Click Here for Update 12
: It’s 05/03, and unfortunately the rest of Joker’s school vacation is on autopilot. We can’t do anything during the day.
: “Hey, you can hear me, right? You don’t have plans, do you? Come help me out, instead of sleeping your life away.”
: “We do owe it to him… we’ll just have to wait. Hurry down and help him out.”
: “Hm? Isn’t this…?”
: “I knew it. This is your school, isn’t it?”
: “sigh Things might be getting turbulent at school, but you need to just keep your head down, all right?”
: I feel like for the first half of the game, there just needs to be a button where any time Sojiro comes on screen you can press it and it’ll just flash “OK BOOMER” and skip it.
: We spend the evening watching the first half of Wraith, which gets us 3 points to kindness.
: “Just do it. Don’t get cocky with me.”
: Oh look, Sae’s here, no doubt about some irrelevant bullshit. She’s going to order curry and then ask Sojiro how he learned to make it because no one could possibly make curry by themselves.
: “Not at all.”
: “Oh, is that the thing everyone’s been talking about?”
: “Doesn’t it make you curious? People who were living normal lives suddenly went mad or deranged out of the blue…”
: “Not to mention it’s happening one after another… could they really be coincidental?”
: “Hmm… leaving that aside, what’ll you have?”
: “…I’ll have the house blend please.”
: “Uhh, no, not exactly.”
: Ahh, nope. It’s just me, Gabe Newell. And then Sae interrogates him because there has to be a conspiracy about why Episode 3 never came out - it couldn’t just be because Valve has become a progressively shittier company since the early 2000s.
: “Are you a high school student? Where do you attend?”
: “Oh? Someone I know goes there as well. I’ve heard that things are rough right now.”
: “A teacher named Kamoshida confessed his crimes like he was a completely different person, supposedly.”
: Her next line should be “It’s like we’re in a poorly-written videogame.”
: “And it happened all of a sudden one day… can a person’s mental state change so easily?”
: “Is my drink ready yet?”
: “Coming right up.”
: Naturally, we go to Untouchable to sell the medal.
: “Huh? A gold medal? Why do you have this? We don’t buy any fake or stolen goods here, kid.”
: “…Hold on a sec. Lemme see it.”
: “I’m just… not gonna ask where you got this. How’s 30,000 yen sound for it though?”
: Iwai reminds me a lot of The Dark Id.
: “Hmph. The both of us know you ain’t findin’ another buyer for that thing. Just take the 30k.”
: By the way, selling precious metals very rarely works this way in real life. Most places will not give you spot price for metals - they’ll only buy slightly below that so they always make a profit. It’s one of the reasons investing in physical metals is a bad idea.
: “It’s almost time…”
: Oh, this bag. This fucking bag. As you’ve probably guessed by the pattern of “all characters with portraits are confidants or major bosses”, Iwai here is a confidant.
: In the base game, you had to open the bag to start Iwai’s confidant. Doing so required a minimum of 4 guts. In the 100% guide I used for the base game, the earliest you could do this was near the end of August, and you wound up finishing it with less than a month to go before the last day because that’s how unimportant he was.
: A lot of people never even made it that far - one of the top questions on Gamefaqs is “How do I open the bag?”. The reason they give it to you this early was originally for people playing New Game + who had maxed social stats.
: Make no mistake though, we still need 4 guts to start his confidant. The good news is, we’ll be doing this significantly earlier - we’ll have that by the end of July.
: “Glad you’re so quick to understand.”
: “…They’re here.”
: “I dunno, lookin’ for evidence? You tell me, Mr. Detective.”
: “Well, you guys gonna search me? Go on, do what you gotta do.”
: “An upstandin’ citizen’s supposed to cooperate with the cops, right?”
: “Can you two hurry it up? I got a business to run here.”
: I know what’s in the bag, but I imagine the cops opening it and inside are two Desert Eagles. The first one is named Nagisa, the second one Honoka, and they’re pink, white, covered in Pretty Cure and have little rings on the underside of the grip to hang charms on. The iron sights have been replaced with tiny anime figures. The cops open the bag and it causes the Third Impact.
