Alright, so this post is proving to be too large and taking too long to write, because it turns out I can run my mouth about things. So we’re breaking it up, rather than going through all the characters at once. Here’s the first bit of our Persona 3 character analysis. We’ll be at this for a while.
Here’s a fun time! Let’s talk the characters! Persona is a very character-driven series, and Persona 3 marks a point in the series where you started going over each of them with a magnifying glass. So what say we dig into them, and see what they’re all about. Starting with the PCs. Well, the PC and the sorta-PCs. They’re not NPCs. But you don’t control them directly. Except for that one version where you do. Uh… maybe I should just lower-case it then. Let’s talk about the PC and the pCs.
Also, another warning here. This is spoiler territory. I would imagine that if you’re going to play the game, you would have done so by now, but just in case, if you still want to take it on, might want to stop here. Else we’ll be revealing all sorts of secrets.
Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (S.E.E.S.)
The party as a whole. S.E.E.S. is an officially sanctioned student club at Gekkoukan High School, who apparently don’t blink at having a club with “Execution Squad” in the name. Given the Shadow stuff is all supposed to be secret, I wonder what school staff think S.E.E.S. actually does. Staff advisor is the school principal, Shuji Ikutsuki, who you never actually see doing any principalling, although in my experience the principal’s only duties are to yell at you when you’re having fun and keep you from flirting in the hallways, so… In any case, leadership structure is a little varied. Mitsuru Kirijo is definitely the group’s leader, and she and Ikutsuki are usually the ones to set goals, plan strategies, and coordinate activities, with Akihiko Sanada serving as the group’s underboss, taking more direct action in building up its members and keeping them in line with Mitsuru’s direction. In the field, however, the protag calls the shots, due to his unique wild card ability allowing him the greatest degree of tactical flexibility.
I think S.E.E.S. is unique in that it’s not your typical group of fire-forged friends. Most every other RPG will see a lot of strong bonds develop amongst the cast. Even every other game in the Persona series will have the main cast incredibly strongly together by the game’s end. Except for Persona 2: Innocent Sin, which ended by killing one of the characters and wiping all the remaining one’s memories except for one who responded by turning into a huge douchebag so the rest wouldn’t lead to the world being destroyed again. That’s the odd one out. Anyways, S.E.E.S. is a lot more realistic about it. The main characters do feel strongly for each other, and do develop good bonds among each other, but the natures of those bonds vary from truly being friends in some to just being good coworkers of sorts in others. There’s a lot of intergroup conflict, as you would expect if you stuck a bunch of teenagers together and pushed them to do just about anything. Yukari seems to really hate Mitsuru for much of the opening, before their joint conflicts and traumas lead them to opening up to each other and becoming great friends. Akihiko is welcoming but aloof and doesn’t really get close to anybody except Mitsuru and Shinjiro. Junpei spends a big chunk of time resenting and constantly trying to one-up you before he ever actually gets close. The group starts out rather impersonal among each other, before many, but not all, start developing some true bonds, and they’re not a perfectly cohesive group, in all. There’s times where the group loses their way, individual members drift apart or strike out on their own aims, or something shocks them and they each need to spend time alone to process. It leads to a lot of that good character development that we love in these sort of stories, and also sets this group apart from many others. This is a bit outside the scope of this game, but the Answer shows that the protagonist, your character, did a lot to keep everyone together and moving in one direction; after they’re dead, the members of S.E.E.S. lose a lot of what bound everyone to each other and start drifting apart, although they do find common ground and a good level of trust in each other again when Mitsuru later reorganizes anti-Shadow activities, as seen in the Persona 4 Arena games.
Every member of S.E.E.S. has some sort of complications in their relationships with their parents that lead to them growing and operating independently of them. Some don’t get along with their parents, some have been deeply hurt by them, and some are tragically orphaned. Likewise, everyone outside of the protagonist doesn’t really fit in with society as a whole. Akihiko is popular for his looks and accomplishments but has no social skills, so doesn’t really have any close bonds outside of S.E.E.S. Mitsuru has a hard time relating with anyone that doesn’t have her same upbringing. Junpei is so wild he puts people off. Fuuka is very shy and has a hard time opening up with people. Etc. Between the two of those factors, perhaps that level of disconnection from one’s family and community is necessary to independently muster up a persona in corporeal form.
Hey, lets dig into these guys.Continue reading