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I'll erase any who get in my way... just as I've always done!
~ Masayoshi Shido

Masayoshi Shido is one of the two main antagonists of Persona 5 alongside Yaldabaoth, and he is Joker's archenemy. The seventh and final major target, Shido is the head of The Conspiracy, a powerful politician, and Goro Akechi's father. His belief that it is his god-given right to lead society and destroy any who dare cross him creates a Palace inside the Collective Unconscious, where he transforms into Samael, demon of Pride.

He turns out to be at the center of a conspiracy to rig the election for Prime Minister in his favor, allowing him to put his highly draconian and ultra-nationalistic political beliefs into effect, uncaring of the misery this would cause to Japan in general. Shido's Palace is an enormous, multi-tiered cruise ship, which is imposed over the National Diet Building in the real world. His treasure in the Palace resembles a ship's steering wheel; in the real world it manifests as his politician's badge.

In the original Japanese version, he is voiced by Shuichi Ikeda. In the English version, he is voiced by Keith Silverstein, who also voiced Johan Liebert. Both of these actors also voiced Char Aznable in the Japanese and English version, respectively.

Biography

Early Life

Shido started as a colleague of Sojiro Sakura, being a successful and ambitious politician who claimed that he would one day become Prime Minister of Japan, but nobody took his claim seriously. Years before the story, he had an affair with an unnamed woman, which conceived Goro Akechi. Shido later left his lover, leaving her to commit suicide once Akechi was born. Therefore, Shido was responsible for Akechi's start of darkness, just as he was responsible for the protagonist's start of heroism years later.

However, more than a decade later, Shido became a member of the National Diet and met a teenage Akechi, who gained his Persona after making a pact with Yaldabaoth, who was the main conductor behind Shido's later consipiracy connected to psychotic breakdown and mental shutdown. Akechi pretended to work for Shido and helped him to steal a Metaverse research project in an attempt to seek vengence against his father, believing Shido has no knowledge of his own son. However, Shido had found out the truth all along, since he discovered that Akechi bore physical resemblence to his mother, but Shido pretended to be oblivious, so that he could use Akechi as his pawn until the time was needed to depose Akechi as soon as Shido rose as the Prime Minister.

Using Akechi's mental shutdown ability as his tool, Shido murdered Wakaba Isshiki, a prominent cognitive psience researcher and Futaba Sakura's mother, before sending Futaba a false information that defiled Wakaba, falsely claiming that she hated her daughter all along. Sojiro, who was a close friend to Wakaba and adopted Futaba as his own daughter, failed to expose Shido and was forced to retire and become the owner of his Cafe LeBlanc in order to protect Futaba. Throughout years, Sojiro silently listened to Shido making speeches about the nation's crisis, but reacted in apathy as he knew what kind of monster Shido truly was.

Throughout the years, Shido used Akechi and his ability to cause mental shutdown incidents, most notably the train derail that caused many people to die, causing a scandal that deposed the former Minster in charge of public safety, so that Shido could take his place. He used Principal Kobayakawa of Shujin Academy and is indirectly responsible for the sexual harrasement of Suguru Kamoshida being concealed. He also used Ichiryusai Madarame (through his plagiarized artwork), Kunikazu Okumura (through his company's gain) and Junya Kaneshiro (through his underworld business) as his source of finance to run for Prime Minister, so that he could take charge into the country and start a rule with his iron fist. He even manipulated the SIU Director to push Sae Niijima into investigating the Phantom Thieves in an attempt to make her his unwitting pawn.

Combined to his dark influence on Akechi and Futaba's life, as well as being the one behind Akechi's involvement with the fake Medjed incident, Shido is doubtlessly the formost figure behind every targets of the Phantom Thieves before confronting him personally.

Confrontation with the Protagonist

One year before the start of the story, the protagonist met Shido when he was drunk, harassing a woman on the street. When Shido noticed the protagonist he threatened the latter not to get in trouble with him because of his status as a powerful politician and connection to the police. He lost his balance when the protagonist attempted to pull him from the woman. His forehead hit the corner and bled. Shido angrily accused the protagonist for the nonexistent violence and forced the woman to testify against the protagonist, causing the protagonist to be put on probation as a minor offender.

Palace of Lust Arc

After the protagonist created the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and stole Suguru Kamoshida's heart, the news of the Phantom Thieves' incident caught Shido's attention and he criticized the Thieves as criminals, gaining endorsement for his Prime Minister election campaign. Shido and the protagonist later meet again when the protagonist is eating together at a hotel restaurant with Ryuji Sakamoto, Ann Takamaki and Morgana, though he does not recognize the protagonist.

