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  • Sad Clown: Akechi is beloved by the public for his bright and cheery facade, and makes many jokes when speaking in public, as seen in his talk show appearances and when talking with the Thieves. However, beneath said facade is a tortured soul. Shido left his mother while she was pregnant, and she committed suicide out of grief sometime after giving birth, which lead to Akechi being passed around from one foster home to the next.
  • Save Point: This time around, you use an activity log you're supposed to keep as part of probation to save your current progress through the game, meaning you can save anywhere it's safe enough to take it out and write down what you're doing. During Dungeon Crawling however, this means you can only save if you find one of a small number of safe rooms where enemies won't attack you.
  • Save the Villain: The heroes attempt to save The Heavy for the villains, Black Mask after Shido's cognitive double of him appears and announces his intentions of disposing of both Akechi and the Phantom Thieves, leading to Akechi to shoot out a bulkhead door to save the thieves.
  • "Save the World" Climax: The game starts out with small-scale conflicts, and the stakes periodically rise until the same teenagers that were exposing a sexual predator less than a year ago are now reclaiming humanity's freedom from the clutches of an evil god.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: Madarame, the second boss, is maybe the hardest in the game—not because of outrageous stats or an unbalanced movepool, but simply because the party's abilities haven't significantly improved since the battle with Kamoshida and Madarame actually poses a threat. After beating him, the player's strategic repertoire expands so much that there are few challenges remaining other than the Reaper.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the Phantom Thieves defeat the cleaner in Shido's Palace, he commends them on their strength and gives them his letter, much to the thieves surprise. He no longer sees a point in bothering to stop them, as they're probably going to succeed in bringing down Shido anyway, saying, "the captain was great and all, but he's gonna have to go down with this ship alone."
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Igor, the Big Good of the Persona franchise, spends most of the game sealed away by the game's hidden Big Bad, who's been impersonating him. It's only after discovering the villain's deception that Igor is freed and lends you his full aid in the Final Battle.
  • Secretly Selfish: Presented as a positive. Several Personas — most notably Milady — will only form the contract when their summoner admits what they really want, beyond more noble and nebulous concepts such as justice. The game does not see "self interest" as a bad thing: in fact, it's often a motivating force. Half the team want revenge on one person or another for fucking up their lives, Yusuke's need to have his talent acknowledged, Makoto's desire to change her sister's heart and Haru's desire to not be sold off to an abusive husband are shown as not only understandable, but perfectly legitimate reasons for doing what they do.
    • Joker is ostensibly the only one that has completely selfless reasons, but the final act of the game makes it clear that he wants to punish those that abuse their power, out of revenge for the way he was treated for trying to help someone, and more than anything else, he wants freedom, feeling trapped by the circumstances thrust upon him.
  • Sentai: The Heavy for the bad guys, "Black Mask", dresses as an Evil Costume Switch version of heroes from Phoenix Ranger Featherman, Persona's Japanese Saturday morning superhero Show Within a Show. One of your party members, Yusuke Kitagawa, also has a side-story vignette where he and the protagonists do Super Sentai Stances while trying to figure out how to repair some superhero team action figures he accidentally broke.
  • Sequel Escalation: Persona 5 adds Stealth Based Gameplay to dungeon traversal, a wider selection of stat improving minigames, a larger overworld filled with hundreds of NPCs, completely remade enemy/demon/Persona models, and even more stylized Videogame Interface Elements.
  • Sequel Hook: A small one, but during the ending cutscene, the heroes find that they are being tailed by men in black suits. We do not know exactly who they are or what they want, but Morgana sabotages their car and the heroes drive away so the answer is unknown. They could be part of the conspiracy out for revenge or they could be something different.
  • Serial Escalation: In Persona 3, the first entry of the soft reboot of the series, Shadows were mostly just monsters of another world with the aspect of reflecting humanity only touched upon at the end. In Persona 4, this nature is elaborated on, with Shadows established as the unseen sides of the human soul, the parts of which that are kept buried beneath the surface. However, Persona 5 shows this isn't black-and-white: not that the repressed feelings may only be that which a good person doesn't want to face, but the hidden, distorted desires that a malicious soul might just be keeping from the public eye... in other words, a malevolent Shadow on the antagonist's side.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: As shown in the opening and the Achievement System trophies for beating each dungeon, the Metaverse, a Mental World shaped by warped desires, is filled with avatars of the standard seven deadly sins and two non-standard ones, represented by nine Latin words:
    • Luxuria (Lust) - Asmodeus/Suguru Kamoshida, a teacher who uses his position to pressure his students into sleeping with him.
    • Irritum (Vanity) - Azazel/Ichiryuusai Madarame, a con-man who has spent decades passing off his pupils' work as his own to pretend to be a genius painter.
    • Gula (Gluttony) - Bael/Junya Kaneshiro, an overweight mafia boss obsessed with blackmailing others to accumulate more and more money, despite having no plans for it other than to have more.
    • Ira (Wrath) - The Sphinx/Cognitive Wakaba Isshiki, the representation of a teenage girl's self-hatred over believing that she was at fault for her mother's suicide.
    • Avaritia (Greed) - Mammon/Kunikazu Okumura, the president of a fast food company engaged in questionable business practices and putting his own daughter in an Arranged Marriage to grow his massive food distribution company.
    • Invidia (Envy) - Leviathan/Sae Niijima, a rising public prosecutor insecure about proving the equal of her co-workers and providing for her sister, leading her to a Second Place Is for Losers mentality.
    • Cavum (Emptiness) - Loki/Goro Akechi, a Sociopathic murderer with a dead mother, and father who couldn't care less about him, and no real friends, to the point where despite having the Wild Card ability, he only has two Personas.
    • Superbia (Pride) - Samael/Masayoshi Shido, a politician who believes the horrible things he's done to complete innocents, including half your party, are entirely justified and that he is God's chosen, simply because he managed to get away with it.
    • Acedia (Sloth) - Mementos/The people of Tokyo, a massive underground dungeon representing the city's collective Bystander Syndrome where the Big Bad imprisons the hearts of those who will not adhere to his Knight Templar order, to wallow away forever.
    • Yaldabaoth, the God of Control and creator of the Metaverse, meanwhile represents all the sins, to the point he has skills named after each of them.
    • Satanael represents all seven, but as a positive force rather than malicious.
    • Quite a few of the Mementos targets represent them, particularly Greed and Envy.
  • Shipper on Deck: In some Confidants, various characters may assume that you and the Confidant in question are going out. It's up to you to decide whether or not to prove them right.
  • Shoo the Dog: Morgana tries this after leaving due to feeling inadequate after one particular palace. After agreeing to a temporary truce, he says he'll drag them down but is told to stop lying to himself, and all is forgiven.
  • Shout-Out: A full page for them.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Making coffee at Leblanc will sometimes prompt Sojiro to visit you and give you a history lesson on different types of coffee beans and how they're grown.
