Colors Flying High - Let's Play Persona 5 Royal

Well, it’s come to this. I’m Timrod, and this is Persona 5 Royal, a blatant cashgrab released by Atlus in 2020 as a follow-up to the original release of Persona 5 in 2017.

Just like its predecessor, its release was nothing short of a disaster. Persona 5 was delayed multiple times throughout its development cycle, and released in Japan a full SEVEN MONTHS before the worldwide release in April of 2017. By that point, a good deal of the people who wanted to play it had already been spoiled on the plot by Japanese streamers and LPers, myself included.

Learning absolutely nothing from the first time they did this, Atlus then proceeded to announce Royal and then release it in Japan first, in October 2019. I recall them feebly begging Japanese players not to ruin the plot for the rest of the world. They did so anyway, and five months later the game released in the US… shortly after Japan had instituted lockdowns due to COVID-19.

As a result, Persona 5 Royal was a very hard game to find on release. I remember looking through ebay listings where people were listing it at $200, and had to really search to find someone selling it at MSRP.

Most of what I remember about the original game was that it had by far the most streamlined gameplay of all the Persona games (even besting Persona 4 Golden), amazing music and a UI that absolutely everyone wanted to copy. Seriously, I remember seeing Persona 5 UI themes for cellphones that people custom-made. The plot, however, was not great. I kind of didn’t get invested in the plot and I don’t think I even bothered to watch the final cutscene.

The worst part was that I really, really wanted to like P5’s plot. I actually have some rather expensive figures from the game, and I ordered the “collector’s edition” of the base game because that’s how hyped I was for it. I still have the Shuujin Academy bag sitting around somewhere.

On a side note, I’ll be playing with all the online features off and on Patch 1.00 because fuck updating. My PS4’s on an exploitable firmware and I intend to keep it that way. The patch changes basically nothing except forcing you to update to 7.51 because “stability” (read: because 6.72 to 7.02 are hackable). This means no DLC as I can’t access PSN either (all the DLC is cosmetic).

What’s the difference between Persona 5 Original and this?

Basically, not much. Atlus added in a couple of things to make maxing all of the confidants easier, and also to reduce things like the notorious “Go to bed” messages at night. They added in a new location that allows you to grind social stats slightly faster in some cases, as well as a couple of balance changes. They also added some stuff to the existing dungeons and to Mementos and made some changes to the bosses. Oh, and fusion spells are back for the first time since Persona 3 (not counting the ones in P4 Golden).

For the most part, this is a good thing. I did my first run with a guide and the timetable for getting maxed confidants was extremely tight to the point where you had to reset for higher social stat gains on certain nights.

The main difference is that like Golden did for Persona 4, Royal adds on a new dungeon and a couple of new confidants that weren’t in the original game. I think it also adds something like a month or two of time to max the extra confidants.

I do know that Royal was panned for a number of reasons. First is that it doesn’t really add a whole lot to the game. Persona 4 Golden didn’t either, but that was sort of accepted because it was a port.

Second is that Persona 5 had a number of cosmetic DLCs that are identical to the ones in Royal, but don’t transfer over. They had to be re-bought, and that pissed a lot of people off.

There’s also the fact that even though for the most part Royal is an expansion to the original game, they do not allow you to use a P5 clear save to start on New Game Plus. You do get a very small bonus if you have a P5 save, but nothing else.

Finally, there was the fact that Royal was sold at full MSRP but was actually pretty lazy in a lot of ways. There’s a new playable character who isn’t playable until the epilogue… because Atlus had already made anime cutscenes for the base game and didn’t want to update them for Royal. A lot of people also don’t like the plot they added for Royal, from what I understand.

Will this be a 100% confidants LP?

Yes. I’ll be using a guide to ensure that we will see every single confidant maxed out.

Will you be doing anything with P5 Dancing?

Yes. I’ve ordered a copy. As I understand it, P5 Dancing is an even more blatant cash-in than Royal is and was critically panned on release, and I was able to pick up a new copy for like $15. I’ll probably stream a couple of the songs and maybe a bit of story mode, but that’s it.

Will you be doing Persona 5 Scramble if it releases before this LP is done?

Nah. P5 Scramble isn’t really suited to an SSLP. Maybe I’ll stream it or something like I’m going to do with P5 Dancing, but I’m not going to do a complete LP of it.

What’s your spoiler policy?

As of the Innocent Sin LP, I’ve played every Persona game except for Persona 2 Eternal Punishment, which I know the plot of anyway. Because I do plan to LP Eternal Punishment once the PSP version is translated, I ask that people avoid spoilers for it and it alone. All of the other Persona games are fair game as far as I’m concerned. There is one point near the end of the game where I’m going to have to make a comparison to Eternal Punishment.

As for Persona 5, I guess try to keep from spoiling that even though that game has been spoiled so hard that it’s almost impossible not to know about it.

                                     Updates

Update 1
Update 2
Update 3
Update 4
Update 5
Update 6
Update 7
Update 8
Update 9
Update 10
Update 11

Click Here for Update 1

https://youtu.be/bghZ83tavMc

SaturnJoker: Time to start the show. Like Persona 4 Golden, both Persona 5 and Royal offer an online mode which lets you see the choices other people made on each day in-game. We won’t be needing this. I’ve already got the schedule, and in fact ordered a fancy day planner for it so I could scan it in, only to find out my day planner was for the wrong year.

SaturnJoker: Persona 5 and Royal were both heavily inspired by the Lupin III anime, specifically Shin Lupin III (also known as “Red Jacket”). Red Jacket aired from October 3, 1977 to October 6, 1980. If I was playing with Patch 1.02 (I’m not) then we’d have the option to change to the Japanese voices upon starting a new game. This is the only thing that patch changes in the English version.

SaturnJoker: MUCH better. Both the original game and Royal use the same five VAs that every anime uses these days and fuck that shit it hurts my ears.

SaturnJoker: I have a series of cleared Persona 5 files on my PS4, which I can use to show off a glitch that I don’t know if the other LP did. Said glitch broke the game in two and was patched out of Royal.

SaturnJoker: Well yeah, kinda figured that out after Innocent Sin. The real world is only half that incoherent on a given day.

SaturnJoker: The reason they say this by the way is that there’s a character late in the game who can be taken as a shot at a certain American president. In reality, he’s a ripoff of the villain from Eternal Punishment, but Atlus expects that you believe that Persona 3 FES was the first game in the series.

SaturnJoker: By the way, this dialog is voiced by (at least I’m pretty sure) the voice for Igor. One thing I never mentioned is that Igor’s voiceactor going all the way back to Persona 1 (where he only had a few brief lines during fusion) died during production of the base game. This means Igor probably won’t be in Persona 6.

SaturnJoker: Well yeah, I mean, the world only got destroyed in Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment hasn’t been translated yet.

SaturnJoker: Or you know, by their names - Jihei, Tatsuya, Maya, Makoto, Yu. I suppose you could toss Tamaki in there as well.

SaturnJoker: I missed a couple of screenshots of the Lupin III style intro, which very heavily takes after the last one that was done for the end of Red Jacket. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anyone’s ever uploaded that to Youtube due to how Lupin III was localized - I’ll do a side update immediately following this one entirely about Lupin. You can have this one instead, which I think is the second-to-last OP.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en4nEUIaAKo

SaturnJoker: This has the entire opening sequence in it. I stumble around a little bit because trying to play the game and click my screenshot button at the same time is kinda weird.

SaturnJoker: A lot of the shots in this cutscene are reminiscent of the start of Castle of Cagliostro, the… I think it’s the fifth but I might be wrong on that… Lupin III movie. It’s considered one of the best anime films ever made and was produced by Hayao Miyazaki.