While waiting for the elevator to go back to the restaurant, Shido and his subordinates rudely shove the protagonist and Ryuji who are waiting in front of the elevator away, much to Ryuji's anger. When the protagonist and Ryuji protest that they were there first, Shido, as usual, threatens to use his connections to sue them, while angrily complaining about seeing teenagers appearing in the restaurant with pure irritations.

While Shido was speaking, the protagonist heard his voice and started to have a familiar feeling when he took the first glace at Shido as if he met this man before, just as Shido left and Ryuji complained about his rude behavior. This convinces the protagonist, Ryuji and Ann to continue their work as Phantom Thieves.

Casino of Envy Arc

After framing the Phantom Thieves for the death of Principal Kobayakawa and Kunikazu Okumura due to the two's attempt of betryal, Shido made the public to spite the Thieves and turn against them. Seeking this as an advantage to destroy the Thieves, Shido made Akechi to kill the protagonist via spying into the Phantom Thieves' team, while taking down the SIU Director to silence him.

However, while Shido succeeded in deposing the SIU Director, the other Thieves looked through their plots of murdering the Protagonist once Shadow Sae was defeated. Not only did they fake the protagonist's death, but they also managed to discover that Shido is the ringleader of the mental shutdown conspiracy, convincing a willingly redeemed Sae Niijima to join their side.

Cruise of Pride Arc

Shidou shadow 1st form

Shadow Shido

After Futaba revealed that she discovered Shido was the mastermind, Sae revealed to everyone that she firmly believed Shido is the mastermind as well, due to his rise of power occurred just in time when psychotic breakdown incidents happened, while Sojiro finally confessed that Shido was the murderer of Wakaba and the stealer of her research. Later, under his disguise, the protagonist encountered Shido and recognized him as the very same man that framed him, and he deduced from Shido's exclamation that he saw the Diet Building as a ship for him to control as its captain, and that ship is the form of his Palace.

As soon as the Thieves entered the Palace of Shido, they were shocked and enraged to find out that the whole nation of Japan was flooded around the ship, while confused at Akechi's reason of serving Shido. Shido's Palace was a clear view of his own delusions and complex, an enormous ship that sails on a flooded Japan (even probably the entire world), with Shido and his followers on the ship unscathed while other citizens would drown in the ocean, showing his uncaring nature to the nation and its people.

ShidoPalace3

Shido's Palace

The Thieves managed to defeat five minions of Shido to get the letters of introductions they required to enter the Diet Building, right before they confronted Akechi and defeated him, but they start realizing Akechi was just another victim of Shido due to his parentage. After Akechi's defeat, Shadow Shido sent his own Cognitive Akechi to kill the real Akechi, revealing Akechi was nothing but his own puppet. Feeling horrified and guilty for his crimes, Akechi sacrificed himself to allow other the Thieves to escape, while expressing his last wish to make the Thieves change Shido's heart, a request that the Protagonist agreed to, much to Akechi's relief.

Once they discovered Shido's treasure, the Thieves then vowed to defeat Shido, realizing everyone connected to the incident was Shido's victim, even including Akechi. They immediately send a nationwide announcement to accuse Shido as a villain, which infuriated Shido and made him desperately try to stop the Thieves from changing his heart. When the Thieves confront Shido's Shadow in his Palace, without knowledge of his son's apparent death, he admits that he was going to kill Akechi anyway once he becomes Prime Minister because he knows too much, much to the Thieves' disgust. During the fight, he finally recognizes the protagonist as the student who interfered with him before. After the Shadow is defeated, Shido admits he was wrong for having the protagonist arrested, and vows to make amends upon returning to his real self.

His Treasure is his politician badge which takes the form of a wheel of his cruise-shaped Palace, symbolizing his ambition as a leader. Despite his Shadow's apology to the Thieves, the Shido in reality senses the change of his heart. His physician feeds him medicine to enter suspended animation, hoping to kill the gang in his Palace and stop his Treasure from being stolen. The plan fails as all Phantom Thieves successfully retreat unscathed. Shido's aides send him to the hospital to avoid media coverage of his mental state. On the day of the announcement of Shido's victory in the election, he openly confesses his crimes during the live conference. Sae Niijima is tasked with charging Shido.

Memento Depths Arc

Despite Shido's confession, however, the general public does not show support for the Phantom Thieves, but are rather more worried about the future of Japan without Shido leading the country. After Shido made his confession, his remaining allies commence an all-or-nothing plan to wipe out the Phantom Thieves and maintain their corrupt choke-hold over Japan. For this plan to work, Yaldabaoth directly influences the people of Tokyo to forget Shido's crimes and blame the entire debacle on the Thieves by manipulating the slothful nature within its citizens.

