The Psychology of Dr. Takuto Maruki (Persona 5 Royal) | MAJOR SPOILERS

MAJOR STORY SPOILERS AHEAD. Dr. Takuto Maruki, the new confidant in Persona 5 Royal, is one of the most complex and nuanced characters in the franchise. While on the surface he presents like a well-intentioned counselor for the students at Shujin Academy as Joker and the Phantom Thieves start getting to know him, his distortions start becoming more and more readily apparent. And so today I want to look at the psychology Maruki became the man he is today and how his grief, delusions of grandeur, and desire to save the world twisted him in dangerous ways, leading him to become the most engaging and sympathetic antagonist I have ever experienced in a game.

I do want to note that all counselors will come at situations from different theoretical orientations, backgrounds, and belief systems. My opinions correlate with my own education and professional experience up to this point in my education as a Master’s level counseling student.


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Some Toughts (29)

  1. Avatar
    added on 21 Aug, 2020

    You do an amazing job here laying out precisely how Maruki's honest desire to do good slowly spun out of control until he made himself into a god. Wonderful video! I have a question: going back to Rumi, what kind of (clinical or non) approaches would actually help a person who is so traumatized that they're mostly catatonic? She can't grow in that state, or even help in her own healing, so then what?

  2. Avatar
    added on 22 Aug, 2020

    My favorite thing about Maruki (and the third semester as a whole, honestly) is how there are so many different possible interpretations, answers, and explanations for why he does what he does, and what the "right" answer is. It's such a difficult choice that's fed into by every aspect of the story, from Sumire, Akechi, the Phantom Thieves, Joker himself, and even the soundtrack names for the new semester, which are all double entendres, for example; "Ideal and the Real" could be referencing the separation of these two concepts, or, as we see in the ending where we accept Maruki's reality, the meaning could be literal, the joining of both the Ideal and the Real. It's absolutely stunning, and your analysis on Maruki is undeniably impressive. I hope he appears again in Persona 6, even as just a simple cameo.
    Oh, and one more thing; probably my absolute favorite thing about Maruki just from, like, a simple writing standpoint is that he could so easily use his powers to get Rumi back, and give him everything in his life that was lost… but he doesn't. He's not acting selfishly here, he truly wants no one else to experience what he had to.

  3. Avatar
    added on 22 Aug, 2020

    Isn't life too short to live in pain just for it to end? Why not take Maruki's ending. I know it's all about the rebellion of the phantom thieves and about them changing society, but are you really gonna forfeit your and the whole world's happiness just for that? I know the concept of blissful ignorance has appeared in persona and i know this won't be much different from what the god of control was doing, but i just think life is too short to live it in pain

  4. Avatar
    added on 24 Aug, 2020

    This was a great video, very cogent analysis. I wonder if you’re going to make one on Adachi in the future?

  5. Avatar
    added on 24 Aug, 2020

    Maruki and Akira having the same goal, yet different ways of doing things, it is so cool and humanizing to see tbh.

  6. Avatar
    added on 25 Aug, 2020

    I'm so happy you did this. Honestly, I've never felt so much sympathy and heartache for a villain in this franchise before. This is a real evolution on Atlus' part and if we can keep getting characters like this in the future, that would be incredible. You could say that's 'my fantasy'.

  7. Avatar
    added on 26 Aug, 2020

    ThoughtBubble has anyone ask you to do Ellie from The Last Of Us?

  8. Avatar
    added on 29 Aug, 2020

    Speaking of maruki, fun fact: in the ending where you accept his reality, if you ask sojiro where maruki is, sojiro responds with “who?”

    This seems to imply at least to me, that no one else besides you remembers maruki anymore, given that sojiro is shown to have met maruki and learned his name prior to the third semester.

    Also maruki’s only appearance in that ending has him a seemingly nameless stranger who doesn’t even get a character portrait. I just wanna put that out there
    Thought Bubble any thoughts on this?

  9. Avatar
    added on 30 Aug, 2020

    In summary:
    Maruki: I wanna do good things
    Joker: hey that's not good thing that's bad thing disguised as good
    Maruki: why?
    Joker: you're not growing
    Maruki: so how do I grow?
    Joker: Suffer then overcome it
    Maruki: instructions unclear, I ended up making everyone wishes come true and giving happiness to everyone
    Joker:did they suffer?
    Joker: that's not very H O O B O Y of you

  10. Avatar
    added on 31 Aug, 2020

    As much as Dr.Maruki has done, it is indeed that many would side with him as well. Maybe over 50 percent.

    Some trauma and pain don't heal, person doesn't end up making it and changing for the worse. Criminals that have done terrible things don't always change fir better.

    To be honest the world would end up a better place, at steep cost. But if you told many they can have happiness and do over they always wanted then many in reality would flock to him.

    In our current world and year, he would be able to get rid of diseases and mental disease, hunger and wars.

