"Are you being selfish again?"
Wakaba Isshiki is a character in Persona 5. She is Futaba Sakura's mother.
Wakaba's personality is largely said to be nearly identical to Futaba's. She is highly intelligent and knowledgeable in terms of cognitive psience and cooking, although she barely has any social skills to begin with. She is a workaholic and wouldn't let anyone disturb her from her research, especially when she knows that her job is life threatening. Despite this, she genuinely cares for Futaba and is a great mother. Anything about her regretting birthing Futaba is merely a fabrication made by Masayoshi Shido in an unnecessarily callous means of quashing his opposition. Much like her daughter, she's also quite childish, as during the brief time when she returned in Persona 5 Royal, Sojiro said that she wouldn't stop teasing people when they made fun of her.
Futaba's initial cognition of Wakaba appears as a destructive beast who wishes for nothing but her death, having a tendency to scream in a high and violent fashion. This image of her mother is a lie, caused by Futaba's repressed guilt over her mother's death, after she was blamed for it in a false suicide note forged by Shido and his subordinates, to cover up Wakaba's true cause of death: assassination by Goro Akechi, and traumatize Futaba so greatly as to prevent her from thinking about the incident and potentially growing suspicions of her own.
Wakaba Isshiki was Futaba Sakura's mother and a prominent cognitive researcher focusing on the supernatural phenomenon of the "cognitive world" within the mind of every human. This field of study is called "Cognitive psience" (認知訶学, Ninchi kagaku)?. Wakaba was very brilliant and talented in this field of study.
Wakaba gave birth to Futaba out of wedlock and was her sole parent and caretaker prior to her death. While a competent parent, she sometimes found it difficult to juggle her job and her daughter. Wakaba and Futaba had a loving relationship, and even though she occasionally had to scold her daughter like any parent, she always wanted the best for her. As told by Futaba, Wakaba was very fond of a government official, Sojiro Sakura, who acted as a middleman between the government and her research facility. Sojiro, in turn, had feelings for her as well. The signature curry and coffee recipes of Café Leblanc was originally invented by Sojiro but refined by Wakaba. She knew Sojiro long before Futaba was born, and always spoke highly of him. It is unclear whether she truly did not reciprocate his feelings or was too wrapped up in her work and her daughter for a relationship.
Two years prior to the events of the game, on August 21, Wakaba supposedly threw herself into traffic in a fit of maternal neurosis. In reality, she was killed by a mental shutdown caused by Goro Akechi. Before she was assassinated, she was annoyed at Futaba bothering her to go on a family trip when she was doing cognitive psience research, which she believed to be important enough to risk her life for; Futaba responded with a tantrum, but Wakaba promised to take her anywhere she wants after she completes the research. To seize her research data for their own use, Akechi's employers order her assassination, and forge a suicide note,and announcing it aloud before Futaba and her relatives. In the note, Wakaba claimed she regretted giving birth to Futaba and as a result, she had destroyed all of her research and committed suicide. Shido forgot about Wakaba's death shortly after he killed her using Akechi.
The suspicious timing of Wakaba's death, combined with the derogatory contents of the fabricated suicide note raised suspicions in Sojiro about whether her death truly was a suicide, but more immediately, devastated Futaba and caused her to develop paranoid delusions and hallucinations of Wakaba telling her how disappointed she was, which eventually drove her to become a shut-in with suicidal impulses, debilitating guilt, and traumatic repressed memories. After Sojiro discovered how badly she was being treated by her relatives as a result of the suicide note and their jealousy over Wakaba's success, in particular Wakaba's brother Youji, Futaba was finally adopted by him, taking his surname.
Her cognition in Futaba's Palace takes the form of a gigantic and spiteful Sphinx, keeping with its Egyptian theme. Unlike most other Palaces, Cognitive Wakaba is the only true cognitive being within Futaba's Palace, which represents Futaba's loneliness. Cognitive Wakaba Isshiki is formed from Futaba's false belief that her mother resented her for being an obstacle to her career, and is known as the beast that rules the Palace. It is violent and furious and only wishes to see Futaba or anyone that invaded the Palace dead, including the Phantom Thieves, who arrive on the scene to rid Futaba of her trauma at her own request.