: “…The kid’s just a regular ol’ customer. You can check the tapes if that’ll convince you. They’ll show you everything that’s gone down here today.”
: “That’s right, Mr. Detective. Maybe next time try not harassin’ my customers, see how that goes.”
: “More importantly… aren’t you curious about what’s in the bag?”
: “Well? Come on, let’s open it up.”
: “It’s incredible though! Miles ahead of the one Ryuji had. There’s something weird about that place…”
: “Hey Akira, I just had a great idea… we should totally buy this gun from him later!”
: “I mean, it’s perfect. Something this real-looking would work wonders in the Metaverse…”
: “Anyway, he told you to bring it back the next time you came, right? You should try striking a deal with him when we go to return it!”
: “I saw the news coverage. You know, about Kamoshida. It’s getting a lot of coverage…”
: “I don’t know… the reaction’s been bigger than what I was expecting… I guess I’m just… surprised.”
: “I don’t think we did anything wrong though. I wonder if we helped those people speak up about it…”
: “That’s pretty amazing, huh? I didn’t think we’d actually be able to do it! And yet look at us now! This calls for a celebration.”
: “Let’s meet in front of Shibuya Station at noon tomorrow. Don’t be late! Oh, and did you pawn off that medal? You didn’t forget, right?”
: “Good to hear! I already made reservations! You should be really excited about the place I chose, by the way. I’m sure everyone’s gonna love it!”
: “Ah, a restaurant of Lady Ann’s choosing. Finally, a decent meal! Hey, what do you think we’re gonna be eating?”
: I’ve made my position on sushi clear in the Innocent Sin LP (it sucks).
: We spend the night crafting. I only make one lockpick because there will be at least two more crafting sessions before the next dungeon. Because we have proficiency at 2, we can now make 3 items per session.
: “Oh yeah, I heard that the police are coming to interview some people at school.”
: “That’s troublesome.”
: "Our names are gonna come up for sure. People’re spreadin’ all sorts of rumors about us and Kamoshida… but we got ‘em pumped up! I keep hearin’ stuff like ‘The Phantom Thieves really stole his heart!’ "
: “I think most people don’t believe it, but some of 'em actually seem grateful. Look at this.”
: “Pretty cool, huh?”
: “I was just desperate to deal with my own problems, but seeing people saying all this feels… strange.”
: “Yeah… hey, what do we do now?”
: “Well of course I’m gonna eat, but…”
: gasp “This place has a time limit!”
: “Oh crap, we only got an hour to eat!”
: “Just fifty minutes left!”
: “I’m not gonna finish all the beef dishes at this pace!”
: What are you, Chie?
: “I need to eat my way through the entire desserts menu!”
: What are you, Stocking?
: “Look after our stuff! We’ll snag somethin’ for you guys too, don’t worry!”
: “Seriously? Only meat?”
: “Now, where should I start?”
: “Hey. Calories.”
: “Shuddup! How much do you think oneo f these costs!? I’ll never get the chance to do this again! Mmm, the Wilton Hotel cake buffet… I’d heard rumors, but I never thought it’d be so amazing!”
: “And… where’s our share?”
: “I didn’t really know what you’d want… so I just grabbed you some beans.”
: “There were some pretty bizarre things there too, so we got you a variety of those. Fried bananas, preserved eggs, and… some kind of beans.”
: “M-More beans?”
: “We put so much on the plate that it got all mixed up, but it should probably still taste good.”
: “This is just plain grotesque. Let’s go, Akira. These two just don’t know what fine dining means! We’ll show them!”
: “You guys watch our things while we’re gone! Wait patiently for our return!”
: Bet the yaoi artists loved that one.
: “Ooh, this part’s cream cheese!”
: “They’re not even listening.”
: This is how you’re supposed to know that the cast are teenagers because only teenagers would pay $80 for a hotel buffet. I don’t know if things are different in Japan, but they act like this is some super upscale dining experience when in America (and as far as I know, everywhere else in the world) buffets are the lowest form of food.
