Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 is a JRPG published by Atlus and released for the PlayStation 2 on December 9, 2008 in the US. It takes place in a rural Japanese town called Inaba. The plot centers around a mysterious TV-world and its connection to a series of grisly murders. Persona 4's gameplay is built on the foundation of Persona 3's dungeon crawling, with some revised and streamlined mechanics in its element-exploiting battle system. Social Links also return, and aid in the fusion of Personas in the Velvet Room, among other new benefits such as special party member actions in battle.
Persona 4 was critically lauded upon release and was a commercial success after Giant Bomb's famous "Endurance Run" of the entire game, selling more than half a million copies worldwide. Merchandise released for the game include an original soundtrack, various toys, and an Amazon.com-exclusive Social Link Expansion Pack containing a shirt, calendar, plush, and soundtrack.
Persona 4 was built upon the Persona 3 game engine and shares similar game mechanics. It also includes slight changes. Social Links can now be established with all of your party members and have a much greater effect in battle.
Depending on the strengths of these Social Link, allies are more likely to provide the player with support and follow-up attacks during battle. Once the Social Link with a party character fully matures, the Persona of the respective character becomes more powerful, losing weaknesses and gaining immunity from certain elements. Once a Social link is established with a party member, that member can also endure a mortal blow for the player character, which would otherwise result in an instant game over. However, this does not apply to attacks inflicted upon all of the party members or when in Rush Mode.
The One More battle system also returns. By utilizing enemy weaknesses, the persona-users can effectively nullify the threat of opponent shadows by successively knocking them down to a "Stumble" state. The All-Out-Attack returns as well. This tactic involves attacking each enemy's weakness, thereby knocking down the entire opposition. The player may then choose to have the party attack as a group. All able-bodied party members will then charge at the enemy, covering them in a cartoonish dust cloud and dealing great damage. All surviving opponent shadows will return to their upright state and typical gameplay will resume. From a strategic perspective, it is essential to strike at the weaknesses of the opponent shadows to minimize ally casualties and maximize damage inflicted; as well as conserve each character's HP and SP.
The last change in the game's combat system is the method the player summon their persona. In Persona 3, the main characters used gun-shaped Evokers to commit mock-suicide to call forth their Personae. That method is replaced with the return of the tarot card from previous Persona games. They were also present in Persona 3, but didn't have the same function as in this one. Like its predecessor, the game ends when the main character HP is reduced to 0.
The dungeon crawling concept is largely a similar format as Persona 3, where a randomly generated maze is created for the party to run through, battle shadows, collect treasures, and generally advance. Unlike Persona 3, however, not all floors are randomly generated. Roughly half of the floors the player will encounter in the TV world will be presets. These includes boss floors, and mini-boss floors, puzzle floors and floors with story event scenes in them.
These mazes do not all take place in a central area. As such, there will be more visual variety between each area. Persona 4's dungeon-crawling labyrinth takes place in a mysterious realm within the Midnight Channel. Like Tartarus in Persona 3, this is where the player can fight Shadows and gain experience points, as well as acquire treasure and items along the way. The health status is gone in Persona 4 (great, good, tired, sick), enabling the player to explore the dungeons continuously. Also, the player has now 5 attributes to deal with (knowledge, expression, courage, diligence and understanding), compared to just 3 in the previous instalment (academics, charm, and courage). Health at the TV World hub can be restored once the player talks to the Mysterious Fox, who appears to assist the party later in the game, in exchange for a great amount of money relative to your social link.
The Moon Phase System is replaced by a weather forecast system. Instead of major events occurring during a full moon in the previous games, Persona 4 will have them during heavy rain. Instead of battles being fought during midnight/dark hour, battles in Persona 4 will occur after school. This also reduces the amount of time the player can do social activities, like taking up part-time jobs and interacting with Social Links, during the day. Going back to the major events in the game, the player must utilize his/her time and must rescue the victim trapped inside the TV dungeon before the fog settles over Inaba. This happens after several days of constant rain. If the player does not rescue the victim before the fog settles in, that particular victim will die, and the game ends. During normal play mode, the player can decide to go back a week before the due date, and take another shot at rescuing the victim before the fog settles in.
The story of Persona 4 begins on the 11th of April, 2011. The game begins by showing the protagonist (known as Yu Narukami or Souji Seta officially, depending on the source, but the player can name him anything they like) moving to Inaba. He arrives at the train station to meet his uncle and his cousin. After a brief introduction to the two, and the local attending gas station employee, they go home. Shortly after, he enrolls at Yasogami High School. It is here that he meets Chie Satonaka, a martial arts obsessed girl, and Yosuke Hanamura, a clumsy boy whose father runs "Junes" -- the local superstore. The following foggy night, a local journalist is found dead, following rumors of an illicit affair with a politician. Dojima is the detective in charge of this case, along with the "rookie" Tohru Adachi. Shortly after this, a young girl named Saki Konishi is also found murdered in the same way as the reporter -- on a foggy night, hung upside down from an antenna. Yosuke is deeply affected, as he was enamored with Saki. Following the murders, rumors start to go around the school about "The Midnight Channel," a special station on a turned off television at midnight during rainy days that shows the viewer their supposed soul mate.
