"Hikari...You cannot...remain part of the audience forever..."
Doe is a character and boss from Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth.
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth: Major Character, Boss
Doe is a creature resembling a Shadow. He is large, black and plump and wears a short blue necktie with polka dot patterns. His face resembles a yellow shadow mask and has large, hollow eyes with three eyelashes above it. His arms are disproportionately large and his legs are disproportionately small compared to his body. Doe does not talk much, but when he does, he speaks in a deep, intimidating voice.
In his boss form, he appears as a large, monstrous frog-like abomination surrounded by film, in which his eyes swirl around it. His limbs are stubby and disproportionately small and he does not seem to have a face. The eyes on the film surrounding it are red with black pupils. While it is impossible to see in game, he has a flat rear with a pointed tip.
His true form appears to be identical to Hikari's Father, who is a bespectacled old man with a kind appearance and wears a light yellow suit and a red sweater vest over it. He also wears a blue tie with white polka dots, which is the same one that he wears in his distorted form. Doe only took the monstrous form he is seen in for the most of the game due to Hikari viewing her father as a terrifying figure that hates her because of a past incident and misunderstanding.
Doe is a cold, eccentric and enigmatic creature with an unpredictable mindset and a seeming inability to speak intelligibly, which causes him great frustration. The party is generally wary around him due to his ominous appearance and suspicious behavior as well as the fact that he does not properly communicate with anyone but Hikari.
He shows a paradoxical desire to both keep Hikari safe and to prevent her from moving on from her past. Eventually, it is revealed that he is a cognition of Hikari's father warped by her grief and self-loathing; after being defeated, he becomes sane and shows himself to genuinely care for Hikari just like her real father and that he wished to protect her from Nagi's manipulations.
Most of Doe's behavior reflect Hikari's mental state. His complete unresponsiveness at the start of the game can be tied to Hikari's catatonic depression when she was "scolded" by her father. The convulsive reaction he makes when creating a key comes from Hikari trying to overcome her traumas. His paradoxical desire to both keep Hikari and release her from the Cinema can be attributed to Hikari (or other people trapped in the theaters) wanting to leave but cannot due to the fear of receiving more pain.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth
Doe is a mysterious projectionist that broadcasts the movies in the Cinema. He doesn't talk often, but when he is touched his body bounces. According to Nagi, the Cinema began to act oddly when Doe appeared and he would just broadcast the same movie over and over. After a movie is cleared, he will generate the key required to remove a lock on the Cinema exit and allow everyone to escape it after all four locks are removed, but he does so with a spasmodic reaction that terrifies people around him. Hikari is scared of him to the point that she cannot get close to him and the reaction that Doe makes when creating a key can affect Hikari as well. As the movie labyrinths have their endings changed, she becomes less fearful around him.
After clearing A.I.G.I.S, Doe supposedly kidnapped Hikari into ??? and vanishes. In reality he did not kidnap her, but she consensually followed him there to face her own past and so that she could recollect her memories, which she was previously unable to because of having a memory distorted by psychogenic amnesia. The party encounters him personally after the Order Gigant in the musical depicting Hikari's breakdown was defeated, revealing that he disguised himself as the Shadow. However, he does not say anything, fleeing to the bottommost floor of the dungeon after muttering Hikari's name.
The party confronts him at the lowest area of ??? and when Hikari confesses to him about her toxic escapism from pain, he expresses his wish to keep her in the cinema forever because she was too weak to cope with the outside world. She denies this wish and he goes berserk and attacks the party, transforming into a morbid, blob-like creature with various limbs sticking out of him at irregular angles, surrounded by film, upon which his eyes swivel. After the party destroys his eyes and head, he unleashes a dangerous attack that triple binds the party by spilling gunk on them, preventing them from doing anything against him. However, Hikari steps into combat and she can remove binds from one party member at a time.
