I turned down Persona 5's Ichiko Ohya and now I'm filled with regret



There’s a seminal moment in cinematic history, in which a world-weary Ossie Davis tells a young Spike Lee, “always do the right thing”. This unforgettable moment has stuck with me my whole lifeand is go-to advice whenever I make my decisions, be they political, moral, or edible.

Unfortunately, this adherence to my gleaming halo also intrudes my video gaming. Whether sticking with Paragon choices in Mass Effector deciding the fate of the Little Sisters in BioShock, I’m forced to be a goody-two-shoes most of the time, often finding, in gaming at least, reward tends to follow such sanctimonious high-horse riding.

But not this week, this week I did the right thing and I was a durn fool I tells ya.

Persona 5 has its fair share of potential love interests, but while many players may pine after the cheerful, upbeat Lady Ann; the quiet, studious Makoto Niijima; or one of the many other cookie-cutter anime character tropes, I found myself inexplicably drawn to drunken, deadbeat Ichiko Ohya. She’s found nightly propping up the Crossroads’ bar, moaning about work, bitching about deadlines, how she “coulda been a contender”, and is perpetually lonely. Let’s face it, she’s the video game “me”.

I’ve always made time for the rambling go-nowhere journalist, who bangs on about not being big-time, despite getting hammered every single night and giving way too much of a shit about the internet fad that is The Phantom Thieves. Oh, and Ohya also gets all of her intel from one source: a teenager with a criminal record who follows her around the Red-Light District and merely claims to know what’s up. I’m sure your invite to The New York Times is in the post, sister.

But here’s the twist, Ohya is actually awesome. Everyone in Persona 5 has issues, sure, but they’re generally still popular, cool, and relatively successful characters with a ton of friends and a bright future. Ohya genuinely believes she’s hit rock bottom, filled with regret that her best opportunities, experiences, and years are long behind her (because in the super-hip Persona universe, once you hit 21, the party’s over, pal). Ohya seems so damn sadbut still works her ass off to hit all her deadlines and be the very best she can be, striving for success — and justice — in a world that’s fast accelerating ahead without her. Maybe it was depressingly relatable to me, ‘cos yer boy Moyse was smitten.

So I beavered away at Ohya’s “Confidant” meter, learning more about what got the jaded journo to her lowest ebb, which sees her alone, drinking, and wearing sunglasses at 11 pm, whilst also gifting you the most useless Confidant bonuses in the game. We became two peas in a pod, if the pod was a dive bar and one of the peas was wasted. Regardless, it would soon be time for me and her to ride off into the sunset, facing the rest of our lives together. Happiness at last.

Persona 5’s narrative finally presented me with the golden question, an opportunity to date my favourite plastered paparazzi. And that’s when my troublesome morals hit me like a fire-axe to the forehead. This ain’t about me, this is about Joker. And Joker’s… fucking… 12 or something.

I had reached the eve of declaring my undying love for the gal whose glass is always half-full (of whiskey) and sobriety kicked in with the mother of all hangovers. Joker’s a kid, and Ohya’s in her mid 20’s at least. Ossie Davis’ famous words had always been comforting, but now they just mocked me. With a sigh, I turned Ohya’s invitation of eternal happiness down, lest she find herself on some FBI database.

Still, what becomes of the broken-hearted? Me and Ohya, in the real world, coulda really been something, man. But Joker and Ohya? I hear Chris Hansen would like a word. Regardless, this is a familiar regret to me, not experienced since 1996 when I crushed hard on a gal I couldn’t ask out because I was a teen and she was, I dunno, 40 (Ok, maybe 25, but with that generational gap, she might as well have been 205).

Still, me and Ohya was a fun, poorly-written, badly-localised, and overly-padded ride while it lasted. Oh, also, it was a video game relationship and thus entirely fictional and within my own head. Here’s to you, Ohya, may all your scoops be hot, your beers cool, and your haircuts soccer ball-shaped. Maybe I’ll catch you later in new game plus, when I’m older and wiser. That’s how it works… right?

And hell, at least I wasn’t trying to date my school-teacher. That shit’s fucked up, Kawakami.