Part 32: Bonus: Innocent Sin
Bonus: Innocent Sin
As you know, America received Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Thus, we're playing it now. Isn't that convenient? However, it didn't sell all that well if I recall correctly, so we never got the first half of the story, which is called Innocent Sin.
Innocent Sin revolved around a different five-person party than the one we use here...
Tatsuya, who we know and love. He was a quiet motorcycle punk greaser kind of kid on the Other Side, and also a silent protagonist. His Persona was Hephastus, or Vulcan, as mentioned in the previous update, and eventually he'd obtain Apollo as his ultimate Persona.
As a silent protagonist, it's difficult to say much about Tatsuya. His history reveals a lot; when he had trouble with hooligan kids at school, he inadvertently used his Persona to torch the living shit out of them. This in turn caused him to become shy and withdrawn - he didn't actually want to hurt anybody - which explains a lot of the silence. His best friend is Jun, and Jun is one seriously fucked up kid. We'll go into that later on, just trust me on this.
Tatsuya's father, if you'll recall, was disgraced and kicked off the police force. This becomes important later on.
Lisa, or Ginko; she's a ditzy blonde with a huge crush on Tatsuya. She's also got some hardcore jealousy issues toward Maya and anyone else who she thinks will try to steal him away. Her Persona is Eros of the Lovers Arcanum, "He who lights the fire of love"; Eros uses Earth attacks and healing magic, along with a variety of status effect spells. Later on she obtains Venus as her ultimate Persona. She fights using gloves, much like Ulala in our game. She also has an odd habit of giving Chinese lessons if you talk to her in shops.
Lisa's crush on Tatsuya basically scares the shit out of him, as he's a bit on the shy side (and is potentially gay for Jun, depending on your view of the situation). Very late in the game she figures this out and chills out a little.
Lisa's father is Caucasian. He's obsessed with Japan, and he does his best to try to raise Lisa to be some kind of ideal Japanese woman. She goes the exact opposite way by fistfighting and being a tiny bit of a ho.
Eikichi is basically just like we know him in our game - he's fucking awesome. Just look at him. He's got blue fucking hair. His Persona is Rhadamanthus of the Death Arcanum, "The Magistrate of the Underworld"; Rhadamanthus uses Water and Dark spells. Later on he obtains Hades as his ultimate Persona. He fights using a machine gun hidden in a guitar case, which is just about the coolest thing ever.
Eikichi is fucked up. Basically everyone in this game is fucked up. When the group were kids, he was the fat, clumsy one who couldn't do anything right, and as a result he had to go through a lot of shit in school. When he got pantsed in front of his crush Miyabi, then was told that Miyabi didn't like fat boys, he basically went nuts and became the skinny punk rock kid we see in Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment.
Eikichi's father is the owner of the Gaiten sushi joint, and he's got Eikichi convinced that he'll kick his ass in a heartbeat if he ever finds Eikichi misbeheaving, so punk boy tries to hide his antics from his dad.
Maya spoke in Innocent Sin! She acted as the character's "big sister" in a sense, as Radish mentioned. Her Personae were Maia and Artemis, and she fought with dual handguns, much like she does here.
Maya's father died when she was young; that good-luck accessory she carries with her is a memento that she'd made for him. Maya is the only adult of the original party; this is significant because she is also the only character in either game that doesn't have an obvious crippling character flaw. Sure, she's a little ditzy; sure, she's kind of bitter about her dad dying; however, she's not nearly as fucked up as the rest of the team. Everyone's got baggage, y'know? This makes it all the more tragic when she's turned into a human sacrifice, as we see in the Mt. Iwato scene.
Yuki returned from the first Persona and was playable in Innocent Sin. Her Persona was Vesta of the Empress Arcanum, which healed and used fire magic. Her ultimate persona was Durga, though if I recall correctly Durga was usable by Jun as well, and her personality was similar to what we see in Eternal Punishment. Yuki used throwing weapons in combat.
Yuki's dad walked out on his family. She has a complex as a result. She also acts much more masculine than the other characters, even Lisa, and it took her much of her life to come to grips with this. She has a thing for her boss, Fuiji.
Jun was playable in Innocent Sin, and replaced Yuki in the final party. He was very effeminate, and had a bit of a thing for Tatsuya; this probably wouldn't have gone over too well Stateside. His Persona was Hermes of the Fortune Arcanum; since Jun joined pretty late in the game, Hermes was quite a bit more powerful than the other "starter" Personae. Later on, Jun obtained Cronus for his ultimate persona. He fought by...er...flinging flowers at people.
Jun's dad is the most important of them all in terms of the plot. Jun's mother hates his father, and spreads rumors about his being a complete loser. These come true. Jun ends up hating his dad as well, and makes up lies about him not actually being his father. Eventually, his dad commits suicide by jumping into the gears of the Seven Sisters High Clock Tower, and is replaced by the dark god called Nyarlathotep, who takes his form and becomes the "cool" dad Jun always wishes he had. The myriad problems with this are probably evident.
Jun's mom basically started ignoring him after this. He was basically a pretty boy who was constantly picked on but had incredible demonic powers thanks to his Persona; it's not really any wonder that he got sent to Kasugayama High, which was a school for delinquents.
