"If we erase a Palace, there's no doubt that the persona's distorted desires will be erased as well. But desires are what we need in order to survive. The will to sleep, eat, fall in love- those sorts of things... If all of those yearnings were to vanish, they'd be no different than someone who has shut down entirely. They may even die if they're not given proper care."
A mental shutdown is a major plot element in Persona 5.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Persona 5 / Royal
Description[edit | edit source]
A mental shutdown occurs an unspecified amount of time after a person's Shadow Self is destroyed in the Metaverse. The reason for this is that a Shadow Self is made up of the original person's desires, including the desires for normal life functions such as eating, sleeping, and emotions such as love. Therefore, a destroyed Shadow will cause a mental shutdown after a period of time, although if the target went through a Change of Heart right before one, it will resemble a normal Change of Heart before the Mental Shutdown takes place in earnest. It is the more extreme form of a Psychotic breakdown, although unlike the Breakdowns, the ability is not exclusive to Akechi's Loki persona. Instead, anyone who kills a Shadow Self will cause their real-life counterpart to enter a Mental Shutdown. The Phantom Thieves try to avoid this by inducing only the Change of Hearts after suppressing the Shadow Self they are targeting in combat without killing the Shadow, but Akechi deliberately inflicts them to throw society into chaos as he desired.
A mental shutdown causes one to undergo symptoms similar to a sudden heart attack, their eyes rolling up to the point of their pupils being obscured as they drool a black liquid, as well as little sense of what's going on around them. Mental shutdowns have a high chance of ending in death, particularly if the victim has other risk factors, such as advanced age.
A Persona user cannot be affected by a Mental Shutdown, since there will be no Shadow for Akechi to kill within the Metaverse. If Akechi must kill a Persona user, he must either do it in the real world (where they are essentially defenseless ordinary people) or confront them with force in the Metaverse.
Profile[edit | edit source]
Two years before the events of Persona 5, the first Metaverse-related incidents begin to arise, starting from Goro Akechi being given a Persona and the Wild Card ability by the master of Mementos, who used him to instigate chaos among the public. In his direct superior, Shido's eyes however, this was merely a source of profit and his primary way of disposing or taking down anyone who might directly oppose or show the slightest bit of disobedience from him.
After learning about Wakaba Isshiki's research, a conspiracy led by Masayoshi Shido learned of her research on cognitive psience. Teaching his illegitimate son Goro Akechi about the Metaverse, he triggers a mental shutdown in Wakaba, causing her to fall in front of a car. He then covered up the incident as Wakaba committing suicide due to regretting birthing Futaba, causing her to be torn by suicidal depression to the point that she closed herself in Sojiro's room to such an extent that nobody in Yongen-Jaya knew about her, and repressing the memories of the symptoms Wakaba had when undergoing the mental shutdown until they were recalled upon viewing Kunikazu Okumura's mental shutdown. Futaba knew nothing of Shido's role behind it before Okumura's death and meeting the IT Company President's (Fake Medjed) Shadow Self in Shido's Palace.
After this, Akechi started a string of mental shutdowns for Shido's political gains, such as killing anyone Shido deems incompetent and "solving" the cases himself, although he's known to be hired by Shido's political opposition (such as Okumura) as well, in exchange for Okumura financing Shido's endeavors. Higher ranking members of Shido's antisocial force also pay Shido to have Akechi induce mental shutdowns to anyone they don't like in exchange for giving Shido funds or noble connections, turning it into an industry. Akechi would then usually "solve" the case he committed himself as a cover-up, propelling himself to being touted as the "Second coming of the Detective Prince." The General Public is left in the dark about the methods and the purpose behind these incidents, creating a heavy atmosphere of fear that enshrouds the public and prevents anyone from ever opposing Shido in fear of being affected by the bizarre incidents.
In reality, Akechi is disloyal, and he only started the killing spree to make sure Shido inaugurates so he can expose his crimes to shame him (considering that Akechi was born when Shido had a one night stand with a call-girl, this will most likely be fatal to his career) and assassinate him afterwards, an act which would most likely cause nationwide discord and chaos. Supposedly, he will then create society anew.
