- "Shadows are the lower parts of the psyche everyone has... Suppressed human thoughts given physical form. When people are unable to face their darker selves, they break loose, free from all control. But sometimes, humans with special awareness can tame their Shadows... Those are Persona-users."
- —Metis, Persona 3 FES: The Answer
Shadows (シャドウ, Shadou) are the monsters in the Persona series and share most of the enemy demons common in the Megami Tensei franchise. They are born from humans, and carry with them human emotions, which are mostly negative. Strong-willed Shadows attract lesser Shadows, which later create stronger Shadows.
- Persona 2: Innocent Sin
- Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
- Persona 3 / FES / Portable
- Persona 4 / Golden
- Persona 4 Arena / Ultimax
- Persona 4: Dancing All Night
- Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
- Persona 5
Megami Ibunroku PersonaEdit
A precursor to the Shadow concept used in the rest of the series occurs in Megami Ibunroku Persona. Throughout the story, aspects of Maki Sonomura's consciousness are embodied by several different characters: her id Aki, her ego Mai, the playable Maki, who is actually Maki's idealized version of herself; and Pandora, who represents Maki's nihilism. In dialogue, the Ideal Maki is referred to by herself as a shadow of Maki's heart, and at the end of the game, the Ideal Maki accepts and rejoins with Pandora after the later's defeat.
In the Alaya Cavern, the hero and the Ideal Maki find the hero's other self, who judges him based on the deeds he performs throughout the game and grants him the Totems for the Ultimate Personas depending on the number of good deeds performed. Maki compares this other hero with the other versions of herself faced before. In the manga adaptation, a second "other self" is represented as Naoya Toudou's guilt appearing in the form of his deceased twin brother Kazuya. He is able to use Personas, like a Shadow Self from Persona 2, and disappears once it is accepted by its original self, like a Shadow Self from Persona 4.
These "Shadow Selves" appeared due to contradicting rumors in Innocent Sin, which allowed them to exist and be members of the Masked Circle. In Eternal Punishment, Nyarlathotep instead appeared as them in Monado Mandala. They attempt to deceive and confuse them in the same fashion the Persona 4 shadows would, save that they will attack even if they are accepted due to the unnatural method that allowed them to appear. Even their Reverse Personas seek to defeat their counterparts. Though defeated, they will warn that they will continue to exist as a part of them, which both the users and their Personas accept.
Nyarlathotep hoped they would kill the teams led by Tatsuya Suou so his plans could continue unhindered, either by dying at the hands of the Shadows, or drowned in their despair after their darkness had been made manifest. This plan failed, primarily because in true Persona fashion, the triumphant "light" selves vowed to grow from the lessons taught by the Shadows, bonding them closer instead of shattering them. The only exception is Maya Amano, who denied what her Shadow said and never accepted her.
- "Monster that appears during the Dark Hour and preys on those who are conscious. Its victims become 'The Lost.'"
- —Persona 3 FES Dictionary Entry
The Kirijo Group's discovery of the Shadows' existence and subsequent experiments on manipulating them, ostensibly as a power source and means of time manipulation, resulted in a catastrophic accident at their laboratories, killing hundreds. They have been appearing due to the Kirijo Group's experiments, during the Dark Hour, a hidden twenty-fifth hour that takes place every midnight, during which the world comes to a stop and humans reflexively contain themselves in coffins, obliviously "playing dead" to protect themselves from the attention of the Shadows. Occasionally, a human will not transmogrify in this manner, and will quickly become prey of the Shadows, having their minds devoured and becoming vegetative (Apathy Syndrome) and in some cases even become a shadow as their physical form dissolves, reducing themself to being a shadow. Only those with Personas, even if they can't be successfully summoned, are immune to this effect and function normally during the Dark Hour.
The bulk of the Shadows dwell in Tartarus, a massive tower that appears during the Dark Hour, right atop Gekkoukan High School, the site of the previous accident. Each Shadow is defined by two characteristics: the body and the mask. The mask represents the Arcana of the Shadow, while the body helps define its name. These two attributes also aid as a visual reminder of an enemy's weaknesses and strengths. However, each full moon after the Main Character's arrival, powerful Shadows belonging to the first twelve major arcana appear and threaten to wreak havoc. The Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad is formed to combat these enemies. Once they're defeated, a thirteenth Shadow of the Death arcana appears as an ordinary, carefree teenage boy calling himself Ryoji Mochizuki. However, it's his role to call down Nyx, a being who will exterminate all life in response to humanity's self-destructive desires, but his human side is wracked with guilt over this unavoidable fate.
The Old Documents say that the Shadows arise from human emotions. When enough of the Shadows were gathered in one place, they fused together and created Nyx Avatar, which set in motion the events which were to lead up to the The Fall. Aigis delayed the Fall by fracturing Death into the 12 Arcana.
