The Cool Crime of Robbery: Let's Play Persona 5

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#301
Part 184

Part 184: 12/24: Cognitive Decay

grunts of pain


Is everyone OK…!?

Dude, we just got shot by a fucking laser beam. It’s not a pointless question.

Oh…! Hey, our clothes are back to normal…!

Wait, what? Today was a school day (which I still don’t understand for a few reasons), why are we in our casual clothes?

Music: Suspicion



Huh…? Shibuya…?
We’re back!?

Did we lose…?


No…

It’s kind of difficult to tell sans motion, but it begins to rain.

Something’s off, though…

Erosion (Watch this)

Oh, I see, we changed clothes for this cutscene, now it all makes sense.



Whoa!

Music: Erosion





Is this what it meant by “the fusion”!?


Oh, hey Mishima. How’re you doing?



What’s going on here? What is–




What the hell…?


To think this would happen…


Music: Disquiet


Tch, the hell is this…? What’s going on!? Kaoru… Kaoru!

Is this scenery… for real…?







Oh no… Something wrong’s happened to the world…!

What’s going on here!?




Nah, as weird as this is, we’re still a long ways off from being as creepy and fucked-up as SAO.

Everyone else isn’t seeing this…?

Seems like our Confidants were the only people who’ve been unaffected by this phenomenon.

Hello? Yes, it’s about tomorrow’s preliminary meeting…
The announcement for the new smartphone is tonight!
What were the Phantom Thieves all about anyway?
Oh man, hearing that brings back memories! I feel so dumb for even believing they existed.
It was fun news, though. Well, I doubt anyone believes they’re around anymore.

It’s probably because they don’t feel that it’s odd…



Futaba collapses.

Music: Desire

Ohh… I feel… woozy… Nngh…







Fade (Absolutely watch this)






My… My hand…!

You, uh, might wanna see someone about that, man. Phantom limbs are no minor issue.




No… no…!









Ryuji Sakamoto, the Chariot. Brash, defiant, and the first friend you made in Tokyo. He has a nasty tendency to blurt out the worst thing at the worst time, but you’ve been through a lot together, and he’s never really let you down yet.

His name is lost to the wind.

Ann Takamaki, the Lovers. She’s been with you all this time, but thinking back she didn’t leave much of an impression as one of the more normal members of your band of oddballs. Even so, there’s an unbreakable connection between you, as kindred spirits who’ve both been through hell.

The void takes another, and grows hungrier even as it consumes.

Yusuke Kitagawa, the Emperor. A genuine weirdo. It was always a tossup whether his cluelessness would amuse or grate, but you formed a bond with him nevertheless.

Despair rises in your chest. You want to vomit. You cannot stand, you can only watch and hope that you will not be last.

Futaba Sakura, the Hermit. She’s awkward and strange, but she’s gotten you out of more scrapes than you can count. Plus, she’s family by now, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

There’s more gaps than remnants, now. Who were you just thinking about?

Makoto Niijima, the Priestess. An early adversary turned irreplaceable ally. You disagree with her career choice, but understand that she’s doing what she thinks is best, and that’s all you can ask of her.

Why are you crying? You can’t answer the question. You feel sad, but without apparent purpose.

Haru Okumura, the Empress. Sweet, but with a hidden dark streak. The two of you formed a deep kinship that eventually became something more.

There’s a hole in your memory, something you know is vital, more important than anything, but what was it?

Because I… brought you all there…?



Morgana, the Magician. His contant smugness was annoying, but his unfailing presence in your life these past eight months has been a comfort, you’re forced to admit.

It’s empty. There’s no one left. You’re alone, and fading fast.




You weakly murmur, “Sorry,” but to no one. It dies unhear-


Well… shit. I can’t believe the Phantom Thieves are fucking dead.



Now that image right there is some Shin Megami Tensei-ass bullshit.


#302
Part 185

Part 185: 12/24: Velvet Enigma

Music: Aria of the Soul



And so we wake up in the Velvet Room once more, under far more dire circumstances than usual.

It appears I have underestimated you…

I think you mean “overestimated,” dude. And I did my fuckin’ best, okay!? What are you supposed to do when you get erased from existence, as if by the Mad Titan himself?


Igor, buddy, this is kind of a trying time for me. Could you maybe try not to rub it in, or at least give me a direct answer to one of my questions for once? Where the hell are my friends?

You incompetent prisoner!
The assistance that we provided was all for naught.

Man, everyone’s getting in on the Maaku dunkfest today. I just died. Gimme a break.

The world will soon see its ruin…

You have lost the game. You were meant to bring change to mankind as a Trickster, but it seems that was too much for you. In accordance to the game’s rules, the defeated must pay a price.


Uhhh, what the hell?

Music: Desire


Executed…?

My experiment has come to naught… Everything is over.

What the fuck are you talking about!?

Grant that man a swift death.



I-It just means that you weren’t an upstanding prisoner…!
That… may be true, but…
What is the matter? Carry out his sentence at once.
(to Caroline) Are we really going to kill him…?
Don’t falter now! It’s all his fault for losing the game!

Man, I thought we were cool! This is bogus!


All right, Inmate. We now proceed to the execution of your sentence.

They’re going to kill me at this rate. I need to do something…


Music: Awakening



Ready, Justine?
If our master orders so… then it cannot be helped…

…Understood.

Man, it’s just one thing after another today.

”Boss:” Caroline and Justine

Music: Will Power


Look at Igor just standing in the back there, chilling.


Okay, so for this fight we’re going to want to–

Uhhh, what?



Well, this is a bad scene all around.


We can’t take too much more of this!


I told you not to falter! Are you going against our master’s orders!?
Ngh…


RIP Maaku… wait, what?



