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Persona 5 provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Sad Battle Music: "Throw Away Your Mask" for the new True Final Boss in Royal is perhaps the most melancholic song ever done in the Persona series barring "Heartful Cry" from Persona 3: FES, emphasizing that even in the depths of his madness, Maruki is a fundamentally good person who regards all of his rivals as his friends and really doesn't want to be here, hurting them. It even has an instrumental for the first phase called, "Keep Your Faith".
  • Save Point: Joker uses an activity log he's supposed to keep as part of probation to save your current progress through the game. You can save anywhere it's safe enough to take it out and write down what you're doing. During Dungeon Crawling, 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 that Shido would just kill him like a rag doll once his job is done, leading to Akechi to shoot out a bulkhead door to save the thieves.
    • At the end of Royal, after defeating the True Final Boss Takuto Maruki, a part of the platform under him collapses and Joker desperately grabs his hand to prevent him from falling to his death. Helicopter Morgana arrives just in time to save them both, and Maruki is last seen as a taxi driver vowing to face his pain head-on.
  • "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.
    • In Royal this applies to Okumura instead, as Madarame is significantly easier there. While his robot mooks are no different from before, if the party does not beat them within two turns, he will instantly remove them and replace them with a fresh wave of four, and he will repeat this indefinitely until the whole wave is defeated, which can easily stall the party until they time out. To complicate things, he can even cast Rakukaja on the robots to make sure he gets his way and he can still inflict famine as before, making the robots extremely hard to kill. If the player has not prepared for this fight, they will get stuck. Mixed with Guide Dang It!, there is no warning before this happens and there is also no indication that the robots are very vulnerable to a big list of conditions that can hit them with Technical and they don't resist Gun Damage, and the player may not find it out unless by accident or trial-and-error.
  • School Setting Simulation: Subverted. The first Palace is located in the school, but in the Metaverse it looks like a medieval castle.
  • 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 screwing 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. 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. Royal adds a costume pack as DLC that lets the player have the Phantom Thieves dress up as Featherman in the Metaverse.
  • 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. This leads into Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers, where we get some answers on this moment.
  • 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 three non-standard ones, represented by ten 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 with an extremely abusive man 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 and nihilistic hitman with a dead mother, and father who couldn't care less about him, and has no real friends, to the point where despite having the Wild Card ability, he only has two Personas, one born of lies, the other, his hate. His end goal is to bring his father to the height of power, only to then destroy both his and his father's careers by revealing all of their shared crimes, which he hopes will also cause major chaos and social collapse in a country he feels has been utterly complacent to the suffering of children like himself.
    • 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.
    • The Final Boss is Yaldabaoth, the God of Control and master of the Metaverse, who runs a rigged game with Joker in order to rationalize his totalitarian rule against the ignorant masses. They represent all the sins, to the point they have skills named after each of the sins.
    • Tristitia (Melancholy) - The True Final Boss of Royal, Takuto Maruki/Azathoth, who lost his girlfriend to catatonic depression because she was traumatized by her parents being murdered in an indoor burglary, was one of the more fortunate victims of Masayoshi Shido's crimes, and got his research denied by his professor. All of this led to Yaldabaoth accidentally awakening him, leading Maruki to change from just trying to get people to follow his methods of dealing with pain to wanting to trap everyone in a Lotus-Eater Machine Never Be Hurt Again to prevent them from being sad.
    • Quite a few of the Mementos targets represent them, particularly Greed and Envy.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Futaba's Palace is surrounded by a cognitive desert that represents the fact that she doesn't get out much.
  • 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.
  • Smash to Black: In Royal's new Bad Ending, if Joker accepts Maruki's reality, the screen suddenly distorts with the actualization taking fold before cutting to darkness, then Joker finding himself with everyone back at Leblanc.
  • So Good, We Mentioned It Twice: The sins of Pride and Vanity are both featured, despite the latter being a broader form of the former.
  • 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: Zigzagged. While seemingly played straight, the two ladies who own palaces and two which are significantly more sympathetic each break the pattern.
    • 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.
    • Zigzagged for Bad Boss Kunikazu Okumura, the president of popular food chain Big Bang Burger, who's preparing marry his daughter to an abusive man for the sole purpose of becoming prime minister of Japan. 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. In reality, he used to be a much more kind and caring man and actually cared for his daughter before the events of the game, he's just being drowned out by power and his daughter is actually grief-ridden by his death because of this, so he's still less evil that the others.
