Persona games are great. One of my favorite things about them is how they use real world mythology and literature as sources of inspiration. The inspiration comes out through the theming of their games, like Persona 4 using Shinto mytholgy, but it mostly shows through the countless legions of demons and personas the player can use.
One of the most iconic personas in the entire series is Mara, the demon that’s a literal penis. Still, many don’t know that there’s another iconic persona from the same story.
The big blue elephant: the star of this Girimehkala guide.
The Story Behind the Demon
Girimehkala is from bhuddist lore, but specfically Sri Lankan bhuddism. The story goes that the Buddha, named Siddhartha Gautama, was meditating under a fig tree before his enlightenment.
Mara, seeking to ruin Siddhartha’s enlightenment, rode in on an elephant who was named Girimehkala. Mara tempted Siddhartha by offering his three daughters, but Siddhartha wasn’t having it. He placed one hand on the earth, calling all of creation to bear witness as he finally achieved enlightenment. The earth shook and trembled, destroying Mara and his army as Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha.
Girimehkala doesn’t play too big of a role in the story, but there is some interesting knowledge outside of the story.
Due to conflicts between Sri Lankan Buddhists and Hindu Indians, it’s thought that Girimehkala was a demonization of the Indian God Ganesha. That could explain why Atlus’ design for Ganesha and Girimehkala look so similar, both being bipedal elephants adorned with gold.
Everything else about Girimehkala’s design, including its cyclops eye and color, appears to be Atlus’ original. In real-world art, Girimehkala is just a regular elephant.
I do like its animation when it casts a magical skill where it slaps its belly. It’s just kinda funny.
Every time he’s Appeared in Persona Games
Girimehkala has appeared in almost all of Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games. Still, he’s never really had any significant role or moment until he was made the boss of a side-quest in Persona 5, “The Money-grubbing Uncle.” The quest has you fight against the shadow of Futaba’s uncle within Mementos to stop him from exploiting Sojiro for money. It’s not a hard boss, but it can be tricky if you don’t plan properly.
He was a part of Elizabeth and Theodore’s fusion requests in Persona 3 and Persona 4: Portable which required a four-way fusion. The go-to formula with the most personas you can get from Shuffle Time is as follows:
- Rangda + Taraka + Vetala + Gurr = Girimehkala
- The pieces can be fused using the following recipes:
- Saki Mitama + Kusi Mitama = Rangda, which can be found during card shuffle on floors 161-163 of Tartarus in Persona 3: FES and floors 115-139 of Persona 3 Portable.
- Ganga + Jikokuten = Taraka, which can be found on 90-139 of Persona 3 Portable. I wasn’t able to find its floors for Persona 3: FES.
- Jack Frost + Pyro Jack + Narcisuss = Vetala.
- Lilim + Inugami = Gurr
Girimehkala’s units tend to have some commonalities between them. More often than not, Girimehkala reflects physical attacks, which makes it very useful. This is balanced by having a weakness to light, which is an instant kill. And you’ll always forget about that weakness until you lose two hours of progress to it.
The persona is the same in the original Persona 3, Persona 3: FES, and Persona 3 Portable.
Girimehkala is a level 42 demon of the Moon Arcana. He likes to inherit slash-type skills and reflects slash-type damage. He is weak to wind and light-type attacks. He’s important in Persona 3 Portable for being a part of Elizabeth’s fusion requests.
An easy recipe to get Girimehkala goes as follows: Rangda + Taraka + Vetala + Gurr = Girimehkala. It’s favored because most materials can be obtained through Shuffle Time.
Girimehkala’s skill list goes as follows:
- Mighty Swing: Cost 10% HP, deals medium slash damage to one foe. It knows this skill by default.
- Marakunda: Cost 12 SP, Decreases the defense of all foes by one rank. It knows this skill by default.
- Virus Breath: Cost, 40 SP, Deals 25% damage to HP, and has a 75% chance to poison all foes. It learns this skill at level 43.
- Mamudoon: Cost 24 SP, 35% chance for a dark-based instant kills to all foes. It learns this skill at level 45.
- Survive Light: Passive, 50% chance to revive with 1 HP when dying to light magic. It learns this skill at level 46.
- Endure Light: Passive, automatically revives with 1 HP when dying to light magic. It learns this skill at level 48.