The party defeats Doe with Hikari's help and the truth of his identity was revealed; before Hikari was trapped in the Cinema, her father bought a notebook for her to write down movie ideas as a gift when she was consumed by depression and self-loathing to the point that she isolated herself in her room and did not get out. Despite him asking her to get out of her confines to receive it, she remained unresponsive. He then asked her "Why do you have to be like that?" when she did not respond. As all of the people who psychologically abused and manipulated her asked her nearly identical questions when they did so, she thought even her father was rejecting her as she already had some degree of belief that he considered her an embarrassment for failing to live up to his expectations of her as a lovable and unique person. It was also heavily implied that she also believed that her father came in to punish her because her relatives told him to do so.
This provoked a series of traumatic flashbacks that broke her down completely, which resulted in Doe appearing as a terrifying creature that she cannot get close to or properly interact with. In reality, that was actually an attempt by her father to make her get out of her shell. The "rejection" was merely a misunderstanding; He actually asked the question because he was worried about her rapidly deteriorating mental health, and he also never treated his daughter as a disappointment in spite of all that she has to put through.
Realizing that Doe was in fact not an enemy, she steps in to hug him, in which he transforms into an image of her father. She tearfully repents for her twisted negative thoughts towards her father in front of him and he transforms into the key required to remove the last lock and escape the cinema along with Hikari's invitation letter, then vanishes into light. This reveals that Doe is nothing more than a cognitive copy of Hikari's Father created from her distorted perception and paranoia towards him and also that he was the only memory that she wanted to keep in the cinema, and his appearance as a projectionist is based on the fact that Hikari's father, the source of the cognition was one himself. As Doe also partially represents Hikari's desire to escape from her living death, he is able to create the keys required to escape the Cinema after a movie was cleared, as the locks on the Cinema exit are also set up by her cognition and each of the corresponding movies suppresses her desire to live. After the revelation, Hikari also confesses and apologizes to the party about her distorted depression and guilt, allowing her to make a full rehabilitation.
It is heavily implied that Doe is responsible for trapping the Persona users in the Cinema, as he turned the movies in Hikari's Cinema into forms that are meant to make her confront her past, dragging the Persona users into it so they can change their endings and free Hikari, as they are initially collective negativity taking the form of a documentary movie, serving no purpose other than to feed the people trapped inside Nagi's Cinemas with apathy and toxic emotions. The party would later imitate his method of making Hikari confront her past by replacing the negative film projectors of the Theater District with edited versions of the movie labyrinths.
In the Depths of the Theater District, one of the Negative Film projectors creates a monochrome berserk Doe to defend itself. This version of Doe is completely malevolent, commanding Hikari to surrender herself to escapism to avoid the suffering of life. Hikari and all the protagonists reject this as they prepare to engage. In battle, this version of Doe will not have its protective film barrier nor will it use its Infinite Despair skill; it's highly resistant to binds and ailments, but its numerous weaknesses will make it easy to defeat.
Right before battling the mastermind, the edited version of Hikari's Labyrinth displays the high school copy of Hikari expressing her wish to escape the cinema and make Doe vanish.
Do not bring too many magic users in this fight as Doe's first phase is completely immune to them, although they will be useful for nabbing boosts later on.
All of Doe's forms are affected by Agility Bind, which greatly eases the fight.
The first phase involves destroying his eyes, which swivel around a film tape. The eyes are immune to everything but Physical and Almighty, so only use those to attack it. Attacking every other part of the film does not do anything other than allowing a party member to nab boosts. His attacks differ depending on the eye's location; if it's on the left, it becomes Barrage Eye and he will use Pounce Punch, an extremely dangerous physical attack that can usually take out party members. If it's in the middle, it becomes Eldritch Eye and he will cast elemental magic. Beware of Mamudoon as it can take out multiple party members instantly. If it goes to the right, it becomes Blight Eye and he will begin to cast damaging skills with status conditions alongside Poisma and Stone Mist.
