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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, and in Western territories on February 23, 2021, or February 19 for those who preordered a digital copy anytime before said date.

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 stumbled upon a strange incident involving mass Change of Hearts in Shibuya. To make things worse, a police inspector named Zenkichi Hasegawa reveals to them that mass Change of Hearts were occurring all over Japan as well, and the police had suspected the Thieves as the culprits, but Zenkichi himself suspected someone else was behind it. Making a deal with Zenkichi to assist in his investigation and 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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Previews: Japanese PV#01, Japanese PV#02, Opening Movie, Japanese PV#03, Western Release Announcement Trailer.


Persona 5 Strikers contains the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: EMMA, the AI phone assistant introduced in the game is voiced in English by Susan Bennett, the original voice actress for Apple's AI assistant Siri.
  • Adult Fear: 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 get back the power and fame that they desperately wanted in the first place, even if said power and fame is nothing more than an illusion.
  • An Aesop:
    • Only you can find your own answer to happiness.
    • Even if you were wronged or bullied in the past, it does not merit your use of an extreme counter-offensive method. Especially if you get innocent people caught in the crossfire.
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    • 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 Your Little Dog, Too!: A threatening letter Zenkichi received from an unknown party states that he'll lose his daughter if he doesn't cease his personal investigation into his wife's murder to find out what really happened.
  • Alice Allusion:
    • The Shibuya Jail has a gaudy Alice in Wonderland-themed aesthetic, and the boss form of the Jail's Monarch is appropriately named "Mad Rabbit Alice".
    • You may also fuse Alice herself, as in the classic entity in this game.
  • 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
    • 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 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. Considering that Magic Is Rare, Health Is Cheap as is typical for a Persona game, this 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. However one has to keep in mind that while these moves are free, the effects are generally lesser than what hard casting them will provide, namely they won't do as much damage or break an enemy's guard as effectively nor will status effects last as long.
    • 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.
    • The Velvet Room has a number of Anti-Frustration Features compared to previous games.
      • Traditionally all Fusion would be done essentially manually; you can only fuse Persona using what's currently in your stock, and discovering recipes was up to the player, meaning 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 Persona.
      • 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 isn't 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.
  • 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 mesmerizing 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.
  • The Artifact: Persona still have Arcana associated with them for flavor purposes even though the Arcana no longer have a gameplay function.
  • 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. Similar treatment applies to the two major boss theme remixes, "Blooming Villain" and "Rivers in the Desert".
  • Bag of Spilling: The Phantom Thieves lost all the equipment, money, skills, and high-level Personas that they acquired from the previous game. note 
  • Beach Episode: The trip to Okinawa contains this, taking advantage of the summer time and the tropical location. A fully animated cutscene plays with the cast in swimsuits, who keep 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. Around after clearing the Okinawa arc, the game will present the corrupt Diet assemblyman and former lobbyist of Shido, Owada as the main villain and Konoe as the accomplice. In reality, Konoe was actually using Owada (and will neutralize him after he deals with the Phantom Thieves) while Owada has no relevance to the main scheme, fading into thin air before being promptly arrested for good. However, after neutralizing and arresting Konoe, EMMA fires back itself and ascends into a goddess bringing "salvation", and Ichinose being revealed as what seems to be The Dragon (or the Dragon-in-Chief) while EMMA itself assumes the role of the Big Bad and the final opponent in the game. In reality, Ichinose created EMMA out of a petty conflict with her previous AI, so she's actually the Greater-Scope Villain proper.
  • Bilingual Bonus: One of the earliest give-aways that Madicce, the developer of the EMMA conceirge application is into something much, more sinister, is that the company's name actually comes from "Oracle" in Greek. The CEO Konoe's delusional crusade to wipe out all crime is dubbed aptly as "Operation Oracle," and to fulfill his goals, he had Ubukata grant EMMA Psientific Knowledge, and said Cognitive Psience used to be previously known as the speciality of Futaba's mother. Madicce is really using Cognitive Psience and AI technology to summon a "God".
  • Bittersweet Ending: EMMA is defeated and shut down, destroying the Jails for good. Jun Owada is finally arrested, completely ending any attempt at The Conspiracy from making a comeback, and bringing closure to Zenkichi, Akane and many others. The Jail Monarchs will be suffering the guilt and consequences of all the crimes they committed as Monarchs, but most of them will still have a chance to right their wrongs and pursue their dreams the honest way. Also, the Phantom Thieves go their separate ways once more, including Sophia, who decides to accompany Ichinose on her journey to truly understand the heart. However, the Phantom Thieves vow that they will one day meet again.
  • 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.
  • Bonus Boss: Each of the Monarchs (save for twonote ) can be challenged again as they were after completing their Jails. Harder versions of their fights can be accessed in the post-game. The Reaper also returns after completing every Request, and doing so unlocks the ability to go into New Game+ on Risky.
  • Book-Ends: 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 of 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.
  • 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 revisit 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 them rewards you with very powerful accessories that boost a stat by ten points.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Gun ammo here is still finite for every battle, and as with Royal, they can be automatically replenished after every encounter. However, Master Arts for Joker and Haru avert these, allowing them to use certain gun attacks without draining their ammo count.
