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Persona 5 provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • 0% Approval Rating:
    • The Phantom Thieves' approval rating, as evaluated through polls on the Phan-Site, is shown during loading screens and increases with each palace cleared. Following the Medjed incident their popularity skyrockets to the mid 90s, but after being framed for killing the principal and Okumura, their ratings spiral down to 3%. The Phan-Site is even littered with death threats during this period as well as Mishima deleting a ton of hateful comments.
    • When the Phantom Thieves are kicked out of Mementos by the Holy Grail, the merging of the Metaverse and reality causes humanity to believe the Phantom Thieves never existed. The Phan-Site rating crashes to literally 0%, and the Phantom Thieves are erased from the new reality.
  • 100% Heroism Rating: By contrast, getting the Phan-Site poll to this number unlocks Satanael, the Protagonist's Rage Against the Heavens ultimate persona, with whom you very stylishly dispatch the final boss. And this comes after months of being public enemy number one in the eyes of the public. Earn Your Happy Ending, indeed.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Each of the Phantom Thieves have an ultimate Persona that is acquired at the end of their Confidant, but in Royal, they all have an evolved Persona that can be unlocked during the new final arc of the game, and each of them also unlock a unique skill that is usually very powerful, but very heavy on SP cost. This goes doubly so for Akechi and Sumire, as unlike the others, you cannot gain their third tier Personas until the day you give Maruki his calling card, meaning their abilities are only available for the final boss itself.
    • Joker's ultimate Persona, Satanael, serves as this during the Final Boss fight of the vanilla game. With the help of Mishima and the entire populace of Tokyo choosing to defy authority and believe in the Phantom Thieves, this spurs Joker to break the chains holding down Arsène to reveal his true form. In the final battle he only has one move which headshots the final boss, but like previous games, he can be summoned and used like any other Persona using the maximum amount of fusions in a New Game+ file.
    • In Royal, Joker's evolved Persona is Raoul, whose unique skill Phantom Show, which has a high chance of inflicting Sleep on all foes. Unlike the other evolved Personas, Raoul is a DLC Persona, and can be purchased and used at any point in the story.
    • Morgana gains Diego and unlocks Miracle Rush, a multi-targetting version of Miracle Punch.
    • Ryuji gains William and unlocks Fighting Spirit, which functions like a party-wide Charge.
    • Ann gains Celestine and unlocks High Energy, which functions like a party-wide Concentrate.
    • Yusuke gains Gorokichi and unlocks Hyakka Ryouran, which functions as a party-wide Heat Riser.
    • Makoto gains Agnes and unlocks Checkmate, which functions as a multi-target Debilitate.
    • Futaba gains Al Azif and unlocks Ultimate Support, which functions as a randomly applying Salvation spell, fully healing the party and curing all standard ailments.
    • Haru gains Lucy and unlocks Life Wall, which applies a shield on the entire party that repels any non-almighty attack.
    • Akechi gains Hereward and unlocks Rebellion Blade, a single target Almighty spell that causes colossal tier damage and is stronger against enemies that are already downed.
    • Sumire gains Ella and unlocks Masquerade, a physical attack that does Severe tier damage one to two times.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Averted. The student council itself doesn't seem to have much power, yet Principal Kobayakawa expects its president Makoto to hunt down the ones who caused Kamoshida's confession, and later stop the mafia from preying on students (and even then still urging her to prioritise finding the Phantom Thieves over resolving the students' scam issues until it was too late). These expectations are presented in-story as completely unreasonable, and sure enough, Kobayakawa himself has ulterior motives for doing this.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • The game prompts the player to use the "Protein" consumables before a workout session at the gym for extra Max HP/SP gain. In real life, this is done after exercising to provide needed amino acids to muscles as they recover, but doing so in the game would confuse the players as the Protein consumables also serve as regular HP recovering items in the Metaverse.
    • In Palaces, the enemies can't be alerted by any of the Phantom Thieves except Joker since he's the Player Character. This means the rest of the Thieves won't increase the security level if they're seen by a security camera, they can't trip laser alarms, Shadows don't react if they're in the Shadow's field of vision, etc. While the rest of the Phantom Thieves are pretty good at sneaking around and avoiding traps, you may catch a few times that the Shadows ought to notice them but don't. It's still acceptable, though; the alternative would be insufferable.
  • Accidental Innuendo: Invoked. One Mementos conversation has Yusuke doing this.
    Yusuke: I'm in the zone now; give me more stimulation!
    Ryuji: Dude! Phrasing! I-I know what you mean, but... phrasing!
  • Action Bomb: Alice's unique "Die For Me!" Special Attack involves an army of giant Killer Teddy Bears with bombs in their chests rushing the enemy before they explode.
  • Actually Four Mooks: A single Shadow on the field can transform into 2 to 6 enemies when you engage them in battle.
  • Adaptational Badass: Izanagi-no-Okami, full stop. When he was first introduced in Persona 4, he had a terrible moveset and pitiful strength, with Yoshitsune leaving him in the dust. Now, in Royal, with his new exclusive move Myriad Truths, the introduction of Almighty Boost/Amp, and his trait Country Maker (with the ability to passively DOUBLE his attack power with 100% compendium), he trounces Yoshitsune in terms of damage output and versatility. A fitting rise for the creator god of Japan.
  • Adult Fear: Boy this game is filled with them. If you want to know more, see here.
  • Adults Are Useless: One of the big themes of the game is that the Phantom Thieves formed due its members losing faith in adults, most of whom are at worst abusive, greedy and cruel, or at best, just plain apathetic. At the end of the game, Sae promises to make good and damn sure to defy the trope.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: The Mental World of the Metaverse responds to the hidden desires of evil humans by creating massive dungeons, giving you an excuse for Dungeon Crawling and Boss Battles. Its Clap Your Hands If You Believe properties also makes it so even toy guns and fake melee weapons work like real ones, giving your party a way to obtain weapons to fight the monsters that inhabit the Metaverse, despite the heroes being teenagers in Japan, where real weapons (especially guns) are usually extremely hard to obtain. The monsters in it even drop real money, despite being essentially figments of the imagination.
  • An Aesop: Society can be oppressive and corrupt, but that doesn't mean you have to accept that it has to be this way. You may have to do things that you or other people may not think is completely morally right, but if you do nothing, then you're no better than the villains. Don't just accept injustice, do something about it. After all, if you just hold on, life won't change.
    • The last arc of the game makes the additional point that it doesn't matter if there are a few dedicated reformists taking down an equally few number of corrupt people, lasting change cannot happen as long as the population at large remain Apathetic Citizens too lazy or scared to push for and believe in it.
    • Building on that, apathy is, in and of itself, very dangerous, and popularity means nothing: many of the villains get away with their crimes because they're popular or otherwise have a good public persona. And they maintain that persona because people are more than willing to accept things at face value. Even the Phantom Thieves suffer from this, when their popularity skyrockets and they start to believe they can do no wrong.
    • And further building on that, the party members' confidants demonstrate that even if you are "free," and are willing to take your life into your own hands, that alone won't make your life better. That responsibility is hard, and people give it up for a reason, but it will still ultimately pay off if you stay strong and work through that adversity.
    • Vigilante justice can be used solve problems when the justice system cannot, but it is still ultimately a problem that it is necessary, and it alone cannot reform society. You need to actually touch the hearts of the populace in some way in order to show them what problems must be corrected.
    • Seeking approval, validation or love from people who do not care about you is an emotional drain that can lead to ruin. Several Confidants, and the Phantom Thieves as a group, shed the need for such approval and experience great release when doing so.
  • Affably Evil:
    • The bandit leader in Futaba's palace. A perfectly cordial monster who's disinclined to violence and offers to join forces with you to share the plunder; he's perplexed as to why else you'd be there, if not to raid the tomb.
    • Averted with the villains in real world. They're either unrepentant douchebags, Villains With Good Publicity, or only Faux Affably Evil.
    • Played straight with Takuto Maruki in Royal. Even after he's revealed to be the creator of the third term's altered reality, he's still a friendly and charming man who genuinely wants to save all of humanity from all suffering, and never once taunts or lashes out at the Phantom Thieves for rejecting his ideology.
  • After-Combat Recovery:
    • The "Victory Breath" and "Victory Cry" auto skills restore part or all of a party member's HP and SP after battle.
    • The Persona 3 DLC "Evoker" accessory will automatically restore one bullet to your gun's magazine after battle if equipped.
  • A.I. Breaker:
    • As with previous titles in Shin Megami Tensei, using Makarakarn (or an item that does the same) against the Reaper will have him repeatedly use Concentrate and Megidolaon over and over, since Almighty spells can't be blocked by Makarakarn. This would be Artificial Brilliance if not for the fact that by the time you're strong enough to take on the Reaper, this doesn't do nearly as much damage to your party as it should, doing only about 150 damage on each character per turn (assuming they don't just dodge it). Thus, what should be a death sentence becomes a viable strategy to quickly farm The Reaper's massive EXP, over and over.
    • The S-ranked Mementos mission where you fight Mara has it repeatedly cast Tarukaja to buff its attack power. However, it's also programmed to not act without its attack power being buffed, so repeatedly lowering its attack power back down to normal or lower will make it so Mara never attacks.
  • AKA47: None of the guns go by their real names, despite clearly being based on specific models. The fake names include riffs on real names (Franchi SPAS-12 to "Bianchi SBAS", M1911A1 Colt Government to "Governance"), well-known nicknames (Colt SAA as "Peacemaker"), and even generic descriptive terms (Ithaca 37 to "Heavy Shotgun"). These are in-universe examples—the party's guns are all airsoft replicas (the enemy only needs to believe it's being shot at with real ammo).
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Goro earns some sympathy from the party during his final battle, and they're even willing to bury the hatchet and join forces with him against his Arch Nemesis Dad. Okumura's brutal death also inspires some pity from the thieves, especially since he was their newest member's father. And while they don't have any noteworthy redeeming traits to speak of, it's not hard to feel bad for Principal Kobayakawa and the SIU Director after the Big Bad discards them like garbage the second they're more useful to him dead than alive.
  • Alertness Blink: Blocky white lines will pop from various characters when they first notice you.
  • Alice Allusion: Alice returns yet again, this time as the ultimate Persona of the Death Arcana.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Haru joins the Phantom Thieves because she wants to atone for her father's actions and redeem him. This ends up for naught as her father is murdered by The Conspiracy and Haru spends the rest of the game having to cope with the guilt. Doing her Confidant also reveals that Haru's fiance is still trying to go through with the Arranged Marriage, but Haru gets out of that with the help of the company's management.
    • Despite everything the Phantom Thieves are unable to move the public through their heists alone, with Shido's change of heart and confessions failing to stop the corrupt system or wake people up. Ultimately, they're forced to steal the Treasure of the entire population at the core of Mementos to have any effect. Justified, since the Treasure is an evil god blatantly rigging the masses to make it not work.
  • All in a Row: Party members not only follow around your player character, but will also Take Cover! behind him and help out when you open treasure chests. Walking or running in a straight line long enough will cause party members to move with you in formation.
  • All Myths Are True: Downplayed. Shadows and Persona take the form of mythical figures from every religion and culture on the planet, due to being Anthropomorphic Personifications of the collective human psyche.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: What drives the Phantom Thieves together is that they were all treated as outcasts by people. In particular, Joker's arrival in Tokyo started with pretty much everyone wanting nothing to do with him due to his "record". In fact, Ryuji only becomes his first friend after they're both nearly killed in the Metaverse.
  • Almighty Janitor: The ultimate Bonus Boss and toughest enemy in the game, the Twins, are two prison guards in a run down gulag inside your head. One of whom is an admin with nothing but a clipboard on her. Since they're directly related to Elizabeth, Theodore, and Margaret, this is to be expected, as each of them were the most powerful bosses in their respective games as well. Their comments, should you win, include a hint at this.
  • Already Done for You: After returning from the Hawaii school trip and begin the investigation period of their fourth target, Futaba, having looked up them earlier for the MetaNav keywords, removes the guesswork and they enter the Palace soon after.
  • Alternate Reality Game: As part of the Tokyo Game Show 2015 marketing, the Japanese fanbase was tasked with tracking down and scanning QR codes at various places throughout the country, presented as finding information for the police force against the thief team. Scanning these unlocked the party's character bios on the official website for everyone to view.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Discussed In-Universe by Sadayo, who believes Princess Kaguya from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter was a Femme Fatale who asked for fancy, impossible gifts and led men to their doom For the Evulz before running away to the moon. (Of course, her version completely ignores the fact that the reason Kaguya set impossible tasks before her suitors was so she wouldn't form any more attachments, knowing she would have to leave Earth behind.)
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Basically describes the character/fraction relations in the entire game. Shido attempts to control the masses to build something close to Imperial Japan but Akechi, his disloyal assassin only murders as many people as possible for him to catch him off guard only to have Shido himself bearing the intent to assassinate him as well and both of them were to be stopped by the Phantom Thieves before their plans can succeed. Aside that the Thieves, Akechi and the conspiracy are all themselves hapless prey for Yaldabaoth's cognition-altering and wiping powers; Without Lavenza interfering, the Thieves wouldn't even be able to make out to resist Yaldabaoth.
  • Always in Class One: Averted. Joker's homeroom is 2-D, where Kawakami teaches.
  • Anachronism Stew: Futaba's Palace mixes an ancient Egyptian pyramid with various computer-themed gimmicks and motifs.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • Played for Laughs, as you'll discover dirty laundry in some of the game's Inexplicable Treasure Chests, leading your party members to question who would bother putting dirty clothes under lock and key.
    • Played straight in Royal, where New Game+ allows you to change Akechi's outfit between his Black Mask outfit and his Crow outfit during the Niijima's Palace heist and Maruki's Palace.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Ryuji gives the Phantom Thieves quite a scare after his apparent death in Shido's Palace.
  • Anime Catholicism: The Christian, likely Catholic, church in the game isn't a bad portrayal but isn't great either. On the surface it looks right but one will notice in place of a crucifix behind the altar there are six vaguely Christian paintings, yet in one scene Yusuke and the player discuss and pose in the crucifixion like there's one present in the building. Also the confessional is arguably placed too openly for its purpose.
  • The Anime of the Game: Persona 5: The Day Breakers, a 30 minute animated special released shortly before the game that shows the Phantom Thieves of Hearts performing a caper in Mementos. A full anime, Persona 5: The Animation, was released in 2018.
  • Animorphism: In the Cruise Ship dungeon, the party occasionally get turned into mice while you're exploring. Yes, even the cat. Before that, the Miniboss Mot/Coffin-Borne God can cast the spell "Cornered Rat" to inflict the transformation on one party member, disabling them for three turns.
  • Anti-Escapism Aesop:
    • Keeping with its theme about action against injustice instead of complacency, there are multiple times where the game makes explicit its problem with the notion of living in escapism, as in both instances choosing the escapist option, that is turning a blind eye to the problems of society in order to maintain a momentary feeling of joy, leads to a bad ending.
    • At the end of the Mementos Depths, Yaldabaoth in the form of Igor offers Joker a chance for him and his friends to go on forever being the Phantom Thieves as long as they do not interfere with their plans to enslave mankind.
    • In Royal during the third semester, Maruki offers Joker and the Phantom Thieves a chance at living in the dream world of cognition. Doing so effectively creates a paradise, where everyone gets their deepest desires, but on the other hand the Phantom Thieves lose their powers forever since they have no desire to rebel, Mementos returns with no one to control it, Igor and the Velvet Room are trapped in Limbo from humanity, and Sumire's personality remains repressed.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Once you reach The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of the vanilla game, you can't go back to the real world. Since the player would have no other way to refill their SP once they run out of items, one of the Velvet Room attendants waiting at the entrance of the dungeon will fully restore the party's HP, SP and ammo (or Joker's Down Shot charges in Royal). Also, before you enter the shrine at the core of the Prison, you're able to freely go back to the entrance of Mementos in order to run to the clinic or airsoft shop to buy items or weapons.
    • If you're having trouble clearing the minigames that allow you to progress on video games, you can read a book that will allow you to input what is essentially a cheat code to make them easier, usually by extending your time limit. Morgana lampshades it by saying that he can understand how you might be frustrated by being unable to beat the game.
    • After winning a random encounter, any other Shadows who were in the immediate area disappear so you don't get spotted through no fault of your own, only reappearing once you've moved quite a ways away from where you fought the battle. This is especially useful in Palaces, where getting caught too many times could result in a Game Over since you're kicked out of the Palace if the security meter reaches 100%.
    • Some Confidants have a time limit that you need to complete them by in order to see certain vents or max them out. These Confidants not only warn you that the time limit is coming in some way, they're usually fairly easy to get through.
      • Haru's Confidant starts really late, only after completing the spaceport Palace. To make up for this, her Confidant is fairly easy to rank up, as a lot of the answers the player chooses will give the most amount of notes.
      • Yoshida's Confidant is easy to level up, since every meeting with him is a guaranteed rank-up. That's because he has rather strict availability (usually only Sundays) and a deadline of November 17th in order to focus on his election campaign; he'll send you a text over a week ahead of time to warn you just in case.
      • Maruki's Confidant in Royal must be completed by late November, as that's when his tenure at Shujin ends, and dialogue around school and from Morgana will repeateadly warn as such. His Confidant is also fairly easy to rank up.
    • There's a series of very long cutscenes after the Casino Palace, so it's broken up by two save points, one after the story catches up to the prologue so that you don't have to fight the boss again if you trigger the bad ending. And another one right before the date changes which allows you to save and take a break so you don't have to go through another lengthy Info Dump.
    • If you've unlocked a subway destination, Morgana will note this if you try to read a book that would have unlocked it, and time won't pass. This also counts as having read the book so that a player isn't locked out of the "read every book" trophy.
    • While it's possible to Earn Your Bad Ending by selling out your teammates to Sae when she finishes her interrogation or making a deal with the Big Bad, the game will give you an ominous "are you sure?" warning before going through it.
    • After the Casino Palace, since Joker is faking his death to fool the Conspiracy against the Phantom Thieves, you can't go to school for about a month. However, you can still meet up with any of your Confidants at the Academy, and can still access the rooftop to manage Haru's vegetable harvests.
    • On your second finals, you have three questions that you weren't able to go over because Joker faked his death briefly. The day before during the group study session, you're allowed to ask a question that gives you one of the three answers.
    • If you die during a boss fight, not only do you have the option to restart the fight right away, but you can also reset the time to an in-game week prior just in case you are underleveled or need to get some supplies. In 4, you only had the option to reset to whatever floor you died on, and could only go back an in-game week if you missed the deadline to complete a dungeon, while in 3, you only had the option to reset to a prior save.
    • There's a luck-based ability that every playable Confidant can get to automatically heal negative status ailments on their turn. If this ability is about to trigger but it's not that character's turn yet, the game will stop you from using an item or Persona ability to cure the target, preventing you from wasting resources on something that's about to be fixed for free.
    • Locked chests that require a lockpick to open are marked on the map when you find them. Since there are generally more locked chests in a Palace than you will have lockpicks for (especially for the first palace), this makes finding the chests before finishing the palace much easier.
    • In Palaces, the enemies can't be alerted by any of the Phantom Thieves except Joker since he's the Player Character. This means the rest of the Thieves won't increase the security level if they're seen by a security camera, they can't trip laser alarms, Shadows don't react if they're in the Shadow's field of vision, etc. While the rest of the Phantom Thieves are pretty good at sneaking around and avoiding traps, you may catch a few times that the Shadows ought to notice them but don't. It's still acceptable, though; the alternative would be insufferable.
    • During challenge battles in Royal, all enemy affinities will be listed when analyzing them, even if the foes in question haven't ever been encountered or fused before this. As the challenge battles are specifically about defeating enemies in certain ways to maximize points earned rather than simply killing them as quickly or efficiently as possible, this is a blessing.
