"I'm not going to be dependent on you. I'll seize my happiness on my own!"
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth: Major Character
Hikari is a young woman with short, white hair and red eyes. She wears a black school uniform skirt with black tights underneath, a large orange ribbon bow on her chest and orange stripes by the skirt. She wears a white hat with a movie reel hair accessory and carries a yellow megaphone. However, she doesn't seem to actually use her megaphone until she fully rehabilitates. When at home, she wears a black hooded pajama.
Her primary school self appears as a short, young girl with a pair of short twin tails, and wears an orange dress with a white uniform on the inside. In the intro to the fourth movie she also wears a yellow preschooler hat.
Her secondary school self appears just like her present self, but she wears a headband and a blue girl's only secondary school uniform with 4 buttons on the chest. She wears a red ribbon bow on her neck and a black skirt.
Her high school self appears just like her real self, but lacks the hat that the real person wears.
Hikari is a young woman that, at the start of the game suffers from extreme depression and self-esteem issues due to her bad past, where she would often be a target of emotional abuse or manipulation due to not thinking or acting in the same way as others around her, complete with a lack of social skills that prevent her from getting her message clear. While not directly stated to be suicidal, she has self-destructive tendencies and wished that anything that would make her stand out from others to be gone as she thinks that those led to people hating on her. As a result of the bad experiences around others, she displays extreme social anxiety and simply shuts down when facing the slightest amount of stress, being completely incapable of directly speaking to people. Usually, she just lowers her head with her eyes shut or stares blankly at a direction, which she does less frequently as the story advances.
In fact before the Persona users led by the Phantom Thieves of Hearts forced a change of heart on her, she was so consumed by her past traumas, self-loathing and depression to the point that she was barely functioning as a person, disconnecting herself from reality and displaying a complete lack of enthusiasm to live. In some scenes in the game, she is even shown to be depressed to the point that she becomes unresponsive towards any attempts in conversation. The constant drowning in self-destruction also warps her perception towards others, resulting in her inability to differ what is actually harmful to her and what actually isn't. This causes her to develop paranoia towards her father's supposed goodwill that results in the creation of Doe, whom she perceives as a terrifying figure that she could not even get close to, and believing that Nagi is a comforting figure, not knowing that she is actually delusional and is inversely fueling her negative impulses.
She values her father a lot, much more than most people she had encountered other than Persona users, since he is one of the only few people to ever genuinely care for her. He expected her to live her fullest and to be loved by everybody, so when she loses her self-esteem and falls into depression thanks to the emotional abuse chain, she felt that her father had resented her for viewing her as an embarrassment that was unable to fulfill his expectations, making the moment where he asked her the exact words that her tormentors asked when humiliating her to be incredibly traumatizing even though he had no such intent.
As each movie is cleared, she becomes more confident and slowly opens up to the party, although at first she does not notice the changes. After they gave the first movie an appropriate ending, she regains the ability to communicate in complete sentences and after doing the same to the second one, she could respond to humorous situations with a giggle, such as when Caroline calls Kanji a gorilla. When she fully rehabilitates, she even reveals her true dream of becoming a movie director to them. She is also kind towards the party and often blushes when she is excited. Eventually after her resolve against Doe, she becomes a party member and can participate in support towards the party. The interaction with the united Persona users results in her strengthening her resolve and regaining confidence around people.
She is obsessed with movies due to her father being a projectionist that would show her lots of them to make her happy, and can watch the same movie any number of times without getting bored. When the topics of movies are bought out, she would get dragged into it and would go onto in-depth explanations even if they are not warranted.
When Nagi drops off her guise and reveals her true intentions, Hikari expresses a clear desire to get her wishes of freeing everyone else trapped in the very same apathy and depression she once experienced from their imprisonment heard by the almighty ruler of the collective unconsciousness who enabled such actions to ruin their lives, with the bonds of her friends agreeing in unison to overthrow her false peace. Her wish eventually gets heard after the climax of the party's final confrontation against her former caretaker, prompting her to surrender and release everyone inside her domain.
"I'm different from all the other girls...I'm strange, a no good abnormality..."
Hikari is an ordinary high school girl living in a single parent household with her father, in which her mother is absent. Her father works as a cinema projectionist and he is one of the few people who genuinely cared about her, which would fuel her interest in movies.
