- The Third Kingdom’s True Ruler
- Salmael And The Collective Unconscious
Like most Persona games, the already fantastical plot of Persona 5 Tactica can end up feeling kind of convoluted. As is standard fare for the series, you learn that there’s been a god in control the whole time, and this one has been trying to test Toshiro Kasukabe and drain his rebellious resolve.
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This leads to Toshiro not only needing to confront Salmael, the God of Control, but his shadow self and the tortured memory of the worst day of his life that keeps him stuck in one awful moment forever. Here’s a simplified explanation of the ending of P5T.
This article contains major spoilers for the plot of Persona 5 Tactica.
The Third Kingdom’s True Ruler
Battling Vice-Principal Nakabachi
When you first arrive in the third Kingdom in Persona 5 Tactica, you’re not actually able to hear the name that the rebels are cursing and swearing to defeat. Toshiro, as he slowly begins to regain his memories, deduces that the Kingdom’s leader must have been the vice-principal of his old high school, as Toshiro was part of exposing the man’s extortion attempts.
Except, as you approach the fight with Nakabachi, something feels off. Sure, the man was corrupt, but even Toshiro has his doubts about the battle ahead. He argues that, if he’s still got to fight Nakabachi, it may suggest that the rebellion he and former friend Eri Natsuhara formed against Nakabachi.
After defeating Nakabachi, you learn that he’s not, in fact, the ruler of the third Kingdom. Toshiro thinks just a little harder and remembers that Nakabachi suffered a mental break at the hands of everyone accusing him of his crimes. As a result of this, he shoved Eri Natsuhara off of a subway platform during rush hour and onto the tracks just as a train is approaching the station.
Eri survives, miraculously, but she’s in incredibly rough shape in the hospital. Toshiro remembers going to visit her, but is stuck on the notion that he should have been able to save her. This self-doubt is what gives birth to his Shadow Self.
Shadow Toshiro And The Memory Of Eri Natsuhara
Once Toshiro deduces where to go to confront his Shadow Self, Shadow Toshiro is dangling Erina over the edge of a building and traps the Phantom Thieves when they arrive to try to help. Accordingly, it’s up to Toshiro to take a stand, and doing so is enough to awaken his Persona, Ernesto.
But Ernesto was born from Eri Natsuhara’s spirit within Toshiro, willing him to never give up on fighting for what he believes in. And since Erina is a manifestation of Eri Natsuhara in Toshiro’s twisted reality that you’ve been fighting through, Erina lends herself to Ernesto and fights beside Toshiro as his Persona.
Shadow Toshiro has one final trick up his sleeve once you defeat him, though – you’re made to fight the oversized, notedly gory memory of Eri Natsuhara as Toshiro remembers her after the accident.
The enormous marionette is on a mission to squash Toshiro for not being able to save her in real-life, and she’s willing to take out the Phantom Thieves to get to him.
Thankfully, defeating the memory of Eri is enough to bring Erina back to the party again, with everyone now aware she’s the iteration of Eri Natsuhara that Toshiro kept in his heart as an icon of rebellion. She’s now able to battle alongside you and even Toshiro, vanishing momentarily should he need to call on Ernesto in battle.
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Salmael And The Collective Unconscious
But it wouldn’t be a Persona game without a meddling God of Control, would it? After you’ve defeated the memory of Eri, you’re introduced to Salmael, who represents the collective unconscious.
He tells you that he’s the one who’s been orchestrating this entire ordeal with the Kingdoms and their rulers to try to break Toshiro’s rebellious spirit. He says that he knows, deep down, that Toshiro doesn’t want to upset the status quo, calling back to the beginning of the game when Toshiro tells Joker he disagrees with the Phantom Thieves’ ideals.
Except now, Toshiro has learned to stand up for himself and what he believes in, and he insists that Salmael is wrong, that one needs to stand up for themselves regardless of what it means for the status quo.
Considering everything Toshiro has said, Salmael presents an offer, valid not only for Toshiro, but for the whole group: give up their rebellious spirits and be returned to their own realities, no questions asked.
Re-Battle Memories Of Persona 5 Tactica’s Major Bosses
Of course, accepting that deal would mean undermining everything Toshiro has helped you guys fight for throughout the game, and it’s decided that the group will decline the deal. Just as they try to work out where exactly to find Salmael, Lavenza arrives on the Velvet Room Train to scoop them up and bring them to Salmael’s Kingdom.
Upon arrival, Toshiro joins the Phantom Thieves on the battlefield as you fight your way through several stages of high-level enemies, requiring careful strategy and planning to beat within your turn limits.
Every couple of stages, though, you’ll endure reiterations of each boss fight from Persona 5 Tactica, now with Toshiro in the party to stand up for himself instead of relying on you.
Defeating every one of these boss fights again is the only way to make it through the Kingdom to come face to face with its ruler, who’s more than ready to give you one more battle.
The Final Fight
Once you reach Salmael, you’ll be used to battling with Toshiro in your party, which is good, because he’s joining you for your last fight. It’s his nightmare to overcome, after all.
Salmael, as your ultimate boss fight, is pretty tough to take down. Battling against him requires the use of every battle strategy you’ve picked up on so far in Persona 5 Tactica – you’ll need to execute All-Out Attacks, use One Mores to move further around the board to avoid targeted attacks, contend with dozens of Legionnaires throughout the fight, and keep dealing damage to Salmael all the while.
Should Toshiro faint, he cannot be revived or replaced like the other Thieves with a Baton Pass – once he’s down, he’s down for the count.
This does not impact the ending of the game, though, as Toshiro will still be present in end-game cutscenes.
Following Salmael’s defeat, the world he created to test Toshiro begins to crumble, and the Phantom Thieves must make a last, daring escape back to reality.
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After the battle, Lavenza delivers the Phantom Thieves to what remains of Marie’s Kingdom, now as colorful and joyful as it was meant to be before her reign of tyranny corrupted it.
The Thieves use this as a venue to celebrate a bit, saying goodbye to Erina as they realize that, since she’s merely a memory Toshiro keeps in his heart, she’ll vanish before they head back to their own realities.
The Phantom Thieves find themselves right back where they began the game – gathered together at the real-world Leblanc, in their regular clothing again, just spending an afternoon together. They deduce that Toshiro, since he went missing from another location, must have spawned back to reality there as well.
Elsewhere in Tokyo, Toshiro enters a room with Marie and his father, Yoshiki, who chastise him for going missing and give him a prepared press release to read from when he announced to the Japanese public that he’s returned.
They’d like to bill his absence as a medical health crisis, and though Toshiro takes the script, he refuses to actually read it for the conference.
On TV at Leblanc a short time later, the news anchors are announcing that Toshiro has not only called off his public engagement to Marie, but is stepping down from his role due to his involvement with his father’s crimes. He plans to personally indict his father for these crimes, despite the black mark it leaves on his political record.
However, the phone rings at Leblanc, and Toshiro speaks with the Phantom Thieves candidly to tell them that he doesn’t regret anything that’s happened because it’s led to him being able to stand up for himself and carve his own path forward. He hurries off the phone, but the Thieves seem optimistic.
In a final scene, Toshiro turns around while out on the street to see the real Eri Natsuhara behind him, walking with a cane and limp but still excited to see her old friend.
The game ends with a tender scene of the pair reuniting for the first time since the accident.
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