The Let's Play Archive

Persona 5

by Arist

Part 107: 9/15-9/16: When The Cat’s Away

Part 103: 9/15-9/16: When The Cat’s Away

Music: Confession/Secret

We don’t even get Beneath the Mask this morning, because we’re supposed to be ~all sad Morgana’s gone~. Peh.

I heard my sister’s boyfriend’s friend got a calling card!
Why don’t you put a request in to the Phantom Thieves?

All he does is dump overtime on me while he dashes off right at five. I wish the Phantom Thieves would work their magic on him…
What would that be like? If they changed his heart?

Totally unrelated, but man, Stephen Root does not look 66 at all (and yes, I know he's only like 47 in this picture, shut up).

Well, they say you become the opposite of how you normally are.

It’s like they get hypnotized or something.

So I guess he’d become more open-minded, communicate better, and start taking initiative. He’d basically be as awesome as the president of Okumura Foods. ...Please, Phantom Thieves! Please, make this happen!

Music: Disquiet

If anything, getting into the real building is impossible…
Mona seriously went to a Palace based on somewhere like this…?
It’s definitely on a different scale than the ones we’ve dealt with previously…
I searched Okumura online. He’s totally up to something. (to Maaku) Don’t you think he’s guilty too?

I’m positive I’m right!
We’re here for Mona.
I know, I know. We gotta make sure we squeeze the juice on those mental shutdown things outta him too.
You said you found the Palace keywords, right, Futaba?

Wait, what? We’re skipping the usual “figure out the distortion” scene? I mean, it was generally pretty pointless, but it’s weird that we’re just offscreening these now.

...What!? How the fuck did you figure that out!? We’re not even going to like, examine why he sees his workplace as outer freaking space?

And after a single line of mild confusion, no one ever questions Okumura’s distortion again. Hell, hilariously, I’m not even sure we’ve heard the dude’s first name spoken aloud yet, and I’m pretty certain not a one of us knows what he looks like. Not that it wouldn’t be simple enough to find out, I’m just saying we’ve never met this dude, know pretty much nothing about him, but somehow when coming up with guesses for how his fucked-up brain sees the world we immediately jump to “outer space!” Sure, why not?

Ohhh, so that’s why it’s called Big Bang Burger. Big bang is space lingo, y’know.
Um, not necessarily…

I was wondering what the hell Makoto meant by this because almost all the Wikipedia disambiguation results for “Big Bang” are after (and thus most likely in reference to) the adoption of the Big Bang Theory (Bazinga). Then I noticed a weird one:

There’s no goddamn way this was intentional, but it’s still pretty great.

So the concept behind the store-branch name came from the CEO himself.
Outer space, hm? How exciting…
We better be able to breathe once we get in there.


Y’know, maybe doing this in a public-yet-sparsely-populated area where we’re fully visible from far away the day after the building gained news attention for being the target of vandalism was a bad idea. We probably could have gone somewhere a little more inconspicuous and just like, walked over.

But, uh… I guess Akechi’s here now! Oh boy!

Music: Sweatshop

Wait, oops, that’s not right.

Music: Sweatshop (Listen to this)

Eh, not Dutch enough.

President Okumura must be on guard, what with everything that’s been in the news.
That bastard! He’s just causin’ more trouble for us!

Wait, what? That’s… confusing.

It’s as though we’re in a film…

C’mon, we gotta get lookin’ for him.

Wait, we can see outside the front doors to a normal city, so we’re clearly in the lobby of the building. When did we get inside? Ann’s first line in the last cutscene would imply they teleported directly inside when they entered the Metaverse, which is… weird, because that’s never how it’s worked before. Also, if just being near the building is enough to suck us into the orbit (heh) of this Palace, where the hell did Akechi end up? Also, isn’t it like, really fucking weird that we can enter the Metaverse from Tokyo, walk over to this building, go inside, and see the entire Earth from within it? Or, to rephrase that question, what the hell?

