Sin is In - Persona 2: Innocent Sin

Persona 2: Innocent Sin is half of the Persona 2 duology, the other part being Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Innocent Sin initially released in 1999, while Eternal Punishment came out a few months later in the summer of 2000. It is a direct sequel to Megami Ibunroku Persona, which which I did an LP of.

Unlike Eternal Punishment, which released overseas in 1999, Innocent Sin never received a localization on the PS1 - which is probably for the best because Eternal Punishment has the fatal flaw of using the Americanized names from Revelations: Persona for the P1 cast (it’s otherwise, as far as I know, a pretty solid translation). In fact, Innocent Sin didn’t even get a fan translation until 2008. The Megami Tensei wiki claims that Atlus knew about the fan translation and intentionally did nothing to stop it, much like Nintendo with Mother 3.

The official reason given by Atlus, according to the wiki, for not releasing Innocent Sin in the West had to do with them rushing to get Eternal Punishment out the door before the launch of the PS2 and not having the time or money to do a proper localization for both games (which logically they’d want to do after how bad Revelations: Persona was).

Unofficially, the game has some content that might’ve proved a problem to localize in 1998. We’ll see that when we get there.

In 2011, Atlus decided to release Innocent Sin on the PSP with some upgraded features - things like speeding up battles in general and using a lot of changes that were made to the battle system in Eternal Punishment. They also re-did the soundtrack (but left the original one in, unlike Persona 1) and actually put effort into that this time… and even included the original PS1 soundtrack just in case you wind up not liking it.

I’ve never played either of the Persona 2 duology, but from what I’ve heard they’re largely considered to be two steps forward and one step backward from Persona 1. I guess we’ll see.

One final note: this LP will also use real hardware exclusively, unless some shit like the Snow Queen casino grind pops up in which case all bets are off.

Spoiler Policy

Anything from Persona 1 is probably okay. I have never played Persona 2 before, but I know most of the plot beats. Most of them. You kind of can’t read the Megami Tensei wiki for more than five minutes without it throwing ending spoilers at you. Try to avoid anything about Persona 3/4/5 beyond references in those games to Persona 1 and 2.

Are you doing Eternal Punishment?

No, and here’s why. Eternal Punishment got a PSP re-release around the same time that Innocent Sin did. Atlus, in their infinite hate for the West, decided that they’d add bonus content to Eternal Punishment that required having a completed Innocent Sin save. They then proceeded to never release the PSP version of EP outside of Japan, and as far as I know the save bonus does not work with saves from the US version of Innocent Sin. Until a fan translation of the PSP version is done, I’m not touching it.

Update 1
Update 2
Update 3
Update 4
Update 5
Update 6
Update 7

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As someone who bought that PSP remake; it came with a sound track and I think a little art book and it was very cute and good.

Anyway yeah this game rules. It has… a handful of problems but in terms of like, actually having a story, and characters, who are good and you want to hang out with, it’s way better. I’m excited to see you play it, and I hope you like my favorite character for no other reason beyond that would be neat.

Update 1: Bike Maintenance (Click Here to Expand)

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Welcome to Innocent Sin. Just like the P1 remake (which you can see two games down on the list, underneath my attempt to play the Mizzurna Falls translation) it gets an animated background screen. Ignore the time on that by the way - the clock battery on the PSP is already starting to go.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Unlike Persona 1, the sprites in this game have actual animations. The load screen shows off our main character’s sprite - there’s a lot of loading in Persona 2, but the PSP cuts the times dramatically from what they were on the PS1. Having the game installed to a memory card cuts that even further.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Meet our protagonist. I didn’t capture it because the animation in this game is extremely fluid, but the bike backfires when he tries to start it.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Right from the start, it seems like pretty much everyone wants to pick a fight with our protagonist. I liked when Persona 5 did that… for about two seconds until Joker instantly becomes everyone’s best friend.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Damn PSP must be ready to die, it’s not even showing the colors right. Guess I’ll have to order a new one.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: One of the major overhauls from the PS1 version is that they added in multiple portraits for each of the major characters. I’ll try to implement them in the LP.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Well, this is certainly different from Persona 1.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is the first time we’ll see this phrase in the Persona series. Every other game from here on in will open with this line somewhere in the first couple of minutes.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Wait… what? Are we in some kind of bad ending for Snow Queen? Hypnos Tower pretty much made it clear that Hanya should never be in charge of anything.

