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

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#161
Part 67

Part 67: 7/11: Strange Things Are Afoot At The Circle K

Music: Tokyo Daylight

It is sweltering… The air conditioning seems to have ceased functions entirely…

Anon: A new hero is born!

We’ll start with this one first… This intel is on an online stalker burning with jealousy because the man she loves has been taken away. It seems she’s a Shujin student… Her delusions are really getting out of hand. She’s even writing how she’s going to kill them.
If we don’t stop her, she might actually do it! We need to figure something out before that happens.
Fine by me.
That’s not all. Now on to the next target. Apparently the Phantom Thieves inspired a larceny group that steals from shops in Shibuya. On top of that, it seems their leader has been physically abusing his younger brother. We can’t let these people go around tarnishing the Phantom Thieves name.
I must agree, even more so if we are being asked for help. Let us put a stop to this madness.
I’m for doing this too! We need to trigger a change of heart in them.
That’s not all. Now on to the next target. This intel is on a cowardly kid who carries out atrocities using bullies under his control. He’s the one behind that guy Takanashi whose heart we changed before as well. Anyway, it seems like he’s been blackmailing people with videos they don’t want made public.
Sure thing. Let’s break that shitty bastard.
It seems tough, but I think we can accomplish this if you say we can!
That’s not all. Now on to the next target. This intel is on a heinous convenience store manager. Not only does he steal money from the register, but he gets away by blaming his part-timers for it. He probably just does whatever he wants because he owns the store.
Let’s take him down. Even though he owns the place, it’s damn clear what’s right and what’s wrong.
Mm-hm, that’s unforgivable! We’re going to do this, no matter what!
That’s not all. Now on to the next target. This intel is on a man who’s been abusing his girlfriend. This man named Uchimura has assaulted her countless times. That fortune teller even predicted she’d be badly hurt if left alone. Those fortunes often come true…
Fortunes aside… we can’t let this guy use violence against her! I don’t want her getting hurt. We should change his heart.
I agree. It’s only natural for us to change the heart of a person like that.
OK, it looks like we’re all ready to do this! We already told Mishima, so the forum post is up and running. No objections, right? Mm… we’re good to go if you’re OK with it. That’s a unanimous decision! OK, all that’s left now is to take down the target in Mementos!

Hey, if Mishima has to send a forum post, isn’t that technically a threat? Also, if it only works if they see the post, what if they don’t check the site that day? Or, what if we don’t complete all our requests on the same day? It only works once, after all. Or, maybe this is all a bullshit gameplay contrivance that doesn’t map one-to-one with the story all that well and I’m just overthinking it for comedic effect, and actually giving a shit about it is pointless.


Anon: SWEETDICULOUS! >: D
Anon: Phantom Thieves YAAAS!

Yo, how many targets we got? 5 of ‘em, yeah? Let’s do this.

Music: Mementos

Oh yeah, this happened before too. If I’m remembering right, the Metaverse Nav–
Yup, we got something.

Music: Suspicion

How much bigger is this place gonna get?
Yo, Mona, can’t you turn into some kinda high-powered radar or something? We’d know how deep it goes if you could.
That’s impossible…!
Hm, it would be dangerous to wander blindly. We simply do not have enough information.
Just driving around won’t likely do us any good either.
Yeah, but… The path keeps going forward! We’ll reach the depths eventually! …I think.
That again…?

Music: Mementos





In our first fight, we get a popup explaining a new mechanic.

We can use it to use Joker’s turn to instead switch two party members.

We find the first distortion in the fifth area of Aiyatsbus.

Look at ‘im… Thinks he’s some kinda hotshot.
He’s the guy who’s really behind all that bullying, right?
Yeah. If we wanna stop the bullying, we gotta take him down.
Let’s go.

Music: Desire

Idiot, it’s a dog eat dog world. Didn’t you hear? Might makes right.
No jerk’s got the right to go around, blackmailin’ people!
The weak who can’t survive in this world become prey for the strong. Nothing’s wrong with that!
You gotta be kidding! You’re not strong, you’re just a coward who won’t get his hands dirty!
Haha! And you’re a stupid dog that’s all bark and no bite! Changed my mind. Dogs are stronger than cats or mice. You’re just trash! Now, die!

Music: Keeper of Lust


He goes down in a single turn. The pattern with most of the bosses we’ll be taking down today is that they’re pretty easy, and so I won’t be posting videos for them.

Music: Sunset Bridge


No… Don’t… Don’t eat me…
Why don’t you just admit you lost? You’re acting kind of pathetic right now.
Yes… I know I am.
All right. Now it’s time for you to get eaten. The strong eat the weak or somethin’, right? When I’m done with you, there’s gonna be nothin’ left but bone. You ready?
Please, forgive me! I’m sorry!
…Kiddin’. You don’t gotta say sorry to us. Go apologize to who you really need to apologize to!
Let’s get the Treasure! Case closed!

The Evil Snow Crystal is a special item that lets us fuse Black Frost, the form Shadow Sakoda took.

Next, in the sixth area of Aiyatsbus:

He looks so… bad.
He’s part of a burglary ring targeting restaurants, and he’s used violence against his brother.
We have to do something about this.
Let’s talk to him.

Music: Desire

I convinced my friends to do some “part-time work” for me. But I’m not in the wrong!
Trying to make excuses now? You should be ashamed of yourself.
No! I just meant it as a way to have a little fun, but those idiots got cocky! And now I’m the one who’s in trouble! Dammit! Why do bad things always happen to me!?
Bad things? What are you talking about?
Yeah, ever since I was a kid! School, society… everyone treated me like I was dirt! My little brother was the smart one, Mom and Dad’s favorite. They couldn’t care less about me…

I know that feeling

How can you expect me to live a normal life? I’m rebelling against this shitty society!
You think violence and crime is rebellion? Don’t be stupid.

Ryuji sounding suspiciously like an after-school special here. “You know what’s cool, kids? Obeying the law. Stay in school!”

What did you say? You guys are thieves, too! Don’t think you’re better than me, idiots! Go away!

Music: Keeper of Lust



Despite the summons, this isn’t a particularly difficult fight. The Oni complicates things, but…


Taking Makigami down will end the fight regardless of how many of the enemies are left.

Music: Sunset Bridge

This is impossible… I get it now. You must have heard from my brother…

You just realized that now? Wait, you already know how your brother feels, then!
…… He did this… for me… That’s the key to the chest in my room. Give it to my brother… You’re supposed to be the good kind of thieves, right…?
What!? Why would we do something like that for y-- …Psh. Anything you want to tell him?
Well… Hehe, “Burn what’s inside or throw it away,” I guess. sob


What’re we gonna do about that Treasure?

Yeah. It’s no use to us, anyway.
What will we do? I can give it to him since he goes to my school.
No. I’ll just sneak it into his house. I think that’s the best way…
I hope everything resolves itself.
In any case, we pretty much succeeded with our mission!

Next, in the third area of Chemdah:

Doesn’t he look like he’s worried about something?
But he’s abusing his girlfriend, right?
Oh, man, didn’t her fortune say that she’s gonna get seriously hurt?
We can’t let that come true! Let’s hurry!

The party suddenly believes in fortune-telling, I guess. Which, whatever, far from the weirdest thing they’ve experienced.

Music: Desire

Dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit! Where is she? Get over here, so I can beat you!

This is not a subtle game.

Whaaaaaat!? Don’t you dare lecture me! She’s mine! I can do whatever I want with her! Beating her is a right that only I have! I’ll have you know that she loves it too! If you wanna get in my way, then you’re gonna diiiiiie!

Music: Keeper of Lust

Shadow Uchimura


This guy presents a little trouble because he keeps getting extra turns with Garula off Ryuji, but we still take him down.

Music: Sunset Bridge

I can do better… I’m a superior human being… All the people around me just don’t get it…

I honestly like that he’s so far gone that even post-defeat he’s still an unrepentant shitheel who doesn’t understand his own awfulness at the end of this. Turns out stealing your heart doesn’t magically make you a better person after all! At least he’ll stop fucking beating his girlfriend, though.

The Sleep Stick is a much, much better weapon for Ryuji (44 Attack to 144) that has a medium chance of inflicting Sleep.

Phew… The right to beat his girlfriend? He really was the worst of the worst to think that. We changed his heart, so let’s go tell the fortune teller when we get the chance.


While working our way further down, we see some new enemies. One of them is this Sudama, weak to Nuclear and Ice. We can also spy on its skills and item drops thanks to Makoto.

We also run into this normal enemy version of a previous miniboss, Shiki-Ouji. This version is still immune to Physical, Gun, and Curse, but is additionally weak to Nuclear. It uses Gun, Tarukaja, and tries to enrage with Taunt.

Later on, we spy a weak wall.

We can smash right through it, revealing an enemy and a chest. These pop up every so often and are a reward for sharp-eyed players.

On the eighth and final floor of Chemdah:

She’s smirking. That’s kinda creepy…
Her blog is full of all her crazy thoughts. She must be lost in some sort of sick romance fantasy.
Shouldn’t we do something about it before she can hurt anybody?
Of course. Let’s do it.

Music: Desire

I know why you’d go after Kamoshida, but why me!?
Hey. I don’t blame you for falling in love, but there’s a point where it goes too far.
You! You’re the bitch trying to steal Ikesugi-kun away from me!
Who are you calling a bitch!? And I’m not interested in Ikesugi!
Hmph! You’re just a sore loser, hanging out with some lame guys and a funny-looking animal!
What’d you just say!?

Oh god what the fuck

“Funny-looking animal”? Is she talking about me!? This makes me mad! Get her!

You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!

Music: Keeper of Lust


Mogami’s not a hard fight at all. She’ll start by using Stagnant Air to increase everyone’s susceptibility to ailments. While it also applies to herself, she’s sadly immune to Confuse, so no farming money off her (though we probably don’t really need to bother farming right now). She can inflict Brainwash with Brain Shake, a Physical strike, but if she has more than that, I killed her before she got to it, because she spent her other turns lowering the party’s defense and boosting her own. I would post a video… but some of the footage corrupted and led to audio desync when I try to edit it, and I’m not rerecording the entire Mementos trip for one easy boss, sorry.

Music: Sunset Bridge

What is real love and romance!?

Someday!? When will that be!? What should I do with all of these feelings inside me…?
Just tell him face to face, and don’t write weird stuff in your blog. It’ll take courage though.
I’m scared, but… I’ll do it! Please, wait for me, Ikesugi-kun!
Hey! Just don’t do anything weird!


Sticky Hairball lets us fuse Bugs, that… thing Mogami turned into.

Music: Mementos

Don’t you just feel like the whole world approves of you whenever these things open?
For a second, but then I think how there are more of these walls waiting ahead…
All right, let’s get in there!

Now, you may notice that the last exclamation point is in the previous area. In which case, congratulations, you’re smarter than me! It takes me a good few floors to realize I left it behind because it was on a floor I skipped over. In the meantime, we find some good stuff down here before we head back up.

Kaitul comes from a word meaning “ugliness,” though the source of that translation apparently thinks that’s kind of a guess because it’s really far off from the source word, Keeoor.

I never realized how creepy the subway system could be. Inside the train, you don’t even notice.
I agree. Perhaps it is like the darkness in all men’s hearts. Always there, never perceived…
Haha, you talkin’ about art stuff again?
It’s a new area from this point on. Let’s be careful heading in!

This monstrosity is Choronzon, a palette swap of Legion from other SMT games. It’s weak to Bless.



We use one of our Lockpicks here and find a Gigas Vest, a rather notable upgrade to Maaku’s current armor.

At some point we also pick up an Id Collar. It’s some new armor for Morgana, who sorely needed it, but that’s just from a normal chest, and just saves me from having to go buy him some armor later.

Ryuji levels up, and we replace his Zio with Zionga. I’ve seen suggestions to leave him with Zio because his Magic stat and SP pool are poopy and he’ll mainly be using it to hit weaknesses instead of deal damage, but he’s honestly not using those skills enough for it to make a dramatic difference in his longevity, especially once we slap an SP Adhesive 3 on him.

We’re only in the third area. I suppose this leisure ride will continue on for a while longer.
How is this supposed to be leisurely…?
Cut him some slack. Yusuke just wanted to say somethin’ cool.

Damn straight.

We replace Yusuke’s Bufu with Bufula, another straight upgrade.

We also replace Morgana’s Dia with Recarm, a skill that lets him revive an ally. Considering that we can already just buy Life Ointments from Takemi, which are items that fully restore a KO’d ally’s HP, revive skills are pretty useless in this game. Still, it’s better than holding onto fucking Dia.

Finally, we head back up to the first floor of Chemdah:

What an unpleasant smile.
It’s his customer service smile, right? Yet behind the scenes, he’s extorting his subordinates.
This guy might start doin’ it to his customers, too. Who knows?
That would be a disaster! Let’s go!

Music: Desire

Why’d you blackmail your own employees? That’s not normal!
My shop is a directly managed store of a large chain. Since I’m highly competent, I’m in charge. I don’t need strangers complaining about how I use the shop’s money. Part-time workers are the property of the shop. Thus, they are mine to use as I will.
Property!? Who do you think you are!?
I get it now. You pretend to be heroes, but you’re all just criminals. I’m gonna kill you!

Let’s go!

Music: Keeper of Lust


Spoiler: this doesn’t go the way he thinks it will. In fact, due to Ryuji afflicting him with Shock, he doesn’t even get to act.

Ann replaces Dia with Diarama, finally.

Music: Sunset Bridge


No… I remember now… Employees aren’t property… They’re human beings. And yet, I took advantage of them. I-I’ve done bad things…
Talk about a horrible workplace.
I don’t know how I can ever make up for this…
You’ve done quite a bit more, haven’t you? It’d be best if you just confess everything.

This is a… book? I guess?

Huh? Aren’t those Chinese desserts or somethin’?
I see. So he was lining his own pockets.

And we’re finally done with Mementos for today, thank god. These updates are about as much fun to write as they are to read.


Music: Beneath the Mask


\

Nothing gets by me. I own this place, remember? I can tell what’s going on here just by looking at the tables.

Let’s see what else Sojiro has to say.

Sojiro, buddy, can you lay off for like five minutes?

If you don’t like watching me, you don’t have to! Just phone it in even more than you already are. I promise to behave.

…I love this dude.

That’s what I hear. The driver was acting funny or something. The vice president in our company might’ve been caught up in it. I’m sure it’s chaos in the office.
When are these weird accidents going to end? I don’t feel safe getting into my car anymore.
Thanks for the coffee. I’ll just leave what I owe you here, Boss.

At 8 o’clock this morning, a car went out of control in a highway accident that left four dead. The police intend to press charges for the deaths of the victims against the driver at fault. The man in question had no history of disease and was a driver for restaurant giant “Goodness Food.”
Traffic accidents are scary… You’d better drive safe.

Maaku canonically does not have a driver’s license, cat. We went over this like forty updates ago.


#162
Part 68

Part 68: 7/12-7/16: It’s A Lockdown Baby

Anon: This is fun, so yeah!
Anon: thx admin!!!
Anon: i wanna know more bout em

Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)

Did the Phantom Thieves really do that? Maybe people are just having fun, giving them credit for a coincidence… I mean, no one can actually steal someone’s heart—that’s just some urban legend noise.
Isn’t that what people said about that hacker group, too? It’s just a nice way of saying they’re blackmailing bad people into confessing their crimes! Who’re you to doubt the Phantom Thieves, anyhow?
…What?

Yeah, they’ve really taken off since the whole Kamoshida thing. The legend of the Phantom Thieves started at OUR school! We’re practically one of them!
And who can’t relate to what they’re doing? Punishing corrupt adults up to no good—the police should take notes.

Music: So Boring

Behind Kaneshiro’s arrest are the “Phantom Thieves,” the mysterious group that changes people’s hearts. If I recall, there were similar rumors back during that business with Kamoshida-kun. Help the weak and crush the strong… Truly a modern legend of the gentleman thief. In the long history of humans, the gentleman thief has been seen briefly during times of turmoil. Now then, please look at this picture. Hamiru-kun.

What was the name of the gentleman thief whose family was boiled alive during the Sengoku period?

Ha, your own name is up there as an option.

Correct. As I’m sure you know, this is the origin of the term “Goemon bath,” or a bath heated from the bottom. Only stealing from the rich and powerful, and sharing with the poor… Goemon’s exploits have been documented in many forms of media, like kabuki and novels.

Maaku gains Knowledge +1.

However, it’s actually unclear whether or not Goemon was indeed a gentleman thief. Rebellion against Hideyoshi, whose campaign had failed; propaganda by the government to sully his name… The gentleman thief Goemon may be no more than an illusion made by varying motivations. In actuality, most heroes and gentleman thieves throughout history are something like that.
Let’s make sure people don’t think we’re just an illusion. But before that, you need to study for the exams that are starting tomorrow.

Music: Tokyo Daylight

I’d be pretty sad if the leader of the Phantom Thieves got bad grades.

>I’ll give it a try.
That’s the spirit!

I’ve seen it in Shibuya before too! It’s like, totally cool. I hope they keep it up. I’ve been rooting for them this whole time! Aren’t they incredible? I heard they’re really gaining momentum. By the way, this is a damn good drawing. Is Hamiru a Phanboy?
I think our popularity’s rising! We’re really starting to get famous!


Are you all right? You’re sweating a lot…
I-I-I… mumble
I’m not sure what’s going on, but just relax. Let’s take our time, and try to talk normally.

Looks like our stalker’s change of heart went through.

Music: Aria of the Soul

Next, we need to clear a Persona slot to make room to resummon an Eligor again. We choose to fuse this Kin-Ki from Flauros and Nue.

Yes, I can see that, but what’s your name?

If you possess the mask, I will grant you the power of an unyielding heart…

Kin-Ki is another of the four oni controlled by Fujiwara No Chikata. It’s named after gold and its body is so strong that no weapons in existence can pierce it.

But we’re not done here yet. A little while back we unlocked a new feature called “Lockdown,” and now’s the perfect time to show it off, for reasons I’ll explore shortly.

The cell’s empty for now, but that’ll change. Let’s get some explanations of this new system.

If you toss one of your Personas in a cell, we’ll give it some special training to help it grow. While you’re off loafing around, your Persona’s getting stronger… We treat you too well, Inmate! Oh, but we only keep one Persona in Lockdown at a time. This is solitary confinement, after all. And naturally, you’re not gonna be able to use that Persona in battle or fusion. Don’t forget, Inmate!

Once the training is over, the Persona you put in Lockdown’ll learn a new resistance. There’re times it’ll learn something different too though. That’s all up to chance. Either way, the stuff it learns will all be useful to you, Inmate.* Oh, and the higher the Confidant rank for the Persona’s arcana, the shorter they’ll need to train for. Don’t forget Master’s words… Forging Confidants is gonna help you on the road to rehabilitation.

*The stuff it learns may not all be useful.

I have no idea what “there are times it’ll learn something different” means, unless it means Null Skills instead of Resist skills.

It takes a set number of days ‘til a Persona’s training ends… but don’t forget it’s in there, OK? Personas are part of your heart, after all. If you leave it in for to long, it’ll disappear forever. Well, we’re not evil though. We’ll let you know if that’s gonna happen soon. But it’ll be on you from there on. Don’t come crying to us once you realize how stupid you were.

So, they’ll call you once the time is about to expire, but that’s probably not going to be a lot of help on story days you can’t go outside, which is part of the reason I never ended up using this feature on my first run.

Another reason? It’s really not that good. The resistances it provides are in the forms of skills, which are useful in that they can be passed on, but annoying in that they take up a skill slot, which are already at a premium on anything we’re fusing at this point in the game. Now, there’s reason to believe (mainly from GameFAQs posts that are unverifiable without careful testing, natch) that leaving a Persona in Lockdown for longer than you have to will give you a better chance of getting a good skill. Well, I don’t know about that, but we’ll try this out anyway.

Clotho has two weaknesses, so an extra resistance would be great. Let’s put her into Lockdown.

Sorry!

Outside of the Velvet Room (and before we resummon that Eligor), we can see this icon on Clotho’s name, indicating that she is in Lockdown. Now, the great thing I never realized about Lockdown is that while you can’t use or fuse the Persona, it’s still technically in your deck. This means you can get bonus Confidant points for a matching Arcana without pulling it out of Lockdown if you so choose. Considering how long it takes to get all 12 Persona slots in this game, it’s really handy that the game does you a solid this once.

Music: Tokyo Daylight

And, well… there is something I would like to try painting. Do you think you would be free to help?
>Hang out with him
I am in your debt. It would be rather difficult to go by myself. Now then, our destination is Inokashira Park. Let us go.

Music: My Homie



I will be counting on your cooperation today… by which I of course mean your oar work.

Hahaha, don’t get so excited. You’ll fall off, you know.
Perfect… This is it.

My previous painting captured only one aspect of the heart: desire. As such, I was unable to arrive at a truly artistic representation… That is why we have come today. I shall paint a second aspect… the burning passion between man and woman! Fittingly, our theme today will be… the wonders of love!

You will have an important role to play here today as well. While I draw, ensure the boat remains as steady as possible amid these devilish ripples.

Ah, this angle… Incredible! That bashful side profile, those moist eyes… Their overflowing passion is wholly evident!

They are akin to Adam and Eve… yet in time all lovers must come to know the pain of separation… Separation is the natural end to any such relationship… but even beyond that, love endures. Precisely… This is the truth of the human heart! chuckle It will make the most wonderful painting…! It shall be adored by all who gaze upon it! It may even be given top prize in the next exhibition…! Wait, now is not the time to be thinking of such trivial matters…!


Return to your prior angle! I must capture your profile!
Wh-What the hell’re you doing!?
Rejoice, for I shall preserve your beautiful love so that all coming generations may bask in its glory. Once I complete this painting, you will become new legends in the art world… A modern Adam and Eve!
L-Legends? Art…?
This dude’s off his rocker… Come on, let’s report him.

Hold on a sec… Are you drawing us!?
What!? You’re using us as models!?
A man and woman intimately swaying in a dinghy of dreams… The blush of their cheeks, the bashful looks… Yes, this is the love I was so emphatically searching for!
…Love?
Uh, I guess you could call it that… but it’s kinda weird…

ABORT MISSION! ABORT MISSION!

Ugh… I told you I didn’t wanna come here with you. The only ones who do this crap are stupid couples.
But I’ve always dreamed of coming to Tokyo and riding a boat here! Though it was supposed to be with my boyfriend… not my brother!

So that overflowing passion was just a figment of my imagination…? It seems my bias has caused me to overlook the truth of the matter…


Hm, romantic love and familial love… The two may be nigh indiscernible depending on one’s point of view.

What? No. Gross.

Perhaps… the truth of the heart lies in the eye of the beholder. Maaku, I feel as though I’ve learned something today…!
I can sense a quiet resolve from Yusuke…


That means those two…

Shhh! There are people from all walks of life here in the city.
Oooh, tell me more…

Gay jokes! Fun!

What are they talking about? Ah well… Come, it is about time we return home. Please row us back to shore, Maaku. Farewell.

Music: Beneath the Mask

Guess I should head home…

Kaneshiro has admitted that he gave orders to his subordinates to carry out crimes. However, countless people fell victim to his scams. Investigating every single scam will take time.
Oh, he really scammed a lot of people. I guess we’ll just leave the rest to the police.

Yikes, six new messages. One of these is the bog-standard “Please hang out with me oh god I’m so lonely,” and another is a request from Ryuji to study (which will give us Knowledge +3 and a bunch of points with Ryuji, neither of which we actually need, sorry Ryuji), but the other four are responses to completing the Mementos requests.

Mm-hm! I snuck in and left it there without anyone noticing.
Oh, and there was a post saying the culprit’s gonna turn himself in.
I’m sure his little bro’ll be shocked to hear he got caught.

Well either way, I think it should be better than how things were before.
Man, you guys really like keeping busy. Not that that’s a bad thing.
Anyway, that takes care of those restaurant burglars!
Things may have gotten a bit crazy, but it all turned out OK in the end.

It’s a bit unusual that we’re getting more than a few lines from Mishima about a simple Mementos request completion. Even the beginning of this one was more drawn-out than usual. Well, the reason for that is because before Persona 5 released, there was an OVA called The Daybreakers produced that took place about a month before this point in the story. This request was a tie-in to that, you see, which is why it was all so much more involved than normal.

Also there’s still no reward, fuck you.


She even apologzied online and everything. You know who she is, right? Why don’t you go check on her?
It seems she really did have a change of heart. Nice work!


I heard both of them ended up turning themselves in to the teachers. Things should be peaceful at school from now on. Well done!
It looks like the double change of heart was a massive success! Keep up the good work!


The student ended up quitting his part-time job there too. Apparently company HQ tried to offer him money to keep quiet, and he just couldn’t accept that. Still, he was really moved by what the Phantom Thieves did. I quote, “I can’t believe they wanted to help solve a nothing high schooler’s problems. Even I’m happy hearing that!
We really did a great job this time. Hearing how touched the student was is an added bonus too. I guess there really are all sorts of desires hidden away in the dark corners of Mementos…


Fine, let’s hear it. Please sit down.

Music: What’s Going On?

Her boyfriend stopped abusing her…? I don’t believe it! But even if he did stop, her fate should still be heading down the path to misery, without changing! I mean… look!

Chihaya performs a reading.

The sequence of arcana has completely changed! “Death” has moved far off into the future…

Uh, shouldn’t that be Tower? Death is about endings, not actual death.

Nrgh… No, no, no! This must be some sort of trick. What are you, a scam artist? You made a deal with her boyfriend or something, didn’t you?

That’s an obvious lie! It couldn’t have been that simple… Did you plunge him into Tokyo Bay, or cram him into a metal drum and dump insects on him? You must’ve taken some sort of extreme measures!

Well… you certainly do seem ordinary… Yes, quite ordinary, indeed. But there’s no way that could’ve happened… without you breaking the law. I mean, how could an ordinary high school student change the course of fate…? …Fine. I’m just going to have to verify your power. The very power that reversed my tarot card prediction!

This is quite a serious situation for a fortune teller like me. I need to get to the bottom of this. You won’t have to do anything. Just sit next to me while I tell fortunes. And if another unopposable fate happens to appear… then I’ll test your power.

Well… that may be true… Oh, I know… I’ll read your fortune! Please? I’ll even prioritize your readings over my regular customers. Besides, I’ll be able to provide much more accurate predictions once I get to know you better! How does that sound? Is it a deal? sigh Otherwise, I won’t be able to go on… Please, I beg you… I need to know if fate can truly be changed…

You will? Really!? OK then, I look forward to verifying your “skills”! Please don’t blow me off, OK? We made a deal, after all.
I’ve made a deal with Chihaya…

Music: Interrogation Room


Or perhaps you had someone you consulted who gave you precise advice. You’re not getting away this time with just luck!

