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Theatre / Persona 3: The Weird Masquerade

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Persona 3: The Weird Masquerade is a series of stage musicals based on Persona 3 Portable and ran exclusively in Japan from 2014 to 2017. Like the game, the story follows a New Transfer Student attending Gekkoukan High School in Iwatodai and joining SEES, a secret student organization aiming to end Shadow attacks during the Dark Hour. The musicals starred both the male and female protagonists, named Sakuya and Kotone Shiomi, in different rotating shows. Just like Persona 3 Portable, each protagonist sometimes had unique responses and scenes exclusive to their version of the play.

The plays used music from the original game, but also included new songs and ballads composed by Mako Kuwabara. Produced by CLIE Asia, the plays were written by Jun Kumagai (Persona 3: The Movie, Persona 4: The Animation, and Persona 4: The Golden Animation) and Kotora Kagurazawa. As such, the pacing of the play is very similar to Persona 3: The Movie. All musicals saw a home release, and the home release versions were also simulcast on Niconico.

Five stage musicals were produced during its limited run:

  • The Blue Awakening (2014): summarizes April to June
  • The Ultramarine Labyrinth (2014): summarizes July to early November
  • The Bismuth Crystals (2015): summarizes November
  • The Indigo Pledge (2017): summarizes December
  • Beyond the Blue Sky (2017): summarizes December 24 to the ending

Persona 3: The Weird Masquerade provides examples of:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: A lot of the songs have Gratuitous English, which, when sung, have a lot of syllables emphasized in odd places. For example, Sakuya/Kotone's solo in The Indigo Pledge starts with "Sha-dow in the midnight."
  • Adaptation Distillation: Because of the time frame, the musicals condense parts of the original game. For example, in the musicals, some of the Full Moon Operations take place on the same evening, whereas in the game, they took place a month apart. The Lovers battle also took place at Naganaki Shrine, where Koromaru was attacked, and introduces Ken in that scene, whereas in the original game, it was a random Shadow and Ken didn't join until much later.
    • Adaptation Expansion: While the musicals condensed and combined a lot of the battle parts, they gave more screen time to other SEES members who were not explored much in the original game. For example, they gave more screen time to Ken (including him befriending Ryoji), and they included scenes of Fuuka spending time with Natsuki, which was only mentioned in passing in the original game.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: While the protagonist's personality is up to the player, in the musicals, Sakuya comes off as a Jerkass. He's often pretty cold to his friends and usually replies with, "I don't care." It's Played for Laughs, but sometimes it irritates his friends. In one scene, Junpei grabs him threateningly when that's his answer towards whether to look for Ken after Shinjiro is killed. As for Kotone, she's more of a Nice Girl, but she's also the Comically Serious, since she often goes along with the most absurd of things while Yukari plays her Straight Man.
    • Minor changes for other characters include Yukari's cheerful side being more shown compared to her cynical side. Ken is also shown to have more childlike qualities compared to other adaptations, even though you can still see his precocious side throughout the play.
  • Adapted Out: Kind of. Koromaru doesn't appear in the musical physically and is only reduced to barking sounds when the characters interact with him.
    • Natsuki isn't present until The Indigo Pledge and even then she was only there to share a duet with Fuuka.
    • Most of the Social Link characters don't appear in the musicals, though the ones who do are relegated to background characters played by the ensemble cast.
    • The Velvet Room attendants are only in The Bismuth Crystals, but even then, Igor never makes an appearance.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: This is a musical based off of a game.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: A non-romantic example. After the October 4th event, Ken admitted that he actually loved Shinjiro, but was too clouded by his desire for revenge that he let it cloud his judgement.
  • Audience Participation: Yes, that's right, during Operation Babe Hunt, the boys eventually go out into the audience and hit on a random audience member in a last-ditch effort! In The Bismuth Crystals, the cast also walks out into the crowd and asks random audience members questions about the other characters during the Kyoto trip.
  • Back for the Finale: Shinjiro appears in the final show in Kotone's version.
  • Backronym: The musical's official abbreviation, P3WM, stands for Persona 3: The Weird Masquerade. However, the "W" and "M" can also stand for "woman" and "man." Kotone's version of the play would often include the "W" while Sakuya's included the "M."
