- "Are you being selfish again?"
- —Wakaba to Futaba in Persona 5
Wakaba Isshiki is a character in Persona 5.
- Persona 5: Supporting Character, Boss
Wakaba Isshiki was Futaba Sakura's mother and a prominent cognitive researcher focusing on a supernatural phenomenon about the cognitive world within the human's mind which she titled "Cognitive psience" (認知訶学?). Wakaba was very brilliant and talented in this field of study.
While a competent parent, she sometimes found it difficult to juggle her job and her daughter. Wakaba and Futaba had a loving relationship, and even though she occasionally had to scold her daughter like any parent, she always wanted the best for her. Via Futaba's reminiscence, Wakaba was very fond of a government official, Sojiro Sakura, who bridged between the government and her research facility. The signature curry and coffee recipes of Cafe Leblanc was originally invented by Sojiro but refined by Wakaba. She knew Sojiro long before Futaba was born, and always spoke highly of him; it is unclear whether she truly did not reciprocate his feelings or was too wrapped up in her work and her daughter for a relationship.
Two years prior to the game, Wakaba supposedly killed herself by throwing herself into traffic in a fit of maternal psychosis; in reality, she suffered a mental shutdown caused by Goro Akechi. Out of spite and to seize her research data secretly, his employers forged a suicide note and announced it aloud before Futaba and her relatives, in which Wakaba claimed she regretted giving birth to Futaba and as a result, she had destroyed all of her research.
This revelation devastated Futaba and caused her to develop paranoid delusions and hallucinations of Wakaba's face overlaid on other people, constantly telling her how disappointed she was, which eventually drove her to become a shut-in with suicidal impulses, psychological guilt, and trauma. After Sojiro discovered how badly she was being treated by her relatives as a result of the suicide note and their jealousy over Wakaba's success, in particular Wakaba's brother Youji, Futaba was finally adopted by Sojiro Sakura, taking his surname.
Later when Futaba enters her own Palace, her Shadow reveals to her that Wakaba's suicide note is a fake, resulting in Futaba's awakening to her Persona ability. Futaba helps the Phantom Thieves of Hearts defeat the false perception of her mother which takes the form of a gigantic and spiteful Sphinx, keeping with the Egyptian theme of Futaba's Palace. Cognitive Wakaba Isshiki is formed from Futaba's false belief that her mother resented her for being an obstacle to her career, and is known as the beast that rules the Palace.
While Cognitive Wakaba proved too mobile with her capacity for flight in her demon form at first, Futaba realizes that the Palace was formed from her desires and focuses on her desire to save the people who helped give her a reason to live again, summoning a massive ballista that cripples the Sphinx and leaves her an easy target for the Phantom Thieves.
After the battle, the image of a benevolent Wakaba appears before Futaba and confesses her love for her daughter then disappears. Whether or not this is truly Wakaba's spirit, or merely another changed cognition is left ambiguous.
Wakaba's death, false testament and the stealing of her research are revealed to have been ordered by Masayoshi Shido.
Before starting the fight, the player should prepare for the Despair status affect. They may want to buy Hope Shirts for the party which can be found at Untouchable and cost 23,200 each. They are unisex, although Morgana can't wear them. It is also a good idea to stock up on Relax Gels (at least 10 should be fine), which are cheap (900 each) and can be found at Tae's store.
The battle is fought in two rounds.
The first round has no particular benefits in attacking aside from apply small damage to Wakaba. Defending is the best option because not only it reduces damage taken, susceptibility to any ailment is reduced as well. As stated at the beginning of the battle, only Magic and Gunfire can harm Wakaba and she is completely immune to direct attacks and physical skills. She mostly attacks with Physical skills that deal status ailments such as Dizzy and Despair. The technical combo of Dizzy and any attack is fatal in Merciless difficulty. She also can deal Wind damage with one of her attacks, so avoid using Personas who have wind weaknesses or Ryuji, who has a weakness to wind skills. Morgana and Makoto help tremendously in mitigating these status ailments (Morgana has Me Patra to cure the party's Dizzy, Makoto has Energy Shower to cure the party's Despair). After several turns, Wakaba will ascend into the sky, making her completely untargetable. If any of the player's characters has suffered damage, it is best to use the first round to recover as much health as possible. After one turn of healing, it is best to guard until she eventually descends. Any character that is not guarding will suffer severe physical damage. Once she has performed her diving attack, the first round concludes.
In the second round, HP and SP of all party members are fully recovered. Futaba restores a ballista on the platform, allowing the player to shoot down Wakaba. The player needs to send one character to man the ballista and spend their next three turns preparing and firing it. Once it is fired, Wakaba is damaged by the shot and is immediately brought down and can be attacked by direct attacks and direct physical skills. She also spends three turns unable to attack the party. While players are free to attack Wakaba while prepping the ballista, one possible strategy is to debuff her or buff the party as much as possible before taking her down. You will want to spend as much time dealing physical damage which is 5x effective compared to other attack types to her while downed as she cannot retaliate. Once she recovers from her downed state, the ballista must be re-prepped in order to use it again. When choosing a character to fire a second shot at Wakaba, it is best to use another character as using the same character again delays the shot by a turn. The player can also opt using Tetrakarn or Physical Ointment when Wakaba readies Sphinx Dive to repel the damage and take a huge amount of HP from her while keeping the Tetrakarn characters safe from harm. Characters and Personas with Counter can also offer a chance at reflecting the damage done by Sphinx Dive - while not fully reliable, it greatly progresses the fight when it triggers.
- "Do not approach the pharaoh's tomb! Misfortune will fall upon you!"
- "Die you brats!"
- "Get lost!"
- "I won't forgive you!"
- "Nnnngh...! How dare you...! Children that defy their mothers should... DIE!"
- "You little...! You goddamn braaats!"
- "I don't need a child who defies me! And children I don't need... should be killed!"
- "Nnnngh...! Futaba... Futaba...! If only I had never birthed you...!"
"Wakaba" (若葉) can mean "Young Leaf," compared to her daughter's name "Futaba" (双葉) which means "Two Leaves." "Wakaba" was also the title of three different Japanese destroyer ships which were sunk during the World War II. "Isshiki" (一色) means "One Color" or "Monochrome."
- Wakaba died on August 21st, two years before the events of Persona 5, as evidenced by dialogue from Futaba and Sae Niijima.
- Since Futaba's name is likely a reference to the , Wakaba's name may be a reference to the software used to run the imageboard.
- In Japan, new drivers must display a (also known as a Wakaba mark). This may be a dark humor reference to her death.
- She is similar to Junko Kurosu from the Persona 2 dualogy. Both characters are maternal-figures who induce antagonistic psychological manifestations in their children, aside from sharing certain physical characteristics.