Persona 5 and the Punk of Pope Joan, with Adam Osborn

ETAO Podcast, Episode 30.

Medievalist, archnerd, and outspoken Persona-enjoyer Adam Osborn returns to discuss Persona 5—as well as visual novels, waifus, and Pope Joan, though not always at the same time and not necessarily in that order. Thrill as we trip over each other trying to remark on everything remarkable about this mad JRPG opus.

Persona 5 is an odd beast, even by the series’ lofty standards of oddness. It’s at once a refined version of existing Persona and Shin Megami Tensei conventions, a savage assessment of Japanese (and global) small-and-large-p politics, and a parable about the indispensable role of punk in everything from education to religion.

If you’re new to Persona, and if you’ve got a few extra hours on your hands, then our previous discussion about 3 and 4 might be a better entry point. And while we have some minor SPOILERS throughout, the really heavy ones start at 01:31:31.

There is also one final boss-related detour from 00:09:05 to 00:10:12.

———
• I was experimenting with a new microphone this week, and I’m not sure that the experiment was entirely successful, but hey, it’s listenable.

Shoji Meguro. I can’t think of anyone else whose work I like that much whose name I forget that often.

• There’s a surprisingly straightforward connection between Persona 5’s final boss, by the way, and a certain figure from Gnosticism. (Now, go outside of Gnosticism, and the reference remains relevant but gets a little harder to read).

• Here’s a translator’s take on the irksome aspects of the English-language script for Persona 5.

• And here’s the interview with Katsura Hashino that I mentioned.

• Adam called me out, kindly and succinctly, on my constant use of the word “interesting” as, like, interrogative punctuation.

• Here’s that Film Crit Hulk Article again.

• It was indeed Jeremy Bentham who first designed panoptic prisons, and who wrote about the Panopticon as “A new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example: and that, to a degree equally without example, secured by whoever chooses to have it so, against abuse.” So that’s more than a little relevant to Persona 5’s heart-stealing business, not to mention its imagery, I daresay.

• Michel Foucault did then, of course, write extensively about panopticons, most famously in Discipline and Punish. I was weirdly ready to believe that Foucault had somehow been the one to inspire Bentham, not vice-versa, despite Bentham having lived and worked about two hundred years earlier. That’s how large Foucault looms (if you’ve been to grad school, anyway).

• Lastly, but my no means leastly, here’s that MonsterTalk episode wherein Robert M. Price talks about Satan, the Devil, and how those two figures became one and the same. A moniker very close to Satanael comes up, even!
———

“All The People Say (Season 2)” by Carpe Demon.
“Life Will Change (Instrumental)” from the Persona 5 OST by Shoji Meguro.

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