"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 (聖杯, Seihai)? is one of the forms of the main antagonist in Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal. He is conducting an experiment on humanity.
- 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 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 scales downwards 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 to see if the former's will to destroy and remake the world is stronger and 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 its end of the promise, as 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, deflating 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.
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 transforms its body in a mechanical manner to become its true form; the 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.
The Holy Grail is fought twice in the final heist. The Holy Grail mainly attacks using Almighty damaging attacks. Its most notable move is Will of the People, which fully recovers its health when used.
Upon reaching the bottom of Mementos, the Holy Grail has a black appearance. During this first battle, it cannot be defeated, thus 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 party will encounter and fight him a second time. The Holy Grail begins by using Will of the People, 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.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, Dagda's Cauldron is mistaken for the Holy Grail by the angels.
- In the Japanese version, its unique skill "Eternal Light" (聖杯無尽光*)? shares the name with the unique race and skill of Kagutsuchi from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne which are localized as "Light" (race title) and "Vast Light" (skill) in the English version.
- 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 Fuhrer of Persona 2: Innocent Sin uses the Holy Grail as an attack, granting him invincibility for a few turns.
- The bottom of Mementos, consisting of various floors of prison cells arranged in a circular pattern, may be a reference to Jeremy Bentham's Shadow Selves have been docilely imprisoned in Mementos. The theme of discipline is also widely present in the plot of Persona 5. , with the Holy Grail representing the central watchtower. In , 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'
- 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)