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"Strike fast. Strike smart. Strike back."
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Persona 5 Strikers (known as Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers in Japan) is a Dynasty Warriors-style Action RPG sequel to Persona 5, developed by Atlus and Koei Tecmo's Omega Force, and published by Atlus for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam. It was released in Japan on February 20, 2020, in Asia and South Korea on June 18 the same year, and in Western territories with an English dub on February 23, 2021, with an early release date of February 19 for the digital deluxe edition.

Set half a year after the end of Persona 5, the now-retired Phantom Thieves of Hearts' plans to enjoy their summer vacation together must be put on the backburner when Joker, Morgana, and Ryuji stumble upon a strange incident involving a massive Change of Heart event in Shibuya. To make things worse, a police inspector named Zenkichi Hasegawa reveals to them that Change of Heart incidents have been occurring all over Japan, with all fingers from the police pointing towards the Thieves as the primary suspects. Making a deal with Zenkichi — who himself believes the Thieves are innocent — to assist in his investigation after having regained the power of their Personas, they set out on a road trip across the country to figure out the cause behind these events.

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Strikers mixes Dynasty Warriors-style hack-and-slashing with the RPG systems of previous Persona games, translating many of the turn-based gameplay elements of Persona 5 into a real-time combat setting. Characters combine melee combos with attacks from their Personas in tandem, and can pause the action to cast Persona skills. Persona fusion returns, allowing Joker to wield a vast array of Personas that alter the properties of his moveset. Strikers also significantly breaks away from the Dynasty Warriors formula to bring its gameplay closer to Persona 5, with generally-smaller enemy counts, minor stealth elements, and P5-style dungeon crawling rather than large battlefields. Outside of said dungeon crawling, Strikers retains many of Persona's daily life segments and calendar system, allowing Joker to explore cities and chat with his friends.

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Previews: Japanese PV#01, Japanese PV#02, Opening Movie, Japanese PV#03, Western Release Announcement Trailer.


Persona 5 Strikers contains the following tropes:

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  • Absentee Actor: Despite both characters having fairly prominent roles during the third semester of Royal, Goro Akechi and Kasumi/Sumire Yoshizawa are completely absent with no mention whatsoever. This is because the development for Strikers predated Royal, but could easily be explained as the former is either dead or in prison, and the latter mentioned a gymnastics meet overseas.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The maximum Bond level for the Phantom Thieves is 99. By the end of the game, even if you completed every sidequest and tore through the enemy encounters, your Bond level is probably going to be no higher than level 60. Even if you get to the point where you can challenge The Reaper, somewhere in the 70s or 80s you'll find that taking him down three times in a row isn't enough for a single level-up anymore; the only way to make the Bond gauge increase at a decent pace again is by challenging Merciless mode, and even then, you'll probably have to go more than halfway through the new game to hit 99.
  • Actionized Sequel: The daily life elements of Strikers have been pared down somewhat, with no minigames or Confidants for Joker to partake in or Social Stats to worry about raising, and despite the presence of a calendar, it progresses along with the plot rather than being tied to a time management system. Negotiation has also been nixed entirely to keep the flow of Strikers' action-based combat — new Personas are now obtained by beating the snot out of Shadows and picking up the mask they sometimes drop.
  • Action Prologue: Like the original game, Strikers starts you off as Joker in the middle of a big battle which doubles as a tutorial.
  • Actor Allusion: EMMA, the AI assistant introduced in the game, is voiced in English by Susan Bennett, the vocal model for the default voice of Siri.
  • Actually Four Mooks: Even more pronounced than in the original game, a single Shadow might resolve into about a dozen enemies when it enters combat.
  • An Aesop:
    • Only you can find your own answer to happiness.
    • Having been wronged or bullied in the past does not merit your use of an extreme counter-offensive method as a form of revenge. Especially if you get innocent people caught in the crossfire.
    • Emotions are a vital part of the human soul. Without emotion, one can only see the extremes as the sole answer to conflict and strife.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: When the rest of the Phantom Thieves become temporarily incapacitated, the player briefly takes control of Zenkichi to save them.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Two years prior to the events of the game, a threatening letter Zenkichi received from Masayoshi Shido's Conspiracy states that he would lose his daughter if he didn't cease his personal investigation into the cover-up of his wife's death.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: Some of the optional sidequests give the player souvenirs that then decorate the RV.
  • Alice Allusion:
    • The Shibuya Jail has a gaudy Alice in Wonderland-themed aesthetic, and the boss form of the Jail's Monarch, Alice Hiiragi, is appropriately named "Mad Rabbit Alice".
    • You may also fuse Alice herself in this game.
  • Alien Kudzu: Found in the last two Jails, the Jail of the Abyss and the Tree of Knowledge, having transformed the Tokyo Tower into the latter. It resembles tree roots, with a red and black circuit board pattern.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Unlike the original Persona 5, Strikers allows you to skip cutscenes and dialogue instead of merely fast-forwarding through them. There's still the odd scene or two that you can't just outright skip, but at least you can Play the Game, Skip the Story much easier if you want to.invoked
    • Physical and Gun skills that cost HP now have the expended HP recover over time as long as the character doesn't take damage after they're used. Considering how hard healing is to come by in this game, this prevents Physical-heavy characters like Ryuji and Yusuke from becoming Awesome, but Impractical.invoked
    • Because an accuracy-based stat wouldn't make a great deal of sense in an action game, the Agility stat (which was noticeably missing entirely from the last MegaTen action game, Raidou Kuzunoha) has been reworked from its implementation in previous Persona and Shin Megami Tensei games — Agility increases a character's chance to perform a special automatic dodge if the player fails to dodge an attack on their own, and instead of boosting accuracy, it now governs Critical Hit chance instead of Luck. Morgana, who had fairly high Luck in P5, has seen his stats adjusted to compensate, giving him some extra points in Agility compared to P5 so he can continue to function as a Critical Hit Class.
    • Each character has at least one move in their basic combo strings that uses their Persona's respective element — Ann and Makoto can add their affinity to their standard attacks, Haru and Yusuke have area-of-effect moves for Psychokinesis and Ice, etc. — all without expending SP. In addition, some moves (like Ann's final Master Art) cast status-effect moves for free as well. And Magic Is Rare, Health Is Cheap is in full effect, as is typical for a Persona game. While the effects and damage of these moves are lesser than what casting them would provide, it still makes exploiting Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors much easier and allows enemy defenses to be broken should you ever run out of SP to cast spells with.
    • Later in the game, the Phantom Thieves can unlock a Bond skill to allow them to follow up a perfectly-timed dodge with an automatic, magic-based counterattack. If the enemy being countered nulls or drains the element, they will be reduced to only resisting it for the purposes of the counterattack.
    • Unlike traditional Persona games where skill settings are permanent with the exception of a very specific function that arrives mid- to late-game, the lack of such a function here means that you now have the ability to alter your party members' skillsets on demand so long as you aren't in combat.note 
    • The Velvet Room has a number of Anti-Frustration Features compared to previous games.
      • Traditionally, all Fusion had to be done manually; you could only fuse Personas using what was currently in your stock, and discovering recipes was up to the player, meaning that the act of fusing crept into Guide Dang It! territory the more the player wanted to min-max. This game presents a radical change by simply showing an entire list of all possible Fusion recipes and their components, greatly streamlining the process of fusing better Personas.
      • When fusing Personas, if you haven't registered a Persona before you sacrifice it for a Fusion, Lavenza will ask if you want to register it before the Fusion happens so any progress you made is not lost.
      • If you have a Persona registered (but not in your current stock) and need it for a Fusion, you can just pay Lavenza the fee to summon that Persona as the Fusion happens so you don't have to go hunting for it.
      • When registering Personas, Lavenza will note if you're attempting to register a Persona that's at a lower level than the one already in the registry and give you the option to only register the higher-level ones.
      • If you're carrying the maximum number of Personas for Joker, and you get a mask of a Persona that you've never held before, that Persona automatically gets added to your Persona registry. In addition, Personas obtained this way are free to summon the first time you draw them from the registry.
      • The player earns a secondary currency called Persona Points that are specifically geared towards allowing the player to manually level up a Persona. If you delete a Persona, acquire a copy of one that you already have in your party, or fuse new ones, you gain a hefty amount of points, allowing you to increase the levels of Personas gradually. Plus, the more Persona Points used for levelling, the more stats get bumped up.
      • The inheritance type of a Persona is finally shown next to their name, so you can have a clear idea of what skills they can and cannot inherit. The Persona's element also impacts the skill they use in Joker's Persona Skill combos.
    • The party can still order gear and items from Sophia even when the plot should make instant delivery impossible, such as when the brainwashed Okinawa locals are actively hunting the party, or during the Tree of Knowledge arc when power has been cut, most of the public has been brainwashed by EMMA and the Thieves are permanently stuck in their metaverse gear.
    • Any expansions of shop stock you've unlocked remain in New Game Plus. Just as well seeing as you'll need the best items and gear on Merciless.
    • Unlike the main Persona games, it's not an instant Game Over if Joker falls in battle; the game only ends if all party members are defeated at once.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Answer" comes up a lot. note  The purpose of EMMA is to guide humanity towards the one answer to happiness by telling its users the best solution to daily issues and reaching a conclusion from all that it was being consulted with.
    • "Desire" note  also comes up a lot. This is the human essence that the Monarchs contain within their Jails so everyone only desires the Monarch for the Monarch's happiness. Furthermore, due to having no actual understanding of emotions, after countless people used it for counseling, EMMA decided the sole answer for humanity's happiness is for her to think for humanity by taking over the Tokyo Tower and using mind control over the public to give her their Desires, so they could no longer think without her advice.
    • Several from the original such as "Deal", "I'm counting on you", "justice", and the series-wide "I am thou, thou art I" also carry over to this game.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Wolf uses the Megido series of skills for his magic output, and once he learns a certain Master Art, entering Fury imbues the Almighty element into his sword combos and grants him Almighty-element Sword Beams. Notably, Almighty damage ignores affinities, allowing him to deal neutral damage to some otherwise pesky foes.
  • The Artifact:
    • Personas still have Arcana associated with them for flavor purposes, even though the Arcana doesn't have a gameplay function here.
    • Joker's glasses in the original game were merely cosmetic, worn to make him seem less threatening in face of his assault charges, with him discarding the glasses in the ending cutscene to both the original game and Royal. Joker's real world outfit in Strikers has him continue to wear glasses, even though he seemingly no longer needs them, ostensibly because they're too iconic.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • One of Ryuji's requests has the requester's name set to "Skull, shouting about being a phantom thief".
    • Morgana and Zorro can learn Dormin Rush as their sole Physical skill.
    • During the Beach Episode at Okinawa, Yusuke, while observing Makoto, catches sight of a lobster and practically drowns over it.
    • When the whole team enters the Shibuya jail the first time, they wonder what to do next. One of Joker's responses is to "Catch some Z's". If chosen, Morgana will say something about going to sleep, but then quickly say that now isn't the time to go sleep.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: Persona 5 has the Phantom Thieves engage in Heel–Face Brainwashing by using the Metaverse to change the hearts of their targets, turning the targets from horrid people into apathetic ones who can't do much but to feel sorry for what they've done. The ethics of doing this were brought up a few times, with Joker ultimately getting drunk on power in the bad ending, but it's generally portrayed as a justified last resort to dealing with people who can't be brought to justice through normal means. Persona 5 Strikers examines this more closely by having the villains use the Metaverse for mind control instead, showing what happens when someone without such strong convictions has that kind of power.
  • Asshole Victim: The people at the root of the Monarchs' trauma.
    • After Alice's defeat, her Shadow says that after her unnamed high school tormentor came back and ruined her life when she was getting into fashion, she used her new power to rip away her social circle, her boyfriend, and everything else. But if anyone Alice attacked deserved it, it would be her.
    • The source of Akira Konoe's trauma is his father, who was murdered when he was a boy. Said father was an abusive monster who murdered his own wife for refusing to give him more money, and was about to beat Akira to death when the boy decided to stand up for himself and killed his father instead. For all that he's done wrong since then, it's hard to say he wasn't in the right for the choice he made. Honest self-defense is neither a crime nor a sin.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Some of the new battle themes lean away from Persona 5's jazzy thematics in favor of pure metal, presumably as a nod to Dynasty Warriors. Several songs from the original Persona 5 are remixed into heavier rock themes — "Last Surprise" gets a heavy metal remix with a new, deeper vocal take provided by Lyn, and "Keeper of Lust", already a pretty heavy jam, gets a fast-paced electronic rock remix with a new guitar solo. A similar treatment is applied to the two major boss theme remixes, "Blooming Villain" and "Rivers in the Desert."
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the epilogue, Ryuji challenges Yusuke to a soda-chugging contest when the conversation takes a melancholy turn. Yusuke calls Ryuji an idiot... for believing that he could consume more than Yusuke.
