- Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom 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 baggy, deep blue cheapsuit with a white shirt underneath it. His slacks are the same color as his suit.
Konoe's Shadow Self initially does not appear any different from his real self. 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 light saber 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. When Konoe accidentally ended his father's life, it turned out to be the only way for justice to be served. Because of this incident, 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 King to suicide in order to test a calling card reaction), as well as depriving humanity of their free will by turning them into extensions of his "pay evil unto evil" mentality and EMMA. When Ichinose sold him EMMA, he decided that it should be used to stop crime and wrongdoing and thus modified it with the Jail function, kickstarting the events of the game.
His beliefs are so firm that his Shadow self, unlike other Kings, appears identical to his real self before combat. He also overtrusts EMMA in making decisions for him, which resulted in him crossing Zenkichi's line when the application advised him to manipulate Akane to capture the Thieves without explicitly telling who she is. This eventually drew Zenkichi's anger to him and resulted in his defeat.
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 Kings into his extensions and other people into frenzied worshipers of said Kings. Though, unlike the other Jail Kings, 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 Shido before, the Phantom Thieves do not notice anything abnormal with him during his speech in Sendai.
He is also very fond of an obscure copy of Phoenix Ranger Featherman R known as Zephyrman, which unlike Featherman who enforces justice in a group, is a sole enforcer of justice, symbolizing that he prefers to enforce his own version of justice on solitude instead of the Persona user's true justice and values of friendship.
Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom StrikersEdit
When Konoe was young, he lived in an extremely abusive household where his father killed his mother for money and hated him to the point that he just wanted to murder him. His neighbours tried to call police in but failed because he was the CEO of Madicce. 20 years ago, his father came in to kill him, but Konoe thought it was a burglary. Konoe was watching Zephyrman at that time, so he wished for Zephyrman to kill whoever tried to kill him. Mistaking that this was a burglar, he rushed out of his room and killed him before he could.
Konoe took over Madicce from his father. Kuon Ichinose sold the base code of the AI EMMA app in hopes of Konoe improving 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, turning its denizens into fervent believers of the return of god. Eventually, the King of the Jail and the chef researcher, Shuzo Ubukata was driven insane and committed suicide (presumably) when Konoe told him to hand out his desires, which functions like a Calling Card to him. It's heavily implied that after such events, he used the application on himself, making him the King of Osaka. During the events of the game, he also offered heart changing services to Jun Owada, affecting multiple unscrupulous politicians and Police heads 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 took place and he is only able of affecting it by himself. The Phantom Thieves of Hearts later became one of his targets of his blind pursuit of justice, using the excuse that they were hacking into EMMA and killing Shuzo Ubukata. Both crimes are fabricated and are merely used to justify his deluded crusade of justice. His final goal is to spread the Jail system worldwide so there will be no more crimes, known as "Operation Oracle."
He first appears during a talk show 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 told the party that she invited him into there.
When the Thieves return to Kyoto, Owada bribes Kaburagi to arrest the Thieves only for Zenkichi to halt her and take their place. He inquires Konoe 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 a close one to capture them instead because the police were unable to capture them. Since Akane Hasegawa created a Jail right before then, this makes her the only available target. He then tells EMMA to turn her into a King and replicate a distress message that would result in the Phantom Thieves being captured and later, confronting a manipulated Shadow Akane. Konoe does not know that he was manipulating Akane due to EMMA not bothering to tell him about her.
He is the owner of the Osaka's Jail, which takes the form of a sci-fi utopia that makes him the sole hero of the world, for his EMMA app will wipe out all crimes. Unlike past targets, Akira actually did earn his popularity legitimately instead of using the EMMA application to artificially inflate it. In fact, when he shut down EMMA temporarily, many are so reliant on it that they request him to reopen its services. The Phantom Thieves also found out for the first time that Konoe had good intentions despite his malicious methods, and he actually had a traumatic past that motivated him to instigate the EMMA related incidents. When he talked about his very own version of absolute justice, he meant every word he said, as after a seemingly friendly conversation with Owada, he calls him a "disgusting vermin that would be removed first after this," indicating that he wanted to remove Owada from the very beginning and is just trying to catch him off guard.
Once the party defeats the Lock Keeper located in his household, they send the calling card by hijacking a Madicce Zeppelin and drop them. While at first completely unfazed by the calling card, he realized that the plan to use Kyoto's 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.
When confronted by the Phantom Thieves, Shadow Konoe explains EMMA and the Jails to the Phantom Thieves, 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 Oracle" disregards free will much unlike them, and that none of the people he "saved," Kings or the public alike, looked happy to begin with. Shadow Konoe then tries to further justify himself using the example of his father, that the Phantom Thieves are unable 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. This was to no avail, as even Sophie starts chiding him for locking people in their own traumas and preventing them from moving forward.
Realizing that he can no longer get his reason through, Konoe attacks the party. He reveals his Shadow outfit, a Sentai Ranger suit modeled after Zephyrman and controls a massive armored robot named "Armor Zephyrus." After it collapses, he emerges out of the robot's debris and fights them on foot, but was 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 to the police, before Zenkichi Hasegawa and Miyako Kaburagi arrive to arrest him in-person. Only now then he knew that EMMA was using Akane to achieve his "salvation."
Later on, it was revealed that Ichinose sold the application Konoe in hopes of his company's tech will let the application go 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 to arrest Jun Owada for good.
- The name Akira means "bright" (明).
- Akira's surname Konoe means "near" (近) (kon) and "guard" (衛) (oe), which indicates his lifelong desire of becoming just like Zephyrman, a firm defender of justice. His endeavors in upholding justice is also distorted and radical as he forcefully removes all crimes in the world by means of mass mind control, all while allowing the users of EMMA to commit wrongdoings on an unprecedented scale.
- Akira is the first human target to be completely unfazed by any calling card; it was the EMMA app's failure from capturing the Thieves that alerted him.
- Hero Akira's design and ability to drive mecha is a reference to sentai genre superheroes.
- Akira's status as a tech guru and his shadow taking the form of a superhero bears some resemblance to that of Tony Stark of Marvel Comics.
- Hero Akira is among the Shadow Selves in the Persona 5 series to be fully capable of combat without relying on henchmen.