Team GB Olympic swimmer Alice Dearing “geeks out” visiting ‘Persona 5’ location

A Persona-l moment

Olympic athlete Alice Dearing has shown her passion for video games, posting on Twitter of her excitement at visiting the real-world inspiration for the setting in Atlus‘ JRPG Persona 5.

Calling it a “bit of video game trivia lived out”, Dearing shared a photo of herself in Tokyo’s Odaiba Bay, contrasting the real location with the in-game version’s Rainbow Bridge. Deering said she was “swimming past Rainbow Bridge geeking out”.

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Dearing is competing in the 10km open water marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Her event is scheduled to take place at 10:30 pm BST tonight (August 3; 6:30 am Tokyo). Dearing is the first Black woman swimmer to represent Great Britain in the Olympics. She also helped found the UK’s Black Swimming Association in 2020.

Unlike many JRPGs, the Persona games are known for their realistic settings. Entries in the series – which debuted on the original PlayStation in 1996, a spin-off from the larger Megami Tensei franchise – have featured areas inspired by real-world locations or accurately modelled parts of Japanese towns and cities, even while sometimes giving the playable versions fictionalised names.

2016’s Persona 5 was set in modern-day Tokyo, and followed a group of high school students who learn to harness manifestations of their own psyches to battle demons, both metaphorical and literal. Forming a group called the “Phantom Thieves of Heart”, they use their powers to root out corruption and reform abusive adults.

An expanded version, Persona 5 Royal arrived in the west in 2020, adding new characters and scenarios to the game. 2021’s sequel Persona 5 Strikers offered up a stylish sequel that returned to the Phantom Thieves a year later, adapting combat from Tecmo-Koei’s Dynasty Warriors series.

The Persona series recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. As the series has grown in popularity in the west, developer Atlus has revealed plans to bring more Persona events overseas, while the first of seven teased Persona projects to mark the anniversary is set to be revealed this September.

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