Goro Akechi

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Character
Name: Goro Akechi
Occupation: Student, Detective, Phantom Thief (arguably), Hitman (formerly),
Relationships: Ryuji Sakamoto, Ren Amamiya, Ann Takamaki, Yusuke Kitagawa, Haru Okumura, Makoto Niijima, Morgana, Futaba Sakura, Kasumi Yoshizawa, Masayoshi Shido (father)
Fandom: Persona 5
Other:
Goro Akechi with his Phantom Thief mask.
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Goro Akechi is a main character from Persona 5 and Persona 5: Royal.


Canon

Known as the second coming of the 'Detective Prince', Akechi is a pleasant boy with a strong sense of justice willing to do anything for the sake of his goals. Trapped between his quest for revenge and his bonds, he struggles with defining justice and, ultimately, himself. The protagonist's narrative foil, he is an integral to the plot. He primarily acts as an antagonist throughout most of the story, but later aligns himself with the Phantom Thieves - in the original, he sacrifices himself to save their lives. This scene still exists in Persona 5's finalised version, Persona 5 Royal, but he is also featured as an ally and one of the central characters in the post-game content added. Whether he survived the events of the story is unknown; however, datamines of Persona 5 Royal suggest that he was intended to survive and seek rehabilitation following the events of the game. As the events depicting this were cut from the final release, his true fate is left ambiguous -- especially as he is not featured in vanilla Persona 5's sequel, Persona 5 Scramble.

He is also featured as a playable character in the spin-off game 'Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth', which presumably takes place during the Sae's Palace Infiltration arc of Persona 5 as this was the only time that Akechi was playable in the original game. Despite the spin-offs existing in canon, the characters' memories are wiped after their conclusions in most cases, leaving Akechi with no recollection of the events which transpired.

Fandom

Goro Akechi's fandom presence is extremely polarised. Fans of Akechi are referred to as "goroboys", and the number of goroboys to Akechi haters appears to be 1:1. Despite this, his fanbase grew considerably upon the release of Persona 5 Royal due to many updates to his characterisation, gameplay, and plot relevance. That said, increased exposure to his character and more meaningful interactions also introduced more detractors.

Fans often headcanon him as gay, and by far the most popular ship -- not only with him, but arguably out of all Persona 5 ships -- is Akechi x the Persona 5 Protagonist (Ren/Akira/Joker). He is also sometimes shipped with Ryuji Sakamoto/Skull (Ryugoro) and Kasumi Yoshizawa/Violet (AkeSumi). Many fans also characterise him as mentally ill and occasionally neurodivergent. Headcanons of Borderline Personality Disorder and PTSD appear to be the most common. Whether a fan prefers his princely persona or his unhinged self, the juxtaposition of the two appears to be at the centre of most fanworks.

Detractors typically dislike Akechi for either his canonical actions or his fanbase. In canon, he has committed several crimes (most notably at least nine murders and an attempt on the protagonist's life) -- whether his actions were forgivable is at centre of most Akechi discourse. Although this is to be expected when discussing an antagonist, there have been reports of stalking, targeted harassment, and doxxing over the matter. His fanbase is best compared to the one surrounding Nagito Komaeda, with history repeating itself.

Many self-proclaimed fans of Akechi enjoy causing him harm in fanwork or revel in the "angstiness" of his original depiction. This category, although mainly populated by those who dislike him, contains just as many fans of his. In the Akechi tag on AO3, there is currently 182 fics marked with a Rape/Non-con warning; 227 with Rape/Non-con Elements; and just over 1000 fics marked as Explicit. Pornography is common, as are Reader-Inserts. There is also a high number of non-Explicit Akechi fics; just under 300 are tagged with Akechi Goro Lives, and there was a fandom event for creating Soft Akechi Goro content.

In October 2020, Akechi lost to Naoto Shirogane in a fanmade Twitter popularity poll titled 'Persona Awards 2021'. Fans of Akechi made #GoodbyeGoro trend worldwide, a hashtag created by this Twitter user. The hashtag spread further when Akechi's English voice actor, Robbie Daymond, acted as Akechi reacting to the hashtag and poll in this video.

Shipping

Akechi/Joker

Akechi/Joker - generally referred to as 'shuake' or 'akeshu' - is by far the dominant ship. This is mostly due to their fierce rivalry, which is escalated to romance in Fanon. Persona 5 Royal also contains many scenes which some fans believe to be examples of gay coding or simply ship fuel; such scenes include them going to a bathhouse together, Akechi messaging Joker with comedic lines such as 'I'm alone right now', Akechi referring to his plan to sabotage the Phantom Thieves as a 'strategy used in romance', Akechi's insistence that 'even if [he] only [has] a little time, [he]'d like to spend it with [Joker]', and Joker saying 'honey, I'm home' when he returns home and sees Akechi there. Even after dropping his princely facade, Akechi still makes questionable comments such as the statement that he 'kind of like[s] it' when Joker is enraged and his failure to hate Joker despite initially plotting to murder him.

Other

As mentioned earlier, he can also be seen with Ryuji Sakamoto/Skull (called RyuGoro) and Kasumi Yoshizawa/Violet (called AkeSumi). However, his interactions with these characters are scarce and so fans of these ships typically rely on a mixture of Fanon and flavour dialogue included when travelling around Mementos.

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanart

Fanfiction

L’appel du vide, the most popular Akechi Goro fic on AO3.

Marigolds, another notable Akechi Goro fic on AO3.

Fanvids

'Goro Akechi Shitpost Corner' by sumitart on YouTube.

'When Akechi is Trending on Twitter' on YouTube, a video made by Jamezietocool (the creator of the Persona Awards 2021) in reaction to #GoodbyeGoro trending on Twitter when Akechi lost to Naoto in the popularity poll.

'The Akechi Experience' by xXMishaXx on YouTube, a lighthearted video about Akechi's appearances in vanilla Persona 5 with some subtle references to apparent gay coding.

Links & Resources