- "Take Your Heart"
- —Phantom Thieves of Hearts, Persona 5
The Phantom Thieves of Hearts (心の怪盗団, Kokoro no kaitō-dan)?, also known simply as the Phantom Thieves, is a group of Persona Users in Persona 5. Sick of the deception, hypocrisy and corruption around them, the Phantom Thieves are devoted to "stealing" the corrupt hearts of "evil" adults in order to change and reform society for the better, although they have also targeted teenagers such as Kazuya Makigami and Futaba Sakura. At one point, the player can name the group which will be shown on calling cards and online features with the default name of "The Phantoms" (ザ・ファントム?).
It is subjective whether or not the Phantom Thieves are "right" or "wrong." While some view them as heroes who fight criminals and save the day, Goro Akechi deems them to be criminals themselves who have no right to forcefully change the hearts of people. With the increasing numbers of their target's hearts changed, the Phantom Thieves begin to struggle with the question of whether the end justifies the means, questioning the morality of their "justice", and their determination to reform society often wavers as a result. This is especially true after Kunikazu Okumura's death, as the Phantom Thieves are labeled violent murderers by society and become despised by many.
- "The bonds that you have reeled in are quite intriguing... In other words, they all have been unfairly labeled by society and are standing up against such fates. Have you noticed? Your heart seems to inspire theirs. *chuckle* Outcasts of society... In other words, you're picaresque. Deepen your bonds with them. Those will become the strength behind your rehabilitation. ...I look forward to it. I shall grant you an ability befitting of your newfound growth. Consider it a gift. May you continue devoting yourself to further rehabilitation."
- —Igor talking about the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, Persona 5
Instead of actually going to the police, the protagonist, Ryuji Sakamoto, Ann Takamaki, and Morgana formed the Phantom Thieves of Hearts in order to target the “corrupt adults” and steal their “corrupt hearts” and change the world in order to rebel and fight against the complex, sophisticated and well-ingrained system of slavery they are trapped in. They are willing to perform illegal activities if it means reaching their own freedom and liberation.
The group is formed when the volleyball teacher of Shujin Academy, Suguru Kamoshida, is revealed to have abused his students and molested Ann's friend, Shiho Suzui, which leads to the girl's attempted suicide. However, since Shiho is in a coma, and no other student is willing to speak against Kamoshida, nor having any proof, the three decide to make Kamoshida confess his own crimes by stealing the arrogance in his heart in infiltrating his Palace in the Metaverse.
They initially intend to end the Phantom Thieves once Kamoshida's case is over, but after encountering an arrogant politician, Masayoshi Shido, they decide to continue their 'Phantom Thieves' activities. Their name soon becomes known after making a corrupt painter, Ichiryusai Madarame, confess his own sin on live television. In addition to this, they also gain a new member, Madarame's former disciple, Yusuke Kitagawa. Their activities reach the police's attention, particularly investigator Sae Niijima, leading the team assigned to the Phantom Thieves case to be formed.
Furthermore, their methods are seen as questionable and unorthodox, and the Phantom Thieves have also received opposition and criticism for their actions. A high school detective, Goro Akechi makes an appearance on TV, where he is asked his opinion on the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. His response is that, whether or not they truly exist, they are criminals who should be brought to justice; he goes on to denounce their actions, and believes that forcing people to change what's in their hearts is wrong.
At the same time, people who support their actions also increased after the Phantom Thieves change the heart of money extorted, Junya Kaneshiro, whom the police has difficulty to catch due to lack of evidence. Shujin Academy's student council president, Makoto Niijima, joins them as well after confirming that their justice is not wrong. From Kaneshiro, however, they learn of the existence of a third party who is manipulating the Palaces for their own needs. The increasing support they gain earns interest from a group of hackers, Medjed, who demand them to cease their false justice and give them a chance to right their wrong by joining them. As Medjed declares an all out war against them, the Phantom Thieves change the heart of a prodigy programmer Futaba Sakura, after she requested them to steal her suicidal tendencies in exchange for dealing with Medjed herself. Futaba joins the Phantom Thieves soon after. During the Shujin Academy trip to Hawaii, they learn the Phantom Thieves have attracted attention internationally, being mentioned by several Hawaii local people.
However, upon their return to Japan, the Phantom Thieves are shocked to learn that the principal of Shujin Academy apparently committed suicide, leading to the spreading of a rumor that the Phantom Thieves had changed his heart. To clear their name, they decide their next target, a president of food manufacturer, Kunikazu Okumura. They are joined by Kunikazu's daughter, Haru Okumura who also wants to change her father's heart. Unfortunately, things turns to worse when a mysterious masked Persona user kills Kunikazu's Shadow, causing Kunikazu to die as well in the real life during a press conference before he can reveal the mastermind behind the Conspiracy, and the Phantom Thieves are blamed for his death.
While trying to find a way to prove themselves, Akechi reveals that he knows the protagonist and his friends' identities as the Phantom Thieves and the existence of Metaverse, and believing they are not the ones who killed Kunikazu, Akechi offers to help them clearing their name. To do this, he suggests they steal Sae's heart to stop her from investigating the Thieves. After fulfilling their mission in Sae's Palace, someone leaks information about their whereabouts, so the protagonist uses himself as a bait, leading to his capture. While being interrogated by Sae, the protagonist reveals that Akechi is a traitor and makes a deal with her to save himself and deceive Akechi, who comes to kill the protagonist. Having successfully deceived Akechi using the reality-altering ability of the Metaverse and with Sae's help, the protagonist safely escapes his confinement and goes into hiding after his apparent death is broadcasted.
