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Tear Jerker / Persona 5

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...That's right... I killed Mom. I don't deserve to be alive... This place is a tomb... I'll die here... No...! Someone help me...
Futaba Sakura

Warning: Spoilers Off applies to Moments pages.

  • A gameplay-related example. If you try and negotiate with a Shadow whose Persona you once had but have since fused away or dismissed, it'll call you out for abandoning it. It'll definitely hurt the first time you see it, doubly so if it's a Persona you used for a long time.
    • Relatedly, fighting some Shadows can be upsetting if they get scared, appeal for their lives, and you decide to keep fighting them, or as their health gets low and they visibly start giving up, knowing they're about to die. Barong is one example, moving and acting almost like a happy little dog as it attacks you, only to end up losing all cheer, staring sadly at the floor, and waiting for death. Even though they'd happily kill you otherwise, the game really likes to make you feel like a jerk for beating on Shadows.
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    • Even more heartbreaking is the sight of a lot of these Persona's utterly dejected looks when they're about to be sacrificed. Lucky enough, Arsène is one of the few to avert this, keeping his composure and looking all badass as hell.
  • The sheer level of ostracism and seething contempt the protagonist endures, especially from adults, throughout the game. It doesn't matter what he achieves, what his grades are, or how nice a person he is, to them he will always just be "that punk who assaulted one of the country's most beloved politicians". Many players have noted how the protagonist's mistreatment at the hands of NPCs hits way too close to home for them.
    • This is perhaps best exemplified when the gang are celebrating taking down Kamoshida, and despite starting off in high spirits they're soon aware that every adult at the buffet is looking down on them, or treating them like a nuisance. And that no matter where they go, it seems they just don't belong anywhere.
    • Even worse is that this disdain from the other students never actually lets up, at all. Months after you start school, you can hear people whispering in the halls about how dangerous they think you are, and even around November time your classmates are still surprised when you answer questions correctly. Studying in the library can also increase Guts purely due to how much courage it takes the protagonist to focus on his studying while everyone else in the library takes the time to loudly talk shit about you, knowing that you can hear what they're saying. This is despite the protagonist appearing to be an ordinary, hard-working, and generally harmless student once the Kamoshida incident is over. The rumours and bullying never go away and the only way to really deal with it is to simply get used to it.
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    • It's also worth noting how much the protagonist in this game contrasts with the ones in the previous two games. The previous two player characters could get involved in clubs and make several friends at school who weren't part of the party, generally having a fulfilling school life on top of their extracurricular heroics. The P5 MC not only doesn't get involved in any clubs, but also only has one friend at Shujin besides the Phantom Thieves and Mishima (who operates the Phan-Site)- and the protagonist can only befriend Kawakami after inadvertently learning her secret.
  • Tokyo in this game can be seen as very oppressive where the people in power are corrupt, many ordinary individuals ignore the problems around them and may even support this kind of action. Anyone that try to do anything about it are met with criticism by the general public either due to the futility of the attempt or because they would shake up the status quo too much. If they're unlucky enough, they may even be met with an arrest or worse.
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  • The opening segment of the game. There lays the protagonist, pinned to the ground by countless police, still wearing a bitter look of defiance on his face. One of the cops gloats by telling him that he was sold out by one of his own teammates. That alone drains his will to fight as he's finally cuffed. Granted, it ends up being subverted because it's actually him realizing that's the cue for the next stage of the Thieves' grand plan and he needs to continue keeping up appearances, but new viewers won't know that.
  • All of the Thieves' backstories and their reasons for joining the Phantom Thieves qualify.
    • Picture this: You're an average kid in your hometown walking back home early in the evening. Everything is fine, until you hear two people screaming at each other, and one of them sounds particularly distressed. You run to see what's going on, and find a drunken man attempting to assault a woman and force her into a car. You step in between them, and push the man away from her, maybe a little too forcefully, and he cuts his forehead. The next thing you know the police are on the scene and the woman you protected is telling them that you attacked the man unprovoked. And just like that, you're expelled from your school, taken to court, and sentenced to a year on probation, all because you happened to cross the most corrupt politician in the country. These are the protagonist's circumstances and the ones that kick-start the entire plot of the game.