  • Balance Buff:
    • Salvation, the infamously "slightly better Mediarahan with 30% more cost", is now far more potent in Strikers, as it now packs the ability to revive all fallen allies to full health! Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of its SP cost nearly being doubled compared to Persona 5, making it very difficult to use repeatedly without Spell Master or huge SP Incense investments. There's also the fact that it's much rarer than in previous games, with only Morgana and Metatron learning it naturally and Salvation Skill Cards not showing up until the endgame of Merciless difficulty.
    • In the original Persona 5, One-shot Kill deals Severe single-target Gun damage with high Crit, while Riot Gun deals Severe Area of Effect Gun damage with no Crit bonus. In Strikers, both attacks were somewhat rebalanced; One-shot Kill now deals Heavy Gun damage and Riot Gun deals Severe Gun damage and now gives Crit. That doesn't necessarily make One-shot Kill strictly worse, however, as its Crit bonus has been upgraded from "High" to "Very High," on top of its lower cost compared to Riot Gun.
  • Bag of Spilling: The Phantom Thieves lost all their endgame equipment from the base game, and must start over from level one with their base-level Personas rather than the ultimate Personas they received from finishing their Confidant interactions (although some dialogue implies that at least Ann, Yusuke, Makoto, and Haru had completed their Confidants, while Morgana's was automatic regardless and finished in December). Downplayed with Ann, Makoto, and Morgana (and only those three, for some reason), who have the elemental affinities of their ultimate Personas (one null, one resistance, one weakness) while everyone else still has their base-level affinities (one weakness, one resistance). Joker has also lost access to the old Persona compendium and has to start refilling it from scratch.
  • Beach Episode: The trip to Okinawa is this, taking advantage of the summer season and the tropical location. A fully animated cutscene plays with the cast wearing swimsuits, keeping them in a number of subsequent social interactions.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: Just like the previous game, there are multiple candidates for the Big Bad. Shortly after clearing the Okinawa arc, the game will present the corrupt Diet assemblyman and former Shido lobbyist Jyun Owada as the main villain and Madicce CEO Akira Konoe as the accomplice. In reality, Konoe was actually using Owada (and will neutralize him after he deals with the Phantom Thieves) while Owada himself has no relevance to the main scheme, fading into thin air before being promptly arrested for good. However, once Konoe is neutralized and arrested, EMMA fires back and ascends into a goddess bringing "salvation," assuming the role of the Big Bad and the final game opponent, while Kuon Ichinose is revealed as what seems to be The Dragon (or the Dragon-in-Chief). Note that in reality, Ichinose originally created EMMA out of petty rage against her previous AI creation, so she's actually the Greater-Scope Villain proper.
  • Bilingual Bonus: One of the earliest giveaways that Madicce, the developer of the EMMA concierge application is into something much, more sinister, is that the company's name actually comes from "Oracle" in Greek. Its CEO, Konoe, dubs his crusade to use the app to wipe out all crime as "Operation Oracle (Oraculi in the English localization)" and in order to achieve this goal, he made Shuzo Ubukata include knowledge of using Cognitive Psience — well known as the domain of Futaba's mother Wakaba in the previous game — into EMMA's code. In sum, Madicce is really using Cognitive Psience and AI technology to summon a "god".
  • Blade Lock: You may be prompted to execute an "???" action while fighting Akane's Joker, which will start a quick-time event where Joker and the boss clash, and the player must repeatedly press the Attack button to knock the boss off balance. Succeeding deals massive damage and opens up the boss for a "1 More" follow-up.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The passive skill "Technical High" has nothing to do with technical hits, and in fact, it boosts the length of a buff's effectivity whenever a character scores a Critical Hit using it. The Western localization's skill name is likely a mistranslation, given that it's called "Critical High" in the Japanese version.
  • Bonus Boss: Abundant. Each Jail has a Dire Shadow, for which you'll likely need three more dungeons' worth of experience before you can beat them. Also, each of the Monarchs (except for the Kyoto Monarch) can be challenged again after completing their Jails, and you can rematch them as many times as you want. The post-game unlocks the rematches on a higher difficulty, and the last of another group of powerful Shadows like the Dire ones, except defeating these unlocks them for fusion in the Velvet Room. And if you manage to beat all of those, clearing every Request, you can battle The Reaper. Defeating him unlocks New Game+ and the Merciless difficulty setting.
  • Bookends:
    • The Starter Villain and the Greater-Scope Villain of the game are otherwise fine-looking women with a severe Green-Eyed Monster complex that results in their troubled way of thinking and a screwed up past that becomes the very motive behind their in-game actions, with the Starter Villain just using EMMA to draw men to her while the Greater-Scope Villain blatantly kickstarts the events of the game in a bid to save humanity. The Jails where they were met are also the first and last Jail, both located in Tokyo.
    • Pithos' first and last appearances start with them forming a shield. The first time they protect Sophia from a Pyro Jack's fire attack, and the second time they stop Ichinose's laser attack before her awakening fuses them into Pandora.
  • Boring, but Practical: Due to Early Game Hell, spamming the combo that makes Pixie use Dia for free is recommended to keep your HP up.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Most of the Monarchs are fought in an arena that's filled with interactable objects that hit the boss on their weaknesses and severely stun them for a follow-up attack. Konoe is probably the worst contender here, since his boss fight features several railguns that point towards the center of the arena at a height where they can hit his Humongous Mecha but not human-height targets.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: Each Jail has at least one Shadow which is vastly overpowered for that section of the game, and will most likely entail that the player revisits it in the future to even stand a remote chance of fighting. These Shadows are usually indicated with an electric aura around them, and never fight unless provoked. Successfully defeating these Dire Shadows rewards you with very powerful accessories that boost a stat by ten points.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Gun ammo here is still finite for every battle, but as in Royal, they can be automatically replenished after every encounter. However, Master Arts for Joker and Haru play it straight, allowing them to use certain gun attacks without draining their ammo count.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Once again, the Omnipotent Orb. Granted as a reward for defeating the Reaper on Merciless difficulty, it grants Null against every element except Almighty. But since you've just beaten the game's hardest challenge to get it, there's not much else to do with it except to farm the Reaper for Incenses or carry it over to another New Game+.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • The localized version of the game includes an English-translated version of the credits theme, with the vocals provided by Lyn, rather than using the original Japanese version as in previous Persona games.
    • This is the first Persona spin-off game (baring the Persona Q games) to retain heavy RPG Elements from the mainline games such as leveling up and persona fusion, in-spite of still being a Genre Shift.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the opening, Joker faces the camera and pulls up the title card with his hand.
  • Break Meter: Stronger enemies have a shield meter which, if depleted, allows the character to perform an All-Out Attack, similar to the Weak Point Smash in the Hyrule Warriors games.
  • Busman's Holiday: The Phantom Thieves' planned summer vacation is interrupted by the sudden return of the Metaverse, requiring them to go back into action and defend Japan once again.
  • But Now I Must Go: After defeating Demiurge and liberating Japan from EMMA's influence, the Phantom Thieves all go their separate ways, but swear to meet again next winter. Zenkichi himself returns home to Kyoto to be with his daughter, while Sophia accompanies Ichinose on her journey to learn more about the human heart.
  • Call-Back:
    • The 705 building not only reappears, it actually becomes plot-relevant this time after being nothing but set dressing in Persona 5 — Ryuji, Joker, and Morgana visit it early on, and a twisted Metaverse version of it and Shibuya district in general serves as the game's first dungeon.
    • The game appears to mix the Vanilla game's pacing with Royal's motifs, mainly by stealing the corrupt hearts of people, although said corrupt people are not those of Hate Sinks like in the Vanilla campaign, but sympathetic figures much like Maruki before them. Furthermore, the mechanics of Jails and Monarchs are similar to those of a radical version of Sumire's "Kasumi" overlay, namely the Monarchs and their followers operate on illusionary fame and ego, which outsiders perceive as insanity.
    • The mechanics of the Jails are also similar to those of Maruki's "dream world", complete with a nearly identical purpose to genuinely put an end to all suffering and grief by granting illusionary wishes to the downtrodden and a chief instigator who is a Shadow Archetype of said Maruki.
    • Just like Jose before, Sophia mistakes Morgana for a "Tanuki" the first time she met him. For some reason, the English version localizes this to "Raccoon", despite using "Tanuki" in Royal.
    • The Cendrillon Boss in Royal has a unique life absorb skill known as "Drain" that it uses to recover large sums of HP by absorbing the Biyarky near her. Zenkichi's Persona, Valjean has an innate skill with the same name and animation, just weaker.
    • When enjoying their vacation in Okinawa, the Phantom Thieves cover Zenkichi in a sand sculpture shaped like the Birth of Venus, alluding to a similar instance in Persona 4 Golden's Beach Episode where Kanji ends up replicating the pose with seaweed due to a Wardrobe Malfunction.
    • In the same scene, while everyone else is swimming underwater, Futaba stays afloat in an inner tube. It was established in Shido's palace that Futaba can't swim.
    • Much like a few of the previous social interactions in 4 and 5, the player can choose who to bring with them on the Sapporo Ferris wheel between each of the female Thieves individually or with Ryuji, Yusuke, and Morgana all at once. A similar choice is presented in Osaka, where Joker can choose to spend time in the city tower with either his male or female teammates all at once.
    • When Futaba is out on the field for a hacking section, Morgana (regardless of whether he's in the active party or not) temporarily takes over as navigator until the sequence is complete, given that he initially kept Futaba's role until she was recruited in the original game.
    • The very first scene is In Medias Res, as Joker leaps around and fights shadows as a distraction for the other Thieves to accomplish another objective.
      Ann: I bet Skull couldn't pull it off this gracefully.
      Ryuji: What's this sense of déjà vu?
    • In the original game, Yusuke wondered aloud why Joker and Ryuji weren't wearing traditional summer outfits during the fireworks festival in July. This time Joker is finally wearing a yukata while Ryuji wears a happi coat.
    • The Jail of the Abyss is almost identical to the Prison of Regression from the first game, though with a visual motif reversal, namely roots growing upwards from the bottom rather than veins coming down from the top. And much like the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant is basically in the same place and with a similar function.
    • Makoto once again cannot deal being in horror movie situations. Like in the original game when she was spooked by Futaba, after forcibly getting transported into the Okinawa prison she will cling to Joker after being scared by a stray tin can. Zenkichi's reach towards her will be a duplicate of Sojiro's, mistaking her reaction for meaning that the two are an item.
  • The Cameo: Sae Nijima has an extremely brief one-minute off-screen appearance but provides a critical role during a major turning point in the game, helping Zenkichi get out of interrogation and getting the police off the Phantom Thieves temporarily when they become Japan's most wanted.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: As is the norm for most Persona games, Joker must be kept in the party. Luckily, the game only enforces We Cannot Go On Without You for the tutorial dungeon run (where you can't switch who you're controlling anyway). This is subverted a couple of times: when the Phantom Thieves are captured in the Kyoto Jail, gameplay switches solely to Zenkichi while he busts the group out, and during the final Boss fight, the Thieves split up into three smaller groups with the player having the ability to take control of the groups that don't contain Joker.
  • Casting Gag: Just like Jose in Royal, when the Thieves first meet Sophia, she mistakes Morgana for a "Tanuki." Morgana angrily rebukes her that he is no Tanuki and adds that he is a cat, before "correcting" again that he is "*not* a cat." Ikue Otani has a similar gag moment in One Piece. For some reason the English version localizes this to "Raccoon", despite using "Tanuki" in Royal.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Jean Valjean shows up as a Persona in this game, with his compendium info even mentioning Les Misérables. Back in Persona 5, Joker was able to watch a parody of the 2012 musical film version called Mes Misérable.
  • Central Theme: While the original game and Royal tackles on the dark side of order, rebelling against corruption, and free will, Strikers deals with human trauma and its negative impacts.
  • Changing Chorus: One of the boss themes, "Counter Strike", changes during its second chorus, rewording it to first person and sounding more affirmative. For example, "it's your turn to get it right" later turns into "finally, I got it right."
  • Character Select Forcing: As nearly all of your party members are dropped onto your lap in the first Jail and yet you can only bring three characters along with you besides Joker, the game encourages keeping everyone about equally leveled by coming up with combinations of members better suited for different Jails. Ann, for example, is quite strong in the first dungeon due to several enemies and the boss being weak to her fire-based spells, but sees only sporadic usefulness throughout the second dungeon where there are more enemies that either resist or absorb fire damage. Most of the time, the Phantom Thief with Character Focus in the dungeon's storyline is best suited to fighting the boss at the end.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Change of Heart reports you hear at the start of the game are orchestrated by Konoe in order to set Owada, a former Shido crony, into power.
    • When the Phantom Thieves show Sophia to Ichinose, she suddenly switches from acting loud and peppy to downright lukewarm at best. That's because Sophia triggered her jealousy of the capacity to understand human emotions, leading her to shut Sophia down and work on EMMA instead.
    • Each of the Jail Monarch's malicious activities you saw at the start of each area are actually a mirror of the exact same treatment they experienced in the past.