    • Progress in Royal's Thieves Den is autosaved and shared across all save files on a system level, instead of being tied to a specific save file. This means that the player can save scum to unlock all of the rewards. This is especially handy as some rewards are mutually exclusive depending on which ending is taken — without save scumming, 100%'ing the Thieves Den takes a minimum of three playthroughs.
    • Royal tweaks several elements of the original game to make them more user-friendly:
      • One of the restrictions on doing things at night is changed from the first game. Originally it used to be that if you went into a Palace or Mementos during the day, you weren't allowed to do anything in the night time slot after that until you max out a certain Confidant. Royal relaxed that to "leaving Leblanc", so you can't go out but you can still do whatever you could normally do there at night. Play video games, watch movies, make burglary tools, cook, study... so you're still accomplishing something instead of just wasting time.
      • Although still difficult, Power Intuition has been made easier if you use the book's cheat option: instead of adding just several seconds to do the difficult inputs, using the cheat puts the timer much higher, clocking in at ninety-nine seconds instead of roughly twelve.
      • The random Mementos conversations are no longer interrupted by opening a door.
      • In the original game, when a Treasure Demon appeared from a breakable object, you had to catch it before it disappeared shortly afterward. Here, whenever one is discovered from such, Joker automatically triggers a battle with it without the player having to react at all.
      • You can now perform advanced fusions straight from the fusion menu, as long as you've fused each Persona before and have an empty space in your stock for the finished product. You no longer need to have all the required Personas in your current stock; Igor will just charge you the price for summoning the needed Personas instead.
      • Ryuji's insta-kill ability has to now be manually activated by sprinting into foes rather than randomly triggering when ambushing. Whereas in the vanilla game the insta-kill deprived all rewards rather than a free Persona, in Royal it additionally gives reduced money and item gains.
  • Anti-Grinding: Joker's Personas gain experience slower than he does, making it easier to fuse new Personas to get new abilities than fighting random Shadows.
  • Apathetic Citizens:
    • Discussed. Many of the villains bring up the fact they can do the horrible things they've done because the general public are more interested in being told what to do than doing what's right on their own. The Phantom Thieves also decide to continue their activities after the first dungeon to shake others out of apathy.
    • Made a plot point and zigzagged by the final dungeon. Even after getting Shido to confess everything he's done, the public doesn't listen. The Phantom Thieves ultimately have to steal the Treasure of all of Tokyo to get the people to snap out of it. Even after defeating Yaldabaoth in an epic battle in the Qliphoth World with all of Tokyo cheering them on, the Phantom Thieves return to the real world to find that they can't tell if they succeeded, because people don't really seem to be all that different from before, only for the public now openly speak of Shido's crimes.
  • Apologetic Attacker: In Persona 5 Royal, you are given the option to attack a cognitive version of Shiho during Kamoshida's boss fight. Ann will wince, while Ryuji will apologize.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Only four party members can be used in battle at a time, per series standard since Persona 3. For the first time in the series, you can switch out your party members in battle, but you need to begin the Star Confidant in order to do so.
  • Arc Symbol: Several:
    • Masks: Personas are referred to ask masks to be worn, providing comfort and/or empowerment when interacting with the world. In Persona 5, Personas are summoned by tearing off one's mask. The Protagonist also collects Personas in the form of masks.
    • Chains, and the breaking of them, are a recurring symbol signifying rebellion against corruption. The Protagonist is always chained in prisoner garb in the Velvet Room, and leveling up Confidants depicts the breaking of chains.
  • Arc Villain: The first few months of the game has you finding a series of new corrupt target for the heroes' Heel–Face Brainwashing. And while you begin to learn The Conspiracy has been messing with the Mental World of the Metaverse as well, your targets aren't actual members of the group, and are by design acting on their own personal twisted desires.
  • Arc Words:
    • Heinous acts being "unforgivable" comes up a lot. Even a good number of Joker's dialogue options let him say it.
    • "Deal" and "contract" are brought up a lot, the latter during Persona awakenings and the former during Confidant links and important plot points.
    • "Stolen future", and variations of, are frequently mentioned when villains are doing things to screw over the younger generation.
    • The villains who make a public confession after having their heart stolen usually start their announcement with "I have committed acts unbecoming of a [profession]."
    • "Game" comes up a ton. It's usually used by Igor to refer to events going on in the story - even some song lyrics get it on it - and things that are working against the heroes are called a "rigged" or "unjust" game. It's almost always used in villainous contexts, and its true meaning is revealed in the ending: Yaldabaoth's wager against Igor, because the struggle of our heroes and humanity was all just a game to him.
    • Igor and his assistants always find a way to mention "ruin" and "rehabilitation". When Shido mentions "ruin" in a cutscene, you know things are getting serious.
    • The word "justice" gets brought up a ton throughout the game. A central theme of the game is exactly what justice means to different people and whether or not the Phantom Thieves' vigilantism falls under that category.
    • The phrase "I'm counting on you" (or variations thereof, like "counting on someone") is uttered at least once by every member in the team, and a few other major characters.
    • The series-wide "I am thou, thou art I" gets a lot more mileage in this game. Not just the protagonist, but each party member gets their own Persona awakening cutscene, and it's mentioned by narration whenever the protagonist begins and finishes a Confidant. Even Shadows get in on it when you recruit them, as they remember their true selves in the process. This is also repeated by the Dreamer's Persona, just before they go Berserk.
    • "Reality" for Royal, and specifically the Third Semester Arc, in which the central theme is whether the Dreamer's Lotus-Eater Machine where everyone has a Happy Ending at the cost at Modern Stasis, or living in harshness of the real world, are considered "the true reality." Also deals with Sumire, who wishes not to deal with the reality of being Kasumi's killer and escape it by becoming her thanks to the Dreamer's actualization.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At the cleanup event in Royal, Kasumi notes that Kamoshida's rumor mill has accused Joker of (among other things) burglary, murder, and elephant tusk trafficking. Joker can play along by adding that he drives without a license.
  • Art Evolution:
  • The Artifact: A few changes from the vanilla game create this effect in Royal:
    • "Life Will Change," the Triumphant Reprise of the vanilla game's opening theme "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There," loses a bit of impact, because Royal replaced "Wake Up" entirely with a new opening in "Colors Flying High." In Royal, the original opening can only be found in the Thieves Den.
    • The piano remix of the vanilla game's credits theme, "Hoshi To Bokura To," still plays in the anime cutscene near the end of the game where Morgana seemingly vanishes. It's entirely possible the player won't ever actually hear the full version of "Hoshi To Bokura To," because Royal has an entirely new credits theme for the new ending.
    • Satanael, still Purposefully Overpowered as ever, is still restricted to being fused in New Game+, despite Royal adding an entirely new arc that takes place after the original ending wherein Satanael was summoned. No explanation is ever given for why Joker can't use Satanael during this period of the game, though it can be inferred that it was just a one time surge of power created by the public's belief.
    • Royal's new ending still eventually leads to Joker being locked away in juvie, and his Confidants bounding together to save him, just as in the vanilla game. In both endings, Joker is freed in mid-February. While in the original game it, rather realistically, takes months of campaigning to free him, because Royal extends the game's playable calendar to early February, it takes barely over a week.
  • Artifact Title: The mini-boss theme's name, "Keeper of Lust", makes sense at first since the first Palace is based on Lust. Not so much later on, as the later Palaces focus on the other Deadly Sins.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Sometimes a palace shadow will look around confused but not see you, when you're walking right next to them but not directly in the path of their linear line of sight
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • Apparently in the Persona universe, a hurricane in Los Angeles will redirect a plane back to Hawaii. Hawaii is a five hour flight from Los Angeles and a plane flying from Japan to Los Angeles would not have an additional five hours worth of fuel aboard. Meanwhile there are a significant number of airports in California that not only have runways long enough for a typical wide-body jet used for a NRT-LAX route, they're also well within the extra 2 hours flight time that aircraft for international flights carry reserve fuel for. Additionally, hurricane is a storm that doesn't form quickly, but over several days. If one was close enough to California to affect air traffic into Los Angeles, the flight wouldn't have even taken off from Japan. It's also incredibly unusual that a hurricane is occurring on the West Coast of the United States. Hurricanes feed upon warm sea water to sustain themselves, and the Pacific Ocean is usually too cold for one to travel far enough to make landfall. Tropical storms may hit Southern California occasionally, but hurricanes are an extreme weather phenomenon that only occur on the Eastern Seaboard.
    • The modern Egyptian town in Futaba's Palace has signs that are clearly written using the Devanagari alphabet, which is used for Indian languages, not Arabic. Somewhat justified in that it's just a Mental World, limited to what Futaba knows.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Despite employing demonic avatars of the Seven Deadly Sins as a central motif, the story only uses a few of the standard demons associated with a given sin as popularized by Peter Binsfeld: Asmodeus (Lust), Leviathan (Envy) and Mammon (Greed). Meanwhile, Beelzebub (Gluttony) uses the name of the Semitic god he was a demonized form of, Bael. Belphegor (Sloth), Satan (Wrath) and Lucifer (Pride) are completely replaced by Mementos, the Sphinx and Samael. This is likely because Beelzebub, Belphegor, Satan, and Lucifer are all available as Personas.
  • Art Shift:
    • In-game, after winning a battle with an All-Out Attack, the party member who knocked down the last enemy gets a special Victory Pose which ends with their 3D model suddenly turning into a stylized 2D image, giving it more oomph.
    • The massive Info Dump later on in the story of how Joker faked suicide and escaped prison uses cute, stylized versions of several characters to provide visual reference to go along with the explanations.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: In Persona 4, the party members' Shadows came from repressed teenage anxieties and were Obliviously Evil over a desire to be accepted. This game, however, shows what the Shadow of a truly evil person looks like... and it isn't pretty. The Starter Villain's Shadow alone is a sadistic, hedonistic tyrant who takes great pleasure in torturing and killing anyone who wanders into his mental world.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • At some point in the game, it's possible to catch "I've been waiting for this!" among the Phan-site comments, referencing Akihiko's infamous All-Out Attack line.
    • Yusuke Kitagawa says this when Morgana turns into the Morgana car in the desert surrounding Futaba's palace.
    • In Royal, Akechi can sometimes be found near cafes serving pancakes, referencing the infamous meme where he overhearing Morgana talking about pancakes exposed him as Black Mask. He'll also mention pancakes during one of his Mementos skits after he rejoins in his Black Mask outfit.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The Phantom thieves specifically target adults who have abused their position and taken advantage of others, as well as teenagers and non-famous adults who have let their desires become twisted. Examples include an S&M relationship gone wrong, a college student animal abuser, and... a serial video game cheater.
    • The Conspiracy has its own members killed when they're no longer useful to them, such as Principal Kobayakawa and the SIU director, but considering what the victims were responsible for, it's difficult to feel sorry for them.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: The final battle against Yaldabaoth takes place on Christmas Eve.
  • As the Good Book Says...: The title of the boss theme "Rivers in the Desert" is a reference to Isaiah 43:19, tying into the Abrahamic Seven Deadly Sins theme present throughout the game.
  • Astroturfing: An In-Universe example. The Phantom Thieves are partially inspired to steal Okumura's heart by a flood of comments on the Phan-site demanding they do so, along with the fact that Okumura has a Palace in the first place. Of course, this is a setup, as The Conspiracy kills Okumura shortly after the Thieves change his heart in order to frame them for murder. The group then begins to express their doubts about the sincerity of the comments against Okurmura, and Futaba suggests that the Phan-site was hacked to make them appear in such great numbers.
  • As You Know: Thanks to the fact that the bad guys' actions occur out of sight of the Thieves, there's a lot of exposition to get through. This results in two characters, Goro and Shido, telling each other about their schemes, objectives and methods, going so far as to tell each other their own shared history, despite the fact that both of them should clearly know this already. However, they aren't telling each other everything...
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • Asmodeus isn't quite on the scale of some of the others, but he still towers over the Thieves.
    • Bael's second boss form is a giant vault shaped like a Piggy Bank.
    • Sphinx is about the size of the Pyramid itself.
    • Samael's first boss form is a giant golden lion made up of human bodies.
    • The final form of the Greater-Scope Villain is a 20 story tall giant robotic god covered in gold and crystal armor.
    • The protagonist's Ultimate Persona, Satanael, who appears to finish the final boss, is even taller than him.
    • The final boss of the Third Semester is a giant, golden-armored humanoid roughly the same height as the previous final boss.
  • At the Crossroads: Metaphorically; the bar in Shinjuku is named Crossroads in the English translation, and it's where you make a deal with Ichiko Ohya, the Devil Confidant.
  • Aura Vision: The "Third Eye" ability lets you see the danger level of enemies, which receptacles are hiding treasure, and the identities of potential Confidants by displaying various color-coded auras around the person or item in question.
  • Author Appeal: The game's opening, which is directed by Sayo Yamamoto, has several moments where the characters do spins and glide around as though they're figure skating; Yamamoto is a huge fan of the sport, as evidenced by one of her best known directorial roles.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Most of the Boss Battle themes are techno rock tunes with plenty of electric guitar.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Severe-strength elemental skills are present in the game... and they cost 48 SP — 4 times the SP needed to cast a -dyne equivalent. They have mass-hitting versions that are slightly better, only costing 54 SP — a little over double their Ma-dyne equivalent. If not supported by Spell Master which halves their costs, or backed up by Amp and Boost skills to make the most of them, these skills are incredibly draining and not good for protracted fights. Royal makes things a bit easier by adding Traits to your Personas that automatically reduce the SP cost of certain spells- Black Frost, for example, has Frozen Bloodline, which reduces the cost of all Ice spells by half, while Asura gets Atomic Hellscape, which reduces the SP cost of Nuclear spells by a whopping 75%!
    • Lucifer, the ultimate Persona of the Star Confidant, first requires you to max Hifumi's Confidant to unlock. Then, you see that his base level is a whopping 93, requiring extensive grinding or a load of cash (with the Velvet Twins' Confidant maxed) to fuse him. He also requires six Personas to fuse, three of which also have fixed fusion recipes that each involve at least three component Personas, increasing the amount of effort (and money) to make him.note  Your end result is a Persona which can learn really powerful skills, not already counting what's already been inherited from its components... but also one without any innate resistances and a weakness. The only justification for making Lucifer is either for Compendium completion, or to use him as a fusion ingredient for Satanael. Royal buffs him considerably by giving him actual resistances, namely immunities to Physical and Gun attacks, resistances to Fire, Ice, Electric and Wind, and the ability to absorb Curse attacks, and he naturally picks up Repel Bless to cover his Bless weakness.
    • In general many of the very late game Personas fall here. They usually have great skills, good starting stats, and can also be very sturdy. However, their base stats are often a bit too well-rounded for a player's liking, as stat points allocated to unused stats are wasted points, leaving less room for Min-Maxing. By contrast, weaker Personas can be made much better stat wise by using the sacrifice feature to bump up the Persona's stats to your liking, making more specialized Personas. This is no longer an issue in Royal thanks to the new Fusion Alarm mechanic. First, any Persona created during a Fusion Alarm gets an extra boost to some of its stats. Second, during a Fusion Alarm you can reliable trigger a Gallows Error that gives a boost to stats instead of XP to the target Persona note . By repeatedly doing this, you can reliably pump any Persona's stats as high as you want them.
    • Reading the book Speed Reading makes it so you read two chapters instead of one. Sounds like a great time-saving tool, until you realize that to unlock Speed Reading, you have to read three 3-chapter books before it (totaling 5 full days of reading), which are only only available in a shop that gets unlocked either by advancing the Star Confidant enough starting late Spring (blocked by a hefty Charm requirement), or waiting for another book to become available for purchase half-way through the story. At these points in the game, it's far more beneficial to take time working on ranking up Confidants like Temperance and Fortune that have much stronger time-saving bonuses. The abundance of free time available to read on the train or in class (if the Temperance Confidant is at least Level 5) and the fact that a good portion of books are either one chapter long (and don't benefit from Speed Reading) or can be automatically read if a location has been previously visited also makes it difficult to justify spending time for this particular passive. Royal makes it a bit more useful by making it easier to obtain- it's now found in the school library and gets unlocked July 1st.
    • The unbreakable lockpick. The ingredients needed to craft it ensures that you won't be able to get it until quite late in the game unless you really grind, at which point you should be able to craft plenty of normal lockpicks. This gets even worse in Royal, which adds a book and a set of tools that Joker can buy, each one of which giving a substantial boost to the number of infiltration tools he can craft at one time, though Royal also makes the unbreakable lockpick easier to get by increasing the amount of crafting item drops in Momentos, and lets it carry over to a New Game Plus.
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  • Background Music Override:
    • "Tokyo Daylight" or "Tokyo Emergency" normally plays during the overworld during the day, both upbeat tunes, with the former playing during more relaxed times and the latter playing while there's still a major target to take down. Late in the game, the background music changes to the foreboding "Restlessness", matching the tone at that point in the game. In Royal, the background music changes to the serene "So Happy World" in January. On the last playable day of the game, when Joker is saying his goodbyes to everyone, the music changes to the solemn, bittersweet blues tune of "Sunset Bridge".
    • "Beneath the Mask" normally plays during the overworld at night, and if it's raining, a more relaxed version that lacks percussion will play instead. If it's torrential rain however, no background music will play, with the sounds of heavy pouring rain being played instead.
    • "Life Will Change" plays on any day you go to challenge the boss of a dungeon, overriding the regular dungeon, safe room, and battle themes. In fact, it only turns off when you challenge bosses or mini-bosses. For the last few dungeons, it upgrades from instrumentals to the vocal version. In Royal, "I Believe" plays during the last day of the new final dungeon.
  • Bad Boss: Several targets are important business owners or politicians who are abusing their power. Perhaps the most notable example is Shido, who is so meticulous in tying up his loose ends that he plots the murder of every single person with any insight into his bloody rise to power, even if they happily helped him get there. His personal assassin, his own son, is the final name on his list. Ironically, he won a competition for who people would most like to have as a boss.
  • Bad Dreams: Throughout the game, Morgana has a recurring nightmare where he's emerging from a dark ooze with glowing eyes in Mementos.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Kaneshiro’s palace has an initial time limit set by Makoto, even appearing on the U.I. The player will never meet the consequences of this date due to Makoto joining and Kaneshiro giving a new time limit with arguably worse consequences.
    • Another Palace with an initial time limit is the final Palace of Royal, set by its owner, Maruki. Just like the example above, the deadline appears on the U.I. as 7 days, but the player will never meet the consequences of this deadline since there is no way to spend time other than bringing your party members back to your senses, which spends exactly that amount of days available. Furthermore, you were given a new time limit by Maruki again to change his heart due to worse consequences ahead.
    • Futaba having a Palace heavily implies that your party has to face her Shadow like the others. However, due to Futaba actually desiring a change of heart (the obstacles presented by the Palace are noted to be manifestations of Futaba's guardedness), her Shadow is not evil—the boss ends up being Futaba's mistaken, demonic cognition of her dead mother instead. Futaba's Shadow, meanwhile, forces Futaba to face her past and distorted memories and becomes her Persona, much like how Personas are acquired in the previous game.
    • The new character Kasumi Yoshizawa in Royal is not, in fact, Kasumi at all, but instead Sumire Yoshizawa, Kasumi's depressed and Survivor Guilt-ridden twin sister. In fact, Sumire is only going around calling herself Kasumi because she told Maruki to turn her into Kasumi and it pushed his button of using his cognition-warping powers, so that she wouldn't have to face the fact the real Kasumi died saving Sumire from a jealousy-induced fit that almost got her run over by traffic.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Similar to the Fly and Bat statuses in the Shin Megami Tensei series, this game comes with the "Rattled" status, where a character is transformed into a rat, lowering their defense and making them unable to attack. This can be temporarily inflicted by Mot's "Trapped Rat" spell, and also during Shido's Palace when the party is in the same room as an "activated" statue. In the latter case, it also acts as the level gimmick by allowing the party to travel into small air vents.
