|Protagonist (Persona 5)||Gallery||Quotes||Party|
"...You are held captive. A prisoner of fate to a future that has been sealed in advance. This is truly an unjust game... Your chances of winning are almost none. But if my voice is reaching you, there may yet be a possibility open to you... ...I beg you. Please overcome this game... and save the world... The key to victory lies within the memories of your bonds—the truth that you and your friends grasped. It all began that day... when the game was started half a year ago... For the sake of your world's future... as well as your own... you must remember..."
The protagonist of Persona 5 is a transfer student at Shujin Academy. At the beginning of the game, he has little to no power or influence in the world and is restrained by the rules of the system he was born into.
However, beneath his quiet demeanor is a strong-willed Wild Card leading the Phantom Thieves and capable of exploiting the Metaverse to affect reality. To his teammates, his code name is Joker, and to the residents of the Velvet Room he is known as the Trickster. The protagonist is the leader of the rebellious Phantom Thieves of Hearts, a group which aims to change society by touching the hearts of people and performing illegal heists.
- 1 Appearances
- 2 Design
- 3 Personality
- 4 Profile
- 4.1 Persona 5
- 4.2 Persona 5 Royal
- 4.3 Persona 5 The Animation The Day Breakers
- 4.4 Night of The Phantom
- 4.5 Persona 5 The Animation
- 4.6 Persona 5 Strikers
- 4.7 Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth
- 5 Etymology
- 6 In Other Languages
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
- Persona 5 / Royal: Protagonist
- Persona 5 (Manga): Protagonist as Akira Kurusu
- Persona 5: Mementos Mission: Protagonist as Ren Amamiya
- Persona 5 Dengeki Comic Anthology: Protagonist
- Persona 5 Comic à La Carte: Protagonist
- Persona 5 Comic Anthology (DNA Media Comics)
- Persona 5 Character Anthology
- Persona 5 The Animation The Day Breakers: Ren Amamiya
- Persona 5 The Animation: Protagonist as Ren Amamiya
- Persona 5 the Animation: Dark Sun...: Ren Amamiya
- Persona 5 the Animation: Stars and Ours: Ren Amamiya
- Persona 5 the Animation: Proof of Justice: Ren Amamiya
- Persona 5 the Animation: A Magical Valentine's Day: Ren Amamiya
- Persona 5 the Animation Dengeki Comic Anthology: Protagonist as Ren Amamiya
- Persona O.A.: Protagonist as Ren Amamiya
- Persona 5 The Stage: Protagonist as Mao Tomokawa, Hinato Ashida, Izumi Urata, and many others
- Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight: Protagonist as Ren Amamiya
- Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight: DLC Partner as Ren Amamiya.
- Persona 5 Strikers: Protagonist
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth: Protagonist
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth Roundabout Special: Main Character
- Night of the Phantom: Protagonist as The Phantom
The protagonist appears as a tall young man of slim to athletic build. He has a pale complexion with unkempt, wavy black hair that falls over his eyes. His eyes are gray and have long eyelashes. Despite his messy hair and slouched posture, he wears all of his clothes primly and properly.
For most of his civilian outfits, he also wears a set of large black glasses. The glasses are later revealed to be for aesthetic purposes and to help him maintain an unassuming image, as he did not need them before nor after his probation. However, when his glasses are removed, his eyes are revealed to be sharp and give off an intense gaze.
In Persona 5 Royal, Morgana outright confirms that the protagonist wears fake glasses when the protagonist tries to interact with a store called "two windows" in Kichijoji. In Royal's true ending (bar the very end of the post-credits scene) and during the events Persona 5 Strikers, the protagonist still wears them.
His default outfit is his winter school uniform, which consists of a red-buttoned black blazer with Shujin's emblem on the pocket, a white turtleneck shirt with chevron detailing on the collar and slim red pants with a plaid pattern. It is shown in Episode 5 of Persona 5 The Animation that he wears black suspenders under his blazer. His uniform is worn with black, laced dress boots. During the summer, he wears the school regulation polo shirt, albeit untucked and sans the suspenders.
On his days off during the winter, he wears an unbuttoned black blazer over a black-trimmed cream sweater, blue jeans and brown, laced oxfords. After his "death," he temporarily swaps his sweater for a light gray hooded sweatshirt as a disguise. During the summer, he wears an open white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up over a black short-sleeved T-shirt, blue jeans and dark, laced shoes. His loungewear consists of a black long-sleeved shirt and olive sleep pants.
As Joker, his outfit consists of a black ankle-length tailcoat, a high-necked waistcoat with gold accents, cinched black pants, brown-black winklepickers boots with taller heels and a pair of red gloves. Over his eyes is a white, birdlike domino mask with black designs around the eyes reminiscent of full eyeliner and sharp lashes. His expression and demeanor are also markedly different and there's a strong air of confidence to him compared to his usual self.
During visits to the Velvet Room, he wears a black and white prisoner uniform.
In his flashback, he is wearing a black and white baseball shirt with the numbers "1797" over the front, gray jeans and black, laced shoes.
During Persona 5 Royal's third semester, on his days off and during the night he wears a black turtleneck sweater, a long gray coat, dark blue jeans and brown, laced dress boots. On school days, he wears a black hooded overcoat with Shujin's logo emblazoned on the front and a thick blue scarf.
In Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, Ren Amamiya wears the Shujin Academy uniform, though he replaces the turtleneck with a black shirt with a zero on the front with "DANCE" written on it. His jacket is left open and he wears red gloves and high-tops with black laces. A red rag is also found hanging out from his right pants pocket. Around his neck are black and red headphones.
In Persona 5 Strikers, he continues to wear his glasses, though they are no longer opaque and his eyes can be seen. His civilian outfit consists of a short-sleeved black polo shirt with a white collar, gray jeans, a brown belt and gray converse sneakers. He also wears a brown-banded watch on his left arm. While at the festivals, he wears a black yukata with a red sash. At the beach in Okinawa, he wears gradient black-to-teal swim trunks.
"Yes. Before that happens, we will take this country!"
As per tradition of the Megami Tensei franchise, he is a silent protagonist, whose personality is based on the player's actions and decisions. However, he appears to have more established traits than any of the previous protagonists. His dialogue options range from somewhat indifferent to outright cheeky. The game allows for quite a number of playful, snarky or audacious answers, including teasing his friends. He also taunts his enemies like the famed Arsène Lupin. In the prologue scene, he remains cocky and confident even when his life is in danger. He also has a flair for showing off and making dramatic decisions, such as exiting by jumping through the stained glass windows of the Casino, much to the amazement (and mild annoyance) of the other Phantom Thieves. This is even reflected in gameplay, as when he is turned into a mouse, he makes a flamboyant hop after escaping a battle.
Munehisa Iwai says if everyone in the world held the same code of honor as the protagonist, guns would be obsolete. Sadayo Kawakami notes that, by opposing Suguru Kamoshida, he has a strong sense of justice despite his bad reputation. Shinya Oda states that he made him realize "To be cool, you have to live life in your own way." and that's the type of person he's striving to become. Hifumi Togo notes, while playing shogi with him, that she senses he has a "gambler's spirit." Sojiro Sakura says the protagonist has an assertive nature, to which the rest of the thieves agree. During the climax of the Niijima Palace heist, Ryuji Sakamoto states that despite being quiet, once he has made up his mind, he won't take no for an answer. Goro Akechi says although the protagonist is quiet, he possesses the courage and determination to take action, and has a free heart, despite his social standing and how others view him, and that he never stops choosing his own path. Morgana perceives potential in the protagonist, and although the protagonist shrugs it off as being merely lucky, Morgana's assertion solidifies, exclaiming that there's definitely something special about him, dodging everything the enemies throw at him like it's his destiny.
His profile states that he appears quiet and well-mannered, but this behavior is a profound ruse that hides the heart of a rebellious trickster. He is extremely resistant to rigid and dogmatic forms of control-based authority and order. He has received much criticism, insults, opposition and even death threats for his rebellious nature, whether it be his targets, school staff, disapproving comments left on the Phantom Aficionado Website, etc. Suguru Kamoshida calls him a "defiant piece of garbage." However, despite all this, the Phantom Thieves have also received a good deal of support.
In Persona 5 The Animation The Day Breakers, he can easily be perceived as an unassuming student during his daily life. He appears somewhat introverted and absent-minded, perhaps as part of his "profound ruse" or in being mentally preoccupied with the Phantom Thieves' activities, as he was shown not paying attention in class. In truth, he is highly resourceful and plans ahead, such as using Café Leblanc as bait to obtain evidence behind Kazuya Makigami's crimes, as well as obtaining the false alarm system from Iwai. He also has a reckless side, as seen when Ryuji and Ann question his bold decision to use Leblanc as bait despite numerous dangers, including the risk of Sojiro finding out. In response, the protagonist simply says he'll cross that bridge when he comes to it. Like the other Phantom Thieves, he fully believes in their mission to reform their targets, even taking pride in his work as he declares to Kazuya that he has stolen the arrogance in his heart.
In the process of designing characters for Persona 5, Shigenori Soejima imagined the protagonist as the type who plans things but does not talk about them. Jun Fukuyama, his Japanese voice actor, described the protagonist as the type of person you cannot get to know easily. However, he also says the protagonist has the characteristics of a leader and that the other members of the Phantom Thieves trust him deeply.
As noted by Ann, Yusuke and Hifumi, the protagonist has immense kindness as he would do what he can to help people such as his Confidants. Unlike previous Persona protagonists, the catalyst for his Persona awakening is specific (his desire to help people in need). Arsène notes this, and wonders if the resolve the protagonist showed in the past was valid or not. This, in turn, proves instrumental to his awakening, as it is the basis for his rebellious will, allowing him to form a contract with Arsène and summon him.
Hints of his true desires come from the new Royal ending where Maruki develops an ideal reality for him by accepting his offer. Similar to Yu Narukami in the Persona 4 the Animation, he holds some sadness by the fact that he has to leave after his probation ends. His bonds with his fellow Phantom Thieves and Sojiro become the main center for his ideal reality as he remains living at Café Leblanc, finishing his high school at Shujin, and still maintaining his friendships with everyone, including Yoshizawa and Akechi. Unlike the others who seem to blissfully accept the realities Maruki gave them, the protagonist may at least be aware of the choice he made, but has chosen to turn a blind eye.
In Royal as well, more glimpses of the protagonist's personality are shown, specifically at the end of the new final boss fight, when he desperately risks everything to save the life of Takuto Maruki, a great friend of his despite their differences, and Maruki notes how "bright and honest" the protagonist's eyes are, meaning that he still strives to keep moving forward and helping people.
In the manga adaptation, Akira Kurusu is not silent. He comes off as initially quiet and awkward while showing his obvious discomfort and confusion with the crowded streets of Tokyo. He is also severely disheartened and saddened when none of the students, save for Ryuji who he helped earlier in Kamoshida's Palace, want anything to do with him because of his record. Like in the game, Akira is quick to catch on to certain things, showing himself to be quite observant.
In Persona 5 the Animation, Ren Amamiya comes off as very quiet and polite. After the court's decision, he becomes visibly depressed and, initially, becomes hesitant to help Sakamoto in their first encounter with Kamoshida. After awakening to his Persona, however, Ren is more willing to help someone. When he bumped into Shiho, he didn't hesitate to pick up her papers and return them to her. He always seems to look out for his companions. When spying on the new track coach, Ryuji asked why he was doing this and Ren responds that seeing him mope around bothers him. Ryuji also notes that, while in the Metaverse, Ren is different, being very aggressive.
Similar to Yu Narukami in the anime, Ren has something of a playful side. When meeting Morgana for the first time, he petted him, much to his embarrassment. Also, like in the game, Ren has a mischievous side, as shown when he calls Sakamoto by his last name after he called him by his new nickname, or when he tells Ann that she needs to strip "for justice." He can become socially awkward or uncomfortable when doing mischievous favors for others, as he's seen physically flustered during Operation Maid Watch. In later episodes, Ren has a subtle character development arc which leads to him being more confident and less shy and introverted. Justice and honor are very important to him, and after the Kaneshiro arc, he tends to show his defiant spirit more often and openly tells Akechi that he is a supporter of the Phantom Thieves, refusing his offer to become his assistant. Despite becoming more confident in the real world, he's never seen giving orders to the team.
