Marukyu Outtake

Souji hefts his broadsword and takes another cautious step forward, silently cursing when the amalgamated Shadow continues to claw its way forward along the floor. The effort at silence is probably unnecessary with the irritating, pounding music in the gaudy Marukyu joint, but it's always better to try to be over-prepared than under. The light-haired Japanese high-schooler adjusts his grip on the western sword and makes a deep step forward, simultaneously bringing down his blade in a powerful chop against the amalgamate Shadow so his team has the first strike when the amalgamate swirls into a coherent form.

The sword passes right through the shadow's back and hits the floor with a clunk.

"What?"

"'Sup," the Shadow greets jovially before it turns far faster than it has a right to, swinging a clawed hand to knock Souji into Chie Satonaka. "My advantage."

The team of Japanese high schoolers scramble to regain their footing as the swirl of black coalesces from all around them. Souji is just coming back to his feet in time to see the trailing visual flare from the Shadows.

"Hope you like enrage."

Souji's vision hazes red and he snarls as he begins his charge. "I'll squish you bugs!"

"Hope you like reflect," the Adamant Beetle replies with unnecessary cheer, casually turning into the enraged Souji. The high school boy's sword bounces off its carapace and flies straight back into his own face.

He goes down like a red sack of potatoes.

Souji collapses into a boneless heap and the Shadows high-five each other as the letters "Game Over" start to form. Before all light fades away, Yukiko taps her tessen against the side of her head. "Why is everything ending when Konohana-sakuya has Recarm? If Souji can use a Revival Bead on us, why can't we just do the same thing when he gets knocked out?"


Author's Notes: Written to commemorate some of the frustration of the otherwise excellent Megami Tensei: Persona series. I'm not sure if "Souji" is the canon or fanon name for Persona 4's main character, but I've seen it in enough places that I'll take it for granted even if it's not my chosen name. The specific depiction here never actually happened to me (I got lucky), but Gamefaqs' Taren Wanderer isn't alone in having cheap shots hand a Game Over. Amagi Yukiko's line is straight from my own mouth when I got hit by a Mamudo in a later fight that missed everybody but me.

According to the Persona series, when a character is "K.O.-ed", they're just unconscious, with the only possible reasonable exception being Arisato Minato of Persona 3 (and I still doubt the explanation there, just as a gameplay element). So why is it that it's instant Game-Over whenever Main-kun dies when there are no problem reviving teammates, or even letting them revive each other? I call artificial difficulty and bad design! Otherwise fun game, though.