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  • Aborted Arc: Sayoko's social link begins strongly emphasizing her sexuality, having her hit on the player, talk about doctors she'd seduced at previous hospitals, and even having the wife of a doctor she'd slept with track her down to cuss her out. However, by the middle of the link, her sexual past gets entirely dropped in favor of her guilt over a former patient dying. The rest of her link deals with her overworking herself due to guilt and grief, with no further mention of sexuality or infidelity. Granted, though, the interlude does have some significance, as after the incident with the doctor's wife, she expresses some of her cynicism and disillusionment with her job.
  • Accidental Truth: Chie has a weird habit of saying something random which happens to be exactly what's been going on.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • Yosuke describes Chihiro as "The most bewitching bespectacled beauty I've ever… beheld!" and even pauses briefly whilst he thinks of a synonym for "seen" that starts with the letter B.
    • Also, Shadow Kanji "searching for sublime love that surpasses the separation of the sexes".
  • Adult Fear:
    • The last victim of the kidnapper is Nanako, the player character's little cousin. That character's father and the player character go through absolute hell.
    • In Real Life, serial killers tend to be people the victims know. In this case, it was none other than Tohru Adachi, Dojima's partner.
    • During the Wham Episode near the end of the game, the player has to make choices that determine what ending to get. If the player punishes Nanako's kidnapper out of vengeance? You get a Bad Ending and Nanako dies, while the real truth behind the case is still out there. It can potentially get worse in Golden, where Adachi, the murder, is one of your social links. Make the wrong decisions, and not only does Adachi become a Karma Houdini, but he mocks the player over it even when leaving Inaba. This is known as the Accomplice Ending.
    • If the player makes the right choices near the end of the game, the player can find out that Taro Namatame had it pretty rough. His entire life was destroyed because of his affair, and he had to sit and watch two people, one being his lover, die right in front of him, while he was entirely helpless. Right after that, he gets tricked by Adachi into almost murdering several innocent people. No wonder everyone thought he was mentally unstable at the end of the game.
    • In the Death Social Link, Mrs. Hisano Kuroda touches pretty close on how awful it is to have your spouse die before you, as well as the pain of old age and having a loved one suffer from memory loss. Mr. Kuroda has Alzheimers in everything but name.
  • A.I. Roulette: And that is the only break the game will ever give you. It's also the only thing keeping the Magus enemies (who can use multiple elements) from exploiting your weakness endlessly.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: In-universe example: After Morooka is murdered in July, Yosuke expresses pity for him.
  • Alice Allusion: The Persona, Alice, who Teddie crossdresses as for a beauty pageant.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: More like gods in Yasoinaba.
  • All in a Row: Averted. The party members visibly follow you around in the TV world, but at a distance in a sort of loose formation.
  • All Myths Are True:
    • Major figures from Japanese Mythology actually exist inside the TV world, though it's left ambiguous whether they're Anthropomorphic Personifications of their myths or the myths are indeed based on them.
    • Golden muddies the waters a little, as while Izanami of the TV world really is the goddess of Japan, Marie makes it clear that she, Ameno-sagiri and Kunino-sagiri, are manifestations of humanity's collective unconscious wish. You only get this tidbit if you maximize her Social Link and save her before earning the True Ending. (And of course, given what all gods are in the wider setting, this might ultimately be the difference between two related species of apples.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The battle against Ameno-sagiri, God of Fog, takes place in a trippy location full of moving black and red lines in the skies above Magatsu Inaba.
  • An Aesop: The lesson at the end of the game is that it's best to seek and face the truth, no matter how bad it is. Because by knowing the truth and accepting it, you can start to move on. The fog throughout the game is a metaphor for how most of humanity is more comfortable believing in convenient lies, because they're afraid to accept the truth.
    • More or less extends into the Social Links as well, which all revolve around finding a truth to your life- accepting yourself, others, and dealing with your identity.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Since you lose the game if your main character dies, other characters will jump in and take a hit that would normally kill him so long as their social link is at least level 1 (level 9 in Golden).
    • Naoto's Social Link is the last to be introduced, and you thus have the least amount of time to do it. To avoid serious pressure problems, her social link can be done on rainy days.
    • Players can fast-travel to various portions of the overworld map when not in the TV World with just a single button, in comparison to needing to manually walk everywhere in Persona 3.
    • On the last possible day to save Yukiko and Kanji, there's a Fusion Forecast recipe for each that will make their Boss Fights a lot easier. If you fuse Berith on April 28th, it will learn Mabufu, a skill that it can't naturally inherit. That and its natural immunity to fire makes an ideal Persona to take on Shadow Yukiko. Similarly, if you fuse Ares on June 3rd, it will learn Null Poison, which makes the protagonist immune to Shadow Kanji's Forbidden Murmur skill. Furthermore, Ares is naturally resistant to Physical attacks, which is Shadow Kanji and its mooks' preferred method of dealing damage.
    • Golden adds multiple others as well:
      • The ability to "skip through" both animated cutscenes and dialogue sequences, particularly handy when starting a New Game+ or facing Kunino-Sagiri.
      • On a game over, restarting will allow the player to resume play on the same dungeon floor they died upon, rather than at their last save point. This option can be turned off, and is unavailable on Very Hard mode, though.
      • When fusing Personas to create new ones, the player can choose manually which skills are passed on from the fusion, rather than needing to "reshuffle"note  in order to re-decide what skills are randomly passed on. This makes Margaret's Social Link much easier to complete.
      • Rather than needing to try and "catch" Persona cards during Shuffle Time, which requires a combination of perception, memory and reflexes, all of the useful cards are immediately displayed for the player and the player can then manually select which one they choose. As part of this, Shuffle Time also lost the Blank Cards (nothing, but chance of getting an Arcana Card in either the upright or reverse position) and X-cards (lose all items, experience and cash received from the fight) and regained the Minor Arcana Cardsnote  from Persona 3.
      • In a New Game+ on Golden, you can select anytime what the difficulty is going to be like. As in going to Settings and manually change how much or little you get EXP, money, how badly you take damage, etc.
      • The aforementioned "fast travel" method now allows a player to immediately skip up or down a level once they have found the stairs in a dungeon, making it easier to get around.
      • A minor one, but with the new Costume feature, you can play as Teddie in his human form, which gets rid of the squeaking sound when he walks.
      • If you manage to get at least the Normal ending in Golden, where the Playstation 2 version normally skips to the ending in next March, you instead get to play through every day between taking down the killer and the final day spent in Inaba, giving you significantly more time to max out Social Links, get the Persona compendium, and just generally giving a larger grace period for 100% Completion.
      • The book mechanic is a lot more friendly: instead of having to go to the book store on a specific day to buy a book, you can go any day after the book becomes available. Additionally, books run on a chapter system, meaning you can pick up new books before you've finished reading another (though a book needs to be finished to gain any benefit).
    • Weirdly, averted with Golden on one point; there are no longer save points/escape points to be found outside of the boss's chambers in the dungeons, making Goho-Ms much more necessary if the party isn't prepared for the final battle of a given dungeon.
  • Anti-Grinding: The stronger you get, the less EXP you get from fights. Your characters don't get "tired" like in P3, but eventually, you'll simply run out of SP and run out of ways to recover outside of simply leaving the TV Worldnote  (Although with Golden, by the time you get to Nanako's dungeon you can easily grind endlessly, assuming you've maxed Rise's S. Link and gotten her to Level 62, which gives you HP and SP recovery, respectively, at the end of every battle) Alternatively, there's a rare Persona ability called "Victory Cry" which gives the player (just the player) a complete restoration of HP and SP (The only exception is Marie's dungeon which your HP and SP are halved after every battle). There's also the Fox, who will restore your SP for money. If you max out the Hermit Social Link, the Fox will charge only 25% of what it did in the beginning. The money you gain from battle by then covers the cost of the SP you expend.
  • Apocalypse How: A downplayed version near the end as the fog covering Inaba makes the people more and more apathetic & erratic.
  • Arc Welding:
    • In the manga, the middle and later parts of Nanako and Dojima's Social Links happen in the period between the School Festival and Nanako's kidnapping. Soji's ordering a picture frame for Nanako is what helps Namatame find his address, whereas in the video game, the delivery man made a seemingly innocuous stop to ask about a neighbor's house. Dojima also tells Soji about Ichihara's phone call before questioning him about his involvement in the case.
    • The manga also includes parts of the Jester Social Link in the time period between November 6 and December 3. Notably, in the game, it's impossible to spend time with Adachi after that point in the story.
  • Arc Words / Catchphrase:
    • "You're NOT me!"
    • "I am a Shadow... The true self..." / "我は影、真なる我" (literally "We are Shadow, a reflection of the True self.")
    • And also Nanako's habit of singing the Junes jingle. "Every day's great at your Jun~es!"
    • While not technically spoken by any character, the game itself reminds you (through song, no less!) to reach out to the Truth in about 90% of the game's battles, though less so in Golden because "Reach Out To The Truth" is reserved for when the player gets Advantage.
    • Continuing in that vein: "The Search for the Truth"
    • And the arc words for the entire Persona series: "I am thou... thou art I."
    • Arc words for the animation? "Bonds of people is the true power."
    • The word "promise" is frequently used in Teddie's character arc and social link.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Naoto's chosen weapons are guns, which aren't any more effective than the MC's swords, or even Chie's kicks. Less so in some cases.
  • The Artifact:
    • Shadows on the map will sometimes look like Persona 3's "Maya" series enemies, none of which appear in 4. The introductory cutscene to the game's first real fight makes it pretty clear that the Shadows can start out looking like the Maya enemies before transforming into their freaky battle shapes. That being said, none actually remain as a pathetic masked blob to go into battle, though there is unused enemy data for them.
    • Maxing out a S-Link will note that you forged a bond that cannot be broken. This was important in 3 where bonds that were not maxed would break after time, now it is mostly just congratulatory. Unless it's Ai's Social Link.
    • The final boss theme includes Triumphant Reprises of "I'll Face Myself" and "Reach Out to the Truth". With Golden replacing "Reach Out to the Truth" with "Time to Make History" as the new main battle theme (though "Reach Out to the Truth" still plays when there's a Player Advantage, these are somewhat uncommon), the reprise loses a bit of its impact in the rerelease.
  • Artificial Riverbank: Samegawa Floodplain, one of the areas around Inaba that can be explored.