While in the game the protagonist is seen as something of a showoff, the anime portrays Ren as a cold and logical tactician who tends to avoid risky decisions. As shown when he tells Morgana to delay the infiltration of Okumura's Palace as he thinks something isn't right with the sudden rise in fame of the Phantom Thieves. In later episodes, like the fight with Sae and the Dark Sun... special, Ren has a subtle character development shown in his dialogue during those fights, despite still keeping his silent persona in the real world (and even that seems to shatter when he finds out Shido's behind everything.) Ren actually takes pride in Sae's defeat and in the Dark Sun... OVA he becomes much more of a field leader (in the Metaverse, not the real world,) ordering the team how to handle opponents like Akechi and confronting the IT president and Akechi by himself. After Shido's defeat, Ren mocks him for losing, saying he's "not even in his league," and when he finds out that people still adore Shido after his change of heart, the silent facade Ren puts up in the real world shatters for a second time, with him screaming: "What the hell is happening!?"
In Persona 5 Mementos Mission, Ren is a similarly friendly, kind and observant person with a strong sense of justice like in other adaptations. The noticeable difference is Ren involved himself more in discussion while giving instructions directly to the rest of Phantom Thieves without anyone having to be his mouthpiece. He is persuasive, playing with people's interest to convince them to help him in his information gathering. When it comes down to it, Ren is willing to take a risk even if it means his identity may be exposed, such as not seeing any problem crossdressing to gather information. Despite this, he is modest about his looks; when he is offered to become a model, Ren refused because he wasn't comfortable standing out.
While Makoto Yuki's character arc was the central theme in Persona 3 The Movie and Yu's personality was openly shown from the very beginning of Persona 4 The Animation, Persona 5 The Animation tends to keep Ren mostly silent and focus more on the development of the other playable characters. A reason for this is the very little time that the anime dedicates to the Metaverse, where Ren's aggressive and defiant personality is openly shown. as opposed to the character interactions in the real world, where Ren is basically forced to be silent because of his criminal record.
In Persona Q2, the other party members comment on the P5 hero having many similarities with the P4 hero and the P3 hero. He is described as having the same courage as the P4 hero that he would do something reckless for the sake of his friends, and the same calmness and maturity as the P3 hero. They all unanimously agree that all three have the charisma to bring people together and feel completely at ease by their presence.
"But... you're confined in reality now, even after you escaped the prison within your heart... What an ironic turn of events because you wished for the fortune of others over your own well-being. Still... it will do. You chose the correct path with your own volition. You did not compromise your beliefs for personal gain to the very end. The last arcana you have taken hold of is "The World." It is the willpower to stand up in this world on your own feet, unswayed by no one. That will become the basis of hope toward a future with your teammates who share the same belief. Now that you've gained that power, you are no longer an existence that wanders alone..."
The protagonist is a second-year high school student who transfers to Shujin Academy in Tokyo, after a false assault charge issued by a high-profile politician, which caused him to end up with a one-year probation sentence. Prior to the incident, it is stated that he lived in a rural area. He lives in a coffee shop called Café Leblanc, located in Yongen-Jaya and owned by Sojiro Sakura, an acquaintance of his parents during his probation.
However, on his way to his new school, he discovers the existence of the Metaverse and becomes the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, a group whose purpose is to steal the hearts of corrupt adults in order to reform society. Initially, the group he founded was only to put an end to Suguru Kamoshida's vicious and predatory abuses against the school's students. The initial members were consisted of Ryuji Sakamoto and Ann Takamaki, who were victims of Kamoshida, as well as Morgana, a mysterious cat-like creature who wants to discover his origins and restore his true form. However, due to reencountering the corrupt politician who forced him into probation while celebrating the end of Kamoshida's tyranny, he officially founded the group in earnest. The members who later joined him include: Yusuke Kitagawa, Makoto Niijima, Futaba Sakura, Haru Okumura, and Goro Akechi.
"...I didn't expect it'd be you. You'll be answering my questions this time. Those bastards... Can you hear me? It seems you've been through a lot. Almost anything can happen here... and I can't stop them. That's why I need you to answer me honestly. I don't have much time either. What was your objective? Why did you cause such a major incident? I didn't think it was a prank from the get-go, but I couldn't assemble a case for prosecution. It's because I couldn't figure out the method behind it. True. There's no way I could be convinced of such a... "world" just by reading the reports. It seems you're coherent. When and where did you find out about that world? How is it even possible to steal another's heart? Now, tell me your account of everything. ...Start from the very beginning."
During the game's prologue, the protagonist manages to infiltrate a Casino, successfully stealing a briefcase before beginning to make his escape, all the while attracting the attention of the security forces in order to allow his companions to escape the other way. He makes quick work of a Shadow taking the form of a Moloch before he continues escaping, though shortly after jumping out of a window, he is cornered by the police and is subsequently captured, being informed that he was "sold out" by someone.
Later, he is found in an interrogation room, bound to a chair, having been drugged by his captors. The apparent leading investigator splashes him with water in order to wake him up and knocks him off of the chair, as he reads off his list of crimes: obstruction of business, intimidation, defamation, preparing and carrying weapons and even murder. Afterward, he asks the protagonist to write down his name, as a confession to the investigation. The protagonist complies, though the investigator tells him that he will put him through so much pain until he has paid for his crimes. The protagonist, not remembering anything at the time, questions if he really did commit all these misdeeds.
Shortly after signing his name, Sae Niijima, a prosecutor leading his case, enters the room to interrogate him. She is displayed to oppose the interrogators from before, in sight of their blatant attempts to muddy his memory. The two seem to share a history, and she questions him how he came to learn about "that world," and how exactly his "techniques" regarding his crimes work. As the protagonist seems to ponder how to answer, he catches sight of a blue butterfly (possibly representing Philemon) and hears a voice calling out to him, stating that his fate was already predetermined, but there was hope for him by recalling his memories.
After that, the protagonist awakens on the train bound for Shibuya, as if the events were all a foreboding dream. During the ride, he recalls an incident where he witnessed a woman being sexually harassed by a man and stopped him. In his drunken stupor, the man accidentally fell without the protagonist touching him and injured his head. He blamed it on the protagonist and forced the woman to testify that it was the protagonist's fault. It is later revealed that the man was Masayoshi Shido, a corrupt politician who abruptly rose to control virtually all of Japan and commits blatantly treasonous acts for his profit.
As a result of the protagonist's intervention, the incident went down on his permanent record, and he was subsequently expelled from his school. At the court hearing, he was told to transfer schools with Shujin Academy being the only school that would accept the protagonist with his current criminal record. Needing a place to stay, Sojiro Sakura was approached to house the protagonist during his probation, due to being an acquaintance of the protagonist's parents. However, due to the protagonist's rumored criminal record, Sojiro does so only begrudgingly.
After he arrives at the Shibuya Crosswalk, a mysterious application starts up, much to the protagonist's confusion. The world around him slows to a halt, and a fiery blue figure manifests before his eyes, followed by a vision of the flames developing a red grin, and himself with yellow eyes. Afterward, as time resumes, the protagonist seemingly deletes the application, and makes his way to Yongen-Jaya Station, and later to the alleyway, where his new caretaker resides. He arrives to find Sojiro speaking with customers.
Sojiro is surprised that the "punk kid" he was asked to look after is the protagonist, based on his gentlemanly and timid appearance. He shows the protagonist his new room; despite its rather large size, Sojiro says he has to be the one to clean it up. He also touches upon the details of the incident for a brief moment before leaving him alone to clean up the room, though he also warns the protagonist that if he causes any trouble, he will kick him out.
As the protagonist prepares for bed, he recalls the incident, thinking to himself that he simply couldn't ignore the woman being harassed. He hears his phone ringing, and to his surprise, he finds that the mysterious application from before is still there, despite having deleted it earlier. He shortly falls asleep afterward. Later, he awakens in the Velvet Room and finds himself in prison garb, even bound in handcuffs with a ball and chain on his leg.
Igor welcomes him to his Velvet Room, and the twins tell him that he is still asleep in the real world. Caroline scolds him to stand up straight as Igor is present. Igor greets him, explaining that the Velvet Room is a place that exists between dream and reality, and is only accessible to those who have, in some form, made a contract. He then further explains that he brought the protagonist here in order to discuss an important matter that will affect his life. He also expresses surprise at the state of the Velvet Room, mentioning that its form represents the state of the guest's heart. Igor also refers to the protagonist as a "Prisoner of Fate," and that destruction awaits him in the future.
Igor informs him that there is a way to avoid that destruction, stating that he must be "rehabilitated into a free man." He also asks the protagonist if he is ready to fight against the world's corruption. After the protagonist gives his answer, Igor expresses his delight, saying that he will observe the miracle of his "rehabilitation." He then introduces his newest attendants: Caroline and Justine, his prison guards. Caroline tells him that fighting is pointless, whereas Justine informs him that, as his guard, it is their duty to protect him, but only if he is obedient. Igor states that he will explain the twins' importance another time, as dawn has already approached in the real world.
First Heist: Suguru Kamoshida
"First off... I'd like to begin by congratulating you. You have encountered allies who share your aesthetics, and you have found your place in reality. The time has come... Your rehabilitation will soon begin. I shall explain it to you now... You have a special potential. However, that must be refined into a useful power. It is weak now, but refining it shall grant you the strength to stand against the coming ruin. ...That is the rehabilitation cast upon you. There are various means by which you may gain the power to resist the ruin. Fighting Shadows and gaining experience is one way. The fusion process I taught you prior is another. Thanks to the contracts you've formed, your heart is steadily gaining the power of opposition. It seems the rehabilitation is going well. This is a truly joyous occasion... I shall grant you an ability befitting of your newfound growth. Consider it a gift. May the devotion to your rehabilitation grow even deeper. ...I have high hopes of you."
On his way to school the next day, the protagonist once again opens the mysterious app in his phone and encounters Ann Takamaki, who was being invited to a ride by Suguru Kamoshida. She reluctantly goes in and meets a delinquent-like boy, Ryuji Sakamoto, who was calling Kamoshida a "perverted teacher," then confronts the protagonist with a threatening look, in fear of him ratting him out to Kamoshida. However, he accidentally used the word "Castle," causing the Metaverse Navigator to fire up. Despite the landscape around Shujin was mostly normal, when the boys reach the school, they noticed that the school has literally became a castle.
When inside the unknown castle, the duo was instantly intercepted by a horde of armed knights accompanying a scantly clad version of Kamoshida with yellow eyes who wears only a gaudy, red crown, a kingly robe with hearts printed on it, and a speedo. He instantly throws the protagonist and Ryuji into an underground cell and orders their "execution," starting from Ryuji first based on their past vendetta. Kamoshida's knight-like Shadows immediately knock down Ryuji and apprehend him, holding him defenseless for Kamoshida to repeatedly throw punches at him. Once Ryuji was thoroughly beaten, he collapses to the ground and Kamoshida spits on him. The strange Kamoshida quickly orders his execution only for the protagonist to fruitlessly interfere. Kamoshida kicks the protagonist against the wall, his knights ready to kill Ryuji at any moment while holding the protagonist to the floor.
In this moment, a blue butterfly tells him that he is trapped in an "unjust game" with almost no winning chances, although she can lend him her power. Another voice, (presumably the protagonist's Shadow Self) questions him if he is just going to keep quiet and reminds him of the incident that led to his probation. The protagonist recalls the incident, coming to the conclusion that he did not make the wrong choice to save the woman. In response to his determination, the voice awakens and manifests into his Persona, Arsène. Kamoshida is forced to halt trying to kill Ryuji and goes after the protagonist instead. His knights break into a pair of Jack-o'-Lanterns that the protagonist effortlessly defeats. The guard drops the jail key and Kamoshida confronts the protagonist, only for Ryuji to knock him down and run with the protagonist, locking Shadow Kamoshida in his cell. While escaping, they also encounter a mysterious cat-like creature, Morgana, who was captured and asks to be freed in exchange for showing them the way out and showing them the game's basic controls.
Once the protagonist and Ryuji escape the palace and return to reality, they confront Kamoshida about his castle, only for them to discover Kamoshida having no connection with his other self. Regardless, he has forced the protagonist's classmate, Yuuki Mishima, to spread rumors about him regarding the circumstances behind his probation to the whole school. On the next day, the boys enter the castle again to explore Kamoshida Palace's Dungeon area so they may confirm the situation. However, on their way out again, Kamoshida pulls off an ambush, causing the protagonist and Morgana to be overwhelmed by his Shadows.
When his knights are about to execute the protagonist and Morgana as Ryuji hopelessly watches, he awakens Captain Kidd as well. However, after Kamoshida runs out of Shadows again, he summons a scantly clad version of Ann to spite Ryuji, implying that he didn't consider her anything other than a sex slave. On the next day, the volleyball rally commences and Kamoshida can be blatantly seen purposely spiking Mishima in broad daylight, and it's implied that he was using the rally as an excuse to punish students. Therefore, the students participating in the rally all end up heavily battered, although they are generally enabling his cruelty by avoiding trying to speak him out.
