Persona is a series full of sweet little nods and recognition of other media, and one specific subtle shout out in Persona 5 has players talking.
[Warning: The following contains minor spoilers for Persona 5.]
At one point in the game, Morgana the cat is talking to our protagonist about cats turning into busses. As if to explain why it’s okay if she does it, Morgana simply states that people in Japan are totally cool with this extraordinary event taking place right before their eyes.
My Neighbor Totoro reference in Persona 5 pic.twitter.com/PLX6sLCHbn— Arthur Augustyn (@ArthurAugustyn) April 6, 2017
The reference, seen in the tweet above, is to anime powerhouse Studio Ghibli’s beloved film, My Neighbor Totoro. The film, which was released in 1988, follows two sisters who move to a countryside town in Japan in an effort to be closer to their sick mother. While there, they encounter a series of forest spirits, one of them named Totoro. In one of the most iconic scenes from the film, Satsuki and Mei are waiting for the bus with Totoro when a Cat Bus appears out of nowhere. It can be seen below.
In Persona 5, players have the option of exploring a side dungeon called Mementos that leads to additional, voluntary sidequests. In order to get around the dungeon’s weird layout, players must pile into the bus that Morgana transforms into. When asked by the protagonist about it, the answer Morgana gives is a direct reference to My Neighbor Totoro.
It’s a smart move for Persona 5, as many of the players who throw themselves into the game are bound to be anime and Studio Ghibli enthusiasts, especially based on the overwhelmingly positive response to the game.
Spoiler I guess? But I love the Totoro reference lol pic.twitter.com/7wz1hnshxL— mara @ PERSONA 5 (@capymaras) April 5, 2017
@StrayLiger OMG persona 5 just made a My neighbor Totoro reference! 10/10 game of the year— Blake L./Arn Eros (@grimmharvester) April 5, 2017
Persona 5 is full of other secret references that encourage players to explore new dungeons and explore sidequests that they might not otherwise be inclined to.
Persona 5 is available to play on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 worldwide.