One of Persona 5 Royal’s retro games spoils Akechi’s arc
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal.
Between the epic adventures of the Metaverse game targeting corrupt and predatory individuals, Persona 5 Royal gives players plenty of other things to do to strengthen their relationships and social skills. One of the side activities of the game allows players to earn social stat points by playing different retro games. But while this was a feature in Persona 5the original version of, Royal adds a new game that references a major character’s arc and spoils its conclusion.
Like most other retro games, “Featherman Seeker” can be purchased at a store in Akihabara. Completing it involves a simple mini-game where players have to memorize a sequence of button inputs and then repeat them within a set time limit. Doing it correctly earns Knowledge points. Between these, the three levels of the game tell a story based on the popular in the universe Feather series that reflects Goro Akechi’s main arc quite clearly – and could actually make it darker.
What is the story of Featherman Seeker?
“Featherman Seeker” tells the story of human training to become the sixth Phoenix Ranger. Upon awakening in a space lab, the player character is greeted by a scientist named Osagiri who, after training them with a few tests and a battle against an alien threat, gives them the name Gray Pigeon. She then tells the player that they might even overtake the Feathermen someday. The next level sees Gray Pigeon fighting a real battle with Osagiri providing information via a communication device in their helmet. After coming out victorious, she tells Gray Pigeon “There is a power within you that is still lying dormant.”
In his third and final chapter, Gray Pigeon fights Osagiri as a final test of strength. However, after accepting his defeat, the Feathermen arrive, stalking an Infinibug reading from Gray Pigeon. Osagiri asks the player to fight (with Morgana noting that the game doesn’t offer a deny option), and Gray Pigeon is able to defeat the Feathermen. This is when Osagiri is revealed to be Alya, an alien officer the Feathermen fought.
Alya reveals that Gray Pigeon’s training was just a cover-up and that they were never going to become a Featherman. Instead, the Mad Scientist infected the player with Parasitic Infinibugs and irradiated them with Feathernix Waves, turning them from a human into a weapon meant to destroy the Feathermen. In the end, Gray Pigeon awakens their ultimate power and is transported to another dimension with just Alya, killing them both with a bomb.
How Featherman Seeker’s story resembles Goro Akechi’s arc
While not an individual narrative, Gray Pigeon’s storyline is quite similar to Persona 5 from Goro Akechi’s point of view. Both characters have been manipulated into being villains, both have powers that rival the heroes they fight and both ultimately sacrifice themselves to make sure the good guys live to fight another day. Morgana even says “Pigeon has become a Phoenix Ranger after all, hasn’t he …?” which is comparable to how, despite everything, Crow belongs to the Phantom Thieves.
Much like Gray Pigeon was used as a tool by Alya, Akechi was transformed into a Metaverse assassin by Masayoshi Shido. And while Akechi knew from the start what kind of man he was working with, in the end he and Gray Pigeon are both blinded by revelations about their benefactors. In Akechi’s case, he learns from his cognitive self that Shido always knew Goro was his biological son and planned to use him as a scapegoat for these crimes. It is at this point that Akechi traps himself with Shido’s knowledge of him, allowing the Phantom Thieves to escape the palace at the cost of his own life.
Alya could also represent Yaldabaoth, who serves as Persona 5is the real villain. The man-made god of control is the one who chose Akechi to take on the phantom thieves in a rigged game meant to prove that humanity wants to be controlled. Yaldabaoth gave Akechi the Wild Card which allows him to wield multiple Personas, although his power is limited to Robin Hood and Loki due to his inability to trust or bond.
It’s also possible that “Featherman Seeker” has even darker implications for Akechi’s backstory. While Osagiri and Alya have similarities to Shido and Yaldabaoth, her status as a scientist whose studies and experiments involve the source of mysterious powers makes her more like Wakaba Isshiki, Futaba’s mother and one of the earliest victims of ‘Akechi. While it’s not clear if the two have ever met outside of Akechi, causing Wakaba to stop mentally, it’s possible given Shido’s involvement and the other parallels with retro gaming that she was somehow involved in Akechi’s discovery of her powers, which the game never shows. The similarities between Osagiri and Wakaba are stronger in the Japanese version, as both share the same verbal tic.
Other links between Featherman Seeker and Akechi
Either way, the similarities between Akechi and Gray Pigeon go beyond the story itself. Gray Pigeon’s dormant powers could refer to Akechi’s Wild Card abilities, which are only revealed in the final fight against him. Alya also explains her choice to transform a human by explaining, “I had assumed there were no longer humans with a sense of justice,” a reference to Goro’s arcane. This “Featherman Seeker” increases the player’s knowledge and provides another connection to Akechi, as players must reach rank four to reach rank seven of this confidant. Plus, Akechi’s Featherman DLC costume even dresses her up as Gray Pigeon.
Since “Featherman Seeker” is new in Royal, it’s likely Atlus intentionally wanted back eagle-eyed fans to spot the parallels. Since this is only a mini-game divided into three parts (all of which need to be seen for all the similarities to be clear), there is little risk to newcomers. Actually spoil the main twists for themselves. Plus, even if they did, there are plenty of other surprises in Persona 5 Royal involving Akechi that go beyond what this retro game teases.
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