The protagonist asks Ann, who is rumored to be dating Kamoshida, about this and she confirms that Kamoshida is trying to force himself on her. Since no other students are willing to speak up against Kamoshida, Morgana proposes to make Kamoshida admit his wrongdoings by stealing his Treasure in his castle, calling it a Palace, which represents the source of his distorted desires; in this case, lust. However, Morgana warns that if they kill Shadow Kamoshida, the real Kamoshida will suffer a mental shutdown and may die, prompting the protagonist and Ryuji to back out and think things over.
The protagonist and Ryuji confront Kamoshida after witnessing Ann's friend, Shiho Suzui, attempting suicide due to no longer being able to put up with the physical and sexual abuse Kamoshida subjects her to. After being confronted by the protagonist, Ryuji and Mishima, Kamoshida retaliates by threatening the three with expulsion, forcing them to carry through with Morgana's heist plan. The three of them are then joined by Ann who wants to avenge Shiho. To make Shadow Kamoshida's treasure materialize, Ryuji pins several copies of a calling card on the school board, addressed to Kamoshida under the name "Phantom Thieves of Hearts," enraging Shadow Kamoshida in his Palace. They succeed in stealing Kamoshida's treasure, causing him to have a change of heart and confess all of his crimes in front of the whole school. Afterward, the bad rumors about the protagonist and Ann are no longer spread and the threat of expulsion is lifted.
They decide to celebrate their success at an expensive restaurant by using the money from Kamoshida's treasure, a gold athlete's medal which the protagonist pawned off at Untouchable airsoft shop. At the restaurant, the protagonist and Ryuji meet a man named Masayoshi Shido who rudely looks down on them. The protagonist notices that Shido's voice reminds him of the man who falsely accused him, but quickly dismisses this thought. It is also apparent that Shido does not remember placing a lawsuit on the protagonist during this encounter. Their encounter with Shido convinces the protagonist, Ryuji and Ann to continue their work as Phantom Thieves to steal corrupt hearts of adults and reform society so there will be no more victims like them.
Second Heist: Ichiryusai Madarame
"You have expelled one who was stained in vanity. You are now one step closer to your rehabilitation. It's a delightful thing indeed. However, that man's remarks are concerning. It seems another has made their way into the Metaverse. That is beyond my knowledge... But your rehabilitation is progressing smoothly. ...That is for certain. May the devotion to your rehabilitation grow even deeper. ...I have high hopes of you."
Mishima, who knows of the protagonist's identity as one of the Phantom Thieves, created a website that also serves as a request board for the Phantom Thieves to take on missions. However, since not many people believe their existence, the Phantom Thieves decide to change another corrupt famous adult to make the group known. An opportunity arises when they explore Mementos by the request of Morgana and discover the Shadow of a former apprentice of Madarame, Natsuhiko Nakanohara, a municipal ward who had been stalking his ex-girlfriend in a twisted way of coping with his former teacher, the great artist Ichiryusai Madarame, scamming him and ruining his life.
After they defeat his Shadow, he approaches them in the real world to tell them that Madarame actually steals his students' paintings, resulting in one of his students committing suicide after his work was stolen. Nakanohara asks them to stop Madarame before he can steal the credit and livelihood of Yusuke, his latest disciple. Yusuke stalks Ann all the way from the Shibuya station to the ground floor and asks her to model for him. After Nakanohara's account, the Phantom Thieves accept Yusuke's offer in order to learn more about Madarame.
When the group directly asks Yusuke about Madarame's plagiarism, Yusuke fiercely defends his teacher and angrily dismisses the group. After receiving more information from Nakanohara and locating Madarame's Palace, Ann and Morgana attempt to find proof of Madarame's crimes while under the guise of modeling for Yusuke. Ann finds proof of Madarame's plagiarism in his storage room, which is accidentally revealed to Yusuke. They both press Madarame about it, which forces him to threaten them by calling his private security company to arrest them. They escape from Madarame by entering his Palace, but Yusuke gets dragged in as well. Even as Yusuke still does not believe his master's crimes after seeing evidence in his Palace, his teacher's Shadow arrives on the scene and flaunts his crimes and how little he has in regard for his students, angering Yusuke and Persona awakens. After defeating the Shadows and leaving the Palace, Yusuke decides to join the Phantom Thieves, wanting to reform his teacher.
The Phantom Thieves send a calling card to Madarame in his exhibit, angering him. As a precaution, he replaces the treasure with a henohenomoheji and shows the Thieves his real treasure, the real "Sayuri" painting and flaunts his atrocity against Yusuke and his mother to them. This angers Yusuke to the point that he no longer felt remorse opposing him, and Madarame transforms into Azazel and attacks the Thieves, in his new form of four floating paintings forming a face. Despite this, he was soundly defeated.
After defeating Shadow Madarame and stealing his treasure, Madarame reveals that there's a third party besides them inside the Palace, but Madarame only reveals the person to wear a black mask. Yusuke recovers Madarame's treasure, the real "Sayuri" painting that his mother painted before her death and the Thieves escape the collapsing museum in one piece. No longer having a home due to not wishing to live with Madarame anymore, Yusuke stays with the protagonist at Café Leblanc for one night, but eventually moves into the dormitory at Kosei High School. As thanks to Sojiro for allowing him to stay temporarily, he gifts "Sayuri" to him, which is then hung on display at the entrance of the café.
Third Heist: Junya Kaneshiro
"You've defeated the repulsive fiend of gluttony this time. *chuckle* Well done. I am glad to see you have devoted yourself to your rehabilitation. Do you recall the whispers about that strange man? Indeed... I speak of another with powers similar to yours. If you are to complete your rehabilitation, you may encounter him eventually... *chuckle* Yet another thing for me to look forward to. I shall grant you an ability befitting of your newfound growth. Consider it a gift. It would be greatly troubling if you were to not strengthen your abilities."
Following Madarame's confession at live television, the Phantom Thieves' activities become known and attract many people, particularly high school detective Goro Akechi and student council president Makoto Niijima. During a school trip to a TV station in Akasaka Mitsuke, the protagonist meets Akechi, who reveals his disdain towards the Phantom Thieves' actions. Despite this, the protagonist gets acquainted with Akechi, after catching his attention with a surprising response to an audience interview question.
Makoto quickly becomes suspicious of the protagonist and his friends, secretly following them on the orders of the principal of Shujin Academy, and finally gets the proof she needs in a form of recording of Ryuji who declares themselves as Phantom Thieves. She blackmails the protagonist to take her to their meeting place and demands the Phantom Thieves to show her their justice, promising to delete the recording if they can prove her wrong. Left with no options, they take on her request to investigate a mafia boss who is extorting money from several Shujin students. Despite this, the group fails to track this person, as his henchmen refused to reveal anything about him.
Their investigation leads them to a reporter named Ichiko Ohya leaking his name as Junya Kaneshiro to the protagonist. The next day, the Phantom Thieves enter Kaneshiro's Palace but cannot find his treasure since the bank that acts as its main body is too high up in the air, flying above the city and sucking up cash from the civilians below. Makoto brazenly manages to bring the thieves to Kaneshiro himself, but in her hubris, Kaneshiro gains the upper hand by taking a picture of them in his club surrounded by drugs and alcohol. Threatening to spread the photo across social media, which would inevitably reach the school administration and result in everyone's expulsion, Kaneshiro forces them to bring him a hefty sum of three million yen in just three weeks.
As an apology, Makoto requests to join them in their heist to make up for her mistake, allowing access to the flying bank itself, because Makoto is now a "customer" of Kaneshiro. Shadow Kaneshiro lures the Thieves into a trap and attempts to kill them, then corners them and gloats about how is he going to sell Sae and Makoto as prostitutes, causing Makoto's composure to finally break, awakening to her own Persona. The Thieves defeat his shadow guards and escape the Palace.
After the Phantom Thieves locate Kaneshiro's treasure plastering hundreds of calling cards all over Shibuya in a brazen bid to get his attention, a final confrontation between the Thieves and Shadow Kaneshiro commences, and they successfully defeat him and destroy his "Piggytron" robot. However, he leaves them with a warning of a third party that manipulates Palaces for their own ends without caring for the consequences. A day later, the real Kaneshiro promises to delete the photos and soon after turns himself in to the police.
Fourth Heist: Futaba Sakura
"It seems you freed the heart of a frenzied girl and saved her from her haunted past. *chuckle* Another step has been taken to rehabilitation... You are progressing quite nicely. By the by, more curious information has found its way to your ears. A scientist's research... It seems that world may secretly be known after all. Furthermore, that very research has been stolen and is now used by those with malicious intent... I wonder how this will change the approach you take toward your rehabilitation... *chuckle* Allow me to grant you a new power worthy of your current self. Though you have my aid, be sure not to let your guard down. Otherwise you may get swept off your feet... ...We shall meet again in the near future."
The Phantom Thieves' success in changing Kaneshiro's heart begins to attract further attention to them, leading them to be publicly denounced by the international hacking group Medjed, urging the Phantom Thieves to stop their heists or else they will purge all of their supporters with a huge hacking attack. The protagonist then receives an unknown chat from a mysterious hacker called Alibaba who requests him to steal a certain someone's heart and in exchange, they will take care of Medjed. Should he refuse, they will leak his identity to the media.
The protagonist and the others think that the chat is a mere prank, but Alibaba proves themselves that they do know about the protagonist by leaving a calling card in Leblanc. Alibaba requests him to steal the heart of a girl named Futaba Sakura, who is revealed to be related to Sojiro. Since information about Futaba is lacking, the protagonist tries to ask Sojiro, but he refuses to tell him anything and threatens to kick him out if he presses further. The protagonist tries to ask Alibaba for more details and asks to meet them, but his request leads Alibaba to abruptly cancel their request.
The Phantom Thieves think that the problem has been solved, with Alibaba seemingly out of the picture, until they returned from the Kaneshiro heist celebrations and Akechi informs them that Medjed has declared an all-out war against them, with dire consequences for the infrastructure of Japan if the thieves were to remain silent. As a result, the protagonist has no choice but to once again try to contact Alibaba. Makoto correctly deduces that Alibaba is actually Futaba herself, which is confirmed when Sojiro finally explains Futaba's situation after the protagonist and the thieves catch a glimpse of her when visiting Sojiro's house. They confront Futaba and ask to make a deal with her again, which she agrees.
After obtaining the keywords necessary to enter her Palace, the Phantom Thieves enter her Palace, which is a giant pyramid surrounded by an endless desert. Unlike other Palaces so far, it is not born from corruption, but from Futaba's severe depression, her repressed trauma surrounding the death of her mother, and the belief that she deserved to die alone in her home, believing it to be her "tomb." At first, the thieves do not adopt their Metaverse attire, as they are not seen as threats, but after meeting with Shadow Futaba, their thief outfits manifest and they are forced to run from a boulder summoned by the Palace that threatens to crush them.
As they progress through the Palace, the party finds several murals, each depicting some twisted memory of Futaba's. The first depicts men in black reading her a note, later revealed to be a suicide note. The second is her watching her mother, Wakaba Isshiki, being struck by a car, claimed to have been her suicide, and the third is Futaba trying to get her mother's attention. The thieves' path to the treasure, however, is blocked by a barrier surrounding the end of the great hallway, as a result of Futaba's unwillingness to allow anyone in her room. The group returns to reality, hoping to find a way for Futaba to allow them in and remove the barrier. They succeed in doing so, and through their first face-to-face encounter with her, they learn that Wakaba was a researcher of "cognitive psience," a study on one's perception of reality and the existence of a mysterious "cognitive world," which seems to be the Metaverse.
After leaving behind a calling card for Futaba, the Phantom Thieves reach the Pharaoh's Tomb, where the Treasure is supposed to lie, but are attacked by a cognition of what Futaba perceives as her mother; a Sphinx who hates and loathes her for killing her, and tries to murder anyone who disturbs Futaba's resting place. Its incredible agility and stamina easily overpower the Phantom Thieves, but the tide of battle changes after Futaba enters her own Palace with the Metaverse Navigator.
