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Manga / Persona

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Megami Ibunroku Persona is the manga adaptation of Persona by Shinshū Ueda. Released only in Japan, the manga started serialization in 1996 and was completed in 2000, with 8 volumes and the total of 44 chapters.

This manga is by far the most popular and well-known adaptation of the original game, partially because the other various adaptations are not available in English.

The manga covers both the SEBEC route and the Snow Queen Quest. It also contains many elements that were not present in the game, such as the backstory of the protagonist, who is no longer a Heroic Mime but instead is named Naoya Todou and has his own backstory and personality.

This manga contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Some of the events that happen in the original game, such as the awakening of Maki's Persona, the Alaya Shrine, and most of the Snow Queen Quest are either removed entirely or glossed over.
    • The Velvet Room of all things is removed. While Igor does appear in one scene to explain the relation of Persona with the Arcana, the characters awaken new Personas through their own souls.
    • Likewise, demon negotiation is removed, with the exception of one scene with Jack Frosts, as there's no need to collect cards to fuse new Personas.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Manga adds some additional plot to the story.
    • The protagonist has a name now - Naoya Todou - and a backstory that heavily affects the plot.
    • All the information regarding the relationship of Personas and Arcanas is more deeply explored than in the game, with Eriko and Igor providing explanation for their meanings.
    • The presence of Kandori and Maki in the Snow Queen Quest is more elaborated upon.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Everyone is capable of unlocking Personas on their own instead of needling the Velvet Room for it.
    • Reiji was never a pushover, but now he has the ability to turn invisible.
    • Even late in the story, the Persona users still use their Initial Personas. Not only are no slouch in battle, they are able to use late game skills that is only possible if they are refuse again with a special item and a skill card.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Reiji in the game only gets violent when the subject of Kandori comes up; but he's more cold than outright antagonistic. Here, Reiji looks like a mad dog at points and he's none too pleased to be saddled with the other members of the team until after Castle Mana
  • Adapted Out: Several locations are not explored such as the police station and Mikage Ruins.
  • Alternative-Self Name-Change: Other than the canon examples from the source material, there's also Naoya's Shadow Self, who goes by the name Kazuya.
  • Always Identical Twins: Two pairs in the manga, Naoya and Kazuya as well as Elly's younger sisters who are only mentioned in passing.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Naoya's twin brother Kazuya died in a car crash when they were little, while he was in bed sick with fever. While this is by no way his fault nor he could have possibly done anything about it, he still feels guilty over the event.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • In a sense, everyone who could participate in the SEBEC route, as other than the obligatory party members (Naoya, Maki, Mark and Nanjo), both Brown and Elly tag along, and later Reiji joins up as well. In the game, you could only choose one of the latter three.
    • The Protagonist is simply a Heroic Mime without any Character Development. The manga gives him a personality and a sideplot involving his past as well as an arch-enemy.
  • Bishounen Line: Inverted. While in the game Pandora plays this straight, in the manga she starts with the beautiful butterfly form and the transforms to the demonic one.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Unlike the games, the real Maki has no memory of the adventure she had with her friends, meaning her Character Development and love for Naoya are not passed on from her ideal self. However, Naoya briefly sees Maki as her ideal-self, giving him hopes that she will remember their feelings for each other.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Unlike the game when you never run out, Maki almost runs out of bullets at one point.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Everyone calls the names of the spells they're using out loud.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Aki's giant metal rat started by giving this, as it had huge guns and was immune to most magic, but then Naoya summoned a Persona which it was not immune to, turning the tables.
    • Reiji spends the fight against Yog-Sothoth Jr. unable to land a hit, until the other Persona users come for backup.
    • Naoya Vs. Kazuya ends with the former being a bloody pulp on the ground and latter walking off.
    • At one point everyone is hit with Makajam which prevents use of Personas, almost killing all of them. The only thing that saves the party was Kazuya giving Eriko an item to cure the condition.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Reiji Kido was born out of wedlock, and it's heavily implied that his mother was a prostitute at the time. Not only did his biological father abandon them, at one occasion he beat up Reiji's mother with a golf club, giving Reiji that scar on his forehead when he tried to defend her.
