|Also known as||Sis (by Makoto)|
|Japanese Name||新島 冴|
|First Appearance||Persona 5|
|Affiliation||Tokyo District Special Investigation Department|
|Height||183 cm (6'0")|
|English VA||Elizabeth Maxwell|
- "When and where did you find out about "that world"? You'll most likely be given life imprisonment or the death penalty... Unless you accept my proposal. That's why I need you to answer me honestly... ...if everything you've said is true."
- —Sae Niijima interrogating the protagonist, Persona 5
Sae has long gray hair asymmetrically parted on her right side and brown eyes, sometimes depicted with a hint of mauve red.
She wears a black business suit with a black turtleneck. Her blazer's cuffs and the lower part have clamshell-like designs. Accessory-wise, she wears a necklace of a section sign (§) which references her judicial occupation, earrings, and a few dark hair clips can be seen above her right ear. She has violet fingernails.
Shadow Sae has yellow eyes, extremely thick black eyeliner and black lipstick. She still wears her earrings, but she now has a black choker with spikes, and a hat that resembles an American flapper from the 1920s, with playing cards stashed behind a golden rose. She wears a revealing black dress with purple laces which exposes the center of her torso and her right leg. Her right leg is decorated with fishnet stockings and she wears purple high heels. She wears long black gloves. She seems to have tattoos on her shoulders and back; the tattoo on her back is a black dog's head wearing a choker surrounded by yellow roses.
While she does not initially transform into a demon form during her boss fight, she becomes Leviathan after the Phantom Thieves break a giant roulette wheel she was using to toy with them, a human-sized but tall knight in black spiked plate armor, a helmet resembling a horned demon, several large-caliber guns (such as a rocket launcher) mounted on her right hand and wielding a large red sword in her left.
- "Shut the hell up! This isn't something you can decide upon!"
- —Sae Niijima to the protagonist, Persona 5
Sae is intelligent, professional, serious, and seems to be a no-nonsense woman. She is very strict in both her work as prosecutor and guardian for her younger sister, Makoto, constantly telling her to focus on her studies and such. She is also capable of being harsh and aggressive, yelling "SHUT THE HELL UP!" at the protagonist.
Her father's own ideals and death is a large sore spot for her, and she lashes out when she feels she is being compared to her father who died in the line of duty. It is suggested Sae loved her father dearly and absolutely hated his killer from the bottom of her heart when he was murdered. Filled with anger and grief, Sae desired fairness in an unfair world. This could be the reason she has become a young prosecutor, although it is unknown when Sae decided to become one.
Sae has many responsibilities. She is always constantly working due to the constant pressure to work in Japan, and has become very stressed, exhausted and tired. One responsibility of hers is caring for Makoto, almost putting her in the role of a single mother. She has come to resent Makoto, viewing her as a parasitic burden who is taking away her life and what little enjoyment Sae has left, and is no longer able to recognize Makoto's love. Although Makoto is almost 18 years old and could technically move out soon, this is infeasible given the reality - the Niijima family is not wealthy enough for this and there is a surge of young adults living with their parents/guardians into their 20s and 30s, a phenomenon known as the "" and is associated with millennials (although the phenomenon is usually associated in Western culture, it is also common in Japan). Sae knows that Makoto will likely continue to be a burden for much more time to come.
Sae is an attorney who yearns to be respected in a male dominated field and realizes it as a rigged system, dealing with a corrupt law enforcement agency that caters to the rich and powerful. Sae was one of the few who tried to do good and enact fairness and justice, but this gradually changed.
As a result of her own powerless, despair, and a slew of bad experiences, Sae has become extremely cynical, pessimistic about her ability to actually pursue justice and keep her career. She has become an investigator that will do anything to win, even if it means manipulating evidence to make someone innocent be guilty, all as a form of twisted revenge against society. This opened the way to her unknowingly joining the conspiracy with the help of her boss after Kunikazu Okumura's death, her self-destructive behavior and volatile attitude towards others making her an ideal enforcer of Masayoshi Shido due to her increasing willingness to acquiesce to any request by her superiors to get ahead.
It is later revealed that deep inside, Sae is actually envious and jealous of her sister and colleagues, feeling they have the freedom to do whatever they want, while she is stuck in a dead-end slave job. This envy, combined with her growing disillusionment and frustration with her profession as a concept due to being regularly strung along by political corruption, manifests as a Palace resembling a casino and a hypercompetitive Shadow Self who desires everyone to feel as helpless as she does while stuck in an unfair and corrupt system, forcing the Phantom Thieves into rigged gambling games that are impossible to win fairly. Her distorted and pitiful worldview is shown during her battle quotes, claiming that a society must have rules and order to operate, and that those who do not follow society's rules must be punished and penalized-but also that it is natural and right to alter the rules to favor one side, then call the rigged victory "justice". After being caught cheating in her supposedly "fair" game, this is the final straw for Shadow Sae and goes berserk and attempts to kill everyone-offhandedly revealing that she didn't think it was possible to be fair until she gave up on the game.