These special Shadows are the fragments of Death that escaped following the sealing of Thanatos into the Protagonist. They appear at every full moon, seeking to return to Death which is sealed into the protagonist. Shuji Ikutsuki had SEES manipulated into killing all of them.
- Arcana Magician
- Arcana Priestess
- Arcana Empress
- Arcana Emperor
- Arcana Hierophant
- Arcana Lovers
- Arcana Chariot
- Arcana Justice
- Arcana Hermit
- Arcana Fortune
- Arcana Strength
- Arcana Hanged Man
The new episode included in Persona 3 FES, The Answer suggests that a Persona is merely a Shadow that remains under control of the mind that created it; this is why Persona users aren't rendered brain-dead by exposure to other Shadows during the Dark Hour. In addition, The Answer shows that some who've had their Personas artificially induced can become Shadows themselves when unable to keep control.
In confessing his purpose to the members of SEES, Ryoji implies that Nyx is the mother of the Shadows.
Persona 3 Club BookEdit
In the Persona 3 Club Book, it is explained that shadows are literally fragments of Nyx's psyche, which exist inside of everyone. When people begin to despair or lose hope, their unconscious hold on the "Nyx" that exists within them is weakened, and these fragments can emerge. In order for the psyches of living beings to contain these fragments of Nyx, they were forced to greatly limit their individual lifespans. Because these fragments have been an integral part of life on Earth for so long, the human mind is unable to function without Shadows, which is why those with Apathy Syndrome - people who have lost their Shadows - are merely shells whose minds have broken down. The "goal" of "freed" shadows - if it can be called that - is merely to return to their original state, to fuse together so that the psyche of Nyx can once again be whole. Shadows do not actually "eat" people since they are merely freeing themselves from the individual's unconscious confinement, but Persona-users are an exception, because they are recognized as a hindrance to Nyx's revival. When individuals wander into or adapt to the Dark Hour and attacked by shadows, the external shadows are merely trying to forcibly extract the fragment confined within the individual to merge with it.
Just as the Arcana represent the psychological maturity of humans, they also represent the tendencies and psychological complexes of Shadows. No single Arcana's worth of shadows can result in the reformation of Nyx's psyche, but when powerful shadows of Arcanas 0-12 fuse, the resultant shadow can mutate into the 13th Arcana, Death, which is capable of carrying the true weight of Nyx's consciousness and power and signifies that the preparations for Nyx's revival have been completed. Once completed, it merely calls for its body in order to return to a whole being, which is otherwise known as "The Fall". Tartarus acts as an antenna for this, calling more shadows to it and growing taller with the more shadows calling from within it. When the Protagonist invokes the Universe Arcana, he uses its power to return Nyx's consciousness to the confines of the universal unconsciousness.
Shadows are existences of pure thought and energy and do not possess physical bodies, and thus cannot interact with normal space. They do, however, possess the ability to manipulate space-time and use this ability to create the Dark Hour, a space existing outside of normal space-time where they can move freely. "Transmogrification" is merely an identifier of someone who does not exist within the Dark Hour, and thus cannot be affected by those within it. As for those with the "Potential", who can move freely within the Dark Hour, they are people who are able to use the shadows' space-time manipulation ability for themselves.
Shadows and Personas retain the same roles. Those who face their own personal Shadows in the Midnight Channel and accept them can use their power as Personas while those who deny their shadows as part of themselves will be attacked and killed by them or disappear completely if the person was malicious and cruel, and Igor eventually states outright that they are one and the same. However, the world of the Midnight Channel is more likely to be the true home of the Shadows, as they and Personas appear much more easily there than they did during the Dark Hour. The Midnight Channel itself is a world reflecting the collective human heart, so it's probable that Shadows are spawned there as a result of humans trying to shut away the darkest facets of their personalities.
Teddie appears to be a peculiar exception to this rule—despite being a Shadow, he became curious about humans and created a new, nonthreatening form for himself so people wouldn't be afraid of him, sealing away most of his memories in the process. He also acquires a Persona, prompting Igor to note that if a Shadow develops a sense of self, it too can acquire a Persona.
Persona 4 Arena UltimaxEdit
A huge shadow appears during one of Sho Minazuki's intros, where he cuts it in half. The Shadow Selves seen in the game are made from regular shadows being forcibly merged together. Eventually an endless swarm of normal shadows is unleashed on the persona users once the Malevolent Entity no longer needs them. Tohru Adachi hints that gathering enough shadows together and uniting them will result in summoning a God, which is indeed the plan of Sho Minazuki and the Malevolent Entity.