    • Further 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 of Vanilla, 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.
    • The final Palace ruler of Royal is anything but evil. It's actually Takuto Maruki, a loyal ally of yours who has been driven insane, and he creates a fake reality where everyone will be happy and no longer suffer from the hardships of reality, in which all of their desires become true through his reality warping. While it's not a good thing, it's very heavily implied that he's just one more victim to Yaldabaoth's plans...and a special one since he corrupted his Persona which he uses to warp reality, and then it manipulates him to warp it to imperfect-perfectness.
  • 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.
  • Spelling for Emphasis: When Ryuji is excited about hiring a sketchy French maid, he literally spells it out to Joker.
    Ryuji: Maids! M-A-I-D-S! That will do anything! For! You!! So?... So?!
  • 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: A more subdued example that most westerners will overlook is Goro Akechi's presence on the box art for both Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal. At the time of Persona 5's release in Japan, Akechi joining the Phantom Thieves was considered a spoiler, which is why he rarely appeared in promotional material leading up to the game's release.
  • 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.
    • The name of the game itself could be interpreted as such: "Persona 5” sounded out sounds a lot like “personified”
    • 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 name of the bar where you unlock the Devil confidant is called "Crossroads." There's an old folk tale in the U.S. about a blues singer making a Deal with the Devil while standing at a crossroads (the song "Crossroad Blues" is supposedly about this).
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • Goro Akechi, who kept up the image of a talented junior detective and honor student just so someone would want him around after spending his childhood as an abused orphan and the Son of a Whore. His facade cracks completely, during his final fight with the Phantom Thieves.
      Akechi: Teammates!? Friends!? To hell with that! Why am I inferior to you...!? I was extremely particular about my life, my grades, my public image, so someone would want me around! I am an Ace Detective... a celebrity! But you... you're just some criminal trash living in an attic! So how...!? How does someone like you have things I don't!? How can such a worthless piece of trash be more special than me!?
    • Kasumi Yoshizawa seems to be a cheerful and successful gymnast and honor student, but she isn't...and by "isn't", this meant that she isn't even Kasumi Yoshizawa to begin with. At first it seems like she simply has self-confidence issues and her sister died, and then her scholarship gets revoked for "bad performances". Time goes foward to the January of next year...and we found out that this is horribly subverted because this "Kasumi Yoshizawa" isn't Kasumi, but her younger sister Sumire Yoshizawa whom Kasumi died to protect her from incoming traffic. In addition to this, Sumire is generally just mentally unstable, suicidally depressed and jealous of Kasumi enough to make her think that if she isn't Kasumi, she should just go commit suicide...and Kasumi protecting her from a rather bad impulsive act that might cause her to be hit by traffic just puts her mental health to abysmal levels.
  • 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 that's 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.
    • In Royal, however, Joker doesn't get to go on the Phantom Thieves' roadtrip. Instead, the Thieves use themselves and their Citroen Type-H as a decoy while Maruki - having transitioned into a new career as a taxi driver - takes Joker to the Shibuya train station. Additionally, while sitting on the train and preparing to leave, Joker looks out of the window at the passers-by... just as someone wearing Akechi's school uniform strolls on by, their face hidden by the sun glare, hinting of Akechi's survival.
  • 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.
  • 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!:
    • Ms. Kawakami 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 whole reason she set them with 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. Shiro Asakusa, a manager who demands sexual favors from the models he manages, is the original game's only S-ranked target, and is represented by the demon Mara (i.e. the infamous Persona that looks like a giant penis). That said, you can tell Mishima that "there's a light side" to the entertainment industry too, just like how Dancing All Night suggests that for all the idol industry's problems, idols can have a positive impact on those they perform for.
  • 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.
  • Temple of Doom: Futaba's Palace takes the form of an ancient Egyptian pyramid in the middle of the desert, with some additional computer motifs.
  • 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.
    • In the true ending of Royal, "Colors Flying High" can be heard as Joker leaves Tokyo by train.
  • 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.
    • During the third term semester in Royal, Joker, Akechi, and Kasumi become this during the initial investigation of Maruki's Palace. Word of God jokingly compares their character dynamics to a Love Triangle.
  • Threshold Guardians: Like in the previous game, the main cast's Shadows act like this. However, instead of manifesting to physically confront their real selves, they act as voices in their heads that challenge them to face the truths they've avoided and challenging them to break free and fight back against those against them.