  • Breaking Old Trends: According to a Japanese post for the Steam release, the localized version of the game will include an English cover of the credits theme, rather than using the original Japanese version as in previous Persona games.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of Joker's trailer (which is a part of Strikers' OP), he 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, simular 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.
  • 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 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 are only living on illusionary fame and ego, yet outsiders perceive it 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 as a "Tanuki" the first time she met him.
    • The Cendrillon Boss in Royal has an 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 ferris wheel in Sapporo 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's 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 deja vu?
    • In the original game, Yusuke wondered aloud why Joker and Ryuji aren't wearing yukatas during the fireworks festival in July. This time Joker is finally wearing one while Ryuji wears a happi.
    • 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.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Joker must be in the party at all times, no exceptions. Luckily the game doesn't enforce We Cannot Go On Without You like traditional Persona games.
  • Casting Gag: Just like Jose in Royal, when the Thieves first meet Sophia, she mistakes Morgana with 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.
  • Character Select Forcing: As nearly all of your party members are dropped in 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 making certain members or 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.
  • 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 Ichinose Sophia, she suddenly becomes lukewarm even though she was acting loud and peppy right before. That's because Sophia did trigger her jealousy of human emotions, leading her to shut her down and work on EMMA instead.
    • Each of the Jail Monarch's malicious activities you saw at the start of each area are actually how they are treated in the past.
    • The child that is mourned at the start of the Sapporo stage is actually killed in an ice sculpture accident which was scapegoated completely into Hiyodo and driven her into using EMMA to "save her".
    • The Jails don't actually disperse when the Monarch releases all the desires, because they are actually ran by EMMA and are not personalized spaces within the Metaverse.
    • The voices that Sophia heard saying that she was an inferior came from EMMA telepathically communicating with her, as Sophia is actually its scrapped prototype.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The two police officers during the police meeting at the start of the game is actually Kaburagi and Zenkichi. Both of them assist you at the end of the game.
    • Akira Konoe, the CEO of Maddice and owner of the EMMA Application, can be seen holding a conference in Sendai.
    • Kuon Ichinose, one of the the masterminds of the game, can be seen as soon as the night where the party steps foot on Sendai.
    • The publishers you encounter during Natsume's 1 Millionth copy banquet are actually the "Fearsome Four" you fight during Sendai's Jail to gain access to Natsume's Demon King Castle.
    • Akane Hasegawa is met and interacted with after Sapporo. 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 is implied to have happened after Royal rather than the original due to several Continuity Nods notes below. However this is justified since Sumire explicitly told Joker that she would be participating in internationals at the end of Royal and although Akechi is heavily implied to be alive in the true ending, he is also shown to be flanked by officers, which implies he fulfilled his decision to face justice for his actions and is currently under arrest.
  • Commonplace Rare: Select Coffee Beans are somehow the most rare 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 two recipes that use it (Leblanc 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 the Jack-of-All-Trades. He has easy-to-use combo strings and simple upgrades, but 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 Persona at his disposal.
    • Ryuji is a Mighty Glacier who fights slow but hits very hard, has built-in flinch resistance as his Special, and specializes in 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, 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 upon a successful counter. Goemon also specializes in 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 Specials that have 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 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
      • At the night of the game's first day, the protagonist ends up in the Velvet Room during a dream in Persona 5, as usual, but with Lavenza as its sole resident. However, during her greeting words, she refers the protagonist's world as "the future he stole back." This term is actually associated with Maruki and Azathoth's dream world collapsing, and doesn't really make sense as a reference to the Qliphoth World.
      • 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 a human. In the ending after Maruki's defeat, Morgana tells Joker that, regardless of what he is, he will always be Joker's partner.
      • During the game's final act, Morgana will speak of "A Palace that bled into reality half a year ago" while the Phantom Thieves and Ichinose are standing under Tokyo Tower's Jail, which is clearly based on Eden. While Mementos did bleed into reality, the hellscape that was the Qliphoth World was a far cry from any depiction of Eden, including the Psientific Model at the heart of Maruki's Palace. (This only happens in the Japanese version; in the English Version, Morgana says exactly a year ago.)
      • 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 (disintegrated) treasonous group, the accidential killer of Zenkichi's wife and Akane's mother and bribed the madame responsible for handling 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 got updates to better reflect their summer vacation. For example, Ann now has a prominent set of gold heart-shaped earrings that she lacked with any of her normal clothes back in Persona 5, while Joker's glasses no longer remain opaque as they were initially.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In the Western release, the button for interacting with things in the overworld is the right face buttonnote , compared to the original game where it was the bottom face buttonnote .
  • 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, and Haru can extend 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.
  • 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 upon learning) 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 her manager and threatening him, in addition to her confirming she did the same to her previous manager. Both Joker and Ann step in as she humiliates him and call her out when she tries use a "Just Joking" Justification.
    • Played a bit straighter with Makoto giving the boys her Fist of Justice in the hot spring, though in fairness she thought they were spying on the girls.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 spinoffs like Persona 4 Arena and Dancing All Night only really take place within a handful of days.
  • Fanservice: The game 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.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Men in Black near the end of Persona 5 are actually police who attempt to capture the Phantom Thieves as a desperate attempt to save their public image, and the Thieves quickly find themselves confronting a police investigator at the very beginning of this game.
