***MASSIVE LATE-GAME SPOILERS AHEAD***
Masayoshi Shido is a rising star in the political world during the events of Persona 5/Royal. His speeches focus on the fact that everyone in the current Japanese government is corrupt beyond compare, and he alone can fix it. Being a dynamic speech giver, the people often speak of him in high regard, and very few times will you hear any NPCs bad mouth him. Shido has seemingly captured the will and love of the people. He tries to ride that high into being elected Prime Minister.
As is usually the case with politicians, Shido is not the man he appears to be. The idea of a democracy is to let the people decide who they want to lead them, but Shido is not willing to leave anything to chance. Over the last decade, he has been preparing for his run at the country’s most vital position of power. As a result of the meticulous planning by him and his co-conspirators and a pile of “accidental” corpses left in his wake, he seems poised to succeed in his machinations.
Like most of the villains in Persona 5/Royal, Shido had not anticipated the Phantom Thieves being as big of a problem as they end up becoming. He becomes aware of them and what they are doing within the Metaverse but sends Goro Akechi to deal with them in his place. After Sae Nijiima’s Palace events, Shido thinks himself safe to continue his shameless power grab. Let’s start our Masayoshi Shido guide by looking at his appearance.
Masayoshi Shido has a straightforward appearance compared to most more intricate character designs. He is skinny with a bald head and a short brown goatee on his chin. He wears black glasses with squared yellowed lenses. Shido’s eyes are a darker brown color. Being a politician, he always wears a business suit.
If you looked up narcissists in a dictionary, you would find the perfect description for Masayoshi Shido. He is a greedy man who thinks the world should play by his rules. Therefore, he will do anything to bend it, including murder. Only a narcissist would think of themselves as a messiah, which is Shido’s opinion of himself. Therefore, every move he makes is justified in his head as his right because “God” wants him to be in charge of the country.
For someone who touts being the people’s champion in the elections, he is very disgusted by them. Shido possesses a hair-trigger and when it is pulled, watch out! His natural inclination isn’t violence per se, but he will let out a verbal assault on your appearance, attitude, and overall sense of self. Speechcraft being one of his superior skills, this is not a surprising character trait.
It is unclear how Shido managed to put together his shadowy organization, but it is a vast network. Everyone who helps him is promised a place in his new world order. He does not incline to make good on these promises because he refuses to leave any loose ends. Some of the connections we see him have are the police commissioner, the principal of Shujin Academy, the Okumura Foods president, Goro Akechi, TV executives, and many more. Shido must possess a genius-level intellect to construct a network that is as wide as he is.
Shido and the Protagonist
Who would have thought that a politician and our protagonist would have a connection? This is a juicy bit of divine serendipity because Shido empowers his downfall.
At the beginning of P5/Royal, the protagonist is forced to move schools because he was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t do. While walking down the street, he hears a woman being assaulted. Thinking quickly, he steps in to save her from the man, insisting she gets in the car and abuses her. As the protagonist steps in, he knocks the man to the ground. It turns out that the drunk man putting his hands on this woman is none other than Masayoshi Shido. He turns around and tells the teen that he will sue him.
The cops had been called before the protagonist’s actions, so they arrived on the scene soon after. Unfortunately, Shido has connections with mighty people, so he is let off the hook. The girl who was assaulted has the nerve to blame the protagonist for starting the incident and beating up Shido. With no other witnesses, the protagonist is arrested, sentenced to parole, and expelled from his school. Shido uses his connections to make sure his name is not mentioned anywhere within the court documents, and you would think that is the end of their stories.
Instead, Shido and the protagonist come face to face with one another again in Tokyo. When out for a celebration with Ann and Ryuji, the protagonist sees Shido receive preferential treatment near an elevator at a fancy restaurant they are at. Shido remarks how the clientele has gone downhill when Ryuji stands up to him and his bodyguards. Neither Shido nor the protagonist recognizes one another in this exchange.
The irony of Shido and the protagonist is that had they never met, no one would have ever managed to stop Shido’s dastardly plans from reaching fruition. He would likely have succeeded if not for a “butterfly effect” encounter with the protagonist, who never would have been in the right place to play the hero of Tokyo.
The protagonist would have lived out his life far away from the epicenter of the Shido conspiracy syndicate if he had not been charged with battery. I love both the irony and justice of this situation because of the miscalculations that could have happened in Shido’s plans. The most simple is the determining factor of success or failure.
Shido’s Story Implications
Shido is the mastermind behind the mental shutdown cases that have been happening in Japan. He gives the order to Goro Akechi, who enters the Metaverse and shuts down or kills their shadows to cause destruction and civil unrest. They have specific targets in mind most of the time, and the collateral damage helps to scare people into thinking that the government isn’t doing enough to protect them.
