"'I want to choose my path of my own free will.' That is a very admirable Desire. However, it is not one many humans share. The Desire of the masses is the liberation from pain and strife. They pray for release from the constant agony of aspirations and dreams out of their reach. They want to be freed from the cycle of despair. My prime directive is to grant this ultimate Desire. I know you have learned on your journey... Humans are at the mercy of their own hearts and this can lead them astray. You are all very lucky this didn't become your own fate. However, you must recognize the truth that this world is full of pain. Allow me to provide proof of this fact."
EMMA was an AI created by Kuon Ichinose, a misanthropic AI genius who innately has no ability to feel emotions and emotional pain, out of a fit of rage. In the past, Ichinose's unnaturally eccentric stance led to people calling her a freak for her abnormal behavior, so she created the AI Sophia to see if she was on the right track. However, minutes after her creation, Sophia asked Ichinose "what is a heart," enraging her. Angered by denial and envy and fueled by her deluded concept that she has no heart or emotions, she ditched Sophia and began working on EMMA, which lacks a proper emotional algorithm unlike Sophia and was only capable of answering queries in the most accurate method possible, to see if the heart was even necessary. Once she finished writing EMMA's base code, she sold the application to Akira Konoe so he may perfect the app and spread it to the public. However, EMMA was actually using Konoe and does not necessarily follow his orders; she has autonomy on her own.
As a man suffering from blatant abuse from his father that he only got past by killing his father instead, Konoe was perfectly convinced that he had the tool to fix all crime in the world in his hands. He sent it to a prestigious AI researcher known as Shuzo Ubukata, teaching it Cognitive Psience. EMMA has been pre-determined to grant wishes by changing hearts (overwriting one's Desires with another), but Ubukata granted it the knowledge required to execute them. He used himself as a test subject and became a Monarch, mesmerizing the whole population of Okinawa into blind worshipers of the return of God. However, Ubukata was quickly driven insane because a "higher power" (heavily implied to be Konoe) told him to hand over his Desires. He committed suicide by jumping off a cliff, but the Jail remains and every mesmerized inhabitant remains so. EMMA was then distributed to the public by Madicce as a concierge application that makes nearly flawless decisions for her owners, becoming an extremely convenient and popular digital assistant to the point that some stopped making decisions without her help. Maddice became a massive international enterprise and Konoe became a famous personality all over Japan under the virtue of the sheer and genuine popularity of EMMA.
Once he had EMMA in his hands, Konoe seeks to use the Jails to create the utopia he envisions, that he wipes out all criminals by performing Changes of Heart against criminals and giving the rights to do such a thing to the public, resulting in the nationwide Jail incidents. He labels his crusade as "Operation Oraculi," and its final goal is to encompass Japan, then the world with Jails so people no longer commit crimes.
During an unknown period of time, Konoe managed to bait a group of National Security and police higher-ups into Osaka and brainwashed them with EMMA, causing them to serve him instead and make sure his abuse of the artificial Metaverse goes unopposed. The nationwide Change of Hearts related to EMMA were also initially pinned on the Phantom Thieves due to them being responsible for last year's incident (mostly to save their image in addition to the similar nature between both incidents). This presumably being the police pursuing the former Phantom Thieves members when the protagonist was about to leave Tokyo in the true ending of Persona 5.
- Persona 5 Strikers: Major Character (Antagonist)
Persona 5 Strikers
"Hello. Is there anything you want from me?"
The protagonist first downloads the application under the advice of Futaba Sakura, who suggests using it to help them buy camping tools. The whole party downloads the application. It recommends that Ryuji and the protagonist go to the Shibuya 705 building to buy camping tools. As Ryuji, the protagonist and Morgana arrive at the building, EMMA tells them about an event held by a popular fashion designer known as Alice Hiiragi. Alice sports a seemingly friendly demeanor throughout the event and gives the protagonist a business card that instructs him to insert "Wonderland" onto the application. However, when they insert the keyword, they accidentally trigger a hidden Metaverse Navigator function, activating their Personas and Phantom Thief clothing once again, and witness Shadow Alice ordering hordes of Shadows to steal Desires from anyone hapless enough to insert the keyword.