Hmm, it seems like some power is keeping Maaku on his feet…

Our duty isn’t to kill him! Caroline!
What gives…? Why am I doubting myself? Is there… another duty left to us…!?

Music: Regret




We are wardens—those who rehabilitate prisoners.
What…?
Something speaks to me in my mind. Our true duty is not to kill…



I can hear someone’s voice…


I feel like I’ve heard it somewhere before…

What should you do…? Our desire is for you to complete your true rehabilitation…

Caroline and Justine look at each other and nod.

We are not executioners. That is the truth we had forgotten.
We’ve decided… We will not forsake humanity!

The butterfly reappears, then vanishes in a flash of light.

Caroline and Justine clutch their heads and collapse.

It’s as if they’re the same… yet mirrored…

A figure appears before the duo…



The two nod again.






What!?

What the hell is up with Igor?

So we were captives, same as you… Heh… To think we’d learn that truth from a prisoner.
Let us reclaim our true form…!

You must fuse us together, with your own hands.

Gross.

It’s time you returned the favor for us assisting with your growth. Do it with care!


Fusion

Wait, what!? Ah, shit, it didn’t even occur to me we’d be using the guillotine! I don’t know if I can handle watching these children get decapitated, you guys, there’s a reason I didn’t see that Toni Collette movie.





So, Igor? You gonna do anything to stop this? No? OK.



Aaaaaaaaaaagh




Goodbye, Caroline and Justine. Hello… whoever the hell this is.


#303
Part 186

Part 186: 12/24: Velvet Deception

Music: Aria of the Soul


I was torn apart by a malevolent will, and took the form of those twins. I sought help before my body was split in two.



And I beg of you… Please save us…


Your lies shall work no longer now that my sight has been restored…!

It’s not!? Ah, shit! How much more of this is there!?

Music: Desire

Igor’s got a nasty case of levitation going on there.

You guys, I’m starting to think this might not be the real Igor!

Be careful.



Well, that’s… strange. Whatever the hell your plan is, it’s incredibly elaborate!

No… It may be more accurate to say that I am a god who responds to desire and holds dominion over man.

However… the result is as you know—the masses have made it so none of it has transpired. Humans should be met with ruin: you brought forth that answer. But to be frank, Inmate, I believe it may be worth reevaluating you. A human has reached the Holy Grail and has seen through my true identity… You’ve surprised the god that I am often enough. That cannot be done by a foolish commoner. You truly were a prisoner that did not bore me.

Music: The Spirit

Oh, for fuck’s sake


Yadda yadda, let’s get on with it.

I shall grant you an opportunity to make a deal with me.

Should you wish it, I shall return the world to its prior state—one rampant with distorted masses.

You forcefully dragged him into the Metaverse and imposed an ordeal he did not deserve… Yet you still intend on toying with him!?
The Phantom Thieves will be praised and gain fame. The world will escape ruin as well. …What say you?
If I agree to this, the ruined city will return to normal. However, the people will remain trapped, abandoning their ability to think for themselves… Is that really how the world should be?

Oh no, it’s a bad ending option!


Maaku gets sassy.

Well said.
Such irredeemable foolishness… You choose death for yourself? Very well. I have no need for you.





Music: Aria of the Soul


Hmm, are we sure this is the real Igor this time? Let’s rough him up just to make sure.


Welcome to the Velvet Room. My name is Igor. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.

Meet Real Igor.

Okay, this is actually really weird and silly, but I should probably mention it. In Persona 3 and Persona 4, Igor was voiced in Japanese by Isamu Tanonaka. Unfortunately, Tanonaka died in 2010, so his role was scaled back considerably for later games, with all of his following appearances using archive audio. That’s part of the reason the Igor we spend most of this game with was a fake. However, they did not actually recast Real Igor. If you play the Japanese vocal track, it’s again just archive audio, with any lines they don’t have just being muted.

Anyway, in the English versions of Persona 3 and 4, Igor was played by Dan Woren. Then, for some weird reason, they recast him as Vic Mignogna for the few lines he had in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax instead of using archive audio like the Japanese version. The “Warden” (Fake Igor) in 5 is voiced by David Lodge, but they didn’t get Woren back for this game either, instead using Kirk Thornton for some fucking reason, because hey, he was already in the booth recording for the SIU Director, I guess!

He is the rightful master of this Velvet Room, the true aid on your journey.

It may be difficult for you to understand this all at once.
If I were to summarize this, the “fake” has left, and the “real” has returned.

That doesn’t really help, no.

Indeed…

Thus, you may be able to save this world that is headed toward certain ruin. However, it will prove difficult to win against him with your power alone…

You must release your teammates, with whom you’ve shared your conviction.

Oh hey, my friends are actually still alive. That’s cool.

This place exists between dream and reality, mind and matter…

Not necessarily? You make it sound like they’re either currently dying or some of them have already died. That doesn’t sound great.

Just as you were trapped here, they should be confined somewhere as well… Since you’ve deepened your bond with them, I am certain you can release them. Once they—the Phantom Thieves—are all gathered here… We will tell you everything.

Well, looks like it’s time to reassemble the party.


#304
Part 187

Part 187: 12/24: The Audacity Of Mope

Music: Aria of the Soul

Please find them… Save them… This is something only you can do…

Well, let’s get to this. We’ve got seven team members to find, which if I know anything about JRPGs or this game in particular, probably means I get to edit a bunch of repetitive one-on-one conversations.

Here’s the “prison” we’re navigating.

Oh, hey Futaba! Uh, wait, I decided to do these in order, so can you just hang out for like ten minutes? Thanks!

First up is Ryuji, naturally.

Looks like we’re both somehow still alive and kickin’… But… where at?