  • Artistic License – Physics: According to this game, a sword and a chair can be concealed in your school uniform, even during the summer.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • FSteak is now canon. Interestingly, it was a happy accident; in the original Japanese, "fusuteki" is used.
    • "Shut up, Adachi!" is Dojima's (memetic) Catchphrase in the Hiimdaisy comic, but was actually never used in the original Persona 4. Then Golden comes along and Dojima uses that exact phrase in one of the first new scenes he and Adachi are featured in, fully voiced to boot.
    • Yosuke getting stuck in the trash can, a minor scene in both the game and anime. The opening to Golden shows Yosuke dancing with a trashcan over his head.
  • Asshole Victim: Subverted with Morooka. Throughout the game, he is a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk who never had a single Pet the Dog moment. The protagonists admit while discussing his death that they didn't like the guy, but that he didn't deserve to die and the murderer was not justified in their actions.
  • Assimilation Plot: After the string-puller decides Adachi is the truest representation of humanity, the real world starts becoming engulfed in fog, so that everyone can become Shadows and can wander forever without suffering.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!:
    • When the protagonist awakens to Izanagi, the track ("Awakening") slowly climbs from a piano intro to a guitar solo that's downright metal.
    • The main battle theme, "Reach Out to the Truth", is a vocal rock/J-pop song. In Golden, "Time To Make History" becomes the new main, equally rocking main battle theme.
    • Nearly every boss theme is an imposing hard rock song: the fast-paced metal track "I'll Face Myself (-Battle-)" for the Shadow Selves and optional bosses, the droning, dreary, glitchy "A New World Fool" against Kunino-sagiri and the Killer, the triumphant "The Almighty" when fighting Ameno-sagiri, and "The Fog" for the first phase against the true final boss, Izanami.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Fox's healing leaves, which instantly heal your SP in a dungeon (and unlike in most other SMT games, SP recovery items can't be bought from stores normally), but cost a fortune until the higher ranks of the social linking. And by the time you reach these, you'll likely be in the loot-rich final dungeons, but your levels will be high enough that conserving SP won't be an issue anyway. So for the majority of the game, unless you can't afford to have a day passed, you're better off just leaving for the recovery.
    • Izanagi-no-Okami. If you decide to go through the True Ending to get him, you're in for a shock: He's a level 91 Persona, and he can't be registered into the Compendium. If you want to have him in later games, you'll have to level yourself up and amass all the Personas to make him.
    • Some of the 3rd tier Persona abilities in Golden are this. Only Yukiko's, an attack-all fire spell with a little more power than the Ragnarok spell, is one that will be consistently used; it also helps that she has a massive SP pool.
      • Teddie's is more or less the same Random Effect Spell that Fuuka learns as her very last spell. Either your party or the enemy's party can be completely healed or affected with one or more Standard Status Effects.
      • Naoto's Shield of Justice ability and Chie's Dragon Hustle ability (the former provides invincibility for one turn; the latter is a multi-target Heat Riser spell) are both useful in context, but both require an absurd amount of SP (160 and 150, respectively). It's a bigger problem for Chie than Naoto because, lacking Naoto's larger SP pool, it takes over half her SP to cast and you'll need to waste SP restoratives in order to use it more than once, which would otherwise be a viable strategy in boss fights.
      • Kanji's can knock down and potentially cause dizzy on enemies. But it only works on Mooks, and is somewhat inaccurate besides (a trait shared with every other status effect spell). He'll learn a spell that can boost this particular effect, but it's learned so much earlier that the player will likely have shunted it out by then.
  • Awful Truth:
    • The major theme of the game is that people naturally will cling to lies and falsehoods to avoid horrible truths about themselves and others. The fog of the TV world is symbolic of people's desires to live in ignorance and denial. The climax is interesting in that the protagonists don't deny that most people are like that—but they themselves are different and they'll fight to stop a world shrouded in fog even if it goes against what the rest of the planet wants (something Marie says is not the case in Golden).
    • A more personal version occurs in Golden if you were a cheating bastard throughout the game. On Valentine's Day, you have to turn down every girl (save Marie and possibly one other) and later accept her gift in person anyway. Each heartbroken girl (who believes herself to be your only girlfriend) asks you just what you're planning to do on Valentine's Day without her. You give all sorts of non-answers, but each of them have a feeling what's up. They just decide to ignore the subject and half-heartedly say that they trust you (wrongfully). Naoto's is the most cruel, as she says that she's a failure of a detective because there's a mystery in front of her that she doesn't want to solve because she already knows the truth is too awful. Consider the entire Aesop of the game, and this is even worse.
  • Badass Adorable: The whole team respectively is certainly this, due to them being very good-looking and badass enough to take down anything hat comes in their way. Naoto takes a special mention.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • In Golden, you get the option to give the boys in your group FBI suits, but they remain just as badass as ever.
    • Oddly, Izanagi-no-Okami. Apparently, in Japan, even being the Original God doesn't get you out of wearing a tie to work.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: When fighting Shadow Rise, Teddie steps in and defeats the boss for you — shortly before Shadow Teddie appears, and you have to fight him instead.
  • Batman Gambit: Partially deconstructed. Naoto's works, but Kanji is furious at her for taking that sort of risk and is not shy about letting her know. Some other members of the team are definitely impressed, though, especially given the amount of details she's able to remember from her own kidnapping.
  • Battle Theme Music: You'll hum to the Pre-existing encounters. You'll rock out to the boss battles.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Shadow Teddie.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: A funny example: After Yosuke signs the girls up against their will for a beauty pageant, they respond by signing the protagonist, Yosuke, and Kanji up for the crossdressing pageant.
    • You defeat the True Final Boss by essentially throwing her own Hopeless Boss Fight back at her. After you get her second form's health to zero, Izanami-no-Okami becomes invulnerable and starts spamming your party with a one-hit-KO attack called Thousand Curses. After succumbing to her attack and hearing rousing speeches from all your maxed social links, you return with your persona's second form, Izanagi-no-Okami. After Thousand Curses misses, Izanami repeatedly hits you with 999-damage attacks, but this time, you're the one that's invulnerable. You then one-up her Thousand Curses with your own one-hit-KO attack called Myriad Truths.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Zig-Zagged. Morooka, Hanako and Mitsuo are all characterized as rotten people in general, are basically the only people in the entire game who aren't considered attractive and don't come around to be better people. Adachi is a subversion, but that's the point; the player is supposed to trust him. Igor, on the other hand, has a hooked nose, bulging eyes and a cryptic personality that give him an Imp-like look, but he's the only supernatural entity in the entirety of the MegaTen franchise to help you without an ulterior motive and not backstab you horribly.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Played for Laughs in the beach trip in Golden, where Teddie continuously fiddles with the girls's swimsuits in the water in hoping to cause a Wardrobe Malfunction. He ends up doing this to Kanji instead, much to his horror.
    • Played for Drama. Furious over Nanako's death, the entire team confronts Namatame, then the Midnight Channel appears on a large TV next to them, depicting Shadow Namatame smugly repeating that he would get away with this in court due to how absurd the Midnight Channel is, and continue to "save" people. This gives the team the motivation to kill Namatame via the same method he supposedly used on the first two victims. The protagonist, however, convinces everyone to calm down since he feels that something feels very wrong about the "Namatame is the Killer" theory due to the circumstances, so they let him be. They later find out to their horror that Shadow Namatame acting like a Smug Snake was due to the team subconsciously wishing for a reason to kill Namatame.
  • Become a Real Boy: Late in the game, Teddie realizes that he is a Shadow himself, born of the desire to appeal to people, which is why he appears as a cute mascot bear. The party tells him that once he was granted a Persona, he developed the ego necessary to control it, which is why he was able to manifest in the "real world."
  • Belated Happy Ending: While the original game concluded with the protagonist leaving Inaba, possibly forever, with the reassurance that neither he nor the friends he made would ever forget their happy times together, subsequent releases, from Arena to Golden have all-but reversed that initial conclusion by allowing Yu to repeatedly visit Inaba and generally keep in touch with everyone, confirming his lifelong friendship with the whole cast.
  • Beneath the Mask: Shadows in general, as they reflect a person's inner feelings.
  • Berserk Button:
    • An individual's Shadow goes into berserk mode with a "You're not me!".
    • Don't say anything to Kanji about him being "strange".
    • Hurting Nanako. Once Nanako is kidnapped, the entire party drops the jokes, and even suggesting to go to a different dungeon will result in glares. And when Nanako is thought to be dead... well, you better just hope you're not alone with Yosuke and Kanji in a room with a TV. The entire cast will have no mercy, and if you didn't get the good ending, then Namatame is killed by Yosuke and the gang pushing him into the TV. Don't fuck with Nanako.
  • Betty and Veronica: Yukiko and Rise, respectively. Both express strong desire for Yu, Yukiko being shy and Rise being flirty.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Some of the Shadow selves can be quite goofy in their behavior, but they are FAR from harmless.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Kanji does this as his victory pose after winning a battle. And often outside of battle, too.
  • Bifauxnen: By mid-October, you find out about Naoto Shirogane.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: This game points you out to not one, not two but four suspects in a row and forces you to fight two gods just to lull you into a bad ending before the real mastermind was revealed to be a goddess in charge of the gas station within the first 5 scenes of the game.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The All-Out Attack. If you kill all the enemies in the process, you're rewarded with a skull mushroom cloud. In Golden, once Rise joins the party and decides to randomly join in on the All-Out Attack, the skull mushroom cloud is colored pink and designed to look like her. You get this regardless of whether or not you kill the enemies.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The game gives numerous opportunities for the Protagonist/player to have this towards Nanako.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Kanji does one when Nanako tries the Christmas cake made by the girls before they could after she just got out of the hospital. Turns out, there was nothing to worry about.
    • While not really a big "no", Yosuke and Kanji both have these when Nanako appears to die. Yosuke screams "DAMN IT!!" twice and Kanji lets out a painful anguish cry and punches the wall as hard as he can.
  • Bile Fascination: In-universe example. Yosuke on the people who get excited over the murders:
    They're like onlookers at a car crash. As long it's not happening to them, they're dying to get a closer look.
  • Bilingual Bonus: A surprisingly subtle one, from the Aiya Chinese Diner. "Aiya" is a Cantonese expression of displeasure or disappointment, and sure enough, the diner owner says this every time you don't finish the Rainy Day Special. It could be a Mythology Gag that's a Shout-Out to Lisa Silverman, who spouts lots of Cantonese expressions - Aiya being one of her favorites.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Teddie has this effect upon becoming a human, and, of course, abuses it with the girls.
