Persona 5 Trailer Analysis

Lets dig in to the new Persona 5 trailer.

Firstly, there’s this teaser image released prior to the trailer, showing an image of the new protagonist seemingly clawing his way out of some paper. The link shows an artwork comparison between the protagonist here and the antagonist of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Sho Minazuki. The facial structure and pose seem basically identical. The true ending of Ultimax also had Sho leaving, his plans foiled and his alter-ego having disappeared, to go off on new adventures and presumably learn the true meaning of friendship. I find it highly likely that Sho Minazuki is the new protagonist, whether he be silent or not,  which this trailer supports.

0:07: The trailer starts with the shot of a city at night, lit up with all sorts of colours. This is easily the most busy locale yet seen in a Persona game, and in contrast to the last trailer which took place in the day, we here see it at night. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be Tokyo or some other city, but this place certainly looks like it never sleeps.

 

0:10: A window into the inner decadence of the city.

 

0:17: Someone translate this.

 

0:18: A brief look at the masked protagonist shown in the teaser image, and who was definitely jumping around just now all stealthy-like. We’re bringing in a criminal element to the mix, which definitely seems to suggest that our heroes are fighting against society in some shape or form.

 

0:21: Sirens sound as the protag jumps through a stain glass window. Is the stain glass representative of a religious element?

 

As the credits start up smooth jazz and we see various characters jumping around through a stylised city. This has a very underground, masked vigilante, almost super-hero feel to it. However it feels less like the gritty Batman movies or even the colourful Marvel stories, this feels like classic anime, I’m getting heavy Lupin III, Black Cat, and even Tuxedo Mask vibes from this. This just feels like an anime from the 80s or 90s overall.

 

0:55: We take a quick look at the Velvet room. The attendants seem to be twins, but something tells me that they won’t exactly be the the new Elizabeth, Margaret, or Theo. It could just be a stylistic thing, but maybe there will be multiple, less important attendants in the Velvet Room? Either way, we don’t appear to see a definitive new attendant in this trailer. Notice how they’re standing behind bars as well at 0:53, and how they open up to show us Igor sitting inside what appears to be a jailed cell. We’ve been told that the themes of the game involve feeling imprisoned by society, so it would make a lot of sense of the new Velvet room was literally a prison cell. The lighting makes it look like Igor is wearing sunglasses, but he just appears to have his eyes closed. Oh hey, look, Igor! Looks like he’s coming back. His voice actor died but I suppose he was simply too iconic to leave behind. Did they find a suitable replacement for his late japanese voice actor? I hope the English voice is better than the one in Ultimax. There’s also a noir, grainy look over the images here.

0:59: There’s a creature with wings wearing a top hat here, which seems to reflect this teaser image. It’s very likely that this is the new main Persona for the protagonist alongside the same lines as Orpheus and Izanagi, but considering my theory that the new protagonist is Sho Minazuki, I’m still not sure. Surely the new main Persona would be Tsukuyomi like it was in arena? I suppose it wouldn’t be the first time that a character’s persona has transformed, however. Putting ultimate and evolved personas aside, there was that time when Pallas Athena briefly turned into Orpheus when Aigis was going through The Answer. If we’re not looking at Tsukuyomi, could it possibly be the protag’s ultimate Persona? Or maybe it will be a part of his regular roster, perhaps as the Ultimate Persona of the Moon Arcana.

 

1:06: So we finally see actual in-game gameplay, and it looks wonderful. This is definitely using the Catherine gameplay. The protag seems to be looking as he did in the first trailer, on the same train, that looks significantly more crowded. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the very first scene of the game. A persona game has never looked this crowded, honestly The protag seems much more meek in comparison to how he has been earlier in the trailer, although it seems in line with his initial reveal. I can definitely sense that there’s going to be a heavy theme of duality to his character. Peter Parker by day, Batman by night. Well, I doubt he’ll be a wisecracking Spider Man, anyway… maybe that wasn’t the best analogy.

