Truthfully, how a Persona looks makes all the difference. You can find the perfect combination of skills, traits and statistics on a Persona, but if it looks like trash you’re really not going to enjoy it quite as much. Luckily the artists and designers at Atlus know what they’re doing, and along with making the Persona games some of the most stylish and cool looking out there, they also know how to make a good looking Persona. To that end and thanks in no small part to our love for this game, we’re going to write about those that we found the most appealing.
Why 34 you ask? After all it’s about as far away from five as you can get. Well to be honest, we looked through the entire compendium and just picked out those that we really like, simple as that.
34. Cait Sith
Our first choice for best looking Persona is a new addition to Royal, and well… Who doesn’t love a cat based on Zoro? There are obvious inspirations here, the first of which is clearly Puss in Boots, and whilst it’s certainly a played out notion we don’t mind the addition of it to the compendium. Plus, where does that thing get off wearing such massive boots and a belt around it’s chest? What is that even holding up?
33. Hua Po
To be completely honest, we’ve played through Persona 5 and Royal so many times that we’ve grown to love Hua Po. For us, this particular persona heralds the start of the ‘group magic’ attacks, since it comes equipped with Maragi. Oh sure, there are probably ways to get these earlier, but there’s something so warm and welcoming about Hua Po that just makes us feel good, unlike our opponents.
32. Koppa Tengu
Circus act slash martial artist in a mask, is about the best way that we can describe Koppa Tengu. If we’re honest we kind of like this one on a thematic level; it’s almost designed to look like a Jester of sorts, and it’s skill set revolves around inflicting your targets with rage, which fits just nicely. Remember those bunny hopping opponents you’d face in Counterstrike? This is what we imagine they look like, the scum.
It’s easy to see why Ame-no-Uzume is considered a sacred dancer, though we’re not entirely used to seeing fans in these specific areas. Still, it lends itself to quite a mysterious look, especially with the upper part of the face being completely hidden. The two tone drape is a nice addition, though when we’ve looked a little closer we have discovered that those locks of hair are absolutely ludicrous in length.
Who doesn’t love a good parade? Well if you do, then how about one of those wiggling lions was brought to life in a Persona game? We love the design of Shiisaa, and if we’re honest the whole lion look is a little under-represented throughout, with the possible exception of a certain cruise ship boss. We would have loved to have seen a larger, more evolved version of this one, but either way we’re always pleased when it appears in the second palace.
Describing Persona can prove difficult at times, certainly when attempting to elucidate on their most satisfying visual features. Such things are folly when it comes to Matador, because it’s just so achingly cool looking that we really need not bother. It’s a skeletal matador for crying out loud, and it’s been with the SMT series for decades. Long may it continue.
What is this, some kind of man… Owl? The golden beard and entirely non-owl like wings threw us off a little. We’re nitpicking of course, Andras is a fantastic looking persona. It’s stance seems to be stoic in nature, almost silently judging your enemies from afar, ready to mete out whatever justice that it deems necessary. There’s also something satisfying about it’s verticality – a great deal of persona designs require width in the form of trinkets or extras, but Andras just stands tall and slim in a strangely satisfying manner.
Upon first glance there are two things that come to mind when viewing Principality; this is likely to be a holy/healing persona, and it looks a little bit like the statue of liberty. Delving a little further however, completely dissolves the latter point, and if anything brings to light an almost warrior-like design, replete with belts and protectors all around it’s midriff. There are clear religious undertones obviously, but we’re pleased that there’s more to it than just the classic angel look.
26. Neko Shogun
Our very first entry into this list detailed just how much we liked a cat taking on a human form, and this remains true with our next entry: Neko Shogun. We were fairly enamoured when we first saw ol’ puss in boots Cait Sith, but this persona takes it to a whole new level. The absolute highlight of this one has to be the two banners being held, seemingly representing both paw and face.
If we’re honest, we’ve often confused our next choice – Mitra – for an earlier entry in our list, Andras. Not sure why to be honest – yes they both have a more vertical oriented look, but where our previous entry has an owl face and little else, Mitra is encircled by a massive snake and wields two daggers. The colour is somewhat similar, so there is that, but either way we just tend to view this as the cooler, higher levelled version of Andras, and that’s no bad thing.
Up to this point everything has been fairly humanoid in nature, Shiisaa permitting, almost like a procession of boss battles in really bad Dark Souls clone. As we progress through the levels however things do start to change, and our first unusual shape is Kaiwan. Being the incarnation of a star god it’s shape is relatively well explained, though we’re convinced that the inner star – the purple wispy one – does make it look like the persona has a rather unusual hair and beard combo.
If you’ve read any of our other P5R content around here then you’re likely to have seen Thoth pop up quite a few times already. Being the first to offer up an AOE Almighty skill whilst also learning the legendary Concentrate certainly helps, but we’re actually quite fond of how the little chap looks too. The book it’s reading is well tied into it’s lore and the aforementioned skills even tie into it’s clear intelligence and power. Very thematic this one.