Music: Regret

And remember how Shibuya was all effed up just now? But like, nobody was seein’ any of it… No, it was more like they didn’t wanna see any of it… What the hell…? So even all them people who were sufferin’, and cheerin’ for us to come and help ‘em… In reality, they would’ve rather just had everything stay how it was…? Did what we were doin’ have any meanin’ at all…?

Haha, you’re so freakin’ tough… Y’know, back when I thought we were gonna die without learnin’ the truth about all this… I kinda felt for the first time that maybe we hadn’t been doin’ the right thing… That maybe we deserved to lose… You get me?

Now that I’m thinkin’ about it, I started all this’cause of how pissed off I was. Maybe it’s never been about winnin’ or anything like that… Maybe all I was doin’ was just continuin’ my own defiance…

Gah! So whiny! Get your head in the game, man!

It’s… fine…?

I get it now… We’re doin’ this to make sure people don’t gotta go through the same crap we did. It doesn’t matter if they think we’re just or not. We gotta do what we believe in!


Music: Swear to My Bones



Yeah, and this is the last time I’m bailin’ you out, man. I can’t afford much more of this.

Thanks… Y’know, it’s kinda embarrassin’ to say this, but I’m real glad I met you. All right, I’m done gettin’ my ass kicked! That shiny bastard acts like it’s some kinda god… I ain’t gonna feel good ‘til we deal with it!

Music: Aria of the Soul


Maybe they’re stuck in the same rut I was… You go save ‘em, OK? I’ll stay here while you do. It don’t seem like there’re any enemies around so I’ll be fine. And I dunno how to put this… but I’m kinda thinkin’ you should go see ‘em alone…

Thanks for the support, bro.

Next, we find Ann.

Thank goodness you’re safe…

Oh, yeah…

Music: Regret

Yeah, we definitely all went to hell.

That means the hell that Shibuya turned into was all real… …… …I’m so weak. When I thought I was gonna die, I… started trembling. I was just so scared. At hat moment, nothing mattered. The justice of our actions was the last thing on my mind.

Joker… You kept going even through a plan that might have ended up killing you. Yet look at me. I’ve always said I’m doing this for other people, but that didn’t get me far… Haha, it’s no wonder we lost. Maybe I should’ve just behaved myself and stayed out of all this…

Holy shit, I was wrong! Shiho does get mentioned after the Hawaii trip! It’s only been like forty hours since then, and the game’s almost over!

Ann is equally shocked to find out that Shiho is at all relevant at this point in the game.

…You’re right. I could never abandon her. If I whine like this now, I’d just be betraying Shiho… No, I’d be betraying myself!

I… I never want anyone to have to go through what I did! I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to keep looking forward. Things like dying or losing aren’t important now. All that matters is that I don’t return to my old self.

Music: Swear to My Bones



We have successfully played the role of Motivational Cat Poster to two of our party members. Hooray.

I seriously treasure being able to be a part of your team!

Gotcha, Joker! It would be a disgrace to the #Millennials name if we didn’t take such a big Treasure!

Music: Aria of the Soul

explains
OK… I’ll wait here. Please go save everyone else… It’s something only you can do…

Whatever. Let’s do Yusuke next.

As I expected, you appear to be safe… However, where exactly are we…?

Velvet… Room…? I’m not sure I understand…

Music: Regret

Considering the state of the real world… it is hard to say that we were even remotely helpful… This situation… Can we truly handle such horrid circumstances? All the Phantom Thieves can do is change the hearts of others. However, the world outside has become a veritable hell. Nothing within our power can fix that…

…I’m merely acknowledging how powerless I am. The people of this world desired their enslavement. That isn’t all… They screamed at us for attacking the Holy Grail, defended it… Even the criminals whose hearts we changed became meek followers of the Holy Grail because of us. Were we truly that foolish, risking our lives for a result nobody desired…?


…That’s right. It wasn’t just for recognition from those we were helping. My purpose lies elsewhere…

I will forever treasure what you did for me. …Very well! Just as art is meant to break boundaries, people should be saved even if they frown upon it.

Music: Swear to My Bones



Please don’t. I’m like halfway done with this shit and I really don’t need it to take any longer.

Being by your side truly gives rise to the greatest ideas!

Ah, yes! We cannot afford to leave reality in the hellish state it’s currently in. I will make use of my role as an artist and paint over the distortions of society!

I’ll witness with my own two eyes that this world isn’t bound by some Holy Grail.

Music: Aria of the Soul

explains
I see… As I thought… In that case, I will remain here on standby. I ask that you go save the rest of our teammates.

It’d be kind of nice if like, even just one of you guys came with me, you know! It’s dark and scary in here!

‘Sup, Makoto.

What a relief. You’re safe…!

Huh…? I, um…

Music: Regret

Could this mean that the will of rebellion is no longer within me…? …… …That may be true. We have to fight that Holy Grail again, correct? Could you imagine defeating it, Joker…? That monster has the support of the masses, and with it, nearly an infinite amount of power… I… No matter which way I approach the subject in my head, nothing points to our victory.

I think I finally, genuinely understand the pain my father and my sister were burdened with… Victory against a single criminal is meaningless… The true enemy is society itself.

Great things to hear from someone whose goal in life is to join the police force!

And even against that foe, you still have to try to somehow emerge victorious. I don’t know what to do…

YOU GOTTA BELIEVE

Believe… in myself… Hm… chuckle You got me.

Please don’t treat this like some deep, trenchant insight. I’m basically a walking fortune cookie at this point.

But even if there is no clear solution, I’ll just have to make one… with my own two hands. Before you guys came along, my life was defined by someone else, set on a path of someone else’s choosing… But only a true loser would live such a rigid life! I… I will win…

Music: Swear to My Bones



Good, because I’m really getting sick of this bullshit from everyone. How many more of these do I have to do?