The first Mental Shutdown case seen on screen was when the Mental Shutdown of a subway engineer resulted in a catastrophic subway accident. The attack was ordered by politician Ooe in order to take down a CEO and a diplomat siding with the current government, also done with the intent of discrediting the current ministry of transport. The driver of the train can be seen suddenly falling blank and collapsing. Because the driver stopped driving the train, it went out of control and crashed into a platform, wounding and possibly killing many within it. Furthermore, it induced a traffic jam that got in the way of Sojiro and the protagonist when they were driving to Aoyama-Itchome.
While it did not happen in this case, Morgana warns the protagonist, Ryuji Sakamoto, and later Ann Takamaki about the possibility of causing a mental shutdown when discussing the idea of removing Suguru Kamoshida's Treasure and "distorted desires", as he never had caused a Change of Heart before. Later, after Junya Kaneshiro's Shadow mentioning someone in a black mask using Palace for their own gain, including triggering mental shutdowns, the Phantom Thieves of Hearts take heed of his warnings.
However, due to having their major financial pillars uprooted by the Phantom Thieves, Masyoshi Shido's conspiracy begins to target them. The plan to end the Phantom Thieves started with a fake Medjed threat to induce a false popularity increase on the Phantom Aficionado Website via a grossly inflated view counter, then prod the Phantom Thieves into a heist against Kunikazu Okumura, an overly ambitious CEO who was attempting to compete with Shido for presidency. It was revealed that Okumura used the Black Mask's services to induce mental shutdowns against his disloyal board members and competition outside of his company, all of them who supposedly suffered from mental illnesses. The conspiracy aims to trigger multiple mental shutdowns to frame the Phantom Thieves for Akechi's past and future actions, to reduce their popularity, and to kill Okumura, who would have revealed the person behind the mental shutdowns if he had a change of heart. The decision also partially stems from that Okumura was the only candidate for prime minister capable of acting as an obstacle to Masayoshi Shido.
In advance, Principal Kobayakawa (because of his failure to figure out which students caused Kamoshida's change in heart at Shujin Academy, his predicted attempt to ask the police for help, and the implication that the party was the reason why he was principal in the first place) was subjected to a Mental Shutdown leaving the police building and ran over by a oncoming truck in his disabled state, with a fake Calling Card planted in his office to frame the Phantom Thieves. When Okumura was defeated in the heist, Akechi in his "black mask" outfit triggers a fatal mental shutdown in him by killing his Shadow Self directly after the Phantom Thieves stole his Treasure, killing him exactly before he could expose the leader of the Conspiracy. It was also implied that there are plans of eventually triggering another mental shutdown in prosecutor Sae Niijima, who was pursuing the case as well and had obvious second thoughts about her bosses, as she noticed the possibility of a group separate from the Phantom Thieves.
After the police raid on the Phantom Thieves in Sae Niijima's Palace, should the protagonist successfully survive the interrogation and return to the present, the conspiracy falsely assumes that he was killed by Goro Akechi. Having been confident that the Phantom Thieves case is solved for good, the Conspiracy betrays the SIU Director and he was subjected to a mental shutdown as well.
After Akechi was defeated in Shido's Palace, and subjected to an ambiguous end, Shido's change of heart and subsequent confession, and the defeat of Yaldabaoth that removed the Metaverse Navigator and so access to the Metaverse, it became impossible to commit mental shutdowns.
Persona 5 Srikers[edit | edit source]
While not an element on itself, when the Phantom Thieves confirm that Alice Hiiragi was mass inducing Change of Hearts to raise her popularity to unnatural levels and physically attacking and humiliating her manager in a rather blatant fashion, Sophia suggests that if there are no treasures for the Thieves to steal, they should just kill her Shadow. The Phantom Thieves vehemently reject this advice in fear of inducing a mental shutdown.
Known victims[edit | edit source]