  • Bishōnen: Most of the principal male cast to a certain extent, but especially Teddie. Includes sparkle and drooling girls.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Subverted with Saki Konishi. The twisted Shopping District area in the TV world makes her come off this way... for about five minutes, until Yosuke's Shadow turns up, after which is becomes clear that while the echoes heard in the area were Saki's real feelings, they don't provide the full picture of her personality. Yosuke never once holds it against her, and though he accepts that she disliked him, he doesn't hesitate to describe her to others as a good person. It's something of a theme of all of the Shadow self confrontations that everyone has an ugly side to them, but that it doesn't define everything about them.
    • Adachi is a more straightforward example. More obvious in Golden when you see how his Social Link centers around him badmouthing an old lady who mistook him for her son.
  • Bland-Name Product: In the manga, Soji gets a package from abaddon.co.jp.(Amazon.com)
  • Blind Without 'Em: The fog inside the TV is nearly impossible to see through (though the protagonist can see slightly better than the rest of them), so the main characters have to wear special glasses made by Teddie to see through it.
  • Blush Sticker: Ayane has these all the time.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Going to the bathroom isn't necessary, strictly speaking, but doing so has a chance of giving you an item, and can also help you think of what to do next.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Each dungeon has a Bonus Boss which is available upon returning to it.
    • In addition, Izanami, Japanese goddess of Death and Rebirth is available in the game if you unlock the True Ending, as well as Margaret on your second playthrough (only if you unlocked the True Ending on the previous playthrough).
    • In a New Game+ (or first playthrough in Golden), the Grim Reaper from Persona 3 also shows up as a Chest Monster in each dungeon.
    • Kusumi-no-Okami in Golden is an odd example in that she isn't necessary to finish the game, but once you gain access to her dungeon, you have to beat her.
  • Book-Ends: When the protagonist first arrives at Yasoinaba train station, he is alone and turned off by how boring his new home seems. When he leaves by the end of the game, he is surrounded by friends and sad to be going.
    • In the extended epilogue of Golden, he arrives to see people working hard to turn the town around, and sees a more lively shopping district.
    • The final Persona he summoned is the upgraded form of his first Persona.
    • The setting of a dream sequence the protagonist has on his first night turns out to also be the final dungeon.
    • The place where the party confront the killer is also the first area the protagonist and his friends explored during their first visit to the TV world.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Beating the Grim Reaper earns you an Infinity Plus One Weapon.
    • Getting the True Ending lets you fuse the Protagonist's ultimate Persona the next time through - except that it's a twelve-Persona fusion and it can't be registered in the Persona Compendium. Granted, it can learn all the highest elemental skills and their respective boosts, and its stats are insanely high, even for its level. Taking the time to level grind to use said Persona can make beating Margaret and The Reaper extremely easy. Still a bragging rights reward nonetheless, as both the weapons and Persona cannot be transferred over to a New Game+, and you don't even keep your levels, so you have to grind to 91 all over again to get the Persona.
      • In Golden, Izanagi-no-Okami, while still unstoreable and cost-prohibitive (therefore still falling into this trope) becomes a fair bit more useful. The most important change is his ability to actually Inherit skills (and being able to choose which ones get inherited this time around.) This lets him actually fill specific roles for the end-game bosses instead of simply being a trash-mob killer. He's also the only method of getting the Victory Cry skill card without relying on luck, which is obscenely useful for the Bonus Dungeon.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The calendar in your room is an ad for Persona 3.
  • Break Them by Talking:
    • The raison d'etre of the Shadow Archetypes. Their existence is entirely based around deconstructing and showcasing the darker sides of their owners' personality. Naoto, in particular, starts off as somewhat annoyed with and dismissive of her Shadow, but gradually loses her composure as her Shadow keeps talking, and finally denies it. Unusually, the way to finally defeat them involves admitting that they're right, and not trying to deny them.
    • The Big Bad also tries to give one at the end of his dungeon. Naoto, Yukiko, and Yosuke turn it back on him.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Pretty much everything that happens that isn't related to the murder plot, but especially the end of August and the whole month of October.
    • During your summer break, once you catch Mitsuo, there's over a whole month of time where everything seems fine and nothing at all happens until the plot picks up again once you've gone back to school.
    • The only thing of note that happens during October are exams and the Culture Festival, and the month before sees you rescuing Naoto, your last party member, and November brings Nanako getting kidnapped. That said, one evening, you get a threatening letter from the real killer.
    • January ,except for one day in particular (playable only in Golden, the original ends its free-roaming on December 24th) also has no major events in it, mostly being a chance to finish your Social Links and earn the 3rd-Tier Personas.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Several things mentioned in the original game as future plans (Yosuke's desire to own a motorbike & a possible trip to the beach, to name two examples) wind up occurring during the course of Golden.
    • Early in the game, Nanako asks if the weather forecaster "decides the weather", because when she says it'll be sunny, it always is. If you're playing Golden and you max out Marie's social link, then she becomes a weather forecaster in the True Ending and she actually can decide the weather.
    • During one instance, Yosuke makes fun of Chie for being afraid of lightning. Afterwhich, she then says that if lightning should strike someone, let it be him. Fast forward to after you save Marie where she strikes Yosuke and the other guys with Ziodyne at the hot springs. Comically, Yosuke's elemental weakness is lightning.
    • Yosuke has a Potty Emergency the first time the group ends up in the TV world. Almost eight months later, when they return to the same room they went to the first time there, the incident is mentioned again.
    • At the beginning of Marie's Social Link in Golden, while eating steak skewers together, you can choose one of three answers to give for what the name is short for, causing her to coin her own nickname for them based on your answer. In the second-to-last event, Marie mentions the name that she gave them, and this is actually significant, given that it's proof that she's starting to make her own memories.
    • During the "Miss" Yasogami Pageant, the protagonist dresses up as a female version of himself. Then at the true end of the game, you fight Izanami, who looks like a female version of the protagonist.
  • Briffits and Squeans: The game's favored way of visually conveying emotions outside of anime cutscenes. There's a wide variety of symbols that can appear over characters' heads.
  • Broken Record: The truth will be hammered into your head until it feels like a migraine. The game is very insistent that you pursue it.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Several of the teachers have some odd quirks, such as giving lectures with hand puppets and dressing like Ancient Egyptians. It's not so extensive a list as the one from Gekkoukan High School, though, and, unlike many of those teachers, all of them are actually rather good at their jobs.
  • The Burlesque of Venus: In Golden, Kanji poses as Venus with seaweed provided by Yosuke when he loses his swimsuit at the beach. The girls were not amused.
  • But Now I Must Go:
    • At the end of the game, the protagonist leaves Inaba to return home (see Parental Abandonment example below). However, he does come back to Inaba twice, once during Golden Week and again in the summer of 2012.
    • In Golden, played straight with Marie if you maximize her S. Link.
  • But Thou Must!: Somewhat improved from the previous game, but still there.
    • Some actions are gated behind stat checks, which can be difficult to reach (the option to flirt with Chie at the start of her Social Link is impossible outside of a New Game+), if you try to "hold the line" against the barrage of buckets at the Amagi inn with maximum Courage, you're told that courage doesn't matter.
    • Yosuke is pretty bad about this. He'll often call to bring up time you can spend with him. You have the option to say "no" but Yosuke will whine and beg until he gets what he wants. Of course, most of these are plot-relevant or simply enjoyable scenes, but on at least one occasion he takes a week of your time from you with no impact on you or the plot to help out at Junes.
    • Played for Laughs near the end of the game in Golden. Nanako makes a chocolate "creation" for you on Valentine's Day that consists of bell peppers, fermented squid, and coffee, amongst other things. Nanako looks at you expectantly, and the game states "You have NO options!", without even giving you a choice prompt.
    • One example also includes Cruelty Is the Only Option. Yukiko offers you a bite of her udon noodles and you have the option to take one bite or chow the whole thing down. If you choose the former, your character chows down on the noodles anyway against your command.
    • When the player character gets a threatening letter from the killer, the next day, the Investigation Team will ask what to do with it. The player can propose going to Dojima about it, but if so, Naoto advises against it, saying that Dojima is trustworthy, but this might result in the player being placed under suspicion and unable to investigate.
  • But Wait, There's More!!: If you watch Tanaka's Amazing Commodities, you'll know that Tanaka does this without fail.
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    Tropes C & D 
  • Caged Bird Metaphor: Yukiko Amagi's Shadow is shown as a caged bird, symbolizing her personal frustration in being forced to inherit her family's inn instead of freely deciding her future.
  • Call-Back / Continuity Nod:
    • The class trip, which is basically a long list of locations from and references to Persona 3, some of them very obvious (hi, Chihiro and Edogawa!) some of them not so obvious (they even reuse the background music for most locations, and the song playing in the nightclub should sound very familiar to anyone who watched the opening movie for FES...)
    • During The Answer in Persona 3 FES, you see that the police label Ken's mom's death by Shinjiro's Persona going out of control a drunk driving accident because the Kirijo group were quick to cover up the fact that one of their best SEES personnel had just accidentally killed a civilian. Now, alcohol doesn't get served at the club you're attending because of this event.
    • Also Teddie saying "Faster than expected", while standing in the exact same spot Takaya was when he said that line.
    • Running around, you can tell that the game is ripe with these. The history teacher mentioned in Bunny-Ears Lawyer who wears ancient Egyptian headwear, Ms. Sofue, complains about her brother, who apparently dresses up in samurai gear - said teacher is actually Mr. Ono, the history teacher from the school in Persona 3.
    • Rise will mention she had a secret show at the nightclub 2 years ago, but the power went out, most likely due to the Hermit Full Moon boss. Shinjiro in 3 even mentioned a show that got canceled back then. It comes back full circle in Persona Q, where Shinjiro outright identifies Rise as the performer that night.
    • There's also the Sunday morning shopping channel show - anyone who's played Persona 3 will hear the callback before they see it.
    • In Kanji's Social Link, there is a reference to a pink alligator from a storybook. Akinari, one of the Social Links from Persona 3, wrote a story about a pink alligator. Nanako is also seen reading Akinari's book in one scene.