He gives the Survive Light skill card, which isn’t good. If you desperately need to survive light, just equip something that naturally blocks it. Null light personas aren’t hard to find, and it doesn’t even give you a 100% chance not to get instantly killed.
Girimehkala’s other skills are okay, but they’re all expensive SP-wise. He only gets Endure Light after he’s completely leveled up, limiting its use. His gimmick of always reflecting physical isn’t too good in Persona 3 because he only reflects one of the three physical types.
In Persona 4 and Persona 4: Golden, Girimehkala is still of the Moon Arcana but starts off a little stronger than before at level 48. It likes to inherit support skills, so things like the Kaja and Kunda skills. It is weak to light and dark and reflects physical. The skill card you get from it is Tetraja. Its skill list goes as follows:
- Power Charge: Cost 15 SP, boost the next physical attack by 250%. It knows this skill by default.
- Mighty Swing: Cost 14% HP, deals medium physical damage to one foe. It knows this skill by default.
- Poison Mist: Cost 12 SP, 30% chance to poison all foes. It knows this skill by default.
- Mamudoon: Cost 34 SP, 40% chance of a dark-based instant kill on all foes. It learns this skill at level 50.
- Blight: Cost 16% HP, deals have physical damage to all foes with a chance of poison. It learns this skill at level 51.
- Tetraja: Cost 24 SP, nullifies an instant kill attack on one ally. It learns this skill at level 52.
- Endure Light: Passive, automatically survives instant death one time from a light-based attack with one HP. It learns this skill at level 53.
- Repel Physical: Passive, reflects all physical attacks. It learns this skill at level 56.
This Girimehkala is better than the one in Persona 3, primarily due to all the physical attacks being lumped together into one category, so Girimehkala can now reflect it all. This makes it a reasonably good defensive persona to have equipped as you start battles.
It gives you a decent chance of reflecting an attack and learning what your enemies do. However, it is weak to the two instant kill types, so do expect to lose two hours of progress due to an unlucky attack.
He does have Tetraja to help with that, but it is an expensive skill SP-wise. It’s also the skill card Girimehkala gives, which sucks. You’ll need to cast Tetraja before you’re protected, and instant kills always take you by surprise, so why even bother having it?
If you really are having a problem with instant kills, go for a persona that just blocks light or dark rather than one with Tetraja. That way, you won’t waste an action or SP using the skill.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
This Girimehkala is still of the Moon Arcana and starts at level 45. It likes to inherit physical skills, and its skill card is Zanshinken. Due to the unique way the Persona Q games handle personas, it doesn’t come with its own set of resistances and weaknesses. Its skill list is as follows:
- Immunity Buffer: Passive, high chance of nullifying physical attacks against the user. It knows this skill by default.
- Zanshinken: Cost 98 HP, medium cut attack to one enemy that hits again if the user takes no damage that turn. It knows this skill by default.
- Life Wall: Cost 24 SP, Take attacks in places of your allies with reduced damage. Affects the entire party. It learns this skill at level 46.
- Pain-Eater: Cost 6 SP, Raise defense and chance to be targeted for three turns. It learns this skill at level 47.
- Revenge Blow: Cost 100 HP, a bash attack that’s delayed to the next turn, gets stronger for each hit taken. It learns this skill at level 48.
- Pain Watcher: Passive, high chance of activating Pain-eater (boost defense and draws enemies attacks) at the start of the battle. It learns this skill at level 49.
This demon is actually pretty good, thanks to Immunity Buffer. It has a decent chance of nullifying all physical damage without you doing anything. What’s not to love about that? Pain Watcher and Pain Eater are also worthwhile if you want to create a defensive party member.
You should have one for yourself since they are great for drawing boss’s damage. I use it for problematic bosses and FOEs. Since Girimehkala doesn’t focus on dealing damage, just taking it, he works well even after your party members out levelled him.
Persona 5 and Persona 5: Royal
There are quite a few versions of Girimehkalas in Persona 5. There’s the regular shadow variant, the Shadow Isshiki fought during the request “The Money-grubbing Uncle,” which has the player go fight the shadow of Futaba’s uncle in the depths of Momentos to stop him from exploiting Sojiro for money, and the one you get as a persona. And that’s on top of being different in Persona 5 and Persona 5: Royal.
The Regular Shadow
The regular variant is a normal shadow that can be negotiated with like any other. It can be found in the fifth dungeon, Okumura’s Spaceport Palace, and in the Adyeshach level of Momentos, where it’s called the “Rebellious Elephant.” In both Persona 5 and Persona 5: Royal Girimehkala repels physical and gun, resists fire, is weak to light, and nullifies curse.
