"You imbeciles are intoxicated by an undesired "justice"...This is the will of the children of man who have fallen into sloth. My shine is proof that they desire my existence. As long as humanity yearns for me, I shall never perish..."
The Holy Grail is one of the forms of the main antagonist in Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal.
The Holy Grail, also known as the Holy Chalice, is believed to be the holy cup of Jesus Christ, said to be blessed due to him drinking from it during the Last Supper. It is rumored to bestow immortality upon those who drink from it along with other miracles. The use of wine and chalice in the Eucharist in Christian churches is based on the Last Supper story. In the late 12th century, the author Robert de Boron associated the pre-existing story of the Holy Grail, a magical item from Arthurian literature, with the Holy Chalice.
According to Catholic tradition, Saint Peter used the Holy Chalice during Mass, and took it with him to Rome. Following his death, the cup was passed on to successive popes until Emperor Valerian demanded that all Christian relics be turned over to the government during his persecution of Christianity. Pope Sixtus allegedly gave the cup to his deacon, Saint Lawrence, who passed it to a Spanish soldier, Proselius, with instructions to take it to safety to Spain. The subsequent association of the Holy Chalice with Spain continued by a series of Spanish monarchs, including King Alfonso, who once borrowed from the Cathedral of Valencia, using the Chalice as collateral. When he defaulted on the loan, the relic became the property of the church.
In Arthurian Myth, it serves as an important motif. The chosen Galahad was sent by King Arthur to search for it though this one has sometimes been treated as a different object all together. Different traditions describe it as a cup, dish or stone with miraculous powers that provide happiness, eternal youth or sustenance in infinite abundance, often in the custody of the Fisher King though this was believed to a fae artifact, simply known as the Grail. The term "holy grail" is often used to denote an elusive object or goal that is sought after for its great significance.
The literature surrounding the Grail can be divided into two groups. The first concerns King Arthur's knights visiting the Grail castle or questing after the object. The second concerns the Grail's history in the time of Joseph of Arimathea. He was also known as the Graal Santel in Breton, Greal Sanctaidd in Welsh and Gral in Cornish.
Dagda's cauldron from Celtic myth is commonly associated with and mistaken for the Holy Grail.
- Music: Rivers in the Desert
The Holy Grail is the dormant form of Yaldabaoth that resides at the bottom of Mementos, taking the form of a black metal chalice that feeds on the blood-red wishes of humans who desire to be devoid of all chaotic elements and enslaved forever to order and authority under one perfect rule. It manifested 2 years prior to Persona 5 and deliberately implants dangerous and chaotic elements within society while manipulating the public to worship them as gods to prove its point that the public indeed yearns for its dictatorship.
During the 23rd of December, after the Conspiracy was supposedly dismantled and only leaving several panicking remnants behind, the Grail begins to step into action itself by manipulating the public's cognition to surreal degrees, namely making Masayoshi Shido's popularity reach a level of fervor despite being discredited, making the public think that the Phantom Thieves of Hearts are not behind Shido's Change of Heart and his issues are only because of mental instability, and the remnants planning to use the Metaverse to take over the world. Furthermore, after her expulsion, Sae tells the Thieves that the police can barge in and arrest them at any time. To change the public's opinion, the Thieves resolve to carry out their eighth and final heist: stealing the public's heart, which would bring the masses to their senses, but dissolve the Metaverse itself.
Once the party descends to the temple at the bottommost area of the Depths of Mementos, they run into the Holy Grail and think it is a Treasure. It then begins to attack on its own volition and the Phantom Thieves fight it, but to no avail as the constant flow of wishes for it to take control of the world heal it faster than they can damage it, progressively turning it gold as the fight progresses. After the first time the wishes flow into the Grail, it begins to talk in a voice resembling Igor's. Once its sheen becomes bright gold, it's made clear that the Grail was not an ordinary Treasure, but is also a physical god who instigated all of Japan's distortions by manipulating the cognition of the public. With the inmates all chanting for the party to get out of the shrine, it chastises them that the Grail's totalitarian rule is what the public wished for and tells them that he will encroach onto reality itself so he can fulfill (what he perceives as) the public's desires.
Restored to a brilliant, golden form, the Holy Grail begins his "salvation plan" upon humanity, tossing the Phantom Thieves back to reality as Mementos fuses with the earth and turns Tokyo into a monstrous form raining blood. Due to the Grail manipulating the cognition of the public to ignore impending ruin so he can prove that they are indeed ignorant, those who do not have a maxed Confidant with the protagonist do not notice the changes made to the city. It also manipulates the public into believing the Phantom Thieves do not exist, which erases them from existence.
The protagonist and his teammates are imprisoned within the Velvet Room. Igor commands Caroline and Justine to kill the protagonist, and though they initially obey, they ultimately refuse his orders. The protagonist then proceeds to fuse Caroline and Justine back into their complete form, Lavenza, thus exposing the Grail as the fake Igor. It is also revealed that the Grail also fused the Velvet Room with Mementos, turning it into a prison where the Thieves (except for Morgana) are sealed from reality and engulfed by apathy until the protagonist talks them out of it and reignites their will of rebellion.