From the recording of Akechi's phone conversation, they find out that the mastermind behind the Conspiracy is Shido, who is going for election to become Prime Minister and the one responsible for the protagonist's probation. Entering his Palace, they once again encounter Akechi who is revealed to be Shido's illegitimate son and defeat him. Akechi, feeling remorseful for betraying them, sacrifices himself to allow them to proceed. Reaching the end, the Thieves hijack the entire television to show their video that reveals Shido as the culprit behind the recent incidents in Shibuya, and declare war against Shido. Confronting Shadow Shido in his Palace, the Phantom Thieves succeed in stealing his heart and makes him confess his crimes at the live press conference when he is elected Prime Minister.
The Thieves celebrate their success and think it's now over for good. However, Shido's henchmen and personal doctor use the excuse that Shido currently has an unstable mental disorder and won't allow anyone to meet him, which means he cannot be judged despite having already confessed. They also manipulate the media to make people believe that the Phantom Thieves are deceiving them. In order to reform Shido's subordinates and change people's opinion of Shido, Morgana suggests they go to the Mementos' core. Since Mementos is the Palace of the people, the entire Metaverse will cease to exist once Mementos is destroyed. To bring Shido to justice, the Phantom Thieves agree to make this their one last heist.
When they reach the depths of Mementos, they are confronted by a being called Holy Grail, a manifestation of humanity's desire to be ruled and the conductor of the Conspiracy. He disguised himself as Igor to watch the battle between the protagonist and Akechi, using that to determine whose will is stronger. As the real world is merged with Mementos, the Phantom Thieves confront Holy Grail who transforms into his true form: Yaldabaoth. With the help of people who believe in them, the Phantom Thieves receive enough power to defeat Yaldabaoth, resulting in the Metaverse to disappear for good.
On Christmas Eve, Sae asks the protagonist to turn himself in so he can testify against Shido since there's a lack of witnesses or solid evidence. However, this means the protagonist may have to be imprisoned in a facility, due to his history with Shido and because the police and prosecutors are desperate to restore their own reputation and prevent anyone from seeing the Phantom Thieves as heroes. To change the world and protect his friends, the protagonist agrees to Sae's request. In response to his arrest, his friends try their best to prove his innocence and eventually succeed in doing so two months afterwards when they find the woman he saved, who retracts the testimony Shido forced her to make and resulting in the initial charges of assault being expunged, allowing the protagonist to be freed earlier. However, since the protagonist's probation has been dropped, this means the protagonist has to go back to his hometown next month. With the leader leaving Tokyo, the protagonist and his friends officially disband the Phantom Thieves of Hearts.
|Member||Code name||Role||Comical title|
|Morgana||Mona||Attacker, Navigator||Acting Guide|
|Ryuji Sakamoto||Skull||Attacker||Captain Foodie|
|Makoto Niijima||Queen||Attacker, Navigator||Advisor|
|Futaba Sakura||Oracle||Navigator||Hacker Prodigy|
|Haru Okumura||Noir||Attacker||Noble Daughter|
|Goro Akechi||Crow||Attacker||Charismatic Detective|
In the Japanese official site of Persona 5, those (besides the core members) who the protagonist can form Confidant bonds with are also considered part of the Phantom Thieves as most of them are mentioned during the protagonist's interrogation by Sae Niijima.
|Sojiro Sakura||Takes the protagonist in||Guardian of Spongers|
|Chihaya Mifune||Provides accurate divination||Prophetess Who Sees Fate|
|Munehisa Iwai||Supplies equipment||Defective Weapon Provisioner|
|Tae Takemi||Supplies barely legal drugs||Dark Physician|
|Sadayo Kawakami||Provides domestic services and|
allows the protagonist to skip classes
|Ichiko Ohya||Reports in favor of the gang||Paparazza|
|Shinya Oda||Teaches gun skills||Young Marksman Never Misses|
|Hifumi Togo||Teaches battle strategies||Crafty Female Shogi Player|
|Yuuki Mishima||Creates and manages|
the Phantom Aficionado Website
Public Relations Officer
|Toranosuke Yoshida||Teaches speechcraft||Unyielding Politician|
Wanted poster promotional artwork
Illustration of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts by Shigenori Soejima
Illustration by Shigenori Soejima
PERSONA5 20th Anniversary package visual of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts by Shigenori Soejima
The Phantom Thieves of Hearts
Illustration of the main members of Phantom Thieves of Hearts
Persona 5 Maniax User Handbook Cover Illustration of Phantom Thieves of Hearts by Shigenori Soejima
The Phantom Thieves of Hearts
The Phantom Thieves in the main menu
The Phantom Thieves in the main menu
The Phantom Thieves in Niijima's Palace
The Phantom Thieves on Shido's Palace
The Phantom Thieves of Hearts in the manga adaption
|Persona 5 (Manga)|
Persona 5 Character Anthology
Illustration by Persona Q: Side P4 manga author Mizunomoto
|Persona 5 The Animation The Day Breakers|
The Phantom Thieves of Hearts on the cover of Persona 5 The Animation The Day Breakers
Illustration of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts by Akaume (PQ Roundabout author)
- The gloves worn by the Phantom Thieves (except for Morgana who does not wear any) correspond to the elements or roles their Personas primarily represent:
- The Phantom Thieves of Hearts share the unique distinction of not bearing a bond associated with the Fool Arcana, in contrast to S.E.E.S or the Investigation Team. Rather, the Fool Arcana bond is with Igor.