Music Colors Flying High

SaturnJoker: By the way, the music for this opening is a song called Colors Flying High, which is new to P5 Royal. Atlus re-did a good chunk of the OST for this game, even though I honestly liked the old theme better. This is in contrast to the older games where you were lucky to get more than one or two vocal songs, if any.

SaturnJoker: One thing that’s kind of jarring about doing a modern game after Persona 1 and Innocent Sin is that I’m not used to 60FPS anime cutscenes. I miss the blurry sprites already.

SaturnJoker: Meet our protagonist. We’ll need a name for him after this update. Most characters will refer to him simply as “Joker”, which was a brilliant naming move by Atlus after having two different characters by the same name in the Persona 2 duology. (Edit: It’s actually three, there’s a dog named Joker in Ronde.) Again, Atlus is expecting that you believe Persona started with 3 (the “FES” stands for “First Ever, Stupid”).

SaturnJoker: Clearly this isn’t Eternal Punishment’s Joker (who only has one eye) so Jun’s clearly been working out. I wonder if his mother’s wish to be young forever also applied to him and that’s why he’s a teenager in both 1999 and 2016. Oh, right. This game takes place in 2016 - they say “20XX” but all the dates line up with 2016.

SaturnJoker: Meet uh, mystery cat. He’s the worst part of this game. I hate him with every fiber of my being.

SaturnJoker: And this mysterious character who exists for one reason and one reason only and that is to be in every single yaoi doujin that exists of this game.

SaturnJoker: And uh, this one too. Her title should probably read “Best Girl” by virtue of being the only one I don’t hate.

SaturnJoker: Oh, and this one, who a lot of people I’ve talked to about this game don’t like.

SaturnJoker: Meet the bane of the screenshot LPer’s existence. The game will sometimes have random codec calls that happen during gameplay. Also, there’s an action button in P5. In the video, I stop on this platform because I thought the thing on the screen said “Innocent Sin” and I was almost floored by the fact that Atlus acknowledged its existence.

SaturnJoker: Another mysterious character, this one basically the equivalent of Jun in the original game in that we won’t be seeing her until way after the game should stop introducing characters.

SaturnJoker: Oh no, we’ve stolen all their hopes and dreams and now they’re shadowmen.

SaturnJoker: Ripping masks off things is going to be an ongoing motif.

SaturnJoker: The game doesn’t immediately identify demons when we fight them. This is Moloch, in his appearance from Shin Megami Tensei NINE, an Xbox-exclusive SMT game that did about as well as you’d expect that to. It was never localized and probably never will be, because it was meant to be the lead up to SMT Imagine, the ill-fated SMT MMO.

SaturnJoker: We don’t know who Joker’s Persona is, but he has Eigaon and Brave Blade… which would make him this game’s Reiji.

SaturnJoker: I use a physical attack, which crits and thus knocks the enemy down. Just like Persona 3 and Persona 4, critting an enemy or using a spell they’re weak to will knock them down and give you an extra turn.

SaturnJoker: Instead of using our Persona, I opt to play this like Persona 1 and gun everything down. In my playthrough of the original game, I never used guns even once. The reason for this is that you got a single magazine of ammo for the ENTIRE DUNGEON. That means that yes, Joker would have eight bullets to last him an entire dungeon unless you found or crafted ammo boxes that allowed you to reload. Royal changes this by refilling your gun after every encounter which is a huge goddamn improvement.

SaturnJoker: Joker’s gun allows him to get eight attacks in before he runs out of ammo. This is actually better than Persona 1’s guns because now every gun can perform multiple attacks in one turn.

SaturnJoker: I really like the “VICTORY” sign in the back, makes for a nice shot. This game does everything well but the plot.

SaturnJoker: Note that as soon as we’re off the main casino floor, it stops looking like a real place.

SaturnJoker: And this would be the Mark or Eikichi of this game, only not as good as Mark or Eikichi.

SaturnJoker: This is where the game introduces the stealth mechanic, which is necessary to do a max confidants run. The reason is that dungeons in Persona 5 are meant to be endurance runs with SP as a limiting mechanic. Stealth allows you to get first strikes on enemies, which reduces the amount of SP you’re going to use on healing.

SaturnJoker: This is where one of the differences in Royal comes into play.

SaturnJoker: In the base game, you wind up fighting that guy at the end of the hallway. Royal gives Joker a grappling hook, which lets you access hidden areas in dungeons.

SaturnJoker: Here’s another difference.

SaturnJoker: Meet a character we’re not going to see much of again until the epilogue. People have compared her to Elly from Persona 1 and there’s definitely a resemblance.

SaturnJoker: I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how you use a rapier.

SaturnJoker: Just like Elly, she also uses rifles as her gun of choice. This is why they need to remake Persona 1 because I want to see Elly go full-on Cutscene Dante and like, ride missiles into Kandori.

SaturnJoker: Anyway, she goes full on Max Payne and kills all the shadows in bullet time. With a lever-action.

SaturnJoker: Joker’s response is pretty much how I’d respond had I seen someone throw a goddamn rapier.

SaturnJoker: We enter a fight against Ose (the leopard) and Jatayu. Jatayu opens with Garula… only to have Not-Elly stylishly dodge out of it.

SaturnJoker: Joker then guns down Jatayu in one go.

SaturnJoker: Not-Elly follows up with Vorpal Blade, which knocks down all the enemies. The reason she lost HP is that like Persona 3 and 4, physical damage skills cost HP rather than SP to cast.

SaturnJoker: Normally, knocking down all enemies gives you a “Hold Up”, which is how you negotiate with demons in this game. However, because this is a tutorial fight and we don’t control Not-Elly…

SaturnJoker: The game switches to her using a finisher on them. I forget what the exact conditions are for this to happen, but each character has a finisher screen like this. Joker’s is the one you’ll usually see the most because I know this is tied to knockdowns, and Joker is the only person who can switch Personas. It’s a decision I don’t like that was made way back in Persona 3, ostensibly to stop you from accidentally making a party with a gaping weak spot.

Kasumi: “Please go. I’m going to make it harder for them to track you down. You still have something you need to do as a phantom thief, right?”

Kasumi: “Then I won’t stop you. Since I’m not a member of the Phantom Thieves, I’m in no position to interfere.”

SaturnJoker: This seems a little off for reasons I can’t explain without spoiling the entire game.

SaturnJoker: This is Japan. Where the fuck are these corp-sec types getting guns?

SaturnJoker: This scene, by the way, is where I pretty much stopped being invested in the plot. As you can probably tell, like most movies in its era, Persona 5 is one of those “Yeah, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got here” kind of stories.

SaturnJoker: This shot? This is taken straight from one of the Lupin III Red Jacket OPs. I’ll have to see if I can rip one of my DVDs.

SaturnJoker: The mass of cops? This is also taken from Lupin III. In fact, that guy with the radio could practically be Zenigata.

SaturnJoker: Oh MAN, this shot did not age well.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I’m not sure if the numbers on the board mean anything, apart from the P5.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This guy looks a lot like Nametame’s shadow in Persona 4. In its human form, not the giant head thing.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: By the way, have I mentioned Persona 5 is the only one to take place in real-world Japan?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: So yes, Persona 5 is one of those in media res stories and I hate it.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: That guy in the glasses almost looks like Katsuya Suou, only the real Katsuya would probably have killed this guy already.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: We will be playing on Normal, even though this game is really easy. As far as I know, the only difference is that on Hard/Merciless enemies have higher stats. I’m going to take the very important lesson I learned from Ni no Kuni 2 and not play this on extreme.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Now, if this were a game written by Satomi Tadashi, chances are we’d spend the rest of the game scalping cops like we did the nazis in Innocent Sin. Unfortunately, this is Modern Atlus and we can’t have that. At least the plot is… slightly more coherent than Innocent Sin’s was.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: And that’ll do it for this update. What’s this guy’s name?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Joker has two canon names - one from the novelization (Akira Kurusu) and one from P5 Dancing (Ren Amamiya), in case you want to know those. Or we could go for the Innocent Sin/Eternal Punishment reference and name him Jun Kurosu (IS) or Tatsuya Sudou (EP)

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Name him Man Weed I kinda like both canon names, but I’m going to go with Akira Kurusu, because anytime I see “Ren Amamiya” I will mentally follow it with “here I go again,” and I can’t commit to that for a game as long as Persona 5.

