These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Compared to the usual fan interpretation and his characterization in the manga, the male protagonist is surprisingly less stoic and more expressive in the drama CDs, particularly in the second P3P drama CD, where he is shown happily conversing with various friends. Though reserved and still somewhat quiet, he's capable of expressing a number of emotions, including cheerfulness, annoyance, exasperation, anger, alarm and relief. However, he still retains his trademark stoicism, in that his emotive cues aren't readily apparent to others and he rarely voices his opinion on most matters.
Much like the male protagonist, the female protagonist is also given a tangible personality in her own drama CD. She's is shown to be significantly more cheerful and energetic than her male counterpart. She even gets angry at one point ("Her mouth is smiling, but her eyes aren't...") and later attempts to pummel Kenji when she loses her temper.
Some have theorized that the reason Yukari Took a Level in Jerkass in The Answer was from grief over losing the protagonist. If you maxed your Social Link with her, it'll make it seem all the more justified.
Americans Hate Yukari Takeba: In the Western fandom, Yukari is a very divisive character. In Japan, however, she's one of the more popular characters in the game. She ranked 20th in a Persona Magazine poll that counted the entire franchise, which is no mean feat.
Anti-Climax Boss: Strega can be beaten in a single turn every time you fight them after The Hanged Man they are the only boss fights on full moons, contributing to the Ending Fatigue. Many of the Full Moon Shadows also come across as sort of pathetic as well, particularly in comparison to the tower guardians inside Tartarus. This is entirely intentional, since the tower guardians give you the opportunity to heal, save the game and prepare your personas before fighting them, while the Full Moon bosses often restrict you to whatever prep work you did the day before.
Justified in the case of Strega. They're just persona users, not all that different from your party, and you always outnumber them, so there's no particular reason why they should be hard.
The game further justifies this by explaining Strega's link to their Persona as something forced and manufactured. Compared to the SEES kids, who all have natural links with their Persona, Strega don't stand a chance.
YukariTakeba, whose insecure, overconfident personality tends to rub some fans the wrong way. Her actions in The Answer doesn't help her much either. She's rather well-liked in the Japanese fandom, nevertheless, and if reaction to her inclusion in the Arena update indicates anything, she appears to be fully Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
This along with Persona 4 caused this in the main Atlus fandom, due to how much attention it receives from mainstream audiences over everything else Atlus makes.
Exactly how much a sequel this and Persona 4 are to the older games and if they are, whether or not they were planned from the start to be sequels causes this among fans.
If The Answer should be considered canon or not.
Counterpart Comparison: This game clearly takes cues from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The twelve shadows resemble the seventeen angels, Aigis resembles Rei Ayanami, Ryoji is essentially Kaworu Nagisa going by another identity, the coming of Nyx resembles instrumentality, and the protagonist accidentally summoning Thanatos at the beginning of the game greatly resembles when Eva Unit 01 went berserk. Hell, you could even stretch it a bit and say that the protagonist's headphones take after Shinji's SDAT player.
Critical Research Failure: A rather funny one in the PSP port. Because Fuuka's lines for the Bonus Boss fight weren't re-recorded from the fight against Elizabeth, when the PC fights against Theodore, Fuuka calls him a "she" at the start of the battle.
Designated Love Interest: A common complaint about Yukari Takeba, who is the Implied Love Interest canonicallynote she gets some game-mandated scenes where she bonds with the protagonist about their mutual status as orphans, and the official romantic interests of previous Persona games were always of the Lovers arcana but handled in a rather heavy-handed way.
Die for Our Ship: In essentially any fan fiction with a different character the Protagonist is shipped with, Yukari will be reduced to the Clingy Jealous Girl. Granted, that is how she tends to act in canon... Some see her as the Designated Love Interest, if you find that the scenes with her and the protaganist are rather forced.
Dude, Not Funny!: For some, the Hot Springs Incident in Kyoto has shades of this, especially after taking place just after a Wham Episode filled November of Ikutsuki being revealed as the traitorous monster he is, along with shooting Mitsuru's father fatally. The fact that the guys that had no idea what was happening really weren't at fault doesn't help much, even if it is optional. Nor does the fact that Junpei, the Butt Monkey from that scene, loses his girlfriend in one of the biggest Tear Jerkers in the game not even a week later.