    • The child that is mourned at the start of the Sapporo arc was actually killed in an ice sculpture accident that was blamed on former mayor Mariko Hyodo, driving her towards using EMMA to "save" her city.
    • The Jails don't actually crumble when the Monarch releases all the Desires, because they are actually run by EMMA and are not personalized spaces within the Metaverse, unlike Palaces.
    • The voices that Sophia heard saying that she was an inferior entity came from EMMA telepathically communicating with her, because Sophia is actually its scrapped prototype.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The two officers during the police meeting at the start of the game are actually Commissioner Kaburagi and Zenkichi. Both of them assist you at the end of the game.
    • Akira Konoe, the CEO of Madicce and the owner of the EMMA application, can be seen holding a conference in Sendai.
    • Kuon Ichinose, the creator of EMMA and therefore one of the masterminds of the game, can be seen as soon as the night the party steps foot on Sendai.
    • The publishers you encounter during Natsume's 1 Millionth copy banquet are actually the "Fearsome Four" you fight at the Sendai Jail in order to gain access to Natsume's Demon King Castle.
    • Akane Hasegawa is met and interacted with after the Sapporo arc. You have to confront her after the Okinawa arc when she was brainwashed by EMMA.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite being members of the Phantom Thieves, Akechi and Kasumi (Sumire) aren't so much as mentioned in Strikers, which can be interpreted as happening after Royal rather than the original due to several Continuity Nods notes below. This can be explained away because Sumire explicitly told Joker that she would be participating in international tournaments at the end of Royal. Although Akechi is heavily implied to be alive in the True Ending, he is also shown to be flanked by officers, which implies he went through with his decision to face justice for his actions and is currently under arrest; otherwise, he really was killed in Shido's Palace. Out-of-universe, the lack of a mention probably stems from the fact that the development team wasn't in the loop for Royal and left it vague to make a confirmed retcon into the Royal timeline easier and avoid contradictions.
  • Commonplace Rare: Select Coffee Beans are somehow the rarest ingredient in the game; you can only buy them from one city, and Sophia will never stock them unless there's a sale. This makes the three recipes that use it (Leblanc Coffee, Master Coffee, and Master Curry) some of the rarest consumables in the game despite Leblanc Coffee being one of the weakest SP healing items in the game and a starter recipe.
  • Competitive Balance: Each of the Phantom Thieves fall into unique gameplay styles and gimmicks:
    • Joker acts as a gunslinging Jack-of-All-Trades, combining easy-to-use melee combo strings with flexible gun attacks he can use to close gaps or extend his combos. The power of the Wild Card gives him by far the most versatility of any character, with the ability to change his combo functionality and battle effectiveness by using a wide range of Personas at his disposal. Sticking with his default Persona, Arsène, also turns him into something of a Critical Hit Class, with Arsène's mostly-even stats having a bias towards agility and (eventually) learning the high crit rate skill One-Shot Kill. As a trade-off, Joker's Personas take noticeably longer to level up through grinding, and while he can start an active Baton Pass for the player to immediately switch over to another party member so they abuse a weakness or land a crit while also building their Showtime meter faster, he cannot be the recipient.
    • Ryuji is a Mighty Glacier who fights slow but hits very hard, has built-in flinch resistance as his Special, and specializes in Electric Charge Attacks that dish out extreme damage when mastered.
    • Ann is a Long-Range Fighter who uses her whip to strike from a distance. Her Special allows her to impart the Fire affinity into her basic combos and eventually power them up along with a special combo finisher, and Carmen's debuff/status specialization also gives her some aspects of Support Party Member.
    • Yusuke is a Close-Range Combatant who specializes in Counter Attacks; activating his Special during certain combo steps grants him brief invulnerability and allows him to parry and counter enemy attacks while doing so, with his combo gaining additional attacks and Ice affinity upon a successful counter. Goemon also specializes in agility boosts and Critical-focused Physical skills, granting him some aspects of a Critical Hit Class.
    • Makoto is a Lightning Bruiser who hits hard and fast using powerful martial arts and the ability to ride Johanna to mow down her enemies. Bursting allows her to impart Nuke affinity to her basic combos and empowers Johanna's motorcycle rides further.
    • Haru is a Mighty Glacier who combines slow combos with held Psy-enhanced Specials that have a wide range of attack and become stronger and more effective the longer she can hold them without being interrupted.
    • Morgana is a Pintsized Powerhouse who effectively combines great mobility and range with the added power to pull enemies into his attacks. He also doubles as a White Mage (barring his use of offensive Wind skills) and can eventually learn to use Lucky Punch in his combos to knock down enemies with Critical Hits.
    • Sophia is a Mechanically Unusual Fighter; well-timed button presses result in Perfect Catches that increase the power and range of her attacks and can be combo'd into more powerful Specials. She also doubles as a White Mage, and comes packed with Bless skills by default.
    • Zenkichi is a gimmicky Mighty Glacier whose Specials power him up while burning his HP and has the ability to Life Drain with standard combos. Specialization into Almighty skills also gives him a Jack-of-All-Trades role.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: As expected from a Warriors game. Whereas Persona 5 featured encounters that were often against four enemy Shadows at once, it's possible for one single Phantom Thief to wipe out hundreds of them within a span of seconds. Played with in that Shadows still manifest as singular creatures in the overworld, and attacking them causes them to split apart into Shadow hordes akin to how the original game did it.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The main menu takes design cues from the original Persona 5's, showing the Phantom Thieves lounging around in silhouette.
    • Numerous UI elements from Persona 5 are reused and altered, making Strikers look like a straight-up extension of the original game.
    • Much of the party's combat dialogue is the same as or slight variations of their battle lines in Persona 5, re-recorded by the original cast. Special note to Joker's "Begone" after using an All-Out Attack, calling back to his Pre-Mortem One-Liner against Yaldabaoth in Persona 5.
    • The Phantom Thieves' normal attack strings look like souped-up versions of their basic melee attacks in P5. More specific references include:
      • Joker's firing stance when using his basic gunshot special resembles the stance he takes when using Uchikomi follow-up attacks in the original P5, while his acrobatic Phantom Barrage attack brings to mind his Down Shot technique. One of the final skills Arsène learns is Survival Trick, likely calling back to the Faking the Dead plan the Phantom Thieves performed to bust him out of the interrogation room back in P5.
      • While the Morganamobile is never used for transport at any point in Strikers, Morgana's special and Showtime attacks still involve him transforming into it, complete with the same sound effects. Although Lucky and Miracle Punch don't reappear as Persona skills in Strikers, Morgana's C3 combo tandem attack with Zorro resembles Miracle Punch, and one of his Master Arts gives a chance for that attack to "upgrade" into a Miracle Punch, increasing its crit rate.
      • Ryuji's C3 and Showtime attack have him using his weapon for a home run swing, much like his follow-up attack in P5.
      • Ann's "Crocodile Tears" Master Art references her Confidant ability of the same name from P5.
      • "Counter" doesn't reappear as a skill in Strikers, but Yusuke's timing-based counter-attack system in this game is based on his ability to learn it in P5 (complete with a Master Art that boosts the power of his counters being titled "High Counter," the name of the best Counter skill in P5). The animation for his counter-attacks, with the enemy not taking damage until his katana audibly clicks into place into its scabbard, resembles Yusuke's follow-up attack from P5. His Showtime also shows Goemon attacking enemies with frost/ice by blowing smoke from his pipe, much like in Yusuke's original awakening scene.
      • Johanna reuses her engine sound effects from Makoto's awakening scene, and Makoto's C6 attack combines the Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs of her Showtime attack with Ryuji in Royal with the tetsuzanko from her P5 follow up attack. One of her Master Arts is named "Fortified Moxy," named after a skill from P5 that doesn't appear in Strikers.
      • Haru's C2 creates an area-of-effect Shockwave Stomp by smashing her axe into the ground, much like her P5 follow-up attack.
    • During the game's final act, Morgana will speak of "A Palace that bled into reality ... last year" in the English Dub while the Phantom Thieves and Ichinose are standing under the Tokyo Tower Jail, likely referencing the Qlipoth World given the two's shared black-and-red color themes.
    • Though more concrete references couldn't be made due to the largely simultaneous development cycles, the game semi-implies that it ties into Royal instead of the Vanilla Persona 5.
      • Not once in Strikers does Morgana ever mention becoming or wanting to be human (although he still gets mad at being called a cat.) After the Phantom Thieves defeated Yaldabaoth in the Vanilla ending, he still wanted to become human, and specifically cited looking for some way to do so as a reason for continuing to stick with Joker. In Royal by contrast, after the Thieves awaken to their senses in Maruki's dream world, he fully accepts that he is not human. In the ending after Maruki's defeat, Morgana tells Joker that, regardless of what he is, he will always be Joker's partner.
      • In Morgana's above reference at the Tokyo Tower, the Japanese dub has him say it occurred specifically six months ago, lining up better with the battle against Maruki versus Yaldabaoth.
      • At the post-credits cutscene of the game, the Phantom Thieves say that they will part ways again, something they first did during Royal's true ending. (In the Vanilla ending, the Phantom Thieves never part ways and leave in Makoto's Citroen H Van together.)
  • Contrived Coincidence: The man Konoe was targeting was one of the fundraisers of Shido's (dissolved) treasonous Conspiracy, who also happened to be the accidental killer of Zenkichi's wife and Akane's mother, and ultimately bribed the commissioner responsible for managing Zenkichi to arrest the Phantom Thieves for Konoe.
  • Costume Evolution:
    • The Phantom Thieves' Metaverse attires remain the same, but their outfits in the real world were updated to better reflect the summer vacation timeline. For example, Ann now has a prominent set of gold heart-shaped earrings that she never wore with her casual outfits back in Persona 5, while Joker's glasses no longer remain opaque as they were initially.
    • Of particular note is Makoto. While the rest of the cast still have the same fashion sense they had in the previous game, Makoto has ditched the conservative tunic for an edgy cropped leather jacket (with fasteners resembling those worn by motorcycle racers, to boot), reflecting her becoming more true to herself and not trying to hide behind the facade of a meek "good girl."
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Bosses on Merciless have absolutely nonsensical HP pools; anything below 60,000 is below average. It gets worse with multi-phase boss fights, where the enemies have only marginally less health but battle you twice in a row with no recovery in between.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Because this sequel/spin-off game comes in at least two consoles (three if you count playing on the PC using the Xbox controller), and is in a different genre, the controls have been adjusted.
    • In Persona 5, the top face button (triangle) opened the pause menu and the menu button (Options) opened the save menu while in the overworld; in Strikers, it's the reverse, as Strikers uses the top face button as the special attack command. Additionally, in the original R1 was used to bring up the map, whereas in Strikers the touchpad/select button is used.
    • In the Western release, the button for interacting with things is the right face button (Circle), compared to P5 where it was the bottom face button (X), since the bottom face button now serves as a dedicated jump button. This is less of a problem on the Switch version since the right face button is the confirm button regardless, but with a DualShock 4, where the confirm button is the bottom one in the West, or an Xbox controller, where you're interacting with things using the B button, you'll probably be jumping or backing out by mistake.
    • On the Musou side, the Switch version of the game has the dodge button on ZR. In Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors, dodge is B.
  • Deal with the Devil: The background story of many of the Monarchs consist of being bullied, discredited from high positions and sometimes outright abused to the point that making a deal with a false god was the only option for them to claim the power and fame that they desperately wanted in the first place, even if said power and fame were nothing more than illusions.
  • Developers' Foresight: As noted under Magikarp Power, for people who try and keep Arsène around throughout the entire game, and level him up as needed, he gains access to some rather powerful abilities in the endgame.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: When introduced to the Phantom Thieves at their hideout, Sophia hums a few notes of "Life Will Change."
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Ryuji and Haru's attack strings are a bit slower than the other party members, with Ryuji using a Charged Attack mechanic while Haru extends her attacks to last much longer, which leaves them vulnerable to attack. Mastering their playstyle, however, leads to amazing results, as Ryuji can achieve utterly monstrous damage output with just his basic attacks, and Haru boasts fantastic crowd control and wave clearing with her attacks.
  • Disney Death: At one point, Sophia is reset by Ichinose and forced to attack the thieves in the Jail of the Abyss. When she briefly regains control of herself, she falls off the arena to her apparent death. She turns out to be alive a short time later.
  • Door to Before: Inverted example. After unlocking the Birdcage, one of the chains conveniently allows the Phantom Thieves to climb straight up it back to the Birdcage after they've sent the Calling Card.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male:
    • Averted with the first target, Alice. What ultimately convinces Ann (and the rest of the team) that Alice is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who needs to have her heart changed is when she and Joker witness Alice physically abusing and threatening her (male) manager, in addition to her confirming she did the same to her previous manager. Both Joker and Ann step in as she humiliates him, and both call her out when she tries to use a "Just Joking" Justification.
    • Played straight with Makoto giving the boys her Fist of Justice in the hot spring.
