Hey, Gamers! I’ve been slowly working my way through Persona 5 Strikers and I am just about to leave Sapporo (just want to finish a couple of requests from the previous two jails first). That means I’ve completed the third jail and without going into too much detail in the introduction, but this jail’s trauma hit differently for some reason, and that is what we are going to talk about today! So, the following post will have spoilers for Persona 5 Strikers in general, but not past the end of the third jail. Also, a slight spoiler for the third semester of Royal.
All good? Good.
I want to start by talking a little bit about the jail in general. So far in the game, it’s equated to the original game in a pretty cool way. If you’re not quite sure what I mean, I’m going to explain it so don’t worry. So the first jail was Alice in Strikers, which would equate to Kamoshida in the original game. And like the original game, Ann was the one who was most invested (emotionally). You could even argue that for the boss fight, it’s best to have the original team of Joker, Ann, Ryuji and Morgana. Ryuji was even the one who kind of… introduced the first jail, similarly to what he did in the first game. This tied the two games together a whole lot better than if it was done differently. This even happens with the second jail, where Yusuke was much more emotionally invested than the others (for obvious reasons… I have a lot to say about Yusuke, actually, so I might do a post on that soon… as soon as I completely finish Strikers, just in case there is anything else). So I completely expected poor, exhausted Makoto to be triggered by the third jail… maybe with it being to do with siblings or… dead fathers or something. But no. Little Haru stepped up and I was suddenly doing the whole jail to make her feel better.
Okay, putting my feelings aside (but seriously, I hate Zenkichi but I am so glad he’s driving so Makoto can have a break), Haru was the one that was most emotionally invested in the third jail. And that threw me off. I think they probably changed it for the sake of throwing people off, to be honest. I’m not exactly sure how many jails there are either, so maybe they didn’t have a fifth jail (please don’t tell me if I’m wrong, I really want to find out myself) and felt like Haru being emotionally invested in this was more important to her character development than if Makoto was invested in a jail.
So, let’s move on to the actual point to this post: the trauma. If you’re a regular reader of mine, you’ll know that I am full of spicy trauma, so this game is interesting to play. But for anyone who ignored the spoiler warning and has not played the game to this point- the trauma behind this jail is that Mariko was the mayor that oversaw the snow festival, and her staff took a bribe that resulted in the death of a young girl. It’s like they looked at the last two jails and went ‘that’s great… but we need DEATH but that’s not enough… make it a child’ so yeah it hits a bit differently. I think, to be fair, the original Persona 5 did maybe desensitise the fandom when it comes to death, Royal especially because nothing is ‘right’ and so many people can just come back to life. Maybe everything is just stepped up in Strikers, especially because you could never imagine someone disrespecting the Sayuri in the original game (this shocked me so much, I’m probably going to mention it in most Striker posts because wow how sucky do you have to be). So, the writers shocked us with the death of a child, and they wrote it very well in my opinion.
So, why does it just feel so different? Is it because it’s the first death in the game? Or is it because it is a child? My answer is that it’s both.
Let’s talk about the death part first, by referring to the earlier game. Alice’s trauma was about bullying. The douche bag guy’s trauma was about people only caring about his relatives’ legacy. Mariko’s trauma was about a child dying because of the corruption of people that were part of her stuff. *Insert ‘one of these things is not like the other’ song*. It’s Mariko. Mariko’s trauma is about the death of a child.
Now before I go any further, it’s important to note that all trauma is valid and I’m not saying that Mariko’s trauma is better/worse/more or less painful than the other’s. What I am saying is that to us, the players, it hits differently. It feels different. And I think that’s normal.
Like I’ve said, death is not new to Persona 5. Heck, looking at the Persona series as a whole, I’m 90% sure that the third game is all about death. But Persona 5 Strikers is a brand new game. I’m sure you guys felt the difference in Persona 5 when Okumura died. It got so much more serious. And I think this is the same effect in Persona 5 Strikers. The death of the little girl makes the game a lot more serious. I feel like even if it isn’t the same situation (them being accused of murder), the stakes are just a lot higher at this point because of the trauma behind it. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is the third jail, which would equate to the third palace. Thinking about it in more depth… before in Persona 5 Strikers, there were not really any stakes involved apart from just trying to find out more about the jails, and obviously their morals and the whole justice thing. But this time… it’s different. They’re doing this on Zenkichi’s orders. They’re now working with the police, they have a responsibility in doing this… and again, Joker’s freedom is technically on the line. This is like with the third palace in the original game. At first, it was about Makoto not handing them over. Then it was about Kaneshiro not sending those pictures (and also so Sae didn’t have to become a prosititue, depending on how you look at it). In both games, the stakes were heightened. You could say that the stakes were heightened with every palace and jail, but I don’t think that was the case (as there isn’t a huge jump between Kamoshida and Madarame in my opinion, and the same between the first and second jail).
So, why did they use a child? Because she had so much to look forward to. A whole life ahead of her. I think Persona 5 Strikers is going in the direction of… the group have lives outside of the Phantom Thieves now. They got to grow and heal. That little girl didn’t. Any death is a loss, but the death of a child is a tragedy to society. And I really feel that this is the reason that the third jail trauma just hits a bit harder than the previous too palaces. Because there was just so much that was lost due to this traumatic event and society was hindered because of it.
So, that’s it for todays post, guys! Make sure to follow me on social media to keep update and see some behind the scenes stuff, check out 2nerds_1game on Twitch, where I stream my first Persona 5 Strikers playthrough (and we stream over stuff too!). Let me know your thoughts and feelings in the comments, and don’t forget to drop a like for me to do a little happy dance!