Hanya: “That goes for you too! Didn’t you hear what I said!? Why won’t you obey me!? This is unacceptable!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment are the only parts of the Persona series where the protagonist has a single canon name to begin with. While normally I’d give a vote on this, I think I’d rather leave his canon name alone.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Just like Persona 1, each of our party members also has a nickname. Tatsuya’s canon one is Ta-chan, which isn’t really much of a nickname. My guess is, if this is anything like Persona 1, his nickname will only rarely be referred to - so if you want to suggest a new one, go right ahead.

Hanya: “If that nasty resonance I sensed from the halls was you, it makes sense… looks like you’re as much trouble as they say.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Whoa whoa whoa, hold on there. Did he just say he sensed the weird color inversion?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Sure doesn’t seem threatening at all.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: What!? What the hell is Ms. Saeko doing here?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Persona 2 is entirely in third person, which is a major step up from Persona 1.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The game is also nice enough to update the top-left corner with a more precise reading of where we are. No more floundering around St. Hermelin with no idea of what any given room is unless you can read the Japanese room signs.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Anyway, to progress, we have to go to the main hall. The map screen has also been updated in that it shows NPCs who have dialog.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Ms. Saeko has apparently taken a page out of Reiji’s playbook. We have to talk to a bunch of students around the school to find her.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Joker… game? Yeah, I know about Joker’s game. It was pretty mediocre outside of the UI design and the combat and even Royal isn’t really going to fix what’s wrong with it.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Meanwhile, on the second floor…

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I have to say, this is not necessarily the best way to start a game. Right now it’s pretty straightforward, but just wait.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: He has a statue!?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: You might think we want to talk to Hanya again, but no one wants to talk to Hanya. Instead, we need to go a little further into the courtyard.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Yeah, I don’t want to get too close to Naruto, either. Have you ever seen the Naruto fanbase?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Seriously, what is it with high schools in Japan being used to seal off demons? First we had Nyx, and now this. This is where things get a little confusing. What we have to do is talk to Ms. Ideal twice.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Very helpful. This is the game’s way of telling us to consult a guide, which says we need to go back to the main area and talk to the students there.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Great. Now we get to loop back. Seriously Reiji, what the shit? What did I ever do to you?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Ms. Saeko has somehow aged like fifteen years between 1996 and 1999. Have I mentioned Innocent Sin takes place in 1999? Maybe it’s a side effect of being possessed by Nyx, or the curse laid on the year 1999 by YIIK.

Saeko: “Don’t worry, guidance counseling is a pretty informal process.”

Saeko: “Good, good. Well, then! Have you decided what you want to do after graduation?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: So uh, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I’ll let you, the readers, pick which options we go with here. The bad news is I don’t have a copy of the script the way I did for Persona 1, so I have no way of knowing about any alternate dialog. The only copy of the script that exists is for the fan translation of the PS1 version, which seems to be pretty good but is not identical to the official translation.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Anyway, for sake of argument and advancing the plot, I went with “Yeah I’ve decided” because I want Tatsuya to be like Yukino.

Saeko: “Is that so? You seemed indecisive for long enough, but I’m glad you did give it some thought.”

Saeko: “And? Will you apply to college or go job hunting?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I answered college, but what Tatsuya likes is working with machines, as we’ve already seen.

Saeko: “Oh, really! Is there something in particular you want to study? If you’re just saying what you think I want to hear, think harder. Do you really want to go to college?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Again, I picked the top option. I don’t know why, but it seems like 1999 was a bit too late for not going to college and expecting to get a job.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Oh, hi Aigis. What’re you doing outside of Persona 3?

Saeko: “Lisa! What’s all the hubbub about?”

Saeko: “Well, all right… see you, Tatsuya.”

Surprised: “Wait a sec… aiyah!”

Surprised: “But oh yeah, that can wait! I got a challenge note for you! A guy from Cuss High told me to give it to you!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Several years of watching Youtube Poop back in the early 2000s automatically made my mind wander to “It’s from Bowser! It says, dear pesky plumbers…” when I read this.

