"He doesn't care about Mom anymore. He doesn't care about me. I know he's just trying to find the next woman so he can get on with his life. I know he thinks I'm just in the way. I wish anyone but him was my father!"
Akane Hasegawa is a character from Persona 5 Strikers. She is Zenkichi Hasegawa's daughter.
- Persona 5 Strikers: Major Character
Akane is a young girl with short dark brown hair that has a small red hair clip on the left side and dark brown eyes. Despite her appearance, she is actually graduating secondary school, indicating her age is around 14 or 15 years old.
She wears a black school uniform with red details and she often wears a pink backpack on her left shoulder.
As a Monarch, her original hair color is paler with red highlights, and has red lipstick. She wears a black mask with a red tear motif underneath her right eye. She wears an outfit resembling the protagonist's Metaverse outfit, consisting of a black ankle-length tailcoat, long red fingerless gloves, a black and red pleated plaid skirt, black thigh-high socks and red boots with black laces and soles. Her Crown manifests as a large top hat with a red stripe and black star. If it's removed, she loses control of the Jail.
During the boss battle she does not take a different form to battle the Phantom Thieves, but she can summon cognitive replicas of them. The copy fought in-game is Joker's.
Akane is a huge fan of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, and her room has Phantom Thieves products all over it, many of them which she made herself. She's also a live streamer and is capable of disguising her voice in a manner that resembles Joker's manner of speech while acting as a Phantom Thief.
In reality, Akane supports the Phantom Thieves for very petty and biased reasons. She outright despises all law enforcement because her father, Zenkichi Hasegawa, a public security inspector, failed to investigate the culprit behind her mother's death, despite having witnessed it herself. Zenkichi seemingly did nothing to investigate despite her pleas and rarely came home, causing her to resent her father to the point that she refers him by his name and treats him coldly despite his attempt to care for her, not knowing that he is secretly trying to protect her knowing full well whom he might be potentially facing if he attempted to track down the culprit. Because of this, she does not trust others easily due to her disappointment in her father, and she can be rattled easily just by hearing someone next to Zenkichi on the phone. She also barely even recognizes Zenkichi as a father and refuses to call him by any remarks (not even his name, unlike Futaba) out of "that man," something that is considered extremely impolite in Japanese society.
Her personality flaws are heavily exaggerated by EMMA because she absentmindedly asked for her help. Due to EMMA's distortions, she goes completely out of character and acts more like Akira Konoe than herself. Her resentment towards any and all accomplices of law enforcement became outright hatred, and her trust issues degenerate into violent paranoia and a savior complex, believing herself to be the only one capable of saving others. She also starts parroting Konoe and EMMA's designated goal for her and Konoe's "Operation Oraculi" as if it was her own, namely changing the Phantom Thieves' hearts or killing them if she can't, then changing the heart of her mother's killer, completely ignoring that she's actually being manipulated by Konoe on his deluded conquest against crime and shackling humanity in chains.
Shadow Akane, being brainwashed by EMMA per Konoe's command, also came to despise the Phantom Thieves under the realization that they were siding with Zenkichi all along, incapable of realizing that her own wrath is playing into Konoe's plan to end all crime and pin the blame for his wrongdoings on the Phantom Thieves. She also becomes stubborn and vengeful, ignoring Zenkichi's attempts to reason with her by explaining Owada's blackmail and claiming it as proof of Zenkichi's cowardice (Heavily contrasting to when she was met in the real world prior, where she was obviously heeding Makoto's advice to treat Zenkichi better). She also responds to Zenkichi's confrontation by questioning his justice (a tendency that Konoe has), chiding him for not being able to protect the reputation of Owada's secretary despite forgiving him for her mother.
She also seems to suffer from delusional thoughts, believing the Phantom Thieves will completely crush the police instead of going after her, deliriously believing that the Phantom Thieves who have come to save her are fakes while her cognitive copies are the real ones. Once her cognitive Phantom Thief copies are all defeated, she comes to terms with Zenkichi and the Phantom Thieves, recognizing her father as a caring parent who wishes to redeem himself. After her change of heart, when she speaks to Zenkichi, she becomes kinder towards her father and more open and willing to talk to him. She is also not harsh when speaking to him, even calling him "dad" instead of "that man."
