Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

Today Atlus released a new trailer for the long anticipated Persona 5, showcasing the first real look at the setting and some of the characters in the game as well as revealing the game will now be coming to both PS3 and PS4 in 2015. Let's take a careful look and see what we can glean from this trailer.

The trailer opens with a shot of a train, specifically looking at the advertisements on the train.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

Here is a translation for the ads.
"It happened again!? People are running away."
"Taxes are increasing again!? Could this be a controversy?"
"A popular personality has been suspected of tax evasion. Accused of hiding several million yen in income."
"An uproar broke out over an affair with the innocent schoolgirl idol. Officials involved in the matter are staying quite about the identity of her lover."
"Dark rumors are spreading about a major food chain's performance decreasing."
"There is a new M.O. for telephone fraud, this one of which targets the elderly."
"Threatening phone calls have been made to those who recently won the big lottery prize. Personal information has been distributed."
"A public prosecutor fights against falsified evidence!"
"Extensive bullying."
"Died in their room by an apparent strangling."
"A rapid succession of assaults has occurred."
"A dangerous car accident has recently been reported."
(Thanks to MysticDistance on Neogaf for the updated translation)

It's likely looking at these ads that things aren't looking so great in general in society at that moment as we don't see any positive ads at all, as well as quite a lot of the ads have a connection to social media. Any of these could potentially be connected to the plot and the overall themes of the game.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

And next we are introduced to a boy on a train. The scene is evocative of the beginnings of Persona 3 and 4 where the protagonist began the game arriving by train in a similar fashion to this and suggesting this is the protagonist of Persona 5. Judging by his demeanor and appearance, we might assume he is introverted. He also has a fairly melancholy expression on his face throughout the trailer. Consider this quote from series director Katsura Hashino:

"In today's world there's no shortage of people that are bored or discontent with their lives. They're at a dead end, chained down to a world which they resent being a part. Persona 5, in that sense, is a game about freedom."

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

Next we get a shot of some girls on the train. They have different uniforms than our protagonist, so we can probably disregard them as potential characters.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

Here we have our protagonist on the train in a school uniform. This looks like the uniform for a fairly strict school from the military motifs see on its design which could also play into the themes that Hashino has revealed the game concerns.

"The characters…are out to destroy that which suffocates people in today's society… I want players to come away from this game feeling they have the power to take on the world around them. - Katsura Hashino on Persona 5

Also of note it that he has two chevrons on his turtleneck as well as a two button on his lapel, meaning he will likely be in second year of high school. Overall the design of the character in my mind helps to reinforce the assumption of his introspective nature.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

We cut to a scene off the train in what looks like Shibuya, Tokyo. This reveals the setting of the game in the big city, a contrast to the small town of Inaba in Persona 4. Now look to the very far right screen.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

We see three quick cut-ins that look eerily like cut-in shown in battle when a party member scores a critical hit. Could these be a hint towards characters in the game?



Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

Our protagonist is now off the train, cellphone in hand. If you look at the image above, notice each features at least one person on their cellphone. This suggests cellphone communication and texting will be a big part of the game, and if done in the vein of Catherine, a potentially exciting new part of building social links.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

If we zoom in, we can see text on his uniform. My best guess is "Shujin High School". "Shujin" means prisoner in Japanese and this would certainly fit given the imagery we've seen so far of the game with the chains and the chairs. Perhaps this is a high level and high pressure prep school our protagonist attends?


Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

And now we zoom at out and see the new logo for the game. It's almost evocative of a NASCAR logo in my opinion, so I'm not too sure if there's any deeper meaning behind its design.

We now see our protagonist in the midst of the crowd looking rather confused and it appears that time has stopped for everyone except for the protagonist.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

But more importantly for a split second, we see something easy to miss but potentially quite notable.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

A girl in a scrunchy walks by very quickly across the frame. However, we can see she's a lot more detailed than the rest of the people in the frame. Why would the animators put so much extra effort in animating this girl compared to the rest of the people (with the exception of the main character) and giving her a rather distinctive look? We can compare her face to the girls on the train car, and we can easily see scrunchy girl's face is much more detailed. In addition she's consistent with series character designer Shigenori Soejima's design style, which leads me to believe that she's mostly likely a character in the game and a likely party member.

As some have pointed out, she is closer up which may account for the increased level of detail. However, compare her design to another close up of the business man shown a little later.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

Notice how his face is less detailed, and he possesses no distinctive features? Soejima likes to create characters with distinctive features such as Yukiko's hairband or Yosuke's hair and headphones, and Scrunchy girl is consistent with this trend.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

Finally we get a shot of some flames in the crowd, suggesting something supernatural is happening that only our protagonist can see and it further suggests time has stopped for everyone except the protagonist. Also on the centre video display we see an idol who looks a lot like Rise, which could be a fun call-back to the previous game.

Let's Deconstruct the Persona 5 Trailer

And now to end the trailer we get an eye cut in shot of our protagonist. Notice in the flames we can see an ominous shape, and he is much close to the flames if we take the above picture as from his perspective. This suggests that some time has elapsed between these frames.

So what does everyone think about the trailer? Did I miss anything?

Edit: Thanks to those in the comments below who pointed out the time stop. Since a lot of people were wondering about scrunchy-girl, I've edited the article to reflect my response to this. Thanks!