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Video Game / Persona 4: Arena Ultimax

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"Hahahahaha! The P-1 Climax... It's the end of the world, one-on-one death match that's worthy of the name 'climax'! And best of all, if you don't win the one-on-one tournament to the finish within the hour, the world will end! No punches pulled this time!"
General Teddie

Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, or Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold in Japan, is the sequel to Persona 4: Arena. It was released as a Japanese arcade location test in August 2013. A console port for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was released in Japan on August 28, 2014, with an international release soon afterward. PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam ports were announced at The Game Awards 2021 and released on March 17th, 2022. The re-released version is based upon the final revision of the Japanese arcade version, version 2.50, which was never released outside of the arcade or Japan, and includes all previous DLC, allowing players worldwide to finally experience the "complete" version of the game. A update for the PS4 and Steam versions in early August that year added in rollback netcode, similar to what was done for BlazBlue: Central Fiction and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle.

In Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, the characters from Persona 3 and Persona 4 once again find themselves teaming up to face off in the P-1 Climax, a series of battles which must be won before the world ends. The original cast of characters from Persona 3 and 4 are back to discover the mastermind behind the whole tournament, while a few new faces join the fight, including Junpei Iori, Yukari Takeba, Rise Kujikawa, and more. But standing in their way is the dual katana-wielding Sho Minazuki, a huge threat to everyone involved in the P-1 Climax. Worse yet, there's a Sho lookalike who can wield a Persona...

New playable characters include:

The sequel also introduces "Shadow" versions of most of the cast, such as Shadow Yu (who previously only appeared in Persona 4: The Animation), a Shadow Labrys who uses Ariadne instead of Asterius, and Shadow Kanji. These versions have tweaked stats and use a new mechanic called "Shadow Frenzy" in place of the ability to Burst. Furthermore, new stages such as Junes and Tartarus have been added.

Characters from Persona 4: Arena Ultimax are featured in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. Several characters that appeared in Arena are in the game, including Tohru Adachi, who was first included in Ultimax.

This page contains spoilers for the games preceding it. You Have Been Warned!

