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!
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: 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!
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!
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.
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!