I really like the new lady’s design and general style, but I feel like it’d be obvious she was shoehorned in even if I hadn’t seen this intro before. “I’ll try to keep them from tracking you” followed by Joker getting immediately owned is a bit telling.

I’m not opposed to something being in media res, but it makes the narrative kinda messy in the long-term. Other than giving the player a cool scene to start out in, it doesn’t really do anything but interrupt the narrative every once in a while. Now that being said, if game overs went the Prince of Persia route, I’d be all for it.

Yes, I am ready for this! There’s a screenshot LP of P5 on the LP Archive, but I lost interest 70 or 80 hours in - near the end of the first dungeon, I think. Ha! Do you get it!? The joke is that Persona 5 is really long! I came up with that knee-slapper all on my own.

Also yes I am aware that I just said “I’m very excited for this LP because I read another LP of the same game but I got bored”. I cannot explain this chain of logic either.

Now, watching this intro sequence, I have…questions. Questions like “Why are the subtitles for the animated scenes typeset like fansubs from 2009?” And…actually no, that’s my only question.

As for what name to use…I like to be simple and just use the official(-ish) name, and I think I’ve seen Ren Amamiya used more often than Akira Kurusu, so my vote is for Ren Amamiya.

…Although, if you were to name him ‘Amamiya Ren’ instead, that wouldn’t be funny at all but I would find it hilarious for approximately the rest of my life. So consider this a vote for ‘Amamiya’ and ‘Ren’, in any order.

I thought that this was the Persona series of games, famous for starring John Persona.

Also having been through the maintenance hallways and freight elevators of a mall I am not surprised you leave the public facing area and it stops looking like a real place.

Yo, it’s a little insulting that the reaction to a non-Anglo name (Haru) is “haha isnt it funny how her name has a meaning in English”.

Noted, and changed. That wasn’t at all what I was going for, more that her name means “spring” yet she’s the last character (or was in the base game to be introduced) when P5 does the whole “names picked based on the kanji in them” thing. I must’ve forgotten to add the second part of that, probably because by that point I’d been working on the update for a few hours. I’ve removed it entirely and apologize if it was offensive.

I hadn’t even read that LP when I made this one, and so I took a look at it. I can understand why they didn’t go for max confidants in the base game because I remember it being an absolute nightmare to do, mostly because of how tight the early game was. Naturally we’ll be getting to that pretty soon, but I remember maxing out my save slots and having to reload a lot due to RNG.

I also noticed though that they did a lot of things I wouldn’t, like transcribing the negotiation dialog (why would you do that) and posting screenshots for days where nothing really happens. My original plan was to buy a 2016 day planner and just fill it in for days like that, but unfortunately the one I wound up getting was actually a 2017 day planner that only covered the last four months of 2016.

Yeah. One of the big complaints about this game was that there was really no reason it couldn’t have been a DLC expansion at a lower price point. I remember when Royal first got announced a lot of people were excited because the romance choices in the original game were all kinda bad and they all wanted to date the new girl.

Then it released in Japan and the Japanese streamers got to it. There was a day-one stream where the streamer found out that there was basically no new story content until after the end of the original game and reactions went from “This is a day 1 buy” to “This is a blatant cashgrab why the hell would anyone buy this?”

The answer is because I was bored and out of stuff to play and I wanted to see if the new plot was really as dumb as the Japanese streamer had made it out to be. To be clear though, I haven’t touched Royal until I started the LP - it was sitting still in shrink wrap on my shelf.

I mean given what I’ve played of the game (up through the first real dungeon and that’s it) it feels kind of thematically appropriate? I’m sure Atlus will drop the ball in some way, but I like the “we are connected to Persona 2” feeling this game gives off, and having the protagonist be a new Joker is kinda interesting.

Also yeah Colors Flying High is a good song but Life Will Change is genuinely just better.

The only real thing I know about Royal is that they do try to fix this and have her show up more incidentally so it’s less of an out there last minute party member but… yeah. My understanding is that she’s kind of Also There.

I’m saying we should name him Akira Kurusu, or just Akira Crow if you want to get… un-fancy with it. Either of those.

So as an aside; I know literally nothing about this game beyond what I mentioned above about axe girl, and up to the end of the first dungeon. So I’m completely blind!

Real unfortunate that any hint of personality for Haru is locked behind grinding dungeon quotes, and her social link which in the base game is introduced at the last minute party member wise.

I like John Persona as a name suggestion. Good luck on the lp.

I’m going to vote for John Persona as well.

Okay, I’ll be cutting off name voting here. I had actually started recording with the Akira Kurusu name but that’s not a big deal to fix given that you can skip all the cutscenes and dialog in this game.

Click Here for Update 2

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The votes are in, and the clear winner is Mamamia Amamiya, voted the single most faux-Italian high school student in Japan three years running.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: We had two votes for John Persona and two votes for Akira Kurusu. Given that we used the novelization name for the Persona 1 protagonist, I decided that Akira Kurusu had a strong claim and went with that. (Update: It was actually three for John Persona but one came in after I started recording).

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Up the hallway comes prosecutor Sae Niijima. Many have lamented the fact that you cannot date the goth cop, either in the original game or in Royal.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The detective looks like a discount Johnny Gat.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This seems like a really awkward question to ask, given that Sae is the equivalent of an assistant district attorney and thus probably this guy’s boss.

Sae: “Just let me through; it’s urgent. There’s something I need to confirm with the suspect.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I do appreciate that they used a semicolon here instead of abusing the hell out of ellipses like Persona 1 and Innocent Sin did. Eternal Punishment does the same thing.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Now, I’m not entirely sure how the Japanese law enforcement system works, but Sae’s boss has the title of “SIU Director”. SIU, or Special Investigations Unit, is usually a division in a police department, so it seems odd that a DA would work for them.

Sae: “I’m responsible for this case, yet I’m not even being allowed an interrogation?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: You might notice that some of the dialog in this game is… a little awkward-sounding. The reason for this is that the original game had a very rushed localization: a few sites that deal with that sort of thing say that they rushed through it just a few months before release. You’ll definitely notice some things before this update is done.

Sae: “I will not be convinced unless I confirm it for myself. This is MY case.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: It’s kind of disappointing that this game has amazing visuals that they clearly spent a lot of time and money on but skimped on the localization. Sae’s portrait (and all portraits in this game) are fully animated. Moving lips and all that.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This kind of sounds like Kevin Mitnick’s trial back in 1995. If you don’t know who he is, Kevin Mitnick was a hacker in the late 80s (really more of a social engineer) who hacked into a couple of mainframes belonging to major corporations at the time using passwords he’d gotten by… basically phishing. He was arrested in 1988 after hacking into Pacific Bell, became a fugitive for a while, and was eventually caught in the mid-90s. By his account, the police kept him in solitary confinement for eight months because they convinced a judge that he was capable of hacking the US nuclear arsenal by whistling into a phone. He works as a computer security consultant today.

Sae: “Can you hear me? It seems you’ve been through a lot. Almost anything can happen here… and I can’t stop them.”

Sae: “That’s why I need you to answer me honestly. I don’t have much time either.”

Sae: “What was your objective? Why did you cause such a major incident?”