Among the party, there's Shinjiro, whose sheer fan popularity might make non-players think he's the main character in the game. Koromaru is given a special spot in most players' hearts (and parties) for general usefulness in combat and coolness.
Junpei has become this in recent years, at least in the West. He is praised for being one of the best examples of Character Development in the game, with his actions in The Answer as the Only Sane Man a wonder to behold, especially given his behavior early on. It's to the point that polls for Persona 4 Arena DLC usually have him on top of the mountain. Their prayers were answered when the game is having a Continuum Shift-esque update and one of the first news is that Junpei, along with Yukari, are new characters to the game.
Ending Fatigue: After The Hanged Man no boss fights occur on full moons, your current portfolio of Persona have pretty much hit the top end of power (and with FES fusing, the same is true for equipment) and can last until almost endgame. Fighting (and plot advancement) is restricted to a day a month and you have likely already maxed your social stats leaving nothing to do for many game months but a long long string of social links or worse, free time.
Fan Nickname: In fan circles, the officially nameless protagonist has acquired the name "Minato Arisato (有里 湊)," the name given to the character in the manga adaptation. The Gender Flip protagonist in Persona 3 Portable has been lovingly nicknamed "Minako" (an actual Japanese girl's name) by Western fans. She is also known as "Hamuko" (ハム子) by Japanese fans, loosely interpreting the last character of shujinkou (主人公), which means "protagonist," as katakana.
The Lucifer/Helel Persona when abusing his instant-kill combination attack with the Satan Persona. It also learns Victory Cry at Lv.94, which restores your HP/MP to maximum after every battle and makes spamming Armageddon (which will defeat anything but the Final Boss (only because its multiple life bars, and still drop it last one allowing the player to skip the hell with Night Queen) and Elizabeth in a single hit) even easier. Fixed in FES - Helel no longer learns Victory Cry naturally - and then further nerfed in P3P, in which the combination abilities are items that must be bought with gemstones rather than skills used by having both of the relevant Personas.
The Dreamfest combo skill (Succubus+Incubus) borders on this. It has a high-chance of charming (i.e. neutralizing) all enemies, and works on tough encounters and even some sub-bosses.
In some instances, Thunder Reign. Anything that doesn't resist/block/absorb/reflect it is guaranteed to get the shocked status effect, and until their next turn, all physical attacks (that they don't block, absorb, or reflect) are guaranteed Critical Hits. So, if you're facing a single opponent whose turn comes after your entire party, you get three successive All-Out Attacks. In which fight can you benefit the most from this? Against The Reaper.
Persona 3 Portable is broken in so many ways that it's the perfect game for beginning Megami Tensei players. To elaborate:
The game lets you directly control allies, unlike the PS2 editions. No more wrangling with Artifical Stupidity.
You can obtain Skill Cards, which can teach any Persona you have a new skill. To make them even more broken, there is a card duplication service at the shrine. The process takes five days, but is completely free. Some of the Skill Cards you can get include even even high-end skills like Prayer and the element Absorb skills.
Your condition no longer changes during dungeon exploration; it only changes after you leave. Feel free to complete as much of the currently-available portion of Tartarus as you want in a single night; the worst that happens is that you'll be "Sick" for two days when you exit.
Run out of SP while exploring? No problem! The clock provides full-party healing for cheap.
Hell Is That Noise: Five words: "Be careful! I sense Death!" Or, worse still, the quiet jingling of chains that signals the Reaper's approach.
He's Just Sleeping: The Fanbase believed this about the main character until the release of FES which revealed that he did in fact die, at least physically. However, Elizabeth states she's trying to find a way to bring him back in Persona 4 Arena.
Chihiro's S-Link ending in FES is her outraging at the article against a Student Teacher Romance saying that love is important, no matter what age. Now what is the Justice S-Link in Portableagain?
In PSP remake, one of Ken's S-Links mentions a manga about an alien who takes different forms to save the day. Although this is only in the female MC's playthrough, this is funny considering the male MC's voice actor'sother role.
Ken is represented with the Justice tarot in the remake, which contains a lot of members of the Divine race from the main game. Beta Johnathan actually looks a lot like an older version of him and he represents the Law alignment - which all of the Divine race is in.
Ken drinking milk to get taller becomes funny considering that he hit a sudden growth spurt in between this game and Ultimax - he was right about the milk!