  • Big Brother Instinct: The whole S.E.E.S is this towards Ken, even for characters other than Akihiko and Kotone. Fuuka was almost hysteric when Ken went missing from the dorm after the October 4th event. Junpei can be seen hugging and trying to cover Ken from seeing Kirijo Takeharu dying.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Aigis saves Sakuya/Kotone and Yukari from the Shadows in Yakushima.
    • Due to Koromaru being Adapted Out, Ken was the one who grabbed Aigis' remote control from Ikutsuki during his betrayal.
  • Boastful Rap: Shinjiro raps "Deep breath, Deep breath" during the Chariot and the Justice battle, which can be a little Narmy.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • During Operation Babe Hunt, Junpei and Akihiko actually went to the audience seats to try and win the audience as a last resort when they were losing the challenge.
    • After the Featherman show in The Indigo Pledge, the Featherman Rangers themselves will go to audience seats to give them handshakes, much to Ken and Akihiko's disappointment. Lampshaded by Akihiko, who said that the audiences had better seats than them.
  • Broken Pedestal: Just like in the movies, Ken starts out admiring Shinjiro, to even shyly asking him to come to the Summer Festival. The play also makes a big point about them Holding Hands as their bond grows. However, once Ken overhears Akihiko and Shinjiro talking about what happened on October 4 two years ago, it's then he discovers Shinjiro is his mother's killer and he loses all respect for him.
  • BSoD Song: "Your Name ~real~" is the song Sakuya/Kotone sings after SEES finds out Ikutsuki had betrayed them. Sakuya/Kotone sings the song normally, but the rest of SEES are sitting idly and voicing their concern about what to do.
  • Call-Forward: In The Indigo Pledge, Yukari excuses herself from Ryoji by saying she needs to go her part-time job. Said part-time job is being a suit actor for Feather Swan in the Phoenix Rangers Featherman R outdoor show, a nod towards what she'd eventually end up doing in Persona 4: Arena Ultimax.
  • Counterpoint Duet: Akihiko and Shinjiro's duet, "Twin Souls", is about growing stronger. Akihiko sings about the pain of the past, while Shinjiro sings about wanting to move on.
  • Crowd Song: "Brand New Days" and "Soul Phrase" are usually sung at the end of the musical. During "Soul Phrase", the entire cast gets on stage and even does a final dance number to it.
  • Cue the Sun: The Ultramarine Labyrinth ends with a sunrise after fighting the Hanged Man, the final Shadow. Each of the characters see this as a new beginning and call out their future plans now that the Shadow invasion is gone or so they think.
  • Curtain Call: After the credits, the cast returns to the stage to sing and dance to "Soul Phrase" before having a cast talk corner.
  • Death Glare: After Fuuka catches Shinjiro cooking and having a major Cuteness Proximity moment with Koromaru, Shinjiro uses the battle menu to give her a death glare when everyone asks her who made dinner for them.
  • Declaration of Protection: Aigis' verse in "Touch my heartstrings" talks about how she wants to protect and stay by Sakuya/Kotone at all costs.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In Sakuya's version of The Ultramarine Labyrinth, Junpei is the only one excited when Yukari and Mitsuru are hit with Marin Karin and begin dancing suggestively.
  • Final Love Duet: Junpei and Chidori's duet has an uplifting, romantic reprise when they spend their last moment together after Chidori sacrifices her life to save Junpei. It unfortunately also counts as a Death Song, since Chidori's final note is a soft sigh as she collapses in Junpei's arms.
  • Friendship Song: Yukari attempts to reconcile with Sakuya/Kotone through their duet "Brand New Days." The song is also the credits song to The Ultramarine Labyrinth, The Bismuth Crystals, and The Indigo Pledge, when the characters reflect on their friendship.
    • Fuuka and Natsuki have an upbeat song about how they're best friends in The Indigo Pledge when Natsuki tells her she's moving away.
  • Funny Background Event: Junpei is always making small, humorous gestures in the background, be it playfully tapping Yukari or teaching Aigis how to fist-bump. Richard Eisenbaus from Kotaku even praised Genki Okawa's performance as Junpei and called him one of the best parts of the musical.
