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Persona 5 provides examples of the following tropes:

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    G 
  • Gambit Pileup: The final act reveals that the entire overarching plot was riding on it. Masayoshi Shido and his band of conspirators had been using the Metaverse to ruin the careers and lives of their political opponents and anyone who got in their way, and The Dragon, Goro Akechi, was doing their bidding for the sole purpose of exacting revenge on Shido, who happened to be his father through an illicit affair, when the time was right. Shido suspected this and planned to dispose of Akechi once he was elected. This conspiracy begins plotting against the Phantom Thieves when they start to (unknowingly) target their associates, in an attempt to frame them for their own crimes. The Phantom Thieves catch on to this and hatch their own plot against Akechi so that they can uncover who's behind everything. And finally, All of this is just a solitaire game by Yaldabaoth, who deliberately rigs the most despicable, ignorant and tyrannical conspiracy possible into power and have the masses worship them, then have either Joker or Akechi dismantle them so he can justify his despotic rule over humanity so there will be no more corrupt and impotent conspiracies like the one he sets up. And then he manipulates the masses to delete all Phantom Thieves as well. At this point, Joker can either cut a deal with him in order to keep himself in business so he can take over the city for the price of all of his comrades, or get the good ending by putting a stop to all the plotting and collusion and take him down.
  • Gambit Roulette: The entire casino heist and everything after was all part of a plan by the Thieves to expose Akechi as a traitor, find out who his boss is, turn Sae to their side and fake the Protagonist's death so that The Conspiracy will stop chasing the thieves for awhile. However, as everyone points out, nobody knew what would happen past the Protagonist's capture and the entire plan hinged on the Protagonist appealing to Sae's long lost sense of justice. And then there's the fact that the drugs the interrogators used messed with his mind so much that he didn't even remember that there was a plan until the last minute.
  • Game-Over Man: Velvet Room attendants Justine and Caroline bring your corpse to their Eldritch Location and read various poems lamenting the end of your journey whenever you die.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Igor having invoked a different voice actor is justified because he isn't actually Igor, but an imposter that's the Big Bad of the entire game.
    • Joker's Proficiency level affects some of his idle animations in certain scenes. When he's studying, he'll just tap his pen on the table if his proficiency isn't that high, but once it's maxed out, he'll start spinning it around, and he'll also spin his phone around during meetings at the hideout.
    • Makoto can be found conspicuously following Joker (either at school, or in Shibuya), hiding her face behind a manga magazine after being told to find the Phantom Thieves. In Royal, it's made even more obvious when Joker and Ryuji go to Kichijoji, as she's explicitly seen following them there.
    • All of your party members' initial personas resist the element their persona specializes in. However, Akechi specializes in both Bless and Curse, and, unlike Naoto from Persona 4, does not resist both of his elements... in fact, Akechi is actually weak to curse. This makes more sense once you learn Robin Hood is not Akechi's primary Persona.
    • The Judgement Confidant is formed and Ranked up in the periodic interrogation scenes throughout the game, but the experience bonuses do not kick in until the plot reaches that point, even though you technically have the Confidant levels before that point in the game. That said, most Personas of the Judgment Arcana tend to be too high leveled to actually be fused before that point in the game.
    • The Game Over screen changes once you reach the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, where Igor and Lavenza lament how there's nobody left to stop Yaldabaoth or Maruki now.
    • One of the plot points about halfway into the story is that Morgana begins to feel that the group doesn't want or need him around anymore. This is reflected in two main ways; first, by this point in the game Morgana's utility in battle has dropped significantly. He is a Squishy Wizard, but early access to high-level healing spells makes him an almost mandatory party member at the beginning of the game. However, as the game wears on, Ann comes in to her own as a sturdier and more powerful spellcaster, Makoto joins the party, and Joker gathers more and more Personas. All three have access to similar or better healing spells, and Joker can even access Morgana's otherwise unique Garu spells. Secondly, Makoto and Futaba take over the roles of analyzing enemies and navigating the Palace/Mementos respectively after they join the party, both of which were Morgana's job previously (Futaba even assumes the role of battle commentary from him). This also integrates into the story when he re-ignites his passion and rejoins the Phantom Thieves, he learns his third level Garu skills faster than any other character, and his magic ability skyrockets, letting him do much more damage much sooner than almost any other character (Haru/Noir does as much damage, but lacks Morgana's accuracy).
    • Normally, when you initiate a new Confidant link, the game will fast-forward to the interrogation with Sae, who will bring up some kind of expertise related to the Confidant (for example, the expert tactics used by the Phantom Thieves when you unlock the Star Confidant). If you wait until after the date of the interrogation to start a Confidant, it will not fast-forward at all.
    • Minor, but the amounts of money the Mementos mini-bosses throw when confused, are generally in-line with how rich-or-poor said targets in the real world are at that point. For instance, the couple behind Kawakami's troubles (extorting her for "apology money") are loaded beyond belief, whereas the couple in Futaba's Confidant (forcing their daughter to "sell" herself for cash) barely have a yen to their name... literally even; the male Shadow of the group throws a single yen if you use this trick on him.
    • A disturbing case in Royal is Shadow Kamoshida can summon a cognitive Shiho for his second Gold Medal Spike. And then Morgana tells you that you can kill it because it isn't the real Shiho, and doing so stops the Gold Medal Spike. Cognitive Shiho is weak to literally everything you throw at it, since Shiho is beaten a lot by Kamoshida.
    • Another case exclusive to Royal is when Joker hangs out with Kasumi during the main campaign of the game, she often displays blatant, over the roof klutziness, such as blatantly missing six balls in the batting cage even when she was most obviously focusing. Once she's exposed as actually being Sumire and Joker brings her to the darts club, her AI is programmed to play it very badly.
    • If you invite Akechi to play darts in Royal, none of the other Thieves will show up to hang out with him. He'll also insist on playing 701, the most difficult darts game. This makes it so that he's the slowest party member to level up his Baton Pass rank, as it's impossible to build up trust with him quickly by giving him advice in the fourth round.
    • The randomly-selected opponents for Tycoon will never enable a scenario where both Akechi and Futaba or Haru are your opponents, since of course they wouldn't be willing to casually play a game of cards with their parents' killer.
    • Another disturbing case occurs during the third term where Maruki uses a mentally unstable Sumire that he took hostage a week ago to attack you in retaliation for rejecting his deal. When Sumire fights you in person, she will go down after around 3 to 4 attacks, in addition to possessing no way to get around a Persona that nulls Bless or Phys; if Joker has a Persona that repels either of these, she'll kill herself with the reflected damage. Sumire's impressive set of Dull Eyes of Unhappiness during that moment, comparable to those of Shiho at the start of the game, demonstrate she isn't in any condition to fight. Akechi also backs off for fear of killing her by accident; with how aggressive Akechi is during combat, Joker and Akechi fighting together would see her dead by the second turn.
    • The Post-Final Boss of Royal features a minor case of this. Because the Metaverse is breaking down, neither Joker nor Maruki can use their Personas anymore, resorting to slugging each other with their bare fists, and looking about as cool as you'd expect a high school student fighting a counselor/researcher to look. Joker's in-game portrait reflects his lack of a Persona by no longer having a mask.
    • How do the non-Joker party members gain their third Personas? By fusing the other two, naturally.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • If you make the decision on a Saturday to send Kamoshida's calling card the next day, then the students will be at school, even though they should have Sunday off.
    • If you fail the deadline for the Cruise Ship Palace after defeating Black Mask (which requires going out of your way to do so, since it's possible to send the calling card and do the final heist on the same day), he'll show up and arrest you despite his apparent sacrifice.
    • On New Game Plus, if you go into battle against the Final Boss with Satanael among your Personas, it ultimately ends with Joker turning Arsène into the building-sized Satanael, despite the fact that you already have him with you.
    • Several of the Phantom Thieves' in-battle moves that involve shooting - such as their melee critical hits, backup Follow Ups, Bullet Hail, etc - aren't connected to their ammo packs; they'll still pull off these moves even if one/all of them have no bullets left. However, this can be justified by Rule of Cool and Rule of Fun.
    • Star's Rank 3 ability, Uchikomi - allowing Follow-Up attacks by backup members - works even if the party member in question hasn't unlocked Follow-Up in their Confidant yet, or even unlocked their Confidant period (such as in the case of Haru).
    • Even if you enter a romantic relationship with one of your fellow phantom thieves, the game tends to act like your character is single, such as when you go try to pick up girls with Ryuji and Yusuke at the beach. And even if you are in a relationship with Ann, she'll ask you what type of girl you're into in Hawaii after asking Ryuji what his type is.
    • In the epilogue, you can give the probation diary, which Joker wrote in whenever you saved, back to Sojiro just before leaving Leblanc to say goodbye to your Confidants. Even after you do this though, you can still save.
    • Akechi possesses the same Wild Card ability as Joker, including the ability to use more than one Persona; however, he is not able to switch between them during battle. The game explains that Akechi's lack of bonds with others and inability to access the Velvet Room means he doesn't have any Personas apart from Robin Hood and Loki (who, according to Futaba in Royal, are born of his lies and his hate respectively). Additionally, he doesn't reveal he has Loki until after he betrays the Phantom Thieves. However, it is not explained why he can't switch between Robin Hood and Loki when he rejoins the party in the third semester. The game essentially treats Robin Hood and Loki as Akechi's initial and Ultimate Persona respectively, and like the other party members, unlocking his third-tier Persona Hereward makes him unable to access either. Given that this Akechi is in some way affected by Maruki's actualization rather than being wholly himself, it's uncertain whether this discrepancy is due to Maruki's incomplete knowledge, was intentional on Akechi or Maruki's part, or due to some other conclusion.
    • Loki has entirely different stats and skills in his playable form in Royal than he does in his original boss fight, which remained unchanged. Namely, Akechi is strong against Bless in his boss fight, whereas it's his weakness when he's playable.
    • The Big Bang Challenge has Joker try and eat a giant hamburger. He can take the challenge multiple days in a row, which would most definitely have a negative impact on his health. But taking the challenge day after day won’t have ill effects on Joker’s health at all.
  • Game Show: You can occasionally catch quiz shows on TV, which ask questions related to Japanese laws. Guessing the right answer to a question ahead of the contenders will even net you a bonus parameter point to knowledge without spending any time.
  • Genre Throwback:
    • Elements of previous SMT and Persona games are brought back in this game, including the ability to recruit Mons through negotiation and guns as an equippable weapon for all party members. Elements of the SMT main series' "YHVH vs. Lucifer" narrative also bleed into this game near the end, with Yaldabaoth having elements of YHVH's characterization (chiefly, his desire to subject humanity to his whims) and being defeated by a Persona that is a Gnostic interpretation of Lucifer.
    • In Royal, further references to the obscure Xbox SMT Shin Megami Tensei: NINE are added, including a heroine named Sumire, Adam Kadmon and a dream reality resembling Idea Space, with its guardian Maria acting as the Faith Arcana's ultimate persona.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Like in Persona 4, your party members with high enough Confidants can smack each other to cure certain status aliments. Unlike in Persona 4, they do this by pulling a giant Paper Fan of Doom out of nowhere.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Maruki's plan in Royal. By merging Mementos with the real world, he can create a perfect utopia where everyone is eternally happy, but which will also be stagnant, controlled solely by Maruki, and never give anyone a chance to grow or become a better person.
  • Giant Mook: Most of the mini-bosses are regular Shadows/Demons with upgraded stats and elemental protections.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Reaper, a terrifyingly powerful Shadow that will appear and attack you in Mementos if you stay still for two minutes. It's even viewed this way in-game, with Morgana saying that he doesn't know anything about the Reaper besides the fact that it's pants-wettingly terrifying and should not be messed with.
  • G.I.F.T.: Since the posters on the Phan-site are anonymous, a lot of the posts can get quite nasty. When Okumura is killed, for a few days, people rejoice over his death, but soon, opinion turns against the Thieves, and people start calling for them to be tracked down and executed for the murder that they didn't commit.
  • Glass Cannon: The "Merciless" difficulty turns everyone into this thanks to adding a 2.5x multiplier to critical damage. If you get a critical hit, technical or exploit a weakness, just about every opponent and party member other than bosses can be killed instantly.
  • The Glasses Come Off:
    • The protagonist loses his Purely Aesthetic Glasses any time he enters the collective unconscious to fight Shadows. Particularly played up at the start of the game, where his glasses are knocked off by a guard right before he awakens to his Persona.
    • This also happens to Sumire Yoshizawa after she's exposed as not being Kasumi and you max her Confidant to rank 10.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: In the start of the Third Trimester in Royal, Joker gets clued in immediately that things aren't right when there's a strange boy in Leblanc (Morgana in human form) and Futaba mentions her mother, Wakaba having brought her Yukata. Similarly, Akechi immediately notices things are wrong because the police simply let him go after giving him routine questioning, despite the fact that he'd confessed to multiple felonies.
  • Global Ignorance: Ryuji thinks that Los Angeles is not only the capital city of America, but assumes it's somewhere in the middle of the country. The other Phantom Thieves immediately mock him for this.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: While the Greater-Scope Villain creator of the Metaverse seems to be spreading access to his Eldritch Location to multiple individuals and filling an entire underground labyrinth with monsters, the Big Good Igor just sits in his room and fuses new Guardian Entities for you. Subverted when it turns out that (a) the Greater-Scope Villain has been impersonating Igor all along, thus explaining his general enthusiasm about your deal which the real Igor never sports; and (b) the real Igor created Mr. Exposition Morgana to help you, and his assistant Lavenza has been appearing to you as a Butterfly of Death and Rebirth throughout the game.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Phantom Thieves only did what they did because the people they went after were basically either untouchable due to having connections with authority or had said authority to be judged by lawful means.
  • Going Through the Motions: Animation tailored to a particular scene isn't uncommon, but there are several canned animations that are used reliably for each character. One noticeable wrinkle is the fact that a character model's lip flaps don't seem to be timed or tied to any sound clips – there are many, many occasions where someone's mouth will simply continue to move even when they're not actually speaking in the scene at moment.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: After the protagonist turns himself in to the police, all of the party members and max-ranked Confidants do their part to ensure the charges against him are dropped. While the party members manage to track down a key witness to prove the protagonist is not guilty of assault, the Confidants use all of their available connections to stir up a massive public support campaign, which manages to convince the prosecutors to drop the case.
  • Good-Guy Bar: Sojiro's Cafe Leblanc serves a the protagonist's home, a hangout for his friends, and later in the game, a hideout.
  • The Goomba: Pyro Jack, a jack-o-lantern in a wizard costume, and Pixie, a tiny fairy girl, are the two weakest enemies in the entire game, to the point they serve as Video Game Tutorial fights during your first few days in Tokyo. You'll only encounter them in the first few areas of the very start of the game, and they are the lowest level Guardian Entities behind your Starter Mon Arsène.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: Unlike P3 and P4, awakening to your Persona abilities in P5 also grants you a cool thief outfit in a blaze of magical blue flames. Morgana explains it by being a side-effect of the Mental World - your outfit is what you think a 'rebel' looks like. In Haru's case, she has her thief outfit before she can actually use her Persona, as she awakened to her potential by going into the Metaverse, but her Persona was unable to take form until encountering her father's Shadow.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The screen turns blood-red and your characters can be seen blasting holes in their enemies' silhouettes when you perform an All-Out Attack.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Generally averted, especially with Ryuji who has the foulest mouth on the team, but for whatever reason he only drops a single full-on F-bomb the entire game (in a text). Otherwise he restricts himself to saying "eff" and variants thereof, which he says frequently. Other characters outside the party drop F-bombs throughout the game, however.
  • Gossipy Hens: The female and male students of Shujin Academy. They are constantly spreading Malicious Slander about the protagonist and his friends and gossiping about them.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Like the previous games, the entire soundtrack except the credits theme is in English. With the lyrics being penned by a native speaker and Lyn having a rather manageable accent, however, it's significantly better than the occasional Engrish that was in P3 and P4.
    • Numerous UI elements are randomly written in English. The localization changed some of the more Engrish-y phrases, such as the text that appears when ambushing an enemy, "CHANCE!", becoming "AMBUSH!"
    • All of the character's codenames are in English (or, as is the case with "Mona", a name that has English origins), with the exception of Haru's still-not-Japanese "Noir".
    • The splash screens at the end of each character's All-Out Attack (plus Caroline and Justine, and Lavenza in Royal) have a Bond One-Liner in English, once again excepting Haru who keeps employing French instead.
    • Ryuji and Futaba's wardrobes makes extensive use of random, albeit actually-sensical, English phrases: Ryuji has t-shirts reading "ZOMG!", "ON UR MARK", and "NO MO' RULES". Futaba has a Tetris shirt that says "NO WAY!!", another that says "JLMK" - "Just let me know" - written on it, and while the length of her hair makes it difficult to ever see, her flight jacket has "AFK" written on the back. Besides these two, there's also Ohya, who wears a t-shirt reading "LOW LIFE FIGHT THE POWER". Unlike the UI example, this one makes a bit more sense - apparel with English phrases written on them is a popular fashion trend in East Asia.
    • Ann tends to pepper some English both in and out of battle ("Get ready!"), but this can be justified since she's been raised overseas for most of her life and is said to be fluent in the language (not that it shows in her actual voice acting). Not so much Ryuji, however. When Ann is pretending to be a descendant of British royalty, she says "It's nice to meet you. My name is Ann Windsor," in English.
    • Ms. Chouno, who is Ambiguously Brown and implied to have spent a good amount of time out of Japan, tends to call people "Mr." and "Ms." in the Japanese version, rather than using Japanese Honorifics. While it's partially justified since she's an English teacher, she refers to her co-workers with the English addresses, making it this trope. In the Japanese voice acting, she says "Hello, everyone" and "Please answer" in English now and then.
    • Shoji Meguro finally revealed in an interview the reason why the battle themes in the series are in English: it's treated as a background instrument while a song in Japanese might distract Japanese players.
    • Futaba will speak English when using her Support ability if the voices are set to Japanese, saying things like "Power up!" and "Speed up!"
    • When you rescue Futaba from her cell in the Mementos-Velvet Room, she says "Real jail break" in English.
  • Gratuitous French:
    • The tarot cards go by the French names, fitting since the designs draw heavily from the Marseilles designs. Fitting with that deck, though, the Death card has no name.
    • Haru's codename that she picks out for herself offscreen, "Noir". As she cheerfully informs the rest of the party, "It's French for 'black'!"
      • The Bond One-Liner at the end of Haru's All-Out Attack is likewise in French: "Adieu." ("Goodbye.")
  • Gray Rain of Depression:
    • "Beneath the Mask", a slow, quiet ballad where the singer laments their Loss of Identity, plays on any day it rains.
    • A straight example happens during the truth Maruki displays to you, Akechi and "Kasumi" about the real Kasumi's death, which took place at a gray, rainy day.
  • The Grim Reaper: "The Reaper" from previous Persona games now stalks the halls of the underground Mementos dungeon, forcing lower level parties to not stay on one floor for too long if they don't want to face an untimely death. As in previous games, the monster wears a white bag over its head and long black jacket, to invoke the standard grim-reaper black-cloaked skull imagery.
    • Making its debut in the Persona series in Royal is Macabre, a pale, black-dressed Shadow wielding a scythe.
  • Growling Gut:
    • Ryuji after exiting Kamoshida's palace when he gets his Persona for the first time has his stomach audibly growl.
    • Happens to Yusuke at a certain point in Joker's bedroom.
    • Futaba has this happened to her due to her random hunger, but it's strangely not heard sometimes.