: “They have a lot here… but fish should come first! Let’s fill our plate with all sorts of fish. Which table do you think they’re at?”
: “I’d prefer it raw, but grilled is great too!”
: So, what I’d like you to do is pay attention to what the “shitty adults” are saying, because Morgana is going to give us a summary that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at the end of this.
: “Hold on a sec…”
: “Huh. It sounds like the Kamoshida incident is the talk of the town.”
: It strikes me as really weird that people here are talking about Kamoshida by name. Kamoshida was basically a local scandal in Aoyama, and we’re in Shibuya right now. I’m not surprised they know about him, but it seems weird they’d have remembered his name.
: “Shoot! They noticed you! Just grab some food and act natural! On the plus side, we’ll get to eat the food later.”
: Let me ask you something. When was the last time you saw a rich person eat at a buffet?
: “What’s so bad about kids coming to enjoy a buffet? Hm, I wonder how the other people here are reacting to the news. Let’s get some more food and listen in.”
: We then go through several eavesdropping cutscenes like it’s Dagger of Amon Ra.
: “Look into? I guess they’re investigating Kamoshida? They don’t sound very enthusiastic about it though.”
: "Gah! Grab some food! Ah, get the part that’s not too fatty!’
: Eggplant parm. Chicken parm. The legendary Pizza Burger. What I’m saying is that Morgana is wrong.
: “…Sorry, I got a bit carried away there.”
: “How can he be so insensitive? A student almost killed herself because of that Kamoshida…”
: “Quick! Grab some food! And don’t forget the crispy bits!”
: So now we’ve been through three different conversations where the adults have done nothing but talk about Kamoshida.
: “A sudden change of heart, huh? I suppose I can’t blame him for seeing it that way.”
: This is the last one of these we have to do. It’s as boring and repetitive here as it is in game.
: “Ah. I got distracted.”
: “So they don’t believe themselves, but they’re making up stories to make the Phantom Thieves seem real… and they’re doing this in front of the actual Phantom Thieves.”
: “Whoa! Act fast, and get some food! And make sure it’s got a lot of whipped cream!”
: “Well, that was rude. Did you hear him? He said you were weird.”
: “But it’s shocking. So many of the adults here don’t seem like nice people. Now, according to what we heard…”
: “It seems most adults aren’t very interested in the news about Kamoshida.”
: I’d like to point out that out of the last 12 adults we’ve seen (roughly 10 here, plus Sae and Sojiro) 12 have talked about nothing but Kamoshida.
: “Well, now that we’ve got a nice variety of food on our plates, let’s head back to the others.”
: “Whaddya think about comin’ up against such ritzy food?”
: “I was thinkin’ that too, but take a bite. Usin’ better ingredients makes stuff taste way different!”
: Wait, what? How does that last line track with what I just answered?
: “Look at you, acting like you have a refined palate all of a sudden.”
: “Don’t you think you’re eatin’ too much, Mona?”
: “There’s no… knowing when we’ll get to come back here again.”
: “Sure, but you guys brought back loads of food. It’d be a shame to let it all go to waste. Why don’t you help them out, Ryuji?”
: “We should both help.”
: "Oh, me? I’m waaay too stuffed! I couldn’t possibly help!’
: “Yeah, stuffin’ your face with cake. Whatever. Let’s deal with this ourselves!”
: “W-We did it…”
: “Ye-Oh yeah… this is a victory… for all of us…”
: John Persona looks Ryuji straight in the eyes and goes “It looks like food to you?”
: “Not exactly…”
: “Good job, you guys. How about one last dish to cleanse your palates? I recommend the seasonal tart! The grapefruit has both alluring sweetness and a tangy sourness!”
: “Stop… I don’t wanna hear about sour stuff.”
: “This isn’t good… I gotta go to the bathroom…”
: “M-me too… please… carry me gently…”
: “What was that? …Urp! We don’t got time for that. C’mon, let’s go…”
: This is me every year at the family Christmas party.
: “I totally panicked when I saw the ‘Closed for Cleaning’ sign at the bathrooms…”
: “You were talking big about eating until you puked, but you really did puke… are you some kind of moron?”