It also probably goes without question that the building is almost certainly one of those “bigger on the inside” deals, because fuck, is this place massive. That I have less of a problem with than the weird, mind-bending sense of geometry required to justify being able to walk from the Earth into outer space. Unless the front door to the Palace is like, a wormhole or something. Yeah, okay, let’s go with that. It’s pretty space-y.

Also, since Morgana is obviously not here and thus has left my active party, I decide to sub in Yusuke for the sake of filling up the team. He will not see combat.

Yusuke’s big fat character portrait is completely obscuring Makoto in this image, for the record.

Let’s see here… Looks like a lever for the elevator to me. Aaand it should be working now!
For real? You’re amazin’, Oracle.
Mwehehe, that was nothing.
It’s certainly reassuring having you with us. Anyway, let’s try using the elevator.

First off, complimenting Futaba is how we got into this dumb Morgana mess in the first place, so maybe save it for now. Second, if Futaba had to jigger the elevator for it to operate, how could Morgana have possibly gotten any further than this? Shouldn’t we just assume he’s not here?

Oh yeah, I’m really feeling the space theme with this featureless grey hallway. Wait, that’s not fair. There’s like, a space tree or something. Not totally featureless.

They’re saying something…

Music: Suspicion

If you don’t like it, you can quit… However, you will not be compensated…
What’re they talkin’ about?

These robots are part of Okumura’s cognition, correct? That means they represent…

It’s really weird to me that for this dialogue option there’s no “serious” option. Both of them make you seem like a huge dumbass for not realizing what’s happening immediately. The reason it comes off so strangely is that Japan has a very real phenomenon of “occupational sudden mortality” or “overwork death,” also known as karōshi. Now, most of the time this is due to heart attack, but a lot of cases are just straight-up suicides, which is unfortunately not terribly surprising considering Japan’s high suicide rate. It’s also a widespread problem in South Korea and China, which probably won’t surprise you. From the Wikipedia page on the subject, one of the four “typical” cases of karōshi according to the International Labour Organization includes a nurse who died at the age of twenty-two after being forced to work thirty-four continuous hours… five times a month. It’s fucked up.

It’s also worth noting that due to government “encouragement” (read: they’re barely doing shit) for companies to limit the amount of hours an employee is “allowed” to work per week in response to some of these deaths, a lot of these hours are classified as unpaid (and often unrecorded) overtime, which companies have gone even further to limit by placing a monthly cap on overtime hours. However, due to incredibly stringent quotas and overbearing workloads, even employees who work at some of these companies can’t afford to take advantage of this and end up working at home or secretly staying at the office with the lights turned off, known as “cloaked overtime.” In 2007, Mitsubishi (a banking corporation, not the car manufacturer) instituted a policy allowing employees to go home up to three hours early to care for their families, and two years later only thirty-four out of seven thousand workers had taken advantage of this. And all this isn’t even getting into the societal expectation that salarymen go out drinking with their coworkers constantly. Yeah, that’s a real thing, anime didn’t make that up.

Also I thought it was a little weird that these overwork claims were being pointed at a food service company, as the immediate thought when they’re brought up is not “salarymen,” but sure enough, according to this Daily Beast article, one of the worst companies in the country, as selected by a group of journalist and labor activists for their prestigious “Most Evil Corporation of The Year Award” is Mister Donut (they didn’t actually win that award to my knowledge, but the article mentions them as a serious contender).

So, when I say, “maybe there should be a serious option here,” it’s in full acknowledgment of just how pervasive and toxic overwork is in Japanese society. But, uh, maybe the video game industry isn’t really in a position to be throwing stones there, so I guess I understand. All this makes for a rather morbid and serious last four paragraphs, though, so here’s an adorable dog dressed as a police officer!

Aww! Isn’t he cute? And he’s got plenty of free time to play with you after being put on paid administrative leave following that “officer-involved shooting” of a man with “no active warrants”! Looks like this Crime Dog is gonna take a bite out of… (checks notes) people.

