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The Phantom Thieves of Hearts, also known simply as the Phantom Thieves, is the heroic faction in the video game Persona 5, and the one which all of the main protagonists belong to. Sick of the deception, hypocrisy and corruption around them, the Phantom Thieves are devoted to "stealing" the corrupt hearts of "evil" adults in order to change and reform society for the better, although they have also targeted teenagers such as Kazuya Makigami and Futaba Sakura. At one point, the player can name the group which will be shown on calling cards and online features with the default name of "The Phantoms".
The group is initially founded by Ren Amamiya, Ryuji Sakamoto, Ann Takamaki and Morgana, when the volleyball teacher of Shujin Academy, Suguru Kamoshida, is revealed to have abused many of his students and molested Ann's friend, Shiho Suzui, which leads to the girl's attempted suicide, as well as being responsible for leaking Ren's criminal record, breaking Ryuji's leg and therefore ending his track career and blackmailing Ann to act as his girlfriend just to make sure her best friend could stay on the volleyball team. However, since Shiho is in a coma, and no other student is willing to speak against Kamoshida, nor having any proof, the three decide to make Kamoshida confess his own crimes by stealing the arrogance in his heart in infiltrating his Palace in the Metaverse. After their success, they initially intend to end the Phantom Thieves after the Kamoshida debacle, but after encountering an arrogant politician, Masayoshi Shido, they decide to continue their activities, eventually being known worldwide and being joined by various other members throughout their activities.
It is subjective whether or not the Phantom Thieves are "right" or "wrong." While some view them as heroes who fight criminals and save the day, Goro Akechi deems them to be criminals themselves who have no right to forcefully change the hearts of people. With the increasing numbers of their target's hearts changed, the Phantom Thieves begin to struggle with the question of whether the end justifies the means, questioning the morality of their "justice," and their determination to reform society often wavers as a result. This is especially true after Kunikazu Okumura's death, as the Phantom Thieves are labelled violent murderers by society and become despised by many.
List of Phantom Thieves
- The Phantom/Joker (Leader/Founder)
- Ann Takamaki/Panther (Co-founder)
- Ryuji Sakamoto/Skull (Co-founder)
- Morgana/Mona (Co-founder/Transport/Initial navigator)
- Yusuke Kitagawa/Fox
- Makoto Niijima/Queen (Strategist)
- Futaba Sakura/Oracle* (Navigator)
- Haru Okumura/Noir
- Goro Akechi/Crow
- Kasumi Yoshizawa/Violet**
- Zenkichi Hasegawa/Wolf***
- * Futaba's codename is Navi in the Japanese version of the game.
- ** In Persona 5 Royal only.
- *** In Persona 5 Strikers only.
- Every member of the Phantom Thieves is written as a contrast/foil to one or two of the main characters in the previous two games, Persona 3 and Persona 4.
- Ren contrasts Minato Arisato and Yu Narukami.
- Ann contrasts Yukari Takeba.
- Ryuji contrasts Yosuke Hanamura and Kanji Tatsumi.
- Morgana contrasts Koromaru and Teddie.
- Yusuke contrasts Junpei Iori and Ken Amada.
- Makoto contrasts Akihiko Sanada and Chie Satonaka.
- Futaba contrasts Fuuka Yamagishi and Rise Kujikawa.
- Haru contrasts Mitsuru Kirijo and Yukiko Amagi.
- Akechi contrasts Naoto Shirogane.
- As a group, the Phantom Thieves contrast the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad and the Investigation Team in many ways.
- While S.E.E.S. are a group of special agents trying to save the world from an otherworldly threat, and the Investigation Team are a group of amateur detectives trying to solve a series of mysterious murders, the Phantom Thieves are a group of vigilantes enforcing their own form of justice on those they believe deserve it.
- S.E.E.S. and the Investigation Team react to the situation around them, while the Phantom Thieves decide their path by themselves.
- S.E.E.S. and the Investigation Team have a single headquarters for their entire story, while the Phantom Thieves change their headquarters several times over the game.
- S.E.E.S. and the Investigation Team are united by a common goal from the beginning, while the Phantom Thieves all initially join the group for their own reasons and are only united by a common goal later on.
- Several members of S.E.E.S. and the Investigation Team are very popular at their respective schools, while all of the Phantom Thieves are outcasts who are shunned by society (with the slight exception of Akechi, who is a celebrity, but whose fans easily turn on him when he's proven wrong).
- The Investigation Team gain their Personas by accepting their own Shadows, while the Phantom Thieves gain their Personas by standing up to the Shadows of their enemies (with the exception of Futaba, who gains her Persona the same way as the Investigation Team).
- The Investigation Team explore labyrinths based on their friends' deepest insecurities, while the Phantom Thieves explore labyrinths based on their enemies' deepest desires.
- S.E.E.S. and the Phantom Thieves both explore a massive, mysterious labyrinth, but while S.E.E.S. explores Tartarus, a structure that's based on a single building and goes upwards, the Phantom Thieves explore Mementos, a structure based on an entire area and goes downwards.
- S.E.E.S. are very professional and so rarely converse during operations, while the Phantom Thieves are more laid-back and so banter frequently.