Persona 3 is easily one of my favourite games of all due in no small part to persistent themes and symbolism of death, dread, the tower card in tarot and perhaps most importantly the choices we make in the face of these things.
I've heard from more then one friend that I always come of as possitive. I'm enthusiastic and optimistic while other people are freaking and worrying I'm taking it all with a grin and coming out on top. Much like the title of the game my outward appearence is just a persona while not a lie its not the whole truth either. Its a mask that doesn't hide my face but obscures it and to some extent protects it.
Through out persona 3 the main characters deal with a series of increasingly dark themes. People around town being dried of energy and deisre, a so called apathy syndrom leaving them bleak and lifeless. Stories of individual loss both of friends and in the lives of people they meet, divorces, failed relationships abound. Further more the specter of death literally haunts the game. A powerful monster thanatos stalking the party through the dungeons, and the growing presence of Nyx the final boss of the game. Nyx a black winged elegantly crafted monster wearing the porceline face of a former friend grinning down on the party in the final encounter. Unstopable, unkillable an ever looming threat, through the course of a grewling 14 stage battle each defeat yielding only a new form and a continuation of the fight. Its grinning face never changing as you combat each stage.
It seems an apt face for my troubles, always looming in one form or another even in the best of times, strikeing mostly at night, the midnight hour the time in the game when the monsters appear. It brings me low beats me down and I struggle and fight to vanquish it. It goes away but never for long, hours, days, weeks and its back, the black looming monstrosity grinning down at me. Knowing all too well that my victory was fleeting it is back again a new form, a new shape a new struggle, as I muster the energy to push it back again.
True to all predictions Nyx can't be killed. The after 14 stages it unleashes waves of energy crushing the player and their friends to the ground. The party unable to rise as wave after wave flow over them. It is only through the power of his social links, the friendships and people he's come to know that the protaganist can rise off the ground an vanquish Nyx. But it is not killed, no it takes all the energy the protagonist has to seal it away, unable to harm the world for a time as the main character slips away and dies with his friends a few months later. There is something... comforting in such an end. I've long found the heroic sacrifice of the main character strikes a deep chord with me. A meaningful death...