    • While Morgana still somehow denies him as being "a cat", he also no longer talks about trying to become human in this game, something that he has insisted to do during the Vanilla ending. In the Royal version however, he never says a word about this, since it was implied that falling into Maruki's trap made him get over the fact that he can never become a human.
  • At the Police meeting at the start of the game, the meeting facilitator speaks of three Change of Heart incidents where three councilmen from Sapporo confessed to bribery and resigned, a famous author announcing retirement and the returning of his awards while deeming his books as garbage, and a newscaster announcing love for his co-anchor live. These were all allusions of (or presumably incidents orchestrated by) the first three targets in reversed order: Hyodo, Natsume and Alice.
    • After investigating Alice personally once, Sophia talks about that there might not be a treasure inside Jails and she suggests killing Shadow Alice instead. While the latter is instantly met with rejection, there are really no treasures inside the Jails, forcing the party to do extra work in getting around it.
    • At Sendai, there's a cardboard standee of Date Masamune and his wife near the vending machines. After defeating Shadow Natsume, it turns out the Devil King outfit he is wearing is actually a cardboard cutout and his true form is only wearing his underwear.
    • There are just numerous hints that Ichinose is the traitor.
      • Every time you meet her prior to The Reveal, she just uses all of the Verbal Tics of Takuto Maruki from Royal and she just seems too loud and peppy to be even genuine. Of course, she's faking it and she's just an emotionless "thing" (or so she claims; she's just unnervingly stoic. Ichinose is actually aware of how unnerving her typical stance is, so she fakes a stance to make her look less suspicious).
      • She's one of the very few people who knows who the Phantom Thieves are even if she isn't supposed to have met them in the Metaverse before with Ryuji's loud mouth playing a part of it. Before the encounter with her after Konoe's presentation, Alice and Natsume both mentioned someone is monitoring the Jails. Well, she's obviously the one doing it and the Phantom Thieves all know that they are dealing with someone dangerous. She doesn't mind until the very end, however.
      • She also blatantly admits selling the application to Konoe so he can improve it and she even personally invites him to the press conference right into her university. Considering that Konoe is The Heavy for the incident, this can't be anything more obvious.
      • Before The Reveal you will only meet her twice personally. Both times this happens in the Sendai arc, respectively before meeting Natsume and after his confession. You do not meet her personally after this and the other interaction prior to her exposure is via phone calls or SNS. Even after capturing what was supposedly the culprit, Ichinose still never has any major involvement.
      • For such a conspicuously minor character, Ichinose has a big head portrait and a cut-in which is usually reserved for important characters, effectively rendering her instant suspect level especially in an RPG where your goal is to find the culprit.
      • During the second and last time you meet Ichinose (until the game's final act), she largely acts loud and peppy as usual. However, when the Phantom Thieves introduce her to Sophia, she suddenly became very lukewarm as if she didn't know how to react. It turns out that Ichinose created Sophia before she worked on EMMA to understand why people thought that she was a freak, but Sophia asked her a question that pushed all of her buttons, causing her to ditch her as garbage and work on EMMA instead.
      • When the Phantom Thieves ask her for Konoe's keyword after defeating Akane, Joker tells her about Okinawa. She didn't look suprised about it at all and laughs at the testimonies, which greatly alerted Ryuji. She wouldn't be suprised at all because she sold EMMA to Konoe and was fully on board for the EMMA testrun in Okinawa.
    • When Futaba examines Sophia at the start of the game, she comments how the person who programmed her is a genius, and their habits, thought processes and personalities are within her code. As one progresses into the game, this becomes more and more evident as Sophia and EMMA possess a certain type of eccentric thought process, which is outright dubious at best and obvious malice at worst. Sophia (and EMMA's) creator is actually Ichinose, and it's heavily implied that this type of eccentric behavior is actually her mindset incorporated into her AIs because she shut down all of her emotions or empathy a long time ago.
      • When Ann, Joker and Morgana report their encounter with Alice to the rest of the party, Sophia obliviously suggests the Phantom Thieves to kill her Shadow (which will obviously induce a mental shutdown on her). When Ichinose was defeated in the Jail of the Abyss, she asks the Phantom Thieves to kill her out of guilt only for Sophia to persuade her back onto the right path.
      • After Kaburagi's failed operation to arrest the Phantom Thieves, Konoe turns to EMMA for advice, asking her for a way to capture the Phantom Thieves. EMMA suggests brainwashing Akane, an adolescent to do the dirty work for him (although she only tells him the person she was about to brainwash is a "person close to the Phantom Thieves" instead of referring to Akane by name). During the game's final act, after Ichinose briefly takes control of Sophia to attack the party and fails, Yusuke calls her "a devil", only for her to admit that she never felt anything bad about using (an adolscent) to do something she wanted to do.
    • In the same cutscene where Futaba examines Sophia's code, there are two.
      • Futaba mentions how if Sophia became widespread, EMMA would be "old hat". EMMA was actually the inferior product because Ichinose programmed her while not being in a right state of mind, resulting in a mechanical monstrosity brainwashing the public in the Tokyo Tower instead of an all-around helper.
      • When Futaba was analyzing Sophia's code, she mentions that Sophia didn't have the signiature of her creator inside her coding, which is (according to her) usually included within their work. It's implied what actually happened is Ichinose creating Sophia and dumping her within minutes of interaction out of a fit of rage, so she didn't even bother giving Sophia a signiature in her code. Sophia looks noticably depressed upon hearing this, because she did treat Ichinose as a friend, only to be dumped in a few minutes out of nothing but unjustified anger and jealousy.