    • Though he has no memories of his past, this is what Morgana believes himself to be for much of the story, with his goal being to discover the secrets of the Metaverse in the hopes of turning himself back into a human. It turns out that this isn't the case, and that he was always a cartoon-esque cat creature created by the real Igor from humanity's hope for freedom before Yaldabaoth captured him, so that Joker would have someone to guide him on his quest.
  • Battle Couple: If you romance Ann, Makoto, Haru, or Kasuminote , Joker and his lover can participate in battles together, and gain all the Level-Up at Intimacy 5 bonuses pursuing a romance nets you. In a bit of Gameplay and Story Integration, the four of them learn "Protect" at the same time their Confidant turns romantic, which is a passive skill where they shield Joker and withstand an otherwise fatal attack in his place.
  • Battle Theme Music:
    • "Last Surprise" for regular battles, which has the thieves giving Badass Boasts about how their enemies are already finished.
      Better think about your game
      Are you sure the next move's the right one for you?
      Are you sure you won't get out-maneuvered again and again, my friend?
    • "Blooming Villain" for most Palace bosses. While it doesn't have lyrics, it start off dark and pounding, gradually mellowing out into bass before swelling to a triumphant guitar solo, representing the growing confidence of the Phantom Thieves to take down their target.
    • "Life Will Change" for the lead up to the first seven palace boss battles. Instrumental at first, lyrical later, and always badass. The lyrics describe how the villain is powerless to stop the thieves from bringing change to their comfortable microcosms.
    • "Rivers in the Desert" for some of the endgame Boss Battles, which has dueling verses by the heroes and villains about their Well-Intentioned Extremist desires to change the world.
  • Beach Episode: Your party goes to the beach with Futaba at the end of August, which involves the members of your party hanging out on the beach in swimsuits, Yusuke buying a pair of lobsters to paint, and other hijinks, including the return of Operation Babe Hunt. Your Class Trip also has you traveling to Hawaii, with a couple days involving the members of your party hanging out on the beach in swimsuits, and an evening spent with an available Confidant of your choosing.note 
  • Beauty = Goodness: Lampshaded in a Yonkoma from the Dengeki Manga Anthology. Shortly after Shadow Kaneshiro is defeated, he laments that it's difficult for someone like him, labeled as poor, ugly, and stupid, to live an honest life, whereupon Skull remarks that the Phantom Thieves are fighting labels themselves. From Shadow Kaneshiro's point of view, they're better-looking than he could ever hope to be, causing him to take this remark as a mortal offense.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • One lesson in school covers who has the right to print money in Japan and Morgana ends up commenting that he would like to visit a palace that lets you get as much money as you like whenever you want to. The next palace is Kaneshiro's, a mob boss who exploits young teens to make money for himself while putting them in a position to be unable to fight back, letting him get as much money as he wants at any time to the detriment of those living in Shibuya. Additionally, the money in his Palace are all fake money with his bust printed on them.
    • Played straight in Royal, where the Phantom Thieve's greatest desires are being granted by Takuto Maruki, a Well-Intentioned Extremist that was the byproduct of Yaldabaoth's Plan who uses Mementos to control the public's cognition so he can grant them their greatest wishes. It seems happy, but remember that if you let him do it, not only the end result would be nearly the same as Nyx bringing forth The Fall or Yaldabaoth stagnating humanity in his oppression, Mementos will revive and become impossible to remove.
  • Beneath the Mask: Shadows and Persona reflect the true feelings of their other selves. For the villains, they generally show the characters' true sociopathic, twisted desires. For the heroes meanwhile, they generally expose their Revenge Before Reason, Well-Intentioned Extremist desires to change the society and adults that've wronged them. And, taking the trope to its logical conclusion, Futaba's Shadow is the positive side of her personality that's been repressed beneath the crushing weight of her guilt and depression.
  • Beyond Redemption: "I'm not going to forgive you!" and variants thereof are said quite a bit throughout the game.
    • The first target, Suguru Kamoshida, had a variation of this. Kamoshida is meant to be as unlikable as possible, with several characters openly hating his guts. However, when they learn that stealing Kamoshida's heart may kill him if done incorrectly, Ryuji and Ann are hesitant. After Kamoshida makes Ann's best friend Shiho attempt suicide by jump off of the schools roof to escape his abuse, Ryuji and Ann decide they don't care if Kamoshida dies anymore; they just want him gone.
    • Yusuke was long in denial about Madarame exploiting him and his fellow students by stealing the credit for their work, despite having seen some evidence of it. After facing Madarame's Shadow and seeing Madarame's true character, Yusuke summons his Persona for the first time and resolves to change his former mentor by force. Then, after learning that Madarame let Yusuke's mother die when she had a stroke by not calling for help, Yusuke declares that he has no more reason to forgive Madarame.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: Each Arc Villain (barring Kamoshida) was being pressured into The Conspiracy by someone in a "Black Mask". Black Mask was in turn working for politician Masayoshi Shido. Then later we learn that the villains and the heroes were being manipulated by the Man Behind the Man, Yaldabaoth, God of Order.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • To an extent, Joker and co. can be this to any of his Confidants that require changing a target's heart in Mementos. Kawakami's and Futaba's requests qualify somewhat.
    • In the revised prologue in Royal, just when Joker thinks he's surrounded, along comes a mysterious and classy young girl to lend him a helping hand - whom of which is later revealed to be Violet, or rather newcomer Kasumi Yoshizawa.
    • When Joker and Black Mask are fighting against a berserk Cendrillon, it seems like a Hopeless Boss Battle and that our heroes are about to meet their end. And then out comes Ryuji tanking a Vorpal Blade for the two as the other Phantom Thieves come in full force, ready to back up their leader after having lived out their ideal dreams courtesy of Maruki.
  • Bishie Sparkle: When you gain charm points, three small diamond sparkles form next to Joker's eyes.
  • Bishōnen:
    • If you don't know the legend you could well be forgiven for not guessing that the Narcissus persona is actually male.
    • And of course, among the main cast we have Yusuke Kitagawa, Goro Akechi, and Joker himself, all of whom wouldn't look out of place in a shoujo media work.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Played straight with the outcome of the second Palace. Madarame's Treasure has been stolen and Yusuke joins the Thieves, but he feels outright dejected after learning from Shadow Madarame that he was responsible for the death of his mother just to get his hands on her last painting which he painted over and ruined for the sake of money. The Treasure itself, a duplicate of the original finished painting, isn't sold and is instead hung up at Café Leblanc.
    • Played for Laughs with the outcome of the third Palace. Kaneshiro's Treasure has been stolen and the mission was a success. When the Phantom Thieves open the golden briefcase, they discover that it's stuffed with 30 million yennote . Everyone is elated at the prospect of owning 5 million yennote  apiece... until Yusuke points out that all the money is actually fake. Ryuji is understandably upset with this, but they can still sell the gold-plated briefcase.
    • The Good Ending. Masayoshi Shido and his allies have been thwarted, Yaldabaoth has been vanquished, and the Protagonist finally gets to clear his name. However, he still has to head back home at the end of the year, leaving behind all the friends he made in Tokyo, and with the Metaverse gone, no longer will the Phantom Thieves be able to change hearts to stop corruption since a Palace can still be erected. Morgana manages to survive the collapse of Mementos, but as a cat, not a human. The situation in government is left unaddressed - it's unclear what exactly is going on with Japan's current prime minister. Finally, it's ultimately left ambiguous just how much the destruction of Mementos affected the public consciousness - while the ordinary citizens' apologism for Shido seems to have gone away, they still express frustration and apathy at the state of society, and the authorities appear just as corrupt as ever and are eager to send Joker to jail to save their own reputations. To drive the point home, the last poll on the Phansite, still asking if the Phantom Thieves really exist, comes back at an even 50%.
    • The Golden Ending in Royal is also bittersweet. After Maruki's battle, in March, all of the Phantom Thieves decide to think more about their future and go their separate ways — the most shocking are Ryuji, who decides to move to a different town to receive treatment for his knee; and Ann, who decides to study abroad. The final part plays out the same as the Good Ending in the original game, only with some minor changes — except this time Maruki, who is now reformed, drives Joker to the train station while the other Phantom Thieves distract the police, leaving their goodbyes a bit brief.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Discussed. The protagonists' Heel–Face Brainwashing methods would come off as crossing a line if it weren't for the fact their targets are various kinds of serial abusers of power who would otherwise never pay for their crimes. The lone exception is Futaba, whom actually wants the Phantom Thieves to do it to her. The Phantom Thieves are in fact completely aware of the implications of their methods, and refuse to use it at all during their first mission until a student tried to commit suicide because of being abused by their first target. Even later, the Thieves openly discuss if what they're doing is the right thing.
  • Black Helicopter: In the prologue, you can see some Black Hawks fly near the casino.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • The party can be seen eating a bag of Calbee Potato Chips and drinking bottles of Coca-Cola and Sprite at some points, only with the nondescript labels "Potato", "Nice Cola" and "Lemon" printed on them. Similarly, an ad can be seen for a tablet computer called the "Next P.A.D." that bears a striking resemblance to the Apple iPad. Coca-Cola, Boss, and Kirin vending machines become Cracker Energy, Oyabun (Japanese for "boss"), and Kitten. The retro game console that can be purchased is called the "Famidrive", a mash of the Famicom and Mega Drive. The only legitimate Product Placement in the game is for Calbee's Jagariko snacks.
    • The buffet where the Phantom Thieves celebrate their first victory over Kamoshida is at the Wilton Hotel, as opposed to the real-life Hilton Hotel.
    • This also extends to stores themselves, with popular Japanese convenience store chain "Don Quixote" being renamed "Rocinante" after Quixote's horse, or The Body Shop being renamed "The Body Chop."
    • Most of the neighborhoods, all being real places spread throughout the Greater Tokyo Area, share their name with their real-life counterparts. The sole exception is the very neighborhood that Joker lives in, Yongen-jaya; its real-life counterpart is named Sangen-jaya (the latter in Japanese uses the kanji for the number three (三) in its name; the game's version of the neighborhood uses four (四) instead). There's also Destinyland in place of Disneyland, although the park has popped up in other Shin Megami Tensei installments and is located in its proper neighborhood, Maihama.
    • Played with regarding the Sky Tree Tower; while it's meant to be a stand-in for Tokyo Tower, there is a real building in Tokyo's Sumida ward called the Tokyo Skytree, whose construction was completed in 2011. The creators of the game also obtained Tokyo Tower's permission to use its name in the game, but they ultimately didn't. However, they were able to use the proper "Skytree" name for the anime adaptation in Episode 17.
    • Many of the series staple vending machine drinks return, with names like "Mad Bull," "Nastea," "Dr. Salt," "Starvicks," and "Manta" (standing in for Red Bull, Nestea, Dr. Pepper, Starbucks, and Fanta).
    • The movies and DVDs you can watch to increase social stats are Bland Name versions of actual movies and TV shows, such as "Guy Mcver" or "Love, Possibly". There is however, one exception, and that is "Like A Dragon".
  • Blank White Eyes:
    • Humans whose Shadows are destroyed end up with pupil-less white eyes and dark blood bleeding out of their mouths. This includes the subway conductor who crashes a train near the beginning of the game, Principal Kobayakawa around the time of the Hawaii trip, and Haru's dad after the Phantom Thieves steal his Treasure.
    • Played for Laughs with Morgana sometimes when something suitably unbelievable and comedic happens.
  • Blessed With Suck: The player themselves on Merciless difficulty. 2.5 times damage when you strike weaknesses and get critical hits sounds good, right? Have fun downing Shadows so you can negotiate with them instead of accidentally killing them outright. You do eventually find a workaround through the Tower Confidant, but that doesn't come until September at the earliest, about halfway through the game.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Unquestionably the most violent game in the series. Coincidentally or not, the primary color motif is a vivid blood red.
    • Joker is beaten by police at the beginning of the story and spends the rest of the interrogation sequences with numerous bruises, including his wrists being rubbed raw from handcuffs.
    • Characters bleed from their faces when summoning Personas, showcased at its best during their first awakening. Special mention goes to the horrific flood of red that erupts from Joker's face when first calling Arsène, and Yusuke, who grips the floor so hard his fingers bleed.
    • While censored via silhouette, the All-Out Attacks are brutal, concluding with the victim erupting into a shower of blood.
    • The Cognitive Joker is killed via gunshot to the head, causing blood to pour out of the wound before their head collapses with a sickening thud, spraying more blood.
    • In Royal, the cutscene depicting Kasumi's death has her laying on the ground with blood over the floor on a rainy road after she rescued Sumire from almost being run over by a car.
  • Body Horror:
    • Human-shaped Shadows bloodily erupt into demons when you start a battle with them. In a number of Palaces, human-shaped Shadows will also transform into Humanoid Abominations.
    • A person's first transformation into a Phantom Thief involves manifesting the mask they show to the world, and then ripping it off, taking all the attached skin with it.
  • Body Motifs: The Heart. For all intents and purposes, the Phantom Thieves and Mementos make Mind Control possible, but it is always referred to as "stealing hearts." As the heroes venture deeper into Mementos, its imagery steadily transitions from subway tunnels to pulsating blood vessels. Finally, the True Final Boss is the Holy Grail, symbolized in playing cards as a Heart, as pointed out by Kawakami.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • In New Game+, you can optionally fight Caroline and Justine, who serve as the toughest boss fight in the game. Royal adds Lavenza as an even tougher challenge.
    • If you stay still for a few minutes on a floor in Mementos, you can fight the Reaper, an insanely powerful Shadow meant for end game parties.
    • In Royal, collecting all of Jose's stamps unlocks a boss fight against him.
  • Book-Ends:
    • "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There" plays at both the intro and post-credits sequences of Persona 5.
      • Likewise in Royal, "Colors Flying High" plays at both the intro and post-credits sequences.
    • Early on in the game, Sojiro drives the main character home from meeting with the school, complaining about having to be saddled with the burden of looking after him. Near the end of the game, Sojiro picks up the protagonist after his release from juvenile hall and goes home with him on friendlier terms. He even lampshades how this moment reminds him of the first time they met.
    • On both Joker's first few and last few days in town, the rumor dialogue that can be overheard consists of citizens expressing frustration, annoyance, and apathy towards the state of modern society.
    • The first and last bosses both have a chalice of sorts that is a part of how they regain health, and their connection between them and the people they hope to abuse as an energy source that needs to be severed in order to beat them. Kamoshida's is the cup based trophy he eats his female victims out of when using "Libido Boost", while Yaldabaoth's "Holy Grail" form is where he can get healed by the parts of humanity who want the "order" he'd give them by making them his slaves. This is fitting, as in Tarot, the Suit of Cups is not only based on the Holy Grail but over time it became the hearts suit of modern playing card decks; on top of both cups acting as a "heart," you need to take from them in the fight to finish it, so the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts" begin and end doing just that on more than just one level. While the final boss of Royal doesn't use a Chalice to heal himself, much like Kamoshida or the Holy Grail, he does have another way to do it consistently unlike Kamoshida or the Grail.
    • A blue butterfly is seen near the beginning and ending of the Protagonist's journey.
    • The first and last major story targets have their names marked with a '?' at certain points. Specifically, Kamoshida's when you first meet his Shadow, the false Igor's after Lavenza has exposed him as such in Vanilla, and Maruki in Royal, whose involvement is veiled in mystery until Joker, Kasumi, and Akechi personally meet him.
    • The first and last targets in Vanilla are revealed when they threaten to execute Joker.
    • The first and last bosses in Royal are, or at least used to be, faculty of Shujin. Similarly, Joker is asked for a lift by the first and last bosses, though Joker only accepted the lift from Maruki.
    • The first calling card sent out by the Phantom Thieves causes a stir throughout the whole of Shujin Academy because Ryuji pasted several copies of it all over the school's bulletin boards just to make sure Kamoshida knew about it. The final calling card in Vanilla causes a stir throughout the whole of Japan because Futaba pasted it all over the country's airwaves just to make sure Shido knows they're coming for him and to tell him that his assassination attempt on Joker failed.
    • In Royal, the first and last Targets attempt suicide after they're defeated.
  • Boom, Headshot!: In the Bad Ending, Joker gets shot in the head. In the Good Ending, Joker shoots the false god behind this whole mess in the head.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Some of the bosses encountered will willingly waste turns reacting to stat buffs and debuffs. This means that having someone constantly ready to reapply buffs or vice versa may allow the player to bring on the damage with (near) impunity.
    • Life Stones restore 30% of the target's max HP, which means its healing strength will always be relevant regardless of level. If the player's been asking for items from Shadows on a regular basis, there's a good chance that they've got plenty of them in stock by the middle of the game, so Life Stones become great for topping off stray chunks of lost HP in between fights without expending SP.
    • An easy way to restore SP without leaving the Palace is to purchase an "SP Adhesive" accessory from Dr. Takemi. Then you just find a weak enemy and block every turn until you have all of your SP back. However this could take awhile.
    • The best way to get money is to find a boss that's not immune to the "Confusion" ailment, make a Persona with a high Luck stat, and spam the ability "Pulinpa". Every turn the enemy is confused they have a chance to drop money. You can do this to get to ‎¥9,999,999 but it will take a very long time. You'll also need Invigorate 3 or SP Adhesive 3 so you regenerate enough SP to keep spamming Pulinpa.
    • Mishima's Confidant abilities. Gaining bonus XP is not nearly as exciting a power as many of the other Confidant's bonuses, but once you max it out your backup characters will be earning just as much XP as the ones you're using in the party, and not needing to swap people out in order to prevent them from falling behind in levels is huge when it comes to customizing your playstyle.
    • Hifumi's Confidant abilities provide numerous minor but very helpful abilities for battle. These abilities include conveniences such as the ability to swap out party members mid-battle, being able to escape from ambushes (and later all battles) instantly, or earning more money from winning ambushes in your first turn.
    • By hunting down the rare Crystal Skull treasure demon in Mementos near the end of the game, the player can capture them and itemize them into an accessory. Said accessory's effects? Increased evasion against magic and +5 to all stats, not a game-changer but effectively makes whoever uses slightly better at everything they do.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Similar to Persona 3 in Tartarus, you can end up in a random encounter with the insanely powerful Reaper any time you sit around a floor in Mementos for more than 5 minutes.
    • In Royal, red Shadows are upgraded to this status, which your teammates will even warn you about in the field. Each palace has one, they pack significantly more health and higher stats than surrounding shadows (even those higher in level), and they refuse to be negotiated with unless their health is low. Special mention goes to the red shadows in Maruki's Palace, which burst out into Fafnir, an extremely powerful Shadow with very high stats, no weaknesses, repels physical and gun and extremely powerful attacks such as Gigantomachia or Atomic Flare. If you've been neglecting to improve your Technical damage ability by playing billiards, you're in trouble.
    • In Royal, there are also some Shadows in the new section of Mementos introduced in the third term that are stronger, max level versions of older enemies (like one group being a pair of Jack Bros), which also means that even at Lv 99, these Shadows will chase after you. These Shadows don't have the red aura like the red Shadows do, and you also can't negotiate with these Shadows whatsoever.
  • Bottomless Bladder: As in previous games, there are bathrooms in the game, but you never need to use them - in fact, there's even a toilet in Joker's cell in the Velvet Room, and he can sit on it, but it's used for pondering instead of its intended purpose...
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Averted in the original. All guns hold a finite amount of ammunition in their magazines, which in gameplay terms translates to the maximum amount of shots that can be fired by the wielder in a single turn, with reloads automatically happening when their turn comes up again. Each party member also carries a very limited amount of ammo on their person, no more than two to four mags' worth, and cannot be replenished during a Palace/Mementos run aside from using craft-able ammo boxes.
