"There aren't any real heroes left. So... why not make our own? The world needs someone willing to fight for its people's justice. A hero to lead them. To unify them. A hero like me."
- Persona 5 Strikers: Major Character (Antagonist)
Akira is a moderately muscular and tall man with a square jaw, a riffed haircut and a mustache. When appearing as a CEO, he also wears a deep blue suit with a white shirt underneath it.
Konoe's Shadow Self initially does not appear any different from his real self, aside from golden eyes. When he prepares for battle, however, his attire transforms into an outfit resembling his childhood superhero Zephyrman, having a white silver sentai Ranger outfit and a cape. He wields a lightsaber in combat and his face is obscured in a white helmet. This helmet acts as his crown; if it is removed, all of the desires inside the Jail are freed.
Having suffered from extreme household abuse because of his influential father, Konoe looked toward his childhood hero, Zephyrman, to seek the meaning of true justice. He started to believe that all crime in the world must be wiped out. After murdering his father, Konoe developed a delusionally misguided sense of justice. For him, the ends justify the means and it is perfectly fine to use the oppressor's methods against the oppressors; this includes cooperating with a corrupt politician, using EMMA to drive the population of Okinawa insane (it's also heavily implied that he drove its Monarch to suicide in order to test a Calling Card reaction), brainwashing the Police force to do his bidding and his end goals ultimately deprive humanity of their free will by turning them into extensions of his "pay evil unto evil" mentality and EMMA. When Kuon Ichinose sold him EMMA, he decided that it should be used to stop crime and thus modified it with the Jail function, kickstarting the events of the game. His beliefs are so firm to the point that his Shadow Self, unlike other Monarchs, appears identical to his real self before combat, and his battle form is merely himself in a Zephyrman outfit.
He genuinely wants to do good, but he uses morally repugnant methods to enforce his own version of it and his actions deprive humanity of all their free thought, turning the Monarchs into his extensions and other people into frenzied worshipers of said Monarchs. Though, unlike the other Jail Monarchs, he did earn his popularity all over Japan instead of manufacturing it by changing hearts. His Jail is mainly used in his quest to enforce the law. He is also a charismatic speaker; unlike in the case with Masayoshi Shido before, the Phantom Thieves do not notice anything abnormal with him during his speech in Sendai.
Despite being a genuinely charismatic, altruistic and ambitious man, Konoe displays signs of ignorance that ultimately results in his downfall. He over-relies on EMMA to wipe out all crime, letting her target and manipulate a stranger to dispose of the Phantom Thieves. The person in question is Akane Hasegawa, the innocent daughter of Zenkichi Hasegawa, the prosecutor who was victimized and blackmailed over an accidental murder and cover-up case instigated by the same corrupt politician he was after. This eventually ignites Zenkichi's wrath, and he officially joins the Phantom Thieves in hopes of taking both Konoe and Jyun Owada down.
He is also very fond of an obscure spin-off of Phoenix Ranger Featherman R known as Zephyrman, who, unlike Featherman which enforces justice in a group, is a sole enforcer of justice, symbolizing that he prefers to enforce his own version of justice in solitude instead of the Persona user's true justice and values of friendship.
Persona 5 Strikers
When Konoe was young, he lived in an extremely abusive household. On one occasion, police were called, but his father was well-known and affable enough to turn them away easily. Twenty years before the events of the game, his father revealed that he had killed Konoe’s mother for money and thought about killing him too, but Konoe, after realizing no heroes like Zephyrman were coming to save him, fought back and stabbed his father to death in self-defense. When the police questioned Konoe, he claimed that his father's death had been the result of a robbery and that he had hidden himself in the closet as it happened. As several valuable objects were missing from the home, the police believed him, and Konoe was able to get away with the murder.
