|Japanese Name||新島 冴|
|First Appearance||Persona 5|
|Affiliation||Tokyo District Special Investigation Department|
|Height||183 cm (6'0")|
- "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 red eyes.
She wears a black business suit with a black turtleneck. 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 a different hairstyle and wears extremely heavy makeup and black lipstick. She wears a revealing black dress, a black choker with spikes, and hat that resembles an American flapper from the 1920s, with playing cards stashed behind a golden rose. 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.
- "You are still a dependent. Such a burden only there consuming my whole life."
- —Sae Niijima to Makoto Niijima, Persona 5
Sae is 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 aggressive, yelling "SHUT THE HELL UP!" at the protagonist. She is also extremely cynical, pessimistic about her ability to actually pursue justice and keep her career. 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.
It is later revealed that deep inside, Sae is actually envious and jealous of her sister and colleagues. This Envy, combined with her growing disillusionment with her profession as a concept due to being regularly strung along by political corruption, manifests as a Palace resembling a casino and a 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. 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.
- "Shut the hell up! This isn't something you can decide upon!"
- —Sae Niijima to the protagonist, 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 is looking for researches about mental diseases which 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 instead threatens to remove his custody over Futaba if he insists.
After Futaba has come out of her shell and joined the Phantom Thieves, she asks their teammate, Makoto, who is aware of Sae's investigation of their case, to install a spyware in her laptop in order to obtain information from her investigations. Sae later notices the spyware and aggressively inquires Goro Akechi for 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 collapses, 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 Le Blanc. When discussing with the gang about the mastermind behind Goro, Sae deduces that Masayoshi Shido being the most likely culprit 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 Procurator 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 Prosecutors Office.
Sae represents the Judgement Confidant which progresses automatically during her interrogation. While none of her ranks offer abilities, by maxing her Confidant, the player is given a mystery ability. This ability is simply listed as a row of question marks in both the abilities name and description, and appears to have no effect. Her Confidant can only be maxed if the protagonist answers all of her questions correctly to stay on the Good Ending route. The Persona fusion unlocked for maxing her Confidant is Satan.
The item received by maxing Sae's Confidant is a a lawyer's business card, with no known effect.
Sae Niijima interrogating the protagonist
Goro and Sae
|Persona 5 Portraits|
Shadow Sae (Leviathan)
Shadow Sae shocked
Shadow Sae smiling
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 are envious towards their siblings.
- Both are betrayed by their colleagues, and have bosses who are part of their respective conspiracies.