    • During the first time you, Ann and Morgana meet Alice personally to confirm if she's really distorted and she starts to display psychotic and violent behavior, she doesn't really act that conceivable. It starts out as if she was outright bricked upon the TV host mentioning her crush, then unlike Kamoshida from the prequel game she attacks her manager physically by stepping on him, in a public area and not even bothering to check if there are other people around the hallway. Later on in Sapporo, in a similar vein as Alice, Hyodo also acts like a very comical Neat Freak only to soften up and reassume her usual demeanor when there are no civil wards nearby. It's clear that this isn't normal, and EMMA was artificially brainwashing the Monarchs to act in such way upon certain triggers by reminding them the reason why they use her for "salvation".
    • Pay attention to the trash laying around the dump area Shadow Alice has Joker, Skull, and Mona thrown into at the start of the game, right before meeting Sophia. There are broken school chairs, an unpinned blackboard, and a discarded blue door with a very distinctive square peek window cut at an askew angle. They are all features seen in Shujin Academy during Persona 5, hinting both at Alice's connection with the school and the fact she doesn't want to think about them, hence why they are in that particular place of her Jail.
    • If you paid attention to Shadow Natsume's "Demon King Garb", it remains completely still. That was because it's just a wooden board, and he's actually half-naked behind it.
    • The EMMA application can decide the correct option for everything its user asks it about, and it's absolutely accurate in that regard. It's pretty obvious that it will evolve to the level where it thinks that humanity's desire is having an AI goddess to do all the thinking for them while everyone knows that it isn't.
    • There are also a few hints about Sophia being a scrapped prototype of EMMA around.
      • She absolutely cannot think of any reason why she's even made, and she has no memories because it's a clean AI that was ditched instantly upon creation.
      • If one listens very carefully when Sophia is activated as a digital assistant in the real world, the ping she makes is the same as EMMA's.
      • She constantly looks up information, provides different services and acts like a guide and planner for the thieves, which is what the EMMA app is for the general populace.
      • Upon reaching the end of Okinawa's Jail, a voice tells her that she is junk because she's indecisive about the reason of her existence. That's from EMMA, and it's because Sophia is ditched by her creator in favor of the superior EMMA.
      • Sophia's initial Persona lacks an Arcana, has question marks behind its skills and wasn't even considered a proper awakening. Her awakening only happens in earnest when she's been confronting Ichinose personally and starts snapping away from every one of Ichinose's attempts to brainwash her, convincing that her maladaptive coping to Sophia pushing her Berserk Button was the true reason to the catastrophe in-game. By that point, her arcana is revealed as the Hope Arcana and the question marks behind her persona's skills vanish, indicating that Sophia has officially went out of the state where she's a blank AI like EMMA still is, but is now her very own being.
    • As soon as you reach Sapporo, you will see a mother mourning for her child. That's actually the reason for Hyodo's disdain, because she was fully scapegoated for her death.
    • The Monarch's despicable behavior have a very clear reason for them, unlike the Palace Ruler's despicable behaviors.
      • Alice forcefully breaks up couples by changing hearts of men, and causes binge spending and violent incidents via the men who were feverently obsessed on her. If anyone dares talk against her she stomps on them, she will follow-up by harassing them verbally and filming the humiliation. Her previous manager became a shut-in due to this behavior. That's actually how she's being treated at Shujin by bullies prior to using EMMA's "salvation" service. She used to very introverted but somehow a popular boy confessed his love to her. The Alpha Bitches in her school didn't appreciate this and she was bullied and humiliated by being stomped upon while having it recorded, and that boy left her afterwards for the other girls. This caused her to basically distance herself from Shujin so hard that she deleted every single record that she even existed in that school. When she finally got an upstart job as a fashion designer, the bullies in her former high school spread that incident on the net, so seeing men being happily married will trigger her Berserk Button.
      • Ango can be clearly seen selling plagiarized work at top-grossing levels. Just like Alice before, binge spending, hyper-obsessiveness and violent incidents occur. He actually had a superior grandfather whom he simply cannot follow his footsteps to and simply plagiarized a novel of his own, and he kept trying to get his work recognized to no avail, only getting a consolation award at best. However, instead of just throwing him away, his publishers instead generated a scheme on fleecing him using his grandfather's name and using his poorly-written work to scam unsuspecting readers, so he used EMMA to draw the cash to him instead.
      • Hyodo can be seen berating civil wards mercilessly twice, with one even looking really exhausted. She's also rallying ridiculous mass cleaning campaigns where not even a speck of dust could remain in Sapporo. She simply doesn't tolerate any corruption in her city, because when she was still mayor, a Corrupt Politician took advantage of an ice statue collapsing scandal that she had minor involvement with by scapegoating her so he can eject himself into power. When she tries to use EMMA to spring herself back to her rightful position so nobody can end up like the last mayor, she became so obsessive in the cleanliness of the city that not even a speck of dust can remain on the streets.