When Hikari was in primary school, her school had a class rabbit. However, one day, the rabbit fell ill and died due to food poisoning. Hikari and two other students were responsible for feeding it, but none dare say a word against their teacher. In reality, the food that the teacher gave to the rabbit was poisonous for it. Hikari spoke against the teacher by saying that she did not commit the crime and she only warned them that the food was poisonous. Her teacher did not accept any explanation to the events and simply demanded an apology, and all of the students put the blame on Hikari in unison because they did not want to speak against their teacher. Eventually, they pressured Hikari to comply and apologize, which she begrudgingly does, resulting in the breaking of her viewing of teachers being heroes, an impression that she got from a movie she watched.
When she got home that day, her father asked if she wants to play "hero," and she responds by saying that she has lost interest in doing so and would watch movies instead, so her father promised her to watch one together that Sunday even though he would feel tired from his work, because seeing her makes him feel all the better. At this period, her father had inspired her goal to become a film director.
At secondary school, Hikari befriended a girl known as Miyuki and helped her clean her desk because the bullies in the class drew insults and dumped litter onto it. She asked her out to watch a dinosaur movie where a group of herbivore dinosaurs team up to use their power to rescue their friends from carnivorous dinosaurs. She accepts, but the rest of the girls that were her friends refuse. It was heavily implied that they were driven away by Miyuki. The next day, the bullies began to target her and she had her desk drawn with insults and litter being dumped on it, and the girls initially only wanted to lynch Miyuki out of their friend group so they won't get dragged into being bullied. However, Hikari insists that all of the girls should be friends with each other and nobody should be lynched, so out of self-preservative egotism they lynch her instead. Miyuki was reluctant to betray Hikari at first, but forcefully did so due to peer pressure. This caused her to barely have any friends for the rest of her academic period and she also becomes triggered when someone brings up the idea of having friends.
When she went back home that day, her father filmed her as part of a documentary and she wondered why he was doing so. He explained that she was the protagonist of her life and he wanted to make a documentary about it, but she began to express self-loathing about how she was an outcast. However, her father gave her encouraging words and said that she was a special person and should be kept unique as she was. In return, she expresses her wish to become a film director to him.
Due to her interest in movies, her lifelong dream is to become a film director, which is unique among the people around her age. The dream was inspired by her father who was a projectionist, and he was the only person who actually cared about her wishes. She also planned to create a movie and wanted her father to watch it, so she wrote a invitation letter for him that she plans to send him when the time comes. The movie that she wanted to create is heavily implied to be a biopic of herself.
However, as she has to regularly participate in film production, she doesn't do her usual high school studies a lot. Her uncle and aunt saw this and berated her, saying that she should instead be studying and working like a normal person. They detested and rejected Hikari's wishes to be unique among other people around her age and wanted to talk matters with her parents. Since they could not as her father doesn't come home early often due to work and she lived in a single parent family so her mother was absent, they punish her instead by trying to confiscate the camera her father gave to her, but her uncle was forced to lay his hands off it. After the incident, she began to believe that her wish to become unique from other people is an error and questioned the meaning of her very own existence, submerging herself in a constant state of self-loathing.
The series of emotional and psychological abuses results in her having complex post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression, self-esteem issues and a desire to commit personality suicide, or the removal of all traits that would make her unique from others as she thinks that they were the reason that people seemingly hated her. Since her father taught her to be unique so she could be loved by people, she also began to believe that he was ashamed of her for not being able to fulfill his expectations. Therefore, she refused to be open with him in order to prevent him from being enraged. Eventually being overwhelmed by self-destructive desires and grief, she locked herself in her room and isolated herself from reality. As her tormentors usually asked "Why do you have to be like that" when emotionally abusing her, she also became particularly agitated when someone uses that phrase.
She broke down completely after a series of traumatic flashbacks that were invoked when her father used the traumatizing words on her; The flashbacks consist of visual and auditory hallucinations of people scolding her with it. In reality, this was nothing more than a well-intended attempt to make her get out of her room to receive the notebook he bought for her and a genuine concern over her worsening mental condition. However, she interpreted that as a rejection, causing her to believe that he was a fearsome figure that hates her since she had became an embarrassment for him. It was heavily implied that she broke down also because of fears that her relatives had successfully persuaded her father into believing that she was abnormal, despite no such event had ever happened.
Unable to cope with the pain of living, her willpower escaped into a Cinema in the collective unconsciousness, where the Cinema's manager, Nagi protects her from any more harm by isolating her from reality in the price of her personal freedom and putting an end to her thoughts. The Hikari that the party interacts with throughout the game is not her real person but her will to live, while the real person is presumably crippled by depression before the in-game one returns to reality.
