Shin Megami Tensei Persona 5 artwork from the video game series.

Megami Tensei - Persona

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Updated Aug 09, 2022 at 05:41PM EDT by Juicydeath1025.

Added Feb 06, 2012 at 04:41PM EST by Alokp.

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Megami Tensei (Japanese: 女神転生, lit. "Goddess Reincarnation"), also known as Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) in international markets and commonly abbreviated as MegaTen (メガテン), is a Japanese role-playing game franchise from the video game developer Atlus.[1] The franchise is notorious for having stories that deal with controversial subjects like sexuality and religion (particularly demons and folklore), along with allowing players a wide range of morally ambiguous choices as they play through various storylines. While the Megami Tensei franchise is very large and has several popular games, by far the most popular series is the spin-off series known as Persona (ペルソナ).


Atlus released the first game for the Persona series in Japan on September 20th, 1996, and then in North America on December 14th of that year, under the name Revelations: Persona. It wasn't until the second game, Persona 2[5] for PlayStation, that the series was recognized as its own franchise. With the release of Persona 3 and Persona 4 for the PS2, the series began to garner significant attention both in Japan as well as internationally. Localized releases from Atlus USA drew the attention of Western audiences with the release of Persona 3 in 2007 and Persona 3 FES in 2008.[2]

Since then, the dedicated fanbase of Persona continued to grow larger. In fall 2011, Persona 4[3] received its own 26-episode anime series produced by Anime International Company Inc.[6] With growing interest in the Persona series, the first three games have been ported to the Playstation Portable, and a port of Persona 4 was also released for the PlayStation Vita in 2012. Persona 5[14] released in Japan and North America in 2015.

A fighting game named Persona 4 Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena,[7] created as a cooperative work between Atlus and Arc System Works,[8] hit Japanese arcades on March 1st, 2012, and its sequel Persona 4 Arena Ultimax[9] followed on 2013. Persona also received other spinoffs, such as Persona Q: Shadow of The Labyrith[10] in 2014 for the 3DS and the rhythm game Persona 4: Dancing All Night[11] in 2015.

Story and Gameplay

Though the stories in all of the games differ, typically the setting for the series takes place in a Japanese high school. The player is given control of the main character and is allowed to make different decisions that will affect the outcome of the story. Along the way, you also make friends that help you out with your adventure.

Persona 3 and Persona 4 are known for the "Social Link" feature that allows you to build relationships with not only your party members but various other NPCs ranging from your classmates to shady businessmen who like to hang out late at night. Each Social Link is associated with a major tarot card arcana. Successfully completing a Social Link comes with various bonuses such as unlocking stronger Personas or giving bonus experience when you fuse a monster of a certain Arcana.

On top of that, the games also feature a dungeon-crawling feature. Later games offer a fusion system that allows you to customize the Persona that you use in battle.

Similar to other games that allow players to freely choose how they want their character to develop morally, the Persona series also lets players influence the world around them through their actions. Typically the combat system in the games revolves around using demons, angels or ancient gods to come to your aid. They'll either fight alongside you or allow you to use their abilities to fight other demons in battle.


The tie-in with religion and deities common in Megaten games sometimes causes controversy. Another topic this franchise was famous for was the belief that Persona 3's method for summoning Personas would encourage suicide because of the "Evoker," a gun-shaped tool that would activate the summon when the user shot themselves with it.

Hiimdaisy Persona 4 Comics

August 1st, 2009, a Livejournal user who was popular for posting funny fan comics posted a strip called "The Big Long Persona 4 Comic," which was a parody of the story of Persona 4. This comic gained popularity around the internet and became popular for reaction images and avatars for Persona fans. Hiimdaisy did a total of three releases and one half-release before declaring that the series was on infinite hiatus so she could work on her own original series. The last entry for it was posted on April 3rd, 2011.

On April 3rd, 2010, YouTube user StrawberryCreme26 posted a fandubbed version of the series. The series was well-received by fans and helped to further the popularity of the comics. The series ended when hiimdaisy's comics came to an end, and a final video was posted on March 27th, 2011.[12] However, due to a large number of fans who insisted that the series continue, a troll video was posted to definitively answer that it would not continue.


Even prior to the release of the anime series, the protagonist of Persona 4 was well received by fans. In contrast to the protagonist of Persona 3, who had some humorous choices (such as telling your classmate to buy running shoes for his cousin that can't walk). The protagonist of Persona 4 was seen as a much nicer character and was dubbed as "Brotagonist" (a portmanteau of bro and protagonist).