I want the people of the world to see what you’ve shown me!

Right!

Shall we go? We can’t let our last big job end in failure!

Music: Aria of the Soul

explains
I knew it… OK, I’ll wait here. I ask that you go save the others. There’s no doubt they’re in need of your help…

Next on the docket is Futaba.

I’m relieved… Looks like we’re both still alive.

Am I really safe though…? Shibuya… What happened…? And… where are we?

I see… I guess my fears turned out to be true… The real world is a scary place… Pain like this can never reach you if you keep yourself cooped up indoors…

I know of a place
Where you never get harmed~
A magical place
With magical charms~
Indoors
Indoors
Indooooooooors!

Who am I to think I can tell the people what to do? I mean, I used to be a shut-in myself… Dammit… I just wanna go home…

Music: Regret

Giving up would be too painful. You know, I think… I’ve changed. I don’t know when it happened… But I can’t… I can’t let people suffer like this, even if I don’t know them personally.

Grown…? Honestly, this all seems like a bit too much… But… But…

…… …Nn-hm. I’ve known the right answer from the very beginning.

I ran from my mom’s death for so long… I misunderstood it… Everything was just too painful for me to handle. But… I never want to be left in the dark again! …That’s probably why my Persona is a little bit special. Because I want to learn the truth. That’s how I really feel!

Music: Swear to My Bones



Atta girl.

…Thanks. I’m so happy. Like, so much that I can’t even express it in my normal words! Anyway, we’re going up against a god. I couldn’t even leave my own room before, but now we’re gonna beat a god. I’m so pumped! And wait a sec… I just noticed I got out of here on my own!


Whoa, you’re quick to act! That’s what makes you dependable! All right, time to get back at it!

Music: Aria of the Soul

explains
I knew it… I was getting some signals that felt like them… Anyway, I don’t sense any Shadows in here, Joker. You’ll be fine even without my navigation. So, I’ll be staying right in this spot for now. You gotta go save everyone else.

I’m so lonely…

Haru! My girl! How’ve you been? Dead? Well, we’ll fix that right up!

You are safe…! Oh, thank goodness…!

R-Right…

Music: Regret

Although, it seemed like we were the only ones able to see it… You know, the moment I disappeared, I honestly thought I was about to die… But… part of me wasn’t afraid. I knew that was all I could do… and looked forward to apologizing to Father face to face…

First off, why would you think you would have to be the one apologizing to him? Second, why on earth do you think you two would go to the same place?

Honestly, I thought I had changed, but I realize now that I still have no control over my life… It makes me sick…

I’m sorry, I know you don’t want to deal with my whining…

To be honest, not only is your whining a breath of fresh air compared to everyone else’s whining, it’s kind of my job as your boyfriend to deal with it.

You’re going to try and defeat that thing again, aren’t you? Don’t push yourself to get me to come along. You can always leave me here if I’ll slow you down…

Oh, don’t say shit like that. You have a goddamn grenade launcher, you’ll be fine.


…That’s right. I was foolish to think you should abandon me.

I’ll never stop fighting for you, or our team!

That’s the spirit!

…I won’t give up anymore.

Music: Swear to My Bones



And Noir is back in business. Good to have you.

Before I met you, I had great admiration for the Phantom Thieves of Justice…

That is not something that we have ever been called before in this game, but okay.

And… it’s turned out you were exactly the person I always imagined you would be.

I’ve secretly longed for a situation like this.

We haven’t lost yet.

Music: Aria of the Soul

Now then, please gather in this room at once.
Hm…? What was that voice…? Joker, have you already rescued all the others?

Oh yeah, you were last. Uh, sorry.

Huh? You couldn’t find Mona-chan? But why…?

Where could Morgana be…?


#305
Part 188

Part 188: 12/24: The Truth About Cats

Music: Aria of the Soul


Who’re they…?
My name is Igor. I am the master of the Velvet Room.
I am Lavenza, a resident of this place as well. We have been waiting for all of you.

My master has just been released from a long period of imprisonment. His powers have not fully returned. Though it may be presumptuous of me, I will speak on his–
Hey, where’s Morgana?
Would you like to see him?




That’s where you were hidin’!?

Morgana’s been awkwardly standing in that cell for like five minutes waiting for us to notice him.

It was to dispel an evil being from man’s spiritual world…

Mona…?
My role was to find the Trickster and help him defeat it. That’s why I was created here by my master.


I really remember everything. When this place was about to be taken over, my master gathered the last traces of mankind’s hope. …He mustered up his remaining strength to make me.
The entity that calls itself a god is a malevolent will that forces man into everlasting servitude. It hopes to attain eternal peace by filling reality with those who have stopped thinking for themselves. …That is the ruin of man that this evil god envisions.


An uncharacteristically spirited outburst from Lavenza.

It seems like most of the party somehow understood that last episode. Try to keep up, Makoto.

I was wondering why it had a will of its own, but are you implying that it isn’t a Treasure?
No. As the distorted desires of the masses, it is most certainly the core of Mementos itself.
Then… did the Treasure become a god because people wished to be ruled over…?
That is correct.

One—Goro Akechi—incited the masses’ distortion. Had he won, the world would have been destroyed and remade. The other was a Trickster who would stand up against this… That was Maaku Hamiru.
If Maaku won, the human world would be left as is… Those were the conditions of the game—at least, that’s what should’ve happened.

That malevolent being knew that a revolution would not occur within indolent humans. After all, it is the masses’ distorted desires incarnate.

