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Persona 5 is a 2016 RPG video game developed by Atlus and the sixth mainline game in the Persona series. Persona itself is a sub-series of the Shin Megami Tensei series. The game places the player in control of a high school student who discovers a unique gift and how to use it to save themselves and others. Upon release, the game received immense critical acclaim for its use of worldbuilding, social life simulation, characters and complex gameplay mechanics. Since its release, the game has had memes made about it through fan art, photoshops of in-game screenshots and various other methods.
While originally released in 2016, Persona 5 has continued to keep itself relevant through re-releases, spinoffs and other media. On May 24th, 2018, a rhythm game spin-off was released for the Playstation 4, titled Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, as a follow-up to the rhythm game spinoffs for Persona 4 and Persona 3. Later that year, a 26-episode anime adaptation produced by CloverWorks was released. However, in contrast to the anime adaptation for its predecessor, Persona 4, it received mixed reviews online.
In 2019, Persona 5 was released in an upgraded form called Persona 5 Royal, which added new content to the game. Then in 2020, a hack-and-slash spin-off developed in collaboration with Omega Force titled Persona 5 Strikers was released for Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch, seeing a worldwide release on February 23rd, 2021, alongside a PC port.
The wide array of media that the game has been turned into resulted in a large amount of content available for making memes, with there even being memes made about the game itself in a meta context. This is seen by the post on the subreddit /r/persona5 by Redditor ImHereForTheMemes184 on January 11th, 2021, which received 5,578 upvotes and 142 comments (shown below).
Since it was a highly anticipated game at the time of launch, there was already a subreddit formed for Persona 5 by November 2012. The /r/persona5 sub accumulated over 305,000 subscribers in roughly eight years. Because of this, whenever a new Persona 5 title, re-release, anime or other adaptation was announced, it would refresh the community and helped to keep Persona 5 in the spotlight, leading to a sustained meme community for over five years.
In April 2019, Joker was released as a playable DLC fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, propelling the game into mainstream culture. This introduced the character to a new audience, which also led to a revitalization of memes being made about the game. This can be seen with the post on the /r/Smashbrosultimate subreddit by Zachattack4625 posted on March 4th, 2021, which received 1,713 upvotes and 67 comments in six months (shown below).
Persona 5's presence in meme culture can be seen in a wide array of formats, from memes that utilize screenshots of the game, either with edited or original text, memes that take images from the game and photoshop logos or other characters into them, memes that use frames from the anime series or the various spinoff games, as well as meta-contextual memes about the franchise as a whole. The post by Redditor /u/mamatorinq336 on August 6th, 2020, receiving 10,100 upvotes in six months, showcases another form of Persona 5 memes, using the game to make references to other well-established meme trends (shown below).
The last big subsect of Persona 5 memes comes from the nature of the game itself as it relates to the player. These memes make fun of the player for playing the game so long that they don't know how to function in society without having button prompts, a guidebook and three save files to fall back on. This is exemplified by the GIF posted to iFunny (shown below).