The Persona series is all about high schoolers who awaken to the ability to summon their “Persona,” or a representation of their other self. With the series containing hundreds of Personas to date, finding the best and most interesting can be overwhelming. However, this Arsene Persona guide is going to hone in on one of the most memorable demons to date.
The Arsene Persona guide is all about Arsene, the trademark partner Persona of Joker, the protagonist of Persona 5. This is the initial representation of the leader of the Phantom Thieves and has a fantastic design to it. It makes its debut in the Persona 5 set of games, being the only place where someone is able to grab this Persona. If you’ve always wanted to know the origins of Arsene, including its inspiration, what to fuse it with, and the general skills that it unlocks, you are in the right place.
Bottom Line Up Front
Arsene is the starter Persona that Joker, the protagonist of Persona 5, receives at the very beginning of the game. Though it is an initial Persona, it is one of the best-designed Personas of all time. With its memorable thief mixed with a fallen angel look, it perfectly encapsulates the style of the leader of the Phantom Thieves.
That said, players are not required to keep Arsene as their main Persona. They can fuse it with other Personas to create new partners. It still comes back in the story canonically a few times as it eventually transforms into the ultimate Persona, Satanael. Arsene is based on the fictional thief, Arsene Lupin, who only went after bad people.
Who Is Arsene?
Arsene is the primary Persona of the protagonist of the Persona 5 games, Joker. Every character, including even the wildcards like Joker, have a canonical Persona that represents their personality and character. In the case of the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, that Persona is none other than Arsene.
What is interesting about Arsene is that it is a brand new Persona in the series that was introduced with the latest mainline game. Before Persona 5, there was no way to get Arsene, and it is currently uncertain whether or not this Persona will appear in future mainline games like the unannounced Persona 6 and more.
Like the other Personas of the main characters in Persona 5, Arsene is based on a character that was on the darker side of the law. It is based on a fictional thief from a series of books, which fits the thief nature of Joker and his friends as they steal hearts in the games.
The general elemental theme for Arsene is the curse type, which is one of the new elements introduced in Persona 5. While this Persona looks fantastic in design, it is mainly meant for early use in the JRPG. It maxes out in terms of unlocking new skills relatively early on. Though it can be a little painful to do so, Arsene can be used for fusions, despite its partner status.
For Arsene, its appearance is generally set in stone. The basic look of the Persona itself that you get at the beginning of Persona 5 remains the same throughout the course of the JRPG. That said, there is a more spoilery appearance change for Arsene that happens towards the end of the game that I will include here, so beware of spoilers ahead.
I like to describe the appearance of Arsene as that of a gentleman’s thief mixed with a fallen angel. For starters, there is the outfit that this fancy and menacing thief wears. It is a red and black suit from top to bottom that is highly stylized to have sharp designs and curves.
At the bottom of the character, there are red pants and pointy high heels. The torso is mainly that of a black suit vest. On top of this vest is a low-cut red suit jacket that is also sharply sliced around the ends like the pants.
Its neck has a soft white handkerchief that gives a gentleman feel to Arsene. The highly sharp fingers at the end of its arms look creepy and painful. On its face, Arsene has a horrifying smirk that is all red and glowing red eyes that look like that of a horror movie villain.
Atop its head is a tall top hat that goes up higher than that of the length of the Persona’s torso. Finally, the last touch for the Persona is that it has very long black wings that are incredibly detailed. Altogether, Arsene has one of the best designs for a Persona that Atlus has ever made.
It is pretty interesting how detailed and excellent it looks, especially since Arsene is only useful in the opening hours and first couple of dungeons of the game. However, this is not the only version of the character.
At the end of the game, Arsene evolves into the ultimate Persona for Joker, known as Satanael. This Persona has an entirely different appearance from Arsene’s within the game. It has six massive black wings — three on each side of its body — and a mostly dark silver color scheme.
Satanael has a golden face, though, with two horns around its head and a red sash around its torso. There is nothing special about this design, despite it being the ultimate Persona in Persona 5, but it is still interesting enough with its fallen angel motif, similar to Arsene.
Arsene is one of the first Personas that you will get, and it is a great companion in those early hours of Persona 5. Like the other Personas, the more you level it up, the more skills it will unlock. Here are all of the skills that Arsene can unlock across the three main games that it is featured in:
For Persona 5 and its Royal version, Arsene unlocks skills as it levels until it reaches level seven, where the final skill is unlocked. There are only five skills in total that Arsene learns throughout their life, which is pretty meager. That said, they are great and are super helpful in the first couple of dungeons.
Here is the complete skill list for Arsene in Persona 5 and Royal, which is the same for both games:
- Eiha: Default skill that Arsene knows from the start of the game without needing to level up. It costs four SP to use this skill, and it deals light curse damage to one enemy.