    • While Ryuji may seem like a rowdy delinquent in the story proper, he has a very good reason for being that way. When he was a former track star, the volleyball coach, Kamoshida, intentionally tried to provoke him by spreading rumors about his home life. When Ryuji finally hit his Rage Breaking Point and punched him, Kamoshida broke his leg claiming self-defense, and subsequently disbanded the track club. Ryuji's former teammates blamed him entirely for the incident, leaving him friendless until the protagonist enrolls at Shujin. But even then, he's still left with irreparable damage to his leg that impairs his ability to run without his Persona's assistance.
    • Ann, despite having mostly Japanese parents and being raised in Japan, is bullied and slut-shamed by her peers, and becomes the subject of Kamoshida's unwanted sexual advances purely because of her foreign appearance. When she refuses him, he sets his sights on her best friend Shiho, and rapes her in Ann's stead. The rape drives Shiho to attempt suicide while the entire school, including Ann, watches. Shiho ultimately survives, but it leaves a huge mark on Ann, and taking revenge for Shiho becomes her motivation for joining the Thieves in the first place.
    • When his mother died, Yusuke was adopted by his mentor, Madarame, but instead of being Happily Adopted, his foster father turns out to be an abuser who forces him to live in poverty, keeps him in a state of semi-starvation, and ruthlessly plagiarizes his work for profit. In heartbreakingly realistic form, Yusuke himself can't fathom the idea that he's an abuse victim, and lashes out at the Thieves when they attempt to help. He later learns that his mother was a former pupil of Madarame's, and that he chose to let her die during a seizure rather than seek medical attention for her so he could claim her masterwork, "Sayuri", as his own, removing any of Yusuke's doubts that Madarame is irredeemable.
      • Despite all of the above, Yusuke's confidant shows that he still can't bring himself to completely hate Madarame, being unable to forget whatever happy times he had living in the atelier with Madarame and the other students - something that also ties in with him previously being unable to see himself as an abuse victim. Despite everything Madarame did to him, Yusuke still decides that Madarame wasn't completely evil because he reasons that being taken in purely on the off-chance that he would grow up to have artistic talent doesn't make much logical sense. In the main story, he acknowledges during Okumura's Palace that he understands the mental/emotional abuse that Okumura's employees go through - in which they would do anything to help and serve their boss, seeming to be almost proud of their status as disposable robots - because he went through it himself.
    • Although Makoto probably has the fewest issues of the Thieves, she still qualifies. She's constantly pressured by the adults in her life—not least by her older sister Sae—to be the exemplary Student Council President, resulting in her peers viewing her somewhat correctly as an ineffectual Teacher's Pet, particularly after Kamoshida's exposure as an abusive sexual predator. As she becomes aware of her own lack of focus and begins questioning the importance of academic success, Sae increasingly treats her like a liability. When Principal Kobayakawa forces her to investigate both the Phantom Thieves and a criminal group that uses Shujin students as drug smugglers, she recklessly endangers herself by confronting the group's boss directly to prove her "usefulness", and is nearly blackmailed into sexual slavery. Like Futaba, the ending you get if you fail to complete Kaneshiro's palace is terrifying: the protagonist misremembers the context of his arrest, believing instead that he was taken in for questioning after Makoto was found at an "establishment for illegal services" in a drug-induced stupor. Even though it could never have happened (as with the other endings associated with failing to complete a palace) the fact it's such a plausible scenario is as much Nightmare Fuel as it is a Tear Jerker.
      • Watching Sae lash out at Makoto and basically call her the parasite responsible for ruining her life. To call Makoto crestfallen would be an understatement.
      • Sae's "The Reason You Suck" Speech, along with being berated by the Phantom Thieves for being "useless" (although to be fair, they're right—she can't do anything Metaverse-related at that point), is what spurs her to make the decision to tail Kaneshiro. Makoto is desperate to prove to someone, anyone, that she has value as a person.
    • Futaba's mother Wakaba was killed in a hit-and-run after Goro Akechi murdered her Shadow in a successful bid to help Masayoshi Shido steal her research on cognitive psience. Members of the Conspiracy framed the incident as a suicide by forging a note in which Wakaba purportedly claimed to be unable to deal with the stress of single motherhood, compounding Futaba's social anxiety with a case of post-traumatic stress disorder that gives her auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions of her mother's face overlaying other peoples', and keeps her from leaving her own house. Her self-blame is so extreme that it manifests itself as the boss of her palace, a monstrous half-sphinx version of Wakaba who screams that Futaba never should have been born.