…What the fuck are you asking me? Are you having a stroke?

Music: The Spirit


Fortune portends luck (good or bad, depending on the orientation), karma, and destiny, but when reversed represents negative forces outside of one’s control.

Okay, so despite my rather clear distaste for Chihaya as a person (I should mention I never got her beyond Rank 3 in my original run), her skills can be quite useful. However, her selection of skills is somewhat… eclectic. In fact, I would say that her skills range from “literal worst garbage in the whole entire game” to “fucking essential.” We’re probably going to be blitzing through Chihaya’s Confidant pretty fast for one of these abilities that is going to be pretty much necessary to see everything we want to.

This current ability, Luck Reading, is one of those useful skills, for the record. It lets us add another “note” any time we gain points in a social stat for the rest of the day after the reading, and doesn’t take time. Now, apparently the boosted point doesn’t display (looking into this, apparently the actual value of each note can be one of multiple values, not just 1, 2, or 3, and that’s the number that gets a 50% boost from the Luck Reading, which is then rounded down,) when it would go from +2 to +3. If this is true, it’ll make the points a little inaccurate, but no one’s counting these anyway so it’s fine. There’s still a benefit, so it really doesn’t matter.

Buuuuuut, while we’re here, let’s explore how those stats work, courtesy of some Japanese wiki I found! 1 note is 2 points, 2 notes are 3 or 4 points (but functionally always 3 points unless it’s boosted), and 3 notes are either 5, 7 (certain activities like special books that take three “periods” instead of two to complete, or a boosted 5), or 10 (a boosted 7). This means that, yes, a Luck Reading boost of 50% will increase one note to two, but never two notes to three, because the number is rounded down.

Music: What’s Going On?

If it’s really possible, then…


Oh, it’s getting late! Let’s close up shop for today. It’s past your curfew…

Anon: Who do they think they are
Anon: dunno what they want. NO
Anon: Who needs police anymore?

All the news on Kaneshiro has distracted me from studying.
Did it suddenly get hot? I couldn’t sleep last night…
I heard the Phantom Thieves might be from our school!
That can’t be true. It’d be funny if it was though…

Anon: C’mon, show us your faces!
Anon: Truly. They got Kaneshiro.
Anon: get rekt, scumbags lmao
Anon: jokes on the cops! rofl
Anon: Could this really be it?
Anon: Holy shit, making history!
Anon: cmon, next target plz
Anon: Obviously. Let’s watch!
Anon: YES!!! fan club plz
Anon: Phantom Thieves YAAAS!

Music: Life Goes On

All right, exam time. We got this.


That sounds about right. Let’s see… An essay question? This looks tough, but let’s calm down and think it through.

Goemon was popular because he wasn’t just a thief. He was a…

Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor—yup, that’s Goemon all right. And, the person in power who had it in for Goemon was…

Yeah, Hideyoshi was the most powerful figure during the Sengoku period. And, Goemon’s death after he got captured by Hideyoshi is famous too…

Yeah! We even have the term “Goemon bath” because of it! “Goemon fought against those in power and was executed for it. After his death, he was seen as a hero.” You finished in time!
Time is up. Hmph… Give up already.

Anon: Holy shit, making history!



That sounds about right.


That sounds about right.

Anon: dunno what they want. NO
Anon: NO SHIT??? hahaha
Anon: omg they got the mafia lol



That sounds about right.


That sounds about right.

Look at this freshman psych major-ass response. “Justice is relative,” fuck off.

Anon: They’re surely in the right.
Anon: i call bs

You’ve seen all these before. You’ve got this, all right? …… This is going good. Looking forward to seeing your score.

Music: Tokyo Daylight

I can get back to actually sleepin’ in peace…
Huh. You must have been studying pretty hard if it kept you up at night.
Nah, I was up playin’ video games. Slackin’ off is just too much fun…
I know, right!? I kept cleaning my room instead of studying! It might even be too clean now…
You two are perfect exemplars of what escapism can mean.
sigh And I can only imagine what the end result will be.
Whatever, it’s over with now. Who cares about that anymore!? What’s real important is the Phantom Thieves’ popularity! Ain’t it amazin’!?
It kinda feels like our time’s finally here!
I have even heard people excitedly speculating about our next target. We will have to choose carefully.
There’s no need to hurry. We should spend some time thinking it over.
Hold up, the most important thing now is our celebration party! I hope you guys didn’t forget. It’s the fireworks festival on the 18th. I guess we’re good meetin’ up in Shibuya, yeah? Let’s say… 5 pm!
You sure are on top of these kinds of things…

Music: Beneath the Mask -Rain-

It seems we’ll continue to have localized torrential rainstorms all through next week. If you’re heading outside, be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

I mean, they didn’t say anything about rain today…

You can only win if you buy a ticket! Tickets are on sale now until July 31st!
True, you’ll never win if you don’t buy a ticket… You want to try buying one?

Hell no.


That voice on the phone wasn’t Kawakami. Maybe you should ask for more details?

This is the head nurse at Aoyama Hospital, speaking on behalf of Kawakami-san.

What!?

Kawakami-san fainted and is currently hospitalized at our facility. Do you know our hospital’s address? Her room number is…
This isn’t good. Let’s head over there right away!

Wait a second. The nurse picked up the phone. Have we been directly calling Kawakami instead of the maid service this entire time? I guess that’d explain why she always was the one to pick up the phone, but it’s pretty weird. Also, the nurse knew our name, which means that Kawakami told her that we’d be calling. That’s not a plot hole, I just think it’s really sad that we’re the only person who might be calling her.

But thanks for coming all this way to visit me. Ugh, how could I collapse at a time like this? I really need to make some money… How am I going to make today’s payment…?

Music: Suspicion

Takase-san! You contacted the school…!?
Well, you weren’t answering your phone! And when I thought you finally answered, it was a nurse who told us you were here. It’s really an inconvenience for us when you miss a payment, you know.
Now, now, it’s not like she wanted to collapse… But our credit card payment is coming up soon, so we’ll need you to transfer the money.
I-I’m sorry…

These are Takase-kun’s guardians, the ones I mentioned the other day. They took care of him…
Who’s this…?
He’s one of my students. He came to visit me…
Messing around with another student, huh? Hahaha, you never learn, do you? Tsk, tsk… And after all you did to him…
I’m sorry…
So? When are you going to transfer the money?
I should be able to send it out tomorrow…


Stay out of this!
Don’t act so tough, kid. Our precious adoptive son, Taiki, died because of this woman. Honestly, she should’ve been fired.
That’s not…
And yet, she still doesn’t know her place… and she still continues to teach. We’re gonna need you to show some remorse for what you did to him… …In a material and undeniable way!
…I understand. I will pay you… So…!
It’s not like we’re trying to extort you. But who was it that convinced Taiki to start studying when he needed to be working? The schoolwork on top of his part-time jobs overwhelmed him, which led him to that accident… Poor Taiki… It’s almost like he was murdered!

I’m really loving this scam you two got going here, especially the Mrs.’s role in it all. The man comes in all angry and forceful, and the lady contrasts with “care” and “understanding,” while piling on the guilt. Make no mistake, this is a practiced, confident shittiness.

So you no longer feel regret? In that case, perhaps we should sue the Board of Education… Or should we have a chat with your school? Either way, your days as a teacher would be over. Well, we’re looking forward to receiving your payment.

I guess transferring to our sister company is the only way…

One guess as to what this “sister company” does, ugh.


Why…? Why are you so interested in helping me? I’m not worth it…



I don’t know how the game managed to make the word “Meow” horrifically depressing but I’m here for it.

Music: Alleycat

…I’m so tired. All I really want is… a way to apologize to Takase-kun. So if his guardians demand money, then I just have to pay them…

Sorry, I’m not quite back to a hundred percent yet, so my thoughts are all over the place… …I’m going to get some rest. I appreciate you coming to visit me today. …It made me really happy.
I feel that Kawakami is starting to depend on me…

And now when we call Kawakami she’ll make us curry or infiltration tools! This seems kind of fucked considering how badly she was getting exploited in the previous scene!


…But you’re not hooked up to an IV.

…Visiting hours are over. Get home safe, OK…?

Huh…? Who could that be at this hour…?

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

Everyone’s talking about that chick flick “Love Possibly”! I get kind of weepy, so it’s embarrassing to go alone… Can you come watch it with me?
So, do you want to make plans for tomorrow?

Well, we could use the social stats even if we don’t need the Confidant points, so sure.

>Commit

All right, let’s meet in front of the movie theater in Shibuya!


#163
Part 69

Part 69: 7/17-7/18: Yusuke’s A Nice Boy

All right, time to get sexy!

Also thanks to those of you who pointed out that the Takases were almost certainly pushing their adoptive son into needing several part-time jobs to fund their lifestyle, just like what they’re doing with Kawakami. Despicable!

Music: Break it Down

Hey, hurry! The movie’s about to start!

Love Possibly

Sad music is playing.

Stock male protagonist voice: Help her! Please, help her! I don’t care about the money or my social status, please! I just need to tell her how I feel!

Lady Ann’s holding back her tears… She’s totally empathizing… But the movie’s right… A person’s true value isn’t about social standing or wealth.
I feel like I was able to learn about love…

Maaku gains Charm +3.

I guess girls like me want that perfect, romantic kind of love you see in the movies.


Now that I think about it, that movie wasn’t geared toward guys at all, huh? But I’m glad you came with me! You’re such a good friend! Well then, let’s head home.

They’re not bad guys, right? It has nothing to do with us.
Apparently if you post a request on the forum, they’ll do what you say!
If they’re taking out bad guys, it’s fine by me! Keep it up!
Why do we even need the police anymore?

We don’t, friend! FUCK COPS

Anon: A new hero is born!
Anon: YES! fuck the mafia
Anon: keep your heads on straight
Anon: NO SHIT??? hahaha

Music: Beneath the Mask

Hey, Makoto. Are you going to wear a yukata?
I’m planning on it.
Yukatas are a great part of the summer tradition… They truly heighten a woman’s beauty.

Hey, I know! Why don’t you come without your glasses?

Uh, what? I need these to see.

What’s the point in that?
I dunno, you don’t get to see fireworks every day, so it’d be sad just wearing normal clothes!

…What?

I was just thinking he might want to go for a change of pace.
That sounds great! You should totally come without glasses! Welp, you guys better not be late tomorrow!

This is all code for “fuck it, we already animated the cutscene.”

Fireworks and yukatas really add to the feeling of summer… Even Lady Ann will be wearing one… …We definitely have to go to the fireworks festival! Make sure you rest up!

Goodness Food’s stock suddenly plunged, and general unease has spread throughout the market. Since the arson at its affiliate Haneruya, Goodness Food has been desperate to restore its image. With the vice president, who was called in as a trump card, now dead, the company is panicking. Goodness Food’s rivals in the restaurant industry, however, are taking advantage of its slump.
It’s one bad thing after another with this company. Hmm, I wonder if they’re cursed or something.

More aojiru! Maaku gains Knowledge +1.

We can pull Clotho and get a new Lockdown skill! What do we get…?

Fucking Resist Dizzy. Not even Null Dizzy, Resist Dizzy. I’m hard-pressed to think of a worse result than this. Ugh, let’s never use this again.

I will surely figure out your trick! Oh, I was just about to do a reading for a client, so please stay and watch…

Music: What’s Going On?

Hello there, Mifune-sensei. I can’t wait for today’s session. Your last prediction was practically perfect. By the way, um… who is this boy?
Oh, you needn’t mind him. That’s just my apprentice. If anything, you can think of him as a human-sized stuffed animal. I mean, look how fluffy his hair is.

nods
Wait… So he’s OK with working for a woman, even though he’s a guy…? sigh Something like that is just unthinkable in my line of work…
I take that to mean something else happened with your job…?
Yes. A male coworker of mine was given all the credit for a successful project I poured my soul into… And do you know what my boss told me? He said it was just the natural order of things, because I’m a woman.
How terrible!
That’s why I’m thinking of leaving and starting up my own business! I’ve actually been planning for some time. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find a foothold in the market though…
In that case, let’s ask the tarot! Show us the truth, O divine power…

Hm, the cards have appeared in reverse. In other words… it seems as though your business is doomed to failure.
No! Wh-What should I do!?
I’m sorry… but in this case, it appears your fate is inescapable.
Inescapable…?
(to Maaku) What are your thoughts?

Were you even listening? What can we do to help this woman who is so oppressed by the savagery of a male-dominated work environment?

She came here to have her fortune read and to receive advice. Is that honestly your best suggestion? I would advise you to think of something else before I use my divine power to curse you.

I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that. As such, I would suggest you think of something else. I have the power to curse you permanently, you know…

What? It’s a little idealistic to expect that will actually work… Incidentally, what would you say if you wanted to encourage her?

You know we’re talking about her business success, right? This has nothing to do with “the power.”

I couldn’t decide what kind of joke to make here, so pretend I posted a picture of a giant robot playing the keyboard.

Reconsider your answer!

Ah, the Legend of Zelda school of encouragement.

Th-That’s not encouraging; that’s just aggressive! Please reconsider your answer!

Don’t be so irresponsible! That’s simply not an option! How can you expect her to overturn that which is inescapable!?
Overturning fate…? That’s right… I don’t have to follow the rules of this oppressive society! I can do it… I’ll reshape every aspect of my antiquated industry! …My mind is made up. I’m going to quit my job and set off on my own private business venture! And even if I fail, at least I won’t be wasting away doing busywork for that sexist bastard anymore… Thank you, young man! If you’ll excuse me, Mifune-sensei.
H-Huh…?

The cards will surely back me up on that…

Wh-What!? I-It seems the sequence of cards has changed… Her financial future is now appearing as extremely successful! What did you do…? Are you… Are you psychic? Did you use your powers to change the order of the cards!? My divine power is capable of sending people like you down to the depths of hell, you know!
shakes head
Yes… That has to be it. That’s the only way this could happen… Fate cannot be changed. Fate is absolute… That is how it must be.


But if that possibility were the truth, how would I keep my Holy Stone business intact…?


…A-Anyway! You’ve changed the flow of destiny twice now, both times coming before my very eyes… It seems this verification process is turning out to be much more meaningful than I expected!
I can sense Chihaya’s intense motivation…

You’ll come back again soon, right? Promise me!

Okay, jeez, don’t get so clingy. I’m a busy guy, we’ll see.

Well, that’s enough for today. Good night!

Anon: Obviously. Let’s watch!

Right when we were just about to leave too… Who is it?

Oh, sorry. Well, it seems like an insane group is getting ready to declare war on the Phantom Thieves. I was afraid to just hold on to that information myself, so I wanted to tell you at least. That’s actually all I have to say though. Sorry to bother you on your day off.

“Hey, you’re fucked. Laters~” Big help, Mishima. Thanks.

What could he mean by an insane group…? Hm… Let’s think about this after we get back. We don’t have much time, so let’s get going.

OH GOD I CAN’T SEE SHIT

The holiday means it’s as crowded on here as it is for morning rush hour…
Now for today’s Train News. Today’s main topics are… “Fireworks Festival Tonight” Expect roads and transportation to be congested for the whole day. “Sudden Weather Changes Imminent!” Be careful of sudden shifts in climate from afternoon to night.
Wait, so all these people are going to the fireworks festival!? Huh… This should be fun…

Music: Alright

I feel like I’m being baked…
Those girls are way too late…
It must be taking time for them to put on the yukata. Why aren’t you two wearing one?
I don’t got clothes like yukata. But man, you look way too normal in that.
People often say that to me.

For some reason this line consistently makes me crack up. I think it’s just Mercer’s delivery, which has just the subtlest hint of confusion.

Ah, by the way… The exams…
I bet you got a big fat F on them.
Shuddup! We-- We don’t know that yet!

That’s right.
Us too! Wanna go together?
Are we… getting hit on!?
C’mon, let’s go together.
Do you happen to be a model? You look great in that yukata.
Waitin’ around’s a pain, so can we just go with these chicks?

The ratio of guys to girls is off, but we can do something about that later…
That’s enough. You’re disgracing your yukata. You should be more aware of your womanhood.

What a weirdly shitty thing to say, dude. The two leave.



Uh, well… That’s…
You know, Yusuke’s such a pretty boy, but he is really missing out because of what he says.
I guess, but he’s more likable since he stays true to his ideals. Definitely more than somebody I know.
I heard that Ryuji’s pretty much failed his exams.

You heard that from yourself, cat!

Oh?
Mona, you little–
Hey, it’s gonna get crowded if we don’t get going.
Agreed.


Music: Memories of Summer

Fireworks



Ann tries to look above the sea of people, jumping in place.

A drop of rain hits Ann’s cheek.


Another drop hits Morgana, forcing him to hide inside Maaku’s bag.

The rain turns into a downpour.


Later, the group takes refuge under a convenience store sign.

Maaku tries to force water out of his ear.

Ann wrings out her soaked yukata.

Yeah?


I… think the joke here is that they’re ignoring that she needs a towel? I guess? Oh, wait, they were looking at her legs before she noticed them, that’s the (lame) joke.

Looks like you need help…


Due to the sudden change in weather, a heavy rain and flood warning has been issued nearby. Since the festival cannot proceed in this weather, we truly apologize for cancelling today’s fireworks show.




On the other side of the street, a girl gets into a black car.

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

I guess everyone had the same idea… (to Makoto) What’s up?
Mm, I think I just saw someone I know…
You mean the girl in that black car?

Not really a spoiler but just to be safe: This plot point is never followed up on and does not matter at all to the overall story.

Well, she’s got a ride… Time to show your skills, Mona! We need you as a car!
It’s not possible in the real world!
My feet hurt… It’s cold… The festival’s been canceled… This sucks…
We made such a commotion with the public, and this is what we get? Laaame. Aren’t heroes that lurk in the shadows boring?

Suddenly Maaku’s glasses are back on.

What are you, moss!? I wanna change the world with a loud bang, like a huge firework! …Then again, we aren’t gonna find someone bigger than Kaneshiro that easily.
The rain is letting up. Though it’s regrettable, we should go our separate ways for today.
Yeah. Let’s go home.

Music: Disquiet

I have nothing more to say to you about that.
I see. In that case, I have ways of making you talk.
Huh? What’s that supposed to–
Thanks for the drink.


“I’m home” is pretty good, but “Lover’s quarrel?” is just delightfully stupid.

It’s past closing time. Clean up the place.

Onto other news… The international hacktivist group Medjed has released a statement to the Phantom Thieves.

Music: Disquiet

“To the Phantom Thieves causing an uproar in Japan: Do not speak of your false justice. We do not need the spread of such falsehood. We are the true executors of justice.”
The Phantom Thieves again…?
“However, we are magnanimous. We will give you an opportunity to repent your ways. If you agree to a change of heart, we will accept you as our own. If you reject our offer, the hammer of justice will find you.”
Justice, huh?
“We are Medjed. We are unseen. We will eliminate evil.” Akechi-san, why do you think this announcement was made at this time?

Whether it’s a sense of rivalry or a simple attention grab given the recent trends, I cannot say… Regardless, it’s quite a nuisance.
A nuisance?
Both Medjed and the Phantom Thieves are nothing more than groups that uphold an egoistic justice.
What a stupid thing they’re getting riled up on… Phantom Thieves, huh? What in the world are they? You know about them?

I like how Sojiro somehow has no opinion on the roving band of brainwashers. You’d think they’d be pretty polarizing!

I’m the one asking you. Don’t return a question with another question. Well, it’s about time I go home. Make sure you lock the place up. Also, about the stuff in the fridge-- …Well, I guess it’s fine. Just don’t use too much of it.

In that respect, the Phantom Thieves face a very serious crime.

This is starting to get interesting!
But why? Did the Phantom Thieves do something to them?
Medjed is really scary…
I’m looking forward to seeing how the Phantom Thieves will deal with it!

Anon: fight justice w/justice
Anon: are they tied to kaneshiro?
Anon: Reduce our cost of living!

“Reduce our cost of living!” is up there for best comment yet.

Music: Beneath the Mask


You mean those guys people online are going nuts over?
Medjed… That name seems to come from one of the obscure gods from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
I saw the news too. For some reason they think we speak of false justice…
Now then, what exactly did you want to speak of regarding Medjed?
Wellllll, why don’t we go after them as our next target?
What a sudden suggestion.
I mean they’re like, bad hackers or something, right?
Technically, they’re crackers. Those who use the internet to illegally access and alter data. Medjed is an organized group of such people recognized by the larger international community.
So they operate on a global scale?
That makes them even bigger than Kaneshiro!
Right!? Then it’s settled. Our next target’s gonna be Medjed.

Yes. That name has to be a pseudonym. We don’t even know how many people Medjed is.
Oh…
Wouldn’t we get at least one member’s info if we try and look into it though?
Even if we did, how would we discover their location? The only confirmed presence of Medjed has been online.
This is a greater problem than simply finding their keywords. Unless you have any more ideas, Ryuji?

(There’s a brief pause in responses, which is a hilarious touch of verisimilitude)

Hellooo?
…It seems he had suggested this without putting much thought into it.
C’mon, we can’t back down now! People are all excited about it! Our reputation’s gonna plummet if we don’t face this shit.
That is true. If we remain silent, people would believe we simply chose to run away from the matter.
Medjed has taunted us publicly, after all…
If they are criminals, we cannot just let them be.
Yeah.

(If you pick the second response Ryuji just says “I doubt it,” it’s not as funny as you’d think)

Also, Makoto. Try seeing if your sister has any info on ‘em.
It’s highly unlikely, but sure.
A world-class target, huh? If we can change Medjed’s heart, it’ll most definitely affect Mementos.

“To the Phantom Thieves causing an uproar in Japan: Do not speak of your false justice. We do not need the spread of such falsehood. We are the true executors of justice. However, we are magnanimous. We will give you an opportunity to repent your ways. If you agree to a change of heart, we will accept you as our own. If you reject our offer, the hammer of justice will find you.”
“False justice,” eh? Who do they think they are?


#164
Part 70

Part 70: 7/19-7/20: Alibaba and the Phantom Thieves

Anon: im staying out of this shit
Anon: Medjed must be bored too
Anon: both are crossing the line

Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)


They target corporations doing shady business and cause chaos. The subway company’s server thing? That was Medjed, trying to find out who caused the train accident.
So, they’re good guys?
Some liken them to digital Robin Hoods… But they snoop through emails and destroy data. They’re no better than criminals.

They dare call themselves heroes after attacking those companies? Pfft.

Oh, won’t someone think of the poor corporations?

They’re fighting Medjed next!? The Phantom Thieves are amazing!
I don’t wanna hear about justice from some shady hackers.
I don’t care what happens, as long as it’s interesting!

Anon: Hang in there you guys! ;w;
Anon: They’re gonna do it, right?
Anon: can phantom thieves win?
Anon: When are they gonna react?
Anon: whoever wins is just!

The just one is the winner, eh? Get off the internet, Kakyoin.

Anon: they’re both shit.

Rude.

How’d you do?
Damn… I’m dead…
I wish I could get in the top ten… People look at smart students differently.
I wonder what score I got… I’m in the top ten!
Whoa! Everyone’s gonna have their eyes on you now!

Maaku gains Charm +3.

Charm is the reward for doing well on exams in Persona 5, whereas previously it was Social Link points with your classmates. P5 does some work to distance many (but not all) of its links from a school context, so getting Confidant points wouldn’t really make sense.

Music: Wicked Plan

Hey, it’s not my fault my scores suck, right?


Anyways, there’s something more important here! Mishima…
You want to ask me something about the internet, right?

“No, Ryuji, it’s not a series of tubes.”

Yup. I’m gonna be straight with you here—do you know who Medjed is?
You weren’t kidding about being direct. Well, I suppose the news about Medjed and the Phantom Thieves has caused quite the commotion… They started out as hackers of justice, but now they only look out for their own self-interests. …That’s all I know. They were the group I texted Hamiru about yesterday.
I see…
Nobody’s sure who actually belongs to Medjed. Well, it looks like things’ll be exciting this summer. It’ll be the Phantom Thieves’ world debut, no?
Dude…
Don’t worry, I’ll be rooting for the Phantom Thieves. I’ll get the forum mobilized as well. Now if we’re done talking here, I really must be going. I’ll see you guys later.



I tried asking my sister, but it seemed as though she didn’t know very much about them. She doesn’t specialize in cybercrime, after all.

“And then she yelled at me for no reason. All in all, it was an average Monday night.”

I tried looking into them too, but I didn’t come up with anything. There are really just no leads.
Hm, our opponent is truly elusive.

Medjed, hm…? It seems like we won’t be able to deal with them by ourselves…

Music: So Boring

We will be holding an emergency assembly on Monday the 25th. Please come to school that day.

The students begin to groan and chatter.

Settle down! We’ve has many strange incidents: the psychotic breakdowns, students being dragged into crime rings… Hence, Principal Kobayakawa has instructed all teachers to caution the student body. This is inconvenient for us too, you know? Having to find things to warn you about so suddenly…

I’m not sure. No matter how hard I look online, all I find are just unreliable rumors.
They have carried out corporate terrorism, yet they still manage to elude arrest somehow.

Yeah… We don’t even know whether it’s a single individual or a large conglomerate of people. And even if we do manage to get a lead, what do we do from there?
Damn, this stuff’s really not going so good… That’s prolly why my exams’re going to shit too.
You know those are two separate things, right?

Mwehehe… Clues on Medjed, huh…?

Music: Tokyo Daylight

Placing in the top ten has changed some things about our perception around school… for today at least.







Even if they’re going to keep avoiding us, it’s nice to see them awestruck by our brainpower.

Akechi-kun was saying those hackers showed up again because of the Phantom Thieves.
Hackers and Phantom Thieves sound like something out of a manga though. It’s funny if you think about it. I wonder who’d win in a fight. A lot of people online are getting excited over all this.

If there’s anything you’d like to know, ask away. Consider it the newspaper club’s special service.

There’s excitement over the Phantom Thieves, but there’s also a lot of talk about summer plans. Some students are studying like mad for their college entrance exams, so their summer won’t be as relaxed.

Ah, it’d be a major scoop if I knew. Secret identities are definitely front page material. The mass media knows it’d be major news too. Shujin Academy will likely draw attention again.

There’s been all this excitement over the Phantom Thieves. You hear a lot about them too, right? Now that they’ve crushed the mafia, everyone is waiting for their next move.

raises eyebrows

I’ve… got my newspaper club activities. There’s plenty to do with all these incidents going on. I’m hoping I can attract new members if I write up some really good articles.

No, I was… oh, never mind.

He’s still saying the Phantom Thieves are dangerous, right? That loner must not have any friends.
Hey, now. Don’t say that. Everyone’s allowed to have their own opinion. But he does seem too smart to be in high school. You could be right about him being lonely.
Well, I guess I’m glad that I’m stupid then. Hahaha!