This game provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Yu's secret super is a challenge mode combo in Ultimax. The inputs for it are also literally in the manual (in his skill list of course).
  • Ambiguous Situation: In the opening of Episode P3, Junpei is shown dreaming about marrying Chidori; as Chidori dies in the original Persona 3 but can be saved in FES and Portable, it's left unclear if he's dreaming about his future with her or what-could-have-been.
  • An Ice Person: Ultimax bumps the number of Ice-Persona users to two, as Chie gains a new ice-themed move.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The events of the P-1 Climax are different depending on if you play story mode from the Investigation Team's perspective (Episode P4), the Shadow Operatives' perspective (Episode P3) or Adachi's perspective (Episode Adachi), though once you beat the first two you unlock a "True Ending" on the Investigation Team's side.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Score Attack mode now has selectable difficulty (instead of being locked at Nintendo Hard), making Achievements and unlockables relating to it easier to get for less experienced players. You also won't face SNK Boss versions of the characters unless you're on Normal or higher. (and on Normal, only half the opponents are "boss" versions)
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The Big Bad of the Arena games is "the collective will of those who abandon all connections, and strive to live only for themselves."
  • The Artifact: Even though none of the other Shadows really act like they did in Persona 4, Shadow Kanji still plays up the Camp Gay of Kanji's Shadow, thanks to Rule of Funny.
  • Artifact Title: Despite the fact the game now also contains almost the entire cast of Persona 3, it's still called Persona 4 Arena. Though arguably justified as Episode P4 appears to be the canon series of events, with Episode P3 mostly serving to elaborate on certain plot points.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Score Attack AI is very laughably bad, to the point where you'd have to question if they based it on first-time players. Considering how absurdly busted most of the characters are and how the few that don't get particularly buffed still get the universal damage buff the AI does, it's almost necessary.
  • Bag of Spilling: The rest of the former members of SEES (Junpei, Yukari and Ken) avert this and have their ultimate Personas. Koromaru (a dog) is the only exception, but his never transmogrified in the first place.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Surprisingly averted when it comes to Yosuke - other than getting sneezed on by Teddie, he generally avoids suffering any humiliations this time, until the epilogue when Teddie loudly & repeatedly asks Yosuke if he's looking for more nurse magazines whilst looking for college literature.
    • Junpei, especially in Episode P4. Whilst it's a Running Gag that the other Shadow Operatives keep teasing him over only being in Inaba because he overslept on the train; it seems anytime Junpei is onscreen in Episode P4, he ends up being made to look a fool. It's still present in Episode P3, but vastly toned down.
  • Call-Back:
    • Also being a Call-Forward due to the game being set before Ultimax, but after in development, Teddie's nicknames for the rest of the Shadow Operatives are the same ones he gives the party in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.
    • Akihiko continues to call Teddie "Teddie Teddie" just like in his story mode.
    • Shadow Yukiko makes one particular call back:
      Shadow Yukiko: I have my lacey unmentionables on! I hope you're ready~!
  • Call-Forward:
    • The Investigation Team's personal endings in the epilogue to "Episode P4" see them set out on the Character Development they've undergone in Golden's True Ending epilogue.
    • As the Dojimas & the rest of the Investigation Team see Yu off at the train station, Yu mentions his plans to come back in the summer, when the True Ending epilogue took place in Golden.
    • The costume Rise is wearing at the start of "Episode P4" is her outfit from Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The fact that Marie is a character in Ultimax means that the PS2 version of Persona 4 has been completely replaced by Persona 4 Golden.
  • Character Catchphrase: A shared one among the Shadow Evil Knockoff doppelgangers seen in the story mode, where they all shout "Bring on the ring!" which summon a fighting arena around the Shadow and their opponent.
  • Colon Cancer: The game's full title is technically P4AU: Persona 4: Arena: Ultimax in the west and P4UU: Persona 4: The Ultimax: Ultra Suplex Hold in Japan.
  • Color Motif: Ultimax uses blue and yellow, as a Crossover of Persona 3 and Persona 4.
  • Combat Commentator: By clearing all four routes of Score Attack with respective characters, nearly every playable character can be unlocked as navigators, with the exception of Minazuki, Shadow Labrys (who, together, unlock Fuuka Yamagishi's navigation), Sho (that, along with Rise's completion, unlocks Nanako's navigation), and DLC characters Margaret and Marie. Adachi is the only DLC character of the three that is selectable as a navigator.