    • Kasumi had this in her introductory trailer while eating with Joker in Royal.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • For most players, the first instinct upon seeing the boss charge up a powerful attack is to put everyone on guard. However, there are several instances in the game where this is actually the worst possible option, either because the attack takes more than one turn to charge (this is actually a plot point in Futaba's dungeon, as the Sphinx's attack can take multiple turns, but can't be accurately predicted until Futaba joins the party) and/or there's something you can do to stop or minimize the attack. Most prominently, doing this against the Last Ditch Move of the Final Boss means that the attack will be too powerful and inflict a Total Party Kill (what you need to do is destroy its Cognizant Limbs or debuff its Attack stat in order to weaken the blow to manageable levels). And since it's a Last Ditch Move, it means you'll have to go through the whole boss battle all over again.
    • Whenever a new Palace infiltration starts, you're given a specified number of days to complete it which is shown in the top right corner. What the game doesn't tell you (Unless you look at your Calendar in the menu) is that you need at least three whole days to fully beat a palace. You can get to the treasure in as low as one day, and afterward you need another day to send the calling card, and then you fight the Palace's boss the following day. So even if you did secure your route to the treasure, the game will allow you to run out of the amount of time you actually need without immediately giving you a game over.
    • If the player decides to use gifts as a way to earn more points, be prepared to waste a lot of them. Some gifts are obviously meant for certain characters, while others are much more vague — for instance, Ann will love the Snack Pack while Futaba will simply like it — meaning the player will either have to check a guide, or make a shot in the dark based on a character's personality.
    • Every Persona has their own "inheritance type" based on one of the many elements in the game (including Recovery, Ailment, and Almighty) that decides what element of skills they can inherit: generally, Persona of one element cannot inherit a skill of the opposite element (i.e. Fire cannot inherit Ice, Nuclear cannot inherit Psychic, Ailment cannot inherit Recovery, and vice-versa); Physical-type (which includes Gun) Persona cannot inherit any skill type but Ailment and Recovery; Bless and Curse-type Persona cannot inherit Physical skills and Ailment or Recovery skills respectively; Ailment-type Persona cannot inherit Bless skills; Recovery-type Persona cannot inherit Physical or Curse skills; and finally Almighty-type Persona can inherit any skill, and conversely any Persona can inherit Almighty skills. None of this is directly stated in-game, and you can only determine which Persona is what type through trial-and-error. Confusion is compounded by the fact that some Persona can still learn skills in the element they cannot inherit (i.e. Arsene is a Curse-type Persona yet can naturally learn Cleave) and that this rule does not apply to Skill Cards.
    • If you intend to create and use Skill Cards extensively, be warned: While most skills are available by itemizing Personas from the Electric Chair, there are certain skills that you cannot obtain this way. The other way to obtain skill cards is through item negotiation, and you're going to need a guide to understand which enemy gives which skill card. Some enemies will give the same skill card as they would if you itemized them, just to complicate the process.
    • In the darts minigame, you can use the X button instead of flicking the controller to throw the darts. Nowhere in the game is this told to the player.
    • Then, there's also the true final boss of Royal Maruki and Azathoth. While the instrumental final boss theme might make you think that this is only the first phase of his boss fight like Shido or Cendrillon, this is the actual final boss and the phase after it is the bonus phase. The game does not give you any clues on what to target and if you are playing blind, you can and will get stuck. The correct solution is to kill either Azathoth or Maruki twice, which requires removing a tentacle that is making the former take No-Sell damage or healing the latter for copious amounts to make it effective in any sort of way. This is not told or indicated anywhere during the fight.
    • In Royal, unlocking Hereward is easy to miss on a first playthrough. This is because to get him, you have to pick specific dialogue options during Akechi's Confidant (specifically those indicating that you see him as a rival), and picking any other choice will not unlock him during the third semester, even if the Confidant has been maxed.
    • While the other seven Showtime attacks are obtained automatically during Royal's story, Joker and Violet's has to be unlocked without anything in the game telling you so. You have to max Sumire's confidant, then access the hideout after January 20.
    • In Royal, the menu does not inform the player of the passive effects of the Will Seed Rings. For example, Vault Guardian is said to raise Defense for the whole party for three turns, but it is not mentioned that it gives the wearer an automatic Tetrakarn and Makarakarn at the start of battle.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: Even outside of the Bad Endings, the game makes use of this:
    • Going for an all-out attack instead of negotiation becomes more of a moral dilemma when a Shadow is begging for its life (unless, of course, your name is Haru). That the shadows have distinct voices and personalities doesn't help either.
    • Morgana will repeatedly insist that you go infiltrate the Palace if you haven't secured a route to the Treasure, and if you try to hang out with your party Confidants during this periodnote , they will ask you if you're sure you have time to waste hanging out with them. The exception is if you're waiting for the day of the heist, like with Sae and Maruki's Palaces.
    • Occasionally, the game will make you feel guilty about something it forced you to do. For example, you don't get to opt out of hitting on the girls at the beach, but it will still press a Jerkass Realization on you. There is also a point where the thieves admit to having become Glory Hounds, even if you've been playing Joker as cautious, altruistic or circumspect.
    • As they're all teens who you then choose to bond with, each of the girls on the team take rejection or being "friend-zoned" as well as one would expect a young woman at that age: Futaba is quick to sublimate her crush on you as "teammate friendliness" and Haru takes it so poorly she goes cold for a moment. Ann crying over Shiho moving is a big visual indicator that encourages you to hug her instead of staying friends, and for what it's worth Makoto takes it the best provided you don't back out from the first choice. Even being a loyal boyfriend (or unattached bachelor) won't save you from a guilt trip. On the other hand the older female options, perhaps to show their more experienced world-views (as well as them all being aware of the age gap issue) don't take rejection anywhere near as badly. For example, if you tell Takemi that you came to see her because of your exams, she says that she "can take a hint."
    • In Royal you are going to face the dilemma of killing a fake Shiho as it is about to let Shadow Kamoshida instantly kill you with a Gold Medal Spike, or attack Kamoshida himself for a moderate amount of damage so he will drive her away anyway.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Knocking down all enemies will allow the party to hold them at gunpoint, after which Joker can negotiate with an enemy to give him items, extort money, or make them become your Persona. Or you can just hit them all with an All-Out Attack. If a negotiation is going south, a Confidant skill also allows Joker to fire warning shots to get the enemies in line.
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    H 
  • Hacker Collective: The Phantom Thieves' fourth target is an Anonymous-inspired group called "Medjed" that targets them and their supporters out of jealousy.
  • Hail Fire Peaks: Futaba's Palace mixes the Desert-type Temple of Doom with several Cyberspace motifs.
  • Happily Ever After: This doesn't happen if you play normally, but if you cut a deal with Takuto Maruki in the third term, he will make it happen in a twisted way, where Morgana becomes human, Ryuji becomes a popular man among the track team, Ann hangs out with Shiho as she didn't get abused by Kamoshida, Yusuke reconciles with his ideal Madarame, Makoto and Sae's father is alive, Wakaba wasn't murdered, Okumura is alive and doesn't abuse his employees or sell Haru for political gain, Akechi became a freelance cameraman, and Sumire is completely overwritten by Kasumi and can continue her legacy, effectively making Sumire murdered for good. The protagonist? He had more fun making a deal with Yaldabaoth than Maruki, that is. It has gone over the pure oppression by Yaldabaoth into nothing short of pure existential nihilism, since at least Yaldabaoth needs enforcers to keep people's mouths shut. The protagonist's friends enjoy life with no suffering, no moving forward, and ultimately no meaningful existence in this "happy" ending.
  • Happy Ending Override: Downplayed in Royal. The original ending had Joker ready to enjoy summer vacation with his friends, after dodging some incompetent police officers. By contrast, Royal makes sure to emphasize that Joker's life is going to be VERY difficult going forward due to the police still suspecting his involvement in the Shido case, showing how persistent the police will be. He instead has to leave the Phantom Thieves to go home on a train (similar to Persona 4) while his friends distract the police.
  • Harder Than Hard: The "Merciless" difficulty, which makes enemies even stronger than on Hard while also raising damage to elemental weaknesses and technical attacks, forcing you to play more strategically to survive. However, it also results in enemies also taking massive damage from critical hits, weakness exploitations, and technical damage, crossing into Non-Indicative Difficulty as several opponents can be destroyed in a few turns with some lucky crits.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Palaces can rip you apart if you aren't careful, and a lax player can easily become overwhelmed and killed if they head into a fight unprepared or are ambushed. The bosses, however, are fairly easy, with a large number of them being gimmick based. Madarame (or Okumura in Royal) is the exception to this, but after him no boss is really threatening outside of the Bonus Boss.
  • Hatedom: In-Universe: The "Phan-dom" completely devolves into this some time after Okumura's death, with the majority of the messages on the ticker being calling for the deaths/arrest of the Phantom Thieves, with Mishima trying to delete most of the offending messages. Thankfully, it's turned around when the Confidants rally everyone into supporting the Phantom Thieves defeat Yaldaboath. Following the destruction of the Metaverse after that and the Phantom Thieves secretly disbanding, it becomes neutral and peaceful.
  • Haunted House: Your party initially thinks Sojiro's home is this, as Futaba doesn't bother turning on any of the lights during the day. It doesn't help that they go in during a thunderstorm.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Following the continuous struggle between the Magician and Chariot arcanas, Ryuji and Morgana appear to genuinely dislike each other. Morgana is annoyed by Ryuji for being pretty stupid (though he doesn't hold it against Ann), and being rude in general. He later grows irritated over Ryuji being an Attention Whore as well. Ryuji starts off okay, but after a full game of Morgana constantly making fun of him, he's basically indifferent to Morgana throwing a tantrum and leaving mid-September.
  • Healing Winds: Cool Breeze is a passive effect that recovers a small amount of HP and SP after every battle.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: In the finale, the power of your connections with your friends and accomplices summons a 20 story tall demon king who uses the Seven Deadly Sins in bullet form while the Phantom Thieves are protected by the hopes of the people of Tokyo to shoot a giant mecha god in the head and save Christmas.
  • The Heartless: This game builds upon Persona 4, with your party targeting dozens of Shadows that represent corrupt individuals' repressed emotions, who can, in turn, be forced into seeing the error of their ways in order to reform their human selves. Further, you can talk to pretty much any Shadow now, as they all are pieces of human consciousness. And as usual, the Big Bad turns out to be an Eldritch Abomination-level Shadow. This time, he was born from the collective desire to maintain social order, but has gone so out of control he plans to absorb reality and "save" humanity from The Evils of Free Will.
  • Hero Antagonist: Naturally, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department opposes the protagonists for their illicit activities. This includes entirely well meaning characters like consulting detective Goro Akechi and public prosecutor Sae Niijima. Akechi is one of the main villains with his very own agenda at least prior to Royal's third term, and the head of the Public Prosecutor's Special Investigation Department is also in on the conspiracy.
  • The Hero Dies: In the in-universe video game Featherman Seeker, the protagonist Grey Pigeon sacrifices himself to save humanity at the end of the game.
  • Heroic Build: Discussed by Yusuke in a Mementos conversation, where he says that he likes to read foreign comics due to the impressive musculature of the characters.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • When Joker gets sent to juvy, the Phantom Thieves and the Confidants band together to help clear his name of the crime he was convicted of before the game began. This event happens during the Time Skip at the end of the game.
    • The DLC Personas used by previous protagonists such as Izanagi are described as this.
  • The Hero's Journey: The basic structure of how each party member ends up joining the Phantom Thieves, with the character falling into the Palace, where they have to overcome Shadows by awakening to their Persona, eventually leading them to confront the boss of the current dungeon and in the end leave having gained new friends and the power to help others. The Protagonist meanwhile undergoes a larger, more detailed version of the arc over the course of the entire story.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Morgana continues the tradition of the Magician arcane. He may have had some ups and downs over his bromance with Joker, but ultimately, nothing can break-up their partnership. Even when he seemingly betrayed them, Morgana ends up finding the only way for them to continue, does a bunch of quests that increases the gang's reputation, and (depending on what you choose) helps Joker meet his future girlfriend. Not even death stops Morgana from coming back to be with Joker. Morgana is also one of several mandatory social links that increase automatically, meaning it's impossible to clear the game without reaching rank 10 with him.
    • Although not a part of the Magician Arcana as past best friend characters have been, Chariot Arcana Ryuji Sakamoto can be considered this to the protagonist. Not only is Ryuji the protagonist's first available confidant and friend, he noticeably appears as an alternative option in most story events that would otherwise be spent with a datable female character, even to the point that if the player chooses to forego a romance route entirely, Ryuji will automatically show up on Valentine's Day and give the protagonist chocolate.
  • High-Altitude Battle: The battle against the Final Boss Yaldabaoth takes place up in the sky, high above the clouds. Towards the end of the fight, when the people of Tokyo begin to regain their hope and rally behind the Phantom Thieves, the clouds part, allowing the city below to be seen.
  • His Name Is...: Subverted and Played for Laughs.
    • At the school assembly, Akechi is about to give his theory as to who the Phantom Thieves are. Just as he's about to say it, Akechi's phone rings, forcing him to step away to take the call.
    • When Futaba takes over Japan's airwaves to broadcast Shido's calling card, the police shut it off before the livestream announces who their next target is. Futaba is impressed that they were faster than she thought, but then proceeds to block them out and completely take over the airwaves and they then out Shido as their next target.
  • Historical Domain Character: In addition to Shin Megami Tensei staples, the main characters' revealed Personas veer away from standard mythological figures and include a few real-life characters that fit the roguish theme of the protagonists:
  • Hold the Line: Some boss fights have "special operations" where one party member is sent to expose a vulnerability in the boss while the remaining party members keep up the offensive to distract the boss. Success depends on both whether the right party member is sent and whether the remaining party can keep attacking enough so that the boss doesn't notice what the missing party member is doing.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • The first fight against the Holy Grail is unwinnable, as it will constantly heal itself.
    • In the finale, you get a preview of the Bonus Boss fight against Caroline and Justine. Unfortunately, they'll automatically reduce you to 1 HP in two turns, and Joker is unable to act.
  • Hourglass Plot: One happens over the course of the game with two NPCs, an Arrogant Housewife and a Modest Housewife. At the start of the game, the Arrogant Housewife enjoys rubbing her husband's success in the face of the Modest Housewife, but the Modest Housewife's husband's fortunes improve. By the end of the game, the "Not-So-Arrogant Housewife"'s husband is forced to quit his job, and the "Not-So-Modest Housewife" subtly gloats about how she and her husband will still be living in Tokyo.
  • Hufflepuff House: Kosei High School has three significant characters- a party member (Yusuke), a non-party Confidant (Hifumi) and a Mementos target (Shimizu)- but apart from this, very little is known about it, and it mainly exists to prove that Joker had few chances to meet Yusuke before the Madarame heist. Akechi goes to an entirely different school from Shujin and Kosei, but it's never referred to by name.
  • Humans Are Bastards: It's not just members of The Conspiracy who are rude, selfish sons of bitches. There are tons of NPCs, named and unnamed, who treat you like the spawn of Satan, and your confidants like their personal property. Some will only begin acting decently after you change their heart, while others are just implied to continue in their ignorance and bigotry. This is also Sojiro's outlook on society in general. One particular example of offscreen bastardry is when the gang discovers the false memory of Futaba receiving her mother's suicide note. A group of black-suited men not only stole Wakaba's research on the Metaverse but traumatized her daughter into becoming a suicidal Hikikomori just For the Evulz.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Invoked by the Greater-Scope Villain Yaldabaoth, who deliberately manipulates people into abdicating the struggles of critical thinking, responsibility, and ultimately freedom, for comfort, no matter who is hurt in the process, first by rigging the Phantom Thieves to be cherished as saviors who stamp out corruption, only for him to quickly manipulate the public to prop up the corrupt Shido as a messiah instead, even going as far as inversely making him more popular than ever after his heart got changed, all for the sole reason to prove his point that humans are flawed and only he can rule over them as the perfect god.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: The cop at the beginning of the game tells Joker that one must take full responsibility of their actions... after beating and drugging him, but these words have always played an important part at the beginning of previous games, which could make it a darker take on them being uttered.
  • Hypocritical Humor: On September 16th, the team will comb through Shujin's yearbooks in order to find the real identity of the "Beauty Thief". After hours of fruitless search, Ryuji will start to get distracted and check out the pictures of cute girls instead. Ann will chide him for it, but not two seconds later she will remark on how one of the girls in the yearbooks looks a lot older than she is and Ryuji will chide her in turn.

    I 
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Ryuji will give this line as a justification for dropping various Phantom Thief cliches throughout the story.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Joker and Ryuji initially bring this up as their reason for not Heel–Face Brainwashing the school's physically abusive PE teacher Kamoshida. If the process goes wrong, the teacher could die, which would make the heroes far worse than even a monster like Kamoshida. On the other hand, others like Ann know killing them isn't as much of a punishment as forcing them to live.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty:
    • Shadow Kamoshida remarks about executing Ann, "Maybe I'll start with her clothes..." Fortunately, Carmen puts a stop to that.
    • Shadow Kaneshiro implies Makoto will be forced into prostitution to make up the 3 million yen debt, and attempts to pressure her by suggesting he'll make Sae his "personal slave" if she doesn't comply.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: Due to the Your Mind Makes It Real nature of the Metaverse, even prop weapons, such as a toy gun Ryuji gave the protagonist, are able to work as fully functioning weapons that can damage Shadows, although the amount of ammo it can fire is still limited. This would also explain how Akechi is able to use laser swords as his weapon.
  • Inciting Incident: The Protagonist tries to help a woman being assaulted by a drunk, only for the woman and drunk to say he attacked them to protect their own reputations. This not only gets the Protagonist sent to Tokyo but also attracts the attention of Yaldabaoth, who gives the Protagonist the Metaverse Navigation app that sets the rest of the plot in motion.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail: When Makoto has been ordered by Principal Kobayakawa to investigate the Phantom Thieves, she starts following Joker around. Makoto attempts to "hide" behind a manga book that she clearly isn't reading, and her excuses as to why she happens to show up everywhere Joker is headed are Blatant Lies.
  • Individualism vs. Collectivism: The endgame deals with this as the Phantom Thieves face off against Yaldaboath, a created god that represents humanity's desire to be controlled, but secure. The humans in the game at first begin worship the Thieves as saviors until the Conspiracy and Yaldabaoth make them denounce them as villains, and later not even acknowledge they exist. In the final dungeon, all of the humans' shadows choose to let themselves be placed in prisons and lose their sinful desire as it makes their lives easier and "happier". The Thieves, who had up until this point chased the approval of the masses, decide to save the world against their wishes for oblivion.
  • Indy Escape: The Phantom Thieves have to do this quite a bit, since a Palace collapses after its Shadow has been beaten and the Treasure has been stolen. Inevitably, this takes place in the room furthest away from the exit, leading to only one option for the Thieves: run like hell.
  • Indy Ploy: Their plans to infiltrate and secure a route to the treasure boil down to this, given how different each palace is. From a castle to a pyramid to a ship, having no prior knowledge of the layout of each palace leads to a lot of "making it as [they] go."
