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Character Name: Ryoji Mochizuki
Series: Persona 3
Timeline: Post-game, Persona 3: FES
Canon Resource Link: Ryoji Mochizuki Persona 3
Character History: What is a shadow?

Shadows are born from within the human soul, often carrying the darkness and negativity that humans keep hidden. They are monsters that have been attacking humans, who must be defeated to rid the world of Apathy Syndrome, a state in which someone who came in contact with a shadow became listless and lost. Secretly, within Gekkoukan High’s walls, a group of high schoolers known as S.E.E.S. had been tasked with a unique purpose: to eliminate shadows within Tartarus, a tower that appears during the secret 25th hour of the day.

It is during this time that shadows hunt, and the world becomes populated by humans sealed within coffins and a very few unfortunate people who are left to fend for themselves, often falling victim to Apathy Syndrome.

S.E.E.S., with their secret weapons and extensions of the spirit called Persona, had managed to defeat twelve Greater Shadows within Tartarus and were living life as though it’d been dealt with until a transfer student came into their lives. Ryoji Mochizuki claimed to have transferred into the school because his wealthy family was overseas, and quickly settled into school life with relative ease. He was something of a flirt, with an amicable and charismatic personality, seeming to get along with everyone. He quickly made friends with members of the investigation team, even though he didn’t know their true identity. One member of S.E.E.S., an android named Aigis, was hostile towards him for reasons even she couldn’t explain. Despite this, he became comfortable friends with the protagonist and his entourage, going on field trips with them to Kyoto during November and scheming to see girls at the hot spring only to pass out from the heat. Happy-go-lucky and kind, Ryoji didn’t seem out of the norm at all.

(It just so happens he’s a bit of a ditz, though. He often idly comments on things he finds out about the world as if he’s a tourist, only to laugh about it a few minutes later. This care free attitude comes with a lack of memory, commenting that he feels like he knows the protagonist from somewhere as well as Aigis, who views him as nothing short of a threat. He feels nostalgic over things like rings, which remind him of the importance of making memories, and while he’s constantly pressed about the idea of memories, he loves hanging out with people and making them.)

Despite his ignorance, the protagonist had known Ryoji for a long time. Once going by the nickname Pharos, during the course of the game he was a boy who’d be introduced to the protagonist by having him sign a waiver that he would have to live with the consequences of his own actions. Appearing every so often during the night, he would talk to Minato cryptically about things he couldn’t remember, often somber but hopeful. At one point in time Aigis had sealed this boy away within Minato, after the death of his parents in a car accident. This was because Pharos (and Ryoji) was the Nyx Avatar, the personification of death itself. Ten years later on the same bridge, Aigis would confront the now grown up and possessing-his-own-body Ryoji, who would become overwhelmed by the memories flooding back into him and attack Aigis easily, disabling her attacks and damaging her thoroughly.

Gone is the charming and affable Ryoji from that point on. With the Dark Hour still happening and the threat of the oncoming end of the world, the Fall, the team had a lot on their plate with his sudden, antagonistic reveal.

When he shows up again, he ends up telling the entire investigation team that there’s nothing more he can do but try to erase their memories before the end of the world comes and destroys everything and everyone, by means of letting himself be killed. He’s not at all happy about this, either, switching to a defeatist tone as he informs them that fighting Nyx is quite literally hopeless and trying to pursue a way to avoid the end of the world is doubly so. He leaves them to ponder the decision of killing him only for the Investigation team and Minato to rebuke him, saying they will find a way to stop him and the end of the world all at once. Even after showing them his true form as a shadow, there was no persuading them otherwise.

At first, he’s disappointed in them for not choosing to live out their last days in happiness, then he informs them on how to fight Nyx in their futile effort to save the world. Seemingly wishing them luck, he disappears from that point forward, reappearing at the final fight as the monstrous Nyx Avatar, a shadow who ultimately tries and fails to stop the investigation team and particularly Minato from using the Great Seal upon him, thus saving everyone.