Karma Houdini: Not only that, but Mitsuru doing this is never really addressed, and when Yukari breaks down about missing the protagonist, everyone comforts her and forgives her, despite her being incredibly insensitive and rude towards them in the beginning (namely pointing out Shinjiro's death to Akihiko.
The canonicity of the female main character and her path in Persona 3 Portable. You have fans that point to The Answer and The Reveal from Margaret in Persona 4 as proof that the FeMC route never happened, while other fans counter that since FES and P4 were written prior to P3P they can't be used as proof of anything related to the female PC. Then you have other fans using The Amala Network as a way to explain that she could exist, just not in the same universe as the Male Main Character. The debates were much larger in the weeks leading up to the release of the game, and still persist to this day.
It's Popular, Now It Sucks: This along with Persona 4 was what made the Shin Megami Tensei games mainstream in the West. Atlus has since build a franchise around the two titlesnote Quite similar to how Square Enix responded to Final Fantasy 7's popularity. The more hardant old-school SMT fans didn't quite like this.
Memetic Badass: You've gotta be a chiseled Badass to eat Fuuka's cooking. You must also obtain Badass status to initiate a social link with Ken as the Female Protagonist.
Memetic Mutation: BURN MY BREAD! (in reference to the improper english in vocal songs by Yumi Kawamura)
Ken Amada: Fans have taken to calling his shorts "shota shorts".
Narm: Fuuka's Dull Surprise voice acting can lead to a few moments like this. She gets better in The Answer, but that just leads to a whole new set of problems when the "I'm mildly surprised by everything" voice acting from the old lines frequently contrasts with the more flat and matter-of-fact delivery of the new lines.
Never Live It Down: Expect anything to do with Ken to have people complaining about Shinjiro.
No Yay: Spending a long time with Ken Amada but subverted in that the scene is up to the player's imagination. A straighter version is the female protagonist and Takaya. Or the male protagonist and Takaya.
Although, the Minako/Ken ship is popular with fans of shotacon.
Paranoia Fuel: Normal people do not remember the Dark Hour... which means it could be really happening every night and you'd never know. Enjoy the next full moon!
Expanding on this, The Shadows can pull people into the Dark Hour whenever they want and the victim is powerless to do anything to stop it. This means they can kill you at any time. Sleep tight.
Shinjiro's death on October 4, right after the day's accompanying Full Moon boss.
Followed by a Player Kick Them While They're Down at his funeral, when a few classmates talk smack about him. The game gives you an option that amounts to telling them to shut the fuck up.
The Final Boss. You finally have the power to defeat it, in the form of a battle skill. Just one very major problem though: the cost of the skill is all of your HP!
Porting Disaster: The PSN version of FES initially suffered from several emulation problems, such as the game failing to save or just deleting your saved games when you try to load, freezing, and lots of texture flickering. This has thankfully been patched.
If a character you hate has a social link, chances are, you'll end up growing on them.
Ken is more well liked in the portable version due to this. Evidently, it's more easier to find fanart and fanfics of him with Minako than standalone fan work of him.
Many detractors of Junpei (either because of his personality, or because the player ends up running into a long string of boss fights who exploit his weakness early on) find that he gets a lot better after he meets Chidori (and also because he serves as one of the few voices of reason in The Answer.) And if the player is willing to stick with keeping him leveled after the aforementioned boss fights, he turn into a formidable heavy hitter (and the player will probably have access to skills to cover his weakness by then.)
Despite the general... disagreement with Yukari Takeba in the west, there's a surprising amount of (western) fans who welcome her inclusion in the update for Persona 4 Arena.
Ron the Death Eater: Probably the biggest reason why Ken is seen as a scrappy. Some people hate Ken just for hating and wanting to killShinjiro, despite having (albeit disproportionate) reasons for doing so. A fair amount of people ignore the fact that Shinjiro actually is accountable for the death of Ken's mother.
In fact, some fans blame Ken entirely for Shinjiro's death. Despite the fact that Shinjiro voluntarily died for him without Ken asking him to. And many would have preferred that Ken died instead. And they seem to completley forgetTakaya, you know, the guy who actually killed Shinjiro. While Ken had admittedly put Shinjiro and him in the situation, it isn't exactly 100% his fault.
