At this point, it’s pretty safe to say that Persona 5 has been a runaway success for Atlas studios. After first released in 2016 it now sits at 93 on Metacritic and has won a medley of awards.
It has also spawned several spin-offs: Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight, Persona 5 Royal, an anime, and a Manga.
This level of success for an RPG is not unheard of in Japan but it is more unusual for a JRPG to have such global appeal.
So why? What makes Persona 5 so globally appealing?
It’s probably not the gameplay. I’m a huge fan of old-style turn-based combat in RPG games. I’ve played every old Final Fantasy game several times over.
But I’m in the minority. Western gamers tend to be more action-orientated. Now more than ever. Just look at what they did to the FF7 remake and FF15’s combat.
So what is the appeal?
It’s the characters!
Persona 5 introduces a whole host of awesome characters, and a huge part of the game is building up your relationships with them.
You choose who you spend time with and prioritizing one friendship over another has consequences. Hell spending too much time just socializing has consequences.
This can all get very stressful. So I’ve written this article to help you choose who to spend your time with. Persona 5 is a long game, and we want you to enjoy it.
Who are the main Persona 5 Characters?
Joker is the protagonist of Persona 5. The player can choose a name for him but in other media, you may see him referred to as either Ren or Akira. Check out our FAQ section at the end to solve that little mystery.
Joker is sent to Shujin Academy after an unfortunate run-in with a local politician, protagonist, and all-around A-hole Masayoshi Shido. Whilst avoiding spoiler territory, Joker is accused of a crime he didn’t commit.
As is common with many RPG’s Joker is a bit of a blank slate. Your decisions throughout the game help shape the kind of person he is.
However, compared to other protagonists in the series Joker’s personality is a little more clearly defined. Many of the dialogue options can be described as mischievous or cheeky. For example, you can tease both your enemies and friends.
Joker also has a flamboyant edge. This can be seen early on through his outfit in Mementos or when he jumps out of the window in the casino, seemingly just to show off.
Joker’s special ability is the fact he holds the “Wild Card”. This allows him to use more than one Persona and even allows him to combine Persona into new powerful forms.
All characters have a stock Persona and Joker’s is Arsene. Arsene belongs to the Fool Arcana. We can contribute Joker’s mischievous personality to this.
In combat, Joker sticks to a variety of knives and guns.
You’ll be spending a lot of time with Joker so you can see some ideal builds for him here.
“Even if you feel that only darkness lies ahead… As long as you hold hands together… See it through as one… …the world will never end! The world exists within all of you…!”
Persona games always feature some kind of anthropomorphic mascot character who is key to the storyline.
Persona 5 is no different and features Morgana. In the real world Morgana appears to be a normal cat, but in the metaverse takes the form of an anthropized cat creature.
Morgana isn’t just a cute distraction, however. Morgana is one of the most useful members of the phantom thieves.
Firstly, he acts as a guide to the metaverse for the phantom thieves. Despite the fact, he claims to be a human transformed into a cat, he is incredibly knowledgeable on the workings of the metaverse.
He often acts as the brains of the operation and works as an exposition dump for the player.
Secondly and bizarrely, he can transform into a car. This makes him vitally important when traversing Mementos.
Thirdly, he can be used as an active party member. This is a first for mascot characters in the Persona series.
Morgana representing! You acquire Morgana early in the story and he’s a strong starting character. His healing magic is a lifesaver, and his luck-based abilities can get you out of some sticky situations.
However, later Morgana may well drop out of your rotation as you acquire characters who pack more of a punch.
Morgana represents the magician’s confidant. This is an easy one to level up as it’s furthered automatically as you progress through the story.
3. Ryuji Sakamoto
“Wherever you decide to be, that’s where you belong.“
Ryuji is one of my favorite Persona 5 characters.
He essentially takes the place of Joker’s best friend and right-hand man. He is the first person to join your party and stayed there through my entire run.
Ryuji is initially a little difficult to like. He can appear impatient and short-tempered. However, as you get to know him this rough exterior is shown to protect a heart of gold.
Again, we want to avoid spoilers but Ryuji had a tough upbringing and is a former track star who has fallen from grace.
In combat, Ryuji kicks ass. He’ll be your primary physical damage dealer and I kept him in the party for my whole playthrough. Besides his damage output, Ryujı can buff the physical prowess of other characters in the party through abilities like Tarukaja.