    • Related to that, making curry at Leblanc can also net you actual real world tips and tricks for cooking up Japanese-style curry (specifically Japanese-style mind you, as the tips don't work as well for other curries from around the world).
  • Show Within a Show: One of the minigames the protagonist can participate in is playing a video game called Star Forneus 1988.
  • Sinister Subway: Mementos, which resembles a subway system full of Shadows and veins, and carries passengers (people's Shadows) deep into the earth to the Prison of Regression.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Futaba seems to have something against Yusuke. She constantly ribs on him, and when he makes a mouse pun later in the game (due to them all being temporarily turned into mice in a palace), she is very unamused. She even insults him out of nowhere in the epilogue. Presumably it started when he rearranged the body parts of her models of the Feathermen to appear more aesthetically pleasing to him though it horrified her.
    • The Mementos conversations make it clear that they're on good terms with each other, in spite of their differences. Futaba is quick to alert Yusuke to a sale, and when Yusuke talks about how much he enjoys the Phantom Thief costumes, she offers to recreate the costumes with him.
  • Sitting on the Roof: The heroes use chairs littered around their school's roof for their first "hideout" to secretly plan their Phantom Thief activities, before people notice they've been hanging up there a lot, forcing them to relocate. It's also a rare occasion in which the fact that the roof is off-limits to students is openly acknowledged in-story.
  • Skeleton Key: Sort of. The Eternal Lock pick item isn't exactly a key, but it ignores the one use limit on lock picks allowing it to unlock every chest.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The game's events are much Darker and Edgier than its predecessor, but the narrative's tone is just as idealistic, with characters managing to overcome both their flaws and their opposition with an ultimately happy conclusion.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: As usual, Shoji Meguro's themes are in English, despite Meguro not being entirely fluent, and sung by a non-English speaker, resulting in hard to make out lyrics.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Mostly played straight. The two ladies who own palaces each break the pattern, but the overall order in which targets and members of The Conspiracy are faced is true to the trope.
    • First up we have Suguru Kamoshida, an abusive PE coach who makes life hell for his volleyball team, any female students who catch his eye, and pretty much anyone who looks at him the wrong way. He has the ear of the school principal, who covers up his abuses for the sake of prestige and pedigree, and it's even suggested that parents and guardians are also aware of what's going on but do nothing for the same reason. He is a very personal antagonist for three of the four founding members of the Phantom Thieves, having beaten one, sexually harassed another, and attempting to expel the third, but is completely unrelated to the overall conspiracy and is small fry compared to what's to come — small consolation that may be to the broken children he leaves behind.
    • The second target is Ichiryuusai Madarame, a famous artist well-known to the media and the art world. A cynical man with a perpetual Artist's Block, he steals his students' work, tweaks it to make it more financially marketable, and passes it off as his own. Although nowhere near as monstrous and utterly detestable as his predecessor (though he is morally bankrupt enough to allow one of his acquaintances to die so that he can steal her painting and her son), Madarame holds much greater influence and is a nebulous financial backer of The Conspiracy, although he himself is being used unwittingly. He is the first person to imply a deeper and more sinister use for Palaces, revealing the existence of a dangerous black-masked assassin rampaging through the Metaverse who won't be dealt with until much later.
    • The stakes are raised again with the third target, Junya Kaneshiro, a brutal mobster who runs the underground of Shibuya with an iron fist. He extorts money from many a citizen, and has his goons approach and blackmail students to traffic drugs and even sell themselves. Worst of all, his cautious and elusive nature has essentially put him beyond the reach of the law. Not only is Kaneshiro an explicit backer of The Conspiracy, taking him down is what really puts the Phantom Thieves on the map.
    • The fourth target is a nebulous group of vigilante hacktivists calling themselves Medjed who attempt to discredit the Phantom Thieves by threatening cyberwarfare against the city unless the Phantom Thieves disband. This leads to the Phantom Thieves crossing paths with the fourth palace ruler Futaba Sakura who completely smashes the pattern, being a reclusive, heavily depressed young girl who blackmails the thieves into stealing her own heart. Ironically, it turns out that she, through her mother's research, has perhaps the strongest ties to the Metaverse and the Man Behind the Man using it who was partly responsible for orchestrating the hacktivist attack to begin with.
    • Things are back on track with the fifth target, Bad Boss Kunikazu Okumura, the president of popular food chain Big Bang Burger, who's preparing to leave his company behind and begin a political career. He is both personally wealthy and a member of The Conspiracy, using their connections to eliminate key rivals and put himself ahead in business. However, having grown too big for his breeches, the Man Behind the Man sets him up for a fall and has him murdered at an opportune time, completely destroying the Phantom Thieves' public image.
    • Zigzagged with the sixth palace ruler, Sae Niijima, who is an Unwitting Pawn to The Conspiracy and not so much "evil" as a good person who's lost sight of her values, but still provides a major threat to the Phantom Thieves' existence both inside and outside the Metaverse. Her pragmatism and lack of scruples in solving the case at any cost make her a dangerous enemy, but ultimately she regains control of herself without requiring a change of heart and becomes a major ally of the heroes against the real villains. Speaking of...
    • At last we come to the head of The Conspiracy, Villain with Good Publicity Masayoshi Shido and his bastard son/personal assassin Goro Akechi. Using his vast web of influence, research into the Metaverse, and a very eager Persona-using assassin on a tight leash, Shido meticulously carries out a bloody bid for Prime Minister. He is ultimately behind the mental shutdowns and psychotic breakdowns, which were used to remove and implicate key individuals whose downfalls his campaign would benefit from. He was directly and indirectly funded by several of the above enemies, although not all of them knew exactly what he was doing. After some personal setbacks and a grueling battle, the Phantom Thieves triumph over Shido and Goro, the latter of whom reveals himself as The Starscream and leaves the story on a Death Equals Redemption note. This is also an ironic case of Book-Ends, as the head of the Conspiracy ended up being the petty sexual harasser who sued the protagonist at the very start of the game — an astronomical coincidence that our protagonist, at the end of the game, believes to have been preordained by a higher power. And perhaps with good reason...
    • The final Palace ruler, Yaldabaoth, AKA the Holy Grail, AKA the Treasure of Mementos, is an Eldritch Abomination who usurped the Velvet Room before the story started and began posing as Igor. The "game", as he puts it, was to see whether humanity had a future; if they could be moved to embrace the righteous thieves, embodied by the Trickster, against the chaos and the corrupt establishment, championed by Goro Akechi. As they did not — as they turned against the thieves to the point of removing them from cognition, choosing instead a life of indolence, passing off all responsibility to the Holy Grail — Yaldabaoth concludes that they do not deserve to exist. His menace is a threat to the entire world, and he is the fiend that Lavenza, the Velvet Room's true avatar of power, had warned the protagonist of at the start of the game. He also extends a sincere We Can Rule Together offer to the heroes, promising to suspend his plan of destruction and rebirth and simply observe the continued actions of the Phantom Thieves provided the Holy Grail is left alone. If he's refused, his defeat comes only after the Darkest Hour, and requires the protagonist unleashing his Ultimate Persona, Satanael.
