Persona 4

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Life is truth, and never a dream...
All souls know this from birth...
The truth is something that is chosen and grasped...
Something discovered with one's vision and will.
Only by gaining that does the seeker become truth himself,

a cord that connects past and future.

Persona 4 is an Urban Fantasy Role Playing Game in the popular JRPG franchise Shin Megami Tensei, made by Atlus.

The Hero is an Ordinary High School Student (script name is not given, but he's called Souji Seta in the manga and Yu Narukami in the anime and fighting game), who will be living in the rural town of Inaba for a year with his uncle Ryotaro Dojima and his cousin Nanako. Not too long after he arrives, impossible murders begin to occur: people suddenly disappear, only for their bodies to be found hanging on telephone poles. Following an urban legend about a television channel that will show your soulmate at midnight on rainy days, the cast discover a mysterious otherworld on the other side of the television screen enveloped in a perpetual, oppressive fog.

Someone or something is kidnapping innocent people and throwing them into this otherworld, where the Shadows that inhabit it will eventually kill them. Using the power of Persona, The Hero and his friends resolve to enter the television world and rescue the kidnapped victims before the fog sets in and they die.

Persona 4 takes place in the same universe as all the other Persona games (according to Word of God anyways), and begins almost exactly a year after the events of The Answer in Persona 3:FES. The game runs off the Persona 3 engine and even on the same console, but with some upgrades to the graphics and different game mechanics. Most of the Persona 3's main features return, including the popular Social Links and the calendar day system - just as in Persona 3, the game takes place within an entire school year.

One major difference is that instead of the player climbing one long tower for much of the game's combat, the player instead enters the TV World and has access to multiple dungeons that unlock as the story progresses. Plotwise, the setting is rural versus the urban setting of Persona 3, which creates an entirely different feeling and plays against the game's main themes. Notably, some of the sexual overtones present in earlier Persona titles have returned in this one.

Persona 4 is considered by many to be one of the best JRPGs in recent memory, has won universal acclaim and many awards, and deftly followed up on the spur of interest caused by Persona 3 and cemented the SMT franchise's place in the Western gaming mainstream at last. It has also been called the Playstation 2's last great game, a very bold claim, but this excellent game is definitely a candidate for that.

Also, unlike other Shin Megami Tensei games, it is so happy that its dominant color motif is bright yellow. Seriously, even comparing it to its immediate predecessor, Persona 4 is quite possibly the most upbeat and positive game about murder ever made.

Giant Bomb's Let's Play now has its own page, check it out here.

The game has an anime adaptation, titled Persona 4: The Animation. Tropes belonging exclusively to the anime should be posted there.

A Playstation Vita remake, titled Persona 4: The Golden has been announced and is to be released on June 14th in Japan, with the US release date set ambiguously for Fall 2012. The remake features a new character named Mary, who, unlike Persona 3 Portable's new female character, is confirmed to NOT be a Gender Flip AU of the hero. In addition, there are alternate costumes for characters, new enemies and areas to explore, updated Ultimate Personas for the cast, a new gameplay mechanic involving motorbikes both in the real world and in the Midnight Channel, combination attacks between characters, and new events that take place during the time skipped in the original[1], such as a skiing trip in January. And on top of all of that, a completely redone opening animation by Studio Madhouse.

Atlus is also working with Arc System Works to develop Persona 4 Arena, a Blaz Blue-style fighting game set two months after the conclusion of the first game.

The late 2011 fanfare didn't stop there, Atlus revealed more two projects for the series: one is a Light Novel starring Naoto Shirogane as the protagonist called Persona X Detective: Naoto. The story of the novel takes place 1 year after the events of the game when Naoto is a senior in high school. However, it will not take place in Inaba but in a different town and a different school altogether. The other is a Spin-Off manga starring Yosuke, entitled Persona 4: The Magician running independently on Persona Magazine. In December, one more project was announced: a Japanese-only Persona 4 live stage production titled VisuaLive: Persona 4, which ran from March 15 through March 20 of 2012.

And if all of that wasn't enough to quench your thirsts, Persona 4: The Animation is now getting a Big Damn Movie; summarizing the events of the series while adding new scenes along with the true ending.


Persona 4 and its spinoffs provides examples of:
  • The Abridged Series:
  • Alliteration: Yosuke describes Chihiro as "The most bewitching bespectacled beauty I've ever beheld." and even pauses briefly whilst he thinks of a word for "seen" that starts with the letter B.
  • AI Roulette: And that is the only break the game will ever give you. It's also the only thing keeping the Magus enemies (who can use multiple elements) from exploiting your weakness endlessly.
  • Alice Allusion: The Persona Alice, who Teddie crossdresses as for a beauty pageant.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: More like gods in Yasoinaba.
  • All in a Row: Averted. The party members visibly follow you around in the TV world, but at a distance in a sort of loose formation.
  • All Myths Are True: A justified case of this trope: The world inside the TV is formed from the thoughts of all living humans, so it naturally follows that any myth that humanity had created would be true within that world.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The battle against Ameno-Sagiri, God of Fog, initially looks like this, but upon closer inspection, the battle takes place in the skies above Inaba.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Adachi is surprisingly simple, considering his importance to the plot; honestly, he actually comes across as noticeably weaker than the rather brutal Kunino-sagiri battle that preceded him. Justified in that he's immediately followed by the much more dangerous Ameno-sagiri, but it's still a bit jarring.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If your main character is targeted by an attack that would kill him (and thus lose you the game) one of the other characters will jump in and take the hit for him so long as their social link is at least level 1.
  • Anti-Grinding: The stronger you get, the less XP you get from fights.
    • Though it's possible to remain in the Midnight Channel for extended periods of time using the items you collect from treasure chest, if you take too long to rescue the Midnight Channel victims, they'll be killed once the fog sets in and you'll get a Game Over.
  • Arc Words / Catch Phrase:
    • "You're NOT me!"
    • "I am a Shadow... The true self..."
    • And also Nanako's habit of singing the Junes jingle. "Every day's great at your Jun~es!"
    • While not technically spoken by any character, the game itself reminds you (through song, no less!) to reach out to the Truth in about 90% of the game's battles.
    • Continuing in that vein: "The Search for the Truth"
    • And the arc words for the entire Persona series: 「我は汝・・・汝は我」 / "I am thou... thou art I."
  • Arbitrary Gun Power
  • The Artifact:
    • Shadows on the map will sometimes look like Persona 3's "Maya" series enemies, none of which appear in 4. The introductory cutscene to the game's first real fight makes it pretty clear that the Shadows can start out looking like the Maya enemies before transforming into their freaky battle shapes. That being said, none actually remain as a pathetic masked blob to go into battle.
    • Maxing out an S-link will note that you forged a bond that can not be broken. This was important in 3 where bonds that were not maxed would break after time, now it is mostly just congratulatory. Unless it's Ai's Social Link.
  • Artificial Riverbank
  • You Fail Biology Forever: Nanako, male platypuses don't have poisonous claws. Their venom is delivered through spurs located just above the heels of their hind legs. (Of course, Nanako is seven).
  • Asshole Victim: Morooka doesn't do or say a single solitary pleasant or likeable thing throughout the entire game, but it doesn't justify murder.
  • Assimilation Plot: Izanami's ultimate goal was to engulf the real world in fog, turning everyone into Shadows, because she claims that that is what humans desire--everyone would all be the same, wandering forever in fog without suffering. Ameno-sagiri also claims this, even while you beat the hell out of him.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Fox's healing leaves, which instantly heal your SP in a dungeon (and unlike in most other SMT games, SP recovery items can't be bought from stores normally), but cost a fortune until the higher ranks of the social linking. And by the time you reach these, you'll likely be in the loot-rich final dungeons, but your levels will be high enough that conserving SP won't be an issue anyway. So for the majority of the game, unless you can't afford to have a day passed, you're better off just leaving for the recovery.
    • Also Izanagi-No-Okami. If you decide to go through the True Ending to get him, you're in for a shock: He's a level 91 Persona, and he can't be registered into the Compendium. If you want to have in in later games, you'll have to level yourself up and amass all the Personas to make him.
  • Bait and Switch Boss: When fighting Shadow Rise, Teddie steps in and defeats the boss for you -- shortly before Shadow Teddie appears, and you have to fight him instead.
  • Base Breaker: Oddly enough, this very game itself along with Persona 3 split the Persona fandom in two, to fans of the 'original' two and the new slightly less grimdark Persona 3 and Persona 4 games.
  • Batman Gambit: Partially deconstructed. Naoto's works, but Kanji is furious at her for taking that sort of risk and is not shy about letting her know. Some other members of the team are definitely impressed, though, especially given the amount of detail she's able to remember from her own kidnapping.
  • Battle Theme Music: You'll hum to the Pre-existing encounters. You'll rock out to the boss battles.
  • Beat Them At Their Own Game: A funny example: After Yosuke signs the girls up against their will for a beauty pageant, they respond by signing the protagonist, Yosuke, and Kanji up for the crossdressing pageant. Then it happens again when Yosuke enters Teddie in the contest as a last minute entry, and after he wins a position as a judge of the beauty pageant the girls are in, he declares there be a swimsuit portion, much to the girls' chagrin.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Rise/Yukiko, Naoto and Chie respectively.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness:
    • Morooka, Kashiwagi, Hanako, and Mitsuo are all characterized as rotten people in general, are basically the only people in the entire game who aren't considered attractive and don't come around to be better people. Adachi is a subversion, but that's the point; the player is supposed to trust him. To clarify, Kashiwagi isn't necessarily ugly, just arrogant and comes off as desperate.
    • There is also an aversion; Igor's huge bloodshot eyes and long hooked give his appearance an unpleasant imp-like quality. Though cryptic, he's a stand-up guy and a staunch ally. Just to clarify just how rare this is, in the entire Mega Ten series, he is the only supernatural creature who: Is not working for you through bribery or coercion, is not part of your mind, nor trying to torture or manipulate you for his own ends, is not a playable character, and is actually helping you for essentially free. Just because he's a nice guy who happens to have a weird nose and a hot chick standing around all the time. Not to mention he always has pretty sound advice when dealing with responsibility or fusing your Personas.
    • Izanami, being a goddess, probably used to be quite pretty before she died and was cast down into the underworld to rot. Accordingly, she's more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist than an actual villain; she genuinely believes that her plans are what mankind really wants.
  • Become a Real Boy: Teddie realizes that he is a Shadow himself, born of the desire to appeal to people, which is why he appears as a cute mascot bear. Once he was granted a Persona, the party tells him late in the game that he has developed the ego necessary to control it. Which is why he was able to manifest in the "real world" in a human form. Slightly subverted in that he was motivated to do so in order to "score" with the female members of your party.
  • Beneath the Mask
  • Berserk Button:
    • An individual's shadow goes into berserk mode with a "You're not me!".
    • Hurting Nanako. Once Nanako is kidnapped, the entire party drops the jokes, and even suggesting to go to a different dungeon will result in glares. And when Nanako is thought to be dead... well, you better just hope you're not alone with Yosuke and Kanji in a room with a TV. The entire cast will have no mercy, and if you didn't get the good ending, then Namatame is killed by Yosuke and the gang pushing him into the TV. Don't fuck with Nanako.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The All-Out Attack. If you kill all the enemies in the process, you're rewarded with a skull mushroom cloud.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The game gives numerous opportunities for the Protagonist to have this towards Nanako.
  • Big No:
    • Kanji does one when Nanako tries the Christmas cake made by the girls before they could after she just got out of the hospital. Turns out, there was nothing to worry about.
    • While not really a big "no", Yosuke and Kanji both have these when Nanako appears to die. Yosuke screams "DAMN IT!!" and Kanji lets out a painful anguish cry and punches the wall as hard as he can. It's quite powerful to watch if you don't know she comes back alive.
  • Bile Fascination: In-universe example. Yosuke on the people who get excited over the murders:

They're like onlookers at a car crash. As long it's not happening to them, they're dying to get a closer look.

  • Bilingual Bonus: A surprisingly subtle one, from the Aiya Chinese Diner. "Aiya" is a Cantonese expression of displeasure or disappointment, and sure enough, the diner owner says this every time you don't finish the Rainy Day Special.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Human Teddie has this effect upon becoming a human, and, of course, abuses it with the girls.
  • Bishonen: Most of the principal male cast to a certain extent, but especially Teddie. Includes sparkle and drooling girls.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Subverted with Saki Konishi. The twisted Shopping District area in the TV world makes her come off this way... for about five minutes, until Yosuke's Shadow turns up, after which is becomes clear that while the echoes heard in the area were Saki's real feelings, they don't provide the full picture of her personality. Yosuke never once holds it against her, and though he accepts that she disliked him, he doesn't hesitate to describe her to others as a good person. It's something of a theme of all of the Shadow self confrontations that everyone has an ugly side to them, but that it doesn't define everything about them.
  • Blind Without'Em: The fog inside the TV is nearly impossible to see through (though the Protagonist can see slightly better than the rest of them), so the main characters have to wear special glasses made by Teddie to see through it.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Izanami and her aspect, Ameno-Sagiri, are Well-Intentioned Extremist divine beings and would fall somewhere between Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil if they were judged by human standards and followed the same set of moral norms as humanity. That being said, Izanami doesn't fully understand human motivations, and thus it isn't entirely fair to pinpoint her location on a traditional morality axis.
  • Blush Sticker: Ayane has these all the time.
  • Bokukko: Naoto uses boku to refer to herself in the Japanese version. The one scene that explicitly deals with this is changed to being about the pitch of voice in the English localization.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Going to the bathroom isn't necessary, strictly speaking, but doing so has a chance of giving you an item, and can also help you think of what to do next.
  • Bonus Boss: Each dungeon has a Bonus Boss which is available upon returning to it. In addition, Izanami, Japanese goddess of Death and Rebirth is available in the game if you unlock the True Ending, as well as Margaret on your second playthrough (only if you unlocked the True Ending on the previous playthrough). In a New Game+, the Grim Reaper from Persona 3 also shows up as a Chest Monster in each dungeon.
  • Bonus Dungeon: In the remakes, there's Hollow Forest, which has a variety of handicaps such as restrictions on your equipment and only being able to use items that are from within the dungeon, though it also provides methods to restore your SP.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Beating the Grim Reaper earns you an Infinity Plus One Weapon. Getting the True Ending also lets you fuse the Protagonist's ultimate Persona the next time through - except that it's a twelve-Persona fusion and it can't be registered in the Persona Compendium. Granted, it can learn all the highest elemental skills and their respective boosts, and its stats are insanely high, even for its level. Taking the time to level grind to use said persona can make beating Margaret and The Reaper extremely easy. Still a bragging rights reward nonetheless, as both the weapons and Persona cannot be transferred over to a New Game+, and you don't even keep your levels, so you have to grind to 91 all over again to get the Persona.
    • The bragging rights part especially sink in considering that both the ultimate Persona and the Infinity Plus One Weapons are anything but. The protagonist can fuse a persona that can make him invulnerable to any attack or use the strongest attacks in the game, neither of which he can do with which Izanagi no Ookami, and while the Reaper weapons do have the strongest attack power in the game, this is largely irrelevant - the damage you deal with skills is completely based upon the Strength or Magic Stats of your weapon. A weapon that boosts attributes or gives you nice perks are generally superior to the Reaper Weapons, although one could argue Kanji's and the Protagonist's are still fairly useful.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The calendar in your room is an ad for Persona 3.
  • Breather Episode: Pretty much everything that happens that isn't related to the murder plot, but especially the end of August and the whole month of October.
    • During your summer break, once you catch Mitsuo, there's over a whole month of time where everything seems fine and nothing at all happens until the plot picks up again once you've gone back to school.
    • The only thing of note that happens during October are exams and the Culture Festival, and the month before sees you rescuing Naoto, your last party member, and November brings Nanako getting kidnapped.
  • Broken Record: The truth will be hammered into your head until it feels like a migraine. The game is very insistent that you pursue it.
  • Brutal Honesty:

Teddie: Wow, this tastes awful!

  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Several of the teachers have some odd quirks, such as giving lectures with handpuppets and dressing like Ancient Egyptians.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of the game, the protagonist leaves Inaba to return home (see Parental Abandonment example below).
  • But Thou Must!: Somewhat improved from the previous game, but still there.
  • But Wait, There's More!: If you watch Tanaka's Amazing Commodities, you'll know that Tanaka does this without fail.
  • Call Back / Continuity Nod:
    • The class trip, which is basically a long list of locations from and references to Persona 3, some of them very obvious (Hi, Chihiro!) some of them not so obvious (They even reuse the background music for most locations, and the song playing in the nightclub should sound very familiar to anyone who watched the opening movie for FES...).
    • Running around, you can tell that the game is -ripe- with these. The history teacher mentioned in Bunny Ears Lawyer who wears ancient Egyptian headware complains about her brother, who apparently dresses up in samurai gear - said teacher is actually the history teacher from the school in Persona 3.
    • Rise will mention she had a secret show at the nightclub 2 years ago, but the power went out, most likely due to the Hermit Full Moon boss. Shinjiro in 3 even mentioned a show that got cancelled back then.
    • There's also the Sunday morning shopping channel show - anyone who's played Persona 3 will hear the callback before they see it.
    • In Kanji's social link, there is a reference to a pink alligator from a storybook. Akinari, one of the social links from Persona 3, wrote a story about a pink alligator.
    • You'd only recognize this example if you played Persona 3 and made a habit of turning on the TV in the dorm room, but when Nanako does her report on the platypus and asks you which gender is venomous, it's supposed to remind you of a TV program on the platypus from 3.
    • Naoto mentions that while researching the terms "Persona" and "Shadow" she came across an "unofficial project document" with information about both. This almost certainly came from the Kirijo Group's scientific research.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Yosuke is somewhat well known for this.
  • The Cameo:
    • Chihiro is featured with Voice Acting this time. Tanaka also returns selling his usual fares.
    • Inversely, Kashiwagi makes an appearance in the Beach Episode of Persona 3 for the PSP. A younger Yukiko appears in an event exclusive to the female main character, as well.
    • The shopping show. Here comes Tanakaaaaaaaaa, Over the airwaves to youuuuuuuuu. Granter of your desires!
  • Canon Name: While the Protagonist has no default name in the original release, Persona 4 Arena, which is a canon continuation of the storyline, states his name is Yu Narukami, as does the anime adaptation.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Doesn't help that the protagonist in the beginning was placed under contract... by a guy in a space limo.
  • Captain Obvious: Whoever is serving as Mission Control in battle. Over and over and over...
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Over the years, Atlus has really taken to building a franchise around Person 4, quite similar to what Square Enix did with Final Fantasy VII. To date, the series has or will produce; A Manga Adaptation, an Anime Adaptation, an Updated Rerelease, A Fighting Game Sequel, A Broadway Production, and more recently a manga and light novel spinoff with Yosuke and Naoto as the main characters respectively.
    • And this is all on top of Persona's general cash-cow status for Atlus!
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • In two instances in the game, the main characters tell someone the unbridled truth about their powers and the world inside the TV, only for the person to assume they're lying to cover up their true purpose.
      • Yukiko and Rise tell Naoto exactly how they're involved with the murder case. She doesn't believe it until after her kidnapping. It doesn't help that both of them are acting completely drunk at the time.
      • If you tell Dojima how you're involved, flat-out, he won't believe you either.
    • A humorous example: One of the guys in the Shopping District tells you about how he keeps seeing an ancient Egyptian, but nobody in his old hometown believes him. (It's actually the history teacher, Ms. Sofue.) Talk to him during the Playable Epilogue and he reveals they've started dating.
  • Cast From HP: The Persona physical attacks work like this.
  • The Catfish: Good luck catching that Guardian to max out the Hermit Social Link! To clarify: you need to fish on very specific days, have the correct fishing equipment Key Item in your possession, and have to avoid catching unwanted fish by using a certain technique that is mentioned all of once in the game. The saving grace is the vibration function; specific fish make specific bites on your line, and once you know the Guardian's style, it's MUCH easier to fish for.
    • Feed it to the cat during the quest "Cat Needs Food Badly" and you can clear the quest with only four feedings. (Otherwise, it takes twenty fish to clear the quest.) Hell of a way for the Guardian's career to end... then again, there's apparently more than one.
  • Chalk Outline: The floor of the Hub Level is littered with outlines of dead bodies.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The gas station attendant.
    • Namatame and Mitsuo both appear around Inaba and in neglible cutscenes well before becoming major players in the plot.
    • That delivery truck you see driving by while chasing the pervert spying on Rise? It's got the real kidnapper in it.
    • When you first show up at the gas station, a truck that appears to be the same delivery truck is getting filled up next to you, which would seem to indicate this is when Namatame also received his powers.
  • Chekhov's Lecture
    • The mythology lecture on the school trip. Fairly obvious, as it gives the background of the protagonist's first Persona.
    • One day a lecture brings up Friedrich Nietzsche. Unless you already beat the current dungeon on the first day possible, the next boss has an attack called Nihil Hand.
    • Adachi's statements to Nanako about how smart he is take on a whole new light later on...
    • You are asked to describe what the meaning of ressentiment is.Guess what the theme of Adachi's Motive Rant is.
  • Chick Magnet: Like in Persona 3, female Social Links have a tendency to fall for the main character -- though, unlike in Persona 3, you don't have to date them in order to max out their Social Link. Ironically, it's actually much easier to date them all now that you don't have to, since Ai and Naoto's Social Links can actually be broken (the former during a single part of her link, and the latter if you refuse to help her after getting to rank 5) and none of the girls get jealous if you date all of them at the same time (though Ai has a tendency to show up during Sunday events with the girls and stop them abruptly).
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: If you complete her S-Link, Nanako will to tell you she wants to marry you when she grows up before you leave.
    • In one of the Devil S. Link events, Sayoko mentions that a patient at her old hospital made her promise to marry him when he grew up. She says this because the boy died, and the guilt is eating away at her.
  • Christmas Cake: Noriko Kashiwagi, who is instantly pegged as being at least 40 during her introduction. Also Sayoko.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The TV world is formed through people's thoughts, beliefs, and desires.
  • Clark Kenting: Played straight with Rise when she first shows up in town. Everyone who comes to the tofu shop looking for her seems to assume she's an old woman, despite the fact she's just wearing a scarf on her head and an apron.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The spacy girl in the shopping district. Apparently, she's somewhat popular with the fanbase.
  • Color Motif: In contrast to the previous game, this game's color motif is bright yellow. Fitting, since it's the most upbeat SMT game yet.
  • Combination Attack: Characters are apparently able to do these in The Golden.
  • Combined Energy Attack: How Izanami-no-Okami is finally defeated.
  • Continuing Is Painful: As can be expected of a game that is so dialogue-heavy, most bosses have a lot of unskippable cutscenes before them that can wear down a player for a very hard boss if they don't feel like leveling up their characters. The crowning example, however, is the conversation that leads you either to the Bad or Good Ending, which has almost twenty minutes of scenes beforehand that you have to go through, and it's very easy to mess up.
  • Cooldown Hug: The Protagonist has the option to give Yosuke one of these during the Magician S-Link, assuming certain dialog options were previously chosen.
  • Copy and Paste Environments: Returning from Persona 3, but somewhat improved due to the occasional gimmick, non-randomized floor.
  • Critical Annoyance: Much like the previous game you have Teddie for an announcer during the battle who gives you information about damage taken or status effects. Unfortunately, much like Mission Control the previous game he. Just. Won't. Shut. Up. It is made slightly better by the fact that Teddie is replaced midway through for Rise but she also never shuts up and neither she nor Teddie will ever tells you anything you couldn't already see on the screen. This also becomes irritating because they never stop talking about the number of enemies, who defeated what enemy and what a cool move the character made.
  • Creepy Monotone: In contrast to all the other Shadows, Shadow Teddie barely has any fluctuations in his voice at all. Depending on your perspective, it's either absolutely bone chilling or completely awesome.
    • While not as much as the former Shadow Mitsuo is somewhat of a Dull Surprise, due to the fact he represents Mitsuo's inner emptiness.
  • Critical Hit: The animations that show it are quite satisfying to see. Also grants extra turns. Unlike in some other games, this doesn't have to be entirely random. There are spells that influence the probability of getting one.
  • Cross Counter: You and Brosuke get into one of these at the end of his Social Link Max.
  • Cross Dresser: You and your buddies get entered into a crossdressing beauty pageant by the girls for signing them up for the regular beauty pageant. Hilarity ensues.
  • Curtains Match the Window: It's rather interesting to note that just about every character (Major and Minor) has this trope in effect. There are only 2 characters who don't follow this trope: Teddie's human form (Blond hair, Blue Eyes) and Izanami's human form (whitish-grey hair and RED EYES), both of who are otherworldly beings of some sort. Hmmm.
  • Deconstruction: Pretty much every team member's Shadow does this for that character's given archetype. The team member's social links meanwhile go about the business of reconstructing them.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In some cases, defeating yourself means befriending yourself.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Many of Yosuke's views on gender roles and sexuality don't endear him to western audiences (See Dude, Not Funny). Given that he consistently suffers Laser-Guided Karma it's likely that the writers meant for Yosuke's attitude to be a character flaw that he largely overcomes by the end of the game.
  • Demonic Invaders: The Shadows.
  • Demonic Spider: Any monster in the game can become this if it happens to have skills your main character is weak against. Can also become such if they have status effects that strip control of the Protagonist if you like to keep your party automated. Some are very, very specifically annoying, such as those that drain SP or use instant death attacks. Considering this is Shin Megami Tensei, this is about par for the course.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Shortly after Kanji is kidnapped, Chie gives us this line:

First we save Kanji, then we crush the killer! Finally, we crush the killer and send him to hell!! Got it!?

  • Dialogue Tree: But of course!
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The True Ending, where you use the Power of Friendship to defeat Izanami, Shinto mother goddess turned deity of death. Yes, you win a fight against Japan's co-creator and vengeful embodiment of death, granted, by manifesting her husband and speaking the word that strips all lies away...
    • From the Megaten Wiki trivia section on Izanagi: In Japanese the skill Myriad Truths is literally translated as Ten Thousand Words of Truths, and Izanami's skill Thousand Curses is actually Thousand Words of Curses. The two skills most likely parallel Izanami's curse and Izanagi's vow in the original Japanese myths, where Izanami swore to kill 1,000 mortals a day and Izanagi countered by vowing to give life to 1,500 mortals a day.
  • Dirty Old Man: Morooka/King Moron is implied to be a Covert Pervert example through his exaggerated disgust at the perversity of his students and a dialogue segment where a fellow student tells you that he caught the teacher looking at a pinup book of Rise.
  • Disc One Final Boss:
    • Namatame. Not only is he found in the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon (if you don't get the Good Ending, at least), but he has semi-unique boss music too (reused for Adachi). Oh, and you get an animated cutscene during his One-Winged Angel transformation right before you fight him.
    • Also Mitsuo and Adachi. But the fact that the game's still running after you beat Mitsuo is kinda a giveaway. Bonus points to Adachi for the game going to great lengths to convince you he is the true final boss of the game.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Once early in the game (though it isn't quite revealed until some time later), then twice in a row near the end (but it's a subversion if you fall for the Red Herrings).
  • Disc One Nuke: Fusing Kaiwan on a Skill Change Fusion Forecast day can net you Victory Cry as early as level 24. For reference, Victory Cry fully restores your HP and SP after every battle, and is normally only available by fusing Lucifer on the final day and grinding him up to level 99.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • At one point in the game, Yosuke and Chie tail Kanji and Naoto, and hide themselves behind a tree. Yosuke is standing above Chie, who is on all-fours. Lampshaded (along with a lot of other stuff) in hiimdaisy's legendary comic.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Yosuke's well-intentioned "Maybe I should ask Yukiko for some private lessons", when the possibility of him studying with Yukiko is brought up. Cue bitch-slapping from Yukiko.
    • Also said by Yosuke, "You do seem to be good with your hands" to the main character, when the group talks about a cooking contest. Yosuke himself notices and backpedals.
  • Downer Ending: The game's worst ending.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The dream you have at the beginning of the game takes place in Yomotsu Hirasaka, and the person you fight is Izanami.
  • Dynamic Entry: If you have Kanji in your party during the fight with Izanami-no-Okami, when she starts using "Thousand Curses" he'll jump in and kick the protagonist in the head to shove him out of the way. This lead to an amusing YouTube video in which it becomes a Falcon Kick, based off of a theory that Kanji is Captain Falcon.
  • Dysfunction Junction: S-Links are back, complete with a host of tarot based neuroses.
  • Early Bird Boss: Shadow Yukiko, her Shadow is also a literal bird.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Rise appears in a commercial in the games opening cutscene.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The game makes a big deal about not being distracted with easy answers and that one has to search for the truth. If you follow this concept through, you will avoid the Bad Ending. In addition, if you realize the game isn't over during the ending sequence, you'll get the True Ending, which ends with the fog of deceit finally being lifted from the heart of humanity.
  • Ear Worm: In-universe example: the Tanaka's shopping jingle is said to be irritatingly catchy. The Junes' jingle is also extremely popular to sing among grade school children, apparently, with Nanako reporting that she's the best in her class at it.
  • Education Mama: Shu Nakajima, the Tower S-Link, has one of these.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Naoto's dungeon
  • Eldritch Location: The TV World, somewhat subverted in the True Ending.
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower: The Protagonist's "ultimate" Persona, which is attained through the strength of the Social Links formed up until that point and used to defeat Izanami.
  • Enemy Scan: One of Rise's abilities. Teddie doesn't do an actual scan - he just remembers what attacks worked and what didn't. Rise's is slightly better, and gets more useful if you max out her S. Link.
  • Enemy Without: People's "shadows" (until they're defeated, at which point they become a sort of Ally Without).
  • Epic Fail: Human Teddie coming in and getting all the girls as his dates during the shrine festival, leaving the boys all alone, is appropriately described by Yosuke as this. Also a bit of an Ascended Meme.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: Within a dozen or so seconds of the P 4 G opening.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: During the school campout, Kanji berates Yosuke for eating his animal crackers, during which the following exchange takes place:

Kanji: Dammit, I was so pumped about finding the penguin today...
Yosuke: Penguin?
Kanji: The secret animal cracker! You were eating them and didn't know that!?

  • Everything's Better with Spinning:
    • Yosuke's follow up attack, where he'll spin with both weapons in hand.
    • Teddie's follow up attack might also count.
    • Averted with some of the Shadows - both mooks and regular bosses. Shadow Naoto particularly comes to mind with Brave Blade
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: Shadow Teddie.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Anyone who goes inside the world inside the TV will eventually face their Shadow, which is a personification of their darkest thoughts and fears. The Shadow will kill its source when enraged, either by the victim provoking it or when the fog appears in the real world. The only exceptions are Nanako, who is too young to generate a Shadow, and the main character, who was given the power of Persona by Izanami directly and was already protected from the effects of the TV world.
    • Magatsu Izanagi, Adachi's persona, counts as well for the normal Izanagi.
    • Adachi could count to the protagonist due to the fact that their English VA is the same.
  • Evil Debt Collector: The 2nd book of the Timid Teacher series deals with one.
  • Expy:
    • The protagonist looks like, has a similar role to, and can often rather act like another certain silent protagonist in the same franchise. Given that DDS is an alternate Crapsack World for the SMT franchise, the resemblance might even be more than just cosmetic.
    • More of the random classmates from 3 reappear, most obviously, the gossiping girl with the bag and her friend, and the green haired guy with an assault conviction.
    • Naoto physically resembles Kuzonoha Raidou from Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army and starts with Sukuna-Hikona, one of the major antagonists from that game. Her summer casual clothes, later worn by her shadow as well, resembles the ensemble worn by Kuzunoha Kyouji. Apparently all of this was intentional since Raidou Kuzunoha VS King Abaddon was under development at the time and in Japan, this game was released before an official announcement of the next Raidou game, so all of the various references to Soulless Army were intended as hints to Atlus' next project.
    • Junes is pretty much the local Wal-Mart.
  • Expressive Mask: Teddie's mouth changes expressions, but doesn't move; the animated cutscenes show the lack of mouth movement isn't just a graphical quirk.
  • Extended Gameplay: Congratulations! You've solved the murders and now you get to enjoy the Playable Epilogue during the last day of the game. It's a "Playable Epilogue" because it's the only chance you get to unlock the True Ending route and solve the game's last dangling plot threads.
  • Extremity Extremist: Chie only fights with her feet, no arms are used. Even when summoning a Persona or defending.
  • Eyes of Gold: Everyone's Shadows.
  • Fake High: Rise and Yukiko get completely smashed at the dance club during the class trip...only for Naoto to reveal that the club doesn't even sell alcohol, being forbidden to do so due to a rise in drunk driving incidents the previous year.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The Shadow versions of Rise, and Kanji exemplify this. Shadow Rise is disturbing even before she goes berserk, especially the squelchy noises she makes when moving...
    • Shadow Chie, a whip bearing dominatrix sitting on a stack of school girls is no better.
    • Hanako in the beauty pageant.
    • Crossdressing Kanji anyone? Crossdressing Yosuke could count as well, depending on who you talk to.
    • Izanami isn't an especially bad looking woman. Until you see her true form...
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Subverted. Most of the characters don't use guns, but that's because they're civilian teenagers in a country with tight gun control laws, so they aren't trained to use them regardless. Naoto, however, has a license to carry, being a detective and all, and uses various kinds of pistols in combat. Thing is, as both a minor and private investigator (not a police detective), it would be incredibly unlikely for Naoto to be able to get a gun in real-life Japan.
  • Fast Forward Mechanic: There are time periods (i.e Evening, Afternoon) that can be skipped to.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: See Childhood Marriage Promise above.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Inverted; while the feminine Rise and Yukiko and the slightly tomboyish Chie are horrible chefs, the male protagonist and Naoto are actually good chefs.
  • Fetch Quest: Most sidequests fall under this category. They usually demand X number of some item found from specific enemies. It's needed to complete Fox's Social Link.
  • Flanderization: Happens in-universe with the characters' Shadows, which reduce them to a single (and completely overblown) defining trait.
  • Foil: The protagonist to Adachi, and (possibly unintentionally) both of them to Yosuke. The relationship between the first two is even hammered home by the fact that Adachi's persona is just a variation of Izanagi.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first time you see Adachi, Dojima asks him how long he's going to act like a rookie. Key word: Act.
    • Perhaps the most delicate foreshadowing is reserved for Izanami. Honestly, were you paying attention to anything the gas station attendant said throughout the year? Her Motive Rant at the end is practically distilled from the attendant's script, if you condense it a couple of months. Additionally, you can only speak to her on rainy days. Also, she's the only 'minor' character with a Voice Actress..
  • Four Is Death: When Nanako is hospitalized, the number on her room is 404.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: One of Ameno-no-Sagiri's powerful attacks. Even more powerful when he boosts his stats while hiding in fog. Hope you have Debilitate handy!
  • Friedrich Nietzsche: Much of the game's philosophical core seems to be Nietzschean in nature - actually Nietzschean, not the stuff people try to pin on him. (In fact, several of the villains are prominently Nietzsche Wannabes.) The concept of the "fog of deception around humanity" and the way it is explained seems lifted almost wholesale from Nietzsche's On Truth And Lies In A Nonmoral Sense; the concept of the truth being something that a person must look past themselves to truly grasp (a process that is often painful and requires critical self-reflection) is central to his thesis and is the core message of the game.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Even if you max Dojima's social link, it still leads to his What an Idiot! moment stated near the end of this page.
    • When you max out any of your party members, they never treat you differently than if you had remained rank 1 with them. If you reverse any of their links, they are pissed off at you until you make things right. During story sequences though, they are all smiles and your best friend.
    • After the final battle against Izanami, where she used "Thousand Curses" to kill your entire party and drag their bodies off who knows where, the camera pulls out to show...everyone standing there perfectly fine, with no mention of how any of them got back. Of course Izanami is a Master of Illusion so it may very well have all been in the team's minds.
    • If you wait long enough to start the Hanged Man Social Link, you still get the unnamed student worrying that Morooka will suspend him even if Morooka has been dead for months.
  • The Gas Station Attendant Was The Mastermind: The genesis of all the events that occurred over the year was...That person working at the gas station who shook your hand on your first day in town? Justified in that Izanami really didn't do anything other than shake your hand and watch for the majority of the year, so there was little to no reason to suspect her.
  • Gender Bender: Shadow Naoto tries to do this on the original, but your party stops it before it happens.
  • Genius Ditz: Yukiko consistently aces school exams, and yet manages to get the wrong end of the stick on more than one occasion - for example, when the group discusses a biker gang: Yosuke mentions that a student from their school, rumoured to be a member of said gang, is considered a legend. Yukiko immediately assumes he means that kind of legend.
  • 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.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Once their Social Links get high enough, your party members can actually do this to each other to "cure" certain status effects.
  • Ghibli Hills: The true form of the TV world, revealed after you defeat Izanami.
  • Giant Mook: The miniboss Shadows are essentially "upgraded" versions of the normal enemy Shadows.
  • The Glasses Come Off: The scripted portion of the battle against Izanami-no-Okami.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The glasses Teddie makes can see through the fog inside the TV and in Inaba.
  • Going Through the Motions: Even though the game uses 3D models, a lot of the gestures wind up like this.
  • Gonk:
    • Hanako.
    • Mitsuo and his fish eyes.
    • Morooka would probably fit the trope as well. That guy is in serious need of a dentist.
  • Good Morning, Crono: More like "good evening" in this case. Every time you return home after a long day at school, Nanako will greet you in adorable, borderline Tastes Like Diabetes fashion. You'll learn to miss it.
  • Gratuitous English: In the Japanese version.

LOAD GAME: Former game data is read.
NEW GAME: Game is begun newly.
CONFIG: Various setup is performed.

    • The soundtrack is predominantly in English. You'd be forgiven for not knowing that.
  • Groin Attack:
    • "Critical hit to the nads" indeed. This is usually Chie's preferred method of teaching Yosuke a lesson.
    • In the Persona 4 Manga, Chie's Shadow does this to Jiraiya, Yosuke's Persona, complete with both getting Blank White Eyes. Congrats, we now have a Running Gag.
    • Once you hit a certain rank in Chie and Yukiko's social links, then go through a dungeon you've already cleared, and the conversation will reveal that this is what Chie did when Kanji came into their tent on the night of the campout.
  • Guide Dang It: While it's quite possible to realize the True Ending exists given Ameno-Sagiri's comments and some Interface Spoilers, the game practically tries to force you away from it by pestering you many, many times to go home and get ready to return to the city. And the Good Ending? Picking the exact set of dialogue options to defuse Yosuke in just the right manner so that the group thinks that there's still something going on? Easy to screw up.
    • The special fusions like Alice are hard to obtain unless you played the previous SMT games or just got lucky when fusing. This is what makes Margaret's social link so hard.
    • You cannot fight the most powerful Secret Boss in the game if you don't finish the Empress S. Link before 12/24 and you have to enter the Velvet Room twice to talk to her at 3/20 before you proceed into the final dungeon for the True Ending. It's like the game expects you to use a damn guide on a NG+.
  • Guilt Based Gaming:
    • Just go ahead and try not to save the victims in time and see what happens. Especially with Nanako. You Jerk.
    • Used to a much more comical effect when you eat Nanako's pudding in the fridge, even though the game technically rewards you for it. (See Violation of Common Sense below.)
  • Hair Color Dissonance: A decent amount of fanart has Naoto's hair as black because of this.
  • Hannibal Lecture:
    • The raison d'etre of the Shadow Archetypes. Their existence is entirely based around deconstructing and showcasing the darker sides of their owners' personality. Unusually, the way to finally defeat them involves admitting that they're right, and not trying to deny them.
    • The Big Bad also tries to give you one at the end of his dungeon. Naoto, Yukiko, and Yosuke turn it back on him.
  • Hard Gay: Kanji's Shadow boss has a pair of these flanking it, as well as a embedding itself in a torso based on this, and surrounded by roses. The various Gigas enemies may count, especially the ones that resemble Hulk Hogan in rainbow tights.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: 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.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Yosuke, although he wears them around his neck to show that he's not totally cut off from the world.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Lose to Shadow Rise and it's Game Over, but once you get its HP down to a certain amount, it does an Enemy Scan on your party and goes to a Cutscene where it blasts the crap out of you. Just when it's looking dire for the group, Teddie rushes in and saves the day, and Rise does the usual thing. So everyone turns around to leave... But not so fast! Teddie decides to take that moment to pay attention to your own ability to tell two different people two different things about life, and his Shadow manifests. Cue a Boss Battle with Rise taking over as Mission Control (and a party at full HP and SP, suspiciously enough).
  • The Heartless: The Shadows.
  • Heel Face Turn:
    • After a character's Evil Counterpart is defeated, it becomes a Persona. There are exceptions: Namatame doesn't get a Persona since he never accepted it. Nor does Mitsuo, for the same reason. Adachi, who accepted his Shadow early on, managed to get the ability to summon a Persona while still being a sociopath, and the protagonist got his power through Divine Meddling.
    • Kanji himself, as he tries to reform his thuggish delinquent ways after joining the heroes.

I'm gonna tear this place apart so fast you won't have time to file for the insurance! Wait... I mean... I'm gonna tear it apart and rebuild it twice as good! I-I'm gonna RENOVATE your ass!

    • In the True Ending, Adachi (after getting throughly trounced by the main characters) sends a letter to the protagonist and gives the team the clues they need to completely solve the mystery, along with some friendly encouragement).
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Lampshaded, it is implied that people think an NPC who mentions the square button is strange.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: The Protagonist is officially nameless, and has to be provided with one by you. During voiced cutscenes, other characters refer to him as "Senpai" (mentor), or sometimes "Leader". The manga calls him Souji Seta while the anime and fighting game call him Yu Narukami.
  • Heroic Second Wind: The S-Link flashbacks sequence during the battle with Izanami.
  • Hidden Depths: Your party members if you follow their social links, particularly Kanji.
  • High School: The game's main setting.
  • Holding Hands: Probably unintentional, but the MC and Yosuke when the Magician link first starts.
  • Honorifics
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: A dream sequence near the beginning of the game has you fighting someone (presumed to be the Big Bad); it lasts all of six turns before you wake up, the last three not even letting you hit the boss.
    • Also occurs against Shadow Rise and in the final battle.
  • Hope Spot: The True Final Boss. You're in the last leg of the fight, Izanami is at her last sliver of health, and an epic Theme Music Power-Up is playing in the background. Then Izanami goes "oh fuck this" and starts spamming an unavoidable One-Hit Kill attack.
  • Hospital Hottie: Hello, Sayoko!
  • Hot-Blooded: If Kanji ever bled, it would eat through metal. "BRING IT ON!"
  • Hot for Student: Ms. Kashiwagi's self-confidence is so completely down the toilet that this actually comes up at one point.
  • Hot Shounen Stepmother: Eri Minami.
  • How to Become a Love Interest: Just like Persona 3, the majority of the love interests in this game tend to follow this formula:
  • HP to One: The Death Arcana Chance does this to the party along with fully restoring the party's SP. The reversed card does the exact opposite. Either one teleports you out of the dungeon and resets the floors.
  • Humanity on Trial: As revealed in The True Ending, Izanami gave the power of Persona to people representing emptiness, despair and hope in order to ascertain what humanity truly desired. Thanks to Adachi, she thinks humanity wants oblivion and it's up to you to beat the crap out of her in order to prevent her from doing so.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Played straight, but with minimal effectiveness: food items do restore HP, but the restoration is so little (i.e. 25 HP from a Steak Croquette) that you're better off using medicinal items for that purpose.
    • Played straight with the rare Tater Longs item, which restores all of a character's HP. However, it still can't be eaten during combat.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After Morooka is murdered, it is revealed through gossiping classmates that despite complaining about how his students are apparently obsessed with getting laid, he still takes the time to buy Rise's pinup books.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Adachi says something like this after arresting a stalker of Rise's.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: This trope, both inverted and played straight, is what ends up revealing Adachi. The characters have no evidence at all when they first confront him; he's just the only person they can think of who interacted with both of the initial victims, could have left the warning notes at the Dojima house, and would not have been noticed as suspicious regarding either of these. Once they start asking questions about his behavior, however, inconsistencies start popping up, first when he plays dumb and claims not to know or remember things he should know about, such as the threatening letter that got the player character into trouble with Dojima - and then when Dojima starts tearing into him over that, Adachi gets angry enough that he inadvertently describes the victims being "put in [to the TV]," a phrase that only the Investigation Team and the killer would have any reason to use.
  • Idiot Ball: Dojima and the protagonist pass it back and forth a few times in one scene, which directly leads to Nanako getting kidnapped.
  • Improbable Age: Nanako is six years old. Yes, the girl who's home alone more often than not, AND does all the laundry, AND does all the grocery shopping. Parental Abandonment really does wonders for one's independance.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Most of the weapons in the game are fairly realistic: the Protagonist favors "two-handed weapons", which are usually swords (although early in the game can be slightly more esoteric things like golf clubs or baseball bats); Yosuke dual-wields knives; Chie using "shoes and shinguards" may seem odd at first but given that she's an accomplished martial artist it makes sense; Teddie uses claws built into his suit; Naoto favors pistols. Yukiko and Kanji, however...
    • Yukiko uses hand-fans, of the traditional hiogi type, exclusively as her weapons; most of these aren't even of the "iron fan" variety (one early one you can get for her is basically made out of peacock feathers[2]), and yet they have as much base damage as any other weapon type. Only her fairly abysmal strength score prevents Yukiko from hitting as hard as melee heavies like Kanji or Chie, despite her weapon typically being made from wood and paper. (Even more unusually, she doesn't use them as a melee weapon; she throws them.)[3]
    • Speaking of Kanji, his weapon of choice is a "shield", or a large, wide, blunt weapon. This is already fairly unusual (using a shield as a weapon isn't totally unheard of, but using it as a primary weapon is), but early on... metal shields aren't available. This means that Kanji will use whatever large and flat objects he can lay hold of as a weapon... including folding chairs and desks at his school. This gets particularly hilarious in light of the fact that, technically, the heroes are supposed to be using their school uniforms to conceal the weapons and armor that would otherwise get them arrested... so how is Kanji concealing a desk?
    • Honorable mention also goes out to Teddie's initial Persona. Kintoki-douji is traditionally depicted as using a tomahawk. Wellllll... Teddie's Persona has one too, but we don't mean the hand-held hatchet variety, either. Sadly, once upgraded the Persona simply uses the same claws Teddie himself does.
  • Improvised Weapon: Except for Naoto, everyone's starting weapon is this (Kanji's entire fighting style revolves around this). Some of the later weapons are this as well (such as a titanium golf club for the protagonist).
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Not even Yukiko finds Teddie's bear puns funny, and she's the type to go into a laughing fit over any joke.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: And how!
  • Infallible Babble: Zig Zagged: it's rumoured that the Midnight Channel appears at midnight when it's raining (which is usually true), and shows you your "soulmate" (which isn't - it shows who the next person to end up in the TV is/will be).
  • Infant Immortality: Played straight in all except the worst possible variation of the bad ending.
  • Inn Security: Averted for the most part: you sleep in your own house (most of the time) and a fairly trustworthy fox provides healing services in the dungeon proper (for an outrageous price, which becomes less outrageous as you build your link with him).
  • Instant Runes: Light ("Hama") and Darkness ("Mudo") skills utilize this.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • The fact that you cannot reach MAX Judgement Social Link until after is about the only tipoff that Adachi is not as final a boss as he seems. Enjoy reaching out to the truth after that.
    • Why does the controller rumble when you shake the hand of a gas station attendant? Why is he still voiced after the beginning cutscene?
    • Why does that creepy guy hitting on Yukiko have a profile picture while talking with him? This is averted with the gas station attendant, who doesn't have one until you unlock the true ending.
  • Intoxication Ensues: During the school trip to Gekkokan High and Port Island, courtesy of drinking at the local nightclub. Yukiko, Rise, and Teddie get particularly sloshed, with hilarious consequences. Amusingly, it's actually subverted in that, as Naoto repeatedly insists, the nightclub isn't even permitted to serve any alcoholic drinks - they're only "drunk" off the ambience. Even more amusingly, the three of them are too "drunk" to care.
  • Invocation: The protagonists will sometimes call the names of their Personas before Evoking them complete with an Eyedscreen cut-in: when this happens, you know you hit the weakness of or landed a critical hit on at least one enemy.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Reach Out to the Truth
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Can get some fairly interesting ones by not saving victims before the fog rolls in. Not catching the killer leads to a particularly disturbing one, where Naoto calls you to warn Shadows are invading the real world, only to stop mid sentence and start screaming.
    • All of the Bad Endings have this sequence (spoilers!). They also play "Corridor", a somber piano theme which plays during the Credits sequence and Izanami's dungeon. If you have the latter happening, you're already at the True Ending.
  • It's Personal: Oh boy, where do we start? The best example is Nanako's kidnapping.
    • Yosuke makes a big deal about his beloved Saki-senpai and why she had to die whenever the murders come up.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Midnight Channel only comes on these. So do the murders. And the gas station attendant only shows up in the rain. Hmm...
  • Jerkass:
    • Morooka. King Moron indeed.
    • Yosuke dips into this category occasionally throughout the game, especially during the confrontation with Namatame, but for the most part he can more accurately described as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Really, it comes with being a teenager. A good example is his reaction to just how bad the curry is on the school camping trip, which leads to him being a bit of a Base Breaker.
    • Adachi. That is all.
    • Maybe subverted with the Main Character himself. Sure, he has a variety of asshole phrases you can use in the social links, but saying them more often than not will discourage your S-linker from wanting to talk to you again, unless you do something nice, like hang out with them or invite them to lunch.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
  • Johnny Yong Bosch: It's from Japan, it has at least one male character between 15 and 30 years old, he's required by physics to be involved. (Adachi and the Protagonist)
  • Just a Kid: Naoto's Shadow berates her with a rant to this effect. Also, Adachi tells the protagonists that "Students should stay home and study."
  • Just for Pun: An item named 'Goho-M' will instantly transport your party from the dungeon back to the entrance area. At first glance, it appears to just be another strangely named item in the game with some roots still stuck in the original Japanese (see Woolseyism on the YMMV tab), however, it can also be read as 'go ho-M', or 'Go Home'.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Adachi in the worst ending.
    • A more light hearted example, the girls during the Breather Episode.
    • Your party is a subversion if you chose to throw Namatame into the TV, what with the whole Instrumentality thing and all.
    • The mother of the bratty kid in Episode 14. Rubs Eri's insecurities as a mother in her face, tries to attack Yuuta, nearly kills Eri, and just waltzes off with a smug grin.
    • The driver of the hit-and-run that killed Nanako's mother, given that it was likely a tourist who's long since left Inaba and there were no witnesses, it seems unlikely he or she will ever get caught.
  • Keep It Foreign: In the Japanese version. One of your available reactions to Teddie's human form after the girls dressed him up is 'brilliant', said in English. In the English version it's 'Ces't Magnifique'.
  • Kid Hero: Everyone in the main character's party.
  • Kotatsu: Has a whole sub-plot about obtaining one.
  • Lap Pillow: One of the possible actions that the Protagonist can invite one of his party members (Rise) to do during the King's Game.
  • Large Ham:
    • MC, the pink-afro wearing announcer of the culture festival.
    • The Shadow Selves, especially Yukiko and Naoto. One teacher even asks the class if they know where the term "ham" originated from. (Pay attention when it comes up, too; it's on the exam.)
      • Except Shadow Teddie. This does not reduce his creepy factor in the slightest.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: There's a bit during Rise's Social Link where her ex-manager says something about how "the cult of personality" controls one's life and schedule. No kidding...
    • The first non-voice acted line in the game (outside of battle) is Morooka shouting, "Be quiet, you idiots!"
  • Left Hanging: Epileptic Trees aside, the Good and True endings to the game seem to do this quite deliberately for a couple plot points, which is what leads to so many shaking branches in the first place. Most prominent by far is the fact that, very much unlike the resolution to Persona 3 wherein the Dark Hour ceases after Nyx is beaten, even after Izanami has been defeated the TV portals still work. Naoto even intends to continue investigating Ame-no-Sagiri and Izanami, and there's a little worry that someone might try to abuse the realm beyond the TVs again. Could these be hooks for another sequel? Oh, perish the thought...
    • The True ending isn't that bad about it. Izanami states that she has been completely eradicated and the other world is purged of all fog and presumably shadows. While it's still available, it doesn't look like much could be done there but take a vacation.
    • It is implied that the world has always existed. Considering it lies in people's hearts, it probably is true.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Chie, Rise, and Yukiko. Yukiko is bad enough on her own (she uses the hero as a guinea pig during her S. Link events), but when they team up... Rise can cook but tends to add a lethal amount of spiciness to her meals. The three of them get it right in the end, but probably only because Naoto helped out (and after two failed attempts).
    • Yet another lethal chef can be found outside the Dojima residence on some days, and will give you her creations (bait).
  • Lestrade: Adachi is responsible for much of your knowledge about the police investigation of the case and he's the guy who did it, using this information to mislead you. Ryoutarou Dojima is in a position this would be expected from, but is not an example.
  • Let's Play:
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After the disastrous school camping trip comes up in a conversation, Kanji says something along the lines of "I thought we agreed never to talk about that."
  • Level Up At Intimacy 5: The Social Link system returns - but this time, with more immediate effects on combat when you develop your links with party members, culminating with their Persona evolving at the max S. Link.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the rest of the SMT series, hell compared to P3 which had Personas threatening to and killing people among other things. Compared to the rest of the series, Persona 4 is incredibly cheerful and upbeat, and the true ending is completely happy. No catch.
  • Limit Break: The supporting characters' follow-up attacks:
    • Yosuke, Yukiko, and Teddie only target and critical a single non-downed enemy, or kill it if low on health.
    • Kanji and Naoto multi-target 1-3 enemies to critical hit.
    • Chie just kicks them out of the battle, which works on any non-boss enemy.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Subverted in town, where PCs wear a variety of seasonal clothing, but played straight in battle. The latter is supposedly explained by the need to conceal their equipment under their school uniforms.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Yukiko was this until she became friends with Chie. Naoto also has elements of this, but gets better after joining the investigation squad, especially if you complete the Fortune social link. Ai has elements of it tied into her also being the Alpha Bitch.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Naoto. Deconstructed in that she knows damn well that information is being withheld from her and it causes her enough frustration to risk her life.
    • Dojima as well, though he has his suspicions.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Mitsuo Kubo, a somewhat Gonkish loner who wanted attention ends up becoming a copycat killer.
  • Love Hotels: Ms. Kashiwagi rents rooms at one (the one from the Hierophant and Lovers battles no less) for the class trip. Deliberately, as far as we can tell.
  • Luminescent Blush
  • Lost in Translation: The Personas used to fuse Izanagi-No-Okami are fairly random and unrelated but the first kana of each from each one top to bottom reads "create Izanagi-no-Okami"). This only barely (the first one or two levels of most spell "Isanagi-no-Okami" phonetically identical to the created Persona) works in English.
  • Magic Skirt: Subverted - Chie wears black bike shorts when in combat. It's not always easy to tell with a lot of the taller boots, but they're easy to see when she wears sneakers. Played straight with Yukiko's summer outfit.
  • Male Gaze: When Shadow Rise first appears on the Midnight Channel, the camera focuses on her chest and thighs, with the game commenting that you can't even see her face. Could also apply to Shadow Yukiko's intro. This point gets driven home later, when you learn that in the absence of a victim, the Midnight Channel simply shows whatever the public consciousness is thinking of, with the clarity tailored to each viewer. Not only is her figure apparently of immense interest to the folks of Inaba, but they're even exaggerated. At first, Rise doesn't think it's her because her breasts really aren't that big.
  • Man Behind the Man: Namatame is being manipulated by Adachi, who was being manipulated by Ameno-Sagiri, the lord of fog, who was in turn nothing but an fragment of the real mastermind, Izanami-no-Okami.
  • Masochist's Meal:
    • Mystery Food X and pretty much anything the girls cook until the end of the game.
    • The Protagonist can also eat Nanako's science project, which is a pot of grass. The game rewards you for doing so.
    • There is a bag of wasabi in the fridge. ... Lick it?
  • Mega Corp: The Junes Department Store.
    • Subverted. Not only is it just an ordinary department store, Yosuke is the son of the manager. In fact it is actually DOWNRIGHT HELPFUL at times. Its TV section serves as the gateway into the TV world while the food court is their meeting place. It also provides a place for Teddie to work in since he would stand out in the bear costume.
    • Played straight in the opinion of many Inaba citizens, especially those whose family stores are closed by Junes' presence. The vast majority of the shopping district is boarded up closed shops that presumably went out of business thanks to Junes.
  • Meganekko: The cast visits Gekkoukan High School, on Port Island, where they are greeted by Chihiro from Persona 3. She's had two years in which to shed her moe traits in exchange for being almost as hot as Tina Fey. Also, technically all your female party members since they wear attractive glasses inside the TV.
    • The Fighting Game spin-off/sequel the Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena gives you the option to put glasses on everyone.
  • Megaton Punch: Chie's follow-up attack. Of course, it's more like a Megaton Kick, but the enemy goes flying either way.
  • Metal Slime: Golden hands appear in every multi-level dungeon after Yukiko's. They'll attack you instead of running away or disappearing when cornered, and if you can kill them before they escape, they drop a lot of money and a key for the locked golden chests you'll sometimes find.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • Since the Shadows are based off of the protagonists' innermost feelings, they tend to have similar fighting styles to them.
    • Adachi fights by summoning a Persona, just like the main characters. Better yet, he summons a dark version of Izanagi called Magatsu Izanagi.
    • The Bonus Boss is also an example, having even more similarity to the players method of fighting, including the protagonist's Wild Card.
  • Missing Mom: Nanako's mother died in an accident.
  • Modesty Shorts: Chie wears bike shorts under her skirt -- good thing too, considering she's a Kick Chick.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The hints about the Good Ending are only (relatively) easy to pick up if you're Genre Savvy, or have it spoiled for you. The True Ending... yeah, have fun with that.
  • Mood Whiplash: This is easily one of the most cheerful games centered around murder.
    • Then November and December happen. It's painful.
    • Lighter and Softer: Persona 4 is extremely optimistic and upbeat for a Shin Megami Tensei game. It even has two happy endings. The Normal Ending is quite cheerful itself; it is only detracted if one bothers themselves with Fridge Logic.
    • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: For a game centered around murder, this game takes the scale and slams it hard against the idealism end.
  • Multiple Endings: The are a few Bad Endings, a Good Ending, and an even better True Ending.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: In the final battle, it looks like Izanami has delivered the final blow to the Protagonist and the investigation team with Thousand Curses. But just when all seems lost, the Protagonist gets an Eleventh-Hour Superpower through the Power of Friendship, is revived, and disposes of the goddess with one attack, Myriad Truths.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Namatame does this after realizing that his efforts to "save" the victims actually put them in a mortal danger. On a smaller scale, Rise does this after Naoto deliberately gets herself kidnapped by Namatame, in the hopes of proving that the killer is still out there. Rise is upset because the last thing Naoto said to the group before enacting this plan was "This is not a game for me either", answering Rise's earlier accusation that Naoto was only working the case for her own vain enjoyment.
  • Mythology Gag: One of Teddie's weapons is the "Strega Claw," described as a weapon for an "agent of revenge."
  • New Age Retro Hippie: Kunino-sagiri wears a shirt with a heart and the peace sign on it, and is supported in the air by a gigantic peace sign wrapped around its head. Doesn't help that he looks a thousand bloody years old.
  • New Game+: Allows you to carry over the Persona Compendium, your characteristics, and your money into a new game.
  • Next Sunday AD: The game was released in 2008 (or 2009 if you're European) and takes place in 2011-12.
  • Nice Hat: Naoto is rarely ever seen without a blue policeman/cabbie hat. Fans have theorized that it´s a keepsake from Naoto´s parents.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Choose to throw Namatame into the TV as revenge for Nanako? Congratulations, you just killed her. Oh, and Izanami gets to destroy the world unopposed.
    • Generally speaking, Shadows want to be accepted by their owners. At the same time it's part of their nature to expose their owners' faults for all to see, which leads to their owners violently rejecting them and their going berserk, ultimately killing the person in question if left unchecked.
  • Nintendo Hard: A hallmark of the series. Persona 3 was difficult, moreso in the updated re-release, but complaints about some easier parts of it lead the developers to jack the difficulty of Persona 4 up to 12. Of course, they also gave you a bunch of tools to make it easier, too. Party members are now directly controllable, the Nonstandard Game Over condition is much more forgiving than Persona 3's (if you weren't ready for a Full Moon Shadow, you were roadblocked if you saved over your file - if you fail the rescue, you can flash back a week and try again).
  • Nominal Importance: At the climax of the story, the game will ask you directly who the killer is and then provide you with a list of every single named person in the game to choose from. The killer is on that list somewhere.
    • Subverted heavily in the true ending, where it's revealed that The Big Bad is in fact the nameless, portraitless gas station attendant you met at the beginning of the game, and who's shown up every rainy day to watch the events unfold. As soon as you Pull the Thread enough to expose her, she gains a portrait, and then finally a name.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: If you fail to rescue someone, there'll be an event where one of your party members calls you, telling you that said person is now dead (except for the last deadline: Naoto calls, warning you that Shadows are appearing in the real world - and is promptly killed off by Shadows herself). This leads to a Heroic BSOD and a dizzy spell, which causes the Protagonist to begin to collapse... And then you're in the Velvet Room, with Igor offering to rewind time back one week in order for you to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Nosebleed: Kanji gets one of these during the swimsuit scene.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Averted, unlike Persona 3, social link characters will have a handy voice over when they first say their name.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Inaba before the main character arrives. Town residents will bemoan their boring lives. Some even get excited that horrible things are happening, because at least it's something worth talking about.
  • Not What It Looks Like - A meta-example - One FAQ for Persona 4 laid the games conversation choices out with only the lead in question. The last question for Yukiko's girlfirend social link, the point where they're in an intimate relationship, was given solely as "So.....the couch, or the futon?". Play through it, and they're just sitting.
  • Older Than They Look: Ayane Matsunaga, one of the two options for the Sun social link. Despite being only a year younger than the protagonist, if he chooses to bring her as his date to the Summer Festival, the man handing out prizes will mistake her for an elementary school student.
  • Ominous Fog: When the fog comes, someone's going to show up dead, unless you intervene. And even then, it's a crapshoot. Later becomes permanent, with your characters realizing it's the fog from the TV world.
  • One-Hit Kill: Hama and Mudo series. Of course, they are capable of missing like many others in RPGs. However, if an enemy is weak to light or darkness, Hama and Mudo will almost always hit it.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with a character and a place -- Kanji Tatsumi and Tatsumi Port Island (the location of Persona 3, which is visited during the game).
    • In Japanese they're spelled with different characters, but their readings are the same, so they appear the same in the English version.
  • One-Winged Angel: Adachi and Namatame both do this. Izanami also does this when you reveal her true form--a skeletal, maggot and filth-ridden corpse, just like in the legend that Edogawa told you during the class trip.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: At the end of the Christmas date, your girlfriend decides to spend the night and the screen fades to black. Followed by suggestive text. You could also make an argument that maxing any of the social links with a girl you've chosen to date leads to this. She asks to come to your bedroom, the two of you exchange words, and then it fades to black with the words 'You spent a long time with Insert Girl Here'. The thing is, most of these conversations end with your arms wrapped around the girl in question while you're sitting alone together in your bedroom, so one is forced to wonder what you spent such a long time doing...
  • Panty Shot: Ishtar, the last persona of the lovers arcana looks like this. No wonder then that she flashes whenever you summon her, though it’s still not that prominent. Chie on the other hand, despite being a Kick Chick with plenty of chances for this, manages to avert the trope by wearing shorts under her skirt.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall/No Fourth Wall:
    • One of the Shadow bosses does some serious tapping on the fourth wall, summoning a giant cel-shaded blockman (identical to the style of 3D Dot Game Heroes, actually) that attacks and uses items using a Shin Megami Tensei-style menu. We can prove it.
    • A more straight version is Yosuke muttering that he's insulted that he thinks of game characters this way. More likely, however, that he's saying it's insulting that Mitsuo thinks of the murders as a game.
    • Or on a return visit to that dungeon, adding Yosuke to your team results in him saying "Yosuke joined your party! ... or something like that, right?"
    • Adachi at one point says games like this need a twist, or they get boring really fast. While it can be seen as a joke for the players, it fits within the fourth wall, too. Adachi considered his murders and the competition between the team and Namatame to be a game for his enjoyment
  • Panthera Awesome: One of the personas the protagonist can have is Ose, who is a bipedal, dual-sword wielding, cape-wearing cheetah.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Yukiko in the intro.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • The Protagonist is forced to move to Inaba for the next year because his parents went to work overseas. The manga takes this even further by implying he's being moving to all different places his entire life. Goes into Parental Neglect, when you think about it. He's there for an entire year, and he never contacts his parents, and they never contact him.
    • Then there's Nanako, who does all the housework and practically lives by herself because of her father's habit of constantly being called into work, and her mother's habit of being dead. And to rub it in, he ends up severely injured and doesn't make it in time to see Nanako die - if you get the worst ending.
  • Playable Epilogue: The normal ending. Getting the true ending subverts this as it requires you to realize that the last day is only presented as a playable epilogue and that the game isn't over yet.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Officially, it's Teddie. In practice, everyone fills this role at one point or another.
  • Police Are Useless: But not incompetent. Dojima catches all the major plot turns: your involvement, the way the victims are selected, Namatame's involvement, the fact that Mitsuo is a copycat murderer, sometimes even before Naoto does. Sadly, the poor man is Wrong Genre Savvy, and doesn't realize that he's living an Urban Fantasy world. Then he gets the world's biggest Idiot Ball.
    • Part of that was in-universe Executive Meddling, though – the higher-ups were really pushing to just close the case and be done with it after Mitsuo was recaptured.
  • Potty Emergency: When the party first explores the TV World, Yosuke really has to go. He almost does it in a Room Full of Crazy, too.
  • Power Floats: The optional boss battle against Margaret, as well as Izanami's first form.
  • 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. Some of the tarots have more than one person associated with them, and you have to pick one over the other. In addition, each party member has an S-Link, and your level of S-Link power with them directly affects combat.
  • Power Trio:
    • Three Amigos: The main character, Chie, and Yosuke are the founding members of the Investigation Team.
    • Freudian Trio: Late in the game, The MC, Yosuke, and Naoto fit this dynamic.
  • Preexisting Encounters: Returning from Persona 3 intact (because it's the same engine).
  • Prolonged Prologue: The game takes a good three hours to establish the plot and the characters[5].
  • Properly Paranoid: Mr. Morooka assumes all of his students are horny bastards whose sole motivation is to get it on with members of the opposite sex. In the case of the main character, you are free to live down to his expectations. Yosuke isn't that far off either, and neither is at least one male student NPC.
  • Psychological Torment Zone: The TV world.
  • Ramen Slurp: Really loudly, whenever the characters are in ramen shops.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Every Arch-Shadow gives one of these, overlaps with a Hannibal Lecture.
  • Red Herring:
    • It wouldn't be a proper murder mystery without 'em. Hell, the non-True Endings come from following the Red Herrings instead of continuing to search. The game makes a big deal about finding the truth and not accepting the easy answer.
    • The biggest one is probably the mysterious figure in the fog that the game cuts to everytime a death is prevented making vague remarks how things aren't going to plan. Of the two "culprits" in the game the stuff the person says relates to neither of their motives meaning it's either someone totally unrelated to the murder plot or a third party that the game never goes into.
    • The Junes department store is not particularly popular for running smaller stores out of business, and their theme seems to be brainwashing Nanako, but it's harmless.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Unlike Persona 3 you can choose to do this with any, or all, or none, of the potential Love Interests. Some require more work into making this than others.
  • Remonstrating with a Gun: Yosuke does a variant of this early in the game. After offering the main character a choice between a long sword and a dagger, Yosuke gets it into his head that he should use both, and tries a few moves. A cop sees him, and moves in to arrest Yosuke. Yosuke tries to explain himself, while still flailing about with his weapons. He and the main character end up being arrested.
  • Retraux: Void Quest, in all its self-referential, Dragon Warrior I splendor. Repeatedly lampshaded, and Yosuke breaks the fourth wall if you take him into the big boss fight.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: For some, Teddie is the definition of this! Just READ the trope page, it's like it's describing him on purpose.
  • Relationship Values: Cultivating your Social Links allows you to make better Personas.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Chie and Yukiko could count, given the whole "Chie is my prince" scenario and their (perceived) dependence on each other.
  • Room Full of Crazy: When the characters first enter the TV world, they run into one. Near the end of the game, it's revealed that the room was created by Mayumi's thoughts and acts as the (second to) last dungeon.
  • Running Gag:
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Saki Konishi, whom Yosuke has a crush on; she ends up becoming the second murder victim, which makes it quite personal for him.
  • Sadist Teacher: Kinshiro "King Moron" Morooka, the brutally conservative Jerkass who is convinced that kids are all horny troublemakers and that the New Kid (you) is nothing but trouble as someone from the city. He also goes so far as to state that the deaths of the first two victims were their own fault. In front of a class of teenagers who probably knew one of the victims. Why exactly did it take so long for someone to kill him?
  • Sarashi: You can make an argument for Chie when she trains. But this trope is awarded to Naoto. Of course you see evidence of this in Kanji x Naoto fanart.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Adachi does this when you finally corner him.
  • Say My Name: NANAKOOOOOO! And also for another reason: ADACHIIIIIII!
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: The Protagonist does this when he first summons his Persona, Izanagi. Also occurs during All-Out Attacks.
  • School Idol: Yukiko appears to be one, and Naoto even makes the local news as the "Detective Prince". Rise as well, although it helps that she's also the other kind of idol.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: An attempted Justification is made by Chie suggesting they hide their weapons under them so they are not arrested. Whether this works for you depends on how hard you think about it.
    • Especially unconvincing since not a single main character wears the uniform properly, biggest culprits being Yukiko wearing a red jacket over her uniform and, ironically, Chie herself, with a huge green jacket over any top she may be wearing. (Though she is also the martal artist of the team, and her "weapons" are various leg and foot protectors)
    • It's not that hard of a stretch because most of the team wield weapons that could be easily hidden under their clothes (small knives/wrenches, fans, guns, and footwear),and Teddie could simply hide his gloves/claws in his suit. The only oddballs are Kanji (shields, folding chairs, and a school desk) Narukami, who wields 2-handed swords.
  • Schrodinger's Gun: All the little differences between the game's Multiple Endings, but perhaps the most prominent of which is the fact that the doctors were able to revive Nanako isn't revealed until after you decide what to do about Namatame. Should you choose to throw him in the TV, Nanako remains dead. You Bastard.
  • Scripted Battle: The end of the battles with Shadow Rise and Izanami-no-Okami.
  • Sexophone: Muscle Blues.
  • Shadow Archetype: One of the more impressive things about this game is that the Shadows follow the Jungian model. They're the parts of a person that they least want to admit exist; denying them only makes them stronger.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Happens a couple of times to Yosuke and Chie. A bit subverted in that it is entirely possible for the Protagonist to make the assertion true... unless Chie is all for polygamy, anyway.
  • Shielded Core Boss: Shadow Mitsuo of the "Void Quest" dungeon is surrounded by a shell of ... pixel blocks resembling a gigantic 8-bit sprite (yes, really). Rise informs you that you have to destroy his outer shell before you can attack him directly.
    • Though once you destroy the shell, Shadow Mitsuo is knocked down, allowing you to issue an All-Out Attack.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Rise ships Chie/Yosuke and Kanji/Naoto. And, of course, herself/Protagonist.
    • The Protagonist himself is given the option to ship Kanji/Naoto.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Frequently a viable strategy, especially against the bosses who come with minions. On the flip side, if all four of your party members can heal...
    • Kanji's shadow boss is a perfect example of the above. The shadow will come flanked with two minions, one who will cast buffs and heal the main boss, and the other who will target Yukiko far more than the other party members.
    • Works for the enemies too. All of your party members' evolved Personas gain an elemental immunity and lose an elemental weakness, except for Yukiko and Teddie, who only gain the immunity. Their particularity is that they're the only ones who learn the Dia (single healing) and Media (party healing) family of spells, revive spells and status removal spells. Which means that they're the only ones who can get the Downed status through elemental attacks, when later bosses tend to exploit weaknesses when they discover them.
  • Shorttank: Chie definitely fits the archetype.
  • Shout-Out: There is no way that the cutscene with Namatame writing in a notebook in front of the TV wasn't a reference to Death Note.
    • After blatantly and repeatedly propositioning the player character, Sayoko offers to pour him a cup of hot coffee.
  • Show Within a Show: Phoenix Ranger Featherman R returns yet again! You will often find Nanako watching it downstairs --when else?-- on Sundays. Yuuta also becomes a fan during the Temperance social link.
    • Witch Detective Loveline, one of the books you can get in the game, becomes a show in Persona 4 The Animation and is Nanako's favorite.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal:
    • "You're not me!" It never ends well.
    • "'Favored by the world' my ass, I'm gonna say it flat out. You're just a worthless criminal!" - Yosuke on Adachi.
      • Also in the same scene:
      • Chie: "Nobody wants anything like that! It's just you, dumbass!"
      • Yukiko: "You're just throwing a tantrum like a kid who can't have his way!"
      • Rise: "That's complete BS!"
      • Naoto: "Your twisted logic is like that of an immature, egotistic brat!"
  • Single-Issue Psychology: While the game doesn't fall totally into this trap (as the social links for your party members follow up extensively on their "core" issue after you save them from their Shadow), it's still a little convenient that you punch the heck out of your dark side and then you can accept it easily.
    • It also helps that they're not necessarily accepting their dark side; just accepting that it exists. None of them really come to terms with it until you complete their social link.
  • Skinship Grope: Naoto gets felt up by the other girls, in the hot springs.
  • Slice of Life: The game takes a page from this genre and defaults to this for Character Development during the breather scenes.
  • Small Town Boredom: Part of the reason Adachi causes the murders. It is also part of the shadows for Yosuke and Yukiko.
  • Specs of Awesome: Every character with a Persona.
  • Spit Take: The reaction to Mystery Food X from both you and Yosuke.
  • The Spock: Naoto acts like this in order to be taken more seriously by adults.
  • Stealth Pun: Rise: "It's weak against wind, this'll be a breeze!"
  • Stop Helping Me!: Mission Control, in spades. Mostly due to the incredible amount of Captain Obvious.
"There are four enemies."
—Teddie or Rise
  • Story to Gameplay Ratio: The sheer amount of dialogue in the game (1.5 times the amount in Persona 3) is just staggering. Even the translators were shocked when they realized just how much they had to translate, with less time to do so than for Persona 3. Reaching the first "free" day can take a good 4 hours just to get past the introduction.
  • Summon Magic: The "Evoking" of one's Persona in battle.
  • Surprisingly Good English:
    • The song lyrics were always in English (except the ending theme), and barring speed are pronounced very well. Understanding it however...
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Adachi, when he figures out the Protagonist and his friends are behind the reappearances of those tossed into the TV. Comes with Ax Crazy-sounding voice.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Kanji, to Naoto. Needless to say, this only makes his sexuality issues that much worse...though he also, naturally, is the most understanding when dealing with her Shadow.
  • Take That: An easily missed side quest will net you a special book that you can read to increase your Diligence and Expression. It is described as "a ploddingly-written romantic comedy about a girl who moves to a new town. Vampires are involved." The game then describes it as painful to read, hence the increase in Diligence. Here's a screenshot of the event.
  • Take That Player: An interesting and low-key one. In the Moon Social Link, at Rank 6 you are given the "No turning back" warning, which usually implies that you can become a lover of someone. However, since Ai is In Love with Love the relationship will be simple play-dates and she will break up with you at Rank 9. This seems to be a good shot at all of the gamers who just look at the romantic subplot as just a way to collect a harem. You can make it romantic if you hold off on becoming Ai's lover but it also requires more work for the Protagonist.
  • Taking the Bullet: Characters that you have a Social Link with will take any single-target attack that would kill you in your place once per battle. Most players actually recommend making sure everyone on your team has at least a Level 1 S-Link rank. Also, During the final boss fight, as part of a story sequence, the boss will use an attack that has a one-hit KO. She will spam it at you, but the first three times, your allies will take the attack for you.
  • 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.
    • Shadows tend to be associated with the reversed or negative aspects of the Arcana, as opposed to the positive ones. (For example, Shadow Chie represents jealousy, egotism, and insensitivity to the feelings of others, all things represented by the reversed Chariot.)
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: An in-universe example in one Kanji's Social Links. He says the dolls he made are "so cute, they'll give you diabetes! The fatal kind!"
  • Team Pet: Teddie fills this role somewhat, but becomes human. The fox from the shrine is probably a better candidate, but it generally does its own thing when you're not bribing it for SP.
  • Technology Marches On: Small example; the cell phones used by the Investigation Team look rather dated by 2011 terms.
  • That One Case: The Hierophant social link (and to a lesser degree, the Justice social link, where it is mentioned in passing) reveal that Ryoutarou Dojima's That One Case is the hit and run that killed his wife.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: During the final battle with Izanami-no-Okami, the music starts out sounding hopeless. After a few minutes, a piece of the recurring theme "I'll Face Myself" plays, and shortly afterwards the song builds into an amazing instrumental of the main battle theme, "Reach Out to the Truth."
  • There Are No Therapists: Inaba seriously needs a psychiatrist because it's gotten to the point where people are being killed by the Anthropomorphic Personification of their repressed feelings. But at least they have you....
  • This Loser Is You: Mitsuo could be construed as a Take That to players, being a creepy and ugly guy who hides behind video games. Also, giant floating baby.
  • Those Two Guys: Daisuke and Kou, who are grouped together as the "Fellow Athletes" Social Link.
  • Three Amigos: The main character, Chie, and Yosuke are the founding members of the Investigation Team.
  • Timed Mission: When someone appears on the Midnight Channel, you must save the person before a specific deadline. Fail to do so and the person dies, giving you a Nonstandard Game Over. Although the game will give you the option to flash back one week and try again.
  • Too Dumb to Live: See Violence Is the Only Option. You know, when a bunch of people charge in during your confrontation with your other self and actively tell you not to say it... Lampshaded by Kanji near the end of the game.
  • Too Much Information: said by Chie when Yosuke mentions Junes sells disposable diapers that they could use for their stakeout.
  • Took a Level In Badass: All of your allies do this if you max out their Social Links. They get a new Persona with improved resistances. But both of your main mage types, Yukiko and Teddie, keep their weaknesses, admittedly while gaining immunity to their favored element and a resistance to another element, while everyone else loses the weakness and gains immunity.
  • Translation Convention: Any release that isn't in Japanese.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Technically.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Return to the title screen via menu command from the game proper, and you'll see, among other things, Kanji, Teddie (and his shadow form, complete with a "Shadow Teddie" textbox!) and Naoto as party members.
    • Even more obvious, back of the box has Kanji, and Naoto in your party, Teddie in the real world, and Rise in a level up scene.
  • Train Station Goodbye: When your friends say their goodbyes at the end of your stay.
  • Troll: The Shadow Selves. Their whole game is to feed off their victim's denial by pissing them off.
  • True Companions: It's a Persona game. Of course this is going to be a major theme.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Chie's follow up attack triggers this after kicking her enemies into the sky.
  • The Unfavorite: The basketball version of the Strength link covers Kou's belief that he is a case of this as his parents adopted him thinking they couldn't have children, but they wound up having a daughter anyways.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Can be seen briefly in the cut scene where everyone falls into the TV the first time.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Taro Namatame, who was tricked by Adachi into thinking he was saving people by throwing them into the TV. Adachi, Namatame and the lead character are manipulated by Izanami, pesky woman. Of course, the Protag also pulls double duty as a Spanner in the Works, so Izanami ends up Hoist by her own petard. That said, her ultimate goal wasn't "turn humanity into Shadows" it was "figure out what humans want and give it to them insofar as is within my power." The lead and his friends played the exact role they were meant to play by her: to show her humanity's determination and strength as "Hope" and stop her from hurting the humans she loved.
  • Updated Rerelease: Persona 4 The Golden for the Playstation Vita is this, but due to the Vita's superior hardware (compared to its predecessor), it will feature updated graphics and will retain the 3D models for the overworld (as opposed to the Persona 3 remake). It will also add more dialogue to the game and adds a new female character (that will not be the a female protagoist, again unlike P 3 P) called Mary. The Golden will also cover the events between December and March (if the player beats Adachi, the game skips to the final day in March) and will add new anime cutscenes, similar to the anime.
  • Uptown Girl: The protagonist (middle class) with Yukiko (Ojou) or Ai (Nouveau Riche) are possible pairings.
  • Urban Fantasy: Even though it's taking place in the countryside....
    • The town is pretty small, there's only really two places for people to hang out besides school or the river.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Ailments work against many enemies, but ailment skills have a fairly low hit percentage unless you use "Stagnant Air" first, or have a Boost skill like "Ailment Boost". Hama and Mudo skills are a guaranteed kill against enemies that are weak against Light or Darkness, respectively. (But you know what's always immune to both? Bosses.) And if you can get the Spirit Drain skill, and make sure to fuse it into as many Personas as you can, dungeon crawling becomes a lot easier. And don't forget that there are bosses that cannot be criticaled or knocked down.
    • With that said, a lot of random encounters are actually tough enough to warrant needing Hama and Mudo, and sometimes even ailments. Good luck trying to kill a Glorious Hand without an instant-kill spell.
    • Mamudoon and Mahamaon combined with their respective boost skills are Awesome Yet Practical. Enjoy killing anywhere from one to everybody in enemy parties with a single spell, provided they don't have any resistance. It may be useless against bosses, but dungeon crawling suddenly gets a lot easier. However have fun trying to keep your SP up.
  • Vendor Trash: You get paid in Yen at the end of each fight with the Shadows, but the Shadows also drop stuff that you can sell to the blacksmith. Not only will he pay you, but you need to sell him this stuff in order to expand his inventory.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Raise your hand if you rescued Nanako on the first day possible just because, 'I can't leave Little Sis in there!'
    • Caring too much, however, leads to the worst ending and an extremely painful instance of Player Punch. Throw Namatame into the TV on Nanako's behalf... and she dies.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Doing it nets you the worst ending, with all its creepy implications.
    • On the other hand, dating every teenage girl with a name in Inaba carries no penalty whatsoever. Well, almost every one with a name. You (thankfully) miss out on Hanako.
  • Video Game Lives: Easy Mode gives you 10 chances just in case you want to be covered by the kid gloves.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Ever wanted to eat grass, something that shouldn't be moving, or yogurt that was milk last week? You can, and you'll be braver for it!

"You opened the fridge. There is a bag of wasabi. ... Lick it?"

  • Violence Is the Only Option: Whenever you meet an important character and their Shadow, that person will deny the Shadow being a part of them, and the Shadow will try and kill everyone in sight. The party's attempts to defy this don't work either; after they've kicked some ass though, the character faces up to themselves. Well, most of the time anyway.
    • Lampshaded when Kanji interrupts the traditional "No! Don't deny it!" thing that your party does and says something to the effect of "Why bother talking? We're gonna end up fighting it anyway."

Shadow Naoto: So, you think you can kick my ass?!

  • Visual Pun:
  • Voice of the Legion: Everyone's Shadow clones.
  • Vomiting Cop: This is how Adachi is introduced (though you only hear it, not see it. And you find out later it was probably an act, given that he was vomiting over his own handiwork.)
  • Wake Up Call Boss: Shadow Yukiko is a very early-game boss, and has a wicked habit of tripping players up. No weakness, and summons a very annoying minion who will heal the boss if it's not dizzied or killed off. The boss itself, once it's down to low health, Turns Red and begins to spam an attack-all fire spell that is quite painful, topping it off on the fact that one of your party members is weak to fire if she doesn't guard, and she can't be removed from the battle team (but has the element the minion is weak against).
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The game's main premise in a nutshell.
  • Warmup Boss: Shadow Yosuke. If you were paying attention during the tutorial and listen to what Teddie says, you'll do fine. If not, he'll probably kill you. Because you were dumb.
  • Washtub Throw: when the male characters stumble upon the female characters in the hot springs, the latter continuously throw a ridiculously amount of wooden buckets at the former. No amount of Courage the main character can have allows the boys to be able to "hold the line".
  • Weapon of Choice: Although they don't state it outright like in 3, the heroes of Persona 4 use weapons that reflect their personality. The Hero uses broadswords, Kung-Fu loving Action Girl Chie has leg greaves, Yamato Nadeshiko Yukiko uses fans, delinquent Kanji just hits monsters with a heavy blunt object, be it a shield or a school desk, Teddie the 'bear' has claws, and Naoto has a gun due to being a detective. Yosuke's dual knives are the only odd man out, but then again knowing him he might be Dual-Wielding just for Rule of Cool.
    • Actually, one gets the feeling that the characters just sort of grabbed whatever they thought they could use. It's also implied that no one in the party (possibly save for Naoto and the protagonist) has had any weapon/fighting training and are either self taught, or learning as they go along.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: If the Protagonist kicks the bucket, the game is over. However, depending on your relationship is with the other party members, an ally will actually jump in front of you and take the damage from attacks if you're close to dying. Doesn't work for attacks that hit everyone, and only works for a given character once per battle. Justified in that The protagonist represents Hope in Izanami's "test", with the other two participants representing Despair and Emptiness. If he is defeated, like the other two, he is removed from the game in some fashion, and then Ameno-Sagiri and Izanami are free to carry out their plan of flooding Inaba - and then the world - with fog and transforming everyone into mindless Shadows, as Emptiness/Adachi wants.
  • Wham! Episode: The events on December 3rd basically cover this, although the rainy days after saving Rise are just as big, if not nearly as emotional.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: You can call out most of the party (particularly Yosuke) for attempting to kill Namatame in the paths for the Normal/True Endings.
    • Worth noting that choosing this option involves a Precision F-Strike and the protagonist SHOUTING while getting visibly angry (using the "anger" animation that the other characters use) for the only time during the entire game.
  • What the Hell, Player?/Video Game Cruelty Potential: In the first scene of the Strength S-Link, if you join the basketball club, your choices at one point are "Help out" or "Be an ass and leave".
    • You can reverse Naoto's Social Link by refusing to help her at Level 5, causing her to run off in tears.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?:
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Nanako asks Dojima the titular question over the phone more than once.
  • Where It All Began:
    • Sort of. For the normal ending, the entrance to Adachi's dungeon, Magatsu Inaba, is in the same Room Full of Crazy area where the protagonist and his friends first head to in the Midnight Channel.
    • Izanami's dungeon is where the protagonist experienced his short, easily forgotten dream sequence at the very beginning of the game.
    • The above examples are Lampshaded by both Igor and Izanami herself.
    • Your last moment in the Real-World where you have some amount of control is at the Junes Food Court, dubbed the official Secret Headquarters of the Investigation Team.
  • White and Grey Morality: Even the villains are at best, very mentally unstable and need help, but - excluding Adachi - ultimately doing what they think is best. This is especially odd considering the usual Megaten game out-Grimdarks just about everything. Even Adachi apologizes later, and admits that he has a lot of issues and he deserves to be in jail.
  • World of Silence: This is the kind of world Izanami thinks the apathetic humans want.
  • Westminster Chimes: Played at the end of every school day.
  • A World Half Full: The note of the true ending.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Yukiko's character is a good example the concept; physically and in terms of dress she's practically the Japanese female ideal (and is in fact the only character in the game to willingly wear traditional Japanese dress on multiple occasions), and her polite, quiet baseline personality is the type that most Japanese men would find attractive. While her Social Link chronicles of her attempts to forge her own she ends up returning to being the manager-to-be of her family's inn, prepared to show the touch of iron will the trope implies in defending her family and their establishment. Her only departure is her touch of Cloudcuckoolander and Lethal Chef.
  • You Look Familiar: Quite a few random people's models are reused either from Persona 3 or within other social links. One noticeable example is that a group of bullies from Chie's s-link appear as "reporters" wanting to sensationalize the death of a guest at the Amagi Inn in Yukiko's.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: "Oh Crap, I messed up the set up for this battle, now the enemy gets a free turn, Oh crap, the enemy's knocked everyone down with their whatever move, the enemy is using the highest elemental spell that the protag is weak against, Oh SHI-!" In other words, the norm for a Mega Ten game.
  • You Are Not Alone: In the True Ending, the Protagonist is empowered by his social links during the final battle.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: You can't stop people from being kidnapped. You can't stop their Shadows from getting pissed. You can't figure out how the culprit kidnaps people for basically the whole game (so you can't actually catch them). You can't stop the first phase of Instrumentality from taking place. You can't make reversing it permanent just by getting Ameno-Sagiri to lift the fog.
    • By the confrontation with Shadow Naoto, Kanji straight-out tells the rest of the party not to even try to keep Naoto from rejecting her Shadow self - they might as well let her get it all out, and then they'll just beat the crap out of the Shadow as usual when it does go berserk.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Teddie keeps talking about "scoring" with the female party members. It's not clear that he's actually sure what that means, or whether he keeps saying it because it gets such hilarious reactions from the other characters.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Turns out Mitsuo wasn't the Big Bad. And then, neither was Namatame! It ain't Adachi/Ameno-Sagiri either although you're getting close.

Notes

  1. Depending on your choices in the original, the game will jump from December to March with no information on what happened in the skipped months.
  2. And you will likely keep this one as it adds 50 SP for your main healer, a wonderful deal
  3. Of course, it hardly makes a difference seeing as you probably won't be doing a lot of physical attacking with Yukiko.
  4. Nikiro-chan
  5. And during that time you can only skip about a minute of cutscenes and can't move until even later