    • When Naoya was a just a child, on a day he got sick, his twin brother died in a car accident. To make it worse, his mother, in her grief, started confusing him with his brother and even went as far as to wish it was Naoya who died and not Kazuya. These events mark Naoya to this day, and the form of his Shadow Self comes from them.
  • Death of Personality: The group discussed that the Ideal Maki used all of her powers to bring them back to the real world and corrected the mistakes she had made, essentially erasing herself as well, meaning the real Maki has no memory of everything that has occurred. This however does not happen in the games as Maki explains that she remembers everything that had occured in the sequel.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • While Yukino still didn't join the group after they return to school, as in the SEBEC route, Ayase also chose to remain with her. Worst of all, Ayase only uses her Persona once.
    • Igor only appears once when Naoya first arrived at the alternate world where he give him a new Persona. Following this meeting, the Persona users gain new Personas on their own without the aid of Igor.
  • Die or Fly: How everyone awakens their Personas.
  • Disney Death:
    • After Chisato attempted to commit suicide, she is revived by Maki, using Tensen Nyannyan's Samarecarm.
    • During his final confrontation against Kazuya, Naoya is cut in half. Since the battle takes place in his subconscious, he is immediately revived.
    • Eriko uses Recarmdra to fully heal the party during the final battle, at the cost of her life. She is immediately revived by Maki using Samarecarm.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The manga introduces Shadow Self and Cognition Existence long before they are properly introduced or explained in the games.
  • Enemy Without:
    • Like the game, Aki and Pandora are this for Maki.
    • Kazuya is revealed to be a persona of Naoya, formed over his guilt of his twin dying instead of him, and materialized by Aki.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Several of the things that happen in the manga reflect the game's mechanics.
    • It's perfectly possible to run out of SP, and several characters experience heavy exhaustion from overusing their Personas.
    • Buffs are also applicable. At one point, Yog-Sothoth Jr. cast Sukunda (the Agility debuff) on Reiji, and none of his attacks would hit until Nanjo cast Sukukaja on him.
    • The same goes for status effects. Spells like Makajam and Wolvan play their role.
    • The Personas that the cast summons are all taken from the game, and they have MAX compatibility.
    • At one point Kazuya mentions the different properties of different Arcanas, like the World having high strength or the Moon being immune to magic.
    • The party survives Pandora's Butterfly Storm by spamming buffs and shields.
    • At one point, Brown meets a group of Jack Frost enemies during a moment where everyone has run out of SP. He tells a joke which causes them to laugh to the point where they leave without attacking, and they give him a Life Stone too. This reflects the game's conversation mechanic.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Velvet Room is practically absent. Characters obtain Personas out of their own souls through the strength of their will.
    • Practically everyone gets to participate in the final battle against Kandori, as Arbitrary Headcount Limit does not apply here.
    • The battle against the Teddy Bear does happen but the manga still follows the good ending. In the game, if you fight the teddy bear you're locked in the bad one.
    • The Musketeer trope present in the original game does not exist here. Instead of all the characters having a melee weapon and a gun, they all restrict themselves to one weapon. Maki sticks to her handgun, and the rest use their melee ones.
    • Melee weapons can be bought at the convenience store at the alternative Mikage-cho. In the game, you could only buy guns from there, and the melee ones had to be dropped by the demons.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Nanjo. His parents were do absent from his life and busy with their jobs that he basically only interacted with his butler Yamaoka, who was a Parental Substitute to him. When Yamaoka dies, Nanjo is devastated yelling that there never was anyone there for him.
  • Only Six Faces: All characters of the same gender frequently have near identical facial features. For example, in one panel a minor character looks identical to Kandori.
  • Original Character: Kazuya Todou, Naoya's identical twin brother. He plays an extremely important role in the events of the manga.
  • Shout-Out: When the students of Saint Hermillin share rumours about SEBEC, one says that they must be preparing some biological weapon. Another one immediately tells him that this isn't Biohazard.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Nanjo actually tests this trope. When faced with the locked gates of Mana Castle, he quickly realises that the only way to open them was to basically give the MacGuffin to the villains. So first he tries to blow away the gates with magic, and when that doesn't work, he gives the others the go-ahead. When given a What the Hell, Hero?, he explains that it was either this, or they let Kandori and Aki get away, which is not an option at all.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 18 and 19 have Naoya suddenly turned against the group and sides with the Harem Queen. As this is happening, the scene switches to a different part of Kama Palace where Naoya is still waiting for the Harem Queen's arrival.