  • 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 in order to punish society as a whole for allowing Shido's abuse of others.
  • Token Evil Teammate: In Royal, Crow fits this trope after rejoining the party for the 3rd Semester; they're not The Mole anymore, but neither are they hiding their true nature.
  • 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, such as The United States) helped, but there's no direct reason given.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In the in-universe video game Featherman Seeker, it is revealed in the final stage that the protagonist is actually an alien monster created to destroy the Feathermen and that his mentor has been stringing him along the entire time. It doesn't end well for the mentor.
  • 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. Morgana, on the other hand, never misses an opportunity to demand fish in general, but sushi especially.
  • 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 takes advantage of it to screw them over using Goro as a mole. In practice, however, this is a bit of an Informed Flaw, since they had several good reasons for going after Okumura- punishing him for abusing his workers, preventing Haru from being married off and finding the culprit behind the mental shutdowns.
    • 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 he stays 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 Joker and Yaldabaoth have effectively taken over the city.
    • Another invoked example appears when Joker cuts a deal with Maruki, either by direct offer or inaction. Maruki will offer Joker to let him overwrite the current reality so everyone can live Happily Ever After with no more meaningless suffering. It seems a lot better than Yaldabaoth's deal, but it's ultimately still apathy and nihilism and you are still betraying your very own principles. True to that, if you accept his deal, all of Joker's teammates will be living in the new reality happily...anyone but him and probably Akechi. At the credits, the snapshot even has Akechi and Joker staring towards you before the picture burns to symbolize it's the end of everything. This means that the decision is so questionable that Akechi and Joker are questioning you: What the Hell, Player?
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Ryuji's character trailer for the Updated Re-release Royal spoils the inclusion of third-tier Personas.
    • Likewise, Akechi's Character Trailer has no qualms showing him dressed in his Black Mask costume and using Loki. Akechi was only revealed to be Black Mask directly during the events of Shido's Palace.
  • 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: Like other Shin Megami Tensei English dubs, the script behaves as if the characters are all speaking Japanese in-universe, 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 in English a little odd, since everyone is speaking English... and they need Ann's help with English. There's another scene with Ryuji's glee at a Hawaiian native being able to speak Japanese, despite the player hearing both of them speaking English to each other.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: During the improvised Okumura fight in Royal, he will have a lot more stuff coming from him, namely resetting his robot waves every two turns if all four are not killed within that window (And buffing one of the robot's defense to make sure it happens), piling all of the robots on one party member, and a new enemy right after the Execurobo that self-destructs after it's damaged enough. If one does not go in with the appropriate non-offensive moves or Baton Pass tactics, the timer will run out nearly without fail. However, what actually defines a large portion of the difficulty is that there are no forewarnings before any of these bar the robots piling up on one party member, actually happen. Another point is that the robots can be affected by nearly every status for technical damage and thus can be incapacitated by these conditions. They also don't resist gun, unlike in the original game. Again, none of these are brought up even once in the game's dialogue and it's impossible for the player to know about them unless they read a walkthrough or find it out by accident.
  • 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 Yaldabaoth, is an epic orchestral rock reprise of both the heroic solo from Yaldaboath's boss theme and "Swear to My Bones".
    • "Life Will Change" gets its own epic reprise as "I Believe" for the new final heist in Royal, calling back to "Life Will Change"'s lyrics, remixing its guitar riff, and adding a "Last Surprise"-esque string backing. It plays again as the Phantom Thieves hold off Adam Kadmon to allow Joker to deliver the finishing blow.
  • 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(and eventual Confidant) 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 two or three enemies- often a man, a woman and a dog. 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.
    • There are several really corrupt people in various confidant arcs that Joker can drive away simply by progressing their confidant, including Sugimura, whom the party only kills his Cognition in Okumura's Palace and the real person fades away at the end of Haru's Confidant without any confrontation. Another is Yamauchi from Ryuji's confidant, who leaves Ryuji and the Track Team alone without being fought at all, since Ryuji decides that he's their problem.
  • 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. It's justified however in this case as her boss is Shido, which means that even the slightest damaging of his ego will result in him retaliating with extreme levels of Disproportionate Retribution. She would most obviously not want to be a part of this. Thankfully, 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 The Black Mask, or Goro Akechi, TheConspiracy's Dragon with an Agenda, 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 Unreveal:
    • 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.