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: How Joker and Morgana find the traitor. Akechi mentions something Morgana said when you first meet him at the TV station on June 9th. As only those who have entered the Metaverse can understand Morgana, it allows your team to later deduce that he was lying to you from the start. Funnily enough, there's a cop drama on TV that Joker and Morgana can see on TV starting May 2nd, with a detective figuring out a guilty party was at the scene of a crime because he mentions a "gunshot" no one else had brought up.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: While you do play as a Phantom Thief exploring a Mental World, there's still no real explanation for why a museum, or subway station, or cruise liner, or a bank with actual vaults, would bother securing valuables in treasure chests you can lockpick.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Ranking up Iwai's Confidant allows the player to customize the guns they can purchase from his shop. While those are not as strong as what the player can get from itemizing Personas, they are also significantly cheaper and can be purchased en masse. Itemization, on the other hand, has a once-per-day limit and summoning the right Personas to fuse what you need can get very costly.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • Some of the most powerful Personas can be turned into the strongest equipment for your party, usually with the highest stats and with the greatest effects. For instance, Satan can become an armor for male Phantom Thieves (aside from Morgana, who has his unique armor type) that has very high Defense and has high magic damage mitigation as an effect. Or Metatron can become a gun that grants +5 to all stats, usable by Joker. Royal takes it a step further by allowing you to fuse such items during a Fusion Alarm, which grants a further boost to its stats.
    • For Personas, there is Satanael. He blocks Bless, absorbs Curse, and resists everything else (except Almighty). Satanael is also the only Persona that can learn Victory Cry, which fully restores HP and SP after a battle. He also gets some Gameplay and Story Integration to let you know how amazing he is by shooting Yaldabaoth in the head after the final boss battle with a bullet made out of the seven deadly sins. There is only one Advanced Fusion to get Satanael, and it requires multiple high-level Personas, most of which are available only through other high-level Advanced Fusions. It's going to take a lot of time and money to unlock him, after which most other battles left in the game will be made into a complete joke.
  • In Medias Res: With no context, the game opens with Joker escaping from a swanky casino, carrying a mysterious briefcase and receiving commentary from unidentified allies before being attacked by normal-looking security guards that suddenly erupt into monsters, which Joker fights off with his own Guardian Entity. After he's captured and put into a police interrogation the game flashes back about six months to where the story began, eventually catching back up and providing the opening scene with proper context. Averted with the manga adaptation, which starts in April.
  • Insert Song: The vocals of which are all provided by Lyn:
    • "Last Surprise", the main Battle Theme Music that has lyrics bragging about the narrator's inevitable victory that their foes will never expect.
    • "Life Will Change", a Triumphant Reprise of the opening theme with vocals describing the Phantom Thieves' resolve to defeat the corrupt Arc Villain, that plays during the In Medias Res opening and the finales of the last few Palaces.
    • "Beneath the Mask", a Lonely Piano Piece with vocals discussing Loss of Identity and a desire to hide feelings behind a metaphorical mask, tying into the Jungian themes of the series. It plays during nighttime, initially instrumental and later gaining vocals after the first arc.
    • "The Whims of Fate", the theme for Sae Niijima's Palace. The lyrics encourage giving into vices and taking risks, while at the same time seemingly taunting the Phantom Thieves about missing obvious cheating and lies, possibly foreshadowing Akechi's status as a mole.
    • "Rivers in the Desert", Shido's boss theme. The title a reference to Isaiah 43:19, it describes Joker's resolve to change the world and steal his future back from the man who ruined his life, no matter how impossible doing it may seem - comparing the impossibility to creating a beautiful oasis in a dry wasteland.
    • Royal adds several more:
      • "Take Over", the battle theme for ambushed enemies, is a rocking track with powerful horns accentuating Lyn's vocals. The lyrics mock the enemy for having fallen into the Thieves' trap and for getting what they deserve.
      • "No More What Ifs" is a sedate bossa nova song, representing the narrator's uncertainty about the future but their resolution to nevertheless keep going forward. It plays inside the jazz club in Kichijoji (and as such, when the singer is in the club, it's the only track that becomes diegetic).
      • "I Believe" plays during the Day of Fates, as the Phantom Thieves storm the Third Semester Palace to steal the Treasure. With musical and lyrical throwbacks to "Life Will Change", it describes the Thieves' confidence in themselves as a force of freedom, ready to reclaim their future and shape their own destiny.
      • "Throw Away Your Mask" is the battle theme for the True Final Boss, a mournful metal ballad sung from the point of view of the boss himself, pleading for the Phantom Thieves to give up their fight and accept a reality devoid of any suffering or desire.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Satanael kills the Big Bad, who was nigh-unstoppable until this point, with a single gunshot to the head using the attack Sinful Shell.
  • Institutional Apparel: The Protagonist is dressed in black and white pinstripes inside the Velvet Room's prison. After the real Igor regains control of the Velvet Room, the cell door opens and Joker wears his Phantom Thief outfit instead.
  • Interface Screw: Contrary to the Exact Time to Failure shown in previous missions, the final palace simply shows Days To Re-Arrest as "Few", to indicate that time is not on your side and there's no turning back: if you don't finish the palace and steal the treasure immediately, you can't control what happens next.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Every Confidant has a skill entry in the Confidant menu, listing what skills have been unlocked and which skill will be unlocked next. Goro Akechi's Confidant, however, has the entire skill menu blanked-out with "Unknown", a dead giveaway that something is up with said character. Said Confidant also mostly progresses automatically with the story, which is unusual for characters who aren't intimately tied to the plot. Once he joins as a party member, players might be a little suspicious to find he unlocks all his Confidant battle bonuses at once, at only Rank 6. Once he joins, he also is listed in the menu by his last name, the only one to do so, reflecting that the party didn't trust him from the get-go. This was eventually changed in Royal, with the confidant becoming an optional one that requires spending time with the character, instead of automatically leveling, and giving various abilities like the other confidants as well.
    • Akechi is also included with the rest of the Phantom Thieves on the box art, splash screen, and start menu, but doesn't appear at all in the animated opening, another subtle clue that something's up. This was also changed in Royal, with the character featuring prominently in the new opening with the other characters.
      • Akechi also doesn't show up in the Thieves Den unless much later on in the game during Royal.
      • While only possible during a New Game Plus in Royal, if Akechi is anywhere in the current party (Niijima's Palace or the final Palace), you can switch his Thief clothing from his initial Prince outfit to Black Mask outfit and vice versa, with no actual effect on gameplay. This does spoil that he's the Black Mask as early as during Niijima's Palace for an unknowing player watching somebody else play New Game Plus.
    • A minor one is that upon joining the Phantom Thieves, a book for Robin Hood, Akechi's Persona, never becomes available. Slightly mitigated by this book actually existing within the game's data, and even being programmed as a library book, but never being obtainable by the player for some reason, possibly because it would have become available late enough in the game that the player wouldn't need social stats, as well as a month before the player stops attending school. Royal adds the book to the library.
    • Every dungeon starting with the sixth Palace is treated in-story as if it's going to be the last one in the game. It'd be a lot more effective if the Group Guillotine menu didn't show you all the high-ranking personas you can fuse, some of which which have levels that extend to the 90s, which should be more than enough to tell you that your level 45-50 thieves still have a ways to go. Granted, it is possible to complete the original game at around Level 75, and the Special Treatment perk can allow you to fuse much higher level Personas for a fee.
    • In Royal, checking Violet's stats during her initial awakening battle (which occurs at a time you're likely to be in the low to mid 40's) shows that she won't learn her next skill until level 75, giving away that she won't be properly joining the party until much later.
      • Furthermore, even after her initial awakening event, you don't unlock her in Thieves Den. Once unlocked during much later in the game, you also find out in Thieves Den she's explicitly referred to as "Sumire", her real name.
      • Maxing Kasumi's confidant at Rank 5 doesn't count towards one of the Achievements in Thieves Den. When you check her out after her initial 5 ranks are completed, you can hang out with her as usual but the text on her name is white as if her confidant isn't actually completed, despite the fact that the card icon has the "MAX" label. These aren't errors or glitches.
      • Her Confidant is also unusual in that it only has five ranks, and the Faith Arcana has a noticeably different appearance than the other Arcana (its border is black and frayed). When she accepts her true identity as Sumire, the Faith is restored to a "proper" Arcana with 10 ranks.
    • The Compendium shows the entire Persona catalog from the get-go, with not-yet-available Personas appearing as silhouettes with no names. Even obscured like that, fans of previous Persona and SMT games will likely notice a few oft-recurring Personas that are suspiciously missing — most notably, Loki, who is unusable by Joker because he serves as Akechi's final Persona in his boss fight.
    • A small one which is easy to miss if you never use Goho-M: after defeating the Yakuza cleaner, the game won't let you use it, since it would otherwise let you bypass the fight with Black Mask.
  • Interrogation Flashback: The story is told as the protagonist being interrogated by attorney Sae Nijima about their exploits as the leader of the Phantom Thieves.
  • Ironic Echo: "Will Power", the track that plays as your party members awaken to their Personas and get some snazzy new duds in the process, also plays during the second phase of Goro's boss fight, after he reveals that he's got a secret second Persona and goes through an Evil Costume Switch.
  • Irony: The heroes save Christmas by summoning Satanael to shoot God in the face. Both of them are manifestations of different human desires and not actually God and Satan, but the imagery is there.
  • It Amused Me: One of Yaldabaoth's reasons for hijacking the Velvet Room and setting the plot in motion. He thanks the protagonist on one occasion for "entertaining us thus far" and, at the climax of the game, he states that he sees the fate of mankind as "sport."
  • It Can't Be Helped: The game rips this particular mindset apart. Unlike Persona 4, where characters usually learned to tolerate/rise above unjustified rumors and general poor treatment without giving up who they were, Persona 5 takes the view that by adopting an "it can't be helped" mindset in the face of corrupt authority figures, you are not proving your own sense of forbearance; you are letting terrible people get away with atrocious acts. What's worse, you're letting them inflict the same horrors on other people. The people who adopt this approach — the volleyball team, the track team and the workers at Okumura's businesses — are reduced to puppets in their tormentors' Palaces, a reflection of their lack of action in the real world.
  • It Only Works Once: When the Phantom Thieves send a Calling Card to their victims to make the Treasure materialize, they only have that day to steal the treasure. The effect of seeing the card and having your desires threatened won't last long, and can never be recreated.
  • It's All My Fault: Most of the good guys will have a moment like this. Ryuji, who was antagonized and permanently injured by Kamoshida, still holds himself responsible for the fate of the track team. Ann blames herself for not directly intervening to protect Shiho, despite having already taken fairly drastic action in order to try and shield her. One of the more drastic cases, is Futaba, who thinks she caused her mother's death, but the most drastic one, however, is from something unexpected: it's from "Kasumi", or more accurately, Sumire, whose mindset was fully justified for accidentally causing the real Kasumi to become roadkill in place of her, effectively "murdering" her and stealing her dream.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: If you fail to complete a Palace in time or sell out your friends when you catch up to the interrogation, you are treated to a scene of a Very Bad Thing happening; Sae leaves to give you some time to metabolize whatever shit the cops put in you, during which time a mysterious man (Goro Akechi) murders you in captivity.
  • It's Personal: There are personal motives behind almost all of the Thieves' heists.
    • Kamoshida broke Ryuji's leg, ending his promising track career and causing him to become an uncaring delinquent, tormented the student body with impunity, sexually harassed Ann and many others, and molested Ann's friend Shiho, driving her to attempt suicide.
    • Madarame abused Yusuke, stole his work, and indirectly killed his mother by purposefully letting her die so he could take credit for Sayuri, an artwork created by Yusuke's mother for her son.
    • Kaneshiro blackmailed Shujin High School students, causing the principal to force Makoto to get on the case. He also manages to blackmail her and the Thieves. His Shadow, representative of his inner thoughts, threatens her sister as well.
    • Kunikazu Okumura, Haru's father, started putting his company before his family. He failed to realize how much he was neglecting her and put his needs before hers by forcing her into an Arranged Marriage with a guy whose ties would improve his business.
    • Sae's ambition and cynicism got so bad that it was straining her relationship with Makoto, who could tell how unhappy she was and really wanted for Sae to be able to live meaningfully rather than slave endlessly after promotions.
    • Masayoshi Shido personally screwed over Akechi, Futaba, and the Protagonist, had The Conspiracy mess with Sae on the job so much that she became disillusioned enough to have her own Palace, ordered a hit on Haru's father to pin the murder on the Phantom Thieves, and had his aide push Ryuji out of the way so he could steal Ryuji's elevator ride. Pretty much only Ann and Yusuke have no real beef with the guy.
    • Yaldabaoth imprisoned Morgana's master and threatens to enslave humanity, whereas Morgana represents humanity's hope and freedom, and also possibly wiped Morgana's memories to impede his mission, which is to round up Tricksters to confront and defeat him in the depths of Mementos. To a lesser extent, Morgana was also imprisoned by Shadow Kamoshida and wouldn't have escaped without the Protagonist's and Ryuji's help.

    J 
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Most of the party and the accomplices, as while they're mostly good people at heart, their mistreatment at the hands of society turned them into misanthropes.
    • Sojiro Sakura is extremely distrustful of you for your first few months, despite being a man willing to take in both you and Futaba.
    • Ryuji acts like a delinquent due to the rest of the school doing nothing when he was physically and emotionally abused by a teacher, but is also willing to whatever it takes to protect other students from said teacher and other corrupt adults.
  • Jesus Taboo: Enforced for the sake of consistency with the Arcana names. The French Arcana names shown on each card, just like their design, are taken from the Tarot de Marseilles, which includes Le Pape and La Papesse ("The Pope" and "The Popess", explicitly referring to the Catholic Papacy). In all other instances (menus, captions, Personas, etc.) the Arcana retain the Rider-Waite naming scheme used in the preceding games, which calls these cards with the non-denominational names of Hierophant and High Priestess respectively.
  • Just Friends: The result of going for the friendship route with romanceable Confidants.
  • Justified Save Point: Saving games is contextualized as the protagonist writing into an activity log as part of his probation. As such, it is possible to save almost everywhere, so long as it is safe to do so: you can save anywhere in the real world, but when entering the Metaverse, you can only save in safe rooms.

    K 
  • Kaiju:
    • While many Personas are quite large, the DLC exclusive Asterius is positively colossal. Unlike every other Persona in the game, only his head, arms, and upper torso are rendered instead of his full body, and his head alone is larger than all of the Phantom Thieves put together.
    • Another Persona that qualifies as this is the true/ultimate form of Maruki's persona, Adam Kadmon. Despite being a persona, it's around as big as the God of Control (and probably even taller considering that it's standing on its feet) and is seemingly autonomous.
    • Black Viper, a spell that's exclusive to Satan and Satanael, summons the head of a gigantic black snake to bite the target- the snake's head is larger than even a large shadow, indicating that the full body of the snake is probably hundreds of feet long.
  • Karma Houdini: Virtually every villain, major and minor, in this game gets what's coming to them, with the notable exception of Haru's abusive fiancé Sugimura and the host who attempts to "recruit" Makoto's friend in her Confidant arc. Both are foiled in their efforts to go after their initial victims, but there's really nothing stopping them from trying again with someone else.
    • There is also the Dirty Cop who was overseeing Joker's interrogation, which includes drugging and beating the boy. There's no mention of him facing any repercussions even after The Conspiracy collapses.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Out of one of the most vile and despicable acts of any in-game villain, early on in the game, after Ann rejects a sexual advance from Kamoshida he instead calls her friend Shiho, another preferred victim of his to physically and sexually violate her, causing the poor girl to try committing suicide by jumping off the school roof. Apparently Kamoshida did it to "vent out his frustration against Ann not going to bed with him", and it's heavily implied that Kamoshida still wants to immolate Shiho further after her attempted suicide according to his Palace in Royal.
    • A minor one. Although Ryuji and Morgana ribbing each other is usually Played for Laughs, an increasingly depressed Morgana is hurt and uncharacteristically silent when Ryuji flippantly comments that Futaba, the newest addition to the team, is a much better navigator than the team's "stupid cat".
    • As part of his campaign to discredit Takemi and ensure that she continues to be blamed for his mistake, Oyamada lies to her and says that her old patient, a young girl, died.
    • Futaba's mother, Wakaba didn't commit suicide, she was killed by Shido via Akechi, who proceeded to blame her death to Futaba saying that she committed suicide because she regretted birthing Futaba. The reason? He simply wanted to act as cruel as possible to a 14 year old child.
  • Killer Teddy Bear:
    • This time around, Alice's unique "Die For Me!" Special Attack involves an army of giant Action Bomb Teddie bears rushing the enemy before they explode.
    • Bugs (a.k.a. Bugbear) also returns and has this motif.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: A justified case. You are a thief after all, so of course you'd steal everything that isn't nailed down while in a Palace.

    L 
  • Lampshade Hanging: Most of the conversations the party has when exploring Mementos is pointing out the more unrealistic/weird elements of the game, like the cast's improbable affinity for weapons they've never touched before or Joker's long coat never getting in the way of his extremely acrobatic, stealthy movements.
  • Large Ham: Personas and Shadows are all completely over the top, due to representing their human selves hidden emotions.
    Arsène: For the sake of the justice you believed in, make the blasphemers repent! Hahahaha!
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After tricking his way out of the interrogation room, a dialogue option can have Joker note that his memory of the whole thing is pretty blurry. Considering the utter Police Brutality he was facing in there, Sae notes that it's probably for the best.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • Wanna complete the Persona Compendium? Better look for every Treasure Demon in the game. Yes, this time around you need to collect the resident Metal Slimes for 100% Completion.
    • Getting every skill in the game is a Luck-Based Mission due to four of them (Almighty Boost, Almighty Amp, Magic Ability, and Soul Chain) being exclusive to results of the the Network Fusion system.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: While all Mementos levels up to the depths are based on the Qliphoth or the reversed/evil version of the Sephirotnote , the new layer of Mementos in Royal's third term is known as the "Path of Da'at", in which "Da'at" means "enlightenment" and is the center of the Sephirot representing "perfection" and "wisdom". This acts as a Foil of the final floor of Yaldabaoth's Mementos, aptly named "Iweleth" or "Ignorance", as Adam Kadmon, Maruki's persona is the anthromorphic personification of the perfect man and the infinite light of the real god (Ain Soph), as opposed to Yaldabaoth being a shadow of god that ignorantly believes that he is Ain Soph, but isn't.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • It's very subtle, but if you watch the TV programs which reference events from Persona 4, two of them when put together note that Namatame is not the Killer, since the actual killer has his identity withheld on an interview, while Namatame is very publicised in his political career in Inaba.
    • Ryuji's Show Time with Yusuke which involves a beef bowl restaurant. During this scene, however, there's a painting clearly on display on the wall which is the original Sayuri painting.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Most seemingly minor characters and scenes play into the overarching plot or one of the other character's backstories.
    • The drunken molester who got you convicted of assault? He's the leader of the conspiracy.
    • That stupid conversation about how the TV station building is shaped like a pancake? Clues Morgana and the Protagonist into the fact that Akechi can also access the Metaverse, and eventually allows them to deduce that he is likely the "Black Mask" responsible for the mental shutdown and psychotic breakdown incidents.
    • That blue Butterfly of Death and Rebirth that keeps showing up? It's Caroline and Justine's real personality, trying to help you expose the Greater-Scope Villain.
    • Those chains in the summoning fires of Personas, namely Arsène's? Joker breaking Arsène's chains in the finale allows him to unleash his true self as Satanael, this game's Ultimate Persona - and the one who ends the last fight.
    • Several of the overworld NPC's are (slightly) more detailed than the rest, and quite a few fall into this, if you really pay attention. That homeless guy you asked for information on the Shibuya drug smuggling 'job'? That second-floor schoolgirl obviously stalking a dude, and getting increasingly deranged by the harmless attention he's getting? One of the two guys outside Shujin's school gate arguing with each other, after the first bullying case was taken care of? Future targets that the Phantom Thieves tackle in Mementos.
    • In Royal, Sojiro will talk about a 15-year-old girl that died at a traffic accident a month before you came during the traffic jam on the second day of the game. Who is that 15 year old girl? Kasumi, or more accurately, the real Kasumi who died saving her sister Sumire from being hit by a car because of her inferiority complex-fueled fit.