      • The very fact that she has a Palace. Most people's issues are minor enough that they have no Palace of their own, just Mementos. Only extremely distorted desires can create a Palace, like an abusive teacher who sees an entire school as his castle, or a crime boss who views all of Shibuya as his personal bank. Think about it, Futaba hates herself so much that it created a Palace on the same level as those. That should say something.
      • Also, the safe rooms in her palace flicker out to become her room. Safe rooms are considered places where a person's cognition is weakest and has the least influence, and that's the space she has locked herself in.
      • Futaba's backstory snowballs into something so much worse in Sojiro's Confidant link. Believing her to be responsible for her mother's death, Wakaba's family completely rejected her, and the relatives acting as her legal guardians began abusing her. At the peak of the abuse, Futaba, who was living with an uncle at the time, was forced to sleep on the floor and forbidden from bathing, at which point Sojiro intervened and all but bought Futaba off of him to remove her from the situation. When the uncle begins visiting Leblanc to extort money from Sojiro, Futaba walks in on one occasion, and she outright whimpers in fear.
      • Just in case you thought the monsters behind her mother's murder couldn't get any worse, the murals in her Palace show that the bastards read the suicide note aloud in front of a grief-stricken Futaba and all of her relatives. They killed her mother, made a point of forging a note that blamed her for her mother's death, for literally no reason, then carefully orchestrated things so that not only would she have to sit there and listen to it, but her relatives (who didn't seem like the most pleasant of people to begin with) were almost guaranteed to turn on her. No wonder her shadow urges her to get angry—after that, it's a wonder that Futaba doesn't track down the "men in black" personally and exact vengeance.
      • Futaba's auditory hallucinations aren't subtitled at all, but once you get a good listen and piece together what they are through context clues they're horrifying. While not confirmed, it's implied that they're things that were shouted at her by her relatives after The Conspiracy men in black read her mother's fake suicide note. Hearing a various voices scream things like "Murderer!", "You killed her!" and demand she say something despite being a child in shock over her mother dying right in front of her shows you just what kind of people Futaba was forced to live with.
    • Haru's circumstances don't seem as bad as those of the other Thieves at first glance—she's a Lonely Rich Kid stuck in an Arranged Marriage designed to be a stepping stone for her father, Kunikazu Okumura, to enter the political world, but as we see her interact with her fiance and her father's perception of him, it becomes clear how viscerally horrifying her situation really is. The first time we ever see him, he grabs Haru's arm and tries to coerce her into having sex with him and kicks Morgana into a wall after he tries to intervene, and later on, the version of him we see in Okumura's palace makes similarly disturbing comments about sexually assaulting her. Keep in mind that her father is the one who approved the match and emotionally blackmails her into going along with it, despite knowing exactly what sort of person his future son-in-law is. In other words, Haru could have potentially been strong-armed into a marriage with a sexually-entitled rapist without the agency to do anything about it, if anyone believed it was rape in the first place, or even cared.
    • Akechi, who at first looks like he's had an absolutely charmed life, reveals in his confidant link that he's actually an illegitimate child who was abandoned by his father before he was even born, and it's heavily implied that his mother was shamed into committing suicide for having given birth out of wedlock; subsequently, he became a ward of the court, and was passed around variously to foster homes throughout his childhood. His narcissism and insecurity are honestly no wonder.
  • After awakening his Persona, Yusuke admits that he had known for a while that Madarame was up to something sketchy with "Sayuri", even if he didn't know what, and that the plagiarism was an open secret, but he hadn't wanted to admit that the only person he had left in the world was using him and countless other students for his own gain until he came face to face with Madarame's Shadow.
    • Not to mention that Makoto is being put under pressure by the Principal of Shujin Academy; he's expecting her to solve issues that should really be taken to the authorities, not put on the shoulders of a teenage girl who already has enough responsibilities weighing her down. She's even coerced into it because the Principal mentions her link to Sae, and Makoto would clearly do anything for her big sister.