  • Speak in Unison: Caroline and Justine do this near the climax of the game, complete with the requisite Creepy Monotone. it's a sign that their true identity as Lavenza is resurfacing.
  • Speech Bubbles: Multiple parts of the user interface will pop up as white bubbles with black text in them.
  • Speed Stripes: White lines appear around the edges of the screen when the characters move at high speeds.
  • Spit Take: Ryuji does this during an optional evening confidant event at Leblanc's if the protagonist mucks up brewing coffee and it ends up way too bitter (by putting some love into it, instead of doing it as instructed).
  • Spoiler Cover: Goro Akechi looks so downright sinister on the cover art of Persona 5 Royal that new players are likely to peg him as the party's eventual traitor long before the story provides any evidence of it.
  • Spoiler Opening: Zigzagged. The game's opening sequence hides your future party members in shadow so as not to explicitly give their names, appearances, and thief costumes away. This would probably be a little more meaningful were it not for the "let us start the game" image that appears every time Persona 5 is booted up, which gives us a nice look at every single one of the thieves in their metaverse attire, up to and including Goro Akechi, whose addition to the team marks a fairly major turning point in the story. Atlus seemed unsure of just how far to market Akechi in general; he was conspicuously absent from a good chunk of promotional material that would've given his addition to the group away, but occasionally showed up in costume previews alongside the other playable characters, along with the box art, which made him joining the gang a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Standard Status Effects: The game introduces many status effects, some similar to status effects from previous Persona games, and others exclusive to the current iteration of the battle system.
    • Burn - Caused rarely by fire skills, deals minor damage to the target after they complete their turn. Induces bonus "Technical" damage from wind and nuclear attacks.
    • Shock - Caused rarely by electric skills, inflicts paralysis as well as capable of being spread through physical contact (such as attacking via normal attack) and inducing bonus "Technical" damage from physical and nuclear attacks.
    • Freeze - Caused rarely by ice skills, prevents the target from acting during their turn, reduces physical resistance, and induces bonus "Technical" damage from physical and nuclear attacks.
    • Dizzy - A stand-in for blindness; severely drops physical and magical attack accuracy as well as induces bonus "Technical" damage.
    • Forget - A stand-in for silence; disables use of any Persona skills.
    • Sleep - Disables all actions, yet recovers HP and SP each turn. Induces bonus "Technical" damage but wears off immediately afterward.
    • Hunger - A new status effect which severely drops attack power for the afflicted target.
    • Confuse - Afflicted target either does nothing, throws away money, throws an item at the enemy, or uses an item.
    • Fear - Afflicted target is likelier to ignore commands and/or run away from battle.
    • Despair - A unique stand-in for Doom; afflicted target has disabled actions and loses SP every turn, and is eventually incapacitated after three turns.
    • Rage - Also known as berserk; afflicted target can't be controlled, can only use basic attacks, and has their attack power increased while their defense is decreased.
    • Brainwash - Also known as charmed; afflicted target can't be controlled, can heal or cast buffs on the enemy, as well as attack allies.
    • Rattled - Unique status effect in which the target is turned into a rat and takes increased damage and cannot act.
    • Madarame's paint attack causes a unique status that makes a character weak to all elements.
    • Yaldabaoth inflicts unique status ailments via use of the Seven Deadly Sins. Vanity causes the same effect as Madarame's paint attack while Greed causes Hunger.
      • Lust causes the afflicted to skip a turn, but only lasts a single turn.
      • Gluttony doubles the party's cost of using skills for a few turns.
      • Wrath appears to be a less serious version of Rage/Berserk. It increases attack power and decreases defense, but the afflicted can still be controlled, and it only lasts one turn.
      • Envy causes a unit to become jealous for a turn, making the affected attack an ally for assisting another ally.
  • Starter Mon: Arsène, the only level 1 Persona Guardian Entity, who you get at the very start of the game and starts with nothing but a weak physical attack and a weak darkness spell. Leveling him up will take longer than any other Persona in the game, and you'll have to sacrifice dozens of stronger Personas to give him enough high-end skills to make him useful beyond the first dungeon.
  • Stat Grinding: Training in either LeBlanc's attic or at the Protein Lovers gym increases Joker's HP and SP each time. Continued training at Protein Lovers will eventually unlock harder training regimens that further increase these stats, and drinking a Protein Shake beforehand will add even more gains per session.
  • Stealing the Credit: One of the most common abuses of power featured in the game.
    • Madarame has passed off his underlings' work as his own for years.
    • In Ryuji's link, the teacher who is supposed to take over the track team has every intention of hiring a coach to do the actual work, but claim the credit himself.
    • Tae Takemi's boss hijacked her research so that he could lay claim to a breakthrough discovery. Then blamed her when his recklessness ruined the project.
    • In a sidequest, a woman's boss tells her to accept that her male coworker stole the credit for her work because she's a woman and that's "the natural order of things".
  • Stealth-Based Game: In dungeons, you can sneak around foes by flash stepping behind walls, hopping into paintings, and so forth. This allows you to perform Back Stabs to give your party the first turn in battle.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Ann and Morgana are both burglars that dress like/actually are cats.
    • Futaba's Palace is an Egyptian pyramid and her Shadow is an Egyptian princess half wrapped in bandages. This is because she has "mummy" issues.
    • In dungeons, you can find dirty clothing in locked chests. It's as though you are finding the target's dirty laundry hidden away.
    • Joker wears bright red gloves that stand out against the muted, almost black color scheme of the rest of his outfit. Since he's a thief, this means that if he's found out, he'll be caught red handed.
    • The ATM people outside of Kaneshiro's palace are malfunctioning and are generally broken. They are broke (in the financial sense) people.
    • Shido's palace is the National Diet building as a giant cruise ship sailing through the rest of Japan, which is completely underwater. In real estate, "underwater" is a slang term for a property with a mortgage balance that's higher than its market value, which is true of a lot of Japanese land due to a huge financial crisis in 1992.
  • The Stinger: There's a scene at the end of the credits after the good ending. Joker is now a free man, but has to go home. His friends decide to take him there with a van the same type Morgana turned into in the Metaverse, but not without a road trip. The game ends with Joker sticking his head out of the roof while driving by the coast.
  • Stock RPG Spells: Notable for adding complexity to the Persona 3 and 4 set of spells. They are:
  • Summon Magic: As in previous Persona games, all your special attacks and magic are performed by summoning a Guardian Entity representation of a character's psyche. This time around, the Persona will appear as soon as you start looking through your skill list.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: A cut-in of the character's eyes will flash onscreen any time your Persona performs a critical attack.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Shadow Selves once again sport glowing yellow eyes, even when appearing as Doppelgangers of their human selves.