While Cognitive Wakaba proved too mobile with her flight capabilities and extremely high stamina at first, Futaba enters her own Palace mid way into the fight where her Shadow reveals to her that Wakaba's suicide note is a fake, resulting in Futaba awakening to her Persona ability. She realizes that the Palace was formed from her desires and the focus on her desire to save the people who helped her gave her a reason to live again, summoning a massive ballista that cripples the Sphinx and leaves her an easy target for the Phantom Thieves. The team manages to defeat her false perception with Futaba's help.
After the battle, the image of a benevolent Wakaba appears before Futaba and confesses her love for her daughter, then disappears. Whether or not this is truly Wakaba's spirit, or merely another cognition is left ambiguous.
Wakaba's death, false testament and the theft of her research are later revealed to have been ordered by Masayoshi Shido in an attempt to seize her research that would otherwise expose his crimes and damage his status. When Shadow Shido was questioned by Futaba about Wakaba's murder before fighting the Chariot of Human Sacrifices, he gives a non-answer that implies that the deaths of his victims were simply irrelevant sacrifices that weren't even worth mentioning. When Haru asked if he really believed the people he killed deserve to die, he again evades the question with a similar response, comparing his victims to ants being crushed on his road to reform before fighting the Thieves on foot. This, alongside the numerous other victims who he disposed of with Akechi being dismissed by Shido in the same responses, indicates that he holds absolutely no regard to the lives of others. Futaba tears up with joy after the party successfully takes down her mother's killer and he confesses his crimes on TV.
Taking Back Reality
In the third semester events, Wakaba Isshiki is first mentioned to have gone with Futaba to pick out her yukata, greatly confusing the protagonist. During the Hatsumode meeting at Meiji Shrine, Wakaba is mentioned again, with Futaba saying that she intends to go shopping with her. On the next day, she is personally seen at Café Leblanc, sitting next to Futaba and having breakfast with Morgana. This is revealed to be an alteration created by Takuto Maruki, who rewrote history so her murder never occurred, sympathizing with the pain Futaba had over it.
When the protagonist goes to check on Futaba after returning from the first investigation of Maruki's Palace, he will find her, Wakaba, and Sojiro in Akihabara, window-shopping at the video game stores. This showcases how Wakaba is around Futaba, being shown as a kind but firm parent, while also being very playful at times.
After this event, Wakaba can be found buying groceries with Sojiro around the Yongen-Jaya backstreet prior to January 9th, where they claim that there's no better time to be with Futaba. She also co-opts Sojiro as a part of their family and playfully calls it a "non-optional suckering."
Unlike her past appearances in-game, this is not a mere Cognition; she never died to begin with in Maruki's reality. Despite this, Akechi still remembers killing her before. Sojiro, who is initially unaware of the changes, just like Futaba, returns to believing her to be dead after Futaba denies Maruki's reality, though he does have a strange recollection of seeing her quite recently.
Before starting the fight, the player should prepare for the Despair status effect. They may want to buy Hope Shirts for the party which can be found at Untouchable and cost 23,200 yen each. They are unisex, although Morgana can't wear them. It is also a good idea to stock up on Relax Gels (at least 10), which are cheap (900 yen each) and can be found at Takemi Medical Clinic.
The battle is fought in two phases.
The first round has no particular benefits in attacking aside from applying small damage to Wakaba due to her extremely high HP, which is far beyond the reach of the party's firepower at this stage of the game to reasonably damage her. Defending is the best option because not only does it reduce damage taken, but susceptibility to ailments are reduced as well. As stated at the beginning of the battle, only magic and gunfire can harm Wakaba while she is airborne, and all melee attacks and physical skills will outright miss due to being completely out of range from such attacks. She mostly attacks with Physical skills that deal status ailments such as Dizzy and Despair. The technical combo of Dizzy and any attack is fatal on Merciless difficulty. She also can deal Wind damage with one of her attacks, so avoid using Personas who have wind weaknesses, or Ryuji, who also has a weakness to Wind skills. Morgana and Makoto help tremendously in mitigating these status ailments (Morgana has Me Patra to cure the party's Dizzy, Makoto has Energy Shower to cure the party's Despair). Morgana also resists Wind, making him ideal for withstanding Wing Blast. If the protagonist is inflicted with Despair, cure it as fast as possible or it will result in certain defeat. After several turns, Wakaba will ascend into the sky, making her completely untargetable. If any of the party members have suffered damage, it is best to use the first round to recover as much health as possible. After one turn of healing, it is best to guard until she eventually descends. Any character that is not guarding will suffer severe physical damage. Once she has performed her diving attack, the first phase concludes.