Shortly after. Chie, Yosuke, and the player all vow to watch the Midnight Channel that night. However, the player almost falls inside the television, and reports this to the team the next day. A short time thereafter, Yukiko Amagi, a close friend of Chie and the to-be owner of the Amagi Inn appears on the Midnight Channel. Realizing they can enter the television by accident, they meet a strange figure inside the television land known as " Teddie." He has no recollection of how long he has been there, only knowing that he always has lived there, and can sense "Shadows" inside the place. Shadows are the main enemies of the game.
Vowing to help him figure out the mystery of the shadows, he gives them each a pair of glasses, which can see through the almost impenetrable fog that permeates the place, and proceed without becoming fatigued. Not long after, Teddie reveals that the previous two victims were inside the television and confronted by shadows that murdered them. It is revealed that if a person inside the television world denies their personal shadow (a physical manifestation of the part of that person's personality they are most ashamed of) then the shadow will strengthen, and murder the person it originated from.
Fearing that Yukiko will be killed by her shadow, they rush to the top of "Yukiko's Castle." At the top, they see Yukiko facing her inner self, which manifests itself as a large red phoenix trapped in a cage. This is representing how Yukiko feels about her inheritance of the Amagi Inn, and how she is locked into it. She feels trapped, and wishes for "her charming prince" to free her and take her far away. After fighting and defeating the shadow, Yukiko admits that she is scared, and inherits the power of Persona, like the rest of the team. After saving Yukiko, she joins the team, and becomes a much more lively, active and social person. However, all is not over.
A few weeks later, a television special about a bunch of delinquents around Inaba airs, which Dojima is investigating. Featured in this is local schoolboy Kanji Tatsumi. The team continues to watch the Midnight Channel, just in case. However, Kanji appears on the channel, and after the addition of Yukiko to the team, they decide to enter the television, and save him, lest his shadow overcome him.
As they enter the "Steamy Bathhouse", it is clear to the team that Kanji clearly has issues with his masculinity . When they reach the top, they see him facing his shadow self, a mostly naked version of himself who is surrounded by two muscular men, while he is holding two male symbols. While he is arguing with himself, it becomes known that he is sick of being stereotyped as a thug. It is evident that Kanji enjoys things such as sewing and upholstery, but is ashamed to admit this because such hobbies are "unmanly," believing that "a man's supposed to do everything at 100%." After the team defeat his shadow, Kanji accepts his shadow in an unorthodox manner -- by punching it in the face. Despite the outburst, he is comfortable with the fact that he may be ridiculed and wishes to be truer to himself (this becomes apparent during the social link with him). Afterwards, he becomes a member of the Investigation Team, wielding shield-shaped objects as his weapon.
Following the incident with Kanji, time goes on. Some weeks after, a celebrity idol known as Rise Kujikawa moves to Inaba, helping and living in her Grandmother's Tofu shop. After seeing her on the midnight channel, the team decide to meet her. After a brief discussion, it is revealed that she moved to Inaba to escape the incredibly stressful life that idols lead, and just become a regular girl. Despite her wishes to simply become a regular student, she inevitably gets kidnapped and thrown into the television world. After hearing this, the team immediately mobilize in an attempt to save her.
As the team race towards the top of the "Marukyu Striptease," they finally find Rise at the top, faced with her shadow. The shadow is representing the adult/idol side of her, which is gyrating suggestively. It is inferred that the shadow Rise is promiscuous, and wishes to "show the world everything about her." The "real" Rise is a soft spoken, well mannered girl who refuses to accept the shadow as a part of herself. The team engages her shadow, but are immediately taken down by the strong analysis skills and exploitative power of her shadow. When it appears they have become overpowered by her shadow, Teddie leaps in, and is willing to sacrifice himself for his friends. Teddie defeats Rise's shadow, but takes major damage from this, becoming flattened and gravely injured. Rise meanwhile accepts her shadow as part of herself, and a Persona.
All appears well, but Teddie's shadow self has arisen, and is taunting him. Shadow Teddie begins to tell him he is nothing, and that there is no such thing as truth. He questions him about what he really is, calling him "nothing more than a hollow shadow" and insinuating that he is worthless. Teddie denies this, and his shadow attacks. The team beats back Shadow Teddie, granting the real Teddie a Persona as well. Thus, Teddie decides to become a front line fighter for the team, while Rise, whose pacifistic investigative Persona makes her even more capable at searching out enemy weaknesses, takes over as the teams support. On the way out from the Television, Teddie tells the player that he senses something special about him. Once again, the team prevent an other murder for the time being.
