Hey, Gamers! This week we’re making the well needed return to Persona 5 Royal.. and the original. For those who don’t know… I write about these games a lot because they take up about 70% of my thinking time each day, if not more. Persona 5 has been my favourite game for over two years now, and I feel like I know enough about the game that I can write a lot about it (I swear if any of you watch our streams and comments about Ganesh… I will cry). I pre-ordered Royal as soon as I could because I was so excited, and I was very surprised when my feelings towards Goro Akechi changed, so I’ve been overthinking this for a while so now I’m writing this to try and make some sense out of it.
Sidenote: Josh wanted me to write a post about who is the best Goro out of Akechi and Majima but it would literally just be ‘Majima’ so I’m not doing that.
Spoiler Warning: This post contains spoilers for Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal.
So, in the original game… I hated Akechi. He made my blood boil. He was the first character to make me genuinely angry, only rivalled with Zenkichi at the beginning of Persona 5 Strikers. I think he just oozes manipulation and it make me mad. After playing the game for the first time, I was able to appreciate how well Akechi is written in the original game. His confidant arc just naturally increased as it would when bumping into someone repeatedly. You were always meant to hate him. You were always meant to know that he was the traitor. The game wasn’t trying to hide that from you; it was trying to hide his intentions, which I think it did well. You’re meant to know what is going to happen, and you’re not meant to like him.
This changed with Royal, though. Akechi’s confidant arc became something that the player had to spend time on. You got to hang out with Akechi and get to know his personality a little better. He didn’t feel as manipulating. The relationship between Akechi and Joker in Royal felt more like a friendly rivalry than arch enemies like it sometimes did in the original game. There’s an element of childish competition that it brought up throughout the arc… it’s like Joker gives Akechi a chance to be a kid again. Their bond is deeper and it feels like much more is on the line. You slowly start to care more about Akechi, despite however you felt while playing the original game.
Goro Akechi is still Goro Akechi. He doesn’t change, but your feelings towards him almost certainly do and this is exactly what Atlus wanted.
I’m sure most Persona 5 fans would agree that the most anticipated thing about Persona 5 Royal was a third semester. And I think, from what I can remember, we knew that Akechi was somehow going to be in that third semester. We would spend more time with him, and therefore, he had to have a better relationship with him. Although by the third semester, the confidant arc is done and Akechi is basically evil (my opinion), we were taken on more of a journey with his character development so that when the third semester came around, there was always the possibility of him changing again. We anticipated it, even.
Now, I’m not going to talk much about the ending of Persona 5 Royal. Everyone has different opinions on the ending; my own opinion is one I don’t like talking about much because it’s not the most positive. But there was a hint to something that needs to be discussed. Now, obviously now we have Strikers. I know a lot of people assumed that because of that hint, Akechi would be in Strikers. However, Strikers is a sequel to the original game, not Royal, hence the absence of Sumire (although I can come up with a few ideas about why she wasn’t there but that’s for another post). Now a lot of people are assuming one of two things: either DLC with Akechi for Strikers or Persona 5 fighting game. I’m going to say that we’re not going to get either of these, and if we are it won’t be for a very long time. We, in the West, are not going to get anything before Japan gets it, so it’s important to keep in mind that if there was something, we would know about it. Royal was released in the October before our March release, and Strikers was released – as far as I can remember – over a year before we got it. Another thing might be that they’re trying to leave things open ended for Persona 6. But, again, Japan will get it first so we’ll know more then. It could be a similar tie with Persona 3 and 4 (with them both being SEES as far as I know).
But the ending of Royal leaves more to the imagination than the original ending when talking about Akechi, which is good because I feel like a lot of people wanted his character arc to do a full 180 and that’s not what happened. Underneath everything, Akechi is a bad guy. He’s a villain. He’s an antagonist. Using black and white thinking, there’s not much difference in his character between the two games. What changed was the relationship that Akechi had with the protagonist. Using black and white thinking, however, is not always what’s best. Personally, I do not see any redeemable qualities in Akechi. I’ve always said that his ‘redemption’ wasn’t redemption. But I know other people feel very differently and are very passionate about this. And in a world where – to quote The 100 – ‘there are no good guys’, Akechi is the perfect example of what Joker could have become.
So that’s it for this post, Gamers! Did your opinion on Akechi changed when you played Royal? I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts. If you liked this post, give it a like and follow this blog for more gaming content! Check out my social medias to stay updated (I’m posting a lot more on Twitter because it lets me send screenshots straight from the Switch), and if you head over to Twitch you can check out 2nerds_1game where me and my partner stream almost everyday… apart from when I’m sick, but we’re back at it and I think we’ll be finishing Strikers this week! See you next week, Gamers!