      • Akane Hasegawa is a Phantom Thief fan, but when the word comes that they are cooperating with Zenkichi, she ruthlessly attacks and traps them like most other Jail or Palace rulers encountered. It turns out that she's so blinded by her anger of Zenkichi failing to investigate the death of her mother and considering her as a burden, to the point she thinks that anyone who cooperates with the police is out to get her, and to compound matters, she's being brainwashed by EMMA to become Konoe's sentinel.
      • Konoe is enforcing justice using incredibly despicable and manipulative ways, namely fabricating cases that can be easily traced to him and supporting the Premiership campaign of a Shido crony via mass brainwashings against his political opponents. The other Monarchs encountered in game also had a very obvious shared behavior where they act exactly like the people who oppressed them before. Yet, for all of this, when he is trying to enforce justice, it wasn't lying. It turns out that his dad hated him so much that he attempted to murder him 20 years ago, only for Konoe to murder him instead and disguise the deed as a burglary. Since this was the only way Konoe managed to survive, he wanted to enforce this Laser-Guided Karma to everyone once Ichinose sold EMMA to him so he can put an end to all injustice.
    • There's one regarding Konoe's real relationship with Owada. When EMMA manipulates Akane into capturing the Phantom Thieves for Konoe and Zenkichi barges into the Jail to save the Phantom Thieves, Akane tells Zenkichi that she will catch her mother's killer on her own once she has changed the Phantom Thieves' hearts. Later on, we got to know that Konoe isn't friendly to Owada at all and is merely using him for his political influence in a similar vein as what Akechi tried to do against Shido a year ago. He considers Owada a disgusting vermin that he will dispose of once Akane and EMMA neutralize the Thieves.
    • Speaking of Akane, when she became a Jail Monarch, unlike the rest she goes completely out of character and more like a copy of Konoe, because Konoe and EMMA brainwashed her to run Operation Oracle for them.
    • Midway during the Osaka Arc, Konoe attends a talk show where he talks about "an incident where his parents died when he was young" sparking his obsessive crusade for justice. He was hiding very important details on that interview; Konoe's abusive father killed his mother for the sake of money and threatened to dispose of him when he was a child, Konoe killed him and made it look like a violent burglary.
    • The EMMA application seems to progressively go beyond a mere digital advisor as the story goes, most notably when she was handing out advice to catch the Phantom Thieves to Konoe, where it seems to be partially sentient in its decisions and answers, even seemingly baiting Konoe into getting his operation backfire by hiding vital info from him. During the game's final act, she becomes completely autonomous because Ichinose deliberately programmed it to turn sentinent and deliver what she believes as humanity's desires; a goddess that decides everything for them.
    • In the final Palace of Royal, there was an "examination room" where a quiz determines if a person is truly "happy" or not mentally sound and requires treatment according to its owner's ideology. The last question is: "You've gained power to steal people's hearts! Thoughts, emotions, information...you can steal all of it from anyone in the world! Not only that, you can use this power without fear of getting caught! In this scenario, which sounds closest to what you would do?" and the available responses are: "A: Steal something valuable B. Never steal anything C. Steal my own heart to heal. D. Steal evil hearts to fix society and E. Steal the one I love's heart". The correct answer is "D. Steal evil hearts to fix society". This is actually a preview of what kind of targets you will be facing this game, because they are respectively what Natsume, Hyodo, Ichinose (using Sophia), Konoe/Ichinose using EMMA and Alice were trying to do. According to EMMA or Konoe, none of them save for D. worked because they will "only bring unhappiness".
  • 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: During the end of the trailers which shows the logo being assembled, a "2" is briefly placed 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. While many of the Monarchs have had a truly bad lot in life, the Thieves call them out on their behavior after defeating their Shadows by saying a bad life doesn'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 Not So 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 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.
  • 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 also keeps the daytime social interactions, calendar system, and town exploration as seen in the mainline Persona series, something Persona 4's sequels (and most Warriors games) 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. Also, the game is more of a traditional Action RPG than a Warriors game with emphasis on exploration and stealth in order to get to the objective, as opposed to straight up attacking all enemies with lots of button mashing.
  • 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 Thieves each kicking the asses of veritable armies of Shadows throughout their adventures.
  • Harder Than Hard: The aptly named Risky/Merciless difficulty, which takes the already Nintendo Hard aspects of the game and ramps it Up to Eleven. How hard is it? It's very easy to die in the very first battle as soon as you start the game!
  • 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. And you'll need it.
  • 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, and are guided out by an amnesiac non-human sidekick.
    • The Thieves' second target is a plagiarist who earns the personal ire of Yusuke.
    • The Thieves' third target is an adult who used to genuinely care for Haru.
    • The lead of the game's abnormalities has a Shadow Self that initially looks almost identical to his real self, transforms his outfit when battling, and fights on a chariot, before fighting on foot. Just like the previous lead, he also believes that he is the only one fit to guide humanity to a golden age.
    • A party of Persona users goes to the Kyoto hot springs to enjoy themselves, only for confusion related to the time when the baths switch from men's to women's to result in the guys getting a brutal beatdown from the student council president.
    • 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, Tokyo's public lost faith in their own law enforcement, of whom several higher-ups were Conspiracy members themselves. As a result of this humiliation, the police have not given up hope of someday arresting the Phantom Thieves as dangerous vigilantes, believing that this will 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.
  • Idiot Ball: 2 very major ones acted as a crux for the endgame.