It’s hard not to look at Kumbhanda and not envisage some kind of horse samurai type affair, and whilst that’s nowhere near the inspiration for it’s design or indeed name, we can’t help but think this whenever we see it. Regardless it’s just one of those persona designs that look cool as all hell, and immediately enters your mind as a ‘must’ capture or fuse at some point. We’ve never been hot on it’s abilities to be honest, and it does start to pale compared to some of the later designs, but we still like it.
We’re not really sure exactly what is going on around Power’s mid section here, but it doesn’t detract from the overall allure; it’s a dark red, floating knight angel type affair, and we’re all for it. The inclusion of a spider shield is a nice touch, and if games have taught us anything that surely makes them immune to poison, an ailment absent from ‘Royal. Also, what is it with certain designer’s fascination with jaunty belt angles? Is Power carrying something particularly heavy around that side of it’s waist? These are questions we’ll never know the answers to.
It’s hard to argue with the allure of a white tiger, even if this one in particular does have a rather unusually straight tail replete with poodle ball end. Strange too is that the player never actually witnesses their persona do the damage, rather a vision of them empowers Joker, so whilst we do enjoy the idea of a tiger doing damage to our enemies, it never really happens. Still, there’s always that particular late game Showtime attack to satisfy those requirements.
Let’s face it, having a horse riding maiden of some sort isn’t exactly a new idea for the RPG genre, but we’d be hard pressed to find a more stylish example. As you might imagine, the P5R version turns that style element up to 11. There are still norse elements there of course, but it’s a stylised red horse that Valkyrie rides and she’s replete with a fitting mask of her own. If we have one complaint it’s that she looks a little too ‘fun’, especially given her mythical role, but that doesn’t stop this persona looking all kinds of awesome.
Now we’re really starting to get creative with shapes and forms aren’t we. Norn is essentially a massive clock that is adorned by multiple female forms. The design itself is visually appealing, but more than anything we’re reminded of the final boss forms from Final Fantasy 13. Perhaps it’s the shape, the circular thing backed by winged forms or perhaps we’re just strange, but we love the design regardless.
Were we ranking these in any particular order, something that we’ll again emphasise that we’re not doing, then Skadi would sit right at the top. We’re not sure about the whole giantess thing, but damn if this isn’t one of the best looking persona that we’ve ever seen. Something about that striking dark figure and jagged top makes it look so menacing, savage even. It helps that Skadi achieves both of these things during battle too, either as an opponent or part of your team.
16. Pale Rider
Experienced Persona players will note that there are quite a few ‘death-like’ figures on a horse in their various compendiums, though they tend to go by another name mainly due to the arcana that share the name. Of all the choices available in P5R specifically, we consider the Pale Rider to be the most basic, but it’s also the most satisfying. There’s just something so foreboding about that figurine, and we actually think that the plain look stands out amongst a flashy crowd.
Perhaps it’s our preconceived notions, or perhaps it’s every other game that depicts a Cerberus as a three headed dog that’s to blame, but we were quite surprised to see a design such as this. The strangeness continues too; it seems to have a tail that begins at the back of it’s neck, some kind of strange black claw like thumbs on it’s front paws and ears that look like some kind of… Tube to the future or something. Honestly the more we look at this thing the stranger it gets.. Is it smiling at us?
Dark Souls had a bit of a go at it, and we’re not even going to start with Mario, but in Persona 5 Royal we’ve finally stumbled upon a successful integration of a mushroom into an enemy, and a pretty convincing one at that. We must admit to being a bit torn however – nearly every bit of the design looks like an evil, plague spreading mage of sorts, and yet it stands there holding a two handed sword. We’re not complaining really, after all the strange juxtaposition has brought it here to our list, it’s just unusual, and made even more so when you realise that it’s not wearing a hat…
Boy do things get unusual as you start to reach the late game. Persona games have never failed to impress when it gets to this portion, the designers having seemingly been completely let off the leash. Still, Mot is mostly unusual in the sense that it’s really not – the remaining members of our list get bigger and more bombastic, but there’s something ultimately foreboding about being faced with singular, nominal coffin in battle.
We noted our enjoyment of a deadly jester previously, with Koppa Tengu, and if anything we’re even more enamoured with Macabre. Everything bit of this persona’s design is impeccable. From the flared trousers, or rather the legs of it’s onesie, to the fantastically stylish scythe that plays into it’s Death lore. There seems to be a distinct lack of facial features too, which adds to it’s spooky unknown nature. It’s all capped off by the neck piece, which just confirms the whole jester thing, rounding out a thoroughly satisfying design.