If you’re going to rely on Ryuji in battle you’re going to need to work on his social link.
Ryuji is the Chariot Confidant (because he used to run and Chariots are fast I guess?). This is both progressed through the story but is supplemented by regularly visiting him on floor 2F during the school week.
If there’s no school you can catch him at Shibuya Arcade. Just be prepared to eat A LOT of noodles.
Improving the Chariot confidant unlocks more combat abilities for Ryuji so it should probably be a priority.
4. Ann Takamaki
“Strength is more than just not getting fazed… It’s the power to fight through adversity.“
Persona games are full of hot girls and at first glance that appears to be Anna’s whole schtick. She’s a model, she’s hot.
A model and foreign exchange student Anna should be popular. But schools are mean places, teenagers suck and Anna is subjected to some pretty brutal gossip. Throw in a personal tragedy and this all leads to Ann joining the Phantom Thieves.
Anna is the first romanceable party member you meet. I’m impatient which means she ended up being my Persona 5 girlfriend during my first run. You should probably hold out a little longer than I did.
Ann is essentially your party’s primary mage and again I kept her around for most of my first playthrough. She has some of the best magic stats in the game and primarily deals fire damage.
Besides her good damage output, she can also confuse enemies. I guess monsters are suckers for pretty blondes too.
She can be a little squishy however and her strong fire damage is balanced out somewhat by a devastating weakness to ice elemental damage.
Ann is the Lovers Confidant. This has led some fans to deduce that Ann is the canon love interest for Joker.
Her social tree unlocks automatically after the first Palace. You can further it by meeting her at Shibuya Underground Mall like a creepy stalker.
Just like Ryuji leveling up this Confidant should be a priority as it unlocks powerful new combat abilities for Ann.
5. Yusuke Kitagawa
“Look. This world is a dark, unrelenting place, Protagonist. But that is why I am going to wield my brush again… To give hope to all those who see my paintings.“
Yusuke is another character the party gains early on. His character can feel a little cliched at first. He’s a troubled artist with a kind soul, orphaned as a child.
This doesn’t make him a slouch in combat though. Yusuke’s Persona is Goemon which turns him into a freaking ice Ninja! Level Yusuke up and in the late game, he’ll be dealing strong Physical damage.
He’s also no slouch in the magic department and can deal decent elemental damage against fire types too.
This means you may find yourself swapping between Ryuji and Yusuke depending on where you are and who you’re facing. Or at times I used both to just bulldoze my way through easier areas.
Yusuke is the Emperor Confidant. It’s unlocked after the second Palace and is progressed by meeting Yusuke at the Shibuya Underground. Unlike the last two upgrades, this confidant has benefits outside of battle.
Yusuke (as an artist) can craft skill cards that are used to give Personas new skills (think TM’s in Pokémon). The higher the social rank, the better the skills.
6. Makoto Niijima
“I’ve realized now there are more important things in life than being a prim and proper honor student.“
Makoto has divided the Persona 5 fanbase. People seem to hate her or become obsessed with her.
I kind of liked her, I guess. Makoto can seem standoffish and cold, to begin with. She’s at the top of the class at school and as ambitious as they come. As you get to know her however it becomes clear she is plagued with feelings of insecurity and that she lives in the shadow of her big sister.
These feelings are probably why her Persona Johanna makes her look like something out of a motorcycle BDSM video. Deep down Makoto just wants to rebel.
Makoto is a jack of all trades who accompanied me into the majority of battles. Her element is nuclear which seems to be a common enemy weakness.
She does good melee and magic damage. Late game she gets some great buffs and high damage abilities. However, as a jack of all, she never really excels in just one area.
Makoto represents the Priestess Arcana. This social link can be a bit of a pain to progress. You have to meet her on the third floor of a school on a school day or at the gates on your days off.
Be warned Makoto only likes good clever boys so you’re going to have to level up your knowledge rank to three first.
This requirement can take some grinding but is worth it if you’re going to be using her a lot as it will unlock new combat abilities for her.
7. Futaba Sakura
“You gave me my life back, so it’s my turn to risk my life for you.“
Futaba is the underdog of the Phantom thieves. At first, she appears to be weak and overly dependent on those around her. If she wasn’t written so well she’d be a total turn-off.