Unlike other Shadow Selves who form Palaces, Shadow Sae is open to listening to reason-after being defeated, the Phantom Thieves convince her to let go of her jealousy without stealing Sae's Treasure, leading the real Sae to have an epiphany about how pointless her grudges and overcompensation are without fundamentally changing her personality.
- "Right now, you're useless to me. All you do is eat away at my life."
- —Sae Niijima to Makoto Niijima, Persona 5
After Sae's father who was a police officer died in the line of duty two years ago, she has been obliged to act as her minor sister, Makoto Niijima's legal guardian which she is not happy with even though Makoto tries her best to please her with her school grade and by handling most of the household chores. Sae is also very bitter to the gender bias against women still lingering in the Japan's society no matter how hard she proves her superiority over other male colleagues.
Sae is a Public Prosecutor of the Tokyo District Special Investigation Department (independent from the Police Department) responsible for the Phantom Thieves of Hearts' case. In the prologue of the story, she requests interrogation of the captured protagonist, despite her dismissal from the investigation by her boss. Over the course of the game she recapitulates the Thieves' activities with him.
When the incidents of mental breakdown in Tokyo has begun causing casualties, Sae begins looking for research about mental diseases, a search that leads her to the now deceased cognition scientist, Wakaba Isshiki. She visits Sojiro Sakura's cafe for investigation, but in order to protect Wakaba's daughter, Futaba, from any harm, Sojiro refuses to cooperate. Sae informs Sojiro that if he refuses, he'll likely end up in family court due to concerns about Futaba's living situation, and will almost certainly lose custody of her.
After Futaba has come out of her shell and joined the Phantom Thieves, Futaba asks their teammate, Makoto, who is aware of Sae's investigation of their case, to install spyware in her laptop in order to obtain information from her investigations. Sae later notices the spyware and aggressively inquires Goro Akechi about the hacking. She is also accidentally responsible for Makoto joining the Phantom Thieves, when her sister brings up that their father would have respected the Thieves' ideals. Upset upon being reminded of her grief, Sae thoughtlessly berates Makoto, which drives her sister to attempt to bust Junya Kaneshiro, blackmailing the Thieves to help her.
When Goro forces himself into the Phantom Thieves, he suggests that the gang should steal Sae's heart to stop her investigation, otherwise the Public Prosecutors Office may hold them responsible for the deaths of Kunikazu Okumura and the Principal. Her Palace quickly shows just how jaded Sae truly is, with Makoto shocked at how bitter and spiteful her sister's Shadow Self is, and how she views her career as a rigged casino where only the corrupt thrive.
Shadow Sae's boss fight takes place on a giant roulette wheel which she occasionally spins to influence the battle depending on if the Phantom Thieves win a bet (healing the winner, damaging the loser, and so on). Initially, her wheel is just as rigged as her other games, with her placing a glass shield over the cups that prevents the ball from landing and ensuring she always wins; eventually, a member of the Thieves is sent to use their gun to knock the ball into the cup. This surprises and angers Shadow Sae, who transforms into Leviathan and attacks in a rage, declaring the Thieves won't be able to take the only power she has away from her, and removes the glass to prove that she can defeat them in a fair fight.
The outcome of this operation differs depending on the dialogue choices after the protagonist has finished his long reminiscence in the interrogation room with Sae.
In the good ending route, the Thieves realize that Goro is actually the traitor and pretend that they have taken away Sae's Treasure with an empty suitcase, getting Makoto's help in calming Shadow Sae and enlisting her as an ally-which means the Palace never actually collapsed, and the real Sae still has subconscious control over the police station's reality through it. With her ability, they trick Goro into killing the Cognitive existences of the protagonist and the guard of the interrogation room after the apprehension, both born from Sae's Palace. Upon realizing the real reason of being appointed to the case and the true colors of her boss and Goro, Sae cooperates with the Thieves and transports the protagonist safely to Cafe Leblanc. When the gang revals that about the mastermind behind Goro is Masayoshi Shido, Sae admits that she had her suspicions of Shido because he gains the most from all the victims whose deaths are connected to the Palace.
When the Thieves publicize their video of the upcoming heist of Shido's heart, Sae is blamed by the Police Department for the protagonist's feigned death but she begins to pretend that her heart has been stolen. In the end, she is tasked with charging Shido after the latter's confession to his crimes, but because the Public Prosecutor needs a witness and Goro has been reported missing, she turns to the protagonist which results in his confinement in the youth detention center for two months. After his allies try every way to prove his innocence in the street assault against Shido, Sae brings the good news of Shido's case and the release of the protagonist because Shido's victim who testified against the protagonist has changed her testimony.