Surprised: “Haime! Seriously!? Now that’s old-school… I dunno, though, rumor has it this guy’s really strong!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: You might be wondering what’s with the “Haime!” and I can explain that. Basically, Lisa is what happens if you take Ann Takamaki from Persona 5 and throw her in a blender with Chie from Persona 4. She likes to say random things in Cantonese. Haime! means “Really?” or “Seriously?”

Angry: “I also heard a rumor that it was a Cuss High jerk who cursed our emblem… I bet it was this same guy!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: And with that, we’re off to Sumaru Prison. Next time, we’ll stage a rescue and meet a certain jangly key man. If you want to see different choices from the ones I made in this update, or would like to give Tatsuya a different nickname, please post your choices in the thread.

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So actually, I also have a physical copy of the game… that I never opened. What happened at the time was that I ordered a “new” copy when they were going for like $10 each. I’m guessing based on your description that what I got was not actually a new copy.

For reference, I had to pull this out from behind my figure of Yukiko’s Persona from 4, which I will not show due to how dusty it is. There’s a video of it here:

The arms on that thing fall off if you so much as look at them funny.

At the time, my plan had been to play through Persona 1 and then Innocent Sin - this was maybe a year after the PSP release of IS. I had a PSP-1000 (which will accept UMDs) but I got it secondhand off a guy on Craigslist and it was kind of in garbage condition. Then I wound up getting a Vita and downloading both P1 and IS off PSN and playing them that way.

I mentioned it in the Persona 1 LP, but I saw the Thanatos First challenge in Snow Queen and I said “Fuck I gotta do that” and actually did the whole casino grind and everything on real hardware. What I didn’t realize on that first attempt is that you can buy casino coins with yen - I basically tried to keep the initial Persona setup through the entire run because I didn’t want to lose the hours I had spent grinding casino coins.

I wound up getting to the staircase maze in the Ice Castle with everything kicking my ass and killing everyone but Jihei. Then I went back down to get the Ambrosia, realized I’d have to do everything over again, promptly said “Fuck this” and shelved it without ever touching the SEBEC route. I didn’t realize that Devil’s Peak was a thing or that you could grind there.

I never even got to Innocent Sin, hence why the game is still in shrinkwrap. In hindsight, I probably should’ve just played IS and finished my Snow Queen run on an emulator.

I’ll be honest I don’t know if they sold the game separately or if it was only the Limited Edition set they released, but if it’s sealed it is probably mint they just also didn’t give you the art book, sound track, and cool cardboard box it was in. It’s what I got though so, shrug I guess.

Also ten dollars is a steal people tend to sell this game for 100 bucks.

I’ve heard about that Giten game, but don’t know anything about it. Is it like the black sheep of the SMT franchise?

I’m a big dummy who got consumed by Animal Crossing and Plague Times so I actually didn’t notice Update 1 got posted!

I actually like Tatsuya’s canon name, so I’m glad you’re going with it.

Literally never noticed this the first time I played this but YEAH, he did. Huh!

Assuming there is still time, I feel like Tatsuya would have an idea on what to do and would go to college to get a degree. It seems like a very “I’m a mostly regular protagonist” thing to do.

You’re right but he’s still my favorite.

As for what Eikichi’s deal is I’m pretty sure he’s meant to be a sort of trans sub-group in Japan.

If Hanya can sense this stuff, do you think they have paranormal days like snow days?

“Parents of students at Seven Sisters High should be advised that the school will be closed today. The cafeteria and most of the first floor has been sucked into a hell dimension. A group of True Friends and their one cool teacher are already on the scene.”

Now that someone has brought it up I have to ask: does anybody here know more about Giten Megami Tensei and about how good or bad it is?

Let me start by saying whoops, that update wasn’t meant to be posted yet. I was working on it and double-pressed enter when I was trying to space something out.

I honestly don’t know much about it, but it seems like it was legitimately made by Atlus (and not a Hotel Mario kind of thing where it was outsourced). I can make a couple of guesses as to why it exists.

Atlus had dabbled in the PC market before, with ports of both Megami Tensei and Megami Tensei II on the PC-88. Around the same time that Giten Megami Tensei came out, Atlus had been working on porting the SNES SMT games (1, 2, and If) onto the PS1.

Giten Megami Tensei is apparently meant to be a sort of bridge between the original Megami Tensei games and Shin Megami Tensei, so my guess there is that Atlus was sort of testing the waters to see if they could do a cheap and easy PC re-release of the SNES games the way they had on the Sega CD and later the PS1.