  • The traitor's whole situation in general. Saying that the traitor's whole life has been one long Trauma Conga Line wouldn't be an exaggeration.
    • In addition to his backstory above, Akechi was given the power of the Wild Card by Yaldabaoth. However, due to having no one to guide him like The Protagonist, Akechi used his power for the selfish goal of revenge on his father Masayoshi Shido, but instead he ends up manipulated by Shido using praise into doing The Conspiracy's dirty work. The worst part is, as the story goes along, he does appear to start to show remorse for his actions.
    • The Big Bad says the traitor started working for him two years ago. That means Akechi became an assassin right when he was starting high school.
    • The entire second boss fight against the traitor is part this, part Nightmare Fuel. Not to mention that the reason they lashed out for a second time is because Morgana pointed out to them that despite everything, Akechi does genuinely like the friendship he's built with the protagonist.
      Morgana: Just then, when you were with [the protagonist], you were laughing. That was your true self, right? You genuinely do like [him], right?
    • The aftermath of said boss fight. Just as when the Thieves are about to recruit Akechi back to fight his dad, a Cognitive Self version of how Shido views Akechi appears. What ensues is a brutal Breaking Speech to the real Akechi, with Cognitive Akechi revealing that Shido never viewed him as anything more than an expendable puppet and is planning to kill him later anyway. The Cognitive Akechi then proceeds to drives home his crippling desire to be loved, stating that despite wanting revenge on Shido, he desperately wanted his father to recognize him as well.
    • During the aftermath, Haru mentions that while she can't forgive the traitor for killing her father, she does sympathize with them. Considering how she also didn't have the best relationship with her father, it's likely she saw a bit of herself in him. Even Yusuke, of all people, admits that he could've ended up like the Traitor if he hadn't met the rest of the party.
    • The traitor sacrificing himself to save the rest of the Phantom Thieves from his Cognitive Self and the horde of Shadows it brings by locking himself inside the engine room in a last attempt at redemption, entrusting the Thieves to carry out his last wish of bringing Shido down. As if that wasn't enough, the Justice Confidant link hits rank 10 during this scene. Ouch.
    • Quite a few lines that the traitor says during the game are much Harsher in Hindsight once you know the full story.
      The Traitor: (To Phantom) I wish I could've met you a few years earlier...
    • While it is possibly justified by the fact that he is the traitor and more of a temporary party member, though it looked like he was genuinely ready to turn down to a path of redemption or at least face his crimes with some dignity, the fact that Goro barely gets mentioned much at all after his apparent death and character arc just seems sad.
    • Whenever you get a new party member you are allowed to check out a new book from the library that is about the new team member's Persona, and when you finish the book you get a boost to one of your attributes. When Akechi joins you don't get the option to check out a Robin Hood book, giving you Foreshadowing that he's the traitor. However, Dummied Out data reveals that a Robin Hood book was planned, and that reading it boosted your kindness.
      This Robin character was the leader of a group of outlaws. ...He's kind of like you.
  • Poor Shiho. She may be a side character, but just imagine her situation. One of your teachers, an authority figure you should be able to trust, is a sexual predator who has been targeting your best friend, and when she denies his advances, he targets you instead. And then it gets so bad you think that the only way out of this is to kill yourself.
    • Not to mention that, upon eavesdropping on a conversation she has with Ann, she was one of the few people in the beginning who actually felt sorry for the Protagonist and his situation.
    • She reveals in Ann's Rank 9 event, where she takes a trip back to the roof she threw herself off of, that she was hearing voices that were telling her to commit suicide. It sounds like she was starting to go through what Futaba was going through. Suffering auditory hallucinations.
    • Her situation was bad from the outset, even before the heavily-implied rape. Like the rest of the volleyball team, being beaten by Kamoshida was a regular occurrence for her, to the point of a visible bruise over one eye and a swollen leg, and like the rest of the team, the game implies he threatened her into keeping quiet about his brutal treatment, blowing it off as 'just practice' due to competing on a national level.
  • At the end of Futaba's dungeon, where you fight her interpretation of her mother's feelings (who blamed Futaba for her death), after you defeat the boss, her mother's real feelings appear before her one last time, and they share a heartwarming talk and a tearful goodbye, declaring their love to each other.