Luckily this is Persona 5 so of course, she’s written well. You’ll soon find yourself rooting for her. Watching her grow and become more confident is a real highlight. Her hero-worship of Joker is also super cute.
You won’t be controlling Futaba in battle. She is your team’s support character and supplies buffs both during and after a battle.
Futaba represents the Hermit Arcana (because she’s a recluse). To progress, the social link meets her outside the café during the day and takes her to Akihabara to indulge both your inner geeks.
Leveling up this confidant may not seem worth it at first. However, give it time and you’ll unlock game-changing buffs for your team.
8. Haru Okumara
“If I act with resolve and believe in my actions, I know I’ll be able to achieve anything.“
Haru is the eighth member to join the Phantom Thieves. She never really grew on me, but that may just be because we spend the least amount of time with her since she joins so late.
Haru is from a mega-rich old-money family and joins the gang whilst trying to avoid an arranged marriage.
Her Persona is Milady which means in battle Haru takes the form of a BDSM flavored Musketeer. She’s another all-rounder but largely utilizes Psy and Gun skills.
As someone who tends to bulldoze through RPG’s these are skills I never found myself using. However, if you’re willing to do the homework and build her properly she can be pretty devastating.
She represents the Empress Confidant and the link can be built up through my meeting on the school roof after classes.
The problem is, that building social link takes time and Haru is late to the party. You won’t have long to build her social link up, and that late in the game you’re already spinning a lot of plates.
The link only unlocks in late October however and you’ll need high dexterity to speed through it. Doing so unlocks the ability to grow plants on the school roof (yay! Gardening!) and improves her skills in battle.
Honestly though, on the first run, you’ll probably find yourself skipping Haru altogether.
9. Goro Akechi
“Well, because I’m a psychic, of course. Haha, I’m only joking. In truth, I’m a rookie detective.“
Goro is the ninth member of the Phantom Thieves. Your mileage may vary but he never really grew on me.
He’s essentially a big goody-goody two-shoes. He spends most of the game as an antagonist to the party. Using his skills as an Inspector to investigate the mental shutdowns.
He is also known as the “Second coming of the Detective Prince”. I have no idea what this means, and it sounds super cheesy. I never worried too much about it. If you’re curious, however, read more here.
Goro eventually joins the thieves for the “greater good” or whatever. He never really gets over his rivalry with Joker however and this rivalry feels pretty one-sided.
In battle Goro is well-rounded. His set of attacks is almost as diverse as Jokers (since he’s the anti-Joker). He utilizes physical skills alongside Bless, Almighty, and Curse spells.
Goro’s confidant is, unsurprisingly, Justice. Leveling it up however will depend on which version of Persona 5 you’re playing. In the vanilla version, it ranks up automatically and his abilities unlock as soon as he joins the team. The actual confidant doesn’t do much.
Persona 5 Royal is a different story. Here a few optional side events were added and completing these will rank up the Confidant instead.
10. Kasumi Yoshizawa
“I am myself! I’ll never forget that again!”
Finally, we come to Kasumi. Kasumi is an added character and party member found in Persona 5 Royal. She is a first-year student and like Joker, a transfer student.
It’s pretty hard to describe Kasumi’s backstory whilst avoiding spoilers. But basically, she’s a kick-ass gymnast and she’s hot.
In combat, she’s an agile speedster character. She has crazy high agility and uses bless and physical skills. However, she can’t take much punishment. Her Persona Cendrillon is based on Cinderella.
Her Confidant is The Faith and it is unlocked through playing the story. To say more is to risk spoilers.
On a final note, many players see Kasumi as Joker’s canon romance. She enjoys a pretty flirty relationship with him and their interactions can get a little risqué.
Secondary Persona 5 Characters:
“Welcome to the Velvet Room”
Igor appears in most of the Persona games and is the owner of the Velvet Room. He might look like a creep but he’s a solid dude.
His is the Fool Arcana. It’s ranked automatically by playing the game. You’ll get extra Persona and better fusion abilities. Easy-peasy.
12. Caroline and Justine
“Not bad… Inmate.”
Sweet/creepy girls dressed as Igor’s prison wardens. They represent the strength of Confidant.
This is a super difficult social tree. You have to get specific Personas to use in fusion and then get specific results. It can get pretty mind bendy so try this guide. Your reward? Super helpful fusion upgrades so it’s probably worth the effort.