  • Drives Like Crazy: For the first half of the game, it's implied that Haru isn't a particularly great driver due to inexperience. But after the fourth dungeon, when Makoto starts having back problems from driving too much (she being the only other Thief with a license), Haru takes the wheel and manages to drive from Fukuoka to Kyoto in, at most, five hours, leaving her passengers nauseous and traumatized when they reach point B. "I was driving normally... I think," she says. No, Haru, people driving normally don't leave Fukuoka in the morning and reach a city nearly 400 miles and five prefectures away, while mistakenly taking a detour into Osaka, by 1pm.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The English script alters a few lines to remove some potential references to the events of Persona 5 Royal. The Conspiracy, which is given a proper name during the game's ending, is also not named in the English script.
  • Duel Boss: Akane's Joker is the only boss that's explicitly fought solo, as the rest of the Phantom Thieves split up to deal with the other doppelgangers individually with Sophie and Zenkichi providing backup to the other seven members.
  • Dump Stat:
    • Endurance is the only stat with no offensive benefit, unlike Agility and Luck which respecitively boost your odds to inflict critical hits and status effects. While Endurance does boost your HP, physical skills always drain a percentage of your max HP rather than specific amounts. The defensive benefits are also limited, seeing as all attacks can be dodged manually, and the auto-dodges granted by high Agility will help survivability more than a high health pool on higher difficulties.
    • Certain mechanical changes turn SP into this. While casting spells is still crucial, SP can be topped up for free at any checkpoint, SP items become plentiful relatively early on thanks to cooking, and most bosses have enough health to require them. This makes Bond Skills that restore SP or increase your capacity significantly less useful than in the mainline games.

    E - M 
  • Early Game Hell: For the first several hours, resources will be extremely tight. Healing is difficult to come by and initial starting SP is so small relative to how much your Skills cost that you can easily burn out before you find another Checkpoint, especially when enemies hit fairly hard early in the game. Money payouts are barely enough to scrape by as you scrounge for consumables and try to summon new Personas. Most of these problems go away once you start getting good level-ups, increase stats through BOND, and fight stronger enemies with better payouts, but it does start out quite rough for a while.
  • Earn Your Fun: You must defeat the hardest boss in the game to unlock New Game+. Said hardest boss is locked behind 100% Completion for Requests, which includes harder refights against most of the major bosses in the game. The game's hardest difficulty, Merciless, is also locked to New Game+, and is so ball-bustingly hard that the tutorial is designed to kill you!
  • Easter Egg:
    • Joker's Showtime typically involves him summoning his Persona and casting a powerful explosion visually based on the Persona's element. However, if you have one of the "ultimate" Persona unlocked from Lavenza's Requests, it will instead play a unique Showtime featuring the Persona casting their Signature Move.
    • Pressing the strong attack/save button in the Velvet Room results in different reactions from Lavenza. She starts off asking if she can help you, before gradually getting more uncomfortable each time you press the button.
  • Empty Levels: Some Personas have certain levels where they don't gain any stats or abilities, essentially making leveling them up less rewarding.
  • Endgame+: Saving and loading Clear Data will dump you back in the final dungeon right before the final boss. Lavenza will add additional new Requests to your docket through which you can earn exclusive rewards, and clearing them all unlocks several bonuses, including New Game+.
  • Escort Mission: At some point in each Jail, you must safeguard Futaba while she hacks into the security system in order to unlock the door, and she will become an immediate target to the Shadows. If her health runs out, she gets knocked out and it's Game Over. Thankfully, equipment actually is helpful on her this time, and she can be buffed and healed as well.
  • Essence Drop: Shadows that return to their true forms may drop a mask when defeated. When collected, these masks give Persona Points and allow Joker to summon them.
  • Event-Driven Clock: Unlike the main Persona games, time only moves when the plot says so as the entire game takes place in a much shorter time frame. Incidentally, this also means that the Phantom Thieves can enter and leave the Metaverse an unlimited number of times in the same day even though it's stated in the previous games that going to the Metaverse is physically taxing and requires a day of rest between trips.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: By Persona standards only. The other games take place over the course of many months, while this one only occurs during July and August. Compared to spin-offs however, this one is actually the lengthiest, as other spin-offs like Persona 4: Arena and Dancing All Night only really take place within a handful of days.
  • Fanservice: The game completely embraces the summer aesthetic by placing the cast in swimsuits on the beach trip to Okinawa, while Ann's regular summer outfit features Bare Your Midriff and emphasizes She's Got Legs more than her Phantom Thief costume.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Noticeably Subverted in this game; while this doesn't say a lot since most targets you encounter in this game are Brainwashed and Crazy and all of them are nowhere near as heinous as the ones in Persona 5note , the female targets in this game can be seen doing some obviously unacceptable things on-screen and are just as Distorted as the Male targets. To say nothing of the person who actually kickstarted the whole catastrophe who is an emotionally deficit woman throwing a fit through her pet AI against her original creation and is heavily implied to have some very questionable perceptions of morality.
  • Food Porn: Food that has various in-battle effects when being eaten are all over the game, which can either be brought or prepared by Joker in the camping van. These are also often exotic delicacies from every other region of Japan, and party members will often give compliments when they take a portion.
  • Foreshadowing: Like the original Persona 5, this game has quite a bit, to the point where it has its own page.
  • Frame-Up: EMMA's data breach and Ubukata's murder are both blamed on the Phantom Thieves, and Konoe swears to see them punished for their actions.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When the logo is being assembled towards the end of the opening trailer, a "2" briefly appears next to "P5" as a reference to this game being a practical sequel before being knocked away by an "S".
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: The Phantom Thieves had this mentality before with the Palace Rulers, and they reinforce this belief with the Jail Monarchs they meet. While many of the Monarchs have had a truly bad lot in life, the Thieves call them out on their vengeful behavior after defeating their Shadows by saying their personal tragedies don't justify robbing the dreams of so many innocent people or making the world a worse place. The Thieves even point out that such behavior has made the Jail Monarchs no different from the people who ruined their lives or careers.
  • Funny Background Event: While Joker and Ryuji land in a heap after getting thrown out with the garbage in the first dungeon, Morgana can be briefly seen gracefully breaking his fall.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • During Royal's final act, the star from Jose uses up all of its power to transform Morgana into a helicopter to allow the party to escape from the collapsing Metaverse. While Showtimes can still be performed in this game, they are no longer performed by two characters, instead being composed of the Persona user and their Persona. Furthermore, they appear to be much weaker than in Royal and weaker than the standard All-out attacks that can be performed when a target is staggered.
    • At the start of the Sapporo Jail, Yusuke is the only one completely unbothered by the cold.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Some of the conversations that the Phantom Thieves have while exploring Jails imply that they're all fighting the Shadows at once, as opposed to the four party members the player can control in battle.
    • New Game+ allows Zenkichi and Sophia with Pandora to be used from the start, but the story isn't altered to accomodate them. This results in a few oddities, such as Zenkichi being absent from several group shots only to reappear in gameplay, or Sophia summoning Pithos in a cutscene only to switch to Pandora in-game.
  • Genre Shift: From a turn-based RPG to a Warriors-style action game. While not unlike how Persona 4 saw both of its sequel titles change genres and developers in the process, Strikers retains most of the RPG elements of P5 and approximates many of its turn-based combat systems into a real-time setting, making the game more akin to a traditional action RPG, while also keeping the daytime social interactions, calendar system, and town exploration as seen in the mainline Persona series, something Persona 4's sequels didn't include. The presentation is also much more in line with other mainline Persona games, rather than the P4 sequels that were closer to Visual Novels.
  • Gilligan Cut: On August 7, attending Akira Konoe's lecture:
    Makoto: And in that sense, attending this lecture is a valuable use of our time. Let's make sure we pay attention all the way to the end.
    (cut to after the lecture, the Thieves alone in the auditorium)
    Ryuji: (yawning) Yo, how long was I out...? So, what'd the dude say?
    Ann: (sighs angrily) Can I smack you?
  • Gotta Pass the Class: Discussed by Ryuji, where he mentions that he almost had to do summer school due to how terrible his grades were.
  • Hack and Slash: The combat plays out much like Dynasty Warriors, with the Phantom Thieves each kicking the asses of veritable armies of Shadows throughout their adventures.
  • Harder Than Hard: Merciless difficulty, only available on a New Game+, will eat you alive if you don't take the proper steps to approach fights. Enemies gain massively increased HP and damage output, instant kill attacks start being used, and Continuing is Painful (or at least more painful than normal). It's often recommended to do any potential prep for Merciless on a pre-New Game+ save file, because if you start unprepared you can very well die in the tutorial.
  • Hard Mode Perks: One benefit to Merciless difficulty is that rewards from battles are massively increased, letting you level up faster and gain tons of money. You'll need it.
  • Healer Signs On Early: Sophia is recruited no more than 20 minutes into the game; her "Persona" Pithos starts the game with Dia? and eventually learns Recarm? and Samarecarm?, skills that no other character besides Joker and Morgana can learn. You also pick up the rest of the Phantom Thieves within the first hour of gameplay, three of whom (Morgana, Ann, and Makoto, the first of which gets stuck in the first Jail with you) all pack some form of healing.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Unlike most Persona spinoffs, the player retains the ability to name the protagonist in Strikers.
  • Hero Stage Show: When the Phantom Thieves infiltrate the Osaka Jail in the Metaverse they are forced to leave because Akira Konoe's Shadow, who dresses like a Sentai hero, is about to put one on for the other Shadows he has brainwashed. Outside, they find the real Konoe is giving an interview about how he intends to bring the Thieves to justice for crimes he framed them for, casting himself in a heroic light.
  • History Repeats:
    • Joker and Ryuji are introduced to the supernatural elements of the game when you accidentally input the navigation keywords into a smartphone app, are unceremoniously dumped into the Starter Villain's domain, captured by shadows, and are guided out by an amnesiac non-human sidekick. The only difference is that Morgana is also unceremoniously dumped and captured alongside them.
    • The Thieves' first target is an abuser who earns the personal ire of Ann, while their second target is a plagiarist who earns the personal ire of Yusuke.
    • Like the previous Palace rulers who had a bad habit of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain, Konoe didn't check who EMMA was using to capture the Phantom Thieves. That's actually Akane, the daughter of the police officer who was going after him. This brought Zenkichi's wrath straight to his face and caused Konoe to be foiled and arrested at the end.
    • The villain responsible for many of the in-game events, Akira Konoe, has his fight play out the same way as Shido's: the Phantom Thieves speak with a Shadow Self that initially looks identical to his real self, who preaches about how he is the only one fit to guide humanity towards a golden age. Then he transforms his outfit when entering combat, initially fights on a chariot, and then fights on foot.
    • Goro Akechi shares many similarities with Akira Konoe. Both are prominent public figures with genial personalities that mask a deep psychosis. Both gained said psychosis as a result of their abusive fathers whose actions led to the deaths of their mothers. Both had a childish liking of heroes. And both of them claimed that they were doing what they did to reform society.
    • A party of Persona users goes to the Kyoto hot springs to relax, only for confusion related to the time when the baths switch users from men to women, resulting in the guys getting a brutal beatdown from the female student council president. Just like in Persona 3.
    • The true culprit happens to do almost nothing for a large portion of the game and their first interaction with the party is casual food talk.
  • Humble Pie: After the exposure of the Conspiracy at the end of Persona 5, the Tokyo public lost faith in their own law enforcement agents, of whom several higher-ups were Conspiracy members themselves. As a result of this humiliation, the police continued to work towards capturing the Phantom Thieves and presenting them as dangerous vigilantes, believing that this would restore the public's faith in them. The trope later plays in the Phantom Thieves' favor, as Zenkichi and Kaburagi realize that they are in the wrong and turn the tables against Konoe and Owada near the end of the game.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the second dungeon, the Overlord's retainer, both before and after the battle, insults the Phantom Thieves, calling them repulsive-looking and grotesque. This coming from a Pisaca.
  • Idiot Ball: 2 very major ones acted as a crux for the endgame.
    • As if the Phantom Thieves haven't learned better, the whole Kyoto arc is kickstarted by one. The Phantom Thieves received an obviously faked distress SMS from EMMA using Akane's identity, but Akane doesn't even have the SMS contacts of any Phantom Thief. The obviousness of this trap didn't matter to them, and Makoto's suggestion to throw herself into Akane's Jail as a decoy was rejected for no good reason, causing 7 teenagers, an AI and a cat-like creature to rush directly head-on to save Akane only to have most of its combatants trapped by what was obviously a brainwashed Akane's shadow. If not for Futaba tripping and generally being too slow to run, EMMA would have captured all the Thieves, and Konoe would be changing the hearts of all of Japan unopposed.
    • Even Konoe himself wasn't exempt from this! Despite being a generally peceptive and intelligent person, when he told EMMA to capture the Phantom Thieves, he never once asked EMMA the identity of the person she was manipulating — It's actually the daughter of Zenkichi, the officer in-charge of investigating him. This predictably led to Zenkichi going right after him alongside the Thieves, with disastrous results.