    • Played straight with the Bullet Hail confidant ability, which gives a chance to trigger a gun based All-Out-Attack at the beginning of battles. It doesn't consume your ammo pool and is limited only by time.
    • Played straight with any persona which wields a gun, who can shoot with impunity.
    • Played straight again in Royal, where ammunition is restored at the start of every encounter.
  • Bowdlerize:
    • Unlike previous Megami Tensei games, Yaksini no longer has any artwork depicting her as topless with a visible nipple, leaving only her Godiva Hair-censoring 3D model.
    • The icon for Almighty spells is changed for the Chinese and Korean versions of the game, due to resembling the original, controversial Rising Sun flag, into a spiral pattern.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • As per series tradition, the Omnipotent Orb, an accessory which blocks all damage other than almighty. However, you have to have already finished the story once and won the toughest fight in the game against Bonus Boss Justine and Caroline to even get it.
    • Also as per series tradition, the protagonist's ultimate Persona, Satanael, can actually be fused - if you've reached New Game+ and can manage a Level 95 fusion. If you're at that point, most of the game's difficulty is already moot unless you're fighting the aforementioned Bonus Boss, which it ironically seems tailor-made for. Think of it as fusing Orpheus Telos to fight Elizabeth with.
    • The Eternal Lockpick is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a lockpick that won't break after use. By the time you can craft it however, it's trivially easy to have at least a dozen spare lockpicks on hand. Making one isn't really necessary beyond getting the trophy for crafting all infiltration tools. This is alleviated in Royal, as once you make it, it carries over to a New Game+. However, Royal also lets Joker buy a book and a tool set that both give massive boosts to the number of infiltration tools he can make at once, so this still isn't a huge asset.
    • Valentine's Day Chocolate restores all SP to 1 ally, but to get it you have to defeat the Final Boss. Even on New Game+ there's never a real reason to use it, considering you most likely have better management of your time or SP restoring equipment from the last playthrough to use. At best, these items then are really only useful as a means to track the romantic relationships you've taken over the course of repeated playthroughs until you have one chocolate from every possible option, provided you didn't use them.
    • The Business Card, given to you by Sae, should you talk to her during the epilogue is this, given that the Confidant is mandatory and it provides no bonuses whatsoever on NG+ unlike all other Confidant items of its kind. Since the player is near-guaranteed to get it at the end of the game and it carries over to NG+, it at least can be used to mark how many playthroughs of the game the player has gone through.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: The philosophy behind the Phantom Thieves' actions is that if a person is corrupt enough to be making the world around them significantly worse, then rewriting their morals through the "stealing" of their Hearts and forcing them to see their deeds the way other see them is a justified action.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Atlus published an ad in an actual Japanese newspaper, appearing as a Cut-and-Paste Note, that proclaimed "The Phantom" (Joker) would appear at the February 2015 event that revealed new Persona 5 footage. Sure enough, he ended up appearing as his Calling Card announced, "shot out" the lights, and proceeded to reveal the very first gameplay trailer for Persona 5.
  • Break Up Demand: While helping out Chihaya, the protagonist meets a man who's being pressured to break off his engagement to the woman he loves because his boss wants him to marry the boss's daughter. It's not clear whether an actual ultimatum was issued, but it's clear that his career is in danger if he marries the woman he loves although Joker inspires him to follow his heart anyway.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • The game's paid DLC include accessories that boost your EXP or cash after battles, and overpowered Personas with end game stats and elemental protections that you can summon once for free, even in the very first dungeon. Royal makes this DLC available for free, but adds more paid DLC with more overpowered Personas.
    • This is done in-universe in Royal with Kaneshiro's Palace. There's a few golden doors that Kaneshiro makes his men pay to open if they want to pass through, with the Phantom Thieves noting what a Bad Boss this makes him. You can also have Joker play twenty thousand yen to open each of these doors to skip an enemy gauntlet if you want to.
    • Also in universe, once you unlock the Affinity Reading from the fortune teller you can simply pay her 5000 yen to boost your affinity with a confidant so that your next interaction with them will rank up their confidant rating instead of spending time hanging out with them.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Madarame's Palace, once the group reaches the Treasure spot, Ryuji thinks the treasure is a self-portrait of Madarame. Later, when the group takes the treasure outside the palace, they find it really is a self-portrait, except it's not the treasure, because Madarame switched it with the real treasure.
    • Morgana has the ability to shapeshift himself into a black Citroën H Van for the Phantom Thieves to travel around in the Metaverse. Come the Good Ending when the Protagonist meets the other Phantom Thieves as he's about to leave Tokyo, not only have they somehow managed to find a Citroën H Van for them to use to drive Joker back to his hometown, Morgana is the one who ended up fixing the van when it broke down. Morgana lampshades the situation.
      Morgana: (while holding a sparkplug on his mouth, a wrench on his right hand, and a screwdriver wrapped on his tail) Why the heck am I in charge of the car again?
    • One that is completely optional. Talking to Ryuji about the library early in the game has him angry that the student council doesn't allow manga in the library. In Futaba's confidant with Makoto, the latter says the library now has manga thanks to some vocal students.
    • Ryuji complains about Morgana's inability to transform into a helicopter in Kaneshiro's Palace. Near the end of Royal, Morgana manages to transform into one to have the team escape Maruki's Palace.
  • Broken Aesop: Discussed.
    • Right up to the end, Persona 5's message is quite clear, though it's not a happy message: "Everyday society largely doesn't give a flying curlywhirly about injustice; they keep their heads down, even if the world is falling apart around them because they don't want to make life harder for themselves. Consequently, they allow corrupt people get away with anything. Kids can't trust adults, especially the ones they depend on; self-centered adults are just trying to exploit them or worse." The Phantom Thieves all experience something like this themselves to various degrees, and even note how people don't really seem to care about the good they're doing. In reality, what happens in this case is actually all the societies corruption are deliberately rigged, set up and dismantled by the machinations of a false god to justify his absolute despotic rule over humanity. One of the Bad Endings takes this message to the logical conclusion, with the protagonist letting his misanthropy and dissatisfaction with society get the better of him and thus he discards all of his comrades, gets his lot in with Yaldabaoth so that he can rule as a despot through the fear of forced heart-changing.
    • In order to get the Good Ending, you have to break this rapidly-decaying Aesop and pull a Decon-Recon Switch. If this option is taken, the message changes to "You have to stand up to corrupt people in power, because everyday society has become apathetic, but since they're overall good people, they can be inspired to do the right thing if given the proper nudge. You can't just give up on the world and do whatever you please without regard for others, because then you're no better than the corrupt people you claim to be above. While many adults are corrupt, there are genuinely good ones, so don't write them off at large."
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The fourth Palace has the Phantom Thieves trying to infiltrate a pyramid in the middle of a desert. The ruler of the Palace is also dressed like an ancient Egyptian ruler.
  • The Bus Came Back: Makoto Yuki and Yu Narukami reappear in Royal as DLC bosses. Especially surprising for the former, as he's now dead due to being The Great Seal in order to prevent The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Busman's Holiday: While the Phantom Thieves don't go after any targets in Hawaii, their school trip there is pretty much a carbon copy of an average day in Japan except there's a beach. Poor planning meant there were no activities available for the students who can't even plan them for themselves due to lack of funding and there's even a Big Bang Burger. The group is also mostly together, as Yusuke ends up in Hawaii after a storm stopped his plane from landing in Los Angeles, while Futaba and Morgana are still in Japan, but take the form of spyware planted on Joker's phone.
    Makoto: ...Hey, we're on our phones and chatting. This is no different from when we're in Japan.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of the game, the protagonist completes his year-long probation, and leaves Tokyo to return to his hometown.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: A glowing blue butterfly appears each time the protagonist is about to die in the story, urging him to overcome his impending doom. This includes when he's about to be executed in Kamoshida's Palace and when he's brought into the interrogation room where the conspiracy intends to assassinate him. Similarly, glowing butterflies surround a fallen character when you use revive items or magic on them.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • If you refuse to accept the opening This Is a Work of Fiction disclaimer, Igor proceeds to say "Well, then you can't play this game" and returns you to the Start Screen.
    • Quite a few dialogue options, particularly to IM conversations, have two or three responses that are essentially the same thing. Also, even if Joker says things that seem counter-intuitive, like arguing against taking down a target, either he'll be countermanded by the other party members, or later plot revelations will establish the target as clearly and unambiguously evil and force the party to act against them anyway.
    • This actually becomes a plot point during the Casino palace. When Goro suggests that the party steal her heart on a specific date, you can't go against him, as the other party members will shout you down if you try. Of course, since the party knows that Goro plans to betray them on that date, they can't have you messing things up by taking care of business prematurely.
    • Before The Reveal, Sae asks if Goro Akechi is one of the Phantom Thieves, and your options are "No", "Not Akechi", and "That's impossible". Guess who The Mole turns out to be?
    • In Royal, on Oct 3rd, the entire day is taken up by the mandatory awakening of Yoshizawa's Persona, and the brief trip to the laboratory palace. However, this is during the period where Okumura's Palace is available, so if you end up sending the calling card on Oct 2nd and clear the palace on the 3rd, this event will take place on the 4th instead.
  • Bystander Syndrome: A major theme of the game is examining this trope. The people of Tokyo would rather let horrible people get away with doing horrible things than stopping them because that's easier than being good. Not to mention, the idea of "It Can't Be Helped" is a huge cornerstone of Japanese society, and as such, the only way for the Phantom Thieves to gain any ground is to break the law and take matters into their own hands. That notwithstanding, however, the game also says that people as a whole are basically good, and that they can be inspired to stand up and act if given the chance.

    C 
  • Call-and-Response Song: Yaldabaoth's boss theme is an instrumental variation - the song begins with a wicked, frantic, industrial rock section that leads into an equally-frantic guitar solo, representing the boss, before seguing into a smoother, more heroic guitar solo, representing the Phantom Thieves. The heroic solo is given a Triumphant Reprise as the background music when Satanael performs his finisher on Yaldabaoth.
  • Call-Back:
    • When the Shadow Self of an individual is killed, black fluid oozes from their mouth similar to victims of Shadow attacks in Persona 3.
    • Just like the previous game the first dungeon is a castle.
    • After being thrown in Kamoshida's Palace dungeon with Joker, Ryuji wonders if they're on a TV set, hearkening back to the Midnight Channel dungeons, which were technically TV sets.
    • Similarly, this is not the first time we see the effect of an individual if their Shadow Selves are killed instead of being accepted or rejected. In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, after her Shadow Self committs suicide, Yukino becomes an Empty Shell similar to Akechi's victims.
    • The Pyramid, Futaba's Palace, is a massive one and subversion to Persona 4 as well as to Persona 3 FES. Unlike the other Palaces up to that point, the Phantom Thieves are seeking to help someone by healing their mind using the Palaces, just like the characters in 4. At the end, Futaba accepts her Shadow which becomes her Persona. However, the fact that Futaba's Shadow is her repressed positive feelings is a Call-Back to The Answer scenario in 3's Updated Re-release where Metis, Aigis' repressed humanity, is undoubtedly a positive influence on her. It also works a a call back to the Shadow Rise and Shadow Teddie fights in 4. Just like in that game, you unlock a new navigator through a Bait-and-Switch Boss.
    • In the same vein, Mementos seems to hearken back to Tatarus, being one giant dungeon that you explore over the course of the entire game.
    • Ryuji is a track team member who suffered a crippling leg injury, just like Kazushi. For bonus points, they both represent the Chariot arcana. He also has a distinct penchant for meat, which means he'd probably get along well with his immediate predecessor, Chie (or fight with her over the last bit of steak). Another old character he has even greater similarities with is Anna Yoshizaka; not only are they both ex-athletes with career ending injuries, they are both seen as delinquents, are powerful Persona users and work for a semi-legal secret group led by someone called "Joker". Bonus points for Ryuji's Ultimate Persona, which originally belonged in the Tower Arcana, same as Anna's.
    • Two of the paintings in Madarame's Palace bear more than a passing resemblance to the protagonists of the third and fourth Persona games.
    • A lot of the endgame is reminiscent of Persona 2 Eternal Punishment. Shido and Goro are basically what would happen if the Sudous were working together and Tatsuya Sudou survived longer. The Conspiracy is extremely similar to the New World Order, with both extending far in places of power. Both Tatsuzou and Shido are confronted on a cruise ship, and shortly after they are defeated, a supernatural villain playing a game with the Big Good after having weakened him is revealed.
    • When using any of the DLC legacy Personas, Joker's call-outs are references to their canonical users. For example, he has an education-related line when using Ariadne, adopts a more cruel tone with Magatsu Izanagi and Asterius, and makes a "Sho"-themed pun with Tsukiyomi.
    • Towards the end of the game the real world begins to merge with the Metaverse (specifically Yaldabaoth's palace) much like it did with the Midnight Channel/fog in Persona 4
    • Though they were introduced in this game, the concepts of Palace and Cognitive Existence are hinted in the previous games:
      • Persona: The alternate Mikage-cho was actually a reflection of Maki's ideal world created when she was plugged into a machine known as the DEVA System, which makes the city Maki's Palace. The residents of the alternate world differed than that of the original in order to satisfy Maki (such as the cruel vice-principal becoming a nice man), which resembles a Cognition.
      • Persona 2: Beings born from rumors coming true such as the Last Battalion, the party's Shadow Selves, and the ghost of the still alive Maya. In fact, the way rumor functions in that game makes it a precursor of Cognition.
      • Persona 3: In The Answer, a being known as ??? who resembled the late Protagonist is encountered by S.E.E.S. One character later explained that it was created when S.E.E.S. unconsciously wished to see the Protagonist again.
      • Persona 4: Before being thrown into the TV World, a blurry image of the victims can be seen on the Midnight Channel which eventually spawned into a Shadow Self after the victims were thrown into the TV. These Shadow Selves had the exaggerated appearance and personality of the original, which is how people watching the TV interpret them. Notably, the Shadow Self of the second suspect that the Investigation Team sees on the TV was how the Team interpreted him regarding his actions and their hatred for him. The dungeons of the games are formed from the kidnapped victims' subconscious which function similarly to a Palace.
      • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth: Similar to the first game, the entire alternate Yasogami High and the Labyrinths are formed by Chronos using Rei's memories. The students in the school and most of the Tokyo people are seemingly phantoms that perform the same action over and over again, this time representing the faceless masses instead of actual phantoms.
    • Curiously, the protagonist shares the codename Joker with not one, but two of Nyarlathotep's significant minions in the Persona 2 duology. Like the two of them, he provides a certain service to society that is fueled by rumor.
    • Lavernza's final gift to you the player is the Velvet Key, an item that was needed by the protagonists of Personas 3 and 4 to even enter the Velvet Room. She even says that it was supposed to be given to you at the start, but now it's yours as a keepsake.
    • Much like the Final Boss of Persona 4, you fight them in a High-Altitude Battle with takes place in the clouds above the game's main location. Ameno-Sagiri is fought above Inaba which is visible below through the clouds, while Yaldabaoth is fought high above Tokyo, which becomes visible after Joker has Satanael blow a hole in his head.
  • Call-Forward:
    • During one of the mental health check questions in Maruki's Palace, the last question is: "You've gained power to steal people's hearts! Thoughts, emotions, information...you can steal all of it from anyone in the world! Not only that, you can use this power without fear of getting caught! In this scenario, which sounds closest to what you would do?" The answers are: "A: Steal something valuable B. Never steal anything C. Steal my own heart to heal. D. Steal evil hearts to fix society and E. Steal the one I love's heart". The correct answer is "D. Steal evil hearts to fix society" because this is Maruki's view of happiness. In Persona 5 Scramble, the sequel of this game, this is how Konoe, Ichinose or the EMMA application itself views as the ultimate happiness of humanity: changing the hearts of the public by removing their desires so they can no longer suffer from the actions of themselves and others. As for the other options: option A is for Natsume who stole his publisher's hearts with EMMA so he can make money for his plagiarized novel, B is for Hyodo who was a noble politican that let herself taken advantage by a corrupt legislator for a political scandal that she can't be taken full blame off to force her step down that forced her to steal the hearts of all corrupt politicans with EMMA, and E is for Alice who deliberately breaks down marriages by stealing hearts so men go after her instead. Needless to say, those three end up badly in the hands of the Phantom Thieves.
    • In the Royal version, you can take Caroline and Justine to the movie theaters, where they remark that humans must immerse themselves in movies as a form of escapism. This a major plot point in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth where Nagi/Enlil deduces that humans desire escapism from the pains of reality through movies, and trapped the suicidal Hikari in a nightmarish theater broadcasting pure negativity. In the Persona 5 timeline, Q2 takes place during the Casino heist in November.
    • During the events of Scramble, the Police is still finding an oppurtunity to capture the Phantom Thieves to save their public image, even if Shido and his conspiracy are removed and its remnants rendered incompetent. This is what The Men in Black during the credits of the game are actually foreshadowing.
    • At the beginning of the new Third Term Events in Royal, Makoto makes a comment about how Ryuji will need to keep up with his summer homework when she's not there. In Persona 5 Scramble, Makoto lectures Ryuji about the assignments he's put off, while he tries to forget about over the road trip.
    • In Royal, there's a Mementos Target called Anji Fuwa whose family conditions are so bad that he escaped into the Idol world and got obsessed with an Idol called Lily-Nyan, to the point that he's buying merchandise until he's close to bankrupt and even Lily Nyan herself was actually worried about his well-being. In Scramble, the Starter Villain Alice Hiiragi happens to be an idol and a fashion designer who uses EMMA to mesmerize the public so they buy her merchandise until they actually go bankrupt.
    • Another Mementos target in Royal manipulates women into fighting for him, even going as far as bullying a few out from their schools. The aforementioned Alice Hiiragi also mesmerizes men in Shibuya to fight over her like this target, but for a more sympathizable reason other than to feed on their suffering.
    • One of the targets in Royal, Ryoko Aino, is the first unique target that doesn’t need to be defeated in a fight to finish the job. In a hold-up the Phantom Thieves learn that her actions of stealing cats in Yongen isn't from malicious intent, but she is hurting in her grief of tragically losing her own cat, Snowball, and was warped by her desire to save all of them from being killed, even though she knows it's making the cats miserable. The Phantom Thieves talk her down to make her realize her misguided intentions and genuinely make amends without forcefully changing her heart. In Scramble this is how the Phantom Thieves defeat the Jail Kings. The King's of the Jails know what they are doing isn't right, but feel so lost from being humiliated and used that they believe revenge is the only way to validate themselves. While the Thieves still have to fight them as bosses, they get the Kings to peacefully surrender once they're defeated by empathizing and convincing them that their actions are wrong, and the Jail Kings willingly surrender the desires they stole and to make amends in real world without turning into weeping husks in the Metaverse.
    • During a lesson by Mr. Ushimaru (who has been affected by Maruki's ideal reality) on January 21, he starts a lecture about Justice using Featherman as an example and concludes it telling the class that everyone has their own sense of Justice. In Scramble, Akira Konoe, the final Jail King is an avid fan of Zephyrman, a Captain Ersatz version of Featherman and he's an avid follower of his own version of Justice, which is to brainwash everyone in Japan with Jail Kings.
    • The mechanics of Maruki's "Happy reality" at the third term scenario are functionally similar to those of the Jails from Persona 5 Scramble, namely granting happiness to people by trapping them in an illusionary overlay where they are famous and everyone worshipped them because they took their desires. The instigator of this jarring event also shares the same altruistic motive as Maruki, and is also a Psientific Researcher just like him, albeit her true personality is a lot more radical.
  • Calling Card: Played with. You send out a calling card to the target, but it's required in order to materialize the palace's treasurenote , and unlike most instances of the trope you only send it out after you've already made your way through the palace to find where the treasure is.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • Characters shout "Persona!" or the actual name of their Guardian Entity when summoning them, and sometimes the party Combination Attack.
