Is the wait for Persona 5 enough to drive you insane? Are you dying to know the fates of all your favourite characters from Persona 3 and 4 — and Persona 4: Arena only served to whet your appetite? Well, you could always pick up a copy of manga Persona X Detective Naoto to get a teaser or two of things to come.
Based on the light novel of the same name, Persona X Detective Naoto follows Persona 4 favourite Naoto Shirogane in her final year of high school. After being approached by a long time mentor, Naoto begins investigating disappearances at a private high school. She soon discovers the missing students are tied to the mysterious "Midnight Site" — a website where people are "judged" and have a tendency to die shortly thereafter.
To help her investigate this series of crimes, Naoto finds herself partnered with Sousei, an Anti-Shadow Suppression Weapon discarded because of his non-combat persona. Of course, having a persona that can play back the conversations of anyone dead is more than a little helpful to a detective like Naoto.
On the plus side, other Persona 3 and 4 characters have cameos or are mentioned in passing throughout the story — Naoto spends time with Rise at the start of the story and refers to her knowledge of Mitsuru, Aegis, and the Kirijo group several times throughout the story so far. A large part of the narrative is also centered around Naoto's ongoing gender issues — continuing her main theme from Persona 4.
If there is a downside, it's that the manga has more than a few silly bits. The fact that Sousei is actually a transforming robot and becomes a motorcycle for Naoto to ride is one of these. Sousei's over-the-top arrogance — and especially the situations it causes — is another.
But perhaps the biggest gripe I have with the manga so far is its insistence on putting Naoto in a string of perverted anime cliché situations — e.g., Naoto's doing a bikini photo shoot alongside Rise, or Sousei walking in on Naoto in the shower. Moreover, she seems far less confident in herself and allows herself to be pushed around far more than I remember.
Still, despite this, I am enjoying the mystery of Persona X Detective Naoto and am eager to see if the culprit is who I think it is. However, as the manga is ongoing, it looks like I still have quite a while to wait — hopefully not one as long as the wait for Persona 5. Still, I may have to just break down and read the light novel.
Persona X Detective Naoto runs in the monthly magazine Dengeki Maoh. The first collected volume was released in Japan on August 12, 2013. It has yet to be translated into English, but those interested can buy a Japanese copy of the first volume on the Japanese version of Amazon. The light novel (also only in Japanese) is available there as well.