  • Ignored Confession: At one point, the protagonist has the option to outright admit "We're the Phantom Thieves" to Akane, a massive Phantom Thieves fangirl, eliciting shocked reactions from the rest of the party. Naturally, Akane thinks he's joking and remarks that he at least has Joker's hair.
  • Immune to Flinching: Anything buffed by Rakukaja cannot have their attacks interrupted by enemy hits. Ryuji's Special also allows him to temporarily gain flinch resistance even without Rakukaja.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Dire Shadows fought on Merciless mode each individually drop a character's ultimate weapon upon defeat. In addition to having the highest ATK stat in the game, each one comes with a decent stat boost and a powerful bonus effect tailored to the character.
  • Instant Home Delivery: When Sophia talks about her ability to place any order online, Ryuji jokingly asks for a gold bar. After quickly analyzing The Internet and making sure that no laws would be broken, Sophia places the order. A package with an actual gold bar is delivered to Leblanc seconds later. Since Sophia used cryptocurrency, she tells the Phantom Thieves that they can pay her back later. Frightened by the consequences of possessing actual gold bullion, Ryuji tells Sophia to cancel the order. She does so and a deliveryman immediately arrives to pick up the package. Sophia's ability to arrange the instant delivery of items purchased online becomes important during the Thieves' journey across Japan as they buy weapons and medicine for use inside the Jails.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The entire Persona 5 series, including Strikers, has a crossover with Dragalia Lost with that game's raid event, "Caged Desire" presenting Joker, Panther, Mona as limited-time recruitable adventurers with Sophie being the free adventurer and Arsène being a limited-time dragon.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • In Sendai, one of the first people you meet is a woman with a drawn portrait and (later) a cut-in, that you know literally nothing about and had close to zero involvement in the story, even after apprehending the supposed culprit. The woman is actually the real culprit.
    • Like in the original game, you can tell a fusion accident has occurred because you won't have the option of skipping the fusion cutscene like you normally do.
    • Paying very close attention to some of the tutorial prompts makes it obvious that Sophia will eventually receive a "true" Persona instead of Pithos, because her tutorial menus are the only ones that use the nonspecific term "Persona" instead of any Persona's actual name.
  • "Just Frame" Bonus: The "Avenger" Bond Skill lets you do an automatic counterattack when dodging an enemy attack with the right timing.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Jyun Owada was responsible for the death of Zenkichi's wife in a hit-and-run incident, and has faced no repercussions for his actions. This is subverted in the game's epilogue where he was promptly arrested for accepting bribes from Madicce, tax evasion, and ties with Shido's antisociety Conspiracy.
    • Played straight for the actual mastermind of the Jail incidents, Kuon Ichinose, although this case is rather interesting in that the person in question actually tried to defy this trope. After EMMA's defeat, she turned herself to the police force because she basically kickstarted a wholesale Metaverse catastrophe by herself. Unfortunately, the police didn't quite believe her testimonies and Zenkichi let her go, so she's free, unlike Akira Konoe (the initial suspect) and Owada who had a series of real-life crimes placed on top of their heads. Still, credit where it's due for trying to take responsibility for her actions.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • Lavenza acts as the protagonist's sole Velvet Room attendant and appears at the start of the game. She also mentions Yaldabaoth splitting her into the Twin Wardens during the vanilla game's final act, before the party makes their way to confronting the awakened EMMA.
    • Shadow Hyodo makes mention of Haru's deceased father, Kunikazu Okumura (who died close to a year ago) after her defeat.
    • Zenkichi makes mentions of Shido when he was compiling urgent info with the Phantom Thieves in Kyoto, whom his wife's killer, Cabinet Minister Owada had lobbied during the time when Shido was considered an untouchable god.
  • Laughably Evil: EMMA artificially brainwashes the Monarchs to prevent them from getting over their traumas, often with outlandish results that can be difficult to take seriously.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail:
    • The old woman and bearded man during the police meeting at the start of the game? That's actually Kaburagi and Zenkichi, both major characters and allies towards the end of the game.
    • The "girl" that Kaburagi tells Zenkichi to take care of and visit every once in a while? That's actually Akane, his daughter.
    • The news about the Change of Heart cases shown at the start of the game? Those are actually orchestrated by Konoe in order to set Owada into power.
    • About Alice, the first Monarch:
      • Alice Hiiragi stepping on men and filming them with because someone tried to stop her? She was treated this way in high school.
      • Another thing about Alice is the no-explanation Change of Heart of an engaged/married TV host. That's because Alice's crush was taken away from her by jealous girls, so she's using the application to attract men to her and intimidate her former bullies into thinking that she has a harem of men.
    • The eccentric-looking woman you meet at the roast beef restaurant? That's actually Kuon Ichinose, The Dragon in-Chief for the Demiurge and its very own creator.
    • The person monitoring the Shibuya and Sendai jails is also Ichinose.
    • That CEO staging a conference? He's actually Akira Konoe, The Dragon for EMMA.
    • About Mariko, the third monarch:
      • The woman mourning a child once you arrive in Sapporo? The child is actually the victim of an ice sculpture statue collapse incident last year that resulted in Mariko Hyodo stepping down from the office of mayor.
      • Mariko seen berating a civil ward fiercely? She's obsessed with removing all incompetent civil wards.
      • What about the ridiculous cleaning campaigns Hyodo launched around Sapporo? Those were actually a distorted sense of anti-corruption manifesting through clean-up drives once she used EMMA for the "salvation" of her city.
    • The voice that only Sophia hears in Okinawa, Osaka and Tokyo? That's EMMA or the Demiurge.
    • When Akane becomes a Monarch, she delivers a powerful Hannibal Lecture that she isn't supposed to be capable of. That's actually not from her — it's from Konoe, and Akane is being blatantly brainwashed to fulfill Konoe's agenda.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to vanilla Persona 5. The Jail Monarchs are tragic figures with sympathetic backstories as opposed to the loathsome Hate Sink villains of the original game. Rather than force the targets to reform through Heel–Face Brainwashing, the Phantom Thieves this time around simply reason with the Monarchs' Shadows after defeating them to make them realize how far they have fallen, giving their real selves the perspective to genuinely reform on their own accord. In contrast to Yaldabaoth, the true villain of this game is genuinely motivated by a desire to grant happiness to the masses rather than simply desiring control. Finally, both deaths mentioned in-game are offscreen events that happened prior to the game proper.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The Switch version suffers greatly from significantly longer load times compared to any other version. This makes retreating from Jails for full HP and SP recovery much more annoying, as the player must sit through the load screen for exiting the Jail, sit through the load screen again for entering the hideout, then sit through the same load screen one more time to enter the Jail again.
  • Loose Canon: Strikers does this for Royal as the two games were developed concurrently. There is no direct mention of any events specific to Royal anywhere in this game and for all intents and purposes Strikers is scripted to be a sequel to vanilla Persona 5. However, the game draws on plot elements and details introduced in Royal, and any plot threads specific to Royal are resolved in such a way that they would fit neatly into Strikers without causing any major continuity issues.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: EMMA functions as this to the Monarchs by giving them the reputation and power they desire through mesmerizing the public, for the price of basically brainwashing and mind-controlling them to perform outrageous acts through the traumas that led them towards EMMA in the first place. EMMA later does this to the public, forcing them to hand over their desires so they become unable to think, as she will arbitrarily do the thinking for them.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: After Alice is defeated, the fact that her Jail doesn't disappear, combined with her not being a Hate Sink but a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, clues Morgana in that Jails don't operate like Palaces and that something or someone else may be keeping the Jails intact.
  • Magikarp Power: Arsène. He keeps many of the same functions he had in Persona 5, and much like that game, is meant to be fused away for a more powerful Persona as soon as the opportunity arises. While most players have taken to min-maxing him (or outright buffing him, in the case of Royal) into a more viable state, Strikers anticipated players would want to do this by allowing him to naturally learn powerful skills like Maeigaon and One-Shot Kill when he's leveled up towards the endgame. The easier growth mechanics here compared to the original game — especially after the player gets the ability to manually raise Persona parameters following the Okinawa Jail to make up for Arsène's much slower stat growth — make it easier to keep Arsène around to ensure he can become as powerful as he can be, while the more active combat system allows him to overcome his weaknesses by either switching to another Persona on the spot to tank, interrupt the attack, or simply dodge and get out of range.
  • Mirror Match: Shadow Akane creates cognitive copies of the Phantom Thieves that they have to fight as her boss battle. The fight is a Duel Boss between Joker and his cognitive counterpart "My Dear Joker" or "Akane's Joker."
  • Modesty Towel: Both male and female party members wear these during the Hot Springs Episode.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The party' official investigation on the real life Alice. Initially, it's just a rather peaceful talk show where nothing attention-worthy takes place, but as soon as the male host starts talking about Alice's crush, something very uncanny happens — the host was suddenly silenced alongside the rest of the crowd, then feverently asked Alice to marry him, forcing the show to be cut off with Alice displaying a Psychotic Smirk after everyone leaves. This is followed by Joker, Ann and Morgana sighting her physically stepping on her manager on the hallway while obviously getting a kick out of it, something that led to the party concluding that Alice was indeed distorted and needs a Change of Heart.
    • As everything seemingly ends with a happy note with the supposed true culprit arrested and the party was planning to return to LeBlanc from Yokohama, Sophia suddenly detects a massive Jail spanning all over Tokyo, and Zenkichi tells the party that EMMA had sprung back to service on her own and was unable to be shut down, kickstarting the true final arc of the game.
  • Musical Nod: The Kyoto Jail theme incorporates riffs from the original opening theme "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There" and "Life Will Change", alluding to Akane's idolization of the Phantom Thieves.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Phantom Thieves obtain key items throughout each Jail by assaulting Prison Keeps that contain them, often whilst having to deal with the high-level Shadows that act as guards. While not necessarily a staple of the Persona series, it just so happens to be one for the series this game heavily takes its combat gameplay from.
    • One of Futaba's lines prior to the party unleashing an All-Out Attack is "Bring on the mass destruction!"
      • Another of Futaba's lines when the party gets an ambush on a Shadow: "This is our chance. Wanna give 'em a last surprise?"
    • Some of the strongest protectors sold in Sophia's Shop comes from a website called "ShadyCommodities.com", a reference to the online shopping website, "Tanaka's Shady Commodities" in ''Persona 5'. Similarly, some accessories and consumable items sold are from the "Phan-club Unofficial Shop", which might have ties to the "Phantom Aficionado Website" or "Phan-site" created during the same game.
    • The snowmen sculptures in the Sapporo Jail all have a black-lined yellow scarves, identical to Ryoji's signature scarf.
    • After losing it after Persona 3, Mara has its signature Maralagidyne back, used both as a boss and as part of a combo attack when equipped on Joker.
    • The fight against My Dear Joker/Akane's Joker is framed as one of Persona 5's turn-based battles at the start, right down to how Joker and the boss are positioned and the Action Command that begins the battle properly serving as a parallel to an Attack option.

    N - Z 
  • Nerf:
    • Persona and Shadows who traditionally have Null Physical or Repel Physical have been downgraded to Resist Physical, as standard physical attacks are significantly more integral to combat than in the base Persona games.
    • The extremely powerful Repel attribute has been nixed entirely, with the highest form of elemental resistance being Drain.
    • Ironically, this game's version of The Reaper might be the weakest variant in series history. His notoriously oppressive moveset has been pared down to just the elemental Ma-dyne skills, Megidolaon, Concentrate, and Gun damage. This makes him very easy to counter, as unlike the RPGs you can simply swap Persona on demand according to whatever he casts, and you have more than enough Persona slots to Null or Drain all of his attacks save for Megidolaon, which you can simply run away from. He's so straightforward that Joker can solo him with enough patience. The Merciless version of the fight is only made harder by the fact that on top of having almost 200,000 HP, he summons other bosses to his side after reaching half health.
  • New Game+: Defeating the Reaper and earning the Spiral Bookmark from Lavenza unlocks New Game+. In addition to levels, Persona, and most non-critical items carrying over, Wolf and Sophia with Pandora are available right from the start of the game, Lucifer becomes available for Fusion, and Sophia will sell Incense products from her shop. You also have the option of activating Merciless difficulty at the start of New Game+, which can't be turned off.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: Several assets from Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal are used here, including UI elements, character models, and even music. This works in the game's favor though.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Because of Konoe's change of heart, he announced that he would be shutting EMMA down. However, due to the public's cognition of EMMA as something that can grant wishes, this led to the subconscious association that their wishes would no longer be granted. Much like how the Phantom Thieves' Calling Card makes their targets aware that their Desires or stolen wishes will be taken, this cognition of the public allows EMMA to start granting the wishes of the masses. (That said, what EMMA defines as the "wish of the masses" amounts to nothing but relying entirely on her for guidance.)
