Click Here for Update 3
: Welcome back to Persona 2.
: The world map is similar to Persona 1’s, but also very different. For one thing, it controls a lot better. There’s random people on the street we can talk to, but most of them don’t have anything interesting to say.
: Persona 2 also dramatically simplifies the shop menu from how it was in Persona 1. Instead of crawling through a mall and forgetting where things were half the time (looking at you, Snow Queen) you get a menu of places you can go. Right now, we want to head to Shiraishi Ramen.
: Oh look, it’s the dev self-insert all grown up. Tanmen, if you’re curious, is a ramen dish with pork belly in it. Strawberry tanmen is a theoretically disgusting dish, but I find pretty much anything with pork in it to be nasty.
: At least the game shits all over him. You never even meet him in Eternal Punishment, because he gets chased off by assassins before the game starts. If you’ve played the Raidou games (or Soul Hackers) you might’ve heard of the Kuzunoha Detective Agency. I doubt they even trust him with a COMP or a GUMP.
: The game is going to make a whole lot of references to Devil Summoner, which has not been fan translated and seems kind of crap even if it was. PeaceDiner (why am I not surprised their name is a P1 reference) did an LP of Devil Summoner a few years ago that I’d definitely recommend you skim through.
: Gyoza are a kind of dumpling that Japanese cuisine borrows from China. They usually have pork and cabbage inside, but I’ve had vegetarian ones from a Chinese restaurant before. Actually, dessert Gyoza sounds like a really good idea - maybe do fruit instead of red beans and dip it in icing. I’d eat it.
: You say that, but Yakuza 0 established that every Asian restaurant is actually a front for an international arms smuggling ring. I’m not sure if this includes non-Asian restaurants that happen to be in Asia but I’m guessing it does. What I’m saying here is that I want to go to a pizza place and order the “special pizza” and the guy comes out of the back room with a giant fuckoff sword and a large special, no anchovies.
: Anyway, to figure out what we have to do next, we need to talk to Lisa, who for some reason just kinda… knows.
: Now, I got a bit confused here because I thought by “chief” she was referring to Kozy, so I went back to Sumaru Prison to see if she was still there. No, what we need to do is exit Kameya Alley and come back.
: This time, you’ll notice that there’s a new destination available: the Kuzunoha Detective Agency.
: “Th-that thing scared me… what the hell is this?”
: If you’ve read my Persona 1 LP, you’ll know who Tamaki is. Just in case you haven’t…
: Tamaki is the female protagonist from Shin Megami Tensei If. She’s also a point of controversy because she’s designed after a Japanese actress by the name of Yuki Uchida, who Tadashi Satomi (the scenario writer for Persona 1 and 2) had a massive crush on to the point of making a self-insert character and shipping it with her. There’s a very good reason Tadashi Satomi doesn’t work at Atlus anymore.
: “You guys spread those just to tease Tadashi!?”
: I am really, really surprised that Atlus didn’t hire someone to sit by Tadashi Satomi’s desk and blast an air horn into his ear any time he tried to do a self-insert or got horny for late-90s idols.
: This guy. The game never tells you this, and there’s no way you could know it unless you played Devil Summoner, but Todoroki is actually the protagonist of Devil Summoner… or rather, he’s being possessed by the protagonist of Devil Summoner. I’m going to post some spoilers for Devil Summoner as it was never localized and probably never will be.
: In Devil Summoner, the protagonist character dies pretty early into the game, and winds up possessing the body of a detective by the name of Kyouji Kuzunoha. At some point between Soul Hackers and Innocent Sin, the protagonist of Devil Summoner switched bodies to Todoroki’s.
: Here’s how rumors work, at least as far as I understand it. There’s two types: rumors you get from “rumormongers” and rumors you get from demons. The demon ones are all supposedly useless - they basically get you Personas with alternate spells that aren’t worth the trouble.
: I don’t think rumors work that fast.
: Char Siu ramen (also spelled “Chashu”) is a kind of ramen that originated in China. It’s made with sliced pork that’s been braised in “chashu sauce” which as far as I understand it is mostly just soy sauce.
: On a side note, banana char siu ramen sounds like something you’d have seen in one of those cookbooks from the 1960s where they thought it was acceptable to cover bananas in ham and then dip the resulting monstrosity in mayonnaise.
: You know, when they said she was an ex-spy who sold weapons, you’d think they’d mean guns and not guitar cases… unless the guitar case has a rifle in it.
: I have no idea how char siu ramen tastes, mostly because there’s a handful of ramen places in Connecticut, but I kind of want some even though I don’t usually eat pork because beef is the superior meat.
: Wonder who that could be?