    • As always, the attendants of the Velvet Room sport glowing eyes just a shade lighter than that of Shadows. Caroline and Justine draw even more attention to theirs, since they both wear an eyepatch.
    • Interestingly, the protagonists themselves have shadow eyes when they summon their Persona, both in cutscene and in gameplay.
  • Surprisingly Good English: A number of songs, which include battle themes and background music, feature English lyrics that actually aren't complete gibberish and suit the part of the game it goes with. It helps that the lyrics were written by a native speaker.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Mementos is a randomly-generated, multi-floor dungeon you can go to any time to level up and which is stated at the start of the game to be the focus of a game-long game quest to uncover its mysteries. It's the location of Sidequests, is divided into "paths" named after concepts in Hebrew Mysticism, has calendar-based gates that only clear away by proceeding with the plot, and the bottom serves as the not-so-optional penultimate dungeon, making it a mirror image of Tartarus in Persona 3. And like Tartarus, if you spend too long in one floor, the Reaper comes after you.
    • On floor 7 of Mementos' Harmony section, you fight a short haired school girl's Shadow, who as it turns out is a total sadist and who drops a whip as her treasure, a la Chie's Shadow in Persona 4.
    • The sixth dungeon of the game was created by a party member's relative, is ostensibly the last dungeon, has a theme song with lyrics and the choices you make in regard to the fallout determine which ending you get, something that applies to Heaven from Persona 4 and the Casino from Persona 5.
  • Sweat Drop: Any time characters are suddenly worried, their character model will have 3 little drops of water pop out from their forehead. any time they're embarrassed, an oversized drop of water pops up on the side of their temple instead.

  • Tailor-Made Prison: Inverted. The Velvet Room, which changes into a location tailor-made for its current guest, becomes a prison for P5's Protagonist.
  • Take Cover!: The protagonist can hide behind walls and furniture while sneaking around.
  • Take That!:
    • Sadayo basically calls The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter a story about a woman making unreasonable demands to her suitors, sending them to get expensive shit for her, and then high tailing it to the moon. (This is an inaccurate telling, which conveniently ignores the fact that the reason she set them an Impossible Task was so that they would give up, as she couldn't afford to get attached.)
    • Much like Persona 4: Dancing All Night, this game depicts' Japan's Idol Singer industry extremely negatively, though it's mostly related to optional sidequests and a few Confidants.
  • Take Your Time: You can ride trains all across Tokyo, a process that in real life can take hours, without the sun or moon ever moving an inch. Until you actually engage in a side-story quest or a mini-game, time will never change. Additionally, the loading screen invokes the name of this trope.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Whenever one of the party members awaken to their Persona, they are surrounded by shadows who have been recently given orders from the Palace ruler which are some variation of "kill them." Each time, the awakening party member is cornered, but then stands up and delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the villain before awakening to their Persona and entering battle, and the whole time while they go through the motions (the declaration of rebellion, contract, etc) the Shadows and Palace ruler simply stand there and watch them rather than making any sort of motion to stop them. This is likely because the Palace rulers, and by extension the Shadows, are just as stunned as the party members, unable to do more than just watch in awe, since Palace rulers have no conception of anyone standing up to them, let alone awakening a Persona in their presence.
  • Talk to the Hand: 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.
  • Tarot Motifs: As in previous games, Personas / Shadows, party members and various NPCs are divided into the 22 major arcana of the Tarot deck.
  • A Taste of Power: The prologue sequence has you enter a single fight with a much stronger Protagonist and a far more powerful Arsène than what you'll get at the proper starting point. This is justified due to the In Medias Res nature of the story—by the time the player catches up to this point, they'll have power equaling or exceeding this much.
  • Tear Off Your Face: When party members first rip off their Persona masks, their face becomes appropriately bloodied as if it were their actual face. Ripping the mask off Shadows also surprises and shocks them, giving you an advantage in battle.
  • Technicolor Fire: Blue flames are a major visual motif in the game.
    • In the second teaser, an otherworldly blue flame can be seen in the distance once time stops.
    • Each protagonist bursts into blue flame when they first awaken to their Persona.
    • Persona are now covered in blue flame when they are summoned.
  • Temporal Paradox: Averted. Due to the game's In Medias Res storytelling, failing to steal someone's heart before a deadline should invoke this, but the game plays it as the main character misremembering what happened due to being drugged too much. This also leads to a Downer Ending where Joker forgets the plan to fake his death and Sae leaves before Joker tells her to take his phone and show it to Akechi, leaving the latter free to kill him.
  • Thematic Theme Tune:
    • "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There" by Lyn Inaizumi. The lyrics are about stepping out of one's comfort zone to confront the wrongdoings and evils in the world when others are content to just stand by and watch, and that if someone wants change in the world, they have to do it themselves rather than waiting on someone else.
    • "Life Will Change" by Lyn Inaizumi. The lyrics have characters who have now gained strength by discarding the masks that once held them back to challenge the established order, inspire others, and change the world around them with their own hands.
    • "Rivers in the Desert", which has the hero and villain switching off verses giving their motivations for fighting each other, only to come together in the refrain to declare their Not So Different, Well-Intentioned Extremist desires to change the world.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • "Awakening" kicks in any time a character awakens to their Guardian Entity and destroys a bunch of Mooks.
    • "Life Will Change" plays on any day the heroes pull off their latest heist. Notably, the game uses two variants: the early Palaces all use an instrumental version, the final set of Palaces (starting with Sae's Casino, as heard in the prologue) on the other hand make use of the lyrical version.
    • An instrumental version of "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There" plays when Futaba hijacks all of Japan's airwaves to send out their calling card to Shido.
  • Theme Table:
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In the end when the now-disbanded thieves drive off celebrating their newfound freedom, Makoto turns on the radio and "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There" first plays from the radio, before carrying over into the background music at full volume.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The party Combination Attack has your team hitting the enemies so many times that they erupt into sprays of blood. Even if the opponent is one hit away from death.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: All Shin Megami Tensei games begin with one of these, but this game stands out in particular by incorporating it into the narrative, with Igor asking the player directly whether they accept the disclaimer. Selecting "no" boots the player back to the title screen.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: The Protagonist, Ryuji and Ann start as a three man team that are constantly hanging out together, before recruiting the rest of the party.