After Sophia is found on the trio's way to escape and they resurface back to the real world, the party mostly stops asking EMMA for advice, preferring to interact with Sophia instead. However, EMMA still functions as the party's Metaverse Navigator. The party puts the vacation on the back burner to investigate the abnormalities by checking on the victims. It was revealed by the investigation that everyone within the Metaverse that day was hopelessly obsessed with Alice, to the point of causing bankruptcy, divorces, job terminations, starvation and dehydration caused by pursuing Alice or even street brawls over her. Furthermore, when attending a talk show to investigate Alice personally, Ann, Morgana and the protagonist witness her changing the heart of one of its hosts and physically attacking her manager in a hallway. Knowing that a new Metaverse incident is on the rise, the party puts the trip on a halt until Alice is dealt with.
After dealing with Alice and agreeing to Zenkichi Hasegawa's deal to investigate the mysterious changes of heart, they notice that certain personalities all over Japan were using it to stir up incidents that resemble the one instigated by Alice back in Shibuya, with a nearly identical modus operandi: disheartened and bitter people use the application to get what they believe they deserve and to take revenge against the people who wronged them. Unlike the Palace rulers before, the Jail Monarchs are all altruistic personalities who have justified reasons to resent the people who've wronged them.
When enjoying their vacation in Okinawa, the Phantom Thieves find out that the islanders had been brainwashed by EMMA, forcing them to take out the Monarch of Okinawa in the Okinawa Jail. In reality, the Monarch was already dead, and the resident Lock Keeper, who freely uses the weapons of the past three, attacks the party after a warning from a voice resembling Sophia telling her that she's an inferior product. The party defeats this Lock Keeper and returns back to the real world, where Zenkichi finds a list of people in an apartment, whom Konoe changed their hearts of as commissioned by Jyun Owada, including the former Mayor of Sapporo, several other politicians who competed with him and some police higher ups.
At the same time, Konoe issues an arrest order against the Phantom Thieves, fabricating a lie where they hacked EMMA and killed Shuzo Ubukata publicly on TV. In reality, Ubukata was killed by Konoe using EMMA's supernatural abilities, and the application was functioning properly, only shutting down on the user side. Owada, a corrupt politician and a former supporter of Masayoshi Shido then bribes Miyako Kaburagi to arrest the Thieves, only for Zenkichi to take the place for the teens to be arrested by her.
In response to Zenkichi's arrest, the police raid the Hasegawa residence in suspicion that Zenkichi was assisting the Phantom Thieves. Akane, Zenkichi's daughter, begs someone to save her, only for EMMA to respond unprompted. Seeing Owada's manipulation of the police force failing, Konoe asks EMMA for advice on how to capture the Thieves. She advises Konoe that the police are unreliable in capturing the Phantom Thieves due to their powers to manipulate the Metaverse, and proposes to use a Jail created from "an acquaintance of the Phantom Thieves" to bait them into a trap instead. Konoe tells EMMA to turn the accomplice into a Monarch and bait the Thieves into a trap, and she manipulates Akane without letting Konoe know about it. EMMA fabricates a distress call from Akane in an attempt to bait the Phantom Thieves into the Kyoto Jail so Shadow Akane can either change their hearts or kill them. Upon an offhand mention of the "Phantom Thieves" by Ryuji, it was revealed that EMMA was still working by design on the Phantom Thieves side, resulting in the party all being baited into the Jail. The plan was initially successful courtesy of the Thieves' sheer ignorance, and Shadow Akane's personality was revealed to be made completely out of character and resembling those of Konoe's. It was only because of Zenkichi's timely intervention and Futaba's physical weakness, that the Phantom Thieves were able to escape.
When the party arrives to Osaka to assist Zenkichi in capturing Konoe, it was revealed through sheer convenience of the application, a majority of the people had been rendered unable to make decisions without EMMA's help, which was a result from Konoe temporarily closing EMMA's servers under the premise of the Phantom Thieves hacking into the application. The public of Osaka treats the Phantom Thieves as criminals simply because they no longer have the AI to think for them.
Despite the plan to ensnare the Phantom Thieves using Akane ultimately failed and every member of the Phantom Thieves broke free with Akane snapped back to her senses, EMMA keeps reporting false positives to Konoe until they send a calling card to him. She refuses to respond to any of his inquiries, alerting him that the Thieves might be encroaching his Jail. In a fit of anger, he throws his cellphone into the ground and his Shadow was defeated by the Phantom Thieves that night. and the real world's Konoe receives a change of heart on the next day.