 

Words fly in the air to show speech. This world is very, uh, animated, in terms of how alive it’s currently looking and feeling. Notice the generic, business man designs, and the fact that some characters don’t have eyes, driving home their anonymity. These humans aren’t people, they’re a swarm of pests forcing you to huddle in the corner. Notice one man is wearing a surgical mask with his business suit. Is there a disease going around? Something along the lines of Apathy Syndrome in Persona 3? Either way, it enforces the theme of mistrust in society. As the scene ends, the train appears to come to an abrupt halt. Foreshadowing?

 

1:09 Our protagonist is next walking through what appears to be a crowded mall. I can only assume that the player has direct control here, in which case, the camera could be an interesting new change to world traversal. This isn’t a birds eye view that we’re getting, unlike most Persona games, so perhaps the camera will work similar to how it did in the real-world sections of Catherine. We’ll likely have much more room to move in P5, however.

 

Also notice the date in the top left corner of the screen in both scenes, which seems to tell us that this is the 11th of April on a monday. The protagonist is walking through the mall on the same day that we see him in the train. Also notice the cloud symbol. Will weather play a major part in this game, like in Persona 4? Either way, the moon cycle system seen in Persona 3 and many other Shin Megami Tensei games seems to have been completely excised from the Persona series now. The bottom right also shows some Japanese text. Could this possibly be the name of the location the protag is walking through?

 

1:12: We’re in school now (once again on the same day) and the teacher throws a board rubber at him, because our protag seems to be quite the day dreamer. Not even King Moron was this cruel! This seems to suggest a level of familiarity between the teacher and student, however, suggesting that the protag may not be a transfer student. Does this mean we’ll have to play through (or watch) the protag’s journey to school each day? Maybe it will be possible to do things before or during school. It may even be possible that we’ll be allowed to play truant.

 

We also see the new female main character (featured heavily later in the trailer) sitting in front of the protag here. She has a four leaf clover on the back of her uniform, and her skirt has an interesting design compared to the more boring designs of the other girl’s uniforms. I wonder why schools in Persona let some girls get away with this kind of customisation to their uniforms. Especially considering how the new girl is also wearing seductive red stockings, as well, that simply cannot be allowed in the dress code.

 

1:15: A cut in image during a day setting shows the new male character. He seems ok, I’m sure he’ll be the Magician Arcana best friend archetype like Junpei and Yosuke before him. Who wants to bet that the new girl’s Arcana will be Lovers? The cut in image seems to suggest there will be more of a dynamic look to even regular conversations.

 

Notice also the cat lazing around nearby. He’ll be important later in the trailer.

 

1:16: Another cut in image this time, this time of the new girl yelling at the new best friend. Sure. What I find interesting is the man in the bottom right corner, while he seems no more important than the other anonymous humans walking around, he definitely has no eyes. This could easily be a stylistic choice, but as we’ll see later on, there may also be an in story reason as well. New girl has beautiful eyes by the way… oh, and the cut in images are animated, which is kind of cool.

 

1:17: Cut to a bar which looks very similar to the stray lamb. Closer inspection reveals, however, that this is not the stray lamb, just judging by the layout. The Catherine influence is strong with this one, however. WTF? There’s a cat thing! Yeah, this guy is going to be important, it doesn’t take much imagination to assume that he’ll be the new Teddie. A mascot character. I like his design, but interestingly, he also seems to be a regular cat who can transform into this anthropomorphic Felix The Cat-alike. This still appears to be the same date by the way, which to me makes it seem less and less likely that this is actually the first playable day. Notice also the plans on the table, obstructed by the cat, the protag, and the food. It seems to be showing the layout of a large building, so it seems very likely that this is the decedent building we saw the protag in at the start of the trailer. Will this bar be like the table at Junes, before you go into the dungeon? Who runs this bar anyhow? Will this be like how it was with Yosuke, whose family ran Junes? In contrast to the other scenes, the bar seems to be deserted, save for the four main characters.

 

1:22: We get a good look at the protag’s unmasked face, and he isn’t wearing glasses either. Quite the handsome daredevil isn’t he? He could almost pass for an antagonist (*Cough*Sho*Cough*)

 

1:25: Best friend’s shirt reads ZOMG in English. Cute. Also these dance moves are pretty funky, it’s like they’re skating across the city.