    • In Royal, there are several hints that Jose is working for some mysterious, otherworldly person or force, with him stating right before his Optional Boss fight that he promised "someone" to study humans before immediately telling the Phantom Thieves to forget he said anything about it. When pressed on the issue of who he's working for and what, exactly, he is he dodges the question by stating "You'll find out someday." This might lead one to assume that Jose's employer would be a large reveal, but it's never brought up or revealed during both Royal and Scramble.
    • Madarame's Treasure takes the form of the real "Sayuri" painted by Yusuke's mother. When the group examines the painting after the Palace, Joker can ask if "Sayuri" was her name, to which Yusuke will respond that it wasn't; Madarame changed the painting's name to prevent anyone from tracing its true origin. In Royal, in Maruki's dream world, Yusuke displays the painting in a gallery under its original name, but the player never actually gets to learn what it is.
  • 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 and Akechi comes in to murder the protagonist before he can remember what he's supposed to do.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: In the Tycoon minigame in Royal, players who scored the lowest in the previous round (the Beggar and Poor) are forced to trade some of their highest cards to those who scored highest in the previous round (the Tycoon and Rich). This makes it easy for the first round's Tycoon to sweep the later rounds, but there's a catch: the "bankruptcy" rule means that if the Tycoon doesn't place first in the next round, they automatically become the Beggar.
  • 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, generally as a result of the antagonist of their Confidant having a change of heart after Joker asked for the person's name. 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; nor is Shido.
  • 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.
  • Updated Re-release: Royal follows Persona 4 Golden's footsteps. Let's run down the list. New characters? (Marie in Golden and Kasumi, Maruki, and Jose in Royal). Check. New story content taking place during the original's Time Skip? Check. Redemption arc for the traitor? Check. An expanded ending and epilogue? Check. More endings, both good and bad? What do you think?
  • 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.
      • In Royal gives all Persona traits that can be inherited, including one called "vitality of the tree" which allows you to use skills as if cornered, which makes Thermopylae no longer this.
    • 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.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Igor repeatedly mentions the "coming ruin". Good luck getting anything solid from him about what that "coming ruin" actually entails.
  • Vendor Trash: Most of the treasure you steal from the various Palaces, 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. In Royal, there is one more dungeon that follows: Maruki's Palace, accessible in the third term.
  • 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!
      Futaba: GIT GUDnote 
      Haru: Adieu
      Justine & Caroline: DON'T BE SO COCKY
      Kasumi (Sumire): Beauty is Devotionnote 
      Akechi (Black Mask): I DECIDE THE TRUTHnote 
      Lavenza: DON'T BE SO NAIVEnote 
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • During a Hold Up, if you have unlocked Yoshida's Diplomacy skill, you can ask enemies to give you more money or items than they've already given you or just commence an All Out Attack. If you're lucky you can, for example, make a Shadow give you large sums of money in exchange for sparing them, only to kill them anyways.
    • Since Mishima's Confidant ranks up every time you spend time with him, you can feel free to choose the more sarcastic/insulting conversation options without fear of the Confidant taking longer. His Confidant has more of those options than most others, giving you many opportunities to choose them, some of which Mishima arguably deserves.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Settings: Each Palace is one.
  • 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.
  • Villain Ball: The Conspiracy get hit with this concerning their plan to kill Joker. They could’ve found out about the Phantom Thieves faking his death much earlier if they hadn't just taken Akechi's word for the apparent suicide and actually made sure that there was a body. Even the coroner didn't bother to enter the interrogation room after Akechi and simply wrote the death certificate.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Calling Card is meant to elicit 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 100%.
  • 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.
  • Villain Song: The new final boss theme for Royal is sung from Maruki's point of view, trying to convince the Phantom Thieves to surrender to the dream world he created.
  • "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.
    • Life Will Change has some elements of this, particularly in the 2nd verse.
      Aint' it a shame?
      I'm not a figment
      Of your ailing old mind
      I'm just as real as
      I'm just as dangerous
      As you will soon find
      A taste of your own meds
      Fire in every breath
      Fire inside your head
      Your heart
      And as your crippled brain
      Tries to fight in vain
      Your empire will fall apart
  • 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 going twice in a row after the party's first turn. 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:
    • The Archangel midway through Kamoshida's Palace is the first boss that's able to use Charge to drastically increase the damage of its next physical skill. If you're not careful, it can easily one-shot you, especially on higher difficulty settings.