Jun, as mentioned, is very, very gay. He's very into Tatsuya, and this is made very clear very often. He's also got complexes out the wazoo thanks both to his incredibly shitty childhood and the fact that a fucking Elder God was pretending to be his dad.
Incidentally, Ulala was a minor character in the game but was not playable, and Baofu acted as a rumormonger whom you only spoke with online. Nearly all of the characters we've seen in our playthrough of Eternal Punishment were also in Innocent Sin, actually, typically with minor differences.
As Radish said, the most relevant part of the plot in terms of what's happening now are the events that occured ten years before Innocent Sin. Jun, Lisa, Eikichi and Tatsuya were all childhood friends, playing a game where they wore masks and acted like superheroes (thus, they never saw each others' faces, which is SYMBOLISM.) called "The Masquerade". They met Maya, who was older than them, and acted as a sort of "big sister" figure. Everything is hunky-dory for awhile, despite everybody having a rather shitty home life which we'll go into later as it factors into the plot. Eventually Maya reveals that she's moving. The kids will not stand for this, so they lock her (and Tatsuya, who thought this was a pretty shitty idea after all) in the shrine that Eternal Punishment opens at.
Tatsuya Sudou, a crazy arsonist, sets the shrine on fire. Tatsuya manages to get out and tries to take on Sudou, but fails and gets stabbed. This awakens Vulcanus, who torches off half of Sudou's face - notice that the same thing occurs at the Sky Museum. Maia also allows Maya to escape; however, none of the other kids realize this, and they all suppress the memory of Maya's apparent demise. They're just kids after all, this sort of thing is pretty traumatic. They took the Masquerade masks and hid them in Mt. Iwato, then went their separate ways.
This event could arguably be considered the "Innocent Sin" the title refers to. If the kids had just left well enough alone, Maya would have moved without a hitch, no memories would have been repressed, Sudou would...well, he'd still be insane, and (again, arguably) the world would not have been destroyed nor "This Side" created. Notice how Katsuya refers to adults taking responsibility for the actions of children in Mt. Iwato? This basically sums everything up. Tatsuya and friends fucked up ten years ago, and they continue fucking up to the point where it results in the end of the world.
Anyway, more kid stuff. You know that lighter Tatsuya recieved way back when? That belongs to Jun's father. Notice that watch in the Mt. Iwato scene with Jun collapsed? That belongs to Tatsuya's father. They gave these things to each other as mementos of friendship when they were young.
Now on to the events of the game. Tatsuya and company - Eikichi, Lisa, Maya, and Yuki - battle an evil force that also calls itself the Masquerade, led by the Joker. The Masquerade seeks to collect "Ideal Energy" - literally the energy of people's ideals, hopes and dreams. Once they've collected enough of this energy, they're going to use it to raise a massive spaceship called Xibalba which exists under Sumaru City. This is an incredibly stupid plan. However, rumors become real in Sumaru City, remember?
The rumor goes around, then, that if you call your own cell phone number, you'll end up on a direct line with the Joker, who will grant your greatest wish. Everybody's totally into this, and it plays right into the Masquerade's hands, as they suck the ideal energy right out of anybody who tries it, then store it in a crystal skull. When somebody's ideal energy is taken away, they become a Shadow, basically their own "dark side", so this is basically bad times all around.
Long story short, Tatsuya and friends fight battle the Masquerade and their leaders, who are named after Zodiac signs, until...er...the fucking Nazis show up and steal all those crystal skulls. I shit you not. This causes the Joker to turn his attention to Tatsuya's party, and after a battle, it's revealed that the Joker is actually Jun himself. Jun, as it turns out, had been so fucked up by the loss of his father and Nyarlathotep's influence that he thought the kids actually DID kill Maya back at the shrine ten years ago.
Everybody is reuinted, but in case you'd forgotten, the Nazis still have those crystal skulls, and they're just as able as anybody to raise Xibalba. They do so, and the party boards. Xibalba is a horrible place where you confront your own nightmares, and one by one the party encounters and fights through their own personal issues. This opens their way to an eventual confrontation with Hitler. Yes, Hitler. The party battles and defeats Hitler, and it's revealed that it's not Hitler at all, but Nyarlathotep himself.
Nyarlathotep is not a very nice supernatural entity, and to stop the party's attempt to save the world, he becomes the most final boss in any RPG ever - the Great Father. You know all those dad complexes the characters have? Well, Nyarlathotep decides to bring them to life.
That's all the main characters' fathers attatched to a tentacle monster in what's just about the most concentrated ball of symbolic mindfuckery ever. The party fights and somehow defeats the Great Father - personally I'd basically be shitting my pants and curling up in the fetal position - and then the scene we see in Mt. Iwato occurs. Maya Okimura, who was one of the leaders of the Masquerade, appears and stabs Maya Amano with the Spear of Destiny, killing her. Maya had been the one thing that kept the friends together through thick and thin. It shatters them.
They are, however, given one chance to fix all the mistakes they had made - if they choose to never meet and play Masquerade with each other ten years ago, a new world could be created, one where Maya and basically everybody else on the planet wasn't dead. Everybody decides to go for this...
...except Tatsuya. So begins Eternal Punishment - arguably Tatsuya's punishment for the sin of choosing not to forget, or the kids' punishment for the sin of locking Maya in the shrine, or the world's punishment for any number of symbolic sins.