- Cleave: Learned at level two. It costs 6% of Joker’s health to use and deals light physical damage to one enemy.
- Sukunda: Learned at level four. It costs eight SP to use this skill, and it will lower the agility of one enemy for three turns each time you use it.
- Dream Needle: Learned at level five. It costs 8% of your health to use this skill. It deals light physical damage to one enemy while also giving them a medium chance of falling sleep.
- Adverse Resolve: Learned at level seven. This is a passive skill that automatically activates under certain conditions. It increases your critical hit rate when enemies ambush you.
Overall, I would say that Eiha, Cleave, and Dream Needle are the best skills. Adverse Resolve is excellent, but you should limit the times that you are ambushed by enemies as much as possible.
Persona 5 Strikers
In Persona 5 Strikers, Arsene is a much more valuable Persona from start to finish in that game since it learns new skills all the way up until the very end. Here are all of the skills that it learns in Persona 5 Strikers:
- Eiha: Default skill. It costs eight SP and deals light curse damage.
- Cleave: Default skill. It costs 6% health and deals light physical damage with a medium chance of a critical hit.
- Tarunda: Learned at level two. It costs 12 SP and decreases the attack of enemies.
- Dream Needle: Level four. It costs 8% health and deals light physical damage with a medium chance of sleep.
- Rebel Soul: Level 10. Increases rate of Showtime gauge automatically.
- Maeiga: Level 32. It costs 16 SP and deals medium curse damage to a large area.
- One-shot Kill: Level 45. It costs 30% health and deals severe gun damage with a high crit chance.
- Maeigaon: Level 62. It costs 26 SP and deals heavy curse damage to a large area.
- Survival Trick: Level 84. Automatically lets the player survive one instant death attack with one health remaining afterward.
- Riot Gun: Level 95. It costs 40% health and deals severe gun damage to a large area with a very high crit chance.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth also makes Arsene more viable in battle with skills throughout its life. Here are all of the skills that Arsene can learn in the Nintendo 3DS spin-off game:
- Eiha: Default skill. It costs six SP. Deals light curse damage to one enemy.
- Single Shot: Default skill. It costs 16 health and deals light physical damage to the back row.
- Dream Needle: Learned at level two. It costs six HP and deals some light physical to enemies with a medium chance of sleep.
- Rebel Vanguard: Level nine. It costs three SP and raises the critical rate chance for one turn.
- First Star: Level 14. Passive skill that automatically raises damage dealt when attacking before the enemies can attack.
- Eiga: Level 24. It costs 14 SP and deals medium curse damage to one enemy.
- Assault Shot: Level 27. It costs 28 HP and deals a medium physical attack to the back row.
- Punishing Bite: Level 34. 40 HP to deal medium physical and is more effective on bind.
- Maeiga: Level 38. 36 SP to deal medium curse to all enemies.
- Death Needle: Level 42. 32 HP to deal medium physical to one enemy with a high poison chance.
- Eigaon: Level 48. 32 SP to deal heavy curse damage.
- Return from Yomi: Level 53. Passive skill that automatically grants a medium chance of health restoration when close to zero health.
- Broadshot: Level 59. 68 HP to deal heavy physical damage to the back row.
- Maeigaon: Level 64. 52 SP to deal heavy curse damage to all enemies.
- One-shot Kill: Level 70. 92 HP to deal severe physical to the back row.
- Revolt Vanguard: Unlocked when Arsene evolves. It costs three SP to raise the critical hit rate for two turns.
The history for Arsene is broken down into two parts: the inspiration behind this Persona and the actual story for it within the events of Persona 5. It is worth noting that the retelling of the history of Arsene within Persona 5 will constitute some spoilers, mainly for the very end of the game, so I highly recommend skipping this section if you are averse to spoilers.
The creation of Arsene as a Persona does not use the traditional mythology, folklore, or religious aspects of other creatures. Instead, Arsene is simply based on a fictional book character. Arsene Lupin is the inspiration behind the Persona for Joker, representing a take on the famous fictional French thief.
Arsene Lupin was created in 1905 by Maurice Leblanc, who you might recognize his last name as the inspiration behind the name of Cafe Leblanc, where Joker lives. The master of disguises has been featured in dozens upon dozens of books over the decades since his creation in the early 20th century.
Arsene Lupin has even been featured in other Japanese media in the past, like Lupin the 3rd. Arsene in Persona 5 is just the latest example of this. Lupin being the inspiration for the Persona is unsurprising given that Atlus tried really hard to make each of the party members’ Personas in this game be based on famous thieves, outlaws, pirates, and so on.
This was done to ensure that the Phantom Thieves of Hearts have this motif in common with one another. After all, they are not necessarily well-liked by law enforcement in the games themselves since they are going around changing people’s hearts in the Metaverse.