    • 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 more or less simultaneously, 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.
      • Subverted in Royal, where he becomes much easier since he never regenerates the painting once it is fully destroyed and instead summons clones of himself that can be spammed for One Mores if hit correctly. The clones repel the wrong attacks but they do nothing more. He even summons clones with status effects and/or at very low HP if his HP is low enough.
    • There is an Arahabaki in Madarame's Palace in Royal defending a Will Seed. This Shadow is extremely dangerous since it has very high HP, repels all physical attacks just like what you expect on an Arahabaki and can use Brain Jack. If anyone is hit by Brainwash, it can even use Mapsio to cast technical damage.
    • Kaneshiro in Royal is nothing like you see in the base game: he now starts inside the Piggytron and only fights on foot once it is destroyed. Unlike in the previous game, he is much stronger and is shielded by two bodyguards that can be affected by status effects. To make things worse, he constantly casts sleep-inducing conditions and uses gun attacks on asleep party members for technical damage. It basically teaches you that you have to use status effects sometimes.
    • Okumura in Royal will punish anyone who hasn't properly learned the importance of non-damaging skills. The fight is a Time-Limit Boss, and every mechanic is designed to stall out the timer. First, instead of just replacing whoever's defeated, Okumura summons his Corporobos in uniform waves. If the wave isn't completely cleared out in two turns, then the wave is reset. Second, Okumura now uses buffs and debuffs more often, like using Rakukaja and hunger to make sure at least one robot survives until the wave reset, using Marakunda to make the Corporobos hit harder. Third, the battle is heavily dialogue ridden, which eats up precious seconds even with fast-forwarding. Finally, there's one more battle after the last Execurobo before you can finish off Okumura, which can trip up players who thought they still have time to spare or who are on their last legs. The battle requires a proper understanding of buffs, debuffs and status ailments (which the enemies are now vulnerable to) or else running out of time is a very real possibility.
  • 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: In vanilla, The Reaper is vulnerable to being inflicted with Despair during Flu Season. Since Despair prevents the victim from acting, drains SP every turn, and kills the target at the start of its third turn if it isn't healed, that results in a free victory.
  • 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.
    • Takeishi feels pressured to follow in his father's footsteps and graduate from Taisei. Because of that, he ends up going along with Yamauchi until he realizes that Yamauichi plans on getting rid of him when he's no longer useful.
  • 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 brutally drives the point home for many players, showing that this game is not playing around.
    • 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 already 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 and that is the power that he uses to induce the psychotic breakdowns. And at the end of it all, just when the Thieves seem to be giving him a second chance, he seemingly sacrifices himself to save the Thieves from an army of Shadows.
    • After the Holy Grail fuses reality with Mementos and causes the Phantom Thieves to disappear, Joker is brought to the Velvet Room where Igor orders Caroline and Justine to execute him for failing to complete his mission. While there were signs that something was up with Igor beforehand, this move is definitely out-of-character, and it sets in motion a chain of events that reveals that the Igor you've been dealing with for the entire game is in fact the Holy Grail in disguise, having imprisoned the real Igor and split his attendant into Caroline and Justine.
    • Akechi's Rank 6 Confidant in Royal sheds a significant amount of light about exactly why he ended up like he was in the base game; committing mass murders and treason for Shido just to ruin him when he ever gets inaugurated. It turns out that his mother was a call girl who was heavily implied to accidentially become pregnant with Akechi when she had a one-night stand with Shido. When she concieved him, she took whatever part time job she could to take care of him, and before she took any customer for her nightclub, she sends Akechi to the bathouse. It turns out that she did took care of Akechi for a while, until she was shamed and offed herself as stated by him in the base game.
    • 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 even fixed several of Hifumi's matches to ensure her rise to fame.
    • In Persona 5 Royal, the entire initial investigation of the new Palace during the third semester events acts as this. Not only rock-solid proof that "Kasumi Yoshizawa" is a mockery began to show up, your friendly counselor Takuto Maruki has been reduced into nothing more than a madman and this is his palace and research lab, and is now causing stagnation via his utopian plan. He then proceeds to show you literal damning evidence that "Kasumi" is actually her inferior twin Sumire and the real Kasumi tried to prevent her jealousy-induced fit that nearly caused her to be ran over by traffic only to become roadkill instead, and to cope with her survivor's guilt, Sumire actively asked Maruki to turn her into Kasumi, only for him to make her think that she really was Kasumi because that was the greatest extent of his powers during that point.
