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Nightmare Fuel / Persona: The Sougawa Files

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It's a Persona fic; what do you expect? This fanfiction delves into some moments darker than the actual series.

WARNING: All spoilers are unmarked.

  • The Shadow disease, from what's described of it, is unpleasant. If the Shadows latch onto their hosts long enough, they're left in a happy stupor - Izumi describes them as "happy zombies". They're effectively just blissful husks.
  • The party's Shadows, as the main villains, are bound to be this, despite having their fair share of comedic moments mixed in.
    • Shadow Rina, while she goes down without a fight, is one of the scariest by virtue of the fact that Rina's suffering is described. She gets very sick to the point where she's left in bed, and then hears a voice in her head so overpowering that it drives her to sprint all the way to the subway. And even after getting to an abandoned place, she can't escape, as Shadow Rina manifests in the building...
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    • Shadow Hikaru starts off perpetually depressed - a jarring contrast from Hikaru's portrayal in Chapter 2. It gets even worse when he transforms, as he proves to be quite Ax-Crazy and is willing to murder Rina just to prove there's no such thing as a hero. At least Shadow Rina had the courtesy of extending Rina a deal!
    • Shadow Izumi herself isn't so bad, but at the start of the chapter there's the fact that Izumi caused severe injuries to herself (tearing down a barbed wire fence with her bare hands) just to get somewhere safe.
    • Much like Shadow Hikaru, Shadow Wilma turns out to be extremely Ax-Crazy, outright saying she'll cut a smile into the party's face. Her design is also slightly unnerving - a silver android with no facial features other than a smile. Brings a new meaning to Stepford Smiler.
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    • Shadow Ryouichi is one of the sillier Shadows, but when he loses his temper, he's frightening. He turns into a giant tornado-like monster with demonic lightning for a face, and is scary enough that Rina is at a loss on how to fight him at first. Plus, unlike the previous Shadows (save perhaps Shadow Hikaru) he has no real reason to kill the party. He just enjoys it that much.
    • Shadow Tamiko's scarier side rears its ugly head during the boss fight with her, where she displays Yandere tendencies in insisting the party will stay in her world and play with her forever. Her repeated maniacal laughter is also fairly unnerving.
    • Shadow Kazuki may be Affably Evil, but he's a notable fight where during the first half the Freedom Fighters are hopelessly outmatched. He obviously takes sadistic pleasure in messing with them and Jump Scaring them. Thankfully, he's a bit less scary when Rina manages to hit him with a light spell.
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    • Shadow Arata is by far the most horrific Shadow yet. His identity crisis is chilling to watch, with his Mood-Swinger attitude being relentlessly jarring. Not to mention, while his Shadow form is fairly standard, it eventually turns into a serpent made of flesh, with a sharp-toothed maw sprouting tentacles in place of a face.
  • During Shadow Tamiko's dungeon, Rina and company are attacked by two of Nobuyuki's men, and despite neither of them having Personas, they hold their own against them for a bit. The real fear comes in when the team pieces together that these men have been stalking them. The Adult Fear this raises is far too much, especially when Rina outright admits in a future team meeting that she has no idea what to do if Nobuyuki sends people after their families or loved ones and is just counting on a bluff. Her fears aren't unfounded, as seen later...
  • Speaking of Nobuyuki, he's the prime source for chills in this story due to how realistic of a villain he is. Nobuyuki is not only the biggest crime lord in the city, but also a total psychopath and narcissist who thinks only he can guide Sougawa to a bright future. His intentions may be somewhat noble, but Arata reveals in one of his Social Link chapters what that "bright future" entails.
    "Imagine Sougawa, but without the art, trends, and culture. Everything is regulated by a man who won't hesitate to murder those who don't conform or question his methods. Nobody is allowed to speak out. Rebellions are stamped out before they even begin. Everyone is being monitored constantly. The slightest bit of disharmony is destroyed, all in favor of Nobuyuki's grand agenda: control. This is the kind of world he wants. Nobuyuki wants absolute control of Sougawa. No 'but's or 'ands'. He wants control of every single aspect of the city. He wants control over everyone's lives. He viewed you as a non-issue when I was working under him because of how easily he could control you. When you started proving to be far from manageable, he took whatever measures he could to take control back, including potential psychological torture of you and your friends and near murder of your sister. There is nothing he won't do to achieve absolute control. Nothing."
  • Chapter 98 is chilling. Rina wakes up to find the armored figure in her room, and while she does trust them, it turns out that's misplaced, as they end up trying to choke her out. The only reason she doesn't get kidnapped right there is because Clerval interfered.
  • Remember Yuudai? Nobuyuki's goofy lackey who was pathetic enough he didn't get an actual fight? Well, guess what? It turns out he's the mastermind behind everything. While he's still somewhat funny, his reveal chapter is filled with absolutely horrifying Mood Whiplash. To wit:
    • At first, Yuudai seems like his usual goofy self, trying to run away and call security. However, shortly after the group starts questioning him, he... bursts into laughter, and then says this chilling line:
      "You think beating Nobuyuki solved anything?"
