This plot summary only covers the content in the original Persona 4. Golden-exclusive plot content such as Marie is not listed here.
Set in , the game starts with the protagonist who is named by the player being sent to the rural town of Inaba from the big city, since his parents are working abroad. His uncle Dojima is a police detective, whose primary assistant is a man named Tohru Adachi. On his first day arriving in town, the protagonist has a strange dream that teaches him to use a Persona , specifically his first one Izanagi , in battle.
Through Chie, the protagonist and Yosuke come to realize that an urban legend called the Midnight Channel is true; if you stare into a turned off TV at midnight on a rainy day, you will see a strange figure in there.
Shocking the once sleepy town, a TV announcer, Mayumi Yamano , is found dead, hanging upside-down from a telephone pole. When the protagonist first watches the Midnight Channel after hearing the rumor from Chie, he finds that he has the power to physically go into the TV, but his TV is too small to support him.
Saki Konishi's dead body on the antenna. When the protagonist reports this to his friends the next day, all three of them decide to then go through one of the large TVs at Junes ; all of them make it through, and subsequently find a strange bear named Teddie ; the group is let out by this same bear after wandering the strange world in fear, as well as finding out there are no exits except for the bear's TVs that he can create.
The next day, the body of Saki Konishi , the girl who discovered the body of Mayumi, is found dead on an antenna as well. This greatly upsets Yosuke, Saki's co-worker at Junes. Yosuke and the protagonist plan on returning to the television the next day, with Chie acting as a rope lifeline. Inside the TV, the protagonist and Yosuke find that there is a pathway to an area resembling Inaba.
There, in this realm created by the true feelings of Saki called the Twisted Shopping District , Yosuke's repressed feelings of how he was not really liked by Saki, whom he harbored an unrequited deep crush on, manifest into a clone-like figure of himself.
Yosuke's inability to accept the clone's claim that he did not enter the realm for Saki's death and how it was all about adventure for him allows it to become Shadow Yosuke. When the protagonist defeats it with Izanagi , Yosuke accepts his true feelings, allowing the Shadow to manifest into Yosuke's Persona, Jiraiya. The protagonist learns that he has a special power named the Wild Card which allows him to wield multiple Personas unlike all the other party members who only have one.
Unfortunately, Yukiko is kidnapped eventually, and afterwards clear and vivid images of her appear on the Midnight Channel. Shadow Chie Shadow Chie upset by Yukiko being 1. With Teddie giving analytical support, the protagonist and Yosuke decide to venture into the TV World specifically Yukiko's dungeon Yukiko's Castle and use their Personas to fight. They both warn Chie that she shouldn't enter since she lacks a Persona, though she ignores the warning.
On the 2nd floor of the castle, Chie is caught up with and her emotions manifest and battle the pair as Shadow Chie who revels in Chie's jealousy of Yukiko; though after its defeat, Shadow Chie turns into Chie's own Persona , and Chie joins the trio as the third combatant.
Shadow Yukiko Shadow Yukiko furious by her lack of free will. The trio eventually finds Yukiko, along with another 'Yukiko': Shadow Yukiko expresses her disgust with inheriting the inn, and playfully confesses to the protagonist, Yosuke, and Chie. Confused and shocked, Yukiko begs Shadow Yukiko to stop. Ignoring Yukiko's pleas, Shadow Yukiko taunts Yukiko, asking why she would want her to stop confessing her true feelings.
Shadow Yukiko exclaims that she is Yukiko, and is merely expressing her thoughts. Yukiko denies Shadow Yukiko's claims, and tells her that she is not her. Fueled by Yukiko's denial, Shadow Yukiko transforms into a caged bird and attacks the party.