Sae: “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.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: See what I mean by “awkward-sounding dialog”? Supposedly, they did a second pass to fix it, but to me it feels more like they just went through all of the blogs critiquing the bad localization and spot-fixed anything they pointed out.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: During dialog options, I’ll always pick the highlighted one. This is going to be important later on because a lot of the dialog choices in this game matter.

Sae: “True. There’s no way I could be convinced of such a… ‘world’ just by reading the reports.”

Sae: “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?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This sounds more like something you’d hear in a romance VN than a Persona game.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Phil?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Surprisingly, no. The voice for this dialog is female. The closest you ever come to seeing Philemon again is in Persona 4.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The game gives us the opportunity to save here, because the first two hours or so of this game are a glorified cutscene. I made the joke once that the number at the end of each game is how many hours it takes to get to actual gameplay. Remember Persona 1, when we basically went right to the hospital and started fighting demons? Even for all its bullshit, I liked Persona 1.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I kind of forgot there was an anime cutscene here, and since I have to replay this part to update the name I’ll get an actual video of this. Content warning: the next part involves an attempted sexual assault.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: One thing I will never be able to forget is that Joker looks like the dumbass manga version of Jihei without his glasses on.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: All the people in this game that threaten a lawsuit over dumb shit remind me of this one case I heard about in one of the pre-law classes I took in college (at one point I was going to go to law school but never actually did). This guy is on the back of a bus that gets hit by a car. Both the car and the bus have some dents, but not much more.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: He insists he’s got neck and back pain and shoulder pain - common injuries in motor vehicle accidents - and he wants to sue the driver of the car and the bus company. The police report comes in, and not only did it not list the guy as being on the bus, the officer who responded noted that witnesses said this guy walked up to the crowd of people who had already gotten off the bus (none of whom were injured) and pretended he’d been on it.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I like that this can be taken as reference to Eternal Punishment if you don’t know what they’re actually talking about. In EP, the Joker Game shows back up only now instead of granting your wish you give the Joker a name and that person dies.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Oh, right. I had mentioned last update that I was going to do a side update on Lupin III. I tried doing that and it turned into a list of Lupin stuff to watch. Since we’ve got an elongated cutscene here I might just talk about it here instead.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: First, we need to talk about Arsene Lupin. Arsene Lupin is a series of novels and short stories by a French author named Maurice Leblanc in the early 20th century. We’re going to run into a reference to him shortly.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Welcome to Shibuya, by the way. Anyway, Leblanc starts writing Arsene Lupin stories in a magazine and then graduates to books. All of his stories are more or less self-contained and star a “gentleman-thief” who may or may not be nobility of some sort. He has no singular origin story. All of the Arsene Lupin stories are more or less the same formula: a rich person has their jewelry or money stolen by Lupin, the police investigate (usually assisted by Lupin himself in disguise) and have Lupin tell them exactly what happened. Most of the stories are told from the perspective of a biographer hired by Lupin to tell his story.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Arsene Lupin has an incredible amount of resources (to the point where it’s speculated that he owns a newspaper) and a network of accomplices capable of pulling off ridiculous heists. He’s called a “gentleman-thief” not because he doesn’t kill people, but because most of the people he robs are aristocrat types. Most of the time, the people he steals from are bigger criminals than he is.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: One thing I should mention is that Leblanc at one point stole the character of Sherlock Holmes while Arthur Conan Doyle was still alive. Conan Doyle (and later his estate) did not enjoy this and told him to fuck off or face legal action. As a result, the book “Arsene Lupin vs. Sherlock Holmes” had the name changed to “Arsene Lupin vs. Herlock Sholmes”.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I have a copy that I’ve read through, and it’s kind of hilarious because they forgot to change the name about half the time. The irony in this will become evident when I start talking about Lupin III.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Anyway, in the late 1960s, a Japanese mangaka by the name of Kazuhiko Kato reads a bunch of the Arsene Lupin stories and decides he wants to make a manga out of it. He invents the character of Lupin III, the grandson of Arsene Lupin.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Lupin III started as a manga, but got an anime adaptation in 1971. The anime was a disaster. The first director was canned after six episodes because the network didn’t like the fact that Lupin III killed people (which is actually accurate to the manga, which is much darker than the anime). They brought on a little-known director by the name of Hayao Miyazaki to fix it. You’ve probably never heard of him.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Since it’s impossible to tell what happened, Joker pressed the app on his phone and time stopped.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Anyway, Miyazaki completely changed Lupin III’s characterization. He didn’t kill people anymore, was generally a lot more family-friendly, and the entire show was more comedic and cartoony than before. This more or less set the standard for what Lupin III is now, though there’s been a lot of pushback on it in the more recent adaptations.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The first series was cancelled after one season (23 episodes) and it wasn’t until five years later that a new one sprung up. There’s no good name for it - most people call it Part 2 or “Red Jacket” after Lupin’s jacket, which changes color with every new series he’s in (the first series was Green Jacket, they’re currently on Blue Jacket).

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Red Jacket ran for three years, with one episode a week every week for a total of 155 episodes. Miyazaki came back to direct two of those, and also directed the definitive Lupin III movie, Castle of Cagliostro, around that time. Unfortunately, it would be years before anyone would try to bring Castle of Cagliostro to the west because every time someone tried, Leblanc’s estate sued… which is kind of ironic when you consider the whole Sherlock Holmes debacle.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I like that they kept the blue fire motif for Personas that’s been around since P1.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The same thing happened to Green/Red Jacket for a while, until a company called Geneon brought the first half of Red Jacket over in the early 2000s, complete with an English dub. Crunchyroll initially got the second half subtitled but their subs were bad. The second half of Red Jacket finally got proper subtitles from Discotek, who just put out the last box set of Red Jacket earlier this year.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: There’s three more series of Lupin: Pink Jacket (Part 3) which is shit, The Italian Game (Part 4) which is from 2015 and is really good, and Part 5 which was okay but I wasn’t a huge fan of. They also just put out a 3D movie this year that uses Detective Pikachu style visuals and it’s basically Lupin III meets Innocent Sin.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Now, you might think this is Joker’s shadow due to the whole golden eyes motif established in Persona 4. It’s not. An ongoing theme of this game is that only bad people have (or are) shadows, because they threw the whole Jungian psychology thing out the window after Persona 4. No, this is Joker’s Persona.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: ZA WARUDO ends and time resumes.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: So why did I mention Lupin III? This game takes a lot of visuals from it, particularly from Red Jacket. It takes more than that but I can’t get into that for a while.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Admittedly, if I had a “stop time and make my Persona appear” app on my phone I’d probably do the same thing out of fear of looking up and seeing Gritty.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: We get off the subway and get an objective. People on the street will sometimes have these random dialog boxes open if you get near them. I’m not going out of my way to get them.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Welcome to Yongen-Jaya. For some reason, they changed the name of the area where Joker lives from its real-life counterpart, which is called Sangenjaya. There’s a dumb pun here - the “san” in Sangenjaya is the number 3, and the “yon” in “Yongen-Jaya” is the number 4. You’d think they’d have called it Gogen-Jaya since this is Persona 5.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: As Joker walks down the street, we pass by a doctor with a unique model who we’ll definitely never see again.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This seems like a really weird thing for a 17 year old to say. You’d think he’d just say “I’ll be living with Sojiro Sakura”.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I know exactly where Sojiro is, because he owns this cafe… subtly named “Leblanc”. Guess who Joker’s starter Persona is.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Unfortunately, we can’t just go there because event flags.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: We need to talk to this guy first.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: We also need to talk to this guy who will tell us to go to the cafe we were at not even minutes ago.