    • Asmodeus will tell you he's about to use his "Super Death Spike" exploding volleyball attack the turn before he actually hits you with it.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: The Metaverse Navigation app keeps reappearing on the Protagonist's phone no matter how many times he deletes it, and forcibly sends him to the Metaverse twice.note 
  • The Cameo:
    • Rise and Kanami appear in individual advertisements at subway stations. Ann even gives you the poster of Rise if you hang out with her at Harajuku, which can be put up as decoration in your room.
    • Haru gives you a kumade of Teddie if you hang out with her at Asakusa.
    • You're able to buy goods from Tanaka if you buy a busted laptop from the second-hand goods shop and fix it up.
    • You can catch a glimpse of a Catherine figure in Futaba's bedroom, which she purchased when she went shopping all by herself as the final part of her Social Link.
    • Akechi gets compared to Naoto in one television program.
  • Camera Abuse:
    • The screen will momentarily "crack" whenever you perform an All-Out Attack.
    • One of Morgana's victory animations has him bump into the screen.
  • 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). In Royal's DLC challenge battles, the P3 and P4 protagonists are identifed only as "S.E.E.S. Boy" and "Investigation Team Boy", respectively.
  • Canon Immigrant: Each party member's bedroom, where they obtain their third-tier Persona in Royal, first appeared in the Dancing in Starlight spinoff game.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: The protagonist/Joker always has to be in your active party. While every other party member is required to be in at least one battle (where their Persona awakens), they can otherwise be removed at any time. It's possible to go into battle with just Joker, but he can never be removed.
  • Caper Rationalization: The Phantom Thieves conduct heists in order to literally steal pieces of people's psyche and induce a Heel–Face Brainwashing. The people who are targeted are also very corrupt and largely unsympathetic, to the point that their abuse of power ends up ruining the lives of the main cast unless they are dealt with.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • As part of his interrogation, the Protagonist tells Sae all about the Metaverse and working with a talking cat right from the start, while leaving out details that would incriminate his allies. She has a hard time believing him at first, but is willing to hear him out.
    • Joker can be upfront about the Velvet Room to his fellow Phantom Thieves from the start, but they don't believe his stories about a long-nosed man in a secret room. Dancing In Starlight later makes it clear that they eventually come to believe him, as they are not surprised by the appearance of Caroline and Justine, and indeed the Velvet Room itself.
  • Cast From Hit Points: Physical and Gun skills require a percentage of the caster's HP to use. Stronger attacks require more HP.
  • Catching Some Z's: When people are shown sleeping, Zs come out from their head. This even includes in-battle targets.
  • Catchphrase: Used by the hacker organization Medjed. "We are Medjed. We are unseen. We will eliminate evil."
  • Celebrity Lie: One day on his way to school, the protagonist eavesdrops on two girls talking about a guy who told one of them he was a Phantom Thief in order to impress her. The lie may have backfired badly on the guy, as the girl is considering sending his picture to the cops when the real Phantom Thieves get framed for murder.
  • Central Theme: Thieves, Rebellion and Justice.
    • Each protagonists' starting persona is inspired by a historical or literary thief, and the party themselves become thieves to reform corrupt or broken members of society.
    • The party's ultimate Personas are based on mythological figures that rebelled against their respective gods and were cast out of the heavens for it.
    • A person's reputation might not reflect their true character and you should make an effort to get to know people, rather than judging them based on rumours.
    • Being wronged yourself doesn't excuse wronging others.
    • Just because someone lets you get away with something doesn't make it okay to do it - taking advantage of someone's kindness, passive nature or inability to confront you without consequences is deplorable.
    • The times when it is a relative or family member show that it can be much harder to stand up against someone you care about or to accept that you feel angry at them. Yusuke in his confidant still felt some affection for his mentor and initially completely refused help from the Phantom Thieves due to denial caused by this affection and Haru still clearly loved her father later in the storyline.
    • Every individual is worth helping - taking down the main bad guys helps a lot of innocent people, but mostly as the player you are invested in your party members and helping them first and foremost.
    • In Royal, unattainable dreams and the merits of moving forward with experiences and choices that have left lasting emotional pain. Is it better to live with that pain or to forget it?
  • Character Customization: You get to pick the protagonist's name and personality through Dialogue Trees. Further, the skill card and expanded fusion systems let you customize the skills and stats of his Personas.
  • Chekhov's Classroom:
    • Class lectures cover topics like the Cognitive Representation concept that serves as the basis for the cognitive projections you encounter throughout the Palaces, Plato's tripartite theory of soul that explains how you're able to heel-face brainwash the villains, and so on. They are also very conveniently timed. For example, a few days after you recruit Makoto, you'll get a question in class about Pope Joan, her Persona and the figure thought to be depicted on the La Papesse tarot card, her Arcana. Morgana takes notice of this.
      Morgana: Subconscious personalities... It's a fascinating topic, and it has a lot to do with us. That teacher's surprisingly smart, huh?
    • In a rather realistic and justified example, any random question you hear in class may be asked on the next exam, so pay attention. And just because you were asked a question doesn't mean that that's the question that will be on the exam. Did the teacher follow up with an additional comment after your answer? THAT could be the question!
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • As early as the first dungeon, it's explained that the people in control can create "cognitive existences" of other people: they are basically copies of a person that's shown as the master of the palace sees them (such as the scantily clad copy of Ann that Kamoshida makes), or wants them to be, and this comes up from time to time. This is later used to save the Protagonist from Akechi, because the police station is part of the landscape surrounding Sae's Palace, and she is the master of the latter, so the team relies on her having a cognitive copy of the protagonist in that room, so that Akechi "kills" him, then thinks he's dead. After that, in Shido's Palace, a cognitive version of Akechi as Shido sees him (an expendable, bloodthirsty, and completely obedient underling) appears, and because Shido was planning to kill him in the end, he ends up killing the real one.
    • During the field trip to the TV studio Akechi overhears the gang's conversation about pancakes. This is what tips Joker and Morgana off that there was more to him than it seemed, since he understood Morgana it meant he must have been to the Metaverse before and was in close proximity to them to be able to hear Morgana.
    • During the second Palace's arc, Morgana mentions that it's possible to slip into the Metaverse without realizing it if it's an area with minimal cognitive distortion (i.e. looks like reality). Tricking Akechi into doing this later forms a key part of the Thieves' plan to fake the protagonist's death.
    • When Joker takes a group selfie before boarding the plane to Hawaii, Futaba messages them to tell them that Ryuji still has rheum in his eyes. Just as they're wondering how she knew that, Futaba explains that she sneaked an app on the protagonist's phone that lets her access the camera remotely. This is the same trick that the Phantom Thieves will use to monitor Akechi's phone calls later on.
    • In the Casino, Futaba makes two identification cards. The alias for the first, "Taro Tanaka," is considered too generic to use (since it's more or less equivalent to "John Doe"), so she gives it to Akechi for him to throw out. Akechi secretly keeps the card, and uses it to win 900,000 coins on his own thanks to perusing the games rigged by Futaba and generous usage of Loophole Abuse concerning the coin-borrowing service, enabling the group to meet even the revised total of 1 million needed for the final passage.
    • Conveniently, the MetaNav has a bookmark tab in case you have to leave a Palace early so you can easily come back to it later without having to recite the keywords. Futaba exploits this by hacking Joker's phone to pretend that he's tapping on the bookmark for Sae's Palace in order to trick Akechi.
    • In Royal, pay attention to the train cabinet where you first meet Kasumi. There's a blue poster of what appears to be a black silhouette of Okumura alongside the words "Live like an elite," presumably being a poster of his book "The Okumura Way."
    • In Royal, as soon as the traffic jam based on the mental shutdown-related train crash happened in the first few days of the game, Sojiro will talk about a 15-year old girl who died of a car crash a month ago before you arrived to Leblanc. It turns out that the victim is Kasumi Yoshizawa, who died trying to save her sister Sumire from being run over by a car, and the "Kasumi" you meet is actually a product of cognitive manipulation overwriting onto Sumire.
    • Related to the point above nearly every hangout with Kasumi displays oddities or inconsistencies about her. And it's for a good reason, as you find out when she reveals that she's actually Sumire.
    • In Royal, early in the game, the Phantom Thieves meet José, a mysterious boy who's studying humans while he's in Mementos. He gives the team a star, which the Thieves try to wish upon at first, but to seemingly no avail. Later in the game, the star does react to and grant wishes that allow for the flashy Showtime attacks between certain pairs in the group.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • You can find Makoto hanging around the library at school and studying long before she has any involvement in the plot.
    • You can find some of Junya Kaneshiro's henchmen in Shibuya, asking if you're interested in one of the "part-time jobs" that it later turns out they're using to Blackmail students, months before it actually becomes a plot point.
    • TV shows will mention Hifumi Togo, one of your later confidants, as early as June.
    • Throughout most of the game you can find a "Showbiz Manager" in Shinjuku trying to recruit a young teenage girl. His jobs for her get increasingly uncomfortable as the game goes on. It's all but stated that he's the final Mementos target, a manager who molests young idols.
    • Similarly to the Showbiz Manager, there's a homeless man in the Underground Walkway in Shibuya that you can talk to throughout the game and seems to know more than he lets on. As it happens, he's a target in Mementos as well, being an ex-mercenary that's now a hitman.
    • You first see Haru very briefly during the fireworks festival cutscene, and you meet her again during the Class Trip to Hawaii. While you can speak to her, she isn't named by the narrative until later.
    • The head of The Conspiracy is Masayoshi Shido, who turns out to be the guy responsible for the Protagonist's probation. Justified by the fact that Shido was inadvertently getting in the Big Bad's way, and thus they gave the person Shido had most recently wronged the power to eliminate him.
    • The woman that was molested at the beginning of the game is brought up again near the end of the game, where she testifies against Shido to ensure his imprisonment.
    • Akechi is mentioned on television as early as April and will be seen in an animated cutscene within the first three days of the game.
    • And that Igor that you see during the end of the first day in-game? He's actually Yaldabaoth, the Greater-Scope Villain.
    • In Royal, during the new Palace glimpse event in October 3rd, you will see Kasumi encountering a cognitive copy of her sister in a violet-blue leotard outfit before it gets crushed by a Shadow, and the sister has her hair down and wears a pair of glasses. That's actually the "Kasumi" you are hanging with all along, a.k.a. Sumire.
    • After escaping Kamoshida's Palace with Ann awakened, if you pay attention, you will see a man in a brown coat coming out from the school briefly. That is actually Takuto Maruki on his way home after enrolling to Shujin to become counselor for the sake of completing a cognitive psience essay. Just in time to see Ryuji, Ann and Joker materialising out of nowhere in the alleyway and learning that they were Phantom Thieves before they'd even given themselves the moniker.
  • Chest Burster: Shadows in dungeons change from human forms to demonic ones by having their demonic selves burst from the chests or out the backs of their human bodies, reducing it to a puddle of back and red.
  • Chucking Chalk: One of the protagonist's teachers hits him in the head with a piece of chalk from straight across the room in one scene. It's possible to get a stat gain to Charm by dodging it, if you have enough Proficiency.
  • City of Adventure: Unlike the fictional settings of previous installments, P5 takes place in the very real city of Tokyo, though the real district of Sangen-jaya, home to the cafe where the protagonist lives, is replaced with a fictionalized version named Yongen-jaya.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The guiding principle of the Metaverse: if the thought-based residents of the Palaces believe something to be real, then it's real. For example, the Phantom Thieves' guns are at best airsoft replicas that still pack the punch of real firearms because the Shadows can't tell the difference. This also causes a big problem when Yaldabaoth overlays Mementos onto the real world at a time when no one believes the Phantom Thieves are real... causing them to fade from existence. (Thankfully, they end up in the Velvet Room instead of disappearing completely).
  • Class Trip: Partway through the year, the party members who go to Shujin High School get to go on a trip to Hawaii. Futaba and Morgana stay at home. Yusuke, who goes to a different school, ends up joining them in Hawaii due to plane issues on his school's trip. While the third-years aren't supposed to attend (due to exams), Makoto and Haru end up coming to serve as chaperones, since the senior faculty are tied up with the Phantom Thieves investigation.
  • Cloudcuckooland: A downplayed example. The few mentions that Yusuke makes of Kosei Public High School (the school he and Star Confidant Hifumi Togo attend; you never see it or visit it in-game) implies that it's at least a bit more...colorful compared to the average school, especially the very utilitarian Shujin Academy. For one thing, their school pet is a peacock (Shujin's is a more mundane turtle), a regular item for sale at their school store is a book of eccentric poetry by their principal, and Yusuke receives a gold star for drawing a picture on the back of a test.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • In series tradition, regular, "heroic" Personas have a blue sheen with white highlights, and they are summoned in bright blue flames, while the aura of Shadows and evil Personas is Red and Black and Evil All Over.
    • If you use Third Eye while walking around in the real world, confidants will turn blue with their card/arcana hovering over their head.
    • Using Third Eye in the Metaverse will cause Shadows to glow with different colors. Blue Shadows are at a lower level than Joker, yellow Shadows are at the same level, and red Shadows are at a higher level. Also, treasure you can take turns gold.
  • Color Motifs: Red, in opposition to the somber Persona 3's blue and the upbeat Persona 4's yellow, to underscore P5's themes of danger and rebellion. It also heavily uses black and white for a pizazz-filled "black with white highlights" look.
    • In Royal, when Joker is inhabiting Maruki's alternate reality, the normally white-on-black date display in the upper left of the screen is inverted - black numbers, white background - just to further hammer home that, as happy as people are, the world Joker's in is wrong.
  • Combination Attack:
    • The "All-Out Attack", where all standing party members attack every downed enemy.
    • "Bullet Hail", where the entire party showers random enemies in bullets.
    • "Baton Pass", where one character gives their turn to another to gain bonuses like enhanced stats.
    • Royal introduces "Show Time" which are more cinematic versions of the combination attacks introduced in Persona 4 Golden, as well as more versatile as they are more combinations than the latter as well as party members joining up in multiple attacks rather than having a set pair.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The Protagonist defeats the Big Bad by combining the seven deadly sins into a bullet, which the ultimate Persona, Satanael, then shoots through its head.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Shadows fought as normal enemies usually have the same elemental weaknesses/resistances as their Persona counterparts, but not always. For example, Mara as a Persona is weak to Ice, but the Maras that appear as enemies late into the Mementos Depths are not, and in fact have no weaknesses entirely.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror:
    • The Shujin High School boys' volleyball team (and honestly, the entire school) is so used to Kamoshida owning the place that they're in complete denial about his physical abuse of the students. They call it "training".
    • On a slightly more amusing note, if you take your time completing Kaneshiro's Palace and draw close to the deadline, Makoto will remind you to get it done ASAP, because she has been getting her own friendly "reminders" daily via text. When asked if she's okay, she will reply that she's gotten used to it.
    • Discussed during Okumura's palace, when the group wonders why the robots that serve as the cognitive versions of his employees don't try to resist. Yusuke says that the more present oppression is, the harder it is to live without it, and he learned that while living with Madarame- even after Madarame's exposure and fall from grace, Yusuke can't help but sometimes remember his teacher fondly.
    • This is the problem driving the final dungeon, the Prison of Regression in Mementos Depths. It houses the Shadows of all the masses in society who recognize the corruption and injustice in their society but are too afraid to do something about it, and thus perversely long for the status quo to remain.
  • Console Cameo: When Joker rides on the subway, another passenger plays a Play Station Vita.
  • The Conspiracy: The Phantom Thieves' activities eventually attract the attention of a secret, wealthy organization that seeks to eliminate them for their knowledge of the world inside the collective unconscious.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Once you get free rein over what to do after a Palace becomes available, you'll periodically receive reminders from the rest of your party to work on the Palace. Even if you drop by to advance their Confidants, they initially anticipate that you've approached them to start a meeting. However, if you're within 7 days or less from a deadline without the Palace completed, your entire party will stop being available to hang out in order to pressure the player to advance the plot.
  • Continuity Lockout:
    • While the game is mostly standalone with a few nods to previous games in the series, one plot point, the resolution of Futaba's Palace by accepting her Shadow, might fly over the heads of people who haven't played Persona 4, in which a major theme is that a person gains a Persona by meeting and accepting their Shadow.
    • The reveal that Igor is the Greater-Scope Villain in disguise, as well as much of the Foreshadowing leading up to it, loses a lot of its impact if you haven't played any other Persona games beforehand.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Goro Akechi is known as "the second advent of Detective Prince". The original Detective Prince was Naoto.
    • Posters of Rise Kujikawa and Kanami Mashita can be found in the Shibuya subway station. You can even get a Rise poster to decorate your room with.
    • Black Mask's outfit is a corrupted version of the costumes from Phoenix Ranger Featherman R, the Persona series's Super Sentai TV Show Within a Show that first appeared in Persona 2.
    • Futaba has a set of Phoenix Ranger Featherman R figures in her room.
    • Similar to Persona 3, you can occasionally catch shows on TV that are talking about or outright interviewing characters from previous games.
      • Persona 2: A detective who wears distinctive red glasses (Katsuya Suou).
      • Persona 3: A legendary gumshoe who claims to have punched a bear (Akihiko Sanada). Also, Yukari Takeba is still in college and still acting on the Ranger Featherman show.
      • Persona 4: A female police cadet who apparently can use kung-funote . A convicted killer who claims he did it just because "the world is a shitty place" (Tohru Adachi). The beautiful, young proprietress of the Amagi Inn (Yukiko Amagi). Rise Kujikawa still working as an idol at 20 years old, with a sultry and sexy persona nowadays. Taro Namatame has returned to politics.
    • You can get DLC packs that let you wear the uniforms of students from St. Hermelin, Seven Sisters, Gekkoukan, and Yasogami.
    • In Takemi's Confidant, she makes a phone call and speaks to someone she calls "Uehara-san." Considering that Takemi's calling a hospital, it's entirely likely that she's calling Sayoko Uehara, a nurse who is the Devil Social Link from the previous game.
    • One of the news bulletins on the train mentions an incident at Wild Duck Burger.
    • The theme park Destiny Land comes from Shin Megami Tensei I (and was also occasionally mentioned in other games).
    • The drugstore in Shibuya is Aohige Pharmacy, the same as the one in Paulownia Mall in Persona 3.
    • Similarly, the flower shop in the Underground Mall is Rafflesia, the same as the one in Port Island Station in Persona 3.
    • Several of the vending machine drinks from Persona 3 and 4 return.
    • Lavenza's All-Out Attack involves her splitting herself back into Caroline & Justine, an ability that was established in Persona 5: Dancing Star Night.
    • A sign with the logo of Chagall Cafe from both Persona 3 and 4 stands near Yusuke in the Underground Walkway.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • School lessons have a weird habit of relating to whatever's going on in the story, don't they?
    • The characters themselves note the astronomical odds of the fact that the man responsible for the false charge against Joker, The Man Behind the Man to Yusuke and Makoto's abusers, and the man who murdered Futaba's mother and Haru's father are all the same man - Masayoshi Shido.
    • The Metaverse app listening and reacting to Ryuji's sotto voce rant about Kamoshida; thus, Ryuji bears responsibility for entirely on accident taking them to Kamoshida's castle-palace the first time. Also, that Morgana (aka the being created by the real Igor that was supposed to help the Phantom Thieves along their journey) was right in that castle instead of some other palace.
    • Madarame just happens to have a door in his house that sticks out like a sore thumb against the décor inside. How else are the Phantom Thieves supposed to know where to look for evidence of his treachery?
  • Cool Car: If you didn't already think the Citroën H Van was cool then you certainly will by the end of this game. Makoto drives one at the end of the game to take Joker home and to replicate their Mementos adventures.
  • Cool Mask: All the characters' Persona turn into nifty thief masks when not in use.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: Most of the Mementos dungeon is a set of blocks of warped subway tunnels stuck together by random generation, much like the dungeons in previous Persona games. The rest of the game however, and the bottom of Mementos, is custom made.