The Scrappy: While there are a lot of divisive characters (who subsequently gain the fans' respect and/or liking nevertheless), there are a couple of characters who do not have that luck:
Fuuka and Natsuki are disliked for their grating English voices, which isn't helped at all by the lack of the same extensive Character Development found in, for example, Junpei.
The one most disliked, however, would be Ken Amada, due to his similarly uncharismatic English voice acting, vehement dislike for Shinjiro (the dub even made it more explicit - see Jerkass Woobie below), claims that he's out of place in the cast (despite a dog and robot being on the team) inclusion as a romance option (unless you like shotacon), rather average combat stats, a balanced skill-set that is outclassed by other characters - with his onespecialty being useless for bosses -and can be done more easily with the protagonist, and gradual lack of prominence after his confrontation with Shinjiro. His P3P incarnation, on the other hand, is much more well-liked, due to giving him a role beyond being Demoted to Extra by making him a Social Link — evidently, it's much more easier to find fanart of him with the female protagonist than standalone art of him.
When it comes to social links, Kenji is easily the most disliked one. His attraction to older women comes off as annoying more than anything, and he doesn't get any meaningful character development. It doesn't help that his counterpart in Portable is Junpei.
Nozomi is also disliked for being a creepy Gonk (though he does get some Hidden Depths). Like the above example, his Portable counterpart is fan-favourite Shinjiro.
Random chance light and dark insta-kill abilities. Most of the time they'll miss. Sometimes they'll hit and knock other party members unconscious. If it hits you, you'd better have a Homunculus item (which is not obtainable by the time you first encounter it).
In combination to the above two, Portable adds the fact that when your allies get hit by these attacks, they will use one of your very rare Homunculi to survive it, despite the fact you can simply revive them afterwards and if YOU die, then it's game over.
In the original and FES update you didn't have direct control over the party. This is thankfully fixed in the PSP remake.
In order to lock down the very powerful skills in the PSP remake, they converted them to Fetch Quests - you now have to grind on shadows to get enough of a certain type of gem to drop.
The FES expansion basically forces Level Grinding upon the player if they want to finish it.
Want to level up the Hermit Social Link on the male protagonist's route? Have fun spending the entire day, including nighttime, doing so for one session!
Sequel Displacement: Persona 3 and 4 are credited with singlehandedly popularizing the rest of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise outside of Japan. The PSP re-releases of Persona1 and Persona2 were generally well received, but neither had anything near the sales of the sequels.
FES also did this to the original game, with its many improvements and additions to the original game and The Answer epilogue. The PSP remake might have done this to FES with the female main character's storyline.
That One Attack: Night Queen, the final boss's most powerful attack, which it will only use once it has only a remaining third of HP of itsfourteenth lifebar. It deals massive Almighty damage to the party, and has the capability of inflicting any status effect on the party. Worst case scenario, if one or more of your party members is killed, charmed, enraged or inflicted with fear, you have pretty much no hope of victory at this point. If just the protagonist is enraged or charmed, it can be just as bad if the protagonist had a persona that healed, since then YOU can end up FULLY healing (*6000* HP) the FinalBoss, or getting your team in a nearly hopeless position depending on the tactics you had on them when you got enraged and can't heal the team. That Nyx Avatar mix things up with Moonless Gown, which allows it to repel everything you throw at it for a few turns, you can potentially end up screwing yourself over depending on how everything goes.
The Hermit boss battle. Giga spark. If you don't have every party member equipped with thunder charms (and even then it has a one in a hundred chance of working), the battle is all but impossible.
That One Boss: This being an Atlus game, most of the bosses are very tough, but Sleeping Table deserves a special mention. Megidola and Maragidyne (ma-spells hit all posible targets, and Megidola is a second-level Almighty - thus unresistable and very powerful - spell), plus Hamaon, Evil Touch (inflicts Fear) and Ghastly Wail (unblockable, instantly kills any character with Fear.) You know it's bad when you're praying that it just spams its One-Hit Kill and misses. A lot of the Tartarus bosses can fall into this category, especially compared to the Full Moon Shadows, but the Table is the standout example.
Nyx Avatar is this to a lot of players despite being the Final Boss due the sheer length of the fight and reasons mentioned above.