Persona 5 Strikers
"I can't trust anyone anymore. Not the police, not him... and not you losers."
Akane is the daughter of Zenkichi Hasegawa who lives alone in Kyoto, although they used to live in Tokyo. She is an avid fan of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and has a fairly popular live stream channel. She also live broadcasts the Phantom Thieves' few public addresses to her followers.
Two years prior to the events of Persona 5 Strikers (so, a year before the events of Persona 5), her mother, Aoi Hasegawa, died in a hit-and-run and was covered up, leaving no evidence to be found, as the culprit is supposedly dead and left a suicide note saying that he did it. In reality, the incident's culprit was a corrupt politician who once lobbied for Masayoshi Shido named Jyun Owada, whom Akane personally saw running over her mother. Owada killed Aoi while drunk driving and subsequently pinned the crime on his subordinate, who quickly committed suicide with a forged suicide note planted near him as evidence. When Zenkichi attempts to investigate the case on his own (due to Owada interfering with the police's own investigation using his ties with Shido), every piece of evidence he used against Owada was destroyed before he was sent a threat warning him that Akane might be killed as well. Zenkichi stops his investigation to protect his daughter, and he is removed from the proceeding trial due to being an associate of the victim. As a result of Zenkichi's failure to investigate the truth, Akane distrusts her father, believing that he had abandoned her, and has by extension grown to resent all police for their failure to investigate her mother's death.
After this incident, Zenkichi and Akane moved to Kyoto where her grandparents are, where she would often be at home alone. He gave her money and her grandparents gave her food, although she does not leave her room much and doesn't have any friends in Kyoto (due to being too depressed to socialize with her peers). She is now a 3rd year student in middle school. She had developed an obsession with the Phantom Thieves since last year, due to their principles of helping unfortunate people like herself, as well as their apparent distaste for the police. It's implied that she knew how they looked like only based on the silhouettes from the calling card/broadcast hijack directed against Shido in one of her live streams last December, since she doesn't recognize its members personally and the figures she created are black silhouettes of their members.
The party first meets Akane when Zenkichi makes a midway stop to Kyoto to meet his daughter and visit Aoi's grave. When the protagonist took her phone call for Zenkichi, upon hearing the distant voices of Futaba and Makoto, Akane quickly became furious, believing that Zenkichi was partying with other women and blew off their arrangement. When the party arrives in Kyoto, they decide to pursue Zenkichi, feeling guilty for causing Akane's outburst. When they reach the cemetery in Kyoto, they spot Akane having a quarrel with Zenkichi in front of her mother's grave. The party explains to the girl that they were just people working with Zenkichi to solve a case.
Akane seems to be incredibly disrespectful to Zenkichi, to the point that Futaba comments that Sojiro would become depressed if she treated him like that. The Hasegawas and the party arrive at the Hasegawa residence, where the group prepares a curry dish for Akane and gives her some much needed company. After a while, the party visits Akane's room where she is revealed to be a Phantom Thief aficionado, with her room being filled with memorabilia and with her hosting her own Phantom Thief-themed live stream. She doesn't recognize the Phantom Thieves themselves are the teens standing right before her, only commenting on the protagonist's similarity to Joker, her favorite member.
When Makoto helps Akane study for her high school entrance exams, she explains that she did see the culprit who killed her mother and nobody ever believed a thing she said. The culprit also blamed the incident on his secretary and forced him to commit suicide. Despite Makoto reassuring Akane that her dad cared for her, she breaks down in tears insisting that he didn't.