    • For every confidant hangout with Kasumi, she displays klutziness, depressive fits, or other odd behavior that she admits that she isn't supposed to have. It turns out that this "Kasumi" is actually the aforementioned sister who is living as Kasumi, and the real Kasumi is dead.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: You can rent dvds and go to movie theaters to watch parody versions of Beverly Hills, 90210, Ghost (1990), The X-Files, Ugly Betty, ER, Prison Break, The Walking Dead, Slumdog Millionaire, The Dark Knight Rises, Before Midnight, Les Misérables (2012), Doraemon, The Godfather, Back to the Future, Mission: Impossible, The Avengers (2012), Saw I, Die Hard and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. As Atlus doesn't have the money to license all those works, each have silly names like "I, Miserable" or "Mansion Impossible", and you can hear dialogue making fun of tropes from the given work as your character watches the show or movie off-screen. The only exception was what is clearly Yakuza, or more specifically, the adaptation of the first game produced by Takashi Miike. Seeing as Sega owns Atlus, this was never an issue.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The protagonist will stick his hand out to the screen when you open the menu, with text reading "Don't look at me like that" in the corner of the screen. This is often done in Japan when making eye contact with fictional characters. The fact that the protagonist is doing it implies that he's not the fictional one...
    • Sometime after the success of the second Palace, you'll be asked on the group chat on who should be the next target. If you pick "An evil overlord", Ryuji will point out that "this isn't some kind of video game". In true Persona fashion, you end up doing exactly this at the end.
    • When you fuse Satanael, Joker's ultimate Persona, he mentions that you'll now wear his mask "again." While this could be a reference to him being the unlocked form of Joker's starter Persona, Arsene, it also leans on the fact that you can only fuse him in a New Game+ and you did wear his mask during the fight against the final boss in your previous playthrough.
    • At one point, Futaba corrects Makoto's use of a phrase from "cognitive science" to "cognitive psience", despite being homophones, as though she read the text box.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: At the end of the game, the Phantom Thieves are hailed as heroes and Shido is going to jail for his crimes, but without testimony he won't stay for too long. Plus, the people in power will probably frame the Thieves for some crime to save face. In order to ensure that Shido goes to jail and that his friends are safe, Joker has to turn himself in as the leader of the Phantom Thieves so he can give testimony against Shido. However, due to his prior record and the fact that the Supernatural is not valid evidence about someone's criminal record, Joker gets sent to juvenile hall. Luckily, his friends manage to get his prior record cleared, allowing him to leave early and Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • Lethal Joke Character: The twins and in Royal, Lavenza kick your ass with super-powered versions of low-level Personas, such as Agathion and the Jack Bros. Then again, an amped Jack Frost is nothing new.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Similar to the social links in previous games, you get bonus levels when you fuse Personas, new abilities, discounts at shops, and so on by hanging with the Phantom Thieves and their various accomplices.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Most of the party has four outfits apart from their thief costumes- casual clothes and school uniforms, each of which has a variation for summer (June through September) and for winter (the rest of the year). Just about everyone else has one outfit. For instance, Sae Niijima wears the exact same clothes (a dark pantsuit) in April as every other time you see her, like half a year later when she interrogates you.
  • Literal Metaphor: In previous games, Personas were described as metaphorical "masks" as a tie to Jungian psychology. In Persona 5, the party's Personas literally transform into personalized masks when not in use.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Not the game, but the song "Rivers in the Desert" (the battle theme for the last storyline bosses) quotes Isaiah 43:19 from the King James version of the Bible:
    I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
  • Living Shadow: The aptly named Shadows, inky blobs of shapeshifting negative emotions that can transform into humans, animals, and demons at will.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Because the Palaces are the result of the owner's warped cognition, when the Shadow is defeated, the Palace begins to collapse, meaning the Thieves have to escape as soon as the fight is over. Shido attempts to weaponize this by stopping his heart temporarily, but the Thieves barely manage to escape.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Beneath the Mask", the nighttime exploration theme, is a melancholy blues tune consisting of little more than a piano, organ, and bass line. After the first act, it gains some equally depressing vocals that deal with Loss of Identity. The version that plays on rainy nights loses the percussion, making the song feel even more lonely.
  • Loophole Abuse: When fusing a new Persona, or powering up one using another, the game will randomize what stats will increase from the process. The thing is, the game shows you this before you accept it, meaning you can cancel, select the Persona's you wish to fuse/sacrifice, and than cancel out again if you see stats going up you don't like. This greatly helps making Persona's stronger, while taking little time at all.
  • Lost in Translation: Or just plain omitted. While leaving most signs untranslated has always been a thing in localizations, the sheer amount of them in this game, due to it being set in Tokyo, makes this happen more often than not.
    • An event between Akechi and Makoto, taking place on June 12th (Sunday), has left many confused due to it being set in a school-like building, but having no other context given to why they're there. Japanese players and those who know how education in Japan works will know they're there because they were taking a mock examination, as both of them are third-year students studying for their college entrance exams. None of the signs were translated to point that out.
    • For whatever reason, the English version makes the relationship between Akechi's mother and Shido more vague (stating that his mother was "in a relationship with a no-good man," as mentioned in his Rank 3 Confidant event), unintentionally watering down the weight of being a bastard child he carries, though later revelations do bring the whole truth to light anyway. In the Japanese version, he openly refers to his mother being Shido's mistress (spelled "愛人" - aijin,; it can be another term for "lover," but in most instances, it refers to a man's mistress).
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The entire third semester is such, as it took place in a Tokyo where all of the Phantom Thieves' wildest desires come true courtesy of Takuto Maruki's distorted cognitive warping. This isn't a good thing, as it goes right into the territory of nihilism, robs the characters of all personal growth or potential to move foward, and ensures Mementos would keep them in this state forever.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: In true series fashion. This time it's the regular battle theme, "Last Surprise", an extremely upbeat song about how the target has been Out-Gambitted and about to be silently assassinated, while also functioning as a bit of a Bragging Theme Tune for Joker.
    You'll never see it coming!
    You'll see that my mind is too fast for eyes!
    You're done in by the time it's hit you; your last surprise!
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    M 
  • The Magic Goes Away:
    • In the ending, the Thieves recognize that destroying Mementos and defeating the Big Bad means that they will lose access to the Metaverse and their Personas, and accept that this is a price they must pay. One of the Bad Endings does allow Joker and ONLY Joker alone to stay in business, but if he retains his powers in this case, it will obviously lead to a He Who Fights Monsters scenario, with him being corrupted and becoming the judge, jury and executioner of everyone in Tokyo. It's averted however, since their powers rewaken once the next Metaverse event starts occuring in Scramble.
    • Played straight in Royal for the Wishing Star that Jose granted you when you first met him. When the second Metaverse incident in-game reaches an end with Maruki's defeat, Morgana transforms into a helicopter to assist the party and Maruki in escaping from the collapsing Metaverse. When Morgana wonders about it much later, it turns out that the Wishing Stone has drained all of its power to turn Morgana into a helicopter, and the power of Unison Showtimes vanish alongside it.
  • Magic Is Rare, Health Is Cheap: Nearly every shop in the game sells HP-recovering items. The only places you can obtain SP-recovering items from are Tae's clinic, certain vending machines (the items themselves only being available once or twice a week), and by leveling up Sojiro's and Haru's Confidants (in those you learn how to make SP-healing coffee and plants, respectively). Royal also adds Will Seeds to Palaces that restore SP once they're found, but there's only three of them in each Palace. In addition, Jose can sell you a limited supply of SP-recovering items in Mementos, but this requires grinding his special currency.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • The new "Sacrifice" fusion mechanic allows you to power up any low-level Persona to insane levels. However, as they only get part of the experience and one randomly selected skill from the sacrificed Persona, it will take dozens or hundreds of sacrifices to get them there.
    • The same "Sacrifice" fusion also allows for Min-Maxing of a Persona of your choice, since stat points are allocated randomly on level up. This is preferably performed on low-level Personas as they have the potential to grow to become even stronger damage dealers than those with high base level. However, the rerolling process will take an absurd amount of time and money.
      • Of special note would be your Starter Mon Arsène. At first, his stats are mediocre at best aside from Agility. But because his base level is incredibly low, his stats have the greatest potential for growth, allowing one to easily reroll his stat increases until the relevant stats are near-max, making him a Lightning Bruiser that outshines even late-game Personas.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Black Mask plans to pick off the remaining Phantom Thieves one by one through this method once everything dies down after his attempt to kill Joker. It can be assumed that it comes to pass in the Bad Ending where Joker is Killed Off for Real. And if he manages to get past the Big Bad? Japan is doomed because he will use the accident to expose Shido and cause mass civil unrest.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Many shadows take the form of humans with the various arcana masks in place of a face in dungeons. Once battle starts they burst apart and change into demonic forms.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: You can use the "orders" menu in battle or in the stats menu to switch the majority of your party to AI control. The only exception is the protagonist, whose actions you always have to select manually.
  • Marathon Boss: The fight against the boss of the Cruise Ship Palace is really long, even factoring in that it's a Climax Boss. He has five separate phases, more than any other boss, and the last two have quite a bit of health. It can easily take over an hour from the start of the fight to the end of the cutscenes that play after the boss is defeated, assuming you don't skip anything.
  • Mascot Mook: Jack Frost, the adorable Atlus snowman mascot, reappears in the game, you can find him as an enemy shadow in Madarame's palace. Much later, in Shido's cruise, you will encounter King Frost, who is practically a Boss in Mook Clothing.
  • Mask of Power: This time around, characters' Personas turn into masks after the first summon, and can then be resummoned by the character ripping the mask of their face. You can similarly weaken Shadows by ripping the masks off their faces.
  • Masochist's Meal: During the school festival, the Phantom Thieves order a "Russian Takoyaki" at a maid cafe set up in one of the classrooms. Said takoyaki consists of several normal-looking ones and a "special" red one, which happens to be incredibly spicy. This "special" takoyaki is so spicy that Akechi ends up in pain after taking and eating it as his fee for attending the festival.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: While everyone writes off Futaba's visions of her mom as auditory and visual hallucinations, there's still enough reasonable doubt that it's a result of the Persona setting's psychological based magic.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • Pay attention to the Phan-site polls after the Futaba heist and Okumura heists, which drastically fluctuates in exactly the same timing after Igor finishes his typical post-heist bedtime Velvet Room speeches with Joker. The one after Futaba increases the Phan Site approval rate by double and increases it close to 100%, which remains even after Okumura dies. However, after Okumura dies and Igor gives that speech, the poll's approval rate starts plummeting until it reaches close to 0% within a few days. These aren't mutually exclusive events, but they are a very good clue that Igor is not Igor but Yaldabaoth, and he's rigging the public's perception of the Phantom Thieves as a part of his "game".
    • On April 15 in Royal, immediately after emerging from Kamoshida's palace after Ann's awakening, for a brief few seconds a man in a brown coat can be seen descending the stairs in front of Shujin Academy at the end of the alleyway before turning and walking down the street off camera; this is Takuto Maruki, heading home after just completing his interview to work at Shujin. More importantly, in the Rank 10 event for the Councillor confidant, we find out that Maruki actually saw the group emerge from the Metaverse while he was descending the stairs, and from there was able to put two-and-two together and figured out the four were the Phantom Thieves. Even more importantly, it can be surmised that with this knowledge, he knew exactly what Joker meant when he hinted at Mementos's collective cognition in the Rank 6 event, which leads eventually to the events of the third semester.
    • Lesser examples include the first day you arrive in Yongen-Jaya, where you'll see Takemi walking to work. In April you can see Makoto in the crowd of students heading to school sometimes, or standing on the train platform with her sister. Major characters appearing in the background before they're introduced to the player's character.
    • On January 2 in Royal, when Joker goes downstairs in LeBlanc to meet human Morgana and Wakaba celebrating New Year with Sojiro and Futaba, the "Sayuri" painting on the wall near the door was missing. This is not a good sign to have at all, and it turns out that as an effect of Maruki's dream world, Madarame let Yusuke exhibit the painting under his mother's name.
  • Meaningful Name: Social Links are now called "Confidants". The meaning behind this is suggested during each Confidant's storyline, and becomes apparent once you max out a Confidant: in addition to them being able to confide their secrets with you (such as Kawakami having to moonlight as a Meido to make ends meet), through your actions in changing the hearts of people making their lives miserable, they come to realize that you are a Phantom Thief. They agree to keep your secret, in doing so making the bond you formed with them unbreakable.
    • Shujin, the name of the school Joker goes to, is Japanese for "prisoner".
  • Mega Meal Challenge: The Big Bang Challenge at Big Bang Burger, which involves eating increasingly oversized burgers to win accessories and social stat boosts. Taking the Challenge will always increase Joker's Guts stat, but succeeding will cause boosts in other social stats as well.
  • The Men in Black:
    • The Shadow Operatives DLC outfit puts your party members in futuristic-looking black dress suits and sunglasses similar to Mitsuru's Spy Catsuit in Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, or the Agent Suit set from Persona 4.
    • Within the narrative, there are the two men in black suits that are tailing your group in the final cutscene. It's heavily implied that the Police are still tailing the Phantom Thieves in fear of losing their public image, as seen in Scramble's story where they are still framing the Thieves as suspects. Morgana stole the spark plug from their car to fix the van the team drives away.
  • Mental Monster: Mementos, which reflects the darker nature of everyone who isn't bad or important enough to get a full palace, thus serving as a reflection of the negative parts of society in general.
  • Mental World:
    • The Metaverse is a parallel version of reality inside the collective unconscious that warps itself to reflect the way humans with particularly twisted desires see things: a gym teacher who sees his school as his fiefdom creates a castle, a painter exploiting his understudies sees his home as an art gallery where his disciples are his works, a teenager who sees himself as a Chaotic Good rebel against the corrupt transforms into a classy Phantom Thief, and so on.
    • In Royal, Joker has a small world of his own in the Thieves' Den (My Palace in the original Japanese). As the name implies, it's Joker's own personal Palace, serving as a gallery for him to admire and reflect on his achievements and experiences over the course of the game. He can also transform into the other Phantom Thieves in this space and interact with Cognitive versions of his Confidants.
  • The Merch: After the team defeats Medjed, the Phantom Thieves get so popular that In-Universe merchandise themed after them starts to pop up to cash in on the hype. Not that the Phantom Thieves themselves make a yen out of it, because a clandestine group like them can't exactly go to court and sue for the violation of their personality rights. For particular examples, Shinya Oda collects Phantom Thieves badges, Sojiro jokes about making a Phantom Thief themed menu for Leblanc, and the protagonist himself can buy usable items like a "Thief Mask" accessory that grants a point of Agility and "Calling Postcards" resembling the team's signature Calling Cards that he can mail to his Confidants for extra Relationship Values.
  • Messiah Creep: The cast start out as a group of Anti-Heroes driven by personal vendettas, desire for attention and greed, and end up saving the world from the clutches of a controlling god born from the will of the masses.
  • Metal Slime: The rare Treasure Demons, which drop tons of experience and money and can be recruited for a Persona that can't be used in battle but is generally quite useful as a fusion material. Unfortunately, they're generally being resistant or immune to all but one type of damage, so defeating them involves either getting a critical hit or finding their weakness, whichever is possible.
  • Meta Twist:
    • Futaba's dungeon is set up exactly like one from Persona 4, a mental world created by the inner thoughts and insecurities of a future party member, controlled by their Shadow. It's all flipped on its head once you reach the end: Due to Futaba's outward self-loathing, Shadow Futaba is a Hero Antagonist who represents Futaba's repressed positive side, and only fought the Thieves because she thought they were trying to harm Futaba. She's not the boss of the dungeon, the real boss is a monster born from the feelings that caused Futaba's depression: the belief that she's responsible for her mother's death. Shadow Futaba pulls a Big Damn Heroes to help the party defeat the boss, by convincing Futaba of the truth and becoming her Persona.
    • In the previous two Persona games, The Fool and Judgment arcana are plot-mandated social links that rank up as you progress the story. Normally you begin with The Fool, representing your party as a whole, and max it out as you approach the endgame, and then transition to Judgment as the main cast gains a new resolve to fight the Big Bad. Here, The Fool and Judgment instead represent your bond with Igor and Sae respectively, and in an inversion to the usual trend, you immediately max out Judgment as you commence the game's final chapters, and the Fool is mandated to be the last social link that gets maxed out in the original game.
    • On a double meta level. It's very easy to attribute Igor's much deeper voice as a result of his voice actor's death and the people in charge choosing to respect his performance by not even trying to replace him. It turns out that it's actually been a fake Igor all along and when the real one returns his voice also has similar pitch and eccentric dressings as his original performances.
  • Mickey Mousing:
    • Morgana's battle victory animation has him bump into the camera right as the music kicks in.
    • The Velvet Room cutscenes open with Joker laying on a bed, his eyes closed. When his eyes open, it's perfectly in sync with the last note of the background music's first measure.
  • Minigame: Various human parameter increasing activities like the batting cages and video games involve lining up UI elements, hitting buttons at the right time or hitting them as fast as you can. This is a notable evolution from the last two installments, which featured no such thing when doing after-school activities (other than 4's Fishing Minigame) and were instead passive.
  • Mirror Match: An interesting variant. The Bonus Boss Caroline and Justine can use multiple moves like the past bosses to mimic your own character. However, they also mimic your team dynamic by using baton passes and all-out attacks.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The online fandom of the Phantom Thieves counts as an In-Universe example. When the fan site is first put up, the requests for the protagonists to solve are mostly personal problems and small in scale compared to what they wanted, which is people who are well-respected by society and getting away with their crimes because of their status and power. As they gain more popularity, and make it clearer to the public that their goal is to target societal corruption, the fandom is still misaimed as they become more focused on bloodshed, as shown when they congratulate the Thieves for killing Kunizaku Okumura during a live broadcast, despite his death being a set up by The Conspiracy, then start demanding the Thieves be killed as retribution. The Phantom Thieves quickly realize that their fanbase doesn't care about justice, especially in the meeting before stealing Okumura's heart.
    Morgana: At this point, all they care about is seeing those in power beg for forgiveness.
    Ann: Dammit! This isn't a game...!
    Yusuke: The means and the ends have been reversed. We're starting to be seen purely as entertainment...
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: In the second palace, Morgana uses a hook and a cable to lower himself down to the Treasure, which is surrounded by guards and lasers, in order to steal it without being caught.
  • Mistaken for Junkie:
    • After escaping from Kamoshida's castle the first time, Joker and Ryuji run into two police officers, who accuse them of ditching classes. When Ryuji tries to explain they were in a castle, the cops immediately asks them to hand over their bags to inspect for drugs.
    • Tae Takemi assumes Joker is this at first when he requests to test her experimental homebrew medicine.
  • The Mole: The game begins with the police revealing there is a traitor in your midst who tipped the police off to Joker's location. As such, one of your goals over the game is to find out if and why one of your friends or accomplices would betray you. It's Akechi.
  • Mon: In a return to Persona and Persona 2, you recruit enemy Shadows to become your Personas. And as in all games, you can fuse your existing Personas together to gain more powerful ones.
  • Mona Lisa Smile: The "Sayuri". Art critics have tried to figure out the meaning of the expression of the woman in the portrait for years to no avail. It turns out the painting is a self-portrait of a mother who knows she will soon die to illness and leave her infant son behind. Madarame painted over the image of her child in her arms to invoke this trope because he knew that the missing element would create an unsolvable mystery that people would obsess over like in Trope Namer's case and thus make the painting and the rest of "his" art more sellable.