The trio eventually manages to fend off the shadow, and with Yukiko eventually willing to face herself, the shadow transforms into Yukiko's Persona. Shadow Kanji Kanji facing his flamboyant Shadow. The protagonist and the group see another strange figure appear on the TV, and suspect it to be a biker who recently appeared on the real-world news; Kanji Tatsumi. While looking for the boy, the group spots a strange, blue-dressed slender young man who seems to be following him. They are unable to keep close enough an eye on Kanji to prevent him from being kidnapped, and once he is, he begins to appear clearly on the channel.
The team ventures into the Steamy Bathhouse , where they find Kanji facing his Shadow , manifested from him questioning his sexual orientation, possible homosexuality, and being ridiculed by girls for possessing stereotypical "feminine" interests such as sewing.
Kanji reluctantly accepts his Shadow and receives his Persona. When Kanji is rescued, the group comes to realize that all 4 of the kidnap victims — Yamano, Saki, Yukiko and Kanji — appeared on real-life TV before appearing on the Midnight Channel. Additionally, Yukiko and Kanji's first appearances on the channel were blurry and out of focus, though those appearances happened before they disappeared.
After they disappeared, their appearances on the Midnight Channel became clear and in-focus and representative of their inner emotions. Therefore the group concludes that the victims will first appear on the real-world TV, then appear in a blurry form on the Midnight Channel, then they will be kidnapped, then have vivid appearances on the channel until they die on the next foggy day. Also, the Shadow forms of the victims are their true emotions, which gain their power from their host's inability to accept them since each victim denied their Shadow form.
It comes to the attention of the town that a local celebrity model, Rise Kujikawa , is coming to Inaba. However, the group becomes worried when they see an indistinct silhouette on the Midnight Channel that seems to resemble Rise. The group is unable to prevent her from disappearing, and after she is abducted, she begins to clearly appear on the Midnight Channel. When she is confronted in her dungeon, the Marukyu Striptease , she refuses to accept her shadow form ; it engages the group in a battle, but eventually, it uses the move Supreme Insight to become invincible.
Shadow Teddie, Teddie's existential nightmare. The group is unable to do a thing about it, but Teddie steps in and uses his inner power to destroy the monster. This results in his body being completely and utterly flattened, almost killing him. Eventually, Teddie's inner emotions about himself manifest and create Shadow Teddie , which battles and loses to the group.
Rise takes over Teddie's role as the analytical support, while Teddie joins the group as a playable character. Teddie also gains a human body in the real world. The group, for the second time now, encounters the slender teen from before, who has now taken an interest in Kanji, the next victim. The group is shocked at how the killer's pattern has completely been abandoned. The strange slender teenager the group encountered before reveals himself to be Naoto Shirogane , a young, aspiring detective whom is assisting the P.
He comments that the police have found a suspect who has confessed his guilt, though they have not yet revealed his identity — Naoto does say that he is a student from another high school. As summer break starts, a clear and vivid image appears on the Midnight Channel showing a strange boy taunting the protagonist's to "come and get me".
An investigation around town by the party to find the boy's identity reveals him to be the suspect being sought after by the police and a student from another high school named Mitsuo Kubo. When he is confronted in his Midnight Channel dungeon, Void Quest , his shadow form attacks the group and is defeated, and he is pulled out of the TV and handed over to the police as the true killer.
However, the group suspects that something isn't right with the theory that he is the killer due to the large incongruities in his profile as well as how Morooka was simply beat to death with a blunt object. The group tries to piece together any evidence to confirm or disprove the theory that Kubo is the killer.
Shadow Naoto Shadow Naoto offering Naoto a sex change operation. It is confirmed that Kubo must be a copycat killer when Naoto, after first deliberately appearing on the real world TV himself in an attempt to bait the killer, appears on the Midnight Channel. When the group goes out to his dungeon, the Secret Laboratory , to save him, they find that in reality, Naoto was born female and took on a male identity to avoid the sexism of the police department.
After Naoto's dark self is defeated, Naoto decides to give a female identity another try. She also joins the group with a Persona , and her excellent detective skills prove to be a highly valuable asset for the rest of the game. On October 20th, the protagonist receives a mysterious letter addressed to him — the sender's name and address are nowhere to be found on the letter which literally only reads: The Investigation Team offer some theories but nothing definitive about the letter.