  • Kunizaku Okumura's death. Made worse because not only he is much more of an Anti-Villain than the other targets thus far, but he dies on live television via Body Horror for attempting to reveal other members of The Conspiracy, all while poor Haru watches.
    • What was the treasure of his Palace? The source of his distortion? A simple toy model kit that he wanted when he was a child, but could never have due to the poor financial situation his family was in. That was what drove his greed so wild.
    • After this point on, the popularity of the Phantom Thieves begin to plummet, and the anonymous comments under the ratings bar during each transition scene turn as toxic as online comments get. A rather uneasy transition from the growing support from before. At its worst, some of these comments get outright deleted, implying they're so bad that Mishima has to intervene.
      • It can be pretty sad to see the comments during the height of the Phantom Thieves' popularity. Seeing people comment in ways that make it clear that they only care about the spectacle of the thieves and not their goals, some even calling for them to kill... and then Akechi kills Kunizaku and it all starts spiraling down. What's worse is that the group, Ryuji and Ann especially, get caught up in the fame of being Phantom Thieves and decide on Kunizaku partially due to the density of fan requests. It can be tragic to see what was started as a means to strike back at a corrupt society start to become just as bad.
      • It gets worse after Shido's change of heart, as instead of being elated at learning the truth the Phan-Site's users hit the Despair Event Horizon due to one of the few hopes for the future they had being torn away from them. The people of Tokyo couldn't be a starker contrast to Persona 4's idea of how people would react to "the truth."
      "i shoulda known better..."
      "I feel like an empty husk"
      "why'd we even bother"
  • Morgana's Disney Death, with him seemingly disappearing together with the other world in the true ending. The Thieves desperately beg him to stay as he slowly Disappears into Light. Thankfully, he returns.
  • After the final battle, Sae talks with the protagonist. In order to keep Shido in prison and ensure that those in power don't try to get the Thieves arrested, the Protagonist has to turn themselves in as the leader of the Thieves in order to give testimony. However, due to the Protagonist's prior record, he'll definitely be punished and sent to juvenile hall. Learning that after everything you've done to save the world, that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished once again is heartbreaking. It all ends well when Sae and the Phantom Thieves find the woman the Protagonist protected from Shido and get her help in expunging most of his record, but it's still tragic while it lasts.
    • Afterwards, you can go on a Christmas date with your Love Interest. However, despite being heartwarming, it's all underscored by the idea that it could be the last time they could ever be alone together for a long time. A similar treatment applies during your party with Sojiro and Futaba if you remain single.
      • To add on top of that, you try to attempt to make sure that your date doesn't know about you turning yourself in to protect them. However, they start picking up on this and they end up going home worried anyway. Ann, in particular, will know you're hiding something, and leave both worried and upset with you, yet there's no option to tell her what's going on so she won't try and stop you.
      • If you choose to date Ann on Christmas, the protagonist's time in the juvie gets even more Harsher in Hindsight than it already is. As mentioned, Ann leaves worried and upset. Imagine having a lover, and the last time you have a date with them, you end up building a rift between you and them, and you never get to bridge the gap BEFORE you get thrown to prison and the tension between you and your lover AGONIZES you day in and day out while you spend your days in confinement you most probably think you don't even deserve, all the while talking to investigators and lawyers and testifying in court on a daily basis… No wonder the guy lost some weight. Contrary to Yusuke's comment about prison food being foul, it's possible that while prison food is rather bland indeed, it's probably not as bad as what the common folk make it seem. It's very likely it's not just the food; he was tormented by stress!
  • Just like in Persona 4 Golden, you are punished for dating multiple girls, this time by them finding out about your infidelity. All of them show up at the cafe the day after Valentine's Day and (rightfully) beat the shit out of you, except for Futaba who is absolutely heartbroken that you cheated on her and when she begins to describe the present she made you for Valentine's Day, she's openly trying to stop herself from crying. Well done, You Bastard!. By the way, that's the only difference between her and the other Women Scorned— she calms down enough to flash a Psychotic Smirk and happily joins the rest in kicking your unfaithful ass.
    • Haru's reaction to being cheated on is actually worse. She displays Tranquil Fury, of course, but she destroys the chocolates she made for Joker. And realizes that the guy she was dating was just as much of a cheating jerk as her horrible fiancé was.
