It is that time of the week again: confidant analysis! This is the third and final post of this little series, so if you liked it, let me know! I might do a similar thing for Persona 5 Royal but maybe in more detail and just one really, really long post. This is the last post:
And this is the overview once again:
So, for this post, we will be focusing on four confidants: Justine and Caroline, Yuuki Mishima, Hifumi Togo and Shinya Oda. Once again, this is a reminder that the numbers are based on the usefulness of their confidant abilities to the protagonist’s rehabilitation.
Justine and Caroline
Justine and Caroline (the strength arcana) are the quickest confidants to get up to 10. It does not take up any in-game time, and if you plan it really, really well, you could totally do it all in one sitting. That being said, it is a lot of fusing, a lot of reloading and a lot of skill cards (especially if you mess up and do not feel like reloading like I did).
Their confidant abilities are extremely useful to Joker’s rehabilitation, especially the first and last ones. The lockdown is touch and go, depending on how you play the game, but regardless, some resistance is useful. They will also call you if you leave a persona in lockdown for too long, so I find that a little amusing. Do not push it, though, because they will get rid of that persona if you forget to go get it. My advice would be just to go there straight away. It does not take long to retrieve a persona from lockdown. If you are in a rush, fast travel to a velvet room door and save there, because that way, the next time you load up your save, you’ll wonder why you are there and will be more likely to get your persona.
As for their narrative… most of it happens in the main storyline. Sure, it makes more sense if you play the confidant, but the confidant arc itself is really not special at all. They are realising things and holding it back because it is part of the main story, but it just gets frustrating because you get to rank 10 and they are still not telling you what is going on, what their realisation is, nothing. You get nothing until the end of the game. Although I do agree that confidant stuff should leak into the actual main game, you should not be feeling like there is no confidant arc because they are literally keeping all the juicy things to themselves just for the end of the game. Like, it is frustrating that these two are even confidants for this exact reason. Like, seriously, these two were confidants, but Shiho wasn’t? It just does not make sense.
But the thing is, I cannot say that this confidant is not useful. Because it really is. And it is not like you have to sit through a ton of boring story either. You can just go, fuse the personas, and then you’re basically done. You’ve got all the great perks, everything is excellent, and it was not a waste of time. And I cannot stress this enough, advancing the twin’s confidant does not advance time. Like, you basically have a free confidant here!
Mishima… Mishima, Mishima, Mishima. Oh, Mishima. This guy radiated loneliness to the point where I was worried he would stalk me if I talked to him. Which, by the way, he probably did considering how quickly he works out you are a Phantom Thief after seeing the very first calling card (you know, the one drawn, written and put up by Ryuji). How else would he know?
Mishima’s confidant abilities focus on EXP. While I do agree that this is useful, especially for those playing on the harder difficulties, it also is not that useful. It is nice to have, but it is not super unique. I think the best thing about Mishima’s confidant is that you get Mementos requests out of it. They definitely made the smart choice of linking EXP with Mementos, because that is where everyone goes to grind, and with the additional EXP from Mishima’s confidant abilities, it is easier to level up.
His arc is not the best, but at the same time, I think he changes the most throughout the game, while staying the same. It is difficult to explain it but here me out. Look at Mishima at the start of the game. He is essentially Kamoshida’s lap dog. He leaked the protagonist’s information just because Kamoshida told him to. He was getting used and most definitely abused by the gym teacher. He was probably only on the volleyball team so that Kamoshida could use him. But maybe he was looking for the same thing Ryuji was: a place to belong. And he kind of gets that when he makes the Phansite. He, who was once taunted because he was nothing, was now significant. He was in charge of something bigger than a teacher’s ego. He was in charge of the reputation of the Phantom Thieves. That is a big deal for someone who just followed orders all of their life. So, the power goes to his head very quickly. He starts trying to use the Phantom Thieves to progress his own agenda. He takes money from the supporters of the Phantom Thieves. He loses himself before he finds himself. Part of this comes from the abuse that he suffered under Kamoshida. Kids who have been abused usually go one of two ways: they either become an abuser to gain power, so that they are never abused again; or, they fight against the power, so no one is ever abused again. Out of all the characters that go through abuse in this game, you see both of these traits in Mishima. You see, his story may not be very interesting, but when you look into it, it is so much deeper than you originally think.