Meeting her own Shadow, she manages to overcome her self-loathing and realizes that she has been manipulated into believing a lie that ruined her life, and her Shadow transforms into her Persona Necronomicon, allowing the tables to turn as Necronomicon creates a ballista that allows the Thieves to effectively damage the cognition. They successfully manage to defeat the cognition with Futaba's help, though, to their confusion, the Treasure is not inside the coffin. As the Palace begins to crumble after Futaba leaves, Morgana realizes that Futaba herself was the Treasure, and with the real Futaba being inside her own Palace for so long, it has become unstable.
The group successfully escapes the collapsing pyramid, landing in a heap in front of Sojiro's store. As the others distract Sojiro, Makoto and the protagonist check on Futaba, who is unconscious. Fearing the worst, the protagonist calls Tae Takemi, a doctor in Yongen-Jaya. After a brief examination, Takemi states that Futaba has unnaturally low stamina and strength, most likely due to her shut-in nature. Though the group is worried about her well-being, Sojiro explains that this is normal for Futaba, and can sleep for days on end after periods of exertion.
On the day Medjed is supposed to destroy Japan's economy and begin a 'cleansing' of Phantom Thief supporters, Futaba hacks into their website in just a few hours, leaving behind the signature logo of the Phantom Thieves.
Afterward, the protagonist takes the helm in assisting Futaba with coming out of her shell around other people, particular himself and the rest of the Phantom Thieves, who want to be on better terms with her. This culminates in a trip to Miura Beach where the group takes a much needed break from the stress of thief activities, and the protagonist assists Ryuji in his efforts to pick up women on the beach.
Futaba, due to her hacking skills and growing chemistry with the group, is asked to join them in their heists. She agrees, if only to find the one responsible for murdering her mother and stealing her research. Futaba permanently joins the party as combat support and surveillance hub, resulting in Morgana's navigator role becoming obsolete.
Fifth Heist: Kunikazu Okumura
"First, I'd like to congratulate you for expelling the one proud of their greed... ...Or so I'd like to say, but something odd seems to have happened. Who knows...? However, don't you sense it? The malicious will of another... It seems a contingency has occurred. At this rate, your rehabilitation cannot be completed... though I doubt that will be the case. I truly look forward to seeing how you overcome this predicament... ...We shall meet again."
Their victory against Medjed causes a boom in popularity, resulting in massive international support and even merchandise to capitalize on their success. School resumes shortly after and Shujin Academy takes a trip to Hawaii, along with Kosei High School making an unscheduled detour there, where the Phantom Thieves witness firsthand the extent that their exploits have reached overseas. On the school trip, the protagonist may choose to spend the last evening in Hawaii with a female Confidant that he has reached a certain rank with, or Ryuji and Mishima, with Yusuke joining the three of them shortly.
Unfortunately, back in Japan, Principal Kobayakawa dies when he is hit by a car in the middle of a crosswalk, leading some to believe that the Phantom Thieves murdered him for covering up Kamoshida's crimes. They have little time to dwell on the matter, however, as the Phan-Site has made numerous requests for targets, the one with the largest result in the poll is Kunikazu Okumura, the wealthy CEO of Okumura Foods, which owns the popular Big Bang Burger food chain. Suspiciously, much of Big Bang's competition has fallen out under mysterious circumstances, leading the group to believe that Okumura may be behind the incidents, employing mental shutdowns to stifle opposition.
However, the group begins to doubt whether they should go with the plan of infiltrating his Palace just because of the general public's consensus. However, a confused Morgana misinterprets their intentions as indolence and irresponsibility, which causes an argument (further spurred by Ryuji's thoughtless comments and his own growing insecurities). Feeling shunned and useless due to not knowing who he is or what role he plays in the team, Morgana leaves the group and tries to take Okumura's heart by himself. The group becomes greatly worried about him, and head to Okumura's headquarters believing that they might find him in Okumura's Palace.
Thanks to Futaba, who discovered the "distortion" of the Palace, they manage to enter quickly, which resembles a giant spaceport on another planet. Shortly after infiltrating the Palace, though, they are blocked by a door with a biometric scanner, leaving them unable to proceed without someone related to Okumura on their side. Then, to their surprise, Morgana appears alongside another thief, who proclaims herself as the "Beauty Thief." At first, the group believes that she is the Black Mask that Madarame and Kaneshiro spoke of, though they later learn that her stoic nature was only because of her forgetting the lines they prepared in advance. To the thieves' shock, Morgana's partner is able to bypass the biometric scanner, evidently having a connection to the Palace ruler, though the numerous Shadows behind the gates forces both groups to retreat.
Deciding to investigate who this new thief is, and under the idea of her being a Shujin student, the group investigates the roster of the female student body. They eventually find a match - Haru Okumura, the only daughter of Kunikazu Okumura. Makoto and the protagonist encounter her on school grounds and try to ask her to join them, though Haru refuses, the reason being that she cannot side with people who do not know what their goals are, let alone understand their teammate's feelings and support him.
The thieves later learn that many people on the Phan-Site are thanking them for their help, despite having no involvement in their submissions, leading them to conclude that Haru and Morgana are the ones resolving them. As such, they wait in Mementos in order to encounter, as well as try and convince Morgana to come back by apologizing. It nearly goes well, until Ryuji makes a thoughtless comment, hurting Morgana once again, causing him to storm off in his car form. They fail to chase him and Haru down, as the two manage to escape.
When they return to reality, the group discovers Haru being harassed by a man, and Morgana injured nearby in an attempt to rescue her. The man introduces himself as her fiancé, and at first, tries to calmly pass the whole thing off as a little quarrel, but becomes angered by their continued interference, threatening them that he will not forget their faces and leaves. Afterward, the group takes Haru to Leblanc to let her rest, at Morgana's request. Seeing their old sense of justice makes Morgana realize he's misunderstood them, and thanks them with a hint of guilt.
Back home, the group discusses the situation with Morgana, who wants to split up with the group as he sees himself as deadweight for them. However, this stems from an identity crisis and losing his sense of self, which Haru understands, and encourages him to admit to himself his true feelings of affection. In the end, Morgana musters the courage to admit to the group, and himself, that he loves staying with them. As his friends respond positively and accept him for who he is, they help him come to terms with his identity crisis for the time being and find purpose in carrying out their goals.
Meanwhile, the thieves learn that Haru, while having the beginnings of a Persona, doesn't have enough power yet to form a contract with it, and her reason for agreeing to become a Phantom Thieves was not to fix her father, but to simply get out of her marriage he forces on her. The group agrees to help her, and returns to Okumura's Palace, and after bypassing the scanner, encounters Okumura's Shadow, as well as his cognition of Haru's fiancé. To their shock and disgust, Okumura was more than aware of his future son-in-law's nature and even stated that he would no doubt only accept Haru as a mere lover, not as his wife, and do whatever he pleased with her. This angers Haru greatly, enough so that her Persona, Milady, finally takes form, and with the help of the party, destroys Cognitive Sugimura.
As they dive deeper into his Palace, they learn what Okumura truly thinks of his workers - mere robots who will work under any condition and will be disposed of and turned into fuel if they break down. This horrifies Haru and resolves her to truly change her father's heart.
After discovering the Treasure, the group sends the calling card, which Haru leaves in her father's study. The next day, when he finds it, he becomes angered and calls the police, claiming that this "band of ruffians have threatened a law-abiding citizen." The group enters Okumura's Palace, but are forced to chase after the Treasure when the facility threatens to self-destruct. Okumura's Shadow's chief endeavor, "Project Utopia," is finally completed, allowing him to leave the Palace in total security if the thieves do not catch up to him.
When they encounter Okumura, he at first seems remorseful and claims that he is happy to see Haru finally standing on her own two feet, though this is a ruse to trick the thieves and capture them. He then tries to persuade Morgana to try and abandon them, having watched their argument earlier by spying on them. Morgana, however, refuses and frees the group. Okumura then sits back and attacks the Thieves with an army of his robots, even sending out his right-hand Execurobo, but at that point runs out of employees to send at them, leaving him open and vulnerable.
After the thieves defeat Okumura, he is now left unsure of what to do, with Haru telling him to atone for what he has done. The group also interrogates him about the recent mental shutdowns and breakdowns, which Shadow Okumura reveals that he is partially responsible for; he had requested that they be targeted, but he does not personally eliminate them, nor does he state who is directly responsible for them. Afterward, the thieves take his Treasure and leave, unaware that a black masked figure murders Shadow Okumura afterward.
On the day Haru was supposed to be sent off to Sugimura, the group celebrates at Tokyo Destinyland, after Haru secured the park for their personal use due to a company party at the location being cancelled due to Okumura's fragile mental state. They then watch a live video of Okumura holding a press conference, where he reveals all of his crimes to the media, though before he can also reveal who is behind the mental shutdowns, he suddenly collapses, with black liquid pouring out of his orifices, evidently suffering a mental shutdown. He died shortly afterwards, the symptoms of his mental shutdown being exacerbated due to his advanced age.
Sixth Heist: Sae Niijima
"…It would seem as though you have been killed. But why were you killed? Why did you have to die? Do you remember…? It seems you forgot an important fact while your consciousness was hazy. Indeed… your "death" was a necessity for your escape from certain doom. What a tremendous plan. How might you be capable of executing such a feat…? Well then, let us rouse the memories which are missing…"
In the aftermath of Kunikazu Okumura's death, support for the Phantom Thieves plummets, with many believing that they publicly executed Okumura, even so that their past actions were 'nothing but a warm-up.' This horrifies the group, especially with Makoto's revelation that the ones behind the mental shutdowns might have been orchestrating their sudden popularity, only to have them become public enemy number one. Left unable to do anything, for now, the group goes about their daily life, though to their surprise, Goro Akechi, who up until recently was under heavy fire for criticizing the Phantom Thieves by many, states that the Phantom Thieves may, in truth, not be to blame for the mental shutdown cases, and even Okumura's death.
This leads Makoto to suggest getting into contact with Akechi, as he would be a valuable source of intel about police movements. She then invites him to an open panel at the school festival, where he reveals that he has an idea as to who the Phantom Thieves may be. Before he can reveal them, his phone goes off, and he excuses himself. In actuality, this was a ruse to give Akechi time to speak with the group after putting pressure on them. Akechi reveals that he took photographs of the group exiting Okumura's Palace, and even says that he met the true culprit behind the mental shutdowns. Akechi offers his assistance in proving their innocence to the group, though he says that in exchange the Phantom Thieves must disband. After issuing this proposal, Akechi leaves, followed by the rest of the group, with the protagonist and Morgana staying behind.
Back in the present, in the interrogation room, a gap in the protagonist's memory induced by the drug the police injected into him prevents him from recalling what was said between him and Morgana, with no choice but to continue on with his account.
After this meeting, the protagonist spends the remaining time at the school festival with one of his female Confidants, or Ryuji and Mishima. If he chooses the latter, the protagonist will be called on stage to answer questions in front of the school. When asked about the Phantom Thieves, rather than risk saying something he shouldn't, the protagonist decides to publicly confess his love to one of his Confidants, successfully deflecting the subject. After the event concludes, the protagonist and his chosen companion meet on the school roof for some fresh air, and the protagonist receives a special gift from them.
Akechi meets with the group the next day at Cafe Leblanc to discuss further plans. To clear their names, the Phantom Thieves must change Sae Niijima's heart. The group reluctantly agrees to go forward with Akechi's plan, having no further options available to them.
The Phantom Thieves begin a heist on Niijima's Palace, which is a Palace born from Sae's discontent of the jurisdiction system. As Sae views all of her court cases as games to be rigged at all costs, the courthouse that the Palace is based on is distorted into a casino, one rigged with complex mechanisms and outright cheating measures in overwhelming favor of the house. They successfully clear the rigging mechanisms with tremendous help from Akechi, joining the group as a guest, and gain access to the high limit floor, but entry from within the Palace is blocked without a reservation, requiring the thieves to return to reality and change Sae's cognition.
As a result, Akechi brings the group to attend a court case in Sae's presence, making sure she sees them present in the audience, which allows the group access to the high limit floor in her Palace. They manage to get to the highest level, the manager's floor, in spite of Shadow Sae increasing its entry fee by tenfold. After Makoto fakes receiving a letter in the mail containing a calling card to Sae, the heist begins the next day, and the battle with Shadow Sae commences. Despite challenging the Thieves to a rigged roulette, is is quickly exposed by the protagonist and she transforms into Leviathan as a last-ditch attempt to kill them "fair and square," but was ultimately defeated. The thieves successfully talk down Shadow Sae and she finally relents, allowing the party to leave with her Treasure.
However, at the climax of the heist, entire squadrons of real policemen begin swarming into the Palace with the goal of arresting the Thieves, so the protagonist uses himself as a bait to lure the resident Shadows away and distract the police so the party can escape. When he exits the Palace, however, he is quickly apprehended by the police. While in custody, he is interrogated by Sae, bringing the sequence events back to the beginning of the game.