In the second phase, HP and SP of all party members are fully recovered. Futaba produces a ballista on the battlefield, allowing the player to shoot down Wakaba. The player needs to send one character to man the ballista and spend their next three turns preparing and firing it. Once it is fired, Wakaba is damaged by the shot and is immediately brought down and can finally be damaged by melee attacks and direct physical skills. She also spends three turns unable to attack the party. While players are free to attack Wakaba while preparing the ballista, one possible strategy is to debuff her or buff the party as much as possible before taking her down. You will want to spend as much time dealing physical damage, which is five times as effective compared to other attack types while she is downed, and she cannot retaliate. Once she recovers from her downed state, the ballista must be re-prepared in order to use it again. When choosing a character to fire a second shot at Wakaba, it is best to use another character as using the same character again delays the shot by a turn. The player can also opt to use Tetrakarn or Physical Ointments when Wakaba readies Sphinx Dive to repel the damage and take a huge amount of HP from her while keeping the Tetrakarn characters safe from harm. Characters and Personas with Counter can also offer a chance at reflecting the damage done by Sphinx Dive - while not fully reliable, it greatly progresses the fight when it triggers.
The Sphinx herself is nearly identical during her boss fight.
There are two intervals where the Sphinx will ask the protagonist a question before using Sphinx Dive. Should he answer correctly, Futaba will repel it. If the answer is incorrect, Sphinx Dive will hit the party with full force.
The Sphinx will ask a pair of questions at the start of the fight and another time after she recovers from being shot with the ballista.
The following are the questions and the correct answers:
|Nnnngh! After all I did to raise you... You dare neglect your mother like this!? I am your MOTHER! The one and only in this whole, awful world!||That's not true.|
|For a child to survive in your cruel world, they need a concerned mother figure—like me! Understand!?||You're a fake.|
|After first recovery|
|Futabaaa! It's all because I had you... You did this... You screwed up my life! All you did was get in the way of my research! I should've never had you!||You're wrong.|
|No matter how much you struggle, you'll never escape me! You'll be tormented by your personal guilt FOREVER!||We've got her back.|
- "Here I come!"
- "Do not approach the pharaoh's tomb! Misfortune will fall upon you!"
- "Die, you brats!"
- "Get lost!"
- "I won't forgive you!"
- "Nnnngh...! How dare you...! Children that defy their mothers should... DIE!"
- "You little...! You goddamn braaats!"
- "I don't need a child who defies me! And children I don't need... should be killed!"
- "Nnnngh...! Futaba... Futaba...! If only I had never birthed you...!"
Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 The Animation
- "Wakaba" (若葉) can mean "Young Leaf," compared to her daughter's name "Futaba" (双葉) which means "Two Leaves." "Isshiki" (一色) means "One Color" or "Monochrome."
- Wakaba died on August 21st, two years before the events of Persona 5, as evidenced by dialogue from Futaba and Sae Niijima.
- August 21 is also the deadline for clearing Futaba's Palace.
- Since Futaba's name is likely a reference to the Futaba Channel, Wakaba's name may be a reference to the software used to run the imageboard.
- In Japan, new drivers must display a Shoshinsha mark (also known as a Wakaba mark). This may be a dark humor reference to her death.
- Her cognitive copy in Futaba's Palace shares similarities with her host's Shadow Self, despite not being one, such as the ability to be further angered when denied, the fact that she is a manifestation of her host's delusions and guilt and defeating and overcoming her is required to change the heart of her host.
- An unused security level portrait for Wakaba can be seen in the files of the game.
- Curiously, the file's documentation suggests that it was meant to be used for the last Palace.
- In Persona 5 Royal, Cognitive Wakaba's questions may be a reference to Sphinxes' reputation for giving riddles to people who encounter it. Answering incorrectly will typically result in death.
- She is similar to Junko Kurosu from Persona 2: Innocent Sin. Both characters are maternal-figures who induce antagonistic psychological manifestations in their children, aside from sharing certain physical characteristics.
- She is also similar to Hikari's Father/Doe from Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, as they were single parents that are well beloved and respected by their daughters and had cognitive copies of them based on their delusions and paranoia towards them appearing as bosses in their respective games. The fights against their cognitive copies are also similar, being fought in the embodiment of their daughter's distorted desires while having them step in at the middle of the fight to allow the party to deal sufficient damage against them in a case where they supposedly cannot. Coincidentally, their cognitive copies are fought in the fourth dungeon in their respective games.