|July 13, 2006|
|August 14, 2007|
|February 29, 2008|
- "Memento Mori. Remember you will die. Remember your death."
- —Persona 3 intro
An enhanced version of the game containing an epilogue called The Answer was released as Persona 3 FES.
A portable version with an optional female main character and visual novel type cutscenes was released as Persona 3 Portable.
Because there is no definitive version of Persona 3, FES and Portable are both recommended for the full Persona 3 experience.
Persona 3 was adapted into a four-part anime film adaptation called Persona 3 The Movie which covers The Journey from the perspective of the male protagonist. Persona 3 The Movie does not cover The Answer.
The Journey Edit
Set in 2009, Persona 3 begins with the Protagonist returning to the city of Tatsumi Port Island ten years after his parents died from an accident. He is introduced as a transfer student that has just moved into the Iwatodai Dormitory, but arrives late (in the movie adaptation, it is revealed it was due to a suicidal subway train jumper). A mysterious boy, calling himself Pharos, introduces himself to the Protagonist and asks him to sign a contract that states the Protagonist will accept full responsibility for his own actions.
He is quickly brought into SEES (Special Extracurricular Execution Squad) when his awareness of the Shadows and the Dark Hour is revealed. The Dark Hour is a secret hour which only a select few with the "potential" are aware of; the rest "transmogrify" into coffins. Shadows are also causing many people to become victims of Apathy Syndrome, a mysterious condition that puts them into a vegetative trance-like state.
The protagonist discovers that he can summon multiple Personas into battle. After awakening to his Persona ability, the Protagonist is transported to the Velvet Room, which its proprietor, Igor, says is a realm between "dream and reality". Igor explains to him that his Persona ability is special: he is the only member of SEES capable of wielding multiple Personas in battle. In-game, the Velvet Room is where the player may fuse two or more Personas to create a new one. Igor also encourages the Protagonist to meet people and form bonds with them, known as Social Links. According to Igor, the power of his Social Links will determine his potential in combat.
With the help of their Personas, SEES is able to explore a mysterious tower called Tartarus during the Dark Hour which mysteriously manifests at Gekkoukan High School. They must also defeat Greater Shadows that appear every full moon and attack the city, believing that by killing all twelve of them, they will be able to end the appearance of the Dark Hour. SEES summons Personas using gun-shaped items called Evokers by shooting themselves in the head, an action reminiscent of suicide.
Members of SEES are all students attending Gekkoukan High School, sans Shuji Ikutsuki who is the chief director of the high school:
- Shuji Ikutsuki, chairman and adviser of SEES
- Mitsuru Kirijo, leader of SEES
- Akihiko Sanada, a friend of Mitsuru's
- Yukari Takeba, a girl who forms a strong bond with the Protagonist
- Junpei Iori, a classmate of the protagonist and Yukari
- Fuuka Yamagishi, a girl being bullied by Natsuki Moriyama who replaces Mitsuru as the team's support member and navigator
During the Dark Hour, SEES begins to encounters a mysterious and somewhat hostile trio called Strega, consisting of Takaya Sakaki, Jin Shirato and Chidori Yoshino. Strega also has Persona summoning abilities and are Artificial Persona Users (can summon Personas without Evokers), and take Persona Suppressors (drugs).
After several of these Full Moon Operations, Mitsuru is forced to reveal to the team the origin of Tartarus and the Dark Hour which she has been hiding from SEES. Ten years ago, the Kirijo Group, a research company founded by Mitsuru's grandfather, began amassing and containing Shadows. They studied and performed experiments on them, in order to harness their power. However, the experiments went awry, allowing the Shadows to escape and assemble into twelve larger creatures. Each is affiliated with one of the twelve Major Arcana. SEES's leader, Shuji Ikutsuki, informs them that if they defeat all twelve of the greater Shadows, then Tartarus and the Dark Hour would disappear forever.
As the year continues, the group adds a few more Persona-users to their team:
- Ken Amada, a young boy
- Koromaru, a dog
- Shinjiro Aragaki, Akihiko's foster brother
- Aigis, a female android. While vacationing in Yakushima, SEES encounters her. She is a robot who had recently escaped the laboratory where she was kept, despite having been deactivated for years. For reasons she cannot explain, she has a need to be near the Protagonist, even breaking into his dorm room at night to monitor him.