As a grown man, Konoe founded Madicce. Kuon Ichinose sold the base code of the AI EMMA app in hopes of Konoe's company popularizing it. Because of his past trauma, he wanted to modify the app to make a world devoid of crimes and thus fashioning himself as a hero. Using it, his company Madicce became a billion dollar mega enterprise. After Ichinose sold EMMA to him, he loaned it to a research lab in Okinawa in order to study cognitive psience, resulting in the creation of Jails and turning Okinawa's denizens into fervent believers of the return of God. Eventually, the Monarch of the Jail and the cheif researcher, Shuzo Ubukata was driven insane and committed suicide by jumping off a cliff (presumably) when Konoe told him to hand over his desires, which behaves like a Calling Card to him. Ubukata was simply a test Monarch whose jail Konoe planned to take under his control.
During the events of the game, Konoe also offered his services to Jyun Owada, affecting multiple unscrupulous politicians and the Commissioner General of the National Police Agency who opposed Owada, although he already planned on taking him down from the beginning. All of his targets happened to set foot on Osaka when he changed their hearts, as Osaka was where his Jail manifested. The Phantom Thieves of Hearts later became one of his targets, lying about their hacking into EMMA and being responsible for Ubukata’s death. His final goal is to spread the Jail system worldwide so there will be no more crimes, known as "Operation Oraculi."
Konoe first appears during a lecture in Kuon Ichinose's university, where he talks about EMMA being capable of deciding everything for its user. He seems to be a confident and charismatic businessman, and doesn't talk about any abnormalities. After he leaves, Ichinose tells the Phantom Thieves that she invited him there.
When the Thieves return to Kyoto, Owada, being accompanied by the brainwashed Commissioner General, strong-arms Miyako Kaburagi into arresting the Thieves only for Zenkichi to take their place. He inquires with Konoe about the status of the Thieves' arrest and tells him to trust the police. In reality, Konoe distrusts Owada and turns to EMMA for advice. She suggests that he should utilize a nearby Jail formed by an acquaintance of the Phantom Thieves to capture them instead. Konoe wants to change the Phantom Thieves' hearts if possible, and kill them if that fails. Since Akane Hasegawa is the person who sent this request, this makes her the only available target. EMMA quickly spreads the Jail through Kyoto and turns Akane Hasegawa into its Monarch. It then replicates a distress SNS that results in the Phantom Thieves being captured and later confronting a manipulated Shadow Akane. Konoe was not aware that he was manipulating Akane due to EMMA not bothering to tell him about her.
Konoe's actions unknowingly draw the wrath of Zenkichi Hasegawa, Akane's father. With his daughter manipulated, Zenkichi becomes more determined in arresting Konoe and Owada once and for all. EMMA also reports false positives about the Thieves using their last known status, keeping him completely under the dark about his upcoming downfall he unwittingly unleashed upon himself.
He is the owner of the Osaka Jail, which takes the form of a sci-fi utopia that makes him the sole hero of the world. Unlike past targets, Konoe actually did earn his popularity legitimately instead of using the EMMA application to artificially inflate it. In fact, when he shuts down EMMA temporarily, many are so reliant on it that they request him to reopen its services. During the exploration of the Jail, the Phantom Thieves also find out that Konoe had good intentions despite his malicious methods, and his traumatic past is what motivated him to instigate the EMMA-related incidents. When he talked about his very own version of absolute justice, he meant every word, as after a seemingly friendly conversation with Owada, he vents frustration at having to be so pleasant with such a "disgusting" man, indicating that he wanted to remove Owada from the very beginning and is just using him for his connections.
Once the party defeats the Lock Keeper located in his former home, they send the Calling Card by hijacking a Madicce zeppelin and drop them. While at first completely unfazed by the Calling Card (largely because of his prideful nature and the fact that Zenkichi Hasegawa wrote the card as if it was an arrest warrant), he realized that the plan to use the Kyoto Jail as a trap against the Phantom Thieves had failed because EMMA refused to answer his query and he throws his cellphone into the floor out of anger, sufficiently unsettling him and causing the Desires to materialize.
