"What...? What's that supposed to mean!? I'm... I'm not nothing..."
Mitsuo Kubo is a character from Persona 4.
- Persona 4 / Golden: Non-player character
Mitsuo is an ominous-looking young man with disheveled black hair that is parted slightly in the middle. He has a cool, ashen complexion, though his skin has a peachy tint to it, and he has a beauty mark under his left eye. He has a fairly pronounced slouch, walks somewhat slowly and breathes heavily, and has droopy eyes and a rather grim expression. Unlike any of the other characters in Persona 4, his pupils are extremely deep and pitch black without visible irises (similar to the real-world condition aniridia). He also has long eyelashes, thin eyebrows and very pronounced lips.
Mitsuo wears the uniform of an unknown high school, his uniform consists of a blazer, black in color with matching pants and black shoes, his blazer has the insignia of his high school, a green and red emblem resembling a shield on the right of his blazer. Under this he wears a white dress shirt with a green tie, while his casual clothes consist of video-gamed themed shirts such as with a controller design, or an alien invaders-like pattern, and jeans. He also wears black and white sneakers with all his casual outfits, his overall choice in clothing reflect his interest and love of video games.
His English voice is boyish and tone-filled, whereas his Japanese voice is deep and intimidating. However, he may freely change the pitch of his voice if he wishes to.
Mitsuo is self-centered, delusional, attention-dependent and aggressive. He is quite immature and often throws tantrums if something upsets him, such as when his Shadow starts implying that he is nothing more than a copycat wanting attention. His social skills are incredibly poor, and for one time he's tried to hit on Yukiko, he's been notably bad at it, since he merely stalks her and takes photographs of her with her friends, while harboring hatred for everyone else. Following his rejection by Yukiko, he slips to the point of performing murder so he can be recognized as the dreaded serial killer of Inaba who shook the town.
In reality, Mitsuo is a wannabe with poor self-esteem due to ridicule for his appearance, and in turn his social isolation and lack of friends. If anyone tries to confront him about his life's emptiness, having no friends or accomplishments, he lashes out into a state of anger and ignorance. Although he is so often alone and looked down upon, Mitsuo has an extreme need for attention, whether it be positive or negative.
Mitsuo is incredibly empty and finds himself having no useful talents or skills bar video games and the internet. He wanted to be recognized, but thanks to a lack of talent, he's been unable to find a proper way to do it, and as a result, the only way that he believes that can prove his existence is to copycat the Inaba serial murders with no real knowledge of how the real killer managed to pull them off and brag it to the internet. This lets him to be used as a pawn by the real killer, who merely finds him entertaining and decides to use him as the next victim of his killing spree. His sheer egotism results in hostility against his Shadow, who was implying that he is nothing more than a copycat killer who wanted to steal credit from the real killer. He continued to deny the Shadow after its defeat, causing it to vanish and proving his delusions had became the very definition of him.
In the anime, Mitsuo is shown to be a lot more aggressive, shown when moments before kickstarting his arc, he was verbally threatening Nanako because she was about to buy the last two tamago rolls in the Junes supermarket, then actively approaches and abrasively grabs Yukiko's arm to display "affection." When he fails to convince Yukiko to date her, he turns to the internet where he anonymously brags about being the serial killer in Inaba after killing Morooka. Nobody believes him however, which causes him to throw a fit and he smashes his keyboard out of sheer anger, leading to him delusionally claiming that he is the Killer in an attempt to shake Inaba.
Mitsuo first appears as a nameless student from a rival school in Yasoinaba when he waits outside the gates of Yasogami High School for Yukiko Amagi. Upon seeing her, Mitsuo addresses Yukiko as “Yuki” and asks if she wants go hang out with him, much to Yukiko's confusion as she does not know him. Several students passing by mock him for talking to Yukiko. Mitsuo asks again and upon Yukiko's declination, he angrily says "Fine!" and runs away. He would be later seen standing across the street from Tatsumi Textiles, complaining about daily life.
After the rescue of Rise Kujikawa, the protagonist's homeroom teacher, Kinshiro Morooka is killed by blunt force trauma. To make matters more serious, his corpse is found hanging from a water tower by his foot in a similar fashion to the murders of Mayumi Yamano and Saki Konishi. Mitsuo takes the opportunity to turn himself into the Inaba Police, confessing that he was responsible for the three murdered victims thus far. The police do not take his statement seriously and pawn him off to Adachi. Shortly after, Mitsuo went missing and wound up in the TV World.
