[[WARNING: SPOILERS FOR PERSONA 3, PERSONA 4 AND THEIR RESPECTIVE REMAKES MAY BE CONTAINED IN THIS ARTICLE. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.]]
Persona 5 was announced officially by Atlus not long ago. With this came an animated trailer, with the supposed protagonist on a train to a city, and then realising his power in the middle of a huge city crosswalk. Now, as Atlus love to hide little bits and pieces in their announcements, people believe that there may be as many as five protagonists in Persona 5.
Personally, I don’t believe this theory, but funnily enough it’s also not what this article is about. So if you thought we were talking about that, prepare to be disappointed. The door is right there.
Now that I’ve gotten that little red herring out of the way, onto the actual focus:
Who will be Igor’s assistant in Persona 5?
[With the passing away of Igor’s Japanese voice actor (Isamu Tononaka) in 2010, it has been suggested that Igor may not even appear in Persona 5, but let us go ahead with the assumption that he will appear with a new voice actor, likely the one recruited for Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.]
For those of you who don’t fully understand the Velvet Room, it’s a place between dream and reality, mind and matter. It is where the various protagonists in the Persona games have gone to fuse new Personas, using the help of Igor, the servant of a god. Additionally, there are other denizens of the Velvet Room, who deal with other tasks, such as minor Arcana cards, the Persona Compendium, and Skill Cards.
The Velvet Room changes appearance in each game, and changes significantly from P1 and P2 to P3 and P4, leading me to believe that Atlus will continue the new style, what with P5 said to be related to P3 and P4. Something significant in this change is the subtle implementation of Jung psychology, specifically the idea of the anima and animus.
In Jung psychology, there are four levels of anima (female psyche) development:
Eve is seen as the emergence of a male’s object of desire.
Helen is seen as being viewed as capable of worldly success and of being self-reliant, intelligent and insightful, if not entirely virtuous, faithful or imaginative.
Mary is seen as the possession of virtue, as seen through a male’s eyes, with consciously non-virtuous activities not applied to the female.
Helen is seen as the complete integration and personification of wisdom, dynamic and open-ended.
Now, you’re probably wondering why this seems like a Psych 101 class, but don’t fret, as it doesn’t get too much more complicated from here. This theory of the four anima can actually be applied to the assistants, the other denizens of the Velvet Room. Each assistant represents a growth in the human psyche, almost like Igor is making better assistants each time to support him and the protagonist in their journey.
Eve can be applied to Elizabeth in Persona 3. At the end of the game, she leaves the role as Igor’s assistant because of her love for the then-deceased protagonist. She leaves to try and find a way to save his soul. Similar to the origin of the anima, the biblical figure Eve was cast out in Genesis to create a new life, and the one she chose was one of love, to save another’s soul.
Helen can be applied to Margaret in Persona 4. She is viewed as being intelligent, more mature, and her insights into the protagonist’s journey throughout P4 serve as ample evidence to suggest this. She also displays a lack of emotion and imagination for most of the game, with many dry, seemingly sarcastic comments. She confirms that she is leaving as Igor’s assistant in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, gaining more faith in her ability to discover her life’s purpose, and so evolving into the next stage.
Now, at this point, I cannot stress enough how I do not think Marie will be the assistant, despite what everybody else thinks, and that her original role was as an understudy to Margaret. Marie goes against this particular theory, and as such will not be considered here as a possible assistant.
So, onto the reasons why Marie cannot be the assistant. Firstly, Mary is seen as possessing virtue. While innocent and chaste, one couldn’t really go as far to suggest she is virtuous, as that is commonly seen as a quality that only a conscious, evolved mind can possess. As a new, childish mind, Marie doesn’t understand the world, and the whole point of the Aeon Social Link is to help her understand the world more. Of course, she was only an understudy, but could she really have been taught everything to help her psyche evolve, even from a pre-Eve state? I don’t think so. Marie just doesn’t fit enough into the theory to warrant having her as the next assistant. Towards the end of the game, she is revealed as a Shadow by the name of Kusumi-no-Okami. After the Shadow is defeated, Marie turns back into human form, and chooses to stay outside the Velvet Room. She actively stays away from her original duties, to live life as a human and weather girl in Inaba, as revealed in the ending of Persona 4 Golden.
Now, if the assistant follows the theory, then they will follow Mary.
Mary is subservient, much like worship to a god. The god in this situation? Philemon, as discussed by Igor in the early Persona games. By this logic, the assistant would be virtuous and subservient to Philemon.
Simple, right? However, something many people don’t know is that the denizens of the Velvet Room are all named after characters in the novel Frankenstein, by Shelley. Igor, Elizabeth and Margaret are all characters in the story.
By my thinking, the next assistant will follow this, and I am willing to take an educated guess that her name will be Justine.
Justine fits the archetype of Mary, as well. A religious, subservient character who worships the family who took her in. Superficially speaking, she is tall and blonde, just like the assistants before her.
Obviously, the assistant won’t be a like-for-like copy, but these qualities make at least the name Justine worthy. By this, I will go that little bit further, and predict that she will also leave the Velvet Room, but in a much darker way, by being killed, much like Shelley’s Justine. This further fits in with the darker theme of Persona 5. This would leave the final evolution to another character, or perhaps even Igor himself, as he possesses the animus equivalent of the anima Sophia. He is the complete integration and personification of wisdom, dynamic and open-ended.
You may have read this and still think that Marie will be the assistant in P5, and that’s fine, as everybody has their own right to an opinion, but at least take this in and appreciate the possibilities of other, new characters.
With that, dear readers, I thank you and leave you to mull over what you think of my theory and opinion.