Tokyo Mirage Sessions features a cast of seven characters who join your party over the course of the game. Each one has a number of factors to consider when determining which ones will be the most effective in a given situation: what kinds of attacks trigger their sessions, what elements can they bring to bear against the enemy, and what strategies are they able to utilize most effectively in combat? This guide provides an overview of each of the game’s characters as well as some perspective regarding how to use those characters as effectively as possible. This guide contains character and mechanical spoilers but no story spoilers.
ITSUKI AOI (CHROM)
Lord -> Great Lord, Conqueror
Itsuki is the game’s protagonist and like in Fire Emblem, this makes him a balanced sword-wielder with a focus on leadership abilities. Itsuki will always be in your party – he is locked in place and so can never be swapped out for another character. This means that learning to use him effectively is paramount. Luckily, Itsuki brings a variety of options to the table so you can experiment with different approaches.
Most characters in the game learn to use three or four different elements over the course of the story. Itsuki will only ever have two: swords and lightning. He makes up for this in part by also gaining access to a wide variety of Bane skills – attacks which trigger a session if the target is a specific unit type. There are bane skills for cavalry enemies, for armored enemies, and for dragon enemies. I never found the cavalry or armor bane skills to be particularly useful as they generally were weak to lightning or swords, respectively, but the dragon bane attacks certainly are worth keeping around. Still, his inability to hit more than two weak points means that Itsuki will be one of the characters in your party the most likely to end up not having a role to play during battles. For this reason, it is important to build his skillset as a support unit as well.
Itsuki gets access to all of the core buffing skills for the party: Tarukaja, Rakukaja, and Sukukaja (skills for raising offense, defense, and hit/evade, respectively). This allows him to serve as a support unit during battles where he cannot hit a weak point, building everyone else’s stats to make them more dangerous or more defensive. Later in the game he gets access to Dekunda, which removes debuffs from the party – I particularly enjoyed running this skill on Itsuki more so than any other party member since he doesn’t have to dedicate as many skills slots to elemental abilities. His support abilities are rounded out by access to both single-target and group healing. As I discussed in my beginner’s guide, I recommend running group healing as a skill and using items for your single-target heals.
Where Itsuki really shines is his special performances. His offensive special performances do damage in addition to lowering enemy resistances, creating session opportunities by making foes weak to attacks they are normally neutral to, or turning an immunity into a much less frustrating resistance. The big one though is his Strike a Pose ability: this support skill gives every character in the main cast an extra turn during combat, including Itsuki. This allows Itsuki to buff the party, then take another action, and each party member will get two actions on their turn. I cannot emphasize enough how broken this is when used at the opportune time. It is most effective when the other characters in your party both have moves that hit the enemy’s weak point and lead to lengthy sessions, and when all of your party members move before the enemy. You can use this ability to wipe the floor with opponents before they get the chance to act, which greatly reduces the disadvantage you face when being outnumbered or overpowered. I would typically use Strike a Pose during boss battles when the boss summoned reinforcements, using the extra turns to heal up and clear out the reinforcements before the enemy could take advantage of their greater numbers.
Chrom can advance to the Great Lord and Conqueror classes. If you play through all of the game’s content (finish the side stories for each character and do the EX story before reaching the final boss), then you will likely have the time and resources to develop the weapons from both classes. If you have to choose one to emphasize first, though, I will recommend Great Lord. This class gives Itsuki access to Mediorama (powerful group healing spell) as well as Aether (passive that randomly lower the target’s defense and drains their HP), two skills that are quite valuable on Itsuki. Conqueror has a greater focus on Bane skills, which are not as useful outside of Wyrmicide (effective vs dragons). However, ending the game as a conqueror for a boost to strength and sword attacks is a pretty good way to prepare Itsuki for the final boss.
TSUBASA ORIBE (CAEDA)
Pegasus Knight -> Falcon Knight, Wyvern Knight
The classic anime girl next door and also an aspiring teen idol, Tsubasa is probably my least favorite character in the game from a mechanical perspective. She’s a support/healer in a game where support and healing can be done just as effectively with items as they can with skills, and she has too much elemental overlap with characters who can do those elements better. Still, you’ll be using Tsubasa a lot throughout the game for story purposes and of course you’ll still want to finish her side story, so learning to utilize her is important even if you (like me) don’t care much for what she brings to the table.