If Mitsuo isn't rescued and taken into police by 8/12 (Deadline), Yosuke will call the protagonist and tell him that they found Mitsuo's body. Yosuke questions the protagonist and asks if he really did commit suicide or something else (Since they thought he was the killer at the time). The protagonist blacks out after this and is given a choice to try again a week prior by Igor.
His presence in the Midnight Channel immediately put him on display where his Shadow gloats about him murdering the three victims and ultimately getting away with it all. While they have serious doubts about his role in the murders, the Investigation Team decide to brave his dungeon to question him directly.
Mitsuo's dungeon, Void Quest, takes the form of an classic 8-bit styled video game dungeon, complete with pixelated flames and graphics. The music is peppy and 8-bit, eventually scaling up into maniacal orchestra music, and the dungeon's sound effects are monotone and digital. As the party scales the dungeon, Mitsuo loses his grip on reality. He thinks of killing Mayumi, Saki and Morooka as video game fights, complete with fictional stat increases ('Excitement increases by 4! Emptiness increases by 1!')
When the Investigation Team reaches the Endgame, they find Mitsuo yelling at his Shadow, who refuses to say anything; even when Mitsuo hurls a hysterical question at him, the Shadow only replies that he is "nothing," implying that he is not the killer but a delusional copycat. Mitsuo wildly denies his Shadow's claim that he is nothing and continues to state that he is the true murderer. When Mitsuo continues to deny his Shadow further, it turns into a giant baby with computer codes circling its head. It is heavily suggested by his dungeon and his Shadow's infantile appearance that Mitsuo has an immature personality and poor self-esteem. The Shadow also has the ability to erect 8-bit styled blocks around it, forming the image of "Mitsuo the Hero," a representation of his hobby of playing video games to mask his immaturity and become the important "Hero" he could never actually be.
Upon his Shadow's defeat, Mitsuo continues to deny his Shadow which causes it to disappear into a cloud of smoke instead of transforming into a Persona, signifying that Mitsuo's faith in himself being the killer has surpassed the truth that he is nothing more than a deluded copycat with an overinflated ego. Mentally exhausted from the whole ordeal, he is brought out of the Midnight Channel by the Investigation Team. When questioned for answers, he shamelessly boasted that he wanted attention, and nothing else, much to their disgust and shock. Mitsuo then asks if Kanji, who believes he should be ready for what he deserves, will kill him. However, Kanji retorts that it would not be that easy, saying that what he did could never be taken back, and that he would own up to his crimes and pay for what he did, not being allowed to die until he understands exactly the consequences of his actions. Yosuke then calls the police, at Kanji's demand, and Mitsuo is then is handed off to the authorities for questioning. For a time, Mitsuo finally attracts the attention he had sought for so long, being plastered all over the media for his supposed crimes. However, by September, Kanji believes that it is wrong to simply accuse people of being criminals at birth when the media attempt to dig up information relating to his middle school experiences for evidence.
And eventually, the legacy of his murder fades away when it is later confirmed that he was not the true killer of Mayumi Yamano and Saki Konishi. Instead, he was just a copycat killer who killed Kinshiro Morooka with no particular motive other than to claim to be the Inaba mass killer. The Investigation Team wonders why he would beat Morooka to death, under the assumption that Mitsuo also had the ability to enter the TV World, coming to the conclusion that he was unaware of the world's nature and thus never considered using it to murder people. It is unknown what his fate is after his arrest, but he was most likely convicted of his murder and remains in prison for his crime.
Later, after the true culprit was exposed, Adachi reveals that he had thrown Mitsuo into the Midnight Channel, stating that if Mitsuo had taken credit for all of the murders, then the abductions would have stopped; Mitsuo never had any knowledge of the TV World, nor did he possess the ability to enter it himself. As the police did not believe Mitsuo's claims that he was the killer, they handed him over to Adachi, who took Mitsuo into an interrogation room before turning out the lights and pushing him into the Midnight Channel while he was stunned, lying to his colleagues afterward that he had sent the boy home. As a result, Mitsuo was completely unaware of his assailant's identity. When confronted, Adachi even admits that he got a sense of excitement in trying to murder Mitsuo with his own hands, since he had never done such a thing since Saki, and that the attempted murder of Yukiko, Kanji and Rise are all performed by exploiting Namatame's ignorance.
Persona 4 The Animation
In the anime, he appears on April 15 on a raining day rather than April 12 which originally takes place in the game.
