Okay, so I have lasted a few weeks without a Persona 5 post so now I’m throwing in the towel and just doing one. I think it is worth it. This post comes from several conversations I have had with my partner since finishing my first playthrough of the original Persona 5 game. As far as I can tell, it also applies to Royal. It would not make much sense for them to change it. But this post contains spoilers for the original Persona 5 game, so you have been warned!
So it is fair to say that Persona 5 has its fair share of bad guys. Shido is the ultimate baddie, the one who is the cause for disaster in Joker’s life. The game starts with Joker moving to this place because of probation and ends with him stealing the distorted desires of the man who caused it. It’s a nice touch. There are 5 other palaces if we don’t count Mementos (which for the sake of simplicity, we won’t today). There are, in theory, 5 other bad people. We can obviously excuse the 4th palace because that is Futaba’s and she is a member of the Phantom Thieves, but that still leaves 4 awful people. And they are awful.
Here is a quick rundown of why these people are so awful because I run a fan account, and people are still trying to justify their actions.
Kamoshida was a gold medallist who used that respect and power to become a teacher (therefore gaining even more respect and also authority over high school kids), physically and emotionally abused a team until one of them snapped and hit him- and broke his leg. He broke a student’s leg. And then he got the team disbanded so that he was able to start up a new team in the sport of his choice – the sport that he won the gold medal for and therefore gaining even more respect and authority – and then he continued on with the physical and emotional abuse. Only this time, he started to sexually harass teenage girls – one of which was not even on the team – and out of retaliation for being rejected by one of those girls, he raped her best friend, who was on the team. While he was doing all of this, he was also manipulating the staff at the school so that they either did not know what was going on (think about Kawakami’s reaction) or they just wanted the team to do well, so they ignored it, trusting Kamoshida to make sure that the team did well.
Moving onto Madarame, I see a lot of people trying to justify this one. A lot of people say that people of the way Yusuke was after Madarame, it was not abuse because Yusuke is still attached. Now, I really do not like talking about my own experience of abuse on my blog because this isn’t the place for that. However, I will say this: I was abused as a child, from the age of 8 to 11. I blamed myself so much that I didn’t recognise when I got into an abusive relationship when I was 15. I thought that I was the abusive one because I always did something wrong. When I got into a worse relationship when I was 17, I genuinely struggled to work out what was going on. I have been out of that relationship for well over two years, and you guys know that I am in a healthy relationship with a great partner. However, because of the abuse I’ve suffered, I had a real tough time getting over my ex completely. I struggled to break up with him many, many times. I blamed myself for so long, even with the abuse I suffered as a child. So, as someone who has been through abuse, trust me when I tell you that Yusuke is just struggling. He is going through the process of healing. His confidant is one of my favourites because you see him love something so much that his abuser trained him in, which is why he’s in a stump. You see him fear becoming like him. You see, the worst thing Madarame did was not the plagiarism (although that was awful too). It was the abuse. Yusuke had been living with Madarame since he was 3. He shows clear signs that he was being abused. The worst thing is that because Madarame’s palace is so focussed on the plagiarism, people miss the abuse that goes on.
Kaneshiro was a Mafia boss who tried to bribe high school students. He successfully scammed many, many students into giving him more money. He was just an overall shady guy. I don’t have an awful lot to say about him because the arc itself is much more focussed on Makoto (trust me, I am not complaining) but it is clear that there were a bunch of general badness and criminal activity going on.
Okumura was obviously set up for the Phantom Thieves to target. In general, he treated people like garbage. To me, that was not much of a big deal because every company does that, really. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve become desensitised to it or what, but it was not a huge deal to me. What is a huge deal with the Okumura arc, however, is Haru. This guy is basically trying to sell off his daughter to whoever would benefit him most. He is using his child, who isn’t even out of high school yet, to benefit him. That’s the worse thing about him and should never be excused.
So, later on in the game, you find out that three out of the four awful people who had a change of heart were actually linked to Shido in some way. They were all giving money to Shido, and therefore it is safe to assume that they had requested someone to die via Akechi. So, who is that odd one out? Kamoshida.
So this got me thinking, why? Why would they just leave Kamoshida out of the group? And I think I actually have an answer for that.
Kamoshida is the first bad guy of the game. He is also – arguably – the most hated. One thing that I think makes Madarame so not-hated is the fact that Kamoshida was so slimy and disgusting in the sliest way that it almost seems like no one could possibly be as bad as him. Kamoshida uses manipulation to hide in plain sight, and the player sees straight through it.
Therefore, my proposal is that the reason that Kamoshida is not linked to Shido in Persona 5 is that he is bad enough without Shido.
If you think about it, a huge thing about the bad guys, in general, is that they are all money hungry. They only want what is best for them. Kamoshida wants fame more than money, which would make it a little strange if he relied on Shido for that in some way. Kamoshida wants something completely different from all the other villains in Persona 5.
Not just that, but Kamoshida is the first. He sets the bar. It is like the game is throwing this awful human being in our faces and going “look! This is what you should expect”. Kamoshida is also based on a much smaller scale than any of the other bad guys, as they are all at a city or national (or even international in terms of Okumura) level. Kamoshida is ruining the lives of individual people in order to get what he wants; Shido would not be interested in that. Quite frankly, Kamoshida is not big enough to be linked to Shido, but he is also too bad to be linked to Shido. By this, I mean that the player sees the effects of Kamoshida’s bad deeds first hand and all around them at the school. With the others, it is almost impossible to see the full scale of the situation. However, what we do know is that Kamoshida went as far as raping a girl and did not care when she tried to kill herself. He broke a teenager’s leg and did not care when that kid lost his chance at a scholarship and therefore gave up on school. The game shows exactly how far Kamoshida is willing to go, whereas, with the others, it is often up to interpretation.
I might not be right about this, but I do know that there has to be a reason that Kamoshida was not connected to Shido, because they went as far as to connect Madarame with Shido. It makes no sense for them to gloss over the first person that was targeted by the Phantom Thieves.