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This Sae Niijima guide is dedicated to one of the many supporting characters you will encounter during your journey in Persona 5. She plays a central role in the police and government investigating the existence of the Phantom Thieves. In addition, she has a more personal stake in the matters at hand. Undoubtedly, Niijima is one of the most influential parts of the beloved JRPG.
I created this Sae Niijima guide all about her to address this fantastic character. You can find out about her history in the games (plenty of spoilers are incoming), the Confidant that she has and how to rank it up, her various appearances, and much more. If you are an existing fan of hers or brand new, you are in the perfect place to learn everything you need to know about Niijima.
Bottom Line Up Front
Sae Niijima is one of the supporting characters in Persona 5 who works for the Tokyo Special Investigation Department. In layman’s terms, for the purposes of this game, she is the main person who is hunting down the Phantom Thieves. Her entire job is to prosecute the main characters.
But there is a familial connection involved since Sae is the older sister of Makoto Niijima, Queen of the Phantom Thieves herself, but she has no idea. Sae may not be a member of the team herself, but she plays a significant role in their storyline. This is helped by the fact that she is one of the Confidants that the main character, Joker, connects with.
Who Is Sae Niijima?
Sae Niijima is among the many cast members of Persona 5. With such a massive JRPG that spans more than 100 hours of average playtime, there is an equally enormous group of people who make up the title. Of those, some of them are main characters who are part of the Phantom Thieves and support them, while others are central to the plot in a different way.
Sae falls into the latter category as one of the primary prosecutors hunting down the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Their noteworthy nature in stealing the hearts of famous people around Japan and causing them to change their ways certainly catches the government’s attention.
There are also the deaths that are possibly associated with the Metaverse. With so many crazy events happening all at once, Sae is in charge of all of it. She is a brilliant woman who sees what others do not see in the case and makes headway where others cannot.
She also has some direct connections to the Phantom Thieves in a couple of different ways without realizing it. Goro Akechi is the prince detective of the Thieves and a partner of Sae’s in investigating the group. In addition, her little sister is Makoto Niijima, the Queen of the Thieves. At the same time, she is a significant story Confidant for Joker.
This is where this Sae Niijima guide will start diving heavily into spoilers. If you do not want to know anything about what Sae Niijima looks like later on in the storyline of Persona 5, be sure to turn away now. Sae has two prominent appearances that she switches between in the story. The first is her police investigator uniform, while the other is her appearance in the Metaverse.
As a police investigator, Sae Niijima is dressed for the job day and night. Her general appearance in Persona 5 is primarily that of her prosecutor uniform. With it, it is a simple suit that she wears that is all-black from the very top to the very bottom.
On the bottom, she wears tight dress pants that are pretty stylish but simple. This is paired with some heavy-duty heels on the bottom that are dangerous to even look at. On top, she wears a suit jacket with a darker undershirt underneath it that goes up pretty far on her neck.
The suit jacket has a little bit of a flair to it with some tiny patterns on the bottom tips of the jacket and her sleeves. She wears a necklace that stands out among the otherwise simplistic outfit. As for Sae herself, she seems to be quite tall (or maybe it’s just the heels), and she has long, flowing silver-ish gray hair.
Her eyes are brown but with a hint of red to them, and she has a scowl on her face most of the time. Overall, her looks are that of a woman who means business, and you shouldn’t mess with her at all. She is the literal definition of a dangerous woman, but there is an alluring beauty to all of it simultaneously.
On the other hand, the Metaverse version of Sae Niijima is very much different from her usual appearance. Given that she is chasing down the Phantom Thieves that make the Metaverse their home, it is no surprise that we get to see her in the other world at times.
When Sae is in the Metaverse, we get to see the exquisite yet wild version of her that she may hide on the inside. This is the shadow version of her within the Palace that she calls home. Since it is a casino, Sae’s shadow has an elaborate outfit that perfectly matches it.
She wears a long dress that pretty much goes all the way to her feet. It is cut nicely, showing off just enough skin to show off that wilder side to Sae. The dress parts on her leg, showing part of it while also down the middle of her chest, with some fishnet-like material covering the exposed aspects.
On her head, she wears a huge black hat that has some cards and flowers on it, which shows she also has some money. Her hair is dyed in this version, with a darker black and gray color to it. Finally, she has the standard yellow-shadow eyes and an overwhelming amount of black makeup around her eyes as if she had just discovered it for the first time.
The personality of Sae Niijima is one that is all about working hard to get where she wants to go in life. To this point, she essentially works herself to death, not stopping for enough time to relax, eat, or spend any time with her sister. This is part of her go-getter attitude.
At the same time, she is understandably cold to an extent and all about logic. She does have a warmer side to her, but it is buried underneath a lot of trauma and work that she has piled on herself to take care of her and Makoto. It is hard to reach that warmer side, but her Metaverse shadow gives us a glimpse of perhaps who she wishes she could be: a carefree person with nothing to lose.