Something in Ryoji marvels at the capabilities of humans, how much they can endure and stand against in the face of death. Even when his voice comes to comfort them towards the end, he’s full of wonder that they could pull it off at all. It’s the curiosity of humans that keeps him coming back to them, and he treats people with that same kind of respect, even if he can be rather hopeless when he's serious. Beneath all the fluff and turmoil of his short existence is someone who’s genuinely softhearted, who wants to do right by others and wants to see them live and have happiness. He’s the exact opposite of an ultimate antagonist, in fact, were it not his job as the avatar of death, he wouldn’t even hurt a fly. He craves sincerity and understanding, acting as an outsider to the world, commenting on how tranquil things are around the MC, perhaps because they’re with him. It really does feel like Ryoji marvels at the beauty of the world itself, not just the girls in it.

All in all, he’s an interesting character who goes through the pages of his story with hope, happiness, melancholy and regret for what he has to do. A character tethered to a purpose he had no part in choosing and definitely doesn’t want, opting do to only what he can for the people he cares about.

Abilities/Special Powers:
——Nyx Avatar
As the Nyx Avatar, Ryoji can wield the power of all thirteen Greater Shadows, able to cast a multitude of spells and disarm people where they stand. While he’s very much a pacifist by nature if not by choice, He can disable someone just by looking at them and concentrating. While people with great power are able to take him down with the power of teamwork and a great seal, he’s unstoppable by nature as Death itself, wielding the powers gained through Nyx’s influence.

However, by choice, Ryoji doesn’t like to fight, so it probably won’t come up often in Entranceway. Addendum, June 17th: I'm willing to nerf him down to a regular persona user's abilities because I just realized saying he can do a lot of everything is unreasonable in a game setting. He also would appreciate not having to be a being of wanton destruction.

Third-Person Sample:

It'd been a while since he'd seen the blue sky. Then again, he supposed he thought he'd never see it again.

Jumping back and forth from existence to nonexistence was like being stuck in a revolving door, immediately somewhere new the moment he opened his eyes every single time he did. How on Earth did he manage to fool himself so many times when he was a student? Going home to an empty house, thinking it was normal? Or did he just blink out of existence then, and existed only within the school? The memories are as hazy as they are tumultuous, his time living normally the only speck of glitter in an otherwise dark abyss of 'being'.

How hot water could be, how cold the December air bit at him during the cold. How high some girl's voices went, how low a whisper could be. He'd been an outsider the entire time and it wouldn't do him any good to fool himself over it, but imagine not being an outsider. Imagine laughing, light, and play as just a part of your being, growing up in the world. Even for a person living with unimaginable misery, pain seemed preferable to a great nothing.

He'd been teased with things like that, honestly. The puppet strings on his wrists pulling him every which way as her avatar made it seem almost unfair. But the sky was out and he was somewhere new, air filling his lungs and wind against his hair. He was a being again, rather than a silent entity walking through the dreams and horrors of men, collecting them at the end of their time with a solemn, gravitational pull.

Ryoji Mochizuki was the name he managed to possess for only so long, but it was more dear to him than anything. Ryoji Mochizuki had friends, however fleeting, and he had memories, long replayed within his mind when his mind was present.

He'd keep it for now. That long enduring title, that marker that made people see him as human as he saw them as more than human.

First-Person Sample:

I'm ... alive?

Well, no, reasonably I can't possibly be alive, but existing is another story.

[ The boy on the network is muttering to himself someone curiously, looking around as the feed moves with him, tapping on doors and looking inside them, wandering into rooms he thinks might contain something special. He's so utterly baffled by his being here that he forgets his manners with some of them, turning the doorknob and just charging in without so much of a hello. Luckily, it seems these rooms are empty. ]

Oh wow... this place is big! And to think I could even-- you know-- uh... To think I could even be again! Let me tell you, it was really vague there for a bit. I'm not sure entirely where I was or how I was, but I know I was...

[ He pauses. ] Really happy. For everyone, they did such a good job. I'm glad knowing the place I treasured so much is safe.

... but this is a new place, isn't it? Can someone tell me what it is?


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Ryoji Mochizuki

June 2017

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