Following the rescue of Rise, and thinking that they were preventing the murders, the team awake one morning to a chilling murder, that of Mr Morooka, their class teacher. He died in a similar way to the first two victims, and the team become disheartened that they have done nothing. However, watching the Midnight Channel, they see a student appear called Mitsuo Kubo. After investigating, they decide to enter the television world and stop him. After making their way through the "Void Quest," they reach the top where they see Mitsuo unable to talk to his shadow, and hear him say that he is "nothing." The team fights Mitsuo's shadow -- a giant baby. Throughout the fight, the shadow forms a large 8 bit warrior shell. This is to represent his true feelings as an immature coward, and how he hides behind his shell (video games). It becomes apparent that Mitsuo "killed" Morooka simply for attention. After the team defeat his shadow, they take him out of the television for interrogation.
Following Kubo's arrest, the team becomes acquainted with the "Detective Prince" - Naoto Shirogane. As the team is desperately trying to piece together the relevance and legitimacy of Mitsuo's apparent confession, Naoto arrives and laughs, telling them that their efforts are foolish. Naoto states that "the game" will be over soon, and Inaba will now return to its peaceful self after the arrest of Kubo. Despite this Naoto is interviewed on camera, and is subsequently thrown into the television world himself. The team discovers his location within the TV world, the "Secret Laboratory."
In this dungeon the team descends rather than ascends, and find Naoto fighting with his shadow. It is revealed that Naoto was about to undergo a "body altering operation." His shadow yells at him, calling him a "child who thinks he can play superhero." Before Naoto can silence him, he reveals that Naoto is in fact female. Naoto defies the shadow, which attacks. After defeating the shadow, Naoto is despondent over the fact that, because she is a woman, she will never get the self respect and admiration of her peers due to the highly sexist nature of the police force. Despite this, Naoto realizes that she didn't want a sex change at all; she only wanted people to respect her and treat her equally. After saving her from the Midnight Channel, she joins the group as the final member of the team. Her valuable detective skills and inquisitive nature become incredibly useful in solving the case.
Soon after Naoto is saved, Nanako Dojima is interviewed for television, but not shown-Only mentioned. Shortly after, the player receives a chilling letter telling him to stop investigating the murders. Dojima finds this letter, and detains the player at the police station. While this is happening, the team realize that the girl who appeared in the Midnight Channel prior to this was none other than Nanako. As they rush to her house, they begin to realize what's happening and who is doing all of this. The team suddenly realize that the killer, kidnapper and perpetrator of the entire case is non other than Namatame, the murderer of the first two victims, and the lover of one of them. Despite this epiphany, Nanako is kidnapped, but Dojima's intuition kicks in as he races to save her. Despite his best efforts, it ends in an accident, as Dojima gets seriously wounded, and Namatame throws Nanako into the TV in the back of his truck, and goes in after her to avoid arrest. The team immediately spring into action, and rush to save Nanako. Inside the television world, the party enter "Heaven" - a manifestation of Nanako's inner desire to see her mother who died when she was very young, and believed she went to heaven. Despite the fact that the dungeon is centered around Nanako, the monsters in there are from Namatame, as Nanako is too young to be malicious and imagine these. As the team reach the top of Heaven they see Namatame holding onto Nanako. As they fear for her safety, they slowly talk him into letting her go, and then engage him in battle. Namatame's shadow is unique in that it is made much more powerful by merging with all the other shadows. However, the team manage to overcome and defeat him, apprehend him, and save Nanako. All appears well, until Nanako faints, and is under intensive care in the hospital. With Dojima and Nanako suffering heavy injuries, the story takes a somber note as they pray for their safety.
Persona 4 has three main possible endings:
Possible Ending (Bad Ending)
This is a turning point in the plot of the story. In the hospital, Nanako dies, and the team laments her death. However, this feeling quickly subsides into rage, as not only Dojima, but the team race for Namatame's room. After a series of questions, the team throws Namatame into the television where he almost certainly dies. Everyone returns to Nanako's room to find that Teddie is gone, and left a note saying he cannot stay in the real world anymore. The team never sees him again. After this, the game immediately skips months ahead to the last day. From here, it is revealed that Nanako died in the hospital on that day as Dojima says "I'm sorry Nanako can't be here to send you off as well." The game ends with the player getting on the train alone, and returning to his real family.
There are two other bad endings to the game that all follow the same general format as the first one.
To get the second bad ending, you must decide not to throw Namatame into the TV world, but answer one of the next questions in his room incorrectly. The team will decide that they have done all they can and will leave the rest up to the police. The team finds that Teddie has left with a note (like in the previous ending), but the team finds that Nanako has actually recovered. Time skips ahead to the last day. The player learns through the news that Namatame has confessed to the kidnappings, but not the murders, and will most likely get off on an insanity defense. Nanako cannot see him off because she is still in the hospital. The game then ends the same way as the last ending.