: “Hey, same goes for you! What floor was that restaurant on?”
: “We came up to get here, so it has to be on a lower floor, right?”
: Oh look, it’s the guy from Joker’s flashback who kinda looks like Hideki Kamiya. He just shoves Ryuji out of the way and takes the elevator for himself.
: Nah, there’s no update to Wonderful 101 PC edition that makes it not control like crap.
: Now, you might think this is foreshadowing to the next dungeon. It’s not.
: “Hey, you’re cuttin’ in line!”
: “Oh, I’m sorry. So you can butt in front of other people if you’re in a hurry?”
: So yeah, the game just kind of expects you’ve totally forgotten that this guy exists. Now, you might think “Clearly, the rest of the game must be a revenge plot on this guy”… except it isn’t at all.
: “Shouldn’t we head back down?”
: “Yeah, but… that dick really pissed me off. He wasn’t even hidin’ the fact that he looks down on everyone!”
: “Don’t lose your temper over this.”
: “I just can’t forgive shitty adults like that!”
: “…What’s wrong?”
: “You sure? You’re not lookin’ so hot.”
: “It’s probably because he never eats well. I’m always stuck with canned cat food too.”
: “Ugh, that “sir” bullshit makes me sick! …Dammit!”
: “Why’re you all pissy?”
: “Sorry… I had a run-in with some woman a second ago. She bumped into me, but then said it was my fault when she dropped her plate.”
: “Sounds like a real bitch.”
: One thing this game does that I kind of can’t stand is that it abuses the hell out of ellipses. The start of the game didn’t do this. It’s something that’s coming up now, and it makes no sense. Persona 1 and Innocent Sin did this a lot when a character’s dialog was being split up into multiple text boxes, but both Ann and Ryuji do it in those last two lines (I removed it in the transcription) even though they’re not being split between boxes.
: “Yeah, thanks though. But… the restaurant workers all looked at me with this disapproving expression. I wonder if we’re out of place here…”
: I mean, it’s a buffet. A very overpriced buffet, but still a buffet.
: “…Hey, Morgana.”
: “What is it?”
: “Anyone could have a Palace, yeah?”
: “Anyone with a strong, distorted desire.”
: “Same for them havin’ a change of heart if their Treasure gets stolen?”
: “That would be the case.”
: “Why are you bringing this up all of a sudden?”
: “We had trouble earlier too. These selfish shitheads who just looked down on everyone else… I was just wonderin’ if we’d be able to change those kindsa people too.”
: In case you can’t tell, this game takes pretty heavy inspiration from Death Note.
: “You mean… you wanna continue as the Phantom Thieves?”
: “I’ve been thinkin’. We put a lot of work into changin’ Kamoshida’s heart, but nobody believes in the Phantom Thieves.”
: “Plus… those guys who had no other choice but to deal with it are thankin’ us. Us, of all people.”
: “Well… that’s true. You’re under my tutelage. There’s nothing we can’t accomplish as phantom thieves!”
: “Shouldn’t we be able to help 'em out?”
: Here’s the thing about this scene, and why I don’t like it. What Atlus is trying to do here (and also what they were trying to do in the cutscenes when the party was arguing about whether they should steal Kamoshida’s heart) is evoke the 2012 film Chronicle, which was a pretty big hit when it came out. The thing is, both this scene and that one are more or less carbon copies of a single scene in that movie.
: “But… that means we’ll have to fight Shadows again, doesn’t it?”
: “Indeed. That can’t be avoided.”
: If you haven’t seen it, Chronicle is a film about a group of three high school kids (all boys) who get superpowers after touching an alien techno-sphere thing. They immediately make a pact that none of them will use their powers for evil and then one of them inevitably goes to the dark side and kills his abusive stepdad.
: That movie’s biggest impact was bringing the term “apex predator” into vogue. That’s how the dark side kid justifies killing his stepdad: he’s an apex predator now despite the fact that he has no real protection against being shot.
: “Eh, I’m sure we’ll manage. Hehehe… right?”