Do you think the Phantom Thieves are a danger to society? Send us your opinions by email or fax.
Phantom Thieves…? They’re not real. There’s no way people like that are real.

And thanks to the internet, now everyone knows the police were just full of talk.
Now that the police have lost face, the mass media will swing over to the Phantom Thieves. Phantom Thieves, huh? Looks like things’ll get pretty busy for us soon.


We can’t do it when it rains though, since we’ll be outside… Come during the day for your fortune and at night for the test.

Chihaya’s contacted us to say that we can actually talk to her during the day now (as long as it isn’t raining), which is handy (and, in fact, necessary) for some of her fortune readings. Her Confidant is still only available at night, though.

…Um, if you’re available, I’d like to talk to you about Eiko.
>Hang out with her
Thank goodness. I have a small favor to ask you… Let’s get a drink before we talk.

Music: Wicked Plan

Wait, a host? I’ve played enough Yakuza to know how skeevy that sounds.

I guess he, um… hit on her one day after her shift, and that was that. Since then he’s the only thing she’ll talk about. She even sent me a picture of their date at Destinyland.


For now it seems he hasn’t forced her to spend any money at his club, but I’m still nervous… Beyond that, he calls her his “princess” and constantly tells her how special she is. It makes me sick to my stomach. But Eiko refuses to listen to me. She said the idea that all hosts are bad people is outdated…

But the idea that all people willing to date high schoolers are bad people is very much not so.

She even said she was shocked to be getting advice from someone who would “totally flunk a test about love.”



S-Sorry about that. I’m probably just being biased towards him. I mean, I don’t have any proof that he’s untrustworthy… But that’s why I want to meet him and find out for myself what kind of person he really is. And… if it’s not too much to ask, I’d like you to accompany me on this excursion as well.

This time, um… you’ll have to play the role of my boyfriend.

I was born ready!

I think if I have a boyfriend, Eiko might be more inclined to listen to me. To tell you the truth… I actually already made plans with her and her boyfriend for a double date. S-Sorry. But it’s just going to be at a diner. Nothing particularly fancy, I promise.
nods
Thank you! You’re a tremendous help. I’m so glad you agreed to this. I don’t know who else I’d have asked if you had said no…
I can sense Makoto’s trust in me…

Eiko… I hope she’s not getting herself wrapped up in anything dangerous.

Says the Phantom Thief.

But just in case, I’ll try looking for some info on that host. Well, see you later.

Music: Beneath the Mask


Did you find anything?
As you know, Medjed is a god that appears in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Huh?
Its name apparently means “the smiter.” It seems nobody is actually sure that Medjed is a real name. On top of that, almost everything else about him is unknown. Even his form is unattainable. An unseen god that flies through the sky and shoots from his eyes… He truly is an elusive being.
Dude.
Everything about his existence is shrouded in mystery.
Wait.
Fundamentally speaking, ancient Egyptian art always depicted gods drawn in a side profile.

I hope that information was at least somewhat useful.

It was… something, all right.

Indeed it was.
Should I look into it more?
That’s enough, thank you.
So, we still don’t have any tangible clues…

For reference, Medjed looks like this:

What the hell.

In the past few years, the damage they have caused has grown to several hundred billion yen. Even this year, there have been several cyber attacks attributed to Medjed.
What a mysterious group… Just what is their goal?

Did they just declare war? I wonder if the Phantom Thieves stand a chance against Medjed…
The Phantom Thieves got this! They got this shit, m’dude! Onward toward victory!
Uh… Yeah, sure. Anyways, we got finals, so we gotta get home.

How did that happen!? Does this have to do with all that news lately?
When I’m on the internet, these peculiar screens keep popping up. And I get these weird bills…
Whoa there… Did you click some shady links on a porn site!?


Bring it on! We’re not done with these tests yet! I’m actually doing a reading for a client right now, so please stay and watch…

Music: What’s Going On?

This is your first time coming to my stand, yes?
Y-Yeah, um… A colleague of mine recommended you. He said you can help fix my problems… Is that right?
Of course! Fate is… absolute…

As Chihaya says this, she looks over at Maaku.

S-So, um, the thing is… I’m engaged to be married. Next spring, I’ll be trying the knot with a friend I’ve had since all the way back in preschool…

So, what’s worrying you? Is it perhaps the date of the ceremony, or perhaps the location of your honeymoon?
O-Oh, um… No, it’s not like that. The problem is… I’m not entirely sure we’ll be able to get married. The truth is, the president of one of our major business partners has offered me her daughter’s hand…
Ah… So this is what it means to be weighed down by societal obligations…
Do, um… Do you think it would be bad if I declined that president’s offer…? Haha… Hahaha…
Please relax. The divine power will bring us your answer!

My… it seems you will face financial ruin if you decline…
N-No… Does this mean breaking off my engagement is the only option…?
Um, Hamiru-san? This may be a good time to demonstrate your powers. This man is bound by the fetters of societal obligation… How should he move forward?

Oh, that’s a wonderful suggestion! Though I guess anyone could have come up with that answer… Incidentally, what would you say to make him choose his childhood friend…?

Thieves…? She’s not a child.
W-Wait, you really think someone else would try to go after her…!? Huh… I guess guys would line up to date such an amazing girl… Well, I’m not going to let that happen! The only one who can make her happy is me! I was a fool for hesitating, even for a moment…! I… I’m going to marry her! Thank you so much!

Aww.

It’s happened again…

You know, Chihaya’s still kind of a butt. That said, I could really get behind another seven ranks of wacky fortune-changing hijinks courtesy of Mifune and Hamiru.

I had questioned your powers, but this is the third time… I have no choice… I must accept that fate can, in fact, be changed. You’ve proven that to me. And as a sign of thanks for showing me the truth… I’ll provide a special fortune service for you from now on!
I can sense Chihaya’s intense motivation…

Money Reading is a skill that I’ve never used but is obviously incredibly useful. For 5,000 yen, we can increase the amount of money we gain from battles for the rest of the day. This is, no shit, incredibly lopsided in our favor. I haven’t been able to find any stats on the percentage increase, but I don’t think it’s 50% because that would be fucking absurd. Even if it’s like 10%, it’s well worth it to spend the cash every time we head into a Palace or Mementos, as long as it’s not raining.

You know, I never thought it was possible to change destiny… Are you perhaps… a psychic?

If I was psychic, I’d probably have been able to see through your shitty Holy Stone scam.

…Actually, no. Such powerful people do not exist in this world. You may oversee changes in fate, but purposefully altering one’s destiny is… impossible. That is why I’ll forever be a monster…


M-My, it’s gotten so late! I should start packing up for today. I’ll see you next time! Farewell.

Music: Aria of the Soul


To think you would relax under such circumstances. Either you’re quite bold… or quite foolish.
One with an “unseen” form, hm? It seems you’ve been targeted by troublesome company.

chuckle I’ve been enjoying this endless dispute over “justice.” However, it will soon come to an end—and through the appearance of an unexpected force, of all things. Engaging with formidable enemies is also part of your rehabilitation. I ask that you overcome this. After all, you must hone your powers… and become a magnificent thief…

Anon: yeah, yeah, it’s all a setup
Anon: It’s just like Akechi said!
Anon: is medjed worse than mafia?
Anon: can phantom thieves win?

Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)

I didn’t think Medjed would pounce on the Phantom Thieves. Interesting things keep happening this year. The influence of #Millennials knows no bounds… I underestimated it, honestly. I wonder what the public thinks of this. Are they entertained? Or perhaps inconvenienced?


A luxury for the uninvolved. I know they mean no ill intent. So this is what the public thinks… …Whoops, I don’t have time for a conversation. My attendance has been poor due to interviews lately. Thank you for your valuable opinion. I’ll see you around.

Which of them will come out on top? They’re both just criminals pretending to be heroes.
If you ask me, Medjed causes way more trouble. They attack every company they set their sights on.

I don’t know, from what you’re saying they sound like fine anticapitalists to me!

I see… Well, I just hope something happens soon. But you gotta tell me—who do you think will win?


Music: Desire

I am the one they call Alibaba. I want to ask you something. You’re a phantom thief, aren’t you? Can you really steal hearts?
Who is this? Why does he know that you’re a phantom thief? Is one of our teammates pulling a prank on you?
There is someone whose heart I would like you to steal. But I’m not asking for charity. Let’s make a deal. You wish to know about Medjed, correct? I can give you information on them if the change of heart is successful. If you so desire, I can take care of them as well. Do you believe in my skills? I can track down their accounts, just as I have with yours. But this is all I can prove at the moment. I’ve prepared the necessary tool on my end. Look forward to it.
Shouldn’t you respond to it?
How should I respond…?

Maaku tries to respond, but…

Hm? You can’t reply back? I don’t know what this is about, but we should probably let everyone know about this…

Music: Suspicion

Seems so…
How were we found out?
He may have traced our chat log…
How careless of us…
But how would he have known all these details with just that…?

Uh, we’ve been pretty fuckin’ cavalier about discussing Phantom Thieves business via text, Makoto.

Do you think that there is another cause?
Yeah. I’m not sure why, but that’s the feeling I get.
Hey, is it that easy to look at someone’s chat log?
I don’t know much about it myself, but… it’s probably not impossible, I think?
How’s it done?
Maybe they extracted our phones’ data…?
Why’s Maaku getting an error when he tries to reply?
Perhaps the receiving end doesn’t exist?

Don’t ask me everything. I told you that I don’t know much about it.
Wait. Might this be what is referred to as hacking?

I don’t get high tech stuff! What does this all mean?
An unknown hacker contacted us!
I see. I don’t really get it.
Then, is this person Medjed?
I doubt it, considering he says he wants to “deal” with them. That is, only if we take his words for face value.
True…
Hey… Wouldn’t it be great if we got this guy on our side?
But we know nothing about his identity at all. We can’t trust him.
I don’t think it’s a bad deal though…
Even if Alibaba turns out to be a criminal? I am not helping anyone of that sort.
Oh, right. That wouldn’t be good…
The “I’ve prepared the necessary tool” part makes no sense either.
Could this just be a prank?
He knows an awful lot for it to be a prank.
If he knows who we are, won’t we get caught?
No. If he wanted to report us, I think he would’ve done it already.
He must have some sort of objective of his own. He did offer us a deal, after all. I’m certain he’ll contact us again.
There’s no telling when he’ll do so though… It’d be best if we stay together. If something happens, we can act at once.
Yeah. So, somewhere we can wait and hide for long hours…
How about Leblanc?
nods

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)



Hey there, Chief. What’s so important that you didn’t notice the bell ringing and five people walking in?


Good evening. We were thinking about putting together plans for our summer.
Hm? Is that a new face I see?
It’s nice to meet you. My name is Makoto Niijima. I hope we’re not being a bother.
She’s our student council president.
Niijima…?
Is something wrong?
…Nah, it’s nothing. A student council president, eh? I’m stunned. I hope he’s not causing you too much trouble. I’m Sojiro Sakura, but everyone just calls me Boss.

That’s weird, because I don’t think I’ve heard that nickname once!

This old man’ll get going and leave you kids be. All right, the store’s all yours.

Music: Suspicion

Just moments ago, a new message has been released on their website. They have announced their victory over the Phantom Thieves. Medjed also warns any Japanese citizens who praised the Phantom Thieves to stop doing so. We will report any further actions by Medjed as they arrive.

Oh, come on! It’s in English!
Let me see… “The Phantom Thieves remain silent at our question. This proves that we are just. People of Japan, wake up. You must not worship the Phantom Thieves.”
What!? That’s bullshit!
Keep listening.
“We will discipline any who worship them. The punishment is the confiscation of possessions. We are Medjed. We are unseen. We will eliminate evil.” …That’s what it says.
What does that all mean!?
They’re saying that they’ll target sympathizers of the Phantom Thieves.
Confiscation of possessions, hm…?
Perhaps bank accounts or personal information… Either way, it won’t be anything pleasant.
Why the hell are we being singled out?
Perhaps all they care about is labeling the Phantom Thieves as crooks. That all this wouldn’t have happened had the Phantom Thieves not existed.
That’s complete bullshit.
Talk about a troublesome organization that we’ve been targeted by…
Isn’t there anything we can do?
It’s certain we can’t do anything about this on our own…

Well, it’s probably none of your business, Ryuji. As far as you know, it’s from my parents, whatever the hell they’re doing.

We don’t need any more trouble.

You know what? Fair.

It’s rare for you to get something like this.

All right, fine you nosy bastards, I’ll open it.


Music: Disquiet

Anything else in there!? Who’s this from anyway?
There’s no stamp on it. Someone must’ve directly dropped it into the mailbox here…
Could it have been Alibaba…?
That reminds me, he did mention something about preparing the “necessary tool”… Don’t tell me… Is this what he was talking about!?
What the hell’s goin’ on here…?
All we can do at the moment is wait for Alibaba’s orders. Let’s brace ourselves and stand by… in case anything comes up.
Oh dear…

Music: Beneath the Mask


“The showdown between the just Phantom Thieves and the global organization Medjed is here!” Reactions have been great too. Everyone is really engaged. So far, most of the comments have been pro-Phantom Thieves. Most likely because of what happened in the Kaneshiro case. Those on the other side say Medjed are “hackers of justice.” But there’s nothing resembling justice in what they do. Someday, I want the whole site to be filled with pro-Thieves comments. I’m looking forward to when that day finally arrives.
He can look forward to whatever he wants, but we have no means of striking back against Medjed. We’re gonna be in deep trouble if we don’t do something…

What the hell’s going on?

“The Phantom Thieves remain silent at our question. This proves that we are just. People of Japan, wake up. You must not worship the Phantom Thieves. We will discipline any who worship them. The punishment is the confiscation of possessions. We are Medjed. We are unseen. We will eliminate evil.”
They’re just acting without even waiting for us to respond! What are they planning to do?

Well, we’re totally fucked and out of options, so I guess we’re going to hand our fate to this mysterious Alibaba character in the start of what’s probably my pick for strongest arc in the game. Next time, we’ll hopefully get to the bottom of this!


#165

I’m guessing Mysterious Headphones Girl is Alibaba, right? Gee, I wonder what her Persona is going to be.

Also, Destinyland! That’s a nice callback.


#166
Part 71

Part 71: 7/21-7/23: The Fourth Chapter Of The Blackmail Saga

Anon: online showdown!? :open_mouth:
Anon: medjed is dangerous……
Anon: Hang in there you guys! ;w;

Having your money stolen sounds terrifying…
It’s unsettling not knowing what they’re going to do to us.
They’re declaring their victory? What does that mean?
I really wish they’d stop that…

Anon: ugh, again?
Anon: yo, where the police?
Anon: I bet they’re crying LOL
Anon: Which side’s Akechi-kun on?
Anon: Go go Phantom Thieves~!
Anon: QUE ES FANTOM THIEF?

QUE ES FANTOM THIEF? is the best damn response in the game.

Music: Suspicion


sigh It’s just Ryuji.
Nothing? Let us know ASAP if he tries to get in touch with you, mkay?

Goddammit, Ryuji.


Music: Desire

No reason not to be polite.

Ah, you responded today.

No, I know I’m right.

Hm, you’re a surprisingly diligent student.



…I see. Hm, I suppose past calling cards did have names on them. One moment. Very well, I’ll tell you. ……. I believe their name was… Futaba Sakura.

Hm, sounds oddly familiar…

If you fail in this mission, I will expose your identity to the world and to the police.

Yet more blackmail!


So he threatened you then just took off!? And Sakura…? I feel like I’ve heard that name before… In any case, we should let everyone know about this.

Music: Disquiet

“Futaba Sakura”…?
Wasn’t Sakura…

I honestly love that there isn’t even an option to point this out yourself. It is canon that we don’t remember the last name of Sojiro, who we see literally every day, and it has to be pointed out by Ann and Makoto, who’ve met him three times between the both of them. On my first playthrough, I didn’t remember it either and it blew my fucking mind.

Does he have any family?
Does he?

We know nothing about this dude except that he hates deviancy and loves pussy.

For reals!? How laid-back are you!? Wouldn’t you normally be introduced at least? I mean, you ARE living at his place.
Well, his situation does make things difficult…
The calling card was delivered to Boss’s house; it’d be more natural to assume this is all related.

This game was overseen by two warring editors with opposing takes on the use of apostrophes after names ending with the letter “s.”

Ha, just kidding, this game’s localization didn’t have an editor.

One of the reasons for that is because Alibaba mentioned nothing about “which” Futaba Sakura. Perhaps he thinks that the name alone is enough.
That makes sense.
I believe it’s adequate for us to think that this is the doing of someone close by.
I see.
I don’t know how Alibaba got a hold of Maaku-kun’s smartphone information. However, since he’s ordering us through chat, I do feel as though he’s taunting us.
You mean, this might just be a prank?
I mean, look at his demands. Pay me if you don’t want me to leak who you really are—that I’d understand. But he’s telling us to steal someone’s heart without explaining why.
So we’re being tested?
Regardless, I think we should ask Boss about Futaba Sakura once.
That’s probably for the best. There’s nothing else we can do at the moment, and Chief might have an idea on what this is about too.
I’ll check the school’s roster just in case.
We must make sure Boss doesn’t figure out who we are. We’ll have to go about this cautiously.



Music: Desire

It’s got nothing to do with you. I’m going home. Make sure you lock up the place.

Music: Beneath the Mask


Could there be a reason as to why that was?
Hm. Alibaba might be our only hope of defeating Medjed. I wish we could get some info about Futaba out of Boss…
But trying to force it out would probably have the opposite effect.
To be honest, I owe a great deal to both Boss and Maaku. I don’t wish for this to be a source of discord between them.
Yeah, I know just what you mean!
It’s probably best to wait for Boss to bring the subject up himself.

Our show managed to get a “calling card” left by—as it says here–”The Phantom Thieves of Hearts.” On it, they also claim that they will make their target “confess their sins.”
Oh, we’ve gotten pretty famous. I guess it’s no surprise that we’re in the public eye now.

We don’t have any info on any of them. What in the world is going on?

Anon: can phantom thieves win?

Music: Wicked Plan

Tomorrow’s the end of the first semester, but we still got all this lame shit comin’ up…
If you don’t take care of this “lame shit,” you can kiss your summer vacation goodbye.
Oh yeah, about this Futaba Sakura girl… If she’s related to Boss, think people livin’ nearby would know about her?
That’s some keen intuition coming from you, Ryuji. You should have made use of that on your exams.
Ugh, I never wanna think about exams ever again… Anyway, askin’ around in your neighborhood might be the fastest way to figure this shit out. Then again, I doubt it’ll be that easy. It never is…

Music: So Boring

There’s an urgent assembly on Monday. We’ll be taking attendance. There’s been an unusual number of strange incidents this year. Don’t do anything stupid over break. Got it? Don’t go someplace shady like the red-light district, and don’t go to the beach after dark.
I wanna go to the beach… I wanna jump in some cold water… Seems like we won’t be having fun on our summer break for a while…

Music: Tokyo Daylight

Let’s head to Yongen and gather info around the neighborhood!

So, here we are in Yongen-Jaya. Our mission: to talk to everyone to discover information about this mysterious “Futaba Sakura.”

……It’s the name of my very first love, my teacher back when I was in elementary school!

As you might have guessed, these people aren’t very helpful!

…Let’s ask some other people, too.


A vintage game console… Could I actually sell it if I threw in some games…? I’ m not sure anyone would buy a game console that’s this old, though…
We can always come back here later. We need to get info on Futaba first.

No. No, I don’t know who that could be.

By the way, do you eat a lot?

Well, whenever Boss buys food, it’s enough to feed three people. …What? You’re telling me you don’t actually eat that much? Maybe it’s Boss who eats a lot then…

Hm, but wouldn’t this Futaba get angry if they find out you’re snooping on them though?

I come to Sakura-san’s often to make deliveries, but I’ve never seen who you’re talking about.

And that’s everyone! What have we learned?

So, up until now, our biggest lead seems to be… Boss buys a lot of food, far more than enough for one person living alone. Let’s check out all the shops where you can buy food!


…… Futaba? Over at Sakura-san’s? I haven’t heard anything… Sorry. Come again!

I think our only option now is to go home and ask the chief directly…

Music: Suspicion

So you’re the one who tipped him off about Futaba. You really shouldn’t have done that. I have no intention of talking to you about Wakaba.
Tipped off…? What are you talking about? Back to the matter at hand… Your parental authority will have to be suspended. I take it you’re OK with that outcome?

Huh? Parental authority?

What!?
Considering the state of your daughter and your family overall, there are no points in your favor. Would you like to take this to domestic court? Our chances of victory are roughly 99.9% though.

Abuse!?

You’re going that far…!? I told you, I don’t know a damn thing about it.
We’re extremely serious about this. As long as there’s a possibility that cognitive psience can be linked to psychotic breakdowns…

Nuh-uh, no, that’s not how you spell that. Anyway, Sae glances over at Maaku.

Tch… Fine… I yield.

Sae puts her card down on the counter.

I doubt you’ll find anything you want to hear though.
That’s fine. It will be up to us to decide whether the information you give us is useful or not.

We have pretty much no idea what’s going on here, but it’s clear that Sae should probably never show her face in Leblanc again. Finishing that conversation with the equivalent of “Toodles!” is just hilariously shitty.

That woman is real good at pissing people off… …What’s with that look? You got something to say?

This doesn’t involve you.

That’s enough! Just behave yourself and keep going to school if you don’t want me to throw you out of here.

…But tomorrow’s the last day.

You got that?

Yessir.

Lock the store up.

Moreso, our conjecture that Alibaba is connected to Leblanc seems to have a pretty solid foundation. Oh, and didn’t they mention “cognitive” something? …I wonder what the chief’s hiding. We can’t really press him on the subject though, especially after he mentioned throwing you out.

Music: Beneath the Mask

I wonder…

Kizuna Fest is happening again this year, and it looks like the demand for tickets is huge. I’m a fan of Kanamin Kitchen myself—maybe that’s why I’ve just been eating meat lately… Hahaha.

Kanamin Kitchen, for those of you who didn’t play Persona 4: Dancing All Night, an actual video game that really exists, is a fast food-themed idol group primarily featuring Kanami Mashita, one of the main characters of that game who was also referenced in Persona 4 as an indirect, offscreen foil to Rise Kujikawa, then on hiatus. Anyway, the “meat” line is about how each of them have a different animal they’re associated with as part of their gimmick. Kanami makes a lot of references to herself as a “prize cow” in that game, for instance, and talks up the quality of her “meat.” It’s about as weird as it sounds.

Would the chief really do that? It’s gotta be some kind of mistake, right?

Must be.


Anon: I agree, it’s false justice

Music: Suspicion

Yeah, she was going on about domestic abuse and taking the case to court and stuff…
……
What’s up?
It’s nothing. So to summarize what you told us, Futaba is Boss’ daughter, and he’s abusing her? I don’t know him very well… Is he really the kind of person who would do that?

Not a chance. It’s Sojiro. He’s a good gu—well, actually, I don’t know that much about him, and he seems like kind of a dick, but the funny kind, not the unfortunate kind.

I would like to believe so as well, but we don’t have any conclusive evidence, do we…?

Listen, Makoto, I won’t let the good name of that asshole who hates my guts be besmirched!


Music: Disquiet

Why aren’t you doing it? I told you I’d help you if you stole her heart. What seems to be the hold up? I also said I’d report your identity to the police if you didn’t help me. Are you OK with that? I’m serious here.
What a selfish person.
Well, he does have information on us…
Anyways, this Futaba he’s talking about have a Palace? If so, we’ll need keywords to get in. Try messaging him about ‘em.

I don’t think Alibaba will know what that means, Ryuji, considering they already got confused regarding the purpose of the calling card.

Keywords? What are you talking about? Are you just saying random stuff to dodge the issue?
What’re we supposed to do about this?
We’d be able to figure out Alibaba’s identity if we could just meet with him… Try asking if there’s any way we could meet up.

Meet? With me? That will be difficult. I have reasons for not being able to go out. That’s why I’m contacting you like this.
He can’t go out?
Wait. I get it. You steal people’s hearts directly… That might make things difficult. Extremely difficult. Hold on. I’m thinking… OK. It’s a shame, but I’m calling this deal off. Stop looking into Futaba Sakura.

Uh, what?



Huh…? Did he just shut the whole operation down?
This doesn’t make any sense… Not only can Alibaba not go out, but he won’t let us meet Futaba either?
Well, it’s none of our business now. We can’t contact him anymore.
But… what do we do about Medjed? We won’t be able to get Alibaba to help us with them now.
Maybe they were just prankin’ us. They made that huge declaration, but they ain’t done nothing since. I bet we got ‘em freaked out.
You mean they backed out because they’re afraid we’ll change their hearts?
Yup. And now it’d just make ‘em look lame if they came out and apologized!

That’s stupid! Why are we pretending this makes any sense, let alone relying on the prospect?

But–
I guess with Alibaba and Medjed outta the picture, can we just say this case is closed?

No! Because they’re not, at all!

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

…You do have a point. I guess it is safe for us to relax a little.

Makoto! Not you too!

Oh yeah, remember Kaneshiro’s Treasure? Prepare to have your minds blown! We got one hundred and fifty thousand yen out of it!

That’s awesome! We can really go all out with that kinda money!
Yeah! Let’s make up for what happened at the fireworks festival! We gotta go eat something fittin’ for the Phantom Thieves’ worldwide debut!
Where would be good…?
Ooh, how ‘bout sushi!? I could really go for some eel too!
The best method is to fill yourself on ginger before beginning to eat sushi. That is my master technique.

I just realized that the joke here is that he can only afford to eat ginger. Yusuke has like, one joke to his character.

You don’t need to do that this time. Actually, definitely don’t do it, OK?
I’m all for sushi! You’re OK with that too, right?

Then it’s decided.
All right! We’ll go tomorrow night!

Music: Beneath the Mask


Now that I think about it calmly, it’s strange that they haven’t actually done anything yet. If their goal is to target the Phantom Thieves, they should want to be acting now, given our fame.
Huh. When you put it that way, it kinda makes me wonder too. Especially after they taunted us theatrically like that.
Yes. However, it would be best for us to come up with a countermeasure regardless.

I was thinking that too! I can’t really put it into words though.
Hm, Yusuke is right. I’m sorry for bringing this up. On the day before our celebration party too…
Cheer up, Makoto! We’ll be eating sushi like kings tomorrow!
I hope one person in particular is on their best behavior. I’ll refrain from saying who though.
…You better not be talking about me!

As of now, no one has stepped forward and identified themselves as part of the Phantom Thieves. With the identities of both sides shrouded in mystery, everyone is watching for what they’ll do next.
We were starting to get popular. I want us to live up to everyone’s expectations, but these hackers…

So, we’re giving up on this whole Medjed/Alibaba/Futaba situation, which is kind of an anticlimax. Except not, because if you actually think it’s ending here, you’re a damn fool.