Arsene and Joker
Within Persona 5 itself, the story of Arsene is pretty light, only really coming to the forefront during the very beginning and end of the JRPG. At the start of the game, Arsene appears as a mysterious Persona that the player acquires and uses in the very first battle of the game.
This tutorial battle of sorts is in Kamoshida’s Palace as the player learns how to play the game. Arsene teaches Joker how to fight directly. After this scene, the player heads to the Velvet Room for the first time later and fuses Arsene for the first time, adding it permanently to their team.
When Arsene is fused, they are the only Persona that speaks directly to the protagonist and lets him know that they will meet again someday in the future. Arsene’s role in the story is primarily up to the player from this point onward. They can keep it with the party or fuse it for something else.
No matter what, though, Arsene returns for another appearance much later in the storyline during Sae Niijima’s Palace when you are in the boss battle here. This is another short appearance, and Arsene goes away once more until the final boss of the primary Persona 5 story against Yaldabaoth.
In this final fight, Joker brings back Arsene as his Persona. With the world rooting for the Phantom Thieves to beat Yaldabaoth once and for all and save everyone, this allows Arsene to show its proper form. The Persona evolves into Satanael, which Joker can then use to finish off the final boss for good and save the world. That is Arsene’s and Satanael’s final appearances in Persona 5 outside of the player continuing to use it if they so choose.
How to Obtain Arsene in Persona 5
If you would like to obtain Arsene in Persona 5, there are a couple of ways that you can go about doing so. It is worth noting that the general rule of thumb in the game is that a Persona can be obtained most of the time by either fusing for it in the Velvet Room or negotiating with it in a battle to get it to join your team.
However, there are some unique aspects to how you obtain Arsene. For one, it is impossible to encounter the Persona in battle therefore it cannot be pursuaded into joining your party. Instead, there is an extra way that you are able to unlock this Persona that is unique to it.
As mentioned previously, you can only obtain Arsene in the Persona 5 lineup of games as it was not available in any previous entries. This means that you can only get it in Persona 5, the Royal upgraded version, Persona 5 Strikers, and the Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth game, where Joker is present as a playable character.
For the purposes of Persona 5 Striker and Q2, though, you have Arsene to begin with at the start of those games. Persona 5 and Royal are similar in that regard, as you do not have to do anything at all to unlock the fan-favorite Persona.
Arsene is the first Persona that Joker unlocks in the JRPG games, and you will have access to it in your first turn-based battle. This makes it the most effortless Persona to get since you do not have to do anything, and you will automatically have access to this demon in your party.
There is actually another way that you can get Arsene in Persona 5 and Royal. This is through fusion in the Velvet Room or simply buying it again in the Demon Compendium. There are only a handful of recipes of fusion that allow you to make Arsene in the game, though.
Here are the fusions that make Arsene:
- High Pixie (level 16) and Obariyon (level 8)
- Regent (level 10) and Obariyon (level 8)
- Stone of Scone (level 20) and Obariyon (level 8)
- Orlov (level 30) and Obariyon (level 8)
- Emperor’s Amulet (level 35) and Obariyon (level 8)
Unfortunately, most of those are only with the Treasure Demons as an ingredient, which can be extremely difficult to acquire. Because of this, High Pixie and Obariyon is the only recipe that you can very quickly do. That said, you might be wondering why you would even want to fuse to make Arsene in the first place, especially when you can just use the Compendium.
It might be much cheaper this way, depending on the situation. Another reason might be because you are looking for a way to transfer specific skills to Arsene. Fusion is the primary way to do this, and you can transfer interesting abilities to Arsene that it would not learn otherwise in the game.
Read also: Comprehensive Stone of Scone Weakness Guide.
Beyond making Arsene, this Persona is involved in plenty of fusion recipes. Yes, you can fuse your starter Persona, and, in fact, I highly recommend that you do. This is because there are so few skills that it learns, making it almost useless at a certain point in the game.
Overall, there are nearly 200 recipes that involve Arsene. Here are all of the ones that I recommend, which I have narrowed down to just a few:
- Fuse with Nekomata: Creates Matador (level 19), one of the better early game fusions for Arsene
- Fuse with Inugami or Hua Po: Creates Jatayu (level 32), one of the best fusions involving Arsene for the first half of the game
- Fuse with Ardha: Creates Forneus (level 63), great for adding Forneus to the Compendium and late-game fights
Lastly, I would like to go over the best fusion possible for Arsene, and that is Satanael. Though you experience Satanael in the storyline, you are not able to use this Persona freely. If you would like to do that, you have to fuse for it, which is also one of the hardest in the entire game to do.