13. Sojiro Sakura
“When I took you in, I thought I was the one helping you… but it turns out it was the other way around. …Take care.“
Sojiro acts as Joker’s surrogate father. You’ll be staying with him at Café LeBlanc. He’s a tough cookie to crack but much like Ryuji, he has a heart of gold.
Sojiro is the Hierophant confidant. To progress this confidant start chatting to him in the evenings after the end of April.
Make sure you have a good kindness skill level. The reward is the ability to make restorative items (useful). The real reward though is the story content you’ll unlock as well.
14. Sae Nijiima
“When and where did you hear about that world? How is it even possible to steal another’s heart? Now, tell me your account of everything. …Start from the very beginning.“
Not much to say here. Sae is Makoto’s hot, domineering older sister. She’s a prosecutor and total ice queen. She acts as a narrative device, interrogating Joker as the story unfolds.
Sae is the Judgement Confidant. This is an easy one that levels automatically as you progress through the story so you don’t need to worry about it.
15. Sadayo Kawakami
“The way you opposed Mr Kamoshida, I’d say that you’re earnest and have a strong sense of justice. That being said… you called a maid service and requested me?”
Ever fancied your teacher? Sadayo pretty much works as fantasy fulfillment.
Initially standoffish and dis-trusting of Joker she’ll eventually come round. She starts as your teacher but can end up working as your maid.
Sadayo is the Temperance Confidant and is invaluable. You can use her to fulfill boring day-to-day tasks whilst you go out and level up or meet other confidants. She’s also romanceable which is a little creepy.
16. Tae Takemi
“I don’t want the general public to know about my original medicines. So you’re strictly prohibited from disclosing what happens here to anyone… Understood?”
Another adult, romanceable confidant. My favorite non-playable confidant, Tae is a hot punk doctor who sells you powerful drugs for use in battle.
She’s also the death Confidant. Level her up to buy better items for less. All you have to do is be her guinea pig and make sure you have high guts. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t let her experiment on them?
17. Yuuki Mishima
“It’s not just Japan anymore. The whole world’s waiting to see the Phantom Thieves’ next move.“
Yuuki is the Phantom Thieves’ most avid fanboy. His obsession with the Thieves borders on danger. It becomes clear through his social arc this is to distract himself from the bullying he suffers at school.
Yuuki’s confidant, Moon, is an important one. Yuuki moves around a lot throughout the story and keeping track of him can be a pain. Keep with it to level up the confidant, granting party-wide XP bonuses.
18. Munehisa Iwai
“You help me out with my ‘business’ — smugglin’ goods, destroyin’ evidence — and as a reward, I’ll introduce you to the ‘special menu,’ with good prices for a punk like you.“
Munehisa is your weapons dealer and fence. Like most Persona 5 characters Munehisa has a tragic past you’ll be helping him work through.
He is also the hanged man confidant. Visit him at his store at night to start leveling it up. Doing so will get you a handy discount in the weapons store.
19. Toranosuke Yoshida
“The next generation will lead us into the future, and yet they have no plan for how to arrive there!“
A disgraced politician was found in Shibuya station square. Yoranosuke needs your help in revitalizing his image and gaining the people’s confidence back.
Toransuke is the sun confident. Start his path by pretending to be interested in his campaign. Then get yourself a job at the beef bow and spend a few hours listening to his speeches.
This is one of the duller side stories but it’s worth it. For your trouble, you’ll get improved negotiation skills. This means more money and more personas.
20. Chihaya Mifune
“I’m just going to have to verify your power. The very power that reversed my tarot card prediction!”
Chihaya is a genuinely powerful fortune teller and mystic who is being forced to hide her true abilities in the name of greed.
She’s the Fortune Confidant and you’ll be helping her reveal her real powers. Get to the end of June, and buy her the Gem she wants for 100,000 Yen (get saving).
Then just work through her tree, complete the Mementos quest, and boom you unlock a pretty awesome ability. She’ll provide you with fortunes that boost stats and confidant bonds without taking up time. This can be a vital time save late-game.
21. Ichiko Ohya
“Hey, how ’bout we do this… You supply me with info on the Phantom Thieves and I’ll write articles based on what you tell me about them.”
Ichiko is a jaded has-been journalist who’s been reduced to writing clickbait articles and lounging about in bars. It’s Joker’s job to reignite her passion for investigative journalism.