  • Money for Nothing: Generally averted in the vanilla game unless you really tried grinding money, but Royal makes earning cash much easier by adding bonus multipliers for both money and item drops in Mementos, and also changing Ryuji's ability to automatically defeat weak enemies by causing it to still drop cash. This means that you can quickly gather as much as you'd like and makes things like the Cash Gate to starting Chihaya's confidant trivial.
  • Monster of the Week: The game's story was modeled on serial novels and TV dramas. Each dungeon involves the Protagonists stealing the hearts of a new target in order to reform them. This comes in contrast with other Persona games, as each one had a main goal and target to stop. Though this eventually catches the attention of a conspiracy with knowledge of the Metaverse, to serve as the overall Myth Arc.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In the first raid into Okumura's palace, you find Morgana with a mysterious girl (who later turns out to be Haru) in a thief costume. Tense music plays as she stares you down... but then it fades once it turns out that the girl actually is trying to remember the lines she'd rehearsed with Morgana. Yusuke lampshades this when he points out that the tension has suddenly faded.
    • After stealing Okumura's heart, the group has a celebratory outing to Destiny Land, and while there, watches Okumura give a press conference as a changed man, during which Okumura dies as a result of the Black Mask killing his shadow in the Metaverse. The streaming service Ryuji was using to watch this then cuts off to a "Technical Difficulties" card which is a happy crayon drawing.
    • In Shido's palace, the final miniboss, the "Cleaner," turns out to be a yakuza thug and the party tries to get the letter of recommendation off him by trying to get Yusuke to offer him a tattoo design. After it backfires hilariously due to Yusuke's stubborn pride, the party fights him, and he ultimately decides to pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! on his boss, to the party's confusion and pleasant surprise. Then as the party starts to leave, Akechi confronts them, his mental state deteriorating enough over the encounter that he resorts to inflicting a psychotic breakdown on himself in a last ditch effort to kill them.
    • The group is shocked by Ryuji's apparent death in Shido's palace. Only for Ryuji to walk up completely oblivious, and tease the girls, getting beaten and left against a lamp post by his teammates.
    • However, perhaps the worst and heavily Exaggerated variant appears during the start of the new year during Royal's bonus storyline. The arc starts with everything seemingly ending on a happy note, save for an odd nightmare and several jarring abnormalities during the New Year. Then at the 2nd of January, after an awkward scene of meeting a human Morgana and Futaba alongside her supposedly dead mother celebrating New Years and happily having an Osechi breakfast with Sojiro, Akechi pops in and triggers a heavily contrasting Downer Arc that is nothing seen before by infiltrating the game's de facto Bleak Level. Things only go downhill from there when Kasumi was revealed to be a fake impersonated by her suicidally depressed sister, the instigator behind the abnormalities being the school counselor Maruki who was actually grieving for his lost ex-fiancee, Akechi himself being revealed to be an abnormality...among other things.
  • More Dakka: The "Random Fire"/"Bullet Hail" attack, where the heroes can unleash a barrage of gunfire on the entire enemy party.
  • Motif:
    • Hearts. Arsène has heart symbols on his sleeves, Life Meters are shaped like hearts, the party calls themselves the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts", and your goal is to reforming corrupt adults by metaphorically "taking their heart".
    • Masks, in keeping with previous titles and the series' Jungian themes. the word "Persona" is latin for "mask", the party's main Persona all wear some form of a mask, Persona now transform into personalized masks when not in use, and Shadows appear as humanoid figures with masks on during exploration.
    • Chains, which can be found everywhere from the transition to the Velvet Room, to being part of the glowing aura of the Personas. Even the sound effect for moving around the menu is that of chains rattling. It all ties into the theme of all the party members desiring freedom in some way.
    • Fittingly, there's a lot of crime-based imagery: the party holds their HP and SP meters like they're in a mugshot, the names of Personas and characters are spelled out in the menu like a Cut-and-Paste Note, and the "total XP gained" menu is presented as a bounty for each party member, like a "Wanted!" Poster.
    • There's a significant amount of French thematics. Joker, Ann, Haru and technically Kasumi'snote  Personas all originate from French literature (and Haru is dressed to match in her thief attire), Caroline's name uses the French pronunciation (presumably to make it rhyme with Justine's name), Sojiro's cafe is named "Leblanc" after the author of the Arsène Lupin novels, and, rather than the classic Rider-Waite tarot from previous games, 5 uses the French Tarot de Marseille.
  • Moving the Goalposts: The Casino Palace has the target repeatedly changing the rules on the Phantom Thieves. Just as they're about to reach the boss room by paying a toll of one hundred thousand tokens, the target increases it to a million tokens. Too bad for her that she gets Out-Gambitted by Akechi.
  • Mr. Smith: The Japanese equivalent of "John Doe": "Taro Tanaka" shows up when Futaba prints out an identification card with this name in one of the palaces. She's aware of this and wants to throw it away since it's extremely unlikely that any of the Shadows there would think it's legit. Akechi keeps it and racks up a huge amount of coins which comes in handy later.
  • Mugshot Montage: When the main character is arrested, you get to see the typical frontal and side photographs taken with the main character holding a blank expression the entire time.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • In contrast to Persona 4, this game just has one good ending, and two bad endings. There are also several variations of the Non Standard Game Over Akechi kills the protagonist ending you can get if you don't complete each Palace by the given deadline, starting with the first.
    • Persona 5 Royal adds in a True Ending which is only accessible if the player maxes out the Consultant confidant before the Niijima's Palace deadline. Failing to do so will lead to the player being locked into the good ending route from the vanilla game. Unlike previous games, neither is considered a true ending. They are the Stay Ending where the protagonist accepts Maruki's false reality and the Return Ending where he denies it.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In Persona 5 Royal, if you collect all of the stamps in Mementos he needs, Jose will offer to challenge you to a fight. He's a little boy in a toy car that can hit suprisingly hard, and the music that plays in his fight is Rivers in the Desert.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Samael is quite physically strong in addition to being muscular, and Futaba points out that the muscles are not for show.
  • The Musketeer: The main characters can switch between melee weapons and firearms, like in the original Persona and many other Shin Megami Tensei games.
    • The Protagonist uses knives and handguns.
    • Ryuji uses bludgeons and shotguns.
    • Ann uses whips and submachine guns.
    • Morgana uses curved swords and slingshots.
    • Yusuke uses katanas and assault rifles.
    • Makoto uses knuckles and revolvers.
    • Haru uses axes and grenade launchers
    • Akechi uses laser sabres and ray guns.
    • Kasumi uses rapiers and rifles.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: A minor case for the Tycoon game you can play in the Thieves Den: no matter how many times you change your opponents, you will never get a combination of Akechi and either Futaba or Haru. This is because they still resent him for killing their parents.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: The saying is discussed during one of Kawakami's lessons in Royal. The lecture notes its current use to describe blind loyalty to one's country, but also brings up that the meaning of the quote has been distorted over time; in bringing up the full quotenote  the meaning changes from blind loyalty to a sense of responsibility to correct it should the country be led astray. Naturally, this lesson becomes significant when one notices the game's overall critique on society.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Played with early in the story. After seeing the effects of their Heel–Face Brainwashing on Kamoshida, the protagonists are actually somewhat terrified of the implications of their actions, and wonder for several days if what they've done can really be called "right".
    • The targets themselves, who are generally horrified by what they did before their change of heart. Kamoshida believes that he deserves death for his actions, Madarame breaks into hysterical sobs on live television, Okumura appears to be deeply ashamed of himself, and Shido starts to quietly cry once the change takes effect. Kaneshiro's reaction isn't shown, but he immediately turns himself in for his crimes, while Futaba and Sae didn't really do anything bad enough to cause this reaction.
    • This occurs to all default members of the Phantom Thieves during the Third term, should Joker meet them during specific dates after they are all snapped out from Maruki's spell. All of them will thoroughly apologize for falling into escapism and promise to face their grief head on no matter what. They also lament failing to protect the protagonist when he was in danger despite promised to at all costs because they were all in blissful ignorance.
    • Sumire also has this moment during her Rank 6 Confidant, in which she apologizes for being manipulated into "becoming Kasumi" and let her delusional thoughts take her over, as well as fighting Joker over it.
  • Mythology Gag: P5 has a number of references to other Atlus-made games.
    • The main character's thief name is Joker and just like all previous characters with that moniker, he is being directly manipulated by a supernatural higher power.
      • The Phantom Thieves as a whole are an inversion of The Masquerade, a masked group of Persona users who steal people's hearts led by a man named Joker, but this time they're doing it for a noble purpose.
    • The ultimate Persona of Futaba is Prometheus. It's even reinforced by Sojiro having the same voice actor in Japanese as Baofu.
    • A talking cat that leads the heroes through a metaphysical area that represents the collective subconscious – Lieutenant General Zula already did that.
    • Ryuji's thief outfit is a Whole Costume Reference to the recurring Demon Hell Biker.
    • The enemies are mainline SMT Demons, a la Persona and Persona 2.
    • The protagonist can play a video game called Star Forneus 1988. Forneus is a recurring Demon in the SMT series, appearing ever since Shin Megami Tensei. The "star" is another Goetia Demon, Decarabia, who was a friend of Forneus in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
    • The Battle Arena in the sixth Palace consists of three back-to-back fights. While this may sound coincidental up front, it becomes a Mythology Gag when the third opponent is revealed to be Thor.
    • A small reference to the previous installment can be found in Yongen-Jaya's backstreets with a small area cordoned off by traffic cones and police tape, behind which sits a yellow bicycle, an overturned trash can, and a motorized scooter.
    • In one scene, Yusuke and the protagonist pose like the demon Orobas in the first Shin Megami Tensei I.
    • Many of the classic demons receive new poses with their new HD models, but several of them, such as Nekomata and Succubus, take the poses of their classic Kazuma Kaneko art for their knocked down animation.
    • The midbosses in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon are made up of Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel and Michael, the four archangels from Shin Megami Tensei II.
    • When Satanael descends from the heavens, he pops the iconic arms wide open Ass Kicking Pose used by demon Lucifer in Shin Megami Tensei II and the games that followed it.
    • The DLC costume packs include Karukozaka High School uniforms from Shin Megami Tensei if... (the Spiritual Predecessor of the Persona franchise), the school uniforms of Raidou and Kaya from Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, the casual clothes of the cast from Catherine, and the samurai uniforms of the heroes from Shin Megami Tensei IV.
    • When one of the DLC Persona learns a new skill in battle, Joker will sometimes say a line referencing the person whose Persona he's using. Learning a new skill with Kaguya, for instance, may cause Joker to say "I sense pathos...".
    • When the party members' Personas awaken, they give a little speech about their user's situation and philosophy like the Personas in Persona 2.
    • Futaba's nickname for Yusuke, "Inari", might be one to Persona 3 Portable, where you can visit Naganaki Shrine to meet Inari and duplicate a Skill Card (which is what Yusuke does in this game).
    • Way back in Shin Megami Tensei II's Chaos Route, Lucifer defied YHVH's orders to destroy the world with Kuzuryu and tells him as such in the final battle. The ultimate antagonist of Persona 5 is Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic interpretation of the Abrahamic God (as well as other monotheistic deities), and in the good ending, Satanael descends from the heavens doing Lucifer's pose, harnessing the power of Chaos (The Seven Sins) to kill him.
    • One of the news broadcasts you can watch on TV in early December mentions "a handsome detective in red glasses", "a legendary gumshoe that took down a bear" (presumably Akihiko, if he followed through with his intention of becoming a legit officer), and "a girl in the academy who knows kung fu."
    • The ambient music for the Triple Seven grocery store in Shibuya's Central Street is an electronica arrangement of the ridiculously catchy Satomi Tadashi Pharmacy song.
    • Also, the Yongen-Jaya movie theater has a Christmas movie that plays in December. The background music in the movie is the Innocent Sin track: Tranquility.
    • The Crane Game jingle at Akihabara's Arcade is a cheery arrangment of the Junes Department Store song. The Crane Game itself can also reward you with a Jack Frost Doll, the most elusive prize at Paulownia Mall's own arcade.
    • At one point, you can purchase both a broken laptop in Akihabara as well as the tools to fix it. If your Proficiency is high enough, you can repair it and enter the "Dark Net"... which is basically the new online storefront for Tanaka's Amazing Commodities, theme song included.
    • During your visit to Asakusa with Haru, you acquire a kumade (good luck charm), which is one letter away from "kuma da", and, therefore, is topped with a tiny figure of Pungeon Master Teddie.
    • One of the major guardians leading up to the first Palace boss is the "Torn King of Desire", Mara's botched incarnation into a Slime body.
    • One of the headlines seen on TV at the SIU Director's office is an incident on the Anehadzuru monorail line. This is the line that's used throughout Port Island in Persona 3.
    • The Flavor Text of the "Ultimate Amazake" drink is "[It] Makes you think you're drunk. Restores 20 HP to one ally," which is a likely reference to the infamous "King's Game" scene from Persona 4 and Persona 4: The Animation.
    • Ryuji isn't the first Persona user who was a former track star with a Career-Ending Injury, and who is also a member of a shady group led by someone with the moniker Joker. Anna Yoshizaka precedes him.
    • At game's end, you finally get the Velvet Key from Lavenza. Incidentally, you were actually supposed to get the key at the start of the journey, but circumstances prohibited you from getting it that early. Regardless, you still keep it as a keepsake.
    • The lyrics of "Beneath the Mask" mention "Poe's masquerade", a reference to "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe. This same story is the origin of the Velvet Room, which has appeared in every game in the Persona series.
    • In the Death Confidant Rank 4, Takemi will call a hospital and speak with a nurse named Uehara. Uehara was also the name of a nurse in Persona 4, who served as the Devil Social Link (during which you met the game's Death social link, ironically).
    • April 15th is a Wham Episode in both Persona 4 and Persona 5. In the former Saki Konishi's body is found hanging from a telephone pole, in the latter Shiho Suzui attempts to kill herself and barely survives.
    • The default firearms for Joker and Ann are the Norinco Type 54 (a Chinese clone of the Tokarev TT-33) and a Vz. 61 Skorpion respectively. The Tokarev and Skorpion also happened to be the default firearms of handgun and machine gun users in the original Persona as well.
    • The highest level treasure demon in the game is the crystal skull. While based off of the Crystal Skulls in real life, they're also reminiscent of Innocent Sin's plot devices.
    • In Royal, one of the Faith Confidant's events will take you to a glasses store where you will try on the gag glasses from Persona 4.
    • One of the wrong answers in the first set of exams in Royal is Digital Devil Story, the progenitor of the entire franchise.
    • Ryuji's ultimate gun is the Megami Tensei mainstay, the Megido Fire. Similarly, Akechi's ultimate weapon in Royal is the Hinokagutsuchi, Nakajima's weapon of choice in Digital Devil Story and an oft-recurring, high level sword in numerous Megami Tensei games.
    • The song "No More What Ifs", which plays in the Kichijoji jazz club in Royal, contains the lyrics "Someone once said 'burn my dread', babe".
    • The track Kichijoji 199X is a modern remix of the classic Kichijoji track from Shin Megami Tensei I.

    N 
  • Named After Somebody Famous: All of the Confidant NPCs (besides Caroline, Justine, and Igor, who retain the Frankenstein theme naming of the previous Velvet Room attendants) and a few party members are named after important figures in Japanese history — usually rebels who fought against societal norms in one way or another. Some examples include:
    • Yuuki Mishima is named after infamous right-wing author Yukio Mishima, who attempted a failed coup in a Japanese military base in 1970. Yukio Mishima was also the inspiration for Gotou, a villainous military nut who has appeared in a few mainline SMT games.
    • Toranosuke Yoshida is probably named after Torajirō Yoshida, a short-lived intellectual who would nurture many activists that would give birth to the Meiji Restoration.
    • Sae Niijima is named after Yae Niijima, a woman from the Edo period who fought alongside men in the Boshin War.
    • Haru Okumura's name likely stems from Haru Hiratsuka, a feminist, anarchist, and political activist who founded the New Japan Women's Organization. The family name of Hiratsuka's lover was "Okumura".
    • Ryuji Sakamoto's almost certainly an allusion to Ryoma Sakamoto, a rough and tumble lower-nobility samurai who became one of the most prominent anti-shogunate advocates of his day. His diplomacy and tactics lay the groundwork for what would one day become the Meiji Restoration.
    • Goro Akechi is an obvious reference to Kogoro Akechi, a beloved Japanese literary character who is a brilliant, eccentric detective in the same vein as Sherlock Holmes. And a more subtle reference to Mitsuhide Akechi, an infamous samurai who, for better or worse, led a surprise attack against his own lord. His name has gone down in history as synonymous with unexpected betrayal, much like Judas and Brutus.
  • Nerf:
    • In this game, the Tetrakarn (reflects physical attacks) and Makarakarn (reflects magical attacks except for Almighty) spells can now only be cast on one person at a time instead of on everyone. Haru gets a party-wide version of these spells in Royal, but it costs 95 SP to use it, and she only unlocks it after she gets her third-tier Persona.
    • Doing well on tests is less beneficial than in the previous game — instead of getting points in all your school-related Social Links, you get a boost to Charm (albeit a big one). If you go out of your way to talk to Sojiro within a few days after test results are posted, he'll also give you a reward based on how well you did, for all four tests.
    • The ability for a party member to take a mortal blow for you, an ability you get immediately upon starting a S. Link with a party member in Persona 4, is now an ability that you have to reach Rank 9 Confidant in order to unlock, like in Golden.
    • Futaba's after-battle SP recovery skills are weaker than Rise's, recovering 1 and 3 percent of the party's SP rather than 5 and 10 percent. Plus, Futaba's skills only affect sidelined members, which has the drawback of being unable to benefit Joker, the one character that can't be removed from the front lines and that is most likely to need the extra SP, given his Wild Card versatility.
    • Previous games with Shock and Freeze not only removed physical resistance from those suffering from them, but also turned any physical hits into criticals, leading to multiple turns of free criticals and damage. Here, Shock and Freeze enable bonus damage from Physical and Nuclear attacks, which doesn't give the bonus turn a Critical Hit would, instead giving you the unique "Technical" critical, which does just as much damage, but doesn't give you a One More. It does allow bypassing Physical resistance, though. Royal lets you restore One More on Technicals if you finish up the new billiards activity.
    • Attacking an enemy while they are down, whether it's with a weakness or not, no longer makes the opponent dizzy and forces them to miss a turn. If an enemy is knocked down and not killed, they'll get up on their next turn and still attack you normally. Dizzy is now a status effect that reduces accuracy instead.
    • Covering weaknesses is a little less effective in this game. The previous games either had armor and accessories that provide resistance our outright nullify an element which made it easy to cover weaknesses in your party or for your current Persona. In this game, while there are armors and accessories that reduce damage from elements, they still will not negate the extra turn a weakness exploitation will give. When your party members' Personas evolve, they still retain their weakness, though they do learn an Evade passive that can contribute, albeit not perfectly. Resistance passives are also harder to come by within the skill set of your own Personas, and cannot be itemized into Skill Cards. This is to promote the use of Lockdown or Isolation to obtain them.
    • In the original game, studying at the diner would get you two points in Knowledge (plus an additional point on rainy days) and one point in one of the other four statistics depending on what you ordered. In Royal, the diner's base Knowledge point gain is reduced to one.
    • In the original game, Swift Strike hits all enemies for light damage(which is roughly equivalent to a low-level physical skill like Bash or Cleave), four times. In Royal, the damage is reduced to miniscule damage(equivalent to Lucky Punch, a move that is useless unless it gets a critical hit).
