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 My sloppy interpretation of Persona 5 until I can finish finals (also spoils everything)

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Kimo Force
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PostSubject: My sloppy interpretation of Persona 5 until I can finish finals (also spoils everything)   Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:15 pm

The Phantom Thieves are meant to fit in the role of a power fantasy where injustice can easily be resolved by just even the thought of a human being. Any similar situations would easily go unnoticed in real life. The Phantom Thieves are inherently fictional because they can’t exist outside of Mementos (they’re just regular people otherwise), and in a sense that helps push the idea of the Phantom Thieves being based on fictional heroes that rebelled against society.

The Phantom Thieves aren’t meant to be a tangible force, but a “force of nature” towards standing up to injustice and taking control of one’s life. A cognitive means of being able to change the world and fight injustice by revealing and confronting the evil twisted desires of oppressors. That’s what the Phantom Thieves do throughout the game; stealing people’s hearts.

However, even so, in the end all the Phantom Thieves did was play into the hands of Yaldabaoth by neutering society’s desires, which in itself is a sin (sloth). Rather than take action, people became distraught over which path to take and how to lead their own lives, leaving it up for “saviors” to decide for them (first Shido, then the “cognitive” Holy Grail). In fact, the Holy Grail is said time and time again that it’s one of the most sought-for objects yet it simply doesn’t exist. There may be some reasons for it to exist due to its importance in Christian history, but for now let’s focus on its value in King Arthur’s literature.

Quote :
“The Holy Grail is a vessel that serves as an important motif in Arthurian literature. Different traditions describe it as a cup, dish or stone with miraculous powers that provide happiness, eternal youth or sustenance in infinite abundance.”

So the Holy Grail is simply the cognitive idea of “everything is going to be alright” and people will believe in said cognition with the hopes that things will change for the better, hence why the shadows in Qliphoth world pour their blood into the chalice. By the way, Qliphoth is Judaism’s version of sins, which further proves to show how when Mementos fuses with the real world, it leaves humans darkest desires bare.

By choosing to believe in the Holy Grail, people will run out of blood and eventually perish. What drives people is their desires, and to take that away is as if having killed that person (hence why killing someone’s Shadow, or their deepest desires, causes them to have mental shutdowns and die). While Yaldabaoth offers salvation through the Holy Grail by fulfilling the role of god, it is a false promise due to the nature of Yaldabaoth himself being a false imitation of god (or YHWH technically). In the end, Yaldabaoth is only fooling the masses and will merely lead to their demise.

Now it begs the questions “are sins….bad?” Truth be told, maybe they’re just viewed negatively because that’s the cognition of society. In the end, sins are human desires, and they only become problematic when said sins become so great and distorted (in a metaphorical sense, like how Palace Shadows lose their physical form that’s similar to their own hosts’ bodies and turn into much bigger forms more representative of their respective sins).

The Phantom Thieves themselves started by catering to their own desires at first, to break of their own shackles first. Desires aren’t inherently evil regardless of what society may believe (not to say sinning is good; it’s just a metaphorical use for the term I’ll elaborate on later). The Phantom Thieves focus on targeting bigger targets to gain popularity, which overtime becomes so great that it eventually distorts their own justice and swerves them off the path where they simply act on behalf of others rather than themselves.

In every teammate’s confidants, each one is trying to accomplish their goals but are distressed by falling into the same trap which caused the Palace Shadows to exist. Eventually, they learn to “sin” in order to accomplish their ambitions, but not “sin” enough to distort their own ideals. Ryuji does everything he can to uncover the new coach’s schemes even when it’s no longer his problem and he has nothing to benefit out of; Ann fully accepts that she needs to take full advantage of her natural talents (beauty) to rise as a fashion model in order to cheer on Shiho; Yusuke accepts that inspiration comes from “tainted” human desires, and that desire is not inherently malevolent but can even be benevolent which he later reflects in his painting; Makoto stands up for her friend and refuses to back down from helping her rather than let her be deceived for the sake of some temporary happiness, even when it’s fully against her will; Futaba musters the courage to not only reconnect with her childhood friend, but even to help her out when she should have from the very beginning even when implied not to butt in. Haru commits to her coffee shop to grant her own ideals which put quality first and money second, rejecting the notion that she should leave company matters up to her employees; and finally, Morgana never loses sight and eventually uncovers his memories, and after learning about his purpose, fully commits to it even when it should have wiped him from existence.

Eventually, the Phantom Thieves’ Personas graduate from being “historical figures of fiction” and into “gods, myths and legends”. They have the power to not only change the cognitive world, but even the real world as well. Although said figures are still legends, it’s meant as a symbolical way to say that they have more power than what they initially believed they did.