  • Cosmetic Award: By taking certain confidants on a date to the right place, the player may receive a gift from the confidant. Some of these confidant/location combinations can be difficult to figure out, only occurring between certain confidant levels, on certain days of the week, or after the player has already taken that confidant on a certain nuber of dates before. However, these gifts can only be used to decorate Joker's room — there isn't even an acheivement associated with them. And to make it even worse, the shelf where most of the decorations are kept is on the wall to the camera's right in Joker's room, making them hard to see if you're not in the decorating menu.
  • The Cracker: Medjed, a global organization of "hacktivists" who claim to be just by targeting corrupt businesses by stealing and destroying data. The original Medjed, Futaba, was accurately this, but her "successors" are impostors using the name and reputation for personal gain; Futaba isn't thrilled about this, and it's one reason she opts to help the Phantom Thieves take them down.
  • Crack Is Cheaper: In-universe example. Okumura's Treasure turns out to be an old plastic model set of a flying saucer that was popular when he was young. When the Phantom Thieves look up its value in the present day, they get sticker shock.
  • Crapsaccharine World: This is how the third term arc's distortions turn out to be, starkly contrasted to the Crapsack World with Yaldabaoth in-charge. Everyone is happy and content, with all human tragedies and suffering being erased out of the fabric of history, Joker being a free man with Akechi loyal on his side, Morgana becoming a human, Shiho was never abused by Kamoshida and was happily hanging out with Ann, Ryuji reconcling with the track team, Madarame atones for his sins and lets Yusuke exhibit "Sayuri" in an art museum using his mother's name and Makoto's father, Wakaba and Okumura revived, with Okumura being a Reasonable Authority Figure and a Benevolent Boss. True enough, all of these seems to be too good to be true, and it obviously is. It turns out that because you taught Maruki how to use Mementos in his psientific essay and he already has a persona who can warp cognition way before this, Yaldabaoth was somehow able to drive him insane and materialize his persona in a distorted form, so he occupies Mementos to run his "salvation plan" of giving all human desires with no strings attached. And it's outright said that the Phantom Thieves desire him to change the currect reality by the subconscious level. While Maruki is genuinely motivated by altruism instead of malice or Blue-and-Orange Morality unlike most major enemies in the past, it doesn't make the situation any less terrifying since the whole world might be dragged into the voids of existential nihilism if he gets his way.
  • Crapsack World: There's a reason the Thieves are willing to risk everything to reform the world — they really do have no other choice if they want to live a halfway normal life. Physically and sexually abusive predators are employed as teachers — something both staff and parents are fully aware of and choose to do nothing about. Random accidents caused by "psychotic breaks" could end your life in an instant. The police are in the pocket of corrupt monsters, which sees innocent people arrested and real criminals allowed to go free thanks to their connections. When tragedy or injustice strikes, authority figures can't or won't protect you, bystanders are too apathetic or scared to get involved, and by the end of it you'll be so Conditioned to Accept Horror that you'll probably be one of the faceless masses who just keep their head down in the hope that nobody dangerous notices them. Or worse, you'll snap and figure that if the world's full of rotten people that get away with everything and nobody cares, you might as well be rotten yourself. Oh, and not even the Velvet Room that guided you in the past games will be spared from this, since the real head of the conspiracy has hijacked it as his headquarters. And the rampant corruption and distortions in the outside world? That's his doing, all for the sake of proving that only he is capable of ruling over the ignorant masses.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Joker's fake death plan is ripe with this. To wit:
    • Makoto found out that inside the Metaverse's interrogation room that not only did their clothes not change inside unlike in pretty much everywhere else in the Metaverse, but the surroundings of the interrogation room were the exact same as the real world. Once Makoto told the rest of the crew about it, they immediately went to check it while keeping Akechi in the dark about it.
    • Futaba found a way to activate the Metaverse Navigation App remotely from her laptop by tricking the phone into thinking the user was tapping the screen — after all, the app still follows the phone's "rules" despite being an explicitly supernatural element. Then, she used this trick to send Sae and Akechi to the Metaverse and timed it to the moment Joker's and Akechi's phones were in close proximity from their GPS data.
    • During the botched Casino heist, the crew prepared themselves an empty briefcase beforehand and merely acted like they were taking the Treasure inside Sae's Palace — being Akechi's first heist, he didn't realize this wasn't their standard procedure. They also made sure before the heist began that the police would be waiting to ambush them and arrest Joker once they completed the heist.
    • If you ask Futaba after you returned back to the cafe post-interrogation, Futaba reveals that Makoto woke up one night realizing the possibilities of a Cognitive Akechi inside Sae's Palace, which the real Akechi could accidentally run into and realize he wasn't in the real world. So the team headed to the Metaverse and Makoto singlehandedly knocked out Cognitive Akechi, and tied him up somewhere inside Sae's Palace far from the interrogation room to prevent that from happening.
  • Cringe Comedy: A new event in Royal at a summer festival, Ryuji makes rather cringey comments to a news team on-camera in the hopes that they won't use the footage. Yusuke's response to Ryuji after this, where he says that his behavior was "truly cringeworthy". A later text from Mishima shows that the plan failed.
  • Critical Hit:
    • Physical attacks have a chance to deal extra damage, which is accompanied by an extended attack animation where the party member uses both their melee weapon and gun, or pops a creepy Slasher Smile if they used a Persona's physical skill instead.
    • At certain confidant levels, teammates can offer to assist in downing or eliminating an enemy, provided Joker's attack didn't do this initially. This can range from a melee attack utilizing their weapon to its full extent, i.e. Ann using a Noblewoman's Laugh and beating the crap out of her target, Ryuji winding up for a grand slam, Yusuke showing his skill as an Iaijutsu Practitioner, etc.; or a ranged attack where both Joker and the teammate line up shots on the target, accompanied by a convenient bullseye background.
  • Cue the Sun: The first shot immediately after defeating Yaldabaoth is a view of the sun shining straight through the bullet hole you and Satanael just shot through his head.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Happens in the final battle with Satanael vs. Yaldabaoth. The latter uses his strongest attack on the party, only for Satanael to completely No-Sell it, and Satanael finishes the fight with a single Sinful Shell to Yaldabaoth's head.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: The staff at the Akihabara maid cafe seem to be going for this deliberately, contributing to the creepy artificiality of the place's attempts to be cute and charming.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Akechi's (apparent) death could have easily been avoided if the party had just used a Goho-M to escape the shadows surrounding them, assuming they have one.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: When most characters awaken to their Persona in a cutscene, they tend to incapacitate or kill every nearby Shadow instantly, which they then can't reproduce in following battles.
    • Prologue Arsène has access to Eigaon and Brave Blade, two moves that are well beyond what the Arsène you ultimately start with can ever naturally learn, with the latter being impossible for Arsène to know at that point on an initial run.Explanation 
    • Ann uses a Shadow's BFS when she first awakens, but can only equip whips for the rest of the game.
    • Goemon uses an area of effect freezing attack when Yusuke first awakens, only for Yusuke to lack Mabufu or any other multi-target ice magic in the mini-boss battle that happens seconds later.
    • Satanael, despite being the single most powerful Persona you can fuse in the New Game+, can't obtain its Sinful Shell skill because that's what it uses to kill Yaldabaoth in a very memorable cutscene. To make it available elsewhere would render everything else completely moot. note 
  • Cutting the Knot: All of the Palace boss battles bar the fifth and seventh ones utilize "special orders" that allow you to break through the boss' defenses and defeat them in a more efficient way. Some operations can be avoided, however, and a well-prepared party can just brute-force their way onto the boss with no issues.
    • Shadow Madarame's special order involves having the player attack his four-portraits form with the same Weaksauce Weakness-inducing paint that he can inflict on you. However, the operation won't occur unless Shadow Madarame transforms back into his portrait form for a third time. There's no real need for the extra damage output since his portraits never revive on full health, and on lower difficulties, a sufficiently-leveled party can very likely defeat him before the operation even gets mentioned.
    • Shadow Kaneshiro's order involves distracting him from using his March of the Piggy attack by throwing an item at him. While giving him an item renders him defenseless, you can also just attack Kaneshiro himself while he's on top of Piggytron to knock him over. And given that Kaneshiro only tends to get distracted by valuable items that your party really cannot do without (such as physical/magic ointments and somas), the order, despite Morgana's insistence otherwise, comes off as a rather bone-headed idea.
    • In order to actually provoke Shadow Niijima to a fight, you need to perform a special order that has you sending one of your allies to act as a sniper in order to expose the boss's cheating by breaking a pane of glass on the mechanism that makes up the field of battle, which takes up about five turns. You can actually avoid this by only having Joker in your party; Futaba will call the Shadow out for cheating, ensuing the actual boss fight. Also doubles as Developers' Foresight.
    • The final boss of the fourth palace, The Sphinx, generally requires that you shoot it down with the ballista, which prevents it from attacking and greatly increases the damage you inflict with each attack...but if you're patient enough, you can just keep hitting it with long range magical skills. It will take a looooooooong time, though, as even the strongest skills will only inflict about 200 points of damage, and the boss has upwards of 8000 HP (the skills that you'll have normally at the time you fight the boss will inflict about 50-75 damage).
  • Cyberspace: While the primary theme is Temple of Doom, Futaba's Palace has several computer motifs.

    D 
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!
    • Due to the interface overhaul in Persona 5, players who later return to previous Persona games after playing it find themselves accidentally wasting turns due to being overly familiar with the newer combat controls. Most notably, in 5 Personas are summoned with the triangle button, and in Persona 3/FES/P 4/G that same button rushes the enemy. Using skills and attacks is based on a simpler list-scrolling based UI which makes it counter-intuitive for players familiar with 5.
    • Royal changes it so that pressing Square during dialogue scenes toggles the auto advance on and off, whereas in the vanilla game it brought up the log, so veteran players might find themselves getting stuck on a single line of dialogue when they meant to go back and reread a previously spoken line.
  • Dancing Theme: The main characters can be seen dancing around the city in the opening animation that plays before the title screen. The poses and spins make it look like they're ice skating on concrete.
  • Dare to Be Badass: How the Persona awakenings go. The Persona reaches out to the character, urging them to be honest with what they want, form a contract, and cut loose on those holding them down.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Compared to Persona 4, with characters receiving visible, bloody injuries, regular use of Body Horror, the heroes being Anti-Hero thieves, much more dangerous antagonists and some fairly dark plot twists. As just one example, Ann's early game plot really kicks off when her friend Shiho, who is being terribly abused by Kamoshida to start with (to the point of having dead-looking eyes), leaps off the top of a school building, in full view of all her classmates, including Ann. That pretty much sets the tone for the entire game.
    • It should also be noted that unlike Persona 3, most of its dark elements are drawn out from political thriller/horror, such as perverted teachers, political assassinations and ignorance of the masses.
    • It's still Lighter and Softer than Persona 3 tone wise. The topics of the game are as dark or darker than P3's, but the game manages to be generally more upbeat than the rather melancholy P3, ending with an unambiguously happy ending compared to P3's Bittersweet Ending.
    • The DLC Personas come with not only their original variations, but also new "Picaro" forms, which are shades of black and red, and in a Shujin outfit, the idea being that Joker's mask changed their form.
    • The Social Link system, which is presented as a friendship of sorts, was changed to the more morally ambiguous Confidant system. While some relationships are the typical friendships (for example, the party members), others are more like deals or agreements (Ms. Kawakami agreeing to let you slack off in class to prevent her maid side job service from becoming known).
    • The tarot cards all deviated from the designs used in previous games, with most depicting some type of crime/sin/cruelty (For example, the scale in Judgment is unbalanced, favoring money over the heart).
    • The Velvet Room's Summoning Ritual changes from a Tarot Ritual to a guillotine execution, the itemization ritual becomes an electric chair, and a way to use Personas to give EXP to others is a hanging. The Twin Wardens are also both more aggressive towards you than earlier attendants, with Joker being trapped in a cell until he has the spirit of rebellion to break free from this, when he himself was sentenced to execution.
  • Darkest Hour: The game enters this by the time the game catches up to the present day. The Phantom Thieves' reputation is at an all-time low and the Big Bad has used the public's opinion of him to propel his campaign for Prime Minister, putting him in a very good position to get elected. Not to mention that Joker has to fake his own death and the other Thieves are also scheduled for "accidents" later. And somehow the situation still gets worse even after they steal Shido's heart. His evil conspiracy is still going strong without him, their manipulation of the media and law enforcement has all but ensured that Shido will go unpunished despite his confession and change of heart, and Yaldabaoth uses this all as an excuse to put in to motion his plan to Ret-Gone humanity, starting with the Phantom Thieves.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • Mementos' theme, "Mementos", was already pretty eerie, but it becomes more ominous and oppressive with the addition of a guitar, strings, and heavier percussion as "Freedom and Security" (renamed on the soundtrack to "Freedom and Peace"), the theme for the final Palace, the Prison of Regression, located at the bottom of Mementos. It's also used in the credits for the bad endings.
    • Sections of "Tokyo Daylight", an upbeat world theme, make a subtle, minor-keyed reappearance in two late game themes. One is Ark, for Shido's Palace, in the violin melody. The other is the previously mentioned "Freedom and Security", in the electric guitar melody. Both represent the willingness of Tokyo's public to submit to greater powers for order and, well, security.
    • Played with during the battle with Black Mask. During the second phase of the battle, the song "Will Power" plays. Previously this has been a heroic, determined theme played when each of the characters awakens to their Persona. This time, it represents Akechi revealing both his true Persona, Loki, and his identity as the masked villain who's been causing the psychotic breakdowns. It also echoes his own desperation to defeat the Phantom Thieves. The song is used to clearly juxtapose against its previous heroic intentions.
    • In Royal, should Joker agree to stay in Maruki's reality during the third term, a more somber version of "Ideal and the Real" plays during the end credits.
  • Dark World: The Metaverse is a warped version of the real world that grows and transforms based on human desires.
  • Deal with the Devil: Inverted Trope; each character's Shadow, the other self, first manifests as their voice with a magnificent bastard air either confronting them about not standing up for others or themselves, or commenting that they had been waiting for them, and offering them a "contract", which results in the Shadow becoming a Persona in exchange for unleashing their rage and hatred on the world that wronged them. However, since Shadows are part of them and Persona are Shadows given form by the strength of heart, it basically means it is a contract with themselves to no longer compromise who they are, which is what gaining a Persona essentially is.
    • Case in point: Makoto gains her Persona after being pushed around one too many times by one of the villains. She is far happier and more well adjusted after this and decides to make her own path instead of just doing what is expected of her.
      Johanna: You have finally found your own justice... Please... Never lose sight of it again...
    • Near the end of the game, Yaldabaoth offers one towards the protagonist; should he decide to leave Yaldabaoth alone, he would remove Mementos from reality and allow the protagonist to use the Metaverse as long as he desires, playing it completely straight.
  • Death by Despair: Present as a game mechanic — the despair ailment causes the afflicted to not take any actions, lose SP with each turn, and eventually kill themselves. For players, this can be both useful and terrifying; in the case of the latter, should Joker get hit with this and not cured in time - it's an immediate game over. In the case of the former, during Flu Season days, enemies encountered in Mementos have a random chance of being hit with despair as soon as a fight is initiated...this extends to ALL enemies excluding bosses. Which means that yes, the REAPER can have a case of despair and kill itself in an encounter. Using this to the player's advantage is accepted as the best way to rapidly gain levels. This rather amusing oversight in regards to bosses was fixed in Royal.
  • Death by Irony: Yaldabaoth is killed by Joker, who is completely empowered by the prayers originally directed at the former, and he's shot in the head by Satanael, when he originally set up Akechi to do this to Joker.
  • Death Glare: The Persona critical/weakness-hitting eye cut-in is now closer to this, showing the characters' pissed off expressions from a more dynamic angle. Special contenders include Yusuke and Makoto.
  • Death of a Child: Or more accurately, teenager.
    • Failing a heist deadline results in the 16-year old protagonist being shot dead.
    • Kasumi was just 15 years old when she saved Sumire from a potentially lethal traffic accident, causing the latter to fall into deep Survivor Guilt.
  • Degraded Boss: Several mini-bosses show up later as regular enemies. Done weirdly however, these bosses are often overpowered versions of the normal enemy as noticed when weaker versions of the enemy show up immediately after the boss fight.
  • Dénouement: After defeating the final boss, Joker pulls a non-lethal Heroic Sacrifice to put an end to the conspiracy once and for all by turning himself into the police. After a few months, his fellow Phantom Thieves and confidants rally to get him released from jail. After that, the player can wander across the streets of Tokyo before calling it quits and seeing the game's ending.
  • Dialogue During Gameplay:
    • Compared to previous Persona games and the Megami Tensei franchise as a whole, there's far more idle chatter in the middle of gameplay without taking control away from the player:
    • In Tokyo, there's a ton of idle rumor dialogue Joker can eavesdrop on, changing as the game progresses and the Phantom Thieves increase their notoriety.
    • While dungeon crawling, characters will occasionally speak up in the middle of exploration - sometimes for generic lines offering assistance for when spotting a treasure chest or when Joker can ambush an enemy, while other times, it's more plot-specific. While exploring Mementos, the party has numerous Seinfeldian Conversations that can randomly occur at any time.
    • Cognitive entities in the Bank, Casino, Cruiser and Research Laboratory Palaces will have chatter as you travel through them.
    • A relatively small one, but Ohya's Rank 9 Confidant event elicits different reactions from Joker depending on how far in the story you are. If the event is initiated prior to the Cruise Ship Palace, Joker will be confused when Ohya mentions Shido's name since by that point he will not know who they are. If done after completing the Casino Palace, Joker reacts in shock when Ohya mentions them.
  • Dialogue Tree: Talking with party members, answering questions in class, doing part-time jobs, and negotiating with demons all involve picking multiple options from a list of potential responses.
  • Diary: As part of his probation, the protagonist is forced to keep a log of his activities in a little black book he stores in his back pocket. However, the game also uses it as a meta-narrative stand in for your Save Point.
  • Difficulty Levels: You can play the game on Safety, Easy, Normal, Hard and Challenge/Merciless. Progressively harder difficulties give enemies higher stats, and makes damage from elemental weaknesses more punishing, making battles tougher. However, the story is unaffected regardless of the player's difficulty choice.
  • Dirty Cop: The cops who apprehend the protagonist drug and beat him to try and get information on his accomplices. The head of the department is also a member of The Conspiracy, and plans to kill the protagonist and their friends to protect his illicit activities. It's also mentioned that the police and prosecutors are likely to plant evidence and frame the thieves in order to pin the various deaths on them.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Assuming you avoided selling your teammates out near the end of the interrogation and thus getting a Bad Ending, you proceed onto Shido's Palace, the Big Bad's palace. It features the climactic battles against The Dragon and the Big Bad. However, afterwards is is Mementos Depths, which is The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. It's the very bottom of Mementos and what Morgana's character arc has been building up to. It houses the Greater-Scope Villain, although it is a Hopeless Boss Fight. After avoiding another possible Bad Ending, all that's left is the Qliphoth World section, which has the True Final Boss.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Swift Strike is available as early as level 19 for Joker, but causing a guaranteed 3-4 light hits to all foes is a lot more powerful that it sounds. Don't be surprised if you find yourself keeping this skill on most new Persona you upgrade from.
    • Shiki-Ouji is a level 21 Persona that Nulls Phys/Gun/Curse skills, an absurd level of resistance for that early in the game. Given the amount of Phys skills alone you come across, Shiki-Ouji more than makes up for his level in sheer usefulness right out the gate. Royal makes him even better by reducing his level to 18 and giving him Null Bless in addition to the resistances he already had. Moreover, his only weakness is the relatively uncommon Nuclear element, while gathering all the Will Seeds in the 2nd Palace gives you an accessory that removes all weaknesses from your personas.
