In 1999, a twin becomes an only child.
Arisato Minato does not look at what horrors surround him. He’s used to it. He just hums to drown out the oppressive silence around him.
Arisato Minako screams when the pretty girl in the pink sweater points a gun at her.
Arisato summons Orpheus a few nights later. Thanatos rips Orpheus open and roars. Arisato collapses.
Yukari tells Minato about her father, how she can empathize with him. He scoffs to himself. She only lost one parents. He lost both his parents and his sister.
Junpei moves into the dorm. Minako can’t stop grinning. She thought he was cute in a dorky way when they first met, and now her chances have increased.
Arisato becomes the field leader.
Arisato sees tarot cards after battle.
Arisato can summon multiple Personae.
The man with the long nose in the blue elevator calls Arisato the Wild Card.
Minato reluctantly joins the kendo club. He’s not really interested in clubs or socializing, but his teacher and Mitsuru won’t stop bothering him until he joins something and it’s either kendo or swim club. At least kendo can help with is sword work.
Minako joins the volleyball team. She wants to get stronger so she can be a good leader and Rio seems nice enough. Plus, the uniform looks pretty good on her.
Igor tells his attendant to not get attached to their current guest. He knows how this fight will end and he doesn’t want more heartbreak than there needs to be.
Elizabeth, Minato thinks, is very much like the person his sister would have been, had she not died many years ago. She’s loud and cheerful and charmingly dumb, just like his sister was when they were children. She finds magic and wonder in every aspect of the world around him. Sometimes, he wishes she was bland and dour, because, like this, he can’t resist the temptation to be near her.
Minako likes taking Theo out. He’s always so intrigued by the human world. Walking with him helps her find her way around the city better, too, and she quiet likes the mystery it surrounds her in. Her friends start asking about the handsome guy they see her with on the weekends and all she does is smile.
They get attached.
Minato hates the way he feels after the July full moon battle. Even though Yukari was absolutely in the more vulnerable position there, he feels violated. He wonders if he would have felt this bad if he was trapped with Akihiko or Junpei instead.
Minako follows after Yukari in Yakushima. Yukari yells at her for always saying what people want to hear, but Minako knows she’s not really angry. She’s just hurt. So Minako tells Yukari about her brother, and the hole his death left in her heart, because she feels like Yukari would understand.
Arisato is just as confused as the rest of S.E.E.S. is by Aigis’s sudden appearance. Agis doesn’t care.
Minato doesn’t really care if Aigis sleeps in his room or not. She’s a robot. But he also doesn’t care enough to fight Yukari on it, so Aigis does not sleep in his room.
Junpei comes home one day with a lovestruck look on his face. No one comments on it, so Minako thinks they don’t notice. She’s not as upset as she expected to be.
The Velvet Room has always been a haven. Guests come and go as they need, and the room changes to suit their hearts. But it is not a destination. It is a pit stop.
Elizabeth is getting on his case about strengthening his bonds, so Minato invites Kaz to the film festival. He hasn’t really talked to Kaz since the summer tournament, and he’s surprised at how happy he is to see his teammate. Maybe there’s something to this whole friendship thing after all.
Minako tries to sneak Koromaru into the film festival. It doesn’t work.
Arisato wants to protest when Ken joins S.E.E.S.. He’s just a kid! He shouldn’t have to fight monsters and see bloodshed! But there’s a strange hardness in his eyes, and Arisato thinks of a lost childhood.
Aigis comes to school. Her blunt words immediately cause a misunderstanding during her introduction. Minato wonders why Yukari always gets so mad when Aigis is around.
Shinjiro isn’t the kind of person Minako expected Akihiko to be friends with. He’s gruff and cold and unwelcoming. He only agrees to join the team when he finds out about Ken. Something about him intrigues Minako. Maybe she’ll try to get to know him.
The journey is more than halfway complete. Igor can tell his attendant is growing restless. He knew this would happen. This is why he doesn’t like it when they get attached. It only ends in misery.
With the school festival coming up, Minato escapes school as quickly as he can to avoid helping with set up. He helped once, at his first middle school, and he hated it. Thankfully, Maiko is willing to put up with his presence as long as he buys her takoyaki, so at least his afternoons aren’t completely wasted.
Minako convinces Yukari to let her and Aigis help her practice her maid routine. Yukari’s face is bright red the whole time. Aigis reveals Junpei has talked to her at length about his maid kink, and Yukari stops being embarrassed and becomes enraged. Her face now promises brimstone and hellfire.
The festival ends up getting cancelled because of the typhoon. Arisato falls into a deep sleep and dreams of another festival, of a fated partner and dark labyrinths and another group of Persona users.
The Lost are increasing. Minato feels like he should care more than he does.
Minako sleeps with Shinjiro because it’s easy. She’s by no means a virgin—the foster system took care of that—and sex is way easier than emotions. She doesn’t feel bad about it until Theo cooly tells her her moon social link is weak due to how she formed it. He’s never sounded more upset with her.
October 4th comes. Shinjiro dies. Arisato wonders how things could have gone differently.