  • Nerf Arm: The Phantom Thieves weapons aren't actually real, instead they fight with replica weapons and model guns, but they cause real damage due to the Your Mind Makes It Real nature of the mental world. As long as the Shadows think the weapons are real, they can be hurt by them. Akechi takes it to the extreme by using toy swords and ray guns in battle.
  • New Game+: After beating the game, you can start a new file retaining your social parameters (Guts, Charm, etc.), Persona compendium, cash, and equipment. Confidant ranks are reset to zero, but certain bonuses from previously maxed out Confidants will be carried over and your previous girlfriend (if any) will rank up more quickly as well, both thanks to gifts from those characters. You'll also unlock the ability to fuse a new Ultimate Persona, and the option to fight a new Bonus Boss. In Royal, this also allows for you to swap Akechi's outfit between his Black Mask outfit and his Crow outfit at will.
  • New Media Are Evil: Modern use of the internet has a greater focus than in Persona 4, and its flaws are discussed along with it. The Phantom Thieves have a website called the Phan-Site where people can discuss the Phantom Thieves and later choose the most horrible people whose hearts should be changed. It is easily manipulated by Shido's team into luring the Phantom Thieves into a trap.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After a particularly bad row, Mona leaves the group, thinking he can get along by himself. The P-Thieves stakeout Mementos after finding out that message board requests are being filled by him and Noir and try to apologize, except Ryuji gives a backhanded apology, driving the wedge further.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • If the Shadows in Okumura's palace had killed Mona when they had him at Death's door, the Phantom Thieves would've been stuck behind the biometric door early in the palace, Haru would've been sold off, and Yaldabaoth would've eventually won the game.
    • If Shido had never framed Joker for his "assault", Joker never would have been sent to Tokyo, never entered the Metaverse, never formed the Phantom Thieves, and never taken down Shido's entire conspiracy. Justified, since all of these events are rigged by Yaldabaoth for the sole purpose of using Shido as bait for his public experiment.
    • Kaneshiro trying to blackmail Makoto designates her as a "customer" of his bank Palace, allowing the Phantom Thieves access so they can change his heart.
  • Nipple and Dimed: There are many shirtless male Shadows with clearly visible nipples. But shirtless female Shadows, such as Yakshimi, have their nipples carefully hidden by Godiva Hair or some other convenient blocker. The one exception to this is Kali, whose nipples are very visible through her shirt.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Most of the villains' confessions, though particularly Madarame's crying press conference, borrow liberally from a 2014 press conference by a Japanese politician named Ryutaro Nonomura, who broke down crying while confessing to misappropriating 3 million yen, or approximately $30,000, of taxpayer funds.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: As part of the Crapsack World the characters find themselves in. While there are plenty of corrupt authority figures shown, the adults who try to do the right thing end up blamed for crimes/misdemeanors that they were totally innocent of, because someone with more power or authority was actually responsible. Examples include a teacher who wanted what was best for a student getting blamed for and blackmailed over that student's death, a doctor who saw her research hijacked by a superior only to take the fall when he screwed up, and an earnest politician with high ideals getting a name for scandal when his superior stole public funds.
  • No Indoor Voice: Ryuji Sakamoto. A boisterous delinquent who becomes your first party companion (though second if you count the characters in the order they acquire their Persona). It can be argued that Ryuji is the sole - or, at least, chief - reason that a large portion of the party members learn - or come up with the theory - that the Protagonist is a Phantom Thief. In fact, Makoto and Ann - two of the three female party members - likely catch onto what's going on because they overheard Ryuji's loud exclamations and got suspicious/curious.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Seven variations, three of which lead to a Bad Ending.
    • Like in Persona 4, if you fail to complete the dungeon in time, you're shown a sequence of what happens afterwards, however what happens in unique to each dungeon. Possible consequences include: Ann being left to the perverse whims of Kamoshida, Yusuke remaining stuck in a life of being exploited by Madarame, Makoto ending up at an "illegal services shop" and Haru being forced into an abusive marriage. However, these are false memories caused by the drugs the Protagonist was under during the interrogation with Sae after the Casino Heist. They all end with Sae leaving the room to give the Protagonist time to recover from the drugs so that he can give a truer account, but he ends up getting killed when she leaves.
    • If you take too much time to kill Okumura or reach him, he will self-detonate the spaceport and run, killing all of the Thieves in an explosion.
    • A similar version of this happens if you miss the Shido's Palace deadline. Akechi comes to Leblanc and arrests you. What makes this ending interesting, however, is that this will happen even if you've already fought Akechi and he sacrifices himself to defend the Thieves from his cognitive double, and the filter on the ending is hazy, similar to the other failed dungeon endings, leading to more theories about what really happened after Akechi's boss fight.
    • Another variant of the aforementioned deadline Game Overs occur if you miss the Maruki's Palace deadline in Royal. During a dream you will wake up in the nightmare version of the Shujin Academy Counselling Room where Maruki berates you for not giving him a proper response for his offer to change the current reality to humanity's favor. As a result, he uses his persona to make you asleep for an eternity until you can decide for him. You wake up in Le Blanc, with your phone's battery long ran out and the attic filled with cobwebs, yet you can't think about anything at all, so you decided to go to sleep again, with the blue butterfly representing Lavenza failing to reach you.
    • The first Bad Ending involves Joker selling out his teammates or Confidants out to Sae at the end of the interrogation. He fails to put his Faking the Dead plot in motion and is Killed Off for Real. He's then doomed to spend the rest of his life trapped in the Velvet Room, with Igor telling him that "ruin will be coming momentarily". This is a proper ending with a credits sequence, and the game ends for good when it's over.
    • The second method of getting a Bad Ending is during the Final Boss fight with Yaldabaoth, if you opt to leave his Holy Grail form alone, he cuts a deal with the protagonist: in exchange for letting him live, he grants the Thieves eternal access to the Metaverse with the intention of seeing where society goes from there. This kicks off one final Bad Ending where the Thieves are in control over both Tokyo and its people, with all of them blindly believing in the Thieves. There's the implication that the other Thieves eventually give in to abusing their powers, making them no different from the targets they took out. Like the other bad ending, this ending too is accompanied by a credits roll and the game ending for good.
    • In Royal, there is a third method of getting a bad ending. When Joker and Akechi confront Maruki in his palace on the 9th of Janurary, he will ask you to let him fully rewrite reality to end all suffering. A similar, and much more inconspicious, offer happens at Feburary 2 after he claims that Akechi is an illusion manifested from Joker, in which he can choose to live in Maruki's reality. If Joker accepts any of these offers... All hell breaks loose. He returns to Leblanc where all of his friends celebrate Setsubun at full content, but without the will to rebel and without any potential for personal growth. Morgana is now a human and Sumire has been completely overwritten by her Kasumi overlay, while Sojiro dials Joker's parents to let him stay in Leblanc before he graduates. During Makoto and Haru's graduation ceremony, Futaba and Morgana will be transferring to Shujin and Akechi has became a freelance cameraman, while a man that is obviously Maruki comes in and gives them a group photoshoot. All of Joker's friends make bright smiles while Joker himself just stands on the back with a face fitting of an axe murderer before he sensed that he did something wrong. The credits just features the former Phantom Thieves' inner desires all fulfilled and the gang having fun in Leblanc... while Akechi and Joker stare at you before Mementos bleeds into the world.
  • No Stat Atrophy: Once a social stat goes up, it never goes down, even if it's never used again.
  • Not Himself: Shadows in the Metaverse, are enslaved and distorted into doing the bidding of the Palace masters. Joker can snap them out of it via Negotiation, at which point they will remember their true nature as originating from the sea of souls and offer themselves to him as masks to wear. The exception are the Guard Captains that defend the Palaces, who remain firmly loyal to their defeat.
  • Notice This: Quest Givers have a red speech bubble with an exclamation mark over their head. NPCs with general dialogue have a black speech bubble or 3 white sound lines popping out from around their heads. Available Confidants have a speech bubble with a card over their heads.

    O 
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In the initial release of Royal, Shido's last phase isolates the Protagonist for a one-on-one showdown, during which he exclusively uses severe-tier magic. However, this opens him up to having them bounced back in his face by spamming Magic Ointments, or even just bringing a Persona into the fight that repels every element he uses. An unspecified patch after the game was released gave him Megidolaon in case the player tries this.
    • Guns were buffed in Royal by making them refill on ammo after each battle. To balance this, not only do much fewer enemies have Gun weaknesses compared to the original game (along with some gaining immunities to it that they didn't have before), the guns themselves now only have a single clip and Down Shot can only be used once per Metaverse visit (although this can be upgraded to three uses per visit).
  • Old Media Are Evil: News media is heavily critiqued in Persona 5. Shido's entourage is powerful enough to manipulate the news into spinning the Phantom Thieves as criminals and Shido as a hero to the point they make Japan forget that he's a murderer.
  • Once More, with Clarity!:
    • The opening casino escape sequence, with proper story context, is eventually replayed when that portion of the story is hit. The second time around, the characters speaking are identified with their names (instead of just "Girl's voice" or "Boy's voice"), their portraits are in full view, the Personas Joker has at the time are used instead of just the shadowy Arsène, and there's an additional cutscene of Arsène speaking to Joker and warning of the upcoming potential for a bad ending if proper choices aren't taken.
    • Immediately after said casino sequence is another bout of this, with a long string of flashbacks properly explaining Joker's fuzzy memories during the interrogation and why there was a massive police force waiting for the Phantom Thieves.
  • Once per Episode: Once again, traits and events recur from previous installments.
    • The holder of the Magician arcana is once again unlucky in love (Morgana is infatuated with Ann, but if she even noticed, she acts as though she didn't).
    • There is a character who fights with their hands and feet and aspires to one day be a police officer (Makoto, following in the steps of her father).
    • The first male party member that joins your party is a bit of an idiot and gets made fun of by other members of the party (Ryuji of course).
    • The student council president who is very intelligent and has great grades, but is pretty clueless in normal social interactions (Makoto again).
    • The non-human ally who serves as the game's mascot (Morgana, replacing Teddie).
    • The ally of the team who turns out to have been a traitor all along (Akechi, although unlike Adachi and Ikutski, his betrayal is pretty heavily telegraphed).
    • One of the girls will be a poor chef (Royal specifically), and although it isn't totally inedible, Kasumi gives Joker a lunch that was apparently smothered in curry flavoring, giving it a very strong and not-quite-natural taste. (Although this Kasumi is actually Sumire and she can indeed cook, but the real Kasumi was actually a poor chef.)
    • The Velvet Room attendant will ask the protagonist to show them around the human world while misunderstanding everyday things they come across (Caroline and Justine ask Joker to take them places in return for giving him skill cards).
    • The protagonist can end up in a relationship with their homeroom teacher (though this time the teacher is fully aware that it's her student she's getting involved with, compared to 3 where the teacher doesn't find out til the very end and is horrified due to it being an online relationship).
  • One-Hit Kill: The Hama and Mudo skill lines return, which have a 20-80% percentage chance, depending on the skill, to instantly kill an enemy if they don't have immunity to light and dark magic.
  • One Steve Limit: One of the reasons why the demon names for the Palace rulers don't always match with the Seven Princes of Hell according to Peter Binsfield. Beelzebub, Satan and Lucifer are already available as Personas, so the bosses respectively representing Gluttony, Wrath and Pride are Baelnote , the Sphinx and Samael. Likewise, Belphegor is free to be a Persona since the Palace representing Sloth aka Mementos, the Palace of the masses, doesn't have an individual ruler.
  • Out-Gambitted: After figuring out what was going on in the Casino Palace, the rest of the Phantom Thieves knew that Black Mask was going to try to kill Joker, though they weren't quite sure why yet. Black Mask believes that they've managed to bait the Phantom Thieves into giving up Joker, get him into police custody, and make it look like Joker committed suicide during questioning rather than pay for his crimes in jail. However, knowing Black Mask was going to try something, the Phantom Thieves came up with a plan. The Thieves used the fact that a Palace's distortions only affect one area to make Black Mask think he was in the real world while secretly transferring him to the Metaverse, making Black Mask kill a cognitive version of Joker rather than the real one. Then, they used spyware on Black Mask's phone to spy on him reporting his "success" to the Big Bad, all while the real Joker sat safe and sound in the real police custody, with Black Mask none the wiser. And, thanks to Sae Niijima being convinced by Joker to help the Phantom Thieves, Joker was able to exit police custody without being spotted. After all this, a television interview makes Black Mask realize that they've been tricked, and he admits to being impressed at the Phantom Thieves pulling it off. What makes it even more impressive is that Joker had been drugged by corrupt police earlier, and didn't remember there even was a gambit until the last minute.
  • Overly Generous Time Limit: The boss battle against Okumura has a time limit of thirty minutes, but should only take about twenty, even if you watch every mid-battle cutscene. When the last Giant Mook goes down, Okumura doesn't even attack, meaning the only way to lose at that point is to let the timer run out. Zig-zagged in Royal, as if you are underleveled or just don't know how to kill each robot within two turns it will make you run out of time very easily since he will regenerate all robots if they are not killed within those two turns. If you know how to do it, hint  it's perfectly reasonable.

    P 
  • Le Parkour: Dungeon traversal now has you jump between chandeliers, leap out windows, launch yourself over Bottomless Pits, and leap and dash between various forms of cover.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • The area right outside the original final boss' arena contains several respawning Shadow groups that provide abnormally high experience and cash rewards, conveniently located right next to a safe spot to save. This is not the case in terms of area outside of the Royal final boss' arena because it's simply a barren area with only a few difficult to reach Shadows.
    • The later areas of Da'at in Royal have much stronger versions of low-level Personas to provide experience for parties with levels in the mid to high 90s.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • One of the main plot points is once a Palace's treasure is stolen, the palace will vanish forever. Any treasures either laying in objects around the Palace or in locked chests will be lost once the Palace is completed. This includes Will Seeds in Royal, and Morgana will specifically warn you if you haven't collected all three of a Palace's Will Seeds.
    • The Golden Beam gun for Akechi cannot be obtained if you don't buy it in Niijima's Palace. The Lumina Saber and Sirius cannot be bought from Iwai's shop after Akechi permanently leaves the party either. In the case of the latter two weapons, their permanently missable status is averted in Royal, where they become available for purchase again after Akechi rejoins the Phantom Thieves, although there's no real reason to as Akechi's starting weapons when he rejoins render them obsolete.
    • Most of your Confidants involve someone antagonizing the Confidant in question to the point that the thieves need to take out the aggressors' Shadows in Mementos, usually around the Rank 7 mark. Take too long to take out the targets, and you're screwed out of hitting Max Rank, which means losing out on a number of Personas (either from hitting max rank in general, some of which are required for fusion for even stronger Personas). The same goes for not bothering to work on your own party members, which in turn means losing their Ultimate Personas (which all come with a skill that greatly boosts their dodge rate against the weakness of each party member). It's worse for Futaba, as not only do you need high Kindness to start her Confidant, but she's the only party member that actually has an antagonist that you need to defeat in Mementos to continue. The only exceptions are those who rank up automatically (Igor, Morgana, Sae and Goro in the original), Caroline and Justine (who go up a rank when you fuse a requested Persona with a specific skill), and Yoshida (has no opponent at all).
    • Even taking out the Rank 7 gate, several Confidants can still be missed if ignored for too long:
      • Toranosuke Yoshida, the politician and Sun Confidant, is locked out after November 15 due to the upcoming in-game election where he needs to focus on his campaign. He will at least send you a text over a week in advance if you haven't hit Max rank with him at that point.
      • Sadayo Kawakami, your homeroom teacher and the Temperance Confidant, is normally available through calling the pay phone in Leblanc. However, her confidant has several scenes that take place at school and are required to start the confidant or progress to the next rank. This means you will no longer be able to progress her confidant beyond those points after the Casino Palace deadline, as Joker is faking his death and can't go to school. Unlike with Yoshida, there's no warning from Kawakami if you're cutting close to her cutoff period.
      • The Strength Confidant's progress is identical to the Empress Social Link from Persona 4: your rank increases when you bring a specific Persona with a specific skill to Caroline and Justine. The player can either do it in increments (ideally doing the final request by the time you access the sixth Palace, as it requires fusing a Persona that's Level 53 at base) or, with enough Level Grinding, all at once. The confidant itself, however, is written around Caroline and Justine's amnesia and obliviousness to their overall purpose as Velvet Room attendants. It's revealed during the final stretch of the game that they're really two halves of a single attendant, Lavenza, and in order to stop the Big Bad, they fuse themselves back together. Since the confidant is written around Caroline and Justine, and not Lavenza herself, if you've completely held off their requests by the time of the final day, then you cannot proceed any higher into the Confidant at all. In Royal, Caroline and Justine also have hangout events that award you with a skill card after each date, but if you don't complete them by December 22, you will not get the final hangout event with Lavenza, where she awards you the skill card Enduring Soul.
      • In Royal, the Councillor Confidant cannot be completed if you failed to reach rank 9 before November 18. Failing to complete the Councillor Confidant before that deadline will lock you into the ending path of the original game and be unable to access the third-term events. For the Councillor Confidant, at least, you are given plenty of warning — Kawakami tells you twice (one announced during class, and the other personally). On the other hand, you actually have to do this to unlock all the Thieves Den content, since the original game's ending cutscenes are only unlocked by going down that route.
      • Along with the Councillor Confidant in Royal, in order to complete the Justice and Faith Confidants, the Justice Confidant needs to be at rank 8 before November 18, while the Faith Confidant needs to be at rank 5 before December 22. Missing a deadline will not allow you to continue the respective Confidant, which means losing out on battle perks, especially Sumire's Show Time attack with Joker and both Sumire and Akechi's 3rd tier Personas. What's trickier about Akechi's 3rd tier Persona, Hereward, is that it's unlocked by certain dialogue options during rank 7 and 8 of the Justice Confidant as well as remembering to keep your promise the night after defeating him in Shido's Palace. Picking any other choice, even if the Confidant is maxed out, will not unlock this.
    • Because the protagonist has to fake his death until his final exams, any facilities (such as the library) and items (such as some SP-recovery items) from Shujin Academy cannot be accessed after the Casino Palace. You can still do your Shujin-based Confidants (Ryuji, Makoto and Haru) however.
    • While most of the Hangout Spots are opened through story events or by ranking up Confidants, some are only accessible either by reading a book or partaking on events set on one specific day. Skipping random events and not bothering to find the books means you can go the entire game without some of the more vital spots to work on stats or shop, with the Fishing Pond and the Meiji Shrine being two big examples.
    • There is also no hint that you can access Tanaka's black market website by buying the laptop from the second hand shop and fixing it with a repair kit from a shop in Akihabara.
    • The theater in Yongen-jaya is shut down at the beginning of the game; you can reopen it via Mementos by taking out the Shadow of the developer that's strong-arming the building's owners. Naturally, holding off on this request means that it never re-opens.
    • The text messages get deleted past a certain threshold. This includes a text by Mishima that activates the Mementos request, "One Who Bullies Bullies." If you don't read it, the mission will never activate, screwing you out of 100% Completion (Since clearing the request unlocks Black Frost's fusion). What makes it particularly infuriating is that it's the only Mishima mission text that isn't read automatically and that the NPCs involved with the quest in question will still hang out in front of the school, but you can never do anything about it. Royal fixes this, since Joker automatically opens the text conversations first thing in the morning.
    • A minor case with Sumire in the Thieves Den. Due to story events, she puts her hair down and stars wearing glasses as part of her civilian outfit, which transfers over to her appearances in the Den when she joins the thieves. However, maxing out her social link causes her to revert back to her original appearance: once this is done, there's no way to get her to wear her hair down again in the Den. Since the Den runs on a completely different save system from the main game, she will wear her original outfit even if the data where the link was maxed out was deleted.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Kamoshida upon meeting Joker, offers to give him a ride to school in his car. Granted, since he knew nothing about his past and had no reason to hate him.
