The Antisocial Force (
Before Persona 5 Scramble, there is no official term referring to this organization. However, in Scramble, it was referred as an "Antisocial Force" during the game's epilogue.
"Antisocial Force" is a term used by the Japanese government, referring to organized crime groups or gangs (such as the Yakuza), any cooperation or political party that is sponsoring (or was being sponsored by them), as well as revolutionary groups who have the potential to induce violence or social unrest. It might also refer to organizations of serial fraudsters.
All of these descriptions match the group as seen in Persona 5 and its related merchandise, as the in-game group is consisted of politicians, Yakuza, con-men, revolutionaries and corporations.
The Antisocial Force, which has not been named by the mainstream media during this game, is a treasonous group consisted of corrupt high-publicity figures that controls Tokyo with the backing of the General Public and the Metaverse's ruler "godly being". They arose two years ago and their ultimate goal is to have Masayoshi Shido elected Prime Minister and implement his self-centered political beliefs, which would turn Japan into a fascist dictatorship that feeds and delights on its citizen's suffering. The Phantom Thieves of Hearts fight against their conquest by stealing the Treasures of their high profile members in order to reform them. Once the Phantom Thieves caught their attention by dismantling several of their financiers (In which the Thieves do not know that they are financiers of Shido's campaign), the Antisocial Force decides to hunt them down and kill them under the premise of treason.
In order to achieve their goals, the Antisocial Force has a mysterious black masked assassin (later revealed to be Goro Akechi) trigger mental shutdowns and psychotic breakdowns to specific targets in order to discredit the current government administration and call for a general election, while Shido increases his personal popularity by calling out the government's supposed incompetence and promises to create a greater Japan for all of its citizens. Members who know too much and pose a danger are executed by Akechi, who murders Shujin Academy's Principal Kobayakawa, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit, and Kunikazu Okumura when they no longer serve a purpose as members. If the rigged election went well, the Antisocial Force had secretly planned to dispose of Akechi as well, as he would have outlived his usefulness and knew of Shido's dealings.
Before the events of the game, Shido also personally attempted to seize and ruin the lives of cognitive psience researchers. These include Wakaba Isshiki and Takuto Maruki; The former was executed by Akechi per Shido's orders and ordering an IT company president (The same one who played Medjed in the game) to encrypt the research without telling him what it actually is, then out of an unnecessary act of cruelty, read a forged suicide note out loud to her daughter Futaba Sakura to break her spirit. He also seized the research of the latter and forced his university to cut the funds for his lab in Odaiba using a petty excuse, with a stadium constructed on it instead. Again, just like the IT company president, after he seized Maruki's research, he gave it to his fellow researchers for analysis without telling them what it actually is for. However, unlike with Wakaba, Shido left Maruki alone without any follow up action, inadvertently allowing him to complete his cognitive research.
The group itself becomes hostile after Ichiryusai Madarame is discredited and Junya Kaneshiro arrested, as they were primary financial backers of the group and their confession deeply hurt the group's bottom line and resource base. Initially, a tech firm CEO poses as the online hacker activist group Medjed to threaten the Phantom Thieves into compliance, although the ultimate plan was to increase the Phantom Thieves' popularity and make them ideal scapegoats, and the hacking threat is actually blank. After Futaba Sakura successfully breaks into his server and defangs him (Which didn't matter for them anyway since it's just bait), they decide to try a subtler approach, using the story of how the Phantom Thieves destroyed an international hacking front to raise their popularity to abnormal and outright suspicious levels, then using it to kick off a heist request on Kunikazu Okumura to the top of the list artificially. The Thieves only got in to save his daughter from her abusive fiance. In reality, they had planned to assassinate him to kill two birds in one stone; after the Thieves steal his Treasure, Akechi kills Okumura's Shadow Self upon Shido's orders and Okumura dies during a live press conference. This allows Shido both a free getaway from a potential opponent that he might lose his presidency to and frame the Phantom Thieves in fear of them encroaching onto his way. During the trip to Hawaii way before this, Kobayakawa became an enemy of the Antisocial Force due to his failed investigation of the Phantom Thieves. Akechi faked a Phantom Thief murder by planting a false calling card in Kobayakawa's office, then killing his Shadow via a Mental Shutdown.
With these two cases combined, the Phantom Thieves' reputation turns from saviors to murderers and the Antisocial Force's true attack against the Phantom Thieves begin, using Goro Akechi as a mole to lead them into Niijima's Palace so they can all be arrested. Thankfully, this was foiled as the Phantom Thieves have a plan to foil him and have the protagonist evade his untimely death, although for it to pull it off, he has to willingly shrug off the truth serum's effects. If the protagonist actually pulls this off, Shido orders Akechi to kill the SIU Director, having outlived his usefulness, and he dies. Now back to the present, the Phantom Thieves initiate a counterattack against Shido who was becoming abnormally popular, far beyond any sort of rationality.