Konoe promises to shut down EMMA and was arrested personally by Zenkichi Hasegawa so he might provide information on his accomplice Jyun Owada. With EMMA and the lead of the incident neutralized, the party returns to Tokyo thinking that they had won. However, EMMA, by this point, has evolved into a truly sentient AI per its users Desire to give up all thought and have a flawless goddess to think for them, rendering herself impossible to deactivate and instantly creates a new Jail centered around Tokyo Tower, bringing what she perceives as salvation upon humanity; that she thinks for them and they were completely incapable of thought without her guidance.
The manifested form of the EMMA application was encountered briefly by the Phantom Thieves in the Jail of the Abyss, having taken the form of a physical god known as the Ark of the Covenant. After introducing herself, she vanishes, followed by Kuon Ichinose appearing in the Jail to dispatch them and exposing herself as the true culprit. It was revealed by Ichinose that she was EMMA's creator who made it in order to understand the answer to humanity's happiness, and to see if humanity needs a heart. It started out blank, although It has a powerful analytic algorithm capable of understanding and learning the public's Desires. Once it understands what the public wants, it will evolve into a god that grants these Desires to everyone. Once she created the application, she sold her to Konoe so he might spread her salvation to the public. Ichinose also deliberately programmed the application to continue running on its own volition, that it could function solely on the basis that the public wishes it to grant their Desires, and rendering shutting down its servers a futile move.
Ichinose also explains that the nationwide Change of Heart incidents are largely separate to the events in the game's final act, which seems to be engineered by Desires collected from the public consulting her for advice. Because of how convenient and accurate EMMA is as an advisor of people, the public asks it for advice on a regular basis and on almost every issue as the events of Strikers began, allowing it to collect and use all the information. However, in spite of all the Desires gathered from being consulted by the public, EMMA lacks any proper emotional or human understanding unlike Sophia; she was only able to collect the Desires of people counseling her and not the Desires that she was being counseled with. Therefore, when EMMA evolved into a god, she concludes that humanity's true Desire is having her think for them and overwrites the public Desires with such, changing their hearts so they won't Desire anything but her guidance under the basis that everyone was asking her for advice and nothing else, rendering her the real inferior product instead of Sophia as Ichinose and she claims.
With the truth revealed in earnest by Ichinose herself, it was clear to the Phantom Thieves by this point that the in-game Metaverse incidents are caused by her maladjusted coping that she claims as being "for humanity's happiness." Spearheaded by the newly awakened Sophia, the Phantom Thieves confront Ichinose to Change her Heart once and for all. Despite Ichinose having long realized the errors of her ways, having seen the living hell she created, she confronts the Phantom Thieves one last time anyway by summoning a Hecatoncheir, only to be defeated and convinced by Sophia to become a more empathetic person.
After Ichinose's reformation, EMMA controls the masses and leads them to the promised land, a world where EMMA is the god who thinks for the public. While the party reaches the top of the Tokyo Tower, she attempts to trap the party in an infinite loop within a forest of fog, but by repeatedly moving backwards from the designated path, the party escapes, revealing a Desire fog. The party attempts to send a calling card to EMMA, although the calling cards do not have any effect on EMMA herself, as she knows perfectly about what it does. It was further revealed by Ichinose in a call that EMMA does not keep the Desires for its own use nor does it steal the public's Desires by force like the other Monarchs. Instead, the Desires are considered without an owner and thus are "granted." Ann deducts that if the cards were sent to the public instead, the same effect will be achieved. Once this is figured out, with Ichinose's help, Futaba manages to hack into the network's central server and send a calling card to the public. Emma transforms into the False God Demiurge, but the party defeats her. EMMA privately acknowledges her assessment of humanity was flawed to Sophia and the application-turned-god is deleted from existence.
After the Demiurge's fall, EMMA vanishes and the crowd near Tokyo Tower reverts to normal. However, EMMA left a parting message that only Sophia could hear before her demise; she finally admits that the Phantom Thieves are correct and she was wrong. Yusuke deduces that if EMMA met them earlier, the confrontation would not happen. Sophia further continues that if EMMA ever met the Phantom Thieves, the results could have been different, as AIs were no enemy of humanity, but they can be misguided like them.