The characters seem awful ready to ignore what’s happening, and fail to think about several crucial questions, like:

  • Who is Alibaba?
  • What is their connection to Futaba Sakura?
  • Why haven’t we seen or heard anything about Futaba once in the three and a half months we’ve been staying here?
  • Is Sojiro abusing her?
  • Why does she need a change of heart?
  • Is she even eligible for a change of heart?
  • What if Medjed hasn’t given up?
  • Will the sushi be delicious?

For the answers to all of these questions and more, tune in next time!


#167
Part 72

Part 72: 7/24: The Ridiculously Depressing One

Music: Disquiet

The Phantom Thieves made a mockery of us when they brought down Kaneshiro… And to make matters worse, Medjed, who has been dormant for some time now, just declared war on them. How much more can they screw us over?
Stress is bad for the skin, you know.
Did you come all this way simply to be sarcastic?
How about you listen to my deductions for a change of pace? You may think it absurd… But don’t you think the case you’re pursuing and the actions of the Phantom Thieves overlap somehow?
What are you basing this off of?
The one point of commonality across all cases is how those involved have an unforeseen change of heart.
I’ve suspected that myself, but those suspicions are unfounded.
I told you at the beginning that this was only a deduction. These “just” Phantom Thieves are riling up the public. However, that is a disguise. Their true goal is terrorist action by way of psychotic breakdowns… Is that too much?
There’s nothing at the moment that falsifies that claim. Have you mentioned this to the police?
I’d never tell them such things. The only value they have to me is in their mobility and organizational capabilities.
Hm, it seems having you lend a hand has paid off.
I’m glad to hear that. What about your case, Sae-san? Did you learn anything from the guardian of that mental shutdown victim’s daughter?
Nothing at all.
I see. Now, what should my next action be for our victory?
Handle the Phantom Thieves. Without remorse. Use any means necessary to win. That’s how I would deal with them.
chuckle Very well.
This seems to be fun for you. Are you on to something?
No, not at all. Well then, to our victory.

Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)

This place is in Ginza, right? Do we take the usual train from Shibuya?

Music: Alright


I-I don’t see any prices listed here…
It’s called market price. Don’t worry ‘bout it; we got the cash!
Sooo gooooood…

Hold your horses. And don’t talk!
By the way, Maaku-kun… Is Boss really the kind of person who would abuse someone?
That again?
I can’t get it off my mind. Especially if it means he could be taken to court… What kind of person is he? Do you truly believe he’d do such a thing?

Gonna keep sticking up for the old man. No way, Makoto.

Hm…
If it’s really true about the abuse, he’d be a no-good jerk pretendin’ to be a guardian.
Maybe the chief is the one who needs a change of heart…
Hold on a sec! About that… I actually got curious after our conversation… and checked his name in the Nav.
Sounds to me like there wasn’t a hit.
Right. Anything beyond this is his family’s problem. We probably shouldn’t get any more involved.

Wait… You think Alibaba could be Boss’ ex-wife!?

What?

He musta cheated on her, and that’s where Futaba came from.
Doubtful.
Your imagination has run rampant.
How foolish.


GODDAMMIT RYUJI



U-Ummm…. Ph-Phan… Fantastic! This sushi is delicious!
Y-Yeah! The fish is so fresh!
Hmph. Everywhere we go, we hear about these Phantom Thieves.
What rubbish.

Sorry, it just kinda slipped…

My foot is gonna slip straight up your ass if you do that again.

My apologies for bringing up Boss again. We should just enjoy the food.

Music: Wicked Plan

Akechi-kun…
Akechi…?

Do you know this guy?
It’s nice to meet you. My name is Akechi. Glad to make your acquaintance, Yusuke Kitagawa.

How do you know my name?
Well, because I’m a psychic, of course. Haha, I’m only joking. In truth, I’m a rookie detective. You’re a former pupil of Madarame, right? I have actually just recently joined the investigation team looking into the Phantom Thieves.

How nice of you to share this with us, totally random teenagers.

Did you see that Medjed has declared war on them?

Wait, what?

War…?
Their website was updated just a moment ago.

Music: Disquiet

For real!?

Wait, what…!?
What’s it say!?
Hm? Why do you seem so agitated?
Oh, um…
She’s, uh… a huge fan of the Phantom Thieves. A total nutjob for ‘em.
Hm, I don’t know how wise it is to be a fan of groups like them.

How about you mind your own business?

What is with these comments?
My apologies. I didn’t mean to butt into your conversation. But I must say, this is an interesting group. Prosecutor Niijima’s sister, an ex-pupil of Madarame. And a few Shujin Academy students… It seems you’re all connected to the Phantom Thieves. Perhaps you have better intel than I do.

I wonder what you could possibly be getting at.

Ah, yes. I wanted to ask you something.


What a stupid question.

Unsurprising. I suppose you aren’t interested in such gossip.
Sorry to disappoint, but we’re just normal high school kids. If anything, we wanna hear what you gotta say, Mr. Detective.
…My profiling of the Phantom Thieves has led me to believe they are a group of juveniles. They have a relative amount of free time after school, and a hideout to slip away to. Furthermore, considering Kamoshida was their first target, it seems they began activity around April. In a way, all I’ve just said about the Phantom Thieves coincides with the group you have here.

Huh. Weird!

What, you gonna report us?

Ryuji, with the brilliant “just fucking admit it” tactic. He’ll never see it coming.

I didn’t say I was being suspicious of you.


Sorry man, gotta throw you under the bus for the good of the team. And also because it’s funny.

I wasn’t anticipating that response. You always find a way to rise above my expectations. You really are an intriguing one. I lack your calm mannerisms… but don’t you think my deduction is an interesting one?

This winking cut-in is the best one in the whole game.

What!? The hell’re you sayin’!?

…Is he hitting on me? I mean, I’m flattered, but this is kinda awkward considering the circumstances.

In return, I’ll teach you how to make deductions. I believe that is a fair trade-off for you.
It seems like Akechi is interested in me…

Okay, yeah, he’s definitely hitting on me.

Well, this has been a valuable point of reference for me. I hope to see you all again.

Do you think he’s ascertained our true identities?
Nah, couldn’t be. Right?

Why would you think that? We’re the worst at hiding it. We reestablished that literally one scene ago.

I’d like to say that it’s simply us overthinking this, but… it may be best to be cautious from now on. We shouldn’t forget that Alibaba was able to discover who we are.

Or that you were.

True, but it’s not as though he had tangible evidence to prove that discovery. Just keep acting normally.

Oh yeah! What’d they write!?

“We are disappointed in the people of Japan and their belief in the Phantom Thieves’ false justice. Hence, we shall proceed with our plan to cleanse Japan. This process will commence on August 21st. As a result, the Japanese economy shall suffer devastating damages.”
For real…?
Keep going.
“However, we are magnanimous. We will give the Phantom Thieves one final opportunity to repent. As proof of this repentance, we demand that they reveal their identities to the public. We will attack if these demands remain unmet. The future of Japan rests with the Phantom Thieves. We are Medjed. We are unseen. We will eliminate evil.” …That’s what it says.
Sounds bad…
In other words, if we don’t unmask ourselves, Medjed will attack Japan… correct? It seems they are quite the attention seekers…
What are we gonna do about this…?
If only we could get in contact with Alibaba.
Our only clues… are Boss and Futaba. Anyways, it’s too damn hot out here. Why don’t we go to Leblanc? We can talk more over there.

Music: Suspicion

Looks like we got no choice but to ask for Alibaba’s help.
Question is, how do we get in touch with him?
He cut off all contact with us after that misunderstanding. Then again, if we manage to steal Futaba’s heart, he may attempt to reach out to us once more.
But we don’t have any clues on what her keywords are.
Dammit, Alibaba! Where the hell are you!?

Huh?

Music: Disquiet

Hypothetically speaking, even if we stole Futaba’s heart… How would Alibaba know that the deed has been done? Would he truly be able to discern that just from cell phone messages?
You mean he’d have to meet her in person?
Alibaba was able to deliver the calling card here. On top of that, he can check on Futaba’s condition. However, according to the circumstances he put forth, he’s unable to meet with us. This leads me to believe that it would be bad for him if we were to see the two of them together. It seems to me…


So she’s asking that we steal her own heart…?
Maybe she wants us to save her from the scars of her abuse…? That would be hard to ask directly.

I know the gang doesn’t really know Sojiro, but I’m really not here for this constant assumption of terrible shit about him.

I’d like to meet with Boss… He lives nearby, right?

I agree. It’s real late though. What’re we gonna tell Boss when we get there?
We’ll say this take-out sushi is a gift for him.

No complaining.
Let’s all go together. Boss may get the wrong idea if Maaku-kun and I show up alone.

Or the entirely right idea? No? Okay.

Music: Suspicion

But the lights are on…
Think he’s nappin’?
Even Boss would’ve woken up with how many times we’ve rung his doorbell.
I would think Futaba would have answered by now if she were here too.

Dude, you can’t go openin’ other people’s stuff like that.

I wonder why. That’s rather careless…

…Do you think that’s OK?
Prolly…?
My apologies, Boss!


The door ahead is open, and I can hear the TV.
I hope he didn’t pass out or something… I mean, Boss is kinda old, ain’t he?
I’m a bit worried. Should we go in and check on him?
Please excuse us…

Music: Desire

Suddenly, the lights go out.

A scream!? What was that!?
H-How should I know?

Did you hear that!?
Let’s just get out of here, please? Can we just go?
What’re you freakin’ out for?
I-I-I’m not freaking out!
Could it be Alibaba…? I mean, Futaba?

The group turns to leave.

nods

Hell yeah, you can.

Uh, that’s not… whatever.

I can sense someone’s presence…

A series of soft thuds can be heard, like a person descending steps.

Who is it…? Who’s there…!?

Makoto turns her head frantically in search.

I can’t take this anymore! I’m leaving!

N-No… My legs won’t move…


The figure runs upstairs.

Alibaba! Futaba! Hey! C’mon, where are you!? You’re a hacker, right? Just show yourself!
I’msorryI’msorryI’msorry! PleasesavemeSis…

Crap, he’s home!

Sojiro bursts through the doorway and notices us.

Who the hell are you!? Don’t move!


I’msorryI’msorryI’msosorrySis… Somebodypleasesaveme…

Music: Wicked Plan

Time for the wacky hijinks music!


You’re…
Oh… G-Good… evening, sir… We… didn’t mean… to intrude…
Niijima-san! Wait, are you two dating?

Well, it’s complicat–

Makoto shakes her head vigorously.

W-We’re j-just friends!

Jeez, way to break a guy’s spirit, Makoto.

Friends nowadays get that close to each other…?


Um, we brought you some sushi, but nobody answered when we rang the bell… The door was unlocked too. We could hear the TV though, so we got worried you might have passed out or something…
The door was unlocked?
Yes.
…I do that sometimes. Guess I’m getting old.
Um, excuse me. There’s something we’d like to ask.
Hm? You wanna ask me?

Music: Suspicion

Yeah… My daughter.
Could she be Futaba Sakura…?
You told Niijima-san too!?
U-Um… is there any way we could meet with Futaba-san? I think we may have frightened her earlier, so we’d like to apologize if at all possible…
Well… that’s…
Is she sick…?
No, it’s not like that.

Sojiro waits a moment, then puts his head in his palm and sighs.

I don’t want you all getting the wrong idea… I shouldn’t have kept this a secret from you. Let’s talk at my shop. She’ll hear us if we stay here.

Music: Alleycat

Futaba’s mother and I knew each other long before Futaba was born. Her mother was a bit of a weird one, but we got along well for some reason… She was sharp-witted, somewhat stern, a little socially inept, but always carefree… She truly was a great woman.
I see…
When something piqued her interest, that’d be all she focused on. She always worked deep into the night. I thought that’d change after her kid was born, but having Futaba didn’t do much. Even with that, she always took good care of her.
Working and watching over a child at the same time sounds rough…
I guess raising Futaba alone turned out to be tough in more ways than one…

There wasn’t a father.
Do you mean…
Well, there probably was one. I didn’t know him though. She never said a word about him, either. She was single when she gave birth to Futaba, and single when she raised her. They were an ordinary, loving family. You could really tell how much she cared for Futaba. But one day, she left… leaving Futaba behind.

Yes. She committed suicide.

Suicide…!?
Threw herself into the street, right in front of Futaba’s eyes…

That’s fucking hardcore, holy shit.

Shocking doesn’t begin to describe that…
That’s gotta be devastating for a kid.
So… Well, a lot happened after that, but I ended up taking custody of Futaba… First, she was so depressed she… she wouldn’t even talk to me.
Was that because she couldn’t get over her mother’s suicide…?
I kept talking to her though, and she started opening up to me little by little. That’s when I found out… Futaba blames herself for her mother’s death.
What…!? But why!?
That part she’s never told me. I wanted to know what led her to believing that, but I decided not to rub salt in the wound. Then, a few months ago… She started getting real scared, even when nothing was happening. She’d say things like, “I hear voices…” and, “Mom is looking at me…”
Visual and auditory hallucinations… Have you taken Futaba to a doctor?
I wanted to, but she refused. Even when I had a doctor come, she locked herself away in her room. Since then, she’s become what you’d call a shut-in. She won’t take a single step outside the house, or even try to see other people.

…Then how did she deliver that “calling card”?

What about you?
She doesn’t even let me come in her room.
That’s pretty harsh…
Futaba is, well, a unique girl. She’s so quick-minded that conversations with her tend to jump from one topic to the next… It seems like she’s always coming to conclusions in her head. There’s a lot I don’t get about her…
Hmm…
So yeah… her situation is why I couldn’t let you in my house.

What Futaba needs is a safe place where nobody will threaten her. Somewhere she can be at ease. That’s why I won’t do anything she doesn’t want. I don’t make her do anything she’s unwilling to either. Then again, I know that’s no way for her to live. It’s all I can do though…

I don’t know. She just asks me for things that she wants, like food or these complicated books… Well, that’s that. So can you just… leave her be?
nods
I’m gonna head back then. You all had better head home soon too.

Man, Sojiro… owns. Goddamn. Also this just makes it extra hilarious that Sae was trying to revoke his parental rights. Sae really sucks, huh?

No way in hell he’s abusin’ her.
The reason why Futaba wants her heart stolen must be related to what happened to her mother.
So she’d like to discard her feelings of pain, but can’t do anything about it herself.
Will changing her heart really help her though?
If we can help her, we may be able to stand up to Medjed.

I’m not so hot on the idea of helping a trauma victim just because we want something from them.

Hold on a sec. Do we even know if she has a Palace? Let’s check.

Music: Suspicion

Candidate found.

What the…?
She’s got one…
So someone can have a Palace even if they’re not evil?

Well, we don’t know Futaba very well. She could easily turn out to be evil.

Hey, Morgana–

I haven’t seen him for some time.
So, ever since we went inside Boss’s house?
…Somewhere ‘round there. He’ll be fine though. He’s a cat, after all. The trains’re gonna be shuttin’ down for the night soon, so we should prolly be headin’ home.
We have to go to school in the morning, after all.
Ohhh, right. The urgent assembly.
An assembly? What about?
Shujin has been garnering a lot of attention ever since Medjed called out the Phantom Thieves. So, they need to remind us not to say arbitrary stuff online and add more fuel to the fire.
We’ve gotta meet up for every goddamn little thing. Talk about a pain in the ass.
I mean, it is our fault.
Anyway, let’s contact each other afterward.

The reason why Futaba wants her heart stolen must be related to what happened to her mother.
So she’d like to discard her feelings of pain, but can’t do anything about it herself.
Will changing her heart really help her though?
If we can help her, we may be able to stand up to Medjed.
Hold on a sec. Do we even know if she has a Palace? Let’s check. “The Futaba Sakura that lives at Sojiro Sakura’s house.” Is that gonna be enough?
What the…?
She’s got one…
So someone can have a Palace even if they’re not evil?
Hey, Morgana–

Morgana scurries out from behind the chair.

Music: Beneath the Mask


Damn, can’t even watch the news without the cat’s approval.


Music: Suspicion

I take it the chief told you about Futaba, and then you guys disbanded in relief for now.

You can’t underestimate my intel-gathering skills, you know. I was checking out the chief’s house. I didn’t think our Alibaba would be so young…

She had long hair and a pretty young-sounding voice. Well… I say young, but I think she’s probably about the same age as you guys. At the very least, she’s no amateur. She completely overheard your conversation with the chief, and she can hack into our chats too. Even if she can’t take Medjed down directly, she might have some kind of lead on them.

In any case, we’ll need to rely on Futaba to get closer to Medjed. Let’s meet up again tomorrow. How about we do it in here? It’s way too hot outside… Anyway, make sure you let everyone know.


Music: Interrogation Room

Hold on. While Medjed was targeting you, you chose to deal with someone completely unrelated to them?

Then how was Medjed… …What you’ve said about the Sakura family generally falls in line with our investigation. It appears you aren’t feeding us a false testimony.

Hmph, you have quite the wit… Very well, let’s continue. We’ve yet to determine how the Phantom Thieves dealt with Medjed, seeing as they are unseen. If you tell me something coherent, I may be a little more willing to believe you.
It seems Sae Niijima is starting to seriously listen to what I have to say…

Still, to think the Phantom Thieves would have their hideout in the home of Wakaba Isshiki’s daughter. What a coincidence… No, perhaps it’s fate… Regardless, we don’t have time to waste. Continue with your story.


#168
Part 73

Part 73: 7/25: Perverts In The Desert

Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)

I guess they need to set some rules when the world’s eyes are on us because of the Phantom Thieves. Stuff like, “Don’t do anything that will hurt the school’s reputation; spend your summer break quietly.”
I can’t stay quiet with all this excitement going on. Medjed’s statement was insane! “People of Japan, you must not worship the Phantom Thieves,” they said… It could just be a joke. There’s talk that this could lead to the biggest leak of private data to date. I wonder if they’re gonna target another site… I’m curious to see how the Phantom Thieves react.
It’s what I’m looking forward to most this summer. It’ll be the perfect escape from exam studies. But the Phantom Thieves need to take action. They’re the ones Medjed is after.
This is bigger than I thought. We can’t leave this be…

Let’s get this assembly out of the way. We have our own business to attend to!

Our school’s done for…
I don’t care what the principal has to say.
They’re so stupid! I wish I could change their hearts.
Why not make a post? Our request might be taken…

Anon: both are crossing the line
Anon: medjed is dangerous……
Anon: Fight for justice!

Music: Wicked Plan

Wait, we don’t even see the assembly!?

Huh? Did you have school too, Yusuke?
I’m doing laundry, so these are the only clothes I had to wear.

That sounds contrived!

You really should buy a couple more outfits…
Come now, we didn’t gather here to make small talk, now did we? Let’s get to Alibaba’s case.
Well then, I’ll start. It looks like Futaba was listening in on Leblanc.
But why would she want to listen in on the cafe?
I have no idea.
It’s just like Boss said… She’s a tough nut to crack.
In any case, her hacking skills will be absolutely necessary if we wish to stand up to Medjed. Going by what she has told us, we may even be able to identify who they are.
We’ll have to trust in her skills for now then.
Anyway, we found out that Futaba has a Palace… but can someone who isn’t evil have one?
That doesn’t matter. A Palace is the materialization of distorted cognitions brought about by strong desires… That’s all. It just so happens that a lot of warped people turn out evil.

Music: Suspicion

Maybe that has something to do with why she calls herself Alibaba.
According to the chief’s story, Futaba has auditory and visual hallucinations, right? There’s a chance those are related to some important memories she’s holding. It’s hard to explain… but those memories may have been warped by the distortions.
Basically we just gotta steal her Treasure, right?
Well, yeah.
So do we all agree about taking on Futaba’s Palace?
She’s asked us to do so. I don’t think that part is an issue. If we heal Futaba’s heart, it will not only help Boss, but she can then assist us with Medjed.
I agree.
I’ve been wonderin’ about how Boss said “a lot happened” after Futaba’s mom died too.
Hold on a second. Our investigation of her Palace may not go like anything we’ve done up to this point.
Why’s that?
Having an individual ask you to steal their heart is an extremely irregular case. There’s no telling what the Palace ruler’s disposition will be like, or the distortion that’ll be there. We may run into some unforeseen situations. Do you still want to go in?

All right. Let’s just make sure we’re cautious.
Well, let’s get crackin’ on those keywords, huh?
The ones we have at the moment are “Futaba Sakura” and “Sojiro Sakura’s house.”
We got the “who” and the “where,” so all that’s left is the “what,” right?
Let us try going to their house first.
Boss is busy running the cafe, isn’t he? We should make sure he doesn’t suspect anything.

I’ll be able to remember everything if I turn back into a human, right?

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

That has to be the case. I… definitely want this mission to succeed. If we can retrieve Futaba’s memories, then I’d bet we can get mine back too… In any case, it’s not every day you stumble upon a hacker like her around. You really do have a gift, don’t you?

You sure live up to my expectations.
I can sense a firm resolve from Morgana…

There are a few new infiltration tools available to craft, but we won’t be seeing them for a bit.

Music: Wicked Plan

She’s a shut-in, so we just gotta figure out “what” she thinks her house is. If she can’t get out, maybe a prison?
Conditions have not been met.
Perhaps a labyrinth with an unknown exit?
Conditions have not been met.
Hmm… Maybe an oasis?
Conditions have not been met.
Nothing so far. In that case, how about hell?
Conditions have not been met.
We don’t have nearly enough clues…
If only we could ask her directly…
We can. C’mon, let’s go see Futaba.
But what will we say to get in?
Whaddya mean? We’re sneakin’ in.
You have to be joking. Won’t the door be locked for sure this time?
I’ll take care of that. Oh, and I figured out where Futaba’s room was when I snuck in last night.
What if we run into Boss though? There’s no way we’ll be able to avoid his questions this time.
He’s at work now, so I think we should be fine.
Gettin’ cold feet, Makoto? Don’t worry, it’ll be nothing. We’ve gone through loads of shit like this already.

Dude, Yusuke’s right there.

…This is our only choice, right? I suppose Futaba did get in contact with Maaku-kun… Perhaps she’ll at least be willing to speak with him… …Very well. Let’s do this.

Music: Suspicion


There’s no answer…
Futaba-chan. Are you there? I’m sorry for being startled and screaming yesterday. It was so dark that I got scared.

pause

No reaction whatsoever.
This is gonna be hard…




Why’s she only reacting to that name…?
You’re Futaba Sakura, aren’t you?

pause

She’s not responding again.
Does she not like us saying her name?
We don’t have time to dally around. We need her keyword before dealing with Alibaba’s identity.
We want to learn more about you. If we don’t do so, we can’t steal your heart. The reason why we came here is because we need the keyword to enter your Palace. That’s why we want to talk with Futaba Sakura herself, and not Alibaba. You don’t have to show yourself. Just answer some questions for us. Chat messages are fine.
OK.
All right then… Our leader, the guy who lives in Leblanc’s attic, wants to speak with you. We’re counting on you, Maaku-kun. Try and get a keyword out of her.
What do you want to hear?

A house is a house.
It looks like you should ask something different.

The answers will loop back if you choose incorrectly.

Hm?




I can’t leave this place. I’m going to die here.
Wha-- Die…?
Is this going to continue?

Why? This place is my tomb.

You think that’s it?
Try entering “tomb.”

Music: Disquiet

We got it…!
Was that enough?
Yes. It was plenty. You haven’t forgotten your promise of helping us if we complete your request, right?
I haven’t. We made a deal.


You idiot, don’t activate it here!



Yeah, we see that. Wait, what the—Our clothes are still the same?
Futaba herself is asking us to steal her heart. It’d be odd if she saw us as a threat. If she doesn’t see us as an enemy, then your clothes don’t change. That’s how it works. But more importantly, I told you to be cautious! Why’d you activate it like that!?
Is that why we ended up in a desert? Where’s the tomb? It’s so damn hot here.
Even though we entered right in front of her room, we didn’t end up inside it.

Ann, stop pointing out weird inconsistencies. That’s my job, and I’m terrible at it.

She must really want to keep people away from her.
I see…
What a bleak feeling this place has… It’s the complete opposite of Kaneshiro’s bank.

I get what you mean, but that place was also pretty bleak in its own way.

Let’s hurry up and get goin’. Where’s the Palace?
Is it that way?

A tomb in the desert… I see. Anyway, let’s make our way there.
Isn’t that kinda far?
Are we gonna walk!?
Of course not! My paws will get burned!

I’ll make sure to put the AC on full blast!
You’re so considerate!
Hehe, r-right…
All right! Let’s roll!

Through the Desert

Music: Treading On Scorched Sand




Here’s something dumb I figured out a while back: the entire reason for the pointless assembly and Yusuke’s laundry beats is because they’d already made this cutscene with the characters in their school clothes. It’s real stupid.


But it’s [sic] still beats opening the windows to the hot desert air.

Hey, Ann. Can I have a drink? Didn’t you have mineral water?
I drank it already…
sigh

How’re the guys…?
Huh…?

Welp

Ann pulls on the emergency brake.

Morons.


Look at Yusuke’s face here.

There we go.





I like that the game feels the need to bend over backwards to justify the clothes thing but the characters all pulled their shoes out of hyperspace offscreen.

The AC ain’t workin’ at all! The hell was that lukewarm air about!?
That was the best I could do, so quit your yapping!
For real, you are so half-assed!
What was that!? You wanna fight, punk!?
Geez, shut up! It’s hot, so don’t make me more irritated!
To think her Palace would be a pyramid…

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There (Another Version)

Hey, a pyramid’s a tomb, right?
Yes. It’s a pharaoh’s tomb.
That’s how it’s mostly known. There are a variety of theories on it. For instance, it’s even said to be a device for reviving the dead.

I understand the symbolism you’re going for, but I’m still gonna call bullshit. I was a huge ancient Egypt freak as a kid and never heard that once, and it doesn’t really jive with their view of the afterlife anyhow. Plus, that “reviving the dead” thing hasn’t come up in a cursory Google, which I’ve come to trust far more than my own memory.

I’m sure one of you is already gearing up to correct me on how it’s totally a thing though.

Reviving the dead, hm…? It’s beautiful nonetheless… It’s perfectly conformed to the golden ratio…

I know what that is from class!

Hey, guys, can we go in already? I’m gonna melt…


#169
Part 74

Part 74: 7/25-7/26: No, You Look Like Shit Makoto

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There (Another Version)

C’mon, let’s get inside…

Let’s take a cursory look around the area first.

We can jump down here…

…but all it does is let us slide down pointlessly. Fun, though!

Over on the other side of the area, we see a town off in the distance.

We probably don’t need to concern ourselves with it though. I can sense the Treasure in the pyramid.

Let’s just head up the stairs and enter the pyramid.