    It's not hard to understand why he would wind up with huge support from masses.

    To grow, lot of people in real life don't grow especially ones who lost everything and have no one.

    No matter what anyone says Ignorance is bliss to mortal society…

    Barely anyone is going to sit there and say they wouldn't want happiness. It's like telling a man who really loved his wife and she died in accident.You can have her back and live your wife as you suppose to be giving him the second chance at happiness.

    Most people wouldn't dare turn that down, it's normal we're human and there things we want more then anything.

    Sacrifice is part of life, willing to give something up to have it any costs. Just like sometimes we have to do bad to get the good.

    Stopping Dr.Maruki literally comes to your personal belief,there literally no right or wrong. Just matter of prospective. Some would even call you the villain for trying to stop him.

    Funny how each person prospective of you can completely change everything.

    Sad fact sooner or later someone with more power will take reigns from him because that is also thing about power. Their always someone with more hunger…

    I always found it amazing how vastly different SMT main series is compare to the Persona series.

  11. Avatar
    added on 31 Aug, 2020

    Wow this video is really incredible! You've gone above and beyond with your explanation and visuals. Subscribed, and looking forward to more great videos!

  12. Avatar
    added on 2 Sep, 2020

    To quote James T. Kirk from Star Trek V: Damnit Bones you're a doctor, you know pain and guilt can't be taken away with a wave of a magic wand! They're the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away I NEED MY PAIN!

  13. Avatar
    added on 4 Sep, 2020

    I knew that Dr. Maruki had a persona all along.

  14. Avatar
    added on 5 Sep, 2020

    Having the phantom thieves symbolically be the ones who ate the forbidden fruit could also be another of example of the villains of bible stories being portrayed as the heroes in this game such as with Joker and the Phantom Thieves representing Satan and the Seven Archangels who rebelled against god.

  15. Avatar
    added on 6 Sep, 2020

    hey uh…can you try morgana? I want to know more about his insecurities and….see why I love him so much because of that.

  16. Avatar
    added on 8 Sep, 2020

    I want said that the seeds of sorrow can mean what you said, but it can also be represented as despair or in the deadly sin it could be the 8th sin.

  17. Avatar
    added on 9 Sep, 2020

    Well if it isn't namatame but not namatame

  18. Avatar
    added on 9 Sep, 2020

    Well… the road to hell IS paved with good intentions.

  19. Avatar
    added on 9 Sep, 2020

    Nice video. 😀 I gotta disagree about the "He's taking away their free will" part though. He's just removing everyone's pain so that they can be happy and free. I wish his power was real, but life. Meh. Hardships destroy us. We don't grow from them while they shackle us down. The way I see it, he's simply removing those shackles.

  20. Avatar
    added on 9 Sep, 2020

    Maruki is exactly the antagonist I wanted to see when Persona 5 first came out. Someone who had distorted desires that in all honesty…sound pretty rad. Someone complex, someone to struggle with. I was disappointed that all of the villains were…villains. And hoo boy, I was amazed when I first saw the new content in Royal.

  21. Avatar
    added on 11 Sep, 2020

    I thought Maruki had never intended to turn Sumire into Kasumi, and that it had simply happened subconsciously? The way his dialogue is written during their first appointment, it sounds much more like he's humoring her role-playing than realizing he's altered her like he did Rumi.

  22. Avatar
    added on 11 Sep, 2020

    Nice analysis. 🙂
    What I also like about Maruki's "Messiah Complex" is that it was more subtle and we see it grow through his memories. Whereas other games/shows just immediately show people who are already mad with power and saying "I AM THE ONE WHO WILL SAVE HUMANITY!" and all that stuff.

  23. Avatar
    added on 12 Sep, 2020


  24. Avatar
    added on 13 Sep, 2020

    In 2020 his arc hits differently.

    Even with all these issues, I can't look out of the window and say "yeah, this is better".

    A flawed man with a messiah complex is still better than living in this harsh reality under the thumb of selfish sociopathic leaders. He legitimately wants to help people, and that is more that can be said from what we have.

  25. Avatar
    added on 13 Sep, 2020

    I can't even put into words how much I loved this video

  26. Avatar
    added on 15 Sep, 2020

    14:16 , 18:45 “The Means justifies the End” / “The End justifies the Means”. (?) Do both Apply with Maruki?

  27. Avatar
    added on 15 Sep, 2020

    Hello! I'm that one girl who wrote the article using your video as references! It's finally out, so if you wanna read it here's the link 🙂
    It may be a little difficult cuz it's written in Italian but you can just translate it on Google translator! Thank you so much for these amazing videos, you're so great💗

  28. Avatar
    added on 16 Sep, 2020

    There is a youtuber named harry type c who mods p5 and did playable maruki with messiah

  29. Avatar
    added on 18 Sep, 2020

    I, kinda relate to Maruki
    I've, been through a lot of sh*t. And I just want to pretend that nothing happened, and be happy

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