Mishima was abused. He got out of it. He got a little bit of power and went wild with it, thinking his way was just. He did not want to be hurt again. But after you go to see his shadow in Mementos (which is a scene I highly recommend people watch a few times to be honest), he realises that by having all of this power, he is not helping anyone. He is turning into the type of person he hates. He is turning into the type of person that gets their hearts stolen. And I think a little spark of fear lights up, because he does not want to be like Kamoshida. He does not want to abuse his power. He wants to fight against the power, like the Phantom Thieves do.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Mishima’s character is the most realistic abuse victim in the whole game. His story does not seem like a huge deal, but it is.
Hifumi Togo is a difficult one to analyse, because she has a lack of personality. Her abilities are so helpful, especially the first one. When she is introduced, she is well-known. If you wait a little bit before going to see her, you’ll overhear a few people talk about her being great at shogi and beautiful. Everything her mother wanted her to be, essentially. And I think, with that in mind, let’s look at her confidant abilities.
Without a doubt, Hifumi’s confidant abilities are useful to the rehabilitation of the protagonist. Looking at abilities like Koma Sabaki and Togo System, her abilities almost match those of the Phantom Thieves. They are very similar to those of Futaba Sakura, and I believe that if Hifumi were a Phantom Thief and had those additional confidant abilities, she would be in the top 3 confidants. Her abilities could make the difference of life or death, again, very similar to Futaba’s confidant abilities. These confidant abilities are a little too useful and specific to not try to look into them in more detail. For example, why are they so similar to Futaba’s? The way that Hifumi’s confidant abilities are set out makes it seem like she was meant to be a Phantom Thief. Her abilities directly affect battle in ways that are only really matched by the abilities of the Phantom Thieves. Other confidants – such as Shinya, who we will look at next – have abilities that help directly with certain aspects of battle (for example, guns or shadow negotiations) but Hifumi’s confidant abilities help with the process of the battle itself. Another similar(ish) example we could compare her to is Makoto Niijima. Makoto’s abilities focus on analysis and working to gain the advantage, controlling the flow of the battle. Swapping party members out also controls the flow of the battle. This makes Hifumi a little more mysterious and significantly more useful. Was she meant to be a Phantom Thief? By looking at her confidant abilities, we can infer that Hifumi was originally going to be a Phantom Thief. There are indications and images online that may confirm this. She may have been left out as Makoto is the strategist of the group; this leaves us to wonder what the game would have been like with Hifumi Togo as a member of the Phantom Thieves, and would it have affected Makoto’s position? Perhaps, that was the exact reason that she was taken out.
As for Hifumi’s confidant arc, I am afraid that is where the disappointment lies. She does not have much of a personality, yet her story is decent. It feels like they took away from her character, but left her with a decent story and exceptional abilities, just so that we would not think she was a Phantom Thief. Regardless, her story definitely lacks somewhat, which makes me wonder whether or not the decision to take her out of the Phantom Thieves was a decision that was made rather late on in development. Her mother is overbearing and controlling, basically ruining her life. The Phantom Thieves help her, and she restarts the whole shogi thing at an amateur level, rather than being in the professional league. Her mother had been paying off or somehow rigging each match of hers, and the first one this does not happen, Hifumi is almost thrown into the deep end. Whether or not this means that Hifumi was significantly under-skilled is another story, but the emotional toll that this must have had on her is overwhelming to think about. This girl had seemingly committed most of her life to shogi, only to find out she was not as good as she initially thought. She had worked hard, gained publicity that she did not want, just to advance her shogi career. And it was all a lie. In a way, this story gives you some kind of satisfaction, while still making you feel like there is much more going on here.
And if you missed the first part of my analysis and therefore do not understand what I mean when I compare it to the Phantom Thieves, here is the link to the original post:
Lastly, Shinya. Now, Shinya comes around quite late in the game in comparison to most of the confidants we have talked about, in the last few months of the game. I recommend using Chihaya as much as possible being going to hang out with him to level him up faster (but I would also recommend using this technique with anyone, especially in the latter half of the game). Shinya is at the top of this particular list (and surprisingly ahead of Hifumi) because combined with Iwai’s confidant abilities, you have a pretty powerful way of attacking without using SP or HP.