He believed that a Trickster would rise among the people and accomplish this change. But that evil entity laughed at the prospect, and sought to prove the powerlessness of man with the game. And Maaku Hamiru had great potential… which is why is approached him. It helped train the Trickster, only to cast him into despair, using the masses who rejected their savior. This was likely its means to nip in the bud anything that would pose a threat. Now that I think back to when I was separated, I felt a disagreement to the word “rehabilitation.” Of course I did… It was just a means for the fake to keep you under surveillance.
Basically, this guy was dragged into a game where the evil god rigged the outcome.

We’ve been fucked over countless times by assholes making decisions for us, only to reveal they had their thumbs on the scale the whole time. This is nothing new.

Your real world has already been fused with Mementos. You do not exist because reality is replete with the cognition of those who deny the Phantom Thieves. It can be said that the world is one step away from the evil god’s machinations. However… there is still hope. Maaku Hamiru. Now that the evil god’s identity has been exposed, you can see your rehabilitation to its completion. Only you can leave this prison, and save this distorted world and its captive people…

You must challenge the evil god and reclaim your existence in reality. Are you up to the task?


Fist pump, nice.

The Phantom Thieves nod.

Igor claps in amusement.

There is nothing to fear. You already possess the strength to oppose this evil god.


Morgana, please guide them. And thank you for all that you’ve done. It’s a cruel responsibility that’s been cast upon you…
I will accept your words of appreciation fully when everything is over. Now follow me!






That’s our exit. Come on, let’s go.

Music: Disquiet

Huh? We’re back in Shibuya again!?

The party instantly vanishes aga—just kidding.

Oh, right… This is where we were when our bodies disappeared.
It seems like people still haven’t realized that this abnormality has taken over the city…

If I remember correctly, this is that Quarantine Cell…

You did say you were born in there… It makes so much sense now.

It does?

Wait… So if we came outta there, does that mean WE’RE the criminals…!?

How is that at all a new or novel concept at this point?

No, it’s more like Maaku! Since he was kept in here!

Uhhh, hi Morgana. You’re looking… radiant this afternoon.

The Velvet Room originally existed to nurture the human mind, but after it was taken over… It was sealed inside that bastard’s nest… Inside Mementos.


You’re shining…
It’s probably because my memories have returned. I know what my duty is now.

Wait a sec, wh-what’s with those weirdly-dressed guys?


I kind of remember seeing a silhouette of them on a jumbo-screen in the city…
The Phantom Thieves?
Oh yeah, that’s right! I completely forgot about them!

It doesn’t seem to be everyone though. Only a handful of people in this large crowd.
Maybe it’s ‘cause of Mona’s light!
Either way, they remember the Phantom Thieves!
The key of hope…
Mona, guide us. Where must we go?

The bastard from earlier should be in that temple!

And so we march toward the Holy Grail once more…


#306
Part 189

Part 189: 12/24: Once More Unto The Breach

Music: Life Will Change

Just like on a heist day, Life Will Change will be playing near-uninterrupted during our ascent to the temple and in any fodder battles. Way to set the mood.

“Day of Reckoning,” eh? Let’s get to work. Our current location is known as the “Qliphoth World,” for the record.

In order to repay that debt, allow me to assist you and your teammates here. Please come to me if you are injured. I will heal your wounds.

Just like in Mementos Depths, Lavenza will now be waiting outside the Velvet Room to restore our HP and SP. Unfortunately, because everything’s turbo-fucked, we can’t go back to Untouchable or the clinic. We’ll just have to make do.

Time to start the climb.


Heh, it’s nice knowin’ there aren’t gonna be any bullshit traps or nothing this time! All right, let’s get movin’!

There are a few treasure chests with some mildly useful items in this first area, but it is devoid of enemies. Let’s just proceed to the end.

What’s up?
I’m sensing something up ahead…
I guess we can’t just go waltzin’ in here, huh… Whaddya say, Joker?


Careful! Enemy incoming! It’s pretty dangerous…!

Music: Blood of Villain



Those who wish to disturb society shall be slain on the very spot they stand.
You’re the one who’s disturbing it!
Dissenters must be destroyed.
It’s useless trying to reason with this guy! Let’s beat him and break through here!

Music: Keeper of Lust

The Herald of Death is a rather simple fight, so I won’t bother with a video. That’s the reason, yes, it’s not at all that a few seconds of my footage is corrupted and I don’t want to rerecord.

His skills are Deathbound (Medium Physical, all foes, 1-2x), Bloodbath (Medium Physical, all foes, low chance of Fear), Myriad Slashes (Medium Physical, 1 foe, 2-3x), and Megidola (Heavy Almighty, all foes). He gets two turns, but all in all this isn’t really that much to write home about.



However, he’ll start by summoning two Angels, which is where his gimmick will come in. These Angels are much, much higher leveled than their counterparts from way back in Kaneshiro’s Palace, and can use Tarukaja, Rakukaja, or Sukukaja. None of those are really an issue, but…


…they can also use Recarmdra, a gimmick from some of the minibosses in Okumura’s Palace. For those of you who don’t remember, Recarmdra is an enemy-exclusive skill that fully heals every other foe on the field, at the cost of all but 1 of the user’s HP. It’s pretty annoying, and means we should focus on the Angels first. Thankfully, they are still weak to Curse.

Music: Disquiet


Wh-What’s going on here!?

Took ‘em long enough!
I can’t believe they didn’t notice until the danger was so close to them…
Things are going to get even worse from here on out… The entire city has stopped functioning. At least they can still panic for now…
If people still don’t act for themselves after seeing all this… I’m sorry, but they’re hopeless!
In any case, let’s head to the temple!

Music: Life Will Change

Onward and upward.


The people in the city recognized us, so it’s only natural we’d draw the enemy’s attention as well.
Well they can bring it on! I’m startin’ to get fired up!

So now we have enemies to deal with.