    • You'd only recognize this example if you played Persona 3 and made a habit of turning on the TV in the dorm room, but when Nanako does her report on the platypus and asks you which gender is venomous, it's supposed to remind you of a TV program on the platypus from Persona 3. The TV program appears on April 24th.
    • Naoto mentions that while researching the terms "Persona" and "Shadow", she came across an "unofficial project document" with information about both. This almost certainly came from the Kirijo Group's scientific research.
    • One of the books you can read is titled 100 Ghost Stories. In Persona 2, this was a contact option between Ulala, Baofu and Ellen.
    • While the group are telling ghost stories to one another, Yosuke mentions one he heard from his friend's sister; about a girl who had bullied another girl relentlessly, only for her to disappear. The bully then ran out at night apparently hearing the girl's voice calling to her, and ended up unconscious outside of the school. Clearly, that person knows one of the girls that used to bully Fuuka. Naoto's comments of reading a police report similar to Yosuke's story further solidifies the connection.
    • Really kind of an obscure one, but one of the text crawls in the Void Quest dungeon says "The noise of the arcade was bad, but can you buy some coffee from the cafe in the police cars?" This doesn't make sense for any place in Inaba, but Persona 3 had an arcade, a cafe, and a police station next to each other in Paulownia Mall.
    • It (and a previous text crawl) also references the start of Shin Megami Tensei I where your character's mother mentions police cars and asks you to buy coffee at the arcade... in a more insane fashion this time befitting the state of the mind of the person who created the Void Dungeon.
    • If you talk to your party members at Junes before going into the dungeon for December, you can choose to talk about Adachi or about the fact that Teddie is a Shadow. If you choose the latter, Teddie eventually says that he knows that somewhere out there, there must be another Shadow that took on a human form who hides a ladykilling personality beneath dashing good looks. The party dismisses this as an offhand comment, but anyone who's played Persona 3 will be reminded of Ryoji, who fits almost everything in Teddie's description.
    • Possible one here. Yosuke (the P4 Social Link of the Magician) asks Yukiko for some 'private lessons' to help him study. She assumes he was being lewd and slaps him. Rewind back to Persona 3 when Kenji (the Magician Social Link in P3) talks about getting private lessons from his tutor/love interest.
    • The Priestess Arcana Chance that can happen after battles will temporarily make enemy scans show all weaknesses and resistances, just like the scanning system in Persona 3. In 3, the one in charge of scanning was Fuuka, of the Priestess Arcana.
    • In the vanilla version of the game, if you accept Yumi's invitation to hang out with her in Okina City on July 3rd, she will mention a new coffee flavor called "Pheromone Coffee." This is the same Charm-increasing coffee they sold at Chagall Cafe in Paulownia Mall from Persona 3. In Golden, the cafe itself becomes a location the protagonist can regularly visit in Okina City.
    • The owner of Chagall mentions that he has an estranged older brother who's a Buddhist monk. He's presumably talking about Mutatsu, the Tower Social Link from Persona 3.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Yosuke is somewhat well known for this.
  • The Cameo:
    • Chihiro is featured with Voice Acting this time. Tanaka also returns selling his usual fares.
    • Inversely, Kashiwagi makes an appearance in the Beach Episode of Persona 3 for the PSP. A younger Yukiko appears in an event exclusive to the female main character, as well.
    • The shopping show. Here comes Tanakaaaaaaaaa, Over the airwaves to youuuuuuuuu. Granter of your desires!
  • Canon Foreigner: Not quite a character, but in the anime, when the characters are hit with Enervation, they literally turn into old people. This is taken into Golden, when the characters fail to summon their Persona, they will do a pretty funny old person imitation (though their models stay the same).
  • Canon Identifier: The series gives each player character a Canon Name in expanded material and adaptations, but also distinguishes them by a title from the third game onwards ("The Protagonist" for Persona 3, "Main Character" for Persona 4 and "Joker" for Persona 5).
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Doesn't help that the protagonist, in the beginning, was placed under contract... by a guy in a space limo.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: TV Show, remake, rerelease on PS3, Dancing All Night, Persona Q...
  • Captain Obvious: Whoever is serving as Mission Control in battle. Over and over and over... Inverted when Mission Control gleefully smirks about an enemy's weakness even when you brought along no teammates or Personas capable of exploiting said weakness.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • When the protagonist first tells Yosuke and Chie about his television trying to eat him early on in the game, they don't believe it.
    • In two instances in the game, the main characters tell someone the unbridledytty truth about their powers and the world inside the TV, only for the person to assume they're lying to cover up their true purpose.
      • Yukiko and Rise tell Naoto exactly how they're involved with the murder case. She doesn't believe it until after her kidnapping. It doesn't help that both of them are acting completely drunk at the time over non-alcholic drinks.
      • If you tell Dojima about the TV, flat-out, he won't believe you either.
    • A humorous example: One of the guys in the Shopping District tells you about how he keeps seeing an ancient Egyptian, but nobody in his old hometown believes him. (It's actually the history teacher, Ms. Sofue.) Talk to him during the Playable Epilogue and he reveals they've started dating.
  • Cast From HP: The Persona physical attacks work like this.
  • Catch-22 Dilemma: In order to enter the Midnight Channel, you need to have a Persona, but to get one, you need to enter the Midnight Channel. If someone who does have a Persona is with you, they could trigger the screen and then anyone could go through it while it's still rippling. Izanami provides the protagonist, Adachi and Namatame the ability to provide the latter condition.
  • Category Traitor: Saki Konishi took a part-time job to work at Junes, the store chain that was running her parents' shop out of business. Her parents don't really take this well, although her brother is more sympathetic.
  • The Catfish: The Guardian, a legendary giant fish that inhabits the local river. Feed it to the cat during the quest "Cat Needs Food Badly" and you can clear the quest with only four feedings. (Otherwise, it takes twenty fish to clear the quest.) Hell of a way for the Guardian's career to end... Then again, there's apparently more than one, since it's possible to catch multiple ones in a single fishing session if you have good luck and enough of the right kind of bait.
    • Golden introduces its marine cousin, the Sea Guardian. It's bigger than the MC and sells for a whopping 10.000 Yen. If you're good enough, catching and selling those is the second-most lucrative activity you can do, next to extensive grinding.
  • Central Theme:
    • The primary theme of the game is the general idea of "truth", which manifests itself in various ways. The Investigation Team wishes to find the truth behind the murders in Inaba, and there are several points where they have to see through falsehoods to find the real killer. The party's Shadows show the truths about a person they don't want to admit to themselves - only after accepting the truth does the Shadow calm down. In contrast, convenient lies are repeatedly frowned upon: the fog serves as a visual metaphor for humanity's lies, clouding the truth so people can live in blissful ignorance.
    • Inaba itself, and the way it connects to the group, serves as a secondary theme. As a small, rural town, Inaba has a very homey atmosphere, and the idea of making friends and memories is subtly encouraged with various landmarks the player will grow accustomed to throughout the game. The second credits theme of The Animation, "The Way of Memories", takes note of this. Other characters relate to Inaba in various ways - Yosuke hates the town, missing his old home in the big city, while Yukiko's family has major stakes in it from running the local inn for generations. Compared to Tatsumi Port Island of Persona 3, which was mostly incidental, Inaba as a location has a much larger focus, and it could almost be considered a character in itself.
  • Chalk Outline: The floor of the Hub Level is littered with outlines of dead bodies.
  • Character Shilling: Characters often go on about how good the protagonist is at everything he does.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Several instances towards the end of the game. In a combat sense, you have to do at least a floor of a dungeon, then fight Adachi, and then Ameno-sagiri with no chance to go back and change Personas and save. This is somewhat problematic for Golden, which is, after all, a portable game.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • In a seemingly throwaway appearance punctuated by controller vibration at the very beginning of the game is the third character you meet — the gas station attendant. He turns out to be the one directly responsible for everything that happens, which you don't find out unless you're on the road to the True Ending. This is also particularly well hidden because the player has been trained by this point to assume that anyone without a portrait is irrelevant to the plot — up until the reveal, the gas station attendant only has a normal, inconspicuous character model. He only gets one after The Reveal.
    • Made all the more effective by the fact that while players will note the vibrating controller, plus the fact that the MC feels nauseated after meeting him, the game is so long, plus the fact that any other contact you can have with the Attendant are the optional mini-conversations that you can have with any other NPC, that most players will forget about meeting him at all before the first in-game month is out!
    • Namatame and Mitsuo both appear around Inaba and in neglible cutscenes well before becoming major players in the plot. There's Taro Namatame, who was first seen being mentioned on the news and can be seen around town. He isn't seen again until he kidnaps Nanako. He even makes an appearance at Junes at your team's concert in Golden. Mitsuo is first seen asking out Yukiko on the protagonist's first day of school, and then isn't seen again until after he kills Morooka.
    • After playing through November's dungeon, notice the delivery truck you see driving by while chasing the pervert spying on Rise? It's got the real kidnapper in it. If you play from the beginning after that dungeon, you'll note that even earlier, when you first arrive in Inaba at the gas station, a truck that appears to be the same delivery truck is getting filled up next to you & the attendant runs out from behind it to help the Dojimas, which would seem to indicate this is when Namatame also received his powers.
    • Arguably, Nanako. Said character has no effect on the plot and is mainly a secondary character making her kidnapping all the worse.
    • If you rescue the first kidnapping victim early on, you get to see scenes with other Social Link characters, such as Hisano, Eri, Naoki and Ai, on your walks to school.
    • In a smaller sense, Naoto Shirogane only appears as a relatively minor character just before the second dungeon, and later becomes your final party member.
    • Don't forget Rise Kujikawa, who appears in a short commercial in the beginning then later becomes your support character.
    • As well as Adachi, who is ultimately revealed as the murderer despite being a mere inept detective up to that point. The game's main plot practically runs off of this trope.
    • If your first time playing P4 is with the Updated Re-release on the Vita, Golden, there's an added portion where you have time to explore the city for a bit, during which you can see (at the time unnamed) future Social Links and important characters - most notably Naoki and Saki before the latter's murder.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Chie's obsession with kung-fu and action movies mentioned during the early school days drops a hint about her fighting style when she becomes your party member.
  • Chekhov's Lecture
    • The mythology lecture on the school trip. Fairly obvious, as it gives the background of the protagonist's first Persona.
    • One day, a lecture brings up Friedrich Nietzsche. Unless you already beat the current dungeon on the first day possible, the next boss has an attack called Nihil Hand.