[Image Credit: @mu_gi on twitter]

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is what the real-life location they based Leblanc on looks like. It’s actually a bar instead of a cafe and looks like the kind of place Kazuma Kiryu would throw one of his opponents into so that the owner can finish them off with a wine bottle to the head in a heat action called “Essence of Face-Bottling”.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: By the way, the TV at Leblanc is how we’ll eventually get the Persona 5 equivalent of Trish’s “Who’s Who” show in Persona 3. You can find out what happened to all of the Persona 4 party members, who are now in their 20s (which is how we know this game takes place in 2016, apart from the dates lining up). It’s hard to believe that by this point, the Persona 1 cast are pushing 40. The Persona 3 cast are in their 30s.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I kind of wish they’d done updates for the Persona 2 cast, since that doesn’t happen in either P3 or P4.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: O-y-s-t-e-r. Meet Sojiro Sakura. He has exactly two emotions. This is the first.

Sojiro: “…Oh, right. They did say that was today.”

Sojiro: “Thanks for coming.”

Sojiro: “A what now?”

Sojiro: “It’s none of my concern.”

Sojiro: “…Four hours for just a single cup of joe. So, you’re Akira?”

Sojiro: “…Uh-huh. I’m Sojiro Sakura. You’ll be in my custody over the next year.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The second is MAXIMUM OVERSMUG.

Sojiro: “Have you been told? A customer of mine and your parents know each other and- well, not that that matters. Follow me.”

Sojiro: “I’ll at least give you sheets for your bed. You look like you wanna say something.”

Sojiro: “It’s on you to clean up the rest. I’ll be leaving after I lock up each day. You’ll be alone at night, but don’t do anything stupid. I’ll throw you out if you cause any trouble.”

Sojiro: “Now then… I got the gist of your situation. You protected some woman from a man forcing himself on her, he got injured, then sued you. Right?”

Sojiro: “That’s what you get for sticking your nose in a matter between two adults. You did injure him, yeah? And now that you’ve got a criminal record, you were expelled from your high school.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I uh… I don’t think any justice system anywhere works that way, except maybe Italy. Italy’s justice system is fucking crazy. Lawsuits are civil actions that are separate from the criminal charges pressed by the police and the prosecutors.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The writing here is really awkward, but I think what they meant to say is that the guy pressed charges with the police. It’s kind of hard to believe they’d expel a kid over simple battery, but maybe that’s just Japan.

Sojiro: “The courts ordered you to transfer and move out here, which your parents also approved.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This also makes no sense. Usually, a minor getting arrested on criminal charges isn’t grounds for removing them from their home like that. That usually happens in nasty divorces or if one of the parents is found to have abused the kid - I see this shit at work all the time. It makes no sense that the court would go “Now you’ve got to relocate to this random area west of Shibuya” in this case. This shit would probably get thrown out on appeal even in Japan, I assume.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Smug bastard.

Sojiro: “It’s best you not talk about anything unnecessary. I am in the restaurant business, you know. Behave yourself for the year. If nothing happens, your probation will be lifted.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Seriously though I want to know who approved this plot because it makes exactly zero sense. The courts, at least in the US, don’t go “Okay we need to remove the child from this household, let’s put him with a random cafe owner”. They usually send the kids to one of the grandparents or another relative. The only way this would make sense is if Sojiro was a foster parent, but he’s not.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I like to think that Joker knows that the world he lives in no longer makes sense and has just kind of resigned himself to being in a nonsense plot.

Sojiro: “Really now… it’s the word that applies to you. Your sentence lasts until next spring, right? That’s why you’re gonna be here for the coming year. Cause any problems, and you’ll be sent straight to juvie.”

Sojiro: “We’ll be going to Shujin tomorrow.”

Sojiro: “Shujin Academy - the school you’ll be attending. We’ll introduce ourselves properly to the staff there. There’s rarely a place that’ll accept someone like you, you know.”

Sojiro: “What a waste of my Sunday. Your ‘luggage’ arrived a little while ago. I brought it up here for you.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I thought the box would have the P5 save bonus in it, but it doesn’t yet. Persona 5 was somewhere in the middle of Innocent Sin and Persona 1 in terms of money. It’s tight early on, but by the end I remember having several million yen sitting around. The extra money will help because a lot of our expenditures in this game will be on things that aren’t equipment or healing items.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Most of the things in Joker’s room have a use once they’ve been cleaned. In fact, we’ll be using a couple of chunks of time early on to do that.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Meh, I’ve slept on worse. In college I stayed in this thing that was a “dorm alternative” where they gave you a tiny little apartment that looked like a Cold War-era bunker. Whole thing was made of concrete, was really drafty, and by the end was infested with rats. I remember keeping a knife next to my bed in case I had to knife a rat in the middle of the night. We need to examine one more thing.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: We could check everywhere but all the dialog more or less adds up to “this room could be useful if it didn’t look like Maya lived here”.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: He was actually playing the Maya Game in case Maya was around. The Maya Game consists of waving a can of crabmeat and shouting “FRENCH DINNER, FRENCH DINNER, PLEASE COME HERE” while walking circles around the room.

Sojiro: “Actually, the place doesn’t look too bad. Though it’s only natural you’d want to keep your room tidy.”

Sojiro: “Why don’t you go to bed for tonight? You don’t have anything better to be doing, right?”

Sojiro: “I’m going to close up shop and get out of here myself. I won’t be the one looking after you if you get sick from staying up too late, you got that?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Game, did I really need a tutorial on how to bed? I know how to bed. This is one of the last times we’ll ever be going to bed willingly.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Are you ready to see the exact same scene we saw not even minutes ago? I’m not. Same warning, by the way.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Sorry, I was too busy being asleep. I really don’t get what the point of this is. We already know what happens.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: And I’ve got my title for this update.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Also, why does this guy look like Hideki Kamiya?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I think Joker misunderstands the situation. Kamiya only wants her in the car so he can block her on Twitter.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Back in the real world, Joker’s phone rings. Either that or he’s asking himself what the best way to calculate the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Yeah this happens to me all the time when I go to sleep and then remember that I was supposed to buy a yellow onion at the grocery store a week ago and never did.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Man, don’t you just hate it when you get up and want to take a piss, but you’re chained to your bed in some kind of weird BDSM situation?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Meet the Velvet Twins - Caroline and Justine.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: And of course, Igor. Gone are Belladonna and Nameless - they stop showing up after Eternal Punishment. Philemon’s money kind of ran out after the world ended in Innocent Sin and they couldn’t afford the massive bills that come with an on-demand pianist. Persona 3 actually tells you somewhere that Nameless and Belladonna are still around but merely don’t show up for some reason.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: One thing that changed with Royal is that you can actually invite Caroline and Justine out if you have free time. We probably will not be doing this because the timetable is so tight to finish everything else.

Caroline: “You’re in the presence of our master. Stand up straight!”

Igor: “Welcome. I am delighted to make your acquaintance. This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter. It is a room that only those who are bound by a ‘contract’ may enter.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is almost word for word identical to what he says to Jihei and Tatsuya the first time he meets them.

Igor: “I summoned you to speak of important matters. It involves your life as well.”

Igor: “The state of this room reflects the state of your own heart. To think a prison would appear as such.”

Igor: “You truly are a ‘prisoner’ of fate. In the near future, there is no mistake that ruin awaits you.”

Igor: “I speak of the end of everything. However, there is a means to oppose such a fate. You must be ‘rehabilitated’. Rehabilitated toward freedom.”

Igor: “That is your only means to avoid ruin. Do you have the resolve to challenge the distortion of the world?”

Igor: “You didn’t decline, hm? Very well, that is enough. Allow me to observe the path of your rehabilitation.”

Igor: “Ah, pardon me for not introducing the others. To your right is Caroline, to your left, Justine. They serve as wardens here.”

