Persona 3

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Left to right: Junpei, the main character, Yukari. Above: Thanatos.[1]

Death is not a hunter unbeknownst to its prey.
One is always aware that it lies in wait.
Though life is merely a journey to the grave,
it must not be undertaken without hope.
Only then will a traveler's story live on,
treasured by those who bid him farewell.
As proof of one's life, there exists
the danger of death.
This proof exists as a flame, painfully
burning one's life away.
Yet though a life crumbles to dust,
time moves ever onward.


Persona 3 is a Japanese Role Playing Game in the Atlus-developed Shin Megami Tensei series that was released on the Playstation 2.

Every night at midnight, a phenomenon called "The Dark Hour" occurs. During this period of time, Time Stands Still, humans are transmogrified into strange coffin-esque objects, and a huge tower Tartarus appears, the stronghold of evil monsters called Shadows. Because of the transmogrification, only a select few know that this time exists; those that don't become transmogrified are those who become prey of the Shadows or, in rarer cases, possess the "potential", or the ability to summon a being known as a "Persona", which takes the form of a mythological character and represents the hidden side of that person.

The Main Character (who the player names) learns this the hard way after a stroll in the bizarre time and a particularly terrifying encounter with a large Shadow, during which he summons his Persona Orpheus by shooting himself in the head with a gun-like device called an Evoker. After this encounter, he joins the secret school club SEES, or the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad, which consists of Persona-users like himself who fight Shadows during the Dark Hour at night while balancing going to school during the day. And this is just scratching the surface.

The game itself consists of two portions. During the day, the main character is a normal high school student, and gameplay consists of interacting with other characters to form and strengthen Social Links, which are bonds assigned to a specific tarot Arcana depending on the person, or going out and doing things to boost your Academic, Charm and Courage stats so you can meet more people. Of course, since the main character is a high school student, a fair amount of things periodically happen in class, too, such as quizzes and lectures, which also help raise the aforementioned stats. This involves a great deal of time management, since the entire game goes on a day-by-day basis and you have to thus plan your free time accordingly (story events and exams also take time away from socialization).

At night, the Dark Hour occurs, and the main character and his friends go into Tartarus to fight Shadows and attempt to get to the top. Combat itself consists of turn-based fighting with a twist: when you attack an enemy's weakness, you get one extra turn to attack again and the enemy is in a "Down" status; once all of the enemies are down, you have the option to execute an All-Out Attack for Massive Damage. This, however, also works in the enemy's favor, too, so you have to focus on covering your own weaknesses while attacking that of the enemy's.

The night portion also brings with it another game mechanic, that of Persona fusion, a series staple. Basically, you can fuse Personas together to make new ones, and the result depends on the skills the involved Personas know, the Arcanas of the Personas, and how many you're fusing together. This is also where Social Links come into play; the higher a Social Link for a specific Arcana, the higher the EXP Bonus is for the resulting Persona of that Arcana during fusion, which is really helpful since the Personas take forever to level up otherwise.

The game was critically acclaimed, its Updated Rerelease Persona 3 FES, even more so, and the game is credited with more or less single-handedly bringing Shin Megami Tensei into (relative) mainstream success in the West at last. The game spawned several incarnations and side products due to its immense popularity:

Tropes used in Persona 3 include:
  • The Abridged Series: Persona 3 FTW includes FES: The Answer and the female main character route.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Mitsuru is capable of creating student profiles out of thin air, covering up crimes, and she's shown bossing around teachers on some occasions. This makes some sense, as Mitsuru's the heir of the company that owns the school.
  • AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: "My GHOstly shaDOW..."
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Pharos... to an extent... As well as Ken.
  • Adorkable: The Star Social Link in the Persona 3 Portable release shows Akihiko is pretty much this.
  • Airplane Arms: Aigis. Of course, she's a robot with a stiff posture and no actual feet.
  • Aliens Made Them Do It: In the July 7th Shadow battle, the Protagonist and Yukari (or Akihiko or Junpei if you're playing as a girl) manage to break free from the Mind Control before anything actually happens. And no, you can't intentionally fail, no matter how hard you try.
  • All in a Row: Your party members will follow you everywhere in dungeons, and can be ordered to split up and search the area. They can even enter battles on their own, which you're then able to join to provide support.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Bebe.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Ryoji Mochizuki a.k.a. Pharos discovers that he's the one who's supposed to bring about The End of the World as We Know It... something he really doesn't want to do.
  • And I Must Scream: At least partly the fate of the Protagonist in the good ending.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Phoenix Ranger Featherman R delivers such messages on Apathy Syndrome.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Gotten from some Quests, also can be bought from the police station at ridiculous prices.
  • Anti-Grinding: As a way to limit your grinding, your characters will eventually grow tired within Tartarus as you keep winning battles, thus their aim will worsen and they will get hit more often. This is a good point to call it a night, but for the persistent, their characters will eventually go from "Tired" to "Sick", at which point, not only will they have a higher chance of eating a Critical Hit, any healing cast on them is less effective. As soon as you return to the entrance, any tired characters leave automatically. However, the day right before a Full Moon Boss, as a way to stop the game from potentially becoming Unwinnable, this feature is removed, allowing you to train all you want. Well, excepting November.
    • Changed in Persona 3 Portable. Characters will mention being tired between battles, and Fuuka or Mitsuru will comment about how you must be getting tired, but the actual 'Tired' status won't kick in until the next day.
  • The Antichrist: Takaya at the end of the game, leading to his several Fan Nicknames. His only desire is to have the world die with him.
  • Anyone Can Die: Shinjiro Aragaki, Shuji Ikutsuki, Takeharu Kirijo, Jin Shirato, Chidori Yoshino and the main character all die by the end of the game. Although if you do certain things right on certain days in FES and Portable, Chidori will come back to life and it's possible to save Shinji in Persona 3 Portable when playing as the female character.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Documents found at the Tartarus barriers, in which an initially unknown writer describes the circumstances that created Tartarus (it turns out to be the antique shop owner). The video log left by Yukari's father is a more explicit version, although it was doctored and edited to manipulate SEES' motivations for slaying Shadows. Fuuka recovers the real thing later on.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Out of universe example: one member of staff said he didn't want to create Aigis because a robot like her didn't exist in the modern world. Guess the Evokers don't count, then.
  • Arc Words: "Thou art I. And I am thou" and "Memento Mori".
    • On October the 4th, the date itself briefly becomes Arc Words.
    • No shortage of bad stuff went down "10 years ago".
  • Armor Is Useless: Armor is best used for its additional effects (like resisting your weakness) than its defense because your Persona's endurance stats and elemental resistances play a much larger role.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The friendly AI will learn which special attacks do and do not work on enemies and change their tactics accordingly. They can also be programmed to follow certain tactics, such as focusing on an enemy's weakness to make All-Out attacks much easier to set up.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Whoever is in charge of healing will usually wait until someone is fairly close to dying before healing them, instead of keeping everyone at perfect health all the time. And then there's Mitsuru's obsession with Useless Useful Spells...
    • Persona 3 Portable lets you take direct control over allies, eliminating this problem.
  • Asleep for Days: The main character's awakening to their Persona ability puts him/her out for a week.
  • Asleep in Class: You're given the option to fall asleep in class. Doing so will improve your Condition, thereby letting you fight better in Tartarus, but in exchange, you miss out on the potential Academics boost.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: Erebus is the embodiment of the despair and hatred in the collective unconscious of humanity, meaning it can never be truly killed until humanity itself is enlightened (something one of the heroes eventually sets out to accomplish).
  • Astral Checkerboard Decor
  • As You Know: Ikutsuki gives his early explanations about Shadows and the Dark Hour while conversing with everyone who is in SEES at that point. Who already know what they are.
  • The Atoner: Shinjiro.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Be wary of elemental magic spells described as inflicting "severe" damage. Although they do more damage than -dyne spells, it's only by about 30%, and despite being single-target spells, they tend to cost more SP than the all-targeting Ma-dyne spells, making them woefully inefficient.
    • However, a strong Persona can take out the first few stages of the final boss in one hit with the "severe" damage spell. And when facing the bonus boss of FES and Portable Elizabeth, where there is only one target, the main character is alone, and your opponent gets two turns for your every one, these spells make it infinitely more likely to survive long enough to win.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: The Lucifer and Helel Fusion spell, Armageddon (at least until it was made considerably less practical in the remakes).
  • Badass Grandpa: Mutatsu, in a way.
  • Badass Longcoat: Shinjiro Aragaki.
  • Bad Moon Rising/Lunacy/Weird Moon: Shadow activity outside Tartarus is connected to the waxing and waning of the Moon; specifically, the most plot-relevant enemy Shadows appear on nights with full moons. Also, certain Persona attacks are more effective on New and Full Moons. And after the battle with Nyx Avatar, the Moon itself opens up to reveal that, in the Dark Hour at least, the Moon IS Nyx.
  • Bag of Spilling: You know all those Infinity Plus One Swords, rare armors, and useful artifacts you picked up during The Journey? All gone in The Answer. Along with character levels being reset to around 20. Lampshaded by Ken and Akihiko, who liken it to studying for a test and forgetting everything immediately afterward. The weapons are presumably being stored outside the mystically sealed dorms.
    • The level thing is sort of an excuse to level grind again: one could stop using a character for over a month in The Journey and said character would still retain the same skills and level.
    • Adding to the above point, the level thing makes no sense since people don't so easily forget things that they use often and have some emotional tie to (in this case, adrenaline from combat, fear of death, etc). When people DO forget things like class material easily, it's because their brains don't find the material important and thus just relegate it to the short-term memory part of memory processing. It's true; look it up!
  • Barrier Change Boss: Nyx Avatar, as well as the Empress and Emperor bosses.
  • Barrier Maiden: The main character.
  • Battle Couple: The Protagonists and a fellow SEES member, if romanced.
  • Beach Episode: The Yakushima Island vacation, where the heroes meet Aigis. Noteworthy for "Operation Babe Hunt", in which the three guys embark on a nearly disastrous mission to pick up girls on the beach.
  • Become a Real Boy: Aigis becomes much more human towards the end, sometimes dropping her monotonous voice, and even crying. If you look closely in the final cutscene, Aigis has a human neck, hands, and her headphone thingies aren't there anymore, which means she also has ears. This is symbolic because in The Answer, she is still a robot.
  • BFS: Sword and Giant-type shadows have broadswords that are about 3 feet across and over 7 feet long. Nyx Avatar also carries a remarkably long blade.
  • Big Bad: Nyx, though she doesn't really want to destroy the world.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The All-Out Attack.
  • Big Eater: Elizabeth, who wonders why you stop eating after your seventh meal. The main character becomes this in the manga. The Gourmet King also counts.
    • Also, in Junpei's Social Link in the female protagonist's route, there is at least one dialogue option that leads to him commenting that the female protagonist eats a lot.
    • In a more realistic way, the Sports Team Manager (Strength Arcana) Social Link eats a bit after practice, and is mocked rather cruelly by other (presumably jealous) girls. You have the option of telling her she's looks great for bonus points. or telling her to take a few off.
  • Bigger Bad: Erebus, from The Answer, who most definitely does.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Shirt of Chivalry becomes one in the english version. The characters on the back of each character are fairly descriptive or ironic in Shinjiro's case. The main character's "honourable man", Blood Knight Akihiko's is "fight", Ken's is grudge, Junpei's is color, but more likely "dirty minded", and Shinjiro's is "life".
    • Also, "Kimi no Kioku", the ending theme song, which elaborates on the game's ending sequence and foreshadows Aigis and the rest of the team's emotional development during The Answer). Since there are no subtitles, it's up to the player to find out what the song's about. Of course, with a fanbase as detail-oriented as the Western Shin Megami Tensei one, all this can lead to a little frustration toward Atlus.
    • Strega means "witch" in Italian. One could argue that the Dark Hour is the Witching Hour.
  • Bishounen: The main character, Akihiko, Ryoji, Theodore.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the main character and the rest of SEES do eventually manage to save the world from, well, itself, none of their efforts will go recognized since no one else remembers what happened. This is especially heart-breaking since the main character sacrificed his (or her) soul so that they could seal away Nyx until humanity comes to terms with its fear of death, which probably won't happen for awhile, if at all.
  • Bland-Name Product: The numerous soft drinks in this game all have names that play on the names of their Real Life equivalents and also reference popular TV shows, video games, and even gaming conventions. For example, "Cylon Tea" described ingame as coming in 12 different flavors.
    • The BauerBar keeps you going for 24 hours.
    • Other examples are Cielo Mist (Sierra Mist), SoBay (SoBe) and Mad Bull (Red Bull).
  • Blessed with Suck: Strega's artificially-granted Personas require them to take drugs that shorten their lifespan in order to control it. Particularly Takaya, since rather than using an Evoker, he summons his via doubling over and clutching his head.
  • Bonus Boss: The Grim Reaper and, if you start a New Game+, Elizabeth. In Persona 3 Portable, Theodore can replace Elizabeth depending on choices at the start of the game. Additionally, it opens an entire roomful of bonus bosses during the final month, presided over by Margaret from Persona 4; most of these are harder variations on the Full Moon bosses with vastly increased stats and other limiting conditions for each fight. Defeat all of those, and you fight Margaret herself.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Monad. In the original game, it is the only area where one can get the game's Infinity+1 Sword(s).
  • Bottomless Bladder: Averted; going to the bathroom isn't necessary, strictly speaking, but doing so has a chance of giving you a better Condition.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Orpheus Telos in FES (max out all Social Links in a single playthrough) and the Omnipotent Orb (beat the New Game+ Bonus Boss).
  • Break the Cutie: Yukari has this happen to her at Yakushima Island, and the same thing happens to Mitsuru. Yukari's the one to eventually snap Mitsuru out of it, since she's already gone through something similar.
  • Broken Bridge: You can't progress past certain floors throughout Tartarus until the necessary plot-related events occur.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: The female protagonist's Moon Social Link with Shinjiro.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: One teacher constantly compares his lessons to the Sengoku Era and wears a Samurai helmet while teaching (that helmet belonged to Date Masamune, and he's an obvious fanboy of him). The whole faculty is like this, to some extent, from your cake-addicted homeroom teacher to the magic-practicing school nurse.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Of course, this symbolism appears in spades.
  • But Thou Must!: Many of the choices (and the story itself, for that matter) run on this principle, and it's inverted in a minor conversation with an unnamed NPC who wants you to pass on a Christmas present to one of your teammates. Your options in that case are "No", "I refuse" or "Absolutely not".
    • Also inverted during the full moon in July. You have to refuse to give in to the Lovers telling you to act on your desires in order to advance the story.
  • Call Back: The Nanjo and Kirijo Groups were once one and the same. Whether this makes the previous games canon or not is still unknown (see Mythology Gag below).
  • Calling Your Attacks: An interesting version: the protagonists (particularly the main character) will sometimes call the names of their Personas (i.e. Orpheus, Io, etc) before Evoking them; the actual attack names (like Bufu or Bash) are never once called.
