This article contains the spoilers for role 5.
If you've been struggling with the politics of games like Call of Duty and The Division 2, and its developers insist that it's not political, you're in the wrong place. Sometimes it takes a certain distance or external perspective to really support our reality. In this case, I suggest we visit Japan.
As we face an imminent climate crisis, the environmentalist themes of Final Fantasy 7 have become more and more relevant, and the once confusing brawl in Metal Gear Solid 2 has provided us with fake news and social media. era.
However, if there is one game that better illustrates the spirit of our political age than other games, it is "The Goddess 5".
Of course, in an anime JRPG, a group of high school students dressed up as thieves and stealing treasures from another dimension does not seem to be the stage for political speech. If anything, it's easier to get distracted by the style of Persona 5 and ignore its essence.
Persona 5 is also a comprehensive Japanese game, full of Japanese care-even popular quizzes in school assume a lot of knowledge about Japanese history or concepts. According to an interview with game director and producer Katsura Hashino in 4Gamer (translated by Persona Central), the 2011 Tohoku earthquake led to an introverted view of the game.
Nonetheless, when the game reached the West Coast in 2017, you would need little knowledge of current affairs in Japan to relate to any of them. In fact, I find it impossible to avoid thinking about how it implies many things we experience in the West.
For example, the physical abuse of volleyball students by physical education teacher Kamoshida is based on widespread physical punishment in Japanese school sports clubs that Japanese college students have been repeatedly beaten by basketball coaches leading to his suicide in 2012. But this is only half of the story that happened in his palace and also revealed his sexual behavior towards schoolgirls, including Ann and her best friend Shibao. When Kamoshida's crimes finally came to light, it was the latter that resonated the most, especially at the end of 2017, when silence caused by rape and sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein for decades has made the #MeToo movement stand out .
Later plots involving the fast-food chain CEO's use of his young workforce may be directly inspired by Japanese "black companies." But, in fact, in our era of zero-hour contracts or in an age of increasing concern for austerity culture, this is too relevant in other parts of the world.
When it turned out that one of the biggest drawbacks was the corrupt Senator Shido, the politics in Persona 5 became clearer. The existence of the National Assembly Hall should indicate that this is related to Japan's political system. Still, the places closer to home are creepy.
Obviously, Shido is not based on Trump (he has the ability to serve as a starter). However, there are opposite similarities, so although Trump was an outsider who infiltrated the Republican Party, Hedo split from the incumbent party, which split itself to seize power.
He used the power of Metaverse to cause chaos and wipe out opponents in Tokyo, and he was able to weaken political institutions and portray himself as the country's savior, as Trump said in his arrogant statement at the 2016 Republican Convention that he One person can solve the problems of Washington and the country.
Shido's attempt to seize power through the election also creepily echoed Britain's Brexit legend. I'm not saying Atlus is a fortune teller, but just a few weeks after Persona 5 was released in the West in April 2017, the UK held its own fast elections, Theresa May's "Strong and Stable "Leadership" seems to be a foregone conclusion and can lead Britain into the tip of the iceberg of Brexit.
It also reminds me of Boris Johnson's comment that Britain can achieve "Titanic success" from Brexit. When you discover Shido's palace is a cruise ship sailing in the wreckage of a Tokyo shipwreck, it sounds like a metaphorical scammer suddenly has a different meaning.
"Even if the country sinks, he will survive." When your party first saw the palace, Haru said. This may not be a more appropriate description for the rich who want to benefit from Brexit for the price of future generations.
The most irritating thing is that despite the troubles you faced in defeating Shido and eventually confessing him on live TV, Metaverse's distortion became so great that the public would never believe it and continue support him. Although all Trump's wrongdoings or the lie of Brexit have gradually been exposed over time, the masses still let it happen anyway, which is also the disturbing reality we face.
In 2017, these similarities resonated, but after Trump's innocent release and Johnson's overwhelming victory took us further down a dark road, the similarities became even more severe in 2020.
Leaving aside Trump and Brexit, the consistent main line of the story of Persona 5 encompasses the polarized generational divide between our generation Z and Boomers, or, as Ryuji originally called "dirty adulthood" people".
In the United States, young people are most likely to be affected by exploitation, debt, the climate crisis and gun crime, but the offspring of parents and grandparents see them like snowflakes and intend to sell their children's futures on the ballot box. . Of course, the minimum age is not old enough to figure out your own voice (in Japan, the minimum voting age was reduced from 18 to 20 in 2016).
Every major character in Persona 5 feels this injustice, whether the protagonist Shido is charged for a crime he did not commit, Ryuji is fired from the track and field team to defend Kamoshida or ruled by Haru as a bargaining chip. Her rising father married.
Not only does this make the Phantom Rogue the most relevant hero of the overwhelmed Gen Z, but it's how they wake up the character. The awakening process in Persona 5 is extremely cathartic, as each character has the courage to resist and avenge their oppressors. These moments resonate strongly because the anger of strong justice exacerbates these moments, and eventually these characters violently tear off their masks from their faces.
For some people, anger is not always a proper response. It is a powder bucket that ignites violence and can be eliminated as easily as an "angry black woman". But quoting the Marie Claire column of the #MeToo movement, "It's not only possible to be angry, it's absolutely necessary." The statement also applies to other urgent action campaigns that endanger gun control or the climate crisis. Our future situation.
More and more young people are beginning to politicize and take to the streets to protest against massive changes. We can see this in student-led protests in Hong Kong or at Greta Thunberg, facing the impact of global climate change, which has stirred millions of children to crazy hell and no longer accept it.
But, like the "phantom thief", protest youths were fired and despised by the agency. They are either annoying or too naive and radical idealism to understand the world, or they are laughed at or criminalized altogether.
However, we can see that the behavior of the phantom thief is fair, and fortunately, some adults sympathize with this, including a formerly degraded politician, Tosuke Yoshida, giving a soapbox speech in Shibuya. He may be baptized, and his chances of being elected seem small, but he is talking about honesty and charisma-you can say he is a bit like Bernie Sanders. Although Shido barely hides his contempt for young people, Yoshida not only speaks on behalf of their concerns, but also understands that he needs the power of young people to influence change in the country.
While sympathizing with the younger generation, he also publicly expressed his support for the "phantom thief", which is regarded as a criminal by the rest of the respected society. Because in spite of these approaches, he understood that they were ultimately on the side of justice.
"The reason they are so sensational is because they are solving the problems of the world," he said in a passionate speech later in the story. "Why do phantom thieves continue to change their minds? I believe they work for the world and its people."
With the arrival of Persona 5 Royal later this month, this is another opportunity to relive the life of the Tokyo Phantom Thief, taking a new adventure with old friends. But what resonates most are the same basic themes that capture all the fear and anxiety that young people have faced over the past few years, and whether life will change.