This is Dominion. It uses Bless (including Hamaon), Ice, and can inflict Forget party-wide. It’s weak to Gun, repels Nuke, and blocks Bless.

As I mentioned earlier, Caroline’s/Lavenza’s healing will not restore bullets. Notably, your bullets also do not replenish automatically in between leaving Mementos Depths and entering Qliphoth World. We have two Reserve Ammo packs if we need them, but if you utilize my strategy of “fuck negotiating, fuck probing for weaknesses, shoot them until Oda Special’s crit buff knocks them down and then Warning Shot for easy captures,” you’ll probably be running low by the end of this “dungeon.”

This is Kali. It uses Psy, extremely strong Physical attacks, has a crit buff skill, and also can use Tentarafoo to mass Confuse the party. I lost maybe 150k yen at least in this place to bullshit scenarios where 3 or even 4 of my party members were Confused and throwing away 30k at a time and there was nothing I could do about it.

Also, no weaknesses, fuck you. They block Fire and repel Psy, though!

This is Mot. It drains Electricity, reflects Curse, and is weak to Wind. It can use Concentrate to charge up its magic, use Megido or Megidolaon (Heavy/Severe Almighty), or just put the entire party to Sleep. This place has a lot of bullshit status ailment enemies, you’ll notice.

Here’s Abaddon, jesus christ. It drains Physical, Gun, and Curse, but is weak to Psy and Nuke. It uses extremely strong Physical moves exclusively.

Are you ready for this?

Music: Blood of Villain


Come on, let’s beat this one too!

That’s exactly what we want!

Music: Keeper of Lust

The Cleanser of Heaven is just a bit more complicated than the Herald of Death. Still not hard.


He’ll start by using Heat Riser and Charge. We want to get rid of Heat Riser immediately, mainly for the Defense buff aspect of it. He’s going to hit like a truck, don’t get me wrong…

…But there’s really not much we can do about that. We can instead take advantage of the game mechanics to make this dude a joke by just blitzing him down as quickly as possible. See, his only damage skill is Sword Dance, which is Colossal Physical, a step above Severe. That’s pretty bad, but luckily for us it’s single-target, meaning that we have a few safeguards. On the off-chance he targets Maaku, one of our party members will simply take the hit for him, in which case they will withstand the blow. Even if he manages to do this twice (which our strategy of “kill him in three turns” is designed to prevent), Futaba will just save the party with Final Guard. I can’t think of any possible reason this dude would be alive long enough to try it a third time, which means that you’re basically unkillable here unless you play like an idiot.

Ryuji learns Agneyastra, which deals Medium Physical to all enemies 1-3 times, finally replacing Swift Strike.

Makoto also learns Nuke Amp, which we replace Evade Psy with. I considered throwing away Energy Shower for it, but it’s a nice backup.

Music: Desire



H-Hey! That person… They just disappeared! Th-They turned into some kind of black fog…

Things are only getting worse in the city…


#307
Part 190

Part 190: 12/24: Dance With The Angels

Music: Life Will Change

Continuing our approach to the temple, and getting ever closer…

Remember these weird things from back in Kamoshida’s Palace? They’re gross little versions of Mara called Slime Maras, and they’re the only normal Shadow in the game you can’t recruit, because there isn’t a corresponding version of them as a Persona. Not that you’d have much of a chance to recruit them; they have a paltry amount of HP and are weak to Ice, Electricity, and Bless, and only use Bufu and Sukunda.

Also, it freaks me out every time I notice Mara’s giant honking schnoz.

We’ve already seen all the enemy types in the Qliphoth World, and there aren’t even any treasure chests in this area, so we might as well just skip to the miniboss.

And we’re getting closer to another enemy… I’m getting a strong reading up ahead!


Music: Desire



Return from whence you came. Proceeding further shall only serve to shorten your lives. I advise you not as a guardian, but out of the mercy of my heart.
Mercy…? Don’t make me laugh! If you had mercy, you’d never be doing this to the world!
Ah… Greet me with weapons in hand…? Me seemeth I have no choice… I shall take personal responsibility for the misconduct of my children!

I don’t think you’re using the bullshit word “seemeth” correctly.

Declarer of Anguish

Music: Keeper of Lust

So, the Declarer of Anguish is kind of annoying, but still not really a threat. She is Gabriel, in SMT tradition one of the four archangels in the service of YHWH. The other two minibosses we fought last update were Uriel and Raphael, two of the other archangels, and spoiler alert: we’re going to fight the fourth one, Michael, in the next area. Like those other archangels, her only resistance is her nullification of Bless.

Gabriel gets two turns, naturally. Her main trick is really only notable because we haven’t seen it yet before:


Divine Judgment is a Bless attack that deals half its target’s current HP in damage, and no more. It also rounds down, so it can’t actually kill you by itself. It doesn’t deal bonus Technical damage or weakness damage to ailing or vulnerable characters, and I’m not even sure it can knock you down.


Aside from that, she uses Maziodyne and Mabufudyne, which can of course inflict Shock and Freeze, as well as Cosmic Flare, a multi-target Severe Nuclear attack, which can get Technical hits off of those ailments, so watch out. Still, a rather simple fight.

Music: Desire



Music: Life Will Change

Indeed. Though they may not be true “servants of God,” they do live up to that moniker…
I wonder if the people in the city are OK…

As we just saw in the last scene, the answer is no!

I hope so. Given what is happening to this world… nobody can be considered a stranger anymore…
Yeah, that’s why we can’t lose… There’s only one thing we gotta do!
Well said, Lady Ann. Let’s keep going!

The next area is short, containing only two “strong” Shadows and two treasure chests.

