Haru Okumura is widely regarded as one of the least intriguing members of Persona 5’s Phantom Thieves. I reckon the main reason for this is the fact that she appears far later in the narrative than the rest of the squad, meaning that other characters have near-completed arcs before hers even starts. What’s more, her first line in Persona 5 is just, “I am Beauty Thief!” Even the other characters are quick to comment on how dire this introduction is.
Fortunately, Haru’s personality is given far more attention in Persona 5 Strikers. To be honest, I’ve actually become quite a big fan of hers after playing through the preview build. She’s quick, witty, and genuinely funny, while also offering the same kind of warmth she was known for in the original game. She’s nothing like the young woman who used to live in fear of her cruel fiancée, and she’s started to think for herself instead of constantly trying to please other people. This is probably what led to her newfound disdain for the police, which is evidenced by the fact that Haru basically says ACAB in Persona 5 Strikers.
It’s worth contextualizing this a bit. In Persona 5, Joker is framed for murder, and is viciously beaten by an interrogator in pursuit of a confession for a crime he did not commit. The Tokyo police force actually inhibits the Phantom Thieves so much that the entire world almost falls into ruin towards the end of the game. If not for the genius of Joker and his pals, the vast majority of society would inadvertently be under the cruel yoke of infamous Japanese politician Masayoshi Shido, either as part of an ongoing masquerade ball or as literal mice. Did you forget how weird Persona is?
There’s a public security officer in Persona 5 Strikers called Zenkichi Hasegawa. Zenkichi notices that the changes of heart occurring all over Japan resemble the dramatic alterations in behaviour seen during the peak of the Phantom Thieves’ fame, although he also recognizes that they don’t line up with their motive. And so, he attempts to reach out to Joker and the gang in order to strike a deal – one that will clear Joker’s name while also netting him a nice promotion.
Haru, still skeptical of what happened in the last game, says, “We’re sorry – we just despise the police, is all.” In their next meeting with Zenkichi, the officer asks if he’s shady. “Yes, quite,” Haru says. “We’re sorry, we just have zero trust in the police.”
Yusuke shares Haru’s sentiment. “Don’t get too chummy, Ren,” he scowls. “This man is most likely with Public Security.” While Haru is the most outspoken on the matter, it seems that the Phantom Thieves as a whole are just not very fond of the police. The only person willing to cooperate with Zenkichi is you – everyone else reckons he’s shady and calls him “Gramps,” including Sophia, a literal AI on your mobile phone.
So yeah, Haru said ACAB in Persona 5 Strikers. Not in so many words, mind, but the sentiment is evidently there, and has already reappeared several times throughout the preview build.
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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