Days later, after the group's Okinawa excursion, Zenkichi calls the protagonist when the party was taking a break in Fukuoka to tell him that he has analyzed the concrete evidence they found in Okinawa's research lab, and concluded that it is incriminating of Madicce instigating the Change of Heart incidents, and that he has information on the identity of the mastermind behind the operation. This forces Haru to rush Makoto's van to Kyoto due to Makoto being strained from excessive driving.
Zenkichi exposes a conspiracy between Owada and Akira Konoe, who conspire to use their influence to force the arrest of the Phantom Thieves to cover their tracks after using Jails to further their own goals (Owada's being political power, Konoe's being the eradication of crime). Owada and the Commissioner General of the National Police Agency (whose desires were stolen by Konoe, making him totally obedient) coerce Kaburagi into arresting the Phantom Thieves in Kyoto despite a total lack of evidence, only for Zenkichi to intervene. He was arrested for preventing an arrest, and the police ransacked the Hasegawa residence for proof, startling Akane and leaving her confused and scared about both what her father had done and that the Phantom Thieves had supposedly committed terrorist acts.
Out of desperation, and feeling betrayed by the Phantom Thieves upon realizing they were working with Zenkichi, Akane half-heartedly pleaded for help only for EMMA to intervene on its own, selecting Akane as a Monarch and creating a Jail within Kyoto. At the same time, Konoe, within the Madicce headquarters, asks EMMA a way to capture the Phantom Thieves. EMMA tells him the police are useless in capturing them, and he should instead use the "Jail of a Phantom Thief associate" to capture the Thieves. Konoe orders EMMA to use that person to change the hearts of the Phantom Thieves to his favor, and if she can't, she might dispose of them instead.
Because Akane was the only available target that fulfills this criteria during that time, she was instantly made into a Monarch by EMMA and a device to capture the Phantom Thieves, but the AI keeps Konoe in the dark about Akane. EMMA fabricates a message from Akane's phone claiming that she has been kidnapped, and the Phantom Thieves rush to the Fushimi Inari in an attempt to save Akane, fully aware it was a trap, but lacking any other option. When the party all gathered near the shrine, Ryuji mistakenly said "Phantom Thieves" in front of EMMA. This was actually the keyword to Kyoto Jail and the Phantom Thieves were all transported into it as EMMA planned.
Akane is found towards the middle of the Jail, seemingly bound to a pillar, only for her to reveal herself as a Shadow and manifest her Monarch clothing, a personalized version of the protagonist's Metaverse outfit. She captures the Thieves as designated by EMMA with a security-enforced wooden cage. The only member who narrowly escapes the trap is Futaba, who fell behind the group as they raced to save Akane. Shadow Akane was distorted by EMMA to the point that she had basically become an extension of Konoe's "Operation Oraculi," going completely out of character and acting just like her co-captor. She thought the Phantom Thieves were betraying her because they assisted Zenkichi and that they were terrorists and evildoers who must get their hearts changed.
Fortunately, Sae Niijima arrived in time to assist Zenkichi at Makoto's request, using her influence to allow Zenkichi to be released from interrogation. He quickly goes to the Jail alongside Futaba, and must sneak past Shadows due to lacking a Persona. When Zenkichi arrives in time and tries to confront her by explaining that he was being blackmailed, she angrily blows him off by pointing out that, even if she forgave Zenkichi for not solving the mystery of her mother's death to protect her from harm, he still leaves the name of Owada's secretary tainted. She also tells Zenkichi that he isn't any different from Owada, and announces her plan to change the hearts of the Phantom Thieves, then changing Owada's heart on her own because nobody else was capable of bringing him to justice. In reality, these were not her own plans, but Konoe's plan to use the fabricated Metaverse to create Monarchs and end all crime.
The revelation makes Zenkichi realize that his neglect of his daughter had caused her distortions to be exacerbated by EMMA, and he awakens to his Persona, Valjean. After defeating the Shadows she sends out, the apparent Shadow Akane reveals herself to only be a projection of the real one and vanishes, allowing Futaba to free the party from the wooden cage and enabling full exploration of the Kyoto Jail. Unlike with the other (living) Monarchs the thieves have faced up until that point, Akane does not have a Lock Keeper that requires them to return to the real world; instead, she is confronted immediately at the end of the Jail, seemingly due to the last-minute construction of the Jail.
