"Shadows are the lower parts of the psyche everyone has... Suppressed human thoughts given physical form. When people are unable to face their darker selves, they break loose, free from all control. But sometimes, humans with special awareness can tame their Shadows... Those are Persona-users."
Metis, Persona 3 FES: The Answer

Shadows (シャドウ, Shadou)? are the monsters in the Persona series and share most of the enemy demons common in the Megami Tensei franchise. They are born from humans, and carry with them human emotions, which are mostly negative. Strong-willed Shadows attract lesser Shadows, which later create stronger Shadows.



Megami Ibunroku PersonaEdit

A precursor to the Shadow concept used in the rest of the series occurs in Megami Ibunroku Persona. Throughout the story, aspects of Maki Sonomura's consciousness are embodied by several different characters: her id Aki, her ego Mai, the playable Maki, who is actually Maki's idealized version of herself; and Pandora, who represents Maki's nihilism. In dialogue, the Ideal Maki is referred to by herself as a shadow of Maki's heart, and at the end of the game, the Ideal Maki accepts and rejoins with Pandora after the later's defeat.

In the Alaya Cavern, the protagonist and the Ideal Maki find the protagonist's other self, who judges him based on the deeds he performs throughout the game and grants him the Totems for the ultimate Personas depending on the number of good deeds performed. Maki compares this other self with the other versions of herself faced before. In the manga adaptation, a second "other self" is represented as Naoya Toudou's guilt appearing in the form of his deceased twin brother Kazuya. He is able to use Personas, like a Shadow Self from Persona 2, and disappears once it is accepted by its original self, like a Shadow Self from Persona 4.

Persona 2Edit

In the latter stages of Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment, Shadow Selves of the main characters, in particular Lisa, Eikichi, Tatsuya, Ulala, Katsuya, Maya and Baofu emerge.

These "Shadow Selves" appeared due to contradicting rumors in Innocent Sin, which allowed them to exist and be members of the Masked Circle. In Eternal Punishment, Nyarlathotep created them within the Monado Mandala. They attempt to deceive and confuse them in the same fashion the Persona 4 shadows would, save that they will attack even if they are accepted in an attempt to replace their true selves. Even their Reverse Personas seek to defeat their counterparts. Though defeated, they will warn that they will continue to exist as a part of them, which each users and Persona accepts with the exception of Maya in Innocent Sin.

Nyarlathotep hoped they would kill the teams led by Tatsuya Suou so his plans could continue unhindered, either by dying at the hands of the Shadows, or drowned in their despair after their darkness had been made manifest. This plan failed, primarily because in true Persona fashion, the triumphant "light" selves vowed to grow from the lessons taught by the Shadows, bonding them closer instead of shattering them. The only exception is Maya Amano, who denied what her Shadow said and never accepted her.

Persona 3Edit

"Monster that appears during the Dark Hour and preys on those who are conscious. Its victims become 'The Lost.'"
Persona 3 FES Dictionary Entry
Shadow transform

A man melting into a slimy black Shadow.

The Kirijo Group's discovery of the Shadows' existence and subsequent experiments on manipulating them, ostensibly as a power source and means of time manipulation, resulted in a catastrophic accident at their laboratories, killing hundreds. They have been appearing due to the Kirijo Group's experiments, during the Dark Hour, a hidden twenty-fifth hour that takes place every midnight, during which the world comes to a stop and humans reflexively contain themselves in coffins, obliviously "playing dead" to protect themselves from the attention of the Shadows. Occasionally, a human will not transmogrify in this manner, and will quickly become prey of the Shadows, having their minds devoured and becoming vegetative (Apathy Syndrome) and in some cases even become a shadow as their physical form dissolves, reducing themself to being a shadow. Only those with Personas, even if they can't be successfully summoned, are immune to this effect and function normally during the Dark Hour.

Fate Is In Our Hands

Fate Is In Our Hands

Persona users defeating Shadows.