If the protagonist refuses to sell out anyone, the effects of the drug finally wear off, and the protagonist remembers that that he knew Akechi was the one who betrayed them, and had already hatched a plan with his friends to expose him and cheat death. He requests Sae to show his smartphone to Akechi, which has been planted with a special remote version of the Metaverse Navigator by Futaba, transporting both Sae and Akechi into the replica of the interrogation room that exists within her Palace, resulting in only the cognitive version of himself being killed by Akechi, who reports it to an inside man who falsifies documents to make the death officially recognized as a suicide without even checking for a body. His plan was reviewed by Igor and the twins shortly after he was "assassinated" by Akechi. Afterward, Sae helps the protagonist escape and escorts him back to Café Leblanc.
Otherwise, if the protagonist sold out either the Phantom Thieves or his other Confidants, Sae promises to reduce his sentence and leaves the room, but without the trick involving the protagonist's phone, Akechi enters and successfully kills him. The protagonist finds himself in the Velvet Room afterward, the residents quite disappointed in him for failing to complete his rehabilitation. Igor tells him that the game is over, and imprisons him in the Velvet Room for the rest of his life.
Seventh Heist: Masayoshi Shido
"To think you would use the trap set against you to entrap them... I've never seen a dramatic resurgence such as that. Truly marvelous—those are the only words I can think of to describe you. ...You've even overcome a mysterious misfortune. There should be no one left to hinder your rehabilitation. Your rehabilitation will be completed shortly. That is... if everything goes well without any problems."
Once the protagonist's apparent death is broadcast, and he is smuggled out of the police building with help from Sae, he is brought back to Leblanc. To the outside world, the death of the Phantom Thieves' leader is brushed off as another news piece, and his "suicide" in the interrogation room was also glossed off. With his supposed "death," he is forced to lay low until the Phantom Thieves can identify the person Akechi works for. They find out that Akechi is working for Masayoshi Shido, the same man who caused the founding of the Phantom Thieves in the first place when he looked down on Ryuji and the protagonist at the hotel in May, now a politician who is making massive popularity gains in an audacious bid to seize control of Japan. The protagonist and the group arrives at the Diet Building to try and find the keyword to enter his Palace but turn up nothing until the next morning, where Shido would be hosting an election campaign in Yongen-Jaya. Just like at May, Shido notices the protagonist but fails to recognize him, and leaves after throwing insults against the party. However, he still remembers Shido's voice as being the same as the man who falsely accused him before which resulted in his probation. After recalling what Shido said when he assaulted the woman, the protagonist finds out the Distortion keyword to enter Shido's Palace; "Ship."
Shido's palace takes the appearance of a grand cruiser sailing among the sunken ruins of Tokyo, with the Diet Building itself set atop the massive liner, symbolizing that he cares nothing for the country and only for the wealthy patrons that are useful to him. During the heist, the Phantom Thieves learn more about the Conspiracy and their discreet involvement in orchestrating the thieves' actions starting from Futaba's Palace. Shido's actions were financed by Madarame and Kaneshiro's schemes and he had Wakaba Isshiki killed to steal her research, then ruined Futaba's life with a fabricated suicide note. Once Shido and his associates realized that the Phantom Thieves were a threat to their continued activities, they impersonated Medjed as a means to start a sharp rise in the Phantom Thieves' popularity. Once this succeeded, they manipulated the Phantom Thieves website polls to goad them into taking on Okumura's palace. Finally, Shido had Akechi dispose of Okumura, killing two birds with one stone by getting rid of a problematic associate, as well as causing the Phantom Thieves' popularity to take a sharp nosedive and for them to be targeted by the police.
After collecting all the letters of recommendation to finally enter Shido's treasure room, but before they can leave the area, they are ambushed by Akechi, who had guessed that the protagonist survived his trap. Akechi reveals his past, his relation to Shido and how he was going to use Shido's bid for power to exact revenge. When Shido stands at the height of power after winning the election, Akechi would expose all of his crimes, discrediting Shido thoroughly and completely ruining his life. This makes him not only a traitor for the Phantom Thieves but also for Shido, serving Shido and carrying out the killings to gain recognition and fame, and assist Shido in his rise to power only to topple everything beneath him at the last second.
Knowing that the Phantom Thieves are the only ones who can truly stop him, he attacks the party, revealing that he is another Wild Card user and has the ability to make Shadows go berserk, leading to the psychotic breakdown incidents in the real world. After defeating a Cu Chulainn and a Cerberus he summoned and made berserk, the party puts up a valiant fight against Akechi himself and backs him into a corner. He reveals that he envies the protagonist for his ability to defy expectations put onto him and forge his own path. Driven mad from his anger at the protagonist for having everything he never could, Akechi reveals that he is the mysterious black mask assassin who caused the mental shutdowns, and also reveals another Persona, Loki as a last-ditch attempt to dispose of the protagonist, using his own power on himself and becoming crazed, only wishing to kill the protagonist and all his friends.
Even after revealing his true strength, Akechi is no match for the protagonist and his friends and is defeated. Suddenly, Shido's cognitive version of Akechi arrives on the scene, revealing that Shido was fully aware of Akechi's impending betrayal and was planning to dispose of him immediately after the election. The cognitive version of Akechi threatens the real Akechi to shoot the protagonist, but Akechi instead decides to shoot an emergency switch, causing a large steel bulkhead door to separate him and his cognitive self from the Phantom Thieves. Akechi begs the protagonist to promise to stop Shido in his place, ignoring the group's cries of alarm. Two gunshots are fired and Futaba states that she can no longer sense Akechi, leaving his fate unknown. The Phantom Thieves eventually make it to Shido's Treasure room and prepare to steal his heart.
Rather than send Shido a card which might be intercepted by one of his staff, Futaba suggests hacking the media and announcing to all of Japan of their intent to steal Shido's heart. The protagonist agrees, formally announcing their intentions to steal his heart as well as grandly revealing to the world that he was actually alive all along. In the broadcast, the protagonist and his comrades notify all of Japan that their beloved politician Masayoshi Shido is behind everything, angering him and causing his Treasure to take form.
With the conditions met, the Phantom Thieves infiltrate Shido's Palace and meet his Shadow, who speaks to them about his grand plan to be the next leader of Japan. He even pretends to offer to let the Phantom Thieves join him in his cause in exchange for whatever they desire. Every one of the Phantom Thieves unanimously refuses, and when the protagonist asks if he really meant it, he responses to him that he doesn't. A fight ensues, and Shadow Shido summons a chariot formed by the masses to attack them.
After the chariot is defeated, the protagonist reveals his face to Shadow Shido, causing him to faintly remember the incident that caused the protagonist's probation. This angers Shido and he transforms into a grossly muscular version of himself to fight the Thieves alone. Despite being the toughest Shadow the group has faced, he is eventually brought down. The Phantom Thieves force him to return to his normal self and repent.
In the real world, Shido is suddenly crippled with unease due to the Phantom Thieves' actions in his heart. Having a contingency plan in case the thieves take his heart, he takes a special pill which is supposed to "temporarily kill him," causing his Palace to collapse earlier than the thieves were expecting, catching them off guard. Despite some complications during their escape and a brief scare with the apparent death of Ryuji, the Phantom Thieves all make it out in one piece. Shido's crimes are exposed and he formally admits to them in his commencement speech following Election Day, supplanting doubt and uncertainly within the public.
Despite the Phantom Thieves genuinely believing that things will turn for the better, on December 23, things take a turn for the worst as the public's distortions are increasing at an alarming rate. Abnormal occurrences among the public become blatantly obvious, in the form of Shido's popularity inexplicably increasing, his change of heart being shrugged off as mere mental instability by the mass media, and the Phantom Thieves are being treated as if they never existed. The proxy SIU director also issued a cover up operation, firing Sae Niijima and hiding Shido from the public, claiming his illness. There are even plans forming to take over the world with the Metaverse, and the Phantom Thieves might face re-arrest almost immediately.
Final Heist: Mementos
"I see... If a god plays naughty, then it's a demon lord's duty to punish him...! What better way is there for a finale as a Trickster! Joker, we're entrusting our strength and the people's hopes to you! Put an end to this!"
The party deduces that Mementos is manipulating the masses into denying their recognition. On the 24th of December, they dive deep into the lowest depths of Mementos, the last Palace which contains nearly the entire Tokyo population's Shadow Selves held in cells. Among the prisoners are all of the Phantom Thieves former adversaries excluding Okumura. All of the jailed Shadow Selves are blissfully content with their imprisonment, alarming the Phantom Thieves greatly.
Reaching the very bottom of Mementos, the group encounters the apparent Treasure of Mementos, a Holy Grail who claims to be acting on humanity's desires to be enslaved to order and authority, in exchange for the security of not having to think for themselves. The Phantom Thieves attempt to fight it, but the chalice uses the distorted desires of the masses to heal itself and eventually kicks the Phantom Thieves out of Mementos, forcing them back into Shibuya. The Phantom Thieves are unable to do anything but watch as Mementos begins to merge with the real world.
The citizens of Tokyo, save Mishima and Sojiro, as well as any Confidant whom the protagonist reached max rank with, are blissfully unaware of the changes, continuing to go about their lives as normal. The Holy Grail manipulates the masses' cognition into believing that the Phantom Thieves do not exist, and since Mementos and reality are now one and the same, the cognition of the masses is able to affect reality, causing the Phantom Thieves to completely disappear one by one, starting from Futaba and ending with the protagonist. At the same time, the Phan-Site's poll rapidly declines from an already minimal support rate to a firm 0%.
The protagonist reawakens back in the Velvet Room where Igor informs him that the game is over and he has lost. Due to his loss, Igor orders that Caroline and Justine execute the protagonist. The two engage the protagonist in combat but become conflicted as their duties as a Velvet Room attendants towards its guests contradict their order to kill him. The floating butterfly tells the protagonist that he needs to fuse Caroline and Justine, and the twin wardens agree as well. After fusing the two of them with the Velvet Room's guillotines himself, the twins combine into a singular being, a young girl named Lavenza, the true attendant for the protagonist.
"Igor" reveals that he is actually the Holy Grail itself, an almighty being who granted the power of Persona to the protagonist and Akechi as a trial to see if humanity was worthy of being free from his influence. However, he blatantly rigged the outcomes in his favor to show that humanity truly wishes for enslavement. It was also heavily implied that the Grail is behind everything to this point, from the protagonist's confrontation with Shido, to the Phantom Thief bandwagon that resulted in Okumura's death, to the ever-increasing popularity of Shido and the perception that the Phantom Thieves are killers that intensify as the events progress, all in order to prove that he is the only one fit to rule over the ignorant masses. He then offers the protagonist to return the world to its former corrupt state, in exchange for allowing the Phantom Thieves to continue on, and rise to massive success once again. If he refuses, "Igor" deems humanity to be incapable of living on their own accord and promptly leaves, releasing the real Igor, who formally introduces himself to the protagonist at long last.
Additionally, the protagonist can also accept the Grail's offer. If he does, and has double confirmed his decision, Lavenza will be disappointed in his betrayal. The world returns to its original distorted state, and the Phantom Thieves are recognized as national heroes and gain widespread fame. However, the people in the world are incapable of thinking for themselves, and the protagonist becomes a force of terror in Tokyo. As an additional consequence, his teammates may presumably still be trapped eternally inside the Velvet Room and forever exiled from reality.
Despite the Grail's belief that the protagonist has lost, the real Igor gives him enough power to rescue his friends from their respective cells in the Velvet Room and releases them back into reality, tasking the Phantom Thieves to steal the wicked god's heart. He also reveals that Morgana was created by him as a last-ditch effort to guide the protagonist through their journey. When they resurface into the real world, it is revealed that the Quarantine Cell from the Depths of Mementos is actually the Velvet Room, and the "most dangerous inmate" trapped within was heavily implied to be the protagonist himself.
As the Phantom Thieves begin ascending to face the Grail, they are confronted by the four archangels who have also deemed humans unworthy to live without the god's influence, but the Phantom Thieves manage to defeat all of them. Despite these Archangels being mere Shadows, they retain the personalities of their original Shin Megami Tensei counterparts, such as Gabriel sounding merciful before confronting the party. As they defeat the Archangels, more people start to become aware of the merged reality, much to their shock and fear. At the top of the tower, the party faces the Holy Grail once more, where it briefly appears as "Igor" until it transforms back into the Grail.