Persona 4: Dancing All NightEdit
Shadows appear in the Midnight Stage, where the antagonist has forcibly enslaved them to its will by tying ribbons to all of them. These shadows are forced to dance as the humans dance, and eventually be purified. Unlike the Dark Hour or the TV World, Shadows cannot be harmed through combat. Instead the characters must dance, removing shadows as they finish dancing upon the stage. When victims submit to the Shadow's will, they transform into a Shadow, and the one way to change back to their original form is to finish the dance.
Persona Q: Shadow of the LabyrinthEdit
Shadows appear again as the main antagonists, but unlike other games in the series, some of the Shadows in Persona Q are sapient and capable of conversation, though they remain uniformly hostile. Once the characters learn the truth about Rei and Zen, it is learned fully that the shadows' duty is to guard the treasures at the bottom of the Labyrinths no matter what, even if the one who charged them with the task decides otherwise.
The shadows eventually side with the Clockwork God after he captures Rei, seeking to keep the world created from her memories from disappearing. The exceptions are the Spider F.O.Es who serve the Clockwork God and his goal to erase both Rei and the world, as well as The Reaper, who seeks to restore the divine providence of the cosmos by killing Zen, the instigator for all the events that transpired.
- "A Shadow is the true self that is suppressed—a side of one's personality they don't want to see."
- —Morgana, Persona 5
Especially evil humans are shown to share their personality almost completely with their Shadow counterparts, and engage The Phantom in battle. These Shadow Selves can control Shadows into Shadow forms that resemble masked humanoids who patrol and maintain their Palaces. Shadows are never fought in the game directly, as the lesser Shadows explode into one or more demons when engaged and the Shadow Selves fight in demonic form. The Shadows initially believe themselves to be the Palace's Shadows unless successfully negotiated with, where they regain their memories and recall they come from the human's Sea of Souls, whereupon they offer to transform themselves into a mask (and thus a new Persona), release a captured party member, or give the party one or more items.
While in the overworld, Shadows appear based on the Palace's theme. Depending on the attention level, they have glowing blue, yellow, or red eyes, and strong ones have a dark red aura. When they see the protagonist, they will summon a spotlight to follow him for as long as they are pursuing him. Stealing their Mask provokes a Chance in the battle with their demon forms.
- Kamoshida's Palace: Knights in black armor with stoic masks.
- Madarame's Palace: Female curators and security guards with heart masks.
- Kaneshiro's Palace: Policemen in riot gear, with gas masks. Orthrus demons appear as Doberman Pinschers wearing muzzles.
- Futaba's Palace: Mummies with headwear-like masks made of bandage, scimitar-wielding dervishes with tribal masks, and grey jackals with similar masks to mummies.
- Okumura's Palace: Cylinder or sphere-formed robots with angular masks.
- Niijima's Palace: Casino dealers, bunny waitresses, and tuxedo-wearing bouncers wearing melted masks. Non-hostile Shadows who run the games do not wear masks.
- Shido's Palace: Guards in suits, special assault team, and assault hounds wearing blue party masks.
- Mementos: Large humanoids with bird masks on their head and other masks bearing worn on their bodies. Unlike other guards, they do not speak and are not forced into a Chance battle by stealing their mask, but by crashing Morgana in van form into them, knocking them over.
- Depths of Mementos: Prison guards with white hood masks and black sunglasses.
- Qliphoth World: White and golden robotic angels with featureless faceplates as masks. Unlike other Shadows, their real faces are white, shaped like their masks, and their eyes do not glow red with the mask off.
Shadow list Edit
- List of Persona 3 Shadows
- List of Persona 4 Shadows
- List of Persona Q Shadows
- List of Persona 5 Shadows
Shadow category Edit
|Playable||Rise Kujikawa - Yu Narukami - Kanami Mashita - Yosuke Hanamura - Chie Satonaka - Kanji Tatsumi - Teddie - Yukiko Amagi - Naoto Shirogane - Nanako Dojima - Margaret - Marie - Tohru Adachi - Hatsune Miku|
|Non-playable||Protagonist - Ryotaro Dojima - Minoru Inoue - Sumomo Ujima - Tomoe Sayama - Tamami Uesugi - Nozomi Nakahara - Kyoka Ochimizu - Dance Instructor - Yuko Osada - Mikuratana-no-Kami - President Tanaka|
|Other||Velvet Room - Yomotsu Hirasaka - Takura Productions - Inaba - Midnight Channel|
|Midnight Stage||Kujikawa Rise (Stage) - Circus Tent - Sultry Lounge - Doll House - Romantic Castle - Mechanical Castle - Event Space - Mikuratana-no-Kami's Realm|
|Albums||Persona 4: Dancing All Night Original Soundtrack|
|Songs||Dance! - Calystegia|
|Terminology||Persona - Persona User - Shadow - Kanamin Kitchen - LMB Festival - Shadow Self - Investigation Team - Apathy Syndrome|