It is unclear whether it was explicitly Shido’s idea to blame these events on the Phantom Thieves, but he does help orchestrate that façade. He does this because he realizes that the Phantom thieves could mess up his plan to take power by force since they had managed to get to the criminal Kaneshiro. The Phantom Thieves also managed to defeat the president of Okumura Foods, who was allied with Shido. While the Phantom Thieves leave Haru’s father’s shadow alive, Akechi kills him before the palace can collapse. Because of this, Haru’s father dies terribly on TV.
The Phantom Thieves take this very hard, thinking that they had caused it to happen, not knowing that Shido had organized it. The situation was a win-win for him because it allowed him to rid himself of another loose end and make the Phantom Thieves appear guilty. The gravity of his plan is seen when the people turn on the Phantom Thieves, and they are demonized. All the good they had done, the people turned on them faster than you could say, “Persona!”
Finally, the Phantom Thieves learn that Shido is the thorn in their side and begin working on changing his heart. They know the keywords to his palace based on what he says in his campaign speeches. The infiltration begins!
We already know that Shido thinks highly of himself. The Diet building becomes his ship or arc. He is psychotic to believe that he will lead himself to the “promised land” and he will take his few selected with him. This becomes quite a bit more literal, with his palace being the Diet building on a luxury cruise ship sailing over the ruins of Tokyo. Shido thinks of himself so far above the lower classes; he is willing to let the country fall apart if it helps the small elite class around him.
The Phantom Thieves need to be given writs of introduction from Shido’s five generals if they want to reach his treasure within the captain’s chamber. Then, they navigate through the ship, through the shadows, searching for clues as to who these co-conspirators could be. When they finally assemble all of the writs, they can enter the main congressional chamber (captain’s chamber) and witness the treasure’s location.
Before they get this chance, they come face to face with Goro Akechi, who had thought he killed the protagonist. Akechi reveals that he also has a relationship with Shido outside his work for him. In a bizarre twist of fate, Akechi is the spawn of Shido. He impregnated Akechi’s mother and then abandoned the two of them, at least that’s his perception of it. In an act of revenge, he wanted to help Shido get to the finish line of his goals. However, just before Shido would succeed, Akechi would tell him who he was and kill him in defiance of his life’s work.
Shido Boss Fight
As you confront Shido, his treasure floats above the congressional hall. It takes the form of a giant ship wheel, representing his desire to “steer the country.” As it spins on high, the Phantom Thieves tell Shido of Akechi, his son that has now been deposed. Shido informs them that he has suspected it. After the election, Shido planned to have Akechi killed because he knew too much about him and his past. But shamelessly offers the Phantom Thieves a place in his new world order. Their commitment to justice does not waver in the wake of this offer.
With the refusal of his offer, Shido’s shadow transforms himself. Atop his head sits a giant silver helmet with large sharp spikes sticking out from it. The helmet partially covers his face but has eyeholes for his vermillion eyes. Shido wears a red mask underneath that goes around the edges of his face, leaving his mouth exposed. Shido’s outfit changes from business attire to a general uniform, complete with a white sash and medals. The undercoat is black with matching pants. He wears a large red cape with a matching red tie. Over Shido’s hands are large white gloves that match his oversized belt. Above the belt, there is what looks like a star.
Shido will sit upon a solid gold statue of a lion. The lion itself is made of gold faces and bodies near the top reaching up to Shido, begging him to provide salvation to them. Of course, they may also just be basking in all of his so-called “glory.” Either way, the symbolism that he uses the people to fight you is present. Just like he did after the Okumura Foods palace, he will sit back and let the people fight you for him. After a few turns, the lion will grow large hawk-like wings and fly in the air.
Manage to fight through this, and the gold people will transform from gryphon to a giant pyramid made of gold bodies. Shido is not visible in this form; he is likely being protected within the pyramid. His helmet rests upon the top of the pyramid because he is still above them all. Also, that pyramid has a cannon in it, and it will fire shots at your party, because why not? Eventually, you will finally defeat Shido’s “ignorant masses” and have the chance to confront him with Joker’s true identity.
Shido’s Second Boss Fight
Unfortunately, you angered Shido this time. He tears his general uniform and helmet off to reveal that he is infinitely more shredded than any Phantom Thieves could ever hope to be. Thankfully, the final battle will not come down to an arm-wrestling contest because you would not win against this hulking muscle mass.
Veins pop seemingly from every inch of Shido’s body. Now shirtless, he is covered in what appear to be springs that connect all over his body. It is unclear if these are to train his body or suppress his power. The Phantom Thieves fight through another fight while attempting to rob Shido of his treasure.
