Persona 5 Strikers
Jails that the protagonist and the Phantom Thieves of Hearts investigate appear throughout Japan. They are ruled by Monarchs, discredited or downtrodden people who have used the Metaverse and the EMMA application as revenge against people who wronged or traumatized them and to gain back their fame or gain the fame they desire by inducing Changes of Heart on the public. Unlike Palaces, Jails closely resemble the areas they are based off of, rather than being distorted beyond recognition, although the skyline's color is greatly altered, Shadows and other environmental hazards infest the streets, and a massive castle, placed on top of a specific location important to the Monarch, acts as its main body.
They are powered by the collective desires of the public instead of by a treasure. Usually, a Ponzi scheme is set up by a would-be Monarch during an advertising campaign. Once anyone inserts the keyword, their Shadow Self will be transported into the Jail immediately where Shadows can freely attack them and steal their desires. Once a Shadow Self's desires are stolen, they are taken to one of several "Prison Keeps" and held within prison cells in a stupor, completely dead to the world around them.
If a Persona user or anyone else with the ability to defend themselves in the Metaverse enters the key word, they themselves will be transported to the Jail and can defend themselves against the Shadows there, as they cannot have their desires stolen. Furthermore, any adversaries to the Monarch can get their heart changed without any physical use of the EMMA application as soon as the Monarch wishes for them to. If a person's desire is taken by the Monarch, they undergo a Change of Heart and become fanatical towards them, leading to property damage, violent incidents, illnesses or financial loss. This does not affect anyone out of the people whom they stole the desires of; to outsiders, everything is obviously wrong.
As opposed to the natural distortions manifested by Palaces, Jails are manually manifested by EMMA per her user's request. As soon as her user tells her to save them, she will be able to create a personalized Jail of that person, turning their Shadow Self into a Monarch and allow them to artificially increase their popularity by stealing desires. Anyone who uses this function can become a Monarch and have a Jail. Once EMMA appoints someone to become a Monarch, the real self of the Monarch will be influenced in the same way, sinking deeper into the distortions that caused them to become a Monarch.
Unlike Palace Rulers, Monarchs have only limited control over their surroundings and were actually brainwashed by EMMA. Once EMMA appoints a Monarch, their Shadow Self is placed inside a "Bird Cage," a device that separates the Monarch from the Jail using an invisible barricade that plays a flashback that depicts their breaking point (something that led to them using EMMA to brainwash themselves). Its purpose is to control the Monarch by reminding them of the traumas and preventing them from regressing to their former selves, encouraging them to indulge in their indecent and outrageous actions. To reinforce the Cage's defenses, EMMA appoints a powerful Shadow known as a Lock Keeper to guard the Trauma Room, an isolated area of the Jail, which must be defeated to remove the barricade and access the stolen desires.
Jails house no treasure unlike Palaces, although a large gem formed from the desires the Monarch has stolen is the core of the Jail. After the Phantom Thieves defeat the Lock Keeper, they send a Calling Card to manifest the stolen desires, and lure out the Monarch so they can confront them. After they are defeated, the Monarch admits their crimes and takes off their crown, freeing all desires. Unlike "Changing a Heart" as seen in most of Persona 5, many of these targets actually turn into better people instead of simply being reduced into weeping husks. In tandem, the people who got their heart changed by the Monarch will revert to normal. Lavenza might offer quests to rematch with former Jail Monarchs, which are actually flashbacks from the party's memories.
Since the Monarch has limited control over the Jail and EMMA still retains full control over them, if the Monarch surrenders or is killed, the Jail will still remain with no owner and people can still be entranced by the remnants of the Monarch's work. Unlike previous locations where combat takes place in the Persona series, the Jails have nothing to do with the collective unconsciousness, but are an artificial subspace created within EMMA. Essentially, EMMA is the true ruler of all Jails, with the Monarchs as figureheads.
The Jails were later revealed to be added to EMMA's functionality by Akira Konoe, as a tool for the downtrodden to be able to stand against injustice, and Konoe himself may use his control over EMMA to make Monarchs follow his instructions. Once such victim was Akane Hasegawa, whose Shadow was placed in a Jail by force in an attempt to lure in the Phantom Thieves for capture. However, a Jail cannot affect anywhere outside of the city where it was set up, so Konoe seeks to spread Jails all over Japan so crime will cease to exist. Kuon Ichinose, the creator of the application, also monitors the Jails to observe EMMA and is merely using Konoe as a front to figure out the answer to humanity's salvation.
After Konoe's downfall, EMMA evolves into a physical god and returns to power, creating a massive Jail with Tokyo Tower as its center to perform mass Changes of Heart upon the public to enforce what she envisions as the final answer to humanity's pain: the removal of people's desires and ambitions so they won't need to suffer from the need to think, since EMMA will give them the answer. The usage of the Jail function by Monarchs to mesmerize the public into their favor does not seem to affect EMMA's evolutionary process; instead, daily interaction with her (i.e. venting personal issues, having her make decisions for her owner) advances this behavior, although due to EMMA lacking any actual empathy, she only considered people interacting with the application into factor and not what they actually wanted, leading her to believe that the public's true desire is having her grant them the answer to everything. Additionally, unlike other Jails, EMMA's Tree of Knowledge steals desires in a different way: the people hand EMMA their desires by drawing themselves into the "Promised Land" instead of Shadows appearing to take the desires of people. Ichinose describes it as "overwriting their desires with EMMA's guidance." In addition, unlike other Jails where the Monarch takes people's desires for themselves, the desires taken by the Tree of Knowledge are considered "granted," and lose their owner entirely.
Once the evolved EMMA application, the Demiurge is defeated and destroyed, all Jails cease to exist, and all the distortions surrounding Tokyo Tower vanish without a trace.
List of Jails
- Shibuya Jail, with Alice Hiiragi as its Monarch
- Sendai Jail, with Ango Natsume as its Monarch
- Sapporo Jail, with Mariko Hyodo as its Monarch
- Okinawa Jail, with Shuzo Ubukata as its late Monarch
- Kyoto Jail, with Akane Hasegawa as its Monarch
- Osaka Jail, with Akira Konoe as its Monarch
- Jail of the Abyss, with EMMA as its Monarch
- Tree of Knowledge, with EMMA as its Monarch
- The method people's desires are stolen within Jails are similar to the Dark Hour from Persona 3, where people are drawn into the collective unconsciousness and had their mental state altered by Shadows, and behave abnormally in the real world. The main difference is that Jails only affect a person's Shadow Self, while the Dark Hour affects one's physical body.
- Jails are one of the few areas where combat takes place in the Persona series (especially Persona 3 and beyond) that is not a part of the Collective Unconscious.
- The Jail's mechanics are somewhat similar to those of Takuto Maruki's ideal reality in Persona 5 Royal, which is also represented as parts of the Metaverse merging with reality and altering the mental state of the public. The instigators of both incidents (EMMA and Maruki) also have a nearly identical goal, to end humanity's suffering, but while Maruki accomplishes this by granting every desire, EMMA does so by removing every desire.