The bulk of the Shadows dwell in Tartarus, a massive tower that appears during the Dark Hour, right atop Gekkoukan High School, the site of the previous accident. Each Shadow is defined by two characteristics: the body and the mask. The mask represents the Arcana of the Shadow, while the body helps define its name. These two attributes also aid as a visual reminder of an enemy's weaknesses and strengths. However, each full moon after the Main Character's arrival, powerful Shadows belonging to the first twelve major arcana appear outside Tartarus and threaten to wreak havoc. The Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad is formed to combat these enemies. Once they're defeated, a thirteenth Shadow of the Death arcana appears as an ordinary, carefree teenage boy calling himself Ryoji Mochizuki. However, it's his role to call down Nyx, a being who will exterminate all life in response to humanity's self-destructive desires, but his human side is wracked with guilt over this unavoidable fate.

The Old Documents say that the Shadows arise from human emotions. When enough of the Shadows were gathered in one place, they fused together and created Nyx Avatar, which set in motion the events which were to lead up to the The Fall. Aigis delayed the Fall by fracturing Death into the 12 Arcana.

Shadow ArcanaEdit

These special Shadows are the fragments of Death that escaped following the sealing of Thanatos into the Protagonist. They appear at every full moon, seeking to return to Death which is sealed into the protagonist. Shuji Ikutsuki manipulates SEES into destroying each of them.

The AnswerEdit

The new episode included in Persona 3 FES, The Answer suggests that a Persona is merely a Shadow that remains under control of the mind that created it; this is why Persona users aren't rendered brain-dead by exposure to other Shadows during the Dark Hour. In addition, The Answer shows that some who've had their Personas artificially induced can become Shadows themselves when unable to keep control.

In confessing his purpose to the members of SEES, Ryoji implies that Nyx is the mother of the Shadows.

Persona 3 Club BookEdit

In the Persona 3 Club Book, it is explained that shadows are literally fragments of Nyx's psyche, which exist inside of everyone. When people begin to despair or lose hope, their unconscious hold on the "Nyx" that exists within them is weakened, and these fragments can emerge. In order for the psyches of living beings to contain these fragments of Nyx, they were forced to greatly limit their individual lifespans. Because these fragments have been an integral part of life on Earth for so long, the human mind is unable to function without Shadows, which is why those with Apathy Syndrome - people who have lost their Shadows - are merely shells whose minds have broken down. The "goal" of "freed" shadows - if it can be called that - is merely to return to their original state, to fuse together so that the psyche of Nyx can once again be whole. Shadows do not actually "eat" people since they are merely freeing themselves from the individual's unconscious confinement, but Persona-users are an exception, because they are recognized as a hindrance to Nyx's revival. When individuals wander into or adapt to the Dark Hour and attacked by shadows, the external shadows are merely trying to forcibly extract the fragment confined within the individual to merge with it.

Just as the Arcana represent the psychological maturity of humans, they also represent the tendencies and psychological complexes of Shadows. No single Arcana's worth of shadows can result in the reformation of Nyx's psyche, but when powerful shadows of Arcanas 0-12 fuse, the resultant shadow can mutate into the 13th Arcana, Death, which is capable of carrying the true weight of Nyx's consciousness and power and signifies that the preparations for Nyx's revival have been completed. Once completed, it merely calls for its body in order to return to a whole being, which is otherwise known as "The Fall". Tartarus acts as an antenna for this, calling more shadows to it and growing taller with the more shadows calling from within it. When the Protagonist invokes the Universe Arcana, he uses its power to return Nyx's consciousness to the confines of the universal unconsciousness.

Shadows are existences of pure thought and energy and do not possess physical bodies, and thus cannot interact with normal space. They do, however, possess the ability to manipulate space-time and use this ability to create the Dark Hour, a space existing outside of normal space-time where they can move freely. "Transmogrification" is merely an identifier of someone who does not exist within the Dark Hour, and thus cannot be affected by those within it. As for those with the "Potential", who can move freely within the Dark Hour, they are people who are able to use the shadows' space-time manipulation ability for themselves.