When Persona 4 the Animation was released, the rather unusual but hilarious depiction of the protagonist furthered his popularity to the point where the "swag" factor of Brotagonist became a common topic of Persona 4 threads on /a/. Naturally, this phenomenon came with several image macros and reaction images. There is also a popular Tumblr Ask Blog featuring the Brotagonist.[13]

It should also be noted that in the Japanese fandom, the main characters of Persona 4 were given the nickname "Bancho" (番長) due to the appearance of both the main character and Izanagi. This was nodded to in the game Persona 4 The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena when the main character was given the title of "Sis-con Bancho of Steel" (鋼のシスコン番長).

megami tensei persona protagonist dressed up and looking ready to leave

Bitches and Whores

The famous line of "Bitches and Whores" is the most well-known meme spawned from the Persona series. Originating from the Persona 4 hentai doujin Sperma 4, this phrase has become iconic for the character Tohru Adachi who is characteristically misogynistic. This phrase along with terms like "3DPD" frequently appear in misogyny threads that pop up on /a/ from time to time. Its popularity has spread far enough outside of /a/ and the Persona fandom that many internet users are unaware of its origins.

Adachi himself is a very popular character, particularly on 4chan, and his affinity for cabbage has become a running joke in the fandom. This joke was acknowledged in the Persona 4 anime during a scene where Adachi was being scolded by Dojima and decided to comfort himself by petting a cabbage while crying.


Marin Karin

In Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES, the player was only allowed to control the main character, while the rest of the party was controlled by the computer. While you could order your party members to prioritize different actions, the AI was known to be rather unintelligent. This increased the difficulty of both games considerably since it was common for poorly timed actions of your party members to result in the death of the main character, leading to an automatic game over.

The most common example of this complaint was the character Mitsuru Kirijo. She was a character who specialized in ice magic and healing support. However, very early on in the game, she learns a spell called "Marin Karin." The spell inflicted "Charm" status on one enemy, but had a high tendency to miss. Mitsuru would cast this spell frequently, even in situations where one would need her to do more important things like heal or finish off the enemy. Other common complaints are late in the game where Yukari learns Wind Break (a spell that disables immunities to wind magic) and late game where Mitsuru learns Ice Break (disables immunities to ice magic).

Because of this, even though many players like Mitsuru as a character, she was often left out of parties due to an increased chance of being killed by poor AI choices. This gripe became so common that Marin Karin became symbolic for Mitsuru. This was fixed in Persona 3 Portable where the player was allowed to manually control all party members. Interestingly enough, she still has this spell as part of her moveset in Persona 4 Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena.


English Voice Acting

The English dubbed voice acting, while positively received by most fans, had its share of off moments. Due to the potential humor of certain lines, some users went as far as to create remixes of these lines. In particular, "I NEED UR HALP" and Fuuka's English voice acting struck fans as the most memorable.

Persona Eyes

In Persona 3 and 4, when one summons a Persona, at times a cut in of the character showing only their eyes will appear on the screen. While not very different from art cut-ins often shown in other Japanese games, these images from Persona became popular to parody on both Deviant Art and Pixiv.

I Am A Shadow, The True Self

"I am a shadow… The true self…" is a phrase often used to refer to a character's doppelganger of sorts, especially when the aforementioned doppelganger has the upper hand against the original.

Yu Narukami Dancing / Specialist

Yu Narukami Dancing / Specialist refers to videos of Persona 4 protagonist Yu Narukami and other characters dancing to the Specialist theme from Persona 4 with absurd image macro captions in impact font. The meme began on subreddit /r/OkBuddyPersona January 2020, first using various Persona characters before narrowing on Narukami in late February.

That's Wiggity Wack, Yo

That's Wiggity Wack, Yo refers to a screenshot taken from Persona 4 in which a character called "Funky Student" says "Man you just killed my vibe. That's wiggity-wack, yo." The image became a popular reaction image on Reddit in August of 2019.

Aigis Toaster

Aigis Toaster refers to a series of fan art and memes imagining Persona 3 character Aigis as a toaster. The meme received viral spread within the Persona fanbase in 2017 following a series of fan art.

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Atlus

[2] Wikipedia – Persona 3

[3] Wikipedia – Persona 4

[4] Wikipedia – Revelations : Persona

[5] Wikipedia – Persona 2

[6] Wikipedia – Anime International Company

[7] Wikipedia – Persona 4 Arena

[8] Wikipedia – Arc System Works

[9] Wikipedia – Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

[10] Wikipedia – Persona Q

[11] Wikipedia – Persona 4 : Dancing All Night

[12] YouTube – Persona 4 Hiimdaisy Comic Dub (Part 4) / Posted on 03-27-2011

[13] Tumblr – Brotagonist Tips

[14] Wikipedia – Persona 5

Recent Videos 112 total

Recent Images 2,339 total

Top Comments


Everyone: Can we get Persona 5 on switch, please?

Atlus: Would you like Joker in Smash instead?

Everyone: Sure! But we would also like to have Persona 5 on our Switch's.

A couple of months later

Atlus: Here's a new version of Persona 5 with new features and characters!

Everyone: That's great! But is it coming to switch?

Atlus: Nope! You're all getting another spin-off to Dynasty Warriors!



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