  • Time Stands Still: When the protagonist first activates the Meta Nav app, everyone around him in a crowded intersection freezes, leaving only the protagonist still moving.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: A central conflict in the game. The Phantom Thieves become criminals to reform those who have manipulated the rules of society to exploit others, and are thus untouchable by traditional authorities. Akechi's Face–Heel Turn also first appears to be caused by his desire to uphold the law instead of doing the right thing, only to turn out to be the opposite: He takes the Phantom Thieves' methods to the extreme, killing people in order to propel his father to Prime Minister, then revealing said crimes to punish society as a whole for allowing Shido's abuse of others.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Being an Anthropomorphic Personification of Knight Templar order, the Big Bad could have basically manifested anywhere in Japan, or even the world at large. The game implies Shido's collective unconscious research and the Japanese public's tendency to think of themselves as one entity and not question authority much (compared to a country that actively glorifies various types of individualism, like The United States) helped, but there's no direct reason given.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: Due to the game being explicitly set in Tokyo, Japan, various cultural references are untranslated. This includes things like Senpai Kohai, food names, most Japanese Honorifics with some exceptionsnote  and so on.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Played for Laughs. When you go to a fancy buffet at multiple points throughout the story, female party member Ann will get nothing but desserts, and male party member Ryuji will get nothing but meat.
  • Trade Your Passion for Glory:
    • The group starts to lose sight of their original goal to inspire people to change when they try to win support from the public by going after more high-profile targets that they allow the people to choose, unintentionally turning themselves into a fad rather than true social reformists in the public's eyes. Shido and Goro take advantage of it to screw them over.
    • An invoked example occurs with the deal offered by Yaldabaoth. After nearly erasing the Phantom Thieves from reality, he offers to cut a deal with Joker that will ensure the Phantom Thieves stay in business and remain famous and loved, at the cost of leaving the Holy Grail (to which people are subconsciously surrendering their free will) alone. Naturally, getting the true ending requires sticking to your principles and refusing the offer, though if you do in fact accept it, Yaldabaoth keeps his word and you get a bad ending where the Phantom Thieves have effectively taken over the city as well as Igor being trapped forever and Lavenza lamenting Joker's decision.
  • Traitor Shot: After the game gets to the present from the Protagonist's flashbacks, it's revealed who sold him out after Sae Niijima leaves the interrogation room. Goro Akechi says he's down there to question the Protagonist, but as Sae walks past, he chuckles and says "Foolish woman," with his in-game portrait looking very menacing.
  • Transformation of the Possessed:
  • Translation Convention: If playing using the English dub, the script behaves as if everyone is speaking Japanese, and English is merely being heard for the benefit of the anglophone player. Granted, this does make a few scenes where Ann has to read things that are natively in English a little odd, since everyone is speaking English... and then they need Ann's help with English as well as Ryuji's glee at a Hawaiian native being able to speak Japanese despite btoh seeming speaking English.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • The Phantom Thieves' "Life Will Change" theme is a faster, more upbeat version of the opening "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There" theme. It also replaces the questioning, lamenting lyrics of the opening with a triumphant promise that the singers will change the world themselves.
    • "Our Beginning", the song that plays in the background as Satanael finishes off Yaldaboath, is an epic orchestral rock reprise of both the heroic solo from Yaldaboath's boss theme and "Swear to My Bones".
  • Truth in Television: Futaba's sleeping habit before joining the team, falling asleep suddenly and for long periods of time, actually is a symptom of heavy depression, although Futaba's is exaggerated for comedy and plot reasons. People who suffer heavy depression can become fatigued, drowsy, or otherwise tired without any outside input depending on what mental state they're in, to the point of being able to sleep in a state that a healthy person would consider impossible, such as after they've gotten a full night's rest with daylight clearly visible.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: In the escape from the pyramid dungeon, Ann throws Morgana so high into the air it results in Morgana temporarily disappearing in a tiny flash of light before landing at the base of the pyramid.
  • Two-Teacher School: Subverted. In the first arc of the game, it appears the only two named teachers at the school are Starter Villain Suguru Kamoshida and your homeroom teacher Sadayo Kawakami. However, all your teachers end up showing up in Pop Quiz sections, and even have Character Portraits.

  • Underground Monkey: Subverted. On the field, enemies are slightly retextured versions of one or two enemies. For instance, the first dungeon only has a knight in silver armor, and the exact same knight with a gold armor texture on him. In battle however, the enemies are all custom models from several decades of Shin Megami Tensei designs, with the only palette swapped enemies being Slime and Black Ooze.
  • The Unfought:
    • While Medjed is built up to be a serious threat, the real objective of that chapter is to help Futaba, who deals with them by herself in one scene, memorable only in that she's so focused on crashing their network that she's oblivious to Morgana trying to talk to her, leaving him and the protagonist to pass what appear to be hours by cleaning her pigsty of a room. As revealed late in the game, Medjed's fall was planned to be staged to make the Phantom Thieves popular - and the real defeat took the Conspiracy by surprise - so they were never truly going to be fought in the first place.
    • The Thieves decide to steal Mishima's heart late in his confidant chain when it looks like he's becoming a problem. Rather than fight his Shadow, though, Joker decides to talk to it and convinces him to change on his own.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: The protagonist saves a woman from being assaulted, only for the woman to speak against him (due to her boss telling her he'll blame her for engaging in money laundering on his orders). She's also considered one In-Universe before her boss's true identity/connections are established late in the game, and Yusuke even lampshades this trope, saying that the woman sounds quite horrible in her own way, too. During the protagonist's time in juvie, his friends eventually find the woman and get her help in freeing the protagonist thanks to having changed the hearts of Shido and the public, subverting it in the end.
  • Unique Protagonist Asset: The Protagonist has the unique "Wild Card" ability, that lets him change his Guardian Entity at will and recruit Shadows to his cause. Subverted when it turns out "Black Mask", The Heavy for the villains, has the same power.
  • Unmoving Plaid: In the traditionally animated opening, the plaid pattern present on Joker, Ryuji, and Ann's uniforms is static. This is a stylistic choice, as the plaid used for traditionally animated cutscenes both looks different and matches the characters' movements.
  • The Un-Reveal: In-Universe: As part of their broadcast hijack to deliver Shido's calling card, the Phantom Thieves reveal their appearances, but all of them are silhouetted. Joker's "face" reveal doesn't reveal much either since it's just an extreme close-up on his Domino Mask.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Justified. Anything involving the Protagonist's plan to fake his death and expose Akechi and his boss isn't shown until the Protagonist is putting it into motion. This is because the Protagonist was heavily drugged, thus he legitimately did not remember that there was a plan until the last minute, and the game fades to white before any scenes involving the plan. In fact, a few crucial mistakes can trigger the interrogation room bad ending, where Sae ends the interrogation before the Protagonist can remember what he's supposed to do.
  • The Un-Twist:
    • In-Universe, most of the Confidants find out the player is a Phantom Thief, and treat it as this, casually revealing that they've known for a while during their rank 10 scene. Ichiko Ohya in particular laughs at how obvious it is.
    • Also in-universe, none of your party members are actually caught off guard by Akechi's betrayal.