    • Itemizing Ame-no-Uzume (which the player would no doubt end up fusing if they're working on the Strength Confidant) will create Senryou Yakusha, a katana for Yusuke that gives an impressive +5 Strength bonus. Even if its power or accuracy will get overshadowed later on, this stat boost continues to be useful into the late- or endgame, where the player would be using his physical skills more than his basic attack.
    • As expected by their Downloadable Content status, the Legacy Personas (Orpheus, Izanagi, Thanatos, Kaguya, Magatsu Izanagi, Messiah, Ariadne, Tsukiyomi, Asterius, and Royal adds Izanagi-no-Okami, Athena, and Orpheus F) are overpowered for how early you get them in the game — you absolutely destroy the < level 10 enemies with the level 20-90 Personas, even on Hard or Merciless difficulty. What really drives them into this territory however isn't just their strength, it's that the first summoning of any of them (even the Lv 90 personas) is entirely FREE of charge. Any summons after this should you use them in a fusion must be paid for of course, but still a free courtesy summon is insane to ignore. Once item fusions are unlocked, each of them can also be fused into exceedingly powerful weapons, armor, or accessories, too.
    • During New Game Plus, you carry over all of your money and registered Personas. This means you can summon your late game Personas from the registry as soon as you get access to it. If you hoarded money before beating the game, you can have a team full of level 70+ Persona as soon as the first Palace.
    • Treasure Demons come jam-packed with useful skills that make them great fusion fodder, and will be recruited without demands if you knock them down. The first one, Regent, is a fixed encounter in the second Palace designed to serve as a tutorial for how they work, and cannot be missed. Said Treasure Demon comes with first-tier area-hitting spells for all eight magic elements, which is great if you're missing elemental coverage. Once the Gallows are unlocked, the Treasure Demons become invaluable for imparting bountiful amounts of experience to power-level your Personas in exchange for some money, on top of imparting a random skill they possess.
    • In Royal, the Counsilor Confidant gives you Detox X at its second rank. This gives Joker a (reasonably high) chance to instantly heal himself of any of the normal status effects as soon as they're inflicted on him. As this Confidant is started fairly early in the game, before items and spells that can be used to heal status effects are easily available, this is a huge bonus. The third rank of the Confidant gives Flow, which gives Joker the chance to start a battle with Concentration (the next magic attack will inflict 2.4 times the normal damage) and Charge (the next physical attack will inflict 2.4 times the normal damage). These are both abilities that you won't normally have access to until late in the game and while it's random whether Flow will activate or not, when it does it can potentially end the battle right there.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Most targets of the Phantom Thieves, while not all on the scale of the main bosses, generally are pretty horrible people with crimes ranging from physical abuse to power harassment. Meanwhile, the Mementos mission required to unlock the Tower Confidant involves... a guy who cheats at video games. This is especially strange considering the villain of Makoto's confidant, an actual human trafficker, doesn't experience a change of heart, while this guy does.
    • Some citizens try to invoke this by asking the Phantom Thieves to change the hearts of people they have personal grudges against, like their exes. All this does is annoy the protagonists, who lament that the site is being used by others to whine about people they don't like.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: If you level up Ann's Confidant, she can occasionally distract Shadows and cost them their turn by doing a sexy pose.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • A Mara boss in Kamoshida’s Palace is strong against literally everything except for physical attacks. In other words, you have to beat the meat to defeat it.
    • When Shadow Kamoshida goes berserk and begins turning into Asmodeus, a clear viscous substance starts dripping onto the floor when the camera is pointed towards the Phantom Thieves. It turns out to be drool.
    • When Futaba first awakens Necronomicon, it produces tentacles that abduct her and bring her inside, simultaneously changing her into her Phantom Thief outfit.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The true villain turns out to be none other than Igor, the guy who's been your main support for creating new Personas throughout the entire game. What makes this an even bigger twist is that it's not even the real Igor.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Because of the recent hit to their reputation, the Thieves can't send the usual Calling Card to Masayoshi Shido. Futaba's solution is to hack into all of Japan's airwaves to broadcast their denouncement and challenge of Shido.
  • Do Not Spoil This Ending:
    • For the first few weeks of the game's release, Atlus posted gameplay video and live streaming guidelines asking fans not to spoil the plot beyond the Futaba's Palace arc via photos and/or videos so that more players can enjoy the game.
    • In Persona 5 Royal, all footage from March to December are permitted. There's still a footage ban placed on the third semester however.
  • Door to Before: Every Palace features ways to backtrack without needing to retread your steps through a difficult area. Generally speaking, after getting through an area laden with traps or enemy encounters, there will be a way to open a door or bypass the area without needing to go through it again.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male:
    • After narrowly escaping from Shido's Palace, Ryuji sacrifices himself to save the team. While the Phantom Thieves are mourning the loss, he walks up like nothing happened. He teases Ann for crying, and she slaps him. Then all the girls back him against a light post while he begs for them to stop or explain. The screen then fades to black for a few seconds, then shows an unconscious Ryuji propped up against a light pole, implying the girls had mercilessly beaten him up. Everyone but him just walks off, talking about what to eat for dinner. Even if one thinks he shouldn't've teased Ann, assault was a complete overreaction. And the game takes it seriously when Ryuji's male coach breaks the kid's leg because Ryuji stood up to his abuse. The anime downgrades it to Ann, Futaba and Haru yelling at Ryuji, while in The Royal, one Thieves' Den conversation has them belatedly admit that they were too hard on him
    • Don't date more than one girl. Don't. Do. It. When they catch you on Valentine's Day, Sojiro and Morgana abandon you to your fate, and the game cuts to your broken and beaten ass lying on the floor of Leblanc.
    • This is notably averted more often than not however compared to previous games, especially with the many minor female targets in Mementos, which consist of a lot of abusive mothers/girlfriends who need to be changed for their actions.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: When playing the darts minigame in Royal, it's beneficial to leave some points left over on your third round and then allow your partner to finish (so long as you give say the right thing that allows them to do so), since this will increase their Baton Pass rank by 2 instead of 1.
  • Downer Beginning: Both the In Medias Res prologue and the actual beginning of the game.
    • The prologue shows the Thieves completing a caper at the casino... only for Joker to be arrested due to a member of the team selling them out, and suffering violent Police Brutality once caught.
    • The game proper opens with the protagonist being framed for assault by a man who he stopped from sexually assaulting a woman. When he arrives at Shujin Academy, he finds out the gym teacher Kamoshida basically owns the place: he physically abuses males who stand up to him and sexually abuses female students, and everyone is too scared to stand up to him. The protagonist and Ryuji accidentally stumble into his mental world, where his Shadow immediately decides to have them both killed, and the two barely escape with their lives. Shortly afterwards, Ann's friend attempts suicide due to Kamoshida's advances, and the three decide to become vigilantes to take him down.
  • Downer Ending: The game has a few bad endings, as well as some Non Standard Game Over endings.
    • Compared to previous game, where the downer only came through Fridge Horror, the first bad ending is far more overtly brutal as Joker is sadistically murdered by Akechi. This occurs either through the Non Standard Game Over endings, which occur when you fail to clear a Palace in time, or it can occur if you decide to sell out your teammates to Sae. The credits will roll after the latter, with "Freedom and Security" in the background.
    • The second bad ending can happen if you choose to accept Yaldabaoth's bargain at the end of the game. If you accept, then the Metaverse remains, and Joker basically controls Tokyo for Yaldabaoth. It's also implied that he eventually abuses his powers, making him not so different from his past targets. This will also roll the credits, with "Freedom and Security" in the background.
    • Royal adds another bad ending, and there's even two opportunities where it can come up. During the third term, in Maruki's distorted reality, he offers Joker a chance to abandon his old reality and stay in Maruki's, where everyone can live happily, without any strife or suffering. He extends this offer at the start of the term, and right at the end, but they both lead to the same ending. If you accept, the Phantom Thieves enjoy life forever, but Mementos returns and is impossible to remove, and everyone, including the Phantom Thieves, are robbed of their futures and their potential for growth, with Sumire being metaphorically murdered and Lavenza and Igor left isolated from humanity. The worst part is, Joker is actually aware of this, and there are dialogue options that indicate that he truly regrets it. This will also roll the credits, but instead of "Freedom and Security", a rearranged version of "Ideal and the Real" plays instead.
    • Royal also adds another Non Standard Game Over ending if you fail to complete the new palace of the third term in time. The Phantom Thieves aren't sure if they are making the right choice and believe their indecision was subconsciously preventing them from securing a route to the Treasure. Maruki visits Joker in his dreams and states that he wanted to let him accept his reality out of his own free will, but because Joker cannot decide, he feels responsible for burdening him. As a result, Maruki makes Joker sleep forever, where he won't have to think about anything for the rest of his life. The camera pans out from Joker, revealing that he's been in Maruki's reality for an indeterminable amount of time. Lavenza, represented through the butterfly, desperately tries to reach Joker but falls to the ground and fades away.
  • Downloadable Content: The game has lots of digital content that can be bought from the PSN store.
  • Dramatic Thunder: It's only a crack of thunder with no music that accompanies the arrival of Satanael, Joker's ultimate Persona.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: There are some oddities and mistranslations here and there in the English translation of the game. All of these were fixed in Royal:
    • In Sae's first appearance, a police officer is telling Sae in the original Japanese that they got a call from her boss, telling them to allow Sae to interrogate their prisoner. In the English version, it's translated as if the officer's telling her she's about to get a call from her boss, despite how odd it sounds for him to ask the police officer to tell Sae he'll be calling her on her personal phone, rather than asking the officer to hand Sae their own phone, or something similar.
    • Shadow Kamoshida chides his guards for "mistaking [his] Ann for someone like her [the real Ann]", which is confusing because what happened was the exact opposite of what he's complaining about: his guards mistook the real Ann for his cognitive version instead of realizing she was just another "Intruder" like Joker and Ryuji. Essentially the dubbing team swapped the two Anns in this dialog somehow and didn't catch it, as in the Japanese he correctly mocks them for mistaking the real Ann for his "Princess" which was why Ann is brought to him, while the resulting line sounds more like the guards tried to take Princess Ann to the dungeons like the other intruders thinking she was the real Ann.
    • Ryuji will mention his "Folks" at some points in the English translation, despite it being a plot point that his dad left years ago and he lives alone with his single mother, who explicitly feels ashamed for having to raise him as such, even now.
    • Futaba explicitly refers to Morgana as Mona in one scene shown after her slumber when her heart is stolen. Yet, when it comes time for her to choose a code name, the rest of the team has to explain to her what a "code name" is.
  • Dub Text: While it was present in the Japanese version, the English dub of the game made Akechi's feelings towards Joker more apparent, which includes changing a line that the protagonist can respond to Akechi with from a simple "I'm home." to "Honey, I'm home", with Akechi chastising him for coming home late if it's picked.
  • Duel Boss: For an added challenge, clearing your Party before every boss fight (except for Kamoshida) can count as this, but the instances below are scripted.
    • The Battle Arena in Sae's Palace is a double subversion: initially, Joker is up against two Ganeshas, then three Rangdas, and finally finishing with a lone Thor.
    • Akechi and Sumire. See Dueling Player Characters below.
    • In Royal, a new phase in Shido's fight has him remove the other Phantom Thieves from the battle, leaving Joker to finish the battle himself.
    • The Post-Final Boss sequence with Maruki in Royal, though brief, counts as this.
    • Outside of the main story, there's also Sojiro's Mementos Request, which involves only Joker and Oracle, since the latter doesn't want the other Phantom Thieves involved in what she feels is personal business.
  • Dueling Player Characters:
    • In the original game, Akechi is fought just before the Phantom Thieves leave to access the Treasure Room in Shido's Palace. In Royal, he can be optionally fought as part of his Confidant.
    • In Royal, Kasumi, or rather Sumire after The Reveal, is briefly fought against in Maruki's Palace before Maruki himself forces Cendrillon to go Berserk.
  • Dumbass Has a Point:
    • In one Mementos conversation, the group wonders about the true nature of Mementos, at which point Ryuji says that the easiest way to find out is to get to the bottom. Lampshaded when Morgana, who frequently mocks Ryuji's intelligence, says that "unfortunately, Ryuji is right."
    • During an event near the beginning of the Third Semester in Royal, the group brings up the ethical quandary of taking the heart of Takuto Maruki. Ryuji then puts the argument to rest by explaining that, yes, while there are plenty of good reasons for their target to want what they want, and indeed there are probably multitudes of people who would be better off if the Phantom Thieves didn't intervene, that doesn't change the fact that their methods were totally in the wrong and the Phantom Thieves need to make a stand to make things right. After an awkward silence, Makoto states that she's amazed at how right he is.
    • In Royal, at one of the exam rooms in Maruki's Palace, Ryuji immediately suggests they pick the option D after listening to the questions. Akechi chides him for his impulsive decision, but, as it turns out, Ryuji ends up being right.
    • When the Phantom Thieves meet Jose at the true end of Mementos, he explains that his research into the humans has possibly backfired, as the more experience he has with them the less he actually understands them. Ryuji posits that it's just like love, before he's called out for an idiotic response by both Futaba and Yusuke. Jose then states that, no, Ryuji is actually correct, and his experience is comparable to falling in love. Even Ryuji is taken aback by him being correct.
  • Dummied Out: While datamining the Chinese port of Persona 5 Royal, a player discovered a deleted scene if you accept Maruki's offer in the third semester. If you romance multiple girls (or all 10), instead of a confrontation, they are all in the room with you and are uncharacteristically ok with all of them sharing you, and even take turns giving you chocolate for Valentine's day. It was a shame it was deleted, because it really drives home how absolutely WRONG the situation is, especially given how uncomfortable Joker is with it. Even Sae shows up to join in, and there is additionally a matching White Day scene as well.

    E 
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In Persona 5 Royal, some of the Phantom Thieves appear in the background before they are properly introduced or become one of the Phantom Thieves.
    • After Joker and Ryuji return home from the beef bowl shop on April 12, Akechi and Sae walk past them.
    • Ann and Shiho are walking to school behind Joker on the morning of April 13.
    • After Ann's awakening, when the party returns to reality from Kamoshida's Palace, Maruki can be briefly seen walking out of the school.
    • On Joker's first day of school, if you go to the third floor, you can listen in on an optional conversation between Haru and a teacher about maintaining the garden on the school's roof. She is also seen walking to school on April 20 and June 11.
    • Besides seeing Makoto study in the library, she is also seen walking to school on April 15 and April 19. On April 21, she is seen at the train station with Sae.
    • Yumeko Mogami, a female classmate stalking Ikesugi (another classmate), can be found on the second floor of the school beginning April 18, and her side quest isn't available until much later in the game. You can also see her chasing Ikesugi in the scenes when you're walking to school (without Morgana talking to you), which occurs at random.
    • Hifumi can be seen at the train station on June 17.
  • Early Game Hell: While the game is good in giving multiple options (including skills) to allow you to restore SP, the bulk of these happen later on in the game, making the first palace you tackle a situation where you will regularly run out and either be forced to use expensive items or leave entirely. Several other tactical options, like methods of increasing experience or money earned, are tied to Confidants that become available later in the game, which increases the tedium of progress in the game's first chapter.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: At first, it goes for a Bittersweet Ending with the Protagonist turning himself in as leader of the Phantom Thieves so that he can testify against Masayoshi Shido and ensure that he gets a guilty verdict. Because of his prior record, though, the Protagonist gets sent to juvenile hall; however, thanks to the efforts of the rest of the Thieves and the Confidants, they manage to clear him of his prior record, allowing him to go free early.
  • Easier Than Easy: Safe Mode. In addition to making the enemies weaker and the players stronger, it's also impossible to lose. However, choosing Safe Mode locks you into that difficulty for the remainder of that playthrough.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In Royal, rubbing the DualShock 4 touchpad while in Mementos will result in Morgana purring like a cat as if he's being petted, while pressing the touchpad will have him meow loudly.
    • Also in Royal, fast travelling and taking the subway on the night of Halloween replaces the normal subway crowd with revelers, including one man in a Jack Frost costume. Certain other locations have the normal crowd of NPCs replaced with costumed individuals as well.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Zigzagged. Choosing Safety Mode prevents you from changing the difficulty for the rest of the game, and is the only difficulty that does this. However, the game lets you see all the content no matter which mode you're playing on; during the initial difficulty selection, the game even says "this choice will not affect the story."
  • Eccentric Artist: Yusuke is so immersed in art that he tends to view everything through an artistic lens, like being more interested in the plating aesthetic of food than in enjoying how it tastes.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The Metaverse, a region inside the collective unconscious that warps into massive, unstable structures called palaces based on the warped desires of humans and is reached using a cell phone app. Mementos in particular, a manifestation of the Metaverse tied to the Shibuya subway station that's described as "everybody's palace." Its layout is constantly shifting and changing, strong winds are perpetually blowing through it (which the party members will occasionally describe as sounding like screaming), and it starts looking more and more warped and distorted the deeper into it you explore.
    • The Velvet Room, an ever-changing location existing not in space or time but inside the collective unconscious of the human psyche, returns.
  • Epiphanic Prison: A major theme of the game is finding how to free yourself of the metaphorical chains society puts on you.
    Katsura Hashino: We may feel some sort of suffocation in this world today, but as long as the world is comprised of relationships among humans, it is a person's character, or a group's character, that will provide the "power" to destroy that "feeling of entrapment".
    • Mementos Depths is the embodiment of this. The entire place is styled as a giant prison, and all the cognitive representations within it express relief that they're stuck inside because it means that they'll be safe, representing humanity's collective Bystander Syndrome.
    • The Velvet Room, being shaped by the feelings of the guest, has Joker's room be a prison, complete with wardens, his clothes being prison attire plus a ball-and-chain while he's stuck in a cell, and executions for fusion. Near the end, when Joker is going to be executed by Caroline and Justine for "failing", he instead rebels against this, gaining his Phantom Thief outfit, and the cell door being removed to represent him "breaking free" from his prison.
  • Eureka Moment: A rare villainous example. Being interrupted by an audience member's phone during a TV taping gives Akechi the spark to realize how Joker and Sae might have used their phone to fake his death.
  • Everybody Did It: An odd example with the third term in Royal. All the driving forces unknowingly played a part in what led to Dr. Maruki becoming the Post-Final Boss. Shido had previously used his connections to seize his research, with Akechi probably still working under him at the time, while the Phantom Thieves approached him for his counseling sessions, giving him an idea of their desires, and Yaldabaoth merging Mementos with the real world caused his Persona to fully awaken in an incomplete state. This resulted in him becoming Mementos' new ruler through his Persona and what he had learned since then.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French: The Rider-Waite tarot deck lacks a certain stylish je ne sais quoi. And that's why Persona 5 uses Le Marseille.
  • Evil Is Visceral: Throughout Mementos, there are large bright red arteries running in and out of the walls. In the final dungeon, Mementos Depths, it's revealed that these arteries carry the perverted desires of the masses for social order down to the Holy Grail, aka the Big Bad Yaldabaoth. When Yaldabaoth overlays Mementos onto reality, blood starts raining from the sky and covering the ground, while huge structures made of bone appear.
  • Evolution Power-Up: Along with the standard stat and elemental resistance upgrades, your Guardian Entities' identities actually power up when your party members reach Rank 10 in their Level-Up at Intimacy 5 "Confidant" sub-plots; each Persona transforms from an Anthropomorphic Personification of a Picaresque hero to a Rage Against the Heavens mythological figure.
  • Expelled from Every Other School: Joker gets expelled from his high school after getting convicted of assault, and no other school would take him aside from Shujin Academy, which is a stuffy elite preparatory school, all while on probation for the assault. Multiple characters note that, if Joker gets expelled from Shujin, he's going straight to jail.
