It’s been a while, eh?
<flips back calendar pages>
I haven’t revisited Persona 3 Portable here since…March?! Well then, it looks like we have some catching up to do.
<stares blankly at screen>
Hmm, off to a good start, I’d say.
Alright, all joking aside, so much has happened in the game since my last update that I can’t recap its narrative in a meaningful way. Jin and his friends made it through another semester at school, which included a class trip (complete with boys being boys and girls being mad at them for being boys) and an eventful holiday break. And now, in 2010 (in the game) they’re facing…the…end of the world? Yes, in a word, things have gotten quite dramatic. Let me see if I can’t run down some of the more eye-popping highlights. Also, definite spoilers ahead, should you care.
When we last left the SEES (Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad) team of Jin (my character), Junpei, Akihiko, Mitsuru, Yukari, and Fuuka, it had grown to include Aigis, an android built specifically to eliminate Shadows; Koromaru, the best Shadow-fighting dog if ever there was; and Ken, a grade-schooler with spectacular skills. Heading the team is Shuji, older, wiser, and very knowledgeable. Their mission: defeat twelve major Shadows in order to make the Tartarus and the elusively evil Dark Hour disappear, thereby saving humanity.
The primary force against SEES is a group called Strega, made up of three members: Takaya, Jin (really wish I had known that before naming my character, but oh well), and Chidori. Strega’s mission is simply to stop SEES from eliminating the Dark Hour. Complicating matters there is Junpei’s heart, as he’s developed feelings for Chidori.
After a lot of personal back and forth, a shady-looking dude named Shinjiro joins SEES. The group had encountered him previously, and it’s made known that he’s actually Akihiko’s foster brother, as well as a Persona-user. Unfortunately, it turns out that Shinjiro’s days are numbered. He’s only with the group for a short time before he’s shot and killed during an unusual confrontation between himself, Ken, and Takaya of Strega. The incident is quite shocking, both for the team and me! (No really, Shinjiro’s death was unexpected and sad.) Akihiko takes it the hardest and resigns from the team for a while.
The shocks don’t end there. After defeating the twelfth major Shadow, the team is left wondering why the Dark Hour hasn’t disappeared. In line with the trope of “it’s always the one you least suspect,” SEES advisor Shuji turns out to be a big double-crosser, because that’s exactly what he wanted all along. He wanted SEES to defeat the major Shadows, because by doing so, the team unleashed all the pieces and parts of a world-destroying entity called Nyx.
SEES ends up battling Strega…was it twice…? (Sorry, bad memory.) At one point they do take on the team, as well as Takaya and Shuji. The defeat Shuji for good, but Takaya (and the other Jin?) manages to escape. He becomes the leader of a cult of “salvation” that many people in the real world start to follow. Meanwhile, Chidori somehow gets caught in a struggle between her loyalties to Strega and Junpei. At one point she slits her wrists and ends up in the hospital. Junpei visits her without fail, but their relationship is not to be. Her overwhelming devotion to Strega provokes a battle with them in which she dies while trying to save Junpei. Junpei’s reaction is perfectly heartbreaking, but it results in the uniting of his Persona with hers.
Another unfortunate casualty in the Strega mess is Mitsuru’s father, the leader of the Kirijo group. His death comes by Shuji’s hand, one of his last terrible acts. Mitsuru is perfectly grief-stricken, and she leaves the group for a while to recover.
Meanwhile what of this whole thing with Nyx? Well, during the fall semester, a new kid named Ryoji mysteriously arrives at school. He’s befriended by Junpei and becomes accepted in the SEES’s dorm. Aigis is immediately suspicious of him, though. Long story short, Ryoji isn’t human at all. He’s the herald of Nyx, a harbinger of death. No matter what, Nyx is coming, but at the beginning of December, he offers Jin, et al, a choice. Kill him on December 31st to erase any memories of the Dark Hour and all that has transpired, thereby allowing everyone to live normal, happy lives until the inevitable cataclysm. Or, don’t kill him and face off directly with Nyx, an absolutely unbeatable enemy.
The end…for now…or is it?
There’s so much I’ve left out here – like the evolution of Jin’s own story – as well as most of the non-Tartarus action, like the field trip to Kyoto, Christmas break and New Year’s, and the building of my various social ranks (I’ve gotten so many now!). At the end of my last update, I had a sense that there remained many Arcanas that I had yet to establish, but I had no idea how many more. My list now looks long, but there are still a few numbers missing, and I’ve no idea how to obtain then, or even if I can this late in the game. I’m already sensing that a replay will be in order…
Before putting this update to rest, I’ll point out a few final tidbits. In the game, I’m only days away from the final showdown with Nyx, and as such, I’ve become a little obsessed a couple things, like capturing Personas that I missed, filling out my Persona register (which stands at 61% complete), and collecting rare items. So though I’m up to floor 250 in Tartarus (it never ends?!), I’ve been revisiting previous floors as much as possible. I’ve also been trying to level up my team as evenly as I can. I’ve no clue at what level everyone should be for Nyx…my sense that 70-75 seems like a nice target. We’ll see how things go in the end.
And since I’m in January 2010 in the game, you might be wondering about that “big decision” that had to be made on December 31, 2009, kill or don’t kill Ryoji? Yeah, that was…interesting. Though the obvious choice was to not kill Ryoji, I actually first chose the former option. With Ryoji gone, time flashed forward to the end of the school year, with graduating senior Mitsuru giving an inspirational valedictorian speech to her class. Everything seemed so…normal, what with Junpei and Yukari looking forward to their own final year in school. No mention of the Dark Hour or the end of the world, because no one had any idea of what was coming. Everyone was once again content and happy, just like Ryoji said. Roll credits.
How nice, I thought. But once the credits were through, I quickly loaded up a pre-December 31st save, because I knew that wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Onward I go, so let the countdown to Nyx continue!
Persona 3 Portable stats
Character: Jin Arai
Play time: 97 hours
Date (in game): January 20, 2010
Social ranks attained (listed by Arcana):
(0) Fool – Rank Max
(1) Magician – Rank MAX
(4) Emperor – Rank MAX
(6) Lovers – Rank 2
(7) Chariot – Rank MAX
(8) Justice – Rank 9
(9) Hermit – Rank MAX
(10) Fortune – Rank MAX
(11) Strength – Rank MAX
(12) Hanged – Rank 6
(13) Death – Rank MAX
(15) Devil – Rank 2
(16) Tower – Rank 1
(17) Star – Rank 3
(18) Moon – Rank 7
(20) Judgement – Rank 8
(20) Aeon – Rank 3
Current Personas held:
Kusi Mitama (Fortune) – Level 34
Hariti (Empress) – Level 62
Mother Harlot (Empress) – Level 74
Incubus (Devil) – Level 35
Bishamonten (Tower) – Level 61
Setanta (Star) – Level 30
Seiryuu (Temperance) – Level 36
Vetala (Devil) – Level 25
All images taken by cary, Persona 3 Portable © Atlus, Sony (2009-2011)