When confronted by the Phantom Thieves, Shadow Konoe explains EMMA and the Jails. He then tries to justify his actions, telling the party that just like them, he's tired of the world's corruption and injustices, and thus he used EMMA and the Jails to create a system that ensures crime and wrongdoing can no longer exist and he is merely "systematizing" whatever the Phantom Thieves are doing. However, the Phantom Thieves rebuke him, stating that his "Operation Oraculi" disregards free will unlike them, and that none of the people he "saved," Monarchs or the public alike, are truly happy. Shadow Konoe then tries to further justify himself using the example of his father, that the Phantom Thieves are unable to save people like him, but with this Jail system, he will be able to prevent anyone from ever experiencing what his father tried to do to him. The Phantom Thieves cannot respond to his cutting questions on their morality effectively, but Sophia berates him for locking people in their own traumas and preventing them from moving forward.
Realizing that he can no longer get his message across with words, Konoe attacks the party. He reveals his Shadow outfit, a sentai Ranger suit modeled after Zephyrman and controls a massive armored robot named "Zephyrus Mech." After it collapses, he emerges from the robot's debris and fights them on foot, but is defeated nonetheless. The real Konoe confesses for all of his crimes on the next day and promises to shut down the EMMA app because he used it to brainwash the public. During the next Madicce meeting, Konoe personally confesses to his staff and promises to turn himself in to the police, before Zenkichi Hasegawa and Miyako Kaburagi arrive to arrest him in-person. Only now did he know that EMMA was using the daughter of the officer who was responsible for his arrest to achieve his "salvation."
Because of the removal of Konoe's control over Osaka's Jail, the National Police Agency's Commissioner General was freed from his brainwashing and acted as if he never cooperated with Owada, leaving Owada under the mercy of Zenkichi and the Police alongside Konoe.
During the game's final act, it was revealed that Ichinose sold the application to Konoe in hopes of his company's tech will let the application become popular so it can determine the desires of the general public, and the Phantom Thieves changing Konoe's heart merely enabled this behavior to trigger, because the public wished for EMMA to give them advice. In the game's epilogue, he gives the police valuable testimony, enabling them to arrest Owada for good.
Shadow Konoe is a two-part fight which must be prepared for in advance with an abundance of healing and resuscitation items. The best team for this fight is Ryuji, Makoto and Zenkichi. Given the Zephyrus Mech's many resistances and immunities, there are no other viable party members besides these three. Haru and especially Sohpia in particular are poor choices as Akira the Hero, respectively, still resists and nulls their elements despite losing the rest of the Mech's resistances. Joker should also bring Personas specializing in Electric and Nuclear attacks, with Shock Boost on Electric users and Technical Adept on Nuclear users being good ideas as well. Thor is an excellent choice for this fight, since he learns powerful Electric skills and resists physical attacks while his Wind and Psy weaknesses do not matter as Akira can't hit them.
The first phase of the battle is against the Zephyrus Mech, which exclusively uses ranged physical attacks ranging from homing missiles and lasers to rocket punches and jumping shockwaves; pay close attention to your surroundings and dodge them as needed. It's possible to avoid the missiles by hiding behind the Mech itself, given its large size. Ryuji is very effective during this phase, as the Mech is a large, slow-moving target, making it easier to use charged standard attacks against it. When the Mech begins to use Supernova, jump up to the surrounding platforms to avoid the lasers and missiles which will fill the main arena, use the rails to dodge the missiles, and fire off the railguns stationed along the edge as you go to deal damage and tear chunks off its Down Gauge. Finally, use a railgun blast to knock it down once it stops attacking to stun it, allowing you to move in and attack freely.
Once the Mech is destroyed, Akira the Hero will challenge the party on foot, beginning phase 2. Unlike the Mech, Akira is very fast and constantly moves around the arena, unleashing powerful sword strikes capable of knocking down party members. He can also jump on the wreckage of his Mech to use Dynamic Meteor, which generates highly damaging shcokwaves which must be jumped over. As Morgana will advise, pay attention to Akira and don't let him out of your sight, as he blends in with the arena and the Mech's wreckage and most of his attacks have little or no startup, allowing him to surprise inattentive players and deplete their health in only a few seconds. His deadliest attack is Megidolaon, which will charge for several moments causing party members to be sucked in towards him. When this happens, simply run away as quickly as possible away from him.