Tsubasa’s primary elements are lance and wind, but she can pick up fire and even body and mind (or dark and light, as I tend to call them) with her rarer weapons. I don’t necessarily recommend running any body or mind skills because they are so difficult to session, but it’s an option if you want it. Tsubasa’s wind specialization makes her an effective unit for dealing with flying enemies, but be careful – since she counts as a flying unit herself, wind is just as effective against her. Tsubasa highly prefers magic to physical attacks so while she does have plenty of lance abilities, they aren’t going to be that great compared to what she can do with wind, fire, and body spells. Where Tsubasa really shines is in her access to support abilities.
Tsubasa is the primary healer in Tokyo Mirage Sessions. You’ll have plenty of characters who can pick up healing abilities but it is Tsubasa who has access to the most options, the most consistently, and has the passive and radiant skills to back it up. Now as to how useful that is…personally, the only healing spells that I think are truly worthwhile in this game are the group healing spells. Single target healing is so cheap and you can carry it in large quantities, and the same applies for status problem restoration as well. It is group healing where you can’t just buy stuff to restore a massive amount of health to the whole party, so skills like Media/Mediarama/Mediarahan as well as Amrita (group status restore) are going to be the ones I recommend emphasizing. Tsubasa’s special performances are focused primarily on healing as well; all three restore HP, with the more expensive ones also dealing damage to enemies in the process. Investing in Tsubasa’s side stories even if you don’t care to use her in combat is something I would recommend because you want to unlock the many healing abilities that she shares in Duo Cast abilities with other characters.
Let’s talk about situations where Tsubasa is less than ideal or ways in which you will want to be careful with her. Tsubasa counts as a flying unit for the purpose of calculating weaknesses, which means she’ll consistently be weak to bow and wind attacks. She is also weak to axes due to her status as a lance-wielder. When facing enemies with those tools at their disposal, you’ll want to switch in someone else. Tsubasa also has terrible accuracy – during my playthrough her skill was the lowest in the party, and she was the most likely character to ruin a session by simply miffing when it was her turn to strike. You can try to counteract this either with skill-boosting accessories or by collecting and using Skill Incense items.
When it comes to characters with whom Tsubasa combos effectively, Ellie is a key partner for her. Tsubasa has radiant skills which allow her to start sessions when she makes attacks against enemies who are Charmed, Confused, or Sealed, but Tsubasa herself has basically no ability to generate these conditions (she has one Charm ability late-game). Since causing status problems is Ellie’s jam, she can create situations where Tsubasa can begin a session even without hitting a weak point. Kiria is similarly capable of setting up Tsubasa in this way, but Kiria and Tsubasa have more elemental overlap (sharing two common elements instead of one). Of course, overlap can be useful when you want multiple characters on the field who can hit a specific weak point.
Finally, class changing. The Falcon Knight class has a greater focus on wind and healing while the Wyvern Knight class brings more lance abilities to the table and also gives Tsubasa some debuff options. I would consider Falcon Knight to be the clear and obvious choice here, which means you may actually want to pick up Wyvern Knight first to gain access to the strongest lance attack (Pierced Void) and Dragonseye (raises hit and evade, which we’ve already discussed covers a key weak point for Tsubasa) then flip over to Falcon Knight for the rest of the game. Tsubasa is a solid support character in a game where the support role is perhaps less valuable than in other RPGs; if you cover for her weak points and make sure to invest in her side stories, she’ll be useful enough.
TOUMA AKAGI (CAIN)
Cavalier -> Paladin, Dark Knight
Touma joins the party during the game’s first boss battle, and from then on lends his action hero personality to your cause. Touma will spend much of the game as your physical powerhouse, bringing some of the highest raw damage values of any character with his high strength. He can also take a weapon hit better than most of the cast. I found Touma’s relevance decreasing towards the end of the game as some characters joined the party who brought more specialized abilities to the role that he fills in a more general way, but overall he is a very useful character.