Lesser members of the Antisocial Force appear as Cognitive existences in Shido's Palace, but Shido's distortions are so strong that some of them turn out to be actual Shadow Selves who did not form Palaces of their own. When Akechi was dispatched into the Boiler Room to personally end the Phantom Thieves, he reveals that despite being a member of the Antisocial Force, Akechi is not loyal to them at all and simply worked for both the Antisocial Force and the Thieves for his own agenda. After the confrontation, Akechi was gravely assaulted by a cognitive copy of himself created by Shido, who views him as an obedient hitman. He seemingly sacrifices himself trying to deal with it, and his fate was left unknown. Once the Thieves reach Shadow Shido, he reveals that he knows about Akechi's plans to dispose of him and is prepared to dispose Akechi himself if things ever begin to go wrong.
After Shido is defeated and experiences a change of heart, the Antisocial Force is greatly weakened and rendered impotent politically. The remnants, consisting of a Shido crony appointed to SIU Director, a psychiatrist and a legislator started to scurry for plans and the public began to doubt if Shido genuinely meant it. However, Yaldabaoth begins to take action on his own, having seen the protagonist's rehabilitation game complete. He manipulates the public into inversely increasing Shido's popularity to cult-like levels even if it's not supposed to, and the Antisocial Force's remnants plan to use it for even more sinister plans like ensuring both the control of Japan and to take over the world. In order to make sure their plan ensues smoothly, they also manipulate the media to make the public believe that Shido is in poor health and that there is no evidence that the Phantom Thieves actually changed people's hearts, then fire Sae Niijima who was nearly successful in indicting him.
In order to defeat the remaining members of the Antisocial Force and reform the public, the Phantom Thieves reach the depths of Mementos, only to find that the "reformed" Antisocial Force members are merely made one with the public, and the Holy Grail that Yaldabaoth manifests as is indestructible since it feeds on the people's apathy to endlessly regenerate itself. Once the Thieves can no longer fight, it exiles them back into the real world, then merges Mementos with the real world and further manipulates the public to believe that the Phantom Thieves don't exist, causing all of them to be exiled from reality as well and writhing in pain. Yaldabaoth now reveals himself to be impersonating Igor and to have been compromised the Velvet Room and transformed it into a prison where all of the Thieves are imprisoned in after they were exiled by him. Once exposed as an impostor, Yaldabaoth offers the protagonist a chance to join him, so everything outside will revert to normal and the Phantom Thieves will gain the fame they deserve. However, the people in Tokyo will still remain as "Distorted Masses." If the protagonist accepts this offer and has confirmed to seal the contract with Yaldabaoth, Lavenza will be disappointed at him, and it will lead to a bad ending where the protagonist starts using the Metaverse to sabotage people indiscriminately, and his teammates presumably remaining imprisoned in the Velvet Room for an eternity. Should he refuse, Yaldabaoth promptly retreats and returns the real Igor and awaits confrontation on top of the Distorted Tokyo.
Throughout the exploration of the Depths of Mementos, the true purpose of the so-called "Antisocial Force" is revealed to be in fact, chaotic elements implanted into society by Yaldabaoth in order to prove that if humanity are left to themselves, they will give away their future to the corrupt and incompetent out of sheer ignorance, and because of this, they do not deserve freedom and the only way for them to be saved is for Yaldabaoth himself to be in charge of them, ignoring the truth that he is the one who manipulated the public into supporting an Antisocial Force to extreme heights of popularity. Supposedly, this is a "game" for Yaldabaoth to see that if the protagonist's desire for change or Akechi's desire for destruction is stronger by deliberately arranging the most foolish and corrupt of people into power for one of them to take down, but Yaldabaoth had no intent to held his own end of the contract. In reality, regardless of whoever wins by dismantling the chaotic elements he set up, Yaldabaoth will enact his plan to make the public "distorted masses" who only desire safety and stagnation, so he can prove that the public do not deserve a free society for their sheer ignorance, and the only way there will be no more corrupt and foolish conspiracies like those is when he guides humanity.
The members of the Antisocial Force with a personalized Palace, are those whose desire for free will and control independent from the Prison of Regression are so strong that they broke out from their confines and locked themselves in their own Palaces. Said personalities also watch over the public who are still in the prison to keep them from escaping. Yaldabaoth also subconsciously manipulates the public into worshiping the undesirables as god-like entities on ever increasing severity to prove his point.