Its skill list for the original Persona 5 goes as follows:
- Deathbound: 1x to 2x hits of medium physical damage to all foes.
- Mudoon: medium chance of dark-based instant kill to one foe.
This shadow isn’t particularly dangerous at first glance, but it has a huge physical stat at 35, which means Deathbound will do insane damage. There’s also the danger of a random Mudoon sending you spiraling back to the title screen, which is guaranteed to happen at least once. Bring Hamaon and just start desperately throwing it out. If you’re lucky, Hamaon will kill Girimehkala before he kills you.
Its skill list for Persona 5: Royal goes as follows:
- Deathbound: 1x to 2x hits of medium physical damage to all foes.
- Agidyne: Heavy fire damage with low odds to inflict burn to one foe.
- Mudoon: Medium chance of dark-based instant kill to one foe.
- Taunt: High odds to inflict rage to one foe.
- Wage War: Medium odds to inflict rage to all foes.
All of the same difficulties mentioned above exist for Persona 5’s version, but Wage War makes him even harder. That’s because if Girimehkala manages to inflict rage, the afflicted party member only to use their default attack, which will reflect back to them. I remember nearly losing my entire party after getting ambushed by them in Okumura’s Palace.
Despite sharing a model, Shadow Isshiki is radically different from Girimehkala. All of the boss’s skills are unique, alongside the way its AI will respond to the player. Its skill list goes as follows:
- Rising Slash: Heavy physical damage to one foe, stronger under Baton Pass.
- Megidola: Heavy almighty damage to all foes.
- Tarukaja: Buff the attack power of one ally for three turns.
- Fast Heal: Half the time needed to recover from an ailment.
What makes this boss tricky is the way the AI works. The biggest issue is that if you stroll up to him equipped with a persona that nullifies physical attacks, he’ll just start spamming Megidola. If you exploit the fact that the boss doesn’t resist status ailments and hit it with a Pulpina to confuse it, you’ll find that won’t work either.
Shadow Isshiki has Fast Heal meaning you’ll get one turn to beat Shadow Isshiki senseless before he starts beating you senseless. If Shadow Isshiki gets a Once More, he’ll use Tarukaja, which makes his already imposing damage even more terrifying.
There’s not really a way to counter his move list. The best you can do is stick to the strategies you’ve been using to get through tough fights. Slather on support skills like Rakukaja to keep your defense up and Tarunda to keep his attack down. Spam your healing skills to ensure you don’t get one shot. Maybe use Tetrakarn and Attack Mirrors on your protagonist to get in some good damage if you’re willing to spend it.
This boss is not particularly difficult, just annoying because it doesn’t have a hard counter. You’re forced to play his game, and Shadow Isshiki plays it well.
In the base Persona 5 Game, Girimehkala is a level 44 persona of the Moon Arcana. It reflects physical and gun, blocks curse, resists fire and is weak to light. The skill card it gives is Marakunda, and its skill list goes as follows:
- Mudoon: Cost 15 SP, Medium chance of dark-based instant kill to one foe. It knows this skill by default.
- Marakunda: Cost 24 SP, Decreases the defense of all foes by one rank. It knows this skill by default. It knows this skill by default.
- Swift Strike: Cost 17% HP, 3x to 4x light physical damage to all foes. It knows this skill by default.
- Foul Breath: Costs 8 SP, increases susceptibility to all ailments of 1 foe for three turns. It learns this skill at level 46.
- Wage War: Cost 12 SP, medium chance of inflicting rage on all foes. It learns this level at level 48.
- Repel Phys: Passive, repels physical attacks. It learns this skill at level 51.
This persona isn’t half bad, mainly because Repel Phys is a great skill to start passing along your personas. I’d fuse and level up Girimehkala just for that skill alone. Outside of that, Girimehkala’s skill list is lackluster. Foul Breath and Wage War seem like a good combo, but it’s slow, so it doesn’t work for regular fights. It seems like it’d be suited for a long boss fight, but most bosses are immune to ailments. Marakunda isn’t half as valuable as Marakukaja, which makes his skill card basically worthless.