: Here’s my problem with this scene, though. Chronicle was heavily inspired by things like Watchmen and Spider-Man, about what happens when suddenly you’ve got powers that make it so that the ordinary rules of society no longer apply to you and how you’re supposed to handle that while still trying to maintain your humanity. Persona 5 thinks about this for all of about ten seconds before tossing it out a window.
: My other problem with this is that there’s no real stakes behind it. The earlier games all worked because you were ultimately fighting something that was either going to destroy reality (Maki), was an existential threat to humanity (Nyx, Nyarlathotep) or had the immediate potential to become an existential threat (Izanami).
: Oh, right. I also wanted to mention that yes, I recognize that Inception was also probably an inspiration for this game. This is just kind of Atlus doing what they’d done for the past twenty-five years or so. The original Megami Tensei games were direct ripoffs of a book called Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, and SMT If was heavily inspired by a British film that was simply called “If” to the point where they copied the font for the cover art straight off the movie posters.
: “We’re gonna catch all these shitty adults by surprise, and make ourselves known to the world!”
: The other thing I think doesn’t work about this is that like, there’s no point in this game where any of our party members will even do anything vaguely questionable. I’m not saying I want like, WoW-grade corruption porn (because that’s exactly what Warcraft has always been) but have a point where the party maybe goes a little too far. It kind of sets that up here… but never really follows through.
: “…Are you okay being our leader?”
: “No objections here! I can’t handle all that responsibility stuff.”
: “Where’s my say in this? But Lady Ann made the recommendation, so I’ll allow it.”
: “Ooh, I’ve got it! I want it to be something both cute and luxurious sounding… let me see… how about “The Diamonds”?”
: This is Lupin III poking through. In the show, Lupin has this unhealthy attraction to a woman called Fujiko Mine. Fujiko loves diamonds, particularly in Red Jacket. She’s also more or less asexual (for the most part).
: “…I’m gettin’ a real little league baseball feel from it.”
: “Well then, here’s my suggestion. How about ‘Tilefish Poele’?”
: “Tile… uh, what?”
: “That’s what I ate earlier. It’s commemorative, no?”
: I looked it up, and as far as I can tell, tilefish poele is not an actual thing. The only results I got were a handful of recipes for tilefish and a lot of people doing runs of the base game where they named their group that.
: Tilefish is a firm, white, flaky fish that many places don’t use anymore because it typically contains large amounts of mercury. A lot of recipes that call for it can take other types of fish with lower mercury content just fine. Poele is a cooking method involving a covered pot that is used in French cuisine, but it’s typically used with chicken or other meat that has skin on.
: “Hell no, you idiot! Ugh… you decide for me.”
: By default, the group’s name is The Phantoms. This is kind of a reference to The Spookies from Soul Hackers, who have a logo that looks kind of like the one Ryuji put on the calling card for Kamoshida.
: The thread voted overwhelmingly to name Joker “John Persona” but I kind of screwed that up by recording too early. With another overwhelming vote, we’re naming the group John Persona instead, because we’re all John Persona inside. This name only really shows up online (if you use the thieves guild, which we don’t) but really, we’re all just John Persona inside.
: I can just imagine Sae asking “Who the fuck is John Persona? Where is he? Answer me, dammit!” and Joker just looking at her and laughing. “We’re all John Persona. I’m John Persona. He’s John Persona.”
: I like to think that canonically, while Joker gave us his real name, the one he gave to Sae was actually Juan Persoña.
: “John Persona. We goin’ with that?”
: “Well now that the name’s set, who’s our next target?”
: “There are tons of rotten adults and all. Why not just stick to targeting big names?”
: If this was Persona 1 or 2, this would actually be a route choice. It’s not.
: “Yeah, something along those lines. If we go after some bigwig, it’s gotta get on the news, right?”
: “Don’t you think more people would believe in us if we did that?”
: This sounds almost exactly like 4chan’s mentality around the time that /b/ was starting to degenerate into shit. At the time (this is like, probably 14 or 15 years ago now, which is just kind of mind-boggling to me) the goal was to get on the news for something incredibly stupid.