: “Haime!? Really? I wonder if that’s Joker?”
: Lisa is about one step away from being one of those weeaboos that does the whole “Gomenasorry!” thing.
: “Let’s go back to Sevens, Tatsuya! Hanya might know something about Joker!”
: Here’s P2’s world map. Thankfully, they did away with the map being one contiguous thing like it was in Persona 1. No more memorizing exactly where everything is from everything else here.
: One thing that’s going to come up a few times in the next couple of minutes is the idea of the Pleiades, and this is the first real reference to them.
: The Pleiades are two things: a cluster of stars and a name for a group of Greek goddesses who were probably invented to explain the cluster of stars. The name means “Daughters of Pleione”, as the goddesses were said to be the daughters of Pleione and Atlas.
: The weird thing is, if you’ll look back at the clock in the cutscene (or at Tatsuya’s emblem in the first update) you’ll notice that they only have six stars. This is because the ancient Japanese recognized the constellation differently than the Greeks did… though why they picked the name Seven Sisters but used the Japanese constellation is a mystery.
: I had to dive down a fucking hole to find out what the deal with this is. Namu Amida Butsu is a chant (and apparently not a mantra) that’s part of something called Pure Land Buddhism.
: Pure Land Buddhism is a denomination of Buddhism based around worshipping a Buddha by the name of Amida Buddha (as opposed to the original Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama) who is also known as the “Buddha of Infinite Light and Life”. It’s apparently the main denomination of Buddhism in Japan. The chant “Namu Amida Butsu” means “I entrust myself to Amida Buddha”. Apparently, that chant isn’t meant to be a petition-style prayer, but whatever.
: “Take it easy, gramps! There’s no need to be scared. Long as I’m around, you got nothing to worry about!”
: “Are you talking about… that teacher who died in the clock tower?”
: This feels way too much like a standard medieval fantasy RPG.
: “Kehhei!? What’s going on!? Does this mean it isn’t enough to take the emblems off our uniforms!?”
: “Let’s hurry and find Principal Hanya! We need to lift the curse before my face and Tatsuya’s gets all messed up!”
: “Kehhei” is a Cantonese word that’s basically the equivalent of saying “Dammit!” I don’t know why Lisa would use that with the !? rather than just an exclamation point.
: As soon as we step into the school, we get our first random battle. You’ll notice in the (admittedly blurry due to the PSP’s video output) screenshot that the minimap turned yellow. Persona 2 has a “encounter tracker” mechanic much like a few of the SMT games where your minimap will change colors to show you how close you are to your next random encounter.
: So, let’s talk about Persona 2’s demon negotiations. Like the first game, all the enemies we face are traditional SMT demons rather than shadows. I actually answered no because… well, let’s see. I’ve done most of SMT 1, Persona 1, Persona 5, and about three minutes of Strange Journey before I deleted it off my flashcart because it sucked. I’m practically a qualified Devil Buster.
: Okay, fine. If you’re gonna guilt trip me…
: Just like Persona 1, we’ve got the emotion gauge back. It works exactly the same way as it did in P1: each character has a list of negotiation techniques and each demon has specific techniques that’ll make it feel a certain way. Unlike P1, there’s no optional party members so we don’t have to worry about a Kuchisake-onna situation where we can’t negotiate because we don’t have the right party member.
: The main difference is that instead of always wanting to max out Eager for spell cards, we now have two options. Maxing out Happy will cause the demon to make a pact with you. I’m not sure what that does other than unlock new dialog options and maybe change what the demons drop. I think you can use it the same way you used spell cards in P1 to make demons fuck off instantly via negotiation.
: There is a catch to this, though. Maxing out Angry will cause any pact you have with a demon to be broken. That’s not a huge deal, given that I think negotiations in P2 are less random than in P1.
: This part, right here? In the intro for the LP, I said that this game is largely considered a “two steps forward, one step back” situation from Persona 1. In exchange for fixing the godawful EXP system, we have to deal with this. You see, Personas in P2 are not made from spell cards or demon fusion. Instead, you have to collect Tarot Cards like it’s fucking Yu-gi-oh or some shit and then believe in the heart of the cards to get new Personas.
: Okay, fine. You can go without me repeatedly spamming Agi at you because you’re immune to bullets in pretty much every SMT game that has guns in it.
: The first place we want to head (or at least, that I went to) is the Courtyard.
: When we got here earlier, there was a statue of Hanya on the pedestal. I wonder where it’s gone off to? My bet is that Jihei and his party showed up and tore it down.
: Nope, the statue’s just moving around.
: “Yep. It’s movin’.”
: “…So that settles it?”
: “I think so.”