    • The last surprise twist in Royal happens to be sending the Calling Card to Maruki during the 2nd of February, where he reveals to you that Akechi, in some form or way was affected by his "Actualization". While Maruki does not actually tell Joker if Akechi is dead or not, this is a surefire implication that Akechi is not supposed to be here, and Maruki's actualization made him appear in front of Joker. Then, you may let Joker by coerced by Maruki so you get the same bad ending as the 9th of January. And sure enough, unless during certain conditions where you can see someone who looks like him very briefly for a few seconds post-credits, Akechi vanishes after you take back the true reality.
  • 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 start of a lesson which also marks Morgana's first appearance in class, the day gets derailed when a student notices something outside...
      Standing Male Student: Hey... What's that...!?
      Gawking Female Student: Wait... Shiho's going to jump!
    • 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)
    • On October 3rd in Royal, Joker goes to the stadium in Odaiba to find Kasumi and give her back her good luck charm which she dropped. After Kasumi says Maruki's name, along with some other inconspicuous words, we get the following from her phone, along with a familiar app appearing on it...
      Beginning navigation.
    • 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.
    • On Maruki's last day at Shujin in Royal, he invites Joker to lunch and reveals that his paper on cognitive psience is finished thanks to Joker's help, then drops the following bombshell.
      Maruki: Please, allow me to express my gratitude to you once more as a most helpful student of Shujin... and as a phantom thief as well.
    • 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.
    • During Akechi's Rank 6 hangout in Royal, this very line paints a much, much darker light on his childhood, a tragic side of him which you will defintely not see in Vanilla.
      Akechi: My mother worked at a nightclub. Whenever she had to bring a man home, she'd send me off to the local bathhouse.
    • 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.
    • In Royal, should all the right conditions be met, a familiar voice is heard after Sae requests Joker turn himself in.
      Akechi: There's no need for that.
    • In Royal, after Akechi turns himself in in Joker's place and the gang celebrates Christmas and New Year's Eve together, everything seems ready to end on a happy note... Then after Joker has a strange dream involving chasing a butterfly through Shujin, he goes downstairs to see a strange man he's never met before who apparently knows him. Then Futaba walks in wearing a beautiful kimono, but the first thing out of her mouth is your first hint that something is very wrong.
      Futaba: I picked it out with my mom.
    • During the Third Semester, we have the following about Kasumi and Maruki, all in fairly quick succession:
      Girl with tied up hair: My younger sister! She should be here in the stadium... Oh, there she is! ... Sumire! Sumire! I did it! Both of us have the same dream - to be international champions!
      • After Kasumi is exposed as Sumire:
        Akechi: ...The girl known as "Kasumi Yoshizawa" is currently deceased.note 
      • Sumire explains about Kasumi's death:
        Sumire: ... It was last spring... Before I started at Shujin... We were walking home from practice. It happened right there, on that street in the video... I wasn't looking where I was going... And Kasumi, she protected me from the car... I was saved by Kasumi... I robbed her of her dreams... and even her life! I'm her younger sister, Sumire Yoshizawa.
      • Maruki explains his role on Sumire's cognition warping:
        Maruki: Her real name is Sumire Yoshizawa. She's Kasumi-san's younger sister... But for months now, she's only seen herself as being Kasumi Yoshizawa, her deceased elder sister. Of course it was only her cognition of herself that changed, so to the people around her, she was still Sumire-san.
      • Akechi tells Joker about Sumire:
        Akechi: It appears you were clueless, but she was Sumire Yoshizawa from the start.
  • Wham Shot:
    • During the "Maid Investigation", if you didn't recognise the maid's voice and/or the fact that she recognises Mishima and Ryuji by their panicking outside, she turns around to face the camera and her dialogue portrait is pulled up, revealing that she's Kawakami.
    • 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.
    • During the days approaching the 6th Palace, Sojiro is watching a news report about the Phantom Thieves concerning the death of Okumura. If you didn't see it at first glance, the game shows that Sojiro found Futaba's calling card.
    • 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 sans the locked gate, 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's a Wild Card just like Joker.
    • 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.