  • Urban Fantasy: The game revolves around high school students in contemporary Tokyo who can summon an Anthropomorphic Personification of their respective psyches that take the forms of various fictional and mythological figures, so monsters bearing the appearance of demons and gods are fought both with melee weapons and modern firearms.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Hama and Mudo have even less utility compared to previous games—as always, they're somewhat inaccurate (70-80%) and are One Hit Kills, meaning the enemy is either killed or completely unharmed. This game features more typical attack spells in the light and dark elements with high accuracy, meaning you can reliably deal damage and more easily exploit weaknesses instead of gambling. This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the instant kill spells are more accurate against an enemy with the right weakness.
    • Several skills in this game offer a bonus when the party is being ambushed. For instance, Cornered Fang grows stronger, and the Adverse Resolve or Last Stand passives increase critical or evade rate, allowing you a better chance at breaking out of an ambush. However, the stealth mechanics make it very easy to not get ambushed — not to mention that getting ambushed also means your party is likely to get killed immediately — and so reduces their usability. The worst of all goes to Thermopylae, a skill that buffs all stats of the whole party in one turn for less than half of the cost it takes to do it in 3 the normal way, but can only be used while being ambushed, meaning it's useless in boss fights (except exactly one). On top of that, enemy Shadows may have those skills and can use them to their fullest to ruin your day.
    • The Life Drain and Spirit Drain skills steal an enemy's health or SP respectively and heal you for the same amount. Unfortunately, that amount is a pathetic 30 HP or 10 SP, making them too weak to bother with after the first Palace. What's worse, when enemies use them, they hit for 150 HP and 50 SP instead, which actually is powerful enough to be significant.
    • This trope is otherwise averted, as usual for the Shin Megami Tensei series. Although status effect spells are useless against the major plot-relevant bosses, they have surprising accuracy (even the slightly less accurate all-targeting versions still hit most of the time). And as it turns out, many of the bosses in Mementos ARE vulnerable to ailments. And, as veteran SMT players know, stat buff and debuff spells have a very large effect, are 100% accurate, and can't be resisted by any enemy, making them absolutely vital.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: The opening tutorial seems to suggest that stealthing past enemies can be a viable strategy when it forces you to hide until an agent talking on his cell phone leaves, but in actual gameplay sneaking past enemies will deprive you of experience, money, and items. Not only that, but stealth also slightly alters a Shadow's patrol path such that they won't walk past your hiding position, only turning around once they get close. Unless you're running dangerously low on SP, stealth is primarily useful for ambushing enemies.

  • Vacation Episode: Your Class Trip involves the party traveling by plane out of Japan to Hawaii.
  • Vendor Trash: Most of the treasure you steal from the various Palaces, include the main Treasure each of your heists are targeting, can only be sold at the weapon shop for cash. They have no other uses and stay in a separate tab from equipment and other usable items.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Assuming that you've reached the path to the True Ending, the final dungeon is Qliphoth World, where Yaldabaoth is starting to overlay his Palace onto the real world.
  • Victory Pose: Party Members not only have various poses they strike after winning a battle, but unique splash screen poses that'll pop if an All-Out attack they initiated wiped out the enemy party: The Protagonist tightens one of his gloves and pops a Slasher Smile, Ryuji does a devil horns Hand Signal, Ann does a V-Sign, Morgana does a Chair Reveal with a cigar, and so on.
  • Victory Quote:
    • Your party members will randomly drop various lines when you enter the battle results screen.
      Ann: Total victory, yay!
    • If you win with an All-Out Attack, you also get a quote in the background of the character you were controlling when you won.
      Joker: THE SHOW'S OVER
      Ryuji: FREAKIN' BORING
      Ann: OMG! We are SO awesome!
      Haru: Adieu
      Justine & Caroline: DON'T BE SO COCKY
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • Failing to complete a dungeon or betraying your friends to Sae will result in you getting a Bad End, all of which end with you getting shot in the head. You monster.
    • If you enter the women's bathroom in the second half of Madarame's museum Palace, a female Shadow Mook will be waiting to get a surprise attack on you.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Mostly averted - almost all of the screens in-game have realistic-looking interfaces, and if what they're displaying is relevant, the cast will speak it aloud for the player's benefit. Played straight with the messenger app, however, which has somewhat unrealistically-large text with every contact conveniently having a uniform avatar of their face to let the player know who's saying what. Being as it fits the bright red color motif and bringing it up shows Joker's hand as being in a sketchy, chalk white style, however, it's implied the app doesn't really look like that, and instead takes this appearance as an out-of-universe HUD element.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: A common complaint against the game is that it repeats itself constantly. It often takes the form of a major discussion being had and then its contents being repeated on the main character's phone or through more dialogue.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Calling Card is meant to illicit this, forcing your target to be confronted by their twisted desires and, in turn, causing a shift in cognition that makes the treasure materialize in such a way that it can be pilfered. Doing so also causes security in the Palace to be automatically set to 99%.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: Sympathetic Inspector Antagonists like Sae and Akechi will show up at Cafe Leblanc for coffee throughout the story. For Akechi, this is actually a part of his Confidant.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: The entirety of the main battle theme Last Surprise is dedicated to mocking the enemy that whatever plan they came up with was going to be torn to pieces.
  • Violation of Common Sense: One of the best strategies to fight The Reaper that doesn't involve the flu season is to let him ambush you on purpose. It sounds like a Too Dumb to Live thing to do because it gives The Reaper a free turn at the start of the fight, but if the party is capable of tanking his opening move (hint: Auto-Maraku), this makes the rest of battle a lot easier because of two reasons: First, Ambushes work under their own turn rules, meaning that The Reaper will be able to move only once per turn instead of twice. And second, it allows the protagonist to use the skill Thermopylae, something that it isn't possible for any other Boss Fight in the game, to buff all three stats for the whole party in just one turn.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The ability from Persona 4 Golden to equip your party members with different sets of clothes returns. Unlike in that game, though, the costumes are DLC.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Ann and Ryuji. While they can give each other a hard time, they're much closer and more affectionate friends than Yukari and Junpei or Chie and Yosuke from the previous games.
    • Ryuji and Morgana have this dynamic as well; it actually becomes a plot point. When Morgana's insecurities and uncertain origins are exacerbated by Futaba taking over his role as navigator, he begins to take offense to the flippant comments Ryuji is prone to making and is genuinely hurt, while he usually gives as good as he gets. This eventually comes to a head and Morgana temporarily leaves the group, feeling he's no longer wanted or needed.
    • Futaba and Yusuke. The former likes needling the latter, while the latter often responds in kind, but Yusuke's one of the first thieves who manages to have an actual conversation with the highly introverted Futaba. That said, Makoto once tells them to cut out their bickering over IM during a particularly tense time.