We all know how you need to preserve ammo in the original Persona 5, which makes it stressful when you are trying to do a palace in one day. The most stressful one, in my opinion, is when you go to the depths of Mementos and literally just thinking of it makes me stressed. However, Shinya significantly helps during this palace in particular. Bullet Hail is very helpful when starting a battle against a powerful enemy, and shot down can be useful when the enemy has no weakness as it gives you an extra chance to get a critical and then perform an All-Out Attack, ending the battle quickly and preserving things such as SP and HP for longer. Although this is not as pressing in the last bit of Mementos due to Justine and Caroline/ Lavenza coming out on top with the whole fully healing SP and HP thing, it still helps. Any time you can end a battle early, do it. It is typically not worth the flashy moves you are going to pull off, especially if the enemy is strong. Oda Special compliments the other confidant abilities that come with ranking up Shinya significantly so. We all know how annoying it is for enemies to be resistant to something, and if they resist physical attacks, they typically resist gunshot attacks, forcing you into using up precious SP. Oda Special helps significantly with this, and again, allows you to get that critical hit on the strong enemy who is weak to nothing.
As for his confidant arc, Shinya’s is probably the most emotional one. He is just a kid. He looks up to the protagonist, and they develop a brotherly relationship. You need to go to see him in order to complete a Mementos request (Winners Don’t Use Cheats) as it is impossible to beat this boss without him. You very quickly learn that he is a huge fan of the Phantom Thieves (which is really nice if you do this confidant when your popularity is declining). With the help of Futaba, you convince him that you know the Phantom Thieves and then he helps you out. You play an arcade game – Gun About – and that is how you learn the skills. Shinya comes across as rude and angry when he is playing, almost aggressive. Moving forward, you learn that Shinya is being bullied by his classmates due to his mother arguing with the school about several things. At this point, it seems like she is in the right. A mother is just sticking up for her child’s education, she just wants the best for him. Shinya refers to the bullying as a war, quite a dramatic approach to it. At this point, you also learn that Shinya’s parents are going through a divorce. Nothing is really mentioned about Shinya’s father. Shinya goes on to bully another kid into giving him his lunch money, which is the point where you start to realise that something is wrong. After seeing him a few more times, you meet his mother. She is definitely something. I struggle to think of a comparison apart from real-world examples that you see everywhere you go. Parents put pressure on their kids, and they expect their kids to be obedient, regardless of the circumstances. You see this kind of parenting style pretty much everywhere you go. However, it is definitely underrepresented in most media outlets, so it is refreshing (though still upsetting) to see it here. Shinya’s mother assumes that the protagonist is a bad influence for Shinya and is the reason he is not obedient. This confidant arc has a little plot twist at this point because when Shinya told Joker he was getting bullied, you are led to believe that his Mementos request would be someone like his headteacher or the parents of the kids who were bullying him. But instead, it is his mother.
But the best thing about Shinya’s whole arc is the amount he changes after his mother has a change of heart. He is like a completely different person. He is so nice, able to think clearly when playing Gun About and in general, a better person. You are able to see the negative affect of his mother’s behaviour be lifted in a way that is so drastic and demonstrates that a child will be affected by the negative behaviour of their parents, whether it is conscious or not.
With that, we have looked at each of the confidants of the original Persona 5 game, and realised that they all have their uses. Each confidant is somewhat useful to Joker’s rehabilitation, as is expected. However, there are clearly some who are much more helpful. For example, getting each Phantom Thief to rank 10 will be significantly more useful than achieving the same with someone who is not a member of the Phantom Thieves. This is due to the extra abilities that the group gets that directly help Joker during battle, as well as the extra protection that comes with their second awakenings. My advice would be to work your hardest to get each member of the Phantom Thieves to rank 10, before working on those who are not members of the Phantom Thieves. However, that is not to say to ignore those who are not Phantom Thieves. Confidants such as Hifumi, Chihaya and Kawakami are the type where the earlier you get them, the better. Rank 10 for Kawakami is something that is definitely useful, no matter what, as it gives you extra time, which is so valuable in the game. The easiest confidant to increase is Justine and Caroline, but I recommend you do it later on in the game when you are around level 70+ so that you can just fuse all of the Personas in one go.
I really hope that these posts have been both useful and entertaining for everyone. I will likely do a more in detail version of this for Persona 5 Royal, but I think I will probably just put it all in one post so that I do not take up three or more weeks of posting.
Here is an image that I did to summarise my findings:
And here is the final word count of all three posts combined because I thought it would be interesting:
Stay safe, wash your hands, social distance, remember that this game is amazing and I will be back on Tuesday with an update on how my Persona 5 Royal playthrough is going!