What were we talking about?

Oh, right.

True, that’s what they appear to be externally. However, this is most likely how the workers of Okumura Foods are viewed by their CEO.
So he thinks they’re his robots!?
If they’re being treated like this in reality as well… then the company truly is exploiting them.
See!? Okumura IS a piece of shit! Just like I said.
Mona is our main objective here.
He doesn’t seem to be anywhere nearby. Let’s search further in.

Music: Sweatshop

Just up ahead, we come across a new room with some weird hologram in the center. We ignore it for now.

Instead, we head to the door on the far side.

The door has closed. Is there any way by which we can open it?

What does it mean by that?

This security system might be a bit of a problem…

Ryuji throws himself against the reinforced metal door that doesn’t even open outwards and is protected by a force field. He also kicks it for good measure. Brilliant plan.

The hell’s up with this!?

Well, for starters, you’re an idiot.

Music: Suspicion

Look at it… There’s no way we can force that thing open.

Oh, that means Mona hasn’t been able to proceed any further either. So if he’s here in the Palace, he would have to be somewhere before this door…

Okay, but what if he’s not in the Palace?

Music: Desire

...What? Oh! Hey, it’s Girl With Watering Can/Well-Behaved Girl! What’re you up to, buddy? Almost didn’t recognize you because you actually have a portrait this time! Guess you got bumped up to “recurring,” huh? Good for you!

Those clothes… Could she be…?
A black mask!? Wait, is she the one Madarame and Kaneshiro were talking about…!?
So… she’s the reason for all those people goin’ brain dead…!? It was a girl this whole time!?

Oh, I guess… we don’t realize who it is yet? For some reason? Even though it’s totally obvious even from the second you first meet Girl With Watering Can that this character is going to be Important? Actually, scratch that, ever since the fucking fireworks cutscene where we actually first saw her? The same fireworks cutscene that was immediately followed by an insinuation that Makoto knew who that girl was, which never pays off and is in fact actively contradicted by this segment of the game? Hello?

Like, come on Ryuji, you’ve met this girl twice now.

Are you the one who has been following us!?
Say something, dammit!

It says “Mysterious Voice” but I’m going to spoil the next five seconds for you: It’s fucking Morgana’s voice. Sorry.

You’re OK!
Long time no see, Panther.
Uh, it hasn’t been that long.
If you came for the Treasure, you should just go home with your tail between your legs.
Actually, we were looking for you.
The Treasure will be taken by me and this…

That’s… well… really dumb-sounding. Like, you might call her “Beautiful Thief” or the “Thief of Beauty,” but using “Beauty” like that as a proper adjective sounds incredibly fucking awkward, to the point I’m suspecting it’s yet another direct Japanese translation the localization team was forbidden from modifying.

Upon my search, it turns out “Beauty Thief”’s Japanese pseudonym was “Bishoujo Kaitou,” bishoujo meaning roughly “beautiful girl” and Kaitou being the Japanese word for “phantom thief.” So yeah, it’s pretty literal. I’m still not sure why they didn’t choose “Beautiful,” an actual adjective, but whatever.

Beauty Thief…?

Music: Wicked Plan

Oh hey, the goof-off music started. Guess the rest of this scene is gonna be one huge fucking joke.

I’ll have you know she’s a Persona-user too!

She really called herself that…?
Any tension that was in the air has just gone out the window…

You can say that again.

Mona already said that…

Do you even understand what it means to be a phantom thief? An admirable phantom thief is…
Yeah, tell them!

Yes, that’s right…?

This chick seems really good at this.

Enough with the idle chitchat!
You started it...
Mona, who the hell is she?
Wait! I’ll fix this...

Learn to take a hint!

So, I guess Morgana met up with this girl and not only told her about all of us, but has also been feeding her scripted insults to recite upon our meeting? That’s… real pathetic, bro.

I dunno… It kinda feels like she ain’t dangerous at all…

We will take the Treasure!
You already said that…
We don’t have time to chat!