It’s true that justice should be as altruistic as possible, but the drive to seek said justice needs to originate from a desire, be it to form a better world or to protect a loved one. No one is truly 100% desire-free when doing altruistic acts, and truth be told, that’s not inherently a bad thing. Again, while distorted desires can cause mischief, small tempered desires can cause the spark that pushes one to seek their own justice and ideals.
I want to stress something again for the point that is to follow this one, but the Phantom Thieves do not “exist”. They are merely the cognitive representation of rebellion, and the costumes were never worn outside of the Metaverse. Even in the lyrics to “Beneath the Mask”, it says “please don’t take off my mask revealing dark” and one interpretation of that line does imply that the thieves are not a tangible object, but an idea to cause change and stand up for what is right.

The reason why the Phantom Thieves stand up to Yaldabaoth, or in this case the representation of the highest perceived notion of law aka god, is to show a rejection of said corrupt law. Even with all the odds stacked up against you through corruption, to fight it is to reject it. Even so, attempting to fight what is considered law alone is futile. Change will not come unless people band and work together.

When that happens, Satanael appears, the highest perceived notion of chaos. The idea to not only challenge but defeat the current form of law. The bullet Satanael shoots Yaldabaoth with is infused with the seven deadly sins, which are the desires of humanity; the desire for change and to see justice. It could also be the concept of rejecting the idea of sins being inherently malicious, but this one seems a little far-fetched to me. Also something worth bringing up is this line.

Quote :
“In some Gnostic traditions, Satanael is said to be an angel that once served the Demiurge. He rebelled when he realized that the Demiurge was not the true God and granted humanity the knowledge to liberate themselves from the Demiurge.”

So yeah, even Satanael obeyed the previous law that governed the world, but after realizing that it was not a true sense of law but a distorted one, he stood against it and fought it.

Even after all this, there’s still injustice in the world and the protagonist still ends up in prison due to his previous unjust trial which tainted his record. Even after being told time and time again that the court ruling could not be changed, the Phantom Thieves went out of their way to uncover old records to overturn the case. Even more surprising is when your confidants helped stir the masses to take action and rebel against the protagonist’s injustice. This moment shows that maybe you don’t need Phantom Thieves after all to change the world; if enough people everywhere have the will to cause change and act on it, they too can fight back against impossible odds.

In the end, the game is asking you to be true to your desires and ambitions even if in moderation. The Palace bosses (and Akechi) have showed you that they may have been good-natured humans at one point, but eventually let external influences taint their desires which is what caused them to stray. Never let others influence or taint your ambitions, because once they do, you lose sight of who you truly are and what you truly want.

Kamoshida wished for former glory, but enacted that lust against physical and sexual violence, with the former being desperate attempts to train his team in order to remain as a prodigy teacher. Madarame wished for former enlightenment, but enacted that vanity through art plagiarism to keep up with society’s demand for art. Kaneshiro wished for compensation for the hell he went through, but enacted that gluttony through blackmail and drug trafficking. Futaba lamented over her mother’s loss, which resulted in a perceived cognition that people’s wraths were aimed towards her, even from her own mother. As a result, she vanished from the world. Okumura wished to level his family out of debt, but eventually became intoxicated with greed. Sae worked her hardest in a field which looked down on women, slowly giving rise to her envy of others for having more prestigious positions despite doing less than her. And finally, Shido wished to cause change in the world, but his desires became so prideful that he later on only cared about his own and disregarded the people he first sought to fight for. Even Akechi, who sought recognition and love, ended up stirring up the trouble which gave rise to his fame. It’s why his false image when he joins the thieves is “Robin Hood”, while is true Persona is “Loki”, the Norse god of Mischief.

Sae’s Palace is even meant to show you how a strong-willed individual can even be tainted as her Palace was still halfway distorted. Same goes for Mishima who eventually spawned a shadow in Mementos that you could have easily defeated. Even so, both of them realized their missteps on their own without the help of the Phantom Thieves. Humans have the power to cause change; in a sense, everyone is their own Phantom Thief; their own Satanael to stand up to Yaldabaoth.

So yeah. Wake up, get up, get out there; raise your voice against liars; feed your anger like fire. There’s more to life than their way; if you’d live you cannot stay. If you hold on, life won’t change. Take the mask off and be free. Now you know life will change. A river in a dry land; the last ace in a lost hand; when the hope of new beginnings burned our feet, now we need it. A heartbeat for a tin man; an oasis in a singed land. Remind us what we're here for: creating new life; creating rivers in the desert. Corny, but it definitely sums up what the game is trying to say somewhat.

Anyways this is my very rushed interpretation of how everything in the game comes together to form a cohesive narrative. It should do until I can be of the shackles of my finals where I can elaborate even further wherever.



EW: also wtf does SJW stand for? Stupid Jealous Woman?
Ryuuji Takasu: looks cute. but cute sounds girly. so ill say kawaii
Lesbihonest: damn kimo you have the sexiest male voice ive ever heard o.o
Rika Furude: no, that wasnt ripped from the Bible or something, it's one of Rika Furude's poems in Higurashi. Deep ****.
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My sloppy interpretation of Persona 5 until I can finish finals (also spoils everything)
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