Sae lastly reveals that after Shido's case has been completely settled she will quit her current job and become an attorney. She believes that this is the better way to fight for justice than in the Public Prosecutor's Office.
Sae represents the Judgement Confidant which starts on July 9th and progresses automatically during her interrogation. None of her ranks offer abilities except rank 10, which gives you an ability called True Justice, an ability with no description but a row of question marks. This ability has no known function. Her Confidant can only be maxed if the protagonist answers all of her questions correctly to stay on the Good Ending route. Her Confidant strangely does not have Ranks 7, 8, or 9, jumping from 6 to 10 upon fulfilling the Good Ending requirements. Maxing her Confidant unlocks the fusion of Satan.
The item received by maxing Sae's Confidant is a lawyer's business card, with no known effect.
|1||July 9th - After Kaneshiro's confession||-|
|2||July 24th - After the revelation of Futaba's past||-|
|3||August 22th - After the announcement of Medjed's defeat||-|
|4||September 19th - After the announcement of Principal Kobayakawa's death||-|
|5||October 12th - After the police inspect Okumura's house||-|
|6||October 28th - After Goro suggests stealing Sae's heart||-|
|10||November 20th - After fullfilling the requirements for the Good Ending||True Justice|
A majority of the first part of the fight involves Shadow Sae setting up a roulette, betting HP, SP, or money. For the turn after she sets up the roulette, Sae will impose a penalty on anyone who attacks or uses a debuff on her, doing damage to set their HP to 1. However, she cheats on the roulette, ensuring that the player will always lose their bets until they figure out the means of cheating. A Special Order then becomes available to expose her cheating, prompting a Hold Up and advancing the battle to the next part of the fight.
Shadow Sae's Leviathan form possesses a mixture of physical, gun, and almighty attacks. Once its HP hits the 2/3 mark it begins reusing Roulette Time without any cheating method - bet accordingly to make the most of the situation.
At the 1/3 mark it begins using Desperation, a buff that drastically raises its offenses at the cost of defenses, cannot be erased by Dekaja, and can even stack with Heat Riser. Take this opportunity to end the battle quickly before it outdamages the party.
- "Let's do this fair and square!"
- "Now, let us play a game of roulette. The stakes will be... our lives. Of course, acts of violence are forbidden here. One must follow the rules."
- "That's fine by me. Such troublesome people will just face the penalty..."
- "Ah... So you've broken the rules. In that case, it's time you be penalized! This is your penalty! Those who cannot follow rules are not to be tolerated. That is simply how society operates."
- "Very well, time to make your bet! Well, how will you bet?"
- "Hopefully your prediction will be correct this time. *chuckle*"
- "Shut up... SHUT UUUP!"
- "Cheating!? Unfair!? Silence! This is MY world! If you want a fair fight, then to hell with the game! I'll crush you by force. Fair and square, just as you like!"
- "Die on my blade!"
- "Die! Die! Die!"
- "As long as you win, it doesn't matter what methods you use! Don't you all think the same!? You're controlling the hearts of others to achieve your own goals! I never lose, even in games of pure luck! Let me prove it!"
- "I will win! Justice can only be on the side of the victor!"
- "I... I just need to win... As long as I can win... that's all that matters..."
- "I... I..." (defeated)
- "Breaking rules will be punished!" (Penalty)
Leviathan concept art.
Sae interrogating the protagonist.
Goro and Sae.
Shadow Sae stats.
Shadow Sae front.
Shadow Sae back.
Shadow Sae as a monster.
Shadow Sae as a monster.
|Persona 5 Portraits|
Sae happy cut-in
Sae surprised cut-in
Sae Sad cut-in
Sae serious cut-in
Sae serious cut-in
Sae harmed cut-in
Shadow Sae (Leviathan)
Shadow Sae shocked
Shadow Sae smiling
Shadow Sae cut-in
Sae (冴え) is the verb for "to be clear/skillful". Niijima (新島) is a common Japanese surname meaning "New Island".
- Sae shares some similarities with Katsuya Suou from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment:
- Both are public servants who are investigating homicidal cases.
- Both are older siblings of a playable character.
- Suou's father was a police officer but dishonorably discharged because of getting too close to the truth, Niijima's father was also a police officer who died in the line of duty for his belief in justice. Either way, Katsuya and Sae shoulder the burden of supporting their families unwillingly.
- Their Shadow Selves represent the sin of envy.
- Both are betrayed by their colleagues, and have bosses who are part of their respective conspiracies.
- The prominent yellow roses in Shadow Sae's design and her tattoo of a dog head both represent her envy; yellow roses symbolize jealousy in Japanese flower language, and envy is often associated with dogs.