    • From there, he proceeds to explain how Shadows work, and while it seems like he's still on their side, the tables quickly turn when the Freedom Fighters try to figure out where the Mother Shadow could be. He reveals his true villainous nature by confirming he was the one who sent the armored figure to attack Rina. Ryouichi even threatens to beat him up, and Yuudai doesn't even flinch, pointing out they won't actually harm him because they need information. He manages to disarm the Freedom Fighters and take control of the conversation without lifting a finger.
    • Yuudai's motivations are horrifying because you can kind of see where he's coming from. After seeing crime after crime, his jaded nature turned into delusions that led to him thinking Shadows were the only solution. Unlike Nobuyuki, he's doing all of this because he loves Sougawa too much.
    • And, of course, the most notable moment in that conversation: After giving a potshot towards Hikaru, Izumi attacks him midspeech, leading to him managing to shove her to the ground effortlessly, his mood changing in an instant. "I AM TALKING!" Brrrr.
    • Yuudai manages to get inside Rina's head - something not even Nobuyuki could do. It's obvious she doesn't completely disagree with him, and he capitalizes on that, calling her out for still failing to share her feelings with her friends.
    • The chapter ends with the reveal of the armored figure's identity - a woman named Satomi, around the group's age, who demonstrates enough power to drag everyone down to... somewhere. The only saving grace is that Rina manages to drag Satomi down with them.
  • The nightmare fuel with Yuudai doesn't stop there, as the trip through his lab in Chapter 102 reveals some horrifying things about his thought process. He calls Satomi "it" because he views her as above people - as a sacrifice for his goals. Not only that, but to keep Satomi functioning, it's implied he just threw random "girly" material goods at her and haphazardly tried to make her look cute, hence her slightly odd fashion sense. Not to mention his "experiments" with her, which were done through an iron maiden that injected Satomi from all angles with Shadow juice. For FOURTEEN YEARS.
  • Satomi is fought in the very next chapter, and it turns out she has a Persona too... sort of. Grendel is a half-Persona, half-Shadow hybrid - and while he's revealed to be not so bad later on, in his debut chapter, he's totally Ax-Crazy. What makes him scarier than Humbaba is that Grendel is intelligent - throughout the battle, he has an ideological debate with Gilgamesh that is chillingly realistic for someone just experiencing their first sense of freedom.
  • The scene of Yuudai absorbing the Mother Shadow is chilling, especially considering how it even hurts him to absorb it. What's worse is the reality of the situation setting in: Yuudai played the Freedom Fighters like a fiddle, and they were too late. He now has the entire power of the Shadows at his beck and call.
  • The battle between Yuudai and Rina is not only painful to watch, but disturbing as all hell.
    • When Yuudai essentially threatens Rina with the fact that her sister is corrupted, Rina flips out and impales him from all angles with icicles. After what happened with Nobuyuki, it's chilling to see how violently protective she is of her sister - to the point where she could have killed any regular person. The worst part is, Yuudai not only survives this, but shrugs it off with some rather gory description.
    • Yuudai gives Rina a brutal Breaking Lecture on how she's just going to get her friends killed while beating her down with all manner of Shadow implements. What makes it scarier is how helpless Rina is during this whole ordeal - she doesn't land ANY good hits on him.
    • The Mind Rape section is by far the crux of the fight. Yuudai outright enters Rina's mind, now part insect, and battles her. Rina thinks she's won as she slips past an opening and spears him through, but he shifts the scene to make it look like she killed Wilma. Rina completely falls for it, leading to her getting choked by Yuudai and then speared so hard her mind shatters, leaving her unable to summon Personas. Wow.
    • Yuudai's last words to Rina are... chilling. It really shows how his obsession with her is downright twisted. The worst part is, Rina DOES almost give up.
      "Oh, no, Rina. You still don't get it. I don't want you to die. I want to make everyone happy; that'd just be counterproductive, wouldn't it? I want you to give up. If anything, you're just going to end up killing yourself if you keep going. I wasn't even trying as hard as I could and you're still practically dead. So what do you think is going to happen when some of your friends decide to fight me, considering they'd never give up for the sake of their precious leader? Izumi, maybe? Or Kazuki? Or even Wilma? They'd do anything for you. Don't tell me otherwise, because you know I'm right. Is that what you want, Rina? To lead all of your teammates to certain death? You should just give up right now. Then you'll be able to save your beloved Freedom Fighters from themselves... and you'll even be able to save yourself. I get your judgement is probably clouded considering that beatdown, but... things would be much easier if you just gave up here. If you think I'm bluffing... you can go check on your sister, like I said."
  • The final battle against Yuudai is filled with grotesque Body Horror and scary moments. Yuudai constantly contorts and manipulates his body in disgusting ways, with a particularly lovely moment being when he's outright chopped in half, and both halves proceed to function on their own, attaching themselves together with black webs. And, of course, there's the return of fake Wilma, accompanied by this line that almost seems to be addressing a few concerns the audience expressed:
    • Yuudai's defeat is notable. He's speared through the chest with a massive icicle spear from Rostam, leaving a gaping hole in his body. He's still not dead. He proceeds to transform into his final form: the Father Shadow, a massive hive covered in the masks of people he's infected - and eight masks meant for the Freedom Fighters, his next victims. The line that ends the first part of the battle against him seals it:
      "I'm not done with you yet...!"
    • Even worse? Arsene has confirmed that this form, coupled with the name, bears an intentional resemblance to Nyarlathotep. The implications are unsettling at BEST.


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