The protagonist devises a plan for one of his teammates to cut the veins that connect the Holy Grail to the masses, cutting off its ability to heal and allowing the group to finish it off. Despite the fact that the Grail appears to be an inanimate object, it emerges from the temple and reveals the rest of its body. The master of Mementos announces its true identity as Yaldabaoth, the god of control, who appears as an incredibly large mechanical being with four limbs that hold various instruments of justice. He claims that humans are just lemmings in his eyes and rehabilitation is useless, as society will regress to the level of apes. To bring back the future of humanity, the Phantom Thieves enthusiastically make him the final heist target and confront him into one final battle.
Despite the Phantom Thieves seemingly defeating Yaldabaoth, he unleashes his Rays of Control one again, instantly rendering them helpless. However, the tables quickly turn when they hear the voices of the masses, inspired by the cheering of Mishima (or two nondescript Phantom Thieves fans if the protagonist did not max out Mishima's Confidant). Eventually, absolutely everybody believes in their existence and the Phantom Thieves popularity poll instantly makes a comeback, springing from 0% to 100%. The protagonist is able to break the chains that bound himself and Arsène, unlocking his true form as Satanael, a Persona of a colossal size that exceeds even Yaldabaoth, descending from the heavens to deliver true justice.
The protagonist harnesses the will of the people to not be controlled and orders Satanael to fire one last Sinful Shell, shooting Yaldabaoth directly through the head. In his defeat, Yaldabaoth bitterly concedes that humanity is truly worthy of living on their own accord and that Igor's beliefs were indeed the superior ones before reverting back into the lifeless grail and vanishing, removing Mementos from existence and undoing its warping of reality as if it had never happened. Before the Phantom Thieves can celebrate, Morgana begins to disappear with Mementos, as his existence is tied to it, much to the Phantom Thieves' sadness.
With reality restored, the masses seem to have forgotten about the events that had just occurred, however, many of the citizens have begun to openly talk about Shido's poor character. As a light snow begins to fall, the Phantom Thieves realize that it is Christmas Eve and go their separate ways for the night, promising to go to Café Leblanc to celebrate the next day. Sae informs the protagonist that, even though Shido confessed his crimes, it is difficult to prove his guilt since there is little solid evidence and the other world no longer exists.
Because Akechi has disappeared, the only ones who can offer proof are the Phantom Thieves. To properly prosecute Shido, the protagonist's testimony is necessary. Reluctantly, Sae asks the protagonist to turn himself in as the Phantom Thief in order to protect his allies as well and be held accountable of the real life crimes he committed (since no one will believe the incident's supernatural aspects, such as the Metaverse and Yaldabaoth). Doing this also means he will be sent to juvenile detention and will be closely observed. The protagonist agrees to her suggestion to protect his comrades, however, he asks to turn himself in the next day due to plans he has. If he is in a romantic relationship, he can choose to spend his Christmas Eve with his girlfriend. If he is single, he will spend it with Futaba and Sojiro. On Christmas Eve, he worries his girlfriend/Sojiro and Futaba as he cannot bring himself to tell them that he is turning himself in.
The protagonist follows through with his promise to Sae and is promptly placed into a youth detention center for interrogation. He is charged for various crimes as the Phantom Thief for numerous crimes including illegal entry into Madarame's estate and Okumura Foods' office, destroying property and violating the Radio Law when the Phantom Thieves hijacked the airwaves to announce their plan to steal Shido's heart. While imprisoned, he is summoned to the Velvet Room one final time, where Igor and Lavenza bestow upon him the World Arcana; a symbol that he is no longer an existence that wanders alone, and can truly live a free existence wherever he goes. After the Velvet Room and its two attendants disappear, the protagonist watches a blue butterfly fly past him before he awakens to the real world.
While incarcerated, under Ann's suggestion, the rest of the Phantom Thieves and the protagonist's other Confidants all go out and do whatever they can to help appeal for his sentence to be lifted. The people of Tokyo are willing to support the protagonist for him to get out of detention. Due to their efforts, the woman who originally testified against the protagonist is found and she openly testifies to the protagonist's innocence in the original sentence, absolving him of his probation. Sae, who spearheaded the case against Shido, informs him of her efforts in clearing his name alongside his Confidants and thanks to him for exposing the corruption of government and finalizes his release on February 13th.
He is then picked up by Sojiro and taken to the café where everyone, with the exception of Morgana, welcomes him back. While talking about Morgana, Ryuji asks the protagonist if he is going back to his hometown since the probation charges have been dropped, which the protagonist confirms. The party then decides that if their leader goes back, the Phantom Thieves will officially be disbanded. Morgana appears shortly after as a mere house cat, revealing that the one that disappeared is his Metaverse self while his real-world self still exists due to him being forever in the hearts of the Thieves. Morgana then decides he will stick with the protagonist to look for a way to become a human.
The next day, on Valentine's Day, the protagonist can spend it with his girlfriend at Café Leblanc if he is in a relationship and will receive gourmet chocolate as a present. If he is single, Ryuji visits Café Leblanc and the two spend it together in pity with Ryuji giving him cheap chocolate he received at a store. Humorously, if the protagonist is in a relationship with more than one woman, after his date, he will be confronted by all of his other girlfriends the next day, where they promptly beat him up and take their chocolate gifts with them, although he gets to keep his original date's chocolate if she was the only person asked to meet him, as she isn't present during the beat down. Sojiro does damage control for him and convinces the other women to take him back, and gives him cheap chocolate out of pity.
A month later, the protagonist's probation period ends and he prepares to go home. The day before his departure, he says his final goodbyes to his fellow Phantom Thieves and Confidants with each one giving the protagonist a farewell gift if their Confidant relationship is at its strongest. On the final day, the protagonist may hand Sojiro his probation journal, as was the rule. At Shibuya crossing, he runs into the other Phantom Thieves who have acquired a van and plan on taking the protagonist home themselves. Despite being free of his criminal record, two men in suits attempt to trail the now-disbanded Phantom Thieves only to find their car stalled out due to Morgana swiping their car's spark plugs. These are heavily implied to be Policemen attempting to capture the Phantom Thieves to save their public image, as shown during Persona 5 Strikers where the Police are still tailing the instigators of last year's events. As they near the protagonist's hometown, the protagonist pops his head through the sunroof and smiles in satisfaction.
Persona 5 Royal
"It's been quite some time. We have finally succeeded in reaching you. You have been imprisoned once more...This time, not by the God of Control, but a different entity... One who's bound you through your future. However, you held fast to your free will and believed in your bonds, allowing your friends to regain their own realities. You are on the verge of grasping a potential reality once more. Our meeting again now, within this place, is proof enough."
The protagonist's role in the game remains relatively the same as in Persona 5. On April 12, he meets a new first-year student on the train to school who later introduces herself as Kasumi Yoshizawa. She receives the power of Persona before Okumura's death when they accidentally enter an unknown Palace and see a cognition of her dead sister. A counselor named Takuto Maruki is also hired to help the students of Shujin Academy after their experiences surrounding Kamoshida's abuse, while also gathering data for his research, and using the protagonist as a sounding board for his ideas. The protagonist forges a bond with him, teaching him the basics of the collective unconscious so he could use the knowledge to relieve people of their suffering.
Taking Back Reality
"Your eyes are as bright and honest as ever... You keep your head up, no matter what... I must have always been... afraid... Afraid you and I wouldn't wish for the same reality..."
After defeating Yaldabaoth, should the protagonist complete Maruki's Confidant before the deadline of November 18, he is still encouraged by Sae Niijima to turn himself into the police, although this time, he is stopped by Akechi who takes his place instead. On the last night of the year, the woman who Shido harassed was found for testimony and Shido is arrested for treason. The protagonist then has a strange dream where he was in the Shujin counselor office in his prison garb, and he has to trail a blue butterfly while the wishes of his friends echo through the halls of the school. Once he reaches the Shujin gates in the dream, a mysterious voice on the speaker expresses disappointment at his departure, but tells him that they shall meet again. He wakes up and Kasumi invites him to the shrine for Hatsumode as Sojiro calls him out to work for Leblanc.
He noticed something suspicious is going on Leblanc, namely a human teenager who previously did not exist in Leblanc sits on the counter and Futaba mentioning her mother went with her to pick out her yukata. While praying in the shrine with Kasumi, he found his friends arriving to the same shrine by coincidence, each of them mentioning strange people they're going to celebrate New Year's with such as Makoto mentioning her family, Haru mentioning her father Okumura and Futaba mentioning Wakaba once again. When all of his friends part, Kasumi's father, Shinichi Yoshizawa dials her and asks her to go back home, allowing the protagonist to meet him personally. He tells Kasumi that all of her relatives are at home and she should return home. In the midst of the conversation, the protagonist hears him say something among the lines of "Sumire," but his voice becomes distorted and the protagonist is unable to make it out.
While he had already noticed something odd, during the next day, his suspicions increase further, as the unknown human teenager sleeps in bed next to him and reveals himself to actually be Morgana, and Wakaba can be seen downstairs celebrating the new year with Futaba. Akechi then comes to Leblanc and requests to have a personal talk with the protagonist in a nearby laundromat. As the two start discussing the strange turn of events, Kasumi calls the protagonist, saying that she had noticed the strange structure from last October again, but this time visible in the real world. The protagonist, Kasumi and Akechi venture into the unknown Palace to find the instigator, as a Palace being visible in the real world highly suggests manipulation of the Metaverse to some degree.
After witnessing an image of a girl resembling Kasumi but with brown hair and a beauty mark below her left eye, the voice of a man on a speaker tells them to reconsider their actions if they do not want their heart to be torn apart. The trio ignore his warnings anyway and reach the center of the Test Track, finally discovering that the instigator of the events is actually the protagonist's friend and Confidant, Takuto Maruki, who has initiated his plan to remove pain and suffering from the world entirely, creating the altered reality the protagonist had been witnessing the past few days.
At her own behest, he reveals that "Kasumi" was affected by cognitive manipulation; Kasumi was actually her twin sister who had died saving her from a car accident. Unlike the "Kasumi" the protagonist knows, she also had brown hair and a beauty mark below her left eye. The "Kasumi" the protagonist knows is her twin sister, Sumire Yoshizawa, who confided in Maruki long prior to his ascension that she wished to become Kasumi because of her crippling survivor's guilt and inferiority complex.
Once this was revealed, Sumire's spirit of rebellion left her immediately and she presumably lost the power to defend herself in the Metaverse. Maruki continues to attempt to convince the protagonist and Akechi to accept his reality, to no avail. When Sumire expresses her wish to become Kasumi once more, Maruki seizes her from the boys, and orders his right-hand man, a Hastur, to attack them, only for them to defeat it via a Showtime. He then offers them seven days' worth of time to reconsider and live in his reality for themselves, after which time they shall return and he will offer them the same choice.
The protagonist uses these seven days to check on all his teammates and see their ideal realities for himself, planting seeds of doubt in their minds. He then returns to Odaiba on the promised day, with Akechi. Once they enter the Auditorium area of the Palace, Maruki offers the protagonist a chance to accept his reality; Accepting the offer will result in a bad ending where the altered reality becomes the true reality, and the original reality essentially never existed in the first place. If he refuses, Sumire awakens, mad with grief and denial, attacking the protagonist and Akechi so that they stop trying to force her to face the truth. Before the battle, Akechi leaves the protagonist alone to deal with her.
Once she is defeated, Maruki restrains Sumire, holding her out of reach from the boys, causing her persona Cendrillon to go berserk at them. Cendrillon constantly heals itself and is virtually unbeatable by the two of them, unleashing a final attack only for Ryuji to block it at the last moment, and all party members returning to assist them. Once Cendrillon is destroyed, Maruki lets them go so they can change his heart. The Phantom Thieves, now with 10 members, infiltrate Maruki's Palace to save Maruki and take back the reality they fought so hard for.
Should the protagonist go meet any of his seven party member Confidants during specific dates, provided they are already maxed out, each one will regret not placing the protagonist's well-being as their first priority despite previously promising that they would, instead choosing to live in their ideal realities, which are wonderful, but aren't the realities they strive to create through hardship and growth. They will then apologize sincerely to the protagonist, reaffirming the resolve that caused them to awaken to their Personas in the first place. This causes their initial Persona to merge with their ultimate Persona to create their third tier Persona, their spirit of rebellion completely whole.