Minato actually likes hanging out with the old couple that runs the bookstore. They don’t push him to talk, content to chatter themselves, and they shove food in his hands when he leaves. Maybe, he thinks, this is what it feels like to have parents.
Minako meets a man at Club Escapade while she’s visiting the old, creepy monk. He has frizzy black hair and five-o’-clock shadow and is staring into the bottom of his glass of rum. He’s just drunk enough to complain about his woman problems, about his current lover and his ex-girlfriend and the children he wants but can’t have with his current lifestyle. He says he wishes he’d just stayed single and warns her to not rush into things. She thinks of Shinjiro.
Igor sees his guest struggling with grief. He remembers his guests from Sumaru, how much they struggled and fought and how many tears were shed. But he knows they’re happy now, raising families and pursuing successful careers. He hopes these children will be similarly content.
Minato isn’t too surprised when the chairman turns on them. He’s never really trusted adults too much in general, so he didn’t let himself get attached. But now he knows Mitsuru has seen two loved ones die, and he finds himself concerned.
Minako forgives Aigis immediately. She didn’t choose to attack them, after all, and her growing empathy swamps her with guilt. So Minako sits next to her on the couch and speaks quietly with her, to show her she’s still a friend.
Mochizuki Ryoji arrives.
Minato is drawn to Ryoji like he’s never been drawn to anyone before. He’s typically annoyed by overly-cheerful people like Ryoji, but Minato can barely stay away from him. It’s like he’s a magnet, not just to Minato, but to everyone around him. He tends to focus his attention on Minato, though. It makes him strangely happy.
Minako is drawn to Ryoji, but she hangs back. Aigis follows her almost everywhere now, hovering at the edges of her vision or clinging to her arm every chance she gets. Aigis doesn’t trust Ryoji. Minako also keeps thinking about Theo’s reaction to her relationship with Shinjiro, how he’d never been so upset with her before, and how most of her relationships with guys eventually lead to sex. So, with Aigis and Theo in mind, she stays as far away from Ryoji as she can.
Arisato, on a trip to the mall, wins a Jack Frost plushie from the arcade’s claw machine. A young boy with frizzy black hair and gunmetal grey eyes watches, astonished. Arisato gives the boy the plushie and ruffles his hair. The boy rushes to two older men standing by the fountain to show off his new toy.
Minato sits by the river with Ryoji in Kyoto. Here, away from their classmates and in such a liminal place, Ryoji drops his ladykiller front and becomes sincere. His voice is soft as he speaks and Minato feels a foreign, unfamiliar warmth fill his chest. When their hands brush together, neither of them pull away.
Theo’s face lights up when Minato gives him a souvenir from Kyoto. He loves getting stuff from the human world, so any little thing, even this stupid little clover charm, makes his day. Igor cuts her an unreadable look when she gives Theo gifts like this. She wonders if he knows something she doesn’t. Then she decides he probably does.
The truth finally comes out. About Ryoji, about the accident, about Arisato. Ryoji gives S.E.E.S. the hardest choice they’ve ever had to face.
Minato asks Igor if he knew about Ryoji. Igor says he knows many things.
Minako brings Theo to her dorm room. No one else is around, thankfully. She doesn’t know how she would explain Theo to them. When they’re in her room, Minato tells him she likes him—really likes him more than she usually likes guys. He lets go for one afternoon, makes love to her, makes her feel like it’s her first time all over again, but tells her the next day that they can’t go on dates anymore. She’s there to see Igor, but she turns right back around and leaves, eyes burning with shame.
S.E.E.S. decide to fight.
Minato kisses Ryoji. It’s not the first time he’s kissed someone, but it’s the first time it’s meant anything. Ryoji clutches at him like he’s an anchor and kisses back with an all-consuming hunger Minato didn’t know was possible. Before they head back downstairs, Ryoji gives Minato his scarf to remember him by when he’s gone. Minato loops it around his neck and buries his nose in it. It smells like Ryoji.
The group climbs Tartarus more quickly than ever. Minako avoids going to the Velvet Room even though she knows she needs better Personae. She just feels so ashamed. She can’t face Theo after everything that happened.
Arisato goes into the battle against Nyx accepting death. The world is worth dying for. Tatsumi Port Island is worth dying for. S.E.E.S. is worth dying for.
Minato’s getting more and more tired every day. No one in the dorm remembers anything about Tartarus or Personae or Nyx. That’s probably for the best, he thinks. The less they remember, the less it will hurt.
Minako spends graduation on the room with Aigis. Her limbs feel heavy and her mouth is full of cotton, so she lets Aigis comb her fingers through her hair and chatter in her ear. She wants to tell Aigis she’s sorry for leaving, but she’s so, so tired. Her eyes close.
Arisato goes to sleep seconds before S.E.E.S. come running onto the roof, ready to celebrate their victory.
The Sea of Souls is black, but not dark. A million stars illuminate the space, revealing swirling blues and purples and pinks, entire galaxies unknown to the eyes of man. It is empty but for two people: a boy with blue hair and grey eyes and a girl with brown hair and red eyes. They stand an immeasurable distance away, facing each other. Each sees a faint recognition flickering in the other’s eyes. As one, they say, “Who are you?”