Title: Crimson Author: Dowdz Rating: T Genre: Suspense Status: WIP Fandom: Persona 5 Word Count: 346k Pairings: Akira/Makoto Summary: Akira Kurusu. Delinquent. Thief. Leader. Hero. Who is he? How many masks can one man wear? Link: ffn ao3 The author's summary for this fic kind of sucks since it's really vague and doesn't really tell you that much. Ignore the summary though, the rest of the story is really, really good. I came across this story recently while browsing, devoured all 300k+ words in a few days, and afterwards felt compelled to post it here. I don't normally recommend things unless they are complete or nearing completion, but with this I decided to make an exception. It might feel a little intimidating that I just called a fic that is over 300k words "nowhere near completion", but trust me, this one is worth it. First of all, this fic is sort of a weird hybrid, and I'm not a hundred percent certain how to describe it. It is partially a retelling of the Persona 5 plot and partially an AU. In the beginning everything is mostly the same as canon, with a few changes that are pretty insignificant. For example, Haru is introduced a lot earlier than in canon, but she's mostly a side character at first. By the time the plot reaches the Madarame arc, you can tell that circumstances are a bit different, but the overarching plot direction is still the same. Now that we are past the Madarame arc, the fic's plot has veered completely off the beaten path and into firm AU territory. A lot of new plot threads have recently been opened up. Some of them are completely new, and while some of them may bear some relationship with canon they are pretty distinct in their own right. And I am very excited to find out what actually happens. Now you might ask yourself, despite the story eventually getting to a point where it is mostly an AU, why should I sit through hundreds of thousands of words of what is mostly the canon plot? And the answer is because it's interesting. The author is an exceptional writer, and despite the first arc and a half being mostly canon plot, I never felt the story getting boring. The biggest thing that I think helped contribute to the story's ability to keep my attention was the characterization. Crimson does an excellent, excellent job at turning its characters into real, interesting people, and reading about the interactions between the cast kept me captivated throughout the story. In fact, this is one front that I think this fic does better than even canon. When playing through Persona 5, most of the interaction happens via the player character. The other characters are important, of course, but mostly in relation to how they can work the player character to drive the plot forward. You get to accomplish various sidequests to learn more about the other characters and develop their personalities, but these events are always in relation to the player character. It's never X character interacting with Y character leads to them developing as a person. It's always the character interacting with the player character. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It makes a lot of sense from the perspective of a video game, because having too much of the plot happen away from the player character reduces player autonomy in the story and makes things less interesting. But in terms of a written work the author is allowed to, and probably should, take a lot more liberties with where action occurs and which characters are there. To describe my point, I'm going to quote a section from the fic: The biggest strength of this story, in my opinion, is all of the secondary and even minor characters. How they are written, how they interact with each other, how they advance the plot. Ann and Ryuji become somewhat close friends, even outside of the context of them both being Phantom Thieves and friends with Akira. Makoto and Haru also spend a lot of time with each other, completely removed from the main character. These sections are both adorable and incredibly interesting, as they don't necessarily revolve around Akira but still serve to drive the plot forwards. Iwai is a more plot important character in this fic, and his interactions with characters like Takemi are great. Hell, even Ohya is an interesting character in this story, which is something that I personally have never seen before. It's sort of like this fic has some of the best parts of a slice of life style of story, while still having an overarching plot that ticks onwards. In terms of rating, I would give this an easy 5/5. I really hope that the author sticks with this until it is finished, because it would be a damn shame if it was abandoned before its conclusion.