Persona 4 Ultimax Arena has finally been ported to PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, allowing new Person fans to experience this glorious fighting game for the first time and allowing veterans to play against a new host of opponents online. Containing over 20 playable characters (not counting their alternate Shadow versions) with a wide variety of playstyles, players will have a blast figuring out their favorite Person character and the wild combos each of them are capable of. Alongside returning characters from both person 3 and 4, ultimate features original characters that have their own storylines, namely Sho Minazuki.
Seemingly the main antagonist of ultimate and the perpetrator behind the events of the “P-1 Grand Prix” fighting tournament, Sho Minazuki bridges the gap between person 3 and 4 alongside his counterpart (and fellow original character) Labrys. Possessing two personalities differentiated by emphasis on first or last name, “Sho” Minazuki has a sadistic, pun-tossing streak while lacking a Persona, while Sho “Minazuki” is a cold and calculating mastermind whose Persona Tsukiyomi gives him an edge in battle. Here’s how to play as “Minazuki,” who is more commonly used and arguably has a greater impact on the game’s story.
Who Is Sho Minazuki?
An orphan taken in by Shuji Ikutsuki, advisor to SEES and secret true antagonist of person 3, Sho was experimented on as a child in order to become a Persona-using weapon. Cut off from contact from the outside world and only interacting with Ikutsuki, Sho had taken him to see the villain as his father and adopted Ikutsuki’s habit of making puns. Ikutsuki’s horrible experiments with the Plume of Dusk created a new personality within Sho, known as Minazuki, who developed a Persona on his own named Tsukiyomi. Ikutsuki then abandoned Sho after Minazuki the director in Sho’s attacked defense of him.
The experience left both Sho and Minazuki with a hatred of humanity, leading to the dual-personalities to cooperate with the demonic Hi-no-Kagutsuchi to help destroy the world. Sho Minazuki kidnaps the Persona-using android Labrys and enacts the P-1 Grand Prix to force the heroes to fight each other as part of an elaborate plan to summon Hi-no-Kagutsuchi into the physical world and desperately prove his vindication that friends are meaningless and that all people will kill each other for survival. The two personalities take control of the body at different times, with Sho fighting with superhuman strength and speed despite the lack of a Persona and Minazuki having many more options in battle with his Persona Tsukiyomi.
Sho Minazuki’s Moveset
Minazuki’s skill attacks include a Survival Knife projectile (D, DF, F+A or B) and strong combo finishers like Flash Fang (D, DB, B+A or B) that’s followed up with moves like soaring fang (Flash Fang+B+A or B) and Destruction Fang (Soaring Fang+A or B). Sho can summon Tsukiyomi in a teleporting slash from either the front or back (D, DF, F+C or D), which can be utilized in the air or on the ground. Minazuki’s final regular skill is drainage (D, DB, B+C or D), a command grab with very short range that can drain health or meter from the opponent, though it is very risky.
Minazuki only has one major SP Skill he can use before Awakening: Wings of Purgatory ([D, DF, F] x2 +C or D), which launches a large forward energy wave. It’s a very powerful attack if it hits, but it’s also good at pushing a blocking enemy back when necessary. Upon Awakening, Minazuki has two skills: Moon Smasher ([D, DB, B] x2 +A or B), an incredibly deadly aerial down-slash which can interrupt an opponent mid-combo, as well as Dream Fog ([D, DB, B] x2 C or D), which turns Minazuki nearly invisible in a shroud of darkness, allowing him to make limitless mix-ups. His Instant Kill of him, God and Demon Annihilation ([D]x3, C+D) has Tsukiyomi stab the opponent with darkness over 100 times before finishing them off in a stylish slash.
Strategies for Playing Sho Minazuki
Minazuki is a rushdown character whose versatility and strength rivals that of Yu Narukami, especially in comparison to his Persona-less counterpart Sho. He has very strong normal attacks and Persona attacks that can control space very efficiently, with his nature of him as a rushdown character allowing him to create high-damage touch-of-death combos from almost any position. On top of these buttons, Minazuki has command throws that makes him a mix-up master. Minazuki is one of the fastest characters in the game rivaled only by Yosuke, as Minazuki also possesses a teleport that makes him even harder to read.
All of these qualities seem to make Minazuki the best character in the game with no significant weaknesses, but he is not without flaws: while Minazuki is one of the fastest-moving characters in the roster, the speed of his close-range normal attacks are actually slower than average. Perceptive players can still exploit those openings if they’re fast enough. On top of this, Minazuki is more reliant on his Persona than his counterpart Sho, with slow-moving Persona attacks leaving Tsukiyomi open for a Persona Break and reducing Minazuki’s effectiveness significantly.
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