    • Yukari and Junpei can be seen trying to hold themselves back from hitting Ikutsuki every time he makes his lame pun.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Sakuya/Kotone dies in Aigis' arms with a smile, telling her not to cry and that she and the others will always have a bond with her.
  • Gratuitous English: Besides the songs from the game, several songs have English in the lyrics. "Your Name ~real~" has the line "I murmur your name", which is then changed into "I'm calling your name" in the Triumphant Reprise. "Twin Souls" has the line "We are the twin souls." The song "Touch my heartstrings" has the line "Touch my heartstrings, touch your heartstrings" and Junpei and Chidori's duet has the line "It's like a sun (flower) blooming (shining) out of season."
  • Grief Song: Ken's song, "On the Night of Nemesis", is him recounting the night his mother died and how he wants to take revenge.
    • "Twin Souls ~reprise~" is an acapella solo that Akihiko sings after Shinjiro dies/falls in a coma.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Junpei's song in the first musical, "I am No Hero", is basically a song about how he wants to be a hero and his jealousy towards Sakuya/Kotone for being the actual hero.
  • Image Song:
    • Sakuya/Kotone: "Your Name ~real~"
    • Yukari: "A Message Sent Through Time"
    • Junpei: "I am no Hero"
    • Akihiko and Shinjiro: "Twin Souls"
    • Mitsuru: "A Vulnerability veiled by Fog"
    • Fuuka: "A Place Where I Belong", "Together Even When Apart"
    • Aigis: "Touch my heartstrings"
    • Ken: "On the Night of Nemesis"
    • Ryoji: "Shining World"
  • Inopportune Voice Cracking: Mitsuru's voice cracks a lot when she sings songs that involve her holding long, high notes.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: In both the English and Japanese versions of the game, Pharos and Ryoji have the same voice actor, even though it's not extremely noticeable. However, the fact that Keisuke Ueda is cast as both Pharos and Ryoji does give away a lot to the keen-eyed people especially since Pharos last appears in The Ultramarine Labyrinth and is mysteriously replaced by Ryoji for the rest of the musicals.
  • Leg Focus: The camera pans across Akihiko's bare legs during the Operation Babe Hunt sequence.
  • Mood Whiplash: Near the end of The Ultramarine Labyrinth, everyone overcomes Shinjiro's death and prepare for the last Full Moon Operation, where each character gives his/her monologue about their resolve to fight. When it's Ikutsuki's turn, he announces that he has high expectations, which seems normal, but he then breaks into unexpected Evil Laughter. A similar thing happens in The Stinger in The Ultramarine Labyrinth: right after you see the cast happily dancing, singing, and thanking the audience, you're unexpectedly treated to a scene where Ikutsuki is laughing his way into Tartarus.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The stage play gives the protagonists the names Sakuya and Kotone Shiomi. The latter is especially notable for being the only official name the Persona 3 Portable heroine has ever received, to the point of being made her Canon Name in the 2023 re-release for modern platforms.
  • No Sense of Direction: Kotone has a Running Gag about her getting lost.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Whenever someone gets charmed, they behave differently. In The Blue Awakening, Mitsuru goes from commanding and serious to smiling, winking, and blowing kisses in a matter of seconds after being hit with Marin Karin. The same thing happens again to three of the party members during the fight with the Hierophant (Junpei, Mitsuru, and Yukari in Sakuya's version; Yukari, Junpei, and Akihiko in Kotone's version).
  • One-Woman Wail: Aigis sings "Poem For Everyone's Souls" (the Velvet Room theme) when she first awakens in the laboratory.
  • Parental Love Song: "Message Sent Through Time", Yukari's song, is a monologue to her father after she finds out that Ikutsuki had lied about him.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: In The Indigo Pledge, Ryoji invites Sakuya to eat burgers with him with the promise it'll boost his courage, and in Kotone's version, he invites her to drink tea with him at Chagall Cafe to boost her charm. In the original game, participating in those activities actually do this.
    • The opening card for The Ultramarine Labyrinth onwards resembles the loading screen from Portable.