November 5th marks the start of the climax of the game, when another letter is addressed to the protagonist; it reads "if you dont stop this time someone close will be put in and killed" again lacking any capitalization, punctuation or grammar. Unfortunately, Dojima sees the letter and sends the protagonist to the police station, his suspicions about him being involved in the case what with him and his friends being found at crime scenes now affirmed true.
Nanako is then reported kidnapped and is indeed seen on the Midnight Channel that night; the group, using Naoto's deductive reasoning, find that the culprit should be a small-time suspect in the first murder, Taro Namatame since he uses a delivery truck, something that can both hold a TV with access to the TV World and is not suspicious to ordinary people.
No signs of force entry were found at the Dojima house as well, a clear indicant that this was someone who knew Nanako like Namatame. Kunino-Sagiri The party fighting Kunino-sagiri. As Dojima rests in the hospital, the group comes to the conclusion that Namatame must be the real killer.
He and Nanako are tracked down in the next Midnight Channel dungeon, Heaven. When confronted, Namatame claims that he is actually "saving people", leaving the group confused, but no less enraged at him. A shadow Kunino-sagiri stems from Namatame and attempts to attack the group, but after it is defeated, the team escorts both Nanako and Namatame out of the dungeon.
Both are sent to the hospital injured, with Namatame being in too unstable a state of mind to make any statements to police or the group. Unfortunately, at this time, the same type of fog that courses through the Midnight Channel that reduces visibility without special glasses is found running through the real world. The team goes through a stressful period as they wait for Nanako to recover. Dojima and Nanako are periodically visited in the hospital by the group.
More and more people begin falling ill over the fog, and the doctors comment that there is actually no visible evidence on Nanako to indicate what is causing her sickness though this is almost certainly because of how the fog's supernatural powers and the technology of the hospital don't go hand-in-hand. Persona 4 Nanako Dies Nanako's death in the hospital.
December 3rd is the final turning point in the game. On this day, after the group rushes to the hospital when Adachi calls them to tell them that Nanako's condition has worsened, Nanako appears to succumb to her wounds and appears to die.
Furious, an emotional Dojima attempts to walk into Namatame's ward and kill him, but is stopped by guards. As the guard drags him away, the group enters Namatame's room and they find that he is actually mentally unstable, and uttering indecipherable comments. Unfortunately, as Dojima's assistant Adachi told them earlier, there is almost no evidence that the police can use to convict, or even further detain Namatame and of course there is no chance a judge or a jury will believe the story about the Midnight Channel.
After watching a Shadow manifestation of Namatame, the group, particularly Yosuke, contemplates murdering Namatame to bring true justice for all the victims and to prevent him from claiming more. The protagonist must convince Yosuke and the group that they need to seek the truth and think with their minds and not their emotions; if they do not do so, one of these "bad ending"s will occur.
If the protagonist approves Yosuke's wishes, Namatame is thrown into the television and likely is killed by the Shadows, while Nanako is confirmed dead. The protagonist returns home, Teddie returns to the TV World, and the mystery goes unsolved just not to the group's knowledge with the party never realizing that the man they killed was not the true culprit.
The fog still covers the town 3 months later in March as the protagonist leaves Inaba. The rather downbeat credits, as well as the very existence of alternate pathways in the dialogue tree, are likely to be interpreted by the player as clear indicators that this was not the true ending.
If Namatame is spared, but the protagonist cannot convince the group that they need to dig deeper into the case, or if the protagonist does do so but cannot guess the killer's identity 2 days later, then Nanako comes back to life but remains hospitalized.
The game ends, with Teddie again returning to the TV World, and the mystery goes unsolved. Namatame pleads guilty to the kidnapping charges, but not guilty to the murder charges, as reported on the news. The same downbeat credit sequence plays again, another indication to the player that this is not the true ending.