Yusuke learns his final skill, Brave Blade. It deals Colossal Physical damage. We slot it in for Deadly Fury. It won’t power up after a Baton Pass, but again, bosses can’t be knocked down.

Haru also learns Psy Amp. This choice here is probably going to be a bit controversial, but what the hell: I got rid of Psiodyne in favor of keeping Mapsiodyne. Why get rid of the single-target version? Why, it’s almost like I know things about the final boss of this game! Again, we’re keeping Tetrakarn and Makarakarn because I want my builds between NG and NG+ to be more-or-less consistent (meaning you’re free to delete those in this playthrough if you really want), and keeping Snipe, Cripple, and her Gun skills because Haru is a Gun beast. Psy Amp is nice to have, though.

One of the treasure chests contains a nice piece of armor that I didn’t even check because I was pretty confident my laundry had gotten me way better shit! But, the other one had this Soma, bringing my total to four! I only had three in my first run and I ended up using two, one on Shido and one on the final boss. Counting the one we sold at the beginning of the game, that makes five Somas in this run. Pretty good, considering their rarity, even if one of them was a gimme and two of them had set placement.

It’s not gonna be that easy though. We’ve got another one of those angel things coming up… It’s right past this stair-- What the…!? This reading is off the charts!
It must be because this is the final guardian. I expect it will be the most powerful of them all.
W-Well, Joker? You really think we can do this…?

Music: Blood of Villain


This dude talks like an amateur thespian trying to imitate Captain Picard.

So that means you’re the last one who’s gonna get in our way!
Dare you destroy the very ruler you wished for? Humans are truly arrogant…
Not everyone wants that thing ruling over us!
Wish you to be free? Love you diversity? Since the dawn of time, man hath failed to put an end to quarrel. Now they finally desire a strong ruler. What justice have you in disturbing that wish!?
Like granting that wish is justice either! How can you say people are free when they’re chained up in prisons in this broken world!?
If someone has lost their way, it’s our job to help them come to their senses!
So, you commit any degree of sacrilege for your justice… …You are beyond salvation!

Apocalyptic Guide

Music: Blooming Villain

Hearing Blooming Villain again after a while, and for the very last time. All right. Let’s do this.

This is the Apocalyptic Guide, or Michael.



Like Uriel, he will summon Angels. I never saw it happen here, but I believe they can still use Recarmdra to fully heal Michael, which is… a problem. Especially because Michael has considerably more health than Uriel. Like, almost three times as much.


In fact, he uses gimmicks from all three previous fights. He can charge up and use Sword Dance like Raphael, too. Additionally, he can use Divine Judgment, Mabufudyne, Maziodyne, and Cosmic Flare like Gabriel, except this time he has Ice/Elec/Nuke Amp to boost their damage. He can also Dekunda away any debuffs you place on him, use Debilitate to lower all three of an ally’s parameters, and use Megidolaon (with Almighty Boost and Amp) to deal Severe Almighty to the party.

He can be pretty dangerous, especially with the threat of Recarmdra hanging over your head, which is why the Angels should be absolutely prioritized no matter what. This fight didn’t take me too long, but better a test of endurance than having to deplete his health two or three times.

No more of that Holy Grail shit doing whatever it wants!
Let’s go!

This is probably gonna be our last chance to prep ourselves.
We cannot lose now. Let us ensure we do not have any regrets as we head toward the final battle.

Life Will Change no longer plays in this final area. Shit’s getting real, y’all.

But from here, we can helpfully warp back down to the street to get healing from Lavenza and access the Velvet Room. Let’s do that.


Music: Aria of the Soul


Two things here: Caroline and Justine’s little barks as you navigate these menus are gone, for obvious reasons. They are replaced by Lavenza chatter, which is much less interesting. Also, Igor no longer has anything to say in these menus either, because again, they didn’t record any new lines for Real Igor (The English dub did voice all of Real Igor’s lines in cutscenes, even the ones that the Japanese version left silent, but did not add new lines for these menus).

Let’s start with Alice, from Belial and Nebiros. Alice is an SMT staple, and her fusion recipe in this game (and a few others, including Persona 4) is unique, a reference to Shin Megami Tensei 1. Belial and Nebiros were the Red Count and the Black Baron, who resurrected Alice. Alice is the final Persona of the Death arcana, unlocked for finishing Takemi’s Confidant.

We are currently level 74, and we pay 118,500 yen to fuse above our level.

Heehee! I think I’ll be your mask… You’ll play with me, won’t you?

Alice is a blatant reference to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, though certain games like Strange Journey seem to imply that she is an amalgam of that character as well as a myth of an Aryan (hoo boy) girl who died at a young age, became a spirit, and attained powerful magic that drove her insane. This myth was apparently used to scare Scandinavian children into behaving, or else Alice would visit them in the night and kill them so they would become her “friends.” Her in-game description reads: “A mysterious blond girl. She is quite powerful, despite her looks. Some say she is the ghost of a girl who died a sad death. Others say she is a spirit born from someone’s imagination.”

We’re getting to the point where some of the Personas we fuse are special enough to get unique skills, so I’ll go into what, exactly, “Die For Me!” is. Die For Me! is Alice’s iconic unique skill, something she’s had for a long time. “A long time” here means “since Persona 3,” since apparently all the shit I assumed was in the series from the start is only about a decade old. She had a similar skill called Another Dimension in Persona 2, though. Anyway, it’s an instant-kill skill. The best instant-kill skill, to be precise. It targets everything and near-unfailingly murders it instantly. The main drawbacks here is that it’s Curse-type, so if they block that you’re screwed (though it’ll probably work even if they resist it), and its whopping 44 SP cost.

Also worth noting is Survival Trick, which lets you survive an instant-kill with 1 HP.