  • Comeback Mechanic: In Ultimax, only Normal-type characters can enter Awakening.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Crisis Crossover: Ultimax evens out the characters from Persona 3 and Persona 4, and combines both the Midnight Channel and Dark Hour.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Some returning characters had their inputs completely overhauled in Ultimax. Those who spent the time mastering Yosuke's gliding technique now must learn the new sequence. And his kunai? Those migrated to different buttons.
  • Dual Wielding: Sho dual wields katana.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For the Persona 3 and 4 game series as a whole. The group finally defeats Sho, Minazuki, and Kagatsuchi, with the chance that Sho will be redeemed. Adachi returns to jail peacefully and begins to realize he too is capable of forming bonds, the Shadow Operatives and Investigation team have cleaned up all, at least up to now, threats related to their adventures, and Elizabeth is another step closer to her goal.
  • Enemy Within: Shadow Labrys still exists as a personality inside Labrys after Arena due to Labrys already being a Mind Hive, and tries to take control of Labrys body partway through the Persona 3 route. She gives back control soon after, as she was just trying to protect Labrys in her own way.
  • Evil Knockoff: The sequel introduces Shadow Doppelgangers; copies of the main characters true Shadow Selves created by the Big Bad to slow the heroes down. Doppelgangers have lower attack power and fewer defensive abilities, but have rapid SP gain, constant access to Awakening SP Skills, more health, and the Shadow Frenzy Super Mode (which grants them unlimited SP and special-to-special canceling temporarily).
  • Evil vs. Evil:
  • Exact Time to Failure: One hour, a Call-Back to the third game's Dark Hour. It's repeatedly mentioned, not that the characters don't stop to have long, exposition-laden chats whenever necessary.
  • EX Special Attack: Skill Boost can now be applied to SP Moves, bringing their cost up to 75 SP but making them even more powerful.
  • Fanservice: Yukari being knocked out by her double when rescuing Fuuka is presented as a full drawn illustration... very prominently showing more cleavage from Yukari than her fairly modest outfit normally shows.
  • Feelies: People who pre-ordered Ultimax got a Teddie boxing balloon and eleven Tarot cards depicting the Major Arcana as they look in the series.
  • Fog of Doom: The red fog that appears to cover Inaba, which works similarly to both the TV World and the Dark Hour by disabling electric power and altering the real world in addition to making the use of Personas easier.
  • Fragile Speedster: Yosuke is now free from this trope in this (compared to Arena), as one of his new moves gives him hard knockdown (allowing for more damaging combos) and his damage has been increased. He's now considered to be the best character in the game — a combination of the buffs to Yosuke and the nerfs to other characters make him the most obnoxious opponent in the game. (His playstyle relies on, well, being as annoying as possible.)
  • Friendship-Hating Antagonist: The main antagonist Sho Minazuki is working with the Malevolent Voice in order to grant his desire: to destroy the human race. Sho claims to be a person who rejects all bonds due to his adoptive father Ikutsuki using him as a test subject, eventually causing the boy to develop a split personality and a desire to destroy humanity. As Persona 4TW points out, Sho and his alter MINAZUKI only got as far as they did because they had a bond.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • The announcer tries to say things in English with...fairly middling results, since he has trouble with even Japanese names. Particularly painful examples are Shadow Labrysnote , Marienote  and Negative Penaltynote . There's also an occasionnal glitch with Ken's name (or he just gave up), since he's called Margaret by him.
    • He doesn't even try to call Teddie by his localized name and always calls him "Kuma", no matter what language the game is set on.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Yukiko and Teddie give double pointer fingers when they figure out which of two Kanji's is the fake.
    Yukiko & Teddie: You're the culprit!
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sho tries to shut off Labrys' mind to take control of her. Instead, this just makes her Shadow's personality, the second strongest "self" inside her, come out and try to kill him.
  • Immediate Sequel: Arena ends with everyone pouring out of the TV at Junes sometime in the afternoon. Ultimax starts the next morning at the Junes' food court, and the action takes place later in the evening around midnight. Several people note the whole investigation is ruining Yu's Golden Week vacation.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Rise, with a microphone. She switches to an equally improbable megaphone for her Instant Kill.
  • Interquel: Like Arena, Ultimax takes place between the ending of Persona 4 and Golden's epilogue.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • After noticing Sho's Yasogami uniform, Yosuke notes his Remember the New Guy?-status by pointing out how unlikely it is that no-one on the Investigation Team spotted him around the school when one considers Sho's distinctive appearance.
    • Yukari points out that none of the other Shadow Operatives are in a position to criticize her for wearing her Feather Pink costume, with her narration even describing Mitsuru's outfit as something similar to what a villain on the show would wear.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Aside from the story, the addons will spoil several characters if you haven't played Persona 3 or 4.