After securing the treasure route, Maruki personally visits the protagonist at Leblanc on February 2nd to ask if his stance has changed. If Akechi's Confidant was maxed out, and his promise was remembered, Maruki calls him into the café, knowing he had been eavesdropping. He says that Akechi is only with them because he created a reality where the two of them can start over, meaning if they return to the original reality Akechi will disappear. While the protagonist's true desires were to stay forever in Tokyo with the bonds and connections he made during his probation (as shown in the ending where this reality takes hold), Akechi himself would almost certainly be included in this desire.
Akechi himself admits that he remembers nothing between his final confrontation in Shido's Palace and Christmas Eve. However, the unclear nature of Akechi's fate could potentially mean that Maruki is being untrue with the protagonist to make him accept his reality. (The Persona 5 Royal Official Completion Guide states that Maruki doesn't actually know whether Akechi is dead or not, and acted in haste to bring Akechi and the protagonist the happiness he feels they deserve.) If Akechi is not present, Maruki will then personally ask the protagonist if he will accept his reality upon such conditions. If the protagonist accepts and has confirmed to do so, Maruki will leave, incredibly grateful to him and the acceptance ending plays out. If the protagonist stands firm, he will give the calling card to Maruki, and the final confrontation will commence during the next day.
If the protagonist had fulfilled Akechi's promise before, he participates in this event and Maruki takes his calling card and leaves without prompting the protagonist to accept his reality. However, he will still leave his offer on the table, stating that the protagonist can still choose not to show up the next day as an indication that he has decided to accept it. Akechi will then ask him firmly if he will continue to oppose Maruki despite fully knowing that doing so would result in his disappearance. If the protagonist decides to accept Maruki's reality, Akechi leaves in disgust and the acceptance ending plays out as normal. However, should the protagonist continue to reject Maruki's plans, Akechi is relieved and vows never to be a tool for someone else. His resolve results in Loki and Robin Hood merging to become Hereward, grateful to the protagonist for keeping their promise and not folding.
Ascending to the top of Eden, Maruki sees that the protagonist and the phantom thieves will fight him to the very end. Though he bears no ill will, with no choice, Maruki transforms into his Metaverse attire, a golden priest outfit. He then summons his persona Azathoth and a battle ensues. Throughout the battle, he questions the phantom thieves about the realities he had given to them based on their desires. Each one, while grateful for his kindness, have resolved themselves to continue forward despite the pain of each of their circumstances.
Eventually, Maruki is severely weakened, causing his palace treasure, a torch of guidance, to fall into the protagonist's hands. With the treasure secured, the palace begins to collapse. As they escape, Maruki appears once more and reclaims the torch, still refusing to give up. As a result, Maruki's persona evolves into a colossal mech-like entity; Adam Kadmon. After a short battle against Maruki on foot, assisted by Adam Kadmon, he then merges with his Persona himself, boosting its power to near-godlike levels. Despite its overwhelming strength and seemingly nigh-invulnerability, Futaba is able to identify a weak point. With the phantom thieves holding back Adam Kadmon's attack using the full force of their strengthened Personas, the protagonist is able to use his grappling hook to land on Adam Kadmon's head and shoot Maruki through Adam Kadmon's mouth, shattering his mask and defeating him once and for all.
As the Palace continues to collapse, all possible routes to escape by ground have crumbled, leading to the wishing star Jose gave to the protagonist sacrificing all of its power to grant him the ability to transform into a helicopter in order to allow the Thieves to escape. As they leave, Maruki grabs Morgana with the last power of his cognition control device, and the protagonist descends to confront Maruki one last time. Though frustrated by his loss, he asks the protagonist to help him vent out his remaining frustration, leading to a fist fight. As the ground gives way under Maruki after he collapses, the protagonist grabs Maruki's hand to stop him from falling. Maruki finally can see how strong and hopeful the protagonist is despite all he has been through, cementing his change of heart for good. Morgana and the others approach fly to their rescue, allowing everyone to safely escape.
In the Velvet Room, Lavenza informs the protagonist that reality has been restored to the way events after the defeat of Yaldabaoth should have been, though time has moved forward in real time and only the phantom thieves retain memories of the two months. In addition, as a result of Maruki's reality disappearing, the protagonist has, for all intents and purposes, been incarcerated since December, while Akechi has remained missing. The Thieves and the protagonist's Confidants that had reached its maximum level will spend time trying to get his arrest overturned and is successful. He is released on February 13th and the phantom thieves celebrate.
Like the original game, he can spend Valentine's Day with his girlfriend if he has one with the same scenarios as before under certain circumstances. On the next day, he will receive Rumi's parents. Finally, if the protagonist has a girlfriend, with help from Sojiro, he takes them on a romantic White Day date on 3/14 in return for her chocolates.from any of his female Confidants that he has established a max rank Confidant and has a bond of friendship. On March 3rd, the Phantom Thieves gather at Café Leblanc to announce their respective plans, which unfortunately means that everyone will be going their separate ways, but each affirming that they wish to follow their own paths forward. Futaba also produces a clipped newspaper article that Sumire had found after Maruki's palace dissipated. They surmise that this is the true for of Maruki's treasure as it regards the murder of
With his probation lifted, the protagonist is about to leave for home on March 20th with his teammates when they discover that a group of unknown men in black is watching them, again heavily implied to be the police attempting to capture them in order to save their public image as seen during the events of Strikers. Maruki, now a cab driver, offers to drive the protagonist to the train station as a favor, allowing the other phantom thieves to divert the police's attention. Maruki promises the protagonist that he will face his own life as directly as possible, finally squaring things between him and the protagonist. After he drops him off, the Phantom Thieves say their final goodbyes to the protagonist as they drive off to keep the police away from him. On the train platform, Sumire also meets the protagonist at the platform, wishing him good luck.
Once on the train, if Akechi's Confidant was maxed out, the protagonist just missed a glimpse of somebody that resembles Akechi passing by, after which the protagonist's reflection on the window turns into his Metaverse outfit.
Accepting Maruki's Reality
Should the protagonist accept Maruki's reality at any point where Akechi was present, he will be shocked/disappointed by the choice. If Maruki was present at any point where these decisions are made, he will be elated that the protagonist has agreed and immediately begins shaping a positive reality for him. Time progresses to February 3rd for Setsubun with the entire phantom thieves as well as Akechi and Sumire (now permanently Kasumi) having a get together in their merged blissful realities. Despite feeling something is off, the protagonist happily accepts it.
Sojiro offers to let him stay at Leblanc Café and finish his high school at Shujin, intending on speaking to his parents later, possibly giving him an apprenticeship as well. On March 15th, the phantom thieves celebrate Makoto and Haru's graduation. As they gather for a group photo including Akechi and Kasumi, a familiar looking man in a hat takes the photo for everyone before walking off without another word. The protagonist returns to his friends in his ideal reality.
Persona 5 The Animation The Day Breakers
"I am thou, Thou art I. You frauds who are in over your heads... Allow me to show you. How you pale in comparison to us thieves! Go! Arsène!"
The protagonist is shown spacing off during class before he is hit with a piece of chalk by the teacher. Afterward, he receives a message from Ryuji, who asks him if they want to meet up at the usual place. Later, Ryuji complains about the recent activity regarding the group of burglars who break into restaurants with lax security. Yusuke arrives, parting with Naoya Makigami, and informs the group they have a new request on the "Ask-a-Thief" Channel, in which the client of the requests is fearing for his life. The group agrees to take the request, and the protagonist tails Naoya's older brother, Kazuya Makigami. When Kazuya arrives at the park, he asks Morgana to eavesdrop on their conversation, learning that Kazuya is a part of the group of burglars.
The next day, the protagonist and his friends begin their task of stealing the target's heart. To completely reform them, they need evidence, thus Ann and Ryuji give two of the crooks false information, saying that a shop in Yongen-Jaya is severely lacking in security, and the owner keeps all of his money in the shop. When the burglars arrive, the protagonist sets off a fake alarm system that causes the crooks to flee, though Kazuya takes with him a warning card, supposedly written by the Phantom Thieves.
Later on, the Phantom Thieves of Hearts begin their task to steal the target's heart, entering the Palace. There, they encounter their target; Kazuya Makigami. The client was actually his younger brother Naoya, who stated in the request that Kazuya physically abused him regularly in order to relieve stress from being with his group of burglars. In order to prove this, the protagonist set up the botched attempt to rob the café in order to gather evidence that Kazuya was in league with them. However, Kazuya corrects them by stating that he wasn't "with them," but rather the one leading them. Later, Kazuya transforms into Mithras, and attacks the group, summoning Oni and Onmoraki.
The protagonist manages to repel and pin down Kazuya by summoning his Persona, Arsène, and then seems to perform a Baton Pass with Yusuke, who proceeds to summon Goemon, followed by Ryuji and Ann. Kazuya seems to relish the fight, saying that he feels de-stressed, and notes how thrilling stealing is. Morgana follows up Ann and destroys the remainder of the minions Kazuya summoned, and the protagonist proceeds to finish Kazuya off, stating that he has "stolen the arrogance in his heart." Afterward, he takes the Treasure; a key that opens up a drawer in his room. Kazuya requests that he give it to his brother, and tell him to take what's inside and burn it and throw it away. As he disappears, the protagonist and his friends then leave the Palace.
The protagonist is present as Kazuya and his gang is being arrested, after he openly confessed to a large group of people with an officer present, due to being reformed by the Phantom Thieves. Kazuya notices him as he walks away, and asks who he is. Later, the protagonist reunites with his friends back in the Palace, as they note that their next prey is much larger.
Afterward, the protagonist is then shown to be in the Velvet Room. Igor tells him that what he experienced was a possible future, and refers to him as the "prisoner," asking him what his name is.
Night of The Phantom
The Phantom appears during the final event of Night of the Phantom, where he announces his plan to steal the hearts of the audience with the first gameplay trailer for Persona 5. He is portrayed by voice actor Jun Fukuyama. He is said to have stolen secret material from the event, but that it would be revealed by Famitsu in the near future.
Persona 5 The Animation
"Their actions speak for themselves. They may be criminals in the eyes of adults, but... If they keep to their principles and get the job done... Without a doubt, that would be justice."
The protagonist, given the name Ren Amamiya, appears in the anime adaptation of the game. His role is near identical to his game counterpart. In addition, Ren occasionally blacks out, where unlike past protagonists, is summoned directly to the Velvet Room, should Igor wish to speak. Among the differences is during the battle with Shadow Kamoshida, Ren fuses Arsène with Pixie to create Agathion. His interactions with Akechi are also more heavily emphasized than he does in the game.
- Convinced to join the Phantom Thieves
- Leanan Sidhe
- Used to fight Azazel
- Convinced to join the Phantom Thieves
- Fused from Slime & Archangel, used to save Makoto and defeat Bael
- Used to defeat Kin-ki
- Used to defeat Anzu
- White Rider
- Used to defeat the Sphinx
- Used to defeat Leviathan
- Used to fight Samael
- Used to fight Samael
- Used to defeat Samael
- Used to fight Yaldabaoth
Persona 5 Strikers
The protagonist is now a free man, devoid of any charges. Despite this, the Police of Tokyo still holds contempt on him. A new Metaverse-related incident involving mass Changes of Heart also began to unravel, with the resident madame Miyako Kaburagi suspecting the protagonist as the culprit based on the past cases. Unlike in Persona 4 Arena where the protagonist uses a fixed name, the protagonist's name can be set by the player in Strikers via EMMA.
Months after the protagonist's probation, The Phantom Thieves plan on going on summer vacation together, and the protagonist and Morgana travel back to Tokyo to reunite with them. Upon their return to Café Leblanc, they're greeted by their friends, who have been awaiting their return inside. They spend the rest of the day celebrating their reunion upstairs at the attic.
When he's asleep, Lavenza told him that despite taking his future back, another calamity is on the rise and might destroy it.
The next day, the protagonist, Morgana and Ryuji go to Shibuya in order to buy camping tools for their trip. However, they encounter a popular idol named Alice Hiiragi hosting an event. She gives the protagonist a card that instructs the reader to input "wonderland" in the EMMA app in order to "befriend" her. The protagonist does as the card says, which causes the three to be teleported and trapped in an unknown location in the Metaverse. There, other people are attacked by Shadows and have their desires stolen in the form of gems, with Alice being the one responsible.
With the trio being able to summon their Personas again, they try to fight their way out, only to be surrounded and captured. They are sent to Alice Hiiragi for interrogation, but as she's unable to gather any information out of the protagonist, she dumps them in a junkyard. After they look around, the protagonist finds a giant black box. Upon approaching it, it activates and takes the form of a young girl. She calls herself Sophia, a mysterious AI who claims to be humanity's friend, but doesn't have any memories of herself. As she's able to fight back, she helps the group escape back to reality.