It’s funny really… Loa looks like almost every nineties tattoo we’ve ever seen, and yet when it’s in 3D and stylised in that particular Persona fashion it actually looks good! If we’re honest it’s helped by the skills that the Persona possesses. As we noted in our Almighty list, Loa is the king of drain attacks, which works with the whole snake thing. In fact, the more we think about it, the skull is likely to be the previous victim…
Who doesn’t love a good puppet master motif? In fact one of the main things that this reminds us of is the PS4 game Journey. Perhaps it’s all the desert movement and flapping capes, but it seems like Nebiros is somewhat of a wanderer, journeying through some unknown lands with their puppet. We’re not super impressed with the limbs if we’re honest – that strange blueish hue just doesn’t quite do it for us, but overall the design is novel and interesting enough to make it onto our list.
Who knew that the god of fertility looked so much like an Atlantis royal? Perhaps it’s just our eyes but that helmet certainly seems to have fin like connotations. Even those armlets look aquatic in nature, and we must admit that when it comes to persona this is an unusual trait. Fish and sea like creatures really aren’t approached too often throughout the compendium, so it’s nice to see some representation here. The chalice is a nice touch too, considering the fertility direction in the lore.
Alright, there is a lot going on here. Our eyes are immediately drawn to the scroll – if Sraosha is listening to humans as per the lore, is it taking notes? It’s observing, so this makes sense. Ironically, having just spoken about Baal bringing aquatic tones to life, we see them again here. They may look like wings but there’s certainly a watery tone to things going on here. The ears lend themselves to listening, clearly, and if that’s a third eye then Sraosha is surely able to see more than the usual observer… There’s just so much going on here, and we love it.
If Skadi is our absolute favourite then it’s run super close by Zaou-Gongen. We love the almost cloud like nature of the material wrapped around it’s extremities, lending it a certain feeling of speed. This works thematically too, given just how powerful the persona is from a physical perspective. We like to imagine it’s weapon expands in length when in combat, and much like the reaper in Mementos, your opponents hear the jangling of chains before they meet their demise.
Sometimes it’s the simplicity that really makes a persona design, and at least initially that seems to be the case with Scathach. Upon further inspection however, there’s a great deal more to take in. First up, what is the deal with this massive, massive cape that seems to be attached to the hat? Speaking of which, the designers seem to have gone the extra mile with the head wear and made it a four pointed contraption, lending an extra degree of strange to an already unusual, floating goth. We’re not too fond of the scarf if we’re honest, and we’re not exactly sure how that piece of metal in it’s torso is attached, but overall it’s a novel and interesting design.
5. Mother Harlot
Crikey, this is a strange one isn’t it? We’re really not sure where to start here, though our eyes are constantly drawn to the steaming golden cup which, according to the lore contains the filth of her acts. Our minds are filled with questions as we take in the rest of the information; why does the beast that she rides have wings? Why are all of the faces adorned with crowns and why does harlot herself have a small tent covering her horns? It’s information overload right here, so whilst we really do love the design, we’re not exactly sure why…
It’s a testament to the varied bestiary that is the compendium when a noble and powerful warrior such as Siegfried is considered outside of the norm. That such a persona is very powerful too is a nice, since it shows that simple humanoid warriors such as these can compete with otherworldly beasts, mages and demons. We’re not sure how that armour would stand up to Almighty spells, but that just lends even more credence to it’s strength. It’s nice to know that there’s always room for a strong lad with a huge sword.
By now, we’re convinced that it’s possible to trace the level of a persona by it’s amount of wings. Lucifer comes along and ups the ante further by bringing a whole six! We’ll admit that the whole design is relatively similar to a fallen angel slash demon from other franchises, but the sheer size and domineering nature of this persona is hard to ignore. It does seem to have a small piece of gauze wrapped around its leg and torso, which is a little odd, but we’re not exactly going to stand around and argue with it.
Are those cymbals? Is this a ceramic statue of sorts? Are those a variety of animal heads adorning the rear? There are so many questions when it comes to Maria. There are obvious religious overtones here, and we’re sure there’s no coincidence that this persona comes with the absolute best healing spells in the game, but if anything such design decisions should be respected. In a game replete with demonic overtones, the designers are never afraid to approach the lighter side of things. It’s also remarkable just how different they managed to make this look – the compendium has it’s fair share of angels and such, but nothing quite like this.
Come on now, it was always going to be here wasn’t it. This thing is positively bleeding with cool. Yes it’s a spoiler, but the way that this massive beast of a persona literally shoots a god in the face is quite the sight to see. This is truly the epitome of gothic demon design. It’s designed to cap off and be the absolute peak of one of the coolest, most stylish looking games that has ever been released, and it’s a testament to Satanael that it manages to pull it off. It’s a shame that you have to wait until NG+ to get your hands on it for real, but that doesn’t stop it from belonging on our list. In many ways it’s the final form of the Phantom Thieves, a feat it pulls off with aplomb.