    • The fact that a particular character has Persona powers is a major spoiler to Persona 4's main plot.
    • It also spoils Shinjiro and the P3MC's deaths, as they're conspicuously absent.
  • Leitmotif: Each new character also has their own battle theme.
    • Pink Sniper for Yukari Takeba.
    • "Mr. Easy-Going" Man for Junpei Iori.
    • Youthful Spirit for Ken Amada and Koromaru.
    • Twinkle*Star for Rise Kujikawa.
    • Fool or Clown? for Tohru Adachi.
    • XOXO For You for Marie.
    • The Joker for Sho.
    • Blood Red Moon for Minazuki.
    • Burning Inferno for the Malevolent Entity/Hi-no-Kagutsuchi.
  • Lemony Narrator: Fumihiko Tachiki in Japanese and Patrick Seitz in English, again.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The returning cast show a lot less hesitation this time around since they know that they're fighting evil knock-offs instead of their friends. Unfortunately, that's what the Big Bad wants them to do.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Ikutsuki turns out to be an important character in Sho's backstory.
  • Market-Based Title: The game went from "The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold" in Japan to simply "Arena Ultimax" in the West.
  • Meaningful Name: Kagutsuchi is the name of a god whose mother died giving birth to him, a fitting name for the Anthropomorphic Personification of "breaking bonds".
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Sho doesn't have a Persona nor does he have an Instant Kill (similar to the Shadow Doppelgangers). His "Persona" attacks are extra attacks from Sho himself and a dodge move, and he is not only immune to Persona Break, but also not heavily affected by the Silence status effect (the only thing it disables is his ability to Burst).
    • Margaret, instead of having her own focused Persona, simply chooses multiple ones from her compendium (Yoshitsune, Cu Chulainn, Ardha, and Helel) to fight with.
  • Multi-Slot Character: Alongside Labrys and Shadow Labrys returning from the previous game (with this game's story mode revealing that the latter has become a split personality of Labrys that can control the former's body and call upon Asterius as her Persona), this game adds Sho Minazuki, who has two playable variants. There's SHO Minazuki (The Rule-Smashing Pun Machine) and his Split Personality Sho MINAZUKI (The Scar-Faced Dark Messiah). SHO doesn't have a Persona to use, so his moveset is entirely physical, while MINAZUKI shares the same moveset and incorporates his Persona, Tsukiyomi's, darkness-based moves. The true end of Ultimax's story mode reveals that after the defeat of the true villain behind the game's plot, Sho can't sense Minazuki anymore, and that he now has access to Tsukiyomi as his Persona. It's implied that Minazuki became Tsukiyomi, and that Minazuki was Sho's Shadow. This is followed up with a True Final Boss fight against Sho, where he uses his physical-based gameplay style while also having access to Tsukiyomi's power, though this variant isn't playable and can only be fought in the game's story mode.
  • My Name Is ???: In Lobby Mode, the protagonist of Persona 3 is not named at all, and is just referred as "????".
  • Mythology Gag:
  • No One Else Is That Dumb: When Kanji and Shadow Kanji each pretend to be the real deal, Yukiko holds an impromptu quiz show with questions about Inaba to determine which is the fake. Her last question is a math problem; when the Shadow gets it right, she proclaims he's the fake since the real Kanji would never be able to do the math so easily.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: Mitsuru's maid Kikuno has a bow made for Yukari based on the "Ultimate Arrow" prop she uses on the TV show Featherman Victory. However, this one is equipped with an actual Energy Bow. As Yukari points out "This means it is likely the best bow ever created."
  • Not My Driver: Played with. The Badass in Distress moment is caused by Mitsuru's driver being mind-controlled, and the reveal is treated like a Not My Driver moment.
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: As the leader of disciplined soldiers who fight for a living, Mitsuru has to tell the Investigation Team to let her people handle Inaba's problems. And as a local militia motivated to protect their town themselves, the Investigation Team has to disobey her and get involved anyway. Both sides know this, but for protocol's sake Mitsuru asks anyway and the Team pretend to agree.
  • Playing with Fire: Ken and Koromaru have a fire super. In keeping with the original role-playing games, the super begins from Koromaru's position, not Ken's — it was Koromaru who learned fire abilities, not Ken.
    • Junpei also uses some fire-based attacks.
  • The Power of Friendship: Mocked by Adachi in one of his victory quotes:
    Adachi: Yeah, yeah, friendship, teamwork, Blah, Blah, Blah. I still won. Results beat idealism.
  • Posthumous Character: Ikutsuki, who died in Persona 3, appears in Sho's backstory.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Ultimax brings back all of the surviving SEES members who missed out on the P-1 Grand Prix and makes them playable characters.
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • Rise Kujikawa, who was only a support Navigator in Persona 4 and the announcer in Arena, becomes a full-on playable fighter in Ultimax.
    • Tohru Adachi, who had a guest appearance in the arcade build of Ultimax, becomes a DLC character in the home console version of the game.