There are a few key relationships that Sae has in Persona 5. The first and most important one is with her little sister, Makoto Niijima, the Queen of the Phantom Thieves. For Sae, everything that she is doing in her life, like working herself to death, is for the betterment of her little sister.
With their parents’ deaths, Makoto is all that she has left in the world, and her entire life is dedicated to caring for her. However, this does come at the cost of their closeness, though. This is something that Makoto even notes in the story, how she and her sister used to be closer at times. But they don’t even typically talk or enjoy each other’s company these days.
Sae’s next most important relationship in the game is with Goro Akechi. Their relationship is one of necessity while not being particularly friendly. For one, Sae is likely not a fan of the fact that she sometimes has to rely on a kid to do her job as an investigator.
Furthermore, there is the fact that Akechi is a hard person to deal with at times, and it seems that their personalities clash quite a bit. On the other hand, a relationship that appears to bring the better out of Sae is the final one: the connection she has with Joker.
The main character of Persona 5 connects with her during the interrogations that she has with him. During this time, it seems that he can pick at her in the right spots and make her show parts of her authentic self that she hides behind her work persona. Their relationship is a significant part of the story and a particular turning point in the final act.
The Japanese voice actor for Sae Niijima is Yuko Kaida. She is not necessarily a stranger to the series, having played Mayumi Yamano in Persona 4. Her other notable roles include Isabella in The Promised Neverland anime adaptation, Einheria in the Bravely Default series, and the Japanese version of Lara Croft for the Tomb Raider games.
On the English side, the always great dubbing for Persona 5 has Elizabeth Maxwell taking on the role of Sae. She has a few notable dubbing roles in her career, including Caulifla in Dragon Ball Super, Urbosa in Breath of the Wild, and Ymir in the Attack on Titan dub.
While Sae Niijima does appear in the Metaverse, that is simply the shadow version of her. In this way, there are not necessarily any special Persona-wielding powers that she has (that we know of right now). As such, her primary abilities have to do with the investigative and prosecuting skills that she uses in her line of work.
As a prosecutor for the government, Sae is trained to be among the best at investigating the trouble that is swirling around her. But this does not just stem from her excellent training, either, but her overwhelming amount of knowledge and talent.
Sae is typically the smartest in the room and someone who is several steps ahead of everyone else. This immense expertise allows her to investigate and find the truth when no one else can. While she may not be a prodigy like Akechi, she is at least a classic example of working hard to get what she deserves.
Sae is not afraid to get her hands dirty to find out what is going on, as seen in her willingness to interrogate a high schooler. The intense work ethic also helps her perfect everything that she does and ensures that she never leaves any stone unturned in her cases.
The history of Sae Niijima, if you could not tell already, is going to spoil a whole lot of the main story of Persona 5 if you do not want to know anything at all about where the story goes and some of the twists that happen in it, it would be best to skip this part.
Raising Her Sister
The story for Sae begins before the beginning of Persona 5. When she was very young, she and Makoto strangely lost their mother. Three years before the start of the game, Sae and Makoto also lost their father in the middle of one of his cases. Because of this, she has to raise her younger sister while working herself to death at the same time.
Unfortunately, her father’s desire for her life pushes her to be an investigator and prosecutor for all the wrong reasons. She involves herself in some nasty cases and ensures that she follows in her father’s footsteps in nailing a guilty verdict for every person involved in a case.
This leads to the point of the start of Persona 5, where we see a little bit into the future. Sae has somehow captured Joker, the game’s main character, and is interrogating him for his actions as part of the Phantom Thieves. His retelling of the events acts as the basis for most Persona 5.
Hunting the Phantom Thieves
When we first truly see Sae within the chronological events of the game, she arrives in Cafe Leblanc, already possibly hot on the trail of the Phantom Thieves. She is later revealed to be Makoto’s older sister, and we can see the strained relationship between the two of them.
With Makoto joining the Phantom Thieves and the group’s fame increasing, Sae is reduced to measures to threaten others around her, including Sojiro Sakura, the player’s guardian, and Akechi, the detective prince. He acts as a subordinate of hers in the investigation process.
In the end, the Phantom Thieves realize that Sae is a threat and discover that she has a Palace of her own. Her Palace happens to be a casino that is corrupt and always against the player, literally. She acts as a primary antagonist in this part of the game and gets closer to finding out the Thieves’ identities.
Instrumental in the Truth
In the end, a tip from a particular informant reveals the truth about the Phantom Thieves, and their attempt to steal the treasure of Sae’s Palace ends in utter failure. Joker is captured by the police and interrogated by Niijima, who is trying to figure out the truth.
With the catch-up to the present day, the Phantom Thieves throw a wrench in the investigation and foil the plans of Sae in the process. Though she tries her best to get the truth out of Joker about who his collaborators are, she fails, and an assassination attempt happens.