When the Thieves were freed from the Quarantine Cells, they return to Shibuya to climb the Qliphoth World and announce their true rebellion, as all of their past rebellions are commenced under Yaldabaoth's manipulations. They successfully destroy Yaldabaoth and erases Mementos from the surface of the world. Due to the source of all distortions being removed, people's opinion of Shido changed to an unanimously negative light and thus dissolving the Antisocial Force once and for all.
Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom StrikersEdit
While not actually having anymore power by themselves, the Antisocial Force's remnants still remain, namely a politician named Jun Owada who once lobbied for Shido and enlists the CEO of Madicce, Akira Konoe to defeat his political opponents with EMMA so he can become prime minister. Two years prior to the events of the game, Owada was responsible for the death of Akane Hasegawa's mother by running over her while drunk and its subsequent cover-up. Proper police investigation was prevented due to Owada's ties to Shido and his sphere of influence on the government, and the crime was pinned on Owada's subordinate, who eventually committed suicide out of shame. Zenkichi Hasegawa was also blackmailed with a death threat on his daughter's life when he tried to investigate (considering Shido's ruthlessness during his reign of power, this was most likely not an empty threat).
Throughout the game, Owada accepts bribes from Madicce in the form of having Konoe changing the hearts of his opponents, arranging from corrupt politicians attempting to compete with him to high-ranking police officials who stepped their foot into Osaka (Where the Madicce headquarters and Konoe's Jail are in.)
In reality, Konoe is only using Owada, and he would quickly take him down once he begins his anti-crime crusade. He also attempted to cause the Phantom Thieves of Hearts' arrest by bribing Miyako Kaburagi, only to fail because of Zenkichi Hasegawa and Sae Niijima's efforts.
At the end of the game, Owada is promptly arrested by Kaburagi and Zenkichi, who already planned to arrest them as soon as Konoe was taken down by the Thieves. He was charged with accepting bribes from Madicce, tax evasion, murder and covering up a murder. Suspicions also arose that he actually killed his secretary. The news also now properly labels the political conspiracy orchestrated by Shido as an Antisocial Force, preventing it from actually resurfacing once again and granting the Hasegawa family the justice they deserve.
- Yaldabaoth: Conductor, influenced the public to support Masayoshi Shido.
- Masayoshi Shido: Leader (Samael)
- Goro Akechi: Assassin. In reality, he's using Shido for the purpose of blackmailing him.
- Junya Kaneshiro: Financier (Bael)
- Ichiryusai Madarame: Financier (Azazel)
- Kunikazu Okumura (Mammon): Used the Black Mask's services
- Principal Kobayakawa: Associate, implied to have obtained his status due to the Antisocial Force.
- SIU Director: Associate, orders Sae to rig cases in favor of Shido, and planned on covering up the Mental Shutdown cases.
- Yakuza cleaner (Ongyo-Ki)
- IT Company President (Oberon): Kickstarted the Medjed cleanse false flag threat
- TV Station President (Hanuman)
- Former Noble (Forneus)
- Politician Ooe (Yamato-no Orochi)
- Real versions of the guests in Shido's Palace
- Proxy SIU Director: Successor the previous Director.
- A Psychologist: One of the remnants accompanying the Proxy SIU.
- Shido-leaning Legislator: Accompanies the proxy SIU.
- Jun Owada: A senator who was involved in lobbying Shido's campaign. He was promptly arrested at the end of Scramble.
- Akira Konoe: Assisted Owada to capture the Phantom Thieves for terrorism. In reality, he is just using Owada for his own ends.
Some unconfirmed possible members include Suguru Kamoshida (given Kobayakawa's knowing allowance of his behavior, it is possible that Kamoshida has some hand in the Antisocial Force).
- The Antisocial Force is comparable to the New World Order from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Both have members in the government, police and entertainment circles, are backed by the Mafia, and are ultimately working for a malevolent deity.
- However, while both are villainous social orders, their goals are completely different; The New World Order attempts to use false mysticism and prophecy to create a delusional utopia where only they live, while the Antisocial Force is a more realistic portrait of a corrupt social system, whose sole purpose is to put a corrupt politician into power and remove all opposition.
- The Antisocial Force is likely based on a corrupt modern government system or a coterie based on a corrupt politician (In this case being Shido), especially the ones seen in modern Japan. The actions carried out by the members of the Antisocial Force, such as blackmailing and assassinating opposition, holding extremist views and trying to achieve ruling status regardless of means, plagiarizing the works of others and abusing workers are in fact, not uncommon in real life political, cooperate and entertainment circles.