    • If you make it to December, Adachi's statements to Nanako about how smart he is take on a whole new light...
    • You are asked to describe what the meaning of ressentiment is. Guess what the theme of Adachi's Motive Rant is.
  • Chekhov's Skill: It's shown that Nanako has a really good memory, shown every time the Junes jingle comes on, which she can recite perfectly. Some time next year, the protagonist asks her about what happened the day he arrived in Inaba. She gives a surprisingly-accurate recollection of what happened before they brought you home, as she went to the bathroom at the gas station, saw him talk to the creepy attendant and even asked if he was carsick when he felt dizzy after that. This gives the protagonist an idea of who might've started the Midnight Channel rumor.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise:
    • If you complete her S-Link and didn't get a bad ending, Nanako will tell you she wants to marry you before you leave.
    • In one of the Devil S. Link events, Sayoko mentions that a patient at her old hospital made her promise to marry him when he grew up. She says this because the boy died, and the guilt is eating away at her.
  • Christmas Cake: Noriko Kashiwagi, who is instantly pegged as being at least 40 during her introduction. Also Sayoko.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The TV world is formed through people's thoughts, beliefs, and desires.
  • Clark Kenting: Played straight with Rise when she first shows up in town. Everyone who comes to the tofu shop looking for her seems to assume she's an old woman, despite the fact she's just wearing a scarf on her head and an apron. It probably helps that everyone expects her to act like the "Risette" persona (pun not intended) that had been marketed to the masses, and she's rather low-key at that point precisely because she didn't want to be Risette anymore.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The spacy girl in the shopping district. Apparently, she's somewhat popular with the fanbase.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: About half the enemies in the game will make it painfully obvious what they're weak to by dressing themselves in the opposite motif, i.e. a white-colored enemy is weak to darkness, and a red-colored enemy will be weak to ice. This actually becomes inverted in one of the last dungeons, where a flame-patterned tank is only weak to fire and there are blue Cyclops shadows that repel everything but ice.
  • Color Motif: In contrast to the previous game, this game's color motif is bright yellow. Fitting, since it's the most upbeat SMT game yet.
  • Combination Attack: Added in Golden as a possible follow-up attack to an All-Out Attack that didn't wipe out the enemies, but only if you have the specific pairings of Chie/Yukiko, Yosuke/Teddie, and Kanji/Naoto in your active party.
  • Combined Energy Attack: How Izanami-no-Okami is finally defeated.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Kanji is pretty much this. One moment happens during the epilogue's ski trip, shortly before starting to save Marie, if you met the requirements to be able to do so. if you choose to go with any female character, the MC and your guest will notice something odd happening with the TV, and make a commotion that sounds awkwardly like the two are making out. The characters will say similar, if slightly different things depending on who you pick, this example is if you pick Naoto (Naoto: "Hey, don't go too deep!". (Rest of the party walks in.) Rise: "...They're still dressed." Kanji: "Why would they take their clothes off in this freezing weather? And dude, why're you guys so flustered? What's up with you guys?" Chie: "Are you really asking that, Kanji-kun?")
  • Continuing Is Painful: As can be expected of a game that is so dialogue-heavy, most bosses have a lot of unskippable cutscenes before them that can wear down a player for a very hard boss. The crowning example, however, is the conversation that leads you either to the Bad or Good Ending, which has almost twenty minutes of scenes beforehand that you have to go through, and it's very easy to mess up.
    • Due to the fact that any death sends you back to the last time you saved, boss death are perhaps the least painful because the original game gives you the ability to save just before entering the boss room. Every random death to a mook, however, is incredibly painful because unless you are willing to do the tedious task of exiting the dungeon after every floor to save in the main hub, you are likely losing an hour or more of grinding for every death, most of which you will have had no way to stop.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • At one point, between the climax and late parts of the game, the school lectures will discuss the lore of Izanami and Izanagi, which serve as the True Final Boss and the initial Persona of the protagonist respectively.
    • What are the odds that Namatame just happened to talk to Adachi - one of two other people with the power to enter TVs - that night to report what he saw on the Midnight Channel, allowing Adachi to use Namatame to kill off more people with that power? Granted, Adachi said the rest of the police was busy, which made it more likely that he'd have to man the phones.
  • Cool Bike: In Golden, Dojima gets his old scooter fixed up and gassed up and hands it down to you, allowing you to travel to and from Okina City without having to rely on the trains.
  • Cool Down Hug: The protagonist has the option to give Yosuke one of these during the Magician S-Link, assuming certain dialog options were previously chosen.
  • Cool Helmet: Chie's Personas, Tomoe and Suzuka Gongen, are two legendary Japanese warrior women who wear a standard street bike helmet and an off-road bike helmet, respectively... and make it work.
  • Cool Old Lady: Rise's grandmother, who's kind and understanding to Rise when she stays on Inaba while on hiatus from being an idol. By comparison, Rise describes her own parents as fairly strict and isn't as close to them.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: Returning from Persona 3, but somewhat improved due to the occasional gimmick, non-randomized floor. Dungeons overall, however, are randomized between days.
  • Crapsaccharine World: If you ignore the whole serial killer thing, Inaba seems like an okay place to live, right? Wrong. The police force is woefully undermanned and way out of their grasp with something like a high-profile murder case. The recent arrival of Junes has forced many of the town's independent businesses (which are established to have been around for generations) out of business, and has caused much of the town to turn on each other as some accept the change Junes is bringing while others cling to their ancestral businesses. This is made especially clear during Saki's posthumous rant, which reveals that Junes completely destroyed her life, turning her from a sweet, bubbly girl (according to Yosuke) into a bitter, self-loathing nihilist who wished that everything would just end.
  • Creepy Monotone:
    • In contrast to all the other Shadows, Shadow Teddie barely has any fluctuations in his voice at all. Depending on your perspective, it's either absolutely bone chilling or completely awesome.
    • While not as much as the former Shadow Mitsuo is somewhat of a Dull Surprise, due to the fact he represents Mitsuo's inner emptiness.
  • Critical Hit: The animations that show it are quite satisfying to see. Also grants extra turns. Unlike in some other games, this doesn't have to be entirely random. There are spells that influence the probability of getting one.
  • Critical Failure: On the flip-side, it's possible that when an attack misses, there's a random chance the flubbed attack will cause the aggressor to trip and be Downed. Rage-inducing when it happens to your party members (and one of the reasons why Accuracy/Evasion buffs are relevant), but hilarious when it happens to enemies. Even the bosses can trip (at a very rare chance, mind).
  • Critical Hit Class: Chie is geared towards this, especially in Golden. There, she has Black Spot and later Rainy Death, two physical attacks with very high critical rate. She also got a passive that increases chance for critical, as well as a buff that also increases critical chance. This is probably to compensate for her lower damage compared to fellow physical attacker Kanji.
  • Cross Counter: You and Yosuke get into one of these at the end of his Social Link Max.
  • Cross Dresser:
    • You and your buddies get entered into a crossdressing beauty pageant by the girls for signing them up for the regular beauty pageant. Hilarity Ensues.note 
    • By the time you hit October, you should know about Naoto Shirogane.
  • Cruel Mercy: The Investigation Team's apprehension of the killer. Rather than leaving Adachi to die, they submit him to the laws of the society he so contemptuously hates.
    • They also do this to the first suspect, whom they hand over to the authorities.
    Kanji: Kill you? It ain't gonna be that easy, you son of a bitch.
  • Curtains Match the Window: It's rather interesting to note that just about every character (Major and Minor) has this trope in effect. There are only 3 characters who don't follow this trope: Margaret (white hair, yellow eyes), Teddie's human form (blond hair, blue eyes) and Izanami's human form (whitish-grey hair and RED EYES), all of whom are otherworldly beings of some sort. Hmmm.
    • And then there's the interesting case of Marie. In Golden, she has black hair, grey eyes but in everything else (Golden the Animation, Arena Ultimax, Q) she has black hair, green eyes. She stops following this trope after people who played Golden when it came out find out what she really is.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: While most bosses prior had a gimmick or a check point, Adachi and Ameno-sagiri are simple and straightforward.
    • Earlier in the game is Shadow Teddie. He's a pretty simple boss fight, mostly because Rise tells you how to get by most of his damaging attacks, but he has a gigantic HP value of 5000, at a point in the game where you're lucky or spent a lot of time level grinding if any of your party members besides you can hit for more than 100 damage a turn. For comparison, Shadow Naoto, a boss you fight two entire dungeons later with more levels and Personas, only has 500 more health than Shadow Teddie.
  • Dancing Theme: The new opening for Golden, as if this game needed to be any more upbeat.
  • Dark Is Evil / Dark Is Not Evil: Shadows selves represent the thoughts and emotions that their counterparts repress, both from the world and from themselves. Things like boredom, dissatisfaction, pent-up anger, envy, depression, guilt, shame, etc. They deliver Breaking Speech after breaking speech, ranting about how they truly feel, hoping to be rejected with the magic words "You're not me!" and thus go berserk. This seems to make them out as villains, but the Shadows really just want to be acknowledged for who they are. It's just that they lack self-control and discipline, so the method they attempt is to kill the ones repressing them and try to become their own selves. They're both distilled, unwanted qualities, and the desire for those qualities to be accepted. When someone is able to face their shadow, they not only gain a Persona, but also a greater awareness of themselves. From that point on, they can begin improving, allowing their Persona to become even stronger. In a way, Shadows want their other selves to be happy.
  • Debate and Switch: Adachi's entire core motivation stems from the fact that he believes the world is unfair towards those who actually work hard, and that people who are successful in their lives are primarily those that are born into that success somehow. This is one of the main themes that gets brought up later in the game, particularly during a particular scene in which the Investigation Team confront Adachi. He specifically brings this up, stating that human beings are born into their lives, and those without a ticket to success have no choice but to accept it, and not complain, no matter how unfair it is. These points are never tackled directly, and are never given any legitimate counterargument. Instead, they are side-stepped by the Investigation Team in a "your opinions don't matter" fashion. This is something that divides a lot of players, especially given the game's center Aesop of "reaching out to the truth" no matter how difficult or hard to swallow that truth is, particularly leading to a large portion of Adachi Sympathizers.
  • Deconstruction: Pretty much every team member's Shadow does this for that character's given archetype. The team member's Social Links meanwhile go about the business of reconstructing them.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In some cases, defeating yourself means befriending yourself.
