause the existence of at least one of the protagonists to disappear from the world, indirectly making the End of the World as We Know It inevitable.
    • Even worse, taking P3 spoilers into account, this may mean that the P3 Hero may suffer the same fate if the Seal were ever destroyed, as it's mentioned that he's risking his soul to prevent mankind's destruction. Small wonder that Elizabeth wants to rescue him.
    • Had the P3/P4 teams never existed, the Dark Hour, Tartarus, and the 12 shadows would likely still exist, so Nyx might not even be a problem. Strega would still have an online service killing people, Adachi and Namatame would be throwing different people into the TV world, and Izanami would probably still go through with her plans to flood the world with fog and turn mankind into shadows. However, all of this might not even matter because of one person: Yukari's father. His devotion to his family is the reason that he wasn't swayed into bringing about the Fall like the other scientists. If Yukari had never been born, who's to say that world wouldn't have already ended in 1999?
  • Related to an above example of Fridge Brilliance, there is a good reason the most common FOE in the early levels of the third labyrinth are aborted babies. Remember how all of the labyrinths' designs and Shadows were born from Niko's emotions? Well, once her memory is restored in the end of the fourth labyrinth and she loses control over her Shadow, she does repeatedly say that she wished she had never been born...
  • Why do the Doctor Shadow and his nurses have such strange, unnatural proportions and move in such bizarre ways? This is the way Niko saw them bent over the operating table when she died - she must have woken from the narcosis when the surgery went awry. The strange, front-heavy proportions and the giant operating tool make a lot more sense from the perspective of a dazed patient on the operating table.
    • It hits even harder as the Kind Doctor's health dwindles down: his last lines during the fight are him genuinely sounding panicked as his (non-existent) patient is going into critical condition - probably something that Niko heard as she was dying.
    • On a similar note, if you can read Japanese, the blackboards in the Evil Spirit Club say "I don't want to die". Knowing the labyrinth comes from her memories, and the doctor is the boss of that dungeon, this is probably what she was thinking during the surgery.
  • Much can also be said of the merciful clergyman boss: Why is he chained to and riding a coffin? Because he represents the moment Rei learned about her illness and her dreams of finding and marrying prince charming got shattered to bits, and the hope of taking vows got replaced with the fatality of the extreme unction.
    • Rei would've spoken to a priest for her last rites in case she died during surgery. Due to how sick Rei was in life, there's a good chance she was given her last rites numerous times.
  • Yukiko's cookies make Zen freeze up and Rei pass out and have nightmares. When you later learn that Zen is a Greek deity and Rei is a ghost, it becomes clear that Yukiko's cookies could have killed the rest of the cast if they dared eat them.
    • Related to this, Mystery Food X: The Final Edition. Rei screams that her eyes are burning after the concoction is finished. She had fake eyes at the time so MFX was probably stinging the inside of her empty eye sockets.
  • Speaking of the third dungeon, the introduction scene of the Kind Doctor, with Lady of War Mitsuru being the focus of the characters' reaction and reduced to a screaming mess on the floor... Tells you everything you didn't need to know about what sort of experiments Dearest Grandaddy submitted her to while he was tinkering the mess which would create the Dark Hour... And remember she was a lucky surviving one. She probably already saw other kids die in a situation not that different from that puppet's one.
  • More like Fridge Tear Jerker than horror, but looking at the two Heroes' Personas shows the P3 Hero is weak to Darkness (an instant death element), while P4's is immune to it. Which hints that the P3 hero is fated to die and the P4 hero isn't.
  • If one's watched the P3 Movie before playing this game, the player knows that the P3 Hero experiences flashbacks to his parents' deaths when his friends are in danger of dying. Which makes his panicked battle lines when his allies are severely hurt or KO'd more disturbing to hear.
  • Why does Rei's Shadow/Best Friend have Endure (revives with half health after reduced to 0) as an ability? It represents Rei/Niko not wanting to die without having any meaning to her short life.

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