That One Level: It's generally agreed upon that Harabah is the hardest portion of Tartarus, what with it being dark and the only light coming from moving rainbow circles, which is hard to look at and makes Shadows nigh-impossible to see. Empyrean is a possible contender in The Answer, what with pretty much every enemy having either Mahamaon or Mamudoon.
Uncanny Valley: Ken's 3D model. The smile on his face is just too wide.
Mitsuru's (Empress) Social Link doesn't begin until November (third-to-last month in the game), and your Academics need to be maxed out (while all of your attributes should be maxed out well beforehand, Academics takes the longest time, and it's possible to not have it maxed) and it's also required to score the highest results on at least one exam (which is dependent on your Academics stat toonote you need level 3 Academics to ace the first exam on May, level 4 for the second on July, level 5 for the third on October and Max Academics for the final one in December). She's also only available two days of the week (Tuesday and Thursday). If there is one Social Link that most players wind up not finishing, it's usually hers.
Aigis (Aeon, only in FES and Portable) is even worse in that regard; it opens in January, which you only get if you choose to let Ryoji live. You fight the Final Boss by the very end of that month, so you're on a very limited time span to complete hers as well.
Complicating things further, the Ultimate Persona of the Aeon Arcana (Metatron), which only can be fused after completing the Social Link in the current or a previous run-through, can be fused with a Nihil Weapon to obtain the best gun of the game for Aigis (Metatronius). Considering that the Antiques Store takes two days to complete it, this leaves a very, very small window of opportunity to get the weapon on the first playthrough.
In both FES and the original version, social links with the female characters are even more complicated. After a certain point in each dateable girl's Social Link(which generally occurs between ranks 5 and 7), you're in a "serious" relationship with that girl. Pleasing one means upsetting the other and woe is him if he double-booked and ended up canceling a date. The "jealousy" mechanics was removed on Portable though.
The female protagonist's links are both easier and harder at the same time; she has more links open at night, but two of them are on a one-month time limit (the Moon for Shinjiro, and Fortune for Ryoji); Ryoji in particular has to be hung out with whenever you are given the chance to do so. If you miss one opportunity, the link will simply stop progressing. It also trips you up because of a large gap between Rank 9 and MAX - choosing to let him live maxes it out, and that's at the end of December.
Right up there with them is trying to become Akihiko's Love Interest in his link; two very specific responses have to be chosen at specific points. If they aren't chosen, then the relationship remains strictly platonic. What's more, the link freezes at Rank 7 with no indication of when it can restart if you get there before October (it coincides with Shinjiro's death), and it's possible to break his link altogether, although only if you do manage to romance him and reject him.
Arguably, all of SEES in The Answer, with Junpei [[one hand by Character Development, the other by trying not to argue with the others) and Koromaru (a dog) being the only exceptions. Yukari and Mitsuru in particular are arguably the worst of them, only beating out the others because they (mainly Yukari, but Mitsuru joins her because she wants to support her always) would rather risk bringing Tartarus and Nyx back if it means reviving the protagonist than moving on, which is what most of the others want to do. The fact that Fuuka doesn't do a thing about the arguing doesn't help either.
Woolseyism: The original titles of The Journey and The Answer were Episode Yourself and Episode Aigis in Japan. It's generally agreed that altering them from the Engrish-happy Japanese names to names that have thematic importance to the content within them was an improvement. In a similar vein, the very ominous-sounding Dark Hour in the localization was originally named the very generic "Shadow Time" in the Japanese version.
As mentioned above (see mythology gag) the Devil Busters/Innocent Sin Online is almost completely changed. Y-ko mearly speaks with an accent, the english version changed this to Maya using 1337 speak, offering a better contrast between her online persona and her real life composition teacher self.
Aigis in Japanese uses a very generic and to the point speaking style when first introduced but as she becomes more humanized starts to drop this in favor of speaking regular Japanese. Since this can't be done with English, the US version has her speak in a robotic monotone at first and gradually start to talk like a normal girl as she becomes more human.
The Woobie: Just about everyone has something painful that endears the audience to them.
The Woobie: Akinari, Mitsuru, and Shinjiro are prime examples, but pretty much everyone in SEES is a woobie. The Protagonist after his Heroic Sacrifice, especially if you characterized him specifically.
Iron Woobie: Akinari is so positive during his last days.... Even more so if you complete his S-Link, and his soul comes in to cheer for you in the last battle.