This, too, is foiled, though, and Sae realizes who the true culprit behind everything is. She apologizes to the Thieves and uses this as a chance to help the group. She assists the Thieves in chasing down the true mastermind of everything and prosecuting him in the end. Her final act is arresting Joker, yet again, as a witness before turning a new leaf as a defense attorney in the epilogue.
Judgement Confidant Explained
Sae Niijima is one of the significant Confidants that you can connect with in Persona 5. Hers is of the Judgement Arcana, which is fitting for her role in the story. Interestingly enough, Sae is one of the few forced Confidants in the story, much like how Morgana’s relationship is handled.
What this means is that you will simply max her out just by playing the game’s main story and reaching the ending. You do not need to worry about meeting her on certain days or anything like that, as is the case with other Confidants in the game.
There is not much that the player needs to do other than picking the right dialogue choices to avoid the wrong ending and progress through the story. Her rank goes up over time as you go back and forth between the past and the present-day interrogation room.
Shadow Sae Niijima Boss Fight Explained
One of the most essential parts of Sae Niijima’s character is that she is one of the main bosses you fight in the storyline. Her shadow is a primary antagonist and the leader of the casino Palace in the Metaverse. When you steal her treasure, you will have to face her in battle.
Sae’s boss fight is one of the more unique ones in that she has no significant weaknesses or resistances that you need to worry about. Instead, her fight comes mainly down to a single core gimmick. It has to do with roulette, which is fitting for the casino theme of her Palace.
The first turn is a freebie, but the player should not do anything at all here. In the second turn, the roulette will appear, and she will make you bet on your health, SP, or yen. You cannot attack while it is spinning, or else you will face a penalty.
After the spinning finishes, you need to answer Morgana that she is cheating. Once at this point, you will need to send one of your allies on a mission to stop her cheating mechanic. After this, she will turn into Leviathan, and the real fight will begin.
Leviathan is not too interesting; just extremely strong. She will bring back the roulette at a point without any cheating involved, and you will need to make the right bets to not hurt yourself too much in battle. The goal is to have a dedicated healer and use the most powerful moves you have.
This is especially true for the final phase, where she can absolutely wreck you with her Desperation buff skill. In the Royal version of the game, the roulette will now change her elemental affinities. In this one, you need to be very flexible and ready to switch out vulnerable party members on the fly to avoid being destroyed by her newfound elemental powers.
Fun Facts About Sae Niijima
Here are some fun facts about Sae Niijima that you may not have known about previously:
- There are hints that Sae was going to be the guardian for Joker rather than Sojiro at one point. It is uncertain if she would have still been a prosecutor in this version of the story.
- Sae Niijima’s Palace Shadow represents the deadly sin of envy. This is actually seen in her shadow’s design. The character’s yellow flowers on the top of the hat are meant to showcase this envious element.
- You never get to see Sae’s treasure in Persona 5 as she is the only Palace ruler you do not steal from in the end. That said, her sister, Makoto, believes that the treasure would be the police journal that their father used when he was alive.
- There are some hints from the backend of Persona 5 of lines that she does not say in the full game. They seem to hint that her Confidant ranks at least partially had more open-ended versions where Joker could have possibly romanced her. This is pretty believable since she is one of the only non-romanceable females in the game.
- Speaking of romanceable females, other than Caroline and Justine, which are understandable, Sae is the only other female Confidant that Joker cannot have a relationship with.
Question: What is Sae Niijima weak to?
Answer: When you face the shadow version of Sae Niijima in her Palace at the end of it, you will find that she actually has no weaknesses at all. She does not have too many resistances, either, so it really is just a matter of figuring out the mechanics and using your best moves.
Question: Does it matter what you say to Sae Niijima?
Answer: Yes, it does matter in a couple of instances. If you are trying to aim for the true ending of Persona 5, you do not, under any circumstances, want to sell out the Phantom Thieves. She will try multiple times in a row, and you need to stick to your guns. Otherwise, you will end up with a bad ending.
Question: What happens if you sell out the Phantom Thieves to Sae Niijima?
Answer: If you do agree to sell out the Phantom Thieves, you will end up with a bad ending to the game. Someone will show up and kill Joker, finishing off the storyline with likely everyone being found out. The worst part is that the killer will get away with their deeds in the Metaverse, and you will never find out who did it.
The cast of Persona 5 is so varied and well-written, and Sae Niijima is one example of such. While she may initially seem like an enemy of the Phantom Thieves, she has the right intentions in mind. She wishes to bring justice to the people doing harm, and she does not let her allegiances keep her from doing that, even assisting the Phantom Thieves.
Another person in a similar situation is Goro Akechi. The prince detective is initially on the other side, hunting down the Phantom Thieves, but comes to join them in the end. Even between him and Sae, there are some stark differences when it comes to how their stories play out, with a fascinating arc for Goro Akechi in Persona 5.