  • Deflector Shields: Several.
    • Tetrakarn and Makarakarn double as attack reflectors, as they each generate a barrier on a target ally, which then reflects one physical or magic attack onto its caster, respectively. The physical and magic mirrors are these skills in item form, and the Tetracorn and Makaracorn items in Golden are similar items that can be grown in the garden.
    • Enemies and Personas can reflect individual elements, with the latter case being possible either inherently or through passive skills.
    • Naoto's Shield of Justice skill in Golden generates a shield on all party members, of the sort that blocks attacks rather than reflecting them. It's very expensive (160 SP!) and only blocks one attack, but it works on Almighty skills unlike every other type of Deflector Shields, making it especially useful against the Bonus Boss.
  • Degraded Boss: The Dominating Machine and Neo Minotaur, introduced as sub-bosses, show up later with comparably high attack and HP, but severely reduced defenses.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Taro Namatame's job as a deliveryman gives him the perfect cover to approach and abduct people who appear on the Midnight Channel, even when pretty much the whole town is on high alert.
  • Demonic Invaders: The Shadows.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Shortly after Kanji is kidnapped, Chie gives us this line:
    First we save Kanji, then we crush the killer! Finally, we crush the killer and send him to hell!! Got it!?
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • There are enough variations of the Valentine's Day scene at school to accommodate the Protagonist dating all of the girls on the Investigation Team. And yes, that also includes all of them. For obvious reasons, this also includes playthroughs where you don't date anyone, at which point you get "friendzone chocolate" from your female team members.
    • Events in Marie's Social Link will change depending on when the player does them. More members of the Investigation Team will show up depending on when the player does certain events, and a certain event that lampshades the Limited Wardrobe of the characters will alter its dialogue depending on if the characters are in their summer or winter wardrobes.
    • On 4/19, the protagonist will receive a phone call from Margaret advising him to pace his battles and form new Social Links despite his urgency to try and save Yukiko as soon as possible. However, if the player rescues her at the earliest opportunity on 4/18 — which is technically possible but hard to do due to the lack of options to recover SP on a first playthrough — Margaret's dialogue will be slightly different as it won't be necessary to reassure him of that.
    • Every member of the Investigation Team has a scene in their Social Links where Nanako shows up, usually to cheer them up about something. These scenes will change slightly if you wait until after Nanako's kidnapping.
    • The "talk" option when you run into team members inside dungeons is incredibly diverse. Every team member has dialogue depending on the rank (and events) of their social link, with further variation provided by the fact that the other present team member, including the fox, will always comment on what you two are talking about.
  • Dialogue Tree: But of course!
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The True Ending, where you use the Power of Friendship to defeat Izanami, Shinto mother goddess turned deity of death. Yes, you win a fight against Japan's co-creator and vengeful embodiment of death, granted, by manifesting her husband and speaking the word that strips all lies away...
  • Difficulty Spike: None of the bosses are exactly easy, and most will bring on tears of rage. However, Shadow Teddie stands out as coming right after Shadow Rise (who isn't threatening, but who isn't a Breather Boss either). She'll use your basic Agi on party members. He'll use Bufudyne, on top of having twice the amount of health you can take from Rise and higher stats.
    • Shadow Teddie can be beaten fairly easily, as multiple Personas at that point can absorb Ice, meaning if you block his Nihil Hand, he's not too bad. Shadow Mitsuo on the other hand will take everything you thought you knew about the game and rip it to shreds.
  • Dirty Old Man: Morooka/King Moron is implied to be a Covert Pervert example through his exaggerated disgust at the perversity of his students and a dialogue segment where a fellow student tells you that he caught the teacher looking at a pinup book of Rise.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Man, the Investigation Team are pissed when they find out the reasons why Adachi caused the conflict of the plot. The same goes for the first suspect, who killed one person and claimed responsibility for the other murders and kidnappings out of a desire for attention.
  • Disaster Dominoes:
    • Played for Laughs with the bike crash Yosuke suffers in his introduction. The manga reveals thats how he cracked the Trial of the Dragon DVD he borrowed from Chie, which goes downhill really fast.
    • The affair Namatame had with Mayumi mentioned all over the news? This led to Adachi deciding to "guard" her at the Amagi Inn after all the ruckus that ensued and what started as an apparent rape attempt led her accidentally getting shoved into the TV World, leading him to discover that he has powers and eventually her death. Later, a scuffle with Saki Konishi during an interrogation about why Namatame was hovering around her leads to Adachi angrily shoving her into the TV World deliberately, leaving her to die some time later. A chance call from Namatame later has Adachi suggesting to him to "go save them himself", leading to three kidnappings, Kinshiro Morooka's death purely for attention by a copycat as well as Adachi shoving him into the TV World himself and Dojima getting into a car accident chasing down Namatame after the kidnapping of Nanako, who the latter nearly dies.
  • Discount Card:
    • Shiroku will give discounts on rainy days.
    • Margaret will give discounts depending on how much of the Persona Compendium you have completed.
    • Golden has Daidara giving discounts if you catch him still in his store on rainy nights.
    • The fox will charge cheaper rates for his services the higher your Social Link with him becomes.
  • Disc-One Final Boss:
    • Mitsuo Kubo. But the fact that it's only August when you beat Mitsuo is kind of a giveaway.
    • Later, Taro Namatame. Not only is he found in the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon (if you don't get the Good Ending, at least), but he has semi-unique boss music too (reused for Adachi). Oh, and you get an animated cutscene during his One-Winged Angel transformation right before you fight him.
    • Bonus points to Adachi for the game going to great lengths to convince you he is the true final boss of the game.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Once early in the game (though it isn't quite revealed until some time later), then twice in a row near the end (but it's a subversion if you fall for the Red Herrings).
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Fusing Kaiwan on a Skill Change Fusion Forecast day can net you Victory Cry as early as level 24. For reference, Victory Cry fully restores your HP and SP after every battle, and is normally only available by fusing Lucifer on the final day and grinding him up to level 99.
    • Slime, one of the first Personas you get, learns Resist Physical at level 7. By drawing the Magician arcana card during Shuffle Time, you can instantly upgrade that to Null Physical (though only in Golden). Being immune to Physical attacks makes fighting some bosses a complete joke; even the infamous Contrarian King CANNOT defeat you if you've got this on the Protagonist. Plus, you can pass this skill around through fusion to make ANY Persona you want immune to Physical; very handy considering that most Personas which are naturally immune to Physical also have multiple elemental weaknesses.
    • In the same vein as Resist Physical, the Aeon Rain move. Your best bet to get it is through shuffle time unless you want to grind a while for higher personas. But once you have it, a single Magician Card during shuffle time will upgrade it to Agneyastra, the most powerful physical attack in the game.
    • Sarasvati is your earliest source of Invigorate 2, which greatly contributes to SP sustainability as early as the Bathhouse. Keep her around long enough and she gains Null Wind, your earliest elemental immunity passive. These passives make her a powerful fusion ingredient.
    • Neko Shogun is one of the earliest advanced fusions available to the player at level 32 (and mandatory for Margaret's Social Link). It's resistant to Physical, immune to both Light and Dark, easily covers its Wind weakness with Evade Wind, and eventually rounds off its repertoire with great support skills - Matarukaja, Mediarama, and Divine Grace.
  • Disney Death: Nanako in December (unless you decide to go with the worst ending, in which case she stays dead).
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In Golden, one of the outfits you can get and equip (for the guys only) are bath towels. If you equip it on the protagonist and talk to Rise, she gets VERY distracted.
  • Do Not Spoil This Ending: A rather friendly message to this effect was planned to be displayed but not visible in both the original version and Golden.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At one point in the game, Yosuke and Chie tail Kanji and Naoto, and hide themselves behind a tree. Yosuke is standing above Chie, who is on all-fours. Lampshaded (along with a lot of other stuff) in Hiimdaisy.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Yosuke's well-intentioned "Maybe I should ask Yukiko for some private lessons", when the possibility of him studying with Yukiko is brought up. Cue bitch-slapping from Yukiko, and it results in Chie and Yosuke blaming each other for the misunderstanding, with Chie pointing out that Yosuke's choice of words made it sound "creepy and wrong."
    • Also said by Yosuke, "You do seem to be good with your hands" to the main character, when the group talks about a cooking contest. Yosuke himself notices and backpedals.
  • Double Meaning: Nanako's Social Link is the Justice Arcana. To Dojima concerning her, he seeks Justice for the death of her mother by continuing to chase down the driver who killed her in a hit-and-run. To the Investigation Team, they seek Justice for her death, which goes as far as contemplating killing Namatame as revenge via throwing him in the TV. Even after they choose not to do this and she barely survives, they still seek this by hunting down the true killer responsible for this mess.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: All of the scenes where Chie assaults Yosuke or the Amagi Inn scene would definitely not fly if the genders were reversed. Also, Yukiko slaps Yosuke and Kanji out of being offended in different scenes of the story. Like Chie and the other girls, aside from a few remarks, she is never really called out on it.
  • Downer Ending: Choose to throw Namatame into the TV. Doing this prevents Nanako from reviving from her death bed, the fog never truly leaves Inaba, the case is closed abruptly, Teddie never comes back from his sudden disappearance, and the protagonist leaves the team. The implications are made even more jarring if you watched the Golden Ending and know that the true killer was never found and Inaba will soon be a large Shadow-infested corral and the hazardous fog will spread out into the world eventually.
  • Dreadful Musician: Initially, most of the Investigation Team. At one point in Golden, they needs to put on a concert at Junes, despite most of them besides Rise having little to no musical experience. During one of their practice sessions, they sound pretty bad, but they get better in time for the performance.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: During the winter, a thick blanket of pretty, perfectly white snow covers the ground. It's meant to be cheery and blissful to contrast the stress-filled climaxes of December.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The dream you have at the beginning of the game takes place in Yomotsu Hirasaka, and the person you fight is Izanami.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Adachi brings a drunk Dojima home after their superiors bring in the teenage Detective Prince Naoto Shirogane, much to the latter's disgust.
  • Drunk on Milk: Somehow, when visiting a night club that doesn't even have a liquor license, Rise, Yukiko, and Teddie manage to get totally hammered on what Naoto confirms are completely non-alcoholic fruit drinks. Teddie could maybe be explained, since he's not human and his biology might play by different rules, but there's no explanation for Yukiko and Rise. Yet despite Naoto reminding them repeatedly that there's no alcohol, they all keep acting drunk until it "wears off" in the morning.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe:
    • Many things that happen to Kanji, who just really gets the short end of a long stick and rarely takes his Butt Monkey status lying down. Put Kanji in his bathhouse costume and he tells you that it makes him uncomfortable because it reminds him of his Shadow. He also calls out Yukiko on pushing him into the river.