 

1:30 after ballerina twirling a regular cat turns into the anthropomorphic cat. Easy confirmation of my earlier speculation, but even so, wtf.

 

1:32: ‘Luxuria’ ‘Persona’ ‘-0-’ So is the cat’s name Luxuria? Sounds like a cross between lux (light) and luxurious. More interestingly is that it says ‘persona’ under the cat. Is the cat a persona? Well, personas don’t really manifest in the real world like that… then again, apparently shadows like Teddie can, and since Personas and Shadows are made of the same material, maybe it really is possible for a Persona to have a personality of its own? The -0- also suggests the Fool Arcana, suggesting that the cat is actually the Persona of the protag. However, considering that the cat seems to function very differently to usual Personas, I don’t think that means Luxuria will be the new Izanagi or Orpheus, especially given later scenes in the trailer. Notice also how Luxuria wears a mask almost identical to the one Teddie can wear in Persona 4 Arena. Cute.

 

1:33: WTF? The image pans out to show lots of Luxurias. That’s not what bothers me though. Underneath Luxuria we see another identical cat, except its name is ‘Superbia’ the cat to the right of Luxuria is also red with a black background, as opposed to black with a red background. Are there going to be armies of anthropomorphic cats in this game?

 

1:34: We get a good look at the menu screen. Oh boy, there’s a lot to unpack. Firstly, Yen returns as the currency. Alright. First on the menu is skill, then items, then equip, all of which seem self explanatory, especially if you’ve played earlier Persona games. The Persona option is also self explanatory, though it does confirm that multiple Personas will be a thing once again. Next is party, which seems like a more streamlined way of organising party formation as opposed to Personas 3 and 4, where you manually talked to party members in the dungeon hub to get them to come along. And the bottom is system, which is just the options menu.

 

Lastly, we have Co-operation and Mission. I have no idea what Co-Operation means, if it means a certain kind of attack or objective type, but I am thuroughly stumped. Mission could mean main story objectives, but more than likely it refers to sidequests. ‘Mission’ however, being more formal sounding, seems to suggest that you’re taking sidequests from or as an organisation rather than as a side thing, since previously side quests have been known as ‘requests’. Given that our heroes seem to be an underground vigilante/criminal organisation, this isn’t too surprising.

 

The menu seems personalised to each character, but we only see the protag. We get a black and white image of him, but we also get the words ‘don’t look at me like that’ just above him, as he tries to hide his face with his hands. Given that he wears masks and glasses, this could easily play into the idea of duality. He puts on a persona, a mask, in order to face every day life, but he doesn’t want anyone else to see his shadow, and he probably doesn’t want to look at his own, either. Given that these are a gang of criminals who have to hide their identity, there’s also a more practical reason. The way the words are shown reminds me of the character titles in Ultimax ‘Sister-Complex Kingpin of Steel!’ The bottom right shows a battle icon, although it only shows the protag. Maybe we wont have all of our party members right from the get go? Considering that the protagonist is alone in the beginning of the trailer as he sneaks around, it’s possible that he was working alone until he met Luxuria, the best friend, and the new girl. This would be very Sho Minazuki of him. Given that scene ends with him seemingly getting caught, it seems likely that he initially joins up with the rest of the cast out of necessity more than anything else. Maybe whatever objective he is currently trying to carry out alone is becoming too much for him to handle. Lastly, the battle icon has him wearing the Phantom of the Opera-esc mask, which isn’t surprising. The Opera masks are likely to be the new iconic tools of the series, along the same lines as the Evokers or Teddie’s glasses.

 

The trailer clicks on equip, taking us to that sub menu. We have ‘Weapon’ suggesting that weapons will be, as always, personalised to each character (protag will likely use swords as is standard) and ‘gun’. This is new to the Persona series but guns being subweapons is actually a fairly old and standard concept to Shin Megami Tensei as a whole. Most recently, this was seen in Shin Megami Tensei IV on the 3DS. Essentially, guns have their own elemental attribute (usually ‘gun’ although considering this is Persona, I’m willing to bet on guns being ‘pierce’ and weapons being ‘slash’ suggesting that the physical split, which was removed in P4, has been brought back for P5) and the guns can also be loaded with bullets with their own elemental attributes (fire, ice, etc) or to inflict status effects. It’s nice to see this here in Persona. I’m guessing this means that all the unique weapons will be one handed, however, so no two-handed katanas, chairs, bows, boxing gloves, etc.

