I've titled this page as "rambles" because it's where I'll be posting some (most likely rather unorganized) thoughts that aren't suitable for a diary entry, but still want to put out there. If you would like to discuss or leave a comment about an entry, you are more than welcome to do so! I can be reached by e-mail or a comment on my neocities profile. I would love some input! Click Team Rocket to return home.

Persona Thoughts

I got into the Persona series about a year ago when my friend found out I had a PSVita would not let me rest until I played Persona 4 Golden. Despite finding the game slow and draggy for the first few hours, I've ended up becoming a huge fan of P4G, its incredible soundtrack, and the rest of the series. As of writing this I've played P4G, P5R, and P2: IS, so do keep that in mind as I haven't played every game yet. Per usual, whenever I get into something new Google seems to sniff it out and starts feeding me related content on YouTube it thinks I'll like. Besides the Persona OST compilations I listen to while studying, I've been seeing a lot a videos made by fans discussing what they would like to see in an upcoming game so I thought I'd do something like that here. I've rounded up a few points I agree with and a few of my own. This will contain spoilers, so watch out!

A protagonist who is not a high schooler...   Out of all the things I would like to see Atlus branch out on, this and the next point are the main ones. many would probably argue that a high school aged protag is a hallmark of the series, but personally I think it's getting a little redundant. I feel like a main character who is not a high schooler could open alot of doors story-wise. For example, Social Links are pretty restricted due to the protag's age. Most characters that you're able to form relationships with are also high schoolers because, well... high schoolers mostly hang out with other high schoolers. A college aged protag could have the option to join campus clubs (similar to joining an extracurricular in P4 and unlocking a certain Social Link for whatever club you choose), would have more diverse options for Social Links (such as adult party members), and would have more options for jobs and after school activities. Persona tends to be repetitive with party members, even the order you meet them is similar. In both P4 and P5 you first run into the easy-going, goofy buddy character that the protag becomes best friends with, and shortly after the go-lucky airhead girl that he bickers with. I love Ryuji and Yosuke but the same character archetypes start to get boring. A new Persona game could definitely benefit from a refresh in party members. Continuing with the college setting, I even think it could be neat to have a professor as a party member. We already have Kawakami as romanceable character, so why not a teacher as a party member? An adult protag with a full-time job just awakening to their Persona would be interesting too, with their coworkers as party members. Persona 2 already had party members who are not high schoolers, so why not bring it back now?

A setting outside of Japan...   Ok, this one might be a total lost hope, but I would love to see a change in scenery. P4 did this somewhat with the sleepy, rural town of Inaba, but I think something completely outside of Japan could make P6 stand out from the other entries in the series. The most realistic way I could see this happening would be a Japanese student studying abroad. This way the game's narrative could still incorporate Japanese culture, which is often integral to the story in some way, while taking place outside of the country. Like moving to another city as the new guy in town, the protag can move to another country. Although I thoroughly enjoy P5's detailed depiction of Tokyo student life, I would love to see Atlus try something different.

Same gender romance options...   Atlus has an odd relationship with their queer characters. I was absolutely flummoxed playing P2 after P4 and discovering that I can romance Jun. You're telling me Tatsuya can confess his feelings for his childhood bestfriend with no in-game consequences or backlash from other characters in the year 1999, but Yuu can't date his "partner" in a game made almost 10 years later? What? Let me romance Yosuke, Atlus! I was especially surprised with how Tatsuya's confession is taken by the other characters, no one seems to have a problem with it, not even as a joke. Ginko doesn't develop any type of dislike for or comedic rivarly with Jun, she just accepts it. Besides just being for fun, like all optional romance in Persona games, it would enhance the story. P4 and P5 deal with themes of seeking truth in the darkness, and rebellion against the status quo, respectively. You can probably already see where I'm going with this.

Let's start with Persona 4, each characters' Social Link connects into the theme of finding truth in some way. In particular, I want to look at Naoto and Kanji's Social Links. Naoto feels trapped by her gender, and presents herself as male to the outside world at all times in order to be taken seriously as a detective. Many Naoto fans, myself included, can't help but read her story arc as queer. However, it seems like Naoto's truth is not that she can be a respected detective no matter her gender, but that she actually would be happier if she was more feminine. Notably, if you choose to romance Naoto the entire route is based on encouraging her to become more girly. To start the romance route itself, when presented with the dialogue options "Your gender doesn't matter" and "I'm glad you're a girl", you can only begin to romance her by choosing the latter option. This doesn't make much sense to me because if I choose to romance Naoto out of all the other options, why would I want to spend the whole Social Link trying to change her? Kanji's arc is tied to Naoto's in this aspect. He is heavily implied to struggle with his sexuality, with his shadow self being a flamboyant caricature of a gay stereotype in Japan. He also seems to have quite the crush on Naoto, even before finding out she's a girl. However, his affection for Naoto is used by Atlus to backpedal on his sexuality. "See, Naoto's actually a girl, so Kanji can't be queer!" despite his dungeon focusing entirely on his struggle with possibly liking men as well. This does not fit Persona 4's theme of seeking the truth despite it not being easy or what you want to hear! P4's Social Links all revolve around the characters' finding their personal truths, a Social Link about coming to terms with LGBT identity fits this perfectly.

In the same way that P4's Social Links all interlace around the pursuit of truth, P5's Confidants form the central theme of rebellion against oppression. Ryuji rebels against the society that labels him as nothing but a troublesome punk, Makoto against her academic expectations, Yusuke against his crooked mentor, and so on and so forth. Again, this is low hanging fruit... Despite being a game made relatively recently and a queer Confidant/romance option fitting the narrative themes perfectly, once again we get a big fat nothing burger. The only explicitly queer characters we see are the effeminate gay men who creep on Ryuji in the red light district and Lala-chan, who is pretty cool to be fair, but plays an extremely minor role in the story. Minor role as in almost non-existent. The main crew each rebels against some aspect of Japanese society that chains them down, yet Japan's attitude towards the LGBT is never mentioned unless if it's for a joke. Once again, even just one queer main character/party member could not only fit the overall narrative but further strenghten it, if handled better than Kanji and Naoto's character arcs of course. Also I want to romance Ryuji, but that's besides the point...

A female protagonist...   I would absolutely love to be able to play as a female protagonist in P6. P3P already gave us an option to play as a female protag without changing the main storyline, so I don't see why it can't be an option in P6. Not to mention the Persona fanbase has increased since the release of P3P, and therefore has even more fans that would like an option to play as a girl. It would also be fun to experience the same story through different lenses. It would be nice to have the option to get close to the female party members in the way that male Persona protags are close with male party members, if that makes sense. Social Links with female characters as a female protag would be cool to see, considering this wasn't possible in P3P.

Well, that's it for now but I might update this entry in the future if something else comes to mind. Thank you for reading!