: The whole Phantom Thieves idea, apart from being inspired by Chronicle, was also probably inspired by Anonymous (as in the activist group), which kind of didn’t age well. I actually had an account on one of the separate message boards that early Anonymous (back when it was Project Chanology) used and I can tell you the mentality was almost exactly the same. There were even people going “Now that we’re attacking Scientology, what’s next?” like Ryuji does.
: Have I mentioned that there’s a character in this game who is basically Anonymous incarnate? There is. We won’t meet them for a while.
: “That’s not a bad idea… for you, Ryuji.”
: “True. If we become better known… we might be able to give courage to a lot more people.”
: “I don’t really like the idea of just picking someone out of the blue though.”
: “Let’s narrow it down to someone we can all agree on then.”
: “Hm, so we need a bigwig we can decide on unanimously.”
: “I like that unanimous decision part! It’s like we’re making some kind of pact!”
: “Now then, this is the official formation of the Phantom Thieves organization!”
: The thing is, just like putting Steven Segal in Innocent Sin, having direct references to Anonymous was kind of a bad idea. Not even a year after the base game’s western release, the whole QAnon thing popped up and 4chan’s reputation took an even greater turn from merely being a self-described “ocean of piss” to being a hangout for white supremacy and the alt-right. The thing is, the signs were definitely there in 2014 and 2015. Atlus should’ve fucking known better.
: “Oh no! Our time for the buffet ran out…”
: “I guess we’ll just have to talk more tomorrow…”
: Let me tell you the other reason I don’t like that they glorified Anonymous. I used to play TF2 with a bunch of 4chan people going back to 2007. Half of them grew out of that and are now relatively well-adjusted adults. The other half… not so much. I’ve lost a lot of friends to that mentality, and it is fucking heartbreaking when a person you’ve known since 2007, where you know their actual name, comes to you and starts preaching QAnon.
: “Honestly speaking, that all sounds absurd. It’s hard to believe that this is even worth listening to.”
: “Still, it can’t be considered nonsense when parts of it align with Kamoshida’s confession.”
: “The same goes for the testimones of the officers who arrested you… but so be it. At any rate, you mentioned something more important.”
: “These two other accomplices, besides this talking cat thing that appeared in your story… from what you’ve been telling me, they’re students at the same school, aren’t they?”
: “Very well. I’ll leave it at that. Let’s continue on. The questioning’s not over, anyway. If you are making this up, the cracks in your story will prove it.”
: I hate that the game doesn’t just let us discover the next boss ourselves. Anyway, meet the target of the next arc: Ichiryusai Madarame. Hilariously, this line is wildly inaccurate: Madarame does not specialize in something like ukiyo-e or traditional Japanese sculpture or pottery. He’s a painter, and a western-style one at that.
: “It’s even more incomprehensible than Kamoshida as to why this man was targeted. Where did you come to know him? And how did you learn of his crimes when you weren’t a victim of them? Start by telling me all that you schemed…”
: We lose most of that 30,000 yen, but get to keep 8,000. We’re going to need that to get everyone locked and loaded before the next dungeon.
: We then get a notice about another new feature to Royal: the Thieves Den. We’ll see what that is in a side update immediately following this one.
: Before that though, we have another IM we can look at.
: I sure hope Akira deleted that from his phone before Sae got a hold of it, and that Sae didn’t think to just subpoena his cell carrier.
: We spend the night doing two important things. First up, it’s been exactly 16 days since we last fed the plant. Second, we finish watching Wraith for another 3 kindness.
: In bed, we get another cutscene with Igor. I am going to skip it because it’s basically a “Hey, you’re doing confidants, right?” reminder.
: We also get two extra slots in our Persona stock. This will be VERY important in the next dungeon, because we need not one, not two, but THREE new Persona arcana on top of the three we already need for confidants. In fact, we’ll be fusing one of those three before we even go into the next dungeon, thanks to all the grinding I did. This will put us ahead on a confidant by one point.
: By the way, I’m not kidding when I say it’s a tutorial. In the next side update, we’ll play a godawful card game.