Who knows what may await us within… What is your call, Joker? Shall we head inside?
>Let’s go.
OK. We’ll find out more about Futaba’s secrets in here, right?
Indeed. Well, let’s head inside.

Music: The Days When My Mother Was Here

It may be because Futaba’s room in reality has AC pumping through it. Either way, this is a relief…
Huh, our clothes still haven’t changed even now. This has never happened to us before.
It is refreshing that she doesn’t see us as a threat… but we are completely surrounded by walls.
I guess this is a tomb… It’s probably not made to be easy to get into. Anyway, let’s explore.

We have to jump across some pillars to cross a gap. Keep this in mind for later.

There’re way too goddamn many…
Don’t ask for too much. You should be happy we’re not being attacked as we ascend. More importantly, I can totally sense the Treasure ahead. We’re getting pretty close now!
These stairs seem to be headed into the heart of the pyramid. I wonder if that’s where the Treasure waits…
Welp, time to keep climbin’ then. Let’s go.


She did welcome us in here, after all.
Don’t let your guard down, guys. This is a pyramid, so there may still be traps.

I don’t think you can call this the real thing…


Hm? There’s someone there!

Music: Disquiet

That’s Futaba’s Shadow. It isn’t the real her.
Oh yeah, you’ve seen her face. True. This one’s kinda dressed like a queen.
So you’re Futaba Sakura…
……
Hey, where’s the Treasure?
It’s doubtful that you wouldn’t know where it is.
Hey, say something.
Don’t be like that! I’m sorry, Futaba-chan. It’s OK, there’s no need to be scared. So, can you tell us where your most treasured possession is?

pause

This is going nowhere.
Let’s just leave her.
Will you guys shut up for a bit!?

Music: Desire

She talked… but…
What’re you sayin’? You want us to steal it, right?
If you believe you can steal it, then try as you might.
That’s rather defiant sounding.
Perhaps this is that “tsundere” thing where someone is harsh or sweet depending on the mood.

I don’t want you to steal my Treasure at all, baka!

Considering the state that my Palace is in… …There is no way that you can steal it.

A series of harsh, angry voices from nowhere begin to yell.

Creepy child…
You killed her!
You’re a plague!
What are these voices?

Murderer!
Why don’t you say something?
Murderer…?
You’re the one who killed her!
It’s all your fault!
This is horrible…
Hey, the hell is this?
Don’t come near me!
Don’t just stand there, say something!
It’s your fault!
Murderer!

What…?

Music: High Pressure

What was that!?

I will remain here. I will do so until I die.


She sees us as a threat now… What’s going on!?


Music: Desire

Creepy child…
You killed her!
You’re a plague!
Murderer!
What’s with that look? Why don’t you say something?
You’re the one who killed her!
…That’s right… I killed Mom. I don’t deserve to be alive… This place is a tomb… I’ll die here…
That’s right! Die!
Don’t come near me!
Don’t just stand there, say something!
It’s your fault!


This is bad—I’m having a hard time getting a grasp of our situation. We should regroup and–

Music: Run, Run, Run!

What now!?

BOULDER



Sure hope smashing the shit out of Futaba’s Palace doesn’t mess up her mind or whatever!

Music: The Days When My Mother Was Here


Several walls block the path back up.

Now what!?
Even if we wanted to ask Futaba what’s going on, it seems the door is shut. What should we do?
I think our best option is retreating for now. This won’t be as simple as we expected. Why don’t we prepare a little more, then come back?

OK. Then let’s retreat for now and return to the Palace another day.

The Phantom Thieves, whom they singled out, have not made any notable actions at this time. Will Medjed carry out their cyberterrorism?

Music: Suspicion

In order to stop them, we need to help Futaba Sakura before the 21st. Our deadline is about two days prior, so the 19th.
Meetin’ up in Shibuya then comin’ here’s a pain, right? Let’s make this place our hideout for a while.

Is everyone fine with this place being our next hideout then?

Everyone nods.

We must take care not to be discovered by Boss.
There’s no telling what may happen inside that pyramid. We all need to be cautious so that place doesn’t become our graveyard.
Man, this is gonna be one crazy summer vacation. We’re dealin’ with international hackers and lookin’ for a Treasure in a pyramid.
How can you be enjoying this? This is a crisis of whether or not our group continues on, you know!?
I know that!
That reminds me. While we were in the Mona car, you were staring at me with a dirty look, you perv.

Music: My Homie

Shuddup! It was a great view!

Great defense, Ryuji!

You guys were lookin’ too, am I right!?

No! I mean, my character was, but that’s just because this game is fucked like that.

Indeed. The pyramid’s golden ratio was truly a sight to behold.

I wasn’t staring, Lady Ann. I’m a gentleman, after all.
It’s not that you “weren’t,” but that you “couldn’t” since you were transformed, am I right?

sigh Will we be all right like this…?

Finally, a sensible hideout.


Not again…

Music: Desire

Uhhh, okay…


Agh… Ngh…

I’m not sure it’s a great sign when fucking Psychonauts of all things is better at portraying mental illness than your game.

Music: Disquiet


Is doing this really going to help us do something about Medjed?
Do they truly intend to follow through on their threat? It’d be a shame if our efforts were a waste.
Medjed will definitely make a move.
Alibaba!
I’m checking in on your progress. How much longer will it take?
Your heart is more problematic than we had anticipated.

Jeez, Makoto, what a mean thing to say.

Hey, Alibaba! Can you really do something about Medjed?
Of course.
Unfortunately, we have next to no evidence to support that.
Your work will be rewarded. I promise. Besides… You have no other option, do you?
I suppose that’s true…
Can you do stuff like take down a server? Show us.

Fuckin’ Ryuji, man.

Hey! Don’t start any trouble.
That’s all it would take to convince you? All right, I ask that you take care of this quickly. Until then.
Wait! Are you ditching us again? This is troubling, but… we need to do what we can at the moment.
I have concern for Futaba herself during all this.
Man, why’d this have to be during summer vacation?
We don’t have any other choice.
Maaku-kun. As always, we’ll leave it to you to call us together.
The sight of her Palace bothers me too… We have to do this.

Music: Beneath the Mask


oh no whatever will we do

I try to access the URL, but it says that page doesn’t exist!

Mishima forgot to pay his fucking domain hosting again, christ. Which reminds me: if the Phantom Thieves are exploding in popularity, how’s he paying for all that bandwidth?

I’d never do such a thing! It has to be Medjed’s doing! Is this supposed to be some kind of penalty for cheering for the Phantom Thieves!? But wait, they’re totally jumping the gun! There’s still time until the cleanse! Hold on, something came up. “Is this proof enough for you…?”

Well, uh… it looks like everything’s back to normal. Sorry for making a fuss about all this… I’m going to try and look into it a little more though. See you.

Oh, Mishima, you poor sap.

Was that Alibaba proving what she said earlier? Talk about a crazy thing to pull off…

The Medjed homepage has posted a declaration of victory and an announcement of their next crime. This is thought to be yet another provocation against the Phantom Thieves, who have yet to respond.
They’re really getting carried away… Well, just you wait.


Music: Tokyo Emergency

We need her to help us take down Medjed, got it? OK, then—let the plan commence!




Not sure why we’re getting this tutorial now, but OK.

We could fuck around for three weeks, or we could just go into the Palace now and get it over with. So let’s do that.


We won’t get a chance later on tonight, so we make sure to feed our plant now. Maaku gains Kindness +3.


I’m allowed to get a little smug after placing in the top ten.

Oh? You have a good look on your face. You can have this. Look at your face with it.

Uhhh, thanks. I was expecting like, money or something like from Dojima, but this is… fine, I guess.

You actually are pretty smart, huh. You showed me. Studying is good and all, but men need to keep up their looks too. Looking clean is important.

That’s actually not terrible, it’s just that we’re going to spend most of the rest of the game with most if not all of the characters wearing SP Adhesive 3s at all times, so it’s kind of a waste.

Really? I guess young people these days have more backbone than I thought. Remember? When we were young, we’d speak out and take a stand against those in power, too.
That’s true, but… I don’t know if we can trust them.

The international hacktivist group Medjed released a statement earlier…
Yeah, and I couldn’t read it ‘cause it was in English. Well, it doesn’t really matter to me.

We head over to the second-hand store looking for that console he was selling earlier.


We buy it and this shitty gambling game.

They’re people who use computers to do bad things, like steal people’s secrets.
Are they like the Phantom Thieves? Who do you think’d win in a fight, Kotaro?
whine

Music: Tokyo Daylight

God, Makoto, you’re hanging out at school during break? NEEEEERD.

Before we talk to Makoto, take notice of the deadline. First, “The Cleanse” is just amazingly melodramatic, even considering the consequences. Second, we have twenty-six days until the deadline, which is downright ludicrous.


Okay, so previous Persona games dealt with summer vacation by kind of sidestepping it: instead of letting you hang out with school-based Social Links in a different context, they just went “fuck it” and decided not to let you advance those Links at all. They also totally divorced most party members’ Links from a school context to get around it, though ironically they didn’t quite do it enough; an infamous example of which being Kanji’s Social Link, which had to be initiated by talking to a random school NPC, failure of which to do so before vacation started would lock you out of his Link for the duration.

Anyway, here they deal with it by… mostly not letting you form Confidants with your classmates, and relying on contrivance for the rest. None of them save Kawakami require a school event to initiate (though later ranks of her Confidant have brief events that take place during school hours, which are obviously unavailable during break) Mishima is the only non-party member classmate in the game with a Confidant, and his takes place entirely at night, so it’s a non-issue. The only Confidants with events that take place at school are Ryuji and Makoto (as well as a later character, and one of Ann’s later ranks, but the former can only be initiated after summer break ends, and I don’t really count the latter), and the game explains their events by not really explaining them. Examining the (ajar) school gate during summer vacation will tell you that some students are likely inside for clubs… and that’s it. Eiko and Ryuji’s former track teammates are just… hanging out at school during summer break, I guess. Whatever.

At a time like this…? I guess if that’s really what you want to do… Is this a part of your grand strategy?

Hm. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to take things a little slower. Oh, so I spoke with Eiko and she said her boyfriend was OK with the double date idea. She asked me to show her your picture though…

Wait, what? We’ve met.

Apparently, um… she thinks you look a little lame… She told me that my boyfriend isn’t in the same league as her Tsukasa… I was going to disagree, but you are a bit disheveled at times…

Well, thanks for sticking up for me, Makoto. So dependable, you.

Hm, this is a problem…

This is Rank 5 Charm, by the way. We’re at Rank 3. This is the most infamous stat block in the game because it’s so early, so severe, and it comes out of fucking nowhere.

Eiko… I need to meet her boyfriend somehow and make sure he’s not scamming her…

Why is the director harassing us? We’ve been getting a lot of viewers!
That’s why I wanted to stop going against them. At least this showdown is in the headlines…
Tch, we’re not high school reporters! Do you want the other news stations to get the real scoops before we do?

Ahhh, I can feel it! The power of the Sun God flows through me…
However, the brighter the light, the larger the shadow. Darkness grows in the people’s hearts! The most extreme of this is Medjed! The incarnation of ill will, born from the surge of darkness!

But the Phantom Thieves will surely win, so I give you my ballad… “Manly Firework”! Emails, videos, secret diaries/Things I don’t want people to see/Close up those Etchu loincloths/The fight is close at hand/Some things men can’t give away/Push through and bloom/Protect the final fort/Don’t lose everything/ That was Japanese rock! What’d you think?

Yeah, it flows through my rock n’ roll soul! Gotta let it guide me wherever it goes!

I heard that they can get through any kind of internet security. That’s actually pretty impresssive. Maybe I’ll join them and have them get me Akechi-kun’s number…
Oh, you…

Oh, you, always creeping on high schoolers!


It’s more like… my memory is hazy. Like I’m in some dream… It’s as if my brain… or the world itself gets completely rewritten… Could the Phantom Thieves have done something to me? No… there’s no way…

There’s certainly nothing we can do. It’d be awful if Medjed set their sights on our company.
Exactly. Higher-ups like my hubby are who need to step in if things go south.
Sometimes, I’m relived my husband hasn’t climbed in the ranks.

To enter the depths of a woman’s heart, you need a password. It’s what we call honeyed words… However, true pick-up artists never resort to force. We touch women’s hearts with skill alone!
S-Senpai… You’re too cool…!

You’re a phantom thief, aren’t ya? They’re all the rage now! Find out more… after these messages!

Haha, whoa! You’re really into this! You really put the “fan” in phantom thief, don’t you? Just between you and me… Did you know the Phantom Thieves are recruiting right now? That’s right, phantom thief lessons are 90% off right now! We even offer easy payment plans!

Whaaat!? Don’t get so full of yourself! You gave me false hope for a minute there! Idiot kid, get outta here! As if someone like you could become a phantom thief!

I placed my shop on the street so I can see people walking by, but I’m about to melt… Well then, shall I read your fortune in detail…?

OK. Please take a seat.


This is where we actually see the “needs to come from an All-out Attack” condition of Money Reading. Still, it’s well worth it.

Reading your money fortune will cost you 5000 yen. Is that OK?

OK, let’s read your money fortune.

Hm… fate… Is this… money…? This tells me that, ultimately, you’ll obtain more money than usual. Hopefully you have a payday coming soon.

That’s all for today’s money fortune reading.

Music: Butterfly Kiss

Next and final detour, Takemi’s.

…But you don’t seem too concerned about it. So, what are you here for today?


We want to get one more SP Adhesive 3, as well as more full HP revives and Relax Gels. Relax Gels are single-target cure Despair/Rage/Brainwash/Fear/Confuse, and while Makoto has Energy Shower which does the exact same thing but multi-target, we need a backup plan for when she gets hit with one of those status effects.

Music: Tokyo Emergency



Music: Suspicion

Oh yeah, all the other ones until now have just been normal cities outside of the distortion itself.
Thanks to that, we didn’t even know we were in a Palace our first time goin’ into Kamoshida’s.
That’s still part of the Palace though. The city may not have been distorted, but it was still cognition. The Palace rulers may have been criminals, but they were social enough to know the city layout. But Futaba probably doesn’t… In fact, I’d be she isn’t even interested in the outside world.
Hence why the whole thing is a bleak desert… Understandable, considering her lifestyle.
I doubt many famous criminals are shut-ins like her though. Hopefully that means we won’t have to go through all this desert business in the future.
That might not necessarily be the case. Many upper-class citizens travel by limo or plane, so they don’t know or care about city life…
A plane…!? Damn, that sounds pretty good! I mean, wouldn’t you wanna go to a Palace wayyy up above the clouds if you could?

I think a flying bank is quite enough, thanks…
I have to say though, the topic of the area outside the distortion is fascinating. Depending on the criminal, there may be an exact replica of Tokyo within their Palace. I would love to examine the aesthetics of such a strange place at least once.

Why? It’d just be Tokyo.

You don’t got a damn thing but art in that head of yours, huh?
But it’s true that an observant criminal could have a true to reality city in their Palace. …Although even if such a place did exist, it’s not like we’d have any use for it.

Music: Tokyo Emergency

Well, next time we’ll head straight into the Palace, knock that out quick, and keep going, with no other bullshit getting in the way. I know a lot of you guys liked making fun of me when that last bullshit happened, but no more, okay? We’re not doing that again. I slave over a hot keyboard making updates for you guys, so don’t compla

”hey guys”


#170
Part 75

Part 75: 7/26: Double Event

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There (Another Version)

That proves she sees us as a threat now. Let’s be careful!

First things first, let’s head over to the Velvet Room and fuse up some Personas.

Music: Aria of the Soul

First things first, a Take-Minakata from Matador and Jikokuten. We give it Dekunda (nullifies all stat penalties on the party), Swift Strike, Defense Master (free Rakukaja at the start of every battle), and Sukukaja.

I will become your new mask and free your heart from the chains that keep its power in check…

Take-Minakata is one of the sons of Okuninushi who got his arms cut off after losing the first sumo match to Take-Mikazuchi (Kanji’s Persona in Persona 4), then became a guardian spirit. It’s pretty metal.

Next up is Sui-Ki from Orthrus and Matador. Most of the 60k yen we have remaining at this point is going to go to Persona resummon fees.

Overflowing power has joined you along with that new mask…

Jeez, this guy loves to talk himself up. Sui-Ki is yet another of the four oni controlled by Fujiwara-no-Chikata. It’s named after water and can freeze anything.


Finally, we create Ame-no-Uzume from Sui-Ki and Kin-Ki, with Kin-Ki having the Dodge Psy we need for the next rank of Strength.

I shall be your new face. Now come, let us rejoice in the melody that draws forth true might.

Ame-no-Uzume is the goddess of dawn and revelry in the Shinto religion, who brought the sun goddess Amaterasu out of hiding.

And that’s all we need for the request!

chuckle Not bad. That’s another one done.

Heh, you’re pretty interesting, Inmate!

Aw, shucks.

I must say… as Caroline noted before, this list is quite well thought-out. The tasks are designed to push you toward achieving your goals while also measuring your true strength.
Hm? I guess so… Hey, Inmate! What’re your thoughts on these tasks!?

Such a response is proof that they are the proper difficulty.
Oh well. We should give him the next one. Let’s see here…

Huh…!?

Wh-What the… It feels like I’ve seen the writing on this list before…
Do you speak of the penmanship?
Yeah. Dammit… I can’t remember! Do you recognize it, Justine?
(reading off the clipboard) “Compliment him after he finishes the next task. Don’t spoil him though. Do it just like you practiced, with a piercing glare and angled hips…”
W-Wait, not that! Those are my notes! I, uh, no… I mean…
It seems you have been rather looking forward to the inmate’s visits.
Never mind that! I-I’m talking about the handwriting of the tasks themselves! Stop yanking my chain!
Hm… Now that you mention it, I do feel as though I’ve seen that handwriting somewhere before…

Keep your nose out of other people’s business, Inmate!
To be honest, the sense of deja vu I feel when reading this list is certainly concerning to me. Who made this list… and why?
Whaddya mean? The goal’s pretty obvious. It’s to help train the inmate.
Beyond that though, what exactly is the purpose of training him?
…Rehabilitation?
But that is merely our master’s order. Someone other than him wrote this list, correct?
…… …Then let’s just assume there’s some purpose we don’t know about. If we’re right in our assumption, the purpose’ll be clear once he finishes the whole list, right?
…I suppose you have a point. Hearing something logical from you is like a cool rush of air amidst the sweltering heat of summer.

Now then, let us reward you for successfully completing our task. We will now grant you access to the Guillotine Booster.
Think of it as a way to increase the number of Personas you can make with the Group Guillotine. Plus, now you can do some super strong fusions using five or six Personas. You should be able to figure it out with some effort, Inmate. I mean, you’ve come this far, right?
We trust you will employ it wisely.
I feel like my bond with Caroline and Justine is growing deeper…

Not a huge reward, but having more Persona options is always nice.

Now then, allow me to give you your next assignment. Please note that the next privilege we provide for you will be quite powerful indeed. Therefore, we will require that you complete three tasks before you can receive it.
chuckle All right, here’s task number one!

You need only speak with us once you obtain it. We will be able to tell.
See if you can live up to our expectations!

Before we can check out the new fusions available, though, we are interrupted by Justine.

As a result of your daily efforts, the number of Personas in the Inmate Registry has risen. Our master is pleased with your progress and has yet again bestowed a special privilege.
We’re giving you a discount on summoning from the Inmate Registry! You’d better be thankful, Inmate!
If you fill the registry with even more names, our master says he can arrange further privileges for you. Work hard toward your rehabilitation.

Our reward for filling 25% of the Inmate Registry is… a 10% discount. Better than nothing, I guess.

And here we see the new fusions available. They’re all far, far above our level and thus unavailable.

Now, we can head into the pyramid. But what is a pyramid, really? Well, to answer that question, let’s take a nice long look at the Wikipedia page:

Hey guys! Ari here. I’ve secretly edited my own Let’s Play into my brother’s. I don’t think he’ll notice though, he doesn’t seem to read these before posting them, which explains why he makes so many mistakes.

We’ll be playing Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, an old PS2 game I dug out of my brother’s collection. It’s all based in Egyptian mythology, which I don’t really care about but whatever. We’ll see as much as we can or at least as much as I care to show before I get bored.

This is Sphinx. He’s boring and sucks and I’m going to ignore him as much as possible.

These other two are Imhotep and Horus. Horus is a jerk and he smells bad.


He dies pretty early though, which is good.


All right, now to the good stuff. This is Tutankhamen, the real hero. Happy birthday!

First thing we need to do is pick what to wear. We can wear this blue shirt…

Or the pink one. My brother says that gender roles are outmoded constructs, whatever that means, so let’s go pink.

Except it doesn’t even let you!? BOOOOOOOOOOOO this game!

In my childish rage I smash this innocent flowerpot.

This causes the maid to move away from this wardrobe, which we can open to find this weird amulet.

All right, I’ll put on the dumb blue shirt.


Outside we talk to this creepy old lady who wants our amulets. Get your own! Anyway, there are… 8 of these things? Geez, that sounds exhausting. What to do?

Why, thank you YuGiOhFm2002 slash YuGiOhAngel! Also, shout out to the dude writing a walkthrough for this game on the original Xbox as late as 2011.

We also engage in other forms of recreation, such as chasing a crow around for a letter. Thrilling! At this point, I’m getting pretty bored so I skip around a bit.

This is our brother Akhenaten. He’s incredibly obviously evil and plotting to murder us. My brother wouldn’t do that. I hope.

I’m still mad about the maid not letting me wear the pink outfit, so I take it out on the silverware.

This Whole Thing Smacks Of Gender!


He’s evil? What a twist!


We find a key in the room where bro was being evil that lets us open the sarcof–scaroph–coffins we keep seeing around. Pretty morbid, but they actually let us—teleport? Yeah, okay.

Once we find all those amulets, we teleport straight into the middle of this weird demonic ceremony with big bro. It’s pretty goth. Then there’s this whole thing where the brother turns Tut into a mummy to like, steal his appearance or something, but the ceremony gets interrupted by Sphinx, and the evil dudes and mummy Tut get sucked into a huge portal that then explodes. It’s weird. Anyway, Tut’s dead.

RIP.

…And that’s why pyramids are the perfect thought-form incubator. Well, I learned a lot from that, didn’t you? Let’s finally enter this pyramid, then.

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There

The giant boulder destroyed the stepping stones, so we’re forced to move around the side.

No point sittin’ around though. Whaddya wanna do, Joker?

Not a bad idea. Considering how humongous this building is, there have to be other ways in.
We will have to investigate every suspicious place we see, both inside the pyramid and out.
Ugh, outside….!? You mean we gotta deal with that heat!?
No complaining. Let’s begin our investigation right away.

But as we make to leave…



We’re only here ‘cause we gotta be! I can’t believe you tried to drop a boulder on us! You want us to steal your goddamn Treasure or not?
Hm, why don’t we make a deal? You wish to proceed further, yes?
A deal, you say?
There is a town nearby. I would like you to take back that which the bandit there stole from me.
Oh yeah, I think I remember seeing a town on the way here.
If you bring what was stolen back to me, I will give you a reward. I’ll even tell you how to proceed.
Can’t you tell us any more details? Anything about this bandit, or what was stolen?
You’ll learn all the information you need to know once you arrive.
…We’ll need to head outside if we want to go to the town. We can go when you’re ready, Joker.

So much for investigating.

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There (Another Version)

She said it’s nearby… We could probably see it from here, right?
Good point. Let us observe the surroundings and search for any towns that may lie about here.


Yes, I can see what appear to be buildings over there.
Want to head over to the town, Joker? It’s pretty far away, so this is my chance to shine!
>Let’s go.

It looks quite desolate… She said only bandits reside here, but still.

There are also new enemies roaming about here. These are Sandman (Sandmans? Sandmen?), who use Wind, are weak to Electricity, and put party members to sleep, being the sandman and all. However, they also have another, more annoying tactic:

After a few turns, they’ll panic and try to run away. If we don’t defeat them in time, they’ll succeed.



That, or we can use one of our Thieves’ Guild charges to block them.

We choose not to, and the problem there is that it causes the security level to go up. Nothing major, though.

There’s also Anzu, which uses Wind as well and is weak to Gun and Nuclear. We’re going to grab one immediately, because in three levels or so it learns the Dekaja we need for the next Strength rank. Unfortunately, my attempts to get the experience needed to make it learn Dekaja will heavily stifle me going forward in a few ways. First, as I’m trying to facilitate two goals that are often in direct conflict, ending battles with All-out Attacks for maximum money gains and trying to keep Anzu on my person at the end of most (if not all) battles, I end up half-assing both. Second, Anzu is not a great Persona. Its only offensive skill is Garula, and its only other useful skill is Masukukaja. Plus, it’s pretty fragile. Third, my understandable reluctance to use party members with redundant skill types means that Morgana’s Wind affinity benches him for most of the dungeon, causing him to not learn a critical skill for the next boss fight. All things considered, I’d probably have been better served just using Gallows, resummoning Anzu, and using Gallows again until it reached the level I needed, but I didn’t want to waste the money.

Heading into the square in the middle of town, we come across a new event.



Welcome to the desert, fellow trader.
Hm? What does he mean by “trader”?
We don’t care about your welcomes. You’re a bandit, right? Just cough up the thing you stole.

…Well, you’re gonna have to catch me if you want it.

Me!?
We’ll have time to talk later. Let’s go after him.

We chase him down.

You’re too slow, moron. You’ll never catch me at this rate.

He ran off again! Hurry up and catch him, fast!

And again…

The bandit runs off once more.

We’ll never catch him if we do nothing but follow his path… We should corner him somewhere.
Corner him? But how?
Let’s use that square from earlier. We can sneak around him and trap him in there!

This plan is really only as complicated as, “run around to the other side.”

He traps himself without much of a hassle.

There he goes…! We finally chased him into the square!
Perfect. He has nowhere else to run now… Let’s do this, Joker!

Tch… Don’t even think about comin’ one step closer.

Heh, don’t be ridiculous. You’ve gotta let me go. I mean you guys came to raid that tomb too, right? Why don’t we work together and share the plunder?

I dunno, the last time a Shadow offered to help me out he turned out to be a huge pervert with an annoying voice.

Don’t talk to us like we’re the same as you! We came here to save Futaba-chan. Now give us back what you stole!
So you wanna do this no matter what, huh? Well in that case… I guess I don’t have a choice!

Raging Bird God

Music: Keeper of Lust

Okay, so the Raging Bird God is actually a pretty annoying fight. It’s got two main skills it likes to use:


(Ma)Garudyne, which does Heavy Wind damage, which is especially bad for Ryuji…


…and Brain Jack, which is a full-party Brainwash skill. It’s probably the real danger, especially if it hits Makoto.

The good news is that Anzu repels Wind, meaning that even though the Raging Bird God nullifies Wind, it pretty much can only hurt Joker indirectly through other Brainwashed party members.