  • Captain Ersatz: Koromaru is based on Hachiko, protecting the shrine his former owner worked at even after said owner's death.
  • Captain Obvious: Whomever is acting as Mission Control during battle, though Fuuka is by far the worse offender.
  • The Casanova: The main character has seven romantic subplots. Most of which are implied to end in Optional Sexual Encounters. One isn't even implied.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Junpei, though he eventually becomes a Ladykiller in Love.
  • Cast From HP: The Persona physical attacks work like this.
    • Great Seal takes it Up to Eleven by making you give up all of your HP, thereby killing the main character.
  • Censor Steam: Inverted. It helps keep the guys hidden during the hot springs incident.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Surprisingly present, considering the modern setting of the game. Early in the game, players can find a set of female-only armor called the High Cut Armor (renamed to Battle Panties in the PSP re-release). It consists of shoulder-length gloves, thigh-high boots and... not much else, yet it has a higher defense stat than most armor at the time you get it. The female protagonist, Mitsuru and Yukari can equip it, though the latter two are very reluctant to do so. Male party members are visibly shaken when the female protagonist tries to talk to them while wearing it. If the male party member happens to be her lover, they will get angry at her for wearing that outfit in public (namely around the other party members).
  • Character Blog: Besides the Let's Play, there's now this.
  • Chick Magnet: Every female Social Link can fall in love with the main character, including a second grader, an online gamer (who's actually the main character's homeroom teacher, and has fallen for him in real life as well), and a robot (it's complicated). And then there's Elizabeth. Her husband's joking aside, the elderly married bookstore owner seems to be the only exception. Akihiko is a Chick Magnet as well, albeit an unwilling one.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: The end of the Hanged Man Social Link.
  • Christmas Episode: Features whichever girl/guy you have the highest Social Link with.
  • City of Adventure: Port Island.
  • Classical Mythology: Quite a few; some allusions are relevant to the characters, some not so much. The more significant examples follow:
    • The main character's Persona: Orpheus -- The greatest poet and lyre player of his day, Orpheus descended into Tartarus (the land of the dead) to save his beloved Eurydice. He didn't succeed. He is eventually killed for, among other things, preaching against human sacrifice. Make of it what you will.
    • Who can ever forget how relevant the main character's Ultimate Persona could be? Messiah. If you have finished Persona 3, you'll know what that means.
    • Junpei's Persona: Hermes -- The god of thieves, his job was to conduct the dead to Tartarus. He invented the dice and was considered very easy-going and pleasant company. His ascended Persona is Trismegistus, meaning thrice-great, who was the Greeks' and Egyptians' attempt of combining cultures. In this case, by combining the messenger gods, Hermes and Thoth.
    • Akihiko's Persona: Polydeuces -- Better known as Pollux, he was the twin brother of Castor, and loved boxing so much he had his hands removed and replaced with iron ones. (don't give Akihiko any ideas). Polydeuces was also granted immortality, while Castor was fated for death.
      • Castor is Shinjiro's Persona: he preferred wrestling to boxing. Together, the twins are better known as the constellation Gemini.
    • Mitsuru's Persona: Artemisia (a.k.a. Artemis) -- The goddess of the hunt, she rode through the night in a silver chariot (sound familiar?). Though considered aloof and cold, she was actually the patron goddess of young lovers. She was also known for being ruthless to any man who dared stumble upon her as she bathed. Namely, the hunter Actaion was turned into a stag and then devoured by his own hunting dogs, and Siproites was turned into woman.
    • Aegis -- A shield made of goat-skin that, once it had the head of Medusa attached to it, became a powerful weapon.
      • Additionally, Aigis' initial Persona Palladion, is a statue of Pallas Athena stolen from Troy and taken to Rome. A "palladium" has also come to mean anything that provides protection or safety. Obviously, foreshadows her future Persona as well as her desire to always protect the protagonist. Plus, the goddess Metis was the mother of Athena. Considering that Aigis did not obtain Athena until after developing emotions, and Metis is basically all the emotions that Aigis cast away in The Answer, Metis, in a way, did give birth to Athena.
    • Ken's Persona: Nemesis -- One of the fates' sisters, her sibling Tyche represented arbitrary fortune while Nemesis represented the opposite: absolute justice. And she's a daughter of Nyx and as such represents a desire of death.
    • Koromaru's Persona: Cerberus -- A three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to Tartarus; Orpheus charmed him to enter the land of the dead.
    • Fuuka's Persona Lucia is inspired by Saint Lucy, the patron saint of the blind. Without Fuuka, SEES basically would be blind when inside Tartarus (though Saint Lucy is more biblical than mythological). However, Fuuka's ascended Persona Juno fits the trope just fine, her name interpreted as "she who warns/protects".
    • Yukari's ascended Persona Isis is - among many other titles - known as "she who knows the orphan", "she who seeks justice for the poor people", "she who seeks shelter for the weak people", and "she who seeks the righteousness in her people." She has also been known to be a powerful healer and user of magic. Plus, Isis went to ridiculously great lengths to resurrect her deceased husband, and those who have played The Answer will know what this means.
    • Nyx -- The dark-robed goddess of night who changed her mood often.
    • Takaya's Persona Hypnos is the god of sleep and the son of Nyx. And, well, starting a cult entirely devoted to Nyx and advocating death, essentially the eternal sleep, as salvation makes this seem fitting enough. Hypnos is also considered to be the god of false death. Compare that to the protagonist's Thanatos, Hypno's brother and the god of true death.
    • Jin's Persona Moros is the spirit of doom, and, in a sense, depression. He was the force which drove a man to his fate, and was another son of Nyx. Jin orchestrated the rise of the cult which pushed people to welcome their deaths.
    • Chidori's Persona Medea: Medea was a witch who helped betray her people and helped Jason steal the golden fleece. This hints at her powers to restore life and her High Heel Face Turn.
  • Class Trip: The junior and senior classes take a trip to Kyoto. The Hot Springs Episode happens during this trip.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Chihiro, of all people, is revealed to be one near the end of her Social Link.
  • Color-Coded Timestop: During the Dark Hour, there is a green filter over the world.
  • Color Motif: The game itself has a recurring dark blue motif, probably foreshadowing the nature of the ending.
  • Combination Attack: Fusion Spells, which are limited to the Protagonist only. Then, there's the All-Out Attack. There's also the Co-Op attacks in Persona 3 Portable.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The final battle against Nyx.
  • Compulsory School Age: Aigis.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Physical skills, while powerful, are of very limited use because they have a far lower hit rate than your weapons. However, when enemies use said skills, they have a high chance of hitting and causing criticals. The same goes for Dodge and Evade skills, which the game puts to sadistic use in The Answer.
  • Conflict Ball: In The Answer, the party falls apart and turns to infighting as to whether or not they should change the past. They figure things out and make up, eventually.
  • Continuity Cameo: Many are added to the PSP remake referencing Person 4.
  • Continuity Nod: Quite a few to the previous games and Persona 4. Their presence would normally lead one to assume the games are in the same continuity, but some difficulties, such as the lack of demons in the later two games, has lead to no little confusion among the fanbase as to whether the some or all of the games are in the same continuity, in an Alternate Continuity, represent one or more reboots of the continuity, or are completely unrelated with similar concepts.
    • The Kirijo Group used to be part of the Nanjo Group from Persona 1 and Persona 2.
    • Word of God states the butterflies are Philemon, who is still around in Persona 3, just taking more of an observer role.
    • Igor and the Velvet Room appear, Igor with an identical appearance to his other appearances and in the same role, and the Velvet Room is as always blue, although it's appearance changes from installment to installment.
    • Characters from Persona 1 and Persona 2 are referred to on the television in the lounge.
    • There are many references to Persona 2 in the aptly named MMORPG Innocent Sin, mostly related to Maya and Tatsuya.
    • Characters and locations from Persona 4 cameo in Persona 3 Portable:
      • The power outage which cancels Rise's appearance at Escapade is discussed during the Hermit full moon mission.
      • Yukiko, Inaba and the Amagi Inn appear in the female protagonist's story, and Chie is mentioned.
      • Kashiwagi, a teacher in Persona 4, appears in the male protagonist's story.
  • Copy and Paste Environments: One of the few big complaints about the game is that the randomly-generated floors in Tartarus tend to get repetitive after a while.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Tanaka, who's gleefully amoral about the shopping channel he runs. Initially comes into play with the Kirijo Group, though the truth turns out to be more complicated than that.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: H.P. Lovecraft would be proud.
  • Creepy Child: Pharos.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: SEES in The Journey and the main character in The Answer.
  • Custom Uniform: Only two of the main characters (the Protagonist and Aigis) wear a "straight" school uniform (and even then Aigis wears the winter uniform even during the summer). The rest tend to alter theirs by adding their own custom "accessories" and/or foregoing the uniform jacket.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Tanaka's threats in his attempt to keep the Protagonist from revealing that he's bilked him out of money. Said threats range in severity from uploading the Protagonist's picture to a dating site for convicts to ringing his doorbell every night at midnight.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: There are handfuls of them.
    • For example: Shinjiro's death could have been easily avoided if someone would have bothered to use Dia... not to mention that almost everyone in the group has it.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: And this as well. Takaya, in particular, is vastly more deadly in cutscenes than he is in genuine battle.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Although a heroic example, Metis gets extremely unhappy when it is even suggested she be left alone. It helps that her main color motif is black. There's also Chidori, a telepathic Gothic Lolita whose power is to heal others by draining her own life, and who has known the day she would die since gaining her Persona.
  • Dark World: The Dark Hour, between Midnight and 12:01 fits most of the criteria.
  • Dead Ex Machina: Shinji in the final boss battle. And if you completed his Social Link, "Striped Shirt" Akinari adds his own encouragement in the Eleventh-Hour Superpower scene immediately preceding said battle.
  • Dead Little Sister: Miki Sanada, literally and figuratively for Akihiko and Shinjiro, respectively.
  • Death Seeker: Shinjiro Aragaki.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Mitsuru, who gets double points for being An Ice Person (or at least, having a persona that's one).
  • Demonic Invaders: The Shadows.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Tanaka.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Every character has their own sooner or later.
  • The Determinator: It's implied that at the end of the game, the main character is only still alive from his sheer willpower in trying to keep his promise to meet his friends on the day of Graduation.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Tanaka, the Corrupt Corporate Executive who represents the Devil Arcana. If you max out his Social Link, he becomes a bit of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Mitsuru in her Social Link, when, in a minor Crowning Moment of Awesome, royally chews the piss out of her would-be fiance for insulting the protagonist and expresses her desire to be with him. Unsurprisingly, she makes a run for it upon realizing what she just said.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Shuji Ikutsuki's plans to bring about The End of the World as We Know It are derailed because he forgot to crucify the dog. Perhaps his last words should have been "I would have gotten away with it, if it hadn't been for You Meddling Kids. And Your Little Dog, Too!"
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The heroes are hoping to accomplish this by game's end. They only partly succeed.
  • Die or Fly: Before they were retconned into shooting Nyx's feathers, this was the idea behind the Evokers: despite shooting blanks, the stress of shooting yourself in the head would make it easier to summon your Persona. In a specific example of this trope, at the beginning of the game, the main character awakens his Persona abilities after being attacked by the first Full Moon Shadow.
  • Disappears Into Light: What happens to the character involved with the Sun Social Link.
  • Disc One Nuke: A "Quad elemental" Lilim can easily be fused by level 8, able to last for many times what its strength suggests. A similar combination for a quad elemental pale rider also exists and is obtainable by the time Lilim is outdated.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The last boss, after having went through 13 forms without his creepy, emotionless, echoing voice changing in any way, finally starts to sound upset about halfway through his final form... at which point he starts using his really annoying special attack Night Queen:

