Kuon Ichinose is a character from Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers.
- Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers: Major Character
Kuon has long brown hair with a chain-like hair accessory and light olive green eyes. She wears a white trench coat, light blue shirt with white stripes and black jeans.
Ichinose speaks in archaic Japanese and has a loud and peppy disposition. She also seems to know a lot about EMMA and its secrets, and proves a reliable source throughout the investigation against it, since she is its creator.
In reality, Kuon Ichinose is an extremely stoic, cold woman, to the point where she believes she does not actually have a heart. Due to her natural coldness, she can be extremely ruthless due to her lack of an emotional response to her actions. When she realizes that EMMA is threatened, her first action is to kill the Phantom Thieves. Many people around her believe that she is not human due to her mannerisms. It's also implied that she's actually extremely misanthropic despite genuinely wishing for the happiness of humanity, for she cares nothing about human emotions at all, completely ignoring that to understand humanity, the human heart must be studied as well instead of merely human desires. It's heavily implied that her mindset even goes as far as making irrational or sometimes, outright inhuman decisions, something that has manifested within both Sophia and EMMA, with the former suggesting killing Alice's Shadow (Which would most obviously induce a mental shutdown), and the latter proposing to Konoe that he should use Akane Hasegawa's Jail to bait and capture perceived criminals, despite Akane being clearly a child with no prior knowledge of the Jail function.
However, she is not completely without emotion, despite what Ichinose herself thinks. She is fully aware of how aberrant her behavior is, and fundamentally believes herself to be a "doll" incapable of empathy, and this distance from the world makes her extremely lonely and prone to self-loathing. Her true feelings show when she becomes frustrated or upset, revealing she has a childish, spiteful side driven by her own fear she will never be able to connect to people emotionally, with EMMA being partly created to convince herself she did not need true emotions to understand humans or save them.
She also appears to be jealous of the capacity to feel strong emotions. This caused her to become enraged as she tries to deny that Sophia did a better job in actually assessing humanity by their heart instead of merely by desire. After fighting Sophia's true form, she feels overwhelming guilt for the first time and even drops her first tears, something that she hasn't had before, and she realizes part of her disdain for the human heart came from jealousy and a sense of isolation from the people around her, and that her real desire was for friendship, her rejection of Sophia being driven by her fear that she had nothing in common with her own creation. Once this is past, she shows herself to be a lot more openly empathic, even going as far as assisting the party in stopping EMMA herself.
Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers
Ichinose is a misanthropic psientific and AI genius who created the EMMA app so she could create a god that can enforce the answer to humanity's happiness via a complex learning system mounted within the AI; if enough people use it for something, that is considered the desire of the public and will be EMMA's mindset. She sold the application to Akira Konoe, so he can use his troubled past and his vast resources in technology to determine what humanity actually wants.
It's said that both of her parents died by unknown reasons and she closed off her emotions as a result. Therefore, when she was in her university, people merely saw her like a freak and wondered if she was even human to begin with, since she does not respond to any queries. This caused her to think that she was an emotionless doll. Even before EMMA, she has been creating AIs to understand humans, with one of them being Sophia. However, it was too curious of the human heart, which she believes she has none so she ditched it quickly in favor of EMMA who was only capable of understanding raw desires and not the heart.
Ichinose first meets the protagonist and the Phantom Thieves of Hearts at a restaurant in Sendai, where she had a chat with them about the nutritional values of beef, claims that she is a researcher from Touhou University (A parody of the real life ) and gives them candy before leaving.
After defeating Ango Natsume, she appears after Akira Konoe's speech in her university, whom she personally invited. After everyone leaves, she comes into the auditorium to meet the party because she was attracted by Ryuji talking. After then, she reveals that she created the EMMA app and sold it to Akira Konoe so he could improvise the application, and makes a deal with the party to investigate the EMMA app.
While not personally encountered between Sapporo to Osaka, Ichinose does provide Akira Konoe's keyword once the Phantom Thieves asks her for clues about entry of his Jail, since Konoe does not use EMMA for advertisement unlike the past targets.
When the party visits the Jail of the Abyss, Ichinose appears within it after the evolved EMMA application vanishes. She reveals that this was just a ruse so EMMA can decide the desires of people, and by Akira Konoe's meddling with the app, it decided that humanity desires eternal escapism from mistreatment. It was heavily implied that she was monitoring the Jails maintained by EMMA based on Ango Natsume and Alice Hiiragi's testaments and Ryuji's talk about the Phantom Thieves in the Beef Barbecue shop and his talk in her university's auditorium led her to deduce that they intruded into the system. (Although she holds into this and proceeds to act in her friendly demeanor until the party meets her in the Jail of the Abyss.) Since the Phantom Thieves were intruding the Jail and she has the duty to protect it from any intruders, she steps in as the penultimate obstacle of the Phantom Thieves.
First, she uses the basis that Sophia is a failed prototype to briefly make her attack the party, until Sophia decides that the Phantom Thieves should not be attacked by her. She then claims that she is a "heartless doll" and her friendly mannerisms are imitated and uses a large diamond to send the Phantom Thieves off the depths of the Jail. When they return, she sends a massive amount of mobs against them after being denied a second time. She manages to stall time again for the diamond to activate, until Sophia appears and tries to convince her that humanity does not desire eternal escapism from mistreatment, and being wronged enables one to grow from their mistakes. She then awakens Pithos into Pandora and Ichinose summons a Hecatoncheir to attack the party. Once this is done for, she confesses and assists the party in investigating the true form EMMA, while tearing for the very first time.
When EMMA assumes its true form as the Demiurge and unleashes its mass salvation plan by dragging masses of people onto Tokyo Tower so they can go to the promised land, Ichinose was asked to follow and investigate but rejects, although she ultimately becomes a valuable asset for the investigation on it. Once the party figures out that they must send the Calling Card to EMMA, she deducted that the EMMA is immune to all traditional methods and they must hack the EMMA application to send it to the public, who are being mesmerized by EMMA. When Futaba had trouble hacking into the EMMA servers, Kuon lends her a hand and allows them to access the Demiurge. Once everything is over, she would turn herself into the police, although this failed since the police do not believe her statements at all. She takes Sophia back so they would go wandering around the world to learn more about humans, and she would return to her old home in Shibuya.
The "Ku" (久) in Kuon means "long time," and "on" (音) could mean "sound," "speech," "news" or "tidings."
- Kuon Ichinose shares a last name with a man named , a Japanese war photographer.
- Ichinose's first meeting with the Phantom Thieves bears a striking resemblance with Takuto Maruki and the Phantom Thieves' usual conversations, as well as being a researcher with university prestige like him. Both Ichinose and Maruki also share a nearly identical noble but heavily deluded goal of making people happy. It is unknown if they are connected at present.
- Much like Goro Akechi before, Ichinose is exposed as a major culprit in front of the Phantom Thieves because she eavesdropped one of their discussions. The Phantom Thieves' initial encounters with them also happen to be food-related casual talk. Coincidentally, both major culprits do legitimately assist the Phantom Thieves after a major confrontation.