For the last bad ending, you must choose the correct answers in the Namatame event, but choose wrong three times when trying to decide who the real culprit is (after the Namatame event). In this ending, the team gives up again, leaving the case to the police.
Possible Ending (Good Ending)
If the team question Namatame thoroughly, they become calmer, and decide to listen and hear him out. It is here where the team discovers that he is not the true culprit of the case. Namatame then explains that he didn't throw them into the television to murder them. Moreover, he threw them inside the TV to protect them. He claims that he was trying to save them, not knowing that the shadows would overcome and kill them. He simply assumed that because they escaped, they were saved and he continued to do it. From this realization, he pleads to the team to find the real murderer, and apprehend him before he hurts more people. From here, the team feel lost, as anything they had surmised so far about the killer had been wrong. They were back to square one, or so they thought.
Shortly thereafter, the team begins to think about the case as a whole. Who could have been the killer? Who had the links between all of them? Who could do this? The team realizes that the most likely killer was Tohru Adachi all along, and confronts him in hospital. From here, they apprehend him, and interrogate him into admitting that he is the one who did it. Adachi escapes from the hospital and in a last desperate attempt, enters the TV world himself, hoping to escape inside. When the team follows him in, they are lead to none other than the Ominous bedroom, the first place that they had come to inside the TV world. Through the portal, they find Adachi as he reveals his true plan. After he discloses that he had a crush on Ms. Yamano (the woman who had an affair with Namatame), he used his links as a police officer to have time with her alone. After he finds out about this, he pushes her backwards in a fit of rage, as he attempts to rape her. From here, she fell into the TV, which Adachi did not expect. After he tried to go in after her, he realized he had the power to enter the TV world. After this realization, he goes after Saki Konishi, the witness and person who discovered the body of Yamano. He easily pushes her in and kills her as well. This is when it is revealed that Namatame realized the connection, and began to "Save" the people involved. After Mitsuo Kubo came forth to admit that he was the killer, Adachi realized that it couldn't end there, and threw the boy into the television as well. Being an officer of the law, he accosted him at the Police Station, turned out the lights and did the deed, which explains why Kubo had no information about who pushed him in the TV.
From this point on, Adachi reveals his aforementioned plan. He had decided to open a large rift, allowing the shadows and fog which inhabited the television world into the real world, killing everyone and everything as revenge for the world taunting him and "Putting him out here in the sticks, where I figured I'd have a little fun". His hatred and rage manifested and created the Meatus Inaba-A future vision of the Inaba to come in Adachi's dream. From here, the team decides it's time to end the fight, and engage Adachi once and for all, and finish the case. When they reach Adachi, it is revealed that he himself can summon a persona, being one of 3 people who has received gift. Adachi summons a variation of Yu's persona Izanagi in a more malevolent, corrupted form. After Adachi goes down with relative ease, it is THEN revealed that Adachi was being controlled by non-other than Ameno-Sagiri, the monster who TRULY wished for the world to become engulfed in shadows and fog. The team engages Ameno-Sagiri, who claims that it represents the wishes of all mankind (not so dissimilar to Nyx in Persona 3). He claims that because of mankind's selfish, greedy and self-destructive nature, he wishes for the fog to infest the real world and silence mankind, finally giving them the peace they desire in death. Despite this, he realizes that the team does not want this, and questions the latent use of their ability to summon personae. After the team defeats him, Ameno has an epiphany and realizes that the team desire to live and save mankind. Despite the fact that he makes the fog disappear, he will "Always be watching and always be prepared to do this again should mankind call for it.”
After the defeat of the deity Ameno-Sagiri, the team celebrate that they solved the case and prevented any more murders from occurring. Time passes as the team decides to spend the rest of the summer together. After the time passes and summer ends, the team is ready to see the player off. If the player chooses, the game can end here, after the player has talked to all of the maximized social links and gone home. If this happens, the friends of the character all appear at the station to see him off, and the game ends with the investigation team running after the main character telling him they love him, and they will never forget their time together. The game ends on a happy note.