    • Some battle quotes remain, more prominently, "Tah dah da-da! Junpei has leveled up!"
    • The battle menu also makes some appearances. In The Blue Awakening, when Mitsuru is charmed, the screen behind the stage shows her status ailment like it would in the game, and Akihiko uses Rush to defeat the Shadows. Shinjiro uses it to send a Death Glare to Fuuka...
    • In Beyond the Blue Sky, Sakuya/Kotone trains for the final battle in Tartarus. Once the Shadows are defeated, the level up screen appears.
  • Reprise Medley: Overlapping with Credits Medley, after the credits of Beyond the Blue Sky, the cast members perform a medley of "Touch my heartstrings", "On the Night of Nemesis", "Twin Souls", "A vulnerability veined in Fog", "Shining World", "Message Sent Through Time", Fuuka's song from The Indigo Pledge, Junpei and Chidori's duet, "Your Name ~real~", and "The Bismuth Crystals."
  • Room Full of Crazy: The Stinger of The Indigo Pledge, which serves as a preview for the final play, has Sakuya/Kotone wandering around what seems to be Aigis' mind. What's projected all over the stage? "I'm sorry."
  • Sanity Slippage Song: Mitsuru sings "Wiping All Out" when she's hit with Marin Karin. She and Akihiko duet on the song once he saves her from the Shadows.
  • Self-Harm: Chidori has a scene dedicated to her cutting her wrist.
  • Ship Tease: The musicals had some Ship Tease between Kotone and Shinjiro, where he tells her on two occasions that she looks the best when she smiles, and she gets embarrassed when Ken mentions how cool Shinjiro is. There is also some Ship Tease for Sakuya and Yukari. Both Sakuya and Kotone have equal amounts of Ship Tease with Aigis after she enters the picture and she's the one they spend their last moments with at the end of the play.
  • Shirtless Scene: Akihiko, Junpei, and Ryoji have to sneak out of the hot springs when it's the girls' turn to use it. Unfortunately, they only have one towel...
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Sakuya's version of The Blue Awakening, Junpei suggests watching Spring of Birth in the theaters.
    • In The Ultramarine Labyrinth, Junpei and Akihiko reenact the "king of the world" scene from Titanic before Akihiko promptly lets go, causing poor Junpei to fall off the boat.
    • Theodore dances to "Beat It" and "Thriller" during his date with Kotone at Paulownia Mall.
  • Significant Double Casting: Keisuke Ueda plays both Pharos and Ryoji.
  • The Song Before the Storm: Right when SEES regains the will to fight at the end of The Bismuth Crystals, they start singing about it through the song "The Bismuth Crystals." The song also happens to be interspersed with "Strega Theme", now with different and darker lyrics about putting the world into madness, as Takaya and Jin show up.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
  • The Stinger: Starting in The Ultramarine Labyrinth, there's an extra scene previewing what is to come in the next musical after the credits, Curtain Call, and cast comments.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: When Mitsuru is hit with Marin Karin in The Blue Awakening, she starts dancing and singing to "Wiping All Out" while the Shadows dance behind her. In The Bismuth Crystals, Ryoji starts dragging his classmates into dancing with him in his song "Shining World."
  • Survivor Guilt: In Kotone's route, even though Shinjiro survived, Ken admitted to Kotone that it might be better if he is the one who is dead.
  • Theme Naming: All the play titles relate to the color blue.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: Akihiko and Ken's duet, "Phoenix Rangers Featherman R", is the theme song to the Show Within a Show which names all of the Phoenix Rangers.
  • Title Drop: Sakuya/Kotone's solo in The Indigo Pledge namedrops all of the names of the musicals in the chorus.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The first time Sakuya/Kotone sings "Your Name ~real~", it's when SEES has found out Ikutsuki was using them the entire time to end the world, leaving them to question what exactly they've been fighting for. The next time it's performed as "Your Name ~act~", the characters all join in and start singing with hope.
  • Villain Song: Strega sings about punishing people in "Strega Theme." Parts of "Strega Theme" also appear in the second part of "The Bismuth Crystals."

Alternative Title(s): Persona 3