Touma’s primary elements are lance and fire, with wind as an additional option when his rarer weapons come into play. This perfectly overlaps Tsubasa’s elemental affinities but Touma’s focus on physical damage rather than magic means that he outclasses her in lance attacks and will be have an advantage in elemental attacks when facing magically-resistant enemies (of course, that means the opposite is true when dealing with physically-resistant enemies). Touma has limited access to buff and debuff abilities but most of his debuffs are best delivered through his specialized weapon attacks. In essence, Touma has one job – hit the bad guy as hard as he possibly can. Fortunately, he is very good at that job and has a number of passive skills that help him to do it even better.
Touma’s passive and radiant skills work together to make him a critical hit monster. He has multiple abilities for increasing his critical hit rate and even some which give him guaranteed criticals in specific conditions. When combined with his already-high strength, this makes Touma a powerhouse able to deliver ridiculous amounts of damage with an attack. He also has access to passives such as Pierce and Blades of Restraint which make his physical attacks even more useful (Pierce ignores the Resist affinity for physical attacks and Blades of Restraint has a chance to make the enemy go last during the round). Finally, similar to Itsuki Touma can pick up a couple of bane skills, but he is not nearly as specialized in bane attacks as Itsuki.
I’m not here to only sing Touma’s praises, of course – there are aspects of his abilities to watch out for. Touma, more than any other character in my party, was the most likely to end a session prematurely with a fire attack against an immune opponent. I made suggestions in my beginner’s guide to help mitigate this problem, but often even when Touma could have been using a different session ability to try and keep the chain going, he defaulted to fire anyway. Touma’s axe weakness combined with his purely physical attack repertoire means that he is pretty well outclassed by enemy knights. He also has a crippling ice weakness, and since most ice attacks are magical, even one is enough to cause him serious problems. Finally, Touma struggles against large groups of enemies – his only AOE is a lance attack, so group fire or group wind attacks are not something he will ever be able to manage. He can do big damage to a single enemy, but when faced with a large group he may not always be the best choice.
Who partners well with Touma? As a physical powerhouse, Touma of course works well with a magical powerhouse like Kiria. In battles where there are high-defense enemies and high-resistance enemies on the field, Touma can pick off the mages while Kiria tears into the knights. Touma also combined well with other physical powerhouses thanks to his Gaia’s Whisper special performance – it grants the Charge status to the party which buffs their physical attacks for two rounds. Mamori and Yashiro each have different advantages – Mamori’s ability to intervene in attacks combined with her typically being resistant to ice means she can protect Touma from one of his biggest weak points, while Yashiro’s sword specialization allows him to deal with the axe wielders that give Touma trouble.
Touma’s class change options are the paladin and the dark knight, the former focusing on lances and buffs while the latter focuses on fire and debuffs. You’ll likely have time to invest in both but I recommend starting as dark knight and then moving into paladin so that you’ll have higher strength, HP, and defenses going into the endgame. One notable skill that the dark knight gets access to is Debilitate, which is a debuff that lowers all of the major statistics that can be affected in combat: offense, defense, and hit/evade. Dark Knight also gets Luna, which randomly lowers the defense of the enemy by a significant amount when being hit with a physical attack. Grabbing them abilities and then putting them onto the more powerful paladin class will optimize Touma for the end of the game.
KIRIA KURONO (THARJA)
Dark Mage -> Sage, Sorcerer
Kiria is a famous pop idol that Tsubasa practically worships. She is cool and collected but has a secret side that she keeps hidden from the general public. Kiria is your primary offensive spellcaster with the widest variety of attacking spells out of any character in the game. In fact, she’s the only character besides Itsuki or Tsubasa who really carries offensive magic in any meaningful capacity. Because of this, Kiria fits a unique combat role in the party and will be consistently useful from the point you recruit her (although she of course has weaknesses to keep in mind, too).
Kiria’s primary elements are ice and wind, but she carries a large variety of elemental spells with multiple options for fire, body (dark), mind (light), and Almighty (a non-elemental attack that does neutral damage to all enemy types and ignores certain defensive spells). Part of what makes Kiria the party’s premier magician is that she carries both single and multitarget spells for nearly all of these elements, and her spells run the gamut from focusing on damage to inflicting status problems on enemies. Her support abilities primarily focus on debuffs in the early game but if she becomes a sage after getting access to class changing, she can also use some healing and defensive abilities.