Let us finish this! It is the path of your choosing!!

  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Several of the Persona designs have this in play, but it's difficult to see the Tower Arcana Persona called Mara as anything but a penis on wheels. If you have this Persona as your main when you visit the Velvet Room, Elizabeth even seems to comment on how masculine it seems... Theodore, on the other hand, does not approve, protesting that it isn't ladylike.
    • And how can we forget the method of summoning Personas?
    • Aside from the usual suicide implications, the way Yukari, Chidori and Shinjiro use their evokers (how and where they "shoot" them) has probably the most blatant allusion to suicide.
    • The whole creepy child inside the protagonist thing takes a whole new meaning when you flip his gender.
    • The ESRB looks like they wanted to give this game an AO at the bare minimum. An excerpt of an analysis of the Persona from Persona 3 Portable:
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Averted by Koromaru. At one point, when Yukari assumes this trope is in effect and tries to feed him her burnt dinner, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The good ending requires this for the protagonist.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Though he represents the death arcana, the mysterious boy who the player encounters is a rather friendly sort of guy.
  • Downer Ending: The bad ending in spades.
  • The Dragon: Nyx Avatar a.k.a. Ryoji Mochizuki a.k.a. Pharos, though he's unaware of it at first.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Three words: Operation Babe Hunt. That is all.
  • Dummied Out: There are at least three cut scenes that were dubbed into English hidden in the sound files of the FES disc. The first is one of Ms Toriumi discussing your abscene for a week and her concern for your academics, the second is Yukari coming into your room to give you study guides Ms. Toriumi made for you, and the third is one of Junpei teasing the main character and Yukari about "shackin' under the same roof" and hinting at a secret of his own (joining SEES). Moreover, among the clips of the main character (AND Aigis) calling out their Persona's name, there are ones for each of the other character's Personas: Io, Isis, etc. Even Psyche despite Metis only being available in The Answer in which the protagonist is dead. These clips could just be there to prevent the game from crashing if one hacked in a Persona normally unusable. There are several analysis quotes from Mitsuru that hint at a different scenario of the rescue Fuuka mission. "Let's continue searching for Fuuka!" and "The specified area is up ahead!" It would seem Mitsuru was originally able to provide full support when you wandered into Tartarus via the gym and you wouldn't get separated. There are also some quotes used for the battle against the Shadow Protagonist in The Answer for characters commenting on him using their first Persona, ie Junpei saying "Hey, nobody copies my Hermes!", hinting at a possible reverting to their first Persona in The Answer.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Pretty much every death in the game. Mitsuru's father especially, since he dragged Ikutsuki down with him.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All members of the main cast, and most of the Social Links.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Bonus Boss uses the method of summoning her Persona that gets used by the Persona 4 characters.
    • Ken can be found talking with Yukari and Junpei by the temple several months before he gains any plot importance.
    • In the PSP version, some guy with a unique portrait randomly appears at Club Escapade on the epilogue day of the game and goes on about various problems he has before stating "But this has nothing to do with your situation." in bright red text. This is Vincent, star of the Atlus game Catherine, which was in production at the time of Persona 3 Portable's release.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After everything the protagonist and his True Companions went through, and all the sacrifices they made, they saved the world. In a Mega Ten game. Then in The Answer, it turned out that there was even hope for the main character.
  • Easter Egg: Barring the protagonist, make a team entirely of girls, entirely of guys (either Akihiko, Junpei and Ken, or Akihiko, Shinjiro and Ken - other combinations don't work), entirely of 2nd year students (Junpei, Yukari and Aigis), or of the original SEES members (Mitsuru, Akihiko, and Shinjiro) and talk to one of them in Tartarus; the team members will comment on the current party composition.
    • Similarly, put Akihiko and Ken together in a party with a female protagonist who's become lovers with both of them. Hilarity Ensues, compounded further if the fourth party member is Junpei.
    • Also, equip Mara as your persona and enter the Velvet Room and Elizabeth or Theodore will make an... interesting comment.
  • Easy Mode Mockery: In the PSP remake, the descriptions of the difficulty levels have subtle shades of this. Easy mode is passive-aggressively described as being for people who don't have time for tactical combat, as if the game is offended that you aren't playing it seriously. And the description for Normal difficulty implies if you aren't playing on at least that level you aren't enjoying the game at all.
  • Education Mama: Maiko's mother.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Nyx in Persona 3, and Erebus in Persona 3: FES.
  • Eldritch Location: Tartarus and Abyss of Time.
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower: The protagonist's Universe arcana, which is powered by The Power of Friendship.
  • Emo Teen: This is something of the Fanon's description of the main character's personality, particularly in the Let's Play of it.
  • Enemy Scan: One of Mitsuru, then Fuuka's major abilities.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Mitsuru. She has a very... obsessive fangirl outside the main character's classroom.
  • Every Girl Is Cuter With Hair Decs: The female main character. They're even symbolic: the main character is consistently equated with the "Fool" arcana, which is card #0 among the Major Arcana. However, it's also called card #22. Guess what roman numerals her hair decorations look like?
    • Possibly unintentional, but the hair decorations also coincide with Persona 3 Portable being released in Japan 22 years after the original MegaTen title.
  • Everyone Is Bi: In the vein of Revolutionary Girl Utena, even if all the explicit relationships in the game are heterosexual, all major characters have at least subtext with another character that in most cases rises to the level of a Romantic Two Girl (or Two Boy) Friendship). See the Ho Yay page for examples.
  • Evil Counterpart: Strega, a group of Persona-users opposing the heroes' own group SEES.
  • Evil Laugh: Takaya delivers a particularly maniacal one in his final fight against SEES.
  • Expansion Pack: Persona 3: FES notably allows the player to carry over painfully limited amounts of data from a game of the original.
  • Eyes of Gold: Elizabeth, Theodore and Takaya. In light of Persona 4, this inspires the creation of wiggling willows.
  • Fan Service: In FES, the player can dress the female characters in a variety of provocative outfits, such as a maid's costume or a swimsuit (or should this be considered Playing to The Fetishes?). Although the males (including the main character) can wear swimsuits as well.
    • In the PSP version of the game, you can dress yourself in these outfits when playing as the female lead, and the male NPCs react accordingly.
    • The female lead's path in the PSP version also alters the love motel sequence, so that instead of Yukari, it's Akihiko. In a towel. Yes please. Or Junpei if you prefer. His reaction is hilarious.
    • Also, in Persona 3 Portable, you can dress the guys up in butler outfits.
  • Fantastic Voyage: Mentioned in a preview for Show Within a Show Phoenix Ranger Featherman R.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: The hero asks why they have to be armed with things like bows and swords. The weapons supplier points out they already carry something that looks like a gun, and it would be a very bad idea to get the two confused. Or at least he does in the Let's Play.
  • Fast Forward Mechanic: There are time periods (i.e Evening, Afternoon) that can be skipped to.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Mitsuru's "Execution", which, as revealed in the manga, is supposedly being frozen alive and conscious by her Persona.
    • Also a case of It Got Worse when you realize that, if they're "executed", the guys are the very first targets of Mitsuru's newly-evolved Persona!
  • Festival Episode: Has two: the Summer Festival on August and the New Year's Festival on January 1st.
  • Fetch Quest: Most of Elizabeth's requests fall under this category. She'll usually demand X number of some item found from specific enemies. And some of them require you to hunt down the game's Metal Slime.
  • Fiction 500: The Kirijo Group.
  • The Final Temptation: Ryoji's request for you to kill him.
  • First Father Wins
  • Fish Out of Water: Elizabeth, Theo and Mitsuru during your dates.
  • Flunky Boss: Some of the Full Moon Shadows will summon lesser Shadows to assist them in the battle. One boss in The Answer (the Rebellious Cyclops) will also do this.
  • Foreshadowing: Orpheus turning into Thanatos in the beginning.
    • Ms. Toriumi has a character portrait, yet she's not important to the plot. She's not even one of your social links. Or so it seems.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Playstation Portable version flirts with what would have happened had the main character been female instead of male. Of course, the only thing she manages to do differently is indirectly save Shinjiro's life. Even then, he doesn't rejoin because he's in a coma for the rest of the game.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The female leads fit this: Yukari is sanguine, Mitsuru is choleric, Fuuka is phlegmatic, and Aigis is melancholy.
  • Four Is Death: October 4th is not a good day. Shinjiro accidentally killed Ken's mother on October 4th of 2007; on October 4th of 2009, Ken plans to kill Shinjiro in revenge, only for Shinjiro to take a bullet for him instead.
    • On November 4th, Ikutsuki reveals his intention to end the world, and kills Mitsuru's father, only to die himself.
    • Additionally, the Full Moon Shadows begin to appear starting in April, the fourth month of the year.
  • Functional Magic: The school nurse, while acting as a substitute teacher, actually teaches classes on magic throughout history, including defining the meanings of the tarot cards (if you pay attention, you'll realise that these correspond to the characters in your Social Links). The lessons are actually startlingly accurate.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad.
  • Fusion Dance
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Junpei blasts an enemy (Jin, Takaya's partner) off their feet and is implied to have wounded them with a blast of flame. When you actually fight that enemy later, they're immune to fire. Then again, Junpei is in an Unstoppable Rage at the moment. Several characters also take gunshots and injuries that are life-threatening in cutscenes, but merely annoying during a battle.
    • Chidori's Healing Factor is repeatedly mentioned and is a factor in gampelay; however, other characters have Personas with healing magic and that healing magic is never used to actually heal anyone who could stand to use it (an early example is Akihiko's bruised rib which keeps him from joining your party until a month or two into the game).
  • Genius Bruiser: Once your Academics reach level 6, the protagonist officially becomes a "Genius". Additionally, he/she's probably the one dishing out the most damage in Tartarus.
  • Genki Girl: Female main character can be this.
  • Genre Busting: It's an RPG Urban Fantasy about saving the world and the true self and romance and horror and psychology and resolutions and with dating sim mechanics.
  • Giant Mook: The Tower Boss Shadows are essentially "upgraded" versions of the normal enemy Shadows.
  • Glass Cannon: The Magical Magus boss, who is defeatable at reasonable levels only by rushing it with its weakness for repeated all out attacks with a bit of luck.
  • Global Currency Exception: Shinshoudo Antiques. Like Rag's Shop in other games, she only accepts jewels for unique items.
  • Gonk: The Gourmet King.
  • Gratuitous English: Mitsuru in the Japanese version.
  • Gratuitous French: Mitsuru in the English version.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Bebe, the foreign exchange student who mixes this in with what seems to be a French accent. In Japanese version, his speech uses a lot of katakana implying odd stressing as well as using odd pronouns (referring to himself as "sessha" and tagging "-dono" when referring to the protagonist).
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Yes, the game uses this one, too. In the English version at least, one of Shinjiro's ending-battle quotes comes across as this. It's rather Badass, too.
    • Shinjiro: Adios, asshole.¨
    • And also, a Shout-Out from Aigis as a battle quote after she returns from her encounter with Ryoji.
  • Grief Song: "Kimi no Kiodu". Lyrical Dissonance ahoy!
  • The Grim Reaper: An incredibly strong Bonus Boss called 'Death' stalks Tartarus and will chase you down if you remain on a floor for too long. Also, Nyx Avatar is the Anthropomorphic Personification of death. And let's not forget Thanatos. And the Pale Rider.
  • Groundhog Day Loop: The "Time Skips" of the new chapter The Answer in Persona 3: FES. Also one of the popular fandom interpretations of the New Game+ mechanic.
  • Guide Dang It: Maxing out all social links in one go for Orpheus Telos. Made slightly easier and slightly harder for the female protagonist's route as more Social Links are available at night, but she has many links which have a tiny frame to max out.
    • The female protagonist's few romantic Social Links can be difficult to turn in that direction, especially in comparison to the male protagonist's automatic romances. Though Shinjiro's is often cited because one would not usually spend time with a Social Link after raising it to maximum, Akihiko deserves a mention because he requires multiple flags, and a single mistake will keep them friends only. For even more fun, it's possible to completely break that Social Link altogether.
    • Not even getting into Ryoji's Social Link. Anyone who played the original Persona 3 or FES would realize that he only shows up for a month and thus would want to take the opportunity to spend time with him whenever possible, but woe unto someone who thinks that, oh, they have plenty of time. It is very easy to make his Social Link impossible to finish if you don't take, and accept, every chance to hang out with him.
    • The optional battle with Elizabeth/Theodore is impossible to win without exactly the right set-up of Personas and equipment, with absolutely nothing to indicate the restrictions on Personas. If you break one of the unsaid rules, you will immediately be hit with a Megidolan that does 9999 damage... and the player character's health caps at 999. There is a pattern to the attacks, if you even make it far enough to pick it out, but that doesn't make things much easier.
    • The attribute doors (Power, Magic, Endurance, Speed and Luck) in Vision Quest are varying degrees of frustrating, with Endurance and Speed as the worst offenders.
    • Completing the Compendium. That requires maxing out every Social Link in one go for Orpheus Telos and figuring out the combinations for certain Personas so you can fuse MORE Personas. Then there are the key items you need from Elizabeth's quests, which can be Guide Dang It in itself.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Used and averted at different times.
  • Gun Twirling: The main character and Mitsuru do this when they use their Evokers; seeing as how they're not guns either way, gun safety isn't that much an issue.
  • Hand Cannon: All There in the Manual: Takaya's revolver is a Smith & Wesson Model .500.
  • Handsome Lech: Ryoji Mochizuki.
  • Harder Than Hard: Maniax in Portable. Enemies do double damage, enemy advantage rates are boosted even further compared to Hard and any benefits from New Game+ are lost as you start from scratch.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: This is averted when it comes to increasing your character's non-combat statistics. Before exams, you'll need to have studied quite regularly to get the most out of it, and one of the characters even tells you that studying a bit each day rather than just cramming will go further.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: At least at first.
    • Interestingly, the female protagonist is rarely (if ever) shown actually wearing her headphones, and Fanon often depicts her as much more cheerful and extroverted than the male protagonist.
  • Heartbreaking in Hindsight: Lots of scenes involving the protagonist talking about the future, especially where love interests are involved. The Christmas Dates with Akihiko and Ken for the Female Protagonist hit especially hard.
  • Heroic Dog: Koromaru. He even fought Shadows, without an evoker, before joining your team.
  • Hero of Another Story: Vincent appears as an Early-Bird Cameo for the game Catherine in the PSP version. He makes references to events that involve his adventure.
  • Heel Face Turn: Chidori. Becomes Redemption Equals Death (although you can save her in FES and Persona 3 Portable, thus subverting this trope), and Love Redeems, too.
  • Hell Hound: Although Cerberus appears in nearly every game in the MegaTen family, this is the only game where he actually looks like his mythological namesake... a three-headed hound. Naturally, his elemental affinities are Dark and Fire.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: Officially nameless protagonist needs a name to be referred to by the non-voiced dialogue!
  • The Hero Dies
  • Heroic Mime: The main character. Lampshaded occasionally.
  • Heroic BSOD: Mitsuru suffers one of these after watching Shuji Ituksuki murder her father before her very eyes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ryoji in one ending, the main character in another. Prior to either, Mitsuru's father and Shinjiro.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Twice in the climax of the game.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Junpei Iori.
  • The Hidden Hour: Well, obviously.
  • High School: The game's main setting. It even turns into the Evil Tower of Ominousness at night.
  • Honorifics: Retained from the Japanese, albeit inconsistently.
  • Hot Chick with a Sword: Mitsuru, in a rare example of one not wielding a Japanese sword (she prefers a rapier).
  • Hot Springs Episode: The Kyoto school trip segment has a "minigame" where you have to avoid the girls when you "accidentally" stay in after it changes over from men-only to women-only.
  • A House Divided: Drives the plot of The Answer.
  • How We Got Here: The FES epilogue The Answer begins with an unexplained but fierce battle between Akihiko and Aigis, while Metis and Ken are seen fighting in the background. Much of the subsequent game is Aigis recounting the events that led up to what she obliquely calls "the incident".
  • Hurricane of Puns: One of Ikutsuki's hobbies is apparently coming up with bad puns to use in future conversations.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: If it wasn't for Jin, Takaya would have blown his head off/gotten himself killed due to overreaction.
  • I Ate What?/These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: The secret ingredient of Octopia's Weird Takoyaki, according to Theodore.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": Female variant. The B and J on the Priestess boss' breasts stand for Boaz and Jachin, two pillars in the biblical temple of Solomon. However, the two are reversed. Boaz is supposed to be on the left and Jachin on the right.
  • Implied Love Interest: Yukari and Aigis are heavily hinted for the Male Protagonist.
  • Infallible Babble: In the beginning of the game, while you're being told things like "Time never waits, it delivers all to the same end", you're also told that the main character has one year. Even if you did read it in the beginning, the meaning you get from it would be painfully different from what actually happens.
  • Informal Eulogy
  • Instant Death Bullet: Junpei gets shot by Takaya once and dies immediately (he gets better though). Doubly dubious in that he had no trouble with Chidori stabbing him with axes just five minutes earlier thanks to Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • Averted by Shinji. It takes two, and even then, he still has enough energy to get up and walk a few steps away.
  • Instant Runes: Light ("Hama") and Darkness ("Mudo") skills utilize this.
  • Interface Spoiler: The game goes out of its way to avert this by adding useless information to the interface in order to make it consistent. Fuuka and her Persona have a full set of battle stats, even though she never enters battle. Similarly, Shinjiro's Persona has a full set of skills he can learn as he levels, even though he'll die before learning most of them unless the player goes out of their way to level-grind him during the month of September.
    • However, the full moon counter is visible in the corner of the screen from the very beginning, even before the full moon has any significance whatsoever.
  • Irony: The bad ending is basically your (former) party members discussing the future, eventually deciding to celebrate it with a karaoke session. They're all about to die, along with the rest of the world, and no one knows this. At all. And it's all your fault.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Tartarus is the first, last, and pretty much only dungeon in the game.
  • It's a Small Net After All: According to Fuuka, it turns out Strega's Jin uses the screen name... "Jin".
  • Japanese Holidays: One Full Moon Shadow battle occurs on Tanabata, with an appropriate theme. Also, there are "holiday episodes" on certain dates, notably the New Year Festival (featuring SEES) and the Summer Festival and Christmas Eve (during which you have the option of going out with the girl you have the highest Social Link with/guy you are romantic with or Yukari and Fuuka).
  • Jerk With A Hidden Heart of Gold: Shinjiro Aragaki. Residential Badass foul-mouthed punk in imposing clothes, enjoys and fosters an extremely intimidating image (and would rather be seen that way, even by SEES), with a soft spot for dogs and cooking. If you spend time with him, he tells the protagonist to take care of their health and enjoy their life after recovering from a cold. It's rather ironic, seeing as they both make a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • The Moon Social Link clarifies that the jerkassery is more or less a facade (with good reason). He drops the act completely when he spends time with the heroine, and even has a fairly attractive smile.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Shuji Ikutsuki's plan to use SEES to reunite the Shadows and cause the Fall.
  • Kill'Em All: What Takaya REALLY wants for humanity.
  • Lawful Stupid: Mr. Ekoda, the classic literature teacher with seniority in Gekkoukan High. He does what he believes is in the best interest of the school and his students, which includes covering up the disappearance of Fuuka caused by bullies to save their (the bullies) reputation, and suspending Saori because of a gossip magazine's false story about her being promiscuous, and nearly suspending the main character, just for being her (only) friend. Mitsuru's punishment for him of the former act, and Miss Ounishi and Toriumi, his two kohai, brushing him off to support Saori's Crowning Moment of Awesome wholeheartedly were definitely well deserved.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo/Shout-Out: One available Persona is Ghost Rider... Er, we mean Hell Biker.
    • Bonus points for its original Japanese name being Hell's Angel.
    • The Gigas Shadows are blatantly patterned after Hulk Hogan.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Junpei gets suckered into doing this during the monorail incident. Naturally, you end up having to catch up with him and help him out, but he isn't too happy about it.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Essentially the motivation behind Ryoji's request to kill him... doing so would erase everyone's memories of the Dark Hour and their knowledge of their own doom.
  • Level Grinding: The whole point of Tartarus, lampshaded frequently. Unless you level grind, the Full Moon Shadows will kill you. A somewhat justifiable point of contention with this game is that the game pretty much has the Dating Sim phase and the Level Grinding phase.
  • Level Up At Intimacy 5: The Social Links. You can also screw up your Social Links and reverse the related arcana, meaning it can't be levelled up until you fix it. Screwing up -then- means you Break it, which is not good.
  • Living with the Villain: Major plot twist... twice.
  • Lost Forever: Certain personas need keys to be acessed. Unfortunately, you must complete Elizabeth's requests for these items. While going on date with Elizabeth seems like an easy request, forgetting to claim your reward by the deadline not only ensures that you will not get that key, but also ensures that you will not be able to complete anymore of the Elizabeth Date quests. Ouch. There goes your 100% completion.
    • The Female protagonist has quite a few of these concerning Social Links, resulting in some very Guide Dang It moments.
  • Love Hotels: One Boss Battle takes place inside one. Ironically enough, it takes place on July 7th, the date of the Tanabata festival. Non-ironically, it involves the battle against the Lovers arcana.
  • Love Hurts: As demonstrated by The Answer, where Aigis and Yukari are both plagued by painful memories of the main character.
  • Love Interests: Any or all of five different girls (seven in FES).
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Yukari and Mitsuru's attempt to win the key and go back in time to see the main character again even if it might undo their victory over Nyx and doom the world.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Kimi no Kioku" full stop. It's an upbeat and cheery tune... with the lyrics about the loss of a loved one (i.e. our hero, ladies and gentlemen).
  • MacGuffin Melee: The Answer has one point where all of the main party members are fighting each other over their individual pieces of the Key of Time.
  • Madness Mantra: "You want to want to die..."
  • The Magnificent: The most powerful Persona of each Arcana is named with an appropriately badass-sounding epithet when the player unlocks them by completing the appropriate Social Link.
  • Marathon Boss: The final boss, which consists of 13 "forms" (or, more accurately, 13 distinct attack patterns pertaining to a particular Arcanum, each with its own HP bar) with no breaks. 14, if you count the very first (Fool), but it doesn't attack you while in that one.
  • Market-Based Title: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable outside of Japan.
  • Meaningful Name: The tower is called Tartarus. There are Shadows coming from it, which are formed from the darkness of a person's heart, and they all center around Tartarus. The Persona that the main character starts with is called Orpheus. The main cast finds a humanoid robot called Aegis[2] somewhere in the middle of the game, and then meets Metis[3] in the epilogue. Have you heard of this before?
  • Meido: Each of the female characters has a Meido outfit. Mitsuru in particular, wearing the maid outfit, is sheer, unadulterated Fetish Fuel... and the line she gives when you ask her to put it on is almost Moe.
  • Metal Slime: The "Wealth Hand", the "Treasure Hand" and various other gold-plated "Hand" Shadows. Occasionally, you can find a floor made of nothing but these, though the Reaper's arrival is cut to a quarter on those floors.
  • Messianic Archetype: The main character. Just to hammer the point home, his ultimate Persona is actually called "Messiah".
  • Mini Game: After certain battles, there's a 3-card Monte (involving two to five cards instead) style card game where you can "win" a new Persona, a new weapon, gold, extra experience or a free healing (either for yourself or the entire party).
    • Also, the above-mentioned Hot Springs Episode, although the outcome only affects some incidental dialog which occurs shortly thereafter.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: One of the video recordings shows Fuuka using a stomach slimmer that goes into overdrive, tickling her uncontrollably. At that moment, Mitsuru knocks on Fuuka's door to hear her panting and hurriedly shout "I'm coming!", complete with humming sound in the background...
  • Moment Killer: Happens to the protagonist and Yukari at Yakushima Island (courtesy of Junpei, of course...).
  • Mondegreen: Burn my dread: Last battle.

Burrrrn rye Bread!
It's a man's man no-one's ever survived, invisible hands are behind you just that if you ever win that rage against race that you became now because it's no man's land.
Mask is in heavy rain now ultimately slain make shadows slave what we've done now is in vain make your voice seven twenty four seven but you gotta live it persecuted hot headed
comes from direction, indication you've got tutu Let it out Let it down Let it inside Let loose Letting letting damn depressed Let's get it up
Then whatcha gotta do is drop behind the town Drop rhyme drop hammer Digging like a labor You've got blood all volvo
Ash all Volvo Spit it out son game's over
buuurrrrn my bread!

  • Mood Whiplash: A few of the Social Links plots (Hierophant, most school activated ones) are fairly light.
  • Mr. Exposition: Metis in The Answer, played perfectly straight.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: A major reason for the game's breakout success. The strategic battle system, stat management and extensive customization features appealed to the usual Atlus audience of hardcore RPG enthusiasts, the art style and setting appealed to anime fans, and the social sim element appealed to female players (so much so that the PSP Enhanced Remake introduced a new female main character and respective campaign).
  • Multiple Endings
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Played with during the ending in March; if Kenji's link is maxed out in FES, he'll mention his sister will be attending Gekkoukan during the next year, and initially has no issue with the idea of the protagonist dating her (in fact, he says it'll keep her too busy to bother him). As soon as he realizes he'd potentially be the main character's brother-in-law, however, he takes the offer back.
  • Mythology Gag: Innocent Sin Online (and the accompanying player names Maya and Tatsuya) is one big Shout-Out to the characters of Persona 2 and the locations in Persona (and was originally a Shout-Out to Megami Tensei, the game that started it all). Also, several fusions (particularly the ones that Elizabeth requests) are those of key characters from other MegaTen games; Alice and Lilith, for example, were important characters in Shin Megami Tensei.
    • Early in the game, Junpei comments that rumors can't become real, which was a major plot point in Persona 2.
    • At one point, meeting with a counselor to decide your future is a big plot point (noted that The End of the World as We Know It is also supposed to happen makes this meaningful in another way).
    • The TV set in the lounge is sometimes tuned into "Trish's Who's Who!" which apparently interviews notable people in the area. Though their names are never given, judging from the descriptions, these include several characters from Persona and Persona 2, serving as something of an epilogue to those characters. Trish herself is a reference to a fairy in all three games, though is obviously not the same character.
    • The One-Woman Wail appearing in "Aria of Soul" and "The Battle for Every Man's Soul" is inherited from Persona and Persona 2, where the aria was sung by Igor's assistant Belladonna, and is likely being used in this game as a reference to Nyx's usual MegaTen appearance--an opera diva.
      • Also: "The Battle for Every Man's Soul" is a rock remix of the first half of the first Persona's version of theme. While it uses rock instruments, the rhythm is mostly the same (compare this to this).
    • In the Updated Rerelease that's Portable, there's a few references to Persona 4. One that won't be apparent to many is the fact that Ken's favorite food is the exact same one as his fellow Justice Arcana Nanako.
    • Hyponos, Nemesis and Thanatos were boss fights of the Snow Queen quest in the original Persona. Now they are Personas of Takaya, Ken and the Protagonist respectivly.
      • Also, Takaya's design is similar to that of Hyponos' boss form.
  • Names to Know in Anime:
  • New Transfer Student: Happens three times, with the first being the main character himself. The homeroom teacher even lampshades this on the third occurrence.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Yeah... funny story, turns out the Full Moon Shadows you've been killing the whole game were actually the only thing keeping the personification of Death itself from descending upon the world and obliterating all life. Whoops?
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Two notable examples:
    • First, Shuji Ikutsuki, who betrays the team later in the game. It turns out that his role in guiding SEES was really just his means of orchestrating his devious plot to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. He nearly succeeds, too.
    • Strega is another group that fits this trope. Although initially, they're only out to stop the main character from eliminating the Dark Hour (and thus the power of Persona, which both the heroes and Strega possess), as the true nature of the Shadow threat is revealed, they embrace the Fall, even going so far as to set up their own Cult to help bring it about.
  • Nintendo Hard: Hard Mode, which augments the enemies, gives them a random chance to go first when they shouldn't, and makes it near impossible to run. With the vastly increased damage and elemental weakness system, it's entirely possible for a higher level party to die before they can move if they are ambushed. Doubly so for Persona 3: FES: The Answer, which not only is locked on the Hard difficulty setting, but in addition to this, it locks you out of the Persona Compendium, which means you cannot re-summon older Persona on demand to match enemies you are fighting. That being said, in The Answer, Personas level up faster than in the Journey.
  • No Except Yes: From the speech where Ikutsuki betrays the party:

Mitsuru: You doctored it?!
Ikutsuki: I CORRECTED it.

    • And later from that same scene...

Yukari: So you were behind it all?! You used both me and my father!
Ikutsuki: "Used" is such an ugly word...

  • No Fair Cheating: If you try to use an Action Replay to get the Universe Persona earlier than the final battle, whoever is your Mission Control will express anger or shock... complete with English translation and voice acting!

Fuuka: Cheaters never win!
Mitsuru: ...You're cheating. I'll have to punish you.

  • No Indoor Voice: Some of the Personas upon being fused have a case of this.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Several in The Answer. First off, when you die, instead of Igor's original speech to the main character about how death comes for everyone, eventually, you get a lecture about how the main character gave his life so you could live yours, but now that you've died, it was all a waste. Then, in the arena battles, if you die to the other PCs, instead of immediately dying, the other PCs give you a lecture about their decision on what to do with the time machine and then the narrator laments you not being able to find out a different path than the obvious two.
  • Noodle Incident: Mr. Ekoda's punishment for lying about Fuuka's whereabouts to protect his career. If you ask Mitsuru afterwards, she'll tell you that you don't want to know what it was.
    • "Execution".
  • Not So Different: Shinjiro pretty much tells this to Ken when Ken tells Shinjiro that he's going to kill him to avenge his mother, who died when Shinjiro accidentally lost control of his persona. Shinjiro tells Ken that if he goes through with killing him, he'll become what Shinji was to him and regret it later on in life.
    • Also both think that the Female Protagonist should spend time with other people instead of them and in romance both are shocked that the protagonist would return their feelings (Shinji is planning on dying and doesn't think he's worth it, and Ken's Just a Kid, and any kid would be surprised that a Precocious Crush is mutual; both don't mind, but Ken is rightfully nervous about it).
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Subverted with Ikutsuki. After The Reveal, it seems that all of his terrible jokes were just an act to throw off suspicion. However, a video of him in FES shows that he still makes those jokes when no one is around, and he finds them genuinely funny.
  • Once in a Blue Moon: Thanks to using the actual calender for 2009, a blue moon (moon twice in one month) happens in December. Which coincides with the reveal of The End of the World as We Know It and the second moon is the choice for the Multiple Endings.
  • One-Winged Angel: The final boss was human 31 days before the encounter. As of January 31, he looks strongly similar to another Persona you might have, of the Death Arcana.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Heavily implied to be the ending to the romantic social links.
  • Panty Shot: Can be seen if the Female Protagonist stumbles during her attack, especially if she's wearing her summer clothes (Orange Cutsew).
  • Parental Abandonment: The main character, Akihiko and Shinjiro are all orphans, Yukari's mom is cold and unsupportive and her dad is dead, Junpei's dad is a drunk, Mitsuru's father is caring but distant and dies in the story, Fuuka's parents are excessively demanding and distant, Ken's mom is dead, and Koromaru's owner died. People with single parents don't even mention the other parent. The only person in the main cast who doesn't have this problem is Aigis because she's a robot.
    • Yet her creators all died 10 years prior to the Persona 3's events, so it still counts.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Mitsuru and the main character. Latter has the Emo Bangs variety.
  • Personality Powers: Quite literally, since a Persona is a manifestation of its user's psyche. At one point, Akihiko notes that his Persona is weak against Mitsuru's favored element and wonders (uncomfortably) if that means something.
    • He does show the strongest reaction (both before and after) to Mitsuru's execution...
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: Can we say that it's one of the results for the Hot Springs Episode and leave it at that?
  • Phantom Zone: Though normal humans are unaware of anything that goes on in the Dark Hour, damage to buildings (and people) carries over into the real world, which is why SEES has to stop the Shadows rampaging outside of Tartarus.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The PSP remake changes all of the blue menus to pink for the female protagonist. This extends to their respective personalities and, more obviously, their color schemes... the male protagonist has improbable blue hair, while the female protagonist has improbable red eyes.
    • Also, Yukari and Junpei.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Upon being defeated near the top of Tartarus, a wounded Jin stays behind and does this to blow up the Shadows climbing up from lower floors.
  • Playable Epilogue: The Answer.
  • Playing with Syringes: The Shadows
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Equipping the female protagonist with the "Battle Panties" and talking to her love interest while she's wearing them in Tartarus inevitably gets some form of this reaction. The bikini gets similarly amusing reactions.
  • Plotline Death: Shinjiro and Chidori both die in the course of the game.
  • Point of No Return: You are required to go to Tartarus on the final day, January 31. Once the Dark Hour comes on that day, you will not be able to exit Tartarus, even to stock up, sell your loot, or trade gems. As the Fated Day approaches, your characters remind you that you won't be able to leave once you enter.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Despite the Rule of Funny being in play, couldn't the guys have avoided execution at the hot springs if someone had just called out and said, "Don't come in yet!"?
    • Junpei mentions that that they could have told them it was a misunderstanding, then Akihiko mentions that Mitsuru would not have thought of it as a accident regardless and probably would have still have "executed" them.
  • Post Dramatic Stress Disorder: The main character collapses into a coma after his first battle against the Shadows. Don't get us started on the good ending, either.
  • The Power of Friendship: The Social Link system: the main character can form relationships called Social Links with significant people. Each one is associated with one of the Major Arcana and will power up Persona of the matching Tarot class when fused in the Velvet Room.
    • Not to mention that The Power Of Friendship literally empowers the Protagonist at the end, giving him a new Arcanum and allowing him to seal Nyx.
  • Preexisting Encounters: Tartarus and other areas with Mooks use the skippable variety.
  • Princess Curls: Mitsuru, up until junior high, as seen in FES's flashbacks.
    • Even in high school, she keeps one loose curl
  • Psycho Supporter: Jin.
  • Pungeon Master: Shuji Ikutsuki.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Persona 3: FES.
  • Puzzle Boss: The final Full Moon Shadow.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Yukari calls out Mitsuru at one SEES meeting for hiding information about the Shadow threat from them. Mitsuru's reasoning: "It never seemed relevant." That and Mitsuru was still traumatized from being a guinea pig in the events that led to the present crisis. Junpei goes into a period of this after the main character leads several successful missions.
  • Ramen Slurp: Really loudly, whenever the characters are in ramen shops.
  • Rare Candy: The Incense cards you earn over the course of the game. Wand cards drawn in Shuffle Time also have a slight chance of increasing a random stat(s) instead of granting bonus EXP. Notably, incense card boosts carry over in fusion. In Portable, the Incense cards are replaced with Minor Arcana Royalty cards (Queen of Wands, King of Swords, etc) which you do not use during Fusion, but any time you please on whatever Persona you have equipped.
  • Random Number God: If you're unlucky, you'll be mercilessly killed by bosses by random chance (i.e. getting Mudo'd by the Intrepid Knight or charmed the whole battle by the 4th full moon boss). At higher difficulties, getting back attacked meant the protagonist getting attacked several times in a row and dying before you can do anything.
  • Recurring Riff: There are bits and pieces of "Burn My Dread" and "Memories of You" (the opening and ending themes) scattered everywhere in the soundtrack. The same is true in Persona 3 Portable's opening theme "Soul Phrase" and most of the Protagonist's music.
  • Red Armband of Leadership: All members of SEES wear one when participating in "club activities" (even the dog). In addition, Student Council disciplinary officer Hidetoshi wears a yellow armband of leadership (yellow presumably to distinguish it from the red SEES armbands).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The now-two Protagonists of Persona 3 Portable form a rare Distaff Counterpart version of this.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Somehow, despite being mentioned in nearly every review for the game, the unique and somewhat creepy mechanic behind Persona summons--involving a self-inflicted headshot with a gun-like Evoker--attracted relatively little controversy. Possibly justified in that most Moral Guardians tend to focus on FPSes, and that mainstream Western culture already tends to find most Japanese things to be a bit out there...
  • Relationship Values: Cultivating your Social Links allows you to make better Personas.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The Grim Reaper Bonus Boss dual-wields revolvers with five-foot long barrels.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Igor is the only true consistent in the whole Persona series; while Philemon appears from time to time, he doesn't play a crucial role outside of Persona.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Strega, when it came to pursuing the Full Moon Shadows.
  • Robo-Family: Aigis and Metis are said to be sisters, as were all of the anti-shadow weapons that were built with Aigis.
  • Rule of Drama: A solid rule for the Dark Hour is that electricity doesn't work (with the exception of Mitsuru's bike and the dorm computer, explained as "special"). The streetlights, however, are still on when Shinjiro dies. Naturally, fans have poked fun at it.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Shinjiro's battle quotes indicate this.
    • "Who does he think he is?"
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Junpei does this when explaining a ghost story
  • School Festival: The Culture Festival, subverted (unfortunately for some).
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: The SEES team chooses to wear their school uniforms whenever they explore Tartarus even during weekends and holidays. You can't really hold it against them.
    • However, you can have them wear alternate costumes (their Summer/Winter clothing, swimsuits, maid outfits for the girls and, in Portable, butler suits for the guys and Santa outfits for the girls).
  • Screw Destiny: The whole final month is pretty much devoted to this assuming you don't kill Ryoji and also The Answer, the epilogue.
  • Scripted Battle: The final battle.
  • Second Year Protagonist
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: Strega.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Whenever you max out with a girl, the camera fades to black and says "You spend a tender moment with her." In Portable, it's "You spend a long time with" them.
  • Sexy Man, Instant Harem: Early on, Akihiko asks you and Junpei to meet him at the police station... while surrounded by a group of (according to Junpei) very attractive girls. Humorously, Akihiko completely ignores them for the whole event, implying that he's used to this trope and even finds it rather annoying.
    • The female main character Social Link also takes this on, a bit: while he may find a lot of girls who are attracted to him, it's been a long time since he's found anyone who has affection for him...
  • She's All Grown Up: Inverted with Yukiko Amagi in the PSP remake, as we get to see her two years prior to the events of her own game.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The Hanged Man boss has its three statues. Sometimes the only hit you get on it is the All Out Attack after it falls as it regenerates them immediately after their destruction.
  • Shotacon: For the female protagonist, she needs max courage to open up the Social Link with Ken in order to ignore the public opinion of this. But you can make this relationship romantic, and you still get to spend a long time with him when maxing the the Social Link out, though you have to make something akin to a marriage promise to get it. Naturally, the English version edits out most of the references.
  • Shout-Out: Things like the Cylon Tea (comes in 12 flavours), the Bauer Bar (gives you 24 hours of energy!) and Apathy Syndrome being postulated to be the curse of the local shrine god, along with many, many others. The game's brimming with shout outs to just about everything.
  • Showdown At High Noon: The gunfight between Takeharu Kirijo and Shuji Ikutsuki. Literally inverted in that it takes place during the Dark Hour, and thus at midnight. Subverted in that each man kills the other.
  • Shown Their Work: All over the place, but particularly with the Tarot Motifs. Is Persona 3 the only example to get Lovers and Death right?
    • Also, the female protagonist's hair pins, at least in her battle model, spell out the roman numerals "XXII" or 22, which, along with 0, is the number given for the Fool.
    • Also, Thanatos which might as well be Pharos/Ryoji instead of the Avatar of Nyx. Thanatos was the bringer of peaceful death, and Ryoji's offer on December 31st can be seen as a way for the protagonists to accept the Fall/Death with relative ease.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Some Social Link stages have the characters go up to Gekkoukan High's rooftop for contemplation purposes.
  • Smug Snake: Shuji Ikutsuki, during his Motive Rant.
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: Averted: when Shinjiro dies, you can go through his stuff and take back the equipment you lent him.
  • Someone Has to Die: Played straight by the main character, when he sacrifices his soul to become the Great Seal. Evidence? "I chooseth this fate of mine own free will."
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Averted and played straight. During the daytime when the protagonist is exploring Port Island and attending school, the music is very cheery and upbeat J-pop, which is pretty strange for such a serious game. However, when night rolls around, and the party heads out to Tartarus or a dungeon, the music becomes significantly darker, more frantic electronic/rap tunes.
    • In the May Event, before the player fights their first full moon shadow, Yukari and Junpei will comment on how "it's so quiet/it's so quiet it's creepy" in the monorail. However, with screechy, bizarre music with evident drumbeats and rap lyrics spaced throughout it playing over the event, it's hard to feel creeped out.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: After defeating the 12 Shadows, the entire group experiences this and cannot be bothered to go to Tartarus for quite some time. This is not due to completion, but rather the discovery your entire party was being used by Shuji Ikutski to bring the Fall. Mitsuru is gone for almost a month due to the death of her father.
    • Moreover, one of the main themes of The Answer is how the ex-SEES members are going to move on with their lives after the main character's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: After one of your True Companions dies, the school holds a memorial service. During this, you overhear some of the students talking shit about the recently deceased, and can choose to confront them.
  • Spirit Advisor: Pharos.
  • Spoiler Opening: If you pay close attention to the words that flash up on the screen during the opening, you'll realize that the main character dies at the end of the game. In addition, there is a fair bit of Foreshadowing of the connection between the protagonist, Pharos and Ryoji, and the FES opening also reveals some of the Tournament Arc of The Answer.
    • The theme song lyrics also hint at the main character's death, with references to a "ticking clock".
    • The opening animation also includes an image of Shinjiro's death.
    • Again in Portable's unique opening. Both protagonists at the end are seen over a coffin and are about to use their evokers and the screen turns red when they shoot. Also some double imagery is seen with regards to October 4th. In one half of the screen, Ken is calmly standing, but in the other half, he's putting his evoker to his head and Shinjiro can be seen in an escalator behind him. Also in the "rapid montage", the group shot of SEES is sandwiched by the love interests in the group.
  • Stalker with a Crush: A unique non-romantic take on this one: early in the game, Aigis -- for reasons she doesn't fully understand herself -- seems to have an obsession with the main character, taking it to the point that she actually breaks into his dorm room to monitor him. We later find out that it's because ten years ago she sealed away the Cosmic Horror's herald inside his body. Her memories of the event were corrupted, which is why she can't explain her desire to be near him. And, amusingly, it ultimately does wind up being played romantically and completely straight.
    • There's also an entertaining mini-saga that unfolds between two NPCs: at the start of the year, a girl is stalking a guy she has a massive crush on and slowly becomes repulsed by him. But while she's doing this, he's slowly falling in love with her. By the end of the year, he's the one stalking her.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Female Protagonist and Ryoji if you opt for Lovers path in his Social Link.
  • Student Council President: Mitsuru Kirijo.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: The only way to start the Devil Social Link is to pay the man clearly trying to rip you off 40,000 yen over a period of three visits. He even points this out after you pay the third time.
  • Summon Magic: The "Evoking" of one's Persona in battle, mainly carried out by shooting oneself in the head with a gun-shaped Evoker.
  • Super Mode: Aigis' "Orgia Mode". Aigis and Metis in FES.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: The Japanese title for this game is Persona Suri, the remake on PSP would be Persona Suri Portable. So that's PSP.
  • Surprisingly Similar Stories: With Neon Genesis Evangelion, to the point that listing the similarities is basically just a recap of the plot.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Be wary if you're suddenly encountering nothing but Golden Shadows. Death is likely on his way.
    • Be even warier if you come across a floor with no shadows and lots of rare golden chests. Death is likely to be around the next corner.
  • Take a Third Option: Aigis's decision in the PC arena battles in The Answer. Yukari and Mitsuru want to use the time key to go back and see the Main Character again, Akihiko and Ken want to respect the decisions the main character made, and Junpei and Koromaru want to beat the crap out of everyone until they listen to reason. Aigis takes a fourth option... to watch the miracle being performed so they can figure out what, exactly, the main character knew when he made his sacrifice.
  • Taking the Bullet: Shinjiro literally takes a bullet for Ken, after he had already been shot once. By a high caliber round, at that.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Mitsuru, though with red instead of black hair.
  • Tarot Motifs: Each Persona and each Shadow in the game is associated with a particular Arcana. Additionally, the game's protagonist can develop Social Links with other characters; each of these characters is also associated with a particular Arcana: the higher level a particular Social Link is, the more of a boost you'll get when fusing a Persona of that Arcana.
  • Team Mom: Mitsuru. Immensely important, since everyone in the dorm has some kind of family issues; she's the one who keeps their grades up and keeps them going to Tartarus to train.
    • This also matches the symbolic meaning of her tarot, the Empress.
  • Teaser Equipment: Alternate clothing can be purchased from the police station early on. Sadly, by the time you'll be able to afford it, more effective armor is already available.
  • Ted Baxter: Subverted with Junpei; he actually comes to realize his status as one and suffers a major inferiority complex as a result.
  • Theme Naming: Igor and his assistants are named after characters in the novel Frankenstein.
    • Also the mythology used; in this game, most of the main characters' Personas are derived from Greek Mythology.
  • That Came Out Wrong: There's a scene at the beginning of the game where Yukari tells the main character: "Seriously, don't say anything about last night"... right in front of a very surprised Junpei (who is not yet a SEES member at this point). She was referring, of course, to the awkward first encounter at the dorm (which happened in the last few moments of the Dark Hour), but Junpei immediately latches onto the less innocent interpretation. Cue stereotypical reaction from Yukari when she realizes exactly what she said...
    • There's also the video recording of Fuuka, where she's wearing a vibrating stomach trimmer, in her bedroom, in order to get in shape for the Summer Trip. Unfortunately, the settings got stuck on high, leaving her disabled and in an uncontrollable laughing fit. Mitsuru knocks on her bedroom door and Fuuka yells "I'm coming", with the vibrating stomach-trimmer humming in the background. Cue a very awkward Mitsuru who quickly apologizes for bothering her and runs off again post-haste.
  • Theme Tune Cameo
  • The Sociopath: Shuji Ikutsuki might seem like he's friendly and trying to save the world, but he's actually horrifyingly evil.
  • This Is a Drill: An... interesting set of pictures on the Japanese Persona 3: Portable blog was released on 9 October 2009, one of which crosses this with Fetish Fuel.
  • This Is Reality: To quote Mitsuru early on: "This isn't a game Akihiko." (Right)
  • Three Amigos: The main character, Junpei Iori and Yukari Takeba.
    • Akihiko, Mitsuru and Shinjiro were also the original founding members of SEES. Interesting enough, they're also the only two characters Mitsuru is on first name basis with as well.
  • Through His Stomach: Of the various gifts the protagonist can give to Social Links, the ones most guaranteed to go over well are the various homemade foods made at cooking club. Additionally, starting Koromaru's Social Link in the female protagonist's route involves feeding him.
  • Timed Mission: In the second full moon event, the Boss Of The Month takes control of a monorail and traps the party inside, forcing you to fight your way through to the front and defeat said boss before the train crashes.
  • Time Stands Still: Most of the "action" in the game takes place during the Dark Hour, a "hidden" hour between midnight and 12:01 accessible only to a select few (including Persona users). During this time, ordinary people are Transmogrified into coffins and unable to detect what goes on.
  • Time Travel: Prominently featured in Persona 3: FES, with numerous iterations.
    • Intangible Time Travel: Most of the "Doors of Time" only allow the party to view the event in question without being able to interact with it.
    • Portal to the Past: One of the "Doors of Time" leads to a past version of Paulownia Mall, allowing the team to buy supplies.
    • Temporal Paradox: At one point late in the game, Junpei voices the worry that by traveling back in time to see the Main Character one more time, they'll undo their defeat of Nyx in the previous time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Level 6 Courage bestows upon you, quite literally, the title of Badass.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Yukari in The Answer. She gets better.
  • Tournament Arc: In The Answer, the splintered party members organize a short tournament to settle their differences. Naturally, the main character's faction winds up fighting everybody else, two at a time.
  • Tragic Monster: Ryoji, who is the avatar of Nyx.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Think of Shinjiro, about what happened to him. And every single thing that he's gone through is actually very serious and manages to totally avoid going overboard, which is what makes it so incredibly awful.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Apparently required in order to summon a Persona.
  • Triple Shifter: Battling in Tartarus does affect you if you stay in there too long; characters can become "Tired" or "Sick," both affecting combat performance as long as the effect lasts.
  • Troubled but Cute: Shinjiro. Gets elevated to levels way beyond eleven in his Social Link, which was added for the female's story in Portable (complete with a romance option).
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: The imagery of children and teenagers committing mock-suicide is more than a little unsettling at first, is likely the single biggest reason behind the game's M rating in North America.
  • True Companions: As mentioned above. Surprisingly, for a Shin Megami Tensei game, the Gekkoukan team is a very pure example of the trope. It's explicitly mentioned when they begin their Fool's Journey as SEES (Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad), and their determination to fight a Cosmic Horror makes them change their name to Nyx Annihilation Team, empowered by the Judgement Arcana.
  • Tsundere: The main character's homeroom teacher Ms. Toriumi if the player completes the Hermit Social Link. Upon discovering who "Tatsuya" is, she flips out, asks the main character out to dinner, then throws a dictionary at him.
  • Turns Red: A few bosses do this, but most notably, the Final Boss, on its last form, begins using a technique that grants it "Repel" status against everything (including the supposedly unblockable Almighty spells) for a few turns, and then the That One Attack, which... well, see above in the That One Attack entry.
  • Ubermensch: Takaya, leader of Strega.
  • Unbroken Vigil: First Yukari towards the Protagonist, then Junpei to Chidori.
  • The Unfair Sex: The male protagonist must take care not to reverse or break Social Links by trying to date more than one girl at a time. The female protagonist does not have this problem.
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Useless Useful Spell: Averted, as per Mega Ten fare; though some enemies (and all bosses) are immune or resistant to some, bad status effect skills and instant death spells are completely viable. A VERY lethal combination is a Fear inducing skill followed by Ghastly Wail, which will NEVER miss. Ever. Bonus points if you first use a skill that increases suceptibility to status effects. This makes boss encounters like Fortune and Strength even more anticlimax than they already are...
  • Use Your Head: Shinjiro uses this as part of his critical animation, and to easily knock down a thug that was charging at him... Right before challenging the thug to try and kill him. The thug's reaction?
  • Verbal Tic: In the Japanese version, Aigis ends most of her sentences with "de arimasu". She drops it after her Character Development.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Most of the Social Links involve helping each of the NPC's overcome their problems. Since the Female Protagonist in Persona 3 Portable has a new set of Social Links, including all the male members of SEES, the caring potential's practically doubled.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Forcing your allies to to kill themselves on various barriers is very effective for at least one boss.
    • What's that? Death is coming, and you aren't near a stairway or access point? Quick! Split the team up on the floor and hope the Reaper chases down one of your teammates while you flee to safety!
    • If this is any indication as to how evil the Protagonist can be, it's probably the most accurate.
  • Visual Novel: Made apparent in FES.
  • Visual Pun: The Persona Mara is a rather NSFW example of this. The Persona/Demon also a Running Gag for the series.
    • Did you notice it has a nose?
    • Oh, it gets even better. It's weak against ice, and has the strongest pierce-type attack in the game. Think about those for a second.
      • Use it to make a weapon, and you get "Evil Hands". So in other words, you're awfully wicked for putting you hands on it.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: The Hierophant. It's the first boss in the entire game that shows just how much status effects are going to fuck you over, having an attack that causes Fear against the part and following up with a party scaled physical attack, and if more than one character has Fear, and you don't have Junpei with you, or you do have Junpei, and he gets affected and skips his turn, it's going to cause some massive damage, as well as getting a guaranteed bonus turn in Persona 3 Portable. While there are harder bosses in the game, including before this one, it really is the first boss that shows just how insane some of the battles can get and how one turn can screw with your strategy.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The game's main premise in a nutshell. Mitsuru will often remind you that, as a student, your studies are every bit as important as your duties at SEES. Conversely, Yukari will complain about having exams so soon after a grueling plot-driven boss battle.
  • Warmup Boss: Arcana Magician, which simply looks the same as other generic Shadows (a blob with hands and a mask); it merely has more hands and masks. You get A Taste of Power when Orpheus briefly becomes Thanatos and shreds it effortlessly.
  • Wasted Song: Arguably a good chunk of the soundtrack, since several tracks are only played during specific full moon missions.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: If the Protagonist kicks the bucket, the game is over. Although it's not apparent at first, it turns out there's a storyline reason for this: the Protagonist is the human vessel for the cosmic force of Death. If he were to be killed in battle, Death would be released, and all would be lost. This game is cheerful like that.
    • It even stays justified after Ryoji appears and reveals he's Death because the Protagonist is the only one with the ability to seal away Nyx. If he dies before the (solo) final battle, the world is doomed because nothing can be done to stop the Fall.
  • Weird Moon: Like most of the Shin Megami Tensei games, bad mojo brews when the moon is full. In Persona 3, which is unique in that it has a set amount of time before the world ends, there's a set number of full moons and each calls forth one or more extremely powerful Shadows themed after a specific Arcana of the Tarot (beginning with the Warmup Boss, The Magician).
  • We Used to Be Friends: Akihiko and Mitsuru with Shinjiro.
  • We Would Have Told You But: Mitsuru knows more about Tartarus and the Dark Hour than she initially lets on.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: GHHHOOOUUUULLLLL!!!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Takaya after he collapsed in laughter atop Tartarus during The End of the World as We Know It? Everyone else was sent to the foot of the tower as it went away, so where did he go?
  • What You Are in the Dark: The choice regarding whether to kill Ryoji or try to fight Nyx ultimately comes down to this, since if the protagonist goes against the rest of the team's wishes and kills him, nobody will remember that it was ever even an issue.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Officer Kurosawa sells the main characters weapons and armor. This doesn't explain where he gets all these functional medieval weapons, however.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The entire plot is very familar to those who've played Persona at least with the Snow Queen Quest. Nietzsche Wannabe who wants to bring about the end of the world through a sacrifice? Check. Not to metion that the Snow Queen IS Nyx. Also the main aseop of the main game (don't run away from your problems) is mirrored in Ken's Character Development.
  • Wistful Amnesia: Used in both endings.
    • Victory-Guided Amnesia: Good ending version though. The members of SEES forget what they did as the Dark Hour erased. They lose their Character Development unless you max out their Social Link, and even then, they've mostly forgotten the friendships they formed with the other team members. It's unclear if even the Protagonist remembers. However, everyone regains their memories on Graduation Day... just in time to find the hero die. *sniff*
    • Amnesia Missed a Spot: ...which makes it horrifying in the Bad Ending for the one character who did remember.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Mitsuru, especially in regards to her original motivations as a member of SEES. She was obsessed with cleaning the mess created by her paternal grandfather when he tried to destroy the world, as she considered it her personal responsibility as both his granddaughter and as heir to the Kirijo Group.
    • Made especially apparent in her character's video recording: she reflects that her Impossibly Cool Clothes are all chosen for her by the family fashion consultant, and that, all other things being equal, she'd rather be wearing the same pink casual dresses Yukari wears.
  • Yakuza: The Kirijo Group, complete with a company-owned High School (that doubled as a Shadow research facility, a (presumably) company-owned hospital capable of holding its patients hostage without raising eyebrows, and access to military-grade weaponry, is either this or a very corrupt and powerful local corporation... And in Japan, there's usually very little to separate the former from the latter.
    • There's also officer Kurosawa's 'connections'... Which appear to have no problem giving a police officer access to lethal weaponry to sell off-the-counter to schoolchildren. It's vaguely implied that his 'connections' are Kirijo pulling strings, too.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Akihiko theorizes this about Tartarus, which only shows up during the Dark Hour. When Fuuka is trapped inside, she claims to have only been there for a few hours, when in reality she's been missing for several days.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: "Thou art I, and I am thou..."
    • An equivalent of this is in the Japanese version as well (it uses "nanji"), though the Japanese version isn't grammatically incorrect.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Male Protagonist.
  • You Killed My Father: A subdued version plays out as Yukari's convinced that the Kirijo Group is hiding the truth about her father's death, and she's spent the past few years trying to find out what really happened. Once she learns the answer, it doesn't help.
    • And the whole October 4th affair is that Shinjiro accidentally murdered Ken's mom when going after a shadow with his newly found Persona. Ken wasn't very happy about that.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Hooray, you've destroyed the last of the Full Moon shadows and destroyed the Dark Hour! ...right?
  1. The above official artwork shows off the three themes of the game: Persona, school, and friends.
  2. Which is Greek for shield.
  3. Greek for prudence and wisdom.