Due to psychogenic amnesia, she was unable to properly recollect the memories of the events that led to the ruining of her life. She also only brought her notebook and the invitation letter alongside her when being imprisoned. The movies in her Cinema that Nagi uses to entertain her clients are initially one long distorted film made out of pure negativity that she was forced to watch alone. This further does away her life force, keeping her in the emotional spiral that prevented her from even considering leaving. By the time the Phantom Thieves of Hearts arrive to the Cinema, she appears to be bereft of any desire to live, submerging in her toxic escapism from the pain of living and drowning in a state of apathy.
This changed when her twisted cognition also created Doe, a cognitive copy of her father created from the only memories she wanted to keep, who changed three of the movies into forms meant to resolve her amnesia and make her confront her past, playing them over and over again in an attempt to break through her shell. The movie Labyrinths in the game are actually such alternate realities transformed by Doe who added cognitive actors into the movies, and he effectively turns the movie world into something similar to a fusion between her Palace and Midnight Channel. Due to lack of self esteem, she always stands alongside Nagi, believing that she was the only person that she could trust. Additionally, as Nagi's control over the movie's content is still present, each of these movies will still have a bad ending that makes the authorities of the movies "protagonists" and the entities who resist them "villains." It is the Persona user's goal to change the ending of each movie into a good one that supported her desire to be unique again and force a change in Hikari's heart along with it so she could escape the cinema.
Persona Q2: New Cinema LabyrinthEdit
"Are you really fine with movies where the protagonists stay weak? Where they only keep running away? Can you really say, from the depths of your hearts, that constantly watching movies like those makes you happy! Please, watch this movie and remember! Remember the kind of protagonist you want to be in your own movie! Never forget, you have the leading role in your own life!"
One day, when the Phantom Thieves of Hearts were exploring Mementos, the Morgana van loses control and ends up in one of the movie realities, the movie Kamoshidaman. After they escape with the price of a F.O.E kidnapping Makoto Niijima and Haru Okumura, they enter a cinema from a movie screen and when they were investigating it, Hikari and Nagi suddenly emerge from the front seat, in which the party mistakes them as enemies and are put on guard. Despite this, both women expressed a clear lack of hostility, so the Thieves dropped off their guard and asked them the whereabouts of their lost comrades.
Nagi claims that Hikari was the last customer inside the cinema as all of the other visitors in it vanished and strange locks were put on the Cinema's exit when Doe appeared inside it, causing the two to be trapped. As Nagi is the Cinema's manager, she took the duty to protect her. When being talked to for the first time, Hikari appears to be shivering in fear and was too shy to speak with the Thieves directly, only whispering to Nagi about the whereabouts of the Phantom Thieves' lost comrades. She reveals that they were captured by a character from the movie Kamoshidaman, in which it quickly begins to air. The women befriend the Phantom Thieves and both parties are willing to assist each other to escape the Cinema. However, both women have no idea who the Phantom Thieves are due to them locking themselves from all electronic communication for a long time, and they do not know where the P3P heroine was when being confronted by Theodore about her whereabouts. Hikari fears Doe to the point that she cannot go near him and the violent reaction that he makes when creating a key can affect her as well.
For each movie cleared, Hikari slowly opens up to the persona users and congratulates them for coming back safely. At one point after clearing A.I.G.I.S, she was aware of Ribbon's self-destructive, self-loathing tendencies and seeming self sacrifice to destroy her Mother Computer oppressor, and used it to express her intentions of discarding her self. In reality, Ribbon survived the sacrifice thanks to Aigis and Futaba Sakura's efforts and she begins to recognize the party as friends. Doe then supposedly kidnaps Hikari and puts her into the fourth movie ???, whose true name is in covered in black marker.
In the labyrinth she faces the three major traumas that form her movies in the cinema world and finally the delusion that her father was against her, which takes the form of musical stages. The repressed memories of her tormentors are denied and confronted, then turn into Shadows that attack the party. While the Persona users are worried about her safety, she reveals to them that she was not kidnapped by Doe, but she followed him into the labyrinth where she learns to overcome herself, and also to properly recollect the memories of the events that ruined her life. After defeating the Shadows in the musical depicting Hikari's denial by her relatives, the P3P heroine also relates herself to Hikari as like her, the heroine was an outcast that did not have any friends to fight alongside her in the movie world. The two girls manage to make themselves overcome each other's feelings of loneliness and alienation.