Once the four exit to reality, Sophia manifests in the real world as an application and they report the situation back to the other party members. They then decide to hold off the trip before the case with Alice is settled. During the next day, the protagonist notices that a majority of Shibuya's population has been mesmerized by Alice. People had been loaning money to buy her franchise, and a few managed to buy them until they go bankrupt. Furthermore, any opposition against Alice might find themselves fired or even beaten on the streets.
After listening enough clues, Ann, Morgana and the protagonist go attend the same talk show that interviewed Akechi a year ago, in which Alice was invited in. However, before a male host who was married can talk about a rumor of her crush, he was suddenly mesmerized by Alice, even going as far as pleading her marry him instead, even if he was just married. The live talk show was interrupted and her manager asks her about what happened, only to be physically stomped upon and verbally humiliated while she films the humiliation. The protagonist, Ann and Morgana successfully convince Alice to stop for a while and she tells her manager to go away before trying to give Ann and the protagonist their wonderland keyword, until she recognizes the protagonist shown up a day ago, in which she wonders why he's not mesmerized.
When they return to Leblanc, the protagonist reforms the Phantom Thieves and investigates the Jail, which is a part of the Metaverse overlaid into Shibuya. During that night, a police inspector named Zenkichi Hasegawa stops a drunkard, then blackmails them for the live talk show incident. However, he still believes that another culprit is behind the incidents, and he asks them out to investigate instead. If they turn down the deal, the crime is automatically charged against the Phantom Thieves.
Once the party reaches the end of the Jail, they found out that there is no treasure to steal and the path to the King is blocked by a barricade containing a clip about Alice's past. Once they return to the real world, they figured out that Alice was bullied badly at school, although she deleted every record of it. Zenkichi then comes in and provides a clue that Alice graduated from Shujin. Once they arrive at the school gates, they used the Metaverse Navigator and ended up in an isolated area of the Jail resembling a Shujin classroom, where the image of a bully can be seen stomping on Alice, verbally humiliating her and taking pictures of it because she was jealous of her having a crush, which was took away after this incident. It transforms into a Lock Keeper to attack the party, but was defeated, allowing them to summon Alice into action with a calling card so they can defeat her.
The calling card takes the form of a broadcast hijack and the party enter the Jail during that night. It turns out that unlike a majority of the Thieves' past targets, Alice is not inherently malicious but was driven by a desire for revenge against the bullies who took away her crush alongside her future. Despite transforming into a monstrosity resembling a rabbit, she was defeated and is convinced to take off her crown, releasing all desires trapped within it and reverting the Shibya population to normal. Alice confesses on the next day and is discredited, with many former fans asking for refunds. However, Zenkichi comes in and tells the party that the broadcast hijack has made the police confident that the Phantom Thieves are culprits. He makes a deal with them so they can use their Japan-wide trip to help him investigate the case. However, per Miyako Kaburagi's orders, if there is solid proof that the Phantom Thieves are the instigators, Zenkichi has to arrest them.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth
"In life, hardship is inevitable. Some will suffer. Some will distress. And some will close their hearts. However, you have proven there is still hope to be found amongst mankind. You set free a young girl and shed light on the hearts of many. Should you ever lose hope, should you ever be too weak to stand, remember that you are not alone. Search your heart for your true self. In doing so, you will be able to stand against even the most violent of tempests. Now go forth. Onward, to a brilliant tomorrow..."
The P5 hero acts as the main protagonist of the game and leads the rest of the Persona users to adventure in the cinema world. Unlike the other heroes from the P3(P) and P4 realities, he is a silent protagonist and his actions are based on the player's decisions, and they navigate around the Cinema and Labyrinths in his perspective regardless of the members of their active party. On Risky difficulty, he permanently occupies a team slot and his fall during a battle will automatically result in a Game Over.
In the Junessic Land labyrinth, the P4 hero mistakes him as an enemy and attacks him, but he was capable of standing on equal terms with his counterpart. The other teammates were shocked, but the P4 hero's attack was merely declared a mistake, so the P5 and P4 cast settled with each other, allowing the P4 cast to join the P5 cast.
After defeating Doe and changing Hikari's heart, when she offers to apologize for her cognition dragging the Persona users into the Cinema and trapping them, the P5 hero has the option to pardon her because she was cute. If he does, Haru, Ann and Makoto will sarcastically call him out for dating multiple women with the P3 hero and P4 hero telling him to watch out.
After the final confrontation, the P5 hero and his comrades return back to Café Leblanc with Akechi missing. They receive a pamphlet about a high school movie festival, which they attend. When inside the auditorium, Hikari emerges from one of the seats onto its dais and announces her new movie, New Cinema Labyrinth. The P5 hero makes a curious look, and it is unknown if this made him remember anything about his journey as his memories are supposedly wiped out.
Ren Amamiya (雨宮 蓮): 雨 means rain, 宮 means palace and 蓮 means lotus. The double meaning here is that not only is he the leader of the Phantom Thieves come to rain on the palace, but the lotus in Buddhist teachings is symbolic of purity and cleansing.
Akira Kurusu: Akira(暁) means daybreak or dawn. Kurusu has two parts to it, kuru(来) and su(栖). Kuru(来) means come (from) and su(栖) means nest. Together, Kurusu means comes from the nest. It's literal meaning is "A killer kill" and another translation is "vessel of dawn."
In Other Languages
- He is designed to be reminiscent of a cat with a hidden side while Yu Narukami from Persona 4 was designed to be reminiscent of a loyal and sincere dog.
- He is the first protagonist in the Persona series to be a criminal.
- The protagonist's mugshot reads "P508954TS."
- His code name, Joker, in card games, can act as either the ultimate trump card, the beneficial Wild Card or harmful unmatched card such as in the Old Maid game.
- Unlike other protagonists in the franchise, he is the first protagonist shown speaking in several in-game cutscenes. Likewise, most of the in-game narration is his internal monologue, instead of the second person narrator used in the previous games. Despite this, however, he's the protagonist with the least amount of characterization added in spin-offs and anime adaptations.
- In Episode 5 of Persona Stalker Club V, it is revealed that originally the protagonist's initial Persona was going to be Mephistopheles, but was later changed to Arsène since it fit better with the overall theme of the game.
- Additionally, the protagonist was meant to live with Sae Niijima, though the reasons behind this were not stated.
- Also revealed in Persona Stalker Club V, the protagonist was initially meant to wear his school uniform in a similar fashion to the protagonist of Persona 3 and Yu Narukami, in which the jacket is left open.
- At the Sega Festival 2016, the protagonist won second place in a fan poll of "favorite party member," only beaten by Goro Akechi.
- When using a DLC Persona, the protagonist's battle quotes change, and occasionally reference the original owners of those Personas.
- He is the third character in the Persona series to be named "Joker;" the first two being Jun Kurosu and Tatsuya Sudou from the Persona 2 duology.
- His attire in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is similar to the design of Yu Narukami in Persona 4: Dancing All Night: both wear their school uniforms, only modified. Additionally, both are wearing headphones around their necks.
- Excluding the cast of Persona and the Persona 2 duology, if the protagonist does not max out the Strength Confidant, he is the first guest of the Velvet Room to not receive the key that opens its door.
- Excluding the Persona 5 Royal DLC, he is the only protagonist in the series to not gain access to a Persona of the World Arcana or an equivalent despite reaching the end of his journey, with his ultimate Persona, Satanael, being of the Fool Arcana.
- In the Dark Sun... OVA, Joker is seen using Yoshitsune, a Persona that would normally be impossible for him to obtain in-game during the Shido's Palace time frame.
- Joker is the first Persona protagonist to get a tier 3 ultimate Persona, if only as DLC.
- When the group travels back home in Persona 5's true ending, they take the only highway running along the coast in the suburbs of Tokyo, Tōmei Expressway (東名高速道路, Tōmeikōsokudōro)?. They are traveling west from Tokyo, through Kanbara.
- In Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Joker's grabs have wind particles to them, possibly referencing the Garu line of skills. Also, when Arsène is out, Joker's up-tilt gains electric particles, possibly referencing the Zio line of skills.
- If the protagonist defeats an enemy, in his victory animation, sometimes he will have a wider grin than he usually has.
Appearances in Other Media
|Dragon's Dogma Online||Collaboration event
|October 13, 2016 - November 10, 2016|
|Lord of Vermilion Re:3||Collaboration event
|December 12, 2016 - December 25, 2016|
|Phantasy Star Online 2||Collaboration event
* Joker's Shujin Academy attire and Phantom thief outfit
|December 21, 2016 - January 25, 2017 (Japan)
August 12, 2020 - September 8, 2020 (Global)
|Chain Chronicle||Collaboration event
* Joker, Warrior class, 5-star
|January 19th, 2017 - January 31st, 2017.||Article in Chain Chronicle Wiki|
|Granblue Fantasy||Collaboration event
* Joker, SSR Dark character.
|June 18th, 2018 - June 29th, 2018||Article in Granblue Fantasy Wiki|
|Puzzle and Dragons||Collaboration event
|July 16th, 2018 - July 29th, 2018|
|Sonic Forces||Joker's outfit as a pre-order bonus and as DLC for the Steam Version.|
|BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle||* Color swap for Yu Narukami||* May 31, 2018 (Japan)
* June 5, 2018 (North America)
* June 22, 2018 (Europe)
|Puyo Puyo!! Quest||Collaboration event for Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth
* Joker, Balance Type, 6-star
|December 3rd, 2018||Article in Puyo Nexus|
|Catherine: Full Body||DLC
* Playable character
|* February 14, 2019 (Japan)
* September 3, 2019 (Western countries & Europe)
|Article in Catherine|
|BanG Dream! Girls Band Party||Collaboration event
* Outfit for Mitake Ran
|February 17th, 2019 - March 6th, 2019|
|Kyoutou Kotoba RPG||Collaboration event
* Protagonist (Kotodaman); Normal (5-star), Phantom Thief (6-star)
|March 5th, 2019 - March 28th, 2019|
* Joker, Playable character
|April 17th, 2019||Article in SmashWiki|
|Wonderland Wars||Collaboration event
* Playable Character
|June 17th, 2019 - July 7th, 2019|
|Identity V||First and second collaboration event
* Ren Amamiya & JOKER skin for Mike Morton the Acrobat
|* August 8th, 2019 - August 29th, 2019
* Second collaboration event: November 7th, 2019 - November 28th, 2019
* Ren Amamiya, playable character
|October 10th, 2019 - November 7th, 2019||Article in Star Ocean Wiki|
* Playable character
|December 12th, 2019 ||Article in Another Eden Wiki|
|Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore||Exclusive Joker outfit for the re-release.||January 17, 2020|
|Sword Art Online: Memory Defrag||Collaboration event
* Joker, Slash type, Neutral element, 6-star
* Joker skin for : Slash type, Dark element, 6-star
|February 17th, 2020 - March 10th, 2020|
|Sword Art Online: Integral Factor||Collaboration event
* Joker, NPC
* Joker outfit for avatar
* Joker skin for
|February 28th, 2020 - March 10th, 2020|
|AFK Arena||Collaboration event
*Joker, agility-based ranger hero.
|December 30, 2020||Article in AFK Arena Wiki|
|Dragalia Lost||Collaboration event for Persona 5 Strikers
* Joker, Playable Character
|January 31, 2021 - February 12, 2021||Article in Dragalia Lost Wiki|
|Playable||Ren Amamiya - Morgana - Ryuji Sakamoto - Ann Takamaki - Yusuke Kitagawa - Makoto Niijima - Futaba Sakura - Haru Okumura - Caroline & Justine|
|DLC||Shinjiro Aragaki - Goro Akechi - Theodore - Lavenza - Sho Minazuki - Labrys|
|Tokyo||Café Leblanc - Shibuya - Shujin Academy|
|Palace||Kamoshida's Palace - Madarame's Palace - Kaneshiro's Palace - Futaba's Palace - Okumura's Palace - Niijima's Palace - Shido's Palace - Mementos|
|Other||Velvet Room - Hawaii|
|Songs||GROOVY - One Nightbreak|
|Albums||Persona Dancing P3D & P5D Soundtrack Advanced CD|
|Lists||Social - Trophies - Patches and Updates|
|Corporate||Atlus Co., Ltd.|
|Personnel||Kazuhisa Wada - Shigenori Soejima - Ryota Kozuka - Shoji Meguro|
Toshiki Konishi - Atsushi Kitajoh - Jazztronik - tofubeats - Mito - Yukihiro Fukutomi - KAIEN - Shacho - Taku Takahashi