When confronted, Akane obviously is not in a right state of mind, delusionally telling the Phantom Thieves that they are fakes and she will execute them before going after her mother's killer. Despite this, she does not attack them herself or transform, but instead summons cognitive copies of Phantom Thieves to attack. Each phantom thief faces their cognitive copy alone (with exception to Zenkichi and Sophia, who instead provide support to the others, presumably by fighting the cognitive Futaba) with Joker facing his own copy. After the battle, Zenkichi and Shadow Akane finally come to an understanding, and she calls Zenkichi 'dad' before vanishing to return to her real self. When Zenkichi checks in on her in reality, it turns out she is just asleep in bed the whole time, and after her change of heart, she becomes much kinder to her father and the two are now able to converse more easily.
While she was never seen again afterwards and only mentioned in passing, Konoe's sheer ignorance of entrusting EMMA in manipulating Akane to further his goals proved to be his downfall. Only when his heart was changed and Zenkichi and Kaburagi came to Madicce personally to arrest him did he know EMMA picked the wrong target for him. Because of the incident, Zenkichi was also a lot more incensed when dealing with Konoe, and via the valuable testimony of the fallen CEO of Madicce, Owada, who was one his would-be victims, was arrested as well.
- The name Akane (茜) means "madder plant."
- In flower language, Akane represents "Distrust", "Libel" and "Fake charges", symbolizing her distrust towards all justice systems in general.
- Akane's surname Hasegawa means "long" (長) (ha), "valley" (谷) (se) and "river, stream" (川) (kawa/gawa).
- Shadow Akane is the only living Monarch in the game that is not directly fought in her Jail's boss fight.
- Because Akane was appointed Monarch of Kyoto in the middle of the story by EMMA and was quickly thwarted, there are differences between her Jail and the others. She is the only Monarch who never successfully stole anyone's desire, nor developed all the makings of a typical Jail such as Prison Keeps, a Lock Keeper and Trauma Cell, or a powerful transformation allowing her Shadow Self to fight directly (Ubukata is unfought due to already being deceased). Basic prison cells and barriers are still evident, however, and her surrounding Shadows are still quite dangerous, especially her cognitive constructs of the Phantom Thieves. Furthermore, her real life self is comatose at the time, and her Shadow Self's objectives as revealed in her personal rants are an exact match for Konoe's agenda, indicating very fresh and direct brainwashing.
- In the conversation in her house after Akane and the Phantom Thieves first met, Akane said she doesn't remember if the Phantom Thieves had 8 or 9 members.
- The explanation for this is that before Akechi joined the Phantom Thieves on October 26, there were 8 members, those being the protagonist, Morgana, Ryuji, Ann, Yusuke, Makoto, Futaba, and Haru. When Akechi joined, the number of members increased to 9. But that didn't last long—after the unsuccessful change of heart mission on November 19, the protagonist was arrested and "committed suicide." The number of group members was seemingly leaked around this time, either by the police or by Akechi himself. That's when Akane and Phan-site users figured out there were 9 members.
- When Shido's Calling Card was delivered, the silhouettes of 8 members were displayed on the jumbo screen in the city. This caused confusion about whether there are 8 or 9 members.
- Sumire in Royal was indeed a member of the Phantom Thieves, but her identity was only known among the Phantom Thieves and Maruki. However, she is not present during the events of Strikers due to the story being largely based on the original Persona 5 instead of Persona 5 Royal.
- Sophia joined the Phantom Thieves officially on July 27 before the conversation happened, but that wasn't known to the public either.
- When visiting Akane's bedroom, the protagonist has a chance to tell Akane that he and the other party members around her are the Phantom Thieves. If he does, Akane will just dismiss them as fans with similar hairdos (despite the protagonist telling the truth in that case).
- Akane's channel has 50,000 subscribers.