On October 4th, Shinjiro meets Ken at the site where Ken's mother was killed, during the October full moon mission. Two years earlier, Shinjiro had accidentally caused the death of Ken's mother when his Persona went berserk while on a SEES mission. For this reason, Shinjiro distanced himself from SEES and began taking Persona Suppressors, consumed by guilt. Ken only saw him as a murderer, though, and had only ever joined SEES for the sole reason of getting revenge and killing him in return. Shinjiro had no intention of resisting Ken's attempt to enact vengeance, but he warns Ken that if he continues, he could end up just like him.
However, the two are interrupted by Takaya while Ken struggles to go through with his plan. Takaya reveals that the Suppressors that Shinjiro was taking would inevitably kill him anyways, rendering Ken's plan for revenge moot. He draws his revolver and shoots Shinjiro to incapacitate him, questioning the two as to the whereabouts of their navigator. Ken falsely tells him that it is himself. Takaya then prepares to shoot Ken as well, citing the boy's intentions to take his own life when his revenge was done as excuse enough.
Takaya attempts to shoot Ken but Shinjiro jumps in front of him, taking a second, fatal bullet and sacrificing his own life. Just before he dies, he tells Ken to make his own life matter and tells Akihiko to take care of Ken. With his last strength, Shinjiro stands up and takes a few steps away from SEES, telling them "This is how it should be." and collapses on the floor. This final sacrifice earns Ken's respect and inspires Akihiko's resolve. SEES falls into a period of depression; Mitsuru and Akihiko take the loss of Shinjiro hard, and, ironically, Ken as well. Mitsuru and Yukari also begin to bond closer together.
On November 4th, after killing the final Greater Shadow, SEES realizes that the Dark Hour still remains. SEES learns they have been misled by Shuji Ikutsuki; by destroying the Greater Shadows, they have freed parts of a being called Nyx who will bring about the end of the world if it is fully restored. It is revealed that the Kirijo Group was attempting to do this ten years ago, but Nyx was released prematurely in a laboratory accident that also created the Dark Hour and Tartarus. Aigis, a robot designed to fight Nyx, battled the being but was unable to fully defeat it, instead dispersing parts of it into the Greater Shadows, and installing the last part into that of a young boy nearby, revealed to be the Protagonist. Ikutsuki shoots and kills Mitsuru's father, Takeharu Kirijo, and orders Aigis to kill SEES, but Ikutsuki accidentally falls to his death.
On November 9th, SEES encounters Ryoji Mochizuki, a mysterious teenage boy who has enrolled at Gekkoukan High a few days after the defeat of the final Great Shadow. Aigis seems to be wary of Ryoji, claiming he is dangerous.
On November 22nd, Fuuka senses a Strega member outside Tartarus: Chidori. Throughout the year, Junpei and Chidori have entered a sort of romantic relationship. Junpei runs to Chidori, and the rest of SEES follows. Chidori turns hostile and attacks the party. Chidori saves Junpei's life but Chidori dies in the process.
On December 2nd, Ryoji and Aigis face off at the Moonlight Bridge. Aigis is heavily damaged by Ryoji and is no longer a playable character for this month. SEES meets Ryoji and Ryoji tells them he is the "Appriser" who has been born from the union of the twelve Shadows. Ryoji tells SEES that he is Death incarnate, the Harbinger, and that if they do not kill him by December 31, he will unwillingly usher in Nyx and the end of the world, known as The Fall. Ryoji also reveals that a decade ago, he was defeated by Aigis on the Moonlight Bridge and he has been dormant in a child (the protagonist) - this was also how the protagonist's parents died.
On December 30th, after recovering from her injuries after fighting Ryoji, Aigis returns to SEES as a playable party member.
On December 31st, the player is given the option to kill Ryoji at this point.
Alternate ending Edit
If the player kills Ryoji, the members of SEES lose memories of the last year, and lead normal lives, living in blissful ignorance, until the inevitable end of the world occurs and all of humanity dies. SEES also enjoys their final time singing karaoke. This ending is non-canon.
Canon ending Edit
If Ryoji is spared, then the game continues, and on January 31, 2010, SEES climbs to the top of Tartarus to face Ryoji, now in his true form of the avatar of Nyx. Though they defeat it, the avatar is able to still call forth Nyx; the moon splits open revealing a strange device that begins to kill people across the Earth. The protagonist uses all of his Social Links gained from SEES and other friends to create a seal to lock Nyx away forever, though sacrificing himself to do so.