As for why it’s an h-game, that’s probably because that sort of thing was par for the course on the PC-98.

You know, that’s not what I thought at first - I figured he was more like Elly where she just really wants to be English except he just really wants to be a Western punk rocker. Given what I know about this game and LGBT themes though, I could see that being a thing. Kind of sucks that they didn’t keep up with that in the later games.

That’s actually not outside the realm of possibility, given that SMT If is technically the first game in the Persona series. The split between the timelines occurs because the world knows about the existence of demons before they manage to end the world in SMT 1.

Then again though, Devil Summoner (which is also canon to Persona) has demons invade an entire city and no one seems to care all that much.

Update 2: Joker, But Not That One (Click Here to Read)

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I’ve had… a long couple of days. I posted this update early by accident, people read it even though I deleted it, and then I thought the site un-deleted it so I wiped my work only to find out it was actually deleted. Oh well, time to re-do this.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Miyabi’s nickname in the fan translation (which is actually accurate as far as I know) is “Hanaji”. The localizers changed it to “Kozy” as a shot at Kouji “Cozy” Okada, one of the six founders of Atlus. Mark in Persona 1 was modelled after him as a joke.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Cozy Okada no longer works at Atlus - he left the company in 2003. The last game he worked on for Atlus was Digital Devil Saga (aka Avatar Tuner) before making his own studio called Gaia. Gaia was pretty much immediately eaten by Sony and made a handful of games. The only one I’d heard of is Folklore on the PS3, which is basically SMT but an action RPG.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I actually have a copy of Folklore. It’s a game that had a lot of potential but is severely undermined by the fact that you have to play through each section of the game twice in a row to progress.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Meet Eikichi. The first time I did this update I said he looked like someone who tried out for the position of SMT mid-boss and was rejected for being too over the top.

Angry: “Hey… what’s this about Tatsuya? What are you three scheming?”

Angry: “Michel Eikichi, I take it?”

Smug: “Yeah yeah yeah! Do I got you, babe?”

Surprised: “What… are you smoking?”

Angry: “What was that, you little–!?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Honestly, this sounds like the plot of an episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Normal: “Hold it, Tatsuya! I hate to stoop this low… but for the sake of my bros, I can’t let you go that easily.”

Angry: “For my honor as the Death Boss, I’m dragging you into my band!”

Angry: “Death Boss!? More like Undie Boss!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: You want to climb the corporate ladder, you’re gonna have to drop some pants.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This line is kind of a mistranslation for reasons I don’t quite understand. Eikichi is actually saying “Come, Shinigami!” because right now, he thinks his Persona is a Japanese death god that’s following him around. Considering that Death Note was officially translated years before this re-release, I don’t know why the localizers made that choice.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This time around, I’m not going to be doing Personalogs like I did with Persona 1. The reason for this is that for whatever reason, Atlus made a lot of unique Persona designs for Persona 2 that don’t have concept art lying around. Also, the game itself kind of does a mini-Personalog in the description of each Persona. If a Persona does have P2 concept art available, I’ll stick it at the end of each update.

New Persona: Rhadamanthus

Origin: Greece

First Appearance: P2 Original

9_2iVBrO_400x400: You’ll notice that the damage type chart in Persona 2 is a lot simpler than Persona 1’s. For one thing, a bunch of elements got cut: Gravity, Blast, Miracle and Curse are all out. The physical damage types have been simplified to five (as opposed to 10 in Persona 1) and there’s no guns anymore. The sole new addition is Water, which happens to be Rhadamanthus’s element.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: You can’t see it, but Rhadamanthus casts a water spell at Lisa, just like in the Persona awakening battles in P1.

New Persona: Eros

Origin: Greece

First Appearance: Giten Megami Tensei (PC-98)

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Eros is, I believe, the only starter Persona to have been in a different game - in this case, the non-canon Giten Megami Tensei. Some people asked about it when I first posted this update by accident, so here’s some answers as to what that is.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Giten Megami Tensei was an officially-made game (as far as anyone knows) on the PC-98 that was later ported to regular computers, as the PC-98 had a proprietary architecture that made it incompatible with the IBM x86 PCs that everyone outside of Japan was using. It’s got the equivalent of an AO rating in Japan, mostly because it’s an h-game. It was released in 1997 and was graphically far behind even Persona 1, and was more or less on par with the SNES SMT games.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The plot of GMT is supposed to be a bridge between the NES Megami Tensei games and Shin Megami Tensei 1, where you play as a Devil Buster in the post-apocalypse that happens halfway through SMT1. No one has ever tried to fan translate it, and probably for good reason. I’ve heard it won’t even run on modern PCs without severe patching.