Next, Sandalphon from Seth and Abaddon. Sandalphon is the final Persona of the Moon arcana, unlocked for finishing Mishima’s Confidant. We pay 49,500 yen to fuse above our level.

As the bearer of my mask, your prayers grant me strength. Come, let us fight together.

Sandalphon is a character from Jewish mysticism, the twin brother of Metatron. He is said to be responsible for determining a person’s gender in the embryonic stage, and in other accounts is a guardian angel who delivers prayers to God. The in-game description reads: “Metatron’s twin brother in Judeo-Christian lore, he is the master of heavenly songs. It is said that a human would take 500 years to walk the length of his body.”

The most interesting skill here is Angelic Grace, which doubles evasion against all magic damage except for Hama, Mudo, and Almighty.

This is Raphael, fused from Thor and Sandalphon. We pay 109,200 yen to fuse above our level.

I shall become a mask and provide support for your health, both mentally and physically.

Raphael is one of the four Seraphim, the highest rank of angel. His name means “one that heals.” He is said to be the guardian of the Tree of Life, and he recites the history of the fallen angels and the creation of Adam and Eve.

Anyway, Arms Master is a great skill that halves the HP cost of all Physical and Gun skills.

Music: Life Will Change

Anyway, at this point I head back out into the gauntlet to do something I have never before had to do in this game: grind! The reason is twofold: First, I’m unwilling to yet break my rule about fusing Personas more than five levels above my own, but also I’d like to get the rest of the party’s final skills before fighting the final boss. Thankfully, the Persona I’m gunning for is level 80, and the final party skills activate at level 75, meaning we only have to get about one more level.

Here, Ann learns Blazing Hell, which deals Severe Fire damage to all foes. I think this is kind of a waste of SP generally (it costs 54 SP, while Maragidyne only cost 22!), but it’s hella strong.

And at 75, Ryuji learns God’s Hand, which deals Colossal Physical damage to one foe. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: Ryuji is King Shit of Fuck Mountain. We replace Megaton Raid for it.

Morgana learns Salvation, which fully heals all allies and cures all “non-special” ailments. It costs 48 SP, 18 more than Mediarahan. We keep both because I’m an idiot and never got rid of Samarecarm, so I do that now.

Makoto learns Atomic Flare, which deals Severe Nuke damage to one foe. This is kind of annoying, honestly, because Makoto gets hit hard by the SP cost bug, having a lot of utility but exorbitant skill costs depleting her SP quickly. How bad is it? Freidyne costs 12 SP. Atomic Flare costs 48. Paying four times as much for a single-target attack is kinda bullshit, but we do it anyway because Makoto doesn’t have a lot of offensive options.

And finally, Haru learns Heat Riser, which is actually the least expensive thing we get here at only 30 SP. It boosts all three parameters, as we’ve seen many times before. We replace Psy Amp, the skill we just got two levels ago, because we’re not here for Haru’s Psychokinesis skills.

Music: Aria of the Soul

Back in the Velvet Room, we made it all the way to level 76, so we celebrate by fusing Zaou-Gongen, the ultimate Persona of the Strength arcana (unlocked from maxing Caroline and Justine’s Confidant), from Alice and Dionysus. We pay 67,200 yen to fuse above our level.

I shall lend thee the power of three divinities. I am another angry mask of thee…

Zaou-Gongen is… man, I cannot make any sense of this wiki description, what? He is one of the most important “mountain deities” of Japan’s “syncretic Shugendou sects, a diverse tradition of mountain ascetic practices associated with Shinto beliefs,” whatever the fuck that means. I’ll try to interpret what I can understand: after Buddhism came to Japan in the 6th century, the native Shinto Kami (gods/spirits/phenomena, it’s an intentionally ambiguous demarcation) came to be considered manifestations of the Buddhist divinities. Zaou-Gongen, then, is the protector deity of the Nara prefecture and is considered the Shinto manifestation of the Buddhist divinities Historical Buddha (Sakya), Kannon Bodhisattva (Kanzeon) and Miroku Buddha (Maitreya), who serve as the Buddhas of the Past, Present, and Future. This means Zaou-Gongen is “perhaps the most powerful local divinity of religious mountain worship in Japan,” which seems like a really goddamn narrow superlative, but whatever, he’s tough shit. His in-game description reads: “Repeller of evil found at Kinpusen by En-no-Ozunu. Believed to be a fusion of Buddha, Guanyin, and Maitreya, he’s a god who originated from Japan rather than the Buddhavacana.” I understood maybe half of those words.

Anyway, his skill Enduring Soul is awesome and lets you revive once per battle with full HP as long as you have him equipped. Righteous.


We’re pretty much done with stuff I was going out of my way to get, but I’m a bit annoyed that I’m still hanging on to this level 54 Bugs, so I decide to throw it in a Public Execution for the second time I’ve done one of those in this LP.

I, the executor of justice, am now within your mask.

And hey! We get a Uriel! I kinda wanted one of those! Neat!

Uriel is another of the four Seraphim. His name is never given in any of the accepted scriptures, but he came to be known as Uriel, meaning “Flame of God,” for his common depiction carrying a flaming sword. He is said to carry the stars in the sky, and on the final day of judgment will oversee the resurrection and retribution of human souls. According to his in-game description, he knows all the celestial phenomena, and is the first angel Satan met on Earth.

It was difficult writing clues that both resonated with my consciousness and did not tip off that false god. But thanks to you, my wish has been granted. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Already killed ‘em all.

Cool.

Here’s the Personas I’ll be taking with me to the final battle. I’d like to get rid of Mot, Mara, and especially Moloch, but I can’t be fucked.

Let’s not delay this any longer.



This will most likely be our final battle… Are you ready, Joker?

…I guess that was a foolish question to ask. Well, come on!