Death is the anthropomorphic personification of destruction and the end revolving the Persona series.
- "The true nature of Ryoji Mochizuki. A more powerful Shadow with the strength of 13 Arcana."
- —Persona 3 Dictionary
Death plays an important role in the Persona 3 universe. In ancient times, Nyx bestowed Night and Death to the world, as well as the prophecy of The Fall. Should humanity lose the will to survive, Death would summon Nyx, who would descend to the earth to cleanse the world, destroying humanity.
Prior to the events of Persona 3, the Kirijo Group founded an experiment on Port Island, to study the nature of Shadows. During the experiment, the lead scientists learned about the prophecy of The Fall, and subsequently, the Arcana that was never meant to be, the Death Arcana.
Accepting death as a deliverance, many of the lead scientists began mass collecting Shadows, hoping to rejuvenate Death. Under the experiment, Death was eventually awakened. However during the last stages of the experiment, Eiichiro Takeba, objecting to his superiors' beliefs, interrupted the experiment. As a result, Death was forcefully separated into thirteen distinct Shadows, each bearing their respective Arcana. The thirteenth Shadow bears the Death arcana, as well as being Death's main body.
The remaining Shadows began a rampage, destroying the lab facility and creating the phenomena of the Dark Hour and Tartarus. Death, in his incomplete state, later escapes from the facility. However, the Anti-Shadow weapon, Aigis, intervened at the Moonlight Bridge. Hoping to destroy Death so the Fall could be averted, Aigis engages Death in battle. During the battle, a nearby family in Dark Hour hibernation is killed, leaving only their child as a survivor.
In the heated battle between Aigis and Death, even Death's incomplete state possessed more power than Aigis anticipated. In an act of desperation, Aigis sealed Death in the surviving young child witnessing the events. The young child is the protagonist. Death eventually manipulates the protagonist' psyche on the subconscious level, leading him back to the very place the Shadows were harvested: Port Island.
With Death sensing his separated Shadows, he begins to reawaken. Due to his incomplete state, Death suffers from amnesia, and assumes the form of a human child named Pharos. During the following Full Moon, the Arcana Magician attacks, forcing the protagonist to fire an Evoker for the first time. As the protagonist attempts to do so, Death (as Pharos) encourages him, telling him not to hesitate. Calling to the sea of his soul, the protagonist manages to summon Orpheus. However, the summoning was halted when Death forcefully makes his entrance by emerging from Orpheus' head, tearing Orpheus apart. Death would then lunge toward the Shadow, ripping it apart mercilessly before reverting to Orpheus.
Later, Pharos would occasionally wake up the protagonist during the Dark Hour and tell the protagonist about strange, prophetic dreams he has been encountering lately. Eventually, Pharos would request the protagonist to be his friend, creating the Death Social Link. With every full moon's appearance, the separated Shadows of Death would begin reawakening, hoping to reconcile with their original body.
Shuji Ikutsuki, chairman of SEES, eventually deducted that should the separated Shadows of Death be destroyed, the Dark Hour would cease to exist. SEES begins to more actively fight Shadows, as well as seeking out and destroying the separated Shadows of Death during their Full Moon reawakenings. In truth, by destroying the separated Shadows, Death began to rejuvenate. With the twelfth Shadow defeated, Pharos' memories are finally restored. Pharos bids farewell to the protagonist, thanking him for great memories, and saying he will cherish their conversations forever.
Believing that the Dark Hour has ceased to exist, SEES celebrate their victory. Their joy fell short when the Dark Hour became active again, with Shuji Ikutsuki nowhere to be found. Worried, SEES decides to check upon Tartarus. There, they witness Shuji Ikutsuki ringing the bells of Tartarus, along with Aigis. Shuji Ikutsuki thanks SEES for destroying the separated Shadows, and reveals that he was in fact one of the scientists embracing the prophecy of The Fall. Shuji Ikutsuki even reprogrammed Aigis to follow his orders. Aigis subdues SEES, whom all end up crucified on the roof of the school's observatory.
Shuji Ikutsuki then tells SEES that they are intended to be sacrifices to summon Death, and orders Aigis to kill them. However, Aigis cannot bear to kill the protagonist and begins to fight Ikutsuki's reprogramming. As Aigis is fighting for her conflicted programmings, Takeharu Kirijo intervenes and a gun-fight ensues, killing Kirijo and fatally wounding Ikutsuki. The dying Ikutsuki then drags himself over the edge of Tartarus, falling to his death.
After all of Death's pieces are reassembled and united, it exits the protagonist's psyche and later assumes a distinct human form, Ryoji Mochizuki. Unlike Pharos, he can be seen and interacted with by others beyond than the protagonist. Ryoji shows up as a transfer student in Gekkoukan High School, having no recollection of his memories as Death. Ryoji's flirtatious personality immediately gains the school's attention, where he first attempts to flirt with Aigis. However, as he approaches Aigis, she becomes hostile to him, and repeatedly warns the protagonist not to get close to Ryoji.
Regardless, the protagonist later befriends Ryoji, while Aigis begins to understand the meaning behind her hostility towards Ryoji. In the Female protagonist's route, he represents the Fortune Arcana. With another full moon's appearance, Ryoji ends up on the Moonlit Bridge, confused by his familiarity and serenity in the Dark Hour. Aigis would later meet up with Ryoji, questioning whether he remembers his past, and their battle. Upon Aigis' explanation, Ryoji finally realizes his true purpose and identity as Death. Acknowledging the disaster Ryoji beheld, Aigis begins attacking Ryoji, who easily halts her attacks and heavily damages her.