    • Even poor Naoto isn't safe from the other girls. While Rise, Chie, and Yukiko didn't seem to see anything wrong with feeling Naoto up, she clearly was not okay with it and was very uncomfortable. She, Yosuke, and Kanji all bring up the consequences of the inn scene's humor if you talk to them at night.
    • When Yosuke teases Kanji about his interest in Naoto, he gets angry and storms off. Chie then scolds Yosuke, saying that he should know that Kanji doesn't find it funny.
  • Dutch Angle: Used during the cutscene before the battle with Shadow Rise / Shadow Teddie.
    • Also used at the hospital job during the courage stat increases.
  • Dying Town: Inaba shows shades of this throughout the game, with several smaller businesses shutting down due to the chain store Junes opening up. Several teenagers, including Yosuke and Yukiko before their Character Development, tend to think negatively of Inaba due to Small Town Boredom. However, the Golden Ending implies Inaba is starting to recover, with Junes working together with the smaller businesses to help them stay in business.
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • If you have Kanji in your party during the fight with Izanami-no-Okami, when she starts using "Thousand Curses" he'll jump in and kick the protagonist in the head to shove him out of the way.
    • In Golden, if your S. Links with your party members are high enough, they will perform follow-up attacks from off-screen.
    • In Golden, if you ask Margaret to locate Marie, she'll later tell you that she has... in the manner of having the team dig out an old TV in a storage shack, physically grab Chie and win a seven-to-one tug-of-war to bring everyone into the TV World rather than do something less dramatic like call the protagonist on his cell phone like she has before.
  • Dysfunction Junction: S-Links are back, complete with a host of tarot-based neuroses.

    Tropes E & F 
  • Eagleland Osmosis: In-universe. The game takes place in Japan, but when Naoto confronts the team with her theory on the murders, on September 13th, one of the dialogue options is to plead the Fifth.
  • Early-Bird Boss: Shadow Yukiko, which employs fairly powerful single- and multi-target attacks, as well as the Fear status (which, if not healed, will cause Shadow Yukiko to follow up with an attack that will likely be a One-Hit Kill), before you get a dedicated healer. Her Shadow is also a literal bird.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Rise appears in a commercial in the game's opening cutscene.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: There is a new Bad Ending in Golden, and the player has to make the effort to actually see it. The player first has to not throw Namatame into the TV, then later on, choose to defend Adachi and cover up his tracks, knowing full well that he is the murderer. Your Social Link with him must be high enough to do this. This gives you the absolute worst ending, also known as the Accomplice Ending. The player betrays the player character's friends and everything they've worked on for almost a year. All the while, the Jester Social Link becomes maxed.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • The game emphasizes that the player pursues the truth and to avoid easy answers. Follow this concept, and the player can avoid the Bad Ending. Keep following this concept and understand that there is always truth to seek, even when everything seems to be wrapped up, and the player can unlock the True Ending, wherein the goddess Izanami is defeated and the fog is finally lifted for good.
    • What many of Inaba receives, later on in the Golden Epilogue. Yukiko, Yosuke, Naoto, and Yu all gain a newfound love for the town, Namatame recovers from his high-publicity affair and arrest as a murder-suspect and runs for Mayor, with a good chance of winning. The local businesses work together with Junes to have a Locally-Produced Goods section in the store, bringing more business to the town, the local Teen Idol drops by regularly to keep locals from being bored out of their minds. Crime was already virtually-unheard-of, but now there's a super-sleuth Kid Detective making it home. The fog that's returned on and off every few decades will no longer flood the town, and the local weather girl actually controls the weather!
  • Ear Worm:
    • In-universe example: the Tanaka's shopping jingle is said to be irritatingly catchy. The Junes' jingle is also extremely popular to sing among grade school children, apparently, with Nanako reporting that she's the best in her class at it.
    • Out-of-universe, you will become very familiar to "Reach Out To The Truth", the standard battle music. It doesn't help that it was remixed for Persona 4 Arena as Yu Narukami's theme.
  • Easter Egg: If you load up Golden's TV Listings at midnight, you can watch Teddie's version of the Midnight Channel. You can't put your hand through the Vita, but you can tap the screen to tickle him.
  • Education Mama: Shu Nakajima, the Tower S-Link, has one of these. She's well-intentioned, wanting him to be "set for life," but that, and her exuberant praise, causes him to think that she only loves him because he's a good student.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Naoto's dungeon.
  • Eldritch Location: The TV World/Midnight Channel, which manifests new areas based on the minds of anyone who enters. The shadows on the floor also have fluctuating color patterns. Somewhat subverted in the True Ending.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The protagonist's "ultimate" Persona, which is attained through the strength of the Social Links formed up until that point and used to defeat Izanami.
  • Enemy Scan: One of Rise's abilities. Teddie doesn't do an actual scan - he just remembers what attacks worked and what didn't. Rise's is slightly better, and gets more useful if you max out her S. Link.
  • Enemy Without: People's "shadows" (until they're defeated, at which point they become a sort of Ally Without).
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Some of the theories the team comes up with are rationally arrived at based on the data they have, they just happen to also be wrong. The killer isn't targeting women or people who had some indirect connection to Mayumi Yamano, the Midnight Channel isn't the result of the killer announcing the next target and the killer isn't even directly responsible for most of the disappearances!
  • Epic Fail:
    • Human Teddie coming in and getting all the girls as his dates during the shrine festival, leaving the boys all alone, is appropriately described by Yosuke as this. Also a bit of an Ascended Meme.
    • Yosuke and Teddie attempting to surprise the protagonist on his second return trip to Inaba in Golden's epilogue. The others then show up to berate them while welcoming him back at the same time.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: Within a dozen or so seconds of the Golden opening.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Overlapping with Instant Expert, the Investigation Team is inexplicably skilled at hand-to-hand combat with very little to no justification. Especially Yosuke, who ninja flips about the place. This is notable as Persona 3 justified most characters' weapon choices by either showing them training or making them involved in a school club related to their Weapon of Choice.
  • Everybody Lives: Courtesy of the True/Golden endings. Especially in Marie's case, who appeared to disappear but turned out to be just fine. Aside from the murder victims of course.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: Nanako Dojima. She instantly becomes his nakama's little cousin as well, and they all become very protective of her. When she's almost killed near the end of the game, the entire team basically goes on Roaring Rampage of Revenge mode.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: During the school campout, Kanji berates Yosuke for eating his animal crackers, during which the following exchange takes place:
    Kanji: Dammit, I was so pumped about finding the penguin today...
    Yosuke: Penguin?
    Kanji: The secret animal cracker! You were eating them and didn't know that!?
  • Everything's Better with Spinning:
    • Yosuke's follow up attack, where he'll spin with both weapons in hand.
      • Likewise, his persona Jiraiya will spin while casting a spell.
    • Teddie's follow up attack might also count.
    • Averted with some of the Shadows - both mooks and regular bosses. Shadow Naoto particularly comes to mind with Brave Blade.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Anyone who goes inside the world inside the TV will eventually face their Shadow, which is a personification of their darkest thoughts and fears. The Shadow will kill its source when enraged, either by the victim provoking it or when the fog appears in the real world. The only exceptions are Nanako, who is too young to generate a Shadow, and the main character, who was given the power of Persona by Izanami directly and was already protected from the effects of the TV world. This even extends to berserk variants of Shadow selves of the protagonists, as they resemble evil corrupted versions of their future Persona forms, save for Teddie and Naoto, whose Berserk Shadow forms resemble evil versions of themselves.
    • Magatsu Izanagi, Adachi's persona, counts as well for the normal Izanagi.
    • The villain counts as one to the protagonist, and the final boss to the protagonist's Persona.
  • Evil Debt Collector: The 2nd book of the Bullied Teacher series deals with one.
  • Evil Knockoff: Aside from Shadow Teddie and Naoto, the Shadow Selves of the party members look like evil corrupted versions of their future Persona forms.
    • Shadow Yosuke is a black ninja with shuriken eyes fused with a frog having a golden triangle-shaped Slasher Smile, whilst Jiraiya is a white ninja with shuriken eyes and the frog's smile.
    • Shadow Chie is a yellow-wearing Dominatrix wielding a whip as well as a pointy hat. Tomoe wears a Bruce Lee-esque yellow jumpsuit, wields a long weapon as a naginata and has a pointy biker helmet.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: The protagonist mentally goes through this when seeing a silhouette on the Midnight Channel for the second time and tries to discern who it could be. It's clearer than when he saw it for the first time, then he judges from the shape of the silhouette that the next target is likely a small child. He's horrified to recognise that it's Nanako.
  • Expressive Mask: Teddie's mouth changes expressions, but doesn't move; the animated cutscenes show the lack of mouth movement isn't just a graphical quirk.
  • Extended Gameplay: Congratulations! You've solved the murders and now you get to enjoy the Playable Epilogue during the last day of the game. It's a "Playable Epilogue" because it's the only chance you get to unlock the True Ending route and solve the game's last dangling plot threads.
  • Extremity Extremist: Chie only fights with her feet, no arms are used. Even when summoning a Persona or defending.
  • Eyed Screen:
    • A cut-in of just the character's eyes will appear when you perform powerful Persona attacks that hit the enemy's weak spot.
    • You know you're in trouble when Adachi does this, revealing he has a Persona.
  • Face, Nod, Action:
    • When a protagonist decides to accept their Shadow as part of themselves, the Shadow does this before becoming a Persona.
    • Done twice by Chie and Yukiko when deciding to give the boys the curry they made and pushing them off a cliff into a pool of water.
    • Done by the protagonist and Yukiko when joining Chie and Teddie in the water in the Beach Episode in Golden.
    • Done by the entire team before they fight Izanami.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: All throughout the game, the player follows alongside the Investigation Team as they try to figure out who the killer is. Near the end, if you've managed to avoid the Bad Ending by killing Namatame, the game reminds you of the clues you've collected so far, gives you a list of every single person you've met, and gives you three tries to guess who the killer is. And if you're sharp enough, you can catch one final clue when the killer says something that implies that they know things they shouldn't know.