    • Margaret, who played a supporting role in Arena's story, becomes a DLC character in Ultimax.
    • Sho Minazuki, who was the Eerie Voice back in Arena, becomes a playable character in Ultimax.
    • Marie, a supporting character and secret boss of Persona 4 Golden, becomes a DLC character.
  • Puppet Fighter: Ken breaks Arena's gameplay tradition by having no standalone persona attacks. His C and D buttons are reserved for control of Koromaru. He's the most traditional Puppet Fighter in the game and many of his most damaging combos (and punishes) rely on placing the opponent between himself and Koromaru. Unlike Shadow Labrys, Ken can remove his puppet from the screen. His persona attacks are limited to a follow-up move and the healing spell Mediarama (which restores Koromaru's health along with Ken's). All but one of his supers are inputted with the A or B buttons, not C or D, unlike the rest of the roster.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Glasses are an equippable accessory for all characters, regardless if they need them or not.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices: Three characters exist only as paid DLC, despite being on the disc from the get-go.
  • Running Gag: As a continuation from the previous game, the Shadow Operatives' outfits make them stand out like a sore thumb among the assembled Persona users and even the members themselves commented about their teammates' outfits. Unlike Akihiko and Mitsuru however, Yukari and Junpei have no time to change before they are called for the operation and are rather self-conscious about their outfits.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Rise's story in Ultimax is book-ended by her preparing for shows with "Kanamin Kitchen", the idol group that suddenly disappears in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. You can even see Rise in her Dancing All Night costume in a few cut-scenes.
    • The prologue of Ultimax's story mode has a person later revealed to be Sho Minazuki refusing a contract with the Velvet Room. Igor however comments that Sho is destined to refine his power, and will eventually return.
    • The epilogue of Ultimax's story mode True End has Margaret imply that both Sho and possibly Elizabeth are destined to become Guests of the Velvet Room.
    • Naoto points out that there might be more people like Sho out there.
    • Elizabeth continues her quest to find a way to save the Persona 3 Protagonist from his fate of becoming the Great Seal.
  • Slasher Smile: Almost all the Shadow versions of the characters have one of these expressions on their faces. The exceptions are Shadow Naoto, who just has a look of disdain, Shadow Kanji, who is just fabulous, and Shadow Teddie, who looks pissed. Sho frequently breaks out into one as well.
  • Split Personality:
    • The bratty Sho has a second personality, Minazuki, who was born from the Plume of Dusk inside him.
    • Due to Labrys' status as a Mind Hive, she switches from her normal personality to that of her Shadow self when Sho tries to shut off her psyche.
  • SNK Boss: Every character has a "Boss mode" similar to the "Unlimited Mode" from the BlazBlue series. They can be fought in Score Attack or unlocked for use in versus play.
  • Status Infliction Attack: Certain attacks can inflict Poison, Confusion, Silencenote , Charm, Fear, Rage, Paralysisnote , or Freezingnote . Yukiko also has the Fire Break spell. Elizabeth can inflict Negative Penalty (normally only inflicted through running away for too long) on her opponents.
  • Super Mode: Several returning from the first game. Junpei has Victory Cry.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In Ultimax, it's now "Time To Make History" from Persona 4 Golden. The option to use "Fog" as the Instant Kill music like the first Arena can still be chosen.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Shadow Frenzy combos, Instant Kills: take your pick. Ken and Koromaru's Instant Kill does 56,000 damage in a game where the max health a character can have is 14,000.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: It's hard to tell without looking up the lyrics, but the main theme "Break out of..." is actually one for Sho. Sort-of combined with Villain Song, as the rap segments are from Sho's perspective giving the main singer a Shut Up, Kirk!. This makes its use during the True Final Boss battle between Sho and Yu particularly fitting.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: One of Rise's attacks interrupts the match so you can play a rhythm minigame. The more accurate you are, the more damage you deal.
  • Wackyland: This game's version of Inaba is a demented version of it, with some locations from Persona 3 added in. Notably, one of the locations remade for Ultimax is Persona 3's Tartarus!
  • A Winner Is You: Ultimax lets everyone do their own "Congratulations!" messages after the credits when playing arcade mode.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Every character with electric attacks has a unique color associated with their electricity, affecting even the paralyzation sparks. Yu has blue, Kanji has yellow, Akihiko has indigo, Ken has green, Elizabeth has purple/pink, and Adachi has blood-red.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Ken and Koromaru's Instant Kill involves the two of them blasting their opponent with Hama and Mudo spells.

Alternative Title(s): Persona 4 Ultimax


P4A Chie finisher

Chie kicks the opponent into the sky.

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