Ryoji later explains his true identity and purpose to SEES; his very existence marks the definite prophecy of the Fall, and Nyx' arrival would destroy humanity. However, with the humane emotions given by the protagonist, Ryoji offers SEES an option: they could kill him instead of facing Nyx. Killing Ryoji would wipe out their memories of the Dark Hour, and allow SEES to live their lives as normal students until the arrival of Nyx. Ryoji then tells SEES not to make hasty decisions, and that he will return on December 31, awaiting their answer. Ryoji is later reported as transferring to another school the next day, and is not seen again until December 31.
On December 31, Ryoji visits SEES once more, to hear their answer. He pleads with SEES to kill him, as he could not bear to face them in battle. Ryoji later goes to the protagonist's room, where he awaits SEES' final answer. In the end, the protagonist must choose whether to kill Ryoji or not. Choosing the latter forces Ryoji to turn into Thanatos, the bringer of death, in a final attempt to persuade the protagonist to kill him. After refusing his request again, Death returns to Ryoji's form, and provides SEES vital information about the nature and arrival of Nyx, hoping for their success. After doing so, Death becomes intangible, and begins summoning Nyx.
Upon Nyx' arrival on January 31, Death reveals to have become one with Nyx, becoming Nyx Avatar. Death questions SEES on whether they regret their decisions. Upon knowing their strong determination, Nyx Avatar calmly accepts their beliefs, and starts attacking SEES. Throughout the battle, Nyx Avatar explains the nature of the Arcana while shifting from one another. After going through thirteen forms, Nyx Avatar finally reveals his true Arcana: Death. When aiming for an attack, he tells the protagonist not to regret, as this is the protagonist's "path of his choosing".
SEES eventually manages to fend off the Avatar of Nyx, but the Avatar shrugs the damage away, and proceeds to connect to Nyx's true body, the Moon. As she descends to earth, SEES is rendered immobile, leaving only the protagonist immune to her effect, and ascends to the Moon. Through the cheering of SEES and others' will to live, the protagonist reaches his full potential, and creates The Universe Arcana. Using his very life essence and body, the protagonist uses the powers of The Universe to perform the Great Seal, sealing Nyx away from humanity. Death later tells SEES that they have attained the miracle they have longed for, the legacy of life will continue and he will hibernate once more, until humanity wishes for Nyx's arrival.
- After Ikutsuki's betrayal, the members of SEES realize that by defeating all twelve Arcana Shadows on full moons, all they did was helping Death becoming complete again. Fuuka then restores the last recording of Eiichiro Takeba, stating that people should "leave the Shadows be" in order to prevent Death from reforming. However, if SEES had chosen not to fight against these Shadows, they would have continued to spread Apathy Syndrome, provoking the Fall little by little. It seems thus as, given what had been done in the past as the result of different decisions (from the Kirijo Group, Aigis and Death itself), SEES had no choice but to reform Death and fight it in order to prevent the Fall.
- There are many ironic connections between the protagonist and Ryoji Mochizuki:
- Ryoji and Death are one in the same. Ryoji's true form is Thanatos (the bringer of death).
- Ryoji and Pharos are also one in the same. Ryoji/Pharos was locked away inside of the protagonist by Aigis, 10 years ago, when she realized "Death" was undefeatable.
- Pharos is the character associated with the XIII. Death - Mysterious Boy Social Link.
- "Thanatos, the bringer of death" is the ultimate Death Persona unlocked by completing the Mysterious Boy Social Link.
- The protagonist's Ultimate Persona is Messiah (the highest-leveled Persona in Persona 3). During the ending credits, Messiah can be seen inside the protagonist's silhouette.
- "Messiah, the savior" is the ultimate Persona of the XX. Judgment - Nyx Annihilation Team Social Link.
- The Judgement Social Link can only be initiated after deciding not to kill Ryoji (Thanatos). To level up this Social Link requires venturing to the very top of Tartarus, where Nyx will be "welcomed" into the world by The Appriser (Ryoji).
- Messiah can only be fused in one possible way: Orpheus (the protagonist's initial Persona) + Thanatos (Ryoji's true form).
|0. Fool Arcana - I. Magician Arcana - II. Priestess Arcana - III. Empress Arcana - IV. Emperor Arcana - V. Hierophant Arcana - VI. Lovers Arcana - VII. Chariot Arcana - VIII. Strength Arcana/Justice Arcana - IX. Hermit Arcana - X. Fortune Arcana - XI. Justice Arcana/Strength Arcana - XI(T). Hunger Arcana - XII. Hanged Man Arcana - XIII. Death Arcana - XIV. Temperance Arcana - XV. Devil Arcana - XVI. Tower Arcana - XVII. Star Arcana - XVIII. Moon Arcana - XIX. Sun Arcana - XX. Judgement Arcana - XX(T). Aeon Arcana - XXI. World Arcana - XXI(T). Universe Arcana|
|Suit of Coins - Suit of Cups - Suit of Swords - Suit of Wands|
|I. Arcana Magician - II. Arcana Priestess - III. Arcana Empress - IV. Arcana Emperor - V. Arcana Hierophant - VI. Arcana Lovers - VII. Arcana Chariot - VIII. Arcana Justice - IX. Arcana Hermit - X. Arcana Fortune - XI. Arcana Strength - XII. Arcana Hanged Man - XIII. Death|