Compared to Ryuji during the first phase, Makoto is more useful here since her faster attacks are better suited to keeping up with Akira, while she can add Nuclear affinity to her attacks for extra damage and to deplete his Down Gauge as well. Zenkichi is also very effective, as his high health pool, drain ability and Rage mechanic allow him to keep up with Akira's movements while delivering punishing amounts of damage in return, while his Debilitate and Heat Riser allow him to reduce Akira's damage and durability while improving his own. In addition, certain pieces of wreckage, namely the fists and feet, can be detonated to shock Akira, allowing for potentially devastating Nuclear technicals, so try to lure him near them. Finally, Akira is stunned following All-Out Attacks and Showtimes for longer than other bosses, enough time to switch to Ryuji and unleash at least a couple charged attacks or a Charged physical skill.
- In Painful Past+ battles, Akira's moveset is expanded, adding Megidola to his hero phase, and Heat Riser for both phases. Changes to Hero Akira's attacks include the following:
- Justice Slash Beta now creates a bigger, dome-shaped shockwave and upon a clean hit, knocks foes down briefly.
- Justice Slash Omega has a follow up in the form of a vertical slash.
- Justice Slash Zero has a follow up in the form of a horizontal shockwave.
- Dynamic Meteor now creates three shockwaves traveling across the entire floor.
- Megidolaon no longer leaves him vulnerable after use.
- The name Akira means "bright" (明).
- Akira's surname Konoe means "near" (近) (kon) and "guard" (衛) (oe).
- Konoe is the only target of the Phantom Thieves to be completely unfazed by a calling card, partially because the calling card was written by Zenkichi instead of one of the more experienced Phantom Thieves, and thus failed to intimidate Konoe because Zenkichi didn't know how to write one that was convincing. It was the EMMA app's failure to capture the Thieves that actually rattled Konoe.
- Akira the Hero's design and ability to drive mecha is a reference to tokusatsu genre superheroes.
- According to the description of a request during the Osaka Jail, Konoe has a special Churrasco cooking recipe. After the request has been cleared, Akira's secretary will give this recipe as a reward.
- Konoe is mentioned in the news shortly before Alice Hiiragi's Calling Card.
- Konoe is the only Persona 5 antagonist for whom the theme "Blood of Villain" never plays right before directly confronting him.
- Out of every major target, Konoe is the only one who none of the Phantom Thieves interact with his real self in-person before their Change of Heart.
|Storyline||Mad Rabbit Alice - Nightmare Dragon Ango - Snow Empress Mariko - Akane's Joker - Akira the Hero - Kuon Ichinose (Sophia - Hecantoncheires) - False God Demiurge (EMMA)|
|Sub||Bicorn - Pixie - Archangel - Silky - Mokoi - Succubus - Jack O' Lantern - High Pixie - Lamia - Orthrus - Eligor - Pisaca - Jack Frost - Lilim - Mothman - Setanta - Mithras - Kaiwan - Principality - Shiisaa - Hecantoncheires - Okuninushi - Neko Shogun - Kurama Tengu - Ganesha - Naga - Sarasvati - Valkyrie - Fortuna - Raja Naga - Norn - Thor - Bugs - Mot - Abaddon - Kali & Dominion - Metatron|
|Dire Shadows||Bugs - Raja Naga - Lilith - Nebiros - Yatagarasu - Eligor - Mithras - Archangel|
|Lock Keeper||School Bully - Natsume's Editor - Callous City Employee/Councilman - Warden - Konoe's Father|
|Requests||Seth - Cerberus - King Frost - Black Frost - Siegfried - Mara - Metatron - Reaper|