As the ultimate magician, Kiria definitely has some weak points when it comes to physical combat. Physical attacks can put her in the ground quickly and she is generally a pretty frail character. She also doesn’t have any weapon skills, so when dealing with enemies who are resistant to all the magical elements or who have a high resistance, Kiria doesn’t have much to bring to the table. Kiria also cannot session off of weapon skills – she has to follow an elemental attack, which can cause some issues with trying to produce a session (particularly in the early game before everyone’s session options have expanded). Finally, if you’re using Kiria as a group magic specialist, be sure to watch out for enemies who absorb elements or send them back at the attacker. Finally, I consider Kiria’s special performances to be some of the least useful since they have conditions which limit their effectiveness and they are primarily offensive in nature.
Kiria has lots of strategic options but that also means that choosing which skills you want to keep on her is a bit more challenging than it can be for other characters. If you run only group spells, you’ll run into problems when dealing with enemies who drain or repel a specific element. If you run only single target spells, you may struggle in battles against a large number of enemies since Kiria is the primary group attacker in the game. It’s tempting to run mind and body spells on Kiria since she is the only character who gains access to them, but since starting sessions with those types of spells is difficult you may choose instead to focus on more traditional elements. Personally my strategy was to run single target spells of as many elements as possible with perhaps one group target spell (generally the Almighty spell Megido).
When it comes to allies, Kiria pairs well with strong physical attackers who compliment her magical abilities. My personal favorite to pair with her is Mamori, whose tank abilities are great for protecting Kiria from those pesky physical attacks that put her in the ground. The two of them also overlap in their possession of the ice element, making them a great pair for the endgame. Yashiro is another good character for similar reasons (I prefer Mamori as a tank over Yashiro, to be explained in their sections), and he also has the added advantage of having more options than Mamori for triggering sessions for Kiria. As described in the session on Tsubasa, if you’re running status ailments on Kiria then she can set up Tsubasa’s ability to begin session by lancing a confused, charmed, or sealed opponent. She can do the same for Ellie, whose ability is activated instead by poison, stun, or sleep.
Now let’s talk class change. Tharja’s class change options are the sage and the sorceress, the former gaining some talent for healing and ice while the latter focuses in more heavily on magical offense and wind (which I should have been calling force this whole time, I guess). Sorcerer is probably the preferable endgame class from a stats perspective, leaning harder into the stats which Kiria already prefers, but you don’t want to sleep on sage. In particular, the sage class gets access to the highest power ice spells as well as a mind spell called Naga, all of which are valuable during the final chapter of the game.
ELEANORA YUMIZURU (VIRION)
Archer -> Sniper, Assassin
Ellie is an aspiring actress who wants nothing more than to be worthy of Hollywood. In the mirage world, she’s a gutsy archer who is quick on her feet and has multiple abilities for debilitating the opposition. Control is the name of the game for Ellie, so let’s look at what abilities she brings to the table to support that.
Ellie’s primary elements are bow and lightning, but she can also bring fire to bear. She primarily has single target strikes, with multiple abilities on hand for inflicting status problems on the enemy. She can inflict status like charm, confuse, and poison, as well as having abilities for reducing enemy stats and perhaps most importantly, speed control. Ellie’s passive skills improve her spot in the turn order while enabling her to push enemies further back. She can increase her critical hit rate and critical hit damage, and even reduce aggro against herself so that enemies are less likely to target her with their abilities. As a bow user, Ellie is a hard counter against flying enemies, and she can deal heavy damage to them easily with most of her attacks.
So what about weak points? As a physical specialist Ellie lacks any kind of magical offense to bring to the table, but she doesn’t have as much physical power as characters like Touma or Yashiro. Her role is more about control, which can be problematic when dealing with enemies that are immune to the statuses she can bring to bear. She is also weak against axes, making knights a pretty hard counter for her. Her lower strength is also paired with lower defenses, so where someone like Touma or Mamori can take a number of hits, Ellie is more on the fragile side and counts on her ability to reduce aggro as her primary defensive measure. Finally, similar to Touma, Ellie is a character who I found stopping my sessions prematurely quite a bit later in the game (though not quite as often as Touma).