 

‘Protector’ and ‘Accessory’ seem self explanatory, but ‘clothes’ are what interest me the most. Will we have aesthetic options along the lines of what we’ve seen in games like P3 FES or P4 Golden? It would be nice to see an expansion of this concept to create something along the lines of the costumes in the tales series. The characters, unlike in previous games, are not wearing their school uniforms when out doing vigilante stuff, so I assume that there will be far more of that kind of customisation here. Chances are, new clothes will also be purchased with cash.

 

When it clicks on the ‘weapon’ tab, the icon seems to represent a knife, and we see a list of them, suggesting that this is what the protag will be using. Since there’s so many knives, it also appears as though we’re looking at a shop menu.

 

1:39: The train conductor’s eyes are pure white sclera with no pupils. I’ve mentioned before that anons walking around in gameplay have no eyes. Maybe this is what the disease is doing to the population? Is this the work of shadows? Recall that this is also a train. The train the protag was on came to an abrupt halt. Is this scene with the train conductor and that scene with the protag in the train connected? Notice also how the train crashes as it arrives at the subway. Very Devil Survivor 2.

 

1:43 more gameplay, but it seems more action focused. This looks like the building from the very start of the trailer, and it also looks like this is how dungeons will look, which makes the existence of an equivalent to the Dark Hour or the TV world ambiguous. Notice how this is still May 11th. Maybe May 11th is the Japanese release date of the game? Notice the battle icon still shows only the protag and no one else. This is confusing, as this takes place during the same day that he was chatting with his friends at school and discussing heists. Can they not come along on this day, or are they being purposefully left out of the party? During later gameplay sections here, we see minor platforming and stealth elements. Perhaps they don’t show up while dungeon crawling because there’s more of an overworld focus here, and they would just get in the way? Which means they might suddenly magic themselves into existence when the protag enters a battle instance.

 

1:44: Platforming on metal chandeliers. Red swirling mist at the spots where the protag’s spot suggests that the jumping is contextual.

 

1:47: Like a Ninja, the protag seemingly teleports from hiding spot to hiding spot as he sneaks up on an animated suit of armour. I’m completely up for stealth gameplay. (Guess who else can teleport like this? Sho!)

 

1:49: It’s a bit of a squeeze to pause on the image of the room before the menu transition happens. The location looks like a science lab or hospital, and a character with blue hair in a white lab coat is sitting down next to the protag in his uniform. There’s an x-ray of a fish and a ribcage on the wall. Honestly, I’m completely lost, but the blue haired character reminds me of Shadow Naoto, even though I know she’s a detective, not a scientist or a doctor.

 

1:50: My lord this is difficult to see. We see a menu transition, which is almost immediately followed up by the next one with virtually no room for pausing. But we see that this blue-haired character is named ‘Takemi Tae’ there appears to be a phone number underneath the name. More importantly, the words ‘-Kemi (the start of the word is cut off, though it seems to be the name of the city) medical clinic. This suggests that Tae will provide similar services to that of Elizabeth in Persona Q.

 

This transitions into a list of options with what appear to be medical bottles next to them with different price tags, suggesting that they’ll give different beneficial effects. Besides healing, they may also give temporary buffs for the day that you use them. The numbers 4 11 can once again be seen in the top right of the menu, which is the same date all this gameplay has been coming from. The date being here seems to suggest that Tae’s inventory will change daily.

 

1:52: We see the main trio, animated, on an escalator. Now that I get a good look at the new girl’s face, she looks like a cross between Lisa Silverman from Persona 2 and Junko Enoshima. She once again looks angrily at the best friend, suggesting that, like Yukari and Chie before her, she will be angry at the new Junpei/Yosuke quite often.

 

1:54: The three are running through the building, which is crumbling. It looks like something has gone horribly wrong. All three of them are wearing thieving outfits and masks.