    • Despite the bad reputation the Phantom Thieves still have from Okumura's death, the Conspiracy covering up Shido's change of heart and the general public still seeing him as a decent person despite him admitting to most of his crimes on live camera, at least one student still happily supports the Thieves as shown by a comment written in Japanese congratulating them on a crude drawing of Shido made after this, which mostly features other comments making fun of him and not the Thieves.
  • Phantom Thief: Played with. The Phantom Thieves of Hearts are an interesting twist on this trope. Going by appearances, they seem to fit the classic Phantom Thief archetype; all members are either a Gentleman Thief or Classy Cat-Burglar, use stealth in their heists, and even send a calling card to their victim before the "crime". What differentiates them from the archetype is that they're less thieves and more Internal Reformists; going into an Eldritch Location known as the Metaverse, they can sweep into a target's subconscious and effectively trigger a forced Heel-Face Turn by stealing the manifestations of evil people's desires. In doing so, people normally untouchable by the law are brought to justice, making them a mix between Internal Reformists and Cowboy Cops.
  • Player Nudge:
    • If you don't realize you can attack Shadow Kaneshiro to stop Piggytron's rolling attack, Morgana will point it out the second time he uses the attack.
    • If you make any dialogue choices that leads to a bad ending (selling out your friends to Sae, cutting a deal with Yaldabaoth or accepting Maruki's reality as the only reality), someone will ask you if you are sure this is what you want to do.
    • In one of the bad ending sequences, Joker's thoughts will mention forgetting "something important" right before Akechi shoots him.
  • Plot Tunnel: Royal starts the third semester with one, with the first free day in January being the 13th. Over the course of this, you're forced into Maruki's Palace three times, twice with a less-than-complete party - once with Kasumi and Akechi since every other Phantom Thief has had their greatest wish granted by Maruki, once with just Akechi after the revelation that "Kasumi" is actually Sumire leads to her being taken hostage by Maruki, and once with the whole gang. You have no access to the Velvet Room until the third visit, and between the first two Palace visits, you're forced to talk to each Phantom Thief, one a day, to snap them out of Maruki's dream world, without even fast travel to jump you to where they are.
  • Point of No Return:
    • Played with. (Effectively the "Nasty" type, but with an escape clause.) Upon reaching a dungeon's "treasure", you get the option of sending a Calling Card to the target. Once you do so, you're locked in: you're forced into the dungeon the next day and won't be able to leave until the boss is defeated. However, you are given the option to go back to the previous morning before sending the card should you lose against the boss, in case you jumped into it before you were ready (and so preventing Unwinnable situations); as further mercy, if your heist occurs less than a week before the deadline, losing to the boss gives you the option to go back to 7 days left. Also, once you beat the boss, you won't be able to explore the dungeon again.
    • On the path to the Good Ending is a Tough type. You'll be stuck in Mementos until you reach the end, and you can only exit the dungeon to directly travel to certain shops to restock, but Caroline can provide free heals at the entrance. When you do return to the real world, it's The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, and you can't go shop anymore, but Lavenza still provides healing.
      • With a Polite sub-example- before you enter the Prison of Regression from the final floor of Mementos, Futaba will comment that the door to the prison only opens from the outside. However, you can still freely leave to go shopping until you enter the shrine at the bottom of the depths.
    • A Polite type happens before the game fully hands control over to the player for Shido's palace arc- Morgana warns you that the few weeks before the deadline will probably be your last opportunity to build your social stats and hang out with your confidants.
  • Police Are Useless: Taken Up to Eleven in this game as compared with Persona 4 to emphasize the hopelessness of society.
    • They are generally either too inept or corrupt to actually bother stopping crime or protecting the public, since Shido brought and blackmailed the police force in serving his interests. In fact, just like the rest of the public, they are more interested in witch-hunting you and the rest of the Phantom Thieves than to go after Shido and his cohorts (whom they are actually protecting or enabling). Part of the reason the Phantom Thieves become so popular among the public is them being able to do what the police have repeatedly failed or didn't bother doing.
    • Averted in the case of Kaneshiro. Later dialogue makes it clear that the police did know about him, but lacked the evidence to do anything about it, which is something that the Phantom Thieves don't need to worry about.
  • Police Brutality: The protagonist is beaten and drugged by police at the beginning of the game, after he is caught at the end of a heist. Notably, a police detective will threaten to break one of your legs if you refuse to sign a False Confession.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • During the group's second trip to Kamoshida's Palace, Ryuji initially fails to communicate to Morgana that he wants to save the volleyball players who are being tortured. As a result, Morgana fails to tell Ryuji that they're cognitive beings who only exist in the Metaverse until Ryuji has gone all the way to the dungeon and tried to free them.
    • Played for Drama when it comes to the real Kasumi in Royal. While she did absolutely meant it when it comes to taking care of her sister Sumire because of her inherent flaws, this resulted in Sumire being severely crippled by an inferiority complex and borderline suicidal depression, something that actually kickstarted the traffic accident that led to Kasumi's very own death. Had Kasumi actually even tried a pep talk to understand why her sister was so depressed instead of flaunting her own success as the elder sister, she wouldn't even die in the first place.
  • Portal Picture: In the Art Gallery dungeon, the party can hop into paintings to use them to sneak around foes.
  • Post-Modern Magik: The heroes use a phone app called "Meta-Nav" ("Isekainavi", or "Otherworld Navi(gation)" in Japanese) to access the Metaverse and the Palaces.
  • Powerful, but Inaccurate: Lucky Punch and Miracle Punch (as well as Diego's Miracle Rush in Royal) have an increased chance to inflict a damaging Critical Hit, but also have a much higher chance of missing completely.
  • Power Glows: Persona are now covered in a glowing blue aura of flames when summoned.
  • The Power of Friendship: P5 has the "Confidant" system, where every character you get to know over your year in Tokyo gives you cheaper rates at shops, new items, or new abilities in battle, along with the standard ability from previous Persona games to fuse stronger Guardian Entities.
  • The Power of Love: Subverted when Joker makes coffee for his friends. The two options presented are "Make it like Sojiro told you to", and "Make it with Love". Choosing the former will result in your friend complimenting your coffee, while choosing the latter will result in them being dissatisfied with the coffee.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: When using DLC Persona, the protagonist will occasionally drop lines from those games before using a signature Special Attack. For instance, the Protagonist will drop a line from Persona 4: Arena Ultimax right before using Tsukuyomi's Abyssal Wings skill.
    Protagonist: It's Sho-time!
  • Precision F-Strike: F-bombs are rather rare in this game, making the times someone goes that far rather impactful.
    • Ryuji gets one or two. In the original game, after you complete the first mural in Futaba's Palace, he notes that what was just described was "a fuckin' sick thing to do to a kid" (it's changed to "the shittiest thing" in Royal). Then, after Sojiro learns that you and Futaba are Phantom Thieves, he texts a "You gotta be fucking kidding!"
    • When the Phantom Thieves track down Makoto after she willingly lets herself be taken to Kaneshiro, one of the mobsters yells, "Who the fuck are you?"
    • In Ryuji's Rank 3 event, Nakaoka tells Ryuji that he "had to go and fuck all of that up" when recounting how the track team was disbanded as a result of Ryuji punching Kamoshida.
    • In her Rank 5 event, Ohya recounts how her partner was falsely accused of murder and claims "it's pretty damn fucked up to make allegations like that without any evidence!"
    • Iwai's Confidant has several, befitting an ex-yakuza.
      • During the event that leads to Tsuda's Mementos request, Tsuda refers to the triads who stiffed him as "those Hong Kong motherfuckers" and tells Iwai that "nobody gives a fuck about your goddamn code of honor anymore".
      • During his Rank 9 event, Iwai calls Masa a "motherfucker" after he kidnaps Kaoru. Masa later tells Iwai to "fuck off" after he demands Kaoru's release. Then, Tsuda gets to tell Masa he's "really fucked up this time" during his Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Preexisting Encounters: Enemies now have dungeon specific forms, like knights, security guards and police officers, who wander the maps. Battle starts when you attack them or they attack you. However, in keeping with the game's Phantom Thief themes, you now sneak up and Back Stab enemies to get an advantage in battle, instead of just hitting them.
  • Press X to Die: During Shadow Sae's boss battle, you will be warned that you cannot harm her (including attacks, debuffs, and inflicting status effects) her while the roulette wheel is spinning. If you do, she'll counter by reducing your HP to one regardless of your evasion or resistances. Best make sure the boss doesn't have the next turn if you decide to do this.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Royal adds, as part of DLC, a gameplay mode called "Challenge Battle", which offers the player a chance to fight against the protagonists of either Persona 3 or Persona 4.
  • Product Placement:
    • The Shibuya station has ads for the real-life store chain HMV.
    • Futaba wears a pair of AKG headphones in her street clothes. While the logo isn't visible, the initials are.
    • You can purchase Jagariko from the Triple Seven Convenience Store, with its description calling it "a popular Japanese snack". Characters will also occasionally be seen eating Jagariko when hanging out with Joker.
    • There's a good amount of product placement from Atlus' parent company, Sega Sammy Holdings; there's a non-enterable Club Sega visible in Akibihara, Joker and Makoto can watch the Yakuza movie under its original Japanese title of Like a Dragon, and one of the new minigames in Royal is a DARTSLIVE3 machine.
    • Much like in real life, there's Pasela Resorts, a karaoke and cafe bar, on Central Street. Pasela Resorts was where some of the Persona 5 cafe collaborations were held.
  • Prolonged Prologue: While you do get opportunities to save at the end of each day, the first in-game week involves the protagonist getting used to the setting, establishing the initial party members and awakening their Personas, setting up the conflict with the Starter Villain, and multiple compulsory trips into the first Palace for combat and navigation tutorials. After all the facilities are in place, the player finally gets free rein to choose how to spend their day.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Due to how their heists result in what basically amounts to Brainwashing for the Greater Good, this gets discussed at several points throughout the story.
  • Public Domain Character: Always the case with Demons and Personas in the Shin Megami Tensei series. Whereas 3 and 4 used Classical Mythology (usually Greek) and Japanese Mythology for its Personas, 5 uses Lovable Rogues and famous thieves from contemporary folklore that match the party's own personalities:
    • The main character's initial Persona is Arsène - as in, Arsène Lupin, the archetypal Phantom Thief. Arsène the Persona dresses similarly to famous depictions of the original thief, with a top hat and other formal wear.
    • Morgana's Persona is Zorro, a pulp hero and cunning outlaw who defends commoners and other innocents from an oppressive government. The fact Zorro has the Animal Motif of a fox and Morgana is a cat is probably a joke.
    • Ryuji's Persona is Captain Kidd, as in Captain William Kidd, a Scottish sailor once tasked with hunting pirates who soon turned to piracy himself and stole from his former corrupt employers. This mirror's Ryuji's former attempts to be an overall good student until Kamoshida ruined his reputation and his ability to run in the track team, and in turn embracing his reputation as a delinquent.
    • Ann has Carmen, the star of a French opera of the same name and a gypsy woman loved by men for her exotic features and hedonism. Ann is a quarter-white girl who is the subject of some nasty rumors at the school regarding her ethnicity.
    • Yusuke's Persona is Goemon, as in Ishikawa Goemon, a Japanese thief who stole from nobles and gave his spoils to the peasantry. This coincides with Yusuke stealing the heart of his former mentor, an affluent yet corrupt plagiarist, and doing the same for the Phantom Thieves' other targets.
    • Futaba's Necronomicon takes the form of a person and livestock abducting UFO, reflecting both her fascination with programming and feelings of alienation from the rest of society.
    • Haru has Milady named for Milady de Winter from The Three Musketeers, both being women of affluence who betray family members to further their own plans for their lives. Milady the Persona is well-known as an example of Silk Hiding Steel, hiding missiles and all manner of artillery including a tri-barrel cannon under her 17th-Century hoop dress.
    • Akechi has Robin Hood, representing his desire to help people and find the truth. This is only a half-truth, however, as his true Persona is Loki, representing his questionable allegiance towards both Shido and the Phantom Thieves, as well as his hatred of the society that dealt him such a shitty childhood.
  • Punny Name:
    • The Protagonists attend Shujin High School. Its name can be read as "The People's High School" or "Prisoner High School".
    • The Gay Bar in Shinjuku is named "Crossroads" (as in Wholesome Crossdresser) in the English version and "Nyukama" (a combination of "newcomer" and "okama", a Japanese term for gay men) in the Japanese version.
    • In the Japanese version, the Saw parody Pach-Saw is called "Zaw"; it sounds similar to the Japanese word for elephant: "zou".
  • Puzzle Boss: The Azazel Boss Battle has the Shadow hidden behind four paintings. The eyes and nose absorb magic attacks, and the mouth absorbs physical damage, forcing you to hit each with the right attack to get to Azazel himself.

    R 
  • Rainbow Speak: Key names and terms are indicated in red in things such as tutorial screens and story recaps.
  • Rain of Blood: After The Holy Grail fuses Mementos with the real world, red rain starts falling on Tokyo, even flooding the streets. It's unclear whether it is actually blood, but it certainly gives that impression.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Many of the villains are sexual predators or criminals of some sort:
    • Kamoshida sexually harasses the female members of the volleyball team, tries to blackmail Ann into sleeping with him, and is implied to rape Shiho after Ann's refusal.
    • Kaneshiro is a sex trafficker who tries to blackmail Makoto into prostitution, while his Shadow reveals he intends to make Sae his "personal slave".
    • Sugimura, Haru's evil arranged fiance, is lecherous and possessive of her.
    • Tsukasa, Eiko's boyfriend and the Arc Villain of Makoto's Confidant, tries to rope Eiko into the sex trade.
    • Shido was attempting to rape a random woman before Joker intervened, and dialogue from Akechi's Confidant in Royal suggests that Akechi was a Child by Rape.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • At the end of the game, Joker had defeated a malevolent god who deliberately manipulated him to dismantle Shido's conspiracy whom the god himself sets up to prove that the Ignorant Masses all want him to rule over them for absolute order under the sacrifice of their free will. Yet, despite having achieved such a noble task, he still has to be locked in juvenile hall for a month so he can testify against Shido's crimes and clear his real or fabricated criminal records such as property infringement and assault. This is because the supernatural is not valid evidence against real world crimes, Shido or otherwise, and even if Joker defeated a God of Control, it's obvious that nobody will believe him if he testified that a God of Control did everything and he still has to testify Shido's crimes with evidence from the material plane.
    • The students in Shujin at first were happy that Kasumi Yoshizawa, a prestigious gymnast with a near-undefeated record arrived to the school. Once word spreads out that she isn't performing well at gymnastic competitions and the fact that this is just Sumire going around calling herself her dead sister Kasumi, they instantly change their reaction to scorn. And then the school tries to revoke her scholarship while Maruki tries to prevent it from being revoked. Finally, we found out that Maruki only made her think that she is Kasumi, because otherwise she would have committed suicide. Just because Maruki made Sumire think that she is Kasumi does not mean that she is Kasumi, since the way she acts is still Sumire's behavior. To say nothing of impersonating a dead athlete, which would most obviously get her scholarship removed and have basically anyone kicked out of their team.
    • In your teammates' confidants, they find the resolve to move forward from their lives and accept their situations. However in Royal, with the exception of Joker, Akechi and "Kasumi"/Sumire, the Thieves easily give in to Maruki's new mementos where their dreams come true and full of happiness, and even their deceased loved ones come back to life as if they were never gone, unknowingly going back on their promises to Joker. Even if somebody accepts that they can't change things and try to move on, that's not going to stop them from subconsciously wishing life to go back to the way it was. No one can fully accept a situation like that, especially where everything they had for themselves was ripped away so unfairly and ruined their lives because of selfish and cruel individuals who laughed it off.
    • The last phase of the fight against the Post-Final Boss is a simple fist fight against Maruki because the Metaverse is breaking down. Because the protagonist and Maruki are both exhausted after a long fight (and because they don't have supernatural powers anymore), the attacks not only don't do much damage, but do less damage each time, and the fight ends after three turns.
    • Because Yusuke goes to Kosei High rather than Shujin, Maruki legally can't counsel him the way he can with Shujin's own students. As such he has to come up with a work-around on the spot, which in this case is building a rapport with Yusuke and helping with his artist-block as well as allowing him to self-reflect.
    • Refusing to be loyal to a single love interest by hooking up with multiple girls has major consequences come Valentine's Day, where all of them discover your duplicity and subject you to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Because did you seriously expect them to blindly accept you cheating on them and treating them all like a disposable harem?
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: A singular In-Universe example. On 11/15 in Royal, Joker's World History teacher comments on the lack of reruns of historical dramas on TV, and suspects that's because many of such stories have rebellious main characters like noble thieves going against shady authority figures, which could be seen as a show of support for the Phantom Thieves and thus something TV networks would rather not get into. Especially after the Phantom Thieves were framed for Kunikazu Okumura's murder.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite there being no shortage of corrupt adults who end up getting their hearts stolen, there are exceptions to the rule:
    • Sojiro, despite his initially cold and distrustful attitude toward the protagonist, cares more for him than he initially lets on, and keeps his and Futaba's involvement in the Phantom Thieves a secret.
    • Sae, the prosecutor who interrogates the protagonist, disapproves of the police's more extreme methods, is willing to listen to him, and ultimately plays a major role in saving his life and helping the Thieves against the conspiracy.
    • Takakura, a high-ranking executive in Okumura Foods who helps manage the company after Kunikazu dies. While Haru has heard some unsettling rumors about him, and distrusts him after he tries to convince her to hand over her shares to him, he turns out to be a Nice Guy who's willing to listen to her, consider her feelings and even help her get out of her Arranged Marriage once he learns that she actually wasn't OK with it.
    • Late in Sojiro's Confidant, Futaba's uncle attempts to extort money from Sojiro by claiming that he was abusing Futaba and that he was assaulted by the protagonist. When a pair of social workers show up to investigate his claims, the lead visitor doesn't start with the assumption that the accused are guilty (as is usually the case in such incidents in fiction), but instead asks questions about Sojiro's parenting to the protagonist and Futaba, as well as what happened between the uncle and the protagonist, before coming to the conclusion that the report was obviously false and wishing the group a good day. He even reins in his clearly-not-as-experienced partner, pointing out that the case is clear-cut when the newer guy questions his methods, and citing his experience with such cases.
    • During Yusuke's Confidant, he and the protagonist go to a Catholic church. Yusuke proceeds to ask the protagonist to imitate Jesus Christ in the cross. In CHURCH. The priest walks up to them, politely asks what they're doing and, when Yusuke explains that he wanted to inspire himself on Jesus's suffering, the priest gently expands into its meaning in an earnest attempt to help Yusuke with his doubts and politely asks them to stop imitating the passion of the Christ, rather than, say, kicking them out. That same priest is the one that lets Hifumi play shogi there.
    • Hiraguchi, who's Kasumi and Sumire's gymnastic's coach, is generally described as tough but fair. She puts her students through rather harsh training regimens, but also is able to give them good advice on how to grow. During the ending, if Sumire's Confidant was maxed out, she'll ask for time off from practice to campaign for Joker's release. Hiraguchi refuses, and instead makes a deal with her- if Sumire continues to apply herself to practice, Hiraguchi will contact her associates for help, something she believes is more effective than anything Sumire could manage on her own.
  • Recurring Element: Multiple elements from Persona 3 and 4 return:
    • A primary Color Motif throughout the UI and other art. For this game, it's a vivid red.
    • The protagonist arrives in town by taking a train.