Igor: “I shall explain the roles of these two at another occasion.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Nah, fuck that, I’ll explain it now. Caroline and Justine do Persona fusion. You can also use them to cash in Personas for items - there’s no more rank mechanic so I think you can just do it from the get-go. This is a mechanic Atlus got rid of in P3 and P4 and only just brought back for this game.

Igor: “Take your time to slowly come to understand this place. We will surely meet again… eventually.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: What is it with this game and everyone telling me to go to bed?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: And… we’ve done it, everyone! After roughly 20 minutes of cutscene, we’ve made it to the second day.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Have I mentioned that the game doesn’t actually start until 4/18?

Sojiro: “Well then, let’s go introduce ourselves properly to the staff about your transfer.”

Sojiro: “It’ll take a while to get there by train. The transfers are a real hassle, too.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I looked it up just to see how far away Aoyama is from Sangenjaya.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The answer is about 24 minutes east, and you only have to transfer trains once, maybe twice. It’s also interesting that there’s a train accident today.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I also looked up what Aoyama is like and it’s apparently one of the busiest entertainment districts for young people in Tokyo, and also one of the wealthiest. Honestly, Joker probably hit the jackpot. Shit, I’d love to work in a place like that, as opposed to where I do work.

Sojiro: “I’ll drive you there, but just for today. Let’s go. Sheesh… men aren’t usually allowed in my passenger seat.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Sojiro has never fucked. Ever.

Sojiro: “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care what happens to you. Just don’t cause any trouble.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Welcome to Hashino’s Persona, where all fat people are evil. I should talk about that a little bit.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: As I mentioned in Innocent Sin, Satomi Tadashi left Atlus after Eternal Punishment. It kind of sucks, because even though he wasn’t a great writer and spent a lot of his time being horny for idols, he at least wasn’t an asshole the way this guy is.

image

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Katsura Hashino, who looks like he’s wearing a shirt I threw out when I was in middle school, is the writer for most of Atlus’s games after EP. The exceptions are the Raidou games, Strange Journey, Devil Survivor, and SMT 4/Apocalypse. A lot of people do not like him.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Let’s talk about the games he DID write. Catherine (and Full Body), both versions of this game, Persona 3/FES, and Persona 4. You may remember the first as being controversial due to transphobia and generally not treating trans people well (not to mention the remake), even after people complained.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: In general, Hashino is a homophobe and a transphobe, and doesn’t generally appreciate fat people either. He’s a shit writer and no longer works at Atlus. He left after P5, and probably should’ve been canned after Catherine. Say what you will about Satomi Tadashi, but at least he was only horny for idols.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Persona 5 Royal had a controversy of its own involving a scene we won’t be seeing for a while that is generally really homophobic and shitty. It sparked a major backlash against Atlus, who made minor changes to it and that’s about it.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: One way you can tell that Hashino is a hack is that most of the characters in both P4 and P5 are just characters from P1 and P2 with the serial numbers filed off. This guy at his core is just Hanya but fat.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Meet Sadayo Kawakami. She’s basically Ms. Saeko, and also one of the two most useful characters in this game. I’m not even kidding.

Kawakami: “Here’s your student ID.”

Kawakami: “Be sure to read the school rules. Any violations will send you straight to the guidance office.”

Kawakami: “And if by chance you cause any problems, I won’t be able to protect you at all. …That IS your promise, yes, Principal Kobayakawa?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This seems… I dunno, kinda inappropriate.

Sojiro: “If you’re done explaining things, mind if we get going? I got a store to get back to.”

Sojiro: “Well, I’ll be sure to have a serious talk about the situation he’s in.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I’d like to remind you that Joker is roughly the same age as Tatsuya - I believe he’s 17, but people treat him like he’s either 12 or an adult.

Kawakami: “Come to the faculty office when you arrive at school tomorrow. I’ll show you to your classroom.”

Sojiro: “That’s what having a criminal record does to you. Turns out your past follows you wherever you go.”

Sojiro: “By the way… if you get expelled, I won’t hesitate to kick you out. Got it?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: One thing I don’t get is why Atlus didn’t give you the option of skipping the first few days if you have a Persona 5 clear file. Very little is actually different, apart from one line we’ll see in a couple of minutes. That’s about it.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This reminds me of one of the negotiations in Innocent Sin, where the female demons will tell Tatsuya that he should watch out because he’ll be old before he knows it, and one of the responses is a very Japanese “I’ll be careful”.

Sojiro: “Hmph… school never changes, huh? Come on, we’re going home.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Cue Hideo Kojima banging on the windows of an empty Japanese high school in early 2020 screaming “SCHOOL HAS CHANGED”.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Meet Suguru Kamoshida, the gym teacher and also one of the worst written characters in this game.

Kawakami: “I can’t believe they pushed someone with a record on me. A male teacher would be better suited for this.”

Kamoshida: “Why in the world was he admitted here?”

Kawakami: “Who knows? It was the principal’s decision. I was told that it’s for the school’s reputation.”

Kamoshida: “I would’ve thought that my volleyball team has contributed more than enough to cover that.”

Kawakami: “That’s certainly true.”

Kamoshida: “Be careful, okay? Then again, if anything were to happen, I’d kick out a student like that right away.”

Kawakami: “I keep wishing that he’d just end up not coming to school. Still, that isn’t something I should be saying as a teacher…”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Believe me, she’s actually Ms. Saeko. Everyone in this game starts out as an asshole and then basically turns into a completely different person overnight.

Kamoshida: “Well, I should be returning to practice.”

Kawakami: “Oh, right. The tournament’s coming up, isn’t it?”

Kamoshida: “Hehe, having such high expectations placed on you by others is quite a problem in itself. We’ll have to work hard to make up for the track team too.”

Sojiro: “You’re taking the train starting tomorrow.”

Sojiro: “…So how was it? The school, I mean. You think you can manage?”

Sojiro: “… Now listen up. Still, you were expelled once already. To think you’d re-enroll at a different one…”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: What was the point of this cutscene? What is he telling us that we don’t already know? In the original game, the answer is nothing. This is a pointless fucking cutscene. Also notice that nothing he says makes any sense here - I’m not leaving anything out.

Sojiro: “…If that’s what it was like at school, people might say stuff about me in the future too. What a troublesome kid I’ve taken in.”

Sojiro: “I was asked to do it, and I just… happened to agree to it. I’ve already been paid for it too, after all.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Remember how I said that it was weird that there was a train crash on the actual Sangenjaya-Shibuya line today?

Sojiro: “…Another accident? So that’s why it’s so crowded. There’s been a lot of those lately.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is that new line of dialog I was talking about.

Sojiro: “Her parents have gotta be just…”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I hope you’re ready for more cutscene! I still have like… probably 200 screenshots left for just this one day.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: “Why’d that guy bite me?” and then it’s Resident Evil 2.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I think one choice I don’t like stylistically about this game is that it feels too much like a movie. I think P5 has the highest amount of cutscenes where the party isn’t in them out of all the Persona games. On one hand, I know why they did it - it’s because they didn’t want a repeat of Innocent Sin where you get to the end and you’re like “Wait, who are all these people?”, but on the other it’s using a lot of time that could’ve been used on gameplay on this.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: It’s also weird to me that they’re mocking up CNN’s logo. I know CNN airs in Japan, but you’d think for a local story like this they’d be watching FujiTV or NHK or something.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Looking back at this, these last two lines are incredibly awkward and don’t make a lot of sense. ATC stands for automatic train control - so basically, the SIU Director is blaming an equipment failure, even though at this point the entire reason Sae is here is to investigate a series of cases of people becoming zombies… and the director knows or should know this because he’s her boss.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: See, this is why this game’s writing is kind of insidious. YIIK was blatantly bad - you could tell from one look that nothing half the characters were saying made any kind of sense. P5 is the kind of bad where your brain just kind of shuts off after a while and you just go with it because you’re not sure whether it’s bad writing, a localization failure, or both. Trust me, it’s both.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I also have to wonder why they didn’t flip the Japanese text to English. I don’t mean replace it, I mean the way that some Japanese news sites will have the news in both Japanese and English. Like, have the graphics “flip” to English for a minute so I can read this.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: He just said he thought it was an equipment failure! None of this makes any fucking sense, and I know what the plot is! I think I just shut my brain off around here and didn’t turn it back on until one scene near the end of the game when it got so stupid that I just started skipping cutscenes.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: And here’s Goro Akechi. He’s consistently the most popular character in polls. No surprise there since he looks like a character out of an otome game. He’s basically the NPC version of Naoto Shirogane from P4, because none of the characters in this game are original.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I should mention that if you buy the Innocent Sin skin pack, Akechi’s outfit is replaced with Jun’s in scenes where his actual model shows up… though really all they do is color his jacket blue.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I am very surprised this never became a meme of some kind.

