|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")|
187 cm (6'2") in heels
|English VA||Elizabeth Maxwell|
Sae is a tall woman with 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.
- "...The truth, huh? I don't even know what's right anymore. And it's all due to your strange story!"
- —Sae Niijima to the protagonist, Persona 5
Sae is intelligent, professional, serious, and seems to be a no-nonsense woman, although her actual maturity is debatable. 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.
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. Sae has mixed feelings toward Makoto, as while she cares for Makoto and tries to help her succeed, she also views her as a burden taking away her life and what little enjoyment Sae has left. Sae believes that Makoto's idealism is born from not having to struggle for a living. 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, a phenomenon known as the "" and is associated with millennials (it is also common in Japan, not just the West). 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 is often a rigged system that caters to the rich and powerful. At first, Sae 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. 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.
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 and dishonest Shadow Self hellbent on winning, desiring everyone to feel as helpless as she does while stuck in an unfair and corrupt system. She forces 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.
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.
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.
In order to investigate the mental shutdowns, Sae turns to Sojiro Sakura, an old friend of Wakaba Isshiki for help. When Sojiro refuses to cooperate, Sae threatens to bring him to family court, where he would almost certainly lose custody of his adoptive daughter, Futaba Sakura. Upon hearing this, Goro Akechi, Sae's fellow investigator, confronts her about it, resulting in the two having a falling out.
in early September, Makoto uses a USB device prepared by her teammate to steal data from Sae's laptop. Sae later notices the intrusion and accuses Akechi of stealing the data, offending him. In truth, Sae realized Makoto was responsible, but was unwilling to admit it.
When Akechi 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 Kobayakawa. 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.
Upon receiving her calling card, Sae is infuriated that the Phantom Thieves would consider her unjust, but reassures Makoto that the case will be over soon, and they can spend time together as sisters again, comforting Makoto when she tearfully promises to protect Sae. Sae takes a phone call, and is shocked to realize that the investigation has ordered that she be placed on standby.
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 Akechi 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 Akechi into killing the cognitions 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 Akechi, Sae cooperates with the Thieves and transports the protagonist safely to Cafe Leblanc. Sae apologizes to Futaba for putting pressure on Sojiro, and reconciles with Makoto.
When the gang revals that about the mastermind behind Akechi 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 Akechi 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 also reveals that after Shido's case has been completely settled she will quit her current job and become a defense attorney. She believes that this is the better way to fight for justice than in the Public Prosecutor's Office. One the protagonist's last day, she gives him her business card which states that she is now a defense attorney.
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. Its true effect is opening the last two dungeons of the game.
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.
Sae's farewell gift to the protagonist on the last day after maxing her Confidant is her Business Card which has no known effect. The item description shows that her intention to become a defense attorney has become true.
|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 Akechi 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.
This form's massive amounts of HP cannot be depleted normally. The fight will be advanced by the battle's events.
- "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!"
- "Goodness me, you just keep losing. It seems luck isn't with you." (if protagonist is alone)
- "...! Why would I cheat...?" (if protagonist is alone)
- "You only dare talk like that because you can't beat me..." (if protagonist is alone)
- "You're the one who needs to shut up!" (if protagonist is alone)
- "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!"
- "Winning is all that matters!"
- "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)
Shadow Sae concept art.
Leviathan concept art.
Sae on her laptop.
Sae interrogating the protagonist.
Akechi 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 sad
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.
- Sae's Confidant is far and away the fastest Social Link/Confidant to develop in the series. While most Social Links/Confidants require at least a month of dedicated bonding to reach Rank 10, Sae progresses from nothing to the maximum over the course of a couple of hours.
- If the player fights Sae alone, Futaba insults Sae.