New Persona: Vulcanus

Origin: Rome

First Appearance: P2 Original

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Oh look, it’s a rare Space Dildo.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: No, I haven’t forgotten you, though your subtitles are a hell of a lot less annoying than they were in Persona 1. You look a little… different though. Weren’t you a middle-aged guy in P1 with black hair?

Surprised: “Phile…mon?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I did an entire thing on who Philemon is in the Persona 1 LP.

Philemon: “The power you hold is called Persona. It is the power to summon the selves within you, the gods and the demons you harbor.”

Philemon: “The self suffused with divine love… the self capable of demonic cruelty… people live by wearing different masks.”

Philemon: “Your currrent self is only one of those innumerable masks. Your Persona is also among your countless selves.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This definition is closer to Jung than the one he gives in Persona 1.

Normal: “That’s… me…? What are you…?”

Philemon: “I summoned you here to tell you this. Now go, and with your Personas break the chains of karma laid against you…”

Normal: “Even the part about rumors coming true, and the stuff about the future…? That’s too much for it to be a coincidence.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: If it’s anything like the Persona Game in 1, definitely do not do that! I am not dealing with twenty Maki clones again!

Normal: “The thing where you call your own cell and it shows up? Why would I want to try that?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I was a little surprised that everyone just kind of has a cellphone, given that this game takes place in 1999. From what I remember, having a cellphone at that time was pretty uncommon, especially for high schoolers. It could also be that the Persona universe is a few years ahead of its time.

Sad: “To test if it was just a dream or something more. If the rumor really comes true, then it was all real…”

Normal: “I’ll pass. There’s no way all that could be possible…”

Sad: “That’s why I’ll prove it. Hey… are you scared or something?”

Normal: “If you say so… it does feel like we should be doing something after a dream like that. Let’s see if this is for real.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Wow, this guy looks like a total dumbass.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: He turns people into a generic action game protagonist who uses voodoo powers to hunt the ghosts of serial killers?

Joker: “Your trump cards have been spoiled…”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: That skull looks so 90’s CGI it hurts.

Angry: “K-Ken! Shogo! Takeshi!”

Angry: “You bastard… what did you do!?”

Joker: “Ideals only cause pain to the powerless. I have freed them from that anguish… better not to yearn for impossible dreams.”

Joker: “They are lifeless shells of dreams… they can be seen, but are not. They will be forgotten and become true shadows. But enough chitchat. I have other business with you.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: “Fanna” is a Cantonese phrase meaning “I don’t like this!” or “How annoying!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: What this is meant to show is that there are team-up attacks in Persona 2, but they work differently than in any of the later games (where they mostly only occurred upon knocking all enemies down).

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Uh, I think you’re in the wrong game. The thieves are Persona 5.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I feel like Persona 2 is way more cutscene-heavy than Persona 1 was.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The choice we made with Ms. Saeko only really effects this as far as I know.

Joker: “Hahaha… Aaaaaahahaha! I’ll never let your dreams come true!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Seriously? You sound like a shitty Ted Woolsey translation of a SNES RPG.

Joker: “You should know by now… why I came to you all today!”

Joker: “Impossible! This can’t be… how could this happen!? What meaning is there in killing you if you do not remember!?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Is this going to be a Broly thing where Joker is Tatsuya’s mortal enemy because he was too loud as a baby?

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I’m not sure who’s a dumber villain at this point: this guy or Aki.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I honestly have to wonder if this was at all inspired by Corpse Party, which would’ve come out on PC-98 around the same time that Giten Megami Tensei did, around two years before this game.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Anyway, once we talk to everyone…

Sad: “Plus, we don’t know where to start looking. Let’s get someone else to do something about him – like the police!”

