The Burning Questions of Persona 5
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MINOR PLOT SPOILERS FOR PERSONA 5.
For the full review of Persona 5, go here.
When does Joker have time to masturbate?
Early on in your adventures within the Metaverse, you’re joined by a talking cat called Morgana. While he presents as a mascot character in the cognitive world, back in regular old Tokyo, he’s just a normal old black cat. And, since you’re fellow Phantom Thieves and he is an amnesiac, he goes with you everywhere.
And I mean everywhere. He rides in your bag and hides in your desk at school. He follows you to movies and watches you at your part-time jobs. The only time when you have any privacy at all is, ironically, when he excuses himself while you hang out with someone else.
Let’s not dance around the obvious implications. Joker is a growing young boy, living alone in the attic of a cafe. He doesn’t even have a shower to himself. How he doesn’t explode from sheer sexual repression is frankly a miracle.
Why doesn’t Joker just go out anyway?
Most of Persona 5 is divided up into sections of daily life. Six days a week, you’re at school, because the Japanese education system is insane, but afterwards you have the Afternoon and Evening free to spend as you see fit. Managing this time is the great appeal of the Persona games: going into the Metaverse and fighting Shadows, for example, tires you out so much that you’re too tired to do anything in the evening.
Unless, of course, you cat doesn’t want you to. Over and over, the spectre of Morgana rears his furry little head, condemning you to an evening of laying in your bed staring at the ceiling. Whenever plot happens, no matter how trivial, that chillingly meowed message appears:
“You must be tired after today. Let’s go to sleep.”
With no other parental supervision – Joker’s guardian, Sojiro, goes home to his own house at night – Morgana’s iron paw reigns supreme. You’re too tired to read. You’re too tired to have a bath. You’re too tired to make yourself a cup of coffee.
I understand why it is. The game wants you to keep trucking forward during plot-heavy sections and not get distracted running around. But in-universe, it makes no sense. Joker is a teen boy/awesome Phantom Thief and Morgana is a cat. Just shove the furry little jerk out of the way and let the night be yours!
Why does nobody have a problem with Morgana?
More on our feline tormentor. As mentioned, Morgana appears as a normal cat, Joker’s constant companion as he goes about his student life. And…nobody has a problem with this kid just bringing a cat everywhere. Movies, diners, into the classroom. “Hey, you can’t bring a cat in here” is never uttered.
Sure, this kid suffers under the label of the dangerous delinquent with the criminal record, expelled from his last school and banished here. But that only accounts for the students. Why teachers, employees and fast-food workers are all silent on the issue remains an eternal mystery.
I wish they would say something. Maybe then I could eat my Big Bang Burger without inane observations all the goddamn time.
What’s up with Joker’s money situation?
A big part of the early game is Joker working the sorts of part-time jobs one would imagine a teenager would work. These jobs offers two distinct benefits: they pay money, obviously, and increase a certain skill depending on the job. You’ll end up pulling enough money from dungeons in the later game to not bother with it, but initially, keeping your party flush with weapons and armour means grinding it out in that convenience store gig is a necessiry.
(A nice detail: minimum wage in Japan is 907 Yen an hour – roughly $9. Joker gains between 2800 and 6000 Yen from his jobs. Who would have thought? Sensible amounts of money in an RPG!)
The tricky part comes when we think about money dropped from monsters in the Metaverse. The gang gets away with carrying guns and weapons around because they’re simply models. Since they believe they’re real in the cognitive world, they are. It’s a neat detail which skips around all that business of how kids can buy assault rifles without any problems.
But does it work the other way? Can Joker really walk out with hundreds of thousands of Yen that didn’t exist before in his pockets and just spend it? And why doesn’t anybody else in the Phantom Thieves get a share?
Seriously, how are you getting away with multiple girlfriends?
By the time August rolled around, I had four girlfriends: my teacher, the hot punk doctor down the road, a reporter with a drinking problem and my friend Ann. Since three of these are, you know, massively illegal, it’s no surprise that Joker can keep those relationships on the QT.
But come on. What if the girl who sits directly in front of you in class catches you with the girl who’s kinda-sorta your guardian’s daughter? What if the student council president catches you in flagrante with your homeroom teacher? What if, shock of shocks, one of them mentions you’re dating them to one of their very, very close friends and the whole thing goes up in flames?
Why is everyone such a dick to Ryuji?
Ryuji Sakamato is the latest in a long line of loudmouthed guys who make friends with the protagonist when he first arrives. And, in that same tradition, they’re always kinda jerks. Junpei from Persona 3 was an immature sleaze who loved annoying people and telling dumb stories. Yosuke from Persona 4 had a fun sexual harasser vibe about him, what with guilting his female friends into swimsuits and attempting to sneak into their rooms at night.
Comparatively, Ryuji is…not that bad. He’s pretty loudmouthed and very fond of exclaiming “what the eff” – it’s okay, Ryuji, your mom’s not around, you can say fuck – but generally he’s a good dude. Stupid, but he pulls his weight as much as any of the other Phantom Thieves. But somehow, just because he’s the dumb one, he becomes the punching bag for the whole team.
I don’t know what sets me ill at ease about this one. It feels like punching down, I guess, and Ryuji very, very rarely deserves it.
So are we just…ignoring that the cat wants to bang Ann?
From the moment he lays eyes on her, talking cat Morgana is helplessly in love with Ann. He calls her ‘Lady Ann’, expresses his desire to take her out on a date, says he’ll protect her and favours her above all else.
In response, Ann just kind of ignores it. It’s weird, right? No doubt Ann – a blond-haired, blue-eyed model amidst a sea of Japanese girls – gets hit on by sleazy dudes all the time. But every romantic overture from Morgana gets zero reaction. She doesn’t look his way, doesn’t respond, nothing.
Ann can be pretty oblivious, as her Confidant story reveals. That nobody else on the team reacts either suggests that they all communally decided to just ignore the weird, uncomfortable flirting this cat is trying on their friend.
How long was Sae’s interrogation, anyway?
“So on Monday, I got up and went to school. We learned about the silver ratio. I went over to the airsoft shop after class and shopped a little, then went to the bookstore on my way to see Ann. She was trying to get stronger mentally, so we went to the park to do some kind of weird training for that. I went home and changed once it got dark, then headed back into Shibuya. The beef bowl shop and the flower shop both had shifts for me, but I was thinking of seeing a movie. Turned out I’d already seen the one they were showing, so I figured I might as well work at the beef bowl shop. There’s this politician I talk to sometimes who likes to go there, but he wasn’t doing a speech that day. That shift was really busy, but I got all the orders right so the manager gave me a bonus. Weird that he doesn’t just hire more people.
Anyway, on Tuesday, I got up and went to school again. These students in front of me were talking about this nostalgia steak you can get at that diner. We texted in class a little…”
The story of Persona 5 occurs in the framework of Joker, caught by the authorities, telling his story to prosecutor Sae Niijima. Every so often she glances at her wrist and says she doesn’t have much time left. But goddamn, how long must she have if we can recount six whole months of adventures with enough detail to convince her?
Is Joker hugely malnourished?
This kid eats nothing but curry and fast food. My stomach churns just thinking of what happens when he goes to the toilet. Pray for Joker’s digestive tract.
Do you have any more burning questions? Let us know in the comments below!