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There (Another Version)


Is this… some kind of papyrus parchment? It looks like there’s something written inside.
Hey, no peeking at a girl’s belongings without permission!
Y’know, just what the hell’s happenin’ in her heart? There’s this bandit, those weird voiced sayin’ “you killed her,” and who knows what else… It’s a total freakin’ mess.
Futaba’s supposed to be the queen of this Palace, but even she can’t control it?
I don’t know… I’ve never seen a case like this…

Well, let’s really sit and think this through. Clearly it’s well worth our time to diagnose this fictional character, especially based on what little we’ve seen, and thus I say–

When we last left off, Tut was dead.

Yeah, rip. Anyway, Sphinx is now in Abydos. How’s that going?

What? That’s dumb!

Hi birdlady!

“Imbecile” is my middle name! Jump in, Sphinx!

…Oh.

Tut’s brother survived, whisked away to this evil castle…

…And is revealed to be a different obviously evil dude!

Also Horus is alive, which is a huge downer. I’m not gonna stop posting that picture though, because I love it too much.

BIRDS

Sphinx rejoins with Imhotep, who says that part of Tut’s soul Sphinx recovered from the ceremony can be used to briefly bring him back in mummy form, which will be useful for… spying and stuff.

Also the agent of this plan is this random basket which Imhotep brings to life and will teleport to Tut, because why not, right?

Bas… Ket? This game is a crime.

Anyway, the Mummy now has to find items to help Sphinx outside of the castle, and these are easily the best, most creative parts of the game. Take this treasure chest, for example:


OH GOD IT WAS ACTUALLY PAIN

Now that the Mummy is somehow carrying an electric charge, he can bring power to different objects.



Like this… thing? Which fires him out of a cannon! For some reason!

But that’s not all the Mummy can do, besides bomb at the box office, har har! He can also…


Die!

Actually, no:


He just gets crushed flat for a period of time.

Now he can walk through these bars!

Look at how happy he is! Aww! (This game ends in a cliffhanger that will never be resolved)

Also we can set him on fire so he can burn things. (Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire)

Once we complete the level, the Mummy conveniently runs out of time and is transported back to where his body fell, for some reason. (This game was not thought out very well)

And so the Mummy is dead once more.

May God have mercy on his soul.

…And that is the exact combination of disorders I think Futaba has, including several I just made up right now. Thank you for your time.


We’ve completed Futaba-chan’s request. Let’s go see her again.
Sounds good. I’m curious about that reward too!

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There

Well done. It is yours now.
Wait, what…? Didn’t you want us to get it back because it’s important?

Why are you letting them just do whatever they want? This is your Palace, isn’t it?
All that matters is that the map is now yours. Just come further in and… Oh.

The room shakes briefly.

What in the…?


AH SHIT

Goddammiiiiiiiiiiit!

Music: Run, Run, Run!


Quicksand! Everyone, swim with all your might!

This is like something out of a dumb adventure serial. Just like this cliffhanger!


#171

Sandsman.


#172
Part 76

Part 76: I Hate Sand

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There

…Hey, you guys still alive?
Oww… First a boulder, then this… Did we piss her off somehow?
I don’t think it has anything to do with us angering her… I suspect the problem is that she can’t control her instinct to push people away from her.
A simple defense mechanism… Considering what she’s been through, I don’t blame her for mistrusting others.
Joker, let’s save her! We’ve gotta help Futaba-chan open the door to her heart!

I have no objections, but we should worry about ourselves first and foremost. Come on, let’s look for a way back above ground. Otherwise this place is going to end up our tomb too.

These are Naga. They’re weak to Wind and use Electricity and Physical.

The room contains a few miscellaneous treasure chests and a lot of assorted loot, but the only really important thing in it is the way out at the top.

sigh Thank god we can finally get out of here. This was all around a horrible experience.

Yet more dog Shadows in here.

This one isn’t an actual dog though, it’s Thoth, a baboon. It’s weak to Psy and uses Nuclear and Almighty damage. We’ve seen Almighty before with Madarame’s Madara-Megido, but that was a rather pathetic attack. Almighty is neutral damage that cannot be resisted. While that applies to both sides of the battle, it also means a lot of lategame enemies will just love to try to nuke you with it.

There’s a midboss hanging around this passage, but we ignore him for now and head for the door leading out.

This is what it looks like when Morgana’s Pickpocket Confidant skill procs, by the way. I believe this is the only time in the entire dungeon it activated for me, though, which is a little disappointing.

These are Lamia. They’re weak to Ice and use Foul Breath to increase ailment susceptibility followed by Ominous Words to inflict Despair.

And here’s the exit.


At least we have secured our escape route. We can finally go about exploring this place now.
Let’s use this as our entrance from here forward. It should be more stable than the front.

Music: Aria of the Soul

From Fui-Ki and Take-Minakata, we make Principality.

Order and discipline come before anything else. Take my mask, and let us defend our honor together.

The “Principalities” are the angels that guide and protect nations, groups of people, and institutions such as the Church. They are guardians and educators, and inspire living things to ends such as art and science.

Back in the pyramid, Makoto levels up, learning Flash Bomb. It’s a move that deals Medium Physical damage to all enemies, as well as inflicting Dizzy.

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There


Heh, you don’t gotta freak out about it! Let’s beat its ass!
>Here we go.
Brace yourselves. This is definitely no normal enemy!

HENCE, THERE SHALL BE NO PATH FORWARD FOR YOU. IT IS TIME YOU PERISH!

I CAN SPEAK IN ALL CAPS LIKE A HUGE DORK TOO

Coffin-borne God

Music: Keeper of Lust

Oh jesus fuck no

Thankfully, that’s not quite the flavor of bullshit we’ll be dealing with here today. Instead, well…

It can just turn our party members into mice!

As you might have imagined, “rattled” party members are completely unable to act until the ailment expires in three turns or so. It’s pretty annoying. A cute detail though is that the mouse is still wearing its respective characters’ mask.

How’s this dude fit that horn inside the coffin?

It can also summon Lamia, which isn’t a big deal either. All that and its Wind weakness mean it goes down pretty quick.

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There

We should make sure we don’t get reckless though. It’s better to proceed one step at a time.

The next room contains this huge weapon.

Oh, that’s a stationary weapon back from the middle ages called a ballista.
You even know about stuff like this, Queen? I guess that’s pretty fitting for you.
And what’s that supposed to mean…?
Hold up, that thing ain’t gonna shoot us or nothing, right?
Well, there’s an arrow in here, but it seems to be broken. On top of that, it’s slanted away.

In the same room, we find a door we can’t open.

So what, does that mean we ain’t gonna be able to open it?
No, I think it’s the opposite. How we open this door should provide a hint for unlocking the other one.
We might find something out if we investigate the area around here! Let’s go, everyone!

In a neighboring room, light is shining down, hitting a mirror, and reflecting into a wall.

There’s nothing we can do about that in this room.

However, if we climb up onto this nearby ledge…

We find a button.

Think before you go touching that, OK? It might be a trap. Although, I’m curious about it myself…

As they say, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Very well.


The ballista fires…

…sending the light pouring through the newly formed hole in the wall, hitting the door.

I’m not so sure about that… It looks like pressing that button has changed something in here.
Yes, there is now light being cast on that door. It is a markedly obvious difference.
You’re right. Let’s go take a closer look.

Hey again! I got bored of bad 2003-era game design, so I ditched Sphinx. Instead, how about some bad 2006-era game design?


I hear this game isn’t very well liked these days, and from what I can tell from this save screen, my brother seems to agree, considering that he got about halfway through it and hasn’t played in a year and a half.

We don’t start out in the actual dungeon yet, so we have to make our way through another area first.


We can use arrows to kill these Bokoblins (Wait, they’re called Bulbins? What? That’s dumb) in the watchtowers before they notice us. I know this because I had to rerecord this part I’m just that good.

Oh [sub]crap[/sub], let’s punch this hog!

I was not expecting a reward, ma’am. Just doing my job.

What’s this?

PIG


King Bulblin is mad at me and takes it out on the pig, which is uncalled for. I give him what for.


And in return, he sets the place on fire!

RIDE THE PIG TO SAFETY

And, here’s the dungeon.

Now we’re in the Arbiter’s Grounds proper. It’s… a dungeon.

There’s a lot of annoying sand that’ll suck us down if we stay in it for too long, forcing us to jump across platforms and Hookshot (Wait it’s the Clawshot here? Why?) to specific points.

bugsohgodgetthemoffohgodohno

Hey, Mr. Little Skullman! Please don’t stab me with that!

So shining light upon the door is what caused it to unlock…
Wait, doesn’t that mean we can open the door at the great stairs the same way!?
That’s a definite possibility. In any case, we should push on.

In the next room, we see a tablet.

Let me see… “The light shed by the god of the underworld shall become the sign for those who traverse the pits.” What could this mean…?

This charming gal on the left is Isis (NOT THAT ONE). She uses Makarakarn to reflect a single magic attack, which is pretty annoying. She’s also weak to Psy.

The room we’re currently in climbs upward, with the occasional side room. One such room contains this gem.

This is Anubis, the Egyptian god of the underworld. It seems to have some kind of shining orb…

Um, no. He’s the god of the dead. Osiris is the god of the underworld. Ha! …What a sad life I live.

That sounds kinda familiar. Something about light from the god of the underworld…?
Hm, this may come in handy somewhere. Shall we take it?
>Yeah, that sounds good.
Very well. This may prove to be an object of great import.



As we leave, more enemies spawn.

Defeating them levels Ann up and gets her Tentarafoo, which we use to replace Agi. Tentarafoo inflicts Confuse on multiple targets.

Further up, another statue with another gem.

The god’s name is Anubis. It really isn’t hard to remember, Skull… So, do you think we should take this gem?
>Sure, let’s take it.
All right. Let’s grab it and continue onward.

We get another Abyss Gem.


That means we are directly above where we ended up after coming through the front entrance.

We had to shine light on that one to get it to open, right? Do you think this is the same mechanism!?

What to do? Over in the corner, there are two suspicious objects…

Maybe we should put that thing from the Anubis statue in here.
>Let’s try it.

Joker places the gem.

Nothing seems to be happening.
Calm down. From the looks of it, there’s more than one pedestal.

Hey, weren’t there two of those gem-holdin’ dog things? Let’s try puttin’ the other one in!
>Here we go.


So shining light upon it is what causes it to open. That is the same as the door underground.
We can’t rest on our laurels though. Let’s stay cautious and proceed forward.

We seem to be pushing our way through the doors of her heart.
…I don’t know if I’d phrase it like that. Anyway, let’s keep going!

Up ahead, we find a safe room, another wall, and another door.

Now we have to deal with all these Poes.


Blasted things are taking the fire from the and closing the door so we can’t keep going!

Look at them there, mocking us…

OH GEEZ

It’s like a weird hybrid of a dementor and a Nazgul, which actually isn’t that weird because they’re kind of the same thing. Whatever, we killed it.

Gross.

These ReDead Knights (just make them ReDeads, god, you don’t have to make everything dark and scary as part of your overreaction to the idiots complaining about Wind Waker) can scream and petrify you for several seconds. And then they’ll hit you with a big sword.

I remember watching my brother play Wind Waker with the sound off because those ReDeads scared the bejeezus out of him, but those guys didn’t have a sword to attack with, so they just humped your face. Wholesome. What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, I could be playing Wind Waker instead of this. That’d be nice, but the Wind Temple is really late in that game and I wanna keep the theme going.

You know, my brother 100 percented Wind Waker? I don’t know why you’d even do that, the end of it’s a lot of looking up where the submarines are for the last few pieces of heart and treasure charts, and there’s no real reason to do it, but that game’s good so I won’t complain about it or nothing.

Anyway, here’s a dumb Poe. Whatever.

Well, aren’t you just adorable?

In this room, we start walking slowly for some reason. Let’s turn into the wolf and find out if there’s something we can’t see.

Oh. It was ghost rats. Fun. I’m… I’m going to go hide on top of the bed now.

This Stalfos will come back to life unless you kill it with a bomb. There’s a US foreign policy joke to be made here. Or maybe there isn’t. I have no real conception of politics yet, I’m just repeating buzzwords I hear from people older than me! Deficits!

And another Poe.

Wait. We’re back at the entrance? But that’s only three! Where the [sub]hell[/sub] is it? This dungeon sucks!

Let’s enter the next section of this pyramid.

That’s to be expected… We’re basically raiding her tomb, after all. We’d better be cautious as we go, you guys!




Our attempt to follow her is met with considerable resistance.

Holy shit! Is she tryin’ to kill us or something!?

Yes, but unless we can do something about this trap, we will not be able to proceed.
Ugh, what a pain in the ass!

This here is Anubis, god of the dead and embalming, associated with mummification and the afterlife. Why, here, according to Wikipedia, he—shit.

I’m not wrong! You’re all wrong! Shut up! This didn’t happen!

Anubis the Shadow doesn’t have any weaknesses at all, which is hella annoying, especially because he’s too high a level to grab for our collection. He loves using Bless and Curse skills, including…


Instant death! Fun!

We slot in Speed Master (Automatic Sukukaja at the start of battle) to replace Giant Slice.

In some areas of this Palace, the floors will collapse, forcing us to find alternate ways around.

Another statue with another gem.

Hold on, there’s an inscription on this stone slab here… “Any who attempts to steal this gem shall be cursed…” Uhhh…
Dude, we can’t let this “curse” shit get to us, right? C’mon, let’s just take it.


Sweet, we got it. Let’s go.

RETURN THE SLAB

We head further in, but…

Arrows fly out of the wall.

Whoa, that was too close!
It doesn’t seem like this is gonna stop any time soon. Maybe that “curse” is real after all…
Ughhh, what the hell’re we supposed to do!? Goddammit!

Let’s go put the gem back.

>Put back
Yeah, we can always come back and get it if we need to later.

Could the “curse” perhaps have been lifted? We should check to see if anything has changed.

We can now proceed past where the arrows were firing.

>Press the button

That might do it… Let’s go and see if we can go after Futaba’s Shadow now. …Let’s hurry, you guys!

We could jump down right here and follow Futaba’s Shadow… or we could be sneaky.

Let’s go take this gem now that we don’t need to go that way again.

>Take the gem

A curse shall befall you…

Yeah, yeah. Whatever, buddy. We know your tricks. This time, we go back the way we originally came, bypassing the trap.

OKAY. We found the last Poe, which was hidden in a place you are pretty much guaranteed to miss the first time around, whatever. We progressed to a new area of the dungeon, which is still not great, but now we’re hanging out by this cool sword with all the ropes attached. Let’s cut one, because there’s no other way to progress and sometimes you just need to act like an idiot to get through life, I guess.

Also we’re capped on Rupees, which is wasteful because this game can’t stop pouring rupees down your throat. The only way to get the next wallet up is to catch all the bugs in the game, which I’m pretty sure no human being has ever done because why would you subject yourself to that much tedium for Twilight Princess of all things?

A monster! How unexpected!

We can only see this thing in wolf form, and we can only attack it when it glows blue during its own attacks.

Once we beat on it enough, it turns solid. From there, it’s just a matter of hitting it with an arrow and then whacking it with our sword a bunch.

That was a shameful performance. You dare call yourself a midboss? Pathetic.

The Spinner? What? Laaaaaaaaaaame! This is one of those dumb gadgets that we’ll never see in another Zelda game again because it’s so useless and forced, right? Pff, stop wasting my time with this.

It doesn’t even go that fast.

Huh, actually, this is kinda cool. We’re going a lot faster now, and look how high we are!

OH MAN THIS IS RAD WE’RE BOUNCING ALL OVER THE PLACE

To rotate this wall and progress, we have to put the Spinner in this crevice and crouch and stand up repeatedly in a rather lewd manner. I’m glad Louis isn’t watching, he’d find this “queer.”

Oh hey, it’s this dude. Uhh. Whatshisface. Grasshopper-Man. Yeah, that’s it.

Dude stabs this sword into the big skull.

And unleashes a nifty boss fight! Not a great one, but an interesting one, at least!

So, there’s a Spinner track at the edge of the arena, and corpses acting as obstacles popped up throughout. The goal is to hit Stallord’s spine a bunch.

Hitting it enough times will cause that section to break. Each section takes fewer hits than the one before it, which is good…

…Because it gets progressively harder to do. See, these corpses will form a wall that pops up on our approach, and it’s not really possible to go around and still hit the spine. So, we hit them, bounce back, and hit the wall again, trying to temporarily knock down enough of them to get through.

On the third section of the spine, a second wall of five corpses will form directly in front of the spine, in addition to the earlier wall. It’s tricky, and control is kind of an issue, especially because of how fast we’re moving on the Spinner. This fight is still pretty impossible to die on, though.

Three segments down, the sand drains from the arena, and Stallord seems defeated…

But nope! He’s still kicking, and knocks us off this platform!

Now to climb back up! The Spinner track on the inside wall of the arena is a spiral heading upward, unlike the outside, which are just circles. We use this to get back up until Stallord shows his ugly mug again.

There it is.


Now, he’ll fire balls of… flame (actually, they appear to be balls of terrible particle effects) in an attempt to knock us off, forcing us to jump from the inside to the outside or vice versa.

Eventually, he’ll get in close and we can jump into him, knocking him down.

From there, it’s just a matter of beating the sword in his head up.

He’ll get back up, but from there it’s just a matter of avoiding the new obstacles on the path and doing it once more.

And that’s a decent boss fight for this awful, boring dungeon down. What’s next?


Implady is emotional that the… mirror? is broken!

Oh great it’s Ganondorf, of course it’s Ganondorf, yawn.

Oh my god who caaaaaaaaaaaaares

Okay, so heading further in, Ryuji replaces Rampage with Swift Strike, which instead of Light Physical 1 to 3 times per enemy, is Light Physical 3 to 4 times per enemy! It’s a lot better.

Also we run into one of these goddamn Treasure Demons, but we can’t find its vulnerability before it escapes.

Hmm, another Anubis statue, but with no gem this time.

Let’s see… “Any who attempts to steal this gem shall be cursed…” Wait, it says the same thing!?
But this statue isn’t actually holding a gem… What could be the meaning of this?
Hold up, we got one with us. Wanna try puttin’ it in there?

…Nah.

I guess that’s probably safer. The gem we have didn’t come from this statue to begin with, after all.

Now, let’s head further in, I’m sure nothing will interru–

WHY

Hm… We’ve seen this trap before. It had something to do with that “curse”…
Does that mean this one’s related to that gem too?

Let’s head back to the statue we were just at.

>Place the gem
Hm, the atmosphere has changed in some intangible way… Perhaps the “curse” has been lifted?
That thing wasn’t even holdin’ a gem to start with! It ain’t fair makin’ us put one in!

Now we can head back and press the button.





That must’ve been the ballista. It sounded like it was quite destructive.
Mkay, let’s go find out if anything happened!

Now that the wall is destroyed, we can climb up through where it was standing.


Not a great payout, but not terrible, I suppose.




Odd. The design seems to be scrambled somehow.
Maybe it’s like a puzzle? Joker, can you change the picture?

This isn’t difficult at all, the only issue being that pieces swap places, meaning any movement will displace the piece you’re moving “through.” This can be easily worked around by starting at one of the edges, though.

And done. This took about ten seconds.

What’s this a picture of?
This adult seems to be reading something to a crying child…? Hm, the emotions of the artist are often depicted in the art they produce… I can sense… serious pain harbored in her heart.

Is that voice coming from the mural?
“She was always such a bother…” It seems you caused your mother a great deal of trouble, Futaba-chan… She must have had some kind of maternity neurosis…

The light is reflected toward the mural, which disappears.

The light passes through to the door on the other side.

Based on its contents, it sounded almost like a suicide note…
Could that be what Futaba remembers of her mother’s suicide?
But that’s a fuckin’ sick thing to do to a kid if that’s really how it all went down.

:siren: RYUJI SAID FUCK, HOLY SHIT :siren:

There’s no doubt we’re getting closer to the Treasure. Come on, let’s keep moving!

And we come across our next barrier, with the usual safe room and door to the next area. Next time, we’ll hopefully finish off the Palace.


#173
Part 77

Part 77: Technicolor Dream Pyramid

Before we get back into the Palace, let’s fuse!

Music: Aria of the Soul

First is Zouchouten from Ame-no-Uzume and Clotho.

My power to encourage growth in all that worships me shall become a mask and protect your soul…

Zouchouten is one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Buddhist faith, who each watch over one cardinal direction and fight evil. Zouchouten himself guards the South and leads the troop of Kumdhandas and Pretas.

Next, Lilim from Principality and Nue.

I’ll leave the realm of dreams for a while and become your mask…

Lilim are daughters of Lillith from Jewish folklore and similar to succubi.

And here’s where I fuck up. See, I forgot that I needed to get Anzu to level 28 for Dekaja (it’s currently about halfway to 27 or so) and decide to start fusing up Neko Shogun anyway. Kodama is one of the constituent parts of Neko Shogun, so I fuse it first (using Agathion and Berith).

I’ll turn into a mask and head on out with you! I’m gonna echo inside your heart, bro… Wahoo!

:3:

A Kodama is a spirit from Japanese folklore that live in trees. Cutting down trees with a kodama inside is thought to bring misfortune.

Finally, Neko Shogun using the Group Guillotine from Anzu, Kodama, and Sudama.

Your future shines bright like a diamond! I am your mask now!

“A prophetic taoist god, originally known as Mao Shogun. Due to a linguistic error involving the Chinese word for “cat,” his name was changed to Neko Shogun.”

It’s a weird pun, got it.

We have to re-fuse this guy later though, which is gonna be pretty annoying.

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There

Back in the Palace, another slab.

Huh? What is it talking about?
I haven’t the slightest idea. It may be a hint of some kind.

I’ve actually played this game all the way through and I had no idea what this meant until I had to literally draw a diagram for the purpose of this LP.


Urghhh, that’s it! I’ve had it up to here with her!




RUN AWAY

I’m sick of this bullshit! What the hell is she thinkin’!?

Well, that was unfortunate, but let’s try agai–


Welp

It’s hard to see in this picture, but on the other side of the corridor there’s a space small enough to crawl through. That’s where we need to go.

[sub]Wait, what? No. This isn’t gonna work. Like half of this game is desert.[/sub]


This room contains 12 coffins, 10 of which have control panels next to them. We can’t do anything with them yet.

There’s nothing visible on the slab… What do you think we should do?

Nothing is happening.
That’s odd. Is it broken? Or could there be another step to this mechanism?

Up ahead, a door and a plank standing upright next to a gap.



Not much of a puzzle there, but the path forward is clear.

Sounds pretty useless to me. Whaddya wanna do, Joker?


Oooh! It’s shinin’!
Hm, the devices controlling the murals seemed to react in a similar fashion.
Something showed up! It says B01010!
That may be a clue of some sort. Either way, we should search to see if anything has changed.


Quite the impressive contraption. Why don’t we examine it closer?



Nice.

It looks like we should be able to turn the holograms on or off by accessing each control panel. Do you think this is related to that code from earlier?

The color of this hologram is different as well. It’s blue.
That might be pointing us toward what we need to do. Blue… You know, that sounds familiar…

Here’s a helpful diagram I made showing which holograms get left on. Yellow is on and white is off:

It’s fairly simple to reason that 0 is off and 1 is on, leading to this pattern when facing the coffins.

Let’s press the button, then.

Ah! The door opened!
I suppose this is the first step in the process? The next device must be beyond this point.
By the way… what’s up with these things? Are they all because of Futaba-chan’s mental state?
It’s hard to say… But it does prove that she might not be as simple a target as we were hoping she’d be…
I wonder about the meaning behind that stone slab as well…
Hey, our path’s open now. Can we just keep goin’?

Shut up Ryuji, we’re trying to be depressed here.

Touching this one will probably activate it too. What do you want to do, Joker?


Woo! It’s lit up now, just like we were expectin’!
There are red inscriptions on there this time. They say… R01100 and B10011.
If this code is similar to the prior one, these would surely be hints for those buttons.
To be honest, it somewhat reminds me of binary.
It makes sense, given Futaba-chan’s hacker background. Well then, let’s go see if anything has changed.


Something changed in the room, just like we expected.
There should be some connection between that and the code that appeared on the stone slab.

Going by the way we solved the last one, it should be this, right? Well…


Enemies spawn.

Just blindly entering whatever you please will be dangerous. We need to be careful, Joker.

Not quite, huh?

It’s actually this, because the game is trying to trick you. See, the fact that “R” is before the code tells us that the red coffin needs to go before the pattern, meaning that we have to input it in reverse. It’s surprisingly devious for this game’s generally rather simple puzzles, especially because only takes about two seconds to notice and correct, making me wonder what the point is.


Guys, look!

Dude, they ain’t stoppin’! Is this gonna be OK!?

The rolling boulders intensify.

Ngh…! That only made it worse!
D-Do something about this, Joker!

Joker just fucking kicks it, because what the hell.

Is this what the slab could have meant by “form a path”?

…It’s broken. Well, I guess it would be a little more precise to say we broke it.
We can’t get through like this! What’re we gonna do!?
Perhaps we could walk over the giant boulders? Let’s try it.

Sure enough, Makoto provides the path forward.

We find another beam of light this way as well.

With another mural, to boot.

Then we just gotta touch it and make something happen, yeah? C’mon, let’s try it out.

It must be scrambled as well. Let’s use the controls to put it back together.

This one involves rotating the pieces, and it’s a bit more annoying than the last one because, as triangles, the pieces rotate with their pair. Still, it’s not a huge problem to overcome.

Is she jumping in front of a car…?
Could this be the moment when Futaba’s mother committed suicide…? Hm? Another voice…

…Y-You… aaaaaareee…


The door unlocks.

That’s horrible…
So, did her desire to forget those memories cause her to repress them?

We’re pretty far in now, right? This has to be past halfway.
Yeah, the Treasure is definitely close. You better be excited!

Right idea, wrong Final Fantasy.

Always love when they let you input a name.

Hehe. Huh? What do you mean that’s his real name? That doesn’t make any sense.

2/3 of the game later…

Okay, we’re finally at the Pyramid. Lenna and Galuf are both dead and we need to get the tablet to unlock the Sealed Weapons.

The entrance is guarded by these Gargoyles, who will revive their partner if they’re left alive for too long after its death.

We have Butts, our Thief, who lets us steal, sprint at lightspeed, flee, and prevent back attacks, you know, generally useless stuff like that. There’s Faris, our Mystic Knight, who can apply spell properties to her swords. Finally, there’s Krile, our Chemist, who can break the game. Lenna’s currently deceased, but she was our Ninja, who could dual-wield and throw weapons. Our main damage dealer is actually our Thief currently, because he just acquired a weapon called the Chicken Knife that powers up every time we run from a battle, but has a 25% chance of making us flee instead of attack. We can circumvent this by selecting “Mug” instead of “Attack,” however.