When the Phantom Thieves enter the Depths of Mementos to change the hearts of the now-distorted public, they encounter the Shadows of their previous targets including Shido. No longer arrogant or ambitious, Shido is now a broken man resigning himself to Yaldabaoth's control. His personality has changed to the point that he now prefers the vision Yaldabaoth has for Japan, saying it will be a far better country than what he had tried to build.

Fortunately, after Yaldabaoth is defeated and Mementos entirely erased, public opinion promptly turns against Shido and his allies, eventually bringing an end to the Conspiracy and its schemes. In spite of this, to prove Shido's guilt, the protagonist must turn himself in as a key witness considering the laws the Thieves had to break over their months of activity. Despite that, with help from the Thieves and their other allies, the woman who was first coerced into testifying against the protagonist is found and admits the truth of what happened with her and Shido.

With the prior testimony against the protagonist revoked, Sae succeeds in prosecuting Shido for his crimes and proves the protagonist's innocence, ending Shido's reign of terror once and for all. With the debt repaid and their fortunes fittingly reversed, the protagonist returns to Leblanc to his friends and the future once stolen from him as a free man while Shido presumably rots in prison for the rest of his life.

Etymology

Masayoshi (in Japanese: 正義) means "justice" which is identical to "seigi", its meaning is mentioned in the plot several times to satirize Shido's unjust deeds. Shi (獅) means "lion" and Dō (童) can compose the phrases related to "child".

Trivia

  • In the anime cutscene where Shido's full name in kanji is shown, one kanji is written differently, namely "堂" instead of "童" in-game. The typo does not change the pronunciation of his name, but the meaning of his surname is now "lion-institute" instead of "lion-child".
  • The song that plays during his boss fight is Rivers in the Desert.
  • Shadow Shido's first form in battle bears a striking resemblance to Char Aznable from the Gundam franchise, who is also voiced by Shuichi Ikeda and Keith Silverstein in Japanese and English respectively.
  • In the anime version, when the Protagonist confronted Shido for the first time in front of the elevator, he had no sign of headache as a sign of remembering Shido's voice.
  • With three phases and five forms, the boss battle against Shadow Shido is arguably the longest-running boss battle in Persona 5.
  • He is very similar to Steven Armstrong from Metal Gear Rising: Revengance. They are both corrupt politicians and lead a faction against the protagonists to be elected as leader of the country (America for Armstrong, Japan for Shido). They also fight with a vehicle (Shido has a lion, Armstrong pilots Metal Gear EXCELSUS). They also become muscular when fighting the protagonists directly.
    • However, Shido is considered Pure Evil while Armstrong is a well-intentioned Anti-Villain. While Shido plans to turn Japan into a fascist state, Armstrong wants to make America an anarchy.
  • Shido is similar to Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Both are main antagonists of their respective stories who are tyrannical political leaders (Ozai is the Fire Nation's Fire Lord, Shido aspires to become the Prime Minister of Japan) and they both used their offsprings as means to their ends (Zuko and Azula for Ozai, Goro Akechi for Shido) who also happen to be ending up with the heroes' sides. Their defeat at the hands of the heroes led them to be stripped of their political power.
  • Somehow, Shido bears a striking physical resemblance to Hideki Tojo, the 27th Prime Minister of Japan during much of World War II, from October 17, 1941, to July 22, 1944, who was one of the primary figures responsible for Japanese Facism and war crimes during World War II.

Navigation

           Persona Villains (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Misc.

Shadows

Persona: Be Your True Mind

SEBEC Route

Guido Sardenia | Nyarlathotep | True Final Boss

Snow Queen Quest

Victims of the Snow Queen Mask | Tomomi Fujimori | Night Queen

Persona 2

Innoncent Sin

Masked Circle (Master Joker | King Leo | Queen Aquarius | Lady Scorpio | Prince Taurus | Ixquic)

Eternal Punishment

New World Order (Tatsuzou Sudou | Kiyotada Sumaru | Guido Kandori | Chizuru Ishigami) | The One Behind It All

Persona 3

Strega (Takaya Sakaki | Jin Shirato | Chidori Yoshino)| Kouetsu Kirijo | Shuji Ikutsuki | Death Arcana | Erebus

Persona 4

Mitsuo Kubo | Taro Namatame | The Killer | True Final Boss

Persona 4: Arena & Persona 4: Arena Ultimax

Sho Minazuki | Shadow Labrys | Malevolent Entity

Persona 5

Suguru Kamoshida | Ichiryusai Madarame | Junya Kaneshiro | Sphinx | Kunikazu Okumura | Leviathan | The Traitor | Samael | True Final Boss

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