Persona 4Edit

Shadow Yukiko revealed

A Shadow taking a human form as Yukiko Amagi.

Shadows and Personas retain the same roles. Those who face their own personal Shadows in the Midnight Channel and accept them can use their power as Personas while those who deny their shadows as part of themselves will be attacked and killed by them or disappear completely if the person was malicious and cruel, and Igor eventually states outright that they are one and the same. However, the world of the Midnight Channel is more likely to be the true home of the Shadows, as they and Personas appear much more easily there than they did during the Dark Hour. The Midnight Channel itself is a world reflecting the collective human heart, so it's probable that Shadows are spawned there as a result of humans trying to shut away the darkest facets of their personalities.

Teddie appears to be a peculiar exception to this rule—despite being a Shadow, he became curious about humans and created a new, nonthreatening form for himself so people wouldn't be afraid of him, sealing away most of his memories in the process. He also acquires a Persona, prompting Igor to note that if a Shadow develops a sense of self, it too can acquire a Persona.

Persona 4 ColorsEdit

In the game, there is a minigame where one takes control of Chie Satonaka and must perform her signature Galactic Punt in time to strike a Shadow, and a minigame called "Cool Walker" where one takes control of Yu Narukami in what appears to be Yukiko's Castle, where they must avoid the Shadows and collect treasure chests to increase their score.

Persona 4 Arena UltimaxEdit

A huge shadow appears during one of Sho Minazuki's intros, where he cuts it in half. The Shadow Selves seen in the game are made from regular shadows being forcibly merged together. Eventually an endless swarm of normal shadows is unleashed on the persona users once the Malevolent Entity no longer needs them. Tohru Adachi hints that gathering enough shadows together and uniting them will result in summoning a God, which is indeed Sho and the Malevolent Entity's plan.

Persona 4: Dancing All NightEdit

Shadows appear in the Midnight Stage, where the antagonist has forcibly enslaved them to its will by tying ribbons to all of them. These shadows are forced to dance as the humans dance, and eventually be purified. Unlike the Dark Hour or the TV World, Shadows cannot be harmed through combat. Instead the characters must dance, removing shadows as they finish dancing upon the stage. When victims submit to the Shadow's will, they transform into a Shadow, and the one way to change back to their original form is to finish the dance.

Persona Q: Shadow of the LabyrinthEdit

Shadows appear again as the main antagonists. All of them are minions of Chronos and are split into the generic "Arcana" shadows and non-generic F.O.Es, and they serve the guardians deployed by him at the end of each Labyrinth, impeding the party's progress. Once the Persona users learn the truth about Rei and Zen, it is learned fully that the guardians and their Shadow servants are deployed by Chronos to guard the treasures at the bottom of the Labyrinths no matter what so he can take his time to understand Rei, even if the one who charged them with the task decides otherwise. Shadows in Persona Q do not have Arcana.

Ultimately, the Clockwork God wants Zen to continue his duties in the price of wiping out all intruders to his plans, including Zen himself if he sides alongside the Persona users. His spider F.O.Es such as the Watcher and the Capturer patrol the Clock Tower where he resides as security guards, while the Reaper is deployed to destroy all who interrupt divine providence, namely Zen and the Persona users. The Clockwork God's strongest Shadow under his service is the Captor Spider, which acts as his messenger and has captured Rei inside it near the end of the game.