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Konoe asks EMMA what to do because the Police Are Useless when it comes to capturing the Phantom Thieves, and she suggests he use a person close to the Phantom Thieves who had assigned themselves a Jail. However, he doesn't know who that is and places blind faith on EMMA, who for this purpose actually brainwashes Akane, the daughter of the police officer responsible for investigating him. Thanks to Futaba being too weak to run, managing to escape to the overworld and notify Zenkichi, the police officer ends up awakening a Persona and has fully justified reasons to go after Konoe once he's brought Akane back to her senses.
  • Nintendo Hard: If you thought this game was just gonna be your simple Dynasty Warriors mega mowdown fest, think again!
    • The mechanics of the Persona games still apply here, so you still have to exploit elemental weaknesses and technical attacks to make battles more manageable.
    • Healing items are noticeably more limited this time around, as you can only buy a limited amount from Sophia whenever you visit her shop, only restocking when you return from a Jail. This means that spamming skills that cost HP isn't the best idea unless you can cover for the healing needed afterward.
    • Enemy Shadows can and will spam skills to make your day much harder, so learning how to dodge effectively is crucial to staying alive.
    • Unlike most Warriors games, the game actively urges you to choose your attacks carefully and not be reckless, as mindless Button Mashing is a good way to get yourself killed very quickly.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Akira Konoe, CEO of Madicce and one of the main villains bears an alarming resemblance to Robert Downey Jr., the actor who plays Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He even uses a badass suit and a Humungous Mecha during his boss fight!
  • No Ontological Inertia:
    • Averted when a Monarch willingly surrenders and disappears, any Jail created by the EMMA app remains intact afterwards. This is because they are fueled by EMMA/the Demiurge's central server. In addition, the local people's devotion to a Monarch might reactivate in isolated locations or simply remain intact as seen in Okinawa's case, with someone (usually Akira Konoe or the Demiurge herself) needing only the relevant Monarch's voice to command that devotion. Only when the Demiurge herself is defeated do the Jails disappear for good.
    • Played straight for the Monarch's victims when the corresponding Monarch surrenders their desires and releases their control of the Jail. Once this occurs, everyone the Monarch brainwashed will suddenly revert to normal and act as if the brainwashing never happened; best seen after Konoe's Change of Heart, where the Comissioner General who was seen assisting Owada earlier on outright acts as if he never assisted him in the first place, something that bewildered Owada.
  • No-Sell: It's shown that Persona users (such as the Phantom Thieves) can't have their Desires stolen by the Jail Monarchs, because Persona users no longer have separate Shadows — after all, as revealed in The Answer, a Persona is its user's Shadow. In the first Jail, some Shadows mention to Shadow Alice how they tried to take the Desires from Joker, Ryuji, and Morgana, but couldn't.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Skill "Technical High" has nothing to do with Technical Hits whatsoever; it boosts the duration of buffs when you score a Critical. This could be attributed to a translation error, as the skill is called "Critical High" in Japanese.
  • Non Standard Game Over: During a section in Kyoto's Jail, due to all party members save for Futaba being taken hostage by EMMA and Akane, Zenkichi, who hasn't awakened a persona yet, has to approach Akane by sneaking past patrolling Shadows. If Zenkichi goes into the line of sight of any of the Shadows, it will automatically result in a Game Over since he can't defend himself against them at that point.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • The first arc of the game takes place in Yongen-Jaya and Shibuya, nearly identical to how it appeared in Persona 5, and Joker meets up with everyone in the Leblanc cafe that served as the Phantom Thieves' headquarters and Joker's place of residence during his probation the previous year. Only a select few areas remain explorable however; both Takemi's clinic and Iwai's shops are closed down as is the road directly leading to the Sakura household, while most businesses that Joker would normally enter, like the gym and movie theater, are similarly unavailable. The subway stations in both districts are also unavailable, as is the ability to roam any other locales within Tokyo. Shujin Academy does return, but only for a very quick spell when the Phantom Thieves visit it near the arc's climax.
    • A trip to Kyoto leads to the hot springs from Persona 3, complete with another Noodle Incident where the guys get their asses kicked by the girls after a misunderstanding about the hot springs' usage schedule. One would think that after six or seven years they'd have marked things a little better around there.
    • Kyoto's Jail takes motifs from the original Persona 5, including samples of "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There" and "Life Will Change" in its BGM and a cognitive Joker acting as a Boss.
  • Nothing Personal: In her first battle after "awakening" to Pithos, Sophia says as much to the Shadows that are about to attack her and the Phantom Thieves.
    Shadow: What are you doing?!
    Sophia: I am helping the Phantom Thieves. Don't take it personally.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Konoe tries this on the Phantom Thieves, claiming that they're both people trying to change the world by changing hearts. It's just that he managed to make it into a system. Sophia points out that nobody, not even the Jail Monarchs, is happy under his system, while the Phantom Thieves have instead inspired hope.
  • Oddball in the Series: Strikers is distinct among Dynasty Warriors spin-off games for adhering much closer to its source material in its execution, rather than simply taking the franchise's branding and slapping it onto a Warriors game.
    • For starters, it is one of the few Warriors crossovers based on a multi-generational franchise that is not a Massive Multiplayer Crossover. As such, the roster is limited to only 10 playable characters, with Joker and up to 3 other party members available at any given time as opposed to the larger crossovers seen in titles like Hyrule Warriors.
    • The game retains the overworld and social interactions of the Persona games rather than simply putting cutscenes and menus between levels.
    • Equipment progression is very similar to Persona games, with the main method of gear acquisition being treasure chests and Sophia's Shop, with only very special gear appearing from enemy encounters. There is also no equipment upgrade system like in most Warriors games.
    • Most notably, rather than featuring open-field army-versus-army combat, the Jails in Strikers have level designs more in line with traditional RPG dungeons like the Palaces from Persona 5 combined with thematic similarities to Warriors fields. Rather than fighting all of your foes practically at the same time, combat gameplay uses Preexisting Encounters and Actually Four Mooks like the Persona games.
    • It is one of the only Warriors games to use Real-Time with Pause, allowing players to use their Personas and items mid-combat to simulate the turn-based aspect of Persona.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ryuji ends up Tempting Fate when he jokingly asks for a gold bar after Sophia offers to purchase anything for the Phantom Thieves. The Thieves quickly realize that they're going to be charged millions of yen for this frivolous purchase and demand it be returned to sender before they're mired in debt.
    • The prospect of Haru driving always causes Makoto to nervously decline or simply freak out, and when Haru finally has to take over driving duties for the second Kyoto trip, Makoto is noted to look incredibly pale. The reason why becomes clear when Haru starts giggling and talking about a "special technique"... that, as it turns out, would be more suited to Initial D than it would be a trip between cities. By the time the rest of the Thieves realize letting Haru take the wheel was a bad idea, it's too late. In fact, the team make it to Kyoto by noon on the same day, which means Haru somehow cut an 8-hour trip down to 3 or 4 hours.
      Makoto: Um, so I've never really told you guys this... But the moment Haru's hands touch the wheel...
      Haru: Get ready to shift into overdrive! note 
      (Cue Mass "Oh, Crap!")
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Phantom Thieves briefly comment on how once again a false god is trying to merge the cognitive and real worlds together and wonder if a deity personally has it out for them.
  • Old Save Bonus: You can unlock the original version of Last Surprise as well as Take Over if you have save data for Persona 5 or Updated Re Release Royal in the PlayStation 4. In the Nintendo Switch version, these tracks are instead unlocked by having save data from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For those playing on Steam, these instead have to be unlocked by beating the game once.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The opening sees Joker jump down into the Crossing near the 705 building, taking on an army of Shadows all by himself. Late in the first Jail, the clarification as to why Joker is doing this comes up: he's acting as a decoy while Futaba takes down a gate to access Alice's castle.
  • Once per Episode: Once again, there is a Hot Springs Episode in which due to misunderstanding with the usage schedule, the boys are caught by the girls and get their asses kicked. For bonus points, it is the same hot springs inn that S.E.E.S. visited nearly 10 years ago.
  • One-Man Army: The Phantom Thieves enter the fray swinging in this installment. Any one of them can now take on dozens if not hundreds of Shadows on their lonesome as part of the Hack and Slash combat.
  • One-Man Party: Downplayed with reserve party members, who continue to level up regardless of whether or not they're deployed. However, not being deployed generally levels them up slower than if they were on the field, meaning that keeping a party member out longer means they'll eventually have a level advantage over party members who haven't been deployed. Thankfully the gap isn't that big, so you can just throw under-leveled members into the field for a bit to bring them up to speed. For obvious reasons, since he's required to be on the field at all times, expect Joker to be a bit more overpowered than his comrades in this regard.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Uniquely subverted in this game. Despite one of your targets being named "Alice Hiiragi," you can still fuse the persona Alice in this game.
    • Akira Konoe shares his given name with the one used for Joker in P5's manga adaptation.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Leaving a city locks off access to any unobtained items from that city's shops for the remainder of the playthrough, mainly regional specialties and souvenirs unique to that city. Now, recipes you miss will appear in Sophia's shop, albeit at ten times their original value. But while any other regional items can appear in her shop as well, they can only do so as part of a sale, which is completely randomized. So, while it's possible to get them again, it's about as reliable as roulette; it's more likely that you'll get them on New Game+ first.
    • Character-specific Requests can also be missed if not taken or completed before leaving the city. Each one that you complete nets you a powerful Accessory right before you return to Tokyo.
  • Player Nudge: Before the Final Boss, Morgana unusually warns you that the fight will require all the Phantom Thieves, both frontline and backline, giving the player a chance to equip characters they may not have used appropriately.
  • Plot Tunnel: During the return visit to Tokyo, after completing the Osaka Jail, you're told the story will progress significantly when you move to the next location and that saving to a separate slot is suggested. Once you go to Tokyo Tower, you're forced into the Jail of the Abyss and can't return to the real world until you complete the dungeon. This overlaps with Drought Level of Doom, as you have no way to restock items within said dungeon, and while there is a full heal point midway through, it's not easy to return to it as teleporting between Save Points is disabled.
  • Point of No Return: After each Jail, you're given one last chance to explore the city before moving on to the next city. At the end of the Osaka Jail, Zenkichi warns you that once you return to Tokyo, the police will shut down EMMA's servers, which should destroy the Jails. He tells you to finish everything you want to do in the Jails and Osaka before he gives the call. Naturally, once he does, things won't go exactly as planned and The Very Definitely Final Dungeon begins.note 
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Invoked in-game by EMMA during one of the game's darker moments. When Konoe asks it for advice on catching the Phantom Thieves, it tells him that the police are useless in capturing the Phantom Thieves and he would be better off using a Jail created by an associate of the Thieves to change their hearts. Unfortunately, unbeknown to him that's actually the daughter of the officer who was tracking him down, causing his very own downfall.
    • Actually subverted within the game itself, as without Yaldabaoth and Shido's manipulations, the Police did actually capture the culprits behind the Change of Heart incidents, while the Phantom Thieves got the trust of a few of them, even having one join their side.
    • The Commissioner General of the National Police Agency wants Kaburagi to take the lead in arresting the Phantom Thieves. She rightly suspects that he just wants to get bonus points with the public, which he had at least admitted to. However, this is also justifed, as later on it's revealed that the Commissioner General was brainwashed by Konoe and did not remember assisting Owada once he's freed.
  • Precision F-Strike: Arguably a strike four years in the making: When a mysterious voice dismisses Sophia as a waste that should have never existed, Ryuji retaliates with a blistering Shut Up, Hannibal! speech, capping it off with yelling "So shut the FUCK up, idiot!" at it. While he had liberally used "effin'" in the original game and said "fuck" through text once or twice, this marks the first time that Max Mittelman, as Ryuji, has used "fuck" in a voice-acted line. Morgana supports him, saying that Phantom Thieves usually have more class than that, "but not this time."
  • Protection Mission: When infiltrating Jails, the Thieves come across locked doors that require Futaba to hack them open, which also requires them to protect her from attacking Shadows until she's finished.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Igor is absent from the Velvet Room, leaving Lavenza to fulfill his duties in his stead. This happens in every spinoff Persona game, and no explanation is ever given.
    • Iwai and Takemi both get mentioned, but their shop and clinic are respectively shut down for the entire duration of the story. Takemi is attending a medical conference throughout the summer while the circumstances behind the closure of Iwai's airsoft store are never elaborated. Sophie instead sets up a digital shop through the Dark Web for the group to order their supplies.
  • Recurring Riff: Sophia's theme, "AI and the Heart," shares a similar melody as her other theme, "The Heart of an AI" and the introduction of the Demiuge's second phase. "The Heart of an A.I." also has an another version that shares the same medley as "Throw Away Your Mask" and the credits theme.
  • Red Herring:
    • Based on past experiences that present the police as obviously bad news in Persona, you might believe that Zenkichi is actually a traitor and Commissioner Kaburagi is a threat. Zenkichi's suspiciously similar facial features with Shido don't help the cause. The fact that his introduction parallels Akechi's blackmailing of the Phantom Thieves towards becoming a member (admitting he knows they are the Phantom Thieves, saying he wants to help/join them and find the real culprit, and uses that knowledge to blackmail the heroes), would make the heroes (and the game's players) think he is lying and going to betray them. It turns out that neither of them are evil to begin with, and they warm up to the Phantom Thieves once they know they are being used and bribed by other, more corrupt parties.