No point, it won’t open--

Don’t underestimate us.

Music: Run, Run, Run!

Behind you!

Here they come!
Huh? Huh!?
Snap out of it! We need to go!
We’ll meet up later at our usual spot! Let’s hurry!

Music: Wicked Plan

Bet you’re tired…
That was quite rough… I haven’t felt exhaustion like this since I first awakened to my Persona.
What’ve you been looking at all this time…?
Sorry. I just didn’t wanna stand around and wait. The burglary at Okumura Foods is circulating the news again.

Uuugh! Dammit! Why’d they keep comin’ after only me!?

That door most likely had a biometric-authentication lock, so how’d she get it to open…?
I wonder who that girl could be.
We were told that she’s a Persona-user, correct? Do you believe it’s true?
Well, she did look like one…
Did Mona betray us…?

I don’t think he’s betrayed us. If he had, it’d make more sense for him to directly threaten us, such as exposing our identities.

Yeah, except for the fact that the only human beings who can understand him (not counting the one he somehow managed to shanghai into this) are all in this fucking room. Maybe if he meows at the police long enough they’ll listen to him.

Either way, how the hell’s Morgana related to that Beauty Thief?
Considering her tone and physique, she looked about our age.

This could be totally innocuous, but it’s Yusuke so I’m going to assume it’s creepy.

...I feel like I’ve seen her somewhere.

For real? Where at!?

“Oh, I dunno...”

“Did I really say that? It’s just so hard to remember.”

At school… I think.

But, now that you mention it… I feel like I’ve seen her too…
Is she a student of Shujin?
I just feel like that’s the case. She did have a mask on, after all. The registry in the student council room has photos of every student. Let’s check them all tomorrow. If we can figure out the identity of the Beauty Thief, that may help us regain contact with Morgana.
Futaba and I should further probe into Okumura Foods then. It’d be best if we investigate how sudden mental shutdowns are connected to them.

Sounds like a great idea, my man. I’m sure just poking your nose around will get you more information than the prosecutor we stole all that data from was able to uncover over a period of months.

We’re gonna take them down…!

Music: Beneath the Mask

People are going on and on bashing Okumura Foods.
Apparently they’ve been secretly using low-quality ingredients brought in from overseas…
Furthermore, any employees who were suspicious of Okumura were let go without reason. That coupled with the mysterious death of a rival company’s CEO…
What’s this all of a sudden?
Things are going up in flames. I don’t really get what kicked it off though.

They’re acting like spectators or something.
It wasn’t like this just a few days ago though...
Could there perhaps have been a whistle-blower from within?
C’mon, we’ve got even more reason to take Okumura down now!
Can we really accept all of this information as truth though?
Either way, we need to do something about Morgana.
Yup. Anyways, seeya all tomorrow!

“Witnesses report seeing a small black cat somehow manipulating a slingshot to shoot rocks into the glass.”

Police suspect that this is the work of a single criminal and are currently investigating. Okumura Foods released a statement, saying they have “no clue” who the vandal might be.
It sounds like the police are investigating Okumura Foods.

They’re getting sued. Apparently they’re pretty shady.
You mean how they screwed their employees for the sake of profit?
If he’s that corrupt, then he deserves to be targeted.
This is where the Phantom Thieves should come in!

Anon: Make him beg!
Anon: corrupt companies suck ass!
Anon: they better not ignore this
Anon: im getting so hype rn

Oh, hey, the messages updated again. Looks like people are getting pretty impatient with us...

Music: Confession/Secret

Whoa, the CEO of Big Bang Burger? Why?
Apparently they’re really shitty to their employees. They never pay overtime, yet work people hard enough that one actually died… I also heard that a pissed-off former employee is the one who trashed their corporate entrance. There’s a lot of terrible rumors about them, including that they strong-arm their competitors…
Yikes. I just ate there yesterday… I never really thought about how they make so much food for so cheap. I hope nothing weird’s mixed in...