And so here we enter the pyramid.

SNAKES

I always wanted a snake, but Mom said a pet would be too much work. I think they just gross her out, though.

One fun feature about this dungeon is that it’s chock full of monster-in-a-boxes! Awesome!

Surreptitiously adds Flee to my abilities so I can get out of this nightmare dungeon without fighting anything because it’s annoying enough to deal with these enemies with a full party

We enter a maze filled with roaming Mecha Heads.

They’re normally pretty annoying, but Faris’ Thundaga Sword is an instant kill.

Butts, you wimp, the only scary thing about mummies are those review scores wakka wakka

Like the Mecha Heads, these Mummies can also be instantly killed, but with Firaga Sword instead of Thundaga.

The floor here shifts!


Falling down just puts us on the previous floor, though, and lets us grab some other chests.

Oh hey, the tablet! Now we can finally leave this trashfire!

The platform rises!

And suddenly, we’re at the top!




How can you see that? It’s on the other side of the planet.


Well, uh… We don’t have a Summoner, so we’re never, ever gonna do that! Bye!


On the way back, the wind drake drops off Lenna, who’s… alive, I guess? Huh?

But then Exdeath shows up (he’s a tree, remember this, it’ll be on the exam), and there’s a demon in Lenna’s body, and it’s a whole thing.

And then the wind drake swoops down and attacks, expelling the demon, but dying in the process. RIP.

The Pyramid doesn’t actually have a boss fight, so this is kind of it. Melusine’s gimmick is changing her weakness with Barrier Change… and that’s it. It’s more annoying than it sounds. I had to record the entire Pyramid and this fight three times due to recording errors, and on the second time I got through it without any Barrier Changes by using Mix to boost Faris’ level so Firaga Sword, which Melusine starts out weak to, does crazy amounts of damage. This time I wasn’t so lucky, but I still got through it pretty easily.

Also zombie Lenna’s in the party now.

Yeah, I guess you prolly wouldn’t be seein’ anything like this shit if we weren’t in a Palace.
Seriously. This almost feels like a trip abroad or something.
Hey, now’s not the time to be letting your guard down. I can sense lots of Shadows up ahead!


A decent haul.

>Let’s push it.



Further ahead, this sarcophagus is rather suspicious.

That is odd… Why don’t we check it out?

If you want… It’s up to you.





Meanwhile, in another room, a different sarcophagus opens.



If we head over to that one, we can press that button as well.

Ah! It moved!

Inside, another Anubis, with another gem.

C’mon, let’s just take it with us. We can figure out how to use it later.

We near-immediately find a place to put it.

Wait, don’t we have a gem now? We should try putting it in here!
>Insert the gem

This pathway of light is quite impressive. It seems we will be able to pass over it!
It’s not gonna disappear while we’re crossing it, right? This is a little scary…

While we’re here, Morgana learns Wind Break (bleh) to replace Patra, whatever.


Again, some armor and sellables aren’t terrible.

And our next safe room is right up ahead.

It’d suck if we had to go through hell again ‘cause we walked up to her without thinkin’ first. So… what’s your call? You wanna keep goin’?

OK, but we should be careful.

We almost did thanks to you! I mean, do you really wanna help us!? Make up your goddamn mind!
…I’m not sure. There’s not much left at this point though.


This is my fault!?

Everything is your fault, Ryuji.

THIS IS THE PHARAOH’S TOMB. NONE MAY DISTURB HER SLUMBER.
Ngh, we can’t retreat now. We’ll just have to do this!

Coffin-borne God

Music: Keeper of Lust

This is the exact same fight, but the Coffin-borne God just starts with some helpers this time. It’s mindlessly simple, especially because it’s still weak to Wind.

From that fight Makoto learns Dekunda (eliminates all stat debuffs on the party), a fantastic skill that will be replacing Frei.

Music: The Days When My Mother Was There

Can you just try to calm down? Nothing good will come of letting your temper flare up like that.
She did say “there’s not much left” though. The end of this Palace may be drawing close.

Before we leave this area, climbing into an alcove over on the left side reveals another Anubis statue, hidden rather deviously.

I bet we’re gonna have to use it somewhere. Let’s take it, Joker!
>Take the gem

OK, we’ve got it now. Let’s go.

The way forward is where the light is shining, but there’s no way inside just yet.

Another pedestal.

We already have another one of those gems, do we not? We should try placing it in here.
>Let’s give it a try.

Hm, this sight brings a tear to my eye yet again!
You’re so freakin’ weird, dude…

Now we can follow the path of the light.

Next up, jumping across the statues we saw from earlier.


I’d expect so. Joker, if you please.

It may be a rather difficult puzzle for us to solve…

Not really, no.



More voices…
I’m… I’m tired of eating dinner alone all the time. It’s always just convenience store bentos…

For those of you who don’t know, a bento is a common, extremely Japanese form of cuisine. It’s basically an entire meal packed into a box, whether takeout or home-packed. Rice is a traditional ingredient, as well as meat and vegetables. I think the closest thing we have to that is like a TV dinner but this doesn’t seem nearly as outrageously bad for you, as well as possibly being homemade. Anyway, back to the sadness!

I wanna go somewhere. Take me on a trip!
The one clinging to her mother would be Futaba-chan, right?

You know I’m working hard to support you, right!? Ugh!


The door unlocks.

Is that the maternity neurosis the voice from earlier mentioned?
I thought it was prettty normal for a child to want to spend time with their parents though…
Yeah. Looks like Futaba was a pretty lonely kid growin’ up…
So these incidents compounded, forcing her mother to suicide…?

The only impression I’m getting here is that Futaba’s mom seemed like an awful person.

Huh?
I killed her… That’s why I’m here in this tomb…
Don’t say that!
I will die…

Why’d she get so quiet all of a sudden? What happened to that snarky personality!?
Could her heart perhaps be growing weaker?
We have to hurry and save her!

When last we left off, Steely Dan was seemingly defeated when Jotaro plucked his Stand, The Lovers, out of the air!


Jotaro’s all “I’ll punch you to death if I ever see you again” and Steely Dan’s like, OK.


But Steely Dan’s not done!

Jotaro!


My Stand, The Lovers, just went into her ear!

If you don’t want her to get hurt, stand still and let me stab you in the back! I’ll make sure you never move again!

crazy laughter

Steely Dan, you fool, Jotaro’s music is still playing!

Go ahead.
Did you not hear me? I told you not to–

Weren’t you gonna stab me? Like this?

Why can’t I move?

Unbeknownst to Steely Dan, one of Hierophant Green’s strings was attached to The Lovers the whole time, wrapping it up!

And The Lovers gets pulled right out of the girl’s ear!

Forgive me!

Ask for forgiveness from Enya, the woman you killed. Forgiving you never even crossed my mind.

DIO paid me in advance… You can have it all…
Good grief… You really are scum.

What you owe can never be paid back with money!

Oh shit, Quick Time Event, gotta mash Square for the ORAs!

ORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORA

ORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORA



ORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORAORA

he ded


Here’s your receipt.

He signed his name and it’s [sub]badass.[/sub] All right, what’s next?

Sun!? Ugggghhhhhhh.

Music: Suspicion

Hm? This door…
It looks familiar…
Oh! Futaba’s room!
That’s it!
Why ain’t it openin’?
It must be her cognition that no one can enter it.

Beyond lies the Pharaoh’s Chamber.

Indeed. However, you need my permission to open this door.
Then open it for us.
I cannot. You must have her invite you in.
What the eff. Ain’t this your Palace?

Ryuji, having briefly flirted with the word “fuck,” decides he doesn’t actually like it after all.

What’s she mean, Mona?
The Shadow is Futaba, but not Futaba herself. In other words, we need the real Futaba’s permission.
So, we need to have Futaba-chan open her room and let us in?


But I remember Boss saying that she won’t let anyone in.
Right. She’s a serious shut-in.
How will we convince her to allow us entry?
Standing around here won’t help. We’ll just have to give it a try… That’s what she wants, after all.
I think that we should do it too, even if it means we have to force ourselves in.

Uhh, didn’t you hear the Shadow? Forcing our way in won’t work. This works on vampire rules.

Someone sure is stoked about this…
We have no choice but to sneak in again.
Joker, it’s your call when we do this. Make sure you think of some excuses just in case Boss catches us.

We’re countin’ on you, leader.
On that note, is everyone clear on what needs doing?
Oh, that reminds me. Gimme the calling card. The one Alibaba sent us.
What are you going to do with it?
We’re the Phantom Thieves, you know? We gotta announce this. If the Treasure’s there when we get the room open, givin’ this to her will let us take it right away.

Translation: We can prepare the calling card and take the Treasure on the same day.

Queen, help me think of what to write.
I suppose…
We got this covered! You decide on a good time we barge into her room! That’s all you!

Music: Aria of the Soul

We didn’t quite get Anzu to level 28, but we can Gallows away our Leanan Sidhe to make up for the experience deficit and get Dekaja.

We even get Anzu Eiga for our trouble.

And we fuse our Neko Shogun with Dekaja.

Oh? Good, you’re here…
I can sense it within you… A Neko Shogun with Dekaja

……
What’s wrong, Justine?
It is nothing vital… However… presiding over the growth of another feels almost… nostalgic, in a way… Do you feel the same, Caroline?
Whaddya mean…? We’ve never taken care of someone like this before.
You are not wrong about that… And yet, our duty to aid his rehabilitation aside, observing his growth feels oddly familiar…
That can’t be right! The inmate’s growth and this rehabilitation are the exact same thing!

I kinda lost the plot of this conversation.

Hey, Inmate. The growth you’re getting from these tasks is helping with your rehabilitation, right?

I mean, probably.

See, Justine? They’re the same.
Is that not something we should judge for ourselves though…?
Anyway Justine, don’t forget about our job. The duty we’ve been handed is all that matters. Don’t think about anything else.
I suppose… you are correct…
sigh I guess you’re gonna keep worrying about this till the inmate finishes his rehabilitation, huh, Justine? Look what you’ve done, Inmate. Getting us all wrapped up in your fate… Ugh.


Could it be…?
What’s up?
…Nothing. But… I believe I am beginning to look forward to seeing whether the inmate can complete his tasks.
You heard her. Don’t disappoint us, Inmate!
I feel like my bond with Caroline and Justine is growing deeper…

OK! On to the next task! …Justine?

Justine stares blankly.

We would like you to harbor a Lachesis with the skill Tetraja within you. You only need speak with us once you obtain it. We will be able to tell.
Bring us a Lachesis, you hear!? One that knows Tetraja!

We’re actually a high enough level to try and fuse Lachesis now, but this update’s monstrously long already so let’s save it for further down the road. For now, we should just head home.

We finally secured our route to the Treasure! All we need to do now is send the calling card.
Mkay, I’ve been waitin’ for this! Anyways, when’re we gonna send it? I guess that part’s up to you, dude. Let us know when you need us!

I’m sure the Phantom Thieves will do something about it…
We don’t even know who Medjed is… What can they do about it?
August 21st is the deadline, right? I can’t wait!
Aw man, we have to wait a whole month?

Music: Beneath the Mask

That was fast!
I mean, I already wrote three of ‘em before this, remember?
But I came up with almost all of the sentences…
You don’t gotta mention that!
Smooth, Ryuji…
The real question here is when we should go to Futaba’s room…
Well, um… I think our leader should decide.
Look who’s the smooth one now…
It really should be up to him though… don’t you think?
Absolutely. We have no choice but to carry this out.
It’s all on you, Maaku!
…There you have it. Sounds like a pretty important task got pushed on you. No point in thinking about it now though. We have to do it. Once you’ve made up your mind, just give the order as usual at the hideout.

Ah, what about the beach? I could buy a new swimsuit!
There’s nothing to do at the beach, and it’s going to be hot. We should just go to the movies.

Boyfriend of the year over here.

After issuing their second statement, people are concerned about an impending cyber attack. The Phantom Thieves, however, continue to remain silent.
This is really getting to be a big deal. I want to just go and take Medjed out, but…

Well, we’re ready to send the next calling card. I’d hope it all goes smoothly, but when do they ever with this group of chuckleheads, am I right?


#174
Part 78

Part 78: 7/27: Psience Is A Dumb Word

I’m actually kind of impressed with Ari’s antics in the last few updates. That looked like a lot of work. Still gonna bury his action figures in the lawn, but interesting stuff.

Huh…? Who could that be at this hour…?

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

The cafe is cool and quiet, and it’s relaxing with the “Sayuri” there. It’s a peaceful place. I’m thinking of relaxing and reading a book. Moreover, we can easily meet up should something occur. We can kill two birds with one stone. If you’d like, we could spend some time together.
Yusuke’s coming tomorrow, huh? Might be nice to hang out with him. yawn I’m going to bed…

Why does everyone always send their invitations right when they’re going to bed?

Music: Beneath the Mask -Rain (Instrumental Version)

Relax, Morgana, we got plenty of time! …But, you’re right, let’s do it now.

Sounds like Yusuke’s here. Come on, let’s go downstairs.


There’s not going to be any time to prepare in between, so make sure you’re ready to go beforehand.

As I mentioned last update, there’s no waiting period on this one, which means no time to make infiltration tools the night before. We’ll manage without it.


Why us? They can’t expect to gain any notoriety by targeting a small business like ours.
Is that their way of calling our the Phantom Thieves? Everyone seems to be talking about it.
How should I know? Hey, let’s head out after you finish drinking that. We gotta get some work done. Thanks for the coffee. I’ll just leave what I owe you here, Boss.

Yusuke’s down here, waiting for us, but… nah. Let’s blow him off and send the calling card.

Music: Suspicion

Well, I got the calling card, so lemme know when you decide.
This is different from past cases. We’ll be handing the calling card directly to Futaba herself. Once we give it to her, we’ll head straight into the Palace. There won’t be any time for prep work in between, so make sure you’re ready beforehand.

Music: Beneath the Mask -Rain (Instrumental Version)

Are you sure we’re ready to go? Once Futaba sees the calling card, we’ll need to head straight into her Palace. Is that OK?

Music: Suspicion

Looks like it’s my turn to unlock the entrance. Forgive me, Chief.
How will we convince Futaba to let us into her room though? Even Boss is forbidden entry.

Yes, that is the best course of action.
You know a method?
I think it’s quite straightforward. Futaba doesn’t know what we’re doing inside her Palace, correct? Hence, if we tell her we’ve come to steal her heart, she’ll surely open the door and let us inside.
Wait… That’s it?
Futaba wants to have a change of heart. After all, she contacted us for that express purpose. That desire should lead her to open the door as well.
…You’re right. Our feelings should get through if we just try and talk to her.
All right, I believe in Futaba! C’mon, let’s get this done!

When did it get on here…?

Oh dear.

Music: Desire


Wh-Who’re you…?
I am the other you.
Is this some kinda hallucination? It’s different from usual…
How long will you continue blaming yourself and shutting yourself away from the world?
Blaming myself for what…?
For your mother’s death. Don’t you think it’s time you grasped the truth of that moment? What happened before your eyes… What happened to your mother…
The truth…
Why did you choose to rely on the Phantom Thieves?
That’s…
Are you simply going to shut yourself in and do nothing? Are you going to avert your eyes from the true answer?

If so… I will kill them in your world.

Music: Wicked Plan

There’s no mistaking it. This is the same door as in the Palace.

I doubt she’d answer…
Alibaba, we know you’re there. It doesn’t matter if it’s through chat messaging. Just answer us.

In order to steal your heart, we need you to open this door. We can’t change your heart otherwise. Please let us in.
I’m not mentally prepared!

It’s too sudden.
The other you within your heart told us to have you open it. Deep down, you want to open this door, don’t you?
The other me?
Right.

Um, I don’t think she understands, Makoto.

We’re trying to uphold our promise, but you’re the one resisting us.
Give me some time.
Ten seconds.
That’s too short! At least minutes. Please!
Fine. But if Boss comes home, we’ll kick down the door and enter if we must.

All right, I’ll open it now.
We need to change her cognition. Better to be completely safe than sorry.
So she has to be the one to invite us in…
Futaba, please open the door.

All right, let’s go in…

Music: Suspicion

Medical science, information technology, biology, psychology… these are all technical books…
She keeps herself cooped up in a room like this all the time…?
Where’s Futaba?
Where could she be hiding…?

The closet!?
She’ll shut herself in to the bitter end, hm?
Even if that door’s opened up, we’ll get stopped again inside. I bet a fence or something formed right in front of the Treasure now.

Whoa, she talked…
We needed to change your cognition. Unless we do so, we can’t steal your heart.
I highly doubt she would understand it even if we explained it to her…
So basically, my cognition is being a hindrance, keeping you away from the core of my cognitive world?

I mean, it’s confusing that she understands this, but hey, at least someone here doesn’t need the entire damn game explained to them in advance.

Huh? She understood it?
Why do you know about that? Who are you?
……
Why’d you call yourself Alibaba and make things more complicated? If you wanted help, you could have just asked for it.
i[/i] …was …rrassed.
Huh? M-My bad. I didn’t catch that.
annoyed groan …’Cause I was embarrassed.
I think I get it. Asking someone for help isn’t that easy…
Futaba, can you tell us more? How do you know about the cognitive world?
…’Cause I knew about it.
Oh… That reminds me. Boss was talking about “cognition” or something before, right?
You think this is related to how he was gettin’ grilled by that one lady?
Perhaps her mother was researching this cognitive science that was mentioned?
Cognitive psience with a PSI in front! Less science, more supernatural. That’s important.

This is a total guess, bur my assumption is that the words for “science” and “psience” (ugh) are pronounced differently in Japanese and this bit just makes no sense in English.

Well that certainly got her attention… It seems we’re on the right track.
So, cognitive… psience? Futaba, what was your mother working on?

Futaba does not respond.

Please tell us. What happened?
She’s not answering.
Shouldn’t we do this later? She seems to have gone through some shit in the past…
True… She did say things like “die”…

Futaba-chan. Did you really kill your mother?

WHOA

Whoa, you moron…!
Wasn’t her death an accident? What actually happened?

Um, there was a suicide note, Ann.

Maternity neurosis? Is that really true?

Ann Takamaki, master of tact.

Ann.
We saw what your heart is like, but we still can’t figure anything out. The mother that Boss told us about is completely different from your cognition.

Music: Alleycat

groan
We want to hear the truth from your mouth.
…M-My mom… was… The… one who killed her… was… Nngh…
It’s possible that she can’t remember because her heart has become distorted.
I’m so sorry, Futaba-chan. I, um… A lot happened, so… I’m sorry.

Th-There! Now steal it!

Music: Everyday Days

…What’s gotten into you all of a sudden?
C-C’mon, hurry it up!
We did come to steal your heart, but it’s not really done right here at this moment… All you really had to do was open that closet door… …I’m sorry we made you jump to conclusions. You don’t have to be like that…



…Wh-What’s the meaning of this!? Did you guys trick me?

Music: Wicked Plan

No! Please listen! There’s a reason we had to do this!
She’s aware of the cognitive world, but it seems she doesn’t understand how a change of heart occurs.
Um, Futaba, how much do you know about the cognitive world?
I know that there’s another world based on cognition. But I don’t know how to get there. Can you guys go there? You said you “saw my heart” earlier.
Yes, that’s right.
How do you do it?
We use a smartphone app.
An app?
Yes. By entering the required information, we can go to the cognitive world.
A name, a place, and a distortion—those three. So in this case, “Futaba Sakura,” “Sojiro Sakura’s house,” and–
Futaba, you don’t happen to have this app, do you?
This… …I don’t.

Liar!

Thank goodness… OK then.
Can you take me with you too?

Why’re you even askin’? Of course she can’t come with us.
I’ll leave it to you then.
Good. And you better not forget about our promise, all right?

Oh yeah! Almost forgot! The Treasure’s not gonna appear if we don’t have her read this!

Ryuji slides the calling card through the crack in the door.

Hm? A calling card?
It’s the one you prepared. Read it.
…I can’t read it. It’s too dark.
You could just come out…
…It’s embarrassing.

I’ll make sure she reads it, so you guys go on ahead.
Futaba, make sure you read it, OK?
…OK.



Now, this is odd. This is not supposed to say sloth. Now, I found this out from an unsourced Reddit post, so it could be complete bull, but in the Japanese version, Futaba’s sin is apparently never mentioned. The English version added this in, and it’s wrong. I found this out from a few sources, including the name of the corresponding trophy, the name of a song on the soundtrack, and pretty much everywhere I looked for clarification. Futaba’s sin is something else, which we’ll go into when it comes up very shortly. It can be argued that Ryuji, who seems to be the one who comes up with the sins, is acting on incomplete information, but for now, just know that her sin is not actually Sloth.

…Thus, we will rob every last bit of those distorted desires. ……





Music: Life Will Change (Instrumental Version)

Futaba seemed totally up for gettin’ her heart stolen… What’s up with this?
Hm… Something about this place really is unusual. Either way, there’s only one thing for us to do now that we’ve sent the calling card!
Hell yeah! No matter what we gotta face, we’re gonna take that Treasure for sure!

I mean after all the trouble we went through, she damn well better’ve read it!

Well yeah, Futaba-chan opened the door herself.
Anyway, the Treasure is up ahead! Let’s finish this!

Yup, this is the heart of a hacker all right. Anyways, where’s the Treasure?
I’m getting a strong signal from above us. The Treasure has definitely manifested.
There’s no knowing what may lie ahead, so let’s be vigilant as we push toward the Treasure.

A new foible has been added to our plan, however: there’s an enemy gauntlet between here and the exit.

We learn a few skills from these enemies, even if it is annoying to fight before our boss encounter. Ann learns Ambient Aid, which greatly increases the odds of status effects sticking during Rain, Flu, or Pollen weather days. It’s not great, but it’s something to replace the garbage Fire Break, and it’s good for Mementos money farming.

Next, Yusuke learns Tempest Slash, which deals Miniscule Physical damage 3 to 5 times. It replaces Vicious Strike.

Finally, Ryuji learns Shock Boost, which increases the odds of inflicting Shock with Electricity. It’s okay, but Adverse Resolve is so incredibly situational (especially because it’s a situation you should almost never be in) that it’s worth replacing anyway. I still might have replaced Headbutt instead of Adverse Resolve, though.

There’s even a treasure chest in here! Too bad it only contains a Balm of Life, which we can just buy equivalent items of.

To get through this place while minimizing SP use, we keep our SP Adhesives on, leave Ann in the reserves, and have her Diarama everyone after every fight. It’s pretty costly, but we’re not using her here anyway.

What may await us within…?
No matter what it is, we need to be ready for it!

We’re coming to save you, Futaba-chan!

Vocal input…? Fu-- Fu-- Futaba Sakura. …Sojiro Sakura’s house.
Candidate found.
And then… Something about “distortion”…

Distortion… Distortion…

“Distortion” and “cognition” are becoming this game’s equivalent of Kingdom Hearts’ “darkness.”

Hm?

Music: Desire

You killed her!
You’re a plague!
Murderer!
It’s all your fault!
You’re the one who killed her!
Don’t come near me!
It’s your fault!
Murderer!

That’s right… I remember now. Back when they were here, I-- …I messaged “tomb” in the chat, and…

Input accepted. Searching for route to destination.

No…
You’re a plague!
Murderer!
You’re the one who killed her!
It’s all your fault!
Don’t come near me!
It’s your fault!

Beginning navigation.

Way to go, Ryuji! You told her how to enter her own Palace! What could possibly go wrong?

The hell? This ain’t what I was imaginin’!
Were you expecting a mountain of treasure or something of that sort?
There IS that over there.
That’s it…?
The Treasure must be inside.
All right, let’s take it!

T-Treasure…!

A shrill cry is emitted from somewhere unseen.

Music: Blood of Villain

There’s something here…
I got a bad feeling about this…

Cognition (Watch this)



Oh god, this is some Catherine shit

Music: Blooming Villain

No… Then–
It’s not Futaba!



This is insane!




A monster that Futaba’s cognition created!


The wind from the beast’s wings collapses a pillar next to Makoto.

Hey, look out!

Joker dives to knock Makoto out of the way.

Here it comes!


#175
Part 79

Part 79: 7/27: What’s Better Than A Motorcycle?

Beast That Rules The Palace

Music: Blooming Villain


Ugh, look at it fly about! We can’t reach it like this! We’ve got no other option. Let’s take it down with our guns and skills!

So, this is the real boss this time around. Not Futaba’s Shadow, because as “tsundere” as she was, to borrow the phrase from Yusuke, she still wants our help. No, this is a radical part of her cognition that’s going to fight us every step of the way.

True to Morgana’s word, using any type of Physical attack, including skills, is fruitless, as the beast is out of range. We can use guns, but that’s rather pointless as well. We haven’t exactly been upgrading them, and they don’t do much in the first place. Hilariously though, Ryuji’s fucking shotgun can hit while his Physical attacks can’t.

Here’s our first sign that something is wrong: we’re doing decent numbers, but the beast’s health is barely going down.


For its turn, the beast gets two moves, so it can Slam twice.


It can also use Wing Blast to deal Wind damage and inflict Dizzy. Ryuji’s Wind weakness means we might have been better off bringing Ann (or even Yusuke) for this stage of the fight if we hadn’t already used all her SP healing through the enemy gauntlet, but we want his Tarukaja, and for better or worse this part of the fight doesn’t last long.

Morgana’s Me Patra will clear up that Dizzy easily enough, however.


Don’t tell me… Is it gonna dive attack us!?

So now we wait.

And wait.

Aaaaand wait.


Yeah, this is pretty much an instant kill if you’re not guarding, which is why I’m lucky it didn’t hit Joker even if he had a Resist Physical Persona equipped.

What do you mean you can’t tell!? You gotta tell us, Mona!
I-I can’t help it! There are some things that even I can’t do!

Music: Disquiet

I didn’t think it’d be like this…

Huh…!?

Music: Regret

Do you remember?
This is the suicide note… The men in black suits read it right after Mom died…

This… This is… when Mom jumped in front of that car…

I don’t think Futaba wants to see any more of this traumatic PowerPoint.

No…
Don’t run. I thought you made your mind up after you talked to the Phantom Thieves.
OK… I’ll look. …It’s me complaining. Mom scolded me for bothering her.
Yes.
I knew it. It was me who killed Mom. I was a bad daughter… I weighed her down, and she hated me for it… It’s just like I remember…

Huh?
Remember everything. Don’t avert your eyes. When did this happen?
Just a little before Mom died… I whined about wanting to go on a family trip… But she scolded me and said no.
Was that all she said?
Mom said… “I’m too busy right now. I need to finish my cognitive research as soon as possible.”
And what did you do?
I threw a tantrum. Told her she thought her research was more important than I was. That’s when she scolded me…
What did she say afterwards? There was more.
…… Did she say…? “My research is almost over. Once it’s finished, we can go wherever you like. I’m sorry I’ve left you alone for so long, Futaba. Please try to understand though. This research is really important. I need to complete it, even if it costs me my life.”
Did she hate you?
She didn’t…?