  • Explosive Decompression: Discussed in the Space Station palace. Futaba cheerfully informs the rest of the party that they won't explode when out in space, but they'll last 30 seconds, tops, if they cover their noses and mouths. Thankfully, since it's the Metaverse, the party can (and must) travel through space between airlocks without problems.
  • Extra Turn: Battles use the "One More!" system from Persona 3 and 4 - getting a Critical Hit or exploiting an enemy's elemental weakness gives you an additional action. The new "Baton Pass" mechanic meanwhile allows you to pass this turn to any party member you've reached Confidant level 2 with.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The majority of the game technically takes place within a few hours, with Joker getting arrested and then relaying his testimony spanning over events across several months to Sae while she's put on a short and strict time limit. After Joker fakes his death, the game continues as normal.
  • Eyed Screen: Once again, a cut-in of just the character's eyes will appear when you perform powerful Persona attacks. Yu Narukami also has his one in Royal under the same conditions in his DLC fight.

    F 
  • Face Death with Dignity: If you execute Arsène to fuse a new Persona, he confidently states that he'll meet you again at the end of your journey and ends his speech with an Evil Laugh. It probably helps that you can bring him back for a small amount of yen. Noticeably, he's also one of the very few - if not only - Personas who don't enter a despairing pose when facing the Fusion (guillotine), Strengthening (hangman's noose), or Itemization (electric chair) devices.
  • Faceless Masses:
    • Non-important NPCs are generally far less detailed in model, most easily observed by comparing the protagonist to other generic student NPCs since he actually wears his uniform to code as they do. Look and it's easy to notice all kinds of details missing from their uniforms compared to the protagonist, theirs will come off as blurry.
    • The portraits of Madarame's previous students he ruined are mostly done in a flat style with blank faces, with the exception of Natsuhiko Nakanohara and Yusuke's, whose portraits are more-detailed in comparison so the player can also recognise them.
  • Facial Horror: When characters first awaken to their Personas, they have to rip off masks that are part of their faces, causing blood to erupt as they for all intents and purposes rip their own skin off. Thankfully, this stops happening afterwards.
  • Failed a Spot Check: This apparently occurred in one of the Palaces when the Shadows running the place didn't find it suspicious that Akechi was using a coin card under the name of "Taro Tanaka" (the Japanese equivalent of "John Doe").
  • Failure Gambit: Joker getting arrested in the beginning? That was deliberate. However, none of the Phantom Thieves predicted that he would get drugged and nearly lost most his memory because of that.
  • Fake Difficulty: More in the "time management" aspect of the game than the combat, but the game uses quite a few shortcuts to raise the player's blood pressure:
    • You are regularly cheated out of free time to socialize and build stats, often without warning. Sure, you can't predict everything that will happen in the future (like Sojiro suddenly hijacking you to work in the cafe), but in a game about time management it is frustratingly common for Morgana to refuse to let you go out at night because "you must be tired". Finally, as with Persona 3 and Persona 4, the story ends after nine months instead of the promised year. As a result, similar to the rest of the series, it is very difficult to max all stats and clear all Confidants without either a guide or New Game+, even if you're familiar with the seriesnote . Unlike in Persona 3 and Persona 4, where social links were always available on the same days each week unless there was a plot- or weather- related reason for them to be absent, confidants in Persona 5 don't have consistent, predictable schedules, with a couple of exceptions. While more realistic, it makes things significantly harder on players who are actively trying to plan ahead and budget their time accordingly.
    • Persona negotiation options might be confusing to those who don't know which answers are fitting for which Shadow mood, which might cause them to be pummeled by the free turns the Shadows get if they decide to attack instead of flee. With a little investigation into the Personas' moods on the Enemy Analysis screen, you can at least get an idea of what statements to make to which creatures. If a Persona is Timid, be nice and understanding. If they're Irritable, show 'em who's boss and take no crap. For gloomy ones, resort to sarcasm. If they ask you about how you're going to eat them, or what you'll do with them after you kill them? Guess, and write down the results to make it easier in the future, or something.
    • The Calling Card mechanic drains an additional two days out of your calendar, as you will be unable to do anything on the day you send it, then have to commit to fighting the next day (and therefore be unable to do anything in the eveningnote ).
    • Bosses will frequently use moves that you need to guard against, but will take several turns to charge up. There's not any indication that they won't do the attack immediately, so most players would typically waste turns defending because they don't know when the attack is coming.
    • In Royal, the improvised Okumura fight acts as this; none of the enemies are any stronger than their Vanilla variants (and in fact have weaker affinities), but Okumura will fully restore his entire wave after two turns and he will cast Rakukaja on one robot and Hunger or Dekaja on you to make sure they become incredibly difficult to kill, so he can infinitely loop this animation and cause you to time out. What seems to be the defining factor however, is that one Rakukaja he sneaks on a robot, which doesn't seem much. In reality, if this defense buff is not lifted, it will almost always result in the buffed robot barely surviving after the 2-turn limit, resulting in the choke-locking scenario stated above.
  • Faking the Dead: In order to avoid the Bad Ending where he dies, the Protagonist exploits a phone modified by Futaba to activate the Meta-Nav app remotely, and a section of Sae's Palace that looks like the real world in order to make Akechi kill a mental projection instead.
  • Famous Last Words:
    SIU Director: Ngh...No...It can't...be...! E-Even me...!? G-God...damn it...! Sh-Shid...
    Shadow Kunikazu Okumura: My...uto...pia...
  • Fan Community Nicknames:invoked In-universe, as the popularity of the Phantom Thieves rises, the Phantom Aficionado Website becomes known as the "Phan-site," with its users known as "Phanboys."
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Kamoshida has a harem of topless female volleyball students in his Palace, all writhing and moaning in ecstasy over their "king". Even Ryuji is disturbed. He's also accompanied by a scantily-clad Valley Girl clone of Ann. His boss form, Asmodeus, is a fat, misshapen demon in nothing but a crown, cape and pink speedo. In Royal, he has a cognitive Shiho in erotic bunny outfit that you can kill in a few physical attacks just to stop his Signature Move, tank the move and let her go, or attack Kamoshida himself and he automatically drives her away.
    • The bunny suit overworld Shadows in the casino have grossly-exaggerated proportions and much, much too eager Jiggle Physics.
    • Shido's Boss form, Samael is a muscular shirtless man whose muscles keep growing more and more grotesquely huge as the battle continues.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: All Shadows and Personas take on the form of mythical beings of human literature and mythology. Justine describes this as "related to them being the image of power that mankind shares."
  • Fastball Special: In Royal, Ryuji and Makoto have a rare variant of their Showtime attack that features her leaping onto the handle of his weapon, which he uses to hurl her into the sky before she crashes down onto the target with a Ground Punch.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: You can press start to skip cutscenes and fast forward through dialog. The dialogue fast forward even imposes VHS fast forward effects on the screen.
  • Faustian Rebellion: Invoked. Morgana, Lavenza and Igor spend the entire game trying to help the Protagonist use his abilities to destroy the very Big Bad that empowered and manipulated him.
  • Females Are More Innocent: There are seven palaces beyond Mementos Depths, two which are made by women: Futaba Sakura and Sae Niijima. The men who own Palaces and get reformed (Suguru Kamoshida, Ichiryuusai Madarame, Junya Kaneshiro, Kunikazu Okumura, and Masayoshi Shido) have long abused their positions of power and the people around them. Meanwhile...
    • Sae's only real "crime" is her ardent Second Place Is for Losers mentality that has stemmed from pressure at her job and being unfairly compared to her sister, and she's otherwise by-the-book when taking on the Phantom Thieves case. Unlike the other targets, whom the Thieves seek to punish for their crimes, the Thieves target her at Akechi's suggestion, to prevent the investigation from closing in on them, and Makoto also does so in hopes of helping her sister be happier and rediscover her sense of justice, even if she finds it quite painful to face Leviathan. Not only is Sae the only target who doesn't get her treasure stolen (as she reforms on her own), but she allies herself with the thieves after Akechi is outed as Black Mask.
    • As for Futaba, she deliberately targeted herself, as she wanted the Thieves to steal her heart so that she could be rid of her suicidal impulses and put an end to her shut-in lifestyle. In fact, the main problem was that Futaba was blaming herself for something that wasn't in any way her fault.
    • Regarding the Shadows of women who appear in Mementos, however, this is still present, but downplayed. There's a much closer to even mix of men and women culprits in that dungeon, and the women are legitimately bad people who need to change - but there's a gap in how evil the men are versus how evil the women are. The women range from stalkers to abusive mothers and girlfriends, while the Shadows of men in Mementos include murderers and sexual abusers.
    • In Royal, this is inverted with the last Palace, Takuto Maruki's. He is genuinely a Well-Intentioned Extremist who cares about other people suffering, his Nice Guy behavior isn't an act, and at numerous points offers ways out of conflict with the Phantom Thieves because he doesn't wish to have to fight them. Even his measures to cling to his goal are done out of desperation and because he has no other choice, rather than anything truly despicable.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: At the end of Royal, beyond the Phantom Thieves breaking up with the Metaverse gone, it turns out most of the cast are moving on in their personal lives too. Joker is going back to his hometown, Morgana is going with him, Ryuji is at least temporarily moving to a special facility to try to repair his messed up leg, Ann is going to study abroad, and Makoto and Haru are going to college. Only Yusuke and Futaba are remaining in Tokyo.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: At rank 10 of Ann's confidant, but only if Joker romantically pursues her. She'll confess a few things to him while they're sitting in a stopped ferris wheel, then go in for a kiss.
  • Fictional Painting: The Sayuri, a painting of a young woman looking down and smiling, which delighted the art world in its mystery - who is that woman and why is she smiling? The painting is a self-portrait by Yusuke's mother, and the original version showed her holding the baby Yusuke in her arms. When Madarame took advantage of her death and took Yusuke on as a protege, he painted over her arms so that the baby was no longer visible on the correct prediction that the added ambiguity would make it more appealing (and profitable). Thankfully for Yusuke, Madarame's treasure in the Metaverse and reality is the original painting without any modifications, which is hung on a wall in the coffee shop for safekeeping.
  • Final Dungeon Preview:
    • The Thieves visit Mementos early on to complete requests, train up, and collect Personas. In the final stage of the game, it becomes everyone's Palace, forcing the Thieves to infiltrate and steal its treasure to free all of Tokyo from its own apathy.
    • In Royal, a palace resembling a large structure made of glass and gold can be briefly visited as soon as October 3rd, and ends with Cendrillon's awakening where a Biyarky shadow is defeated. This is actually the final palace of Royal, Maruki's Palace.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • During "Operation Maidwatch", Mishima and Ryuji are terrified by the appearance of "Becky the maid" and she somehow recognizes their voices. Then you get a better look at her face and realise why: She's Kawakami!
    • Assuming the player didn't pick up on all the Foreshadowing, right before The Reveal of Akechi as Black Mask, the game makes it blatantly obvious by offering the player a chance to sell out the rest of the Phantom Thieves. Not only is Akechi singled out, the player cannot actually say he is a Phantom Thief at all.
    • Right before meeting the Palace owner of the third-semester palace, you can see the image of a girl that resembles Kasumi, but with brown hair, brown eyes, and a beauty mark below her left eye, who reaches out for her sister "Sumire" as she won a local gymnast competition. When Kasumi sees the image of this girl she goes into distress. Of course, that's actually the real Kasumi and she sacrificed herself to save Sumire from a lethal traffic accident....and the "Kasumi" you are with? That's actually Sumire.
  • Flash Step: One of the Protagonist's field abilities allows him to quickly move from cover to cover in the blink of an eye.
  • Food Porn: During the All You Can Eat Buffet Dinner after the Kamoshida mission, you have Ryuji rivaling Chie Satonaka in fondness for meat dishes, Ann describing cake in great detail, and when you get up to get food, you have Morgana describing every type of food on the tables (except veggies).
  • Foreshadowing: Has its own page.
  • Forged Message: The conspiracy forged a suicide note to cover up the murder of Wakaba, claiming that she regretted giving birth to Futaba. They also forge a calling card for Principal Kobayakawa, framing the Phantom Thieves for his murder.
  • The Four Gods: The four elemental animal guardians Seiryu, Suzaku, Byakko, and Genbu return as enemies and recruitable Persona. You can also use all four to fuse Kohryu in an Advanced Fusion after completing Sojiro's Social Link.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Implied. During a break from their group study session at Leblanc by the end of the game, it's revealed that all four girls in the Phantom Thieves are very comfortable with the idea of marrying the protagonist someday, were any of them to be in a relationship with him. Save Scumming through Joker's three possible answers to Ryuji's question about his opinion on marriage gives the player a good idea of each girl's thoughts on the matter:
    • Makoto seems to think Joker is a Confirmed Bachelor in the making because she will be pleasingly (if embarrassedly) surprised or look painfully unsurprised depending on whether he likes the idea of marriage or not. That, or letting out an annoyed "Oh, come on," if he dodges the question.
    • Haru is stuck speechless with emotion if Joker confesses that he's thought about getting married someday, but answering the opposite will prompt a downcast look out of her as she reasons, mostly with herself, that they're still in high school after all. She'll try to ask for elaboration in case of a Non-Answer, only for Yusuke to soon change the subject.
    • Similarly to Haru, if Joker shows no interest in marriage, Ann will awkwardly argue that's not something he could know for sure just yet. Or blush and giggle to herself if it's the other way around. A noncommittal answer will leave her at a loss, unsure of what he meant by that.
    • Futaba apparently never considered the possibility before, and will let out a startled "M-M-M-Marriage...!?" if her boyfriend says he did. As it was the case with Joker's Love Confession in her Confidant, this is just the surprise talking and she will become despondent if he either says he's never thought about getting married or doesn't give the team a straight answer.
    • Should Haru be romanced, her Rank 10 Confidant Menu description mentions she dreams of a future where she is running a cafe with a new fiancé, which is all but stated to be referring to Joker.
  • Framing Device: The protagonist's interrogation is an interesting variation of one. All but one of the in-game months that make up the protagonist's probation are recounted to Sae during his interrogation, which starts at the beginning of the game. Whenever you advance the story by taking out a big target, and every time you initiate a Confidant link except for twonote , the game skips forward to the interrogation, where Sae asks the protagonist to give her the details. While it's made clear that the protagonist mentions how the targets are taken out and all of the supernatural elements that entail, he leaves out names (both party members and Confidants) for everyone involved, even when Sae specifically figures out who the Phantom Thieves all are through logical deduction (like figuring out that her sister Makoto MUST be a Phantom Thief if Joker is telling the truth) - in fact, if you decide to sell out your friends and confidants at the very end of the interrogation, you get a bad ending. Eventually you get to the point where you infiltrate the same casino Palace seen at the very beginning of the game and get captured, and it's revealed that the thieves deliberately let the protagonist get captured in order to get Sae on their side and out detective Goro Akechi as a member of The Conspiracy. Should you successfully answer Sae's questions correctly, the protagonist (who had been addled with drugs up until this point) remembers his plan and initiates it, successfully escaping with Sae and going into hiding. Once the final arc begins, the framing device is no longer usednote .
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Pay close attention to the rapidly-shifting calendar in the interrogation flashforward cutscenes, and it's possible to notice that the date of the interrogation is November 20th, long before this point in the game is reached.
  • French Maid Outfit: The servers at the maid cafe all wear the standard frilly black and white maid outfits, as does Sadayo Kawakami in her second job.
  • Freudian Excuse: The Treasure in every Palace represents one for the owner, being the physical embodiment of the desire twisting the owner's actions. By stealing it, the Phantom Thieves remove its influence, causing the owner to return to their senses:
    • Kamoshida's is a crown which turns into his Olympic medal, representing the pressure he was under trying to live up to everyone's expectations as the hero who brought home the gold for Japan, which led to him becoming a Broken Ace as a result.
    • Madarame's is a representation of the (real) Sayuri painting, showing the inadequacy he felt as a fading artist compared to his younger and more talented students, which turned him into The Svengali.
    • Kaneshiro's are stacks of gold bullion which turn into an actual gold briefcase full of fake bills, representing his insecurity from having been poor and helpless in the past, leading to him becoming a cruel mob boss.
    • The fourth Palace's is actually the owner, Futaba, who is suffering from survivor's guilt and believes she is to blame for her mother's death, which resulted in her becoming a Hikikomori.
    • Okumura's is a mysterious metallic orb, which turns into the model rocket he was denied as a child due to his family's unfortunate financial situation, which led him to grow up to be a Corrupt Corporate Executive who'll do anything to get what he wants.
    • The sixth Palace's is unrevealed, but is suggested to be the police journal of Sae's father, representing the combined weight of his death, the burden of taking care of her sister, and trying to succeed in her career, which led to her becoming a borderline Amoral Attorney and overbearing towards Makoto. In the ending, Sae asks what the form of her Treasure was, but all the possible responses indicate that you don't know,
    • The seventh Palace's is the steering wheel to the cruise ship the Palace is on, which turns into Shido's legislator's pin, representing Shido believing deep down that despite all his evil actions, he truly can lead Japan to a better future.
    • The general populace's treasure at the Depths of Mementos is the Holy Grail within Yaldabaoth, representing their subconscious desire to remain apathetic, and free from having to take responsibility for their actions.
    • The treasure from the Royal palace - the one conceived by new Shujin counsellor Takuto Maruki - is a newspaper clipping detailing the murder of his girlfriend's family, which led to her catatonia and, by extension, him erasing her memory of him and their relationship in order to "actualise" her ideal existence.
    • Most of the Treasure Buds of Mementos targets tend to be items(often weapons, skill cards or items to unlock Persona fusions) with less of a clear tie to the source of the Shadows' distorted desieres. In Shadow Makigami's case, the bud is a key to a drawer (which, in the OVA, contains a picture of himself with his brother), while Shadow Kishi's is a theme park magazine (suggesting that he cares about his family).
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: The Thieves give this answer to any target who tries to justify themselves with one, telling them that no matter what happened to them they are all responsible for their own actions. Kaneshiro gets this the hardest, with the Phantom Thieves being especially appalled at the idea that he thinks it justifies his behavior and especially due to the high probability that his motive is legit.
  • A Friend in Need: When in the end the Protagonist turns himself in as leader of the Phantom Thieves so he can testify against Shido, the other Phantom Thieves spend the next month and a half trying to find a way to save their leader. Any Confidants that have been maxed out will also be shown tapping their connection, rallying others and generally doing everything in their power to prove the Protagonist's innocence and earn him his freedom. It pays off in the end, and the Protagonist's record is wiped clean, allowing him to leave juvenile hall a free man.
  • Friendship Trinket: In your last day in townnote , any character whose Level-Up at Intimacy 5 "Confidant" side-quest you have maxed out will give you an item to remember them by. These items also automatically unlock late-game bonuses from their side-quest if you start a New Game+.
  • Funny Background Event: Royal added a few new scenes where you may see some Non-Playable Characters, confidants, or party members in the background when you walk to school:
    • Kawakami is seen running to school on April 25.
    • On some mornings (May 28, June 6, June 11), Ikesugi and his friend walk past you. You might not notice they're them at first due to them having nondistinguishable features, but just as they pass, sometimes you might see Ikesugi's stalker run past you to chase them. She will stop pursuing him if you complete her Mementos side quest.
  • Funny Foreigner: A minor character in both the base game and Royal is the tall, black barker for a night-time bar in Shibuya. Talking to him reveals that he loves living in Japan, but has trouble at work and feels ostracized — in the Japanese version, it's due to the language barrier (with him speaking in broken Japanese peppered with English phrases), while in the English localization it's because of cultural differences (with him being an energetic loudmouth whose extreme friendliness unnerves people).
  • Fusion Dance: In Royal, during the cutscene where a party member unlocks their third-tier Persona, it shows their initial and ultimate Persona fusing together in a flash of blue light.
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