  • Fake High: Rise and Yukiko get completely smashed at the dance club during the class trip...only for Naoto to reveal that the club doesn't even sell alcohol, being forbidden to do so due to a rise in drunk driving incidents the previous year.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Downplayed on the 'falling' part in the battle against Shadow Yukiko. She uses a chandlier which gets lowered from the ceiling with a bird cage embedded into it, and stops a short distance from the ground. Upon defeat, the chandlier collapses.
  • Fanboy: Mild example in Yosuke, who is rather enthusiastic about meeting Rise when she first arrives in Inaba. Depending on your dialogue choices, the main character can be one too. This isn't really mentioned anymore after the initial meeting, though, and the tables quickly get turned when Rise becomes the protagonist's Fangirl after you save her from the Midnight Channel.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The Shadow versions of Rise and Kanji exemplify this. Shadow Rise is disturbing even before she goes berserk, especially the squelchy noises she makes when moving...
    • Shadow Chie, a whip bearing dominatrix sitting on a stack of school girls is no better.
    • Hanako in the beauty pageant.
    • Crossdressing Kanji, anyone?
    • In Golden, there's the Shiroku store owner's taste in evening wear.
    • Izanami isn't an especially bad looking woman. Until you see her true form in the True Ending...
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Subverted. Most of the characters don't use guns, but that's because they're civilian teenagers in a country with tight gun control laws, so they aren't trained to use them regardless. Naoto, however, has a license to carry, being a detective and all, and uses various kinds of pistols in combat. Thing is, as both a minor and private investigator (not a police detective), it would be incredibly unlikely for Naoto to be able to get a gun in real-life Japan.
    Adachi: You know why I joined the police force? So I could legally own a gun. That's it. You won't believe how many are like that.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: There are time periods (e.g. Evening, Afternoon) that can be skipped to.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: See Childhood Marriage Promise above.
  • Faustian Rebellion: Izanami gave the protagonist his initial powers, but she never expected that he would develop these powers enough to defeat her.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Zigzagged; while the feminine Rise and Yukiko and the slightly tomboyish Chie are horrible chefs, Naoto is actually a good chef.
  • Fetch Quest: Most sidequests fall under this category. They usually demand X number of some item found from specific enemies. It's needed to complete the Fox's Social Link.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Yasoinaba is based on Fuefuki in Yamanashi Prefecture.
  • Final Dungeon Preview: When you rest on the first day of arriving in Inaba, you awaken in a strange area. Upon moving forward and reaching a door, you are entered into a fight which ends in a few turns and you wake up for school. This is never brought up again until you reach the True Ending, where it is revealed to be Yomotsu Hirasaka, the true final dungeon of the game.
  • First Girl Wins: There are actually three of them:
    • Chie is the most traditional sense as she is the first girl who the protagonist forms a social link with.
    • While she first appears about half-way into the game, Rise first appears in an animated cutscene during the prologue.
    • In Golden, Marie is the first person the protagonist meets upon arriving in Inaba.
  • First Love: For most romantic Social Links. Ayane, Yumi, Rise, Chie, Naoto, and Marie all count. It's lampshaded in Yukiko's case; because she's so beautiful and popular, she has lots of wannabe suitors to the point that just asking her out has become called "the Amagi Challenge". Several characters, including Chie and an old acquaintance of hers, express disbelief that a girl like her has never had a boyfriend. And if you romance her, she expresses gratitude that you were her first (and, if she has her way, ONLY) boyfriend.
  • Fist Pump:
    • Kanji, being easily excited, does a fist pump as his victory pose.
    • In Golden, the main character will do a fist pump as his victory pose when he's wearing the red Featherman costume.
  • Flanderization: Happens in-universe with the characters' Shadows, which reduce them to a single (and completely overblown) defining trait.
    • Golden plays up a lot of the Investigation Team's quirks. Yosuke is more of a Butt-Monkey, Chie's Steak obsession is increased, and Yukiko and Kanji are more of The Ditz and Book Dumb respectively. Also, the frequency of Teddie's more unsettling, perverted tendencies is blown through the roof.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Heaven, the area of the Midnight Channel that was created by Nanako's desire to be with her dead mother, who she believes went to Heaven and Namatame's delusions about the Midnight Channel being a safe heaven for his victims. The party even describes it as being like "a storybook version of heaven."
  • Flunky Boss: The Gorgeous King in the Hollow Forest summons minions. They're not that much of a threat on their own, but given that the boss only takes much damage from All-Out attacks, you'll also have to knock them down if they're out.
  • Foil: If you get the True Ending, you'll find out that the protagonist is this to Adachi, and both of them are this to Namatame. The relationship between the first two is even hammered home by the fact that Adachi's Persona is just a variation of Izanagi.
  • Food Porn: The protagonist can cook meals that, when cooked properly, can be shared with a character for boosts to their Social Link status. Share it with a girl and not only do you get the boost, you get to watch her face glow.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first time you see Adachi, Dojima asks him how long he's going to act like a rookie. Key word: Act.
    • A blink-and-you'll-miss-it example near the start of the game. After Saki's death is announced to the school, two girls are seen talking about rumors in the hall. One mentions that she heard someone saying they saw Saki on the Midnight Channel, her friend decrying this rumor as people just having "Saki on the brain", due to her interview being broadcast so frequently. Fast-forward to the end of the game, and this is revealed to be EXACTLY how the Midnight Channel works.
    • Perhaps the most delicate foreshadowing is reserved for Izanami. Honestly, were you paying attention to anything the gas station attendant said throughout the year? Her Motive Rant at the end is practically distilled from the attendant's script, if you condense it a couple of months. Additionally, you can only speak to her on rainy days. Also, she's the only 'minor' character with a Voice Actress.
    • The protagonist gets dizzy when shaking hands with the attendant, accompanied by a slightly noticeable flash and sound effect. However, the dizziness of your other party members are not accompanied by these effects. Also, if the player is using a controller with a rumble feature (vibration feature) then the user will feel a tiny, almost unnoticeable, vibration as the attendant shakes your hand indicating the power going to you.
    • At one point, when helping Nanako with her homework, Teddie quotes "Cogito ergo sum" as a proverb - "I think, therefore I am". Considering the revelations later on about Teddie's nature as a Shadow and how he developed his Persona, it makes a lot of sense in retrospect that it would stick with him.
    • Pay close attention to the animatic when the main character first finds out about the Midnight Channel. The rain on his bedroom window makes three very blurry points of light in the city beyond, representing his, Adachi's, and Namatame's powers given by Izanami.
    • One piece of late game dialogue mentions Nanako doesn't open the door for strangers, one following suggestion is a friend of Dojima. Which one of Dojima's associates has Nanako come to know?, Adachi. Of course, Adachi says Dojima doesn't really have any friends at the police department (and Adachi isn't the one who kidnapped Nanako), but his saying that is likely an attempt to cover for himself, particularly the fact that he delivered the warning letters.
    • In early November, Nanako opens the door for the deliveryman to answer a question. Said deliveryman takes advantage of Nanako's trust and kidnaps her.
    • On the day the first murder occurs in Golden, a pair of NPC's can be found right outside the Dojima house. Their conversation will eventually turn to gardening, with one of them commenting that the Dojima's have an empty space on their property that could make a mighty fine garden— foreshadowing the gardening function.
    • Early in May (exclusive to Golden), a thunderstorm happens while the Investigation team is together discussing. The team's next member is Kanji, whose Persona is the Japanese thunderstorm god.
    • Also early in May, you are gifted a swimsuit by Ryotaro Dojima, your uncle. If you talk to him about it on the same day he'll say: "The ocean's a bit far, but the river is right in town. I'm sure you'll be taking a swim sometime this year". Although not in the river, you will end up taking a swim.
    • During the scene where the gang and Adachi are chasing the stalker that they believe to be the killer outside of Marukyu Tofu, look closely and you can see Namatame's delivery truck go by. You can also see it at the gas station during the beginning of the game, when the gas station attendant runs out from behind it to greet you.
    • The focus of Marie's social link is her trying to discover her past. The only clue she has to go on is an old bamboo comb. As noted by Kanji's mother in Rank 7, the Japanese word for comb contains the words "ku" and "shi" which separately mean pain and death and according to superstition combs have the ability to separate people. Rather nicely sets up Marie's status as a Literal Split Personality of Izanami, the Greater-Scope Villain.
    • If you progress the Devil Social Link at the hospital as soon as possible, you'll notice something very interesting in one room: A large TV slightly-smaller than the one at Junes. You'll likely guess that it'll get used later, which it does: Namatame gets thrown in there as revenge for Nanako's death, or Adachi will jump through it as an escape route.
    • Teddie's red white and yellow colors strongly resemble those used by Junes, as well as a star being part of their logo and Teddie's arcana being the Star. He later becomes the store mascot thanks to Yosuke.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Many of the team's and Namatame's actions are at least partly guided by the belief that police would never buy that people could go inside a TV. The obvious solution to this problem (walk up to a TV and stick your hand in it) never occurs to any of them, even when Dojima is interrogating the protagonist at the police station, berating him for making up crazy stories, and there's a TV in the same room.
  • Four Is Death:
    • When Nanako is hospitalized, the number on her room is 404. Hell, while it's not commented on in-game, her birthday is, of all days, October 4th!
    • As of Golden, The game fakes the final boss a grand total of three times, Namatame/Kunino-Sagiri, Adachi/Ameno-Sagiri and Marie/Kusumi-no-Okami, before reaching the fourth and true final boss, Izanami/Izanami-no-Okami.
  • Fridge Logic:
    • In-Universe example with a movie - Yukiko mentions how they never explain why the power to curse people to death ended up on cell phones. She doesn't seem to be too bothered by it, though, and even thinks that leaving some things unanswered is for the best.
    • Another In-Universe example tips the group off that all is not what it appears with Namatame supposedly being the serial killer. The warning letters you received earlier tell you not to "rescue" any more victims or "someone close will be put in and killed." The group notes that Namatame, who believed he was saving people, would not have used words like "rescue" and "kill."
  • French Maid Outfit: An outfit option in Golden.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: One of Ameno-no-Sagiri's powerful attacks. Even more powerful when he boosts his stats while hiding in fog. Hope you have Debilitate handy!
  • Funny Afro: The MC at the Culture Festival with a neon-pink wig, and a nameless third-year who gives you riddles.

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