Gaming | Philosophy

‘Persona 5 Royal’ Subverts Eastern Philosophical Views and Storytelling Traditions

Michelle Kwan
The Ugly Monster
5 min readJun 9, 2024

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Welcome back to Mish’ Rants, where I only talk about Persona (Credits: Atlus)

Another day, another Persona analysis. At this point, if you’ve read my articles before, you’re probably thinking, “There’s still more to write?”, but the Persona franchise has so much depth to it that I barely scratched the surface.

Today, I wish to approach the franchise as a whole and discuss storytelling. As a storyteller myself, I have started to investigate the history of storytelling, and found that the Persona series featured different cultural and philosophical views throughout its games. Let’s see how Persona 5 Royal stands out from the rest from a purely storytelling perspective.

The History of Storytelling

Storytelling has long been a fundamental human tradition, rooted in our innate desire to understand the world around us. For example, when Hesiod wrote The Theogony to explain the genealogy of the world, he used the origins of Greek gods to make sense of how the world came to be.

Other than explaining external phenomena, we also wrote stories to explain the biggest fear of ours — death. We feared death so much that we wrote about the afterlife in an attempt to eradicate those fears. These stories served as our safety blankets.

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Michelle Kwan
The Ugly Monster

Aspiring Narrative Designer/Game Writer + Avid Storyteller. I mostly write about games, but sometimes I go off-track and write about other things too.