Persona 5: The Secrets of the Reclusive Hermit Arcana

Author : tinley1
Publish Date : 2021-01-20


Persona 5: The Secrets of the Reclusive Hermit Arcana

As the major arcana go, the Hermit's significance is fairly easy to grasp. Traditionally depicted as a man with a lantern and walking stick in a remote location, such as the top of a hill, or a cave, the Hermit represents hidden insight, introspection, and solitude. In Persona 5, the Hermit's confidant, is none other than Futaba Sakura, who eventually serves as the Phantom Thieves' navigator.

When players first meet Futaba, she is a borderline hikikomori, which is a Japanese term referring to people—particularly youth—with extreme reclusive or agoraphobic tendencies. Like Persona 5's other confidants, Futaba herself represents the good, or upright qualities of her arcana, while her situation represents the inverted, or negative qualities of the Hermit.

The time she spent in isolation allowed her to become an incredibly skilled hacker, offering the team crucial wisdom and insight, but said isolation is a direct result of guilt and trauma pertaining to her mother's death. Another aspect of the Hermit arcana is that it can represent rest and recovery, which is again fitting for Futaba, given her long slumber after the Thieves clear her palace.

In the context of tarot readings, the Hermit is usually more of a destination than a guide, referring to a place or state of mind where the Fool can gain clarity and self-awareness. But it is fitting that Futaba, as the adoptive daughter of Sojiro Sakura, the Hierophant arcana, would serve as the party's guide. It's something akin to carrying on a family tradition.

Futaba is the only Phantom Thief whose persona does not refer to a fictional or historical outlaw, like Captain Kidd of the Chariot Arcana, or Robin Hood of the Justice arcana. Rather, her UFO-shaped Necronomicon is still a clever reference. The player comes to learn that when Futaba started hacking, she created the pseudonym Medjed, which is later coopted by other hackers who come after the Thieves. Medjed is the name of an Egyptian deity mentioned in the Book of the Dead, which is a funerary text describing burial rituals. That detail is important, because the infamous Necronomicon—the invention of the American cosmic horror author, H.P. Lovecraft—roughly translates to Book of the Dead.

Another important feature about the Egyptian god Medjed, is that he is unseen, and incredibly secretive. There are only a few hieroglyphs referencing him, and apart from the fact that he can fly and fire laser beams from his eyes, the only thing that is known about him is that he is a member of the House of Osiris, and Osiris is the lord of the underworld and judge of the dead. Similarly, the Necronomicon, is a work of fiction whose mystique lies in Lovecraft's repeated, cryptic references to the text. Readers rarely get any insight into the tome's contents, save that it is a grimoire or magical spell book full of forbidden knowledge, though other creators and fiction have featured the book as well, including the Evil Dead franchise.

Fafnir is the second-most powerful Hermit persona, and one of the weirdest persona designs in Persona 5. Somehow, Atlus transformed a fairly standard, greedy dragon from Norse mythology into a cybernetic nightmare serpent...with an adorable red heart symbol on its chest. That heart is no cute accident, however.

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