    • During the first investigation to the Palace in Odaiba, you, Akechi and Kasumi go in and see images of a Kasumi with brown hair and a beauty mark around her left eye. It's pretty obvious that the "Kasumi" you met is an imitation, while the real one is the aforementioned girl and she's Dead All Along.
    • You also don't know who owns the Odaiba Palace...and it turns out that it's your friendly counselor Takuto Maruki, now a madman who only wants to bring blind happiness to the world.
    • Additionally, during the third semester events you will also know that Sumire entrusted Maruki fully to fix her depression by turning her into a mockery of Kasumi, effectively going right against what she told Akechi in the cafe hangout event.
    • In The Stinger of the Royal edition, as Joker sits in the train, a figure wearing Akechi's clothes walks by, hinting that he's Not Quite Dead.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human? The team is exceptionally cautious to not kill human-shadows because it will kill his human counterpart for sure, but they do not have any problem in hurting and killing thousands of monster-shadows in their way even if they are completely sentient, are kids or Women, have families, dreams and goals in life. Yusuke outright stated he has any sympathy for them. This is like how, in previous games, minor Shadows were generally considered foes to be eliminated.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • 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 the Hell, Player?: In Royal, if you accept any of the offers from Takuto Maruki to surrender to his magic, regardless if he directly proposed it or not, the protagonist will be dissatisfied even if everyone else is enjoying life forever, and during the graduation snapshot, Akechi doesn't look happy and the protagonist looks absolutely pissed off while everyone else sports the brightest smile ever in it. The post-credits snapshot will also feature him and Akechi looking towards you (Yes, YOU) as if they were questioning your actions.
  • 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 ends up being such a big issue that 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.
    • Subverted 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.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Kaneshiro's deadline is July 9th, even though he issued the three-week demand on June 20th, which would actually place it at July 11th.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: At the end of the game, Joker is arrested and sent to juvenile hall due to his past record and confessing to numerous other crimes like breaking into people's houses and hijacking a broadcast signal. However, he's eventually let go with all charges dropped because his friends were able to prove that his initial charge (assault against Shido when he was really trying to prevent Shido from assaulting someone else) was false.

  • Yandere: One of the students at Shujin, Yumeko Mogami, who Joker aptly nicknamed the Creepy Female Student, fits this trope to a T. This student also happens to be one of the Mementos targets in early game.
  • 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 at least 20), it's pretty clear the game takes place in 2016-2017.note 
  • You Are Already Dead: When you perform an All-Out 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 High-Pressure 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!
    • Haru's dickish fiancé plays it straight later in her Confidant.
      Sugimura: Why don't you stop by the gym or something, Haru? I mean, if you have time to mess around with this punk, you damn well have time to get a little thinner.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Just before sending the calling card to President Okumura, Haru asks why her father didn't seem to include a cognitive version of her in his Palace. Morgana has thought of several possible reasons why, but warns Haru that she may not like them. While this goes unaddressed in the original game, Royal proves Morgana's point; during the ensuing boss battle against Okumura, he summons a cognitive copy of Haru taking the form of an android assistant that loyally serves his cause, yet once there is nothing left to defend him, he ends up sacrificing it as easily as he does his other workers.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust:
    • Usually averted. Unlike the previous two games, it is impossible to break or reverse any Confidants, possibly because the Confidants are a business relationship between the protagonist and the NPC in question.
    • In Royal, accessing the third trimester requires Maruki's Confidant to be Rank 9 before he leaves in November, before sending the calling card to the target of the Casino Palace. This is because The Reveal about Maruki severely changes his character. He's central to the plot of the third trimester as the Palace Ruler and the creator of the "dream world". If Maruki is not Rank 9 by that time, the third trimester is inaccessible.
  • 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 Persona 3 (noted as 5'7") while two inches shorter than the protagonist of Persona 4 (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 to lie 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.
    • Subverted in deleted footage found in a datamined version of the game. If you accept Maruki's offer, dating multiple girls was supposed to trigger an additional Valentine's day scene where they all show up... and proceed to act completely out of character and accept that you wanted all of them. It is a very uncomfortable scene and drives home the fact that Something Is Wrong. Joker also does not seem very comfortable with it. Footage of the cutscene -- Spoilers warning!
  • 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.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: In Royal's third semester, the Phantom Thieves assume that destroying Yaldabaoth would destroy Mementos, but True Final Boss Takuto Maruki takes it over instead and you have to change his heart to finish the job.

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