: “Gaaaaah! Hell no! That’s impossible! How could something this ridiculous actually happen!? M-my 3,000 yen!”
: I should mention that while they’re talking, the statue is walking circles around the Narurato Stone.
: Also, I think this dialog right here is better than most of the dialog in P1. If this was P1, we’d have Mark going “The statue’s moving, guys!” and Nanjo responding “You dunce! According to my calculations there’s a 51% chance that the statue is actually just an animatronic.” like the Jimmy Neutron-ass motherfucker he is.
: As soon as I went back into the school, I got into an encounter with Nightmare (Moon is the demon group she’s in). The good news is that we can negotiate for tarot cards even if the demon is higher level than we are.
: If I remember right, every playable character in this game (with… two exceptions?) can be gay. The weird part about this is that modern Atlus is pretty much the exact opposite - see that one scene in Persona 5 or Catherine Full Body and the controversy surrounding that. I don’t really understand why they made that turn other than that most of the people who made this game don’t work at Atlus anymore.
: However, for negotiation purposes, this is the right answer.
: Most of the demons in the school just want to go to school, and I feel like if Jack Frost can do it (see: SMT If…) they can too.
: Unfortunately, I don’t think Moon-type demons are the magic-absorbing powerhouses they were in Persona 1. Lilim in particular got nerfed so hard there’s almost no reason to fuse her.
: The game doesn’t really tell us this, but we’re trying to get to the Principal’s Office, which is on the third floor. I should’ve done some grinding before we went there but that’s fine. That’s another issue with P2: if you know where you’re going, you won’t run into enough encounters to be appropriately levelled. You also don’t get EXP from negotiations.
: I fucked up a negotiation with this poltergeist, so I had to fight it.
: One neat thing Persona 2 does is eliminates the “battle line” we saw in Persona 1. The party (and enemies) will move around the battlefield as they fight. Eikichi starts closest to the enemy because he was the one negotiating.
: Lisa’s main weapon is kung fu, making her this party’s Reiji. I wish Reiji was playable in this game, because he was criminally underused in P1.
: Remember how I said the only way that guitar case would be useful is if it had a gun in it? The guitar case IS a gun!
: No more dumbass “one character at a time” EXP system to deal with, no more P-levels.
: Unlike P1, Tatsuya gets a small stat bonus on levelup outside of the points we can assign. You’ll notice that Magic Attack and Magic Defense are no longer linked to the Persona. Most guides for this game will tell you to max out Dexterity and put a few points in Vitality, so we’ll do that.
: To get an idea of how low the encounter rate is in P2, I managed to get here from the start of the school with only three random encounters.
: “Wai! Hey, you! Have you seen the principal?”
: Yeah, I’m sure he can handle Joker when he got wrecked by Hypnos in P1.
: “The great Michel comes all the way to Sevens and its own principal isn’t here? sigh The great rock 'n roll swindle!”
: “Okay! Time to introduce to one and all the headlining act, yours truly, Mi–”
: This is like, the second time in 20 minutes we’ve seen Eikichi flat on the floor.
: “WHAT!? Okay, back up! This whole thing happened because YOU summoned that Joker!”
: “So take some responsibility and do something about this!”
: Didn’t he say he’d handle it back like… ten minutes ago?
: “Kehhei! Now you’ve crossed a line, buster! How was I supposed to know at the time what would happen!?”
: “And what’s with all your big talk!? You’re just an Undie Boss who pervs on people by yanking their pants down! Undie Boss! Undie Boss!”
: Lisa will now be known as Ginko for the rest of the game. This is because “gin” is the Japanese word for silver (as a play on her last name), with the “ko” part being a common ending for female names the way adding an “a” or “ina” is in English. This is also probably a reference to Devil Summoner, where there’s a character by the name of Madame Ginko who runs a club and gives jobs to the protagonist.
: Meet Maya Amano, the protagonist of Eternal Punishment. Her friend next to her might be a bit familiar to those of you who read the Persona 1 LP.
: “Things seem to be getting steamy here. C’mon, kids, not everybody wants to get caught up in a lover’s quarrel!”
: “At times, I’m am ambitious reporter! Other times, a mild-mannered editor! But my true identity is…”
: Oh shit! Yukino! You’re still level 60 and have that Armaiti I built for you, right? I mean, unless you levelled up to 99 in the SEBEC route that canonically happened after Snow Queen.
: I guess I was wrong when I said none of the P1 cast went to college, because Yukino apparently did.
: “Really!? Great! Here, babe, take my picture for the cover of the–”
: "We came here to do interviews for a special report we’re working on, called ‘The Rumors of High Schoolers.’ "
: “The emblem curse here at Sevens is the best known one after the Joker Game, you know.”