He didn't appear at the Tatsumi textiles shop where the game takes place, only in April 21 where he appears again, albeit seen briefly, in his winter uniform staring at the crowd at the Marukyu Tofu where Rise worked.
Mitsuo appears in Episode 11 of the anime, following his murder of Morooka, he proceeds to go on a fit of near uncontrollable anger throughout the episode. He is seen stomping on a trash bag he accidentally tripped over, and scaring Nanako at the supermarket and reaching out to grab her because she was about to buy the last two packs of tamago, only to back away and run off when Yu shows up.
Soon afterward, he comes back to Yukiko's high school and tries to ask her out once again, grabbing her hand before Chie pushes him away, and then Kanji intimidates him into retreating. That night, he goes on the internet and tries to claim he is the serial killer, only to be greeted as a joke online, leading him to bash his keyboard out of rage and confess to the police for attention. Mitsuo then appears on the Midnight Channel, laughing at the attention he has received and daring the Investigation Team to come find him.
Mitsuo appears within his dungeon, Void Quest, in episode 12 of the anime. There, he is found screaming hysterically at his Shadow who sits, playing a video game and constantly reminding him of how he is empty inside and a worthless person. Completely insane, Mitsuo constantly denies this truth until his Shadow erupts in a pillar of red flames to fight him.
Upon the defeat of Mitsuo the 8-Bit Hero, he awakens surrounded by the Investigation Team, shocked that they followed him into the Television. When they ask him whether he is the killer, he claims to be responsible for all the murders, causing his Shadow to dissipate, as Mitsuo's ego is so large, he has become his Shadow. He is then turned into the police, laughing manically and driven away with Adachi and another officer from Junes Department Store.
In contrast to the game, the main cast doesn't learn of Mitsuo's identity until after he's arrested by the police following the defeat of his Shadow. The only person in the anime who addresses him by name is his mother, who calls him "Mitsuo-chan," and the rest of the characters from learning about his deeds mention him in passing as, "That Kubo guy." When the case is considered closed and Mitsuo has become somewhat of a minor celebrity for taking the rap for all the murders in Inaba, the news consistently ridicules and demeans him, which sparks some anger and disgust from Kanji who believes it's rude to insult people for their social abilities and look, claiming that the news is only giving "more ammunition to keep on dissing all the anti-social kids." When the Investigation Team rescues Naoto from her dungeon, a conversation is brought up in which they realize Mitsuo can't be the killer. He was only responsible for the murder of Morooka, and likely had no knowledge of the TV World.
Persona 4 The Golden Animation
In the anime opening introduction, he was seen walking by Konishi's Liquor in the Central Shopping District.
"The police still haven't caught the killer?
Those idiots! Can't they do anything right!? I tell ya, the world is chock-full of idiots!
Take those morons that ride around on bikes in the middle of the night for example!
Guys like that can't do anything without each other! They're worthless! And lemme tell ya...
> The student from a rival school ranted on and on..."
Mitsuo concept art
|Persona 4 The Animation|
Concept artwork from The Animation
Mitsuo attempts to grab Nanako
|Persona 4 Visualize|
Mitsuo appearing on the Midnight Channel in Persona 4 Visualive
- In one of the floors of the Void Quest dungeon's floors, a textbox will say "Good morning. You seemed to have slept well last night. You slept so well that not even the noisy siren from the police cars woke you. I think something real bad happened... Can you go buy some coffee from the cafe at the arcade? Thanks. Did you hear a girl was killed? It's becoming a dangerous world out there... I don't even feel safe walking around town. Don't let your guard down, and make sure you're not out late, okay?" This is a reference to Shin Megami Tensei I when the protagonist wakes up from the strange dream and is asked to buy coffee at the mall by his mother.
- In Persona 4: The Animation, the track "I'll Face Myself" from the album Never More -Reincarnation: Persona 4- is played while Yu fights Mitsuo's Shadow.
- In Persona 4: Golden, the boss theme for Mitsuo's Shadow is a heavily synthesized, 8-bit edition of "I'll Face Myself" entitled "Revelations: Mitsuo"/"Shin Mitsuo Tensei." This bears relevance to how Mitsuo is meant to be a joke making fun of the player, and how his Shadow uses video games predominantly in its design.
- Mitsuo can be found walking around Inaba on the same days as Namatame, he can be found talking about how the police are bad at their job and that the biker gangs do nothing for society.