    • On the other end, Hifumi's Valentine's Date, should the protagonist have been faithful, still is rather bittersweet. She takes the news that the protagonist is moving back home in the Spring remarkably worse than the other Love Interests. By the end of the date, she's trying her best not to cry.
  • The introduction of Ms. Kawakami as a confidant is almost entirely Played for Laughs, as three horny teenagers decide to hire a maid and it turns out to be her. But as early as the second confidant rank it becomes painfully apparent that she is completely overworked. Not helping is the degrading vibe that surrounds the whole maid thing. It wouldn't be so bad if Ms. Kawakami showed that she liked her job, but it's obvious she doesn't. And like many confidant/social link levels, it gets worse before it gets better.
    • Later into the confidant, she reveals that the reason she's so overworked is because the parents of a former student who died under her care have been guilt tripping her into giving them "apology" money. A few ranks afterward, she ends up in the hospital due to being overworked to sickness, and while visiting her, her blackmailers show up in order to shake her down in person. In the end, despite the Protagonist's attempts to defend her, Ms. Kawakami resigns herself to promising to make the next payment.
  • Watching the Phantom Thieves disappear one by one in Yaldabaoth's world because nobody believes the Phantom Thieves truly exist. All it took for the general public to no longer believe the Phantom Thieves existed was just a few research papers explaining how their targets had changes of heart (although admittedly it's implied Yaldabaoth was exerting full-scale More Than Mind Control at that point). It gets even worse when we're shown the Phan-site tracker plummet down to 0%.
    • It can't be understated just how intense this scene is. The group isn't just dying, they are slowly watching themselves and each other fade out of existence without any way of stopping it. The Phantom Thieves that have faced death up until now with a great degree of courage are now completely breaking down on both an emotional and physical level, the thought of triumphing over their foe not even close to their mind. Their responses range from such pleasant actions as screaming in agony all the way to shocked denial, the raw emotion being hammered in with every shot. The facial expressions and voice acting on display in this scene are absolutely chilling, as is the sentiment that this is all because no one even believes they exist.
    • And when we see the Phantom Thieves are alright in the Velvet Room, all of them are so traumatized by what happened that their rebellious spirit is throughly beaten out of them. They sit in their cells, wondering if they were wrong to try and make a difference, until Joker comes and reignites their rebellious spirit.
  • When Sojiro continues to press Futaba to tell him why she has a Phantom Thieves calling card, the poor girl is panicking so much, she just breaks down and starts crying. Those who have crippling social anxiety to the point they shut down when under pressure like Futaba can certainly relate to the poor girl's situation.
    • Hell, Sojiro's reaction is heartbreaking. He just sounds so utterly betrayed, especially since the Thieves have been framed for murder (and had a quarter-million-dollar bounty put on their heads) at that point and that a card in Futaba's possession means that either she had her heart stolen, and hid that fact to protect the Thieves, or is an ally of them and was holding onto that for safekeeping. Either way, the man is very upset and scared, and obviously panicking a little. Thankfully, it's smoothed over when Joker comes clean and Sojiro realizes from knowing Joker that the Thieves would never kill someone intentionally, and they're responsible for saving Futaba from her suicidal impulses.
  • On the subject of Sojiro, though, his rank 9 Confidant is a much happier kind of Tearjerking. Joker and Futaba were a little bit late in changing her uncle's heart, and social services shows up at Leblanc. It initially seems like a nightmare scenario (Joker being accused of violence again, and Sojiro being accused of abusing Futaba)... however, the lead investigator is a very reasonable sort, and is absolutely willing to listen to Joker and Futaba refute the claims. This caps off with Futaba openly stating she's happy living with her dad... calling Sojiro dad for the first time. As Sojiro tries to avoid dropping dead from joy, the interview closes on a huge positive note, with the investigator noting that he'll recommend to the court that further follow-ups for both kids aren't necessary. After the investigators leave, Sojiro is struggling to maintain his composure and notes that it's not just Futaba who's a great kid - there's someone else living under this roof who's important too. Needless to say, this is all very likely to wring the tears out of anyone who's had to deal with child services before, is the moment Joker, Sojiro and Futaba really become a family for real, and doubles as one of the game's absolute crowning moments of heartwarming.