: “But it’s been chaos since just after we got here. No one’s been willing to give us an interview!”
: “What’s going on here!? Can you tell us what you know? Is it related to what we came here to interview people about?”
: “Hmm… I’m not sure I buy that.”
: “True stories, babies! We’re not looking for Sevens’ principal and we certainly never got stomped by any Joker!”
: Side note here, Yukino is 20 and Eikichi is 16. Lisa and Tatsuya are both 17.
: “If you’re trying to cover it up, I take it that it’s a pretty big scoop! In which case… we’re definitely not letting you go!”
: “Look out! You gotta stay back, ladies!”
: These are basic zombies, the kind Yukino killed probably a hundred of before Snow Queen even started. She’s got Armaiti, one Megidolaon and they’re toast.
: “H-How do you know about demons!?”
New Persona: Maia
Persona 2 Original
Returning Persona: Vesta
First Appearance: Shin Megami Tensei If… (SNES)
: Wait… what? Where’s Armaiti? Atlus really should’ve put in some kind of save transfer thing like they did with IS and EP.
: “Whoa! What’s wrong? Were you that scared?”
: “Huh…? Why am I crying? It’s so strange, but… sniff I can’t stop…”
: “How weird… I felt it, too. What was that wave of nostalgia…?”
: “Could you elaborate? I know more than you’d think about demons. Maybe I could help you kids out a bit.”
: I don’t know why, but this feels like something Jotaro would say in Diamond is Unbreakable. It’s entirely possible they were modelling Yukino’s dialog after it: the manga run of Jojo Part 4 ended in 1995.
: “You mean you three have the same powers I do? Persona, huh… so it’s not just my guardian angel… and wow, I can’t believe you’re a Persona-user too, Yukki!”
: As far as I know, it’s a coincidence (and not a reference to Revelations Persona where Yukino was called “Yuki”) that Maya calls her that. I think I mentioned this before, but Eternal Punishment uses the Revelations Persona names for the P1 characters.
: “Have you guys never played it?”
: I’m pretty sure this is another line almost entirely ripped from Diamond is Unbreakable, from the first time Jotaro meets Josuke.
: “I played a kid’s game like that in a dream once, but…”
: “A dream…!?”
: “Lisa, right? Know anything about this?”
: “No, nothing… I’ve never played any game like that…”
: “Haime!? Seriously!? You’re gonna come along with us?”
: “You three are chasing Joker himself, right? If we could catch him, that’d be one hell of a scoop! Plus, if we go with you, maybe I can find out how I became a Persona user.”
: “I’ll tag along. Now that I know this guy’s in cahoots with demons, I can’t sit back and do nothing.”
: “Hold on a sec! Our only lead is Principal Hanya, and he’s not here. There’s nothing for us to do even if you come along!”
: You’d think Yukino would have something to say here, given that she’s met Hanya and knows he’s not a Persona user.
: “But Maya-san, how are we supposed to deal with this? Do you have a plan?”
: “I know! Let’s destroy all the emblems in the school. Getting rid of the cause of the problem should help, right?”
: “If rumors ARE coming true, the curse’ll be lifted once the emblems are gone. But could that really be happening?”
: “Think positive” and “Let’s think positive!” are Maya’s catch phrases.
: “Like… the clocks in the classrooms? Their faces have the same design as our emblem.”
: In Japan (at least, supposedly) the Pleiades constellation has a few different names. One of them… is Subaru. That’s where the car company by the same name gets their emblem, which would technically be the same as the one Seven Sisters uses. If the curse extends to those, that might be a problem.
: We can talk to all of our party members, so let’s do that.
: Essentially, the entirety of Persona 1 is non-canon. In fact, there is nowhere that actually shows the canon sequence of events in that game. Persona 2 assumes that Yukino went on the SEBEC route after Snow Queen.
: Not to mention a giant penis monster and Nyx.
: SEBEC’s Kandori, who got defeated by the auto-battle button.
: Once we try to leave the room…
: “Could I bother you two fine misses for a second? I’ve got a special present for you as our new allies!”
: “This is so cute! Can I really have one? Look, Yukki, they’re a matching set!”
: I’m not going to ask where Eikichi got a pair of pink handguns, nor am I going to ask why he didn’t mention that he had them until just now.
: Yukino’s weapon of choice, just in case you didn’t read the Persona 1 LP, is a set of throwing knives.
: Anyway, I had to cut recording short thanks to the asshole across the street, who had one of the thirty or so dead trees in his hard fall on a power line for the fifth time in two years. Next time, we’ll go on a quest to destroy every clock in Seven Sisters High School and also grind because I forgot to do that.