  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Shadow Kamoshida/Asmodeus is the first real boss of the game and demonstrates that boss fights are going to be a lot more complex than previous games. First, you have to figure out that you need to take out his cup or he'll just heal himself. Second, he can buff his attack, allowing him to hit for very high numbers, teaching the importance of buffs and debuffs. Third, both veterans and newcomers will be introduced to special operations, forcing them to learn how to keep up the offensive against the boss with a reduced party.
    • The Nue midboss in the middle of Madarame's palace is fought only with the protagonist and Ryuji available. If you've been diligent with keeping a good spread of skills on your Personas, the fight should not be very difficult. But if you've been over-reliant on Ann and Morgana for debuffs and healing respectively, the fight can catch you in a difficult position, as you'd have to sit through a few cutscenes if you need to reload to better prepare yourself.
    • Shadow Madarame/Azazel starts the fight as four separate parts that you have to defeat in order to expose his real body. Each part gets a turn and they each have their own resistances and attacks. The first time isn't too much trouble, the second time though, the boss gains a new attack that gives a random party member a weakness to every attack, which you can definitely expect the boss to exploit, and any living parts will use up their turns to resurrect downed parts if you don't take them all down at once. This makes him an annoying boss even on safety difficulty.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Your party spends their days going to school and their afternoons and nights reforming corrupt adults and trying to dismantle a criminal conspiracy.
  • Water Wake-up: This is how Joker is woken up at the start of the game by the police interrogators. They proceed to beat a confession out of him.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Reaper dies very quickly when infected with the flu.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: How the concept of gunplay introduces itself into the game; on your second venture into Kamoshida's Palace, after reaching the first safe room, Ryuji reveals that he planned ahead and got some medicine and a toy (if incredibly realistic-looking) gun in the hopes that you could scare enemies off with it. However, given the manner in which the cognitive world works, the model gun can hit as hard as a real gun as long as the Shadows believe it's the genuine article. The Hanged Man Confidant gives you the ability to modify the guns to look even more realistic, which makes them more powerful and effective in the cognitive world.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: If the protagonist is defeated during battle, the game ends, even if your party members are at full health. The reason is because if you die before 11/20 it means the drugs Joker was injected with knocked him out in the current time; which means that Sae leaves him and then you get shot in the head by the Akechi. In the current timeframe, you just lose Yaldabaoth's game.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Akechi lived his entire life feeling unloved and unwanted, and the primary motivation behind his actions is to gain the respect of his deadbeat father, Shido, before backstabbing him and exacting revenge for ruining his life.
  • We Would Have Told You, But...: When Sae asks why the Phantom Thieves didn't upfront tell her that Akechi was working for a conspiracy that was using the Metaverse to commit crimes, the Thieves reply that 1) Sae wouldn't have believed them and 2) they needed Sae in the dark for their plan. Sae counters that they are correct and accepts that the story is too unbelievable.
  • Wham Episode:
    • While the game establishes that its Darker and Edgier than previous entries early on, its Shiho's suicide attempt that drives the point home for many players. Showing that this game is not joking around and is playing for keeps.
    • Kunikazu Okumura's death, which breaks Haru's heart, lands the Thieves in hot water with the authorities since it seems like they were responsible, tanks their public support, and leads to revelations that The Conspiracy is much more powerful than the Thieves imagined.
    • October 26th, wherein Akechi reveals he knows the identity of the Phantom Thieves and blackmails them into letting him join.
    • The entire sequence of events after the story finally catches up to the present day. Goro Akechi was a traitor and he tries to kill the Protagonist after Sae's interrogation; however, the Thieves were suspicious of him from the start and bugged his phone, meaning that they knew of his plans. It turns out Joker's capture was part of a risky Gambit Roulette to convince Sae to join the good guys, use the Metaverse to fake Joker's death, and figure out who the leader of the conspiracy is.
    • The confrontation with Akechi. He reveals that he's Shido's bastard son, and he's been causing mental shutdowns and psychotic breakdowns on his behalf so he can set him up for a fall. However, even more surprising than that, it turns out that he has a second Persona with the power to induce psychotic breakdowns. And at the end of it all, just when the Thieves seem to be giving him a second chance, he sacrifices himself to save the Thieves from an army of Shadows.
    • During the Star Confidant, the confrontation with Hifumi's mother Mitsuyo's Shadow reveals that she isn't just trying to use Hifumi's career as a stepping stone to make Hifumi an idol (all so that Mitsuyo can live vicariously through her daughter)- she fixed several of Hifumi's matches to ensure her rise to fame.
  • Wham Line: Lots of them:
    • Only a few minutes into the game, a police investigator is reading the crimes Joker has been charged with, the last one possibly leaving a doubt as to how heroic our protagonist really is:
      Investigator: Obstruction of justice, blackmail, defamation, possession of weapons... manslaughter too, yeah? Talk about the works.
    • During the final confrontation with Madarame's Shadow, Yusuke reaches an epiphany that surprises even the party.
      Yusuke: I've heard that you destroy your "art" once they outlive their usefulness... Did that include my mother as well?
    • It's minor in the grand scheme of things, but when trying to pinpoint Kaneshiro's Palace, the Thieves hit the right answer by accident... and this answer reveals exactly what they're getting into, and just how dangerous he is compared to their earlier targets.
      Yusuke: The place that Kaneshiro sees as a bank is "all of Shibuya."
    • After Morgana breaks away from the Phantom Thieves for feeling useless, he tries to tackle Okumura's Palace alone, but only succeeds in getting himself badly hurt. As he's lying there, Haru (yet-to-be properly introduced at that point) comes across Morgana after having unknowingly followed him into the Metaverse. Her cry of "How horrible!" soon prompts this line:
      Morgana: (weakly) I can't... see... Who's there...? Master...? (passes out)
    • As the interrogation begins to catch up to the present day, Sae pulls out the last Calling Card that was sent and reveals who the Thieves' last target was.
      Sae: This was addressed to "Sae Niijima"...myself.
    • After the story catches back up to the present, the traitor's identity is at last revealed after a confrontation with Sae:
      Goro Akechi, sporting a Psychotic Smirk: Hmph, foolish woman.
    • Followed shortly thereafter by the revelation of the guy pulling HIS strings:
      Akechi, on the phone: Shido-san, my task is complete.
    • In the path to the good ending, a cutscene shows the reaction of the Phantom Thieves to Joker's arrest and apparent "suicide". They are all appropriately concerned and horrified by the turn of events, and then...
      Ryuji: You're shitting me.... We got 'em.
    • The final big one, during the game's Darkest Hour.
      Igor: In accordance to the game's rules, the defeated must pay a price. Your life is forfeit. I sentence you to be executed.
  • Wham Shot:
    • During the segments when the mini-calendar on the top left fast-forwards to the present, any player would notice the date stops on a certain date once they're getting closer to the day Joker gets captured. Which is November 20th.
    • The cutscene entering Sae Nijima's Palace for the first time places the thieves a good distance away from the actual palace, in a minimally distorted area of the Metaverse. Then the camera pans up to show a familiar-looking casino, one that was seen at the game's beginning.