    • As if the Phantom Thieves haven't learnt better, the whole Kyoto arc is kickstarted by one. The Phantom Thieves received an obviously faked distress SNS from EMMA using Akane's identity, but Akane doesn't even have SNS contacts with any of its members, alerting the Phantom Thieves that this was obviously a trap. It didn't matter for 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 being too slow to run quick, EMMA would had been captured the Thieves, and Konoe will 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 at once asked EMMA the identity of the person she was manipulating. It's actually the daughter of an officer that is about to aim for his head, and it led to Zenkichi going right after him alongside the Thieves, with disastrous results.
  • Instant Home Delivery: When Sophia tells 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 of the consequences of possessing 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 series, as well as Strikers, has a crossover with Dragalia Lost with that game's raid event, "Caged Desire" where Joker, Panther, Mona are limited time recruitable adventurers with Sophie being the free adventurer and Arsène being a limited time dragon.
  • 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. Subverted in the game's epilogue where he was promptly arrested for accepting bribes from Madicce, tax evasion and ties with Shido's antisocial force.
  • 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 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 just died 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 where Shido was considered an untouchable god.
  • 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 a while? That's actually Akane, or his daughter.
    • The news shown at the start of the game about the Change of Heart cases? Those are actually orchestrated by Owada with Konoe to set Owada into power.
    • Alice Hiiragi stepping on men and filming them with because someone tried to stop her? She's being treated this way in high school.
    • Another thing about Alice is the no-explanation change of hearts of a married TV host. That's because her crush was taken away from her by jealous girls, so she's using the application to drawn men into her to 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 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 Kuon Ichinose.
    • 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 mayor.
    • Mariko seen berating a civil ward fiercely? She's obsessed with removing all incompetent civil wards.
      • There's also the ridiculous cleaning campaigns that she's been starting around Sapporo. Those were actually a distorted sense of anti-corruption she's been given since she used EMMA for "salvation".
    • The voices that only Sophia hears during Osaka and Tokyo? That's from the EMMA or Demiurge.
  • 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 vanilla 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 make the masses happy rather than simply desiring control. Finally, both in-game deaths are offscreen events that happened a long time ago.
  • Loose Canon: Strikers does this for Royal as the two games were developed concurrently. There is no direct mention of any events of Royal anywhere in the game and for all intents and purposes Strikers is 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 they desire through mesmerizing the public, in the price of basically brainwashing and mind-controlling them to perform outrageous acts through the traumas that led to them using EMMA in the first place. She later does this to the public, controlling them to hand out their desires so they become unable to think, as she will arbitrarily think 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 in Morgana that Jails don't operate like Palaces and that there must be someone else keeping Jails intact.
  • Magikarp Power: Arsene. 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 into a more viable state, Strikers at least anticipated 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 clearing the Okinawa Jail grants the ability to manually raise Persona parameters to make up for Arsene's slower rate - make it easier to at least keep Arsene around to ensure he can become as powerful as he can be, while the more active combat system at least helps him be less vulnerable to having his slow growths and weaknesses get exploited by enemies.
  • 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".
  • Modesty Towel: Both male and female party members are wearing these during the Hot Springs Episode.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Jails seen in-game actually have similar mechanics as the dream world overlay created by Maruki to make humanity happy by granting their desires during Royal's third term campaign, where many people, including the Jail's Monarch itself, are kept hostage inside an illusion where the Jail's Monarch is a god-like figure instead of a forgotten victim of injustice, yet outsiders perceive it as insanity and fervor. The instigator behind these events also has a similar mindset and goal as Maruki during the third term.
    • The Thieves obtain key items throughout each Jail by assaulting 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 after for its gameplay.
    • One of Futaba's lines prior to the party unleashing an All Out Attack is "bring on the mass destruction!"
  • 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 RPG 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 Incenses 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'd be shutting down EMMA. However, due to the public's cognition of EMMA as something that can grant wishes, this led to the subconscious association that their wishes will no longer be able to be granted. Much like how the Phantom Thieves Calling Card makes their target aware that their desires or stolen wishes can be taken, this allows EMMA to start granting the wishes of the masses. (Although what she defines as the "wish of the masses" amounts to nothing but asking EMMA for guidance.)
  • Nintendo Hard: If you thought this game was just gonna be your simple 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 afterwards.
    • 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 Ontological Inertia: Averted. Even 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/Demiurge's central server. In addition, the local people's devotion to a Monarch might reactivate on isolated people 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.
  • 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 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, and most businesses that Joker could 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.
    • Kyoto's Jail takes motifs from the original Persona 5, including samples of "Life Will Change" in its BGM and a cognitive Joker acting as a boss.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ryuji ends up Tempting Fate when he jokingly asks for a gold bar after Sophia offers to purchase anything for the Thieves. The Thieves quickly realize that they're going to be charged millions of yen for this frivolous purchase and send it back before they're mired in debt.
      Ryuji: SEND THE EFFIN' THING BACK!
    • The prospect of Haru driving always causes Makoto to nervously decline or simply freak out, and when Haru does have to take over driving duties for the 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 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 of 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!
      (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 god 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 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 schedule, the boys are caught by the girls and get their asses kicked. For bonus points, it is the same inn 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, which 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 underleveled members into the field for a bit to get them up to speed.