It is worth it, though, for arguably the best Persona that is in Persona 5 and Royal. To get Satanael, you need first to beat the game and then boot up a second playthrough. You then need Arsene, Anzu, Ishtar, Michael, Satan, and Lucifer. Arsene, Anzu, and Michael are standard fusions or acquires.
However, Ishtar requires max Confidant rank with Ann, Satan requires max rank with Sae Niijima (which automatically happens in the story), and Lucifer requires you to have two Michael Personas since you will need one to make it. Once you have all of these Personas, you can fuse for Satanael, the ultimate Persona for Joker.
Arsene in Other Games and Media
Arsene appears in more games and other media beyond just the original Persona 5 and its Royal updated version. For starters, there is Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth. In this dungeon-crawling adventure on the Nintendo 3DS, the Persona 5 cast joins together with the members from Persona 3 and 4.
In the midst of this, the default Persona that Joker has is once again Arsene. The same situation happens in Persona 5 Strikers, which is canonically a direct sequel to the base fifth game in the series. Here, Joker once again uses Arsene as the primary Persona that he has.
Outside of these games, though, there are some minor appearances that Arsene has in other Atlus games, such as Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. The Persona is also present in the other adaptations of the Persona 5 games, like in the official manga and Persona 5 The Animation. Both of these present the Persona in the non-interactive takes on the game.
Since Arsene is the Persona of Joker, there are some appearances that it makes in other video games, not from Atlus, as part of crossover and collaboration events. One such event is Puzzle & Dragons, where you can get the two characters together.
Chain Chronicle is a similar situation with Arsene and Joker going together. There are other mobile games beyond these that feature Joker using Arsene in battles, such as Star Ocean: Anamnesis and Another Eden. If mobile games are not your thing, there are some console and PC games that Arsene is featured in, too.
In the fighting game BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Arsene is a color version for Yu Narukami of Persona 4’s Izanagi Persona. Then in Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Joker uses Arsene as his Persona as one of the playable fighters there.
Fun Facts About Arsene
Here are some fun facts about Arsene the Persona that you may not have known about previously:
- As previously mentioned, Arsene was created using the famous fictional novel thief, Arsene Lupin, as inspiration.
- Arsene is the only Persona that speaks to the player directly when fusing for it in the Velvet Room. However, this only happens the first time in the story.
- Originally, Arsene was not going to be the Persona for Joker in Persona 5. Instead, the Persona was going to be a new one based on the demon Mephistopheles, but this was changed to make sure that the thief theme was intact. Interestingly enough, Mephisto already exists as a demon in the Shin Megami Tensei series so maybe we will see it in the next Persona game for the first time.
- Perhaps the mix of the demonic nature of Arsene and the thief outfit in its appearance is a result of this original idea for Joker’s starter Persona.
- Oddly enough (slight spoilers for one of the Velvet Room characters), if you fuse Arsene once Lavenza is in the Velvet Room due to maxing out a certain Confidant rank, the cutscene will still show Caroline and Justine there. This is a mistake since Caroline and Justine should be replaced by Lavenza at this point.
Question: Is it worth keeping Arsene in the Persona 5 games?
Answer: I will be honest, it’s not worth keeping Arsene in Persona 5. It unlocks all of its skills at level seven, which is typically before even the first major boss. I think that you can keep Arsene around for the first two Palaces but, after that, you should get rid of it. That said, I think Arsene can stick around for much longer in other games like Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth and Persona 5 Strikers since it learns more skills there.
Question: What should I fuse with Arsene?
Answer: There are plenty of fusion options for Arsene with almost 200 possible recipes. I have a couple of recommendations. Fusing Inugami with Arsene to make the level 32 Jatayu is a great early game option. At the same time, Forneus is one of the highest-level options. However, the best option is Satanael, which is arguably the best Persona in the game.
Question: Who is Arsene based off of?
Answer: Arsene is based on the famous fictional thief character, Arsene Lupin.
Question: Will Arsene be in Persona 6?
Answer: This is unknown at this time. If I had to make a guess, I think that, yes, Arsene will be a Persona that you can get in Persona 6. However, it will not be the new protagonist’s initial Persona. Past protagonist Personas like Izanagi from Persona 4 and Orpheus from Persona 3 were available in Persona 5 so I expect the same for Arsene.
Arsene is the partner Persona for Joker in Persona 5 and one of the best designs for a demon that I have seen across both the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series. It is an unforgettable Persona that will, hopefully, appear in future games in the franchise. At the end of the day, though, this is just one of the hundreds of Personas that exist.
If you would like to know more about the various Personas that exist in Atlus’ seminal JRPG series besides Arsene, I’ve got you covered. I previously created an entire list of all of the Personas that have ever been featured in the series to date. There are quite a lot of them so far, but you can get an idea of what other Personas you might like in that guide.
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