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The Untold Truth Of Persona 5's Joker

The "Persona" series gained a lot of attention back in 2016 when "Persona 5" was released. The critically acclaimed game brought new fans into the sometimes-twisted "Persona" universe, and it's been a massive success since. Unsurprisingly, the main character, Joker, is one of the most intriguing characters in the game.

While he is the protagonist of the game, Joker has more personality than many other playable characters in the "Persona" series. Between the witty responses players can choose between throughout the game, players can see a glimpse of Joker's humor. There are a lot of secrets surrounding the character, too. While all the endings of "Persona 5" have finally come to light, Joker still sits a bit more in the dark (although he did steal the show in "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate").

Joker has a lot of different inspirations behind his character, and he even changed a lot during the development of "Persona 5." He's more complex than you might realize when you're running through the game.

Joker just can't escape prison

The beginning of "Persona 5" shows Joker being arrested. Quickly after that, his first trip to the Velvet Room shows him locked up in a cell. He's even in legal trouble from the very beginning of the game, only arriving at Shujin Academy after being falsely accused of a crime.

The poor protagonist can't seem to escape prison — even the name of his school has him locked up. Joker attends Shujin Academy, and according to a fan on GameSpot, the school's name is a homonym for "prisoner" in Japanese. It's almost laughable how horrible Joker's luck is. 

Considering the various story points that force Joker into precarious positions, such as the Metaverse Navigator on his phone, he's constantly at the whim of everything around him. Basically, players see that he's a prisoner stuck in his life, no matter where he turns. Whether he's in the Metaverse or at school, Joker just can't get out of jail. 

Joker was originally going to live with Sae Niijima

While it's almost impossible to imagine Joker living with anyone other than Sojiro Sakura, that wasn't the original plan for the game. In fact, the initial idea was for Joker to live with Sae Niijima, which would have definitely changed some things up. In case you need a refresher, Sae Niijima was the prosecutor for Joker's trial throughout the time skips in the game. She also has a sister, Makoto Niijima, who is part of the Phantom Thieves

According to "Persona Stalker Club Episode 5" (via Player.One), an interview with one of the character designers of "Persona 5" led to a conversation about Joker's place of residence. If Joker had lived with Sae, it definitely would have shaken the story up a bit. However, developers felt dedicated to the idea pretty far into production. There's even a test video for the game that actually shows the living space, as Player.One and YouTube comments noted.

Joker's Persona, Arsene, was based on a 1900s character

According to Kotaku, the Phantom Thieves of "Persona 5" have more in common with robbers than just their name. The members of the group all have some kind of tie to prominent thieves throughout history, and Joker is no exception.

Arsene, Joker's Persona, is based on the gentleman thief Arsene Lupin, according to Kotaku. Lupin wanted to steal from the rich and bring wealth to the poor, which makes him more of an antihero than a true villain. However, even Arsene's author got in trouble with the law. 

This "villain" was written by Maurice Leblanc. According to Crime Reads, Leblanc decided to use the famous Sherlock Holmes in a story involving Lupin — without consent from the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. After Doyle complained, Leblanc changed the name of Sherlock Holmes in his story to Holmlock Shears. 

Considering the questionable and illegal actions that Joker and the Phantom Thieves do throughout the game — and Arsene's history as a character involved in the theft of Sherlock Holmes' name — it's easy to understand how the inspiration ties into the characters.

Joker has two real names

If you're someone who likes to use the canonical names for characters in video games, then you might have been confused when trying to figure out Joker's real name. If you've watched the anime, then you'll notice Joker's name is Ren Amamiya. This is also Joker's name in "Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight."

However, the manga for the game has a different name: "Akira Kurusu." TheGamer makes a compelling argument that Atlus has seemingly chosen Ren Amamiya as the canon name, but it could be either. The site mentioned that Ren Amamiya means "Rain Palace," a name full of meaning for plot points in the game, while Akira Kurusu means "Killer Kill," a name that's just a bit, well, lackluster in comparison.

Of course, since Joker can be named anything by players, he can have an almost infinite amount of names. Ren and Akira are just some of the more accepted ones in the fandom, and you'll see him referred to as either of these names in fan discussions.

Joker's glasses are fake

When Joker's in the regular world, he generally always wears his glasses. However, fans noticed that there were several times that the protagonist took his glasses off, and he even watches fireworks without them on. 

Initially, this led a lot of people to believe that his glasses weren't actually meant to help him see. Some people had ideas that the glasses helped him look like a generic high school student in Japan. As one Reddit user said, his glasses could also be a metaphor for a "mask to overcome life's hardships." 

Some people believed the glasses were necessary and that perhaps Joker is just farsighted. One Reddit user even theorized that some type of power in the Metaverse, where Joker doesn't wear glasses and opts for a mask, lets him see. 

In 2019, the theory was confirmed as Morgana, another "Persona 5" character, commented on Joker's glasses when they walk past an optometrist. Morgana pointed out that he always forgets that Joker's glasses are fake.