    • There are numerous scenes in game that build up Owada as a major threat, as he is a Corrupt Politician who lobbied for Shido before, caused and then covered up the manslaughter of Akane Hasegawa's mother two years prior to the game's events and is cooperating with Akira Konoe to use the EMMA app to destroy his opposition. It turns out that he is no real threat, because Zenkichi and Kaburagi already orchestrated his arrest which they promptly fulfill at the end of the game. What's more, Konoe is also using him for his own crusade against crime and plans to take him down should he succeed.
    • The game also tries to play one that makes you think Ichinose would be the Final Boss based on her full involvement with the EMMA app and the fact that she just acts suspiciously at best. While she's still the instigator, she pulls out a Heel–Face Turn quite quickly and the final boss is actually her misguided creation.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Once the player clears the Osaka Arc, the reasons why the Monarchs started acting in ways that matched their oppressors makes a lot more sense, as that was Laser-Guided Karma, or the reason why Konoe managed to escape his abusive father.
    • At the start of the game when Futaba checks Sophia's code, she comments about how an AI would reflect its creator's habits, processes and personalities. Shortly later into the game, Sophia innocently suggests causing a Mental Shutdown on Alice, and EMMA herself in the Kyoto arc suggests turning the adolscent daughter of Zenkichi into an asset to capture and Change the Hearts of the Phantom Thieves without telling him that he was going to manipulate the young daughter of an officer that was out to arrest him. The creator of both entities is Kuon Ichinose, who in addition to being innately unable to feel strong emotions, had a specific type of eccentric mentality where she wouldn't feel bad for using innocents and believed that anyone who blatantly went around causing mass havoc deserved to die, herself included.
    • Sophia is actually humming her Leitmotif, "The Heart of an AI". She also learned the act from Ichinose.
    • During the Sendai conference with Konoe, he talks about EMMA being an advisor to everyday life who always makes the correct answers. EMMA is programmed to enforce the answer to the end of humanity's suffering based on a democracy vote, but because of a petty reason on her creator's part, she couldn't process anything save for people asking her for advice. Therefore, she was led to think that the true desire of the people is to have her give advice for them.
    • When the Thieves are telling Ichinose about the Jails, she reacts with excitement, yet when she's introduced to Sophia, her reactions are not as enthusiastic. In addition to knowing about the Jails, Ichinose also has a condition where she doesn't experience emotion like most people, so she puts on a cheerful facade in order to not freak them out. Sophia was originally created by her in order to understand the reasons for these emotions and then ditched in favor of EMMA under a fit of rage. Knowing all this, it's obvious that Ichinose was faking her emotions while learning about the Jails, since she already knew about them but needed to act like she didn't, but when she learned that the Phantom Thieves have Sophia, something that actually did surprise her, she was too shocked to fake her emotions.
    • Upon meeting Akane the first time, she shares with the Phantom Thieves that she saw the culprit behind her mother's death prior to the start of Strikers. This takes a darker note further into the story; when Zenkichi meets Shadow Akane for the first time, she points to Jyun Owada, a former Shido crony, using a patsy to cover up the fact that he himself caused it. Zenkichi himself also talks about how he's being sent death threats while investigating the incident. Based on how Shido was literally an untouchable god-like power during that time thanks to Yaldabaoth's backing, the death threats obviously weren't empty.
    • When Akane becomes a Monarch, she starts raving about how she's going to either change the Phantom Thieves' hearts or bring them down before doing the same to Owada, her mother's killer. That's actually not her idea; it's actually Konoe's, whose "Operation Oraculi" basically consists of taking down the Phantom Thieves upon EMMA's advice, then changing Owada's heart with the application himself. This becomes a warning that Konoe and Owada might not be buddies after all, despite prior speculation.
    • Related to the point above, Shadow Akane's Motive Rant is a powerful Hannibal Lecture that she isn't supposed to be capable of delivering on her own, and midway she even tells Zenkichi that she forgives him for failing to investigate her mother's death but couldn't forgive him for leading to the death of Owada's sercetary. Later on, the Shadow of her co-captor Akira Konoe delivers a similar-sounding Hannibal Lecture / Motive Rant about Justice that the Phantom Thieves can't effectively rebuke. Knowing all of this, Akane was clearly not acting as herself at that time, indicating very blatant and direct brainwashing from EMMA that caused her to become a Psychological Projection of Konoe.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: In the Sapporo Jail, the Phantom Thieves are stalled in their operation when the Monarch orders for the Jail to be cleaned. A legion of Jack Frost shadows charge out, chanting together about their task in rhyme.
    Jack Frost #1: Cleanup, hee! Cleanup, ho!
    Jack Frost #2: Cleanup, hee-ho, here we go!
    Jack Frost #3: Bury them in pure, white snow! Heeee-HO!
  • Road Trip Plot: The heroes spend their summer vacation on a cross-country road trip around Japan, juggling their holiday with traversing dungeons and battling Shadows. The fact that they burned through this entire adventure within a month makes it one of the longer Persona spin-offs.
  • Running Gag: Zenkichi, like Ryuji, Ann, and Makoto before him, calls Morgana a "monster cat" when they first meet.
  • Sanity Slippage: Actually Exaggerated in this game. While the public still goes insane thanks to supernatural circumstances just like any other Persona game where they are present, it's not rolled out gradually as the game's events progress. Instead, depending on the encounter, whole swathes of the general public are rendered insane at once on screen or the mass brainwashing was already accomplished way before the events of the game begin.
  • Saying Too Much: Kuon Ichinose overhears the Phantom Thieves discussing their activities during a Toho University lecture run by Akira Konoe, exposing their true identities to her.
  • Schmuck Bait: Two in-universe examples.
    • This is basically how the Monarch's brainwashing works for anyone but the Monarch themselves. They usually publicize their EMMA friend-keywords without disclosing what the keyword actually does in an advertising campaign, and for obvious reasons; it's to make sure people are randomly dragged into the Metaverse for the sole reason of having their Desires stolen. While this doesn't physically harm anyone, the person in the real world becomes brainwashed and mesmerized by the Monarch, having their Desires converted into the Monarch's Desires.
    • During the Kyoto arc, there's a very obvious one that could have been easily avoided if the Phantom Thieves simply paid attention to Akane's behavior. When Kaburagi and Owada fail to capture the Phantom Thieves thanks to Zenkichi intervening, his house is ransacked and EMMA autonomously responds to Akane's pleas for someone to save her. Konoe then asks EMMA for a way to capture the Phantom Thieves, and she tells him that he should turn one of their associates into a Monarch and use them to bait the Thieves, while withholding the Monarch's true identity from him. This of course turns out to be none other than Akane, since EMMA created a Jail without her consent and sends a distress message in her name to them. This would be easy to avoid if the Phantom Thieves visited the Hasegawa residence to check her out (where she would most certainly be within her bedroom whether or not she was actually brainwashed by EMMA), yet they headed straight into the Jail knowing that it was a trap. Sure enough, Shadow Akane was driven insane by EMMA and she proceeds to trap all the Phantom Thieves trying to change their hearts. If not for Futaba being too weak to run for long, this definitely would spell their demise.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Joker aims his pistol at the screen when the equipment menu is accessed. Selecting a piece of equipment has him fire, sending the camera reeling backward.
  • Sequel Hook: Before going their separate ways at the end of the game, the Phantom Thieves promise each other that they will meet again during winter break, with Sophia and Zenkichi both promising to return should the thieves need them again.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: The Okinawa Beach Episode cutscene starts with Ann emerging from the sea while throwing her head and hair backwards in Slow Motion following by a close-up shot of her cleavage. Cut to Ryuji and Joker in the sand clearly Eating the Eye Candy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • If spoken to outside the theater on Central Street in Shibuya, Makoto will talk about the hotly-anticipated movie "Dragon: Like a Yakuza". Later on in Dotonbori, she'll mention how everything looks familiar to her, referencing the recurring Yakuza location Sotenbori.
    • Sophia's third Master Art is called "Blast Processing".
    • Ryuji's last Master Art is "Rebel Yell".
    • One of Haru's Master Arts is titled "Ballroom Blitzer", while another is called "Étoile" in a likely reference to an Edgar Degas painting of the same name.
    • In the cutscene where Natsume reveals his boss form, he does one of the poses made by Dio Brando. Considering the theme of his Jail, it might had been deliberate.
    • On the boat ride to Okinawa, Futaba strikes the "king of the world" pose while singing a very brief snippet of "My Heart Will Go On."
    • The name of the Request to teach Zenkichi how to cook in Osaka is called "Cooking Papa".
    • During Zenkichi's Persona awakening, Valjean's lines include direct references to song lyrics from the Les Miserables musical.
    • Some of the consumable items sold in Sophia's Shop come from "Gilles de Rais Pharmacy", "Amazoom" and "Rocinante.net"
  • Skills, Scores, and Perks: The Bond system gives players access to numerous buffs during gameplay, ranging from simple parameter increases and increased drop rates for materials and money, to situational boosts like refilling health during a successful ambush. Points for this could be earned not just through successful fights and progressing through the main story, but from taking the time to complete Requests, cook meals for the first time and hanging out with party members in smaller Confidant-style Requests.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Sapporo Jail is completely covered in glacial ice and food, and has a segment where the Thieves slide down an icy hill to proceed.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: While the targets aren't exactly evil, unlike in Persona 5 it's mostly played straight, as the Phantom Thieves start by fighting against a bullying victim who graduated from Shujin a few years ago, to an IT conglomerate CEO trying to wipe out all injustice via robbing the public of free will, and finally to a digital goddess who believes that humanity's desires was for her to make decisions for them. However, the Greater-Scope Villain (also the traitor and the creator of Sophia and the Big Bad) was fought before the Big Bad herself.
  • Status Buff: Tarukaja, Rakukaja, and Sukukaja still serve the same purposes that they do in the rest of the Shin Megami Tensei series, but since this game is an Action RPG they have slightly altered effects, such as Rakukaja granting Immune to Flinching and Sukukaja increasing the chance of activating Auto-Evade. In addition to some items being able to grant buffs, there is also the Churrasco recipe, possibly one of the single most potent buff items in the Persona series for essentially being Luster Candy (an all-target Heat Riser effect) as a consumable item.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: During the Kyoto Jail, the entire party save Futaba is captured by Shadow Akane. The player assumes control of Zenkichi, who has no Persona and cannot defend himself against Shadows; he must sneak through the Jail to reach the Phantom Thieves and rescue them without being caught.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The police force is noticeably weaker after the events of Persona 5, and the public has largely lost faith in them. Not only did the National Police Agency fail to catch the Phantom Thieves, but several of its high-ranking members were arrested for being part of The Conspiracy in the base game after the same game's Big Bad received a Change of Heart and exposed them. It's a small wonder then that the people of Tokyo don't trust the cops anymore. As a result, the police are more determined than ever to catch the Phantom Thieves in order to regain the public's trust, despite the evidence against them being largely circumstantial.
    • Futaba's attempt to recreate the iconic "I'm King of the World" scene from Titanic (1997) ends up getting her scolded by a ferry crew member.
    • During the 4th Jail arc, the Phantom Thieves spend all night exploring a dungeon, after a day of enjoying the beach. As they're not used to all-nighter heists, and this heist happened unexpectedly unlike the last all-nighter (the fight against Maruki), the Phantom Thieves are naturally drained after they finish, and they require a good amount of rest in order to recover.
    • Makoto is made the designated driver of their trip since she's had her license the longest and has the most experience. When Haru offers to help, Makoto repeatedly insists that she can do it by herself, partially because she does not want Haru to drive for obvious reasons. While she's able to go through the first couple of drives with only needing a break, Makoto becomes more exhausted with each trip to the point she's not physically/mentally well enough to make the return trip from Fukuoka to Kyoto. Repeatedly driving for long stretches, even with breaks, takes its toll on anyone if they do not switch with someone else. The Jail excursions and constant battles with shadows do not help with Makoto's fatigue either.
    • The relationship between Zenkichi and Akane isn't magically fixed, even with all the encouragement by the Phantom Thieves. Firstly, even though Zenkichi may have had a good reason to act like he didn't care, that doesn't change what he did to his daughter or the fact that he was lying to her. Zenkichi backed off and pretended not to care about Akane because her life was threatened if he kept investigating the circumstances behind his wife's death. Plus, the investigation would put him within sight of Masayoshi Shido, which would end up in disaster. This does not mean Akane will instantly forgive Zenkichi after the Phantom Thieves tell her the truth. Shadow Akane even taunts Zenkichi about this, saying that it was because of him that she lost faith in the "justice" the police were bringing and caused her to become a fan of the Phantom Thieves. Adding to the fact that Akane was brainwashed during that time, knowing Zenkichi's motive and what kind of opponent he was facing during that time will not change how Akane felt.