    • The Traitor Shot, wherein Goro Akechi suddenly obtains a much, much more sinister-looking dialogue portrait than all of their previous ones.
    • When the crew enters Shido's Palace; it at first looks the same as reality, and their clothes haven't yet changed... until the camera pulls out to reveal the Diet Building on the deck of a ship, afloat in a sea that has sunken Tokyo. The music especially assists hammering home its impact.
    • Akechi using a shadowed Persona that isn't Robin Hood to turn nearby Shadows psychotic, soon followed by his summoning Loki, revealing that he has more than one Persona.
    • Near the very end of the game, when Morgana returns to Leblanc and his dialogue portrait is replaced with that of his housecat appearance, conveying that he's lost his humanoid form.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • If you enter the women's bathroom in the first half of Madarame's museum Palace, Ann will comment on it and ask you to leave.
    • On a heavier note, if you choose to accept Yaldabaoth's deal towards the end of the game, Lavenza expresses her disappointment at you. After which she laments that neither she nor the true Igor saw this turn of events coming, and sadly confirming how Joker really is a Trickster.
    • In the endgame, if you dated more than one girl at a time, all of the romanceable Confidants will confront you about his unfaithfulness the day after Valentine's Day.
  • What Would X Do?: A variant. When the Protagonist has to turn himself in so that Shido can be found guilty, the other Thieves imagine Morgana (who they believed to have disappeared with the other world) making fun of them for giving up too easily. This encourages them to find a way to save the Protagonist.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The Shadows Selves in the Palaces represent the twisted hidden feelings of the respective adults you target. Similarly, when characters' Persona first awaken, they encourage their other selves to ignore society's expectations and unleash their true rage/vengeance/etc. on those who have wronged them.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Of the How We Got Here variety. The prologue shows Joker's capture by the police after a recent heist, before backtracking six months to his arrival in Tokyo and the start of his adventures. At regular intervals, the story cuts back to Sae and Joker discussing the events that led up to the current situation.
  • With This Herring: The game starts with your sum total of equipment being nothing but a knife, a toy gun, a giant toy sword, and a giant toy slingshot. In fact, figuring out how to exploit the Your Mind Makes It Real properties of the Mental World you're traversing and getting better weapons from a military hobby shop end up being such a big issue they get their own Sidequest.
  • A Wizard Did It: Cognition is used to explain a wide variety of different things in the game (and by many folks in the fandom when discussing any inconsistencies in the game's storyline or a character's powers).
  • Woman Scorned: Cheating on your Love Interest was already a bad idea in P4 Golden, but doing so here will result in the girls finding out in the epilogue. It does not end well for Joker.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: The treasure from Okumura's palace turns into a model spaceship he wanted as a boy. Subverted as it turns out to have become a valuable collector's item since then.
    • Later played straight with Shido's treasure, which turns out to be his legislator's pin. As the party points out, a legislator's pin is worth almost nothing in raw value itself. It gets even more anti-climactic when taken into consideration that this is the Big Bad's treasure, perhaps as a minor foreshadowing that his actual confession is no more satisfying.
    • Sae's treasure is also suggested to be a mere police notebook, though what it actually is remains unrevealed.
    • Downplayed/Averted with Kaneshiro's treasure, a golden suitcase filled with obviously fake money, which disappoints the party at first. However, the case itself is easily the most valuable treasure in the game.
  • Written Sound Effect: While occasional in P3 and 4, they're much more liberally used here, further contributing to the stylish comic book-esque aesthetic. A few examples include groups of chatting people having "Whisper" or "Murmur" written above their heads, Morgana's dialogue in his housecat form being accompanied by "Nya~"s (changed to "Meow~" for the English version), and "BANG!"s filling the screen when Joker uses his Down Shot skill.

  • Year X: Rather than being a specific year as previous games, the in-story calendar is dated 20XX. Though if one correlates calendars, and given other hints in the game (like Rise still releasing albums while not looking terribly much older than she did in Persona 4, and a TV broadcast later stating that she's 20), it's pretty clear the game takes place in 2016. note  A possible reason for this is that Persona 3 and Persona 4 were both set about three years after the games were released, and Persona 5 was originally intended to be as well; however, given Persona 5's Schedule Slip, if they had stuck with the story explicitly taking place in 2016, it would have meant that the game's Japanese release would have actually fallen within the timeframe of the game itself.
  • You Are Already Dead: When you perform an All-Out Combination Attack that wipes out the enemy party, the enemies will freeze in place for a few seconds so a member of your party can pop a Victory Pose and drop a Bond One-Liner, at which point a Gory Discretion Shot shows the enemies' silhouettes erupting into a spray of blood.
  • You Are Fat: Subverted. A lot of players initially thought Yusuke was pointing out Ann's figure when he said "have you gained some weight", which caused them to consider if he wasn't as sympathetic as they hoped, and also added to the awkward nature of the scene since Ann is already posing for his painting against her will. Then it cuts straight to a crowning moment of funny when it turns out Ann is posing under tons and tons of clothing layers!
  • Younger Than They Look: The Phantom Thieves as a whole are all like this barring possibly Futaba, thanks in part to Shigenori Soejima's character design style. They could all realistically pass for young college-goers as opposed to high school students with how they were proportioned. Take the main character for example, who is listed at 16 years of age; which means he's exactly in line with his two predecessors who are also listed at 16. At first glance he could easily be seen as two to three years their senior. This even plays into height where amusingly, he's supposed to be all of 5'9" meaning he's only two inches taller than the protagonist of P3 (noted as 5'7") while two inches shorter than the protagonist of P4 (noted at 5'11") but it'd hard to tell that from looking at his in-game model where he looks to be shoulder-to-shoulder with most of the adults barring Sae.
    • There are dialogue choices throughout the game in which you can try and lie and say that the protagonist is just a youthful-looking college student - despite the character design, no one really buys it.
  • Your Cheating Heart: As with the previous two games, you can enter a relationship with multiple girls. They all find out on Valentine's Day and proceed to savagely beat you up.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Cognition allows for anything to become real if influenced by a strong enough person's will or a collective. The Metaverse includes creating perfect versions of objects that also exist in the real world, like the Treasures found within Palaces. This also works in reverse: if not enough people believe in something, it will not exist in the Metaverse. Near the ending Yaldabaoth combines Mementos with the real world, resulting in the Phantom Thieves (temporarily) being wiped from existence because no one believes they exist. Morgana's words before he disappears also make it clear that everything is influenced by Cognition, and that what humans consider the "real world" is no more real than the Metaverse. Likewise Morgana thinks it's the Phantom Thieves' Cognition of him that allowed him to continue living even as a cat. His words and the concept strongly suggest Cognition is Persona's equivalent to Shin Megami Tensei's Observation.

Example of: