Persona 4 Golden Nanako Summer Homework Packets

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Developer(s)Atlus
Publisher(s)
Director(s)Katsura Hashino[3]
Designer(s)Atsushi Watanabe
Azusa Kido
Programmer(s)Yujiro Kosaka
Artist(s)Shigenori Soejima[4]
Susumu Nishizawa
Writer(s)Yuichiroh Tanaka
Akira Kawasaki
Composer(s)Shoji Meguro
SeriesMegami Tensei(Main)
Persona(Sub-series)
Platform(s)PlayStation 2
PlayStation Vita(Golden)
Release

July 10, 2008

  • PlayStation 2
    • JP: July 10, 2008
    • NA: December 9, 2008
    • AU: March 12, 2009
    • EU: March 13, 2009
    PlayStation Vita
    • JP: June 14, 2012
    • NA: November 20, 2012
    • AU: February 21, 2013
    • EU: February 22, 2013
Genre(s)Role-playing, social simulation
Mode(s)Single-player

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4[a] is a role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus for Sony's PlayStation 2, and chronologically the fifth installment in the Persona series, itself a part of the larger Megami Tensei franchise. The game was released in Japan in July 2008, North America in December 2008, and Europe in March 2009.[5]Persona 4 takes place in a fictional Japanese countryside and is indirectly related to earlier Persona games. The player-named protagonist is a high-school student who moved into the countryside from the city for a year. During his year-long stay, he becomes involved in investigating mysterious murders while harnessing the power of summoning Persona. The game features a weather forecast system with events happening on foggy days to replace the moon phase system implemented in the previous games.

The plot of Persona 4 was inspired by the work of mystery novelists owing to its murder mystery premise. The rural setting was based on a town on the outskirts of Mount Fuji and intended as a "'nowhere' place" and is the central setting to have players sympathize with the daily life of the characters. The developers added many in-game events to prevent the game from becoming stale. During the localization, numerous alterations to names and cultural references were made to preserve the effect through translation, but some Japanese cultural references were altered or removed. The release of the game in Japan was accompanied by merchandise such as character costumes and accessories. The North American package of the game was released with a CD with selected music from the game, and, unlike Persona 3, the European package also contained a soundtrack CD. The music, as with the previous game, was composed primarily by Shoji Meguro. He was joined this time by Shihoko Hirata, who performed vocals on various songs, including the theme song "Pursuing My True Self".

The game was positively received by critics and developed into a full franchise. An enhanced remaster for the PlayStation Vita, Persona 4 Golden, was released in Japan in June 2012, in North America in November 2012, and in Europe in February 2013. Various other manga and light novel adaptations and spin-offs have been produced. An anime television adaptation by AIC ASTA, titled Persona 4: The Animation, aired in Japan between October 2011 and March 2012, with an anime adaptation of Persona 4 Golden, produced by A-1 Pictures, which began airing in July 2014. The game has also spawned two fighting game sequels, Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, and a rhythm game, Persona 4: Dancing All Night.

Gameplay[edit]

See also: Gameplay of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3

Persona 4 blends traditional RPG gameplay with simulation elements. The player controls the game's protagonist, a teenage boy who is named by the player, who comes to the town of Inaba for a year.[7] Gameplay is divided between the real world of Inaba, where the protagonist carries out his daily life, and the mysterious "TV World", where various dungeons filled with monsters known as Shadows await. With the exception of scripted events, such as plot progression or special events, players can choose to spend their day how they like, be it participating in various real world activities, such as joining school clubs, taking part-time jobs, or reading books, or exploring the TV World's dungeons to gain experience and items.[7][8] Days are broken up into various times of day, the most frequently recurring being "After School/Daytime" and "Evening", with most activities causing time to move on. Certain activities are limited depending on the time of day, days of the week, and the weather, with most evening activities unavailable if the player visits the TV World that day. Furthermore, some activities and dialogue choices may be limited by the protagonist's five attributes; Understanding, Diligence, Courage, Knowledge, and Expression, which can be increased by performing certain activities that build them.[6][9] Whilst the player is free to choose how to spend their time, if they fail to rescue someone who is trapped in the TV World by the time fog appears in town, which takes place after several days of consecutive rain, that person will get killed by the shadows and the game will end, forcing the player to return to a week prior.[6] As the game progresses, the protagonist forms friendships with other characters known as "Social Links", which are each represented by one of the Major Arcana. As these bonds strengthen, the Social Links increase in Rank, which grant bonuses when creating new Personas in the Velvet Room. Additionally, strengthening Social Links with the main party members grant them additional abilities, such as the ability to perform a follow-up attack or an additional ability for their Persona.[6]

Personas[edit]

The main focus of the game revolves around Personas, avatars projected from one's inner self that resemble mythological figures and represent the façades worn by individuals to face life's hardships. Each Persona possesses its own skills, as well as strengths and weaknesses to certain attributes. As Personas gain experience from battle and level up, that Persona can learn new skills, which include offensive or support abilities used in battle, or passive skills that grant the character benefits. Each Persona can carry up to eight skills at a time, with older skills needing to be forgotten in order to learn new ones. Whilst each of the main party members have their own unique Persona, which transforms into a stronger form after maxing out their Social Link, the protagonist has the "Wild Card" ability to wield multiple Personas, which he can switch between during battle to access different movesets. The player can earn new Personas from Shuffle Time, with the protagonist able to carry more Personas as he levels up.[6] Outside of the dungeons, the player can visit the Velvet Room, where players can create new Personas, or summon previously acquired Personas for a fee. New Personas are created by fusing two or more monsters to create a new one, which receives some of the skills passed down from its material monsters. The level of Personas that can be created are limited by the protagonist's current level. If the player has built up a Social Link relating to a particular Arcana, then a Persona relating to that Arcana will receive a bonus upon creation.[6][7]

Combat[edit]

Inside the TV World, the player assembles a party, consisting of the protagonist and up to three other characters, to explore randomly generated dungeons, each tailored around a victim who had been kidnapped. On each floor of a dungeon, the player may find roaming Shadows, as well as treasure chests containing items and equipment. Players progress through the dungeon by finding the stairs somewhere on each floor to progress to the next, eventually reaching the final floor where a boss enemy awaits.[6] The player enters battle upon coming into contact with a Shadow. The player can gain an advantage by attacking the Shadow from behind, whilst being attacked from behind themselves will give the enemy an advantage. Similar to the Press Turn system used in other Shin Megami Tensei games, battles are turn-based with characters fighting enemies using their equipped weapons, items, or the special skills of their Personas. Aside from the protagonist, who is controlled directly, the other characters can either be given direct commands or be assigned 'Tactics' which alter their battle AI. If the protagonist loses all of his HP, the game ends, returning players to the title screen.[6]

Offensive abilities carry several attributes, including Physical, Fire, Ice, Wind, Electricity, Light, Dark and Almighty. As well as various enemies carrying different attributes, player characters may also have strengths or weaknesses against certain attacks depending on their Persona or equipment. By exploiting an enemy's weakness or performing a critical attack, the player can knock them over, granting the attacking character an additional move, whilst the enemy may also be granted an additional move if they target a player character's weakness. If the player knocks all of the enemies down, they may be granted the opportunity to perform an "All-Out Attack", in which all the players rush the downed enemies to inflict heavy damage.[6] Following a battle, players gain experience points, money, and items from their battle. Sometimes after a battle, the player may participate in a mini-game known as "Shuffle: Time" and "Arcana Chance", which can grant player new Personas or various bonuses respectively.[6]

Plot[edit]

Setting and characters[edit]

Main article: List of Persona 4 characters

Persona 4 takes place in the fictional, rural Japanese town of Inaba (稲葉市,Inaba-shi), which lies among floodplains and has its own high school and shopping districts. Unexplained murders have taken place in the small town, where bodies are found dangling from television antennas and their cause of death being unknown.[10] At the same time, rumor has begun to spread that watching a switched-off television set on rainy midnights will reveal a person's soulmate.[11] The game also follows the main characters into the TV World, a fog-shrouded realm filled with monsters called Shadows, which can only be accessed through TV sets.[12]

The protagonist is a high school student, named Yu Narukami in later media, who has recently moved from the city to attend school at Inaba. At school, he quickly becomes friends with Yosuke Hanamura, the somewhat-clumsy son of the manager of the local Junes megastore; Chie Satonaka, an energetic girl with a strong interest in martial arts; and Yukiko Amagi, a calm and refined girl who helps out at her family's inn.[6] A few days into the game, the protagonist, Yosuke, and Chie follow the "Midnight Channel" rumor, which leads them to discover the TV World and meet Teddie, a friendly creature that appears as a hollow bear costume.[13] Using Personas, the students form an Investigation Team to investigate the connection between the TV world and the murders, and possibly capture the culprit.[14] As the game progresses, the group gains new members, including: Kanji Tatsumi, a male delinquent who has a talent for feminine hobbies;[15] Rise Kujikawa, a former teen idol trying to find her identity who moves to Inaba as a transfer student;[16] and Naoto Shirogane, a young female detective investigating the case with the local police who wears masculine clothing and presents herself as male due to fear of rejection.[17]

Story[edit]

On April 11, 2011, the protagonist arrives in Inaba to live with the Dojimas, consisting of his uncle Ryotaro and his cousin Nanako, for one year, as his parents are working abroad.[18] Just after his arrival, a TV announcer is found dead, her body hanging from an antenna; Saki Konishi, the high school student who had discovered the body, is later found dead herself, hung upside-down from a telephone pole.[19] After the protagonist and his friends accidentally enter the TV world, they encounter Teddie, who helps them travel freely between the TV and real worlds.[20] They awaken their Persona abilities, realizing that the murders stem from attacks by Shadows, beings native to the TV world created from repressed emotions, and are able to rescue several would-be victims. Yosuke, Chie, Yukiko, Kanji, Rise, and Teddie one by one come to accept the parts of their psyches they rejected, which manifest as giant Shadows in the TV world, allowing them to wield Personas whilst each joins the group in turn. Mitsuo Kubo, a student from another high school who disappears following the death of Kinshiro Morooka, the protagonist's foul-mouthed homeroom teacher, claims credit for the murders; it is eventually learned that Kubo only killed Morooka and played no part in the other murders, having murdered Morooka simply to gain credit for the other murders.[21] Naoto Shirogane, a nationally renowned "Detective Prince" investigating the case, is also rescued and gains a Persona, and joins the group who learn that "he" is actually a girl who assumed a male identity to avoid the police's sexism.[17]

Events come to a head when Ryotaro Dojima mistakenly accuses the protagonist of being involved in the murders.[22] Nanako is kidnapped during the protagonist's interrogation, leading Ryotaro to engage in a vehicular pursuit with the culprit. The chase ends as they both crash; the kidnapper escapes with Nanako through a television set in his truck, and the gravely-injured Ryotaro entrusts her rescue to the group. The group tracks them down within the TV world; the culprit, Taro Namatame, becomes a god-like monster—Kunino-sagiri—which attacks them but is defeated, and both he and Nanako are taken to the Inaba hospital. When Nanako appears to die, the group furiously confronts Namatame; as the protagonist, the player must help the others realize that Namatame is not the killer by pointing out the lack of a proper motive, and subsequently work to determine that Ryotaro's assistant, Tohru Adachi, is the true killer.[23][24] Deciding to throw Namatame into the TV results in Nanako remaining dead, while sparing him will result in her being miraculously revived. Failure to deduce the real killer's identity results in the mystery going unsolved. Killing Namatame or failing to solve the mystery results in the recurring fog permanently setting in, which will eventually lead to humanity's demise.[25]

Having identified the culprit as Adachi, the party chases and locates him within the TV world. Adachi explains that his actions were out of both boredom and the belief that humanity is better off believing what it wants; his claims are dismissed by the party as the rantings of a madman.[26] After fighting Adachi, he is possessed by Ameno-sagiri, the Japanese God of Fog, who reveals that the fog is harmful to people and will eventually cause humanity to fall into a permanent state of ignorance and transform into Shadows.[27] Upon his defeat, he agrees to lift the fog, congratulating the party on their resolve.[28] Defeated, the wounded Adachi agrees to assume responsibility for his actions and turns himself in.[29] The game moves forward to the day before the protagonist must travel home. If the player returns to the Dojima residence, the game ends with the party sending the protagonist off as he departs Inaba. Alternatively, should the player be able to identify the unexplained cause of the Midnight Channel and attempt to resolve this plot element, the protagonist meets with the party, and together they decide to end the case for good.

The protagonist confronts the gas station attendant encountered at the start of the game, who reveals herself to be the Japanese goddess Izanami, the "conductor" behind the game's events. The cause of the recurring fog is established as an attempt to create a world of illusion by merging the TV world with the human world, all for the "sake" of humanity.[30][31] The group tracks Izanami down within the TV world and battle her, but is at first unable to win; the defeated protagonist is given strength by the bonds he has forged with those around him, and with this power awakens a new Persona—Izanagi-no-Okami—which he uses to defeat Izanami.[32] In doing so, the fog in each world is lifted, and the TV world is restored to its original form. The game ends with the party sending the protagonist off the following day, and a post-credits scene depicts the group resolving to remain friends forever, as the protagonist examines a photo of the party.[33]

Persona 4 Golden[edit]

Persona 4 Golden adds two new Social Links to the game; Adachi and Marie, a mysterious girl who becomes an assistant in the Velvet Room and wishes to uncover her lost memories.

If the player advances Adachi's Social Link to a certain level, they are given the choice to withhold his identity as the killer from the rest of the Investigation Team, thus leaving the mystery unsolved. On the protagonist's final day in Inaba, he may choose to visit Adachi and destroy a crucial piece of evidence related to the case. Adachi then blackmails the protagonist, threatening to have him arrested for destroying evidence if he does not answer his calls. The game's ending then plays out the same, after the credits, the protagonist passes by Adachi at a level crossing. He clutches his phone in his hand as a smirk forms on Adachi's face.

After the Investigation Team defeats Ameno-sagiri, Marie disappears from the Velvet Room, and Margaret promises to find her for the protagonist. The Investigation Team decide to take a skiing trip together, during which time they stumble upon a cabin with a TV inside. The TV turns out to be a portal to the Hollow Forest, where Marie has fled to. With the Hollow Forest on the verge of collapsing, the Investigation Team rushes to save her; if they fail to do so, Marie disappears from their memories. They find Marie, who reveals that she is actually Kusumi-no-Okami, created to act as a spy for Ameno-sagiri in order to learn what humanity wished for; with Ameno-sagiri defeated, the fog has now been absorbed into her body. Marie's plan is to kill herself so that the fog will not spread over the world again, but the Investigation Team refuses to allow her to die, defeating her and freeing her from the fog's control.

After defeating Izanami-no-Okami, Marie reveals that she is actually Izanami-no-Mikoto, a goddess who originally wished to both protect humanity and grant it's wishes, but as people changed and stopped wishing for truth, her wishes splintered into her and Izanami-no-Okami. With Kunino-sagiri, Ameno-sagiri, and Izanami-no-Okami fused with her, she becomes whole again and disappears from the Velvet Room. The true ending then plays out, with the game then skipping a few months after the last scene of the true ending (and after the events of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax), where the protagonist returns to Inaba for the summer. Upon exiting the train station, they discover that Namatame is running for mayor in order to atone for his previous actions. The protagonist will eventually meet up with his friends, who changed since the last time they all met, and will head to the Dojima household, where a surprise party was set up earlier by Dojima.

While eating, the protagonist learns about the recent changes in the neighborhood, is informed that Adachi has become a model prisoner, and sees Marie on the news as the popular new weather girl. Depending on the player's choices, she may also declare her love for him while the main group watches on, much to their disbelief.[34] Nanako will then whisper something into everyone's ear before they all welcome the protagonist "home". As the rest of the Investigation Team starts to criticize Kanji for saying something different than everyone else, the protagonist responds by smiling brightly, and a new post-credits scene shows another group picture of the protagonist and his friends including Marie all smiling together.[35]

Development[edit]

According to the game director Katsura Hashino, while "ideas [had been] thrown around earlier", development on Persona 4 in Japan did not begin until after the release of Persona 3.[3] The development team consisted of the team from Persona 3 and new hires which included fans of Persona 3.[36] Atlus intended to improve both the gameplay and story elements of Persona 3 for the new game, to ensure it was not seen as a "retread" of its predecessor. Hashino said that "to accomplish that, we tried to give the players of Persona 4 a definite goal and a sense of purpose that would keep motivating them as they played through the game. The murder mystery plot was our way of doing that."[3] The plot of Persona 4 was "greatly inspired", according to Hashino, by mystery novelists such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Seishi Yokomizo.[4]Persona 4 was officially unveiled in the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu in March 2008. An article in the issue detailed the game's murder mystery premise, rural setting, and new weather forecast system. The game's North American release date was announced at the 2008 Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California.[37] Atlus would not make an add-on disc or epilogue for Persona 4, as had been done with the Persona 3 FES.[38]Persona 4 allowed players full control of characters in battle. This was due to negative comments from players about most of the player team in Persona 3 being controlled by the game's AI.[39] The amount of data the team ended up incorporating around school life, character relationships and spoke character dialogue was so large that there were fears it would not fit onto a single disc.[40] The anime cutscenes were produced by Studio Hibari.[41]

The design of Inaba is based on a town on the outskirts of Mount Fuji.[4] Its rural design was a source of conflict between Persona 4's developers, as "each staff member had their own image of a rural town", according to director Katsura Hashino. The entire staff went "location hunting" to determine Inaba's design.[36] Inaba does not represent "a country town that has tourist attractions", but rather a non-notable, "'nowhere' place". Hashino described the town as being "for better or for worse... a run-of-the-mill town".[4] Unlike other role-playing games, which may have large worlds for the player to explore, Persona 4 mostly takes place in Inaba. This reduced development costs, and enabled Atlus "to expand other portions of the game" in return. A central setting also allows players to "sympathize with the daily life that passes in the game". To prevent the setting from becoming stale, the development team established a set number of in-game events to be created to "keep the game exciting".[3] The choice of Japanese mythical figures for the characters' Personas as opposed to the Graeco-Roman deities used in earlier games was directly inspired by the new setting.[39] The appearances of Personas were based on the characters' personalities. The design team had a good deal of creative freedom while creating Personas, because although Japanese deities have well-defined character traits, their appearances are traditionally unspecified. The Shadows were created by Hashino without much outside consultation, although he had help from female staff for female Shadow selves.[40]

Despite living in the countryside, Persona 4 characters were designed to look and sound "normal" and like "modern high-schoolers", according to lead editor Nich Maragos. Initially, he wrote the game's cast as being "more rural than was really called for". "The characters aren't really hicks... They just happen to live in a place that's not a major metropolitan area."[42] While interviewing members of Persona 4's development team, 1UP.com editor Andrew Fitch noted that the characters from the city — Yosuke and the protagonist — have "more stylish" hair than the other characters. Art director Shigenori Soejima used hair styles to differentiate between characters from the city versus the country. "With Yosuke in particular, I gave him accessories, such as headphones and a bicycle, to make it more obvious that he was from the city."[4]

Localization[edit]

As with Persona 3, the localization of Persona 4 was handled by Yu Namba and Nich Maragos of Atlus USA. In addition, there were four translators and two further editors. The Social Links were divided equally between the translators and editors.[43] During localization of the game, character's names were altered for the international audience for familiarity, including Kuma being renamed Teddie. A similar change was done for Rise Kujikawa's stage name, "Risechie" (りせちー,Risechī) in Japan, to "Risette". Nanba also explained the change from "Community" to "Social Link", regarding the gameplay mechanic, as "community" has a different meaning in English, whereas Igor in his speeches often refers to "society" and "bonds". Names were also altered for pun and other linguistic effect including dungeon items' names, such as the "Kae Rail" becoming the "Goho-M", as the item's use of returning the player to the entrance was taken to be "go home". Some Japanese cultural references that would not transfer were also removed, such as references to Kosuke Kindaichi. There were also some issues regarding the translation of the names of Yukiko, Kanji and Rise's dungeons, as the English names were made to fit the original Japanese graphics, and the "Void Quest" dungeon's graphics were specifically made to harken back to the Famicom. He also remarked on how popular the interpretations of Kanji's Shadow were in the west, and how it did not change how the character was seen by the other audience.[44] A different change was the fact the main characters in the English dub referred to others members of the cast on a first-name basis, while the Japanese version differed in this regard. For the dub, the editors sometimes switched between first-name and last-name referral for dramatic effect.[45]

Atlus's senior project manager Masaru Nanba commented it was decided that "Shin Megami Tensei" was to be kept in the title of Persona 3 and Persona 4, as it was believed that they were part of the same series as Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne; however, the "Shin Megami Tensei" title was omitted from both Persona 4 Golden and Persona 4 Arena, as it would have been much too long. Similarly, Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena and Persona 4: The Golden were shortened to the previously stated titles.[44] As with Persona 3, the honorifics used in the Japanese voice track were retained in the English dub, despite proving contentions among series fans. This was done as part of an intended trend to remain faithful to the original source material. The pronunciations of honorifics, along with the sounds of names, were a point that was carefully considered by the localization team and it took a while for the English cast to get used to them. A member of the English dub that also appeared in Persona 3 was Yuri Lowenthal. Though he had dubbed characters in Persona 3, Namba wanted him to have a larger part. His role as Yosuke ended up featuring 1000 more lines of dialogue than the other major characters. Important roles for the localization team were Teddie and Rise, as they would be the party's supports. Another element in the English script was that the use of swear words was increased over Persona 3: the first draft featured very strong language which was cut as it did not seem suited. The character Kanji was given a lot of swearing in his dialogue, due to his volatile nature. The use of swearing was carefully considered depending on the emotional situation.[43][46]

Music[edit]

The game's original score was primarily composed, arranged, and produced by Shoji Meguro. The soundtrack features songs with vocals by Shihoko Hirata, whom Meguro felt was able to meet the range of emotion needed for the soundtrack, with the lyrics being written by Reiko Tanaka.[47] Meguro was given a rough outline of the game's plot and worked on the music in the same manner and simultaneously with the development of the story and spoken dialog, starting with the overall shape of the songs and eventually working on the finer details.[47] According to Meguro, the songs "Pursuing My True Self" and "Reach Out to the Truth" were composed to reflect the inner conflicts of the game's main characters; the former song, used as the opening theme, helped to set an understanding of the characters' conflicts, while the latter, used in battle sequences, emphasized the "strength of these characters to work through their internal struggles."[47] The "Aria of the Soul" theme used in the Velvet Room, a concept common to all the Persona games, remained relatively unchanged, with Meguro believing "the shape of the song had been well-defined" from previous games.[47] Composers Atsushi Kitajoh and Ryota Kozuka also contributed music for the game. Kitajoh, who had previously written music for Atlus with Growlanser VI and Trauma Center: New Blood, contributed four themes to Persona 4, while Kozuka wrote the "Theme of Junes".[48]

Persona 4's two-disc soundtrack was released in Japan by Aniplex on July 23, 2008. The soundtrack was also released in North America. The side A of the soundtrack is the bonus disc packaged with each game, while side B of the soundtrack was part of Amazon.com's exclusive Persona 4 Social Link Expansion Pack.[50] Similarly to Persona 3, a "Reincarnation" album, titled Never More, was released in Japan on October 26, 2011, featuring full length cuts of the game's vocal tracks and extended mixes of some of the instrumental tracks.[51]Never More made it to the top of both the Oricon Weekly Album Charts[52] and Billboard's Japan Top Albums chart[53] for the week of its release, selling nearly 27,000 copies.[54]

Remake and spinoffs[edit]

Persona 4 Golden[edit]

Persona 4 Golden, released in Japan as Persona 4: The Golden, was announced in August 2011 as a port of Persona 4 for the portable PlayStation Vita. It was originally planned by Atlus to be a PlayStation Portable title, similar to Persona 3 Portable, which would have required removing some of the features of the PlayStation 2 game. However, the Vita provided sufficient resources that allowed Atlus to expand the game.[55] It is an expanded version of the PlayStation 2 title, adding new features and story elements to the game. A new character named Marie was added to the story. Additional Personas, character outfits, and expanded spoken lines and anime cutscenes are included as well as two new Social Links for Marie and Tohru Adachi. The game supports the wireless networking features of the Vita, allowing a player to call in help from other players to help in dungeon battles.[56] Another new feature is a garden that produces items the player can use in the various dungeons.[57] The game was released in Japan on June 14, 2012.[58]Persona 4: The Golden is also the first Persona game to be released in traditional Chinese.[59]

The release of Persona 4: The Golden resulted in the surge of sales of PlayStation Vitas. During its debut week, the game sold 137,076 units in Japan.[60]Media Create stated that the game's outstanding sales that surpassed the debuts of other titles from Persona series may be due to the exposure the Persona 4 game has had in other forms of media.[61] As of mid-July 2012, the game had sold 193,412 units in Japan.[62] The game was the eighth most purchased digital Vita game on the Japanese PlayStation Network in 2013.[63] As of April 2014, the game shipped 350,000 copies in Japan, and over 700,000 copies were shipped worldwide as of December 2013.[64]

A soundtrack was released in Japan on June 27, 2012, consisting of a single disc of 15 new tracks composed and arranged by Shoji Meguro and Atsushi Kitajoh.[65]

In an interview with RPGamer at E3 2012, Atlus USA revealed that in terms of bonus content in the special "TV Channel" feature, the US release would have all of the content the Japanese version has, with only one or two commercials missing.[66][67] It was released for the PlayStation Vita on November 20, 2012.[68] A special 10,000 copies were also released on November 20, 2012, as the "Solid Gold Premium Edition".[69]NIS America released the game in Europe on February 22, 2013.[70][71]

Persona 4 Arena[edit]

Main articles: Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

A fighting game sequel, Persona 4 Arena, known in Japan as Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena, was developed by Arc System Works, the company known for creating the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series, and released in 2012 for arcades, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[72] As with the anime, the protagonist is named Yu Narukami. Aigis, Mitsuru, Elizabeth, and Akihiko from Persona 3 are also featured in the game. Set two months following the True Ending of the original game, the members of the Investigation Team are pulled back into the television and forced into a fighting tournament called the "P-1 Grand Prix" hosted by Teddie.[73]

A sequel, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, was released in Japanese arcades in November 2013, and for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in late 2014.[74] Taking place a day after the events of Arena, the Investigation Team must defeat their Shadows in a new tournament, the "P-1 Climax", in order to rescue the captive Shadow Operatives and stop the spread of a mysterious red fog engulfing Inaba. The game adds seven playable characters from Persona 3 and Persona 4 Golden, as well as a new playable antagonist, Sho Minazuki.

Characters from the Persona 4 Arena series will be featured in the upcoming crossover fighting game BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle.[75]

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth[edit]

Main article: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is a dungeon-crawler RPG developed for the Nintendo 3DS, which features characters from both Persona 3 and Persona 4, as well as gameplay elements from the Etrian Odyssey series. Set midway through the events of Persona 4, the Investigation Team is pulled into an alternate version of Yasogami High and must work with the members of SEES to find a means of escape. The game was released in Japan on June 5, 2014, North America on November 25, 2014 and Europe on November 28, 2014.[76]

Persona 4: Dancing All Night[edit]

Main article: Persona 4: Dancing All Night

Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a rhythm game developed by Atlus for the PlayStation Vita, featuring music from the Persona series. The game takes place half a year following the events of Persona 4, as the Investigation Team look into a mysterious "Midnight Stage", which is abducting girls from Rise's idol group. The game was released in Japan on June 25, 2015.[77]

Other media[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

With the release of Persona 4, Atlus has also produced a line of merchandise, including action figures, published materials, toys and clothes. Atlus collaborated with the Japanese publishing company Enterbrain to publish the game's two strategy guides, an artbook detailing character and setting designs, as well a fan book called Persona Club P4 which included official artwork, fan art, as well as interviews with the design staff.[78][79] Most items were only released in Japan, while other Japanese third-party manufacturers also produced figurines and toys. The action figures include a 1/8 scale PVC figurine of Yukiko Amagi as well as Teddie and Rise Kujikawa, produced by Alter.[80] Licensed Atlus merchandise sold by Cospa includes Persona 4t-shirts, tote bags, and the jacket and other accessories worn by the character Chie.[81]

Udon recently announced that they will release an English edition of Enterbrain's Persona 4: Official Design Works artbook to be released May 8, 2012.[82]

Manga[edit]

Persona 4 was also given a manga adaptation. It is written by Shūji Sogabe, the artist for Persona 3's manga, and started serialization in ASCII Media Works'Dengeki Black Maoh Volume 5 in September 2008.[83] The first tankōbon volume was released on September 26, 2009, and six volumes have been released as of February 27, 2012.[84][85]

Shiichi Kukura also authored Persona 4 The Magician(ペルソナ4 The Magician), a manga that focuses on Yosuke Hanamura's life in Inaba before the game's start. Its only volume was released on August 27, 2012.[86] A manga adaptation of the light novel Persona × Detective Naoto, illustrated by Satoshi Shiki, began serialization in Dengeki Maoh magazine from November 27, 2012.[87]

Light novel[edit]

Mamiya Natsuki wrote a light novel titled Persona × Detective Naoto(ペルソナ×探偵NAOTO,Perusona × Tantei Naoto) that focuses on the character of Naoto Shirogane a year after the events of Persona 4. She is hired to investigate the disappearance of a childhood friend in Yagakoro City where she is partnered with Sousei Kurogami, a mechanized detective. With illustrations by Shigenori Soejima and Shuji Sogabe, the light novel was released by Dengeki Bunko on June 8, 2012 in Japan.[88]

Anime[edit]

Main article: Persona 4: The Animation

A 25-episode anime television adaptation of the game, produced by AIC A.S.T.A. and directed by Seiji Kishi, aired on MBS between October 6, 2011 and March 29, 2012.[89] An additional 26th episode, featuring the story's true ending, was released in the 10th volume of Persona 4 on August 22, 2013.[90] The series features most of the returning cast from the video game, whilst voice recordings for Igor were taken from the game as his actor, Isamu Tanonaka, died in January 2010.[89][91]Aniplex released the series on DVD and Blu-ray Disc between November 23, 2011 and August 22, 2012, with the first volume containing a director's cut of the first episode and a bonus CD single.[92]Sentai Filmworks licensed the series in North America, simulcasting it on Anime Network as it aired and releasing the series on DVD and Blu-ray in two collective volumes on September 18, 2012 and January 15, 2013 respectively.[93][94][95] Like the Japanese version, the English dub retains many of the original voice actors from the English version of the game, although the Blu-ray Disc release omits the Japanese audio option.[96][97]Kazé and Manga Entertainment released the series in the United Kingdom in three BD/DVD combi boxsets released between December 24, 2012 and July 22, 2013.[98][99] A film recap of the series, titled Persona 4 The Animation -The Factor of Hope-, was released in Japanese theaters on June 9, 2012, featuring a condensed version of the story and new scenes of animation.[100] A second anime adaptation based on Persona 4 Golden, titled Persona 4: The Golden Animation, is being produced by A-1 Pictures and began airing on MBS' Animeism block in July 2014.[101]

Stage production[edit]

A live stage production titled VisuaLive: Persona 4(VISUALIVE『ペルソナ4』,VisuaLive: Perusona Fo) took place from March 15–20, 2012. Actors starring in the stage production include Toru Baba as the audience-named protagonist, Takahisa Maeyama as Yosuke Hanamura, Minami Tsukui as Chie Satonaka, Risa Yoshiki as Yukiko Amagi, Jyōji Saotome as Daisuke Nagase, Motohiro Ota as Kou Ichijo, and Masashi Taniguchi as Ryotaro Dojima, and Masami Ito as Tohru Adachi. Kappei Yamaguchi and Rie Kugimiya reprised their roles as Teddie and Rise in voice.[102] Following the announcement, Youichiro Omi was cast as Kanji Tatsumi on December 1, 2011.[103]VisuaLive: Persona 4 chronicled the events of the game up until Kanji's inclusion into the party. A second stage production, titled VisuaLive: Persona 4: The Evolution(VISUALIVE『ペルソナ4 The Evolution』,VisuaLive: Perusona Fo The Evolution), chronicled the second half of the events of the story and took place from October 3–9, 2012. Additions to the cast include Yuriya Suzuki as Rise Kujikawa, Juria Kawakami as Naoto Shirogane, Yasuhiro Roppongi as Tarou Namatame, Shotaro Mamiya as Izanami and Arisa Nakajima as Margaret. Yumi Sugimoto replaced Yoshiki as Yukiko Amagi.

Release and reception[edit]

Persona 4 was highly acclaimed by critics within and outside Japan, and remained on top of sales charts on its initial release. In Japan, the game sold 193,000 copies within a week of its release, while in North America, Persona 4 was the highest-selling PlayStation 2 game on Amazon.com for two consecutive weeks.[104][105] A soundtrack disc was included in the North American and European releases of Persona 4, containing a selection of tracks from the full soundtrack released in Japan. Amazon.com exclusively sold the Persona 4 "Social Link Expansion Pack", which included an additional soundtrack disc, a t-shirt, a 2009 calendar, and a plush doll of the character Teddie.[50]

Critical reception[edit]

Persona 4 received critical acclaim from game critics upon release. Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb described it as "one of the best times I've had with video games, whether I was playing by myself or watching someone else play it."[117]Famitsu pointed out that while "there isn't much new from the last game", it favored the changes over the battle system, where the pacing "is quick so it doesn't get to be a pain", and the ability to control party members "makes play that much easier".[110]IGN on the other hand noted that "the pacing can be somewhat off", and "some things feel repurposed or unaffected from previous games", while praising the game as an "evolution of the RPG series, and an instant classic". It also noted that the soundtrack can be "a bit repetitive".[9] RPGFan's Ryan Mattich recommended Persona 4 as "one of the best RPG experiences of the year", noting that "among the cookie-cutter sequels and half-hearted remakes", the game is "a near flawless example of the perfect balance between 'falling back on what works' and 'pushing the genre forward'."[118]1UP.com's Andrew Fitch summarized Persona 4 as "some of this decade's finest RPG epics", although the reviewer criticized its "slight loading issues" and the time spent "waiting for the plot to advance".[108]GameTrailers gave the game a score of 9.3, stating it's an exception to the rule of the Japanese role-playing genre, and that it stands out of any other JRPG, including its predecessor, Persona 3.[108]Wired pointed out that while the graphics are not up to par with those of the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, "the clever art style makes up for that". It also praised the game's soundtrack as "excellent, especially the battle music".[114]

The game's setting garnered mixed reactions. IGN labeled Persona 4 as "a murder mystery set against the backdrop of familiar Persona 3 elements", and while this element adds "an interesting twist" to the dungeon crawl and social simulation gameplay, it also causes the plot to "slow down or suffer".[9]Hyper's Tim Henderson commended the game for "willfully embellish[ing] absurd urban legends and other ideas with such assured consistency that the resulting whole is unshakabl[y] coherent". However, he criticized it for the narrative's sluggish pace and for how he felt the game is "lacking in elaborate set-pieces".[119] 1UP.com called Persona 4 a "stylish murder mystery", the comparison given being a "small-town Scooby-Doo" adventure.[108]

The game is also noted for its "significant portion of the story revolving around sexual themes", as quoted from RPGFan's Ryan Mattich.[118] One of the playable characters given attention by reviewers is Kanji, who is considered to be one of the first characters in a mainstream video game to struggle with their sexual orientation, and Atlus has been commended for the inclusion of that character.[15] Atlus USA has stated that they left Kanji's sexual preferences ambiguous and up to the player; however, there has been no word from developer Atlus Japan concerning the matter.[15] According to Dr. Antonia Levi, author of Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation, the questioning of Kanji's sexuality in the script is a "comment on homosexuality in a greater Japanese social context", in which "the notion of 'coming out' is seen as undesirable ... as it necessarily involves adopting a confrontational stance against mainstream lifestyles and values".[15]Brenda Brathwaite, author of Sex in Video Games, thought it "would have been amazing if they would have made a concrete statement that [Kanji] is gay", but was otherwise "thrilled" with the treatment of the character and the game's representation of his "inner struggles and interactions with friends".[15]

Awards

A standard battle in Persona 4. Certain actions such as a successful attack will prompt a dialogue box on top. Players navigate between battle options listed in the box on the bottom-left of the screen, while the character portraits on the right hand of the screen indicates each member's health and magic points.[6]

Trapped in a maze of relationships.note Clockwise from the bottom-left: Teddie, Rise, Chie, Kanji, Izanagi, Naoto, Yosuke, Yukiko, and Yu.

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.

Igor, Master of the Velvet Room

Persona 4 is an Urban FantasyRole-Playing GameSpinoff of the popular Shin Megami TenseiJRPG franchise (specifically, the Persona sub-series), made by Atlus for the PlayStation 2.You are an Ordinary High-School Student moving to the rural town of Inaba for one year while your parents are working abroad. Soon after you settle into your new home with your uncle and young cousin, a series of impossible murders begin to rock the sleepy town: victims who suddenly disappear, only for their bodies to be found hanging upside down from telephone poles with no obvious cause of death.Meanwhile, you decide to check out a new Urban Legend called the "Midnight Channel": supposedly, if you stare into the screen of a switched-off television set on a rainy midnight, an image will appear that shows your soulmate. However, when you try it out, you instead discover a strange alternate world on the other side of the television screen, shrouded in a perpetual, oppressive fog.Someone or something is kidnapping innocent people and throwing them into this world, where the monstrous Shadows that inhabit it will eventually kill them. Using a mysterious inner power called "Persona", you and your friends form an investigation team to rescue the kidnapped victims before they are killed and solve the mystery of who is responsible.Persona 4 takes place in the same universe as all the other Persona games, 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 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.The game has spawned a plethora of related works, including:
  • Persona 4: Golden: An extensive Play Station VitaUpdated Re-release.note The remake features alternate costumes for characters, two new Social Links with Tohru Adachi and new character Marie, new enemies and areas to explore, new Ultimate Personas for the party, new gameplay mechanics in both the real world and in the Midnight Channel involving motorbikes, combination attacks between characters, a new Bad Ending, new events taking place during the December to March Time Skip, a new epilogue, and on top of all of that, a completely redone opening animation by Madhouse.
  • Persona 4: Arena: A BlazBlue-style fighting game set two months after the conclusion of the original story and co-developed with Arc System Works, featuring several characters from Persona 3.
  • Persona 4: The Animation: An Exactly What It Says on the Tin anime series adaptation. This also christens the protagonist's name to be 'Yu Narukami', which will be used throughout appearances like Persona 4: Arena and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth: A crossover with Persona 3 that somehow takes place during… both games. Lifts its gameplay from fellow Atlus series Etrian Odyssey.
  • Persona 4: Dancing All Night: A Rhythm Game initially made by the developers of the popular Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA series. Yes, really. And Miku is DLC.
  • Persona 4: A Manga Adaptation running in Dengeki Black Maoh. This adaptation named the protagonist 'Souji Seta'.
  • Persona 4: The Magician: A Spin-Off manga running in Persona Magazine and starring Yosuke Hanamura.
  • Persona x Detective NAOTO: A now non-canon Light Novel featuring Naoto Shirogane investigating a new case outside of Inaba two years after the original story.
  • VisuaLive: Persona 4: A Japanese-only live stage production which ran from March 15 through March 20 of 2012 and roughly covered the first half of the game.
    • VisuaLive: Persona 4 Evolution: A sequel which roughly covers the second half of the game.
Persona 4 is considered by many to be one of the best JRPGs of its generation (and more generally, in the upper echelons of the wider genre), received universal acclaim and won many awards on release, and deftly followed up on the spur of interest caused by Persona 3, cementing the SMT franchise's place in the Western gaming mainstream at last. As the related works above show, the success was enough for it to be an entire Cash Cow Franchise of its own, with spinoffs, adaptations and extra releases all based on just the one game.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 Serial Killers ever made. The Golden takes this Up to 11 by having an opening that can only be compared to The Beatles.Since April 2014, the original game has been available for download on the Play Station Network.

Persona 4 provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A & B 

  • Aborted Arc: Sayoko's social link begins strongly emphasizing her sexuality, having her hit on the player, talk about doctors she'd seduced at previous hospitals, and even having the wife of a doctor she'd slept with track her down to cuss her out. However, by the middle of the link, her sexual past gets entirely dropped in favor of her guilt over a former patient dying. The rest of her link deals with her overworking herself due to guilt and grief, with no further mention of sexuality or infidelity. Granted, though, the interlude does have some significance, as after the incident with the doctor's wife, she expresses some of her cynicism and disillusionment with her job.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • 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.
    • Also, Shadow Kanji "searching for sublime love that surpasses the separation of the sexes".
  • Adult Fear:
    • The last victim of the kidnapper is Nanako, the player character's little cousin. That character's father and the player character go through absolute hell.
    • In Real Life, serial killers tend to be people the victims know. In this case, it was none other than Tohru Adachi, Dojima's partner.
    • During the Wham Episode near the end of the game, the player has to make choices that determine what ending to get. If the player punishes Nanako's kidnapper out of vengeance? You get a Bad Ending and Nanako dies, while the real truth behind the case is still out there. It can potentially get worse in Golden, where Adachi, the murder, is one of your social links. Make the wrong decisions, and not only does Adachi become a Karma Houdini, but he mocks the player over it even when leaving Inaba. This is known as the Accomplice Ending.
    • If the player makes the right choices near the end of the game, the player can find out that Taro Namatame had it pretty rough. His entire life was destroyed because of his affair, and he had to sit and watch two people, one being his lover, die right in front of him, while he was entirely helpless. Right after that, he gets tricked by Adachi into almost murdering several innocent people. No wonder everyone thought he was mentally unstable at the end of the game.
    • In the Death Social Link, Mrs. Hisano Kuroda touches pretty close on how awful it is to have your spouse die before you, as well as the pain of old age and having a loved one suffer from memory loss. Mr. Kuroda has Alzheimers in everything but name.
  • A.I. 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.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: In-universe example: After Morooka is murdered in July, Yosuke expresses pity for him.
  • 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:
    • Major figures from Japanese Mythology actually exist inside the TV world, though it's left ambiguous whether they're Anthropomorphic Personifications of their myths or the myths are indeed based on them.
    • Golden muddies the waters a little, as while Izanami of the TV world really is the goddess of Japan, Marie makes it clear that she, Ameno Sagiri and Kunino Sagiri, are manifestations of humanity's collective unconscious wish. You only get this tidbit if you maximize her Social Link and save her before earning the True Ending. (And of course, given what all gods are in the wider setting, this might ultimately be the difference between two related species of apples.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The battle against Ameno-Sagiri, God of Fog, takes place in a trippy location full of moving black and red lines in the skies above Magatsu Inaba.
  • An Aesop: The lesson at the end of the game is that it's best to seek and face the truth, no matter how bad it is. Because by knowing the truth and accepting it, you can start to move on. The fog throughout the game is a metaphor for how most of humanity is more comfortable believing in convenient lies, because they're afraid to accept the truth.
    • More or less extends into the social links as well, which all revolve around finding a truth to your life- accepting yourself, others, and dealing with your identity.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Since you lose the game if your main character dies, other characters will jump in and take a hit that would normally kill him so long as their social link is at least level 1 (level 9 in Golden).
    • Naoto's Social Link is the last to be introduced, and you thus have the least amount of time to do it. To avoid serious pressure problems, her social link can be done on rainy days.
    • Players can fast-travel to various portions of the overworld map when not in the TV World with just a single button, in comparison to needing to manually walk everywhere in Persona 3.
    • The Golden adds multiple others as well:
      • The ability to "skip through" both animated cutscenes and dialogue sequences, particularly handy when starting a New Game+ or facing Kunino-Sagiri.
      • On a game over, restarting will allow the player to resume play on the same dungeon floor they died upon, rather than at their last save point. This option can be turned off, and is unavailable on Very Hard mode, though.
      • When Fusing personas to create new ones, the player can choose manually which skills are passed on from the fusion, rather than needing to "reshuffle"note unselect and then reselect the component personas in order to re-decide what skills are randomly passed on. This makes Margaret's Social Link much easier to complete.
      • Rather than needing to try and "catch" persona cards during Shuffle Time, which requires a combination of perception, memory and reflexes, all of the useful cards are immediately displayed for the player and the player can then manually select which one they choose. As part of this, Shuffle Time also lost the Blank Cards (nothing, but chance of getting an Arcana Card in either the upright or reverse position) and X-cards (lose all items, experience and cash received from the fight) and regained the Minor Arcana Cardsnote EXP-boosting Wand, health & mana-restoring Cup, Skill Card-granting Sword and money-boosting Coin from Persona 3.
      • In a New Game+ on Golden, you can select anytime what the difficulty is going to be like. As in going to Settings and manually change how much or little you get EXP, money, how badly you take damage, etc.
      • The aforementioned "fast travel" method now allows a player to immediately skip up or down a level once they have found the stairs in a dungeon, making it easier to get around.
      • A minor one, but with the new Costume feature, you can play as Teddie in his human form, which gets rid of the squeaking sound when he walks.
      • If you manage to get at least the Normal ending in Golden, where the Playstation version normally skips to the ending in next March you instead get to play through every day between taking down the killer and the final day spent in Inaba, giving you significantly more time to max out social links, get the persona compendium, and just generally giving a larger grace period for 100% Completion.
    • Weirdly, averted with The Golden; there are no longer save points/escape points to be found outside of the boss's chambers in the dungeons, making Goho-Ms much more necessary if the party isn't prepared for the final battle of a given dungeon.
  • Anti-Grinding: The stronger you get, the less EXP you get from fights. Your characters don't get "tired" like in P3, but eventually you'll simply run out of SP and run out of ways to recover outside of simply leaving the TV Worldnote Unlike P3, returning to the starting area does not recover your party's HP and SP (Although with The Golden, by the time you get to Nanako's dungeon you can easily grind endlessly, assuming you've maxed Rise's S. Link and gotten her to Level 62, which gives you HP and SP recovery, respectively, at the end of every battle) Alternatively, there's a rare Persona ability called "Victory Cry" which gives the player (Just the player) a complete restoration of HP and SP (The only exception is Marie's dungeon which your HP and SP are halved after every battle). There's also the Fox, who will restore your SP for money. If you max out the Hermit link, the Fox will charge only 25% of what it did in the beginning. The money you gain from battle by then covers the cost of the SP you expend.
  • Apocalypse How: A downplayed version near the end as the fog covering Inaba makes the people more and more apathetic & erratic.
  • Arc Words / Catch-Phrase:
    • "You're NOT me!"
    • "I am a Shadow... The true self..." / "我は影、真なる我" (literally "We are Shadow, a reflection of 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, though less so in Golden because "Reach Out To The Truth" is reserved for when the player gets Advantage.
    • Continuing in that vein: "The Search for the Truth"
    • And the arc words for the entire Persona series: "I am thou... thou art I."
    • Arc words for the animation? "Bonds of people is the true power."
    • The word "promise" is frequently used in Teddie's character arc and social link.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Naoto's chosen weapons are guns, which aren't any more effective than the MC's swords, or even Chie's kicks. Less so in some cases.
  • 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, though there is unused enemy data for them.
    • Maxing out a S-link will note that you forged a bond that cannot 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.
    • The final boss theme includes Triumphant Reprises of "I'll Face Myself" and "Reach Out to the Truth". With Golden replacing "Reach Out to the Truth" with "Time to Make History" as the new main battle theme (though "Truth" still plays when there's a Player Advantage, these are somewhat uncommon), the reprise loses a bit of its impact in the rerelease.
  • Artificial Riverbank: Samegawa Floodplain, one of the areas around Inaba that can be explored.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • FSteakis now canon. Interestingly, it was a happy accident; in the original Japanese, "fusuteki" is used.
    • "Shut up, Adachi!" is Dojima's (memetic) Catch-Phrase in the Hiimdaisy comic, but was actually never used in the original Persona 4. Then Golden comes along and Dojima uses that exact phrase in one of the first new scenes he and Adachi are featured in, fully voiced to boot.
    • Yosuke getting stuck in the trash can, a minor scene in both the game and anime. The opening to Persona 4 Golden shows Yosuke dancing with a trashcan over his head.
  • 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, and the characters say as much while discussing his death.
  • Assimilation Plot: After the string-puller decides Adachi is the truest representation of humanity, the real world starts becoming engulfed in fog, so that everyone can become Shadows and can wander forever without suffering.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!:
    • When the protagonist awakens to Izanagi, the track ("Awakening") slowly climbs from a piano intro to a guitar solo that's downright metal.
    • The main battle theme, "Reach Out to the Truth", is a vocal rock/J-pop song. In Golden, "Time To Make History" becomes the new main, equally rocking main battle theme.
    • Nearly every boss theme is an imposing hard rock song: the fast-paced metal track "I'll Face Myself (-Battle-)" for the Shadow Selves and optional bosses, the droning, dreary, glitchy "A New World Fool" against Kunino-sagiri and the Killer, the triumphant "The Almighty" when fighting Ameno-sagiri, and "The Fog" for the first phase against the true final boss, Izanami.
  • 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.
    • 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 him in later games, you'll have to level yourself up and amass all the Personas to make him.
    • Some of the 3rd tier Persona abilities in Golden are this. Only Yukiko's, an attack-all fire spell with a little more power than the Ragnarok spell, is one that will be consistently used; it also helps that she has a massive SP pool.
      • Teddie's is more or less the same Random Effect Spell that Fuuka learns as her very last spell. Either your party or the enemy's party can be completely healed or affected with one or more Standard Status Effects.
      • Naoto's Shield of Justice ability and Chie's Dragon Hustle ability (the former provides invincibility for one turn; the latter is a multi-target Heat Riser spell) are both useful in context, but both require an absurd amount of SP (160 and 150, respectively). It's a bigger problem for Chie than Naoto because, lacking Naoto's larger SP pool, it takes over half her SP to cast and you'll need to waste SP restoratives in order to use it more than once, which would otherwise be a viable strategy in boss fights.
      • Kanji's can knock down and potentially cause dizzy on enemies. But it only works on Mooks, and is somewhat inaccurate besides (a trait shared with every other status effect spell). He'll learn a spell that can boost this particular effect, but it's learned so much earlier that the player will likely have shunted it out by then.
  • Awful Truth:
    • The major theme of the game is that people naturally will cling to lies and falsehoods to avoid horrible truths about themselves and others. The fog of the TV world is symbolic of people's desires to live in ignorance and denial. The climax is interesting in that the protagonists don't deny that most people are like that—but they themselves are different and they'll fight to stop a world shrouded in fog even if it goes against what the rest of the planet wants (something Marie says is not the case in Golden).
    • A more personal version occurs in Golden if you were a cheating bastard throughout the game. On Valentine's Day, you have to turn down every girl (save Marie and possibly one other) and later accept her gift in person anyway. Each heartbroken girl (who believes herself to be your only girlfriend) asks you just what you're planning to do on Valentine's Day without her. You give all sorts of non-answers, but each of them have a feeling what's up. They just decide to ignore the subject and half-heartedly say that they trust you (wrongfully). Naoto's is the most cruel, as she says that she's a failure of a detective because there's a mystery in front of her that she doesn't want to solve because she already knows the truth is too awful. Consider the entire Aesop of the game, and this is even worse.
  • Badass Adorable: The whole team respectively is certainly this, due to them being very good-looking and badass enough to take down anything hat comes in their way. Naoto takes a special mention.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • In Golden, you get the option to give the people in your group FBIsuits

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