When the party reaches the depths of the movie, Hikari confesses to Doe about the truth of her avoidance from him and her self-destructive behavior, but he reveals his intentions to keep her in the Cinema forever, as her will was too weak to go out to reality. Hikari denies this wish and Doe goes berserk and attacks the party. In the battle, Doe uses a dangerous attack that triple binds the entire party, but Hikari joins the combat and she can remove binds from a party member. Doe was hugged by Hikari after his defeat and transforms into her father, then vanishes into light and transforms into the key to escape the cinema alongside her invitation letter, revealing himself as a cognitive copy created from her distorted negative desires and drowning her in tears as she repents her erroneous perception towards her father. She receives a change of heart and confesses all of her distorted grief and negative thoughts to the Persona users and was able to fully rehabilitate with their help and get out of the depression, allowing her to gain the will to escape the cinema. Then she makes a loud giggle for the first time, thanking the party for returning her heart back. The title of ??? is then uncovered, revealing it is simply titled "Hikari." "To be continued" is also shown afterwards, as Hikari has escaped from her living death and was given her life back with the help of the united Persona users.
Nagi then allows Hikari and the party to escape the cinema after they clear the 4th movie, stating that she did not have a choice but to let them go. However, when the party opens the cinema gates, it reveals a twisted landscape and she drops off her guise, revealing herself as a god ruling over the collective unconsciousness known as Enlil, who trapped Hikari and other people in her domain in the collective unconsciousness because they were too weak to cope with the problems in the real world, and the only way to solve this is to have her and other weak people isolated from the suffering of reality, putting an end to their thoughts. The Cinema that acts as the hub of the game is actually one of them which is Hikari's Cinema and numerous other Cinemas exist in her domain, with each one containing a person that is suffering from the hardships of reality just like Hikari before. However, they are technically allowed to leave at any time, but are completely unwilling to. Despite Enlil's claims that they are strong enough and lets them leave the Cinema, the party does not approve with this and Hikari joins them in turning against her former caretaker, expressing a wish to free everyone else who fell victim to her delusional and amoral practices.
As Hikari successfully rehabilitates from her depression, she is now willing to socialize with the party and acts as a combat support. In-battle, she can remove any bind from a party member and grant them Boost for three support gauge points. She expresses her true wishes of becoming a film director and exchanges opinions with the party. When Enlil kicks the party back into the cinema lobby as a last warning, she and the other party members consider themselves as a Phantom Thieves of Hearts and they execute their plan to put an end to Enlil's "salvation plan," which involves replacing the films on the four negative projectors in Enlil's domain with four of the reel hairs that contains edited versions of Hikari's movies, fighting a projection of the four former bosses before the projections can be replaced. They successfully replace them and the movie world is purified, with Kamoshidaman fighting for real justice, the Herbivore Dinosaurs actually respecting Yosukesaurus, Ribbon teaching a group of colored robots to love flowers, and the high school Hikari making Doe disappear by expressing her desire to get out of the cinema. Enlil is enraged as her salvation plan crumbles and attacks the party in human form.
The party then confronts the enraged Enlil. In the middle of the fight, Enlil exerts a terrifying power but Hikari announces her wish to free the weak from her reality. Enlil is angered by the "betrayal" and transforms into a godly, muscular eagle-like being, and she easily removes the entire party despite their efforts in beating her, leaving Hikari alone to face the almighty administrator. Despite the navigators told her to run, she refuses and confronts Enlil alone. Enlil first chastises her, then stood completely still. After three turns, she manages to summon the four protagonists back thanks to her determination to escape the cinema and the protagonists unleash one last combo attack to defeat Enlil, defeating her. While at first in disbelief, the people trapped in the Theater District were all affected by the edited versions of Hikari's movies and became optimistic, allowing all of them to leave on their own. Enlil admits defeat as Hikari rallied the voices of the people to turn against her and transforms back into the black haired Nagi and vanishing into light, but not before telling Hikari again that she is a ruler of the collective unconsciousness and she will return as long as humanity wishes for her to. This destroys Enlil's domain and the people who were trapped in it were freed and returned to their real world.
As Hikari realizes that she would be parting from her first actual friends due to her memories of the game's events about to be wiped out, she is drown in tears and wants to give her notebook as a farewell gift to the party, but they returned it back to her because it was her precious memories and they said without it her film would not be complete. She then parts with the persona users and leaves from the exit of the cinema back into her reality.