Possible Ending (True Ending)
This is the ending that happens when the character chooses to stay behind for the day, and meet the team one last time. The team meets in the Junes food court, and talk about everything that happened in the case. On looking back, the player looks back to the first person he touched upon entering Yasoinaba on the first day. It turns out to be none other than the gas station attendant as he arrived. The team realizes that someone had been orchestrating the entire affair after receiving a letter from the recently incarcerated Adachi, as he tells them "He feels something isn't quite right, and the case isn't over." As the team confronts the attendant, she turns out to be none other than the goddess Izanami and that she will be ready for the team in the final dungeon - the Yomotsu Hirasaka. After talking to Igor, the protagonist revives the "Orb of Sight" and climbs the tower to confront Izanami and put an end to the case. The team finally reaches her, and question why she did it. Izanami reveals that she wished to see mankind's true desires, and granted the power of Persona to a number of people and observed as they chose what to do with it. Horrified, the team engages her in combat, and defeats her. However, it wasn't over. Izanami uses a powerful attack to wipe out the entire team. At this point, the Orb of sight activates, and reveals Izanagi's true form. The form she appeared in was an avatar used to hide the fact she was rotting away and dying (See the Izanami and Izanagi folk legend). As the player nears death, the bonds of his friends and the social links he has made empower him, and allow him to summon his TRUE persona. The ultimate form of Izanagi - Izanagi no Okami. After the repeated onslaught of attacks, Izanagi uses the powerful attack "Myriad truths" and defeats Izanami. She is shocked that the power of friendship and will of one person could defy a goddess, but she accepts the fact, and congratulates the team on "Finally uncovering the truth". She admits that Amano was merely a projection of her to test the team. She urges the Investigation team to live on with their lives, and never give up hope, telling them that they could always triumph if they believed in themselves.
This is where the game truly ends. The friends have overcome all odds, defeated the Goddess Izanami and saved mankind. The game ends similar to the Good ending, only with a bonus scene where the protagonist is seen with a picture of the friends he made along the way.
New Game Plus
After completing the game, you are given the opportunity to begin a new game using the save file you make when the game ends. By doing this, you are able to start the game over again with a multitude of things carried over from your previous play through.
The following carries over:
- Social Stats (e.g. courage, intelligence).
- Persona Compendium (every persona you've acquired with their levels and move-sets intact).
- Persona Compendium discounts.
- Persona slots (you begin with the game's maximum of 12).
- Max social link items (gained from reaching social link level 10 with a social link friend), allowing you to fuse the most powerful Personas of that arcana without the necessity of maxing the social link a second time.
- Money (Yen).
- Play time.
Things that specifically do not carry over on the new game plus include your characters' battle levels, items/weapons, and your social link levels.
As in most entries in the Persona series, the majority of characters are high school students. Persona 4 has eight playable characters, including:
Height: 180 cm
Grade: Second Year, Class 2-2
Weapon: Two Handed Sword
Initial Persona: Izanagi ( イザナギ )
Tarot/Arcana: Wild Card.
Overview: The silent protagonist of the game. He recently moved to live in Inaba with his uncle Ryotaro Dojima and cousin Nanako Dojima after his parents had to work overseas.
Date of Birth: June 22, 1994
Height: 175 cm
Grade/Class: Second Year, Class 2-2
Weapon: Dual Knives
Initial Persona: Jiraiya ( ジライヤ )
Overview: Yosuke Hanamura is a clumsy, awkward boy who is often used as comic relief through physical comedy. His dad is the manager of Junes.
Date of Birth: July 30, 1994
Height: 158 cm
Grade/Class: Second Year, Class 2-2
Initial Persona: Tomoe Gozen ( トモエ )
Overview: Chie Satonaka is a bright and upbeat girl with a short temper and an obsession with martial arts. She was born and raised in Inaba. Chie is the first person the protagonist meets at Yasogami High.
Date of Birth: December 8, 1994
Height: 164 cm
Grade/Class: Second Year, Class 2-2
Weapon: Ougi (Folding Fan)
Initial Persona: Konohana Sakuya ( コノハナサクヤ )
Overview: Yukiko Amagi is a wealthy and elegant, but introverted girl who is the heiress of the famous Amagi Inn. She is always busy training herself for the business. Yukiko is also the first person you save from the Midnight Channel.
Date of Birth: January 19,1996
Height: 183 cm
Grade: First Year
Weapon: Blunt Objects
Initial Persona: Take-Mikazuchi ( タケミカヅチ )
Overview: Kanji Tatsumi is a juvenile delinquent with piercings and a tough look. However, his mother runs a Textile Shop in their home, making him very skilled at tailoring.
Age: 15, 16
Date of Birth: June 1,1995
Height: 155 cm
Grade: First Year
Weapon: Support Role
Initial Persona: Himiko ( ヒミコ )
Overview: Rise Kujikawa is a former teen-idol. She quit her job to have a normal life in the countryside. She serves a support role in battle, providing information for the team. She appears to have a crush on the game's protagonist.
Age: 15, 16
Date of Birth: April 27,1995
Height: 152 cm
Grade: First Year
Initial Persona: Sukuna-Hikona ( スクナヒコナ )
Overview: Naoto Shirogane is a young, serious detective who is dubbed the "Detective Prince", but still attends high school, and dresses like a man so that policemen will take her more seriously. She struggles with finding an identity while under the pressure of living up to a family lineage.