Persona 5Edit

"A Shadow is the true self that is suppressed—a side of one's personality they don't want to see."
Morgana, Persona 5
Suguru Anne

Shadow Suguru Kamoshida

Especially evil humans are shown to share their personality almost completely with their Shadow counterparts, and engage The Phantoms in battle. These Shadow Selves can control Shadows into Shadow forms that resemble masked humanoids who patrol and maintain their Palaces. Shadows are never fought in the game directly with the exception of the Reaper, as the lesser Shadows explode into one or more mythological forms when engaged and the Shadow Selves usually fight in altered forms. The Shadows initially believe themselves to be the Palace's Shadows unless successfully negotiated with, where they regain their memories and recall they come from the human's Sea of Souls, whereupon they offer to transform themselves into a mask (and thus a new Persona), release a captured party member, or give the party one or more items. The Shadows will initially have a Shadow title for them, but once the protagonist has obtained it as a Persona, its title will turn into its Persona name. Shadows in Persona 5 can be of any Arcana instead of only the first thirteen, and some Shadows can have different Arcana from their Persona counterparts.

While in the overworld, Shadows appear based on the Palace's theme. Depending on the attention level, they have glowing blue, yellow, or red eyes, and strong ones have a dark red aura. When they see the protagonist, they will summon a spotlight to follow him for as long as they are pursuing him. Stealing their Mask provokes a Chance in the battle with their Persona forms.

  • Kamoshida's Palace: Knights in black armor with stoic masks.
  • Madarame's Palace: Female curators and security guards with heart masks.
  • Kaneshiro's Palace: Policemen in riot gear, with gas masks. Orthrus Shadows appear as Doberman Pinschers wearing muzzles.
  • Futaba's Palace: Mummies with headwear-like masks made of bandage, scimitar-wielding dervishes with tribal masks, and grey jackals with similar masks to mummies.
  • Okumura's Palace: Cylinder or sphere-formed robots with angular masks.
  • Niijima's Palace: Casino dealers, bunny waitresses and tuxedo-wearing bouncers wearing melted masks. Non-hostile Shadows who run the games do not wear masks.
  • Shido's Palace: Guards in suits, special assault team and assault hounds wearing blue party masks.
  • Mementos: Large humanoids with bird masks on their head and other masks bearing worn on their bodies. Unlike other guards, they do not speak and are not forced into a Chance battle by stealing their mask, but by crashing Morgana in van form into them, knocking them over.
  • Depths of Mementos: Prison guards with white hood masks and black sunglasses.
  • Qliphoth World: White and golden robotic angels with featureless faceplates as masks. Unlike other Shadows, their real faces are white, shaped like their masks, and their eyes do not glow red with the mask off.
  • Maruki's Palace (Persona 5 Royal only); Black featureless humanoids either in lab coats or clothes-less; guards have exaggerated muscles. They have a spiral as masks. Clothes-less Shadows can also appear with appendages or without; those with appendages have hair that are shaped like Maruki's while appendage-less Shadows are bald.

Persona Q2: New Cinema LabyrinthEdit

Shadows return in this game as Arcana Shadows instead of resembling their Persona counterparts unlike in Persona 5, in addition to F.O.Es. They act as the bulk of the enemies seen in the game, but unlike in Persona Q, they generally serve as basic obstacles and do not have a major role in the game's storyline, being replaced by cognitions instead. Sometimes Shadows inhabiting in the movie reality will attack its cognition inhabitants, and what seems to be human such as the policemen in Kamoshidaman can transform into Shadows and attack the party if provoked. Just like in the game's prequel, Shadows in Q2 do not have Arcana.

Due to the skill type revamp, some Arcana Shadows are now capable of using Psy Skills, Nuclear Skills, and Bless/Curse damaging skills which they are unable to in the previous games they are in. Subsequently, they also have weaknesses or resistances towards Psy or Nuclear.

Gallery Edit

Megami Tensei Chaining Soul: Persona 3
Chaining Soul Persona 3 Screen 4
Shadow in Megami Tensei Chaining Soul: Persona 3
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
P4D Story Mode Shadows out of control
Shadows in Persona 4: Dancing All Night
P4D Story Mode Shadows purifield
Shadows, purified seen in Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Persona 4 Colors
Persona4c 2
Chie Satonaka fighting a Shadow in Persona 4 Colors.
Persona4c 6
Yu Narukami and 3 Shadows in Persona 4 Colors.

See AlsoEdit

Shadow list Edit

Shadow category Edit

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