Which is true…?
Your memory is…

Futaba hears the cry of the beast from above.

Huh…? It’s calling me…?

Futaba runs toward the sound.

Music: Desire

The hell!? We ain’t doin’ shit to it!

You came into your cognitive world!?
Mm-hm…
The person themselves coming into their own Palace…? If that happens…

The beast cries out.

That’s…

No…


It’s my fault… It’s my fault that Mom…

You killed me!
Wait, is that monster her mother!?

How is this a twist!? You idiots know what Wakaba looked like!

Futaba’s desires and guilt must’ve distorted her cognition of her. The wish that her mother was alive again is mixed in as well, along with those eerie jeers…
You are nothing but a demon who stood in my way! I wish you had never been born! That way I could’ve announced my results without having to waste my time on you! I poured my heart and soul into that research! It would’ve been the discovery of the century!
What does she mean by that?
Could she be talking about cognitive psience?

There’s no meaning to your life! No one needs you!
Nobody cares about me…

It seems you caused your mother a great deal of trouble, Futaba-chan… She must’ve had some kind of maternity neurosis…
N-Ngh…


…Y-You… aaaaaaareee…
Ngh…!

So because she thinks she killed her mother… and because she thinks she deserves to die… Futaba gave birth to a Palace where her mother wants her dead…?
Futaba-chan, look! There’s no way that monster is your mother! It’s just an illusion you created!
B-But…
She never abused you, did she!? Boss told us! He said she did her best to raise you alone!
Isn’t this a false memory that’s been imprinted upon you?
A false memory…? Aagh…

She had worked so hard on it as well… She lost her mind, and it’s all because of you…
It’s your fault!
Murderer!


Futaba Sakura! Remember!

Music: Regret


…Because of the note.
Exactly. The men in black suits read her suicide note to you, and what was written on it?
All of her complaints… about me.
Yes. The shock and the pain led you to avert your eyes. But they kept reading it aloud in front of your relatives. Think hard. Was that suicide note real? Would the mother you loved so much truly have written that? Did she ever say such horrible things to you?

Music: Swear to My Bones

She scolded me whenever I had tantrums, but she cared for me!
Then what about the suicide note?
A total lie!
You were used! They forged her suicide note and laid the blame of her death upon you! They trampled all over your young heart! Get mad! Don’t forgive those rotten adults!

Now, this game walks a delicate tightrope and doesn’t always nail the act, and one such example is this, which is downright absurd. I think it actually kind of works in the context of the rest of the game, but at this point it’s just comical.

It’s because I couldn’t face myself, or Mom’s death… Even then, why did they have to yell at me like that!?

Futaba-chan!?


A curse put upon you by the heartless… You knew from the very beginning… And yet, you cowered in fear…
…That’s right. I knew, but I…
It’s all your fault…! This time, you’ll be the one to die!
Will you die as you are told…? Who will you obey…? Cursed words spat out by a seething illusion? Or the truth within your own soul?


And I won’t be led astray by other’s voices either… I’m going to trust my own eyes and my own heart to distinguish the truth from the lies. There’s no way you’re my mom! You’re just a fake created by those horrid adults! I’ll… I’ll never…

Futaba’s Awakening (Definitely watch this)




…what the fuck.

Music: Blooming Villain



Uhhh

Uhhhhhhhhhhh

Well, this is certainly some imagery.







I’m OK!

Please, help me!


And a cool group pose before the fight.

Futaba’s Persona is the fucking Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire from the stories of HP Lovecraft. Written in the 8th century by the “mad Arab” Abdul Alhazred (because Lovecraft was extremely racist, natch), the tome details the truth behind ancient cosmic beings that had come to inhabit Earth, influencing humans for their own ends. Those who read it risk going mad from the forbidden knowledge.

Futaba is also our new navigator, seeing as how we need to get an upgrade midway through every one of these newer Persona games. She can do a whole bunch of shit, but if you’re familiar with Rise’s gimmicks from Persona 4 Golden, it’s a lot of stuff like that. We won’t be covering what she can do until much later, but it’s pretty cool.

Futaba is voiced by Erica Lindbeck, a relatively newer voice actor known for roles like… uh… Menat from Street Fighter V (to keep things Egypt), Celica from Fire Emblem Echoes, and Magilou from Tales of Berseria. Play that last game, it owns and Magilou owns.


#176
Part 80

Part 80: 7/27: Morgana The Gross Car

Boss: Cognitive Wakaba Isshiki

Music: Will Power

So, Cognitive Wakaba Isshiki, or the Sphinx. The Sphinx here represents Wrath, I guess, the true sin of Futaba’s palace, but turned inward instead of outward due to guilt, self-loathing and all that jazz. The real demon of wrath was Satan, but that doesn’t matter because the sinner here isn’t a Shadow.



Shoot it down with this, then beat the crap out of it!
Ahhh, I get it now! Let’s go!
We’re gonna fire that giant arrow thing, right?


We’re going to send Ryuji, because he doesn’t have much utility at this stage of the fight due to his low Magic, lack of support skills, and Wind weakness. Don’t worry, we brought him for a reason beyond Tarukaja.


Don’t let the ballista-summoning fool you into thinking things will be different; Futaba is still Captain Obvious, just like previous navigators.



Sphinx Swipe is a new move that attacks every party member on the field. It’s bad for us!






And here’s the reason we bring Ryuji instead of Ann: 651 fucking points of damage. The real reason Wakaba has been playing keep-away is because she’s incredibly vulnerable to Physical strikes. We could probably do more damage with Yusuke’s Tempest Slash, but he doesn’t have Tarukaja. With Rakunda and Tarukaja both up on Wakaba/Ryuji, we see returns of around 1200 damage.

Wakaba won’t get up until her third turn, which gives us plenty of time to attack.

This is how much damage Freila does with Rakunda, for the record. It’s not great. But we brought Makoto for more than just her damage, as you’ll see shortly.

And she finally gets up.

Necronomicon replaces the spent arrow.

You goddamn braaats!


Don’t complain, Ryuji! Do you want to get knocked on your ass over and over?


This is Dreadful Scream, which is an odd attack that seems to target anywhere from one to three party members. It’s pretty bad for us because it inflicts Despair. It’s big part of the reason to bring Makoto and a few Relax Gels, because we’re sunk otherwise. Notice how it misses Makoto in the above picture: if it hadn’t, we’d be screwed, because I wouldn’t be able to act and everyone would be dead in three turns.

Now, I believe it takes a few turns longer for the ballista to target Wakaba the second time, which means we’re going to have to last with three party members for that much longer.

What are you, my therapist?

Anyway, after another round of attacks…

And children I don’t need… should be killed!


I can tell… with my Persona. I’ll let you know when the enemy’s approaching! You’re still OK! It’s far away right now!



This time we’re prepared.

On a previous run I had the ballista fire on the same turn Wakaba landed, launching her straight into her death animation—after she wrecked my party with Sphinx Dive.

Once we knock her down and deplete her health, a special animation starts.

If only I had never birthed you…!

…I will live! FIRE!





And the Sphinx is down.

Morgana learns Mediarama to replace Media, which would have been REALLY NICE to have for this fight, dude

Also, Makoto learns Defense Master (Automatic Rakukaja at the start of battle) to replace Vajra Blast.

Futaba!
Damn, you’re freakin’ incredible!



Music: Alleycat

Mom!?
Huh…?
Futaba. Thank you for choosing to remember the real me.
I’m sorry for being so selfish. Mom…

This isn’t where you’re supposed to be, is it?
But I finally got to see you again…
Are you being selfish again?
Um, I… I love you, Mom…
I love you too, Futaba. Now, you should get going.

……



Home. I know how to use the Nav now.

She left…
That girl marches to the beat of her own drum, doesn’t she?
Like you’re one to talk.
But if we have her on our side… Wait, what about her Treasure!?
Oh yeah! We almost forgot.

Music: Run, Run, Run!

The Palace shakes.

Eek!
What’s goin’ on!? Wasn’t it supposed to be here!?
Futaba herself was the Treasure! And she’s gone, so of course it’s empty!

The shaking intensifies.

Shoot… This is bad!
What’s the matter?
Not only did the real person come into her own Palace, she awakened to a Persona while she was here! This place could collapse any second now!
We’ve accomplished our mission if her Palace is crumbling. We should hurry back to reality.
That would be wise.

Pyramid Escape (Watch this)

Music: The Collapse of Wrath




















Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Everyone lands… safely… in the car.




Hey… You guys still alive?

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

I thought I was gonna die in—HEY! Will you let go already!?

Ann elbows Yusuke.

Ah, sorry!
N-Not again…

…Hm? What’re you guys doing out here?
Oh, ummm…
That reminds me, where’s Futaba?
What about Futaba?

SHUT UP RYUJI. GOD.

Oh, ummm…
Ah, yes! We came all this way, so how about we enjoy some coffee?
Oh! That’s a great idea!
That’s fine, but…
I’m not thirsty though.


Makoto punches Yusuke in the ribs. Poor guy’s getting it from all sides today.

Oh, I almost forgot! I have some business to take care of, so you guys go on ahead.
O-OK, gotcha!

Music: Suspicion

Oh dear.

Futaba? Can you hear me? Please, say something! Please… Could this be our fault? Is it because we defeated her monstrous mother…?
No, that was nothing more than a cognitive being created in her mind. Destroying it wouldn’t cause memory loss or put a physical burden on her…
What should we do…?
Hey, don’t you know a doctor?
You do? Can you contact them?

I could, but things are a little awkward between us right now. See, I don’t have enough Charm, but you’d know all about that Makoto…

Oh hey Takemi, how’s it going? Your life’s work still meaningless because your patient’s dead? Rough.

How much will it be…?
…That was a joke.

HA. HA. FUNNY.

So, um… how is her condition?
Her pulse, breathing, temperature, and blood pressure are all normal. No ocular abnormalities either. I’m not sure why, but it seems this girl is in some kind of light stupor. Furthermore, she lacks muscle for her age. I doubt she has much stamina either.
I see. The rebound from her awakening was too strong.

Not in front of the doctor, Makoto.

There may have been too many abnormal circumstances…
We simply cannot keep quiet about this. We should let Boss know.
Wouldn’t he figure out our identities!?
Still… we should tell him, shouldn’t we?

Stop talking to the cat in front of the doctor, Makoto.

Mm, I think that would be best. Letting him know is really the only option we have.
I guess it can’t be helped now… Just keep the circumstances that led up to this a secret, OK?


……
……
Oh dear…
……
Um… About Futaba…

Futaba-chan’s condition…
What, this? It happens every so often.

Huh?

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

She must’ve used up all her energy. It’s like she ran out of batteries. I think it happens ‘cause she doesn’t get enough exercise.

That’s dumb!

My feelings exactly, Ryuji.

She stays like this for a few days whenever this happens. I’ll make sure she gets plenty of rest. Here, keep an eye on her. I’m gonna go close the store.

Yeah, I’m feelin’ pretty frustrated…
I’m glad she’s OK… but what are we gonna do about Medjed?

She’s up!
Medjed… ……. Tired. Gonna sleep for a bit.

Futaba-chan! For a bit…? How much is she planning on sleeping…? We probably shouldn’t wake her up either…
What to do…
It’s too late for us to find another hacker…
All we can do is wait for her to wake up…

Music: Beneath the Mask


It is hard for me to even fathom what it could be.
People have really been up in arms about the whole cleanse thing…

Uhhh, sorry! My bad, dude!
No matter how you look at it, we need a countermeasure.
Our best bet would be Alibaba…
But she may not be capable of it in her current state.
I guess we should think of some other ways too then.
Yes, it would be best to have as many solutions as possible.
Well we still got time, so let’s come up with something good, k?

After all that, we’re just going to find a different solution? Yeah, I don’t think so.

The chief is with her. I’m sure everything will be OK. Now we just gotta wait for Futaba to wake up…

Right now, we’re here at the planetarium in Ikebukuro! Looking up and seeing a sky full of stars is so romantic. And the atmosphere here is so soothing!
Such a magical place. If you want to get close to someone, this is the date spot to visit.
We’ve got one more place to introduce in our summer special feature! You’ve been living under a rock if you’ve never heard of this one. It’s Destinyland in Maihama! As usual, it’s packed with people. It’s a captivating world of dreams and hope!
I’ve always dreamed of going there with a girlfriend. It really feels like a place of destiny.


#177

I’m just curious. Do you think it takes longer the second time because you sent Ryuji again? I don’t remember the second (and in my case, the third) shot taking more time than the first.


#178

I’m fairly sure this is the case, I remember the same and there is also the matter of Ryuji’s remark changing when you pick him to do it twice.


#179
Part 81

Part 81: 7/28-7/29: And Then She Slept For Three Weeks

So, we’re waiting for Futaba to wake up. Anyone who’s played Persona 4 is more than familiar with this scenario, waiting until the deadline for the person you saved to magically get better, but this one is over a much longer period of nearly a month.

If you’re wondering why I decided to do the Palace straight away, it’s because I find Futaba’s Crazy Coma kind of hilarious.


I don’t get it… Are they just going to ignore them?
I’m sure they’re working on it!
We’re gonna be in trouble if they don’t do anything…
I wish they’d take care of it already….

Music: Beneath the Mask (Instrumental Version)



My desperation has given birth to a new idea… These possibilities make my heart dance! I would like you to come with me again if you are able!
I’m eating now. Maybe I should respond later…

But I’m gonna open up shop soon. You either need to go upstairs or get out of here.

Hm, you have the day off today. Why don’t we go somewhere?

Music: Tokyo Daylight

Oh, Medjed? They’re a group of hackers known around the world. They’ve caused trouble before. They target security holes in servers and extract information by accessing sites illegally…
I don’t really get it, but they’re basically outlaws, right? “Judgment of Justice,” my ass.

Yeah, I need to prepare for these cases related to information leaks and unauthorized access. These corporate higher-ups are panicking. They’ve never even heard of Medjed till just now.
I suppose they have some pretty big secrets that they’d like to keep, hahaha!

Meanwhile, I am here to observe the public in an attempt to refresh my mind. Do you need something?

chuckle You must have a wealth of free time if that is your decision. To be honest, I think I have found the way to pull myself out of my slump. Would you mind joining me again?

I believe I will find what I’m looking for at the church. Let us head over there.

After our enlightening session, I once again attempted to paint. However, nothing I put on the canvas was to my satisfaction… Before the gods of art, I am naught but a lost sheep…

Music: My Homie

Our theme today shall be anguish! I shall paint the anguish Christ felt as he bore the sins of mankind! Hm, I have seen various sculptures and paintings on the matter… but merely replicating them will not do. Would any believers be willing to model and help me capture the true essence of anguish…? It seems not… Very well. Maaku, you will have to be my model today.


Only a subject naked as the day they were born can convey the true anguish of birth! Now then… strip! Take it all-- Actually, perhaps not. Being found stark-naked in a church would be even bigger news than the Phantom Thieves.



Hm, I see… So this would be… No, perhaps… It seems this is not working. I would like to capture anguish, yet you remain calm and composed. Even the slightest wrinkle can change one’s impression of things…. I shall not compromise, even for this sketch!

Now, raise your hands higher! More… Give me more anguish…! Bring it to its upper limits! Like this!

Wha–

YEAH

Hrm, this position… So this is the Passion of the Christ…! Forsaken by his disciples, abhorred as a criminal by the public, pierced with nails and hung on the cross… I understand now… This is true anguish of the Passion…! It feels as though something is boiling up within me…!

Oh shit!

This is an art study…

I am attempting to paint anguish, so I decided to use the crucifixion of Christ as a point of reference…
So you’re interested in the anguish of the crucifixion? Hmmm. While it is true that Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross is a symbol of deep suffering… It also bears a much more positive message… One of resurrection, of forgiveness.

Resurrection…? Forgiveness…? I’m not sure I understand… Those ideas are contradictory to my conception of anguish…
It may be difficult to grasp what I’m saying right now… But try to consider that the anguish one may feel today will someday bring forth new hope. Ah, and by the way… I suggest you contain your excitement while here. You may trouble the congregration.

Hm, hope from anguish… …I’m not sure I understand. I must learn more about the hearts of men… Maaku… Do you think I will be able to capture the truth someday?


Was that provocation intentional? This is exceedingly strange though. Spending time with you has helped me discover new aspects of myself… You are perhaps… a mirror of sorts.

Devoid of any personality of my own, reflecting back what the viewer needs to see? Why, thank you.

If there is anything I can do in return, please let me know… I wish to repay your kindness.
I feel like my bond with Yusuke is growing deeper…

I’m not exactly sure what constitutes a “mid-rank” Skill Card, but hey, more shit to never use!

Let us return home for today. I bid you farewell.

Okaaaaaaaay…

Farewell.


…This is the best Confidant event in the game.

Goodbye, Maaku.

Music: Beneath the Mask


Yes. Let us drink some tea and calm our minds. Oh, some rice crackers with the tea would be lovely as well.
What?
I am most certainly in the mood
Anyway, we should wait a little longer for Futaba to wake up.
for something salty today.

This segmented response from Yusuke is so weird and realistic, I love it.

I understand why you guys feel nervous, but we’ll just have to wait for now.

“Destructive damage to the Japanese economy”… But wasn’t it dead to begin with?
Haha, I’m sure the big companies are in a panic. I don’t think that’s an empty threat, either.
What are the Phantom Thieves going to do? Well, it’d be funny if they ended up running away from this. Thank you. The curry was delicious.

According to experts, there are many corporations that could be potential targets. Companies managing public transport and other utilities are pressured to take countermeasures.
Medjed is so creepy. They’re really making a big mess out of all this.

It’sh Obon, so I’ll do you a spheshial favorrrr. Jus’ lemme know… who ya wanna meet.

Oh, them? They’re faaamoush! Urp… OK. H-Here I go… Hey…! I am a phantom thief!I’m going to steal your hea-- W-Wait… Who was I supposhed to impershonate again?

Oh, those h-hackersh are no good! They pop out and shurprise you… outta nowhereeee. Pineapple! Shee! Surprises’re bad. Hackersh hide like yucky candy, mished in wi’ the good stuff.

Mine say that too. They say he’s famous and everyone likes him because he studied so much.
I think the Phantom Thieves are way cooler than him. They’re gonna fight hackers next, right?
Being a hacker would be cool, too. We could steal the answers for all our tests. Anyway, I wonder who’s gonna win. This is gonna be even cooler than Featherman!

We’re not kids anymore, y’know… Shouldn’t you be prepping for college interviews or something? Also, how’d you do on the finals? Did you even study?
Haha… Exams, jobs—it’s all just information warfare, maaan! My skills’ll put Medjed to shame!

This guy sounds like a stoner Metal Gear boss. “The war of information will be won by those backed by systems of societal control, Scoob!”

They have likely given up. No one has been able to discover their true identities. Which means we must rely on the Phantom Thieves. Though, I doubt they’ll be amenable.
Regardless, they’re garnering a lot of attention… So, shall we put an ad on the news station?

From what I remember, Medjed attacked whatever it didn’t like. That group caused a lot of damage.
But isn’t this the first time they targeted Japan for a full-scale attack?
That’s all because the Phantom Thieves appeared. I can’t stand getting dragged into this.

Hell no! No one knows who Medjed is… Oh… Is blaming foreigners for things common in Japan?
Are you mocking my country? You better shut your mouth before you piss me off!


Eh, it’s got nothin’ to do with you. …If I play my cards right, I can get the Phantom Thieves blamed for my work… Aw, what the hell!? Get outta here, go somewhere else!

Geography doesn’t matter on the internet. Besides, the Phantom Thieves will take care of them.
The Phantom Thieves are just a myth! That’s why they haven’t responded! Wake up. This city is built on lies!

“This city is built on lies!” is my new go-to pickup line.

I know you’re a little nervous, but this is just something you gotta do to win people’s hearts. You know, I wanted to be a singer, too. In a way, you realizing your dream is like we both are.
You did, Mr. Asakura? Just like me? Well, I guess I can trust you!


Please take a seat.
I don’t think my bond with Chihaya will deepen yet…
>Hang out with her
OK, heeere we gooo…


I feel like my bond with Chihaya will grow stronger soon…
Well then, see you.

Why does Maaku keep his phone in his pocket when he goes to bed

Since we’re finally on summer vacation, you should come and help me investigate. We have to punish that deviant and save the children of summer vacation! Let’s go together tomorrow!
Well, what’s your plan? Do you want to go to the planetarium with Mishima?

The planetarium escapade is mildly interesting but gets us more points with Mishima and Yusuke, which are both useless. We decide to “respond later” (because I chose the wrong option, oops), but will immediately decline upon waking up. I might show it in a bonus part or something though.

Don’t forget to respond later, OK?

Music: Tokyo Emergency



I already bought two tickets… I’ll go twice by myself.

This is hilariously sad and I love it.

Really? Did you have other plans?

…Yes. I was going to… hang out at the diner all day. Let’s go do that.

Ah, OK, so they’re terrorists. What are these hackers trying to do to us?
They’re… Ah, you know. They’re planning on doing some pretty bad stuff. Hey, thanks. I’ll just leave what I owe you here.

Got it, Boss.

Music: Tokyo Daylight

First step in today’s itinerary is to take advantage of Chihaya’s Luck Reading.

OK. Please take a seat.


Reading your luck improvement fortune will cost you 5000 yen. All right, please think of some area in which you’d like to increase your luck.



It seems you will greatly benefit from taking actions that will increase your Knowledge.

That’s all for today’s improvement reading. I hope you’re happy with your fortune. I look forward to your next visit.

And now to the diner. Maaku gains a boosted Knowledge +2 (4 points instead of 3) and Guts +1.

Music: Beneath the Mask -Rain-

Most likely, the Phantom Thieves simply don’t have the means of confronting them. After all, Medjed is quite different from anyone they’ve gone up against thus far. It seems their best option is to reveal their identities before more people are needlessly harmed.
He really hit us where it hurts… We’re going to beat them, though!

Can we? I’m starting to doubt it.

Ugh, hot rain.

A while? What the hell does that mean?

And back to the diner. The rainy day bonus is applied weirdly in that it’s another +1 in addition to the +2 after the fact, so boosted it turns into two +2s. This doesn’t actually change anything, because the +2 goes from 3 to 4 and the +1 goes from 2 to 3, meaning boosting it increases the total from 5 to 7 no matter how it’s applied, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Anyway, Maaku gains Charm +1 and a boosted Knowledge +3.

Again?

It’s called “Like a Dragon.” You know, the one by that famous director. It’s a summer special feature, and I’ve been curious about it for a while. Want to take this chance and go see it?


Let’s meet in front of the movie theater in Shinjuku.
I wonder what kind of movie it is. yawn We should get to sleep.

Can’t sleep, cat. Date with Makoto tomorrow.


#180
Part 82

Part 82: 7/30-8/1: I’m Not One Of Those Devilishly Charming Phantom Thieves, No Sir

Like A Dragon

Music: Break it Down

Th-That is, a famous director was responsible for this movie. Who wouldn’t want to see it…? Why are you looking at me like that? Let’s go inside already!

Music: A three second loop of “Sauna” from Persona 4

Look how into this Makoto is. It’s adorable.

Gangster voice: laughing You try to cut ties with me, then you come back for more? I’ll kill you! two gunshots
Protagonist voice: Boss! Boss! No… That bastard shot him! Boooooooss!

In case it wasn’t already clear, “Like A Dragon” is the English translation of Ryu ga Gotoku, the Japanese name for the Yakuza series, also owned by Sega. The “famous director” Makoto mentioned is a reference to Takashi Miike, who directed the live-action movie based on the first game in the series.

Makoto’s fists have been clenched this entire time… Whatever she said before about the director was probably just an excuse. She loves this stuff…
I feel like I learned more about the determination that the yakuza have…

Maaku gains Guts +3.

Music: Break it Down

…… Um… Do you think it’s weird if a girl likes movies like this?


Thanks… I think this is the first time I’ve been told that. Sorry that I called you over so suddenly. It felt weird watching a yakuza film all by myself… I had fun, though, thanks to you. OK, let’s start heading home.

Music: Beneath the Mask

HOT NIGHT

Can Yellow Owl overcome the curry, or will he explode first? Revive and fight, Phoenix Rangers! Next episode… When It Comes to Curry, Always Bet on Yellow.”

Phoenix Rangers sounds badass. I wish Power Rangers was more like this.

Music: Time to Repent


Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

…Huh? Um, please wash it.
I can’t believe that you’re really here… in a church… I read on the internet that you pray to God for victory. Is that true?
No…
Can I take a selfie with you and post it online?
Sorry, I’ve been turning down all such requests…
By the way, is it true that you’re trying to become a professional shogi player?
Well, nothing’s been…
I’ll be cheering for you to qualify! You’d be the first woman to surpass the third-dan league! I really believe in you!
…Thank you very much.

Men like that approach me all the time. At first, I thought you were one of them… …I really must apologize for being rude to you… It bothers me when people make such a big fuss over me… Considering that the priest is doing me a great favor by letting me play here… You see, he’s my shogi friend. And he’s very kind. He once told me that he wanted to be a professional player. …And he doesn’t laugh at my embarrassing habit when we play together.

Hey! I only laugh at you internally!

I’m embarrassed just thinking about it… Did you see it…? It was called “The Venus of Shogi”…


Please stop… Ever since I won the female shogi league, I’ve been getting a lot of attention. I just figured I could contribute to the shogi world… Besides, my mother seems to be very happy… Whenever I win, she rejoices as if it were her own victory… So I want to live up to the expectations she has for me… …However, she’s been a bit overzealous lately. She set up the interview and photoshoot. It’s as if she wants to be the manager of a celebrity.


…But it’s fine, because it’s for my mother.

Today, I’ll be showing you something very practical… It’s a tactic for using the reserved pawns you’ve taken from your opponent in a more effective way. Nevertheless… I apologize. You’re such a good listener, I feel at ease speaking with you… Aside from the priest, you’re actually the first person I’ve spoken to about my mother…
I feel Hifumi’s trust in me growing…

More opportunities for follow-up attacks, always nice.

Are you ready…?
I feel like playing shogi with Hifumi has helped sharpen my Knowledge

Maaku gains Knowledge +1.

Well then, I look forward to our next match.

Music: Tokyo Emergency


It seems that the world will be affected by all this… Don’t you think so too?

Heh… A refreshingly honest answer. That kind of innocence is a privilege of the young. At any rate they’ve a strong impression on the hearts of the people. If this were a film, the Phantom Thieves got the opening sequence right. Let’s see what’s next. Well, I’ll be going home then.

Music: Tokyo Daylight

Tim