Shido’s Third Boss Fight
Do you want to see something disgusting? Get to this form. Shido will pump those muscles up until he breaks through those springs. Now he is ready to unleash his ultimate strength on you and your party. On top of turning red, Shido’s throbbing veins seemingly exist in places that humans don’t seem to have naturally. He looks taller, but I think he has been skipping leg day. All those throbbing veins can not be healthy for anyone, regardless of how fit he is.
If you are playing the Royal, he will kick your party members out of the arena when he is on Death’s doorstep. So Joker will have to finish this fight alone.
Shido’s Defeat Fallout
In a classic villain move, after defeating Shido, he will try to drop his arena on you to make sure you die. The real Shido feels his shadow trying to return to him, so he takes poison to stop all biological functions. According to his advisors, that will destroy his palace, meaning that the chance of the Phantom Thieves escaping is negligible. The arrogance of a man that is entirely desperate to kill you that he would try to kill himself in the process is immeasurable. Thinking fast, the Phantom Thieves escape anyway thanks to heroics from Ryuji, which invalidates the risk that Shido took to kill them completely.
Shido’s treasure reveals its true form outside the cognitive world: a legislature’s pin. The threat has seemingly passed as the Phantom Thieves wait for the change of heart. In the meantime, reports say Shido isn’t well and will be out of the public eye for a while.
Shido himself is feeling that change of heart though. He immediately falls to pieces about all the misdeeds he has committed. But unfortunately, the people he has worked with are very powerful, and they immediately start covering up the whole affair. They essentially hold him prisoner while looking for a way to reverse the damage caused by the change of heart.
However, when Election Day comes, despite not campaigning in the last few weeks, Shido wins handily. It isn’t until his acceptance speech that the Phantom Thieves are sure that the change of heart was successful. Shido confesses to everything on national television. He begs to have judgment passed on him so that he may atone for the blood trail he has left in his wake. This is a moment of great success not only for the country but for Futaba Sakura and Haru. They were able to avenge the death of their parents, who were taken by this man’s ambition.
Shido will not be seen again. His shadow will appear in the depths of Mementos, where he will thank you for setting him free. Evermore mysteries abound as you traverse the depths and decipher his thanks. Your journey is not at an end just yet. You have almost another month to play out before the grand finale if you are playing Royal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Question: Does Masayoshi Shido have a girlfriend?
Answer: There is no mention of his current relationship status in the game. However, at one point, he had a relationship with Goro Akechi’s mother, which resulted in Akechi’s birth. The only other example of Shido being with a woman is the night he is drunk with a woman he is fighting. That is when the protagonist steps in and gets arrested, kicking off the game’s events.
Question: Is Masayoshi Shido still alive?
Answer: There is some confusion about the shadows found in Mementos. Some people have theorized that if your shadow ends up in the depths, you are dead. There is nothing to substantiate this, though. While exploring the depths, you see almost all of the palace rulers. Notably, you do not see President Okumura. When a person dies, their shadow disappears, meaning that Shido is alive when you explore the depths of mementos. He tells you that nothing can be done for the dead, making anyone who thinks this theory wrong.
Question: Is Masayoshi Shido the Final Boss?
Answer: Without spoiling the true final boss for Persona 5 or Persona 5 Royal, Shido is not the true final boss for either game. In Persona 5, he is the final palace boss, but there is still more that takes place after the events of his palace. So enjoy the last chapters in either version!
Masayoshi Shido is a person who learned to manipulate the system to put himself in power. Like Emperor Palpatine, he carefully crafted a path to sit on the political throne and lord over the people through dubious means. Atlus must have seen the current state of the world and crafted this character in response to the large number of power grabbers like Shido. If he had the people’s best interest in mind, he could have been a great leader, as there is no denying his speech craft ability was naturally astute. Unfortunately, when looking at a great leader, sometimes the only thing we can glean from them are their words.
Shido’s lack of empathy and narcissistic tendency forced him to believe that he knew what was best for the country and that only he could accomplish it. The hypocrisy that he is the person to root out corruption in the government while embodying every aspect of the concept is depressingly realistic. Shido is a villain that is plagued by these character flaws. A better leader works with the people around themselves to support the people they govern. Shido can’t see this because his ego blinds him.
Instead of focusing on legitimate ways to help his fellow citizens, Shido took the macabre path of murder and manipulation. While mostly successful, the Phantom Thieves stand to prove to him that justice is absolute. No matter how carefully Shido’s plans were laid, he could not be allowed to succeed. Quite simply, he chose the wrong group to target. Ambition and greed at the cost of others will not be tolerated as long as the Phantom Thieves stand guard.
As is usually the case with corruption, it spreads far beyond the individual. While pulling one weed improves the plot, it doesn’t fix the infestation. With the fall of the “great” Shido, co-conspirators move quickly to create new ways to grasp power. The loss of Shido only slows them down for a matter of moments before they restart their attempts to steal power at all costs.
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