The world returns to normal, though the memories of the past year are lost to the SEES members. As they finish school, they come to realize that they each promised to gather on the school's roof should they make it to graduation day. There, they find the protagonist lying in Aigis' lap, smiling at the brief reunion with the other SEES members before he peacefully dies as he sleeps. This is the canon ending.
The Answer Edit
The events of The Answer begin on March 31, 2010, a few weeks after the end of The Journey. During the opening sequence, it is revealed that the Protagonist peacefully died in his sleep while he was resting with Aigis. A confused SEES can only speculate that his death is related to him using his life force to defeat Nyx. The school year has ended, and the dorm is to be closed down soon. Aigis reveals to the group that she will not be attending school next year.
During their last dinner party, the SEES members discover that they are trapped in their dorm, and that the day March 31 is repeating itself. Later, a large door-like hole opens in the floor of the dorm, and SEES is attacked by Metis, an anti-shadow weapon similar to Aigis. In the midst of fighting Metis to protect her friends, Aigis's Persona, Athena, transforms into Orpheus, the original Persona of the Protagonist. She also gains the Protagonist's Wild Card ability. Aigis is able to subdue Metis, whose actions were an attempt to end the time skip and save Aigis, who she calls her "sister".
Underneath the dorm is the Abyss of Time, the cause of the time skip. The Abyss contains seven doors, the insides of which contain multi-floor dungeons, similar in design to Tartarus; it is in these areas that the game's combat takes place. At the top of each dungeon, the characters witness an event from the past of a member of SEES. After seeing several of these flashbacks, the characters discern that the event shown in each door relates to how that person had awakened to their Persona.
At the top of the seventh and final door, SEES fights a Shadow-like version of the Protagonist. After defeating it, each of them obtain a key. By combining the keys, they would be able to end the time skip and leave the dorm. However, Metis presents SEES with an alternative: instead of unlocking the front door of the dorm, they may also use the keys to travel back in time, to before the fight against Nyx and the death of the Protagonist. Yukari wants this alternative because she wants another chance to save the Protagonist and Mitsuru supports her, however, the rest of the team feels this is too dangerous.
Now unable to agree on how to use the keys, the characters determine that they must fight each other to decide. Aigis, Fuuka and Metis claim all eight keys, which fuse into the Final Key. After debating on what to do now, they discover a third, new door in the Abyss of Time, which the group uses (without the Final Key) to travel to the moment the Protagonist sealed Nyx from the world.
Metis explains that the purpose of the seal created by the Protagonist was not to seal away Nyx herself (who is not inherently evil), but to prevent humanity's despair from calling out to Nyx and bringing about the Fall once more. The subconscious will of mankind to despair and wish for death constantly rebirths a monster called Erebus that summons Nyx to destroy the world; Metis implies that Erebus's contact with Nyx is what caused the Fall (that was prevented by SEES). SEES realizes that the wishes that created Erebus also came from them, and so they fight it, and are able to defeat it. Mitsuru points out that Erebus will return, as humans will never stop wishing for death.
After breaking the time skip and exiting through the front door of the dorm with the Final Key, Metis, Aigis, and the rest of SEES are summoned to the Velvet Room, much to Igor's (pleasant) surprise. It is here they learn of Metis's true origins: that she is a manifestation of a part of Aigis's personality. Distraught over the death of the Protagonist, she no longer wanted to live like a human, and wished to return to being a machine. However, after being set free from the Abyss of Time, Aigis changes her mind, deciding to continue to attend school, something she had chosen not to do earlier.
- Main article: List of Persona 3 Characters
- Protagonist: The silent protagonist of the story. He is an orphan, his parents having died in a tragic car accident 10 years before the beginning of the game's events. The protagonist transfers to Gekkoukan High School on Port Island as a second-year.
- Yukari Takeba: A popular second-year girl at Gekkoukan High School. She is the first one the protagonist meets upon arriving at the dorms. Her father was a researcher for the Kirijo Group before his death 10 years prior to the game's events.
- Junpei Iori: An energetic and perverted second-year. Though he flirts with most of the girls in his grade, he finds a genuine love interest in a girl named Chidori.
