Persona 5 launches worldwide, and a launch party is held in Cubao.

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The crew of The Arcana Project, with guest cosplayers, form the Persona 5 cosplay group that stand out among the rest during the Persona 5 Launch Party.

Persona 5, a part of the popular JRPG franchise, has been released to the worldwide audience — and just a few days after, a local fan-organized launch party celebrating its release was held at Cubao Expo.

The said event, held inside the Cosmic Gorgons Gaming and Art Lounge, featured the gameplay demos of Persona 5’s International release, a Persona 4 Arena Ultimax tournament, even a Persona 5 themed Tarot Card reading booth. There were also side-activities such as Trivia Games which tested the knowledge of the fans about the franchise as a whole.

Around 30 guests were present during the party, filling up the two levels of the gaming lounge.

Prior to the event proper, I was able to interview Gem (AeonEri) from the event organizing team of The Arcana Project via email. I asked a few questions about who they are, what they do and what they will do in the future.

What made you like Persona (and perhaps what made you build the Arcana Project)?

I (Gem) personally started with Persona 3, which was the first Atlus game I have played. The other members of TAP were one of the first fans of the Persona franchise or were introduced to the franchise through other Atlus. What made me like Persona as a whole were the flow of the story and the challenge of the game. The characters too, were very likable to me.

TAP started from a few of my friends who wanted to bring their love for the fandom by connecting to other fans, or capture the interest of those starting out their journey through the franchise. From our last event, we did not expect so many people who loved the same series as we did. It’s nice to have to know we have a large, positive, Persona-loving community.

How’s the Project, as well as the community of Persona fans, doing so far?

The Project’s a bit quiet at the moment since we have our own lives outside of TAP, but we’ve cooked up something in celebration for the arrival of Persona 5 — some members have already released some cosplay shoots of them in P5 characters.

Upstairs, there’s a Persona 4 Ultimax Arcade Tournament (Dubbed as the “Mona Belt”), just beside another demo play area.

As for the community, I believe they’re as hyped as we are. In fact, they are looking forward to the events that we (TAP) are currently planning. It’s a huge honor since we have the largest community compared to other Persona/Atlus groups in the country. We believe the community is with us, and it does give a bit of a pressure to ensure the community remains happy and positive as ever.

The Arcana Project in action.

What is expected to be of Arcana Project in the future?

Besides fan events, we hope to be part of something bigger in the world of Persona (and other Atlus titles), but for now we love being a group that allows other fans to be who they are.

Post-Event Discussions

I’ve followed up some post-event chit-chat with the event team and we discussed about the uniqueness of the Persona franchise compared to other JRPGs, most especially about:

  1. Psychology — From our discussion with TAP colleagues Gaz and Vinni, the whole Persona series started over a discussion on making a game infused with psychology.
  2. The linearity of persona games — P1 is about rumors, P2 is about regrets manifesting into a shadow, P3 relates to the high suicidal rates, P4 is about finding the truth about oneself despite myriad of lies, and P5 is about oppression, slavery and injustice.
  3. Persona as Atlus’ evolving experiment — Persona 1 is an experiment for Persona 2. Both are experiments for Persona 3. Persona 4 shows improvements from Persona 3 and P5 is the culmination of all of the things Atlus did in the Persona franchise.

Something in the back of my mind says this: “What if the characters from Persona were cats? They will then yell ‘Purr-so-nya!’ to summon their Personas. Meow.” See you in the next events!

(The photos you see on this post are also on the AniZone Facebook page, as yours truly contribute to their Media Team from time to time.)