    • The Velvet Room has a new silver-haired, gold-eyed female attendant - though there's two of them now. Though it'd be more appropriate to say "two halves of one."
    • The game opens with the protagonist signing a contract that says they take responsibility for their actions (in this case a police confession) and seeing an otherworldly blue butterfly in their dreams.
    • The protagonist gets into trouble with a teacher after he transfers to a new school.
    • The protagonist is given a key to the Velvet Room, only this time he's given it as Lavenza's max Confidant gift because of Yaldabaoth hijacking the Velvet Room.
    • The boys come up with a plan to hit on girls only to fail miserably.
    • The normally serious looking girl of the group is absolutely terrified of ghosts.
    • Going all the way back to Persona 2, gossip and rumors play a major role in the development of the plot (this time harnessed via the Phan-site), and there is An Aesop about how fickle and unreliable public opinion is.
    • Peer pressure leads to disaster or near disaster. For example, this is how Kamoshida gets away with blatantly abusing pupils, and how The Conspiracy leads the Phantom Thieves into a trap through pressure from the general public.
    • The Lover Arcana of the team is aiming to be a model and an actress.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • Bars from the opening theme, "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There", reappear in the heroes' Phantom Thief theme, "Life Will Change". In Royal, "Life Will Change"'s guitar riff is remixed for "I Believe", the final heist theme.
    • Parts of "Swear to My Bones", the max rank Confidant theme for the Phantom Thieves, reappear in the Final Boss themes "Yaldabaoth" and "Our Beginning", and the Closing Credits theme "The Stars and Us".
    • In Royal, the main chorus riff of opening theme "Colors Flying High" reappears in the title screen as "Royal Days", as the daytime theme for the dream world in the third semester as "So Happy World", and in the first new credits theme as "Royal Days - Another Version".
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over:
    • The Persona game starring Anti-Hero Phantom Thieves also has a predominately red and black color scheme for menus, costumes, and area designs.
    • This is also the color scheme for Mementos, getting more pronounced as you go deeper, until finally reaching its peak with Mementos Depths.
  • Red Herring:
    • Joker's criminal record becomes gossip at the school quickly, with no initial explanation for how. The story initially baits the player into suspecting Kawakami, as she is shown being frustrated that she has to take you in, while the only other teacher we meet, Kamoshida, seems friendly and reasonable. Eventually it's revealed to be the other way around, as Kamoshida leaked it and had Mishima tell people.
    • One of the first ones in-game belongs to Yusuke, as he is first seen stalking Ann throughout the Shibuya train station, resorts to blackmail when the Phantom Thieves intrudes his room and acting very over-protective towards Madarame. It turns out that he only has very severe Stockholm syndrome issues, and he's a loyal ally from the start to end.
    • The game tries to do one with Makoto, implying she might be a major villain. She's trying to frame the Phantom Thieves for capture and is seen acting suspicious throughout June to July, most notably following Joker all over Tokyo during a certain time. However, she's no villain to begin with. Downplayed in Royal, which adds several new cutscenes that feature her earlier in the game than she was introduced in the original and show her normal, more mellow and socially awkward personality.
    • The game drops what appear to be hints of something sinister about Morgana throughout, though they're so blatant as to be almost too obvious to count as this. You get multiple chances to call him suspicious, he has dreams about being born with yellow shadow eyes, and even at one point asks "There's no way I'd turn out to be bad at the end, right?" Naturally, he doesn't.
    • There's even hints of Futaba being a major antagonist, based on the fact that she has a Palace and she's one of the major in-game targets. She also makes a deal with the Phantom Thieves that is complete with what amounts to be an arrest threat, and in the deadline game over, it's also heavily implied that Joker thinks that Futaba did what she exactly said at the end of the deal; she sold him out and reported him and Sojiro to the authorities during the "Medjed Cleanse". As it turns out, not only her Shadow is actually an ally and the stage boss is the Sphinx cognition of Wakaba, she's completely loyal and her dismissive and trollish attitude is a result of her Ambiguous Disorder. Additionally, Futaba is already an ally during the time of the interrogation where the game actually took place, and her "selling him out" is merely a false recollection.
    • Think the blue butterfly the Protagonist saw at the beginning of the game is Philemon? It is actually Lavenza, the true form of Caroline and Justine. When Yaldabaoth took over the Velvet Room, and Lavenza was separated into the twins, part of her consciousness remained and took the form a butterfly. That said, Philemon is most likely still keeping an eye on Joker from behind the scenes like he did with the protagonists of the previous two games.
    • After recovering the original untouched "Sayuri" painting, Yusuke reveals that his mother's name wasn't actually Sayuri.
    • The Royal expansion tones this Up to Eleven.
      • During the first few days of the game, Sojiro tells you about a 15-year-old girlnote  who died of a car crash a month prior to the start of your journey. You might be convinced that Kasumi is the victim, only to be relieved that her twin sister was the victim instead and not her...Only for Maruki to actually reveal to you, Kasumi, and Akechi at the third semester events that the person died during that car crash was indeed Kasumi herself and her sister was the one who survived, and the "Kasumi" in front of you was merely a result of Maruki's powers overlaid on the younger and less-talented sister. While you may think that this is based on the Mental Shutdown cases because it was spoke by Sojiro right after the train crash, it actually has no relation at all and Kasumi merely sacrificed herself to prevent her sister from a potentially-lethal traffic accident for an inferiority complex towards her.
      • Pre-release material hints and emphasizes a lot about Kasumi opposing the Phantom Thieves because she didn't want people to over-rely on them for help. This can easily lead you into thinking that she's the traitor or even an Arc Villain. She isn't and doesn't, and she only mentions that once to Akechi during a relatively friendly chat and uses that as her excuse to not directly join in combat before Yaldabaoth's fall. Even if Kasumi was exposed as actually Sumire, the statement turns out to be totally ironic and she was the very one who relied on Maruki to fix her issues by turning her into Kasumi. Oddly enough, the real Kasumi is implied to have this mindset, but she never followed it to Sumire when she was still alive. Instead, she just took care of her in a seemingly condescending way that fueled her suicidal depression.
      • Then there's also Kasumi's father. He is the director of the talk show where Akechi is first met, which might actually lead people into thinking that he is a member of the Conspiracy. It turns out that he's a genuinely Nice Guy.
      • Maruki's Rank 8 event introduces an old colleague named Shibusawa who very conspicuously has a Character Portrait, giving the implication that he's going to become very important down the line. He's not; he ultimately proves to be a periphery figure in Maruki's backstory and has an utterly negligible role in the story overall.
      • The appearance of Biyarky and Hastur in Maruki's palace might make you believe that he's being manipulated by Nyarlathotep...And then his Persona is revealed to be Azathoth, and you might actually get convinced that Nyarlathotep might have had a hand in it, due to Tatsuya's Scenario mentioning Lovecraft creatures always serve another Lovecraft entity...However, Azathoth and its true form, Adam Kadmon, are just a Persona gifted with cognitive reality manipulation powers and sought to make Maruki's wish a reality.
  • Reduced-Downtime Features: In earlier Persona games, the player would have to open up a menu after battles and then select items or a particular spellcaster and manually choose to heal up to an acceptable point. This game simplifies that to a simple button press which will automatically select a character with healing spells who isn't currently in the frontlines and use some of their MP to heal the party up to maximum.
  • Refusal of the Call: The Protagonist attempts to delete the Metaverse Navigator app for a good three days before actually using it to willingly enter the Metaverse. Though it's justified in that he doesn't know it's bringing him a Call to Adventure when he does it and thinks that the app is just some piece of recurring malware.
  • Relationship Values: The "Confidant" feature works similar to the Social Link system in 3 and 4, giving bonus actions to your party members as you increase the rank. However, the non-party member Confidants also give bonuses, like granting additional Exp, or allowing you to fuse higher level personas, in addition to strengthening fused Personas of that arcana.
  • Relax-o-Vision: When Okumura has a Mental Shutdown on live television: the conference frantically cuts to a still image drawn in crayon of a cute puppy romping in a field as jingly music plays in the background. It's... not funny at all.
  • Relieved Failure: Hifumi Togo's defeat in her Confidant story is revealed because of her mother rigging shogi matches from behind the scenes. After the Phantom Thieves defeat her Shadow, Hifumi lost her first match. And while news of her defeat reaches to those who follow Hifumi's shogi career, she decide to take it as a good thing in order to be a shogi player on her own terms.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: After the Phantom Thieves's Gambit Roulette paid off which resulted in the authorities thinking that Joker is dead, they later reveal to the public in a very spectacular display that their leader isn't dead and to deliver Shido's calling card.
  • Required Party Member: Done in a unique way during the first boss fight. At one point, you are able to send one of your party members to knock Kamoshida's crown off of his head to severely weaken him. If you try to send Ann, she will automatically fail due to Kamoshida's perverse fixation on her, so she must be placed in the main party to keep him from noticing when one of the boys quietly disappears from the fight.
  • Retgone: When Yaldabaoth starts overlaying his Palace onto the real world, the Phantom Thieves start disappearing since nobody believes that they exist, and the other world runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe, which means that they really don't exist. The Thieves only barely manage to hang onto existence.
  • The Reveal:
    • The Phantom Thieves were well aware of Akechi's ulterior motives from the day they met, and they had been taking the necessary steps to get him off their backs from that very moment onwards.
    • The traitor is Goro Akechi, who is actually A) Masayoshi Shido's bastard son, and B) a Wild Card just like the protagonist.
    • Igor, who has been helping you since the very beginning of the story, is a fake. He's actually Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic Demiurge and the real Big Bad of the game.
    • In Royal, on Maruki's last day at Shujin, he reveals that he's known all along that Joker, Ryuji, and Ann are Phantom Thieves; Maruki saw them emerge from Kamoshida's Palace after Ann awoke her Persona, since he was leaving after an interview with Kobayakawa, and started putting the dots together after Kamoshida's change of heart.
    • Morgana was never human; he's a manifestation of humanity's hopes. Before Igor lost control of the Velvet Room, he created Morgana as a failsafe to find Joker and help guide him into the heart of Mementos to stop Yaldabaoth.
    • In Royal, the new character Kasumi is also a fake. The real Kasumi has been Dead All Along and this is just a cognition using her younger sister Sumire as a vessel; Sumire told Maruki that she has to live as her elder sister out of survivor's guilt and wasn't in her right mind, so he did so by warping her cognition, not wanting her to suffer.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Futaba's uncle always felt like The Unfavorite compared to her mother and began abusing Futaba after she died as a way of getting back at her.
  • Revisiting the Roots: This game has many, many similarities with older Persona games, and even the main series.
    • The enemies are once again demons, which was last seen in Persona 2, and are featured in all other Megaten games. The game still refers to them as shadows though.
      • In addition, demon negotiation happens exactly as in the main games; you can negotiate with demons to recruit them and be instantly able to use it and fuse it with other demons. This is unlike Persona (gave you a token card that could only be used for Fusion), Persona 2 (gave you a bunch of tarot cards from their respective arcana to summon whatever you want, no fusion whatsoever) or Persona 3 and 4 (getting new Personas is a game of chance and fusion).
    • The game happens in Tokyo, just like all main SMT games. Previous Persona titles were all in fictional locations.
    • You and your party members can use both melee weapons and guns. That was last seen in Persona 1, and is also featured in all mainline games except Nocturne.note 
    • The Final Boss is pretty much another version of YHVH.
      • In Royal, the initial form of the new final boss and several enemies in their Palace are taken from the Cthulhu Mythos, which was a major influence in Persona 1 and 2.
    • The initial form of Futaba's persona, Necronomicon, also came from the Cthulhu Mythos. The Third Tier form of this persona, Al Azif is the Necronomicon's original name.
    • Unlike Persona 3 and 4 - and very much like the previous and mainline games - the human villains are major and influential political figures.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Revisiting the game after beating it, the sight of the early-game cutscene where Akechi looks at his smartphone as Sae approaches him takes on a much darker context, when you consider that A) People whose Shadows have been crippled or killed go blank-eyed and unresponsive and ooze black goo from their mouths, B) the Metaverse Navigator app can be accessed by a Wild Card or Persona user as part of Yaldabaoth's Game, and C) Akechi is the Black Mask responsible for the murders in both worlds.
    • When Ryuji calls Yusuke "Inari" in the opening sequence he isn't using his code name, but the joke name Futaba gave him.
    • Early on, when the player meets Igor, hearing him with a drastically different and deeper voice, as well as hearing him say "Welcome to MY Velvet Room" as if it is his to own rather than the guest's subconscious, it is the first telling sign that something is wrong with Igor from the very start.
    • Before the Okumura heist, Igor will tell you not to get caught off guard or you will be swept under your feet in one of his typical Velvet Room meetings. Then the approval rate of the Phantom Thieves increases by two-fold right after. Sure enough, everyone within the Phantom Thieves were indeed caught off guard, allowing The Conspiracy to frame them for Okumura and Kobayakawa's murder (In reality, Shido ordered Akechi to kill them) to advance their next plan. At the Velvet Room meeting that night, Igor warns you that a contigency is preventing your "rehabilitation" and unexpected situations are expected during a game. Then again, right after he's finished talking the approval rate for the Phantom Thieves decreases from 93% to 0% within several days, with the negative comments rolling in at the day after the first drop. It's later revealed that Shido and his IT President crony hijacked public opinion with the media...aside that it isn't the full truth. What actually happens seems to be "Igor"-Yaldabaoth maniupulating public cognition to advance his "game".
    • The drunken Shido mentions "steering the country" in the early flashback while attempting to harass the woman. This line comes back much later in giving hints to his Palace.
    • The beginning has Morgana mention Mementos and finding secrets in the depths. The depths of Mementos is the final dungeon and reveals Mona's origins.
    • Early on, an unknown man harasses Sojiro in Leblanc and the conversation mentions "her". Later, the "her" is revealed to be Futaba and that man is Futaba's biological uncle.
    • Prior to their first visit to the Metaverse you'll notice that the Protagonist accidentally activated the Meta-Nav when they first meet Ryuji. As well as Ryuji unknowingly entering Kamoshida's keywords.
    • After taking down the third mini-boss in Shido's Palace, we get a scene of Akechi doing an interview, but inwardly has some very different thoughts than what he's saying out loud: namely that with the help of the Metaverse Navigator and the Persona bestowed upon him "by the gods", he managed to dispose of those who've gotten in his way. Only on a second playthrough does it make sense because it's the literal truth: Akechi was chosen by the false Igor, AKA Yaldabaoth, to deliberately incite chaos and distortion throughout the world, with the Protagonist chosen to oppose him as part of the whole 'game'.
    • If you check the Thieves Den decor for Shadow Futaba, it's in the "Metaverse" tab (Where Metaverse-related objects are placed within) instead of the "Enemy" tab (Where major Palace bosses are placed within), indicating that she isn't the boss of her Palace.
    • In the Royal expansion, nearly every encounter with Kasumi hints that the one you encountered is not her but Sumire made to think like her, and it becomes clear once you clear the Third Semester events once.
    • In Royal, in a "blink and you'll miss it" moment very early on in the game, after Ann awakens to her Persona and the group returns from the Metaverse, they seem to materialize out of nowhere in the alley across the school. While Dr. Maruki hasn't been introduced at that point in the game, he can be clearly seen walking by at that time, which is how he figures out the true identity of the Phantom Thieves, but keeps it to himself until the end of his Confidant.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: In Royal, your party remembers the timeline in which everyone was living in Dr. Maruki's idealized reality and how they changed his heart. For everyone else, although that time isn't reverted, events are said to have played out as they would have had the altered reality never happened, and so their memories reflect the events that would lead them to the point in life that they're at now.
  • Road Trip Plot: The game ends with this as Joker's probation has ended and he has to go home. His friends get ahold of a Citroën H Van (the van Morgana took the form of) to take him there. Due to Morgana stealing a spark plug from two mysterious people who are apparently meant to make sure Joker goes home, the former Phantom Thieves are free to go where they please during the trip.
  • Romance Sidequest: You can enter into a relationship with the majority of the female confidants in the game through their Level-Up at Intimacy 5 side-stories, assuming they like you enough from your interactions and you express an interest in the later stages of their questline.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: An example of this with the Japanese language happens during one of the game's anime cutscenes which has Shido's surname spelled in kanji as 獅堂 (lion institute) instead of 獅童 (lion child), which is the canonical spelling of his surname. This spelling mistake has no effect on the pronunciation of his surname.
  • R-Rated Opening: The game wastes no time in letting players know it's Darker and Edgier, with the protagonist suffering violent Police Brutality (also involving drugs) in the prologue, and the Starter Villain of the game proper being a sexual predator teacher.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • As a rule, Palaces are not subtle about the psychology of their rulers.
      • Kamoshida's Palace is an extravagant castle where all males are beaten and treated as worthless slaves, while all the girls throw themselves at him, wearing whatever skimpy things he likes. And fittingly enough, the Elite Mook contained within the large tower takes the form of Mara.
      • Madarame's Palace is a museum containing all of "his" art, with many paintings of pupils (read: property) and landscapes seen throughout, with quite a bit of gold-plating as well.
      • Kaneshiro's Palace is one gigantic, flying bank that's out of reach of anyone besides his customers (who are nothing more than walking ATM machines), devouring money to fill its empty spaces, and once someone has been squeezed dry they are thrown away and discarded.
      • Futaba's Palace is an Egyptian pyramid, much like those used to entomb Pharaohs, reflecting the feeling of being doomed to die. Yet despite having asked for the Phantom Thieves help, the Palace still opposes them at every turn, out of control of even her Shadow.
      • Okumura's Palace is a space-themed factory, driving all robot workers to death and using worthless ones as fuel, but it is only a stepping stone toward greater ambitions.
      • Sae's Palace is a casino that's rigged to win by any/all means necessary, with the only way to win being to disable/use the cheating systems for themselves, with this practice even featured during her boss fight.
      • Shido's Palace is a ship afloat in a sea that's sunken Tokyo, run by the elite who exploits the weak for all they're worth, with himself as the only one capable of 'steering' the country. All passengers wear masks as well, showing that he isn't deceived by outward appearances, and that he trusts no one whether they work for him or not.
      • Mementos Depths is a prison where everyone is chained down, their free will surrendered to a false god who is the indirect source of all cognitive distortions in this game.
      • The Qlipthoth World has the TV screens of Shibuya becoming the TV screens of Mementos' entrance, with features from the Depths of Mementos such as the massive skeletons seen in the Depths and the Shrine of the Grail overlaying on top of the surface world.
      • Maruki's Palace is a cross between a research laboratory and a paradise where patients seeking for eternal happiness go to his clinic and willingly degrade themselves into empty husks enjoying life in the Garden of Eden.
    • The party's Personas are pretty symbolic as well, being based on fictional/mythological figures of note. Their Starter Personas represent the team's rebellious inner selves, the people they would like to be, while their Ultimate Personas represent thieves who stood up to even the highest powers if it would help others.
  • Running Gag:
  • Running Gagged: For the third Persona game in a row there's an Operation Babe Hunt. It initially plays out exactly like it's done in the past with the guys consistently getting shut down and it getting Played for Laughs. When they return to the girls they see them getting hit on by a couple of skeevy guys, similar to how they were just acting. Seeing this happen to their friends makes them admit the ugly side of their actions.
  • Russian Roulette: The "Russian Takoyaki" that Haru gets at the Culture Festival is a relatively harmless food variant with one of them being incredibly spicy. However, the spicy one is a very distinct bright red. You can select to eat the spicy one anyway as a dare and the Protagonist will go into a "Let's just get this over with." action. Akechi shows up and ends up eating it whole, despite being warned, and ends up regretting it.
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