Height: 170 cm
Weapon: Support Role/Claws
Initial Persona: Kintoki-Douji ( キントキドウジ )
Overview: Teddie (Kuma in the Japanese release), is a strange bear mascot who resides within the Midnight Channel (Mayonaka TV in the Japanese release). At first he serves as outside support in battle, but later becomes a party member during battle.
Age: 42, 43
Date of Birth: May 16, 1969
Height: 179 cm
Overview: Ryotaro Dojima is the father of Nanako Dojima and the uncle of the protagonist. Dojima works as a detective for the Inaba Police Department.
Age: 6, 7
Date of Birth: October 4, 2004
Height: 122 cm
Overview: Nanako Dojima is the daughter of Ryotaro Dojima and the player's cousin.
Age: 27, 28
Date of Birth: February 1,1984
Height: 176 cm
Overview: Tohru Adachi is Dojima's partner. He serves as the comic relief of the story.
Social Links/List of Personas
Personas of the Fool Arcana
Overview: The Fool tarot card is Zero, which stands for the spark that starts everything, The Fool is the person who has the divine force or power to set in motion a long and life changing journey. The theme of The Fool is NEW, a new beginning, a new experiences and new choices. Since The Fool is Zero its effect is neither positive nor negative. The Fool social link belongs to the Investigation Team.
Personas of the Magician Arcana
Overview: The Magician tarot card is One, the number which stands for creation and individuality. The basic theme of Magician is will, the will to change, the will to endure and the will to overcome. The Magician social link belongs to Yosuke Hanamura.
Personas of the Priestess Arcana
Overview: The Priestess tarot card is Two. The Priestess is arguably the most difficult of the Major Arcana to qualify with words alone, because so much of her power is hidden which makes it hard to completely understand this tarot. The Priestess social link belongs to Yukiko Amagi.
Personas of the Empress Arcana
Overview: The Empress card Three, and is mainly associated with well being and security. Essentially representing security and non materialism. The Empress social link belongs to Margaret, of the Velvet Room.
Personas of the Emperor Arcana
Overview: The Emperor card is Four, and associated with authority, power and a strong will to win. The Emperor social link belongs to Kanji Tatsumi.
Personas of the Hierophant Arcana
Overview: The Hierophant card is Five. This card is strongly associated with the quest for knowledge, well worthwhile advice, and authority. The Hierophant social link belongs to Ryotaro Dojima.
Personas of the Lovers Arcana
Overview: The Lovers card is Six. The card connotes what the card basically is. A will and determination which comes from the heart. Choices made which may not seem logically sound, but emotionally right. The Lovers social link belongs to Rise Kujikawa.
Personas of the Chariot Arcana
Overview: The Chariot card is Seven. This card is associated with adversity, and the strong will needed to overcome it. It also has deeper connotations of the desire to succeed in life, and to be remembered. The Chariot social link belongs to Chie Satonaka.
Personas of the Strength Arcana
Overview: The Strength card is Eight. This card is associated with passion and generosity. The strength to stand up to ones convictions, and have an optimistic outlook on life. The Strength social link belongs to Daisuke and Kou.
Personas of the Hermit Arcana
Overview: The Hermit card is Nine. The Hermit card is associated with caution, and careful planning. The Hermit also has denotations of being alone, and the need to reflect on ones own self. The Hermit social link belongs to Fox.
Personas of the Fortune Arcana
Overview: The Fortune card is number Ten. It is associated with good luck, coincidences that go in the users favor, and the ability to succeed at anything you do with great success. The Fortune social link belongs to Naoto.
Personas of the Justice Arcana
Overview:The Justice card number Eleven, and is connected with triumph over adversity, judgement, and all lawful problems. The ability to prosper over unfavorable odds. The Justice social link belongs to Nanako.
Personas of the Hanged Man Arcana
Overview: The Hanged Man arcana is based on devotion to a worthwhile cause. The ability to adapt to surroundings and accept change easily and comfortably. As the card suggests, it connotes life being turned upside down. The Hanged Man social link belongs to Naoki Konishi. It is the twelfth card.
Personas of the Death Arcana
Overview: The Death card is number Thirteen, and denoted by the image on the card. Death doesn't represent the death of a person, but the death of a long journey or relationship. The Death social link belongs to Hisano.
Personas of the Temperance Arcana
Overview: Temperance is the Fourteenth card, and means combination, and maturity. The skill to make one thing from two, and balance. The ability to change. The Temperance social link belongs to Eri Minami.
Personas of the Devil Arcana
Overview: The Devil card is the Fifteenth, and is often associated with money, and material objects. It can also be noted that the will for sexual desires, and lust is apparent in the devil card. The Devil social link belongs to Sayoko Uehara.