    • There's also a moment between sad and joyful tears a bit earlier: when Futaba talks about how Wakaba viewed Sojiro, the way Futaba talks about how often and passionately Wakaba mentioned him makes it pretty clear that Wakaba actually did have a thing for Sojiro (to the point where even Futaba could see it), and the only reason that Sojiro isn't Futaba's full-blown stepfather-through-marriage is that Wakaba was just never given the time to pursue it. It's pretty clear that, for all intents and purposes, Futaba considers Sojiro her dad because her mother cared about him that much, and that's more than enough by itself for Futaba.
  • Many people gloss over another point. Imagine having your identity stolen, your assistant torn apart and forced to work against their goals, and the person you were tasked to help being led astray and unable to do anything about it. That's Igor's point of view in a nutshell.
  • When looked at in detail, 'Beneath the Mask' is actually quite a depressing song. It seems like it's being sung from Joker's perspective, basically saying he's unable to live his life without the ability to hide his true self.
  • This one line spoken by Joker in the manga anthology can hit a little too close to home for some.
    Joker: Give them one reason to distrust you, and it's all over. That's how it is, especially with adults.
  • Yusuke mentions that he's basically an outcast at his own school. While the situation by itself is enough of a Tear Jerker to start with, it gets even worse once you remember from a meta standpoint that Hifumi, who attends the same high school, was supposed to have been one of the Phantom Thieves. So along with losing another party member, Yusuke himself lost someone to keep him company at school.
  • The end of the game. Just before the Protagonist leaves to go home, he has one last talk with Sojiro. When he leaves, you can see Sojiro removing his glasses to wipe tears from his eyes.
  • Ryuji's apparent Heroic Sacrifice after beating Shido's Palace. After worrying about his broken leg for so long and resolving to train and get back in shape, he puts it to good use and sprints to a mechanism that frees a lifeboat, saving everyone in the party. Unfortunately, before he can join them, a massive explosion overtakes the ship, apparently killing him. Everyone is weighed down heavily when they get back to the real world, and Ann in particular is completely inconsolable. He shows up fine a few minutes later, completely unaware it looked like he died, and gets his ass kicked after laughing at Ann for crying, but it's incredibly painful while it lasts.
  • A meta-example. Chihaya's seiyuu Miyu Matsuki tragically and untimely passed away in October 2015. Since the game came out in Japan a year later, this is the last time that her voice will be heard in a new project. For seiyuu fans and those who have been following Matsuki's voice work for years, it can be very saddening to accept that Chihaya is her final role and after this game there will be no more projects with her voice. Will only be made worse if Chihaya returns in any spin-offs and will most likely have a new voice actress.
  • When you're infiltrating Madarame's Palace and interact with the distorted paintings, each of the party members will sadly note on how it's a depiction of another pupil that Madarame has used and thrown away. However, if you look at the paintings while Yusuke is in your party, he'll have a sad note on most of the paintings, who the people were and even on his own painting. It truly puts into perspective how many lives Yusuke has seen ruined by his teacher, which he notes them all with a sad look on his face. The most jarring is when he sees his own painting in Madarame's gallery and his comments on it.
    Yusuke: Is this...me...?
    Ann: Fox...
    Yusuke: So this is how Madarame views me...? How preposterous...
    • Related to this are the fates of Natsuhiko Nakanohara - your first Mementos target - and the other students who you personally encounter. By the time Madarame was done with them, most of them ended up homeless, morosely insisting that they were promising artists once, while Nakanohara is stuck in an office job that he has no real interest in. All these people had their futures stolen from them, something that Madarame's shadow actually boasts about because of how easy it was to get away with. It's also unknown whether Madarame's arrest and public confession actually helps any of them in a material fashion.
  • While most of the Confidants' lives change for the better after you steal the hearts of the people who are causing them trouble, Hifumi is the exception. When you confront her mother's Shadow, Mitsuyo boasts about how, in order to ensure Hifumi's success, she went so far as to rig most of Hifumi's matches, unbeknownst to her daughter, and when word gets out, Hifumi is demonized for seemingly taking advantage of her mother's misdeeds when in reality she had no idea. At Hifumi's next match, it seems like Hifumi might prove she actually does have talent, but her opponent is an expert, and she ends up getting trounced so badly that she has to resign. By the end of the match, she's depressed and no longer considers herself worthy to be your teacher.