Ellie’s strategy is focused on controlling the battlefield by giving enemies status problems or managing their place in the turn order. The latter she accomplishes in a couple of ways. The first is more random by relying on passive abilities such as Blades of Restraint. However, she can also take speed control more directly into her hands by using the Overload ability from her assassin class. This is an Almighty attack that sets back the target two turns, which can create opportunities for you to heal up, switch characters, or perhaps finish off an enemy before they are able to take action. Her special performances have a chance of inflicting near-fatal damage, which I didn’t find to be useful all that often, but her Horror Hunter Angel ability steals HP and EP for her as well as potentially inflicting charm. Ellie also has helpful duos which inflict status problems which either she or Tsubasa can use to begin sessions.
We’ve already talked a bit about who Ellie pairs with, so let’s keep at it. Tsubasa and Ellie both have abilities that let them begin sessions against enemies with status problems even if that enemy is not weak to the attack. Tsubasa needs charm, confuse, or seal to make this happen, and Ellie has a few tricks up her sleeves for inflicting charm. Ellie herself needs the opponent to be poisoned, stunned, or sleeping, and Kiria can set up the latter two with her magic. Touma is a decent partner because he can poison targets for Ellie to then session off of, and both of them have Blades of Restraint/Domination and so have a high likelihood of pushing enemy turns to the end of the round. Finally, because Ellie’s reduced aggro makes it more likely that her allies will be attacked, she works well with Yashiro and his counterattack ability.
Between her sniper and assassin classes, the decision may be a bit more complicated than for other characters. As a sniper, Ellie has greater strength and skill, which are key to her dealing damage and getting critical hits. However, the assassin has higher speed, health, and EP (the points needed to use skills), and the difference in HP and EP is a pretty significant one. Regardless of which you ultimately settle on, assassin is where you’ll pick up Overload for her key speed control ability as well as her most powerful electric and fire moves, while the sniper tree has a greater focus on bow attacks.
MAMORI MINAMOTO (DRAUG)
Knight -> General, Berserker
Mamori is a tiny little girl who is famous for cooking with a microwave. That’s no reason to underestimate her, though – Mamori is the tank of Tokyo Mirage Sessions and the lone axe wielder of the party, her heavy armor and massive weapon both swallowing her tiny frame.
Mamori’s primary elements are axe and ice, with lightning as a future options with rarer weapons. Mamori is one of two tank characters who joins you late in the game, with her version of the tank role being more traditional in that she physically puts herself between danger and your other characters. Her passive abilities allow her to intervene when allies are under attack and she can reduce the damage she takes when she does so. Mamori has massive health and defense to accommodate this fighting style. She’s also a physical powerhouse who can do a significant amount of damage with her axe. And specializing in axe makes her a valuable addition to the team, finally giving you reliable coverage against enemies who wield lances (perhaps the most common weapon type).
Those aren’t the only abilities that Mamori brings to bear, as she also has a number of support skills she can pick up as either command skills or special performances. Her Microwavin’ Heart and Microwavin’ Soul special performances both cost only 1 SP to fully restore the HP of the party, with the latter also reviving any unconscious allies, AND Mamori gets to go again after she uses them. Whatever you do, do not ignore her side story and miss these abilities. To be able to fully heal and revive everybody without sacrificing your turn is obscenely overpowered. Mamori also has abilities for completely protecting the party from physical or magical attacks for a single round, as well as the Raindrop Memories special performance which grants immunity to status ailments for three turns. The useful thing about Mamori having so many healing and support abilities as special performances is that she doesn’t have to burn any command slots on healing abilities, allowing her to focus on protection and offense.
With so many awesome abilities, does Mamori have any weaknesses? Unfortunately the answer to that is a resounding yes. With characters like Touma and Ellie we discussed how they primarily have single attack options with few AOE skills – Mamori truly has nothing for groups of enemies outside of one special performance and perhaps an ad-lib skill. Mamori is weak against swords and flames, and if the latter are magical she can run into trouble quite quickly; the worst case scenario for her is to get pinned down by a group of magical enemies with fire-based sessions. As the party tank, Mamori can get herself into trouble by intervening in attacks where the original target would have taken less damage than her, and even being at 1 HP will not prevent Mamori from interposing. In these situations, the abilities which increase aggro against her become a detriment rather than a strength.