Sojiro: “I wasn’t able to open the cafe today.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: There’s this one song I had to look up that used to play on the radio all the time and I hear it every time a character in an RPG says that. The song is “Tonight Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: “It’s been a hell of a week. Couldn’t open the cafe, adopted a kid and I’m like 43… too old to be a protagonist in an RPG… and I’m like dot dot dot whatever. Dot dot dot whatever. Dot dot dot whatever. Dot dot dot.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: “It used to be mine, back when I was an RPG protagonist in '98. They used to call me Squall, but I had my name legally changed because it was dumb. Back in my day, we had to junction spells to our stats because we were out of other gimmicks, and spent hours grinding trading cards because levelling up was bad.”

Sojiro: “You may be under probation, but there’s no special limitations on what you do in particular. Besides following the law, that is.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Okay so not only do they move Joker to some random cafe in Sangenjaya, they also… just straight up don’t have any kind of rules for probation? I’m starting to doubt there was actually a court case. Joker’s parents just wanted to get rid of him.

Sojiro: “However, I’m obligated to report on you, which is why I’m having you record your daily activities.”

Sojiro: “…I’m about to leave right now. Don’t worry, I’ll be there in no time. …Uh-huh. I’ll see you soon.”

Sojiro: “Well, I’m off. I’ll lock the place up, so do whatever you want for the rest of the night. Oh, but don’t mess up my store. If something goes missing, I’ll hand you right over to the cops.”

Sojiro: “You got school tomorrow… you better head off to bed, all right?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: In an awkward bit of ludonarrative dissonance, Joker uses the diary as a save point in this cutscene… but in the actual game we can save anywhere so long as it’s not in a dungeon.

Sojiro: “Anyway… I closed up shop, but I forgot to flip the sign to “closed” when I left. It’s too much trouble for me to come back just for that. Think you can do it for me?”

Sojiro: “I doubt any customers are gonna come now even if the sign’s flipped to Open. And I have to say, this is quite a relief.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I actually have a clip of someone reading the design documents for Persona 5 written by Hashino himself.

Sojiro: “I’m glad you actually picked up. Anyway, I’ll leave the shop sign to you.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: In an awkward bit of gameplay, we have to go outside and flip the shop sign manually. This isn’t something we’ll ever do again. Mostly what this is doing is making you aware of the fact that Leblanc has a telephone. We can use it later… even though Joker has a cellphone.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: It’s weird to me that Joker never turns the TV off. I’d go nuts if I had to sleep above that.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I already looked at the TV and the rest of this monolog is Joker talking about stuff the TV already showed.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: And that’s it. Next time, we go to school and get introduced to the life simulation part of Persona 5 Royal.

Music in this update:

Music Beneath the Mask Instrumental

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is the song that typically plays when walking around Tokyo. It’s got four different versions - two instrumental and two with lyrics.

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The way it works, I believe, is that the prosecutor’s office is part of the police force, so Sae’s boss being able to tell the police to let her through makes sense. As much sense as it could given the context and all that. I don’t believe the DA is involved at.

Well, I mean the Shadow is the True Self, so it… kind of IS a Persona? Maybe Joker’s just someone who really is in tune with his inner being, so when his creepy ass shadow shows up he’s like “haha, yeah. That’s me. That is how I feel.” and he just skips on straight ahead. Which, again from what little I have played, seems correct so far? The characters all know who they are and are confident in themselves; it is society that forces a mask on them, so they tear it off to reveal the devil underneath.

I cannot, ever, not see Sojiro as Doc Venture.

As ridiculous as the premise is, I think “the guy Joker punched is rich and powerful enough to just fuck with him like this” is a valid explanation. They could have just done the work to make the plot NOT silly of course, but they did at least give a possible explanation. Dude’s talking about how the country should follow him to a bright future, I imagine he’s kind of an asshole.

God this is a slow ass start though. I forgot about that…

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God Ren Amamiya Mamamia Amamiya Akira Kurusu is so adorable I just want to pinch his anime cheeks. Seriously though, I like how expressive his face is, so both his mild-mannered high school student and antihero gentleman thief personas (if you will) look natural.

The dialogue in this game is certainly something. I especially like “Now listen up. Still, you were expelled once already. To think you’d re-enroll at a different one… If that’s what it was like at school, people might say stuff about me in the future too.” It looks like somebody transcribed a Trump speech. However, I don’t think it goes far enough. I want the text to occasionally spill outside the text box like in Danganronpa 2.

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When I went through my screenshots and saw the dialog there, I swore I must’ve missed something. Then I checked it against both a video playthrough and the other LP, and no, I didn’t. What’s funny is they actually did change that bit of dialog in Royal - they added the “now listen up” line. You know, instead of making that entire scene make any kind of sense.

I don’t think they ever give an actual explanation, but my guess is that none of the schools wherever Joker’s from would take him due to the whole criminal record thing, and the only one that would is way out in Aoyama and that’s why he had to move - it’s not actually a condition of his probation.

The thing is, instead of wasting all this time repeating the same lines of dialog they could’ve put something in explaining it better.

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I actually kinda like the idea that the mystical power of the Persona is gained by facing and accepting your Shadow, but yeah, modern Persona suffers a bit from inconsistent writing on that front, and even what exactly the Shadow Selves we see in-game are even supposed to be.

Re: all the problems with the localization, I’ve heard that instead of necessarily being a rush job, it’s that there was a lot of executive meddling from Atlus Japan in the early stages/main plot part of the localization. It’s why a bunch of the Social Link dialogue reads a bit more naturally than the main plot, IIRC. And also why the VA is a bit more awkward and unnatural than we’re used to from Atlus USA games.

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I was thinking of how to justify John Persona as a name with something along the “Name the character Will Smith” advice instead of just a dumb joke that keeps making me laugh.

I did not know the plot of the game is he got in one little fight and his mom got scared and said “You’re moving with a random coffee shop owner.”

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Oh, so a little update on that as I go to record for the next update. There’s actually something else we get to name a bit later - that being the name of the party. What I think I’m going to do rather than go through like 38 minutes of cutscenes and dialog again (as opposed to the 10 or so minutes I’d need to get video of the cutscenes) is name the party John Persona. Alternatively we could do Fresh Princes.

I mean it has to be the French Princes. The only other idea I can think of is Masked Circle.

Click Here for Update 3

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I don’t know why, but these thought bubbles make me think of the Milkman level from Psychonauts. “I am John Persona. My Personas are delicious. I have school starting today. I hope I do not get lost.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I only got this shot because I wanted to mention that if you ordered the overpriced collector’s edition of Persona 5, you got a Shujin bag like that one. I wound up getting “upgraded” to it without asking when I preordered, just like I did for Sonic Mania on the Switch. That’s why I have a gigantic statue of Sonic on a Model 1 Genesis on my shelf.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: By the way, I should mention I had to re-record this four times because I forgot that AmaRecTV and FRAPS only play nicely together when the stars align. Some of the early shots in this update will be a little weird because of that. Apparently, I have to do this exactly like Persona 1 and Innocent Sin where I take screenshots at my native 2560x1080 resolution and crop the black bars off. This is why we don’t buy ultrawide monitors.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: We could watch the TV (and I did in the video) but it gets repeated in a cutscene just a few minutes from now.