  • Could there be any chance that Akechi joined the party as an attempt at his redemption? Sadly, the answer is no. Lavenza states explicitly that Joker and Akechi are destined to be in opposition to each other due to the Holy Grail's manipulation. In short, either Joker or Akechi had to die in the game of a megalomaniacal psychopath with delusions of godhood.
  • The public starting to support the Phantom Thieves is mostly a gratifying time for you and your friends, but on the flipside opinion sours on Akechi and he becomes quite unpopular. He may be against the Phantom Thieves and kind of a passive-aggressive snot besides, but it's easy to feel sorry for the detective's fall from grace and feeling he's not accepted anywhere, rather like Joker.
  • Morgana's growing self-esteem issues and fears about what he really is. He's normally so smug and self-assured that seeing him getting increasingly lost and afraid, wanting to stay important to his only friends, can be pretty upsetting. At the same time, a series of small incidents also happen that wouldn't have been bad by themselves but strike at the worst time and add to his feelings of unimportance (like having to stay home while the others go out to eat or on school trips overseas, or the food he'd looked forward to and asked Joker to bring him getting eaten before Joker could bring it home). The worst part is how the player can see Morgana's distress from a mile away, but no one In-Universe does and even though he occasionally starts trying to reach out to Joker, there's no option to talk them out with him before things come to a head and he (temporarily) leaves the team.
  • The other Phantom Thieves' reactions to news of Joker's fake suicide are hard enough to see, up until you find out that it was all according to plan and Joker had been Faking the Dead. They swing back into tragic when considering the bad endings and Ryuji's confidence that Joker pulled it off, as he won't know until it's too late that the plan went wrong and got Joker Killed Off for Real. While everyone would likely blame themselves for going along with the plan, Futaba would probably feel the most responsible, as she's the one who concocted the plan and had only recently gotten over the years-old belief that she'd caused her mother's death. It's especially sad if the bad ending was triggered by the player failing to complete a Palace by the deadline, as Joker becomes overwhelmed by the drugs in his system messing with his memory, loses his chance to carry out the Thieves' Batman Gambit without even realizing it, and dies thinking he let something awful befall one of his friends, even though he'd actually already saved them. Because of the drugs, he's also noticeably more out-of-it than in the other routes, hyperventilating and barely registering Akechi holding a gun to his head as the latter taunts and murders him. Joker didn't have a chance at fighting back regardless, but seeing him killed when he's been made so utterly helpless, vulnerable, and panicked adds an extra heap of horrible.
  • Sae's reaction to hearing that Makoto might be one of the Phantom Thieves, meaning that she might have to arrest her own sister. She's initially very upset and refuses to believe that the idea that Makoto's linked to them is anything other than the protagonist playing mind games with her, and her response to being asked if she never noticed indicates that she regrets how much they've drifted apart. When the story comes full circle and Sae lists all the Phantom Thieves except Morgana and Akechi, she reads them all off with her usual stoic expression, but when she reads Makoto's Last (she does them in order, but skips from Yusuke to Futaba)shifts to her "sad" sprite, in a halting voice. While Makoto and Sae have had their conflicts (see the above instance of Sae lashing out at Makoto), Sae does care about Makoto, and it's clear that she'd be heartbroken if anything happened to her sister.
  • When going through Okumura's palace, we learn that he had a cognition of Haru's Fiance, but not his own daughter. Haru is saddened to learn this, and the obvious implication is that he doesn't care enough about her for one to appear...
    • There is one other idea, and it's probably worse. Consider one bit of Fridge Logic: you only appear in your thief clothes if the Palace Ruler views you as a threat. Haru, who while she didn't develop enough of a Persona to form it, still managed to get the clothes signifying her potential. Connect the dots, and we see that yes, while Okumura didn't consider Haru worth thinking about, he does view her as a threat if she goes against his wishes. Which is precisely what she's doing!
    • The cognition of the fiance, by the way, is just as sleazy and repugnant as the real thing. Imagine being betrothed to someone that horrible, on your parent's wishes, and then you find out your parent knows exactly how awful they are.

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