Angry: “Who’d believe us!? We gotta arm up and kill that guy, or we’re all screwed.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Next time, we’ll meet a returning character from Persona 1 and also see how both Devil Summoner and Shin Megami Tensei If are canon to the Persona series.

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I can’t help but be slightly confused by the decision to try to do something paranormal after the whole Personas-emerging thing. If I had to shoot at chupacabras to get them off my farm, I wouldn’t be going, “Tonight sounds like a good night to break in that oujia board!”

Also, I love Lisa’s “These guys are idiots” face.

I feel like once something supernatural happens, it’s actually a little worth seeing if it’s EVERYTHING or not. Best to check just in case, you know?

The expressions in this game are incredibly good, and Lisa’s are probably the best next to Eikichi’s.

Do you have any plans of LPing SMT if… after you’re done with this game?

Maybe. There’s an LP of it on the archive, but it was done around a decade before the translation patch released and it mostly likely was not done on real hardware (though the LPer apparently spoke Japanese and imported SNES carts tend to be fairly cheap). I tend to avoid LPing games that are already on the archive, but in this case it might be worth doing.

Do you have any plans do to a LP for SMT IV, when you’re done with this game?

From what I heard, that LP is only one of 5 paths. There are still the other paths, plus there’s no rule that you can’t LP the same game.

Click Here for Update 3

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Welcome back to Persona 2.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Anyway, to figure out what we have to do next, we need to talk to Lisa, who for some reason just kinda… knows.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This time, you’ll notice that there’s a new destination available: the Kuzunoha Detective Agency.

Confused: “Th-that thing scared me… what the hell is this?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: If you’ve read my Persona 1 LP, you’ll know who Tamaki is. Just in case you haven’t…

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

Surprised: “You guys spread those just to tease Tadashi!?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I don’t think rumors work that fast.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Wonder who that could be?

Surprised: “Haime!? Really? I wonder if that’s Joker?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Lisa is about one step away from being one of those weeaboos that does the whole “Gomenasorry!” thing.

Angry: “Let’s go back to Sevens, Tatsuya! Hanya might know something about Joker!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

Smug: “Take it easy, gramps! There’s no need to be scared. Long as I’m around, you got nothing to worry about!”

Normal: “Are you talking about… that teacher who died in the clock tower?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This feels way too much like a standard medieval fantasy RPG.

Angry: “Kehhei!? What’s going on!? Does this mean it isn’t enough to take the emblems off our uniforms!?”

Angry: “Let’s hurry and find Principal Hanya! We need to lift the curse before my face and Tatsuya’s gets all messed up!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: “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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Okay, fine. If you’re gonna guilt trip me…

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: The first place we want to head (or at least, that I went to) is the Courtyard.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Nope, the statue’s just moving around.

Normal: “Yep. It’s movin’.”

Normal: “…So that settles it?”

Normal: “I think so.”

Angry: “Gaaaaah! Hell no! That’s impossible! How could something this ridiculous actually happen!? M-my 3,000 yen!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I should mention that while they’re talking, the statue is walking circles around the Narurato Stone.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: However, for negotiation purposes, this is the right answer.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I fucked up a negotiation with this poltergeist, so I had to fight it.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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!

9_2iVBrO_400x400: No more dumbass “one character at a time” EXP system to deal with, no more P-levels.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

Normal: “Wai! Hey, you! Have you seen the principal?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Yeah, I’m sure he can handle Joker when he got wrecked by Hypnos in P1.

Smug: “The great Michel comes all the way to Sevens and its own principal isn’t here? sigh The great rock 'n roll swindle!”

Smug: “Okay! Time to introduce to one and all the headlining act, yours truly, Mi–”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: This is like, the second time in 20 minutes we’ve seen Eikichi flat on the floor.

Angry: “WHAT!? Okay, back up! This whole thing happened because YOU summoned that Joker!”

Angry: “So take some responsibility and do something about this!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Didn’t he say he’d handle it back like… ten minutes ago?

Angry: “Kehhei! Now you’ve crossed a line, buster! How was I supposed to know at the time what would happen!?”

Angry: “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!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

Normal: “Things seem to be getting steamy here. C’mon, kids, not everybody wants to get caught up in a lover’s quarrel!”

Normal: “At times, I’m am ambitious reporter! Other times, a mild-mannered editor! But my true identity is…”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I guess I was wrong when I said none of the P1 cast went to college, because Yukino apparently did.