Who pairs well with our party tank? Naturally the characters who benefit the most are those who are squishy and need to be protected. That means Kiria more than anyone else, as the epitome of physical frailty. Kiria also works well with Mamori because they both use ice attacks, making them a powerful combo in the final chapter of the game. Mamori also pairs well with Ellie, whose ability to reduce aggro on herself makes it even more likely that Mamori will fulfill her role as a tank.
When it comes to the choice between general and berserker I think my preference will be obvious – Mamori’s gift is in her role as a tank, so maximizing that by ending the game as a general is key to her performance. That said, just like with any other character there will be some berserker skills you want to pick up first. The main berserker abilities Mamori will care about will actually be those related to sessions – being able to get the EX versions of multiple session moves will make Mamori more valuable. She’ll also unlock Yasha Soul and Shura Soul, which can be used to increase her chances of inflicting a critical hit. Really though, after a short stint as a berserker my suggestion would be to make Mamori a general and keep her that way.
YASHIRO TSURUGI (NAVARRE)
Myrmidon -> Hero, Swordmaster
Misunderstood bad boy alert! Yes, if you love mysterious guys who seem evil but turn out to be well-meaning heroes in the end, Yashiro is the boy for you. Yashiro happens to fall under my personal favorite Fire Emblem class, the myrmidon, a sword-wielder with a heavy focus on outpacing the enemy.
Yashiro’s primary elements are sword and fire, but he also has access to wind (force, ugh), ice, and even body. This gives him quite the variety of elemental attacks to bring to bear against the enemy, and the nice thing about Yashiro is that when he hits, he hits hard. Yashiro’s strength is nearly comparable to Touma’s, but he is much faster, able to take action quickly and tear at enemies with precise slashes of his blade. The core of Yashiro’s strategy is built around his ability to counter attacks – he is an offense tank of sorts, gathering aggro to himself and then if the attack is a weapon attack, responding with a painful retaliation. Yashiro’s elemental variety makes it easy for him to start a session against enemies, which makes it odd that the core of his strategy is based around not using his turn and instead taking a defensive action.
From a weakness perspective, Yashiro is weak primarily to lances and ice. Strategically, he functions as a tank but doesn’t do so quite as well as Mamori because he doesn’t physically interpose himself in front of attacks – if his increased likelihood to draw aggro fails to get the enemy’s attention, then the original target of the attack is still very much getting attacked. And because Yashiro joins so late in the game, he doesn’t have a large variety of weapons to build up some alternative strategies. It doesn’t help that as a swordsman, he has overlap with Itsuki, a character who has to be in your party no matter what. This can be helpful in situations where the enemy is weak against swords and therefore two swordsmen would be valuable, but when the enemy is strong against swords you certainly don’t want to make that weak spot in your team even more glaring.
This isn’t to say that Yashiro does not excel at the skills he specializes in. With passive skills like Pierce and Yasha Soul to make his physical attacks more dangerous as well as Sol (chance to heal 50% of damage dealt) to increase his survivability, Yashiro is deadly when delivering powerful blows with his sword. And while I don’t prefer his counterattack to Mamori’s more traditional tank abilities, Yashiro’s damage output when countering is ridiculous. His radiant skills increase his counterattack power as well as guaranteeing a critical hit when he lands a counter. If – like me – you don’t want to spend a turn setting up a counter, you can use his Mortal Curse special performance to deal damage and enter a counter state, getting the best of both worlds.
Who does Yashiro work well with, then? Since Yashiro can’t jump in the way of attacks to activate his counter, his strategy benefits greatly from Ellie since she can reduce the degree of aggro she is receiving. With her aggro dropped and Yashiro’s raised, it’s much easier to pull off his counter (while Itsuki just sits there like a lump, I guess). Against physically-frail enemies there’s no better combo than Touma and Yashiro, who both hit like a ton of bricks; it certainly helps that Yashiro covers Touma’s axe weakness as well.
That brings us at last to the end of the guide! If you have any questions about a specific character that were not answered by the guide, feel free to leave a comment and if I know the answer I’ll be happy to include it in the post.