Music: So Boring

No. Next question.

I bet Morgana made her say it…
Uh, it’s still a weird thing to say, even if he told her to. Plus they lied about her being able to use a Persona too…
We don’t know if that is indeed a lie though.

Yeah, that’s gotta be it. Though that actually worries me more...
We can’t take her lightly. She has Morgana on her side, remember?
I agree with Futaba. At the very least, they’re one step ahead of us.
True. An amateur would not have been able to open that gate.
They’ve clearly figure out something we don’t know. We’ll need to uncover the identity of that masked girl...

Music: Wicked Plan

Man, this girl’s hot! Aww, but she’s younger than me.

Get back to work.

They’re all starting to look the same to me…
Think we can really find her?

You can say that again.

Wait, what the fuck? Okumura had a daughter the whole time and nobody even checked!? We’re the worst Phantom Thieves ever!

You’d also think a prominent CEO’s daughter would draw at least a little attention, but what the hell do I know?

Wasn’t the Beauty Thief like this too? Especially the fluffy hair.
That’s gotta be her!

But why was she at the Palace?
We could just make her spill the beans herself.
She may have already gone home for the day, so let’s try tomorrow. I’m going to lock up. I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Well ain’t that a fine coinkydink.

Music: Break it Down (Elp Version)

Girl, what’s up with your forehead?

If you could help me unload this...

You’re a second-year, aren’t you? That makes me just a tad older. Um… Have we met somewhere before…? Oh, I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m--

The only daughter of Kunikazu Okumura, CEO of Okumura Foods. Care to explain why you were inside your father’s Palace?

Wow, you’re remarkably chill about this.

You looked really good in that biker gang outfit!

Makoto looks around for eavesdroppers before continuing.

So why did you become a phantom thief?

Music: Suspicion

Things have grown quite serious lately… That’s why I want to make amends, even though it may only be for my own satisfaction. But I wonder if this is just running from the problem...
Where did you meet Morgana?
It was pure coincidence. I found a lonely-looking cat in front of our office building.
And that was Morgana?
Mm-hm. And when I followed him, I ended up in the Metaverse…

So let me get this straight: After leaving the group in a huff, Morgana walked all the way to the Okumura Foods corporate headquarters in Roppongi. Not only did he somehow know exactly where this building was, he managed to get on and off the subway multiple times to get there. Then, by sheer magical fucking coincidence, he happens to run into Haru, Okumura’s daughter and the only person who can get past the door in his Palace, who decides to follow him for pretty much no reason. Then, he enters the Palace, pulling Haru in with him, despite the fact that however the hell he manages to switch between the real world and the Metaverse without using the app, it has never been established that he can bring other people with him.

Sure, sounds plausible.

There’s no way for me to change my father’s company… But if I became a phantom thief, I thought I’d at least be able to change him...
...Isn’t there any way we can work together?

Haru shakes her head.

What you’re doing is unnecessarily causing a stir among the public. Besides, the Phantom Thieves, who should be helping the weak, are not helping their own teammate.

In our defense, he’s kind of an asshole.

Maaku and Makoto share a glance. Also, where the hell are Ann and Ryuji? If they already left then they probably would have also seen Haru before I did, and if they’re still inside they’re taking forever.

And help Mona-chan, who gave me a chance to do just that.
But aren’t our objectives the same? It’d be better if we work--

Maaku and Makoto look at each other… again. This game has a lot of really weirdly directed scenes.

It seems getting her cooperation won’t be possible. Let’s consult with the others on our next move. We shouldn’t ignore Morgana either.

Music: Disquiet

Gah! Sweet merciful Shylock! That fucking nose, dude! Should I… should I be showing this? Is this a hate crime? Man, this is unfortunate!

Okay, yeah, I know this isn’t actually a Jewish thing, there’s no possible way it was intentional. But come on Soejima, this is just over-the-top. He looks like Robert De Niro in Raging Bull dressed up as Vincent Vega. He looks like Bucky Barnes, the suspicious new guardian of the Baudelaire orphans. Fuck it, he looks like Steve Carell in Foxcatcher trying to impersonate me, awful hair included.