Ichiko is the devil confidant. The unlock here is pretty meh, you can lower a palaces security level. However, her story is pretty interesting and she’s romanceable to boot so it could be worth your precious time.
22. Hifumi Togo
“I feel… a gambler’s spirit emanating from you.“
Hifumi is a student / professional Shogi player. Unfortunately, her looks are holding her back and she’s being accused of cheating. Joker to the rescue.
Hifumi is the Star confidant. This one is a pain. Get her to rank 2, then raise your charm. Then in late June meet her at Kand Tree to get going.
The reward is probably worth it though. You’ll be granted super useful abilities, like being able to swap party members mid dungeon.
23. Shinya Oda
“I wish I was able to talk with them–or something-though… But you fulfilled your part of the deal, so I’ll teach you how to shoot.“
This is probably one of the most emotional side stories. Shinya is another star that has fallen. Once the “gamer king”, Shinya lost to a cheater and lost it all. Now he’s being bullied and is completely lost with no way to avoid his troubled home life.
Shinya is the Tower confidant. Meet him at the arcades in September and follow his questline which involves going into the Mementos. The Tower Arcana unlocks a load of gun abilities for Joker which depending on your build can be pretty useful.
And that’s it. That’s the rundown of all the key players you’ll be meeting on your journey through Persona 5.
Most of the characters are so well written that each one deserves more of a deep dive.
You’ll never max out each confidant on your first run, and even trying to will spoil the fun. So my suggestion would be to relax and spend your game time with the characters you like the most. You can always do a second playthrough.
The rundown of each Confidant path is pretty brief here but you can find an in-depth guide here.
Who is Joker’s canon girlfriend?
There is no Canon girlfriend. If you are trying to look this up on discussion boards like Reddit or Quora you’re going to get a lot of conflicting information.
Fan theories are all over the place. Some fans say there is a canon girlfriend, some say there isn’t.
But Persona 5 just isn’t that kind of game. It’s a roleplaying game, which means YOU make the decisions! Do you like Ann? Choose her. Like Makoto? Congratulations, she likes you too.
Is Joker’s name Ren or Akira?
Good Question! This has been made super unclear so let’s try to clear it up.
Team Ren: Ren Amamiya is the name for Joker used in the official anime. It’s also used in the Spinoff Persona 5 Dancing in The Sunlight.
Team Akira: The manga based on the game uses the name Akira Kurusu. If you’re used to Japanese media, you’re probably used to treating manga as canon over anime. But since the anime and manga are both based on the game as a prime source that argument doesn’t work here.
Soooo long story short. It feels like Ren outweighs Akira. It is used in more media and makes more sense.
But it’s an RPG so name him whatever you like.
Who is the hottest Persona 5 character?
Really? That’s a personal choice. The character designs here are top-notch. Which is standard procedure for a Persona game. Atlas also knows its audience pretty well and this shows with the female character designs.
Can’t decide? You can always try out this hot girl poll.
Can you get laid in Persona 5?
Let’s get this out of the way…. You’re not going to see anything X-rated playing this game. If Joker gets laid it’s only ever implied.
All the relationships you can have are either between minors or between a minor (Joker) and an adult. When you keep this in mind it’s pretty clear why the developers avoid anything too saucy. Kotaku has a great article on it.
But sexy times are implied. Anyone you’re in a relationship with will spend the night. Even better, some of the dialogue isn’t too subtle.
If you want to get laid in Persona 5, I’m afraid you’ll have to fill in the gaps with your imagination.
Is Morgana a human?
No, he’s not. After many red herrings, it’s revealed that he was created by Igor to assist Joker.
Can you date your teacher in Persona 5?
Yes, you can! Just get Kawakami to clean your room enough times and she’ll start to open up to you. Make the right choices and you can romance her.
Who is the best girl in Persona 5?
Who do you like the most? They’re all extremely well-written and likable. There is no best girl.
Can you break up in Persona 5 royal?
Sorry, you’re stuck with your first pick! If you romance someone and start a relationship that’s it. No get out of jail free cards here.
The good news is that this isn’t the Witcher 3. If your Joker is a bad boy and dates more than one girl nothing too bad happens.
You’ll get into trouble on Valentine’s Day and miss out on some implied Valentines’ sexy fun. But that’s it. The next day your relationships are intact.