Ryuji Sakamoto (坂本 竜司, Sakamoto Ryuji) is a character that originates from Persona 5.
Ryuji grew up in a broken household with an abusive father, who eventually abandoned his family when Ryuji was young and never returned. Seeing how hard his mother's life is, Ryuji vowed to make her happy and create better lives for them at all costs. This includes one time during middle school where he borrows money from Ann Takamaki to buy a stuffed dolphin for his mother. Ryuji never paid Ann back, something she holds over him to this day. Later on, Ryuji becomes a rising star athlete in the track team with opportunities to go to internationals. Before that could happen, Suguru Kamoshida inserted himself into the school and led a reign of tyrrany against the students. He had a clear favorite in the volleyball team and wanted to sideline the track team by telling everyone about Ryuji's parents. This cause Ryuji to attack Kamoshida in a fit of rage, only to have his leg broken out of "self-defense." The track team disbanded, and a majority of the team members blame Ryuji for this. Due to his broken leg, Ryuji was forced to take a hiatus from any athletic activities for a long time, which made him feel guilty for letting down his teammates and his mother.
in Persona 5, Ryuji is first introduced as a delinquent student at Shujin Academy, showing little care for the faculty, with a particular dislike for Kamoshida. He meets Joker when Kamoshida picks Ann Takamaki up in his car, and calls Kamoshida a pervert. Joker, not knowing about Kamoshida, inquires Ryuji about it, and, realizing he is a transfer student, Ryuji quickly talks to and gets along with him. The two accidentally come across Kamoshida's Palace, a twisted, darker variation on the school where a shadow version of Kamoshida is the king. Ryuji, almost killed, is ultimately the catalyst behind the awakening of Arsène, Joker's Persona.
The duo meet Morgana in the palace as well, who walks them through on the usage of Personas, and how to get out of the Palace. The duo decide to return to the palace later on, and Kamoshida reveals (through his shadow) that he intentionally injured Ryuji's leg to inhibit his abilities in sports, as Ryuji was a hindrance to his plan to gain admiration school-wide. This upset Ryuji greatly, and his Persona, Captain Kidd, called out to him to awaken his feelings of revengeance. As a Phantom Thief, he takes on the codename Skull. In battle, Ryuji uses bludgeons and shotguns, and he specializes in single physical skills and thunder spells. After taking down Kamoshida, the trio go to a fancy restaurant paid for by Kamoshida's treasure. While eating, they come across a man named Masayoshi Shido, the same man that put the protagonist of juvenile probation. He claims that he does not recognize the protagonist, then a body guard shoves the group to the side as he leaves. This greatly angers Ryuji, who then vows to continue working with the protagonist to cleanse the world of corrupt adults, and he along with the protagonist and Morgana become the founding members of the Phantom Thieves of Heart.
Later on during the heist of Masayoshi Shido's heart, Shido forcibly makes his own palace collapse by taking a special drug administered by the Antisocial Force. With no other way to escape, Ryuji runs up a crane to drop a life boat for the others to leave the palace. The rest of the team was able to get on the lifeboat and escape, but the palace explodes while Ryuji was still inside, presumably killing him. However, he actually was launched off the crane and landed on a nearby grass field with minor injuries, and was able to reunite with his team. Ryuji immediately makes fun of Ann for crying without realizing the whole team was mourning his death seconds earlier. The girls then beat him up and leave him on the sidewalk as they leave for dinner.
Should the player pursue a confidant with Ryuji, he explains to the protagonist that he wants to reestablish the now defunct track club. He is initially met with hostility by his former teammates due to them blaming Ryuji for getting into a fight with Kamoshida and having track team disbanded in the first place. He also learned that previous assistant coach Yamaguchi is being promoted to the new coach of the track team despite having no credentials and severe alcoholism. That combined with other sports teams being in turmoil due to the fallout of Kamoshida's actions makes Ryuji worry that the track team is doomed to repeat the same mistakes and get disbanded again. After other teammates are kicked out of the team due to colluding with Kamoshida against Ryuji for letters of reccomendation, he asks the protagonist to help him spy on Yamaguchi and expose his intentions. They eventually find out that Yamaguchi does not care about the track team at all and only accepted the job for the attention and prestige. He plans to act sympathetically to the students and the public while letting other coaches do all the work and weed out all members that are not loyal to him by unfairly kicking them out. The protagonist records this monologue and presents it to the school. Upon learning this information, the track team decides to cut Yamaguchi out of their ranks and work with the PTA to rehire the coach before him. They also apologize to Ryuji for treating him so harshly and offer an invitation for him to join. Ryuji declines this invitation, as he has learned the importance of relying on others in times of need and fully commits to being a Phantom Thief.
When Takuto Maruki alters reality in Persona 5 Royal, the track team never disbanded and Ryuji's leg was never broken, and he becomes the headliner of the team. After realizing this is just an illusion, Ryuji rejects this reality and the world returns to normal with his track record erased from history. He also steps in front of the protagonist and blocks the attack of a berserk Cendrillion, which inspires the rest of the Phantom Thieves to rejoin the combat. If the confidant is completed, Ryuji apologizes to the protagonist about him selfishly accepting a false reality, as he feels he broke the promise of protecting his friends and loved ones at all costs. He repents by doing squats until the protagonists tells him to stop. After Maruki's defeat, Ryuji tells the other Phantom Thieves that he would be moving away to a place close to a rehabilitation facility to properly heal his leg and get back into running competitively. He is later seen browsing a shoe store and picking up a pair of running shoes. In Persona 5 Strikers, Ryuji returns for summer break and explains how he barely got past his final terms with three failed subjects.
As a background character
Ryuji also makes an appearance as a background character on the Mementos stage, dressed in his Skull outfit.
Ryuji also appears as an Advanced-class primary spirit and his Phantom Thief identity, Skull is featured on the Phantom Thieves of Hearts spirit in the Persona DLC Spirit Board.
In both spirits' battles, Ryuji uses a Captain Falcon puppet fighter starting off with a Home-Run Bat, referencing Ryuji's usage of bludgeoning melee weapons. Ryuji is fought along a Giant Mii Gunner puppet fighter wearing a Pirate Hat and Steampunk Getup, representing Ryuji's Persona, Captain Kidd, and is fought on the Luigi's Mansion stage's Battlefield form.
During the Phantom Thieves of Hearts spirit battle, Ryuji is fought on the Mementos stage and is the second Phantom Thief to defeat before fighting Joker.
Names in other languages