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Saturday, 30 May 2015

Editorial: Top 5 Personas.

Editorial: The Top 5 Personas.
(From the Persona series, not just in general or anything.)

The Personas - quasi-demonic monsters summoned by the protagonists as reflections of their true selves - all have pretty cool designs, combining bio-mechanical elements with religious or literary imagery and a touch of street fashion for a unique aesthetic.

So, it's only natural that we'd count down the five best, right? Right.

5. Arsene, Persona 5.

We don't know much about Arsene - just its name, a reference to gentleman thief Arsene Lupin from the books by Maurice Leblanc, its appearance, and that it belongs to a teenage phantom thief. That's enough to score it a spot on this list, though, as everything about it is unabashedly awesome in a very sinister way.

Look at that grin. Look at that hat and waistcoat. Like another Persona on this list, it looks like it's on its way to a charming garden party where it intends to viciously murder all of the attendees. 

Not to mention that it sets up Persona 5 for a 'literary criminals' naming theme, and that's just a lot more fun to play around with than mythology.

4. Thanatos, Persona 3.

Thanatos, based off the psychopomp (and location) of the same name from Greek mythology, is one of the most iconic Personas in the series, and it's not difficult to see why, given that he appears to be a humanoid dinosaur demon in a big coat, wielding a sword, surrounded by coffins with vaguely Christian-sculpture-esque effigies on them.

Thanatos makes his dramatic entrance early on in the game by tearing open the protagonist's main Persona, Orpheus, and emerging to rip apart a boss monster. It's certainly a striking entrance, and even had he never showed up again, would probably cement things as a fan favourite - as it is, he continues to play a crucial role in the plot, and later shows up again as Velvet Room resident and possible demigod Elizabeth's Persona of choice when beating down eldritch abominations. On the Moon.


3. Amaterasu, Persona 4.

Amaterasu, the evolved form of innkeeper-come-fire-mage Yukiko's Persona Konohana-Sakuya, has an inspired design. Based on the Shinto sun goddess, she's a woman made out of sunlight, with metal wings linked together and attached to her arms (which are holding swords for extra cool factor) by big metal sun emblems.

You can't tell me that's not awesome.

As a heavy-hitting fire user and a powerful healer, Amaterasu is also one of the most useful Personas that your party will get, and her and Yukiko will likely always be in your battle party, since their versatility means that they can be adapted to almost any situation.

2. Tsukiyomi (sic), Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.

The Persona of the evil alternate personality of the also evil Sho Minazuki, an Inaba High School student who somehow managed to go entirely unnoticed in Persona 4 despite having bright red hair, a massive scar, and barely concealed murderous intent, Tsukiyomi's absurd and convoluted backstory in no way takes away from how much he deserves to be on this list.

Admittedly, he's mostly on this list for his design, which resembles Persona 4 protagonist's Izanagi if you filtered it through 'being a wizard' and then 'being a jester', and added in a big moon buried in his head and some cool black flames of dubious purpose. Based on the Japanese god of the moon and death, Tsukiyomi's moveset fittingly revolves around draining his opponent's health and also just plain wrecking stuff.

Incidentally, Sho's evil alternate self has apparently had this Persona since long before Persona 4, so thanks for helping out with that whole serial killer thing, Sho. Outstanding.

1. Magatsu-Izanagi, Persona 4. 

It's like Izanagi, the protagonist's coat-and-cravat wearing initial Persona, but more ... more magatsu, which surprisingly does not simply mean 'red', because it is definitely more that. Magatsu instead means 'calamity', with the Persona in question meant to be based on Izanagi just after fleeing the underworld, when he's still covered in its filth (or, as interpreted by Atlus, blood). 

The Persona of the mysterious Inaba killer, Magatsu-Izanagi holds the dubious honour of being the only villainous Persona you encounter in the game, and makes the most of it by being resistant to a spread of elements and physical attacks.

Like, I think, most people, I'm kind of a sucker for evil counterparts to heroic characters, weapons, or monsters, so Magatsu-Izanagi is right up my street - not to mention that he just looks cool, like he's ready to walk into a charming dinner party and murder everyone there. 

Also, he uses lightning attacks, and we all know that electricity is the coolest element.

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