  • One Steve Limit: Uniquely subverted in this game. Despite one of your targets is named "Alice Hiiragi", you can still fuse the persona Alice in this game.
  • 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. Character-specific Requests can also be missed if not taken or completed before leaving the city, which will lock you out of powerful Accessories during the endgame. Recipes themselves aren't missable, but missing them causes Sophia to stock them in her shop for over 10x their original value.
  • 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, and the Phantom Thieves got the trust of a few of them, even having one join them.
    • The Commissioner General of the National Police Agency wants Kaburagi to take the lead to detain the Phantom Thieves. She rightly suspects that he just wants to get bonus points with the public, which he had least admitted it.
  • Precision F-Strike: Sir Swears-a-Lot Ryuji manages to get a well-timed one when EMMA dismisses Sophia as a waste that should have never existed. Ryuji retaliates with a blistering Shut Up, Hannibal! speech, capping it off with yelling "Shut the FUCK up, idiot!" at EMMA. This marks the first time that Ryuji has said "fuck" instead of "eff" or something similar in a voiced line. Morgana supports Ryuji, saying that Phantom Thieves usually have more class than that, but "not this time".
  • Protection Mission: During certain investigations, 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.
    • Iwai and Takemi both get mentioned both their shop and clinic are respectively shut down during the duration of the story. Takemi is attending a medical conference throughout the summer while the circumstances of 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, "A.I. and Heart" shares a similar medley 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 the past experience that the Police are obviously bad news in Persona, you might believe that Zenkichi is actually a traitor and Kaburagi is a threat. Zenkichi's suspiciously similar facial features with Shido doesn't help the cause. The fact his introduction parllels Akechi's blackmailing of the Phantom Thieves to let him join (admitting he knows they are the Phantom Thieves, saying he wants to help/join them and find the real culprit, and uses that to blackmail the heroes), would make one (and the heroes) think he is lying and going to betray them. It turns out that none of them are evil to begin with, and they warm up to the Phantom Thieves once they know they are getting used and bribed.
    • There are just numerous scenes in game that build up Owada as a major threat, as he is a Corrupt Politician who lobbied for Shido before, personally orchestrated the murder of Akane Hasegawa's mother two years before and is getting cooperation from Akira Konoe to use the EMMA app to destroy his opposition. It turns out that he is no threat to begin with, as Zenkichi and Kaburagi already orchestrated his arrest that they promptly do at the end of the game. Konoe is also just using him for his own crusade against crime and will take him down should he succeed.
    • The game also tries to play one that makes you think that Ichinose would be the Final Boss based on her full involvement on the EMMA app and the fact that she just acts suspicious 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 match their oppressors makes a lot more sense, as that was Laser-Guided Karma, or the reason why Konoe manages to escape his father.
    • At the start of the game when Futaba checks Sophia's code, she comments 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 bait out 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 going to arrest him. The creator of both entities is 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 anyone who blatantly goes around causing mass havoc deserved to die, herself included.
    • Sophia is actually humming her Leitmotif, "The Heart of an AI" when she starts humming.
    • 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 people's true desire 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 out people. 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 Sophie, something that actually did surprise her, she was too shocked to fake her emotions.
    • Upon meeting Akane the first time, she would had been stated that she saw the culprit of her mother's murder. This takes a darker note after you ran through the whole thing; when Zenkichi meets her Shadow the first time, she would say that it's done by Owada, a former Shido crony. Zenkichi also talks about how he's being sent a death threat as the incident is covered up by a patsy when he tried to look into it. Based on how Shido is literally an untouchable god-like power during that time thanks to Yaldabaoth's backing, the death threats obviously weren't empty.
    • When Akane became a Monarch, she starts raving about how she's going to change the Phantom Thieves' hearts or take them down, then taking down Owada, her mother's killer. That's actually not her idea; it's actually Konoe's; Konoe's "Operation Oracle" basically consists of taking down the Phantom Thieves cue EMMA's advice, then changing Owada's heart with the application himself. This becomes an indicator where Konoe and Owada might not be buddies after all, despite first speculated.
  • 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.
  • 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 here. Instead, depending on the encounter, swathes of the general public had been rendered insane at once on screen or the mass subversion was already accomplished way before the events of the game begin.
  • Saying Too Much: Ichinose overhears the Phantom Thieves discussing their activities during a Toho University lecture run by 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, since they will 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 get randomly dragged into the Metaverse for no apparent reason and got their desires stolen. While this doesn't physically harm anyone, the real world person 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 can be easily avoided if the Phantom Thieves ever took any attention to Akane's standard behavior. When Kaburagi and Owada fails to capture the Phantom Thieves thanks to Zenkichi intervening, his residence was emptied and EMMA autonomously responds to Akane's pleas for someone to save her. Konoe then asks EMMA to propose him a way to catch them, and she tells him that he should turn a Phantom Thieves' associate into a Monarch and use them to bait the Thieves, without telling him their true identity. Surely, this turns out to be none other than Akane (since she created a Jail without her consent) and EMMA sends a fake SNS message for the Phantom Thieves to save her. This would be easy to avoid if the Phantom Thieves went to her residence to check her out (where she would most certainly be within her bedroom if she was actually brainwashed by EMMA or even okay), 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 will 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 backwards.