 

1:56: We see the menu for another shopping screen, and a gruff old man with a cigarette. The shop seems to be named ‘Millitary Shop Untouchable’ and it has a green theme to compliment the millitary theme. The name ‘Munehisa Iwai’ is shown underneath, who appears to be the shop owner. What I loves about this trailer when I first saw it was how stylised the menus were, with their different coloured themes and the layout and font of the text. Not only did it heavily remind me of Catherine, it also just seems stylish overall.

 

There are a number of options at the military shop, but unfortunately, they’re all in Japanese. There is a screen transition and the icons suggest that this is where we buy weapons, guns, protectors, and accessories. The menu highlight shows the word ‘JOKER’ with ‘The Fool’ underneath. What would the military shop have anything to do with the Arcanas? It is possible that this refers to the protag’s equipment. The word ‘Joker’ is also interesting, as it refers back to the antagonist of Persona 2. It is also possible that it refers to the Jester, an alternate Arcana with the same number for The Fool in Persona 4, not to mention The Fool has already had jester/clown connotations in Persona.

 

1:58: if you pause between the transitions, you’ll see that we’re in a velvet coloured prison, definitely confirming that this is the new velvet room. We see the twin attendants guarding the smaller cell.

 

1:59: The image of the protag trapped in the cell is a very Catherine image to me. He also looks crazed, he’s struggling against the bars and his eyes seem twitching and mad. This is also a very Sho thing for him to do. Is it possible that Persona fusions will be performed while he is inside this cell? Morbid.

 

2:00 the battle transition shows the protag falling in from above, rather than rushing in from the ground as is common. The battle icons are also all complete, showing the New girl, the best friend, and Luxuria. Luxuria being an actual party member immediately discounts him from being a persona in the traditional sense. There are also two bars and a set of numbers showing HP and SP values, as is standard to the series. There seems to be a castle-like background behind the characters

 

2:01 the protag points his gun at the enemies, in what appears to be an all out attack comprised of the party members just shooting them all up. The best friend wears a red tie and appears to use a tommy gun. More interestingly, however, is that the enemies appear to be a sandman and a pyro jack… wait, what? Personas are enmies now? Maybe Shadows and Personas really have become one and the same now, both in terms of material and in form. Previously shadows have been generic blobs or machines wearing masks unconnected to the personas, but like traditional Shin Megami Tensei, it seems the enemies and the demonic allies have finally become one and the same in Persona 5.

 

2:03: The new girl wears a  cleavage exposing sexy red catsuit, and her mask even appears to be reminiscent of a cat. She also appears to be using a whip as her weapon… Cat Woman aside, this game seems to really wants to push across new girl as being extravagant and sexy, and it’s convincing me at least. Knowing Persona, I’m sure they’ll place a great character inside that body, however.

 

2:04 Best friend uses a crowbar. Actually, that looks more like part of a metal pipe. Man, magicians have the worst luck. He’ll make up for it with his tommy gun.

 

2:05: Luxuria is holding some kind of weapon but I can’t make out what it is.

 

2:06: The new All Out Attack sequence looks really stylish, and this game has been oozing style on a level that makes the other Persona games look tame, somehow.

 

2:07: They arent wearing masks in the cut in. They all look great, well, I love best friend’s crazy grin and new girl’s cheeky expression, not to mention Luxuria’s gold-fever like eyes. And look, I’m telling you, if that protagonist isn’t Minazuki I will buy myself an expensive hat just so that I can marinade it, cook it, and eat it with roast potatoes and vegetables over a romantic candle-lit dinner. Anyway, they fly around at high speeds against a red background, looking like shadows as they beat their enemies into oblivion. The distinction between persona character’s battle selves and their school selves has never been more different and contrasting than it’s looking to be in Persona 5.

 

2:10: More skating across the city highway because these characters just have that much swag.

 

2:29: Notice the yellow eyes indicating that the character is or is under the influence of a shadow, and the way the blue flames light up in the same X-Shaped pattern as Minazuki’s scar. The X-shape grows wider and becomes the opera mask, engulfing the protag completely.


That was amazing. I think I need to go calm down and buy a calendar so that I can count down the days until this game is released.

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