Now returning into reality, she wakes up as if she had a dream and was puzzled about the events that happened, but her change of heart is still intact. She met her father in the living room, who was revealed to be a kind man who genuinely cared about her and much unlike the terrifying figure that she once perceived he was. She announces her plans to continue production of the movie that she was creating before she fell into depression and her father approves. During the next day, both versions of the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad receives movie CDs from an unknown source, which is implied to be a recording of A.I.G.I.S, and the Investigation Team had Junessic Land broadcasting in the TV of the Dojima Residence.
After the credits roll, the Phantom Thieves save for Goro Akechi receive an invitation to a film festival for high school students. They attend, and Hikari steps from her seat into the dais of the auditorium where she announces a movie about her growth. This implies that Hikari came from the same reality as the Persona 5 cast.
"Hikari" literally translates to "Light" in Japanese. This might actually a double meaning that can function as an irony that alludes to her severe depression and she is in fact the key for the Persona users to defeat Enlil and also acts as a light that allows others who were trapped inside her domain to escape it.
- Hikari is similar to Futaba Sakura, as both initially shut themselves out from reality due to trauma, were initially completely incapable of socializing with others, used to have self-destructive tendencies, delusions that their beloved parents were acting against them and their relatives dehumanized them and were a part of their trauma. The cognitive copy of their respective parent that they both loved and developed delusions for also acted as stage bosses at the fourth palace or labyrinth of their respective games. They both make a full recovery and socialize with the party after they clear out their distorted negative desires. Both were also known to have unusual talents for people during their age, with Hikari being film production and Futaba being computers and technology.
- The quote seen at the start of the game is "We do not go astray because we do not know, but because we think we know" by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This ties to how Hikari became incredibly agitated when someone asks her "Why do you have to be like that," because all of her tormentors used that phrase when they emotionally abused and manipulated her, causing her to believe that her father was doing the same when he asked her why she's closing herself off in a well-meaning attempt to get her to leave her room to receive a notebook that he bought as a gift for her.
- Hikari has constantly talked about "discarding her own self so she could become normal." This is heavily implied to be merely sinking herself in her depression and self-loathing so she could become into a "normal" empty shell devoid of any personality, instead of fulfilling any sort of social expectations such as studying or working normally.
- Hikari's condition is the exact opposite of Rei's. While Rei is a dead person with a living spirit, Hikari can be considered a living person with a "dead" spirit.
- Hikari is one of the few characters associated with a player's combat party that lack a Shadow Self in-game, especially after Persona 3. Her Shadow Self is never mentioned nor does it appear anywhere in the game, while most other party-aligned characters past this point receive Shadow Selves in one way or another.
- The closest thing to a Shadow Self Hikari has is Doe, who, similar to Shadow Futaba, embodies her partially-positive repressed emotions of her admiration for her father and her desire to be accepted as a unique person, but also represents negative desires and paranoia much like the Wakaba Sphinx (Another cognition that has Shadow Self-like traits), such as her toxic escapism from pain and the delusional belief that her father is embarrassed by her existence.
- While not directly stated to be a Palace owner, the movie world Hikari's heart creates possesses traits commonly seen in actual Palaces, such as being created by the memories and the distorted desires of its host and the existence of cognitive existences of people related to her inside it. Also, her reaction after her memories and sanity are restored is similar to those of Palace owners who got their treasures stolen.
- By the start of the game, Hikari has never heard of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. As the Phantom Thieves were unheard of before Kamoshida's heart is stolen and the events of Persona Q2 happened during the Niijima's Palace arc judging from the appearance of Akechi as a member of the Phantom Thieves, this indicates that Hikari was trapped in the Cinema for at least 8 months prior to the events of the game.
- Hikari is strong enough to carry a heavyweight camera while moving around and tire a full grown man trying to snatch it.
- According to an interview of Yuta Aihara and Daisuke Kanada by the Dengeki Magazine and the PQ2 Artbook, just like the other original characters of Persona Q2, Hikari is very difficult to design as they were afraid that the new characters will not stand out. Aihara wanted to create Hikari as a character that appears as bland and unassertive, but the designer fears that they would just create a normal NPC instead. Eventually, they came with the idea of a girl aspiring to be a film director. Several of the initial designs resemble regular schoolgirls, two of them can be seen holding a Jason Voorhees mask and another one is similar to her final design, but in a much more sullen fashion.