One thing I find weird about Girimehkala in Persona 5: Royal is that Girimehkala is slightly weaker than in Persona 5. He starts at level 43 rather than 44. He’s still of the Moon Arcana. There’s only one difference in his skill list, and it goes as follows:
- Swift Strike -> Deathbound – Cost 22% HP, 1x to 2x medium physical damage to all foes. It knows this skill by default.
This isn’t much of a notable change since Swift Strike was actually the better skill. Most of what I said is still true, but now the persona is worse than before since it lacks a competent physical attack.
Two mechanics unique to Persona 5: Royal are Persona Traits and Fusion Alarms. Persona Traits are special abilities given to personas. Think of them as built-in passives that every persona has. The next is Fusion Alarms.
Every time you enter the Velvet Room, there’s a chance that a Fusion Alarm will be in effect. All it does is exacerbate the Velvet Room’s effects, enhancing the stats of any fused persona and giving a different item when personas are put in the electric chair.
Girimehkal’s Persona Trait is Cursed Bloodline which reduces the cost of curse-based skills by 50%. Honestly, one of the better Persona Traits a persona can have, which is why it sucks that Girimehkala has one curse-based skill.
And the skill card Girimehkala usually gives is Swift Strike, but under a Fusion Alarm, it becomes Deathbound. I don’t like either skill, but you should go for Swift Strike over Deathbound. It’ll ultimately deal more damage because it does more hits.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth
In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, Girimehkala is level 46 and of the Moon Arcana. It’s a physical persona, and the skill card that can be extracted from it is Death Counter. Its skill list goes as follows:
- Guillotine Slice: Cost 40 HP, medium physical attack to one enemy with increased effectiveness against an enemy with ailments. It knows this skill by default.
- Death Counter: Cost 32 HP, counters whenever the user’s row is attacked for three turns. It knows this skill by default.
- Eiga: Cost 14 SP, medium curse attack to one enemy. It learns this skill at level 47.
- Dekaja: Cost 18 SP, removes all stat buffs on all enemies. It learns this skill at level 48.
- Mamaudo: Cost 22 SP, low chance of a curse-based instant kill to all enemies. It learns this skill at level 49.
This persona leans on the better side of things. It’s got a solid skill list. It’s capable of doing damage with Guillotine Slice. Dekaja is a must-have for every Atlus game because getting rid of stat buffs is that useful.
Death Counter adds decent protection to a single row, and Mamudo and Eiga are good options if nothing else is working.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Should I fuse Girimehkala?
Answer: Yes, you should fuse Girimehkala. He has one of the best kinds of resistances again, which just makes you immune to physical attacks, and eventually learns a repel physical skill which you can begin to pass along to your fusions.
Question: How do I fuse Girimehkala?
Answer: Girimehkala is a mid-level persona of the Moon Arcana, so he’s not particularly hard to fuse. A fusion like Star + Chariot should result in a persona around Girimehkala’s level.
In Persona 3: FES and Persona 3 Portable, you’ll want to use these recipes and locations to fulfill Elizabeth or Theodore’s requests:
Rangda + Taraka + Vetala + Gurr = Girimehkala
The pieces can be fused using the following recipes:
Saki Mitama + Kusi Mitama = Rangda, which can be found during Shuffle Time on floors 161-163 of Tartarus in Persona 3: FES and floors 115-139 of Persona 3 Portable.
Ganga + Jikokuten = Taraka, which can be found on 90-139 of Persona 3 Portable. I wasn’t able to find its floors for Persona 3: FES.
Jack Frost + Pyro Jack + Narcisuss = Vetala.
Lilim + Inugami = Gurr
Question: Where does Girimehkala come from?
Answer: Girimehkala comes from Sri Lankan Buddhist mythology, where he was the mount of Mara as he tried to stop the Buddha from reaching enlightenment. It’s thought that Girimehkala is a demonization of Ganesha brought about by conflicts between Sri Lankan Buddhists and Indian Hindus.
Girimehkala is kind of iconic as far as Atlus’ roster goes. I think that’s mostly due to how consistently good he is. He’s a persona that almost always reflects physical skills, making him one of the better personas just to have equipped. He also has the benefit of getting some sort of repel physical skill meaning Girimehkala is a great way to start passing it along your fusion lines.
Even if Girimehkala doesn’t match your personal playstyle, he’s worth fusing and leveling up all the way. His design and lore are pretty cool, relating back to a minor character in one of the most famous Buddhist stories. It’s kind of ironic that the minor character would become one of Atlus’ most iconic demons.