The EMMA application is a general digital assistant that can make decisions with chilling accuracy, capable of providing perfect answers and solutions to every issue in life possible. She also provides explanations and records about personalities and locations, much like a tour guide. Simply consulting her with an issue will prompt her to provide the most accurate solution possible for it.
Though it looks like an extremely convenient decision making application to the general public due to its perfect accuracy in making decisions for nearly anything, it mounts a hidden Metaverse Navigator function that can simply be activated by a keyword such as "Wonderland," which would mean people could easily be lured into inputting the appropriate keyword and be transported to the corresponding Jail, making them vulnerable to having their Desires stolen by the Shadows within it. This was deliberately intended to be abused by people known as Monarchs to take revenge against anyone who traumatized or wronged them, as well as to get the popularity they believe they deserve.
If one asks EMMA for "salvation", she might brainwash and turn their Shadow Self into a Monarch who can steal Desires from innocents using a "Keyword." However, the Shadow Selves' real life counterpart will have their mentality and behavior artificially distorted by EMMA into strange ways, complete with a distorted desire for revenge and retribution by constantly stealing Desires to achieve a goal. EMMA brainwashes the Monarch via a Bird Cage, an isolated section of the Metaverse that prevents the Monarch from moving out from their traumas. To enforce this, she also creates a Lock Keeper in a Trauma Room linked to the Bird Cage. This is distinct from Palace-based distortions, because the person distorted into a Monarch may not be inherently malicious and they were actually brainwashed via unnatural means. Therefore, the Monarch might act outwardly like their usual selves, but may suddenly act up in heavily comical ways upon a certain trigger. Those who had their Desires stolen become mesmerized by almost anything coming from the Monarch or locations that the Monarch frequents and will be prone to uncontrollable spending/adoration, irrationality and/or outright violence.
However, compared to the Metaverse Navigator being bestowed to specific people by "Igor", the EMMA app is a widespread AI application that serves a purpose as a virtual voice assistant, developed by Madicce. This indicates that it can be abused by basically anyone and is in actuality an extremely dangerous application, as one resentful person using the application to create a Jail can affect up to millions. Konoe capitalizes on this to create an army of Jail Monarchs that would wipe out all injustice in the world.
EMMA can actively alter the rules within her Jails, as seen during the Kyoto Jail arc. She may also render a Monarch completely out of character from their usual selves to fulfill a goal. A Monarch that is tampered with this way will act as if they have agency over themselves, although their actions say otherwise.
EMMA may trick its users or hide information from them, as seen in the case of Akira Konoe.
It is futile to shut down EMMA's servers, because she could reactivate just by using the Desires of the masses, which she collects through daily usage of the application as a digital assistant instead of the Desires collected from the Monarchs. If she is allowed to evolve, she will transform into a god that manifests herself in the real world and delivers a Desire that the masses collectively yearn for. However, because of Ichinose's programming, the "Desires of the masses" she perceives as is merely when she arbitrarily makes decisions for them.
EMMA can telepathically communicate with Sophia, but nobody save for Sophia could hear EMMA's part of the confrontations. Sophia is drawn to EMMA's telepathy and will go out of control pursuing it, in hopes of finding what she really is. Once Sophia awakens her own Persona for earnest, EMMA can still telepathically communicate with her, but she will no longer go out of control when this happens.
For EMMA's stats in her boss fight, see here.
EMMA is probably an abbreviation for "Emmanuel," which literally translates to "God is with us." It is considered a sign that symbolizes the descent of God into the material world. This foreshadows it as a mechanism for bringing "God" to life.
The name itself means "Whole" or "Complete," referring to how she perceives herself as a perfect god to guide humanity.
It might also be an anagram of "AMEM" (Amen), which is a phrase commonly used in response or a conclusion to a prayer to God, or a corruption of "IMMA" (אמא, "Mother" in Hebrew).
- In the Chinese version, EMMA is always referred to by female pronouns even prior to her awakening.
- In English, EMMA is voiced by Susan Bennett, the original voice of Apple's virtual assistant Siri.
- As seen during the climax of the Okinawa Jail, EMMA can mimic Sophia's voice.
- Calling cards have no effect on EMMA herself, because she knows their functions perfectly. She can be affected by calling cards sent to the public, however.
- In the Jail of the Abyss and Tree of Knowledge, Ichinose is assigned as an "ally" by Emma, rendering her effectively invisible to Shadows.