Also I looked up this dude’s VA because I didn’t recognize it and he’s done some notable stuff, like Kittan from Gurren Lagann, but most importantly, he’s motherfucking Spandam from One Piece.

You know, that dude whose entire character design was Mankind but a total wimp and with the serial numbers filed off? This isn’t important or relevant in any way, it’s just all I can fucking hear now! This has been this update's installment of useless voice actor trivia only I care about!

...That’s right. Make it a priority.

Phantom Thieves? Hmph…!

No, not at all… Um, what’s this about Phantom Thieves?

It’s jealousy of the successful. Nothing but the barks of the masses who lack the resolve to sacrifice what’s needed for their well-being. Both the young and the old are overjoyed with some foolish idols. This country has no future.

Okay, wow, this is certainly some dialogue.

Hashino-san, please let me go home, I need to see my family.
Not until you finish writing the rest of Okumura’s lines.
Oh god, this character is such a flat boring caricature, what the hell am I gonna do? Well, maybe if I half-ass it he’ll just fire me. *bangs out the rest in two minutes* I’m done, sir. It’s not terribly subtle, but--
I love it! You’re promoted!
Hot dog!

Are you still having doubts about me?
More importantly, I hope things are going well with that young man.

He may not seem like it, but he’s still the son of an influential politician. Be cordial with him. He’ll eventually become a necessary connection for this company—or rather, for me.
I understand… I will do the best I can.
Good. That’s how a daughter of Okumura should be.

Remember how one scene ago I said this game’s cutscenes were weirdly directed? Well, in this scene Okumura sits down, crosses and uncrosses his legs multiple times, and then stands back up. It doesn’t really convey anything at all and kind of just seems like they thought the scene was too “static” so they had him move around pointlessly.

Alternatively, it’s actually a really accurate and understated portrayal of ADHD, and I’m going to say it was absolutely intentional. Thank you, Katsura Hashino, for being such an understanding and empathetic artist.

You’re welcome. Also, the gays are hilarious.

Anon: we all agree on Okumura
Anon: This should be easy~
Anon: Take down Okumura first!
Anon: Annihilate all corruption!
Anon: If they don’t, who will?

Why are the Phantom Thieves letting him go free?
What’s the point of that poll!? Hurry up and take him out already!
I’m disappointed. What kind of heroes are they?
Just hurry up and send a calling card already.

Music: Beneath the Mask

They were thanking us for resolving requests that we didn’t actually complete.
It’s prolly just a prank.
But those requests are indeed resolved. Someone must be going into Mementos other than us.
I think it’s Morgana.
Agreed. He’s probably taking the Beauty Thief with him too.
We should look into this. I was thinking of persuading Okumura-san at school, but she’s been avoiding me.

Wait, how is that possible? We confronted her today, and then we went home. How could she avoid you at school if she only met you at the end of the current school day? What the hell?

I’m not sure how I feel about you saying that. I mean, we’re the Phantom Thieves…
The method is indeed a classic one, but it is a safe bet.
Yeah, I think it’s better than just looking for them randomly.
I’m gonna have all sorts of snacks! No teachers to stop me on this field trip!
Welp, why don’t we get this over with?
Let’s do it tomorrow.

Former Okumura Foods employees have begun raising their voices in protest. Their complaints include unpaid overtime and health problems caused by overwork. Some protestors started to get violent outside their headquarters in a fierce dispute with police. It’s highly suspected that this protest is related to the window vandalism incident a few days ago.
It sounds like a lot of people are protesting Okumura Foods.

Wait, so did Morgana not vandalize the windows? But the vandalism was the entire reason we went to Okumura’s Palace! He was just there by coincidence? That’s bad writing!

Wait, shit, I think there’s a plot hole here… Hmm… Fuck it, I’ll just do some more coke.