Smug: “Really!? Great! Here, babe, take my picture for the cover of the–”

Normal: "We came here to do interviews for a special report we’re working on, called ‘The Rumors of High Schoolers.’ "

Normal: “The emblem curse here at Sevens is the best known one after the Joker Game, you know.”

Normal: “But it’s been chaos since just after we got here. No one’s been willing to give us an interview!”

Normal: “What’s going on here!? Can you tell us what you know? Is it related to what we came here to interview people about?”

Normal: “Hmm… I’m not sure I buy that.”

Smug: “True stories, babies! We’re not looking for Sevens’ principal and we certainly never got stomped by any Joker!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Side note here, Yukino is 20 and Eikichi is 16. Lisa and Tatsuya are both 17.

Normal: “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!”

Angry: “Look out! You gotta stay back, ladies!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

Surprised: “H-How do you know about demons!?”

New Persona: Maia

Origin: Greece

Persona 2 Original

Returning Persona: Vesta

Origin: Rome

First Appearance: Shin Megami Tensei If… (SNES)

image

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Wait… what? Where’s Armaiti? Atlus really should’ve put in some kind of save transfer thing like they did with IS and EP.

Surprised: “Whoa! What’s wrong? Were you that scared?”

Sad: “Huh…? Why am I crying? It’s so strange, but… sniff I can’t stop…”

Surprised: “How weird… I felt it, too. What was that wave of nostalgia…?”

Normal: “Could you elaborate? I know more than you’d think about demons. Maybe I could help you kids out a bit.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

Normal: “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!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

Normal: “Have you guys never played it?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: I’m pretty sure this is another line almost entirely ripped from Diamond is Unbreakable, from the first time Jotaro meets Josuke.

Confused: “I played a kid’s game like that in a dream once, but…”

Surprised: “A dream…!?”

Normal: “Lisa, right? Know anything about this?”

Sad: “No, nothing… I’ve never played any game like that…”

Surprised: “Haime!? Seriously!? You’re gonna come along with us?”

Happy: “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.”

Normal: “I’ll tag along. Now that I know this guy’s in cahoots with demons, I can’t sit back and do nothing.”

Surprised: “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!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: You’d think Yukino would have something to say here, given that she’s met Hanya and knows he’s not a Persona user.

Normal: “But Maya-san, how are we supposed to deal with this? Do you have a plan?”

Normal: “I know! Let’s destroy all the emblems in the school. Getting rid of the cause of the problem should help, right?”

Normal: “If rumors ARE coming true, the curse’ll be lifted once the emblems are gone. But could that really be happening?”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: “Think positive” and “Let’s think positive!” are Maya’s catch phrases.

Normal: “Like… the clocks in the classrooms? Their faces have the same design as our emblem.”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: We can talk to all of our party members, so let’s do that.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Not to mention a giant penis monster and Nyx.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: SEBEC’s Kandori, who got defeated by the auto-battle button.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Once we try to leave the room…

Smug: “Could I bother you two fine misses for a second? I’ve got a special present for you as our new allies!”

Happy: “This is so cute! Can I really have one? Look, Yukki, they’re a matching set!”

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: Yukino’s weapon of choice, just in case you didn’t read the Persona 1 LP, is a set of throwing knives.

9_2iVBrO_400x400: 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.

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SMT 4 is a game I could potentially do, since as far as I’m aware no completed LP exists of it. However, I’d have to do it on an emulator (due to 3DS capture hardware being incredibly expensive and the hack-based alternative not being great either) which I’m a little averse to.

There are actually four routes, and I’m not sure how I feel about playing through the game three times (two of the four routes are basically identical). I couldn’t finish SMT 1 on real hardware, and I’m sure that while If is a little less brutal it’s still an early SMT game. The last thing I’d want is to start another LP I can’t finish.

They are. I kind of wish Atlus had re-done the portraits for Persona 1 the same way they did for this game. It’s kind of jarring going from P1’s artstyle to this.

I love Eikichi but damn is he a fucking idiot sometimes.

My dude you popped a god out of your head by focusing real hard. Why did you take this bet?

Best I can find for this is that Ginko means Bank, and given she has a rich family… well, that follows. I coulda swore the instruction book had a guide of her Chinese and an explanation for the nickname but I can’t find it…