    • The police, no matter how much they want to take down the Phantom Thieves to salvage their reputation, cannot arrest them for the recent Change of Heart crimes because they have no evidence other than a hunch about the similarities with past modus operandi. Kaburagi emphasizes to her subordinates the importance of investigating all the cases for a possible link. When Owada bribes the department to arrest the teens in Kyoto and take Zenkichi into custody, Sae Niijima very quickly shuts down their operation and buys time for the Phantom Thieves because the police skipped their usual arrest procedures and could not provide any legal justification for their actions.
    • As with the original game, the Phantom Thieves discussing their plans in public and Morgana's noisiness brings them nothing but trouble. Ichinose, the mastermind behind the Jails and EMMA's takeover of Japan, overhears them in the lecture hall during Konoe's speech after she recognized Morgana's meowing. She's able to string them along by pretending to be an ally, use them to research EMMA's limits, and almost kills them off in the final Jail before her Heel–Face Turn. None of which would have happened if the Phantom Thieves and Morgana kept quiet until they were in a safe place to talk.
    • Once the Final Boss is beaten, Ichinose tries to turn herself to the police for creating EMMA, an AI god that caused nationwide discord, and potentially global chaos if left unchecked. The police do not believe a word she says and set her free, despite the fact that she was the de facto culprit that they're hunting for. Like with Persona 5, supernatural elements don't work as proper evidence to any form of crime. Since her crimes were only committed in the Metaverse (unlike Akechi who killed people in the real world), she gets dismissed for lack of proof.
  • Taking You with Me: Played for laughs in an optional event right before leaving Yongen-Jaya. When Sophia requests that someone show her a giant bowl of ramen, Ann immediately strongarms Ryuji into eating one. Ryuji responds by dragging Joker and Ann down with him and buying a giant bowl for each of them.
  • Tastes Better Than It Looks: The Goat Soup recipe, the smell of which physically repulses Morgana, but tastes great despite this. It's incidentally the only recipe referred to as "alright" instead of "a big hit."
  • The Teaser: After an action-packed opening cutscene, Joker is immediately thrown into a tutorial battle against an endless horde of Shadows in Shibuya. Only after clearing the encounter by using a Limit Break attack does the game's opening play.
  • Tempting Fate: The Phantom Thieves start tempting it hard after toppling Konoe's Jail. Morgana remarks that Konoe's will likely be the last calling card they ever send and Ann flat-out says "Let's toast to this totally closed case!" while they celebrate. As you'd expect, everything goes to hell by the time the day's over.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: On the day the Phantom Thieves assault the Jail's central castle, "Daredevil" plays until the Thieves make it inside, even playing over the battle music. Also, like in the original, "Life Will Change" plays after the Thieves have sent the Calling Card.
  • Third-Person Seductress: Since Ms. Fanservice Ann, as Panther, can now be controlled as a third person Action RPG star, she attains this role, especially given her tendency to pose suggestively while dungeon crawling with some angles letting you see just how busty she really is. Makoto also slightly falls into this role, as players can have a better view of how her Sensual Spandex outlines the curves of her body.
  • Time Stands Still: The action freezes when the Persona skill menu is brought up, providing a window to choose the right skill, target Shadows weak to specific elements, and in Joker's case, switch Personas.
  • Title Drop: "Strike," and variations of, are used quite a bit in combat dialogue (mostly when initiating an All-Out Attack), and the word prominently features in the lyrics of Insert Songs "Daredevil" and "Counter Strike". The original Japanese subtitle is also given a nod with the "Phantom Striker" trophy and Bond skill.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Played with. The people who live in Kukiojima near Okinawa are actually brainwashed due to the presence of the Jail/Madicce research facility and actively try to hide evidence of the fatal experiments that took place inside. They try to misdirect anyone too nosy by keeping the out-of-office notice updated so that the research staff always seem to be out, and devolve into a mob that nearly capture and kill the Phantom Thieves once they feel threatened enough. After the Phantom Thieves clear the Okinawa jail, all of the islanders return to normal and forget about what happened.
  • Trauma Button: It turns out that the population's shadows aren't the only ones who are victims to EMMA's influence. Whenever the Thieves try to reach the Monarchs, they experience a traumatic aural memory whenever they approach the Birdcages where the Desires are kept, and Morgana realizes after they clear the third Jail that that means it's not to keep possible intruders out. It’s to keep the Monarch trapped. EMMA is essentially mind raping the Monarchs into staying Monarchs using the fear of returning to who they were before they received the app's power.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: After the Phantom Thieves were captured by Shadow Akane in the Kyoto Jail, Futaba gets Zenkichi to help her free them. Since Zenkichi hasn't awakened to Valjean yet, the gameplay shifts from dynamically zipping around the Jail slaying shadows to a Stealth-Based Mission, as Zenkichi is a completely normal human being compared to the Persona-using Phantom Thieves and will die if he gets caught by the patroling Shadows since he has no means to defend himself against them.
  • Unwanted Assistance: The Phantom Thieves initially turn down Zenkichi's help due to their lack of trust in law enforcement authorities, but eventually agree to make a deal with him after he shares some information about Alice with them.
  • Unwitting Test Subject: The people of Okinawa were used as guinea pigs for the EMMA app by Konoe after Ichinose sold the technology to Madicce. Konoe used the app on the island and Shuzo Ubukata to create a prototype Jail, which resulted in the residents' abnormal behavior and their attempts to hunt down the Phantom Thieves.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Unsurprisingly enough for a Persona game, Tetraja and instant-kill protection. The game gives you these defensive spells with the expectation that you'll face instant-kill spells, but not only do instant-kills never appear on Normal difficulty, enemies who actually cast instant-kills only appear on Merciless and are so rare that there's no point in filling a Skill slot or Accessory slot for immunity against them. There's also the fact that since We Cannot Go On Without You is averted, there's no real danger in losing a party member to an instant-kill unless you're in a really bad fight and are out of revival items.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Typical for any resident of the Velvet Room, Lavenza repeatedly warns Joker about the coming calamity, although it's less that she won't say more than she has to and more that most of the time, she's not sure about exactly what the threat is.
  • Variable Mix: The field music for each area of a Jail switches to a more subdued mix during sidescrolling platforming sections.
  • Vendor Trash: The game has two varieties: materials which you can only sell in Sophia's Shop, and junk which you give to Ichinose for Requests. Junk must be turned over to Ichinose in specific numbers, so you usually have some left over.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • The first time you meet Alice Hiiragi (before triggering the new Metaverse incidents), she seems to be a friendly young woman promoting her new store at 705. It's subverted however, since that's actually a scheme to change the hearts of her target market.
    • The antagonistic, shady-looking Zenkichi can be first seen casually hanging around Leblanc. Inverted, since he's not actually a villain to begin with.
    • Played straight with Ichinose, the game's traitor and Greater-Scope Villain. She can be first seen and met casually hanging out alone in a restaurant serving beef tongue in Sendai.
  • Virtual Sidekick:
    • EMMA is an application that's initially presented as a more effective form of Siri and nearly everyone in Japan has it. Not only can it perform internet searches as asked and has highly advanced speech recognition software, but it can actually supply the optimal option for any given situation. In fact, a large chunk of people relies on it to make all their decisions for them simply because of how convenient it is. Originally, the only unusual trait it has is that it can access Jails in the Metaverse via keywords. However, as the game progresses, it's revealed that EMMA is more than just an app; it's a self-aware AI and its purpose is to find the ultimate answer to humanity's happiness, but instead becomes a monstrosity that essentially removes free will and emotions from the masses by making all their decisions for them, per the way its creator programmed it.
    • Sophia is a rather unusual case in that she has a physical presence in the Metaverse and serves as a full-fledged party member along with the rest of the Phantom Thieves, but she inhabits Joker's smartphone in the real world and can perform any task that EMMA can since she has no robotic body. Sophia at first cannot understand the human heart, but she wishes to learn, and the Phantom Thieves are more than happy to help her along the way. Eventually she awakens to a proper Persona and becomes capable of processing emotional experiences.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Averted. Much like Persona Q2, Joker going down in combat doesn't trigger an automatic Game Over as it does in the original Persona 5 and Royal. However, Joker is always required to stay in the party.
  • Wham Episode: Or more specifically a Wham City Okinawa. This Jail is where the plot really picks up the pace when it is revealed that the Monarch is already dead and, one long string of cutscenes after leaving the city, the Thieves are framed for his death.
  • Wham Line:
    • While Ryuji was picking up camping goods with Joker and Morgana for the team's summer vacation, Joker inputs the "Wonderland" keyword to the EMMA application as per Alice's business card. Then, this very familiar message acts as the Phantom Thieves' Call to Adventure:
      EMMA: Keyword successfully inputted. Beginning Navigation...
    • Your first target's true nature.
      Arrogant Girl: Disgusting... can you please not talk to me?
      Bitter Girl: Why are you hooking on those guys?
      Quarreling Girl: That girl... she really looks so pathetic.
      Scornful Girl: I get you~! Didn't she just look so gloomy? Hahaha!
      Alice: No, that's not true! I...
    • Throughout most of the game, Konoe doesn't act like he was anything but a Straw Hypocrite. This dialogue at the top floor of this Jail, however...
      Harsh Voice: Abuse? This is ridiculous... Erm, it's just because we had a pet here. That's probably what they heard. Right, Akira?
      Calm Voice: But Konoe-san, we've received reports that you've been violent against your child... in fact, Akira-kun seems to have an injury on his arm...
      Harsh Voice: He just fell down. How many times have I told you? Enough, go away. Damn brat! How dare you cause all this trouble for me! Just do what I tell you! *sounds of physical beating*
    • Near the end of the game, when Sophia is planning a Route that will let the Phantom Thieves return quickly from Yokohama to Tokyo:
      Sophia: OK, I will... Wait a minute... What was that...?
      Haru: Sophia?
      Sophia: A Jail... I smell a Jail!
    • When the true culprit reveals themselves:
      Kuon Ichinose: ~♪
    • When confronting Shadow Akane, she reveals that the the tragic accident that killed her mother has much more to do with the matter at hand than just being part of her conflict with her father:
    Shadow Akane: You say you couldn't catch him? It's more like you didn't want to catch him. The monster who killed Mom...you knew it was Owada!
  • Wham Shot:
    • This game throws one right after the beginning. The Shibuya Jail investigation against Alice ends with the party going to the top of the Jail, whose center is blocked by an invisible barricade playing a vocal clip of Alice being bullied at school for "hooking on men." This is a very nice hint that the targets you deal with in the game are the equivalent of Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, like Sae or Maruki before them, instead of monstrously despicable people.
    • While Akira Konoe comes off as a rather despicable person, this perception changes once Zenkichi touches the barrier to Konoe's Cage. It turns out that because his father was so abusive that he tried to murder young Akira after killing Akira's mother/his own wife, grown-up Akira is using the EMMA application to create a just, humane society where nobody would experience the suffering he faced as a child.
      • Speaking of Konoe, listen after he hangs up on Jyun Owada. He outright calls the politician "disgusting vermin." While he never admits using Owada as a means to his own end to the Thieves, this is a very good clue that things are not what they seem.
    • When you reach the center of the Tokyo Jail, you meet the Ark of the Covenant, which is an evolved form of EMMA. And then a very familiar hum can be heard once Ichinose steps in. While her very minimal involvement in the big picture already gives huge hints of her being the Traitor, this indicates that Ichinose is actually the Greater-Scope Villain and the grand instigator of the game's events.
  • You Are Not Alone: A recurring theme amongst the Monarchs is loneliness, and it's likely this more than anything that causes them to snap as bad as they do. While the Phantom Thieves had each other and assorted friends, confidants and allies to lean on when times were hard, the Monarchs were not so lucky. Once they got the power to change hearts at will, very little stopped them from going ham on everyone around them: after all, nobody else cares about them, so why shouldn't they do as they please? It's telling that upon defeating each Monarch, the Phantom Thieves stress that they aren't alone, or they don't have to be anymore, and it's usually being assured of this that inspires the Monarch to have their Heel–Face Turn. The same thing also applies to the Greater-Scope Villain proper, a lonely and emotionally insecure woman who kickstarted everything out of pettiness with an AI she created. After defeating her, Sophia and the rest of the Phantom Thieves convince her that she isn't alone, causing her to have a Heel–Face Turn and cooperate with them to cut off her loose ends.
  • You Didn't Ask:
    • Sophia casually reveals that she’s a powerful fighter shortly after the Phantom Thieves first meet her and that she's an AI once they return to the real world. Both times, when Skull asks why she didn't say so from the beginning, Sophia says that it's because nobody asked her.
    • Referenced again later after Wolf deals with the pain of touching a Birdcage to glean the Trauma Cell's location:
    Wolf: Yeesh, you guys coulda warned me about that.
    Panther: Well, it's not like you asked... Ahaha.
    Sophie: I feel like I've heard that excuse before...
    Skull: Yeah, from yourself.


 
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