Once seven of the eight Phantom Thieves gather in front of Igor and Lavenza, Morgana appears revealing his identity and Lavenza explains that the Holy Grail is actually a treasure given the will of a God and the true master of Mementos, and he was pitting Goro Akechi and the protagonist against each other to see if the former's will to destroy and remake the world is stronger or if the protagonist's rebellion against ruin is stronger. Supposedly, if the protagonist ever won by his rebellion, the world will revert to what it should be, devoid of all distortions. The Grail however, never intended to hold up its end of the promise because it knew how powerless the general public was, unlike Igor who had high hopes on them and foresaw a trickster who will avert the ruin. It laughed at this prospect and sought to prove the hopelessness of man, that they do not deserve living under freedom for their ignorance and his totalitarian rule is the only thing that can save them. As a result, it approached the protagonist who had the potential to be the "trickster" that Igor foresaw. (Implying that the incident that resulted in the protagonist's probation was actually engineered by the Grail to have someone he can toy with and use to mock humanity.)
The Grail, as "Igor," trained him as if he were Igor only to cast him into despair by manipulating the masses into believing that their savior didn't exist, although this was also partially due to the Grail finally perceiving the protagonist as a threat and thus decided to remove him, presumably due to the party's previous confrontation against it. The "rehabilitation" that "Igor" often mentions as the protagonist's goal is also an excuse to keep tabs on him, and Lavenza subconsciously rejected that notion. After they are freed and escape the Velvet Room, the group fights through the Qliphoth World, defeating the Grail's four archangels. The people of Tokyo gradually became more and more aware of the changes made to the city and begin to panic as people start to vanish one by one.
They finally reach the Grail, who drops his disguise as Igor and returns to his true form. During the battle, a member severs the connection between him and humanity to allow him to be hurt, after which the cup reveals the rest of his body (who was embedded in the shrine) and assumes its true form; the towering, angelic Yaldabaoth.
After Satanael kills Yaldabaoth, a lifeless form of the Holy Grail descends within it, revealing itself to be the real treasure of the public. Once it's stolen, the Qliphoth World is removed permanently from the surface world, the public regains their senses and Morgana dissipates temporarily due to his existence being tied with Mementos.
Before the descent to the Grail's room, make sure to use Takemi Medical Clinic and Untouchable to replenish supplies if necessary, because once the player has initiated the encounter with the Grail, they will be unable to shop for the rest of the game (or until January 9 in Royal, under certain conditions).
The Holy Grail cannot be defeated in this encounter. It will only attack using Almighty damaging attacks, and will use Will of the People to fully restore its own HP after its HP drops to a certain threshold. The player must survive a few turns by attacking it to prompt the use of Will of the People. Each use of this skill will slowly change its coloration; once its condition changes to gold, the battle ends and the party is expelled from Mementos.
The Holy Grail is the first phase of the final boss encounter of Qliphoth World. After defeating the Michael in front of the Shrine, make sure to use the shortcut to go back to Shibuya Station and talk to Lavenza and heal or use the Velvet Room, if necessary. Once the protagonist has agreed to enter the Grail's room, the party will be thrown into the encounter instantly and cannot turn back.
It uses Will of the People preemptively once the battle is initiated, prompting the protagonist to give a Special Order to cut the supply lines connected to the cup, thus disabling its ability to use Will of the People. Like other Special Orders, this takes three rounds to fully execute and requires that the player continue to attack it to keep it distracted. Once the supply lines has been cut, the real battle can begin. He retains the same attack patterns as his first fight, but with more variety. Since it has no weaknesses or resistances, the party can attack it with their preferred strategies. Its most dangerous attack is Eternal Light which is telegraphed by its use of Gathering Light. Guarding against this will mitigate the damage. Other than that, this fight is mainly a slugfest. Maintain health and use proper tactics and the fight should be a short one.
Once the Grail is defeated, the battle will progress to the final fight against Yaldabaoth. There is no opportunity to save or heal between the bosses, so take care not to needlessly waste SP.
- First phase of the boss encounter in Qliphoth World. For the second phase, see here.
- Stats and behavior are identical in both Persona 5 and Royal.
- The Fuhrer of Persona 2: Innocent Sin uses an attack called "Holy Grail," granting him invincibility for a few turns.
- The Dagda's cauldron that Brigid tries to use and resurrect Danu in a Shin Megami Tensei IV Challenge Quest is mistaken as the Holy Grail for angels.
- If the sole party member fighting the Grail in the final battle is the protagonist, it will stop using Will of the People after three times.
- The Grail actually forms Yaldabaoth's head and the hands around it form both of Yaldabaoth's hands, with the rest of his body submerged within the Grail's shrine. During the final confrontation, Yaldabaoth dislodges himself from the shrine and the rest of his body emerges from it.
- The part of Mementos containing the Holy Grail, consisting of various floors of prison cells arranged in a circular pattern, may be a reference to Jeremy Bentham's panopticon, with the Holy Grail representing the central watchtower. In Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that the panopticon was the ultimate realization of a modern disciplinary institution. Foucault's argument is that discipline creates "docile bodies" and the disciplinary institutions must be able to (a) constantly observe and record the bodies they control and (b) ensure the internalization of the disciplinary individuality within the bodies is being controlled. The latter point coincides with the fact that the targets' Shadow Selves have been docilely imprisoned in Mementos. The theme of discipline is also widely present in the plot of Persona 5.
- The Seven Deadly Sins are written in Latin around the shrine's floor where the Grail resides. However, the lighting is usually too dark for it to be viewed, and the only ways to properly view it is by the animated cutscene where the Grail transforms into Yaldabaoth and the Hall of the Grail, the area that serves as the entrance to the Path of Da'at after Yaldabaoth's fall. The text is of the following, as documented clockwise from where the protagonist jumps down after defeating the Grail:
- Superbia (Pride)
- Pigritia (Sloth)
- Invidia (Envy)
- Ira (Wrath)
- Avartia (Avarice)
- Luxuria (Lust)
- Gula (Gluttony)
- Irritium (Vanity)