- Mitsuru Kirijo: The elegant and bossy heiress of the Kirijo Group, a third-year at Gekkoukan. She was the first to awaken to her Persona. She and Akihiko lead SEES, and she is the initial provider of outside support during battle.
- Akihiko Sanada: A third-year with Mitsuru. Competitive and ever diligent, he devotes much of his free time to his boxing and Shadow-fighting training. He grew up in an orphanage with his younger sister, Miki, and his foster brother, Shinjiro.
- Fuuka Yamagishi: A shy, introverted second-year. She eventually replaces Mitsuru as the outside support during battle.
- Aigis: A robotic Anti-Shadow Weapon. She states early on that her highest priority is to protect the protagonist. Later, she attends Gekkoukan High School as a second-year and begins to develop human emotions.
- Koromaru: The loyal dog of the local shrine. Although his master has since died, he still walks the route his master would take with him, and he continues to guard the shrine.
- Ken Amada: A young grade-school boy. Though mature for his age, he feels insecure about his size and age and tries to compensate for it in every way possible. His mother was killed in a Shadow-related incident two years prior to the game's events.
- Shinjiro Aragaki: A shady loner type, Akihiko's foster brother. He was once a member of SEES alongside Akihiko and Mitsuru in the past, but has since abandoned them following an accident that claimed the life of a civilian.
Persona 3 combines elements of standard console role-playing games and dating sims. The game takes place over the course of a Japanese school year. Each day goes by, broken up into several periods such as "Morning", "Afternoon" and "Evening", with the Protagonist going to school and then participating in selected activities during free time.
The player may opt to use the free time activities to buy equipment and items at stores, talk to other non-playable characters, or spend the remainder of the free time either to build a Social Link or to improve the Protagonist's attributes, such as by gaining courage by singing karaoke. Thus, the player must manage which activities or Social Links to improve in order to build up the Protagonist for the exploration of the Tartarus.
Certain in-game events will occur on prescribed days; Major Shadows will appear on full moons, there will be midterm and final exams within school, and school holidays give the player more time to work on other activities.
Tartarus and the Dark Hour Edit
At night, the player may opt to enter Tartarus, or otherwise allow the characters to rest and recover. Tartarus is a 250-floor tower which the player must eventually climb by the end of the game. Tartarus is broken into several "blocks", and various blocks are inaccessible until the Major Shadows are defeated on each full moon, thus limiting the progress through the tower.
Most floors of Tartarus are randomly generated in a rogue-like manner, with a random distribution of treasure and wandering Shadows, but each includes a stairway to the next floor and many also include a one-way only teleport point that allows them to escape to the first floor. Other levels contain mini-bosses that must be defeated in order to progress; these levels also feature a fixed teleport point that allows the player to travel to any other similar teleport point that has been previously accessed, thus allowing the player to skip blocks when returning to Tartarus. The player may opt to keep the party together or have each member explore the level, recovering any treasure found and fighting monsters individually.
As the party explores, their health will worsen, and a member that ends up "tired" or "sick" will perform poorly in battle and may drop out before the battle is complete; the only way to recover from these states is spend one or more nights without exploring Tartarus. (See also: Status Changes in Persona 3.)
Combat is a turn-based affair. Each character can perform a standard melee attack with their weapon, summon their Persona to unleash an attack or spell, or use recovery and battle items. The player only directly controls the actions of the Protagonist. The other members of the party can be guided through specific tactics assigned to each of them, such as maintaining the health of the party, or going all out with Persona attacks. Each foe has strengths and weaknesses; by striking a foe with an attack it is weak against, it will cause the foe to be knocked down, and the attacker will gain one more immediate attack; this can lead to a chain of attacks against each foe if the attacks are selected appropriately. If all remaining foes are knocked down, the player can opt for an "All-Out" attack, with the remaining members entering a cartoon-like fight cloud, inflicting higher damage on each foe.
Due to the popularity of Persona 3, several related media releases followed.
A Persona 3 Manga was released.
There are several side games, such as Aegis: The First Mission, Megami Tensei Chaining Soul: Persona 3 and Megami Tensei QIX: Persona 3, but these are generally ignored because they are only in Japanese and are rare.
North American cover
The Protagonist and Yukari
The Protagonist, Junpei and Yukari
SEES and their Personas
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