Personas of the Tower Arcana
Overview: The Tower card is number Sixteen. It is related to disruption, and major life changing events. A dramatic upheaval, and daily routines being ruined. The Tower social link belongs to Shu Nakajima.
Personas of the Star Arcana
Overview: The Star has connotations of hope. The act of promising, love, and the renewal of faith. The will to protect others. The Star social link belongs to Teddie, and is the seventeenth arcana.
Personas of the Moon Arcana
Overview: The Moon is the Eighteenth card of the major arcana. It represents the imagination of the individual, and the idea of personal self deprecating, and losing control of ones inner self. The Moon social link belongs to Ai Ebihara.
Personas of the Sun Arcana
Overview: The Sun is the Nineteenth card and symbolizes joy, optimistic natures, and happiness. Good health and material happiness are also associated. The Sun social link is held by the drama club and music club, either being initiated by Yumi Ozawa or Ayane Matsunaga.
Personas of the Judgment Arcana
Overview: The judgement is the Twentieth arcana. The Judgement card symbolizes awakening, rebirth, and the outcome to a solution being satisfactory. The Judgement social link is not a 'Social link' but is raised as the endgame dungeon is progressed. It is called the "Seekers of the Truth"
Persona of the World Arcana
Overview: The World is the final and most powerful arcana, being the number Twenty One. The World stands as the most powerful tarot, The World represents great balance with all the elements and knowing one's true places in the "world." The World arcana is not a social link, nor does it have any persona except Izanagi-No-Okami, the final form of Yu's original persona. He is the opposite to Izanami and helps the team overcome her, bringing the case to an end.
Note: Discrepancies regarding the cards/card numbers should be disregarded, as there are so many tarot decks that change the number slightly for each card.
- Persona 4 starts on April 11, 2011, which sets the game a year after Persona 3, when the game ended on April 1, 2010. Many characters and a few locales from Persona 3, such as Iwatodai Station and Gekkoukan High School appear in Persona 4. Chihiro appears to greet the Yasogami High students on their field trip, and she makes mention of Mitsuru through her dialogue. Background music during the class trip is taken from Persona 3.
- In Kanji's Social Link story, the boy that Kanji helps mentions that his teacher wants a pink alligator from a famous book. This is a direct reference to Akinari Kamiki from Persona 3, who wrote a book about such a creature. It can be inferred that Akinari's book has been published after the events of Persona 3.
- The lunch making scenes are culinarily accurate; if one knows how to prepare them in real life, then they can be prepared properly in the game as well.
Shoji Meguro returns to score the soundtrack to Persona 4, along with Ryota Kozuka and Atsushi Kitajoh, known for his music in Trauma Center: New Blood. Shihoko Hirata sings the opening track, "Pursuing My True Self," as well as singing the rest of the vocal tracks in the original soundtrack. Persona 4's music has a retro sound to it, complete with a mix of J-Pop and J-Rock influences, compared to Persona 3's more modern style of music. It was released as a two-disc Original Soundtrack on July 23, 2008 by Aniplex.
Every North American & European release of Persona 4 game comes complete with a copy of Disc 1 of the soundtrack. Disc 2 is included in the Amazon.com exclusive package called Persona 4 Social Link Expansion Pack, which also includes a 100-page art book.
Persona 4 US Original Soundtrack Tracklist
- Pursuing My True Self
- A Corner of Memories
- Welcome to the Limousine
- The Poem for Every one's Souls
- New Days
- Signs of Love
- Mayonaka TV
- Your Affection
- Like a Dream Come True
- Who's There?
- Reach Out to the Truth -First Battle-
- Backside of the TV
- Borderline of Madness
- I'll Face Myself -Battle-
- I'll Face Myself
- Muscle Blues
- It's SHOW TIME!
- Quelorie MAGIC!
- Reach Out to the Truth
- Reach Out to the Truth -Instr. (version)
- Heartbeat, Heartbreak
- Youthful Lunch
- Z ONE TIME
- A New World Fool
- Junes Theme
- The Power of the Heart (P4 version.)
- The Path is Open (P4 version.)
- How much?
- Secret Base
- Al one
- Reasoning (An other Version)
- Long Way
- The Almighty
- The Genesis
- I'll Face Myself -an other version-
- Never More
- Electronica in the Velvet Room
The European version of the soundtrack differs from the US version. There is no Social Link Expansion Pack, and thus the single disk in the standard edition features a selection of twenty four tracks from throughout the game:
- Pursuing My True Self
- Aria of the Soul
- New Days
- Your Affection
- Who's There?
- Reach Out to the Truth -Instrumental version-
- Border of Insanity
- I'll Face Myself -Battle-
- Heartbeat, Heartbreak
- A New World Fool
- Reach Out to the Truth
- Junes Theme
- Secret Base
- Deduction - an other version-
- Long Way
- The Almighty
- Never More
Persona 4 was praised by the Western gaming press as being an excellent JRPG. While most criticized the slow start, many also considered P4 to be an improvement over its predecessor, Persona 3. Among the aspects praised were the strong story and relatable cast of characters. Since its release in December of 2008, it has sold over half a million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling Megami Tensei game to date.