Once the eye is removed, Doe will lay flat and squander two turns. In this form, he is weak to Ice, Electric, Wind and Bless; use these weaknesses to defeat him as fast as possible. If one doesn't, he will instantly regenerate the film tape at full health.
After destroying his head, Doe will become headless and this is the second phase of the fight. Do not do anything during this turn and guard, since it is merely a waste of time to act in any way, although it is possible to perform an action before he does by granting a party member with spotlight and having that member cast Agility Bind on him. Once he gets his turn, he will instantly cast a skill called "Infinite Despair," which triple binds the party. This triple bind cannot be recovered by any item or skill, and will ignore any bind resistance or immunities on your party. Survive a turn and the skill "Hikari's Cheer" will become a permanent addition to the support skills you can access at the beginning of each turn. Hikari's Cheer is the only way to counter Infinite Despair, and the Party Gauge will constantly fill to three Gauges so that you can use it each turn.
Doe will recast Infinite Despair every five turns, so you only have enough time to unbind and use up to three party members at a time. Do not unbind any party member unnecessarily and any bound party member should be ordered to guard or use items. Make use of the raised Party Gauge refill rate to prepare other support skills when you're not using Hikari's Cheer (like on a turn where Doe will reuse Infinite Despair). If Fuuka is the party Navigator and Infinite Despair is affecting a heavily crippled party, one can consider guarding and use Healing Tide instead of unbinding party members.
His name comes from "John Doe," a placeholder name used for dead bodies with no other identification.
It might also come from "(どうして, Doushite)?" meaning "why," referring to the phrase "(どうしてお前はそうなんだ?, Doushite Omae Wa Sou Nanda?)?" that people used when they humiliated Hikari. The phrase was said by her father to express genuine concern for her welfare, but only served to leave a severe emotional scar on her.
- ヒカリィィィィィ!!! (Pounce Punch, randomly)
- ヒカリ...ヒカリ..ヒカリ..ヒカリィィィ!!! (Pounce Punch, Randomly)
- ヴォオオ...アァァァァ！！！ (When using anything other than Pounce Punch)
- Doe's fight is similar to the fight against the Sphinx Wakaba Isshiki in Persona 5. Both of them involve a fight against the cognitive copy of their daughter's beloved parents that they also developed paranoia and delusions with, and are fought on the fourth level of their respective games that represent their daughter's distorted self-destructive desires. Their daughters, respectively Futaba Sakura and Hikari, join midway during the fight and allow the party to deal sufficient damage against the boss in a situation where they are supposedly unable to. After their defeat, a benevolent image of their real form appears before they vanish and the distorted self-destructive desires of their daughters are fully cleared.
- He also possesses traits seen in Shadow Futaba despite not being a Shadow himself, as he partially represents his host's suppressed desires to realize the truth behind the ruining of her life and break free from her living death in addition to the aforementioned grief and self-loathing commonly associated with the Wakaba Sphinx.
- Both Doe and Hikari's father share the same voice actor, Kazuhiko Inoue.
- While Doe is a mere cognitive copy, he has traits similar to a Shadow Self, such as the ability to be angered when denied, the ability to be accepted and reverted to a more benevolent form and is an embodiment of his host's twisted paranoia and guilt. Defeating and overcoming him is also required to completely change the heart of his host, much like an actual Shadow Self.
- If the party kills Doe in his second phase before he casts Infinite Despair, Hikari's Cheer cannot be obtained for the rest of the game.
- Initial design of Doe was extremely difficult according to the Persona Q2 artbook and an interview of Yuta Aihara and Daisuke Kanada by the Dengeki Magazine; He was originally intended to be the curator of the Cinema, just like Nagi in the final game. This design also features him as an intimidating old man that reveals a gentle-looking young man by peeling his face off. Another design makes him resemble a cleaning staff with a bucket obscuring his face and only a crack revealing his right eye, and he would scold "a clumsy girl" (likely a prototype of Hikari) for spilling popcorn in the Cinema. According to the interview in the official art book, he is also intended to resemble a panda.