  • 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:
  • Skill Scores and Perks: The Bond system gives players access to numerous buffs during gameplay, ranging from simple increases to parameters 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 per sec, unlike in Persona 5 it's mostly played straight, as the Phantom Thieves start by fighting against a bully-victim who graduated from Shujin a few years ago, to an IT firm CEO trying to wipe out all injustice via robbing the public's 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The police force is noticeably weaker than in Persona 5, and the public has largely lost faith in them. Not only did the police fail to catch the Phantom Thieves, but several high-ranking members of the police were part of The Conspiracy in the last game. And with the Big Bad having a change of heart and confessing, all of those corrupt cops got arrested too. Small wonder 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.
    • 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 going with the investigation into his wife's murder. Plus, trying to investigate further would put him in line with Shido, which would end up with 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's facing during that time will not change how Akane felt.
    • Near the end of the game, Ichinose tried to turn herself to the police for creating EMMA, an A.I. god that resulted in nationwide discord, and potentially worldwide 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. As Persona 5 had taught us with Joker's fate after defeating Yaldabaoth, the supernatural is not proper evidence to any form of crime, since none of the public will believe it. Since Ichinose's only crime is abuse of the supernatural (unlike Akechi, who actually killed people in real life), the police don't believe her, and can't charge her even if they did.
  • Taking You with Me: Played for laughs in an optional scene 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: When introduced to the Phantom Thieves at their hideout, Sophia hums a few notes of "Life Will Change".
  • 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.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Played with. The people who live in Kukiojima near Okinawa are actually brainwashed due to the Jail there and actively try to hide the murder that went on at the Madicce research facility there. 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.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: After the Phantom Thieves were captured by Akane's shadow 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 patrol shadows since he has no means to defend himself.
  • Unwanted Assistance: The Phantom Thieves initially turn down Zenkichi's help due to their lack of trust in legal authorities, but eventually agree to make a deal with him after he shares some info 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 and Konoe used the app on the island to create a prototype Jail, which resulted in their abnormal behaviour and their attempts to hunt down the Phantom Thieves.
  • 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 give the optimal option for any given situation. In fact, a big chunk of people treat it as the sidekick of their lives and leave all decisions on it 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 that its purpose is to find the ultimate answer to humanity's happiness, but instead became a monstrosity that essentially removes free will and emotions from the massses by making all their decisions for them, per the way its creator programmed it.
    • Sophia is a rather unusual case in that while in the Metaverse, she has a physical presence and serves as a party member along with the rest of the Phantom Thieves. In the real world, since she has no robotic body, she inhabits Joker's smartphone and can perform any task that EMMA can. Sophia at first cannot understand emotions, 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.
  • 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 Line:
    • When Ryuji was picking up camping goods with Joker and Morgana for their team's summer vacation, Joker inputs the "Wonderland" keyword onto the EMMA application per instruction of 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 pitiful.
      Scornful Girl: I understand ~ ! Didn't she just looked so gloomy? Hahaha!
      Alice: No, that's not true! I...
    • Throughout most of the game, Konoe didn't act like he was anything but a Straw Hypocrite. This dialogue at the top floor of this Jail, however, states the contrary...
      Harsh Voice: Abuse? This is ridiculous...Umm, 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 had I told you? Enough, go away. Damn brat! How dare you cause all these trouble for me! Just do what I am told! *beating sounds*
    • Near the end of the game, when the Phantom Thieves are returning from Yokohama back to Shibuya and Sophia was planning a Route:
      Sophia: OK, I will....Wait a minute...What was that...
      Haru: Sophia?
      Sophia: A Jail...I sensed a Jail!
    • When the true culprit exposes themselves:
      Kuon Ichinose: ~♪
  • 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 game are the equivalent of Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds like Sae or Maruki before them instead of monstrously despicable people.
    • While Konoe plays out as a rather despicable person, again, all these change once the barricade to his Bird Cage was interacted with. It turns out that because his father barely even treated him as a human and all of his misuse of the EMMA application is for the creation of a just society so nobody experiences the same suffering.
      • Speaking of Konoe, there's one part where he hangs up Owada's call after they had finished talking. He then outright calls him "disgusting vermin". While he never admits using Owada to the Thieves, this is a very good clue that things are not what they seem.
    • When you reach the center area of the Tokyo Jail, you meet the Ark of the Covenant, which is the evolved form of EMMA. And then a very familiar hum plays as Ichinose steps in. While her close to minimal involvement in the big picture already gives huge hints of her being the traitor, this indicates that Ichinose is actually the traitor and the grand instigator of things.
  • Variable Mix: The field music for each area of a Jail switches to a more subdued mix during sidescrolling platforming sections.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • The first time you meet Alice Hiiragi (before triggering the new Metaverse incidents), she almost passes off as a friendly young woman holding an advertising campaign for her new store at 705. It's subverted however, since that's actually a scheme to change the participant's hearts.
    • The antagonistic and shady-looking Zenkichi can be first seen casually hanging around Leblanc. Inverted, since he's actually no 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 beef tounge store in Sendai.
  • You Didn't Ask: Sophia casually mentions that she has a Persona and that she's an AI shortly after the Phantom Thieves first meet her. When asked why she didn't say that from the beginning, Sophia says that it's because nobody asked her.

Alternative Title(s): Persona 5 Scramble The Phantom Strikers

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