Adaptations and Other Media
On September 19, 2008, the publication Dengeki Black Maoh began running a serialized manga adaptation by Shūji Sogabe that as of February 2012 has been compiled into six tankōbons, or graphic novel compilations of the material previously published in Dengeki Black Maoh. The name of the main character in the manga adaptation is Souji Seta.
On April 11, 2011, the day that Persona 4's story begins in-game, it was announced that the anime studio AIC had begun production on Persona 4: The Animation, an anime TV series based on the game. Unlike Persona: Trinity Soul, an anime series loosely set as a sequel to the events of Persona 3, members of the Atlus development team assisted in the development of P4A; the plot thus stays much truer to the events of the game than Trinity Soul, and is a direct adaptation, rather than a sequel. The core Japanese voice cast of the game also returned to voice their characters in the adaptation. The series premiered on Japanese television on October 6, 2011 and concluded on March 29th, 2012 for a total of twenty-five broadcast episodes. An additional twenty-sixth episode was included as part of the show's DVD/Blu-ray release. The main character's name in the TV series is "Yu Narukami".
The series was distributed in North America by Sentai Filmworks. The company released subtitled versions of each new episode on The Anime Network on the same day as or the day after the Japanese broadcast premiere. The episodes were also made available for streaming on Hulu after going live on AN. Sentai has released the series on DVD and Blu-ray; due to licensing restrictions, however, the Blu-ray edition only features the English dub, while the DVD edition features both the dub as well as the original Japanese with subtitles.
On April 7, 2012 at Anime Boston, Sentai Filmworks announced that the dub would retain the English voice cast of the game. However, this announcement was made without the knowledge of the actors; those that have been interviewed regarding their involvement in the dub have expressed surprise, as Sentai had yet to contact any of them at the time the announcement was made. Despite this, most of the original English voice cast was subsequently signed and reprised their roles. A primary exception being that Tracey Rooney, the voice of Chie. Chie is instead voiced by Erin Fitzgerald, Chie's English voice in Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4: Golden.
The game's story has also been adapted for live theater. Entitled Visualive Persona 4, the play ran for a limited engagement from March 15 to March 20, 2012 at the Sunshine Theater in Ikebukuro, a district of Tokyo. Kappei Yamaguchi, the voice of Teddie in the Japanese version of the game as well as the anime, reprised the voice role for the stage production. Actor Toru Baba was cast in the lead role of the protagonist, whose name changed from performance to performance, just as the player could choose the character's name in the game.
A second stage play, entitled Visualive Persona 4 the Evolution, was produced by Marvelous AQL. This new production featured a script written by Jun Kumagai, who previously worked as a writer on Persona 4: The Animation. The play also featured a score composed by Shoji Meguro. This second play ran from October 3 to October 9, 2012 at the Galaxy Theater in Shinagawa.
On June 10, 2012, publisher Dengeki Bunko released a spin-off novel entitled Persona x Detective centered around the character Naoto Shirogane. It was written by Mamiya Natsuki with illustrations by Shigenori Soejima and Shūji Sogabe.
The novel is set during Naoto's final year of high school, when she has transferred away from Yasogami High and is now working in Yagakoro City. She is searching for her childhood friend Touko Aoi, and has partnered with a mechanized detective named Sousei Kurogami.
Persona x Detective has subsequently been adapted and serialized in Dengeki Black Maoh in manga format. The manga version began publication on November 27, 2012.
Remake and Sequels
Following the success of Persona 4, Atlus subsequently began work on two new Persona 4 projects. One of these projects was Persona 4: Golden, a PlayStation Vita remake of Persona 4 that includes a number of new features and new characters. Unlike Persona 3 Portable, the presentation of Persona 4: Golden is not stripped down in any way and retains all of the playable elements of the original PS2 game.
The other new project, a sequel set after the events of the game, is Persona 4 Arena, a fighting game co-developed by BlazBlue developer Arc System Works. While Arc System Works designed the core gameplay, members of Atlus's Persona team assisted by providing direction regarding certain design decisions and also wrote the game's story. The game was released in Japanese arcades in March of 2012. A console version on the PS3 and Xbox 360 was released on August 7, 2012 in North America with an expanded story mode and suite of features. The game was followed by Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax, which added more playable characters and is set shortly after the conclusion of the original Persona 4 Arena.
An additional sequel, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, is currently in development for the PlayStation Vita. A rhythm game featuring Persona 4 music, it is slated for Japanese release in 2014 and North American release in 2015. It is set after the events of the Persona 4 Arena games, when Rise has returned to show business.