Sojiro: “Here, I’ll feed you. Just make sure you finish it before the customers start coming in.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Yes. Curry for breakfast. I am John Persona, my breakfast is curry. The curry is delicious. I must leave now for my job on the road crew.

Sojiro: “What’s that reaction for? Just eat it.”

Sojiro: “It’s time for you to go.”

Sojiro: “Huh, turns out you do have manners after all. Hurry over to school. You’ll end up late if you get lost on the way.”

Sojiro: “Don’t forget to do that for me, all right? Now, you better hurry on out. You’re gonna be late if you get lost, country boy.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I guess this confirms my theory that moving wasn’t actually part of Joker’s probation, he just had to move because there were no other schools that would take him.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The station is down this street, which looks like it’d be an invisible wall in a Yakuza game… or in Innocent Sin.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The game does this neat thing to mask loading where it’ll have outlines of people doing different things - the one on the train is different from the ones you get going between screens in the city. Like I said in the OP, this game is amazing in absolutely every way but the writing.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: All of a sudden, the door to the conductor’s area opens and looking back is Hitler wearing sunglasses and a jetpack.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The entire subway is kind of a maze, with lots of dead ends. By the way, the sign on this platform corresponds to the real-life Tokyo subway system. At least, I’m pretty sure it does.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This sign is actually relevant. Big Bang Burger is Persona 5’s equivalent of the Chinese restaurant Aiya in Persona 4. I also only just realized that Aiya in P4 is a reference to Lisa in IS.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I don’t know why I capped this other than that it sounds like a motivational shitpost on Twitter.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: There’s some optional dialog here I want to get real quick.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is Ichiko Ohya. We will not know her name for quite some time. She looks kind of like a hybrid of Maya and Yukino.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Right behind Ohya is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS for an all confidants run. This is the Aojiru stand. We will be spending a lot of money here.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The exit we need to use is the Hachiko exit, hence the dog. If you don’t know who Hachiko was, Hachiko was a dog who belonged to a professor teaching at Tokyo Imperial University. You might’ve heard of that school if you’ve ever watched Love Hina - that’s the school the main character is trying to get into.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Anyway, Hachiko lived from late 1923 to March 1935. Every day, he’d meet his owner at Shibuya Station on his way home from work. Hachiko’s owner died at work on May 21, 1925 of a brain hemorrhage. Even after his owner’s death, Hachiko would go to the station every day to wait for his owner to return. He died on the streets of Shibuya on his way to the station.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: When Hachiko died, all of his organs were preserved and he was stuffed and mounted for display - he’s now in a museum somewhere. People thought he had died from having a meat skewer rupture his stomach, but scientists from the University of Tokyo did an autopsy in 2011 and found out that he actually had terminal cancer and worms. He died with four meat skewers in his stomach, but they had actually done no harm to him.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: There’s also a statue of Hachiko near the station that is a popular meetup spot to this day. It’s in The World Ends With You.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Here’s a video of the upcoming cutscene, which catches a few things I missed.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Oh shit, it’s that guy from Assassin’s Creed!

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Meet this game’s obligatory Lisa Silverman clone, Ann Takamaki.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I’d like to think that in a better-written game, she’d look at Joker and think the word “chinyan” for reasons she can’t quite understand. Joker would start having flashbacks to killing a giant bondage-suited dadmass in a Mayan ruin. What I’m saying is that Joker would actually be a reincarnation of the “other side” Tatsuya Suou and this would be a direct sequel to Innocent Sin.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Gotta love that Ann has the 4chan logo on her hoodie.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who has a face that square.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: When you roll up to the club only you realize you’re sitting in the passenger side because this is actually the US and no one’s been driving the car but the car is still moving and you realize you’ve been ghost riding for the past hour and a half.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I missed a shot of him asking Joker if he wants a ride. It’s in the video, but Joker waves him off.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is Ryuji Sakamoto, our designated Mark/Eikichi/Junpei/Yosuke for Persona 5. In terms of ranking, he’s definitely below Eikichi (at Rank 1) and Mark (at Rank 2) but higher than Yosuke (Rank 4) or Junpei (Shit Tier).

9_2iVBrO_400x400: When Joker says “pervy teacher”, the app on his phone starts responding. Fucked if I can read any of that though, apart from the numbers. The only kanji I even recognize is the one for train station.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: It’s hard to notice unless you’re running a video of the original game next to it, but they completely re-did Ryuji’s portraits for Royal. I also found out that apparently, the P5 cast have made appearances in a lot of mobage: Chain Chronicle, Granblue Fantasy, Identity V, one of the Sword Art Online mobage because the wiki has a fuckload of art for Ryuji from those.

Ryuji: “Huh? In that car just now. It was Kamoshida.”

The game does a black and white flashback to an event that happened like, ten seconds ago. Just in case you forgot.

Ryuji: “He does whatever the hell he wants. Who does he think he is - the king of a castle? Don’t you agree?”

Ryuji: “…Wait. You don’t know Kamoshida? Are you for real? You’re from Shujin, right?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: No, I am John Persona. I work on the road crew. My milk is delicious.

Ryuji: “What? No other high school’s got a uniform that looks like this.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I mean yeah, very few schools have a uniform that looks like you frontlined for a ska band called something like “Awestruck at Third Base” between 2001 and 2003 before ska stopped being cool again and retreated back to the primordial ooze from which it will probably emerge again in 2031.

Ryuji: “Never seen you before though. Oh, you a transfer student?”

Ryuji: “Then no wonder you don’t know him. This rain ain’t too bad. We better hurry up, or we’ll be late.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Oh no, a broken film reel cut!

Music Interrogation Room

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Remember how I said Sae was the most awkwardly written character in the game? Every time we meet someone or are about to start a new dungeon, she’ll pop in like this. Sometimes it’s not bad. Other times, she’ll be asking questions that make no sense for her to ask.

Sae: “I assume you know of the uproar that the public calls the ‘psychotic breakdown incidents’.”

Sae: “You say that like it’s none of your business. It was all over the news, and one of the victims included a teacher at your high school.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Can you guess who the next villain is going to be?

Sae: “I’ve no doubt you’ve heard about it. On that day… were you still an ‘ordinary’ student?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I didn’t capture it but Joker asks her “What do you mean?”

Sae: “Let me change the question. You transferred to Shujin Academy, correct? An ordinary prep school that could be found in any city…”

Sae: “…that’s what it should’ve been.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The way she says that just sounds… off. I’m getting flashbacks to HALF LIFE: FULL LIFE CONSEQUENCES for some reason. Shit, is it too late to go back and name Joker John Freeman?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Has anyone ever spoken like this? I’ve watched depositions of things like the OJ Simpson trial where they had an attorney ask OJ Simpson where he’d been every five minutes for like three days. “And where were you between 12:00 and 12:05? What about 12:06 to 12:10?” and even the attorneys weren’t talking like this.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is the second time in the series the protagonist’s high school has turned into a castle. Technically the third if you count SMT If. The first was Snow Queen in Persona 1.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Yeah I mean, I know if I went to work and the building was replaced with a gigantic Japanese castle the first thing I’d do is go in. And by that I mean I’d stand in front of the gates, shout “FUCK THIS, I QUIT” and leave.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The world briefly flickers, showing the entrance hall for Shujin replaced by the castle interior. It’s very Silent Hill.